The following is a guest post by Corey Bornmann. Corey is the creator of http://affportal.com. For a 14 day free trial of all the updated AffPortal tools go to www.AffPortal.com/offervault and register for your free trial.
It’s been a full year, almost to the day, that I started experimenting with Real Time Bidding. I have run traffic for affiliate offers, local offers, brick and mortar and rebills. Thinking back over the last year, there’s 3 big lessons I learned that I wish I would have known when I started out a year ago.
#1 – Don’t Cheap Out
This is a tip that my buddy Jim Banks shared with me 6 months ago that has made a world of difference in my conversions with RTB media buys.
It is possible to squeeze out a thousand impressions from a quarter, but that’s not always a good thing. Don’t forget what you have your eye on is conversions, that’s the metric that really matters. In going for the cheapest of the cheap you are foraging for leftovers and a lot of times that traffic is tough to convert into leads, let alone direct sales.
I have found a better strategy is to set my bids much higher than I’m comfortable with spending but using my daily max spend metric to keep it under control until I see the real price I’m paying for a thousand impressions. 99% of the time I have been surprised how low my actual spend comes in way lower than I have bid. But the real surprise is that the traffic converted two to three times better when going with the much higher bid.
#2 – Go For The Lead
Direct Response is a challenge when using Real Time Bidding for your traffic and a lot of marketers get hung up with going for the sale first which can be very challenging. It’s led more than a few marketers to give up on RTB all together. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you concentrate on using RTB for what it’s good at, making that crucial first introduction (prospecting) or re-introduction (retargeting) that’s a natural part of any good sales funnel.
You have to remember this is a value exchange. If you advertise something of value, a free trial, a free report, a free webinar, RTB can be a great method to break the ice with your new prospects. This enables you to nurture them into becoming a lead and eventually a customer. But the key is giving away something of value and getting them to take their first step toward you. And it all starts with them giving you a click on your banner ad in exchange for more information about your incredibly compelling offer.
I have found that by doing this a positive side effect is product exposure and depending on how familiar the prospect is with your valuable product, it can lead to an accidental customer. The accidental conversion happens when even if they don’t opt in for the free report you are giving away, they notice the strategic “Free Trial” text button on your landing page and take you up on that better offer instead.
#3 – Brand Those Banner Ads
I don’t know if it’s the more aggressive bidding strategy I’ve been using or that the exchanges are maturing but I have had more campaigns coming back now than in the prior 10 months for not having clear brand info included on the banner ad.
This is especially true with the bigger exchanges like Right Media, Google and Microsoft. They will kick back your banner faster than you submitted it if it lacks branding AND you might not even know they did it. The big boys may refuse your campaign, but the smaller networks might let it slide, so you will get a small trickle of traffic which can be deceiving. If your trading desk doesn’t tell you it happened, you are none the wiser and may think the problem is the traffic source when really, it’s that your banner simply lacks branding.
A good tool to use for building great looking banners is the Banner Builder tool inside of the all new AffPortal.com Internet Marketing Tools. Completely updated for 2013, AffPortal includes a banner builder that makes it drop dead easy to make great looking banner ads quickly and easily.
For a 14 day free trial of all the updated AffPortal tools go to www.AffPortal.com/offervault and register for your free trial.