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Splat Advertising

Splat Advertising is something we are all familiar with, and is the type of intrusive banner advertising which is epitomised by being adverts for things we are probably not interested in as a way of raising money for the primary business.

It is the junk mail end of online advertising, except with much worse returns than leafleting. The pop-under end off the market is nearly equivelent to a leafletter carrying a chain-saw so that if you don't have a letterbox he can cut you one (whether you want one or not).

It has a number of characteristics, most of which are less than desirable, especially for customers. It is usually "in your face", often as jiggling banners, pop-ups or worse, pop-unders, designed to get around the fact that the customer is not really interested in the advertising, and none of which are liked.

Affiliates who do this are characterised by fast response times to changes, in fact the entire voucher code part of the industry relies on this. They also want paying primarily for accepting the advertising.

This is often done with a funding model which invites abuse, for example pay per impression (now almost gone) or pay per click (which is becoming a lot less common). It is also the primary user of voucher codes, and has lots of problems with keyword bidding on search engines.

It also is not particularly good value for money for merchants, as abuse is very easy, click-through rates are often as low as 1 in 100,000 and click to sales rates are much lower. The level of abuse in this segment of the industry has caused quite a few merchants to stop doing affiliate marketing.

It initially looks good though, as it gives the appearance of raising brand awareness through high impression rates. Also, when your marketing department is not that good at planning campaigns it allows them to turn the program off for a few days at the end of the month when you run out of budget.

It tends to attract merchants who have not had an affiliate program before, and who thus will make a lot of mistakes in running the program and dealing with affiliates. Often the merchant will add various extra term to being on the program, usually badly though out and suffering from the law of unintended consequences.

It is therefore important that the affilate marketing company gives a lot of the right sort of advice. Although capped programs are a bad idea, this is one of the few times where they have some justification.

Rather than stopping the program for a few days at the end of the month because you have run out of money, you should instead migrate to a capped program so that you only accept new affiliates when you have spare budget.

However capped programs should only be a short term stepping stone to a better marketing model. The best model is refered to by a lot of people as Select Advertising, and has much better statistics.

Zyra also has a page about Splat Advertising wich is worth a read.