Clickbank and AdWords : A Guide for New Users

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You’ve just signed up with Clickbank, you’ve just created an AdWords account, you’re eager to start earning some money but you’ve no experience of Clickbank and even less of AdWords. Where do you begin?

Let’s start with some important pieces of information that do not seem to be obvious to many people in this situation.

1. AdWords was not created for the sole benefit of people wanting to make money through Clickbank.

2. AdWords is completely and utterly separate from Clickbank

3. There are many other advertisers (i.e. non-clickbank users) using AdWords

4. There are many Clickbank advertisers and those from other affiliate programs

5. AdWords will only allow one advertiser per destination URL to be displayed at any one time

6. AdWords is currently actively trying to reduce the number of affiliate advertisers being displayed on any single results page

Introduction to Clickbank

From the perspective of this article, Clickbank.com is, essentially, a directory of affiliate programs . . . a list of products & services that you can sell on behalf of someone else in order to earn commission. When someone clicks on a Clickbank hyperlink, known as a “hoplink,” a cookie is placed on that user’s computer that tells Clickbank whose link (or ad) the user clicked on in order to get to that product’s Clickbank page. If that user then makes a purchase, the affiliate whose Clickbank ID is stored in the relevant cookie gets his/her Clickbank account credited with a certain amount of commission. The amount of commission depends on the particular affiliate program in question.

What is a Hoplink?

A hoplink is simply a particular URL in a regular hyperlink that indicates 2 important things:

1. The Clickbank ID of the affiliate (i.e. the person trying to earn money by promoting the product)

2. Another Clickbank code for the product being promoted

For example, if my clickbank ID was “abc” and the code for the product I was promoting was “zyx,” the hoplink URL would look something like:

http://abc.zyx.hop.clickbank.net

This tells Clickbank that any commission resulting from this action needs to be placed in user abc’s account and that the product being advertised is product code zyx. Furthermore, the product code also tells Clickbank which page to direct the user’s web browser too. For example, a hoplink promoting SEO Elite software takes the user’s web browser to http://www.seoelite.com/index2.htm. This is the page that is, in a sense, trying to sell/promote the product to the user.

Where AdWords Fits In

Many people that are new to Clickbank do not seem to realize that AdWords is in no way directly related to Clickbank and that the stats they provide are completely unconnected. AdWords is merely one way of getting people to click on your hoplink in the hope the person clicking will go on to buy whatever product is being advertised. AdWords can tell you how many times your ads have been shown and how many times they have been clicked on but, at the moment, it cannot tell you how many Clickbank sales you have made or how much you have earned from those sales. [Note: AdWords can provide that information for people that can add tracking code into their own web pages.] In order to find out your sales figures you need to log in to Clickbank, NOT AdWords.

Introduction to AdWords

AdWords has two available “editions:” Starter Edition and Standard Edition. Anyone serious about advertising with AdWords should immediately register for the Standard Edition.

A detailed overview of how AdWords works is beyond the scope of this article so I will just quickly run through the process of creating ads in a very brief manner.

AdWords has a hierarchical structure as follows. An AdWords account is comprised of one or more campaigns. A campaign is comprised of one or more ad groups. An ad group contains one or more ads and one set of keywords. For more information on this structure, visit the AdWords Learning Center topic, which has both a text lesson and a multimedia lesson.

If you are advertising multiple Clickbank products, each product should have its own ad group that contains a set of keywords specific to that product. In addition, every ad group should contain at least 2 ads for the product so that you can test which ad performs best. This process is known as split-testing. It is also important that you concentrate on writing effective ads, which is an art in and of itself.

Specific Tips for Clickbank Users

As mentioned earlier, AdWords does not seem to be very keen on affiliate advertisers at the moment and, as a result, if your ad contains your hoplink as the “destination URL” (that is, the URL the person clicking on the ad will be taken to), you may well find that you have a $5 or more minimum bid requirement for your keywords to be “active for search.” There are two main ways round this.

First, if you have any free (or paid for!) web space and you are familiar with any web technology such as ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, ColdFusion, etc., you can create an intermediate page between your AdWords ad that then redirects the user to your Clickbank hoplink. In that way, the ad’s destination URL will then be to your own page and NOT your direct hoplink.

To illustrate:

My Ad —> myWebPage —> (automatically hoplinks to) –> Clickbank product page

Second (and preferred solution), if you are promoting a range of related products, you can create your own web site based around the theme of those products and that contains hoplinks to the products that you are promoting. Using this method, you simply use your ads as a means of getting traffic to your site. In essence, this is the approach to affiliate marketing that Rosalind Gardner, author of “The Super Affiliate Handbook” has taken (though I don’t know if she uses AdWords at all). An additional benefit of this approach is that you don’t even need to use AdWords at all, you can simply use other search engine optimization and web site promotion methods to get visitors to your site. Of course, you can also use AdWords to complement your other marketing efforts.

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