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PPV Case Study – Wrap Up and Conclusions

After running for about 14 days, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about the PPV test campaign I ran, especially some conclusions which may be a revelation to you if you’re new to this form of traffic.

[Note: this is the last in a series of case study posts, to catch up, go to the beginning: PPV-to-CPA case study kicks off]

End of campaign stats:

Assigned daily budget: $10/day

Total views: 627

Total spend: $7.47

Average daily spend: $0.30


Total number of conversions: 0

Net profit/loss:  -$7.47


The offer as previously mentioned was a dating offer, specifically one of the niched forms of dating. It didn’t convert. Here’s why:

  • I loaded 6,000+ URL targets from scraping search engine results, bidding between $0.01 to $0.04 per impression. I was pretty surprised I was getting traffic from some URLs with a competing $0.12 top bid.
  • The higher traffic URLs were from the root domains of broader/more generic sites. The niche-specific domains get less traffic (about 10% of the total impressions). So a more general dating offer might have worked, especially since I was getting traffic from the other dating membership sites, a couple of About.com pages, ustream.tv, the Billboard.com charts, and a couple of general chat/discussion sites. Looking at the pages more closely, it clear that although these pages might have a chance at conversion, most of them were clearly way off-topic and would be better off pruned.
  • If you looked at some of the URLs I was bidding on, you would probably be ROFLing. I didn’t go through the list, although I have a clear idea of the URLs I want to prune before starting the campaign.
  • Direct linking was probably a bad idea, especially given the interruptive version of PPV/contextual traffic. Spending a couple of hours or bucks farming out engaging/eye-catching graphics as Finch has mentioned in his shock marketing tactics post would’ve increased user engagement. Even something like a pre-qualification poll, asking a question with a yes/no response (maybe with some geo-location/localization script) would have upped the user engagement, vs the likely scenario of a “Skip this ad” button click
  • On the subject of creatives, Lorenzo Green (a really sharp young dude from NZ) has been churning out some great posts since he was finally pushed off the edge and started his blog (outing a lot of media buy and ppv tactics in the process). Check out his “Pimping your PPV” page post. He’s also in the process of starting a case study documenting how he’s promoting the worst performing offer he can find on the CPA networks. It’s going to make for some engaging reading. Make sure you get your vote in for which offer he should promote.


What’s next for the case study?

  • I’m planning to install the various PPV ad serving applications on my test PC – vomba screensavers, gamevance, loudo, and the like, and look at some of the creatives that’re being served up. Unlike PPC, you can’t easily preview ads unless you have it installed in your machine.
  • Think up new angles to promote offers, especially given the interruptive/disruptive nature of PPV. Like Finch says, you don’t exactly have the same user behavior when you pop a 750×550 page, as when they’re typing “flip video coupon code” into google.
  • Keeping at it: Labelling PPV as ineffective if you’re used to PPC or SEO traffic is just silly. You need to work at the system. Looking at my Direct CPV referrer stats, some of you guys are spending $100/day in the network. It obviously has to be working. So if it’s already working for someone else, then why not you?

Here’s my thoughts on the resources I used for this:

  • PPV network: Direct CPV (use code BR25 to get a free $25 ad credit) – Direct CPV is a newer CPV/PPV network and I met affiliate manager Brett Rothenberg at the Affiliate Summit West 2010. He’s knowledgeable about affiliate marketing and traffic, and is available via IM to advise you as you’re setting up your campaigns. Direct CPV has CPV rates starting as low as $0.004 per impression.

Good starter network, especially if you’re new. I liked the fact that you can fund the account with your Paypal balance, vs just a credit card alone. The fact that their PPV is popped on multiple browser platforms – IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari – means  you’re going to get wider coverage than just a IE-only PPV network (many of them are). Also, Direct CPV is receptive to user feedback and their interface is relatively easy to use. Bulk uploading of URL targets saved me a ton of time – also scaling to a 200k URL campaign should not be an issue. Due diligence: Be sure to check the conversion reports regularly (I suggest at least once a day) and export the data to Excel, so you can do data analysis to improve your campaign.

  • PPV training material: PPV Playbook – David Ford is an experienced PPC/CPA marketer who’s branched into PPV. He’s also author of the popular PPV Playbook blog. What I liked about his PPV Playbook course is how he’s incorporated both a manual and a video tutorial series that I went through in an hour and gave me a number of ideas to position my campaign differently from the majority of affiliates out there.

Good resource to get started. Some will ask “Isn’t this stuff free on the internet”? Some of it is, some of it isn’t. I’d suggest getting this as a reference and reading all the PPV-related blogs you can. Besides Lorenzo, Finch, Josh Todd, PPV Playbook, you can see what other marketers are periodically posting about PPV on AffBuzz.

I didn’t sign up for David’s PPV coaching forum yet, because I wanted to apply the basics and understand the systems. I might include the forum in a future case study.

  • PPV landing page templates: LP Designer Jan 2010 PPV template pack – Designer/affiliate Thien comes out with attractive and high converting landing page templates. At $20 for 16 PPV templates, complete with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, these will be useful in the second phase of the case study.

In the future, I’d look at implementing a simple landing page creative, even if it was a static or animated graphic, or a more conventional lander. Thien/LP Designer’s PPV landing page templates at $20 for 16 of them are a steal. Else Justin Dupre is selling some for $5 each at his marketplace.

  • Demographic targeting techniques: Internet Marketing Cookbook Feb 2010 update (link valid till 28th Feb 2010)- This is a report series that I author and this month’s topic is focused on demographic and behavioral targeting which will be useful in enhancing your campaigns whether you’re a PPC, PPV, social media or media buying affiliate/product owner.

A number of techniques when it came to scraping URLs were using the techniques I outlined here. If you’re interested, act now, because the content is updated every month and will be replaced on Mar 1st.

  • PPV tracking script: Prosper 202 – open source and free. This is a winner.

Good script. Works as directed. Nuff said.

  • CPA offer networks: Affiliate Network recommendations – Since I already work closely with these networks and have existing relationships with the affiliate managers, it makes sense to promote their offers.

Be sure to talk to your affiliate manager to find out which offers are working well with PPV. Making the assumption that contextual/PPV is accepted and promoting it, then finding out that traffic type isn’t allowed, is a good way to mess up your day. Also, if you’re an experienced affiliate, your AM can usually check with the advertiser about PPV approval for you.


Bottomline: I got some tips from marketers who’re regularly using PPV and they shared their experience -

  • Expect a 5-10% success rate with your offers. Not always something to do with you, but if you spend too much time over-analysing what you’re doing, it’s going to slow you down.
  • Scale your PPV efforts. Launch 10 offers at a time, see what works drop the rest.
  • Find a winner, then scale it across all the PPV networks you can get your hands on

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