My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 5

So eventually I pulled the plug on this little experiment (it ran for roughly 5 weeks) even though I was still making some money.

One of the negative parts about affiliate marketing I mentioned was the price of Pay-Per-Click varies wildly, especially when people are bidding up keywords. This can be the difference between a profit and loss if you don’t watch out. This happened several times and the cost I had to pay shot up too much to be as profitable.

Basically I got these campaigns running for the experiment, but when I stopped paying attention, most of the good keywords stopped running because they exceeded my set budget. Eventually most traffic died down, a sale was made here and there, but nothing big.

Ultimately I ended up bringing in $727 from the BluCigs campaign and $360 from the GreenSmoke campaign (about 90% of that money was from that first 5 weeks) and paid a total of $166 for Google Adsense.

I could have kept on going, but the amount of effort for a short-term profit wasn’t worth it, especially when I already have profitable businesses of my own that offer a more long term payoff. I can already see some of you trying to signup and start your own experiments with these 😉

…however…hopefully this experiment demonstrated the POTENTIAL this sort of business model has in a more legitimate form. I wish I knew about it a long time ago when I was an active “financial” blogger.

I learned a lot and made a net profit!

-Neville Medhora

Neville Medhora blogs at NevBlog.com and is the founder of House Of Rave.


44 thoughts on “My Affiliate Marketing Experiment – Part 5”

  1. So, is it finish?

    I will start my experiment in it — the money seems worthy.

    1. Neville says:

      With all the information provided you should be able to start a full campaign!

  2. Another great post, thanks for the content!

    1. Neville says:

      Welcome! Hopefully something was learned!

  3. Glad to finally see the end! Too bad you stopped

    1. Neville says:

      Good for others though, they can possibly replicate the success!

  4. Nev, I been reading your blog for years. You may even recall that I did my own water experiment, and turned it into a highly successful summer business. (I still to this day run “Human Hydration Services” each summer). This series has been a great read, and if you ever need to know anything else about affiliate marketing I’m always glad to help. I know enough to keep my electricity turned on if you know what I mean.

    1. Neville says:

      Glad these experiments have inspired you, and thanks for reading 🙂

      …and congrats for taking the small-scale water experimenting and making it something commercially viable!

  5. And the saga ends huh…

    1. Neville says:

      When it has too many parts, people complain.

      When it ends, people complain.

      I can’t win! Hopefully you enjoyed 🙂

  6. Nice post that Greensmoke had a nice set up I ran if for a week then went back to the 32 clicks 🙂

    1. Neville says:

      I still make money with GreenSmoke till this day also 🙂

  7. another great post neville. thanks !! 😉

    1. Neville says:

      Thanks for the kudos, it makes these experiments worth it (well…that and the money) 😉

  8. d3so says:

    You mentioned prices on keywords being driven up and I realize now why it’s difficult to promote offers from networks. Nice going with ecigs. I’m going to hve to think of a less saturated niche to target.

    1. Neville says:

      eCigs might still have some opportunity since it’s a growing niche that will get VERY big in the coming years.

  9. Free Picks says:

    THanks for the 5th part, i was waiting for this, is it finished now?

    1. Neville says:

      Yes sir, that was the end!

  10. Great post as always. I loved the first 4 too.

    1. Neville says:

      Awesome, glad it was enjoyed!!

  11. Andrew says:

    Hey Neville, thanks for posting this series, it was an interesting read.

    SEO beats PPC eh?

    btw. somebody I know was looking to market electronic cigs off line and they turned out to be carcinogenic (due to the powder) so he had to drop the idea.

    So with these dodgey affiliate offers, I think it is well worth spending some time to check out if they are the kind of products that you want to associate with.

    1. Neville says:

      Glad you enjoyed Andrew! I would normally go into something I have some interest in, but with this experiment I was simply looking for a high converting product with little competition I could make quick $$$ on.

      I was mainly trying to demonstrate how to setup a full campaign, the product was nearly irrelevant.

  12. jtGraphic says:

    Great job illustrating what you did. Not very often do you see someone illustrate a specific niche and the keywords associated. I just read through all 5 parts at once – I hate being episodic about things… Worthy guest posts!

    1. Neville says:

      Thank you very much! ::takes a bow::

      This is why I did the experiment , because I’d never seen anyone go into ACTUAL detail about what they did.

      It was all buzzwords and “offers” and “publishers” instead of actual examples.

  13. content was great, thanks for the content! Affiliate Marketing Waiting for excitement about the new content.

    1. Neville says:

      Thanks SpamBot!

  14. Moon Hussain says:

    Nev, glad to see you finish the series. It’s nice to know that you can pick up and play like this but so can others. I’d prefer other methods of earning money online, but thanks for the glimpse into ppc type marketing.

    1. Neville says:

      Thanks Moon!

      This type is extremely short-term cash, but that was the point of the experiment. My other businesses are much more long-term focused and make money consistently.

      However what I like about the PPC marketing is how quickly it can scale up.

  15. Nice Post,

    I’ve been trying implementing affiliate marketing into some things I do. I have yet to make money from it. But I have hope that soon it will come through.

    Caleb

    1. Neville says:

      Good luck Caleb, hope this experiment helped a little!

  16. Neville, if my maths are not wrong you made a profit of $900+ in only 5 weeks for something that is set-up (after the initial keyword research) and maintained in very little time. I really fail to understand why you stopped. I am just running an adwords campaign for a product that makes me $40-70 per sale, by limiting the daily expenditure plus the costs per click I aim at low cost keywords that will bring a profit in all cases. My own biggest challenge is the writing of the ads, targeted and aimed at each keyword, but my conversion rate is getting better and better as I learn, SY

    1. Neville says:

      The campaign still runs on certain keywords, but the same margins aren’t there, plus I own other businesses than make money also, so I must pay attention to those too!

      1. Thanks for clarifying that 😉 SY

  17. Makitafan says:

    The keyword prices in adsense are high and often very high. Do you use other ppc systems. If yes, can you share?

    1. Neville says:

      For this experiment I stuck to just one: Adwords….in order to keep it simple.

  18. good experiment. I personally like to stick to adsense when my traffic is built for a website. Adsense gives a stable rate and i can guess how much will i be earning when my traffic will rise. When i used affiliate marketing alongwith adsens. It decreases my adsense clicks. and affiliate clicks dont give that much money. Any the scene may differ depending on different niches and websites.

    1. Neville says:

      Thanks for sharing!

  19. Alex says:

    Yeah you are so right, you have to keep an eye on your PPCs campaigns in order to bring some money home, other wise they die out.

    Thanks for the series of this case study.

    Personally, I value tremendous this type of posts that show from beginning to end a business concept. Instead of just theory.

    These type of case study posts are worth 100% more than just a theory post.

    Thanks again Neville and John for share the case study.

    Alex

    1. Neville says:

      Thanks Alex! I appreciate gratitude.

      I rarely see full case studies like this, so I just decided to go ahead and try it out myself.

  20. Wow, what a great post!

    I currently run a service-based business, but would love to expand into other areas as well, and affiliate marketing seems like a good way to go.

    Neville, your experiment effectively illustrated the effectiveness of the basic principle of affiliate marketing and how it does indeed have the potential to generate real income for those who persevere.

    However, in order to persevere, it seems that the one element that you’d need, which did not seem to be a part of your experiment, was choosing a product and market that you were actually passionate about.

    If it’s 100% all about the money, then I don’t believe that this is enough to get someone through the learning curve and inevitable pitfalls that are part of ANY new business.

    You hear this from all of the affiliate marketing experts as well – that your chance of success are drastically bolstered if the product is something that you yourself are excited about and have spent your own money on.

    1. Neville says:

      Doron,

      I totally agree about the passion part, but this experiment was COMPLETELY about making a quick buck!

      I was trying to demonstrate the affiliate marketing principle, and the product was irrelevant.

      Glad you enjoyed!

  21. Nigel Chua says:

    Nev, I think that’s one of the perils of running an affiliate program monetising almost purely with paid AdWord (think you mentioned briefly you used Adsense too), but as a long term business, I do question viability and sustainability, and profit margins do get smaller and the need to constantly keep a watchful eye on our AdWords campaign can be quite effortful. Still think it’s not pure SEO wins, but utilising a blog like what John has been using, building a readership and relationship based audience will be better.

    But nonetheless, it was fun reading your post – keep the open to learning attitude there! John, thanks for letting Nev post this – it’s a good learning opportunity for everyone who’s following.

    1. Neville says:

      Glad you enjoyed Nigel, I appreciate the compliments to both John and I.

      This experiment was definitely all about a quick buck and totally unsustainable in the long run (at least the way I did it).

      However hopefully it demonstrated how this particular business model works!

  22. Jarret says:

    John, that’s a pretty impressive return on a PPC of that budget. What did you average out in terms of your CPC? Unless you’re using carefully planned out long-tail keywords, it’s pretty hard to generate much traffic for under a couple hundred dollars.

    From my experience with Google Adwords, most campaigns are going to average at least $2 per click which means that your conversion rate has to be huge to make a profit.

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