Adsterra Review: How to Properly Use It
- Why Adsterra?
- Getting Started on Adsterra
- Creating Your First Campaign on Adsterra
- Optimizing Your Campaign
- Offers, Verticals & Ad Formats
- Funding Your Account
- Adsterra Verdict
- Final Thoughts
Wanna join an ad network that can give you a return of 54% on your ad spend in 14 days or less with minimal effort on your part?
Adsterra is a fresh and vibrant ad network that’s been finely tuned to work in step with the latest affiliate offers.
It’s slick, easy-to-use and the perfect way to reach a hungry audience that converts like crazy for all types of offers.
In this Adsterra review, We’re gonna look at how the platform blew up to be the success it is today, along with a brief overview of the key stats and figures, before showing you a step-by-step study of exactly how you can use Adsterra to make it rain.
Cool, let’s get to it!
Adsterra is a smart ad network founded in 2013 by a team of affiliate marketers and webmasters with over 20 years of experience in the industry.
What’s so cool about the online ad network, and one of the things that makes it so attractive to affiliates, is the emphasis on CPA marketing campaigns.
When it comes to turning a profit with mainstream binary, app installs, gaming, software, sweepstakes – along with a ton of other verticals – you’ll find them hard to beat.
They’re also one of the few ad networks that release up-to-date case studies that show how top affiliates are making bank with the platform.
Bonus tip: You can use these as a blueprint for the best offers, so you don’t have to waste time testing your own.
And, if you like a challenge, you can even get a reward of $200 if your success story is featured on the blog!
In fact, when the strapline of a company’s blog reads ‘Affiliate Marketing and Website Monetization’, you know you’re onto a good thing!
This emphasis on affiliate marketing and a transparent approach to business quickly resulted in Adsterra being hailed as one of the best platforms of its kind in the industry.
Within a year the company had reached 1BN monthly impressions, with 3,500 different traffic sources, and it didn’t take long for things to start getting really crazy.
In 2015 the team had grown to an impressive size of 122 employees and 2016 saw the landmark figure of 10BN monthly impressions, which is enough to make your head spin.
So let’s jump forward to look at today’s numbers and see how all this translates into real-world stats.
Adsterra by numbers and facts:
- 30B+ Monthly Impressions;
- 248 GEOs covered (Global);
- 100K+ Successful campaigns;
- 12K+ direct publishers;
- 8K+ brands, affiliates, media agencies and ad networks;
- All the payment models are available: CPM, CPC, CPA, CPI, CPL, RTB;
- Easy API integration;
- Complex multistep system to protect partners from inappropriate traffic;
- Full targeting inventory including rare ones (i.e. Browser versions, OS versions, carrier, user lifetime, IP targeting);
Adsterra’s Partner Care Approach
Adsterra’s client support team is multilingual and friendly, ready to assist seven days a week.
All Adsterra managers complete their unique “Adsterra’s Partner Care Approach” course. They believe: clients are their equal partners, that’s why they invest in long-term relationships with partners.
The current functionality of the Self-Service Platform makes it possible to run campaigns without a Manager. Still, anytime you need your Manager – he is always here to help you.
Along with some refreshing core values – Trust, Passion, Creativity, Innovation and Reliability- and a commitment to provide creative, unique and engaging advertising campaigns to the world, I think it’s safe to say that the Adsterra has made the big league.
So let’s dive into the details of how to use Adsterra to set up your own campaign using a case study of our own and find out how we made a profit of $348 in under 14 days, with a starting budget of just $650.
Getting Started on Adsterra
First off, you’re gonna need to create a new account.
So head over to Adsterra now and click on the registration link at the top.
Or, if you’d rather read how we did it first and create your account later, that’s fine too.
Tip: Use an active messenger account so you can connect with your network account manager. It’s one of the perks of belonging to the network and can speed up the process for you, so you can start making bank right away.
One of the things we love about Adsterra is the elegant simplicity of the signup process.
Right from the confirmation to the welcome email, to creating my first campaign, I always felt I was in safe hands.
This is worth a mention because with Adsterra, it’s not just the messaging that’s good; it’s the entire experience from start to finish.
So let’s get started!
The Welcome Screen
Here you’ll find a simple 3 step method to getting your ads up and running.
- Step 1 Choose a payment method and top up your balance;
- Step 2 Create a campaign by yourself or with the help of a manager;
- Step 3 Set up your conversions tracker.
We’ll be going over each of these steps in more detail but one of the neat things about the welcome screen can be found in the ‘How to start getting traffic’ section right at the top.
Even though Adsterra is an SSP (self-serve platform) they don’t just take your money and leave you hanging.
You’ll get full support from a personal account manager who will help develop personalized solutions and provide you with expert advice to enhance your campaign performance.
They’ll help you with which offers and verticals can give you the best results, so make sure you don’t skip this section and get in touch with your account manager right away!
Need more advice on how the SSP works?
Pull the pop-out tab on the browser window once you are logged in and voila! A full step-by-step guide on how to refill your account balance, create, manage and edit campaigns will appear, as if by magic.
You can also open the off-canvas menu which will give you a top-down view of the various sections of the site.
This gives you access from everything to campaign creation, stats, tracking, and settings, so you can navigate through the platform like a pro.
For this campaign, we chose a sweepstake offer.
We went with this because sweepstakes offers are quick and easy to set up and are known to convert well.
This particular offer converts on SOI (single opt-in) at $2.60 / sign up.
Users only have to submit their email address, with no verification required, for the conversion to fire.
Here’s a screenshot of the final landing page for the offer. (The one we chose was actually in English, but you get the idea).
For this step, the advertiser decided to act according to the following suggestion:
“When you create creatives and pre-lands, it is not recommended to excessively use effects such as flickering, glowing, and blinking, as they annoy users. It is better to use questionnaires, roulettes with prizes and mini-games.”
So, here’s a look at the types of pre-landers that are perfect for promoting sweepstake offers.
- The spinning wheel – Instantly recognizable and high converting pre-lander for all types of sweepstake offers.
- Win a price – Another modern classic style lander that’s easy to create and gets users to click faster than a camera at the Academy Awards.
- Find the hidden prize – Like a scratch card only without the annoying silvery bits.
With a little digging around you can find scripts for all these pre-landers for free on the net or you can create your own if you’re feeling extra brave.
Some pre-landers also include alerts, which is a big plus.
Alerts attract people’s attention to the pre-lander and prevent them from closing the page too quickly.
Just try not to get too flashy, as this is likely to have the opposite effect and put people off.
Creating Your First Campaign on Adsterra
So, instead of simply walking you through the campaign creation process, I’m gonna switch to using a live test offer so you can follow along with exactly how the pros set things up.
But – just before I do that – you’ll see from the image below that you’re gonna need to top up your balance on your account.
It’s up to you if you do this before or after you set things up, but you’ll need to deposit at least the minimum value of $100 before you can start a campaign.
As I’m keen to run through the process with you, I’ll leave the discussion of payment methods until later, but if you wanna go and deposit some funds before returning to read the rest of the article, now’s a good time.
Go ahead and click on the Create Campaign button.
Here’s where the magic happens!
Let’s go through each of the data fields required to set up your campaigns.
Campaign name: For this ‘sweep_AU’ was entered as the advertisers were promoting a sweepstakes offer, as shown above.
Connection type: You can flick between 3G and Wi-Fi only enabled traffic. For this offer, we chose ‘All Traffic’ but you may want to choose Wi-Fi only, if your lander has high bandwidth requirements.
Pricing type: Adsterra allows for CPM, CPA, or CPC pricing models. For this offer, we went with CPA. This is effective with Pop traffic but if you wanna use CPA with other formats, speak to your account manager first to find out what is possible.
Ad unit category: Popunder, Web Push, or Native banner. As this is a sweepstakes campaign, we’ve chosen to run it with popunder traffic. As you know, popunder traffic is quite mixed, as there’s a chance that some of the traffic will contain bots so it requires some extra work to be done.
Traffic type: Mainstream, Adult, Mainstream + Adult (All). We chose mainstream for this offer, but if you have any adult offers you wanna run, feel free to test them out!
Landing URL: This is for your pre-lander and it’s recommended to use domains that instill confidence in the user. For example domains like “win.prize-now.club” tend to have a higher probability of conversion compared to domains such as “trk.sdkfshfhkhsfshdufds.xyz” which are typically used by spammers.
Device format: Desktop, mobile, or tablet. The advertiser chose to work with mobile traffic exclusively for this offer, as per the recommendations on the offer page. There are tons of useful guides on affiliate marketing strategies for both mobile and desktop traffic which you can read to help decide on a strategy. One other reason you might want to separate your traffic sources is so you can stay more targeted in your campaigns.
Countries: The advertises chose Australia (AU) as the offer was restricted to only a few GEOs. Adsterra allows you to manually select a country or use bulk input for multiple GEOs.
Budget limit: You can allocate a test budget to see how the campaign performs before dropping a fat stack of cash. For this campaign, a total budget of $400 was entered with a test budget of $100.
Start: Start immediately after approval, at a scheduled time or keep inactive.
OS: For this campaign, Android was selected.
Browser: Select which browsers you wanna target.
Browser language: Any specific languages you wanna target – useful for reaching expats abroad.
Carrier: Target specific network carriers.
Capping & Limits
Frequency capping: Impressions limits per user.
Limits: Budget caps over a time frame.
Blacklist: Use blacklists to exclude placements from your campaign.
IP range targeting: Include or exclude a set of IP ranges.
Here’s a screenshot of the preview of how the campaign looked after everything had been set up:
Tip: One neat feature of Adsterra is the Smart Traffic Estimation tool which is available for CPC and CPM pricing models. Use this to find out the approximate volume of impressions/day based on your campaigns’ settings and competitors’ activity.
Tracking Your Links
Setting up your tracking links is the secret to success in any marketing campaign.
Without accurate and correctly structured tracking links, it’s nearly impossible to stay profitable long term.
Read also: Best Affiliate Trackers & Platforms
You can think of this as the equivalent of taking a wild stab in the dark about how many miles your car does to the gallon or guessing how many marbles are in a jar of each shape, colour and size.
Left unchecked, sooner or later you’re either gonna find yourself stranded out in the middle of nowhere or end up throwing money away unnecessarily.
Tracking helps you stay in control of your campaigns and make smart decisions about how to allocate your resources.
And it does this by providing you with detailed analysis of precisely which ad spots and traffic sources are performing the best for you.
Don’t yet have a tracker?
Scoot over to our friends at Voluum and we’ll get you set up with an impressive 25% discount on the best software currently available.
Adsterra has a CPA pricing model – along with CPM, CPC, CPL, CPO, and CPI (PPI) – which you won’t be able to use unless you have your tracker set up beforehand, as you won’t be able to see the conversions required for sending traffic.
So here’s how to set up your tracking in 4 easy steps:
- Choose your postback type – This can be simple postback, simple postback with payout variable or complex postback with currency conversion. The last one is used if you work with currencies other than US dollars.
- Choose your tracking system – We recommend using Voluum, the leading ad tracker. However, you can check our list of the best trackers.
- Generate postback and set it up on your tracking system.
- Test your offer with the inbuilt tool provided. The conversion subid for Adsterra is ##SUB_ID_SHORT(action)## and this must be included with the link. It is additionally recommended to use ##PLACEMENT_ID## so you can track traffic from different sources.
If you need any help with this contact your account manager at Adsterra who will walk you through the process
Optimizing Your Campaign
So now that you’ve got the nuts and bolts of your campaign all tightened down, it’s time to tweak the settings to maximize the performance potential.
This is a huge topic for discussion and covers everything from writing killer ad headlines to testing CTA buttons on your landing page.
If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your campaigns check out the Mobidea Guide to Optimizing Campaigns on Exoclick which will teach you how to optimize like the pros!
For this study, two key optimization strategies were used.
Stage 1 (Raising the bid)
The initial bid for the cost per acquisition pricing type was $1.
The conversion rate was decent enough after only a couple of days of actively driving traffic, but after some tips from the account manager, the bid was raised to $1.8 in order to keep up with the competition.
Remember that as you raise the bid rate, your ads are automatically pushed to the front of the queue, shifting the rotation.
They’ll get shown more often and in higher performing ad positions.
As a result, your ads will be the first ones that the user sees, so they won’t be subject to banner blindness or frequency fatigue.
The user is then generally more receptive to what they are being shown, and the ad will typically have a higher conversion rate.
Stage 2 (Placement blacklist)
A major factor that’s often overlooked by new affiliates is the setup of blacklists placements.
Here’s where your tracker comes in handy.
It allows you to easily cut off unnecessary traffic and exclude baddies, such as well-known isp-filled bots (Amazon, etc.) along with 90% of the low performing traffic that we absolutely do not need for our campaigns.
Think small websites that on their own can eat up to $1 of your budget maximum, but since there are so many of them, you can soon get overwhelmed.
If you really want to test these sites you can, say for instance, if their content is highly relevant to your offer but otherwise it’s best to leave well alone and cut them off at the start – or at the optimization stage, as the advertiser did for this campaign.
Mobile device targeting for all OS was left on and further optimization was later carried out by blocking ads for users that have Android version 5 or earlier installed.
Well, because, according to statistical data, earlier Android versions are known to have stability issues, and it’s difficult to say whether or not your lander will open on those users’ phones.
So how well can you expect your campaign to perform after you’ve made all your tweaks and it’s purring like a finely tuned Lambo?
Well, the truth is this depends on a number of factors.
But, as time goes on, as you gather more data on which verticals and offers perform best with individual traffic sources and ad formats, you’ll grow in confidence and earnings.
Check out the Adsterra blog for real-world case studies with mouth-watering ROIs that will give you a taste of what’s achievable.
Let’s take a look at the results of the ad campaign we’ve been following up to now:
Traffic: Popunder by Adsterra.com (UTM)
Offer: Mainstream Sweepstake
Period: 27.08.2019 – 08.09.2019
GEO: Australia (AU)
And here’s the raw data from the stats screen:
So with minimal testing and optimization, and a test budget of just $650, this campaign made a net income of $998.4 for a total profit of $348.6.
Not too shabby!
Could you optimize this campaign further for even better results?
The point is that Adsterra came through as a profitable traffic source for this sweepstake offer and resulted in a positive profit margin which can only be a good thing.
Finally, sweeps are a fairly simple type of offer.
However, they suffer from the drawback that they can become obsolete way too quickly.
Users quickly lose interest, and so the campaign has to be stopped soon after it was launched.
This makes scaling hard.
Also, don’t forget to think carefully about your pre-landers!
Tip: Think carefully about taking complex cc-submit offers, as you probably won’t be able to overtake your competitors and the campaign could slip into negative ROI. Which is bad!
Offers, Verticals & Ad Formats
As you’ve seen sweepstakes are a sure-fire winner on Adsterra.
But you might also wanna try offers from some of the verticals listed below:
- App Installs
Along with Popunder ads, Adsterra also supports:
- Web Push
- Native Ads
- Social Bar
- Banners (Display)
- Vast (Video)
Tip: Try out different ad formats for your campaigns to see which perform best for your offers.
Funding Your Account
The minimum deposit value for Adsterra is $100.
Accepted payment methods include Paxum, WebMoney, Bitcoin, Yandex Money, and Qiwi.
You can also make a payment on request by Visa, Capitalist, and wire transfer.
You’ll be able to see your payment history and upload any required documents from this page.
Want a Promo Code to help get you started?
Use XENZX57S in the payment promo code section for a $50 bonus on your balance.
You will get $50 after you have $150 on your balance.
Hurry up! This promo code is available until July 1, 2020.
The support you get from Adsterra is pretty awesome.
Not only will they help you tweak your campaigns but they’ll also be able to give you some inside knowledge that will make you profitable from the start.
The support network includes:
- Live chat
- Web Chat (8am – 5pm GMT)
- Extensive help files and guides
Whether you’re new and just starting out or need help with managing larger volumes, Adsterra are an awesome team to have at your disposal.
Adsterra is a great place to start for new affiliate marketers, and the emphasis on affiliate offers and high converting traffic is a winning formula.
Could they be better?
As with all ad networks, the quality of the publishers is essential to turning a profit.
After all, who wants to work with sites that have low traffic volume and an audience that doesn’t resonate with your offers.
That said, Adsterra does a great job of maintaining good quality publishers, but some smaller sites could result in less volume and conversions from some GEOs.
- CPC rates from $0.001;
- CPM rates from $0.25;
- Good choice of ad formats;
- Can run offers with non-mainstream traffic;
- Great targeting options;
- Plenty of funding sources;
- Worldwide coverage.
- Some payment methods need documentary confirmation;
- No demographic targeting yet.
Adsterra is a fantastic network for marketers who are focused on affiliate offers.
They know the space well and have years of experience in making these types of offers a success.
The SSP is easy to use, and there’s more than adequate support available if you need it.
Plus, with a low minimum deposit (and a $50 boost on your account if you use our activation code) there’s a very low barrier to entry, even for new affiliates.
So what are you waiting for?
Click the link below to start testing your own campaigns today, and turn your money into sweet cash right away!