Philip Keckeis is Director of International Operations at Trade Tracker, an affiliate network with offices in different European countries and widely recognized for having one the best affiliate software in the online advertising market.
What was your first affiliate marketing success?
I’d say I was introduced to affiliate marketing in a slightly unconventional way, being involved in the launch of one of our international offices. As you know, Trade Tracker opened its doors in Norway back in 2011. Connecting the first dots was a very exciting moment. Since then we’ve pulled of an amazing job. We now run almost 300 clients in Norway, and roughly 5000 across all our 20 markets!
How do I get started with affiliate marketing if I am a complete newbie?
Assuming you’ve just found yourself a brand new topic to write about, which is a great place to start, your gathering valuable insights about your visitors. Why do they read your content and what is it that interests them so much? Try to build some very simple personas and look for relevant products or services that suit both your content and personas.
Next step: register your site as a publisher at TradeTracker.com and look for relevant campaigns that include such products you like to promote. Sign up for the campaigns and start your promotional efforts. Pick one of the easy to use widgets, for which you can simply copy paste the HTML to your site, or link directly to individual products by using our link generator.
One of the key things to keep in mind is expanding your user base!The more visitors you have, combined with relevant targeting, the more you will earn from affiliate marketing.
What are the most important things to track and test when promoting affiliate offers?
The more comfortable you get with affiliate marketing, the more you want to know about what and how you are promoting offers. There are many KPI’s which you want to keep an eye out for, such as your eCPM and EPC. It is defined as you average earnings per thousand impressions and effective earnings per click.
However, keep in mind though that KPI’s are the result of your efforts as an affiliate. The better you’re able to tune your promotions the higher those KPIs will be. You can achieve this by generating detailed reports and thorough analysis of data. Simply run A/B tests and verify the results; build pools of creatives and tag them per campaign; compare multiple advertisers who sell the same product, I’ll bet the conversion ratio is different. The list goes on since you’re never done optimizing.
What is affiliate retargeting and what do you think about it?
Retargeting by affiliates can certainly be helpful, however I feel it needs to be executed correctly and should work for any size advertiser.Successful retargeting comes many forms, for example display advertising, on site retargeting, basket abandonment solutions, email retargeting and many more. Again, the added value should be defined and allocated appropriately. Often you see advertisers executing a deduplication policy, although an effective attribution strategy will be much more worthwhile their efforts and increase return on ad spend. Ultimately, you’ll have more active participants in the conversion path putting in significant efforts contributing to the conversion.
Do you fear the possibility of web surfers having their browsers to auto-clean cookies at the end of every browsing sessions? What if this becomes a default feature on browsers?
Since many of performance marketing’s models are based on cookies, this certainly has an impact on the way each stakeholder needs to cope with this trend. Also note the difference between first party cookies, which are sent by the merchant’s domain, and third party cookies, which are placed from any other domain than the user is visiting. Trade Tracker has developed a method whereby affiliate cookies are placed from the merchant’s own domain, which makes sure affiliates are still remunerated for those transactions. Luckily, cookies are not the only means of tracking consumers from affiliate to conversion. Many alternatives are present, where TradeTracker for examples offers fingerprint and smart IP tracking as backup for cookies, next to session tracking.
As such default settings becomes more prominently available, the market keeps on working towards solutions. Merchants should keep in mind how publishers are able to promote their offers and remunerate them accordingly. Keeping in mind the publisher can only be responsible for delivering a potential client, it’s up to the merchant to incentivize the publisher competitively.
Do you believe that social media can be used to promote affiliate offers? If so, how?
Absolutely! There are (again) many different ways how to include social media in your efforts as an affiliate. Keeping in mind that targeted traffic is what you need to convert offers, you could use any channel for affiliate marketing. You could have access to a large base of Twitter followers, or set up a campaign with Facebook Ads. Driving highly targeted traffic based on your settings could generate high ROAS. Effectively you’ll be securing your returns to be higher than your spending on social media channels buying and selling traffic.
Are Coupon Code sites cannibalizing affiliate market?
That’s a very bold statement to make. I don’t believe so, as they simply exploited one of the many needs of consumers. Each affiliate part of a conversion path has an impact on the consumer’s decision to buy. In most cases, the influence is a good one. That said, it is very important to put a value on each of the touchpoints the consumer encounters.
Where coupon sites have really focused to optimize their efforts obtaining that last click in the conversion path, it iseminent, other participating affiliates will miss out on that transaction and consequently commission. The responsibility to remunerate the affiliate adequately lies with both merchant and network.
What is the true value of cashback and reward affiliates?
Glad you ask! In addition to reply to your previous question, the solution TradeTracker offers the market is Conversion Path Tracking.Based on touchpoint data you can see exactly which affiliates were involved in the conversion path and remunerate them based on the value added based on a set of rules set by the merchant.
Each affiliate type has their own benefits. Cashback and reward sites usually have a very loyal user base, which gives them a strong position to achieve great results for a campaign.
What would a merchant do if they want to be sure that they are doing their best to avoid fraudulent traffic?
Some basics are of utmost important. To name a few which are a key focus for TradeTracker:
Be sure to know your affiliates. If you can have personal contact with them, it gives a sense of mutual trust, which is the basis for a successful relationship.
Work together.Start to get familiar with the business model used by your affiliates and work together. Using their expertise, you can come to new insights and ideas to tap into unexplored territories. Many professional affiliates use a variety of tools to optimize their promotional efforts. However, this (usually) doesn’t give you full statistics. If the affiliate can earn good money on your program, they’ll be willing to shed a light on their activities.
Require transparency. Make sure the network you work with is open about the affiliate’s activities. Verify traffic origins and make sure you can validate results that your affiliates deliver for your campaigns.
What sets Trade Tracker apart from other affiliate networks?
TradeTracker is an internationally well established performance marketing network working with Industry Specific Accounts Managers. We’re not satisfied with all-rounders, we prefer our account managers as specialists in their sector, allowing them a comprehensive knowledge to the finer points of an industry specific campaign.
Furthermore we focus on a fully transparent cooperation. This shows in, for example, our Admonitor.In order to protect your brand, we’ve developed a tool which monitors the use of your brand across search channels and detects brand abuse in search ads.
Another key point I’d like to focus on is the scalability TradeTracker offers. It’s not just that clients can work with us around the globe with local professionals, our intuitive interface is an understandable and clear dashboard that greets you every time you login, making interpreting data and formulating campaign tactics an easy task.
TradeTracker is your partner in performance marketing. Now and in the future.