For those of you who might not know, I have been in the CPA affiliate game for over 10 years, but just recently left a full time job to join my many full time affiliate friends. This industry can be super tough, but when you find a winning campaign it makes it all worth it.
NATIVE ADS WILL I CONTINUE TO SPEND MONEY THERE?
Lets talk about Native ads.
EXAMPLE OF NATIVE AD
While native ads can explode your traffic numbers there are many things that buyers need to consider. There are competing forces that I need to contend with that can make it difficult to optimize my ads for long term. First of all, most of these places where I buy native ads from use a technology that allows publishers or people with websites to place a code onto their website that will display ads. This is much different than buying ads from say Google or Facebook. My ads are shown on sites that these ad networks do not control, and in turn this opens me up to more click fraud and inconsistencies, or as I like to call it SHITTY traffic.
Here is what I mean in 2016 the Native Arbitrage method had exploded in the industry, with thousands of people rushing to create very viral websites with viral stories, or just plain fake news. You might have seen this in the media lately where CNN is even bitching about fake news, but they actually have links to fake news on their front page(WTF)
Anyway, what these arbitragers are doing is they are placing tons of advertisements onto their page such as adsense, banner ads, and you guessed it native ad code that will show my ads if I buy traffic from a native ad traffic source. (Examples: Taboola, Content.ad, Revcontent, Spoutable etc) Their method works (although its dying). Arbitragers buy super cheap clicks and when people arrive on their site, they are presented with a barrage of advertisements. Visitors are pretty much forced to click through multiple pages before they can get to the end of the article. This results in increased page views, which ultimately increases the chance of people clicking on another advertisement, resulting in a few cents or even a few dollars being paid to the site owner. Did you get all that?
Ok, so here is the shitty part about all of this. A shitload of traffic that I am buying is coming from these arbitrage sites. So first and foremost I have to spend alot of time weeding out the terrible sites from showing my ads. This is done using tracking software like CPV Lab that will collect the site id or widget id of every site my ad is shown on and will tell me which site converted. After weeks and tens of thousands of dollars spent I might finally have a good list of high converting sites that I am laser targeting woohoo lets laugh all the way to the bank.right?.NOPE.
Just when you think all is fine and dandy, you start to notice some of those sites start to suck hard but why?
Well without even considering competition at this point, there are many reasons these sites can start to suck. One big reason I think is because the arbitragers are testing traffic sources themselves to try and bring more traffic to their site. This means more people click on ads, and they make more money. The problem is the arbitragers dont give a rats ass on how good or bad that traffic is as long as the people arriving on their site are clicking ads. (even if its by mistake)
So while I may have some great conversions for a long time on a site because they were buying Facebook traffic, the site owner may change his mind someday and start buying traffic from some low quality native ad traffic source that doesnt screen any of the publishers. Its no secret that there are a ton of native ad networks popping up that allow just about anyone to put ads on their websites and this results in extremely terrible traffic, and in some cases completely fake traffic.
Sadly to say I thought by now ad networks would have a more robust system in place to protect us buyers from the rampant and growing problem of fake traffic bots, ad fraud or whatever you want to call it. I mean just look at the latest story on Wall street about the Russian hackers, where they say these hackers elevate ad fraud to a whole new level of sophistication and scale
While there is work being done to combat some ad fraud, it seems we are getting absolutely nowhere.
But does all this mean I stopped buying native ad traffic in 2017? HELL no.
I know I am probably padding up somone's bank account in some obscure country somewhere every time I buy an ad, but I guess thats just the price I gotta paycause as long as my bottom line is profiting I will buy traffic. I mean yeah it REALLY sucks that this still happens, but I cant lose sleep over it.
So what is going to change for me in native ads?
Well I am going to spend less on testing native ad traffic that is for sure. I am really getting sick of all the ad networks telling me I have to spend 5- 10K just to get some data. Why the hell would I do that now, especially when I KNOW about all that shit traffic that runs through your networks that you are trying to sell me.
By now you networks should have enough data to know which sites in your network are absolute bullshit, and you should be taking them off your list before you tell me to test $10K.
Why should I be the one blowing thousands of dollars proving what you already know, when I can just go to Facebook and laser target my audience? Please talk some sense into me. I know I am just a pebble in the grand scheme of things, I mean why in the world you ever consider just giving me the data so I can start spending hundreds of thousands on real traffic.
Now before I get in shit for this preceding rant from some of my peers at these ad networks, let me just say that some of you are fantastic! You help me, you give me data, and you tell me where and where not to spend money. For that I REALLY appreciate you, and you know EXACTLY who you are. THANK YOU.
So as a recap on native ads, yes I will continue to spend there, but I am much more aware now that the traffic is just being tossed around like a hot potato, between ad networks all day, and I am much more aware of the rampant ad bots. So you ad execs out there, stop pitching to me the you need to spend $10K for data pitch cause there are many other places to buy traffic and it seems your competition is only getting bigger and bigger.
In the grand scheme I think internet users are getting much smarter and can see this whole scheme for what it is and pretty damn sure in the coming years all this news and fake news is gonna be much less lucrative, and we will all be looking back at this like it was the wild west some of us will miss it, and some of us will likely be recalling the good ole days. ��