Choosing the best ad network can be daunting for affiliates trying to balance user experience with monetization. Testing is the best way to know how different networks will perform with a particular site. However, affiliates often work with limited resources, so it’s hard to spread test budgets out enough to yield a large enough sample. When there’s not enough data to continue the campaigns, a lot of affiliates give up quickly (and therefore don’t make money). Knowing a few tips on how to choose the best ad network can help streamline the testing process.
Not All Ad Networks Are the Same
Ad networks differ by several important factors, and smart affiliates test to find the best fit. The following items are important differences between ad networks.
Start with a Discrete Test
A/B split testing is the most common way to determine which traffic sources work with which offers. Some networks offer a free trial for a week, or up to a certain number impressions, so it is common to run tests on a one-week basis. Affiliates normally test out 2-3 networks, and see how offers perform within each one.
In order to succeed, an affiliate marketer should always split test one element at a time, but sufficient sample data comes from testing multiple elements.
What to Test When Choosing an Ad Network
Tips for Setting Your Test Budget
Questions to Ask Yourself as an Affiliate Marketer When Choosing an Ad Network
Google is the most commonly used search engine. When the company changes its algorithm, ripples are felt throughout the digital advertising industry. As an advertiser or a publisher, it is important to be aware of how changes in Google’s algorithm affect your business. Not being able to use Google products effectively for monetization of content, or to reach your intended consumers spells disaster for most online businesses.
Why does Google change its algorithm, and how does that affect businesses?
Google continually improves user experience with updates to its algorithm. For example, an update Google made to Adwords has a significant impact on ad buying. Removing the ads on the sidebar in a Google results page automatically increases bid pressure for the four ad spots at the top of the page. Being competitive for those spots could have a major impact of overall profitability on those campaigns for advertisers.
Google Rewards Good Traffic
From an advertiser’s perspective, good traffic is a user that searched on Google, found page results that contextually matched the query, and then clicked through to the result. Upon landing on the page the user should have no doubt that they are in the correct contextually relevant place.
Google Doesn’t Like Bad Traffic
Conversely, bad traffic is when a user clicks through thinking that there is relevance, but then ultimately finds that the page(s) are not truly related to the initial inquiry. This is a bait and switch page and will not go very far towards converting for an advertiser, or monetizing for a publisher.
Why Good and Bad Traffic Matter
Google’s designation of good or bad traffic matters, because it directly affects the potential performance of an advertiser, and performance is of course the advertiser’s main concern most of the time. On the other hand, a publisher running Adsense on her site will see more monetization potential from obtaining quality traffic. Additionally, once ads are engaged, and conversion rates are quantified, the publishers overall quality score will rise, and can earn them more monetization.
Google is Powerful
What Google says goes in the game of online advertising. Lately, the search engine monolith has been making changes to favor pages that are mobile friendly, and generally thoughtful to other device types. In response, ad networks have to make sure that their ad products are also mobile and tablet compatible. This helps publisher sites look more attractive to Google’s algorithm.
A while back, Google deemed ad products that use iframes as a bad experience for an advertiser’s landing page, and this practice became prohibited by Google advertisers. Therefore the use of such products has waned over time.
Ads that perform an immediate redirect upon landing are not allowed anymore either. Keen publishers and advertisers and the networks they work with have to stay on top of Google’s changes, or face a huge dip in results.
Great Resources for Staying Ahead of Google’s Algorithm Changes: