Marketing Tools: What's Making Webmasters Money?

Stewart Tongue

Banner ads were once the lifeblood of the entire online marketing industry. Hypnotically flashing, shaking, fading and glowing above, below or to the side of page content as an effective way to catch the attention of millions of viewers who were likely to click on more than one of them from the same page if given the opportunity. Ad blockers and a much more jaded audience have lead banner ads to become far less effective. The blind links, tool bars, mass emails and TGPs that helped earn mansions for many webmasters have also become far less effective for a whole host of reasons. So, in 2014, what tools are making modern affiliate webmasters money?

More than anything else, the key to modern tools is customization. Where one program would feed the same stock banners to hundreds of affiliates and have them show up on thousands of sites in the past, these days nearly every creative you’ll find is as unique as the traffic it is being displayed in front of online. A BDSM site doing media buys on a tube, dating site, blog network, cam site, escort site, or anywhere else will have specific creatives targeted for each audience and will track the CTR by time of day, location, operating system, source and dozens of other parameters to keep offers fresh.

Engagement between a brand and its followers takes your social marketing to the next level because it transforms your products and services from being corporate brands into trusted friends. —Lauren McEwen of

It’s about more than just fitting in on a site these days, it’s about building a report with a clientele that want to see your ad even more than they want to see the content that is being shown next to it. Much the same way brands are taking to social media as a method of befriending their potential buyers.

“Social media has become a plausible alternative to more traditional online marketing because at its core, social media represents an audience of your peers and interests,” said Lauren McEwen of “People have the choice of who they follow, this means they have the choice of the content they are exposed to so as a brand, the people who follow you are telling you that they are interested in you or what you are selling. When they retweet, Like and Favorite your posts, they are lending you their authority because they are essentially telling their friends about you. A share is not only telling your followers that you are interested in something, it’s also telling them the followers of your followers that I think you should be interested in this too. When people share your brand, they are telling everyone: I like Brand X and so should you, go check them out! People are far more likely to pay attention to the recommendation from a friend than a stranger, so a Retweet or a Share has more influence on impulse purchases than any uninvited ad. Engagement between a brand and its followers takes your social marketing to the next level because it transforms your products and services from being corporate brands into trusted friends.”

Even on more traditional channels of marketing like the review site niche things are becoming far more customized. “More and more, the top programs are approaching us and wanting to do custom things for us” said VegasKen of “The more you can do exclusive or custom touches with your big affiliates, the more likely they are to send you traffic and sales. Again, going the extra mile has the potential for exponential growth”

However, it’s important to note many sponsor sites pointed out that custom marketing tools either come at considerable cost or must be made by trusted professional affiliates who are capable of working autonomously within agreed content guidelines.

For that reason, the smaller one sale every few months affiliates who are unable to fund their own promotional work are likely to find themselves limited to some of the same stale marketing methods others abandoned long ago.

“I don’t want to be overly negative but are there many affiliates left (who actually make sales) that need any tools at all now apart from tubes?

“Our own TGPs are dying a lingering death, and we make far more sales with hard-linked thumbs from old fashioned link sites now, and very few sales from there too,” said SGY Marbella of “Basic rule of thumb these days would be that the affiliates that need the most tools and time to service would be the ones sending the least sales, and it has to be all about diminishing returns.”

One whale who agreed to speak anonymously explained, “All I want is a member pass to create my own promo stuff, be it a 60- to 180-second movie, some pics (both where I can re-watermark to my landing page), or to get a feel for the site so I can pre-sell it genuinely/honestly.

“The less traditional tools the better — it cuts down on my competition with other affiliates. Oh, and the ability to deep link on such tours where there are multiple pages, bios, scenes etc.

“The final criteria is PPS — very rare for me to push revshare these days.”

So, while some smaller webmasters might complain about a program that is slow to upload new content to promo feeds, it’s worth noting there is even more pressure coming from higher up the food chain to have access to new content or custom materials long before it becomes available to anyone else. Understanding the importance of exclusivity, some programs have starting running their newest content on in-house campaigns weeks before it gets added to their standard tours or affiliate feeds. Others continue to provide content to everyone at the same pace.

These days the relationship you have with each sponsor matters on so many levels, beyond the confidence that your payments will come on time for the sales you send.

If the images on your site aren’t as exciting as the free porn anyone can watch on an adult tube site right now, why would anyone choose to sign up for anything through you?

The professionals who know how to work with content to properly target consumers, track results and fine-tune revisions are the ones that continue to make bank. In the end it’s not about the banner ad, the link or even the price — it’s still all about the ideas.