The acronym, CTR refers to Click Through Rate and it is a measure by which affiliate marketers estimate the success of an online advertising campaign. I think that the success of any affiliate marketing endeavor should really be based on conversions, not CTR, but CTR can tell us how successful our ad copy, link placement or link type is and the first goal of earning affiliate revenue through your blog or website is getting your visitors to the destination (i.e. the affiliate site). Remember your visitors have to get to the affiliate website before they can purchase anything from the affiliate site.
CTR is calculated by dividing the number of times a user clicked one of your affiliate links (or banners etc.) by the number of times that particular link was served (called impressions). For example, suppose you have placed a banner advertisement on a website and that banner was served one thousand times (1000 impressions) and clicked on ten times (10 clicks). The resulting Click Through rate (CTR) would be 10/1000 = .01 and since CTR is usually expressed as a percentage, just multiply .01 x 100 = 1%. One important thing to remember is that CTR is calculated based on number of clicks even if those clicks all came from the same visitor! Even still, in order to increase your affiliate earnings one of the first things you want to do is increase your CTR.
According to Value Click Media, “a typical CTR (for a banner ad) is 0.5% (1 in 200).” This means that there is one click for every 200 impressions. Looking at MY Match.com CTR (for Match.com affiliate advertisements placed on WebPersonalsOnline.com) in the above image, you can see that the CTR I achieved for April was 20.67%, just over forty times the typical banner ad CTR! Clearly these results weren’t achieved using banners alone. Let’s take a look at another statistic from April for WebPersonalsOnline.com to see if there is even more to the story.
The next screenshot breaks down the 20.67% CTR to the two types of advertisements used to achieve this click-thru-rate, Banners and Searchboxes. If you analyze the CTR for each type of ad, you’ll see I was still able to achieve a CTR greater than 5% for my banners (over ten times a typical banner CTR of .5%) and a whopping 52.44% CTR for my Searchbox advertisements! This CTR is almost one hundred and five times
better than the typcial banner CTR of .5% (according to Value Click Media). Certainly, there is more to earning real money as an affiliate than simply placing some banners on your website. Let’s analyze how I achieved such a high CTR.
My banner CTR of over 5% is pretty good. I achieved this by using non-standard size banners and also by embedding 300×250 size banners into many of my articles. Also, in addition to the standard 468×60 size banner that is common on many web pages, I also used 728×90 sized banners (sometimes called leaderboards) and vertical 160×600 sized banners, also known as skyscrapers. By using non-conventional sized banners and experimenting with embedding banners directly in my articles, as well as keeping the banners highly targeted to my visitors, I was able to achieve a CTR better than ten times the typical banner CTR.
But the real story is the 52.44% CTR I achieved by using Searcbox ads. The Match.com affiliate program (through Linkshare) offers convenient SearchBoxes that affiliates can embed directly into their web pages. These Search Boxes contain my affiliate URL so that whenever a visitor uses one of these search boxes on my online dating site to browse the profiles of Match.com members, I get credit for the referral.
The CTR is so high because the visitors to my site are all interested in online dating and checking out the photos of single men and women on Match. Although I’d like to think everyone is coming to my website to read the in-depth articles on internet dating and relationships, my goal as an affiliate is to get them to Match.com so I get credit for the referral. I use a Search Box centered in the upper-middle of each of my articles on WebPersonalsOnline.com and this appeals to the curiosity of my visitors. And, hey, it’s free to look. I imagine most of my visitors never read any of my articles all the way through and that’s fine with me!
So, what can you learn about increasing your CTR from my ‘case-study’? First, typical banner CTR is very low. This is generally for conventional sized banners placed in typical spots on the web page. You can improve your banner CTR simply by experimenting with non-typical banner sizes and placements. Second, look for affiliate programs that offer more than the simple banner ot text-link affiliate links. Specialty links, such as the Seachbox described above can totally annihilate the typical Click Through Rate(s) achieved by most affiliates using conventional linking methods. The search boxes work especially well for online dating sites because eveybody wants to see what the members look like, who are the good-looking guys, how many hot girls are there on the site, who are the newest members etc.
So, just remember to try different things, experiment with different linking options and try to find affiliate programs that give you many different link choices for getting your visitors to the affiliate website. Experiment, experiment, experiment and analyze the results you are getting to see if there is aanything you can do to improve those results. To be a successful affiliate does not require rocket science, but it does require a little testing, experimentation, and analysis.
[tags] CTR, how to increase CTR, affiliate marketing, increase affiliate links CTR, CTR analysis, how to improve CTR, affiliate CTR [/tags]