Affiliate Summit West – Day 2 Recap

…And we’re back with another day of blog coverage for Affiliate Summit West. If you missed Day 1, feel free to go check it out. Otherwise let’s get on with today’s big takeaways. This blogger hasn’t eaten since last night’s French fries dinner and her tummy is starting to rumble.

Ready? Okay.

Facebook’s ad platform is a gold rush for marketers

I’ll be honest, I kind of wrote off the whole Facebook ad platform thing when it came out a year ago. Social media + ads just never seemed like a winning combination to me. However, it seems I was wrong. [See, Rae, I can admit that. Now you try.] **(Note from Rae: I never dismissed Facebook, so nothing for me to admit.)

During the panel speakers Zac Johnson, Jeremy Schoemaker, Alex Schultz, and Dan Murray all commented on the power found within the ad platform and its ability to blend high conversions with click prices that can fall as low as just a couple of cents. Alex went as far as to say today’s Facebook is very similar to what AdWords was back in 2002-2003. It has that same gold rush feel.

Why should you pay attention to Facebook’s advertising platform? Because there are 150 million active users, with half signing onto the site daily. It’s an engaged core network filled with real people. The targeting offered by Facebook is the real bread and butter and why people should be paying attention. Facebook basically allows you to name any interest and then it will grab out all the people who have listed that in their profile. It gives you a huge ability to increase conversions if you’re smart enough to create a separate landing page based on interests.

Combine the engaged user base, the targeting, the high quality reporting and the fact that you can get single cent CPCs if you do it correctly – and Facebook starts to look like a virtual goldmine. Jeremy said that there’s a huge marketing imbalance that makes it a great opportunity until the rest of the world gets caught up, especially for targeting folks on a local level.

If you’re not yet playing with Facebook ads…you should

Show you’re listening, and affiliates will empathize.

One of yesterday’s big takeaways was creating relationships with vendors. Today, a lot of the conversation was centered on the act of communication itself.

In the Facebook session, Alex Schultz spoke about some of the problems users have had in the past with Facebook’s ad program: The ad review is inconsistent, there’s no bulk upload option, they put restrictions on the type of ads allowed, there wasn’t enough support people to go around, etc. Complaints like that for an ad platform that is barely a year old could kill it. But it hasn’t killed Facebook, because Facebook listens, and as a result, they’ve been able to not only improve on known complaints, but also to steer the conversation.

Jeremy noted that he even though he’s not a big Facebook ad spender (maybe $500-$1,000 a week), he often gets emails from different Facebook support people curious to see if he’s okay or if he needs anything. It gives him an outlet to bring up small issues before they become larger and it shows Jeremy that they value him. It keeps communication open and promotes goodwill.

People buy from people…and video captures that

Last week on the We Build Pages blog, I wrote about why sites should be creating compelling video content for their Web site. Today, I received another lesson in the importance of video.

Why is online video powerful for affiliate marketing?

  • If you’re an affiliate, you want cutting edge content on your Web site that you don’t have to create yourself so that you can focus on driving traffic.
  • If you’re the merchant, you want to grab eyeballs and get people back to your Web site to collect the conversion.

According to speakers, Jonathan Stefansky, Melissa Salas, Michael Jenkins and Marty Fahncke, video creative is phenomenally more successful in generating clicks and conversions than simple text. By adding video to your affiliate site, you’re being given a better way to convert those eyeballs.

The word everyone is tagging on to talks about online video is “potential”. Marketers aren’t in it for what’s being brought to the table today, but what it can do in the future. There’s a great opportunity here because people are so hungry for video. YouTube gets more search traffic than Microsoft with 77 million uniques. That’s how badly people want to watch video. You just have to figure out how to capitalize on that thirst.

We’re in a bronze age where nearly anybody can create content. The Web is a text-based medium for the most part. Today’s panelists believe that this going to be completely revolutionized where there will be much more audio and video content in the future.

How to be successful

Dave Taylor rocked the Using Social Media with Affiliate Programs session this afternoon, offering up tips for how affiliate marketers can use social media to grow their site. The thing with most affiliate marketing is that everyone is selling the same product, at the same price, with the same boring ass stock photos. If you’re going to grab the commission, you need to have something unique to offer.

You need authority, credibility and trustworthiness.

You get that by being an influence leader. You go where your customers are and start talking. Today’s social networks are all interconnected and bleed into one another, so it’s important that the message you’re putting out is consistent. You have a genuine presence and invest time in paying attention to your customers.

That’s how affiliate marketers can be successful in social media. And hell, that’s how you become successful in whatever you’re doing. Sounds simple, right?

And that completes our coverage of Day 2 of Affiliate Summit. Come back tomorrow to watch us finish it up. I’m gonna go hit the bar now.

About Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone is the Co-Founder and CBO of Outspoken Media, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping brands get heard on the web via various services such as SEO consulting and social media marketing. In her spare time, she enjoys avidly neglecting LisaBarone.com.

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