Realistically, once you know what you are doing, this is how fast you can ramp a campaign up to 1k+ a day: click here for a pic!

Hey guys. I see a lot of people struggling with affiliate marketing in general on a daily basis. There are a lot of rumors and crap push button profit systems and guru tricks that are all just a lot of BS. I hate it and want to squash some of that here and now so I’m cooking up a little guide for you.

The number 1 thing to remember here is that there is no push button secret to profits with CPA other than testing, using your time wisely and fronting a little cash to get data you can analyze and optimize on. AGAIN, you won’t get anywhere without having time and money to play with, so stop dreaming for some silver bullet that won’t ever come along.

Okay, lets get to it then, shall we.

PoF offers several forms of advertisement through standard Facebook style text and image ads, small banner ads of 310 x 110, and standard IAB ads that are unlocked after you spend $1000. We’ll be focusing on the smaller text and image ads, but much of this can be applied to the larger ads which I like to use to scale campaigns once I have successful text/image ads running.

Things you will need:

A PoF Ads account – http://ads.pof.com

Tracking – Always use a tracker of some sort. I use CPVLab for its awesome split testing capabilities. There is also Prosper202 which is free. I used P202 for a few years before moving to CPVLab. There are a couple others out there, but these are the only two I am familiar with.

If you plan on not using tracking, you won’t know how, when, or where you got your conversions from. Use it or else!

Hosting – DO NOT USE SHARED HOSTING! It’s cheap because it is unreliable. I’ve had several clients go from losing money to making money as soon as they upgraded to a VPS or dedicated server. Shared hosting loses you clicks, bleeding you money and conversions. I use Wiredtree for their excellent managed support included with every server.

Affiliate networks – Why limit yourself? Sign up to as many as you can. Use AffPaying.com and go through the first 1-3 pages and sign up to all the affiliate networks. Having trouble getting approved? A phone call showing you are at least minimally knowledgeable in affiliate marketing goes a long way to getting your sign up request approved quickly. Don’t look for emails or IM screennames… just call them!

Money – Affiliate marketing is not something you start up in your backyard with $10 to your name and debts building on your credit cards. I’ve seen families destroyed and bankruptcies wrought from some of those crap guru slingers out there and it disgusts me. If you don’t have at least a couple thousand dollars you can afford to lose (Yes, lose all of it), then affiliate marketing might not be the best solution to your money troubles just this second. Raise cash into a AM bank account from a second job or freelancing in order to have some sort of cash flow available when you do start.

You’ll also want some photo editing software (I use Photoshop, but even MS Paint would work). Get some very basic HTML skills so you can edit landing pages when you start using them. There are other tools out there like spy tools and research tools available, but they aren’t necessary unless you feel like you need them.

OKAY! Now you should be all set up and ready to go. Let’s dive more into Plenty of Fish ads.

Plenty of Fish, being a dating site, obviously works great with dating niche offers. That’s what we’ll focus on, as its the easiest thing to get started with.

Step 1. Finding Your Targets

A lot of people think its best to start with offers and build a target from that. There is nothing wrong with that, but due to the unique targeting available on the PoF ad system, I think the other way around works even better. It’s best to be creative with your targeting, so we’ll look into that now.

– The Essential Targets –

These are things you should always, always, ALWAYS target before moving onto more creative and complex targeting options.

Age, Gender and Country ALWAYS need to be targeted. Do not make one campaign targeting both men and women, targeting multiple countries, or targeting everyone 18 to 99. Lock these down to one gender, one country, and a small age range. For dating, I find my best conversions rates are around 35 – 50, and there are ways to track this which I will cover later.

Session Depth – This is how many pages the user has viewed since logging in to their account. The lower the number, the more likely you will get a click, but the more expensive it will cost. I set this to around to less than 10 or 20 when testing. Some people will say not to set this, but it is something you can play with eventually. The lower your session depth, the higher you should bid.

Ads Clicked – I don’t normally set this, but you can test it to see if it will increase CTR on your end. If someone clicks a lot of ads, you can target them with this setting. If you turn this setting on, you should increase your bid.

Browser Type – Make sure you are getting rid of Android and iPhone traffic, unless you are running a mobile offer, in which case you only want to target those.

Frequency Cap – I set this to the minimum 3 per day. That means my ad will only be shown to one person 3 times per day. This helps me save money on showing the same ads over and over to the same person.

Login Count – If someone has logged in hundreds and hundreds of times, they’re probably pretty banner blind by then. Set this to 50 – 100. Set it higher in a new campaign with good ads to see if you can increase traffic and still stay profitably. If I set my login count to anything more than less than 50, I typically see a very steep drop in my CTR and conversion rate. The lower this setting is, the higher you want to bid.

Now that we’ve got our basic targeting down, its time to get creative. Now, its important to get creative with your targeting because the more laser targeted your ad is, the higher your chances will be to stumble upon a high converting unexploited target.

What do I mean by a creative target? Here is an example.

So, you can see I took a unique angle targeting large (curvy) , educated, smoking women that are looking for a long term relationship (are you his dream woman?). Look at how I used all those terms inside the actual ad copy.

This is what I call laser targeting and its the easiest way to generate high CTRs and high conversion rates on your offers. It might not come with a whole lot of traffic, but I’d rather see a higher CTR and less money spent with a couple conversions rather than a ton of money spent, low CTR and few conversions on a broad targeted campaign. I would suggest sticking with these smaller targets until you can master PoF traffic, targeting, and ad building – as well as until you have a higher cash flow, as the more broad you target the more money you will have to spend testing.

Here are some of the other more creative targeting options I suggest you play with:

Ethnicity and religion – This is a simple one, but one that got a little too hot. So much so that you can no longer call out ethnicity of a person in the ad. However, you can use imagery to call it out on its own. Want to target black men that love white women or vice versa? Stick an interacial couple in the image and you should be good to go.

Education – This has been a killer for me last year, especially when targeting women. Women want to know they are appreciated and enjoy smart conversations with men. Integrate that into your ad. You could also use profession in the same sense.

Drinking Habits and Smoking – An ad for party goers or those that are the opposite could be played with here.

Pets – A super simple targeting option to test with. “Meet other cat/dog lovers here!”

As you can see, there is so much to play with that it might go a bit over your head. Research into online dating habits (Hello, Google!) and find more information that might give you hints on how to build out your campaigns.

Ads and Images

So now we know about targeting. What about ad copy and images?

Let’s start out with ad copy first and some writing tips.

Read Ca$hvertising today. Download it, buy it, anyway that you can you need to read this book. I’ve written in the blank edges ideas that have helped me write better ads. This book will absolutely make you a better copy writer.

Use questions – Even if my headline isn’t a real question, I add a question mark to it. It engages the user. It gives them something to reply to. Is it necessary? Probably not but I’ve used it with success over the past 3-4 years without fault, so its kind of an old habit. It will help any of your campaigns more than it could hurt.

Numbers and statistics can also help boost your campaign. Did you know 83% of all statistics online are made up? Who cares! Make some up and test them. People like to read interesting facts (or false-facts) as they are very strong engagers.

Compliment – Especially when targeting women, you want to flatter them. Notice I targeted big women in the ad above, but didn’t call them fat. That would get me in a heap of trouble! Instead I used the word curvy. Voluptuous would be another good word I could substitute. Find a way to turn bad/unhealthy things like that into good things with the right adjective.

Avoid using the word free. Advertisers and PoF don’t like it. It generally leads to poor quality ads.

Most of all, test, test, test. I usually test out 2-3 ad copies at a time. When I find the best converting ad copy, I kick out the others and test a couple more until I’ve come up with the best ad copy out of 20 or so. You want to start out testing very different angles and ad copy, and later down the line you’ll be left testing small changes. Maybe you throw your Call to action at the beginning of the ad, rather than the end. Maybe you change one word to a different one.

Now lets move onto…

Images!

Images are what drives CTR in many cases. The right images for your targeting can take your average .1% CTR to an astounding .3% and higher! This means more clicks for less money so testing hundreds of images will be imperative… so much so that I have hired an employee who’s full time job is to go out and find me hundreds of new images to test for my campaigns on a daily basis.

What do men like – Cleavage, boobies, T & A – I could say it 1 million different ways, but sex sells for men. Luckily, PoF is okay with many of the shenanigans affiliate marketers like to pull including sexy images. Don’t go over the top, don’t use topless women or girls in g strings or bikinis or anything like that, but a little cleavage never hurt anyone.

I find that men also like the color green… like the sexy green M&M as I’ve heard one of my students point out.

Women – Women have some of the same tendancies as men, preferring images of attractive, muscle ridden men, but many other styles of images have worked for me in the past. Men wearing baseball caps and cowboys hats (I know you are probably like o.O Whutttt?), bad boy tattoos, pets, babies/children with single guys in them, images of couples – lots of variety for you to try out here.

I actually like targeting women a bit more these days as male targetted ads tend to die out. I guess they see a different pair of knockers that seduces them more and they stop looking at my old ads. Haha.

Remember to keep your images at least a little targeted to your demographic. If you are targeting men 50 years old and up, dropping images of hot 18 year old bombs on them might not be the best idea. Images of cougars is where you want to be .

Also, use images of non-models. I mean like what you would find on Facebook or Myspace. No one clicks on images of models. While this might get you in legal trouble, the worst I’ve seen is that you might get a C&D. Avoid using images of celebs and you’ll be okay. If you absolutely must stay 100% legal, dirty up the image with some noise and grain filters in Photoshop. The best style images are usually self-taken, in a mirror and with a grainy camera phone. Make it look like it is someone they could actually meet and talk to on the street.

Offers

This is going to be a very simple section.

Because I am picking my targeting first, unless there is an offer that absolutely matches up with that targeting, I rotate through several offers to find the best converting offer. Because most dating offers are one in the same, just with a different layout but all very broad and general.

So, just find all the offers you can and start rotating. Ask your affiliate managers what they’re top converters are for your targeted countries for a more refined list. With Prosper202 you can rotate up to 5 offers at a time, but you’ll have to track conversions on each offer through the affiliate network. With CPVLab, one of the reasons I like it is because I can rotate 100 different offers and see which offer exactly is converting with the highest EPC, as each offer will not only convert differently, but also have a different payout. This is one thing prosper202 can not do efficiently.

One rumor I want to squash is offer payouts – A higher payout does not mean you will make more money. One of my examples – I was testing offers for an Asian country. One of the offers paid out $5. One of them paid out $1.50. Despite the discrepancies, I went ahead with testing them. You want to know how much profit I made total over the lifetime of that campaign? Around $75,000. And it came from the offer that paid $1.50.

Again, a higher payout means nothing. Lower payout typically mean they convert easier and are more simple to target, so look into them more so than you would a $10 dollar payout!

When you find one offer that holds strong, use tools like odigger.com or offervault.com and find every affiliate network that has that offer. Test that offer on every reputable network that has it to optimize your profits even more.

Test, test, test. That’s what its all about!

Bidding

There are two different trains of practice here.

You can A. Bid the absolute lowest possible (Around 20 cents) and take all the residual traffic you can. This is an easy way to get some cheap traffic, but it takes hits as the quality of the traffic is usually lower, clicks less and has less conversions.

However, B. is a better route to go when you are micro targeting. Bid fairly high, around 60 to 80 cents, and optimize your bids when you figure out your EPCs. Then set your bid at whatever ROI you want. So say for example if I found out I was making 60 cents per click on an ad with a .2% CTR and I wanted to make 50% ROI. I would then set me bid to around 80 cents as each click in that case would cost me around 40 cents so I’d be making a 20 cent profit on each click I paid for. I hope I did my math right, but you should get the point.

Optimizing

Here are my simple rulesets for running and optimizing PoF dating ads.

If Impressions > or = 1000 and Clicks = 0 – Pause the ad
If Impressions > or = 2000 and CTR or = the payout on the offer and conversions = 0 – Pause the ad or drop the CPM on the campaign and wait a couple more thousand impressions to see if it converts. If it doesn’t shut the ad down and look at your ad copy and offers.

Basically I want all my ads to have a .15% CTR or higher. Any lower than this and you will probably lose money hunting for conversions.

If your ads beat this but don’t convert, look into rotating new offers. You might just not have an ad that sells it well enough, in which case you can turn to landing pages, but I will save that for another post as that is another long guide/essay waiting to happen.

In any case, here is a landing page that is stupid simple to implement and edit. It’s not the best example, but its free and easy to use so enjoy it: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?05f9xdpfpppxb20

Additional Tips Section. – As I get new info and tips, I will update them here so you don’t have to read through the whole guide to find new info.

{state:}, {age:}, {gender:} can be used as placeholders in your target url to pass onto tracking or landing pages. You can also use them in the ad copies themselves. For ex. “Meet {age:30}+ year old men in {state:your area}!” Whatever goes after the “:” is what is shown if the ad system can’t grab that information from the user viewing the ad.

{creativeid:} can be passed in your tracking url so you can easily find what ad was converting. each ad gets a unique tracking ID after it is created. There is a creative ID lookup on the ads homepage you can use to easily find what campaign that ID is in.

Get the mrgreen.am PoF ad uploader tool for about 100 bucks to make your life easier once you start making 100s of ads a time. I suggest using 2 different ad copies and 50 images whenever you start testing.

My campaign naming scheme and tracking subid scheme look like this for easier tracking:
date campaign was created-offer/niche-angle/targeting-{creativeid:} (for url only)
ex. 090612-be2-men25upsmokelfmen (men, 25+ age, smokers, looking for other men (gay dating ad) . I would typically make this shorter and abbreiviate it with a code so other affiliates don’t know what I’m targeting if they click my ad)

More info to come soon…

And I think that about wraps up the guide! I know it might seem jumbled up and hard to understand. That might mean you have a little more to learn before you can step up into paid CPA. I know it took me about 3 months of reading and exploration until I dropped my first online paid ads.

Also, anyone who has ever told you internet marketing is easy is either on crack or a scammy mc’scamster. I never tell my clients affiliate marketing is easy. If you want easy, McDonalds is hiring year round and all you gotta do is flip pre-grilled burger turds over. Affiliate marketing is hard, long, analytical work. If you can’t think on your feet and constantly optimize you will sink and drown. Don’t become a slave to finding that silver bullet. With affiliate marketing you have to materialize and constantly fight to keep that bullet on your own.

Shiny object syndrome is no laughing matter. Avoid guru info products at all costs. Anyone that says you are guaranteed to make money is just shittin it out for more leads.

If you guys have any questions about PoF, this post, Thailand, me or anything AM related – drop in the thread or email me at contact at justindupre dot com or add me on Skype.

This thread was not created for the purpose of reaching out for more coaching clientele… but simply my effort to pay it forward to an excellent community that has provided me with excellent business and contacts for the short period of time that I have been here.

Rock over London
Rock on Chicago
Wheaties, breakfast of champions

— Justin Dupre
http://justindupre.com