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Protecting Your CPA ROI - Detecting Scrubbing Patterns

Discussion in 'CPA' started by redtide1969, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. redtide1969

    redtide1969 BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    For any of the newer BHW members jumping into the CPA game, "scrubbing" refers to when an advertiser whos offer you're promoting basically steals your leads and they aren't credited to your network stats. You've earned the lead from the consumer completing the action, whether it's a single field zip submit or pulling out their credit card to fill in a trial offer, but you never get the cash credited. Here's some of the patterns I've noticed with my campaigns.

    There's quite a few reasons advertisers typically scrub leads but the most common that I run into tends to revolve around "out of industry norm" high EPC's (earnings per click), another reason can be the advertiser trying to stay within budget but at your expense, or the advertiser protecting their upfront investment because you don't have enough of a history running their offer. If they haven't been able to run a full quality control check on your leads (especially when your're running high payout trial offers for example) they put a scrub on your leads to safeguard themselves.

    Whether doing CL stuff or totally whitehat promotion you should think about keeping your EPC's as low as possible. For me I've found the best range is $1-$2 avg EPC's each day with a conversion rate lower than 8%, results may vary of course.

    This happens in a lot of niches and is pretty common. You start running tests on a particular offer and it converts great for 1-5 days. Next thing you know, even though you haven't changed anything with your campaign the conversions start to dwindle for as long as you let the campaign run and find it impossible to maintain your initially high conversion rates.

    Some people scramble and make changes to their campaign to make up for the lower conversion rate thinking what they're doing isn't working anymore etc, but in reality you can end up chasing your tail when your campaign should have just been left alone other than lowering EPC's.

    To lower them you can use a high volume but low cost keyword with PPV and send some extra views to your landing page, or use some fake traffic hits from a supplier like Trafficholder etc. Keep in mind the advertiser will typically check for IP patterns looking for bogus leads, especially with the high payout offers or if you're running high volume, so make sure it's randomized traffic.

    Either way, it's kind of a misconception that you only need to water down your EPC's when running blackhat techniques. With how shady many of the advertisers are it goes for any offer you're wanting to run long term and are doing high volume on.

    Here's a quick example, running a rebill offer that paid out at $40+ per lead, I ended up getting lazy about watering down my EPC's. It had been converting 1 in 4 clicks (whitehat PPC) and carrying an EPC of $8-$9.

    Soon enough the conversions came to a crawl after about 3 days and it began taking 25-40 clicks to convert the offer. I knew it wasn't shaving since I'm good friends with the network manager so I had that ruled out as a possibility. He and I worked together to try to catch the advertiser screwing me over. He had called them out about some of the "odd" conversion patterns with the offer he was seeing with his pubs networkwide and mentioned me and what I was experiencing.

    Of course they denied it up and down and typically the advertiser will come back with excuses like "our stats show it converts best at such and such time of day and your pub should try running it only at those times."..bullshit.

    We set me up with a duplicate network account so I'de have a fresh publisher ID to start running the offer with again but mixed with enough PPV traffic to bring my EPC's down to $1. Low and behold, instantly it was back to converting at 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 clicks on avg. God knows how many leads I was being screwed out of and at $40+ per lead it adds up extrememly fast.

    This is just one example I've run into and it's what we all have to deal with in CPA, but it's a good idea to keep those EPC's as low as possible no matter what kind of traffic you're sending. You never know which advertiser will try to get away with screwing you and take food off your plate. Plus it makes it impossible to optimize a campaign successfully when at its foundation (the advertiser/offer) you're being scrubbed unknowingly.

    :saint: :rocketwho
     
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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  2. stevenceil

    stevenceil Newbie

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    What is PPV? Pay per view?
     
  3. whiteninja

    whiteninja Regular Member

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    Yes, it's contextual ads that pop up when you visit websites. You usually get it through agreeing to it by downloading games or freeware of some sorts. Thanks OP for giving your account of scrubbing, I made a note to myself for future reference.
     
  4. redtide1969

    redtide1969 BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Np...the worst part is if a person doesn't catch it the advertiser will keep on scrubbing for the life of the campaign. The publisher will keep on promoting the offer with no clue that the lack of performance isn't a problem with their campaign, but the actual scrub being put on.
     
  5. rockstarnsc

    rockstarnsc BANNED BANNED

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    I know that I get scrubbed..no doubt about it.
     
  6. MiniMe777

    MiniMe777 Registered Member

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    Mr. Yamaha R1 speaks the truth :)
     
  7. redtide1969

    redtide1969 BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    ^^^ Do you ride?

    The other thing that should be added is that even if you drop your EPC's after starting to run an offer that's high converting it won't always cure a scrubbing problem because advertisers can flag your Pub ID based on the initially high conversion rates and EPC's. In this case you'll want to split test the same offer with other networks and water down your EPC's from the start with the secondary network.