Ivan Doruda (MGID) about affiliate marketing, teaser ads in the West, landings and creatives.


Let’s talk about affiliate marketing and native ads. Native ads have been a trend for the last two years. This year the trend has grown even more. That’s true. What’s happening now? Native ads and teasers are the same thing, aren’t they? Basically, yes. When Western companies tell you how cool they are, they forget that we invented the teaser ad about three years, before the native advertising companies sprang up overseas. I’m glad that I represent a company that was one of the first to come up with this format. Now there is a tendency that more and more premium publishers on Western market they have much of the profit from native ads. This is a growing trend — more and more companies will be using this format, for several reasons. The first is that the advertising does not pull the user away from the content. it is more user-friendly and Western market appreciate user experience a lot. Native advertising is intuitive to the user, and in the Western markets, interaction with the user is important. Like any advertising tool, it can be used to promote products, including for affiliate marketing. There are several special aspects between affiliate marketing here and abroad. Although, to be honest the main difference between affiliate marketing here and abroad is in the individual tools only. From my experience, our affiliate marketers are pretty advanced and proactive. They are quick to think on their feet and take clues from the situation. In many ways, they can be more successful than Western affiliate marketers. The only obstacle to success might be the language barrier. But it is not a problem. So actually, they could take what they’ve been doing with teasers and do the same in the international market? They could, but there is a fundamental difference. There are some things that are allowed here that are not allowed in the West. Imitations or anything that copies a brand aren’t permitted under any pretext. Copyright violations are serious business, punishable by law. You can’t use celebrities in ads without their permission. We alternatively use celebrities’ images often to promote products. If you look at AdPlexity, they use ads with famous people, such as Dr. Oz. His story is interesting. Two years ago, he showed up at the Affiliate summit, either in Vegas or New York, with a hidden camera. He directed questions to the networks and affiliate marketers that used his image to create landings. Then he filmed a show with experts and household names, and debunked the myth of all the supplements that were being advertised. It’s very strict, both the court orders and the restrictions. The Anglo-Saxon world is based on case law. Anything that isn’t prohibited is allowed. You can keep working until there is a precedent. Once the precedents are set, you won’t find a single network that will go along with it, no matter the price. Because it is risky. They don’t use imitations or images of famous people in ad campaigns. The same thing applies to landings. They have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which says that ad platforms are not responsible for advertising content, and ad networks are only responsible for the ad materials that they show themselves. No one is really responsible for a landing, so the networks have it easy. Let me summarize what I’ve said so far. Western affiliate marketing is the same as our affiliate marketing, just with a few challenges. The best affiliate marketers don’t copy something – they find their own fresh and engaging approach. They create landings, and there are plenty of tools and expertise available for this. We also help affiliate marketers create pre-landings. We are consulting them, tell them what we think would fit regarding the product. What if we’re talking about international offers? This is primarily about international offers. International doesn’t include just America, but developing markets as well, such as the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and so on. Competition and prices are lower there than in English-speaking countries, and they are seeing the emergence of audiences with purchasing power. It’s a scary thought, but according to recent statistics, 55% of Brazilian users buy online. Even in the U.S., this is not the situation everywhere. On the other hand, there are regional differences. In Turkey, for example, bank cards are still not used. People make payments or make account deposits at automatic payment terminals that are available in all shops (something like our I-Box). You should understand it. Do they use cash on delivery there, too? If we’re talking about Western countries, it’s pretty straightforward COD payments are not so crucial, since everyone just links their cards to accounts. The user can get a refund (charge back) at any time. They just call the bank, get their money back, and then the bank deals with you. In the West, nobody’s afraid to link their cards or give out their numbers. So that’s why they have trials now. There’s a great story. My favorite example isn’t about affiliate marketing, but we should learn from it. Dollar Shave Club is a company that Unilever bought last year for $1 billion. They have a crazy ad on Facebook with
a ton of likes and commentary. They made a brilliant YouTube ad. In fact, the first-time entrepreneur put a lot of work to the project. The story goes like this: they were selling a razor subscription for $1. They sent razors to subscribers every month. In the West, people often move from place to place. They don’t buy apartments because they’re expensive, so they rent and they move around all the time. Plus, they also change their job often. If you moved, the hardest part was to change the address you entered when you subscribed. It was much easier to just create a new account. So people ended up with five accounts, and they didn’t unlink their cards. They kept paying for the accounts with the wrong addresses, because the amount was small enough. Continuing your thought, when you give someone a free trial, they usually forget to unlink the card, because it’s not that much money to them. As for creative content, no sexual innuendos. Absolutely no adult content. The same thing works there as it does here: health products, household products, and games. Games should preferably be for the web. So far, no web-based network has figured out how to work effectively with mobile installs. There is mobile traffic, but it’s web-based. People aren’t used to installing apps from inside a browser on a mobile device. Such kind of traffic doesn’t work well, there are other tools. But if we talk about games, it is a great tool. There are a lot of big game companies such as Plarium, League of Angels and so on. It is easy to promote these offers. Are most of them promoted using suggestive banners There is that approach, too. There are usually two payment models in this segment: CPL (cost per lead) and CPA (cost per action). And for games, the Cost Per Engagement model is common. After registration, the user has to play up to a certain level. How can you make users play up to this level if you have no way of influencing their behavior after registration? They do something like this: there isn’t any suggestive content in native networks, but if we’re talking about banners, you can use it there. Users are sent to a landing, and the landing says something like: “Perhaps the content you came for”, meaning this suggestive content, “will be available for your location at level 10 in the game. Keep playing up to level 10.” So that’s how you get users to finish the game. It works pretty well – the user starts to play, passes ten levels, and gets hooked. This isn’t misleading advertising. In reality, we’re only pushing the users to start, and then they just start playing and paying. That’s true. No one really complains about it. Does this type of traffic produce quality? Yes, but on native networks, you can do the same thing without suggestive content. Relevance is absolutely essential. If it’s “Vikings,” there must be vikings in the teaser. But the teaser can also say: “Go to Level 10 and get benefits.” This is a common practice. Games do have a specific feature – capping. Just when you start to drive traffic to an offer with excellent conversion, you’re making good money on leads, and you’re all set to pack your bags and take off for Bali, they hit you with capping. The end advertiser sees that there are leads, but the quality isn’t very high. They don’t want to renege on you because they have to show their shareholders something at the end of the year, but they also don’t want to pay you very much, because they’re not getting the engagement they are looking for. So they cap you at 25 leads a day. If you’ve missed the lucky email that says: “Your offer is capped at whatever,” you might generate 500 leads, but you’ll only get paid for 25. You have to be careful with this. The dating has a similar thing. Advertisers look at the quality of traffic: if it’s good, they raise your limit, but if the traffic isn’t monetizing, you work with low caps. So actually, you need to improve the quality and target the ads on the landing. For example you target only people with necessary age and gender, but others you send somewhere else. Here’s another interesting story: when some of the dating sites are entering a new market or developing a new brand, they get upset if the network attracts 70% men and 30% women. This isn’t a good balance. With they will chat? This is always a problem with dating sites. So, if we are talking about dating, what works there Here’s an interesting fact about the dating: I don’t remeber the company’s name, but I will talk today about Anastasia Date, and I am not sure if I can refer this to them But more likely they also had it. Teasers with women who look like models don’t work. You need real, normal women. We tested different teasers. The first thing you want to get is a high CTR. So your ads show ladies with curves in all the right places, and so on. There isn’t anything vulgar or anything that the networks won’t approve. A woman can be beautiful enough when she is dressed. But this doesn’t work. Then we tried using a standard photograph that almost looks like a passport picture: 40-30% is the face, using full-face photos of ordinary women, freckles and all. Conversion was phenomenal. As soon as we added more such teasers, everything was great! Here’s another example with Anastasia Date. Before the last Star Wars came out, they wanted to jump on this trend. They took real women who really are in the dating network, and used makeup to make them look like Star Wars characters. They couldn’t completely copy them, but they created the same look. When they started the promotion, it was a complete failure. Men just didn’t believe that these were real living people that you could talk to. Men who go to dating sites to meet people or start a relationship are not attracted by the looks of a model. We had a similar experience. For the regular photos of women with average features (not models), all the metrics were higher: Just take simple photos, not models, both CTR and CR were higher. Yes, that’s how it works. Another feature of the international market is that it’s fragmented. The CIS is mainly a Russian-speaking space and you can make teasers in Russian – they will be understood everywhere. For international offers, local languages work better. Do you have language targeting? Yes, of course we do. We have over 50 languages. Is it defined by the browser locale? By the browser locale and the teaser language. You can’t do mixed campaigns. If the campaign is in Spanish, all the teasers must be in Spanish. Obviously, there’s no point in putting Spanish teasers in Vietnam, since they speak English and Vietnamese. The same is true for other regions. It makes sense to put Spanish teasers in America because there is a large Spanish-speaking population. One challenge in India is that people there don’t click on people who don’t look Indian. If your landing page tells a great story but it doesn’t show any Hindus, users in India won’t buy anything from you. This is a regional peculiarity. Yes, you have to adapt. Localized landing pages and teasers work much better – We can help with this: we offer moderation in 18 languages. The only difference is that we moderate English and Spanish within 24 hours, and other languages can take up to 72 hours. So you can create local landings, teasers and CTR will be better Are the moderators located in Kiev, or do they work remotely? Our English-speaking and Spanish-speaking moderators are in Los Angeles and Kiev, and for the rest of the languages, we work with partners who review everything quickly. We can also do translations, among other things. So, you come to us and give us the Russian or English creatives and tell us that we want translate them. Can any affiliate make a request like that? In general, we look at the amount that the affiliate specialist is spending. We can do this for the cost value or for free, but we can’t subsidize everyone. So this is the way that a lot of companies do. For example, somebody uses One Hour Translation there can be of course translation mistakes With us it is differently. Every teaser added by a client, we will double-check If moderation finds out that the quality of tranclation is bad teasers are regected by default. if he tries to add the teaser in the same language again, we will not approve it. Will he get the explanation, why? So we will right, guy you are using machine translation that’s not correct. Let’s talk about other categories – what else is working? Gambling, binary options or BizOps? BizOps is a large and interesting niche, and it works pretty well. Actually, the peak was in 2015 to 2016. For BizOps, video landings work best. There has to be an interesting success story about some Harvard professor who discovered algorithms for making money on binary options. Or it’s a mom who was practically living in a cardboard box three years ago, and now she’s got a fancy house and happy kids, and she drives a Bentley. Those kind of things work well. In Russia I see a Mcdonalds employee, when there was news that an officer of Interior Ministry of Russia, there was a landing like: “It’s high time to know the truth — where the officer got his money”. The fact that he won it playing in Vulkan casino. So, he didn’t steal it. Tell us where to find landing pages: AdPlexity or someplace else? Regarding landings Firstly, if we are choosing an offer you are picking offers with most profitable conditions. the ones with the highest payouts aren’t necessarily the most profitable offers You have to factor in holds and the notorious hit shaving that everyone here is so afraid of. But in reality, there isn’t any shaving going on over there. Nobody shaves. But there are charge backs, and your commissions can be cancelled within 30 days. So you can have different sums of monet today and tomorrow on your account, because of the charge backs. Are you talking about BizOps right now? Well, about any CPA offers, actually. They can ask for refund at any time. But this isn’t for codes, but for trials? Not on normal products? Yes. Over there, theoretically, a payment can probably be sent back, there are specific rules. To pick a partner with fast registration, there’s a great service called OfferVault, where you can see how much offers pay out and where. It is very important to understand that no tool can tell you what will get conversions. Even I can’t always say what will get conversions. AdPlexity will show you what to spend the most money on, and where. But spending doesn’t always mean conversions. There was a great case with a game: a couple of years ago, some guys pumped huge budgets directly into all the networks. In all the tools like AdPlexity and so on, they were listed as top spenders. So, what’s happened? All the affiliates started driving traffic to their offers. It turned out that these guys had to spend a specific budget and show some specific statistics to their shareholders at the end of the year. So they showed their statistics at the end of the year and then cut off all the spending. And the guys who had started driving traffic to these offers lost money. AdPlexity lets you look at pre-landings. Be careful about taking other people’s pre-landings, for several reasons. The wonderful cloaking that we are all familiar with can also work with landing pages. You take a landing and it has scripts hidden in it, so when you start driving traffic to yourself, it actually goes to the owner of the landing page. But not all of the traffic. Usually you don’t notice ten percent, so you keep driving the traffic for a long time. And they get the royalties. We had a case with BizOps, too. Some of our customers produced a very expensive video, and our other customers used this video. As a result, the first customers came to us and said that someone stole their pre-landing. We told them: “We believe you, but we need any proofs, both you and them are our clients.” They took it to court, and then came to us with the court ruling. We stopped the campaigns of other guys and told them to change the landing. The situation was resolved without confrontation. The ones who took the landing paid royalties from the earnings to the ones who made the video. You have to understand that as soon as you become visible, you’ll be in trouble if you took someone’s landing page. If it’s publicly available in the affiliate program, go ahead – you have every right. But if you’ve taken someone’s intellectual property, there will be complications. We follow the approach of “if you made some money, let others make some too”. We work under any circumstances that don’t violate general ethics, that don’t destroy the user experience, and that don’t discriminate against anyone. Democracy reigns – no one violates anyone else’s rights. Are you more democratic than Revcontent, Outbrain, or Taboola? Outbrain is a wonderful company in terms of affiliate marketing, but they really don’t like product offers. They are strictly about content, and if you have a lot of referral links or call-to-action buttons, your content won’t be allowed to run. You have to learn how to work with them. Revcontent focuses more on product offers. And what do you mean by democracy? In the sense of creative content and moderation. I wouldn’t say that. We give more feedback, but not more leeway. Our moderators work from Russia and Ukraine. It’s true, you give more feedback! In Revcontent we waited a month just to get a campaign approved – a whole month! And if you replace a link in a teaser, you’ll have to wait four more days until they release it from quarantine. We release it within 24 hours, that’s the rule. If it’s the 25th hour, somebody’s going to be in trouble on our side. Let’s check if you should go to speak at the conference, so it’s time. Thanks, it was interesting talking to you. Thank you, too.

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