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POF 7-Day Mastery Guide Review
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Attention: Plentyoffish Dating Affiliates
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Dating On Facebook vs. Dating On POF

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:

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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.

Attention: Plentyoffish Dating Affiliates

Can’t get profitable on Plentyoffish? Fantastic! I mean, shit, that’s tragic, let me help you feel better.

I’d like to invite you to check out the very first edition of my brand new Premium Posts.

Now just what in the hell are so premium about these Premium Posts?

Good question.

It’s extremely difficult for me to give away my best advice for free on this blog, knowing that it will be rehashed and beaten to death within a few days, along with a chorus of “Hey arsewipe, stop outing my shit.

Premium Posts are going to be a monthly (or bi-monthly) collection of the very best tips I have to offer in a specific area of our industry. This month it happens to be geared towards Plentyoffish dating affiliates.

Each pack will serve up something different, informative, funny and – I hope – damn lucrative to your business. Will it affect my usual posting schedule here? Not at all. I’ll still humour your peasant monkey brains for free.

Premium Posts are simply my method of monetizing what I write, giving away a little extra and hopefully making this shit a little more fun than it has been for a while. Check out the first pack here, or don’t. The choice is yours.

But seriously, kiss my balls if you don’t.

UPDATE: Wow, maybe you guys don’t deserve to kiss my balls after all. I’m flattered and slightly blown away by the feedback and sheer number of people who have contacted me to say they enjoyed the posts – even affiliates who don’t touch POF! A major thanks to everybody who has bought so far. Enjoy your weekend!

Dating On Facebook vs. Dating On POF

When you’re deciding what to promote, there’s often the dilemma of demand vs exclusivity. Do I sell something that’s been beaten to death already? Or do I hedge my bets on slinging a product I have faith in, even if it’s greeted by nothing but blank stares over the dinner table at ASW? If that’s the case, don’t worry. It’s tough to talk shop with an affiliate marketer when all he can think about is Ian Fernando’s Party Bus.

Just because the rest of the affiliasphere has yet to go bat shit crazy over your fantasy micro-niche, that doesn’t mean there’s no money to be made in pursuing the idea. By the same token, just because every dipshit and his cousin happen to be promoting a new dating site, there’s still an open buffet of good coin to be had by following the crowd. Your challenge is to simply do it better than the rest.

Dating has been my favourite niche for over a year now. It’s a market as timeless as the weed porn on Barman’s desktop. As long as sex, romance and loneliness remain words in the human vocabulary, I will still be in business – ready and waiting to exploit those who relate to them.

I would say that in 2011, the majority of dating affiliates use social platforms such as Facebook and Plentyoffish to drive traffic to their offers. I know many affiliates who enjoy success on just Facebook, and many who can only get profitable on POF. So where do the traffic sources differentiate? How can you scale your successful campaigns from one to the other?

Many networks make a big song and dance about porting your campaigns across for easy money. But most affiliates know this is only easy money for the networks who don’t have to worry about a little friend of ours called MARGIN. Dearest Margin can fade in to the realms of negativity if you simply copy and paste a campaign from Facebook to Plentyoffish, or vice versa, without having a fundamental understanding of the two traffic sources. So let’s take a look at those differences.

Through all the thousands of dollars I’ve spent advertising on POF, it becomes clearer with every penny that the most successful dating campaigns are those that add a unique selling point to the online dating experience.

You’re advertising to registered users of a free dating site. How successful can you expect to be by serving up the same shit with a different stock image and the message that paying elsewhere is better?

With POF, you have to root out the element of frustration that would drive a member to seek out pastures new in the online dating community. To do that, your best options are:

– Offer a service directly more applicable to their needs. Are they a beach blubber whale in a sea of anorexic Size Zeros? Well then a dating site where the guys fancy “a bit of meat on the bone” is likely to be more catered to their needs. I’m not going to get bogged down by preaching the merits of race-based niche targeting. Go figure.

– Sell a service with members that are better conversationalists, and less likely to waste their time. I’ve done my fair share of hands-on market research and one of the most common complaints I find from female dating site frequenters is that the average male has the personality and conversation skills of a damp fish. For the ladies, offer the bait of sophisticated chat and an inbox that isn’t going to be stacked to the sky with time wasters. For the guys, promise girls who actually respond to messages.

Finally, ask yourself one question. There’s a reason why these POF members are still using the service. What is it? If you can find that golden nugget answer, you have the single most powerful weapon for targeting your ads.

So how is marketing on Facebook different? The most glaring difference is the fact that, hurr durr, this is Facebook. Not everybody on Facebook is out to get shagged tonight…as Justin Dupre discovered to his dismay after adding 3000 Thai girls in one late night binge. To promote dating offers on Facebook, you have to rely on greater targeting skills, badger-like tracking tendencies and…for lack of a scientific explanation, the ability to track down images that just work. There’s no other way to put it. Some images just work.

In theory, porting a campaign from Plentyoffish to Facebook CAN be immediately successful if you have a means of filtering out the uninterested eyeballs that Facebook loads you with. I’m sorry, but just because you’ve selected “single” as a targeting option, that doesn’t mean your feeding bread to a waiting duck. Keyword targeting is the way to go here.

To give you an example of how keyword targeting can be effective, let’s imagine we want to target an early twenties female crowd to be sent to some slushy matchmaking site where the preference is on finding love rather than finding crabs. How can we reach them? I think you can tell a lot about a girl by the books that she reads, and this has proven an excellent way of narrowing down my targeted users to smaller groups that I think are going to be relevant to my offers.

If I wanted to target the slushy romantic type, I could probably get a good mix by keyword targeting popular books like “A Walk To Remember”, “The Notebook” and so on. You can then build out ad copies, and in some cases images, which appeal directly to your audience. Your CTR will skyrocket, and providing you add the two missing ingredients – a good landing page and a carefully matched offer – the rewards will be waiting in your wallet.

If you want to advertise dating offers to broad markets on Facebook, you simply have to bid CPC. There was a time where nearly all ads would be more profitable if you could adapt them for CPM campaigns, but that time – in my opinion – has well and truly passed. Unless you’re hitting an unsaturated Asian or European country, at least.

You can still enjoy success with broad markets on Facebook with the combination of three must-haves: An eyecatching image, the correct dayparting (maximize your CTR by bidding after 8pm), and small age demos. I don’t have an explanation why, but I nearly always find that my ads perform better when I reduce the age groups to a maximum of four years.

Once you’ve established successful campaigns on Plentyoffish and Facebook, there are still yet more differences in how you need to maintain them. POF is notorious for campaigns with clickthrough rates that start high and then tail off dramatically in days, and sometimes even hours. You will need lots of fresh images to keep your ads profitable. I tend to run them in batches of two or three, using them for a few days and then pausing and resuming another set. Another great asset with POF is the login count which I’m not going to talk too much about because I don’t want my time to become your knowledge. So get testing and you should see some interesting data.

With Facebook, once a campaign is keyed in over a broad demo, it really is just a question of persuading Facebook to keep sending you impressions. Campaigns tend to gradually receive less traffic over time as the CTR slips. You can remedy this by deleting and relaunching new campaigns with slightly tweaked creatives. The CTR is MUCH more steady than you will see on Plentyoffish, and combined with safe CPC bidding, Facebook is generally more rewarding once you find something that works.

So there you go, just a few tips for those of you who are looking to make money from the dating niche. Argue with them, protest against them, agree with them, deny them, whatever. I’m heading to the beach tomorrow so my balls will be dangling too far in to the ocean to give a damn either way. Have a good weekend visualizing what I just said.

Recommended This Week:

  • I’ve said it a few times now and I’ll keep saying it – If you’re working in the dating market, check out Adsimilis. Excellent range of dating offers covering markets on six different continents last time I checked. They seem to convert very well.

  • 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

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