To Direct Link or Not To Direct Link?

by Josh Todd on April 21, 2011

It’s one of the oldest questions in Affiliate Marketing: to direct link or not to direct link? Google made their stance on the issue pretty clear when they all but banned direct linking on AdWords. Now they don’t even like so-called “bridge pages” which lead to affiliate offers with little content on them.

But still, traffic sources such as Facebook and PPV still allow for direct linking. I get asked almost every single day whether you should direct link a campaign or create a landing page for it. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer. The truth is (and has always been) that some campaigns work better direct linked and some work better with landing pages. Neither method works better all of the time. You need to test it out.

That being said, a strategy that I have seen work well for affiliates is to direct link a campaign to quickly evaluate whether or not it has potential before they go to the trouble of building out a landing page. Especially if it is in a brand new niche that you have not promoted before, where you don’t have any creatives or landers sitting around ready to be used.

It’s easy to throw together a direct link campaign on PPV or Facebook. Run some traffic to it, and if you are getting enough conversions to break even, or even just under, it’s a good sign that the offer has some life to it. That’s when you can buckle down and put together a landing page to bring the ROI into the black and start making money.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

april April 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

sound words, Josh.


jack April 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

test between landing page and direct link


Brenton Wadkins April 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Direct linking is great! I have a 6 figure campaign on facebook right now that actually performs better direct linked rather than a LP or a iframe with sound.


Jason April 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm

What about the aspect of the cookie being set with direct linking. Isn't that an inherent advantage at times? That is if assuming the offer's page converts at all. Or is it recommended to umm set the cookie with LP's too anyway?

p.s. I'm rolling with PPV now. Not making a dime yet, but have p202 set up and launched my first two small campaigns to test the waters and learn how to do it by actually going through the process. Now I'm trying to view some competing pops on my targets to see what is already out there and what I might be missing as far as types of LP's to create (while I learn this in the beginning).

(Oh I did learn one thing about PPV from experience the first day. Avoid using the search engine syntax on the PPV network because there are many low quality–read 'spammy'–search engines they seem to pop on so you'll end up with a lot of pops but zero conversions. So I shut that down right away and am just doing URL's, but not getting very many pops to be honest. I have a suspicion that might be due to my PPV network's quality though. I'm trying to figure out if MT's limits the # of daily pops (as they should like trafficvance) or if they just leave it unlimited and annoy the hell out of users thus lowering the quality of traffic. I've put the question in to MT's network manager, so we'll see on that.)


Josh_Todd April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

With CPA offers, there isn't really much of a cookie factor. It's not like Amazon or eBay, where stuffing the cookie works because they will most likely return to the site later and make a purchase. Usually with CPA if you don't sell them on the spot then you aren't going to sell them at all.Personally, I haven't had the best success with MT. I would suggest using Lead Impact or TrafficVance for the best results.


Jason April 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Ahhh That makes sense.

And I keep hearing good things about TV.… TV's DLS does seem to offer good 'value' for a user (being games and not just screensavers or toolbars) and by limiting to 4 pops/day, I suppose I can see how TV would stay a high quality network. BTW, I found out from my acct mgr that MT is once every half hour at most, supposedly that is. B/c I saw way more than that myself the first time I installed the adware, so who really knows.


Jason April 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Just got my first PPV conversion! $3.15 Woot Woot! lol It's kind of cool to see P202 change to the dollar sign for a converted click. I didn't know it did that. 🙂


Kevin Fleming April 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I've been doing affiliate marketing for 6 or 7 years and still direct link (cloaked of course) at first just to gauge the general quality of traffic etc.. If I spend $20 and make $10 or even $5 I then will go ahead and build out a landing page or cross test with other offers etc. Once you get a routine down that works for you, you can just rinse and repeat again, and again, and again.


Josh_Todd April 28, 2011 at 6:27 am

Couldn't agree more.


williams May 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I almost deleted this post in my inbox. Thank God I did not.
I don't hear from you often dude!
You got a lot of golden nuggets here.


Sabinder May 15, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Great info..Till now I am investing my money in PPC campaigns only and getting a decent amount of ROI from it. In this post I got to know about PPV and affiliate and also users like "Jason" got PPV conversions of $3.15 which is really great. I would definitely try on this technique of getting traffic to my site.


Ryan Eagle May 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

We love seeing quality landing pages at EWA.


Valplan May 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I have not had any problem with affiliate, and direct linking. In fact, I am also in the process of putting together a 6 figure campaign. It’s all a numbers game.


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