Many top affiliate marketers and influencers emphasize on planning effective affiliate marketing strategies to promote products. In the world of affiliate marketing, the struggle of gaining the right audience and adopting the right strategy can be tricky. This leads to frustration and disappointment and many beginners bailout and lose out on the opportunity of a potential source of income.
That’s why we, at Cloudways, reached out to a few of the top industry affiliate marketing experts to get tips and opinions about what to adopt to formulate their affiliate marketing strategy.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #1: Stick to One Source
From the get-go, an affiliate faces complications in promoting their blog as they try pulling traffic from too many channels. This can easily overwhelm them as she/he attempts to pull traffic from multiple sources to gain maximum traction. This is just too much work with very little payoff.
Tanya J Joseph, an affiliate marketing expert & YouTube influencer shares her opinion focusing on a source to pull traffic from. According to her, new affiliate marketers struggle because they try to do too much, too fast. Having too much on your plate as a beginner (too many traffic sources) is a recipe for failure.
For any new marketers, she recommends to stick with one traffic source, get it to work, scale it up and then test other traffic sources. Additionally, she recommends the following tip for affiliate marketing people who are starting out their journey:
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at your competitors, see what’s working and just model success.
If you don’t have money to invest in paid ads, you’re gonna use free traffic sources. Be ready to roll up your sleeves, work hard and make it happen. It takes time & consistent effort to build up free traffic.
Brandon from Digital Millionaire ( YouTube Influencer ), echoes similar sentiments on the topic of affiliate marketing tips for beginners:
Pick a niche you want to promote, pick a traffic source you’re going to focus on (free or paid) and get started, stick to it, don’t get shiny object syndrome and jump from one thing to the next, stick with one thing and master it.
Brandon also advises people, starting out their affiliate marketing journey, to focus on their ROI.
You most likely won’t make a good ROI the first time you run paid advertising (if you’re going to be doing paid ads) but that’s fine. Stick with it, keep learning and improving and you’ll eventually get good at it and get a nice healthy ROI on your ad-spend.
Just make sure you have a great affiliate offer that pays you a healthy commission so you have a higher chance of making a profit when running paid ads. (Eg: a product that pays you a $10 commissions probably isn’t a good choice when doing paid ads)
That being said, many top affiliate marketers often use email marketing as a dominant channel in their marketing campaigns. This is an alternative to paid advertising because of its efficiency. It’s for the same reason you’ll find many blogs dedicated to using email marketing effectively. It communicates with the audience at a personal level and it does the job well.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #2: Email Marketing & Asset Building
Duston McGroarty, a renowned Affiliate Marketing expert highlights the importance of building email lists and asset building. When it comes to sending out emails, building an email list is one of the most crucial affiliate marketing strategies and deserves the attention of every affiliate marketer in 2020.
Duston mentions how building your own email list has better results in conversions than promoting products/services through paid ads on Google and Social Media.
A dollar spent towards building an email list will result in a much larger return on investment than a dollar spent promoting an affiliate offer directly.
An email list is an asset. Every email subscriber on your list is worth an average of $1/month. If you have a list of 1,000 subscribers, you should expect to earn an average of $1,000/month from them. If you have 10,000 subscribers, you should expect to earn an average of $10,000/month from them.
Duston’s comments below pertain to asset building, commonly known as affiliate assets.
I just talked about email lists being an asset but there are other assets online that I believe every affiliate marketer should consider growing in 2020.
The biggest asset every affiliate should be focusing on growing continually is an audience. This could be an email list, a social media following, a Youtube channel, and more.
Assets put money back in your pocket every single month without much effort required on your part. Here are a few more Affiliate Assets you should consider building in 2020: a push notification list, information products you can sell in your niche, and passive income websites.
Now that you know the importance of building assets, whether it’s an email list or an asset list, let’s understand the significance of gaining authority through product knowledge.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #3: Gain Product Knowledge Through Audience Feedback
It’s important to build on product knowledge and check out the feedback the audience has about the product. This technique helps in resonating with the audience and creating that understanding bridge as an affiliate.
We asked the question about affiliate marketing tips about the importance of gaining product knowledge and received some very interesting insights from the affiliate marketing experts.
Content Strategist at Incredo, Aida Grigoryan shared her views about the matter in detail below.
I think the most effective way to start performing better as an affiliate is to get to know the product from a brighter side. I don’t mean reading the product descriptions on the company’s website, either exploring the whole technical documentation that is extremely complex. What I mean is to actively engage with the inner team via live conversation. I can bring a good example if the promoted product is software.
SaaS affiliate marketing is growing at a rapid speed.
If an affiliate is promoting a tool/software/app, the very first thing he/she must do is to attend a live demo. If he spares time to try the tools herself/himself, that even more increases the chances of winning promotion. Why? Because prospects ask specific questions, ask for features and benefits .. And if you don’t answer them (or worse, give a wrong answer) you’ll get neither a sale nor any commission. Knowledge becomes the foundation of high-level affiliate-customer relations. And if your answers are vague, if you are unconfident, you’ll end up losing opportunities.
Earn at your own pace.
Refer customers and set up your passive income stream
Johannes Rastas, Affiliate Manager at Supermetrics– also shared his two cents of affiliate marketing tips on the matter:
As an affiliate, make sure that the products you promote are actually good. And if possible, use them yourself so that you know what you’re promoting and eventually can become an expert in your niche.
This will help you build a loyal audience that is more likely to convert. To increase your conversion rate and earn more commissions as an affiliate marketer, you need a strategy that helps you optimize your promotional campaigns and target the right segments. This strategy has to be dynamic and adapt to possible changes in your niche market. Targeting is certainly a crucial part of your strategy. Obviously, you should target people who are the most likely to convert. And your affiliate offers need to provide value to your target audience. When it comes to promotional channels, you may create unique and engaging content on a blog, website, social media or forums. And this content can combine text, images, and videos, depending on your niche and resources. A multi-channel approach can help you maximize your impact and drive more conversions. For example, you can create articles and infographics on your affiliate site or blog, videos, and podcasts on your YouTube channel and engage with your network on social media (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn) and forums (e.g. Quora and Reddit). Choosing the right channel should be based on your niche and where you can find an audience for your content. If you have a loyal audience, you can leverage that basically on any channel. Keep in mind that it takes time to build a loyal audience or network. The key is that you have some value to offer, for example through your content. That’s why the importance of high-quality content cannot be overemphasized. You can convert people into customers only if you offer them to value both through your content and through your affiliate offers. The products or services that you choose to promote the need to address a common problem shared by the members of your community. So, establish your network first and then choose your affiliate offers carefully.
I would say that in 2020, it’s all about the quality of your content.
When people find enough value in your content, you will end up growing your traffic organically. Other sites will link back to your quality content, people will share it with their networks, and your content will rank higher in the search engine results for relevant keywords. After this, converting your traffic into customers is mainly about targeting. When you have built enough traffic and you target the right segments with offers that provide actual value, you will start to earn affiliate commissions.
We also got in touch with Kirby Wilkerson, the Digital Marketing Manager at The Impact Kind and asked him for his views on building product knowledge. He summarized his affiliate marketing tip as the importance of gaining product knowledge by saying:
My client Whitney Bonds of TriedandTrueMomJobs.com writes: The absolute best way to convert affiliate sales is to show how an item/service has worked for you or others in a step-by-step guide. When people can see results it makes it believable and achievable. When it’s in the form of a step-by-step guide, people will refer back to your article when they have the time to make an informed decision. By following the exact steps in your guide they will automatically use your referral link. This approach has proven to be the most successful when it comes to converting affiliate sales.
When we posed the question regarding best affiliate marketing tips and the importance of building product knowledge on Twitter, we received insightful responses from Shay Toder, Erin Lin and Dave Warfel,
Among the answers we got, WPointer’s owner – Erin a WordPress designer and helps people new to creating websites design their layout. She says:
Hello Shoaib, the first advice I can think of is to be genuine to the audience. I always give my audience true advice instead trying to promote something that I don’t like. The 2nd advice is to be generous. I am always happy to share my expertise with them to help them out:)
— WPointer (@wpointerErin) November 29, 2019
Shay Toder is an expert in optimizing website speed and SEO.
Believe in the product and even loving it.
This way it will be easy to promote it.
— Shay Toder (@ShayToder) November 29, 2019
Dave Warfel, a WordPress expert and founder of WP Smackdown added:
1. Create a dedicated site for the product you’re promoting, which helps to create a targeted audience around that specific product.
2. Be authentic. Don’t pretend like there are zero downsides. Talk honestly about the pitfalls.
— Dave Warfel (@davewarfel) November 29, 2019
You now know the significance of gaining product knowledge, however, it’s true potential lies in building authority in a specific niche. This means that you will eventually have to dwell deeper into product knowledge and start building authority and specialization in the niche of that product.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #4: Focus on a Niche
We reached out to Evan Ankney, from Sportsbook Scout. He mentioned about focusing on a niche. Evan gave us a few affiliate marketing tips and a thorough insight into the matter.
One affiliate marketing tactic I’m looking forward to using in 2020 is the “alternative” method. The concept is that you identify products or services that people are searching for or are popular and write a review on it. The review should be honest, but the article should highlight the biggest drawbacks of the product and propose solutions (via different affiliate products) that solve these problems. Another big strategy I’m looking forward to using is the “best X for Y” model. The idea is that by appealing to each niche, you are more likely to resonate with them, thus making them more likely to click through and buy. For example, the term “best sports betting sites” is important, but the “best” site might not be for everyone. That is why I am going to niche down and have a sub-content for specific people interested in sports betting. For example, best sports betting sites for odds, best sports betting sites for prop bets, best sports betting sites for people in New Jersey, etc.
We also reached out to RioRocket; a man who is a presenter, motivational speaker, and a commercial model. He spoke about building up to become a brand and living within that brand.
Be A Brand: Affiliate marketers should focus on building a business around the niche of their affiliate offer(s). Thin, fly-by-night, affiliate sites will not cut in the new decade. Instead, create a company and build a sustainable business around either one strong affiliate offer a series of affiliate offers in the same niche for maximum scalability. Be a brand. Along with this comes establishing yourself as an authority in your niche so that there is built-in trust with your buyers.
Acquire as much knowledge as possible to become an expert in what you offer.
Make real-world contacts and attend real-world events in your industry. What would normally last for six months or so will now take you well beyond six years in sustainable income.
Jeremy Ong an author of HUSTLR encourages people to jump on the bandwagon of developing expertise and authority in a certain field. He is a regular contributor to the blog and writes about blogging, e-commerce, podcasts, and money management.
Earning affiliate marketing commission seems easy, but it is not the case for 2020. There are seven web blogs against a person! Beginners think that publishing the content on broader topics will bring them more traffic. However, they forget the competition on the web and difficulties in ranking the website among the top links on Google.
The broader the audience, the higher the difficulty in bringing traffic.
So, I would recommend beginners to stick to micro-niche ideas for a year, at least. Micro niche websites have less traffic potential but start to generate money in less time comparatively. The reason is the targeted audience is more likely to buy affiliate products. Budding affiliate marketers would develop affiliate marketing skills in this period and start seeing noteworthy results by giving 16 quality hours to their website per week. After understanding the basics, they can expand the scope of the site or can start working on bigger projects.
Jeremy’s Bonus Tip:
Right keywords are extremely important in this regard. You can use UberSuggest, Google auto-suggestion or Quora to search high potential keywords.
We also reached out to Hamna Amjad– a Content Marketing Executive at Gigworker who writes blog posts about opportunities to earn from side hustles.
Here’s what Hamna has to say about picking up on a niche and building up rapport from there.
Find your SNN (Specific Narrow Niche)
First of all, you need to define your target audience so that you can focus entirely on them. Keeping a very wide range of audiences can have a very negative impact on your promotional activities. When you know your SNN, you can establish yourself as an expert in that area. Then you’ll be able to find an audience with very specific interests and you can tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that they’ll convert.
Pick and Choose
Always get affiliated with those brands that you truly believe in. If you start promoting every other product, your audience will lose trust in you. Getting affiliated with a number of brands may seem profitable to you in the beginning but it can affect your reliability if the products/services you recommend don’t provide value to your audience or are irrelevant. Hence, never compromise on that.
It’s interesting how many experts believe in selecting an industry and focusing on a niche. When we reached out to more affiliate marketing experts, Alex Gennadinik and Ryan Robinson summarized this entire point in the following Twitter threads.
Alex Genadinik – founder of problemio in his tweet talks about the importance of standing out of the current competition. He believes that spending money on self-promotion is not the most effective way to grow as a subject expert.
For people just starting it is very important to choose a great niche and identify how they can provide value in that niche and stand out among the competition. Marketing is the hardest part of affiliate marketing and niche differentiation helps a lot with that.
— Alex Genadinik (@genadinik) November 28, 2019
Ryan Robinson is a blogger and a regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company responded the question by explaining his process to reaching success in five concise steps.
Whew! Here’s my personal process:
1. Pick a clear niche (w/ established demand)
2. Begin with long-tail keyword opportunities
3. Publish standout content consistently
4. Deliver so much reader value that you get press/attention
5. Conversion optimize once you have traffic
— Ryan Robinson (@TheRyanRobinson) December 4, 2019
You’re now trailing the path of building authority in your niche and you’re probably wondering how to increase audience engagement. To do this, you’ll first have to monitor analytics. More often than not, the answer to increasing engagement exists within the parameters of pulling the audience to your landing page.
Recently, the intent of catering to voice searches and adding video content is becoming more dominant as part of SEO practices in most blogs. When we asked for some tips about affiliate marketing and the outlooks of this recent development, we received some interesting responses.
Affiliate Marketing Tips #5: Cater to Voice Search and Video Content
We posed a question to renowned industry experts and this is the best affiliate marketing tips they had to say. According to the Marketing Director of Mashvisor, Daniela Andreevska, there are two approaches affiliate marketers must focus on in 2020 to stay ahead of the competitors:
Voice search will become more and more popular in 2020, and it’s even expected to take over typing.
This means that affiliate marketers who want to stay ahead of the competition need to optimize their program and content for voice searches. You should start working on this as soon as possible and not wait until 2020.
Experts are predicting that all forms of digital marketing will become dominated by video content in 2020, including affiliate marketing. While you should not abandon written content and other traditional forms, you should develop a video content strategy for your affiliate program.
Daniela is not alone in advocating this approach. Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty– Olga Mykhoparikina also recommends focusing on voice search to improve engagements.
One tactic I would suggest is doubling down on your content marketing efforts, but with a new focus – voice search. Voice is becoming bigger every day, with more and more searches done this way. The key differentiator will be long-tail keywords. The website owners who focus on these keywords first and optimize for them will have the upper hand when getting new traffic in the future.
Digital Marketing Strategist at Fueled, Max Falb further elaborates on the growing impact of voice search with his statistical insights.
My tip for 2020 affiliate marketing is to focus on Voice Search optimization and voice search queries.
In 2020 voice search queries are going to make up around 50% of searches and 45% of millennial’s use voice assistants while shopping. This will only continue to grow as the technology improves and as people become used to using it because of the efficiency and how much easier it is than typing.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #6: Brand Building Through a Multi-Channel List
We decided to explore the conversation about building the brand, so we asked questions about what affiliates need to prepare for in 2020. We received some interesting replies in the context of affiliate marketing tips from experts on social media.
Evan Porter – a writer at Upworthy responded to our question with a concise answer. He believes that affiliates need to understand the shift and adapt to become better content producers.
In 2020 I think it’s really important for new affiliates to start really thinking of themselves as content creators and not just bloggers or, worse, marketers. The days of slapping up a 1200 word product round-up post featuring items you’ve never touched in real life and letting Google send you oodles of money are pretty much over. Think about creating an authentic, multi-channel brand. A strong SEO game. A powerful Pinterest profile with a huge reach. Video content is becoming a must. Yeah, it’s a lot of work! But it’s what’s necessary. Successful affiliates in 2020 and beyond will be good at adapting to a more and more complex landscape and carving out little slices of different platforms to form a healthy business.
The founder of HomeWorkingClub – Ben Taylor also shared his views on building a brand while using a multi-channel approach. His core idea pertains to making the most by generating expanding the sources of website traffic.
As we head into 2020, the number one piece of advice I’d give to new affiliate marketers is to establish plenty of diversified traffic sources. 2019 saw Google “move the goalposts” repeatedly, with frequent algorithm updates and new ways of displaying the search results. This resulted in a rollercoaster ride for many top affiliate marketers. Ultimately, even if you do everything right, SEO alone is not enough to guarantee you will generate enough organic traffic to your offers. It’s best to always have a plan B and C – whether that means social media, video, podcasting or something else. It’s “evolve or die” out there at the moment!
Shawna Newman, a digital marketing consultant has these views to share about the tricks affiliate marketers should adopt in 2020.
With Google increasingly reducing the organic results or just pushing them further down the page with things like featured snippets and People Also Ask boxes, getting other traffic streams is even more important for affiliate marketers than ever before. In addition to Pinterest, which has gained some prominence among top affiliate marketers in 2019, YouTube is a great way to drive traffic to your site that is largely untapped by affiliate marketers. And you don’t even need any real video creation skills since you can use something like PowToons to create videos for your YouTube channel.
This thought was then further elaborated on by the founder of Hosting Tribunal, Nick Galov. He believes that the affiliate marketing industry is evolving and customers are embracing the technological shift.
The affiliate marketing industry continues to grow but not only in numerical terms. The online marketplace evolves largely thanks to the drive coming from customers, who become savvier and more knowledgeable. That’s why simple marketing tactics that rely on flashy promotion with little informative value don’t work in many fields. Hosting in particular and technology as a whole certainly are among them, as more and more users research heavily before making a purchasing decision.
The ultimate solution is to satisfy the users’ curiosity by crafting well-researched, objective content that doesn’t push sales but valuable information.
Of course, good research takes time and resources, but it is well worth the effort because it allows you to get to know the industry you review better and helps a lot in establishing authority. Consider for a second the fact the Google is evolving and can discern quality content better and better. Authority and informative value are the cornerstones for strong SEO and can be the engines toward the coveted visibility and exposure. Taking your time to understand your niche and its players well definitely will pay off handsomely.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #7: Co-Marketing Activities
Apart from content creation, there are multiple aspects an affiliate marketer needs to consider, to grow his/her website traffic and influence. This is why one needs to work on building audience engagement through co-marketing activities.
An expert in marketing at Chanty; Olga Mykhoparkina believes that such co-marketing activities prove to be mutually beneficial in link building efforts and public relations. Here’s what she had to say on the topic.
Co-marketing is an excellent way to make use of partnerships. If you can find other affiliate marketers to collaborate with, you can help them with their PR and link building efforts and get some links and PR exposure in return. In fact, it’s what we’ve done for our marketing extensively within the past months.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #8: Importance of Influencers
Sharing the views on the co-marketing activities, Nikola Baldikov; digital marketing manager at Brosix, highlights the importance of knowing the right influencers. This is what he has to say about the matter.
Influencers in the widest sense of the word will continue to be crucial.
I personally will continue working with vloggers, podcasters, and bloggers for my marketing activities. However, with the increase in the popularity of influencers, there’s a corresponding increase in bad actors. 2020 will certainly see more ‘fake’ influencers looking to mislead you about how popular they really are. That’s why it’s crucial to check them out thoroughly before engaging with them. Here’s a tool that I use to check whether someone’s Twitter followers are real, developed by Rand Fishkin: sparktoro.com/tools/fake-followers-audit.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #9: Focus on What Matters to Your Audience
It’s important for affiliate marketers to focus on what matters to the audience. The core idea here is to get the audience’s attention using design aesthetics in the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). The principles of UI/UX are effective to attract the audience on what you want them to focus on and then nudging them to take desired actions.
Ivan Badin, CEO of TravelPayouts believes in emphasizing on what’s most important to the audience. He talks about how quick adaptation to changes in policies is necessary in order to make the most out of current promotional strategies. Here’s how Ivan explains it.
Affiliate marketing means that you get paid for sold goods or services. This model of earning is called CPA – Cost per Action. SEO and content marketing still works great for affiliate marketers in the travel niche. Search engines provide conversion and cheap traffic. The game is becoming more complicated every year as competition is growing and it is necessary to adopt the changes. Optimization rules in 2019 are not the same as they were 2-3 years ago. In 2016, some features, such as adaptive design, were not widely used by webmasters. Now, this is a prerequisite for becoming a top marketer.
In travel specifically, seasonality makes a difference. To successfully promote landing pages, you need to start working six months before the season for a specific country starts.
For example, if you are aiming to sell tours to Turkey, start working on it in December. Planning helps to display pages on top ratings. Set up tasks for copywriters or write the content yourself, put it on the site and analyze positions. If the URL got into the TOP-30 2-3 months before day X, there is still time to squeeze it. Lastly, the semantics is crucial. Your most important phrases to earn money from are called semantic kernels. We collected the most distinctive phrases for air tickets and hotels.
Affiliate Marketing Tip #10: Attend Conferences and Events
Connecting and networking with influencers and the audience is important as it builds relationships. Your audience comprises of people and building a personal connection with them goes a long way when it comes to collaborations. The best place to build these types of connections is at conferences and pre-networking events.
Shawn Collins the Co-CEO of affiliate summit also responded to us with his take on the matter. He emphasized the importance of going to conferences and treating it as an investment.
The biggest thing is to make the investment to actually attend conferences and then it is essential to pre-network to set up meetings before arriving to make the most of the trip.
— Shawn Collins (@shawncollins) November 29, 2019
Affiliate Marketing Tip #11: Understand Audience-Specific Problems
An equally important aspect highlights the importance of understanding the gap in the niche market and catering to an audience in a way that your competitor hasn’t yet.
The owner of DesignBuildWeb, Dave Foy shared with us his wise words in the context of affiliate marketing tips about understanding audience-specific problems. He believes that this is the way a brand can hit the audience’s soft spot and ultimately become a fan favorite.
- Get to know your audience’s deepest specific problems, and then create content to help that specific audience solve those problems. If you help people solve their very real problems and improve their lives – you’ll never be short of money.
- Provide real value. Many affiliates write quick, generic reviews, without any real opinions, and then wonder why they don’t make sales. Instead, think of how you can provide insane value for your audience. How can you pull out all the stops with your content to make it THE go-to content for your particular niche? I personally think it’s better to create fewer pieces of content but make each one the absolute best there is on your subject matter, rather than lots of generic ‘meh’ content.
Earn at your own pace.
Refer customers and set up your passive income stream
So That’s a Wrap!
To recap, there’s a lot of useful information, tips, strategies to take in here from these renowned experts. I’ve summarized these best affiliate marketing tips into a nutshell to help you pick out relevant information.
- Affiliate marketing experts suggest to first focus on one source of web traffic in order to cash-in effectively. Sticking to one online source of traffic helps improve the affiliate marketing funnel and makes it work efficiently.
- To improve your influence, creating an email list is a golden strategy. That’s because email lists have the element of personalization, hence audience that is already interested in certain products/services are more likely to respond to the email.
- When creating content, it’s good practice to create a sub-content niche that focuses on voice search as a website traffic source. A lot of people use Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, or Bixbi search for specific queries with the advent of home automation infrastructures.
- When creating content to increase awareness, integrating video content improves audience engagement immensely. That’s why there has been an increase in the number of apps that help create engaging video content for social media
- It’s important to gain product knowledge and then continue to increase subject expertise authority to build rapport with the audience. Once you’ve built up that rapport with your audience, they will value your advice on certain topics.
- When creating promotional strategies, integrate activities that work on building a multi-channel brand and collaborate with influencers to make the most out of comarketing activities.
- Lastly, when you create a blog or a content piece, consider focusing on the audience and what they need. Through this method, you can then effectively provide your audience with what they need and improve your marketing objectives and goals.
- Involve yourself in conferences and pre-networking events to get to know your audience better. This will ultimately help improve your understanding of audience-specific problems and how to solve these problems.
With this year coming to an end, a lot of affiliate marketers are looking forward to next year’s opportunities. Amongst these opportunities to earn, the Cloudways Affiliate Marketing Program is a great way for people to set up an income stream- and get recurring income based on their needs.
If you wish to add to these thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll reach out to you!
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Abdullah is a Digital Marketing Executive at Cloudways. He is passionate about digital marketing and managing affiliate partnerships in the digital space. Marketeer at heart, he loves to discuss Video Games, movies and shows. His favorite TV show: ‘Friends’.