What’s the difference between a campaign that prospers for months, and a campaign that crashes and burns in 36 hours? It’s normally a source of renewable traffic.
A renewable traffic source can be trusted to produce leads and sales consistently on auto-pilot. It’s like the wind turbine of affiliate marketing. Slow, ugly, and certainly not glamorous, but future-proof.
There aren’t many wind turbines left in affiliate marketing.
Google AdWords remains – perhaps the greatest renewable traffic source of them all – but it’s out of bounds for most CPA marketers. If we are to drag fresh eyeballs to our affiliate campaigns via Google, we typically have to engage in SEO warfare.
AdWords arbitrage was the perfect example of renewable traffic. A campaign could be launched on Day 1, optimised by Day 2, and still be profitable on Day 365. A good day’s work went a very long way on Google, and it still does, just not for the majority of scumbags like us.
The current slew of popular advertising platforms – think Facebook and Plentyoffish – are quite the opposite of future-proof turbines. You can make good money, but in doing so you’ll often feel like Guybrush Threepwood, sprinting from the hounds, having just pillaged a barrel of limited-supply oil.
Profit exists, but it’s usually achieved with smash-and-grab marketing.
Facebook and Plentyoffish, in the literal sense, are renewable traffic sources. Each site is growing at a rapid rate, and with that growth comes new users to advertise to. However, reaching them is not always easy. Perhaps more importantly, affiliates don’t seem to care about finding those fresh eyeballs.
They focus on monetizing the traffic source, without factoring in the supply of new traffic, which inevitably leads to questions like…
“Why do my campaigns fizzle out so quickly?”
“I was profitable for 2 days… and then the ROI nose-dived. What happened?”
Sustainability is achievable with careful planning. It just requires that you launch campaigns with a plan for Day 10, not just Day 1.
Smash-and-grab marketing is fine, but don’t fool yourself in to thinking your big break will come when you start making $500/day for all of about 36 hours.
Let’s take Plentyoffish as an example.
Why do Plentyoffish campaigns crash and burn so rapidly?
It’s normally because affiliates sacrifice volume for super targeted campaigns, or because they go broad without having a plan for keeping the campaign fresh.
What’s wrong with the long-term potential of a campaign that has 3 banners and targeting like this?
There’s one big problem: inevitable banner blindness.
Where is the new supply of traffic? Targeting all users under 600 logins will only be effective if you introduce a staggered approach to your creatives, which is something that I wrote about extensively in Premium Posts Volume 1.
Run this shit for more than 48 hours and what’s going to happen? Maybe you’ll score a profit in the first 24 hours (if you’re lucky), but sooner or later, users are going to grow sick of the same banners.
There’s also the microscopic nature of the campaign. Plentyoffish is a big traffic source, but it’s not that big. The slew of new Jewish females aged 25-35 can’t possibly keep up with the rush of new advertisers looking to make money from them. To have any hope of profiting over the long term, you need to have a structured campaign.
Here’s how you might sustain the example above with minimal ROI degradation:
Active Banners: A, B and C.
Active Banners: A, B and C.
Active Banners: D, E and F.
Active Banners: D, E and F.
You have four variations of the same campaign, each targeting different mini-demographics, or using new banners to keep the campaign fresh. You will lose volume, but you’ll gain stability and a cycle of profitability that lasts much longer.
Alternatively, you can focus your campaigns on targeting only the the newest members, so the ads should always stay fresh.
To do this, simply set your login count to below 50 and your ads will be reserved for the new fish.
This is how you turn limited reserves of traffic in to renewable traffic. Instead of pillaging a barrel of oil from a limited reservoir, you’re building a boring wind turbine – letting it accumulate profit over time – and moving on to the next one.
Note for Plentyoffish affiliates: You should also check out this post on how to tackle unstable conversion rates.
What about other traffic sources?
Facebook campaigns can be broken in to Group of States A and Group of States B.
Instead of targeting by country, you select 25 states in each campaign and rotate them through alternate days. You can then duplicate your 6 best ads so that half show on Day 1, and the others on Day 2. Mix and match as you go forward. You should see a dramatic reduction in the wear and tear on your CTR.
When advertising via PPV, the frequency cap is similarly important. I set it as low as possible, to the point where a user might only see an advert once every 4 weeks. This can deep-throat the hell out of the volume, but it’s worth it for stability. My hairline thanks me, and yours should too.
Eh, only kidding. I’m going bald.
Focusing your efforts on renewable traffic sources is the best way to avoid Monday mornings where last week’s work is staring at you from the bottom of the trash can. There’s nothing I find more de-motivating than busting my arse on campaigns that have a shelf life of 2 days.
Unless those days are generating floods of traffic and majestic profit, they are days wasted. It’s not worth breaking your back to get a campaign profitable if the foundations are likely to be torn up overnight. It’s fucking sandcastle economics. Why bother?
Recommended This Week
Want to read some of my more candid insight on how to build profitable affiliate campaigns? You be needing some Premium Posts, mon ami. There’s about 300 pages of crap that can actually make a difference to your success in this industry. Check them out here.
Any Facebook advertisers still out there? Check out Lots of Ads. Spy on the best performing ads in international markets, save money on your translations and learn from affiliates who are already making money (or perhaps wasting it recklessly?). The tool now supports 21 countries, which should be plenty to keep you busy.