Experts Edge with Servando Silva

Despite the pandemic, 2020 saw a whole host of affiliates monetize top traffic in all shapes and forms. Now, with 2021 returning to normal (kinda, sorta), what do affiliates need to know to get started on the journey ahead. It’s time to get to grips with the latest trends and techniques in the 2021 affiliate marketing sector, and who better to help you on the road ahead than the one and only Servando Silva.  

Digital performance marketing specialist, professional blogger, ultra-effective media-buyer, and world-class affiliate. Servando Silva took some time to sit down and chat with us about his own online advertising journey and the skills, resources, and knowledge every affiliate needs to succeed in 2021.  Here’s what he had to say.

How would you describe what you do Servando?

I’m a blogger, affiliate marketer, and media buyer. I work on both sides of the advertiser/publisher spectrum where I run blogs that bring in revenue as well as promoting different affiliate offers for both organic and paid traffic. 

When did you first start out? 

I got into the affiliate game 8, going on 9 years ago. At the time I was working full time as an electronics engineer for a big tech firm. I was looking to make some income in my spare time and had been reading through some articles on how to make money blogging and monetizing with different ad networks etc. The industry at the time was constantly evolving (still is) and it piqued my interest to see how far I could take my media buying efforts. As time went on and I saw my first campaign profits come in, I decided to move into affiliate marketing full time. 

How was it when you first started out?

The industry has changed for sure since I first got into it. When I first started out I threw a lot of my focus into SEO and organic reach, mostly because I wasn’t ready to invest in paid traffic just yet. Over time, I started running campaigns and buying traffic for a few hours each night and, as the returns got better I thought to myself “Hey, if I work on this full time it could grow a lot more than my current job”, and after around 6 to 12 months of steady profits I took the leap and transitioned into affiliate marketing full time. The first returns you start to see can make or break your motivation. They act as a driving force and give you the momentum you need to put in the effort and time to make it work. 

People portray affiliate marketing as a quick and easy win. In reality, it’s time-consuming, research-intensive and at times a real grind. I was ready to put in the hard yards and when I saw that affiliate marketing had the capacity to beat my full-time salary, I went for it! 

Do you remember what your first offer was? 

Aside from getting clicks to my Google Ads banners that I was running at the time, I believe it was through promoting an online hosting service of some kind. I saw around $30 come in and I was thrilled! This paved the way for the first of many offers to come! 

What are the best performing verticals of 2021?

Hard to say. There are steady verticals that have been in action for more than a decade now, like weight loss, cloud hosting, sweepstakes, dating, app installs, Nutra,  etc. and they all see steady returns year on year. These verticals are evergreen, popular, and effective, but the drawback is they carry with them some pretty tough competition. 

There are a few trends that ride through the market from time to time. They bring in a few consumer spikes that result in high (yet short-lived) returns. Rather stick with the tried and tested verticals and find the right offers. 

At the end of the day, if you know how to run effective campaigns, you can make good returns in almost every vertical. 

Any affiliate tips for first-timers? 

There’s a misconception in affiliate marketing that the more you learn the more equipped you’ll be to run effective campaigns. While getting to grips with the basics is important when you first start out, the fact is you’ll be gaining most, if not all of your knowledge from diving in and hands-on running your own campaigns. This is where the results will drive you forward, so spend less time learning and more time taking action

First-time affiliates are by nature not very patient and this can act against you, especially in the first year. Know that the returns you’re after come with time, practice, and specialization. Keep tracking and improving your results every day for at least a few months and dont be discouraged if you aren’t seeing the rewards immediately. Stay consistent, and above all, stay patient. Don’t quit! 

Try not to switch too much between verticals, ad formats offers, and traffic sources when you’re first starting out. Find a sweet spot and get really good at it. Take that knowledge and move on to better and brighter things when you’re confident and ready. You don’t go to college and try a bit of every degree. You specialize. 

One last thing? If you dont have the proper optimization methods and data in place, you’ll struggle to see which campaigns are truly effective so that you can replicate them in the future.  

Remember, that while you’re waiting for the perfect moment to take the plunge, some other affiliate is running campaigns, bumping their head, and learning as they go. This is really the way it should be and the best way to get good at it!

Any traffic sources for first-time affiliates?

I would focus first on Pop and Redirect traffic. They have tons of consumer volume and tend not to focus as heavily on creatives, which in turn free’s up your time to get a solid understanding of the numbers and analytics at play.  

You’ll be able to put your full time and attention into optimizing each campaign effectively and this will help send a ton of traffic your way. Combine this with an advertising platform that has enough volume to bring in a steady stream of conversions and you’re all set! 

Sign up with Adcash or any other top affiliate advertising platform and get unlimited access to the widest variety of publisher networks. You’ll learn super fast with a one-stop platform, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about on your journey to affiliate stardom! 

Any tips to boost campaign profitability? 

Your first step is to select a strong offer with great traffic potential. And, this is where some help comes in super handy. 

You dont get this data readily available just anywhere, and it pays to speak to the experts. Develop strong ties with your affiliate manager and check on what’s hot and what’s not.

Are you looking to monetize on today’s top affiliate offers, but not quite sure where to start? No problem! Reach out to us anytime and one of our super knowledgeable affiliate managers will take you through the years hottest trends, and throw in some top-performing formats and features for good measure. Reach out to us for a free consultation.

The same goes for affiliate networks. On any given day, you’ve got 100,000+ different offers available, and 90% of them dont work. So, don’t just pick the first offer you find based on the way it looks. There is a lot more to it and the experts can help you look behind the glossy curtain and see what data lies on the other side. 

When running traditional CPA campaigns, you should ALWAYS be split testing your offers. Make sure you’re constantly split testing different landing pages, angles, and content in your campaign rollout. 

You should always be able to compare and contrast the post-campaign results of two different campaigns, in order to see what works and repeat the winning components to perfection in the future. Analyze your campaign funnels and traffic flow so that you can find the most profitable and sustainable solution each and every time.

Do you recommend any software, platforms, tools?

Besides having access to the right affiliate networks, there are a bunch of tools required to get you started. Without the right campaign tracker, you’ll always be driving blind and possibly losing money in the process! Trackers let you analyze the results of each campaign to find what works and throw away what doesn’t. I mainly use Voluum for my campaign tracking. 

Top campaigns need high-quality landing page generators. With a host of different templates, these software solutions cut your landing page building time in half with pre-automated fillers and striking graphics. Check out InstaPage, PureLander, and a few others to set you on your way. 

Try to avoid using free hosting services. The features are usually limited and the last thing you want is to lose traffic because of a slow-loading server. There are a few fast and affordable alternatives, such as DigitalOcean, or Vultr as well as fully managed solutions, such as Kinsta

Then you’ve got a collection of premium Spy Tools that simplify your market research. These tools analyze your competitor’s campaigns and summarize the best components. If you’re not sure where to start, you can’t go wrong with a few industry favorites like Anstrex or Adplexity

Lastly, being able to automate your day to day campaign processes can be a major time saver for affiliates. I use the Automizer feature from the Voluum platform. 

There are a lot of different options on the market today but the tools you choose to side with mostly depend on the ad format you’re going to be going after.

Any big trends for 2021?

2020 was a weird year for sure. A lot of verticals gained traction and a ton of organic traffic at the same time. For obvious reasons, people weren’t going out as much as they usually would, so any offers to do with VOD, Dating, App installs and similar were all surefire wins. With 2021, things are slowly starting to go back to normal.   

Push Notifications are still profitable but with more and more browser restrictions and privacy settings coming into play, we might be seeing an increase in other formats that will, in time to come be utilized more frequently as a replacement for Push. 

Pop and Interstitial traffic have each seen some big gains lately. The reason might well be that there is less competition in these ad formats at the moment. So, it will pay to perfect your Pop & Interstitial campaign strategy now and get ahead of the upcoming competition. At the same time, Banner and Native ads remain solid and steady. 

What makes a world-class affiliate? 

This can be different depending on who you ask. Some affiliates do well for a while and then disappear overnight. It all goes back to being patient and adaptable to the industry’s current trends. This will help you survive through several cycles and a whole host of ups and downs. Affiliates who have a solid understanding and hands-on knowledge of other digital marketing disciplines tend to triumph because of their well-rounded and data-driven approach. 

At the end of the day, it comes down to raw persistence, resilience, and adaptability to market fluctuations and trends. Top affiliates also make a habit of networking with other industry experts to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the market and keep their finger on the pulse of what the next big thing will be. 

Closing thoughts, comments, or tips? 

You only have a few hours in a day that you can use to create a winning campaign. So, don’t jump from one to another. Focus on one or two traffic sources to start and always choose a vertical that you are comfortable with. Dont spread yourself too thin. You’ll lose money and probably won’t learn too much either. 

Hone your focus and your skills. This industry is competitive, so persistence and patience go a long way. If you’re in this game for the long run, it’s super important to stay steady, take action and learn as much as you can every single day. That’s the affiliate edge that will send super returns your way down the line.

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