Monetizing The Majority Not The Minority

It’s very easy to build landing pages that are tailor-made for a specific offer. When an affiliate gets his paws on a paid traffic source, he can specify the countries he wants to be targeting to get maximum bang for his buck. That’s pretty damn essential. You can’t afford to send optimized leads to an American dating offer if 75% of your user base is clicking from the suburbs of Delhi.

It sounds like common sense, and it is. But then, not every affiliate decides to leverage the power of paid traffic.

If you develop long term websites where the main source of traffic comes from the organic search engine listings, it can be very hard to find suitable CPA offers that monetize the majority rather than the minority. To put it simply, targeting is a bitch.

There’s nothing I find more frustrating than having sudden tidal wave of traffic, only to find that the hits are from Ireland and my scattered CPA offers only accept UK leads. In my opinion, if you’re going to bust your balls on the arduous process of driving natural traffic to a site, you better make sure you’ve got all angles covered. Otherwise it’s the online equivalent of letting a catch slip through your fingertips, and I’m hoping a few Aussie readers know exactly how that feels!

I’ve always believed that CPA and long term passive earning websites are about as compatible as Jordan and Peter Andre. If you’re going to build a long term asset that stands the test of time and doesn’t require tinkering every Monday morning, you probably shouldn’t decorate it from head to toe in CPA offers. Depending on your niche, CPA offers are notorious for lasting the season but not the year. If you work in the dating vertical, you can expect to be hopping from offer to offer like a bandit on burning coal.

By choosing a marketplace ghetto like Clickbank for hoarding your affiliate links, you can generally assume that your website will stand the test of time. The good thing about Clickbank is that sales are accepted worldwide and the only targeting filter is the user’s willingness to pay. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not for a second advocating that smart marketers should flock to a platform notorious for it’s low quality products and sales letters straight out of 2002.

But to monetize the majority, you need to capture as many of the likely clicks on your website as possible. I’m forever hearing – and often preaching – the advice that AdSense is for suckers and well placed CPA advertisements are the way to monetize a website that thrives on natural traffic. AdSense has a time and a place. But if you’re going to use CPA without control over your target demographics, you need to get smart about it.

1. Change the focus from banner advertisements to a mailing list.

I have a website that draws a lot of dating related traffic from the organic Google listings. Banner advertisements are generally a waste of time. You need to match up so many qualifiers (country, age, gender) that you will lose the lead more often than not. The best way to negotiate this problem is to build a mailing list and simply collect the emails for yourself, along with the user’s native country and gender.

The site in question draws about 15% of it’s users from India. For the longest time, I wasted banner inventory telling these users to join American based dating offers. I was too lazy to care about the less valuable part of the market. It wasn’t until I started collecting their emails, and biding my time for an Indian dating offer, that I was finally able to monetize a 15% share of my asset that would otherwise have gone to waste.

2. If you’re going to use banner advertisements, serve them through OIOpublisher.

I’ve always been very hands-on with my banner creatives, even on sites that I own. I think somebody is much more likely to click an advertisement if I pre-qualify the user for the offer. OIOpublisher is one of my favourite WordPress plugins, and it’s actually in use on this site. Not only does it let me sell banner space on my affiliate websites, but it offers a very useful geotargeting function that enables me to serve different banners to different countries in the same space.

It’s easy to get a headache if you have a website in the dating niche boasting a traffic breakdown like this:

USA – 35%
Canada – 15%
UK – 15%
India – 15%
France – 8%
Germany – 5%
Other Countries – 7%

If you have no way of distinguishing a German from a Canadian user, you’re going to have an incredibly hard time monetizing the majority of your traffic. You can only ever monetize 35% of your traffic, unless you have dating offers that accept multiple countries.

With OIOpublisher, you can force German ads to display to German users. Maybe if you’re working in the weight loss niche, you would set a banner for your Indian users along the lines of “Indian Ebook Reveals Secret Behind Multi-Million American Muscle Ripping Formula“. The idea being that if you can’t target these users with your $35 rebill, you might as well hit them with a cheap Clickbank ebook that monetizes the minority but still significant 15% of your traffic.

I don’t endorse too many products for affiliates, but OIOpublisher has made my life a LOT easier when it comes to squeezing the most juice out of a static website. It also opens up a whole new realm of residual income opportunities. Find the right niche, attract enough traffic, and you can easily lure other advertisers in to paying $300/month for banner spots that recur automatically using OIOpublisher’s payments module.

I love working with brand advertisers who aren’t committed to instant ROI. It means I can focus my energies on developing great content. If you have six advertisers happily paying $300/month to occupy banner placements on your site, you can move away from being an affiliate altogether and focus on providing real world value. Rinse, repeat, scale and conquer.

Creating a solid infrastructure for a website that isn’t powered by paid traffic can be one hell of a challenge. But if you’re only monetizing a small minority of your users, you could be overlooking one of the easiest ways to expand your business and income overnight.

Recommended This Week:

  • If you have websites that drive traffic from all around the world, or simply want to sell banner space easily, grab a copy of OIOpublisher. Sexy beast that I am, I’ve created a coupon code that will get you $10 off. The coupon is WINDFALL-FINCH. Whatever that means.

  • If you’re looking to build your first mailing list, check out Aweber. Affiliates practically swear by it, and last time I checked, you could try it for a dollar.

About the author

Finch
Finch

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.

8 Comments

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  • Good info, the fact that only 35% of your traffic was from the USA really hits home, most affiliates would just stick up an American dating banner and wonder why the CTR and conversion rate sucks. I’ve not yet got enough traffic for OIOPublisher but will keep it in mind when I start seeing lots of traffic from varied sources.

  • good stuff Finch — you point out some good ways of dealing with this problem (interesting plugin)

    however, basic geo-targeting is something that as an affiliate I think is one of the first things you do with a new domain along with setting up analytics and such

    case example:

    I run some proxies. Proxies always generate tons of traffic from countries like Iran and China. Obviously you don’t want to spend your bandwidth on them w/out appropriate offers so a lot of people end up throwing out all the traffic to some other page and only keep what they want.

    Using maxmind’s geoip dataset (updated each month) you can accomplish this through a simple .htaccess like so:

    GeoIPEnable On
    GeoIPDBFile /mnt/GeoIP.dat

    SetEnvIf GEOIP_COUNTRY_CODE US AllowCountry
    SetEnvIf GEOIP_COUNTRY_CODE CA AllowCountry

    #Deny from all
    Allow from env=AllowCountry

    Options +FollowSymlinks
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{ENV:GEOIP_COUNTRY_CODE} !^(US|CA)$
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ ads.php [L]

    This basically moves all non-US and non-CA traffic to ads.php where they are met with offers that they can actually use.

    As for the mailing lists on aweber — I’d highly recommend mailchimp — their stuff is completely awesome but each to his own.

  • Hey Finch – good post. Looking at the geographic breakdown of site traffic is probably a step that many affiliates miss. As you point out, why promote an offer to visitors that don’t qualify? It’s a waste of time and more importantly, you are throwing away visitors that you might be able to monetize with appropriate offers.

  • Great post. I have OIOPublisher, but had no idea you can GEO target. This is very important due to different offers and conversion rates.

    For a while, I used Adsense and yes it does suck. Best to advertise through Adsense than making it a top revenue source.

  • good stuff Finch — you point out some good ways of dealing with this problem (interesting plugin) however, basic geo-targeting is something that as an affiliate I think is one of the first things you do with a new domain along with setting up analytics and such case example: I run some proxies. Proxies always generate tons of traffic from countries like Iran and China. Obviously you don’t want to spend your bandwidth on them w/out appropriate offers so a lot of people end up throwing out all the traffic to some other page and only keep what they want. Using maxmind’s geoip dataset (updated each month) you can accomplish this through a simple .htaccess like so: GeoIPEnable On GeoIPDBFile /mnt/GeoIP.dat SetEnvIf GEOIP_COUNTRY_CODE US AllowCountry SetEnvIf GEOIP_COUNTRY_CODE CA AllowCountry #Deny from all Allow from env=AllowCountry Options +FollowSymlinks RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{ENV:GEOIP_COUNTRY_CODE} !^(US|CA)$ RewriteRule ^(.*)$ ads.php [L] This basically moves all non-US and non-CA traffic to ads.php where they are met with offers that they can actually use. As for the mailing lists on aweber — I’d highly recommend mailchimp — their stuff is completely awesome but each to his own.

  • Great post. I have OIOPublisher, but had no idea you can GEO target. This is very important due to different offers and conversion rates. For a while, I used Adsense and yes it does suck. Best to advertise through Adsense than making it a top revenue source.

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