3 key questions every affiliate should ask
As an affiliate partner, you may have realized that there’s a lot more to affiliate marketing than just the rate card. Earnings are a direct result of how your campaigns are performing. By reading between the lines of your affiliate site, blog and/or social media accounts, you can pinpoint what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs to change for you to earn more and grow faster.
First, you’ll want to become familiar with the reports available in the partner portal and the metrics of each. Use these to view your earnings and see how your activity is contributing to the bottom line. Compare numbers over different time periods and organize by several useful categories.
In order to make sense of the data you’re looking at, and use the data to optimize your traffic, we suggest thinking about the following questions:
- What’s going on?
- Why is it happening?
- What can I do about it?
1. What's going on?
The first step towards optimization is to address the situation: What is your current performance?
Use the reports to determine:
- Your earnings over the past several months
- The trend– are they going up, down, or staying the same?
- The volume of clicks your ads generate
- Your most successful campaigns
- The highest converting items you promote
- Categories of interest for your visitors
- Performance in different time periods
Once you have a better idea of what’s going on, dig in further. For example, maybe you noticed that one of your campaigns has had earnings increase this month vs. last month. Perhaps you saw an overall increase in clicks, but a decrease in conversion rate. Or, maybe your earnings were the highest they’ve ever been last month – all of which leads to the second step. Now it’s time to ask Why?
2. Why is it happening?
What are the main factors that are driving your performance? What might have changed that could have led to the results you’re seeing?
At this stage, you’ll need to cross-reference the report data against the actions you took over that period of time, such as what, where, and how you were promoting. The interaction and relationship between these different factors are essential. For instance, if you move an ad to a different place on your site, how could that impact clicks and conversion rate? To add another example, let’s say you noticed that your earnings were the highest they’ve ever been last month. You’ll want to dig deeper to find out what drove that.
- What other metrics changed along with earnings?
- Were your clicks also higher? That could mean you sent more traffic via a new content strategy, or maybe moved the placement of the ads so that they were more prominent.
- Was your conversion rate higher? You could have added different filters to the ad target to reach a more relevant audience. Or maybe you changed which products you were promoting so they better suited the audience.
- What items were people purchasing through your links?
- Are people buying a lot of a certain item?
- Are you now selling more of some higher-value items than you weren't previously?
All of these factors, and more, could be the reason why your earnings were higher than usual. Once you know the what and the why, you'll have what you need to do something about it.
3. What can I do about it?
This is where the “optimization magic” happens. Continuing with the scenario above, let’s say you noticed that your earnings last month were the highest they’ve ever been. Digging deeper, you found that in said month you started promoting a popular item with a high selling value. You also determined how much of that resulted in earned commissions. Suggestions on what to try next:
- Focus even more on this item, and find an even wider audience to whom you can promote it
- Feature these items more prominently on your site, or in your social media feed
- Find similar items, and start promoting those as well
Begin by creating a report. Your reports can be scheduled to be run and delivered to you on the day and time that you need them.
Once you have your answers, use them. Experiment with eBay’s affiliate tools to determine which one is the best for your conversion rate. Does your audience respond well to creative banners, or is an RSS feed more effective? Try, measure, adjust, try again, and measure again. As the cycle continues, you’ll notice movement in your metrics and you can optimize as you wish to accelerate your conversion rate.
As you grow, keep an eye on our blog for updates regarding tools, best practices and industry news that could impact your performance. By joining the affiliate partner discussion board, you can benefit from other partner experiences and contribute to the conversation.
Questions? Concerns? Contact our Partner Success team.