Guide mVAS 101: Ultimate Guide to Mobile Content Offers

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Jimmy

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Ready to learn about mVAS?​

Apparently, you’ve got to walk before you can crawl. No wait, scratch that – reverse it. Seriously though, we’ve got to start somewhere and if you’ve heard about mVAS, but you don’t have a clue what it is, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide I’m going to start at the beginning and explain what mVAS offers are all about. That’s what you’re going to find in this section – the basics to get you started if this is all new to you.

In the next section, I’m going to ratchet things up a notch and get into the business of promoting mVAS offers effectively – how to choose a good offer, the best traffic types to run, and how to set up your campaigns. I’ll even share some tips and tricks to help you compete with the best.

Then in the third section, I’m going to keep up a list of some mVAS follow alongs (including a new FA I'm about to start) where other members have promoted mVAS offers and either put some green on the board or didn't end up with the results they expected - then I'll summarize the highlights from these campaigns and try to point out what seemed to go right or what might've gone wrong.

If you have questions you want me to answer or comments you want to discuss – about anything in this guide, or anything I’ve missed – then feel free to reply and I’ll keep updating everything so it can be a go-to resource for promoting mVAS offers to infinity and beyond!

Now, strap in and buckle up because we’re about to learn All The Things…



What’s mVAS, Anyway?​

“mVAS” stands for “mobile value-added services” but these offers are also known by a bunch of other names, including:
  • mobile content
  • carrier billing
  • premium SMS
  • PIN submits
  • mobile subscriptions
  • mobile billing
  • direct operator billing.
For the total beginners – most CPA offers fit into a few broad categories:
  • Lead generation (CPL) offers convert when someone provides personal info
  • App installs (CPI) offers convert when someone installs some software
  • Purchases or subscriptions (CPS) offers convert when someone purchases something or subscribes to a paid service.
In this sense, mVAS offers are CPS offers because someone converts by agreeing to be billed by their carrier for a paid service, usually a monthly subscription, but sometimes a one-off fee.

mVAS offers provide access to paid mobile services like games, music, video streaming (mainstream and adult), ringtones, wallpapers, horoscopes and utilities. And while plenty of mVAS offers are scammy (IMHO) there are plenty of offers for legit services that people can’t get on their phones in the usual ways – i.e. by subscribing with a credit card or PayPal etc.

Take the population of India for example, where only about 2% of the population has a credit card and can’t always get access to something like PayPal. If you’re from India and you’ve got a mobile phone – which is most of the population – then carrier billing is the perfect way to get access to mobile content without going through the main payment gateways.

The worldwide carrier billing market is worth over $50 billion! Which is sweet, but still just a drop in the ocean compared to where the market could go if the 'big boys' of the online app and e-commerce markets – players like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, UBER etc – get in on the action. In a world where these Appzillas provide worldwide access to carrier billing as a payment method, the market could explode to over $1 trillion!!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a nice slice of that delicious pie!



mVAS Conversion Flows​

Before getting down and dirty and taking a peek at some offers, there’s one more basic concept about mVAS to wrap your head around – and that’s “conversion flows”.

For the total beginners – every CPA offer has a predefined path or “flow” that a visitor has to follow, starting with a “view” on the offer page and ending with a “conversion”. Depending on the offer, the flow could be as simple as a click on the offer page, or as complex as COD (i.e. paying cash on delivery of a product) or full registration and deposit (with KPIs to meet).

An offer's flow is usually categorized by the clicks or steps in the conversion process. In that sense, mVAS offers have different flows, ranging from 1-click offers to multiple steps, depending on the way different carriers allow the billing to be initiated.

There are 2 types of carrier billing methods:
  1. Direct billing (i.e. MSISDN billing)
  2. SMS billing.
It would be nice if this meant there were only 2 types of mVAS flows, but unfortunately it’s not quite that simple because each of these billing methods can be implemented via different flows.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the most common mVAS flows…

DIRECT BILLING (MSISDN) FLOWS​

Direct billing means the carrier allows a purchase or subscription directly from the offer page. Usually this is only possible on a 3G connection because the offer page needs to be able to automatically identify the user's mobile number (MSISDN) when the page loads.

There are 2 types of direct billing flows - SOI flow and DOI flow.

SOI Flow (AKA 1-Click Offers)
As the name suggests, a single opt-in (SOI) flow offer only requires the user to opt-in to the offer once, which is usually as simple as clicking a link on the offer page.



DOI Flow (AKA 2-Click Offers)
Double opt-in (DOI) flow means a user has to confirm their subscription a second time, after they click the link on the offer page. This can happen a couple of different ways, including a new confirmation link on a second page or receiving an SMS message with a confirmation link.



SMS BILLING FLOWS​

SMS billing means the carrier will only initiate a purchase or subscription if the user sends or receives an SMS with an activation PIN code. Because the billing doesn't take place directly on the offer page, SMS billing offers can work on a Wi-Fi connection as well as a 3G connection (and could even work on a desktop device as long as the user also has their phone with them).

There are 3 types of SMS billing flows.

MO Flow
Mobile originated (MO) flow can work in a couple of ways, but they both require the visitor to send an SMS to initiate a subscription. Sometimes they can be asked to do this directly - i.e., type in the phone number and the code themselves and then hit send. Otherwise, the user might enter their phone number on the offer page and then they're sent an SMS that they have to reply to.

Click-to-SMS Flow
Click-to-SMS flow is a convenient version of the MO flow where the offer page can automatically trigger the device's SMS box (with the phone number and necessary code already entered and ready to go) so the visitor doesn’t have to type anything and only has to hit send.



MT Flow (PIN Submit Offers)
Mobile terminated (MT) flow is a bit different to the MO flow because the user doesn't need to send an SMS message (or reply to one). What happens here is that the offer page has a box where the visitor types their phone number. Then the visitor is sent an SMS with an activation PIN code, which they also insert on the offer page (i.e., they don't reply to the SMS in this case, like they do with MO flow). Then they have to click the subscribe button on the offer page to convert.



Let’s Look at Some mVAS Offers!​

Despite going through all the flows for each carrier billing methods, from now on I’m not going keep things in categories like that. It’s helpful to know about the main flows so you know more about what the visitor has to do, but it’s NOT the most important thing about choosing an offer.

IMHO, the most important things for running mVAS (like all types of offers) are:
  • The quality of the offer itself
  • The quality of the traffic you’re buying
  • The quality of the campaign you’re setting up (targeting, angle, lander etc)
  • The quality of the competition you’re facing from other affiliates.
At the end of the day, the flow is just ONE FACTOR to consider, so let’s have a look at some different types and in the next section we can talk about how to choose quality offers, run quality traffic, set up effective campaigns and touch on a few tips and tricks to get ahead of the crowd.

You can find mVAS offers on specialist mobile content affiliate networks and most ‘general’ networks (i.e. the ones that carry a bit of everything), like:
  • Golden Goose
  • Traffic Company
  • Mobidea
  • Mobipium
  • Zeydoo
  • Monetizer.
You can find all kinds of mVAS offers on these networks, but they’re usually subscriptions for mobile games, music, videos, horoscopes and utilities. Let’s have a look at some offers…

Games​

Games are one of the most popular types of mVAS offers, including offers that give access to single games or game arcades.



Music​

Another popular category of mVAS offers is music, including music and music video streaming services.



Video​

Similar to music offers, video offers are also very popular in mVAS, including mainstream and adult streaming services.



Horoscopes​

It's not really something I'm into, but horoscope offers seem pretty popular and they're available on all of the main mVAS networks.



Utilities​

Utilities offers come in a bunch of different flavors when it comes to mVAS, including the usual suspects like antivirus and VPNs. But they also include a range of different apps, like instant messaging and even random things like accounting software.



And many more...​

If you look on the top offer lists on most mobile affiliate networks, like the the ones I've mentioned already, you're likely to find a lot of mVAS offers.





So, now you know All the Things!

Well, at least in theory - so if you want to have a crack at promoting some mVAS, or you want to improve your game, then jump down into the next section and let's have a look at how to choose a good offer and promote it successfully!
 
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Indoleads

SECTION 2: How to Promote mVAS Offers Successfully​

In this section I'm going to take a deeper dive into promoting mVAS offers successfully. I'm going to go into how to choose quality offers, how to run quality traffic, how to set up effective campaigns and I'll touch on a few tips and tricks to get ahead of your competition and get some green results on the board.

I'll be updating this section very soon, so stay tuned and in the meantime, hit reply and ask any questions you'd like me to answer or share your experience promoting mVAS offers - good and bad - and I'll see what I can do about tailoring this section to the kinds of things you really want to talk about.

 

SECTION 3: The Best mVAS Follow Alongs and Case Studies​

So, you're excited to launch a new mVAS campaign?!



I'm as excited as you are and hope this guide is going to help you get started and put some fat stacks in your pocket 🤑

In this last section of the guide I'm going to link to some mVAS follow alongs that members have posted on the forum and I'll summarize the highlights as well as the key things I think made them a success (or why they didn't seem to go as well as planned).

But kick things off, I'm going to start a new follow along of my own in a couple of days so stay tuned for the launch of that one!

 
Wow, that's great:love:, I'm really looking forward to your updates.

I'm specifically wondering how to scale traffic when you find a profitable offer.
 
Wow, that's great:love:, I'm really looking forward to your updates.

I'll be posting more updates over the next few days and starting up a new mVAS follow along soon, so stay tuned!

I'm specifically wondering how to scale traffic when you find a profitable offer.

Great question - I'll make sure to talk include some info about scaling in Section 2.

In the meantime, this ol' guide might give you some ideas to chew on @BobZhang:
 
Looking forward to your updates
Hope there are good details, I want to learn more about mVSA
 
Thanks for starting such an interesting thread! 👏 I'm looking forward to new postings)
If possible, I would like to learn how to properly test offers and create prelenders.🧑‍🎓
 
Thanks for making this thread.
Looking forward to updates.

The thing I always find the hardest on mVAS is finding the right traffic source.
Sometimes the offers are described so bad or unspecific on the networks, I find it hard to get some good ideas for creatives.
 
Thanks for making this thread.
Looking forward to updates.

The thing I always find the hardest on mVAS is finding the right traffic source.
Sometimes the offers are described so bad or unspecific on the networks, I find it hard to get some good ideas for creatives.
oh man,😟 that's like the same thing I'm going through testing offers and testing traffic source.
 
Looking forward to your updates.

The problem I'm having with running mVAS: when using Pop CPA Goal, the duration is very short, the ads only last 3-7 days and then there is no more traffic.

Do you run mVAS with SmartCPM or CPM and what is your strategy?

Looking forward to learn more practical experience from your Guide!

Thanks!
 
I've literally tried hundreds of mVas Offers and only gotten 1 to work, so i am curious what will be written in the next segments. One thing that always happened or i keep hearing about is that phone lines go down/numbers from suppliers get banned. How do you deal with that issue as i assume this is the worst thing that can happen with those mVas offers, as you are literally sending traffic to unavailable offer.
 
Nice guide!

I wonder how much you are able to earn from vmas offers, and if it's worth your effort to focus on vmas.

As I know many affiliates reduce the portion of mvas offers from their offer list because those vmas offers are mostly very unstable and short-term.
 
Nice guide!

I wonder how much you are able to earn from vmas offers, and if it's worth your effort to focus on vmas.

As I know many affiliates reduce the portion of mvas offers from their offer list because those vmas offers are mostly very unstable and short-term.
You might check the Monetizer Insights tab or main Smartlinks page :)

Most of the offers there are mVas, and since Monetizer takes 20%, it's easy to calculate how much money some affiliates are making just by placing offers there. That is - if they get paid after all the traffic they get from Monetizer (some of it might be fraud). Affiliate takes all the risk here.

But if offer pays $2.5, and affiliate decides to take $0.3 on each conversions, he puts $2.2 in Advertizer when creating the offer:



Monetizer takes 20%, so it comes down to $1.76.

So - Affiliate network pays $2.5 (for example). Affiliate earns $0.3. Affiliate pays $2.2 to Advertizer/Monetizer. Monetizer takes 20% ($0,44). The 2nd affiliate promoting that offer via Monetizer (not direct, as 1st affiliate) gets paid $1.76.

Based on around 1700 conversions here (1700 *1.76 = $~3000) the 1st affiliate would earn around 1700 * $0.3 = $510.

The problem is that with all kinds of traffic coming to Monetizer, you might get a lot of fraud traffic and the affiliate network sometimes can decide not to pay you. And you lost the money, because you paid all conversions to Monetizer before that.
 
You might check the Monetizer Insights tab or main Smartlinks page :)

Most of the offers there are mVas, and since Monetizer takes 20%, it's easy to calculate how much money some affiliates are making just by placing offers there. That is - if they get paid after all the traffic they get from Monetizer (some of it might be fraud). Affiliate takes all the risk here.

But if offer pays $2.5, and affiliate decides to take $0.3 on each conversions, he puts $2.2 in Advertizer when creating the offer:

View attachment 45062

Monetizer takes 20%, so it comes down to $1.76.

So - Affiliate network pays $2.5 (for example). Affiliate earns $0.3. Affiliate pays $2.2 to Advertizer/Monetizer. Monetizer takes 20% ($0,44). The 2nd affiliate promoting that offer via Monetizer (not direct, as 1st affiliate) gets paid $1.76.

Based on around 1700 conversions here (1700 *1.76 = $~3000) the 1st affiliate would earn around 1700 * $0.3 = $510.

The problem is that with all kinds of traffic coming to Monetizer, you might get a lot of fraud traffic and the affiliate network sometimes can decide not to pay you. And you lost the money, because you paid all conversions to Monetizer before that.
Not only that, they will also shut down your campaign when your campaign epcm is low

My US campaign epcm was also shut down at $20 or more

I had a US campaign with high epcm before, but it was judged as traffic fraud by the advertiser.

Moreover, we cannot exclude all BL, we can only exclude 15, which is far from enough.

 
I had a US campaign with high epcm before, but it was judged as traffic fraud by the advertiser.
Yeah, you gotta watch out for that.

Moreover, we cannot exclude all BL, we can only exclude 15, which is far from enough.

If you see a pubID having a high CV, and you don't have more space to BL them in Advertizer campaign settings, you can always create a filter in your tracker (rule, based on custom1) and send all visitors from that Pub to empty page and not the offer.
 
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