April 29, 2019


Affiliate marketing adventures

Maybe you’ll recognize these headlines in the above image. You might’ve even used some of them yourself.

Or, alternatively, you’ve got no idea of what we are talking about? Oh, yes it’s Monday! Your brain isn’t quite up to speed yet.

Well, we’ll cut to the chase and just tell you: Those are some advertorials’ headlines.

Used by who? Affiliate marketers!

Why are we bringing this up? Because of this blog post. Here, Jeff White takes us all on a joyride into some historic ads from the world of affiliate marketing.

After years of seeing these familiar headlines around the web, he recognized some patterns. His curiosity was piqued by these web pages, so he started to dig deep into them with the aim to discover what they were all about, who makes them, and why.

Well, here we all know the answers. What they’re about, who makes them and why (plata).

For someone who didn’t know much about this biz, it was like entering a rabbit hole. So, what did Jeff find?

  • The celebrity names used: It turns out that Stephen Hawking is used both for brain and diet products.
  • The domains used to endorse advertorials’ credibility.
  • The domain redirects: “The initial redirection page was commonly using a PHP file with a single parameter that was typically a simple English word followed by a mix of alphanumeric characters.[…] I kept finding outliers where it wasn’t always consistent, such as in the above SharkTankV1 sample
  • The whole scheme: User clicks a link from an ads —>User ends up on a redirection site—> User ends up on a fake celebrity endorsement landing page—> User ends up ultimately on a sales page for the product being sold.

How did Jeff White arrive at the conclusion that this comes from affiliates? Track parameters!

You have things like “click_id”, “subid”, “ad”, “CID”, etc. These all indicate a tracking system which is typical of affiliate advertising.

Bingo Jeff!

Unfortunately for some affiliates, Jeff didn’t limit his investigations to all the funnels, domains and images used. He went further…

He decided to partner up with the GoDaddy abuse teams and they were able to identify and shut down over 15k subdomains used across the campaigns he analyzed.

Moreover, Jeff decided to pour over the forums, both private and public of affiliate marketers:

“You find that they are all very aware of the fraud that is rampant in their industry. In a lot of cases, they are even openly flaunting their “black hat” activities.”

The Crew’s Take

This blog post looks quite interesting. Seeing how someone with an external point of view looks at affiliate marketing might give you some cool insights. Or maybe you just want to check that your domain isn’t among the ones Jeff investigated…

What this study does show is that ‘ordinary’ web users are becoming more and more aware of ad tricks. Still, the government and FTC aren’t able to completely shut them down.

We aren’t saying this blog post will end affiliate marketing. Not at all. Just that some people out there are getting woke.


Weird traffic sources in your Shopify dashboard?

Last week, we shared some tips to safeguard your websites against organic spying tools which crawl and store KPIs of your website data, which in turn becomes accessible to your competitors.

This one is for e-commerce owners, especially those using the Shopify platform.

You might have already noticed some weird looking traffic sources in your Shopify dashboard.

This is mostly bot traffic coming from websites spying and collecting data/info from your Shopify websites.

So, is there a way to block these spying tools from accessing your website data?

The bad news is that you can’t stop it completely. The good news is that you can definitely limit it!

As shared by Satvik Gupta, Shopify provides you with apps such as Traffic Guard, EasyLocation, Fraud Filter which simply allow you to block or redirect these tools based on their IP addresses or geolocations.

Fraud Filter is a free tool, but the other apps come at a monthly subscription cost.

This isn’t the ideal solution, rather just a basic move you can do. Spy tools are much smarter than this.

PS: This isn’t a recommendation to use these apps, and you should do your own research to find the ones suitable for your store.

If you want to avoid using some tools, you can still block IP addresses at a server level.

Well, that’s still not 100% foolproof but something to start with! Just blocking by IP is not always enough and you will most likely still show up in today’s sponsor’s search results. *wink-wink*

Instead of just limiting it, how about turning the tables and making spying work in your favour?


MagicAdz is the supercharged Facebook Ads Library, hands-down!

Seriously! If you checked out the Ad Library by FB, you will notice it’s good but it’s not made for competitive intelligence research, aka spying. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could search by keyword in ads, comments or redirect path? Filter by country or vertical? See the real landing pages that follow the ads and download them with one click?

That’s exactly what MagicAdz does! And it does it really darn well. Just some of the features in this extremely powerful FB tool:

  • Affiliate ads only – ability to exclude all branding ads you might not care about.
  • Filter by vertical, for example, casino, crypto, sweeps, diet, ME, skin, muscle, CBD, e-commerce and more!
  • Ads from 49 countries.
  • Very powerful search: by ads, user comments and redirect path or landing page search including specific HTML code!
  • 7 of the biggest e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento.
  • And more coming very soon because MagicAdz is super quick and agile for their development, as you’ve seen over the past months!

So whether you are an affiliate, an agency, an e-com store owner, as long as you run Facebook Ads, this is a must-have tool. Uncover everything the competition is doing so you never fall behind.

If you are still not convinced, you can get a 7 day trial for $1 to explore everything the tool has to offer. Afterwards, it costs $299/month. Pays for itself within a few days usually!

But you already know that as a WHAT THE AFF reader, you can get it for a special price – $249/month. Keep in mind though, the discount is valid as long as you keep your subscription active.

You just have to use the code WTAFFMAGIC when signing up!


$250k in revenue with $0 ad spend: Case Study

Are you leveraging bots? If not, after this post, you’ll probably want to start. If you’re already using it, it may help you generate more business.

Jason Swenk shared how he set up his Messenger bot, that helped him generate $250k, with no money down, in just 2 months.

Although this case-study is about a B2B firm focused on selling consulting and courses to agency owners, the principles can be applied to every business.

First Step: Get people into the chatbot.

The first step is to have people engage with your Chatbot. To have the maximum people do that, you should change the Contact pages of the website. Instead of leading to a typical “Contact Us” page, take users straight to a Messenger tab.

This is the most valuable tip of this case study. For example, in your e-commerce website, instead of having a boring “Contact us” page, you can lead people into your Chatbot and use it to communicate with them and also to share some promos, upsell, cross-sell etc.

Second step: Qualify leads.

Jason begins the chat using a GIF which, according to him, can act as an ice-breaker.

Besides, the first message is all about qualifying the leads. Is it an existing customer looking for info? Are they a potential prospect looking for info on shipping times? What product line are they interested in?

Step 3: Automating the follow up

It’s time to get their emails. Offer them a discount, an ebook or whatever they need to share their email address with you.

Once you have that, follow up with them in their inbox.

Step 4: Closing high-value leads

This is more specifically for the high ticket services Jason sells: He reaches out to them personally.

However, to adapt this strategy into your biz you can also reach out to them over email. Or you could get in touch through the Chatbot again.

The important thing is that you turn these high potential leads into buyers by being proactive.

Key takeaways:

  • Be transparent: Don’t fool people into thinking that the bot is a real person.
  • Add a personality to your bot: Give the bot a name and a face. Use them in the first message to your leads. Do not have a faceless, nameless bot.
  • Be fun: The use of GIFs and memes can spike up your bot engagement.
  • Be helpful: Do not force people to buy. Rather, just answer their questions.
  • Pre-qualify leads: Ask a few quick questions to understand who you’re talking to.

That’s all. Simple but valuable tips, so use them wisely!


Building Custom Audiences from groups?

Looks like the dream of creating Custom Audiences from FB Groups might be a reality soon.

Someone shared a screenshot of their Ads Manager which shows an option to create custom audiences from FB groups. Sounds super exciting right?

Admittedly, at the time of writing this, it’s not available in our Ads Manager. Most of the people who commented on this post share the same discourse.

Maybe something that’s currently under testing and rolled out to just a bunch of users. Hopefully we will see this rolling out for everyone in the near future.

What would this mean?

Does this mean you will be able to create custom audiences from FB Groups you are part of? Does this mean you no longer have to try those shady tactics of sharing videos to a FB group to re-engage video viewers?

We hate to break it to you, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

You will only be able to create a custom audience of Groups that you own or manage!

There, you got a piece of the buzzkill for the day but that’s what the truth is. The more you know and all that!


Snap Select: Buy reserve video inventory at a fixed CPM

If you didn’t have a compelling reason to include Snapchat Ads to your marketing mix, we’ve got one right here!

Snapchat is soon launching Snap Select plans on its platform. It will allow you to use 6-second non-skippable, full-screen ads to the platform’s premium video inventory on a fixed, Cost-per-impression basis.

How will it work?

Their new “Proposals” feature will allow media buyers to review and approve their Snap Select plans using a “one-click” tool without having to log into the Ads Manager.

Using Snap Select, you will be reserving video inventory on the most premium, popular shows on Snapchat. We don’t have to tell you that this is a great way to reach out to Millennials and Gen Z audiences, which sometimes can’t be found easily elsewhere.

Sure, maybe Reddit, but Reddit video ads can’t really be compared with Snap at the moment.

How is this useful?

  • Snap has around 450 premium content channels worldwide from outlets like NBCUniversal, ESPN, BuzzFeed, Viacom, Discovery and Refinery29.
  • Time spent by its users watching shows has increased 3x over the last year.
  • Half of its daily Discover viewers watch content every day of the week.
  • Snap saw a 39% year-over-year increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2019.
  • Snap ads now reach more 13 to 34-year-olds than Instagram in the U.S.

This functionality will be rolled out to all advertisers in the 2nd half of 2019.


Script to apply auto bid modifiers

Daniel Gilbert from SearchEngineLand shared an updated version of script that allows you to apply bid modifiers for your In-market and Remarketing audiences, including device and location level bid modification based on the past performance of your campaigns.

You can use it to set your own campaign filters, decide which types of modifiers you want to adjust, set minimum impressions, conversions and cost filters and let the script do the rest of the work for you 24/7.

Here’s the entire script and the steps to use it.


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

Hottest traffic source of 2019?

Do you want to take your advertising game to the next level? Yes?

Then how about leveraging the marketing power of fortune cookies? They got skyrocketing ROAS.

Yes, there’s this new traffic source out there. Quite possibly the weirdest one you could use.

Thanks to Shawn Porat and his startup, OpenFortune, you can now place ads on those tiny slips of paper you find inside fortune cookies.

The hottest thing about this traffic source? No ad blockers.

There are already 10M cookies ads running out there.

What niches are being pushed? Dating, auto manufacturers, wireless, financial services, tech and travel companies.

To some media buyers, fortune cookie ads may be creative and underutilized. To others, they are just expensive and potentially untrackable.

Although, Porat has a big dream: “You’re never going to get a cookie without an ad.”

Are you jumping in?

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