Monday, January 23, 2006

Tracking AdSense, AdWords, YPN and Affiliate Programs

Rolls Royce at HotelMany moons ago, I drove my second-hand Audi Fox to an upscale hotel in Fort Worth, Texas. I'll never forget the night. As I walked up to the hotel, to hear a prominent multi-millionaire speak, there - right in front of the lobby was parked the most elegant Rolls Royce.

Wow, I thought. This fellow has something to say.

Notepad in hand, and my favorite pen, I took meticulous notes as he spoke on how he made it. He covered dream-building and how important it was to have a dream board - something visual you could keep in front of you.

Near the end, he made a remark I'll never forget.

He said his shoes were $300.00 Italian leather. And, they felt great - as $300 shoes should. At the time, my monthly take-home was around $600. I tried hard to relate, but could only dream. He continued that when your shoes feel good, you feel good. And if your shoes feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, you will not be at your best.

At the time, I couldn't believe how a $300 shoe could make that much difference, other than the self-esteem knowing your shoe costs more than the annual wage of adults in some small countries.

Later in life I had the opportunity to buy my first pair of - you guessed it - $300 Italian leather shoes. After a few minutes on my feet, the millionaire's words rang in my mind. So true - your body feels better when your feet are properly supported. For years I went around in disbelief that a small tweak of my footwear could make such an enormous difference.

Now I have many $300 shoes - and I don't even pay retail for them. Many I buy used on eBay. The guys that make these just know how to make them right. Wow!

Okay, Dave - enough about shoes - where's the lesson?

Today you may be running Google AdSense, Yahoo!'s Publisher Network ads or any manner of banners, text ads, popunders, etc. If you're normal, you're constantly searching for ways to improve your method of making money with your site. Like me, you are seeking out those who have something to say.

There are some great tools for tracking contextual ads, and some not so great. I use an spreadsheet program which I bought, which is designed for tracking conversions (click that turn into purchases), but works with my method of converting AdWord ads to Yahoo! Publisher Network clicks (and vice-versa). Trust me; there are ways of seeing those conversions by adding code to your pages. With it, I can see how much I spent on ads and how much profit I received from conversions.

If you do a search on contextual ads or affiliate programs, you'll see there are many. There are even some websites that do a fair job of tracking all the affiliate and contextual ads. Hey, I'm not perfect, but in my studies I have found that there are only a few major players and those are the ones I teach because the payoff has been best. They are, for running ad campaigns: Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing - I have used AdSonar and a few others, but at the time I tried them they were not ready for primetime.

For placing ads in your sites: Google AdSense and Yahoo! Publisher Network (Chitika eMiniMalls are respectable as well).

You don't need to stick to one program, and that's my point. When you measure your profit, you will soon see which works better. For example, I found that AdSense ads had a better ROI than YPN on several pages. But I only would have known that by testing.

Let me leave you with this.

There is a way to track by keyword when someone either clicks an ad to get to your site, or types it in a search engine - and then clicks an ad on your page. Know how valuable that is? Read it again.

Just think - if you knew which keywords someone typed that actually CONVERTED into a sale on your site - and which ones DIDN'T! You could soon build up a nice keyword list of words that 50 - 80% of the time convert to sales!

My students do this consistently and you can, too. But, just as I had no idea how heavenly $300 Italian shoes could be, you might not have known that was even possible - if I didn't tell you.

Homework for today: With the system you are using currently, find out how much you are making daily and using our previous traffic tracking, subtract that to find your ROI (return of investment). If you want to get creative, find out how much profit you made each click. That's about all you can tell unless you have more data.

From sunny Naples, FL...

P.S. Why doesn't just tracking my profit let me know enough? Because there are many parameters that affect profits and key ones that can make or break your campaign. Price, content, headling, URL, placement, to name a few. Subscribe to the blog and don't miss one point as I continue to discuss these.