Affiliate Landing Page Optimization Requires A/B Split Testing

February 8th, 2012 by

Today’s post was written by Chris Goward, CEO of WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization, one of the leading experts globally in Conversion Optimization, who is speaking at Affiliate Management Days (San Francisco 2012) on optimizing affiliate landing pages “for more conversions and revenue” [more]

Landing Page Optimization is a hot topic in Internet Marketing these days, and is finally getting attention in Affiliate Marketing management as well.

And so it should. Widening your affiliate conversion funnel can generate a much greater revenue lift than other activities.

The math is compelling.

For example, say you manage an affiliate program that gets a 2% conversion rate from your affiliate ads. With Landing Page Optimization, if you could increase it to 4% through a series of landing page tests, you would get the same revenue result as you’d get by doubling your advertising budget. Of course, you get the results without doubling your budget. Landing Page Optimization gives you free leads and sales!

Although doubling your conversion rate isn’t guaranteed, results like that are not just a pipe dream. Take the case of W3i, who needed to increase downloads for their social media page customization app. Working with their conversion optimization agency, WiderFunnel, they increased the download conversion rate by 162%.

Yes, that’s more than 1.5x the original downloads conversion rate!

Here’s the before & after for that dramatic landing page test:

Seems like landing page optimization should be an obvious priority, right?

The trouble is that many people have got Landing Page Optimization confused with “Best Practice” consulting or design changes. Relying on recommendations, expert opinion and gut feeling can actually put you in a worse position than doing nothing at all.

The Problem with “Best Practices”

The advocates of “Best Practices” often promote the hearsay and spurious consensus of the masses. Many of the recommendations the supposed experts promote clearly have not been tested.

It’s not all their fault. They just haven’t had the chance to test all of their opinions. Unless they focus entirely on testing on many websites across industries, it’s just not realistic to expect consultants to know what really works.

Accessible technology to allow controlled scientific testing has not been available for most website managers and consultants until recently. And most companies still don’t have a reliable strategy and process for conversion testing.

Combine this with the pressure consultants and experts are under to know all the answers and it shouldn’t be surprising that they sometimes give advice that isn’t scientifically tested.

The only Best Practice I can recommend is to test your Best Practices. You may be surprised.

Find out How to Use Conversion Optimization Testing

Join me at Affiliate Management Days to learn about how companies with affiliate programs are maximizing their landing page conversions.

You will see case studies and results from real tests for companies like SAP, Electronic Arts, and more. Plus, I’ll give you frameworks and strategies you can use to get results for your sites immediately.

In the meantime, you can also explore the worlds largest free repository of Conversion Optimization and Landing Page Optimization Case Studies. It’s filled with B2B, B2C, e-commerce, lead gen and affiliate examples.

Chris Goward is Co-Founder and CEO of WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization, and one of the world’s leading experts in conversion optimization. The business processes that he developed, including the WiderFunnel LIFT Framework™ and Kaizen Method™ increase conversion rates for clients that need to generate more leads and sales from their websites by between 10% and 280%. His work has been published in Marketing Sherpa, Search Engine Watch, the Google blog, Search Engine Marketing Journal and DM News. He has been recognized with a Gold award from the Canadian Marketing Association and as one of Marketing Magazine’s “Ones to Watch”. Come hear him speak on How to Optimize Affiliate Landing Pages for More Conversions & Revenue on March 8 at AM Days SF 2012.

6 Responses to “Affiliate Landing Page Optimization Requires A/B Split Testing”

  1. February 08, 2012 at 10:01 pm, Marketing Day: February 8, 2012 said:

    […] Affiliate Landing Page Optimization Requires A/B Split Testing, […]


  2. March 28, 2012 at 9:04 am, Steve said:

    The problem with your argumentation is the fact that you overlook the additional marketing budget you have to spend in order to pay the affiliates. The more sales being generated trough a partner programme, the more you have to pay for commission.

    So in fact doubling the number of sales, usually also leads to a doubling in commission expenses.


    • March 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm, Geno said:

      I disagree with you here, Steve. The commission isn’t being doubled (unless, of course, you have a performance based incentive of sorts that could result in it’s “doubling”), but remains the same % or $ value per sale, lead, or whatever it is that you’re paying your affiliates for.


    • March 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm, Eric Nagel said:

      I often hear this argument from those who work with traditional marketing budgets. However, with affiliate marketing, aside from a small fixed overhead (monthly network fees), commissions vary with sales.

      Yes, more sales = more commissions. But if you’re making a profit on each sale, why set a budget?

      On the other hand, if your affiliate channel is losing money, well, you’ve got a bigger problem to deal with. But then I could understand having a limited budget in place, to stop the bleeding.


      • March 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm, Geno said:

        *Exactly* my point too! Merchants want to structure your affiliate commission payouts in such a way that “doubling” (tripling, quadrupling, etc!) your affiliate-referred sales is actually something they strive for! In other scenario, why run any marketing campaign?!


  3. March 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm, Chris Goward said:

    Yes, Steve, I was considering the affiliate commission as a cost of sale. Of course you have to pay your affiliates for each sale, and hopefully you’ll be paying for more of them!

    Many affiliate managers also have significant fixed advertising overhead. They’re running awareness campaigns and refreshing ad creative constantly. More sales from the that overhead reduces the proportion of fixed cost for each sale.

    But, even if you don’t have much fixed advertising expense in your case, doubling your ad conversion rates will make for much happier affiliates, right? Do you think they want to drive their traffic to your under-performing website?


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