How to Scale a Campaign

A lot of people ask me about how I scale my campaigns, so while some of my secrets stay safe with me, I’ll talk a bit about different ways that you can scale your campaign and squeeze a lot more money out of it.

What is scaling a campaign? If you don’t know, scaling a campaign means taking it from Level 1 up to Level 10. You’ll test out a bunch of offers and finally find something that converts and is profitable for you. Now it’s time to take it from making $100 a day to $1,000 a day and beyond. How can we do this? A few ways, grasshopper…

Scaling Method #1 – Expand on Keywords

When we want to scale a campaign, in most cases it means we want more volume to it. How do we expand on keywords?

  • More long tails.
  • More short tails.
  • Broad matching (make sure you have a good list of negatives).
  • Outside-the-box keyword ideas (similar industries but different niches).

There’s quite a few ways to expand on keywords if you put some thought into it.

Scaling Method #2 – New Traffic Sources

You have a campaign going solid in Yahoo, you’re profiting and everything is good. So why aren’t you testing out Google, MSN, Ask, LookSmart, etc? Going from Yahoo to Google alone will most likely triple your traffic if done correctly. MSN can also add a nice chunk of revenue in if the campaign is big enough. Expanding around to smaller search engines, banner traffic, and media buys can really scale up a campaign. Get creative with your sources of traffic and you’ll be on the road to more money.

Scaling Method #3 – Increase Bid Prices

Another way to scale a campaign is to get a higher ad position, more volume, and therefore more revenue. Your profit margins may drop due to the increased bid price, but if you’re getting 5x as much volume, in the end you could be profiting more anyways. Play around with bids and find a “happy place” where your volume shoots up and so does profit. Would you rather spend $100 and make $500, or spend $9,000 and make $10,000?

Scaling Method #4 – Work on Ad CTR

Work on always split testing adcopy to find the ad with the highest CTR. The higher CTR an ad has, the more clicks go to your landing page and through the offer.

Scaling Method #5 – Work on Landing Page CTR

Working with ad CTR, it’s realistic to get a percent or two more out of it, which can mean some nice volume. With landing pages, I think the potential is much greater. I’ve used a landing page for a long time and had a bad CTR, then designed something out of the box, threw it up, and saw a 10% increase in CTR. That is plain CRAZY. I saw a 10% increase in traffic which was a pure profit increase just due to the new page. Sit back and think a minute about your offer, and what would make your visitor want to click through. Increasing CTR is like seriously ramping up volume without paying an extra dime.

Scaling Method #6 – Negotiate Higher Payouts

Once you have scaled using all the methods above, your campaigns should be cruising pretty well. Now you go to your affiliate manager and tell them you’ve been working hard on scaling the campaign, and you want a payout increase on the offer. Shop around other networks that have the same offer and see how much they can give. Tell them you’re doing a lot of volume and will switch if the payout is right. A lot of times you can get an extra few bucks on an offer, which if you’re doing high volume can mean A LOT more profit.

Scaling Method #7 – Test Different Offers

You may have been set on one offer this whole time. Now that you have that working, try out some different offers in the same niche and see how they convert. You may find an offer that converts just as well, but has a much higher payout. This means mo’ money for you. Add in the whole “negotiate for higher payouts” thing, and you can be looking at a lot more profit just from changing a link.

Scaling Method #8 – The Whitelabel

The ultimate method of scaling…The Whitelabel. Once you’ve optimized, tested, and scaled your campaign using all the methods above, it’s time to contact the advertiser and negotiate a direct relationship. You’ll be able to host the offer on your domain and it will be a fully built site (which means a higher quality score). Conversion rates are generally higher and the biggest plus is the huge payout bump. A lot of networks take around 20% on certain offers, some even more. That’s 20% added to your revenue that again, is pure profit.

There you have it, the very methods I use to scale all my personal campaigns. Reading this article is one thing, and actually putting the advice into action is another. The cards are in your hand, make the right plays and you’ll win big.


  1. Lisa
    February 19, 2008

    Since I’ve been one of those bugging you on scaling —

    let me be the first to say THANKS!!!! for this hugely helpful post!!! :)

    See you at AS West!

  2. The Limitless
    February 19, 2008

    Hi Paul! Thanks for the tips , this was a great post, I’ve been reading your blog and following your posts for a while noe, but have never commented ;).

    I’m sure this great tips will help us all with our campaign .

    Thanks again, Good work.

    The Limitless

  3. February 19, 2008

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Peter Quinn

  4. February 19, 2008


    Do you use keyword conversion tracking on all your merchants the reason I ask for is becuase I just launched a affiliate online dating site and none of my merchants allow keyword conversion tracking…

    Pretty silly if you ask me?

  5. February 19, 2008

    Really helpful even if some of it should be common sense (but that doesn’t mean it’s common to me).

    Not to be picky but making $500 on $100 is absolutely better than making $10,000 on $9,000. One has a ROI of 400% and the other 11%. There’s also the risk of the dynamic changing. If you are spending $100, it’s no big deal if something goes wrong for a weekend. On the other hand, if you are spending $9,000, it is a lot more gut wrenching when things stop working.

  6. invisible777
    February 19, 2008

    Nice post.

    Good to see there’s still AM blogs out there that don’t post 2 year old paychecks that have nothing to do with affiliate marketing and spam their referral links on every other word.

  7. February 19, 2008

    I think Paul meant 10K on top of the 9K spend. At least that is the way I took it unless it was a typo.

  8. February 19, 2008

    Awesome post Paul. Thanks for the tips. Keep it up.
    (just broke my uber-comment cherry )

  9. February 19, 2008

    Paul this post is great!

  10. February 19, 2008

    The point was would you rather spend more to make more… or spend less to make less. The numbers here are sort of irrelevant… he was just throwing numbers out there to illustrate the point.

  11. February 19, 2008

    Awesome post man. Drunk off my ass. It’s kind of sad that I drink and then go read about affiliate marketing. Shit my life is sad.

    But yeah.

  12. February 19, 2008

    I get that; I was just being nit-picky. Spending more to get more is always good but not everyone has the bankroll to scale up and handle the additional risk.

  13. February 19, 2008

    Great post paul..

    But if you could add one more strategy about adding a more viral effect in your landing page, that would be better.

  14. February 19, 2008

    Thats very true. I guess the best way to look at it is purely conceptual. I’m not nearly on this level yet, so that’s the only way I can look at it at this point. Hehe.

  15. February 19, 2008

    Wow Paul.
    That was a very good post and some awesome tips.

    I haven’t really raised enough funds yet to fully start with affiliate marketing, but I will definitely keep this post in mind when I attend to that :)


  16. Erik
    February 20, 2008

    This is why I drop by your blog pretty much every day.

  17. February 20, 2008

    They will once you are a super affiliate.

    Till then, it pretty much sucks…

  18. Freddy
    February 20, 2008

    Thanks. Could you please expand a bit more on Whitelabel stuff?

    Private label and white label are a bit confusing to me.

    Would appreciate it.

  19. February 20, 2008

    nice list of scaling tips.

  20. February 20, 2008

    Good sound article here. Paul, if you can, tell us what a good landing page is, how to optimize it and give real examples. Most of what you explain here on scaling doesn’t mean squat if the campaign is not making money so for me, until the landing page is good, I don’t have any need to learn about aff spying or scaling.

    Anyone out there with links for good landing pages, please post.


  21. February 20, 2008

    P, (Can I just call you P, it is easier to type. P = Paul)

    Great Post, P. It is funny, like you are reading my mind. the last few posts with how-to type content I was just thinking of asking you to post something along those lines.

    Alot of times for smaller/newer affiliates it is some little habit of yours that I pick up on that makes all the difference and makes the puzzle pieces fit, but for you it is just some small detail. I dont think you realize how valuable your content is and how much it helps.

    I think a good added feature for this blog would be to let the regged visitors vote on your howto post each week. That is, if your comfortable being able to post about something you didnt want to get into just because your visitors want to know.

    Again, thanks for the great post!

  22. February 20, 2008

    I think by “make” be meant profit.
    So if you spent $100 and made $500, you actually grossed $600. Whereas if you made $10k, and you spent $9k, you grossed $19k. It would be a profit of 11%, but 110% profit. So your gut-wrenching weekend would have a lot of wigle room before it actually became gut-wrenching.


  23. February 20, 2008

    Yes I do. If I’m not able to track as much as I want, I won’t run the campaign with them :).

  24. February 21, 2008

    Great post paul!

    Great tips!

  25. February 21, 2008

    Thanks for the Tips Paul.

    I think in terms of returns, it would really depends on what type of mindset you have, some people would just look at pure dollars profit, so definitely the more you made the better.

    But for me i would prefer to look at ROI instead, that would make more sense for me.

  26. February 26, 2008

    These are some awesome tips, bro!

    This is why I tend to drop by more than once a week! ;-)

  27. February 26, 2008

    This is a great post from someone who is doing very well in PPC right now. Here I always find useful tips for my PPC campaigns.

  28. March 20, 2008

    Excellent write up bookmarked

  29. March 29, 2008

    The point is that’s the wrong way to look at it. If you look purely at ROI you WILL make less money.

    Let’s say you are spending $100/day and seeing $500 rev for $400 profit/day, but you have 4 really bad days where you make you see a -50% ROI rev on the same $100 spend. In a 31 day month you will spend $3100 and see $13700 rev for a profit for the month of $10,600.

    Now let’s say you’re spending $9,000/day and seeing $10,000 rev for a profit of $1000/day. You have those same 4 bad days. In that same 31 day month you will spend $279,000 and see $290,000 rev for a profit of $11,000.

    So even with horribly distorted numbers you still have more money in your pocket and that’s what it should all be about. The IRS asks what you earned, not what your ROI was.

  30. May 11, 2008

    I am still at an early stage of finding something that is profitable. I think I got something but have not tested it fully yet. At times I have to take risk, isn’t that right?

  31. November 20, 2008

    Another good way to scale if you use SEO. Track all your words that are converting with the search engine then launch PPC ads only with the keywords that converted into sales….

  32. December 1, 2008

    Thanks Paul for another great post.

  33. January 12, 2009

    nice list of scaling tips.

  34. March 15, 2009

    Great set of tips. Thank you.

  35. March 25, 2009

    This is very informative. Thanks for sharing.

  36. March 25, 2009

    It’s all about long tails…great.

  37. December 18, 2009

    THanks for sharing. Great job.

  38. December 29, 2009

    “”Scaling Method #7 – Test Different Offers

    You may have been set on one offer this whole time. Now that you have that working, try out some different offers in the same niche and see how they convert. You may find an offer that converts just as well, but has a much higher payout. This means mo’ money for you. Add in the whole “negotiate for higher payouts” thing, and you can be looking at a lot more profit just from changing a link.””

    Generally Im using this method. Thank u for information.

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