Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

How I Lost $942.16 Giving Away The Bible


The Bible

Last month (February), I decided to run a little experiment that actually turned into this case study I’m presenting right now.  As many of you may be familiar, my favorite sources of revenue online come from running cost per action (CPA) offers.   Up until recently most of my offers were either mobile or lead generation related.  However, last month I decided to run a campaign related to toolbar downloads.  If you are not familiar with this type of offer, toolbar downloads are just that.  They are addons to your browser that provide some added functionality.   I’m sure you are using some right now at the moment.  They can be as simple as a toolbar that adds an additional search bar which allows you to search multiple search engines at once or a toolbar that gives you the ability to listen to your favorite radio station right there on the browser.  The possibilities are unlimited.  Toolbar offers work like this.  An affiliate receives compensation for getting people to download a toolbar on the browser.


This being said, I stumbled across a set of toolbars while doing some reading online which gave the person the ability to read bible passages straight from their toolbar.   It basically allowed you to read the bible, search bible quotes and give you a scripture for the day.   I thought this was interesting and decided to see if I could find this offer on any of the CPA networks I belong too.  Turns out, Neverblue, had this offer available on their console.  They were paying $3.35 per download of the toolbar.  Perfect right!?   My game plan to promote this offer was to run it via the Google Content Network (the very place I found the offer in the 1st place).  After doing a little competitive intelligence, I came up with a listing of keywords I felt would best “theme” the adgroups I would setup in Google Adwords.

Daily Bible Guide Offer



I came up with the following themed adgroups:  Bible Sermons, Bible Study, Bible Download, King James Version, and Bible App Download.  After the landing page was created and Google approved my ads, I began to run the campaign.  Since this was a brand new Google Adwords account, I started my initial bids at 2.50 per click (something I’d regret later). Also my daily budget was initially set to 100.00 a day. So what happened the 1st day?  I ended up spending 112.15 and only garnering 3 conversions with equated to $10.05 in revenue.  So if you do the math, that was a loss of $102.10 in the 1st day of testing!!   So what went wrong I thought???   After analyzing the data, I immediately paused 2 adgroups who were eating up the majority of my budget and not getting me any conversions.  The also applied 2 additional tweaks to my campaigns.  I dropped my daily budget from $100.00 to $60.00.  I then reduced my cost per click bids from $2.50 to $1.90. Finally I talked to my account manager at Neverblue and he was able to increase the payout of the offer from $3.35 to $4.00 per download. The results, the next day I received 4 conversions ($16.00 in revenue) and spent $64.97.  The result was ONLY a loss of $48.97.

Over the course of 2 weeks tweaked and modified both the campaign and the landing page in hopes of getting this campaign profitable.  Two of the major changes I made to the overall campaign was switching from cost per click (CPC) bidding to cost per action (CPA) bidding.  To explain, basically this is an option on Google Adwords where google will take all the bidding, placement, and conversion information within your account and allow you to bid at a CPA rate.  I theory what this means is that if you can bid at a CPA rate that less than your payout on a CPA network, then its guarenteed profits for you.  However, theory vs. practice are 2 different things.  In order for me to have made CPA bidding work for me, I would have needed to as secured a CPA at a rate that was lower than the $4.00 payout I was receiving from Neverblue.  What I found was that when I lowered bidded CPA rate to say $3.00, I received virtually NO traffic from Google, however, when i increased the rate to their “suggested rate” of $17.40 a conversion, I started to receive conversions at the expensive rate.

My final change to this offer was to add a spokesmodel to my site.  I’ve utilized this method before and most of the time it increased conversions.  I’ve included a video of the model that I added to my page below.  The results looked promising. I was able to bring my average CPA down from over $10.00 a conversion to down to as low as $6.00 per conversion.  Although I still was not profitable with this change, it showed I was moving in the right direction.

Below is a play by play listing of the changes that were made to my campaign over the course of 2 weeks. As you can see I spent alot of time attempting to optimize the campaign.  Pausing under performing adgroups, increasing and decreasing bids, and removing under performing site placements.  With all of those changes, I still failed to get this offer profitable.  All and all my loss totaled $942.15.  Although it was an expensive lesson, I learned quite a bit about the Google Content Network.  One major take away was the fact that you dont have to depend directly on them for managing all your traffic.  One thing I didn’t mention in this post was the fact that I was able to find quite a few placements (websites) while running the Google Placement Report that I was able to contact directly for media buys.  Although I can’t say these media buys will be successful yet (still in the process of negotiating them) they are the main sites that I found that got me the most conversions throughout this 2 week period.

2 Week Case Study Walk Through



I hope you have enjoyed this small case study.  Even though it was not a profitable study, it showed me the power and potential of the massive amount of traffic on the Google Content Network.  If I can figure out a way to harness it profitability (like so many have before me) the sky will be the limit.  In any case, I’ll continue to work through my failures till something breaks positively.

Till Next Post

-Ollie James Hales


4 Responses to “How I Lost $942.16 Giving Away The Bible”
  1. Dan G. says:

    The interesting thing here to me is the constant improvement working toward profitability. What I see on WF (as well as my own tendency) is to do a quick test, see it isn’t profitable, and move on.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Dan,

    Yeah I’ve learned that sometimes a “quick” test is not good enough to determine if something is worth tackling. I allocated a budget of 1k to test this to see if it would work. Although not profitable, I found a lot of good nuggets of info. So it was not all a loss. Just got to keep failing forward.

  3. Big G says:

    More positive indicators from Ollie: keep testing, keep tracking, keep positive.

    DanG: the best thing I ever did on the WF was to LEAVE IT. It’s full of folks hopping from one thing to another and serial guru product purchasers. Hoping to stumble upon a ‘magic bullet’ for success. It doesn’t exist. IM is all hard work and data analysis. Once you leave you will start to fly.

  4. marcus says:

    2.50/click, are you crazy??

    Rule of thumb, take the payout, divide it by 20, that’s your pay per click cost.
    So you would need to be below .16cents per click.

    Join here, you’ll learn a lot.

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