August 17, 2018


How do Facebook ad auctions work?

Gil David came up with a great post in the Facebook Ads Experts Academy about ad auctions on Facebook yesterday.

When you run ads on Facebook they go into a bidding process and Facebook uses a formula to decide which ads will be shown and to whom.


While you might be handcuffed when it comes to increasing your bid, there are other options to increase the “Total Value”, which means your reach.

Estimated action rates are calculated based on an individual user’s history of clicking/engaging, etc. with ads as well as your own historical ad data – so if your ads have a low CTR this will hurt you.

User Value assesses how much value your ad is providing to the person seeing it. If your ads are performing in terms of purchases, high CTR and low CPC you can ignore the following metrics. If not, you should take a look at Relevance Score and Ad Quality.

How does Facebook decide how much you are charged for your ads?

The Total Value calculation above determines who wins the auction, but not the cost.

For the cost (Advertiser Bid) you are charged the minimum amount that you would have needed to bid to win, this means you are charged less than you actually bid.

The post is really good. So good that this came up in the comments:

We also asked you about your experience with Campaign Budget Optimization and Automatic Placement (“leaving all placements on ALL the time”) and it seems advertisers are less thrilled about it than Facebook themselves…

Check out the full post and discussion from it, worth it for any FB advertiser!


Branding for benefits, not for features

Believe it or not, more affiliates are looking to create a brand. That’s part of the reason a good bunch of affiliates have switched to e-commerce.

Some of you guys reading this did it, right?

OK, so branding is not exactly the easiest thing to build. It’s about all the elements around your product or service. Colours, logo, design, utility, customer interaction and another few we can’t name off the top of our heads.

There’s one article and discussion we found that really puts branding in a more familiar place for affiliates and performance marketers.

It was shared in the Purple Knowledge Lab Group by Nick Shackelford, and it discusses the benefits vs features comparison but put into a branding perspective.

The 2 main tips we found in the article are:

  • Brand by the outcome, not by ingredients
  • Organize by function or concern, not by product category

Show your visitors where that product takes them. It gives them better sleep, it helps alleviate acne, makes them focus longer, etc.

Social media influencers under investigation

We’ve already pointed out the importance of influencer marketing in recent newsletters and even talked about how to set up an automated Instagram account to drive traffic to your sales funnel.

Influencer marketing can be very important if you want to reach young people who engage less with traditional forms of marketing.

These new celebrities must make clear in sponsored posts that they have been paid or rewarded to promote, review or talk about a product. That’s actually the law…

But the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK is looking into whether consumers are being misled by influencers.

According to the CMA, which has the power to fine or even imprison people,“the existence of a commercial relationship must be immediately clear upon viewing the post”, meaning the hashtag #ad may not be enough.

Well, it’s unlikely that people end up in prison because they didn’t declare properly that they got paid for a post.

But for us, the real crime is the picture taking habits, not the ads.

Keep track of why advertisers target you

Most people would be creeped out by this, but you’re a marketer so you will probably find this fascinating… just like we did! does two things.

First, it collects the ads that Facebook has shown you and displays why you have been targeted. Just like when you go to the ad itself and ask why, but now you have a collection of all ads by using this extension.

We can imagine this is useful if you are your own customer and your competition is targeting you. Gives you more insights into their advertising strategy.

The second thing this tool does is allow you to limit the targeted ads. Not stop the ads, but basically “turn off targeted ads”, and you should be getting only very generic ads instead.

Probably not as useful for you, but hey, that’s what the tool does. You can see an explanation video on their website too.

Good thing the weekend’s coming – we blocked all of Saturday to browse through all our ads.


Wanna know how fast-growing brands do email?

Lucky for us, Franco Varriano spied on analyzed 60 days of emails from a fast-growing ecom brand and posted his findings on the Shopify blog.

Like we said, email is a great medium to interact with your audience on your own rules, and essentially for free.

It means you don’t pay FB over and over again. And you can be yourself. That’s why we like it, at least!


The company that Franco analyzed is Casper. If you don’t know, they’re a mattress company (yes, really, mattress) that had $1 million in sales in the first 28 days. Not an easy feat, that’s for sure.

And what they’re selling is not exactly an impulse buy, like some cheap weight-loss drink.

We can’t go into all the details of their email strategy in this newsletter, for obvious reasons but here’s the overview.

  • Day 1: Welcome Email
  • Day 3: Product Education
  • Day 4: Product Education (social proof)
  • Day 8: Product Education
  • Day 12: Related Product cross-sell
  • Day 20: Newsletter
  • Day 31: Seasonal Promotion
  • Day 32: Seasonal Promotion (reminder)
  • Day 43: Partnership Promotion
  • Day 50: Newsletter

“As you can see, Casper uses a diverse sequence of emails, leaving a healthy amount of space between each one to avoid overwhelming their subscribers’ inboxes.”

That’s what Franco’s thoughts are on this. And then he goes deeper into each email.

The whole post is probably like a 15-20 mins read. If you do email, it’s probably even longer because you should draw parallels to what you’re doing and apply the learnings there. Enjoy!


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

Your wallet is gonna get crushed by Hong Kong’s gasoline prices…

Or Seoul’s coffee prices. But at least in Hong Kong you don’t really have to drive around much.

How do we know?

Mercer has released the results of their annual Cost of Living Survey, which focuses specifically on expats and their typically purchased products. Our main takeaway is that “cheap Asia” is slowly turning into a myth, at least for expats.

Out of the Top 10 most expensive cities for expats, a whopping six are located in Asia, led by Hong Kong and Tokyo in places #1 and #2, while the bronze medal of third place goes to Europe with Zurich.

The other surprise for us was seeing Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen all ahead of London and New York.

What we weren’t surprised by is that three out of Europe’s five most expensive cities are in Switzerland, only followed by Copenhagen and London. 

In North America, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles are the pricey ones, while in South America Sao Paulo is on top.

For Australia, Sydney prevails while in Africa it is Luanda, N’Djamena and Libreville.

Luanda and N’Djamena are not cheap, they even made the top 10 globally with 6th and 8th place!

Meanwhile, on the very bottom of the list you can find Tashkent, Tunis and Bishkek being the least expensive cities for expats worldwide. 

We’re gonna stick to Vienna. 39th most expensive but also the highest quality of life. Not a bad deal!

PS: Happy googling for some of these cities that you heard of for the first time. We’re not gonna spoil it for you!

WHAT THE AFF… is reading

Here at WHAT THE AFF we enjoy reading books on business, economics, psychology, marketing and the likes. 

We basically always have one book we are reading and very little off time. The ones we find very good, we’ll share with you.

Manu is reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

“If you’re looking to create a valuable brand, a brand that people actually love, there’s probably no better book to read than this one.

It’s the story of how Zappos became an e-commerce brand so loved by customers that Amazon forked almost $1billion to buy it.

And they still keep it as their own brand and company – they are that good and loved by customers. Whatever brand you are trying to build, this is absolutely a must read”

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