The million dollar question: I want to become an affiliate marketer, but what budget should I start with?
An effective budgeting is what fuels successful companies, as well as affiliate marketers. Successful affiliates budget their campaigns accordingly, starting with the overall budget, broken down into a campaign budget. The overall budget is important because it gives you an overarching capping to work with and this way you will also have a control over your personal budget. The most important rule is to make sure your personal budget is less than your overall budget, in that way you have enough funds for re-investing into diversification and scaling.
You should treat your affiliate business like a stock portfolio, you need to diversity it in order to have a cash-flow. Most successful affiliates dedicate a percentage of their overall budget to testing new campaigns, another percentage for scaling high ROI campaigns and the rest to keep rolling the “safe” campaigns. If you are just getting started you need to focus on testing just one campaign at a time, but not exceeding the budget allocated for that particular campaign. There is a safe path for you to follow – to take advantage of our global SmartLink that will provide automatic campaign optimization, the most complex targeting on the market and solutions for any miss-targeted traffic. All of this is done through our Performance Benchmarked System, which redirects traffic through more than 16 parameters such as country, device, ISP, connection type, etc. always pushing more volume to the offer that has the best C.R & EPC. You just need to sit back and enjoy the results! In this way you obtain the needed amount of liquid capital that you will need to scale up using the HybridLink, for complex targeting, or to focus entirely on specific campaigns with no dynamic payouts in the MarketPlace.
Every day we at Strawberry test thousands of offers simultaneously, but if you are just start using our system, you better test offers you advertise one by one. A decent initial budget figure is around $5,000, so you can use allocate around $4,000 for creating campaigns, but you still have $1,000 to test other offers and afford doing mistakes. Of course it’s understood – the bigger the budget, the more tests you’ll be able run. But, if your budget is only $300 and you have to spend $99 a month for the tracker, and $50 for hosting, you’ll have only $150 to test a budget. In general, for the cheapest and low quality traffic you pay 2$ for 1000 clicks and you will be able to test no more than 2 campaigns with that traffic. For a quality traffic you pay around 8-10 $ for 1,000 clicks and if you count also the 10% difference in click between the source and the offer, another 5-8% traffic outside the target you will not have a lot left to optimize. So, you either consider the lower CPC or increase your budget from additional sources. But, keep in mind that testing it has a high importance.
Basically, there are three different variables you should use testing: offers, landing pages and ads. The difference between an experienced affiliate marketer and a newbie lays at how many of these variables are being tested. And again – the difference is defined by a budget. But you can push back a budget limitation with a good strategy. And we can help with that as well! Our free platform delivers performance, 12,000 highest conversion direct offers, optimization and last, but not least, a custom guidance from experienced affiliate managers. Open an account and your dedicated affiliate manager will contact you to ask you for more info, so together you can make a custom strategy, based on your traffic source and budget.
Start with the right GEO’s for you
Generally, in online marketing, geos are defined in Tiers. There are 3 major ones: “Tier 1” geos which are considered to be the most competitive and generally have the highest rates, “Tier 3” geos which are less competitive with smaller rates and “Tier 2” geos that are somewhat in the middle.
If you’re asking what classifies them as more or less competitive, here is a short comparison:
Tier 1 geos are more regulated, especially with regard to carrier billing flows, due to a maturity level they reached over time. Most affiliates run them to yield from more than average to highest payouts. The Tier 1 countries are Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, UK and USA.
The Tier 2 & 3 geos are not targeted by marketers that much, but their markets are still growing. Payouts are not nearly as high as with Tier 1 countries, but due to the market expansion you can achieve conversion rates up to 1/10. This makes Tier 2 & 3 countries a good way to start, as traffic is way cheaper, compared to Tier 1. But that doesn’t mean you have to disregard Tier 1! Once you have a critical budget to target Tier 1 countries, include them in your mix! The Tier 2 countries are: Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, El Salvador, Ecuador, Ghana, Honduras, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Romania, Paraguay & Portugal. The Tier 3 countries are: Iran, Kuwait, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Syria & Zimbabwe.
In general, a smart way of working with multiple geos is to test a set of 10, pick 3-5 that have performed the best and scale up your traffic sources without adding new ones – simply clone your exciting campaigns. Some traffic sources have predefined rules to limit campaigns on a specific targeting, so multiplying your campaigns can deliver you additional volumes.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, you should start with geos that are easy to convert. For example, if your starting budget is $1,000 and you’re able to break even, you can have two choices. You can run a campaign that pays out $100 and you will have 10 conversions. This is good. On the other hand, if you run a campaign that pays out $1, you will have 1,000 conversions, you will earn that same amount of money, but the most important part is that you will have more data. What can you do with it? You can do more split-tests to master your affiliate marketing skills. This is playing smart.
If you have a low budget, you should choose offers with $5 or $10, so you’ll give yourself enough time to make sure your campaign is set up correctly and that everything is being tracked properly.
Preservation of budget is key to everything, but there’s no high reward without necessary to take a small risk. While for CPC doing brokerage and selling at a higher CPC brings you ROI (if you have good connections), when it comes to doing CPA, CPL, CPI, users interest is what defines your decisions. So setting a budget that allows you to collect actionable data is crucial!
One more important thing to mention! Be sure to FIND OUT what are the top geos EVERY DAY! There are opportunities that come and go fast – you don’t want to lose them! Register to our platform and you get a daily email with top geos and offers to your life, as an affiliate marketer, easier.
If you’re a publisher and you’re not equipped with geo-targeting or carrier detection tools and you don’t want to send traffic altogether, but to advertise more efficiently to your visitors in the countries that have the best performance, let us know. We have a custom solution to only serve ads to your most eligible for conversion users, while all the rest of your visitors enjoy your quality content.
If you do relevant testing, our advice is to look for new traffic sources, maybe even consider flat buys from new traffic sources.
Keep an eye on the billing flow
You should focus on lower payout offers and easy billing flow. Despite a preconceive notion you may have about high offer payouts, you actually CAN make a ton more money with them! A conversion flow is the most important to look for, while hunting for offers.
While high-payout offers delights you with having fewer sales to generate to reach good payments, the higher the payout they offer, the more complicated the conversion flow is.
While converting on high payout Tier 1 offers is quite tricky and requires serious budget & a lot of testing, Tier 3 countries have opportunities such as single click flows offers. Here is how it works. A user sees a particular offer and has to click “I agree” or “Subscribe” and once he’s taken any of these two actions he’s asked to – you are in the game. Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico and a big part of Arab countries are a gold mine for an affiliate marketer, if you know how to work with them properly.
Keep in mind that not all offers that will best for you will have a high payout. You can have a profit of 10K by running $50 offers. The payout is not always an indicator for the best offer. The most important part is the conversion. If the clicks are cheap and the offer converts well, it can be surprisingly good.
That’s all for the moment, guys! To wrap it up – remember that keeping your focus is crucial and don’t be mislead with an idea to be become a millionaire in a few months. Give yourself time to learn, use your budget smart and if you have questions, get in touch, we would love to answer them!