May 2014: Q&A Session

Well my friend: Another month has blown by.

I hope it was a good one for you. I hope this month you’re another step closer to whateverย goals you have this year.

May has been one of my better months of the year:

  1. My lifts are up at the gym and I haven’t missed a day all year
  2. I started a YouTube channel
  3. My campaigns are steadily getting bigger, one month at a time

I hope it was good for you too. Who knows, maybe you’re inching closer to breaking even on that stubborn campaign, maybe you finally joined a gym or maybe you made your first big profit. No matter what you’re currently focused on, I hope you’re another month closer to kicking it’s ass.

Why a Q&A?

Last month I did a Q&A sessionย that turned into a pretty epic thread. I’ve used those questions as the basis for several posts here on the site as well as for free-form question and answer videos for my Youtube Channel.

My YouTube Channel

Speaking of YouTube. If you haven’t heard – I’ve launched a video channel that I’m filling with responses to questions as well as other tips and advice.

The first 2 weeks have gone really well. Lots of comments and questions about everything from Affiliate Summit networking, hosting servers in other countries and dealing with Adwords bot traffic in CPV Lab.

If you’re not already subscribed I recommend you head over there and click the red Subscribe buttonย to get new videos. Most of them will not be posted here on the site.

You can also just click the red Subscribe button below and you’re good to go.

This Month’s Q&A

So before May is over I want to give you a chance to ask me anything that you have questions about this month. I don’t care what it’s about, ask it and I’ll answer it. The only thing I try to stay away from is legal advice because… I’m not a lawyer.

Just about everything is fair game. Affiliate networks, landing page optimization, tracking, launching, hosting – whatever. But it’s not limited to just affiliate marketing. Last month someone asked me why I don’t live closer to the beach and he got an answer. Almost everything is fair game.

*Tip: Just don’t be that guy that asks “What offers and traffic sources are your running right now?” Because that’ll get you the silent treatment.

That’s it. Fire Away!

P.S. If you enjoy this post, share it so others can get help as well. (Tweet This)

  • jz2010

    Hey Malan,

    I enjoy watching the new videos and following your blog. You’ve definitely provided a lot of value. There’s always been a lot of talk about cloakers and many people who use them for Google, Facebook etc. Have you or do you run your campaigns using cloakers? What is your opinion on them? Do you think you can bring is just an much revenue without their use? Would love to see your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Malan Darras

      hey jz – I don’t use cloakers. The cloaker guys do well, but they also spend half their time playing cloak and dagger with the networks, and I don’t have time for that sh#t. I spend 100% of my time innovating.

      You can do just as much volume and more without cloaking. Especially when you factor in the fact that when you get something to work, it won’t get shut down 3 weeks later.

  • Zach

    Third time is a charm..

    Thanks for doing this Malan. As I started asking yesterday, your Youtube vid on EPC vs PPC was really helpful.

    When you break down the process — which one do you personally find most important to focus and optimize?

    So #1 do you profit more by maximizing EPC or minimizing PPC?

    #2 which part of the process (either maximizing EPC or minimizing PPC) is where you are able to really create your biggest competitive advantage? (I’m trying to ask this in relation to the actual skillset and less-so from a success mindset, if that makes sense.)

    Thanks for taking the time to do this!

    • Malan Darras

      hey zach –
      #1. it’s a combo of both. First I’ll work on getting ad CTR as high as possible (which brings cpc cost down) and when I have ads clicking nicely I’ll work on the landing page.

      #2. In the beginning I spend more time on getting the ads/cpc right. Then during the life of the campaign I focus on the LP more. Both are key points for optimization.

  • seanyb87

    Hey Malan. I have a question. What do you do about
    managing bids on an adgroup and keyword level. What do you do as an
    approach to managing your bids? Thanks man!

    • Malan Darras

      hey sean – i start with adgroup / keywords set very high to get a good chance at CTR. Even if it means i lose money for a few days. (keep spends on the lower side) Once I get a good CTR i lower bids individually to hit cpc vs epc goals and then crank it.

      • seanyb87

        Thanks for the advise Malan! Setting very high cpc’s allows for the best impression share and high ctr on your ads. But when you are losing money for the first 3-5 days of a new campaign and your ctr is good with good QS, how much do you start lowering your bids by? 10%? How low do you go before you stop lowering? What do you mean by “crank it”? ๐Ÿ™‚ Scale it?

        • Malan Darras

          I lower it slowly until I reach my profitability goal. 10%/day is fine. You’re just trying to see how low you can go without sacrificing volume. If traffic slows too much, or stops completely you’ve gone too low.

          Crank it means – drive more traffic. yes.

          • seanyb87

            So basically.. you can drop by 10% each day after you get good ctr and continue dropping by 10% until you start noticing a drop in position and clicks. Thats when you know you cant go any lower. lets say you are happy with the cost of the volume you are receiving. Do you have to maintain that too? Its an ongoing process I guess?

  • Tom

    How important are angles and how do you creating new ones?

    • Malan Darras

      Tom – angles are everything. Without them your campaign would simply be a description of the product and a link that says “buy now if you feel you like it”.

      – Think of what the product/service does
      – Think who it would benefit from it the most
      – Create an angle that speaks to them specifically in a way they’re not expecting

      Example offer: Auto insurance
      Target: Moms over 40
      Normal Ad: “Save 30% on Auto Insurance Today!”
      Angle: “Are you a smart Mom? Protect your child’s life for less than $34/month”

      • Tom

        Thank you for the answer ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Clayton Bradshaw

    Hey Malan,

    This question is somewhat of a follow-up to Tom’s question regarding angles.

    As someone who wants to get better at coming up with & developing angles, what would you recommend? Any specific resources?

  • Tom

    How do you protect your campaigns?

    • Malan Darras

      hey Tom, protect from who?

      • ken

        I’ve got a similar question so I’ll just ask here. Would encrypting landing pages help prevent landing pages from being jacked?

        And I guess everything becomes transparent in your affiliate network’s eyes and you can’t hide anything about your campaign from them, can you(assuming you don’t do direct deals with merchants)? Have you had any bad experience before that the aff network figured out what you were doing, stabbed you in the back and turn around to run direct traffic with a merchant?

        as always, thanks a lot!

      • Jon Tam

        I think he’s talking about how to deter other affiliates from ripping your campaign. I. E a geographic php script? that only allows traffic from a certain geo in, a sneaky php script that redirects traffic to your own offer

        That’s all I know of, are there other methods you can recommend?

      • Tom

        from other affiliates (your competition.)

  • Ken

    which technical skills do you think are a must-have? You were talking about borrowing other people’s landing page and improve it instead of simply copying it verbatim. So I guess html/css/js/php becomes necessary? Otherwise if I couldn’t even read and understand the code, how could I improve it? Do you personally have these skills I just mentioned? Thanks a lot!

    • Malan Darras

      Hey Ken – i think basic html/code/graphic design skills are a must. You don’t have to be a pro, but you should be able to at least Google + copy and paste things together. I got into graphic and web design a long time before i got into online marketing so it was very natural for me.

      If you have zero web skills you have two choices.
      1. Hire people on odesk, elance, fiverr, etc.
      2. Learn
      If you want to learn, the information is all out there. Just Google your problem and spend some time with it. Or if you want specific instructions and tutorials you can go to places like Treehouse:

      • Ken

        thanks Malan! coding won’t be too hard for me but not sure about the “graphic design” thing. are you talking about designing something completely new using my own brain or improving other people’s existing banners? If I had to start from scratch to learn graphic design as well as web design, it could take years before I was able to launch my first campaign ๐Ÿ™

        • Malan Darras

          basic banner ad design, photoshop or similar. improving existing banners is fine too. don’t be intimidated – learn as you go.

  • samrex

    Hey Malan, awesome man,

    For the noobs do you recommend direct linking over using landers? I could see how it might be easier as there’s less variables to optimize in a direct linking campaign… Would you jump right in with the full funnel first instead?

    Thanks man!

    • Malan Darras

      If all you had to do was direct link, everyone and their mom would be doing this stuff? Sure, there are a few offers out there that might work Direct linking – but In my experience a landing page is almost always necessary.

      I prefer LPs, because I can optimize the LP and it a dramatically improve results.

      • Tom Mullaly

        Hey Malan, first of all thank you for the Q & A, and for your site and YouTube channel as well. Your presence has been very helpful for me.

        I got a terrific education in mobile affiliate marketing from the IMGrind guys, but it wasn’t until I ran across your site that I saw that I needed to move from direct linking to campaigns using landers. I actually stopped for a while, until I saw how it could change everything.

        After 3 or 4 rounds of optimization I’d get near or just over break-even maybe, but by then I’d have filtered out so much traffic that my volume would be dismal.

        It might not sound like much of a difference to the uninitiated, but having landing pages as an additional level of control lets me better direct/amplify ie SELL to the raw attention my banners capture.

        Before, I was limited to slicing/dicing by banner/device/demographic/geo etc. With landing pages you add another dimension to test, and though I’m just starting to stretch my creative skills I feel like I have a newfound superpower– so many approaches you can try with landers, even in mobile.

        It helps the volume problem because you can run broader traffic by your landers first, filter by traffic characteristic later….

        Sorry–this got long!– just wanted to emphasize a breakthrough you pointed me towards, and say thanks Malan.

        • samrex

          Awesome man thanks

        • Malan Darras

          yeah, makes a huge difference. Glad it’s working for you Tom.

          • Trinity N.

            Hi Malan,

            Where do I go to read on this landing
            page…I look through your archives and I could not find it (i.e I am
            blind as a bat!!). Could you PLEASE LINK THE ARTICLES YOUR ARCHIVES??? I would greatly appreciate it!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Thank you!

            P.S. It was nice to meet you at the A4D. I was the girl with her two friends that came up to you when we had a break for lunch!! Also, I just want to say…I look forward to your emails you sent out daily…it’s AWESOME!!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Trinity N.

            Found it…Thank you!

        • Trinity N.


          Where do I go to read on this landing page…I look through the archives and I could not find it (i.e I am blind as a bat!!). Could you PLEASE LINK THE ARTICLES IN MALAN DARRAS ARCHIVES??? I greatly appreciate it!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Thank you!

      • samrex

        Thanks so much Malan

  • Denis

    Malan if you’re not cloaking, how are you managing to operate on Adwords? I mean Google really don’t like affiliates. How does your account survive?

    I would love to run campaigns on GDN but the thought of cloaking, multiple accounts, cr cards etc, is just too painful and as you indicated, an enormous waste of time.
    How do you do it?

    • Malan Darras

      Google does not hate affiliates. They only hate horrible websites that provide no value. Create a campaign that provides some value and you can run just fine. They have guidelines. Research them and follow them.

      • Denis

        So are you saying build authority sites to back your campaigns? Really?
        Any standalone lander could be considered a “bridge page”, that is the point that stands out when I look at the guidelines.

        Sure I can build a lander with a great quality score but it doesn’t provide any genuine value and at the end of the day I just want the conversion. So what am I missing?
        How do I keep the big G on side?

        • Pete

          It doesn’t have to be an authority site, just create great content for the visitors to your site – instead of a standalone lander.

  • Ken

    I’m planning to buy a gym membership soon but atm don’t have budget for a personal trainer ($50/hour). And working out in the gym by myself would be boring before long(not many members in this gym so networking and making friends won’t help). Any recommendations for alternative options to a personal trainer? Thanks!

    • Malan Darras

      Ken – Congrats – working out by yourself is the best way to do it. The gym isn’t a place to socialize, it’s a place to do work. I go by myself, put music in my headphones, do the work and leave.

  • JerryLing

    Hi Malan, I want to know for landing page for PPV, do you always create to the exact pixel ? For example, 775×400 in LeadImpact or your landing page is bigger? For testing, I am testing image and ctr. Is this correct for the first test? How many clicks until you will decide to kill the url off? Hope for some sharing. Thanks.

    • Malan Darras

      hey Jerry, yes I try to use a landing page that fits the traffic source’s window. It almost always works better.

  • Marcos W.

    Hey Malan! Have you used oCPM on Facebook? If so what are your thoughts on it (better than cpc?). Thank you

    • Malan Darras

      yes, works better for some stuff, works worse for other stuff. setup two ads, one with cpc and one with ocpm and see which does best.

  • Sam

    Hi Malan, I feel like the technical skills can feel very intimidating. I haven’t built a landing page because I don’t know the best way to. I was going to try to learn WordPress and use say optimizepress templates, but I’ve heard affiliates say that WordPress isn’t good for affiliate sites because it takes too long to load. Is this true? If I was to outsource landing pages are there particular templates I should be asking for/know about? This technical aspect of landing page creation is very frustrating, although the solution is probably simple and maybe I’m overthinking things. I’m not a coder, so if I used one of those WYSIWYG type softwares like kompozer, the page would probably just be text. Is plain text enough on a single page enough to get started. I hope you can shed some light on this. Sorry if these are very basic questions. Btw awesome videos on YouTube man! Thanks for making them.

    • Malan Darras

      1. If have zero web skills and want to use WordPress, use WordPress, don’t worry about what other people say
      2. If you outsource, your best bet is to find something that is already out there running and tell the outsourcer/designer to copy it
      3. I’ve never used Kompozer so i can’t comment on it. But plain text might be enough, you’d just have to test and find out.

      • Sam

        Thanks for the response Malan.

  • Andrew

    Launching Campaigns is a huge factor to affiliate marketing. How many campaigns do you personally launch per month or per week and how many campaigns should a newbie be launching?

    • Malan Darras

      hey Andrew – I only launch a lot of campaigns if I’m on the hunt for something new. For example: I may pick a big traffic source and launch 5 campaigns at once and look for one that works the best, then I’ll run it. If it has potential for growth, I won’t launch any more new campaigns and will just grow the current one for as long as possible.

      If you’re brand new, you should launch as many campaigns as you need to until you find something that works. Then stop launching and focus.

  • Desmond

    Hey Malan,

    Thanks for doing the Q&A again!

    How long is your presell copy generally in terms of number of words/paragraphs and can you recommend us a good presell sample to model?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Malan Darras

      Desmond, There is no recommended number of words or paragraphs. It changes with every campaign. Generally, shorter copy is fine for leadgen and longer copy works better for campaigns that require a purchase.

      The best way to determine length of copy is to do a split test. Do a short and a long version split test. Then start optimizing the winner.

  • Edgar Ochoa

    Hey Malan!

    Thanks again for another Q&A man. We definitely learn a lot from these posts.

    This is my question… How are you able to maintain your focus and increased productivity? Do you have any daily rituals that you do on a daily basis to keep productive?

    If possible, can you please share a tipical working/focused day “in the life of the great Malan” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks man!

    • Malan Darras

      Hey Edgar, that’ll take a blog post or video to cover but I’ll tell you my latest trick. Almost every day is identical. I wake up, have a little coffee and choose one important thing (that’s not a part of my normal routine) to do for the day.

      • Edgar Ochoa

        Yes. Coffee is a must for me, too ๐Ÿ™‚

        And yes, I’ll just have to keep it simple as you explain in your blog post.

        Thanks for responding Malan!

  • Ken

    Hey Malan, I asked the following question & thanks for your reply. But I guess I need some guidance on which muscle groups I need to focus on and how to use equipments the correct way etc. That’s why I was thinking about getting a personal trainer or even getting some advice from other gym members. Any recommendations on beginners? thanks!
    “I’m planning to buy a gym membership soon but atm don’t have budget for a personal trainer ($50/hour). And working out in the gym by myself would be boring before long(not many members in this gym so networking and making friends won’t help). Any recommendations for alternative options to a personal trainer? Thanks!”

    Ken – Congrats – working out by yourself is the best way to do it. The gym isn’t a place to socialize, it’s a place to do work. I go by myself, put music in my headphones, do the work and leave.

  • PG

    Hey Malan – thanks for taking the time to put together such an awesome Q&A. Really appreciated. Two questions if I may:

    – Offer Selection: I struggle with this. Do you think the best thing to do is ask the Aff Network, Whatโ€™s your top performing offer, by EPC & top performing landing page?

    – Tech Skills – I saw your response to Sam below. I’m pretty poor Tech skills wise (can’t code or use photoshop). I do understand how to buy traffic & optimize. Is it enough to rely on Fiverr/oDesk for banner & landing page creation?

    Big thanks in advance!

    • Malan Darras

      Offer selection:
      Tech Skills: yes. fiverr or odesk will work fine as long as you can delegate. i put a post in my FB page showing exactly how I hire outsourcers.

      • PG

        Fantastic. Thank you so much Malan!

  • Petre Veluda

    This is getting better and better. Love your implication ;)!!

    POF summary – cause I’m stuck. – I follow your advice, split between 24-44 and 45+ age range and test. $40/day budget. 50 or so Active niche campaigns.

    POF Question – HOW SHOULD THE ACCOUNT LOOK for a $50-100/day profit. I mean, what should I chase? SM ads, IAB, 50 campaigns that spend $1/day and wait weeks or fewer that spend more?

    I heard that an account can go green “green” with just small text ads placed in many targeted campaigns. High CTR, few clicks, small costs but positive ROI.

    Was I clear enough? Can you suggest a certain pattern because it hard to figure out what you should work on. You can’t just make 2-5 campaigns /day that last weeks because your daily budget will vanish so I’m sure there is a better solution for WHAT WE SHOULD LOOK FOR :)!

    Thanks again for taking the time.

    PS Do you have any Breakfast Shake recipes you might want to share?

    • Malan Darras

      Edgar – I am not teaching full-blown courses here on exactly how to use traffic sources. Don’t abuse the Q&A.

      I will give you a quick answer, because you are way off track in my opinion.

      –> Are any of the 50 campaigns making money? If not, turn them ALL off.
      –> If one ad is doing well, pause everything else and keep that one ad and start there.

      50 campaigns and a $40/day budget gives each campaign an .80 cent a day budget. You’ll never get anywhere with that. Start over. Focus your $40/day on just a few campaigns, preferably one.

      My system is to:
      – Select an offer/offers with promise
      – launch a few campaigns
      – choose one campaign that shows promise, pause everything else
      – then patiently read the data and optimize that one campaign

      • Petre Veluda

        Ok, that helps a lot. I’ll do that. Sometimes when it gets foggy, you have to take a step back and see the bigger picture. I couldn’t do that but now is more clear.

        So thanks for helping out on such short notice.

      • Petre Veluda

        One more thing. The campaigns are all on the same offer, just different angles and small variations of those that work. There are a few that are green on a 3-7 day interval.

        My idea was to see what worked on that demo, UK Women..and improve on that.

  • ISSACO21

    I sometimes hit a campaign that makes a big profit for some weeks, but after it dies it takes me a lot of time to get a new campaign working. As you say thats not good for my health.. (heart:P and its depressing)

    I really like your style of making smaller campaigns, but I don’t understand the concept well. Do you mean, like
    for example: I have a profitable adult dating campaign. I could spend all my money in it as quick as possible, getting big profits for like 2/3 weeks and then it dies..

    Do you mean with smaller campaigns that I don’t spend money quickly, but just set the campaign to only spend 200/300 dollars a day.. hoping that the campaign will last over a longer time span..

    • ISSACO21

      Silenced. I didn’t know that I got too close. Sorry for that.

    • Malan Darras

      issaco – I mean I run them as big as I can, as long as I can. But if it turns out it can only do 200/300 day profit, I’ll leave it running, put it on the back burner. while i do other things.

  • Tom

    i have some unusual questions:
    -Where do you live and do you have a place where you want to live if you can?

    -Why do you work as an affiliate marketer?What are the benefits and did you learn something for your live by affiliate marketing?

    -I dont know how old you are but do you want to work in this industry if you getting older (50-60)?

    -What music,food do you like?

    -Did you think that the school time gave you anything for your life? In my opinion some things that the teacher are teaching are not necessary because you dont need this in your entire life…for example how to
    calculate the surface of the fucking sun.
    It would be better if you learn how to cook or how to write your tax declaration – some basic skills that are relevant to your life.

    • Malan Darras

      hey Tom,
      1. LA, yes.
      2. Total freedom. Yes I learned that you don’t need a college degree to do well.
      3. Age doesn’t matter
      4. I hated school. Didn’t do well. If I could go back I would have focused more on cool, free information like languages and science.

      If you’re not getting the knowledge that you want from school. Read books or online. It’s all out there for the taking.

  • Tom

    How do you make sure that the advertiser (owner of the offer) dont steal your commissions?(e.g. cookie overwritten.)

    • Malan Darras

      Tom – there are some things you can’t control. So my advice is – don’t worry about them.

  • Iliyan Deyanov Tsonev

    Hey Malan, My question is: If i create a campaign in POF(you already
    said that you probably will target people over 25 and split testing
    males and females 25-45 and 45+ and choose the better converting) how to
    know which banner add is good if i send 1000 impressions and there is
    no click on it? Should i pause it or i need to try with more impressions
    to collect the data.How long to run those ads before close it?What
    numbers to looking into?Thank you!