Why I Don’t Do Mobile Affiliate Marketing

I recently got a question on My Facebook Page about mobile campaigns. His question is really common. Everyone wants to know if I’m doing mobile.

why i don't do mobile affiliate marketing

So why am I not doing mobile when it’s all you hear people talking about? The answer is actually very simple.

Because right now, I don’t need to.

I’m currently working on a plan that I came up with at the beginning of this year. I chose a few traffic sources to slowly build out and dominate and it’s going very well. I work in my own world and I don’t compare myself to others.

New distractions keep popping up: mobile, adult dating, international health/beauty, etc. and I’m doing my best to ignore them all. If I hear that “So and so is making $XX,XXX/day on BLAH BLAH traffic source!” I don’t give a shit.

I have to stay hyper-focused on my long term goals.

It’s worked for me in the past. In the very beginning it happened naturally, mainly because I only knew about one traffic source at the time.

Master A Single Traffic Source

When I started out, I thought Google Adwords was the only traffic source that existed. I was given an offer by an affiliate manager with a promise that he had guys doing gigantic volume. I trusted his recommendation, created an Adwords account and focused.

I worked in Adwords every day.

My first few campaigns were set up pretty badly. I didn’t know about creating separate adgroups, dynamic keywords, the content network or any of the reporting and optimization tools that Adwords offered.

But by working on it every day and reading every tutorial I could find I slowly learned how to use it correctly and turned things around.

  • Month 1: I was failing and learning and lost several thousand dollars
  • Month 2: I figured things out a bit and made several thousand dollars
  • Month 3: I added the content network and had my first mid 5 figure month
  • Month 4: I dominated the entire network and drove insane amounts of volume

A year later, I checked out a new traffic source.

Now think about this.

When’s the last time you focused on a single campaign on a single traffic source for more than a month? Most people I talk to are switching campaigns almost every day.

I get it – I mean, jumping from source to source and from campaign to campaign is pretty exciting, but it doesn’t bring in the kind of overwhelming wins you get when you focus on a single source, master it and block out all other distractions.

The Affiliate Marketing Distraction

The best thing about online marketing is also the worst thing. There are hundreds of ways you can do it and each one can result in making a huge amount of money.

  • You can be a blogger
  • do paid traffic
  • PPV
  • PPC
  • Mobile
  • Adult dating
  • Media Buys
  • You can create products
  • build FB groups
  • do email marketing

All of these methods work and make money for people every day. But you can’t do them all at the same time. So you have to choose.

Sure, some affiliates run traffic on multiple platforms, but I guarantee you they didn’t launch them all at the same time. They more than likely started with a single source and moved along, mastering one at a time as they went along.

So – if you’re still trying to land your first big campaign here’s what you do:

focus.

  • Pick one big traffic source. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to find a huge traffic source first, learn to wield it’s power and then match offers to it. The offer doesn’t really even matter. If you can control huge waves of traffic – you can find something that will make money on it. Find a traffic source with massive volume (think $5000/day spend and up) and become a master at it. If done right, you may not ever need another traffic source unless you want to scale.
  • Choose 1 Offer. As I’ve said before it’s important to get some insider info from affiliate managers or other affiliates. You don’t want to go into a traffic source blindly trying offers. For example: If you’re going to master PPV, ask managers and friends what does well there. Choose 2–5 different offers and launch them all at once to see which one does best. If “Campaign 3” does way better than all the others, pause everything but “Campaign 3” and use it to master the source.
  • Learn it’s nuances. Each traffic source has it’s own set of rules. It also has loopholes and backdoors you can exploit. I once heard a Facebook affiliate marketer explain how after years of using Facebook ads he found a way to get nude photos of women approved for his dating campaigns. Using the loophole he ran naked ads, which got 95% CTR and gave him tens of thousands of clicks for free. He killed it until they figured out what he was doing and the closed the exploit he was using. If you spend enough time with a source, you’ll figure out all these kinds of little tricks like this that you can use for monster profitable campaigns.
  • Build relationships. Focusing on one traffic source also means that all of your daily spend is being focused onto a single network. So instead of spending $500/day on 10 networks you’re spending $5000/day on a single network. That’s a $1,825,000/year spend. And a spend budget like that will put you in a higher-value category of client. Your ad network rep will give you preferential treatment, backend deals and insider info to help you. I’ve had ad reps fly in from other cities to have lunch with me and tell me about their network inside and out. I’ve had CEOs and VPs of some of the biggest media buy networks in the world call me personally to thank me for the business and discuss cheaper backend CPM deals. It’s insane what kind of advantages you get at an ad network when you spend a ton of money. Your competition doesn’t stand a chance.

Be Patient

It could take months to work out all the kinks and build your own launch and optimization system for a source, but it’s worth it. Don’t worry about what others are doing, there is money to be made everywhere.

Remember. People are making huge money in a lot of places. Just because someone posts that they’re killing it on a certain traffic source doesn’t mean it’s easy. They may have spent the last year perfecting their launch and optimization system for that source.

If you’ve invested 3 weeks into learning PPV and then jump over to mobile, you’ve lost all that time you spent learning PPV and have to start learning mobile from scratch.

You’re not going to instantly make the $5000/day that the mobile guys are. You’re going to be making $0, or losing money just like you were on PPV until you figure it out.

So it’s important to pick a source, plant yourself there and learn to dominate on it.

*Of course, if you’re given a great idea from a person you trust, it’s fine to investigate it and take advantage if you can. I’ve jumped on a new traffic source based on solid insider info and done very well. But 90% of the time, it’s best to stick with a single source and patiently master it before moving around.

  • drngo

    Great post.

    I am in multiple traffic sources / multiple offers, but that’s not what I recommend to newbies.

    Some of my campaigns are almost on auto-pilot which lets me expand. I also have virtual assistants and in-house employees. On some campaigns after you’ve been in a few months, there’s really nothing left to optimize. You’ve “tapped it out”

    Newbies should just stick to one thing. Of course here comes the same question, “What should I focus on?”

    Put mobile, plenty of fish, adult dating, etc. and put it into a hat. Close your eyes and pull one out. Everything makes money, there is no best. People are scared of making a mistake of picking the “wrong” offer or traffic source, when in reality, inaction is the wrong decision.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Yeah it’s definitely a different story for experienced affiliates or people with teams.

      I find that after 5 years I can personally handle 3-5 campaigns at a time. But they launch one at a time. Like you said, at some point a campaign becomes un-improvable, At that point I’ll move on and leave it going with maintenance every few weeks. I have a few campaigns that have been running for 4 months now with 1 day per month maintenance. (love those)

      But if you’re new? One source, one campaign. Shut the world out for a month and driiiiiiive.

    • http://www.bronsonlaureiro.com/ Bronson

      But Charles, what kind of hat should I put it in?

    • Petre Veluda

      “Put mobile, plenty of fish, adult dating, etc.” A lot of people are looking for this answer and even when they stumble upon it they don’t believe it.

      I just wanted to reconfirm what Charles said because it took me 6 month just to choose POF because I knew nothing about paid traffic Affiliate Marketing. Then it took another 3 month to understand what I need to do and how to approach POF and another 2 months after to hit some GREEN days.

      So it takes time, money but at least I know I’m in the right place. Just have to stay there long enough AND do the right things until I make it work.

  • Claudio

    Thanks for the great info!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      thanks for reading Claudio!

  • Edgar

    Great advice Malan, thank you.

    This is exact advice I should have gotten (or applied) about two years ago… Back then I was just getting started with online marketing and was learning SEO, then decided to do Email marketing, then Facebook marketing…etc…. just ALL over the place.

    So now this past 3 months I have decided to just focus on paid search (more specifically Google Adwords) — I have decided to master this source.

    So far, I have been running some local lead-generation campaigns and it’s going really well. Eventually I want to transition to running CPA offers — but not until I feel comfortable with the big G.

    All the best to you Malan!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      good stuff Edgar. Adwords has more than enough traffic to satisfy just about anyone’s needs.

  • Yani

    This is exactly the type of post I needed to hear, you just helped me make a decision. thanks!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      cool man. Choose and destroy.

  • Stan Oleynik

    Excellent advice as always Malan, I abide by the same principles with my AM campaigns.

    There is a really good saying on the subject – “You can drown in opportunity”, so it’s always best to stay laser-focused and strive to be the absolute best at the things that you decided to pursue…

    Stan

  • Ting

    I have heard a lot of advice about focus and this is one of the best way explained. Thank you for such great post!

  • john

    Thanks for the post Malan. Saw your post this morning, after losing 2.5k on facebook for the last 2 months. Digging more into your blog with coffee in hand.

    Thanks again for the inspiration. Though u managed to hit it so much faster than me lol.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      If you’ve lost $2.5k in 2 months, that’s roughly $41.66 a day budget you’re working with. which isn’t much.

      Is it something that you know works for other affs on Facebook? If not, you really need to consider finding something with verified success on FB. that way you can spend money with a little more confidence. good luck john!

  • Petre Veluda

    It’s really f*** complicated. I’ve been pushing traffic on POF with all the tools in my pocket since December and I can only count March and April as REAL HARDCORE Testing Months.

    So it took me like 3 months just to understand what I need and how to approach this. Call me stupid and slow but unless you come in with a bulletproof mentality there is a lot to learn, not just a traffic source.

    I’m not even breaking even right now but I decided to worry only after 6 months of real testing.

    In my opinion is much harder to make money in 2014 but there are waaay more blogs like this one and info material and forums that compensate.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      yeah you have to learn it all. My initial adwords campaign didn’t even have keyword tracking setup. Then a week later I found Prosper202 and that was a big step forward. Then I figured out how to split test LPs and that helped, then I figured out how to get higher CTR and that helped. etc.

      At least you’re learning on live traffic vs reading ebooks. Looking back the best thing I did was launch the campaign, and then tried to figure out what i was doing on live traffic.

      For POF it seemed my system was talk to an affiliate manager and get the hottest offer for POF, then do this:

      1) launch separate ads to males vs females over 25
      2) see which gender did best, pause the other one
      3) split the winning demo into 25-45, 46-Any
      4) Keep the best demo, pause the other one
      5) Test ad sizes and ad creatives for highest CTR/CVR and then let them run for a long time (weeks) to collect data
      6) Start optimizing out bad demos (age, smoking preference, etc) once a week using their reports (crazy detailed)

      Never got a lot of volume but was almost always profitable.

      • Petre Veluda

        Hey man, you’re GOLD. Didn’t expect this coming :))!! Thanks a lot.

        I know about the volume but as many say, you have to make it on POF at least then aim for $$ millions :)!!

        My target is to make POF profitable and ideally get to $100/day to $300/day.

        As you said, my first month I did nothing :)! Then I understood that I need to test at least $20/campaign to get data and optimise. Then AD CTR, then LPs then rotating offers.

        Now I know ALL these things and more and still not making profit but that’s a big lesson for everybody. “Focus and Simplicity” – Steve Jobs, never give up and always but always improve.

        Thanks again for the advice ;)! This goes in my Evernote POF Folder ;)!!

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          You can get to 100-300/day on POF. But be patient with the numbers. It takes a week or two to get useful data piled up in the reports.

          If you have an ad that is even close to breaking even – let it turn for several weeks and slowly eliminate low ROI demos from the reports to improve performance.

          it takes a while and requires a lot of patience but it works.

          • Petre Veluda

            I need this boost of confidence. 10x man.

            If you recall you answered once one of my comments about letting offers and campaigns run for several weeks. That was in March and as a result in April I only ran one offer, tested a lot of stuff, much better than chasing 2 rabbits at once.

            So for whoever is reading this briefly:
            MALAN’s ADVICE JUST WORKS :))!!

            P.S. when you are talking demos you mean eliminating the targeting inside Cross Tabs right? Like Non Smokers 1click vs Smokers 25click … these ones, so you don’t lose money on impressions that don’t get clicks.

          • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

            petre – yes to the P.S. that’s exactly what i’m talking about. eliminating the targeting inside cross tabs. if your offer and LP are any good, you’ll find at least one section of people that convert on your offer.

            Great stuff here too if you’re not already reading it: http://blog.ads.pof.com/

          • Petre Veluda

            I didn’t thought about doing that so thanks again. It seems very logical but I was caught in o bunch of other stuff and could see this.

            I’ll do that and let you know how it goes 🙂

            I follow their blog as well, very good insights and strategies, yes.

      • http://www.scottbuehler.com/ Scott Buehler

        Damn, this and the comments were POF gold.

    • Stipe S.

      Same here, I had some profitable months on POF but also there are months
      where I’m loosing money. Do you maybe have a skype or some other
      messenger where we could exchange some POF strategies?

      • Petre Veluda

        yes sure. It’s petre.veluda

  • Greg A

    Malan. First off, great post.

    Secondly, you mentioned you were involved with adwords… I have two 2 questions regarding this:

    1) What resources would you recommend to help guide you once you are launching campaigns in Adwords (I’m thinking of something which gives you a general direction… First get this going then this > run these reports every day > based on these reports, look for x and do y. Use 3x offer payout per campaign. Your first landing page tests should be broad. etc.)

    2) Using CPVLab with adwords, i noticed a lot more “clicks” being tracked without it showing up on adwords or analytics. Did you have this experience or can you comment on this?

    Thanks,
    Greg

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Hey Greg
      1) this is hard to answer because the last time i seriously used Adwords was in 2008-2009 and it has changed drastically. So while I can’t recommend a specific help guide I can tell you exactly how I found help back then.

      I went to WickedFire forum & asked people questions and they gave me answers

      I found a free course (QuitYourDayJob.com, no longer active) that helped
      – search “Adwords tips” and dig around and find some current, free info. Don’t pay for anything

      I developed my own system based on my campaign results. Which back then was basically this:

      a) Test 5-20 keywords very related to the offer. 1 keyword per adgroup, with the keyword in the ad title and copy. (for Search) If search cpcs are too high to deal with, go for content network. 10 keywords per adgroup, 5-10 ad groups. Content network CTRs will be VERY low compared to search, so expect it.
      b) See if any of the keywords/adgroups convert. If one converts really well. Pause the others and use the profitable keyword/adgroup to test ad copy for better CTR. When you get to a great CTR, focus on landing page split testing and getting conversions.
      c) When you reach a good profitability point, go back and start testing the other relative keywords

      As far as reports go, yes there are some killer reports in there you can use for optimization. But you can learn how to use them all by Googling so I’m not going to give an entire course here.

      Also look up conversion optimization. Adwords can optimize itself if you want it to.

      Google search is your friend 🙂

      2) As far as CPVLab reporting different numbers than Adwords, that’s pretty common and happens on every traffic source. If the difference is more than 10-15% it could be a problem. If not, don’t sweat it.

  • Smaxor

    This is SPOT ON.

    The big wins and growth come from pushing through the barriers. If you get a barrier thrown in front of you and you figure out how to go under, over, around, thru it then you build confidence and gain strength as a person.

    Moving campaign to campaign and source to source doesn’t make you better. It’s more much like gambling and fishing then building amazing skill and knowledge.

  • Joseph Latham

    Great article here. I see way too many people bouncing around.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      me too

  • Eskil

    Hello! Great post, I’m thinking of starting with mobile with a budget on $2000 do you think I could be able to make some money on that budget and not just lose it all while learning?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      I think you have a great chance to learn how to make it work with $2000. But if you’re tool scared of losing it, you’ll never find out. Launch smart. Pick a PROVEN offer and find some PROVEN ads/lps and give it a good shot at success.

  • Richard

    Hi, I just signed up to your newsletter

    Good post by the way

    My question for you is what traffic source would you recommend to a noob just starting out and wanting to get their feet wet with paid traffic? What traffic source do you currently use? If you were to start all over what traffic source would you start off with and how much money do you need to have set aside on a monthly basis to do this? I’m sure each traffic source has it’s pros and cons.

    Paid traffic kind of reminds me of card counting with black jack where you gotta have the right bank roll to survive the losing streaks.. OH by the way when you are sending traffic to these offers are you collecting emails first?

  • astr0

    Good post! Definitely one should stick with one source and niche that’s works fine there.

    Struggling a little to choose where to start. PoF, Facebook and Adwords are pretty much gone for affiliates. Mobile probably requires good tracking software like Voluum which hurts newbie budget too much. Adult… just don’t have enough passion for it at the beginning.

    Would be thankful for some advice on traffic source to start with Prosper202 and $500+/month budget for learning. Thanks!

    Considering doing some research for local traffic sources in Poland-Ukraine-Russia to start with since they must have much lower CPC/CPM which’s great for learning.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      You can use Prosper202 and $500/month on literally any traffic source. FB, Adwords and if you don’t want to use those try Native (RevContent, Taboola, Content.ad).