UNDERSTANDING YOUR ACCOUNT'S PERFORMANCE
Earning as much revenue as possible is the ultimate goal as an affiliate with eBay Partner Network. An important component of this goal is to analyze how your account is performing across several key metrics, so you can figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and what you might need to change accordingly.
You’ll first want to familiarize yourself with the reports you can find in the EPN portal and with the metrics you’ll see in each. Use these reports to view your earnings and find out what metrics contributed them. You can look at these numbers over different time periods and grouped by a few different useful categories.
In order to make sense of what you’re seeing in these reports and to ultimately use what you see to optimize your account, we suggest thinking about it in terms of three big questions:
- What’s going on?
- Why is it happening?
- What can I do about it?
What's Going On?
The first step towards optimizing your account is understanding what has been occurring in your account. For example:
- What have your earnings been for the past several months?
- What is the trend – are they going up, going down, or staying the same?
- How does that compare to other points in time?
- What about the volume of clicks your ads are generating?
- How has that changed over time?
- If you decided to segment your account by different Campaigns, what is their performance, and how do they compare to each other?
- How has Campaign performance changed over time?
Once you have a strong understanding of what’s going on in your account, you will likely have certain aspects you’ll want to look into further. For example, maybe you noticed that one of your campaigns has had earnings increase this month vs. last month. Or, maybe 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.
Why is it Happening?
You'll next need to understand why your performance is what it is. What are the key factors that drove this particular performance? What might have changed that could have led to the results you’re seeing?
At this stage, you’ll need to look both at numbers you can get out of the EPN reports, as well as looking at the actions you took over that period of time, such as what you were promoting, where you were promoting it, and how you promoted it. To truly understand why something happened will likely mean understanding how these factors interact; for example, if you move an ad to a different place on your site, how could that impact clicks and conversion rate?
For 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 traffic-generation strategy, or maybe changed where you placed the ads so that they were more prominent.
- Was your conversion rate higher?
That could mean you changed something about how you targeted the ad, so it was now reaching a more relevant audience. Or maybe you changed which products you were promoting so they better suited the audience you were targeting.
- What items were people purchasing through your links?
- Are people buying a lot of a certain item, or are you now selling more of some higher-value items than you were previously?
All of these factors, and more, could be the reason why your earnings were higher than usual.
Once you know what is going on with your account, and you have a good understanding of why it happened, you'll have the information you need to determine what your next moves should be – which leads to the last step.
What Can I Do About It?
At this stage, you convert your understanding of what’s been happening and why it happens into action – what are you going to do next based on what you’ve learned? 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 into it, you found that in that month you started promoting an item that was both popular and had a high selling value. You also found out how much of that turned into commissions for you. You can use this information to determine what to do next:
- Can you focus even more on this item, and find an even wider audience to whom you can promote it?
- Can you feature these items more prominently on your site, or in your social media feed?
- Can you find similar items, and start promoting those as well?
This is a framework we find helpful to evaluate and optimize performance. There are others as well – you should use whatever method is most comfortable to you. The most important thing is to continually look at your account’s performance. Take advantage of the wealth of information you have, so you can make informed decisions about your account.
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See next: Affiliate Marketing Glossary