Affiliate marketing evolves, user behavior changes, and those who dare… win. That’s why a couple of months ago the Zeropark team decided to close almost twenty sources and dump more than a third of our push traffic inventory.
Why would any company do such a thing? Because quality matters.
And if you want to learn more about how we doubled push traffic’s ROI and lowered prices by 25% then let us walk you through the Zeropark’s push traffic cleanup.
Past traffic cleanups and what we learned from them
Oops… we did it again. In case you got into the business within the last three years, it might have escaped your notice, but we already did a big traffic cleanup once. And if you’re an old sport, you probably remember the difference it made.
- In April 2017, we removed 75% of Zeropark’s pop traffic inventory.
- Right before the cleanup, we had been fluctuating between 400 and 500 billion available ad impressions monthly.
- Just a year later, this number dropped to 95 billion.
- The average CPM rate actually increased — from around $0.60 to nearly $1.
- But the increased advertising costs meant an increase in campaign profitability and conversion ratio, too.
- All in all, the five-month cleanup resulted in increased ROI and unprecedented quality of pop traffic.
Lesson learned? Count what you make, analyze how you make it, clean, optimize… then wait a bit and repeat.
Reasons for push traffic cleanup
Based on our previous experience, and due to the dynamic nature of our industry, we realize that every type of traffic requires a bit of cleaning and optimization. Just as we usually suggest you’d do with your campaigns.
Traffic sources keep on introducing new ad formats all the time. Zeropark has added three brand new ways of connecting with your audience this year already. Despite that, push traffic is still a relatively young type of traffic, and to top things off, it’s extremely popular with all sorts of advertisers. It reigns supreme since the day push was launched onto the market.
But the main problem is that there are plenty of traffic sources now, as opposed to when it was first introduced. A couple of years ago, there were just a few players able to serve push on such scale.
Also, we cannot ignore the risks related to re-selling traffic between different suppliers. Last time we did the cleanup, we were able to build our own system to detect resold traffic which greatly helped to get the closest to the real source of the traffic.
As an organization, we always aim to meet our advertiser’s KPIs. However, we needed to set particular benchmarks for our push traffic cleanup to start with.
A perfect scenario would be — higher CTR, cheaper clicks, and higher Conversion Rates.
Usually, when speaking about increasing CTRs, a couple of things need to be taken into account.
One is that the push market has become much more saturated and competitive which results in higher Cost-Per-Click prices. However, it’s often worth it.
The other is that if advertisers bid higher, they have a chance to buy better quality impressions. These impressions are in fact able to lift an overall campaign CTR and eventually increase your chance to get a conversion.
At the same time, while scoring conversions from better quality placements, your overall Cost-Per-Action gets lower. Even though you bid higher. It’s simply worth remembering that everything starts with a good CTR.
That’s why at the beginning of February this year, we decided to work on:
- increasing Click-Through-Rates,
- rising Conversion-Rates,
- lowering eCPA,
- stabilizing advertising costs (Cost-Per-Click rates)
- and decreasing our own server costs (a great outcome as well).
We reached all the above goals in the first week of May.
The process and criteria for closing push traffic feeds
We are closely monitoring all metrics related to traffic on a daily basis. Also, all comments from our clients as well as feedback from community forums are great to keep our eye on any alarming issues. A drop in performance during the past few months was not unnoticed by the Zeropark Team, therefore we decided to take a well-planned action and close unreliable feeds.
Zeropark’s Compliance and Business Analytics Teams are working hard to make sure all the closed feeds are treated this way based on hard evidence.
First of all, we need to be sure that traffic performs for our advertisers. This is why we gather feedback from all possible places, we simply need to get as many details as possible. Not only directly, but also via community forums and continuous monitoring of the performance of campaigns run with Zeropark.
Then we analyze all the red flags in our systems that are responsible for traffic monitoring. These are not only performance metrics but also our anti-fraud checks and traffic filters. We cross-match our data insights with feedback from our Account Managers, Supply, and Compliance Teams and only then decide upon the next steps.
Last but not least, if the traffic doesn’t perform, nobody buys it. And if nobody buys it, we pay high maintenance costs for traffic that won’t bring us any profit, which was also taken into consideration.
The biggest challenge of the cleanup was also its most important objective — increasing the quality of traffic, leading to higher Conversion Rates, while limiting the inventory. Only we need to make sure that we don’t go too far and don’t limit it too much. After all, Zeropark offers the biggest inventory of push traffic for our advertisers.
We needed to know our limits.
Again, from a global perspective, thanks to consistent feedback from our clients, internal quality checks, and analyzing our QPS (Queries Per Second) we were able to point out the best performing sources having in mind that there is enough traffic to satisfy all demand.
By removing only a part of the inventory, we were able to drive competition to the best traffic sources, which resulted in higher competition for the best placements. And quality traffic gives better results.
As for the influence the push traffic clean up exerted on RON campaigns, some of them lost their reach, which is understandable.
However, it also meant that such campaigns are now protected from burning their budgets too fast. Also, campaigns started to spend with a bigger concentration on specific traffic sources, which is much better for optimization purposes.
Also, the cleanup significantly increased the ROIs of campaigns run by beginner affiliates at Zeropark, since usually, RON campaigns are where you start from (since you do not have the experience or you weren’t able to create whitelists yet).
Therefore, the limitation of RON push traffic inventory significantly decreased the risk of losing money, gave better control over budget, and allowed for better campaign optimization.
When it comes to the push traffic cleanup influence on other campaign types, things were much more granular and dependent on individual cases.
For source type campaigns, pulling traffic from now closed sources, they simply stopped bidding. We knew that this would be the outcome so we leveraged our Account Management and Support teams to give the best insights about possible replacements to our customers. It worked really well and new campaigns were set up sometimes within a few hours.
To be improved
Although we’re very happy with the results, there are still a number of sources with issues related to non-human clicks. That’s our key focus at the moment. Thanks to Zeropark’s ani-bot technology we built two years ago when dealing with pop traffic cleanup, we are able to automate detection processes. This technology speeds up filtering of any fraudulent behavior, further decreases the risks and helps our media buyers to work with top-quality traffic only.
Nevertheless, push traffic is really stable now. We need to remember that some of the publishers also improved their technology, so the fight was happening on all fronts for some time already. The overall quality improvement is a great sign for the upcoming months.
Traffic Quality – Key metrics
|BEFORE VS. AFTER|
Overall results of Zeropark’s push traffic cleanup
All in all, the results are more than great. The biggest achievement of the Zeropark’s push traffic cleanup was surely the fact that we were able to double the average ROI of campaigns by removing 35% of the traffic.
This was mostly related to too low bids of campaigns where budgets were consumed by worse quality sources before being optimized to the better ones.
That’s why buying only top-quality traffic from the biggest provider of push inventory is what every media buyer should bear in mind… right next to remembering about increasing the bids to win your share.
To sum up, the push traffic cleanup started at the end of February, but March and April were the months where we took the biggest actions.
Although we will surely continue to implement best practices learned from this exercise during the next few months, we’ll do so on a smaller scale.
For now, we’re glad to double the push traffic ROI while erasing 35% of the inventory with a 25% decrease in CPC prices.