SEO is a long term strategy.
It can take up to 4 months for your new website to rank in search results and generate traffic organically.
You can speed things up by using advertising platforms and paying a small fee for each visitor sent to your website.
Using Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads, you can drive targeted traffic to your affiliate offers and money pages.
But you’ll need to pay to play, and pay-per-click (PPC) requires different strategies to search engine optimization (SEO).
In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to make money using PPC for affiliate marketing.
Let’s get started.
- What is PPC?
- Pros & Cons of PPC for Affiliate Marketing
- Organic vs. Paid Marketing for Affiliates?
- Landing Pages for PPC
- What is a PPC Landing Page
- Types of Affiliate Marketing PPC Landing Pages
- The Right Landing Page for your Market
- PPC Landing Page Best Practices
- Tips & Strategies for PPC Affiliate Marketing
- Improving PPC Landing Pages’ Quality Score
What is PPC?
PPC is a digital marketing tactic where you bid to display an ad to people that will be interested in your offer.
You pay a fee to an advertising platform every time a user clicks on your ad and visits your website.
Rather than publishing content to drive traffic organically from search engines, you buy traffic from a platform with an existing audience.
Google Ads is one of the most popular PPC platforms.
You can bid on keywords, and Google will display your ad in search results when somebody uses the keyword in a search query.
Here’s an example of affiliate ads displayed in the paid spots of the search engine results page (SERP):
When somebody clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays a fee to Google Ads.
For a PPC campaign to be profitable, the amount paid to the platform is much lower than the amount earned when a visitor clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase.
For example, if you paid $1.50 for every click and earned $75 for each purchase, you can make a sizable profit if you convert a relatively small percentage of your paid traffic.
This type of affiliate marketing promotion can be very profitable.
According to research from Google, for every $1 a business spends on Google Ads, they can expect to earn $2 in return.
A key advantage of PPC advertising is the ability to precisely target the people that will be most interested in your affiliate products.
When somebody searches for “best antivirus software,” they are close to making a purchase and are looking for a recommendation before getting out their credit card.
That means the conversion rate for PPC can be much higher than other types of affiliate marketing advertising.
Pros & Cons of PPC for Affiliate Marketing
To help you decide if PPC could work for you, here’s a rundown of the pros and cons.
SEO takes months to start generating traffic. With PPC, you can create a campaign and start driving traffic to your affiliate offers instantly.
By conducting keyword research and using negative keywords, you can decide exactly who your ads are shown too.
Get to the Top of the SERP
It can take a long time to nail the top position of Google. With PPC, you can pay a fee and jump to the top of the SERP if your page is relevant to the search query.
If you have a successful campaign, you can easily scale up and make more money by spending more on advertising. The more money you spend, the more sales you’ll make.
It’s Not Free
You need to pay every time someone clicks your ad, whether they make a purchase or not. If you don’t manage your campaign correctly, you can quickly blow through your budget.
If you run out of money, your site becomes invisible. While SEO takes time, you can drive traffic consistently when you rank high in search results.
As long as you update your content and keep an eye on your competitors, you can generate free traffic for years to come.
Organic vs. Paid Marketing for Affiliates?
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to PPC or SEO for affiliate marketing.
Lot’s of affiliates use PPC as a way to grow their email lists and drive traffic to money pages…
…And lot’s of affiliates use SEO as their primary strategy for attracting visitors to their site.
With SEO, conducting keyword research and writing quality content can take time and effort.
You also have little control over who sees your pages in search results.
Paid marketing is essentially renting somebody else’s audience, whether that be a social media platform or a search engine.
Because you are paying, you have more control over who sees your ads and who comes to your website.
To make PPC work as an affiliate marketing tactic, you need to earn enough from your commission to cover the costs of running your ad campaigns and turn a profit.
It’s not a case of either/or, and many successful affiliates use a combination of PPC and SEO to send traffic to make money.
Landing Pages for PPC
With Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads, you get to choose where to direct your paid traffic.
Sending paid traffic to your homepage doesn’t convert well and can increase your cost per click (CPC) - the amount of money it costs when somebody clicks on your ad.
When somebody lands on a generic page, it makes it difficult for them to find what they are looking for, and they usually bounce.
That sends a signal to the advertising platform that your landing page doesn’t offer a good experience.
By creating a dedicated landing page, you can write copy that is highly relevant to the offer in your ad.
It’s also important for conversions.
According to a study by Unbounce, dedicated landing pages have a conversion rate that is 65% higher than generic website pages.
What is a PPC Landing Page
A PPC landing page is a dedicated webpage for a PPC advertising campaign.
It’s where people land after clicking your ad.
A standalone landing page is one of the most effective ways to boost your conversion rates and lower your paid advertising campaign CPC.
Types of Affiliate Marketing PPC Landing Pages
There are lots of different types of landing pages, with some more suitable for affiliate marketing than others.
Here’s a rundown of the three most effective landing page models for affiliate marketing:
Single Product Review Landing Page
A single product review landing page does exactly what its name suggests.
It provides a review of a single product.
For this type of landing page to work, you need to choose a well-known product in your niche.
In the above example, the landing page review is for SEMRush, one of the most popular and well-known SEO tools.
Because the product is well-known, there’s a good chance lots of people will be searching for it specifically.
Somebody searching for “semrush review” is already aware of the product and close to making a purchase.
The landing page’s goal is to provide enough information and incentive to encourage the user to take the final step and complete a purchase.
The review also needs to help people overcome any reservations they might have about the product.
Rather than pushing the sale directly with a “buy now” call to action (CTA), the page encourages people to visit the merchant’s sale page to learn more about the product.
Multiple Product Review Landing Page
A multi-product review landing page is effective for converting users considering their options before making a purchasing decision.
It makes it easy for visitors to compare the pros and cons of multiple products quickly.
As you can see in the example above, you don’t need to go into too much detail with each product.
List the stand out features, and include a star rating so people can compare the different products.
This type of landing page works well for software, digital services, and physical goods like electronics.
Because the users are looking for a more general recommendation and not a specific product, you can target typical affiliate keywords such as “best website builder.”
Squeeze-Style Landing Page
Rather than promoting an affiliate offer directly, a squeeze-style landing page is focused on building an email list for long term sales.
The landing page encourages visitors to provide their email address in exchange for something of value.
In the example above, the landing page offer is a free ebook that can be downloaded once the visitor gives their name and email address.
Although you won’t make an instant return on the money you spend driving traffic to your landing page, the squeeze-style format can be more profitable long term.
When you build an email list, you are creating an asset that you own.
Instead of paying a fee to an advertising platform for each sales opportunity, you can have hundreds of free sales opportunities once somebody has opted-in to your list.
Squeeze-style landing pages can be an effective way to generate long-term sales, but you need to have the email marketing infrastructure in place before you start paying for traffic.
The Right Landing Page for your Market
The right landing page for your PPC campaigns depends on your niche and the products you are promoting.
It’s easier for new affiliates to make money and get immediate feedback on what’s working with a review style landing page.
But a squeeze-style landing page is more profitable in the long-term.
Once you’ve set up an email autoresponder, created a lead magnet, and set up a newsletter, you can expect to make sales a month or so after starting your campaign.
That can be a long time to wait if you don’t have the budget and time resources to put all of the necessary components together.
You’ll also need to choose the right landing page for your niche.
If you are promoting leather sofas, there aren’t many people that will sign up for your mailing list.
This type of product is a one-off purchase, not something people have a long term interest in.
For a hobby like running or cycling, a regular newsletter could be appealing, and a squeeze-style landing page could work.
PPC Landing Page Best Practices
You’ve probably already heard of search engine optimization.
This is the process of improving your content and webpages to increase the chances of ranking high in search results.
Landing pages require a different type of optimization.
Rather than optimizing for SEO, you are optimizing for conversions.
Taking the time to make your landing page laser-focused on conversion will pay off when you start to send paid traffic.
Here are ten actionable PPC landing page best practices to convert more visitors and boost your campaigns’ ROI.
1. Remove Navigation Menu
The goal of your landing page is to convert visitors.
Once a visitor arrives, it’s your job to keep them there until they convert.
That means removing any distractions that could cause them to leave the page without converting.
Removing your landing page’s main navigation eliminates a leak where people can click away to another page.
It’s an easy solution to reduce friction and increase the chances of conversion.
Keep it simple, stupid.
This is a well-known phrase and rule that applies to your PPC landing pages.
If your page is cluttered or the copy is hard to understand, you’ll lose out on conversions.
People will be confused or distracted, and they won’t click on your CTA button.
Keep things simple by:
- Using short and easy to understand sentences
- Breaking up blocks of text with bullet points, images, etc.
- Using plenty of white space
- Include a strong CTA that tells people what to do next
Every element of your landing page should be focused on converting visitors.
If something is unnecessary or doesn’t contribute towards making a conversion, get rid of it.
3. Emphasize the Value of Your Offer
An effective affiliate landing page highlights the benefits of the product or offer in a bulleted list or short paragraph.
If you are using a single product review format, you can create a short bulleted list like the one below promoting the SEO tool Ahrefs:
It shows what people can do with the tool in an easy to scan format.
Your job is to get people to click on your link and visit the merchant’s sales page, not to sell the product.
Make sure you highlight the benefits of the product without sounding too salesly.
For a squeeze-style landing page, you’ll need to sell the benefits of your lead magnet.
Focus on how the person can benefit from opting-in to your offer rather than listing the features.
How will it help people, and how will their life be better after taking up your offer?
4. Exit-Intent Popup
An exit-intent popup enables you to target your visitors when they click to leave your landing page.
It’s another opportunity to convert your visitors before they leave.
Here’s an example of an affiliate landing page exit-intent popup promoting ClickFunnels:
An exit-intent popup should have:
- A strong headline
- Bullet points to reinforce the benefits of the offer
- A compelling CTA that encourages people to convert
You can also include a bonus or limited time discount as an extra incentive to boost conversions.
If you use a dedicated landing page builder tool, there is usually an option to create an exit-intent popup.
For WordPress users creating a landing page from scratch, you can use a free plugin like Poptin.
You can test different variations of your exit-intent popup to see what combinations of layout, CTA, headline, and copy generate the most conversions.
5. Make Sure Your Landing Page is Mobile-Friendly
According to WebFX, 52% of all PPC clicks take place on mobile devices.
That means you can expect over half of your paid traffic to be mobile users.
You need to make it as easy as possible for mobile users to convert on your landing page offer.
If it’s difficult for users to navigate your page or they need to fill in a long form, they won’t stick around.
You can use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test tool to evaluate your landing page experience for mobile users:
The tool will provide recommendations to help you make your page more mobile-friendly.
You can optimize your landing page for mobile users by:
- Making sure buttons are easy to tap
- Keeping sentences and paragraphs short and easy to scan
- Breaking up blocks of text with images
- Ensuring your page fast to load
- Limiting the number of form fields on squeeze pages
Try to remove any friction that could disrupt a mobile user’s flow as they work their way down your landing page and convert on your offer.
6. Compelling Call to Action
The call to action (CTA) is one of the most important elements of your landing page.
If your CTA is poor, you’ll lose out on affiliate sales and opt-ins.
It can make or break a conversion.
This is especially important for a squeeze-style landing page.
Don’t use a weak and overused CTA button like “submit.”
A good tactic for coming up with a compelling CTA button is to use the “I want to...” strategy.
You CTA should complete the sentence “I want to…” do something.
For example, if you are offering a free ebook to help people play the piano, you could use the strategy to come up with sentences like:
“I want to learn piano in 6 weeks.”
“I want to download my free ebook.”
Once you have listed a few good options, drop the “I want to” from the start of the sentence for a strong CTA.
“Learn Piano in 6 Weeks”
“Download My Free Ebook”
Because it’s so important for conversions, it’s worth spending some time crafting a killer CTA for your landing page.
7. Make Copy Easy to Scan
The formatting of your landing page copy is as important as the words you use.
You need to make it easy for people to quickly scan your page and find the information they need.
Make your landing page copy scannable by using:
- Bulleted lists
- Short sentences
- Bold for important information
Your landing page copy needs to be engaging and conversion-focused, but most of your visitors won’t read every word.
Ensure important information stands out and that your CTA is one of the stand out elements on the page.
8. Trust Symbols
Trust symbols help to establish credibility, encouraging your visitors to trust you and convert on your landing page offer.
Including the logos of publications you have been featured in adds credibility to your landing page offer.
If people know and trust the publication, they will assume you are trustworthy and respected in your niche.
If you have written for a well-known publication, have a large number of social media followers, or have credentials relevant to your niche, display those accolades on your landing page.
9. Important Information Above the Fold
Place the most critical information on your landing page above the fold.
You should also include a CTA above the fold to give visitors the option of quickly converting and taking the next step.
If you create a single product review landing page, include a quick summary of the product at the top of the page and a link to the merchant’s sales page.
For a multi-product landing page, you can place a simplified comparison table at the top of the screen, with a more detailed version below the fold.
For a squeeze-tyle page, you can experiment with what works best for you and your offer.
Lots of affiliates place three CTA buttons on a squeeze-style page:
- Top of the page
- Somewhere in the middle
- At the bottom next to final paragraph
By including multiple CTAs, you can make sure you capitalize when a visitor is ready to convert.
Including a CTA at the bottom of a squeeze-style landing page can also be effective.
You can use your headline to instantly grab visitors’ attention and use the rest of your landing page copy to address any hesitations they might have.
When the user reaches the CTA at the bottom of the page, they are ready to convert.
What works for you will depend on your landing page offer and what you are asking your visitors to do.
10. A/B Testing
One of the key benefits of paid advertising is the ability to test and quickly get feedback on what’s working and what needs to be improved.
A/B testing allows you to try out variations of your landing page by splitting your traffic and seeing which page performs better.
You can test headlines, CTAs, copy, and images to see which variations generate the most conversions.
By optimizing elements one at a time, you can make scientific improvements to make your landing page more compelling and appealing.
Google Optimize is a free tool you can use to set up A/B testing and measure your results.
It doesn’t offer some of the advanced features you’ll find on a paid tool, and there’s no customer support…
...But when you combine it with Google Analytics reporting, it offers everything you need to run A/B testing.
Tips & Strategies for PPC Affiliate Marketing
PPC affiliate marketing is competitive.
If you’re going to earn a decent profit, you need to stand out from the rest of the affiliates using PPC advertising.
So what goes into a winning PPC strategy?
Here are five ways you can boost the success of your PPC campaigns.
1. Know Your Audience
You need to know who your target audience is and what their wants and needs are.
Search intent is important for SEO…
...And it’s absolutely vital for PPC.
When you are spending your hard-earned cash on advertising, you really need to know your audience inside out.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your target audience searching for online?
- What do they look for in a product?
- Why should they trust your recommendations?
If you don’t know your audience, you’ll struggle to narrow your PPC targeting and end up throwing money away on wasted clicks.
Once you step into the shoes of your audience, you’ll be able to write more compelling copy, create more effective landing pages, and make more sales.
2. In-Depth Keyword Research
Google Ads is one of the best advertising platforms for PPC campaigns.
Just like SEO, you need to conduct keyword research to identify the search queries your audience is using to find products and recommendations online.
For product review PPC campaigns, you’ll want to target keywords that show buyer intent.
These are the keywords and queries people search for when they are close to making a purchase.
However, you’ll often find that merchants limit the keywords you can bid on.
This is to stop affiliates from competing with the merchant and driving up the cost per click.
Always check the merchant’s advertising policy to see if any search terms are restricted.
There are a bunch of keyword research tools you can use for your PPC campaigns.
Google’s Keyword Planner is one of the best tools, and it’s entirely free to use.
It shows you an estimated average search volume range per month, how competitive the search term is, and the average advertiser bid range.
You can also use Keyword Planner to get a forecast that shows how many clicks you can expect to receive for your estimated daily budget.
It’s also important to use negative keywords.
Adding negative keywords to your campaign ensures that your ads are only displayed to people interested in your landing page offer.
For example, somebody searching for “how to wash running shoes” isn’t interested in buying a product.
They’re most likely looking for advice on how to wash a product they already own.
If you were bidding on the keyword “running shoes,” you could add “how to wash” as a negative keyword to stop your ad from being displayed to people that won’t be interested in your offer.
Make sure your PPC campaign is built on relevant buyer intent keywords and use negative keywords to filter out irrelevant clicks.
3. Lay a Strong SEO Foundation First
We generally recommend using PPC affiliate marketing when you have already laid down an SEO foundation.
You should get some experience with keyword research, search intent, and user experience by ranking your content organically.
This will give you a sound knowledge base for your PPC affiliate marketing…
...And it can also provide the revenue to fund your PPC campaigns.
You can use the money you earn from your affiliate sales as the budget for your PPC efforts.
4. Use Bonuses to Increase PPC Conversions
People love free stuff.
Adding a free bonus can be an effective way to get more clicks and sales from your PPC ads.
A bonus can be a free resource, discount, or add-on that a user gets by clicking on your ad and buying through your affiliate link.
This can be a great way to stand out from other affiliates in the SERP.
For example, if you are promoting a well-known product, you can target buyer intent keywords and use your bonus offer as an extra incentive to close the sale.
You can create a free ebook, guide, video, or other forms of content to offer as a bonus…
... It’s also worth asking the merchant directly to see if they have a bonus they can provide.
5. Write Persuasive Ad Copy
Once you’ve identified your keywords and created ad groups and landing pages, you’ll need to write your ads.
This is where good copywriting skills pay off.
You have a limited number of words to convince your people to click on your ad and visit your landing page.
To help you write compelling ads, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Use Your Main Keyword in the Ad Headline
Don’t make people guess what your offer is. Include your keyword in the ad headline to make the connection between the search query and your ad clear.
Include a Strong CTA
Place a strong relevant CTA at the end of your ad copy. The CTA should match the intent of the search query and what the user wants to achieve.
If you are using a product review landing page, opt for a “Find Out Why” or “Read More” CTA.
Hard numbers can back up your claims and make your offer sound more appealing…
...And use digits like “300” rather than the word “three hundred” to catch the attention of users and maximize your available character count.
Double-Check Spelling and Grammar
Any overlooked errors will blow your credibility, and you’ll lose out on clicks and sales.
Use Headline Capitalization
Title capitalization can help to make your ad copy stand out.
You can take a look at the ad copy of other affiliates in your niche to get an idea of what you’ll be competing against.
This will help you to make your ads stand out.
Once you’ve started your ad campaign and have some results, experiment with different ad copy to see how you can improve and increase your ad clickthrough rate.
Improving PPC Landing Pages’ Quality Score
To determine where your ad should be placed in the paid spots of the SERP, Google will assign your ad a quality score.
Your quality score and the amount you are willing to pay per click will determine where your ad is placed.
The higher your quality score, the less you will need to spend to rank in the top ad spots.
Quality score is based on your landing page’s user experience and relevance to the keywords you are bidding on.
It’s a metric you need to keep an eye on if you want to achieve an affordable cost-per-click.
Here are three ways you can improve your landing quality score:
1. Maintain Consistency Between the Ad Copy and the Landing Page
Creating a standalone landing page for your PPC campaign enables you to deliver exactly what you promise in the copy of your ad.
It’s vital that you maintain consistency between the ad and landing page.
When somebody clicks on your ad, the landing page should match the visitor’s expectations.
You want people to know they are in the right place and that they are on the right path to achieve what they need to do.
Here’s an example of an affiliate marketing PPC ad in the Google SERP:
From the ad, a searcher will expect to see a list of the best VPN products for the UK market in 2020.
When we click on the ad, we can see the landing page is highly relevant to the ad:
It delivers exactly what a searcher expects to see when they click on the ad.
The landing page fulfills the expectations of the visitor.
If you maintain a high relevance between your ad and landing page, you’ll increase the chances of conversion, improve your quality score, and lower your CPC over time.
2. Make Your Landing Page Fast to Load
If somebody clicks on your ad and your landing page is slow to load, there’s a good chance they won’t wait.
This sends a signal to Google that your landing page doesn’t offer a good experience, and your quality score will take a hit.
Page speed is vital for quality score and conversions.
According to an analysis by Unbounce, 81% of marketers believe that slow landing page loading times impact conversions.
One of the most common issues that slows down page speed is uncompressed image files.
You should use images and graphics to make your landing page more appealing, but these files need to be compressed.
You can use a free tool like Tiny PNG to compress your images before creating your landing page.
Google’s free Page Speed Insights tool can also provide you with recommendations to improve the speed of your landing page.
Enter your URL, and the tool will provide a results page that looks like this:
You’ll see how your landing page performs and tips to help you improve page speed.
The faster your page, the more likely people are to engage with your CTAs, and the higher your quality score will be.
3.Have a Clear Hierarchy of Information
When somebody arrives at your landing page, you want to make it as easy as possible to find what they need.
If your pages are cluttered, and people have to scroll and search to find what they’re looking for, you’ll see your bounce rate skyrocket and your quality score plummet.
Implement a clear hierarchy of information.
The most crucial information needs to be covered quickly so your visitors can get what they need and take the next step.
In the example landing page above, the information is structured so that it’s easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and click through to the merchant’s sales page.
The headline shows the visitor they are in the right place.
The opening paragraph agitates a pain point and sets up the product table.
The products are presented in an easily scannable format…
...And each product also has a CTA button so the visitor can easily click through to the merchant’s page.
By making it easy for people to achieve their goal after landing on your page, you increase the chances of conversion, and you’ll improve your quality score.
PPC can be an effective way to fast track your affiliate business and get your first sales.
But it’s not something you should rush into.
You’ll need to have a good understanding of search intent and keyword research to be successful.
…And before you start a campaign, make sure you speak to your merchant to check their policy on PPC advertising.
Get approval from your affiliate account manager, and take some time to get to grips with the advertising platform before launching a campaign.
Monitor your performance and keep testing to optimize your ads and landing pages.
The most successful PPC affiliates are always improving and looking for ways to increase the ROI of their ad spend.