Clickbank Case Study



258 Comments 16 minutes

If you run any site with a large audience, it’s easy to fall into the trap of producing just any old content and forgetting why people followed you in the first place. Though what I’m about to share in this post is going to be highly focused on paid traffic, there are a large number of insights for those who have no interest in doing the same.

I’ve always thought that it is better to master one main traffic source versus becoming only fairly proficient in a lot of them and for now I think I have a pretty perfect grasp on the old SEO game. In all honesty, I’ve never really given paid traffic (and specifically PPC) too much thought throughout my years of experimenting online. That changed recently when I met up with some friends in Bangkok who are making more money than any blogger income reports you’ve seen. I have no desire to enter the same industries as them, but I have the spare cash to put into an experiment, so I thought “why not”.

I just want to make a few things clear before I start:

  • I expected to lose money. I view my monetary investment as a learning experience so wasn’t worried about this
  • I actually profited, very quickly. It was easier and more fun than I thought
  • Even if you have no interest in paid traffic, you’re going to learn a few things here where I really should have known better

Before I did anything, I joined a forum called Stack That Money. It’s a forum my friends in question used to be a part of and I thought that if I could speed up my learning, I would also be able to speed up the results I get and it would make for a better case study.

I remember when a friend of mine paid $5,000 for just a few hours of coaching to a fairly famous internet marketer. I thought he was crazy and should really be learning the basics first as he had never even built a website before. Last I heard he’s now doing $20K+ per month and would probably regard it as one of his better decisions in life.

The forum is far cheaper than that at $99/m, and is full of some interesting characters. I approached the investment as “I’ll spend this $99, devour every interesting thread I can, and then plan my attack.”

I had originally announced that I was going to use Google Adwords for this campaign and I was going to promote two websites I already run. This means I didn’t have to worry about looking for offers and getting set-up with various affiliate networks, which can be a time consuming part of the process. Being on Stack That Money however also convinced me to give Facebook advertising a try as well. I’ve dabbled in it quite a lot in the past, and do actually like their platform.

What’s different about this forum is that people are making serious bank, and actually getting into a lot of detail about how they’re actually generating crazy incomes. Who couldn’t be inspired by this list of topics?

I know I’m going to continue with my membership as well, purely because PPC campaigns are fair easier to duplicate than a profitable blog or SEO campaign. You just find the offer, get a traffic source, and test test test. This is also a downside of PPC as your unique angles can easily be stolen, but it’s great when you’re just starting out.

Being totally honest: People are not going to say I’m using this offer, with this traffic source, and this is how I’m bidding. But they are going to tell you they’re in a certain niche, using a certain angle, and they’re profiting XXX per day.

You’ll get pushed in the right direction, but you are expected to put in some effort. Actually less effort than I thought it would be, based on my own results, but effort nonetheless.

Goodbye Google, Hello Facebook

I have not done enough advertising with Google at all to dismiss it entirely as a network, but here’s what happened in my first day:

  • Facebook took about 15 minutes to approve my ads and start getting me clicks
  • Google took closer to 15 hours to approve my ads

Now, I was promoting two different things, but I woke up to a Facebook ad spend of less than $2 and I could instantly see results, while Google had took $40 from my account (my daily budget) while I slept and I didn’t have anything to show for it. I decided then and there that I would put all of my effort into Facebook.

Step 1: Test Out My Market With Very Cheap Clicks

I discovered a few years ago now that you could get very cheap Facebook clicks ($0.01 each) by directing traffic internally to your own Facebook fan page. It makes sense that it would be cheaper to advertise within Facebook than try to send people elsewhere outside of the network. This didn’t actually turn out to be the case exactly, but bear with me for now.

I used a terrible image which was much smaller than the Facebook allowed dimensions and really didn’t get to test more than 2 headlines properly, but it was nice to see how big a difference just a headline makes once again. I do enjoy this kind of data; especially when you can get it so fast.

For an un-optimised campaign, I paid $7.74 for 120 page likes. That works out to be $0.064 per like. I was more pleased with my Click-through rate. I’ve been told that getting anything above 0.1% or 0.2% is something to be happy with, so nearly hitting 0.4% gave me a little bit of a boost. Even if it wasn’t to an outside source.

Step 2: Use Facebook Conversions on an Email List

Now that I had a small grasp once again on how to put ads together, I decided to go for some conversions. This is for a website where I sell software, but not in the marketing niche. I also ran a case study for the main site I feature in Backlinks XXX, but don’t have too much to show for that at the moment. This is my own product, so I would be keeping 100% of the commissions. However, it wasn’t time to go for the big sale just yet. I wanted to optimise how much I was paying for each click.

What I did at this stage was use the best title I found from my previous tests (I did a few more similar to step 1, but for different age groups) then load it up with 20 images. Therefore, I had 2 campaigns in Facebook with 10 ads each, all with the same title and body text. The only thing that differed was the picture. Here’s the data from one campaign:

As you can see, the data was pretty interesting here. Two observations can be made:

#1: The picture has a HUGE effect on CTR. I would say it’s more important than the title from my testing. Remember, it’s the only thing that changed

#2: Just because something is getting a lot of clicks, it doesn’t mean it will convert. My 3rd most clicked ad actually had the best conversion rate. The image must still be relevant to the offer

So for this experiment I received 73 email addresses for $14.12. The other campaign ran with slightly worse results which I believe is because I was targeting a younger demographic. Older people seemed happier to give an email address. Just in case you want me to do the maths, that’s $0.19 per email address, or 5 emails for $1. Quite a lot better than most solo ads actually – and highly targeted – so I was fairly impressed with this. I know many people who would be very happy with 500 leads for a $100 spend.

This is also forgetting that I would get more conversions for a cheaper price after optimising the campaign and taking out low-performing ads.

Sidenote: How to Set-up Facebook Conversion Tracking

Apparently this is only a recent thing (within the last year) and has transformed how people are running their Facebook campaigns. No longer do people have to rely on Tracking 202 or CPVLab as they did before (though I hear they’re great as backup programs).

First of all, once you’re on the Facebook ads manager, look on the left sidebar for a fairly obvious link called ‘Conversion Tracking’, as shown below:

After that, you’ll then look at the top right hand corner of the page and click Create Conversion Pixel:

Then you simply select the type of conversion you wish to track. You should know, based on whatever it is you’re promoting:

And then Voila! You get this nice little tracking code that you can put on your website:

While Facebook suggest that you should put this before the end of your head tag like most code, you can just enter it into the page or post on a WordPress site and it tracks fine for me.

You can then go ahead and put this on your Thank you page – where someone gets redirected after an email opt-in – or on the registration form of a product after payment. Wherever you can tell that someone has actually completed a conversion.

Step 3: Make $200-300+ Profit Promoting a Dating Site

Dating is absolutely huge on Stack That Money (STM). While other members are going off into other verticals, Plenty of Fish and Facebook advertising seem to be talked about more than anything else. This is how some people are making thousands of dollars per day on the Facebook ad network. I decided to test it out in a not-so-crowded country (meaning not America, the UK or Australia) and see how I could do. It turns out, I did very well.

Before I continue, I want to say that even if this campaign had made me $1,000 straight away, I knew I wouldn’t keep promoting it. More on that in a second.

I did spent more than $20, I actually spent $47.06 on this campaign. The screenshot you see is targeting men who are interested in women, speak English (All), and are between the ages of 50-65 (Facebook’s max) in a particular country.

I found myself getting higher click through rates with the same ads on the 40-50 age group, rather than 20-30 and so on. The reason I was going to stop this campaign no matter what is for a few reasons:

  • I only get $1 per lead and that really is the best offer available for this country. If I relied on this, I was barely making a profit
  • The country is too small. The ad frequency I highlighted in that ad shows that some people have seen the same ads over and over again. Optimisation could help, but there isn’t much room to scale
  • I can’t track conversions. I have absolutely no idea which ads are bringing in actual users. I need to research other tools (or anyone in the comments?) with how I could
  • The real money is made from people buying a premium account, which is why I could end up making around $500-600 from this campaign. But I have no idea. I can’t keep spending when I don’t know what I could or couldn’t make thus don’t know my profit margins

I’ve since joined a number of other CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) companies that were recommended on STM and thankfully I got fast approval since I’m a member. As someone who had only played with Facebook for a few days, I was pretty surprised that I was making these profits. Now I can totally see how people are doing six figure months and killing it.

What I’m looking for from a new offer is basically more room to scale (a country with a bigger population and / or a bigger payout for free leads). I know they exist, so I may as well be trying with them. I will still stay clear from the biggest markets, and perhaps rely on some friends for translating into other countries. More on this in a future post I think.

Step 4: Spending $27.97 to Make Over $600!

This number would have been a little higher, but I did have a couple of refunds which brought it down a bit. I actually pulled in closer to $700 in sales from that spend. I own the product, so the profit margin is huge.

First of all, here’s how not to set-up a campaign:

I can’t remember exactly what I did here, but I think people weren’t buying the product and instead opting in for my email list, which triggered a conversion. Actually, no, that doesn’t make sense either. I messed up somehow and was tracking the wrong thing, which Facebook clearly registered. I wish I could get 398 conversions for spending $17.61, but I definitely did not.

Lesson learned: Make sure your set-up is correct before going out and letting your ads run.

Here’s a small insight into the sales that I made (I set up a new membership name called Premium in Wishlist member):

This is for software that I own and promote, but again not in the marketing niche. The price is between $30-$50, depending on what you purchase. I don’t want to give away too much here as my profit margin is huge and there’s no way for me to benefit by outing myself.

Here’s some more realistic tracking numbers when you’re sending someone straight to a ‘Buy now’ page:

There are a few more ads below the ones I’ve highlighted, but you get the idea. One of them actually had a 0.6% Click through rate, which I’ve heard is pretty huge for Facebook. I am promoting to pretty tight demographics though (5 year age groups, in particular cities). Paying around $5 for a $30-$50 conversion is pretty damn fantastic to me.

Step 5: Big Money, Let’s Dominate Adwords too!

I was obviously very happy and excited from the results for my previous test, so I thought I should start setting up things with the Google Adwords network. I decided from the start that I was going to play around with the Content network rather than search results. Meaning anyone who runs ads on their websites using Google Adsense has a chance to display my own ad and that my ads would not appear in search results when you look for something.

I ended up spending over $40 with Adwords and didn’t get a single conversion.


(A sample of the ads I ran in one campaign)

Now, I did say I was going to use this as a learning experience, and I am, but I quickly decided that at least for now, Facebook is far more interesting to me than the Adwords network. Adwords gives me a far bigger volume for my audience than Facebook will, simply because of how many sites there are out there related to my software, but I’m just wasting money without any training in their platform. I’m going to watch a lot of videos online to learn the network better, and try it out again.

Step 6: Always Test, but Accept When You’re Wrong

Now, one thing I haven’t yet told is that I am worried about the size of my audience availability on Facebook. Though I was doing tight-targeting, I’ve known from the start my potential audience there is quite small for that very profitable industry. I would say I could max out at between $10,000 – $15,000 in profit. I know that sounds like a lot to some of you, but I’m really looking for campaigns where I can bring in an additional 6-figures per year to my business. Especially when it’s going to be taking time out of my other endeavors which are already very lucrative.

For this reason, I decided to stop sending traffic direct to a sales page and once again send people to an email list. My theory is that I’m wasting those 600+ clicks if I’m only getting 2 sales from it. My thinking was that I can get 100 or 200 email subscribers, and then probably get more than 2 sales from those people.

I spent more money than usual testing this theory, and it just didn’t work out. I got a few hundred new email subscribers, sent them a few follow-up emails, and then pushed them on the product. It didn’t help sales conversion rates at all. I now know I may as well push this campaign hard, max out my profit margins and get as many customers on board as I can. And I’ll do this by directing people straight to a (split-tested) sales page.

My Step-by-Step Facebook Attack Plan

This has not been tested as far as it can be tested and there are probably much smarter people reading this who don’t follow this strategy at all. However, from my reading of PPC guides and actually testing, here’s a recap of my own Facebook strategy:

Step #1: Start out with some cheap clicks to an internal Fan page of yours (where applicable) on Facebook. Max out the budget at $15-20 so you’re not going to get a shocking bill, and then play around with some variables. Simply get used to the Facebook system and see how quickly you can get approved. Don’t worry too much about the images you’re using or anything like that.

Hell, I just used the default picture from my Fan page which Facebook pulled up for me. Run around 5 ads within the same demographic (i.e. men, 40+, living in Spain who like Apple) and just change the titles around a bit. Keep the ad copy text the same. Notice how much of a difference one little change can have on the click through rate.

Step #2: Start promoting a page on your website where you have some kind of opt-in form. You can skip this section if you don’t have this option in place, but you may as well be getting a better return on your “testing investment” than just some Facebook likes. This time choose your best title from the previous tests and have some fun with the images.

Once again, notice how much difference a change in your ad can have, even when two other variables are the same and you haven’t changed your targeting. Also use this opportunity to try Facebook’s conversion tracking system. You can then optimize for conversions rather than just paying for clicks.

For my bid amount, I tend to bid in between Facebook’s suggested bid. So if the suggested bid is $0.10 to $0.20 then I would bid $0.15. Facebook will automatically lower how much you’re paying per click (if you’re not using the optimize for conversions option) if you get a good CTR, so don’t worry about the price too much to begin with.

Step #3: Find an offer. There are literally thousands of companies you can sign up with such as Neverblue, Cupid.com (instant approval), Commission Junction etc. I am currently only using one of those three, but I will very shortly be using a number of companies recommended to me on STM. You get ‘fast tracked’ through the approval process which is another benefit of being part of their community.

It’s totally fine to promote your own product or services as well if that’s what you want to do. I did and had a lot of success with it. The plus size is that even if someone doesn’t convert, you can use pop-ups or exit redirects to convince people to sign-up to your own email address as well. This means, of course, that you can market to them at a later date after building a connection.

Read affiliate blogs and reviews for specific programs to find out what kind of verticals are big. Forex, dating, Facebook game installs, iPhone Apps etc are all big and all offer a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or CPL (Cost Per Lead) model where you get paid for every lead or paying customer you send someone. For instance, you might run a Facebook ad targeting gamers aged 18-23 and you can get paid $2-$7 for everyone who installs and starts playing that game on Facebook. The potential is limitless.

Step #4: One Headline, One Demographic, One Hundred Images

The best advice I received was basically to keep your ad copy the same and go through a massive testing spree with images. Not necessarily 100 pictures, but at least a few dozen.

If your target demographic is not too small, then split this up between 2-3 campaigns with 10 ads in them each. Again, each time keep the title of your ad and the ad copy the same. Just go through styles of images. So for dating ads targeting women you might try:

  • Men in suits
  • Men with their cars
  • Men in uniform (police, firemen, teachers)
  • Men with tattoos
  • Men looking poor
  • Men looking rich
  • Chubby, “cuddly” men

The options are endless and I promise you’ll be amazed which ads get clicked more than others. Then you’re focusing on the CTR of the ads to see which one is getting you the most clicks. Another thing I love about PPC is that the more testing you do, the more likely you are to find a profitable campaign. Or in other words the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out financially. Perfect for someone like me who is happy to do the ‘hard work’ in return for the big money.

For images, don’t pick anything that’s too professional. I’ve found images that are a little quirky to be the best. For example, using the free stock photos site here, I pulled up the following options:

My guess that the best converting of these – and I’m not saying they’re great pictures at all, it’s just a quick example – would either be top left or bottom right. Bottom right has something ‘weird’ about that it people are likely to notice, and top left looks good but not too staged and professional.

If you’re like me and have problems with the ‘Power Editor’ for Facebook (which only works in Chrome) then simply go through with the Create Similar Ad option so you can change images very fast:

Here’s a little secret, I’ve found that ads targeting men which have a girl sitting in a car get clicked more than any other. I have no idea why, and that’s the beauty of testing so much. You find what works even if you can’t explain why it does. I guess something about the picture just looks more ‘natural’ and honest

What to Do If “Place Order” Doesn’t Work

I have had an issue now since day two where the place order button in Facebook just doesn’t work for me. It’s even more frustrating when you’re creating a new ad, set your criteria, then click the button and nothing happens. Meaning, you have to do it all over again. A Google search shows I’m not alone, and a friend messaged me about the same problem as well.

The solution is fairly simple. Create an ad with the URL you wish to promote – don’t select any demographic criteria at all – and then click Place Order. Then go back and Edit the ad, and you shouldn’t have any issues changing all your criteria and clicking Save. I can’t believe a billion dollar company could have issues like this – especially when it comes to the main system which makes them money – but I just can’t get past this no matter what browser I use.

Hopefully this solves some frustrations for those of you who try the platform.

The 3 Tools I Tested in this Case Study

I did use a number of tools to help in my learning and to speed up the process for this case study. As I said earlier, I view anything I spend as a learning investment and I’m happy to lose money in the short-term to help increase the chances of making good money in the long-term.

Tool #1: Alexa Pro Advanced – $149/m

I had planned on using this tool for one month only, but I ended up using it for about a minute. The reason I paid for it in the first place was to get more insights into the data that Alexa currently has. By default, Alexa shows you 5 words or phrases that are likely driving traffic to any website. You can see this for free without needing an account.

However, with a pro membership, they say you can see a lot more of this information. I wanted to use it on sites in my industry (and for ViperChill while I had access) to find good keyphrases to target for things like my Adwords campaign and possibly for content ideas as well. You don’t get access to this data on their $9.99/m plan and you don’t get this data on their $49/m plan. You specifically need to pay $149/m to find more data on these terms.

Keeping in mind that the free plan gives you 5 phrases, how many do you think the $149/m option gives? 50? 100? A few thousand? No, it gives you 10. Barely more useful than the free service itself, and I can only praise the fact that they gave me a quick refund.

Tool #2: Social Ad Ninja – $147/m

This is a great tool which is specifically great for those of us who advertise on Facebook. Essentially, it’s a spy tool which lets you see other ads that people are creating. The main features include:

  • Seeing how long someone has been running an ad. If it has been running for a long time, it’s probably profitable
  • Being able to search by domain being promoted i.e. match.com, relevant keywords, and even search by titles
  • Knowing the demographics that people are targeting with the long-running ads which are there

Using this tool I found a title from the same industry – which I adapted to mine – which was by far the title which got me the best CTR. You definitely don’t need to have this tool to profit on Facebook, but even just for one month of usage, you’re going to get a ton of insights which should speed up your learning process.

I’ve already cancelled my membership (though it hasn’t expired yet) as I have really abused a few industries and took notes of all the things I saw that were working.

Tool #3: Ad Beat – $99/m

Ad Beat is very similar to Social Ad Ninja but instead of being focused on Facebook, it gives you insights into people using Google Adwords. I was specifically interested in seeing the banner ads that people are using in my industry and how long they’ve been running. When you’re running on the content network using only images, the graphics you use are everything.

I think I received quite a good CTR from what I’ve been told (over 1%) but I just couldn’t convert those visitors into anything meaningful just yet. I definitely haven’t given up on Adwords though, and will return to AdBeat once it becomes a more serious part of my advertising efforts.

Where I Go From Here

First of all, unless someone convinces me otherwise, I’m going to go all out on my profitable campaign and run it for all I have. I’ll push the ad frequencies on every single age group of my target market and make as much money as I can until it stops becoming profitable. As mentioned earlier, I think I have a ceiling of $10,000 – $15,000. I don’t expect to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars to reach this.

My market is bigger than that, but seemingly not from Facebook as my ad frequency just becomes too high, too quickly. Maybe I’ll be surprised and make even more than that, but it will still be a nice income stream at the end of the day even at the lower end of the scale.

What I’m really going to try out though is the dating niche via Facebook. It’s definitely saturated with a lot of competition, but I’m willing to test a thousand landing pages and ad creatives if I have to in order to make a campaign profitable. The thing about Facebook dating is that – for the most part – it can be scaled up to a huge level once you find something that’s converting well. This leaves the potential for consistent, 4 figure days in profit.

I bought myself a notebook and a fancy pen (really) just to take notes from Stack That Money (non-aff) for the next few months. There are a lot of case studies from people banking really hard with Facebook dating. My favourite comes from a guy in India who was making $0/day just a few months ago, and now he’s making posts like this:

I’m under no illusion that it’s going to be easy money, but PPC campaigns are obviously far easier to duplicate than an entire blogging strategy or seeing how someone is ranking with SEO in the same industry. I’m not going to be able to get started until a few weeks from now (I’m working on something pretty huge of my own), but it will get my full attention when the time is right.

I’ve joined quite a few new networks in the last few days, and I’ll be ready to continue profiting. In the next few days I have another free guide to this subject coming up (including split-testing, easy to create landing pages and all that good stuff) so subscribe below in the yellow box if you haven’t already.



258 Comments


  1. This is brilliant case study and has proved that, despite your original impression, things can turn in your favour. I believe that a big part of this is down to planning your campaign properly, and it looks like you carried everything out in a way that encouraged success. If we have big expectations we can be sorely disappointed.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy

  2. Dude – 2 posts in 1 week? Who are you?!!

    In all seriousness, this post is awesome. Personally, I’m fortunate enough to be doing affiliate marketing full time! Everything I do is based on SEO but I hear there’s big money in PPC and other “media buy” style campaigns.

    I’ve yet to do an experiment like this but you have me interested here!

    Cheers Glen – another great post!

    -Jordan

    • August is going to be big.

      I can totally relate, SEO has been my ‘life’ for 7 years now. It was soooo nice to see instant stats though. I don’t think I got that point clear enough in the post. I couldn’t stop refreshing for hours.

      • I can only imagine! Instant stats would be nice for a change. I too have my plate full with projects at the moment but I will have to find the right time to jump into this and start learning. Might signup for STM soon- feel free to drop me an affiliate link 😛

  3. Really great study, I think I might have an idea what niche you are in. I work in the SaaS industry and we have a very similar model.

    Also can definitely relate to your point about SEO vs. PPC. I’ve perfected my SEO skills (for lack of a better word) over the last 7 years. PPC I have just started to get into in the last year or so. It’s actually pretty amazing how much more I’ve learned about Google as I delve into ad rotation and quality score algorithms.

    Now on to the real gold in this article…Facebook. You are the 3rd of 4th person I’ve talked to in close circles making a killing on FB ads right now. It’s not very often you get a company post IPO looking to rake in revenue and expand their business. Almost like Google 2002 all over again…

    Will be going back and reading this again, specifically the pieces on Facebook. Thanks man.

  4. Checkout Tylercruz.com he is apparently doing really well with PPC traffic from Facebook. Have you tried direct linking to CPA offers?

    • I remember him from the days when John Chow was popular. According to John’s latest post, Tyler actually lost all of his money and all of his campaigns. I see he was making big bank though!

      Not yet, but it’s something I’ll be testing in the very near future. Semi-addicted to paid traffic already

      • First off, congrats on getting into affiliate marketing and seeing insane ROI’s. Reading through your post, it seems like I wrote it – so I definitely agree with 99% of everything here!

        That post that John wrote was mostly for link-bait and self-promotion (as you can see from the last section of it) – July was certainly a massive drop for me, but I still pulled in a good 5 figures profit from my campaigns.

        Anyhow, glad to see you doing well – and feel free to hit me up sometime.

        • Hey Tyler,

          Thanks for commenting here. Your post was in spam, I’m not sure why. Might want to email Akismet about that?

          Ah, I had honestly thought you collaborated with John on that post for some reason. Must have just been how he wrote it…sneaky.

          Will do!

  5. Couple questions:

    1) Did you follow any online guides/walkthroughs whens setting up your first FB campaign (other than STM)?

    2) What are your thought on “Reach” for fb campaigns? Do you have an upper limit you like, of which you will start a second campaign if it gets too high? I’ve seen some people say 100,000 is a good number, others 20,000.

    Cheers

    • Hi Ben,

      Good questions.

      1) I did mention I have dabbled in Fb ads in the past, so it wasn’t totally new to me. I never did it to an affiliate offer or sales page though. There really isn’t too much to it as long as you’re willing to watch over your ads and weed out what isn’t working. If your budget is low, you don’t really need to worry about weeding out to start with either. Just testing a lot of options (remember to keep two variables the same) and see which gets the best CTR & conversions.

      2) My highest reach has been about 1 million. It worked better when they were around 200,000 – 400,000 for testing purposes. Then you can really nail in the demographic once you have a high-ctr. So testing much smaller age groups (5 year chunks) and then even target by cities in that particular country as well. You can see in one of my screenshots the reach was only 5,400, but I had a ton of these.

  6. been playing around with facebook ads for a while without much success but this post convinced me to give it another go targeting countries outside of the U.S. for my eBook. Thanks for the idea!

    • Good luck.

      Don’t forget to be testing your landing-page also. I have some tips coming in an upcoming blog post you might want to wait for, but I noticed some big differences.

  7. Great post, Glen – I love nothing more than reading through a small case study like this, it just goes to show the massive potential the web provides us! Much better than the SEO post 😉

    • Oooooooooooooooh, you didn’t.

      Appreciate the comment, Chris. Still need to get back to you (and dozens of people) on that other post. You did misinterpret me by the way, I wasn’t suggesting what you assumed 🙂

  8. Hey Glenn!

    I’ve been doing some Fb advertising in the past (when i was surging the warrior forum, glad im done with that) , i made a few bucks, although it wasnt profitable i definitely see the potential.

    Are you eligeble to direct traffic through an affiliate link (worked for me in norway a few years back) or do you have to promote your affiliate offer on a landing page??

    • Yep. For my dating offer I went direct through an affiliate link. Didn’t get flagged or have any issues…

      Might depend on what you’re promoting though.

  9. Hi Glen,

    1 word: WOW! What a great insight in the possibilities of FB Ads. I run a few ads myself, but have never looked it them this way; from now on I just cannot ignore the information in this post or I’d be stupid…:-)

    Glen, what about conversion tracking with ClickBank / JVZoo sales? I sell a product on JVZoo, but the buyer is not redirected to a hosted page of myself (and I cannot specify it).

    Cheers,
    Roy

    • With Clickbank it would be fine if for example you’re using the Wishlist plugin like I am, because they get redirected to a registration page after a purchase. You would just put your tracking cookie there.

      I’m surprised about that with JVZoo, and it would actually ruin my plans to use them for my next launch which I had. Are you absolutely sure? I’ve bought products there and sure I’m 99% sure I didn’t just get the download direct from the JVZoo page…

      • In JVZoo there is an option to specify a Download Page as Delivery Method (which I have not set initially), so you are right that you can redirect a buyer to your own page…

        • I wondering what you were talking about above, because you can use your own download page. You can go in and edit the setup if you want to add your own sales confirmation page. It is a good idea to make it a registration page for customers to make a list of your customers, and you can put the Fb conversion pixel on that page.

          I like controlling the process myself instead and I think customers can get the product much faster that way.

      • Glen, great post. In regards to JVZoo, I found the setup very easy and they continue to improve the system and you get all the control you want to how and where the product is delivered.

  10. Great post Glen!

    I love the bit about the Place Order not working! I told my wife the exact same thing. How can FB allow this to happen with their number #1 revenue stream!!?

    Sanj.

    • Absolutely crazy. Must be too many people in the company that this stuff just doesn’t go up the rankings. Wonder if they’ll ever notice?

    • If you have something to promote, I don’t see why not. The hardest thing to track is which clicks are actually converting to sales though. I was hoping someone could elaborate in the comments here 🙂

  11. Hey Glen,

    Great post. There are a lot of steps in there to get setup from scratch. If someone decided to get started (or restarted) which path would you recommend for getting profitable quickly? SEO and a blog for affiliate or PPC like this post showed?

    • PPC has the potential to get you money the quickest, probably, but it also has the potential to drain you of your money the quickest.

      Maybe do them both in a sideline? Set up your SEO site. Write some content. Let it ‘age’ a little while running your PPC campaign to an opt-in form on the website. Keep your budget pretty low so you don’t lose your shirt while testing for the first time 🙂

  12. Hi Glen,

    Great post, thank you. I’m just unsure about one detail. Once you are receiving more facebook likes from the facebook ad on your fan page how do you then convert these to product sales?

    • Hi Mike,

      That was just for cheap testing. I don’t think I made anything from those people (I didn’t try). Just start a new ad campaign promoting something else and pause the test ones…

      • Okay, so basically, using your internal an page is just to gauge the clickthrough potential of the ad? You get to see if it works with the added bonus that you might receive some likes in said page. Is this correct Glen?

  13. Awesome case study Glen. I’m doing Facebook advertising for about three years and it can be very brutal sometimes when you digg into competitive markets… but on the other hand, it can be so rewardful.

    It’s no surprise to get huge ROI’s on fb if you manage to get low clicks, it’s just, the platform is not for every niche. Right now I have a client in one tough niche, and I’m having hard times getting it profitable.

    Tried finance, insurance, claims on fb… but games, dating, casino games etc. seems to work best.

    Once again, great post man!
    Cheers

I thought I would do a quick case study about direct linking with Bing to see if it’s workable with a Clickbank product. In any case, does Bing allow direct linking? We shall have to see.

This is not normally how I use Bing Ads and Clickbank. I usually spend a day or two making a basic website around my choice of product and stick an opt-in form in there to gather a few emails.

But I thought I’d give it a go without all that effort. Direct linking with Bing is probably foolish, but when you’ve got an itch, you have to scratch it!

In retrospect, I should have picked a better niche. There were other products that fell into my criteria, but I just went with the first one that popped up and it looked a reasonable challenge.

All images on this post can be enlarged by clicking on them. Then, if you want to see an even bigger view, look for the ‘expand’ button in the top left of the image.

Direct Linking with Bing

The best Bing PPC affiliate marketing strategy would be to write a seriously good review about something you were passionate about.

When you’re brand new to all this and you wonder how to make money with PPC affiliate marketing, the very best way is to use quality content and to not direct link to affiliates websites!

But let’s see how this pans out.

I went over to Clickbank and did a search for a product that had a Gravity of between 5 and 15. This cuts out a lot of competition, and gives me a chance to get some ads in the top places of the Bing search engine…or near the top anyway.

I also set the minimum payment commission of $24. I will be setting this Bing Ads campaign budget to only £20…so if I get a sale, I will nearly get my money back!

Choose The Right Product When Direct Linking With Bing!

After a quick search I found this product, House Carers. The sales page looks good and the company has been around for 27 years; very rare in this business. I did toy with opening CBengine to find out more about the product but I realise this isn’t going to be one of the best PPC case studies ever seen! So just carried on.

The only thing I didn’t realise, until I’d set everything up, is that it may take time to get payments from this product. If someone clicks on the sales page, they have to sign up to House Carers first and then maybe, just maybe, they might find what they’re looking for and make a payment.

I usually go for the pay quick and run products, not the browsers and tyre kickers! So with this product I could already be on to a loser. Ha! I’m always wiser after the event. But, you never know; this Clickbank PPC strategy might be worth the effort.

In reality though, I went through all the stuff below before I realised my schoolboy error, and couldn’t be arsed to start over again!

So, ignoring that little indiscretion, I then went over to CBGraph to see if this product had a decent trend.

Will I Cloak My Hoplink?

The trend is steady and rising a little…that’s OK. I looked at the refund rate too which was fine. It’s also number one in the travel niche on Clickbank…so it looks OK to carry on.

I then visited the actual sales page to see if there were any auto play videos or exit pop-ups…there weren’t which is great because direct linking with Bing and pop-ups is a big no-no…they don’t allow it.. Some advertisers seem to get away with it but I won’t take the risk.

I went back over to Clickbank and got my Clickbank hoplink. You just click the ‘promote’ button and copy the first link. If I were building a website for this case study, I would have cloaked that link with Pretty Link, but as this is bare bones, I’ll leave it alone.

So, I’ve chosen the product, now I need some keywords for my campaign.

Finding Common Sense Keywords

Now, I tend to not overdo this in any PPC campaign. There was a time when it was extremely important to get all sorts of keywords and you could spend hours doing it. I still do a lot of keyword research, but only for articles that need to rank.

With Bing Ads, or Adwords, you just need the common sense keywords that people are searching for. Ranking isn’t an issue in this case.

When thinking about keywords, I always put myself in the place of someone who is looking for my product. In this case, I would need to find someone who can house sit my home whilst I’m away in the Caribbean for a month or two (if only!)

I would go to a search engine and enter ‘I need a house sitter

So I did just that in both Google and Bing and copied the related search terms found at the bottom of the page in Google and to the right in Bing.

Good Old Google Keyword Planner!

I then copied them all and headed to the Google Keyword Planner and inputted them for the Big G to search.

With these sorts of campaigns, I always choose to use the Ad Groups tab instead of the Keywords tab. The Ad Groups make it easier to spot relative and selective keywords for my niche subject.

I then ‘Add to Plan’ and once I’ve gathered all the keywords I want I copy them into a text file. I have about 80 keywords to use for my campaign. Sometimes I have as many as 700, other times 20.

Next I go to an online free ‘Remove Duplicate Lines’ tool which can be found here and a great little time saving tool it is! After putting the tool to work, the new list is copied into another text file and I end up with 68 unique keywords in total.

Now I Over-complicate Direct Linking with Bing!

The next bit does not have to be done. It can get little complicated, so please ignore at will if I don’t explain it too well!

Once I’ve got my completed keywords list I use excel to count the number of words and spaces in a string. I do this because I use an text ad title that uses the {keyword} dynamic text feature; it only allows 25 characters. All will become clear later, but in the meantime I head over to Excel.

Remember, you don’t have to do this, but I get a little OCD sometimes!

I copy and paste all my keywords into the first column, then widen the A1 cell so all the words fit nicely. Then, in the B1 cell, I enter the formula =LEN(A1)  -this adds all the spaces and character together and tots them up. I then click and hold the bottom corner of that B1 cell and drag it down so all the cells are highlighted and then un-click. I now have all the total number of spaces and characters of those keywords.

Right click the highlighted cells and sort from ‘smallest to biggest’. This will put them all in order of characters amounts.

I then choose all the keywords that are 25 characters or less and copy them into a blank Word document. I then capitalize each word (not letter) by selecting them and clicking the Aa tab found at the top of the Word interface…and then save.

These newly formatted keywords will be used for my first ad group and will be in the second ad. Again, this will hopefully become clear later.

Phew! End of complicated strategy! You really don’t need to do this; it’s just that I’ve always done it this way…horses for courses and all that!

Back To Normality

After all that malarkey, I go to another free online tool that sets the parameters for all my keywords. It’s called the Jumbo Keyword Tool and can be found here.

Just paste your keywords into the box and click Phrase & Exact. This saves time later when I’m setting up the ads. I don’t use Broad…just “Phrase” and [Exact]

I will be making 3 Ad Groups in Bing Ads with 2 Text Ads in each group. My own way, of course, you may wish to do it another way.

I now arrange these KW groups as such:

  • First Group will be keywords that have 25 characters or less and stand a better chance to succeed at direct linking with Bing. They make sense.
  • Second Group is a handful of keywords that are over 25 characters and are termed as Long Tail.
  • Third Ad Group – the rest!

Each group will only have 2 text ads to start with. This is mainly for testing purposes and to get the campaign off the ground. I can add or take away ads and keywords as the campaign gains traction (or loses it!)

Now for a bit of spying.

Spying On Your Competitors!

Ispionage is a free or paid tool for spying on other marketers who are using Google and Bing for PPC advertising. I will be using the Free option here…it’s a bit limiting, but I can get some good ideas for my ad copy. Go here for Ispionage and get a free account.

You will be limited by the amount of searches you can do, so just pick a couple of websites to compare for your ad copy and don’t go too crazy!

I want to find what my competitors are doing and saying for basically the same product as I’m promoting. First I searched for the product website homecarers.com and then for a website that is at the top of their game in this niche, trustedhousesitters.com

I copied their more successful ads and reworded them slightly for my own campaign. You can write your own ads, but when you start thinking up ways to describe your product it can get very wearisome! I just pinch these!

As a side note, I noticed that there were two marketers also direct linking with Bing with their huge hoplink there for everyone to see. Maybe this does work then?

So What Have I Done So Far?

  • Researched and picked a product to promote from Clickbank
  • Checked that Direct Linking with Bing was OK (no pop-ups etc.)
  • Chose a bunch of keywords
  • Cleaned them up and hosed them down
  • Managed to confuse you half way through
  • Wrote 6 ads for my campaign (see images later)
  • Saved them all in text files (very very important…don’t lose them!)

Now it’s time to make a Bing Ads campaign

Over I go to to Bing and click the ‘New Campaign’ tab and choose ‘Visits to my website’

I name the campaign, choose a daily budget, set my language and choose the locations I want to target; in this case, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia…the usual suspects!

The image was too big to take a screen shot of both the above image and the one below, so here’s the rest of it. It’s quite important because I only want to target people in my targeted locations.

Composing the All Important Ad

Creating the ad is next and this can be very hit and miss. With my ‘serious’ campaigns, I usually spend a lot more time and stringent testing to get this right, but sometimes the ad hits a home run right away, but it’s always best to keep an eye on under-performing ads once they go live.

Then I have to name my Ad Group name and also enter the keywords for this group. This is where that Jumbo Keyword Tool saved me a heap of time. I just paste the keywords into the box and carry on. I could use Bing’s own keyword suggestions, but I won’t just yet. I’m not convinced they’re the best anyway. (I could be wrong, of course!)

And now it’s on to the ‘Set Budget‘ section. I always, always start off with £5 a day and set my bids at 0.30. I find this helps gauge where the campaign is going.

Lots of clicks, but no sales = wasted money. I always look at this as putting a ‘stop-loss’ on the budget, much like the Forex traders do to stop them losing all their money.

It will be interesting to see the difference from my own perspective if direct linking with Bing is more expensive than using an alternative landing page?

Making sure I set bids only to Bing, AOL and Yahoo, I leave the other options alone. I should have used the demographic tab because I’m sure this product is aimed at older, richer people instead of the young and the poor…but I’ll see how it goes. I normally track my keywords too, but decided not to with this case study,

Direct Linking With Bing – Good To Go!

The campaign has now got its first ad set up and is ready to go!

Now I need to go back in and create another ad using the {keyword} dynamic text option. For some reason, Bing doesn’t allow this option when creating the first ad? Don’t know why?

Basically, the {keyword} dynamic in the title means that when someone searches for House Sitters, that keyword will appear in the title. If they search for House Minders, THAT keyword will appear in the title. And so on.

Once this ad is done, that completes the 2 ads in the first ad Group. I usually create anything between 3 and 10 ads here, but not today.

I then go through all this again for the two other ad groups I’m adding to the campaign. The only exception is that I won’t be using the {keyword} option again.

Bing Ads only allow 25 characters in the ‘Title’ area, so if I put {keyword} in for all ads, the keywords over 25 characters would show up as literally….{keyword} and that’s no good to anybody!

This is what the 6 ads I created look like when completed. You will see 3 different ad groups with one showing a rogue click. This is unusual because Bing doesn’t really make your ads live until another 24 hours or so.

And below are the 3 ad groups. It also shows that the search bids for every keyword are set at 0.30. This figure will change throughout the campaign as some keywords won’t get to the front page, but most should. This is done manually when your campaign has been live for a while.

After a day or two, Bing will tell me if my bids aren’t high enough for any reason. I will update this throughout the campaign and show images taken about what I’m talking about.

Direct Linking with Bing Case Study Finale

And finally, the big picture for now. The image below shows the campaign is live and I’ve written a blurb about what I’ve done. Clicking any image will enlarge it.

Don’t be alarmed by the total clicks for the 11 campaigns in there…the filter was set for the last 3 months. Having nearly 9000 clicks for the day would blow my mind…not to mention the 1k spent!

That’s a basic, and quite unruly, way to set up a direct linking with Bing campaign. This was just done as a case study really and to see if a quick Bing Ads campaign can reap results.

I usually spend 2 or 3 days setting up a website and deeply research the product. But if this can see a result over a week, then the 3 hours it took from start to finish, including screenshots, may have be worth it!

I will update throughout the week with screenshots and conclusions. Alas, I’m not holding my breath for a huge pay day here! This Clickbank PPC case study can only be judged on the results…good or bad!

Tools I  Used For Direct Linking with Bing

(not affiliate links)

Clickbank

CBGraph

Text Mechanic

Ispionage

Jumbo Keyword

Bing Ads

Google Search

Bing Search

Word

Google Planner

Excel

Notepad

Today’s date is Thursday 26th January 2017 and the campaign was stated at around 6pm. I will update the post in a couple of days to see where I am with this product. I admit I didn’t put all my resources into this as I don’t truly believe direct linking with Bing works that well. But I had a spare afternoon and fancied messing around with a case study.

Sad, I know!

Results

Not good! It took only 3 days to deplete the £20 budget with no sales.

The images below can be clicked on and enlarged so you can see what happened.

The are a few glaring reasons that I can figure were wrong with this campaign.

1 – The product was not a good one for PPC
2 – A landing page should have been built
3 – No Opt-in for capturing emails
4 – The Product wasn’t ‘wanted’ enough
5 – More care with choosing keywords

The first image here shows, by far, the ad group ‘House Carer’s 25’s’ was the most popular receiving 87 clicks with a click through rate of 6.34% and a cost per click of 0.22. With a better niche subject, I think there would have been at least a couple of sales.

The ‘Random’ ad group only received 6 clicks with a CTR of 3.49% and 0.19 per click, again, good CTR, but no sales.

The final ad group did diddly-squat!

The ad placements were average at best, but I would certainly have expected at least 1 sale with those figures…I didn’t even get one click that went through the House Carers own funnel!


The next image show the ads for this campaign. The first one performed best. This was because the {keyword} ad below was flagged by Bing for using the domain name twice somewhere along the line. This meant the ad wasn’t live for a good few hours.

This has happened before, but I see so many other advertisers do this with their ads and nothing seems to be said about it. I guess you can either get away with it or you can’t. My Bing Ads history over the last 4 years tells me I can’t!

The top two ads both had a decent click through rate of over 5% which is fine.


The 3rd image below are the keywords that were clicked on the most.

This tells me the people clicking on the ads were after jobs to house sit, and not people looking to employhouse sitters. I should’ve probably realized that before choosing the product and compiling the ads as well as going a little deeper keyword selection.

Notice all the top performing keywords came from the first ’25’s’ ad groups.


The final image is the most disappointing one!

The Clickbank image shows there were ’77 hops’ (87 according to Bing?) onto the direct linked page, but nothing else. I can only imagine either the home page for that site just doesn’t convert, or, and I hope this is the real reason, people have signed up and will eventually employ a house sitter. There is a 90 day cookie included in the link, so maybe there may be a sale soon?


All images can be enlarged when clicked on.

So Does Direct Linking With Bing Ads Work?

Not in this case, no.

Looking back, it was rather a rushed case study and I should have put more time into it, especially when picking the Clickbank product.

With the CTR’s I would have thought a better, more dramatic, product would have reaped a couple of sales. Perhaps a remedy of some sort, but not weight loss.

Weight loss products are crazy competitive, so I think the revenue would have been eaten up with having to bid higher to get a decent ad placement.

When I get another spare afternoon or whole day, I will have another go and put a bit more effort into it!

The case study tells me that although direct linking with Bing ads didn’t work for this product, there’s no reason it wouldn’t work for a better, more in demand, product.

I should perhaps try a skin problem, itching ailment or blushing dilemma! But in the meantime, I’ll carry on building a landing page first with an opt-in form….between 77 and 87 clicks were wasted and no email addresses captured!

Tut-tut!

 

No Bribes - Just Truth

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