CJ: What steps should advertisers take to ensure publisher compliance?
Advertisers must run an efficient search program, as it is crucial in keeping costs low and ensuring publishers see profit to reinvest in the affiliate program. Craft a simple yet robust search policy to save time and money among all parties.
It's helpful for publishers to agree to the following:
Bid on a set list of common phrase match TM+ keywords, across all device types, and all search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo).
Serve ads below the advertiser if the advertiser's internal search team is serving ads on the chosen list of keywords. This will ensure the advertiser isn't increasing bids (thus wasting money) to compete with affiliate search partners.
Send weekly keyword reports directly from the Google AdWords or Bing Ads platforms highlighting their ad position, cost-per-click, and other standard search metrics.
In addition, BrandVerity or The Search Monitor tools help make sure unapproved publishers don't clog up the search results with less efficient ads and sites. Further, account managers and advertisers should set the tone for a zero-tolerance policy by performing occasional manual keyword searches to see the search results landscape firsthand.
CJ: How should communication flow between advertiser, network, and publisher?
Communication is key to maintaining a successful TM+ program. All parties involved should be able to communicate with one another around promotions, campaign logistics, and other operational needs. If the advertiser or account manager reaches out to a publisher, there should be near real-time responsiveness from the publisher. Ideally all issues are addressed in one business day.
For example, if an advertiser notices a search partner is advertising a 20 percent off promotion when there is only a 15 percent off promotion active, the advertiser can either go directly to the publisher with the concern or relay to the network to contact the publisher. The publisher should change the ad within a few hours.
At the same time, too much communication detracts from focusing on the goals of the campaign—incremental sales, new customers, larger shopping cart order values, etc. Communication peaks at the beginning of the search program and will taper off, but weekly meetings are great to discuss successes, offers to promote, and ways the publisher can optimize performance.
CJ: What's next for "trademark plus" search?
Mobile is becoming extremely valuable as consumers get more comfortable shopping on a small screen and as advertisers improve their mobile experience. Mobile conversion rates have rapidly improved in the past year and this channel cannot be overlooked, as mobile search is alive and well (most people are not shopping in apps).
In addition, there is opportunity to efficiently drive sales through strategic remarketing efforts. Publishers who differentiate themselves are finding success as trusted partners for savvy advertisers. In order to master the affiliate business, one can no longer just put up an ad with a deal and hope for sales to appear.
We encourage advertisers to make sure all trademark policies are up-to-date in program terms within CJ Affiliate. This way publishers clearly understand search guidelines within affiliate. If you have any questions about policies, please contact your account manager or CJ's Client Support.