Media buys, this is how the pros drive traffic to their CPA offers. Yes, it's true, media buys is probably the most powerful traffic generation model for CPA marketers. I myself think that this can be not the best model for a beginner to start with, but it does work and sooner or later all the successful CPA marketers end up using media buys.
I've noticed that in the last few months more and more people are interested in using this model besides (or instead) of PPC and PPV. So, I decided to create a quick guide to help people enter the media buying world without spending too much money or dealing with complicated systems. I hope it helps you create your first campaigns and start profiting in the next few days.
1. GET PREPARED
Before you even start building your campaigns you need to have a basic structure. If you don't get organized with the basics first you will have almost no chances of succeeding.
Take care of the things below and just then start working on the campaigns.
Join good, trustworthy CPA companies. You don't have to get started with the biggest ones if you're new to this business (it may be tough to get your accounts approved), but make sure that you join only companies with a solid reputation. Never join a network and start sending traffic without making a good research first.
Here is a site that will help you find good companies that are willing to work with new affiliates:
Reviews of CPA Networks, Affiliate Programs and Ad Networks - Affpaying
If you don't know how to apply to the networks, take a look on this quick guide:
You do need more money to get started with media buys than with PPC or other advertising models. Even if you start with platforms and avoid the direct deals, you will still need to have some money to invest on testing.
It can be possible to get something going with $500, but it would be great if you had at least $1,000, maybe more to get your foot wet with this model.
So, don't get started with this system if you don't have some money to invest. In this business, money makes money, so find a way to make your budget before you start playing this game.
You will have to create banners and maybe landing pages to run your campaigns. If you can do it efficiently (efficiently!!!) by yourself, great. If you can't, be prepared to hire a professional designer. The "Warriors for hire" section is great, but you can also use other freelance sites such as eLance.
Avoid using Fiverr, most people there are not as good as the ones on this forum or on the freelance sites. Remember: you get what you pay for.
Solid information / courses
If you don't know how to play poker, don't try to make money playing poker. You shouldn't spend thousands of dollars buying tons of courses, but buying 1 or 2 good courses certainly won't hurt.
It's important that you know how use platforms, choose your offers, create your ads, etc... This is a basic guide that will put you in the right path, but it would be great to have more advanced information before getting started.
Take a look on paid IM forums as well as 1-on-1 coaching programs. Those are usually the most effective programs/systems to learn CPA.
Many people don't really care about tracking when they are getting started with a new model. This can be a fatal mistake, so don't do it.
You can use P202, Bevo or even a custom script with subids. It doesn't matter as long as you track all the elements of your campaigns (placements, banners, landing pages, offers, etc) and know exactly what's going on.
Control your metrics and you may get profitable. Run random campaigns without controlling your numbers and you will fail.
2. FIND THE TRAFFIC
Some people prefer to research offers first and just then look for the traffic to promote them. It's not wrong, sometimes I do it and, IMO, this is probably the best way to go when using PPC. However, when it comes to media buys, it can be easier to find the traffic first and look for the offer later.
You can research placements, find the ones that seem to be good and just then find offers that are suitable for them.
If you want to get started the easiest way I highly recommend you to do this.
There are many god media buying platforms. Here is a list with some of them:
Traffic Junky (adult)
Take a look on the platforms, create accounts to see their placements and then fund your accounts with the platforms you consider the best to start buying advertising spaces.
If you want to be successful with media buys it's essential for you to learn how to analyze the placements properly so that you can avoid the ones that have little chances of becoming successful without spending money on testing them.
Here are some basic rules you must follow:
* Prefer ad spaces that are close to the content;
* Avoid ad spaces that are too small;
* Avoid ad spaces that have other ad spaces too close;
* Buy only ad spaces that are above the fold;
* Avoid buying expensive ad spaces when testing a new campaign.
You need to know who is the audience you'll be reaching with your campaign. So, analyze very well the demographics of the visitors of the site you will be placing your ads on.
Tools like Alexa, Quantcast, Compete and Google AdPlanner may help you with this task.
3. THINK ABOUT DEMOGRAPHICS, NOT NICHES
Most of the times we think only about niches. What niche is the best for media buys? How to find offers in the same niche of the site I'll be placing my ads on?
This is a mistake.
Don't think only about niches, think more about demographics when doing media buys.
Get the demographics of your audience using the tools I mentioned above and then try to come up with ideas to show something interesting to that audience. Try to figure out what would grab their attention, what would be nice for them.
If you're placing ads on a forum about parenting, maybe your audience will be moms with young children. In this case, you don't have to promote only offers related to parenting, maybe those moms would be interested in working from home to make some extra cash without leaving their kids with someone else. Babies can be very expensive, so this can be something interesting for the new moms.
Be smart, think out of the box and come up with nice ideas for niches, angles and approaches. It's marketing, so be creative and try to engage people with your campaigns.
Do you know what's an angle? It's simply the way you approach your visitors.
For example, let's say you will promote a dating offer. You could have "geeks" as your angle. Then, you would target geeks and say something like "tired of playing online games? Try something more interesting!", and would show them the image of a hot girl. Or you could use loneliness as your angle and target mature women. You could say things like "don't end up alone, find someone before it's too late". There are many different approaches you can use to promote an offer, so be creative and look for interesting ways to grab people's attention and convince them to complete your offer.
After you find the traffic (find an interesting placement to advertise on), go to your CPA networks research offers. Don't focus only on the network EPC as most people do. Each campaign is different and other people's numbers may mean nothing to you.
Talk to your affiliate managers, talk to other affiliates and try to look for offers that seem to be suitable for your placement, always considering demographics and angles instead of just niches.
4. BANNERS & LANDING PAGES
After finding the right placement, offer and angle, you need the tools that will allow you to launch the campaign. Landing pages won't be always necessary, but you will always need banners.
If you have good designing skills it's great, but if you don't you better outsource this task. But even for those who will outsource the banners and landing pages it's very important to know how to create effective graphics so that they'll be able to pass the right instructions to the designer. Remember that designers are designers and marketers are marketers!
Creating effective banners
There are a few simple rules you should follow when creating your banners:
* The banner needs to contrast with the site. If the site is blue, don't create a blue banner, try to use more yellow or red to contrast with the site.
* Ugly banners are better. Don't be too professional, bad looking banners can be more eye catching and have a better performance. Most banners are well designed, so when people see a banner that's not very professional it tends to grab their attention.
* Keep it simple. Don't use too much content, just use few words, a nice image and that's it. A strong headline with a strong call-to-action and a good image can do wonders. If you use too much text or too many images your banner can become confusing and people won't take the time to understand it, they'll just ignore it.
Creating effective landing pages
Keep it simple. This is the golden rule for landing pages.
Don't use too many graphics. Your page needs to look good (professional), but it shouldn't have too many elements. Your page needs to pass a message to the user and it needs to be done fast. If you have many elements you may distract the user and do not pass the right message.
The main elements that you need to have are:
* Headline - Tell people what is in it for them, why they should spend their time on your site. Do it with 2 lines and just few words. Less can be more.
* Bullets - Use short bullets to expose the main benefits of your offer. People are more likely to read bullets than blocks of text.
* Call-to-action - Tell people what to do, use a strong call-to-action to make them leave their comfort zone and go to the offer's page.
* Image - Use a nice image to give a better looking to your page. The pages tend to look bad when they have only text.
As I said before, you can use the "Warriors for hire" section of this forum as well as freelancer sites. However, keep in mind that designers are designers, they can create good looking pages, but they don't know how to create pages that convert. So, tell them exactly what to do.
Also, I recommend you not to outsource the content. Again, writers are writers, not marketers. If you're not a native english speaker you may hire a writer to review your content and fix eventual grammatical errors or improve the choice of words, but don't hire someone to create the whole thing for you.
5. TESTING, TRACKING & OPTIMIZING
This is a critical part and there are a few things that you need to keep in mind here:
* You won't be successful right from the beginning. You will start losing money and you will have to improve (optimize) your campaign to turn a positive ROI.
* You must control your numbers. There is a lot of math involved in the process of creating profitable campaigns. You need to control your metrics to spot problems and fix them. You will have many elements to test and you have to find your winners in order to be successful.
There are many metrics involve din creating media buying campaigns, but below are the main ones. Track them and optimize them and you will have great chances of succeeding.
CTR - Click Through Rate
What is it?
The CTR is the percentage of people who see your ad clicks on it. For example, if 1,000 see your ad and 20 click on it, your CTR will be 2%.
CTR = click * 100 / impressions
When doing media buys you will hardly pay per click, you almost always pay per impressions (CPM - cost per mile) or pay per time of exposure ($X for X days). In both cases, you should try to get as many clicks as possible, since it wouldn't increase your costs.
The CTR is the metric that will allow you to analyze the performance of your ads (banners and ad spaces) and improve them to generate more traffic.
There is also the CTR of the landing page, which is the percentage of people who reach your page and then go to the offer's page. If this CTR is low you must improve your landing page, because you're wasting traffic.
eCPC - Estimated Cost Per Click
What is it?
It's the average cost of each visitor who comes to your site.
eCPC = cost / visitors
As I said before, most of the times you'll be working with CPM and time of exposure, so you won't be paying per click. However, it's good to know the actual cost of your traffic, so you can estimate a CPC and know exactly how much you're paying for your traffic. The lower the eCPC the better.
EPC / CR - Earnings Per Click / Conversion Rate
What is it?
The EPC is the average earnings for each visitor who goes to the offer's page. The CR is the percentage of people who reaches the offer's page and convert.
EPC = earnings / clicks to the offer
CR = conversions * 100 / clicks to the offer
The EPC and the CR will help you test offers and determine which one is the most profitable offer for your campaign. Controlling these metrics is very important to know how much money you're making with your campaign.
ROI - Return on Investment
What is it?
It's the percentage of money that you're earning or losing according to your investment.
ROI = (earnings - expenses) * 100 / expenses
The ROI is basically what tell you if you're making money or losing money. You need a good and solid ROI to be able to run a campaign and make decent profits.
Always watch your ROI, because this is the only way to know when a campaign becomes profitable or loses performance.
That's it, guys. I hope you enjoyed this quick guide.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to post them below.