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  • The Beginner’s Journey: How a PR Manager Started Affiliate Marketing. Part 5. Campaign Launch
    Reading Time: 12 minutes

    Hey there!

    Well, we’re getting to the most awaited part of my adventurous affiliate journey – the campaign launch! 

    Frankly, the campaign was launched some time ago, but I wanted to describe the whole process as fully as possible from the very beginning. So I needed time for transforming all my helpful notes and tips into post-notes for you.

    Right after launching, I rolled my eyes back in, breathed out, and shared my first impressions here (everything written is the naked whole truth!).

    First, I say that I’ve actively collaborated with my managers, both at AdCombo and RichAds, the source of traffic I used to promote the offer. Not all newbies do that, but in this post I’ve explained why it’s more effective to follow the way. There, I also talked about the creatives I would like to choose for the offer, and the landing page I already had. I didn’t change my intentions and stuck to what I planned in the post. 

    So, in the previous part, I detailed how to handle the technical side of the campaign (the recommendations don’t cover all aspects, just the basics). Now past that important stage, I’ll share the next ones of creating and launching my first-ever campaign (I can still feel my palms getting all sweaty after saying that, haha).

    Well, let’s get down to it.

    Making creatives 

    Let me quickly remind you I was running the Adult Nutra offer [34731] Sex UP – AR in Argentina with a $11 payout on RichAds’s push ads. At the stage of choosing an offer, my manager Valeria from RichAds and I decided to use only the landing page. Then I selected it in the ready-made creative block on the offer’s page in AdCombo – [89254] Sex Up – BlueLand – AR. The tracking software I chose was Keitaro

    Next, I had to come up with creatives (banners) that would attract users to my landing page in push notifications.

    I liked the landing page as it wasn’t too explicit. However, it made the right impression through a combination of product information and feature images. With the landing page, you can choose either a mainstream approach – erotic yet restrained creatives that have a better chance of passing moderation in some traffic sources – or an adult approach. I think you don’t need to guess what the adult approach is – it’s about the creatives that may look like an adult film shot 😁

    Such creatives can be banned in some sources, or precisely, they won’t even pass moderation.

    RichAds suggests emphasizing the result of using the product, regardless of the chosen approach for the creatives. For example, an affiliate can depict a satisfied man, or not only a man… well, we can remove the man from the picture leaving just his “part” to enhance CR. There’s nothing special here 🙂. Adult landing pages mustn’t be overloaded with information. Give a brief description of the product’s advantages, depict the results, and prove them with a block of reviews. 

    My landing page fits these recommendations.

    I would like to negotiate and confirm the approach to the creatives (banners) with the manager Valeria.

    We decided initially to look at the popular creatives in the spy tool AdHeart (you can use it for free but with some restrictions). 

    This one was among the popular (= converting) creatives at the time.

    Push notifications usually include little text, so you need to quickly catch the eye of the target audience with keywords and short phrases that address both the pain and offer a solution to the problem

    Everything is succinct in this creative: a result that evokes the problem (+4cm, super erection), a solution to the problem (new remedy), and the promise of a benefit (50% off – discount). By the way, I’ve heard that in Latin America, the discount mention brings a good CR. Where don’t they like discounts, though? 😏

    The idea is clear. However, I wanted to put some “beauty” in my creatives, so I took the image from the landing page and made the first creative-banner with it.

    Picking images from landing/pre-landing pages is okay, just like matching the information on the landing page with the information in the ad. It’s not just an option but a must. For example, if your landing page states the “+5cm in a week” result, stating “+16cm in two days” in the push notification won’t be nice.

    We’ll return to the text of the notifications later. Until then, let’s go on with the approach. Yes, I realized that looking at my initial creative, any experienced affiliate who worked with adult offers would burst out laughing “You’d better add more butterflies and violets, why not?!”. But I really had the idea of starting with something erotic and trying a mainstream approach with an adult flavor. Wait, it wouldn’t be long before my plan lost its erotic hint and took on the more familiar appearance of an effective adult campaign; and a video that people don’t reveal somewhere they want to remain decent human beings (surely outwardly).

    Before going the depraved way of making creatives, I clarified whether it was possible to try mixing approaches within one campaign.

    Valeria admitted that option but advised creating different campaigns in that case, i.e. copying the original campaign, but with creatives of the other type. Thus, I would have two campaigns with the same settings, but different approaches – one with adult and the other with mainstream one. That led to an A/B test. With its help, affiliates can see which approach has the best CR (although there’s no doubt about it).

    The same goes for testing the efficiency of promotion with only a landing page or pre-landing + landing page. I’ve heard different suggestions. Valeria recommended me to focus on using the landing page only, and then test the other variant.

    I abandoned the idea of using a couple since I decided to make the creative more explicit instead. I sent it to her as an example of my idea.

    Valeria said that the creative was more likely to be classified as adult content that would push us to the adult approach. 

    But RichAds’s moderation classed the creative as mainstream and advised us to use it with a pre-landing page to make more traffic sources available. 

    We had already made the choice to start with the landing page only, so we shifted to the adult approach. Valeria supported it by saying that the adult approach would have higher performance with my offer. However, I will add one semi-mainstream creative.

    Done and done. Let’s begin the creative process 😜

    To find references for the search of creatives, I considered the ads from AdHeart, banners from both the case studies I found myself and from the ones our affiliates sent to us. Also, I looked through ready-made landing and pre-landing pages for the offer in AdCombo.

    I started with a simple Internet surfing. The savvier or advanced affiliates usually spend hours watching captivating videos and screening the most fitting moments (I know it, as I was an accidental viewer of our media buying team’s work once).

    As my eyes were searching, I realized how few really interesting shots and perspectives I could find. After a few dozen minutes, I turned into a picky casting manager in the adult film industry. I got annoyed by the bored or sleepy facial expressions of p*rn actors, that didn’t show passion, and the actors were generally lame. Some images were of poor quality/with lack of illumination or awkward poses where couples were literally sleeping rather than enthusiastically “sleeping together.” 

    I didn’t get any good shots of the actors alone, either. I was wondering what was the fastest way to find a creative: the ordinary search, or waiting until someone threw a di*k pic on Tinder, for example… No, no. Kept searching.

    After a while, I continued my search by using various keywords related to the vertical of my offer: passionate sex, surprise by the size and even group sex (isn’t it possible with the super potency?). And it worked. By the way, when I came across faces (I got happy) I tried to choose the ones that looked local. That was the tip I discovered in a Dating case study that our partner sent us a long time ago. Showing the back bottom part is also a tip from the case. So, my landing page is well-designed. 

    Having found all the pictures I needed, I photoshopped them (enhancing contrast, brightness). Then I followed up with texts for each, considering the images and the content of my landing page. By that moment, I had reviewed so much stuff that my mind was automatically searching for it in real life too (it wasn’t a pleasant feeling that seemed like deformation caused by many-year hard work in the niche, whoa!). Distraction was very welcome. 

    Valeria recommended starting with 5 creatives. I need two sizes of each creative – preview and full (open) versions.

    After a short time, my masterpieces were ready for a powerful user conversion:






    I didn’t use emojis in the texts. An A/B test can be made for this point. Remember that tests are the engine of progress in affiliate marketing?
    I took the digits and periods from the landing page. In the creative above, I wrote about the natural composition, which was also specified as an advantage of the product on the landing page. And here I didn’t have to lie. Marketing experts have already proved that such statement increases credibility of the product. 

    Creating a campaign in the tracking software 

    Before launching a campaign, I needed to connect the affiliate network, the tracker, and the traffic source.

    In the previous post, I explained how they interact with each other through postback links. 

    In the same post, I showed how to tie the affiliate network (AdCombo) and the tracker (Keitaro) through the postback link.

    Adding the offer

    I preferred the simple way of driving traffic – via an affiliate link, not via API. This is an easy option for beginners, but not for those who are going to work with Facebook, for example. I didn’t work with it, so I freely copied the link on the offer’s page. That meant I used AdCombo’s server and domain, as well as ready-made creative from the page of the offer. It’s an easy-breezy thing for beginners: Came. Saw. And Started 😎

    It’s a little more difficult with Facebook, since affiliates had better use their own servers, that won’t be shared with anyone else, along with a new domain name to avoid bans. All in all, learning to work with the API is extremely useful for all affiliates, so if you want or need to, I recommend reading our article about API.

    Now, I’ll guide you through the launching process from the very beginning.

    I went to the offer’s page, picked a landing page. The link was updated, and I copied it:

    In Keitaro, clicked on the Offers tab and create a new offer

    Pasted the copied link from Network

    Done, the offer was created. I worked only with the link, with Network’s landing page through the affiliate link (redirection). I didn’t download the landing page and upload it to the tracker.

    Adding offer to the campaign

    Now the created offer (the original link from Network) must be attached to the campaign in the tracker – exactly to the domain name and server where the tracker is located. Then I’ll link the AdCombo’s domain/server to the domain/server where the tracker is located. The user will click on a new link containing the tracker’s domain (I’m about to create it).The conversion will be recorded at the tracker’s server (as Click ID data), and the user will then be redirected to the AdCombo side, to the landing page. The Click ID will then arrive at AdCombo, and the status on it will be sent to the tracker from Network via the Postback URL.

    Clicked on Campaigns and created a new one

    Add the created offer with the original link from Network o the flow

    And copied the new link to the offer 

    I could make sure that the link was active. I copied the link into the address bar and came to the landing page. A click appeared in the tracking software

    Adding a source

    There is one last setting item left in the tracker – to add a traffic source.

    The Sources tab. Created a new source there

    Selected RichAds-Push among source templates.

    Getting back to the campaign’s settings. Clicked on Source and added RichAds-Push

    In Parameters there is a list of macros that are transmitted from Source.

    I went to the next section – Integration and copied the link, that I then added to the campaign in the traffic source. It contained all the campaign’s data I mentioned above + macros that would be passed to the tracking software from the source.

    Finished! The settings in the tracker were complete. I needed to make sure that the postback URLs were working correctly, and the data would be delivered without errors.

    Testing of Postback URLs

    AdCombo + Keitaro

    In my previous post, I set up a postback connection between the affiliate network and tracker (filled in the fields), so I went back to the same tab in AdCombo – Postbacks, to test the postback link. It’s real easy and quick.

    Moving to the Testing section and selected my offer

    Macros that had already been added to the link were marked in green. If you want to add and test additional ones, do it here. 

    I sent a request and go to the Postback logs section to check whether the log appeared on the list

    Success! I also checked the log list in the tracker and verified that the link worked. 

    RichAds + Keitaro

    So, then I ensured that the postback between the tracker, and the traffic source also worked. 

    I copied the link from the Integration section of the Campaigns tab in the tracker

    And went to RichAds testing section of the Tracking tab to paste the link there

    Then I followed the link, placed an order (filled in the order form). Went back and clicked Refresh. If the test was successful, 1 conversion appeared.

    Done! Got ready to start a campaign.

    The order was quickly labeled as Trash (I filled in the form carelessly and also signed it Test). It was the right time for the launch! 😉

    Launching the campaign with RichAds

    Let’s start with the most important issue – financial. I deposited $500 into my account and… said the promo code ADCOMBO to my manager and got a 10% (= $50) bonus as a true AdCombo affiliate (then it was even more pleasant to be an affiliate). 

    However, the payment system had a nasty surprise for me. I warn you in advance: if possible, don’t use your payment card to make a deposit as the fee is a little bitey. It was $15.66 (3.13%) for me. Thanks to the bonus, I didn’t feel those unexpected expenses. 

    Valeria suggested refilling the balance through Capitalist (no fee), Payoneer (a lower fee of 2%) or a crypto wallet. 

    My start ad budget was $534.34

    Got to creating a Push campaign.

    My manager Valeria recommended targeting mobile devices (along with tablets) as mobile traffic would have more changes to bring a higher CR for my adult nutra offer.

    CPA goal (the maximum limit of the price for a lead) is set based on the formula 50-80% of the payout. For setting CPC (bid), an affiliate must contact manager for the relevant bid regarding the campaign’s target. The system’s recommended bid is rough, since target settings don’t affect it.

    My goal was to create a “draft” campaign: launch it and pause it at once, so that my manager could complete the rest of the campaign settings.

    I prepared my campaign part.

    Used temporarily the recommended CPC

    That’s it. I created the campaign and paused it so that my manager could check everything and make the necessary adjustments.

    Valeria approved my part and set the latest relevant CPC, added white sublists (list of sources that are likely to bring conversions with the offers like mine (adult nutra) and automated rules
    Automated rules form a blacklist, a list of sources that don’t provide satisfactory results.

    Done! A thrilling moment. I was ready to go! It was just about evening, which meant the beginning of the day in Argentina.

    I submitted the campaign for moderation. If the moderation team has any issues with the campaign, it rejects the campaign, though with an explanation. Affiliates can contact their managers then, to find out the reasons and fix the troublesome element of the campaign to get it finally approved.

    Hooray! Now I’m in! Rushing to celebrate it  toward adult & affiliate adventure!

    My creatives could win real-time bidding ad auction with CPC value (bid) and % of CR. The higher the better.

    My total spends including the ones from the previous posts are $541.08.

    I received the first clicks! During a few days, I had to keep a watchful eye on my campaign. 

    Shortly after the launch, we saw optimization variants.

    You cannot be sure of anything without your own tests, even if someone else got a good result. To find out whether a pre-landing page could help increase the campaign’s CR or not, we were going to put it to the test.

    A plan for further steps came up. In addition, the campaign got a little more challenging almost the next day. But nothing scares affiliates. They will solve any problems they may have…right?

    I’ll tell you about all this and the results of the campaign in the next part, don’t miss it!

    I wish you successful campaigns and a smooth moderation process until then!

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