“Good Media Buyers Know When to Kill or Fill”: An Interview with James van Elswyk
29 March 2018
He’s a seasoned media buying expert and respected educator in the industry.
His workshops around the world normally costs thousands… with large audiences eager to take part.
His next stop? Amsterdam - where he’ll offer our top affiliates an exclusive, value-packed workshop… directly from the source.
James van Elswyk has had a crazy journey. He began as a one-man affiliate and now oversees 30 full-time employees. With a background in teaching salespeople, as well as his own team, he’s finally begun to share how he has built his team, how he optimizes and how he scales campaigns. Seeing a hole in the market for relevant, actionable education, he decided to create “learning by a learner” training, where there’s no fluff - just the good stuff.
James will hold a very exclusive and focused workshop in Advidi’s office in Amsterdam as part of the prize for the winners of our Kings of Advidi contest. He’ll talk about hard-hitting truths about media buying, cut-and-paste formulas that can be adapted to multiple platforms, valuable tactics learned from years of hands-on experience and much more - all tailored to the requests of the winners.
We asked him a few questions about his experiences so far, and how he’ll apply them all to create one of the most valuable workshops you can hope to attend in the industry.
You manage a team with a million-dollar media buying budget. Can you tell us a bit about your journey so far?
It started when I found out that leads were the largest expense at my previous company, so I decided to start generating them myself. I came to love media buying - really love it.
Since then, it’s been a long and winding road, with a lot of hurdles as a one-man affiliate to now having a team. I had to gain the knowledge, then share and teach the methods I had learned. So there were lots of "hurry up and wait " situations. I just really kept my head down and kept pushing as if there was no doubt all would be well.
Most recently, I moved to Israel to be closer to a Facebook office, where I trained my team. After just one year, we’re spending up to a million a month on Facebook and native ads.
Do you have a favorite story about a big win (or massive mistake)?
The biggest win was when I went to a conference in Berlin and left my media team truly alone for the first time. I wasn’t checking or looking at stats for 3 days.
When I finally looked, they had scaled to 10k profit per day, then 15k and finally 21k without me being involved.
What’s the biggest mistake experienced media buyers make?
Not giving things enough data to make decisions, or getting too much data.
It’s hard to know how much time and how many impressions/clicks you need to make a decision on whether to kill a campaign or adset. Very good media buyers are great at knowing when to "kill or fill".
What are the most challenging roadblocks for affiliates who want to scale their media buying?
Accounts staying alive and cap ;-)
Buying media is an art, but so is the business development necessary to support your output.
How closely do you follow and/or react to affiliate marketing trends? Did you go all-in for crypto? Why/why not?
I watch and I test. I test everything. You never know what will work, especially when it’s new.
As far as crypto goes, we got involved late but have made good money. My partner handles that though, as I can’t be refreshing so many stats.
What topics will you cover during your Kings of Advidi session?
Video ads, scaling, audiences, targeting hacks (negative lookalikes), video view hunting.
What changes do you expect the winners will make to their businesses after your session?
Simple: my techniques will help them make more money by reducing testing costs. They’ll also scale with less ROI loss.
About Kings of Advidi
Kings of Advidi is an annual competition by Advidi that challenges all participants to reach for the throne! Over the course of two months, participants compete for points by generating revenue, creating special deals and cleverly utilizing the Advidi affiliate network. The winners receive Royal Treatment in Amsterdam - a prize including workshops, parties, and exclusive events, culminating in the biggest party in the Netherlands: King’s Day.