October 24, 2018

Two reminders…

First, our giveaway is almost over. We’re announcing the winner on Friday so you can grab your final entries in the next 30-ish hours.
Secondly, we’d like to remind you that during the weekend, the clocks are turned back one hour in Europe. We will hit your inbox at 1 pm CET, which for some of you might mean one hour later than before.


FACEBOOK

Are you promoting low-quality ads on Facebook? Mark says “no more!”

A few days ago, Facebook reported again, that they are working to reduce low-quality ads on the platform. What sort of ads?

Engagement bait: these are ads with spammy content asking people to engage with it in specific ways, such as requesting for likes, comments and shares.

Withholding information: these ads purposefully withhold information to entice people to click on it in order to understand the full context

Sensationalized language: this kind of ad uses exaggerated headlines or commands a reaction from people but don’t deliver on the landing page.

It’s not a big news anymore. Here is a tip that could help you avoid major issues…

Facebook has a highly performing semantic algorithm in English, but we can’t stay the same for other languages.

So, this could be a good reason to buy traffic in Tier 2 and Tier 3 countries, or at least where English isn’t the first language. You should be able to get away with more there.

Otherwise, do your best to follow these new guidelines from Facebook and get ready to still have your ads rejected and ad account suspended once in a while… Because that’s how Facebook rolls nowadays.

Ad Archive now has a Reports section

As part of the move to more and more transparency, especially with political ads, Facebook now has a report in their ad archive.

You can now see not just the ads that were run by certain political figures, but you can also see how much they spent, over how many ads, who paid, what the performance was and over what time frame.

You can also search all the ads based on keywords. But we’re sure you will just go and look at all of Donald Trump’s ads, right?

Anyone taking bets on when Facebook makes an archive like this for more than political ads?

FB Auction Live quarterly stream update

Believe it or not, this quarterly FB Auction Live talks about the holiday season and how to prepare for it.

We have good news and bad news…

The bad news is they don’t say anything new or anything practical. The things they talk about are for people who probably didn’t set up an FB campaign before.

They go through objectives, ad types, what is the Pixel, what is the Business Manager, updating your Page…

The good news? We sat through it so you don’t have to.

Oh, there was one thing we didn’t know about. Facebook has a Jobs section where you can see all the jobs listed on the platform.


GENERAL

How much does the production budget matter for video ads?

While this tackles a different sort of quality for ads than Facebook brought up, it’s still an experiment worth following.

Wistia recently partnered with video ad creator team Sandwich Video, to make three ads for their video creation tool Soapbox.

But here’s the catch – they each got $1,000, $10,000, and $100,000 of production budget.

This resulted in the $1K ad being shot on an iPhone and using comedic-style paper cutouts instead of digitally added text. The $10K one, shot on a “proper camera”, had more actors and a bit more eloquent script.

For the biggest one, a whole production crew was brought in, and it features a multitude of actors and effects. You can watch all of them here

They’re running and testing the ads and their effects in three ways:

  • Direct response, means showing the ads individually, telling customers to sign up for Soapbox.
  • Sequential – customers who watched the 1K ad will be shown the 10K one, and those who watched that one will see the 100K one.
  • As well as Facebook Video Carousel, allowing you to display three ads in a sequence.

Wistia said they plan to release the results of their research “this fall”, so we expect them to drop soon. We’ll keep you up to date with the results!

PS: Maybe we’re just delusional, but give us $100k and we’ll make a better video than their 3rd. Seems they purposefully “wasted” that budget on un-necessary staff instead of enhancing the messaging. They really wanted to drive the point that you don’t need money to do a good video, huh?

$700 million Ad Fraud Scheme through Botnet on Android Phones revealed 

We never thought we’d do this but we’re quoting BuzzFeed… Read through, it’s worth it!

An investigation uncovered a sophisticated ad fraud scheme involving more than 125 Android apps and websites.

Fraudsters acquired legitimate apps through the company We Purchase Appsand transferred them to shell companies. They then capture the behavior of the app’s human users and program a network of bots to mimic it.

This means a significant part of the millions of Android phone owners who downloaded these apps were secretly tracked as they used the application.

By copying actual user behavior in the apps, the fraudsters were able to generate fake traffic that didn’t get detected by major fraud detection systems.

In total, the apps identified by BuzzFeed News have been installed on Android phones more than 115 million times. Most are games, but others include a flashlight app, a selfie app, and a healthy eating app. One app connected to the scheme, EverythingMe, has been installed more than 20 million times.

You can find a full list of all the apps affected here.

Once acquired, the apps continue to be maintained to keep real users happy and to serve as a cover for the cloned fake traffic. The apps are also spread among many shell companies to distribute earnings and hide the true size of the operation.

Experts say a scheme like this targets Android in part because of its huge user base, and because the Google Play store has a less strict app review process than Apple’s App Store. But the App Store is by no means immune to malicious attacks either.

At the moment there is no evidence Google knew the inventory was fraudulent.

Google’s independent analysis confirmed the presence of a botnet driving traffic to websites and apps in the scheme. Google has removed more than 30 apps from Google Play and terminated many publisher accounts with its ad networks.

How the App Fraud Scheme works

  1. Get an Android app that has real users, favorable reviews, and a positive reputation.
  2. Shift ownership to a shell company to obscure its true ownership and to hide its links to other apps in the scheme.
  3. Use developer access to the app to analyze the behavior of its existing human audience.
  4. Program that behavior into bots running from dedicated servers so they can mimic the human audience.
  5. Direct bot traffic to the app.
  6. Blend bot traffic with existing human traffic to disguise it from fraud detection.
  7. Earn additional revenue thanks to ads being viewed by bots.

App metrics firm AppsFlyer estimated that between $700 million and $800 million was stolen from mobile apps alone in the first quarter of this year, a 30% increase over the previous year.

Pixalate’s latest analysis of in-app fraud found that 23% of all ad impressions in mobile apps are in some way fraudulent. Overall, Juniper Research estimates $19 billion will be stolen this year by digital ad fraudsters, but others believe the actual figure could be three times that.


SPONSORED

What makes an affiliate network ACTUALLY outstanding? – Part 2

Missed part 1?

We touched on why technology is important to make a network outstanding. But we didn’t quite finish.

We thought you might want to hear about Clickbooth’s proprietary platformstraight from their CTO, Dzenis Softic.

“What’s fantastic about Clickbooth’s proprietary platform is that it’s designed to evolve as our partners’ needs evolve. A partner can approach us with a new feature that might not exist on our platform, we have the capability to design and implement that feature to suit our partners’ needs.”

Like that nifty “Request an Offer” feature.

“When we design new features, our driving question is How do we make life easier for affiliate and advertising partners? Sometimes that new innovation will be designed to increase revenue, add new opportunities or just automate an existing process so that affiliates and advertisers can focus more time on generating revenue for their business.”

Some examples here are the Multi-Level Offer Priority and Image & Brand Rotation that helps affiliates work less for better results. One means always having several fallbacks in case an offer is no longer available.

The other means you can choose your vertical, then have Image & Brand Rotation feature choose the product image and name that has the highest chance of converting. It’s basically AI for the sales page.

Check out the full interview with Dzenis to find out more, and don’t forget Clickbooth is in the running to be named the #1 CPA Network of the Year for the 3rd time in a row!


POOLSIDE CHAT

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

Remember, remember the 5th of November…

Of gunpowder treason and plot. 

But not only because of that. It’s also the date the US Marshal Service is auctioning 660BTC (~4.2m USD) divided into 7 blocks. Six of them with 100BTC and one with 60BTC.

It turns out the US government really doesn’t like HODLing. These auctions are getting pretty common, and with the crypto world still gathering attention, we can expect it to stay that way.

But don’t save the date yet. Quickly check your bank account, because you do have to provide a deposit of $200,000 to participate in the bid. This money has to come from a US bank account too. For the full requirements, visit the official US Marshal site here.

The forfeited cryptocurrency comes from federal civil, criminal and administrative cases. Most of the these were handled by the DEA, FBI or Homeland Security, so if you don’t like to have crypto that was involved in frauds and who-knows-what, don’t participate.

If you still want to, we won’t stop you. Good luck and if you are one of the lucky winners, tell us about it!

And if you lose, don’t be sad. There’s always next time.

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