Have you ever used a Campaign Performance Calculator before launching a new native advertising campaign? Maybe not because we all tend to rely on our affiliate manager’s information about new offers. But if we go and ask 10 affiliate managers on various networks for a list of their top-performing offers, we can easily create a list of around 100 offers – all from various verticals, payouts as well as conversion flow.
So, having access to these 100 top offers means that we can create hundreds, if not a few thousands of supposedly successful campaigns (different traffic sources, targeting options, and funnels). After all, we’re promoting the top performers of our top 10 networks, right?
Well, in reality, most of those top performers aren’t going to deliver the expected results, because most of them just suck. So, instead of wasting huge testing budgets in the hopes that they will bring you profits, it’s always better to do our own research and calculations before promoting any of the suggested offers.
Here’s a quick break down of the research and calculation steps:
Selecting Which Offers to Promote
We generally have two main paths to follow, when it comes to selecting the offers we plan to promote.
1. See what’s trending using spy tools
2. Ask our affiliate managers for their top-performing offers
When searching on spy tools we may find a lot of trending offers, however getting approved on the networks that own these offers, as well as getting access to them, sometimes might be a bit hard. Plus, we don’t even know what the actual payout of the offers might be.
On the other hand, we can use the help of our affiliate managers as mentioned at the beginning of this guide. But, before sending any traffic to the suggested offers, we need to get some additional information, besides the offer id, offer name, conversion flow, and payout – and this applies on both cases.
So before sending any traffic to our offers, it would be best for us to try and get as much as possible information about them from these two sources.
Information source Nr. 1 – Our Affiliate Manager
Ask them to give us the following details about each of the suggested or selected offers.
– What’s the overall weekly or daily volume the offer is getting
– What’s the Conversion Rate and EPC of this offer on the network level
– What are the main traffic sources where these offers are being promoted on?
– Is the offer promoted using landing pages or just direct-linking? And if direct-linked, but using network’s pre-lander, what’s the conversion rate from lander to the offer?
So, with the above questions we should be able to end up with a list like this:
Now that we have the initial information from our affiliate manager, the next step is to verify the provided information. This step is very important, because sometimes depending by the affiliate manager and network, we may not be able to get access to all the details.
Information source Nr. 2 – Affiliate Spy Tools (e.g. Adplexity)
There are already lots of guides on how to use Adplexity, so we’re not going into any details here. The most important step here, is to search for results using your offer final url (the one that sees the real visitor) and see the results you get.
Information source Nr. 3 – SimilarWeb
SimilarWeb is one of the best competitive intelligence spy tools out there and we can satisfy our needs by just using the free public version of it.
On SimilarWeb we want to see two main metrics:
1. Total amount of visits – Overall and by month to be able to understand performance trends
2. Top Referrers – Top referring websites, that we can use as an inspiration for our landers.
Please note that if the offer destination page (the one that sees the visitor) is showing less than 5000 or 10000 visits during the last 3 months, most probably isn’t being tested enough to rely on the conversion rate or epc provided by your affiliate manager. However, on the other hand, we could be in a situation where we’re looking at a newly launched product that could represent a great potential.
This is why it is so important to get and compare information about our offers from various sources.
Getting Ready to Launch a Campaign With a Promising Offer
Assume that we found a promising offer and we are ready to start promoting it, it is very important to make some preliminary calculations first and for this we are going to use the data provided by our affiliate manager: Payout, Conversion Rate, Network EPC and our campaign starting Bid.
The goal of these preliminary calculations is to help us understand what are the minimum performance thresholds we should aim for in order to get our campaign to break even. In the above example, we are using landing pages to better sell our offers. Direct-linking them might not be a good idea at all (in exception to some rare cases).
As we can see, for an offer that has a payout of $11.5, conversion rate of 9.25%, network EPC of 1.3 and starting bid of $0.45 a click, we need to have a landing page click-through rate of around 40% in order to break even.
Obviously, breaking even is far from the initial performance of the offer/campaign, since we need to do some optimization like blocking publishers, pause extremely low performance ads, etc. But we can still use the results from the above calculator in order to estimate the minimum landing page ctr, clicks and conversions to at least reach -50% by aiming at a ~20% lp ctr instead of ~40%.
Also, it is very important that after we get some initial conversions from our first batch of traffic, to use our own campaign performance metrics like conversion rate and avg. CPCs from the top converting publishers. It can happen that we get a higher conversion rate from our landers, therefore we need to aim at a lower lp ctr.
Furthermore, changes and improvements that we can make on our ads and landing pages to improve our campaign results, will help us and influence a lot on lowering our optimization metric thresholds while still getting good results.