At ChamelaonAds we are always looking to acquire and share knowledge with our affiliates, as we believe knowledge is the ultimate revenue driver and generator. The best way to learn is most often through two simple yet effective ways: 1) Action i.e. driving traffic to your own campaigns and 2) through absorbing the knowledge and experience industry-gurus are willing to share – the combination of both learning “methods” is absolutely priceless.
So when we were thinking of interesting people to interview to share valuable knowledge, we quickly knew Matej Cechvala aka MATULOO and Christina Szekeres aka FBQUEEN were the right people! Both of them are true industry legends and affiliate marketing gurus, having bought traffic for millions of dollars and scaled campaigns time after time to 5 figures a day at an insane pace. They are each for more than 10 years in the industry and have seen people and companies come and go while steadily growing and scaling their own campaigns, as well as carefully building their own professional profile and position in the AM industry.
We hope their insights will inspire and motivate you to take your own game to the next level and to focus on what really matters in order to become successful in the affiliate marketing industry. Happy reading!
PS/ their answers are not edited.
1. Where does your story in the AM industry begin and how did it evolve?
Matuloo: This must be the question I get asked the most often 🙂 My story isn’t any special, I’m pretty sure many others started the same way… it all goes back to 1997 or 1998, when my parents installed the first internet connection. As I was still living with them at that time, this opened a whole new world of opportunities for me. Once, while browsing some sites, I noticed a little link in the footer of some website : Webmasters make money … I clicked it, discovered the world of affiliate marketing and the rest is history as they say 🙂
During the years, I had to change focus a few times… I went from a traditional webmaster, through a SEO webmaster to a Media Buyer and blogger. All those years I somehow sticked to the affiliate marketing model … basically, that’s how I’ve been making a living during my entire “adult“ life.
FBQueen: I was 14 when my dad gave me an eBook on Affiliate Marketing, which was written by a female super affiliate back then. I was very inspired and did what the book suggested, launched my first campaign on Google Adwords. Well, I failed but when I got the check of my earnings in hand I realized that making money online is possible and kept trying. It took me 3 years to turn into green – I basically was growing up with Affiliate Marketing, when I turned 17 I finally found a profitable campaign on Traffic Vance running an edu lead gen offer. A few years later I got into Facebook and here I am today, focusing on this amazing traffic source for about 5 years now.
2. What are your main verticals and traffic sources you work with? Why did you pick these?
Matuloo: In the world of Affiliate Marketing, things are rarely stale, quite the contrary actually… they change all the time. The same goes for verticals and traffic sources. What works now, doesn’t have to work in a few months … My main verticals change all the time and so do the sources. I try to identify the trends and jump on them while they are hot. When app installs emerged, I focused on these offers a lot, and since they worked well with adwords traffic, I was buying a lot from adwords. When sweeps were killing it with POP traffic, I was buying tons of it again. It’s a never ending process. Then there are table verticals that I’m involved with, for example dating … even the adult part of it, so I’m buying impressions from pretty much all adult networks. If I had to name something that I focus on, I’d call it “Lead Gen” and “Carrier Billing”, that’s where my main focus is right now.
FBQueen: In the past few years my main focus has been running on Facebook. Trial and also lead gen offers have been working great for me, a mix of both hats if you know what I mean 😉
3. Do you have any advice for starting affiliates or affiliates looking to scale to X,XXX$ a day?
Matuloo: One thing would apply to both, they need to be persistent and patient … there are many obstacles on the way to overcome, both for those who start and those who scale.New affiliates need to learn the ropes first, it’s a process that’s hard to rush, so do not attempt to do that guys 🙂 There is a learning curve to go through, sources like STM Forum or several affiliate blogs are great resources, user them. Learn how to pick the best offers from a pool of 100’s of crappy ones, learn how to spot bot traffic that sources want to sell you, learn how to optimize. Scaling to higher numbers is another challenge, it’s seems easy, but it’s not. One would thing that all it takes is to find one good campaign and then copy it all across the place. But there are conditions specific to some GEOs, sources, placements, vertical etc … in order to scale properly, you need to learn to understand your market. I’d recommend to prepare for the scaling process in advance… register with multiple sources and learn how their interface works, do the same with affiliate networks … in other words, prepare yourself for a quick start, so you do not waste time later on.
FBQueen: Yes, definitely create friendships; build relationships and put the work into your business and you’ll succeed. Networking, persistence and daily work is key to success. Also, keep on testing!! I remember 2 of the most important reminders hanging on my wall while I was still just a noob: “What are you split testing today?” and also “Pick 2 hours a day and focus on what makes the biggest impact on your business…” You don’t need to go crazy with the hours of work, just be efficient and do your best.
4. What is your biggest learning in the industry when it comes to what campaigns to run and who to work with?
Matuloo: AM based on paid traffic is an industry where rather large chunks of money change hands all the time, that’s why it’s absolutely crucial to work with reliable partners. Whether it is affiliate networks, traffic sources or tracking platforms … you need to trust these people with your money.I also prefer to work with advertisers who have the budgets and know what they are doing. There is nothing worse than losing an offer that you’ve spent weeks on, trying to optimize it, due to a low budget or a rookie advertiser who just realized they were losing money on it.
FBQueen: The best strategy you can have to learn about what’s trending is attending private parties that are happening around a big conference like AWA or ASW. Key is to have a good time and be in a relaxed mode and not blast all of your questions on one person at a time, just share and take. That is the idea. Affiliates like to learn about each other and their work but it’s never good when you’re too aggressive with your questions. Also it should be a win-win for everyone so don’t be afraid to share your experiences.
As the industry is changing you’ll always hear about the latest trends on what’s working at the moment. When I’m looking for a partnership I make sure I have met the person before and it also applies to any network or advertiser I decide to work with. For me personal contact in terms of looking into the eyes of the person I do business with matters more than a simple Skype introduction…
5. How do you see your own future in this industry?
Matuloo: Right now there are several thing that keep me busy: my own campaigns, the moderator role on STM Forum, and my blog at matuloo.com.
And I plan to keep it this war for some more … I still enjoy all the parts, so I don’t see a reason to change anything. I’d like to devote more time to blogging and STM Forum, since I love to help people over there … but campaigns are the source of my income, so I cannot abandon them either.
FBQueen: In the past 1,5 year I started my 1-on-1 consulting gig because there was such a high demand for understanding Facebook better and I do share underground information, which is not available publicly nor on STM. I am about to do my 2nd workshop in Moscow, Russia – Sept 28-29, which is a next level for me as I am gathering a group of high-level affiliates in one room and we’re masterminding for 2 straight days. I believe this is a very unique opportunity for the attendees to build deep relationships and to learn the secrets no one likes to talk about. You can read about it here.
6. What can affiliate networks do to differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract and keep good affiliates?
Matuloo: It all comes down to having the best offers with solid payouts … that’s how easy it is 🙂 Having good AMs, frequent payouts and good presence on conferences helps too, since it’s good to know who you’re working for. And I know many affiliates love to get presents from networks, it’s funny how big impact such a small thing can have.
FBQueen: Popping more bottles. Haha Okay, just kidding. That’s already the case at most of the networking events. I really like when a network is treating me with goodies. Whether it’s the latest macbook or a game console, it’s nice to hit goals and get presents. Also when they have a solid referral program, whoever you send as a referral you’ll earn 3% of their commissions infinitely. On the other hand I certainly believe a CPA Network should have state-of-the-art tracking solutions, because redirects and click loss can really damage the overall ROI of a campaign. I personally only would work with a network that has their own custom-built tracking platform.
7. What verticals do you think are going to be big money makers in 2018?
Matuloo: I expect some change in Carrier Billing, this field has been regulated a lot, but there is so much money in it, that I expect carriers to come up with some solution to get the income back. Leadgen will remain strong, in many shapes and forms – collecting emails or contact information is still a huge business. Ecommerce is on the rise, I see no reason for it to slow down either. Since Facebook keeps on growing, anything you can run there, has a ton of potential. Evergreens like Nutra products, gambling/casinos, dating … these are here to stay too.
FBQueen: Trials, sweeps, dating have been dominating and will always be strong verticals. Binary and casino has been trending this year. I see many affiliates diving into the crypto world. And also Shopify – running your own ecommerce store will get more and more attention.
8. If you could start all over, what would you do different? What mistakes can (starting) affiliates avoid – any advice?
Matuloo: I would organize my funds better, I’m absolutely terrible at this. If I could roll back a few years, I’d invest into making my business better, instead of spending it on the good things … but at least I have a lot of good memories now. During the years, I learned one lesson that all the new affiliates should keep in their minds, and not just affiliates … NOTHING LASTS FOREVER ! Just because you’re able to make money with POPs and sweeps now, doesn’t mean it’s gonna work in 5 or 10 years… chances are it won’t. Do not rely on just one business model only, always plan for the future. I failed at this a couple times and the wakeup call didn’t feel good at all 🙂
FBQueen: First, I would avoid trusting people so fast. Given I’m a girl, I can be naive sometimes and it has backfired before. Second, I’d have started joining mastermind groups or private chat groups to network more. Third, I’d have shaped my perspective on running campaigns differently. I was so afraid of losing money when I was testing new offers. In reality I wasn’t losing money, I was collecting data and that’s a huge difference in my mindset.
9. What big events and trade shows would you recommend all affiliates to attend?
Matuloo: The Affiliate World Conferences are the very best in my opinion, both Affiliate World Europe and Asia … Asia is coming up in December, so definitely attend it, if you can. I do not go to many other conferences actually, I have a family, so I try to keep my work-related travels to an acceptable level. I want to see my kids grow up in person, not just via video calls 🙂
FBQueen: Affiliate World Asia – it will be the BOMB. There will be an after party on an island of Thailand just for about 250 affiliates so I’m really looking forward to it. Also I will be attending Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas, I will be a keynote speaker so definitely will be there. ASW is the #1 conference everyone still makes sure to go to, it’ll be my 5th year in a row.