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popads.net – secret sauce [ingredients]

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Popads.net, in my opinion, the best traffic source to get started with. Some people like yourself wrote to me and wondered if I could share some secrets about the traffic source popads.net – So why not? I won’t share every secret I know because that would just put me in a disadvantage when it comes to competeting for the same amounts of traffic on a given targeting. But here are a few things that will help you starting out on popads.net.

This is what I will go through:

  • Why creating a new campaign for every new campaign is vital (inside popads)
  • Segmenting your bids correctly
  • Segmenting your targetings correctly (ISP, OS, Freq Cap, etc)
  • Blacklisting/Whitelisting on popads
  • Why you shouldn’t depend on the Traffic Estimation
  • My thoughts on Quality targeting in popads
  • Special tips N tricks…

Okey, let’s get started shall we?

Why creating a new campaign for every new campaign is vital (inside popads)

So, creating a new campaign for every new campaign, seems quite logical right? Well I thought so to.. Until I got bored with having to go through the same process all over again, I mean in popads, you can just create a campaign, and change all the settings, all settings except the URL, and it will still not trigger a need for approval.

So for example, you can create a campaign for an offer in Slovakia, and when you’ve finished the campaign, you can simply change the name in popads and your tracker, change targeting settings, and be up and running within minutes, no need to wait for approval ever again!

But wait, there’s more. Because I discovered something…..

I was chatting to the founder and CEO of popads.net, Tomasz Klekot on skype when I realized it.

I had just found a great placement that I was uniquely targeting in order to get all the traffic from it. The weird thing was, I wasn’t getting any traffic at all. So I contacted him and asked why my campaign wasn’t getting any traffic. This is the response.

popads.net skype

See, my campaign was tagged as having autoplaying sound/video, and when you submit a website (as a website owner) you can chose these options:

popads register new site

And the website I was targeting didn’t allow autoplaying sound or video, which is why I didn’t get any traffic. Most likely your campaigns will get tagged with this without you knowing, because I was never told… This way, you’re loosing out on traffic, and most probably the most valuable traffic, as from my experience the best converting placements are the websites with the most restrictions.

So, you really need to start new campaigns for every new campaign you want to run on popads.net. At least that is if you’re looking to make money. If you still are lazy, do a split test. Make a new campaign with the exact same targeting as the old one. And split them. See which does better.

Segmenting your bids correctly


When I first started out with paid traffic I was, in retrospect, lazy as fuck. I would just create one campaign for everything. I would bid below average, because in my mind I thought;
well lower bids = less spend = higher profits. If you’re thinking that, please, keep reading.

The thing with bids:

The more you bid, the better placements you get access to. Let me explain.

There’s you, and there’s John.

John has been running a campaign in South Africa for over 2 weeks, and has been collecting data ever since. And John is smart, so he started out his test campaigns on a $20 CPM. John spent $300, made $75 revenue. Later, John identified the best placements and created a whitelist campaign with these placements. John’s now running this whitelist at a $15 CPM (1st bidder) and getting all the traffic there is. John’s making $$$.

Now there’s you. You want to make $$$, so you looked at the top offers report your affiliate manager sent you. You see ZA (South Africa) and decide you want to run there. So you go start a campaign with $2 CPM (below average bid) (ZA is crazy lol). And you spend $50, generate $10 revenue. You later abandon the campaign thinking to yourself: ”If I can’t get this profitable below the average bid, I’ll never get it profitable”

The thing is, if you had just created the campaign at a $16 CPM (bidding above John) you would’ve gotten access to those $$$ placements. And you would’ve been able to get closer to profitability.

But because you’re afraid of losing money, you actually lost money.


So for me, there’s 2 options I use when I launch campaigns.

First, I set a legacy bid at $500 CPM so that I am guaranteed 1st bidder (don’t ever use smart bid, it’ll only increase your spending) The thing with popads is, if you bid $500 CPM, you won’t pay $500 CPM, you’ll only spend what the 2nd bidder bids + few percent more. So if I bid $500 CPM and the 2nd bidder is $2 CPM, I’ll only spend $2.1 for example. I then proceed to spend around 10x the offer payout, to see if and how the offer converts. (I chose the most popular lander on adplexity and just test 1 lander 1 offer).

Second, I set up 3 different campaigns with a staggered bid approach.

Staggered bids are, for example. Low bid, Average bid, High bid.

This I do to see if it’s worth reaching for those top placements in the beginning, or if the cost/revenue ratio is better achieved at an average or low bid range. It can vary greatly, so better test it.

I won’t reveal my exact optimization process here, but if you’re interested in learning more, make sure to subscribe yourself to my newsletter.

Segmenting your targetings correctly (ISP, OS, Freq Cap, etc)

Ok so, if you’re running an offer on only 1-3 different campaigns in popads.net, you’re doing it wrong. Or at least, not optimally.
You should segment your traffic into different demographics and users, because they can have different bids and different performance, and it’s easier to visualize and see the data with segmented and separated campaigns.

The more you segment & separate your targetings, the easier it will be to optimize.

When I run campaigns (I mostly run carrier billing antivirus offers), I usually have a different campaign on popads for every carrier, for every OS (if iOS converts..), for Adult & Mainstream traffic and for Primespot & non-Primespot traffic. That’s in the beginning, later on you can segment & separate based on a lot of other variables like frequency capping, adblock & non-adblock, popunder vs popup, carrier vs IP targeting etc etc… you get the point.

Blacklisting/Whitelisting on popads

As I described a few minutes ago above, a good way to run profitable campaigns in competative geos are to run whitelists. But did you know that there’s an even better way? Run a blacklist/whitelist combo. The way it works is like this:

You run a test with high bid, you add the good placements into a whitelist, and run that one. But you also keep running the original campaign and add the good placements as a whitelist in this campaign. So you have 1 campaign with good placements (whitelist campaign) and then you have 1 campaign with the good placements as a blacklist, (and the bad placements you also blacklist) and then. Because there’s always new placements being added to popads, the good new placements, you then place in the whitelist campaign, and you keep running both campaigns. This way you’ll always be finding new placements, and bid high and get most of the traffic on the best placements.

Why you shouldn’t depend on the Traffic Estimation

Simply put, don’t depend on the Traffic Estimation tool that popads has when you’re wanting to start a new campaign, just launch it and see how it performs. I remember a few months ago when I started a campaign in Kenya, popads traffic estimation said that I would get ”Less than 1000 impressions per day”, well I got 6000, and because there was so little competition for this traffic, because everybody thought that there was 0 traffic in KE on popads they didn’t run.

My thoughts on Quality targeting in popads


When you submit a website as a publisher on popads, they moderation team gives your website a quality score from 1-10. Advertisers can then target based on this quality score. If someone wants the best quality, they select quality score 10. Well, in my experience, Quality scores above 3 usually renders the best performance, but there are so many instances where quality scores of 2s, and even 1s have performed great. So if you’re running on a very limited budget, you can use this targeting option, but honestly, I never use it anymore, it’s better to just blacklist bad placements.

Special tips N tricks.

Okay, final topic – tips N tricks.

Do you know how to get facebook traffic on popads? If you don’t know, then this will be a goldmine, albeit small. Because facebook traffic can convert great with the correct angles and offers.

facebook popads

This only works for iOS users, but this is a killer feature.
When iOS users clicks a link on facebook, they’re in the facebook browser. And if they’re still in the facebook browser when a popads popunder/popup is triggered, then, if you run a facebook styled landing page. You’re going to get crazy conversion rates because they’ll still be in the facebook browser :). Try it!

Let me know if there’s something you’re wondering about, and if I can, I’ll answer it.

Have a great day,



  1. Hey Eskil,

    I found your blog today, awesome read to be honest.

    I have been researching performance marketing for a few years, and know alot of things about it from the courses i’ve been going through.. if you would like to partner up so i can learn more. i could share some video training which you could learn from aswell

    Best regards Allan Christensen

    1. If you target ”Unknown” in browsers, it’ll be a majority of facebook browser, as it’s recognized as such. So if you target ”Unknown” you’ll get facebook traffic.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hi Eskil,
    Thanks for your great tips.
    I just start my learning, don’t have a clue yet, just feel like there are a lot of things to learn.
    Do you have any suggestions on running ads without a lander, I am just using direct linking on my first campaign on popads, spend like 25 and get less than 3 dollars.
    Which niche of ads work fine on direct linking? Because I don’t have much money and coding skill to get all things done, such as making a landing page and buying tracking software. All I want to do now is learning some basic things on running direct linking ads before investing more time and money into those tracking things. Do you have any suggestions for me, a popads newbie?

    1. Which vertical are you doing?

      I suggest you try to get your hands on a default landing page that your competitors are using if you can’t afford adplexity.
      Also get a $5-10/mo VPS from digitalocean or vultr to host, install Nginx and buy a domain name to point to the server (don’t overthink the domain name, it makes for a very small difference)


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