I started affiliate marketing at the beginning of 2007 but it didn't really take off until I started pushing, as you might guess, ring tones. It took me from a few sales a day totaling about $50-60 on Clickbank to a couple hundred per day on Azoogle.
Starting ring tones wasn't my idea. It was my friend Paul's idea and one of the things he told me he'd done to be successful with ring tones was to stay away from the content network as the conversion rates were extremely low. At the time, I had very little experience so I wasn't about to test the waters against the good advice of an established marketer. Well, needless to say, I started to do very well and here I am.
But, what I've learned lately is that I should have taken the affiliate marketer philosophy a little more seriously. When we say split test everything, we mean split test everything. Everything you can, anyway. The content network (Google, Yahoo or otherwise) is definitely one of those things you should split test on every offer.
The stigma with content matching fall along the lines of:
- Publishers trick users into clicking, which wastes your money
- People aren't technically searching for something when they click, so they're theoretically less interested
- It's difficult to track which keywords or sites convert using the content network
So it's not difficult to see why people would steer their campaigns away from content-based ads, but along with the bad, you should always consider the good:
- The content network is cheaper to place ads on
- You can use site-targeted ads right down to a specific ad placement, which also makes conversion tracking easier
- You can use text, banners and more to advertise to people
- Sometimes you'll receive a larger volume of traffic on the content network
Aside from the good and the bad, there's the reality of the situation. Until recently, I honestly hadn't even touched the content network. Crazy, I know. That was until I found out that the mega affiliates are doing tons of business there and preaching about how it's a terrible place to convert. A-ha! It was a classic "IIIIII'm dumb" moment but a welcomed one.
My advice to you is that you should take nothing for granted when it comes to your business. Split test the search network and the content network. Learn how to track specific sites/ads and you'll be fine. Also, check out Google Lady's post "Adwords Content Network Tip."