Andrew Payne. Six-figure profits with your own push database

Hi! I’m Roman, an editor-in-chief of ZorbasMedia
and I’m standing… …the STM forum. It’s one of the best resources for information… Right now we have a database of about 12 million,
but it’s… Last year we exceeded six figures, into mid
six figures pretty quickly. Andrew, I wanted to firstly thank you for
finding time to join us today. Thank you for having me. Cool. For our audience I guess that you’re mostly
known because of your activity on the STM forum, but, as I noticed, in 2019 you haven’t
started any thread on the STM forum. Is that because you don’t have time or you
just lost an interest to write? Mostly, time. That would be the main thing because when
I got back into the industry I, the first place I went was the STM forum. It’s one of the best resources for information
and I knew that, so I went there. As I started to share my journey along the
way and as I learned and got more busy, it just, I haven’t had the opportunity really
to take the time to post more recently, but I do intend to. Right. And as for your blog, Affiliate Success, it
doesn’t seem to be really active either. That’s correct. It’s the same reason or you just don’t enjoy
blogging anymore? Really, Affiliate Success, it was something
I set up because I started getting a lot of attention on STM and people were asking how
to follow me, where can they kind of find me and I just created a place where people
could subscribe to a newsletter, and when I do send out communications even if it’s
few and far in between, there is a channel their available. I have bigger plans for it at some point,
it’s just never been a priority. So, that would be why. It’s not so much that I haven’t had time,
that would be part of it, but the Affiliate Success was just a channel that when I do
have something that I want to share there’s a place I can post it outside of just STM. But, yeah, at some point I’ll get more involved
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and usually answers within a minute. Join now and get your discount from ZorbasMedia. Details in the description. You used to run a lot of pop-under traffic
and push traffic from what I read on STM. Can you tell me what is your main focus for
now? Sure, our main focus is still push notification
traffic. When I got back into the industry three years
ago I was working with pop traffic, I was really getting a better understanding and…
of just how to get campaigns profitable again using pop traffic. And then once I discovered push notifications,
I just found that huge potential was in it and I dove headfirst and that’s where our
focus has been, but we also work a little bit with Facebook and native. However, our primary focus is push notifications. And you don’t work with pop-under traffic
whatsoever now? No, we still do but we don’t do as many promotions,
like, campaign promotions with pop-under traffic. We buy pop-under traffic a lot of times to
acquire new subscribers for our push notification. That’s how you build your data. That’s one of our main channels of building
a database, yes. Right. And what was the funnel? How would you subscribe people to..? Sure. So, we buy pop traffic and we would essentially
send them to a landing page, lots of different styles of landing pages that we use and have
tested, but it would essentially say, “Click Allow to continue” or “Click Allow to
watch video” or something along to that effect. Sometimes you’d have like a video player type
of landing page, other times it might be more of a generic page where they can sign up for
like a sweepstakes or something like that, but really the first thing that they have
to do is click Allow, which would allow them to subscribe to our push notifications. So, and how big is your database now? Right now it’s, well, to back up a quick second,
over time we’ve built a large database and then we’ve also monetized it at different
levels of aggressiveness. So, when the more aggressive you are, you
will lose some of the subscribers because of unsubscription rates, the less aggressive
you are, not. So, right now we have a database of about
12 million, but it’s, but it’s specifically in the US, which is one of the more valuable
countries to have subscribers. So, you’re sort of focusing on the US? From the day one we only focus on US. I’ve done tests and we have been running some
other traffic, we do have the database in other countries, but like 98 percent of our
traffic is the United States. And what kind of offers do you promote to
your subscribers? Sure. One of the biggest we’ve worked with over
the last 18 months has been dating, dating segment, as well as a lot of sweepstakes. So, anything from branded SOI type of offers
to sweepstake trial offers. We’ve run some nutra as well. So, the great thing about push traffic is
you have a lot of flexibility with what you can promote. We’ve done a lot of different apps like utility
apps, casino and otherwise. So, there’s really no limitation to it but
I would say dating, sweepstakes, branded SOI offers, those are some of our bigger areas. Does it require a lot of investment to build
the infrastructure for your own database? You do, you do need a fair budget to work
with. You can’t start with just, you know, a couple
thousand dollars, you’ll need much more than that. You’ll need probably in the range of ten to
fifteen thousand dollars if you’re not tech savvy and code savvy yourself like me. I had hired a developer to develop a lot of
our tools and a lot of our push traffic, our push code, but you have to have money for
your ad spend, you know, obviously cash flow and stuff like that. Then, you’ll have to have money put into that,
into resources like hosting or CDN fees and things of that nature as well. And how big is the team that maintains your
database? I have two developers, one media buyer and
myself. So, not a very big team. Cool. And what you are responsible for? Most of it, I’m really just kind of looking
at higher level stuff for our push traffic and then I’m running new ideas and new tests,
that’s what I’m really focused on, finding where we’re gonna take things next, how we’re
gonna grow or how we’re going to expand into other traffic. Have you ever tried to buy push notifications
or you have always worked with your own database? I’ve done a couple small tests with purchasing
from other ad networks but from the beginning what attracted me to push traffic was that
I could own the database ourselves, which gives us a better opportunity to monetize
the traffic more than just once and we have no compliance control to worry about, we don’t
have to submit things for approval and wait for that, so we can run tests a lot more quickly. So, it’s never been too attractive to me to
work with other networks, although there I probably have left a little money on the table
because we could scale campaigns to, using other networks for sure, it’s just not the
approach I wanted to take. Since I got into push traffic, we’ve been
very profitable every single day. Last year we exceeded six figures, into mid
six figures pretty quickly. What are your thoughts on regulations? If you don’t have your own push notification
database, have some hands-on experience with, the first and biggest push notification
traffic source. Over 700 000 000 users in the database. Prices start from 0.001$ per click. Give it a try, make that money! Like, tomorrow is your talk. Correct. And one of the topic that you are going to
cover is how to generate stable six figures a month on push. Sure. That is a number that you see yourself or
where it came from? Six figures a month? Yeah. Yeah, you know, we achieved that last year
just a few months after getting into push notification traffic. I will say not every month is consistently
six figures now because of there’s more competition and things like that, but you can definitely
hit them if you have the right strategy. Last year we exceeded six figures, into mid
six figures pretty quickly. I think our biggest month we did about six
hundred thousand dollars in revenue. Wow. Pretty strong ROI too, but that’s a little
bit more challenging to hit these days because now I think there’s a lot of ad networks out
there, a lot of other affiliates. So, not quite as easy but absolutely doable,
but yeah, so, the main thing I’m going to show is the benefit of owning your own database,
that’s where it is allowed for that, and it’s been very stable, we haven’t had a negative
day since I got into push traffic, we’ve been very profitable every single day because we
have our own database to work with. Do you think that it is achievable, that it
is doable without your own database by just purchasing traffic from ad networks? It’s achievable to hit that, consistently
will be the hard problem because you don’t know where the inventory is being sold, who
else is buying it. Plus, the the biggest challenge is when you
get a good strong offer, it doesn’t take long before everyone else finds out that’s a good
offer, and then they start jumping on as well. So, you’re getting less of the pie at that
point. So, yes, you can, but doing it consistently
becomes a bit more challenging. And lastly, what are your thoughts on regulations? Are you not afraid that once, I don’t know,
Google will eventually take it down? Push notifications? Yeah. So, it’s already changed quite a bit since
I first started, the overall engagement that we’ve received from when sending out a message
and receiving, and the users engage with that, that notification. That’s changed partially because of competition
and others stepping into the space, but also partially because of how Android phones display
the notification now with the different browser updates, but yes, as with anything, regulations
will always step in. The biggest challenge I see happening is Google
is going to get more and more strict with who they allow you, who they allow you to
show that push prompt to in order for them to say, “Hey! Do you want to subscribe or not?” Right now, you know, you can visit a website
and that prompt will show up to anybody but that’s a bit annoying because every site you
go to, that notification shows up whether it’s an affiliate site or or something
like that. What’s going to happen is Google’s going to
change whether the user has to engage with that site first. Right. So, you need to have to spend like a certain
amount of time on the side or make an action toward the site and then they will allow you
to show the gesture. That’s where I see things happening in the
near future, that will impact the cost of getting a subscriber or building a subscriber
with our method and that’s how the majority of affiliates would be building their own
database anyways. Most current ad networks build their database
through their existing publishers. So, their cost to acquire a subscriber is
basically a RevShare. They don’t have to pay for it upfront, whereas
an affiliate like myself, we are having to media buy in order to gain our subscribers
most of the time. For those who want to start from push notifications,
how would you suggest to go? You know, it’s really not hard to set up campaigns
on current push ad networks and you can definitely get campaigns profitable quite easily with
a lot of different verticals like we talked about earlier. After we discussed the alligator meat out
of frame, let’s get back to affiliate marketing. For those who want to start from push notifications,
how would you suggest to go? Sure. I suggest two things. First, it’s probably a good idea if you’re
brand new, especially brand new to affiliate marketing, set up some campaigns on some push
ad networks like PropellerAds, Zeropark or something, get familiar with what they are
and how to run ad campaign that way. But long term I do suggest building out your
own database if that’s an ambition you have. It’ll provide a lot of benefits and control
over how you can monetize things going forward, something that you own. And if you go that approach, start with like
a simple account, like, OneSignal to get set up and get things rolling. But eventually you will have to build your
own system if you want to be serious with it. And there’s some solutions coming out that
might help do that in near future, build your own setup. But, you know, it’s really not hard to set
up campaigns on current push ad networks and you can definitely get campaigns profitable
quite easily with a lot of different verticals like we talked about earlier. But setting up your own database in the future
is something you would want to work towards. What kind of offers would you suggest to tackle
first to start from? So, some of the easier ones to work with would
be like branded offers. So, if you’re promoting something in a country
that has, like, you know, like, in the US Walmart is a very common brand. You mean these Walmart coupons or..? Walmart coupons or things like that, yeah. There’s sweepstakes style leadgen offers but
they’re like branded around Walmart, Target, Amazon, even iPhones and Android versions,
Visa gift cards. Those kind of things are pretty easy to start
with, but a lot of countries will have brands that are specific to that country and those
are great starting points. Dating is also something to get into. It’s a little more competitive now, so it’s
not easy to make it profitable, but there’s a lot of opportunity in dating. And then, there’s a lot of different types
of apps out there, some gaming apps, social casino apps, utility apps, those are all things
that can also be promoted with push traffic. One of the great things about push traffic
is you have a lot of flexibility with the types of offers that you can run, whereas
like in pop traffic, it’s very difficult to make more than just a couple types of offers
work. Right. Yeah. With your database growing, haven’t you sought
to, like, kind of open an ad network probably and, you know, monetize your database? Sure, it’s come across our mind to do that. I guess I just don’t feel the motivation to
go that route. There’s a lot of push ad networks and I think
for now… I’m not saying that we can monetize it better
than everyone but we’re doing a really good job of it. And I like to keep it private. I think that a lot more stability long-term
for us. To have full control… Because then you have to worry about people
trying to do shady things or submit, you know, non-compliant creatives and all that whole
process you have to go through as an ad network would, but it’s not something that we’re interested
in doing. Cool. I know that mainstream native is like very
expensive. Sure. Some guys are doing up to six figures a day
on native and white hat too. Yeah, how we test offers. So, we spend a lot of time kind of researching
what’s currently… Let’s talk a little bit about native. Sure. How significant is that traffic source for
you? It’s, right now, it’s something that we’re
growing more into but it’s something we just started earlier in 2019. It’s probably 10 or 15 percent of our overall
revenue, so not a whole lot. And we’re doing again a little bit more white
hat stuff with that as well currently. So, things like insurance or e-commerce and
things like that. So, you’re more involved in mainstream? Mainstream, yes. Have you tried adult native? No, I haven’t tried adult native yet. I’m sure I’ll get to it and at least test
it a bit but not currently. I know that mainstream native is like very
expensive, it can be up to like 30 or even 50 cent per click. Sure. And how do you, how do you test… We… Offers? Yeah, how we test offers. So, we spend a lot of time kind of researching
what’s currently running and working. Obviously, we get a lot of insights from our
affiliate managers and reps, and then we will sometimes just do some random ideas ourselves. So, like, there’s been times you’ll see like
those listicles where there’s like a list of a bunch of different products and it might
have like a lot of e-commerce type of products something that you’ll find with different
native ad networks, diet pills, those kind of things are still pretty big in a lot of
areas. Brain, the brain sector, brain performance
and all, it’s pretty big sale too in some areas. So, again, it’s something that we’re, not
a lot of our revenue and attention is on native right now, but as far as testing we usually
do very isolated testing. So, we’ll start small based upon information
that we have, or we have found, or we have a good inclination of what would work. And then as we get something profitable, we’ll
expand it and scale it from there. You know, there’s other information out there
where some guys are doing up to six figures a day on native and white hat too. We haven’t gotten there yet, but that’s, it
is a great channel that if you can, if you have the budget for and you’re working to… Yeah, I guess that requires a big budget because
traffic is expensive. To get to that point, yes, because you’re
competing with a lot of big brands. So, it’s a different approach. You have to be, you have to be on top of optimizing
for sure. So, again, just like with anything I think
one of the bigger advantages is if you’re able to get to the point where you’re buying
traffic in bulk, larger quantities of traffic, your overall costs can be lowered, and so
that gives you an advantage too because with native it’s all, a lot of is about your click-through
rate on the ads. That really impacts your costs. That’s right. So, the more traffic you can buy at a higher
click-through rates per device or per country or whatever without limiting how much you’re
targeting. So, like, if you’re targeting just one state
in the US and Android only, your costs are going to be more expensive, but if you’re
targeting both desktop and all mobile traffic in the whole country or multiple countries,
then it’s a little different and you’ll be able to a lot of times get a benefit at a
lower cost. When you are run test, do you run across the
network or you target specific websites? Yeah, initially we’ll target specific websites
but it may be, you know, a couple dozen sites to begin with, sometimes a few less than that. We get some input from our reps and we’ll
go from there. But, yeah, traffic’s too expensive for us
to just want to start testing the entire network on native unless we have a funnel that we
know was proven. In terms of optimization, do you use any like
tools to run native or everything is done by hand, manually? Everything’s done internally by us manually
right now. There are tools like the Optimizer which we
have played with at times but it’s not something we’re actively using. It’s a good tool though. And how do you find new ideas for your tests? Most of the time manually spying is one of
the better methods for us. We do use tools like, you know, AdPlexity
Native and stuff, but I find that I tend to find more current promotions happening, things
that are currently being run if I am manually spying, so… You’re searching yourself? So, yeah. So, that’s what I do a lot of times, I’ll,
again, I’ll find the ideas that we want to test and then pass it on to my media buyer,
he’ll set things up and get some tests rolling, but I’ll spend my time picking the things
that we need to test because I’m really good at finding and reverse engineering what others
are doing. And then once we find something that works,
we try to find our own edge that makes, that where we can make it work. Cool. And lastly, what are your future plans? What kind of traffic you are interested to
try or you’re going to expand what you’re working with? So, we’ve been experimenting… Well, two things. In terms of traffic, we’re moving more into
native as well as growing our Facebook side as well. It’s something that we will expand more as
the year progresses. But something else that we’re experimenting
with is developing our own products, digital products, web app type products. Like, we’ve had, over the last year we built
kind of like an online web portal that’s for games and similar type of things. And so we can promote that to our push notification
subscribers and other assets. So, it’s something that we own, again. I’m moving more towards, I want the bulk of
my business to be something that we can control as much as possible. And then we’ll continue doing affiliate marketing
as well, but I don’t want to depend exclusively on that because the biggest challenge in affiliate
marketing is finding an offer that’s, that’s a strong offer whether it’s a white hat or
black hat type of offer. Yeah, I guess that is getting more and more
difficult to find the right offer nowadays. Like, a couple of years ago it was easier
to pick up an offer. Exactly. So, developing something ourselves that we
own is this one way to build more of an edge for ourselves. Do you think that affiliate marketing industry
in the States is different anyhow from what we have here in Europe? I think it’s a little different. I feel there’s a bit more community outside
the US than inside the US at least in my particular part of the country. I live in Texas. Like, I don’t really associate or communicate
with too many locally but I know there are some groups here and there. But I feel in parts of Europe and other areas
of the world that people are very hungry to learn and like they kind of, more meetings,
more conferences are outside the US. So, that’s where I feel a lot of the community
is really thriving at. And in terms of verticals, kind of offers
that people are involved to? Is it different anyhow? I’m not sure exactly but I do know that if
you’re running a bit more aggressive or blackhat type stuff, you have a greater risk if you’re
based in the US and if you’re not based in the US. So, there are some factors like that that
probably account for things. I know ecommerce is really big in the US for
sure, you know, a lot of Facebook and native stuff is big in the US, but anything blackhat
or more aggressive, it’s… It’s too risky, isn’t it? For most people, yeah, for sure. FBI. I mean there’s still a lot of, you know, rebill
type of offers, nutra, things like that. So, there’s a lot of those, you know, more
aggressive type of offers still being run in the US. So, there’s no lack of it. As far as people are running it that are based
there, there are. I just don’t know how many, I wouldn’t know
how to actually compare the two. I feel like more of it outside the US that
is happening. If we take the biggest US conference, which
is Affiliate Summit, I believe, and the biggest European conference, Affiliate World Europe,
how different are they? Very different. Very different. Yeah, the Affiliate World Europe is very affiliate
focused, like, it’s certainly very isolated around the actual affiliate industry. Affiliate Summit has a broader range of the
affiliate world. So, not just your affiliate side but it also
has like your big brands and working with companies like Conversant and then you have
a lot of different rebill, merchant accounts and that kind of thing. I feel that the quality of talent and attendees
that come to Affiliate World are much higher than the quality you’ll find at Affiliate
Summit. So, Affiliate Summit is, as far as I understand,
it’s more like for traditional businesses and brands and like around performance marketing? Sure, I feel if you want to really be on the
cutting edge or be towards the trending information and be pushing the affiliate industry forward,
the Affiliate World Conference is basically the place you need to come. And do you enjoy Barcelona in general? Absolutely. The food’s great, the women are beautiful,
what’s to complain about.


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