Have you ever wondered why big Web sites like AOL, Yahoo and MSN don’t run many cost-per-action (CPA) deals in their ad spaces?
It’s simple: They don’t have to. They make much more money selling ads based on impressions rather than the number of customers or leads generated. Who wouldn’t prefer to get paid for just showing the ad instead of having to rely on it really performing?
If a large property can’t sell all its ad space, even at discounted remnant ad rates, it might throw in a CPA deal here and there, but that’s a rare exception.
On the other hand, the most common way to compensate an affiliate is through a CPA deal. A merchant who runs an affiliate program can pretty much choose its own acquisition cost because it only pays for results. It’s rare that an advertiser’s affiliate program has the highest acquisition cost of all its channels. Instead, affiliate programs are seen as a way of acquiring customers at the lowest possible cost. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But the same company might be willing to spend two to three times the fixed CPA acquisition cost to acquire the same customer from CPM-based (cost per thousand viewers) ads on large Internet properties. Why? Because low-cost affiliate programs offset the costs of higher CPM campaigns and offline channels. Together, they result in an acceptable overall acquisition cost.
I’m not saying that you should start hiring sales reps and putting together a media kit for your sites. But you might be very well served by looking at additional revenue streams such as CPM and CPC income, or something called coregistrations.
Here are four potential additional revenue streams for your site.
Use An Ad Network
It makes all the sense in the world for a smaller site to outsource ad sales. There are a lot of advertising networks out there that will sell your ad space for you for a cut. If they have good advertisers, your smaller site may become part of large ad buy by a well-known brand.
Of course, there are some downsides. You might have to give up as much as 50 percent of the ad revenue. And it can take forever to get paid, because you get paid after the ad network gets paid. But, all in all, joining an ad network might be very worthwhile if you can get accepted.
How do you qualify for that? Well, requirements vary. It helps if you can show you have relevant traffic, focused content, high traffic and a professional look and feel.
Another way to generate income is to get accepted in a content network for contextual advertising. You drop a piece of code onto your pages, and the advertising network will serve to your site text-based ads that are relevant to your content. Take a look at pay-per-click engines such as Google, Overture, Kanoodle and FindWhat.
You will then tap into a pool of advertisers who might not even have a standard affiliate program, but who are willing to pay a premium to get the clicks your pages have to offer.
Most pay-per-click networks only display the top three to four bids on a specific keyword on syndicated sites like yours. This ensures that you always get the highest earnings per click that the search engines have to offer for a specific keyword.
Even after you split the revenue, it can turn out to be a very good deal.
Also, the classified ad format that pay-per-click engines uses tends to work very well. Why? Users like them. They have blue links. And blue hyperlinks are the only ad formats that have consistently worked since the early days of the Web.
Sometimes you might make more from the revenue from the contextual text links than the main offer you’re promoting on the page. You need to test and watch your numbers carefully though.
Build A Quality Email List
If you only make money by driving traffic to advertisers who pay you on performance, then why not get some repeat revenue from them?
Build an email address list to make repeat offers. Good email is not dead. If you have a visitor to one of your sites, you should provide them with enough value so they give you their email address to stay in touch. Make sure your visitors opt in, so that you’re not contributing to the notorious spam problem.
Think about what would appeal enough to your visitors to make them want to hear from you again. Is it content on a particular topic? A special report featuring a buyer’s guide of the top 10 gadgets in your particular space? Special offers or coupons from your advertisers? Getting names and addresses for snail mail is even better.
Add Quality Coregistrations
What are coregistrations? Basically it means that you’re adding a number of checkboxes to your email form so that partners or advertisers can feature their offers. You get paid for every name your form generates for your advertisers.
There has been quite a bit of trading and selling of names with coregistrations that has diluted the quality of coregistration data and has sometimes given coregistrations a bad reputation. But the basic concept works as long as you don’t abuse it with 15 or 20 prechecked boxes on your form like many sweepstakes sites did in the past.
The best route to go is probably outsourcing. A number of companies let you add coregistrations to your registration path that completely blend into your own design.
That means your visitors will both sign up for your list and be added to a number of other lists through a third-party-hosted registration script. You’re basically outsourcing the whole management of coregistrations on your site to a company that will get advertisers and manage the data for you.
You deserve to get paid as much as possible, don’t you? Try adding these other revenue streams in addition to the standard CPA ad. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
OLA EDVARDSSON has extensive experience as an affiliate. He is also CEO of the Internet marketing agency Performancy Inc.