AM Insights by Stijn: How Communication And The Relationship With Your AM Can Tremendously Change Your Business

 In General

Stijn, our head of sales in Bangkok, has been given the privilege to kick off STM’s new “AM Insights” series with a compelling interview full of up-to-date insights and tips for the eager beginners in performance marketing. But even if you’ve been in the industry for quite some time, there are insights you don’t want to miss.

To summarize the extensive interview, here are some takeaways we think are important:

  • SOI sweepstakes is a good vertical to start with as a beginner.
  • Testing is knowledge. Sometimes the new offers outperform the proven ones.
  • There are some low tier countries where you can test pretty cheaply and you still have multiple options in offers and plenty of cap, like PL and TH. But make sure you have the possibility to 1) scale and 2) split test different advertisers.
  • To scale your business, copy your campaigns to different geos and different traffic sources and test similar products and flows.
  • Don’t be a stranger when it comes to communication with your AM.
  • The best affiliates are always on the grind, they’re always open to new opportunities and are willing to test a lot.
  • Try to make deals.
  • If you have a small advertising budget, find a trustable network that is a specialist in your vertical(s), and stick with them. It’s better to be in touch with 1 or 2 AMs but on a deeper relational level. You will be able to make better deals and you’re gonna be on top of mind of the AMs when new opportunities come up.

Now let’s dive into the full interview. Enjoy reading!

Please tell a few words about you (how long are you in the industry, what’s your position, what things in affiliate marketing were you doing and such things)?

I’ve started working with Gotzha as an affiliate manager since its foundation in 2016. It was my first job and I was a complete rookie in affiliate marketing. I’ve grown to become the manager of our Bangkok sales team and right now I’m still in Thailand and in this wonderful industry for a bit more than 4 years.

At first some general information about Gotzha. What verticals do you have and what verticals do you recommend for beginners to start with and why do you recommend it?

Our main verticals are sweepstakes (SOI/CC), utilities (mobile/web), nutra, dating and gambling.

We are pretty flexible in what verticals we open though, if there is a good opportunity to open up new offers in different verticals we do that as well

For beginners I recommend to start with sweeps SOI for the following reasons:

  • It’s not so difficult to get some conversions, regardless of the geo, people want to win things and it costs them nothing to participate
  • In the main geos there are many different advertisers active with good offers. This gives you good opportunity to splittest multiple good offers, enhancing your chances of finding one that brings you good ROI
  • There is room to grow in this vertical. There are affiliates doing big numbers on sweeps SOI, so it’s not just a vertical for small fish
  • It works well on all kinds of traffic sources. Some verticals are pretty limited in terms of what types of traffic work well. But with SOI sweeps you can test almost every traffic source.
  • Quality is not a big issue in most cases. Some verticals are difficult to break into because of KPI requirements but in most cases for sweeps SOI there are no major quality issues
  • Plenty of cap available. In the main geos there is plenty of cap available, so you often don’t have to worry about not being able to scale up when you find a profitable offer

What should a beginner affiliate do in order to get accepted into your network?

It helps to be very precise in your application about what (type of) offers you need, what type(s) of traffic you buy, what volumes we can expect, where you heard out about Gotzha, what timezone you’re in etc. We receive more applications from beginners than we can handle, so we need to be a little bit selective and if all the info that we need to know is already in the application that’s very useful.

What current trends are you seeing? What verticals are slowing down, what is killing it right now? Are there any really hot geos you recommend or are there geos that are much overrated?

I’m seeing an uptick in utilities, mainly Antivirus offers like Mcafee and Norton are big offers for us.6 Months ago this vertical was basically nonexistent for us, but we see a lot of people becoming successful with these things so we’ve started to focus on this. We’re expanding our offer base with more VPN’s, mobile and desktop installs etc.

Our main vertical CC submit sweepstakes is still going with full power though and we don’t see anything slowing down there either. We’re constantly optimizing the performance of our own offers in this vertical as well and that is resulting in large daily volumes. Hot geos for CC are FR, IT, UK. But there are some solid tier 3 geos out there as well that do less volume but are bringing good ROI for our publishers, like TH, RO, HU, MY

What would you recommend a beginner as the best way to start (vertical, conversion flows, low tier vs high tier etc)?

As I mentioned before I think SOI sweepstakes is a good vertical to start with as a beginner.

There are some low tier countries where you can test pretty cheaply and you still have multiple options in offers and plenty of cap, like PL and TH. Often lower tier geos are recommended and people want to test them all, but in many of them there is only one advertiser active and caps are low (so can be they are already being filled, or you never really get to scale up much).

So I would say that lower tier geos are good to test, but make sure you have possibility to:

  1. Scale
  2. Splittest different advertisers.

In a lot of cases the lower tier geos serve as a good way to pick up good habits like how to splittest prelanders and how to bid etc. And when you have this under control you can test out some higher tier geos and some more difficult flows (like jump from SOI to CC submit).

When a beginner makes stable yet lower profits what should be the next step to scale his biz?

Copy to different geos and copy to different traffic sources. Also test similar products and flows, for example if you’re profitable on a Lidl SOI offer in DE:

  • try Aldi, Rewe, Edeka with similar angles
  • try Lidl in NL, BE, SE, UK
  • try Lidl CC submits

Speaking about beginners, they often struggle a bit when it comes to communication with their AMs. What do you recommend to them, what’s the best way to approach the affiliate managers to get most out of the relationship for a beginner?

There are two things I recommend.

1. Don’t be a stranger.

If you’re a new affiliate and don’t have big budgets, you’re maybe not on the top of most AM’s priorities. If you don’t get in touch with your AM, there is a chance they will forget about you and you miss out on new opportunities and good tips.

2. Don’t be a stranger.

You work hard on your campaigns, you want to become profitable. AM’s have loads of data and knowledge that can help you forward. Use that knowledge and those insights, share your concerns and findings. The affiliate and AM are a team, by communicating you learn so much about each other’s sides of the business and you build up a relationship with someone that has their eyes on where the money is.

What should an affiliate do in case the AM takes too long to reply?

Often when I don’t reply I’ve opened the message already but I’m doing 10 things at the same time and I only finish 7 of them. Just drop another message if there’s no reply for a while, no harm in that. Just keep in mind that sometimes it’s not always possible to get instant replies due to timezone or just because it’s a busy time of the day.

How do you decide how much time you’re going to dedicate to an affiliate?

For beginners it’s all about communication. After they’ve received the offers and we did the integration it’s good to know what they are experiencing. Is it going well, or are there any issues they’re facing? As long as people stay in touch and share their experience with me I have a lot of time for them.

Which geos are good for beginners and why?

That depends on the vertical. Usually geos with lower traffic costs are good because they allow you to make a couple of mistakes without it being too costly. It’s just important that you don’t only focus on `cheap traffic´ geos but look at what performs well for each vertical you want to run.

What verticals and conversion flows are best (easiest) for beginners, what verticals and conversion flows are best for maximum revenue?

Usually CPL/CPI offers are easiest. And CPS/CPA are more difficult but also bringing more rev per conversion.

How can affiliates increase conversion quality to avoid quality issues?

Depends on the traffic source and the vertical or the needs of the advertiser.

Some examples:

  • For a lot of verticals targeting older people is going to bring better quality.
  • Sometimes what is needed is more of a mix of male/female traffic. For example when you promote a pandora jewelry SOI sweep offer you might want to target females, but sometimes it’s more difficult for advertisers to sell big batches of only female leads.
  • Or you might have a very aggressive angle for a VPN app where users install the app because they think their data is in danger. Less aggressive angles in this case often bring users with a higher lifetime value.

What’s the best way for affiliates to find good offers on Gotzha?

Talk to their AM

What’s your opinion about fresh offers vs proven offers that received lots of traffic already?

I think testing is knowledge. Sometimes the new offers outperform the proven ones. AMs often have a very good idea of which offers are smart to splittest against each other.

From your daily work with affiliates, where do you see most issues and where do affiliates struggle most? What are your tips to avoid such issues?

I think everyone has their own struggles. It’s hard to generalize, everyone is just looking for the best ROIs for the traffic that they buy/have. People who do sms have different issues than Facebook affiliates. I think stability in both volume and traffic cost and scalability are the most common issues. There is not always an easy answer for those things, and sometimes there is 🙂

Talking about the most successful affiliates you work with, do you see a pattern that could help others as well to increase their revenue?

My best affiliates are always on the grind. Sounds like an easy answer but you really have to be willing to put in the work. Another thing I noticed from my best affiliates is that they’re always open to new opportunities and are willing to test a lot. It doesn’t happen often that there is just one golden, proven offer that works immediately for everyone. You have to find out which one works best for your specific angle/traffic by testing a lot.

Now a freestyle part, is there anything you would like to tell beginner affiliates that could help them on their way? Can be anything that comes to your mind based on your experience from working with affiliates.

I guess aside from what I’ve already mentioned above about communication, testing and putting in the work, there is one more tip I can give that can also be applicable for other businesses, and that is: try to make deals. The cards you’re dealt are not always necessarily the cards you have to play with. If you see you would be able to scale up more if you get a bit higher payout, faster payments, a different landing page design, higher caps, exclusivity, etc etc, just see what is possible and try to make a deal. Sometimes it will work out, sometimes maybe not, but it’s worth a try.

Another tip I would like to share is that if you have a small advertising budget, in my opinion it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spread that out over 3+ networks. Find a trustable network that is a specialist in your vertical(s), and stick with them. You will have better cash flow because your payments are coming from one place, and you have time to build up a relationship with your AM. Instead of hitting up 5 AMs every now and then, I think it’s better to be in touch with 1 or 2 AMs but on a deeper level. You will be able to make better deals and you’re gonna be on top of mind of the AMs when new opportunities come up.

Before we finish please tell in your own words why affiliates should run your offers. What makes Gotzha special, what are your strongest verticals, what are your best Geos?

Gotzha’s reputation and connections in the industry give us access to the best advertisers and deals. We have a team that never rests on the hunt for the hottest offers and that has a lot of experience in this industry. Also the sheer volume that’s going through our tracker, and the top affiliates that we talk to daily give us a very good overview of the market as a whole. We know what works and what the new trends are and we always stay hungry for new opportunities. Besides, we’re just a bunch of people that are easy to talk to and happy to help you grow your business.

Alright, this was pretty interesting and I am really happy with the outcome.

In my opinion there were some very good points in it. I know that many beginners don’t really know how to best communicate with their affiliate managers so it’s very helpful to read about it from an AM himself. Don’t forget, you and your AM are in the same team so being honest and reliable is the best way for a long lasting and profitable cooperation. Most AMs are pretty cool people anyway so there’s no need to be shy or so. I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did.

You can find STM’s interview and the next interviews of the AM Insights here.

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