A few years ago, when I was still getting my feet wet in internet marketing and not making very much money, I had a conversation with an incredibly successful affiliate marketer. This man had come from humble beginnings, starting with little seed money and no marketing knowledge to generating millions of dollars in commissions for himself in less than a year.And he did this by promoting lead-gen offers in the financial space, one the most fiercely competitive and difficult to break into niches out there.Of course, I was dying to learn the secret of his success.I knew he worked very hard, but lots of people work hard without approaching his level of success. So I pressed him to tell me exactly what he was doing to be wildly successful where so many of his competitors failed. And he told me.He said….
“I track everything down to the individual ad level from impression to conversion”
He was advertising on AdWords in the highly contested finance niche, where clicks could easily cost $4-$10 each. His competitors were experienced affiliates and PPC managers for major performance advertisers, so they knew what they were doing.They all carefully tracked each keyword via a unique subid, so they knew exactly which keywords were converting well for their offer. But they weren’t tracking everything.When building a PPC campaign, most advertisers, even experienced search marketers, take two parallel paths in optimizing their campaign:
- They look at every keyword’s CTR and conversion rate, and eliminate poorly performing keywords that either have a high CPC(because of low CTR) or a low EPC(because of low conversion rate)
- Simultaneously, they test different headlines on their ads to see which one gets more clicks, keeping the ads that have a higher CTR
Do you see what they’re missing????
After finding keywords, the advertisers in this niche would spend most of their efforts on writing enticing ads, using words like FREE! and Try It Now! that would get a lot of clicks, thus lowering their cost per click.This clever affiliate wasn’t doing that, because he knew better. And the reason he knew better is that he wasn’t just tracking how every keyword was converting like everyone else…he was also tracking how every single ad he wrote was converting.For every ad he wrote, he appended a unique tracking ID to the destination URL, which would get passed through as part of the subid to that offer. He had a huge spreadsheet listing thousands of these ID numbers and the unique ad variation and ad group it corresponded to.The meticulous record keeping paid off. By tracking how every single ad converted, he soon realized that his most profitable and successful ads were not the ones with the highest CTR. In fact, some of the ads that got less clicks were responsible for the majority of conversions.Those clicks cost more, but they brought in much higher quality traffic. Instead of trying to get as many people as possible to click on his ad, he pre-qualified potential customers through the ad text, so only the most motivated and profitable customers clicked through to his landing page.When all of his competitors were losing money trying to get a high click through rate and getting cheaper clicks, he optimized his campaign at the individual ad level, went for targeted clicks over cheap clicks and was incredibly successful.Had this affiliate not been tracking every ad, he would have continued to put up high-CTR but low converting ads, lost money on the campaign, and missed out on millions of dollars in revenue for his business.Track every single headline, body, display URL, image, anything and everything. Follow the user from the specific ad all the way to the conversion.If you’re not tracking every little bit of data possible, I guarantee you’re losing money. Don’t make that mistake.