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Lots of Ads Review – Fiend on Facebook Ads
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Austin Powers + Italian Dating = YES!
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Cloaking On Facebook – Is It Really Worth It?

Lots of Ads Review – Fiend on Facebook Ads

Lots of Ads is one of the more popular ad-spying tools on the market.

If you are the kind of inquisitive scumbag who likes to know exactly what his competitors are up to, you better buckle up for Christmas. You’re in for a treat.

This tool gives you access to exactly what it says on the tin. Lots, and lots, and lots of ads swiped directly from the world’s largest traffic source.

Facebook advertisers: Yes, there’s a good chance you’ll prosper from the ‘competitive analysis’ in Lots of Ads.

Facebook advertisers: Yes, there’s also a good chance you’ll turn red with rage upon finding your beautifully crafted ads sitting like lambs to the slaughter, just waiting to be jacked.

I have a love/hate relationship with spy tools.

The hate in me says:

1. I only really care about affiliate ads. I could not not give a rat’s left bollock what Betfair, William Hill or Sky are promoting. Ads promoted by companies that don’t follow my direct response principles are redundant. They are never going to match my ROI requirements.

2. They encourage lazy affiliate marketing. It’s so easy to take a peek at what other affiliate marketers are doing and attempt to steal the profit from under their door mats. But as most of us who have ever tried it can testify, it rarely ever works. Copying campaigns word-for-word, image-for-image, targeting-for-targeting is just not good cricket.

That said, if you were ever looking for a tool that would make campaign replication an absolute breeze, Lots of Ads would be your man.

It has a couple of newly released features that give it a huge advantage for sifting through the crap, removing the brand ads, and sneakily delving in to the day-to-day operations of other affiliates.

The first feature is the Redirect URL search.

If you want to search Facebook for every single ad that includes a redirect to your favourite network’s tracking link, you can. If you want to search Facebook for every single ad that references your favourite dating offer, you can. If you want to access translations to similar ads in 25 different countries, you can.

Lots of Ads allows you to search by demographic (gender, marital status, age) for ads in any of the following countries:

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

When you find an ad that looks tasty, you can click for a detailed breakdown of the URLs that it redirects through.

This information has three benefits:

  1. Find the networks that are running the best offers.
  2. See the landing pages that have been most effective.
  3. Use the scraped data to dig even further by searching for other ads that are associated with the tracked URLs.

You can sort ads by Last Active (eh, irrelevant), Days Running (useful for determining the burn-out factor), Avg Position or Frequency (a high frequency means you’ve landed yourself a hot potato).

For all the countries where the ads are written in languages that are total gobbledegook to your native tongue, fear not. There is a built-in translation feature that may or may not massacre the intended message. It depends on how ambitious the ad creator has been with his vocabulary.

Tip for creating foreign ads: Keep it simple, for god’s sake. Local slang is incredibly powerful, but plucking pretentious wordy adverbs out of your arse and hoping they translate well in to Chinese is not. It will be a bloodbath.

Modelling and Reverse Engineering Campaigns

As much as I admire the affiliate-friendly features that have been caressed and noodled (Hello, my confused Chinese friends) in to Lots of Ads, it goes without saying that you can only go so far by browsing the work of others.

The advertisers who will benefit most from Lots of Ads are those take the examples – and particularly the most successful images – to model similar but innovative campaigns of their own. Study intensively what is working for others, and isolate the determining factors.

A lot of the time, from my experience, you will find that the intangible ‘success‘ variable is a willingness to cloak. I found many examples of ads that have clearly been manipulated post-approval to make money from the platform. Lots of it, I’d imagine.

That’s fair enough, but I don’t like to cloak.

By looking deeper and burrowing further through the rabbit hole of data at my disposal, I’ve managed to find several awesome images as well as headlines that I would never have thought of in a million years. Probably because they’re written in Spanish.

What price does a great marketer pay for a few great images and a winning headline? They are priceless if you use them correctly. But the paradox of this software is that you will need to have your marketing brain tuned in to get maximum value out of the data.

That’s a good thing. If striking it lucky was as simple as signing up and automating the process, I would never dare to post this review. It wouldn’t be worth it.

Look at what other marketers are doing well and compare it to what you know you can do better. Somewhere in the middle, profitability collides.

My Thoughts

The software is relatively expensive, priced at $399/month for the All Countries package. I can only recommend the investment if you have a budget to play with and a decent track record of getting profitable on the platform. That may sound counter productive. Surely it’s the newbies without a prior taste of success that would benefit most?

Well, probably not.

I always recommend that spending money on data is better than spending money on tools when you’re just getting started.

If you have $399 burning a hole in your pocket and want to explore affiliate marketing, I recommend plugging in your imagination over any tool that is currently on the market. Invest in data. You will learn from the experience of testing – even if you fail to break even.

However, for Facebook advertisers who work on the platform daily and seek a comprehensive ‘competitor analysis’ solution – Lots of Ads ticks all the right boxes. You can use this bad boy to model the success (and many mistakes) of your peers.

The multitude of countries and demographics, as well as the option to sniff out tracking links by Redirect URLs, make this a very powerful and timely tool for the affiliate marketer who wants to know everything about his competition.

Landing pages, ad copies, images, networks, warts and all. Every last gory detail of the Facebook Advertiser’s conversion funnel is here for you to use, peruse and abuse.

The only thing missing is the bottom line.

Happy duplicating!

Edit: I’ve just remembered – I have a discount code! Use coupon FINCH12 for 10% off any package (lifetime deal).

Recommended This Week

  • Want to give Lots of Ads a test drive? Sign up here for a free trial. You can also use the coupon FINCH12 for 10% off any package.

  • Be sure to check out Adsimilis, the official sponsor of Premium Posts Volume 5 & 6. Adsimilis is one of the most effective networks in the world for a CPA marketer to sink his teeth in to. They are particularly dominant in the dating vertical, with industry leading payouts. If you are a dating affiliate, you need to be on Adsimilis. Simples.

Austin Powers + Italian Dating = YES!

If I’m looking to test how a foreign offer converts, I will sometimes scan the web for suitable phrases that can be crowbarred in to a temporary ad.

It just so happens that today I’ve been looking to promote an Italian dating offer…

I was reading through a list of romantic Italian phrases when I came across an absolute gem that has untapped goldmine written all over it.

How’s this for a creative angle?

Ready-made Austin Power creatives!

Now, hold on. Why did I never think of the ‘Man of Mystery’ angle before? That’s what women love, right?

If you really want to get laser targeted, there’s no room for complacency. Only the devoted fanbase of Austin Powers will do.

It may have a target market of less than 100 fans, and it may be a slight copyright infringement on various parties – but nobody ever gives a shit about that, right?

This is money.

Just remember, guys. Copying campaigns is bad.

Find your own Italian phrases.

Disclaimer: For legal reasons, I should point out that this campaign never went live. I later discovered that “Ti faccio eccitare bambina?” runs 2 characters over the headline limit.

Recommended This Week

  • If you haven’t downloaded it already, make sure you grab a copy of my freshly brewed Affiliate Marketer’s Survival Kit (add your email below for access). It’s 50 pages of up-to-the-second info on what currently works in affiliate marketing.

  • Be sure to check out Adsimilis, the official sponsor of Premium Posts Volume 5. Adsimilis is one of the most effective networks in the world for a CPA marketer to sink his teeth in to. They are particularly dominant in the dating vertical, with industry leading payouts. If you are a dating affiliate, you need to be on Adsimilis. Simples.

Cloaking On Facebook – Is It Really Worth It?

To cloak or not to cloak? That seems to be the question for many disillusioned Facebook marketers these days.

Facebook has grown increasingly picky over the ads that it accepts. I doubt you needed me to tell you this. The endless stream of disapproval notices and the fist-shaped hole in your wall should be evidence enough.

While Facebook seeks to tighten its noose around the necks of certain rogue affiliates, many of these marketers simply can’t stand to give up the ghost. They are head over heels with Facebook’s enormous earning potential, and perhaps the knowledge that it made them good money in the past. So instead of playing by the rule book, they eat the rules and crap them out the window. Cloaking enters the equation.

Cloaking is the mischievous art of showing one page to the Facebook approvals team, and another to the unlucky guy who clicks on your ad. When cloaking Facebook, you can launch a series of pant-wettingly lucrative ads simply by ignoring the strict editorial guidelines that the rest of us are obliged to follow.

Naturally, Facebook doesn’t take kindly to having the wool pulled over its eyes. If you are caught cloaking ads, you can consider yourself banned, along with any other accounts that you may already be linked to.

It’s clear that cloaking on Facebook is a high stakes game. The need to avoid detection has led to the launch of several professional ‘cloakers’, which can cost from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Most of these cloakers rely on huge databases of IPs, and the hope that Facebook doesn’t get any smarter than it already is (a flimsy leg to stand on, if you ask me).

I don’t want to delve in to solutions that are currently on the market. What good would it do for anybody? You need only sign up at a private forum, or pay attention to your email newsletters. They are not hard to find, although their degree of effectiveness can vary dramatically.

If you’re going to skimp on budget for your technology, investing in a half-arsed Facebook cloaker is probably the dumbest decision you could ever make. Well, almost…

My mind boggles at how many affiliates are still fond of the classic ‘bait and switch’ cloaking that was popular 3 years ago.

If you’re not familiar with the technique, well, there’s very little science to it.

Cowboy Affiliate #1039 submits an ad promising dramatic weight loss, while redirecting to an innocuous article on a reputable site. Let’s say “7 foods that will help you lose weight in 30 days” on Men’s Health Magazine.

Facebook follows the link, sees no harm, and approves it for public display.

Roughly 20 seconds later, Cowboy Affiliate is changing his redirect so that instead of the article on Men’s Health, the ad now routes through to a monster flog that’s painted in pictures of the 300 workout. Instead of 7 healthy ‘foodages’ (Thanks, Karl Pilkington), the user is confronted with 2 bottled health supplements, and a recurring billing cycle buried somewhere in the footer.

This classic form of bait and switch cloaking can be achieved without technology. You need only guts, balls and a heavy dose of naivety to get your first ‘cloaked’ campaign live and profitable. Facebook traffic converts so well that having the right ad live for a week can net five figures of profit quite comfortably.

Unfortunately, it’s also about as suicidal as affiliate marketing gets. If your business can only make money with such crash and burn methodology, it’s already infected with a terminal cancer. I give you about 3 weeks.

My recommendation is to avoid cloaking altogether. If you are in this business to make money over the long term, without burning every last bridge along the way, there is little sense in committing to a business strategy where the only person who wins is yourself.

In most cases, it would be more accurate to say that the only winner is your affiliate network. They enjoy the fruits of your traffic, without the risk of getting their Facebook accounts banned.

But there’s the catch. Not everybody is in affiliate marketing to make money over the long term. Some of you guys reading this now have no interest in being full time affiliates. Maybe you have day jobs or other business ventures, and you see cloaking Facebook as a funny little moneymaker on the side. “Hey, Mark Zuckerberg! Suck my berries…”

No words of mine will deter those individuals from investing in the technology necessary to cloak Facebook profitably. So to answer the question, “Is cloaking Facebook worth it?“, only you know the answer.

Are you trying to build a business, or are you trying to pillage quick cash like a bull in a china shop? Your answer should reveal the way forward.

Recommended This Week

  • Head over to Finch Premiums for 300+ pages of my affiliate marketing tips.

  • I’ve just taken on modding duties over at the StackThatMoney Forum. This means I’ll be posting even more tips and advice over there, to go with the immense wealth of case studies and materials from the rest of the community. Sign up for access.

  • Facebook advertisers, take a peek at Lots of Ads. Spy on the best performing ads in international markets and learn from affiliates who are already making money. The tool now supports 21 countries, which should be plenty to keep you busy.

  • New reader? Add me to your RSS, or follow me on Twitter.

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