Perhaps the following scenario has happened to you. You list a product with the ClickBank affiliate program, and multiple affiliates decide to promote your product. One of them outbids you and your other affiliates on Google on most of your keywords. Because his ad uses the same url as your ad, Google will only show his ad and not yours; those are the AdWords rules. But your heart sinks as you read his AdWords ad. It’s terrible. It reads as if it were written by an illiterate. Or at least an internet marketing affiliate illiterate. The text says something like, "Check out this great product. Money back guarantee." The headline is just as bad: “Exciting New [fill in the blank] Ebook." “Geez,” you think, “that ad couldn't draw flies. I won't be making any sales as long as this ad is running.”
You have a few options for dealing with this situation. Remember, because this is the ClickBank affiliate program, you don't have his or her contact information to "educate" him or her on the intricacies of writing Google haiku. So here's what you can do:
1. You can outbid him so your ad runs instead of his. But this is going to cost you a lot of money, especially if your naïve affiliate has bid way too much in order to appear as Number 1 or Number 2 in the Sponsored Links column on page 1 of the search returns. So while your ego may be soothed by this tactic, you may end up making much less or no profit on any product you sell. Remember, the benefit of having an affiliate program is that they pay the advertising cost and you forego a percentage of your profits to have other people sell your product.
2. You can sit back and wait. In a few days, when very few people have clicked on his ad, he may get discouraged and pause his AdWords campaign. At that point, your ads -- or the ads of one of your smarter affiliates -- will start running again. Take comfort in the fact that your excellent sales letter is still backing up that bad AdWords ad, so if anyone does click on it, your letter will magnetically draw them toward the "Buy" button.
3. You may find, to your surprise, that Google is still running your ads at least part of the time, even though you have bid less than your affiliate. Why does this happen? If your CTR (click through rate) is high enough, the Google system will run your ad sometimes, because your higher CTR tells the system that there is a better chance someone will click on your ad. And that's what it's all about, as far as Google is concerned.
This is what happened to us. We decided to wait a few days to see if the affiliate got discouraged (which he eventually did). But meanwhile, at the same time that his ads were running, we had some sales from our AdWords ad! Our higher CTR meant that Google showed our ad at least some of the time.
In the best of all possible worlds, we would all have our own affiliate program for our products. The joy of having your own affiliate program is that you have more control. You can have affiliate education information, including audio files, reports, and Camtasias. In this educational material, you can show what sorts of titles work and don't work, what sorts of ads draw more clicks, etc. But for those who must depend on the ClickBank affiliate program, they are more at the mercy of the ClickBank system. So if you are unfortunate enough to have a dumb or inexperienced ClickBank affiliate, patience may be your best ally.
About the Author: Loretta Sernekos, Ph.D. is the Executive Vice President of The Sernekos Group, Inc. Visit http://www.merrymen.com - Adventures In Internet Marketing for more straight-up commentary and articles about Life in the Land of SEO and PPC.
Written by: Loretta Sernekos