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Kicking off mobile leadgen => $300/day

Discussion in 'Follow Alongs and Online Journeys' started by bweed, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. bweed

    bweed Affiliate affiliate

    I'm not very good a following through with these sort of blogging endevours but I thought a bit of personal accountability wouldn't be a bad thing to help combat some of my less useful personality traits.

    Me and my partner have been around the affiliate marketing world for several years and I've planned to make a go of it for almost as long. My long term goal is to build assets through mailing with some twists. But before we get to that I want to master a more traditional form of aff marketing and learn the ropes thoroughly before trying to add our own innovations. I figure if I can't get it right doing what everyone else is doing I'm already handicapped if I try to invent new methods.

    With that in mind our plan is to follow the blueprint layed out by @cashmoneyaffiliate very closely. It's fantastically detailed and although a couple of years old I'm hoping it's all still very relevant. By following a blueprint we limit the number of variables we can get wrong in those early days of floundering around when you almost have to guess at every single decision.

    Our mid-term target is $300/day. We'll give ourselves 3 months to achieve it. If we get that far I don't see it being difficult to scale that to $1000+/day in a few months after that. We are very lucky in that we can start off reasonably well funded and with plenty of time on our hands.


    Voluum for tracking - I looked at running the latest free version of prosper202. I'm a software developer of 20 years so I liked the idea of being able to hack at the tracking software. But again to keep things simple and minimize variables we decided to run on a tried and test platform. I'll leave prosper until if/when I have a use case for modifying a tracker.

    Adplexity for spying - It was hard to make a call about which tracker to use, in the end I just opened up CMA's ask me anything thread and scrolled backwards until I found a post where he said which one he's using.

    Digital Ocean VPS for hosting - I'll probably run scripted LPs so a CDN is out.

    Affiliate Fix Dojo - it sounded worthwhile and it is!

    Traffic: AdCash and Zeropark (still waiting on ZP approval)

    Networks: ClickDealer and G4Offers - I'll start with clickdealer and from what I've heard about them I'll probably end up wanting to stay.

    Initially we are planning to to run leadgen/sweepstakes offers using mobile pops (again to limit variables by eliminating banners).

    Down the track we will look at banners and media buying to add volume. As well as introducing other variables but we'll get good at one thing first.

    Today's task is learning Adplexity and choosing offers. We are looking at 2nd/3rd tier countries. None in particular yet, I just asked my AM for a list of performing offers in various 2nd/3rd tier geos and now we are researching them with the help of our limited Adplexity skills. We may pick one 1st tier to run with just for the luxury of having landers in our own language. But my expectation is that we've got a better chance with non-english.

    Aiming to have a campaign live by the weekend. So if we get through offer selection today then tomorrow will be working out how to setup voluum and traffic interfaces. The day after will be ripping a lander, cleaning the junk out of it and tweaking it with my own code.

    A couple of things we've learned so far:
    • Backend interfaces of affiliate networks are horrible and clunky to browse offers in.
    • Me and my partner have very different ways of learning things. We're on a steep learning curve so we've got to work out each other's processes and just let them flow without trying to kludge each other into our own way of doing things. I'm good with machines and she's good with people so if work out how to get the best out of each other we've got strengths across the full spectrum.

    I'll report in with our progress when we've made some more.

    p.s. Have to give a big shout out and a thankyou to @cashmoneyaffiliate for the awesome resources he's given away. We had other verticals in mind but we decided to attempt emulating his methods closely simply for clear and concise way he's layed it out. Even if it's not the vertical and traffic we eventually settle into his musings are an invaluable resource for newbies like us who are trying to find their feet in the sea of information that is affiliate marketing.
    K, Morticai, Judecd23 and 2 others like this.
  2. Voluum
  3. traged

    traged Affiliate affiliate

    Subscribing, good luck, keep us updated!
    bweed likes this.
  4. Judecd23

    Judecd23 Active Member affiliate

    Awesome! Good Luck!
    bweed likes this.
  5. Guilly

    Guilly Affiliate affiliate

    I'm about to start at the same path as yours.. Good luck
    bweed likes this.
  6. AfricanAffiliate

    AfricanAffiliate Affiliate affiliate

    looks good. following closely
    bweed likes this.
  7. bweed

    bweed Affiliate affiliate

    Well it's been an interesting week so far. The learning curve has been incredibly steep but I'm amazed how much we've learned just by picking something and trying to get it setup.

    After trawling offers for a couple of days and learning our way around Adplexity we finally shortlisted some offers and settled on one. A 'win and iphone' email submit in a tier 2 country with a reasonable amount of traffic but a very low payout > 30c. We did a bit of research into the region to asses things like population, GDP per capita and more importantly available traffic on our traffic sources and decided there was scope to scale if we got it right.

    Next task was to learn how to setup a campaign. Once we had an offer it took most of a day to work out how to set things up in Voluum and on AdCash. To keep it simple we just direct linked, the main purpose of the exercise was to see if we got data coming through and verify we'd got technical side right. Then just as we were about to hit the start button we got an urgent message from affiliate manager to tell us not run the offer because it just got pulled! Late at night by this point so we thought it would take us until the next day to get going but it turns out we learned a lot faster than we thought. Picked another similar offer from our shortlist and had it running in 10 minutes.

    The results were abysmal. About 8k popunder impressions and 0 conversions. A bit more digging and we realised that in our rush we'd missed the fact that the offer page was in english, even when we looked at it with HMA proxies. Switched offers again and this time we got 2 conversions. Still abysmal but at least we confirmed our setup worked.

    Next day we decided to add a lander into the mix as well as try another traffic source (Popcash). I must admit we were both dubious about the value of landing pages but the results speak for themselves. 13 conversions on popcash and 10 from adcash which worked out to -75% ROI. The lander was just ripped from similar campaigns we found on adplexity and I quickly learned the headaches of working in a foreign language. Not too mention how much sneaky code is in a ripped lander. If I wasn't a code myself I could have very easily thought I'd cleaned it up and still had half my traffic jacked.

    At -75% ROI and given that we'd used a ripped lander that had been running for a while which suggests it's already been optimised somewhat we at first thought this probably wasn't going to be a winner. That's cool, I expected to a run a few failures before I found one with potential. But when we started drilling into the data things started looking up. With a few traffic source filters I think we can get this profitable. Not sure how much just yet but for the sake of the learning process we'll run with it and see.

    Currently we're running a short bot detection campaign on both traffic sources to try and identify any bad zones to blacklist.
    Next task is prioritise all the possible optimization parameters and add them one at a time. We'll drop back to one traffic source and get it right before we work on the other. We're using a blacklist approach rather than whitelist so we don't throw away traffic until we've confirmed it has little potential.

    A few things we've learned so far:
    • AdCash needs vigilance to test low budget offers on. You can't send a campaign for approval unless you set it to start and their min. daily budget is $50. So if you aren't watching when they approve it you can burn far more than you intended to spend for testing quite easily.
    • If the traffic source offers browser language filters use them! About 20% of our traffic was set to english with zero conversions even though it's a non-english country. Our first pass ROI could have been -60% rather than -75% if we'd got that right.
    • Landers really do work. Ignore your assumptions and TEST.
    • Data is worth it's weight in gold. -75% ROI looks bad until you drill down and realise there's a profitable campaign there right now if you're willing to sacrifice volume. And probably a more profitable one if you can wear some losses while you gather more data.
    • Optimising the process for gathering data efficiently is important.
    The final KEY thing that we've learned this week is the absolutely undeniable value of just doing it! Don't get hung up on details or making sure you've got everything right before you dive in. Sure you'll make some mistakes and a few of them might even cost you money. But what I've learned in less that week I'm sure I could have paid $xxxx dollars to learn from a course and still wouldn't feel confident to start. A week ago I had no idea what I was doing or if I could make this work. Now I can see a clear path to profit. It may not be this campaign and I don't know how much but it will happen.

    I'll report back when we've done our traffic optimizations and let you know how we go.
    PaltiNet likes this.
  8. vaRos

    vaRos Affiliate affiliate

    I'm doing literally the same steps as you but in a Antivirus vertical. I started, probably, around a week earlier than you. One more thing that I've learned and you didn't mentioned is that you need to stay cool on ever campaign. Just don't put a lot of hope on every thing, otherwise you are going to disappoint at one day and it will be hard to start a new campaign over and over looking for a profitable one.

    Another thing I would like to suggest - I noticed you are testing 1 offer and several lenders. For a better and faster results take 2-3 offers with the same or similar rules. So you will have 2-3 offers and 2-3 landers on a test. As a first step of optimization eliminate offers that doesn't work and as a second step eliminate landers.
  9. bweed

    bweed Affiliate affiliate

    Hi vaRos. You're right, it can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I fully expect my first few campaigns to fail miserably in terms of ROI. If one doesn't it'll be a nice surprise. What I'm really buying is experience. So yes I agree with you. Managing expectations is important, especially when every 2nd page on the internet tells how much money you're going to make overnight with no effort.

    I will be testing multiple offers and landers for future campaigns. This is one is quite literally a test run for me though. So I've kept a lot of things simpler than they normally would be. Just so I can focus on learning the technical side of it until it's second nature. I find if I bite off too much at once my mind turns in a jumble. So my philosophy is to wear a few sub-optimal choices to begin with and I'll focus on improving each part one at a time.

    Good luck with your campaigns :)
  10. vaRos

    vaRos Affiliate affiliate

    Don't get me wrong, and maybe your approach is will work better, but I tend to think a bit differently. By doing a smaller steps and figuring out that they doesn't work could play with you a malicious joke. I used to do the same with my first several campaigns. I tested them with minimum investings and was jumping from one to another. Now I understood that you should try as much ideas and options on 1 campaign as possible to make it profitable. Otherwise you start over again and again.
    Corpas and bweed like this.
  11. Dr. Forum

    Dr. Forum Affiliate affiliate

    I am so glad that you have managed to share with us the good insights that you have received from different sources. Gone through the post but in a very faster way. I am hoping that I will find some time just to be able to get into details and also learn a few things from it. In so doing, then I will be able to get to know the feedback that needs to be given here.
    bweed likes this.
  12. mrcolorwolf

    mrcolorwolf Affiliate affiliate

    Great journey so far, and please update us if there is any breakthrough recently
    roadies likes this.
  13. internalsoul

    internalsoul Moderator moderator affiliate

    Anymore updates bweed. It has been over a month. Let us know how its going.
  14. bweed

    bweed Affiliate affiliate

    Hi Internalsoul... It HAS been a month. In my defense I should point that the very first sentence of this thread is: "I'm not very good a following through with these sort of blogging endevours" ;)

    Basically after the last post I made we continued for a couple of weeks with the same offer/same geo (win an iphone, 21c payout, thailand, SOI). We optimized as much as we could, tested many landers and ran 3 traffic sources, AdCash, PopCash and PopAds. We managed to get a couple of very slightly +ve ROI days in that period but mostly it was -20/-30%. We started with a blacklisting strategy but soon learned it was either going to be a very hard grind updating our blacklists manually (to avoid wasteful spending you almost need to do it hourly). So I spent some time writing some tools to pull voluum data from the API, calculate the crappy site IDS and blacklist them automatically using UBot. We also moved to a whitelist campaign which got us very close to break even but had a tiny trickle of traffic. We kind of got ourselves stuck in a loop of optimise and observe without really thinking about what our strategy was and eventually we saw the light a decided we had to pull the plug on this campaign and think about what's next...

    I don't regret that process at all... What we learned after exhausting all our optimisation options was simply that the offer/traffic combo we had just didn't have the fundamentals to build on. So what we had to do next was begin by mass testing offers. Not to try and find one that's profitable off the bat... Just to baseline them and find one that out performed the others...

    We also learned that at this early stage working in a foreign language isn't ideal... I expect english GEOs will be more competitive but at least I'll know how the lander text reads and I can modify it seconds rather than hours if I have a bright idea...

    Last thing we learned is that we don't like pops... I know they are hot right now but one thing we found frustrating was when we ran out of optimisation options. We'd done as much as we felt we could do with the landers... There were a few other things we could do but I'm not convinced they would have been game changers... So we made the decision that after learning a ton of fundamentals with pops we are going move onto banner ads on desktop. 1/ I'm much more comfortable with desktop web design. 2/ My partner is the creative type and her skills weren't being leveraged at all.

    So the last couple of weeks has been a heady process of trying to learn the fundamentals of RTB display networks, signing up to 3 more affiliate networks (peerfly, adismils, affiliaxe) to add to ClickDealer, researching alternate tracking tools (I'll make a post later about why I made the rather weird decision to switch from Voluum to CPVLab). And generally getting ourselves setup for the next run in the trenches...

    I'll update again later with a bit more detail about the strategy from here and by mid next week we should be running traffic again. I feel like we are bit better equipped now in terms of tools, fundamental knowledge and a general feel for strategy. But I had no idea how big and overwhelming the world of display advertising was. The one thing I do miss about pops is the simplicity of it... So even though I feel like we've learned an awful lot, relatively speaking I feel like we are at the beginning again... But hey, the first ride was fun so I'm looking forward to this one...
    Guilly likes this.
  15. GrupoWayseer

    GrupoWayseer Affiliate affiliate

    Amazing journey
    im thinking on start it myself
    been deep into SEO for a few years
    im interested on testing Vouum + Adplexity + popads
    i've tested CPA before and burn my budget to the ground with a couple o convertions
    in my experience i cans say you first want to "test" campaigns on Popads and popcash if you se convertions scale up with adcash or 50red
    maybe you can see better results if you spread your web a little bit
    make 3 campaigns at the same time
    each campaign with 5 LP form Adplexity and each LP with 3 diff offers from diff affiliate netwotks
    this way you get DATA much faster and kill whats not working

    Just my 2 cents