I need to test out landing pages and the conversion process, but how do I test an offer if I’m not located in the country that is geo-targeting?
If you work with affiliates in other countries you may have encountered this question already. It is important for affiliates to see the user experience to understand how they will most effectively convert their users, and the solution for testing geo offers varies depending on your offer.
Geo-Targeting Your Affiliate Links
If you are using your affiliate tracking software to geo-target the offer, and you are only geo-targeting for the purpose of working with affiliates, then there is usually something you can append to the URL to test the offer. For example, if you are using the geo-targeting feature in HasOffers to allow or disallow traffic from specific countries, then your affiliates can simply append “testoffer” to their affiliate link, using the source variable (&source=testoffer). Appending this identifier lets the HasOffers ad server know that this is only a test click and allows the redirect to occur, revealing the landing page to an affiliate.
The tracking link below is for Google UK and is targeted to the United Kingdom only. By appending source=testoffer to this link, you will be redirected to the actually offer landing page for Google UK.
Without appending source=testoffer, you will be redirected to an offer that matches your location.
Its not recommended to use these testing parameters in offer URLs.
Geo-Targeted Landing Pages
If you are geo-targeting landing pages for all users, say for example you are a daily deal site that needs to make sure people in Seattle only see offers for Seattle, then it obviously won’t matter what you append to the affiliate link. Even if the affiliate link follows the proper redirect, the page will not display because of your own internal geo-targeting.
For affiliates to view these offers, they will need some sort of IP proxy tool, and there happen to be some great ones out there already.
This probably one of the simpler solutions for viewing webpages as they appear in other countries. GeoSurf has a toolbar for Firefox and IE for your affiliates to install that lets them select the country they wish to view from and then navigate to any webpage they choose. They’ve got over 80 global gateways, and you can even view sites as they appear on various devices such as iPhones, iPad, and Android. They have several pricing models for your affiliates that are all very reasonable and vary based on how many private proxy locations you get and the amount of volume you do. They even have an API if you’d like to build GeoSurf into your affiliate program and provide it as a service. Read an Interview with GeoSurf
Another toolbar solution is GeoEdge. There pricing is structured a little different from GeoSurf in that they only have two editions, but one edition is completely free. However, the free version is limited to 8 locations. They also have a toolbar for Firefox toolbar as well as a multi platform Chrome toolbar.
Obviously you don’t want testing and viewing offers to keep you from developing valued affiliate relationships around the globe. Hopefully this post helped you out, so the next time an affiliate bugs you about viewing your offer from a different geo-location you’ll say “No Problem!”
Peter is CEO and Partner at TUNE. Developing his early skills as an online marketer in SEO, PPC, and Media Buying, he met the twin co-founders of TUNE in 2009 and had the opportunity to join prior to day one, leading product marketing for the company's first launch. He continues to contribute to media, white papers, analysts, and industry blogs with the goals of educating mobile marketers and making the digital marketing ecosystem more connected. Follow @peterhamilton