To help marketers find answers to the most commonly asked questions about affiliate revenue, we compiled a list of the questions we hear most frequently about the subject. Our answers are based on our work driving affiliate link clicks (and other reader actions) for some of the world’s top storytellers like Wirecutter (a New York Times Company), The Strategist, Forbes, and XO Group, as well as the webinar we hosted on the topic.
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What type of content performs best in terms of affiliate revenue?
Unfortunately, the answer to this is “it depends.” We’ve seen publications achieve great success with a variety of content formats and product categories.
Many companies will start the content creation process by looking at search trends to understand which product categories will be most lucrative. To ensure success with your core audience, you should also pay close attention to what types of content and products your readers are reading, and more importantly engaging with the most.
On social channels, we generally see more success with discovery-oriented content rather than specific single product recommendations (for example: a guide of the best tools for a small kitchen vs. a review of the best coffee maker). However, beyond that, it’s hard to predict what will perform best on Facebook. We suggest efficiently testing as much content as you can and scaling on the articles that perform best. This mix of high-performing content will shift throughout the year, especially as seasonal content tends to see a performance boost. Learn more about running tests on Facebook here or reach out to Anyword for help.
Is it important to link to high-value products?
If you’re paying to distribute your affiliate content, it’s definitely a good idea to link to high-value products. Since you’ll make a higher commission on each user that converts, you can afford to pay a higher cost to acquire a new person. This is very helpful for maintaining the profitability of paid campaigns.
Of course, you want to make sure that it is high value in terms of both price and actual value of the product so that users will be interested in buying said product. The higher cost is only helpful for driving additional revenue if the users are actually interested in it.
With that said, sometimes it can actually be more lucrative to distribute content about lower-priced items if they’re enticing enough. The higher conversion rate for the product can make up for the costs of bringing users to the site.
How should I distribute affiliate content on social channels?
A few tips:
1) Don’t optimize around CTR or CPC like you might for other campaigns. For campaigns driving direct revenue, optimize around an action “closer” to the revenue, like an affiliate link click or the actual purchase event. This drives better ROI, as you’re spending your money to bring in high-intent individuals rather than just a large and inexpensive audience you hope will convert.
2) A/B test rigorously. We recommend testing as much content as possible with small budgets, then seeing what types of content and products are performing best, and scaling your spend for just those articles.
For each article, you should also be testing creatives. Start with a few (3-4) creatives per article. Once you’ve found your winning articles, continue to add new creatives and optimize around the ones performing best. Some affiliate content can run on social for months or even years. In that case, we recommend updating creatives every few weeks to maintain scale and efficiency.
How can I optimize for affiliate link clicks?
You can do this by implementing custom events on your Facebook pixel. Every time someone clicks on affiliate link, the pixel will fire an event. You can set this up to track the article ID, which would allow you to optimize down to the specific article.
Any advice for covering deal days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day, etc.?
As more publishers write about these holidays, the landscape is becoming noisier, and unless you’re the owner of BlackFriday.com, it can be hard to compete on general deals.
To stand out, distribute content that talks to your audience specifically, like Forbes writing about travel deals, Refinery29 posting about deals for makeup lovers, or Wirecutter featuring a guide for the best smart-home deals. Think about how your brand is unique, and use that to inform your content and distribution strategy. Try to make the stressful day into a better experience for your audience by providing information on deals that are relevant to them.
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If you have any more questions about affiliate content campaigns, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. To see how Anyword is helping the world’s top storytellers drive affiliate revenue, request a demo.
At Anyword, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.
Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Anyword’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Anyword is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.