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Select Advertising

Select Advertising is the quality end of internet advertising, as compared to Splat advertising which is more the junk mail end of the business.

This form of advertising is a study in contrasts with splat ads, as the characteristics are almost diametrically opposed. Rather than just sticking banners anywhere, they are done "in context", often on a dedicated page.

Rather than getting lots of impressions which don't do much, it is typical that a much lower level of impressions occur, but they are usually much better value for money.

Affiliates promoting this type of merchant will often create a dedicated page, will often need to hard code a generic banner to link to that page, will usually give examples of the strengths and weaknesses of the company and the page will usually stay around for a long time, often years after the affiliate program has ended.

Because of the dedicated page, in a well built website, people don't go to it unless they are at least slightly interested in the product or the company. This leads to superficially poor looking impression statistics.

These poor headline figures conceal some other almost unbelievable statistics, like the fact that the unusually high click through rate of 1 in 5 is typical of this type of model, as is the click to sales ratio which is also 1 in 5.

Sometimes the ratio is much better, and for really good deals, instead of getting 1 in 25 customers buying something, it can be as high as 1 in 4.

Interestingly, even some affiliate marketing companies don't really understand that there is a difference between these two advertising models, and merchants often need the difference explaining.

Because of these statistics the affiliate will often prefer a percentage of the sale, with an anti fraud payment delay. It is standard practice to have the sale occur one month, get it validated the next month, and finally get paid on the third month. As you can imagine, this is not really compatable with receiving a message from the merchant on wednesday about fridays promotion, although a few affiliates can respond that fast.

As you would imagine, it help the merchants cash flow considerably, as it can be considered as "sale or return" advertising. Having your program end for a few days every month does not look good with these affiliates.

The best merchants try and speed up tracking and validating sales to reward the affiliate, as confirmed fraud tends to be very low on these websites.

Affiliates will often be erroniously thrown off programs because of the poor impression numbers, or because the high click through ratios smell like fraud. Usually this happens at networks where there focus is primarily splat ads, and is often reversed after explaining.

Refusal and reversing happens a lot with being allowed onto the affiliate program in the first place, for the same reasons.

This is usually but not always due to the merchant using a third party company to direct it's advertising, who then don't get affiliate marketing.

Because companies are so good at getting it wrong, and not having a real way to get in touch with them, this site has a list of merchants where we have been denied from the program, most of which we would like to get back.

In fact not talking to us when there is a problem like this is usually why a merchant ends up on that list in the first place, and usually all they have to do to get off it is to get back in touch and talk with us.

Because of the difference in model between these two types of advertising, you find companies constantly getting suprised when they do something silly. For example in splat ads, the only reason to hard code a banner is to cheat. The sort of affiliate with dedicated pages will usually have multiple merchants in the same category, and will often want to hard code a generic banner to encourage a customer to visit the dedicated page. This often causes problems when a merchant introduces a "no hardcoding" clause to the contract, as a lot of affiliates will write in or get in touch to point out the problem.

It is also unusual for this sort of affiliate to do search engine keyword bidding, but as they will properly keyword the page, often fall foul of over broad and badly worded meta tag clauses in the contract.

No disparraging clauses often mean that the affiliate cannot warn of known weaknesses of the merchant, and how to avoid them being a problem.

Merchants will often be surprised that the page doesn't get deleted when the program shuts for a few days, but typically this sort of affiliate will have an explicit deep linking policy.

Because the page hangs around, you can often find statements on the pages of misunderstanding merchants saying things like "nice to have them back, whoops, the've gone again" or pointing out stated but invalid reasons for refusal on the new program when they change networks.

Zyra also has a page about Select Advertising which is worth a read.

See also How affiliate marketing should work for examples of good and bad in affiliate marketing.