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 »

When Your Shortcode Stops Working… How to Create Your Own Shortcode!

Free plugins are awesome and most can be used with no fear, but let’s face it, bad things do happen at times. Yesterday I discovered that author of my Adsense plugin decided he could earn from my site. All my ads disappeared and were replaced with his ads 😐

The plugin was quite simple, it was basically shortcodes that I had to insert manually to all my pages. Although there are automated solutions, I prefer it this way, because I control how and where my ads appear.

Needless to say, I got rid of his plugin immediately. There was no serious harm to my site, but I still needed a solution for my ads.

Having to install another plugin didn’t seem like an attractive idea. Going through hundreds of pages removing his shortcodes and replacing with something new was out of question. I needed to get my old broken shortcode work the way it did without plugin.

His shortcode looked like this

[wp_ad_camp_1]

It was inserted into each post of my site. Normally it was displaying ads, but now my visitors were seeing ugly [wp_ad_camp_1] in between paragraphs…

Fortunately, this was easy to fix. I went to my WordPress files in cPanel wp-content –> Themes –> My Current Theme folder –> functions.php

I added this to my functions.php (at the end)

/*MY AD SHORTCODES*/
function MyPersonalShortcode() {
    return 'AD CODE GOES HERE';
}
add_shortcode('wp_ad_camp_1', 'MyPersonalShortcode');

Voila, I am a big girl now. My ads are running. I don’t need your plugin!

Pay attention: I made sure I have wp_ad_camp_1 in the last line, because it should match the old shortcode exactly. Anything would work, but the whole point is to get your old broken shortcode do what you want it to do. So if you ever find yourself in similar situation, make sure you insert exactly same shortcode name as your old shortcode. Function MyPersonalShortcode can be anything you wish.

Obviously, AD CODE GOES HERE has to be replaced with your ad or piece of text you want to display.

Warning:
1. Backup your functions.php before editing.

2. When you edit, make sure you leave no empty spaces in your functions.php – that is before the first line of code and after the last line. It’s really easy to leave spaces without realizing and what you get is that you can’t access your WordPress admin area – you’ll get a blank screen instead. If you manage to access your dashboard, you are likely to have issues with Media gallery, and when saving any new modifications. You’ll be getting blank screen every time. While it sounds and looks very scary, the fix is easy – go back to your functions.php and remove empty lines. Hit Save and you should be fine.

3. This code is very simple. There are more sophisticated ways of doing this. However this is enough to insert an ad or a piece of text in place of your shortcodes.

4. If your site is completely messed up after modifying functions.php, you did something wrong :p Don’t worry, just get rid of any new code you just inserted and hit save again. You’ll be back to your old version. Now you can take time to think what you did wrong then try again.