The Man and the traffic: the Man is off to a rocky start
Hi everyone! This is ZorbasMedia editorial team speaking. You’re commencing to read the fifth volume of our epic saga about the Man who strives to build an affiliate marketing career from scratch. This narrative is just as compelling as the Epic of Gilgamesh.
For those of you who have just joined our experiment, we’d like to briefly explain what it is all about: Oleg is our SEO specialist, he has five children and ten years of military service under his belt. Oleg seeks to be financially and geographically independent. We have provided him with $2,000 to help make his dream come true. We are interested to know whether it’s possible to become a top affiliate within a limited time frame and on a shoestring budget. Everybody keeps saying that it’s possible, moreover, there are lots of training courses around, but experience has shown that it’s not that simple. Otherwise, there will be no egg sellers and elevator operators.
Last week Oleg arrived at a conclusion that spending two hours a day on affiliate marketing is not enough, made some creatives, started working with a new traffic source, generated his first conversion, made some mistakes and lost $50, went to a banya (a real one, with steam and bath brooms) and realized that it would be a good idea to start using pre-landers. After this short preamble, we are giving the floor to the Man. Let’s take a look at how things are going on and help the Man wherever possible. After all, his dream is at stake.
Don’t forget that you have access to Oleg’s tracker. You can monitor his progress and learn together with the Man.
You can monitor his progress and learn together with the Man. Oleg discussed how he set up the tracker in the previous volume.
Hi there! The Man welcomes you here on the ZorbasMedia website.
Thanks a lot for your comments and advice! You helped me to find answers to many of my questions. However, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.
The week went by fast: my wife, five kids and the regular job that should be given due attention [oh yes, indeed – Ed.].
I spend all my time with my family at weekends, and therefore I can’t sit in front of my computer and actually drive traffic. Two hours a day on affiliate marketing is definitely not enough. If you want to become a pro, bear in mind that you should dedicate all your time to it. If you a newbie, you need to set aside at least four hours a day to run traffic.
I do realize that I’m not the only one who is trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance and acquire new skills. I’m curious to know how you manage to reconcile work and family responsibilities and learn something new. What can you recommend in this situation?
What has been done
This week I was able to have a more substantive conversation with our in-house affiliate team. I learned what’s the principal difference between sending traffic directly to an offer and using a SmartLink (next week I’ll probably test it). I made more diverse creatives for ad campaigns. I set up and launched campaigns in PropellerAds taking into account my previous experience. I launched only one campaign in MegaPush, and so there is little data to analyze. I learned in theory how pre-landers work and what they are used for but I haven’t gained any practical experience yet. As regards VPN services, I installed ZenMate as it has a free trial account. I haven’t found any useful training courses on driving push traffic. Having communicated with affiliates in chats, I realized that self-education is the only viable option. Well, I guess it has its benefits.
I made somewhat identical creatives for my first campaign, and I absolutely agree with the comment by a product owner from PropellerAds in this regard. I tried to diversify both small icons and main images. All creatives were made in Photoshop. The examples are given below:
The creatives with messengers’ logos and such words as Porno and Sex didn’t pass moderation.
As regards the creatives given above, overtly explicit images were also rejected at the moderation stage.
Launching ad campaigns
To streamline the names of my campaigns, I created a sample that I’m going to use in the future:
I used this sample to name my ad campaigns in the tracker and in PropellerAds, but MegaPush has certain limits on the length of a campaign’s name, and so I had to come up with a shorter variant. I’m curious to know how you name your campaigns. How do you optimize this process?
To get a bigger picture, I decided to launch 5 ad campaigns in PropellerAds (four CPC campaigns and one CPM campaign) and drive traffic to different GEOs. Similarly, I launched five campaigns in MegaPush, but this network operates only on the CPC model.
I chose a corresponding offer for each GEO and created ad campaigns. I also tried to take into account the data on choosing the best time for launching a campaign.
I would like to dwell upon the first campaign I launched. It was a CPC campaign targeted at the UK: PropA-CPC-UK | CLDr-71516-CharmLiveShow-SOI-202023 | Test002. The campaign generated only a single conversion. After each creative got at least 100 clicks, I disabled half of them that showed a low CTR.
Money spent: $10.2; clicks generated: 343. The creatives are shown on a screenshot below. Some creatives with a low CTR were disabled.
The traffic from Clickdealer was distributed between two offers. At that, most of the traffic was driven to the second offer that wasn’t initially requested for activation and a postback URL was not set up, and therefore the single conversion I generated is not shown in PropellerAds and in the tracker:
Having studied the offer description in detail, I found out that push traffic was not allowed (bingo!). Of course, I fucked up here. Be more careful: the devil is in the detail. That was the reason why the traffic was sent to another offer.
Later on, it turned out that it was not the only mistake I made. When I was creating a campaign, I inadvertently launched it (while I was supposed only to save the settings). As a result, I lost $53. Mistakes are extremely costly, indeed!
The results of the first campaign: 9,656 impressions, 343 clicks, 1 conversion, $10.2 spent, $2.3 earned, the ROI is -77.4%. If the campaign had been run on the CPM model, 9,656 impressions would have cost $12.26 (if the recommended CPM is $1.027), but this is an approximate calculation, as the recommended CPM varies from $0.5 to $6.
Other campaigns demonstrated similar results:
I didn’t have an opportunity to start driving traffic to Canada, as my budget had been exhausted.
Dealing with stress
After the disappointing test, I got really upset and decided to go to a banya. I wanted to get my head straight. Unfortunately, a banya in Kuzmolovo I frequented most often was closed for repairs. I didn’t have much time, but still I decided that there was no going back and that I couldn’t break my tradition (banya once a month is a must). So, I set my mind to exploring new grounds and went out of Saint Petersburg.
I managed to find a great banya in Toksovo [an urban-type settlement in the Leningrad Region]. At least the month wasn’t a total loss. So, as you can see, sometimes new can be better than old. Don’t be afraid of looking for something new.
So, back to the traffic!
It took quite a while for me to launch a campaign in MegaPush: the unfamiliar interface, and you can use only one creative for a campaign. Some of my campaigns didn’t pass moderation. It was also kind of strange for me to work with feeds*. In order to pass moderation, you should disable some of them. For the sake of the experiment’s accuracy, I chose only one feed: MegaPush. And some of my campaigns didn’t pass moderation because one landing page automatically subscribed users to push notifications, while another landing page contained adult content:
All in all, I launched only one campaign: MgPsh-CPC-UK | CLDr-49890-162792-SOI | Test002:
So, as you see, the traffic was more expensive, but, again, I set the CPC value myself. It’s possible that if I had had enough experience, I would have optimized the campaign properly.
- Affiliate marketing is not an easy business. You have to take a systematic approach. Everything I’ve done so far is just making some sporadic attempts to launch an ad campaign and generate profit. The harder it’s to drive traffic, the less competition you will encounter. Hence, I’m going to continue pursuing this path despite all the setbacks.
- Dating is something that will always be around. The mutual attraction between people is embedded in our DNA. So, I’m going to continue exploring this vertical, and especially so that there are lots of traffic sources.
- Time is the most valuable resource we have. You can’t buy time or rent it and time is always lacking. And time passes more quickly as we age. I need to organize my daily routine to maximize productivity and dedicate more time to affiliate marketing: the only option I see now is to set aside three hours every morning and an hour at weekends while my children are asleep. This will give me +25 hours a week.
- There is no success without failure. I’ve already gained invaluable experience in exchange for time and money.
- Communication can resolve many issues. When in doubt, ask for advice. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Pre-landers. For now, I see a couple of reasons why pre-landers are a necessity: you can’t control and change your landing page content if you don’t have a pre-lander. Having clicked on an ad, a user gets redirected to the registration form in the majority of cases. However, users don’t see any point in filling in this form. They don’t know what they will get after the registration. The task of a pre-lander is to convince a user to fill in the form, and here you can and should unleash your creativity.
Here are my plans for next week
- Think about a long-term strategy of driving push traffic to dating offers and draw out a plan for a month or two ahead.
- Analyze the data I received after running test ad campaigns: tracker, traffic sources, affiliate network.
- Talk with a Clickdealer manager as to what dating offer I should drive traffic to.
- Talk with traffic source managers to better understand the rules and what creatives are not allowed. Once again, study the peculiarities of each source.
- Make new creatives: an explicit reference to dating and a message from a girl. For the experiment’s sake, I’m going to use the same creatives for all GEOs.
- Find, download, clean up and uniqualize one or two pre-landers. Set up ad campaigns involving pre-landers.
- Launch new campaigns and gather data for further analysis.
Spent time and resources:
- Finance: $200 deposited in push networks’ accounts ($110 spend on campaigns). Profit: one lead for $2.3.
- Time: 28 hours.
It would serve as an encouragement to get to know that success can be achieved in the near future. After all, the prospects of investing money without generating profit are bleak.
See you next time! I’m looking forward to your comments!
ZorbasMedia editorial team would also like to say goodbye to you! See you soon!
* Feed is a source of push traffic. MegaPush has both in-house and third-party feeds