Make money while you sleep! How to prepare your affiliate marketing campaigns for the Holiday break?

Magdalena Bober
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We are entering the most intense part of the holiday season. The time of presents, big dinners, and family gatherings is approaching. Affiliate marketers, just as members of any other profession, will be looking to take some time off and relax.

But, unlike other jobs and careers, affiliate marketing can’t be just abandoned for a week or two. If your campaigns are not up and running, you’re not earning money and probably missing out on some great opportunities. Is it even possible to take a break from affiliate marketing without losing profits? How to make money with affiliate marketing during Christmas?

Read on to find 7 tips on how to keep your campaigns up and running while you enjoy the holiday break and let your passive income flow!

Plan your campaigns ahead of the holiday sales season

The best thing you can do to keep earning money and generate passive income while you take a break from affiliate marketing is to plan ahead. Your plan needs to be especially focused on the volatility of traffic. You don’t want to lose your money on something you were not able to predict. Affiliate marketing automation can help you here, but you still need to plan.

You should not only plan when and where to launch your campaigns but also what to do if they fail. You don’t want to be stuck with no offers or no creatives in case plan A doesn’t work. Offers can get stopped at any moment and sometimes for no particular reason too. And there are always numerous competing holiday promotions to keep up with. So, it’s time to bring out the holiday marketing materials, and get ready to succeed with your affiliate marketing campaign goals even over the holiday season.

Learn how to fight creative fatigue over the holidays with push ads!

Ask your affiliate marketing partners for support

You can always ask your account manager or a network representative for suggestions on what to do next. However, many people will be taking some time off during the holiday shopping season. It’s best to have a couple of ‘just in case’ options lined up. Despite doing their best, affiliate marketing networks might have limited resources.

On the other hand, winter holidays are the only time of the year when festive creatives will get all of the attention. It’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket, though. While some people celebrate Christmas, others might enjoy a more subdued version of festivities. Make sure the GEO you choose for your affiliate product niche or affiliate program is just as suitable for your creatives as you might think it would be.

Affiliate networks offer so many products that affiliate marketers can have multiple income streams. To make money with affiliate advertising, you need to be flexible as to what niche, affiliate products, or affiliate programs you are willing to promote. Affiliate commissions will vary as well, so a well-planned affiliate strategy can turn from a side hustle into a day job. Holidays are a great way to test your planning abilities and start earning while you get some rest.

Try a fresh perspective with new marketing angles

Oh, and make sure to have some New Year’s Eve promotions in-store as well. The holiday break usually includes celebrations around the new year. If you make sure you’re always on top of trends and fads, you might want to consider switching the angle of your ads once the Christmas celebrations are over. For example, there are often online sales just after Christmas and particularly coupon code promotions that are exceedingly popular when everyone is at home for the holiday season.

But that’s enough worrying about challenges and obstructions. In case your campaigns take off during the holiday sales season craze you should have some extra budget to fuel your affiliate revenue.

ZP Pros and cons guy with coins

Check your affiliate campaign setup

This is something very simple and yet a mistake that is made by many people, even by experienced affiliate marketers. Checking the campaign setup is crucial if you’re not planning to keep a watchful eye on your campaign right from the moment it launches. Many things can go wrong so it’s important you do your best not only to keep your site up but to make money continuously while you’re away.

Let’s be honest. You’re not going to be able to babysit your campaigns with all the holiday hassle going around.

If you are planning to launch new campaigns right before clocking out and taking some time off, you need to check the following things:

Check that you set the right bid for your campaign

By accidentally setting your bid too high you might come back to see that your campaign has spent all the money in one day on an unoptimized chunk of traffic. Some people might treat it as yet another way to make money since the results can help you determine what to blacklist or whitelist. Nonetheless, if you’re not comfortable with such a spontaneous and quick traffic test, and you’re one of those cautious people when it comes to money, always double-check your bid before launching your campaign.

If you want to earn money while you sleep, you need to match niche products to promote with a target audience. Once you do that, you need to calculate the optimal bid to buy enough traffic without overspending. Bidding high it’s one of the best ways to test a lot of traffic but not the way to earn good money.

Does your targeting match the affiliate offer requirements?

Some offers allow all kinds of targeting options. However, some do not. Your offer might be restricted to a particular niche, country, carrier, device, or even ad format. You don’t want to check your campaign to see that even though there seems to have been plenty of conversions, none of them were counted by the affiliate network – which translated into products that aren’t making money or any income whatsoever.

The product or service that you promote might only be available in a certain country. You won’t get paid for selling products outside of the area where the retailer operates.

Check that your landing page is working

Many things can be wrong with a landing page. Starting with the design and ending with malicious traffic-stealing scripts. This is yet another area that will need your incisive attention before you let it run unsupervised and risk losing on your passive income.

Firstly, the best way to make money with affiliate marketing is to ask both traffic source and affiliate network representatives what kind of landers perform best for the offer that you’re running. Additionally, you should check spy tools for more insights. And don’t forget to ‘clean’ your landers, if you’re taking them straight from spy tools. They might contain some hidden code which will not only make them heavier and slower but can also cause problems.

In case you’re running smartlink mainstream offers, make sure to do a thorough check. Sometimes one of the rotating offers may have adult content or products. In that case, the compliance team will reject or pause your campaign. If your offer or lander is not suitable for the general public it needs to be run on adult traffic.

Have you checked the destination URL?

Destination URL is where you send your traffic. Luckily, this is a simple copy-paste kind of step. However, if something happens to your site destination URL once your campaign is up and running, you might end up losing instead of making money. Watching over the offer and the promoted products is something you, an affiliate marketer, need to do to secure a safe income.

It’s also a good idea to choose offers from reputable affiliate networks and cultivate a solid relationship with your account manager. Some things are simply out of your hands so it’s good to have someone watching your back. If you’re planning to generate a sustainable passive income, the help you get from your service providers needs to be top-notch.

Is your campaign status after approval set to paused?

If not, we highly recommend choosing that option. Campaign approval teams work at certain hours and in a certain location. While you’re creating your campaign at noon in your time zone, the ad network’s approval team can be safely asleep in another timezone on the opposite side of the globe. Your campaigns might launch while you’re asleep, or away with no access to the internet.

That’s exactly why you should always set your campaign status after approval to ‘paused’.

Set budgets and limits to make money while you sleep

This might be the most obvious tip for leaving your campaigns unattended… while still making money. Budgets and limits are essential if you want to keep any control over your affiliate marketing business. It’s best to set your daily budget, campaign budget, source budget, and optionally, target budget before you let your campaign run wild.

While the choice of the exact number depends on your affiliate strategy and experience, it’s important not to limit yourself too much. Being overly careful might lead to ineffective testing and cutting yourself from sources of income. For example, if you set a daily budget to $5 you will buy very little traffic and or rather low-quality traffic, depending on your chosen bid.

Additionally, such a number is not quite enough to get your campaigns going. If you want to find ways to make money you need to invest first. In the case of a small budget for push traffic, you might end up overspending as you’re likely to run out of budget before the notifications get opened.

Budgets examples for your affiliate marketing campaigns

Your numbers are also dependent on the kind of offers and products you choose to run. Here are some suggestions suitable for mid-range payout offers:

Daily Budget: $100 – allows for thorough testing and usually covers the whole day of running traffic. Allows for enough volume even with a higher than average bid.

Campaign Budget: $300 – $400 – this amount is enough for testing your campaign for a couple of days. Once that budget runs out, the campaign should be assessed for potential and either paused or resumed with a new budget if you want to make it work further.

Source Budget: $20 – enough to test the potential of the source but also to limit the spending in case of sources with higher volume that would otherwise take over most of your daily budget and hinder your income.

Target Budget: $5 – Similar to the source budget, that number allows you to sufficiently test the traffic without risking uneven traffic distribution.

Don’t forget about the conversion cap! You don’t want to lose money while you sleep, you’re here to make money with affiliate marketing. If your offer only accepts a certain amount of conversions (daily or total), it’s crucial that you set the same limit in your traffic source. You need to avoid a situation in which you score conversions but are not compensated for them.


Notification systems & automated affiliate campaigns

Does your affiliate marketing strategy include automation? 

Well, it should.

Most traffic sources have some notifications systems set by default and some that can be switched on and off according to your needs. This notification system is one of the best ways to keep your business going when you’re not spending your days in front of your computer. After all push notifications aren’t just for your push ads customers.

Even when you’re taking a break from work, you still check email notifications. They should be your best friend during the holidays. To make money online you need to be online (at least sometimes). While you can only watch the performance of your campaign by looking at real-time data, your campaigns can be monitored remotely with the use of system notifications.

While most notifications are on by default, it is so for a good reason. These automatic reminders help you keep track of what’s going on with your campaigns. You get notified if your campaign gets approved or rejected; if your budget is running out; and again when it’s gone. You’ll also get a notification when your campaign or site gets flagged by Google Safe Browsing. 

Two kinds of notifications can be manually disabled, despite being on by default. That’s suspicious login and out-of-credit notifications. While the first one is about safety and how comfortable you feel that your security measures are up to standards, the second one makes sure you have continuity in your business allowing for the passive income flow.

Even when using some form of affiliate campaign automation, you still need to keep your eye on the algorithm. Sometimes numbers are not enough to determine what deserves a second chance and what just isn’t making money at all. It’s worth checking up on your campaign, especially when you get a notification.

You can enjoy your time off without worries. If you’ll run out of budget, we’ll let you know.

Use auto-optimization software for affiliate campaign automation

One way to take the stress out of affiliate marketing efforts is by using automation to give you a hand with some of your affiliate marketing campaigns. Auto-optimization algorithms are just about the best thing that could happen to affiliate marketers. With their businesses growing and expanding continuously, all kinds of optimizers came to the rescue. Taking over the bulk of ‘managerial’ duties, campaign optimization algorithms became a desirable feature of every ad network.

In Zeropark, we help advertisers make money with affiliate marketing easier. It’s called Rule-Based Optimization (RBO). It allows your campaigns to self-optimize based on a set of rules. You are in charge of those rules and you can create a custom combination of six commands that will best suit your needs. These commands are based on IF-THEN logical statements in this form:

IF a condition is met FOR the selected criterion WITHIN a given time frame, THEN perform a certain action. 

This gives us an example:

IF a target has more than $100 spend & ROI is lower than 10% within the last 7 days THEN pause.

If you’re a beginner affiliate marketer, you have nothing to worry about. Zeropark has an option to create the 3 most universal rules automatically. All you need to do is provide the payout of your offer and the rules will be created for you. Affiliate marketing automation is especially helpful for beginners.  It can help you push sales through the roof if used correctly, but it’s not the only way to ensure you run a successful affiliate campaign.

RBO can be set by anyone, beginners and professionals alike. As long as you know what your needs are, rule-based optimization can help you. Such solutions are especially recommended for those who are running large numbers of campaigns simultaneously. And as soon you’ll get comfortable with affiliate marketing, you’ll understand that a lot is the optimal number of campaigns running at the same time.

Rules can be set for two primary reasons during the holidays. One, if your campaigns are unoptimized, you need to protect yourself from overspending on sources that might not match your offer. Two, if your campaign is optimized, or even running on a perfectly matched whitelist, you still need to be wary of traffic spikes and unpredictable issues. To earn money while you sleep, you need to keep your hand on the pulse.

The time frame is an important condition in setting the rules. It’s also useful while going away for a while. The longer the time frame the more accurate the decisions made by the algorithm. It’s always recommended to set a 24h or higher time window for gathering data. If your budget isn’t particularly tight, it’s always best to go for a bigger window.

Pop ads or push ads, rule-based optimization can make your life significantly easier. In case of any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact Zeropark’s support team, and don’t forget about additional resources such as a blog article on Rule-Based optimization or RBO documentation.

To make money while you sleep, you need an ‘affiliate partner’. So, if you need someone to watch over your campaigns for you during the holiday season, RBO is for you!

Here are a couple more RBO examples to look over for some inspiration:

Rule based optimization


Everyone needs some time off every once in a while. The holiday shopping season is are just too great an opportunity to miss out. Even affiliate marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners prepare in advance to spend quality time with their families and friends.

You don’t need to worry about your campaigns too much. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure your business stays afloat while you rest. While fully automated affiliate marketing is not yet possible, there’s plenty of things you can do to make money while you sleep. In short, here are 5 steps to a successful holiday break:

  1. Plan ahead of the holiday shopping season – find a way to prepare offers, affiliate products, affiliate programs, landers, and creatives with different angles.
  2. Double-check your campaign setup – if you want to get paid, make sure that every aspect of your campaign is working correctly before you leave it to run unsupervised.
  3. Set budgets and limits – it’s crucial that you do that to keep your campaigns spending evenly and non-excessively, unless, of course, you have an unlimited budget (and are feeling a little crazy).
  4. Rely on notification systems – try to unwind as best as you can’t but don’t skip on reading emails.
  5. Use auto-optimization software – Zeropark’s RBO or a custom-made solution, auto-optimization algorithms are life (and budget) saving inventions.

You definitely can make money while you sleep with affiliate marketing. Just keep that checklist in mind and have a happy, happy holiday season!

Make money while you sleep
During the Holidays!


Magdalena Bober

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