Learn about the new eBay view item pages—why the change is coming and how you can be an early adopter!
Are you running a successful blog or website with a large audience? Do you have a strong social media presence with a dedicated following? Our partners know that affiliate marketing can be a great way to monetize your efforts. If you’re new to affiliate marketing or just getting started with EPN, check out this recording of our Affiliate Marketing 101 webinar. In this short and informative webinar, you’ll get an overview of the following:
- Affiliate marketing basics: Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing and a growing industry expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. Check out the webinar for an overview of how it works in simple terms.
- Business models: There are several ways that you can use affiliate marketing with your existing business model. Whether you publish editorial content, share deals or coupons, or focus only on social media, we’ll give you real-life examples of how publishers are using affiliate marketing to earn commissions.
- How to begin: You’ll learn to identify your audience, set goals, establish your niche, find a complementary affiliate program, and more.
- Introduction to eBay Partner Network: We introduce you to eBay’s in-house affiliate program, how to join, how to find and share products to promote, and how to earn. Getting started with EPN is as easy as “find, share and earn.”
Watch the recording of the webinar here:
Researchers now claim that (thanks to technology) our attention span is about 8 seconds long - apparently shorter than that of a goldfish. This puts bloggers in a particularly tough spot with no time to spare and no fluff content to be tolerated. What does this mean? Simply put, you need more snackable content. You know, those small, bite-size nuggets of wisdom that draws the reader in and keeps them asking for more. Content gurus Lauren Lumsden of The Scene, Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert, and TV host Carley Knobloch spoke at the BlogHer conference giving strategies for bloggers and affiliates who are looking to capture readers in spite of their dwindling attention span.
Get to the Point
Of the most common reasons social media pages perform poorly, having too much uninteresting content is at the top of the list. The key to grabbing a reader's attention is to get to the juicy details right away. This means the most important information should be placed at the beginning of your videos, status updates and headlines. Cosmo's use of the new Snapchat feature, "Discover," embodies this point perfectly as it puts all of the most newsworthy content right at the tips of your fingers. Even if users weren't intending on browsing Cosmo content, it becomes incredibly tempting to click through all of their most exciting stories of the day. Food and travel blogger, Alejandra Ramos told BlogHer conference attendees that it's okay to publish "clickbaity" teasers as long as the content is truly high quality. Strike a balance between enticing and honest to solidify trust with your readers.
Simply put, you don't know what you don't know. And when you're trying to create content for a busy audience, it's critical to know what motivates them. Studies have shown that 60 percent of those who share a link will not even click through to read the content. Thus, A/B testing has become a quintessential tool for learning what compels your audience to click - whether it be on social media, landing pages, or websites. Not only can A/B testing inform the topics you cover, but your tone and phrasing as well.
Better Optimization with Snackable Content
You may have a stunning website, but did you know your audience size will decrease with each extra second it takes the page to load? It's true! In addition, the vast majority of consumers now expect mobile-friendly websites. Luckily snackable content is perfect for mobile because it's short and to the point! Make sure that important pieces of content are easy to extract in nugget-sized pieces. There are several other steps to take to reduce your site's load time, like removing unused plugins, switching to a faster, SEO-optimized theme and compressing large images. Ultimately, the faster your page loads, the better. Try a few of the tips mentioned and let us know how it turns out for you.
Create a Chain of Snackable Content
In order to popularize certain posts and gain more exposure, it is helpful to structure your blog with one interesting post leading to another. For example, at the bottom of a post about different styles of shoes, a fashion blogger would be wise to link to a related post, like shoe styles on the red carpet. This creates a chain of interest, giving readers the time to realize that your blog is more that just one interesting article. Give them just enough snackable content from another post to make them want to click and find out more.
Sometimes bloggers get locked into a feeling of having to sound professional and only write informative posts about their topic. While it's certainly important to do this, going overboard can give a robotic tone to your content. Readers appreciate knowing that there is a real person on the other side of the screen, so it doesn't hurt to include a personal account here and there. It also doesn't have to be overly revealing - if it is sincere, readers will be engaged. Research has shown that strictly emotional content tends to outperform rational or mixed content. This is simply a factor of human nature - direct connection and communication still trumps all.
There are many ways for bloggers to combat the influx of digital information and changing attention spans. Creating snackable content is just one of them. Making a name for your brand doesn't require expert marketing skills so much as honesty, brevity and focus within your content.
Thank you for reading this article on snackable content. Don’t forget to follow eBay Partner Network on social media for more tips and updates, or to leave us a comment or question. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and on Facebook.
In this episode of EPN TV, we introduce you to our bookmarklet tool, which provides a quick way to create affiliatized links directly from any eBay page. John describes how this tool was created in response to your request for simple tools that can be used without much heavy technical lifting. To access the bookmarket tool, navigate to the Campaigns tab in the Publisher Portal. Then, simply drag the icon next to a campaign to your browser’s bookmarklet folder.
This is an easy way to quickly generate a link to share on your website or social networks, and we hope you’ll test it out and let us know what you think. Make sure to watch the video to hear John’s suggestion for making the tool even more useful.
We are constantly evaluating ways that we can improve your success with EPN, and look forward to developing additional resources to help you earn with EPN. If there’s something you’d like to see, please let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments.
In this episode of EPN TV, John talks about a major initiative undertaken by eBay Marketplaces to provide buyers with an even more compelling experience. While eBay has traditionally provided flexibility around seller listing requirements, we saw an opportunity to improve by layering additional structured data on top of this free-form listing data. By shifting toward cataloging items as products rather than as individual listings:
- Search results are more relevant
- Items are easier to find and compare
- Product reviews can be better collected and shared
- Deals are more obvious
In fact, early results have shown conversion rate improvements, which should translate into increased sales and commissions for you.
Because more than 80% of the items sold on eBay are new, the ability to differentiate among duplicate items has become increasingly important. For example, it would be helpful for buyers to know that multiple iPhone 6 listings are essentially selling the same product, so they can more easily find the item they want, at the best price.
Another way that this initiative should enable you to provide an improved buyer experience is that you’ll be able to deliver more pertinent and focused landing pages. This is possible because while a link that leads to an eBay listing page may expire, a link to an eBay product page could live in perpetuity. You’ll be better equipped to compare products across eBay and compared to other merchants, so you can provide your visitors with the most relevant items at the best prices.
This is a major evolution in the way that eBay handles data, and the ecommerce experience that we are able to provide. If you have any questions about this topic, please let us know in the comments below. We’ll continue to provide updates on new milestones in this endeavor.
It’s safe to say that every affiliate wants their website to rank on page one of search engines. Unfortunately, (just like in affiliate marketing) there’s no “get rich quick” way to go about getting there. Even if paid search marketing seems like the easy answer, according to SEOMoz, ads at the top of Google receive about 18-20% of search traffic while organic results take the other 80-82%. The real answer to getting to the top of organic rankings lies in trusty search engine optimization (SEO) practices. At its core, SEO requires two things: patience and a commitment to best practices. We’ve rounded up some basics of the latter, below.
Start off strong with the right domain name
If you’re in the market for a domain, put a lot of thought into the name. The best domain names are short, memorable and contain important keywords. However, that doesn’t mean you should stuff as many keywords as you can in there.
Google is continuously updating its search algorithm to de-rank “spammy” websites using practices like keyword stuffing, while surfacing high quality websites that add value. The important thing to remember and keep at the heart of your SEO strategy is to develop for humans, not algorithms. For example, think about what website you’re personally more likely to visit – www.toptechreviews.com or www.bestphoneslaptopsandtablets.com?
But first, keyword research
Conducting keyword research is critical to knowing what keywords to target throughout the SEO process, and should come before all else. Start by brainstorming a list of words and phrases you think people would search to find your website, then plug that list into a keyword tool such as Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner or Wordtracker.
The goal is to expand and refine the list with relevant phrases and compare their average monthly searches. Targeting long-tail keywords – that is, longer keyword phrases with say 4-6 words – is a popular approach for affiliates for a number of reasons.
Long-tail keywords are:
- More specific and focus on a niche
- Less common than broad keywords, and therefore usually have less competition when it comes to ranking
- Used further along in the search process, and tend to have higher conversion rates
Identify which keywords are best to target and focus your content strategy around those.
Create unique, quality content
You’ve probably heard the advice to “create unique, quality content” many times throughout the affiliate industry. Why is this so important? Well, you can drive all the traffic in the world to your website, but if it doesn’t provide value or the answer your visitors are looking for, they’re bouncing (along with your commission). This is also very important to search engines, as they want to provide a valuable and easy search process for users.
So whether it be a blog post, review, video, or in some other form; relevant, high-quality content helps searchers find what they’re looking for, and in turn Google pushes that website up in search rankings. Other factors include how often your website publishes new content, and whether it can be found elsewhere online. Even if it’s your own, avoid repurposing content on multiple pages or websites.
Whether you’re just starting off with SEO or looking to freshen up your skills, keep an eye on the EPN blog for more SEO tips.
We have good news for socially savvy affiliates: You can now share affiliate links on Pinterest! The popular social network announced that it has revamped its infrastructure and acceptable use policy, so publishers can once again include affiliate links on Pins. EPN encourages integrating social media promotions into your affiliate activities, as long as the social network allows it. This Pinterest policy update means that not only can you drive traffic from pins to your affiliate site, but you can now also drive users directly from Pinterest to eBay.
On its blog, a Pinterest representative said, “People come to Pinterest looking for new ideas to try, and the very best ideas come from businesses like yours. We understand that businesses and bloggers need a sustainable way to keep making great content. That’s why we’ve decided to allow affiliate links on Pinterest.”
Over 100 million people across the globe use the visual bookmarking tool to discover things to plan, buy and do. It offers a great way to get in front of an audience that is actively seeking inspiration, and eBay offers a broad spectrum of items to help fuel these passions.
How will you take advantage of this opportunity to create value for Pinterest users? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
Over the past few months, we’ve been building a new publisher community to help us recognize and reward partners who proactively help us grow eBay Partner Network. We launched the community as a pilot in mid-2015 based on the results of a publisher survey, and have been collecting feedback from a group of initial participants. Today, we’re excited to open the opportunity up to all of our publishers. By participating in this exclusive community - which we’ve dubbed Insiders - you’ll be able to build your knowledge and establish yourself as a thought leader. You’ll receive early access to our latest news and events, and will have a direct line of communication to provide feedback to our team.
Insiders can earn recognition and rewards, ranging from promotional opportunities to gift cards to exclusive member-only experiences, for completing activities that help us spread awareness and educate others about EPN.
Watch this episode of EPN TV to learn more. And if you’d like to apply to join, complete this brief application to indicate your interest.
We hope you’ll take the opportunity to check out this new community. We’re happy to recognize you for everything you do!
Did you know that eBay sellers are not only eligible, but encouraged to join eBay Partner Network? If you’re a seller and are already blogging about your items or sharing links on social media, you could be earning eBay affiliate commissions. And if you’re not already promoting your listings this way, there’s no time like the present to start!
In this EPN TV episode, John Toskey talks about the affiliate advantages for eBay sellers, and how sellers can get up and running quickly with eBay Partner Network.
Sellers can earn EPN commissions by promoting and linking to their own items, as well as products inventoried by other sellers. For example, if you sell cameras in your eBay Store, you may also want to promote listings of complementary accessories from other sellers.
Joining eBay Partner Network is a great way for sellers to offset eBay’s seller fees. If you’re interested in joining EPN, you can start by taking a few minutes to complete our online application.
Thanks for watching!