Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie
For those of you that missed it a couple weeks ago, I’ve brought to life this new segment that will be recurring periodically, Late Night Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie. This is to test out the theory that everything you need to know about internet marketing can be learned from fortune cookies. I’m only half kidding.
Today’s fortune cookie, which came to me with a dish of kung pow chicken at a little place close to my day job, says, “Live, think, and act for today. Tomorrow may be too late.”
I take this to mean that what I’ve been telling you all this time is absolutely true, that you need to do a little something today. Even if it’s just a little something. If you do that every day, just take a little action, build a little something, do a little something, create a little something, plan for something and execute part of that plan, if you do that today, even if it’s only 20 minutes tonight before you go to bed, if you do that over and over again it’s going to add up. Occasionally one of those 20 minute sessions is going to turn into a two hour juggernaut session where you really crush it. You do those and you add those up over the weeks and the months and the years, and you’re going to really like the results.
The second part of my fortune cookie today tells me that tomorrow may be too late. There are lots of reasons for that. One reason is just that things are changing and the market is changing. Some things are getting more difficult. Some things are getting easier. There is always the possibility that whatever your idea is will no longer apply in the future, will be much harder in the future, will be done fantastically well by somebody else. You better get started today. Be urgent. Have that sense of urgency that makes you better than the next guy. Care more. Do more. Act more aggressively. Act today, because tomorrow may be too late.
Listen to the fortune cookie, people, it’s trying to tell you something.
iOS9 Ad Blocker Impact on Affiliates
I have this really good friend that lives here in the neighborhood who follows the show online and so forth. We have talked on and off for internet business for some time now. He listens to Pat Flynn and other kinds of podcasts, he’s a podcast guy. He has some special areas of expertise that he’s interested in starting an internet business around.
We’ve been having this discussion privately, generally over cold sparkling tasty beverages, about what it takes to get this done. We’ve talked about envisioning what the business would look like. What do you want it to be? Do you want it to be something like some of the thin affiliate sites that we’ve talked about before, like the Corn Sheller site that has 5 to 20 pieces of content and they just take leads and cash them in for some kind of affiliate commission? Or do you want to do something maybe more like Security Guard Training Headquarters where you take a topic and just make the authoritative source on the internet for that very narrow topic, something that has a lot of search engine opportunity? Or do you want to create a bigger brand where you’re part of the influence of the brand, you’re a piece of it, some of the people that are coming to that website are coming because the search engines are sending them there but some of them are coming there and coming back because they’re looking for you?
We’ve been talking about this with my buddy, talking about what to do and how to brand it and so forth. That has been a lot of fun for me and I really enjoy those conversations. Those kind of conversations with him give me ideas about what to talk to you guys about.
I think one of the questions that comes up in there is, “Is affiliate marketing still a valid strategy for these things?” If you’re going to build a thin website, does that still work? If you’re going to build this online presence, does that work? Right now I think my buddy is leaning toward something more than just a thin site that is promoting one product or some of the things that we’ve talked about like that before. He’s leaning more towards this bigger, more authoritative site.
I recently was listening to Mac Break Weekly, at the time that iOS9 was coming out. If you guys aren’t aware of it, iOS9 for the first time allows this idea of ad blockers for Safari. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but sometimes when you go to a load a site on Safari, or any mobile web browser, they’re just slow. You never know why, whether it’s the server or your internet connection, but one thing you can always notice is a lot of times there are tons of ads on these pages.
Usually the ones that I really notice it on are these things that are designed for ad clicks, like “The Top 10 Reasons XYZ Happened.” You go to the website and each reason is on a separate page and each time you hit it another ad loads. Basically what’s happening is some content providers are getting so ad click crazy that they’re just really putting so many ads on their pages that it’s affecting performance.
Then there’s the other issue of sometimes I don’t want to see those ads. I just don’t want to see that Viagra ad or whatever it is that’s on that page. For a long time on the PC and the Mac side there has been this idea of ad blockers, like in Firefox. Well, iOS has made it possible to purchase ad blockers for Safari.
A lot of content providers have expressed concern because this is how they’re feeding their families. You may not want to listen to those ads, but you want the content as the listener, or in the case of reading you may not want to see those ads but you are wanting to watch that video or read that article. So the question is how do these content creators actually get paid if they can’t serve ads or if the ads they’re serving are blocked?
It’s the same problem that the TV networks have with DVRs. I bet the number of TV commercials that I actually watch whenever I watch TV is down by 95%. Sometimes when I want to watch something live, like a Texas A&M football game, I’ll actually intentionally start watching the game 20 minutes late so that I can skip through the commercials and by the end of the football game I’ll be caught up to real time so I’m not seeing as many commercials.
I think content providers on blogs and other kinds of content platforms are concerned that this going to cut into their revenue and make it impossible for them to pay the people that are creating this content. I think it’s a legitimate concern.
This has been covered on This Week in Tech, which is a podcast by Leo Laporte, a very popular podcast with listeners all over the world. Leo is the Zen master of podcasting. He was talking about this because it’s an iOS9 thing so they were covering it on the show. Listen to what Leo has to say about where advertising is going as far as content is concerned. The two voices you’re going to hear one is Om Malik, the founder of GigaOm, he’s a venture capitalist, he’s an author of a book called Broadbandits, which is a cool telecom book, and he writes for Fast Company. The other guy of course is Leo Laporte, who knows a lot about what’s going on in internet advertising. It’s very interesting, here you go:
[start audio clip from This Week in Tech Episode 522]
Om: The whole reason advertising exists is to sell people things, whether it was physical things or digital things, or in terms of content and selling content. It was all about getting people to buy something else. What if you remove that need to buy something else, like remove the middle man and the advertising, and made it easier for people to go from let’s say while you and I are talking straight to a purchase and buy something from that. You and I talk about a device, we like it, other people believe what we are saying and they go buy it.
Leo: That’s always better than advertising, isn’t it?
Om: Right. I think the internet enables that behavior much more effectively.
Leo: Yes. In fact, the reviews on Amazon (for me anyway) are a must-stop. Before I buy anything, I read the reviews.
Om: If you look at Wirecutter, it’s another good example of a company which is succeeding by just saying, “This is what we really feel about this device,” and if people want to buy it they just click on a link. They don’t have to click on their link. I think the need for advertising is going to start to go away.
Leo: Does Wirecutter not have any ads?
Leo: So the revenue they make, and I’m sure it’s significant at this point, comes from the affiliate codes on the links?
Leo: That Brain Lam is no dummy.
Om: He’s catering to this one audience, which is his reader. I think that’s the number one thing which works for that site is that they take everything they write very seriously. If I can’t trust what they’ve written I’d probably not shop or click there. I think that’s the key thing.
[end audio clip from This Week in Tech Episode 522]
Now, remember the context of this conversation that these two guys are having that ads may be going away. What Om says is what really works, what people want, is this kind of thing that you get with really good affiliate marketing, the kind of affiliate marketing that we’ve talked about before where you’re adding value and helping people make a purchasing decision because you’ve told them things about the product family, a product category, or a particular product that helped them make a buying decision.
As he mentions, that’s one of the things that really makes Amazon so powerful. In fact, a lot of times when I’m standing in the store I’ll look up something on Amazon just to see what the reviews look like. If it’s 465 reviews and it’s 4.5 stars, I’ll make the purchasing decision right then, especially if I need it right then.
That kind of advice that you can get from people that are doing affiliate marketing well is really where this thing is headed. I doubt very seriously that these ad blockers are going to cause total gloom and doom. If anything, it’s a signal to the advertising industry or to the blogging industry that maybe they’ve gone a little too far with the ads.
They’ve gotten other signals like that. For example, Google and the search engines also take a look at how many ads there are above the page fold and how many ads there are in general and will penalize you in search if you have too many ads on your page. There are these signals going back to the content providers that are saying maybe you’re going too far with the ads.
In the face of all that, what Leo and Om are saying is what we really like and the thing that makes sense to us is this kind of affiliate marketing and here are some examples of where it works. If you’re thinking about (like my friend is) adding affiliate marketing into your strategy, that sounds like something that still works.
I know it works, but here’s Om Malik and Leo Laporte telling you that this is something that makes sense to them in the going forward future. Not just what has worked in the past, which a lot of people can tell you about, but what they see as working in the future. That’s another vote out there from really smart people for affiliate marketing.
While we’re on the topic of these ad blockers, maybe you are putting these kinds of ads on your website and you depend on that ad revenue. I don’t really think that this spells total doom and gloom for advertising.
Understand that right now today, as we sit here, 20% of all web traffic – not just mobile – happens on mobile Safari. That’s right, 20% of all web traffic, all the PCs in the world, all the Android phones in the world, all the iPhones, comes from iOS devices. As iOS9 goes, iOS has the ability to put a dent in what’s going on in the advertising world right now. But, it’s not really clear how many users are going to actually take the time to search out, download, and install ad blocking apps. People will, but it’s not clear that that’s something that is going to continue. It has been in the news, so people are installing these apps. Compared to the number of iOS devices on the market, it’s not clear that a significant amount of iOS users are really going to do that.
There are other things going on here, too. I think one of the problems with these kinds of ads is that there is a lot of click fraud that limits the effectiveness of this kind of advertising anyway. Maybe blocking some of it is not such a bad idea. Some studies suggest that more than 10% of ads that you pay for when you buy click ads are fraud.
It’s also pretty clear that there are going to be technical ways to work around at least some of this ad blocking by statically coding ads into the app.
So I don’t think the world is ending. I just think it’s interesting that when this topic comes up, what Leo Laporte and Om Malik wanted to talk about was affiliate marketing. That’s pretty cool.
Internet Marketing Tech Tip
The last thing that I wanted to talk about today was some new feature in Google Analytics that I plan to play with. I like metrics. For those of you that don’t use Google Analytics, I recommend unequivocally that you instrument your website with Google Analytics.
I know a lot of people have in the past made arguments about how adding Google Analytics to your site can tip Google off to things that you might be doing that you shouldn’t be doing. Maybe you have a black hat backlinking strategy or a grey hat and you’re worried that installing Google Analytics will tip Google off to what you’re doing. I haven’t ever seen any evidence of that. I’ve done every kind of crazy link scheme under the sun and Google Analytics doesn’t seem to be a factor in all of that. All of my SEO guru buddies use Google Analytics, so I don’t think that’s really an issue. I feel the same way about Webmaster Tools, by the way.
Recently Google rolled out something they’re calling Calculated Metrics and this is a really cool thing. You can do math to make a new metric. One of the examples that is brought up in an article I saw in Marketing Land is you could take something like the revenue that you’re getting, which is something you can track in Google Analytics, and the number of users, and you can create a new metric called Revenue Per User.
So if you make your users go up but your revenue doesn’t then your Revenue Per User is going down and maybe you have a conversion problem. On the other hand, if you take some action so that you’re getting a better quality lead, you’re paying more for that lead but that’s okay because your Revenue Per User is going up. You can see those kinds of things by creating this new metric.
Marketing Land gives some other examples, like currency conversion and other cool stuff that you can do. Anyway, if you’re a Google Analytics geek like I am and you enjoy using it, this is a cool new feature that you may have missed because, last I checked, Google had not yet even put out a blog post on this, it was just something that was listed when they did a release of the features that they added. It hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity yet and it might be cool for you to go and play with it.
Wrapping Things Up…
That it’s for this week. I will be back next week with my interview of John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur On Fire. You are definitely going to want to stick around for that episode.
Last episode, in case you missed it, I had Pat Flynn back on the show and he was talking about his new book Will It Fly. You definitely want to go over to WillItFlyBook.com and sign up to get notified about that. A lot of people are very excited about that book. I can tell you that Pat’s draft is submitted to the publisher editor who is going to drive that the rest of the way for him. He is done writing. The current target for that book is February, so that’s very exciting.
That was last week. Next week be sure to tune in for my episode with John Lee Dumas.
Until next time, go do something. Take some action and build your business.