One thing I noticed many people struggle with is getting the most out of their affiliate marketing campaigns. Of course, hitting the sweet spot between spending too much money and ruining your EPC and spending too conservatively is challenging.
Expanding your campaigns to maximize your profits, otherwise known as scaling, is a skill like any other, and it takes time, experience, and practice.
There is no single optimal way to scale across all platforms, as success depends on many other factors like luck, traffic sources algorithm, affiliate link used, do you have less or more money to spend, quality of creatives, and more.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can greatly increase your chances. Scaling is much easier once you know a few affiliate marketing tips and secrets. Through experimentation and years of trial and error, I’ve compiled a short list of things affiliate marketers often don’t know about or rarely talk about online.
- The basics of affiliate marketing scaling
- Your traffic source might artificially exhaust your affiliate marketing campaigns
- Scaling too aggressively might get your account banned
- Some platforms have amazing automated rules
- There are multiple ways to set up campaigns
- Targeting can make or break the whole operation
The basics of affiliate marketing scaling
Before we get into the scaling secrets, it’s important to quickly cover the basics. The simplest way to scale a campaign is to increase its budget. This brute-force approach, although not sophisticated, often works well and is usually called vertical scaling.
Another common method of scaling is just copying the campaign (ad set) many times. This is called horizontal scaling. In some cases, it’s much better because you have more control and you’re able to ‘micromanage’ everything.
If you have a single campaign with a $1000 budget and 10 campaigns with a $100 budget, the average CPA might be the same, as well as most other metrics. But, when you have multiple smaller campaigns, turning off those that happen to do a bit worse than others is just a matter of a few clicks.
The combined approach is what usually does best, but the best scaling strategy for you might mean the one that maximizes your ROI, one that maximizes your revenue, one that squeezes the most money short term, or one that needs the least time to pull off.
There are dozens of useful metrics when analyzing camps, but, it all boils down to two. The most important metrics to keep an eye on are your CPA (cost per action) and your EPC (earning per click).
CPA tells you how expensive your campaign is. While it will vary through the day, your campaigns will stay profitable as long as they are below the amount you get paid for 1 conversion. You usually get a CPA when you divide the money that a campaign spent with the number of conversions it generated.
EPC gives you an idea of the potential of your campaign. Your CPA could be very good but if your EPC is low it might not be worth scaling. EPC is your total revenue divided by the number of clicks.
ROI or return on investment is another important metric, one that tells you how efficient your campaign is. While in theory, you could make an insane amount of money with a very small ROI of about 10%, usually you’re looking for a high ROI as possible. This will give you breathing room for when CPA and EPC fluctuate during the day or the week.
Now that we have covered some basics, we can proceed with the top 5 secrets of scaling affiliate marketing campaigns.
Your traffic source might artificially exhaust your affiliate marketing campaigns
During my long and successful career in affiliate marketing, I noticed that even campaigns spending relatively low amounts of money in big markets got saturated relatively quickly on platforms like TikTok.
Even with broad targeting, they just seemed completely exhausted after a few weeks or even days. That shouldn’t be the case when only 0.001% of potential customers have seen it.
So why would a social media platform artificially make campaigns or creatives obsolete? The answer is simple, to promote fresh, trendy content.
Naturally, not every platform is the same as Facebook is promoting long-term, slow scaling. However, it’s good to keep in mind that on some platforms you’re racing against time, and need to scale fast.
How to scale on such platforms
The best way to scale, if you suspect that your platform might limit the lifespan of your ads, is to constantly refresh your creatives and duplicate your ad sets (horizontal scaling). There are many ways to do this, some take more time, some less.
What I do is start with a very low budget until the testing phase is over, usually under $50-$100. Once the data is in and you know approximately what to expect of your CPA and EPC, copy the ad set with the best stats many times.
What you’re gonna end up with is dozens of separate ad sets with separate stats, which in this case is a good thing. The next day, compare the stats of all ad sets, pick the winner again, and do the following:
- Increase its budget (most platforms recommend around 20% per day)
- Copy it into even more ad sets
- Make another copy BUT with refreshed creatives and test it for a day
- Turn off all campaigns with unacceptable CPA
Repeat this process each day. Ultimately, it’s worth it. It will keep your CPA low, even if it is time-consuming. But, just because you need to refresh your ads often that doesn’t mean you have to constantly make new ones.
How to keep your creatives fresh
The easiest way to refresh your ads is just by renaming them on your PC and reuploading them in the completely same shape. This will fool the algorithm and make it think it’s a fresh creative, while you retain the success of the original.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you can utilize some clever tactics like changing the text in the ads slightly, using different music, applying a filter, or even shortening the ad a bit.
Compared to renaming this will actually alter the video a bit. This is a good thing since some platforms might still recognize the similarity between the original and just renamed video.
Scaling too aggressively might get your account banned
It’s not a secret that platforms like Facebook have so many regulations that getting your account banned is just a matter of time.
Even if you play by the rules, Facebook might ban your account for just scaling too fast, as they think it’s an attempt to “cheese the algorithm”.
To avoid such occurrences, the way to go is to have multiple accounts and scale your affiliate marketing campaigns on all of them. While this is a logistical nightmare at times, it works. Similarly, scale your campaigns as in the previous case, but less aggressively.
Don’t increase your budgets above 20% per day, refresh ads constantly, scale horizontally if possible, and pick a safe niche where fewer people are likely to report your ads. This is usually what gets you banned once your campaigns increase spending.
Steer away from risky niches like e-commerce, financial offers, loans, banking, diet pills, insurance, and similar stuff, as it’s much more likely to cause you trouble.
Some platforms have amazing automated rules
If you have launched on TikTok, you’ve probably noticed a small button ‘automated rules’. Behind that button is an amazing world of automatization, that makes your life much easier.
When you have campaigns with budgets in thousands of dollars, even a few hours of bad performance can undo your profits for the day. I know many media buyers who pause their campaigns at night, not willing to risk such incidents.
But what they forget is the option to apply a ‘control budget’ feature that will automatically turn off your campaign if its CPA got too high. This is also useful if you’re traveling for a business meeting, on holiday, or simply don’t have the time to babysit your campaigns.
Opposite to ‘control budget’ is the ‘Enhance performance’ option. It will automatically boost the budgets of campaigns that are performing well, at an interval of 30 minutes or more. You can make complicated scenarios happen by adding multiple parts to the IF loop familiar to those who know basic programming.
Many other useful automated rules can make scaling campaigns a breeze. You can apply them across all campaigns, and individual ad sets, customize them however you like, set up your ads to automatically turn off, turn on…
There are multiple ways to set up campaigns
The way you organize your affiliate marketing operation can also greatly impact costs, revenue, and every other performance metric. There are two major ways to allocate funds: Ad set budget, and campaign budget.
If you have just one ad set per campaign, these will pretty much perform the same, but if you have just one master campaign with many different ad sets, you should be aware of the following ways to assign budgets.
Ad set budget and Cost cap
This is a common way most people I know allocate budgets. Each ad set has separate funding that can easily be manipulated. This gives you full control of each ad set which is of course a good thing.
A very interesting feature on some platforms like TikTok is the ability to set a CPA limit to an ad set known as the cost cap. This way the algorithm will manage to retain a very low CPA, just keep in mind that the spending will be much slower and inconsistent. It’s great if you want to get the most bang for your buck, though.
Set campaign budget and Campaign budget optimization
If the ad set budget option is so perfect then why does the campaign budget option even exist? The answer is quite simple: convenience. It lets you set up a budget, and forget about it, while the algorithm allocates it to each ad set in the way it thinks is the best when the campaign budget optimization is turned on.
While simple, it does take away some of your control and gives the algorithm more freedom. However, it’s still worth trying out, especially if you have a fixed amount of capital that you’re able to spend.
Targeting can make or break the whole operation
The people that you target on your traffic source dictate the number of clicks and conversions you can expect. On most affiliate marketing platforms, you’re able to target by age, gender, country, and interests.
Some platforms like TikTok have an option called the ‘Automatic targeting expansion’ feature which when enabled lets algorithms detect patterns. If 1% of people click on an ad about car parts, and most of those people also like bikes, the algorithm will cautiously expand its targeting to those groups. This feature can be very useful if your audience is small.
In my campaigns, I often target a very wide audience. This maximizes the chance of consistent results, and rarely if ever yields worse results than targeting a narrow audience. However for some niches, let’s say exotic cars, you must target a small, very specific amount of people to stand any chance.
Target people above 25
As a general rule of thumb, if the niche doesn’t promote things specially designed for young adults and teens, you should always target people older than 25. The reasoning behind this is that even if people under 25 like a product or a service, they will rarely complete the final steps and convert. An average 30-year-old earns much more than a 20-year-old.
Younger generations are also more like to use ad blockers, VPNs, and similar extensions that might impact your results. They are also less used to commercials compared to their parents and might convert less in comparison.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should never target multiple countries in a single ad set. Even if it starts great and is very profitable, it is an easy way to get your ads rejected. Even if all countries you target share a single language, be it English, Spanish, French, or something else, every country has a different policy and different demands.
Mastering the art of scaling is one of the main prerequisites if you want to make 4 or even 5 figures per day with affiliate marketing. It’s not only possible but if you have a winning niche and creatives that convert well, it’s almost guaranteed.
There are many ways to scale and even more scaling strategies to squeeze the most revenue out of your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Every single one has its pros and cons and will work differently for any two individuals, but it’s good to keep them all in mind. The most important thing is to experiment and find what you prefer.
There, you’ll find all you need to get into the business and start making a killing or perfect your skills if you’re already an established affiliate marketer.