Micromanaging vs. Macromanaging Campaigns

June 15, 2013 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Every morning, the first thing I do is make a cup of coffee and then head to my office to work for 3 hours. Typically, around 1.5-2 hours of that time is spent on my campaigns. Of that 1.5-2 hours, usually around 80% of that is spent on checking my numbers and doing basic optimization on my campaigns. The remaining 20% of the time would be for launching new campaigns and offers (I do that maybe every 2nd or 3rd day).

Despite having access to CPVLab, custom-built Excel macros, and other tools at my disposal, I still find myself doing the same types of calculations and optimizations every morning. It is a lot of micromanagement to keep my campaigns fresh and at a healthy ROI.

So far, it seems to have been working well for me. I am currently on pace to do $400,000 net profit in 2013, and it takes me roughly 1.5-2 hours every morning to sustain that. But when you factor in that my other work time is spent on e-mails, blogging, and working on my other projects, it seems like I’m just treading water with my campaigns – not really going anywhere.

Yes, my affiliate marketing income has gone up by a lot over the past 6 months, but I can’t see that continuing for much longer; I feel like I’m pretty much near the peak at where my current campaigns can go.

As I continue to get rid of more side projects, I’ll have more time to dedicate to my campaigns, but the fact remains that there is a fixed amount of time that my campaigns require from me.

Hiring a virtual assistant is definitely out (I will never trust anyone with my campaigns – there is absolutely nothing stopping them from copying my stuff and being my direct competitor), and I have automated things decently well, although I could work on building out more tools for this.

Perhaps this is normal and just what is to be expected as an affiliate marketer. But I can’t help but feel that I’m spending far too much time micromanaging and maintaining my existing campaigns rather than launching new ones or handling bigger ones.


I would definitely classify my current style of affiliate marketing as being a micromanager: I have a ton of campaigns, multiple traffic sources, and do a ton of bidding analysis.


I analyze data at a keyword level daily, checking virtually every nook and cranny of all my campaigns. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t know exactly what is going on with every single one of my campaigns on a granular level. It’s like I have a microscope on every square inch of my campaigns.

And it is beneficial too – I constantly make small adjustments to bids and targeting here and there, and adjust funds as necessary and pause and resume campaigns for dayparting and weekparting. If I didn’t do all this, I would definitely see a big drop in profits.

But it takes time, and I am not really getting to the next level as a result.


Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my current need to micromanage, and have pondered if it would be better for me to consider macromanaging campaigns instead.

Unlike micromanaging, micromanaging is doing things on a larger scale and looking at the bigger picture. There is still optimization and split-testing as will always be the foundation of affiliate marketing, but there are less constant small tweaks involved due to much higher volume and numbers overall.

A good comparison would be AdWords Search and Media Buys.

AdWords Search is an example of a micromanagement traffic source. Sure, you can do massive volume with it, but it requires a lot of fine-tuning and adjustments due to its keyword targeting and highly competitive bidding.

Media Buys, on the other hand, is a great example of a macromanagement traffic source. There is far less targeting options with media buys, and as a result, less elements that need constant monitoring and adjusting. However, it is also riskier as it requires a ton more money, as the minimum budgets are tremendously higher, and you’re often competing against a lot more brand advertisers who don’t even track their ROI.

What a macromanager loses out on in ROI, he makes up on with sheer volume.

Which would you rather have?:

  1. 64% ROI of $14,000 ad spend
  2. 31% ROI of $39,000 ad spend
  3. 20% ROI of $82,000 ad spend

Think about it for a minute.

This is actually a good scenario because this type of cost-benefit analysis is very important in affiliate marketing and is something that you should always be honing in on with your campaigns. Every campaign has it’s perfect sweet spot where you can maximize the most amount of net profit.

You could be generating a massive $480,000 a month with your campaigns, but if they’re only generating $460,000 in revenue, then you’re really only netting $20,000. I’m sure that if you took a lower gross but higher ROI, that you’d profit more with the same campaign, just by bidding less.

Anyhow, I was just writing those 2 above paragraphs as a buffer so that you wouldn’t immediately see the correct answer from my question above.

If you answered 20% ROI of $82,000 ad spend, then you chose the highest net profit choice.

Here’s what the net profit numbers work out to:

  1. 64% ROI of $14,000 ad spend = $8,960 Profit
  2. 31% ROI of $39,000 ad spend = $12,090 Profit
  3. 20% ROI of $82,000 ad spend = $16,400 Profit

I’m getting a little side-tracked here, but my point is that a macromanager will sacrifice not just ROI, but constant campaign perfection, opting instead to build campaigns that bring in big numbers.

I think the perfectionist in me and my insane attention to detail OCD is holding me back from getting to the next level.

For example, the $40,000 net profit I made last month wasn’t made with 1 or 2 super campaigns. That was all spread across literally 40-50 small campaigns, with 4-5 of those being medium ($50-$100/day) to larger medium ($300-$400/day) campaigns.

Perhaps I should find bigger campaigns that have the potential of doing large numbers with less daily adjustments required.

It’d sure be a massive time-saver to have to manage 1 big campaign rather than 50 tiny ones.

Anyhow, this is just some stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. I’d love to hear feedback from any successful affiliate marketers lurking about.

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Posted: June 15th, 2013 under Affiliate Marketing  

22 Responses to “Micromanaging vs. Macromanaging Campaigns”

  1. I don’t blame you for not hiring an assistant for your campaigns. I wouldn’t trust anyone but a partner or relative with that kind of thing.

    It sounds like it could be worth tweaking your more successful campaigns a bit more. Maybe you could tweak a $400 per day campaign enough to get up to $1,000 per day. And who knows, maybe it can be scaled even higher.

    The benefit with running so many small campaigns is that it spreads your risk. You could spend all your time running a campaign that makes $20k a month….but what happens if that offer suddenly stops.

    I think the best solution is somewhere in between. Perhaps running a dozen large campaigns is better than running 50 smaller ones.


  2. Jacky says:

    You said that you don’t see yourself increasing your affiliate income anymore.
    What are your other options to keep increasing your overall income?
    What about building email lists and offering your own products to affiliates?
    Do you have any idea, which way you want to go in the future?

    • Phoebe says:

      Please no more “affiliate products”. Name a product that affiliates are using that makes them money, month after month ?

      Me and some friends have tons of crap that is useless.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      My current goal is to keep doing what I’m doing. As I continue to get rid of more side projects/websites, I will have more time to work and focus on affiliate marketing. I am hoping that will help to increase revenue.

  3. Chintan Shah says:

    Are you serious when you say that media buying doesnt require so many variables and management, because I would completely oppose you on that 🙂

  4. Affly says:

    Pretty frustrating situation…

    How do other “big” affiliates scale for much higher income?

    The only thing comes in mind is that they hire staff and/or outsource some tasks.

    Besides technology automation would help a lot.

    What else could be done?

  5. pw says:

    Do you mean adwords displaynetwork when you talk about media buys?

    • Phoebe says:

      Media Buys… buy some ad space on a popular website that is in the niche/vertical you are working in. Normally it is paid by per 1k pageviews not clicks.

      • pw says:

        Adwords makes it easy, by allowing you to target selected websites. You can also bid on CPM rates. On top of that you can also target using keywords, topics, gender, age…I see only one reason to contact each website individually: lower price. I wonder what Tyler had it mind when he discussed media buys.

  6. ddww says:

    What do you mean by keeping your campaigns ‘fresh’?

  7. Aldo Vargas says:

    I’m not even near of the word expert in PPC, but if i traspolate this to microniche sites its like having 40-80 sites making $10 a day.

    So managing this huge amount of sites will make your life a pain so will be the same as your micromanaging.

    micromanaging its nice when there isnt enough money and its something its learned from the basics of affiliate but in my opinion this basic will need a little tick when reaching a certain point and looks like you are there 😉

  8. Luis says:

    Hey Tyler great content thanks for all the great info.

    Are there any resources you recommend on learning how to create landing pages?

    I’ve heard you mention before you use notepad and photoshop to create your LP’s and I’m assuming the notepad is for coding so I just wanted to know if you have any resources to learn how to code basic landing pages.


    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Luis, there are nearly countless sources out there on how to learn HTML and CSS. You could also consider outsourcing the work, buying premade templates, or hiring an affiliate landing page freelancer/service.

  9. wesley says:

    Hi Tyler, just curious how much are you averagely spending for each of your campaign to get that roi? thanks

  10. Jan says:

    Why don’t you use a tool like Marin Software. For the volumes you’re doing it might well be worth the price and it lets you focus more on starting new campaigns rather than micro managing.

  11. UshaJi says:

    I can’t be definite about your decision but i think the way you are doing thing is great you are earning a handsome amount of money and i feel taking any further steps in order to earn more without proper planning would definitely tun out o harmful.

  12. Dave says:

    One thing to consider with the higher spend, lower ROI is the liquidity risk, though. An analogy would be the big banks that collapsed. They had too much money at risk and then something out of their control (the economy) goes sour and they can’t survive it. Same thing could happen if you have a low ROI and big ad spend if something goes awry one day (eg. website outage while you don’t have net access).


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