Product Recommendations In Affiliate Marketing
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Preselection Or Choice?
One topic that I find very exciting is the question of how many products one should display on affiliate sites.
Or is it better to limit the selection?
Not a simple topic and one for which there is certainly no universally valid solution.
In this article I describe the advantages and disadvantages of a preselection and give examples.
Preselection or as many products as possible?
Should one rather make a pre-selection on his affiliate site and show the user only recommendations or all possible products?
That cannot be answered so flatly. But basically, this is about the conversion rate.
Let's take a look at examples from other areas where conversion rate is also important.
In online-shops there are of course this problem.
And every shop has a different approach.
So Amazon combines personal recommendations with a limited number of products and long product lists with many, many products.
The personal recommendations are very interesting, but in Affiliate Marketing usually not feasible.
For landing pages, the rule of thumb is that as few distractions as possible should exist.
And since landing pages are also used in affiliate marketing, I think this is a good starting point.
However, if you introduce many alternatives and test on your affiliate site, you will not get far with 1 product per page alone. Nevertheless, the principles of landing page optimization for affiliates are highly recommended.
Travel pages are one of my horror examples on the web.
It is in the nature of travel sites that there are thousands of possible trips.
Unfortunately, many travel sites feel that it helps me to propose 200 hotels and more for a destination.
So you can find many travel sites on the web that try to excel in it, as many hotels as possible, so that you can look out for the most suitable one.
But they overlook the fact that many users are overwhelmed by it. Especially since it is often difficult to really find differences, which then make a decision possible.
And so comes the point of recommendations into play. You can either get recommendations from the staff in the travel agency around the corner. That's what I did on my last vacation. Or you can use websites like Tschibo, where there are a limited number of travel recommendations.
The extreme example of a preselection is certainly Woot!
This is a US website that offers a different product every day.
Although this has hardly anything to do with recommendations, but the preselection has been led to the extreme and it works.
Advantages and disadvantages
But none of the examples above is the ONE solution that applies to all affiliates.
But you can learn a lot from them and be inspired.
The following advantages and disadvantages exist with a pre-selection and the display of all products:
• I read a study a while ago about the ideal number of product alternatives in shops. Unfortunately, I cannot find this study anymore. In any case, it was a manageable
number. As a result, the user is not overwhelmed and flooded with information.
• A preselection also allows the more detailed presentation of the products.
• A preselection, if done correctly, can also be perceived as a recommendation. And trusted recommendations are very important for the conversion rate.
• However, one limits oneself with a preselection also. Many users like the pre-selection, but would like to see all products if they have not found anything suitable.
And for some users and products, the preference is in the complete list from the beginning.
• If you are looking for something specific, you want to see all the matching products and then, for example, through filters, find what you want to buy.
• There is a great longtail of products. And even if the top products provide a lot of sales, you should not forget the many products, which in the sum also provide many conversions
• However, long lists also overwhelm many users. Especially if they do not know what they are looking for.
• When you display all products, you often cannot play the trump card of recommendation.
What role does the "recommendation" play?
As mentioned earlier, recommendations play a big role in conversion rate. But even if you have no recommendations by trusted third parties, you can achieve something similar by
a clever pre-selection.
But this usually works only with people who do not know exactly what they need.
If you take the example of "web hosting", then there are certainly people who are very knowledgeable about it and others who have little or no idea about it.
The people with a lot of foresight want technical details and the widest possible choice.
Users with little or no prior knowledge are more likely to be grateful for recommendations.
For example, Amazon, like many stores, uses selection criteria to help users find the goods they want to buy.
That's good to come up with a bearable number of alternatives, but recommendations are something completely different.
If I do not know exactly what I want, then a trusted product recommendation is very good for the conversion rate. But if you show that 50 alternatives to someone, they will
quickly leave the site.
The optimal preselection
… there is not any. :-)
But as the example Landing Page already shows, the statement "show as few products as possible" is already a good starting point.
If a visitor comes to your affiliate site with a search term like "graphics card XY from company Z" then you should only show him these. Because for those who are looking for something and know what they want, alternatives would only make them doubt again.
If he searches Google for "graphics card for World of Warcraft", then you should show him several alternatives. For example, a price recommendation, a high-end card and maybe a good intermediate. Would you list here a list of 100 graphics cards? That would hardly help.
So it depends very much on the user, how extensive you should make your selection of affiliate links.
Accurate AdWords ads or highly focused articles can help ensure that visitors have the most concrete ideas possible.
Articles on specific search terms are a good way to filter how experienced the visitor of an article will usually be.
But of course there are also visitors who will land without a specific request on your affiliate page or their wishes have not yet been revealed. These could be helped by a good internal navigation or with the help of an interactive selection possibility, to find the desired product.
But you should use the needs and criteria of the visitors as categories or filters. In many shops, unfortunately, technical data or criteria of the manufacturer are used as a category and filter template.
Again the example of graphics cards. Anyone who has no idea, the categories also do not help such as "manufacturer", "memory size", "chip type", etc. Instead, it would be more helpful to display the video cards in "for the office computer", "for video applications", "for high-end graphics in the latest games" etc.
Thinking and testing
As my remarks on the optimal preselection already show, there is no clear solution here.
Instead, a lot depends on your own visitors and the products you advertise with affiliate links.
In addition, "testing" also plays a very important role here. You should never implement anything based solely on considerations, but always test what really works and what
You should test different variants alternatively and then use the most effective.
Of course, the question of pre-selection is just one element among many, which affects the conversion rate and thus the amount / number of commissions.