Is Pay Per Click (PPC) Still a Viable Affiliate Marketing Method?

Pay per click

If we look back at early marketing methods, PPC was a very good option to earn a decent income. But it has become harder over the years. Many affiliates now shy away from PPC because of the risks of paying for clicks and potentially not making a return. But if done right and enough time is spent developing a good campaign, PPC can still be very profitable.

But don’t be mistaken – it’s not possible to just set up a campaign and expect the sales to roll in. Your campaign will need new ads to be tested, new keywords added and your site will also need some testing to make sure it is converting as well as possible.

This article will shed some light on PPC and give you some advice on getting your campaign active.

Organic Traffic Vs Paid Traffic (PPC)

It’s worth comparing SEO traffic with PPC traffic to see exactly which one suits you.

Organic Traffic (SEO)

Pros:

  • Free
  • Potential to give long term income
  • No approval needed

Cons:

  • Competitive
  • Can take time to rank and start earning
  • At the mercy of algorithm changes

PPC Traffic

Pros:

  • Less competitive
  • Can provide quick results

Cons:

  • Can be costly
  • May result in shorter term profits
  • Requires set up time
  • Approval process required

It’s also worth noting that PPC can be a great method of finding out what a market is like. This can then give you the motivation to work on an organic based site to capture even more of the market share.

 

What Difficulties Do Affiliates Face With PPC?

You might have heard a rumour that Google AdWords don’t allow affiliate sites. This is not true. Affiliates can promote using Google AdWords, but you may just have to jump through a few hoops to get your campaign active and showing in the search results.

If you are interested in doing PPC then knowing the difficulties you could face will put you in a good position to prevent them from causing too many problems with your campaign.

 

High Costs 

When setting up your campaign you may come across certain keywords that cost a lot per click. Generally, the more competitive they are the more expensive they become.

To avoid high costs, try setting yourself a maximum daily budget. This will enable you to control how much is being spent.

 

Poor Conversions

It is important that you continue making changes to your site and to conduct split testing. This will allow you to make sure your site is converting as well as it can.

If your site converts poorly then you will simply find it much harder to make a profit. Remember, each visit to your site is costing you money!

 

Targeting the Wrong Keywords

Focus your efforts on specific keywords and don’t target too many. If you are focusing on a specific brand and your site is also very brand focused, you don’t want too many generic keywords (if any!).

Make sure that you use exact and phrase match keywords and NOT broad match. You could even combine them with some negative keywords to help ensure you are getting the right traffic to your site.

 

Merchant Site Claims

Google AdWords in particular have a strict approval process. Your site must not have any outlandish claims, or claims that a specific result will be achieved within a specific time scale.

Even if your own site doesn’t make any claims, AdWords will look at any site that you are linking to, which includes merchant sites. It’s therefore worth speaking to the affiliate manager first to check whether or not the product you plan to promote is approved by Google AdWords.

 

Bridge Page Policy

The truth is, many of the AdWords Support team do not know what the bridge page policy is and will therefore assume that just because you link to another site that it is not allowed. This is not the case.

A bridge page is basically a site that is just there to send the visitor from one page to another. If your site offered no value and was simply there to link through to the merchant site then this is a bridge page.

However, if your site offers something that the merchant site doesn’t – something the user would benefit from – then it would not be considered a bridge page. Therefore, it’s worthwhile adding things like;

  • Discount codes that may not be available on the merchant page
  • Testimonials
  • Factual comparisons
  • Generic articles

Having these additional things on your site will allow you to explain to the support team that your site does offer value and provides the visitor with something they cannot get from the linked page.

 

Tips for Getting Your PPC Campaign Live

Here are a few tips to getting your campaign live:

 

Tip #1: Keep content related to keywords

The content and the site should relate to the keywords in the ad and be what the ad is about. Even though Testogen is a Testosterone Booster, you might not use testosterone booster keywords if the site is very brand focused. Instead, you would use content based around the brand name.

If however, your site’s main keyword was “Best Testosterone Booster”, your targeted keywords may not be brand focused but more focused around ‘testosterone booster’, ‘recommended testosterone booster’ etc.

Essentially, this means that both your content and the keywords you are using need to focus on the same thing.

 

Tip #2: Don’t overuse outbound links

Having too many outbound links is a quick way of getting your site flagged up for manual review. I would focus on having 2-3 outbound links per page and no more.  Internal links are fine; just restrict the amount of affiliate links you use.

 

Tip #3: Use disclaimers

If you have any kind of benefits list or testimonials on your site, make sure you place a disclaimer under each of them. A recommended disclaimer would be something like; “The results seen may vary between individuals”

 

Tip #4: Don’t use claims with times/dates

It is fine to use claims on your site, but it is recommended to use phrases such as “may” or “should”, instead of words such as “will”. As well as this, do not claim that specific results will be seen in a set time. For example;

“Lose 5 lbs in 3 weeks”

This would be flagged up and will be disapproved, instead try to use something like:

“May see significant weight loss”

 

Tip #5: Contact AdWords prior to launching

Before setting your campaign live, pause it. You should contact the support team via the email or live chat option and ask them to take a look at your campaign. Advise them that you are new to AdWords and want to ensure that everything is okay before you set your campaign live.

This will give you the opportunity to fix any potential issues before the review team look at it, which can help prevent your account from getting suspended.

 

Tip #6: Keep your quality score high

Quality score is important as it can help to keep your costs down, as well as improve the chances of your ads staying up.

One way to keep your quality score up is to create several ad groups based around the same site but using a different set of ads and keywords. For instance, if you are wanting to target discount keywords and review keywords, have these split into two separate ad-groups. That way your keywords will also be divided, which will improve the overall quality and allows you to keep a closer eye on which converts better.

 

PPC Campaign Organisation

The key to a good campaign is to keep it organized and structured. Believe me – this will make it much easier for you to know what is happening and to make sure you know which campaigns convert and which don’t.

When creating a PPC campaign you will initially create the campaign, then the ad group and then finally add keywords into that ad group. Ideally you want to create a campaign for each country you are promoting, as this keeps everything separated and allows better control.

Next, you want to create an ad group for each set of keywords. So you may have one ad group which is focused on buy keywords, another on discount keywords and then perhaps one on more generic terms.

 

Ads, Ads and another Ad

Do not just create one single ad and let it run… how do you know it converts?

I recommend creating three ads. Leave them running for a week and then see how they are doing. Pause the one with the lowest CTR and create another ad. This will allow you to continue testing your ads so that you can make sure you have a higher CTR.

 

Can you get a Suspended Site Live Again?

If your site has been disapproved it will normally be suspended. You can normally have a site disapproved 3 times before your account is banned. Once your account is banned it’s normally very hard to get it activated again. You will need to work with the AdWords support team to try and get it approved again.

 

So is PPC Still Worth it?

It is more than possible to run a successful PPC campaign as an affiliate. Google do not ban sites just for being affiliate sites. You do however, need to put some initial thought into it before setting your PPC campaign going. The days are gone when you could just stick an ad up and it will make sales.

If you plan the keywords you are targeting, create your site based on those keywords, optimize your campaigns, ads and speak to the AdWords support team then you should have no problems in getting your campaign live and seeing success.

Still unsure about creating your first PPC campaign? Feel free to contact me directly with your site URL and I’ll review it for any problems that might cause the AdWords team any concerns.

Senior Affiliate Manager

  • Stancho

    Great article. I wish i asked you before i started my PPC.
    I was banned, suspended and refused quite a few times and had exchanged countless emails before i learned my lesson. PPC is not about easy money – its about quality, quality and more quality. If you can live up to their standarts and follow the policies, you can have something very rewarding :)

    Thanks

    • Hi Stancho,

      I am sorry to hear that you had problems with your PPC campaign. You are right it is all about quality and can take time, at the same time it is rewarding when done right.

      Feel free to drop me a email if you want any help with future PPC Campaigns :)

  • Jaxy

    Yea, great article.

    Will have to agree with pains and gains what you can get using AdWords. It’s rather annoying how your situation can change overnight as well, or if a different Google “specialist” has a look at your site. It has happened couple of times to me that 1 specialist says it’s all OK and go live, and then 2 hours later another specialist comes along and finds that “oh no, your site is a threat to the public, you need to change this and that!”.
    Saying all that, yes, you can make money from it, just need a good budget to start with and not to be worried if you lose all of that cause it didn’t work out as hoped.

    • Yeah to be honest its the difference in communication form their team that causes a lot of people to have problems. Their live chat service is always useful though and if you can get them on the phone as they will explain in more detail what problems there are :)

  • youndyd

    Thanks Martyn for the detailed tips on how to navigate the world of PPC as an affiliate. I have always been afraid to dabble into Adwords as I have heard a lot of discouraging stories about how your account can be banned.

    • Hey,

      There is nothing to be afraid of :)

      If you have some spare money and want to give it a go then go for it, just do the right planning before hand and select the right product.

      Feel free to drop me an email if you do decide you want to look into PPC and ill see how I can help :)

  • userTR4599

    Thanks Martyn for helpful post , well i haven’t tried any PPC or Search engine marketing . Are you talking about search engine marketing also ?? Is search engine marketing and PPC marketing are different from each other . And what is more costly…

    • Hi,

      The article is focused on PPC and is different to Search Engine Marketing.

      PPC is basically where you pay per click and appear in the search results “Ads” section. Each time someone clicks the ad, you pay for that click. The amount you ay is dependant on competition and quality score.

      Search Engine Marketing is a method of marketing to get your site ranked in the organic (free) search results. This type of marketing typically includes good on page and off page SEO. It takes longer to see results but as mentioned above can be a little more secure.

  • Gemini

    I have tried every single thing you have mentioned, my ad were doing good but they get suspended at some time. These techniques are useful but for a short period of time.

    • Hi Gemini,

      Id have to disagree, I would say these techniques are useful for a long term basis. We have a number of affiliates that have been doing PPC for some time now :)

      The downside is not all staff that review ads seem to follow the same advice, one may approve your ad where as another may reject it

      Feel free to drop me an email and I can take a look at your site/ad and see what the problem might be :)