Happy 2nd Birthday To PPC Ian

Oct. 31

I can’t believe it. It feels like I just wrote about PPC Ian’s First Anniversary yesterday. Today, it’s the second anniversary of PPC Ian! (Actually, it was on 10/29, but I’m a few days late to blog about it.) I wanted to take a moment today to reflect on the last two years, and of course thank you, my loyal readers.

Some Cool PPC Ian Statistics

PPC Ian 2nd Anniversary

I’m a paid search guy, so I can’t get enough statistics. Here are some cool ones about PPC Ian:

  • 171 posts (including this one), that’s an average of 1.64 per week
  • 1,698 valued comments from my awesome readers, that’s an average of 16.33 per week
  • 73,693 spam comments deleted thanks to Akismet
  • 1,302 average visitors per day (last 30 days)
  • My top referring keyword: "sem software"
  • My most popular post: Bluehost Add-On Domains and htaccess

I’m really thrilled with how far PPC Ian has come. My goal for the next year: Push my posts per week and get that 1.64 average up to 2. PPC Ian is just getting started.

Thank You For Reading

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for reading PPC Ian. It takes a lot of persistence and dedication to keep blogging for two years. I truly love this stuff. I’m obsessed with pay per click and online marketing. That said, PPC Ian wouldn’t be at the level it is without my amazing readers. Thank you so much for your questions, comments, emails, and support. If you have a specific idea or wish list, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, a huge thank you to my amazing wife and my blog sponsors for your support. Here’s to an amazing third year and beyond!

Image of Birthday Cake © iStockPhoto – aluxum

Acquisio’s Building An Attribution Model That Works

Oct. 25

If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of Acquisio’s whitepapers, eBooks, and webinars. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you Acquisio’s latest eBook: Building An Attribution Model That Works. This free eBook totally rocks, and I highly recommend downloading it.

What Are Attribution Models?

Building An Attribution Model That Works

If you’re in the corporate world of online marketing, I’m sure you’ve heard all about attribution models. It has been a really hot topic lately, and a confusing one too. What is an attribution model? First, it involves understanding that the various marketing channels – both online and offline – work together. Rarely is a single marketing channel responsible for a conversion or sale. Rather, the various marketing channels work together, nurturing the consumer towards the sale.

Given that background, an attribution model allows marketers to take the lifetime revenue (or margin) from a sale and attribute it back to the marketing channels involved in the sales funnel. With most traditional models, the channel at the end of the funnel gets most (or all) credit. However, with a modern-day attribution model you can attribute credit back to all channels involved in a sophisticated manner. A fraction of the revenue or margin from the sale gets attributed to each channel involved in the funnel. The end result: You attribute appropriate financial credit to marketing channels so you know exactly what they’re worth (and how much to spend on them).

Acquisio’s eBook Demystifies Attribution Models

Sound confusing? It certainly can be! However, that’s where Acquisio’s Building An Attribution Model That Works comes into play. This 9-page eBook covers it all. I’m talking about diverse subjects such as:

  • Online vs. offline conversions and tying them togther
  • Pitfalls of last click attribution models
  • Multi-touch attribution models and how to build them
  • Eight easy steps to start thinking about attribution models
  • Formulating your appropriate attribution ratio
  • Seven metrics to leverage in measuring the impact of PPC on offline conversions
  • And, so much more!

I highly recommend giving this eBook a read. Attribution models are such a hot topic and whether you’re an affiliate marketer, own your own business, or manage campaigns at a direct advertiser/agency, you will want to master these concepts. They will definitely get you thinking at a strategic level and moreover empower you to optimize like never before. After downloading and reading Building An Attribution Model That Works, you may also want to check out Acquisio’s other eBooks, whitepapers, and webinars (my favorites highlighted below). Best of all, they are all free!

Image In This Post © Acquisio

Protecting Your Brand Name From Link Hijacking

Oct. 18

Do you run large PPC campaigns at a brand name company? Do you drive a lot of conversions from your brand name keywords (at really low CPA)? Do you also have an affiliate program on a popular affiliate network such as Commission Junction? If you answered “yes” to these questions, today’s paid search tip is definitely for you! I’m going to share some quick tips on protecting yourself from affiliate link hijacking.

First, What Is Affiliate Link Hijacking?

Security

For the purpose of this post, affiliate link hijacking is when one of your affiliates buys your trademark keywords on Google AdWords or Microsoft adCenter and intentionally copies your ad word for word, character for character, and even sends the traffic to the same landing pages that you do (on your website, not their own website). The only difference between the affiliate’s ad and yours? The affiliate injects their own affiliate tracking code (versus the tracking parameters you user for your internal paid search program). It’s extremely hard to detect because the ad looks just like your own ad, from your internal campaign.

Typically, affiliates will bid really high so they show up instead of you. Also, they will employ really sneaky tactics such as targeting states other than the one your main office is in (so you will not see what they’re doing with your normal day-to-day sanity checks). Sometimes, they will even leverage dayparting to show up at odd hours (when you may not be checking quite as frequently).

At the end of the day, your company still gets the conversions (they just come from the affiliate instead of the internal marketing team). However, depending on what you pay your affiliates, this could be less efficient for your company. Moreover, it’s just plain wrong. It’s stealing. The affiliate is taking a conversion that should be attributed to the internal PPC team for themselves. Most of the time, such practices are against the agreements you have with your affiliates.

An important point to remember: Many businesses have a path to conversion, especially if you’re in a complex purchase cycle vertical like financial services or B2B. Users will click multiple keywords before buying. The reason the CPA is so low on your TM keywords is a result of your ad spend on other keywords (and media channels). Basically, affiliates that hijack URLs are taking advantage of all your marketing spend on the more expensive keywords (and channels), enjoying the profitable TM keywords for themselves.

How Can You Prevent Affiliate Hijacking?

So, how do you prevent something like this? First and foremost, I recommend looking at technologies like The Search Monitor and AdGooroo. Such tools will help you detect (and therefore correct) such incidents in an automated fashion. That said, they do not work with 100% accuracy. Savvy affiliates will often find a way to outsmart the automated tools. Also, no tool is perfect. My best advice is to couple technology with good old fashioned manual review. Click your own links. Make sure the tracking URLs are correct. Try different states. Try different times of the day. Make sure to cover both Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter. Add it to your PPC Campaign Checks.

If you do happen to detect and affiliate breaking the rules and hijacking your URL, copy the URL (and their tracking code) immediately. Take screenshots. Then, go to your affiliate team (if it’s a different team than your own) and make the case that they contact the affiliate immediately. I’m a one strike and you’re out kind of guy on this topic. I recommend banning the affiliate from your program. However, your affiliate team probably won’t want to see their numbers go down so they may give the affiliate a warning which means they may become a repeat offender in the future. If this happens again, then you definitely need to ban them from your program.

I’m An Affiliate Marketer and Most Affiliates Are Great

I want to close out by making it really clear that I’m personally an affiliate marketer and I have so much respect for affiliates. It’s hard, painstaking work to scale an affiliate marketing operation. Most affiliates are good affiliates. In fact, most are great. These are the affiliates innovating, working hard, and making the Internet a better place. However, there are always a few bad apples (as with anything). This post is really geared towards protecting yourself from those bad apples. I just want to make it clear that most affiliates are good and affiliate marketing is a very important media channel for any business.

Image of Security © iStockPhoto – pearleye

Exclusive Ryan Eagle Interview

Oct. 10

Ryan EagleInterviews have been a really popular topic here on PPC Ian and today I’m thrilled to interview none other than Ryan Eagle. Ryan is Founder and Managing Partner of Eagle Web Assets (EWA), the company behind EWA Private Network and BLAM Ads. If you’re in the affiliate marking world you probably already know all about Ryan and his companies. After all, they represent some of the largest, most established, and simply best affiliate networks around. And, it doesn’t hurt that Ryan offers industry-leading payouts.

I’m particularly excited about this interview because Ryan Eagle is an incredibly successful young entrepreneur. His affiliate networks are unparalleled and he’s become seriously established as a business leader in our industry, very early in his life. This is something I truly admire as someone who continually aspires to do extraordinary things early on in my own career.

Whether you’re starting your own business, affiliate marketing full time, or in the corporate world of online marketing, I’m certain you will enjoy this interview. After you’re done reading, I also encourage you to check out Ryan’s affiliate networks and sign up. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Ryan, thanks so much for interviewing with PPC Ian.

I appreciate the opportunity! I’ve been a long-time reader ever since I saw the Facebook Ad on the side of my profile poking out at me. You were the first blogger I’ve ever seen successfully build a self-promotional advertising strategy, it really caught my attention! Let’s get straight to the gist of this interview…

How did you first get started in the affiliate marketing industry?

I’ve been a full time marketer since 2004 and got involved with affiliate marketing in 2005. I started my empire by developing sites and ranking them in the search engines, often capturing the top three ranks for various keywords. I generated immense amounts of traffic this way and profited through various adserving mediums like YPN and AdSense. While running AdSense on my site, I noticed that the majority of advertising on my site was from affiliate marketers so I decided to cut out the middleman and use the same campaigns and banners they were using on my site. My first affiliate commission was a WebFetti lead, but the dating niche is what got me hooked into the industry. Coming from PPC advertising when I was used to the 30 minute tracking delay, the instant conversions got me addicted. I could literally watch leads fly in while my commission built up – this was the industry for me.

When did you decide to start your own affiliate network?

EWA

Honestly, I wanted to develop BLAM Ads far before I wanted to create a traditional affiliate network. I was one of the largest ZangoCash publishers during my heydays in SEO. I was generating hundreds of thousands a month when they introduced their Zango Gateway medium and I was one of the first publishers using their gateway. All my time was spent figuring out new ways to monetize my sites, so I pioneered the gateway and successfully added a huge stream of profit. Because I was so successful with the gateway, I wanted to develop something similar but couldn’t connect the dots because I was not yet connected enough in the industry.

Upon changing focus into affiliate marketing and media buying display campaigns, it was pretty clear to me that I needed to eventually make the step up. I wanted to do it the right way and the only way to do that would be to continue building enough capital to float the merchants directly. I saved all my business capital for years, reinvesting it over and over into larger media buys. After connecting with a long time friend in person at Affiliate Summit West, we decided it was time to develop a partnership together. He was leaving a bad partnership and I was prepared to leverage my reputation to gain affiliates. My business partner, Harrison Gevirtz, is a prodigy and is well known throughout the merchant space due to his early success. The partnership worked out perfectly and within a couple months we opened EWA Network together. Since launching less than three years ago, EWA Network has become a leading affiliate network – taking the majority of affiliate market-share while maintaining our exclusivity.

Could you please discuss EWA Private Network? Is this network best for new affiliates or more seasoned affiliates?

New affiliates, novice affiliates, experienced affiliates: it does not matter. We are looking for the most ambitious and serious affiliates in the industry. EWA is a private, referral only network that has kept our doors closed since opening – only accepting publishers based on word of mouth from affiliates already inside our exclusive community. Unlike the other networks, we’ve never offered an incentive to our current publishers to refer: we just go above and beyond in every aspect possible and ask for the help back. My team and I spends all our time figuring out ways to outdo the competition and set new standards that other networks have yet to reach.

We do make exceptions and accept publishers into our network so we can get some new blood, but we only want the most serious publishers to partake in our exclusive community. I take pride in the fact that we have worked side by side, watching affiliates hit their first $100, $1000 and $10,000 profit days with us. EWA currently has over (3100) direct offers In (210) countries – over three times the next leading competitor. I personally write three newsletters a week, sharing with publishers our internal media campaigns so they too can succeed. In addition to the newsletters, we were the first network to create a twitter and the only network to successfully use it. EWA was the first network to create a community where affiliates actually help each other, and now is the largest gathering of marketers on the net. On top of all this, we pay all of our publishers weekly with no threshold, we push out epic guides that explain in detail how to promote certain niches, and campaign mini-guides every week. You can compare EWA to any other network, on any point and we will beat them. That is why we’ve reached the success so quickly: we truly care about the success of our affiliates.

How about BLAM Ads? How does this differ from EWA Private Network?

BLAM Ads

BLAM Ads is a content locking technology for webmasters to add to their websites and applications. By adding code to websites, webmasters can generate an additional 200% from their properties in comparison to traditional platforms like AdSense and AdBright. When code is added, the visitor has to complete a survey or incentivized offer to access the content or the code will not unlock. Instead of getting paid pennies for clicks, you get paid CPA’s as high as $30.00 per conversion. BLAM Ads technology makes webmasters more money than any leading adserving technology and has far higher EPC’s than any content locking competitor. Simply add the HTML code to your website and watch the money fly in! Our gateway automatically optimizes to display the best ads for your sites demographic and geographical location to make your more money than any other ad network. Our technology is unrivaled in the advertising industry, successfully monetizing visitors from over 210 countries. BLAM Ads technology gives you full creative control when building your gateway so you can make it match your website unobtrusively. In addition to the 750 templates we provide, we provide advanced editing options allowing you to customize every aspect down to the font size!

In addition the the content locking technology, we have an incent-only affiliate network. Affiliates get access to over 1900 offers spanning 210 countries, allowing you to promote via traditional arbitrage with PPC, PPV and social traffic sources. Our experienced staff will help you build profitable campaigns using unique methods exclusive to incentivized campaigns. Publishers opt-in to get weekly payments after their fist month of activity at BLAM Ads, giving you the cashflow needed to scale further! BLAM Ads’ affiliate network software offers full postback API technology allowing your custom applications to interact with our system. Developers use our incentivized campaigns to drive revenue via social applications, games, TGP’s and point-based sites and membership sections. We carried the same ethics from EWA and applied them to BLAM Ads, creating the fastest growing content locking network in history.

Any advice for those looking to make it big in affiliate marketing (or starting their own web business in general)?

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll reiterate it again: stop spending all your time reading, researching, posting on forums, and reading ebooks. You are wasting time. To be a businessman, you need self-discipline and you need to get into the trenches. The longer you spend reading about this industry, the farther you are away from actually making money. Learning about affiliate marketing is like finding Waldo, there are endless articles and books for you to read. The biggest lessons I learned were by pulling my credit card out, spending some money and losing some money. I slaved in front of the computer for 18 hours building campaigns, only to lose hundreds of dollars. I was persistent. I did not accept loss. I kept pushing forward until I had my first profitable day and then from there it was upward. When I got started in the industry, there were no books or guides on how to make money as an affiliate. I feel like the overflow of information out there is driving people out from actually making money in the first place. Even members at my networks get an information overload from the guides I put out myself. Action makes money, just do it – if I could do it, then you can to. It’s not rocket science, it’s marketing.

What types of affiliates perform the best on your networks? PPC, PPV, SEO, domainers, others?

At EWA we focus on working with social, contextual and media buying affiliates. I put out guides on these subjects because it’s all I know, I cannot lead people in directions I know nothing about. EWA has some of the largest media buyers in the entire industry working under our wings because of the infrastructure we’ve built for them. EWA is the only network that truly cares about our affiliates success and we work harder than anyone out there. Over at BLAM Ads, we work with a wide array of marketers: everyone from domainers parking their traffic with us, to viral developers, to webmasters that own sites getting hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. BLAM Ads works with all levels of publishers, our goal is to show webmasters with traditional ad platforms on their site that they can make more money. BLAM actively works with thousands of affiliates, webmasters, and developers to monetize their properties.

What’s your biggest challenge as a CEO?

Well, claiming that I am CEO would be wrong: I have an equal partner, Harrison Gevirtz who joined Eagle Web Assets in 2009 to develop EWA Private Network. Without him, I would have never reached the heights that I have now – so I give credit where credit is due. I founded Eagle Web Assets in 2004 and operated alone until 2007 when I brought my father, Tom Eagle, in as the Executive Vice President. As our company grew, more employees came on board and we’ve since grown to a company with over 135 employees. The hardest part of my job is that everyone I work with I consider a friend, so when I have to come down on someone it’s hard for me. Working with friends of mine has been a huge part to the success of my company, but at the same time as we grew larger and became more corporate the rules and regulations changed. Even though most people at my company think that I’m pretty ruthless, making the hard decisions burdens me greatly. I take great pride in providing a livelihood for my employees, seeing them bypass their goals, and we have truly created a culture of pure dedication.

Any closing thoughts for PPC Ian readers?

Persistence. Discipline. Determination. These are the attributes you need to be successful as an affiliate or a business owner. I was asked last week if it was smarts or pure “hustle” that made my success. My response was that my determination to succeed was what got me where I’m at now: it had nothing to do with being smart. I was a 2.7GPA student, I still can barely do math, and I could make a two page list of people smarter than me. The only way for you to achieve greatness is to step out of your comfort zone, battle through the rough times and remember: money does not come easy – especially if I’m out here. I still work as hard as I did when I got started, I still keep connected with my clients, I still speak to my affiliates. Do not give up because everything will be fighting against you – and that is what will determine your success.

Thanks so much, Ryan! It has been a true honor.

So there you have it! Everyone, thanks so much for reading my exclusive interview with Ryan Eagle, Founder and Managing Partner of Eagle Web Assets (EWA). If you’re looking to make money online with affiliate marketing, I highly recommend checking out Ryan’s networks: EWA Private Network and BLAM Ads.

Images in this post © Ryan Eagle

Celebrity Endorsement Tips For Online Marketing

Oct. 05

There’s no denying it, celebrities carry amazing marketing power! The right celebrity endorsement can totally propel your business to the next level. Today, I want to share a few interesting ideas around leveraging celebrity endorsements in your online marketing efforts.

Celebrities Will Tweet About You On Sponsored Tweets

Red Carpet Celebrity

First and foremost, I recommend checking out Sponsored Tweets, by IZEA. This really cool platform allows you to pay for Tweets from celebrities with huge Twitter followings. I actually tried this out a while back and purchased a Sponsored Tweet from Jonathan Volk. The tweet cost me around $50, and the traffic ended up being very cost effective on a CPC basis. I had a great experience!

In addition to web celebrities like Jonathan, there are major entertainment industry celebrities on Sponsored Tweets as well. I’m talking about names like Kim Kardashian, Marlon Wayans, and The Fat Boys. (Side note: You may wish to check out my post about how Rap Inspires My Online Marketing, and yes I am listening to Rick Ross right now.) A big name tweeting about you will not only drive traffic, but will enhance your brand image. Moreover, you may be able to cite the tweet on your site as a recent media mention. This citation could immediately improve your site’s conversion rate, especially your PPC landing pages.

Get In On Google’s Celebrity Endorsement Beta

I had so much fun at Google’s AT&T Park Luxury Suite. In addition to taking client relationship management to the next level, Google is launching more exciting beta tests than ever before. Recently, Search Engine Land wrote a neat post about Google Testing a Celebrity Endorsement Program. This is a great opportunity, especially if you’re a larger advertiser. If you have a dedicated AdWords team, reach out to see if they can include you in the beta.

Leverage Your PR Team

As my third and final tip today, I highly recommend working closely with your PR team if you are in the corporate world of online marketing (like myself). Your PR team already holds relationships with major media channels and publications. If you’re at a large company, they also likely have relationships with celebrities and public figures who can endorse your product (or have already done so).

Research the Ts and Cs of the agreements that are in place. Run your celebrity endorsement marketing ideas by your legal team. You may find out that you can leverage these PR press mentions in your online marketing materials. If you can’t right off the bat, you may be able to negotiate with the publication or public figure and strike a deal. Your PR team is your best friend!

Image of red carpet © iStockPhoto – adventtr