Reprinted from STM forum


12 Biggest Newbie Mistakes You Can Avoid (Part 2)-Idvert Blog

(Continuing from Part 1...)

Mistake #7: Maximizing ROI Instead of Profits

200% ROI may sound impressive - until you reveal that you're spending $1/day to make $3.

30% ROI may not sound like a lot - but if you're spending $1000 to make $1300, that wouldn't be too shabby at all!

The differentiation is especially important in cases where you need to sacrifice ROI to maximize profits.

For example, when you increase frequency cap, the ROI tends to drop, but there's a chance for the extra traffic to result in increased profits.

Or, when you bid higher to get more traffic or target less-profitable traffic, just to do enough conversions to get that next pay bump.

The exception to this is if you're running out of cash - in that case, you WILL want to maximize ROI instead of profits.

Recommended To-Do: Aim to maximize profits instead of ROI, UNLESS cashflow is becoming an issue. Also, avoid running camps that don't have sufficient profits potential in the first place, for example a traffic source that doesn't have much traffic for your target geo.

EDIT: Matuloo has written a post to discuss this topic in great detail:

Mistake #8: Not Minding the 80/20 Rule

I often see new affiliates spending an inordinate amount of time on tasks that have minimal impact on their bottom-line, while neglecting tasks that have the potential of increasing their profits by leaps and bounds.

Some examples are:

-Spending a ton of time to come up with perfect landers before launching a campaign, when they're not sure they will even end up finding a good offer to make all that work pay off.

-Testing lander variations before testing all the landers that look and function differently to find the best one first.

-Trying to increase ROI by cutting a ton of small placements before testing enough landers and offers.

-Focusing on testing new stuff before a profitable camp is scaled properly.

Recommended To-Do: Always ask yourself "which task could be done right now to increase my profits by the largest degree?" Then do that first.


Mistake #9: Not Networking

There are a lot of loners in this industry - I'm saying this without malice because I'm one of them. Since I started doing internet marketing in 2006, and up until I joined STM, I may have made all of 2 friends in the online marketing world, and only because they once freelanced for me.

I'm extremely grateful to the STM admins for having made me a part of the team. It wasn't until after that, that I started to communicate with different people to broaden my horizons.

Here are just some of the advantages you can get by networking with other like-minded individuals:

-When you talk to people, you'll stay "in the loop" about what's going on in this industry, and adapt to upcoming changes for example.

-It's great to have people that can help you out when you have questions. And of course you'll do the same for them as well.

-When the going gets tough, you have people to vent to, who will completely understand how you feel. AM is a tough road to walk alone.

-Bouncing ideas around will inspire new ideas.

-Meeting face to face with affiliate network reps and traffic source reps can make you more memorable and strengthen your relationships with them.

-You'll encounter opportunities to collaborate with people on projects. Working together can give you a big edge - you can gather data faster and test more stuff in the same amount of time. It's also more motivating and less stressful to be working in a group as opposed to working on your own.

Basically, synergy will happen when like-minded people get together. And here's what you can do today to start networking with more people:

-Get your ticket to the next big industry conference. (It's still not too late to get tickets for AWA!!)

-Start participating in discussions right here on the STM forum! I've made many friends just by contributing to discussions on various threads.

-Join a mastermind group or start your own.

-Attend local meetups or organize one yourself to meet other STM members in your area.

Recommended To-Do: Don't be shy - reach out! Meet people face to face. Be polite and don't burn bridges by pissing people off.

Mistake #10: Being Overprotective of One's Campaigns

Some new affiliates spend half their time worrying about the possibility of other people stealing their stuff.

-They're worried about other affiliates stealing their campaigns.
-They're worried about affiliate networks stealing their campaigns.
-They're worried about managed trackers stealing their campaigns.
-They're worried about traffic networks stealing their campaigns.

Starting to see a pattern?

Even when asking for help in a follow-along, they're not willing to reveal creatives or stats, which would be necessary to get helpful feedback.

Ask yourself this question: With so many big affiliates out there, why would anyone want to rip your relatively puny camp?

You can always take measures to protect or hide your camps better when you're a super-affiliate doing big volumes. But don't sweat it before you get to that stage.

Recommended To-Do: Instead of wasting your time and energy worrying about people stealing your campaign, focus on improving yourself to make yourself more competitive.

EDIT: Matuloo has written a post to discuss this in detail:!

Mistake #11: Making Careless Mistakes

We've all made careless mistakes while setting up or optimizing campaigns, especially when we're in a rush.

Stuff like:

-Not verifying the affiliate link to make sure the offer is still live, and that the link leads to the proper page.

-Not checking the campaign link to verify the right landers and offers can be reached properly.

-Adding an extra zero to the bid by accident; specifying the bid in CPM when it needs to be cost per view.

-Not specifying the correct targeting at the traffic source: Sending wifi traffic to a carrier offer, or ios traffic to an android offer. Accidentally targeting the wrong geo, or even targeting globally for a single-geo offer.

-Not paying attention to notification emails from the affiliate network that let you know which offers have been paused/pulled.

-Juggling so many camps that you're losing track, such that you have camps running long after you thought you've paused them.

Recommended To-Do: Slow down when setting up campaigns, and verify your links before sending traffic. Create a checklist of things to check, and run through it each time you set up a camp. Keep a campaign journal to keep track of what you did to each camp when, and which camps are still active so you won't forget they're still running.

Mistake #12: Working With Shady Networks

We see threads on STM all the time, where members warn of affiliate networks or advertisers that have failed to pay, or of traffic networks that charge high initial deposits, then either disappear or send crap traffic that doesn't convert.

There are always risks of losing money when you're working with networks. But by doing due diligence before signing up, you can minimize those risks.

Before signing up to an affiliate or traffic network, search STM and google for reviews and overall reputation, ask around to see if anyone's heard of or worked with them and what their experiences are. Good reviews may be written by reps from the network itself. I would suggest looking for negative reviews.

For affiliate networks: Once you're doing volume, insist on switching to shorter payment terms right away. The shorter your money cycle, the less risk you take on. If you see a delay in payment, pause traffic immediately, and don't resume until the payment hits your bank - don't let the network string you along with promise after promise that they would pay you "tomorrow".

For traffic networks: Make a small deposit first to test their traffic before making bigger deposits. For networks asking for large initial deposits, talk it down to as low an amount as possible. I've had traffic network reps asking me for thousands of dollars in initial deposit, that I ended up paying low hundreds to do a small test with. Of course this isn't always possible, but it never hurts to try - in most cases you'll be able to talk it down to a lower amount.

I'm not suggesting to always stay away from networks that nobody has heard of. Running with less-known networks can give you a big advantage if you hit on a gem. However, doing due diligence first is ALWAYS a good idea.

In the end, you may not find any information on a network, and STILL decide to take the risk. But at least it would be a calculated and necessary risk, and not because you were too lazy to spend a few minutes to do research.

Recommended To-Do: Before signing up to a network, research their reputation. For affiliate networks, switch to shorter payment terms once you start doing volume. For traffic networks that require substantial initial deposits, negotiate it down to as low an amount as possible.