how to choose affiliate products

5 Tips on How to Choose Affiliate Products to Promote (Hint: Use Conversion Data!)

Written by Viacheslav Matyushin & Tony Simonovsky, conversion rate optimization experts from Insight Whale

If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’re always looking for the highest return on your money. By now, you’re probably used to testing and optimizing your affiliate campaigns, so you know that data is crucial in getting the most out of your investment.

At our digital marketing agency, InsightWhale.com, we’ve seen this firsthand, because we have been doing conversion rate optimization (CRO) since 2012!

But here’s the thing… even before you start promoting a product, you can use conversion data to help with how to choose affiliate products to promote. What’s crucial is that you work with sellers who test and optimize their sales funnel!

Pay Attention to Product Conversion Data

When it comes to picking the right affiliate marketing product to promote, one of your most important parameters is the initial $/conversion number.

flat belly tonic $/conversion

Now, you might think the higher that number is, the better the affiliate product. And you are right on that!

But that doesn’t tell the full story. Your next question should be, how does the seller get that conversion?

Because it’s two different types of sales: (1) selling one product for $143 or (2) offering a cheaper product at $49 first, and then gradually getting a customer’s cart value up to $143 with order bumps, upsells, etc. The second one is a much easier sale, and it’s all simply because a seller optimized their sales funnel and added more products to it.

And that leads to considerably more product sales being made to a specific audience. For you as an affiliate marketer, this means more earnings per click (EPC) and more income from each commission you earn!

Monitoring your EPC is the fastest and easiest way to evaluate whether the offer is working after you’ve started promoting it. If your EPC on the product is bigger than your CPC (cost per click), then you are doing fine.

If the EPC goes below CPC, it’s time to look for other affiliate products or work on your conversion rates, to earn more without the need to increase your ads budget.

Now, to use what we present in this article, you do not need to be a data expert. We worked with the best ClickBank sellers in the supplements niche and digital products niche – and having performed more than 1000 A/B tests just in those two areas, we know how to quickly evaluate a sales funnel.

So, in this post, we created a set of 5 tips that are actionable for a beginner ClickBank affiliate.

But if you are not feeling confident with your key affiliate metrics yet, we recommend checking out Spark, the affiliate education platform from Clickbank. It’s free for 7 days, so you can quickly get up to speed on key marketing concepts to help you grow as an affiliate. 

How to Find Affiliate Program with Optimized Sales Funnels

Imagine you find a good number of attractive products in your selected niche. Now, you want to pick the best sellers to start with. Here’s how to choose!

From our conversion optimization work with most successful ClickBank sellers, over a few years of their growth, we learned that most of them use VSL-type funnels.

VSL means Video Sales Letter. It’s a specially designed and scripted sales video that’s shown to a prospective buyer on a sales page. The purpose of a VSL is to further explain a product and lead viewers through the process of making a purchase.

And that means proven tactics and battle-tested funnels to maximize average order value (AOV) on the seller’s side!

That’s how experienced sellers maximize the initial $/conversion number. They primarily work on improving the conversion rate of their funnels. They test everything: video, offers, funnel pages, pop ups, CTAs, copy, images, and so on. We have been leading testing programs for one of the top sellers in the numerology niche for years, so we’ve done it all.

It’s hard to guess conversion rate numbers from the outside of the funnel, without seeing actual data in the funnel. But you can look at the funnel structure on the landing page and affiliate tools page to understand if the funnel was optimized for the best performance. 

If you have a few selected funnels to choose from, you can even quickly go through them as a prospective buyer and see for yourself what experience prospects you supply to a seller will get!

5 Best Ways to Evaluate a VSL Funnel

Which elements indicate a good VSL funnel? We’ll give you the list and description below. If you find these elements on a seller’s product, that means the funnel was tested and optimized to get the maximum quantity of sales possible!

1) The VSL page

vsl funnel

There may or may not be additional conversion elements. Call to action may be there at the beginning or appear later during video. What’s most important is the sales video itself. 

We once optimized the VSL page for an Info Product business in the Psychology/Spiritually space with the test on “Add to cart” button delay timing. 

This test led to purchase conversion rate increase by +111%. The business effect: monthly contribution of an additional $11,000.00 in revenue.

conversion rate optimization test
bayesian split test results

2) Exit popups 

exit popups for vsl page

If you try to exit the VSL page, the optimized funnel will show you a popup window. It’s designed to capture leaving users. 

Usually, a pop-up presents a lead magnet. 

But we experimented with pop-ups content in hundreds of tests. We tried showing other products or different forms of social proof.

In certain cases, with the right content on the pop-up, this simple conversion element can boost sales by 30-35%.

What’s important for you is seeing that it’s there. (There’s +1 point to that seller.)

In one of our tests with video on the exit pop-up, transactions conversion rate increased by 17% on mobile devices for an info oroduct business in Psychology. 

video exit pop-up conversion rate

Business effect of this test: an additional monthly revenue of  $19,600.00.

After you click the buy button on the VSL page, a good VSL funnel will present you with a few more conversion uplift options.

3) OTO page 

one-time offer

OTO stands for One-Time Offer. This is a product offered to a lead going through the funnel, and is presented as an offer that cannot be purchased anywhere else. The lead has this “one-time” opportunity to make the purchase, or else it will go away. It may be accompanied by a timer to increase urgency. 

In our tests, when we added scarcity elements as well, and this combination resulted in a 20-40% uplift in AOV. 

4) Order bumps on affiliate products checkout page

order bump

On the products checkout page, a prospect should be presented with offer bumps, also called order bumps.

Order Bump – a product that can be purchased only as an add-on to the main product being purchased on an order form. Order bumps appear as a checkbox on the order form.

To increase Order Bump sales, they even may be presented as One-Time Offers, to add urgency factor to them. It’s tempting for any buyer who’s already decided to make a product purchase to just click a little checkbox for a bonus product!

5) Upsell product page(s) 

Upsell – one or more affiliate products offered to a lead going through a funnel who has already purchased the core offer, usually priced higher as a way to increase profits gained from that one customer.

The upsell page could be another VSL or just an image with some text elements. Doesn’t matter – if it’s there, it’s already a plus! Most likely all of these elements have been optimized as well. There may be a few upsell products in a quality affiliate program funnel. 

For one of our long-term clients in the personal development space, we tested dozens of upsell products. When we found the best combination of upsells, it resulted in 30% more transactions overall, which is huge. 

upsell product page

How to Choose Affiliate Products Conclusion

If a seller has these 5 elements in his funnel, you can be sure they’ve made a good effort to maximize his conversions. And that in turn will mean maximum EPS for you as their affiliate partner.

You can score a point for the seller’s affiliate marketing funnel based on every conversion element and type of offer we mentioned – and thus, you’re able to compare affiliate marketing funnels between different sellers, or multiple funnels from one seller!

BONUS: 3 Affiliate Marketing Niche Examples!

Example 1 – Health Supplements 

health supplement

Here is how we optimized a health supplement funnel to bring an additional $219.580,00. Affiliates got their share of this profit: https://insightwhale.com/case-study-how-insightwhale-drove-219580-in-increased-revenue-for-a-dietary-supplement-manufacturer/ 

Example 2 – Personal Development

We worked with conversion data and optimization for a well-known seller in the personal development space, Numerologist.com. 

It’s about a 3 min read, and will give you a good overview of the conversion rate optimization process that the best sellers do on their affiliate marketing funnels. In this example, across 43 tests for the New Year promo, we uplifted the upsell conversion rate for key offers by 10–12%: https://insightwhale.com/case-study-boosting-numbers-for-numerologist-com-new-year-promo/

By the way, most of our tips about conversion rate optimization with data you can use on your own affiliate bridge pages as well. If you optimize them just a little, you can get much better EPS results without increasing your ads budget! 

Example 3 – Affiliate Bridge Page CRO

We recently worked with an affiliate blog website in the parenting niche. 

We did a number of tests for them, and I want to give you one of the easiest tips to implement on your affiliate bridge page: do the copy testing first!

Read through the end of this case study to get another critical tip about affiliate page testing.

One of the goals of a bridge page is to capture email leads to grow an “owned” audience for future sales.

We tested the content of the pop-up with a lead subscription form. In this test, we experimented with the copy in the pop-up to decide what would get the highest conversion rate for our client. 

lead subscription form pop-up

The test winner showed a statistically significant uplift of 41% over the control in terms of email subscription CR!

Our test results:

test winner for email subscription conversion rate

And here’s another great result about this test: the clickthrough rate for affiliate links on the bridge page was not affected!  

affiliate link clickthrough rate remained the same

That’s the second CRO tip for affiliate page testing: always watch out for the affiliate links conversion rate, even if you think your page tweaks won’t affect it. The number of clicks on your links is a key metric to monitor.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to choose the best selling products on ClickBank, grow your business income, and find greater affiliate marketing success!

Author’s Bio:

Insight Whales are a pod of optimization junkies navigating through the oceans of data. Their funnel optimization efforts generated >$10,000,000 of additional revenue and saved ad spend for their clients: physical and digital product eCommerce D2C brands.

Tony Simonovsky
Viacheslav Matyushin