I thought I would post a follow up to a recent article I posted regarding Commission Junction performance. Over the weekend I ran a test on one of our own offers replacing a top performing Hydra Network offer. What was the result? A mind-blowing 59% conversion rate. Of all the traffic that hit our thank you page for our test site, 59% of that traffic converted on the thank you page offer. This beat out the highest performing affiliate offer to date that converted at 26%.
I will monitor results for the next couple of weeks and report back with findings and an averaged conversion rate over the duration of testing. What does this demonstrate? Affiliate offers may not convert as well as your own offer. While affiliate offers are convenient, you loose control of conversions and accountability if the affiliate partner will not let you put a tracking pixel on their site. We have seen affiliate offers swing between 3% and 26% conversion rates on average.
This is why many folks are exploring “licensing”. A term for contracting directly with a partner to generate leads, sales, traffic, vs. going through an affiliate management company such as Click Bank or Commission Junction. I’m not condemning Click Bank of Commission Junction because they surely have made many folks a bunch of money.
The bottom line is this. If you are not looking at and measuring your conversion rates, you are leaving money on the table.
What are your thoughts on affiliate offers through some of the major affiliate management companies? Share your thoughts and findings with our visitors.
Commission Junction is joke unless someone can prove me wrong. After some split testing along with some CPA network offer tests, Commission Junction comes up a loser in every test.
We recently let a HydraNetwork CPA offer run its course. The first month it made over $5000 with our offer converting at over 25% for the month. For the month of August in which one of our offers expired, it closed out at a conversion rate of just over 21%. The offer paid out less than $10 for each conversion.
How’s that stack up with similar or identical offers on Commission Junction? We ran a CJ.com offer from the same company with a slightly different ad and it barely converted at 3%. After testing another offer from a major company we had ZERO conversions for our test on 8/28/09.
In yet another test, we bought some products for our office through a Commission Junction banner on one of our sites, and the order never recorded. Only after contacting the vendor directly did they give us credit for the purchase. CJ.com lists various reasons why a click or conversion may not register successfully. Our take is that most affiliate management networks are designed to break easily to reduce commissions paid out. (No hard proof, just a professional hunch)
In addition to our split testing, we track all of our outbound clicks to affiliate offers and those numbers don’t always match and some with startling differences in some cases.
Are you a Commission Junction marketer? What have your conversion rates been like? Are you a super affiliate or know of other programs similar to CJ.com that convert better? Share them with our visitors by responding to this article.
We will continue to test various offers through the Commission Junction network and report any success stories, but for now we remain disappointed with the poor performance of CJ.com offers we’ve tested against other successful offers on other networks.
The truth about affiliate marketing and CPA offers. While I won’t call everyone who runs an affiliate program a crook let me share some of the results we have seen in testing with one of our other business associates. Before I do that let me tell you this. Most affiliate companies do not want to pay you a commission. Why? because it eats away at their margins plain and simple.
For the past 90 days we’ve been testing several affiliate offers with one or peers in the industry. We both started with the same offer. Their first month, generated over $50k and we hit $6k. For both of us it represented about a 25% conversion rate on our click throughs to the same offer. During the 2nd month both of our conversions dropped to 15% and now in our 3rd month of testing we are at 10% conversions.
We tested another affiliate offer and saw the same exact results. First month conversions are high and then subsequent months slowly deteriorate.
Affiliate marketing can be lucrative and there is certainly money to be made, just be aware of this. Affiliate and CPA offer providers are always looking for ways to reduce payouts. I’ll even throw this out into the blogosphere as an open challenge for someone to prove me wrong.
So what do the heavy hitters do? The heavy hitters in online marketing have direct marketing contracts with product and service providers. They get paid on a percentage of the overall sales. No affiliate links or affiliate IDs to mess with.
As you look at affiliate offers, don’t get hung up on a specific product, brand or payout. The bottom line is conversion rates and how much your affiliate check is each month. Some offers may pay less, but have a higher conversion rate than offers with high pay outs.
Monitor and track your conversion rates every month. If an offer starts to drop find something else.
Look for more updates to come on this fun and sometimes frustrating area of opportunity.
In my previous post “What’s Up With CPA Offers” I raised the question of possible fraud on the part of the affiliate offer provider. After all, it’s a known fact in the industry that companies that provide affiliate offers will instinctively try to figure out how an affiliate is getting traffic and then take measures to cut the affiliate out all together. This is especially true with affiliates that use Google Adwords, Yahoo, and MSN PPC, and is why it is important to cloak affiliate URLs.
Today has shown an interesting turn of events as I emailed one of the CPA networks this week and brought up the potential issue of some type of affiliate fraud. AMAZINGLY today, two campaigns that were at 15% and 5% conversions yesterday have jumped to 28% and 37% conversion rates. The later had never gone over 10% a conversion rate and never more than one conversion in a day. Today this offer is at 3 conversions at over $30 each and still a long day ahead.
Is it possible that CPA networks have the ability to skim traffic or throttle conversions? While it has only been one day, the timing of my email certainly raises suspicions. So the question now becomes, why would CPA networks throttle or control the number of conversions? Can a CPA network divert or skim some extra cash by essentially taking traffic from affiliates?
How may affiliate marketers or folks doing CPA offers have seen a similar trend in their numbers?
Look for more results to come
This is probably a topic not many have touched on, but having worked with CPA offers for over a year now I’ve noticed a trend. Whenever we start off with a new CPA offer the conversion rates are terrific. We have a CPA offer that has been converting as high as 30%. The honeymoon is however over and the trend has set in. We are now nose diving to 10% conversions rates.
Now I’m not going to accuse anyone of fraud or pulling some kind of shenanigans, but I’m betting folks that pay out on some CPA offers don’t like paying out those commissions. How hard is it to learn the IP address of a particular affiliate sending traffic and then start pulling some black hat magic to capture the customer information without paying the affiliate on the conversion? I’ll bet donuts to dollars this happens, but affiliates are too busy to figure it out or inquire.
Are you making money with CPA offers? Have you seen or experienced CPA fraud? Share your experience with our readers.
For those that might be thinking our drop in conversions are due to spikes in traffic or visitors, all of our CPA offers are on the back-end of our product / service thank you page(s). It’s always a percentage of our exit traffic. So for an exit page offer to convert at 25%+ over a 30 day period and then tank to 10% the following month consistently tells me that someone is up to something.