Time to shed some light into your newborn eyes. A lot of the seasoned affiliates know this already, but I bet a lot of you reading don’t.
The reality is although our lives as affiliate marketers are great, if networks/advertisers weren’t dirty as hell, we’d all be a lot more wealthy. Real life example? A few days ago I’m running an offer on Network A. Over the past two weeks EPC has dropped and the campaign was getting crappy. So I find the same offer on Network B, and decide to switch it over. With Network A, I had done $1,900 revenue from midnight until 2pm.
New day starts with Network B, it’s 11:30am and I’ve already done $4,500 revenue, $3,000 of it being profit. Give Network B a full day to run and whoa what a shocker, they “talk” to me about having to decrease volume for a bit, and the mysteriously my revenue seems to automatically drop on it’s own. After having things happen like this so many times, I do my best to limited my pissedoffness. So here are the things that affiliate networks and advertisers do, I’ve experienced them all…
- Networks take around a 20% margin (sometimes more) on their offers. This isn’t dirty, but it’s something a lot of affiliates don’t realize. Say there’s an offer and the payout is $20 on it. The network is getting at least $25 on it, and the number is most likely closer to $30. That means if they were a good network and cut their margins for you, you could get $27 on an offer that you were originally getting $20 for. An extra $7 a lead takes a campaign from losing $1,000/day to making $1,000/day. But most networks still won’t sacrifice their margins for you (at least to the extent in which they should), so instead of making a ton of money, you’re forced to call the offer quits.
- Networks shave leads. As most of you know, Direct Track (the system which a lot of popular networks use, like Copeac, CPA Empire, Clickbooth, etc.) automatically shaves. They won’t report as many leads as you actually drove. So if you send 100 leads on an offer, the network might shave 5 of those leads off for themselves. In addition to that, the advertiser will shave as well. Flycell I think has been reported to shave like 20%, which means if you drive 100 leads, they’ll take 20 of them. I can’t remember where I heard this, but I know I heard that somewhere. It explains why Flycell was able to offer everybody $18 payouts. People promoted it like crazy because they thought the payout was so much better, but they just compensated by shaving a ton of leads off.
- Networks track differently. A lot of affiliate networks use their own tracking systems, some work better than others. I’ll run one offer on a networks, switch to another network on the exact same offer, and my conversion rate will increase. This is because the tracking system is better and/or the network is shaving less.
All of these points may come as no surprise to you guys, especially if you have experienced them. My point in discussing this is that affiliate marketing is not easy. Sure it’s the best job anybody could ask for, you get to work where and whenever you want, but there are certainly things that make it hard as an affiliate marketer to succeed.
How do we overcome this? The first reason is by accepting it. Advertisers will shave and scrub, it’s just what happens. The second way is by using the power of negotiation as much as you can. See that one network converts at 20% and another converts at 12% on the exact same offer? Tell them they need their tech team to fix the tracking issues before you run any more traffic with them. Payout not high enough for you to be making money? Most networks would rather take a smaller margin than no margin, so they can be pretty flexible in what they give you.
Moral of the story, just understand that you’re pretty much on the bottom of the totem pole, and to work your way up you need to be very aggressive in what you do. Either that or start running your own offers or networks, then YOU have the power ;).