In episode number 8 of Traffic Jam we focus in on email drops with Chad Hamzeh. Our interesting guest from Traffic Black Book guides us through the email buying process, from how to get started if you are new to email advertising right through to list testing strategies for advanced marketers.
Chad Hamzeh’s packs a punch, the former ultimate fighter delivers a foray of tips on this bumper episode including his 1.6 million client case study.
- Learning the ropes of CPM Email buys.
- Direct vs agency buys.
- How you can get started.
- Dedicated drops; pros and cons.
- Sponsored emails.
- Finding traffic channels that really work.
- Targeting local markets for sponsored emails.
- The opt in list vs the compiled list advantage.
- The best way to do testing.
Show / Hide Transcript
Welcome back listener! I’m James Reynolds and you’re listening in to Traffic Jam episode #8. This week and every week I invite in to the show the very best traffic experts on the internet so you can learn how to build and grow a profitable audience for your website.
Before we get stuck in to the show this week, I’ve got to give a shout out to Jennifer Sheahan who helped get my Facebook advertising account reactivated this week after it was unceremoniously deactivated by Facebook in some kind of random aberration; it seems Facebook mistakenly flicked the switched in their lab somewhere and took out thousands of accounts literally overnight by complete and utter mistake. My account was in perfect standing, as were others that I know that Jen was dealing with, it was very frustrating for a few days before our account was reinstated. There is a great lesson there, on that we teach on this show, and that’s not to be reliant on only one or two traffic sources because when you are, your business is vulnerable. Follow the advice we give on the show here and build up multiple traffic channels, in fact, if you’re new to Traffic Jam go check out some of the other episodes. We’ve already covered some of the things like Facebook, LinkedIn, e-commerce, traffic channels, banner advertising and Pinterest – so if you master just some of these, you’ve already got a strong website that’s safe from random axing of traffic like I experienced this week. Anyway, thank you to you Jen, your advice is so valuable to me and to listeners out there, at this point I have to recommend you go check out episode#5 especially because that is my interview with Jen on Facebook advertising innovations and it has got to be one of my favorites so far.
So what’s coming up on today’s show? We have another form of paid traffic being discussed and its email drops; essentially a fancy name for a purchased email broadcast. Telling us all about it is our interview guest for the day, Chad Hamzeh, that’s coming up next. Stick around until the end of the show and I will tell you what’s going on in the world of traffic in the past seven days as well as the popular and very actionable one minute traffic tip. Today’s show is one of the longest episodes so let’s not hold back the content a moment longer, here’s today’s feature interview.
James: On today’s episode I have Chad Hamzeh, the creator of Traffic Back Book, Chad I’m happy you could be with us today, welcome to Traffic Jam!
Chad: Oh thanks! It’s absolutely my pleasure James.
James: My absolute pleasure! I’m going to ask you to spill the beans on your secrets over the course of the interview but not before I ask you to share a little bit about who you are because I have to say, you are the first ultimate fighting mayor candidate I’ve ever had on Traffic Jam. So tell us a little bit about your back story – you’re an interesting guy by all accounts!
Chad: That’s what they say! I don’t know, it’s just me trying to keep myself busy I guess. I’ll just talk briefly about how I started here – my brother brought home a copy of the ultimate fighting championship in 1993 to our house and I said, that is the coolest thing that I have ever seen and I want to do that! So that was pretty much my obsession as a kid from like 13 and going forward so my life revolved around training and doing all sorts of that stuff. But obviously that does not really pay the bills at that time so during my 20’s I got a small web design studio and when I was about 23 years old, I started at a telecom and I eventually became a business analyst there. What happened was I’m working on this cubicle job, I’d say this time about 27, so this was in 2007 and I’m having my quarter life crisis and I’m saying I’m not doing what it is I really want to do. I want to see what I can do in this fighting game, I want to go somewhere where I can train full time and not have to worry about work and that sort of stuff. That was essentially how I ended up going to Thailand. I just took off to Thailand, my wife and I took off. She agreed to this crazy idea of dropping our jobs and that sort of thing and heading off to Thailand and just kickboxing and fight training full time, and that was in 2008. And we were there for about a year and it was great. All you’re doing every day is just working out and training. I would take a web design project every few months and since Thailand is so cheap, that money from there would last for 5 months and it was great. But then what happened at about 10 months in, we got an email – my dad was visiting a friend in Malaysia and he got sick. We went out to Malaysia to visit him and when we went back home, he actually ended up having stomach cancer so we went back home because he was going to be living with us. He was obviously faced with much more adversity but we were going back and so I got a large mortgage, my wife was now pregnant so I got a baby on the way and I definitely did not want to go back in the cubicle. So what I did is a couple of months before leaving Thailand, I started researching on how to make money online, and as cliché as it sounds, I was that guy who basically googled that and I just kind of stumbled upon pay per click marketing and that sort of stuff and it was great- I found some forms that I could just learn about pay per click and I did not really start doing any testing on my own until I got back to Canada. I would say, in the first month of me working on to display traffic, I probably launched 130 Google display campaigns in that first 30 days. It was just me doing it myself, I was functioning as an affiliate at that time, and this was mid- 2009. That’s it, that’s pretty much how I started and I had some really good early success as an affiliate and ever since then that’s how I got in to this whole game. It was just kind of accidental- I was not really like I’m setting out to be an entrepreneur and that sort of thing, the agency thing even kind of happened organically, just people came to me and said they’re interested in me running traffic for them as opposed to me running as an affiliate. That was kind of how all that came about, it was just out of sheer necessity that I just did not want to go back to the corporate job. The mayor thing was just funny, I think it was 2001 when I ran for mayor, I was 21 years old, it was all basically I just wanted to see what it entailed to run for mayor in my city. And basically it just came down to register for $100 and anyone can run for mayor. It’s kind of ridiculous but I wish I had my ad generating ability back then that I do now for when I ran for mayor because it could have gone maybe really well. I did not get last place though, so that was cool.
James: Well I guess we know the outcome of that story, you didn’t become mayor I assume, I don’t hear stories of you Chad wandering the streets of your city ringing a bell, singing Ole ole!
Chad: No absolutely not! I’m not mayor, there were a lot of people who ran that year, I think 15 – and I was 12th place, so we’re not last! Most of my friends forgot to vote for me which means that some people actually liked my message and voted for me because they believed I was the man for the job which was cool!
James: Wow that’s cool stuff! Well I’ve got to say I’m glad that we’re separated by an internet connection and several thousand miles because if I ask you any questions you don’t like today I think I’d become a little bit more worse off than I am with those ….
Chad: No, I’m pretty laid back.
James: Yeah, you seem it. Well, tell me about your business now, you’ve obviously been in the game a few years now, what do you do now, and who do you do it for?
Chad: Okay, so a couple of different things that we do now is obviously we have the agency side and that only started about a year ago and like I said kind of happened accidentally in a sense that people had seen my original traffic black book product, they just knew about me and they just said, hey we have a new product, a new offer and we were wondering if you would manage some traffic towards it. And so that’s what we do right now, we do traffic on one side, and we do well with it, which is the agency side. And we only manage about three client campaigns right now, we don’t take on a lot of people – 2 of them are on the health space, one has a blood pressure type supplement, they also have a couple other offers which are joint pain related and that sort of thing. And then we have another one which is a weight loss client and they are getting in to the male muscle type market but for older males and that sort of stuff so one one hand we take on a lot of health type of clients, not a lot of them but those are the people that we have and tend to gravitate towards us. And the third client that we have they’re like a real estate investing, private mortgage type of clients, so we do some adwords management for them, we do some email, and we do a lot of display as well. The majority of people that come to us, whether we take them on or not, and obviously we don’t take on many but the guys that we have taken on, they’ve typically tested their own stuff with email traffic beforehand, joint venture traffic and that sort of thing, and they want to expand with cold traffic and typically display traffic is what but we’ve done a lot more email as well as of late and so those are the types of guys that usually go for us, so that’s one side, that’s the agency side of the business, we also have a couple in house offers, we test and we want to roll those out as well, and we’re doing more and more of that and that’s kind of where I see the business is going – our own in house health offers and that sort of stuff.
James: So is that where your energy is really spent at the moment? Do you prefer to be developing your own stuff as opposed to servicing other businesses?
Chad: Ah, you know, right now it’s about at 50/50. I can see us gravitating more towards that more because it just makes sense but running a successful offer, there’s a lot more to it than just running the traffic side of things and so it’s taken us to partner with a lot of really good copy writers, conversion specialists – guys that are really good at converting traffic, as well as the front end of an offer but yeah, we’re not closed off to the service side of things because it can be lucrative and it gets people really good results so I could see us gravitating more towards that but right now, it’s 50/50.
James: Yeah, it keeps you sharp right? When you’re managing someone else’s dollars, you have to make sure you know your stuff and you’re performing, right?
Chad: Oh, absolutely, Yeah for sure!
James: Well you know the premise of the show, each week I invite on some form of expert in a particular form of traffic so I’m going to ask you now and reveal what is your best kept traffic secret, what’s working for you most right now, Chad?
Chad: The first one that I would be talking about would be CPM email drops on publisher side and that sort of thing. Typically, what this means is we will go to a website, kind of like we’re doing a direct display media buy on a specific publisher site so I’ll give you an example, like Newsmax might be an example, and they have a lot of display traffic but they also have a lot of email traffic as well and so what we’ll do is we’ll buy two types of formats of email traffic: the first is the dedicated email drop, which these companies are sending out their email newsletter, your message is the only message in that email newsletter. So as the name implies, it is a completely dedicated email drop towards your message. Typically the message is about a one page ad and the traffic it’s sent to, a landing page or whatever. The other one, which is more of a “secret” but not really a secret because other guys use it, it’s just that not many guys use it, is called sponsorship emails. There are a few different formats, and the format that we typically use is – the publisher site is sending out their daily based content newsletter, with the sponsorship emails, it’s simply a banner ad inside of their newsletter. When I originally saw this, I did not think people clicked on these very much. I just thought they’re getting the newsletter email; they’re probably just read the newsletter and ignore those ads. But they actually work really, really well and you get email quality traffic at a much cheaper cost. So to give you an idea, we were doing one dedicated drop which was running on a $30-$50 CPM on this one publisher site. In the same newsletter chain, to do a sponsorship drop is at $5 CPM and we were getting comparable clicks in terms of the cost so the average click cost is much, much cheaper than on a dedicated and so we were able to profit 200-300% ROI versus just using the dedicated drop. The dedicated drop has the advantage of a brand engagement as well, but in terms of just pure response and profit in that sort of thing, we found that the sponsorship email seems to be just the best bank for your buck. That tends to work very, very well and we’ll go with those more often than not and plus the lead of time and the setup is a lot easier because we can just take our successful banner ads and just take them right in to a newsletter versus having to build a whole dedicated creative and see which dedicated creative is getting the best pull or not. So we really like those, not a lot of people are using them, and they’ve been working really well for us.
James: Awesome! I think it may be kind of worthwhile kind of running the steps of how you go about doing both the dedicated drop and doing the sponsored email or news release. I guess we should really talk about first, where we can go and acquire this media? What sites can we approach? Is it a direct buy? Are we going through an agency or broker? What are the steps involved to kind of get this thing off ground?
Chad: Ok, so you kind of mentioned a few different sources and we actually use all of them, so we do a lot of direct buys because it tends to be a lot cheaper and you’re not paying a margin or a spread or anything like that. Number one is going directly to websites. So now since we buy a lot of traffic from conservative news sites and that sort of thing, so we might go to websites like Newsmax, Archemax is another general interest type one that we’ll go to. But really it’s going to come down to that’s the ideal demographic profile for whatever offer that you are promoting to your clients and that sort of thing. And a lot of these publisher sites they do have a newsletter type sponsorship option, they either have a banner, or even just text links within the newsletter. And one of our most successful ones is within Archemax for example, is that they have a text link within the email newsletter. It doesn’t seem like it will get clicked a lot but for how cheap it is, and their list is very, very big, you get a lot of traffic. So let’s talk about the sponsorship one: the set-up is basically either go direct or go through an agency. We go through one of the agencies, they sell a lot of the conservative types of news agencies. So we’ll go to an agency and we’ll say we’re looking for some sponsorship drops to put our banners in the email. Another good route is there is a network and I’ll say this network because we don’t use them a lot anymore, not because their traffic are not really good but because the offers that we’re promoting they’ve been more restrictive on them so maybe somebody else out there would make use of it. But there is a network called Live Intent who has very, very good traffic. They are essentially a traffic network for banners within people’s newsletters. So you buy it as you would a CPM buy on a traffic network like Yahoo or AOL, and it’s rep managed so you just send over your banners and your links and that sort of thing and they will put those banners into several different placements but you won’t see the placements as it’s kind of like a blind network. To give you an idea, we were spending about $150 grand a month on Live Intent for a while but they started to crack on health offers and that sort of thing, they just did not want to deal much with them, but like I said, if one of your guys has an offer that they would like to go with, they get the ads in to some very premium quality publisher sites. We were buying all their second tier stuff, which was more of the conservative new sites on some of the lower end newsletters that were converting well but if you have something that needs to brand safe levels, they have that same type of inventory. So we either go through an agency like I said, we go direct a lot of the time, or we’ll go with a network like Live Intent. I have not found many other networks like them, and then essentially at that point, what it comes down to is like setting up any other banner buy, you provide your banners, tracking links, some of these guys will actually allow you to use your server tags within their email newsletter, which is pretty cool, not all the networks will allow you to do that. One website we use a lot for women’s traffic is Live Script and allow us to put our tags within their newsletter and so we can start rotating ads and all that sort of stuff on every successive drop they do for us. And then after that, it’s just like tracking any other buy. We’re looking at our EPC more than our cost per click really so if we see we’re backing hours, we keep buying off, and we are going to rebuy. You know you hear about some guys who do the sponsorship email and they won’t rebuy until every four weeks the buy was successful just to avoid saturation. I typically won’t buy more than once or twice a week but I will buy pretty frequently when it comes to the sponsorship ones. So I won’t wait four weeks on a sponsorship. With the dedicated email, I might wait 2 – 4 weeks just to avoid saturation, but with the banner ad styles, the sponsorship emails, I will buy those more frequently. With the dedicated emails, the process is very similar but those will typically go either through an agency or most of the time we’re just going direct because we have relationships with a lot of these publishers and again it just comes down to which types of sites have our demographic. Most of us have our dedicated email action and we’ll mail out our email. We have one like on live script for example for one of our health offers. We will mail dedicated on a cost per click set up with them, probably we’ll drop to that list 8 -10 times a month, and what happened on that one is that when we started out we doubled the money, if the buy was around $20000 to bring in all those drops and we are bringing in around $40000 of revenue for the client from that one buy. So that went out well, and month over month we have seen the ROI just slowly drop. So now what we’re doing is this month, this client has another offer so we’re just rotating in that new offer so there’s a new message now going out and we want to do that to avoid saturation, we’re going to see how this new offer resonates with the audience. And so that’s a good tip right there- they have a cost per click type of model. If you can get a cost per click type of model, at least for the initial test on the dedicated drop that helps a lot because you don’t necessarily know how good their traffic quality is and not all of them will give you a small test. So when you do a CPM email drop, it can be a bit risky, who knows what type of deliverability this might have. So if we can structure a cost per click thing, a lot of them won’t do it, but if they allow us to, then that’s a great position to be in on email traffic. We’ll use our own tracking links as well so if they’re saying you got 10000 clicks and you’re paying $1.50 CPC, and then we’re seeing only 3000, then we can tell them there are 7000 clicks gone missing, what happened here? And we’ll have that in our insertion orders, we’ll bill off our own numbers with a 10% allowable variance to avoid any big issues or anything like that.
James: we’ve got a pretty savvy listener base here but I think we should probably at this point elaborate on what a CPC and a CPM is so that our listeners out there knows exactly what we’re talking about. Just explain those two for us Chad.
Chad: Yeah, for sure. In the CPM, in relation to the email drops, it’s cost per thousand cents. On a banner ad, what CPM means is cost per thousand impressions – every thousand times your ad is shown, you’re going to pay whatever that CPM charge is. For a $5 CPM, every time your ad is shown a thousand times, you are going to pay $5. For high volume sites, a thousand impressions can go by very, very quickly. So obviously, anyone that’s done this knows how fast this can happen. With the email it’s different. With the email you’re paying on the CPM in terms of the email sent. So it does not matter if the email gets opened or not, that’s typically how it’s going to be. Some networks, like Live Intent for example, CPM is actually based on the number of people who actually view the email because you’re paying like a banner ad network. But typically for email, dedicated sponsor ship, it’s just going to be percent so they might say that they have a list of 5 million people and you don’t have to test all 5 million especially if it’s a brand new list, you can say can I do a quarter list or can I just do 200000 names and typically if they have a list of 5 million, yes, you can test just a hundred or 200000 names. So if you’re paying a $10 CPM and you’re only testing a hundred thousand names, then that should be a $1000. So you are going to pay all hundred thousand emails sent in terms of a $10 CPM, you’re not going to pay just for the people that opened. That’s a very important distinction if you’re doing the drop – you keep that in mind.
James: I guess these are things that we really should be wary of – what is the quality of the list? How fresh is it? How was it acquired? Because if we don’t look in to these types of things especially if we’re doing a CPM type arrangement, we can get dramatic results on exactly the same size in terms of sets of names, is it?
Chad: Yeah, exactly. So now we are getting more into some of the more important details so let’s say somebody has a 5 million person list, so that’s like the universe. That’s the terminology for a list of 5 million. You have to be careful with this- I typically don’t find this as an issue when I’m going direct, but if I’m going through brokers and what not, you have to be careful with this. So let’s say I want to test 10% segments and let’s say the original test goes well, what a lot of people starting out will do is that they’ll test all 5 million next. The problem with that is you don’t know if that broker segmented the very best to that 500000, like the people that are clickers and openers and that sort of thing. And then now, you are going to buy a 5 million person, 5 million name test and get absolutely burnt. So what I like to do is I like to increase it by another 20 – 30% on the next rate, or even up to 50% so I might go 750000 after the 500000 test, and I might just increase it gradually like that. People might get impatient but you have to be really, really careful. Usually you want opt in list versus compiled list. Compiled list could mean many different things, it could be leads that were purchased, it could be scraped lists; it’s hard to tell really with compiled lists. When I go direct and this is again why I like to do direct in this sort of case, typically it’s those opt in lists, it’s buyer’s list and that sort of thing and that’s what you want. That’s typically how you ensure that you’re getting the best quality. So I like to go direct in a lot of these cases, I know it’s a bit slower a process than going to a broker, unless you really trust that broker in that agency, test small. I even test small when I’m going direct. At least when you’re going direct, usually you can test smaller and you know you’re getting the true opt in list, the true buyer’s list from that publisher.
James: Got it! Well that certainly opened our listener’s eyes to some of the pitfalls to avoid. Is there anything else that they should keep an eye on for when doing an email buy?
Chad: Yeah, you know the next one that I would say, and this is kind of in your original set up when you’re negotiating with a rep at the network or at publisher site, I’ll always ask them if we’re paying on a CPM, I’ll say how many clicks can we expect? And they’ll always say it comes down to the creative on how engaging it is etc., but they will have a range. So let’s say I’m doing a buy of 10,000, they should have a range, and they might say you might get between 7500 and 13000 clicks. So if that’s the range that they tell me, I’m going to estimate on the lower end. So I can say that I can expect 7500 clicks and it’s going to cost me $10,000 so the average cost per click is going to $1.33, if I know the average EPC on the client offer then that gives me a good idea if we should proceed with this buy, if we proceed with caution and maybe do a smaller list just to make sure that it’s not going to be completely blown out. If the numbers are relatively close to what I need in terms of cost per click, then I’m fine and I’ll do the test. But if it’s like a crazy range where the cost per click is going to come in at $5 and I know the EPC is $1.50, I don’t think I will go ahead with that test. I still might do it on a lower volume because their traffic quality might be much, much better but usually if it’s something of that much of a difference, I just won’t do it. Like we had for example like with Newsmax they had this really high quality buyer’s list and the average cost per click is going to work out to be somewhere around $10, and I knew that the EPC that this client was getting was around $2.75 on Newsmax’s general list but I did not go ahead with the test because I did not think that the buyer quality list would bring in almost 4 – 5 times the quality. I could be wrong on that, but they only allowed a larger quality test, so I passed on that offer. Once you get in on these reps, especially the direct sites, they’ll start to give you offers and stuff, but you have to keep in mind that you are dealing with sales guys, and it does not mean that they are trying to rip you off or anything but nobody cares about your money as much as you- and you need to watch that, test them all before you go big. That’s always the way to do it.
James: Well, there you go some words of wisdom. I’ve got to ask at this stage, we might have a listener or two sitting out there, thinking, well hey guys, this is all well and good, but I have a small local business that’s perhaps concentrated in my hometown, can you do email buys for a more localized market, or have you always have to go through these direct buys or agencies?
Chad: A lot of the direct ones can actually segment out the list, statewide or even city now if the city, usually it’s a major city but usually they can segment out local consumers. So it is an option on the email buys and you’ll not get huge amounts of volume but you’ll get all what you need to, and it’s just a matter of … the other thing to, if you want to target locally, we’ll go direct to, tampabay.com for example, we wanted to get traffic within Tampa Bay, this is a fairly big website for news in Florida in general and even southeast Unites States but you can go to the big news sites for each city and you can just target those directly and then I’ll often have email drops as well where you can segments just drops to the city. And they can do that to a degree but you can actually get 80-90% accuracy in terms of targeting people within an area. Obviously not a 100% of the people will be there but you can get the majority so that’s probably the best option I have seen in terms of targeting right down to the city; going to the news outlet and that sort of stuff. You can go to the website, at the bottom of the page there is usually an advertising link, and they’ll usually have a sponsorship or a dedicated option once you contact the rep there, and of course banner ad options as well.
James: Absolutely! Well I know where I am in the Middle East and Dubai, there’s several publishers, most of which actually come from a print type environment and then have moved online on news related sites, and you can definitely take out these options for email buys and sponsorships for those types of places and I’m happy to hook people up with some contacts there if they get interested in the stuff. But Chad, I think we should move on, I think we should talk about another form of traffic that’s really working for you right now, what else is bringing you good results or perhaps giving you good results for your clients?
Chad: Yeah, when we run the majority of our volume is with display traffic, and with that I just mean banner ads for the most part, last month we had a client where we generated I think 1.6 million revenue for them, we spent about 900 thousand which is a pretty good profit and I say that of that ad spend, probably 800 thousand of it was display traffic. That’s nothing on Facebook, nothing on Google display network, nothing like that. That’s been our bread and butter, and that’s the reason why people have been coming to us – because we run a lot of banner traffic. With banner traffic, that’s what I did originally, we started with Google network; I’ve done a lot of Facebook as well, but I started with Google display network. I started moving away from Google just because I was promoting a lot of health offers so I did not get a lot of flexibility in terms of the compliance and that sort of stuff, so I just went ahead and I went outside of Google- don’t get me wrong, I think Google is a killer traffic source, but we do elsewhere. So some of the places we go,#1 we go direct, so to give you an idea, for that one client, there’s probably 20 to 25 direct sites that we deal with, and so we have the small, little portfolio websites. We try to find sites that can deliver more than a million impressions per day, keep in mind this is a pretty mass market offer which is usually what we deal with, but we usually find sites that can deliver a potential of a million impressions minimum per day. That’s part of our criteria and so we’ll build up our network of these sites that are fairly good sized and can deliver a good amount of traffic. The other places we go are obviously networks like Yahoo – not Yahoo self-serve ads through Bing and that sort of thing but we go through Yahoo display. One of our other clients, the weight loss client, we did for a good majority we were probably spending around 5,000 a day and bringing in 16-17 thousand in revenue, and it’s going very, very well, specific to Yahoo. To give you an idea, as an aside here, we have started this campaign on Yahoo in January, and we were not really profitable but we weren’t losing much, we were sort of just chugging along, we could not find the good packets, and then in late March going in to April, we just cracked it and we just started doubling money and then tripling money and to give you an idea on how much we are able to spend, the target CPA to apply this sale to our client, is around $100 -$200, and we were hitting $60 – $65 pretty regularly, with the average sale being a $170 so we are pretty happy with the results. So Yahoo is a good place to go to, AOL as well, these are the big ones where we can match the volume like Google or come very, very close – Yahoo display or AOL display. And we have a couple other channels, one that I won’t really talk about but it’s similar to Yahoo and AOL and that sort of stuff. So even if you just focus on just getting offers to focus on Yahoo and that sort of thing, you wouldn’t run out of volume. On AOL and Yahoo’s front page, you can spend two grand in one day so there’s so much volume there and we typically would do that. Sometimes we go through agencies but usually we go direct on a big network like Yahoo. On self-serve networks like Wham or wham PPC we do really well with them, Ad blade as well. We’ve worked with them for a while and then depending on the offer, if it’s an offer that we think can convert on their platform, we’ll work with Adblade as well. And so those are the types of sources we work on and display is absolutely our biggest channel for sure and that is where we focus most of our time as well.
James: I slipped in that piece there that you were suddenly able to ramp up your client’s results with a few changes, I’m sure there’s a secret in there that you’re probably not revealing just yet. What caused that massive change in improvement in that campaign?
Chad: Yeah, I don’t mind mentioning it, and the reason I don’t mind mentioning is because you couldn’t buy all the inventory here anyway, but when we start out and when you go to a network like Yahoo, there is so much volume and typically the reps would say, let’s run it on RMX, RMX is Yahoo’s right media exchange, it’s kind of their run on network like their remnant traffic. The remnant traffic when we go direct to a site we’ll buy. When we go to a network, we typically won’t buy the remnant traffic, what we’ll do is we’ll build out our proof of concept, we’ll find the ads that work on the direct buy and then we’ll find the demographics that work on those direct buys and we’ll take it to the networks like Yahoo and we’ll say these are the types of sites that we are converting on, these are the ads, let’s buy more premium traffic. What will happen is we’ll try to make it work on the remnant traffic on Yahoo and it was breaking even then what we did near the end of March, my rep said he wanted to run it in four premium properties, it’s kind of just running on Facebook versus running on just some random network. There’s a trust factor there, that when people see your ads on these more premium properties, they tend to trust the more, that’s my hypothesis. So that’s what we did, we shifted out over 80% of the spend to the more premium channels and if you are to go to Yahoo and you want to run on Yahoo premium properties, Yahoo will tell you which ones they are. And not every offer can run there but most client offers and that sort of thing are pretty safe though. That was the biggest shift that we did! We went after quality traffic, and I should mention that, this goes for email and everything, we don’t typically go for cheap traffic, we just go for converting traffic, so we’re willing to pay a cost per click that is three times more, a $1.50 versus 50 cents or a dollar versus 30 cents because the EPCs and the refund rates are lower and the EPCs are higher once we go on the more premium traffic. So the average sales are higher. To give you an idea, one of our biggest sources that we’re running for that one blood pressure client, the biggest data that we’ve had in terms of revenue was probably $60,000 from that one source, and we were running it in a lot of different quality traffic that we’re mixing it to a lot of different networks, I can’t give too many details like in terms of names and stuff but what was happening was we were seeing at a bigger scale we went, the average sale started going down. Our average sale originally was $250 and then it started going down to $220, $210 and then there were even some days when it was $190 and at those average sales, it couldn’t be sustained by the client, it wasn’t backing out enough. The 90 day trend in terms of refund was going up so our refund rates were going up from 7% to about 12% and we factored all that in, they’re actually losing money despite them on the front end for one month looking like they’re making tons so what we did, we scaled back the volume and we focused more on the premium and all that kind of reversed. The average sale went back to 260, 270 even. The volume went down but it was more profitable. So #1, that’s probably the biggest shift in stuff that we’ve done in the past year – just focusing more on premium traffic, and the thing is, when you go direct, it’s when you get the premium traffic, I’ll give you a really good example of this, so I’m sure a lot of your listeners know about site scout- site scout is an RTB, it’s a real time bidding platform. Site scout will typically access the remnant inventory on different sites, and this is probably the biggest thing – with the remnant traffic, there is one site for example where you can buy traffic on it for $1.50 on Site scout’s RTB. When we go direct, it’s about a $4 CPM. The thing is, if anything should be priced here, what’s happening there though is it’s the impression order that we have found that becomes the big issue. When somebody visits a site, are you one of the first ad that they see or are you the fifth or sixth ad that they see? And usually the RTBs and that type of remnant traffic, you’re further down the line, down the food chain in terms of impression order. And so what tends to happen is we’ll get much more worse results even though the CPM is lower. I know some guys make a lot of money off of RTBs and that sort of stuff but I have talked to some of the best guys in it and they all do say, yes your rep at the RTB network can make a very big difference in terms of the inventory you are accessing at that exact same site. Now when you do direct, I usually can bypass that. I pay more but I can get converting traffic right by the get n go. So that’s why I like to go direct, that’s why when we shifted traffic on AOL over to their branded properties versus their Right Media Exchange, it works better. The best quality remnant traffic that I have seen is on Google display network, just accessing their little ad words, simply because, this is my opinion – #1 there are a lot of people who don’t have any other ads or network on there other than Google so you’re accessing that first impression type of traffic anyway, otherwise, the ECPM that Google generates for these other publishers is pretty good so it puts them higher in the impression order but I think that’s why Google is kind of the exception to that remnant inventory type of thing, you can steal some really good quality pockets on Google display network but most networks I find traffic as good as right away. You have to burn through a lot of money before you just get to these premium quality pockets. That’s been the biggest change if that’s what you’re asking for the premium pockets right away and tweaking the offer in the ads if you work there.
James: I love it Chad! I think this is the probably the interview that I’ve had to say least on, I just asked a question you just unleash yourself 5 minutes with an awesome answer, so that’s great stuff.
Chad: Sorry if I am being a little excessive here.
James: No man, it’s all good stuff! You’re clearly a big advocate of media buys and this is what you do day in day out, what really makes it a good traffic source to you and why do you put so much focus in it over search traffic, or social, or Facebook or other sources? What makes it really work for you?
Chad: Why do I choose it over others? So #1, with search traffic, this is my thing. I’m not lazy but – I don’t want to say that because I work really hard for it but –
James: You’re a multi boxer so I don’t think we can call you lazy right?
Chad: Yeah, it’s not really lazy but I have this problem with dealing with compliance issues that I don’t understand fully. On networks like Google and networks like Facebook, I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me literally overnight on campaigns that are working really well, all of a sudden, next day, ads are approved our accounts are banned and that sort of thing, it’s not really something that is really shady or going against the terms of service and that sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong we still run on Google display network, but only for specific types of offers because Google has certain types of policies that we have to follow. I love Google’s traffic, I love Google’s display network, and it’s absolutely great. I love Facebook quality traffic. Whenever we can something in Facebook? Our ROIs are just insane! 200 -300% ROI, that’s just great, in terms of the babysitting that’s required for Facebook, that’s typically why we like to run on display, to give you an idea, even on a site they can deliver a million or two million impressions a day which is not huge right? We can have ads running there month after month that are profitable that we don’t really have to rotate and test new ads I we did not want to. We usually take 10 – 15% of traffic and we’ll test new ads to see if we can find your winners, but that’s the first thing that I like. It just is more stable right? For the longer term I mean. There are ads that we have been running for 8 months buying a 30 – 40% of voice which means that we’re buying a lot of their traffic with the exact same ads and we’re still maintaining a 7% click through rate while still getting really good results without having to change up ads whereas on Facebook we’d be changing ads at volume at least weekly, and that’s of we can get our ads approved every week and that’s if we can get our ads approved. So just allowing us to just buy the traffic, that’s the main thing that I like, I’m just like please I want to give you my money so let me buy and most of them are happy to do that. I like the human element of dealing direct. We can just say, for example, one client we’re doing really well on this website and we asked them, we’re like, you know what, you guys have great traffic and we simply can’t buy enough of it and you’re telling us there’s no more left. So would you consider doing a – this is a secret type thing but – would you consider setting up a new ad unit that might be a pop up or a peel back that you guys don’t even have right now? And they’ll do it, I mean, I can’t go to Facebook and say, hey Facebook, we’re doing great results with you, would you mind doing some pop up ads on your site for us? It’s not going to happen right?
James: Yeah, It’s not going to happen.
Chad: No, it isn’t, and same with Google. Even though I love Google’s traffic, it’s not going to happen. Whereas on the direct sites, they’ll say, yeah sure, how much more would you buy? If it’s converting like it is now, keep buying it right? And so they set up pop up ads and we’ve had those running for at least six months now, we barely have to look at it and its profitable month after month, and that was an ad unit that did not even have advertising, nobody has it, and we’re just hey would you be able to do this? And they’re not going to hammer their users with this pop up ads, so they’ll say we can do this many impressions and it’s just the flexibility of why I like it; the ad approvals we are able to get up and running very quickly so that’s kind of why we focused on it. In terms of search it’s something that we have not done much of even historically myself- it’s not something I did a lot of. Even when I did search as an affiliate, I took my keywords from Google display network and I would move those in to a search campaign which is really backwards from what most people would do but I would take my Google Display ad groups, let’s say I would have 500 adgroups and eventually after optimizing it would get down to one ad group with 10 keywords in it. I will take those 10 keywords and I’d do a search campaign. And it worked out really good, but it’s just something we have not focused on and if we ever are getting one that asked us hey do you do search? We’ll say no but usually we pass them along. And with Facebook, we’ll take some of the stuff on but only if we know that it’s compliant. Same with Google – our real estate investing, private lending client, we run them on Google. I think the ad spend right now is about $50 thousand on Google, we do another $30,000 through display network and then we do a couple direct buys and some email. We do still run Google for some stuff, we like the easy run and all that but the flexibility, the transparency, and dealing with that human element is what we love about the media buys –because they need the money, so they are just willing to go to whatever to close the deal.
James: Well, I know exactly what you mean about the rigidity and lack of flexibility when it comes to Facebook. I, unfortunately was a victim, as were a number of people that were kind of mixed in the same kind of circles and we had our accounts banned, be it temporarily for no apparent reason at all and you try on contact Facebook, and I mean seriously you have to send them a Morse code message or something to get through to those people to find out really what’s happening. Anyway, lo and behold, we all got back in to action again but there’s no support or help there being offered at all.
Chad: I’ve noticed Google’s a lot better this days, it’s like Facebook now where kind of Google support was maybe early 2010 when they were just going on mass bannings, whereas Google now, any issues we had we are able to contact them and deal back and forth with a dedicated rep which is really cool but, Facebook is just like – I mean, I just can’t handle it. We let go of a really high profile client, somebody who I’d really like to make it work, I said, I think your biggest wins are on Facebook, and I would need to hire a dedicated rep to deal with it and I think at most you’ll be able to spend maybe a couple of hundred thousand based on the pool of traffic that they needed, they’ll going to be able to spend a couple of hundred to a thousand a month and for me to dedicate like 2 guys because you’re going to have to concentrate on each ad, and get them approved, and contact Facebook- I said we’re just going to walk from this one, and when we did it was unfortunate but it has come to that where it has to be something I know Facebook is fine with before we run it, because they have great traffic, it’s just the way they choose to run it. It’s working for them obviously, and they can take advice from me so …
James: No, my good friend Brendan Colley so poignantly said this week that they’re like these mad scientists they just play around but not really knowing what the result is going to be so lo and behold a few things tend to mishap every now and then and they don’t really know what quite caused it but it’s all fun and games to watch right?
Chad: Oh of course yes. Especially if you’re not depending on them, that’s cool!
James: Yeah, that’s another important point. You got to have diverse traffic sources because if you’re solely reliant it does not take much for these people to pull the rug out from underneath you and can leave you high and dry if you’re not prepared. Good! We’ve gone pretty long Chad. We’ve covered a lot of ground so I think we should get towards a close and I think we should wrap things up. Tell our listeners what’s going on in your business right now. What are you up to at the moment?
Chad: Yeah, so like I said we’re still at the clients and what’s going on and we’re working on a couple health offers internally because I’d like to get in that game. It’s always been a personal interest of mine anyway. And since we have a lot of traffic for that stuff, I figured, why not? But it’s a whole lot learning curve on its own to create winning offers and that sort of thing and so that’s going to take some time. We just actually just recently today, we got the new traffic black book 2.0, we’re kind of targeting just more on agencies, small business and that sort of stuff so we’re really excited about that. It was actually featured in Tech Crunch today. So Tech Crunch is going to be featuring it for the next thirty days. Tech Crunch has us in in their new Crunch University and we’re one of two that they’re exclusively featuring about email blast and that sort of stuff and we’re really excited about that. People can check it out at Trafficblackbook.com. Right now that’s just redirecting to the other page but we’ll be doing our own internal push once the Tech Crunch promo’s out of the way but I got myself, Mike Flannela from Adbeats who’s a really, really smart guy, he’s in on it. There are just a lot of really smart guys who contributed to the product so I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s definitely a bible of the paid traffic and what we do and that sort of thing so I’m really excited about that.
James: Excellent! Well I hope today we have a few people excited enough to want to take this stuff further and find out more about how it’s done. So we’ll make sure that link is placed beneath this recording over at TrafficJamCast.com. Chad, I’ve got to thank you for your time, you’ve shared a lot of stuff and you’re such an easy guest to interview, like I said, I just ask a question and off you went so I have been enjoying my cup of tea here as you go so it’s been fantastic!
Chad: Awesome! I’m glad I made it easy for you.
James: Good stuff, thanks again for your time and I look forward to speaking with you again in the future.
Chad: Much appreciated James, thanks guys!
This week’s news in traffic: a couple of weeks old now but still deserved of mentioning, Twitter have rolled out marketing options including keyword targeted advertising in a move they hope emulates with Google’s success with keyword targeted advertising, Twitter have introduced options for advertisers to show ads in Twitter search and Twitter timeline so the trigger by mention of a keyword or a key phrase. Keyword targeting can be used in addition to Twitter’s existing parameters like geo location, device agenda and is available in 15 languages through Twitter’s ad platform and ad API partners. Agencies give an early access to the keyword marketing options indicate that users are more likely to engage with promoted tweets using keyword targeting than other forms of targeting in the timeline. Now this is really no surprise given the ability to serve up far more advertising than was previously possible with only interest based targeting.
Moving on to Facebook, they’re going to roll out video ads on to user’s news feeds as soon as July this year. The social media giant is really trying to steal a chunk of TV advertising revenues with these new ads. Now reports are that targeting options will initially be limited to four demographics and ads will be limited to 15 seconds in length and will likely be auto play. Wow! I am looking forward to the backlash from the spam haters on that one.
Now staying with Facebook, they’ve announced their first quarter earnings and almost one third of Facebook’s advertising revenue is now coming from the mobile platform according to the company’s latest earnings release, about $375 million of Facebook’s $1.25 Billion revenue came from the companies mobile app install ads, which is up from last quarter when Facebook said it made 3.5% or $305.9 million from mobile ads. So this is a nice 22.5% increase quarter after quarter in mobile advertising revenue. If you are not embracing web 3.0 and you’re not yet mobile friendly, this is yet another indication you absolutely should be.
I had a nice message from Makesh Pandi this week who said he liked the LinkedIn podcast with Los Silva and that the Facebook podcast with Jennifer Sheahan is absolutely awesome. So Jen is obviously getting a lot of love on the show today, and now from listeners too. Makesh really liked the information that was there for him on Jennifer’s episode especially as he manages leads in Dubai. I have known Makesh for some time now, he has attended some of the events that I have spoken at and we catch up from time to time in one place or another, and I have known that he manages paid traffic accounts, particularly Google adwords and that episode will be of real interest to him, so thank you Makesh for your nice comments and I’d like to receive your feedback too. If you have a comment or a question please head on over to TrafficJamCast.com and use one of the options that are there, and if you’d like to leave a review for the show, please do so over on iTunes, it would even be better still.
The one minute traffic tip: Matt Cutts has announced in the recent SMX convention that a major Google Penguin algorithm update is on its way in 2013. Now Google Penguin is the code name for Google’s attempt to stamp out websites that may be trying to manipulate the search engine by using backlinks to climb the results to a position that they do not deserve to be. This forthcoming Penguin update is expected to be the biggest yet and previous updates did catch a lot of websites out who had inadvertedly been using SEO techniques that Google do not look on too well. So in order to remain safe from the upcoming algorithm update and maintain or even increase your ranking when it occurs, you need to check the links coming to your website to ensure they are natural and safe. This process deserves longer than the one minute we have here so I’m going to cheat a little bit this week and send you off to a video I posted over at my SEO website SEOSherpa.com where I give you a step by step list of things that you must check to ensure your website does not fall foul of Google Penguin. If you are listening to this on iTunes right now, head on over to Traffic JamCast.com where you’ll find the link in the show notes. Good luck and tell me how you head on.
That’s a wrap on episode 8 of Traffic Jam, of course we’ll be doing it all again next week with another expert interview and the latest traffic tips and news. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, log in to iTunes and leave us a review; in fact if you did not enjoy this episode, I still want to hear your feedback too! It’s all welcome.
Playing out the show this week is Daft punk tune, it’s not the recent Single Got Lucky, which is blowing up across the internet right now. This is a single from the year 2000 and later featured at Daft Punk’s 2001 album Discovery, the track is One More Time. Enjoy!
- Jennifer Sheahan on Episode#5 of Traffic Jam
- Brendan Tully
THIS WEEKS NEWS IN TRAFFIC
- Twitter’s update – keyword target advertising
- Facebook video ads rolling out really soon
- Facebook revenue by Mobile ads keeps the pace
ONE MINUTE TRAFFIC TIP
- Beat the coming Google Penguin algorithm update
- Google Penguin Tips on SEO Sherpa News
THE TRAFFIC JAM
Daft Punk – One More Time
Enjoy the episode? I’d LOVE to hear from you. Please post your comment below.