Google I/O 2012 – Automating the Use of Affiliate Links to Monetize Your Web Site


ALI PASHA: Hi. I’m Ali Pasha, and I’m a product
manager at Google. I work on the Google Affiliate
Network team. And I’ve been at Google for the
last five years, and I’ve worked on a variety of projects,
including Google Code, some of the cloud
platform tools. And I started my career at
Google working on API’s. SHAUN COX: And my name
is Shaun Cox. I’m a software engineer here at
Google, and I’ve been with Google Affiliate Network
for the last two years. And before that I was working
with EA on a lot of their massively multiplayer
online technologies. And what we’re here today to
talk to you about is how to make money. In particular, how do
you make money in the affiliate channel? The affiliate channel is a
very unique channel to distribute advertisements. And so we just want to go
through, first, what websites should be in the affiliate
channel? Second, what things about the
affiliate channel can you leverage to more effectively
monetize your website? And lastly, we hope
to show you how to monetize your website. We’re going to take you step by
step through setting up an account, getting links on your
site, and actually getting conversion so that you
make some money. ALI PASHA: So let’s start with
just a quick review of the affiliate channel, why it’s
important, why you may be interested in it, and its
potential moving forward. So let’s just start with the
publisher landscape. If you have a website out
there, almost everyone’s already familiar with the
standard display ads. And display reaches about 83%
of the web, millions of publisher websites. And the models that typical
display ads follow are based on clicks and impressions. Affiliate ads are
very different. And here’s an example of
an affiliate website, Savings.com, where the
ads are actually the content of the website. And these websites are almost
always commerce oriented, and they drive a lot
of conversions. And therefore the pricing models
aren’t based on clicks or impressions. They’re really just based on
actions or actual conversions that take place. And then affiliate as a
channel, therefore, is actually one of the best ways
for a merchant to actually increase the number of
conversions they get. And by conversions, I mean
sales or orders. And it’s particularly important
for merchants during the holiday season. It’s one of the most impactful
ways for really making sure that you and your online
website as a merchant has a good year. And that’s why almost all
merchants are either continuing to invest in this
particular channel or actually are going to increase their
investment in this channel. Some merchants like Target and
Walmart actually invest quite heavily in this particular
channel already. And it’s a key channel for
driving commerce online, largely because the number of
things that consumers are actually looking at to make
their decisions is only growing with time. And some of the most impactful
things that consumers look at before they make their
decision actually are affiliate websites. And some examples, which Shaun
will go through in more detail, include comparison
shopping sites, blogs, product reviews, and even searches
for coupons online. SHAUN COX: So let’s take a
quick look at the most successful affiliates inside
of this channel. First and foremost, we have
loyalty and reward sites. What loyalty and reward sites
do is based on conversions that they drive. They reward their members
through points or cash back. If it’s a point-driven system,
after the user accumulates so many points, they can use
those points to spend on additional discounts or cash
back or a variety of other such things. A very different space is the
shopping and promotion sites. At any one point there are
hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of promotions and
online offers spread across the internet. What these sites do is go
through those offers and aggregate them up and curate
them so they are a much more digestible format
for those users. So instead of a user just
getting bombarded with tons of offers that they cannot seem to
parse through, you can go through these sites and very
quickly and easily find the offers that are best
suited for you. Most of these sites also have
search capabilities so you can actually search for an offer
that you are actively seeking. Next, we have community
and content sites. These are going to be more of
the blog and community aspects of the affiliate channel. What’s special about these
versus all other community sites is they tend to be
commerce-oriented. Let’s pretend you have a camera or photography community. Most photography communities
will talk about which is the best camera, whether it’s Camera
1, point and shoot, all these sort of different
aspects. It’s really helpful to drive
conversions to have a deep link from the camera that you’re
talking about directly to the purchase page of a
particular advertiser. The affiliate channel allows
you to do that. And since you’re deep linking
directly to an advertiser’s page, you’re going to be driving
more conversions. And whenever you’re driving more
conversions, you tend to be a great fit for the
affiliate channel. Next we have comparison
shopping sites. These sites actually leverage
much of the same technologies that we saw in the community and
content sites but do it in a very different way. Instead of having a deep link
inside of a long blog or product description or things
like that, they do side by side comparisons, either of
two products or even two merchant sites. So you can actually compare
various products across merchant sites. And since they’re a deep link,
those users are more likely to convert than a typical user
on another display ad. And since you are driving more
conversions to an advertiser, advertisers are willing
to pay you more money. And the last phenomenon has been
this new social commerce. Going online is not an
individual thing anymore. Everything wants to converge
towards social. People want to do
things together. In particular, people want
to shop together. So what we are seeing is that
certain affiliates will actually go and generate virtual
currency that you can trade and even gift
to friends. So now shopping isn’t
an isolated thing. It’s a social experience where
I can give Ali some tokens where he can go and spend
it on a discount. And now we’re both shopping
together, we both feel very engaged with the advertiser,
thereby driving a lot more conversions and making the
advertiser more money. And whenever you’re making the
advertiser more money, you’re generating much more revenue
for you and greater opportunity to monetize. ALI PASHA: So one of the most
interesting things we’ve seen in the last three years– and this is research done by
Forrester for one of our larger partners, Whale Shark
Media who run RetailMeNot– is that the actual amount of
traffic that’s coming from merchants downstream to
affiliate sites is growing quite dramatically. And it’s grown by 69% over
the last 3 years. What that clearly shows is a new
phenomenon that consumers are actually going through,
where they’re actually suspending their purchase. So they go onto a merchant’s
website, they find the products they want, they go to
the shopping cart, and they’re actually stopping that purchase
to go look for coupons and go to other
websites, such as RetailMeNot’s website, to
find those coupons. And you may think, how is this particularly valuable to merchants? But part of this research has
also shown that those consumers tend to spend more
money on those merchant websites, and they tend to make
purchases more often. And having the right incentives
or the right offer for a merchant is really
important, because you can often acquire a consumer through
that particular offer. SHAUN COX: Now that we’ve gone
through who should be in the affiliate channel, let’s go
ahead and examine what the affiliate channel has to offer
that you can leverage to better monetize your website. First and foremost, the
affiliate channel gives you direct control. We allow you to control which
advertisers you’re in a relationship with, and also
which actual links and ads you’re displaying
on your site. With this fine grain
control you actually need better tracking. So the second thing
we provide is much more flexible tracking. You are now able to track on a
per-user basis, on a per-click basis, and even on a
per-conversion basis. So advertisers are much more
willing to give you information, such as line item
level details of what conversions you are driving. Since you know that information,
you can better optimize your website to drive
conversions to there. In particular since we are
a pure CPA basis, a $10 conversion pays you
significantly less than a $100 conversion. So analyzing this data and
being able to modify your website so that you can more
effectively monetize is a great way to be successful
in this channel. Since you are so far down on
the purchase pipeline, advertisers are also willing
to pay you more dollars per conversion. This is huge. So now all of a sudden, you are
able to make more money per conversion and per action,
which allows you to truly monetize your website to the
best of your ability. Also, as your brand starts
to become more and more established because of that
control and because of that per-relationship basis,
you are able to get negotiated rates. So now instead of just getting
the default rate for an advertiser, you can get a much
higher rate for an advertiser. So you can be a Target.com
exclusive advertiser, and actually negotiate so that you
can monetize your website much more effectively. ALI PASHA: And so now that we’ve
hopefully convinced you about the potential of the
channel, the size of the channel, why it’s important
to merchants, and why it’s something that’s going to only
grow in the coming years, we’re going to actually walk you
through the “how” portion and spend more time on this than
we did on describing why the channel is important. And the things that we’re going
to walk you through are we’re going to really walk you
through three particular scenarios and how most people
implement these. And we think that you can have
a very innovative model that uses bits and pieces of all
the things that we’re describing in a variety
of ways. We’ve seen this across
the board. So the first is promotional. Promotional, I just mean just
the very plain vanilla, how do you get links out of
our system and get them on your website? Second one is, how do you do
comparison sites, and how would you build one? And then the third one is a
much more complex scenario that the affiliate channel is
really good at handling, which is sort of like loyalty. And by loyalty, I mean, when
a consumer goes and makes a purchase, how do you track that
order and then pay back that particular consumer in
terms of points or cash back? So with that, let me
just start with the most basic scenario. The first thing you need to do
and this isn’t just for our affiliate network but any
affiliate network out there is you need to go to join the
affiliate network and then join advertiser programs. So most affiliate networks will
have several advertisers, hundreds, thousands
of advertisers. And then once you join their
program, they’ll accept you. And at that point, you can start
using their links and then any time you drive a
conversion, you’ll get compensated. So that’s the most
important part. Once you do that, then you
just get the links. And then you can put them
on your website. And there’s a variety of
ways to get links. SHAUN COX: By far the easiest
way to get links to put on your website is through a UI. So you can navigate to the links
page, check out the link that you want to get,
copy, and just paste it into your website. The problem with this is it
tends not to scale very well. You can do this for tens of
links, and even hundreds of links, but doing it thousands
and tens of thousands of links is just not feasible. So what we offer is something
called Link Subscriptions. What Link Subscriptions are is
a push mechanism, where we will push link updates to you
that you could read through either email or FTP. From there, you can go ahead
and keep your data store in sync with ours, such that your
site is the most up to date and effective at monetization. The second, more advanced
way is through our API. Through our API, it’s more
of a pull mechanism. So you’re able to actually ping
our system and figure out what links you have available
inside of your data store. So let’s go ahead and look
at some code sample. As you can see here,
the code sample is actually fairly small. With as little as four or five
lines of code, you can go ahead and query our system
for what links you are interested in. The thing to keep in mind is
since you guys are mainly affiliates, the role type that
you are going to be using is publishers. Second, when you create
an account, you will be given an ID. That is the ID that you’re going
to use to interact with our system throughout
all of our APIs. Now you’re ready to do
a get_link call. So let’s pretend you already
know what the link ID is. All you do is pass that link
ID, the role type, and that role ID into our system,
and execute the query. From that, we’ll hand
back a JSON object. But let’s say you don’t actually
know which link ID you’re talking about. Let’s say you want to query
over a variety of links. We provide a query interface
that is called List which you can use to refine your queries
based on a bunch of filters. All these filters are located
in our site of our documentation at
developers.google.com. But for this case, what we are
doing is going through and looking for advertisers in
the category computers. And then you can actually get
all the links from those advertisers and figure out
what to do from there. So let’s take a look, just
very quickly, at what is actually returned from
these calls. You should get a JSON
object that looks something like this. The most important thing
is the tracking URL. What a tracking URL does is
allow you to paste this onto your website and get credit
for all clicks that go through that. Next, the really important
thing is the end date. Certain links have duration,
so links are not forever. So it’s good to actually be
aware of the end date and to be aware of how to update
your website to compensate for that. You’re not going to get a whole
lot of credit if you’re using expired links
everywhere. ALI PASHA: So the next
thing to talk about is what about products? If you’re building a comparison
site, you’re going to want to pull products, and
you’re going to want to do some comparison across them. So the nice thing is that you
can get affiliate links through three means. One is directly through the UI,
but that doesn’t really scale very well unless you’re a
blog and you just want to do a review for one product. Or you can get a feed
subscription, again, e-mail you a CSV file or we’ll FTP you
the file, and then you can just process that accordingly. Or the third one, which has
been there for a while, is there is an integration
with the Search for Shopping API as well too. And there have been some talks
about that at the conference. I’m not going to go into this
in too much detail. And really, the only thing you
need to provide that’s different from any other query
to the Search for Shopping API is the GAN ID. And the GAN ID being your
own account ID. And once you provide that, the
results look identical to what results you’d expect normally,
except the URLs that we return back to you are going to be
tracking links instead of just direct links to the
destination. And that allows you to put those
links on your site and then whenever a user clicks
through them, get credit for any conversions or
sales that occur. SHAUN COX: So now we know how to
handle it if a merchant has already established a link that
you can just copy and paste onto your site. But we actually run into a
problem with community and content blog sites that actually
want to do deep linking to direct
product pages. Advertisers will often not
actually give you all of those links and all of those
destination URLs. So what we provide
is what is called Publisher Specific Links. And what Publisher Specific
Links allow you to do is do that deep linking directly to
any destination URL for that advertiser. This allows you to more
effectively drive conversions. And whenever you’re more
effectively driving conversions, you are
making more money. So let’s just take a
quick look at this. As you can see, you’ll see a lot
of commonalities between this API and the previous
API we just showed you. You still see the role type, as
well as you still see the affiliate ID. But now you see what it’s
called an Insert Body. In particular, an Insert Body
contains three main fields that you need to populate. First and foremost, the
advertiser that you’re actually wanting to
deep link into. Second, a name for this
link so you can easily search it in our UI. And finally, a destination
URL. This destination URL is the
place that you are actually deep linking to. Finally, what you’re going to
need to do is actually just execute the query, just like you
normally would, just like we showed in all the
previous slides. You go ahead and call Insert
with the role ID as well as that Insert Body that
we just populated. Call execute on that, and
then you have yourself your very own link. Paste that on your site, and now
you’re going to get credit for those deep links. So what can you do with this? Like, why create this
sort of API? So one of our tech leads had a
kind of interesting idea, and he wanted to make a
Chrome extension. So what he did was he created a
Chrome extension that looks something like this. It logs you into our system such
that when you’re actually browsing the web, if you find a
particular website that you want to deep link into, you
just click on the Chrome extension, type in a name
of the link, and hit Generate Link. And from there, you have a
Publisher Specific Link generated for you on the fly. You copy and paste into your
website, and you can very quickly and easily access all
your publisher created links. Also, we’re planning on open
sourcing this so that all of you can actually leverage
that code. ALI PASHA: So now that we’ve
talked about the various links that you can get out of the
system and the variety of methods you can get them
through, I want to just talk about the actual link structure
itself, and just describe what’s happening
here. So in a particular tracking
link, you’ll have a LID and a PUBID. The LID is your Link ID. Again, we’ll pre-populate this
for you, it just allows us to track the link. And the PUBID is your specific
account, that allows us to track the conversion
back to you. And how tracking works is when a
user actually clicks through that particular link,
we set a cookie. And when we set the cookie,
we set three things. We set the advertiser ID, that
allows us to look up very quickly when a conversion
happens, who the advertiser is, and find the click ID. And the click ID contains the information about the publisher. Now, the way that the affiliate
channel works is it’s a last click attribution
model, which means that the affiliate or affiliate publisher
whose site a consumer went to and clicked
last gets credit for the entire conversion. And that’s why we store the last
click ID, because once we track the last click ID, we can
find out who the publisher was that the user
went through and actually clicked on website. The third thing we store
is the cookie duration. And this is particularly
interesting because the cookie duration is the session during
which any conversions that are made through your website
will count. So if a user actually goes and
clicks through a link on your website and then decides he
wants to go for coffee, shuts down his browser, whatever
it is, it’s still OK. Because if he comes back and
makes a purchase right after, and it’s within the cookie
duration or the session that the merchant set, then you will
still get credit for that particular conversion. SHAUN COX: So we already
walked you through the beginnings of this transaction
workflow. You grab your links, you
put them on your site. When the user clicks on that
link, it’s directed to an advertiser site, in which
then you get credit. So we just want to expand on
that and to show you how the end of that pipeline works. So when a conversion happens on
a merchant’s site, what a merchant does is fires a
conversion pixel to us. And then we go ahead and do
that tracking for you. And so then you can go into
our UI and analyze your traffic, analyze how
your monetization strategies are working. So let’s quickly look at what
is actually contained in a merchant conversion pixel. This may seem a little daunting,
but the most important part is the fact that,
as you can see there, that’s product SKU. You are actually getting the
information of the exact products purchased through
that conversion. From there, you can actually
analyze your site and decide how to better drive traffic
to that merchant’s sites. You also are receiving the
quantity, price, and right below that, the category ID. Merchants are able to set up
very advanced commission schedules based on these
conversions so that you are rewarded in very
great bounties. ALI PASHA: So let me wrap up
the entire workflow for you because there are a few more
steps that happen after the conversion is actually
tracked. So, after the conversion is
tracked, most networks, what they will do is they’ll go in,
and they will calculate how much is due to the particular
publisher. But they’re not paid out
immediately, unlike other forms of ads. What happens is at the end of
the month, typically there is an 8-day reconciliation
window. And the reason why there’s an
8-day day reconciliation window is because all merchants
want the opportunity to manage canceled orders
or returned goods or things like that. And then once those are
accounted for at the end of those 8 days, when the
reconciliation window is closed, that’s when we will
invoice, and most affiliate networks will actually invoice
the merchants. And that’s when publishers will
actually get paid out. Now, there are a few more steps
for loyalty workflow, which I wanted to walk
through quickly. So one is, in the case of the
loyalty scenario, you actually need to track this back to
a particular member. And once you track it back to
a member, you need to notify the member that you’re actually
tracking that order and that they’re going to get
their points and that they’re going to get their cash back
from that particular order. And then you also have to
do customer service. Largely because they’re going to
find a lot of consumers who come back to you and say, hey,
I purchased this particular order on this site, and I didn’t
get my points, or I didn’t get my cash back. Why didn’t I? And for most affiliate
publishers, you’ll need to have a good response or
a good answer to that. And I’ll walk you through how
most affiliate network tools will help you with that. So let’s first start with
tracking a member. The reason I described the URL
earlier was because I wanted to show some new variables
that you will have to add yourself to be able
to track a member. So one of these is actually
the member ID. And the member ID is just an
obfuscated string that you can provide in there to track
it back to a member. And we’ve seen some really
unique uses of this beyond just the loyalty use case,
which this is primarily designed for, where people have
tracked search terms that they’ve used for search
ads, or A/B testing. But primarily, this is used
to track a member. My only word of caution is don’t
put things like e-mail or unobfuscated PII in there,
because Google doesn’t want that information. So once you do that, then the
next thing you can do– and this is something we haven’t
launched yet, and it’s coming soon– is you can use the ximg tag. You can actually use the tag
today, the latency on this is a little bit more
than 30 seconds. And what this does is this is
a pingback URL, and whenever an order is made, what we’d like
this to do immediately pingback that particular URL
with the order ID, so that you can almost immediately tell your
members that, hey, you just made this sale. We tracked it for you,
and so that they get that immediate feedback. SHAUN COX: The next thing we
have is an events API. So oftentimes what you actually
want is, after the fact, to analyze your data and
analyze your conversions and what conversions you
are driving. So to accomplish this, what we
did is we went ahead and implemented an events API. What this allows you to do is
much of the same things that the link query API allows you
to do, but for events. So you can actually query our
database for things such as Modify Date, as well as Event
Time, and then get a truer picture of exactly which
events you are driving over time. This allows you to keep in sync
your data stores with our data stores. And just as before, what you
do is a very similar call. Just go ahead and call
Events.List, and then pass in publishers, just like you did
before, as well as your publisher ID. When you execute this query,
what you’ll get back is a list of results. From that list of results, you
can go ahead and iterate over them and show all of the results
in whatever manner that you want, whether that be
an internal tool, or keeping your database in sync. The next thing we have
is Saved Reports. Saved Reports are a hugely
powerful tool. What they allow you to do is
view aggregated data on a periodic basis. So every morning before you
get into work, Google will actually execute presaved
queries for you and email them directly to you so that you can
see them and review them early in the morning. ALI PASHA: So let me just walk
you through, quickly, how most of these affiliate publishers or
loyalty publishers actually pay back their members. So most of them make the
decision to actually just pay out daily or weekly, because
that tends to be a better user experience for their users. That doesn’t mean they get
the money immediately. As I said before, they get paid
once a month, after the reconciliation window is done. And most affiliate networks,
what they do is they all have reports and APIs– we don’t have an API
for this yet– but reports where you can go
in and to see what specific orders were paid out, which
advertisers paid you out, and how much money you got at
the end of the month. And what you will need to do as
a loyalty publisher is you will need to go and reconcile
that with what you’ve said to your users or paid out to your
users and do the appropriate credit/debit that
you need to do. So for example, if a user went
ahead and made a purchase, and you give him points for that
purchase but then went back and returned that order, then
you’re going to have to reconcile that later
as well, too. And then finally, customer
service, how do you manage a conversion increase? So almost all the networks do
this where if you have the order IDs that are provided
to the actual consumer– [CRICKET NOISES] [LAUGHS] the order IDs that are provided
to the actual consumer can be sent over to the
actual loyalty affiliate. And when the loyalty affiliate
gets that order ID, what they can do is they can go into the
affiliate networks, plug that order ID in, and actually look
and see if that order already exists and if it’s been
attributed to someone else. And if it’s been attributed
to someone else, you will immediately get feedback and
say, OK, this category of publisher got the affiliate
sale, in which case you can go back to your user, and
you can just tell them, hey, I know you. You made this purchase. But you clicked on a link
on another site. Or in some cases, you used
a coupon, which made you ineligible for points
or cash back. The other thing you can do is if
you don’t find that order, then you’re going to have to
work through with the merchant and figure out why the order
isn’t there, especially if the consumer or the user actually
has a receipt for that particular order. In that case, you can file a
missing order report and just provide all the details of
that particular order– and this isn’t live yet, we’re
going to have this, but most networks have something
like this– and file the missing order. And then what happens is that
missing order will be sent over to the merchant, and then
the merchants have a quick way of reconciling that order and
telling you, yes, we see the order in our system. For whatever reason, the
pixel didn’t fire. It’s approved, just please,
we apologize for the inconvenience. And sites do go down, and pixels
sometimes don’t fire for whatever reason,
so this is a very useful tool for that. And with that, I think I’ve
covered most of the scenarios. So now you should be able to
create your own promotional website, your own comparison
website, or your own loyalty, and actually combine them in
various new and innovative ways that even we haven’t
thought of. So with that, I’m just going
to go through our closing thoughts and summarize what we
went through in terms of why the affiliate channel’s
interesting and important. And the first is, again,
it’s going to grow. All the merchants who are in the
channel are staying, and most of them are going to grow
the channel and grow their investment in the channel. This year alone, we’re expecting
15%, 16% percent growth in this channel. The other thing we’re seeing is
we’re seeing the emergence of a whole bunch of new models
that are coming along, specifically around the new
trends that we’re seeing. We’re seeing mobile- and
tablet-specific affiliates that didn’t exist before. We’re seeing a lot of the
traditional affiliates who feel challenged by that actually
now venturing into mobile and tablet pretty
aggressively. We see a lot of publishers
leveraging social tools, recommending offers, doing
things like that with their friends and their extended
networks, which has been pretty novel. And we’re seeing the use of
virtual currency in very unique ways. All of these things didn’t
really exist several, four or five years ago. So there’s some dramatic
changes underway in the channel. And then the one thing I think
isn’t going to change is that consumer behavior has changed. Consumers are more
deal-oriented, are looking for deals, are looking for more
recommendations, more decision points before they
make a purchase, whether it’s even offline. And affiliates have a really
strong role to play here, and that’s not going to change and
only get stronger with time. And if that isn’t enough to
convince you, the market size, which I haven’t talked about
earlier, is estimated to be about $4.5 billion by 2016. There’s a recent study done by
Forrester where the expected growth rates continue to be
around 17% compounded every year between now and then. SHAUN COX: So if your website
or application is focused on driving conversions to an
advertiser’s website, and you are interested in more rewards,
more control, and more insight, you should
definitely take a look at the Affiliate Channel. Here we have just general
information about the channel. You can go to www.google.com/a
ds/affiliatenetwork. Or if you’re interested in the
APIs or a lot of their documentation, you can also
check out our developers site at developers.googl
e.com/affiliate-network. And I am Shaun Cox and this is
Ali Pasha, and thank you for attending our talk. If there’s any questions– oh, sorry. [APPLAUSE] ALI PASHA: I did– so everything we talked
about is live. There’s one thing that didn’t
go live this week, which is the documentation for the links
API, even though the links API is live already. And Shaun worked on that, so
you can assure to that. But the documentation for
how to use the links API will be up soon. SHAUN COX: And I just want to
do a plug in general for the Google Developers. There’s something called
API Explorer. And if you’re not familiar with
it, you should definitely check it out. What it allows you to do is see
all the fields that you need to populate during API
calls and actually just play around them in real time
on a web forum. So regardless of whether or not
you’re using the Google Affiliate Networks API, or just
another API, you should definitely check it out and play
around with it, because personally, I found
it pretty sweet. ALI PASHA: Yeah that’s how
I debug all the time. Sorry, so first question. AUDIENCE: Are affiliate networks
for me, if I’m on an international website with
visitors from all over the world, how do I select the
affiliates’ network, the merchants, or how do
I deal with it? ALI PASHA: So the way this
works is if you’re an affiliate, the state of the
market is such that you’re going to have to be in almost
all the affiliate networks. And this is really driven by the
merchants that you want to do business with. So some merchants will do
business on one network. Others will do business on
a different network. And some won’t even be on a
network, they’ll just have their entire program. Amazon’s a good example. Now if you want to have certain
merchants, you’re going to have to do business
with all of them. And then there are networks
which are international, and which are more dominant in
one area than another. So you’re going to have to pick
and choose which networks you want to do business with. The good news is almost all of
them offer almost the exact same tools. The challenge is that they’re
slightly different, so you’re going to have to work around
each one of those tools and learn them, and that is a
barrier to entry for an international expansion. AUDIENCE: But in your
tool, can I– I know my users come from, I
don’t know, Europe or so, then can I say, just send a query
that only gives me links to European sites? ALI PASHA: So in our tool,
we do it by advertisers. So basically what you can do
is you can go in there and say, just give me all be
all the merchants who run programs in Europe. And you can join
those programs. And then when you get the links,
there are fields which tell you which geographic region
they’re eligible in, and then even time zones
are given very clearly. So you know when a link ends and
when a link starts based on your time zone. And then you can do the
appropriate thing, take them down, put them up. AUDIENCE: Thanks. SHAUN COX: And we also support
all the currencies and do the currency transaction just
automatically for you, which is kind of nice. My previous company, we
didn’t always do that. So having that taken care of
for you really lowers the barrier for entry
internationally. ALI PASHA: And as far as our
network goes, one of things that we do piggyback on is the
payments infrastructure that Google has. So internationally, we will pay
in whatever currency you want, and it’ll be the same
check that’s written out for your AdSense account. SHAUN COX: Thank you. AUDIENCE: Have you done any
studies as a publisher, the typical earnings
versus AdSense? Is it X% better than a typical
publisher would get just by getting simple AdSense? ALI PASHA: They are completely
different scenarios. They’re completely different
use cases. And in fact, what typically
happens is even on the larger affiliate sites, they’ll do
direct placement, they’ll do display ads alongside
affiliate ads. Affiliate ads are– I mean, the way to think about
them is when your ad is really part of the content of your
website, then that’s where affiliate ads are. Whereas typical display
ads pretty much go alongside other content. So you can use both, but they
don’t really compete against each other. And the biggest differentiator
here is if you have a site like the New York Times, unless
you’re doing product reviews, if it’s just a general
article, then display is going to almost always
work better for you. If you’re doing something that’s
commercial in nature, recommending a product, then
that’s where affiliate plays a bigger role, and that’s where
affiliate conversions may be better than display. AUDIENCE: Well that brings
me to my second question. If you reserved a space for
banners, let’s say it has certain dimensions. I didn’t see any parameters in
the API there to call back for a height and width. SHAUN COX: So there actually
is currently– I forget which banner sizes
we support offhand. It will be in the documentation once we launch that. You can actually go through,
most publisher websites will have fixed banner sizes, like
a lot of the AdSense Sites. And our tool will actually go
ahead and query those things. It’s just one field,
I believe. I have to go and look for it. ALI PASHA: So the merchants do
provide banner sizes, and they are typically the same banner
sizes that you will see for display as well, too. And the API will allow you to
query them, and that data’s provided through the
link subscription. And you can even filter
on it through the UI. So there’s a variety
of ways to get it. AUDIENCE: That was my next
question, but when will that be available? ALI PASHA: All of that
is already available. The documentation for the API
just needs to go live. And that will be live
either the next week or the week after. AUDIENCE: So we could
go query today. ALI PASHA: You could query today
using the playground, but the documentation
just isn’t there. AUDIENCE: Thank you. SHAUN COX: You’re welcome. AUDIENCE: Hi. How does the Google Affiliate
Network work with respect to mobile apps? So if I wanted to cross-promote
mobile apps and move to the Google Play store,
as iOS does it with link shares, and Amazon does it. Does it work, or is the
affiliate network exclusively on website? And with mobile apps, where
we see a lot of consumers spending times with an app, I
want to put a banner, promote it to other paid apps of mine,
and basically get a revenue share from the purchase. Is that likely to occur? ALI PASHA: I mean, that’s
something that we’re still considering. But our focus really has been
so far on driving merchant sales outside Google Play. But that is something that
we’re talking about. We’re talking about a lot of
integrations within Google as well, too, and we’re just trying
to figure which ones we want to tackle first. AUDIENCE: Fair enough. AUDIENCE: Did I understand you
right, that the comparison shopping is based on Google
Shopping data? ALI PASHA: Yeah. So almost– I mean. I want to keep this a little
general, just because I know that most of you, for sites,
you’re going to have to use a variety of networks. And almost all of them will
provide some sort of product feed, and some of them will
provide an API to get it. The one that we use is we just
piggyback on the Search for Shopping API, so there’s just
a parameter that you need to provide there, and once you
provide that parameter, yes, you get the data. AUDIENCE: So follow-up, if the
best priced item is with an advertiser or a merchant I
don’t have a relationship with, would I be able
to show that price? ALI PASHA: So to make money off
of that, you will need a relationship. AUDIENCE: Right. ALI PASHA: And I think you will
still be able to grab the products for that particular
merchant, but I’m not 100% sure. AUDIENCE: OK. Thank you. ALI PASHA: Sure. AUDIENCE: Hey there. I was wondering, is there a way
to tell which links are performing the best, or which
offers are performing the best, kind of overall? I know I could track that within
my own app, but just in the system. ALI PASHA: Yeah. Absolutely. One of the things we haven’t
shown is the actual UI, but there’s a comprehensive
reporting. And reporting you can do
on various dimensions. You can do it on advertiser,
you could do it on banner size, you can do it on specific
links that are performing best for you. All of that’s there, that’s
pretty standard. AUDIENCE: Is that available
through an API as well, or is that just the visual interface
on the website? ALI PASHA: So that information
is not available through the API. So you’ll have to go– and that’s kind of what
Shaun’s point was with aggregation. So through the API, we will
provide you the raw data, and the aggregation, which is what
reports does– which is why it takes more time– is every
night we go in and we calculate based on various
pivots and then generate reports. So if you wanted that scenario,
what we could do is we could FTP that data to you
daily in a CSV format. AUDIENCE: Thank you. ALI PASHA: Sure. AUDIENCE: Any best practices
for placing affiliate links for publishers in terms
of web search? How many links per page, what do
you guys recommend in terms of best practices? ALI PASHA: I’m not the
expert on this. I don’t really know. If you email me, I know there
are people on our team who may have more information
than I do on this. Because we don’t actually
spend as much time running the programs. I only get product requests. AUDIENCE: Thanks. SHAUN COX: Just a little brief
thing is most the time, the advertisers who are in the
Affiliate Channel, it doesn’t mean you’re not in other
advertising channels, it just means you’re part of the
Affiliate Channel as well. So oftentimes our publishers
will be part of the AdWords as well as just general AdSense
to help monetize their website as well. And if your content tends to be
mainly commerce in nature, the Affiliate Channel is a great
way just to get more effective monetization
for your website. AUDIENCE: So I’m interested
in helping ads become more authentic by those
deeper links. In other words, there could be
an item in a shopping basket or that somebody’s looking at,
but they really want to review some information which is really
far down, quite deep, and perhaps has not been
associated with the shopping basket by the advertiser
or by anybody. It’s just that you’re smart
enough to know that this is really– you have an intuition
that this is what people are looking for. And you showed us the tool,
the deep linking tool. So I’m just trying to get a
handle on, is there some data we can get back in order to
share with the advertiser that perhaps they should share more
deep data on product? Or is that something that we
just have to find links and add the links in order to
associate with an ad? In other words, I’m kind
of just interested in this deep linking. ALI PASHA: That’s interesting. A lot of affiliates think they
offer value by helping the advertiser do that. And the value they offer,
they actually get compensated that way. So say you find a page that
really converts well on the advertiser’s site that the
advertiser hasn’t done a really good job of surfacing it,
making it easy to navigate to, and you’ve done that
through your website. There’s little incentive for
most affiliates to want to share that information because
they’re actually converting on those sales. But some do, and advertisers can
aggregate all that data up themselves on their end because
they get the same kind of data that you’re getting, and
they get information about what links are converting
for them. They can go and take a look
and make those changes accordingly. But there is this incentive. It’s also the value that most
affiliates offer merchants is when they make a mistake like
that, they know that they can still get conversions through
the Affiliate Channel even despite that mistake. And in terms of the deep linking
tool, we need to release that, too. That’s already built. It uses the existing
APIs, which are actually public already. And we just need
to launch that. And then once you launch that,
it’s just a Chrome extension. You just go to the specific
page you want, click the Chrome extension, it’ll
give you a link. It’ll just create it for
you right there. You can copy it and paste
it on your website. AUDIENCE: My question was concerning the Chrome extension. What if you don’t have a relationship with that merchant? What feedback do you get? ALI PASHA: There are two types
of merchants, the ones who are public and the ones who run
their private programs. Private programs, you’re not
going to get any feedback. For ones that run a public
program, they’ll just ask you to join their program. So you’ll have to go through two
steps instead of one, the first one being join a program,
the second one being get the link. SHAUN COX: The actual tool
itself will actually more or less check the domain that
you’re currently on, figure out whether or not Google
Affiliate Network has that advertiser in there. If you’re not in a relationship
with that advertiser, I think currently,
the display message is like “Sorry, you’re not in a
relationship.” And it may actually even have a button
that’s like, Request Joining That Relationship. AUDIENCE: That would
be nice, yeah. SHAUN COX: Like we said, this
is actually, one of our tech leads, Ben Sussman, just
came up with this and wanted to try it out. And he wanted to play with
JavaScript actually. So he did it up. And this is a v1 iteration. And most of our API are
currently in v1 beta. So we’re really iterating on
it and trying to get a very solid base to truly give you
guys a platform in which you can interact and do all the
things you want to do. Because our goal is to help
you best monetize your website, because the more money
you’re making, it turns out the more money we
tend to also make. ALI PASHA: And the more money
merchants make as well too. AUDIENCE: I like
that extension. I could give it a +1. I would like to see you guys
release as soon as you can. ALI PASHA: Absolutely. We’ll get that out there soon. SHAUN COX: Thank you. Are there are any
more questions? Thanks again for coming
to our talk. It’s been great ALI PASHA: Appreciate it. [APPLAUSE]

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