Newb Guide Pt 6: Making Ad Campaigns

This is part 6 of Nickycakes’ Affiliate Marketing Guide.  Please read the other parts first if this is somehow confusing to you.

So by now you have set up your tracking, been accepted to affiliate networks, picked some offers, made a landing page or a few of them, and are ready to start spending money on ad campaigns.  This is where you really tie everything together.  Where the rubber hits the road so to speak.

This is a good time to get more familiar with your tracking202 setup.  You should read through the 202 docs and make sure you understand how to input all the basic data into the system such as the affiliate networks, offers, and landing pages you will be using.  202 will give you a piece of javascript that needs to go on your landing pages (if you’re using landing pages) and will also be giving you urls that will be used when setting up your ad campaigns.  If you struggle with any of this, 202 has a forum available for people looking for help.

Alright, so now you want to set up some ad campaigns.  But where to start?  There are literally hundreds of companies that you can make online ad campaigns with.  The most popular and recognizable seem to be the big 3 search engines: Google, Yahoo, and MSN.  All 3 have their own self-serve ad platforms.  But you should not by any means feel limited to these.  Nickycakes, for example, got his start with Facebook ads, and has never ever had a profitable google search campaign in his life.

Here is just a short list of some of the hundreds of places to advertise your stuff online:

7search
adbrite
adonnetwork
adready
adsonar
adtegrity
ask.com
bidvertiser
clicksor
facebook
google adwords
looksmart
marchex
mediatraffic
miva
msn adcenter
myspace
pulse360
search123
searchfeed
socialmedia
trafficvance
yahoo search marketing
zango

So which one should you choose?  Of all the ppc platforms out there that Nickycakes has tried, MSN Adcenter has been the easiest to turn a profit.  Maybe it is because users who are retarded enough to not only keep internet explorer as their browser but to also keep MSN search as their default search engine are stupid enough to buy anything… Who knows.  But the fact remains that MSN traffic generally converts twice as well as Google Adwords traffic for the same keywords.  It’s also generally less expensive and you don’t have to deal with any bullshit quality score like google has.

It would be nearly impossible to include in this tutorial how to create campaigns on all these networks, but fortunately, Nickycakes doesn’t need to because most of them include pretty comprehensive documentation.  Lazy people are always asking stupid questions about adwords when they have pages of documentation on their own site that answer them.  So it’s pretty easy to get started… pick a traffic source, read the docs, and get crackin’ making your campaigns.  Not exactly rocket science.

Keyword Selection

People often ask if it is worth it to subscribe to some pay service to help you make a list of keywords for ppc search campaigns.  Nickycakes has never needed one of these and generally uses notepad to make keyword lists.  That’s not to say they don’t help, but they are certainly not necessary.  Nickycakes usually goes for high traffic keywords instead of longtails, but theres plenty of money in both.

Test Budgets

How much should you spend testing a campaign before declaring it a bust and moving on.  Nickycakes usually spends $100 testing a campaign to decide if it’s profitable or not.  If the cost per click is really high, obviously, this number may have to change as it’s hard to make a solid judgement on like 50 clicks.  If you get a couple hundred clicks and have no conversions, scrap it and move on to something else.

Ad Variations

Many ad platforms allow you to rotate between several different ads for each keyword to help you determine which one performs better.  While this kind of testing will be covered in the next post in more detail, it is important to use more than one ad.  There is always room for improvement, and Nickycakes always creates at least 2 ads to test between and see which one performs better, scrapping the underperformer and adding a new one every few days.

The next installment will be about split testing.

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