part 6: the affiliate marketing hamster wheel

Fast Forward 30 days later….

Kevin continued running that 1st campaign.

He’s spent 700 USD on traffic for this month.

Kept the minimum daily budget at 20 USD but he also had some overspent because of those – “darn late clicks”.

His affiliate network dashboard now shows just a tip over 400 USD in revenues.

He also spent for a premium subscription to a couple of “insider” affiliate forums to get more “knowledge”.

Bought a subscription to a “proper spy tool” to get more accurate “spying” data.

He also got the tracker payment kicked in around 2 weeks after he first got it (it was a on a 14-day free trial).

All in all, his spend was around 1000 bucks and his revenues were $400.

So he is now at $600 loss but he sees this money spent as an investment in his real-life education and gathering data.

Indeed, he now has more data.

Data like dayparting hours which basically shows what times of the day seem to be working best /giving more conversions for that GEO.

“I am going to kill it next month.”

Fast forward another 30 days.

Month 2 spent on the traffic source $1500.

He read that he had to start spending more to make more and so he did.

Then there was the tracker, the forum and the spy tool subscriptions from last month. So that’s another 200-300. So month 2 spent was 1800.

Month 2 revenue on the affiliate network dashboard shown another 3 figure month.

$800 USD in revenues.

“That’s sweet.”

He’s not over the moon, however.

He doesn’t actually have this money into his bank account.

That’s because the affiliate network that runs this offer with, have him on “bi-monthly NET-30 payment terms”.

He was new with no previous experience.

He doesn’t remember his AM telling him that when he first registered with the network.

But at the time…

“All I cared was to finally get accepted into one”…he recalls.

What he knows is that he still hasn’t got any of the revenue money shown.

Network Payments…My oh my…

Kevin is now $2800 out of pocket.

Has a nice looking dashboard showing he’s made $1200 USD but has zero actual money in the bank account.

He hopes this $1200 expected money to be paid to him at some point.

But he’s really expecting to get the $400 of that first from month 1.

He knows he needs to somehow start getting money made faster.

What Kevin doesn’t know yet, because no one told him and he never asked, is that the affiliate network that he runs that offer has a $500 minimum payment threshold.

So Kevin needed to make $500 first and then there is that Bi-Monthly Net 30 Payment schedule.

That ‘Bi-Monthly’ means the network makes payments twice a month e.g. every 1st and every 16th.

The Net 30 means he gets paid at least 30 days after reaching that minimum pay threshold.

Kevin reached the $500 threshold on the 2nd of the month. So based on the Payment terms he will get paid on the 16th of the next month.

That’s 45 days after reaching that payment threshold!

He sees a problem…

“I’ve now spent all the money I initially thought I’d give to try this whole CPA affiliate marketing thing… and then some.”

“At least, I now know how this game works. I just have to wait it out a bit until I get paid so I can start promoting again.”

2 weeks pass by…

He gets an email from the affiliate network to ensure he got his payment details setup properly to get paid.

“Who-hoo – Finally payday”.

Logs in into the dashboard and finds the profile/payments section. He’s looking for a place to put his PayPal email address so he gets paid.

He can’t find it.

He ‘googles’ the name of the affiliate network and the term “payments”.

He finds a blog post that states the network only makes payments via website e-payments (has no idea what that is) and Paxum.

He seems to recall that weird word mentioned somewhere.

He remembers reading somewhere that Paxum is something like PayPal.

Off he goes to open an account with them.

Took 5 minutes.

He then reads he needs to verify his account before he can actually use it for transferring money.

Their automated verification system didn’t like his id for some reason.

“Time to send a ticket to them to see if we can do this manually.”

After 3-4 back and forth exchanges because “Id scan wasn’t clear enough”, “your hand is not shown holding the passport” etc…

…he finally has a version of his ID accepted.

He’s now verified but it’s now been another 5 days gone.

Nevertheless, he is now ready to start promoting again…

Round Two

Kevin deposits more funds into the traffic source platform.

One last check all links and offer still working ok. Check and check. Hit run…

Almost within a few hours, he notices that something is not the same.

The 1st obvious thing is the number of conversions is very few.

He had made $800 the month before pausing to wait for the money.

And it’s only been 3 weeks since the last time he run traffic to it…

For a campaign to be making $800 per month on $1.5 payout/conversion, it means over 530 conversions.

Dividing this number over 30 days that means at least 17 conversions per day with his budget.

So when Kevin saw just 2 conversions after 8 hours he could immediately tell that something wasn’t the same.

He’s no idea what the issue is. He’s not changed anything on his end. Heck even the CPC for that GEO costs a bit less now.

However, that important EPC metric has gone down from $0.33 to $0.07.

“I wonder what happened to my EPC”…

Fast forward to next week…

The whole situation never improved.

He ended up actually losing money. He still wonders on that massive EPC drop…

He kills the campaign.

In retrospect, he thinks he could have done something about making the campaign profitable again.

Like changing the creatives.

As most likely people caught up with the creatives he is using.

And started using them too in their campaigns.

“Anyhoo. off to find a new offer to promote.”

Round Three

This time he starts by taking a look directly to the spy tool for potential offers to promote.

Logs into the platform. Uses the handy Filter feature of the software. Filters to show offers by network and chooses his affiliate network from the list.

Then filters some more via GEO, choosing the same GEO he s run his first campaign.

Time for some sorting…

Sorts results based on ad gravity. He remembers reading that the longer an ad runs and the higher gravity number is, it means that the people running that ad, are making money with it. A lot.

Finds an offer looking promising.

He logs into his network.

He is already approved for it. Sets it up in the tracker. Off to the traffic source…

Fast forward another 2 weeks later.

He’s run out of money before the campaign has gathered enough data.

So his campaign is now paused.

In retrospect, he now understands that the idea of putting 8 creatives in the ad to rotate wasn’t a good one.

He realizes that to test all these creatives and have meaningful results he would need a lot of traffic.

And thus a bigger budget.

Kevin learns another useful thing.

The best use for spy tools is to really get an idea of what creatives work and what to say on the ads.

Not to select offers.

Fast forward 3 weeks more

…Kevin receives a payment from the network.

However, that offer he was running no longer exists on that network.

The advertiser had to pull it down for some reason that he didn’t quite understand.

Something about fraudulent conversions from shady affiliates.

“Well, that’s a bit of a bummer.”

“I’ll just need to find a new one….”

He also thinks…

“Man those delayed payments are messing up with my cash flow.

“How am I ever going to be able to scale a campaign before I run out of money?”



Welcome to the CPA Affiliate Marketing Hamster Wheel