Industry News

Industry and Partner Content Roundup: June 29

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Welcome to our regular collection of the latest affiliate tips and trends! Read on to learn what’s happening with fellow EPN publishers, Insiders and industry friends. PMA: Announcing Our Executive Director

The Performance Marketing Association has announced that after years of being fueled by volunteers on its working Board of Directors, it has hired an Executive Director to oversee strategy and day-to-day operations. Tricia Meyer is not only the PMA’s new Executive Director, but she’s also the owner of EPN affiliate Sunshine Rewards, among other niche websites. Congrats, Tricia!

 Zac Johnson: Mind-Blowing Numbers of What Happens in an Internet Second

EPN partner Agnes Hasszanne Szondi brought this article and infographic to our attention. Click through for all kinds of facts and statistical goodness about the current state of the Internet. For example, did you know that more than 10,000 Tweets are sent every single second?

NinetyNine Ways: Tracking business expenses made easy with FreshBooks

EPN partner Gerri from NinetyNine Ways talks about accounting tools that you can use if you’re an individual or small business owner. In this post, he talks about the importance of accurately recording expenses and invoices, and explains how you can easily keep track of them with online software.

Theo Palios: Let’s Build a Cheap and Powerful PC for Web Designers

When EPN affiliate Theo Palios was ready to replace his old Acer PC with a newer model, he found himself in a situation familiar to many: Everything he came across was either too expensive, underpowered or just plain unattractive. So he decided to purchase the components and build a more powerful PC with a much smaller price tag. Read this post to see if this solution could work for you.

Search Engine Land: 7 e-commerce SEO trends we’re seeing in 2016

New technologies, new insights and new best practices emerge on a regular basis, and top publishers jump on these changes to stay ahead of the competition. In this article highlighting the latest SEO trends, you’ll learn why long-form content, sharability, video and mobile optimization are now more critical than ever.

To see your news featured here, post a comment with a link to your timely and relevant content for consideration in our next roundup.

Increase Your Influence as an Affiliate with Tips from Rand Fishkin

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Earlier this year, EPN global director John Toskey spoke as one of the keynotes at the Affiliate Management Days conference, and we were lucky to hear from many other charismatic and insightful speakers. One of those speakers was SEO master Rand Fishkin. Within just 5 minutes on stage at his keynote, “Being the Signal Amidst the Noise,” Rand got lost in thousands and thousands of social signals (Facebook birthday reminders, a new follower Twitter notification, email invites to join a webinar…) and information overload on the internet. And that was without even commenting on his friend's new baby picture.

As an affiliate, how are you supposed to be a beacon of influence in this sea of information? Rand shared a number of tips on being a signal amidst the noise, or as he put it, “Whatever your tactics are, stand out, or get lost in the coming ‘I have no more attention to give’ era.” Here are some of our favorite takeaways from Rand’s presentation.

Go the road less traveled

You’ve done your homework and identified which keywords to target across your product, content, SEO and PPC strategies, which is great. But what if everyone is using the same tools as you, and ultimately surfacing and going after the same keywords? Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner is one of the most commonly recommended and used tools, but there are also some lesser heard-of tools and techniques that can help you uncover hidden gems. To go after less accessible opportunities and keywords, Rand recommends:

  • Going beyond Google Adwords for keyword research, with free tools like UberSuggest and KeywordTool.io.
  • Looking at the “related searches” at the bottom of Google and other search engines, as they’re often underutilized.
  • Targeting people in their own words, by manually extracting topics and language from online discussions and forums like Reddit.

Be an early-adopter

Remember when some people thought Facebook was just a fad? Hindsight is everything, and successful affiliates not only keep up with trends, but get ahead of them. Facebook and Twitter are already heavily saturated with ads, but marketers are still experimenting with other social networks like Instagram and Pinterest. Make your mark here while they’re still fresh and unsaturated with noise.

When it comes to mobile, you know you should have a mobile-friendly website, but what about a mobile-first website? A mobile-first strategy could have a huge positive impact on your visitor experience and conversions. Check out differences between the two and other benefits here.

Skip the low hanging fruit

Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. As Rand explains, “The easier it is to create content, the harder it is to stand out.” Always think about what value you are bringing to the table through your content and asset development. You should be solving problems, providing answers, and engaging visitors.

Challenge yourself to move beyond basic blog posts or stock photos. Interesting, high-quality images increase trustworthiness and retweets, while a generic stock photo from 1990 can send bounce rates through the roof. Also, many publishers focus on targeting and optimizing for conversions, while educational searches aren’t as saturated and crowded. Using the example Rand shared, try searching for “data visualization tools” versus “venn diagram examples” and compare the results and opportunities.

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The common theme throughout all of Rand’s tips is to be innovative and ahead of the competition – two things that will greatly increase your success as an affiliate. Dig deeper into these tips and learn what else Rand had to say at Affiliate Management Days in his full keynote, “Being Signal Amidst the Noise.”

Industry and Partner Content Roundup: May 23

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It’s time for another roundup of industry tips and trends! Read on to see what’s new and on the radar for your fellow affiliates. Ebates: The Best Things to Buy in May

There’s still time to take advantage of spring-cleaning buying trends. EPN partner Ebates covers the top things consumers are shopping for to freshen up their homes and get ready to head outside this season. Deals on products like mattresses, portable outdoor speakers and new kitchen gadgets all make the list.

FeedFront: 5 Affiliate Marketing Success Tips for Bloggers

In this FeedFront article, creative DIY blogger Jen Goode lends insight into how she’s found success at 100Directions.com. She recommends putting existing content to work, starting a conversation with visitors, connecting with your program manager and more.

EPN: The Affiliate Marketer’s Guide to SEO

Was one of your goals this year to finally kick-start an SEO program? We won’t judge if you haven’t started yet, but we will recommend checking out our handy SEO guide to get it in motion.

Duct Tape Marketing: Content is No Longer King

Speaking of SEO, EPN affiliate Will Hawkins shared an interesting article from Duct Tape Marketing on how less is more when using content to fuel your SEO and traffic strategy. “Let me say that by content,” he explains, “I mean long, deep, dramatic, useful, dare I say epic, educational content.” Rather than focusing on packing an editorial calendar with blog posts 3x/week, you’re better off writing a few epic posts a month and using them to fuel every channel.

Shane Dolby: How to Convince Yourself to Exercise Prior to Work

It’s warming up outside, though if you find yourself getting trapped inside working from home you might never know it. EPN affiliate Shane Dolby shares tips on how to start your day right with some exercise before heading back to the home office.

To see your news featured here, post a comment with a link to your timely and relevant content for consideration in our next roundup.

The Affiliate Marketer’s Intro to SEO

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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.

Pinterest Opens Its Doors to Affiliate Marketers

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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!

EPN TV: John Toskey Talks Global Expansion into Australia

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In this episode of EPN TV, John Toskey highlights the reasons why affiliates should jump into the Australian market. If you’re not yet thinking about the opportunities down under, now is a good time to start. Why Australia? To start, Australia has a strong economy and a sizable ecommerce market, with more than half of consumers regularly shopping online. Its residents are tech savvy, with 80% smartphone penetration. And perhaps most importantly, the eBay brand is strong: eBay is the #1 most influential retail brand, and the #2 most influential brand overall – behind only Google!

So how can you take advantage? First, make sure that you’re approved to promote the Australian market through EPN. Second, set your links and banners to geo-targeting, to make sure you’re sending your users to their relevant local site, such as eBay.com.au. Finally, dig in to see which products and brands are popular in Australia, and determine which of these might appeal to your audience.

Are you currently reaching visitors from the land of Oz? If so, we’d love to read your tips and insights in the comments section below.

Industry and Partner Content Roundup: March 31

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What’s happening with your fellow affiliates and other industry authorities? Read our roundup of articles, tips and trends to find out. Casual Photophile: Five Best Medium Format Cameras for Beginners                                        

Interesting and high-quality photos are a must for an eye-catching website or blog. Do you create your own images, or do you rely on product and stock photos? If you’re a budding photographer who wants to publish original images, you may want to check out this blog post by EPN partner Casual Photophile, which provides a few recommended camera options.

My Trick Pages: 3 Ways to Get More from Your Affiliate Marketing Efforts                              

The tips in this My Trick Pages article will get you working smarter, not harder. Click through guidance on optimizing your site, staying ahead of the trends and buddying up with your advertiser and network partners.

Bidamount: Expanded Weekly Newsletter                                                                                                   

EPN Partner Bidamount recently expanded its weekly Asian Art-Antiques Newsletter to provide readers with additional content and features. With the revamped format, announced on its website, Bidamount now includes video links, a featured blog post, items in catalog format, and more.

365Hunch: True Potential Unlocked                                                                                                                      

EPN partner Garnet Smith recently published a new website to build a community for those who are interested in personal development articles, tools, inspiration and encouragement. Check out his blog series, True Potential Unlocked, which includes seven articles geared toward helping you live up to your potential. 

Affiliate Management Days: Interview with John Toskey                                                                    

John Toskey, EPN’s global director, will keynote Affiliate Management Days, taking place April 3 – 5. John will provide an inside look into the evolution of EPN during this annual conference for affiliate managers. For a preview of his talk, check out this interview with AM Days’ Geno Prussakov.

To see your news featured here, post a comment with a link to your timely and relevant content for consideration in our next roundup.

Industry and Partner Content Roundup: February 1

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What’s the latest from your fellow affiliates and other industry professionals? Read our regular roundup of articles, tips and trends to stay in the know. AM Navigator: 2016 Affiliate Marketing Conferences, Trade Shows, Events

Our friend Geno Prussakov at AM Navigator not only produces an annual conference of his own, but has also published a handy guide to quite a few affiliate events taking place in 2016. Hop on over to his site to plan your business travel for the year. For bonus points, you can also peruse Acceleration Partners' list.

The It Mom: My Fave U.S. Winter Travel Destinations and Travel Essentials

EPN partner Daisy Teh knows that winter is the perfect time to travel and see the world – you can’t let the weather stop you from experiencing the road less traveled! In this post on TheItMom.com, she makes us dream of cold drinks on warm beaches as she shares her favorite winter destinations and travel essentials.

Theo Palios: 8 Web Design Trends That Are Bound to Be Huge in 2016

EPN partner Theo Palios reminds publishers that keeping up-to-date with the latest web design techniques and trends not only allows you to provide a better user experience, but will also give you an advantage over your competition. Read Theo’s post to see which trends he’s tracking right now.

 Affiliate Summit West 2016 Recap

If you didn’t make it to Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West, take a look at the highlights from event co-founder Sean Collins. Sean provides his perspective of the three-day event, walking readers through his daily adventures in networking, sessions, events and more. You can also check out our team’s highpoints here.

 Zuburbia: Vintage Fashion Finds

In this regular roundup, EPN affiliate Mary Kinkaid of Zuburbia curates a covetable collection of vintage fashion pieces. With one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories from Gucci, Sasha and more, Mary has an eye for classic retro style.

mThink: Blue Book Top 20 Networks Announced

After surveying more than 20,000 publishers, advertisers and other industry professionals, the publishers of Revenue Performance magazine have released a list of the top networks in performance marketing. And we’re pleased to share that EPN was ranked second! Click through to learn more and see the full list of winners. Congratulations to all!

To see your news featured here, post a comment with a link to your timely and relevant content for inclusion in the next roundup.

EPN Named One of the World’s Top Networks

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We’re pleased to announce that eBay Partner Network has been named the #2 affiliate program in the world in a survey of more than 20,000 publishers, advertisers and other industry professionals. The annual Blue Book list provided by mThink, the publisher of Revenue Performance magazine, recognizes and rewards networks that focus on service and value in performance marketing. EPN has steadily climbed the list of top 20 programs, jumping from #10 to #5 to #2 over the past three years.

The survey asks participants to rank programs based on reputation, influence, clientele, popularity and scale, resulting in a field of more than 300 networks. In addition to the survey data, mThink takes into account expert opinions, traffic data and other influence measures.

After aggregating the survey responses, mThink had this to say: “eBay Partner Network is incredibly well-respected by people who know the performance marketing industry. A great network.”

Thank you to those of you who participated in the survey, and thank you for your continued partnership. We look forward to continued excellence in 2016!

John Toskey Hits the Airwaves

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UPDATE: You can listen to John's segment on-demand from the eBay Radio Archives. *****

Each Tuesday, eBay Radio features live interviews with eBay employees, eBay sellers and ecommerce experts who share insightful news, education and tips. On Jan. 26, John Toskey will join the show to chat about affiliate marketing and eBay Partner Network.

The weekly show is co-hosted by Jim “Griff” Griffith, who was eBay’s first full-time customer service representative and is now the Dean of eBay Education. Griff will interview John about EPN, providing a comprehensive overview for anyone new to the program.

The show airs from 11am to 2pm PT, and John’s 11-minute segment begins at 11:15am PT. To tune in, visit eBayRadio.com and select Listen Live. You can also log into this page on the morning of Jan. 26 to view an episode agenda and additional details.

If you’d like to catch it while on the go, you can also download the eBay Radio mobile app from the Google Play Store (keyword: “ebayradio”) or the Apple App Store (keywords: “ebay radio”). All episodes are also archived for future listening.

We hope you’ll be able to join us!