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SES Amsterdam: learnings from the affiliate panel

10 October 2011 BY

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This is a live blog of a session about affiliate and SEO at SES Amsterdam with Joris Toonders, Ruud Kok and Sabine de Vos.
One advertiser, one affiliate and one bureau. The opinions below are from these experts.

The first part of the session answers the question at which point the Dutch affiliate market is right now. All members of the panel agree that for affiliates in The Netherlands there’s still a lot to win. At the moment the affiliate market is in apremature state. A lot of affiliates still do it on the side and a most niches are still left to win. That’s why affiliates still look for easy money. They do SEO based on keyword buying and techinal optimization. They start with PPC, than maybe organic, but content marketin and social marketing is too difficult and tootime consuming.

The panel was unanimous about the impact and consequences of Panda on affiliates. While a lot of affiliates complain about the impacts of Panda they have to realize the sales they miss out on are still made. It’s only shifting to affiliates with added value. So if you want to score in affiliate you need to invest in content, content is also needed for social. Traditional keyword buyers are done. Advertisers already start to give away less information in their feeds to affiliates, they want to rank on their own content. So own content is needed for affiliates.

The panel discusses a new way of affiliate marketing: white label buying. These are direct sales made through other sites. For example booking.com is selling hotel rooms through sites about Paris without people knowing they book through Booking.com. This is another example where content is becoming more important.

For an advertiser affiliates should add value by adding conversions. Be strict about canibalization of your revenues. It’s not uncommon to forbid bidding on brand keywords by affiliates. Make sure you measure canibalization. Use affiliates to rank for terms you can’t rank for yourself. Advertisers have specific needs, affiliates should know those and act on them. Advertisers now even go to bloggers for those specific needs. Initiative should be at the affiliate networks.

This panel has made clear there’s still a lot to win in the Netherlands for affiliates, but the focus should be on content and added value. This change is clearly developing and with the Panda update absolutely necessary to survive.

AUTHORED BY:
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Jeroen van Eck is a consultant search engine marketing at the online marketing company E-Focus in the Netherlands.
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