Why Your Campaigns Die In 36 Hours Or Less
POF 7-Day Mastery Guide Review
How To Tackle Unstable Conversion Rates on Plentyoffish

Why Your Campaigns Die In 36 Hours Or Less

What’s the difference between a campaign that prospers for months, and a campaign that crashes and burns in 36 hours? It’s normally a source of renewable traffic.

A renewable traffic source can be trusted to produce leads and sales consistently on auto-pilot. It’s like the wind turbine of affiliate marketing. Slow, ugly, and certainly not glamorous, but future-proof.

There aren’t many wind turbines left in affiliate marketing.

Google AdWords remains – perhaps the greatest renewable traffic source of them all – but it’s out of bounds for most CPA marketers. If we are to drag fresh eyeballs to our affiliate campaigns via Google, we typically have to engage in SEO warfare.

AdWords arbitrage was the perfect example of renewable traffic. A campaign could be launched on Day 1, optimised by Day 2, and still be profitable on Day 365. A good day’s work went a very long way on Google, and it still does, just not for the majority of scumbags like us.

The current slew of popular advertising platforms – think Facebook and Plentyoffish – are quite the opposite of future-proof turbines. You can make good money, but in doing so you’ll often feel like Guybrush Threepwood, sprinting from the hounds, having just pillaged a barrel of limited-supply oil.

Profit exists, but it’s usually achieved with smash-and-grab marketing.

Facebook and Plentyoffish, in the literal sense, are renewable traffic sources. Each site is growing at a rapid rate, and with that growth comes new users to advertise to. However, reaching them is not always easy. Perhaps more importantly, affiliates don’t seem to care about finding those fresh eyeballs.

They focus on monetizing the traffic source, without factoring in the supply of new traffic, which inevitably leads to questions like…

Why do my campaigns fizzle out so quickly?
I was profitable for 2 days… and then the ROI nose-dived. What happened?

Sustainability is achievable with careful planning. It just requires that you launch campaigns with a plan for Day 10, not just Day 1.

Smash-and-grab marketing is fine, but don’t fool yourself in to thinking your big break will come when you start making $500/day for all of about 36 hours.

Let’s take Plentyoffish as an example.

Why do Plentyoffish campaigns crash and burn so rapidly?

It’s normally because affiliates sacrifice volume for super targeted campaigns, or because they go broad without having a plan for keeping the campaign fresh.


POF Example 1

What’s wrong with the long-term potential of a campaign that has 3 banners and targeting like this?

There’s one big problem: inevitable banner blindness.

Where is the new supply of traffic? Targeting all users under 600 logins will only be effective if you introduce a staggered approach to your creatives, which is something that I wrote about extensively in Premium Posts Volume 1.

Run this shit for more than 48 hours and what’s going to happen? Maybe you’ll score a profit in the first 24 hours (if you’re lucky), but sooner or later, users are going to grow sick of the same banners.

There’s also the microscopic nature of the campaign. Plentyoffish is a big traffic source, but it’s not that big. The slew of new Jewish females aged 25-35 can’t possibly keep up with the rush of new advertisers looking to make money from them. To have any hope of profiting over the long term, you need to have a structured campaign.

Here’s how you might sustain the example above with minimal ROI degradation:

Day 1:

Active Banners: A, B and C.

Day 1

Day 2:

Active Banners: A, B and C.

Day 2

Day 3:

Active Banners: D, E and F.

Day 3

Day 4:

Active Banners: D, E and F.

Day 4

You have four variations of the same campaign, each targeting different mini-demographics, or using new banners to keep the campaign fresh. You will lose volume, but you’ll gain stability and a cycle of profitability that lasts much longer.

Alternatively, you can focus your campaigns on targeting only the the newest members, so the ads should always stay fresh.

To do this, simply set your login count to below 50 and your ads will be reserved for the new fish.

This is how you turn limited reserves of traffic in to renewable traffic. Instead of pillaging a barrel of oil from a limited reservoir, you’re building a boring wind turbine – letting it accumulate profit over time – and moving on to the next one.

Note for Plentyoffish affiliates: You should also check out this post on how to tackle unstable conversion rates.

What about other traffic sources?

Facebook campaigns can be broken in to Group of States A and Group of States B.

Instead of targeting by country, you select 25 states in each campaign and rotate them through alternate days. You can then duplicate your 6 best ads so that half show on Day 1, and the others on Day 2. Mix and match as you go forward. You should see a dramatic reduction in the wear and tear on your CTR.

When advertising via PPV, the frequency cap is similarly important. I set it as low as possible, to the point where a user might only see an advert once every 4 weeks. This can deep-throat the hell out of the volume, but it’s worth it for stability. My hairline thanks me, and yours should too.

Eh, only kidding. I’m going bald.

Focusing your efforts on renewable traffic sources is the best way to avoid Monday mornings where last week’s work is staring at you from the bottom of the trash can. There’s nothing I find more de-motivating than busting my arse on campaigns that have a shelf life of 2 days.

Unless those days are generating floods of traffic and majestic profit, they are days wasted. It’s not worth breaking your back to get a campaign profitable if the foundations are likely to be torn up overnight. It’s fucking sandcastle economics. Why bother?

Recommended This Week

  • Want to read some of my more candid insight on how to build profitable affiliate campaigns? You be needing some Premium Posts, mon ami. There’s about 300 pages of crap that can actually make a difference to your success in this industry. Check them out here.

  • Any Facebook advertisers still out there? Check out Lots of Ads. Spy on the best performing ads in international markets, save money on your translations and learn from affiliates who are already making money (or perhaps wasting it recklessly?). The tool now supports 21 countries, which should be plenty to keep you busy.

  • If you’re a new reader here, please add me to your RSS. Also follow me on Twitter. Thanks for reading.

POF 7-Day Mastery Guide Review

Last week, iPyxel’s Tom Fang kindly dropped his POF 7-Day Mastery Guide in to my inbox. Being a regular advertiser on Plentyoffish, I busted out my sponge, and set about soaking up his advice in the hope that it’d be somewhat different to my usual tricks and shenanigans, a few of which I framed for mass consumption in Premium Posts Volume 1.

Well, it was certainly different. Not a reference to my balls in sight.

Here’s iPyxel’s breakdown of the content included.

  • Mass production of ads
  • Approaching broad vs. niche traffic
  • Tracking methodology and managing campaigns en mass
  • How to target and split test properly
  • Building long term campaigns by mitigating burnout
  • Detailed explanations of POF nuances

The POF 7-Day Mastery Guide takes a step away from addressing specific campaign ideas. You won’t find case studies or ready-made banners to be stolen. Tom makes it perfectly clear that the creative process is not his bread and butter. He even surrenders that many buyers of his guide will be able to use it to make more money than he does.

That’s a tour de force in self-deprecation, although probably a confession he’ll want to disown if the Warrior Forum pounces on the product.

What the 7-Day Mastery Guide really homes in on is the development of systems, algorithms and cold-blooded ruthlessness in the way that you create, manage and cull your campaigns.

Unlike Tom, I am not a number’s man. I find it difficult to launch dozens of tightly targeted, flawlessly labelled campaigns, while tracking the entire process through Excel and running figures of ‘continue/pause’ in my brain. But that’s not to say that I shouldn’t make the effort to embrace his approach.

If Premium Posts Volume 1 sought to gun down some of the psychology that lurks behind a successful ad, the POF 7-Day Mastery Guide is a structured and highly organized manifesto for getting profitable as soon as possible, while losing the least amount of cash.

Throughout the guide, Tom keeps his core principles of sustainability and scalability close to every tidbit that he gives away. I think many POF advertisers are guilty of sacrificing these qualities in the frantic search for profitability, so it’s definitely a mindset that should be taken onboard.

The information is broken in to 7 sections, with one for each day of the week. Knowing how proactive most affiliates can be, I’d have been tempted to lower my expectations and call it a 7-Month guide, but alas.

Here they are:

  • Day 1: Tom’s core principles, budget setting, loss limiting, basic targeting.
  • Day 2: Getting to know competition, finding images, writing copy.
  • Day 3: Ad creation, Photoshop batch processing, and split-testing mechanics.
  • Day 4: Effective tracking, organizing your campaigns, avoiding burnout.
  • Day 5: How to bid effectively, the concept of hurdling, session depth myths.
  • Day 6: Direct linking vs LPs, maintaining campaigns, scaling effectively.
  • Day 7: Preparing for offers to blow up, advance testing, and outsourcing.

The systems Tom endorses will almost certainly require a grand rethink in how you organize your campaigns. For example, after logging in to your account, what would you think if your campaigns were suddenly titled like this:


I’d probably assume that I was having a stroke. But this is actually a hallmark of Tom’s immensely structured approach to his advertising. Campaign titles are decoded in to stone-dead giveaways of the targeting that lays inside, assuming you haven’t lost the wall chart. And as for the targeting? I found Tom’s insight in to compartmentalizing campaigns to be some of the best in the guide.

He explains the importance of session depth, frequency and login counts with great detail, refusing to settle for that annoying nugget of faux wisdom “users with login counts below 100 are golden, only target them“, as so many fall in to the trap of believing. There are some great tips for sustaining campaigns over long periods of time.

Tom once again resorts to mathematics to explain why campaigns adjusted to higher login counts need to be different from those going after the ‘new fish’. This is where his methodology for creating systems really shines through. Whilst most of us are busy judging POF users as either in or out of a target group, Tom stalks the users from cog to cog in his system. The guide shows, very effectively, how to maximize your chances of a conversion via layered targeting.

For experienced POF marketers, particularly those like myself who operate by instinctive catapultations of shite at the wall, Tom’s adherence to structure will get you thinking about how you can operate your own campaigns more efficiently.

I doubt that many marketers will have invested the same time or thought in to their own POF systems, and much of the information could be repackaged for traffic sources like Facebook where it would be equally relevant.

That’s not to say I’m a glowing advocate of every theory preached in this guide. Tom’s argument that 100 campaigns consistently making $5/day are better than one making $500/day has been used to divide affiliate marketers for years.

I fall in to the category that would much rather manage a single $500/day campaign, than spend my afternoon plugging tiny holes in tiny $5 campaigns. That’s just too much micro-management for my taste.

I also disagree fundamentally with one of the guide’s earlier suggestions that advertising to young men is easier than mature women. But I will avoid kicking up a fuss, blessed in the knowledge that this guide is likely to be consumed by a legion of Warriors who will follow that pointer to a tee.

As far as the quality of writing goes, I’d like to thank Tom for releasing an ebook that is readable, eloquent and a distinct improvement on many of the other ‘Mastery Guides‘ in circulation that have me gouging out my own eyeballs in disgust. Presentation is one of the areas where my own Premium Posts are in sore need of improvement, so I’ll be taking a page out of Tom’s book here. Literally. Sccchwipe.

All in all, I would recommend the 7-Day Mastery Guide to beginners and intermediates on the POF platform. It’s not flowing with campaign ideas, but then it doesn’t need to be. This is a practical, comprehensive and immaculate presentation on how to get your house in order. It will bring structure to your campaigns while focusing your mind on sustainability and scalability, the only qualities that really matter.

Recommended This Week

  • Check out the iPyxel blog for some free tips and pointers to go along with the POF Mastery Guide.

  • My own detailed assault on monetizing Plentyoffish is covered in Volumes 1 and 3 of Premium Posts, which have both received widespread praise. Grab your copies now. Also, watch out for Volume 4 which will be landing next month and covering some brand new topics that I think you’re going to enjoy.

  • If you’re a new reader, please add me to your RSS. Also follow me on Twitter. If you just can’t get enough Finch in your day, be sure to check out FinchBlogs.com, which is the twisted cousin of this blog.

How To Tackle Unstable Conversion Rates on Plentyoffish

Advertising on Plentyoffish is some of the easiest money you’ll make in affiliate marketing. I’ve used the platform for over 2 years with varying degrees of success. Some days it seems so easy, other days I couldn’t grasp profitability if it slapped me in the face with a briefcase full of Benjamins.

As with any traffic source, or any advertising campaign, good things come to those who show patience – and especially those who aren’t afraid of losing money in the pursuit of much more.

I’ve traded tips and techniques with many Plentyoffish advertisers, and one of the recurring questions that pops up is how to combat unpredictable conversion rates.

Have you been there before? One day your ROI is impressive enough to book a spontaneous vacation, and the next you’re struggling to break even. You spend your morning coffee praying the marketing deities have woken up on your side; afternoon is spent with fingers crossed, legs crossed, and eventually eyes crossed having obtained a miserable headache.

Okay, if you haven’t been there already, you will do someday. It happens to all of us.

So how can we get some consistency in our conversion rates? How can we find the sweet spot where our ROI trajectory doesn’t resemble the Big Dipper?

NOTE: Before continuing, I have to ram this piece of advice down your throat: split test your offer across multiple affiliate networks. And even split test the offer. I couldn’t possibly overstate the importance of doing this – it can reverse a negative ROI overnight. The lack of loyalty will not endear you to your affiliate managers, but you’re in this to make money, right? Don’t become a network martyr.

An easy way to stabilize conversion rates is to tighten up your campaign’s message. Many Plentyoffish advertisers have an obsession with abstract marketing. They try gaming user attributes to attract a high clickthrough rate, often at the expense of a solid advertising message.

For example, let’s say an advertiser is promoting a typical CPA dating offer. In order to create relevance and catch the eye, his ad may read something like “More Single Smokers Needed, Join Site X!“, with the ad being targeted to single smokers.

These ads are rolled out as frequently as rat meat at a McDonalds drive-thru, but they lack a real message. Does Site X really appeal to single smokers? Is there actually a resemblance of a connection between the ad and the service being promoted? When there isn’t, conversion rates are likely to be erratic.

But why is that so? If the ad was competent enough to convert yesterday, it should work today, right?

The reality is you could advertise a dating service using just about any headline under the sun and it WILL score some conversions. Why? Because it’s appearing on a dating website! There’s no science to poor marketing. It is naturally erratic. The handful of conversions are a by-product, not an endorsement of your advertising work.

To achieve stable conversion rates over a sustained period of time, you need a stable message. Something that adds value to the sales funnel, rather than simply monopolizing user attributes. You need to pinpoint what the unique value of your offer is, create a meaningful message, and then rely on the powers of persuasion to convince your audience that the offer is right for them. This is only possible if you engage in real-world marketing, using hooks of genuine value. Attempting to lure smokers to a dating site under the illusion that they are ‘needed to meet the demand for more smokers’ is a shoddy hook – fitting of the erratic conversion rates it will likely produce.

Creating consistency and value in your message is one way to troubleshoot a wobbly conversion rate. What other steps can we take?

How about taking a structured approach to our testing?

A structured approach is definitely NOT this:

Day 1: bidding 0.55 CPM, 300 login count, frequency cap of 4
Day 2: bidding 0.65 CPM, 400 login count, frequency cap of 3
Day 3: bidding 0.85 CPM, 100 login count, frequency cap of 6, oh and a different landing page.

What happens when your conversion rate drops dramatically on Day 3?

Pick your reason from any of the following:

– The high CPM doesn’t convert.
– Low login counts suck.
– Your new landing page is hideous.
– Ads that have been showing for 3 days in a row stop converting.
– If the user doesn’t click in the first 3 views, he won’t convert.
– Day 3 was Christmas.

The actual reason? Who the hell knows?!

It’s impossible to diagnose a faltering conversion rate when you don’t have a structured approach to your campaign. So instead of fiddling with targeting parameters every 5 minutes, duplicate any campaign you wish to modify and then compare the results to your original campaign (which should still be running). Without controlling your variables, any data you collect is meaningless – and thus very expensive.

A final tip for stabilizing conversions is to limit the range of users you’re advertising to.

Ben has previously revealed on the POF company blog that 28% of the site’s inventory has a login count of less than 100. These users are the ‘fresh’ eyeballs. Another 30% of the traffic has a login count of over 550. These are the users who have seen pretty much every trick in the book. It’s going to take an innovative campaign to light a firework up their asses, but fear not, it can be done.

Between 100-550 logins you have the middle ground. It’s difficult to predict the behaviour of these users as the effects of banner blindness could swing either way.

My advice is to pick one or the other. Either target the first 100 login counts, or exclude them. Some advertisers take the middle ground and attempt to advertise to all users with a login count of less than, say, 300.

The problem with doing so is that it muddles your message by targeting two slightly different demographics – those who are new to Plentyoffish, and those who aren’t. Sometimes you can get away with it, other times you can’t. A better tactic, if you’re intent on targeting logins <300 would be to break the users in to two groups. A smart strategy would include two campaigns:

Campaign A: Targets login count of 0-100 (Strictly new users)
Campaign B: Targets login count of 101-300 (Users who have been around a while)

A more unstable approach is to lump those users together, so let’s have a Campaign C.

Campaign C: Targets login count of 0-300 (A melting pot of new and old users)

The difference in performance may not be obvious until a natural variation in the bidding on the platform.

Perhaps a swarm of new advertisers drives up the prices for the best quality traffic, so the volume in Campaign A drops dramatically – but the conversions are still stable. You’re left with an excellent conversion rate but not much traffic. Not a particularly alarming problem on its own, right?

Now consider what happens to Campaign B during this surge. The new advertisers may be rushing to grab the best quality traffic (perhaps yet another blogger recommended low logins FTW), but they don’t seem to care for inventory with a login count over 100. What then? Campaign B remains exactly the same. The conversion rate is stable like it always was. It’s a decent conversion rate, but not as good as Campaign A. The volume hasn’t changed though.

But let’s say you were to advertise using the Campaign C approach. You now find that you’re barely breaking even and the conversion rate has dropped alarmingly in the last 24 hours. How are you going to tell where the discrepancy came from? Why is the conversion rate on a seemingly terminal decline?

Of course you don’t notice that behind the scenes, you’re receiving less of the alleged best quality clicks because of the increase in competition on 0-100 logins. Instead, your high CPM is now paying for the next tier of traffic, which doesn’t convert as well but is costing you the same money. All you see is an unstable conversion rate, keeping you blind to the source of the problem – a problem that is very simple to fix.

This is just one of many problems that are notorious on self-serve advertising platforms. Different advertisers may swarm a demographic at any given time, which raises the prices, meaning that without knowing it, you’re suddenly bidding on completely different traffic. The only way to avoid the problem is to make sure that you’re bidding on just one demographic at a time, and that you’re setting the bid accordingly.

By doing so, your volume may vary dramatically, but the conversion rate should remain stable.

Of course, this is not science. Self-serve platforms by their very nature have hundreds of scenarios that may affect your ROI. But the bottom line remains the same. There’s big money on Plentyoffish, and it’s perfectly within your reach – but you must use your data as an advantage, rather than a deep pool to drown in.

Recommended This Week

  • A much more detailed assault on monetizing Plentyoffish is covered in Volumes 1 and 3 of Premium Posts, which have both received widespread praise. Grab your copies now. Also, watch out for Volume 4 which will be landing next month and covering some brand new topics that I think you’re going to enjoy.

  • If you’re a new reader, please add me to your RSS. Also follow me on Twitter. Thanks for reading.

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