Results of My Google Analytics Outbound Link Tracking Experiment

Two weeks ago I set up affiliate link tracking in my Google Analytics. Although the program doesn’t pay much per sale, it does convert pretty well given my generic traffic. They do offer detailed stats but I suspected that it reports too many clicks (including bot clicks) and I always wanted to track this via Google Analytics. Not just for the sake of fun, I hoped that maybe I will get some insights that will help me make more sales. Two weeks later, I hope I have a large enough sample to analyze.

First, initially I estimated that I earn in average $0.08 per click on my affiliate links. I wanted to see if that would be correct when tracked more closely with GA.

Well, the answer is more like $0.062 per click so far but past two weeks weren’t brilliant. I guess it could change if I keep testing for longer.

Second, having sent unique 1350 clicks in two weeks (according to GA and 1580 according to vendor’s reports), I can see what people tend to click the most. A lot of it is because of the way the titles are written, and then there is something I didn’t expect them to click all that much, but they do!

Third, although people are clicking, they still tend to buy one and the same thing. There is not much variety in what they buy. To make things worse, the buyers could be actually targeted traffic from Google that land on a relevant article that also has an affiliate link, which I am not tracking.

The experiment is messed up by the simple fact that most people will not buy from the first click. They will take some time to browse the vendor’s site and then buy or even come back next day. Once they click on second page on the vendor’s site, my unique tracking code that tells me what link they clicked to get there is gone. Yes, I do get commission, but I can’t make any valuable conclusions from my statistics data.

So once again: there are things they click and there are things they buy, and the two are not necessarily the same thing. I probably should remove all links that they click but don’t buy. This way I will stop sending the vendor tons of free traffic that rarely converts and keep it to myself. I will send less traffic, but my earnings per click will hopefully go up. Something to think about.

Fourth, I now have remarketing lists for people who clicked the links and for people who visited relevant pages that were more likely to convert. I could blend the two and target them with Google Adwords and maybe earn more than $0.06-$0.08 per click because they are supposed to be highly targeted.

Fifth, all the missing pieces of this puzzle could be tracked with Google Analytics if I owned the product myself and had the ability to place the code on the product site. It’s not the fault of GA, it’s my limiting situation. For those who have their own products to sell and don’t use GA to track the conversion flow, who don’t set up goals and events — you have no idea what you are missing!

Sixth, it costs me $45 to receive the bank transfer payment. Minimum payout is $250. I probably should ask them to increase the minimum payout for me so that I don’t pay $45 on every $300-$350.

Not many good conclusions, but it was fun anyway. I will keep this for longer until I know what to do with this. I am all to busy with other things now.

Adsense Text Ads with Tiny Images?

Adsense Text Ads Features Images

I was converting one of my static websites to WordPress this morning and came across an Adsense ad that looked like this:

Adsense Text Ads Features Images

It’s a combination of text and image, just like Chitika used to be (or still is). Long ago I heard that Adsense has tested this at one point of time (before Chitika) but when CTR skyrocketed they have stopped this test. After this they updated their polices to prohibit placing images near their ads. I find it very interesting that they are testing this again.

Keep 100% of Your Advertising Revenue

Keep 100% of Your Advertising Revenue

If you have content-based website where you simply share your knowledge with others and have no product or service to sell, monetizing can be quite difficult. Services like Google Adsense take up to 50 percent of your revenue and you have to put their ads inside the content to get those petty clicks.

Keep 100% of Your Advertising RevenueIf you have a high-traffic website or a very niche website with some traffic you might be able to attract advertisers yourself. The problem is, you really don’t have time or desire to negotiate with advertisers, manage ad spots and issue bills every month.

Fortunately little something called OIO Publisher can solve this for you.

What is OIO Publisher?

OIO Publisher is a PHP script that allows you to sell ad space on your website without sharing revenue with anyone else. Here is what it allows you to do:

  • set up ad zones for banners
  • sell text links ads
  • earn by writing paid reviews
  • set up your own affiliate program where you pay commission to others for bringing you advertisers
  • charge per day, per impression, or per click
  • get detailed reports on impressions and clicks (for yourself and advertisers)

Get paid via

  • 2Checkout
  • Offline Payments
  • Google Checkout
  • Payza
  • Authorize.net
  • PayPal

PayPal has subscription option, so you can set it on autopilot and charge advertiser automatically every month until he cancels it. Set and forget!

So you basically install the script, set your prices, put codes on your site and forget it. Of course you might want to send a few emails to potential advertisers telling them about your new setup.

Technical stuff

According to what the author says the script will work on any PHP website (including WordPress of course. WordPress plugin is available and is really easy to install). However, from what I can see, it’s possible to set it up on one website and place actual ads on another website. So if you are on something like Site Build It! or other restrictive platform that doesn’t allow you to use PHP or WordPress you can use this script but you’ll need a workaround.

Here is what to do: get another domain, host it somewhere where you can have WordPress or PHP (I highly recommend Hostgator), install plugin and grab JavaScript code for ad zones. You will know what it means when you get the script. Place that Javascript on your SBI! website (for the sake of example) and you are done. Your new website will process orders while your main website will earn you money.

Another cool thing you can do

Since Javascript ad zones will work on any website, you can agree with other websites in your niche and place Javascript codes on other websites too and share the revenue. This is particularly good if you don’t have much traffic. If you don’t have much traffic you might not be able to approach potential advertisers yourself, but when you have a group of websites in the same niche, your combined traffic might be very interesting for them.

Get OIO Publisher now »

Planning Sweepstakes – Any Advice?

prize

A few months ago SBI’s superstar Elad made an interesting interview (available here) where he actually revealed the secret of his traffic. Well, he might have many other secrets – Elad is obviously a very clever guy, but still he revealed enough.

prizeThe interview was made to promote SBI!, however if you watch his interview and listen carefully, you’ll realize his success has nothing to do with SBI! Well of course, that’s how he started, but then he discovered his own unique way to success which he shared in that video.

Doubting? His new printables website is not hosted by SBI! In addition, it appears he transferred some of his old websites away from SBI!. I am not saying this to take another chance to pick on SBI! I don’t really hate them, although I didn’t like to be there. Here’s the proof – today they are going to make another interview with one successful lady and I am going to watch. I like new ideas! This post is not another SBI! scam or legit post. I don’t want to be dragged into that. It’s about traffic generation.

Elad nailed it – contest, prizes, particularly cash prizes are the key to driving traffic. John Chow does it all the time. It must be the way. I am tired of my petty dependence on Google. I want to break free. I decided to run sweepstakes with cash prizes. No, guys, not here. Not yet 🙂

I am really new to this. Does anyone have any constructive advice? Any useful links? Any warnings (laws for example)? Any suggestions will be very much appreciated.

Edited to add:
just found something useful http://www.savingforsomeday.com/blog-law-is-your-giveaway-legal/

Unexpected Checks in the Mail – It Finally Happened to Me!

Unexpected Checks in Mail - It finally Happened to Me!

Yes, it did! And this didn’t require any type of meditation or any other crazy stuff you might hear from advocates of what they call Law of Attraction.

In fact, I was feeling quite negative yesterday as I was obsessing about two checks from Hostgator that were apparently lost in mail. I was sending them angry emails, making a lot of noise in forums and was threatening to pack my stuff and leave to another host. As you’ll see, it got resolved later. Poor guys have really no idea why my checks are getting lost. Yesterday was a big payday!

Few months ago I wrote about my experience with BlogAds.com here. It was very positive and I can attest that it only got better. I still work with them and think it’s going to be a long relationship.

Unexpected Checks in Mail - It finally Happened to Me!BlogAds says the minimum payout for checks and bank transfers is $750 (for PayPal it’s only $75), however my yesterday’s check was for about $200 – that’s why it came as a surprise. It was hand-written by a real human – something I came to appreciate in this digital world!

Upon closer investigation I discovered that BlogAds still has minimum threshold of $750 for checks and bank transfers – nothing changed here. However, they pay out all earnings regardless of amount once a year on February 15! How weird is that? That’s exactly what happened.

As for Hostgator’s issue, it got resolved within a few hours. They had to cancel two lost checks and pay me via PayPal. Technically I can’t use PayPal in this country, but the problem with Hostgator’s checks forced me to think a little harder. Finally, I came up with solution to have an agreement with another person (my husband that is ;-)) who has a bank account in another country. Hostgator was able to send the payment there. I am all happy now!

This new arrangement with PayPal is somewhat inconvenient, because I will be losing money on currency exchange rates and won’t be able to cash it out immediately. On the positive side though, the limitation of PayPal (or lack of thereof) isn’t there anymore and now I can work with many other companies who have only PayPal as a payment option. I can also buy stuff I never could buy before, because some vendors simply assume that everyone has PayPal.

In addition, there was Adsense money yesterday. It was kind of hard to find MTCN for Western Union after they upgraded my account to a new payment system. Hopefully, I will get used to new layout.

This fairy tale continued into today, when local customer who always pays his hosting fees at least six months later called me to say they want to get it covered until 2014.

There are pretty amazing days in life.