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!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: October 19th, 2014 under Affiliate Marketing  

41 Responses to “9 Things I’ve Learned About Mobile So Far”

  1. Yan Shi says:

    Hi, this is my first time to leave a comment.
    Great to see a post that is not a income report for a change.
    Can I ask a question, what is the biggest difference between a mobile campaign with a ‘conventional offer’?

  2. Great post Tyler.

    Many publishers/affiliates have trouble monetizing their mobile inventory or making making money of mobile. I think mobile will keep growing but there are still a lot of things that the industry has to figure before it becomes as successful as desktop for publishers/affiliates.

  3. Vlad B. says:

    IP geolocation on mobile is tricky, because there are a million ways that mobile networks route the mobile data traffic. So far I’ve had the best luck with http://pointp.in which is extremely fast and much more accurate than the other solutions I tried (free and paid). Not sure if it fits into your workflow, but might be worth checking out.

  4. James says:

    Hi Tyler –

    Not sure if you will answer this question or not but would be greatly appreciated if you did.

    Can you tell us what mobile traffic source you used? No specifics just the network. And if not can you tell us what is a good mobile network would be good to start with that is cheap?

    I’ve researched and found a lot of them online but not 100% sure which one to try.

    Thanks!

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I can’t recommend any as I’ve only used a small handful myself so far…

      What works for me may not work for you… just test everything man.

      • James says:

        Okay will do! Will give it a shot. Been working dating lately on mobile and the profits are there but nothing near the 1000% ROI.

        Seems like I spend too much time managing the campaigns for the return I get.

  5. Yuvraj Karle says:

    Hey, about that conversio delay thing, if you are running app install offers then its very possible as what happens is people installs the app but they might not open the very moment they installed, might be a day later so the pixel fires when they open the app.

  6. HypeFree_com says:

    Thanks for sharing, I have not done mobile yet but plan to give it a try.

    Dan Stojadinovic

  7. Richard says:

    Do you create your own creatives for most of the mobile campaigns you run?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Yeah, most of the time. I’ll often just use any provided banners from the offer while I test out its overall performance, and then will start testing with my own custom ones once I find a good offer.

  8. Louise says:

    My experience with mobile has been that it is a very slow process to have sales. People don’t like to buy stuff using their phone. I think to work on mobile it has to work on a very simple payment method otherwise people prefer doing it using their laptop.

  9. Marty Rogers says:

    Great stuff, Tyler.

    I’m personally not a big fan of Mobile internet browsing. It’s just not very enjoyable – convenient, of course, but I suppose that’s what the majority who aren’t looking to productive at a machine need in their lives.

  10. thanx for information i will surely try it out man :)one should not SKIP ANY of the opportunity

  11. Ryan Bozeman says:

    The portion about the tracking being off is actually really concerning…I wonder how many of the networks have implemented mobile tracking that is off.

  12. ngolim says:

    Hi Tyler,

    Any feedback from CPVlab for the IP address descrepancies?

  13. Rick says:

    Hey Tyler,

    Thanks for the awesome post. Quick question: without revealing too much, how did you decided which traffic sources and offers to try first?

  14. Dave says:

    Are you running any cps or just cpl?

  15. Bank says:

    Thanks Tyler! I haven’t jump into mobile yet. After reading your post, I’m thinking about try to do it soon.

  16. swami says:

    Just a question .. Are you doing mobile just with direct link?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Read the post a little more carefully and you’ll have your answer 🙂

      • swami says:

        I know the answer Tyler .. I have few successful mobile campaigns, like web direct-linking never worked for me, i always build lander. So just curious to know how you are doing this direct link? what kind of offer is it?

        • Dave says:

          He said he’s doing mostly lead gen. I doubt he’d want to share much more detail than that. Direct link can work, though, depending on the offer so just try to tweak your targeting or traffic source.

  17. Nate Ritter says:

    tyler, thanks for sharing all that you do. Out of curiosity, I assume you use something to assist in all the campaign creation. If so do you recommend a tool?

  18. Aria Love says:

    Didn’t know mobile campaign is good too. thanks

  19. Nazar M says:

    Which is the better profitable platform for campaign mobile or other devices

  20. Hi Tylor,
    What would be the best offers to send mobile traffic? I have a database of 700K users of my applications where I can send push-up notifications so I would like to use this on mobile offers.
    any suggestion would be great.

  21. Thanks Tyler,
    Nice post, I also don’t feel comfortable when I try to surf internet on my mobile for blogging or any other work. BTW its an awesome post written by you 🙂

  22. Nope actually never tried affiliate marketing for mobile traffic. I think its risking your time.

  23. issac paul says:

    Hey Tyler,
    Cool report ! Very useful ,i am spending around 10-20 mins daily reading you’re content keep sharing you’re stuffs.

  24. Satish IM says:

    Hie Tyler

    I was Planning to Promote some Products for Mobile and Tablets Through Landing Pages after reading this am thinking of alternate ways thanks for sharing

    If you know any Best Idea to Promote for Mobile Please do a comment its may Help Me a lot

  25. amit says:

    glad to see that you posted about mobile 🙂

  26. SURYA VAMSI says:

    Even i have learnt many things from this article and once again thanks for the author for providing me this article

  27. Robert M says:

    Hi all!
    We initially tried http://www.telize.com/
    it was a good service specailly being free
    but then we tried https://pointp.in/docs
    It has been great as well and super easy integration via ruby gem
    It is a paid service but we have found that is very realiable and has more than enough accuracy for what we need. not changing for now.

    cheers

PeerFly

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