April 16th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
Our goal with Google Affiliate Network has been to help advertisers and publishers improve their performance across the affiliate ecosystem. Cost-per-action (CPA) marketing has rapidly evolved in the last few years, and we’ve invested significantly in CPA tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer. We’re constantly evaluating our products to ensure that we’re focused on the services that will have the biggest impact for our advertisers and publishers.
To that end, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire Google Affiliate Network and focus on other products that are driving great results for clients.
We’ll continue to support our customers as we wind down the product over the next few months. And there are other products that can help you achieve your goals. Affiliate publishers can continue to earn AdSense revenue through the AdSense network. And marketers can take advantage of other CPA-oriented Google tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer to drive valuable online sales and conversions. These areas are growing rapidly and we’re continuing to invest heavily in them.
Thanks for your support of our affiliate product, and we look forward to helping you grow your business in the future.
Posted by: J.J. Hirschle, Head of Google Affiliate Network
March 28th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
(cross-posted from the Google Commerce Blog)
We all rely on the web to turn our intentions into actions quickly and easily. From planning a spring break or a trip to the movies to finding the perfect gift for someone we love, the world is increasingly at our fingertips. And over the last few years, we’ve worked hard to bring the speed of the web to the real world. With Google Play, for example, you can now buy or rent books, movies and TV shows in seconds.
Today we’re starting a new experiment, Google Shopping Express. It’s a local delivery service that we hope will make it possible for you to get the items you order online the same day, and at a low cost. It’s incredibly early days and so the service is only available to a small number of people in the Bay Area.
As a tester, you will be able to shop online, in a single place, from retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us — along with locally distinct shops such as San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, and the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley’s Nob Hill Foods, and get your items delivered that same day. So hopefully, no more trips across town for simple errands.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (in the city of San Francisco, and the Peninsula from San Mateo to San Jose) and would like to help test this new initiative, please sign up here. We’re still working out our long-term pricing plan but early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery. The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks, so please stay tuned.
Posted by Tom Fallows, Product Management Director, Google Shopping Express
March 26th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
(cross-posted from the Google Mobile Ads Blog)
This week marks the debut of the new Think Insights, Google’s hub for marketing insights and inspiration for advertisers and agencies. On google.com/think, you can learn about the latest research in digital marketing, be inspired by creative brand campaigns, and find useful products and tools. You’ll also find industry-leading case studies and Google’s latest research, strategic perspectives, interviews with innovators and experts and more — all to help you make the most of the web.
Also, check out Mobile Search Moments: Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversions, in which Nielsen and Google analyzed over 6000 mobile searches and the actions that resulted, drawing connections between mobile searches and the conversions that they drive.
For mobile marketers, you can explore the Mobile Ad Types section for mobile-specific research, case studies, articles and more. Start by viewing our featured story, The Mobile Playbook, The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile by Jason Spero, Google’s Head of Global Mobile Sales & Strategy.
While you’re visiting, don’t miss the Mobile Ads product page, which contains the latest in mobile solutions to help grow your business and build brand momentum with mobile.
For marketers who want to turn “light bulb” ideas into lightning or just want to check out the best in digital marketing — we hope that you visit often. To stay up-to-date on the latest content added to the site, please subscribe to our monthly Think Letter.
Posted by: The Think Insights Team
March 25th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
We appreciate your time and valuable feedback in helping us make Google Affiliate Network better!
March 20th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
We’re excited to announce a new video series: “The Google Affiliate Network Minute”, featuring members of the Google Affiliate Network team sharing some basic optimization tips. In each short video, you’ll find helpful suggestions on how to get the most out of your Google Affiliate Network account. So far we’ve posted 3 videos for advertisers and 3 videos for publishers.
Publisher video content
Keeping your contact information current
Setting your communication preferences
Approving advertiser invitations
Advertiser video content
Keeping your links current
Regularly reviewing pending publisher applications
Building a datafeed in Google Merchant Center
You can find all of these videos (and more) on our YouTube channel.
Posted by: Dan Filowitz, Manager, Google Affiliate Network
March 7th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
A few months ago, we launched our Notifications system for publishers. Today, we’re pleased to announce the Notifications tab for advertisers. This notifications system makes it easier for advertisers to stay informed about important program changes to make the most of their affiliate marketing efforts.
Types of notifications
If you’re an advertiser, starting today you’ll receive a notification whenever you have pending publishers in your account. For example, if you have over 10 pending publishers, a message will appear in your notifications reminding you to take action. You’ll also get a notification if publishers report an order that may not have tracked in your account. Other examples of the notifications you’ll receive include errors pertaining to any offline files you may have uploaded.
From the Advertiser Home, you’ll see a notification alert in the upper right corner of the interface that shows the number of pending messages. When you click the alert, you can see more information along with a link to see all notifications.
When you click the Notifications tab, you’ll see a basic summary and detailed view for each communication. You can search across notifications so you can more easily review and act on these alerts while you’re working in your account.
This launch is a continuation of a series of enhancements to communications in the Google Affiliate Network interface. We’ve listened to feedback from both advertisers and publishers that a central communication hub could increase efficiency and reduce the need to rely on email for important communications. As we mentioned last year, our vision is to move more communications into a central location in the interface so you can better track and maintain your affiliate relationships and activities.
Send your feedback
We welcome your feedback. If you have any suggestions, let us know what you think by posting a comment here or in our forum. Advertisers, sign in to your account today to access the Notifications tab.
Joel Ingram, Software Engineer
February 19th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
We hope to meet fellow affiliate managers and marketing executives at Affiliate Management Days San Francisco on April 16 to 17, 2013. Members of the Google Affiliate Network team will be attending the conference, and we’ll also be participating in the…
February 6th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
Over the past few years, Google Affiliate Network has helped advertisers and publishers grow their businesses with the right mix of technology and data insights. We’re pleased to share these stories with you on our blog.
eFlorist operates a robust network of 1,800 florists across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Consumers across the globe have an affinity for the Romsey, UK-based retailer, thanks to their e-commerce site and same-day delivery in 135 countries. With goals focused toward further capitalizing market position and affiliate program growth, eFlorist’s Marketing Manager Paul Isaia turned to Google Affiliate Network in 2012.
Paul had three key reasons in mind when transitioning the eFlorist affiliate program to Google. He wanted to grow affiliate-generated sales by 10% within one year, improve the quality of their publisher base, and leverage reporting insights to uncover new growth opportunities.
After first launching the eFlorist program with Google Affiliate Network, Paul noted that he “was very impressed with the reporting as well as the tools to recruit new affiliates.” Paul focused on building publisher relationships, using the Recommendation engine to identify new affiliates, and partnering closely with the Google Affiliate Network team to make sure his program had a strong network of high-value publishers. Within a few months, eFlorist also began to use their Google Merchant Center product feed to scale their product catalog to affiliates.
While executing these initial measures, eFlorist started to see a notable sales impact in their program. Within six months, the results spoke for themselves: eFlorist’s affiliate channel revenue grew 40%, well above their initial 10% benchmark. In turn, affiliate marketing’s share of total online sales grew from 15% to 20%, satisfying Isaia and his team.
To learn more about Paul Isaia and eFlorist, read the full case study.
Posted by Will Heidrich, Account Executive
February 4th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
This is the third post in our ‘Go Mobile with Google Affiliate Network’ series. Today, we’ll focus on best practices to help advertisers make the most of mobile in affiliate marketing.
As we continue in our series, today, we’ll cover affiliate mobile strategies for advertisers. As a direct-response focused advertiser, you might already see the evolution of mobile and the rise of mobile e-commerce.
With more mobile devices being activated each day and two out of three smartphone users now accessing the web on their devices, today’s mobile user is primed for online conversions. Half of US smartphone users use m-commerce apps, and our research at ourmobileplanet.com points out that purchases directly via mobile continue to increase, with 35% of smartphone users having made a purchase on their phone.
Mobile optimization tips
Visitors to a mobile or tablet site might be at a different point of the purchase funnel than visitors to a desktop site, so it’s important to have an optimized site to match user intent and behavior. Plus, optimizing for mobile might also help you increase your conversion rate through all of your marketing channels, including affiliate.
We recommend reviewing the tips and best practices shared in last week’s post covering ways you can optimize your website for mobile.
In addition, it’s important that your website makes it easy for the consumer to convert and focus on information that might help conversion. You can find more tips & best practices in our GoMo Guide for advertisers at howtogomo.com.
Next, we’ll cover tips specific to affiliate marketing and mobile.
Affiliate conversion tracking
Advertisers using affiliate marketing must always ensure conversion tracking functions as expected. Google Affiliate Network advertisers are required to successfully implement and track conversions on their desktop sites in order to launch their account, and they must also implement Google Affiliate Network conversion tracking for any separate mobile sites they may create. See our Conversion tracking implementation guide for more information.
Add mobile creative sizes
It’s important to make mobile ad sizes available to your publishers. The Google Affiliate Network interface includes mobile ad sizes as standard ad units to make it easier for link creation and publisher discovery. You can find a list of standard ad sizes for Android, iOS, and other devices with full HTML browsers in our Help Center.
Partner with mobile-optimized publishers
Many traditional affiliates have mobile-focused sites, and we also distinguish publishers with mobile apps with the “Mobile application” segment. You can use this filter in the UI to discover virtual gaming apps, price comparison apps, retail catalog apps, and deal and product apps. See our Help Center for more information on finding mobile-focused publishers.
Google Affiliate Network extends the opportunity for advertisers to use pay-per-call via our Partner Marketplace. If you offer a toll-free number on your website and want to capture affiliate conversions via phone, review our Partner marketplace today to find partners to help you track pay-per-call activities.
As mobile continues to evolve, we look forward to providing more tips and tools to help you make the most of affiliate marketing for mobile.
Emily Harris, Product Marketing Manager
January 30th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
This is the second post in our ‘Go Mobile with Google Affiliate Network’ series. Today, we’ll focus on best practices to help publishers make the most of mobile in affiliate marketing.
We kicked off our blog series earlier this week with details on the importance of mobile for affiliate marketers. As publisher, you already understand the growing market in mobile e-commerce. Below we’ll share some insights to help you mobilize your website.
Optimize your website for mobile
Visitors to a mobile or tablet site may be at a different point of the purchase funnel than visitors to a desktop site, so it’s important to have an optimized site to match user intent and behavior. What’s more, optimizing for mobile may also help you increase your conversion rate through all of your marketing channels, including affiliate.
Before you get started, find out what percentage of your visitors are coming from mobile devices. Next, consider how your site might look to mobile users.
When building your website to support different devices, consider if you want to utilize responsive web design, or if you should create a separate mobile site. Once you’ve decided on a configuration, be sure to consider some of our additional best practices for mobile users: simplify your landing pages and use strong call-to-action language to attract mobile visitors.
You can simplify navigation by:
- Adding hierarchy and vertical scrolling to aid information access
- Be thumb-friendly by designing your site so even large hands can easily interact with it
- If applicable to your website, make your site local
- Avoid using flash, since not all mobile websites support it
- Minimize load times for the convenience of your mobile viewer
- Learn, listen and iterate by building your site with input from your audience
And, if you’re wondering whether to first create an app or a mobile site, build the site first as it will offer more cross-platform reach than apps. See our Help Center for more information on optimizing your mobile website.
Tell advertisers your website is optimized for mobile
Once you’ve optimized your site for mobile users, it’s important to make sure advertisers are aware. You can easily update your Website description in your Publisher profile so advertisers that view your profile can see that your site is optimized for mobile.
Get mobile affiliate ads
We’ve made it easy to quickly access standard mobile ad sizes. You can find mobile affiliate ads by clicking the Links tab and using the Size filter to find standard mobile ad sizes. You can also get mobile ads using Link subscriptions and the Links API. See our Help Center for a list of standard ad sizes for Android, iOS, and other devices with full HTML browsers.
A publisher’s experience with going mobile
Pageonce, a popular app to track your money and pay bills, uses affiliate marketing to show targeted offers. Pageonce finds that their “users are much more engaged and focused on their mobile device. They know what they want and they want to be done quickly and efficiently,” says Steve Schultz, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Over the past year, Pageonce has built a healthy mobile ad revenue stream through Google Affiliate Network. Steve shares some tips for mobile success: “Messages need to be tight – there’s no room for extra copy, landing pages need to be optimized for the mobile experiences and offers have to be relevant.”
While these tips are a great starting point for optimizing your mobile site you can find more tips & best practices in our GoMo Guide for Publishers at howtogomo.com.
Emily Harris, Product Marketing Manager
January 29th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
We’ve launched our Google+ Profile page. On this page, we hope to engage more with our followers, provide relevant and timely updates, share insights and research, and share more about the Google Affiliate Network product and our team. Whether you’re…
January 28th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
This is the first post in our ‘Go Mobile with Google Affiliate Network’ series. Over the next few weeks, we’ll highlight best practices to help advertisers and publishers make the most of mobile in affiliate marketing.
There’s no question about it: mobile is everywhere and continues to grow. As more devices are activated each day, users are able to connect to the web in new ways. Two out of three smartphone users now access the web on their devices (Our Mobile Planet, Google & Ipsos, 2012) and more websites are producing smartphone-optimized content, presenting businesses with exciting new opportunities. In fact, a recent study states that over 85% of marketers reported that they plan to increase their mobile advertising budgets in the near future (ANA/MediaVest, 2013).
You can see additional key statistics about US mobile consumer behavior from the 2012 Our Mobile Planet smartphone research in the infographic below.
Click to download US Mobile Consumer Behavior infographic
Mobile’s impact on e-commerce
More consumers are using their devices to research and shop online, and smartphone research influences buyer decisions and purchases across channels. Mobile shoppers are primed for online conversions — 96% of smartphone users research products across multiple devices, and 37% of users that research on smartphones lead to purchases on their desktop (Google & Ipsos, 2012). The latest eMarketer research predicts that the share of mobile sales for all retail e-commerce may increase from 11% in 2012 to 15% in 2013 (eMarketer, 2013).
Businesses are increasingly redefining their marketing strategies to engage the new, constantly connected consumer across devices. Below we’ll share some mobile best practices for the affiliate channel to help you be better positioned to reach consumers across the multiple paths to purchase.
Make your website mobile-friendly
It’s critical to have an optimized site that’s customized to mobile users, not just because of the size of each device, but because the context reveals a different consumer mindset. Visitors to a mobile or tablet site may be at a different point of the purchase funnel than visitors to your desktop site. This is especially important in a conversion-oriented channel like affiliate marketing.
Consider how your site might look to mobile users. Are you offering an optimized experience? 79% of consumers say they will turn to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience and 55% say a poor mobile experience hurts their opinion of a brand (Google/Sterling Brands & SmithGeiger, Sep 2012).
Building a separate mobile website is an appropriate solution for many businesses, but it’s also important to understand how responsive design might fit into your plans to GoMo. In this blog post, our Mobile Ads team summarized how responsive design allows you to create a single website that will adapt to the device on which it’s being viewed, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
You can learn more specifics on going mobile at howtogomo.com. If you’re more technically inclined, take a look at our Webmaster blog post, as well as detailed recommendations on the Google Developers help site.
Go Mobile with your Google Affiliate Network program
In addition to website optimization, advertisers using affiliate marketing need to ensure conversion tracking works as expected. Just as Google Affiliate Network advertisers are required to successfully track conversions on their desktop sites before they launch their accounts, Google Affiliate Network advertisers must also implement our conversion tracking pixel on their separate mobile websites.
In addition to conversion tracking, it’s important to use ad sizes common to mobile devices. To help publishers get mobile ads more easily, we’ve included common ad sizes for Android, iOS, and other devices with full HTML browsers as standard ad sizes in the Google Affiliate Network interface. For a list of all standard ad sizes for mobile, see our Help Center.
Emily Harris, Product Marketing Manager
January 25th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
We’re excited to announce an easy way for publishers to identify advertisers within Google Affiliate Network that have earned the Google Trusted Store badge. Starting today in Google Affiliate Network, a badge will appear next to Google Trusted Store merchants in the U.S. that are also Google Affiliate Network advertisers.
About Google Trusted Stores
The Google Trusted Stores program helps shoppers buy online with confidence. The Google Trusted Store badge is only awarded to stores with a proven track record of reliable, on-time shipping and excellent customer service. So when shoppers see the Google Trusted Store badge on e-commerce websites, they know they’re buying from a store that provides a consistently excellent shopping experience. They also know that Google stands behind them when they shop, providing up to $1,000 of purchase protection in the rare event of a problem.
Benefits for publishers
The Google Trusted Store badge is a helpful tool you can use when considering advertiser affiliate programs to join. Look for the Google Trusted Store logo when browsing the Advertisers tab to find advertisers that are validated and certified by Google as providing a great shopping experience for consumers.
Benefits for advertisers
Advertisers have benefited from higher average order sizes and improved conversion rates after becoming a Google Trusted Store. If you’re an advertiser that delivers an excellent shopping experience and would like to learn more about the program, check out the Google Trusted Stores website for more information. If you earn the badge, it will automatically appear within your Product Listing Ads on Google.com and Google Shopping, as well as within the Google Affiliate Network interface.
We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback about this new feature, so don’t hesitate to share feedback via our Google Affiliate Network forum.
Bill Goudie, Systems Engineer
January 24th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
Today, we’ve released new reports to help you better understand the impact of desktop and mobile platforms in your affiliate program. With Platform reports, you can have full visibility into performance associated with desktop and mobile operating systems and browsers, right from within our interface.
You can review Platform reports to see OS and browser activity associated with clicks, actions, transactions, sales, fees, and more — all based on the timeframe you specify. The Activity report provides a breakdown of performance based on the OS used. The Activity detail report drills deeper, breaking out performance by OS like Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS and browser type, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Publishers can use Platform reports to efficiently identify top performing advertisers by OS, helping them make more informed decisions as to which advertisers to promote through different platforms. Want to see which advertisers perform well in different operating systems? Review the Advertiser report to access performance metrics for advertisers based on platform.
Advertisers can see conversion performance by browser and operating system through Platform reports, making it easy to gain new insights – like whether or not visitors from mobile browsers convert at a higher rate than desktop browsers, or if the average order value associated with mobile is higher than conversions from desktop. Advertisers can also access Publisher and link reports with platform data, helping them identify the best publishers to partner with and the types of links to make available.
For example, let’s say an advertiser finds that traffic from smartphone or tablet browsers converts at a higher rate or is associated with a higher average order value compared to desktop browsers. In this case, platform data may be useful in helping the advertiser decide whether or not to work with more mobile-focused publishers.
As with all our reports, Platform reports can be easily exported to .txt or .csv for further analysis.
By breaking out visitors by OS and browser, Platform reporting may help provide direction on your mobile strategy. For example, you can use insights from Platform reports to consider whether or not to design a website to accommodate both mobile and desktop traffic, or to design a separate, mobile-friendly website.
If you have feedback or suggestions on these new reporting features, let us know what you think by submitting feedback in the interface or through our Product forum.
Kurt Spoerer, Senior Product Manager
January 17th, 2013 | by Google Affiliate Network | published in Google Affiliate Network
We’re excited to announce the release of Dynamic links, helping you serve more relevant affiliate ads to users. Dynamic links enable new ways to create and serve ads that use Google’s best-in-class display advertising features, giving advertisers the ability to serve geo-targeted ads, rotate and optimize creatives, automatically schedule and update ads, and more. Dynamic links can contain multiple creatives and also support Flash.
Since Dynamic links automatically update based on changes an advertiser makes even after the ad has been placed on a publisher website, publishers will be able to serve the right advertiser creative to their audience, helping increase the opportunity for conversions and revenue via the affiliate channel.
Optimized, Scheduled or Targeted ads
Advertisers have three unique options when creating Dynamic links.
Optimized – Set up the ad so creatives rotate evenly at first. As links generate activity, higher-performing creatives will get more exposure.
Scheduled – Set up all limited-time promotions so publishers only need to use one tag to show the most up-to-date affiliate ads.
Targeted – Set up country or US state specific targeting for localized creatives. Each creative can contain its own custom location targeting to country or US state.
Features available with Dynamic links
Inventory selection – Advertisers can create Dynamic links for any ad size and can associate any number of creative images or Flash rich media assets with their ads. Ads are available both as Link templates as well as Publisher-specific links, and publishers can easily preview each creative within a dynamic ad.
Reporting – Performance reporting is easily accessible in your Google Affiliate Network account.
Publishers can access Dynamic links from the Links tab in the UI, under the Browse all links sub-tab.
If you’re a publisher, just sign into your account, click the Links tab and filter by Dynamic links to find available Dynamic links. Once you select an ad, it’s easy to get the code and post to your website. For details on posting Dynamic links to your website, review our Help Center.
If you’re an advertiser and want to get started with creating Dynamic links, see our Help Center article with detailed instructions for How to create Dynamic links.
We welcome your feedback — as we continue to iterate on this exciting new feature, we want to hear from you in our Product forum.
- Posted by: Matt Hansen, Software Engineer