Advertisers are STUPID

Facepalm-Meme-04No, the title isn’t clickbait. I mean it. If you’re an offer owner, read on.. I still see this regularly.

Why do advertisers (offer owners) in our space, hire the cheapest of the cheap web-development teams to design their landing pages?

Are they wanting millions of dollars worth of paid traffic directed to your sales funnel or… just to annoy affiliates ?

The amount of awfully designed & resource-heavy landing pages i’ve come across is numerous, some get it right, and some get it really wrong.

How is the age-old concept of fast-loading pages so easily forgotten about?

We all know that the attention span of a user is pretty slim, if a page takes 1-2 secs or longer to load, your premature exit-rate goes up exponentially.

I’ve had a word advertisers directly and gave them all my suggestions in order to speed up page load times, as this is a true and tested metric for better performance, and the pages that actually do get worked on, typically perform better (less clickloss).

Here’s an example that I stumbled across today of an offer I was pointed to in order to run a test.

Not only is their page design absolutely dreadful, this was the page load-time (5.4 seconds) according to GT-metrix.

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A Basic Process

In 1 short workday, you could improve your landing pages significantly (just based on simple optimizations) and potentially boost conversion rates across the board.

It doesn’t even require that much work. There’s a lot more you could do, but realistically, you can get away with doing a handful of tweaks in the majority of cases.

First things first. Run your site through gt-metrix and attempt to solve any issues it lays out.

One advertiser hadn’t even had GZIP Compression enabled on his server, which is a pretty basic setting for most servers which enables on-the-fly compression of served up resources.

Compress Your Images

I can’t believe I actually have to point this one out. Compression means smaller file size, which correlates to faster load times.

So, open up photoshop, resize the images on your page to their correct dimensions, then once you’ve saved that, head over to this hidden gem: kraken.io and drag all your images over, have it compressed using their secret sauce algorithm (lossy compression works well), download the files via a zip file. Wallah!

Here’s one I prepared earlier.

2016-05-27 17_51_01-Free Online Image Optimizer · Kraken.io

Remove Unused Scripts and Stylesheets

If I had a penny for every landing page I found using bloated stylesheets, bloated frameworks, unused scripts, you name it, I’d be a Saudi Prince.

NOT EVERY PAGE NEEDS JQUERY.

That’s right. You can do most basic javascript without jQuery as the framework, so why load it up?

What about all those useless CSS files that don’t affect the page, but you’ve referenced anyway?

Do yourself a favour and have that page repurposed starting from scratch, using properly structured and more modern HTML5 / CSS.

Consider a CDN

Unless you live under a dusty rock on Mars, you should hopefully know what a CDN is by now.

If not, go get yourself an account somewhere that provides CDN services, such as MaxCDN and learn how to use it. A CDN basically just mirrors what you point it to (URL) and request via their cdn link. For example, if you store all your files on mystoragelocation.com, and the CDN url is cdn123.maxcdn.com, you would replace all references to website assets which are external to the page code (css/js/images) with the cdn url. You’ll want to ensure your reference corresponds to the correct directory on the server (for example /public_html/images), which would make http://mystoragelocation.com/images.

To load from the CDN (if you configured it right), you’d refernce this instead to load all your resources:

http://cdn123.maxcdn.com/images

What’s the benefit of this?

CDN’s are useful for hosting static files such as images, stylesheets, audio, etc.. and serving it up to your user from a node (server) closer to their physical-location. For example, I’m in Australia, if you hosted your files with MaxCDN, they’d most likely serve me all your CDN hosted files from a server in Sydney or Singapore. Much faster to load that then something sitting in the USA or Europe.

Talk To Your Hosting Company

Have a nice little sit down with your hosting company and figure out what optimizations you can do to the server in order to speed things up. For example, you can switch from Apache to NGINX or, if you’re so inclined, and are using cPanel, switch to Litespeed (extra monthly cost).

You could enable compression if it wasn’t already enabled. I’m no server guru but there are, I’m sure, numerous optimizations such as caching that can be made specific to the server environment you are using, in order to serve up pages as quickly as possible.

And lastly, here is an infographic courtesty of KISSmetrics.com on the matter (Click image for larger version).

loading-time-lrg

– Andrew, aka Andy D


If you’re looking for further Affiliate Marketing Guidance, check out StackThatMoney. Best community of experienced marketers from around the globe, exclusive meetups, follow along’s, tutorials and the knowledge of a thousand sun-gods.

Can’t Decide on Tracking Software?

I’ve recently switched over to a new tracking platform called Thrive by the guys over at iPyxel which I love. It’s still in development, but is constantly improving and making strides, and the best part about it is it can be self-hosted. The offer a 30-day trial and it’s $99 a month thereafter which is well worth the investment.


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3 Things You Must Know Before Scaling A Campaign

roadblock

Often times scaling a campaign isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be. The first route is usually adding more traffic sources into the mix, or by duplicating your efforts over more campaigns, with different targeting, different angles, or by running your campaign over more than one traffic account on the same traffic-source.

What are the common roadblocks here?

Well, every source that say, may have the same format of ads (for example, native), won’t always perform as well as another source for a multitude of reasons, such as the available demographics, placements or overall traffic quality (some sources are really bad at vetting their publishers and are subject to a lot of fraud). It may just be that the source in question requires more testing of variations to your winning ads and landing pages in order to ‘crack’ that source. An example is landing page sizes on pop sources. Try tweaking the viewable size of the page and see how each variation performs on said traffic. It’s wise to find out what the pop dimensions are too, as many sources vary. If the source is break-even to slight loss, I’ll continue testing tweaks, so long as I don’t go into the red too far, until I’m in the land of the green, where the tree’s sway, the daffodils flourish, and I can frolic in the meadows of profitability.

Add More Countries?

Scaling into other geo’s (geographical regions) also tends to come with a new set of issues. A lot of people purporting scaling to other geo’s should be as easy as 1-2-3 are pulling your leg, I’m afraid. Some of the common problems I’ve faced are typically incorrect or poor translations (even from expensive translators on onehourtranslation.com), traffic sources that perform better than other’s with certain geo’s  (for example, one source worked great for me in the US, but sucked royally in France and Japan).

Why would this be? Different publishers, different placements & different audience come to mind. To note, it’s also potentially easier for these publishers to utilise bot traffic to increase their RPMs.

I have a solution for traffic sources that would help filter out a lot of the bullshit – pretty surprised they don’t do it already (greedy bastards) – block colocation & hosting companies and only allow valid ISPs through. That’ll minimize the problem a bucket-load.

Death by CAP

Looking to scale infinitely? Yeah, calm down soldier. Caps are a ceiling, imposed by the advertiser on the network, of how many leads they are able to handle on a daily/monthly basis, and they can stifle your ability to scale a lot. I absolutely LOATHE caps. I always seem to get surprised by them whenever I start scaling up, depositing a lot of money into traffic sources etc… Complete nightmare. I’ll go from 50 to 100 sales a day, and no one bats an eye. I go from 100 to 250 sales a day and all of the sudden the alarm bells start ringing and a soft-cap which I never knew about is imposed on me, at 150 leads a day (for example), which, if you blow over, can cause the advertiser to hard-cap the network. The difference between a hard and soft cap, from my understanding, is in the case of a soft-cap, any minimal spill-over, will still get paid out, but in the case of a hard-cap, any accidental spill-over will be on the network or affiliate and they’ll eat a loss. Obviously it’s in the best interest of the network to avoid a hard-cap, as it ultimately means less revenue for the network. The advertiser will either stop firing conversion pixels after xx leads a day, or they will only pay what they set the maximum cap at, if the specified cap is reached and exceeded.

My only tips here is to have backups in place, if you can find any, that still convert (normally not as well) and can keep your campaigns above water. Else, just pause traffic and resume when the clock strikes 12 (check with your network which time-zone they abide by) or when the month restarts.

Managing Workload

As a one man show, still, I only ever outsource bits and pieces when I need the extra grunt work, but don’t (at this current point in time) have any full-time employees. This creates a drastic issue, and that is, scaling over to 5 different sources, means 5 x the workload for optimizing, which can be a daily chore and take FOREVER. I had a situation last year, where I ran a campaign over 13-14 countries on 4-5 sources and had to optimize every 1-2 days to keep it profitable. Looking back, it would have been really convenient to have a full-time employee optimizing for me all day so I could focus on other, more important things, like finding more traffic sources.

Let’s have a conversation…

What are the main issues and roadblocks you run into when trying to scale your campaigns? Leave a comment below and if it’s something I’ve dealt with and found a way to handle it, I’ll try my best to provide some tips.

– Andrew, aka Andy D


If you’re looking for further Affiliate Marketing Guidance, check out StackThatMoney. Best community of experienced marketers from around the globe, exclusive meetups, follow along’s, tutorials and the knowledge of a thousand sun-gods.

Can’t Decide on Tracking Software?

I’ve recently switched over to a new tracking platform called Thrive by the guys over at iPyxel which I love. It’s still in development, but is constantly improving and making strides, and the best part about it is it can be self-hosted. The offer a 30-day trial and it’s $99 a month thereafter which is well worth the investment.


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