March 11, 2019


Spy on competitors by searching their source code!

You might be wondering “Well, why the hell would I want to do that?”.

Because this way you can search for competitors who use certain tools like Shopify, ClickFunnels, a certain FB pixel and other pieces of tracking code that goes in a website’s source files.

It’s one of those things that’s easier to show to you than explain, so check this out.

For those out there who are really nerdy about gathering data on competitors, this tool is perfect. It’s also appropriately named Nerdy Data.

Thanks to IAmAttila for sharing this tool on Facebook!


Punisher Method for bad ad sets. FB’s guide to unexpected things that go wrong while testing.

Should you pause the ad sets with low performance or just reduce their budgets?

Depesh Mandalia suggests a great tip to punish the bad performers. Also, Facebook shared a new guide about common issues that arise when experimenting with new things and how to overcome them.

Let’s address the bad performers first.

Pausing or reducing the budget?

Sometimes, for a variety of possible reasons, you find you need to pause your campaigns.

The worst case being when you have to pause an ad set simply because it’s not delivering satisfying results.

Your Ads Manager dashboard is not showing encouraging numbers? No need to worry – We’ve got you covered with a good trick shared by Depesh Mandalia: The Punisher Method!

It’s simple really – When your ad sets aren’t giving you the results you want, you drop the budget by 10% once or twice per day. Dropping the budget on bad performing ad sets will shift the algorithm to try and find better performance again.

Stick and carrot, huh?

Depesh says this works 9 times out of 10 for him. So, it’s definitely something you might want to try out. Don’t just follow it religiously though; Test things for yourself!

FB Guide: Testing and learning with incrementality measurement

We all know the importance of testing various elements when launching ad campaigns on Facebook.

Without testing, there is simply no way to know what your audience responds best to. It could be content type, ad formats, best times to post, campaign settings, image/video type, hashtags etc.

Like we always say, test everything!

That’s all well and good, but you also want to make sure that you are spending your budgets wisely and measuring the impact of each experiment efficiently from the very beginning.

Facebook says:

“It’s common to hope our experiments will go smoothly, but the unexpected can occur. But here’s the thing – You can prepare by anticipating the specific kinds of errors or difficulties that may occur when conducting incrementality testing. And having a plan of action for problems that are likely to arise.”

To help you with this, Facebook released a 16-page Guide to Testing and Learning with Incrementality Measurement.

It outlines 6 common things that could go wrong during a test, and what to do in each scenario. This includes sample size issues, how outliers can skew your data and how to deal with non-defined variables.

Insights from this guide should help you improve your audience tests, as well as your overall understanding, which will ensure your strategic decisions are based on real-world evidence rather than hunches or generalized knowledge.

Download the full guide above to learn more about this.


Do cookie walls comply with GDPR?

The GDPR was released almost 1 year ago (time flies when you’re having fun with GDPR, huh?) However, there are still many doubts around it.

Not everybody knows what exactly is compliant with the regulation, and now the Dutch DPA (data protection agency) just threw another discussion into the mixer.

The DPA said that websites that demand their visitors accept to be tracked for marketing purposes just to visit the website, aren’t compliant.

In other words, cookie walls that block access to the website when the user doesn’t accept to be tracked are illegal.

In fact, the GDPR claims that the consent by the user must be freely given in order to be valid.

Permission isn’t free if you don’t offer a choice, as stated by the DPA. They also said that after all the complaints they received, they will step up their monitoring activities. At least the discussion seems to be clarified!

So, if your website doesn’t offer a choice to the users, adapt before some fines are cracked down upon you!

Do you want an example of a not-compliant cookie wall? Have a look at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s European site below. You have no option: accept the tracking or go back.

Can you say ironic?


Test the affiliate-tailored tracker that WOW’ed the industry – first 10 signups get a free ready-setup server!

We’ve already told you what makes Binom a tracker that affiliates like Servando Silva, Erik Gyepes and Benjamin Yong use on a daily basis. We’ve prepared something special for you so read till the end but first, let us refresh your memory. Here’s what makes Binom special.

Reporting. This is the main thing affiliates care about and Binom knows it. They have a few epic features here:

  • Custom columns. You can add your own formulas to calculate stuff, no need to export them into a spreadsheet.
  • Events. You can track scroll percentage on your lander, detect bots, and have this reported as an event.
  • Exit-point tracking. If you have multiple CTAs on your lander, you can track each one individually.
  • Filters. You can filter what info you see, just like in spreadsheets. So for example, the placements with 100%+ ROI that you want to whitelist.

Traffic loss and leads approval. Especially useful for COD offers, you can see the status of whether the conversion status is HOLD, REJECT or LEAD. No need to add custom conversions – but you can if you want to!

Domain flagging checks. Binom integrates with Google Safe Browsing API so you can instantly check if any of your domains got flagged.

Godlike customer support. Yeah, it’s the hardest to prove but when everyone is in awe about it, there’s a lot of truth in this claim. So there’s no need for any tech knowledge even for this self-hosted solution. Support has your back quickly!

And you can check Binom’s live demo right here.

Here’s something special, just for you, readers of WHAT THE AFF. The first 10 people to use our coupon code, WTAFF50 will get:

  • Ready-to-go tracker for free (no server to setup), for 14 days, that can do a volume of 200k clicks per day.
  • 50% off your second month ($49 instead of $99).

So the first TEN people to sign up here and use the code WTAFF50 will get a complete setup to run Binom. No coding, no server setup, no CC, nothing!


Charles Ngo: Offer payout and network EPC don’t matter

What do you usually look for when picking new offers to promote? If you solely consider the payout and network EPC when making this important decision, then you’re doing it wrong according to Charles Ngo.

Charles shared some reasons to explain why considering just these two metrics don’t ensure great success. Let’s have a look at it:

Why the Offer Payout Doesn’t Matter

The higher the payout the better, right?

Not really. It’s possible that an offer with lower payout has a higher conversion rate (CR), driving more revenue for the same number of clicks.

The payout is only one part of the formula, and you also have to consider the following factors.

  • Shaving/scrubbing: Scrubbing or shaving means the advertiser or network is purposefully not crediting you with clicks or conversions that you earned. You’ll want to keep an eye out for that.
  • Offer Page Conversion: Not all landing pages are created equal. Maybe the offer with a higher payout has a lower conversion rate.

Cool tip: Never judge an offer page by its beauty. Sometimes, the ugly ducklings convert better.

  • Database: This is particularly for lead gen offers. If the offer has been around for a long time, you could generate leads which the advertiser has already received in the past. The result of this? You don’t see any payouts.
  • Technology: The physical location of the server that hosts the offer page can also hurt your conversions.

Why the network offer EPC doesn’t matter

Offer A has a higher EPC than Offer B? It doesn’t automatically mean that the Offer A is better.

Maybe there is an affiliate sending tons of bad quality clicks to an offer page, lowering the overall Network EPC.

Or, on the flipside, an affiliate could be using pre-landers. Consequently, this affiliate may be sending less traffic, but it’s highly qualified traffic. Thus, it will result in a higher conversion rate and higher EPC.

How should you pick an offer then?

There isn’t a perfect working method for this. There are many variables involved that will affect the final results. Again, the only reasonable answer is to test. And test again. Then once more for good measure.

That should give you the data you need to decide which offer will work the best for you.


New ‘Offers’ section for local businesses. Outdated e-comm product pages and soft-404 errors

We have 2 Google related updates for you today. One is an exciting new feature addition for local businesses, helping them attract more customers using Google search.

While the other one is for e-commerce owners helping them replace expired/unavailable product pages to new product pages in the right manner. Let’s have a look at them:

Google adds New ‘Offers’ section to Business Profiles

Google is continuing to add new ways for businesses to appear in search results, and earlier last week, they announced a new section for special offers right within your Google business listings.

This new section will allow businesses to add and highlight new offers in their Google results. Once a user clicks through your Google Business profile, they’ll be able to find current offers listed there.

An offer can include a description of the promo, a coupon code or any other guidelines useful to your audience.

You can surface up to 10 unique offers in the carousel, providing you with a list of choices.

Zoom In

Well, it looks like Google is trying to make up for its failed Google+. But irrespective of that, this feature does sound like a great way to attract more customers from Google Search, especially for local businesses.

There have been a range of feature roll outs recently that allow business owners to take more control over their listings. The ‘social-like’ functions, including the capacity to post business updates, and now showcase offers. Use them to your benefit as much as you can.

Afterall, nothing is better than organic visits.

Outdated product pages marked as soft 404 errors

Moving on from local businesses to e-commerce owners, John Mueller explains why your expired product listing pages might be marked as soft-404 pages.

These error pages were spotted when a few e-commerce owners redirected outdated product pages to new product pages that showed alternate products. Google marked them as ‘404 not found’ despite the fact that the pages worked.

Why are these redirect pages marked as soft-404 error pages?

Well, you might have correctly redirected the page with a 301 redirect to the alternate product page.

However, these pages generally still contain a piece of text that tell the visitor that the old product is no longer available and they might want to check an alternative product instead.

This ‘no longer available’ section of the text is the most common reason why Google might mark the page as a soft 404 error.

Also, read the HTTP status codes of your web pages.

There are some tools like SEOProfiler that check the HTTP status codes of your web pages. If there’s anything that could have a negative influence on the search engine rankings of your web pages, the SEO website audit tool will let you know about it.

Watch John Mueller’s complete hangout session here.


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

“You shall not pass… Without a visa!”

That sounds way worse than it is. It’s still a mild inconvenience for citizens of countries that could travel in the Schengen area without a visa so far.

Starting from 2021, citizens from the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, and other countries will have to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa. You’ll need a valid passport, credit or debit card, an email and to pay a fee.

The whole point is to have people register before travelling for security purposes.

Yeah, it’s not breaking news, it won’t affect many of your lives (it doesn’t come into effect until 2021) but we thought we should let you know. Some of you might plan well in advance, right?

You can check all the details right here on the ETIAS visa website.

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