Dirty Secrets About Promoting Video Games on Amazon

Geniuslink: Promoting video games on Amazon

Video games, gaming consoles, and accessories are perfect candidates for affiliate marketing because there is always demand for the newest versions of a game or console, they are at a healthy price point, and reviews are often sought out before purchasing.

This category continues to grow and is one of the most popular categories of product links that we serve at Geniuslink. – It’s really no surprise why:

Unfortunately, promoting games, consoles and accessories to an international audience is really hard! (Measure how international your audience is.)

Building an intelligent link to promote a video game by hand can be quite time consuming as there are 11 different URLs (one for each Amazon international storefront) you’ll need to find, correctly affiliate, then watch and update as necessary. To save yourself a significant amount of time and maximize conversions when promoting products on Amazon and other global e-commerce ecosystems, you are going to need a service that automagically “translates” a product link for you.

Unlike some other categories in Amazon, there are a variety of challenges in finding the same product in an international Amazon storefront. To ensure the best buying experience for your international customers, you) need to be cognizant of these challenges:

Imports 

Games are often sold internationally as an import. Unfortunately, these imports are often much more expensive and take a long time to ship. It’s best to avoid promoting an import version of a game.

Geniuslink: Call of Duty

Different platforms 

Most high quality games are available on at least three different platforms (Xbox, PlayStation, and PC) and sending someone to the title for the wrong platform is a huge mistake! The same challenge exists for accessories, as they too are often platform specific. To complicate this, there is no standard naming convention for these platforms and “PlayStation 4” could be expressed as “PS”, “PS4”, or “Play Station 4”. While easy to discern when you are looking at it, it’s not an easy problem to solve for a computer.

Pre-Orders 

When most products are out of stock, you ignore that listing and move on to find one that is in inventory. With products in the PC and video game space, it’s common that a healthy percentage of the sales for that product happen before it’s even available. It’s important to be keep this in mind when looking for the international version of the product.

Long titles

Unfortunately, while the actual product name may be simple the title used for the product in Amazon often isn’t. This creates all sorts of complications when doing link translation or searches that use the title as an important criteria.

International distribution partners

Similar to books, movies, and music, we’ve found that the distribution partners for PC and video games often change between North America, Asia, and Europe. This can cause additional challenges in the link translation process.

Why is this so darn important?

Geniuslink: Promoting Video Games on Amazon

At a high level, being aware of your international audience is one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue from your existing traffic – but be careful, automatic link translation can be a double edged sword.

If you do it right, your international audience is easily able to connect with the products you are recommending (higher conversion rates!). However, if you do it wrong, you could be taking a bad situation (e.g. sending everyone to a single storefront) and making it worse by sending your international visitors back to their local storefront with an error page, a blank search results page, an overpriced product, or to the wrong product completely. Not only will this kill the momentum of converting that click into a sale (and a commission for you!) but it also reflects poorly on your site and may lose you a loyal reader.

Knowing these challenges is the first step in finding a solution. Unfortunately, some of the services available that offer automatic link translation don’t seem to be paying attention. Here are a few examples:

EasyAzon – Is a popular WordPress plugin that offers lots of functionality including Amazon link translation. Their link translation uses the title of the product from the original link to create a search link in the international storefront.

A-FWD – This site offers geolocation service for authors and Amazon Associates. While it’s possible to manually specify the ASIN’s to be used internationally, for this conversation we are most interested in what their links do automatically. Unfortunately, they too create search links using the title of the product.   

SmartURL – While focused on iTunes and music, they have recently extended their tool to provide link translation for Amazon products. Their Amazon link translation process will check to see if a product with the same ASIN exists in a foreign storefront swapping out the Amazon domain name and verifying that the product exists.  

You need a link that works. With exactly this in mind we’ve spent the last five years building out our patented link translation algorithms and then the last two months refining the process specifically for PC and video games. There was some swearing along the way and a few trips down the rabbit hole but we are really happy with how it all came together and how you can benefit from it. Let me share a little bit of the process with you.

At a high level our link translation algorithm goes through a cascading series of five steps to find the link for the same product in a local storefront for your international buyer. When we find a high quality match, we stop the process, build the affiliate version of the link for you, then redirect the user on (often within 1/10th of a second). If we aren’t confident in the results for one step we’ll move onto the next.

  • Step 1 – “Exact Match” – For most product types we first see if the unique product id (ASIN) exists in the “destination storefront” (the local Amazon storefront for your international visitor). For video games we specifically skip this step as we’ve found the result from the “ExactMatch” is often an import, thus more expensive and often doesn’t include free shipping compared to other versions available.
  • Step 2 – “Perfect Match” – At the “Perfect Match” step we learn everything we can about the original link (using metadata returned from the Amazon Product API) then find a product in the destination storefront where this information is exactly the same.  
  • Step 3 – “Best Match” – While similar to the Perfect Match this step relies on using metadata, but now we “clean up” this data before making the match.
  • Step 4 – “Search” – If we aren’t confident in any of the matches from the previous step we’ll construct a series of searches based off the metadata we got in the previous steps. We’ll then test these searches on the Amazon Product API to ensure the search results page on Amazon that we are sending the customer to is relevant. We define relevant as having a certain number of search results that are on target. A blank search results page or a search for something too vague is a bad user experience that we want to avoid.
  • Step 5 – “Return to Original” – Because we put user experience above monetization, we may end up sending the international visitor to the original storefront because none of the steps above provided us with a high enough quality match. We feel that it’s better for the user to go to an international storefront than to send them to their local storefront for the wrong item, a blank search results page, or an error message.

Here are a few examples that capture the results of the four main link translation services you could use.

FINAL FANTASY X|X-2 HD Remaster – PS4 [Digital Code]

Service Amazon Canada Results Amazon UK Results Amazon JP Results
EasyAzon Search: High placement of a related product. (link) Search: Completely irrelevant results. (link) Search: Completely irrelevant results. (link)
A-FWD Search: High placement of a related product. (link) Search: Completely irrelevant results. (link) Search: Completely irrelevant results. (link)
SmartURL No results No results No results
Geniuslink Search: Top placement of a related product. (link) Search: Top placement of a related product. (link) Search: Top placement of a related product. (link)

 

The Order: 1886 – PS4 [Digital Code]

Service Amazon Canada Results Amazon UK Results Amazon JP Results
EasyAzon Search: Related product in sixth place. (link) Search: Related product in sixth place. (link) Search: Related product in third place. (link)
A-FWD Search: Related product in sixth place. (link) Search: Related product in sixth place. (link) Search: Related product in third place. (link)
SmartURL No results No results No results
Geniuslink Search: Top placement of a related product. (link) Search: Top placement of a related product. (link) Search: Top placement of a related product. (link)

 

Halo 5: Guardians

Service Amazon Canada Results Amazon UK Results Amazon JP Results
EasyAzon Search: Top placement. (link) Search: Top placement. (link) Search: Top placement (link)
A-FWD Search: Top placement. (link) Search: Top placement. (link) Search: Top placement (link)
SmartURL No results Product: £48.00 + £3.99 shipping, no reviews. (link) Product: ¥9,085, no reviews. (link)
Geniuslink Product: $74.96 & free shipping (lowest price), 72 reviews (link) Product: £34.85 & free delivery, 302 reviews. (link) Product: ¥7,999 & free shipping, no reviews. (link)

 

It’s important to note that every product category has a different set of link translation rules within Geniuslink. These rules wouldn’t work for kitchen gadgets or DVDs! Geniuslink has tens of thousands of rules to ensure the best quality match on a product by product basis.