When you start out its easy to drown in the sea of digital marketing terminology and procedures. We wanted to help clear the air around blacklists and whitelists because you will need to fully understand them if you want to succeed. They are the principal way to optimize your traffic to increase your campaign performance.
In this article we will cover:
- What's blacklists and whitelists
- Why you should use them
- How to use them
- How to make them and when to update your lists
What are blacklists and whitelists?
Let’s start with Blacklist (you should too). They are a list of everything you want to exclude from your campaigns. Now theoretically this could be applied to a lot of things like countries, devices, carries.. and so on, but it mainly refers to the list of sites or supply feeds that you exclude from your campaigns.
Whitelists, on the other hand, are the opposite. They are a list of where you want to exclusively get traffic from. Again most of the time this refers to a list of supplies and placements. Whitelists are generally used to group high performing sources together.
To help this set in, let’s use an example sweeps campaign to demonstrate how they work. Let say the campaign is receiving traffic from ten sources but two of them are not bringing any conversions, so you decide to blacklist them, that means to would send traffic to the other eight and not to those two. Now let’s say that only two of them were bringing conversions then you would want to whitelist those two which means you would send traffic to only those two and not the other eight.
Why you should use them
Because not all sources are the same, you will probably find that some work better with your campaigns than others. Creating a blacklist is a good way to continuously refine the traffic to your campaigns. Whitelists and blacklists are essentially the heart of the optimization process and are absolutely need if you ever want to maximize your ROI.
How to use them
Now there is a lot of affiliates that come to us demanding a general whitelist to use for all their campaigns. Now, this doesn’t really work because whitelists and blacklist should change depending on the verticals and geos. This is because the audience that works well for your finance offer may be the best converter for someone else’s dating offer.
Normally after testing and offer you use blacklists to exclude all the feeds that are not performing well. Then after you have enough data to see that some feeds perform better you would want to create a new campaign with these sources whitelisted with a higher bid to buy more of the high-performing traffic.
You always want to start with blacklists before whitelists because whitelists will greatly reduce the amount of supply of traffic to your campaigns. A lot of people try to use premade whitelists to test new offers which works, but we have found using a higher user freshness (user age) to be a better way to increase the traffic quality while not excluding any supplies that could be a good fit for the offer.
How to make them and when to update your lists
You should always be keeping track of all the feeds that bring you money and the ones that aren’t from the very beginning. You can always refer to your campaign stats page of pushground to see your historical data starting from your first campaigns to see what feeds and placements brought you the best and worst results. A lot of people also end up using affiliate trackers to store campaign data for blacklists and white in order to have all this information across various traffic sources together in one place. It’s easy to use excel or google sheets to create lists of over and underperforming feeds.
Once they’re ready, you can upload your whitelists and blacklist in the edit campaign page. Add the list of supply ids or site ids separated by commas.
Pro-tip: You can automate the process of creating blacklists through Pushground’s automatic rules or through some third-party ad trackers. Learn how to automatically blacklist sites and sources in our article on campaign automation.
A common question we get is how long to wait before blacklisting a source. We recommend a minimum of 1-3 days and until you have spent around 2-3 times the payout of your offer.
You should create separate lists for each vertical and for each country. Although you may find them some lists to be similar, its good practice to use different lists to avoid any missed opportunities.