Green and Red: How To Find Profits Buried Within Losing Campaigns

What if I told you that almost every affiliate marketing campaign you have ever failed at had the potential to make money?

It’s true.

I talk to newer’ish affiliates all the time who tell me the same story…

I spent $500 on BLAH and only made back $100, so I dropped that and spent $350 on BLAH and only made back $75, so I spent $700 on BLAH and only made back $250, so I quit.

See what happened there? He/she spent money, didn’t make a profit and moved on to the next thing.

When the next thing didn’t make money, they moved on again. After another failure, they quit.

This is a huge problem.

Here’s why: Almost no campaign will make money on day one.

  • Winning campaigns don’t make money on day one.
  • They may not even make money in week one.
  • They may not even make money in month one.

My First Winning Campaign

My first winning campaign took over 30 days to break even. I lost money every single day for a month trying to make it work.

If I had dropped it after day/week one – and moved on to something else, I would have missed what turned out to be one of the biggest and most profitable campaigns of my life.

And the only reason it happened, was because I waited.

I waited because I saw potential. I saw streams of Green in an ocean of Red.

Streams of Green, Oceans of Red

I currently track my campaigns with Voluum. And one thing Voluum does really well is making your campaign statistics beautiful to look at and easy to understand.

(If you’re running without a tracker like Voluum you’re in big trouble. Other options are CPVLab, Prosper202 and Thrive.)

It breaks down to two colors, really:

  • If a campaign makes money, it turns Green.
  • If a campaign loses money, it turns Red.

Most of the time, a new campaign will lose money and turn Red. A lot of affiliates will see this as a losing campaign and quit.

Not me.

I go digging for any areas of Green within the campaign, sometimes buried deep within the stats.

Here’s an example:

  • Campaign X spend $1000 last week.
  • It only made back $200.
  • I lost $800, pretty crappy right?


This is where you have to go digging for anything that is Green (or close to Green).

Check to see if there is a certain combination of Ad/Lander/Offer that worked. It might be buried in there, so look closely.

Green stats can be found by looking at different combinations inside your flow. Sure, the campaign lost money over all, but was there a certain ad that did better than the others?

Dig inside of it and see if there was a lander, offer, state or device type that performed better as well.

A few combos to look for:

  • Ad/Lander/State
  • Ad/Device/City
  • Ad/Lander/Offer/City/Time of Day
  • Offer/Time of Day

See how that works? Endless combos you can look at.

Maybe the campaign lost $800 overall, but what if you found an Ad/Lander/Offer combo inside the Voluum stats that were Green and doing 80% ROI?

Would you have moved on?

I don’t think so.

Here’s How To Do It

Get The Mindset. When you test a new campaign, EXPECT it to lose money. When you expect to lose in the beginning it makes it much easier if/when it happens.

Go Hunting. Instead of trashing a losing campaign, go on a hunt for any Green stats inside of it.

If you DO find a stream of Green in the ocean of Red, here’s what you do.

  1. Pause the other landers, offers, states, etc.
  2. Keep only the best ad/landers/offers/states/times/etc
  3. Run it again and see what happens.

Then, go looking for Green again.

And again.

Image: Inside this “loser” campaign (–22% ROI) there several pockets of green. One LP/Offer combo is doing 353% ROI. Don’t walk away from that.

Remember – almost every losing campaign will have a small stream of profitable traffic inside of it. It’s your job to find it.

If you get this right, the game changes.

It’s no longer a question of profitability, it’s simply a matter of scale.

Maybe your campaign won’t work for everyone in the US, 24 hours a day.

But there’s a very good chance that one of your ads/landers will work in New York, Texas and Florida on weekdays, between the hours of 9am – 3pm.

Happy Hunting.

  • Bruno Moreira

    That’s completely true, mate. My first campaign took 6 months to be profitable. That’s right, 6 months!

    • Malan Darras

      for some people it takes hours, for others years

  • Leonardo Andikha Purnama

    Hi Malan, what’s ur suggestion on the best way to save/make money, so we can afford all of these campaign loss ? Thanks.

    • Malan Darras

      get a job, sell blood, rob a strip club, dance on the street for tips, use magic, sell organs

  • lurker

    Hello Malan,
    good to see an aff post again! I’ve finally managed to create my own lander that kicked the crap out of an “industry standard” lander in my niche. Feels really good and gives you self-confidence that you’re not reliant on other people to create landers for you!

    My problem now is that I want to test more angles and try to beat this lander. How do I conduct my tests properly? It took some variations to get to my current fleshed out lander. I can’t test a “minimum-viable-lander” against this version, it’ll get crushed. What I think is look at my historic data for the first draft of my lander and try to beat that with any new landers I create. But there are obvious limitations to that… traffic source, time, geo etc.

    How do you usually go about “beating your controls?”

    Thanks 😀

    • lurker

      PS: and are there any ways you use to protect your landers? I’m sure mine will become the new standard eventually as I run a lot in my niche and will push my lander pretty hard across all geos! Seeing my stuff all over spy tools is really frustrating.

    • lurker

      OK, I understand now how foolish my question was. landers and angles burn out so quick in AM that the whole concept of “beating your controls” is pathetic.

      if other affs catch up on what you do, you’ve (if you did your job well) already extracted a large amount of profit potential from your market and optimized your traffic to tighten your grip on those profitable placements/whatever it is you buy traffic from.

      constant motion is the name of the game. which really makes AM feel more like a job than a business. unless you build assets ofc. but I guess I’m just too lazy to stop working.