Monthly Archives: July 2010

How to Become an Affiliate Advertiser

Would you like some extra cash? Do you have a website or blog, or at least an idea for one? Do you have time to commit to updating that site with content?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then you may want to consider becoming an affiliate advertiser.

Affiliate advertisers host ads for other companies’ products or services on their site. They are paid each time a particular action is taken relevant to one of the ads. For example, they may be paid each time someone sees the ad, each time someone clicks on the ad, or each time someone clicks on the ad and completes a conversion.

Revenues for affiliate advertising can range from a couple of cents per action to a couple hundred dollars per action. It depends on the value of the product or service for sale, as well as the particular affiliate program the company has in place.

Affiliate advertisers don’t need to be companies themselves. They can be regular people with simple and inexpensive websites.

If you’ve decided you’d like to try out affiliate advertising, here are some steps for getting started:

  1. If you don’t already have a website or blog, start one. This is a necessary step for becoming an affiliate advertiser. Some affiliate programs, including Google’s AdSense program, require publishers in certain locations to have owned their sites for at least six months before becoming an affiliate. You may want to base the theme of your new site on a particular product or service you’d like to advertise, though a better idea is probably writing about a topic you’re passionate about. This way you’re more likely to update your content regularly, get more traffic, and have people click your ads.
  1. Look for products and/or services to advertise. If you are new to affiliate advertising, you may want to start out with just one advertisement on your site. This way you can see if the revenue produced by the ad is worth the time you’ve invested in designing and updating your site for that ad’s success. You can search for products or services to advertise by joining an established affiliate network like Commission Junction, Amazon, eBay, ClickBank, or Google. Look for items that are highly relevant to your site, don’t have a lot of competition, and have a commission structure that fits your liking.
  1. Once you’ve found the product or service you’d like to advertise, review your site. Make sure that it is relevant enough to what you’d like to promote. If it’s not, users will be less interested in the ad. If they are visiting your site to read about innovative children’s toys, for example, they likely won’t click on an ad for an office cleaning business. If your site’s theme is very different from the product or service you’d like to promote, find a new product or service. If it’s just a little different, modify your site to make it more relevant. That may include adding particular keywords, rewriting your headlines, and renaming your images. Once you’ve made these improvements, you’re more likely to be approved to advertise the particular product or service.
  1. Next, apply for the affiliate program you’re interested in. Also, if required apply for the particular advertising program you’re interested in. Before applying, check out the affiliate program’s website to see if you fit the eligibility requirements. You will see that to be an affiliate advertiser for Amazon products, for example, you can’t be a resident of Colorado, North Carolina, or Rhode Island. Also, make sure that you have your bank account or PayPal information on hand, as many of the networks require this information in your application.
  1. Once you’re accepted into an affiliate/advertising program, create your ad. Affiliate networks generally provide tools that let you easily design your ad. Usually you can choose between a simple text ad or a banner image ad.  Some affiliate networks, like Google’s, allow for video, flash and mobile ads. You must make sure that the ad conforms to the affiliate and/or advertiser’s standards. eBay, for example, has special wording guidelines. Once your ad is complete, you will be provided with a code you must copy and paste onto your site. This code will make the ad appear, as well as track all traffic that is delivered from your site to a company’s landing page.
  1. Monitor your ad and site analytics once the ad is up and running. See how much traffic your site or blog is generating, and how much of that traffic is clicking on your ad. Also, monitor the percentage of clicks that are resulting in conversions. Conversions can either be lead-related actions, like white paper registrations or newsletter signups, or actual sales. If your traffic numbers are pretty low, then improving those figures should be your number one priority. Perhaps you could update your blog more often, or start promoting your articles on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
  1. If your traffic is high but your clicks are low, improve your ad. This could mean changing the ad type (banners instead of buttons, text instead of images), moving the ad to another location on your page, or simplifying the ad’s copy. Google offers a number of tips for improving your ad’s performance. Try to make just one change, and then see how that impacts your ad campaign. If it doesn’t make a positive difference, make a different change. Once you find the change or changes that work best, keep those in place. If none of your efforts improve your ad’s performance, you should consider picking a new product or service to advertise.
  1. Once you’re ready, put more ads on your site. Once you’ve gotten a feel for whether affiliate advertising is worth your time, consider branching out. Find more products or services to promote within your affiliate program, or join additional affiliate programs to potentially maximize your revenue. Make sure, though, your new ads conform to your site’s theme. As you experience more success with your affiliate advertising efforts, buzz may generate about your site. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself being contacted by companies wanting to advertise on your site.

About the Author

Christine Laubenstein is a Marketing Associate at WordStream, a provider of an advanced pay-per-click tool suite, designed to improve the performance of pay-per-click keywords in your AdWords campaign.


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Who’s Hot, Who Not: Finding A Great PPC Team

Finding good help: it’s like the great professional field leveler. No matter how good you are at doing what you do, it doesn’t really mean you’re gonna be great at finding someone else who is good at whatever you need them to do- and that’s an issue, because a terrifying percentage of important projects are contingent on everyone doing their business both correctly and intelligently. The problem, in terms of our industry, arises because whether you’re an expert PPC manager yourself or have no idea what I meant when I used the term PPC two seconds ago, finding the right person or team to handle your pay per click baby is complex. PPC managers can’t always see beyond their own methods to understand how others are successful. HR representatives from agencies needing a PPC manager don’t always understand the balance of technical skills and sales & marketing skills necessary to efficiently handle accounts. No one knows who they should be looking for.

After a good bit of time observing PPC managers, you can identify behavioral characteristics that are more likely to make your search for a good PPC account manager successful. Since everyone doesn’t have the opportunity, as I have been lucky enough to have, to observe lots of fantastic account managers, I’ve assembled a list of some of the personality characteristics they’ve shared.


PPC is all kinds of a competition. It’s a competition against your…competitors. It’s a competition against yourself as you try to best your previous results. It’s a competition for your target audience’s interest and loyalty.  You don’t have to be the kind of person who wants to punch someone in the face because your soccer team came in second, but really, it should annoy you to lose. That way when you log in and you only got 85 leads last week and you usually get 105, there’s something internal motivating you to whip that account back into shape. Thinking of the business you’re losing or the person who may yell at you for poor performance might motivate you a little, but it’s not going to be enough if you’re looking for real success. You’ve gotta want it just for the sake of the accomplishment.


Don’t be silly and think this isn’t important. We’re spending money to try to make more money. That’s what PPC is, and anyone who doesn’t think the idea of trying to increase ROI is inherently cool is going to lose interest in the whole PPC project, and soon.

Creative/Analytical Balance

I think people who are inexperienced with PPC are more likely to overlook this important factor than those of us who manage accounts. It’s a lot of spreadsheets and data analysis and there are lots of numbers. But that’s only the surface layer. What’s important is what you can DO with that data, and that requires the mental flexibility and creativity to see patterns and meaning within and then be able to translate that meaning into action. That’s a lot of abstract thinking, and we haven’t even discussed the traditionally “creative” parts of PPC, like understanding your audience and creating keywords, ad texts, and landing pages that will appeal to them. People who think in a strictly technical “x+y=z” way sometimes have difficulty with PPC management when things get complicated, because you need to have the intuition and flexibility to realize that sometimes x+y just equals x, or sometimes w.


This is a bit of a double-edged sword. Too much and it’s completely inefficient and can become an obsessive quest to make things technically perfect without considering ROI in terms of time or money. At the same time, the little voice inside your head saying, “Do it right if you’re going to do it” can be a great asset when you’re tired and sick of looking at 38236 rows of Excel spreadsheet. Having a teammate with an internal self-disciplinarian is handy, because it makes it easier to rely on the likelihood that when you ask them to complete a task, it’ll be done correctly.


I’m naturally risk-averse, so I wish this wasn’t true. But it is: even though PPC is more easily monitored and maybe more predictable than some other forms of advertising, if you really want to further your account’s success, you’re eventually going to have to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Launch an experiment. Turn a campaign off. Start running content ads. Whatever it is, it will freak you out. And this is the only way to really see what works and what doesn’t: try it for your account. People who aren’t willing to risk a little to find greater return won’t be able to help grow business, they can only maintain the status quo. Of course the caveat here is: you don’t want a PPC manager who turns on seven new campaigns and leaves the country for three weeks with it on autopilot. That’s why attention to detail and dedication to the account’s quality are characteristics that need to accompany this trait in a good account manager.


Here’s a general rule: it’s good if people give you more info than you want. You can always ask them for less if you’re getting too much, but someone who is hard to get information out of from the outset is probably not going to get easier to get information from in the future. If you want to be involved in understanding what’s going on with your PPC account, make sure your manager knows how to communicate clearly and frequently.

Intellectual Curiosity

Anyone who isn’t a little bit excited when Google launches a new AdWords feature just won’t like managing a PPC account for long. You have to be the right kind of nerdy, and really be motivated both to continually learn and to think internet marketing is neat. A PPC manager with this characteristic will be able to keep your account current and take full advantage of new features and on top of upcoming changes, so you can stay ahead of the curve instead of developing a competitive disadvantage.

I know there are a hundred more characteristics that help contribute to success in PPC managers, but the above are some of those which are less apparently obvious, but have been threads that have run through successful account managers in our experience. If you have others, please share!


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PPC News Roundup for July 9, 2010

Back in the day when people had something to sell, they traveled door to door with their products. Before they sold anything, they first had to find an audience. Nowadays, users generate ad content based on their search words. As a copywriter, the challenge is not creating the opportunity to sell, but crafting a winning ad in a competitive environment. Giovanna over at PPC Blog describes some copywriting tips that will help you get started down the road to conversions.

Seasons come and go and so do peoples interest. You’re probably not going to get a lot of searches for wool sweaters in July and if you’re like me, you can never get enough data about your ads. Pinpointing the most relevant search terms can be valuable. Here are some great keyword tracking tools from Google that the folks at PPC Blog point out.

Kim Farmer at Microsoft introduces us to the SEM Advanced Series with an article on Budget Optimization. Should you be using the “spend budget until depleted” option with Microsoft adCenter? It wouldn’t hurt to consider it. Kim shows us what to keep an eye on, what reports to run, and how to set up your campaign for ideal results using this option.

By now you’ve heard that Lebron James is making his way to Miami. The quest for Lebron has taught a valuable PPC lesson. As Christopher Heine reports, the New York Knicks now know to double check their landing pages.  But wait, the Lebronathon has more to offer! As a bonus article, check out the folks at This Week in Relevance’s article on relevancy and accuracy of your ads and make sure you aren’t peddling outdated products or discounts that might drive you CPC or CPL up.


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How to Make Your Summer PPC Campaigns Sun-sational

Like many of you, I enjoyed a quintessential summer weekend during this past 4th of July holiday. I feel like I did almost everything people enjoy doing on warm summer days. My activities included spending time at the pool, eating lunch in the park, visiting a zoo (the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is absolutely wonderful), watching World Cup games, and grilling out with some friends just before topping off the weekend with a traditional Indianapolis fireworks display.

All in all, I am happy to say it was a pretty nice holiday weekend. However, you may have noticed that most technology-related activities were clearly absent from my weekend itinerary. Sure, tech geeks like me do not venture too far without being equipped with a smart phone and any number of handy apps. Nevertheless, with exception to some quick Twitter updates, email checks, and text messages, I was pretty vacant from my connected, online lifestyle. Instead of spending hours of my day searching Google, monitoring PPC accounts, and being logged into Facebook and Digg, I took the weekend to relax and enjoy some time with my long forgotten friend – the sun.

In fact, after realizing this void of technology pervasiveness, I remembered many of my officemates were going to be unavailable this weekend detached from both email and cell phone. Thus, my conclusion to this revelation: The only thing able to hold its own and fight for attention against the Web and digital technology might be a beautiful summer’s day.

So, in light of this discovery, I guess my question to you is: Are you appropriately adjusting and optimizing your PPC accounts for the summer months? At the end of May, Microsoft’s AdCenter Blog had a great article that introduced 10 Summer PPC Tips. Now being the beginning of July, I’d like to follow-up on their article by both elaborating on some of their points and introducing some new insights of my own.

World Cup

Ah, the thrills of the beautiful game. With only four games left, the bulk of the World Cup is pretty much over, but since the semi-finals are airing this week, I believe this worldwide event is still very relevant to talk about. So, how much does a game of soccer really impact economic and sales productivity?

It is said that each World Cup match has an average of 95 million viewers. Estimates conclude that 10 minutes of productivity will be lost a day for American businesses and unfortunately for companies (and in return, your PPC campaigns), 121.7 million dollars will be lost in the USA alone. Let me remind you that the United States is a country that ultimately has little interest in the world’s game. Our friend’s in the United Kingdom will see about 7.36 billion dollars lost in productivity if British workers view games for only an hour a day.

Now, I don’t believe I’m going out on too much of a limb here if I say that when people are so invested in a soccer match to not work, then they probably are not too interested in viewing your PPC ads either.

How to adjust:

  • Try and make your keywords relevant to soccer, the World Cup tournament, and to the current matches.
  • Focus ads towards those male and female sport fanatics, but also to those female fans that are tired of the constant World Cup attention (my girlfriend being one of them).
  • Know what time the games are airing live and adjust your bidding accordingly with day parting. Search volume will be down during live play, but search traffic will peak with people looking for commentary and video before, at halftime, and after the game.

Summer-ize your ads and landing pages

You have perfected your ads and landing pages. They are reliable for clicks and leads, but maybe you have noticed those ads performing less than desired during the beginning of this summer.

Remember that during the summer, not only are people spending more time outdoors and away from their computers due to longer days, but also, sunlight and warm days draws out a different mindset in your regular audience.

How to adjust:

  • Make your ads and landing pages relevant to the summer, utilizing summer themes and colors.
  • Do your ads and landing pages express the summer mindset? Relaxation, vacation, warmth, and sunshine are words that catch the eyes of an audience with the summer sun on their minds.
  • Make your ad benefits summer-related. Deals, savings, and specials should read hot deals, scorching savings, and summer specials.
  • With longer days, people are spending more time outside and offline. Adjust day parting to avoid showing ads on particularly nice evenings and weekends.

What is coming next this summer season?

Independence Day and the fireworks have come and gone, but there are plenty of other summer events to focus your PPC ads on. Try to stay one step ahead of the season and offer your company or client to new markets by expanding on your seasonal keywords.

How to adjust:

  • Be creative and topical with your summer ads. Make sure to stay fresh and keep ahead of what is on the mind of your summer audience.
  • Up next: Back to school as well as Labor Day festivities, which include family gatherings and cookouts.

Don’t Act Until Certain

Summers can have a tendency to throw some curveballs into your PPC campaign trends; so don’t let the dips in performance panic you too much. Obviously, keep a watchful eye, make some minor adjustments for the summer months, and make sure to continue meeting your campaign goals, but try not to make any major changes without knowing for certain that those changes need to be made.

In the summer, weather, sporting events, and the overall psyche of potential customers can have a significant impact on ad and keyword performance. My advice, make sure to relax yourself this summer. Try to be clever with ad and landing page copy and innovative with your campaign strategy.


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Happy 4th of July from PPC Hero!

PPC Hero is showing his patriotic spirit, and got all decked out for the parade, so keep your eye out for him marching in your local 4th of July celebration. Enjoy your delicious B-B-Q food, and remember safety first when using fireworks!

Happy 4th of July!

P.S. No hard feelings to our comrades in the UK


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