Jesse Lakes From Genius Link On Increasing Affiliate Earnings In 2021


Jesse Lakes from Genius Link joins us for his second appearance on the Niche Pursuits.

Genius Link is both an affiliate link tracking and management tool and a way to potentially increase earnings through link localization and by presenting multiple buying options to your audience.

Jared Bauman (our podcast host this week) and Jesse have an in-depth discussion on link localization. This is the idea of presenting offers to your visitors based on the country they are based in and clicking your links from. Jesse shares that doing this alone may lead to an earnings increase of 10 – 20%.

Another discussion is around the multi-retailer approach to affiliate marketing. This is the concept of giving your website visitors multiple buying options for any given product. Many affiliate marketers choose only to link to one retailer – Amazon, for example – but in the podcast, they discuss sharing up to 4 or 5 options.

Jesse has a ton of great data showing that this approach can more than double affiliate earnings. He also talks about Genius Link’s product ‘Choice Pages’ that make presenting multiple offers to an audience more streamlined and effective.

There is plenty to learn from this one, so watch, read, or listen to the interview below.

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Jesse Lakes Genius Link Interview

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Read the Full Transcript Below

Jared Bauman: Welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. Jared Bauman today, we’re joined by Jesse lakes from genius link. Jesse is a return visitor to the niche pursuits podcast, and we are continuing the conversation about affiliate marketing and a lot of the topics that are really. For today’s affiliate marketer. One of the things we start with is link localization and the concept of localizing your links to the country that the visitor is accessing and clicking from.

And how, from what he’s seen, this can lead to an increase by 10 to 20% to your revenue. Just with a couple of quick fixes. Uh, we spend the bulk of the time though, talking about what he calls the multi retailer approach to affiliate marketing. It’s this concept that instead of just offering, say Amazon or one or another.

Uh, opportunity for the readers and the visitors to your website is this concept of giving them choice, giving the reader that choice of three, four, or five different retailers that they can buy and make their purchase from. He has a lot of really great, uh, great data that he shares about how this can really increase your revenue.

As a matter of fact, according to their research over at genius, LinkedIn, I’ve seen a 2.2 X increase in revenue. By using this multi retailer approach, uh, that’s more than double, uh, an increase in revenue. And so it really is an interesting conversation that we get into it also. And something that I think is also very interesting is it helps diversify your affiliate income.

Uh, obviously we. Are familiar with the various, uh, Amazon decreases in commissions over the years. And by taking a multi realer retailer approach, Jesse really showcases why it helps to diversify your revenues. Uh, Jesse has offered a choice pages, which is a product of genius link. And so we talk about this concept of choice, giving the viewer, giving the reader, giving the buyer a choice in which retailer they want to buy from and how it can lead to an increase in revenue for you.

He shares lots of data that they’ve collected over the years about this, and it’s a really fascinating interview to learn more. Again, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you’re really going to want to lean into this one, because we talk about how to not only increase your revenue through a couple of different approaches, but also how to diversify your revenue to make your website safer and to make your affiliate marketing platform more diverse and be able to stand at the test.

So I hope you enjoy today’s interview. Let’s go ahead and dive in.

welcome back to the mitzvah proceeds podcast. My name is Jared Bauman and I’m thrilled to have Jesse likes here with us today. Jesse joins us from a genius link, Jesse. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so

Jesse Lakes: much, Jared. It’s on. It’s exciting. And this

Jared Bauman: is a return visit for you. You, you were on, I believe it was episode 1 68.

I saw a couple of years ago with, uh, with Spencer talking about, uh, about genius link and some of the Amazon changes. Yeah.

Jesse Lakes: Yeah. Um, Spencer, when I go way back. So yeah. Um, it was only a matter of time before I fingers crossed. Got me invited to the podcast.

Jared Bauman: Okay. Well clearly if you’re doing something right, if you got reinvited, so it was a, it was a good episode.

I, I listened to it. Um, in lieu of this one here, why don’t you give us some backstory? Tell us, you know, a lot of people probably haven’t heard that, that podcast, but bring us up to speed obviously on your, on your journey to genius. Yeah, it’s a, it’s

Jesse Lakes: kind of a, it’s kind of a funny one. Um, starts out a bit over a decade ago, I had a, uh, a series of, uh, extreme sports soundtrack websites where I took the soundtracks from different films.

You know, Warren Miller puts out a new film every year and has 50 awesome songs that most people haven’t ever heard of. Um, now we’ll link those up without links to iTunes and Amazon. And after a couple of years on ice hockey stick growth and traffic, but my revenue was, was really flat. And I was scratching my head trying to figure that out and realize that that, that growth of traffic was mostly coming from international.

And because at that time, music was mostly a digital, uh, digital rights management, et cetera. Uh, I was essentially serving up a broken link for all those international users. So that kind of create the Ono moment where that’s, that’s where this revenue isn’t, isn’t growing. So, uh, I talked to my best friend who happened to be an engineer at Microsoft.

I started talking about how can we, can we build a smart link, a link that sends people to the, uh, the right store so they can buy the, the recommended products. So based off their country location, you have device, et cetera. Just be a little bit smarter about how that link resolves. And we started working on that project, um, 2000, 2009.

Um, And about the same time I was writing a book about the iTunes affiliate program, because it happened to be, uh, the, the, the main moneymaker for the website. It was a great affiliate program, not much documentation, uh, just about ready to wrap up that book, uh, sent a copy off to some people at, uh, iTunes that I found via LinkedIn.

Uh, I was expecting it to be pretty excited about. Uh, having a book written about their affiliate program turned out to be a cease and desist that I got back. Um, so yeah, I’ve always been an apple fan boy. It was a, it was a bit of a, an eye-opener, but uh, ended up hopping on the phone with this, this woman, um, and had this, uh, you know, 30 seconds of nice, polite civil conversation in 45 minutes.

It just kind of yelling at each other back and forth, you know, who was I to be writing all these lies? How can I possibly know what was going on? They’d never heard of me, you know, I can’t publish this book, et cetera, but at the end of it, we came to the agreement. Uh, if I would let them review the book and delayed publishing by a month or so, uh, they would take a look and let me know what was, what was wrong.

Um, it’s not like a win-win situation, so, uh, send them over, um, you know, the, the document they could start editing and taking a look at and within a couple of weeks, the total. Shifted significantly you, I was actually invited to come lead the, uh, affiliate program for them. Uh, it turns out that wow, that’s exactly, after all the research, I actually do a few things about the iTunes affiliate program.

Uh, and what was it iTunes? It was a trade in a flip-flops and endless summer mentality. I was being a raft guy between Colorado and Costa Rican and working on these. The website’s kind of on the side, but move to nuclear. Cupertino got a commute in a cubicle and, um, was paid really well to actually make one of these problems that I talked about in the book, this idea of geo fragmentation to make it much worse.

We, uh, we three exercise the affiliate program in my couple of years that were there. Um, but as we were expanding it, we were we’re again, making this problem worse where each of the different programs had its own, um, own storefront that you had to buy from. And it was also a different affiliate network.

So it was just this real. Melva Hass, where, where things were just really complicated to make sure that all these different users are music lovers were sent to the right store. At the same time, Amazon was, was radically increasing its, uh, footprint as well across the world. So after a couple of years at apple, it was, it was a great experience.

Just realize that there was a huge opportunity here that needed to be solved. So dove in and, and, uh, we started out as GRI and we rebranded as genius thing, but it was iTunes. Initially, and then Amazon again was just this huge opportunity. So, uh, it really kind of dove in to make one link, just work across the board.

So work as far as the user experience to send users to the right storefront, uh, that that’s optimized for them with the correct language, you know, currency shipping, et cetera, but also from the monetization side as well, to make sure that the, uh, the affiliate program is using the right affiliate, tracking information, et cetera.

So it, uh, someone with a. Decent medium body to long tail traffic is going to now monetize the majority of the traffic instead of just that, that, um, that one audience that they’ve originally built a website for. So that was kind of the, the original conversation we had with Spencer was, was back in the day when, you know, just talking about.

An Amazon link that works, um, monetize fully, uh, resolved correctly, et cetera. Uh, since then, uh, the business continue evolve. And, uh, I think we’ll talk a little bit more about that, but it’s been, it’s been a wild ride, but Spencer, uh, a number of years ago at AI, we’re, we’re both part of a group called rhodium weekend, um, which is a group of people that buy and sell digital assets, uh, et cetera.

So I have known Spencer for awhile and have had various conversations along the way. So it’s a.

Jared Bauman: Well, first things first, if I ever get a, uh, a legal letter in the mail, I’m going to call you respond, or at least give him the phone for me. Maybe we can turn this into a win-win man. That is a heck of a story.

Um, and I, I mean, I’ve, uh, obviously the idea of Amazon and link localization for a country is, is something probably a lot of affiliate website owners have heard. How big of a problem, do you, I mean, cause I know we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re gonna be talking about some of the, uh, some of the different options now on the table, but I think just underscoring the situation that, that affiliate website owners are up against, how big of a problem do you think it is for, for affiliate, uh, web centers that aren’t paying attention to, to this idea?

This concept of link localization.

Jesse Lakes: Yeah. Great question. So there’s a couple different ways to look at this, right? It’s definitely a problem that you should not focus on. Initially, if you’re just starting out your website, you know, focus on your core demographic could focus on your core audience, you know, work on building a website, get those links out there.

You’ll work on building a community in a website that works. The localization is really an optimization and, and I would argue it’s an optimization that should happen sooner than later, but for the most part it’s not worth really dealing with until you have at least a thousand visits that are internet.

Um, we typically recommend at least a thousand visits, um, at least five to 10% of your traffic being international, but that’s just kind of the, um, the process you’re gonna go through when you build a website anyway, is that eventually people are going to see it from around the world. That’s the beauty of the internet, you know, someone in India and UK and in Australia, we’re all gonna be really interested in that content that you’re publishing those reviews or whatever it may be that you’re doing on your website.

So as things evolve, it is a really important thing to start to pay attention to. So taking again, kind of a step back to kind of quantify that. Amazon now has 20 different storefronts around the world in 19 public affiliate programs. Turkey is the one storefront where it’s not a public affiliate program.

Um, on top of that, Amazon also has over a million different publishers. So I would argue that the problem is, is, is relatively large. And we’ve seen that over the decade. Um, Janice link has been in business we’ve we’ve seen some, some pretty fantastic growth is people are realizing that there is so much more of the traffic that can be monetizing.

It’s not a ton of work, um, to be able to start to monetize it, et cetera. Um, again, don’t focus on it in the early days. Definitely something to think about as you go and realize that there’s a lot of people out there that are starting out to think about it and start to do a lot about it. So in

Jared Bauman: brass tax, what does that look like then to, to add localization link localization across the board, maybe using your product, like using genius link?

What, what, what does that really look like? Can you help us just paint a picture for what that is? Not in a theoretical, but in a practical sense, I’ve got an affiliate website. I’m driving 25,000 visitors a month, probably the standard, you know, 65% us. And then maybe the rest St. Standard. I don’t know if that’s standard, I’m just giving an example sentence per se number, but yeah, 70% us traffic and then the rest is from different parts of the world.

So what does this look like? Kind of in brass tacks, tuh, tuh, tuh, tuh to capture all this loss potential. For sure.

Jesse Lakes: So just a quick disclaimer, you know, genius link is one of the numerous tools that you can use to do the, the, you know, fixing the localization. Um, that number has slowly shrink. As you know, there have been a few, a few people that become a little bit more dominant, you know, thankfully, you know, fingers crossed.

We’re doing pretty well. Amazon now offers a solution as well. That’s kind of in-house, it’s, um, it’s not the premium that the genius think is as well, but just want to be clear that, you know, genius link is not the only solution. Uh, of course I’m biased and we’ll, we’ll recommend it as the premium solution, but we can, we can talk about that later, but,

Jared Bauman: but you’re also, you’re just a deep knowledge, a source of knowledge on this idea of link localization.

So, you know, I think it’s really good to talk through brass tacks of it and hear your opinions on the brass tacks of it, because you know, a lot of us are. Poking around when it comes to something like this. For sure.

Jesse Lakes: So the first thing to do again, is you need to be signed up for that core Amazon affiliate program that you’re monetizing through already.

And typically that’s amazon.com. It’s the largest catalog size as the biggest store, et cetera. The next step is you need to sign up for a handful of the other affiliate programs. And again, there’s, there’s 20 of them. Don’t sign up for all 20 of them, sign up for the ones. We actually see significant traffic.

So if it’s an English based website, that’s likely Canada, UK, possibly

Jared Bauman: us. Um, and just to be clear, when you say other, you mean other Amazon affiliate programs, because it drilled down, you’re not, you can’t take a us Amazon account and then go earn money in the UK or something like that. Sign up for.

Exactly.

Jesse Lakes: Each of those programs are very specific to a storefront. So you can live in the UK and you can sign up for the amazon.com affiliate program. And you can earn commissions from amazon.com. But someone from the UK is more likely to transact from amazon.co.uk than amazon.com. So again, the whole localization is to make sure that.

Your neighbor is buying from amazon.co.uk. While your friend of the us is buying from amazon.com and that localization is a key piece to, to make sure it happens. And then back to the other piece of those 19 public affiliate programs, each one of those is very specific to a storefront. So the amazon.com associates program as it’s called that affiliate program will only earn your commissions from sales that happen on amazon.com.

The amazon.co.uk affiliate program also called the associates program not to make it confusing, of course, but that is very specific to the amazon.co.uk. Uh, storefront. So the sales that happen on that storefront have to use that affiliate program. Not, you can’t switch them. You can’t use your amazon.com tracking information for sales around the world.

So,

Jared Bauman: okay. So right now, if I’m a visitor to my affiliate website of 25,000 people, and if I’m a visitor and I live in Canada and I come to. Uh, an affiliate website is monetized only, but with the us Amazon associates program, if I buy something, I’m going to be buying it to the U S platform. Does that mean I can’t make a purchase or does it mean I make the purchase, but, but the affiliate owner doesn’t get the credit for this.

Jesse Lakes: That’s a, that’s a great question. It’s, it’s very nuanced. So if you are coming from Canada and you go to amazon.com and one of my digital music, you cannot, um, if you want to buy something, you know, some physical goods you likely can, but then you’re also going to have to pay probably some sort of fee to your credit card company for doing a, you know, international currency transaction.

You’re going to likely have to pay a bit more for shipping for calling. Maybe you have to pay some tariffs to get across the country, et cetera. So you can buy from amazon.com. amazon.com does ship internationally, but it’s a such an easier transaction. If you buy from Amazon at CA where it’s, you know, Canadian dollars, you know, there’s going to be no crazy credit card fees.

Uh, it’s going to ship from somewhere that’s much faster, et cetera. So

Jared Bauman: I think the barriers there are significant. You’re basically all, but losing all of those conversions in foreign countries, unless you localize your links.

Jesse Lakes: Exactly. There’s going to be some bleed over, but yeah, for the most part, it’s, it’s fairly binary.

Um, you ha you support that, that program localization you earn from that affiliate program, you’re going to see an upside. Your consumers are going to convert a whole lot better, which, you know, kind of gets back to your, your brass tax question, right? Where are your website visitors coming from again, English speaking, you know, you’ve got a handful of countries.

Let’s keep it simple. Right? So Canada, UK, and in Australia, do you want to go and sign up those affiliate programs? Those affiliate programs look and act almost identical. So, um, a lot of people are kind of. Concerned about going to have to spend time site for each of the programs. You can honestly do it in about five minutes.

So five minutes for Canada, five minutes for UK, five minutes for Australia, uh, while you’re actually at the UK site, uh, it’s just a couple extra clicks to take that same, uh, application information, apply it to some of the other programs in, in, uh, Europe, as well as, uh, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany are easy.

Add-ons but let’s ignore that for right now, but again, it’s not a big time suck to do so, but it definitely is intimidating. Sometimes she signed. And then you go and you, you figure out what kind of tool you want to use for, for the localization. So again, you know, being, being the expert on genius link, go cipher, genius, think account again, that shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, and then you have an option of how you want to implement it.

Um, if you’ve got a WordPress based blog, um, it’s really easy to just use a WordPress plugin, install the plugin, add your API key from your, your affiliate account. And we’re going to go and now start to find all the Amazon links and when someone clicks on. We are going to translate them to the right store.

And we’re going to add your affiliate tracking information that you’ve provided in our dashboard to make it all work. So all said and done, um, you know, 15 minutes to sign up for the program, say five minutes, sign for genius link, 10 minutes to add in your information from the different programs, API key.

So in half an hour, you should be able to start localizing those key markets. And then all of a sudden you see that India now is an important program for. Uh, India’s got a little bit of complication, but it’s essentially the same just where they’ll sign up for the program. If you’re coming from outside of India, you’ll probably want to use Q links, which is an aggregator to help sign for the program.

Drop that in. And now you can start monetizing your clicks room from India now, Germany, France, same sort of process. As your website grows as your analytics, give you hints about where, where there’s opportunity. Just go sign up for those programs, drop it in. We do, you know, the JavaScript from the WordPress plugin, we’ll make sure all that kind of heavy lifting is done.

So all your links are converted. Uh, encourage you obviously, to, to test your link, you know, check your reports, uh, periodically both in the genius link dashboard, as well as the associates programs. Um, and yeah, at the end of the day, Your traffic, you didn’t have to do anything more to drive traffic. And I always, of course encourage you to drive more traffic.

But the traffic you’ve got now is just being monetized better. And you’re going to start seeing checks come in from Canada and UK and Australia. And now that Amazon’s doing direct deposit, that just lands in your bank account and. Typically, if we’re saying it’s 65%, that is us traffic. That means that 35% is international.

What we’ve seen on average, I’d take this with a massive grain of salt, is that for every 10% of international traffic you’ve got, and you can add 5% to your bottom line. So that 35% traffic should be about 17 and a half percent. You can add to your bottom line. So if you were making a thousand bucks a month before, yeah, you should be able to add at least $175 now as well.

Some do way better than that. Some are a little bit lower for sure. Um, it really depends on how niche you are. Are those niches, you know, common in other countries? Are they available from Amazon, et cetera, if you’re, you know, some very super specific thing that isn’t sold in Amazon, UK, or Amazon, uh, Australia, it’s gonna be harder to find that product.

Obviously it’s not gonna be able to, um, take monetize as much of the international traffic, but in general,

Jared Bauman: Sell really well overseas. Some are, you know, specific to a single country, but okay. That was gonna be my next question. So, I mean, basically if for a limited amount of work, localizing links takes, you know, an hour ish, maybe a little longer, maybe a little, little shorter, depends on where you’re at, but for an extra hour, if you’re an about a thousand dollars a month and you’ve got 20% of your traffic internationally, a good back of the napkin, math would say, you should increase your, uh, your revenue by 10% for that hour of work.

And that just goes on and on every month. Exactly. So clearly it’s a good ROI, I guess that’s really what we’re getting down.

Jesse Lakes: So in general, uh, we have a genius link guarantee that you should see at least a 2.5 X ROI. Most of our clients see between eight and 10 X ROI. Um, so yeah, it’s, it’s a pretty good investment as a tool.

And for your time after you have that bill, um, again, it’s, it’s, don’t, you know, don’t go sign up for hosting, you know, start your website and then go sign up for Virginia’s like, yeah, I really encourage you to spend a little bit. Building that site, building that community again, you need some measurable percent of international traffic before it makes sense to start monetizing international traffic.

Jared Bauman: Right. Okay. Let’s um, let’s continue to evolve here. Uh, I, I want to transition a bit because I remember. So Amazon changed the landscape a bit for affiliate websites, clashed. I mean, they’d been doing it for years, right. But last year was a really pivotal one. I think it was April of 2020 was when they slashed affiliate commissions in some categories, three X, you know, by a third, it dropped into a third of what it was some just got half.

I think I remember hearing. Actually interviewed on a podcast right after that, talking about the need for affiliate website and it’s to evolve beyond Amazon and into other affiliate programs. And, you know, at that time it was still something that I think a lot of affiliate website owners were pretty new at considering, you know, Amazon had been pretty easy and even though other affiliate opportunities were maybe paying.

Amazon was still paying quite well. And so over the last year and a half, this has become a big topic for affiliate website owners. Right. And, and it’s going to continue. So no matter when this podcast, when you listen to this podcast is probably a topic of Amazon’s a great platform to get started on. But as you grow your traffic, which is what we’ve already been talking about, once you’ve established that track.

It’s worth looking into other, um, avenues and other affiliate programs. I think that’s a good launching pad because what, what spurred this conversation on this? This podcast interview is a blog post by Spencer many months ago about moving off of Amazon for other affiliate programs. Um, so talk about that cause you, you read that article and actually reached out and we started the conversation about this based on your research.

Expertise in not just the Amazon affiliate program, but in other affiliate programs.

Jesse Lakes: Yeah. So again, just a lots of good stuff in there. I’m excited to dive into this. Um, you know, Amazon has a history of, in the spring, changed their affiliate program. Thankfully in 2021, they did not in 2020, as you mentioned, it was a pretty drastic one.

Um, they’ve had three pretty significant changes in the last five years, so it’s kind of every other year ish. Uh, we see something happen and that’s. That’s challenging. Right. Uh, you know, as you said, Amazon’s affiliate program is a great place to start. Uh, it, it’s really easy to use it converts really well.

Amazon’s catalog is huge. They have great market share. Um, but at the end of the day, you know, that market share Amazon’s huge, but it’s only 40%. And I say only, you know, take that either way, but that means essentially two out of every five sales happen on Amazon. But that also means that three out of every five sales happen off of Amazon.

So the big kind of, um, argument that I was, I was making that the point of view I was trying to share is that. Amazon is great. It definitely deserves a seat at the table. You know, there’s lots, you know, a hundred plus a hundred million plus prime members out there. Um, but at the end of the day, there’s other retailers that sell that same product and may also have great commissions as well.

So Spencer, you know, his, his blog posts was sidestepping Amazon. Right. And I, I don’t necessarily believe that it should be an either or conversation, you know, Amazon or best buy. So Amazon or Nike, it should be a, a combination. You know, Amazon and Nike, Amazon ambassador. There are lots of different retailers that sell that same product.

Some of them have better commission rates. Some of them have lower commission rates. So we have larger cookie windows. So we have shorter windows and your Amazon is only 24 hours, but at the end of the day, Instead of just focusing on that last step of the funnel, uh, you’re taking some intent and train it to a purchase.

If you can control a little bit more of that funnel as well, uh, and help people do some due diligence and find what retailer is best for them. Either the lowest price actually has it in stock. You know, it’s, it’s a company that does, you know, curbside pickup. The may only be a few blocks away from them.

Um, so they can get it almost immediate. Et cetera. There’s all these different reasons why someone may not want to use Amazon. So that whole concept of multi retailers, what we call it, you know, Amazon and one or two or three other retailers. Seems to be a pretty winning formula. It’s good for the consumer because they can find the product from a store that works for them.

It’s good for you because you know, most, every retailer has an affiliate program these days. Um, and it’s, it’s ultimately good for, for the other retailers to get a place to take. But at the end of the day, it’s also boosting your commissions. And it turns out that this optimization is also helping Amazon’s conversion rates.

We’ve had multiple people tell us, uh, we’ve done a big case during this as well, but after going kind of adopting the multi retailer, they were able to recover, you know, two or three acts revenue where that commission rate cut. So they got back to the rate by using the multi retailer, they’re all starting diversify the revenue, uh, and they were also earning new revenue as well from, from these other retailers.

So. The idea of both our retailers seems to be really good for, for everyone involved, um, knock on wood, but results so far have been very promising.

Jared Bauman: So let me play devil’s advocate. I’ve got Lisa, uh, I run a marketing agency for a living and, um, uh, one of the oldest outages I’ve always been taught in marketing and subscribed to is that customers want freedom from choice, not freedom of choice.

So. Uh, conventional wisdom and marketing might suggest that giving people options, uh, dissuades them from buying you’re suggesting the opposite. You’re suggesting a multi retailer approach works. Why, why do you think they is just theoretically speaking? You know, why is it that people like that choice and actually engage further rather than disengage?

Jesse Lakes: Analysis paralysis is absolutely real. And I think there’s some, some magic in curation, right? It’s um, you give them too many options in your right. You know, you, you get bogged down and it’s hard to move forward. You get too few options, it’s hard to have that momentum to kind of push through it. So it seems to kind of three to five is this magic number of, of other options where you can encourage people to find the best price below.

Um, and they can, you know, click the button. Relatively quickly look at the different aspects that are important to them. Again, price or delivery, et cetera. And it’s, um, it goes back. Do you have. Yes. Okay. It’s always easier to, to move a kid forward when you give them two options. Right. Do you want to brush your teeth or do you want to put on your pajamas?

Right? It’s do you want to brush your teeth? They’re going to tell you. No. Do you wanna play

Jared Bauman: with yes or no questions? That’s that’s for sure. Exactly.

Jesse Lakes: So I think some of that mentality also, also works here too. You know? Do you want to buy from Amazon or do you wanna buy from best buy? Not do you want to buy or not?

Yeah. So we’re, we’re kind of working up the funnel, helping build those micro conversions, helping them kind of find a thing and build momentum to actually. Push through and, and, uh, actually do the purchase at the end of the day. Take this all with a grain of salt. I don’t know exactly why this works, but we’ve done some, some pretty exhaustive testing and it seems to be working relatively well for where we’ve tested.

Um, where we’ve tested is typically, you know, social media. There’s been some websites as well that have included. It’s typically slightly higher prices. I don’t know if this would work for toothpaste or not, but it works really well for tripods and lenses and iPhones. Um, so, you know, and then again, the proper number of retailers, you know, we have an idea that three to five is the right number, but.

I can’t guarantee that as well. It seems that the music industry loves about 20 different results. The book industry is slightly higher than that as well, but for consumer electronics. Yeah. There’s a few names that tend to resonate and capture relatively well. But it’s a great question. I, I, I, you know, I’ve got proof.

But why exactly. I don’t know the psychology, well

Jared Bauman: thinking a bit out loud about it. The more I dive, of course, I’m fascinated by the topic just as a marketer, but I think a lot of times the idea in marketing, I’m not giving people too many choices is because they, the reason is because they don’t have strong opinions about any of the choices you’re giving them.

And so you’re only serving to confuse them by giving them more options. Really, the idea is to, uh, in a standard classic marketing environment is to say based on the set of criteria, this is the option that you should pick. And here’s the reasons why. But the reality is I think a lot of people, well, I think you’re leaning into, with this concept potentially is that people have preferences about where they buy certain things.

And some people have preferences about buying an Amazon while others maybe have preferences about buying a at Nike or at, you know, some other version. So maybe it, maybe it blends a bit with that, but you mentioned some of the tests, so let’s, um, Okay. I have so many questions. So let’s talk. Um, I mean, in the, let me go back to the article that Spencer had on the web on niche pursuits.com.

Um, and he talked about a brand that was doing it. Uh, he thought that was moving people off Amazon. I think it was called the future brand. Um, and talk a bit about what they were doing and why you think a multi retail approach maybe works better or from your testing, some of the. How that works because there were some great case studies there on the, on the article, but they seemed like maybe they, they, they, they had more to offer it.

Jesse Lakes: Sure. So, uh, yeah, Spencer has mentioned future. So future PLC is a UK based company that owns so many different brands these days. Um, and, uh, future is, uh, yeah, we’ve been really fortunate. Future has been a client of genius link for some time now. Uh, so we’ve got to work really closely with them, but future has invested a lot in the Swidget they called Hawk.

Um, and Hawk is essentially kind of a multi retailer price comparison tool that is very. Scalable, uh, flexible, et cetera. And it ends up in, in most, all of their properties and kind of the product reviews. When we tend to talk about a product and the gist of it is they give some metadata. They also give the different retailers, uh, where, where that option or where that product is available from.

And, you know, they’ll, they’ll do some different things about which ones they highlight or if they include the price. Yeah, the call to action, et cetera. Um, and it’s, it seems to be working incredibly well. Um, I don’t remember the numbers off the top of my head, but there’s a Digiday put out an article not too long ago.

I’ve got it pulled up over here. Um, you know, future PLC drove nearly 1 billion e-commerce sales in 2020 1 billion in e-commerce. Yeah. Pretty ridiculous. Um, yes, there, there, you know, I’ve got a number of different brands to do it, but they’re obviously doing something, something, right. And, you know, anecdotally, if you look around, you’ll see that it has a pretty similar approach and CNET is not owned by future.

It’s a different company. Yup. Cutter again also does something relatively similar owned by another company. So there seems to be a reoccurring trend, especially from these major brands, these major publishers that are playing the affiliate game, the, uh, the commerce game. So if you kind of extrapolate that back.

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From what we’ve seen our testing, what we’ve seen, you know, anecdotally from these other major players there there’s, there’s something, there’s something here. Um, that being said, it’s not easy. Uh, finding other retailers are selling the exact same product, um, is really challenging to do when you do it by hand, you know, thankfully, you know, genius link is more of an engineering firm than anything else.

We’ve got some really smart people writing, great code. Uh, we’ve been able to, to kind of automate the, the vast majority of that. Um, but again, there are some manual components as well, so to kind of get to that second piece from, from what we’ve seen again, a lot of our testing happens, uh, on social media, uh, choice pages are, are kind of a tool to encompass these, these, uh, multi retailer play.

Uh, they work really well from the description of YouTube videos, et cetera. Uh, we did a test with 10 different YouTubers last. Uh, for, for many tens of thousands of clicks, and we found that, you know, Amazon commissions typically more than double a, but total earnings go up about 2.2 X. Um, we had a 50% of the traffic.

So one link AB split that link. So 50% of traffic went to straight to Amazon. That was our. And the test went to these choice pages. Um, and we were able to look at how many clicks, how many commissions take those EPC to, to make it, uh, is, is, um, normalized as possible. And compared that after it, you’re looking at the 10 different, uh, clients that, uh, participate in the survey, it was, it was pretty overwhelming.

Um, cause some of the results were staggering. Some of them, you know, had a lift, but it wasn’t quite as big. But on average, 2.2 axes is what we saw for conversions and uh, earnings per click.

Jared Bauman: Okay. So earlier we were talking about maybe a 10% lift by localizing links. And now you’re talking about as a 2.2 X lift by giving basically by giving people the choice of picking the retailer they want to

Jesse Lakes: purchase from.

So there’s two different axes that we’re looking at right here. You know, the localization is for your mid body and long tail. The multi retailer is kind of the optimization for, for your main body, your, your, your main market. And, you know, you probably don’t have to think very far worst. It’s combining those two things.

We’ve proven that localization makes sense. We’ve proven now that the optimization for your key market makes sense, our big push. Um, and you’re not asking about this, but I get excited about it anyway. So

Jared Bauman: just the one text next to talk about safe. So clearly you, you you’ve mentioned choice pages a couple of times.

And what is choice pages do. Yeah, I I’m, you know, in terms of multi retailer, in terms of giving people the option. Yeah. So

Jesse Lakes: choice pages is it’s a standalone. It’s a very simplified landing page starts off. You can throw your logo at the top, but you know, some sort of a hero art image, art, go little description, call to action, a few buttons, FTC.

And that’s it. It’s, it’s specifically designed to just be as clean and as simple as possible. It takes, you know, that product and sells it across different retailers. Um, and it’s, you know, again, a genius link product that you can, you know, build a management easily, but it is our embodiment of multi retailer.

Again, it’s, it’s really. Well built for kind of social media side, we’re experimenting with, uh, with different widgets and in kind of, um, uh, API driven multi retailer for, for websites as well. But yeah, that’s, that’s the gist of what a, a choice page is and it’s yeah. Our embodiment for, for, um, multi retailer.

Jared Bauman: Okay. So choice it’s a page. Um, and it, it, what you’re saying is not only does it facilitate. Um, not only does it facilitate giving the reader multiple choices in terms of the retailer they want to buy from, but it actually goes out and does the work at finding the right retailers to partner up with in terms of affiliate programs for the, uh, for, for, for the affiliate website owner?

Jesse Lakes: Kind of claim to fame, right. Was making those Amazon links just across the board. So we’ve got, um, a lot of expertise in you give us a product and we can find that same product in other stores, other Amazon stores, we’ve enhanced that to also work now across other retailers. And again, it’s primarily focused in the U S your Amazon links are still gonna work internationally.

Um, but you know, you may include a best buy Lincoln, a, uh, BNH photo, video link, you know, BNH photo video can ship internationally, you know, best buy can to some degree as well. Um, We’re optimizing for the U S right now, localization happens for Amazon and a few other ecosystems internationally. It’s the mashing those together so that when it click happens from Germany, Pop up to three retailers.

They’re specific for Germany. Click happens from Italy. What are the three to five retailers that are selling that product for that happened there? And we can Nick it back to your question. We can automate the vast majority of that. We do give our users, uh, override control. Um, so they can go in and say, you know what?

Uh, I don’t actually like best buys program because they’re paying a really low commission these days I’d rather use target or whatever it may be. So there is definitely some manual aspects, but for the most. Um, a lot of that is, is taken care of for you. And that’s the goal is to be able to scale it as efficiently as possible, but also as accurately as possible.

I think that’s the, one of the biggest differentiators between us and some of those other, uh, other tools like Amazon’s one link is that accuracy is so important, uh, for us that we, uh, Yeah, we, we take it to the next level. We, we, you want the specific product. We send you the wrong product. That’s a massive fail on our part.

We care a lot about that. Some of the other providers don’t seem to care as much. Um, but anyway, accuracy, accuracy is key for

Jared Bauman: conversions. So let’s um, okay. Let’s walk through this with an example, then you’ve talked a lot about consumer electronics, so let’s just say. A marketer that sells TVs, right? I’m selling the biggest and the best TV right now.

I just send people to Amazon and my conversion rates are, you know, whatever they are in electronics, three or 4%. Um, uh, and so I with choice pages, now you’re going to recommend different affiliate programs to me. Maybe you mentioned BNH or Walmart or these et cetera. I I’m guessing I need to apply and be accepted into these programs.

And then I would pass along. Unique affiliate information to, to, uh, choice pages and then, but are you gonna go out and recommend and tell me which, um, uh, which affiliate programs I should apply to as a TV affiliate? Or how does that work? Is that something that you guys have data on? Um, you know, how many retailers are you partnering?

Jesse Lakes: So we, we support about 30 different retailers right now, as far as kind of auto affiliation aspect, where you give us the tracking information, we can make sure that those raw product links turn into affiliate links. We’re partner with about 80 different retailers, mostly US-based retailers, where we can programmatically find we can check their product catalog and find those matches.

Uh, but we also support, you know, both sovereign commerce, AKA, uh, As well as Skimlinks, so you can add that tracking or add their API and get access to 30,000, 40,000 different affiliate programs as well. So, you know, we may support, you know, you’re pushing these TVs, right. So you’ve got Amazon great choice Walmart, another good choice.

Um, and then you also add in. Acme and, you know, whatever else, there’s other ones we don’t support, but the assembling civic link, uh, you can auto affiliate it, or you can just drop in the affiliate link as well. So you give us the Amazon link. We’re going to find the Walmart and best buy automatically. But again, you can, you can augment and curate those, those choice pages, exactly how you want.

And you can also, you know, we’re getting into the weeds here. You may find that, you know, you don’t want those other retailers. Aren’t grateful. South Africa, which happens to be your second largest source of traffic. For whatever reason, you can override that link to say all your traffic from South Africa, it gets these different choices, or just goes to whatever one specific retailer.

So the genius link is, is completely malleable to, to shift it into how exactly you need it to perform. So you can optimize each of those different segments. Um, Yeah, hopefully it boosts your

Jared Bauman: conversion ridiculously. Right. So I can get as deep I can get in as deep as I need to. And what not. Now you talked about a page, so let’s talk about it being a page versus a plugin, you know, versus like I’m thinking a common one I use actually.

So we’ll just use that on my affiliate sites is AWP. What’s the difference between choice pages? Even genius links or genius link. And I’m an AWP. And where do they, where they differ. Yeah. Just where they different. And where that, where, where does a choice pages kind of strongly differ in terms of how it.

Jesse Lakes: Sure. So AWP Emily’s pro um, there’s a handful of different plugins that do a great job, giving you a RIT, giving the consumer a rich interactive widget to, to buy from Amazon. Most of those tools will also. Uh, a genius link, supported localization aspect as well. So we work very closely. Our technology for the most part is influenceable choice pages are kind of the exception that we’re where we’re actually putting something in front of our clients, but between AWP and genius link for the Amazon.

Those two are completely compatible. We’re not really competing. So the choice pages for the multi retailer, uh, again, we, we, it’s mostly, um, link base, which works well for social media. For blogs in particular, we don’t have a solution that is in-market yet. Uh, dogfooding with it. So kit.co is one of our platforms.

Um, it’s a place for creators to go share the products they love. Uh, we’ve been really messing with that too, to kind of refine exactly how we want those widgets to look and act. Uh, so it’s, it’s, you know, great place where we’ve gotten, you know, a half a million different users on, on that site, um, you know, building and recommending products, so we can really learn exactly how it should look, uh, to again, optimize those conversions.

We’re going to nail that before we actually push out some sort of plugin, um, and. How those will work together in the future. A great question. Um, there may very well be a collaboration, um, or we may have a widget as well. Um, ask, ask me again in six months.

Jared Bauman: Okay. Well, I’ll hold you to that. So I’ve got these pages right there.

They’re currently up there live, they’re getting traffic, but they’re about, you know, the best TV for your garage, the best TV for your. Uh, patio the best TV for small living rooms. I’m not new TV space, but I’m just making stuff up. So it sounds like you are, you know, the space once you started doing affiliate marketing, right.

It all starts to, you know yeah, exactly. Um, I don’t have a TV set. I promise. Um, but no, so I already have these pages does. Replace those or how do I go in and actually integrate some like that. Um, and, uh, because it is a page you talked about, it’s not like a drop in a little coat of snippet on my active buying guide.

I would, I would, uh, I would, I would replace it in essence or would I? Yes.

Jesse Lakes: James like, yeah, we talked about kind of easiest integration is with kind of the WordPress. We also, you can build links again through the dashboard. You can customize those links exactly how you want. You’ll probably be using our genius short links, and you’d just be kind of swapping out via the CMS.

Yeah. For, for this specific version of the TV, here’s the genius link, you know, is a, is gonna resolve to a choice page. Um, so that flow from, you know, buying guides on a website to using choice pages is not as automated and as seamless as, as it will be. Start with social media optimizing for kind of the web website presence, but you can absolutely.

And we’ve, we’ve gotten, you know, a great case study from a guy that sells out sells grills, um, had, you know, got hit hard with Amazon’s cut, uh, started using the brand affiliate program specifically. Wasn’t great start using choice pages and it worked out even better than the two combined. So, um, he just went and swapped out anytime he mentioned a product, you know, swap out that Amazon link that then became the brand link with now a genius link.

So it’s a G and I dot U S slash. Whatever that is. And that link will then pull up the choice page that the consumer can, can flow through and choose which, uh, which retailer they want, if they want to buy from Amazon or dropping from the brand or another retailer. Um, and he’s seen some great results. You

Jared Bauman: talked earlier about it and, um, I kinda want to double down on it a bit to get your opinion, because one of the most frustrating aspects of.

Moving away from Amazon is finding other affiliate programs that are, um, compatible with the products you’re selling. Do you have any tips on for those that are looking, you know, obviously you guys have partnered up with a lot of them already, but what types of things should people be looking at when they’re considering moving off of Amazon and offering other affiliates, whether it’s on top of Amazon or instead of.

Um, cause it’s a scary, daunting topic, but it’s one, you’ve talked about a lot over the, over the years. I just love to get your opinions on that. I mean, obviously, you know, some of the products you have make that easier, but one of the things to be considering, I’m thinking, for example, when I go and evaluate something and they’re paying less commission, does that mean I should avoid.

Uh, how do I evaluate whether their conversion rates will be as high? Like what are some tips there for people thinking about moving off of Amazon and into other platforms, whether it’s in combination or exclusively. Yeah. Excellent

Jesse Lakes: question. And, um, there’s a couple of different pieces of this, you know, first of all, as, as the, the, the blog owner writer, you should know that space relatively well, but at the end of the day, You need to ask your consumers, you need to get some dialogue.

Yeah. Where do you like to buy your products? Um, and it may be, you know, we’ll, we’ll pick on best buy for a second. Right? Best buy is a notoriously, a pretty low conversion rate. But if people say, you know, 50% of your traffic says they want to buy from me from, from best buy, it would be a mistake to avoid best buy.

Yes. You’re getting a pretty crappy conversion rate, but it’s better to get a small percentage of something than a large percentage of nothing. Um, so. Ask your consumer and then, you know, make sure that it’s, you know, the affiliate program is reputable. The retailer’s reputable then regardless of kind of what those commission rates are to some degree, uh, encourage you just to check out at least try it.

So again, your audience says, you know, 50% your audience says best buy is great. You implement the best buy, uh, affiliate program and use your Amazon button and best buy button. You’ll watch that for three months. You know, how, how does that work? Okay, well maybe. The best buy affiliate program, isn’t the best way to leverage best buy anybody’s actually using Skimlinks or, or link, right?

Cause they can incorporate some of the CPC programs that best buy doesn’t talk about, but also available. And you may find that there’s actually some, some better commissions there and maybe they’re not. So. People love best buy. It’s not converting. You’re not seeing commissions. Okay. Maybe they, they, you know, like best buy for something else, but you’re selling something tangential.

What’s the next best? Yeah. Well, circuit city is no longer around, but maybe target or Walmart. Yeah. It’s all an experimentation game. Um, and every, every niche, every audience is going to be slightly different, but don’t be, if you ask your, your consumers first and foremost, I think, but don’t be afraid of programs that have a relatively low commission rate because.

Your conversion rate can be significantly higher and it can make up for that commission rate. Your, your average cart size may be significantly higher and it can make up for that commission rate. So there’s really kind of multiple pieces besides just that commission rate that often is the first thing people look at become very myopic and don’t look past.

So, um, Amazon. Obviously encourages once you at the table, but who are those, you know, second, third, fourth people experiment, test, play with it. Um, and realize that, yeah, there may be some benefits to, uh, one of the affiliate aggregators versus just directly working with the affiliate program

Jared Bauman: you touched on earlier, how important is cookie length and how reliable is cookie length?

How do you know, do you have any data on that? Do you, what does your gut say? Um, we’re so used to the 24 hour cookie from him. I see some affiliate programs offer 30 day cookies. Uh, how significant is that? I mean, should I consider, well, I should consider everything. That’s what you just said basically, but certain tests, everything, different tests, everything, but let’s just say that I didn’t listen to them.

That last statement you said, but you know, I let’s say I get paid 4% on Amazon on a 24 hour cookie. I get paid 2% on best buy, but I got a 30 day cookie. Like how do I evaluate some of these. Yeah, again,

Jesse Lakes: I don’t think it’s an either or conversation I’d used them using a combination, but one of the things that we found that works well, especially with the choice pages is really around the optimization of your call to action.

So find the best price below encourages people without it being a sponsored clicker incentivized click, which is against Amazon’s tos, but encourages people to click each of the buttons. Right? So they say you have three different retailers there, and one of them has a three day. They click that button.

They’re saying the affiliate cookie window, right? You have now just create an opportunity for you to go and earn halo commissions at a later date, they may not buy that specific product from, from best buy. They may come back to best buy next week to buy mounting hardware for that TV or a new remote for that TV or whatever it may be.

So those affiliate programs that have the longer cookie window absolutely provide an opportunity. For again, halal commissions inhaler commissions, just a quick definition is, is those, those things that are bought that aren’t the product you’re recommending in Amazon,

Jared Bauman: the video game halo. But I thought I did that date myself by saying that, so, okay.

Jesse Lakes: Great game. Yeah. Halo com. Yeah. Amazon is really notorious where you recommend someone to go buy a TV, but they ended up buying toilet paper and a toaster. The commissions you earn from that toilet paper and total. Are considered halo commissions. Um, and by having a law cookie window, you have more of an opportunity for halo commissions to kind of come back through.

Jared Bauman: And it’s, um, it’s fascinating that, uh, you bring up a really good point about the call to action. Uh, you know, you can do the best of work with finding all the right affiliate programs, but if you’re not moving people off of your buy page, off of your social media platform, off of whatever monetization strategy you’re using, if you’re not moving people over to those, to those, uh, affiliate websites, You’re not going to get any of the cookies anyway.

So

Jesse Lakes: there are so many pieces of the puzzle, right? You got to get the traffic, you know, you need to qualify the traffic needed, encourage them to move. Yeah. That, that funnel, you know, love it or hate it. There are multiple steps in that sales funnel and you need to become a, an expert in most, or at least learn how to test with, with most and, you know, get as scientific as you can.

Yeah. What works, where does it make sense to, to optimize, you know, how can you push people? Through to the actual sale. Um, and that’s, that’s when you level up from an associate to an affiliate.

Jared Bauman: Right? Right. How about these websites that are, this is an open-ended question that, but these websites, I go to them sometimes.

Um, I think I was looking for, uh, an outdoor product recently, uh, something to. To buy. And I saw a website that was recommending different products, right? Saying, this is the best one for this. This is the best one for that. And each one of their products was referring me to a different storefront. Some went to Amazon, some went to, you know, whatever it was, REI or something like that.

Um, and so has choice. Have you guys tested any of that? Do you have any, uh, any data on any of that? Because that’s something that some affiliate marketers look at doing. I could see that being a question some have, is there. Yeah.

Jesse Lakes: So our testing so far has been Amazon versus full-time retailer. Amazon is kind of, you know, get the 800 pound grill and kind of the default option.

So I don’t have, you know, does it make sense to go from REI to Amazon plus REI? Or does it make sense to go from. EMS or another outdoor store to, to others as well. Um, I definitely think that that’s worth, worth testing for sure. We found out that the bulk of people, especially people that traditionally people come to genius link to use us for the Amazon tool.

So we have a lot of different clients that are pushing Amazon right now. So it’s a very deep, well, we can, we can tap into, to do these expenses.

Jared Bauman: As we start to, um, when we start to wrap up, I want to go back to that 2.2 X revenue increase and just unpack it a little bit more and give a little bit more detail to it.

Um, and you, you were, you were careful to qualify that, like that’s not obviously what everyone’s going to experience. It’s going to be very niche dependent and dependent on a whole wide array of factors. But let’s talk more about that 2.2, because I mean, that really is the, that like that’s. That’s the hook here, right?

Um, if you told me and I have a, uh, I have a couple of affiliate websites myself, and I mean, it’s kind of one of these things where it’s, when you hear a 2.2 X increase just by changing the nature of how you’re offering your, um, your recommendations that grabs your ear. No, no doubt about it. Even if you’re off by 50%, it still marks.

What go into some more of the data behind that and, um, and where there might be variations and where different niches might experience different variations, both positively and negatively.

Jesse Lakes: Sure. So again, the experiment, um, and we’ve got a blog article, uh, I’ll I’ll pass the Spencer. Hopefully we can drop it into the, uh, description of the video, um, or in the podcast comments, but.

Yeah. Found, found a number of clients. You know, again, we set up a AB test. So, um, with the genius link platform, you can do a handful of different things. You know, choice paid being one of them, advanced it being one of them, but also the ability to split your traffic to different destinations. So the first link was, was kind of the, the control link and the control link would send you a 50%.

Um, yeah, the, the, the control item, which is again, Amazon. So we have a baseline to compare against, so we know, you know, are we doing better or worse than 50% of the traffic would go to the other destination? Our, sorry, the choice page with multiple destinations. So everything was set up that way. Uh, you know, is it 10 different YouTubers?

Yeah, it was between five and 10 links per YouTube, YouTube per account. And we let it run anywhere from four to eight weeks kind of, uh, per, per account. We really wanted to hit that, that, um, statistical significance. So is there enough of a difference between, you know, EPC, et cetera? It’s actually accurate and not just kind of a loophole.

Um, so Randy’s, uh, Andy and our team, um, know kind of badge the, manage the project, um, you know, and was very scientific about just recording results and dropped them into a spreadsheet. Um, and again, you can see the different aspects of the spreadsheet and then in the blog and in crunch the numbers. And again, some of them, some of them were great.

Some of them were not as good, but what’s still left. I, I don’t think we’ve yet seen a. Client that doesn’t get at least the same commissions, uh, at least the same conversion going from Amazon. Yeah. So there’s, there, there hasn’t been a loss yet. Um, uh, so it all only seems to be upside. Uh, again, it was, most of these YouTubers were in the photography space, so recommending, you know, typically higher price items.

Uh, I think the lowest price item was around 50 or 60 bucks, but, you know, we had $3,000, um, you know, cameras and tripods as well. Um, and it was a pretty wide range there. Um, Yeah, ran for tens of thousands of clicks. Uh, again, we checked everything for statistical significance, everything checked out, uh, we’d run the experiment longer if we weren’t seeing a statistical significance.

So that’s why, you know, some of them will be four weeks and some of them, some of these times we’re pushing you out so many clicks a day that it wasn’t a big issue. Some of these guys were a little bit smaller that we had to run it for longer, too, to be able to kind of get the data that we needed. Um, yeah, the blog really kind of puts it all the pieces together.

We’ve got another blog as well, but. Talks you through how to set up these experiments on your own as well. And it’s, um, a lot of people I think are intimidated by sampling experiment. It’s, there’s, there’s, you know, trust your gut for everything. Yeah. It’s great to trust your gut. And I do it a lot, but at the end of the day, you know, data speaks, uh, the more you can quantify.

Uh, direction or a decision. Um, the last you’re going to have that gut feeling afterwards, you were doing the wrong thing. Um, so really, really encourage people to work with the numbers as much as they can, or as much bandwidth as they can.

Jared Bauman: It’s compelling. Not only is it, you know, you saw an average of 2.2 X.

In growth, but it’s compelling to hear that really haven’t seen any drop off, you know, so you would be an anomaly if you had drop-off from it. You really only have upside to look into that. Um, and also something that brings us kind of back full circle, uh, all the way back to how we started the conversation, which is, uh, the pain that affiliate website.

And I just felt back in April of 2020, because all their eggs were in the Amazon basket and. Increases aside, you’re diversifying your streams of income across multiple platforms and reducing the risk your site has in the future to not just Amazon affiliate cuts, but any other programs, affiliate cuts.

Jesse Lakes: Exactly. You. You as the creator, the publisher, the influencer, the affiliate, you know, your job is to, you know, create great content, bring traffic in and recommend the right products where genius link wants to fit is kind of that last mile of the product recommendations. We would love to have a system.

And, you know, at some point we will have making sure that we show that, you know, three to five. Best retailers. And at some point, Amazon may not be the best retailer to be able to programmatically take, take control of that and take care of it for you. So that we are ensuring that, you know, is it a CPA deal or a CPC deal?

Or what, what way do we want to monetize that, that recommendation, what retailers are paying the best and what ones we’re going to see, the best conversion rates, et cetera. That’s where we want to fit with genius link. We want to make sure that you do all that work. Let us take care of that last mile.

Everyone benefits.

Jared Bauman: I’m looking through my questions here. I think we touched on all, I was taking notes with the questions, but I think we did touch on a lot. I mean, is anything I didn’t ask you about that you think is really important to share with affiliate website owners and affiliate marketers in general, you know, social media, affiliate, marketers.

Um, anything we didn’t touch on that you think is really.

Jesse Lakes: We’ve covered a lot of topics today. I thank you for, you know, steering us through, uh, some, some good stuff. I tend to just go deep and ended up so deep in the weeds. So I really appreciate your help.

Jared Bauman: Well, I think we got deep, but I think we covered a lot of ground.

I mean, this is such a fascinating concept because the. Maybe not for everyone, but I think the pain has subsided and people have gotten used to the new Amazon affiliate commission rates. But that doesn’t mean that I would argue

Jesse Lakes: it’s like the, uh, the frog and water. Right. You know that you slowly boil the water and the frog never jumps out.

I, yeah, I love it

Jared Bauman: was going to be my point. That was going to be my point that the pain might have subsided, but not because it’s any less, just because we’ve all doled ourselves to it. Like the, the need to address this challenge, which is Amazon reduced. Uh, commission rates is so vital, like just because of the pain isn’t as, as, as, as imminent or, uh, I mean, it’s the wrong word, but, uh, as real as it was back in maybe April or may of 2020, it’s such a vital topic to, to address for all affiliate owners.

Jesse Lakes: Yeah, exactly. Your, your goal is to make sure that you can, you know, create a sustainable revenue stream for something that you love doing. Putting all your eggs in a basket. It’s, it’s a great way to move fast days, but it is very risky in the long run and risky. Uh, we, we talked about commission rates, but compliance as well.

You know, Amazon again. I adore their affiliate program. Um, I think very highly of it, but I also, I, I can very clearly see that there are some significant challenges, you know, Amazon has, you know, they, they claim over a million different publishers. They need to be PR they need to do what they do, which is unfortunate.

Um, but they need to be from somewhat programmatic and in how they manage the affiliate program, there’s, there’s a number of bad apples out there. Unfortunately she called the onsite. There is very little recourse to get your account reinstated or to get those commissions that they clawed back, you know, back to your bank account.

So staying, staying in the clear is another huge risk mitigation exercise. That again, choice pages are specifically built to, to be an Amazon compliance. Um, you know, we thankfully have, uh, you know, being in Seattle and, and playing this game for a decade, have a number of connections and, and are able to ask hard questions and get good answers.

Jared Bauman: Increase in revenue. Risk mitigation, diversify your income streams. It’s um, all of it’s going the right direction. It’s a,

Jesse Lakes: so far so good. We’ve been pushing hard on this for three plus years, but it’s um, you know what, what’s the, what’s the classic you, you have to yeah. Not fail a couple times before you have an unfair playing surface where you can see the future.

Um, I’m totally butchering a Peter teal, uh, comment. I think it was Peter teal, but yeah, we’ve, you know, thankfully have been playing this affiliate game. You know, I personally have been an Amazon associate for 20 years. You know, the, the business has been around for a decade now. Um, we work with many, many thousands of different publishers.

We’ve been fortunate enough that we have great connections and, and have been able to learn a lot. And I think we’ve really kind of, um, So we stumbled upon a tool that that works well. Um, and I’m really excited to see where it goes in social media and really excited to see how it continues to evolve for, um, for, uh, for website owners as well.

Again, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re certainly getting there. We’re a small team, but we’re, we’re certainly moving, moving forward and making sure that the blog owners get just as much benefit as our social media team or social media clients

Jared Bauman: share with, with everyone where they can find more information and fall along with you.

With genius link and with, with choice pages.

Jesse Lakes: So yeah. Genius link.com is really the website that curates a lot of it. Um, our blog is, uh, you know, Right off there as well. Um, and I tend to write a fair amount. I go in bits and spurts, um, with, uh, with the content that I create, but that’s, uh, that’s probably the best place to find, uh, information about genius Lincoln in, in some of my writing as well.

Um, but yeah, I’m on Twitter, not as active as I probably could be LinkedIn, not as active as I could be kind of a business to run and, uh, tools to build sound it’s uh, yeah, but you’re, you’re welcome to reach out to either of those anytime. Um, Yeah, happy, happy to help you. You that the collective audience y’all ain’t any way we can please.

I’m a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all ships and happy to help the industry increase, um, client or not. Um, yeah, we’d love to help you. Oh, that was a personal invitation, but okay. It is, it is for you as well. Jared.

Jared Bauman: Well, thanks so much for joining. Thanks for returning. Um, what a, what an action packed, um, a podcast and interview.

Thanks for bringing so much great data and insights as we all learn to now. Uh, this, uh, this, this messy world of affiliate marketing. So, uh, thanks again, Jessie.

Jesse Lakes: Absolutely my complete pleasure. Thank you, Jared.





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