The current state of the sweepstake vertical
Sweepstakes proved to be one of the most profitable verticals in 2019. Considering the balance of supply on the part of advertisers and demand among affiliates, it can be argued that the sweepstake market is currently at its peak. This is a lucrative niche for all market players, and that’s why we have decided to figure out and tell our readers where, by what means and how much you can earn on sweepstakes, as well as discuss the prospects of this vertical.
There’s a lot of public information on this subject. However, even the most superficial analysis reveals that the majority of sources are just copying each other without bothering about the relevance of facts they cite and whether these facts match the current market situation. To get a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the niche right now, we contacted LetsCPA.com, an affiliate network specializing in sweepstakes. The network has agreed to share the most up-to-date information on sweepstake offers with us.
Table of contents
What works right now ?
All offers in the sweepstake vertical fall into two categories: CC Submit and SOI/DOI. Sometimes Pin Submit is identified as the third group. However, despite funnels involving prize giveaways, it is more accurate to attribute pin submits to the mobile subscriptions niche. So, we won’t focus on these offers within the framework of this article.
Credit Card Submit sweepstakes represent one of the most profitable niches in today’s affiliate marketing industry. Many believe that this vertical can be viewed as the next generation of the carrier billing industry. Moreover, in chronological terms, the sweepstake boom happened against the backdrop of stagnation in the niche of mobile content offers.
High payouts (up to $40 in certain countries), mild requirements to promo materials and huge potential when it comes to scaling up your campaigns make this niche attractive for affiliates irrespective of their experience and budget. However, while earlier the entry threshold to the CC Submit sweepstakes industry was relatively low, now the competition in lots of traffic sources has increased so dramatically that even seasoned players feel that the industry is getting crowded. As regards newbies, they often fail to find work opportunities.
In any case, competition is the surest sign of an industry’s huge potential. So, if you have the necessary budget and experience in running traffic, then you should definitely try to hit the jackpot in the CC Submit sweepstakes industry. This niche is a good match for affiliates who are capable of working with a monthly turnover of $5-10k, which means that this is a “mature” vertical. After all, you need a net to catch a big fish 🙂
CC Submit geography
The geography of CC Submit offers was rather extensive up to the fourth quarter of 2018. However, most of the profitable GEOs are now located on the European continent, as advertisers left many regions in the face of risks and low profitability. For instance, Latin American countries used to be the true Klondike for affiliates, but at this point these GEOs are almost dead as regards CC Submit. One notable exception is Chile where opportunities for work still exist. However, some advertisers have left the market entirely without paying their outstanding debts to networks.
Traditional countries to drive traffic to CC Submit sweepstakes are Italy, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, and England. Advertisers also selectively target such GEOs as Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, but these regions are unlikely to provide stable revenues. Outside Europe, an affiliate can target the USA, Canada (these GEOs are considered high-risk due to the specificities of the legal and banking systems), Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and a number of other countries.
Overall, the competition is increasing not only among affiliates but also among advertisers, and that’s why they have to carry out extensive testing, enter new markets and find opportunities to work in the regions that used to be sidelined .
Traffic sources for CC Submit offers
Facebook, push and pop networks are probably the best choice for affiliates. However, there is no such thing as an ideal traffic source for CC Submit sweepstakes, as all sources have their drawbacks and require a high level of expertise.
Facebook is one of the most promising traffic sources for sweepstakes, which is also true for many other verticals. However, Facebook is also very hard to work with. The social media’s policy prohibits the advertising of CC submit sweepstakes, and therefore affiliates have to resort to cloaking, deal with bans and systematically search for new accounts. Anyway, this traffic source enables an affiliate to generate huge volumes fast and secure a relatively high ROI (100% or even more is a common figure on FB) while targeting almost any GEO, and that’s why the efforts you put in optimizing campaigns can quickly pay off.
As regards the approaches, pre-landers with news work rather well: you need to give users a logical and compelling explanation as to how and why they can win a valuable prize for just 1-2 dollars. Users do delve into this information, and therefore it’s crucial to secure that your texts are well-written and accurately translated. Various pre-landers with a short survey can also be a viable option, especially if you can tailor them for different audiences.
When it comes to offers, flagship smartphones iPhone XS and Samsung S10 still remain on top. In general, other prizes convert much more poorly, although some campaigns can yield good results. It’s advisable to make promo materials both for iPhones and Samsung smartphones when testing campaigns, as some GEOs can demonstrate a considerable disparity in conversion rates .
This is clearly the most popular and profitable traffic source for sweepstakes. The combination of push notifications and sweepstakes was a golden ticket into the world of affiliate marketing for quite a lot of newcomers, as the entry threshold into this market remained low. However, the picture is not so rosy anymore, as the source has become more mature and more difficult to work with: the competition has increased and the limitations imposed by networks have got stricter.
Unlike FB, when working with push notifications you can easily monitor your competitors’ activities: having bought a spy tool (we use adplexity), you will be able to spy on other campaigns almost in real time. This significantly complicates the work process as campaigns burn out faster when campaign settings get copied multiple times. Nevertheless, seasoned affiliates manage to generate considerable volumes of traffic from push notifications. To secure a stable income, however, you’ll have to constantly enhance your approaches to running traffic. Push notifications in general are not about stability.
As regards CC Submit offers for push notifications, iPhones and Samsung smartphones convert best just as when working with Facebook. However, the approaches differ: pre-landers with articles or news fall far below surveys and quizzes. And given the fact that promo materials burn out very quickly, an affiliate often has to make a funnel more complex. For instance, one can use hybrid pre-landers with a survey in the first step and a quiz in the second step .
First of all, it should be noted that this traffic source can no longer be considered cheap and simple. Taking into account a low CR and a huge presence of trash and bot traffic, the cost for conversion is rather high, and therefore newbies without the relevant skills and budget have very few opportunities for growth. Even the loyal attitude of affiliate networks’ moderators towards CC Submit offers does not save the situation. In 2019, pop traffic is driven to sweepstakes first and foremost by those who have been working with this source for quite a while and have the necessary contacts, expertise and a serious background in affiliate marketing. In this case only it is possible to secure a good profit.
As regards offers, we won’t say anything new here. iPhone and Samsung are on top. When it comes to approaches, the focus here is on surveys and quizzes tailored for particular users (carrier/provider, device model, browser and so on). Pre-landers with news are barely working .
Alternative traffic sources
It is also possible to drive traffic from other sources, but they are not widespread due to various reasons. For instance, SMS and email traffic convert well in the CC Submit vertical. However, the availability of this traffic is limited, as database owners prefer to monetize it on their own rather than selling the traffic to a third party. Nevertheless, it is possible to buy this traffic, but it’s quite difficult to find it.
Adwords (it’s high time we got used to “Google Ads”) is also a good source for driving traffic to sweepstakes, although such ads are too conspicuous when they get shown on Google search results, which can lead to accounts being banned. Moreover, when it comes to contextual media advertising, it can sometimes be tricky to find the right audience to target and come up with profitable campaign settings.
Native traffic is also sometimes listed as the best traffic source for CC Submit offers, but this information seems to be outdated. Many native networks now prohibit the advertising of these offers, thus forcing affiliates to turn to cloaking, which entails certain costs and risks. Given high bids, the use of this source to drive traffic to CC Submit offers proves to be inexpedient in the majority of cases, although this traffic type can also convert .
CPL sweepstakes are a relatively mature niche in affiliate marketing. Nevertheless, it still remains popular in 2019. A simple funnel, a huge variety of offers and a wide range of traffic sources — what else does an affiliate need for a smooth work process? As compared to other verticals, lead generation on sweepstakes may seem a much easier task, but it has its own difficulties.
First of all, most advertisers impose a number of limitations on promo materials and the most effective approaches to running traffic (that, by the way, work perfectly well as regards CC Submit) are often prohibited. These include using brand names, aggressive and misleading advertising practices and many more. Secondly, payouts for an SOI/DOI conversion are relatively low, which seriously limits room for maneuver against the backdrop of competition in traffic sources. Thirdly, although the funnel may seem very simple at first glance, it’s actually not true, as a user often has to fill 10-15 form fields (1-2 forms) before it can be qualified as a conversion. Moreover, advertisers strictly validate the incoming data and do not allow you to send incorrect information, they can also refuse to qualify a conversion if some of the main form fields are filled erroneously.
As regards lead generation on sweepstakes, the most attractive GEOs include Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, England, France, Belgium, and Spain. The US, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore can also be listed as popular GEOs for SOI/DOI offers. Here we can also note that the epicenter of activity is on the European continent, although America undoubtedly represents a huge share of the market. Such states as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland and a number of other countries can be considered promising GEOs, but given the competition from, for example, CC Submit offers, working with SOI/DOI sweepstakes is not particularly profitable in these regions.
Asia, Latin America, and Africa show almost no signs of activity as regards lead generation on sweepstakes, although there are some exceptions such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and a number of other countries. However, payouts are critically low in these regions and as a rule account for 10-20 cents, rarely reaching $0.5 .
Traffic sources for leadgen sweepstakes
It’s safe to say that Facebook, push and Google Ads are the most popular traffic sources for SOI/DOI sweepstakes in 2019. Pop, in-app, SMS, email and native traffic sources also convert well. However, these traffic sources are of secondary importance due to the fact that either traffic is hard to get or it’s more profitable to drive it to other offers.
Lead generation on Facebook has become a classical practice among affiliates, and that’s why Facebook is one of the most popular traffic sources for SOI/DOI sweepstakes. The social media’s moderators have a more loyal attitude towards CPL offers than to CC Submit, although accounts often get banned for promoting these ads as well.
The approaches to driving traffic to CPL sweepstakes are the same for all the sources: pre-landers with surveys/quizzes work best. Furthermore, such pre-landers can be easily adapted to limitations imposed by advertisers. In general, texts can be modified to conform to the requirements by using ambiguous and/or dubious language. For instance, “Congratulations, you have won a brand new iPhone” can be replaced by “Congratulations, you can win a brand new iPhone”, “IKEA is giving away a $500 certificate” can be replaced by “We are giving away a $500 certificate to IKEA fans” and so on. It’s all marketing and no sorcery.
As regards offers, shopping vouchers and gift certificates work best on Facebook. Firstly, there is no competition from CC Submit offers. Secondly, you can successfully target narrow audiences interested in getting a voucher from a particular brand, especially if an advertiser allows you to use a Facebook pixel .
Google Ads (ex Adwords)
Contextual advertising is a great traffic source for lead generation campaigns because it enables an affiliate to target fans of certain brands using vouchers for shopping in their favorite stores. Obviously, the conversion rate will be particularly high when it comes to branded search. However, this can lead to additional complications linked to some vendors’ discontent and banned accounts. Nevertheless, if advertisers give their consent, affiliates won’t be deterred by these difficulties.
The approaches to working with PPC traffic are the same as when driving traffic from FB: surveys and quizzes executed in the style of a particular brand. Sometimes affiliates use Google Forms pages as a pre-lander, which in some cases enables them to avoid bans.
As has already been said, shopping vouchers are the best converting offers. iPhones and Samsung smartphones also convert rather well but are more difficult to work with in Google Ads, and therefore these offers fall by the wayside .
SOI/DOI sweepstakes are closely competing with CC Submit as regards push notifications, as both markets and approaches for these two groups of offers often overlap. Market favorites can be different depending on the peculiarities of specific countries. For instance, leadgen is an obvious leader in Germany in terms of EPC, as the specificities of the banking system and German national character hinder the development of the CC Submit market. However, we are witnessing a reverse trend in many other countries.
Pre-landers are the same as in other traffic sources: surveys and quizzes. Some market players claim that certain SOI/DOI offers convert better without pre-landers. According to some seasoned affiliates, this assertion is erroneous. Sometimes campaigns with fresh databases do generate a positive ROI without pre-landers, but ROI will be two or three times higher if you use pre-landers.
Both Samsung/iPhone offers and shopping vouchers work well on push traffic. However, certificates of some lesser-known clothing stores convert poorly, as in this case targeting options in push networks are considerably limited and an affiliate has to work with a wider audience .
What is more profitable: CC Submit or SOI/DOI ?
Other things being equal, experienced affiliates generate a higher ROI and EPC on CC Submit offers. High payouts and the ability to use aggressive approaches to warming up traffic provide a major advantage over leadgen offers, although in some cases SOI can be more effective. For instance, old push databases of users who have seen iPhone sweepstakes for perhaps 20 times convert poorly when it comes to CC Submit offers, and therefore CPL shopping vouchers can bring a significantly higher ROI. However, if you manage to find more or less “fresh” traffic and adequately warm it up, CC submit offers will generate more profit.
How much you can earn on sweepstakes in 2019 ?
Taking into account that sweepstakes are widely discussed in the market, we can come to a conclusion that there is a lot of money in this niche. However, guesswork can have nothing to do with reality, and therefore we tried to find out more or less specific figures and get to know how much top affiliates earn on sweepstakes. We didn’t manage to get answers to our questions regarding the turnover of top affiliates in LetsCPA, but we received a motivating screenshot from one of the partners. Overall, it’s not uncommon to earn 4-digit figures in USD daily when running traffic to sweepstakes. There is information that suggests that seasoned solo affiliates and affiliate teams can scale up to 5-digit figures, as the current market situation provides a favorable environment for such an income.
Statistics for 2 weeks. Currency: USD. The entire turnover is generated on CC Submit offers. The traffic source has not been disclosed.
The article has been written in collaboration with LetsCPA.com, an affiliate network specializing in sweepstakes.