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Increase Search Revenue While Protecting Your Brand


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Learn how to increase search revenue by letting your affiliates bid on trademark terms. Affiliate managers present case studies while TheSmartestSearch provides an affiliate’s perspective.

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Increase Search Revenue While Protecting Your Brand

  1. 1. Affiliate Summit West 2010 Increase Search Revenue While Protecting Your Brand Lori Weiman (CEO, The Search Monitor) Brendan Lawrence (CEO, The Smartest Search) Debbie Bookstaber (VP of Strategy, The JAR Group)
  2. 2. What Is a “Search” Affiliate? <ul><li>“ Search Affiliates&quot; buy keywords and profit on the arbitrage between the click cost and the affiliate CPA payment. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Should Influence Bid Policy? <ul><li>Views of affiliates often shape policy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannibals & leeches… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or valuable strategic partners? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But competitive landscape should be the determining factor. </li></ul><ul><li>Key issues include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic rankings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand volume </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors’ Affiliates </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Defining Your Search Policy <ul><li>It’s about more than brand bidding. </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliate Managers should have a policy on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Display URLs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ad Copy Restrictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors on Landing Pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary Search Engines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Media Sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Define your enforcement process as well. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Permissive Search Policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Bidding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential Harm to PPC Search Results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher Affiliate Search Revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall ROI is lowest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discourages almost all Legitimate Publishers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Restrictive Search Policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No Search Allowed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low Risk of So-Called “Affiliate Search Cannibalization” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced Affiliate Search Revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ROI is improved, but overall revenue may be reduced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discourages Legitimate Search Publishers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hybrid Policies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May restrict position, limit campaign to secondary engines. Display URL enforcement. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic partnerships with trusted affiliates: brand bidding permissions, custom landing pages, ad copy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ROI improves, Revenue increase, but it takes more work! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for Constructive Performance-based Partnerships </li></ul></ul>What’s Your Search Policy Sweet Spot?
  6. 6. <ul><li>Clarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create clear, easy-to-understand search policies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If brand bidding is forbidden with the exception of a few strategic partners, tell your affiliates. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>View affiliates as strategic partners. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide the tools necessary for their success. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consistency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor your brand terms. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enforce your policy consistently and fairly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider professional tools– such as The Search Monitor. </li></ul></ul>How to Manage a Hybrid Search Policy
  7. 7. How We Know What We Know…. <ul><li>We crawl the major search providers on a regular basis looking for competitors and affiliates. </li></ul><ul><li>We identify affiliates who direct link </li></ul><ul><li>We identify affiliates who operate their own web pages </li></ul><ul><li>We watch brand terms, head terms, and long tail </li></ul><ul><li>From every city, state, and country, in every language worldwide </li></ul>Crawler Surfs keyword phrases Daily, Worldwide Keyword Database
  8. 8. Brand Terms Are Highly Competitive on PPC Google, Yahoo, and Bing Consider: 10 positions Max. on pg. 1 of SERPs
  9. 9. Can You Use Your Affiliates to Increase Revenue on Brand Terms? <ul><li>Do: Increase Revenue By: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cornering the Market – Push out the Competition on brand terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect Your Brand – think capture the flag. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t: Decrease Revenue By: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct Linkers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compete for Visibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drive Up Your CPC </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. When Affiliates Hurt Revenue on Brand Terms: Direct Linkers <ul><li>Affiliate does not have a web site. Links its ads directly to the merchant’s site. ‘Steal’s merchant’s identify in its ads. Competes with merchant. </li></ul>Affiliate Link (Affiliate Network URL) This Behavior Costs You Money Bidding Against One Another – Driving UP Your CPC
  11. 11. Quantify The Problem: Measure How Frequently You Are Knocked-Off of Your Brand Terms Fisher-Price Shop for Fisher-Price Toys Here Buy Toys and More Online at BRAND 65% 35%
  12. 12. Instead – Use Affiliates as a Solution <ul><li>Affiliates Can Improve Performance on Brand Terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase leads/sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corner the Market – Push out the Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect Your Brand – think capture the flag </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Use Affiliates To Corner the Market <ul><li>Use Your Affiliates to Occupy More Positions on the page </li></ul><ul><li>Many times your affiliates have better landing pages than you do, and better quality scores than you do. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They may be able to get into a higher position than you can. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage your affiliates with high quality scores. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t be a 1 out of 10 – become a 10! (out of 10 that is) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Use Affiliates To Protect Your Brand <ul><li>Consider These Facts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engines DO NOT Police Your Brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engines DO let advertisers sponsor Your Brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This Means That Competitors Will Sponsor Your Brand </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Best Way To Protect Your Brand is to ‘Encourage’ the competition to go away. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Empower your affiliates to sponsor your brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put rules in place to prevent things that concern you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Direct Linking Rank / position rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Time of day rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ad Copy rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide your affiliates with the ad copy that you want to see </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USE YOUR AFFILIATES TO PUSH OUT THE COMPETITION! </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><ul><li>Let Your Affiliate’s Help By Sponsoring Your Brand Terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You Get More Page Real-Estate = More Clicks / More Sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at Vonage </li></ul></ul>Vonage: Great Example of Owning Your Brand Terms
  16. 16. Elements of Strategic Search Partnership <ul><li>Strong relationship with affiliate manager </li></ul><ul><li>Agreement on position and search engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Bid in position 2 or lower </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Bid on brand terms in secondary engines only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilize Display URL for specific cases (competitor terms, coupons, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bid on long tail keywords as well as brand terms. </li></ul><ul><li>Custom landing pages or permission to use display URL in select cases. </li></ul><ul><li>Strict Policing and Enforcement of Agreements. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Case Study: Blue Man Group <ul><li>Goal: Blue Man Group wanted to increase ticket sales to their Las Vegas show and convert more direct sales rather then letting ticket resellers dominate search. </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Create a private Top Performers Partnership program with agreed upon bidding rules. </li></ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BMG increased revenue by $1 Million after 8 months, with direct ticket sales increasing 25%. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The two publishers in the partnership had ROI of 66% and 35% respectively over the course of the campaign. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Case Study: eBillMe <ul><li>Goal: eBillMe wanted to block competitors on key search terms and increase revenue </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Custom Display URLs with agreed upon bidding rules for top search partners </li></ul><ul><li>Result: Top Two Results were covered and overall traffic on brand terms going to eBillMe controlled sites increased by 22%* 11/09 </li></ul><ul><li>Increased overall Revenue 15% while increasing ROI 10% </li></ul><ul><li>The Publisher using the Custom Display URL, had a 35% ROI during the campaign </li></ul>
  19. 19. Case Study: eBillMe - Beforehand
  20. 20. Case Study: eBillMe – After (Increased Revenue)
  21. 21. Case Study: Greensbury Market <ul><li>Goal: wanted to increase sales on competitive keywords in the organic, gourmet food segment </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Develop a Strategic search partnerships allowing Top Publishers to use their Display URL for non branded terms, while also giving custom landing pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Result: Net Revenue Increased 25%, over General PPC and Affiliate efforts, with no upfront fees for Greensbury Market </li></ul><ul><li>The Publisher was able to make over $2000 in Profits from their Commissions after PPC Spend </li></ul>