Affiliate sites have had a love-hate relationship with advertisers for decades, but recently these marketers are becoming more aggressive in perfecting their craft of capturing and directing the search traffic through their sites.
AdGooroo analyzed paid-search clicks on 164 non-branded online dating keywords running through desktop campaigns, including the phrases "dating sites," "online dating" and "best dating site" from September 1 through November 12, 2017.
The average cost per click for the online dating keyword group during the month came in at $3.67, but the affiliate sites averaged a far higher CPC at $6.36, according to AdGooroo data.
In theory, advertisers believe affiliates who send traffic to the brand's site drive up their cost of acquisition, said Jim Leichenko, director of marketing at AdGooroo.
Taking back the direct clicks requires the brands to become more aggressive and possibly spend more money on paid search and search engine optimization, he said. "In the case of Match.com they still do well, but looking at the three affiliate sites doing better or just as well, you see that Match advertises on each of those affiliate sites," he said. "It's part of doing business on the internet."
The majority of the 775 advertisers sponsoring keyword groups were related to online dating, meetup or matchmaking services, but three of the top four most-clicked advertisers were affiliate sites driving traffic to advertiser sites for a fee.
AdGooroo points to three sites in particular. Capturing a combined 26.7% of all clicks on the dating keywords, Top10BestDatingSites.com ranked No. 1 with a 10.5% click share. Consumer-Rankings.com came in at No. 3 with 8.3% click share. TheTop10Sites.com at No. 4 came in with a 7.9% click share, beating all other advertisers except for Match.com, which ranked at No. 2 with an 8.9% click share.
The three sites — Top10BestDatingSites.com, Consumer-Rankings.com, and TheTop10Sites.com — offer site visitors reviews of dating services such as Zoosk, Match.com, OurTime, Elite Singles and eHarmony. They drive traffic to these dating sites by linking to their sign-up page.
Dating sites are not the only ones facing these challenges. Leichenko also sees this type of activity related to mattress review sites and travel agencies.