(Warning: Very image heavy. You may want to revisit this page on your computer if you’re viewing it from your phone.)
Where the hell have I been, you ask?
I’ve been here the whole time, but just haven’t posted in a while as I have been devoting my work hours to my affiliate marketing campaigns, since they took a nosedive and have been in critical status the past 2-3 months. I’ll report more on my affiliate marketing campaigns (including my monthly income reports – I haven’t forgotten!) in some upcoming blog posts.
The other reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I suddenly became very busy with house stuff, as about a month ago I FINALLY sold my condo and bought a house.
It’s amazing how much time it takes. There’s so much paperwork, e-mails, phone calls, and meetings involved, and I still have some more to go. I get possession on November 16th, so there’s still a few weeks to go. Please be patient if I am still slow getting up new blog posts. It’s a very busy time for me!
It took me 3 years to sell my condo, as the condo market here is insanely saturated, not to mention that the housing market in general here is already slow as hell. The funny thing is, while it took 3 years to sell my condo, it took only 3 days to find a house and make an offer on it.
I ended up taking a major loss on my condo. I bought at the worst possible time (2007, right before the big real estate crash), they then overbuilt condos here, and worst of all – they are now in the midst of building wet housing literally right beside my condo.
While I had to eat a major loss on the sale of my condo, I don’t regret accepting the lowball offer, as I was simply tired of waiting forever to sell my condo. One of the major reasons I wanted to sell my condo was so that I could get a house and get a DOG (one to start, anyway ). I could have waited for a better price, but that could easily have taken another 2-3 years. Sometimes you just have to take the loss and move on.
The New House
I bought this new house with my long-time girlfriend Lisa.
As I mentioned above, it took only 3 days for us to make an offer on a place once we started looking, as we had been actually looking DAILY online for about 3 years, ever since I put my condo on the market. As a result, we ended up knowing our local market inside and out.
There was one house at a higher price range with gorgeous ocean views and huge ceilings, but with affiliate marketing being such a roller coaster, we ended up deciding on a house that was much more practical financially. I’ll save the ocean-view mansion for the next house. It will help give me incentive to get to the next level in affiliate marketing.
The house was built in 2007 and is in amazing shape. The inspector was surprised at how good of a shape it was in. Being so new, it’s still under partial warranty.
On a side note, the inspector I hired actually ended up being an ex-employee of Neverblue. Small world, eh?
Here are some overall house details:
- 2,606 square feet
- 4 Bedrooms
- 3 Bathrooms
- Gas fireplace
- Gas hook-up for BBQ
- Fully fenced yard
- 2-car garage
- Media room
- Tiled and hardwood floors
- Walk-in closet
- 2-minute walking distance from the Parkway Trail, which is a 20KM paved trail. This is a bonus for me, as before I would have to drive to either drive to the trail or walk in my noisy neighbourhood
- 1-minute drive to badminton (not my favourite club though)
Below are 39 photos of the new house. Please note that these are taken from one of the online listings of the house, so none of the furniture is mine. In fact, my furniture will be far uglier and the house will look very empty for a while
I’m not sure we’ll keep a TV here. This is actually the upstairs "sitting room". There’s a separate media room, and there’ll be a TV in the master bedroom as well, so I don’t know if we really need that many TV’s…
Small "Dining Room" area…
The kitchen is actually a lot smaller than we would have liked, and is one of the downsides to the house, mainly because of the limited surface area. My condo’s current kitchen is actually bigger!
It does have glass sliding doors to the backyard though, which is nice. There’s a gas hook-up for a BBQ right outside too, so eating outside and barbequing will be very easy.
The kitchen is actually a decent size, it’s just that it has limited surface area. I am considering having an island put in, as I think it would make a lot of sense. The main downside being that you could probably not fit an eat-in kitchen table then…
That’s a pantry on the left, and a pocket door for the kitchen.
The master bedroom.
The back yard.
Back inside… this is another angle of the master bedroom again. I’ll definitely be mounting a TV there, and that’s a walk-in closet with pocket door.
One of the other bedrooms. Every single room apart from the bathrooms in the house is wired for telephone and Internet. The bedrooms aren’t that big though.
Bathroom #2. This one has a big, tall skylight.
The main floor. On the right are two French doors to my office!
The inside of my office.
Other side of my office. At the far end is a custom built-in granite desk.
I might have a wall mounted big screen TV on that other wall above where the black couch is, although I’m a bit concerned that it would affect my productivity, so probably not.
I think if I decorate the office just right though, that it could turn out pretty spiffy!
A fourth bedroom that we’ll likely turn into an exercise room:
This is the media room. It looks kind of small and dirty in the photo, but it’s actually quite large and nice (I don’t know why they didn’t feature it better in the real estate photos).
It’ll be nice to be able to play games like Rocksmith 2014 and not have to worry about the volume level for once!
Main level bathroom. All bathrooms have those curved shower rods… not a huge thing, but I’ve always wanted them!
And there you have it!
If you guys like, I can record a house video tour once I have the keys. Let me know if you’d be interested in that (or if the photos are enough). I did one when I purchased my condo back in 2007.
While Walter White was able to sustain a 99.1% chemically pure crystal methamphetamine, it is virtually impossible to generate affiliate leads that will result in 99.1% sales for the advertiser.
In this post, I will be talking exclusively about lead generation, not CPA offers that are based on CPS (cost-per-sale) where advertisers are basically guaranteed a profit every single time.
With lead generation (typically offers such as dating, gaming, toolbars, submits, etc. – basically anything that is free for the user), affiliates are simply providing leads to the advertiser that can potentially turn into paying customers. It is up to the advertiser to make the turnover.
As a result, lead generation can be a bit of a finicky realm to deal in, as you will constantly be concerned with lead quality. Or rather, the advertiser of the offer will be. This is one of the main reasons publishers get pulled from offers, if not the top reason.
Be Walter White
In Breaking Bad, Walter White used his chemistry background to enter the dark world of methamphetamine production and trafficking by improving the "quality" or purity of the "product".
It’s not the best comparison in the world, but lead generation is similar in that every affiliate will have a different quality for their leads. Advertisers with lead-paying offers will always look at your lead quality eventually and will act upon it as follows:
- Very low or continued low quality: ban you from the offer
- low quality: lower your payout and/or cap traffic
- medium quality: do nothing
- high quality: do nothing (this is when you can negotiate higher payouts)
- very high quality: typically ask for more volume (again, ask for higher payouts!)
So, what can you do if you have poor quality leads? Are you stuck with a lower payout?
No, you’re not. Not if you become the "Cook".
For example, let’s say your current lead quality looks like this:
In this example, let’s say you’re sending 3 different traffic sources to the same offer. All of your sources have different qualities of traffic. Your first traffic source is sending in 15% of the traffic and is of poor quality, your second traffic source is sending in the majority of volume at 80% and is of decent quality, and your third traffic source is sending in just 5% of the traffic to the offer, but is good quality.
With this mix, the advertiser will most likely determine that your quality is "okay", and leave you at the default payout. Let’s say that payout is $5.00.
Now, let’s say that you’re trying to increase your ROI by buying more of that cheaper traffic (the low quality stuff) and your overall quality on the offer starts to look more like this:
This would be considered low quality by the advertiser and you’d almost certainly see yourself either getting kicked from the offer or else getting a noticeable pay cut on the offer. If the first example paid out $5.00, then this example would probably pay out something more like $3.75 – a 25% drop.
Are You Ready to Cook?
The obvious answer to this issue is simple: improve your lead quality. With experience, you’ll know which sources of your traffic are low quality and which are high, and even on a targeting level.
For example, Facebook is generally very high quality while PPV is not. Ads with "free" in the ad copy or images usually lowers quality while including the price will improve it.
Obviously, this will mess with CTR and prices, and that is where you have to find the right balance and the right mix.
Going back to the situations above, let’s say that you were making $1,000 a month profit with the average quality mix, and $200 a month profit with the low quality mix.
Let’s also assume that the reason you aren’t sending in more high quality traffic (the 5% in the examples) is because it is extremely expensive and you’re only making a 5-10% ROI on it, and that’s only possible on a low volume basis.
In many cases such as this, it is often beneficial to purposely take a loss on some campaigns by buying up more volume of the higher quality traffic, in order to improve your overall lead quality on the offer.
Read that again, because that’s a huge tip for you guys.
This is something I didn’t really realize until not all that long ago. All I looked at was what my bottom line was and how I could scale and improve ROI and profits.
But after getting pulled from so many offers due to low quality, I’ve had to look at things at a more granular level and understand what the root of the problem was and how I could fix it.
The solution was to improve my quality by intentionally taking losses on the higher quality traffic sources, in order to improve my quality as a whole.
Therefore, let’s say you changed your quality to the following:
This would definitely be considered good to very good quality, and the advertiser would be very happy with it. You’d be able to run the offer uncapped for sure and would almost certainly be able to get a nice bump on the offer.
With this quality in our examples, your payout could be $6.00 – a 20% increase over the "medium" quality example.
But more importantly, in my opinion, is that you wouldn’t have to worry about being dropped from the offer. The advertiser would be happy with your quality and you could work on scaling it (as long as you keep the quality in line!).
Now, it’s not quite as easy as simply buying up more of that higher quality traffic, because as stated earlier, it’s more expensive and you’re actually taking a loss on it!
This is where you’ll need to do some number crunching and analysis on your campaigns in order to figure out how you can create the "perfect mix" that will allow you to provide high enough quality while at the same time allowing you to scale things up and profit.
Fortunately, with the 20% bump that put your payout at $6.00, this will help to compensate for some of that more expensive traffic. In this scenario, let’s say you’re now making $1,200 a month on the offer.
While not a big improvement over the $1,000/month you were making at "medium" lead quality, it’s still an improvement, PLUS you’re now sending in high lead quality which will allow you to run this offer for as long as it’s available.
There are many other benefits to providing high quality leads as well. For example, many times advertisers only have a certain stock or advertising budget available, and will have a monthly quota that they give each network.
You can bet your ass that your affiliate manager will delegate most of that cap to you since they know you will make the advertiser happy. Remember, the affiliate networks want high quality too because they’ll lose big if the advertiser decides to pack up and leave.
How Do You Know the Quality of the Traffic Source?
Taste it. What does a good chef do when they cook? They taste their food.
There are various ways to determine the quality of each "ingredient", and it’s a necessity that you run the traffic and test (taste) it first.
One way is to create multiple accounts at your affiliate network (most networks don’t have a problem with this if you’re a reputable publisher) and run each traffic source separately to the offer, and then request a quality check on them from the advertiser after a couple weeks or so.
Another way would be to have the advertiser and your affiliate manager look at your SubID’s, if you’re willing to have them look at that, and determine things that way (although that isn’t always possible).
You could also send the traffic at different times. For example, you might send traffic from Network A for 1 week, then traffic from another for another week, etc.
Another method is to run the offer on multiple networks – just be sure that the path is the same and the advertiser is the same!
In the end, as I said before, you’ll know from experience which of your sources are high quality and which are low.
Be the Cook
Improve your lead quality to an offer by creating the perfect recipe of various traffic sources and campaigns. Remember, it can often lead to higher profits in the end by taking some losses via "investing" in higher quality traffic.
The more volume you do and as you continue to scale, the more that "mixing" or "cooking" in lead generation matters.
You don’t need to put in 100% high quality traffic – after all, that will likely not be profitable for you, but be sure to mix enough in to where the advertiser is happy with the overall quality.
First, the mandatory apology:
The only post I wrote in August was actually my affiliate marketing income report for July. Despite my lack of posting, I’ve definitely been working. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took an entire day off from not working at all. Hell, yesterday was my birthday and I still put in some hours of work in.
As you’ll read about shortly, August was my worst month this year… by far. As a result, I was focused more on trying to keep a profit going on my campaigns and performing triage than I was on publishing new blog posts.
So, that explains my lack of posting.
Here then, are my affiliate marketing numbers (not inclusive of my other revenue sources) for the month of August 2013:
August 2013 Affiliate Campaign Income:
Ugh. From $142,606.00 in June to $64,950.00 in July to $38,702.00 in August. What’s next? $2,500 in September?
Traffic Source Breakdown:
- Traffic Source #1: $6,007.63
- Traffic Source #2: $2.60
- Traffic Source #3: $9,735.47
- Traffic Source #4: $14,381.32
At least my expenses were the lowest I spent all year…
I can’t tell you had embarrassed I am to have to post these numbers, after having so many better months this year.
But the whole point of these income reports is to share my results with you, whether that be good or bad. Affiliate marketing is a roller coaster ride as you can see, and I can’t expect the ride to keep climbing without ever seeing some drops.
In fact, there’s actually some good news to come out of this. More on that later on.
My ROI dropped dramatically in August as well, from 70% the previous month to a measly 28%.
Year-To-Date Affiliate Marketing Results
Despite seeing concerning drops the past 2 months, 2013 has still been a great year for me overall so far. In fact, it’ll be pretty hard for it to to lose that standing… the only way I see that happening is if I start pulling in some red months.
Here’s a monthly breakdown:
Man… August is such a blemish in my otherwise nice looking table.
It’s funny… because I had thought July was a horrendous month, but now it looks like so much compared to last month.
Net Profit Projections
The following linear projection is based off the past 8 months of data, and is projected for the next 4 months:
For the first time, the linear projection is on a DECLINE. That’s no good. Anyhow, rough projections show that December 2013 may bring in $25,000 profit.
Now let’s take a look at the running net profit total from my campaigns this year so far:
So this year so far, I’ve made $250K from my campaigns, and this time the projection is set for the end of the year. The linear projection predicts that I’ll finish the year at a net profit of just over $400,000. I hope it’s right!
These are just predictions though. My campaigns have really plummeted over the past couple of months, so we’ll have to see if the law of averages catches up.
Geez… where to start?
I think I’ll do this recap in point form to this time:
- Got mostly caught up with e-mail (currently down to 70)
- The vast majority of my campaigns died due to increased competition, offers going down, etc.
- Had my new programmer make me some basic custom software that gives me a huge leg up on some specific types of campaigns I run. Already paid for itself and will pay off many dividends in the future
- Managed to get some brand new profitable campaigns going. They don’t make much, but it is so important to be able to do this…
- Worked hard on some new landing page ideas, which definitely paid off
- Spent a fair bit trying to get new campaigns going. Been struggling in this regard, but did manage to get a couple new offers going at small profits.
- Had some server issues which caused some downtime and losses on my campaigns
The good news is that despite virtually all of my existing campaigns having died, that I still managed to get some brand new profitable campaigns going and end the month in a profit of $8,500+.
For September, I have 3 things on my mind. In order of priority:
Finish Catching up to E-mail
I currently only have 70 e-mails left to tackle. However, most of the ones left are fairly "involved" so they will take a lot more time and effort to deal with.
Once I finish my e-mail, I’ll have a "clear head" and will be able to focus 100% on doing my taxes.
With August being such as bad month for me, I really need to step up and work my ass off to try to get my campaign numbers up again. This is definitely easier said than done, but I do want to return to my 5-figure profit months.
I also want to modernize and sell some more of my websites, but I don’t think I’ll have time in September, so that will probably have to wait until October.
September Campaign Income Predictions
To be honest, I don’t think that September will be a good month. If I had to guess, I’d predict around $5,000 profit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more like $1,000 profit.
Part of this is because I will need to spend a lot to try to find new profitable campaigns.
We’ll just have to wait and see. Check back on October 1st to see the results!
Now – how did August treat you for your affiliate marketing campaigns? Share your results in the comments below – I’m genuinely interested in seeing how things are going for others.
Note: The following is a “paid plug”. If you’re interested in purchasing a paid plug, please visit my advertising page.
Hello to all TylerCruz.com readers.
My name is Ivan Ong and I am from Singapore (a small country in Asia but highly developed and established). I’m very happy to be posting as a guest post in Tyler’s blog.
I would like to introduce myself a little to you here. I run a personal blog on CPA Marketing at http://www.Ivan-Ong.com and have been blogging about my online journey in CPA marketing for over 6 years now.
I started CPA marketing way back in 2007 when i was still in university at age 21 after being introduced by a friend about the chance of making big money online without selling anything. Things definitely didn’t go smoothly initially as i wasn’t too sure about what i was doing and i was banging walls everywhere.
However, i was very fascinated about this whole thing about CPA and the idea that i could one day be earning tons of money and not be stuck with a job and in the rat race. I poured in countless hours and time into reading up on forums and getting courses after courses on CPA marketing. I guess the thing that really differentiate me from the rest of the people is that i take massive massive action! I tried and failed, tried and failed and but i never really give up simply because i believed that this business is doable and it like the lowest start up business that you can find anywhere.
Fast forward to 2012, i have generated over US$3,000,000 in online commission solely from CPA marketing alone. Below is screenshot in one of the CPA network (W4 network) that i am using. I specialized specifically on contextual traffic using PPV and also PPC traffic.
My life was good! I live in a condominium (US$1,200,000 house, Singapore property prices are insanely expensive! lol) and driving my dream car since i was young. A Mercedes SLK200 that cost US$230,000 in Singapore. (Cars are insanely expensive too in Singapore!)
My blog started to gathered some good readership and i was getting request from people asking if i provide coaching and teaching them what i know about CPA marketing and how to generating this sort of income online. I thought why not? And so i begin taking a few student and i came out with a systematic course about everything that i know about generating income with CPA.
Results from my students were fantastic. While people on forum were mentioning that Direct Linking is dead, my students are doing 100-200% ROI on Direct linking! Direct linking is not dead, you just need to know how to make it work for you!
Below is a video that I have done up recently in July 2013 about what my students have to say about my coaching program and the achievement that they have so far!:
(Note: You may need to visit the post directly at TylerCruz.com if you’re reading this via e-mail or RSS in order to see it.)
Every month before the beginning of every month, we would have a motivation week in my Facebook Mastermind Group whereby students would be posting their CPA income to motivate one another. This is definitely a very strong motivator when you see your fellow course mate are generating US$18,000 in net profit and why aren’t you achieving that?
We also have healthy competition to see who is doing better in terms of net profit and ROI every month. Check out the screenshot!
So all in all, my students generated $380,151.00 in the month of July 2013 alone in W4 CPA network! This is excluding other network that my students are using like Neverblue etc.
If you wish to find out more about my highly successful coaching program that consists of 6 years of my personal experience in CPA marketing, I encourage you to contact me.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and perhaps we could just be friends!
If you wish to add me as friend on Facebook, here is my facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/ivanong0506
Thank you for reading!