The Most Important Factor Separating Seasoned Affiliates from Amateurs

9 December 2020

15 min read


When a newbie affiliate is given a high-probability set-up, state-of-the-art knowledge, and tools, they usually end up losing money. In contrast, if a super affiliate is given the same set-up, they can make piles of money. What makes the difference? What separates seasoned affiliates from amateurs? Is it fresh creativity or the length of the order form?

Money/Traffic Management

Affiliate business is hard, emotional, and losses can accumulate quickly. It becomes increasingly difficult to recover and “dig yourself out of a hole.” As a result, many affiliates take bigger risks to make up for earlier losses, and before they know it, their account is added to the 72% of affiliates out of business.

Money management is crucial to long-term affiliate success, and loss-taking is an essential aspect of it.

Figure 1

Figure 1 demonstrates just how difficult it is to recover from a debilitating loss. The reality is that very few affiliates have the discipline to practice money management/traffic allocation consistently.

The Big One

Most affiliates begin their career visualizing “The Big One” – the one campaign that will make them hundreds of thousands of dollars and allow them to retire young, buy sports cars, and have fun. But, in reality, this fantasy is further reinforced by the folklore of the community.

However, the cold hard truth for most affiliates is that instead of experiencing the “Big Win,” most of them fall victim to just one “Big Loss” that can knock them out of the game forever.

The runaway loss is typically due to sloppy money management and a loss of discipline.

Learning Tough Lessons

Affiliates can avoid falling victim to the “Big Loss” by controlling their risks through money/traffic allocation.

Most affiliates can only absorb the lessons of risk discipline through the harsh experience of monetary loss.

This is the most important reason why affiliates should use only their speculative capital when choosing to promote high-risk offers.

One super affiliate suggests choosing a number that will not materially impact your life if you were to lose it completely. 

Types of Affiliate Platforms

Generally speaking, there are three types of affiliate platforms (and risk levels). The conservative platform offers safe but often burned-out offers with low payouts aimed mainly at the saturated American market.

The balanced platform operates mainly in Europe, offering low-to-moderate risk and decent payouts at an above-average market level. The aggressive platform offers high-risk opportunities that promise substantial gains but can drive you out of the game quickly.

  1. CONSERVATIVE – Old ClickBank dinosaurs, offering safe but often burned out offers with low payouts aimed mainly at the saturated American market.
  2. BALANCED – Direct Affiliate – we operate mainly in Europe, and thanks to a 6 years of uninterrupted growth, with an internal, multilanguage call-center and in-house setup for 25+ verticals in the CoD (cash on delivery) model, we can build offers characterized by low-to-moderate risk and decent payouts at an above average market level.
  3. AGGRESSIVE – Many platforms and “snake-oil” salesman in the industry is doing a great job at convincing you that it is easy and that their whiz-bang offers and creatives will do all the hard work for you… Sometimes it works and you can make a lot of money in a short time, but usually, these opportunities end quickly and in most cases, they will drive the Ferrari bought with your payouts. Please!… – if their pitch was true all the time we’ll all be driving Ferrari now…

The Bottom Line

To a large extent, the affiliate platform you choose on your risk tolerance. One of the greatest benefits of the Direct Affiliate platform is that our offers are TESTED, OPTIMIZED, PREDICTABLE AND BALANCED, so they can be the solid foundation (let’s say 70% of your working capital/traffic), based on which you can build a well-balanced long term portfolio of campaigns with optimal risk/reward ratios.

In plain English – with us, you can earn reasonably well with minimal risk of losing money. This does not preclude the simultaneous promotion of aggressive, risky offers from other platforms where you CAN EARN A LOT OR LOSE ALL… In my opinion, in the long term, the hybrid balanced model works best.

Taking into account our long-distance BALANCED business philosophy, let’s look at how the length of our order form affects profits.

Especially for this case study, I commissioned a fresh A/B test. The research protocol assumes the following test parameters:

Please note that form B (SHORT) contains the absolute minimum of information to be able to function in the COD model (the risk of not picking up the order is on our side) and confirm the order by phone, by the call center.

THE BOUNDARY CONDITION FOR THE END OF THE TEST: one of the variants reaches 250 orders. Let’s take a look at the results:

In Conclusion (part 1) Although visually the form shrank by about 30%, as can be seen from the results of the A/B test, the parameters increased slightly (within + 2-5% range), which is WITHIN THE STATISTICAL ERROR and does not significantly affect the profitability of the operation – your and our bottom line.

This means that, contrary to popular knowledge, the positive correlation between the conversion, bounce rate, and order form length is OVER-EXAGGERATED.

But the form can be shortened to the necessary minimum – all you need to confirm the data is an email and a telephone number – someone will say and seemingly will be right. This research hypothesis is currently being tested in our marketing laboratory.

So, I ordered a test of the form consisting of the absolutely necessary information and the development of an analysis of how SUPER SHORT (60% shorter than our company standard) affects the profitability of operations on both our side and the affiliate’s side. I will present the results, analysis, and conclusions from the test as soon as possible.

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