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Old 12-19-2001, 03:29 PM   #16
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Edwin very good example.

Has anyone ever suggested EPM to CJ?

What Edwin said was the one the first things I realized once I understood all of CJ terminology. I've always looked at the program its self, and used the EPC to estimate an expected CPM.

EPC is useful because you can estimated your approximate CPM from it. Possibly (not always) more so than if you given an EPM metric. Here is my reasoning: all of CJ's ads are CPA, a host may not care about placing the ads in their best CTR locations. Or some may just stick random ads on their pages hoping to make just a bit more money, hence giving a low EPM. People who have sites with a very high page view to unique vistor ratio, may have been forced into CPA programs because of their low CPC. Or more generally people with low CTRs may have been forced into CPA ads networks. If people realise everything Edwin has explained then EPC can be a useful metric, but I actually believe CJ should use both EPM and EPC metrics.
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Old 12-19-2001, 04:24 PM   #17
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Edwin:

Great post! The EPC model *is* flawed if used as a sole measure of a merchant's performance, as you noted, but the problem is that there isn't a good way to measure effectiveness of a merchant and have it be true across the board. CPM is a different model, for example, which measures based on raw impressions, and people like to use that measure because the CPM rate divorces the conversion ratio from the effectiveness of the merchant to convert. The unfortunate problem with that is that people will experience widely divergent CPMs, so what might be a $50 CPM for some people will end up being a $.50 CPM for others.

Basically, most cost comparison models are flawed, and as an advertiser, it just pays to test, test, test, and generate your own numbers to determine what works for you.

Very good post, though, and very educational!
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Old 12-19-2001, 06:57 PM   #18
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Great thread!

EPM - the problem here is that CJ can't really track this. It's up to you the webmaster to track how many views your banner/button/text link/ezine ad has had and work out your effective EPM from there.
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Old 12-19-2001, 07:00 PM   #19
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Actually CJ can offer EPM as it already has the feature to let you see your own EPM. It only shows the EPC when looking at new ads/programs. Also CJ does track impressions as well (kinda required to get the EPM).
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Old 12-19-2001, 10:26 PM   #20
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They should also publish CTR and the CR. IMO, the EPC is enough because CJ would like to brand themselves as a pay for performance network and CPM is not about performance. I think it is logical to go with merchants with the highest EPC within a category. The rest is up to the publisher to increase CTR, CR, etc. If EPC is high, it can speak of these diff. things:
a) Good CR
b) Good % commision
c) Good Cookie Duration
d) the merchant is not a dud

etc. etc.
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Old 12-19-2001, 10:55 PM   #21
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EPC is the best data to compare
the ability to convert between different merchants of same category.

We do not get paid unless merchant can convert traffic to sales.
It is very disappointed to see that the bad merchants cannot convert sales for high quality traffic.

I will always pick the high EPC merchant to promote.
My commission go up fast.

CPM is useless to compare merchants' ability to convert.
And ths data is highly inaccurate.
1. inaccurate impression number tracking.
2. Most webmasters do not include impression code in their links (all text link, newsletter links, etc)

You may not agree with me.
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Old 12-19-2001, 11:00 PM   #22
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Effective CPM would be an utterly meaningless statistic: Link type and placement vary dramatically from site to site, demographics also very dramatically, many CJ impressions go out in email newsletters which often can't be tracked, and a lot of sites do not include the tracking code which allows CJ to track impressions at all.

EPC is far from perfect, but it's a useful yardstick as long as you are aware of its limitations.

[Vrindavan just slipped in ahead of me saying much the same thing]


One thing I've noticed is that a merchant's vanilla text links usually have a dramatically higher EPC than banners and buttons (frequently, 10x or more). I *think* that's because webmasters doing pre-selling and designing custom links are using this linking code, but it's hard to know.

Last edited by joma; 12-19-2001 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 12-19-2001, 11:01 PM   #23
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CPM shows you the return your getting over the exact amount exposure your giving the product/service. But CPM alone I believe would be a poor measurement for the full assessment of a merchant or link. Couple it with CTR or EPC and it would be great.

I don't see a good reason for cj to restrict us let us see just the EPC of the overall network stats. Newsletter links are a wholly different issue but I really don't see the reason for not including everything (tracking images etc) to make sure your link is being tracked properly on CJ. It only gives you valuable information that you can use to help you calculate what ads/services are best promoted on your site.

Last edited by Kaiosama; 12-19-2001 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 12-20-2001, 12:54 AM   #24
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Arrow EPM

The main thing I see wrong with EPM (as it pertains to me) is that I show multiple banners and text links on the same page, to the same merchant.

Since a visitor to the page is only going to click one of them (unless they're weird), that will mean that the unpopular ones will show a lousy EPM. It will also skew the merchant's EPM rating--again because a person is only going to click one ad on the page.

All the different metrics have their advantages and disadvantages. EPC is okay for showing the extremes, especially. I will admit to not thinking much of EPM because high-traffic, low clickthrough sites can make it seem way lower than it should be! A targeted sales page can drive in a huge EPM simply because only those interested will be seeing the ads in the first place. But the effect of sales sites on EPM is diluted by people with hundreds of thousands of un-or semi-targeted views/month or more!

CR is okay but it's hard to tell whose sales job is affecting it. Both the merchant's and the affiliate's sales job can highly affect the CR! Trying to find out who is responsible for a merchant's CR and EPC (both) can be a real detective job.

A combination of metrics should be employed, IMO, along with a knowledge of what your site's visitors are interested in, what price range they like, etc.
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Old 12-20-2001, 01:38 AM   #25
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Kaiosama

1. We cannot put impression tracking code on text email.

2. The person can view stored email message more than one time or many many times later of the same message, the ad reponse is not the same as ads on website.

3. When we read email offline, impression tracking again is meaningless.

4. Someone has already point out, I do too, is that I will place more than one banner or text link in one webpage.
What about 30 or 100 product links from the same merchant in one webpage.

5. When a data is actually not accurate at all.
It will do more harm than good to us if available.
(wrong picture, wrong impression to actual fact)
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Old 12-20-2001, 03:38 AM   #26
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Well, I pretty much covered my objections in the initial post, but lots of excellent points are being raised, so I thought I'd follow up briefly.

Remember: EPC is "earnings per 100 clicks".

So imagine you have a lead-based program that is converting MIRACULOUSLY well (i.e. every single click-ee becomes a user of the free widget service, or whatever is being advertised). This program is offering a payout of $0.05 per registered user. This in turns means that its EPC will NEVER go over $5, regardless of how good the program is, because 100 clicks x $0.05 = $5.

Now you have a second program that pays $50 per lead, but that converts 1:1000 on average. That will ALSO give an EPC of $5! (50/1000*100)

That's how murky the EPC measurement really is - it can show the same "headline number" for a program with 1000x the closing rate (ability to make sales) as another one.

You can at least figure out what the site's "closure rate" is across all visitors sent to it by dividing the EPC by the price per lead giving you a closure rate as a %age.

For example, if a given sponsor program has an EPC of $10 and a price per lead of $0.50, then you can see that it has a 20% closure rate (the sponsor converts 1 in 5 of all visitors into "buyers").

Beyond the above figure, what is needed is a totally new measurement, the CPCPM number, which shows how many clicks are generated by 1000 "impressions" of the ad across the whole network.

This CPCPM could then be tied in with the EPC to give an *approximate* per-CPM value. Doesn't matter how far off the real number this is, as long as ALL calculations for ALL advertisers are made in the same way - that way, the errors basically blend into a foggy grey mess, leaving "comparable" numbers that people can use to make real decisions.

I believe, frankly, that CJ is DELIBERATELY OBFUSCATING this kind of tracking on a network-wide basis, since greater transparency in its up-front reporting would have the inevitable consequence of leaving hundreds if not thousands of sponsors with no affiliates at all, once the full horrendousness of the advertising material they provided has sunk in...

For example:

A merchant pays $40 for each "FREE" mobile phone registration, with an EPC of $20 for a given ad. This means that out of every 200 visitors you send them, 1 signs up (on average).

BUT here's what CJ doesn't show you until you waste hundreds of thousands of impressions testing... in this example, the merchant's advertising material (ON AVERAGE - we're *always* talking averages!) draws a 0.05% click through rate. That means that for every 5,000 banners/text links shown, 1 visitor goes to the site.

Suddenly, you can see that it takes 5,000 impressions to get a visitor and 200 visitors to close a sale... in other words, you have to show 1,000,000 ads (of whatever kind we're talking about) to make 1 sale! And that sale just brought you $40, giving you an effective CPM of $0.04!

But you will NEVER find that kind of number out from the CJ data until AFTER you wasted your 1,000,000 impressions (or gave up earlier in disgust!)

So in summary, the ONLY thing EPC is good for is as a basis to understanding how effectively a merchant converts visitors into buyers.

If they have a good closure rate (e.g. 1:10-1:100 depending on the product in question) it may be worth doing a quick test (e.g. 10,000 impressions of the ad material of your choice) and seeing what happens.

For example, if you choose a specific TEXT link that is the best-performing EPC link the merchant offers in its advertising arsenal, and your quick burst of mental arithmetic (EPC and CPA) shows that it converts 1:10 visitors into buyers, then if you've sent 30 visitors you can be pretty sure it doesn't work well for your site's audience. And if after 10,000 impressions, you only sent 1 visitor, well you also know something very valuable about how that merchant will perform for you.
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Old 12-20-2001, 03:51 AM   #27
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I know I wrote a lot above, but I had a few more things to add:-

A) If you have the choice between a high per-ticket program and a low per-ticket program (e.g. $50 per sale vs $5 per sale) with the same EPC (and the same target audience) then the $5 per sale program looks more appealing than the $50 per sale.

Why? Well, I can see that the merchant paying $5 per sale is 10x (TEN TIMES) as efficient at closing a sale with the average visitor as the merchant paying $50 a sale. So even if my site's traffic is below "average" in terms of quality and susceptibility to purchasing, I'm still likely to be able to close at least SOME sales and see some revenue coming in... even if my own EPC turns out to be lower, at least it won't be ZERO.

B) What frightens me is seeing VERY extreme EPC swings within a single merchant's range of ads. Remember, EPC is measuring what happens on a merchant's site, NOT on your site (the only contribution your site makes to EPC is to send 100 visitors)

So if a merchant has Banner A with a $5 EPC and Banner B with a $0.50 EPC, that sets off alarm bells in my head. Granted, there's also the opportunity to try and analyse WHY one ad may pre-dispose people to buying 10x more than the other ad, but more likely there is some flakiness of their back-end tracking system... otherwise why would 100 people who came through Banner A from a site be 10 TIMES as likely to buy as 100 people who came through Banner B.

The only exception to this is if one of the ads mentions a specific price on it, or other similar limiting conditions. If I see "Cheap Playstation 2 games" or "Playstation 2 games - just $18.99!" my reaction will be totally different. Perhaps people clicking on the "Cheap Playstation 2 games" banner believed (on average) that "Cheap" meant "Under $10" and hence were put off buying many games.

ASIDE: By carefully combining targeted text links and selecting CJ programs that matched my site's audience precisely, I have increased CJ revenue on my site from about $300 a month to over $1,500 for December (if current trends hold true). That's with NO increase in traffic at all, just hard work at the picking ads and testing stage.

So if you have a well-trafficked site, the effort you put in really CAN be rewarded, as long as you take care to always understand (and remember or note down somewhere) everything you test and all the results you get.

Good luck!
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Old 12-20-2001, 04:19 AM   #28
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I'd just like to add (yes again, groan!) a few REAL examples taken from CJ's advertiser list. I haven't tried these advertisers, it's just math - but VERY educational math nonetheless.

A) Premier Equity is paying $25 per lead to its Home Equity products and has a 7-day EPC of $57.13. This means that for every 43.75 (let's call it 44!) visitors *their average affiliate* is sending them, they're closing one "lead".

B) InsuranceQuote Services is paying $16 per lead and has a 7-day EPC of $43.97. This means that for every 36.4 (37) visitors sent to their site, 1 lead is being generated!

C) NationalPayday (cash advances) is paying $11 per lead and has a 7-day EPC of $1.78, meaning 1 lead for every 618 visitors.

D) ATT Wireless is paying $35 per Sale and has a 7-day EPC of $0.36, meaning 1 lead for every 9,722 visitors (!)

FINAL CLOSING HINT: If you look at the bottom of the "Advertising list" tab on the "Get Links" page within CJ, you'll have access to the ULTIMATE WEAPON: you can download ALL the data for ALL their advertisers in Excel-ready CSV format! After that, it's easy to do any number of formulas on the data to find useful trends and patterns...
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Old 12-20-2001, 04:37 AM   #29
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Yup the name of the game is conversion. These way both side wins. We would definitely work with merchants with high EPC because we know they can close the sale. Merchants would also like to work with high EPC affiliates because they can deliver the sales.


Just to illustrate, for example if eBay drops its cookie duration to 1 day, I can imagine their EPC sinking to stinky waters. Your CR will definitely drop like s*** (no pun intended) thus affecting your EPC. If you take a look at eBay, their EPC has been slowly dropping the past few months because they have implemented many changes. EPC is a fast way of determing the total package of the merchant.

Don't get me wrong I used to adhere to the EPM policy should be implemented but now I came to realize that EPM only works well in determining the CR of independent banners but not the merchant in general. It would be safe to bet that those high CTR trick banners will have a low EPC because they have a very CTR but poor CR but hey you can earn more with those banners becuase it gets clicked more often than those other lousy banners which have pathetic CTR. I guess its safe to say that most banners in general can have a high EPC because nobody clicks on banners in the first place and if you can get a pretty decent banner CTR most probably 99% of the time people will not buy thus a pretty low EPC. So I can conclude that if you see banners with high EPC, chances are nobody clicks on those banners and if the EPC is low chances are you can make something out of it but not much.

And as Leader pointed out I sometimes use different banners on the same page. I use 468, buttons and text links and sometimes I use different adverts for the same merchant. This would really ***** the data for EPM because CJ tracks impressions of diff. banners seprately. BTW, nice seeing you, Leader of CJ affiliates, posting here.

So to conclude I think this is really a very planned move by CJ and not something thrown up overnight. Of all networks, nobody comes close to CJ in the eyes of affiliates, maybe Linkshare sometime soon if they aggregate their checks.
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Old 12-20-2001, 05:07 AM   #30
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Edwin,

I think I would go with the high ticket merchant. Granted that both EPC are the same, I think you can have a better chance of earning more because your EPC can be maxed at $50. There are many factors that affect the EPC. I will look closely into it though as to why they have a very low EPC, maybe a 90% reversal rate? This is one area I would look closely into before considering a merchant not to mention cookies.
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