There’s a scenario many affiliates are familiar with: you have a campaign ready that you’re certain is near perfect. You’ve taken your time to find out everything you need to know about it and your even making estimates about how much you’ll make from it. Then, when it comes to launching it, you begin losing money from the get-go.
You aren’t even making enough to run a split test.
If your campaign is actually really good; your CPA offers are strong and your landing page is converting well, then the chances are it’s your targeting that’s ruining your campaign.
If you’re running on native or mobile traffic, then you need to figure out which websites are profitable (Google and Facebook are already great traffic sources as their traffic comes from their own websites and they’re effective at cutting fraud). If you have Adplexity (if you don’t then I strongly that I recommend that you do before you read any further) then you can use it to figure out how profitable particular placements (websites are). But these websites are represented by numbers so it’s not as straightforward as glancing at a list and seeing what’s most profitable.
Some of you may already be aware that there’s a spy tool on Adplexity that allows you to see what placements different landing pages and ads are running on. This is useful as it means you can check everything in Voluum to see which one of your placements are profitable:
Popular mobile traffic sources like Propellor, Zeropark and Exoclick, will have countless placements with most of them being saturated by robot traffic.
To filter out the good from the bad, you can run campaigns on the profitable sites that Adplexity suggests or you can run your own tests.
To find out which placements are profitable, you can select the landing page you want to investigate and Adplexity will show you the top 10 placements from all the traffic sources that the landing page is running on and for how long. If your landing page has been running on a placement for some time then assume it’s a good placement.
To see which traffic source the placement/website is on, hover over the pie chart.
On the landing page analysis, it’ll show you more information about the landing page, and you’ll be able to see which paid traffic network is the most popular for running the ad.
Before you come to a decision, make sure that your ad has been running for a significant amount of time a few days minimum. Afterwards, in order to see a pattern you need to analyse several sites.
• Are there verticals running on certain traffic sources but nowhere else?
• Look at the most popular placements. Are they running affiliate offers or is it brand advertisers?
• Are some traffic networks running only one type of offer?
• What traffic sources and placements trends do you see when you at several sweepstakes landing pages?
You can do further research on Adplexity, such as seeing if creatives that have been running for weeks have been pulled back a bit, meaning that it probably isn’t profitable anymore.
If you come across a campaign that has some placements running longer than others then it’s likely those placements are profitable.
The smaller your budget the more research you should do before running a campaign. Use Adplexity to:
• Find out if your competitors are running the top offers that your affiliate manager is recommending
• To see if which traffic sources are the most popular for your offers / verticals
• To see which placements are most popular (make a list of the most popular placements)
• To see if there are landing page templates that are the most popular in your vertical
It’s also worth doing a test and running traffic to placements with the same offers / landing pages and traffic sources as your competition to see how close you are to breaking even.
Remember, even if you improve your targeting there are other reasons as to why a campaign might, or might not be, successful:
• A placement might’ve worked for a particular vertical but not for yours
• It might be a placement that’s great for that particular GEO
• It might just be perfect timing, a placement may have high-quality traffic one month then nothing the next
The more research you do, the better you can target your campaigns the more chance you have of it being profitable, but remember: everything else about your campaign has to be strong as well.
Affiliate Marketing can be lucrative. Holidays, nice cars and plenty of time to relax, but you need time to enjoy these things.
If you’re spending every moment of your day marketing, then chances are you won’t even have the time to do the things that taking on affiliate marketing was meant to allow you to do. If you want to have that time without losing the potential success you’ll need help. Meaning you’ll need a team, employees, and to trust others with your work.
If you’ve tried delegating before, in a previous role or in affiliate marketing, your experiences with it could’ve been good or bad. If it’s been good, then you won’t have any resistance to it. If it’s been bad, usually due to the person you’ve passed responsibility onto making mistakes, then you might not like the idea of sharing your workload. If this is you then I have two things to say to you:
1. If you’re serious about becoming more successful you’re going to extra hands.
2. Think about all the times you’ve made a mistake while you’ve been working.
You probably make an error every day. Everyone does, but when it’s ourselves we don’t highlight how often we make mistakes, but when we see someone else make a mistake with our thing it stands out, and we can lose our shit.
No one’s perfect. Of course, if someone can’t do the job they can’t do it, but don’t turn into an executioner over one mistake. Give people time. They will improve.
If you’ve never delegated before then this post is for you, if you have, as an affiliate or in some other capacity, then this post is still worth reading as you might learn something.
Why you need to delegate and how to go about it
Think about any large company, Sony, Addidas, Penguin or any other that comes to mind. You think the founders of these organizations are doing it themselves? They’re not.
No one’s good at everything, so entrusting people in areas you know you’re not strong in is common sense. These are areas you probably don’t enjoy having to work with and you’ll be splitting the workload. It’s a win-win setup.
To start, make a list or diagram of what you do, and then see what you can share. Start with the simplest jobs and with work you can segment. Repetitive tasks that are straightforward are a good place to start.
Be clear and thorough
Before sharing responsibility, make sure the person
• Can do the job. Check their qualities and see if they’re capable enough to do what you need them to
• Knows exactly what they need to do
• That they have the tools to do it
• That they know what needs to be done for the job to be finished
Make these points very clear and ensure that there isn’t any confusion. It will save you much time later and save you telling someone off for an error when the truth is you weren’t clear enough.
Don’t be vague. Make sure your instructions are explicit. So rather than tell them. “Make an ad for win a Walmart Gift Card.” I’d tell them:
• The offer, product or service we’re advertising
• Any creative restrictions the traffic source has
• Type of language to use for example “avoid the word free”
• The required banner sizes
• Brand logos or no logos
Remember: they might not have the guts to ask you to be clearer as they don’t want to look stupid. Give them the what, why, where, how and when of tasks and you’ll be safe. You’ll save hours of your time and that of your employee.
Don’t be afraid to share
You’ve spent a lot of time getting to where you’re at, but don’t be afraid to let go. It’ll work to your benefit.
Initially, you will tell your employee what to do than go over their work once they’ve finished it. Given you stick with them and they stick with you they’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Keep communication breezy and easy
If you have more than one person you’re working with, have a clear medium of where you communicate. Make sure everyone can get through to each other and that there’s as little room for confusion as possible. Emails can get messy, but they’re effective, but I recommend Trello.
Less is more
You will become familiar with sharing your workload. If you’ve worked in any other job before then you know there’ll be times where the delegated becomes the delegator and asks for your help with what you’ve sent them. This is to be expected, and it’s better for them to ask for your help than try and tackle a task they don’t understand themselves then mess up. In these instances be cooperative.
As your business grows you will have to share work responsibilities.
If your business becomes more and more lucrative it will reach a point where you are doing as little work as possible, which is a good thing.
You’ll have the time to do other things that your success has brought you, as well as your work, which is the whole point.
You’re working hard so that you can be in a position where you no longer have to. Don’t forget that.
It’s always better to be getting paid more, but increasing your profits is easier said than done.
On paper, I can write, make it so you’re being paid $13 a lead, while other affiliates are on $7 a lead, but to actually get to this can be tricky.
When we talk about increasing profits we immediately think about increasing output, which is true, but we can also think about cutting back; making more by doing less, which is how I often increase the profits of my campaign.
- Exclude certain devices or ISP’s = 12% higher ROI
- Split test 3 or more landing pages and go with the best performing =17% higher ROI
- Optimize your landing page for speed = 6% higher ROI
- Split test 5 offers and run with the top one = 23% higher ROI
But, the above is a technical way of increasing profits, but it can and does work.
An easier way of increasing your profits, and possibly the easiest way is to do it, is to get a bigger payout on your offer, whether it’s from an advertiser or your affiliate manager. Keep reading.
Getting a bigger payout
When an affiliate manager increases an affiliate’s payout it affects their own income, which is why they are often reluctant to do it.
If you’ve tried getting a larger payout from your affiliate manager before, then you’ve probably come across the various reasons affiliate managers use for not increasing your payouts, I won’t list them here, but, unless the network isn’t making much at the time you ask them then they can give you a bigger payout. You just need to make yourself more important.
How affiliate marketing works
When an advertiser gets a conversion, they pay the affiliate network. Afterwards, the affiliate network pays you.
For example: if an advertiser gets a conversion, and they pay the network $10 as a result, the network may go on to pay you $5. Increasing your payout means increasing this number.
Now, ideally, continuing from the numbers we used above, an affiliate network wants to generate large volume at $5 so that they can take $5 per lead.
But if another network can offer you $6 per lead then why settle for less? At the same time every network knows this and is still trying to gain profits, so they don’t want affiliates leaving. This means they have to be open to increasing payouts, but only to worthy affiliates.
You need to have a reason for your affiliate manager to increase your payout. Think about your relationship with them: have you been beneficial enough to them for them to consider listening to your request?
Send more volume
One of the ways to increase your value is by sending more volume to your network.
Here’s how I increase my volume in a few steps:
- Duplicate profitable campaigns multiple times within the same ad account.
- Duplicate profitable campaigns across multiple ad accounts.
- Use all other available ad formats.
- Scale profitable campaigns to similar traffic sources.
Different things will work for you but whatever you do you have to reach a point where you’re maximising an offer and sending out as much volume as possible with the payout you’re getting. Once you’re doing this, you can say to your manager that you’re breaking even and need a larger payout to so that you can increase your output and send even more volume their way and in turn make them more money. They should be happy to bump you up.
Increasing your volume isn’t easy, but there are other ways to make your contributions to your network bigger so that your manager can increase your payout.
Use there competitors
For this, to work you have to at least be breaking even. If you are, you can contact your affiliate manager and, with a bit of finesse, tell them that you’re breaking even. You can say that in order for you to bring in more volume you need more money, but you also mention that Network B is offering a bit more per conversion.
Here’s an example. Don’t just copy and paste this, write one that’s unique to your manager, this is just to give you an idea.
“Hey . . .
Thanks for letting me know about the Z offer, but I’ve been working it and it’s only allowing me to break even. I’ve been running it for [HOWEVER LONG YOU RUN ON AN OFFER FOR] and I can’t generate more profit without getting more per conversion.
Network B is currently offering $X per conversion, which is what I’d need to make this offer far more profitable for both of us and do more volume. What do you think? . . . I’ll get you a free round of drinks at the next Affiliate World Conference :)”
That should give you an idea. Don’t be arrogant or bossy, it’s better to give your affiliate manager hints and let them decide for themselves 😉
Have and maintain a good relationship with your affiliate managers
If your affiliate manager likes you, it makes life a lot easier. This is common sense and honestly goes without saying, but I just want to quickly remind you of the importance of it.
A good relationship means that they can offer a higher payout per conversion rate from the start and make you aware first of any opportunities popping up. So, be good with them, keep in contact with them, thank them when you know you should and if you have a chance to meet them in person get to know them.
Sending a large number of leads is important, but what’s more important is how much the advertiser generates from them.
For instance, if you send 350 leads and make $6 that’s good for you as the advertiser will pay you $2100, but if the advertiser only makes $1050 from it then it wasn’t lucrative for them, which is why affiliates get paused or removed from offers.
You want the opposite to happen. You send 350 leads, you make $2100 from it, and the advertiser instead generates $4200 because your leads were targeted and of high quality. Because of this, the advertiser will want more leads and pay you more per lead.
This is how thorough and high-quality traffic sources can increase your profit.
What to do once you get a higher payout
Do whatever you want with the money you generate from getting a higher payout. Seriously, it’s your money.
But, and it’s not hard to guess what I’m going to say next, think about reinvesting it, flipping it, doubling up, whatever you want to call it, but use it as a way to make even more money.
Use it in your campaigns, use it in more split tests, use it to test new verticals and use it to outsource grunt work or work you’re not good at such as designing and building new landing pages.
Remember, not every affiliate network can afford to give a higher payout, so if you pester them for it they can create the illusion they’re giving you a higher payout by reducing your conversions and increasing your payout. This is called scrubbing, or shaving. So despite it looking like you’re getting a higher payout, you won’t be as your conversions will be less.
This is why affiliates split-test networks, this involves testing similar offers across 2 or more different networks as a lot of networks work with the same advertiser or broker offers from each other.
Getting a larger payout is what you should be aiming to do, but you need a strong reason for your affiliate manager or advertiser to do it.
Add some weight to your name before you ask for more, and, if anything, people will be happy to pay you more if you’re giving them more.
In the west, internet speeds are generally pretty fast, whether you’re on the phone or your laptop websites load quickly, but in South America, Africa or parts of Asia, not everyone’s speed is as fast.
Imagine this scenario: someone in Thailand goes to your landing page and clicks it. They’re using 3G, and after waiting a couple seconds for it to load they go back and begin browsing something else . . . before they’re redirected.
The longer your page takes to load the fewer conversions you’ll get. Preferably, you want everything to load within a second, any longer than three then there’s a good chance you’re losing a number of conversions I wouldn’t even like to think about.
In brief: increase the speed of your entire conversion process. Remember, affiliate marketing is often interruptive, especially when you’re mobile marketing: ads usually appear when someone is looking at something entirely different.
On Adwords, it’s a different story as you may target the keyword computer software and you’re trying to sell an ebook on coding, so surfers may be more forgiving. But most of the time we redirect.
On a regular website with good SEO that’s on the Google rankings people casually click through it with more often than having no redirects. Being an affiliate it isn’t that easy: our ads are on other domains we don’t control, and the CPA [cost per action] offer is on another domain we don’t control.
Here’s an example of a common affiliate conversion process:
– Advertisement is placed on a website
– When someone sees our ad, it has to go through your Voluum link, the tracker
– If they click it they’re taken to your landing page
– Once someone clicks your CTA [call to action] they go back through your Voluum redirect link and through the affiliate network, although the clicker doesn’t see this part.
– Then, they reach the offer.
You can see why making sure all of the above is done quickly is important. As users go through so many hoops, having a slow moment can ruin a whole conversion, but luckily there is something you can do to increase the speed at each stage:
Have multiple web servers for your landing pages on each continent.
This actually is not as expensive as it may sound you can create servers in multiple locations across the globe for as little as $5 a month each, on cloud hosting platforms such as Digital Ocean and Vultr.
Having your landing pages hosted on servers as near to your visitors as possible can increase landing page load times by as much as 1 or 2 seconds, which is huge.
Prerender the next page the user will go to.
If you do not know the exact URL the user will go to when they go through your affiliate link you can ask your AM [affiliate manager] for the final destination URL of the offer and use the prerender script below but DO NOT use it on your CTA [call to action] make sure to use your tracking link as normal.
<link rel="prerender" href="http://cpa-offer.com">
Ask your affiliate manager for offer links that are geographically nearer to the audience.
Having your servers as close to the audience you’re trying to reach as possible. If you’re running a campaign in India, then you want your VPS and your server to be hosted as near there as possible so that landing and offer pages don’t take too long to load, so ask your affiliate network if they have different links for different countries.
It’s even worth going through the process under a VPN in the country you’re targeting so you can see just how much faster it all moves.
And plug-ins like HTTP Headers can show you how your process is redirecting and services like WebPageTest.com can show you how long your pages are taking to load.
For any campaign, the faster your process works the better. There’s a lot of information out there and people’s attention spans are becoming more and more intolerant, so you need to be as fast as they expect everything else online to be.
If you’re running a campaign that doesn’t take people to something they’re looking for then speed is paramount. And, sometimes, it’s the one thing that decides whether or not your campaign is going to be successful.
If you ain’t trying to ball out then what the fuck you work for? – King Chip
The first time I made a profit from affiliate marketing, I felt relieved. Before that I wasn’t sure if I was wasting time by entering the world of affiliates and that any chance of making an income from it was a fabricated dream pedalled by phony millionaires posing in front of rental cars and homes they didn’t own so they could trick people into paying for their services, but in reality, their income was an average wage.
When I made my first $50 in profit I thought maybe I was being pessimistic and it wasn’t a lie, but I still had a lingering thought: if it isn’t a lie then why are some affiliates trying so hard to force their success down your throats? The real rich, your Bill Gates’s and Steve Jobs’ didn’t have to tell you they were rich. Other people did that for you. Your friends told you how much money they had. Not someone who couldn’t put a sentence together without telling you how much money they had . . . Long story short, despite making that small amount of money I was still skeptical, but now, it’s my living.
Were all those affiliates shouting about how many millions they had lying? I don’t know, and I’m not concerned about them. I make a living and travel the world through this, and the amount of useless information I had to plough through to get here I honestly wouldn’t wish on anyone, which is why I started this blog, to begin with: so you don’t have to deal with all the noise and have a chance to make a living from affiliate marketing too. Anyway, I’ve gotten a bit sidetracked so let’s get to it.
In this article I’m going to tell you how you can increase your profits and how I still increase my profits now; scaling.
Scaling is when you increase the volume of an already profitable campaign.
For example, recently I ran a campaign that made me $250 in profit a day. Through scaling, I transformed this into $1050 a day. I’ve had campaigns far more successful than this, but that’s just a recent example.
Before I started scaling the campaign my profits, or return on interest (ROI), was quite large. I had an 80% ROI on this campaign. If you scale when a campaign is at, let’s say 20% ROI, you’ll have to work harder and you’ll make less.
If you’re struggling to make much profit try…
• Using better ads, angles, and landers
• Testing offers
• Removing bad placements
I separate my scaling into two parts.
This is when you expand your campaigns on its current traffic source. You can do this by:
Scaling your campaign to a different country, but be aware that your campaign will perform differently in different countries because of several reasons, culture, language, traffic and so on. Because of this, some affiliates like to scale to countries that are similar to ones they’re already scaling to first, for example from the United Kingdom to the United States.
Coming up with a system of new ad uploads so that you can improve the click-through rate on them.
Increase your bids and see how your traffic is affected
Pausing sites that aren’t making a profit.
Trying different types of traffic, for example, scaling from mobile web banner traffic to mobile app banner traffic on AdWords.
If you’ve done all you can with your current traffic source the next thing you can do is to scale to similar audiences.
If your campaign is profitable on Google Display Network, scale to another simply network such as Avazu mDSP
If you If your campaign is profitable on Zeropark, scale to another pop traffic network such as AdCash.
Done testing out similar traffic sources, then you can try the ones that much more different.
Example: Scaling from Google Display Network to Facebook Ads
Don’t get so caught up in scaling that you ignore your other campaigns and other ways of making profit. And don’t overreach, there’s a limit to how many campaigns you can run. If you overstretch you run the risk of having less effective campaigns, so be consistent in the management of your campaigns.
If one, or more, of your campaigns, is extremely successful and others aren’t, then you can pause those campaigns and focus on vertically/horizontally scaling the most profitable campaign(s).
So if you five campaigns on one traffic source two were doing really well, then you could pause the less performing three and focus on the well performing two, but don’t forget about the remaining three. Come back to them. But the extra time you have means you could do more tests in the well-performing areas. Remember, profit is the goal, so even a campaign that has a big ROI could be making less profit.
One campaign could have 100% ROI but only have a profit of $50 a day while another campaign could have 30% ROI but a profit of $1000 a day.
Act your wage – Lethal Bizzle
Scaling costs money. Don’t go broke trying to scale.
Side note: I’m not big on debt, so I don’t use credit cards for any aspect of affiliate marketing, and I really wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not making serious money. Serious means you have the choice of being paid weekly, so more than $1000 a week, that kind of money means your manager will have to listen when you suggest being paid weekly.
Scaling is an excellent way to increase your profits. Having the income to do it often means you’re actually making good money through affiliate marketing, and that your attempt at becoming financially better off wasn’t just a dream. If you’re scaling isn’t leading to as much as you like, don’t worry, if you stick to it you’ll get there. There’s a lot of noise in the affiliate marketing world, so stay focused on what you’re doing and don’t let the exaggerated glamorous life so many Affiliates are pushing distract you. There’s a lot of noise in the affiliate marketing world, but remember the start of this article: the richest people you know and that you’ve ever heard of never had to tell you they were successful.