Every year I like to do a recap of my successes and outright fails, and observations from the performance marketing industry.
In 2018 I spent most of my ad budget promoting CPA offers on Facebook, native ads, Google and Bing Search. I will speak more of my 2019 plans in a bit.
But first let me recap 2018 from my perspective. 2018 still saw a lot of blackhat campaigns succeeding especially on Facebook. Just search any FB spy tool and you will see thousands of ads that break rules. (blackhat in this sense means creating ads and landing pages that break ad network rules and result in banned accounts)
Blackhatters are experiencing a lot more pressure now to change their techniques, but it certainly is not dead. I think by 2020 it’s gonna be a waste of time and money – so if that’s your current game plan you better get some white hat stuff rolling soon.
Over the course of the year the industry saw many advertisers (or offer owners) get hit hard on the processing side. This is especially true for those who owned trial and continuity billing types of offers.
This banking crackdown made it extremely difficult for affiliate marketers to get BIG cap and scale these types of offers. This banking crackdown had ripple effects throughout the industry. Many advertisers failed to pay the networks, and many networks and affiliates got screwed.
This led many advertisers to change up their game and start building out Ecommerce style offers.
We also saw a lot of government pressure on Facebook to clean up their act, which led to millions of accounts being terminated without notice. Many white hat marketers also got their accounts banned simply because of the massive Facebook sweep. The Facebook crackdowns are nothing new, and they do this all the time, but many policies have changed and it’s making blackhat more and more difficult, and less attractive to affiliates who want a long term revenue stream.
Many affiliates have actually started building out their own ecommerce style offers with Shopify. Basically this is just selling products directly to consumers and is as whitehat as you can get when it comes to online advertising.
This had to be the most promoted “make money online” opportunity in 2018. It seemed like every doorknob with a Lamborghini promoted some type of guru style course on on how to “CRUSH” ecommerce with dropshipping and shopify.
While there is obviously money to be made, I still have not gone down the road of building out a ecomm style offer.
Why you ask?
Well I find that there is still some extremely easy money to be made as an affiliate.
What many people fail to factor in, is the amount of backend processes they have to pay for and manage when selling products to consumers directly online.
As an affiliate marketer we can skip all that and just earn money from selling. Another thing I hate about ecomm is how easy it is to outright steal another person’s campaigns.
Many affiliates and networks simply test ecomm offers from other CPA networks, then if they convert well they just build their own offer with the same product. It’s not rocket science. But the REAL winners are the ones who have access to skilled advertisers who know how to make these offers convert.
As an affiliate marketer, if you have the skills and time to convert ecomm style offers on Facebook, then you understand that this doesn’t leave you much more time to manage the store. For example, you need to manage the fulfillment, customer service, refunds, chargebacks, banking and all the work that is required to own and operate your own online ecomm store.
So you will definitely have to factor in the expense of outsourcing if you plan to build a store. Where many people fail is that they get suckered by the gurus into starting a store with no real idea on what they plan to sell. They build the store first then they try to find products! If you plan on doing ecomm I would suggest starting by actually promoting someone else’s product first and see if you can generate a sale.
So what am I going to focus on Affiliate Marketing in 2019?
Well I am still focused on being an affiliate rather than an offer owner. I have owned offers before and I currently own Powerhouse Affiliate. What I mean by “owning an offer” is that I’m responsible to manage everything from the call centers/customer support teams, banking, delivery and all that fun stuff. It can be lucrative for sure, and many would consider it more “long term” as opposed to just being an affiliate for someone else.
In 2019 I still don’t see myself building an ecomm product, but I am not saying I won’t consider it again if things change. I am considering building more funnels for lead capture. I have been building out my affiliate campaigns using a long term strategy that requires much less back end work, and can leave me with a sell-able online asset when I am done.
Content and authority is still king.
When I build out campaigns I often test the offers first with paid traffic and simple landing pages. If it converts I then build a complete website and authority blog and email list around that campaign. I also focus on bigger niches, with lots of traffic. If an actual offer gets paused or expires this doesn’t mean my campaign is dead. By focusing on big niches like diet or finance there will always be an offer available that I can swap in.
In 2019 my main focus will be to find more whitehat style offers that can easily be approved on Facebook, Taboola/Outbrain, Google, Bing etc. This includes offers like finance, loans, straight sale diet and skin offers and various CPL offers from CPA networks.
This month we will also be updating our FREE “Affiliate Marketing Certification course” inside Powerhouse Affiliate. It will help people build out a complete authority style affiliate marketing campaign from scratch, monetize it with different channels, and build it with an extremely low budget.
Many of our newbie members don’t want to start with paid traffic so we have decided that the free course will have a lot more focus on monetizing a fresh website using more free methods. This will allow newbies to build out a campaign and start earning money with little cash investment.
So what are your plans for 2019? Comment below!