Clickbank Contextual Ads Widget: Does It Work? My Results...

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Clickbank Contextual Ads Widget: Does It Work? My Results...

Hi,
I know this is not the way to go, but coming from 9 years of adsense, I'd really like to see it working.
So I bought a lifetime membership at the start of september on a service which does contextual ads because as you may know Clickbank has terminated its own contextual widget named HopAd Builder on 4th september after removing all pages from its site on 23th july.
Well in this thread I'd like to share with you my results.. So far there are no sales at all despite tens of thousands impressions and several hundreds clicks (hops).. So yes the CTR is pretty bad, I'll talk about it later, now here are my stats:

Day / Impressions (of the widget) / Clicks (hops) / CTR
9/4 / 3,865 / 9 / 0.23%
9/5 / 5,679 / 11 / 0.19%
9/6 / 7,498 / 21 / 0.28%
9/7 / 9,934 / 24 / 0.24%
9/8 / 11,687 / 19 / 0.16%
9/9 / 13,277 / 28 / 0.21%
9/10 / 20,630 / 18 / 0.09%
9/11 / 19,838 / 39 / 0.20%
9/12 / 23,988 / 24 / 0.10%
9/13 / 23,881 / 23 / 0.10%
9/14 / 39,833 / 27 / 0.07%
9/15 / 83,813 / 33 / 0.04%
9/16 / 99,188 / 50 / 0.05%
9/17 / 30,295 / 47 / 0.16%
9/18 / 21,813 / 30 / 0.14%
9/19 / 21,407 / 30 / 0.14%
9/20 / 20,190 / 25 / 0.12%
9/21 / 19,755 / 32 / 0.16%
9/22 / 20,460 / 29 / 0.14%
9/23 / 19,095 / 26 / 0.14%
9/24 / 22,354 / 26 / 0.12%
9/25 / 21,295 / 32 / 0.15%
9/26 / 21,280 / 27 / 0.13%
9/27 / 19,398 / 36 / 0.19%
9/28 / 18,515 / 14 / 0.08%
9/29 / 17,385 / 30 / 0.17%
9/30 / 17,517 / 20 / 0.11%
10/1 / 21,305 / 37 / 0.17%
10/2 / 21,180 / 14 / 0.07%
10/3 / 21,640 / 33 / 0.15%
10/4 / 22,072 / 41 / 0.19%
10/5 / 21,127 / 23 / 0.11%
10/6 / 18,468 / 37 / 0.20%
10/7 / 19,137 / 38 / 0.20%

The widget is well located and has colors matching my theme..

With adsense I'm used to CTR near or above 5% so that's a big change, but of course there are at least 3 problems:
- Clickbank inventory is poor compared to adwords advertisers
- The context matching is rudimentary since I take the title and tags of my pages and feed it into the widget and then I don't know what it is doing with the keywords I give it. Most of the time it does an honest job of it but for some topics not so much.
- My sites are not niche sites, quite the contrary, it is about everything and anything. If one was even only about one category, like fitness for instance, then perhaps I could restrict the widget more to show only products from fitness category in clickbank and all products would make sense more or less to the visitors.

Have you tried yourself this way? I know it is not the right way that everybody advise, so I suppose many have tried and failed with this way, but did you try on your own sites/blogs?

OK, I think I have enough data now to say that contextual ads simply don't work for clickbank products..
It's simple, after more than a month of precise statistics I have made exactly 0 sales, yes that's the reality!
From 4th september to 7th october, a total of 953 clicks (hops) have been generated from displaying various contextual ads widgets, and my earnings are $0 so I have a CPC of $0 and a CPM of $0 too..
That's really bad, much worse than anything else I could put instead. For instance chitika ads pay very low, but still at least $0.02-0.03 per click.. Even with such a low CTR (chitika ads get a better CTR than that poor 0.2%) That would still make more than $10 which is ridiculous, but still $0 is beyond ridiculous..

To be honest I have read many times before that the correct way to go with affiliate marketing is producing reviews of the product (articles, videos, etc.) and also building a list of potential customers interested in a specific topic.. But I needed to try those contextual ads on a general site by myself.

Now I can say I have done the test myself and it doesn't work at all, not performing poorly, but not performing at all..

Yes, probably on a site which is already targeted to one topic, adding a contextual ads widget could perform better than my test. So that's something to try.
But still, the correct way to go is to hand select a few products and promote them yourself, not let a contextual widget do the work for you because that doesn't work well at all..

Of course if all products on clickbank had exceptionally good sales pages which convert well visitors into customers then the results could be different, but the reality is that most of the products on clickbank are crap at selling themselves, I'm not even talking about the quality of the products themselves, but only at the quality of the sales pages in terms of conversion of the traffic sent to them.
That's why hand selecting the products yourself based on your personal opinion of the sales page is a must.

So as a conclusion I don't forget about the contextual ads widget, but using it like this is not good. There are other ways to use it, for instance you can limit the products being shown to a hand selection, that's even better than limiting it by category, which is also possible but would still have a similar problem that basing the selection on keywords only.

So now, you can do like me and make your own test and tracking on your own site, if it is already a topic-based site then you might have better results, or you can go directly to the next step which is to hand select a few products to promote yourself.

Of course ultimately the best way is to be the vendor of your own products, but in the meantime, as an affiliate marketer, you still need to hand select a few products that you believe have a good probability to convert targeted visitors into customers, and then promote them in any way you can think of.

Well of course, I made no sales for over a month, I post my results and 3 days later I make a sale through the contextual ads widget..
That's Murphy laws or something similar..

But since I like numbers, let's say we start again the calculations, so that I'll add the 3 more days, will take into account the one sale, so I can calculate CPC and CPM..

Of course what's to be expected is that a few days later I'll get a refund on that sale, hahaha..
But anyway, let's see..

There were 3 more days of stats:
10/8 / 21,942 / 23 / 0.10%
10/9 / 22,856 / 38 / 0.17%
10/10 / 25,836 / 34 / 0.13%

The sales that has been made is for a site about paid survey and the buyer is from the philipines.. So I'm sure I'll get a refund on this sales, because paid survey sites are often very lame and they value people from the US to pass on CPA offers to them.. But in this case since you have to pay to be on this site, then it will be the buyer who will find this a crap site since not much is available to him, and so will ask for a refund..

But anyway, let's pretend..
The sales made $23.5 commission for me, but there is no upsell or recurring billing, so that's the end of this sale.

As for the total hops since I started is: 1,048
So the CPC of all those widgets is $23.5 % 1048 = $0.02242
And the CPM I don't want to calculate it because with a CTR of 0.2% and a CPC of $0.02 you can imagine how low it will be, it's not worth it :-)

But anyway, it is now a lot higher than $0 like before, so that's why I wrote this post.
I'll probably let you know when the refund notification will come in :-)

As expected, the only sale has been refunded on 2012-10-16 so yes, still back at $0 because of course there has been no other sales since the few days..

So I stop now updating this thread, I think the result is crystal clear!

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