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Category - Affiliate BizDev

1
The Scaling Fallacy: Life As An Affiliate Whack-a-Moler
2
When Working From Home Becomes Hell
3
Brand New CPV Lab Released

The Scaling Fallacy: Life As An Affiliate Whack-a-Moler

Jack creates 10 campaigns in 10 countries on TrafficJunky:

Here are his morning stats:

Germany: +$45
France: +$10
Switzerland: -$5
Netherlands: +$20
United Kingdom: +$12
Australia: +$25
Canada: -$21
Belgium: +$42
Turkey: +$20
Sweden: -$10

JACK’S TOTAL PROFIT: $138

Bill creates 1 campaign in 1 country on TrafficJunky.

Germany: +$90

BILL’S TOTAL PROFIT: $90

Which affiliate would you rather be?

Come on, it’s a no-brainer.

Bill is in a much better position.

Let’s look at what each affiliate has to do in the morning:

Jack has to:

  • Check stats for 10 different campaigns.
  • Optimise creatives in 6 different languages.
  • Search for the best offers in 10 different countries.
  • Manage bids against hundreds of competitors.
  • Put out fires all day before he can work on any new campaigns.

Bill has to:

  • Check stats for 1 campaign.
  • Optimise creatives in a single language.
  • Track the best offer in a single geo.
  • Manage bids against a handful of strong competitors, and many more weak, distracted competitors (like Jack).
  • Find new sources to test his campaign.

Now imagine the two affiliates hear about an amazing new traffic source. We’ll call it Exoclick for the lols.

They both want to scale their campaigns to it.

Bill, having much more time on his hands, goes first.

He knows Germany inside out. He knows what works. Scaling is merely a case of busting open Voluum, tapping Duplicate, and changing the tokens:

His stats now look like this:

TrafficJunky

Germany: +$112

Exoclick

Germany: +$42

BILL’S TOTAL PROFIT: $154

Jack, on the other hand, is starting to sweat.

He can no longer make sense of his stats without spending 40 minutes staring at Excel.

He has 20 campaigns in 10 countries on 2 traffic sources.

And his stats look like this:

TrafficJunky

Germany: +$23
France: -$7
Switzerland: -$25
Netherlands: +$27
United Kingdom: +$3
Australia: -$14
Canada: -$28
Belgium: +$12
Turkey: +$25
Sweden: -$5

Exoclick

Germany: +$75
France: +$2
Switzerland: -$17
Netherlands: +$5
United Kingdom: -$88
Australia: +$20
Canada: +$10
Belgium: -$25
Turkey: +$13
Sweden: -$4

JACK’S TOTAL PROFIT: $2

Aw, shit.

Jack can only manage so many campaigns effectively.

Even then, it only takes one rogue offer (in this case, the UK) to wipe out his progress in the other markets.

Jack, like many affiliates, has chosen to stack the deck in somebody else’s favour. He needs everything to go right, or his model is inefficient.

Let me tell you:

In affiliate marketing, fucking rarely does something ever go right — let alone all of it.

Why is that?

Every market requires a complex understanding of conversion rates, clickthrough rates, and the dozens of metrics that wreak havoc on them. Even this may prove irrelevant if you fail to catch hot offers early on their upswing.

So how are you going to manage the above, MULTIPLIED BY TEN, when your attention is DIVIDED BY TEN? (Plus porn.)

There’s a pretty simple solution.

Look at what happens if Jack only runs campaigns in one country — Germany*.

The stats completely change.

His profits would be $98.
(And his ad spend considerably lower.)
*This is an example, not an endorsement for advertising in Germany.

The stats improve, but that is purely superficial. What we should really be interested in is what gives us the best chance of success and true ‘scaling’ going forward.

It’s the revitalising effect of removing so much deadwood that has the real impact.

Perhaps Jack’s morning to-do list would start to look more appealing.

No more staring glumly at the ‘Monday Headbanger’ with rows of campaigns disintegrating in puffs of smoke.

His blood pressure would drop, his sense of direction might return.

More of his working hours would be spent looking for opportunity rather than putting out fires day after day, every day, until there’s nothing left to save.

This is the price an affiliate pays for spreading himself too thin.

* * *

Volume is sacred in this industry.

It goes against instinct to start culling campaigns — especially those that are profitable — and it isn’t made any easier by the pines of your affiliate manager (“Revenue, revenue, revenue!”).

But remember: volume is irrelevant if it’s fractured across 20 offers in 10 countries.

You can’t leverage the sheer number of your campaigns. It’s your dominance in each individual market that counts.

On the flip side, achieving dominance in a single market is easier when you don’t have a desktop scattered with half-finished landing pages for every single nation in the EU.

Attacking a single country with brute force and finding something that works?

Now that is a scalable business plan.

Pussy-slapping 15 nations in to converting at a 10% ROI then screaming like a banshee as you realise Nation 16 lost the entire fucking lot with one dead offer?

Not so scalable, mon ami.

* * *

The lesson?

1. Spreading yourself too thin will cannibalise any profits you might have made.

2. Spreading yourself too thin will prevent you from scaling the campaigns that are actually worth scaling.

There is a balance, of course.

You do want to explore new markets. I can’t emphasise that enough.

Without exploring, you won’t find any profits period.

Newbie American affiliates who refuse to exit their home market are probably familiar with consistent big fat zeros. That’s because domestic arbitrage… is a bitch. There’s a long line of capitalist pigs that got to the table before you.

If you are going to flee in to foreign markets, any experiment should be carried out with a degree of control.

Foreign campaigns should be planned, not ripped with reckless abandon.

Do some calculations on the required CTR/CVR metrics before you even start.

(You’ll know if you’ve planned a campaign — you won’t have French translations in one tab, German in another, and a Turkey flag occupying Photoshop.)

You shouldn’t hesitate to scrap these campaigns if the profit achieved is barely worth a pot to piss in.

So you find a country somewhere close to the Russian border that produces a steady $10/profit per day.

Should you pursue it?

Should you fuck.

Maintaining a $10/day campaign is like pulling down your pants, cracking open your skull, and taking a hearty dump on the sacred membranes.

A complete waste of mental resources.

The only possible reason to focus on these campaigns is if you don’t have the capital to compete elsewhere.

And in that case, your objective should be to raze the marketplace, pillage whatever you can, then move on to richer pastures.

* * *

My advice:

(Yes, there is some here. Eventually. I put it at the end to confuse the undeserving bastards who didn’t make it this far.)

1. Pick a very small number of countries to operate it.

2. Ensure those countries have the same language so you can recycle creatives.

3. Kill any campaign that requires time to manage but can’t satisfy your income objectives — regardless of profitability.

4. Don’t scale at all until your existing campaigns have settled from peak ‘just-been-launched’ performance in to stable, reliable numbers. (Or you’ll be left with an empire of sand castles.)

5. Understand and respect the one metric that Voluum/CPVLab can’t calculate: opportunity cost.

Whatever you work on today, it comes at a price.

When Working From Home Becomes Hell

I just read a blog post from Mark Rofe, fellow Internet Marketer and creator of the ingenius Wank Sock, who has just made the decision to return to work.

It’s an interesting topic.

(Although I bet you’re now thinking about wank socks).

Is the 9-5 really such a bad thing?

Is there a time to forget the false paradise of working from home happily ever after?

I think Mark has made the right decision based on it being his career, his life, his happiness. Nothing more and nothing less.

There’s a small subset of the Internet Marketing community that believes you have to be earning big bucks from home whilst trolling the working class, or you’re doing it wrong.

There’s an even larger subset of the population that believes this myth before trying it for a single day.

Let’s forget about what goes in to running a successful business.

You can do this from home, from work, from a beach, or from a park bench.

Is working from home for everybody?

No, no and NO.

I divide the Not Working From Home majority in to three subsets.

  1. Introverts who want to work from home.
  2. Extroverts who want to work from home.
  3. The rest of the world who doesn’t want to work from home.

Why introverts and extroverts?

I believe your natural disposition here will determine the challenges you face working on your own.

But first, everybody else.

Internet Marketers can be guilty — myself included — of viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses and thinking everybody should want to do what we do. It’s the entrepreneurship argument.

“Why wouldn’t you want to earn a fortune on your sofa? What better way to live?”

The rebuttal is Purpose.

Not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, and many people are just fine following somebody else’s orders.

This should be a relief.

An economy full of entrepreneurs would have a lot of great ideas that never materialised.

For most Internet Marketers, purpose means maximising income whilst finding more time for pleasure. Usually from the comfort of home.

It’s a captivating pursuit for those of us who live by it.

But many people don’t.

And it’s not because we know something they don’t. They simply don’t want to.

They’ve seen what we do, they hear what we do, and still it’s not for them.

They are right.

Collectively as an industry, we should get over ourselves and appreciate that.

People will always moan about tax hikes, bills, outgoings and their financial responsibilities. It’s tempting to throw back the ‘You should have been an Internet Marketer‘ line.

Except it solves nothing and changes nothing.

That’s not what they chose to be, and their choice is always right.

The world simply cannot function with 7 billion Internet Marketers working from home.

Introvert vs. Extrovert

Now, for those who do decide to work from home, there are two distinct personality types:

Introverts:

  • Very self-aware
  • Thoughtful
  • Enjoys understanding details
  • Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • Tends to keep emotions private
  • Quiet and reserved in large groups or around unfamiliar people
  • More sociable and gregarious around people they know well
  • Learns well through observation

Extroverts:

  • Warm
  • Seeking novelty and excitement
  • Gregariousness
  • Assertive
  • Cheerful
  • Talkative
  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • Action oriented

As with any personality type, these are generalisations. There are extroverts who keep their emotions in check, and cheerful introverts who live for novelty.

Which category are you?

There’s an easy way to tell.

Extroverts gain energy from frequent social interaction, introverts lose it.

That’s not to say that social interactions aren’t enjoyed by all.

Rather that while some extroverts will thrive on the ‘banter’ of a typical work day, an introvert will be looking pretty bruised and battered if he feels he can’t escape it anytime soon.

The Best First Day in the History of Work

The happiness (and productivity) you get from working from home is largely a combination of:

a) Your personality type
b) The environment you inflict upon it.

In Mark’s returning to work post, he touches on the sore spot that seems to have led his decision: isolation.

Nobody likes isolation. It doesn’t matter what personality type you are.

Isolation is used as a form of torture for good reason.

It eventually hurts.

But I’d argue that introverts are better equipped to deal with working in isolation.

And this is the point I’d make to any extroverted reader who wants to quit his 9-5 and work from home:

For a while… it’s going to be fucking great.

Seriously, you’re missing out on the best first day of any career in the history of Man.

But there’s a catch. Many of them.

Once you’ve cashed in the novelty of “Oh shiiiit, I’m doing work in my boxers with only empty packets of Popchips and my balls for company!”, the only way to share the grotesque image is to post it on your Facebook.

(Which many of us do, extroverted or not!)

If you need the social interaction of a thriving workplace, then the echo of your thoughts racing around an empty house will probably not suffice — not in the long run.

Staying Somewhat Sane

I am introverted by nature

I enjoy catching up with friends and meeting people who are interesting. Keyword: interesting.

I simply don’t have the capacity to enjoy being around people for shits and giggles. And I highly doubt they’d enjoy being around me. Not for any extended period of time.

I like the comfort of my own space and I protect it in the only way I know how:

By making a shit ton of money online.

Whether you are introverted or extroverted goes a long way to deciding if you will enjoy working on your own.

Yet it’s important to distinguish this question has nothing to do with running a successful business.

It’s possible to be a badass super-rich affiliate with any personality type. (Which makes it all the more baffling why so many choose to be bags of dicks.)

Knowing your own characteristics will do much for increasing your chances of happiness along the way.

My tips for extroverts:

Bear in mind, I’m not one. I could be very wrong. Please offer your own suggestions if these suck.

  1. Consider a shared office space with like-minded professionals. There are plenty of these springing up in major cities. At the very least, get a laptop and hit the road.

  2. Use your social wings and network, network, network. Many affiliates struggle at this, so cash in the advantage and use it to get ahead of us.

  3. Leverage the many online communities at your disposal, become a connector and embed yourself in the industry.

  4. Work shorter hours and join local clubs (sports or otherwise) with scheduled meets every week.

My tips for introverts:

  1. Make sure your friends, family et all respect the boundaries of your work space and work hours. Lest you go insane.

  2. Build a small circle of masterminds and use it as your eyes and ears. Focus on the quality of your contacts instead of quantity. A Skype group is a good start.

  3. Work out exactly what form of social interaction wears you out the least, then arrange a lot of it. For me, this is a quiet pub and several pints. Fight, fight, fight the urge to get lazy, which is so much more of a danger to introverts.

  4. Get a dog. Like me, you probably believe they’re better than humans.

  5. Separate your work space from your living space. If you spend a lot of time at home, you need to disconnect part of the house from your work activities. That’s why I’ve bought a LazySpa and created a reading room with beanbags.

I highly recommend the LazySpa:

Lazy Spa Finch

My tips for those who aren’t sure if they want to work from home:

  1. Try it for three weekends in a row. Are you still sane?

There, probably, is your answer.

If anybody needs to fill a vacancy for a creative, hard-working individual with a lot of wank socks in his wardrobe, give Mark a call.

Brand New CPV Lab Released

Here’s what I had planned for Monday:

  • Wake up.
  • Get henched on caffeine.
  • Detonate several Exoclick campaigns in the heart of mainland Europe.
  • Short the shit out of Manchester United FC’s share price, just for the LOLs.
  • Manage my tribe of Eastern Europeans.

Here’s what actually happened today:

  • Woke up.
  • Got henched on caffeine.
  • Frazzled the Frenchies, blasted the Germans.
  • Deleted browser history.
  • “HOLY SHIT, THERE’S A NEW CPV LAB SAY WHAT?”

Yes, it’s been a running joke that CPV Lab updates have been few and far between.

Well, joke no mo.

There’s a new CPV Lab in town, and it looks to be the dog’s bollocks (ROW: really good).

The update email is below.

CPV Lab 2.17 is Now Released!

In this update we addressed the top 3 requests from our users and also added many new core functions and improvements.

Please read through this entire post, especially the server details towards the end, as the server requirements and update install process have been updated.

Contents:
1st = Mobile Device Detection and Data
2nd = Volume, More Data and Fast Interface Speeds
3rd = Advanced, Yet Easier Ways to View & Customize Stats
YUP, There’s More…
And…there’s still more!
2.17 Update Installation

===== 1st = Mobile Device Detection and Data =====

After a great deal of research, Q&A + Feedback…we seriously addressed the overall usage and importance of mobile data across the board:

– Full Mobile Detection and Stats, including Mobile Carriers and Automatic Updates of Detection Databases every 2 weeks or less.

Over 30 Mobile Data Points available allowing you to go far beyond the traditional mobile optimization points of device name, etc. with actual content and media your visitors support.

– Mobile Audience Stats…Quickly View a Breakdown of your Mobile Visitors to identify top performing Brands, Carriers, Devices, Data Rates and Specific Features Based on the Visitors Device.

– Don’t Lose Your Cookies!:) Mobile introduces several issues with Cookie-based Tracking, however, with Desktop/Laptop users…Cookie-based tracking is the most popular method across the board and has been used since the dawn of the internet.

We didn’t want to lose the use of cookies completely, but had to support and track all mobile visitors regardless of their device settings. So, Live-Switch was born…this feature offers Cookie & Cookie-Less Tracking to Support All Visitors regardless of their device and settings. It’s all on the fly and in real-time, nothing extra to setup.

===== 2nd = Volume, More Data and Fast Interface Speeds =====
One of the biggest issues high volume users faced was sluggish stats once the database reached a certain point. To address this, we’ve added TrueCache to allow enhanced Volume Capabilities and greatly Increase Responsiveness of User Interface.

The reason it’s called “TrueCache” is because another concern many high-volume users had was the ability to customize data storage options to their hosting environment. You have this ability as well using a simple configuration file.

Check out the 2.17 Feature Guide for more details and setup instructions.

http://cpvlab.com/release/217_Feature_Guide.pdf

===== 3rd = Advanced, Yet Easier Ways to View & Customize Stats =====

The common thread from users, was the ability to group stats by specific data points using a series of dropdown boxes. But for most users, when asked…they generally and most frequently viewed their stats across all campaigns in a “routine” of specific data sets.

It became very clear, the solution wasn’t to “group” the data, as this can become somewhat cumbersome and limited based on the number of options available. But simply to view the Stats just as you wanted them…based on your Common and Most Used Viewing Habits.

So, we added just that.

Quick-Stat Views feature for Target Performance Stats allows you to quickly change you Target Performance stats by specific data points.

For Example…In 2 Clicks, go from viewing:
Carriers ‘ Visitors ‘ CTR ‘ CR ‘ EPC
To: Device Brands ‘ CTR ‘ CR ‘ Cost Per Subscriber

Anything you can think of…you can select the data points to view and save them to be quickly used anytime. You can even Drag & Drop the column order for each custom view to display the information exactly as you wish.

And…
– Multi-Select Controls Added to Show/Hide Dropdown Menu on All Pages
– Ability to filter by Visitor Type, Target, Page and Offer in Stats
– Drag-and-Drop Re-Ordering and Re-Sizing of Columns in Stats Tables

===== YUP, There’s More… =====

- If/Then Redirects to redirect visitors based on multiple conditions using over 30 data options. Send visitors to a Specific Page, Offer, URL or Campaign.

- Trends Heatmap Views to quickly identify top performing times of day by CTR, CR, ROI, Subscriber Rate, etc.

- Trends – Ability to Filter by Target, Page, Offer and by specific days of the week.

- Record Desktop/Laptop Users Operating Systems, Browser & Versions

- Greatly expanded features to Pass and Post Data to & from CPV Lab.

- Total Control Linking Options…you can now link to a specific Landing Page, Level, Option Group or Path.

This looks to be an impressive update, and a much needed shot in the arm for CPV Lab.

It will be welcomed by the many affiliates, like myself, who increasingly rely on mobile campaigns to fund their hedonistic needs.

I’ll post my thoughts once I’ve had chance to play around with the latest version.

If you are new to CPV Lab (read my very old review here), you can grab a copy for $297. If you are a previous user, or your license expired, you can upgrade for $147.

Copyright © 2014. Finch Media Ltd.