10 Media Buying Tips to Always Stay in the Green
Media buyers have to deal with a lot of variables when setting up and optimizing their ad campaigns. Given the complexity of media buying activities, it’s no wonder that even seasoned affiliate marketers often fall prey to avoidable mistakes and ill-informed decisions.
To help you avoid making easy-to-spot mistakes that can undermine your performance, we have turned to our partners at Revolution Force, a CPA affiliate network focusing on dating, nutra, health, and mainstream. The Revolution Force team has shared with us some expert tips and tricks for streamlining media buying processes.
So, here are the ten media buying tips to help you succeed in affiliate marketing.
TIP №1: STUDY THE COMPETITION
Media buying is a lot like being at war: it is vital to constantly keep an eye on your opponents. Study them: look which banners are in high rotations on all the major premium traffic sources. More often than not, it means they’ve been tested and proven to be profitable – this should be your first line of inspiration for your own creatives.
Look at how these banners are crafted: the choice of visual/picture, the copy/text, the design/layout, the CTA. Identify what makes them successful and replicate the winning formulas on your own banners – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Giving your own take on a proven formula is a viable strategy that will save you testing budget down the line.
TIP №2: TAKE NOTES/DOCUMENT
This is where a lot of media buyers fail.
It is vital that you obsessively take notes and document every single change you apply to your campaigns – be OCD about it – document EVERYTHING.
Create spreadsheets for your campaigns and update them daily.
Changed the bid? Note it.
Paused a banner? Note it.
Changed the frequency cap? Note it
Do you suddenly notice more competition for the same offer? Note it.
You will want to be able to look back at your stats and know exactly what was behind every negative or positive fluctuations in your numbers on a single date.
TIP №3: KNOW YOUR OPTIMISATION TOOLBOX
Very few new campaigns will be profitable right away. Once you are close to your target CPA/profitable point, experiment with all the tools at your disposal, the most basics being:
- try dayparting on peak hours only;
- try lowering your frequency cap;
- consider adding keywords and/or category targeting to further narrow your reach;
- analyze and then trim down your OS targeting (Is Android only profitable? Get rid of iOS!);
- if targeting WW/GLOBAL geos, analyze your data and focus on those few profitable geos only.
TIP №4: ONE CHANGE AT A TIME
Avoid changing two parameters to a campaign at the same time (for example, pausing banners and changing frequency cap).
Why? This will make it impossible for you to identify which of the two steps you took had a positive or negative impact on your performances.
TIP №5: BE PATIENT AND DON’T PANIC
This is another common media buying mistake. Media buying is all about gathering as much valuable data as possible to make the best-educated decision.
Wait until you get statistically significant data before applying any change to a campaign.
What does this mean? The definition of statistical significance is “the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than chance”.
Here’s a simplified example: you are testing 2 banners for conversions. After 24 hours, you see:
Banner 1: 0 conversions
Banner 2: 2 conversions
Wait for more data! Don’t start pausing Banner 1 and scale your budget: that is the mistake a lot of people do. Statistically, Banner 1 could still be the winner.
Document yourself on the subject or use any of the online tools available such as MeasuringU.
TIP №6: TEST WITH BIDDING FIRST/THEN FLAT
If you are advertising through networks like Traffic Junky, Exoclick, Traffic Factory, etc., test traffic sources on bidding first. You will be able to experiment more freely and start and stop campaigns as you wish. Once you’ve found a winning zone/bid/offer, consider negotiating a flat volume for a fixed, monthly price with the publisher or your network account manager.
TIP №7: DON’T EXPLORE NEW GROUNDS WITH UNTESTED CREATIVES.
Don’t attack Run Of Network campaigns or new traffic sources with untested/un-optimized landers/banners.
If you do so, you won’t be able to know where your fail point is.
Are your banners not good enough? Or the traffic source low quality?
I recommend finding one reputable premium traffic source that you will use as your “workhorse” and reference point to test all your new creatives and landers.
TIP #8: NEVER STOP TESTING
Even the best of creatives will see a steady but constant performance drop over time. This is why it’s crucial to keep testing new creatives so that you are not caught by campaign decay. Having a constantly updated pool of fresh/tested creative is instrumental to your success. That way you will be able to refresh those campaigns regularly without seeing any drop in revenues.
TIP №9: SPEND SMART/EXPLORE LESS COMPETITIVE GEOS
If your spending budget is low, be smart and avoid ultra-competitive tier 1 geos/placements. Explore less competitive tier 2 geos first. Look where the competition is dragging and jump in! However, if budget isn’t an issue, consider the fact that you will gather data faster on tier 1 countries because of their higher volumes of traffic.
TIP №10: DON’T SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN/KNOW YOUR PRODUCT
Media buying is all about getting a little edge over your competition to turn a profit where they can’t. To do so, you need to become an expert on your product/niche! Never stop researching and keep yourself up to date with the latest trends related to your market. It’s better to master one product than to fail at promoting a handful of poorly understood offers.
This article has been written jointly with our partners at Revolution Force. Revolution Force specializes in adult & casual Dating, Male enhancement & adult Cams. The Revolution Force team members understand performance marketing because that is what they have always done since the first online affiliate program launched.
The guys pay affiliates each week on their earnings from promoting CPL, CPI, PPS and revshare offers with Revolution Force.
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