Dating On Facebook vs. Dating On POF
Classic Mistakes Of A Former Affiliate
Why Bloggers Like Me Are A Waste Of Your Time

Dating On Facebook vs. Dating On POF

When you’re deciding what to promote, there’s often the dilemma of demand vs exclusivity. Do I sell something that’s been beaten to death already? Or do I hedge my bets on slinging a product I have faith in, even if it’s greeted by nothing but blank stares over the dinner table at ASW? If that’s the case, don’t worry. It’s tough to talk shop with an affiliate marketer when all he can think about is Ian Fernando’s Party Bus.

Just because the rest of the affiliasphere has yet to go bat shit crazy over your fantasy micro-niche, that doesn’t mean there’s no money to be made in pursuing the idea. By the same token, just because every dipshit and his cousin happen to be promoting a new dating site, there’s still an open buffet of good coin to be had by following the crowd. Your challenge is to simply do it better than the rest.

Dating has been my favourite niche for over a year now. It’s a market as timeless as the weed porn on Barman’s desktop. As long as sex, romance and loneliness remain words in the human vocabulary, I will still be in business – ready and waiting to exploit those who relate to them.

I would say that in 2011, the majority of dating affiliates use social platforms such as Facebook and Plentyoffish to drive traffic to their offers. I know many affiliates who enjoy success on just Facebook, and many who can only get profitable on POF. So where do the traffic sources differentiate? How can you scale your successful campaigns from one to the other?

Many networks make a big song and dance about porting your campaigns across for easy money. But most affiliates know this is only easy money for the networks who don’t have to worry about a little friend of ours called MARGIN. Dearest Margin can fade in to the realms of negativity if you simply copy and paste a campaign from Facebook to Plentyoffish, or vice versa, without having a fundamental understanding of the two traffic sources. So let’s take a look at those differences.

Through all the thousands of dollars I’ve spent advertising on POF, it becomes clearer with every penny that the most successful dating campaigns are those that add a unique selling point to the online dating experience.

You’re advertising to registered users of a free dating site. How successful can you expect to be by serving up the same shit with a different stock image and the message that paying elsewhere is better?

With POF, you have to root out the element of frustration that would drive a member to seek out pastures new in the online dating community. To do that, your best options are:

– Offer a service directly more applicable to their needs. Are they a beach blubber whale in a sea of anorexic Size Zeros? Well then a dating site where the guys fancy “a bit of meat on the bone” is likely to be more catered to their needs. I’m not going to get bogged down by preaching the merits of race-based niche targeting. Go figure.

– Sell a service with members that are better conversationalists, and less likely to waste their time. I’ve done my fair share of hands-on market research and one of the most common complaints I find from female dating site frequenters is that the average male has the personality and conversation skills of a damp fish. For the ladies, offer the bait of sophisticated chat and an inbox that isn’t going to be stacked to the sky with time wasters. For the guys, promise girls who actually respond to messages.

Finally, ask yourself one question. There’s a reason why these POF members are still using the service. What is it? If you can find that golden nugget answer, you have the single most powerful weapon for targeting your ads.

So how is marketing on Facebook different? The most glaring difference is the fact that, hurr durr, this is Facebook. Not everybody on Facebook is out to get shagged tonight…as Justin Dupre discovered to his dismay after adding 3000 Thai girls in one late night binge. To promote dating offers on Facebook, you have to rely on greater targeting skills, badger-like tracking tendencies and…for lack of a scientific explanation, the ability to track down images that just work. There’s no other way to put it. Some images just work.

In theory, porting a campaign from Plentyoffish to Facebook CAN be immediately successful if you have a means of filtering out the uninterested eyeballs that Facebook loads you with. I’m sorry, but just because you’ve selected “single” as a targeting option, that doesn’t mean your feeding bread to a waiting duck. Keyword targeting is the way to go here.

To give you an example of how keyword targeting can be effective, let’s imagine we want to target an early twenties female crowd to be sent to some slushy matchmaking site where the preference is on finding love rather than finding crabs. How can we reach them? I think you can tell a lot about a girl by the books that she reads, and this has proven an excellent way of narrowing down my targeted users to smaller groups that I think are going to be relevant to my offers.

If I wanted to target the slushy romantic type, I could probably get a good mix by keyword targeting popular books like “A Walk To Remember”, “The Notebook” and so on. You can then build out ad copies, and in some cases images, which appeal directly to your audience. Your CTR will skyrocket, and providing you add the two missing ingredients – a good landing page and a carefully matched offer – the rewards will be waiting in your wallet.

If you want to advertise dating offers to broad markets on Facebook, you simply have to bid CPC. There was a time where nearly all ads would be more profitable if you could adapt them for CPM campaigns, but that time – in my opinion – has well and truly passed. Unless you’re hitting an unsaturated Asian or European country, at least.

You can still enjoy success with broad markets on Facebook with the combination of three must-haves: An eyecatching image, the correct dayparting (maximize your CTR by bidding after 8pm), and small age demos. I don’t have an explanation why, but I nearly always find that my ads perform better when I reduce the age groups to a maximum of four years.

Once you’ve established successful campaigns on Plentyoffish and Facebook, there are still yet more differences in how you need to maintain them. POF is notorious for campaigns with clickthrough rates that start high and then tail off dramatically in days, and sometimes even hours. You will need lots of fresh images to keep your ads profitable. I tend to run them in batches of two or three, using them for a few days and then pausing and resuming another set. Another great asset with POF is the login count which I’m not going to talk too much about because I don’t want my time to become your knowledge. So get testing and you should see some interesting data.

With Facebook, once a campaign is keyed in over a broad demo, it really is just a question of persuading Facebook to keep sending you impressions. Campaigns tend to gradually receive less traffic over time as the CTR slips. You can remedy this by deleting and relaunching new campaigns with slightly tweaked creatives. The CTR is MUCH more steady than you will see on Plentyoffish, and combined with safe CPC bidding, Facebook is generally more rewarding once you find something that works.

So there you go, just a few tips for those of you who are looking to make money from the dating niche. Argue with them, protest against them, agree with them, deny them, whatever. I’m heading to the beach tomorrow so my balls will be dangling too far in to the ocean to give a damn either way. Have a good weekend visualizing what I just said.

Recommended This Week:

  • I’ve said it a few times now and I’ll keep saying it – If you’re working in the dating market, check out Adsimilis. Excellent range of dating offers covering markets on six different continents last time I checked. They seem to convert very well.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter

Classic Mistakes Of A Former Affiliate

The riches are so great in this industry that the virtues of patience are easily forgotten.

If you’re a new affiliate, trying to come to terms with the challenges ahead, there are two commodities you’re going to need in abundance – patience and vision. In the hope of having one successful campaign, many affiliates test a hundred of them. When they all fail miserably, the “testing” process is typically so sketchy that to find a golden nugget worth chasing would be like running your hands through elephant shit thrown at a wall.

Let’s take the newbie dating affiliate who calls this a working day:

He knows that a lot of affiliates are making money from dating offers. So he picks out the best dating offer, based on his AM’s recommendation, plugs a few ads in to Facebook, targets ages 35-45, and blows $50 on a handful of conversions that barely break even.

In the face of a loss, he realizes he doesn’t want to lose anymore money. So he rejigs his campaign.

He picks another dating offer, based on a recommendation he sees in one of Nick Throlson’s park video blogs, switches his ads over to Plentyoffish, targets ages 45-65, and blows $50 on zero conversions.

No conversions? Oh shit, it must be the advertiser scrubbing, right? So he chooses another dating offer and relaunches his Plentyoffish campaign. But not before completely overhauling his landing page, targeting a different country and launching at 6am in the morning when any singleton in said market has already whacked off for the night and signed out of POF.

Still no conversions.

He then thinks to himself…fuck this shit, there’s no money in affiliate marketing.

The ability to test variables methodically ranks right at the top of the list for “desired qualities” in an affiliate marketer. It’s no good to have the best ads, the best targeting or the best landing pages. They have to function as a system, cogs turning as one, slowly grinding towards the end goal of profitability.

If you’re still looking for your first taste of success, REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR VARIABLES.

Once you know beyond reasonable doubt that an offer is converting well for other affiliates, stick with it. Hunt out the traffic source where ads appear most regularly for that offer. Now you have your two most important variables nailed down:

A good offer, and a profitable traffic source.

There are still a ton of variables, and it’s your responsibility to test them thoroughly and transparently. There is absolutely no point in split testing the performance of two different age brackets if one of those age brackets is being redirected through to a different landing page. Every variable matters. And until you regain control of your variables, you’ll never truly know what is working, what isn’t, and what money you’re leaving on the table.

I think most affiliates know and readily admit to the importance of split testing. But not many are patient enough to follow through in their execution. Usually because they either – a) find success and have little ambition to improve on it, or b) start to panic when their daily ROI drops below ballin’ status.

Patience is everything. Expecting miracle results overnight, or even just results, is the classic mistake of many a former affiliate.

In terms of why you’re most likely to fail, a lack of patience is second only to complete disregard for the challenges ahead.

I often use a metaphor that finding success in this industry is like climbing a mountain. Success is there at the peak, but you have to be patient. You have to build your base camps along the way and prove that you can overcome the inevitable challenges. Finding a profitable campaign might be your first step, but sustaining it is another. Surviving through the next FTC crackdown or dealing with a banned Facebook account might scupper your best laid plans along the way. Setting your eyes on the summit and ignoring the beast in front of you is called living in cloud cuckoo land.

Reaching the summit, discovering those riches and having your dream business, requires acclimatisation along the way. It can’t be achieved in one night’s work. If you have aspirations of rolling like Richard Branson, but reservations about spending $5, well let’s just say you’re going to be stuck at low altitude until you progress beyond those fears.

Most of us are aware of the challenges. But If you think your latest idea makes you Reinhold Messner, capable of scaling any peak without putting in the hard hours of acclimatisation and learning from your falls – you’re going to get blown off the mountain. There are many failed routes – tough challenges – before you ever find a way to the top.

Some are self-inflicted… the mistakes you will inevitably make along the way, never a bad thing if you learn from them.

Some are caused by others… everybody in this industry is hoping to use you as a stepping stone to their own summit.

Some are caused by fortune fucking with you… Suck it up and deal with it.

Whatever the reason, if you want to enjoy the riches on that summit, you need to respect what comes before it. There’s no such thing as a success formula in this business, but you can make life easier for yourself by methodically ruling out what doesn’t work.

This is what many of us have done over the years. We rarely have the foresight to know when a campaign will become profitable. But it’s having the patience to learn enough about what NOT to do. This comes with experience, patience and vision.

Every mistake you make needs to be another hazard avoided in the future. And every variable you test needs to be another factor eliminated from your monetary equation. Affiliate marketing is very simple if you take a methodical approach. The problem is that most newbie marketers have a love affair with the desired results rather than the consequences of their actual actions. They stare at the summit instead of concentrating on their next step. Most become former affiliates.

Recommended This Week:

  • If you’re working in the dating market, check out Adsimilis. Definitely one of the better networks with a wide range of dating offers, all on high payouts, including lots of stuff in Europe and South America. I think you’ll like them.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter

Why Bloggers Like Me Are A Waste Of Your Time

You know I’m wasting your time. I know I’m wasting your time.

You know nothing I ever say on this blog is ever going to change your business overnight. And I know I’ll never allow myself to publish anything that might. Affiliate marketing blogging for me has always been a delicate art of giving away just enough inspiration to make you feel that you’ve spent five minutes wisely, while providing enough cheap one liners to make sure you realize I’m not John Chow.

The reality of course is that I’m a waste of your time. And this is one of the surreal businesses where I can say something like that and not worry about losing readership because I know I’ll always be supplied with an endless line of lost spirits chasing the same dream.

“I can has money from the Internets?”

I believe a lot of people buy in to Internet Marketing blogs as a form of escapism from the real working world. Everybody likes to believe they can go from rags to riches without leaving their driveway. If the flog has taught us anything, it’s that people will put their money where their mouth is to chase something that’s too good to be true.

It’s tough to think of another industry that promises so much, delivers so little and looks so pathetic to the non-believers. It’s like we’re the Sons of Scientology. I half expect Tom Cruise’s shining mugshot to pop up on a Bizopp lander anytime now.

There are very few genuine success stories of affiliates who have made this gig work without having a dollar to spend, and yet that’s what so many bloggers would plead with you to believe. You might hear tales of guys who scraped by on $50 and the bare essentials of shared hosting or .info domains, but they all spent money. Maybe not much, but they still spent money.

And for every high profile blogger who creates the illusion that making money online is a springboard of simple steps to success, there are a thousand Johnny No Pockets who you never read about because they never made a dollar and left the biz with their tails trailing between their legs. Of course, many of them refuse to leave the business completely.

So they write about their experience and pass it off as success.

If you try and don’t succeed, pretend you did and write a fucking book about it. That’s pretty much affiliate marketing blogging in a nutshell. Nobody gives any true insight to influence your bottom line, myself included, because it’s just not worth it.

The true value of knowing what works in this industry is worth more than popping $7 per ebook to announce information that subsequently becomes useless thanks to copycats, and even more damagingly, those who are already competent marketers.

I look back at the blogging craze that surrounded the arrival of Plentyoffish as an advertising platform. A prime example of a lucrative market for affiliates that was rapidly swamped after a bunch of “experts” decided to unveil it as a secret traffic source capable of making you millions.

Well listen, if something is capable of making you millions, you’re obviously full of shit because you wouldn’t be selling that information for a millionth of the price in ebook form.

I know most of you are savvy enough to have figured this out for yourselves. I’m blessed with one of the smartest readerships of any affiliate blog out there. And I put that down partly to the fact that we both know I’m only going to reveal so much, allowing me to promise very little, and spend more quality time talking about my balls.

But if you’re new to affiliate marketing, or bemused by the bold promises you keep reading, let me be the first to admit it. Bloggers like myself are a waste of your time. None of us are generous enough to share our businesses with you, and anybody who is, won’t have a business for long.

Happy New Year, Affiliasphere!

Recommended This Week:

  • If you’re working in the dating market, check out Adsimilis. Definitely one of the better networks with a wide range of dating offers, all on high payouts, including lots of stuff in Europe and South America. I think you’ll like them.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter

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