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How to Start Affiliate Marketing with a Budget of Only $500

26 December 2023

If you're just starting out in affiliate marketing and you've seen experienced affiliates making big bucks, it might seem like you need a huge budget to get in the game. But that's not true, and the team at MyBid ad network wants to set the record straight.

In this article, we'll show you how to pick the right traffic source and offer, what tools you'll need, and generally how to get started with a budget of just $500.


How to choose a traffic source, offer, and tools with a minimum budget


Traffic source: Most people are familiar with big advertising platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads. These are great options if you have a budget of at least $2,000, a strong resolve, and multiple accounts ready to go in case some get banned.

However, if you're working with a budget under $500 and are relatively new to affiliate marketing, it's recommended to explore advertising networks. Look for those that focus on cost-effective ad formats like push notifications, In-Page push notifications, or pops. For instance, in the MyBid ad network, the average cost per click (CPC) is $0.0289 in Germany, $0.0169 in Indonesia, and $0.0257 in the USA.




These countries perform exceptionally well in niches such as dating, utilities, adult content, and gambling. With these affordable rates, affiliates can conduct cost-effective testing of links, identify the most profitable ones, and then scale their advertising campaigns.

Offers: Any offer in any niche can be profitable if you use cost-effective ad formats like push notifications. In 2023, the most profitable niches that work well with push notifications include:

  • Dating
  • Nutra (health and wellness)
  • Gambling
  • Utilities
  • Adult 

While ad networks can help you target your audience more precisely, it's advisable to opt for an offer that uses a SmartLink. This tool assesses the user's location, device, gender, and age to determine the most fitting product for the potential customer.

Tools: Most advertising formats involve the use of proxies, trackers, payment solutions, and more. These tools play a huge role in enabling the media buyer to manage accounts effectively, steer clear of bans, and top up funds into their advertising campaigns. 

Let's look deeper into each section for a better understanding.

How to choose a traffic source


Before we choose our traffic source, we need to decide on the type of traffic: Free/organic traffic or paid traffic. 

For those starting out in affiliate marketing, the first option is often not suitable. Creating a network of Facebook or Instagram accounts with large audiences can take anywhere from several days to a month of routine work. It's also uncertain how well the offer will convert and whether the time invested will be justified.

The situation is different with paid traffic. After a couple of test runs, it becomes clear how users react to the offer and whether it's worth further promotion. Once the type of traffic is clear, we can choose a traffic source and ad format.

Traffic source: For a budget of up to $500, advertising networks are the best choice. They provide convenient working conditions and high-quality traffic. If an affiliate doesn't know where to begin in affiliate marketing, it's worth focusing on fully managed advertising networks. In these networks, each affiliate is assigned a personal manager who will assist in launching and expanding an advertising campaign.

Ad format: The traffic on advertising networks is paid. However, paid traffic does not necessarily mean expensive. Advertising networks are filled with advertising formats that, for a modest amount, can help you understand any vertical and determine whether to pursue it further or abandon it. We have already provided examples of such formats above:

  • Push notifications
  • In-Page push notifications
  • Pops

How to choose an offer

In 2023, if we look at push notifications, the following niches are trending:

  • Dating: Dating apps and websites have always been popular. Targeting Russia is particularly profitable. Recently, Tinder left the market due to sanctions, reducing competition for traffic as it held up to 26% of the total dating market in this region.
  • Nutra: Products promoting weight loss and potency enhancement are consistently popular. In the U.S., where 37% of the population is obese, advertising costs for this region, categorized as Tier-1, can reach $0.0287 per click.
  • Gambling: There are over 350 million gambling enthusiasts worldwide, equivalent to the population of the United States. Gambling was a big trend in 2022 and continues to be so.
  • Utilities: With the increasing prevalence of cybercrime, such as the theft of over $3.8 billion from hacked crypto exchanges in 2022 alone, users are drawn to advertisements offering free installation of utility apps like anti-viruses and VPNs to protect their finances and data.
  • Adult: This niche remains consistently popular regardless of the country or global situation. Advertisements suggesting spending an evening with a charming companion always resonate with the audience.

The team from MyBid offers three tips to help you find an offer while on a limited budget:

  1. Ask about the frequency of payments: Some offers may hold payment for 2-3 months. Due to this delay, expanding the advertising campaign or extending it becomes problematic, especially when the budget is limited to $500.
  2. Find out how often statistics are updated: Some offers update data every 2-3 days. For a small budget, this is critical - you can easily exhaust all your funds. Therefore, the best update rate is once an hour or more often.
  3. Read about the traffic limits: Advertisers set a conversion limit to check the quality of traffic. When the affiliate brings a certain number of users, the advertisement gives full access to the offer or increases payments. In crypto, the cost of a lead starts from $60. Therefore, if an advertiser requires 50 conversions to assess the quality of the audience, it is too early to come here with $500 in your account. It is better to choose products with a low test limit to make sure you recover your investment and gain profit.

What tools are needed?

If someone new to affiliate marketing still decides to opt for a free or shareware type of traffic, then they'll need to allocate an extra $200 for resources and tools: accounts, proxies, spy tools, cloakers, etc.

If you opt for the push notification format, the only additional cost will be the tracker, which is $70. With this amount, the affiliate will receive a high-quality tool that will display the link conversion, redirect traffic in two clicks, and highlight the target audience segment based on language, GEO, provider, and other parameters.



Where to get creatives for an advertising campaign if you don’t have much money in your pocket

There are three ways to obtain creatives for your advertising: create them yourself, purchase unique ones from a designer, or spy and copy from other affiliates through a spy tool. 

Creating them yourself is challenging without graphic design knowledge, and buying from someone else can be costly, with some designers charging $10-15 per image. For such a price, the affiliate must write out detailed technical specifications and it is not guaranteed that the finished ad creative will convert. If the designer handles everything, the price can easily rise to $20-30 per image.

Advertisers sometimes provide their own landing pages, but if not, you must either create them or buy from landing page designers. For dating and nutra, landing page costs range from $50-75, depending on the site's block count. Gambling landing pages can be more expensive, reaching up to $100-120. Designers, aware of the vertical's profitability, often raise prices accordingly. Landing pages for utilities and adult content are more affordable, typically ranging from $20-35, as they contain fewer blocks and less information, often continuing the push notifications' content.

The same pricing trends apply to ad creatives, with nutra or dating site advertisements costing $10-15 per image and casino ads ranging from $20-30. Adult and utilities creatives are somewhat cheaper, at $5-10, but they are generally easier to produce.

Case studies

Case study number 1: Earning $160 net profit per week on a manhood enlargement product.

The affiliate promoted Spray Xnalo in Côte d'Ivoire. Initially, he had to choose between two landing pages. 

The first landing option:


Second landing option:


The tests revealed that the second option was better. It was not cluttered with different elements like the first one. 

The affiliate used the following creatives for push notifications:


The example on the left is better because the ad title promises a specific result. The one on the right showed worse results. 

The affiliate emphasized that the 22.6% conversion rate was largely achieved due to high-quality traffic.

Throughout the week, the affiliate earned $536, out of which $160 was net profit. The ROI of the advertising campaign was 42%.


Case study number 2: Making $407 by promoting a gambling offer in 10 days using push notifications.

For this campaign, the affiliate chose an offer with a payout of $11.25 per lead. He chose to target only mobile traffic, and the payment model was CPL+Deposit. For the push notifications, he used the following creatives:


Only one landing page was used in advertising. This is risky, but the affiliate was lucky, and the conversion rate turned out to be quite high.



The results of the advertising campaign are impressive: ROI is almost 100%, and 64 leads were generated. The affiliate earned $100 for each deposit and $307 for the leads attracted. The affiliate behind this case study is not a very rich student, so he plans to scale the campaign later on when he gets more funds.


Case study number 3: Making $2,368 per month by promoting a VPN offer 

In this case study, the affiliate promoted DingoVPN to iOS users in the USA for 30 days. He used paid traffic from the MyBid advertising network. The affiliate used the In-Page Push ad format and an offer that paid through the CPL format, meaning they earned money for each lead. 

The creatives he used included a standard alert from the operating system, warning users of potential system attacks.


The content on the pre-lander increased the urgency suggesting that the user's device had been hacked and immediate action was required.


When the user clicks “Protect connection”, he gets redirected to the AppStore page.


The outcome was impressive, with an ROI of 439.59% and a net income of $2,368. The affiliate managed to get 5-8 conversions daily, with a $20 spending per country for the traffic. What's interesting is that it didn't take much time to handle the campaign management. The affiliate's personal manager from MyBid played a significant role in getting things done efficiently.


Affiliate marketing remains popular because it is not affected by anything: neither crisis, time, or politics. Due to this factor, anyone can join the industry regardless of their background or budget. 
If you don't know how to properly set up an advertising campaign, what niche to choose, and where to get creatives, then a personal manager from MyBid will help you understand all the details of purchasing traffic and setting up the necessary requirements so that advertising campaigns are consistently profitable.

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