A Novel Idea to Help You Scale Massive Affiliate Campaigns

Every affiliate keeps track of his day-to-day profit and loss.

This involves tallying up total commissions and deducting total ad spend. The number you’re left with is the number that gets bounced around forums as “$X/day earnings“.

If you want an advantage over the competition, here’s a novel idea:

Don’t include new traffic sources in your spend column.

Record them under a monthly allowance as ‘Research & Development’ instead.

Why does this work?

Because it stings to lose money.

And losing money is guaranteed when you venture in to new traffic sources.

Instead of letting these losses affect your daily totals, you can assign them to a separate Research & Development allowance, which is just that: an allowance.

The amount you’re willing to spend on R&D should be set in stone at the start of the month. It’s an amount that you’re happy to lose in the name of scaling your business.

Whatever happens, it’s your duty to spend every last penny of that budget on testing and researching new markets.

Any money you make from the traffic can offset your R&D spend, but it shouldn’t go anywhere near your daily stats.

The effect this has is quite dramatic.

  1. It gives you permission to lose money regularly, which is the fast track to making money quickly.

  2. There is less emotional sting in new campaigns and more incentive to experiment. After all, you’re not collecting commission. You’re collecting insights.

Here’s the problem with most affiliates:


There are two points I want to highlight from this fine piece of JPG (the best you’ll see today, I’m sure).

  1. Successful affiliates quickly learn that losing money is a prerequisite for scaling their businesses.

  2. Unsuccessful affiliates turn short-term failures in to long-term loss of profit by letting their emotions get the better of them.

I feel like I’ve let myself down with my artwork, but fuck you. It’s an important point.

How many times have you abandoned a traffic source because the first campaign bombed completely?

Chances are, you bailed because you didn’t like the effect it was having on your daily profits.

So remove those campaigns from your daily totals.

Give them a separate budget:

A Research & Development budget.

At the end of the month, look at your progress.

Do you have a profitable campaign? If so, start recording the totals.

If not, be grateful for your allowance. You might not have profit, but you do have data.

Data is one step closer.

Data is what runs through the veins of every successful affiliate.

Recommended This Week

  • Volume X is now the bestselling release in my entire Premium Posts series. If you haven’t picked up a copy, what’s wrong with you? Are you sick?

  • The volume is sponsored by Adsimilis, a network that does a better job of appealing to affiliates than most. Register an account if you haven’t already.

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.


Leave a comment
  • Hey Finch, I love this post!

    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve binned campaigns too early because I was scared or pissed off at losing money.

  • The trouble I’m finding is knowing when you’ve got enough data to make an informed decision – especially starting off. You haven’t found the best LP yet, you’re still testing for the best converting offer page, you haven’t had a pay bump.

    So even if you let a banner run for 3x offer you will likely not have any real performers.

    Cull by CTR – too abitrary as the banners may not be backing out to leads.

    Cull by leads – you might keep half your banners if they garnered a lead, but they may well have a -ve ROI

    Cull by profit and loss – most likely will leave you with no banners.

    Any pointers to help out? It seems like a mix of art and science to me at the moment…

  • A lot of it is intuition. You can usually tell if there’s life in a campaign by the early stats.

    #1 thing to look out for is a converting offer. Your offer has to be a standout performer or you are constantly shoving shit up a mountain. If the offer doesn’t show a strong, consistent conversion rate, the chances of your angle, banner or LP making a difference are slim to none.

    I disagree that you aren’t likely to have a top performer after 3x the offer payout. That would suggest no conversions at all. I usually find at least 1 or 2 combinations that take me close to break even. If I don’t, it’s not a good sign.

  • And intuition comes with experience…

    Both the offers I’m promoting are converting ok – 1 at 5% the other at 8%. But no 1 banner is making a +ve ROI.

    So after 3 x offer keep the banners with leads, ditch the others, add fresh ones along the same lines as the converting offers and hope to edge closer to profitability?

  • Improving the banner alone isn’t likely to get you profitable long-term if the best one isn’t currently making you money.

    You need to find a better angle (or offer). Switching out banners is something you do when the heart of the campaign is already profitable. But in this case it isn’t.

    Split test different angles and USPs until at least SOME of your banners are making money. Then start optimising.

  • Another tactic you can try is to scale sideways in to a cheaper market (geo or traffic source). If the CPC is lower and your relative conversion rate holds strong, that instantly hacks out a lot of the work you need to do.

  • Ta Finch. I’ve cut down the no. of banners I was split testing to 5 and let them gather more data – 200 clicks each – whilst continuing to optimise landers/offers etc.

    1 campaign is fairly close to profitability now with a couple of profitable banners. It’s geo traffic so less competition.

    The other is further off but at least I know what isn’t working. I’m going to split test a new offer against it to see if that does any better.

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