In 2016, superaffiliates are killing the competition with marketing automation. And the competition’s YOU. Learn how you can use the same tools to crush your campaigns – before someone else crushes you.
Hugh Hancock Speech Transcript
They’re here, they’re here among us! They are watching us, they’re seeing what we do! And they can hear our thoughts!
That’s why I wear this hat. Yeah, take it, take it, take it.
Unholy combinations of man and machine, powered by fusion reactors, operating at 1.21 Jigowatts. Great Scott! 1.21 Jigowatts.
They’re everywhere. They could be in this very room. Look around you.
There’s one! Right there, right there!
Don’t be fooled by his flashy masks! Look beyond! See the true face!
There may be more, somewhere, among you.
Be warned, be very careful. And be aware that we are all doomed.
Thank you very much. I’ll be here all week tip, your waitress.
So you’re wondering what the joke is. And, the joke is, kind of, I’m not joking.
Well, I am joking about the reading my mind thing, I think, I hope. Here, catch.
And, I am joking about the fusion reactor thing, apart from Lorenzo. We don’t talk about that after the incident.
But, what I’m not joking about is that there are cyborgs. They are among us. And they are beating you, personally.
See, when people think about AI, hands up if you’ve heard about AI taking people’s jobs. Yep, yep. Anyone, anyone? Yep, okay quite a few people read Hacker News, read Wired.
They tend to think that robots are just going to come in.
And like, right now R2D2 is going to roll through the back. He’s going to be like, “beep boop”
And the organisers of the conference, me and everyone will just be like, “Yeah pack it up guys, the industry is over. We’re done.”
That’s not how it works.
Combination Of Man And Machine
Every industry that is in danger because of automation. That is becoming more competitive because of automation, and that is because of people who are a combination of man and machine.
Uber is destroying the taxi industry, it’s not an AI.
There’s no Skynet back there running it. It’s just some people with some incredibly efficient software that means they can out-compete any conventional taxi company.
A friend of mine is an investment trader in the London Stock Exchange. And he says that his industry has gotten 10 times more competitive over the last few years because one trader can now do the work that used to take 5.
Same is true of lawyers. I have a barrister friend, says the same thing.
One lawyer can now do the work of 5 because of all their tools for writing contracts, their tools for research, and their tools for everything.
Now, affiliates, who in this room is as an active affiliate, running affiliate campaigns?
Okay. You guys have probably noticed over the last couple of years that the industry is getting more competitive. It’s not dying.
People always say it’s dying, but it is getting more competitive.
And the reason is that superaffiliates, like this guy, are increasingly using automation. This means that a normal affiliate simply cannot compete.
I interviewed a whole bunch of superaffiliates for this talk to find out what automation tools they use. And honestly, it’s terrifying.
If you are in normal unaugmented Affiliate and you go up against someone with these tools.
Even if you take away their army of outsources, their network of contacts, they will still be testing campaigns 5 times faster than you.
They will still be using tools, that means they are saving money because you literally cannot stay awake 24 hours a day. And the only way to compete is to start doing the same thing.
So that’s what I’m going to tell you today. How you can join the ranks of the cyborgs.
You don’t have to peel your flesh off and stick metal bits in, that’s strictly optional.
How you can join the rank of the cyborgs? I’m going to give away a bunch of automation tools for affiliate platforms you’re probably using.
And this is not a talk for techies.
Techies will get some stuff out of it. There are some quite neat things in here.
But this is for those of you who aren’t programmers, who couldn’t write Pascal, Python, Ruby, whatever to save their lives, who want to outsource this stuff.
I will explain how to do it, I will explain how to do it cheaply, and I will explain how to do it well.
In order to do this, I’m going to need to introduce my beautiful assistant.
This is Bob. Bob is a normal affiliate. He does normal affiliate things.
And, he lifts heavy, he does Brazilian Jujitsu, he goes to Koh Samui and then posts pictures on Instagram with #NoFilter.
He is a normal affiliate. He is running his campaigns the normal affiliate way. And unfortunately, he is trying to run in verticals that superaffiliates are also running in.
And I’m going to tell you in excruciating, mind-numbing, teeth clenching detail how he is getting crushed and how you can avoid the same happening to you.
So let’s start at the start.
Bob has decided on a new campaign. He’s got his angle, he is writing up landing pages. And this is the first place where he gets crushed.
Because he takes his landing page templates from wherever he got them. And he goes through the code in notepad and he goes through the HTML.
This takes an annoying amount of time. Anyone here who finds the process of preparing a whole bunch of landers just sort of going through the HTML, annoying?
Raise your hand. Yeah.
And, a lot of us, at one point to another, have said, “Well, why the hell don’t we just use WordPress?”
It’s a perfectly sensible question.
WordPress is great. You have like 3 form fields, you fill them in, and you get a page. It’s what it’s designed for.
But, WordPress is not designed for affiliates. It’s insecure, it’s slow. If you don’t optimise it, it’s very slow. And optimising it is hard and expensive.
And even if you do optimise it, it will still be beaten by HTML landers.
So, I get this question asked a lot on the forums on STM and my response is, “Well, why not just have your own CMS, content management system written? Like WordPress but optimised for an affiliate?”
And people go mad. They say, “I can’t do that, WordPress is hundreds of thousands of lines of code. It took 10 years. I don’t have a million dollars to do this. What the hell, you’re mad, man!”
Content Management System (CMS)
So, let me tell you something, I recently wrote a CMS, content management system for affiliate marketers.
Tech nerds, pay attention. This bit is quite cool.
It uses engine X. And, it uses engine X’s ability to pass lure to directly pull the data from the database at super-fast speeds.
I recently tested it on the smallest VPS I could buy, 512 megabyte VPS. I was running 10 million views a day at an average view time of 50 milliseconds.
Even for pop traffic, that is sensationally fast.
Now, here’s the interesting bit, I’m now going to show you the CMS. That’s it! That is every single line of code that you need to write that.
Incidentally, it also allows you to create a lander with one line in slack.
You don’t need to worry about shooting this and then sending off to outsource or trying to frantically write it down.
I will be giving away this and several other tools full code at the end of this presentation.
Programming Has Changed
So, why is this so simple? Well, programming has changed. It hasn’t changed in the way we might like it to.
It’s still a whole load of impenetrable text. No-one has ever come up with a friendly drag and drop way of programming anything that isn’t terrible.
But, we have now been programming for the web for nearly 20 years.
Now, I was programming for the web when it started. And we had to make everything from scratch. It was a nightmare.
But, lesson number one for non-technical people who are looking to outsource this stuff, programmers are very, very lazy.
The best programmers are the laziest programmers. They hate solving a problem more than once. And they hate the idea that anyone else would have to solve a problem they have solved.
So, whenever they solve a problem, they put the damn thing up online. They write a tool for it.
There were two sites. Stack Overflow. Again, will be in the presentation. And Github, which collate all of these solutions.
And honestly, if you know the very basics of programming and you know how to Google, you could build something like that CMS by just googling all the problems you hit and looking for the solutions.
That’s more or less how I did it. That program is written in Lua. I don’t program Lua, I’ve never program Lua before this week.
So, that’s the first lesson, programming has changed.
The second lesson, so Bob has created his landing pages. It took him about 3 hours. He’s now got a blinding headache from staring all that dense text. And, he is competing against superaffiliate, Lorenzo Green.
Lorenzo has completed his landing pages in 3 and a half minutes while sitting in a trendy Amsterdam café, drinking a herbal tea that looks like pure green emerald and smells like someone took a Chinese herb and put it through a wood chipper.
And, now we get to the banner creation part. You’re expecting me to say, and now Lorenzo fires up his magic banner creation tool.
But this is an interesting thing. Of the superaffiliates I spoke to, none of them have banner automation tools.
One, this is the kind of thing that is cheaper and easier to outsource. And, I’ll get onto that.
Two, there’s no point automating something that has already been automated.
Let me show you something. “Yes, Windows Ten. It’s me, hello.”
Okay, Photoshop. I imagine one or two of you familiar with this program. Standard, incredibly ugly Ad because as we all know, incredibly ugly ads, work.
However, I’m going to navigate here. I’m gonna use the magnifier. And magnify at the top, come down to… just a second.
I’m gonna come up to a menu that you probably have never used, variables and then datasets. And, this is the magic automation tool.
All you do is you get you go into your Photoshop banner file.
You select the banner that you want to automate, you click on the image of the text area that you want to import from a spreadsheet or from a directory full of images. And, you add in all those images.
It’s gonna turn off the magnifier now.
You add in all these images. And then you can just flip through them. This is just as simple as going into open file repeatedly.
And then, you can just go to file, export, and data sets as files.
Because I’ve done this already, I’m just copying them all over.
And then, you’ll see here, all of those finished banners created in as much time as it took me to talk to you.
Tools Have Hidden Depths
We go back to slides now. So this comes to lesson two. Lesson two is tools have hidden depths.
Tools have hidden depths. Again, programmers are lazy.
And programmers are the people who created these tools. They too have figured out that people are going to want to do things like creating banners time and time again.
So, a lot of the time you will find hidden and badly documented because that’s another thing programmers do.
There are going to be automation features you can already use. No cost required, no outsourcing required.
All you need to do is Google and look for them and terms like programmatic creation, data sets.
And all these kind of stuff, Google that, see if the tool exists for Photoshop, for Google Docs, for Word, for Excel, for all these powerful tools.
Next, uploaders. So, Bob has finished his banners. He’s been working at this for about 5 hours.
Lorenzo has finished his banners. He’s been talking to an outsourcer for about 5 minutes. And, he’s now off to a trendy Amsterdam nightclub to drink gin.
And Bob is sitting down for the most tedious job in the world, uploading all his creatives.
Hands up, anyone who likes uploading large volumes of creatives to their traffic source? That’s what I thought.
And when I interviewed all the superaffiliates, one of the things I discovered was the first tool that nearly all of them had made was an uploader.
Now, you might be wondering this seems a bit weird because this isn’t automating your own servers. This is automating someone else’s servers, Facebook server, Go2Mgobi servers, PlentyO Fish servers that you don’t control.
Now, fortunately, again programmers are lazy, programmers assume other people are lazy.
Programmers assume that you are going to want to be able to control the tools they write, even if you don’t actually own them.
So, there are 4 things to look for in increasing order of difficulty.
Firstly, API, application programming interface.
You don’t need to know terribly much about them. They are basically just buttons on the outside of the black box of Facebook, or Go2Mobi or ZeroPark or wherever, that you can press to do things automatically.
If you Google, you look for an API and they have one that they tell you about and that is documented, you will probably find that your outsourcers, your programmers can create tools incredibly easily.
I’m going to be showing you 2 tools later on that I wrote using Go2Mobis new API, which is coming out soon. I have never touched it before. It took me about half a day each.
If they don’t have a public API, you might think that, for example, Facebook entirely runs on Facebook servers. But it’s not true.
The way that Facebook works is when you log into the site, it uploads to your computer a whole bunch of code which your computer then runs.
Effectively, your computer is running half of Facebook. And that half of Facebook then needs to talk to the server half. And it does that with an API.
The same is true of almost every other website out there, every traffic source, every affiliate network, every tracker.
It’s how they all work.
API: How They Communicate
So, there is an API there because that’s how they communicate. You just haven’t been told about it.
Now, here’s a fun fact from one of the superaffiliates, who shall remain nameless. Who was working with the traffic source, which will also remain nameless?
He wanted to automate his bidding because he noticed that he can only bid in five cent increments.
So being quite a techie guy, he went into the source code of the web page that he used to change the bids. And he noticed that the API, the server, would take any bid you liked.
It was only the webpage, the client that would force you to bid in five cent increments.
So he wrote his own tool to talk to the server which meant that when his competition went, we’re going to bid 45 cents per click. He went, I’ll bid 46.
And his competition went, “How the hell did he do that?”
So, they had then had to bid 50 cents. He bid 51.
They bashed their heads off the table in frustration. And he made a lot of money this way. Undocumented API is way too. If you can’t do that or your traffic source forbids, you can get into a lot of trouble for accessing API’s if you are actually, explicitly told not to.
Then, go to automating via your web browser, which sounds really complicated but there was a tool. There are several tools. But the best well-known one it’s called iMacros.
iMacros will let you automate things in your web browser just like recording actions in Photoshop.
You do not need to be a programmer to use it at all. And you can create things like bidders, uploaders, all kinds of things with that.
If you can’t use that for whatever reason, then you’re going to need to talk to a hardcore programmer and use a thing called Selenium.
What Selenium does is lets you essentially turn your browser into a robot. And you can do almost anything with that, you can automate almost any website, in almost any way you want.
But, it’s heavy metal so don’t do it unless you have to.
This will just automate it in one click of a button. And, as you can see, it’s very simple because they have a public API.
So, Lorenzo is out dancing the night away with very tall women.
Bob is slaving away, getting his uploads done. He finally finishes getting them done.
And he starts the long slow process of sitting through the night because he’s super grindy, blocking placements as they hit 2 times those payout and don’t convert.
Now, this is obviously a big deal right now.
Bot Traffic Placements
I don’t know about anyone, has anyone else noticed that fraudulent placements, bot traffic placements are popping up all over the place, more and more often?
I certainly have. Raise your hand if you have. Yeah, I’ve seen a few sorts of quiet, don’t want to tell the opposition.
Hand waves there. They’re coming up daily. Sometimes, even hourly.
So, while Bob is doing this because Bob is a sensation the unlucky man, he is also competing with Besmir, “bbrock” on the STM Forum who is another superaffiliate.
And Besmir has likewise launched a campaign in no time flat because he’s an automation whiz. And he’s now having a solid night’s sleep because he’s got an autoblocking script running.
You see, auto blocking is almost the perfect thing to automate. It is perfect for two reasons and I’ll tell you the first one now, the second one later.
The first one is there is a simple rule. If you’re going to be auto-blocking something, the chances are you have a very, very simple rule.
You’re saying if this thing has spent two times my payout, three times my payout, hasn’t converted, block it. That is an algorithm.
The algorithm is a scary word that programmers throw around. I certainly tend to think of it as algorithms are getting invented in clean, white laboratories by people with more Ph.D.s than eyeballs.
It’s a scary word but it’s not. It just means a rule.
If you have a rule, it’s really, really simple to automate. And that is a simple rule.
Here is an automated blocker for Go2Mobi. It looks a bit more complicated but that’s honestly just because three of the commands are very long.
All it does is it pulls down the data. It applies that rule and it blocks if so.
Next, auto bidders. This is another example of an algorithmic thing. It’s a simple rule.
The rule is, if you, say, you’re in a position one to five traffic source, you want to be in position two. If you are in position one, lower your bid.
If you’re in position three, raise your bid. If you’re in position two, lower your bid because you might be getting cheaper.
That is a simple rule. And this brings me to the question, “Is it worth automating?”
The first question, “Is there a rule?” We’ve covered that.
The second question, “Is it going to cost you less to get this thing automated than to hire an outsourcer for one year to do it?”
That’s a really good rule of thumb, works really, really well.
So, that doesn’t mean hiring the outsourcer full-time. If this thing only takes you an hour of a week, how much are 52 hours of that outsourcers time gonna cost you?
And the third point, which I mentioned about auto blockers. The other reason they’re a really, really good thing to automate.
“Is it the case that if you have this tool and it operates more frequently than any human being could?”
Because a human can’t stay up 24 hours a day. A human can’t check 700 different campaigns every two minutes, right? Not possible.
Save You Money
A machine can. And in the case of blocking, this will absolutely save you money.
Besmir has his tool doing it as soon as a new fraudulent placement pops up, starts spending money like crazy. It gets shut down within seconds of hitting the three times payout.
Bob is waking up once every two hours to do this. This means he can have two hours of additional spend, over a few hundred placements and a few hundred campaigns, that adds up.
Next point, so Bob is by now, it is 5:00 in the morning. Bob is frazzled.
He’s keeping his eyelids open with matchsticks and after a while, it just stops working. The caffeine won’t do it anymore, the Mountain Dew has failed him, and the Yerba Mate is no longer doing its thing. He falls asleep.
And he stays asleep until 2:00 PM the next day, which is a problem.
Besmir, likewise, but Besmir has had a good night’s sleep. He is not gonna wake up at 2:00 PM, he’s gonna wake up at 10:00 AM sharp.
And he’s going to go down to his local coffee house for a cup of espresso and then he’s gonna head off into town to feed his crippling Pokemon Go addiction.
You’re outed, sorry.
And in both cases, the offer goes down at 11:00 AM.
Bob is sleeping. He’s just gonna waste all his spend until he wakes up.
Alerts And Replacers
Besmir has automated alerts warning him. Now, there are two ways of doing this.
The first way is just to have an alerting program that alerts whenever a campaign drops below about 20% – 30% in ROI for any reason.
This is really smart because it means your unforeseen problems, like maybe there’s a problem with your server, from your codes something you didn’t think of, they will all get reported.
And you can get on it immediately.
Besmir is, at the time this alert goes off, sitting by the side of the river, he’s squealing like a little girl because he just got a Squirtle. That went to a weird place, moving on.
And he gets this alert, he deals with it immediately.
The other way of doing this and it’s arguably even more clever is you can tie something like Pingdom, which you can use it to check whether an offer is down.
You can tie it to another service. And that service can be something that goes, “Alright, okay, I need to do something, I’ll swap in a backup offer.”
You can do that for offers that hit cap, you can do that for offers that go down, you can do that for offers that just get very slow.
It is incredibly powerful and this brings me to the point, how do you save money when you’re getting outsourced tools done?
Command Line Tool
The simplest way to do it is to use what’s called a command line tool.
So, if you’ve seen programmers sitting there with a big screen full of green text and they’re typing in text commands? That is a command line.
Computers work with them very well. They require almost no additional programming for the interface.
So they are very, very cheap to make. And all the stuff that I made, and again, remember I made this stuff in like a day and a half this week, is command line for that reason.
Bolt Things Together
If you can’t do that or if you don’t like the command line, the next thing is to bolt it together with another web tool.
The web is designed to be bolted together these days. You can bolt Pingdom to your auto-offer replacer.
And, you can bolt Slack. Slack is amazing for this, you can do almost anything with Slack.
You can bolt it to your uploader, you can bolt it to your landing page creator, whatever you want.
If you can’t do that, you’ll notice that almost all of these superaffiliate tools I’m showing, have web interfaces.
Creating an interface in the web is more complicated, but it’s still cheaper than creating a full Windows application, Mac application, Linux application.
That will be expensive. Don’t do that.
Here is an example from forum user CMdeal of an offer balancing system.
Now, this one’s taken to the next level. This is balancing about 50 different offers. And at any time it is seeing leads come in. It is using what it knows to opt to pick the best offer for that lead and sending them off.
And this has a huge impact on the bottom line. It’s another example of you couldn’t do this by hand.
So, talking of CMdeal, Bob is literally the unluckiest man on the planet.
Because not only is he competing with Lorenzo, he’s competing with Besmir, he is also competing with CMdeal. So as we all know, he is basically going to die at this point.
But he has got there. He’s got his campaign to the point where he can start optimizing. It’s taken him days of no sleep but he’s got there.
At the same time, CMdeal sitting on a jet back from the continent, having visited four countries in three days, broken a Middle East peace treaty. And he’s now heading back to Gotham to begin the endless fight against crime once more.
Have you ever seen him and Batman in the same place? Just asking.
He is also about to start optimizing. So surely, Bob and him on the same playing field. Well, no.
The first thing Bob has to do is he has to collect all the data from his campaign.
He has to collect all the information from his traffic source about how much he spent. And, he has to collect all the information from his affiliate network about how much he’s made.
He has to slam this all together in a spreadsheet.
Did anyone spend quite a lot of time munching this sort of data together in spreadsheets in the past? Yep, yep, yep. Seeing quite a few hands go up.
Automation Is Good At Reading The Web
Automation is absolutely brilliant at this. It’s absolutely phenomenal, computers are really, really good at reading the web. Here are some tools you can use.
Two or three lines of code will mean you never have too much data together in a spreadsheet again.
And that’s about all I have to say around that matter.
Here is an example of what you can do with it though. This is 100 different traffic sources from CMdeal being munched together to show which one is operating best, which one is producing the most response.
And this brings up another interesting point. Humans are really bad at numbers. You tracker probably just gives you a big pile of numbers.
Visualisation makes it much easier to spot opportunities. You can see a glance here, which one of those traffic sources is doing best.
So, we’ve hit, I’m not going to say much about statistical significance, it’s a math problem.
It can be done with computers. You can automate all your statistical significance.
There is data in the website that I will show you in a moment, for a tool which can do Bayesian split testing, completely automatically. You just never have to worry about it again.
Drop landers out.
Finally, though, we get to the actual optimization. And at this point surely, surely, this requires human intervention.
Bob must at this point be on a level playing field with the superaffiliates.
Yeah, about that. Machine learning is the 200-pound server rack in the room at this point. Even superaffiliates are only starting to use machine learning now.
I know there were a couple of tools using machine learning. And it monetises using machine learning.
But this is a point where, as a normal affiliate, you can get a jump on the existing gigantic affiliates because they are really only starting to exploit this technology.
Now, I decided to learn machine learning for this talk so I could explain it to you. And that didn’t go so well.
Machine learning courses, like Coursera machine learning course, are still incredibly complicated. And you basically need multiple advanced Math and Computer Science degrees in order to make sense of them.
I do not recommend it.
What I do recommend is using the tool I found in the process.
So I will just wake up Windows 10 over here.
And I shall go to Weka. Now the kiwis in the room will recognize Weka as a New Zealand bird.
Weka, An Academic Tool
It’s an academic tool created by New Zealand academics, who wanted to make it easier to use machine learning. And I’ll just magnify this again.
You can see here, what I’ve done is I’ve brought in data from a campaign I was running quite recently and cleaned this it all up.
And now, I’m going to live in front of you. Fire up the AI.
Now, by the law of computer demos, this thing will probably catch on fire and explode. So, I recommend everyone gets ready to duck.
So, go over to classify here. Click start. And very quickly, what this shows you, you can see this number here 93.8%.
What this has done, is it is trained itself on 90% of the data I gave it and then it tests itself on the other 10%.
Which Click Will Convert
And this is with a 94% accuracy predicting which clicks will convert.
That’s really nice.
But what’s even nicer is if we go over to the clustering tool, go over here, hit start. This will take a little while.
The bird rotates. And then we get clusters, what the right of Finch has called pockets of profit.
And you can see here, we have, yes and no clicks. I’ve used yes and no because it doesn’t accept numeric data.
So yes is this converted, no is this didn’t convert.
And you can see there are some columns that have very high weightings in one direction or the other. Like this one here has a really high weighting towards no.
So that cluster definitely doesn’t convert on this offer. This cluster over here definitely does convert on this offer.
And then, we can go up these columns and look for other very, very high numbers to see what is associated with that.
So here, 52 on that column. What’s that? iOS.
So the machine learning tool has told me with absolute certainty this thing works very well with iOS. But not just with iOS.
If I pan down this again, it’s quite hard to read, you can see it’s also associated it with the ISP Virgin Media. And it has associated it with four or five towns.
That cluster is a very, very strong cluster of things that will convert. And you can use this tool right now.
Literally, I have information on the website on how to download it. Go download it. Drop some of your campaign data into. Start data mining the pockets of profit that you can find.
It’s incredibly efficient.
Okay, back to the slides. So, in conclusion, who here has heard the term Luddite? Raise your hand.
Luddite. Okay, for those who don’t know, in the modern media, Luddites are what people are called if they hate technology.
Basically, they’re backward, they don’t like technology. They’re stupid.
That’s not actually what Luddites were. Luddites were the disciples of William Ludd.
They were weavers, they were incredibly skilled at weaving. And unfortunately, they lived in the age where the automated loom came in.
It turned all them, all the mill owners into cyborgs.
They suddenly didn’t need humans to do that part of the job anymore, they could operate far more efficiently. Traditional weavers mostly went out of business.
It was perfectly rational for these people to want to smash the looms, which is what they did.
And what we are seeing with this whole automation, cyborg, AI thing, is the same thing that has been happening since the dawn of time.
Since the first caveman picked up the first sharpened stick and went, “You know what, I could shove this in a sabre-toothed tigers eye and maybe it’ll stop chewing on my leg.”
We are tool-using animals. And we’ve developed better tools.
And at this point, there are two choices.
You can become a Luddite, you can discover that you cannot compete with people using incredibly advanced automated tools. And, you can go out of business.
Become A Cyborg
Or you can become a cyborg.
To quote a famous work on the subject, “All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.”
The people who didn’t start using tools in the Stone Age got eaten.
The affiliates, who don’t start using automated tools right now, will see their campaigns get eaten.
Don’t be those guys.
There is still a huge opportunity because most people are still afraid of automation. Think it’s too complicated. Hopefully, I’ve demonstrated that not the case.
So if you start using it now, you can get a major leg up over the competition.
You can become a cyborg, you can turn into a superaffiliate, you can go to a lengthy trip to Ko Samui, you can tag your pictures #NoFilter and then you can also tag me in them.
Thank you very much.
- Ah, can we get that slide back, please? Because it has the website address on it.
- Alright, thank you Caurmen. I feel like maybe I’m Bob. So, did you want to do some questions from the audience, I think this is a fantastic opportunity. Just a very quick announcement everybody, downstairs in the breakout room, there’s a session starting on mobile apps and advertising, which is by AppDrive. But please hang out here. We’re gonna have a quick Q&A. So, that we’re gonna allow you to ask some questions from Hugh. If you’d like to ask a question, please come down to the front on either the right or the left. And we’ll take questions from the audience. You can see that there are microphones just down front here.
- Please do. Any questions you want to ask, come down grab the mic.
- Alright, well if we don’t then I’ll go ahead. So, I have a couple of questions for you Hugh. I know that you’re interested in some… guys, can we keep it down a little bit? Thanks. Feel free to go to the breakout session. I know that you’re doing a lot of work in VR, so maybe you could tell us a little bit about how you see the VR space and the AR space monetising for this crowd in the future.
Future Of VR And AR Space
- Yeah well. I mean VR and AR is a very interesting thing because it’s almost the reverse or what I’ve been talking about here. Automation is humans becoming tool-using animals. VR is something completely new. We have never had this before. The ability to press a button and conjure a new reality. We’ve never had the ability to make things that are completely immersive and can obey literally any laws we like. So, nobody really knows is the answer. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen. Right now, VR is a comparatively small space. The VR kind of phone headset things are by far the biggest space. And one of the things that you could definitely do, if you look at monetising, is looking at developing apps for them. Particularly in China, or Google is literally about to bring VR to almost all Android phones. So that’s a huge deal. They announced it like a month ago. It’s incredibly cool. The other thing to bear in mind is that VR, currently, a lot of the attention for VR is on games. That’s not where the money’s going to be made, that’s never where the money’s made. The money is going to be made in enterprise, in productivity apps. Right now, if I was wanting to primarily make money out of VR, which I’ve got an affiliate business, it’s a new business so it works quite well. So, I don’t need to. But if I just want it to make money, I would be looking at something like an infinite whiteboard app. Or the collaboration app that let enterprise collaborate in a VR space. As for the monetisation, it’s basically, all you pay for the thing you get it at this point.
Pokemon Go AR
- What about the elephant in the room, Pokemon?
- Yeah, there’s one right there. Quick, grab it. AR, Pokemon is fantastic. It’s fascinating because it is so incredibly simple and incredibly cheaty. The way they’re doing their AR, I’ve been looking at this, the way they’re doing their AR is really, really cheating. They just assume that the phone is held at about a 30-degree angle, they project a plane because they figure most the time you’re going to have something flat in front of you. And, they pick a point on the camera and they lock the Pokemon to that point. Then they use HDR lighting algorithm to make it look realistic. But it’s a total cheat. However, the fact that the damn thing has become so incredibly popular, that’s because the very strong ground, tied with a very good game, tied with very strong socialisation, tied with stuff Drew would talk about, native life force, we are born to walk and hunt things. It’s what we do at the most basic level. We are predators who follow something until it dies. That’s how we hunt. And that is then tied with this incredibly viable, AR thing, which is just a cheap trick. You could get something like that outsourced.
- Great, good stuff. So the other thing that you mentioned the other day, which I thought was kind of interesting, I’m interested in using AM techniques for other disciplines, is that you were involved in the BREXIT campaign. I’m curious to hear how you used AM in your political activities.
AM Techniques On Political Campaigns
- Yes, I did do a bit of political campaigning. So, there were two things. The first is really, really simple. And the thing you have to remember if you’re gonna try and change the world with AM techniques is, the simplest possible AM techniques are black magic to anyone involved in politics. Certainly, anyone below the highest level. Maybe like Obama’s campaign staff, they have like one person who knows about a/b testing. It’s at that level. So, all I did was I wrote some informative posts and I ran a perfectly simple Facebook campaign. But the really interesting thing, most people politically campaigning online, they are talking to their own filter bubble.
- If you haven’t heard the term filter bubble, I recommend looking it up. It’s the function in Facebook and Twitter that tends to group you with people much like yourself, who believe the same things as you, who have the same opinions on what’s right and wrong. And if you try the campaigns virally, you’ll normally just end up meeting people who agree with you. Paying for the campaigns I found, broke straight out the filter bubble. And I got to speak to a lot of people who disagreed with me, on the opposite side, which was which is gold dust for a political campaign online. It’s very hard to do. The other thing that I did that was really interesting is I ran the most naive possible poll. So, I wanted to figure out which way the referendum would go. All I did was I started at Zeropark campaign. I ran three landers. Three of them saying, “I’m voting, remain.” Three of them saying, “I’m voting, leave.” I ran it for a couple of days and tallied the results. The polling from the professional polling agency spending, you know, I don’t know how much but a lot on their polling data, was obviously wrong. No one predicted the outcome. Interestingly, those ads on Zeropark just on run of network traffic across the UK, the result was 52% in the flavor of leave. My numbers predicted 55%.
- Wow, that’s amazing, alright. Well, thank you so much. I think this has been tremendously useful. Last chance for questions. Do we have one?
Building The Automation
- Can you hear me okay? So, assuming we’re going to build all this automation, did you get any advice from the other superaffiliates or do you have some on which order? You know, cause you could build the bidder and then the alerts and then you can get infinitely keep building. Is there an order that you think is better? What to start with?
- Yeah I would say there’s a fairly specific order that I would probably go for. So the first thing I would build is bidders and blockers. One of the superaffiliates I talked to actually said that a bidder was the thing that transformed his affiliate life. Just because he had 700 campaigns, he was doing a lot of niche targeting. He was finding he was just spending 10 hours a day clicking through those campaigns adjusting the bids. So, if you can auto bid, you will crush your competition in the bidding because you cannot win. Manual bidding cannot win against an auto bidder. Blocking, for the reasons I said, it saves you money and it saves your tedious tasks. So do that. Then I would do uploaders, content creation tools. And then I would just run that for a while for a few weeks and start making a note of when you are feeling bored. If you’re sitting there doing a task you’re grinding away and you’re going, “Ahh this is really boring but I have to do it for my affiliate career.” That is your brain telling you to automate it. You’re better than that, you have more value than that. So that’s how I’d suggest doing it.
- Okay, thank you.
- I’m sorry, did you mention that the script that you put up earlier are gonna be available?
- They are all on that website up there. If you want the tools that I wrote, you want the CMS, you want the auto-blocker, you want the content uploader, and you want links to all the tools I’ve talked about in this presentation, they are all on that at that URL.
- Fantastic. Alright, let’s hear it for Caurmen.
- Thank you very much.