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Display ads & affiliate sales leaks

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday May 19, 2009 )

News of the demise of display ads have been greatly exaggerated if this report is anything to go by. However, how people interact with ads poses some serious challenges for marketers and even more problems for affiliates.

While clickthrough ads on banners aren’t great and haven’t been for years – what about beyond the click?

The findings from an Iprospect study indicate that search and display advertising have a closer relationship than many of us may have realised.

iProspect found that Joe Surfer initially reacts to display advertising in the following ways

– 31% respond by directly clicking on an ad
– 27% run a search on the product, brand, or company
– 21% respond by typing the company Web address into their browser
– 9% respond by investigating further social media venues.

Overall, 52% of Internet users actively respond to online display advertising.

This is good news .. sort of.

The problem is that this sort of activity is very hard to track, so clickthrough stats still have to be the benchmark upon which a marketer makes decisions on where to advertise and what ads to run.

Furthermore, it really throws a spanner in the works for publishers working on an affiliate commission basis. Based on those statistics, we’re possibly losing over half our commissions to those folks who don’t click through to the merchant’s site but get there via other means. On the flip side, this makes running an affiliate program even more lucrative for merchants.

Unfortunately for affiliates, there’s not a lot that can be done about it – it’s just another one of those pesky sales leaks affiliates have to swallow. However, it should make us less tolerant of other sales leaks that can be prevented on the merchants’ end.

Merchants should certainly take note of this study and ensure they treat their affiliates with the respect they deserve.


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