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Affiliate Media Buying - The Fastest Way to Generate Commissions

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There are thousands of ways to make money online with affiliate marketing... and really, that's what makes affiliate marketing so great. You'll never get bored because there's always something new (and profitable) you can do.

Many affiliates use "free" methods to generate conversions for their affiliate offers, such as posting on social media, making a blog/website, or making YouTube videos. If you make the content for these methods yourself then it'll actually cost you nothing out of pocket, but the real hidden "cost" here is your time. In some cases, you'll need to be cranking out content for months before you start getting any affiliate commissions.

You know what they say— "time is money". Well, we all don't have the time and/or patience to wait several months to start seeing any sort of results for our efforts.

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Thankfully there's another way...

A less popular method among affiliates to generate conversions on their affiliate offers is through media buying. Media buying is where you buy online advertisements to generate traffic for your affiliate offers in hopes of making more money in affiliate commissions than you've spent on ads. You'll see results almost instantly and there's no limit on how much money you can make.

On the surface affiliate media buying sounds great, but there's a lot that goes into it if you're going to be successful.

Getting Started with Media Buying​

Unlike the "free" methods of affiliate marketing, affiliate media buying requires some upfront investment if you're going to be successful. You need cash... and the more you have the better off you'll be.

Not only do you need cash to purchase online advertisements, but you'll also need some cash to purchase the necessary tools to craft profitable campaigns.

Tools of the Trade​

The tools and resources you need can be classified into three different categories:
  • Essential
  • Optional, but highly suggested
  • Optional, extra tools to make your life better
Let's take a quick look at what falls under each category.

Essential Tools + Resources​

The most essential tool that you'll need as an affiliate media buyer is a tracker. A tracker will allow you to collect data about the traffic/clicks you've purchased that you'll use to optimize your campaigns for the highest return on ad spend (ROAS) possible. Pricing of trackers range anywhere from free to $999+/month.

Most new affiliate media buyers will be fine starting out with a tracker that offers a free plan, such as BeMob with 100,000 clicks/events per month. Eventually, you might transition to a less limiting paid plan with more features. Two of the most popular trackers at the moment are Binom (self-hosted) and Voluum (cloud-hosted). Pricing starts at $69/month and goes up from there depending on the plan you choose.

Once you have a tracker, you're going to need an affiliate network. An affiliate network will have hundreds of offers to select from that you can use in your media buying campaigns. When first starting it's suggested that you stick with just 1 - 2 affiliate networks specialized in your vertical of choice (i.e., casino, dating, sweepstakes, finance, etc.). Ideally, your affiliate network will have a low minimum payment and frequent payment schedule so you won't run into cash flow issues.

The final thing you need if you're going to get into media buying is a traffic source or advertising network. An ad network is where you'll buy advertisements to bring traffic to your landing pages/offers. When starting it's suggested that you stick with just 1 (at most 2) quality networks offering your chosen traffic type while you learn the ropes.

Optional, but Highly Suggested Tools + Resources​

For some affiliate offers you might be profitable linking directly to the affiliate offer, but more often than not you'll want to use landing pages to increase your conversion rates. In order to use landing pages you need website hosting and/or a CDN to serve your landing pages. There are many, many options for this, but a free option like Amazon AWS, Netlify, or similar will do just fine.

Next, you'll really want to consider investing in a spy tool. A spy tool scrapes the ads and landing pages other affiliates are running and aggregates them for you to see. By using a spy tool you're able to see what other affiliates are already running profitably, giving you a benchmark to start from and improve upon. Don't be like many new affiliates and try and re-invent the wheel; you'll end up spending more money in the end than a spy tool costs.

The last thing to consider is subscribing to a premium affiliate marketing forum. Here you can get help from other affiliates and learn new concepts you won't find published publicly on the Internet. Knowledge is power. 😉

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Optional, Extra Tools to Make Your Life Better​

Once you've got some experience and are consistently making money with media buying you might think about some other tools to make your life better.

For example, automation. Automation tools, like TheOptimizer, will allow you to make campaign optimization rules that'll be executed around the clock on auto-pilot. With automation implemented you'll be able to run more campaigns at the same time, making you more money.

Other tools to consider:
  • SMS Sending Software
  • Email Sending Software
  • User Session Recording
  • Fraud Detection
  • etc.

Running Campaigns​

Once you have the essential tools/resources (i.e., tracker, affiliate network account(s), traffic source account(s)) you're ready to start running campaigns.

The process for each campaign you run is very similar, but let's break each step down a bit so it's easier to digest and understand:

Finding Offers​

The first thing you'll always need to do is select some offers to run. A good first step is to usually network with your affiliate manager and ask for a report of the top offers by revenue. Chances are good the offers generating the most money on the affiliate network are making other affiliates money... otherwise, no affiliate would run them.

The other option is to use your spy tool to see what's currently "hot".

With offers in hand, upload them to your tracker.

(Optional) Build Landing Pages​

If you choose to use landing pages in your campaigns the next step in your campaign creation workflow is to craft some landing pages to use in your campaign. As mentioned above, you should definitely use a spy tool for this to exponentially increase your chances of finding one that works really good for your offer.

Once you've configured 3 - 5 landing pages, upload them to your website hosting and tracker

Build Campaigns​

Now you're ready to build your campaigns. Add your offers (and landing pages) to a new campaign in your tracker so you can split-test them all to see what brings in the most profit.

Take the campaign URL and then set up your campaign on your traffic source of choice. Take into account the targeting (who's going to see your ads) so you don't unnecessarily show your advertisements to users that aren't a good fit for your offer/campaign.

Submit your campaign and after it's approved you'll instantly start spending and (hopefully) making money. 🤑

Optimizing Campaigns​

After you've gathered enough data in your campaigns you'll likely be at a negative ROI, but with optimization, you can bring it profitable.

Depending on your traffic source of choice, you can usually optimize your campaign on:
  • Offers
  • Landing Pages
  • Creatives
  • Device Type (Mobile/Desktop)
  • OS
  • OS Version
  • Browser
  • Language
  • Time of Day
  • Internet Connection Type
  • ISP
  • Placements
  • etc.
Your goal through campaign optimization is to remove the segments of traffic that aren't profitable so you're left with only the segments that are. Over time you'll recover the money you lost while testing and starting bringing in the profits.

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Conclusion​

From the outside media buying appears to be a very easy way to make a lot of money fast. It definitely can be, but to get to that point you need to have the right mindset and a lot of experience.

The learning curve can be steep (you need a lot of technical knowledge if you're going about it on your own) and the emotional rollercoaster can be a wild ride (many people can't stomach the thought of losing money before they make money after optimization).
About author
Nick
Nick is a full-time affiliate marketer with 10 years of experience in just about every traffic type and vertical. You can learn more about him on his affiliate marketing blog.

Comments

Excellent post!

Here is our full campaign list in case you are looking for an Affiliate Network ;)
 

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