Thank You Very Much Microsoft

A few weeks back I read about Microsoft’s new Cashback program where users actually get “cash back” (catchy huh) if they make purchases on items of participating partners found through Live searches. Intrigued, I looked a bit more into it and realized that advertising partners get charged on a CPA basis, not a CPC basis. Paying by “action” is the holy grail for all advertisers. If I can only pay when someone makes a purchase I take all of the guesswork out of click through rates and conversion rates for ad programs. It’s virtually impossible to lose money as long as your CPA is less than your COGS (and that action of course is a sale). Cashback Program

So of course I added “sign up for” to my to-do list. When I finally got to it this afternoon and tried to sign up, it unfortunately looked like a closed beta so I had to fill out a long form and wait to hear back from Microsoft. However, in filling out the survey they asked me what other shopping networks we advertised on:

Shopping Networks

At which point I realized that we only did Y! and Google on that list (and Amazon, which for some reason isn’t on there). I had looked into a few of the other ones in the past but for one reason or another never pulled the trigger. Many of the ones on that list I hadn’t even heard of. I then went to each site and decided that I’ll sign up Tastefully Driven for all of them except the CNET ones (seemed like too much work).

Thanks for the idea Microsoft. Your reward for triggering this thought and introducing me to these shopping networks is that you’ll be getting a much lower cut of our ad spend.

2 comments on Thank You Very Much Microsoft

  1. Adam,

    Have you started to see any results from these additional product search engines?

    I have only used Google Product Search in the past- the others seemed like alot of work for (potentially) little return. (I suppose I should be looking at Yahoo Product Search at the very least.) Are there any others that have shown potential?

    BTW, it doesn’t look like you are specifically tracking your Google Product Search items with Analytics. This may be useful to you:

  2. Adam McFarland says:

    Brandon –

    Glad you left that comment.

    In the future I will just do Y! Product Search and Google Product Search. After going through lengthy sign-up processes, creating custom feeds for each of them, and paying like $.50/click they basically didn’t convert…at all. Total waste of time. Most sites I spent $50-$100 so you’d expect at least 1 conversion. One could argue small sample size, but I also noticed the number of referrals from Analytics were significantly lower than what they said they sent me in a lot of cases. Just didn’t all add up to me and seemed like a waste of effort in retrospect.

    Y! is totally worth it in my opinion. The CPC are reasonable and the quality of visitor has been solid, converting very well.

    Now, as far as tracking Google Product Search with Analytics – I had no idea it was that easy. It was something I had heard about and – to be honest – forgotten about. I planned on looking into some of the advanced features of Analytics and never quite got to it.

    Anyway, it’s on my to-do list now so THANK YOU for the info and giving me the push I needed to put this in place. I always wondered what % of organic Google sales were from Product Search…


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