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Clickbank Guide for beginners - part 3

Marketplace statistic

Below is an example of one product listed at marketplace. This product disappeared from marketplace later in 2009, but it is left here as example.

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$/sale: $16.97 | %/sale: 75.0% | %refd: 97.0% | grav: 107.48
view pitch page | create hoplink

This is one real example, taken from marketplace, but links are not "live"

(remember what is said about generic clickbank malls on choose clickbank product. Do you think that visitor will click on link with this kind of description?)

Affiliate commission calculation example:

product retail price = $27
Clickbank cut = 7.5% + $1
NET amount = $23.97
% commission = 75%
Your commission = $17.97
$/sale = $16.97 <= average commission (all sales)

$/sale value (earned per sale) is AVERAGE NET amount earned per affiliate. It means, if product retail price is $27, NET amount (after Clickbank cut - 7.5% + $1) is $23.97. Now we can calculate commission. 75% of $23.97 is $17.97. That is real commission you can get for sale (if some tax is applied, can be lower).

Or, better, shorter, all in one row:

(product retail price * 0.925 - 1) * % commission = YourCommission
($27 * 0.925 - 1) * 0.75 = $17.97

AVERAGE means that all refunds, taxes, chargebacks, for all sales are included in $/sale calculation. So, lower number means refunds and taxes impact that product. Because that is average number, it doesn't mean that you can't promote that product successfully. Higher difference means more refunds, and that product must be checked before promotion. Numbers can vary, so, before checking vendor's history, those numbers are only temporary situation.

% refd is percentage of total sales referred from affiliates. In this example, that is 97%, what means that vendor cares more about sales and support, not how to promote product better than affiliates. That 3% could be from visitors with disabled cookies or from direct sales (affiliate=none). Now, high percentage of affiliate sales is a good recommendation, but it can show something other. Spyware is not only overwriting affiliate cookies, it sets new cookies, so, visitor without cookies is also cookied, and commission is going to affiliate using spyware. It could be that vendor is using other account and promoting product using that hoplink (as affiliate)... Anyway, higher percentage of referred sales is better.

grav : gravity number is little tricky. It shows number of affiliates with sales. In Clickbank definition of gravity, it is calculated using last 8 weeks, and adding amount between 0.1 and 1.0 to the total, higher amount for recent sales. Higher number here means popular product, also means strong competition.

Clickbank recurring billing

Two new fields appeared (June 2007) in marketplace statistic, they are listed below. We will analyze them when we see some numbers in "future" field. Below are explanations from clickbank affiliate FAQ.

Future $: Average total rebill revenue earned by the affiliate due to sales from a site. Generally this equates to the average sum of all rebills. This does not include revenue from the initial sale.

Total $: The sum of all sales and rebills divided by the number of sales. It is the average total $ per sale, including all rebills that may come from that sale.

Recurring billing is dream of every affiliate, so we can guess that vendors with recurring billing included will be very popular.

Product refund rate

It is possible to calculate refund rate (percent of "returned" products), but due to other factors involved, that could be only near real refund rate. So, your commission for product above is $17,97. Average commission ($/sale) is $16.97. Difference is $1. And refund rate is ( (100/17.97)*1 ) near 5.5% . But, this calculation is for account, and could be useful only when one product is under that account.
If there is more than one product on the same account, or if there is price change, calculated refund rate cannot be right. Anyway, this little calculation could show you a "picture" of that Clickbank vendor's account.

Product sales history

Marketplace is updated daily, what doesn't mean that you need to check position of your vendor daily. Keeping a history of marketplace is good when you are looking for new product to promote or you have some kind of Clickbank Mall. In most cases, it is enough to keep category where your vendor(s) is listed bookmarked, or archived, to track history of the other products listed there.

When some vendor starts using an other payment processor, his hoplink is still working (account is active, but there is no clickbank payment link on his sales page), and you will not be credited for sales. No affiliate sales, and vendor's position on marketplace is going down. Small change, (few positions down), is not a problem, but when position changes significantly, that can show there is some problem with that vendor, and you need to check his site.

How often to track changes on Clickbank MarketPlace? That always depends of your needs. If you are looking for a good product, monitor particular category at least weekly. If you are promoting products using AdWords or some other PPC, you need to check vendor's landing page and payment link daily, not marketplace...

Clickbank XML feed download

To track complete marketplace you can use marketplace listing in XML format. (That is not "Clickbank data feed" or RSS feed). It can be parsed and added to simple text database. With little programming, downloaded bases could be compared, so you could get history for any merchant in certain time period. Here is the link to marketplace feed page, where you can find link to download compressed (zip) Clickbank XML feed. Go to Clickbank MarketPlace Feed page, there is a "click here" link to download compressed marketplace feed file.

Why to track sales history

Below is a part of sales history (our example product, on top). To save room here, title is not displayed (tracked also), and stats are from the time when product appeared between first 100 in WEB category. These positions could be little different than from Clickbank XML feed, here is source scraped from WEB category and positions are calculated including all subcategories.

25-May-2006 Position: 23, $/sale: $16.72, %/sale: 75.0%, %refd: 87.0%, grav: 13.3
08-Sep-2006 Position: 11, $/sale: $16.67, %/sale: 75.0%, %refd: 98.0%, grav: 74.0
01-Nov-2006 Position: 9, $/sale: $16.97, %/sale: 75.0%, %refd: 97.0%, grav: 107.48

So, what we can see here? There is no weekly stats displayed here, but they are showing the same - raising number of affiliate sales, no interruption in earned commission $/sale, title not changed (the same product), percent of sale - the same. That could be a sign of good product.

One factor is missing here, it is the product price. If price has changed (higher), $/sale will not show real value. With more refunds and higher price, $/sale can be the same and can give you a wrong picture, same if product is replaced, new product added to the same account, price lowered, manipulation with commission percentage...
So, take marketplace statistic for information only, to get overall picture, precise calculation is not necessary and it is simple not possible.

But, one thing is for sure. If product statistic shows steady numbers, or number of affiliate sales (gravity) is rising, and $/sale is not much lower then your (calculated from NET amount) commission, it could be worth to promote.
Also, keep in mind, if there is high number of affiliate sales, there is probably much higher number of affiliates promoting that product, what means huge competition.

Three months later, "our" product shows some changes. Price is now higher, gravity too. Referred sales percentage is little lower, but still acceptable.

08-Feb-2007 Position: 3, $/sale: $23.04, %/sale: 75.0%, %refd: 92.0%, grav: 182.19

Is it MarketPlace statistics accurate?

It seems that presented statistics are averages in 4 to 8 weeks, excluding gravity (see above for grav. explanation). Recent sales are giving more weight to calculations. Full effect of price change appears four to eight weeks later ($/sale higher or lower).
For example, we will take our product from the top(low refunds, steady). According to history, product price is raised at middle of Nov, 2006. After that, earned per sale is slowly rising until January. From January, it is again steady.

An other example is "richjerk". Price seems lowered in January 2007, earned/sale was going down until March. For sure, number of gravity (affiliate sales) skyrocketed from 200 to 500. In meantime, marketplace stats shows wrong numbers (say, price is $20, $/sale $18, no way.)

So, before any calculation, you need to check if product price is the same as 8 weeks ago.

Clickbank products conversion rate

Conversion rate and EPC is when you know how many $$$ is earned per click (EPC) and percent of visitors who clicked and bought product. More about product statistic and calculations is on Product Statistic page, so read if you are not familiar with calculations. It is important to know that clicks on your hoplink are not all from live visitors. If your hoplink is not protected from web robots, you will have very low conversion rate due to false clicks. Read page on that link above to know how to filter clicks.

New Analytics item on your affiliate control panel menu is leading to click tracking reports. It is still in beta, but statistic is very detailed. Big plus for ClickBank, after all these years without click tracking :-)
One way to know from where sales are coming is to use TID. Adding /?tid=123 on the end of hoplink, you know what hoplink is generating sales. TID is displayed in statistic, also visible on payment page like "affiliate=nickname.tid"

New products statistics

$/sale: $0.44 and similar low commission (earned for sale) is one more Clickbank statistics "mystery". While someone could think that those products have an extra high refund rate, that is not true.

The "secret" is in rule that new vendor is listed on MarketPlace only after first sale is made. So, vendors, to get their product listed, must make a sale. Lowering product price to minimum, and buying that product using his (vendor's) affiliate link, that condition is met. Product is, after that test sale, listed on MarketPlace and available for affiliates. Unfortunately, with very problematic statistic.

Problem is that many affiliates don't know for this "trick", and when they see that low "earned per sale" value, they simply think that product commission is very low, or refund rate extra high, and they avoid to promote that product.

So, that $0.44 and similar means that vendor has bought his product using his affiliate link, setting minimum purchase price, to get listed on MarketPlace faster. In that case, %ref is usually 100%, and gravity (grav) is 1.0 or below. As you can see (bad looking statistic), not every shortcut is a good shortcut.

One more reason for this kind of statistic could be that vendor don't have sales in longer period, so numbers are going down. It is important, especially in this case, to carefully check landing page and payment link there, before any promotion.

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