Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – wishing you all a great 2014. 2013 sucked, I don’t know if its the 13 in the year, probably but it started very bad, and ended pretty well on the same very bad. Google has done a whole lot of evil this year, so I bet Santa won’t be coming to visit.
What I learned after 4 months of media buying – Part #1
Since I don’t have my own product. What you will read here is the real truth as I have no other motives other than to make new like minded friends in the AM space
and EXCUSE ME… but my mind is like my desk, messy…. ideas all over… so what you will read isn’t step by step… its stuff that randomly comes to mind… my problem all my life is I always have a shitload of ideas… I learned to slow down, and write all down on paper and do SWOT analisys and separate the good from the bad, but because of how I am, I made stupid mistakes in my past 4 month journey until today.
SO YOU KNOW: I tried dating, 1 click conversion offers, SMS confirmation offers, content billing offers, and app installs. So here I will talk randomly about each stuff.
I did one thing right from the get go, I approached this whole thing as a business. Because it really is, you need cash flow, you need to set goals, you need supplies and you have recurring expenses – all that a business has. And Media buying is not a 1 push get rich quick thing, it is more comparable to a brick and mortar business. If you don’t know what that means – in short it means a brick and mortar business usually only starts to see profit in its 2nd year of business – that’s why they say – if your store/biz survives the first year, you will be OK.
Anyway, I’m not saying it will take you that long to see success in media buying – but it won’t be as easy as those retards on WarriorForum that sells eBooks (and BTW they are making money selling the ebook, and not by doing media buying! LOL)
You need around $300 per month just for hosting + tracking!!! Plus 1k at least to properly test/optimize an offer.
The process is simple
1. Buy Data
2. Look at Data + Identify best converting banner/lander/device/carrier, etc.
3. Optimize (Change) one thing (maybe, block a bad pub that is draining your budget) then let it run…
4. Few hours later (or next day) optimize another thing, and slowly one by one narrow it down to the best possible EPC.
5. When you got the best EPC you know exactly how much you can afford to pay (anything up to or under that price)
6. Now you can start campaigns to scale on other sources, knowing what your average
MISTAKE I MADE WITH MY APPROACH: Not focusing on 1 THING. (I don’t say not focusing on 1 offer because that is dumb thing to say and here’s why: You might want to promote MILF dating, and your 1 thing will be milf dating, but there are many milf offers out there, so instead of focusing on one, test a few, then focus on the best that gives you the highest EPC)
Morale of the story: Focus on 1 thing, but try multiple offers via split testing (imobitrax tracker has this ability built in) — to find the best offer for your THING.
Stick to one traffic source – which one is the best? There’s no such thing. Google is the biggest, but in order to push CPA ads on there you must cloak them. How do you cloak them? I don’t fucking know, not there just about yet — all i know is the big super affiliates cloak google like a MOFO but they don’t tell this to anyone because they don’t want competition!
###MISTAKES I MADE WHEN IT COMES TO TRAFFIC SOURCE###
STARTED RUNNING ON CPM:
When I jumped in, I ran stuff right away on CPM. That is very very bad because on CPM you can end up paying sky high CPCs as you won’t have any data as to what banner yields the best CTR/CVR combination and the traffic source might rush you with tons of impressions on a shitty 0.2% banner, bang insane CPC right there.
TRYING TO RUN on RON with BROAD TARGETING:
So I had an SOI dating offer, accepted ALL in USA. Sweet I thought, I loaded it up on EXO, and selected RON>USA GEO. I check back 15 minutes later, it blew $500 and took me into the minus as well. GEE GREAT. Yea I had conversions like crazy and volume, and all that shit the gurus always say you need. But my ROI was total shit, and I lost a whole lot of money, and I had data for 15 minutes — useless for day parting/week parting. Yea I had max budget per day set, but that doesn’t matter on EXO because they have so many impressions (over 1 billion) that once their script says HEY budget spent, by the time it pauses it – it will drain your set budget 10x over!
The Reality: If you decide you want to go broad on RON you need a million+ dollars just to test, so you can collect enough data.
LESSON LEARNED: If you want to try ron, have at least some data so you can narrow in – that way you won’t spend your budget in an instant.
##MISTAKES I MADE WHEN IT COMES TO THE OFFERS###
Not listening to my rep! And Not using him and milking him for data. REPS you see, know it all – they know what converts, in DETAIL. What device, what OS, what geo, what time of day, etc. BE SMARTER > when you start an offer istead of flying blind, ask the rep to send you stats on day parting, devices, models, epcs, etc as much info as he has available. That way you aren’t going in dark, you have some idea. This works very well with some reps that practice transparency, there are assholes out there who won’t share it with you — but you shouldn’t be working with assholes like this anyway
##What I did Right##
After collecting data, and knowing what works, etc optimizing, I asked for a paybump, upped my bid, and collected more data to optimize and tweak the shit out of my campaign (APP DOWNLOAD). Then I asked for another pay bump.
Pay bumps help me go higher than all the other dudes selling the same shit as me. Remember, when an offer is HOT everyone will be pushing it… since their reps will be telling them to push it hard… because its the best hot shit right now, on fire!! Now, that means competition, and only way you can win is if you are smart, and ahead. The winners will be the ones making EPCs so high, their bids will be sky high for the little newbs and they will quit, ultimately sending all the volume to the best guy.
This is the real truth about media buying, and that is why Its so fucking hard, and not just a push button get rich BS you read in warriorforum ebooks for $5 bucks!
Watch out for part #2 coming soon, until then post your questions in the comments. I’ll try and answer ’em when I have time
The team at adfonic posted one very interesting article over on their blog.. here is what they said:
One interesting query has been regarding the definition of ‘premium’. It’s a good question and one that we will look at in more depth over the months to come.
Premium is not…
If we consider a working definition to be ‘the best’ inventory, then we immediately run into problems. The best for whom? A good example is The Guardian in the UK versus Angry Birds. We’re probably in agreement that The Guardian carries an amount of prestige as a publication, with sufficient reach and brand safety to be attractive to an advertiser. But Angry Birds could also be a premium publication depending on what an advertiser wants to achieve. It certainly has a large, engaged audience.
So perhaps we need to employ the ‘duck’ test for premium publications. If it looks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it’s a duck. But this isn’t going to satisfy advertisers who really do need to know what constitutes a premium publication.
And it doesn’t scale. While we could argue that ‘premium’ simply means ‘the head of the long tail’, the mobile ecosystem is growing at an astonishing rate so any definition will produce a massive head and a huge tail. Plus, long tail populations tend to be fractal: cut off the head by examining a different population, and another one appears, Medusa-like. So you’re still left with an ill-defined head, which is still growing exponentially. This does not help advertisers.
Premium might be…
So when we say that premium inventory is becoming more available via RTB, here’s our working definition of premium. Let us know what you think:
• Professional design
• Quality content that’s of real value to users
• Properly integrated ads – designed into the site/app, one per page, respect the user experience while achieving standout, and not facilitating accidental clicks
• Brand-safe environment for advertisers
• Ability to employ the USPs of smartphones while respecting user privacy (i.e. asking permission) – location, personalisation, audio/video
• High reach within the target audience (although this characteristic in isolation does not mean a publication is premium)
A final thought…
We have seen RTB significantly outperform premium. Our CEO and co-founder Victor Malachard presented these figures at MWC last year, and you can still see the presentation he gave:
Learn from my mistake, DO NOT DO FLAT RATE BUYS until you know your shit! Why? because if you get a flat rate buy to push 1 offer which is for the USA for example, and the tube has visitors from all over the world, and your campaign isn’t optimized to redirect based on geo, you will be throwing money out the window. It is that simple.
Media buys, this is how the pros drive traffic to their CPA offers. Yes, it’s true, media buys is probably the most powerful traffic generation model for CPA marketers. I myself think that this can be not the best model for a beginner to start with, but it does work and sooner or later all the successful CPA marketers end up using media buys.
I’ve noticed that in the last few months more and more people are interested in using this model besides (or instead) of PPC and PPV. So, I decided to create a quick guide to help people enter the media buying world without spending too much money or dealing with complicated systems. I hope it helps you create your first campaigns and start profiting in the next few days.
1. GET PREPARED
Before you even start building your campaigns you need to have a basic structure. If you don’t get organized with the basics first you will have almost no chances of succeeding.
Take care of the things below and just then start working on the campaigns.
Join good, trustworthy CPA companies. You don’t have to get started with the biggest ones if you’re new to this business (it may be tough to get your accounts approved), but make sure that you join only companies with a solid reputation. Never join a network and start sending traffic without making a good research first.
Here is a site that will help you find good companies that are willing to work with new affiliates:
Reviews of CPA Networks, Affiliate Programs and Ad Networks – Affpaying
If you don’t know how to apply to the networks, take a look on this quick guide:
Ultimate CPA Network Acceptance Report – EVERYTHING You Need To Know About CPA Acceptance
You do need more money to get started with media buys than with PPC or other advertising models. Even if you start with platforms and avoid the direct deals, you will still need to have some money to invest on testing.
It can be possible to get something going with $500, but it would be great if you had at least $1,000, maybe more to get your foot wet with this model.
So, don’t get started with this system if you don’t have some money to invest. In this business, money makes money, so find a way to make your budget before you start playing this game.
You will have to create banners and maybe landing pages to run your campaigns. If you can do it efficiently (efficiently!!!) by yourself, great. If you can’t, be prepared to hire a professional designer. The “Warriors for hire” section is great, but you can also use other freelance sites such as eLance.
Avoid using Fiverr, most people there are not as good as the ones on this forum or on the freelance sites. Remember: you get what you pay for.
Solid information / courses
If you don’t know how to play poker, don’t try to make money playing poker. You shouldn’t spend thousands of dollars buying tons of courses, but buying 1 or 2 good courses certainly won’t hurt.
It’s important that you know how use platforms, choose your offers, create your ads, etc… This is a basic guide that will put you in the right path, but it would be great to have more advanced information before getting started.
Take a look on paid IM forums as well as 1-on-1 coaching programs. Those are usually the most effective programs/systems to learn CPA.
Many people don’t really care about tracking when they are getting started with a new model. This can be a fatal mistake, so don’t do it.
You can use P202, Bevo or even a custom script with subids. It doesn’t matter as long as you track all the elements of your campaigns (placements, banners, landing pages, offers, etc) and know exactly what’s going on.
Control your metrics and you may get profitable. Run random campaigns without controlling your numbers and you will fail.
2. FIND THE TRAFFIC
Some people prefer to research offers first and just then look for the traffic to promote them. It’s not wrong, sometimes I do it and, IMO, this is probably the best way to go when using PPC. However, when it comes to media buys, it can be easier to find the traffic first and look for the offer later.
You can research placements, find the ones that seem to be good and just then find offers that are suitable for them.
If you want to get started the easiest way I highly recommend you to do this.
There are many god media buying platforms. Here is a list with some of them:
Take a look on the platforms, create accounts to see their placements and then fund your accounts with the platforms you consider the best to start buying advertising spaces.
If you want to be successful with media buys it’s essential for you to learn how to analyze the placements properly so that you can avoid the ones that have little chances of becoming successful without spending money on testing them.
Here are some basic rules you must follow:
* Prefer ad spaces that are close to the content;
* Avoid ad spaces that are too small;
* Avoid ad spaces that have other ad spaces too close;
* Buy only ad spaces that are above the fold;
* Avoid buying expensive ad spaces when testing a new campaign.
You need to know who is the audience you’ll be reaching with your campaign. So, analyze very well the demographics of the visitors of the site you will be placing your ads on.
Tools like Alexa, Quantcast, Compete and Google AdPlanner may help you with this task.
3. THINK ABOUT DEMOGRAPHICS, NOT NICHES
Most of the times we think only about niches. What niche is the best for media buys? How to find offers in the same niche of the site I’ll be placing my ads on?
This is a mistake.
Don’t think only about niches, think more about demographics when doing media buys.
Get the demographics of your audience using the tools I mentioned above and then try to come up with ideas to show something interesting to that audience. Try to figure out what would grab their attention, what would be nice for them.
If you’re placing ads on a forum about parenting, maybe your audience will be moms with young children. In this case, you don’t have to promote only offers related to parenting, maybe those moms would be interested in working from home to make some extra cash without leaving their kids with someone else. Babies can be very expensive, so this can be something interesting for the new moms.
Be smart, think out of the box and come up with nice ideas for niches, angles and approaches. It’s marketing, so be creative and try to engage people with your campaigns.
Do you know what’s an angle? It’s simply the way you approach your visitors.
For example, let’s say you will promote a dating offer. You could have “geeks” as your angle. Then, you would target geeks and say something like “tired of playing online games? Try something more interesting!”, and would show them the image of a hot girl. Or you could use loneliness as your angle and target mature women. You could say things like “don’t end up alone, find someone before it’s too late”. There are many different approaches you can use to promote an offer, so be creative and look for interesting ways to grab people’s attention and convince them to complete your offer.
After you find the traffic (find an interesting placement to advertise on), go to your CPA networks research offers. Don’t focus only on the network EPC as most people do. Each campaign is different and other people’s numbers may mean nothing to you.
Talk to your affiliate managers, talk to other affiliates and try to look for offers that seem to be suitable for your placement, always considering demographics and angles instead of just niches.
4. BANNERS & LANDING PAGES
After finding the right placement, offer and angle, you need the tools that will allow you to launch the campaign. Landing pages won’t be always necessary, but you will always need banners.
If you have good designing skills it’s great, but if you don’t you better outsource this task. But even for those who will outsource the banners and landing pages it’s very important to know how to create effective graphics so that they’ll be able to pass the right instructions to the designer. Remember that designers are designers and marketers are marketers!
Creating effective banners
There are a few simple rules you should follow when creating your banners:
* The banner needs to contrast with the site. If the site is blue, don’t create a blue banner, try to use more yellow or red to contrast with the site.
* Ugly banners are better. Don’t be too professional, bad looking banners can be more eye catching and have a better performance. Most banners are well designed, so when people see a banner that’s not very professional it tends to grab their attention.
* Keep it simple. Don’t use too much content, just use few words, a nice image and that’s it. A strong headline with a strong call-to-action and a good image can do wonders. If you use too much text or too many images your banner can become confusing and people won’t take the time to understand it, they’ll just ignore it.
Creating effective landing pages
Keep it simple. This is the golden rule for landing pages.
Don’t use too many graphics. Your page needs to look good (professional), but it shouldn’t have too many elements. Your page needs to pass a message to the user and it needs to be done fast. If you have many elements you may distract the user and do not pass the right message.
The main elements that you need to have are:
* Headline – Tell people what is in it for them, why they should spend their time on your site. Do it with 2 lines and just few words. Less can be more.
* Bullets – Use short bullets to expose the main benefits of your offer. People are more likely to read bullets than blocks of text.
* Call-to-action – Tell people what to do, use a strong call-to-action to make them leave their comfort zone and go to the offer’s page.
* Image – Use a nice image to give a better looking to your page. The pages tend to look bad when they have only text.
As I said before, you can use the “Warriors for hire” section of this forum as well as freelancer sites. However, keep in mind that designers are designers, they can create good looking pages, but they don’t know how to create pages that convert. So, tell them exactly what to do.
Also, I recommend you not to outsource the content. Again, writers are writers, not marketers. If you’re not a native english speaker you may hire a writer to review your content and fix eventual grammatical errors or improve the choice of words, but don’t hire someone to create the whole thing for you.
5. TESTING, TRACKING & OPTIMIZING
This is a critical part and there are a few things that you need to keep in mind here:
* You won’t be successful right from the beginning. You will start losing money and you will have to improve (optimize) your campaign to turn a positive ROI.
* You must control your numbers. There is a lot of math involved in the process of creating profitable campaigns. You need to control your metrics to spot problems and fix them. You will have many elements to test and you have to find your winners in order to be successful.
There are many metrics involve din creating media buying campaigns, but below are the main ones. Track them and optimize them and you will have great chances of succeeding.
CTR – Click Through Rate
What is it?
The CTR is the percentage of people who see your ad clicks on it. For example, if 1,000 see your ad and 20 click on it, your CTR will be 2%.
CTR = click * 100 / impressions
When doing media buys you will hardly pay per click, you almost always pay per impressions (CPM – cost per mile) or pay per time of exposure ($X for X days). In both cases, you should try to get as many clicks as possible, since it wouldn’t increase your costs.
The CTR is the metric that will allow you to analyze the performance of your ads (banners and ad spaces) and improve them to generate more traffic.
There is also the CTR of the landing page, which is the percentage of people who reach your page and then go to the offer’s page. If this CTR is low you must improve your landing page, because you’re wasting traffic.
eCPC – Estimated Cost Per Click
What is it?
It’s the average cost of each visitor who comes to your site.
eCPC = cost / visitors
As I said before, most of the times you’ll be working with CPM and time of exposure, so you won’t be paying per click. However, it’s good to know the actual cost of your traffic, so you can estimate a CPC and know exactly how much you’re paying for your traffic. The lower the eCPC the better.
EPC / CR – Earnings Per Click / Conversion Rate
What is it?
The EPC is the average earnings for each visitor who goes to the offer’s page. The CR is the percentage of people who reaches the offer’s page and convert.
EPC = earnings / clicks to the offer
CR = conversions * 100 / clicks to the offer
The EPC and the CR will help you test offers and determine which one is the most profitable offer for your campaign. Controlling these metrics is very important to know how much money you’re making with your campaign.
ROI – Return on Investment
What is it?
It’s the percentage of money that you’re earning or losing according to your investment.
ROI = (earnings – expenses) * 100 / expenses
The ROI is basically what tell you if you’re making money or losing money. You need a good and solid ROI to be able to run a campaign and make decent profits.
Always watch your ROI, because this is the only way to know when a campaign becomes profitable or loses performance.
That’s it, guys. I hope you enjoyed this quick guide.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post them below.