From time to time, we receive inquires from our clients using Tradedoubler regarding the Tradedoubler-generated No Relationship error message: “There is no relationship between this site and the…
Last week we began a three-part series taking a look at the behind-the-scenes processes that occur as URLs resolve within an app, and what you, as a developer,…
From time to time, we receive inquires from our clients using Tradedoubler regarding the Tradedoubler-generated No Relationship error message:“There is no relationship between this site and the advertiser.”
If you’ve received this message, it’s likely because you’ve prematurely begun serving links using your Tradedoubler parameters.
You wouldn’t be the first person who’s done so, however it’s important you wait until you’ve been accepted into their program to begin serving affiliated links. Doing so before you’ve being approved will result in this dead-end user experience until Tradedoubler approves you.
To quickly and easily verify your TradeDoubler status, head into the TradeDoubler dashboard, click “Advertisers” > “My Programs” > then “Run A Report” and look for the status of each application on the far right hand side.
As always, drop us a line if you have further questions about getting started with Tradedoubler or any of the other affiliate networks.
Last week we began a three-part series taking a look at the behind-the-scenes processes that occur as URLs resolve within an app, and what you, as a developer, can do to ensure both the UX and your commissions are preserved.
In our final installment, we bring your attention to an uncommon but dirty little devil of an affiliate-related problem we call “Swallowing the Cookie”. This issue can happen when code has been implemented into an app or SDK to improve the user experience around resolving a link but interferes with correctly setting the affiliate cookie.
By implementing the code that Apple has provided, QA 1629, this issue can easily be avoided. However, if you’re seeing a high number of affiliated clicks, no commissions after waiting for the reporting lag, and have implemented code to keep links from opening in Safari, you could be unknowingly reversing your affiliate-linking efforts:The Stutter Step Dealing with URLs inside an iOS app can be complicated. When an app isn’t prepared for multiple http-based redirects, like an affiliate link, the resolution of the URL can sometimes cause your device to jump around between apps, Safari and the iTunes store. This user experience faux pas is called the “Stutter Step“, and in a world where providing users with a streamlined UX is not an option, it can cause a few frowns. QA 1629 Fortunately for developers everywhere, Apple recognizes this and has provided a snippet of code known as QA 1629 to help reverse this user experience. (At GeoRiot, we’ve even developed a slightly modified version of QA 1629 to better compliment your GeoRiot links.) However, implementing this workaround can cause a few hiccups in your affiliate links if not done properly. Swallowing The Cookie To convert the affiliate tracking parameters into the affiliate cookie, a 301 redirect outside of the app is required. A common misconception is that the code that handles redirects behind the scenes should “release” the link once its completely done resolving. However, doing this sets the affiliate cookie in the local app, and not in the “shared cookie jar” which the iTunes Store / App Store pulls from when attributing a sale(s) to a specific referrer. Without this redirect, the cookie can’t be referenced by the store on subsequent purchases, and your affiliate link essentially becomes a raw iTunes link. In other words, this guy has just “swallowed the cookie”. Affiliate Link Resolution Here’s an example of the behind-the-scenes redirects that take place as a georiot.co affiliate link resolves: 1.) GeoRiot Link eg. http://georiot.co/z5V –> 2.) Affiliate Network Link eg. http://click.linksynergy.
Monday, we introduced you to the Stutter Step. While it sounds like a really cool dance move that would have made Grandma Susie proud, the stutter step is actually a user experience faux pas that occurs when an iOS app isn’t prepared for multiple http-based redirects, like those found in affiliate links. Today, we’re going to tell you about Apple’s fix for the stutter step.
As we know, some links – including iTunes Affiliate links – result in multiple redirections before reaching the appropriate store / application. We also know that Apple is dedicated to providing a beautiful, sleek, design-centric user experience; so it should come as no surprise that they’ve developed a workaround for this. (At GeoRiot, we’ve got our own version of QA 1629 to better compliment your GeoRiot based affiliate links.)
Imbedding the code from QA 1629 helps avoid the negative user experience by allowing links to resolve in the background without jumping between apps. Using NSURLConnection, the redirects are processed silently and open the URL once the redirects encounter an itunes.apple.com based URL. This allows your application to transition right to the store without launching Safari – as pictured in this demonstration from the iOS Developer Library.
QA 1629 is a great way to ensure you’re providing users with the best experience possible, but it’s important that it’s implemented properly. In our next and final installment, we’ll discuss an issue we call “Swallowing the Cookie” that can come up when QA 1629 isn’t implemented correctly.
This is the first in a three-part series of entries in which we’ll look at the behind-the-scenes processes that occur when resolving URLs from within an app, and what actions you, as a developer, can do to preserve your affiliate commissions and the experience of your users:
Have you ever clicked on a link within an iOS app, and then watched helplessly as your device jumps from the app to Mobile Safari, then to another app or into the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore? There’s a name for this user experience faux pas, and it’s called the “Stutter Step”.
The stutter step happens when an app isn’t prepared for multiple http-based redirects, such as the resolution of an affiliate link. As the URL resolves it will first trigger the app to close, load Mobile Safari, and then once the link has resolved, Safari will close and another app will open to load and handle the final link.
The process of being bounced into Safari, then into another app or one of the iOS Stores, is not ideal for your users. In a world where impeccable design and a seamless UX can sometimes say more about an app than the actual app itself, it’s important to avoid things like the stutter step wherever possible.
There are two ways to work around the stutter step when dealing with affiliate links for the iTunes Store or App Store:
By creating a “short URL” where the relevant affiliate tracking parameters are added to the end of a raw iTunes link, the user is taken directly into the iTunes or App Store App upon clicking a link. It’s important to recognize two downfalls with this workaround. First, you loose reporting on clicks and tracking tags. Additionally, because you are only able to affiliate the link with one set of parameters, you can’t earn commissions from more than one country’s affiliate program (and could be leaving significant revenue on the table).
Alternatively, you can process the affiliate redirect in the background of your app. Here, the user is also taken directly to the iTunes or App Store App to make a purchase, but this method allows for click reporting, tracking tags and use of global linking services like GeoRiot. While this is the preferred method of the two, it is a bit more technical, as it requires you to update code in your app instead of just swapping out a link.
In our next entry, we’ll introduce QA 1629 – Apple’s code snippet for handling redirects, as well as some code specific for GeoRiot links.
We had a great time “geeking” with our mobile marketing peers at the TapSense two-year anniversary party in SF last night. It’s always inspiring to hang out with people who are as passionate about mobile apps and tracking as we are, and TapSense is certainly making big strides in the “mobile revolution”.
In the two years since they arrived on the scene, TapSense has made a big impact on the way marketers utilize and interact with their data and have garnered a pretty impressive following by adding names like TinyCo, Pocket Gems and Poshmark to their client list.
If we didn’t get a chance to chat with you personally last night, drop us a line so we can do so, and once again, congratulations to the entire TapSense team!
Back in November, we were pretty stoked about hitting our biggest milestone to date: serving our 500 millionth click. We were proud to share that moment with our customers and friends, but even then we had our sites on something bigger. (Spoiler alert – it’s spelled with a ‘B’’).
Today, we’re ecstatic to announce that, with your help, GeoRiot has now served more than 1,000,000,000 clicks to users in nearly every corner of the world.
In addition to the thousand plus clients who have put their faith in GeoRiot, we are also indebted to our friends at AppClover, MAKE APP Magazine, A4U, Hypebot, Bluecloud, App Marketer, and the many others who have helped spread the word about Geo-Fragmentation and how we’re working to fix the Internet one link at a time.
In honor of this special occasion, we thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane to briefly reflect on the path we took to get here. However, as we were going through the vaults to put that list together, we couldn’t help but take notice of the significant developments and improvements that have taken place within the iTunes Store, the App Store, and their respective affiliate program, in addition to GeoRiot’s own milestones.
And so with that in mind, while we’re thrilled about how far we’ve journeyed as a company, we’re even more inspired by this as a testament of what’s in store for the affiliate marketing space in the coming year – and beyond!2.6.09 – Our Project Begins GeoRiot starts as an additional module to the custom backend built for Ski Movie Music, at the time there were 61 iTunes Stores and 19 affiliate programs in existence.
9.6.10 – 5 Million Clicks Served
2.2.11 – 20 Million Clicks Served
3.12.11 – GeoRiot’s New Logo Is Revealed7.6.11 – 50 Million Clicks Served
7.21.11 –GeoRiot.com 2.0 Goes Live7.22.11 – 33 New App Stores Added New regions include the Caribbean, parts of Africa and a host of Eastern European countries. 8.30.11 – 60 Million Clicks Served 9.21.11 – GeoRiot Reveals Integrated Search Links Users can now build keyword based search links from the dashboard. 9.29.11 – 15 New Affiliate Programs Added
We’re excited about our CEO / Co-Founder Jesse Lakes’ new guest blog for AppClover.
In his latest piece, Jesse takes a look some of the more common issues people run into when getting up and running with the iTunes / App Store Affiliate Program. Additionally, he shares a couple of tips for making the most out of the program – and establishing a good rapport with Apple – once you’ve been accepted.
Should you have additional questions or concerns about anything covered (or not covered!); don’t hesitate to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help make sure you’re getting maximum return from your affiliate linking efforts.
You’ve seen us write about it, at times bemoan it, and if we’ve ever shared a conversation with you over Skype or in person, you’ve likely heard us talk it. But we’ve never devoted an entire blog to it – until now.
The problem that plagues us all. But what exactly is it? Geo-fragmentation is the word we at GeoRiot coined to define the problem at the route of our riot: the global fragmentation of an international brand’s ecommerce storefronts.
Think of it this way: if you were to walk into a Virgin Records store in London and purchase Adele’s 21, the CD you’re buying is different from that which you’d be able to purchase in that same store in New York City. There may be additional tracks, bonus material or even contain differing versions of the same song.
This same issue exists virtually, but is compounded by the fact that in the land of digital music, “walking into a store” actually means clicking a link. That link must be smart enough to know what region you’re in (so you can be directed to the appropriate content), and if it’s an affiliate link, collect affiliate-tracking information so your referrer can be rewarded with a commission.
Music is an oft-cited example, but we know the problem extends to all avenues of ecommerce, from apps, to games, to clothing to books. Large brands often break down their online marketplaces into smaller region, or country-specific, stores. This helps alleviate issues that arise from conducting international business online (taxing, currency differences, and licensing problems to name a few); and also allows for a more personalized and efficient shopping experience for the customer.
Within the affiliate marketing space, the issue becomes further complicated due to the fact that within those country-specific storefronts, there oftentimes exists an added level of fragmentation in the form of country-specific affiliate programs. For example: Apple’s iTunes and App Store with 155 country-specific storefronts and 45 affiliate programs that are managed by four different affiliate networks.
You might be thinking, “What’s so bad about geo-fragmentation? From everything we’ve heard thus far, it seems as if segregated stores and affiliate programs would be a good thing.” And, for the reasons we’ve discussed above, you’re right. It makes sense to have geographically-separated entities. However, geo-fragmentation causes two problems:
First, incorrectly routing your customers to the wrong item in a store, or worse, giving them an error message, leaves a bad taste in their mouth. It reflects poorly on your brand and it’s likely you’ll lose them as future customers.
Next, when an international customer is sent to the wrong item or re-routed to a store’s homepage, you lose the ability to earn affiliate commissions on any purchases he or she makes. So, what can you, the Internet marketer, do to combat geo-fragmentation?
Finally, in addition to being educated on the topic, one of the very best ways to fight geo-fragmentation is by spreading the word. As you’ve just learned, international ecommerce weaves a complex web and as they say, knowing is half the battle.
Join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #GeoFrag to help educate others on the ins and outs of geo-fragmentation, and what they can do to ensure maximum return on their affiliate linking efforts.
I’ve been out of college for just about a decade now, but I jump at every chance to go back.
Jesse Pasichnyk (GeoRiot’s CTO) and I attended college at the University of Montana from approximately 1999 through 2004, where we started as freshmen roommates studying computer science. I quickly learned I couldn’t hack it in CS and shifted into studying business. Pasichnyk and I continued to be great friends and explored a few ventures together with a number of our other close friends, including Mario Schulzke and Chris Yates.
We collected some great memories together during those formative years, but it’s the memories I picked up inside the business school that stick with me today. Afternoon chess games with my entrepreneurship professor, classes with my favorite marketing professor… and the guest speakers who occasionally visited our lectures throughout the semester.
I always looked forward to hearing the stories of these visitors to campus. These guys were the ones who cut through the theoretical knowledge to share the dirt; the ups and downs of making things happen out in the real world. The lessons that were wrapped in a story always seemed to resonate more than the lessons laid out in textbooks.
As I write this, I’m headed back from Missoula to my “real world,” which happens to be GeoRiot’s Seattle HQ, after having the honor of presenting a couple of guest lectures in my old classrooms. I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel a little strange initially, being on the other side of the podium, but the energy and enthusiasm in each of the young crowds put me at ease, and reminded me what the entrepreneurial sprit is all about.
In Jakki Mohr’s 200 level Principles of Marketing and Mario Shultzke’s graduate level Marketing Analytics class, I got to take my turn sharing my entrepreneurial story, with a few affiliate marketing tidbits sprinkled in.
While it was great sharing the story of GeoRiot and teaching something I’m passionate about, it was meeting the students, hearing about their entrepreneurial experiences, getting their emails, and connecting on LinkedIn to become a resource for them and their pursuits, that was ultimately the most gratifying part.
College life was good. I wasn’t an outstanding student, but I enjoyed the idea of academia and being surrounded people who shared a hunger for asking questions and learning. For that reason, I’m grateful for the opportunity to go back for a week live out a dream of mine, playing professor.
Hopefully someday I can make it back to the university for a longer period and share even more about the industry I now eat, sleep and breathe.
The next installment in our ‘How To’ series takes a look at the role of the App Developer after the coding is complete.
For many App Developers, the blood, sweat and tears comes during the development process. Once your masterpiece is up for sale in the App Store, it’s easy to wash your hands and shift your focus on to the next great idea. However, with a little TLC in the form of affiliate marketing, you can ensure that your products in the App Store will keep on giving long after you’ve begun laying the groundwork for your next project. After all, it’s only after you’ve set your apps up with universal affiliate links that ensure you’ll earn commissions on all international sales, that you can truly call yourself an App Store Monetization Ninja.
We invite you to step inside the mind of one developer as he discovers GeoRiot as a way to use multiple affiliate programs simultaneously, and doubles his affiliate commissions in the process:
You toil over countless lines of code for hours upon weeks until finally, the hard work is done and you’re ready to introduce your masterpiece to the world. You’ve created two versions for release in the App Store: an ad-supported “Lite” version and a Paid version.
Being the savvy appreneur that you are, you’ve done your homework and understand the importance of driving downloads and monetizing them to their fullest extent by linking to the App Store through the iTunes / App Store Affiliate Program. You sign up for LinkShare’s US program to get started; after placing affiliate links to your apps on your site and inside the apps, you’re off!
Watching the numbers.
A few days later and things are starting to falling into place. Your press release generated a nice buzz about your product and your Launch Rock page provided a good initial list of interested parties to download the apps. You’re ecstatic to learn you’ve survived the App Review gauntlet and watch with excitement as your apps go live.
As the first set of numbers from your affiliate links begin to roll in, you’re pleased with a solid EPC, especially when compared to some of the other ads you’re serving. As a bonus, you’re stoked to learn that an affiliate link to your free app offers some additional payout: because the program provides commissions on everything that’s sold over 72 hours, you’ve also earned commissions from sales of some TV shows, movies and albums.
Encouraged by these results and your new secondary career as an online marketing guru, you dive a little deeper. After some exhausting outreach, guerilla marketing tactics and using up that free Google AdWords credit you’ve been sitting on, your app is picked up by a couple European app review sites and is getting some solid reviews (at least according to Google Translate)… you’ve almost gone viral!
A few weeks later, the snowball effect is in full force. Downloads are ramping up nicely and you’ve started to see a significant bump in conversions from your Lite to the Paid version. The clicks in LinkShare are also picking up. Where 1,000 clicks per day was your former baseline, you’re now seeing 5,000, 6,000 – and sometimes as many as 7,000 clicks per day. Life is good.
You give yourself a high five, crack a beer, and lean back in your swivel chair (á la Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm room the night he launched Facebook). You know that it takes a few days for revenue numbers to populate, so you make a mental note to check back in with LinkShare to see how much closer you are to an early retirement.
…Three days later…
Hrrm. That’s odd. Your clicks have gone up but your commissions and sales have flat lined, resulting in the demise of your beautiful EPC rate. You launch into investigative mode and Google “international iTunes affiliate commissions” to see if anyone else has had this problem. Much to your chagrin, you discover you’re not alone – most developers are missing out on commissions from international sales.
One affiliate program is not enough.
As it turns out, LinkShare’s US program is only one of many affiliate programs out there… Okay, good to know… You delve deeper into the world of affiliate marketing and discover LinkShare only supports iTunes / App Store affiliate programs in the US, Mexico and Canada, while TradeDoubler, another network, lets you earn commissions from Brazil, the UK, and 28 other countries in Europe and nine more in Latin America.
The Aha! moment comes as you remember you’d only signed up for the US program. In other words, all of that great European traffic you nurtured as a result of your marketing tactics has not earned you a dime in affiliate revenue! The commissions from those conversions have been lost in the netherworlds of the Internet, never to be recovered… Oh man.
International traffic is real traffic.
As you continue your research, you’re surprised to discover that anywhere from 50 – 75% of your app traffic is international. Even at the low end of that estimate, you could be missing out on half of your affiliate revenue.
After another search and some forum trolling, you find GeoRiot, a service that provides a unified linking solution which allows developers like you to use all of the iTunes / App Store Affiliate Programs simultaneously, ensuring you don’t miss out on a single international commissions.
Let’s give that GeoRiot thing a whirl…
Upon logging into your new GeoRiot dashboard, you’re greeted with a plethora of tools and resources, such as step-by-step HD video tutorials, for getting up and running with each of the iTunes / App Store Affiliate programs around the world.
In under an hour (including one coffee break and a bathroom break) you’ve set up accounts with the various affiliate networks, have applied to the majority of the iTunes / App Store Affiliate Programs, and updated your server side app links to with your brand new, universal GeoRiot.co links. Pleased with your marketing handy work, you head back to work creating the HD version of your internationally renowned app and wait for your applications to be approved.
A week later, you’ve retreated back into Dev mode and almost forgotten all about your international conversions, until an email from Team GeoRiot lands itself in your inbox. You take the opportunity to ask their Co-Founder Jesse Lakes some questions you’ve had about their payment model.
In his reply, Lakes, explains that within GeoRiot clicks are the currency. By taking a small percentage of the international traffic that the GeoRiot helps you monetize, you’ll never be billed or charged for using the service. It’s essentially free.
Curious about these clicks Jesse referred to, you log into your GeoRiot dashboard for the first time since you implemented and tested the links.
Utilizing the self-service dashboard.
You had guessed that the US was your biggest source of clicks (about 40% you see now). What you didn’t realize was that Germany and the UK are the next largest source of clicks but neither country had earned you any affiliate revenue.
With the success of your experiment boosting your confidence in Affiliate Programs once more, you quickly head back to LinkShare and TradeDoubler to grab example links from Mexico, Canada and Brazil, and add them into your GeoRiot dashboard. As a finishing touch, you select the option to copy the UK parameters into all 29 European countries supported by the affiliate program. Within 15 minutes you’re earning commissions in new 33 countries.
Optimizing with Performance Reports.
A few weeks later, as you’re getting ready to push the HD version of your app, you decide to check in on the performance of your initial app’s affiliate campaigns. Your baby has earned itself some nice reviews from other app discovery sites around the world, which has boosted its daily download and click totals. You remember Lakes telling you about Performance Reports, a central stats page for where you can easily check in on the status of any of your links, so you eagerly log into GeoRiot to see how your marketing success has impacted your commissions.
Within LinkShare, you discover that your MX sales were a higher EPC rate than the US. Your TradeDoubler stats show similar results for both the BR and UK accounts (which include sales from 29 European countries). Your commissions are finally growing in line with your clicks… phew.
Some quick mental calculations reveal that with the ability to use multiple affiliate programs simultaneously through GeoRiot, you’re already earning double the revenue you would have earned if you’d stuck with the US program in LinkShare as your sole affiliate source.
Seeing the potential: the sky’s the limit.
Now that you can add App Marketing Ninja to yourLinkedIn profile, you decide to put GeoRiot to work to see what it can really do. Your Performance Reports tell you your next biggest source of clicks are Australia, Argentina and Columbia, so you decide its time for another chat with your friends at GeoRiot.
In addition to sending you information for getting affiliate links set up in these additional countries, Jesse passes on some best practices resources to help you get the most out of GeoRiot .
It’s crazy to think back and realize that by just modifying your existing links you can now make a nice tidy profit. It’s going to be really exciting to see where this goes!