The nature of advertising on the Internet has changed dramatically in its relatively short history. In the beginning, one of the most common practices was for advertisers to approach individual websites directly. They would then place an image-based banner somewhere for a flat monthly fee. There was no tracking of how many impressions the banner got, how many click-thrus it received, and how much revenue was directly as the result of that ad placement.
Fast forward to today and the online landscape has changed dramatically in just about every way, including website monetization. While there are still some direct arrangements for flat monthly fees, it has become far more common to see performance-based advertising instead. This started with costs based on impressions (CPM), then costs based on number of clicks (CPC), before moving on to the relationship that is possibly the most mutually beneficial: costs based on actual actions taken (CPA). That’s where affiliate marketing enters the picture.
Many a novice publisher new to the world of affiliate marketing still goes about this form of monetization with the archaic mindset of “set it and forget it.” The fact of the matter is that if this publisher wants to maximize his earnings, simply tossing up a banner at some random location on the website and hoping for conversions probably won’t cut it. There needs to be more.
To get the most out of affiliate marketing, multiple paths, strategies and tactics can be employed. For starters, traffic sources and traffic generation have become incredibly diverse. In addition to organic traffic that finds the website content naturally, there is a great deal of search engine marketing as well. This can be used to drive search engine users to the landing page, which could in turn result in a conversion and an earned commission through a relevant affiliate offer.
Similarly, tapping into social media followings, YouTube video leads, and mobile advertising can be very lucrative when utilized correctly, strategically and intelligently. Indeed, including mobile as part of an overall marketing plan can be a terrific way to increase affiliate earnings.
Looking ahead at the rest of 2015, we’re expecting to see a significant growth in the areas of native advertising and content marketing. As a publisher, even if you are not approached by a potential advertiser directly, you can effectively act on their behalf by carefully crafting the right kind of value-added content for your website. These are articles and resources that are informative, interesting or entertaining to your readers, but have the side benefit of being monetized by a relevant affiliate offer. By recommending a particular product, you are providing a valuable service to your readers.
And this monetized content need not necessarily be brand new either. In the context of blogs, for instance, it is perfectly viable to browse through your existing archive to see if there are any older posts that can be similarly monetized with corresponding affiliate offers from international vendors. A strategically placed link or small image ad integrated into the article can be particularly effective if that article already ranks well for target keywords and keyword phrases.
At the end of the day, the best way for publishers to maximize their earnings and reap the greatest benefits from affiliate marketing is to be creative. Leave no stone unturned and dare to think outside the box. You just might surprise yourself.