December 2008 Affiliate Income Report

Well, 2008 certainly didn’t end as planned at $10,000 as the goal for December, but income did come in slightly over the $3,000 mark, so my wife and I can still put food on the table and maybe get a coffee at Barnes & Noble, lol!

I wasn’t anywhere near the goal mainly because many of the PPC campaigns I tried during December just didn’t work out and in fact much of what I tried lost me a good chunk of change. One campaign that I though for sure would produce well was losing me about $90 a day for almost a week until I finally shut it down. No amount of tweaking was able to get it ultimately in the black. I had one day where I made some profit and spent the rest of the week foolishly losing money. Sometimes you just have to wait and see where things are going, but I probably waited too long on that one.

Then there was the complete shutdown of the content network that Google hit me with about 6 days before Christmas. I don’t know whether Google decided to review my Adwords account and slapped me like an unwanted stepchild while they were having a looksy or they just like messing with people around Christmas because they are evil. Starting about 10 days before Christmas impressions on Google’s content network slowly dwindled down to nothing except for 1 campaign. And 6 days before Christmas I was getting zero traffic from the content network. Yes, I mean nothing, not a single impression for 15 out of 16 campaigns.

As with Google’s great customer service and full disclosure policies, there was no notice emailed, no disapproved ads or alert in my Adwords account, simple zero traffic and impressions for 2 weeks. The search network was down a little, but I was still receiving some traffic. During the busiest time of the year online and while I was peaking with a food related offer paying around $15 a lead and producing 10 to 12 leads a day, Google arbitrarily decides to cut off my content network traffic. And they’re motto is, “Do no evil”, really? As if by magic, most of my campaigns on the content network at present are nearly back to normal levels, again, with no explanation.

Anyway, I still wasn’t even close to the goal I set but was able to produce a decent income for me. And for that, I’m a happy camper. Total revenue produced was $5,225.09, and with expenses at $2,218.21 actual income was just above $3,000. Everything for December 2008 breaks down as follows: 

Google Adsense – $1,148.32
Commission Junction – $271.68
EPN – eBay – $295.60
Meal Planner Ebook – $102.00
TripAdvisor – $168.66
Clickbank – $202.16
Private Advertising – $155.00
AzoogleAds – $1,333.95
Pepperjam – $15.50
Neverblue – $1,457.90
Other Affiliate Programs – $74.32
Total Revenue – $5,225.09
Total expenses – $2,218.21
Total Income – $3,006.88

I’m glad that 2009 is here, the holidays are over and it’s time to get back to work. I think 2009 is going to be an exciting time with everything that happening in the economy and the plans I have for the upcoming year. I’ve set goals and adjusted priorities to focus on the things that have been producing income for the long haul and have decided to put lesser income producing projects on the back burner.

What about you? Are you going to rock in 2009 or sit by and watch things happen?

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Profiting With Facebook Ads

I’m taking a break today from the Harsh Reality series to report on some success with Facebook Ads, finally. Over the last 3 days I’ve found out that yes, you can actually make some money with Facebook. It does take quite a bit of trial and error to find an offer that works and to be able to write your ads in a way that will please the ad editors, but when you finally get everything right, Facebook converts like crazy.

Over the last 4 days starting with Saturday evening I’ve earned a little more than $300 by running several niche offers. The best ones are a niche within a larger niche and I have one in particular that’s earning about $3 for every $1 I put into it. I’ve never even come close to anything like that with Adwords so this one is doing exceptionally well.

Facebook SpendI’ve found the trick with making a profit on Facebook is finding an offer that obviously appeals to the college and career minded individual, of which there are millions on FB, and it has to be easy and, even better, free to join, something that doesn’t require a credit card, at least initially and requires not more than about 8 fields to fill out.

One thing that has come as a surprise to me only in the last month or so, is that you can make money with cheap leads where you only earn $1.50 to $4 or so. In my previous experience with driving traffic via Adwords, it took lots of traffic to even get one conversion, but as the payoff per lead goes down, they will generally be easier and less costly to convert.

Spending stats for Facebook are above and here’s my earnings stats from AzoogleAds over the last 4 days or so:

Azoogle Earnings

The Facebook campaigns were started sometime on Saturday afternoon so they’re for a little less than 4 – 24 days. Total revenue for the 4 day period is $548.10 with spending at $233.57 resulting in a profit of $314.53. Not bad for a few hours worth of work over not quite 4 days.

To get profitable I started out the campaigns at around 35 cents a click and pared some down to 21 cents per click trying to keep my CTR consistent. Even if you can get your clicks down by 5 cents and it takes you 6 clicks to get a lead, as it did with my top earner, you can earn 30 cents more per lead which translates out to $30 extra profit per 100 leads.

Now for a little rant. You can make a profit with Facebook ads if you don’t give up and just keep looking for an offer that converts, but it can be difficult because of the utter incompetence of the Facebook Ads department. It is a complete joke what’s going on there. Sometimes it takes 5 or 6 tries to get your ads approved and I even had one ad that took me 4 times to come into compliance with one rule only to be disapproved for a completely different rule on try number 5. All the while my best performing ad is apparently in violation of both rules, yet they’re letting it run.

I’ve had ads approved and run for 1 hour and then turned off because they’re violating some insane policy. The Excel downloadable reports are absolutely worthless because they aren’t divided by campaign or date, just a single row of info (why even bother making an .xls file?). There isn’t any way to get a monthly report by campaign or day, you must go into each individual campaign and get reports by the week which will make for complicated accounting at the end of the month and there’s even more.

The incredible shortsightedness on the part of the developers of the ad system at Facebook is mind-boggling and then to top it off by staffing it with people that must have zero experience in advertising or making money online is truly astonishing. Facebook could probably be making billions with their ads, but because they are so user unfriendly and must employ people like the soup Nazi on Seinfeld to approve ads, they’re probably bleeding advertisers, and more importantly revenue, by the dump truck loads. End rant.

The best way to get your ads approved seems to be to get them in early in the morning before 10 am Eastern time. I’m guessing there are thousands of ads to approve from the night before and they are probably spending less time looking at your ads and are less alert because their Starbucks buzz hasn’t kicked in yet. I’ve had the exact same ad, only targeted differently, approved in the morning and not approved in the afternoon or evening multiple times, so they may be spending more time looking at things after the workload dwindles throughout the day.

If you’re going to make money with Facebook ads just decide right now to suck it up, bring a pick axe and keep chipping away at the rock because there are little gems to be had in there somewhere. Just keep looking.

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