5 Secrets to Improve Your Relationship with your Network

October 24, 2008

Working with a performance based ad network can make you a superstar, or can get you in the hot seat quicker than you can say Vonage.

Here are a few tips that will help you as the advertiser get back into the control seat. Networks have a tendency to promise the moon, and deliver a hunk of cheese. Don’t let this happen to you. Work closely with the right partner and you’ll reap the rewards. Give up that control, and they will send you a bag full of useless leads that will kill your entire marketing budget. Be smart – understand your allowable acquisition and get in front of a few different networks. Ask lots of questions and insist on the following – and you’ll be fine.

1. Demand full disclosure and transparency – If your brand is large enough they will offer it. If not, find a partner that will. You need the control of knowing where your ads are running.
2. Request certain hand selected publishers receive a higher payout (at the networks expense – reduced margin) to drive more volume.
A. Make sure payouts are listed privately – so you don’t anger other publishers running the offer
3. Insist that the appropriate checks and balances are in place
A. List the number of leads you’re willing to pay for in a set time frame – ie, if a publisher generates 2000 leads over the weekend, but you’ve capped the offer at 1000 leads – you’re not held responsible – PUT THIS IN WRITING IN THE CONTRACT
4. Set weekly conference calls – If you think there’s nothing to discuss, think again – something ALWAYS comes up
5. Don’t be bullied into unfavorable payment terms – Networks are HIGHLY competitive, and they need your business.

Go get em!


October 16, 2008

Ask any sales person at a network what year they were founded, and chances are the answer will be in or around 2000. Back then it was like the wild west for networks. Affiliates were making fast money, and most networks were not regulated. This was a fun time for sure. What most fail to tell you is the offers that made them the most money back then, are most likely causing them, or have at some time caused them the biggest headaches today.

Top Revenue Generating offers that cause the biggest headaches for Networks

1. Ringtones = WHY? FTC crack down
Some networks got themselves into trouble when (after seeing the massive revenue generating power of ringtones, formed white label solutions with the providers) – BIG MISTAKE. When the FTC investigated the call to action ie, “sign up for a FREE ringtone” the networks were being held accountable for the misleading communication in conjunction with the ringtone provider. Yikes.

2. Incentive Offers = WHY? Quality issues
Incentivized offers themselves are fine, and generate some phenomenal leads for the right advertiser (continuity programs with credit cards – like Blockbuster) is a great example, but when a rookie sales person tells you to allow affiliates to incentivize your offer and there’s no credit card transaction involved you’ll have 10,000 leads in one day that will be totally useless. Would you pay for them? I didn’t think so.

3. Email Offers = WHY? SPAM
Email converts very well for many advertisers. Back in 2000 with limited regulation publishers would spam consumers and collect handsomely from the networks. Many networks have since implemented solid stop- gaps, but man those SPAMMERS kill ya! Ask the network if you can provide an unsub lisk, or if they have a master unsub list. Also, have a from line, subject line, text and html version. To ensure some control – make sure you (the advertiser) can dictate when the publishers can drop the emails.

Each of these types of offers still generate an immense amount of revenue on networks, but take up a lot of time and effort to regulate. When investigating a partner for your next campaign, don’t be afraid to ask the network how they address each of these issues. It will save you the headaches in the long run.

Geek Cast

October 3, 2008

This week on Geek Cast – Shawn Collins goes solo while Lisa Picarille was away running her Social Media Marketing Summit. As usual Shawn does a great job covering new and exciting topics in the Affiliate Marketing world. I would however love to hear more about international affiliate marketing programs on the show. Although I’m obviously biased an an employee of a multinational such as zanox, I also feel that with the economy experiencing the current swoon, that we should be looking overseas for additional affiliates, and advertisers.

What are you thoughts? Do you think we need to focus internationally to avoid the economic crunch? Or do you think we’re just fine?

Let me know what you think?

Fall is here

September 26, 2008

As we slide into the last days of September suffice to say: Fall is officially upon us.

What does that mean if you’re an affiliate marketer? Well, I thought I’d list the top 3 things that every affiliate marketer should be thinking about right now. Christmas is closer than you think, and Halloween is upon us.. So yes – you should be thinking about certain key things other than the Fall Foliage of course).

1. Halloween Offers
2. Christmas Offers
3. Ad:Tech New York

Regarding #1
For some networks this may be too little too late. Halloween offers are already converting like crazy, and if you don’t have the bandwidth to get these offers up and running by early next week, then you’re already behind.

Regarding #2
Christmas offers can mean simply reaching out to your best advertises on your network and requesting some great Christmas landing pages, or Christmas creative. Even requesting some special Christmas coupons, discounts, or any kind of “freemium” type of offering will help you out this holiday season.

Regarding #3
I’ll be speaking at the show this year, and if it’s even remotely near the insanity of last year than we’re all in for a massive treat. The New York Hilton becomes a complete madhouse – and truthfully – I love it.

Finally – no, I have no idea what I’m going to be this year for Halloween

Got any suggestions?

zanox Business Wire Press Release

July 8, 2008

NEW YORK – (Business Wire) zanox, a global leader in performance-based online marketing, today announced the company’s significant growth in the fiscal year 2007, including global revenue generation of more than 166 million EUR (261.8 million USD), across key sectors including the T.I.M.E.S. (Telecommunication, Internet, Media, Entertainment, Software), Travel, Retail & Shopping and Finance verticals. Overall, the Berlin-based provider of affiliate marketing experienced 55 percent company growth, surpassing industry averages of 33.2 percent for the online marketing sector (as reported in the PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2008-2012).

“zanox brings affiliate advertisers and publishers together on a global scale with an international footprint unrivaled by other ad networks,” said Christopher Dessi, Vice President of Advertiser Sales, North America. “We’ve made significant strides over the past year and are dedicated to growing the company’s U.S. presence with new customers, key partnerships and product upgrades throughout 2008.”

zanox’s corporate growth and increased revenue are credited to investments from German Axel Springer AG and Swiss PubliGroupe AG made in May 2007, which enabled the company to grow the number of subsidiaries as well as significantly expand it’s global reach to encompass more than one million sales partners in 200 countries. zanox currently employs 350 staff in total with 150 in Berlin and has offices in 25 other locations worldwide, including the China, France, Spain, Italy, UK and zanox U.S. headquarters in New York City.

“Since its inception almost a decade ago, zanox has continually evolved with the online marketing landscape with an ultimate goal of advancing the monetization of the Internet,” said Thomas Hessler, CEO of zanox. “Looking ahead, zanox will continue searching for new and innovative ways to provide maximum value to advertisers and publishers through further collaboration with our partners, and continuous expansion of the network through global alliances.”

Be sure to check out the zanox Web Services Contest 2008 which will award One Million Euro (roughly 1.57 million US Dollars) Venture Capital for the best business model based on the zanox Web services. Deadline for entry is September 30, 2008; open to registrants in the United States.

About zanox

zanox.de AG is the global leading provider for success orientated online marketing and offers global solutions for efficient commercialism of products and services in the Internet for advertiser and supports publisher in achieving sales out of their traffics. The portfolio of zanox contains tools for cooperation- and search engine marketing to build up a decommission system and reference marketing via email.

zanox was founded in 2000 by CEOs Thomas Hessler, Heiko Rauch and Jens Hewald and employs more than 350 people. Headquartered in Berlin zanox operates offices in USA, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Scandinavia and China. More than 2,000 prestigious international companies across the business sectors TIMES, Travel, Retail & Shopping as well as Financial Services utilize the zanox network.

Since 2007 Axel Springer holds 60% and PubliGroupe 40% of zanox. Axel Springer is Germany’s biggest newspaper publishing house and third-largest magazine publisher. PubliGroupe AG is an independent, internationally leading marketing, sales and service group for media and advertisers, supporting these in implementing their communication and media strategies with marketing and technology services.

Recession Proof?

March 20, 2008

Recently we’ve been seeing a lot of chatter in the media about a pending recession. Some may argue that the recession has already hit, and that it’s only going to get worse. Pending events like the US Presidential Election, coupled with the Bejing Olympics are top of mind as well.

I feel that performance based online marketing/affiliate marketing is recession proof.
Let’s think about this; if you’re currently spending money online for your company you certainly understand that there are numerous ways in which you can aggregate new users/viewers etc. You can purchase media on a CPM, CPC, or CPA. If you’re currently working in a CPM scenario and you have a budget that can handle that, great. But what happens if that budget is directly effected by a recession. You’d be forced to modify your offering to performance based only. This would entail your only paying for a paid conversion, or a user (depends on how you’d prefer to define an aquisition).

In this manner of advertising you’re still spending ad dollars, but only if you’re making money yourself. If you’ve done your homework, understand your allowable aquisition rate, and can back into the appropriate metrix….then you’re recession proof!