I still remember my very first day of working with paid traffic. I wanted to start a campaign as soon as possible, but eventually I got lost in the process. There was simply too much of it : offers, trackers, networks, landing pages … I didn’t know where to start.
It took me some time to get it all sorted out and I eventually got it all right. But truth to be told – I’d gladly take advice from someone more experienced at that time. I could have saved me a few weeks for sure, not talking about the $$$ I wasted.
So in an attempt to save some of yours, both time and money, let me put together a basic war plan for you. I’m not gonna lay out some super detailed dummy proof step by step guide for you here… you still need to put the work and thought in, otherwise you wouldn’t realize the value of your progress 🙂 But it will definitely help you to start faster and avoid some of the most stupid mistakes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FIRST:
First of all, you need to understand the basic terminology used in affiliate marketing. I already got this covered on my blog, here is a long ass list of terms that I compiled for you guys. Make sure you read it, or use it as a reference, when needed.
In order to work with paid traffic, you need a place that you can buy it at, these are called Traffic Sources or Traffic Networks. For a detailed explanation of what they do and why we need them, read my article about Traffic Networks here.
Next thing that we will need are some offers to promote, the easiest way to get them is to signup with a few Affiliate Networks. Since I’m a good guy, I also wrote an article about Affiliate Networks that you should read for a better understanding.
There is still more stuff that we need and it’s gonna cost us some $$$! A very important tool is a so called Tracker, there is a lot of them, some more expensive some less. The final thing we will need, is some sort of Hosting where we will put our Landing Pages. To read more about the trackers and hosting options, along with an estimate of how much $$$ this will cost you, read this article of mine, that sums up the initial investments that you have to be prepared for.
You should read three more articles that I wrote, one is about Landing Pages and why you should be using then, the other one deals with Traffic Targeting and the last one is dedicated to Tracking Campaigns. All of them have crucial info that you need to understand, otherwise your chances at succeeding in AM equal to ZERO 🙂
NOTE : Don’t slack this part, read the articles I linked for you. It’s important to understand the concept, otherwise you can’t really move forward.
OK, I UNDERSTAND THE BASICS, NOW WHAT?
Let’s assume that you have read all the articles I linked for you in the previous part of this write-up, right?
This means that you know what an Offer is, you know that you can get those at Affiliate Networks. You understand that you need accounts with Traffic Sources and that you need some Landing Pages that you will be sending traffic to. You also understand that you need a Tracker in order to be able to optimize anything.
GREAT, now let’s move on.
Now you need to register at your first few affiliate networks. This can be a tough nut to crack, since many affiliate networks don’t really love to work with newbies. Sad, I know. But there is hope, some networks are more newbie friendly than the others.
Let me give you a few that I know are solid : Adsimilis, Peerfly, Addiliate or Affiliaxe … all of these have wide selection of offers and all are willing to work with newbies. In case you plan to work with mobile traffic, these specialize in this and all are solid again : Kimia, Mobidea, Gotzha, Glize … there is a ton of networks, so don’t limit yourself to just these. But always do some research before joining any, not all are reliable unfortunately.
When applying for a network, expect to be contacted by someone and/or having to fill out some screening questionnaire. They do this to weed out the very worst applicants.
There are a few tips you should follow :
1. Make sure you understand the basic concepts of AM, you don’t want to look like a moron who doesn’t know what AM is about.
2. Don’t necessarily mention you are a virgin affiliate. You don’t have to lie, but don’t give info you are not asked for. It’s always better to say your experience is limited than admitting it’s non existent.
3. Mention that you have a solid budget, the networks want business, show them you mean it.
NOTE : Register with 2 or 3 affiliate networks straight away, this will increase you chances of getting accepted and also give you access to more offers.
You also need to register with some traffic sources now. The problem here is, different networks sell different types of traffic – banner clicks, redirects, POPs … there are several common types that you can work with.
The best choice for a newbie is POP traffic. POPs are the small windows that open under or above your current browser window. They can be either a full size or downsized window. The good thing about POPs is that they are cheap, come in thousands and you have one less thing to worry about – since you don’t need banners.
The most known POP traffic sources are : Properller Ads, PopCash, PopAds, ZeroPark, AdCash, WidgetMedia and for Adult traffic : Clickadu, Exoclick, PlugRush, JuicyAds … there is more of them, but these will keep you busy for quite some time.
NOTE: POP traffic sources usually don’t offer any category or interest targeting, so you need broad appeal offers to make it work. Sweeps, Antivirus, Video Content and Games work the best here.
GOT ACCOUNTS WITH AFFILIATE AND TRAFFIC NETWORKS, WHAT’S NEXT?
Now you need to pick some offers that you will promote. There are 2 types of offers that I would recommend to new affiliates, I wrote articles about both of them already. The first option is SWEEPS Offers and the other one is CARRIER BILLING Offers (PINs)– read those to understand what you are about to promote.
Pick one of them and talk with your affiliate managers, they will be able to recommend some to you.
TIP : focus on less competitive GEOs (Asia, Afrika, Latam) with lower payout offers (around $1 per conversion). Offers in these GEOs are less regulated, which means a better conversion rate.
There are good reason for me to recommend you these GEOs, offer types and even the POPs traffic type! So even thou you might eventually find your success elsewhere, I definitively recommend you to start with this.
This setup will allow you to learn the basics at the lowest cost, in the shortest time possible. And that’s what you should focus at, when starting with paid traffic. Learn to walk first, you can run later on.
NOTE: Many affiliates think that HIGH payouts also mean high profits. This is not true at all. The higher the payout, the harder these offers are to convert. Low payout offers are ideal for newbies, tick to them!
OFFERS SORTED, TRAFFIC SORTED … LET’S MOVE ON.
For POPs, you definitely need Landing Pages! There are two ways of getting them – make them yourself or rip them somewhere. The general consensus is, that it’s a good idea to start with LPs that you rip from experienced marketers, that you can improve later on. Coming up with your own from scratch, would be like reinventing the wheel – and quite impossible without the experience.
In order to rip them, you need to find these LPs first, read my basic article about Spying here for one option of doing this. A better way is to use a spy tool like AdPlexity for example, but that will cost you something. I heard good things about MakeMassive, which offers a limited version for free, check it out.
You can also use a paid service for this, I’ve used BannersLanders in the past for example. You can try to look for freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr… sometimes it’s a great option. When ripping Landing pages, look for hidden pieces of codes that could steal part of your traffic – it’s a way of fighting back the rippers, but that’s how it works in AM these days … everybody is ripping stuff left and right.
NOTE: Landing pages are like sales people, make sure to use their potential to it’s fullest. Good landing page can turn a -50% loosing campaign into +50% money maker.
Whatever you run in AM, always use a TRACKER, it’s a crucial part of the AM business and no campaign is perfect without it. You also need to understand the concept of POSTBACKS or TRACKING PIXELS … unfortunately, I don’t have an article about this yet, that’s something I need to correct quickly.
The setup process is a bit different from one tracker to the next, but the flow of the traffic will always be the same : buy traffic → send it to campaign url generated by the tracker → tracker sends it to landing page → when click happens, tracker sends it to the specified offer.
NOTE: Good tracking solution will help you identify exactly what kind of traffic is converting well for you. It will tell you what banner, what landing page and what offer work the best together. NEVER start a campaign without a proper tracking setup.
NOW WE HAVE ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER, LET’S START.
We have an offer, some landing pages that you have hosted somewhere (do you need a domain?) and a tracker. This is all we need to make a campaign in the tracker. Then take the tracking URL it generated for that campaign and use it to make a campaign at the traffic source.
Now we have to actually buy some traffic and wait for it to get delivered.
Next step is to analyze the data and make improvements, but that’s a topic for another article.
1. Before putting your campaign live, make sure you test the link yourself. Check if all works the way you want it to.
2. When starting a campaign, don’t try to bid high straight away. Double check your bid amount, watch out for typos.
3. Do not forget to use daily budget and impressions Cap. Start low and watch the campaign when it starts so you can react quickly in case of some problem.
NOTE: You will definitely be loosing money with your first campaign, it’s absolutely normal, don’t let it discourage you!
In case you have made it this far, you know all the basics required to actually start a campaign with paid traffic.
By now you should understand what an Affiliate and Traffic Network is and why you need them. You also know that Sweeps or PINs are your best bet to start with and that you should choose POP traffic for your first tests.
I would say you are ready to prepare your first campaign and start collecting data. Good luck!
Thanks for reading.