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Ultimate Affiliate Campaign Checklist

Ultimate Affiliate Campaign Checklist

To help you launch better campaigns, we have created a full campaign launch checklist to take you step by step through the process. You can use this to prepare, launch and optimize any paid campaign.


Preparation Phase

1. Decide on a vertical and niche.

Which type of offer will we focus on? (sweepstakes, dating, nutra, pin-submits, etc.)

2. Decide on a traffic type and source

Where are we buying traffic? (native, push, pop, social media)

3. Decide on lead quality intentions.

Based on your choice of vertical and traffic source, which lead quality strategy will we pursue? (usually Facebook traffic is with the best quality, native and push are with the middle quality and pop traffic is at the bottom)

4. Decide on placements.

Where will the ads run? RON or a specific placement? What type of ad – banner, text, push, or popup? (if you can, please avoid running RON campaign)

5. Do chosen placements align with lead quality strategy?

If not, what creative/targeting compromises must be made?

6. Carry out top-level research of competition.

Use spy tool or do manual research to uncover top 3 advertisers in chosen placement(s) – note the offers, angles, creatives, and style of landing pages. (Please keep in mind they can cloak their original landing pages)

7. Follow up best offers.

Ensure that we have access to at least one of the offers uncovered by the research phase – but ideally three. (test offers from different affiliate networks)

8. Contact affiliate managers for feedback on chosen offers / and access to them (if necessary).

Ask AMs for feedback on chosen offers, best practices seen by the AM internally, and any other offers that may be suitable to test. (don’t forget your AM is here to help you make money)

9. Search email inbox for mentions of researched offers.

Can we find them recommended or mentioned in network newsletters? Is there any advice for promoting them?

10. Read through notes filed from previous related campaigns.

What notes have we taken on this vertical in the past? On the niche? On similar offers?

(Can we recycle any of the data to guide our initial efforts?)

11. Contact rep at traffic source for feedback on chosen offer, demographic, and market.

Does my rep at the traffic source have direct experience with the offers? Any advice for the chosen country? 

Creative Phase

1. Draft 3-5 angles of attack.

Use information gleaned from research (and any personal inspiration) to draft 3-5 angles of attack; be sure to include those uncovered in the research phase.

2. Design landing page for Angle 1.

Edit a tried and trusted landing page for Angle 1. Ensure copy matches angle and there are no inconsistencies. 

3. Design at least 2 creatives for Angle 1.

Collect any established banner that matches your angle from spy tools, then design at least 2 of your own based on the angle. Be sure to follow the network guidelines.

4. Repeat the last two steps for the other Angles.

5. Set up campaigns in tracker with angle filtering rules.

Angle 1 

Banners 1a, 1b >> Landing Page 1

Angle 2

Banners 2a, 2b >> Landing Page 2

(And so on for each angle.)

6. Assess redirect options for unsuitable traffic.

Are we redirecting traffic from other countries? Are we filtering any devices? (Pro Tip: you can send the traffic which can’t be converted to a SmartLink or sell it back to traffic networks)

7. Configure targeting options on the traffic source.

Apply any targeting advice extracted from AM and traffic source rep. Set up the campaign. (you can set up a daily budget to avoid overspending)


· Bid is sensible

· Correct daily budget

· Correct country

· Correct devices 

· Correct placements

· Pixel/postback tracking is configured for an offer(s)

· User freshness targeting applied

9. Upload the ads.

Ensure any custom tokens are added for correct filtering in the tracker.

10. Final campaign delivery settings.

Set campaign budget, daily budget, frequency capping, and ensure funds are added.

11. Wait for the campaign to be approved.

(You can get a beer here)

12. Allow data to accumulate.

What will it cost to test an angle?” Wait for the results.

Optimization Phase/Feedback Loop

1. Perform a full assessment of the campaign.

What is your ROI? Are we spending more or less of what we expected with our current bid? Does the campaign show enough potential to meet our income target – or provide otherwise meaningful insights?

If not… skip to the Autopsy phase.

2. Assessment of offer(s)

Do we have a clear winner? What is the conversion rate of each? Remove definite losers!

3. Assessment of angles

Do we have a clear winner? What is the conversion rate of each? Remove definite losers!

4. Assessment of ads

Do we have a clear winner? What is the conversion rate of each? Remove definite losers!

5. Decide on the next action. 

Using the information above, discern the immediate priority: optimize and add any necessary creatives.


Order of priorities to include:

1.   Establish the best offer.

2.  Establish the best angle.

3.  Test the best angle with different landing page types.

4.  Establish the best ads. 

5.  Create new ads.

6.  Experiment with targeting and restrictions.


Ongoing priority:

1.   Cull worst-performing placements.

2.  Create a whitelist of “good” placements (if necessary and suitable).

3.  Create a blacklist of “bad” placements (if necessary and suitable).

6. Allow further data to accumulate.

Spend the money. Wait on results.

The Optimization Phase continues, in a loop, until we reach one of two conclusions:

1.   The campaign is stable and producing satisfactory results, in which case we move to the Campaign Maintenance Phase

2.  The campaign is failing and/or unable to meet our targets, in which case we move to the Autopsy Phase.

Campaign Maintenance Phase

1. Perform assessment of ROI.

What is the daily profit? Is profit heading in the right direction? Are we hitting our income targets? Compile a report of earnings.

2. Take preventative measures.

What metrics are likely to degrade over time? Draw up a schedule and timetable of actions to prevent this from happening. Brief to team if necessary.


Measures include:

· Blacklist underperforming placements.

· Add new ads to fight banner blindness.

· Add new LP variations to boost conversion rate.

· Communicate with AM for lead quality feedback. (are payout bumps possible?)

· Optimize bids.

· Analyze competitor activity on chosen traffic source. 

3. Allow further data to accumulate.

Spend the money. Wait on results.


4. Assess the results.

Are the preventative measures working?

Are there any conclusions to be made?

5. Is the campaign still successful?

If yes… allow it to continue; schedule the next maintenance phase.

If no… decide, is the campaign worth optimizing? If it is, return to the Optimization Phase. If it isn’t, skip to the Autopsy Phase.

6. Analyze opportunities to scale.

How can we get back on the offensive and scale the campaign to increase profits? What are our horizontal scaling options? What are our vertical scaling options? List most viable lines of attack.

Autopsy Phase

1. Compile the statistics.

How did the campaign perform in each key battleground:

· Offers 

· Angles 

· Landing pages

· Ad creative

· Placements

· Targeting

 (Keep a written record of the vital metrics; include screenshots of notable elements).

2. Review the Campaign.

What factors were responsible for any success this campaign saw? What factors were responsible for it ending? (Often even a profitable campaign can be stopped by advertiser's request because of bad quality traffic)

3. Assess Future Opportunities.

What insights can we take from this campaign to guide future efforts? 

What would it take for this campaign to be launched again profitably?

4. Schedule any follow-up campaigns.

If opportunities have been detected for future campaigns, create a thread for them in a central database. Report to the team.

5. File records for future reference.

Add any campaign records, creative, and landing pages to a central database. (you can store them in a cloud drive like Dropbox or Google Drive)Print written record and file under correct country/vertical/traffic source.

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