Many moons ago, the Advertising Industry was just giving its first steps and everything was new to discover and create and everyone was curious, excited, and, of course, so easy to target and sell to. Nowadays, the world of Advertising Campaigns has gotten more and more complex and the competitive scenario that we live in requires more and more improvements and ways of achieving efficiency.
Given this situation, one of the problems that our clients, hence ourselves with them, face is this one: How to get the many many many people that see my Ad to actually convert on my website? Well, that one’s not such a simple question. In fact, there are nearly one million factors that affect the performance of a Display Ad, but today we’ll be choosing just one of them as our scope: Is the person managing your Ad Campaigns targeting and handling it like they are supposed to? How can you get them to do that?
Whether if you hired a specific person to do the job or a specialized PPC agency, there will always be the risk of having someone incompetent in charge of one of your biggest source of clients, you Marketing Strategy. This incompetency may not always come from lack of ability, if that was the case you probably wouldn’t have hired them, but from the very large possibility that they don’t care enough. Either because the Agency is too big and they have too many clients so they don’t prioritize you, or because your young Ad specialist is in it just for the money and is not even interested in your business, people are people and, more often than not, they are not going to do a very good job if they don’t care about it.
So, facing this situation, you might wonder what can you possibly do to get them to care about your conversions enough to create a dignified Ad Campaign. Again, this is not a simple question because the natural course of life would be that, since you are paying them, they should care about getting you what you asked for. Sadly, this can’t always be the case and we’ll find situations where people’s state of mind is “I’m getting paid anyway, so why should I put that much effort into it?”. This terrible situation leads us to think about new creative solutions to find PPCs who actually get us our so desired conversions. Facing this scenario, a way around it that many employers found useful is the one we’ll be discussing today: Using a PPC as an affiliate.
Affiliate programs work just as a commission-based payment method, except with Display Ads. Basically, a PPC launches an Ad to your site and, if someone clicks on it and actually converts in your website, then the PPC gets a commission of it. Of course, this includes not only a very complex analytics process but also a negotiation of the terms (such as percentage of commission and attribution period among others) to get to a deal that’s profitable for you but also gets your affiliate to agree. So once all of this is decided, your PPC affiliate will launch your Ad Campaign and get paid every time someone that saw it ended up converting, unless your arrangement includes a basic salary no matter the number of clicks the Ad gets. So this strategy makes a lot of sense if you are trying to work with someone whose priority is to improve your conversions to their top because, obviously, that way they’ll also get their commission at their top.
This working method, like everything, has its pros and its cons and should always be analyzed considering the situation. However, since I can’t just have a coffee with each of you to make this analysis together, here you’ll find a list of items to consider before deciding on whether or not you should hire a PPC Affiliate, so let’s jump in, shall we?
Personalizing your human resources strategy
Affiliates work just as a “Brand Ambassador”, so pretty much any person can turn into your PPC Affiliate. If you have, for example, a clothing brand, you can choose to have as your Affiliate an Instagram model who’ll recommend her thousands of followers to choose your brand. This way, you can make sure to target the right audience and also be sure that you’ll be working with someone that can actually make a difference on the public’s reception of your product. This can be applied to any specifics you need from your PPC, being age, location, and, of course, if you are definitely going for a traditional Advertising Campaign, experience, and level of specialization.
Having a PPC Affiliate will have a huge impact on your marketing budget for a very obvious and important reason: You are no longer paying the salary of an entire advertising team, but just paying your affiliate from the profits he actually gets you. This makes it a very good strategy for agencies or brands that don’t want to invest so much money in this area unless it really pays off. By not having to pay until you actually make money, the PPC Affiliate move is a very low-risk one.
As much as this method has a lot of strong points, there is one area that can’t even begin to compete: Your relationship with an actual employee will never be the same as the one you’ll have with your PPC Affiliate. Your long-term PPC who’s worked with you in a wide variety of campaigns will always have the lead on knowing you, knowing your style, and knowing your expectations. On the other hand, a PPC Affiliate is probably someone that won’t be with you in the long term and it’s much more likely that you’ll have a bunch of affiliates rotating, so you really won’t get to know them (or get them to know you) as well.
Another really important point to make is the fact that the commission/affiliate payment method is, obviously, not the most stable one. Some people love working on commission because they are so good they can make much more money that way, but that’s not the usual scenario. If you are considering using a PPC Affiliate, you must figure out what your strategy will be to avoid stress-created conflicts. A good option could be to pay a basic salary and have the commissions add up on it, but many others can help as well.
This is a very obvious thing to point out, but that doesn’t make it less important. Having a lot of people talking about your brand, creating content about it, and linking to your website will, of course, have a positive impact on your SEO strategy. Of course, you have to pay attention to how this content is created and the way your brand is positioned so Google doesn’t take it for sketchy, but overall this is a pretty solid silver lining.
The bottom line: choosing a trade-off
Basically, the difference between these two methods is one: the trade-off you want to make. If you choose to hire a PPC specialist as your regular employee, you’ll pay them a specific amount every month, paying for their Ad Campaign budget, and may end up making a really big profit out of it. On the other hand, using a PPC affiliate means you won’t pay at all at first, but, if you do end up making a lot of money, then you’ll have to pay them a really big commission out of it. So the bottom line here is: Do you want to put a lot of money now and end up making a really big profit or you want to put cero money now and end up with a little less profit? It’s really up to you to do the math.
So, to conclude, if your idea is to create a temporary campaign that drives a lot of traffic to your website, the Affiliate method will probably be a pretty favorable option. By choosing it, you’ll assure that the person promoting your product will have a personal interest in getting people to make a conversion on your site and it’s a great choice if you have little to no budget to spend in Ads. However, if you are looking to create a meaningful, long-term relationship with your employees, you’ll probably find it much more useful to go with a traditional way of PPC hiring and you’ll have the opportunity to look for and create brand new solutions to the get-your-employees-to-care situation. But probably, in the future, they’ll end up being much more profitable. Whichever is your personal case, hopefully, you’ll find an interesting analysis to make based on the points listed here so you can go for a strategy that’s profitable for you, and both inspiring and useful for your employees.
Mora is a PPC Analyst at Hellbent Digital at work, and a theater nerd when not at work. And it turns out understanding theater—that is, how to put on compelling live shows that engage the audience—is a very useful skill for understanding digital marketing.