16 replies
  • PPC/SEM
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Is there anyone who still does the classic Clickbank + PPC promotion method nowadays?

I'm not talking about direct linking, where you use your affiliate link as a destination URL to promote a product, but rather when you create a proper landing page on your own domain and pre-sell the traffic before sending it to the main sales page?

Bearing in mind, we are talking about the search network, I struggle to find any decent keywords for less than $1, no matter what niche you are looking at....Or you could theoretically bid less, but then you get no traffic....

Even if you promote products with high commissions and good upsells, the numbers still don't add up...It only takes a few "bad days" with no sales or some refunds and you end up making loss...

I've been doing PPC on and off for close to 10 years now, so choosing the right keywords, writing good ads, etc - that's not a problem for me. What I find difficult is making a profit, while I'm paying $1+ per click.

Anyone with a similar experience? I'm currently working with Bing Ads, if it helps. Haven't done Adwords for a long time, but they are pretty negative towards affiliates in general and I doubt the CPC would be any different there.
#adwords #bing ads #clickbank #ppc
  • Profile picture of the author Ben Head
    Generally speaking nothing with valuable products on the end has a cpc of under $1 unless you want to try hitting thousands of long tails at a time and profiting in like 2 years time when you've finally got enough traffic from Bing to consider the data meaningful enough to make a decision on.

    Massive factors are sale value and landing page. Using adwords for all the obvious "money maker" affiliate niches people go for like dating, weight loss, etc etc is a waste of time. Way too saturated. Go for something weird like personal saunas or air compressors, high sale value less elegant competition.

    As with all affiliate marketing these days though, its tough especially via PPC.
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    • Profile picture of the author SERPTurbo
      Originally Posted by Ben Head View Post

      Generally speaking nothing with valuable products on the end has a cpc of under $1 unless you want to try hitting thousands of long tails at a time and profiting in like 2 years time when you've finally got enough traffic from Bing to consider the data meaningful enough to make a decision on.

      Massive factors are sale value and landing page. Using adwords for all the obvious "money maker" affiliate niches people go for like dating, weight loss, etc etc is a waste of time. Way too saturated. Go for something weird like personal saunas or air compressors, high sale value less elegant competition.

      As with all affiliate marketing these days though, its tough especially via PPC.
      The niches I tried are pretty unusual, if you like - not your average "how to lose weight" or "get your ex back" type of products.

      However, as I previously said, despite that the CPC is still around $1 region or for some keywords even up to $2/click.

      I'm bidding on most-obvious relevant keywords using phrase match and then trying to get more relevant keywords by making use of broad match modifier on Bing.

      On top of that, targeting Bing and Yahoo search only (without any search partners), US traffic only and of course, adding negative keywords on regular basis by going through the reports and checking the search terms that triggered the clicks.

      The combination of the above still leaves me with loss and I can't see how anything could be improved to result in profit, apart from decreasing CPC.

      Looking at my CB analytics, I convert in 20-30 hops, which is more than reasonable, so apart from the cost of traffic acquisition, I can't see what else could be changed to make this work in my favour...
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      • Profile picture of the author Ben Head
        It's hard to know for sure without checking our your Bing account and landing page I guess. In theory you can profit on tiny margins via PPC if everything is in order, if your experience suggests it isn't a Bing issue then it's almost gotta be a UX issue? What are your bounce rates like etc?
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  • Originally Posted by SERPTurbo View Post

    rather when you create a proper landing page on your own domain and pre-sell the traffic before sending it to the main sales page?
    You said you have PPC experience so you should know that this is a bridge page and won't be accepted.

    I'm a PPC specialist myself, not an affiliate marketer. But I suppose some use PPC to promote CB products, or at least try. The problem I see with most CB products I've seen is that most of their sites are not Adwords compliant, so that eliminates direct linking.

    I'm surprised you can't pay less than $1 per click. Unless you only promote products related to weight loss, make money online and a few other things, my opinion is that CPCs should be lower than $1 in the top spot.

    But the real problem with affiliate marketing is that the "margins" (your commission) is low in most cases. I know many CB products are 10%, 20% and even 30%. So say it's a $40 item with a 20% commission, that means an $8 commission. If you put half into advertising, that leaves you $4 to do so. A CPC of $0.50 means you need to make a sale for every 8 clicks, a high 12.5% rate. If you can bring that down to $0.25, that's still a 6.25% rate which is possible but not many can achieve.

    Then you have to consider those reselling the same or similar product who are also advertising on PPC. Their advantage is that they may buy the product for $20 to sell it at $40, a much better "commission". So for the same $0.50 CPC and putting the same 50% of the sale back into advertising ($10 for him instead of your $4) and you can see that the reseller has a distinct advantage and a much larger margin of error to play with. He only needs to convert at 5% instead of 12.5% for you. So it's much better to be a reseller or even better, create and sell your own product.
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    • Profile picture of the author SERPTurbo
      Originally Posted by LucidWebMarketing View Post

      You said you have PPC experience so you should know that this is a bridge page and won't be accepted.

      I'm a PPC specialist myself, not an affiliate marketer. But I suppose some use PPC to promote CB products, or at least try. The problem I see with most CB products I've seen is that most of their sites are not Adwords compliant, so that eliminates direct linking.

      I'm surprised you can't pay less than $1 per click. Unless you only promote products related to weight loss, make money online and a few other things, my opinion is that CPCs should be lower than $1 in the top spot.

      But the real problem with affiliate marketing is that the "margins" (your commission) is low in most cases. I know many CB products are 10%, 20% and even 30%. So say it's a $40 item with a 20% commission, that means an $8 commission. If you put half into advertising, that leaves you $4 to do so. A CPC of $0.50 means you need to make a sale for every 8 clicks, a high 12.5% rate. If you can bring that down to $0.25, that's still a 6.25% rate which is possible but not many can achieve.

      Then you have to consider those reselling the same or similar product who are also advertising on PPC. Their advantage is that they may buy the product for $20 to sell it at $40, a much better "commission". So for the same $0.50 CPC and putting the same 50% of the sale back into advertising ($10 for him instead of your $4) and you can see that the reseller has a distinct advantage and a much larger margin of error to play with. He only needs to convert at 5% instead of 12.5% for you. So it's much better to be a reseller or even better, create and sell your own product.
      So called "bridge pages" are not allowed only on Adwords, however Bing is fine with them, as long as you are providing a genuine review of the product, adding some value for the potential buyer, then you are ok.

      My problem is not running the ads, my problem is making a profit.

      As for Clickbank, most decent products provide 70-75% commission, plus on top of that, you usually get 50-60% on upsells as well. Depending on what product you promote, you could be making $100+ per sale, but obviously that's a best-case scenario.

      Although on average, a commission of $25-30 per sale is pretty common.

      Being a vendor doesn't change much, if we are talking about promoting the product yourself via PPC, and I can tell that from my own experience as well.

      As an affiliate, you get most of the commission from the sale anyway, so that extra 10% or whatever it might be, after Clickbank takes its cut, makes no difference whatsoever. Of course, the main advantage of being a vendor is that affiliates can promote your product, but that's a completely different matter.

      With regards to CPC, you may find keywords that allow you to bid $0.30-0.50 per click, but then you get no traffic, and Bing keeps telling you to raise your bids.

      Clearly, there are loads of obstacles to making this work and that's why I was wondering whether this business model was still viable in 2017 and if there was anyone who was still making a profit doing this?
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  • Profile picture of the author cooler1
    Some ideas.

    You could advertise to other tier 1 countries, which might be a cheaper CPC than US traffic.
    Include the price of the product in your ad to pre-qualify the visitor, so they know the product costs.
    Build a list to soft sell the product over a series of emails.
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  • Many PPC services don't allow bridge pages, including Bing. They may be not be as diligent in policing this as Adwords, but the rule exists which means that you should follow it. One day, you may find they say you are in violation and will stop your campaigns. My rule of thumb is, follow Adwords rules and no matter what other ad network you use, you should be fine.

    In the end, making a profit comes down to your conversion rate. I don't care what the search volume is. If you sell something and the search volume is 100 per year, that's what it is and those are the ones you want to reach. I actually have clients promoting products with such volumes. They profit because, for one in particular, have hundreds of products that few others sell. One product may get a click a month and make one or two sales a year, another may get a click a day and sell a few per month. Overall, there's a couple hundreds of clicks per day and a dozen or more sales.

    Your post suggests you may be too broad and generic with your keywords (they cost $1 or more, those $0.30 to $0.50 have lower traffic). But those $0.50 keywords are probably exactly those you should be bidding on and you may find they are converting at a higher rate, meaning they are relevant to what is being searched. Also, the actual cost of the keyword is irrelevant, it's the free market at work and there's a good reason it's what it is.

    I'm sure you can profit from affiliate marketing using PPC. It's just that there's an extra layer of complexity. One model you are using is in my opinion depressing your results. It comes back to the bridge page issue. Why do this to your visitors? Imagine being in a store wanting to buy something, say a computer. You get a salesperson to show you around, you ask questions, he answers which model he believes will suit your needs. You then make a decision on a certain model. The salesperson then says "great" and brings another salesperson to make you a sales pitch. You just had one! You said you're ready to buy which means box it up and take me to the cash register. Instead, you are forced to listen to a sales pitch again. If I was in that situation, I'd be out of the store and would be very frustrated and mad. The store would lose my sale. That is what you are doing to your visitors and you are paying for them to come in. There's a reason there's a bridge page rule: people don't like it plus it's in your best interest not to do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author SERPTurbo
      Originally Posted by cooler1 View Post

      Some ideas.

      You could advertise to other tier 1 countries, which might be a cheaper CPC than US traffic.
      Include the price of the product in your ad to pre-qualify the visitor, so they know the product costs.
      Build a list to soft sell the product over a series of emails.
      Tried that in the past and 95% of sales come from the US anyway, so at the moment I target US only.

      As for building a list, it would possibly make sense for larger niches, but I don't think it's a viable option for niches where one-time purchases are more common.

      Originally Posted by Ben Head View Post

      It's hard to know for sure without checking our your Bing account and landing page I guess. In theory you can profit on tiny margins via PPC if everything is in order, if your experience suggests it isn't a Bing issue then it's almost gotta be a UX issue? What are your bounce rates like etc?
      I've got approximately 40-50% CTR from my landing page to the product's sales page, which I believe is more than reasonable.

      On one hand, I'm losing out on the visitors who don't follow through to the vendor's sales page, but on the other hand, those who read my review and click-through are a lot more likely to buy, although obviously I still pay for ALL the clicks, so I think this is where high CPC becomes an issue...

      Originally Posted by LucidWebMarketing View Post

      Many PPC services don't allow bridge pages, including Bing. They may be not be as diligent in policing this as Adwords, but the rule exists which means that you should follow it. One day, you may find they say you are in violation and will stop your campaigns. My rule of thumb is, follow Adwords rules and no matter what other ad network you use, you should be fine.

      In the end, making a profit comes down to your conversion rate. I don't care what the search volume is. If you sell something and the search volume is 100 per year, that's what it is and those are the ones you want to reach. I actually have clients promoting products with such volumes. They profit because, for one in particular, have hundreds of products that few others sell. One product may get a click a month and make one or two sales a year, another may get a click a day and sell a few per month. Overall, there's a couple hundreds of clicks per day and a dozen or more sales.

      Your post suggests you may be too broad and generic with your keywords (they cost $1 or more, those $0.30 to $0.50 have lower traffic). But those $0.50 keywords are probably exactly those you should be bidding on and you may find they are converting at a higher rate, meaning they are relevant to what is being searched. Also, the actual cost of the keyword is irrelevant, it's the free market at work and there's a good reason it's what it is.

      I'm sure you can profit from affiliate marketing using PPC. It's just that there's an extra layer of complexity. One model you are using is in my opinion depressing your results. It comes back to the bridge page issue. Why do this to your visitors? Imagine being in a store wanting to buy something, say a computer. You get a salesperson to show you around, you ask questions, he answers which model he believes will suit your needs. You then make a decision on a certain model. The salesperson then says "great" and brings another salesperson to make you a sales pitch. You just had one! You said you're ready to buy which means box it up and take me to the cash register. Instead, you are forced to listen to a sales pitch again. If I was in that situation, I'd be out of the store and would be very frustrated and mad. The store would lose my sale. That is what you are doing to your visitors and you are paying for them to come in. There's a reason there's a bridge page rule: people don't like it plus it's in your best interest not to do that.
      I appreciate the fact that you have experience with PPC in general, but it seems like you haven't experimented much with promoting affiliate products via PPC.

      Going by your example about buying a computer, my landing page wouldn't be "another sales person". The purpose of my landing page is to pre-sell (I've highlighted it for you), which is a big difference.

      So in this case, I would be a friend of yours, who recommended you to go into that particular shop and have a look at that specific computer, so instead of walking into the shop and not knowing what to look for, you would be going there knowing that someone else had a positive experience in that shop and suggested that you should check it out as well. See what I mean?

      A landing page is not a "bridge page", if it provides value to the end user. Yes, eventually they click-through, but only after reading through an in-depth review. To give you a rough idea, my landing page content is over 1000 words.

      As for bidding for long-tail keywords, I'm making use of Bing's broad match modifier, which allows me to reach those unusual, very detailed keywords that I wouldn't think of bidding on myself.

      So basically, instead of having hundreds of keywords and bidding exact match on every single one of them, you have one broad match modified keyword, which allows you to reach all those keywords. Yes, you do sometimes get some generic ones, but then you run search term reports on daily basis and put generic keywords into negatives list.

      The way I see it, is that this model no longer works due to generally higher costs of clicks no matter what keywords you bid on or what niche you are in....This method was ideal about 10 years ago probably, when you could bid $0.10 and get tons of traffic, however today I can't see this working.

      Was hoping to get a confirmation of my theory from someone who had experience with Clickbank/PPC specifically...
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  • Advertising is advertising, doesn't matter if it's a product you create yourself, buy and resell or are an affiliate.

    The definition of a bridge page is one where you direct the visitor to a second sales page. I have seen this often where there is a buy button that loads an affiliate's sales page when I expected (not to mention qualified myself) to be taken to a page to complete the transaction. It's frustrating to read through another sales page to find the real buy button, doesn't matter how much value your own sales message was. Obviously there was value to it if I clicked through, you convinced me I should buy this product. But take me where you told me you would and where I expected to be taken. You are just providing an extra unnecessary step and this is where you are losing more people.
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    • Profile picture of the author gdubb85
      This affiliate didn't know what they were doing then - you are right this is a poor implementation of the funnel, but SERPTurbo is correct, not all keywords have "buy intent" just people generally interested in researching the product. If you hit them with a sales page, you will spook those people away as they hit back immediately.

      If it doesn't appear you are selling, just providing value, then by the end of reading the content on the landing page which is relevant to their search term if you did it properly then by the end they are now convinced they want it and THEN the Buy Now button shows up (at the bottom). This is the principle behind all those insanely long sales letters that don't reveal there is something to be sold with a price associated with it until the very end of the page.
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  • Profile picture of the author LodestoneCS
    Bing is definitely the cheapest right now, and a great option since it's the default on a lot of tablets.
    Perhaps you could segment to only target tablets instead of desktops and see if you get a better ROI?
    And I'm assuming you have some form of analytics hooked up to the landing page. Are you able to determine any further demographics that may help?
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    • Profile picture of the author SERPTurbo
      Originally Posted by LodestoneCS View Post

      Bing is definitely the cheapest right now, and a great option since it's the default on a lot of tablets.
      Perhaps you could segment to only target tablets instead of desktops and see if you get a better ROI?
      And I'm assuming you have some form of analytics hooked up to the landing page. Are you able to determine any further demographics that may help?
      I haven't set up any conversion tracking yet, as I was trying to get an idea and see whether doing this was actually possible, because based on $1 CPC, I can't see how this is supposed to work...
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      • Profile picture of the author LodestoneCS
        People do make money off of it. It does help if you're doing some demographic targeting.
        That helps you write your copy better. And usually it's lower cost the more highly targeted you are.
        I'm always testing copy and images in the ads to really dial it down. I start off with a tiny budget as well and then scale.
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  • Profile picture of the author anand363
    Hi,

    I have been in this situation 2 years ago, when i was struggling to make some conversions for low CPC rate, but i failed terribly. Later i found one awesome method known as re-targeting, When i say this term re-targeting i know what many will be thinking by now. I didn't mean to collect emails from the people so that we can mail them later to make some conversions. I exactly didn't mean this. I meant the new way of re-targeting i.e instead of collecting emails, collect their i.p address and place some re-targeting pixel in the cookie, so that you can follow them on internet.

    Many giants like Amazon, ebay, etc is using this technique as the back bone for their business.

    Let me explain you by taking an example, do you remember when you go search on Amazon a particular product and when you return back to any websites containing ads, then you could see the same product as an ad on that website. These ads will follow you where ever you go.

    If you have any questions regarding re-targeting please send me a private message.

    Thanks,
    Anand
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    Intenet Marketer since 2012, Contact me if you have any doubts, i believe i can help you
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    • Profile picture of the author cooler1
      @anand363

      When you do retargeting with Bing, are you doing retargeting on the content network?

      If you do retargeting on search, doesn't the visitor have to type in the keyword to see your ad, so they would see the ad anyway even without retargeting.
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      • Profile picture of the author anand363
        No i do cookie re-targetting, content or keyword retargetting had died decades ago. Let me explain clearly. There would be thousands of ads similar to yours and uses same keywords as yours, if this is the case when any person who is typing the keyword which you have targeted need not necessarily see your ad.

        And also the main concept of re-targetting is to approach people who already know or visited your website, this approach will bring in lot's of conversions because if anyone sees any content or ads again and again he would be tempted to take action on it. Simple logic, if anyone who is interested in ice-creams sees it again and again for at-least three to four times where ever he goes then most probable he will purchase it at the 4th or 5th time.
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