Leveraging Facebook for Affiliate Marketing in 2020

Recently, we hosted a live stream event on our YouTube channel to discuss safe ways of running ad campaigns on Facebook in times of quarantine, challenges related to promoting COD and nutra offers, and other pressing issues within the topic. We invited Dmitry Yessipov, the founder of the IM GROUP team, Ilya Kabankin, and Daniil Alekseev, co-owners of The Creatives, as guest speakers to help us shed some much-needed perspective on how to avoid getting banned and successfully run advertising campaigns on Facebook.

Since we received numerous questions during the live Q&A session, we assembled all the crucial information in this article. We will start with the most pressing FB issues. Then, move on to the fundamentals of designing creatives, that directly affect the lifetime of ad campaigns, and wrap up with cloaking approaches, and other related topics.

Considering that Facebook has been over-generous with bans, running ads on such a complex platform can be tricky. Regardless of whether you are running whitehat or greyhat COD offers, it is impossible to entirely avoid bans. However, taking into account the current situation, we strongly recommend going whitehat and staying away from borderline marketing. Going whitehat does not call for creating multiple ad accounts and, therefore, requires only profitable combinations. Nevertheless, most of the affiliates cannot afford to focus exclusively on whitehat COD offers. Hence a large number of questions about efficient design approaches and the complexity of avoiding bans on Facebook.

Current Situation Overview

In a time of crisis like today, there is a growing tendency among advertisers to exit a market. Even though affiliate marketing is a small fraction of Facebook and its advertisers, FB ad auction becomes less expensive and, as a result, CPL should follow. Nevertheless, opinions vary. Some marketers state that the auction is tight, and they see no conversions, while others claim that ad auction is less challenging at the moment and presents great opportunities. The same applies to the doubts regarding the current state of several verticals like gambling and COD. Regardless of the ongoing ad recession, there are no issues with driving traffic to the respective offers.

The guest speakers agreed that major advertisers with the largest share of traffic took a step back or left the market. Therefore, the ad auction currently presents fewer challenges to affiliate marketers. As a result, ad rates and CPM dropped drastically for several weeks, confirming the impact of the current ad recession.

When it comes to affiliates willing to try their hand at entering FB in current market conditions, we would say that it is a challenging goal for solo players. However, if you build a team and spend some time testing, you will be able to conquer Facebook and make a profit. Therefore, regardless of the vertical, it is still possible to generate leads with Facebook.

Meanwhile, the affiliate community is concerned about the strict regulations and tightening Facebook ad policy. Since multiple marketers have experienced getting banned firsthand, it becomes clear that even benign creatives can cause FB ad policy notifications to appear, especially when it comes to adult offers. Today, with light creatives being used, notifications often seem unjustified. Fortunately, nutra offers pose no such problems.

As previously stated, going whitehat can be an option in this case. But what does it mean exactly? In a nutshell, do not overload one domain, one creative, and one text. If FB banned a text (mostly relevant to adult offers) or a nutra creative, for example, then both have to be changed. In other words, focusing on quality is a fundamental principle.

Let’s return to the currently reducing CPL. How has CPL changed during the quarantine?

Lately, there has been rash speculation as to the CPM reduction and reducing conversion rates. As a matter of fact, the situation remains stable, with no critical changes noticed regardless of the geo. In practice, personal approach matters. It can improve and weaken any indicators. If you noticed significant changes, it is time to check the creatives and find a better approach along with a successful combination of traffic sources, offers, landings, etc. In some cases, negative changes can be a result of an outdated or overused combination.

Let’s talk numbers. What are the spending tendencies across verticals and geos?

The guest speakers agreed on the current situation taking a heavy toll on the adult vertical. Even though it takes a hit, some exceptions are showcasing $250 – $300 spending per account. As for nutra, the average spending per account ranges from $300 to $500, which can be considered a pretty good result.

The Most Pressing Issues

When working with Facebook, affiliates often face such issues as post-review ad rejection, ad policy notification on running ads, and microspending.

Is it possible to effectively solve policy-related problems?

Today, if Facebook bans a creative, it is no longer possible to launch it on other accounts. Of course, the issues primarily arise if you are running adult offers. Besides, the spending might reach $200 – $300 and then downsize. In this case, the creative should be updated or redesigned. For instance, the essence of the approach can remain the same, but the background image should be replaced.

Advice #1

It is important to work on both creatives and approaches. It is quite simple. Old creatives cannot be used, and post-review ad rejection is based either on a creative or a text. A high-quality replacement should solve the problem.
As for ad policy notification on running ads, the problem might be in the trust level of a fan page or an account.

Advice #2

Keeping accounts stored for about a month can come in handy if you are planning on launching multiple FB accounts. In other words, you need to create a fan page, post several times, keep it stored for some time, and then launch. The trust level is not the main factor but might also help in this case. Therefore, try improving the trust level before the launch.

Now, let’s go back to discussing bans based solely on ad creatives.

What are the main approaches to ad creatives that can help affiliates get through the ad moderation process and avoid getting banned?

Ilya Kabankin and Daniil Alekseev, co-owners of The Creatives, pointed out the fact that there are no secrets in this matter. Carefully reading FB Advertising Policy before designing an ad creative will make it crystal clear what is acceptable on Facebook. Moreover, they also believe that experience plays a crucial role in this matter since testing makes the whole picture more transparent and understandable. Then again, ad creatives require a creative approach. If the worst comes to worst, you can always try camouflaging an ad that has not been accepted in its original form by the platform.

It is time for one of the most popular questions so far. Are there any tips on dealing with microspending?

When it comes to microspending, a lot depends on the accounts. What you need to do is to look into the currently used accounts, check the farming methods, find reliable sellers (if you are more comfortable with buying), and carefully sort through the accounts to identify the most suitable ones. As usual, we recommend taking a creative approach and trying out new concepts and angles that have not yet been overused in the affiliate marketing industry.

Naturally, there are spending limitations, but this problem can be solved by launching more accounts. That is exactly why automation tools have become popular recently. For those launching manually, it has become a problem to launch 20-30 accounts at a time and, therefore, the spending tends to decrease on the same number of accounts.

Is there a way out?

The easiest way is to drive traffic to the whitehat offers, especially for beginners. Whitehat COD offers are usually well-received across CIS, particularly on such geos as Georgia or Azerbaijan. Besides, the microspending issues are less common for these geos, and as a result, the lifetime of accounts tends to be longer. In any case, it depends on the individual approach.

In addition to the core issues, we also managed to discuss the less common reasons for accounts to get banned on Facebook. Presumably, extensions similar to MaskFB can also be a reason for the account bans. Let’s see if that is the case.

Is it possible that installing extensions similar to MaskFB can cause a decline in the trust level or be a reason for account bans?

Dmitry Yessipov, the founder of the IM GROUP team, gave a comprehensive answer to this question: “The extension is not likely to cause this kind of damage. When it comes to the website, it can happen. The extension cannot influence the level of trust since the request comes from the tab, without using third-party IPs.” Therefore, the extension cannot trigger FB in any way or be a reason for account bans.

Lately, BM verification has been widely discussed in affiliate circles. What are the pros and cons of it?

There is no need to devote your time to verifying BM. Everything works just fine without it. To be honest, there is only one advantage to it – 30 accounts will be available in one Business Manager after the verification. Other than that, there are no pros or cons. Your spendings will not increase, and limits will not change. Therefore, there are no significant advantages in BM verification.

About the Great and Terrible Cloaking

As you probably already know, cloaking is often used to successfully undergo moderation of an advertising campaign on Facebook. Cloaking is a technique used for the promotion of products forbidden by the social network policy. In other words, it helps to direct real visitors to the offer itself and eliminate bots or moderators by keeping them on a neutral landing page or website.

During the live stream, we were able to discuss several cloaking-related issues in-depth. Here we will answer the main questions and share all the valuable information we have on pixels, domains, and white pages.

It is believed that cloaking is simpler in the CIS region. Is cloaking different in the CIS and Europe?

You may be surprised, but there is no difference. Cloaking works the same way for both. The only distinction is the conversion rate since it might be higher in the CIS region, except for Russia. Facebook used to ban CIS-based accounts that launched ads targeting international locations. Today, everyone drives traffic to international offers, and therefore, the international market got highly competitive. As a result, a small number of affiliates focus on the CIS offers.

Has anything changed lately in cloaking approaches? What are the latest updates?

When it comes to the latest changes and updates, one of the most convenient and common methods no longer exists. All you had to do before was to paste a link on a trustworthy website and cloak it. There was no need to upload white pages to the hosting. Today, many affiliates use local white pages that require additional manual settings. However, it is a natural process. As some approaches cease to exist, the new ones emerge.

Can FB ban because of the pixel? For instance, when using IM KLO, placing the white page on one domain, and placing a pixel on the other one?

It should not be a problem if everything is fine with the domain. Alternatively, you can use a short pixel that transfers fewer data units. Lately, it is common practice to create one thank you page. In other words, redirecting from white and black pages to the same thank you page. Unfortunately, it does not guarantee an increase in the average lifetime of the account.

How important is the domain at the moment?

Currently, the domain plays a particularly important role. The problem of cloaking torments many marketers. As mentioned before, the best option is to switch to local whites. However, there is still a chance that FB may not like the structure of the page or content placed on it. Therefore, buying old or expired domains can help solve the problem. Based on the latest tests, identical whites located on the recently purchased and old domains perform differently. In case local white pages did not work for you, try buying expired domains. Naturally, the trust level will play a crucial role in this matter. If the account is trustworthy, even a new domain will work just fine.

Is it better to place a pixel on a blackhat landing or a thank you page?

Thank you page would be a better option.

Designing and Checking Ad Creatives

Securing ad creatives and receiving FB approval are the other important concerns affiliate marketers have today. Naturally, various tools can help you achieve this goal. During the live stream, quite a few people wondered about the tools for designing high-converting FB ad creatives. Let us share some relevant information on the subject.

How do you check the creatives?

We recommend using Clarifai and Vision AI to secure and check your ad creatives as well as relying on your experience.

Which tools, services, or software do you use to design ad creatives?

In case you are willing to design the creatives manually, we suggest using spy services for the sake of research. Anyway, there is always a need for testing your creatives and other variables to see the whole picture. When designing the ad creative, the biggest problem is the fact that your or your customer’s taste, for example, has nothing to do with it. The ad creative should only meet Facebook requirements. Besides, you can objectively assess the creative only after testing it.

You can design video ads in Camtasia Studio or in the Supa video constructor, which is understandable for beginners and requires no prior experience. As for images, PhotoShop and Canva will do just fine. Besides, we have recently hosted another live stream called “Designing ad creative from scratch”, where you can also find a lot of useful information on the topic.

More on Approaches and Angles

As the world changes, so does Facebook. Now is the best time to test various approaches and adapt to different conditions. That is exactly why we received so many questions regarding new angles, successful combinations, and tips on running ad campaigns during the stream.

What is the best approach to weight loss offers: video ads or images? Is there a confident position on the best performing combination of creatives and geos?

It is all relative and depends on what works well for you. For instance, some affiliates would focus on video ads as the top-performing option, when others would mix images with videos and see great results. It always comes down to testing, optimizing, and evaluating the results.

What does FB consider to be whitehat COD?

Whitehat COD is, basically, everything that does not violate Facebook rules and policies.

What is the best approach to hypertension international offers?

Teaser ads perform well on almost any vertical. These ads are usually well received and, therefore, often used by affiliates. Suppose a person sees a catchy headline but doesn’t fully understand what it is about, so the curiosity takes over, and there goes a click. As a result, you get a higher CTR and cheaper leads. Nevertheless, the targeted approach should not be neglected since it results in higher conversion rates.

What affects the lifetime of the ad campaign the most when driving traffic to nutra offers: ad creative, a warmed up fan page, high-quality white page, deleting negative comments, high-quality cloaking, or a trustworthy domain?

In this case, a combination of factors comes into play. A warmed up FP can be effective when it comes to the account lifetime. However, if the fan page is warmed up, but cloaking is poorly implemented, there will be no positive result. The same applies to the warmed up FP in combination with an untrustworthy domain. In a nutshell, it is impossible to pick one factor. The approach should always be comprehensive.

Are there any tips on where to get virtual cards for multiple FB accounts?

Today, such services as Yandex, Tochka, and Qiwi help affiliate marketers solve these problems. With Yandex, you can feel safe even after risk payment notice takes place. In this case, storing the account for some time might help. Also, Qiwi is currently popular, due to its newly presented solution, allowing for up to 50 cards per user. Buyers often personally register virtual cards and link them to around 7-8 FB accounts. The most important thing is alternating between the cards and accounts.

What is more important in affiliate marketing: services and technologies or the ability to generate successful combinations?

When it comes to Facebook, being tech-savvy is more important because of the need to understand how the platform works. Today, it is near impossible for a solo affiliate to start working with Facebook. Therefore, we strongly recommend working in a team.

That is it for today, guys. Clearly, to conquer Facebook, you need to understand it. We wish you luck in your future affiliate endeavors and promise to come back with other informative live streams. See you soon!

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