Archive for June, 2008

Affiliate Window Launch Offers Blog

Written by adamski on . Posted in Network News

Affiliate Window is pleased to announce the launch of our Offers Blog. We will be placing a link to the site from the affiliate interface this afternoon.

All promotions, discount codes, competitions, merchant launches and programme specific information will also be posted here from this point forward.

We will use this in addition to existing communication methods but it should now be considered the official source of all merchant information. Account managers have been advised to post on the offers blog in advance of anywhere else so this should be your first port of call if you want to keep up to date on AWin merchants. We are also trying to initiate a template format for account managers to use as this will help affiliates identify the key elements of any promotion and ensure nothing is missed.

The Affiliate Window Blog will remain at http://blog.affiliatewindow.com but will be reserved for network news and industry comment. We thought it sensible to keep these two separate so important announcements and news is never missed.

Again dependent on feedback over time we hope this will keep the a4u forum clear for network issues and discussion.

We trust this will prove a useful resource and will adapt to the requirements of affiliates. The RSS functionality (http://offers.affiliatewindow.com/?feed=rss2) should certainly make collecting this information a whole lot easier.

As always we would welcome any feedback you may have.

Affiliate Profile: Chris Frost

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in Interview

I am…
Chris Frost, an old time affiliate (7 years now), known as either ColdSnail or Frostie on the A4U Forums, often found moaning at www.webaffiliate.co.uk/blog

You can find me…
On MSN during the day (work fulltime for Unilever/Hewlett Packard). During the evening I am either out running or eating/drinking more calories than I wish to count

What best describes my website?
DiscountCodes.co.uk is one of my busiest sites, attracting over 100,000 unique visitors per month. It does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s one of the oldest and one of the most popular code websites out there, now helping ColdSnail generate over £3m of sales via the affiliate marketing channel.

The best feature on my website is?
Untapped resources! I have been collecting newsletter signups for a year, of which I have only sent 1 email out. It’s something that I plan to make better use of this year, concentrating on those merchants that provide me with Exclusive discount codes such as BHS, Boden and The Body Shop. Features on other websites include emailing offers to a friend and also an ever increasing facebook following. Over the next 12 months, I have a few features in development that will run hand in hand with a large PR exercise in the run up to Christmas that’s all I’m saying!

Which of the following best describes your affiliate activities?
 PPC
 Niche or true content site
 Blog / Personal Website
 Product /Price Comparison

 Directory
 Loyalty site
 Coupon or Voucher Code     redemption site

What is the best piece of affiliate marketing advice you’ve been given?
Having been involved in the industry since 2001, I have been lucky enough to receive advice from a wide range of affiliates. One that has stuck with me, and continues to influence my decisions on which vertical to concentrate on was “develop websites that you have a genuine interest in”. I’ve found that by following this simple piece of advice, my view isn’t blurred by commission levels, incentives or bonuses and makes content writing/updating a piece of cake.

What advice would you give to a brand new affiliate programme manager?
Download my presentation here. Get to know your affiliates – we’re a relaxed bunch who enjoy a beer or two! Plan! If you know a sale is taking place in 2 weeks time, then give us a heads up. Don’t leave it until 5pm on a Friday to tell us. We too have social lives, holidays, families etc and can’t put everything on hold in order to update banners and content. The more notice you provide us, the more targeted we can be, including mentions in our email newsletters!

What are your thoughts of creating a code of conduct for merchants, affiliates and networks to follow?
It’s something that has been banded around for some time and if it results in complete transparency by all those involved in the industry then it can only work in its favour. As for how it is managed or policed is a different issue and one that may be a bit more difficult to agree or overcome. The industry is slowly changing as I’m aware that networks are meeting with each other, reaching agreements on certain industry issues. This is encouraging from an affiliate point of view, and something I expect to spread to merchants and affiliates in coming months/years.

Which methods have merchants used effectively to motivate you?
We all like achievable incentives ranging from free samples and bonus commission levels to holidays! Over the past I have received goodies such as Blackberry’s, holidays to Barbados and Japan, Aftershave and… a pair of knickers! Personally I find either a solid working relationship with a network account manager or with the merchant directly is just as much an incentive as receiving goodies and is key to a long lasting working relationship.

Which retailer site has the best content?
Speaking from a male perspective and in terms of eye candy, then it has to be BeCheeky or Prezzybox

Which retailer site has the best functionality?
Looking at functionality from an online shopper perspective, then I think Woolies has to be up there amongst the best. Their website is very simple, clean and precise and is a dream to navigate.

Which retailer site has the best style?
The makeover that the BuyAGift website received last year, was a huge improvement that was welcomed by many an affiliate. Again the clean cut, minimalistic style suits this merchant and the vertical they operate in. Their account manager, Graham Keen, also has style… or so he thinks!

What is your favourite blog and why?
There are many blogs out there, some offering solid and sound advice, others that are cleverly used as marketing tools or simple ego boosters. I enjoy reading blogs by affiliates, networks or merchants who aren’t afraid to speak the truth, offer something other than self-promotion, and those that assist others in this industry.
3 blogs which fall into this category, which I read regularly are;
Kirsty McCubbin – www.affiliatestuff.co.uk Offers non-stop advice for new and old affiliates alike.
Shane Robinson – www.revenueaddict.com Straight to the point advice, suggestions and rumblings in the PPC world.
Paul Wheatley – www.mooseontheloose.co.uk Another no bull, non-egotistical, self-praising blog on the AM world as a whole.

 

Discount Codes

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in AWin Advice, Technology

Discount codes can prove a useful addition to your affiliate marketing strategy. Managed effectively, they can help grow business from affiliates who control web traffic with a niche customer base. Affiliates tend to generate a higher level of conversion through the use of generic or bespoke discount codes.

Bespoke codes: A code specially created for a specific affiliate. Providing an exclusive code is a great way to build loyalty with top performing discount code affiliates as it gives them a unique offer to promote their own customer base which will drive up conversion.

Generic codes: A discount code that is made available to your entire base of affiliates. These codes should be entered into the discount voucher area in your merchant account. Every Monday, an email is sent with the latest list of discount codes to an opt-in base of top performing affiliates who have requested this information.

Benefits of discount codes:

  • Trigger affiliates to join your programme
  • Strengthening of brand awareness
  • Increase sales conversion
  • Strengthens relationships with affiliates

Uploading Discount Codes in the Interface

To access the voucher code are you will need to click on the Tab ‘Discount vouchers’

Step 1: Discount Code – enter the promotional code. Please note your website must technically be able to facilitate promotional codes.

Step 2: Valid Dates: It is vital to enter the start and expiry dates of the code so affiliates know exactly how long they can promote the offer on their sites.

Step 3: Deeplink: Enter the details of the relevant landing or product page for the promotion code.

Step 4: Description: Each code uploaded must contain a short description which is important in delivering the offer message and triggering consumer reaction.

Discount Codes

Our News Manager tool, the weekly Affiliate Window newsletter and posting on A4uforum, provide excellent and reliable methods of distributing affiliate discount vouchers. Additionally, it is very important to contact your top performing affiliates to make them aware of the offers you are promoting.

To study the impact of discount codes on your programme’s performance, we would recommend that you analyse your Performance Over Time report to detect any uplift in sales which coincide with a discount code being released to your affiliate base. If you are only providing a bespoke code to one affiliate then it is possible to look at the sales performance for this affiliate only by entering in their ID number into the search criteria. If the impact is positive then it is important to refresh the codes at the times of the year when you programme needs a boost.

Example: Merchant Providing discount codes – ELC

In February 2008 Early Learning Centre released an affiliate discount code for the first time that could engage the entire affiliate base. The impact of this was fantastic and this was reflected in programme sales growth.

The discount code was very productive in the strong increase in sales, as many affiliates would have been particularly encouraged as it allowed many affiliates to promote ELC more efficiently. This produced campaigns that endorsed affiliates to trigger consumer reaction more effectively, ultimately producing an engaged and more active consumer in making their relevant purchases.

There were also a high number of new affiliates and previously inactive affiliates receiving sales on the programme, which can also be attributed to a successful PR campaign of discount codes which is essential in generating the most productive results.

* Article from the Affiliate Window News 03/06/2008

It’s not just the networks that have to innovate

Written by Sarah on . Posted in AWin Advice, Technology

It was great to win the Best Network Innovation Award at the A4U Awards. Being innovative is what we always try and do in the technology and services we provide and in the way that we do affiliate marketing. But how are we and everyone else in the industry going to have to innovate in the next year?

For me there are a few areas:

Video

We have seen an increase in merchants who are offering video content on their sites.  Play.com do this brilliantly on their product pages. They show film trailers on the DVDs and video clips and interviews on some of the music CDs. A lot of content based affiliate sites such as blogs and product review sites are using video as a great way of advertising or talking about the products they are trying to sell. Merchants are going to want to offer affiliates this content.  Affiliates and Networks will need innovate ways to display this content.  How can networks make this easy for affiliates and merchants?

Social Networking

Social networks are a great source of traffic for merchants and affiliates. Merchants can create a social face to their brand and engage with their users very quickly and in a very personal way.  Affiliates and merchant can tap in to and engage with social network users pretty easily with the use of applications. What sort of applications can they innovate?  We have seen cashback applications, shopping applications and our own Wishlist application http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=13696735276 which is trying to get merchant products in front of Facebook users.

Mobile

Is the mobile phone going to be the new way that consumers search for products and shop? Some handsets are now great for web browsing especially the iPhone. Just the other day I received an email to my iPhone telling me about an up and coming gig. I immediately clicked on the link and booked tickets all whilst I was sitting in the pub.   Google have Android, their mobile phone operating system which will no doubt find its way on to many different handsets. With companies such as Apple and Google now firmly committed to the mobile market place are we going to see a rise in web traffic going to sites through mobile devices. Should affiliates, merchants and networks be getting ready for this? Google and Apple both offer developers an SDK to build feature rich applications that tap in to mobile handset features. Affiliates and merchants could build some mobile handset friendly websites. Facebook have a brilliant stripped back version of their site for the iPhone at http://iphone.facebook.com/. I think a lot of people will use mobile handsets to research products whilst out on the high street and if they find a good price they will complete the purchase at a home or office computer.   Affiliates will have to innovate ways to make that scenario work for them. Making a purchase through a phone handset can be hard because of the keyboard inputs and sometimes screen size limitations. Merchants may have to innovate new ways to streamline the order completion process for mobile users to overcome these issues.

What other areas do you think you and everyone else will have to innovate in the next year?

A4U Awards

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in Achievements, Network News, PerformanceIN

Last night the Sheraton Hotel on Park Lane played host to the first black tie A4U Awards ceremony. 400 affiliates, advertisers and staff from agencies and networks alike donned their finest for the event that recognised and rewarded the very best in affiliate marketing.

There were 16 awards in total and we were delighted our network, employees and merchants emerged as winners. Most notably for us we won the Publisher’s Choice of Network (for the second year in a row), significant as it was voted for by the wider affiliate community. We also picked up (again for the second year), the Best Network Innovation for ShopWindow, our shopping portal that enables affiliates to have product comparison capabilities for nearly 5 million products.

You may recall from our South Park inspired banners on the a4u Forum that both Julie Wood and Thuy Pham were up for the Publisher’s Choice of Account Manager and so we were delighted that Julie was the eventual winner with Thuy as runner up.

For those of you who couldn’t make the Awards here is a brief rundown of the categories and winners;

Best use of Creative – Winner, Prezzybox
Best use of Affiliate Marketing as part of an integrated campaign – Winner, Hotel Chocolat with Play.com highly commended
Best Network Innovation – Winner, Affiliate Window, ShopWindow toolset
Best Merchant Innovation – Winner, Prezzybox with Firebox runners up.
Finance Vertical Award – Winner, Experian
Retail Vertical Award – Winner, Graham Keen, BuyaGift
Technology & Telecoms Award – Winner, SKY with Vodafone highly commended
Travel & Leisure Vertical Award – Winner, Travelodge
Gaming Vertical – Winner, Virgin Games

PUBLISHERS CHOICE AWARDS – These are voted for by the members of the A4U Community

Publisher’s Choice of Network – Winner, Affiliate Window. Runners up were Affiliate Future.
Publisher’s Choice of Account Manager – Winner, Julie Wood and Runner up, Thuy Pham, both 2 of our very own AWin superstars.
Affiliate Manager of 2008 – Winner, Chris Clarkson of Sunshine.co.uk. Highly commended, Zak Edwards of Prezzybox
Agency of the Year – Winner, Existem AM
Publisher of the Year – Winner, eConversions with QuidCo runners up
Affiliate Marketing Blog of the Year – Winner, Here.org Kieron Donoghue.
Affiliates4U Award for Excellence – Nicky Iapino

Once the awards had been distributed everyone was invited to the Oxygen Lounge where we were hosting a special aviation themed after dinner party. Every attendee to the party received a boarding card with tear off complimentary drink strips and the lounge came complete with AWin decked out Air Hostesses, a 6 foot ‘aw’ water wall, Nintendo wii, fully stocked bar with our own A.W.O.L. cocktail, ice cream girls called ice angels and a standalone bar serving pure flavoured oxygen (a 5 minute hit was enough to blow away any cobwebs).

The night was a great success and we are over the moon with the results, we would like to thank everyone who nominated and voted for us, we are grateful for the support and we have some great things planned for the upcoming year that will ensure that we provide the best possible affiliate marketing service.

New Click Ref Report

Written by Sarah on . Posted in Technology

Hi all

You will notice in your affiliate accounts a new report. The Click Ref report reports to you the clicks that have occurred from the Click Refs that you are using.

Click Ref (Click Reference) is Affiliate Window’s functionality for allowing an affiliate to pass a value to the affiliate link. This reference is then reported alongside any sales that the affiliate link generates.

Example:
http://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?mid=3&id=45628&clickref=a4uforum

Affiliates could use Click Ref to track:

  • Which of their users are generating clicks and transactions.
  • Which search engine keywords are generating clicks and transactions.

If you manipulate the data contained in the Click Ref report with the Commission Details report you can get some really powerful information such as the individual Click Refs that are generating clicks and how many of those clicks have resulted in transactions and then the amount of commission earned. If you combine this data with your own stats or your search engine marketing provider stats you can get an end to end picture of what your visitors are doing.

It as a basic report at the moment but something that will be built upon.

Thanks

Chris