Giving away 3 Affiliate World Europe tickets! THE BIGGEST EVENT OF 2017

Hey guys , Here is a giveaway for you , Affiliate World Conference’s one of the biggest affiliate marketing event company Affiliate World Conferences is hosting the biggest event in affiliate marketing industry, by people behind Stack That Money Forum, The biggest affiliate forums in the affiliate industry.

I am offering 3 free tickets for Affiliate World Europe.

here is an opportunity for you guys to hang out with the super affiliates and learn about the latest trends in Affiliate marketing industry, Learn about new traffic sources and work with the new affiliate networks.
Here are a few of the speakers you would get a chance to hangout with and learn from .

Trey Lewellen  (Founder of Lumitact ):
Trey Lewellen, founder of Lumitact, will be taking the #AWeurope stage to share the untold story behind the LumiTact G700 Flashlight offer!

Jason Akatiff ( CEO & Founder of A4D)

Jason will be talking about the “3 Massive Market Shifts” that have taken the online marketing world by storm over the last 2 years. For years, the tech, tools and traffic partners have been in an uphill battle that was not for the faint of heart, this has all changed. Now you can compete as a single entrepreneur that would have taken the work of 50 or a 100 people.

Hugh Hancock ( STM Forum’s Guardian of the Guides)

Hugh Hancock will be speaking on the #AWeurope stage and drawing on his own experience and that of many other superaffiliates who have moved on to build mega-businesses, top the App Store with their passion project games, and more. Hugh gives practical, down-to-earth, battle-tested advice on how you can leverage your unfair advantages from affiliate marketing – determination, skills, and yes, cashflow – to achieve your ultimate dream projects even in the face of incredible competition.

Martin Eyking, ( founder & CEO of New Media Services Pty Ltd)

Martin is going to take you through a 45-minute training seminar on the best methods to qualify & hire new employees, how to train them to be superstars, and scaling your operations to the next level.

Drew Eric Whitman (Author CA$HVERTISING)

Drew Eric Whitman would be talking about “How to fix 13 hidden ad response killers now strangling your sales.”

Affiliate World Europe

Affiliate World Europe

Event: Affiliate World Europe 2017
Location: Berlin, Germany
Dates: 14-15 June 2017
Venue: Berlin Congress Center, Alexanderstrass, 10179, Berlin
Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/affiliateworldconferences
Ticketshttps://affiliateworldconferences.com/europe/tickets
Venue : Station Berlin. Luckenwalder Str. 4-6, 10963 Berlin, Germany

How you can win yourself a free ticket ?

Share on your social media profiles and comment below , Make sure you post is public so we can see it.

When winners would be announced ?

Winners would be announced on 5th of May which also happens to be my birthday as well 🙂

MyAdMarket – Ad Serving Platform with the X Factor

What is MyAdMarket?

MyAdMarket is an all-in-one ad serving platform that offers everything that ad networks, advertisers, publishers and affiliates need, to run a successful advertising business. MyAdMarket’s integrated ad serving solutions enables them to manage, report and optimize all of their online advertising campaigns. All of this is done with MyAdMarket’s attractive and clear user interface. MyAdMarket enables easy monitoring all of relevant campaign information in real time on a customizable dashboard.

 

myadmarket dashboard

myadmarket dashboard

What Makes MyAdMarket the Best in the Business

MyAdMarket not only offers a great interactive interface, but it has innovative features that will allow you to offer flexible services to your advertisers and affiliates, while allowing you to ensure the quality of the traffic on your network.

Ad Media eXchange (AMX)

Does your network have too much traffic and too few affiliates/publishers, or vice versa?

MyAdMarket makes connecting and buying from other ad networks a simple process. MyAdMarket can connect your ad network with other ad networks through the Ad Exchange feature, where the network can look for ad buyers and/or ad sellers without creating multiple accounts or searching on multiple platforms. It’s all done through our system.

  • Hassle-free connection with ad buyers and/or ad sellers
  • Easy centralized billing system for all ad buyers and ad sellers
  • Import offers through 3rd party systems within one platform
  • Centralized reporting for ad buyers and ad sellers
  • Add buyer or seller suggestions to network by ad format or geographical statistics
myadmarket Adexchange

myadmarket Adexchange

Cost Per X-Metric (CPX)

Has an advertiser or affiliate that is very particular about their ROI and/or ad dimensions?

MyAdMarket allows your ad network to set its own price points and cost metrics. You’ll be able to advertise any cost metrics in any combination.

With MyAdMarket you won’t have to limit the options for your advertisers. MyAdMarket supports all cost metrics in online advertising, and allows you to mix and match the different options to design the best campaign for your customer. This will make it easier to meet specific ROI goals. MyAdMarket also accommodates affiliates’ preferences for campaigns with ads in specific formats.

  • Combine cost metrics according to advertisers’ ROI goals
  • Create campaigns to accommodate advertisers’ needs
  • Flexibility to target/untarget specific cost metrics for affiliates
  • Optimization using Big Data for all cost metrics
  • ROI conversion tracking for advertisers and affiliates for all cost metrics
myadmarket cost metrics

myadmarket cost metrics

Traffic Quality IndeX (TQX)

Want to run an ad network that advertisers and affiliates can trust?

Ad networks can use the built-in Traffic Quality Engine to measure and manage the network’s overall traffic quality. This large built-in database of audited and scored traffic is included with the platform.

Build good relationships with your advertisers by providing transparent and easily understood auditing for your affiliates’ traffic. MyAdMarket has a built-in traffic quality engine that provides a Traffic Quality Score. This system rates the traffic of each impression on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of quality. MyAdMarket also provide traffic quality report which allows you to understand the overall traffic quality. Ad networks can view the quality of their traffic sources to significantly improve traffic acquisition costs and monetization.

  • Deliver higher quality traffic to advertisers
  • Protect and strengthen direct advertiser’s relationships
  • Easy investigation into advertiser’s complaints
  • Third party auditing to quantify advertiser benefit
  • Real-time traffic auditing
Traffic Quality Engine

Traffic Quality Engine

Other Convenient Features of MyAdMarket

  • Compatible with all ad formats – MyAdMarket supports all media, including graphical banners, text banners, inline text, pop-under, video, interstitial, etc.
  • User Friendly Advertiser/Affiliate Login/Management – Advertisers get access to their own account page to check campaigns and reports at any time.
  • User-Friendly Affiliate Login/Management – Publishers can get access to select offers, get ad tags and check traffic/earning reports at any time.
  • Advertiser Whitelist – Separate the wheat from the chafe with this convenient feature. Advertisers can whitelist affiliates with great traffic to build up a stable of reliable affiliates.
  • Bookmark Accounts – Users can bookmark accounts to get quick access of regular accounts.
  • Campaign Caps – Set traffic caps to specific campaigns for optimization.
  • Customizable Dislay and Layout – Change personal skin preference and move widgets according to preference.
  • Third Party Integration – Quick access through API to retrieve new offers from third party networks on different platforms.
  • Real-Time Traffic Reporting – These reports are available in real-time: hourly report, daily report, advertiser report, campaign report, affiliate report, site report.
  • Unlimited Number of Advertisers and Affiliates – Ad networks can have an unlimited number of advertisers and affiliates within their network, running all/any cost metrics.
  • Hardware Targeting – Target to all types or specific types of computing hardware.
  • ISP Targeting – Target or untarget specific ISPs within the campaign.
  • Language Targeting – Target to all or specific languages, such as English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Arabic, French, Russian, or Korean.

Amazon Affiliates Use These Tips For Explosive Growth

I honestly believe the Amazon affiliate program is the best possible choice for physical product affiliates. There is plenty to like about the program and very few downsides.

Yes – it would be nice if the commission was a little but higher, but 8.5 percent isn’t too bad when you’re selling expensive products.

I’ve been making the bulk of my online income from the Amazon affiliate program for several years, and I find it’s the easiest to implement and profit from.

Amazon affiliate program

Amazon affiliate program stats

Maybe you already know that Amazon is the top ecommerce marketplace on the planet. One of the main reasons for this is trust. Consumers trust Amazon – there is no other way to put it.

Since I’ve been an affiliate for the company for a few years, you could say I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make as much money as possible from the program using my Amazon niche sites. Below, I’ll share some of my top tips with you.

Get More Clicks

Amazon is a site that MOST people are familiar with. Heck, there is a good chance that you’ve bought something from them recently.

What’s not to like about the best prices, easy shipping and reliable customer service? Other people also realize these benefits, so as an affiliate, your job is to send people to Amazon’s website.

Yes – you do need to provide some amount of value, but once the value transaction is complete, all you need to focus on is sending people off to Amazon.

What a lot of affiliates don’t realize is that Amazon has spent millions of dollars perfecting their site, and they’re constantly spending more money to increase conversions. In other words, Amazon is a nearly-perfected selling machine.

Once you send visitors to their site, it’s hard for them to NOT buy something. If you want to make even more Amazon affiliate income, then you need to find ways to send more clicks (people) to Amazon. One way you can do this is by adding a few more in-content affiliate links to your product reviews.

You can also experiment with ways to increase the CTR on your affiliate links, such as experimenting with colors. Get creative and think of how you can send more clicks to Amazon.

Get More Social Proof

Have you ever browsed Amazon and noticed how much social proof they have? It’s not an accident that they display so much social proof. Plain and simple, it works.

By adding social proof to your affiliate site, you’re conveying trust to your visitors. One of the most effective ways to do this is with a bestseller list.

After you send visitors off to Amazon, they don’t want to feel alone during their purchase. Even if they trust your recommendation, they usually want a little bit more proof that they’re making the right decision.

The use of Amazon bestsellers lists is powerful because it provides social proof for your visitors, so they’re far more likely to make a quick purchase decision. There is a lot of psychology behind this tactic, but all you need to know is that it works.

When visitors can see that others are purchasing the same product they want to purchase, they’re much more likely to purchase that product. If your website gets enough traffic and sales already, you can actually create a bestseller list based on your own Amazon stats.

Create Genuine Reviews

One of the top ways to promote products is with product review articles. These types of articles give you plenty of places to drop your Amazon affiliate link. In an ideal world, you should actually try the products that you review.

The most important point here is that the reviews are genuine. It doesn’t matter if you own the product or not; what matters is that you’re giving your visitors some form of value. For individual product reviews, you should make sure to provide an unbiased analysis of the product.

The end goal is to make sure you’re saving your visitors time, even if it’s only a minute or two. Another way that you can help them is by providing some entertainment value.

You could write reviews in a way that is far more entertaining than what the merchant site has to offer. In other words, make the description of the product more in-depth or enticing. The main goal is to make sure your reviews are genuine. You don’t want to come across as being too sales-y.

Don’t Underestimate Information

You should never underestimate the power of informational articles for your affiliate site. I’ve found that many visitors who went on to purchase someone through my affiliate links actually read some informational content that influenced their decision.

Make sure you have a good mix of helpful, informational articles alongside your product reviews. While the informational content might not draw buyers in directly from the search engines, it can have an indirect effect on sales because many visitors who plan on buying something will be influenced by what they read.

You can also flip this technique and use it to talk about products that are about to be released. For example, let’s say a new digital camera is about to be released.

Since it hasn’t been released yet, you won’t be able to write a review for it, but you can use the informational content to announce the camera and add affiliate links that let visitors preorder the camera. By doing this, you’ll get commissions on the sales when the camera is finally released.

As mentioned earlier, contextual links are king when it comes to affiliate links. Ideally, you’ll want the majority of your affiliate links to be in-content links.

These links are highly trusted by visitors and result in more clicks and better conversions.  These are some of the best tips that I’ve learned over several years as an Amazon affiliate.

They have helped and continue to help me earn more income from the program. However, an additional bonus is that they help me to think outside the box when it comes to increasing the income I make online. I hope they will do the same for you.

Julian Thomas loves affiliate marketing with Amazon, and he mans the ship over at CloudFortunes.com. He loves running SEO tests on niche affiliate sites and helping others earn income online.

How to pick up a winner CPA offer

This is the most frequently asked question in the Affiliate industry, and a step which can make or break your affiliate campaign. No matter what traffic source you choose, without choosing the right offer it’s very difficult to succeed. One of the reason many newbies end up losing all their money is because they fail to choose the right offer.

Winner CPA Offers

A few examples of picking up wrong offer are.

  • Picking up offer with too much competition.
  • Picking up offer with bad conversion rate/ Offers with too much bad reputation.
  • Offers with small audience
  • Offers with hard conversion requirements

So lets have a look at all these examples one by one ..

CPA Offers with too much competition.

Booking.com is a perfect example of such types of offers. When it was new or off the CPA Networks its conversion rates were touching the skies. However as soon as everyone realized its converting well and has a huge potential, All the affiliates along with their cats jumped in and started promoting this offer. Those who started this offer early made good money and those who joined the party after realizing people are making good money on this offer couldn’t make good profits. Because by the time they were able to realized the earning potential the offer had there was already plenty of competition. The new guys couldn’t make campaigns successful, now don’t get me wrong this offer still works however if you think it would be easy to launch this offer on main stream networks targeting top tier countries it might not be a good idea, you will have to work on new angles and explore new international market in order to survive. So the lesson here is not to follow crowd instead create your own path.

TIP : If you really want to promote this one I would suggest you to go international.

Picking up offer with bad conversion rate/ Offers with bad reputation.

Here I am talking about beat up offers/Niches, which are already dead offers/websites with bad reputation. Penny auctions comes into mind. The better reputation an offer has the better conversion rate you would get and the easier it would be for you to promote. One of the best strategy I personally use is to contact the services I personal like/use and contact them asking if they have any affiliate program and most of the times they do have affiliate program or even if they don’t have I would contact one of their competitors and join them. If they have an affiliate program this is one of the best ways to get offers which are not available to affiliates (as the majority of affiliates rely on CPA networks to get them offers). You can also ask your CPA Networks to get offers from your favorite website/service.

Offers with small audience

This is a common problem, some time a niche or an offer doesn’t have a very broad audience and you get very limited amount of traffic. The ideal offer for you would be where you have large audience specially when it comes to PPV traffic. For example, if you are promoting campaigns related to injury claims in UK you wont find many targets with good traffic volumes.

Offers with hard conversion requirements

Now this is another major factor sometimes affiliates ignore. Whenever you are about to start promoting an offer, make sure you test it yourself first. If your network is using “Cake Platform” they have offer test option by default, however if your network doesn’t have this option there is no harm in using VPN (If offer is for a different country) and registering for the offer yourself and see at what point your offer converts. For example, in dating you would find many offers where you get conversion only when a user becomes a paid member and in the network offer description the offer is listed as email submit/complete signup. You can let your affiliate manager know the conversion id so they can remove the test conversion from your stats once you are done testing the offer. By testing the offer, yourself you will also get a better idea about how the offer works and would be able to guide your audience about it as well which will help you increase your conversion rate. Coming back to the topic, I always recommend to start with simple offers which require less action from the end user and are easy to convert. Most of times when starting out people run for the high paying offers however its just like a fresh graduate running after a managerial position in a company.
So these were the examples explaining how people mess-up when they are choosing offers. Now let’s talk about how not to mess things up form the very start and how to the pickup right offers.

  • Ask your affiliate manager
  • Look for the offers with popular names/reputation
  • Keep an eye out for fresh the offers/niches
  • Ask your affiliate network if they have offers which are not made public yet.

Ask your affiliate manager

Your affiliate manager could be one of the best advisors if you know exactly what to ask for. In most cases people have no idea what kind of questions they should be asking their affiliate managers or are too scared to get in touch with them.  Instead of asking your affiliate manager the generic questions be very specific. For example, if you are good at a specific traffic source ask them to give you the best converting offers working well with that specific traffic source and get as much information from them as possible for example ask them about what kind of landers work well. What kind of targets to choose etc..
Also your relation with your affiliate manager is very important and to improve that make sure you send them greeting cards on special occasions or a few kind words of appreciations will make their day and they would be more then happy to help you out as much as possible.

Look for offers with popular names/reputation

As I mentioned before a bad reputation can really hurt your conversions in the same way promoting well known brands can really increase your conversions and make things much easier for you. For example, it would be much easier to sell “Beach Body” due to its powerful commercials and “More Niche” with their real celebrity testimonials as compared to a random offer nobody has heard about before. As I stated above you can also work directly with your favorite services or ask your network to get their offer.

Keep an eye out for fresh offers/niches

This one is my favorite, Be the first ones to try out an offer or even a traffic sources. Whenever you discover something new make sure you try them at least for once. I learned this when I was promoting CPA Offers using 7 Search and I used to pick up all new offers from maxbounty and try them out when others used to complain about how 7search is the worst network and their IPhone email submits are not working. Related to the point where I discussed how high competition can crush your chances of success. Let’s say there are two roads one is crowded and the other one is empty, which one will take you home earlier? The one where every driver is heading and causing a traffic jam or the one where you have no traffic? Of curse you would go for the second one that is the case here.  For sure you might lose money as **THE OFFER IS NOT PROVEN WINNER YET** Because its new but still you have no competition and it is better to loose money by trying something new instead of loosing your money where everyone else is loosing.  And there has to be someone who will make it a proven winner, that better be you then some else.

Ask your affiliate network if they have offers which are not made public yet
In many cases affiliate networks test offers internally by running traffic to them before releasing them to the public, or they just let a few selected affiliates run that offer before the offer is made public to other affiliates. Try to be one of the first batch of the affiliates to try new types of offers instead of deciding to try them once offers are saturated and there is no more juice left in the offer.

So guys these were my thoughts about how to choose offers, you are free to agree or disagree with me. However, I would love to read what you have to say about this, whether you agree or disagree. So let me know what you think by commenting below. Your feedback will encourage me to keep writing more …

P.S: Don’t forget to share this post with your fellows 🙂

Innovative Data ‘Co-Op” Now Offered from Skimlinks Affiliate Network

The UK based affiliate marketing network Skimlinks has just announced the launch of a new ‘data provider’ service to affiliates promoting products through them.  The interesting thing about this new service is that they are using their own publishers to help collect the data, which is then aggregated and distributed back out for use in advertising and other efforts.

big data word cloud

The service is being called, “Audiences by Skimlinks” and is an advanced programmatic ad targeting service that can be used to improve the results from a variety of types of ad campaigns.

The system collects data from all the publishers who are participating.  The data is pooled and made anonymous, then aggregated into useful formats so that it can be used for targeting ads.  The revenue generated from this service is then shared with all the publishers who contributed to the system.  The revenue share is based on the amount of data each publisher provides.

The Skimlinks network collects information about clicks and conversions from publishers in their network.  They say that this includes 1.3 billion unique users from around the world.  The data is pulled from about 55,000 publishers and 20,000 merchants.

Last year Skimlinks had about $625 million in e-commerce revenue generated.

The idea to involve publishers in this system was developed based on an effort to break into the big ad data system that is currently dominated by major players like Facebook and Google.  Those systems are naturally able to collect massive amounts of data because of the huge number of users they get.  This had effectively eliminated the ability for other companies to compete at a similar level.

With this concept from Skimlinks, however, thousands of publishers can contribute their unique data to the co-op, which will then compile it so that the total amount of data can rival the big players.  While they are certainly not there yet, this is far more than just a proof of concept.  As the total number of publishers and merchants sign on, the amount of data will continue to grow.

This is not just a co-op of small publishers either.  Skimlinks reports that they have large, high quality publishers on board including Time Inc, Huffington Post, Gawker Media and many others.  Interestingly, however, it will likely be the fact that they are able to draw data from publishers and merchants of all sizes that will make this system the most powerful.  While big name publishers get the largest volume of data, the smaller sites can contribute unique data as well.  Most people visit a variety of types of sites both big and small, so this collection format will produce a more accurate picture of what users are actually doing.

While this system is still very early in its efforts, the results are looking very positive.  If it continues to grow like this in the coming weeks and months it is very possible that the Audiances by Skimlinks platform will be a major player in the industry.

Tips and Tricks for Affiliates from an Affiliate Network CEO

Tips for CPA Affiliates from an Affiliate Network CEOMatt is the managing director of  WOWTRK CPA Network. Matt has been involved in the CPA/CPL industry since the age of 12, when he setup one of the first cash back websites in the UK. In 2007, at the age 16, Matt setup WOWTRK which has become a leading international network, working with many well-known, multi-national organisations.

Tips for CPA Affiliates from an Affiliate Network CEO

Tell me about yourself, what do you currently do?

I’m Matt, the Managing Director of WOW Media, a multidisciplinary marketing agency specialising in Affiliate Marketing. I set-up the company in 2007 and since then the business has grown from strength to strength, particularly within the performance marketing sector. We currently have six dedicated WOW sites, including WOW Trk our CPL affiliate network, our freebie website, a voucher code website and various other projects too.

 

What was the inspiration behind WOW Media, how did you get into the industry?

I started out in the industry when I was very young. When I was 12 I started selling sweets in the school playground, after I’d made my first £20, I invested it and made my first website. It was a cashback site which later became ‘British Rewards’. Users would complete affiliate based offers and earn cash back in their member accounts. This propelled me into the world of affiliate marketing at a time when it was a fairly new concept.

What is Affiliate Marketing & does it work?

Affiliate marketing is when an individual or even another business, promotes a product or service on behalf of a merchant and receives a commission for doing so. It enables an advertiser to reach a much wider customer base through the various different ways their affiliates promote the offer.

An Affiliate network is a platform that connects the right affiliates with various advertisers and then tracks the performance using various tracking methods. When a WOW Trk affiliate makes a sale or generates a lead, the action is shown in their account. They are then awarded the commission when the advertiser has confirmed the quality of the lead.

What’s the best thing about Affiliate Marketing?

It allows publishers to earn a second income, monetise their existing blogs and websites or even act as a platform for setting up their own business. This is appealing because it’s a flexible way of making money online – You could travel and earn a living, it’s great for stay-at-home Mums or for anyone wanting to work remotely in the digital space.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face in business?

I would have to say growing the business with no financial support has been the hardest challenge. Obviously at such a young age I had no income to inject into projects, in the early days I re-invested all profits back into the business. It really was a case of starting with nothing and turning it into something.

How do you stand out against competition?

We’ve introduced a lot of unique tools for our affiliate network, WOW Trk. This really sets us apart from other networks and allows us to focus on quality leads. For example, our fraud detection platform WOWDETECT enables us to increase an Advertiser’s return on investment, it’s a superior platform in comparison to the typical fraud prevention methods used by other networks.

We also offer a range of tools to help Affiliate’s increase their sales and earn more money from the platform, such as a plugin that can be installed on their WordPress websites, this enables them to quickly start promoting WOW Trk offers with minimal effort.

What Defines the way you approach business?

Relationships are what underpin business and ultimately success in business. Our Affiliates, our merchants, our business partners are all built on solid relationships and understanding from both sides. As long as there is good communication, good collaboration and of course a common goal, then your approach to business is on the right track.

What different ways can an Affiliate make money?

There are so many methods and so many different offer types to promote. If you’re interested in selling something to your visitors you might promote a ‘CPS’ offer and earn a commission for every sale you generate. For this you need a good pre-sell, lots of interesting content and information about the product. WOW Trk is predominantly a CPL network; affiliates generate leads rather than sales and earn a fixed amount for every lead they deliver. This can be more appealing because you only need to generate interest, you don’t need to close the deal.

In terms of how they promote the offers, it does vary between advertisers, sometimes there are certain restrictions but usually it can be a combination of website traffic, social media, email marketing, even PPC. This opens affiliate marketing up to almost anyone who has access to an audience in the online space.

What’s the most common mistake you see new Affiliates make?

Trying to promote offers that are unrelated to their audience. Generally, if you have blog traffic related to something very niche or specific, those visitors are unlikely to be interested in a service or product that’s completely different. You could call it lack of targeting, that’s a very common mistake. As an Affiliate you should be segmenting your emails, adding relevant and relatable advertisements to your website and building a targeted community on social media.

What’s your top tip for a new Affiliate?

That’s a difficult one, I would have to say research and keeping up to date with everything in the industry are the most important things. Research, because you can’t pre-sell something unless you’ve taken the time to learn about what it is you’re promoting and get an understanding for the brand. In order to compete with the top affiliates out there, you also need to keep your digital skills fresh and utilise new tools and platforms that can help you increase your sales.

Is Affiliate marketing a long-term profitable avenue?

Affiliate marketing has been around for quite a few years now and it’s definitely here to stay. For merchants it can totally transform their marketing strategy, they could have hundreds or even thousands of other people helping build their brand awareness, reaching more customers than they could ever have reached without it. More and more advertisers are starting to see the benefits of this model, so affiliate marketing is only going to develop in the future.

I would like to thank Matt for taking time out of his busy routine for us. I really enjoyed Matts interview and I hope my readers would also like to read this interview, It was a great pleasure for me to interview him. I have plans to keep on interviewing more people related to performance marketing industry, So if you want your favourite people interviewed please mention their names in comments below and i will make sure they are interviewed in our upcoming posts. Also  I would highly recommend my readers to try  out WoW Trk

~ Kj

Meet the man behind the Thrive Tracker – Tom Fang

In todays interview I have Tom Fang with me, Tom is the Founder of iPyxel Creations company which managed Thrive Tracker, which he funded out of his own pocket upon leaving an early career in real estate private equity. I hope you all would enjoy reading his interview with us and learning about his tracker.

tom-thrive tracker

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where do you live?

I am 28 years old, and I currently live in Santa Monica, CA, about a half block from the beach.  I moved here recently and am really loving it.
Life wasn’t always as stable though.  My parents immigrated to the US from China when I was 5, and I didn’t see them again until when I was 9, when they brought me over to spend the rest of my childhood in Fargo, North Dakota.

They separated pretty much right away, and I was raised by my mother, who really struggled tremendously trying to survive with me in this country while having nothing and no ability to legally work (student visa).

I am truly grateful to this country for the opportunities and the benefits that children are able to get, else I would not be here today.  I think we often times take for granted how it is here in comparison to a lot of the world.

How long have you been working in this industry, and how did you get involved? What was your first money maker?

Depends on the definition of “the industry”. I first started dabbling in internet marketing about 5 years ago when I was still working but unfulfilled.  I started working with a partner who had introduced me to spamming.

That didn’t sit well with us for long, so we started to get into paid traffic and started to buy from Plenty of Fish (POF), which was hot at the time.

Because I was very good with Excel, I built an entire automated model to optimize our POF operation that would allow us to run hundreds of campaigns and thousands of ads at one time with relative ease as the model would spit out the best and worst performers.

At peak, we did a little over $30,000 revenue in one month, but my passion was never to run campaigns.  I wanted to turn what I built into software so others can use it.

Can you please tell us a little about your professional background?

I was lucky enough to get into the best business school in the country and graduated from Wharton with a degree in finance. After school, I went to work for Walton Street Capital, which is a multi-billion dollar private equity fund for large commercial real estate investments, where the biggest deal I worked on was a $310 MM+ debt deal where we foreclosed on 2.65 MM square feet of office space in Seattle.

While I still have strong interest in real estate and love my finance background, I was always more interested in technology and the internet, and pretty early on, I knew I had to try to build a software business.

What is the most expensive thing you ever bought?

I’m really not too materialistic. I think the most expensive thing outside of business expenses would be that I recently spent over $3,000 on a personal training package at the Venice Gold’s Gym.  I am now in the best shape of my life.  If we’re talking about a thing, then I think my $1,500 Surface Pro would be it.

What is your biggest achievement so far? And also what are your biggest failures?

My biggest achievement would definitely be building my company iPyxel and our latest product Thrive. I am a non-technical, solo founder of a bootstrapped, profitable early stage SaaS startup targeting the high traffic, data-heavy performance advertising market. You don’t hear that combination every day, and it’s through a desperate determination and a lot of time and effort that we are here today.

What is your Daily Routine?

Work – whenever I wake up naturally
Eat
Work
Personal Training
Eat
Work
Eat
Relax for a few hours
Work a little more before bedWeekends are more fun though, and I go swim in the ocean almost every weekend.

What tips would you give to those who want to take the path of entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship can take on a lot of forms depending on your definition, but if we’re talking about starting a company, I say:Don’t do it. It probably won’t work, and the risk-adjusted return for your time isn’t worth it.But, true entrepreneurs can’t NOT do it.  That’s how you know you should start a company.  I believe if you’re an entrepreneur, then you would be an entrepreneur, despite great odds of failure.  You’d already be doing it, or at the very least, you have concrete plans on when you’ll be quitting your job and doing it full time.If you are going to do it, I suggest you self-fund it or raise a little bit from friends and family and try to sell your product until you can make enough to live.

Are you an affiliate yourself?

No, I have not been an affiliate for over 3 years, since the POF days. I have a lot of close connections with affiliates so I know what affiliates need in a product and service, but, I believe it is a major conflict of interest to be running traffic and also build a tracking platform.

Tell us about Thrive and what inspired you to start this service?

Originally, I started Thrive because all of the self-hosted trackers out there at the time were really bad and did not have a world-class development team behind it who could product a cutting edge product for modern times. We’re still, by far, the best self-hosted tracking option. Today, Thrive has a self-hosted plan, but also a much bigger, and thriving Cloud Service, where we’re competing head to head with Voluum on. When we started offering a cloud option, I didn’t expect the demand, but today, our Cloud Service is 2/3 of our total revenue, and we’re reinvesting massively into greatly improving our cloud platform for years to come.Our Cloud Service is deployed on 8, soon to be 9, of Amazon’s data centers.  Our complex caching system keeps all the data loading fast, no matter how much data you have over time. Lastly, I think trust is a big thing.  We have a lot of big affiliates use Thrive simply because they trust us, as we’ve demonstrated we have the user’s best interest every single time.  We don’t have media buyers, and we never run traffic ourselves.

Thrive tracker

As we all know setting up tracking platforms like yours is not a bed of roses, what was your biggest problem when you started?

The biggest problem in the beginning was figuring out how to handle huge scale. We want to serve the affiliate who is just starting, but we also want to serve the biggest affiliates in the industry.We really hammered this home and went after this relentlessly, and we will soon be able to claim that we have the most scalable tracker with the fastest redirect speeds worldwide.

What are special features in your tracking platform which we can not find in other trackers?

The devil is always in the details. Thrive does a lot of things that make your lives easier, and it’s hard to point to specific things.  For example, Thrive adds automation capabilities so that if an offer goes down, Thrive has an offer swap function that allows you to instantly swap that offer from all of your campaigns for a different offer.If I had to name specific features, here are a couple more:Cloaker/Bot Filter:  We have pre-configured filters to filter out bot traffic so that they do not contaminate your actual data, and we log all of the bot clicks in a separate report.  You can also design your own cloaking system and send any unwanted visitors to a ‘safe page’ by creating multiple layered rules based on IP, referrer, URL-parameter, geo, device, browser, OS, etc.Multi-User Access:  You can create multiple roles and users that only have specific access to certain parts of the application or even specific sets of campaigns.  You want to grow your business eventually right?  Then any employees/outsourcers can have their own logins and not be exposed to the rest of your business.  You can also have multiple media buyers only responsible for their own campaigns and you have the ability to view everything

Can your tracker handle large traffic volume?

As mentioned previously, this was the first thing we focused on. I didn’t want to build another “me-too” tracker that could not handle high volume at fast speeds.On our Cloud Service, we have some users who are running over 10 million clicks/day, and we’re looking to continually bring on even bigger affiliates and media buying groups.The great thing about us is that if you run over 1 million clicks/day, you start to see significant savings over our competitors like Voluum.  At the biggest volumes, we’re about 50% less expensive, which makes a BIG difference at that kind of volume.

How large is your team? How many people work under you?

Our full-time team right now is still small at 4 people. We have a few more part-timers, and I use a lot of contractors for specific, specialized tasks.  We’re extremely lean, and we’re proud to have accomplished so much with so little.For a long time, it was just me and David, our VP of Engineering.  This next year we are planning on growing more.

There are a lot of tracking solutions these days, what makes yours different and how does it stand out?

We’ve discussed scale, we’ve discussed speed and performance, we’ve discussed our dedication to privacy and trust, and we’ve discussed some awesome features.I think in addition to all of that, it’s worth mentioning that Thrive has the ability to track pretty complex funnels and upsell sequences.We have a “Branches” feature where you can create multiple rotations on the same page, in a sequence, or otherwise link to it anywhere in a funnel.This allows you to do multiple steps, multiple split tests of different steps, and keep “branching” off in your funnel as many times as you want to track the most complex funnels.Additionally, we cater to power users. We have a fully documented and dedicated API for all users.  You can control all reporting and campaign management functions through the API.Recently, LPOptimizer integrated with Thrive, and we hope more 3rd party products utilize Thrive’s API.

Lastly, I think it’s worth mentioning that any of our users will tell you we have the best support in the industry.  The only thing we care about is providing the best tracking product and service for our users.  Our recent adoption of ZenDesk is another commitment to provide better support.

We get a lot of tickets that come in and be answered within 10 minutes, and our users are often surprised like, “wow, that was quick!”

What are your plans for the future?

We’re going to continue to work our asses off to improve upon Thrive and build the best tracking product and service in the industry. We have huge huge plans for Thrive, including integration of call tracking, affiliate network tracking capabilities, mobile app tracking, and vertical-specific tools.

What are the challenges you are facing right now and how are you planning to overcome those challenges?

Our biggest challenge is finding the best software engineers and convincing them to come work for us, because it’s often hard to understand this industry if you’re an outsider.Great software engineers in the US are very expensive, but we’re committed to building a world class engineering organization in the US.

What are your favorite traffic sources? And why?

We are completely traffic source-agnostic as we never look into user data to assess whether something is doing well or not. We’re fully focused on providing our users the best platform to do their jobs.

If you could go back in time and do things differently, what one thing would you change?

I would have spent a lot more of my pre-college days learning to code and taking a crack at building things and entrepreneurship.I would have also have us built and launch Thrive earlier so we could be first movers instead of second.

What budget do you suggest to start advertising with affiliate marketing?

I think a lot of people who start media buying expect to make a lot with very little.The mindset needs to change to the fact that you are starting a business, and a real business requires investment and the right tools.I think you should make at least $10,000 from a job first, then set it aside to invest in your business. Don’t skimp on the tools, the hosting, the domains, etc. etc.  Give yourself the best shot.

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

I hope everyone will find a way to give us a shot. At the very least, just start a conversation with us.  Email contact@ipyxel.com if you’re interested in our products, and we will answer any questions and concerns you may have for your specific use-case.  We will not miss a single email.If you’re a high volume user, please contact us, and let us know roughly how much you run a day, and we will provide you with a quote.  Doesn’t hurt to ask and start a conversation at least!


 

I would like to thank Tom Fang for taking time out of his busy routine for us. I really enjoyed interviewing Tom and it was a great pleasure for me to interview him. I have plans to keep on interviewing more people related to performance marketing industry, So if you want your favourite people interviewed please mention their names in comments below and i will make sure they are interviewed in our upcoming posts. Also  I would highly recommend my readers to try  out Thrive Tracker.
~ Kj

Most Demand Skill for Digital Marketers? Affiliate Marketing

Smart Insights recently published a study that covered a variety of things related to digital marketing.  One of the most interesting aspects of the study when they asked which skill they would most like to improve over the course of the next year.  The #1 answer was affiliate marketing, which got 40% of the total respondents saying they were looking to improve on that skill.

The full breakdown of results is visible in this chart:

Desired Skills Chart

As you can see there were a number of popular skills that marketers were hoping to improve.  Mobile marketing with 39% is certainly no surprise and SEO at 36% makes sense too.  Digital strategy and integrated planning is somewhat of a vague response but I can see how people would select that as well.

Given how easy it is to hire graphic designers these days I was surprised to read that this option rated as high as it did at 27%.  Most people it seems are either good at this already or are happy to pay a professional to take care of it for them.

Copywriting is near the bottom at 22%, which makes sense in that most people who need it either know that they want to do it themselves and have put in the effort to learn or know that they don’t enjoy that type of work so they have hired someone else to do it for them.

AM Navigator’s CEO, Geno Prussakov said that, “Continued research and reports put out by IAB and Affiliate Window, the efforts of Performance Marketing Insights, Affiliate Management Days, and others – it is good to see it all, finally, yield fruit.”  He went on to say, “Affiliate marketer’s seat at the table and affiliate market’s place in advertisers’ digital marketing strategies has been overlooked for way to long.  It is refreshing to see that marketers, finally, realize the importance of the ‘skill’ of doing affiliate marketing.”

The study also found that digital marketers believe that their skills were strong in strategy & integrated planning (52%) as well as customer service (48%), only 13% said that they were already strong with affiliate marketing.  This makes it clear that not only are marketers missing this key skill, they recognize just how important it is and want to take steps to improve it.

While the study does not go into any detail on how these digital marketers are planning on learning about affiliate marketing, it is certainly a good sign for the digital marketing world in general.  Affiliate marketing has been getting more and more popular for many businesses, and with the continued success there will be a larger demand for this type of skill going forward.

US Affiliates More Satisfied than Global Average Regarding Payments

In a recent study that looked at a variety of items impacting affiliate marketers, it seems that those who are based in the United States are more satisfied than those in other countries.  This is specifically true about the way payments were handled.  The report comes from the payment platform Tipalti.

While the report is filled with interesting and important information, one of the most significant items found is that nearly one in three global affiliates have had issues where they never got paid for their affiliate sales.  The number drops to just 13% for affiliates based in North America.  In addition, 20% of non-US marketers reported that they were not satisfied with the payment processes they experienced, while for those in the US less than 10% reported this.

The report was conducted over the past few months and polled more than 250 affiliate marketers.  The marketers who replied ranged from individuals to small companies and even many large companies that brought in over $200,000 in affiliate sales.

Tipalti’s CEO, Chen Amit, said, “Affiliate networks need to consider the influence their global affiliate partners have on their ongoing business success and how their commission payments processes are impacting their ability to recruit and retain the best affiliate marketers.”

The reality is, while there are many things that can impact the overall satisfaction of an affiliate marketer, few of them will be as important as the way they get their money.  In fact, 99.5% of those surveyed reported that timely payments are important to their satisfaction as an affiliate. If they aren’t getting paid on time, or even at all, it is unlikely that the marketers will continue working for the company.  What’s worse (for those networks having trouble with payments) is that affiliate marketers are often quite vocal about it when they run into these types of issues.

If one person doesn’t pay, it could cause many others to avoid that particular network for quite some time.  This can then cause further issues, which can result in further payment problems.  This downward spiral can cause an affiliate network to run into some seriously difficult times much more quickly than they would have expected.  Losing just a few of the top producing affiliates can be devastating in some cases.

This report contains a lot of valuable information that people who are working for or running affiliate networks will find very informative.  In addition, affiliate marketers themselves would be wise to read through the report to keep up to date on what is going on.  This is one of the most in depth reports available to date concerning how payments impact the overall affiliate marketing cycle.

You can find this report published by Tipalti HERE.  It is a free report and well worth the amount of time it will take you to read it.

Tips on Avoiding FTC Actions from Former FTC Attorney William Rothbard

William Rothbard is a well-known former FTC attorney, and he recently presented at Affiliate Summit West.  During his presentation he provided a number of great tips on how to avoid FTC action.  As most marketers are aware, the FTC has been cracking down on a number of different companies over the past few months.  We’ve reported on several of them here, but there are others as well.  With that in mind, any tips you can get from a credible source like this should be most welcomed.

Deceptive or Unfair Advertising

One main topic he talked about was deceptive or unfair marketing practices, which are a big no-no for the FTC.  He talked about exactly what deceptive or unfair advertising consisted of, which is any type of advertising that has a significant chance to give the consumer the incorrect impression about the product or service being marketed.  He then went on to talk about what the FTC does when they find this type of advertising.  He mentioned things like cease and desist orders as well as ex parte orders, which causes the assets of a business (and possibly its owners) to be frozen while an investigation takes place.

Substantiation

He talked about the importance of substantiation in all marketing and advertising efforts.  This simply means that all objective claims must be able to be supported with reliable evidence.  This is especially important when making claims about the performance of a product, or how it can impact someone’s health.  Safety claims are also very important in this area.  Supporting your claims by, “competent and reliable scientific evidence,” is required.

Disclosures

Having a disclosure on your site or your advertisements it not usually enough.  Rothbard talked about how important it is to have ‘clear and conspicuous’ disclosures that are there to prevent ads from being misleading.  Any disclosures you have on your site need to not only be easy to see and featured in a prominent place on the site, but they also have to be written in easy-to-understand language.

Another important point about where disclosures must be located is that they should be near the item that they are about.  If you have a claim in the middle of your web page, the disclosure should be right next to it so it is clear that the two are associated.  He said that the FTC is beginning to regulate down to the color, font size and other items when it comes to ensuring the disclosures are clear enough to protect the consumers.

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend Affiliate Summit West, it is a good idea to think about how the FTC will be looking at your business.  IF there is any question about what your marketing is saying, the FTC may be concerned.  They can cause major problems for any business so make sure you fix your issues before they do.  Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your business is not big enough or important enough to be looked at by the FTC.  They review businesses of all types and sizes.

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