Racial Stereotyping: It Ain’t Cool But It’s Profitable

I was recently asked to troubleshoot the problems of a dating campaign where an affiliate had chosen to target single men in London. This was, to his reckoning, a “niche market”. But despite having very targeted London ad texts (“Meet Up In London”, “Looking For A Girlfriend In The Capital?” etc), he was still busting out with a low CTR and a mediocre conversion rate.

It’s not hard to diagnose why this would be the case. Anybody who’s ever lived in London, or traveled here, should be able to recognize that it’s one of the most culturally diverse and ethnically divided cities in the world. In fact, I’d have to say it’s probably one of the worst choices imaginable for a “niche city market”.

The whole point of segregating your market – or pinpointing a niche – is to find a common denominator in who you’re trying to sell to. It could be the fact that you’re marketing directly to single mums, black people, Japanese people…whatever.

If you choose to market to single men in London, you might think that you have a unique slant on your dating site. But it’s not enough. The composition of London’s single population is incredibly diverse. There are some regions in London – like Hayes – where I’ll get on a bus and feel like an alien from outer space for being white and speaking English.

Despite the ethnic diversity, many affiliates choose to use ad texts and images that represent their own demographic. Have you ever wondered why so many affiliates choose to promote dating offers to single men aged 25-35? It’s because that’s what they can relate to. It’s what they know. If you commit this error by stereotyping London as a white city, full of 25-35 year old single men who all share your personal taste in the fairer sex, well…have fun scraping the barrel for a profitable CTR.

White men are likely to click on ads with liberally dressed white women. Black men, surprise surprise, are more drawn to black women. You don’t need me to stress the importance that Muslim singles place in finding a partner from the same religion. You’re blowing an insane number of impressions on people who will never click your ads if you fail to filter the uninterested parties out of your campaigns.

You’re simply never going to get the most bang for your buck if you ignore these racial stereotypes. It’s just not going to happen, homes. And most affiliates don’t even get as far as to consider the stereotypes to begin with.

I’d strongly advise you check out this recent post on OKCupid about The Real Stuff Racial Classes Like. This is dynamite information that should set your mind racing for ways to target various races.

If you’re going to launch a Facebook campaign marketing to London singles, you should really be looking at the ethnic breakdown of each borough in the city. And even how rich each borough is. We have an instinctive attraction to those of our own class. You can then choose to run your “White blonde chick” creatives in only the boroughs where there’s a White Caucasian majority.

You can also avoid spunking money up the wall by filtering out the boroughs where Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities dominate the ethnic makeup. Or better yet, why not make some money by targeting them separately? This is where the low hanging fruit is waiting to be snatched.

I’m talking in UK examples, but every country in the world has variation in it’s ethnic makeup. Too many marketers have a “one size fits all” mindset. And while it can still be profitable, you’ll never know how much money you’re wasting.

Consider even a highly successful dating campaign with a 0.25% CTR on broad targeted America. When was the last time you took that campaign and divided it in to 50 smaller campaigns targeting each state? I would wrap my tail between my legs and fuck off never to blog again if you didn’t find at least 5 states where the ROI was dramatically different to your overall figure. These can be culled for more profit. Or you can research deeper in to the makeup of the state and produce creatives that more accurately portray the class of the peoples you’re marketing to. You know, whatever you want, whatever makes you money.

Geotargeting a campaign is a flimsy, wasted and overdone technique. It used to be like steroids for your CTR. But we’ve all been on RedTube enough times to realize that, actually, there aren’t THAT many slutty singles queuing up to chat to me from [insert your town here].

I can tell you now that 90% of affiliates out there won’t even bother to target deeper than the country of the user. If you’re slinging a “Work At Home” opportunity to the whole of America, do you REALLY think a housewife on some southern Texas ranch is going to respond in the same way as a city-savvy New York socialite?

Back when I was promoting bizopp rebills, the easiest way to improve my CTR and conversion rate was simply to target individual race classes.

A flog is essentially a marketing tool devised to make the reader think “Hold on, I can be like this”. Well, the flog is a lot more effective if the reader can relate to the social class and background of the person giving the testimonial. It’s logic that can be applied to any niche, anywhere, anytime.

Stereotypes exist for a reason, and for the most part it’s because they’re fucking true. Don’t be too politically correct to dare to exploit them. There’s plenty of us out there who already do just that and reap the rewards from them.

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About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


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  • Makes sense. When i was in London for the first time a few years ago, I was really surprised to see a lot of Muslims there.

  • using racial stereotypes is ok when you’re profitting. i use it all the time. fuck it. the ideal is to think like the consumer.

    if i like nascar and drink bud..what would i like?

    thanks for that link..

    i look forward to your posts.

  • Thanks for the tip about okcupid.

    Had a quick read of one or two previous articles there and there’s some real interesting stuff on it – both in the articles/data and in comments.

    Little nuggets that can help you come up with a POF campaign, such as comments (mainly from women) that POF is full of cheats & scumbags – no real quality men. Now that’s got me thinking about a few campaign angles … 😉

  • great read,
    thats why I like to start off locally since I will be able to target a deeper without having to do a ton of research.

    universities, names of parks, beaches, malls, etc etc.

    imagine the two ads:
    meet someone in UK
    take her out to [popular park in UK]

    it is obvious with of the two grabs more attention.

  • Absolutely agree with you on racial targeting. I use another twist to this method to exactly target the offer. Thanks for OKCupid link, really solid data.

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