Guide The Grand Guide to Getting Started on affLIFT



🧙🏻‍♂️ Wizard 🔮
Staff Member
Community Leader
May 7, 2018
So you’ve decided to be an affiliate media buyer? But, let me guess... you’ve got absolutely no idea where to start and what to do.

Don’t worry—we’ve all been there at one point.

The good news is that you’re a member of affLIFT, and a lot of great information can be found throughout the forum to get you off on the right path. You can use this thread to guide you on your learning journey (as well as these pro tips for using affLIFT), as it features many of the best threads you’ll find on the forum... organized just for you.

affLIFT Courses​

Here on the forum, you will find multiple step-by-step courses that guide you through some starter campaigns. These starter campaigns can still make the big bucks, but the primary purpose of taking them is to learn the concepts that you can later adapt for yourself to blaze your own trail.

Maybe you’ll also be able to avoid some of the most common mistakes nearly every affiliate makes and make at least $10/day GUARANTEED?

Pops Guide - The Beginner Guide​

First and foremost, if you have absolutely no experience whatsoever, you should start with the Pops Guide. In this 14 step tutorial, @Luke guides you step-by-step through the process of creating a basic direct linked PPV campaign.

This simple guide may not seem like much on the surface, as you just need $10 in ad spend and the offers used in the guide pay just cents (in some cases less than 1 cent), but the reality is this guide is a solid foundation to help you understand the basics of media buying.

If you spend more than the $10 the guide requires, it is possible to run these low-paying offers with even more ad spend and make $XXX+/day... if you want.

Survey Pops - The Intermediate Guide​

After you’ve completed the Pops Guide, you’ll be more than ready to move onto the Survey Pops course. In this course, I show you how to run pop campaigns with landing pages using one of the more trendy bidding models in the past few years - CPA.

The offers used in this course are again low payout (great for learning), but there’s still potential to do $x,xxx/day profit if you’ve got the drive to do so.

The CPA bidding model can be fantastic for learning how to make solid funnels and get pretty fast feedback. Your campaigns will either start making profits within the first few days, or the bidding algorithm will kill off your campaigns and give you no traffic at all.

I guess you could say it’s the algorithm’s way of saying your funnel sucks. 😅

Everyone should be able to find a profitable campaign here. If you can’t, I’d suggest sticking with it until you can, as the concept of being able to build a solid funnel will be extremely valuable no matter what kinds of offers you run in the future.

The best part with this course is that the cost of failure is very low since you’re working with low payout offers. You’ll fail a lot as a media buyer, so you may as well do it with the least amount of risk possible.

Push Ads + Sweepstakes Mastery (Paid)​

If you’ve finished the free courses that come for free with your affLIFT membership then, you may consider the Push Ads + Sweepstakes Mastery course.

It’s another course I authored using push notification ads. The focus of the course is on credit card submit sweepstakes offers, but the concepts can be adapted for other types of sweepstakes offers and maybe even different verticals as well.

You can learn more about the Push Ads + Sweepstakes Mastery course here:

What’s Next?!?​

The courses here on affLIFT will give you a solid foundation to build off of. If you haven’t at least completed the Pops Guide and Survey Pops courses, you’re probably not ready to move on and further your learning.

If you have finished the courses, I hope you’ve at least got a general understanding of how affiliate media buying works and how to set up a campaign from start to finish. The concepts taught in those two courses will be applicable in just about any affiliate campaign you run.

But now you’re probably wondering what comes next?

Well... you have a couple of options:
  1. Continue with the push subscription or survey offers that you ran in either of the two free courses.
  2. Move on to other types of CPA offers and keep on learning.
This decision is entirely up to you, and there really isn’t a correct answer. The offers used in the courses can make a healthy income on their own. On the flip side, there are a ton of other types of offers you could run if you’re looking for something a bit more interesting.

If you think you’re ready to move onto other types of offers, then you should go into it with somewhat of a plan, so you’ve got the right pieces of the puzzle in order:

1. Select (1) single vertical you’d like to focus on​

First things first—select a vertical you’d like to put all of your focus on. There are a lot of options here, such as sweepstakes, dating, mobile content, finance, e-commerce, nutra, white hat lead generation, and a whole lot more.💥-the-supreme-guide-to-affiliate-marketing-verticals.4299/

While it’s not required, it may be beneficial that you have somewhat of an interest in the vertical you choose. This way, you won’t get bored so quickly, and it won’t be too difficult to come up with angles to use in your campaigns.

It can be a big mistake (and potentially a considerable money sink) if you don’t put your focus on a single vertical. When you’re focused on one vertical, you can put the data you gather in your campaigns to better use.

Black and white lists aren’t completely transferable from one vertical to another, your assets (like landing pages or ad creatives) are generally vertical-specific, and there are “gotchas” for each vertical that you’ll only figure out by running traffic yourself.

2. Apply for 1 - 2 affiliate networks focused on your vertical of choice​

After you’ve selected a vertical to focus on, you’ll need to apply for some affiliate networks, so you’ve got some offers to run. Generally, each affiliate network will be focused on a select few verticals, even if they have offers available in every vertical.

It’d be a good idea to do a lot of research at this stage (our link directory is a good start). Make sure the affiliate network has a focus on your chosen vertical, verify they’re reputable and have good reviews, and check their payment conditions if you’re on a tight budget.

Affiliate networks with low minimum withdrawal amounts and fast payment schedules are ideal for managing your cashflow effectively when you’re first starting. I’d highly suggest only working with just 1 or 2 affiliate networks initially, so your earnings aren’t spread so thin over too many networks.

There’s nothing worse than signing up for an affiliate network, running some traffic, and getting conversions, only to find out you have to earn a minimum of $1,000 before you’re even eligible to be paid.

Not all networks will be willing to accept complete newbies, but if you follow this guide, you should be able to get approved by most.

3. Select (1) single type of traffic​

What type of traffic you decide to use should be somewhat based on the vertical you’ve decided to focus on. Not all types of traffic are suitable for all verticals.

Research your vertical of choice and find out what types of traffic are used most often by other affiliates. Push (including in page push) and pop are the easiest to work with, as they’re generally very accepting of most every type of affiliate offer without issue, and the budget requirements can be minimal.

Other types of traffic, like native, search, and social, will require more skill and budget if you’re going to get it working. The traffic source moderation teams will also be much more restrictive in what you’re allowed to run on these sources.

I’d recommend most people to start with push or pop traffic. Pop traffic is slightly easier to work with since there aren’t any ad creatives (your landing page is the ad), but push can be quite manageable for a newbie as well.

4. Select 1 - 2 traffic sources​

When you know what type of traffic you’re going to focus on, you can decide on one or two traffic sources.

It’s a good idea to stick to only a couple of traffic sources when you’re first starting so that you can re-use your data and make the most of your ad spend. Also, when you gain experience on a particular traffic source, you’ll start to notice quirks specific to that ad network that can give you an advantage over other advertisers.

If you picked pop or push traffic as your focus, one of the best traffic sources you can use is PropellerAds. They are by far the most popular ad network with high-quality traffic.

To find other ad networks that have your chosen traffic type, take a look in our link directory or check this list of 1,000+ ad networks. And don’t forget to use a promo code when you sign up for a traffic source (or any product/service for that matter) so you can get a nice welcome bonus.𝗕𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗼𝗶𝗻-₿.6146/𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰-𝗦𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲𝘀-𝗧𝗵𝗮𝘁-𝗟𝗲𝘁𝘀-𝘆𝗼𝘂-𝗗𝗲𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁-𝗩𝗶𝗮-𝗣𝗮𝘆𝗣𝗮𝗹-💲💲.4741/

Skill up​

With your traffic source(s) and affiliate network(s) selected, you’ve got some of the main pieces of the puzzle in place, but there’s a whole lot more such as spying, offers, landing pages, optimizing, various tools, etc.

Much of this will be learned over time as you regularly launch campaigns, struggle, make mistakes, and upgrade your skills. The digital marketing space is constantly changes, so your learning should never end, even if you think you know everything.

I’m going to now show you some of the best threads that can be found on affLIFT. There’s a lot of gold to be found here, so take you time and read through everything when you’ve got the time to do so.

Tip: If you’re a Telegram user, join some industry Telegram groups to help keep yourself up to date with changes in the industry.

General knowledge​

The lingo used by affiliate marketers can be very confusing if you’re new. You can catch yourself up on the terms we use in this huge glossary:

Countries, or GEOs, are typically classified in tiers. Tier 1 GEOs are developed countries where a lot of the population has money to spend and as such, the traffic prices are typically higher here.

It’s suggested when you’re still learning that you focus your efforts in Tier 2 or Tier 3 GEOs, as the traffic is generally cheaper and the offer payouts are lower. Lower payout offers means you won’t have to spend as much to thoroughly test an offer for potential.

See what tier each country is on this list.


Most affiliates should know that the offer is the absolute king of your campaigns. It doesn’t matter if you have the world’s best funnel... if your offer isn’t good you’re not going to be making money.

Finding good offers to promote is where many people struggle. They just simply pick random offers they see on their affiliate networks and blow through their budget. While that can work if you actually know what you’re doing, it’s very risky and not really recommended for a new affiliate on a tight budget.

The best way to select offers to run is to figure out what other affiliates are actually running volume to. If others are running volume to offers there are very good chances that they’re making money. Why else would they be sending huge traffic volumes to offers that aren’t profitable?

Here are a few posts to help you find those good offers:

Another important thing to consider when you’re selecting offers is the conversion flow. Some flows are easier than others to convert, and the pay outs can be drastically different. And certain flows, like SOI/DOI, can be more susceptible to quality issues that you can address with the right approach.

Generally, the offer payout is correlated with how difficult and costly it is to get a conversion. Higher payout does not mean you will make more money. Offers that pay less than $0.50 per conversion can make you thousands of dollars per day... in profit. Plus, working with lower payout offers will give you way more conversions, which means you’ll have more data to be able to effectively optimize your campaigns.

When you’ve found a good offer you’ll probably need to manage your conversion cap and you might consider getting a pay bump so you can make even more money.

Further reading:


Spying on other affiliate campaigns is a shortcut to success. Many new affiliates decide to go without a spy tool because the good ones cost money, but that’s probably one of their biggest mistakes holding them back.

The interesting thing about affiliate marketing is that what you think will work usually doesn’t, and what you’re almost certain will be a total blowout is a smashing success.

A spy tool will be able to show you what other affiliates are making money with right now. The cost of the spy tool subscription is going to cost less than what it’s going to cost you to trying and figure out the right angles, ads, and landing pages you should be using.

The most popular spy tools are Anstrex (push, pop, and native) and AdPlexity (pop, push, native, ecommerce, and carriers). They are both great, but have some slight differences. I’d suggest taking both for a spin and deciding which one you like best.

You can also find some other spy tools in our link directory.

If you’ve made the smart choice of picking up a spy tool then you probably need some help to use it effectively:𝗣𝗼𝗽𝗔𝗱𝘀-𝗪𝗲𝗯𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗜𝗗𝘀-𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵.7360/


Landing Pages​

While landing pages aren’t required, they’re highly recommended if you’re going to take affiliate marketing seriously. Landing pages can give you so much value; really, it’s the truth.

Most new affiliates don’t know anything about HTML/CSS/Javascript, which makes using landing pages in your campaigns quite difficult.

However, there are landing page builders available, which can help you create landing pages without coding. The most recommended one for CPA affiliate marketing is PureLander, which is very affordable.

You can check this post to see a few different landing page builder options compared:

As a solo affiliate, it’ll be highly beneficial if you learn very basic HTML/CSS/JS so you don’t rely on someone else to clean your landing pages or make one from scratch.

Codecademy has some free beginner’s coding courses that you can take:
I frequently find other affiliate’s landing pages where they’ve botched the code and they don’t even work. Probably not the best way to burn through your tight affiliate marketing budget; better if you’d learn very basic coding. 😉

If you need some landing pages to use in your campaigns there are hundreds available to download for free here on the forum, or if you’re ultra lazy you can use an iFrame (and track it like a boss).

When you use landing pages you’ll be able to monetize your traffic more effectively with additional scripts like these (and track them too), detect bots, and/or install push subscription collection (step-by-step video guide here) to guarantee any campaign you run generates revenue.

With your landing pages in order then you’re ready to host them. There are a lot of options for hosting, but typically affiliates will either run a geo-located VPS (if they need to run server-side code like PHP), or just use a CDN (if their landing pages only need HTML/CSS/JS). Keep in mind that your choice in CDN can have an impact on your LP load speed, depending on what GEOs you’re running traffic to.

If you’re new to landing pages and coding, then the simplest option to get up and running ASAP would be the CDN route, like what’s shown in this guide, but you can decide for yourself how you want to host your landing pages:

Whatever you do avoid using shared hosting. In the end it’ll cost you more than you think you’re saving... trust me.

Your landing page’s loading speed is very important when working with paid traffic, so you’ll want to put some time into optimizing the images and other code so your landing page can load as fast as possible. There are many free tools available for optimizing the landing page load speed.

P.S. Test everything on your landing pages, including the background color.

Further reading:

Copywriting and Ad Copy​

If you’re working with a type of traffic where there’s an ad the user must click on (native, push, social, etc.) you’re going to have to actually make those ads. Even with PPV you’ll have copy on your landing pages to entice someone to click through to your offer.

The angle you use in your copy can be the difference between a -90% ROI and a 200% ROI campaign. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to come up with angles, which can be used in conjunction with copywriting formulas to come up with testing ideas for your campaigns.

Your copy should usually be translated into the main language of your target GEO, which can be done quite easily. When working with LTR languages, like Arabic, be aware of the peculiarities that are very easy for a non-native speaker to mess up.

AI copywriting is starting to become very popular in the online marketing world. If you’re using large amounts of copy in your campaigns then it may be something worth considering. What these AI tools can output is actually of very good quality.

Further reading:👨‍🏫-updated-regularly-😲.7445/😱-copywriting-persuasion-challenge.7466/


A tracker is pretty much essential as an affiliate media buyer, although it is possible to run campaigns without one. Bemob, the tracker that was used in the Pops Guide and Survey Pops courses, is great, but there are a lot of other options available too.

When selecting a tracker the main difference is that it’s either self-hosted (you manage the server your tracker is installed on) or it’s cloud-hosted (you don’t have to worry about the server, but your tracker costs will balloon with high traffic volume).

If you’re focused on pop traffic, then it’d be a very good idea for you to consider a self-hosted tracker becuase you’ll have a high volumes of clicks even if you’re on a tight budget. Binom is the most used self-hosted tracker (and server setup is super easy and cheap), but there are others available too.

Make sure you put some time into learning how affiliate tracking actually works, so that you’ll be able to implement advanced tracking to optimize your campaigns easier (and with less ad spend).

Further reading:

Campaign Optimization​

Very rarely when you launch your campaigns will they immediately be profitable. However, just because they aren’t profitable right off the bat doesn’t mean you can’t get them there with campaign optimization.

Optimization can be very subjective and what works for one person may not work the same for someone else. The best way to get better at optimization is to run campaigns, gather data, and figure out the best approach for yourself.

The main thing with optimization is making sure you have enough data to optimize effectively. If you don’t, you won’t make the right optimizations and you could over optimize your campaign and end up with nearly no volume.

In a general sense, spend 10x to 20x your offers payout in the test period. If your ROI is better than -50% to -70% (again, very subjective) your campaign may show enough potential to keep spending more money. For each variable you add into your campaign (ads, landing pages, more offers) you’ll need to increase your testing budget accordingly.

For example, if your campaign has 1 offer ($1.00 payout), 3 landing pages, and 3 ads, you might calculate your test budget like this:

1 offer * 3 LPs * 3 ads * $1 payout * 10x payout = $120 test budget to see if your campaign shows any potential.

Optimization takes time. You may be “losing” money for a few weeks before you have the data to optimize your campaign into profits, and then you’ll be able to scale to the moon.

Further reading:

Email Marketing​

Most affiliate media buyers run traffic either direct linked or with landing pages. There’s one problem with that—when you stop spending money on traffic your income essentially stops immediately.

To combat that, some affiliates will use email marketing in their paid traffic campaigns, which creates an asset that can generate you revenue for years to come. And when you’re ready to stop spending money on ads there’s a sellable asset... your email list.

Getting setup for email marketing is more advanced than just simply running campaigns, but it can pay off big time.

Further reading:👉-add-a-hidden-preheader-👈-to-your-emails-🤫.7542/’s-what-i’ve-learned.1175/


After you’ve ran a lot of campaigns you’re sure to find some tasks that are very repetitive. You can automate a lot of things and here are some examples to give you some ideas:

Case Studies & Follow Alongs​

Reading the various case studies and follow alongs on the forum can be a very good way to learn. You can see what actions other affiliates take based on real data.

Here are some of the best follow alongs and case studies that you’ll find on the forum:

If you’re looking for case studies or follow alongs for a certain type of traffic you can easily find them in the relevant section of the forum and filtering the threads by ‘case study’ or ‘follow along’.


That YouTube guru told you that affiliate marketing is so easy, but in reality that’s far from the truth. What he forgot to tell you is he doesn't even do affiliate marketing himself and it's actually hard.

You will fail as an affiliate, a lot. Times will be tough, but you won’t give up.

Here are some posts to motivate you and help you reconsider what you’re doing:

Interviews with Pro Affiliates​

@Luke has done quite a few interviews with various full-time affiliate marketers; here’s the list of those posts for your convenience:

Good Luck My Friend​

With all of the information presented in this thread you should be able to build a solid understanding of affiliate media buying and the many possibilities you have.

You will make mistakes, and you’ll make a lot of them. Being able to look back on your failures, figure out what went wrong, and actually learn from your mistakes is what’s going to separate you from most newbies who quit before they start making money.

If you want some hand holding help with your journey then I’d highly suggest making a follow along thread and document your entire journey. You’ll get help from affiliates who’ve been there and done that, and you’ll be keeping yourself accountable (assuming you regularly update your thread).

Good luck my friend. You’ll need it.

Since you've made it all the way through this post I'd like to salute you and invite you to join my exclusive "Affiliate Tips Newsletter". I send actionable tips each week to help you earn more money as an affiliate media buyer. You won't find exclusive information like this anywhere else.

👉 Sign up for the "Affiliate Tips Newsletter" on my website.

Last edited:


Super Contributor
Oct 15, 2018
Amazing as always! How do you ever find time to run your own campaigns?


Super Contributor
Mar 3, 2021
literally beyond description. Will take repeated reads. Thanks a bunch!


Staff Member
Community Leader
Oct 15, 2019
Fantastic guide @Nick - supremely comprehensive!!


🧙🏻‍♂️ Wizard 🔮
Staff Member
Community Leader
May 7, 2018
How do you ever find time to run your own campaigns?
lol. I've been doing this for a hot minute.

Things that take you a hour to do might take me just a couple minutes. :)
  • Like
Reactions: Jim


Grandpa affLIFT
Staff Member
Community Leader
Dec 1, 2018
Another great post @Nick probably take me a month to read it all though 😂


Sep 13, 2021
Great guide from a great forum that I would definitely recommend to all beginners to start their learning process here. :)


Aug 26, 2020
Great guide! This is a must to everyone starting in Affiliate Marketing! Thanks for the sharing!


Feb 4, 2022
nicely said great set of instructions and how to actually get started with CPA marketing all resources needed along with a pretty much-given to you follow along case studies couldn't ask for more.


Jan 24, 2022
Wow, great guide! I just saved this and it will be my Bible lol. Thanks a lot!