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Archive: Affiliate Marketing

Facebook Targeting: Use It!

What can I say? I’m on a Facebook kick.

When I first started using Facebook’s advertising platform, I was using it much like I used Google Adwords: Broad, untargeted, throwing ads against the wall and hoping something stuck. Basically, I was doing this:

Eventually, I figured out that my campaigns would convert better if I took advantage of Facebook’s targeting features. I started doing this:

(There’s 80 of them, in case you’re wondering)

What if I don’t want to get that specific though? What if I have an offer that can reasonably apply to everybody? Well, I finally figured that one out too.

Learn which demographic converts best

Then take advantage of it. Like I said earlier, I’m running a campaign that promotes a service that nearly anybody can use. Instead of just throwing up an ad that targets everybody, I decided to find out where my clicks were coming from and who was converting the best. After setting up a dozen different campaign subIDs, I broke my ad group into a dozen ads. Those ads targeted the following (not a complete list):

  • Male college students in the US ages 18-24
  • Female college students in the US ages 18-24
  • Male college students in Canada ages 18-24
  • Female college students in the Canada ages 18-24
  • Men in the US ages 25+
  • Women in the US ages 25+

And so on and so forth. As I type this, that campaign is sitting at 150 clicks, nearly half coming from just one of those demographics. I can use that information to write a more specific ad for that demographic (for instance, including their country of origin in the ad copy), which could in turn increase my CTR and conversion rate. Also, I can find which demographics seem uninterested in my ad and either modify it or remove it altogether.

As you can see, knowing where your clicks are coming from can be very beneficial. Since I always write my daily posts the night before, I can’t tell you how many conversions I’ve gotten from this campaign yet (Commission Junction’s reporting is incredibly delayed). If it turns out that this campaign isn’t a flop, and it actually makes me some money, I’ll let you guys know how my ad targeting works out.

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Facebook Nazis

It seems like I can’t get a single ad past Facebook these days.

They’ve been shutting down my campaigns left and right, citing rules that are so obscure that they could apply to nearly anything. For example: I created an ad group with three ads in it yesterday, one ad for each country I was targeting. Ad #1 was disapproved for capitalizing every word in the title, ad #2 was disapproved for violating the ‘no-scams’ rule (could you be any more vague?), and ad #3 was disapproved for leading to an iframed landing page. All three ads were exactly the same and led to the same page (with different tracking code). Also, fun fact: That exact same ad ran for 16 hours and got hundreds of clicks the previous day. Way to go Facebook.

Seriously, how am I supposed to use Facebook to make any money? If you link directly to the offer page, they shut you down for having an ugly URL. If you try to promote an email submit, they shut you down for collecting personal information. If you try to promote any digital product at all, they shut you down for ‘being a scam’. You can’t promote ringtones, dating offers, or anything that appeals to college students. The same network that allows the random hookup application won’t allow you to put a picture of a bikini-clad woman in your ad.

What about physical products? If you try to promote any sort of diet, they shut you down for ‘unverified pharmaceutical claims’. The same seems to apply to workout supplements. What’s maddening is that I see people promoting these offers every day on my personal Facebook account. Why can’t they be consistent on what’s allowed and what’s not?

It seems like Facebook is out to get affiliate marketers. If you want to advertise anything at all, I’d recommend doing the following:

  • Create multiple advertiser accounts from different IP addresses.
  • Create the same ad on each account and stagger the submission times by 15-30 minutes.
  • Start with a large daily budget/CPC, and scale it back if your ad actually gets approved.
  • Submit your ads at 4 AM. It’s worked for me.
  • Start with a landing page that has absolutely no chance of violating their rules, and change it after the ad gets approved.
  • Just keep trying. Your ad will either be approved or your account will be banned.

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Interesting Little Affiliate Network

I found a nice little affiliate network last night: Traffic Payouts. When I say little, I mean it. They only have programs with six companies so far, and they’re all “make a billion dollars a day typing at home” kind of offers. You’ve probably seen them spammed on craigslist before.

Anyway, why would I bring up a network that only promotes programs that are widely considered to be scams? Well, it turns out that you can make some decent money with them. For example, if you sign up through the link I posted above, I get $5 for every sale you send, forever. That’s a lot of potential money on 2nd tier affiliates. I earned $10 for the guy who referred me last night, and seeing as how he advertised his link and methodology to all of Wickedfire, I’m sure he’s getting a lot of referral money right now.

You also get 70% of every sale you generate. For the product I was promoting, that came to $35 per sale. Not too shabby. They also pay out twice per month, and Paypal is one of the options (and they even cover all of Paypal’s fees). If that wasn’t enough, they also give out prizes to their top-20 affiliates every month (ranging from XBox 360s to 50″ LCD TVs).

Now, I’m not going to write a lot today. Instead, I’m going to send you guys on a little scavenger hunt. Go to Wickedfire. Now go to their Affiliate Marketing forum. In that forum, you’ll find a topic that talks about how to promote offers from Traffic Payouts. Read it all, it’s valuable information. Let me put it this way: Using that method, I setup a PPC campaign that direct-linked to the offer page through my affiliate URL. Without even doing any clever ad writing, I managed to get close to 300 clicks and 2 sales. I know a 0.67% conversion rate is pathetic, but it let me break even. The guy who shared the method I’m talking about gets around a 3% conversion rate, which means I would have made around $280 profit if I would have followed his instructions exactly (instead of being lazy). I’m going to do that today, so read fast and hope that I’m busy at work (otherwise you’ll have another competitor).

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You Can’t Get Rich With a Coupon Site

Ever save a post and forget to hit ‘Publish’? Sorry for the late entry.

If you’re a member of Commission Junction, then you’ve probably signed up to be an affiliate of Dell, Sony, Apple, or all of the above. If that’s true, then you’ve probably also had your inbox filled with seemingly daily emails informing you about new coupon codes you can give to your customers. If you’re like me, you probably delete these messages without a second glance.

Until yesterday, I had never really considered making a coupon site. Why? Because I’d be competing with enormous, well-established sites that are 5+ years old and have hundreds of thousands of backlinks (not an exaggeration. Go to dnscoop.com and look up couponmountain.com). The coupon niche is flooded, old, and pretty much impossible to break into. Regardless of that, I finally decided ‘to hell with it’ and created a site: Dell Home & Home Office Coupons.

The reason for me making this site is pretty simple: I know people who are likely to buy a Dell computer in the near future, and my site has an easily-remembered URL. I send them there, they click banners and buy something, I get 1-2%. Since I don’t plan on spending any money marketing the site, I’ll only have to refer one or two people in the next year to make back the cost of the domain registration. In the meantime, I’ll have new content being delivered to my inbox nearly daily, and with enough link building and word-of-mouth referrals, I could quite possibly make a few bucks with this site. Not enough to get rich, but maybe enough to fill a gas tank or two.

Ways I plan to get referrals:

  • My workplace uses nothing but Dell computers. Maybe I can talk my boss into clicking through my site next time they order new ones.
  • Word of mouth to friends and family members.
  • Links in my forum signatures.
  • Extremely long keywords (cheap dell xps system laptop omg).

Like I said, there’s literally no way I can compete with the big coupon sites in the SERPs, but I still might be able to make a few bucks doing other forms of marketing. If I’m really lucky, I’ll have a few hundred pages of content in the next few months, and with some decent monthly revenue I could probably sell the site to some DP sheep. Who knows.

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Applying PPC To My Day Job

I had an interesting thought yesterday. What if I could apply PPC marketing techniques to my day job? Special thanks to Nickycakes for planting the idea in my head.

Let me explain. I’m part of my workplace’s campus recruiting program. Basically, I go out and make students aware of the job opportunities that are available at my workplace, and I’m paid $10 for each resume I collect and $250 for each person hired from those resumes. Yesterday I started thinking about the whole deal in affiliate marketing terms: Aren’t those two actions just like leads and sales? Once I made that connection, I started thinking about ways I could use various marketing techniques that I’ve learned to increase my monthly payouts.

Up until now, I’ve been getting my leads and sales from word of mouth, craigslist, and un-targeted Facebook marketplace listings. Ah yes, Facebook. Ever had one of those moments where a lightbulb turns on in your head? I decided to try using Facebook’s advertising system to my advantage.

It turns out Facebook’s targeting methods are exactly what I needed. Look at it this way:

With a Facebook Marketplace listing, I’m targeting everybody with no filters. Crapshoot.

With the Facebook ad I created, I was able to target:

  • College students and graduates only
  • Located in my town and the neighboring town
  • Enrolled in Computer Science, Computer Technology, or Computer Engineering

That cuts it down to approximately 560 (presumably qualified) people. I set my max CPC to $0.50 and waited. So far, I’ve gotten three clicks and three submitted resumes. For those of you who aren’t very good at math, that means I spent $1.50 and got $30 back, resulting in a $28.50 profit. That number has the potential to be much higher, if any of those people are hired. Not a bad deal, in my opinion.

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