In my post from last Sunday, I wrote about how I was given advice from a few very successful affiliate marketers who told me to essentially focus and stick with a campaign until it turns profitable.
While my campaigns have been doing very well lately, that could always stop at any time, and because they’ve been doing well, I have a fair bit of extra cash. This makes right now the perfect time to heed their advice and to try to focus and stick with a campaign until it becomes successful.
Below is a snippet of what I wrote last week:
Dr. Ngo and Richard Bonner, two affiliates who both eclipse me and make me look pitiful, have both told me to "make it work". That basically, I shouldn’t give up on a campaign until I make it profitable, and that virtually any campaign can be turned profitable if you just stick with it long enough.
I’m going to take that mentality with me on this next campaign. It will be hard for me though, as I really do give up on a campaign quite easily. If it shows no immediate potential with horrible ROI’s after several angles, I’ll ditch it. So, this will be a good experiment for me to see how long I can stick with a losing campaign. I just hope I’m not flushing good money down the toilet!
One upside is that I know this offer is working. My affiliate manager told me that several guys are doing well with it on Facebook, and so I know that it IS doable, I just have to figure out how. The downside is that I have already tried this on Facebook several times now, with extremely poor results…
I think I just need to suck it up and sit down and work hard on it.
My apprehension of engaging in this "experiment" was certainly warranted, as you’ll see on day 1, below…
Day 1: OUCH!
I had been doing some basic research on this offer (an offer that I’ve tried several times in the past, never getting anywhere near break-even) for about 5-6 days, and then finally launched it 3 days ago on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013.
I launched 4 campaigns on Facebook for the offer, each with 30 ads for a total of 120 ads. Each ad had a different image with different ad titles and ad bodies, and each campaign had different targets.
I normally don’t launch new campaigns this way – I usually test one thing at a time (images first, ad titles later, etc.) but wanted to try it this way this time around. I also know that running so many ads in 1 campaign will mean that only a few will get all the traffic – but this is fine with me when first launching a campaign as I just adjust the bids down later, which addresses this issue. I can always recreate new campaigns with the well-performing ads again in the future – history isn’t a concern since the campaign is brand new anyway.
I was direct-linking to start, and my bids were $0.80 CPC in 3 of the campaigns and $0.60 in the other.
I always bid high to start, so I knew I would take a hit in the beginning, but didn’t quite expect it to be as bad as it was…
Here’s how the day ended up faring (on this new campaign):
Day 1 Results:
TOTAL: -$1,113.24 (-83% ROI)
Ouch! I lost over $1,100 on the first day!
Now, how many of you who want to get started in affiliate marketing haven’t thrown up yet? Hehe.
Now you know why I’m scared to try this "don’t give up" mentality… but I really want to get to the next level, and this experiment is also a kind of test for me. If I can turn this campaign profitable, I believe that I can essentially turn anything profitable if I really dedicate myself to it.
Day 2: Lessening The Hurt
Late on day 1, and throughout day 2, I watched the performance of my "don’t give up" campaign and adjusted (lowered) bids as more data came through.
I was getting a fair bit of traffic, so I had a lot of room to lower bids, especially on targets and certain ads that were performing absolutely horribly.
As a result, I was able to really reduce the amount of cost. The volume slowed as well, of course, but more important was the fact that I really closed the gap in terms of income and cost.
Apart from strategic bid and budget adjustments, I didn’t make any other changes on the campaign.
Day 2 Results:
TOTAL: -$81.52 (-12.7% ROI)
While still in the red, it was a dramatic improvement over day 1, so I was quite content with the day’s results.
Day 3: Tightening the Belt
And we’re now on day 3 of my "don’t give up" campaign.
I did a ton of work today in affiliate marketing in general, but especially on this campaign. The majority of my time was spent on creating landing pages for the campaign, because as I mentioned earlier, up to now I had only been direct linking.
My affiliate manager told me that others were doing well with landing pages on this offer, so I was really optimistic and hopeful that they would do well – or at least outperform direct linking.
I ended up creating 3 very nice and very different landing pages to the offer, and just added them to the mix about 2 hours ago, so I don’t have very much data on them yet.
However, with the data I do have on them so far, which is only 68 clicks, things are looking absolutely awful.
It’s really heartbreaking because I worked so hard on the landing pages and they’re not performing even remotely close to the direct link. It also really limits the amount of "quick improvement" I can foresee with this offer.
More angles/targets will likely be my next step, but the landing pages being so poor definitely hurt any optimism I had going.
A bit of good news though – I got a 10% bump on the offer, which was already bumped previously I believe, so that does help a little… although really not that much since I’m not doing any volume with it.
I should also mention that about 25 of those 68 landing page clicks are "invalid" as I screwed up the tracking on my 2nd landing page, so the links on it weren’t working! Good thing I caught it and fixed it before I sent even more traffic to it.
Lastly, I also reduced and "optimized" bidding throughout the day just as I did on day 2. As a result, volume REALLY reduced to a crawl. I wasn’t all that worried about this as I was hoping that the landing pages would improve the conversion rate, meaning that I could increase the bids again in the future and increase traffic, but that’s not looking so good…
It’s currently 11pm as I write this, so these aren’t the final numbers for the day, but they will be very close to them:
Day 3 Results:
TOTAL: -$30.02 (-21.1% ROI)
So while today was the lowest actual total loss so far, landing pages aren’t looking good, my lowering of the bids has really reduced traffic volume down to a crawl, and my ROI actually took a hit since yesterday.
I actually have no idea why my ROI worsened today… it should have improved. It must be due to the landing page split-testing, even though I didn’t send all that much traffic to them. Hmm.
Here’s a recap of the past 3 days:
Day 1: -83% ROI
Day 2: -12.7% ROI
Day 3: -21.1% ROI
I’m not liking this "don’t give up" thing. I’m already down –$1,224.78 during the first 3 days of this campaign, and things aren’t looking too good.
How long do I have to stick with this for? Can I actually turn things around? Ugh.
The Good News
I’ll end with some positive news, even though the overall results have been less than stellar so far.
The good news is that I’m getting some decent CTR’s on my main campaign on this offer. The 3-day average CTR across all 30 ads is 0.112% – which is very high for me, and I’m getting 0.14% CTR average on the top performing ad with a sample size of 2,832 clicks.
The 3-day total is shown below:
And the following screenshot is from today:
The top performing ad was actually at over 0.25% CTR for the majority of the day – it just dropped during the evening. And since the price takes the average, tomorrow’s price numbers should drop some more since I’ve been continuing to drop the bids as well.
My next step on this offer is to create 2-3 more campaigns with different interests, all of which will be related to the campaign above, and one will be almost exactly the same but with tighter targeting. My demographic isn’t the largest though so I can’t make it too tight.
Anyhow, there’s an update on the first 3 days of my "don’t give up" campaign. I’d be thrilled if I can make this profitable – even if it’s just $10-$15/day, as that’s $300-$450 month and would be a proof of concept for this mentality/school of thought.
Wish me luck! I’d also love to hear any suggestions and/or advice you guys have for this campaign.