Phone lines restored

Our phone lines have been restored, and we can once again be reached on our regular numbers.

SOUTH AFRICA

086-10-36743

United States

1-800-841-1369

United Kingdom

0808-234-7039

Canada

1-866-761-5644


OfferForge launches new Affiliate Marketing Portal

New Affiliate Marketing Portal Launched

Have you checked out the new OfferForge Affiliate Marketing Portal?

It’s a radical departure from previous versions, with a streamlined design and simplified navigation.

There are 3 main tabs on the left navigation to access your Dashboard, Offers & Reports.

Dashboard

This is the default landing page when you log in.  On the dashboard we’ve included 4 widgets to show you campaign, creative & overall performance summaries.  Don’t worry if they’re blank when you first log in, as soon as you start delivering traffic the reports will populate.

There’s even an UPDATES twitter feed widget, where we’ll be sharing new offers, creative updates and other relevant info.

Offers

This tab will display all affiliate marketing offers currently open to you.  Any active offer will display as a link while inactive offers will show as greyed out.  Don’t worry, we’re activating more offers each day as our advertisers confirm they’re tracking.

If you’re missing out on offers or want to run an active offer you’re not approved for, reach out to your affiliate manager or log a support ticket.

Reports

The reports tab lets you access detailed reporting on sales, pending transactions and sub-id information.  I’ll dedicate another post to all the new features this adds to our affiliate program.  Once you see the new reporting I’m confident you’ll love it!

Latest News

If you got to this page, chances are you hit the latest news tab.  It’s a feed from our network blog and we’ll continue to update it with new offer info, helpful hints and guest blogger articles.

Let us know what you think!  Tweet us @offerforge or drop us a mail.


Seasons Greetings from OfferForge.com

Seasons Greetings!

Happy Holidays to all our valued Affiliates,  Advertisers, Staff & their Loved ones!

christmas

Holiday Support

Our offices will close on the 20th of December at and re-open on the 6th of January.

Tech staff will continue to provide support via our support ticketing system.

If you require support during this time, please Log a Support Ticket.


Online Contact Lenses Affiliate Program for LensesOnly.co.za

Contact Lenses affiliate program launched

The contact lenses affiliate program for LensesOnly.co.za has been launched on Offerforge.com!

“I’m sick of running out and having to order from my optometrist.  Takes days”

“Ugh, I have to keep them in extra long and they become all scratchy”

“Time to look like a nerd again and wear glasses for a week”

These are just some of the responses you can expect from a contact lens wearer, when asked about the hassle of refilling prescription contact lens orders.

Now consumers have an alternative in LensesOnly.co.za.  Offering a hassle-free online ordering process they’ll store prescriptions and send out orders as and when you need them.  Delivery is free anywhere in SA!

LensesOnly has launched it’s South African Affiliate Marketing Program on OfferForge.com and is offering a whopping 7% of sale.  Even considering how affordable LensesOnly are, the commission value alone is mid double digits!


How to tell if your Native ads are successful

It is important to know that your native ads are successful

If you’ve been to a site such as Buzzfeed or Quartz recently you know all about Native Advertising. We’ve spoken about the topic a few times before but in a nutshell Native Ads is a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and the function of the user experience in which it is placed. One form of native advertising, publisher-produced brand content, is similar in concept to a traditional advertorial, which is a paid placement attempting to look like an article.

We’re big fans of the concept but recently questions have arisen about the effectiveness of Native Ads and whether there’s a decent return for advertisers beyond just the “cool factor”. There’s one major problem: if Native Advertising is the newest method of online advertising, what is the newest method of measurement?

Forbes, for example, is starting to give advertisers in its Brand Voice platform two new dashboards to provide better metrics. One will provide statistics for brand content, like top posts, pageviews, total visitors, repeat visitors. Basically, publisher metrics. The other is a social dashboard, providing data about how well content does on social networks from social actions to social referrals.

Other publishers running similar types of sponsored content are reporting to brands similar metrics, which are more akin to publishing measures than the typical brand measures like clicks, impressions, and lifts in consideration and purchase intent. Your average marketing manager is not used to gauging success in pageviews and shares.

BuzzFeed, perhaps the poster-child for the native ad movement, has been offering brands and agency publishing metrics for a while as a way to educate and soothe nerves. It gives them pageviews, top referrers, top search terms and viral views from its dashboard.

So far, so similar.

The American Online Publishers Association have done some interesting research on the matter with the following useful takeouts:

Measurement Metrics
Measurement Metrics
Marketing Goals
Marketing Goals

The future is bright for Native Advertising; we’re still waiting for a brave brand to do something in South Africa!


The growth of social TV viewing

Last week we spoke about how Twitter was filing for an IPO and the resultant innovation that is coming out of this is fascinating.

In essence the idea of TV as the “first screen” and other devices as the “second” or “third” screens is dead. Today, the first screen is whichever one a consumer is looking at. Twitter has turned out to be a digital water cooler with thousands of people around the country simultaneously engaging in real-time conversations on Twitter about favorite television shows or sporting events as they unfold.

In the US cable giant Comcast, parent of programming giant NBCUniversal, has struck a deal with Twitter that will make it easy for users of the social network platform to access TV shows directly from the site. The new feature, called “see it,” will allow Comcast subscribers to get to NBCUniversal content via Twitter. Comcast also said it would work with other distribution companies interested in using the service.

The company has developed a new feature, which it calls “See It,” that is designed to funnel its Comcast customers who use Twitter to the show with a click of a button.

The chart below shows that a majority of social media users, tablet owners and smartphone users have used social networks while watching television.majority of social media users

A significant portion of these users were specifically using social media to talk about the content they were viewing on television. Research of other surveys conducted in 2013 indicated that 15% to 17% of TV viewers engaged in real-time socializing about the television shows they were watching.

Facebook is further behind, but the company is expanding the use of hashtags and other features to show users how much real-time conversation is taking place on the service. It is also rolling out two APIs that will allow media outlets and ad technology companies to analyze and report on real-time activity. Facebook believes it can offer TV advertisers a one-two punch of enormous reach and deep targeting.

Whether Facebook or Twitter win the battle is debatable but what we can say that second screen is the way of the future and it’s time for marketers to start capitalising on this.


Unsurprisingly social media spending increases

Certain things in life are fairly inevitable: death, taxes and that advertisers are spending more money on social media adverts. It’s simple, users are using social networks and it’s an easy way to get your product in their face. So inevitably social media spending on ads are rising.

A recent STRATA research report shows that most advertisers are using Facebook to connect with their customers and potential customers. YouTube and Twitter came in next, at 55% and 53%, respectively. An additional 35% 0f respondents said they were likely to use LinkedIn for social campaigns, and 25% each cited Google+ and Pinterest.

While brands have a choice between using free social products and paid placements on the networks, more than twice as many respondents (25%) saw paid social media as offering greater return on investment (ROI) than free social media (11%). Still, it’s important to bear in mind, 19% said they saw no ROI from social media.

Does more social media spending mean more opportunities for affiliates?

Brand promotions led as the most common type of ad placed on Facebook, used by 62% of respondents, twenty percentage points ahead of company announcements, which came in second. Just over one-third of respondents said they used social ads announcing services, and nearly as many said they ran social ads on products.

In total, paid ads still aren’t overtaking ad budgets, but they are beginning to make a dent in the total. While 58% said social media accounted for 5% or less or clients’ ad budgets, another 42% spent between 6% and 25% of ad budgets on social. No respondents spent more than one-quarter of ad budgets on paid social posts.

The critical issue to consider here isn’t that social media budgets are expanding, this is fairly obvious. What we need to consider is that marketers shouldn’t use social media in isolation. There are many businesses trying their hand at social media marketing and it is increasing every day. This covers lead generation efforts to subscriptions and everything in between. As social media spending is still a growing industry there are still loads of opportunities for the savvy internet marketer.

The trick is to split your budgets along multiple mediums such as the OfferForge ad network as well as CPC, CPM and CPA style campaigns. You’ll easily get the hang of which medium works best for you.

Contact us today to get the best advice on how to segment and budget your digital marketing campaigns.


Twitter files for an IPO

News out of America last week were that Twitter is filing an IPO in order to be listed on the stock exchange. The long expected process comes a year after the Facebook IPO that many called a failure despite the share trading $20 per share higher than the launch.

The company is looking to raise no less than $1 billion but could list anywhere up to $15 billion. Small change compared to Facebook but still a substantial amount.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chairman, holds 4.9% of the company’s stock, Evan Williams, the former CEO and fellow co-founder, holds 12%. Dick Costolo, CEO, holds 1.6%.

Twitter had 218.3 million monthly active users as of 30 June, an increase of 44% from the 151.4 million a year previously. However it warned that growth will slow. “We anticipate that our user growth rate will slow over time as the size of our user base increases,” the company said in its announcement.

Twitter’s revenues increased by 198% to $316.9m in 2012, according to the filing. But the company posted a $79.4m loss for the year and lost $128.3m in 2011. The company has been spending large sums in order to build up its service and said it intends to carry on spending after it has raised the new money.

We did learn some other interesting pieces of information about Twitter:

  1. In the six months that ended June 30, 2013, advertising revenue increased by 119 percent compared to the six months that ended the same time last year. The increase was primarily attributable to a 79 percent increase in timeline views in the six months running up to June 30, 2013, the company said, as well as increased demand from advertisers. That said, its revenue growth appears to be slowing, relatively speaking. In 2012, advertising revenue increased by 247 percent compared to 2011.
  2. In the three months that ended June 30, 2013, Twitter said more than 65 percent of its advertising revenue was generated from mobile devices. Three-quarters of its monthly active users accessed the service from mobile devices, it said, including mobile phones and tablets.
  3. Twitter generates some revenues by licensing access to its data but that’s nominal, it says. A full 85 percent of its revenues come from selling promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends.

When the stock does launch it will most likely be under “TWTR” although currently there is no time frame for the launch.

This might open new doors for online marketers the world over as the brand grows from strength to strength. There are many ways to make money online through Twitter and it is time for everyone to step up their game!


What on earth is “big data”?

Big date offers big revelations

There’s a lot of talk about “Big Data” and how it will affect your online experience. Recently, speaker Harper Reed made an interesting comment about how big data isn’t important but “Big Questions” and “Big Answers” are. Before we delve into the practicalities, let’s look at the definition:

Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis, and visualization. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets with the same total amount of data, allowing correlations to be found to “spot business trends, determine quality of research, prevent diseases, link legal citations, combat crime, and determine real-time roadway traffic conditions.”

Sounds complex doesn’t it? Well yes and no:

There are five broad ways in which using big data can create value. First, big data can unlock significant value by making information transparent and usable at much higher frequency. Second, as organizations create and store more transactional data in digital form, they can collect more accurate and detailed performance information on everything from product inventories to sick days, and therefore expose variability and boost performance. Leading companies are using data collection and analysis to conduct controlled experiments to make better management decisions; others are using data for basic low-frequency forecasting to high-frequency nowcasting to adjust their business levers just in time. Third, big data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more precisely tailored products or services. Fourth, sophisticated analytics can substantially improve decision-making. Finally, big data can be used to improve the development of the next generation of products and services. For instance, manufacturers are using data obtained from sensors embedded in products to create innovative after-sales service offerings such as proactive maintenance (preventive measures that take place before a failure occurs or is even noticed).

The future of understanding your customer is extremely oriented towards big data. High levels of competition will make it a critical part of understanding what you require. A great local case study is Discovery Health.

Discovery’s new predictive risk management solution extracts deep and accurate insights from clinical, demographic, billing and even unstructured member data to point out chronic health risk patterns within its member base and provides planners with the granular, analytical guidance to develop the most effective preventive programs. Discovery can better target preventive programs to at -risk subscribers, thus reducing the overall cost of care and helping minimize premiums. The solution reduced the time required to run predictive analytics models by more than 99 percent, from nearly a day to minutes, yielding results faster and giving risk analysts the flexibility to develop and test new models that further improve predictive accuracy. The solution has also enabled administrators to identify and recover more than R250 million resulting from a combination of fraudulent claims and billing errors.

Another case study comes from US retailer Target. In the US retailer Target has already figured out how to tell if women are pregnant long before they start buying nappies. By analysing sales patterns it has discovered that women in the early stages of pregnancy start buying a combination of 25 products including unscented lotion, cotton wool and vitamins. It then sends these ‘expectant mums’ money off vouchers for all the things they’ll need later on in pregnancy like talcum powder and baby wipes.

Harper Reed is correct, it’s not about big data but what questions you ask and use the data to explore. Without the data you have no information but it’s about time your company started using your data to sell more products via intense analysis.

Big data plays a huge role in uncovering both problems and opportunities. If you delve into your own website stats for example you will find many opportunities to generate leads or to earn more through your affiliate marketing efforts.