Today, I’d like to share the best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing.
While I am very skilled in affiliate marketing, I’m going to scour the internet to see what the experts are saying. I’m going to quote ten different affiliate marketing experts on their thoughts about the best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing. I’ll also share my own thoughts on each of their suggestions.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you promote someone else’s product or service for them and earn a commission from each sale. You are an independent contractor. You get your own affiliate link and promote that link online or offline. That link is tracked to you. Whenever a customer purchases the product or service through your unique affiliate link, you earn a commission. The vendor takes care of the customer service, payment processing, shipping, returns, etc. You just focus on MARKETING the product and get paid strictly on your sales.
Why Paid Traffic?
Paid traffic, in my opinion, is the best and ONLY way to do affiliate marketing on a grand scale. Most people start out promoting affiliate products with free methods such as writing reviews, creating YouTube videos, making podcasts, and linking to affiliate products in their website. These methods do work, but can take months, even years, to build up enough traffic to make a considerable amount of sales.
While FREE is often a good way to get started with affiliate marketing, I don’t know many “super affiliates” or “full-time internet marketers” who rely strictly on free marketing strategies.
Why? Well, you can’t scale free. When you focus exclusively on free strategies, you are limited to your own time and personal efforts. You only have so much time in a day! On the other hand, when you focus on paid advertising strategies, you can find something that works and then SCALE your efforts. Plus, paid advertising does not take much time compared to trying to do everything for free.
Before you spend even one penny on paid advertising to promote your different affiliate products, there are a few things you should consider.
First off, who is your target market? Who is your ideal customer? What type of person is MOST LIKELY to purchase your product? Once you can answer those questions objectively, you need to figure out where these folks hang out online, so you can reach them quickly and effectively.
Your second consideration is what is the most cost effective way to reach these people with paid advertising? Out of all the different forms of paid advertising you can use, how much will it cost you with each strategy to make one sale? Which one will give you the best return on your money investment? You might not know that information right out the gate, so you will definitely need to test each traffic source.
Your next consideration is can you advertise profitably? Is your product commission from each sale large enough to offset the advertising costs? For example, if you’re only earning, $1, $2, $5, or $10 per sale, you probably won’t be able to use paid advertising effectively. However, if you are earning $50 in profit or more per sale, that leaves you some wiggle room to experiment with paid ads. The more you earn per sale, the better!
Next, you want to read the affiliate terms and policies for each product you promote to see which types of paid advertising are allowed and which type of ads are prohibited. Each affiliate program has different rules and policies, so please take the time to educate yourself. The last thing you want to do is start using a paid advertising method, invest a bunch of money, and then get terminated as an affiliate because you broke the rules.
Follow this simple guidance and you will shorten your learning curve and increase your chances of success.
Top 10 Best Paid Traffic Sources for Affiliate Marketing
With that being said, here are the 10 best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing, according to the experts, listed in no particular order. It’s almost impossible to rank these strategies, because each niche is different. I recommend you educate yourself on each strategy, to see if it might work for you.
# 1: PPC Advertising
I personally have a love-hate relationship with PPC. It’s worked very well for me, in some cases, and I’ve lost my shirt in other cases. That being said, it is easily the FASTEST way to make sales and the fastest way to test what you are doing.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the oldest ways of generating traffic to your site.
The biggest network for PPC is Google Adwords. You basically create search ads based on Google’s keyword queries and bid a specific amount per click. The paid traffic network charges you based on how many clicks you receive to your site. The other major network to participate in is Bing Ads which is owned by Microsoft.
Pay-per-click advertising can be quite expensive as it is very competitive. However, the search ads very targeted and there are many optimization options available to advertisers. In order to succeed with PPC, you must be up to date with all the best practices and optimization strategies. It’s a difficult channel to compete in, but it can be very profitable if you can figure out how to make it work.
Google Adwords might be the big dog with pay per click advertising, but I use Bing.
# 2: Mobile Traffic
Everyone has a smart phone! Well, almost everyone. Mobile traffic is skyrocketing. Approximately 70% of my own website visitors come from mobile traffic.
Most people don’t even go to the restroom without bringing their phone with them. Mobile traffic is the wave of the future and probably the most important paid advertising strategy to master in the months and years to come.
It is another fast-growing traffic source on the market. In 2017, Google gained about $50 million thanks to this niche. Here are some good (and not very) issues concerning it.
- Highly profitable
- You can optimize operating systems and carriers
With this traffic, you may rely on:
- redirects (which means that people land on a particular URL and are immediately redirected to your lender)
- push notifications
- banner or display
You have to be cautious as a plethora of online traffic sources has both mobile and desktop traffic, so you will have to detach them as they are converted in different ways.
There is a risk your banner won’t be displayed properly on some smartphones.
# 3: YouTube
YouTube is huge. People LOVE YouTube, even me. People visit YouTube to learn new things or be entertained. You can find ANYTHING on YouTube. In fact, I can bet with 100% certainty that your target market is hanging out on YouTube. That’s why you should really consider using this strategy to promote your different affiliate products.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Many of you are probably surprised I’m considering YouTube a paid search traffic source. The awesome thing about YouTube is there is a TON of traffic, and it’s still very cheap. I’ve gotten my cost per visitor down to $.02 CPC. Not often can you get search traffic this cheap? Not only can you buy paid traffic on YouTube with normal banner ads, but also allows you to run video ads.
Like I mentioned above, the audience on YouTube is very different than other search engines. What I mean by this is you have to have video content on YouTube to be able to drive traffic. This may be a con for some companies that have never created a video before. I’ve also noticed 75%+ of your traffic won’t watch more than 30 seconds of your video.
If you have some kick-ass video content, then YouTube is the place for you. I’ve gotten several campaigns to work on YouTube because traffic is cheap and plentiful. Just be sure to put a call to actions throughout your video and try to capture their attention in the first 5-10 seconds of the video. No long-winded introductions, just hope right into the meat of your content.
# 4: Twitter Ads
Do not overlook Twitter as part of your overall advertising strategy. Whether you are personally using Twitter or not, or like them or not, doesn’t really matter. Twitter is an untapped gold mine to reach people in just about any niche. Plus, it’s not nearly as competitive as some of these other strategies.
Twitter is the biggest micro-blogging social platform with over 313 million active users. Twitter ads lets you advertise on twitter with promoted tweets, promoting accounts & promoted trends. Twitter advertisement perfectly suits for getting more engagement to the tweets, getting more clicks to website or app installs, getting more followers & gaining visibility.
Twitter has great traffic quality and it has fine demographic targeting option just like Facebook ads with recent inclusion of keyword targeting which makes it even better.
# 5: Outbrain Amplify for Advertisers
Ever heard of Outbrain before? If not, you’re not alone. This giant has been growing quietly under the radar for several years now.
Amplify works differently than AdWords or Facebook ads, in that we don’t do ads. Instead, we provide the platform where you put a link to your awesome content. This is where you start the relationship with your potential customer, bringing them down the funnel by providing nothing but valuable, useful, funny, and endearing content. Similar to Facebook and AdWords, Amplify offers a cost-per-click bidding system, the ability to test multiple headlines directed to the same content, device targeting, geographic targeting, lookalike audiences, and custom audiences, our retargeting tool. Our premium network of publishers ensures that you’re always getting traffic from high-quality sources. More importantly, though, the algorithms behind our content discovery platform are constantly working to find the most engaged audience for your content.
This strategy would work best to promote any online reviews of the affiliate product you are promoting.
# 6: Banner Ads
Yes, banner ads are still alive and well. No, they might not be as effective as they once were, but they still do work.
Links and banners are the most basic types of advertisements online. Plan-text links and image-based banners can both lead interested parties back to your site. The great thing about this type of ad is that it can be used almost anywhere: on websites, on social media, or even in emails.
The visual nature of banners make them particularly effective at catching the reader’s attention:
Banners also give you a moment to showcase your brand in the best light. In fact, you can even create links and banners yourself, using the Affiliate Royale plugin.
The main issue with using banners is that they’re so common, many users have almost developed ‘banner blindness‘. For this reason, you’ll want to consider your banner placements carefully. Also, for best results you should make sure the benefit to the user is clear, and use a powerful Call-to-Action (CTA).
Banner ads are definitely worth trying out to see if you can do them profitably. Find a few high traffic websites in your niche and see how much it will cost to put banner ads on their website.
# 7: Solo Ads or Email Marketing
Email marketing is a dark horse not only in the list of top traffic sources for affiliate marketing, but in the whole digital marketing picture. The best way to build a long term affiliate marketing relationship is by creating a traffic base that gets your emails everyday and that these emails contain valuable content.
You can go the long haul and build your own email audience for newsletters or you can buy spots on prevalent newsletters to generate traffic. Do note that every email newsletter doesn’t explicitly sell spots, but you have to ask them about it.
I build my MLM Business exclusively through paid ads and solo ads account for about 90% of my sign ups.
# 8: Pay per View
This is another popular paid advertising strategy that most affiliate marketers have not tried out before.
This name simply means that you pay every time your ad is displayed to a user. It also has the name of Cost-Per-View (CPV). Networks like this make their money by advertising through pop-ups on user’s PCs. They install toolbars on people’s browsers and PCs. This traffic isn’t the same as PPC and it’s much more annoying than any other ads. But it actually works.
The good thing about pay per view traffic is that it doesn’t have many restrictions. Keyword targeting is highly profitable and this method in general is very profitable. Targeting isn’t that expensive, compared to other traffic sources such as PPC.
The downside is, that it has a lot of competition and the traffic quality is quite low. In order to start you have to deposit a large amount of money. There aren’t too many options when it comes to specific niches.
You definitely want to experiment with PPV, especially if you have a “mass market” type affiliate product, such as weight loss, health, money, etc.
# 9: Facebook Ads
I’m personally not a fan of Facebook, but that being said, they have BILLIONS of users. There is a HIGH likelihood your target market is spending time on Facebook each day. This might be a great reason to use Facebook ads to promote your affiliate products. Just make sure you read their rules and policies first, because there is a high likelihood the affiliate product you are trying to promote is not allowed on Facebook.
The Facebook family abounds with 1.6 billion global members of which more than a billion are 24*7 active. This makes the social media platform the best-paid traffic source for your e-commerce website. As people interact with their dear ones, they never miss out on the ad spaces in their feed. Amidst unlimited gossips, new-age consumers ensure that they enjoy online shopping and grab some good deals, if any. Besides these, Facebook stands apart from other traffic sources by means of its ad targeting options and Boosted Posts.
The first one enables you to define your target based on demography, location, psychology and behavior, etc, and enjoy customized reach to the ideal audience group. Using the second one, you can not only fetch more traffic to your site but also generate likes on your brand, boost your posts on this platform and influence more people to install your mobile applications (if any). With such features, Facebook is undoubtedly the best means to get paid traffic.
# 10: Postcards or Direct Mail
I saved the best for last. You can create and mail a postcard for about 45 to 50 cents. It’s going to cost you about the same to mail one postcard as it does to buy one click online. Postcards are different. They stand out. I use them myself and swear by them. Plus, they have “stickability.” People keep their postcards.
Marketers know postcards are powerful marketing tools, especially when it comes to website marketing. Instead of ushering the death of direct-mail print marketing as originally predicted, the digital world has fueled a revolution in the direct-mail industry as print marketing has proven itself to be one of the most effective means of driving web traffic. Postcards, in particular, are exceptional at motivating customers to go online…
If you haven’t added postcards as part of your marketing mix, you should. I think it is the easiest paid advertising strategy anyone could implement to sell more affiliate products.
In conclusion, these are the best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing, according to the experts. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with these findings? What do you believe are the best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing and why? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
Suggested Reading & Resources
- Best Places to Advertise Your MLM Business
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