Media Buying Mistakes: A Sneak Peek

I would like to present you a list of the most common mistakes media buyers make when they are optimizing or preparing their campaigns.

It’s normal that – when you are getting started in this amazing world of affiliate marketing – you make mistakes. Let me help you solve some of them.

A short note: this article is dedicated to newbies. You Big Sharks don’t need to offend me or claim that my mother performs a weird activity because I won’t go into deep details here.

Higher Payouts Don’t Mean More Profit

It’s really common for newbies to make mistakes when considering the most important metric. Quite often, they speak with us, telling us they want offers with the highest payout possible.

We explain that this is not the most important thing, since you should consider the EPC/eCPM as the value that will help you define the revenue you can make and the performance of the offer. But they insist (some are really stubborn). And then they come back to us after having poor results and we can use our favorite English sentence, which is “Told ya”.

Now, more seriously, you can have an offer that pays 50€ for every conversion (normally related to Credit Card billing) but the Conversion Rate is so low that it just doesn’t pay off. You should seek offers that combine a good payout and a good conversion rate, thus the EPC/eCPM.

For some newbies, starting a campaign is so exciting that they need to monitor their pacemaker carefully. You are investing money, checking numbers, noticing that you have some conversions, and then you see that you are losing money! Oh God, I’ve spent 1.57€ without any conversions. You start to blame everything: this offer sucks, the traffic source is bad, my wife is cheating on me, etc.

Take it easy!

You just need to be patient and wait for more impressions so they can bring more conversions. The piece of advice I usually give is that the average payout of the offer can define the amount of money you need to spend in order to start optimizing.

If you promote an offer with a payout of 0.50€ (in countries such as IN, TH or BG) spending 20€ should be enough for you to have an idea and start to optimize the biggest browsers, websites, devices, etc. If you promote an offer with a payout of around 2€ (AR, BR, MX) you can spend 50€ before making any decisions. For bigger payouts such as 10€ (CH, DE, FR) be like Floyd Mayweather (not too much, though) and spend money – less than 150€/200€ will not help you to start optimizing your campaign.

Some media buyers apply the 20% rule: if, after spending a good amount of money, your ROI is less than -80% (you’ve earned less than 20% of what you’ve invested) there is no potential on this campaign. I leave this to your criteria ????

Split test

A mistake I see happen sometimes is when people are working only with one offer and one LP and are investing all the effort and optimization on the traffic source. It’s very important to test different angles and even test the same offer through different Affiliate Networks.

As I alluded to before, when an offer doesn’t work, it can be because the landing page you are using is not appropriate or the banner is not performing. That’s why you should try different combinations with Offer, Pre-landing page and Banner.

The best advice I can give you here is to spy: go check the competition, check their pre-landing pages, use them to get inspiration, and create your own, check the banners normally used on this offer type, and so on and so forth.

And SPLIT TEST! It can also happen that the same offer has a different performance on different networks: the redirection can be faster depending on the servers, the partnership is different so one Network has a higher payout, the cap can impact the volume you bring to the offer, etc.

Test your blacklist

The oldest task on earth, right after fishing and hunting, is to cut websites when optimizing the campaign. It’s easy: you see a low-performing publisher and bam! Go to hell! But sometimes it can be useful to test them with a lower bid. It can happen that they were not performing because you were paying too much.

Sometimes you cut a source that has a considerable volume. It’s a shame to ignore it forever. Don’t cut it just yet. Try setting a lower bid and you can be surprised. Remember that Media Buying is simple: it’s just about finding the right balance between price of traffic and revenue.

You can even create different buckets for the same target: the exact same campaign with different bids. Then, you can move your websites from bucket to bucket according to performance.

Getting good profit margins? Think about increasing capping

I’ve seen media buyers getting really happy because they’ve spent 5€ and earned 20€. That’s very good but you can increase it more. “Oh but I already have the first position and cannot set a wider targeting”. Okay. Then increase your capping.

Your capping plays a huge role on increasing the volume. It’s simple: you start your campaign with a capping of one or two. Then, the challenge is to increase and see from which impression/position you start losing money.

Here’s a quick example just for you to get the idea:


As you can see, until the capping of 3, the margin was increasing. Then, we went further, but our margin started to decrease. Therefore, our optimal capping on this campaign is 3.

If you are a newbie, take your time and don’t get started in difficult GEOs

“I will start Media Buying today! I’ve read several articles online, I know capping, I can bid like the best of them, I am full of myself. I will try IN and TH at the beginning because it’s where the money is”. And of course, you’ve just ran straightforward and hit a tree.

When you start, it’s always good to begin exploring easier GEOs, where the competition is not so fierce and you are not competing with the big sharks that are wandering out there. Go slow, be patient, learn all the small details of Media Buying, and keep scaling into harder GEOs.

Copycatting is good. It allows you to have ideas and check what is going on out there. But don’t do exactly what the others are doing. Get inspired by checking other people’s work but don’t forget to create your own style, adapted to your own self, and to your innate skills.

I would like to be able to copy the really technical guys that do Media Buying but I can’t, because it’s not really my thing so I will be focusing on the creative aspect of Media Buying instead. The final goal is for you to create your own way of working.

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