Traffic arbitrage cases
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Traffic arbitrage cases

Case Study - Dating: Button Phone Traffic - ROI 34%

It all started with me driving web mobile traffic from advertising networks (mostly push, banners, some native) to the Parimatch offer in India. India is huge, and its potential is even greater, but a lot of the traffic was going to waste.

During another optimization in Keitaro, I accidentally noticed an abnormally high CTR (35%-45%) from a specific mobile 4G operator, Jio, and a complete lack of conversions from it. Thousands of clicks were flooding the system as if it were some crazy bot attack, but it turned out that users of button feature phones running KaiOS were accessing the internet. I decided to help them and find a way to monetize those clicks.
I searched for a long time and finally found a smartlink from app.monetizer that accepted the specific target I needed: mobile devices -> Jio carrier in India. On the same day, I saw my first profit there when I earned ~$30 from just 100K impressions - something to start with, wouldn't you agree?

Inside the smartlink, I discovered an interesting offer: a simple subscription flow with SMS billing (click2sms) in the dating vertical. There were landing pages available in both Hindi and English.

Of course, the numbers may not seem too intriguing at first glance. Fortunately, I sensed an opportunity and decided to take this combination seriously. I quickly found a direct advertiser for this offer and registered in their affiliate network, where the homepage prominently displayed a list of top offers categorized by operators and geos, with Jio proudly leading that ranking.

Below is an example of a dating landing page that I initially took for testing.
The landing page was localized for different countries. After clicking on the landing page, users were redirected to an SMS billing page where about 20 numbers were involved in the subscription process. This way, after the subscription was confirmed, users were redirected to a group chat with other participants.

Such approaches usually don't work well in the dating niche, but at that time, I didn't fully understand the type of traffic I was dealing with and decided to try a different approach. I reduced the number of redirects, increased the bid by 20% ($0.345 per subscription), and gained access to a large number of creatives with performance indicators for each one.

In the first week, I earned around $200. That's when I realized that this combination was hot, and I needed to scale it up. I started looking for traffic targeting mobile devices and Jio, and in some sources, I could even target specific platforms: Android, iOS, and KaiOS. I bought traffic wherever I could find it, and often, this traffic was very cheap - no more than $0.20 CPM or $0.01 CPC.

In the end, I earned about $9,320 in the first month of work, with an ROI of 56%. Over the following 8 months, I earned an additional $48,806 with a final ROI of 34%. In total, I generated over 168,000 conversions at $0.345 per conversion.

As seen in the screenshot above, I didn't focus on just one combination. While working with specific targets, I experimented with different offer verticals, creatives, and advertising formats. It turned out that there were different versions of the KaiOS operating system, and the latest version had a high CR%. So, whenever possible, I targeted exclusively that version. The user's screen resolution was 240x360 or 360x240, so I looked for concise and clear landing pages where all the call-to-action buttons were visible at once.

I tried various click2sms offers across different verticals. Apart from the mentioned "dating" vertical, I mostly profited from entertainment content: 18+, video streaming, lotteries, and games.

Here is another example of a landing page that performed well, especially for push traffic, even though the creatives for these pushes were quite standard, as I took them from spy tools.

I didn't worry too much about the creatives because I understood that the audience was very fresh (indicated by the insane CTR), and I didn't need to come up with anything too elaborate. What mattered was understanding how the landing pages appeared on the devices. I even bought a small button feature phone like the ones used by Jio phone users to see how subscription processes worked on such devices and to find new combinations.

Unfortunately, the happiness didn't last long. The advertiser changed their billing service, and the offer gradually stopped converting.

As a result, I realized that even in Tier-3 countries, it is possible to successfully monetize traffic that may seem like mere garbage. By the way, Jio is actively expanding into the African and Asian markets, so new opportunities will surely arise.

Since then, I pay even more attention to optimizing and effectively distributing traffic to different flows. I have learned that there is no such thing as bad traffic; there are only offers that may not be suitable.