Traffic Source Attention-Deficit Disorder

This post is based on a reply I wrote in the PPV Playbook forum. I really like the quality of PPVPlaybook’s forum because its a closed community, and people are more willing to share than on a public forum. Despite being an overall scumbag on the internet, when it comes down to it I like to help people when I can (unfortunately, there is no e-book coming soon from PPC.bz. Or ever.)

This isn’t an affiliate link. PPVPlaybook is legit.

Now, I know I’ve been a little hard on the newbies lately. I realize that we’ve all been in that newbie position, and when someone can post something helpful it usually doesn’t go unnoticed. Maybe this post can also help some people who are not necessarily newbies, but are struggling to figure out paid traffic.

The problem some internet marketers have is Traffic Source Attention-Deficit Disorder. This is the act of jumping to and from, back and forth, to all the traffic sources out there. Rather than focusing on one thing and getting it working, they think their problems can be solved by finding a different traffic source and getting it working there. And when it doesn’t work at the new traffic source, they repeat the steps… forever and ever until they give up and have to get a job at McDonalds working for Nick Throlson. (Just kidding Nick, I love you in that ‘you make me laugh but you’re oblivious as to why’ way. Enjoy the traffic.)

“I can’t get this traffic source to work, which one should I try next?”

Anyway, someone had a question that went like this:
“When do you move over to other traffic sources like social media or PPC when you can’t get PPV to work? How will I know if PPV isn’t for me? How and when to scale to other traffic sources?”

While this question seems like a “How do I scale to other traffic sources?” kind of question, it’s not. It’s more of a “I can’t get this traffic source to work, which one should I try next?

My reply, although modified quite a bit for this post, is below.

Every Traffic Source You Jump into Needs to Become Your Bitch

Scaling means taking a successful campaign, and moving it into another traffic source. There are few times where a campaign can be ported over to another traffic source without any changes. Most of the time it will require a few hours or days to understand the new traffic source and adjust accordingly. PPV traffic is the least strict, Facebook has its own rules, and Adwords has very defined rules on what needs to be on your landing pages.

The problem is many newbs give up on traffic sources too early. They blame it on the traffic source “It doesn’t work!”, but don’t blame the fact they are still poor marketers. If you know how to market your product, if you really know how to sell – you can make almost any campaign work on any traffic source.

When I say campaign, I don’t mean some $5 a day direct-linking campaign. I mean campaign like you’re taking this shit seriously. You took the time to setup landing pages, maybe an autoresponder, the bells and whistles. Something that is your “property” that doesn’t depend on one offer going down (meaning it’s non-dependent on any offer- such as, you’re collecting leads yourself, or your target niche is big enough to have sufficient offers for switching out.)

Some people preach “Don’t depend on one traffic source.

While that’s true in a some instances, newbies tend to take this too literally. They move around blaming the traffic, but usually its because they don’t know the fundamentals of marketing and salesmanship. When you spread yourself around to many traffic sources, you might be thinking “I’m covering my bases in case this traffic goes down!”

That’s true, and its a necessary strategy, but it only matters if your campaigns are making money. If you’re consistently unsuccessful, then there really is no point to diversifying garbage.

There are very few chances of your business going down because of the traffic source kicking you off. Adwords is the huge exception to the rule. Otherwise, traffic sources will modify their rules to make it harder on affiliates, but if you have that traffic source mastered, you learn to weasel into the nooks and crannies. (For example, Facebook’s consistent changes to their guidelines.)

While you can take a direct linking campaign and spread it all over the web, success doing this is mostly sheer luck (you would have been much luckier 3 to 7 years ago.) Still doable, but not as easy as it used to be.

Why not just create your own luck? Master one traffic source with one or a few campaigns. Make that traffic source your bitch. Once you have a real winner, move onto the next traffic source. Don’t stop until its profitable there. Rinse and repeat. If you’re doing it right, this process will take a while to “key” your ads on every source of traffic, but its well worth it.

Tweaking your sales funnel is an on-going process. The work never stops on that. But moving to a new traffic source requires getting over the learning curve. That can take an hour, many hours, or many days.

Every traffic source has its own technical details you need to learn. At the same time, you need to understand where the traffic is coming from. Not all traffic is created equal.

Credit Where Credit is Due

I can’t take full credit for this wisdom in my post (if there is any.) The idea of “focus on one traffic source” really didn’t solidify in my brain until I listened to some stuff from Scott Rewick at Media-Mentors.com. Specifically, it was an interview with Jason at A4D Affiliate Network, aka Smaxor, that brought the point home.

I don’t remember where I heard the interview, but if you can find it, definitely listen. The main point from the interview was that Smax doesn’t jump into shit like a pansy. He will spend thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to make this work on that traffic source. All successful affiliates have the same mentality- if the traffic is there, and your offer seems like it should work, then there’s no reason why you can’t make it work.

Sometimes an offer on certain traffic just won’t work, no matter what you try. That’s just a fact of life. Maybe that traffic is all junk. Maybe the offer isn’t hitting home with the traffic. But you will be far more successful in the long if you take the “I’m going to make this traffic my bitch” approach, rather than the “I hope this shit works. Oh it didn’t work. Let me try something else… rinse and repeat” approach.

One approach is wishing for success. The other approach is forcing success.

The Fundamentals of Selling

It all boils down to salesmanship. If you don’t know how to write copy, then you’re at a huge disadvantage.

Even if you’re strictly doing direct linking, you still have to be able to write tiny ads, whether its small POF and Facebook Ads, slightly larger Adwords ads, or bigger creatives for media display. Even the ads on your shitty blog can always be written better.

You just can’t escape this. If you’re doing affiliate marketing, you need to be a marketer. It’s in the goddamn name. What’s fucking wrong with you?

If you want to be a better marketer, read these books.

Understanding Where Your Traffic is Coming From and Scaling

Each and every traffic source has its own nuances, and they all take a little while to learn. PPV traffic is different from MSN’s sponsored listings, which is different from Facebook’s social traffic, which is slightly different from Plenty of Fish’s traffic.

Assuming you have a decent grasp on copy writing, the next step is understanding the traffic source.

Technically, they are all different. By technically, I mean the actual processes of setting up campaigns, targeting, reporting, rules, regulations, and all that. Then you want to understand where the traffic is coming from: how and when do they see the ads and who sees the ads.

Pay Per Click Search – Adwords, MSN/Yahoo, and everything else. Pay per click is fairly straight-forward to understand. Someone is searching for a keyword, you display an ad. Relevance is most important.

Most people have difficulty figuring out the technical aspects of pay per click: Bidding strategies, finding keywords, and keeping their landing pages within certain guidelines (like Quality Score bullshit.)

Scaling PPC is also fairly straight-forward too. Once you understand how PPC works, you can scale it up internally (sticking with Adwords for example, but adding new sets of keywords) and / or moving to another PPC platform (moving your MSN campaign to Google.)

Pay Per Click Content Networks – Google’s Content Network, for example. You create ads, text, image, or flash, that get displayed on all of Google’s Partner’s sites. Technically, it’s not too tough to figure out, especially once you get familiar with a platform (Google’s Search to Google’s Content Network is nearly an identical process).

You need to consider how people see these ads though. They’re not searching for anything specific. The ads are displayed on websites that are relevant to your keywords. Your goal here is to distract people from what they’re doing. Strong offer and strong call to action are a must.

Display Media Buying Networks – Adblade, Burstmedia, Pulse360 and tons of others. Display media is for more plentiful than what Google’s Content Network can come up with. People “see” these ads the same way as Content Network: They are displayed alongside relevant content, if the ad network lets you target directly or by keyword. If you don’t target directly, then its an optimization process. Show your ads everywhere, then start eliminating the stuff that isn’t working.

The biggest technical difference from Adwords is that you’re dealing with a person.

In most cases, you’re dealing with an account rep. While the traffic works nearly the same to Google’s Content Network, personal relationships are a key factor. You’ll never talk to anyone at Google (well, 99% of people), but most media buy platforms give you an account rep. Sometimes, you might meet that account rep at a conference like Affiliate Summit and they hook you up, rather then you finding them first.

I’m far from a media buying expert, so I’m not gonna ramble on here too long. I just want to point out the difference between traffic platforms that require more dealing people, and those that have no people. Its something you have to consider when scaling a campaign from PPC to media, or media platform to other media platform.

It takes some negotiation skills. They have all this inventory and you want some. What you’ll pay for it will depend on how good your hustle is.

Pay Per View – Technically, it’s simple. Bid on shit, pop. The questions you need to ask yourself are: Is it pop up, or pop under (massive difference in how you have to create your ads.) What do I do with the landers? Since you’re not creating ads, your landing page is going to be your make it or break it point. How does the platform get their installs to pop their ads?

Who is looking at these ads? This is going to vary greatly depending on your targets. Some people do the simple ‘find super-relevant targets to this offer and pop’. Still works, but since everyone else does that, it gets competitive. If you’re doing it right, you’re more focused on either demographics (collection of sites that a demographic visits) or high traffic targets.

Focusing on a demographic means scaling is easier because you’re always able to add related targets. Then you can move it to another PPV platform. Or you can modify your offer / landing page to pertain to different demographics.

You can also focus on a high-traffic target which you could spend a significant amount on per day. The work involved there is a massive amount of testing to key your ads, that is, if you can ever key them. In some cases its just a matter of rotating offers and keeping the one or few that work.

Social Traffic – They display like tiny search ads, but nobody is searching for them. You have to get highly creative and relevant (by hitting the right demos). People aren’t looking for shit- they’re playing games and looking at party photos. How are you going to talk them into clicking on your shit?

Shit Traffic – Last but not least, there is some traffic you just can’t get to work because the traffic itself is garbage. This traffic comes from various nether-regions of the internet, but the point is that it will take a lot of money to figure out, or will never work at all.

Earlier in this post I wrote “You can make almost any campaign work on any traffic source.” That’s true when you stick to the major, well-known ad networks out there. Here’s a list. Don’t believe buying 50,000 hits to your website for $9 on DigitalPoint is going to get you very far.

Stay Focused – Master Something

There are a ton more types of traffic. Some traffic combines variations of the above, some are completely different. I won’t even touch on email traffic, mobile traffic, and network syndication.

The lesson here is that each and every traffic source is different in its own little (well, massive) way. It might be easy to port a PoF campaign to Facebook, but it will be much harder to port a PoF campaign to TrafficVance. Try taking a PPV campaign (usually very lax rules) to Google (very strict rules on what needs to be on your landing page) and you’ll soon see the work involved.

Always Be Improving Your Funnel – You funnel can be simple landing page to a complex email capture and followup campaign, all the way up to your own offer. You should always be improving your sales funnel so the revenue goes up. Switching to a different traffic source will require some changes to your initial contact with the visitor (changes to a landing page based on a new demographic, which creatives to use, etc), but most of the time your end goal for the visitor remains the same.

The Traffic isn’t Going Anywhere – Stop worrying that Facebook or Google will dry up. They won’t. There’s more traffic out there that anyone can buy.

Winning Campaigns FTW – Once you have a successful campaign, you have two options.

1) Take this campaign to other traffic sources. Port a PPC campaign over to another PPC platform. Or modify a successful PPV campaign to work on a Social Network platform.

2) Scale Internally – A winning PlentyofFish campaign can be scaled to different demographics on PoF. A winning PPV campaign can be scaled to a slightly different set of targets. Or, you can create a new campaigns entirely on the traffic source you’re using (as long as you’re seeing the light on how this type of traffic works.)

The point is that a winning campaign gives you motivation. At some point, it just clicks. It’s easier to modify something that’s already working, then to try to continuously create something successful from scratch.

It takes time and money to master paid traffic. If you spend a few hundred bucks on a traffic source, give up, and move on to spend another few hundred bucks at a new traffic source, give up, you’re going to be worn thin. Many newbies wonder why this happens, but the writing is on the wall. You’re wasting your time and resources looking for that golden nugget, when you should be creating that golden nugget (or magic bullet lolz) yourself.