Over the past 12 years I have seen a lot of things change on the Internet. A Lot.
And if you believe in leprechauns and imaginary pots of gold, well there is a whole section waiting for you in West Las Vegas. Because I have seen my share of flame outs and f-ups to last me a lifetime. But I also have to temper the George Parker in me, with knowing when a truly good idea comes along. CPA Networks are actually a model that once it gets the bugs out, really works well. And not just for the players who are established, but newer players as well as more budgets get rolled into Internet Marketing.
Performance marketing online takes many forms, but one thing is true for every player in the game:
when it hits it hits big for everyone involved. Advertisers get quality sales/leads and pay only when a sale is made. No more guessing. Publishers get nice big commission checks and a steady stream of trusted campaigns that consistently convert. Networks gain when both sides of the equation benefit from their involvement, not only monetarily, but also in building their brand as the next generation of ad agencies.
Performance, or Affiliate Marketing, uses all of the media channels available to generate
traffic. Paid Search, CPM, Social Media tactics, Mobile and a host of other traffic driving techniques to generate quality sales. In theory it should all work perfectly. Publishers drive highly targeted and, at least in theory, qualified traffic, unless of course it is just unabashed incentivized traffic, in which
case the Advertiser or network owning the property is more than likely monetizing the bejessus out of it.
So you have Publishers creating millions of clicks of traffic everyday, and the Networks are
administrating everything through DirectTrack or another tracking platform solution (or an in-house roll your own) so the Advertisers payments get distributed to the Publishers and the Network watches the gate for fraud. And hopefully the Advertiser knows what to do in this channel before they give it to an ad agency, or at the very least their agency has someone who has a clue or worked at a Network on staff to explain it to them.
When Jason Wolfe created DirectTrack as well as KeyWord Max and The Affiliate Cross Pub Network, he then allowed any Advertiser that had an offer and affiliates, either in-house or on CJ or Linkshare or any other online affiliate management services, now could become their own mini-CJ (the leader at the time and probably still is for all I know). Whatever Jason is up to these days, you may want to watch him. He’s smart.
For those of us who have done this for over a decade, this is not news. But what is news, is that no one has ever really documented what Jason’s original idea has morphed into. If Fortune 500 brands and their agencies took a harder look, as some have done, at the Cost Per Action model for distribution, more than a few might see how engaging actual users of their products, when done right, returns better than most CPM campaigns and can scale to withering heights, once again, if managed correctly.
This is where the networks come in. In order for any Advertiser to win in this game, they need to monetize all post “action” activities from the sale or the lead generated. If Networks were more proactive in both the campaign development and creatives, as well as strategies that employ the strengths of the channel and do not play to it’s blind spots and weaknesses.
This report attempts to capsulize my 12 years of online marketing experience as filtered through the last 11 months. In that time I helped to build, with a very talented team might I add, The Offeratti Network. I have as of this date, become un-enjoined with the company but continue to know that the strong foundation I helped to build will be successful far into the future. They are good people.
I know, long a** name, so what. It describes what the 28 pages (only 2 pics, sorry for you skimmers), contains and an honest no BS approach that has always been the way I approach this business. Something I learned in the early days of the dark side of the “industry”, was very simple: Traffic talks, BS walks. The numbers, particularly Advertiser ROI numbers, dictate everything in the Performance Marketing channel. Not EPC, Not eCPM (they have their place at the table for sure), but these can all be skewed by simply paying more. But the 1 in X Factor (raw page conversion) is where the actual wins are scored. It is the only leverage an Advertiser has.
>So I wrote this report in like 4 days, because it has been sitting in my head for a couple of years. My experience has allowed me to have access to the highest levels of current CPA Network heads, as well as the Affiliate Manager levels (where the action is on the street) and everyone in between. I have listened, and I have asked the tough questions that have led to my conclusions. I have dealt with the various levels of consistency and inconsistency in how these top networks conduct their business.
My in-depth discussions with these leaders of the CPA channel all share a common vision of
where they want to see this advertising channel be, and where it is today, and WHAT IS NEEDED TO FIX IT! Networks need to stay ahead of the curve and I have uncovered several guideposts everyone agrees on that will move our segment of online advertising to the next level.
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