What Runs Where Gets a Makeover & Upgrade
Why Your Campaigns Die In 36 Hours Or Less
Why Affiliates Love Justin Bieber

What Runs Where Gets a Makeover & Upgrade

What Runs Where is a competitive analysis tool that many of you will be familiar with.

It’s one of the most popular research tools in the affiliate space. If you are involved with any kind of banner buying or advertising on the Google Content Network, What Runs Where is a one stop shop for all the campaign ideas you could ever need.

I gave it a positive review last year, but I had a few complaints about the interface. I saw it as unnecessarily complicated and confusing for a media buying newbie.

There was no shortage of mesmerizing data, but the software was low on shiny, whimsical bells and whistles. Presentation isn’t everything, but it certainly makes life easier when you’re plunging through mountains of data and numbers.

Well, it turns out the What Runs Where team has taken that complaint onboard. The software has recently been upgraded with a brand spunking new interface.

It’s looking really good.

What Runs Where

What Runs Where now supports an additional three countries; Spain, Germany and France; to go with the previous collection of America, Canada, Australia and the UK.

The new targeting is particularly helpful for offers that dominate in European markets, like the Need For Speed example above.

Not only can you spy on prime sources of European traffic, but you can swipe readily translated creatives for your own testing purposes.

Of course, in the interest of not being a total dickbag, let me remind you…

Stealing is bad, kids.

Use What Runs Where to pinpoint the market trends, and then create something better.

Running the same creatives on the same traffic sources is only ever going to leave you two steps behind somebody much richer than yourself. That said, this is probably the single most effective tool for digging data from right under the fingernails of your competition.

Another welcome new addition to What Runs Where is placement suggestions. It’s the first in a series of so-called ‘actionable insights’ that will be landing in the future.

Placement suggestions sifts through what I can only imagine to be a nuclear-sized wasteland of data remnants. It looks at an advertiser’s existing placements and then suggests additional placements based on that data. I’m not sure how accurate – or how profitable – the internal algorithm is, but at first glance it looks very useful.

If I were to search through Christian Mingle’s placements, for example, I would find a huge list of sites that the merchant is currently targeting. By using placement suggestions, I can find alternatives – ranked by similarity – that aren’t currently being targeted.

This looks like a great tool for steering clear of competition. I’ve already found some niche, off-the-wall placements, that I’m in discussion to place small buys with.

What Runs Where is a data-beast. That much was known before. It’s encouraging to see that the team are taking active steps to turn their huge hoard of data in to insights and actual campaign suggestions.

I still think there’s potential to go further and give more meaning to the data. The algorithms are clearly powerful and effective, but little is said of how numerical ratings such as Similarity and AdStrength are calculated. I think it would be awesome if these terms were explained and perhaps graphed and documented to shed new meaning.

All things considered though, What Runs Where is still the honeybadger of all affiliate research tools. A must-have data slayer for anybody involved with media buying.

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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.

Why Affiliates Love Justin Bieber

Oh yes, they do.

There’s nothing the affiliate world loves more than a good fad to ride all the way to the bank. Justin Bieber encapsulates the affiliate marketer’s wettest dream, and that’s a dangerous sentence if ever I wrote one.

There are tons of affiliate offers that can be spun and peddled using Bieber’s bandwagon of fans – some that directly use his name, and others that need only be implied. It’s not the most reputable marketing tactic in the book, to monetize a brand that’s not your own, but we’re not the most reputable marketers in the first place. It’s going to happen.

Besides, the landing page H1s just roll off the tongue.

“How much do you know about the Biebs?”
“Pick the right answer for a chance to meet the Biebs”
“Lose half your body weight in 28 days to look attractive… to the Biebs”
“Sign up if you’re a BBW whale and like meeting rich men… like the Biebs”

Some niches may be more suitable than others, obviously, and that sentiment becomes even more relevant when you’re talking about traffic sources. Facebook and Google aren’t the best places to parade Justin Bieber as your CPA’s fake celebrity ambassador. Indeed, it’s not sensible to portray a relationship to any degree.

But for PPV, this kind of marketing bait and switch has become the norm for drawing eyeballs to offers that are hyper targeted to a certain demographic. One of the things that makes Bieber such a marketing hero is the immense loyalty he receives from a never ending pool of fangirls and floppy haired pretenders.

It’s the loyalty that should hold your attention. This is what we should be pursuing.

Click prices are rising across most demographics on most traffic sources, but there will always be opportunities for the marketers who are skilled at monetizing the Under 16 demographic. I’m using Justin Bieber as an example, but to tell you the truth, he’s probably not the best case study. While his army of fans continues to grow, so does the number of advertisers who are keen to jump on the monkey – and not just affiliates, but commercial brands too.

Looking further afield, it doesn’t take too much market research to pinpoint the names and shows that are exploding in popularity with the Under 16 market. How can it be? These are some of the most loyal followers of any demographic, and can be found posting their shit on Twitter 24/7.

There are huge opportunities for affiliates to jump on these trends. It just takes a little creativity, where affiliate offers don’t already exist, to match them to suitable campaigns.

I hate to use the phrase, but “like taking candy from a baby” springs to mind.

A regular pet project of mine is to snatch up domains for fansites of these young stars, turn them in to very basic blogs, then to simply splash the shit out of them with gaming ads and quiz offers. You may think the competition level from crazy eyed fans is too high to make a decent return, but in reality, you only need a tiny slice of the market when the market is so huge. And if you’re smart, you can convince the hardcore fans to work for you by seeding these projects with their own devoted content.

Sinister, right? I’m going to Hell? As long as the Devil crosses Baby off his playlist, that’s perfectly fine by me.

I remember when Michael Jackson died, there was a similar explosion of MJ themed offers. For the dirty scumbag affiliates of the world, it was easy pickings. Lock and load, and help yourself to some commission. I did just that, and I’m sure many other affiliates did too.

Where will the next craze emerge from? He or she is out there now, slowly accumulating an army of fans that will one day reach a tipping point when Ca-Ching – the money rush begins. Better get your ears to the ground!

These opportunities to reach huge demographics of highly concentrated users don’t appear every day, but when they do, you’ve gotta cash in.

Recommended This Week

  • If you’re looking for a good place to seek out Justin Bieber offers, look no further than EWA Network. EWA is clearly no stranger to the Biebs. “Bieber” Web Assets has been a running joke of regular hilarity on WickedFire. Remarkable physical similarities aside, Ryan Eagle is running one of the best houses in the industry for an affiliate to get his tracking links from. Sign up now for a peek.

  • Lots of Ads is the latest service to offer spying capabilities over Facebook’s most profitable ads. The great appeal for me is the ability to spy on International markets including France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and many more. Save time on translations and tap in to the most lucrative markets on Facebook. Definitely a worthy addition to your toolkit. First 20 customers only who use code FINCH11 will receive 10% off their lifetime subscription. Enjoy!

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

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