How Do Multiple Browser Tabs Affect Affiliate Marketing?

A large part of being successful in affiliate marketing is attempting to get into the mind of the consumer you are trying to sell to. If you are able to gauge consumer behaviour, you will have a greater chance or marketing a product or an offer successfully.

One aspect of consumer behaviour that is directly connected to pay per click advertising and is often overlooked is the use of multiple browser tabs and their effect on affiliate marketing. All modern web browsers offer the ability to open tabs so that a user can see multiple websites in one session and switch between them with a single click of a mouse.

Consider that a marketer promoting an affiliate offer on Google will pay for pay per click advertisements which will appear (usually 3 or 4 ads above the main organic search results, with several additional paid ads displaying vertically down the side of the SERPs) and a user interested in a particular product will potentially open multiple tabs working down the PPC ads and the organic SERPs for their given search.

A user may have a browser session with several tabs open that are essentially marketing the same (affiliate) product. The tabs will have been launched in the order that they were clicked which when taking PPC ads as an example, the ads that cost the advertisers the most will be at the top, therefore, in early position in the users browser tab session.

Now, if a user works their way through their browser tabs from first through to last clicking on the respective links within the web pages, then the tabs that are towards the end of the tab range will have the links clicked last. This is the important point because if the final links that were clicked were affiliate links then the last click will drop the cookie that will overwrite any previous affiliate cookies.

Logically if a user went through their browser tabs from first to last, then the affiliate advertiser that was paying the most on PPC advertising will have had their affiliate cookie dropped first and consequently overwritten first when the user works their way along their browser tabs clicking (affiliate) links. Obviously the scenario is muddied somewhat when you consider that not all links are affiliate links and not all webpages will be affiliate advertisers, but if all advertisers were affiliates and all user tabs were opened via PPC ads, then an advertiser needs to consider which position they want their ad to appear in order to maximise the chances that their affiliate cookie is dropped last assuming that the user goes onto a purchase in the same session.

Furthermore, an assumption has been made that when users open browser tab windows, they work from left to right sequentially. This is what I do, but am I the exception or the rule – or do users open tabs randomly or select tabs based on preference?

I’ve yet to see any research on how multiple browser tabs effect marketing (or affiliate marketing specifically) so if anyone can point me in the direction of any research conducted please feel free.

Obviously having run PPC campaigns for several years myself I have past tests that show optimum PPC placement, matching, etc, but the aspect of multiple browser tabs seems to be a variable that doesn’t seem to figure highly enough in the minds of many marketers.

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