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:
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:
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.