November 12, 2018


How to make Amazon look irrelevant – even if it isn’t!

Total online sales on Black Friday reached $5 bil in 2017. Not bad right? However, yesterday, Jack Ma wrote a new page in e-commerce history:

Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, grossed $30 bil in sales in 24h hours. 

An 11 figures day for Mr Ma. On 11.11 no less. What, you never had that?

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day celebration is the biggest shopping day of the year in China, and more than one billion orders were delivered on 11th November.

“We sold as much in five minutes as Amazon sold in an entire Prime Day”, said the Alibaba president. Talk about “Shots fired!”

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is similar to Amazon’s Prime Day in many ways. Both “holidays” were created for the sole purpose of offering deals and pushing sales.

However, Singles’ Day is far larger than Prime Day. While Amazon does not release Prime Day sales figures, total online sales are estimated to have topped $4.2 bil over the company’s 36-hour Prime Day event in July 2018.

Yesterday, Alibaba made that amount in a few minutes…

Hey Jeff, there is another shark in the e-commerce waters. Even though he is going to retire, as Jack Ma declared recently.

But please Jack, before you disappear in some tropical beach with your family and Piña Coladas, we have a few questions for you:

How did you scale your campaigns? Did you duplicate them? Or just raised the budget? How do you test creatives? And last, what’s your daily budget?

What’s that? You didn’t actually use Facebook Ads? Oh…


Copying Facebook – Google Ads brings new campaign creation flow

Last week we talked about LinkedIn changing its campaign creation flow to a campaign objective perspective instead of starting by an ad format – Facebook style.

Now Google follows and has created a new workflow that informs advertisers of the ideal campaign types according to their business goals. Advertisers select their goal and Google Ads will display the matching campaign types.

For goals like Sales, Leads and Website Traffic the recommended campaign types include: Search, Display, Shopping, and Video.

For Product and Brand Consideration and Brand Awareness and Reach the recommended campaign types are Display and Video

Google Ads platform is more stable than the Facebook one. Yet Facebook absorbed a good part of advertisers’ budget in the last years. And this is just another way to fight back The Social Network.

Anyway, Facebook suffered hard blows since that Cambridge Analytica scandal.

And the competition between these two giants means two things:
– better performing platforms for us advertisers
– more content for The WTAFF Crew to put in our newsletter


Messenger bots are not any sort of magic bullet

You’ve probably heard of the hype surrounding Messenger bots, how the open and engagement rates are through the roof.

But if you are active on Messenger or any chat service that has chatbots, a“read message” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve read it. Jon Loomer discovered that on his own.

In this article, he explains in detail how his bot worked, what the problems were and how these problems ultimately lead to him triggering the “kill switch”.

The first mistake Jon made, was using a template to build the bot. Nothing wrong with that for the start, but if you come to the point where you pay $375 per month like him, you should start to think about a truly custom one.

His bot also, as people pointed out in the comments, had too many buttons. Including an “Ask a question” button. If you want to build a successful and ROI positive bot, having fewer buttons always helps. People don’t like to waste time with buttons. They just ask a question, and without an implemented AI, it gets messy.

When Jon made a Messenger Bot, his FB page was connected to ZenDesk. Generally speaking, this is helpful. But having people writing garbage testing the bot with all kinds of questions, you got yourself a big problem.

His staff had to sort through relevant and irrelevant questions, frustrating them the whole process.

So after all this time, his spending increased, the CTR was about 2.8% for about 165 subscribers, and his ZenDesk was filled with pointless questions that the staff had to sort.

Jon still didn’t give up, and only turned off the front facing bot, which means that a direct message wouldn’t necessarily trigger the bot. Which made little difference and finally, after being frustrated with the results, he turned it off.

As he points out himself right at the start – this is no bot-bashing article. Jon explains how he used his bot, and why it didn’t work for him. There are many brands out there who made great use and profit with a Messenger bot. Just not him.

There is an important lesson to be learned here – try different things, but don’t think what works for others will work for you just as easily. Oh, and don’t forget there is a kill switch to everything, don’t be afraid to trigger it.

Holiday advertising tips from Facebook and Depesh Mandalia

Do you want to compete with Jack Ma?

We don’t know if this will be possible. The most we can do is to wish you the best of luck. And share with you these tips to make as much bread as possible in the holiday season.

Some are from Facebook, some from Depesh Mandalia’s Facebook rep.

Plan ahead: create a calendar outlining what you’d like to say to new and existing customers. You can create different ads for people based on their age, location, interests and more. And when you do this, mind the top spending days of the holiday season:

Cyber Monday (December 2nd)

Black Friday (November 29th)

Green Monday (December 9th)

Attract Last-Minute Buyers: several days before the festivities, consider sharing special deals. Then boost these posts to reach more people. Boosting posts right from your page is an easy way to make sure new and existing customers know how your business will make their holidays brighter. And your ROAS higher

Leverage detailed targeting: your WCA (Website Custom Audience) targets less than 1M people? Add in extra behaviour or interests  to expand the size of the audience (for example similar brands and product)

Use value Based lookalike from a data file or a dynamic sources like pixel, SDK and offline conversions. Value-based lookalikes are especially useful with conversion window longer than 7 days. Pro-tip: make sure the targeted audience is 2M+. If not, consider pairing value-based Lookalikes with a lower funnel optimization goal.

Anyway, considering that Facebook isn’t always right about Facebook, you can ask all the questions you want in this thread started by Depesh Mandalia and eliminate any sort of doubt you have.

Oh and if you’re still hungry for information (and Benjamins), you can get more.


Check what today’s sponsor has to offer.


Live webinar with Earnest Epps, Depesh Mandalia and Maxwell Finn!

Three of the speakers from ECML Asia will be live on 14th November at 11am PST/2pm EST to talk all about what you have to do in the remaining of this year’s Q4 – a key one for any e-com business.

You ladies and gents might already be familiar with them but let us refresh your memories, just in case.

Earnest Epps – High-ticket e-commerce dropshipping master. His strategies that don’t use AliExpress or Facebook Ads have made him one of the most out-of-the-box experts out there. His talk at Affiliate World Asia 2017 has also gathered over 300,000 views.

If you want to get a taste of what he is about, you can watch his talk here or check out some of his advice we featured just over a month ago.

Depesh Mandalia – The man probably doesn’t need an intro. He’s one of the people invited for our private mastermind dinner in Bangkok, his content and his group has been featured regularly in our newsletter too.

Why? Because he’s done over $100M in e-commerce sales and scaled e-com startups to 8-figures in 18 months.

One of UK’s leading FB Ads experts, he’s also a trusted advisor with FB, regularly involved in helping shape their products and services. In other words, he has some direct connections there.

Maxwell Finn – Someone you might be less familiar with… But we’ve also featured some of his tips! Driving up your customer lifetime value is a must if you want to scale – that’s what Maxwell thinks and what he can teach others.

That’s what he will be talking about at E-Commerce Mastery Live Asia, by iStack Training. What is ECML Asia you ask?

It’s a one-day event taking place in Bangkok, on 7th December, focused on the latest and greatest advice for E-Commerce entrepreneurs.

You can get your ticket for it right here.

Or, join the webinar and see what Earnest, Depesh and Maxwell have to talk about when it comes to E-Commerce in Q4… The quarter that can make or break your business!


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

“Can’t believe this is not a real news anchor”

Xinhua, a Chinese state-run media company, and Sogou, a Beijing-based search engine created an AI news anchor, a carbon copy of a real-life anchor, Zhang Zhao.

The team says that its AI can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.

Does it sound and look really human? Well, not 100%, but it’s at least as human as Zuckerberg in his testimony.

The biggest advantage of the AI anchor is it never needs to eat or sleep and can read the news 24/7.

The AI confirms saying “I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”

We don’t know if Zhang Zhao still has a job or has been fired now.

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