9 Things I’ve Learned About Mobile So Far

October 19, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

I thought I’d take a break inbetween all my monthly income reports and real estate posts and actually write a blog post about what I’ve been doing in affiliate marketing lately (in more depth than the few paragraphs in my income reports).

I’m a very slow adopter. I didn’t get a car until I was around 19 or 20. I didn’t get a cell phone until I was around 21, and as recent as 2 years ago I was still using a Blackberry. And so, it shouldn’t surprise you when I say that I’ve basically done no mobile affiliate marketing until now.

I mean, I did try my hand at a bit of mobile traffic before, but we’re talking about maybe $500 worth of traffic total, with like a –95% ROI.

The main reason I’ve held off of mobile for so long is basically because I was intimidated. I heard that it is a whole different ballgame from web and that there is a ton to learn. I’ve been too preoccupied with other things that I didn’t have the time focus to sit down and properly learn mobile. I preferred instead to simply stick with web and grind away.

In any event, I decided to give mobile another shot about 2 weeks ago and have been scaling things up at a good pace ever since. Now, before I continue, please heed the following warnings:

  • My conclusions are based off of only 2 weeks of data so far
  • I’m currently only using 1 traffic source (but have used several others in the past for mobile)
  • I’ve spent $6,000 worth of mobile data so far

With that in mind, here are 9 things I’ve learned about mobile affiliate marketing so far:

1. As With Web, Only a Small Percentage of Offers are Any Good

This was to be expected, but only a handful of offers have been proven to be profitable for me in mobile, which is the same way it is with web.

This is another reason why it’s always helpful to ask your affiliate manager what offers are performing well. They may have 200 eligible offers for you to run, but out of those 200 offers, only 10 may be any good. You can save a lot of time and money by simply asking your affiliate manager which are doing the best.

Personally though, I am a real stickler for data. I prefer to gather my own data and make my own conclusions. It is never profitable right off the bat to do this, but it gives me very good data for the future.

Below is a screenshot showing one of my Android mobile campaigns:

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Here you can see I’ve split tested 18 different offers already, despite having only run traffic for just under 2 weeks. When you add in iOS, I’ve actually run traffic to about 50 mobile offers so far!

Out of the 50, only about 5 offers are any good, so 10%. However, when things are good, they’re great (where’s Tony the Tiger when you need him?). For example, my top offer is achieving a 200% ROI. If I had run all my traffic to that one offer, I would have made close to $9,000 profit (if the math doesn’t add up for you, that’s because I lowered my bids)

I will continue to test every single mobile offer I find. This is what I do with web. I test everything. Data is king.

2. There are Large Country/IP Discrepancies

I use CPVLab as my tracking platform of choice. I love it. However, it may have an issue with its mobile geo-tracking.

Overall for mobile it’s been great so far, but when I started to look at country data, I found that about 70% of the traffic was incorrect. At first I was concerned that the traffic source was sending in crap traffic, but upon investigating further, I matched up the exact conversion ID’s from CPVLab with the exact conversion ID’s within the networks and found that the IPs themselves differed! The ones on the network side resolved to the correct country, but the ones in CPVLab did not.

I am still investigating this (working with CPVLab directly to try to resolve this), and am not sure if it has to do with the tracking software, with my server, with the traffic network, or simply because mobile is different from web.

One thing is for sure though – I didn’t see this issue when I worked with web.

3. Tablets are Sucking so Far

This is such a blanket statement and with only 2 weeks of data, it is also premature to proclaim. But so far, my data shows that tablet traffic does not convert well.

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For me this is not a huge issue since phone traffic vastly outnumbers tablet traffic, but it’s important to note as excluding tablet traffic from campaigns can save me a lot of money.

4. More Data = More Optimization

Mobile offers arguably more data in both reporting and targeting than web (in the majority of sources). This is because you can see the carrier type, phone model, OS version, resolution, etc. and target most of these things depending on the traffic source as well.

As a result, you are gathering a lot more data than your typical web campaign. This is both good and bad.

It’s good because it allows you to isolate and discover your most profitable demographics and targets on a much more granular level (as well as target these exact targets as well).

It’s bad because this requires you to do a lot more testing and optimization, which can be both pricey and time-consuming. If you’re me and are just a one-man-band who does all the optimizing and analysis yourself, micromanaging campaigns like this can take up a lot of time.

5. ROI Can Be Far Higher Than Web

I’ve done web for a while now in a lot of different niches, traffic sources, and angles, and I can tell you that the ROI of profitable campaigns has never been as good as some of the ROI’s I’m seeing in mobile at the moment.

This isn’t to say that all ROI is higher, but for profitable targets in mobile, the ROI is definitely higher than the profitable targets in web.

But don’t just take my word for it (Hello Levar!), check this screenshot out:

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This is from my best mobile campaign. Each row is a different target within the campaign. I included the number of conversions to show you that these ROI’s weren’t just from 1 or 2 rogue conversions; you can see that I’m getting over 1,300% ROI on one target that received over 47 conversions, so the volume is there.

I even got up to 50,000% ROI on some targets… but there volume is NOT there Winking smile

6. Landing Pages Suck on Mobile

Okay, this one really shouldn’t be here as I’ve only tested one landing page on mobile so far Smile. But man, did it perform terrible. My LP was pretty generic, without much of an angle at all, but it was mobile optimized for sure. I ended up with a –90% ROI.

Of course I’d be silly if I gave up on landing pages on mobile after just trying one, but boy was that a bad ROI. I had tested it on my top converting offers too.

What are your guys’ experience with landing pages on mobile? Any tips other than loading time optimization and compatibility?

7. Conversion Delay

When I first started mobile, I ran some traffic and hated the results. ROI was in the negative 90’s, and so I paused traffic to rethink my strategy.

But then I noticed that conversions were still coming in even though I paused the traffic. I got a couple conversions a few hours later. Okay – browser session/cookie or something I guess, that’s not too unordinary. But then I’d still see conversions coming in the next day… and the next!

With mobile, conversions have quite a delay and half-life when it comes to showing up in your account; they can come in up to days later. With web this is very rare; 99.9% of conversions will come through no later than a minute of taking place.

So, you have to take this mobile delay into consideration whenever running (or more to the point, optimizing and analyzing) campaigns.

If anyone knows the technical details as to why this occurs, please feel free to share it in the comments.

8. Android > iOS

Again, a bit too early to call, but my affiliate manager and a couple different traffic sources have all told me that Android traffic tends to convert a fair bit better than iOS traffic.

I only recently started iOS traffic so I am hoping that it may have an even longer conversion propagation time than Android, but so far it is night and day when it comes to Android and iOS in terms of ROI.

Why is this the case? I have no idea. Perhaps it has to do with iTunes vs. the Google Play store. Perhaps it has to do with the average Apple user being less inclined to click on ads than the average Android user. I don’t know. All I know is that iOS traffic is making me lose a lot of money.

I’m talking about –85% ROI on all iOS traffic so far, with no light at the end of the tunnel (my best iOS target so far is still at –50% ROI).

9. Dayparting is Quite Different on Mobile than Web

Lastly, I’ve noticed that dayparting is quite different on mobile than on web.

For web traffic, no matter the niche, I’ve always found that both volume and conversion rate were best during the day and the worst during the night of the target country. The exact periods of time per day could vary depending on the niche, but things were always higher during the day than the night.

But with mobile, it’s almost the opposite! Check out the graph below, and keep in mind that these values are Central Daylight Time (UTC –500):35

Traffic levels are pretty even throughout the entire 24 hour period, except for a short spike around midnight.

Conversion rates are highest in early morning, right before people are going to work or school.

This actually makes a lot of sense, since people are generally too busy during the day to be signing up to or downloading anything. Most of that is done during "down" time, and the odd early hours could see an extra high conversion rate due to people not being able to sleep…

This is a fairly substantial amount of data too… $4,500 worth.

Anyhow, that’s my blog post. Hopefully it’s a nice change from all the income reports and updates on my real estate adventures.

I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about mobile affiliate marketing. How has it done for you? Share some tips and stories in the comments!

Posted: October 19th, 2014 under Affiliate Marketing 13 Comments

Affiliate Marketing Income Report: August 2014

October 14, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Okay, I realize that my blog is now starting to become like 50% of just monthly income reports, so I will leave this one as the latest one for a while, even if it means falling behind on them again.

Sadly, this income report won’t be very inspiring. In fact, it will be a little bit depressing, as I saw a big drop in profit in August – over half of what I did the previous month.

This is even more noticeable when you consider that the past 3 months collectively brought in just under $50,000 in profit ($48,997.44).

I feel really disappointed when I net under $10,000 in a month. After salary and taxes, I am not left with very much in company savings.

Anyway, enough moping, let’s see how August 2014 performed:

August 2014 Affiliate Campaign Income:

$27,317.35

Affiliate Network Breakdown:

  • Affiliate Network #1: $13,801.60
  • Affiliate Network #2: $43.75
  • Affiliate Network #3: $280.00
  • Affiliate Network #4: $13,192.00

(This includes conversion from foreign currencies to USD)

Expenses:

$21,291.31


Traffic Source Breakdown:

  • Traffic Source #1: $13,936.22
  • Traffic Source #2: $2,034.89
  • Traffic Source #3: $3,035.16
  • Traffic Source #4: $542.07
  • Traffic Source #4: $1,037.73
  • Traffic Source #5: $705.24   

Net Profit:

$6,026.04

Ugh… 4 figures. It could be worse though…

2014 Affiliate Marketing Results

First, here’s a recap of how 2013 fared for the entire year:

Year Gross Expense Net ROI
2013 $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Total: $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Monthly Average: $68,657.00 $47,085.36 $21,571.64 46%

And here’s a monthly breakdown of 2014 so far:

Month Gross Expense Net ROI
January 2014 $10,922.80 $8,908.47 $2,014.33 23%
February 2014 $25,941.97 $15,900.52 $10,041.45 63%
March 2014 $24,202.06 $15,408.95 $8,793.11 57%
April 2014 $3,486.55 $3,150.00 $336.55 11%
May 2014 $57,015.00 $38,765.01 $18,249.99 47%
June 2014 $60,753.58 $43,095.35 $17,658.23 41%
July 2014 $50,162.81 $37,073.59 $13,089.22 35%
August 2014 $27,317.35 $21,291.31 $6,026.04 28%
Total: $259,802.12 $183,593.20 $76,208.92 42%
Monthly Average: $32,475.27 $22,949.15 $9,526.12 42%

That puts my monthly average so far this year back down to 4 figures. I’m at $76K net profit so far this year after 8 months in. That puts me on pace to hit $114K profit this year – which may sound good, but would still only be half of what I pulled in last year.

Hmm… can’t be greedy though… $114K/year is still pretty good!

The Larger Picture: 20-Month Analysis

Below are my overall numbers from my campaigns since I started recording them in January 2013:

January 2013 to August 2014 Gross Expense Net ROI
20-Month Total: $1,083,686.13 $748,617.53 $335,068.60 45%
Monthly Average: $54,184.31 $37,430.88 $16,753.43 45%

Getting close to 2 years of recording my affiliate marketing stats, my monthly average sits at $16,750. I’m quite happy with that. It will be interesting to see what that number sits in in another 6 months from now.

August Recap

August was pretty stressful for me. The month started off strong, continuing off where July’s fairly strong month left off. Then, about a week in, one of the offers I was running went down and it didn’t look like it was going to come back. I focused on a couple of other offers instead which were doing quite well too, but then a couple weeks later, those went down as well.

I was actually at a higher profit earlier into the month but it quickly dwindled I kept spending more money testing new offers, targeting, LP’s, and traffic sources.

Also in August I had tried a new traffic network for the first time. A pretty popular one that a lot of you know. After a lot of delays and headaches (their billing department leaves a lot to be desired, plus I accidentally billed to my wrong credit card…) I finally tried them out with some small tests. Ouch – they were absolutely horrible. I normally don’t give up on a traffic source so quickly, but the results were just horrendous, and they were far too bureaucratic for a traffic source. I likely will never use them again.

I also tried another new source in August for the first time, this time a much smaller network. Results were pretty bad at first, but after a while I started to see some potential. I continued to use them for another couple months before deciding that it just wasn’t worth trying to make work anymore. It’s pretty bad but does show a little bit of potential for some small, select, profitable campaigns. I will likely try them again in the future, but only when I have some better offers running.

Overall, August was pretty busy for me. I was constantly analyzing and optimizing campaigns and trying new traffic sources and offers. I don’t feel like the end result ($6K) was quite worth the effort I put in.

September Plans and Predictions

Normally in this section I list the plans I have for the upcoming month as well as predict how I think the month will fare profit-wise. However, since September has already come and gone, I will be skipping this section in this report since I already know how it went.

Stay tuned to see for yourself!

Posted: October 14th, 2014 under Affiliate Marketing 9 Comments

I’m the Face of Harvard, Indonesian Cuisine, and Indian Snacks

October 9, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Six and a half years ago, I commissioned for a custom mascot logo to be made of me for my blog. It wasn’t cheap as I went with the best designer in the field that I could find (Sergio from SOSFactory.com – it’s going to cost you upwards of around $1,000 now if you’re wondering).

I then had my blog redesigned around the logo to match the look and feel of it, and the redesign did absolute wonders for my blog, taking it from zero to hero.

It was phenomenal for my "brand" and identity and I even had alternate versions made of me such as for Halloween, Christmas, different poses, etc.

A lot of websites and blogs linked to my mascot and blog as a source of inspiration for good branding and identity, and as a result, a bunch of thieving, no-good, scum designers blatantly ripped off my mascot logo. Most of these guys added something small such as a moustache, hat, or changing the letters on my shirt, but otherwise they copied the mascot virtually pixel by pixel.

This has been done so many times that I can’t references all the cases here. I’d say there have been at least a dozen instances of this happening. Some people have even had the nerve to slap my mascot logo on their own money making blog! I hate it when people have no sense of originality.

Anyhow, this problem didn’t just isolate itself to small-time wannabe bloggers. It spread pretty high up… here are 3 of the most incriminating examples:

Indian Snacks

A couple days ago, Sergio himself notified me of the most recent rip-off. Apparently, one of his followers from India found this and posted a picture on his Facebook page:

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So… it looks like a snack company called Vijay’s in India is now using my logo as their own. Oh, they changed "TC" on the shirt to a V and the shoes from red to white – my mistake.

Now, before I continue, I’m going to address the fact that the owners of these companies probably didn’t intentionally steal my mascot logo, but more likely hired a cheap talentless freelance designer who did intentionally steal my mascot logo. It makes me wonder just how often this happens…

Kebab Kings

This one bugs me because I made numerous attempts to contact the company informing them of their violation of my design, and they responded saying that they would take it down, but it doesn’t appear that they have. Although, it’s possible that the webmaster who may be in charge of design as well, intercepted my e-mail and didn’t pass it further up the chain to hide his crime.

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The company is Kebab Kings and is an Indonesian franchise that sells Kebabs on various types of kiosks and food stands. They apparently have over 700 food stands throughout the country… it’s almost worth trying to sue them, but an international lawsuit might not be worth it…

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I’m on a boat…

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Another of the countless photos I can find…

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People eyeing the kebab stand due to my mascot logo luring them in…

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Harvard University

I’ve saved the best for last.

No, you didn’t read that heading wrong. Believe it or not, Harvard University, the oldest and most revered institution of higher education in the United States, actually ripped off my mascot logo as well.

I was made aware of this by a person named Bryce who sent me the following e-mail:

"Hey Tyler,

I was visiting Harvard University a month or so and took a tour. I spotted this
tour company using your logo. Pretty sure they ripped you off OR the company
that created it re-used it. "

I couldn’t believe it when he accompanied the e-mail with this photo he took:

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My God. Harvard University!? What’s next? Microsoft? NASA? 

After a bit of digging around, it appears that the culprit may not have been Harvard directly itself, but rather the (possibly 3rd company) tour company that it has on campus run by a company called Trademark Tours. This tour specifically is called the Hahvahd Tour.

I e-mailed the Vice President for Public Affairs & Communications at Harvard as well as the contact e-mail addresses for HarvardTour.com, and TrademarkTours.com and was surprised to receive a reply only 18-minutes later:

"Greetings Tyler,

We will take this down TODAY. We commissioned a third party design firm to create our logo. We were under the impression that the design supplied to us was an original. "

Even more surprising was that less than 2 hours later, they actually REPLACED the banner poster that used my mascot logo (it looks like they replaced the bottom section and then painted or taped over a bit of the bottom of the top section.), and sent me a photo for proof:

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So, I am very happy with how Harvard, or Trademark Tours, handled this situation. Again, it appears to be another issue of hiring a 3rd-party design company that steals other people’s images to present as their own.

The silly thing is, the designers appear to do a decent job of modifying the image by adding a hat and whatnot – so why don’t they just do the whole design instead of taking shortcuts? It’s not like they aren’t capable…

Perhaps I just answered my own question though – shortcuts.

Anyhow, there you have it: 3 examples of blatant commercial stealing of my mascot logo. There are a lot more examples I could share, but these are the most notable ones (that I know about!).

Posted: October 9th, 2014 under Miscellaneous 17 Comments

Affiliate Marketing Income Report: July 2014

September 27, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

сондажи

Yup, it’s another report. I don’t want to get too behind these things again, so I thought I’d go ahead and get July up before I let my procrastination get the better of me.

With both May and June being great months for me (netting $18,249.99 and $17,658.23 profit respectively), I had a continued determination to keep my numbers up.

I wrote about this before, but I have an odd sense of motivation; if my numbers are doing well or really poorly, then I feel urged to work more and get my numbers up. In contrast, if my numbers are just low to mediocre, then I get a bit lazy and complacent. I think it’s partly because if my numbers are really low, then I simply need to work on getting them up, and if they are doing well, then I want to try to hit new personal bests due to my uber-competitive nature.

Anyway, let’s see how July 2014 fared:

July 2014 Affiliate Campaign Income:

$50,162.81

A bit lower than both May and June, but still pretty good.

Affiliate Network Breakdown:

  • Affiliate Network #1: $24,989.95
  • Affiliate Network #2: $6,019.04
  • Affiliate Network #3: $14,313.00
  • Affiliate Network #4: $4,840.82

(This includes conversion from foreign currencies to USD)

Expenses:

$37,073.59


Traffic Source Breakdown:

  • Traffic Source #1: $28,399.02
  • Traffic Source #2: $2,672.02
  • Traffic Source #3: $5,331.97
  • Traffic Source #4: $670.58

Net Profit:

$13,089.22

Okay, so it’s a bit of a drop from May and June… that’s okay. The truth is that I’m always pretty happy whenever I break $10,000/month profit.

2014 Affiliate Marketing Results

First, here’s a recap of how 2013 fared for the entire year:

Year Gross Expense Net ROI
2013 $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Total: $823,884.01 $555,024.33 $258,859.68 46%
Monthly Average: $68,657.00 $47,085.36 $21,571.64 46%

And here’s a monthly breakdown of 2014 so far:

Month Gross Expense Net ROI
January 2014 $10,922.80 $8,908.47 $2,014.33 23%
February 2014 $25,941.97 $15,900.52 $10,041.45 63%
March 2014 $24,202.06 $15,408.95 $8,793.11 57%
April 2014 $3,486.55 $3,150.00 $336.55 11%
May 2014 $57,015.00 $38,765.01 $18,249.99 47%
June 2014 $60,753.58 $43,095.35 $17,658.23 41%
July 2014 $50,162.81 $37,073.59 $13,089.22 35%
Total: $232,484.77 $162,301.89 $70,182.88 43%
Monthly Average: $33,212.11 $23,185.98 $10,026.13 43%

Hey, I like it! $70K net so far this year with an average of $10K/net a month. I’m on pace to hit $120K profit this year – which may sound good, but it would only be half of what I pulled in last year.

Hmm… can’t be greedy though… $120K/year is still pretty good!

The Larger Picture: 19-Month Analysis

Below are my overall numbers from my campaigns since I started recording them in January 2013:

January 2013 to July 2014 Gross Expense Net ROI
19-Month Total: $1,056,368.78 $727,326.22 $329,042.56 45%
Monthly Average: $55,598.36 $38,280.33 $17,318.03 45%

What’s interesting is that even though I pulled in $13K profit last month, it still brought my overall monthly average down. That just shows you how good 2013 was for me…

July Recap

I didn’t do anything too interesting in July. Mostly, I maintained what I had going.

In addition to that, I continued launching a lot of campaigns on that new traffic source that I started in May in order to try to learn it better and find profitable targets. It’s really not a great source, but it does have a few pockets of profitable targets here and there.

I also revisited an affiliate network I hadn’t used in quite a while… like 8+ months or so. I had done good volume with them before, but their offers fizzled out for me and they weren’t really getting many new ones so I let them be until now. Their new offer did really good for me, which you will hear more about in my August report.

August Plans and Predictions

Normally in this section I list the plans I have for the upcoming month as well as predict how I think the month will fare profit-wise. However, since August has already come and gone, I will be skipping this section in this report since I already know how it went.

Stay tuned to see for yourself!

Posted: September 27th, 2014 under Affiliate Marketing 13 Comments