Case Study: How We Got a 33.9% Amazon Click Through Rate with Stone Cold Traffic
Here at the Thrive Themes marketing office, sometimes we go a little overboard.
We wanted to test just how powerful quizzes could be for an online business.
Do do this, we created a one page affiliate site consisting of nothing but a quiz, then sent a bunch of new visitors to it to see what would happen.
And since we're always up for a challenge, we made a stretch goal to see if we could make the experiment profitable.
If we managed to succeed, we would essentially be creating an automated money-making machine… resulting in the subsequent plan to move to the Bahamas and sip on cocktails for the remainder of our comfortable lives.
Either way, we were set to learn something.
So what happened to our retirement plans? Am I writing this while sunbathing on the shores of Paradise Island?
Nope. Not quite. But we discovered some amazing building blocks that could work towards a very successful strategy.
The only way we could have learned this was by testing, by doing something to find out where to pivot.
Luckily you don't have to start from where we did, you can pick up from where we left off. We’re going to show you exactly what we did, exactly what we did wrong, and how you can make use of all the good bits to increase profits in your own business.
Our Retirement Blueprint
If you’ve read any of our latest blog posts, you probably understand the power of quizzes for lead generation. What you may not have realized is how effective quizzes can be for affiliate and product websites.
A well made quiz on this kind of site is like having a digital shop assistant.
By asking a series of fun but segmenting questions, you can get your visitors to tell you exactly what they’re looking for. This gives you a chance to present them with the product best suited to their needs. In other words, the product that's most likely to get them to click buy.
We wanted to test this out. So this is what we did:
Made a ‘What Valentine’s Day Gift Should You Get Your Man’ quiz.
Drove targeted Facebook traffic to it.
Recommended products with Amazon affiliate links, based on the quiz taker's result.
We ran the quiz in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Let's Geek Out on Some Numbers
First, I want to show you the numbers from our experiment, so you can gauge if there’s a way to turn this strategy into something that might work for your business.
Later, I’m going show you the exact steps we took to put the whole experiment together, so you can reproduce the parts that make sense for you.
For now, here’s a quick overview of the Valentine’s Day quiz numbers:
Note: The Amazon click through rate here is referring to the percentage of people who clicked through to Amazon from the quiz results page (where the products are displayed). The overall click through rate, meaning the percentage of visitors that clicked through from Facebook ending up on Amazon, was 33.9%.
A Success or a Failure?
Certain parts of this experiment resulted in some very impressive numbers.
Clicks and Conversions for the Win!
86% of people who clicked the Facebook Ads completed the quiz and saw the results page. On top of that, 39% of people who made it to the results page ended up clicking through to Amazon.
That's huge! Especially considering this traffic consisted of people who were just happily browsing Facebook, with no intention of purchasing anything.
Amazon Conversions for the Win Solid Average
An Amazon conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who end up purchasing something after clicking through to Amazon on your affiliate links. The Amazon conversion rate from the experiment was 7%, which is average to slightly high for most niches.
So why aren’t we all in the Bahamas?
We identified two main factors preventing this strategy from becoming profitable. Depending on your situation and business, you may already have the solutions in place.
Your Cut of Each Eventual Sale
Amazon commissions are generally quite low. This, coupled with promoting such low price items (between $5 and $50), lead to some pretty lack luster figures.
Given the cost of the traffic we generated, our commissions per sale would have to be $29.54 just to break even. This means the value of the average purchase would have to be $445.74.
This is no easy feat. Especially considering the conversion rate would most likely drop with higher ticket items.
Increasing your value per sale can be done by selling your own products or by using affiliate programs that give higher commissions than Amazon. When relying on paid traffic, these two options are probably the only ways to make the strategy profitable.
Getting Enough Eyeballs
Based on our experiment, the cost per visitor was the biggest factor in making profit unachievable. Each new visitor cost us $0.70 in Facebook ad fees.
If your site is already drawing a steady flow of new visitors, you essentially cut out all of the experiment's expenses. Having this kind of organic traffic makes it a lot easier to profit from your quiz.
But don’t go counting your chickens just yet. If you use the exact numbers from our experiment, the model still isn’t overly profitable.
Say you have 1000 new visitors to your site each week, and around 500 of them take the quiz. Running exactly the same quiz, 433 would end up on the results page, 146 would click through to Amazon, resulting in roughly $14.54 a week in Amazon affiliate commissions.
$14.54 a week is nothing to write home about. But at least it would be $14.54 profit.
The Winners in this Spaghetti Western
The sweet spot lies in combining the two; access to cheaper (or free) traffic, and higher commissions per sale.
If your business involves any of the following characteristics, chances are you can turn this experiment into a profitable strategy:
- A niche involving higher-ticket items, combined with existing traffic that’s ready to buy (such as a product review site)
- Using affiliate programs with higher commission rates than Amazon
- Selling your own products
- Access to a steady stream of new traffic from unpaid or existing sources
Making the Non-So Money-Making Machine (In Less Than a Day)
Perched at my usual spot in a local café, armed with this crazy idea and the entire team’s hopes of the Bahamas resting on my shoulders, I set out to make our automated money-making machine.
Here’s exactly what I did:
Making the Quiz
I used Thrive Quiz Builder to create the quiz. The reason Thrive Quiz Builder is such a game changer for this type of quiz is because you can show different products based on the quiz takers' results.
1. Identify a Topic Based on Your Quiz Goal
First of all, you need to establish what your quiz is going to be about.
If your goal is to increase social shares, choose a fun topic interesting to your niche. For example, on a baseball bat comparison site, a good quiz topic for social shares would be ‘which famous baseball player are you,’ or ‘only true baseball fans can get 100% on this quiz, can you?’ Fun and infinitely shareable.
If you want to know more about creating an irresistible quiz check out this post about what makes quizzes go viral.
If your goal is to increase affiliate sales, a quiz topic like ‘the ultimate [product] selector’ or ‘get the perfect [product] for your needs' would be more appropriate.
2. Define the Results and Products
Choose the products or results you want to drive your quiz-taker to. For the Valentine’s Day post we identified six different man types. Here’s an example of the results page for the ‘Modern Man’:
Each button and image linked to Amazon through an affiliate link.
We used the Dynamic Content feature in Thrive Quiz Builder to show a different selection of gifts depending on the result.
For the ‘Sports Fan’ type, it was ticket stub scrapbooks and LED helmets. For the ‘Man-Child’ type, it was VR headsets and magnetic putty (which actually sold surprisingly well).
Of course, you don't have to create 'man types' or groups of products like we've done.
Your results could just be the products themselves. In the baseball bat example, your results could simply be the ‘Easton S50 Youth Bat,’ the ‘Louisville Slugger Prime Bat,’ and the 'DeMarini Voodoo Youth Bat.'
3. Build out the Quiz
From here you can create the questions. Our questions were very basic, but we made sure to use images in the answers to keep the quiz-takers engaged the whole way through. Our goal was to get them all the way to the results page.
I got all the images for this quiz from Pexels. The quickest workflow I found was to download the images at a custom size, 200 pixels wide.
This saves you from having to resize and compress each image. Pexels is pretty good at giving you the smallest file size possible.
The only thing left to do was to customize the Splash Page template (the introduction page to the quiz).
We kept ours simple, but I’d recommend using Thrive Quiz Builder's built in A/B testing feature to test a few different Splash Page variations.
You don’t need a Splash Page, but having one allows Thrive Quiz Builder to get the initial statistics on how many people started the quiz. This data will show up in your Flow Report to give you a better whole quiz overview.
Generally there’s a drop off at each quiz step, so you’ll need to weigh up if this data is worth it for you, or if you’d like to lead visitors straight into answering questions.
In order to run a real experiment we needed traffic. Since we were running the quiz on a previously unused site, all of the traffic had to be paid.
1. Create Ads and Images
We chose Facebook ads as our medium for paid traffic, and made up some quick images and ad copy to drive clicks.
We tested different image and text combinations with AdEspresso. Alternatively, you can use the native Ads Manager within Facebook, which is free (minus the cost of the ads).
These were the two winning variations:
Again, these images were just from free stock sites. The text was overlayed using PicMonkey, which is a free photo editing program.
2. Choose the Right Audience
This is one of the most important factors in getting your cost per click down.
We went pretty general with our audience targeting, but made sure to include:
- Women in a relationship
- Women living in the USA
- Women who liked female focused magazines and quiz sites such as Cosmopolitan and Playbuzz.
This assured the women who saw the ads were familiar with these types of quizzes and (one would assume) enjoyed taking them.
3. Drive Paid Traffic
Over 11 days, from the 1st of February to the 12th of February (two days before Valentine’s Day) we spent a total of $709 on Facebook ads for the quiz. This lead to 32,224 impressions and 1,014 clicks.
Click to enlarge
Our overall cost per click was 0.70c, but on the winning variations it got down to 0.39c and 0.47c per click.
This is important to note because as you hone your ads and your targeting, your cost per click will get cheaper and cheaper.
These definitely aren’t the best results you can get on Facebook, but the execution was rough on purpose. We wanted to see if we could create this money-making machine quickly, and with the average person’s resources and level of Facebook marketing knowledge.
Get Yourself to the Bahamas
While the experiment didn’t turn a profit, through testing, we learned the exact metrics we’d need to improve to make the strategy a success.
Given enough time, tweaking and testing, eventually our dream of the Bahamas could have become a reality.
Instead, we’re going to get back to work and pass the baton on to you. Take what we’ve learned (and lost) and apply those lessons to your own business.
There’s no denying the quiz numbers are impressive. From the 1,014 clicks onto the site (comprised completely of cold traffic), 33.9% ended up clicking onto Amazon.
Now it’s just about finding the right way to utilize this powerful tool in your own business.
Do you have any ideas? Do you think this strategy could work for you?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!