Before the recession, credit card marketing was a big business in the affiliate world. But now that times have changed, is it still lucrative? Well let’s talk to Doug of CreditCardForum.com to find out:
I find that there’s a large misconception in the affiliate world that credit cards are a wildly profitable niche to be in. As someone that owns one of the top sites for credit card reviews, I’ve learned quite a bit about this business. Here are five important things you should realize about it:
1. Credit cards are no longer very lucrative
Here’s the problem with doing credit card reviews… nowadays literally everyone is doing it. A few years ago, it was only financial sites that participated. But today, just about every blogger (both “mommy” bloggers and professional bloggers) have tried or are still trying to promote credit cards. So there used to be reasonable competition, but today there are so many players it’s virtually impossible for most to make a buck at it.
2. Click ads often pay more
Here’s another surprise: simply throwing in a CPC ad box at the bottom of your credit card review may actually be smarter than an affiliate link. Believe it or not, the payoff is usually more. This is because there is such a low conversion rate for affiliates, often times you needs hundreds of clicks just to make a single conversion.
3. Tougher economy = lower credit card application approval
Here’s something else that just adds insult to injury. With today’s troubled financial markets, banks are skittish about approving credit card applications. This is very true for mid-level cards (like AmEx Blue Cash, Discover More Card, etc) and especially for premium cards (like the Chase Sapphire card, AmEx Platinum, etc). So this is another reason why conversion rates are so lousy.
4. Banks are very strict about marketing
Thanks to the credit card and financial reform over the last two years, banks now have to be super careful in their marketing. So it’s no longer the good ol’ days of simply writing credit card reviews any way you want. For example, take the Chase Sapphire card. When I wrote the review, it had to be run be Chase to be approved. I completely understand why Chase has to do this (it’s not their fault, it’s because of the financial reform) but at the same time, it still makes it extremely difficult to blog or write about credit cards. Furthermore, you are also required to keep content always up-to-date, usually with only 24 hours to update. So if an APR rate, singup offer, etc changes, you will then need to go back to your credit card review to update it immediately.
5. There aren’t many banks participating anymore
It used to be that most major credit card companies were part of the affiliate business. Today, there are very few involved. For example at the time of this post, the only three major ones which offered open participation were American Express, Discover, and Chase. Bank of America has gotten out of the game altogether. Meanwhile Citi and Capital One do participate, but only with top financial sites with extremely high traffic.