Archive for September, 2010

credited to : CT Moore from : Reve News

Over the last two days, the dust from Affiliate Summit East 2010 has settled and most of us have recovered from the jet lag and three consecutive days of late nights and early mornings (for some there may have been some drinking involved).  And now that we’re starting to settle back into an everyday pace, a lot of us are assessing just what we took home from the conference. Well, here are the top 5 things I took away from ASE 2010.<p align=”none”> </p>
1. AdWords faces some tough competition
From Facebook Ads to Plenty of Fish, advertisers seem to be turning to user-driven-networks spread their message. And it’s no surprise why.
While AdWords only lets you target by location and intent, user-driven networks let advertisers reach users by both location (great for localized offers) and demographics while at the same time fostering a network affect of like-minded shoppers. So while Adwords only helps you reach users that are already aware of the kinds of services/products you offer, user-driven networks allow you to reach a completely untapped customer base through their social interests.
2. Facebook Ads are the new big thing
Despite the fact that Facebook Ads are bupkis advertisers are drinking the Kool-Aid. No matter if it was a session or a one-on-one interview, everyone seemed to be talking about Facebook Ads. Those who’d figured out the platform heralded positive results, and those who hadn’t figured it out weren’t ready to give up on it just yet and wanted to know more about how to leverage it.
In a nutshell, Facebook Ads let advertisers target users by demographics and personal network; and that affords them a bit more trust currency. And as we know, belief is essential to selling. For instance, your ad might tell a user that one of their friends “liked” your product/service, and that seems to help with conversions more than a run-of-the-mill banner ad or sponsored result. Of course, the flip-side of that is that your product/service can’t completely suck.
3. Email remains a vital component
Believe it or not, email is not just still important, it’s more important than ever. And the reason is that email notifications are an integral part of the social networking experience. Just think about it: whenever a contact takes any action on your profile or content on a social network, you get an email notification.
As Declan Dunn pointed out in his session, marketers should pay attention to users’ email experience for two reasons. First, email is obviously integral to keeping users engaged in whatever community you’ve built-up through social media.
Secondly, and more importantly, depending on the platform you use to manage that community, either you can’t advertise directly to them or it’s inappropriate/inadvisable to do so because it infringes on their community experience. So email notifications become one of your best opportunities to promote any product or service.
4. A picture is worth a thousand clicks
During his awesome session on Facebook Ads, Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker broke down the most important elements of a Facebook Ad. And the most important piece of the puzzle was, you guessed it, the image.
Essentially there are three elements to a Facebook Ad: the title,  the ad copy, and the image. From his own personal experience with Facebook Ads, Jeremy has found that the image impacts an ad’s performance much more so than the body or the title. So much so, in fact, that between the three elements, Jeremy focuses 70 percent on the image, and only 20 percent on the body and a mere 10 percent on the title.
5. Sex still sells
Of course, this isn’t exactly a revelation. But sometimes, it helps to be reminded of  age old truths — if only to not lose sight of them.
For starters, there were no shortage of pretty face representing the CPA networks and merchants. One network even had a pair of bikini babes prowling the conference floor.
But sex seems to work even on a performance-basis (no pun intended). In fact, one of the examples Shoemoney offered during his session (linked above) was an experiment where he sent US traffic to ad pages where some of the ads featured a cleavage pic and some foreign text. The cleavage/foreign language pics got more clicks than the non-cleavage ads that had English copy.
So it seems that sometimes, it doesn’t matter what your call-to-action or value propositions. Users seem to judge books by their cover, and have their minds in the gutter.
The sum of it all
Overall, Affiliate Summit East 2010 is the best conference I’ve been to this year, and maybe one of the best ever. Unlike a lot of other industry conferences, everything was extremely well organized (from sessions to parties), and the networking opportunities abounded in both quantity and quality.
More importantly, all the intelligence to be gained through sessions came directly from the front lines. After all, these are affiliate marketers. They live and die by their performance, so there’s no margin for error. They’re very focused on results, and very quick to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
In a nutshell, everything I learned was about what is working, not what was fun or cool to do with someone else’s money. I’m looking forward to doing it all again in Las Vegas in January.

7 Tips for creating a great Affiliate site

Posted: September 19, 2010 in News

7 Tips for creating a great Affiliate site

(from http://blog.affiliatetip.com)

I was thinking about what goes into creating a new affiliate site, and I’ve outlined the seven important elements when I start up a new affiliate project.

This primer is intended for folks that are just breaking into affiliate marketing. I know some people are searching for a “get rich quick” lesson, and that’s not the way it works with affiliate marketing.

Affiliate sites should be viewed as long-term projects, and not quick hits.

As far as the prevalence of affiliate programs among retailers, Internet Retailer magazine recently released their list of the Hot 100 Retail Web Sites, and 75% of those retailers had one or more affiliate programs in place.

Anyhow, here are the seven things to consider when setting up an affiliate site. Note that the various services I mention are those that I use personally. I mention them, because I’ve been happy with the pricing and service and would personally recommend them.

Also, I would create a new site with WordPress as the content management system, because of the ease of use and flexibility of the platform. You can get WordPress for free. If you’re not familiar with WordPress, I’d suggest reading through WordPress For Dummies

2-3 topics you care about
When starting a new affiliate site, don’t try to leverage the latest trends. Instead, focus on topics that interest you. Try brainstorming 2-3 areas where you are passionate and create your site based on the one that you think you’d like to focus on the longest.

Domain name
You’ll need a domain for your new site. I use GoDaddy.com, where you can get a .com domain for around $10 per year. Don’t obsess about your domain name – I’d say you shouldn’t spend more than 20 minutes picking it out. Just get something relevant to your topic, and the shorter the better. Start with a registration of one year, because you can extend it at any time, but if you decide the domain stinks, there is no use being locked into multiple years.

Hosting
There are many options for hosting your site. For the purpose of simplicity, there are two main types of hosting accounts you can get: shared servers and dedicated servers. The former is a cheaper option where your site is on a server with lots of other sites, while a dedicated server only has your site(s) on it. When you’re starting a new affiliate site, a shared plan should suffice. Currently, I use bluehost for some new, small projects and Liquid Web for my main, important sites. bluehost is low-cost and they have a one-click install for WordPress. Liquid Web is a bit pricey, but you’re paying for excellent support and uptime.

Email service
One of the key methods for driving traffic back to affiliate sites is to work with an email service provider that enables your visitors to opt-in to get updates, newsletters, etc. from you by email. I use AWeber to manage my email lists and messages. AWeber enables me to provide an option for visitors to subscribe to my blog RSS via email, as well as newsletters, and series of follow-up emails on various topics.

Patience
This is the cheapest and most important part of a new affiliate site: patience. Resist the temptation to put up ads right away. Instead, focus on building content to give people a reason to visit your site. When the time comes to incorporate ads, focus on relevant ads, and not those that pay the best. I’d suggest posting ten or more times (or longer) to a blog before any ads are up there. When you do put up ads, go beyond the banner. The vast majority of my affiliate commissions come from text links.

So, if I am writing about a new camera or computer, I’ll link the name of the device to a place where it can be purchased. That’s far more effective than a banner for the product. But it’s essential that you constantly test different ways to run advertising on your site to optimize the advertising strategies and phase out things that don’t work. Use an ad server like OpenX to run A/B testing.

Also, you don’t want to hear this, but you shouldn’t expect much money for months. It takes time to build up a site and an audience. It can be a grind, but stick with it.

Find your voice
People will follow your affiliate site as they get to know you. Odds are that you’re not a journalist, so don’t pretend. Just be yourself and write in your voice. It can sometimes get tough to think of things to wrote on your blog, so make it a practice to have an editorial calendar where you will schedule topics to write in the future. I frequently send myself email with ideas for future blog posts.

Also, consider setting up a page where people can ask you questions about your topic and answer them on the blog. I use Freedback.com to manage this process. And you can bulk up the content of your site with targeted articles from EzineArticles.com. I not only publish articles from there, but write them, too (Shawn Collins on EzineArticles.com), so I can get more exposure for my site.

Finding an affiliate program

There are a variety of ways that affiliates can find affiliate programs. The 2009 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report breaks out all of the ways that affiliates are finding out about affiliate programs to join.

If you are in the gaming space, you’ll want to check out http://www.mmotraffic.com, the best monetization for MMOs on the planet!

DFC Intelligence Forecasts English Language Free-to-Play Games to Reach $2 Billion

August 31, 2010San Diego, CA A new report from DFC Intelligence forecasts that the market for English language client-based free-to-play (F2P) games on the PC is expected to grow from about $250 million in 2009 to $2 billion by 2015.  This growth is largely due to widespread adoption of high-speed Internet connections combined with a growing willingness of consumers to buy digital content and improved payment options such as prepaid retail cards. The F2P market has been firmly established in Asia for many years.  According to DFC analyst Insun Yoon, “for many Korean companies the market in North America has not taken off nearly as fast as they expected.  Much of this can be attributed to the immature infrastructure and a lack of established payment and service mechanisms.  The good news is that this is starting to change and consumers are starting to realize that the game play of top high-end F2P games can be quite sophisticated.”

Most F2P games operate under a model where users can download and play a game for free and have the option to buy virtual goods or upgrade to a subscription package that opens additional play content.    “F2P games can have multiple payment options and most successful games look to bundle products in creative packages such as the ability to buy a monthly or annual subscription that include a set amount of virtual currency.  Creativity in marketing, packaging and distribution are the keys to generating increased revenue” said David Cole, an analyst at DFC.  By the end of 2010, it is expected that English language client based F2P games will have a combined total of 128 million registered users.  While this is not as high as many browser based games and games on social networks,  F2Ps have fairly high conversion rates. “Registered user numbers are a fairly meaningless metric in this market.  Once a consumer is able to get a game downloaded and running conversion rates for high-end F2P games tend to be fairly high,” says Yoon.

One major problem is that in North America and Europe it is still difficult for consumers to successfully install a large client.  In conjunction with Pando Networks, a game delivery services company, DFC is providing a separate report on Online Game Delivery.  This report shows that consumers in South Korea, Romania, Japan and Sweden have significantly higher download speeds than the rest of the world.  According to the Pando report, eight of the fastest 12 cities in the world are located in Korea.