Archive for Affiliate Tools
Our iPhone App has been updated to be compatible with iOS 5.1. We’ve also checked to ensure that when iOS 6 is available this fall, the AvantLink Mobile App will be compatible with that version as well. If you have an Apple device and aren’t currently using the app, go to the App Store and search for “AvantLink Mobile” to get real-time statistics directly on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
If you’re an AvantLink Affiliate you probably already noticed, but yesterday we rolled out a killer upgrade to the former “Tools” index page within the internal account management interface. It occurred to us that although we have all this educational material (like individual tool/screencasts tutorials) on the public tool pages, this info was not available on the internal pages…which is probably where you spend all your time when using our site.
On our main internal (header) nav the link for “Tools” is now “Ad Tools”. Note when you hover over “Ad Tools” a drop down menu is displayed (with sub-menus as well), allowing you access to the tool configuration forms right from the main nav. Once you go to the “Ad Tools” page you’ll notice a more organized list that includes icons specific to each tool we offer. Underneath each tool snippet/listing you’ll also find links for access to the tool configuration forms.
Although the “Ad Tools” page looks different, access to everything you need in terms of configuration and tool subscription management is available from that page just like you’re used to. It’s important to also note that now we have dedicated pages for each tool. On these tool pages (accessible by clicking tool names on the index, or via the sidebar navigation) you can find a brief description as well as the embedded screencast tutorial for that tool.
Please submit a comment below to let us know what you think!
Heads up all you affiliates who use Drupal, this post is for you! Recently AvantLink has made an effort to certify third party affiliate marketing tools that can be used with our network. Today, we’re adding another tool to that list! The AvantLinker Drupal module brings all of the functionality of the AvantLink WordPress plugin to those of you using Drupal. Here’s what the AvantLinker description page says:
This project is for affiliates of the AvantLink Affiliate Network. It’s purpose is to give the same functionality as the AvantLink WordPress Add-on developed by AvantLink. The three areas of utility are:
- Product Search allows the display of a little search form that will yield links, thumbnail images, and product descriptions for the products found. You will get a listing representing products from all the merchants you have signed up with.
- Related Products allows you to pick keywords that when found in your text will produce a “related products” ad in your sidebar.
Whoa! Not too shabby considering this tool is completely free and has been verified by us to track properly. The AvantLinker module is live and available right now through Drupal.org. Major props to John Powell for the work on this absolutely stellar project.
The AdRotatorPlus tool by AfflResources gives affiliates a very easy way to select any and all banner ads they’d like to advertise on their site and build a widget to randomly display a new one each time the page is loaded! Say goodbye to the days of static banner ads!
AdRotatorPlus lets affiliates build a widget that displays one or more pre-selected banner advertisements from multiple merchants. Affiliates can customize their widget and specify how many rows, columns and ads they’d like to display. The picture to the left is an example of what the tool looks like with a 2×2 row & column set up with banner ads from several different merchants. Because more than four banner ads were added to this AdRotatorPlus widget, each time the page was refreshed new banner ads would be displayed!
Pretty cool, eh? We think so!
This is a really powerful new way to display what has become the most quintessential tool of the affiliate marketing industry. The AdRotatorPlus tool is available right now through the AvantLink App Market, so start mixing up the way you display your banner ads!
Recently, AvantLink launched the groundbreaking and, frankly, freaking awesome AvantLink App Market. The concept is simple- open our network up to third party developer who have great ideas for affiliate marketing tools, allow them to build those tools, and then make them available to all of the affiliates on our network. Neat, right? We certainly think so. Think “iPhone App Store for affiliate marketing”, except all of the tools in our market are completely free to you!
So, in an effort to keep you up-to-date with the apps that are available, we’ve decided to start this blog series we’re conveniently calling the App Market Tool Profiles! Today, we’ll be looking at one of the applications that was available from day one of the app market’s launch, the Buy Button by VR Interactive.
The Buy Button is a handy widget that allows you to insert a large “Buy Now” button into a specific page, post, or sidebar spot on your website. Not surprisingly, the button links to any product of your choice by either copy/pasting a product URL from one of your merchants’ websites or by browsing and selecting a product through the Buy Button configuration interface. Configuring and setting up the tool is easy via the app’s button builder, but for you more tech-savvy affiliates, you’re also given the option to use the API for configuration.
Additionally, the BuyButton acts as a price comparison tool on products based on search criteria you’ve specified. Here’s what VR Interactive said about it on their blog:
Likewise, the blogger could highlight a search of products that would fit their post. So, say the blogger is writing about the best type of softshell jacket that a backcountry skier would want, he/she could use BuyBtn to generate the code that would reveal the results of the search. So, it could show numerous jackets from one brand in one attractive window that would open from the Buy Now button. read more..
Where might using the Buy Button be a good idea? Any pages on your website that focus on a particular product are a perfect opportunity to insert the Buy Button. In particular, affiliates who post product reviews could really benefit from having an obvious solution for where to buy the product being reviewed. Check out the Buy Button today in the AvantLink App Market!
Back in October we announced the launch of Affiliate marketing’s first application market, where independent third party developers can submit and monetize Affiliate tools they create using our API.
With this tool Affiliates can configure dynamic “deal at a time” offers (see screengrab below of configuration screen & widget preview) from their associated AvantLink merchants on their web sites. Color schemes are customizable to fit any site’s look and feel. Click the logo above for more info, or for existing AvantLink Affiliates just login and click “Tools” on the main menu, then “App Market” at the bottom of the page.
More information on the AvantLink App Market:
- AvantLink App Market Affiliate program details
- FREE Affiliate access to App Market tools
- YouTube: AvantLink App Market Prezi
- ABestWeb: First! Affiliate Marketing App Market
- PRWeb: Affiliate Marketing App Market by AvantLink
- PitchEngine: Affiliate App Market by AvantLink
- AMNavigator: 3 Good News for Affiliates
Affiliates using our raw datafeed file solution should take note that we now support a feature called alternative datafeed download types. Specifically, it is now possible to append a parameter to your datafeed download URL and trigger the retrieval of an entirely different set of information from what you normally download. There are two alternative types available at present: pricing and variants.
By appending “&type=pricing” to your datafeed download URL, you will receive all available pricing history (price changes) for the products normally listed in your datafeed. For instance, a datafeed configured for Eddie Bauer might have a normal download URL such as:
(note this URL is just for demonstration and does not resolve to an actual datafeed download)
Using a modified URL of:
might yield data such as:
"Product SKU","Date","Retail Price","Sale Price" "17064","2011-08-31 05:04:14","6.50","6.50" "17326","2011-08-31 05:04:14","44.50","44.50" "17326","2011-10-04 04:00:18","59.95","59.95" "17327","2011-08-31 05:04:14","44.50","44.50"
If instead you append “&type=variants” to your datafeed download URL, then you will retrieve all product variations, e.g. size, color, etc. using the “Variants XML” field (if it is populated – not all merchants supply this information) for the products listed in your datafeed. Affiliates who have looked at or worked with the “Variants XML” field previously may find this option simpler to use since the data has been “expanded” from a single XML snippet to a fully-parsed data set. As an example, using the same Eddie Bauer datafeed download link mentioned above, but modifying it for variants information:
results in data such as the following:
"Product SKU","sku","upc","vendor_sku","size","color","style","retail_price","sale_price" "17064","752680","","17064","ONESZE","Nautical Blue","","6.50","6.50" "17064","767559","","17064","ONESZE","Medium Heather Gray","","6.50","6.50" "17326","105678","","17326","L","Black","","59.95","59.95" "17326","105680","","17326","M","Black","","59.95","59.95" "17326","105682","","17326","S","Black","","59.95","59.95"
In both cases the alternative download will contain a “Product SKU” field which you can use to match up to the “SKU” field of records in your normal datafeed download. Additionally, the file format (CSV, tab-delimited text, or XML) and compression options (gzip, zip, or no compression) for alternative downloads will be as specified in your datafeed configuration.
Keep in mind you don’t need to change anything with regard to your datafeed subscriptions – you need only append this new “type” parameter to the datafeed download URL if you want to utilize one of these alternative datafeed downloads.
AvantLink made the decision recently to start tracking in detail the pricing changes for records within our merchant product datafeeds. While traditionally we have kept track of only the current price for a product, we were able to use our data backups to reconstruct monthly snapshots of the pricing for all of our datafeeds; then since mid-September 2011 the pricing history has been noted for every change in a merchant’s feed. This allows us to build – and provide to affiliates – full pricing history for products across the entire duration of a merchant’s association with AvantLink.
This kind of information can be invaluable in building advanced tools such as pricing history charts or trend analyzers and predictors (e.g. how long can the price go).
The first of our tools to provide access to this data is the ProductPriceCheck API module. By utilizing the “show_pricing_history” parameter of that module, you can retrieve all known price points for a given product. For instance, within the REI.com feed a request for pricing data for “SmartWool Merino Wool Liner Socks” (product SKU “659684″) might be formatted as:
and return XML data such as pictured below.
You can see from those results that this product was originally priced at $10.95, but was on sale for $8.19 in December 2010. By January 2011 the product was no longer on sale. It then went back on sale in June 2011 for just $7.59 and finally in July 2011 was back to full/regular price again.
We expect very soon to roll out support for retrieving pricing history information as part of our raw datafeed file solution as well; a separate announcement will be made when that functionality is available.
The AvantLink API has been expanded to include a new module: ConfigureDatafeed. This module is designed to allow affiliates to script the creation of raw datafeed file subscriptions, which previously could be done only manually.
With one exception noted below, all functionality that is available through the normal affiliate configuration interface is supported. This includes the ability to specify:
- file format (CSV, tab-delimited, or XML)
- file compression (none, gzip, or zip)
- taxonomy filtering, to optionally restrict the datafeed to certain categories, subcategories, product groups, or brands
- on-sale / discount filtering, to optionally restrict the datafeed to include only products that are on-sale
For the sake of simplicity, customizable output fields/columns are not supported – instead, any subscription configured using this API module will return all datafeed fields/columns.
By pairing this new module with existing offerings such as the AssociationFeed, SubscriptionFeed, and ProductTaxonomy modules, affiliates with some scripting skills can quickly automate the process of creating raw datafeed files for all of their merchants. In fact, a sample PHP script that does exactly that is included on the documentation page for the ConfigureDatafeed module.
It’s also worth noting that this module can edit or modify existing datafeed subscriptions in addition to just creating new ones. So for those affiliates who’ve been with AvantLink for a number of years and have built up long lists of subscriptions with slightly different settings, this is the perfect opportunity to standardize all of those subscriptions, e.g. to the same file format or compression options.
One final tip: don’t forget to use the “Tools” -> “API Request Builder” page within your affiliate account when experimenting with this or any of our affiliate API modules.