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What Most Advertisers Do Wrong With Traffic Blacklisting

by Aina S
Tips for avoiding traffic blacklisting mistakes

What Most Advertisers Do Wrong With Traffic Blacklisting…and How to Do Right

This insightful post is brought to you by our Head of CPA, Aina, whose proficiency has led tons of campaigns to double-to-triple profits. In this Insider Advice episode, Aina takes to pieces some common traffic blacklisting mistakes that can turn down to almost zero your optimization efforts. By learning them, you’ll be safe from wrong moves.

Head of Adsterra CPA
Aina S
Head of CPA at Adsterra

Campaign optimization is impossible without splitting traffic sources. If you can’t spotlight and group the sources by their performance, it will be too confusing finding the leaders that stream you gold conversions and the laggards that spoil the whole picture. 

Traffic blacklisting is a powerful weapon in finding sources that deliver you multiple impressions but don’t perform like you want them to:

  • a lot of impressions but few clicks;
  • low CR after 1-2 weeks of the campaign launch;
  • insufficient install-to-trial CR, or install-to-sale CR, etc.

Let’s see how you can manage blacklists and avoid common mistakes that most advertisers commit. No boring theory, just true stories!

Before we carry on with blacklists: How you can learn everything about traffic sources

Adsterra partners with over 18K publishers from different niches who deliver all kinds of traffic. Most of the sources are entertaining, news- and sports-related, educational, etc. 

Even within one niche, say, Entertainment, traffic sources vary, and their performance varies.

There are dozens of factors that affect traffic behavior, and therefore, your campaign success: the country where ads run, seasonality, user device type, even the connection type when it comes to WiFi and mobile carrier traffic.

Traffic is a live substance, and its “mood” can change even within one day. That’s why we always recommend adding a dynamic token that tracks all placements where you get traffic from. On the Adsterra platform, this token is called ##PLACEMENT_ID##. Add it to your landing page URL, and you will be able to see how each placement works.

How to start tracking all traffic sources with Adsterra

Mistakes that most affiliates and advertisers make in traffic blacklisting

After you started tracking traffic sources and have already packed your stats with figures, you notice that some placements don’t make you happy at all. 

Traffic blacklisting can improve your campaign performance. All you need is to exclude the placements that eat your budgets. It seems so simple, but that’s a trap most advertisers fall into.

Let’s examine some examples and see the main don’ts about traffic blacklisting.

Now you can keep all CPM, CPC, CPA prices in front of you. Just add pricing tokens to the landing page URL, and Adsterra will pass the costs to your tracking service.

# 1 Setting blacklists for the whole account with several offers

When you run several types of offers, curbing traffic for all of them can be a wrong move. Every traffic source may shower you with conversions when you advertise, say, a dating offer or drop your CR to zero during a VPN ad campaign.

Traffic performance is not a constant value. Even if you’re sure some sources are unwanted, some of your campaigns still can benefit from additional thousands of impressions.

#2 Blacklisting traffic that comes from a group of GEOs for the whole campaign

The same placement may send super traffic from one GEO and fail to meet your expectations with another one. When you blacklist the placement sending traffic from multiple GEOs for the whole campaign, you lose potential conversions and profit. But you still need to cut off the unwanted traffic, so what should you do? 

A good rule of thumb is one GEO per one campaign. But we’re not living in the perfect world 😉, so if you have already set up a multi-geo campaign, one tool can help you split the traffic masterfully. It’s a Custom bid, a tool for intelligent bidding

Custom bid allows for increasing or decreasing a bid for a set of placements sending traffic from particular GEOs. 

You can find this tool on your campaign Create or Edit page, on step 4, Advanced settings.

Choosing GEOs to set up a Custom bid

#3 Setting a dense blacklist at the start of the campaign

The mistake of over-optimization catches up even pro affiliates, especially when they step into the new ad network. 

Your best friend in affiliate marketing and advertising is patience. Try not to curb the traffic massively, wait a couple of days, test it slice by slice, and you will reveal the hidden diamond sources.

#4 Using ONLY blacklists for campaign optimization

By blacklisting, you do nothing but exclude traffic sources. Sometimes that’s too harsh. On Adsterra, you can use greylists instead. 

Greylists allow you to assess the return on traffic adequately and make a recalculation of your bids instead of stopping getting the traffic from a particular placement. 

Greylisting is like the first alarm. You keep an eye on those sources that seem to drain your funds without returning superb results. You can reduce the Custom bid for 1,000 impressions or a conversion, and you will save money, but the traffic volumes won’t be lost. 

By the way, you will often find you need to raise your bid for the sources that stream high-quality leads, clicks, and conversions. In this case, you will be using a whitelist with top sources and the Custom bid. 

#5 Not refreshing your blacklists

As we said in the beginning, traffic is a live substance. Sources remain, but users change, their behavior changes, the quality of the content they consume changes. 

Even if you came up with a perfect blacklist a couple of months ago, it could have become your enemy by now. 

Here is a win-win set of actions to refresh your traffic sources safely. 

    1. Check your blacklists and pick the largest traffic sources. 

    2. Add them to the campaign they fit. 

    3. You can start with lower bids for these sources (see previous cases with custom bidding). Or create a cloned campaign that includes only these sources. 

    4. To avoid overspending, you can also limit your daily budgets. On the campaign Create/Edit page, navigate to Step 3 — Cappings and Limits — and set up the limits for impressions and/or spending.

Limit your daily spending with Adsterra tools

Traffic performance may vary but you can rely on its quality

Here is one thing that you should know. On Adsterra, you work with clean and genuine traffic. Each day, our anti-cheat department manually checks each website. Although we have both in-house and third-party intelligent tools for automatic security protection, manual checking is a must. 

You can apply with any concern about the traffic to account managers. As well as ask them for advice. They are proficient advertisers and know precisely how to set up a strategy that will lead you to the desired goal!

And this marks the end of our blacklisting mistakes study 🎉🎉🎉  Enjoy clean traffic staying safe from overspending!

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