Affiliate Marketing for Mobile Users: the Why and How

By Radhika Basuthakur
Affiliate Marketing for Mobile Users: the Why and How


Fact: 50 percent of mobile phone users rely on their phones as their primary source of Internet.*

That's hardly surprising. When I talked about the online marketing trends to watch in 2014, mobile made it into my top five. As I mentioned, smartphone penetration is on the rise worldwide. This means more and more people are ending up on your site while they’re on the go.

It’s an impossible-to-ignore shift in the way people are using the web, and one you definitely shouldn't avoid. Many businesses are facing the mobile world head on, but are you?

Understanding Mobile Users

Before we get into how to optimize for a good mobile experience, we need to fully understand the mobile web user. Mobile consumers are often driven by different motivations and behave distinctively.

A Nielsen study for Google on the mobile path to purchase, found that:

  • Mobile consumers use their phones for research. Customers can spend more than 15 hours per week researching.

  • 93 percent of these researchers will go on to make a purchase, either online or offline.

  • More than half of the consumers want to make a purchase immediately after completing their research.

Interesting stuff there.However, that's not the only information you need to keep in mind. Consider, for example, the following:

  • Mobile users are often looking for local information about products and stores.

  • Mobile users expect a different web experience than desktop users, as they’re looking for different information.

  • Usefulness is more important than style for mobile users. They want information, and they want it quick.

Optimizing Your Affiliate Marketing For Mobile 

As an affiliate marketer, if you don't adapt to mobile, you will be left behind. A poor mobile website experience for a user could mean a lost sale for you.

Keeping the behavior of the mobile user in mind, here are some ways to tweak your affiliate marketing.

1. Create a Mobile-Friendly Site

The very first and most obvious place to start is your website. Building a responsive website that renders a perfect experience on a computer, tablet or mobile phone is a must.

When designing a site for mobile, remember that the intent of your mobile users is probably very different to desktop users.

  • If they’re in the research phase, they’re probably looking for key pieces of information about your business and/or your product. Make it easy to find. Keep it super simple and they will love the experience.

  • Avoid Flash. Really. Flash is so over you shouldn’t even use it for your desktop site. iOS users can't see Flash on their devices at all, so just leave it out.

  • No pop-ups. There is nothing more annoying than trying to click the X to get rid of the pop-up on a mobile phone.

  • Use checklists or drop down menus wherever possible. Typing too much text into fields can be a frustrating experience on a phone. Anticipate this, and keep the experience as simple as possible so users can achieve their goals.

Put some serious thought into WHY and HOW a potential customer uses your mobile site. I also highly recommend looking into your Google Analytics data. Segment out the mobile traffic to analyze the search keywords, landing pages and the bounce rates for mobile users. You are likely to find some useful information about mobile user intent in there.

Not sure how to build a site? Check out our lessons on site building for affiliate marketers.

2. Use Email Marketing for Mobile

Once you have a website ready, focus on your email marketing. Did you know that 65 percent of marketing emails were opened on mobile devices in Q4 2013?

If your emails are designed for mobile display, you have a huge opportunity to reach people on the device they’re using most often.

Some quick tips on how to make your email messaging mobile friendly:

  • Make your call to action big and obvious. Nobody likes (or reads) small text on a mobile phone, so get your readers' attention. Quick.

  • Optimize your email subject line for mobile. Keep it short, compelling and to the point.

  • Just like your website, your email design should also be responsive. It may take a bit of work to set up, but once it’s ready, you'll have a better user experience for your audience. If they can view images properly and read the text without having to zoom in or scroll back and forth, they’re more likely to take action. 

3. Do Keyword Research

If mobile users are coming to your website with an entirely different purpose in mind than desktop users, the search terms that bring them there will probably be different too. When you’re doing your keyword research for your site, don’t just group all your traffic together. Segment it out into desktop, mobile and even tablet users. 

Carry out keyword research specifically for mobile users and use it to optimize your site and content for a smartphone audience. If their keywords are vastly different from desktop users, adapting your content to reflect this will help you rank higher in the mobile SERPs.

4. Check Your Tracking

If you’ve set up a mobile website, you need to make sure your tracking is working properly. Very often, the tracking for a desktop site doesn’t convert properly to the mobile site. This “breaks” the tracking and you basically lose out on valuable information (and sales).

So many affiliate marketers forget to check their tracking code after launching their mobile site. Don’t be one of them. Check your conversion tracking code to make sure it works on mobile.

5. Advertise For Mobile

This step is simple but very easily forgotten: make sure your text and banner ads are optimized for mobile. When you switch from desktop to a mobile site, don’t assume the desktop ads will auto-convert for mobile.

When designing your site, keep ad placement in mind. Use mobile versions of ads as provided to you by the affiliate programs for a better performance and higher click-through rate.

6. Try New Platforms

Mobile has opened up new opportunities for affiliate marketers. Don’t be afraid to experiment. For example, have you considered affiliate programs for mobile apps? This is especially great for affiliate marketers who rely heavily on PPC.

Just like you and me, the average smartphone user downloads a lot of apps. By exposing your ads to this audience, you can benefit from the high conversion rates these ads usually have. Mobile affiliate conversions often pay out higher so mobile app offers might be worth looking into.

Mobile isn’t a trend. It’s the new reality of the Internet. So tell me... have you embraced affiliate marketing for mobile users yet?

Want to learn more about how to find the best products, build a good website and generate income from affiliate marketing? AffiloBlueprint shows you how to do it.

*Source: Digital Buzz: 2013 Mobile Growth Statistics
Bryan Knowlton 10 years ago
Hey Radhika!

This is Bryan Knowlton over at the Daily Blogcast for Internet Marketing.

I just wanted to let you know we discussed your blog post on our show and would love if you could help get the word out to your readers!

Episode 064 – Pat Flynns December and January Income Reports, Barry Schwartz, Microsoft Has A New CEO, Affiliate Marketing for Mobile Users, LARGE Embedded Videos in SERPs

We found the article to be well written and decided to feature it in this episode. If you would like to provide any additional comments, you can do that directly at the bottom of the page listed above.

Since this is a Daily Podcast, we will definitely be visiting your blog from time to time to find more great articles to discuss. If you would like to leave us a comment, question or a voicemail, you can do that on the right side of the page.

Again, thank you for the blog post! Without it we might have not had much to talk about! :)
Thanks again!

Bryan & Mark
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