Does your affiliate site have comparison tables?
Have you ever wondered how much more—or less—money you would make if you added or removed a comparison table from an affiliate page?
Well, that’s something I wanted to test and share with the readers of this blog.
In this affiliate marketing case study, we’ll take a look at the data on how adding a simple comparison table to your buyer guides (also known as “round-ups”) can impact your earnings.
As an affiliate marketer, your goal should be to maximize the income on every affiliate page you publish and this information can help you do that.
So let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
- What is a Comparison Table?
- Why Did I Do This Affiliate Marketing Case Study with Comparison Tables?
- Case Study Set-Up
- Affiliate Marketing Case Study Results
- Case Study Summary
What is a Comparison Table?
A comparison table allows you to compare multiple products or services quickly so you can make an informed decision.
Comparison tables can be designed in two ways:
- The top columns can contain each product or service while the individual rows include the attributes for each item.
- The side rows can contain each product or service while the columns include the attributes for each item.
A comparison table on an affiliate site can be helpful to visitors because it allows for quick and easy comparison between each product or service’s features and characteristics.
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Why Did I Do This Affiliate Marketing Case Study with Comparison Tables?
Finding out if the inclusion or omission of comparison tables on an affiliate marketing site has always been something that I wanted to test.
The reason why is because I’ve seen a contradiction between the top-tanking sites on Google for buyer intent keywords: the big brands like Forbes and Consumer Reports don’t have comparison tables on their affiliate buying guides while that classic affiliate sites like 10Beasts and Outdoor Gear Lab do.
So I wanted to find out if comparison tables were necessary on an affiliate site or not. And if they were, then how much more money could you actually make by including one on your affiliate page.
This was an important affiliate marketing case study for me to conduct because I used to think that comparison tables were pointless. As a general consumer, I never got many benefits from them because I like to read full in-depth reviews about competing products before making a decision; I don’t just buy something on a whim after looking at a comparison table.
But most of my competitors seemed to be including comparison tables in their affiliate content except for the big bands like I mentioned earlier.
So who was making the smarter choice?
Was it the big brands that didn’t have comparison tables or was it the affiliate marketers who included them?
Let’s find out!
Case Study Set-Up
For this case study, I tested five buying guide pages on one of my affiliate sites.
In June and July of 2020, there were no comparison tables on those five pages. I used this time frame to establish a baseline for my Average Earnings Per Visitor (AEPV)—more on that in a bit.
During the month of August 2020, I included a comparison table on each of the five pages to see how the AEPV would be affected by those comparison tables.
These affiliate pages all targeted “best x” keywords, like “best washing machine” or “best washing machine for apartment”. And each page had between five to ten products reviewed on the page.
The comparison tables consisted of three columns:
- Column 1: Product Image
- Column 2: Product Details
- Column 3: Check Price Button
I used the Table Press WordPress plugin and modified the CSS to make it look kind of like this generic image below but with all of the products included in it.
Average Earnings Per Visitor (AEPV)
To establish my baseline earnings for this case study, I figured out the Average Earnings Per Visitor (AEPV) for each affiliate page.
I used my Amazon Associates account for this case study, and here’s how I determined the baseline AEPV:
I took the total earnings for the month for each page in this case study and divided that number by the total unique pageviews. This method is not 100% accurate because you don’t actually earn the money from Amazon until the item ships. But it was the best way for me to get as close as possible to my AEPV.
The formula was basically:
Monthly Earnings ÷ Unique Pageviews = Average Earnings Per Visitor (AEPV)
I chose this method to record my baseline earnings because the conversion rate data that Amazon gives you in the dashboard is not accurate. Its conversion rate has no correlation to the amount of money you earn, but rather just includes the number of items purchased.
For example, you could have a conversion rate of 10% for the month on your Amazon Associates dashboard; however, you may only earn $100 because the items that were bought were cheap.
On the flip slide, you could have a conversion rate of 2% for the month on your Amazon Associates dashboard but earn $1,000 because the items that were bought were expensive.
So you can’t rely on the Amazon Associates conversion rate data to make accurate decisions when performing case study tests like this one on your site.
Instead, you can follow my simple formula above to determine your Average Earnings Per Visitor (AEPV) to get a more realistic idea of how much money you’re earning from an affiliate page.
That AEPV metric is important because it essentially tells you that for every one visitor you get to a page, you’ll earn that average amount of money.
Affiliate Marketing Case Study Results
Below are the results of the five pages I tested for this case study on adding comparison tables.
Case Study Page 1:
Unique Pageviews: 7,059
Unique Pageviews: 7,372
Unique Pageviews: 5,216
Outcome: Having a comparison table on the page caused a 25-33% increase in the Average Earnings Per Visitor.
Case Study Page 2:
Unique Pageviews: 3,091
Unique Pageviews: 3,082
Unique Pageviews: 2,388
Outcome: Having a comparison table on the page caused a 78-86% increase in the Average Earnings Per Visitor.
Case Study Page 3:
Unique Pageviews: 3,069
Unique Pageviews: 2,957
Unique Pageviews: 2,793
Outcome: Having a comparison table on the page caused a 43-64% increase in the Average Earnings Per Visitor.
Case Study Page 4:
Unique Pageviews: 2,985
Unique Pageviews: 3,458
Unique Pageviews: 3,122
Outcome: As you can see, the AEPV only dropped $0.01 between July to August. That change is too small to make any final conclusions. June was just a much better month for this particular page so I don’t think it’s a fair comparison here to August.
Based on this data, I would say that having a comparison table on the page seemed to have little impact on the conversion rate for this affiliate buying guide.
Case Study Page 5:
Unique Pageviews: 1,595
Unique Pageviews: 3,303
Unique Pageviews: 1,978
Outcome: This was another interesting test page. As you can see, there were big fluctuations between each month for the number of Unique Pageviews and the AEPV. I would consider this test to be inconclusive.
Case Study Summary
The big takeaway for this affiliate marketing case study is that adding a comparison table to your buying guides (i.e. round-ups) can help to improve your earnings.
As you saw in my test data, three out of the five pages had a positive increase in the Average Earnings Per Visitor (AEPV) and those boosts ranged between 25-86%.
One test case remained relatively flat from July to August and the final page had inconclusive data.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that having comparison tables on your affiliate buying guides is a good idea. You’ll most likely increase your average affiliate earnings for every visitor who lands on your pages. But in the worst case, you may not see any improvement at all.
So there’s really no harm in adding comparison tables to your affiliate buying guides. You can only gain more money by doing it.
I hope this affiliate marketing case study helped and if you’d like to see more case studies like this, then leave a comment below!
Also, let me know if you’re currently using comparison tables on your affiliate pages or if this idea is new to you.