If you are promoting ringtones offers, then you no doubt have been affected by the recent changes to Google’s AdWords policy regarding mobile offers. The question is, how big of a hit is this to the Ringtones vertical? Is it still possible to market Ringtones on Google?
One thing that can be said about affiliate marketers is that they are a creative bunch. Anytime something like this happens in the industry, there is a few days of moaning and gnashing of teeth, but after that everyone gets back to work and decides that it’s just another obstacle to overcome. Some of the big guys might even be glad for changes like this because it knocks the newbies out of the running for a while. It will take some time for the effects to be fully felt, but perhaps the change could even result in lower click costs, due to less competition.
When you are thrown a curveball from the big G, it’s time to take a look at the variables and see what can be changed to increase conversions. The glory days of 2002 are long gone, there will be no more promotion of ringtones on Google AdWords by telling people that it’s free, when it in fact costs money. Now that you’ve got that ugly “$9.95/month” telling people not to click on your ads, you need to give them some other reason to. Luckily you still have control over some of the most important aspects of your ads, the Headline and the Display URL.
SendMe Mobile recently sent out an alert to their partners pointing out the effect of changing the position of the carrier name in the Display URL has. Most of the ads that you see will put the carrier after the slash, as in “URL.com/Verizon”. SendMe suggests that they have seen an increase in CTR from putting the carrier as a sub-domain at the start of the Display URL as in “verizon.URL.com”.
This makes sense because it appeals to the people looking for a trustworthy source for their ringtones. Now that the pricing is on all the ads, people are going to want to give their money to someone that seems legit, as opposed to “TonsOfFreeTones.com” ($9.95/month).
Of course there is the other alternative, which I’m sure many of you have thought about, which is to get your traffic from somewhere else. I’ve heard more than once that Ringtones have been dead on Google for a long time, and while I disagree, this proves that people are not just relying on Google for 100% of their traffic. It’s time to look at the alternatives, even outside the big 3 search engines. There is lots of 2nd and 3rd tier search engines to be found, and there’s also PPV, not to mention doing specific Media Buys or direct ad placements on websites.
To answer the original question, yes, I think that Ringtones can still make money on Google, but it might be less and less a part of your overall marketing strategy for these offers. It’s time to put on the thinking cap, go back to the drawing board, and get creative.
Now go make some money!