Lots of Ads Review – Fiend on Facebook Ads
How to Grow The Balls For Bold New Campaigns
How (and When) to Reignite Your Work Day

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.

How to Grow The Balls For Bold New Campaigns

Here’s an important lesson for affiliate marketers:

The best time to launch a new campaign is when the last one is still making you money.

If you haven’t read it, Charles Ngo (Dr_Ngo) recently posted an excellent guide on how to make it in Affiliate Marketing. He raises a lot of good points, but none more so than this:

Affiliate marketing is very psychological. One important principle is what I call “money momentum.” Lets say you’re making $1k profit a day. If you test out a bunch of traffic sources and lose money, it doesn’t hurt too much because you’re still profiting overall. When money’s coming in, you can afford more risks. And some of those risks are going to pay off.

What if the same guy didn’t start launching new campaigns until his old ones die and he has no $ coming in? He’s going to get more emotional with the money loss.

There’s a lot of truth in this.

The easiest time to be laying down hundreds of dollars on new campaigns is when you have a buffer against the loss. It doesn’t have to be another profitable campaign. It could be the money that comes from your day job.

There are two reasons why I advise those making only ‘decent’ money from affiliate marketing to avoid chucking in their day jobs.

  1. ‘Decent’ money is not enough to guarantee your future success. Affiliate marketing is so volatile that you really need to have at least six months of living expenses in the bank before taking the plunge – more if you have a mortgage (or kids! …or a partner for that matter!).

  2. The psychological advantage of having a guaranteed pay cheque will reduce the friction that is associated with churning out bold new campaigns. You will stomach greater losses than the affiliate marketer who has to conjure bread from his returns.

This brings us to an industry paradox.

The affiliate marketer who has other business assets, other sources of income, is likely to have much greater risk tolerance, and is therefore more likely to invest in bold new campaigns that open the door to rapid wealth growth.

Affiliate marketers who hang their entire careers in the balance by living pay cheque to pay cheque on skinny arbitrage margins… well, it’s easy to understand how they end up in a wheel spin, isn’t it?

They know that they need to gamble on bold new campaigns (and alien traffic sources), but their risk aversion prevents them from throwing balls to the wind and doing so. They can’t stomach the loss.

If you recognise these symptoms and can’t bring yourself to launch the campaigns that will springboard your career to the next level, here are the logical steps you can take:

  • Slash your living expenses and save more pennies for your campaigns.

  • Seek guaranteed stable income as your fallback – both emotionally and financially. This could be in the form of a part-time job, or in local clients that pay you a fixed monthly retainer to be their digital marketing whipping boy.

  • Use your skillset (e.g. writing, design, coding…) to earn ‘disposable income’ on freelance sites like Elance.

  • Focus on building web assets that generate traffic you don’t have to pay for.

Each option makes sense. Personally, I am a big fan of building my own web assets.

How much money do you spend on advertising? How much of the risk in affiliate marketing is associated with arbitrage? Building your own traffic source removes the stress of calculating and tracking margins. You can then reinvest your profits in to more scalable traffic sources without the emotional resistance to losing money.

What do you think? How do you deal with the risk of creating new campaigns on new traffic sources?

Recommended This Week

  • Have you read Premium Posts Volume 6? Grab your instant access to the PDF, print it, turn off your computer, and read my shit. Thank you please.

  • 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.

How (and When) to Reignite Your Work Day

Everybody has a motive to escape the office cubicle. What’s yours?

Maybe you despise the corporate politics, the water cooler bitching, or an insufferably low pay cheque. Perhaps you hate the commute. As a native Londoner with a short fuse for standing in transit, the chance to quit morning train-surfing was one of my great calls to action in life.

It’s our motives to make self-employment a success that sometimes lose their shine once the honeymoon period of surrealism wears off. We forget what drove us to pursue the extra responsibility. We forget why we do what we do. And that’s a shame.

Do you remember when Internet Marketing blew your mind with opportunity?

What would you pay to relive the nostalgia of making your first dollar online, of logging in to Clickbank and seeing a sale that demanded no boss, no commute, and just one moment of individual brilliance?

Our early success is often the most vivid to remember. We appreciated it more. It wasn’t a number to tap in to a profit and loss chart. It was something else: proof that our time splurged on the web had a purpose, a direction, a future. Money could be made online.

Four years on from that awakening, I am used to logging in to my emails and seeing sales. It’s no longer a thrill, but a stat to observe. I get nostalgic over how captivated I used to be. The amazement that Internet Marketing works has been replaced by serious unease at the thought that it might someday not.

If you are new to this industry, and particularly if you have just left a ‘traditional’ job to pursue success, the honeymoon period is one to savour.

Enjoy the First Taste of Self-Sufficiency

Any soul brave enough to exchange the rat race for self-employment, uncertainty and a royally shagged economy deserves a honeymoon period. The initial freedom of working from home provides just that. It’s the perfect opportunity to take one step back, appreciate how lucky you are, before plunging multiple steps forward and busting a ball or three to make the arrangements work.

Nobody wants to suffer the ignomy of returning to a day job just weeks after taking a dump on the concept via Facebook. But it’s healthy to take a moment of reflection. Especially if, like many, your precursor to self-employment has been moonlighting with two jobs. You will want to celebrate and enjoy that first taste of running your own ship. A few months down the line and such luxury is likely to cause inner turmoil.

I want to take a break but I’ve got seven projects, four affiliate managers and an inbox full of hot offers to deal with. Maybe next month.

Inner voice: “Or how about never?

In the weeks after my jump to full-time affiliate marketing, I carefully balanced my time between rolling around semi-naked in home comforts and bragging about the hour my alarm clock was set for. I’ve since learnt that there’s a special look of disgust reserved especially for those who need a wake-up call after 11am.

Two dogs and a loud postman has put an end to my 1-Hour Work Mornings. I now rise with my own time zone and promptly smoke the room out with coffee beans.

You can probably tell a lot about my first taste of self-sufficiency by this photographic evidence of my office from 2009:

Affiliate Marketer at Home

A lot of ‘Changing the World’ going on here…

Archaic laptop barely capable of updating weight loss ads without chugging up fumes, rough unkempt looking bastard at the wheel, blanket making do as a curtain, and animals in the workplace (sitting on wireframes for extra productivity points).

It’s no wonder my very first week as a full-time Affiliate Marketer ended in spectacular confusion with an entire business collapsing around me in piles of Google Suspension notices. But you bet it was exciting.

Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of defining your career destination and then galloping after it like a mad man.

Once you have started that pursuit, it’s very difficult to slow down. At various points along the way, you will reflect nostalgically on the start of your journey and how easier it used to be. This nostalgia is a sign that you need to step back and get in touch with your original reasons for wanting to become self-employed.

Regain the Nostalgia of Working From Home

It’s ‘touch base’ with the soul time.

  • Did you quit your job to spend more time with family, to see more of your kids, to make a better fist of your relationships?

Then why are you locking yourself in the basement and growling thunder at anybody who dares interrupt? If your wife has to push a cold dinner plate under the crack in your office door, it’s probably a sign that you’ve lost touch with your family man aspirations.

  • Did you quit your job to pursue the ultimate financial freedom of earning money while you sleep?

Then why do you never sleep? Do you expect to hit a magic financial figure that suddenly allows you to unwind and enjoy life? What is it?

  • Did you quit your job in awe of that classic quote: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

Then why do you still struggle to find happiness in the top dollar hotel suites that no mortal man would pay for? Why do all of your friends pay less for their thrills?

I believe many of us are guilty of losing touch with our original motives for why we do what we do. Stacking money in a bank vault, like economic growth, is tied to an illusion of grandeur. Neither can go on forever. Your current balance will mean nothing when you hit the grave.

To regain the nostalgia of working from home, we must remind ourselves of what we left behind. And why we left it. For some Internet Marketers, this may even lead to the realisation that your overall happiness was greater when you worked for ‘the man’.

There’s no shame in admitting that. In fact, the joke is on anybody with the balls to suggest otherwise. These are the same self-righteous pricks who believe everybody has to be an entrepreneur. Never mind the economic consequences, hey?

Reigniting your work day may be as simple as taking a train to your old place of work. Or driving there and spending a moment outside the gates. If I ever needed a reminder of the life I’m glad to have escaped, it’s the feeling of being packed in to a tube carriage at 8.49am by Kings Cross St Pancras.

Note: I don’t recommend brooding in the shadows outside your former workplace if you are an ex school teacher. Two words: criminal record.

Another good idea is to disconnect completely from technology for 24 hours.

We live in a world where instant notifications are pushed under our noses by multiple sources, on multiple devices at every hour of the day. It’s mission impossible for an Internet Marketer to ignore the noise when his profession has a voice in it.

By disabling your iPad, silencing the phone, and stepping away from the computer, you can begin to come to terms with what you’re left with.

If you find yourself standing lamely, scratching your balls for entertainment, there’s a good chance you need a second passion to give work new meaning. The nostalgia we associate with our first taste of self-employment has nothing to do with the work. It has everything to do with the sense of excitement, the new roads to explore, the not knowing what tomorrow might bring.

Once the honeymoon period wears off and working from home becomes your accepted reality, you need to seek the same excitement away from your screen.

We shouldn’t be afraid.

For most of us, it’s what we signed up for.

Recommended This Week

  • Have you read Premium Posts Volume 6? Grab your instant access to the PDF, print it, turn off your computer, and read my shit. Thank you please.

  • 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.

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