Affiliate Marketing: The Leads Are Weak? Tips to Improving Your Lead Quality
After months of frustration you finally have a profitable campaign. You go to sleep dreaming about what you’re going to do with all the money that’s gonna roll in. But wait! As soon as you wake up you have emails, skypes, and whatsapp from your affiliate manager.
“You have to pause offer #93829. The advertiser doesn’t like your quality”
At this point you’re upset that the campaign has to pause (and you probably want to kill your affiliate manager)
What is Lead Quality?
Affiliates should understand that advertisers need to make money as well. They have numbers that they need to hit in order to stay profitable. If you keep sending them bad leads then why would they keep doing business with you?
The ultimate campaign would one where everyone benefits: You make money, the advertiser makes money, the traffic source is fine with what you’re running, and even the customer comes out a winner!
Let me explain lead quality by giving you an example using the dating niche (most of dating is done through lead generation)
- John fills in his information
- He confirms the registration through his email (also called a double opt-in)
- The affiliate gets paid $5 or whatever the agreed upon price is
At this point the advertiser has invested $5 into the lead you sent. Their goal now is for John to browse their website and to upgrade his membership from a free one, into a monthly paid membership. If John upgrades, then the advertiser’s happy because the lead they paid for has matured into a sale.
What happens if the advertiser pays you for $2,000 worth of leads and no one upgrades? They’re down -$2,000 and will tell the affiliate network to pause your campaign. At this point they’re going to wait it out and hope some of the leads convert.
What if they spend $2,000 and made much more money back? They’re gonna love you! They’ll increase your cap and they’ll increase your payout. With a higher cap and payout you can afford to outbid your competition and get a bigger piece of the pie.
That’s why most lead offers have a “cap” of how much you can send per day initially because they don’t to pay for $10,000 worth of crap traffic.
There might be other reasons for that go into offer quality such as chargebacks, cancellations, and complaints.
Paying attention to your offer quality will give you a significant advantage over your competition. You don’t want to be just another copy & paste affiliate that has no competitive moats.
Here are some of my favorite ways to improve my quality.
1) Don’t Mislead People (too much)
One common example that affects bad quality is when people say an offer’s “free” when it really isn’t.
If John sees a banner for a dating website that claims it’s free. He clicks on the landing page where again, the affiliate claims it’s free.
John’s going to be a little pissed off when he sees he has to upgrade his membership to use the website. He was led to believe the website was 100% free.
By advertising the word free, you’re also attracting lower quality leads. You get the cheapskates who aren’t likely to upgrade.
My friend asked me once, “why are there so many high volume affiliates using the word free then?”
There’s a lot behind the scenes you don’t know about.
- Maybe they drive so much volume that the advertiser gives them more slack.
- Maybe they have a really good relationship with the advertiser.
- Maybe they’re taking a tiny payout and make their money through volume
- Maybe they have other high quality traffic sources you’re not seeing to compensate.
The more honest you are with your ads, then the higher quality the traffic is.
2) Improve Your Targeting
Make sure the offer is relevant to your customer.
If John is 45, he probably doesn’t have a lot of confidence in his online dating skills. He might sign up for free to check it out, but he might not be convinced enough to upgrade his membership.
Perhaps you could have frame it properly with the ad and landing page text.
Have pics of younger women with older men. Put in some testimonials. You need to make John believe that young ladies want to date him. The more he believes this, the most likely he’ll sign up and upgrade his membership.
If you’re doing mobile then think about your targeting. Different carriers will vary in quality.
That’s why Facebook was amazing for dating before they banned it. The guys there could target only the older men because they’re more likely to convert. 19 year old kids aren’t likely to pay $30 a month for a dating site.
Some factors for targeting: demographics, site / placements, mobile factors (carriers, phone o/s)
3) Track the Quality of the Traffic Sources
Traffic sources have different quality.
Why? In general it’s because of targeting capabilities and demographics.
Facebook traffic tends to have amazing quality because you can target your demographic by age and keywords.
Popunder traffic tends to have much lower quality traffic.
Newbie explanation: Popunder traffic is when you’re visiting a website, and a window popsunder your browsing window. The person could see the dating site a few hours later when they close their main browser. Why does this quality tend to be lower? Because the person didn’t click on it.
How do you know which traffic source produces high quality leads? The easiest way to do this is to pass on SUBID’s to the advertiser.
Lets say I have two traffic sources, a & b. In your tracking link just use &s1=
Important: Don’t use the real name of the traffic source in case the advertiser / affiliate network has an internal buying team. Don’t invite competition. Use a code name instead. Example: Instead of Facebook, use a code like x82sh that only you understand.
After a few weeks of data, the advertiser can see which traffic sources are better for them. They could tell you a is amazing, and b is horrible.
You can focus on traffic source a and get a higher payout. Traffic source b you could either cut that traffic source complete, or try it out with a different offer.
4) Balance Out Your Quality with Ratios
So now you know the advertisers will prefer some traffic sources over others. But at the end of the day, YOU have to be making money from this as well. Now it becomes a game of balance.
Some of the lower quality can be profitable for you, but not for the advertiser. Yet some of the higher quality traffic could be lower ROI for you due to higher competition. What’s the solution?
Experiment with different ratios and find your perfect blend.
You want the sweet spot where the advertiser’s happy and you have maximum profits.
Example: 70% high quality traffic, 30% lower quality traffic.
5) Redirect Low Quality Traffic
If the traffic source can’t segment your traffic for you, then maybe you can do it yourself.
Suppose we have an offer that only wants “high net worth individuals” (aka rich guys). How could we segment the guys with money from the ones that don’t? W
Perhaps you could do a quick survey on the landing page and redirect them based on their answer. People that earn < $75,000 a year go to one offer, while others than earn >$75,000 a year go to another.
You could do this with age, race, home city, or whatever. This is not just about redirecting low quality traffic but rather directing them to offers more appropriate to them.
6) Go for Sales instead of Leads
One more idea is to skip lead generation and go for cost per sale instead. Instead of getting paid per lead, you can negotiate and get up to $100 each time someone upgrades their membership to the dating site.
The pros? No quality issues and you can do much, much more volume.
The cons? It takes much longer to get statistically significant data. CPS campaigns puts the risk more on the affiliate side, than advertisers.
I was talking to a newer affiliate who had problems with his quality. His solution was as soon as he got kicked off the offer at one affiliate network, he’d just move over to another one until he got kicked off.
Is this how you want to do business? It can’t last forever since he’ll develop a reputation for low quality.
I’ve always said the most important part of a campaign is the offer. If you take time to invest in sending higher quality traffic, that means you’ll get a higher payout. A higher payout means you can afford to outbid and push the competition away.
Affiliate marketing is only going to get more difficult and the copy / paste days are over. Take time to develop your skills and separate yourselves from the crowd.