Uncover Profitable PPV Targets With MixRank
Slice Your Way To PPV Profit… Ninja Style
Too Many Fish In The Sea With PPV

Uncover Profitable PPV Targets With MixRank

I try not to read too much of TechCrunch. Every time I do, I’m left with the impression that 95% of the start-ups being covered are noteworthy purely for being start-ups, without a shred of consideration for the actual value they bring to the world. It’s Silicon Vanity gone wild. Mike Chiasson summed up my thoughts perfectly in one tweet:

“At what point can I stop calling you a startup and start calling you a total failure?”

But alas, one article caught my eye last week that I considered to be of actual relevance to affiliate marketers. It was a feature on MixRank, a brand new ad spy tool, currently in Beta release and free to use.

MixRank lets you search through an enormous compilation of Adsense ads, pinpointing the most profitable of the bunch (in theory) and locating where those ads are running successfully.

Sound familiar yet? There’s a fair chance it may. Spying on ads is beginning to feel slightly 2010. Services like What Runs Where and AffEdge have given affiliates plenty of options for staying in touch with the rest of the industry’s fun and games.

It won’t be long until I’m sitting in some battleship grey stained underpants, eyes straining and spying on what other spies are spying on. Who needs affiliate marketing? The real money is in knowing where the real money is for other people making real money!

Whether I joke about it or not, competitive analysis plays a large hand in the making of lucrative campaigns.

So what can MixRank do for you?

I’ll give you the breakdown of what it says on the tin:

  • MixRank is a “search engine” for display and contextual ads. Enter the target website, find their active ads.
  • MixRank lets you check exactly where a website is getting it’s traffic, and which ads are performing the best. Very useful for niche affiliate offers (Scholarships, education offers, and bizopps)
  • MixRank cuts through thousands of split tests to show you the best performing ad copies in whatever industry you’re researching.

While it’s nice to be able to monitor what Adsense advertisers are up to, it goes without saying that many affiliates are still harbouring sore arses from Google’s treatment in the past. Not everybody has an Adwords account, and I would suspect that most of the readers on this site will be turning their attention to a different benefit of using MixRank altogether – the ability to scale out PPV campaigns.

If I analyse the advertising efforts of Match.com, I can get an interesting perspective on where the cretins (and their affiliates) are finding the most joy with Adsense ads.

Mixrank traffic sources
Pages upon pages of hotspots for profitable Adsense campaigns

From the report above, I could judge that my landing page would be worth popping on ChristianFishing.com. Dating on a Christian fishing site? Well that’s not very obvious… what were Match thinking?

Possibility one: Many Christian fishing enthusiasts are actually single and responsive towards dating ads.
Possibility two: There’s no correlation. The advertiser has spunked 30 days of clicks on an unprofitable ad.

How do you predict what will happen? You don’t. Such is affiliate marketing, mon amis. Spying on ads can give you inspiration and potentially fantastic starting points, but seeing is only one piece of the jigsaw. The 99 other pieces involve actually doing.

This is not rocket science, and it’s not a guaranteed formula for success, but we can draw reasonable conclusions that the ads running for the longest on the same traffic source, are good places to start with a targeted PPV campaign. Particularly those generating a large number of page views so you’re not wasting your time.

There are many tools for scraping URLs to build out PPV campaigns, but I often find that generating serious volume with collections of pages can be difficult. Dealing with dribs and drabs of traffic has proven to be a much bigger danger to my campaigns than the thought of actually losing money.

If I can’t attract volume, I often abandon ship. My recycling bin of failed PPV campaigns consists mainly of creative ideas that never met the acid test of enough eyeballs. Scraping targeted pages prevents heavy losses in the testing phase, but it also stunts the growth of your campaigns.

By using MixRank, you can jump straight in to bed with a broader, and much more scalable, method of demographic targeting. You’ve probably heard PPV publishers preaching that the big money is in scaling sideways; in finding closely related websites that appeal to your demographic, without being so fucking obvious that your targets can only include life_insurance_for_nannies or the deal is broken.

There’s no volume for affiliates who aren’t prepared to think in term of demographics.

MixRank cuts some helpful corners. Conventional URL scraping wisdom would be unlikely to uncover such diverse targets unless you were purposefully scraping some very obscure terms. And that’s the kicker. MixRank isn’t so much a ready-made campaigns to-go service, but a colossal database of clues that should point your PPV efforts in the right direction.

I’ve used Match.com as an example, but in true form of this blog, it would probably be one of the worst examples to test. I recommend you stick to analysing sites that are lesser known brands where the online advertising is seen as critical to their business models. Direct results are the order of the day.

You want to research only the websites where somebody with a brain is going to notice if a URL target has been seeping a heavy loss for the last 30 days. A giant brand like Match.com is unlikely to be as clued in to what makes a profitable target as the smaller dating agency that spends 100% of it’s advertising budget seeking immediate returns on tighter margins. And I would even suggest that you ignore dating sites altogether.

Log in to your affiliate network of choice, preview a bunch of offers, and run the landing page URLs through MixRank’s reporting panel. It shouldn’t be long until your brain is bursting with PPV possibilities and niche angles that essentially add up to stealing somebody else’s “thinking outside the box“.

The service is currently free to use during beta phase, so register your account while the trial deal lasts!

Recommended This Week

  • There’s that new social network doing the rounds. Everybody has an opinion on Google+, and yet nobody really knows how it will fare. If you’d like an invite, drop me an email on finch@finchsells.com.

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

Slice Your Way To PPV Profit… Ninja Style

I’m going to start by apologizing for false affbuzztizing. There are no ninjas in this post. The closest to a ninja you’re going to get is the knowledge that I’m wearing nothing but an all black towel as I write this. Yeah, I’m pretty much wet and soapy.

I’ve been meaning to post about some PPV techniques for a while now, because there’s only so much rhetorical bullshit I can rehash as “lifestyle advice” before people start to call me out on a mysterious lack of…actual content.

There are two problems with PPV.

1. Everybody is doing it.
2. You’re probably not very good at it.

PPV promotion – or any kind of advertising where you’re springing pop-ups on the user – is a method of interruption marketing that has to be approached differently to your normal social campaigns. And god forbid, get back to the drawing board if you’re trying to port your Search campaigns directly to PPV.

I’ve already posted about laser targeting PPV campaigns, and shocking users in to clicking your ads. I’ve had people emailing me quoting mixed results. Some have found a lot of success using the techniques, while others…not so much. *cough* NATURAL SELECTION *cough*

Instead of replying to a thousand different scenarios with a thousand possible reasons for why they didn’t work, I thought I’d explain the thought process that goes in to my own campaigns. And of course, many of these fail too.

The way I see it, profiting from PPV is all about brainstorming and developing enough ideas to attack a campaign from different angles. So many concepts out there are beaten and battered in to a state that you’d have to be Vince Offer on crack to make the product sound original. I don’t like joining the swarming masses, and I prefer to develop campaigns that leverage a very specific appeal to a relevant audience.

That’s great, right? Nobody cares, you just want practical examples.

Let’s say you’re going to promote a dating site, what are the obvious choices for targeting your ads? What are some keywords you might use?

Singles in […]
Online dating in […]
Get a girlfriend
Chat to girls online
Meet new people
Dating advice

You’re not going to win any gold medals for envelope-pushing creativity with this kind of targeting. That’s not to say it won’t work, but you’re battling with the masses.

Many marketers fail to understand why their campaigns are failing when they’re reaching such a targeted group of users.

“If Jo Bloggs is searching for a girlfriend, why won’t he use my link? Wah wah wahhh. It’s right there! Wah wah wahhh”

These users are clearly interested in online dating so why aren’t they snapping up your bait and whacking in their credit card details? A lot of the time it’s because they’re too well trained in the market you’re trying to promote. Just because you’re pumping a pop-up with “COME FLIRT NOW” in his face, doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen the message a thousand times before and already grown sick of it.

It’s not banner blindness, but you’re targeting a type of user who clearly knows what he’s looking for. And these users are sometimes the most likely to hammer the little x on your pop-ups. Why? Because they’re already reading similar ads in the Google search listings and don’t need your crap popping up!

It’s like old school porn surfing (oh god Finch). You reach a site with that really niche midget porn you’ve been looking for. Then some motherfucker springs a pop-up over your hard work which is less targeted and frankly a pain in the arse after the seven sites you clicked through to find what you were looking for. I don’t watch midget porn.

Pro tip: If you’re going to target obvious keywords, make damn sure that your pop-up is more relevant than the actual page that the user is loading!

With my own campaigns, I like to come up with targeting strategies where the user shits himself at how close to his current state of mind my advert is striking home. If dating is your niche, you should be looking to brainstorm a little deeper. Understand the reasons WHY these people might be suitable for an online dating site.

Don’t worry about the dude searching for “chat to girls online”. Worry about finding him before he reaches breaking point and realizes that this is what he wants to do. To manage this, you need to become receptive to human psychology and use your ears. Yes, use your ears.

Clues for targeting your campaigns are all around you. I find myself phasing out in the middle of conversations with friends when my brain is latching on to things that they’ve said. I will be damned if there’s a better way of brainstorming campaign ideas for a dating offer than by spending half an hour talking to single friends. You begin to understand their psychology and thinking.

My favourite line of questioning is to ask them why they THINK they’re single.

Invariably I get answers along the lines of…

  • Target 1. “Because I don’t have the confidence to go and talk to girls”
  • Target 2. “Because there aren’t many girls that like the same things as me”
  • Target 3. “Because I’m still torn up over my ex”
  • Target 4. “Because I’m too busy to be bothered with a relationship”
  • Target 5. “Because I just haven’t found anyone at the moment”

This information is gold to me. My mind then turns to how I can translate these feelings in to PPV campaigns that don’t just target the right demographics, but hit them with stinging headlines that make them scream “YES” to the service I’m offering.

Let’s take target 3. For all we know, that guy who was searching for “chat to girls online” could have been the same guy who’s just suffered a horrible broken down marriage. We could target him with “chat to girls online”, yes, but it’s a LOT more powerful if we hit him before he’s reached Google. If we can reach out to him as an individual and be the solution to what bothers him most – we’ve got much more chance of nailing the conversion.

So where else could you target this guy?

How about on divorce websites? Marriage breakup Facebook groups? The thousands of articles on the web offering advice for dealing with a broken down relationship?

Not only can we catch the same target, but we can adapt a PPV campaign that is MUCH more effective than the standard dating LP you got from Justin Dupre’s Freebie Friday. Get creative with your headlines and imagery.

“You Think Your Ex Isn’t Searching Online? Get Back In The Dating Game Tonight”

This is what I would call slicing through the market and grabbing leads where you can resonate with them most. By segmenting markets and producing creatives that deal with genuine human emotions, you can be the answerer of those needs. It’s a lot easier than trying to grab your conversions from the huge pool of users searching generic dating terms.

I’ve got a couple more posts to come on PPV so check back soon if this is your thing.

Any questions, drop me a comment. I’m off to find some clothes.

Recommended This Week:

  • If you’re not already registered on PPV Playbook, you are missing a beat sunshine. Easily the BEST place to learn from PPV marketers who are actually making money. It has some awesome case studies. The catch is that you will need to pay some of your hard earned pesos to access it. I swear from the bottom of my black heart, joining is worth every penny

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

Too Many Fish In The Sea With PPV

Once upon a time, PPV was the new craze for affiliate marketers. Less guidelines to stick to, less slaps to run from…but now unfortunately, a whole lot more competition to bid against. Over the last six months, I’ve highlighted two different approaches to profiting from PPV:

Laser Targeting Your PPV Campaigns
Shock Marketing Tactics For PPV Profits

Another tactic I’ve read about on other blogs and forums involves “brand bidding”.

Brand bidding? The art of matching a branded CPA offer to a branded web page and hoping against hope that the margins stack up in your favour. The problem, as I’m sure most of you will have realized by now, is that they rarely do.

When I first got in to PPV, I saw zip and email submits as my gateway to riches and infinite private ball massages. A life of luxury by pushing offers that pay out, what, $1.30? The problem with matching PPV to these type of offers is that you don’t have as much margin to play with as you think you do. Throw in an element of scrubbing and people quite frankly not giving enough of a shit to wait for your pop-up to load from it’s shared hosting – you’re almost back to square one.

Brand bidding can actually be quite effective, but let me give you an example that probably isn’t going to out anybody who’s making more than 47 cents a day.

Here is your stereotypical iPhone email submit:

iPhone email submit

For a PPV virgin, it’s easy to get carried away and assume that a free iPhone offer is going to attract the interest of just about anybody browsing a domain with apple.com in the query string. And maybe it will. But if you’re going to master the art of brand bidding, you ultimately need to filter the crap first.

Direct brand bidding will swamp you with a large amount of traffic. From my experience, the profitability of bidding on a full domain just isn’t going to be sustainable 95% of the time. And even if it is, you’re using such a primal form of marketing that the next retard is waiting in the wings to bid $0.01 higher.

To take this iPhone example, the possibilities are endless for brand bidding – particularly if you ignore the temptation to bid on the actual Apple brand. I’ve always advocated “laser targeting”, particularly if you’re working with a low payout. A good method of brand bidding, less likely to attract tramp traffic, would be to dig out some links over on the o2 website. That’s a phone network for you yanks.

Take a URL target like this: http://shop.o2.co.uk/promo/iphoneindex/Pay_Monthly/3G_S/White

It’s a step forward in the sense that contrary to targeting apple.com, we know a few things about the visitors to this page:

  • They’re thinking of buying an iPhone.
  • They’re already in “comparing mode”, weighing up the pros and cons of the various deals.
  • o2 is a possible point of purchase that they trust.

So where does brand bidding come in to the equation? There’s no sign of o2 on our direct linked landing page.

The next step would to create a landing page that bridges the gap between the URL target and the shoddy email submit we’re about to hit them with. I would suggest a landing page with a header along the lines of “Can o2.co.uk Match Our Outrageous iPhone Giveaway?”

I would not want to be creating separate landing pages for every last phone network on the web so the “o2.co.uk” would have to be dynamically inserted.

The header is designed to portray relevance. It’s almost a “brand extension”, particularly if you design your landing page using the same colour scheme and font selection. It also exploits the fact that we know the user is already in comparing mode. You can use this to your advantage by listing some existing deals on your landing page, and then dumping your free iPhone at the top of the list in fancy flashing lights.

Of course, the problem with these type of campaigns is that you’ll never find the same volume that you would in spreading the net far and wide.

Another way to play with brand bidding is the classic bait and switch. A few months ago I had a very profitable campaign targeting just one single page on the Plenty Of Fish website. The concept was to deliver leads to a free dating website (Zoosk and Mate 1). What better way to target fans of free dating websites than by hitting them where they already congregate?

Of course, you could pitch a dirty great pop-up for Zoosk on the front page of POF. But you’re going to run in to several problems.

The sheer volume of users accessing the root domain “plentyoffish.com” every day will be too great. By targeting the top domain, your pop-up will show not only when somebody goes to sign in, but when they reply to a message, when they browse a profile, when they see who’s viewed them. You’re simply catching too many fish to ever be profitable.

The second problem was a lack of targeting. POF has a relatively balanced mix between males and females. How can I spring a pop-up that appeals to both genders? With a dating offer, it’s essential to break down your demographics. You also need an offer that accepts traffic from the 18+ crowd.

So instead I targeted just a single page – the “Who Viewed Me” section.

The concept was again pretty simple. I had a landing page and a header reading “Getting Viewed But Not Getting Messaged?”

I plugged the image of a depressed singleton, a screenshot of an empty inbox and then the complete opposite under the brand logo I wanted to promote – “…Why not try a dating site where our sexy members aren’t afraid to say hello?” You can probably piece the rest of the idea together in your head. I’m not going to spell it out. Needless to say, my version was a lot more provocative.

Much to my surprise, this simple PPV campaign – with just one target – produced a nice ROI in the first few weeks. I soon realized though that my pitch was getting lost somewhat. Most women on POF are already getting messaged at every waking hour, so it wasn’t as effective considering a large percentage of my page loads were falling on female eyes. You can probably guess what I done. I used the same concept to target niche websites where gender wasn’t a factor. Examples aside, this kind of laser targeting is my preferred method of making money with PPV.

Brand bidding has it’s merits and can be used to good effect with the right offer. You will undoubtedly get conversions. But the challenge is to get those conversions while weeding out as much other traffic as you can to make it profitable.

There’s a huge misconception that PPV traffic is the cheapest on the market. I think that’s pretty much bullshit. It may be the cheapest in terms of what you’re paying for a “visitor”, but that doesn’t always equal good value. A good CPM campaign can drive the cost of a click down to as little as a few cents. And when a user has clicked, you know you’ve grabbed their attention. Yet with PPV, you’re paying around $0.02 for the loading of a pop-up. Most people hate pop-ups. Some won’t even wait for them to load. You do the maths.

If you’re promoting zip and email submits, it’s quite likely that the best tactic is good old fashioned CPM bidding on the content network. That’s a post for another day though. There’s a bandwagon rolling past claiming that PPV is the future for affiliate marketers. If you’re going to jump on, don’t be turning your back on the other opportunities that surround you.

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