Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | September 11, 2013

Affiniti launches Maximum Return Affiliate Program

We’re proud to announce the launch of our high performance affiliate programme – Maximum Return. Maximum Return takes unsecured loan leads and using its proprietary PingMax service find lenders who will lend to the applicant in principle. The focus is on guarantor loan lenders. Guarantor loans are the relatively new unsecured loan product that help people with a bad credit history obtain the credit they need.

Maximum Return Affiliate Programme

Affiniti has operated in the guarantor loans space for many years and has a deep understanding of the market. We’re constantly on the lookout for high quality affiliates to join the programme. and we have new lenders joining our panel on a consistent basis.

You can find out more about the Maximum Return affiliate programme here.

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | September 10, 2013

Affiniti at Ad:Tech London

We’ll be at Ad:Tech on September 11th so if you’d like to get together to chew the cud or talk business then drop us a line and we’ll sort out a time.

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | May 29, 2012

Impact of the EU ePrivacy Directive “Cookie Law”

The new EU ePrivacy directive – the so-called “cookie law” – came into effect on 26 May. Are you now compliant? Are you worried about the impact it will have on your ability to see how people are using your website? Are you concerned you will no longer be able to target advertising and monitor marketing effectiveness? Will your website revenue be impacted by the implementation of the directive? What’s the best way to be compliant?

The EU Directive & Compliance

There’s been plenty of debate on the merit of this EU directive but the time to get on and comply has arrived. In simple terms all sites owned by businesses located in the EU must now ensure their websites provide visitors with clear information about the use of cookies on the site – which cookies are present and what they are doing – and then seek consent to allow cookies to be stored on their computers.

Getting Consent

There are 3 broad compliance solutions to the need to get consent from site visitors:

  1. A prominent link to the websites cookie policy (perhaps as part of the overall privacy policy) which then utilises “implied consent” i.e. by continuing to use the site the visitor is deemed to give their consent.
  2. User is given the means to opt-in/out of groups of cookies (e.g. social, tracking, advertising cookies)
  3. User is actively required to opt-in to cookies (i.e. cookies are off unless visitor accepts them)

Our Test of a Cookie Law consent solution

We decided to do a controlled test using one of our websites to see the impact of the implementation of a level 2-3 (i.e. opt-in/out of groups of cookies) consent solution. We implemented an open source solution (a plug-in) with a consent bar at the top of the web pages. It’s a belt and braces solution that requires the visitor to opt-in to cookies either on an “all” basis or “groups” basis.

The site uses Google Analytics and this would fail to track visitors unless they opted-in to analytics tracking. We ran the site this way for 24 hours and then compared the analytics data to the server logs. We then standardised the data against a normal Monday and estimated the effect of the cookie banner implementation.

The Results

The test provided some quite frightening results. It would appear that only 20% of visitors opted-in to allowing tracking cookies. The implication is that 80% of the traffic to the test site became invisible. Some of this traffic still converted and generated revenue, but we don’t know how they got to the site and we don’t know how they journeyed around the site. If we had been using Google Adwords to drive traffic to the site then it is uncertain that we would know which of the paid-for traffic was generating the revenue. This would make managing a Google Adwords campaign a lottery! A challenging prospect.

The other factor was that we judged that actual revenues from the site were down by 20% due to the cookie banner implementation – it is clear that some people when confronted by the cookie banner simply walked away from the site.

What Should You Do?

Obviously if we had been running the cookie opt-in banner for an extended period we could have optimised it to reduce its impact. For instance we could have come up with a better form of words to encourage people to accept cookies. However, it’s hard to imagine that you could bridge the 80% “data gap” completely. And then there is the 20% “revenue gap” to consider.

What are we going to do? It seems to us that the most sensible solution is to implement the implied consent option (option 1 above). The link to the cookie policy needs to be prominent enough but once implemented at least you know that your cookies will be working unless the visitor goes into their browser to turn them off.

More Information

Information Commissioners Office – ICO

AboutCookies – how to control cookies on your computer

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | May 24, 2012

Yahoo Axis set to be a game-changer

Today Yahoo have announced “Axis” – an enhanced way to browse and search the web. For Yahoo this means the chance to upstage your “traditional” search engines like Google and for users it’s a chance to get search results presented in a completely new way. On your laptop/desktop it’s a plug-in for your usual browser. While on your mobile/tablet it’s a standalone app that is in effect its own browser/search engine.

Yahoo Axis

Yahoo Axis on Laptop

When you think about it all today’s search engines have become pretty similar. They present search results in an ordered text list with the “most relevant” result at the top of the list. Each page typically has 10 natural search results (blue, green & black text on a white background) and to get deeper into the results you journey to the next page  (though few people do, of course). And Google has built its business surrounding these natural search results with paid ads.

So, what’s different about Yahoo Axis? Why could it be a winner? On first acquaintance Yahoo has completely reconsidered how people might want their search results presented. The web’s becoming an ever more graphical environment. The arrival of tablets and the obvious desire of people to “swipe” their way around the web has meant Yahoo has opted for a graphics-orientated results stream. On a tablet the results are scrolled from right to left – no longer are there simple pages of results. The results are displayed as thumbnails of the sites, so the visual appeal of those sites is likely to be a very important factor in determining the probability of a clickthrough. It is possible that being no.1 in the results will no longer be as important as what you look like!

The laptop browser plugin functions slightly differently to the tablet/mobile app – it sits at the bottom of the host browser ready for action and springs to life quickly when required. Results are shown in a similar way to the tablet app with simple left-right scrolling using your mouse. If you have a standard Yahoo account you can get Yahoo to synchronise your Axis viewing experience across all your devices. A nice touch, but not sure how useful this will be in reality.

In summary Yahoo Axis looks like a really fresh way of presenting search results and exploring what the web has to offer. In many ways it opens up the real estate again to give more websites a chance of being found. It could undermine Google’s stranglehold on search if people are gripped by the Axis proposition. It’s not obvious yet how Yahoo will monetise the results, but you can be sure that they’ll be working on this. It’ll be fascinating to see how Axis is taken up, and how it mights stir up further innovation in this arena.

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | November 30, 2011

New BBC Home page goes live

A few weeks ago I wrote about the BBC’s new web site home page (in beta form) and why they felt the need to revamp it. Today they have set the new home page live. Already I am frustrated! As described in my earlier article it is no longer possible to tailor the home page and to organise it to suit your preferences. So my beloved BBC Business section is no longer accessible directly from the home page. It’s now 2 clicks away rather than being a summary window on the old home page. The other immediate frustration is that while the new home page was built with other platforms in mind (e.g. tablets) the swipe function on my iPad does not let me scroll the top windows left/right as the layout suggests it should.

Final gripe – two months since the beta test started it doesn’t look like many of the comments people have made have been built into the final live version. I predict the BBC’s Alexa rank will fall from the current no.45 pretty quickly. Those of us who don’t simply want to access the “lighterweight” elements of the BBC content and want the “more serious” stuff are likely to wander off elsewhere. I could be wrong of course, in which case I’ll eat my blog…

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | November 11, 2011

Local Search Optimisation – How to get your business found locally

One of the major trends in Search is the growth in local search. As people have become more savvy about search engines and search engines have become more savvy about what people want on the results page so localising search results has become more and more of a priority.

In fact so strong has this trend been on search engines such as Google that it has severly impacted on the performance of traditional local advertising services such as Yellow Pages and Thomson Local – you may have noticed just how much smaller their printed directories are these days! It is harder and harder to justify paying for your business to be included in these printed directories.

Local search is about to explode! So, get prepared. Why? Well, the arrival of smartphones means search results are being tailored to the users location. So, if you’re standing in Reigate High Street and search “cinema listings” the odds are very high you’ll be given the current movie listings at Reigate’s cinema – you won’t even have to geo-limit the query. It will be assumed you want local results. So, you need to prepare your business website and advertising for this mega shift!

There are a growing number of ways to get your business advertised locally. You can:

  • Use the online directory versions of Yellow Pages & Thomson Local (free and variously enhanced listings are available)
  • Use other more specialist online directories to advertise, many with a strong local or regional bias
  • SEO your website so it is found high up in the natural search listings (e.g. if someone searches for “Reigate Hotels” or “Hotels in Surrey”):
    • using traditional SEO techniques to optimise for local keywords (geographical qualifiers people add when searching online)
    • using so-called microformats / geo-location tags in your website
  • Capitalise on social media such as Facebook & Google+ – create a business page for each of them and get local people to join you.
  • Create a .kml file that stores your businesses latitude/longitude making your business visible on geographic browsers, such as Google Earth
  • Register your business with Google Places, so you can be found on Google Maps and in Google search results
  • Use Paid Search Networks to advertise your business on a pay per click basis with a local or regional emphasis

You may be wondering about the extent to which you can localise paid search/PPC advertising. Yahoo allows the selection of sub-regions (e.g. South East England), but with Google you can narrow it down to an even finer degree – down to town level. Now there are caveats to this of course, but it’s worth considering.

So, if you have a local or regional business and you have a website to promote it then there are plenty of means of advertising online to get new business. You don’t have to rely just on word of mouth, and you don’t have to risk large amounts of your precious cash to advertise!

At Affiniti we can help your business capitalise on these opportunities, so get in touch and tell us what you need.

 

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | October 31, 2011

SEO – Create powerful relevant back links automatically via Affiliates

You’ll have read about how links to your site (from relevant websites) are “votes” for your site that help to boost its organic search ranking. This off-page SEO technique is very important and you should be doing it every day. But it is a tough and time consuming task. So, it would be great if there were a link building strategy where other sites were biting your hand off to get links to you site. And those links also brought you real traffic that generated revenue at your site. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. All you need is an independently set-up and managed affiliate programme.

The key to this is that it needs to be an independently managed programme – one which Affiniti can set up for you. If you run a programme on any of the usual affiliate networks (e.g. Affiliate Window, Webgains, etc) the links they provide to your site do not transfer the “link juice” to you. They keep the juice and transfer the visitor to your site. So you’ll get revenue from the visitor (hopefully) but not the SEO benefit.

So how can Affiniti help you boost your SEO rankings AND boost your business revenue:

  • We build your affiliate marketing presence – we tailor the software that manages the programme to give it the right look & feel, and set it up on the server in the correct fashion.
  • You manage the day-to-day running of the campaign, the promotion of the programme, the management of affiliate relationships and the payment of commissions, etc.
  • The links the system issues to affiliates are logged by Google/Bing and gradually your site’s ranking will improve (you can control whether you approve new affiliates or make acceptance automatic)

We set up a campaign for a client recently and we saw improved organic rankings and a doubling of organic traffic within 2 months. Organic traffic is continuing to grow month by month as the number of links increases. So whether you are looking to boost your SEO rankings or looking to boost your sales via affiliates you should consider running an affiliate programme independently. You could kill two birds with one stone. Contact us to discuss your requirements.

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | October 17, 2011

Online Marketing Jobs at Affiniti

We’re always on the lookout for talented people who would complement and add to Affiniti’s current skills. If you have a passion for the online world and are keen to succeed then get in touch with us. We have a variety of different roles open at the moment. We’re particularly keen to hear from people who want to work flexibly (most probably on a consultancy or freelance basis) and may possibly want to work from home.

The roles are:

If you’d like to apply for one of the roles above then click on the links and submit your CV to us with a covering message. For further information go to our jobs page.

If you use web analytics on your website then you probably know quite a lot about what your visitors do – which pages they favour, how they navigate around the site, which pages they commonly exit from, and indeed the conversion rate of the site as a whole (i.e. the % of visitors that do something valuable e.g. buy something, make an enquiry, sign up to a newsletter, etc).

What about the hidden value – the people who nearly do something valuable but leave instead? What if you could reach them again soon after they leave your site, provide them with some information that then brings them back to your site and gets them to convert? And what if you could do this cheaply? It’s a “no brainer” – of course you’d do it.

This is called Remarketing or Retargeting. We’ve been using this online marketing technique with a client recently where we’ve used technology to track people (using anonymous cookies) who go to the website’s apply page but don’t make an application. We use both simple text adverts and banners to reach these people in real time on other websites soon after they’ve been to the client’s application page. And we’re successfully getting a good proportion of this retargeting audience to come back and apply. And the great thing is that it need not add very much to your monthly budget. So there’s plenty of extra profit to add for not much outlay.

You can set any pages on your website as “trigger” pages – i.e. that will trigger a person to be added to your retargeting audience. And you can choose the duration that people stay within the retargeting audience – so if you believe that it is only worth remarketing to people in the first 10 days then on the 11th day the remarketing automatically stops.

We’d love to demonstrate to you the power of remarketing/retargeting so contact us today.

Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | October 4, 2011

2012: The Year of the Mobile Internet

Since the web took off in the late 90’s we’ve been pretty much tied to our desk or sofa to use it. WAP was an early attempt to give the web mobility but frankly it wasn’t very appealing or usable and that’s probably while it failed to take off. But the rapid rise of the smartphone is giving the web the mobility it’s been craving for years. Ofcom’s recent report “A Nation Addicted to Smartphones”  highlights just how fast things are changing in the UK.

So, does your company’s online/digital strategy reflect these key observations made by Ofcom:

  • Over a quarter of adults and nearly half of all teens now own a smartphone
  • 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teens are ‘highly addicted’ to them
  • Smartphones are beginning to affect social behaviour

Keep in mind the rate of change in the mobile market – every 4 weeks 2.5% of standard feature phone users in the UK are swapping/upgrading to a smart phone! This trend means that by early 2012 smartphones will represent the majority of the installed base of mobiles in the UK, and the long established feature phone could be dead sometime in 2013. This means that within 12 months or so the vast majority of your cutomers will have full access to yours and your competitors’ websites while on the move. Are you ready for this?

Have you built a mobile version of your company website? Have you started to take advantage of localised search (if this is relevant to your business)? Are you capitalising on the mobile-focused advertising options available on the major paid search networks? Do you have a proper social media strategy in relation to your business/brand?

2012 is the year that we’ll feel the full impact of the mobile web so get prepared!

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