In the interview series, we ask our shiny affiliate stars their opinions on the industry’s most compelling verticals, traffic sources, and GEOs. They share their ups and downs in affiliate marketing so that an affiliate novice might get inspired to try something new and exciting.
This time, our guest is Freddy Cisneros, a prominent LATAM affiliate marketer and tutor. He’s the author of his own detailed and thorough CPA marketing course that helps beginner affiliates take their first steps in the industry.
- How long has it been since you’ve started with affiliate and CPA marketing? What was affiliate marketing like when you just started? What ad formats and traffic sources were the most popular back then?
- I started doing tests nine years ago. I remember it was with PPV traffic, a network called Leadimpact (defunct), and also with search traffic on 7Search. Then I tried ads on POF (Plenty of Fish) for dating offers. I have to say that everything was a disaster. I had to go on for two or three years to get good results.
- Why did you decide to start with affiliate marketing at all?
- My first online business was selling physical products in different marketplaces in my home country and that type of work involves a lot of daily effort and mental wear and tear dealing with shipping and returns. From there, I started looking for new business models and discovered Clickbank, which was very popular a few years ago. Then I discovered the CPA networks and I realized that they could pay me commissions for different marketing actions. It was then that I connected with the idea of having a 100% digital business.
- What are your favorite ad formats and traffic sources to work with?
Without a doubt, everything related to mobile content is the future.
- Right now, I’m very focused on the push traffic. Without a doubt, it converts very well and there is an increasing volume of traffic. I also work with native traffic. A little less with pop traffic.
- What is your main fuck-up as an affiliate marketer? For example, was there a situation when you lost a HUGE sum of money, or all your money, but then rose like a phoenix from ashes?
- I think the worst shit was when I was very new. I thought that just by sending as much traffic as possible to an offer I would get brute force conversions. Then over time, I realized that it is important that the traffic is relevant to the offer. Later, I understood that you must pre-sell and effectively persuade people before they visit the offer. It was all a learning process.
- You’ve been in the industry for a long time, so can you tell us your thoughts on its future? In your opinion, which verticals will boom in the nearest future, and which ones are going to die soon?
- Without a doubt, affiliate marketing has a bright future. Above all, because it is directly related to e-commerce and the digitization of businesses. This industry will take over the entire internet and it will be everywhere.
I also think that automated ad optimization with artificial intelligence can help make it a bit easier to run profitable campaigns and reduce the technical barrier.
Regarding the verticals, I want to highlight what is happening with online loans. It has had a gigantic growth in recent years.
On the other hand, I think that the real estate sector has not benefited from the power of affiliation, since the transactions are processed offline and it is very difficult to attribute the commission to the affiliate. But I think it’s a sleeping dragon that can explode at any moment.
- Which country has the highest number of affiliate marketers and why?
- I would say that countries like the US, India, China, Brazil, the Philippines, Russia, etc. Something that strikes me is that many traffic and affiliate networks are of Russian origin. I think Russia has strongly promoted this industry in the world.
- Which GEOs are the most interesting right now for affiliates?
- In my opinion, countries that are not so saturated and there are many offers available. We are talking about countries like Indonesia, South Africa, China, Egypt, and Brazil.
- Tell us about the LATAM market from the affiliate perspective. Are there many affiliate marketers in LATAM? Is the market profitable for affiliates?
- From all points of view, LATAM is a blue ocean. It can be said that it is a virgin market. There are more and more offers for that region. Especially dating offers, loans, and sweepstakes. I also see offers from big brands like Movistar, Santander, BBVA, etc. Regarding the number of affiliates, I think there is a way to go for more sellers to join this business.
- Have you heard about the mVAS (mobile content) vertical in affiliate marketing? It uses the DCB technology as its payment method (when the money is taken from the mobile phone account instead of a credit card.) What are your thoughts on the mVAS as an affiliate vertical? Is it profitable for affiliates?
- I haven’t had much experience with those types of offers, but without a doubt everything related to mobile content is the future. I understand that some mVAS offers, with only 2 clicks, the conversion is done. Soon I will start testing these offers. I hope to have the support of Golden Goose.
- What are the most interesting affiliate verticals in general?
- I have specialized in dating, loans, sweepstakes.
The most used channel for affiliate marketing is still organic traffic.
- What do you feel about fraud and misleading information in the affiliate field?
- It’s a complicated thing. It is not a secret that there are affiliates who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the desired conversions and are not interested in the fact that the leads are fraudulent or may damage the brand of different companies.
However, I am hopeful that as the technology that supports affiliate networks advances, these bad practices will be less and less and can be detected in time. A sign that shows that we are going down this path is that today the networks are more open to accepting affiliates than they were ten years ago. An affiliate works with a very high level of uncertainty due to the risk of having their account closed due to a simple mistake, at any time.
I find it interesting, the latest changes to Google Ads regarding violations. They make the decision to close an account only if three serious violations are committed. I would like affiliate networks to have a similar policy.
- What is your advice for someone who’s just starting in the affiliate industry? Which formats to try, what to read and watch, what industry influencers to pay attention to?
- This business can be overwhelming as there are just too many things. Lots of verticals, offers, traffic sources, ad formats, tracking, etc. Starting to read in forums can be a good idea, as it is a space for interaction where you can see what is working recently. The golden rule, everything is simple. Simple traffic source, simple offer, simple campaign, a low payment, etc.
One thing that is important is working with a traffic source that historically works with a specific vertical. For example, in-app offers (CPI) are proven and documented to work with pop traffic or native traffic and weight loss offers. This can reduce your margin of error.
Now, there are affiliates who don’t like to buy traffic. A less «risky» and less traumatic path is to start doing reviews of different products and services and achieve a good position in search engines. The most used channel for affiliate marketing is still organic traffic. A quicker way to learn all of this is to start with our course LOL.
- You have an educational CPA marketing course for newcomers on your website. How did you come up with the idea for such a course? How many people have already taken the course? You mention there is some sort of a community in LATAM, could you please elaborate – is it a community of your alumnus?
- I’ve wanted to have my own online course for a long time, but I couldn’t decide. It was not until 2016, when I decided to take a CPA Marketing course. At that time I planned a list of 70 classes, and when I already had seven classes recorded, I gave up on the idea. I thought it would not be successful. I even sold my studio microphone.
Several months passed, and I had the videos in a forgotten folder on my PC. For fun, I decided to publish them for free on my Youtube channel. It was crazy. I received many congratulations and people asking about the course.
I think that automated ad optimization with artificial intelligence can help make it a bit easier to run profitable campaigns and reduce the technical barrier.
- Three years have passed, it’s 2019. I return to the idea of doing a course, this time if it is going to be definitive. The rest is history. We have more than 400 trained students. And I am very happy with the results of my students.
- And if there’s anything you’d like to add, please don’t hesitate!
- I want to thank Golden Goose for the interview and for having this opportunity to contribute my grain of sand to this wonderful industry.
If you want to be connected with me, you can follow me on my YouTube channel. Thank you very much!