Search engine advertising (SEA) as seen by the advertiser

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Just before launching a new affiliate program, the advertiser has to decide what kinds of traffic he will allow to work with his affiliate program.

Problems with SEA are the most frequent, because almost all advertisers conduct SEA on their own and consider all publishers to be their competitors. It seems to them: “Why spend more money if you already cover the whole audience without help from extra publishers!”

In fact, there are an enormous number of factors that cast doubt on this statement, the most important being:

 Publishers buy traffic at their own risk, so they will conduct SEA very carefully, professionally, because they will have only their own funds to spend.

 It would be better if I had my own publishers, who promote only my store and my products and not those of my competitors.

By occupying more positions in paid advertisements, you increase the probability of bringing a potential client to your store!

What limitations should there be?

Of course, you have to exclude SEA of your own brand, because you don’t want to pay for clients who already know the brand. But don’t forget that there are some clients who don’t use SEA, and when competitors notice that, they start to publish advertisements using the brand names of these companies, and thus their advertisements are shown above the list of websites picked up by the search engine, and from 15% to 20% of clients are lost. In this case I suggest allowing SEA of your brand, because then the publisher will shift your competitor and the loss of your clients will shrink to 3-4%.

Especially smart publishers do it differently =) they exclude the regions where the advertiser or the agency is located, and start to advertise by brand, while hiding the actual click referrer. We noticed this method being used by our market colleagues in the Svyaznoy affiliate program.

That’s why we suggest that all advertisers check search queries in different regions. Google has a special tool, “Preview and Diagnosis of Advertisements”, which allows you to change your current location for complete checking of your advertisement.

Now the advertiser has to make the most important decision:

Whether to allow the publisher to send users directly to the advertiser’s website or whether the publisher has to send the user to an intermediate page first, and only then visit the advertiser’s website. Should the advertiser allow the publisher to send users directly to the advertiser’s website, the following problem will arise: the advertiser and the publisher will start to compete with each other, because search engines allow only one URL with an advertisement in the SEA; i.e., if the advertiser creates an advertisement (the key query is “D&G Dolce&Gabbana purse”) for the web store, while some publisher (the key query is also “D&G Dolce&Gabbana purse”) tries to launch an advertisement for the same web store (with the same domain), then the publisher has to beat the advertiser’s price for his advertisement to be shown. After this, a fight begins, and no one is the winner! That’s why the majority of advertisers prohibit advertisements that lead directly to the advertiser’s website.

What to do in this case? There’s a way out: to allow advertising through a so-called “landing page.”

How does it work? (Example from the TSUM affiliate program)


As you see, 2 advertisements are shown. One of them leads users directly to the TSUM website, while the advertisement with the domain leads first to the landing page. There you, for example, assemble all the bestselling goods, all the store’s advantages – i.e., you make a mini website about the TSUM web store itself. After that, if users like your offer, they visit

This way, you and the advertiser do not compete with each other! Okay, now you’ll say: “There’s a new competitor at this keyword, and now I pay 3.2 instead of 3 rubles for one click!” But are you really sure that it is worthwhile? Or do you still want 95% of users to go to your competitors and buy their goods?

Of course, everyone decides for himself what is more important!


Allowing SEA in your affiliate program is a very effective tool. But when you use it, you should make your own set of rules and introduce them to all your publishers. Then nothing will prevent you from getting additional growth in your affiliate program, and therefore additional income.

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