Speed matters. (A lot more than you think)
It’s easy to dismiss it because you’re looking at things from your perspective.
Your “tube” sites load quickly because you’re visiting from your iPhone with 100mbs WIFI connection.
But what if you promote your offer to someone in Southeast Asia who’s using their “3G” internet?
I’m in Thailand as we speak and everything loads so much slower than my LTE back in the states.
This scenario happens a ton:
- You pay for the click
- It takes forever to load
- They get impatient and click the back button.
- You paid $.25 for the click, and they never even saw your landing page.
They hit the back button before your shady back button script even gets a chance to redirect them!
The longer your page takes to load, the fewer conversions you get – this graph from KissMetrics gives you an idea of what happens.
But this graph does NOT apply to most affiliates.
It’s MUCH worse for us.
I can tell you guys right now if your mobile pages are taking longer than 3-4 seconds to load, you’re losing more like 50-75% of your conversions.
I’ve written a ton about increasing page load speed before.
But your landing page is only PART of the funnel.
I want you to think bigger.
How can you optimize the speed of your entire funnel?
Someone clicks on your ad, and then they go somewhere else.
The visitor is a baton in a relay race pretty much.
Let’s pass the baton to the next person as fast as possible and build a fast affiliate marketing funnel
Why Is Page Load Time a Problem for Affiliates?
There are a couple of main reasons – I’ll explain so you guys get the full vision.
#1 We are doing interruption marketing
Mobile pops, native ads, Facebook video ads – a lot of what affiliates do is not driven by people actively searching for our products.
If you run AdWords and you target the keywords “woodworking course”, and you sell a woodworking ebook, people are gonna be more patient with your site loading slowly.
They’re looking for your product so they are more lenient.
But with mobile?
Your audience are ruthless. They are not actively searching for your pages, so they close ‘em way faster.
If your landing page takes longer than a few seconds to load from FB ads, the reader is gonna hit back and resume their daily intake of memes on the news feed.
#2 Affiliates use a ton of redirects
Let’s say you run a blog and you do SEO. You’re in the Google rankings for some keywords, and people are clicking through to your blog.
Most of the time there are no redirects at all. People go from google.com to yourblog.com
But affiliates have to use link tracking software, our ads are on other domains we don’t control, and the CPA offer is on another domain we don’t control.
Look at the funnel:
- Ad – this might be on Facebook, a streaming site, content site, whatever.
- Tracker – when someone sees our ad, it has to go through your Voluum link
- Landing page – this page takes time to load
- Tracker – once someone clicks your CTA, they go back through your Voluum redirects again
- Affiliate network – before the click goes to the offer, it has to go through the affiliate network
- Offer – finally the user ends up here
We send users through a huge chain of redirects and different domains.
Each one has an impact on conversions.
Increasing the Speed of the Funnel
I know you wanna know what software I used to design this. I use Mindjet MindManager. There are a ton of free options out there.
At each stage is one small thing you can do to increase the speed.
Most of these are pretty self-explanatory.
But there’s an interesting one that I don’t see a lot of people talk about.
It’s under Affiliate Network -> “Does the affiliate network offer GEO links”.
Using the GEO LINK for offers
The closer your server is to your audience – the better.
If I run a campaign in South Africa and my VPS is in Texas, it’s going to take a long time for the landing page to load.
Same with the offer page – if the offer page is hosted on a server in Texas and you are running the campaign in South Africa, that last click in the funnel will take forever to load.
So what do you do about it?
Ask your affiliate network if they have different links for different GEOs.
Here’s an example of what it looks like on their backend if they offer different links:
Most affiliates are given the “Auto” link at the bottom which is often hosted in the US.
Hopefully this shows you guy that page load speed is only one part of the equation.
What causes a chain to break?
The weakest link.
Try going through the funnel yourself under a VPN in the GEO you are targeting.
How long does each stage take?
Use a plugin like HTTP Headers to see how your funnel is redirecting and a service like WebPageTest.com to see how long pages are taking to load.
Why Bother Doing This?
It’s a no-brainer and takes 10 seconds to check your funnel speed.
Hit up your AM, ask ‘em for offer links that are geographically nearer to the audience.
Here’s a screenshot that shows what a difference the speed makes. This campaign ran in Singapore, and we tested a link designed for Singapore.
Exact same offer, exact same time. But one converted twice as much.
Only difference is the server location.
Can you imagine how powerful this is when you start scaling? And this is only one part of the funnel.
Note: Not all affiliate networks offer this. Hit up your network to see if it’s something they can do.
More Speed, More Leads
Speed is vital. If you run mobile/native campaigns, it’s all or nothing. Your entire affiliate marketing funnel loads fast and you make money, or it takes more than 2 seconds and 90% of people close the tab.
Why is funnel speed so important in 2017 and beyond?
- People have A.D.D. these days and don’t have patience
- We’re promoting more in international countries w/ slower connections
- We’re adding in more tools and stuff that slow down the affiliate marketing funnel
There’s a ton of levers in optimizing a campaign to profitability.
And I see everyone wants a magic bullet.
What’s the secret traffic source? What’s the hot offer?
But sometimes just optimizing the speed of your funnel alone can boost your profitability a ton.