Researching Affiliate Niches in 2012

Ways to Find Offers

1) Get out onto the field. My favorite way (also free) to research offers is to start browsing websites. If you have a specific niche in mind, Google relevant websites and look in the ad spots for ads that look like they’re affiliate pages. If you want to see what the mainstream/high volume crowd is running, check out the ad spots in popular sites like Weather.com, CNN.com, etc. Weather sites are synonymous with rebills.

Facebook doesn’t have too much, but check out the adboard and to view different niches, make fake names with different demographic info: https://www.facebook.com/ads/adboard/. There are also a few Facebook scrapers out there that will scrape ads based on demographic info.

2) Tools tools tools. As was the case back in the day, tools are being utilized for research and spying. And naturally as technology progresses, affiliate research technology follows. I use a couple tools to scrape/research offers, but one of my favorites lately is What Runs Where. I might write another post explaining in detail how to research with What Runs Where, but it’s a pretty powerful scraper.

Basically you can pop a few keywords for niches you have in mind (much like typing keywords into Google in method #1 above), or scrape from a list of URLs (like choosing the broad option of Weather.com). WRW will show you hundreds of ads, both text and image. This gives you the best “full scope” as to what’s being run today.

3) Networking. Another oldie but goodie is simple networking. If you don’t have many friends in the industry that know their stuff, affiliate managers are always a free resource. The affiliate industry is nice because it’s pretty capitalistic and free; meaning networks are in good competition with one another. This encourages them to go above and beyond, and one of those areas is with affiliate managers.

I’ve had some duds, but I’ve also had a few really smart and resourceful AMs that I still talk to. I still chat with Fraser and he was my first AM with Azoogle 5 years ago. Most networks email out “top offer reports” that on the surface aren’t that useful. Take that list and chat with your AM about where the traffic is coming from, what payout bumps you can get, and you might have a positive lead.

4) Check the trends. While spying on others is a great way to research what’s hot in the industry, the best thing you can do is be creative and make your own ideas. One way to do this is by looking at search and social trends. To see search trends, go to http://www.google.com/trends/. You can see the hottest searches and then dig deeper into those trends. To check social trends, just look at what’s trending in the Twitter sidebar. There are a few sites out there that aggregate twitter/social trends, do a few minutes of Googling and you’ll find them.

What you can do with these trends is both find untapped and new traffic sources/keywords, and also spin offers into them. If Steve Jobs is trending, you can make a “What killed Steve Jobs?” IQ quiz/email submit or something messed up like that.

What to do with these ideas…

Now that you know how to research for ideas and opportunities, the next step is doing something with those ideas. For me, the first step is usually jotting some general ideas down on a pad of paper. I’ll pick a few campaigns that I think have potential and jot down some general notes on what I’ll aim to target. Rather than make up a fake example, I’ll show you a shot of some random notes I jotted down a couple weeks ago:

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or crazy. In the above example, I was thinking about some things to run on Plenty Of Fish (never ended up following through, the quality of diet offers sucks). I was able to obtain some traffic information/stats on the demographics there, and jotted down some notes on where I’d start my targeting.

Making these ideas come to life

Now that you’ve got a few ideas and notes on where you’re going to start, it’s all about starting. Shop around networks and get the skinny on what offers in your niche is hot, and what the best payout you can get is. Register a domain in your niche and set up 2-3 landing pages based on what you see out in the field. At the very least, test 1 replica page and 1 page that you originally make.

All that I mentioned above is the easy part. If you want me to do the work for you, things that are hot: rebills, mobile, co-reg, edu, dating, insurance. Shocker huh.

What’s hard is getting converting traffic to your landing pages. What’s even harder is getting cheap converting traffic to your landing pages. But those are for posts of their own. For now, get out there and put a unique spin on mainstream offers.