In a recent Q&A posted on STM Forum, Emil Alexandru (aka @blackemil) gave users a peek into his massive success in the sweepstakes vertical. Check out some of his tips below, and learn what he had to say about Fluent’s expertise in keeping sweepstakes fresh and relevant.
The following Q&A originally appeared on
Emil: People think sweepstakes are dead. But if you promote the legit way, you can still bank hard. The secret is to build custom offers. Things that people never see. Not Walmart, iPhone, and PS5. Custom offers in niches nobody else thinks of.
Amy: Impressive! Sweeps have such broad appeal. You can apply the same psychology to practically any niche. The sky’s the limit really! I wonder what the ROI is like?
Emil: Forget those gurus that say it’s easy to make 10-20k a day. It’s not. Times have changed. It’s easy to make revenue. But profit is another story. I also do [some niche] on google. 500k revenue a week. Guess how much is profit? 30-40k max. If you show people revenue stats they think “wow!” But not everything that has big revenues = big profits.
Amy: So true. It’s been like that for a while now – lots of campaigns to drive volume at low ROI.
Emil: Yeah. Cause traffic is expensive. And you can’t go aggressive due to regulations and account bans.
Amy: Speaking of traffic: What traffic types are best for promoting sweeps right now?
Emil: In terms of quality, I can say Facebook is the best for promoting sweeps offers. It’s my main traffic source and the advertisers are always happy with the quality. I also run some push but only internal databases. I think the public sources are spammed.
Amy: “Internal databases” means not the ones available on push networks, right? As in people’s private push subscribers lists?
Emil: I mean it’s a database collected by me in time. You can use OneSignal and add a collect button on your landers. The opt-in rate is like 10%. So for every 1000 users that visit my landing pages, I get around 100 subscribers on my list. It’s a decent way to make more ROI.
Amy: Excellent! So you run FB traffic to these landers and collect push subscribers at the same time, right?
Emil: Yes, with only one trick. You need a redirect code inside your landers to force users to leave FB and open the website in chrome. You can’t collect directly from the FB browser.
Amy: Does FB have a problem with this? And is this redirect code just the usual code or some super-secret code you invented?
Emil: Not if you use the code on the second step on the landers. The code you can find it on Google. It’s not a secret. I just saw some other affiliates collecting push subscribers like this and borrowed their method.
Amy: Second step meaning AFTER the initial visitor interaction, right? Like after the visitor has clicked the landing page?
Emil: Exactly, like if you use a survey lander, after he answers the first question.
Amy: How much additional ROI or profit margin does your push database generate for you? In addition to the original campaigns?
Emil: Around 20-30% additional ROI on a monthly basis.
Amy: Wow nice! Next: How to get accounts? Farmed, bought, or rented? How long do accounts last?
Emil: We have our own farm. We create them from scratch and we farm them for like 5-6 months to make them strong. It’s not an easy operation, but it’s a MUST with Facebook’s moods these days. Regarding longevity, it all depends. I have accounts running for more than 1 year now with over 150k in spend during this time. I would say my accounts are averaging 40-50k in ad spend before I lose them.
Amy: Oh wow!! Those are really solid accounts!
Emil: One secret trick is we also farm them on mobile devices.
Amy: You mean actual physical mobile devices? Like, buy a bunch of used phones?
Emil: Yes, we have 30 mobile phones that we rotate in order to make the accounts trustworthy. So would they appear “REAL” for Facebook bots? Imagine their AI, which is highly intelligent. What user doesn’t log in on a mobile device in 2021?
Amy: So when you’re farming using 20 phones – do you get a data plan for each? And never connect to Wi-Fi to avoid the IP footprint?
Emil: Yes It’s cheap here. Like $5 a month for 60 GB. So it costs me like $100-200 a month for data. And I never use Wi-Fi.
Amy: Any other tips on farming that can make accounts last so long?
Emil: Be as real as possible. Play games, watch videos, read the news. Try not to have a pattern. Act like a real user. We have 2 people hired that only farm accounts.
Amy: Do you use software like multi-login app?
Emil: Yes. I would say it’s a must. The process is like this: We create the accounts on mobile devices and after 1 week we log into MLA. Then they are farmed randomly on phones and MLA for 4-6 months. Before activating the ad accounts, we use them primarily on mobile.
Amy: Another factor to making accounts last: How do you avoid getting accounts banned early?
Emil: Start with low budgets – $20-30, always warm up the page with $100-150, doing micro-campaigns to get likes. And wait for every payment when you scale. Scale 20% max after every payment. Once the account has 5-6k in spend you can go wild. Not before that. I know it’s slow but in the long run, it’s worth it.
Amy: Any tips on creatives? Angles, landing page styles…both to get good conversion rates AND not get banned fast?
Emil: Don’t be aggressive. Don’t use black hat angles. I’m using angles like “secret shoppers” or “customer club.”I am not implying the user has WON. Be more vague. Like “Secret shoppers wanted for groceries.” You imply they’re up for a reward but you don’t say “win a Walmart voucher.” If you are aggressive users will report your ads with anger and get you shut down fast! For creatives, use general pictures with the stores. Don’t try to put a $1000 voucher picture. That’s a sure BAN!
Amy: Oh yeah that reminds me: What are some of the “DO NOT DOs”?
Emil: DO NOT CLOAK. Facebook had gotten good at detecting cloakers. SO you better use softer landers than to cloak and get banned fast.
Amy: Let’s talk about offers! We talked about the importance of having custom and exclusive offers set up.
Emil: Yes. It’s a must to have custom offers. These days having a competitive advantage can be a gold mine. Most people only promote iPhone, Samsung, and Walmart. You need a really good advertiser these days to make profits and they must be willing to build you custom pages. I would recommend Fluent for UK and USA (top of the game) since I am focusing on English-speaking countries. They will also open Australia in a few weeks.
Amy: We’re talking about lead gen offers of course? Not CC submits? I don’t imagine those can be run on FB…Do you promote CC submits to your push subscribers though?
Emil: From time to time, but the best CR rates are still on lead gen offers. Let me tell you a story. Some months ago I saw an ad on my girlfriend’s phone. It was promoting [some product] from [some company]. A lightbulb went off in my head and I reached out to my AM from Fluent and had him build me a custom [some company] offer. That offer made me 300k in profits in 1 year – because nobody was promoting such an offer.
Amy: That’s mind-blowing. Basically, sweeps offers can be built for ANY product for ANY audience. And yet everyone is so caught up with iPhones.
Emil: Exactly. People don’t want to leave their comfort zone.
Amy: In your opinion though, can affiliates still make profits by promoting “public” non-exclusive offers like iPhone offers?
Emil: Yes, they still can bank but it’s harder. And why would I compete with another 1000 guys when I can build my own exclusive deals and be a sole warrior in the field?
Amy: Makes a lot of sense! I’m assuming you’d target niche audiences for niche “prizes”?
Emil: Yes. For example, I was in London for a business meeting and saw hair straighteners called GHD were all the rage with women. I had Fluent build me an offer for that product. Guess what? It made 300% ROI for a couple of months until the audience burned out.
Amy: And you didn’t care about burning out an audience – because there are a million other audiences to target – with new exclusive offers>
Amy: Oh and do the respective brand companies ever have a problem with these offers?
Emil: I never got a complaint. Fluent can build any prize that costs less than $1000 due to legal requirements.
Amy: So Fluent doesn’t care what the prize is, and whether it’s relevant/related to the 10 deals they have on the backend that they use to monetize the offer? Like for example with the hair straighteners – you’d be attracting women mostly – but the 10 deals in the backend could be for a male audience.
Emil: Their flow is amazing. They have hundreds of deals. And every offer they build, they match the front end to our niche audience to obtain the best EPCs for us.
Amy: OK this is probably a better question for Fluent, but I want to hear what you think: How can a new affiliate get to the stage where Fluent will build them custom offers?
Emil: Well – I would ask them for their top 30 offers based on revenue. And try to promote products that are not that visible for the competition. Then once you hit xxx per day you can ask them to build custom offers. Don’t ask for 10 offers at once. Pick a niche, test it, and then ask for more. Once you deliver traffic. They are pretty flexible with helping new affiliates even though they are a direct advertiser that owns the offers.
Amy: That sounds very doable! I hope lots of newbies will accept the challenge and try this. I don’t think there’s better advice than this out there…
Emil: Well, it’s a big market that many people ignore.
Amy: Indeed! Any tips on how to find these niches?
Emil: It’s easy. Just go to Amazon, look for the best-selling items, and go for it.
Amy: Do you ever run into issues with quality? I know FB is already the best quality traffic out there (with the exception of search traffic).
Emil: Not really because I always ask Fluent what age group works the best for them. SO they tell me, and I just adapt the targeting. I get even $1 EPC’s for $3 payout offers. SO the quality is amazing for them.
Amy: That’s impressive! I didn’t know you could promote something with such low payouts on FB. Another thing: If you use an FB account to promote an offer, after that account gets banned, can you use another account to promote the same offer URL? Would that be an automatic account ban?
Emil: You can promote the same offer URL if you use landers that you host on your own domains.
Amy: I’m also thinking of the masses of affiliates that are ALL promoting the same offer URL (public non-exclusive offers). So as long as they’re using their own landers, they should be OK, right?
Emil: Exactly! Fluent also offers you custom domains if you are a big player.
Amy: Are you using the same landing page styles as for pop/push? The survey style you mentioned – is that the best-performing? Or do you also use the spinning wheel/gift boxes? Anything you custom-design from scratch that isn’t a popular style?
Emil: I use survey style but not as aggressive as the ones used in pop/push. And I also add like 8 questions, to filter out the bad traffic.
Amy: Nice! Pre-qualify. Thus, the high EPC.
Emil: Exactly. The leads are more expensive to get, but the quality is superior.
Amy: Easier to get pay bumps with higher quality. Any tips on campaign optimization/scaling?
Emil: In terms of scaling, I usually scale to more accounts. And if I want to scale on a single account, I always duplicate the campaign on new audiences. I don’t usually raise the budgets since I noticed this kills my ROI.
Amy: This tip is super valuable not just for sweeps, but for running campaigns on FB in general.
Emil: I run sweeps as my main focus, but also run other white hat lead gen stuff. It applies everywhere.
Amy: When you scale to more accounts – do you target the same audience? Would that create more competition?
Emil: I use similar audiences. I use the same only if the original campaign has a low budget. Like $50 a day.
Amy: And you’re finding that by scaling to other accounts, you get better results than by raising the budget on the original account from $50 to $100 for example?
Emil: Yes, in most cases. ROI drops when spend goes up on FB.
Amy: It’s probably because FB always tries to send you the best quality visitors first. And when you increase the budget, FB is ‘forced’ to send you people that are second-best.
Emil: Yes, and for more traffic, you need a higher bid, so the cost goes up.
Amy: Another question: How do you know what amount to set the budget to?
Emil: It’s all about testing, experience, and account age. I usually start with $50 but If I know the campaign is doing well and I have strong accounts I start with $500.
Amy: Do you ever just increase the budget on the existing campaign or account, until the ROI starts to drop, and then stop?
Emil: Sometimes I do that. If the ROI drops, I drop the budget by 20%. It usually helps.
Amy: Lastly: Care to share some juicy stats for motivation?
Emil: Sure! let me grab the stats from Fluent for the past 6 months.
Here are the total stats:
And here are the top 3 for 2020 on Fluent:
Emil: As a side note I also run European geos with GPM and leadxchange.
Amy: Oh nice! Which geos would you recommend?
Emil: Germany and Netherlands/Belgium.
Amy: Don’t know how to thank you Emil! Really, it’s so hard to find someone who’s willing to share so generously!
Emil: Glad I can help Amy!
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