I've been slapped by Adwords and held helpless at the unpredictable mercy of Facebook but media buying has always been my steady and dependable performance marketing venture. Since media buying is simply buying ad space (and earning commissions on the traffic it generates) on sites across the web, there can be no megalomaniacal governing body to pull the plug on any of my campaigns. This is why many marketers have turned their attention to media buying and have learned to make a killing in the process.
The simplest type of media buying campaign is a direct linking media buying campaign. For you newbies, the way a direct linking media buying campaign works is by buying ad space on site A, putting ads on site A, having your ads point to Site B and earning commissions on any sales or leads on Site B by the people who got there from clicking on your ads. Though direct link media buying campaigns can take many forms and angles, the science of setting up a profitable campaign is pretty simple and can be broken down into 7 key stages.
1. Select a Niche - your niche is the population and market you will be targeting (for example, people looking for car insurance, people looking to lose weight, people looking for games etc). To increase your chances of success, choose a niche you know or are passionate about or have a unique angle on. For example, I knew a guy who ran a profitable campaign marketing anti aging moisturizers to women aged 27 - 33. His angle was "fight wrinkles early and preserve your youth". Sure his market was limited, but his message and angle resonated with the target demographic and ROI was well in the black.
2. Find An Offer That Converts - Use oDigger to find an offer to promote in your niche. For example, if you choose weight loss as your niche, then use oDigger to search for "weigh loss", "diet" or any other related terms including product brand names. You will be able to see all offers in the diet space, compare the payouts of each offer and see which networks are offering them.
3. Join a Network - when you find an offer you would like to promote, submit an application and join them.
4. Create Click Hungry Ads - with almost all media buying campaigns, you pay per ad impression (CPM). This means you pay a small amount every time your ad ads are displayed on a site (regardless of whether anyone clicks on them). So your goal is to get as many clicks as possible and creating a click magnet ad is an art. Many offers will give you creative, but don't use these. Everyone and their mother is using them and you need something original. A great way to get ideas is to go to the websites in your niche and see what your competitors are doing.
But my preferred way is to use a media buying recon tool like WhatRunsWhere. This tool shows you all the ads (including all variations of each ad) that your competitors are running AND indicates which ones are gobbling up clicks :) As you'll see, provocative, interactive and/or newsy ads tend to perform the best and they should have some commonality with the landing page of your offer.
5. Reach Out To Sites To Advertise On - Here's where many marketers make a huge mistake. They think they can join a big ad conglomerate like Advertising.com, throw their campaign up and turn a profit. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The ad conglomerates like Advertising.com buy up the inventory of smaller sites and resell it to you. So you'll always get a better price by contacting the site you want to advertise on and dealing with them directly.
How do you find sites to advertise on? That's the tricky part. Knowing which sites convert and which don't is like knowing where the pot of gold lies. One way to do it is to create a list of all the sites that have display advertising, buy ad slots and test which ones are profitable and which ones aren't. This is the way many marketers do it, but it's slow, it costs a fortune and many times yields a loss. The smart way to choose your websites to advertise on is to have a tool do the work for you. Here's where WhatRunsWhere comes in to play again. WhatRunsWhere will not only tell you which sites your should advertise on in your niche, it will also indicate which sites are turning a profit and which ones aren't. Truly valuable info! See my WhatRunsWhere review to see how.
6. Split test ads - Once you have your ads and sites to advertise sorted out, it's time to split test your ads. This means testing to the independent variables of your ads to see which combination performs the best. Should you go with a blue or red background? Headline A or headline B? Only ever test 1 variable at a time. If you test 2 variables at a time you won't know which variable affected the change. Also, test for both Click-through-rate and Conversion rate. Some ads may have a low CTR but high conversion rate and vice versa.
7. Profit! - Once you have a winning ad it's time to crank it. Not much else to say about this one :)