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08 Mar 11 Marketers: Reduce Your Latency and Increase Your Profits

When I’m in the mood for some extra technical reading, I like to hang out on the High Scalability Blog. One of their older but eye opening posts is a collection of articles and research papers on the effects of latency on sales, traffic and website engagement.

This section particularly grabbed my attention as it highlights how dramatic an effect latency really has on your online revenue.

Latency matters. Amazon found every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%. A broker could lose $4 million in revenues per millisecond if their electronic trading platform is 5 milliseconds behind the competition.

We are always looking for tweaks to make Tracking202 and Prosper202 faster, as we undersand how much of a difference a few 100ms can make on your earnings. I recently wrote a post highlighting a few quick fixes you can make right now, that will yield some noticeable differences for you.

Read: Money Loves Speed

Photo Credit: Erica Marshall of muddyboots.org

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18 Oct 10 The New Prosper202 Tokens: Cool Stuff You Never Knew Was Possible

Since the introduction of the new [[subid]], [[C1]], [[C2]], [[C3]] & [[C4]] tokens in Prosper202 there hasn’t been much in terms of official documentation of how to best make use of them. This is quite unfortunate because these new tokens and internal prosper202 functionality updates actually quite powerful once you fully understand what you can do with them. This post goes into some of the power user features that were added, but never fully documented and explained.

Let’s Start With The Basics: [[subid]]

Before the most recent updates, you would have to rearrange your affiliate links to ensure your subid variable was at the end of your url

For example a link like the following:
http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0

Would have to be rewritten as:
http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&subid1=

For many people this was a huge point of failure,and we saw more support tickets and emails about errors caused by the incorrect formatting of the affiliate link than anyone should be subject to.

So now using the [[subid]] token on Prosper202 1.5 and higher, getting your link formatted correctly is as simple as grabbing your affiliate link and pasting the [[subid]] token right after the subid variable.

An example is shown below:
http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0

For the average, and not so average user, this is a major improvement and a much simpler non technical way to format affiliate links for correct tracking.

Now About The New [[C1]],[[C2]],[[C3]], and [[C4]] Variables and Tokens

For a while now, the only way to pass extra data into the software was with the t202kw variable on the tracking link generated in step 7

Here’s an example link:
http://tracking202.com/tracking202/redirect/dl.php?t202id=8373&t202kw=myKeyword

In the beginning, this was flexible enough. But, as the software started being used for media buys, email drops, ppv and social advertising etc, there was a need for more tracking parameters. That’s where the C1-4 Variables become really useful.

There are 2 main places you can use the C Variables, in step #3 you can use them as tokens and in step #7 they are available as url variables.

Let’s take a look at the simple way of using the C1-4 Variable and then go on to the more advanced feature, one that I assume many of our users may not have known existed.

During step #7 as you create your tracking link you can use the forms to append up to 4 C variables to your tracking link. Think of them the same as you would the t202kw variable.

For example on a facebook campaign you may use C1 to track the gender, C2 to track the age range, C3 for the ad creative and C4 for you bid type. Here’s how the link may be formatted

In this example we are using the C1-4 variables to track different factors of a Facebook campaign.

The prosper202 interface in step #7 is just there to allow you to easily add these tracking variables, so you can actually manually append these to your links after you generate them. This works great for ad network tags like {placement} on adwords.

To view and analyze the performance of your campaigns you’d use the new group overview screen. Using this screen you can group your reports by any number of factors.

Use the new group overview tab to analyze performance

Getting More Fancy – Dynamic Variable Passing

Have you ever had a situation where you needed to pass dynamic values into your affiliate link? Until version 1.5 this was basically impossible unless you really hacked some code. This is definitely out of the question for most of of our users.

But with the new and hardly documented variable passing system, this is a breeze.

Take a look at this example:

http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&subid2=[[c1]]

I added a subid2 variable and placed the [[c1]] variable as its value. One big thing to notice is that, the [[c1]]-[[c4]] tokens DON’T have to be assigned to a corresponding c1-4 url variable in your link in step #3. Any of the following are completely valid

http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&age=[[c1]]


http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&c1=[[c1]]


http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&gender=[[c1]]&age=[[c2]]


http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&gender=[[c1]]&age=[[c2]]&location=[[c3]]&specialsauce=[[c4]]

Now the question is, where does the c1-4 values come from? You pass them in on the fly via your tracking link generated in step #7

Here’s an example of how this would work:
http://tracking202.com/tracking202/redirect/dl.php?t202id=8373&c1=female&c2=21-26&c3=usa&c4=not-telling&t202kw=myKeyword

When the link above is clicked Prosper202 would automatically perform the following substitutions (assuming your affiliate link in step #3 was: http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&gender=[[c1]]&age=[[c2]]&location=[[c3]]&specialsauce=[[c4]] ):

http://somenetwork.com/redirect.php?a=CD12345&subid1=[[subid]]&b=9315&optinfo=&d=0&l=0&p=0&gender=female&age=21-26&location=usa&specialsauce=not-telling

[[c1]] was replaced by “female”, [[c2]] by “21-26”, [[c3]] by “usa” and [[c4]] by “not-telling”

As you can see, with a little imagination, there are quite a few cool things you can do with this new functionality.

Hot Tip: In all my examples, I didn’t bother trying to encode my c1-4 values. Ideally you’d create an encoding for all these values to prevent competitors from knowing exactly how you are targeting your traffic.

UPDATE: Thanks Wes Brooks for reminding more of this cool mod that makes it easier to use the new tokens: http://ctrtard.com/affiliate-marketing/pimp-your-prosper-with-subid-injection-buttons/

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25 Aug 10 Remarketing with Google Adwords

Ever notice certain ads that seem to follow you around wherever you go? Just recently, I’ve been seeing aweber ads on the Google Display Network (formerly known as the Content Network) Network sites I visit, and it’s been frequent enough that I stopped to pay attention. Good job to whoever manages SEM and media buys at aweber.

How are companies like Aweber doing this?

It’s called remarketing or retargeting and it allows you to tag and cookie people who hit a particular page or site. Later on, you can identify these people as they surf around the web and message them with precision.

Time For A Picture

Use Remarketing To Reach People Who Didn't Convert

In the diagram to the left, the blue+green equals everyone who visited your landing page, let’s call it LP X.

To tag these people you just need to put your tagging script on your landing page and  everyone who hits it will get the “Everyone Who Saw LP X” Cookie.

The people in the green made you money or converted for you, they get tagged with the “Thank You Please Come Again” Cookie, and you would put this on your thank-you/conversion page.

Now without remarketing the vast majority of the people who landed on your page would be gone forever, but now you can virtually follow them around the web with reminders and special offer to get them to come back. The messaging is totally up to you. I’ve seen a few aggressive ads that basically say, “Hey we know who you are come back”. It definitely grabbed my attention because it was one of the first times I’d seen remarketing in action. Of course this is not the only way you can use remarketing, there are many other creative ways to tag your visitors.

Here are more ideas for you to consider

  • Facebook advertising gives you access to traffic based on some pretty precise demographic options. One thing that Facebook banned a while ago was calling out people based on certain aspects of their demographic. This tactic worked very well for conversions and CTR. Now with remarketing and a little scripting you can create ads on facebook and tag these people into very specific demographic buckets. There more you can do with this idea that will basically let you target the masses more precisely but that’s not the kind of conversation I’d like to have on a blog 😉
  • Easy Up-sells. You know that people who buy X are more likely to buy Y. Just create a “Buyers of X” group and use remarketing to pitch Product Y to them.

How do you get started?

Google Adwords Audiences Tab

To Start Experimenting with Remarketing on Google Adwords, Just Click The Audiences Tab.

I hope I’ve got you excited enough to think about ways you can use remarketing in your business. There are lots of companies out there that will allow you to run remarketing campaigns, but I recommend you start with Google Adwords and the Google Display Network because most of you reading this already have an adwords account, and can get started right away without having to apply for a new account with 3rd parties etc etc.

I Would Have Made You a Quick  Getting Started Video, but Google Already Beat Me To It

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Finally, to read more in-depth information on how remarketing works on Adwords check out this resource page on Interest-Based Advertising.

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