How to pick advertisers?

Learn to monetize your website

Just as you would not buy a car without checking the engine and interior, you need to check out advertisers from all angles.

Brand - For starters, you need to decide if you are going to work with strictly brand name programs, lesser-known names or a combination of both. There is no magic number or equation. You will need to try to determine which merchants and promotions work best with your program.

Begin with one portfolio of advertisers, test it out and make changes as needed. If you begin your program with this mindset, your program will become flexible and adaptable to changing environments. Plan on changing elements around and testing from the beginning - it is just part of the process - and you will feel less pain when you have to swap links, banners or placements.

Online Presence - Browse the advertiser website. Is it easy to understand what the company does? Can you find what you are looking for? Would you buy from them? You will be sending your hard-earned visitors to their site, so you should make sure it is a good experience and that it will convert your customers into buyers.

Ease of Generating a Transaction - The process a visitor goes through to either make a purchase or fill out a form on the advertiser site should be clear and simple. Remember, in the end these are your customers and you do not want an advertiser who puts any road blocks in their way.

Effective Creative - Does the advertiser have strong creative that will help you do your job? Do they have the ad types and sizes you need? A product catalog (which allows you to showcase a product, not just the advertiser main site). If you are spending time and money promoting the advertiser, you need good creative to help you sell their products.

Program Flexibility - If an advertiser allows you to promote their products in a variety of ways, i.e. emails, search engines, and  offers a variety of creative, you will have more opportunities to earn commissions. Take a look at rules on trademark bidding and other terms and conditions to make sure they will work with your plan for driving sales and leads.

Consistent Offers - Look for offers that are consistent with the work required for promotion. For example, if an advertiser has a large commission on a high-ticket item, but the conversion rate is low, you may not do as well with that advertiser as with a smaller commission that's easier to achieve. Selling t-shirts might be easier than a Ferrari - and that is one reason you won't see a Boeing airliner program anytime soon. $100 per product is a benchmark that some of our publishers recommend.

Incentives to Perform - If you have a high traffic volume and the right audience for an advertiser, you should be rewarded accordingly. Don't solely base your decision on commission payouts, but at the same time, don't underestimate the importance of being paid for your hard work. Make sure you are in a program that gives you more pay off the more value you bring in (see performance incentives and tiers in the CJ Account Manager Help documents).

Program Management - What type of program manager will work best with your personality? Do you want someone hands-on or someone to leave you alone? Do you welcome suggestions and comments or do you want to run your site independently? Look for welcome letters and communications practices to help you determine what kind of program manager will fit best with you and your program. At the least, you will want to look for an advertiser that provides you with enough information to help you effectively promote your offers.

After Choosing Advertiser
The first place to start is to look at the merchant and the advertisement's EPC, or earnings per 100 clicks, a metric to measure effectiveness. EPC is measured in both 7-day EPC and 3-month EPC. The EPC is the best indicator of how offers will perform for you.

The next step is to understand the features and benefits of different ad formats. It is an important step toward placing the right creative to get your audience to take action (sale or lead).

Banners - Click-through and conversion rates will increase when banners are offer-driven and have a specific call-to-action. Test a variety of types and styles, since many find alternative sizes often perform better than traditional horizontal banners. People will not click on boring or ads they have seen over and over again, so it is important to pay close attention to what you place on your site.

Text Links - Text links provide publishers with the greatest flexibility in ad promotion. Many publishers deep link to product or service specific pages on advertisers sites with text links. Text links also appear in or near contextually relevant content.  You can also feature text based ads in email and search marketing campaigns. Text links are considered the highest performing ad types delivering the strongest click-through rates and solid conversion rates.
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