What is EPC in Affiliate Marketing?
As a blogger influencer or content creator, when you start using affiliate marketing programs, you might be delighted at those first few clicks and dollars. But to build a long-term, sustainable affiliate business requires a deeper understanding of the key metrics which affect campaign performance, ROI, and where improvements can be made.
These metrics (known in the business as KPIs or key performance indicators) include:
- Conversion rates
- Drop-off rates
- And the key one for affiliates, is earnings per click (EPC).
The straightforward definition of EPC is the amount of money you make for each click your audience makes. Knowing your EPC is an effective metric for measuring campaign performance. Different marketing channels, content, creatives, call to action, and various other factors will impact EPC.
At the practical level, it could be a few cents for small products like art supplies, batteries, or groceries, or big bucks for a holiday, electronics purchases, or a financial product.
How Do You Calculate EPC?
To work out your EPC, you must look at the revenue generated from your affiliate marketing campaign and divide it by the number of clicks for that affiliate offer. So, for example, $120 in income from 60 clicks equals $2 EPC.
It is important to note that EPC does not determine if your campaign is profitable as it is calculated on the gross revenues, i.e., before any expenses are taken into consideration. However, knowing the EPC can certainly guide you toward profitability. For example, if you are running a PPC campaign and your average cost per click is $3 but your EPC is $2, then you are losing $1 each time you receive a click.
Most affiliate programs provide a dashboard that will show your EPC figure and other key performance indicators. However, you might want to break them down into individual affiliate products or work out your income EPC across multiple affiliate programs. Therefore, knowing how to work out the EPC is vital for assessing performance.
Where Else Will You See EPC Numbers?
Before you even sign up with an affiliate marketing program, you might see an average or typical EPC figure touted as one of the benefits of joining. Many affiliate programs provide the average EPC across their affiliates for each offer.
This is a valuable piece of information that many affiliate marketers overlook but should be crucial in assessing your performance. By knowing the average EPC for the offer, you can very quickly determine if your campaigns are underperforming, or if you are doing a sterling job and raising the bar.
How Does EPC Help Me as an Affiliate Marketer?
The key to performance marketing success is data. This means you should be tracking everything you do to be able to accurately measure performance and make the best and most informed decisions. While instinct and experience can guide your marketing efforts, this is way too subjective and should not be solely relied upon. Data and analytics provide an objective view.
EPC is a fast and effective way to know exactly which channels and offers are working best. Knowing your EPC is vital if you are running multiple campaigns across various channels with different offers. Calculating the EPC of campaigns also provides a standard metric that allows you to compare the performance of different niches and where you should potentially be focusing more efforts.
As an affiliate, one of your primary objectives is to put the most targeted and relevant offers in front of your audience. The beauty of affiliate marketing is you can choose the products or categories that people see, and by understanding your EPC, you can very quickly determine what works and what doesn’t.
How to optimize your EPC?
Marketing optimization is a methodical and systematic approach to making tweaks and adjustments to a campaign and measuring the results. Essential to this optimization process is making one change at a time and then capturing sufficient data to determine the effect of the change. Changing too many things at once will not allow you to isolate which actions were effective and which weren’t.
While you may want to rush through this optimization process, making decisions with a very limited amount of traffic or insufficient data can result in distorted information and possibly even be detrimental to a well-performing campaign.
Before you even start optimizing your EPC, make sure that all these fundamentals are in place:
- Ensure you are addressing the right audience, market, or vertical
- Use strong SEO principles, traffic sources, and links
- Use well-designed landing pages with quality content
- Implement effective CTAs (Calls to Action)
- Innovate with your content by adding videos, infographics, snippets, and imagery
- Focus content on the right geo-locations, be it local, national, or global
- Ensure prominent but not spammy affiliate link placement
- Implement analytics such as Google Analytics and other 3rd party campaign tracking solutions
- Test all your affiliate links to ensure they are tracking correctly
- If possible, add a unique identifier to each affiliate link so you can identify which links users click the most, and which ones result in the most conversions.
- Make sure your site or blog is fast loading, easy to navigate, and most importantly, works really well on mobile devices.
Once you have these key points covered, you will then have a base to work with and can start collecting data to establish a baseline performance that will be used to compare the EPC results after each optimization step.
How Do You Boost EPC with Sales Revenues?
Focusing on EPC itself, you should always be looking to boost the figure, be it organically or with paid methods. Growing your audience is the best way to get more clicks but without a proportional increase in sales from those clicks, there will be no increase in EPC.
Here are some key steps to boost your EPC:
- A/B test ad copy and banners – Often referred to as split testing, many affiliate programs provide basic tools for this. However, there are many 3rd-party, advanced tools, that automate this process like – https://www.optimizely.com/
- Test different products – Knowing exactly which products deliver strong ROI will let you know which products to push and which ones to drop.
- Fine-tune your targeting – Based on the analytics data, such as geolocation and what people are searching for in different regions will steer your decisions regarding the most relevant content and offers for each region.
- Text Links vs. Banner Ads – Test the performance of text links vs banner ads. Often, affiliate text links embedded in the right position in your posts and other content can outperform banner ads.
- Test Different Landing Pages – Many affiliate programs provide varying landing pages for you to use. Each of these landing pages may perform differently based on your traffic sources and target audience. Don’t limit yourself just to what the affiliate program provides and create some of your own landing pages.
- Call to Action testing – The power and effect of CTAs cannot be overstated. The tiniest changes to a CTA can have dramatic results. Using an A/B testing solution, you can constantly add new CTAs and measure the effects.
- New Traffic Sources – Trying new traffic sources is essential as different sources will produce varying results. However, before you start throwing money at new paid campaigns, you want to have a baseline EPC from existing campaigns to measure the new campaigns against.
Decrease Bounce Rate to Increase EPC
Your promotional and content efforts will count for nothing if you have a high bounce rate, i.e., people visit your content but leave early and do not buy the product. Essentially, if the buyers are coming but not taking action, your EPC and ROI will suffer.
Knowing your bounce rate is a vital piece of the puzzle for optimizing EPC. There are many reasons why you may have a high bounce rate and once again this is where data plays a key role.
Here are some key reasons for a high bounce rate that must be addressed to increase your EPC:
- Poor Quality Content – When a potential customer reaches a landing page or your website/blog and the content is poorly written with errors and does not provide value for the reader, they will leave.
- Pointless and Badly Structured Content – We live in an era of information overload and decreasing attention spans, so visitors to your content don’t have the patience to wade through endless and pointless content. If the article topic does require a large amount of information, structuring the content carefully to make it user-friendly is essential to avoid visitors bouncing.
- Bad Design – A poorly designed site will instantly chase visitors away. While you might think that making your site eccentric and flashy looks cool, your site visitors might not think so too. Elements like colours, fonts, font size, ease of use, accessibility, etc. all play an important role.
- Incorrect Targeting – Putting the right message in front of the right audience is a fundamental pillar of marketing. For example, if you have a beauty blog with ads for forex trading, you will probably not see any conversions. The effects of poor targeting, especially with paid traffic campaigns, can be extremely costly.
- Page Load Speed – This is a key factor that even Google pays attention to and you should too. The slower your site, the higher the bounce rate.
- Misleading Ads – You might be tempted to put catchy sales messages to grab viewer attention but making false promises or not matching the ads to the content will instantly result in visitors leaving as you are not addressing their specific needs.
- Bad User Experience – Providing a good user experience is vital. If users can’t find the information quickly, they will leave. In the same breath, too many ads on a page, or annoying pop-ups can all contribute to a bad user experience.
- Mobile Optimization – The majority of web traffic today is from mobile devices, so make sure your site works seamlessly on mobile devices.
- Localization – If, for example, your content is in English, but you have campaigns targeting countries that are not English, your visitors will bounce. Localizing content will get your visitors engaged with your content and not simply turn and run.
Tips to Increase Your EPC
When it comes to performance marketing, sometimes the smallest adjustments can have a dramatic impact on your EPC. Here are some tips to increase your EPC:
- Do it Better Than the Competitors – Whatever your competitors are doing, you need to do it better. Don’t settle for “good enough.” Analyze what the competitors have and find a way to elevate and distinguish yourself from the masses. Make sure to assess your performance based on data.
- Retarget Your Audience – Some of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to increase your EPC is to retarget your audience. You can use email newsletters (if you have collected their emails), social media posts, retargeting ad networks, pop-ups, and exit banners. By reinforcing the marketing message, you can convert additional visitors.
- Scale the Winners and Scrap the Losers – You will inevitably have some campaigns that just don’t perform no matter how much you try to optimize them. On the other hand, when you’ve got campaigns that are performing well with a strong EPC and profitability, by scrapping the losing campaigns, you can redirect your time, money, and efforts into scaling up the winning campaigns.
- Diversify Traffic Sources – Different traffic sources all perform differently. Testing different traffic sources with your ads and content can uncover golden nuggets of traffic that can make all the difference.
- Think Outside the Box – Don’t settle for the same cookie-cutter approach as your competitors, as you don’t know whether their campaigns are successful with high EPCs. While competitors, especially big brands can serve as inspiration, you need to figure out your secret recipe. Think outside the box and be creative. Don’t be afraid of testing new things.
What Are the Highest EPC Affiliate Programs?
It goes without saying that you would want to find and join affiliate programs with the highest EPCs, but this does not guarantee you success or that you will even achieve similar EPCs.
The EPCs disclosed by affiliate networks should be viewed as a loose reference point. Because these EPCs are calculated as an average across all affiliates promoting a specific offer, it includes the poor performers and top performers too.
What works for one affiliate to achieve an above-average EPC, may not work for you. Therefore, EPC should not be viewed in isolation when choosing an affiliate program or offer.
The bottom line is the highest paying affiliate program is the one that works best for you. Remember, performance marketing is all about testing, tracking, optimizing, scaling, and repeating. The only way to know what works best is to test for yourself.
Best EPC Affiliate Marketing Networks
Below we provide a list of well-rated affiliate marketing programs, sorted by category, that can deliver a mix of ease-of-use, and high EPCs to get your affiliate business cruising.
These networks provide access to a wide range of products, brands, and marketing opportunities to their affiliates. Most will show the EPC for each brand or product to help affiliates identify good candidates for their pages.
To attract affiliates, most offer a simplified sign-up process, and a broad choice of product links. This makes them ideal for affiliates with a wide range of content categories, or for those experimenting with new niches.
Awin has what they call the Awin Index, which is a score assigned to each affiliate program that gives insight into their performance. This score is calculated based on conversion rates, approval percentage, validation time, and EPC. EPC with these other factors included illustrates that just looking at EPC out of context is not an accurate indication of possible returns.
As a high-performance affiliate marketing network, we at Algo-Affiliates offer our customers technology powered by a traffic monetization algorithm that dynamically adapts ads for the target audience to drive up CTR and EPCs using our Smartlinks. Our comprehensive dashboard and analytics are easy to use and provide valuable insights to help you make the best marketing decisions.
With a history dating back to the 90s, Ratuken is a major player in affiliate marketing. It offers an easy sign-up process and provides personalized offers to your audience in real-time through a proprietary API to deliver a high EPC for affiliates.
CJ Affiliates delivers some $16 billion in revenue annually, making it a major player in the market. Offering a “seamless global affiliate platform” CJ uses an EPC average and other data and expertise to deliver success for its affiliates.
Amazon is a massive retail brand and is happy to share a percentage of the profits from any sale across its sprawling digital shelves. Signing up is quick and easy, but affiliates have to pick and choose product links and place most of them manually. Amazon doesn’t show EPC on its analytics page, but you can divide the total advertising fee by the number of clicks on the earnings tab to get your EPC.
1. How do I make more money by tracking EPCs?
The key is to focus on improving your current EPC by increasing the value of the products you sell, or the number of sales you generate as a percentage of clicks. If you get 10 sales per thousand clicks (1%), you can try doubling it by showing the advert more often or sharing it on social media. You can also increase your content output and show the product multiple times per post.
Alternatively, you can focus on higher-value products. For example, moving up from budget TVs (or whatever your niche is suitable for) to mid-range and higher-end models. You might see fewer sales, but the return on a $4,000 TV sale would be better than the return on three or four $400 TV sales.
You can take the same approach for business software (promote the professional or enterprise package over the startup one!), baby strollers (go for big brand names over lower-cost models), and so on.
2. Should I trust average EPCs on affiliate program sites?
Averages are only ever a guide, and if you are a beginner to affiliate marketing, your performance will likely be a lot lower, which might discourage you. Instead, treat them as a goal, not a guarantee of income, and when you beat them, you can feel really good about your efforts. However, do not become blinded by chasing a target EPC and not paying attention to profitability.
3. What other ways can I boost my EPC?
If the program allows it, you can push your product links through web pop-ups, place them in newsletter emails, and share them on social media. There are also tricks you can use like the ThirstyAffiliates app for WordPress that cloaks affiliate links, allowing you to use and manage them more easily across your content.
Another way is to follow seasonal or periodical market trends. Christmas is a massive selling period for consumer goods. The start of the tax year is when businesses have the most money to spend on new products. And New Year’s is the best time to promote diets and holidays.
Many affiliate programs will remind you of what and when to sell at key times, but you can try your own promotional ideas into the mix. Pay close attention to global news and events that present opportunities. For example, when Apple launches the next-generation iPhone, you will want to be ready to capitalize on this.
4. What affiliate marketing programs should I use?
They all offer various promises on returns, the only way to find out which is best is to try them consistently, either based on their average EPC, or one with the most appropriate brands and partners for your subject area. Track your EPC and returns over a reasonable period of time and see which affiliate program performs the best, given that these results could change over time as your audience grows and product trends shift.