Battling link rot to help commerce content convert

Content Actually Does Convert

Commerce content in affiliate marketing really works.

That’s the message we are hearing from some of the world’s largest content owners, who are using Trackonomics to monetize unique content articles that they produce for affiliate marketing.

This notion challenges the long-held belief, particularly in the UK affiliate industry, that content doesn’t convert. It does. Targeted, product-based commerce content articles are capable of generating significant commissions. We tracked over $16 million in commission for one publisher in 2018. That publisher had a click-to-sale conversion rate of 5.5%, an increase of 50%. The industry average for content publishers is closer to 2%.

Media Publishers Are Using Affiliate Marketing

The affiliate industry has rushed to get as close as possible to the consumer because it believed this to be the only way it could make a cost-per-action marketing model work. Particularly given that many advertisers to de-duplicate affiliate activity against other channels on a last-click.

A raft of major media companies like Buzzfeed, Time Inc, CNN and Business Insider are now proving there are other ways to build a sustainable publisher business model in affiliate marketing.

The static affiliate links used by the affiliate industry were one of the biggest barriers to conversion. It was not the channel's place in the consumer journey.

Link Rot Is Still A Major Issue

Content publishers in affiliate marketing are the biggest victims of Link Rot. Link Rot is when a statically generated affiliate link decays to the point that it is no longer useful because the target page is moved, removed, or the product goes out of stock.

Link rot affects almost 5% of the live affiliate links in the UK. And over 90% of those links belong to online content publishers or social influencers. This is an issue worth $160 million in affiliate commission every month. It has been the biggest factor in preventing content owners from embracing affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing has been hunting for the answer to programmes dominated by incentive publishers (who contribute more than 70%!) However, what it should have been looking at is the falling conversion rates for content publisher caused by Link Rot.

How Does Link Rot Impact Media Owners?

Working with so many huge online media owners has given us a unique insight into the problem of Link Rot. These publishers build articles with evergreen content to maximise SEO value and longevity. It means they will occupy high rankings in the SERPs long after content editors have moved on to other priorities. This is a fertile situation for link rot.

Trackonomics Have Built A Solution

Trackonomics found the solution by creating Link Scanner. This is an automated link scanning and reporting tool. Every day, we scan over 7,000 live affiliate links looking for link rot issues. Our reporting system allows clients to immediately identify link issues, and break those issues down per article, and in order of importance.

Just last week, a single scan for a leading lifestyle content publisher revealed:

  • 21 separate link rot issues in one article, including 7 links going to 404 pages
  • 19 different pricing issues in another high-traffic article

Using Link Scanner, the publisher was able to find and correct the issues in minutes. It saved more than $10,000 in lost commission.

With the help of Link Scanner, we now actively encourage all our partners to create a link rot prevention strategy to fully optimise their commerce content. It’s a vital part of monetizing their traffic.

Actively preventing Link Rot issues from affecting publisher businesses is a matter of conversion, which is key to success in the CPA dominated world of affiliate marketing.

Get in touch to talk to us more about Link Scanner.