While trying affiliate marketing off and on over the years, I never dedicated the majority of my work focus and time to it until this past year. Since it was 1 year ago from today when I started to see success and growth, I thought I’d write a post in reflection of my affiliate marketing campaigns from the past 365 days.
I thought it’d be interesting to calculate my total gross earnings and total spend from the past 12 months, and so I did just that. The income numbers should be accurate to within a few hundred dollars (I didn’t bother including the income from some networks in which I only generated miniscule amounts from), and the expense numbers should be accurate to within a few thousand dollars.
Affiliate Marketing Numbers: November 8th, 2011 – November 8th, 2012
Network #1: $304,934.89
Network #2: $27,418.83
Network #3: $2,578.66
Network #4: $4,065.00
Source #1: $158,028.14
Source #2: $96,441.78
Source #3: $46,142.72
Source #4: $2,050.00
Misc. Sources: $6,500
Net Profit: $29,834.74
Overall ROI: 9.65%
While many people may see the numbers above and either rock their head back and laugh or shake their head in disappointment, you need to understand that my long-term goal has never been to net $300-$400 a day. I’ve always looked at the big picture and want to net $1,000+ per day.
And the only way to do that is to invest money by trying new campaigns (angles/ads/etc.), traffic sources, and offers. It was my choice to throw the majority of my "real" profit back into my affiliate marketing efforts to try to get to the next stage.
What I Could Have Made
I could have been thrifty and just kept my campaign spend to a minimum, trying to maximize my net profit. I estimate that if I did, that I would have averaged roughly around $200/day net profit throughout the year.
At $200 net profit per day over 365 days, that works out to $73,000 net profit – 2.5x the amount that I actually ended up profiting.
So why don’t I regret it? Three main reasons:
#1 – I found replacement winning campaigns
I’ve had a number of winning campaigns over the past year, and by winning campaigns I mean campaigns that range anywhere from $25 – $500 net profit per day. And they were on different traffic sources and were different offers.
It’s not like I just originally had one campaign that was profiting and spent the majority of its profits by trying to find a replacement. Many of my profitable campaigns died for various reasons, and the only reason I was able to find replacement campaigns is because I constantly invested in finding new campaigns for this very reason (as well as to grow).
If I had never invested in new campaigns and just let my original winning campaign(s) run on auto-pilot, I never would have found those replacement campaigns. Therefore, it’s not exactly fair to assume that I would have netted $73,000 throughout the year, because once my original winning campaigns died, I would have been making $0 the very next day.
#2 – I gained a lot of useful information
Over the past 365 days, I tested a ton of stuff. I probably tested around 25-30 traffic sources, 50-60 offers, 8-9 affiliate networks, as well as various techniques (Ex. bidding strategies, ad styles, etc.).
This is invaluable data. I now know which traffic sources are absolute shit and not to waste my time on them in the future (such as when I did a media buy and ended up paying $10 per click). In turn, I also found some good-great sources of paid traffic.
I know which offers are great, which are crap, and while I still test all offers, I can usually spot potential winners right away now. You get the point.
#3 – I am growing
While not at my peak (my best months were June-July), overall I am growing and improving, albeit slowly.
I wrote earlier how if I had hunkered down and tried to maximize my profit that I would have probably netted an average of $200/day throughout the year. Well, I am currently netting around $350-$400 per day. This wouldn’t have been possible without re-investment into my campaigns, and it shows that I am growing.
Interesting Facts and Figures
- Total campaign gross on November 8th, 2011: $50.40
- Total campaign gross on November 8th, 2012: $1,062.30
- Best gross revenue day: $4,068.90 (June 8th, 2012)
- Best net profit day: $1,778.56 (June 8th, 2012 – Actually had a day of $2,xxx profit, but it was a mistake because I got free traffic from a traffic source so it doesn’t really count)
- Worst net profit day: –$800 (from 1 campaign, a media buy)
Goals for the Next 12 Months
The past 12 months were really crazy for me because it was the first time I ever made any substantial amount of money from affiliate marketing.
About 14 months ago I was making $0 from affiliate marketing, and now I am making around $400 net/day. I’ve come a long way.
Here are some affiliate marketing goals I’d like to achieve in 1 year (or earlier!) from now:
Average $1,000 net profit per day
I’m currently doing around $350-400 net profit per day, so this is an attainable goal. I would love to hit this goal though. $30,000 a month (minus taxes) is an enormous amount of money and enough to do pretty much whatever you want to do.
If in 1 year from now I am writing about how I made this goal, I cannot tell you how ecstatic I’d be.
Break the $100,000/month gross revenue mark
Another attainable goal, as I actually came close to breaking that this year. I think my best month so far was somewhere around $75,000 or so.
Hit $1,000,000 gross revenue over the course of the year
You can’t set a money goal without having a million dollars in there somewhere .
Wish me luck – I really want to grow and get to the next level. I spent the past year reinvesting to try to get to the next level, so it’d be nice to get there so that I can start to enjoy some of the fruits of my labour.