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Five Proven Banner Advertising Techniques in Media Buying

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After much thinking, I’ve decided to share some of the banner arbitrage techniques that allowed me to create some of the most successful performance based banner campaigns ever. For almost 60 weeks I had the same banners up on advertising networks, day after day making ridiculous amounts of money. During that period I bought probably over $24 million in banner campaigns in almost every single advertising network that exists with in many cases profit margin of anywhere between 40-50%. These campaigns consistently worked over and over again, while brand campaigns consistently cost me money when agencies didn’t pay their bills, paid late or underpaid. Here are how they worked, and how I believe they can continue to make anyone money for anyone involved in media buying.

1) Use as many creative versions possible.
Talking with many of the arbitragers out there, they tell me the same thing: they do really well at first and their profit margins drop extremely fast because their creative gets stale. Since they have found a working creative, they keep on using it over and over again, even after people steal it. This method of using the same exact creative causes faster and faster burn out and lowers your profit margin. Have many, many options, some of them with just slight changes. Move a graphic over, change the text color, use different photos.

2) Do heavy optimization based on numerous factors.
Each set of creative should be duplicated to optimize based on a variety of factors and be keyed to those factors. Of course you should optimize based on ROI, but you need also to target the banners to other things including geo-targeting, time of day, age groups and so on. The reasoning is that different people will be attracted to completely different creatives. If you are buying enough media, the ad networks will not charge you any more to do those targets than buying a general campaign that is RON, so this makes more sense and produces higher profits. Take a group of 100 creatives and set it to optimize for example only to people in NYC and you’ll find very fast which creatives have great response only to that region. Again, this technique produces higher profit because you are only serving to specific people, instead of just specific sites (which is the normal optimization procedure).

3) Do not be tempted to trade volume for profit.
Too many affiliates get greedy and want to make quick cash now, so they over-buy and lower their profit margins way too fast. Right now when I look over advertising networks, one thing I see is way too many campaigns that catch fire and a month later burn out. Networks that are experts at this game know that long term money is always a better friend.

4) Use “Video” Flash.
This is probably one of my most successful techniques and networks always asked me how I could afford to put video in my campaigns and pay the streaming charges. It was simple, I never actually used video but had very small clips compressed and actually placed into the flash file and repeated over and over again. For example, I would create a dating banner with a girl dancing in front of the camera, but it was only a few second clip repeated. You are looking for immediate reaction in a DR/Affiliate campaign, don’t forget. The user will see something and respond, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a real video, the perception that it’s a video is all that matters.

5) Change up the campaign/landing page you are sending the banner with unbranded creatives.
Some campaigns may not like this, but try to get permission from networks to not use their branded creatives and change where the banners are clicking to. The first reason behind this is that you will be able to find which campaign has a higher ROI and also as mentioned in #2 optimize even based on that. The other reason is to alleviate your risk. Many years ago I had a campaign with eAdvertising for a dating site that month after month they paid me on time, the dating client had no problem with the traffic and suddenly I was stiffed for almost $200k because the client said the leads weren’t converting. We all know the issues. Luckily for me I was running that same campaign to the same advertiser on 4 other networks.

Remember, the idea in all the campaigns is to have as many people click on the banners as possible, get as many people to the landing pages of your advertisers. There are so many articles on landing pages optimization, so much on different tools to use but the easiest way to still make money is to get tons of people using these techniques to click on a banner, go to a website, fill out an offer, sign up for a product

This guest post was written by Pace Lattin, who has been working in the Interactive Advertising Industry for almost 15 years, having been involved with founding Winstar Interactive (fka Cybereps) to creating the publication ADOTAS.com.

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Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money Promoting Survey and Quiz Affiliate Offers

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Remember the days of email and zip poll/survey offers being all over the place, and how they would pay out $1-$2 per lead? Back before GDPR and data regulations were in place, these offers were everywhere you looked. They still are today, but just not as popular as they once were. While these offers aren’t getting the same attention and promotion as they used to, personal data is big money and these same types of offers are still generating millions of dollars daily.

In addition to the “Complete this survey to get a free _____” offers that you’ve seen all over the place, the survey niche is still stronger than ever before. However, it’s not so much the smaller zip and email submit offers that are getting so much attention, but actually the data companies behind them. You’ve likely seen these names and brands before — InboxDollars, Pinecone Research, Vindale Research, and Survey Junkie are some of the more popular ones.

WAHadventures.com highlights many of these surveys on their site and say it possible to make over $250 per month by using survey and incentive networks like Survey Junkie, SwagBucks, MySurvey, InboxDollars and PanelPayDay in your spare time. If you are already making good money online, this might seem like nothing to you — but the average person, getting paid $250+ to take online surveys is like a dream come true! With this same concept in mind, this is why email and zip submit offers do so well. People want free stuff!

Even more, when you start to add a viral or personal interest factor into the mix, that’s when you will really start to see some great results. Just take a look at BuzzFeed quizzes and how they are still one of the most popular sections on their site. People love taking surveys, seeing results, and when you throw an incentive, prize, or money into the mix… big things happen!

The Business of Online Paid Surveys and Giving Stuff Away for Free

On the business side, these offers still do well because customer data is worth a ton of money. Most of the data from these survey sites are sold for huge multiples over what they are actually paying for people to complete a survey. They are also making a huge profit because a large number of survey takers will simply never get to the point where they can cash out (hitting the usual minimum $25-$50 thresholds), which ultimately just keeps that money sitting within the data company.

With all of that being said, millions of dollars are being spent daily from these ‘get paid to complete survey’ companies in advertising, content creation, paid search, and of course, affiliate marketing. To make the most out of all of this money up for grabs, be sure to follow some of the recommended steps below.

How to Promote and Make Money with Online Surveys

Now that we have an idea on the offers available, you will need to focus on how to drive traffic and convert these surveys to audiences that actually convert into leads. One of the best ways to bring in low-cost traffic and convert them into leads is through a survey/poll site or creating an ad campaign with an attractive call to action. Using surveys to generate leads is nothing new, but I will break down the process for you and show you how easy and effective it is.

PRO TIP: Before moving forward, you must check the affiliate promotion guidelines for any specific offer you promote. For example, many zip/email submit offers will allow you to create a custom landing pages, but other high-end survey offers might only allow for text or banner ad placement. Either way, just make sure you are promoting the offer in the required method so you don’t get all of your leads reversed.

Step 1: Find something that everyone is talking about!

If you want to get cheap clicks and grab the attention of audiences around the world, you need to find what everyone is talking about today. For example, “Donald Trump” is likely to be a hot topic for several years now, while “Lebron James” going the Los Angeles Lakers is bound to be a hot trend throughout the next NBA season. This also works well for any highly searched celebrities as well, or anyone is currently trending in the news. The good thing about both of these examples is that it would be quite easy to target these audiences through Facebook Ads, Media Buying, and Social Media.

Still can’t figure out what a good topic is to base your survey or ad campaign around? See what’s currently trending on Google Trends, Twitter, and Facebook.

Just for example sake, let’s take two celebrities (Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba) and plug their names into Google Trends. We can immediately see that there is a steady flow of searches being made for both and that they continually have a solid following online. Let’s move forward with that.

 

Step 2: Create a survey/poll landing page.

Using the topics above, I created a simple landing page that can be used for media buying (or banners if you were to resize it). This literally took two minutes to create within Canva. All you need to do is add some fancy images, create a title and make it look like an interactive survey.

There is really nothing that special about this landing page/media buying copy. Make sure you have a clean design and to the point. I also enticed the visitor to place a vote, by adding “BONUS: Vote Now & Qualify to Receive a Free Gift Card!“. (This can vary depending on your backend offer) All you want the end user to do is click on the image, button, or text you might have in place here.

Again, this is very simple, and depending on the time and effort you put into this, you can make it more advanced or even collect user data for yourself or a newsletter.

Step 3: Finding your backend offer

The next step in the process is to find an affiliate offer that you want to promote. Ideally, this should be a simple email, zip, or one-click submit type of offer. Once you have an audience click on your initial survey/vote offer, you can then pass them along to the affiliate survey offer to complete. You can either setup your own landing page and pass the user onto a confirmation page with stats, or pass them directly to the offer. Make sure you check on marketing options available for the campaign before promoting.

Leadbit currently has this offer active for audiences in the UK and is paying out .70 per lead. The offer can be promoted through mobile, display, emails, search and pop — which allows for a nice range of data, traffic, and split testing purposes.

Step 4: Promotions and getting traffic

Now that you have created your landing page or media buying ad copy, you are ready to go. The best way to generate targeted low-cost traffic would be Media Buying (popunders) and possibly Facebook Ads and using Facebook Fan Pages or Groups (direct relationship or ownership of a group). You could also start targeting news/celebrity sites/blogs through the use of Google Adwords (context display network), native advertising, and popunders ads.

To start playing around with demographic targeting and see how much of a demand there is for a topic, you can use Facebook Ads campaign tool (shown below), or play around with search reports on a tool like SEMRush — which currently shows ‘jessica alba’ at 368,000 searches per month, and  ‘jennifer lopez’ with 823,000.

Step 5: Tweaking and watching your numbers

The last step of making money with surveys/polls and news is to continually tweak your landing pages and ad copy to try and get the best conversions. Don’t put all of your traffic to one offer, the reason I went with celebrities, is that there is pretty much an endless supply of traffic related to them out there. See what works best with your traffic, and then expand out into different countries when you start finding success.

This concept is not just limited to celebrity campaigns, however with all of the attention towards the latest hot movies, celebrities attaching the President, and everything else going on… it’s a good market that hasn’t died down and likely won’t.

It all starts with a click…

A few things to point out here…

  • This concept is nothing new, but it should act as a reminder of how to reach new markets
  • Customization and creating unique landing pages and ad copy is key here
  • You also need to split test the end affiliate offer, as this will sway heavily

If you haven’t done anything with affiliate marketing or CPA zip/email submit offers, it’s one of the best ways to get started — as the conversions are usually very high, and the payouts are low. Which means you can start split testing campaigns fast and know right away if you are going to soon find financial success.

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Affiliate Marketing

3-Step Process to Launch a Profitable Dating and Relationship Blog

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With so many different ways to make money on the internet, it’s important not to fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome. And by this, we mean jumping from one idea to another and trying to get rich overnight. Even if this can be successfully done, it will likely only bring minimal results and only last for a short period of time.

A much better way to make money online is to look at the long-term picture and create a website, or an ad campaign that will continue to provide value, incoming traffic, and revenue for years to come. With virtually an unlimited supply of traffic and advertiser money out there to benefit from, it’s simply a matter of choosing a niche market, then making the most of it.

One such example of an industry that is completely evergreen and will have a never-ending supply of traffic and revenue, is the online dating niche — much like the weight loss and financial markets, they just never seem to die out as more people come of age daily. However, this is an extremely saturated online market as well. If you are going to jump into this area, you need to put in the time and effort to know who your audience is and create the best ad campaigns possible, specifically targeted towards geographic and demographic interest and data.

With all of that in mind, today we are going to walk through the process of how to create a profitable dating and relationship blog. This is a perfect business model or marketing method for anyone to get started with online and affiliate marketing. Even better, this method also doesn’t require a lot of upfront money in the process and is ideal for anyone that would like to focus more on putting their free time and effort getting put to good use.

This process breaks down into the following three steps.

  1. Know your audience and target demographic
  2. Have a form of monetization (ie: affiliate2day)
  3. Promote your site with SEO and social media

Be sure to follow along and consider your options with making money in the world of online dating and providing relationship advice to the millions of people who are searching for these types of resources daily.

The Target Audience and Demographic of Your Site

While it might seem like your audience and the demographics of your site would be anyone who is single and is looking for a relationship, you would be correct, but you would also be way too generic at the same time. Instead, if you want to make money and be able to rank above the competition, you will need to have a very niche specific site that not only caters to a specific gender but also provides them with exactly what they are looking for.

When looking at the type of content to create and how to target an audience, a perfect example of this can be seen in the how to be a good girlfriend article from YouQueen. Their site content is extremely focused, they know who their target audience, and it’s written in a way that provides detailed and actionable tips for anyone searching on the topic.

Some notable examples of top keywords and search phrases that people are searching for in reference to online dating or relationships, can be seen below. When doing any research on these keywords, be sure to look at the additional long tail keywords and other ways that you can spend this into more creative topics while giving the audience exactly what they want.

  • how to date your best friend
  • how to date yourself
  • how to confirm a date
  • how to go on a date in the kardashian game
  • how to ask someone on a date
  • how to go on a date
  • how many dates before you become exclusive
  • how to date a shy guy
  • how to date a mormon girl
  • how to write a dating profile

When creating the content for your site, it’s important to always focus on not just your end goal (which is likely to get users to sign up for a dating offer) but to also rank higher in the search results with the most targeted content possible. If you have a site that is strictly focused on kissing, you can cover every type of kissing/making out search phrase there is. You can see a few more examples of these keywords below.

Sticking with this same concept, you can use any of the most searched for phases at the beginning of this section, then plug them into Google and see more “related searches” like the ones above. For best results, create one super long article with all of these topics covered, or multiple articles (2,000+ words in length) and link each of them back to each other on your site.

How to Best Monetize Your Site Content

The great thing about creating dating tips or relationship blog, is that there are plenty of ways to monetize your content. At the most simple form, you can always through Google Adsense ads on your site and make a small portion of the revenue generated, or you can promote individual dating related offers or actual dating sites in themselves. In most cases, going with an affiliate offer to send leads to a dating site is probably the best option — since that is likely what your audience is interested in.

Also mentioned earlier, the online dating space is absolutely saturated with content, competitors, money, and advertising options — however, there is still plenty of room to compete and make money as well. There are many well-known brand name US dating sites, many of which you probably already know and maybe even use or promote. The same holds true for dating outside of the US. If you are only targeting the USA or just English-speaking countries, you are missing out big time! Take a look at this list of the world’s most single countries.

  1. BRAZIL, 10%
  2. KENYA, 15%
  3. SOUTH AFRICA, 24%
  4. RUSSIA, 25%
  5. CANADA, 27%
  6. U.S., 28%
  7. ITALY, 29%
  8. JAPAN, 31%
  9. BRITAIN, 34%
  10. SWEDEN, 47%

To make all of this easier to follow, we will use Affiliate2Day as our example affiliate program for monetization on a dating tips or relationship blog. Like many other affiliate networks or CPA-driven platforms, Affiliate2Day is a dating-specific network that offers compensation when someone joins one of their dating websites.

If you don’t already have an affiliate account with them, you can create one by clicking here.

Most of my site readers should already be familiar with the process of affiliate marketing and how to set up their first campaign. You simply join a program, grab your affiliate link, and post it to your site. For a program like Affiliate2Day, it would be best to place call-to-actions throughout the content on your site. If you were going to promote the dating offers through paid marketing and media buying, then using unique landing pages that cater to different demographic audiences and their interests would be best.

When attempting to make money with a dating and relationship blog, it’s important to keep your efforts focused on one common call to action. Either use a solution like Google Adsense, an individual product/service, or a specific dating website. Too many options can lead to site readers being overwhelmed and simply leaving your site. This can also be a headache for tracking site earnings as well.

In reference to making money with Affiliate2Day, affiliate partners have three monetization methods to choose from.

  • Pay Per Sale: 25% of sales amount + $25 sign-up bonus
  • Pay Per Lead: $6 to $8 per lead generated
  • Pay Per First Order: $150 to $250 per first order

If you aren’t sure which monetization method is best for your site, I would recommend going with the “up to $8 per lead” option, as this will give the best results overall while also letting you know the type of data and leads you have flowing through your site. Higher quality sites and leads would likely benefit more from the “$250 per first order options. You can also contact your affiliate manager to change to a different payment structure at any given time.

Another way to make money with Affiliate2Day, is to refer other site owners and affiliate to their network, and then earn a 10% commission from each lead sent back to A2D.

Now that we have a content monetization method in mind, we can now move onto the content promotion part.

Attracting New Site Visitors with SEO and Social Media

Creating a website or a blog is extremely easy. Content creation is also very easy as well, and can even be outsourced if you don’t know what you are writing about. One of the most important factors when attempting to make money online with a website or a blog, is knowing how to get a consistent flow of new visitors to your website.

Two of the most common and effective ways to accomplish this or through the use of SEO and social media. As mentioned earlier, ranking at the top of Google for any type of generic term is nearly impossible. This is why you are going to have to get creative and unique with the type of content you create. We recommend you go after long tail keywords and make your content as specific as possible, not only so you can target your audience, but also make it more likely that they will take action when they get to your site.

However, there are better ways to approach this process. For example, using a tool like SEMRush, we can plug in any dating or relationship blog and see what keywords they are currently ranking for. We can also see their placement in Google, how many people search for that phrase monthly, the difficulty in ranking for that keyword, and also a direct link to the article that is ranking. Obviously, you don’t want to copy the content on these sites, but instead, study the long tail keywords that are ranking and getting traffic, which you might not have found otherwise. You can see an example of all of this below.

At the same time, if you are completely against the idea of waiting around for your site to organically rank in Google, you can also focus your efforts on social media. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are three of this hottest social platforms for building a following around relationships and advice — and Facebook Ads is ideal for targeting singles based on their interests and locations (think custom landing pages here).

No matter what method you choose, understand that it’s all about the time and effort that you put into your content, call to actions, and link building/promotion efforts. With more than a billion active sites on the internet, creating a site and content means nothing — it’s all about the value, delivery, and getting it in front of the right audiences.

Can You Really Still Make Money in the Online Dating Space?

Without a doubt. Just ask any of the top dating affiliate platforms on the internet today, and they will tell you they are paying out thousands of dollars per month to hundreds, if not thousands of their site partners — and best of all, affiliate marketing is paving the way. This means you can test different dating sites, content offers, and traffic sources, to see which work best for you.

As always, I can only provide you with so much information and details. To see real results, you need to actually put all of this into action. If you haven’t started a website or blog yet, follow this guide, and feel free to shoot me an email when you get started. I would love to hear about your online success!

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Affiliate Marketing

My First Affiliate Checks and How It All Started!

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While I was cleaning up my office, I came across a few copies of some of my first affiliate checks I earned online over twenty years ago! It’s funny when I think back to how you got started, because everything was so different, yet the same. Affiliate marketing was just starting out… companies were taking a chance at a new form of advertising and most didn’t know what to expect. Imagine if the Amazon.com Associates Program had never exist… would affiliate marketing still be as big as it is today?

C’mon everyone, hop into the delorean…  and let’s step into the affiliate time machine and go all the way back to 1997!

Back in the 90s… Domains Cost $70!
Before finally spending the big bucks to get my own domain, I spent years on free web hosting sites like Geocities, tripod and mostly through my free AOL accounts. Who didn’t have 20 or 30 free AOL disks sitting around… so I went for a very long time without having to pay for internet access. Getting my own domain several years later was one of the biggest events yet to hit my business, not to mention… one of my first big expenses!

networksolutionsdomainregistration by you.

Back in the 90s… CJ was Personable!
Sure, Commission Junction is now one of the largest affiliate networks out there… if still not the largest! However, years before ValueClick even thought about buying them, I was an affiliate and merchant on their network for years. Along with your monthly check, you also received a printed letter from CJ and their President Lex Sisney… and YES!, he actually did sign off on each of these original letters.

commissionjunctioncheck by you.
Commission Junction Monthly Statement, Signed by President Lex Sisney

Back in the 90s… Checks were smaller, but meant so much more!
No matter what sites you visit today, it’s not hard to come across their affiliate program. Back in the 90s they were far and few… and many companies weren’t even online yet! One of the first companies I worked with was a hosting company called eAds, and they were the equivalent to what ValueClick Media and CasaleMedia are today. They had a small network of banner advertisers that you could place on your website and you would be paid a specific amount per click.

eadscheck by you.
eAds Check: $10.45, September 16, 1998

One of the most lucrative companies I worked was a hosting company called AdGrafix. What was really great about their affiliate program was that they offered residual income on any new web hosting clients you sent them. I used to go into the AOL chat rooms and find people that wanted to get a website for themselves or their companies. I was around 15 or 16 when I started pushing the web hosting programs and they continually made me residual income for years. Affiliate programs now as days just pay a large affiliate commission per signup, to avoid paying nice residuals and keep it for themselves.

adgrafixcheck by you.
AdGrafix: $29.65, October 5, 1998

Back in the 90s… Amazon was King!
Not only was Amazon.com one of the largest and fastest growing sites online, they were also one of the first affiliate programs available. Here is one of my earlier checks from Amazon.com. During the first few years of their associate’s program, you could earn 5-15% on sales, depending if they were books or movies (since that is all they sold at the time). Using FrontPage97 I created hundreds of celebrity pages with Amazon.com book/movie listings to generate sales. The high-quality content from the sites ranked very well in the search engines, bringing in new traffic and sales. Still, at this point, I hadn’t spent any advertising dollars to promote my sites… but I was still able to send Amazon.com a couple hundred thousand dollars in sales.

As my online shopping sites became more popular, so did affiliate marketing. I added new advertisements to the site and found I was starting to make more money from getting signups to CPA offers, then pushing sales for Amazon. I gradually moved everything over to a CPA perspective for affiliate marketing and my main focus.

amazoncheck by you.
Amazon.com: $38.72, Jul 30, 1998

Back in the 90s… it was all coming together!
Everyone has to make a start somewhere. Below is one of my first financial reports and as you can see, payments from AdGrafix hosting revenue was one of my biggest money makers. Seeing this type of revenue, while just starting high school, only fueled the fire to excel and make the most out of what I had started. It was only a matter of time before everyone else started to get into the game and more affiliate marketing opportunities became available.

97revenuechart by you.
Beginning Monthly Earnings Chart – 1997/1998

Back in the 90s… The Almighty Banner Started it All!
But what really started it all?… it was “The Almighty Banner Ad“. Before affiliate marketing, before affiliate networks, mailing lists, and blogging… there were always banners, and even more importantly, the AOL Web Diner. The Web Diner was a chat room on AOL where webmasters and designers could talk about what’s happening on the internet. Long story short, I made my first dollars online by designing 468×60 banners for people to promote their website. There was no Paypal at the time, so I would receive actual dollar bills in the mail… well, most of time (imagine that, people ripping a 15-year-old kid off!) Nonetheless, the experience was amazing and even in it’s the smallest form (of $1.00), it showed the true potential of the internet and what was to come!

Looking Back, 20+ Years Later…
It’s amazing to look back and see how everything started. I still have my original computers that I worked endless nights on, cranking out new web pages and absorbing as much information as I could. I should load them up again and see what other old school goodies I can find. It’s been an amazing journey, and it’s still just in the beginning phases… I’m still so excited for what the future holds and the fire is still burning to excel that much more!

When did you make your first dollars online and what stories do you have from yesteryear?

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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