In Create Intelligent Blog Ads Part 1 and Part 2 we used a little bit of PHP magic to make our ads work a little bit harder and become just a bit more relevant to our audience. We used cookies, search engine referrals and even the visitors geographical location. In this post I will show you an experiment I have been testing using Amazon Associates.
Amazon is one of my favourite affiliate schemes. Because most people have an Amazon account and they pay out if the customer buys something from your referral even if it isn’t the thing you pointed them to, there is often an opportunity to earn just by getting random people to click .. anything. A lot of your visitors will buy something eventually, it’s just a matter of time. So the trick is to get them to take a look using your associates cookie.
The problem is Google does not like you using contextual ads alongside Adsense, they want to be the only contextual advertising in town. Amazon has a contextual product which would be ideal otherwise, and if it worked I guess.
How can we make Amazon banners relevant without manually pointing to a bunch of products? That problem is exactly why I developed this cunning plan.
Looking through the various link options I happened across a banner that shows products based on a search query. This banner will show random products that match the query. Give it a good enough start phrase and the results are quite good, certainly seem to be generating a fair few curiosity clicks so far for me. Obviously I will still link to individual products too but for space-filler ads these seem to work quite well.
To stop the same old products appearing over and over I decided to rotate the search phrases. Then I thought I could have a whole bunch of these ads on the homepage, increasing the chance someone will see something they want to click on. In the end I came up with the following solution.
(Replace ASSOCIATECODE with your associate ID)
First we generate a list of keywords, then randomly select one phrase. This phrase is inserted into Amazon supplied code snippet as “search=$search”. You will notice I am using the Geo IP code from before to determine whether to show the Amazon.com version or the Amazon.co.uk.
My next phase in the scheme is for me to make it even more contextual, I have some ideas …
This of course will work for any affiliate scheme that takes search parameters, I would love for you to try it and let me know how well it works or if there are any flaws in my plan!