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Media Buying 101

One of the hardest things for new affiliate marketers to get to grips with is the concept of campaign optimization. Setting up a campaign is easy. A few creatives, some catchy headlines, a funded traffic account, and you’re in business. The hard part is knowing how to test the campaign and how to scale successful campaigns. It’s all about optimization.

So how do you go about launching campaigns with the best chance of success? Here’s our checklist for successful media buying.

Choosing an Offer

One mistake we see new affiliate marketers making is creating campaigns with single offers. Unless you know for a fact that 100% you have the best converting offer since sliced bread, why stick to one offer to promote? We always recommend using three offers in your testing phase. This gives you much more testing data to go on, and using various angles can give you more feedback to base your optimization on.

With a single offer in your testing phase, you may well have amazing creatives and awesome angles, but there’s always the risk that the offer you’ve chosen just plain sucks. Using multiple offers allows you to optimize the actual offers as well as the campaign creatives.

Test Budgets

A question we get asked a lot by our affiliate partners is, “how much to spend testing an offer?” There’s no one answer to this, and there’s no one figure that fits all scenarios. Look at it like this. Say you were promoting an SOI offer with a payout of $2. A testing budget of $100 would be a lot, right? Up the payout to $200, and that $100 testing budget starts to look frugal.

Testing budgets are a combination of payout and ROI.

The rule of thumb says a campaign spend of three times payout is the optimal testing budget. For an offer with a payout of $2, a testing campaign of $6 would be enough to tell you if that campaign can make money or not. The ROI also comes into the equation here. The dynamic testing budget equation then be:

Net Profit more than -5 times the payout
ROI more than -25%

Keep in mind this is for the testing phase. Any campaign with an ROI above -25% has a good chance of getting into the green when you start your optimizations.

So what does this mean in practical terms? Here’s a quick example.

  • Offer payout: $5
  • Campaign Spend: $100
  • Profit: $70
  • Net Profit: -$30
  • ROI: -30%

These figures don’t match our set requirements, so the campaign should be paused in this case. The figures don’t point to a campaign with the potential for Profit, even with aggressive optimizations.

Campaign Angles

Like the offer selection, it’s unlikely you’ve got the one campaign angle that appeals to all. Start with at least two different angles for your campaign creatives. Check what other marketers are using in their campaigns with a spy tool and clone the successful ones for starter ideas. A spy tool will give you the raw data on what’s working and what isn’t. Spice these up with your own creative flair!

Setting up your campaigns

Each angle you use should be a separate campaign. Each combination of ad creatives and pre-landers should be a separate campaign. Start your campaigns with the highest quality traffic your chosen network has for your particular geos and set a competitive bid. Your testing period needs to catch the most traffic and data for you to optimize.

Campaign Feedback

Remember, this is the testing phase. The goal here is to find which offers have the potential to make a profit. Anything with an ROI above -25% has the potential to make money with optimization. Any of your campaign angles that don’t meet this requirement pause them.

Campaign Optimization

Any of your campaign angles with an ROI above -25% is worth optimizing. Check the zone and site IDs for anything with less than -25% ROI and cut these. Start to look at your bids on zone and site ID levels. Increase your bids on your best-performing zones and sites for a more significant traffic share and more conversions. If you see an increase in the ROI, then you know your optimizations are working. If you don’t see an increase, recheck your campaign angles.

Campaign Whitelisting

A whitelist is a list of the best performing zones and site IDs that you use as a filter to create a separate whitelist campaign. This whitelist campaign will only run on the profitable zone and site IDs you collected in your testing phase, with an increased bid, since you already know these IDs convert.

Are you still stuck with negative ROI on your media buying campaigns? Get in touch with Forex Ads, and one of our affiliate managers will help you get your campaigns into the green!

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