Case study: ZeroPark, 5 days of Travel campaign
This is my first blog post and for that I chose to start with ZeroPark, one of my favorite PPV platform.
Bottom-line: $50 test budget, $2724.42 in revenue and total of $1799.27 in profit in 5 days.
I’m a big fan of PPV platforms. Unlike exchange and ad-networks traffic, you can always determine if a campaign has a potential to do some money, while spending only a few tens of bucks on the learning path. ZeroPark always feels a maverick to me in the field of PPV platform. They offer the common keyword targeting as the all other PPV platforms do, Domain parking (i.e. typo mistakes), soon-to-be search traffic and chose between domain to pop traffic but the most important thing you can use RON targeting.
It is noteworthy that ZeroPark’s keywords are not always 100% contextual and accurate due the fact they are not own their all inventory and you might get false keywords or domains from their 3rd party partners
Let’s start with our case study, spitting out the campaign details first.
Vertical: Travel, Deals comparison
Markets: US, CA
Conversion flow: User interact with the landing page > filling destination for deal comparison in the search box > Clicking the search button > Pixel fired!
Payout: $0.51 per search button click
Test budget: $50
I’m not able to reveal the name of the campaign nor the Agency/Affiliate I’ve got it from due to non-disclosure of my work place, but I will share the important details of how to reach success with a similar campaigns which you can easily obtain from any common affiliate network.
Stage #1 – Preparation and setup
I’ve a simple method for every new campaign: focus, spread and focus again. If the campaign targeting more than one country or device, pick only one of them to counterbalance your initial budget. Once you have focused on one market, spread your campaign with at least 10 different creative. After obtaining some data on your creative, focus again on one or two of them and maximize their potential.
In this case, a PPV platform and a vertical I’m less familiar with, I decided to run both markets, US & CA simultaneously and using the client landing page with any pre-lander or so, to understand if the campaign has any potential.
I chose keyword campaign and opened two different campaigns, one for CA and the other one for US with the same campaign’s targeting and keywords. When you are launching a keywords campaign the most important part is planning your keywords setup; unlike other keywords campaign when I’m usually looking for specific domains and niche keywords I chose to work broad for this campaign, targeting broad keywords as ‘travel’ & ‘vacation’.
travel, vacation, hotel, flights, holiday, airline tickets, resort
Once the campaign was live, it was clear to me that I’ve a very high potential campaign in my hands and a fact that US market is by far more converting than its neighbor in the north, without even looking on the keywords nor the targets (ZeroPark’s media sources) performance but only comparing the raw data: $25 spend for each market, 2 conversions for CA and over 80 for US!
Stage #2 – Increasing budget and initial optimizing
A few things were clear to me, this campaign can make me some money for me and it worth my time. My first action was to shutdown CA campaign and focus on the US market. Next, was to increase my daily budget to $100 (x4 times) and close the day without touching anything else. I finished the first day with $73.78 spend and $116.28 in revenue. This was my cue to open my pockets for more budget and optimize my campaign as fast as I can.
While increasing my budget to $300 a day I immediately cut-off any keyword below -15% profit margin and increasing by bid-position to 1st in each one of the keywords I kept. I took my time to research a bit, using search engines, about more specific keywords related to this campaign along with targeted domains and popular vacation spots inside the US.
cruise, vegas, expedia, travelocity, cheap hotels, compare hotels, last minute vacations, vacations deals, family vacations, vacations packages, Aspan vacation, vacation Grand Canyon etc.
I checked the campaign results from time to time during the day, keeping an eye on my new keywords just to make sure I’m not burning myself and played with the bid-position on the new keywords only. Closed my day.
Stage #3 – Optimization in more depth
The morning after, I noticed my bid-position dropped in some of my major keywords which leads me to a total spend of $271.71 and $532.44 in revenue – equal to over 1000 conversions in one day. I opened my daily budget to ‘unlimited’ at that point and dug into my campaign’s targeting tab.
I have a simple rule when it comes to media sources in performance campaigns, the 50% rule. If a media source spent 50% of the conversion worth without any performance close it. Yes, it might perform if I will give it another few impressions but a decision has to be made at some point, and this is my line. Since ZeroPark has hundreds if not thousands different ‘targets’ and the campaign’s payout was clearly low I set the red-line to $0.35. Any target who wasn’t profitable and had over $0.35 is spent was shutdown immediately. I closed over 90 different targeted that day in order to allocate my budget to different sources and increase my overall margin.
I didn’t make any changes on the OS, browsers nor the day-parting setup due to a simple acknowledgment, I couldn’t find any clear trend. Although the keywords trend was clear, broad keywords were able to allocate more traffic to my campaign and by far more revenue. I decided to return to my original keywords setup, removing any exact keywords and specific domains but kept a few vacation cities in my list.
This is basically, as simple as it sounds, was my all optimizations over the campaign life time. I kept removing targets by my 50% rule every single day, a few time a day
End of things
Yes, I made some quick money and my job is all about making money but the client asked to pause the campaign since my sources didn’t matched his requested quality and didn’t provided enough sales. That decision broke my optimization process and didn’t allowed me to duplicate my campaigns to set them up separately for each bulk of keywords nor touching the campaign creative at all. I did manage to open the campaign once again on different media platform with more user-quality to the client and profitability to my pocket but with less margin percent.
The experience with this travel campaign, led me to run other tens of different campaigns in this vertical and to understand the potential in low rates campaigns. The experience with ZeroPark, placed this platform in my top favorite PPV platforms and my first pick to check any new performance campaign’s potential.