June 13, 2019



Ad fraud is still a growing issue in 2019 costing us at least $23B a year

We don’t think this surprises anyone, but we still thought it’s a good idea to bring you an update on the topic. Almost like a yearly update…

According to the CHEQ report, the conservative estimate for how much ad fraud is costing us is $23B per year. Considering the total digital ad spend is around $316B, this fraud number looks even worse. That’s a huge 7.2% of global ad spend!

The report also states that up to 30 percent of ads are impacted by fraud. This is unfortunate, but the reality is that not all sides’ motivations are aligned in our industry. That means some people can and will make significant gains by breaking the rules.

Nothing new for you, we’re sure… Except we also ran into this very interesting piece by E-Commerce Times.

Economist Roberto Cavazos, a professor at the University of Baltimore, actually looks into what it means for the economics of the industry.

“Ultimately, marketers are the big losers from ad fraud […] Marketers lose at least 20 percent return on investment on advertising campaigns…”

He also argues that lack of regulation by either governments or the industry itself are a big driving force behind the thriving fraud sector. That, alongside the complexity of this ecosystem and the lack of transparency, makes it a fertile ground for nefarious activity.

While fighting fraud will always be a slow process, a perpetual cat and mouse game, it’s something the industry must do in order to grow.

The piece by E-Commerce Times is worth reading if you want to dig deeper into the economics of ad fraud, so check it out here!


Video trends based on 9M+ uploads

SocialInsider recently conducted an analysis of more than 9M video posts on Facebook, stemming from over 92k Facebook Business Pages.

Based on the study, they put together a comprehensive report on the key Facebook video trends.

The full report covers a wide range of elements, but here are some of the highlights from the huge data set.

  • Vertical video is now the most used video format on Facebook. It outperforms landscape videos in engagement for all page sizes.

Average engagement rates by video format are 0.16% for square videos, 0.21% for landscape videos, 0.30% for vertical videos.

  • The optimal video length for engagement is between 2 and 5 minutes.

While it’s difficult to keep users engaged with video for more than a minute, videos that are between 2 and 5 minutes long stimulate intent and repeated viewership from the audience.

  • Only 11% of brands are using live-streams.

Considering users spend 3x more time watching a live video compared to a pre-recorded one, this is a surprising revelation.

  • Videos with a 300-word description have the highest average number of interactions.

The words you use and how you play around with them definitely affect the engagement. Using questions in captions has no significant influence on the engagement rate. A length of more than 300 words results in more engagement.

  • Recommended content type ratio on Facebook is 70% video posts, 20% image posts and only 10% link posts.

There are more than 20 charts in this SocialInsider report that visually convey some fascinating findings. It’s definitely worth a look considering the scale of the datasets involved.


A mastermind a day at Affiliate World Europe for some Media500 Newsletter subscribers!

Yes, if you’re following Media500’s weekly newsletter, you could be one of the people chosen to attend a mastermind covering Facebook Ads on one of the 2 days.

What is this going to cover you ask? Two different FB Ads experts will be spilling the beans on what Facebook cares about when you run ads and how to dance on the right line of compliance and policy.

Where? Affiliate World Europe, top floor of the double-decker booth of Media500. That’s Booth C49, middle of the exhibition area. That’s why the event is also invite-only: there’s limited space there!

What do you have to do to get a chance to attend? Sign up and read the Media500 weekly newsletter that features interviews with industry experts. The way to sign up to the mastermind will be announced there.

What sort of offers does Media500 have? Well, their strength is in financial offers, biz opp, you know the kind, right? But they are not your usual direct advertiser. They go far and beyond the norm to help any of their affiliates:

  • Custom offers
  • Custom domains
  • Help you run if it’s a new vertical for you
  • Minimize chances of ad account issues

So, you have two reasons to sign up to their newsletter:

  • Regular interviews with industry experts
  • An invite-only mastermind at Affiliate World Europe

Let’s add a 3rd. Affiliate After Hours: Media500 is sponsoring the official after-party of AWE2019 and being a newsletter reader could get you an invite ;)

Sign up to the Media500 weekly newsletter right here.


Zuckerberg’s internal emails reveal more privacy violations

Who said that privacy problems can’t be one of the elements of a brand? Facebook, for instance, is a company that is trying very hard to include this value in the brand…

Just kidding!

But every time we find ourselves writing about FB being investigated for violating users’ privacy, we become more and more convinced that this is what’s going on.

What is today’s story about? FTC investigators discovered some internal emails between Mark Zuckerberg and some employees, and these email exchanges could cause some problems for the CEO.

What are these emails about?

One email exchange involves an April 2012 discussion between Zuckerberg and other Facebook insiders about a third-party app that appeared to sidestep Facebook users’ privacy settings by collecting the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users and making it viewable to others.

Essentially, these emails show that Zuckerberg was aware of their problematic privacy practices, but that he never addressed the problem.

To be clear, the emails do not prove that the CEO advocated anything that would clearly violate the company’s protections of user privacy.

However, it makes it clear that Zuckerberg knew about this sort of issue, and it could fan the flames of negative perception regarding the company’s attitude towards privacy.

In fact, since this report was published Facebook shares have dropped 2%.

Facebook officials are worried that these emails could further damage Facebook’s already fragile reputation.

What will happen? Facebook could settle with the FTC to pay a fine, or they could go to court for violating FTC rules.

However, FB is hoping that these emails don’t go public, so the company are likely to settle for a fine.


Case Study: 100%+ increase in conversions in 3 months

Kurt from Convertica shared a case study from one of his clients, JustThrive. It’s a health products company based in the USA that is running Search and other ad campaigns.

  • Objective: To increase conversions on their auto-ship subscriptions and get a better return on their ad spend.
  • Strategy: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
  • Results: 100%+ increase in revenue in 3 months.

Here’s the process Kurt follows for auditing a website before beginning any CRO campaign.

  • Figure out and focus on the key goal of the page.
  • Figure out if the page answers the visitor’s intent and clearly shows the path that leads to a conversion.
  • Figure out if all the important elements of the image (copy, layout etc) seamlessly work together to support that key goal.
  • Figure out if the page builds trust and removes all confusion around the products.

Here’s how they did this:

  • Started with an in-depth study of site analytics.
  • Reviewed the heatmaps to see where the users were clicking, or trying to click.
  • Referred to existing checklist of proven tests and hypotheses relevant to this niche.

Finally, here’s the action they took:

  • They minimized visual clutter by changing the image and putting more white space around it.
  • Since trust is of huge importance for a health based nice, they changed the social icons to trust signals.
  • To push for more auto-ship subscriptions, more of their focus went on optimizing this section of the layout.


  • The first successful variation (for both Desktop & Mobile) increased the conversion rate by 25.4% over the existing version.
  • Autoship subscriptions increased by 41.5%.
  • Total revenue went up by 30.4%.

Now, it was time to do another test with some more variations. Here, they rolled the autoship product variation back to the original and changed a few more elements. These changes were based on thousands of tests they have conducted in the past.

  • The second variation saw a 85.19% increase in auto-ship subscriptions.
  • 53.73% increase in the total number of orders.
  • 54.77% increase in the revenue.

To understand how they came up with the list of things to improve on and test, Kurt suggests focusing on the following questions:

  • Know your customer, their questions, objections and the motivations that got them to your page. Know the exact words they use to explain their pains and wishes.
  • Make it clear within the first 2 seconds of landing on the page that they are in the right place.
  • Make sure that your page answers the persistent question that hangs over every visitor’s head: “What’s in it for me?”
  • Are all the images crisp and clear so that they know exactly what the page is about just by scanning it?
  • Is the description specific and complete, so that the visitor has all the information he needs to make the decision right there and then?
  • Is it clear what makes you better than others?
  • Does it lessen your customer’s fear of buying online?

By taking all these things into consideration, knowing which elements to tweak on your page becomes a smoother and easier endeavor.

Want to get more details from the case study, along with the visual representation of all their winning variations, head to the post here.


A small shift for a big improvement

If you use emails as part of your marketing strategy, you probably know that the subject line is the biggest factor determining whether your emails get opened and read or not.

But according to KC Chow, the sender name is also a big player in the run towards high open rates.

He says that according to studies:

  • 42% of users first take a look at a sender name and only then decide if the email is worth opening.
  • 43% of users mark the email as spam based on the sender name alone.

Therefore, if you want more emails opened, use a better sender name.

KC Chow says that the best name sender is a combination of a person’s name and the business name.


  • The person name create a relation.
  • The business name improves credibility.

So, the options you can go for are:

  • (Name) at (Business Name)
  • (Name)|(Business Name)

That’s all. It’s sure that the sender name plays a big role in the open rate. How many of you open our emails just because it’s from WTAFF?

However, KC Chow didn’t provide any source for the stats he shared, so it’s probably best to dive deeper into this hypothesis yourself.


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

Getting fined for catching the bandits

Facebook is not the only one dealing with privacy issues. In fact, the Spanish soccer league La Liga has been fined for using its app to catch illegal streaming.

The fine amounts to €250k for violating EU laws on transparency and data privacy.

But what exactly did they do?

The app was found to be tapping into the location data and microphones of users to find bars that were illegally broadcasting games.

Basically, in trying to catch the bad guys they became the bad guys!

However, La Liga is fighting back over this decision. In fact, they accused regulators of not properly understanding the technology involved, and reiterated that they didn’t store any audio from the users.

Yet, La Liga will still remove the microphone feature from the app.

Well, they’ll have to figure out another way to catch pirates!



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