A Lesson on Landing Pages & Adwords

The other day I decided to try promoting a new affiliate product, as I hadn’t done anything new that way in a while. So I picked one from CPA Empire, which had a good network EPC (Earnings per click), and paid per lead. I’ve had good success with lead based affiliate programs in the past. I like the fact that there’s a very low level of commitment required of the customer¬† – they don’t have to make a purchase decision right then and there, and I still get paid!

Initially, I went to Google, because Google has traditionally been a great place to get a campaign up and running in a jiffy. Unfortunately, with affiliate marketing you don’t always have control over the landing page. I went to the landing page to check it out and it was one of these one page wonders. It is a very simple page, nothing wrong with it from a user’s perspective; however Google’s crawler clearly thought it was lacking. So only 3 of the 40 keywords I wanted went live, and only after I put my minimum bid up to $1.00 / click. When I looked into it further with Google’s tools they told me the landing page sucked. Uh-huh. Already knew that.

So anyways, I let the thing run, and managed to get one lead that day. Unfortunately I spent nearly twice as much on Adwords as the value of the lead. The extremely interesting thing was that I actually got clicks on keywords that were classified by Google as Inactive. Has anyone else seen this? Is it some sort of fraud, or is Google actually letting me get those clicks for some reason? I thought that was extremely interesting.

So I recognized this wasn’t going anywhere, so I thought for a second, then realized if the landing page was the problem, from Google’s perspective, then maybe I should try it out on a different engine that didn’t care nearly as much as Google does about these things. So I fired up my trusty 7Search account and plugged in basically all the same information as went into my Google campaign, and turned it loose.

The immediate difference: I was paying approximately 14 cents per click for second and third place positions on 7Search, whereas I was paying $1.00 per click on Google just to get active. I knew from the start that at least I wouldn’t lose my shirt if nothing much happened, 14 cents a click is a lot more forgiving than $1.00.

So that has now run for about 3 days on 7Search, nothing spectacular, but I have got 97 clicks so far, at a total cost of $14. Out of that traffic, I’ve managed to generate two leads, at $10 a piece. So I’m actually showing a very modest profit. That’s encouraging. Better than a loss, but still nothing to throw a party for. Now I’ve got to figure out how to grow that so it does that regularly and consistently.

Anyways, I guess the lesson of the day is that you need to look at the landing page you’ve got and then go from there; if it doesn’t have much text on it, chances are strong Google isn’t going to like it, and you might want to try it on a different engine first.

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