Let’s say that there is a group of cool programmers out there who have the iPhone figured out, and they have developed a group of really great applications for it. They plan on selling several to any one business subscriber, as they are primarily designed to help them do a better job with appointments, business management, and contact management for sales. There is even an app for custom sales order forms. Maybe they’ve set their price at $29.95 for each application. They approach multiple affiliate networks with their plan, and set up accounts. There are three ways in which they can approach this, and they’ll be likely to try variations of all three to see what works best.

1. Straight sale offers, with the affiliate marketer (perhaps a business blogger) linking to a specific application for contact management. If the consumer buys, the network get $x or x% of the sale amount. This could be a major portion of the whole sale, with the advertiser hoping to then follow-up with offers of their other apps, but only paying once for this customer. The network takes their cut off the top, giving the major portion of the payment to the affiliate that sent the buyer.

2. The link from the affiliate blogger site is to a free trial of one of their applications. A sale isn’t certain, but this advertiser is pretty confident in their applications, and believes that the free trial will result in a conversion to a purchase, plus future purchases of the other apps in the suite of products, as they all interact. In this case, the dollar amount to the network may be smaller, but it’s going to result in more conversions, as the consumer doesn’t have to spend any money.

3. Generally, if the product costs are higher, they can offer a payment just for the lead, meaning they’ll pay if the consumer comes from your affiliate link to their site and just submits a small amount of information like their name and email address. This will usually result in the highest conversion rate, but the payouts will be the smallest.

This advertiser probably approached several networks, and will likely end up working with more than one. As an affiliate marketer, you are likely to find them on the list of advertisers of more than one of the networks with which you work. There was negotiation on their end with the networks. Some would have demonstrated the probability that they would generate more business for the advertiser, and thus negotiated a higher overall payout.

You find this advertiser on a couple of your networks. Your decision as to which offer you’ll place on your sites and market will be based on which will result in the highest payout to you. One network may be keeping a higher portion for their income, leaving less for you, even though both are receiving the same from the advertiser. That’s assuming other factors has super iPhone ad apps, it may tip the scales their way with a lower payout for this particular offering. Or, you could create multiple marketing pieces and do them both as a test, using the results to kill one and stay with the other.

You’ll find that many advertisers will consistently run very different offers, often with very different payout amounts and methods. It isn’t always a test, in that some may work best with certain consumer demographic groups. They may retain a free trial offer, paying you less, but converting well with consumers who are resistant to buying something they can’t try first. Then, they may keep an ongoing offer out there for a straight purchase, maybe with a new customer discount. This one is for the early adopter, or consumer who has no problem spending money if they like the ad copy.

Author: Zack Jenkins