24
Sep

MySpace Ads Review And Tutorial

Just yesterday I picked up on a tweet from lenstrom that MySpace Ads went live, at least in the beta version, so I though I’d head over there, sign up and throw $50 their way to see if I could get some action. As of this post unfortunately my ads haven’t been approved yet, even though they’ve been sitting in the que for about 22 hours. So, even though I don’t have any conversion or money making data yet, I can give you a walk through of the system and offer some opinions.

When I get my ads approved and get some data I’ll report back to let you know how it went.

It’s pretty easy to sign up with MySpace ads and you don’t even have to have a MySpace account to do so. Just put in all your personal data, a valid credit card and then you go and set up your ads. MySpace is different than Facebook Ads in that you have 2 choices of ad sizes, either a 300 x 250 block or a large 728 x 90 pixel banner of which you can either design right in the MySpace interface (you can add text and your own images), make your own or do what I did and just use creatives from whatever offer you are promoting.

Create A MySpace Ad

If you’d like, you can target your ad before or after you actually create it. At this point the demographic data available to do your targeting is very limited. As you can see below they’ve left out at least one important choice in the game console category. They’ve included everything but the Wii (I forgot Wii was a Nintendo product. However, you can select it seperately on Facebook. Thanks to WordVixen for pointing out the mistake):

No Wii?

Also lacking in some demographic areas I was exploring were only 8 brand name video games to choose from, no Christian category under music, only 29 authors listed in the book category and the health & fitness category only has 2 options – working out and yoga, lame. Hopefully this is just what they’re offering during beta and the category choices will be expanded. Right now Facebook Ads offers much better targeting.

Also, you will definitely want to set your age demographic appropriately to avoid maybe trying to sell car parts to 13-year-old-girls or some such market that will waste your ad budget since MySpace is notorious for worthless ad traffic. How many 13-year-old have credit cards?

After you create your ad, target it and add your destination url, you then set your campaign budget and it looks like you can set a total amount to spend on a campaign (hopefully you can change that if your campaign is doing well) and choose your bid amount, as long as it’s 25 cents or above.

MySpace Ads minimum bids

That’s another flub with MySpace Ads here is the 25 cent minimum bid. Come on guys, you can’t expect that to fly very long on an unproven ad platform with no conversion data yet. It remains to be seen if actual cost per click will be at 25 cents or lower, but that’s ridiculous, not being able to lower bids to 10 or 15 cents to get a better ROI is just crazy. This is basically a content platform and if I were paying 25 cents per click with some of my Adwords content campaigns, I’d be broke. Time to re-think that one.

Next you want to set the time frame or dates your campaign will run. Make sure you choose a campaign end date as people have left comments on other blogs doing MySpace Ads reviews that they’ve accepted the default setting which ends your campaign the day it starts. It might be a good thing if MySpace tweaks that to be out a least a couple of months.

The bottom line is that MySpace has more users than Facebook and could bring many more impressions to your ad. In picking some of the same type demographic as on Facebook Ads, MySpace is showing me millions of potential users vs Facebook’s hundreds of thousands.  However, it’s hard to tell how many clicks you’ll get or what the conversions will be like. The 25 cent minimum bid has to go and demographic targeting has to be expanded. MySpace has tons of data on its users and putting out an ad platform without including better targeting is extremely shortsighted. It’s almost as if they though maybe they’d see how much money advertisers are willing to spend before they roll out the whole package. Not good.

One other minor tweak I’d like to see MySpace make is to allow your session time to be a little longer. It must only be about 2 minutes or less because almost every time I refresh the browser, I get kicked back to the login screen.

Anyway, I though I’d at least give it a shot to see if it would produce a little income here. If you want, you can sign up for MySpace Ads here.

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3
Sep

August 2008 Affiliate Earnings Report

I’m not the accountant in our family. Crunching numbers for hours at a time makes me loony, but I do love to figure out affiliate earnings every month because it gives me a legitimate excuse to be obsessive about checking stats, which I usually have a bad habit of doing way too much.

I was hoping to get to $5,000 in earnings this month, but actually had a slight drop. This month was a good example of why you should keep your affiliate business diversified. Revenue shifted quite a bit from some solid earners into newer and unexpected income streams. While earnings from the eBay Partner Network were down by about $400 and revenue from my top BANS store was down by nearly $600, other affiliate streams almost replaced it. Earnings from Azoogle, Clickbank and Market Leverage were up and after advertising expenses, profit was around $500 from these three. I also earned a nice $282.51 from Site Build It which I rarely ever promote.

Pay per click advertising between Facebook ads and Adwords showed the most promise this month as a spend of $1,115.11 (this is what I can specifically track)  created revenue of $1,609.90, realizing a profit of $494.79. It’s now a matter of weeding out the losers and attempting to tweak and ramp up the winners.

Total revenue did come in at over $5,000 this month, but costs were at an all time high. Everything breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,415.24
Commission Junction – $110.37
EPN – eBay – $719.19
Meal Planner Ebook – $102.00
TripAdvisor – $177.03
Clickbank – $266.83
Private Advertising – $175.00
AzoogleAds – $1,152.85
Microsoft – $200.00
Pepperjam  – $49.70
Market Leverage – $252.85
Other Affiliate Programs – $405.46

Total Revenue – $5,026.52

Total expenses – $1,208.46

Total Income – $3,818.06

The goal for September is to reach $5,000 in earnings even though this month is traditionally very slow and we’ll be on a nice beach vacation for a week. Hopefully we can avoid the 3 storms churning up the Atlantic ocean as I write this. Our last vacation was rained out, so it would be nice to get a break from that.

Remember, keep your earnings streams diversified to avoid getting crushed when that big stream turns into a tiny creek and your income suffers significantly because it’s the only thing you have going.

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26
Aug

Tip For Creative Use Of Spam Email

Nancy Pelosi helping affiliate marketingIf you are like me you probably get tons of spam emails every day. I usually get between 300 and 400 every single day of the week even though I’ve set up several rules in Outlook Express to deal with all of it. I’ve eliminated about 30% of my spam lately with the rules, but lots of it still comes in.

Sometimes I read the subject lines just for a laugh and then delete the long list of emails. But it seems as of late, the subjects have been getting more and more creative with lines on the order of cataclysmic world events, Bill Clinton engaging more deeply in his sordid lifestyle and then the most creative one I’ve seen ever:

Release Of The Nancy Pelosi Sex Dvd Causes Mass Erectile Dysfunction

Great Spam FolderI almost fell out of my chair the first time I read that line. And that’s when it hit me, I ought to be saving some of these great headlines to get ideas for Facebook and Google ads. So I created a folder in Outlook and as I scan the spam every morning, if a headline sticks out then it goes into the Great Spam Headlines folder for future consideration.

I probably won’t be trying to sell any Nancy Pelosi DVD’s on Facebook anytime soon, but you never know how a subject line may inspire you for a killer line of your own. Besides, what do you think the chances are of getting Ms Pelosi’s mug approved to run on Facebook?

I would like to thank Nancy for helping out at least one affiliate marketer come up with a creative idea. And you thought your tax dollars were wasted.

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13
Aug

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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12
Aug

Harsh Reality 4 – There Will Be A Major Setback In Your Affiliate Career

Facing A Major Setback?If you don’t get kicked out of some program, banned from a forum, accused of spamming, have a site or two completely removed from Google’s index or lose a significant amount of money (for you) in advertising during your affiliate marketing career, then you aren’t working hard enough. Every one of those things has happened to me, but fortunately I’ve learned enough along the way that any dramatic incidents such as these should be reduced to a minimum from here on out.

With the way things develop and change at an ever increasing rate on the web and the sheer amount of advice (some shady some not so shady) available on affiliate marketing, you are bound to run afoul of someone’s “rules” at some point. There are things that are clearly wrong to do such as hacking someone’s site to steal their traffic stream or paying someone to click on your Adsense ads, and then there are other techniques that are merely loopholes in the system just waiting to be exploited.

For many successful affiliates that’s the game to be played. The more successful you are as an affiliate is probably in correlation with the risks you are willing to take and how far you think outside the box. Let’s face it, if it were all that obvious and we all played by the accepted rules, then we’d all be in the super rich affiliate category or at least on our way there. What can set you apart is looking at “the rules” and seeing an advantage that no one else sees and then exploiting it.

As an example, for all my whining about Facebook Ads, I’ve actually earned almost $200 in the last 2 days by finding a way to target dating offers in a not so obvious way, and if I told you about it, you’d probably go, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that!” However, the high school interns, or whoever it is, running the show in the Facebook Ads department might at some point decide what I’m doing is not acceptable, and that’s the end of my little windfall. Even though no rules have been broken, it’s the end of the party until the next unconventional technique somewhere outside the box is discovered.

Once loopholes such as this are closed they can possibly have a major impact on your business, that is if you don’t adapt well. And that’s the whole point of this post. Yes, at some point during your Internet ventures you will probably face a setback big enough that may make you want to hang it up and do the college and cubicle thing the rest of your life. But if you’ve built a stable and diversified business where your income comes from multiple sources, it will lessen the impact of a setback that either effects you financially or emotionally or both. Read the Affiliate Confession FAQ for various ways on how I’ve diversified my income and you can too.

Developing your ability to think outside the box and recognize and take advantage of opportunity and see between “the rules”, can turn major setbacks into minor inconveniences.

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