Publishers Clearing House on Monday launches a marketing and affiliate program that will enable the company to support performance-based services, Jason Zeller, senior manager of digital media at PCH, told MediaPost.
The PCH Affiliate Program aims to help affiliate networks and small- to-midsize Web sites -- which Zeller defines as up to 500,000 monthly unique impressions -- drive leads to PCH through branded banner campaigns that advertise sweepstakes offers. Publishers earn a percentage of all email signups through display and banner ads, as well as text links using a cost per acquisition (CPA) model.
The program allows PCH to expand media buying into the performance marketing channel that it had to ignore in the past for lack of technology and tools. It also allows PCH to work directly with more publisher sites, rather than through Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, as well as Casale and ValueClick.
Setting up the program involved building a database filled with creative ads that publishers can pull from, finding a technology partner with the tools to support report tracking, distributing links and banners, and sending emails to communicate with publishers about creative packages and promotions. The company signed a deal with Linktrust that allows publishers to run reports in real-time.
It took a few months for PCH execs, who were new to the affiliate space, to become familiar with processes. They had to determine where to set link caps, how to judge quality leads, and at what point to take an early read on the return on investment to increase CPAs.
The program grew to 150 direct publishers since tests began in October with five sites. "A lot of publishers will only work with you on affiliate programs if they can go direct, so we were eliminating opportunities," Zeller said.
Today, the affiliate program aims to drive consumers to sign up for PCH emails, but in the future the ads and links could expand to drive traffic for PCHLotto.com, PCHgames.com, PCHSearchandWin.com and other PCH sites.