Guess what? Here comes another exclusive Follow-Along case study from one of our dear affiliates – BobZhang! If you missed our blockbuster cases from AffLift forum users (like this or this) – then here we go again, ready to present another affiliate marketing story.
BobZhang did a lot of testing, experimenting, and optimizing to reach the desired results. He made unobvious steps, creative decisions, and careful analysis. Did he reach what he wanted? Which issues did he face? Read the case study, see the stats, and find out.
Briefly about the case
It has been 5 months since BobZhang started his affiliate marketing career. As he says, this Follow-Along was a challenge for himself to get better results in the sixth month. And, we should add that during these 5 months, BobZhang already had enough experience and understanding to share with other affiliates.
Here are the basic campaign details:
|Traffic Source: PropellerAds for the test and some other sources for scaling |
Tracking Tool: Voluum + Binom
Affiliate Network: Zeydoo + Mobidea
Type of Offer: Sweepstakes + Mobile Content
Offer Payout: < $1
GEOs: Tier-2 and Tier-3
Goal: to make $3000 in the next 30 days (from August 16th to September 14th)
During the last 2 months, BobZhang made almost $1500, so he was pretty much inspired to get even more and to learn more. And he did!
Make yourself comfortable, and let’s see what he did and what he got!
Day 1: Launch and primary optimization
Our partner created a couple of CPA campaigns and made a split test to see how PropellerAds and Broker traffic perform. Also, he used the ProPush Smart Tag (RevShare pricing model) + TrafficBack feature.
So, here are the stats of the very first day:
BobZhang made $38.38. As he says on the forum, this is his recent average income, but definitely not the aim he made a point of.
A couple of words about our partner’s campaigns. He has 80+ campaigns at PropellerAds in almost 20 GEOs, but only 30 campaigns cost more than $1 daily. BobZhang also says that he is “running some survey offer from Zeydoo and Mobidea”.
Here are the campaigns:
And the GEOs:
Day 2: A bit more testing, a bit more money
Here are the second-day stats:
The profit gradually grows! The main profit from a traffic source has grown, but the ProPush profit decreased a bit because of our partner’s previous pricing model change.
BobZhang made some preparations for this day, namely – more testing. He A/B tested the same Survey offer from Mobidea and Zeydoo and claimed that the results from Zeydoo satisfied him more. For that reason, he decided to keep the Mobidea offer as a backup.
After finding his three most profitable GEOs, BobZhang also tested them in various advertising networks, but didn’t get any desired profit:
Of course, BobZhang wasn’t very inspired by the money he just wasted, but all in all, he already had some efficient landing pages, targeting settings that had already been tested, converting offers, and the right GEOs. His goal was to find some more profitable traffic sources in addition to PropellerAds.
Day 3: PropellerAds wins
The third day brought BobZhang some green numbers: in total he got $38,5.
And TrafficBack from ProPush:
The profit from PropellerAds decreased a bit because our partner tested two new offers in IN. And here are his new tests:
BobZhang claims that he didn’t even include traffic sources other than PropellerAds, because we were the only platform that brought desired results.
Also, BobZhang did some testing to compare top GEOs for two offers he chose and created a couple of landing pages for each.
Besides he also tested two more Survey offers recommended by his manager in PropellerAds.
Landing pages were done, so BobZhang created six CPA campaigns at PropellerAds with an 80% payout CPA Goal. Here:
He also decided to set broad targeting and, therefore – get more data:
Day 4: Ups and downs
The fourth day started with bad news: BobZhang realized that he lost almost $100. To put the story short, a couple of days ago he topped up $50 in another advertising network, so his old campaigns started running automatically and gobbled more than a half of his money up. The problem was that the offer was not active anymore, so all the purchased traffic went nowhere.
BobZhang also claimed to realize how important it is to check if:
- There are any offers that cost a lot but don’t bring enough conversions
- The account balance is adequate
Follow his example and avoid mistakes!
And now let’s move straight to profits and optimization. Our partner earned:
24+ (-4.1) + 1.48 = 21.38, where most of the amount comes from PropellerAds and $1.48 – from TrafficBack.
Testing and the inactive offer caused less profit from the traffic sources.
What about changes and improvements? Well, BobZhang added four new GEOs and now had three CPA campaigns with 80% payout for data gathering + one campaign to test and find the best offer.
For optimization, BobZhang stopped a couple of low-performing campaigns and offers not to spend money for something that doesn’t work well.
Day 5: More tests – more red numbers
That day, BobZhang still didn’t see the numbers he wanted. His total profit was $28 (including $6.8 from ProPush and $1.26 from Traffic Back). His strategy was to launch a lot of campaigns for testing and data gathering, plus – he preferred offers and GEOs with low payouts ($0.149 – the highest one).
Obviously, there was something to rethink and change.
Day 6: Maybe, less testing?
This day, new and new tests made BobZhang lose $27, but he received $25 from ProPush, so his total loss was $2 only. Here are his GEOs:
From that point, he decided to do fewer tests, so that he could save more budget, plus – to try some offers with higher payouts.
- BobZhang changed his campaign to send more traffic to best-performing landing pages and offers;
- He started whitelisting zones to test offers;
- He stopped a couple of low-performing campaigns;
- BobZhang consulted with his PropellerAds’ personal manager to get tips and recommendations (and was very pleased with the guidance).
Also, our partner decided to focus on his most successful offer and include only several campaigns from different affiliate networks as a backup. His plan was to test and improve GEOs, creatives, targeting, and other parameters for one offer until he gets significant profit.
Day 7: More preciseness
BobZhang stopped testing numerous new campaigns at once and optimized those he already had. He removed the less efficient landing pages, stopped non-converting offers, adjusted scheduling, OS version, and more.
After setting up a couple of CPA campaigns in an alternative ad network and getting almost nothing, our partner also rethought the way he performs the analysis. He started comparing the data from different traffic sources in chosen GEOs.
This way, he could see which sources provide traffic from particular GEOs and where to purchase it cheaper.
BobZhang stopped on seven traffic sources so far.
Also, following the recommendation of another forum visitor, BobZhang picked five of his top GEOs and two of his best-performing offers to create 10 Direct Click CPA campaigns.
The targeting settings were chosen according to the previous data he got from his multiple tests:
He tested five GEOs, and four of them started to bring profit in 24 hours, and the other ones looked pretty much promising:
Day 9: Numbers get greener
Direct Click was the right choice, and BobZhang’s statistics started to look much better:
In addition to this, BobZhang also received some profit from Traffic Back feature, and therefore his daily income was around $50.
The Direct Click traffic brought significant results and BobZhang also decided to focus his testing efforts on PropellerAds and continue searching for the most profitable GEOs.
Day 10: Still trying to get everything
Due to the last tests, our partner finally managed to find the best GEOs, even though their costs were higher than previous ones:
For that reason, his ROI dropped a bit, but this is quite natural when you switch to more expensive GEOs.
Also, the same day BobZhang was testing and optimizing high-volume GEOs in SE Asia and Africa simultaneously, which cost him almost $400:
Even though our partner has been still paying pretty much and exceeding the comfortable budget, he found some profitable combinations. Unfortunately, the offer performance was still unstable:
And this was the final day of his self-challenge, so the time has come to make conclusions and see what to do next.
Small bottom line: Lessons learned
So, the deadline came, and BobZhang decided to sum things up:
He made $871.42 in the past 30 days, which was 30% of his initial goal ($3000), but still a very good result. He did a lot of testing to check different traffic types and GEOs. And here are some conclusions BobZhang made:
We believe that this might be the most valuable lesson for all affiliates. When you test a huge amount of GEOs, you should check the stats and focus on profitable ones. You should exclude those that cause losses, build white and black lists. BobZhang had a really wide range of GEOs to test, so in his case, it made sense to check and compare the performance almost every day and gradually reduce the amount, as such – expenses.
- Don’t hurry, and be consistent in your testing
BobZhang used to test four high-volume GEOs at the same time and, therefore – exceeded his daily budget up to three times, which made him stop testing. As he fairly says, testing GEOs one by one would be much more efficient and cost-effective.
- Ask for advice
BobZhang actively communicated with his manager and people from the AffLift forum. They gave him ideas and recommendations that really worked. Sometimes, when you get overwhelmed with all of your stats and experiments, you really need someone else to guide you – whether it’s your personal manager or a fellow-affiliate from PropellerAds Telegram chat.
New week: Challenge continues
After a while, BobZhang presented an update. The results got better than before:
Here are the latest changes and discoveries made by BobZhang:
- He started testing Tier-2 GEOs – more competitive and expensive, but with higher profit chances;
- He made a suggestion that in some GEOs (in his case – Arab countries) English might work better than official language. To get over the language barrier, our partner made his landing pages very simple + added icons, so that non-English speakers could understand, as well.
- BobZhang found that most of his profits are generated before noon, so he decided to adjust schedule and spend more money during the daytime.
Let’s see what happened next.
A week and a half passed, new results to boast of
So, another week (9.15 – 9.21) + three days (9.22 – 9.25) have passed. The results of the first week are:
And three days more:
These days, BobZhang has become more focused and started planning his actions more thoughtfully. He stopped creating dozens of new campaigns randomly. Previously, he used to test a lot of new GEOs, adding more and more without excluding those that didn’t bring profit, but now he started checking performance more frequently and creating white and black lists.
And here is how the week ended:
Profit increased and 50% of BobZhang’s desired amount was reached.
Week 3: Growing and growing
Here come the numbers for the next week and the profits are increasing:
BobZhang also revealed some latest insights and conclusions of this period:
- Test whitelisted CPM campaigns
After he started creating white lists and focusing his resources on them, the results got much better. Stats:
BobZhang suggests that a lot of affiliates have a rest during the public holidays and weekends, so he claims it might make sense to prepare better for these particular and therefore – beat the competition.
Another day to sum up everything
So, BobZhang decided to show the results of his second attempt and he made $1725 during the last 30 days, which is 57.5% of his target – $3000. General statistics:
Seems like all the improvements and conclusions made by BobZhang were fruitful since these results are better than those he presented previously.
And again, BobZhang shares his reflections:
- Don’t get obsessed with the numbers, and keep your plan in mind
Income figures are important, but sacrificing your plans only to make the daily data look good is counter-productive. BobZhang started his Follow-Along with sharing daily data, but then he switched to weekly data, because it was significantly more representative.
- Affiliate marketing skills + basic code + language
Also, our partner suggests that having some basic understanding of coding and better language skills (either it is English or a specific language of your favorite GEOs) can increase your chances of standing out of the crowd. Sometimes, the same offer works better when promoted by someone else, right? Maybe, the reason is that he has more additional skills, like landing page optimization, management, translation, etc.
- Keep your messages as simple and short as possible
BobZhang tested two same-like creatives with only one difference – the word count (seven words VS two words). He tested both on three different GEOs, and every time the shorter copy demonstrated a significant advantage.
Today, BobZhang continues rolling his campaigns at PropellerAds, but this Follow-Along is quite representative in regards of a general strategy and principles he invented.
The main conclusion to make from this story – be precise and focused, whatever you do! As you might have noticed, BobZhang’s numbers started growing and getting greener after he reduced the amount of new GEOs and campaigns, but started analyzing and creating white/black lists.
Hopefully, you liked this case! And thanks to BobZhang for sharing his blockbuster story with us!
As always, share your ideas, thoughts, and comments in our cozy Telegram Chat!