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How to Earn Money with Link Shortening – A Case Study

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Site owners, bloggers and online marketers. The one thing they all share in common is the never ending desire to master the art of monetizing their content and audiences. While not all content and audiences are the same, the value in their traffic is always something that should is heavily sought after — no matter the country, focus or demographic.

One such method is for sharing content on social media and monetizing site traffic is through the use of link shortening services. In this article, we are going to take a look at what link shortening is, the different services out there you can use and how sites are making money link shortening services in the process.

What are Link Shorteners and Why Might You Need Them?

The concept of link shortening is just like what it sounds like. You provide a full website URL to a link shortening service, then you are instantly provided with a short URL redirect that sends users to your requested site location. A good example of this would be if you were to share a link on Twitter with your audience. You will likely notice that the long URL you provided is quickly turned into a shorter URL redirect so it doesn’t take up a lot of space within your Tweet.

Examples_of_Link_Shortening

This type of link shortening is automatically done through Twitter, but there actually several reasons what you might want to use a link shortening service for your own links or sharing on other sites, such as:

  • Saving space and making ugly long links look pretty. Yes, the most common reason for using link shorteners is to simply shorten very long links. This is especially true when using social media, as shown above.
  • Gain advanced tracking and statistics on your long links. Another great benefit to shortening links that you might be sharing in different locations is having the ability to track how many clicks you are actually getting, and from where.
  • Hide affiliate links and target URLs. Sometimes you want to promote an affiliate offer or link to another site with a referral ID, but you might not want that information to be public. This is a perfect example of why other site sites are using link shortening.
  • Linking to blocked websites and content through social media. Sometimes social networks like Facebook and Twitter block websites (for whatever reason). One method to get around this is to use link shortening services.
  • Making money with your links. In addition to each of the benefits above, site owners can also make money by using link shortening services to display advertising in between the visitor process, thus generating a new source of revenue.

How Paid Link Shorteners Work

As mentioned in the many benefits of link shorteners above, the one that probably stands out the most is the concept of making money with your links. While not all link shortening services offer a monetization option, sites like Shorte.st, AdFly and LinkShrink are the most common sites that do.

The way link shortening services make money for users of their service is quite simple, and it goes something like this:

  1. A visitor will click on the shortened link from your site or traffic source
  2. An advertisement is displayed on an intermediate paid (this is how you earn money)
  3. The visitor then has the option to view the advertisement or click over (skip) to their final destination

This type of advertising has many advantages for sites that are looking to push a lot of high-traffic volume away from their sites. Examples of these sites  are entertainment & gossip sites, file sharing, image uploads or any other high traffic site that is more focused on volume versus individual action.

You can see the full process of how this works through the image below.

how-paid-shorteners-work

Link Shortening Comparison Case Study

When a lot of bloggers decided to start paying greater attention to paid link shorteners, it was decided to give them a try as well.

However, with so many different solutions on the market, it’s hard to decide how to choose the right one.

Are link shorteners a scam? Or maybe they really allow to make money? Due to many contrary opinions among users, I reached out to a team to run their own link shortening campaigns to split test the results across top networks.

A few minutes with Google were enough to understand that Adf.ly and Shorte.st are the biggest players in paid shorteners niche. We also found some information about Bc.vc, so they were tested within this case study as well.

For testing purposes, non-bot traffic was purchased from 11 countries. There were:

  • Spain (ES)
  • Mexico (MX)
  • Brazil (BR)
  • Saudi Arabia (SA)
  • Indonesia (ID)
  • India (IN)
  • South Korea (KR)
  • Russia (RU)
  • Malaysia (MY)
  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • Bangladesh (BD)

The study took place on April, 15th, 16th and 18th.

Popads.net was used to generate the traffic and to display an interstitial ad (online advertising that lasts a few seconds before loading a destination page. These ads are typical for links shorteners).

For the sake of clarity, 40K impressions were bought from the countries previously before.

Below, you can see specific countries that delivered the traffic:

benchmark

It was best to choose a wide range of countries to see the differences in payout rates.

Data Analysis

At first glance, all these numbers and definitions may seem difficult, but they’re really easy to understand.

Let’s start with an explanation of terms.

  • Impressions – how many unique clicks were bought. A different number of impressions were purchased from each country
  • Views – how many unique clicks were counted (recognized and accepted) by each link shortener
  • Revenue – how much was earned with each link shortener
  • vECPM is calculated by dividing total earnings by total number of impressions in thousands. It is an excellent performance measure for various ad units. Marketers use vECPM to compare their experimental results.

Data was also collected from the Adf.ly and Shorte.st publisher panels.

Due to the fact that Bc.vc counted scarcely any views, we will not focus on analysing this shortener any further. Below you can see the screenshot from Bc.vc publisher panel.

bench1

The next two images show views from Adf.ly and Shorte.st publisher panels.

Views and revenue achieved with Adf.ly

bench2

Views and revenue achieved with Shorte.st

bench4img3

To make the data easier to analyze, the stats from above were put into Excel sheets.

bench 7

The number of impressions purchased from each country

2016-04-26_1446

Summary of test results

Don’t get dismayed with these numbers. The image below will clarify everything.

screen objasniajacy

Explanation of summary of test results (on the example of Mexico)

At first glance you can see the differences in views counting. Overall, for 11 countries Adf.ly counted more views in seven of them. There were: Spain, Mexico, Brasil, South Korea, Russia, Malaysia and United Kingdom.

Shorte.st took the lead with the following countries: Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India.

Surprisingly, it turned out that Shorte.st paid more in most countries!

The exceptions were: Brazil (there was a draw) and United Kingdom (for this traffic Adf.ly paid me more).

It is worth noting that more was earned with Shorte.st although they basically counted fewer views. That means that Shorte.st has higher rates for each tested traffic.

And vECPM is a unit that shows this perfectly.

Conclusion

This study proved that Shorte.st allows to earn more for the same traffic.

If they only started counting as many views as Adf.ly, they would certainly leave all the competition behind.

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Affiliate Marketing

8 Affiliate Marketing Niches to Start Making Serious Money With

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So, if you’re looking to make money online, now is the time to get started.

There are a virtually unlimited number of internet money-making methods. You could create videos, blog, sell crafts… the list is endless.

In my opinion though, given its ease and proven record, few online moneymaking methods are better than affiliate marketing. This is especially true with 10% of all purchases made in the United States happening online. That number is growing every year.

With affiliate marketing, you get to market other people’s products, help them generate sales, and collect a commission on those sales you facilitated. The best part is, you get to sell stuff without having to deal with any inventory!

To get started with affiliate marketing, all you need is an internet connection and a solid niche. Below, I break down what affiliate marketing niches are and which ones you should focus your efforts on!

What Is an Affiliate Marketing Niche?

When you market other people’s products online, it’s recommended that you build your marketing funnels around particular niches.

Niches in marketing are like categories. For example, if you marketed products in the organic dog food space, your niche would be organic dog food. If you market products in the plus-sized fashion space, your niche would be plus-sized fashion.

Now that you have an idea of what a niche is, let’s dig into some of the most evergreen affiliate marketing niches that people like you have found the most success with.

1. Love

Love is a broad category that encompasses a lot of extremely lucrative affiliate marketing niches.

Why?

Because love never goes out of style.

Falling in love, dating, sex and everything in between is baked into humanity’s DNA. That means there will never be a shortage of customers around products that make people’s love lives better.

When you’re thinking about what kinds of things to market within the love niche, start with products and services around dating. You can then branch out to things having to do with sex and reconciliation (winning a loved one back).

2. Fitness

Fitness products sell like hotcakes online. That’s due largely to the fact that the media, for better or for worst, has embedded in most people’s minds an optimal look. Being “beautiful” has consequently become the quest of men and women alike and they’re willing to spend a lot of money to meet their goals.

That’s where your marketing efforts come in.

Exploring affiliate marketing niches like weight loss products, hair growth, gym memberships, “get fit quick” products, and more can be extremely lucrative.

3. Dog and Cat Products

An overwhelming amount of Americans own dogs and cats. Of those people, many spend a lot of their income ensuring that their pets are healthy and comfortable.

Given that reality, selling high-quality toys and pet foods online can mean a steady income stream for your affiliate marketing efforts almost immediately.

I would recommend having separate marketing channels for your dog and cat products. Mixing the two could cause distrust among enthusiasts.

4. Money and Wealth

Everyone wants to get rich and people are willing to spend a lot of money to figure out how to do it.

Selling products that revolve around making money online, investing strategies, and lucrative career advice can all garner you a fast following. Also, consider offering products that are aimed at building businesses.

5. Legal

Everybody needs a lawyer for something. Giving people the legal advice they need on your marketing channels and then connecting them with firms like Bond & Taylor Injury Lawyers for compensation is a way that tons of affiliate marketers build their fortunes.

If you have a knack for law, promoting and selling legal products and services can be one of the highest ROI affiliate marketing niches you can explore given that legal services are typically costly.

6. Technology

Tech is getting more popular among the global community which means more people are looking for advice, tips, and tricks revolving around the latest and greatest products. If you can provide that information through your marketing channels and push readers to buy high-end phones, computers, and other things, you’ll make a pretty penny.

The only downside to leaning on technology as one of your affiliate marketing niches is that competition in this space can be fierce.

7. Smoking Products

It’s funny that both health and smoking products have both made it onto this top affiliate marketing niches list. That just goes to show you how polarized people’s tastes are.

With the resurgence of smoking through vapes and e-cigarettes, more people than ever are buying smoking-related paraphernalia online.

An affiliate marketer who starts targeting vapers and e-cigarette enthusiasts can experience a tremendous amount of success in today’s market, fast.

8. Subscription Boxes

Last but not least on our affiliate marketing niches list are subscription boxes.

Subscription boxes are a type of business that has really picked up traction over the last decade. Basically, people subscribe to boxes across a variety of niches and every month they get a mystery box of items having to do with their niche of choice.

For example, if someone subscribed to a monthly beauty box, they’d receive a box of cosmetics in the mail every month.

As an affiliate marketer, you can curate subscription boxes on your marketing channels and promote ones to your readers that you feel are the best. Whenever one of your readers buys into your box recommendations, you’ll receive a commission!

Ready to Brainstorm Affiliate Marketing Niches?

From subscription boxes to health to smoking, there is no shortage of lucrative affiliate marketing niches to get into today.

Remember, people are buying more online every day. That means that opportunity abounds and that the sooner you start selling, the sooner you can start making a lot of money!

Want more advice on how to make money online? If so, check out my content and entrepreneur start-up services on ZacJohnson.com. Doing so could change your financial life!

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Affiliate Marketing

Save Time and Increase Earnings with Binom Pro Tracking Solution

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For entrepreneurs, business and brands, and of course affiliate marketers — time is money. As a performance marketing professional, you don’t want to be wasting your time working on campaigns that aren’t contributing in a meaningful way to your bottom line. You also don’t want to be wasting your time looking for the right kind of data on which you can base those kinds of decisions. The more time you’re able to save, the more money you’ll be able to make.

Designed as a tracker for professionals, Binom puts speed first and foremost. From the speed of click processing to the speed of report generation, Binom strives to save your time and increase your efficiency.

Pro Tracking Excellence with Binom

A self-hosted tracking platform, Binom offers an incredible bounty of data and functionality. Everything is just a couple of mouse clicks away.

And even though you are presented with such a wealth of information, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The core metrics and data are broadly organized across intuitive tabs, so you can easily sift through your campaigns, landing pages, affiliate networks, offers, traffic sources, trends, conversions, clicklog and users.

This may sound overwhelming at first, especially for beginners, but Binom has been designed such that even novices can use it. Tracker-related errors are minimized if not eliminated altogether. You’ll also find detailed documentation and an extensive FAQ to help you get a better sense of how best to use the product. And then support is always there to help when you need it too.

What’s Better?

Binom is certainly not the only tracking platform on the block, but it confidently boasts that it is better than the competing software. Whereas some other solutions charge you based on click volume, Binom offers one low monthly price for unlimited traffic, handling millions of clicks per day.

But again, it really comes down to speed and this really is something that Binom prioritizes in its solution. Whereas other trackers can suffer from long redirect times, performance drops under high load, and click loss, Binom promises a click processing time of just 5 ms under any server load. You don’t want to lose clicks just because the server can’t handle it. Processing speed does not depend on volume and Binom guarantees zero losses.

Look at this stuff. Isn’t it neat? It really does look like Binom is complete. The sheer size of this feature list is remarkably impressive, handling just about anything and everything that you would need with click tracking, traffic redistribution, detailed analytics, and even a full API for more advanced functionality.

Traffic Distribution

At the most basic level, you look for an appealing offer on an affiliate network, you grab your affiliate link, and then you start to promote that offer using your link. However, this can be far too simplistic of a model if you really want to maximize your earnings.

That’s why it is so valuable that in addition to all the tracking and reports, Binom also offers a robust traffic distribution solution. You can work with simple A/B split-testing if you want, but the system can also handle multivariate testing for more complex combinations.

You’ll also find a great rotation system, multiple paths, multiple landings, redirecting of proxy traffic, distribution rules based on 20+ metrics, and the list goes on and on. By setting these rules, you can redirect traffic based on a wealth of parameters, like country, browser, language, part of day, lander, connection, device and more.

It’s when you leverage more powerful implementations like this, coupled with the incredible depth of data analysis, that you can really elevate your earnings. Look for where you’re getting the most clicks and if those clicks are actually converting into revenue. How much is this traffic costing you? What is your ROI?

Dig Into That Data

If you’re only running a small handful of campaigns with a couple of landing pages, getting a handle on the data can be pretty easy. When you’ve got hundreds or even thousands of campaigns at scale, you’re playing in a different league and that’s when you’d need something like Binom.

Remember that Binom is a tracking solution that is geared toward professionals, so this means that is geared toward handling just about any volume you can throw at it. With those super fast click processing times, the traffic you generate will reach where they need to go more quickly and this provides a much more positive user experience.

The next step, of course, is to dive deep into the wealth of data at your fingertips. Everything that you need is here, and it’s all easily filtered, sorted, and searched through. Look for parameters that are offering the best CTR or look how you’re doing with EPC or CPC. This can reveal new opportunities for growth, as well as what campaigns you should probably drop.

Visually, it can feel like a lot, to be sure, but that’s kind of the point. Binom has done a great job is presenting this data in such a way that is more easily digestible, including convenient color coding and sorting. Filter by network, time frame and more, looking for where you’re getting the best ROI (and where you’re not).

One of the best ways you can get a good handle on how Binom works is to have a look at the product tour. You’ll learn more not only about speed, but also about how the group system will help you organize your information, how the traffic distribution can offer smart rotation, how the deep analytics can offer incredible detail, and how just powerful the tracking solution can be.

The live demo is worth checking out too.

Monthly Subscription Price

Tired of complex pricing schemes where you’re not really sure what plan is right for you? Binom has kept things very simple. You can choose to pay $99 monthly or, if you prepay for a year at a time, the monthly cost for the license is cut down to $69. In both cases, you get one server, unlimited clicks and domains, and lifetime updates, as well as a 14-day free trial.

Binom will install the tracker on your server for free. Updates are pushed out as single clicks, so you don’t have to replace files manually. Support is always available via Skype and the web with responses in five minutes or less. If you need additional licenses, they’re $49 each.

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Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money with CrakRevenue Affiliate Network

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What do you look for in an affiliate network? You want to make sure that it’s got some of the top offers in the industry, of course, because what good is a network if it doesn’t have the right offers. You also want to have good lines of communication open so you can get the support than you need. And you want to ensure that the network is run as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

Ticking all of these boxes is CrakRevenue, the CPA network crowned with 20 international awards in the past five years, including best affiliate program and best overall company of the year. Are you ready to follow the whale?

Make Money Online with CrakRevenue

As fresh and as exciting as the new kids on the block might be, they’re unproven in the industry and you can have little assurance of where they might go next. It’s far better to work with an established entity that has proven its success, year after year, and that’s what CrakRevenue is all about.

The CPA network has been around for more than ten years at this point. From the very beginning, as Chief Operating Officer Axel Vezina, they’ve known that “having the expertise, knowledge and passion for developing new features and the knowledge of the industry” would put them “well ahead of the curve.” These days, they’ve CrakRevenue has grown to become “the largest, longest running, most reputable and the most trusted CPA network in the industry.”

You can expect to have everything you need to be successful as an affiliate with CrakRevenue. You’ll have access to over 1000 offers at your fingertips, dedicated account managers who can offer customized ad tools and insight, exclusive products to promote, high payouts, fast and accurate reporting, high CTR ad tools, and even extra earning opportunities.

Targeted Adult Offers

Generally speaking, the CrakRevenue affiliate program focuses mostly on offers that are geared toward adults. These include offers that are related to dating and adult entertainment, like cams and paysites, as well as offers that are more generally appealing to an adult audience, like crypto and gaming.

What this means, then, is that the audience that you have and the targeted traffic you intend on sending should be geared more toward this type of demographic. It’s noteworthy that because many of the offers are from adult entertainment advertisers, the corresponding ad creatives may contain nudity and other adult-oriented content.

When you log into your affiliate dashboard with CrakRevenue (more on this in a moment), you’ll be able to sift, search and filter through the list of offers to find one best suited for you and your audience. You’ll notice two toggles for enabling and disabling both G offers and 18+ offers. When you choose only to show G offers, that really means that the creatives are only “G” rated, as the advertisers may still be offering adult-oriented products and services.

Dashboards and Rankings

Getting set up as an active affiliate with CrakRevenue is a standard, straightforward affair. Logging into the dashboard, you’ll be presented with an attractive interface that is easy to navigate too.

All the core navigational links are in the left sidebar, and it is on this initial page that you’ll be presented with key information. This includes current active promotions, like the Back2School challenge for September in this case. And in addition to a list of top offers, the latest blog posts, your payment history, your recent statistics, and your affiliate manager’s contact information, there’s also something called the affiliate ranking.

This is a brand new account that we’re using for the purposes of this review, so of course our total payout thus far is zero. That being said, seeing your ranking among all the affiliates on the network can provide a bit of “gamification” or motivation to keep you going, as it puts your efforts into perspective.

Based on what I see here, there are at least 11,000 affiliates on the network. There’s a note for how much I’d need to earn to move up one spot in the ranking, but more importantly, there’s a note on how much it takes to get into VIP status.

Affiliates with CrakRevenue fall into one of three rankings. The active affiliate is where you start. When you crack the top 200, you become a VIP affiliate with added benefits like a dedicated account manager and exclusive offers. Break into the top 50 to join the elite club. With that, you get a 20% one-month referral bump, a 10 day annual payout bump, and a Christmas gift too!

Applying for Promotions

As of the writing of this review, the CrakRevenue affiliate network boasts over 1,200 affiliate offers. Naturally, I wasn’t able to go through all of them, but based on a random spot test, it appears that as a new affiliate, you will need to apply for each offer that you want to promote individually.

So, for example, this is currently one of the top offers in the network. You get to see some of the most important information, like a description of the advertiser and the offer, as well as the payable action, payout amount, accepted countries, and the conversion flow. I found having the conversion flow helpful so it’s crystal clear what is required before you are credited for the user action.

But you will also see at the very top that you need to request approval in order to promote this offer. Furthermore, the offer is also “temporarily capped to a maximum of 25 leads/day while we review the quality of your traffic.” On the one hand, this can be a little frustrating for affiliates, as it is an extra hoop to jump through.

On the other hand, by taking this extra step of requiring approval and by assessing the quality of traffic, CrakRevenue is able to maintain a certain level of quality for its advertisers. In turn, the advertisers can then be more confident about increasing payment amounts and this, as a result, leads to more lucrative opportunities for legitimate affiliates. It’s ultimately win-win.

More Affiliate Features

As you make your way around the dashboard, you’ll uncover a wealth of tools and features as an affiliate. The SmartLink technology, for example, makes it easy to maximize your earnings as you don’t need to identify a single offer you’d like to promote. Instead, the system can find the best offer for the user on an individual basis.

You can customize the smart link based on the type that you’d like to use, like a banner ad or a simple link. From there, you may unlock additional options like banner size, language and format.

Another useful tool is the Native Ads Generator. Choose between about a dozen different templates, include vertical blocks, horizontal blocks, separated blocks, text over, three vertical banners, and more. Choose niche settings (like sexual orientation and nudity), widget settings like max width and number of ads shown, image settings, and text settings. More advanced affiliates can even apply custom CSS.

Survey Machine by CrakRevenue

As you can see, CrakRevenue has a nice selection of their own useful tools and generators for affiliates to take advantage of. This is just one of the many features that have made CrakRevenue stand out of the crowd in the super competitive affiliate marketing space.

Let’s now take a look at their Survey Machine, which helps affiliates not only better understand how much revenue they might be able to generate based on the type of traffic they have, where their traffic is from, and how much of it they are getting — but also to create online surveys, polls, content, applications and more that they can profit from in the process.

You can see a few of the tool features and concept ideas in the screenshot below.

 

Of all the tools offered by CR, this one is definitely the most popular amongst their affiliate. In fact, it even has it’s own loading page for people that would like to learn more about it. Head on over to https://www.surveymachine.com to learn more and to try the tool out yourself.

Payment Terms

When you work with CrakRevenue as an affiliate, you are treated to generous payment terms that will ensure you are suitably rewarded for your efforts in a timely and efficient manner. Payments can be issued via Paxum, wire or check and all commissions are issued in USD. The minimum threshold is $100 for all payments except for wire, where the minimum is set at $500.

There are two payment periods each month (up to the 15th, and up to the end of the month). Depending on the arrangement that you have, you may be eligible for a net-7, net-15 or net-30 payment schedule.

How to Make the Most Money with CrakRevenue

As with any affiliate program or money making offer online, it’s all about the amount of time, work, and effort you put in to master the system. CrakRevenue provides affiliates and marketers with the tools they need to find success, while also coming out with the best offers and CPA amounts possible.

Join CrakRevenue today, then connect with your affiliate manager to start promoting the best offers today.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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