Although I love SEO and do quite well with it, you just can’t beat the instant gratification that paid traffic can give you. So in this post I’m going to show lots of useful information on paid traffic and a few useful strategies to get the most out of it. traffic images

Ready to get started?

Let’s go then!

Solo Ads

Along with media buys, solo ads are probably my favorite source of paid traffic. They comprise the bulk of the traffic I buy for all my advertising campaigns. A solo ad is basically an email promotion to someone else’s subscriber list. You contact the list owner and agree on all of the terms and then they will send your email to their list. Generally this is done on a set cost for an agreed amount of clicks. So it might cost you say $50-$100 for 100 guaranteed clicks to a certain persons list. Not all lists are created equal, so you are going to have mixed results with different lists.

Before booking any solo ad, you should first contact the vendor and ask them some questions. This will help you to identify if this is likely to be a profitable transaction for you. Here are the things you need to ask and why:

Firstly, you need to ensure you are getting unique clicks in your guaranteed allotment and not raw clicks. Raw clicks are the total number of clicks, whereas unique clicks are the total number of individuals who clicked. So if one person clicked 10 times, that would be 10 raw clicks but 1 unique click.

You also will want to know how that particular list was built, and what sort of refresh rate they are getting (new subscribers). Was the list built on ad swaps, freebies and low quality traffic, or was it built using higher quality methods? It’s good to know how many new subscribers they are getting each day, because you will have an idea of how often you can market to that list if the first run has shown good signs. It’s no good marketing continuously to a stale list, you should only book regular spots if they are getting a good influx of new subscribers.

Does the list include buyers? You want to know if they are actually going to spend money or if they are just freebie seekers. Some list owners will segment their buyers and offer higher priced solos to them, while others will just include the buyers in your regular solo ad.

Do you provide the swipe (ad copy) or does the vendor? It’s not a bad idea to write your own when you can as it will give you good practice and sharpen up your copy writing skills.

This last point is one that doesn’t get spoken about that often, but can make a big difference in your campaign. A lot of vendors will simply send a generic ad to their list with a link in it. Once you have received your allocation of clicks the link then diverts to the next buyers offer. This is bad for you because it is more like cold traffic than targeted traffic. You want the ad copy to be targeted to your offer as it is going to convert much better than some generic ad that says “make money online – click here”.

 

Pay Per Click (PPC)

When I first got started with CPA marketing I mainly used Bing PPC. Although I was able to get several profitable campaigns going, I found the hardest part was to actually scale it up due to traffic limitations. There are only so many times a certain keyword gets searched for in the search engines, so you need to come up with all sorts of unique angles incorporating other keywords to try to get more traffic. The good thing about PPC with Bing is that once you have optimized your campaign and have it profitable, you can pretty much just sit back and let it run just checking it once every day or two to make sure everything is still going smoothly.

There is no great secret to being profitable with this particular platform. The best advise I can give is to make sure you track EVERYTHING. You should also group your keywords tightly, but test broadly – the aim of paid traffic here is not just profits – it is to acquire enough relevant data that you can use to optimize your campaigns and make them profitable.

Facebook

Although this is PPC advertising as well, I’m going to treat it separately for this post. There are a few different ways of advertising on Facebook. You can build a fan page and try to generate likes for it and then monetize it, or you can send the traffic straight to your offer.

People love to over complicate things, but here is my simple strategy that has served me well.

The image you use is the most important part of your ad when it comes to click through rate. You need to get that click through rate up so that your cost per click comes down. So to start with, take 20 or so images and create 20 ads, each with a different image but the same headline, body and call to action. Now let it run for a bit and have a look at your click through rates. Anything below 0.025 can be paused. If that means all of your images, then go ahead and pause them and load up another 20 to test. If you find one that is above 0.025, take that one and create 10 different headlines to test using the same image, body and call to action. Now you’ve found your winning headline and image, so keep on testing all of the other elements. When you are done with that, don’t stop testing! Take that same image and add different colored borders and effects and test all of those. Depending on the size of the audience you are targeting, your campaign may burn out quickly so it’s important to keep it fresh.

To get cheaper clicks on Facebook, you need to keep your click through rate high. There is another way to get cheaper clicks and that is to target countries outside of the tier 1 category (USA, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand). I’ve had a few CPA campaigns where I was able to target other countries and was able to run them profitably with cheap CPC’s, whereas if I had targeted the tier 1 countries it probably wouldn’t have been quite so successful. One thing I did notice is that other affiliates are often lazy and afraid to step out of their comfort zone, so the competition is a lot lower. I had one gaming campaign I ran targeting Germany and a few other countries. I don’t speak German, so I simply went to One Hour Translation and got my ad copy translated for a few bucks. Most other affiliates didn’t want to go to that effort, so while they were competing for more expensive clicks, I was quietly making a nice profit with my campaign.

Another thing that is important with Facebook (this is for those using fan pages) is how viral is your posts – ie. the amount of shares, comments and likes. So make sure you are posting plenty of content that is likely to go viral. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of them before – funny animal pictures, crazy made up stories etc. The reason you want this sort of interaction is because this is the measure Facebook uses to determine how many of your fans will see your post in their newsfeed. So if you are posting annoying ads all day long that nobody shares or likes, you are going to find your audience will diminish very quickly.

You should also avoid buying fake likes for your page. I know it makes you look a little more legitimate but you are doing far more harm than good.  Think of it this way – as I mentioned above Facebook decides how much of your audience will see your post based on the interaction they had with your previous posts. If half of your fan base are fake accounts, they will never like, share or comment on your posts, so you are seriously hindering your potential reach by having them there in the first place.

Media Buys

This is simply buying ad space on other peoples websites, most commonly in the form of banners. You can do this by approaching the site owners directly, or you can use self serve platforms like Site Scout. To be successful at media buys does require quite a bit of work in learning how to do everything, so in my opinion it is not the most ideal strategy for a beginner. The potential payoff when you do get it right is huge, as there is an obscene amount of traffic you can tap into with the right offer.

I’m not going to go into great detail here as this is meant to be a beginners guide, but the main thing to understand with media buys is that you need to know the demographic of your target audience. Using sites like Quantcast makes this information readily available, so in simple terms it comes down to finding sites that are visited predominantly by your target audience. Once you have tested your sales funnel, you will have a very good idea of what your earnings per click and earnings per 1000 impressions are, so it’s a matter of finding the traffic at a cheaper cost than that. That’s the simple explanation anyway, there is a lot more you can learn such as using re-targeting and setting up ad-servers.

PPV or CPV

PPV (pay per view) or CPV (cost per view) is a great source of cheap traffic. The two main advertising platforms in this field are Trafficvance and Lead Impact. The user will have downloaded some software on their computer in exchange for a free toolbar or game or something similar. Basically the trade off is that they will see your ads popping up when they visit a certain site. Traffic can be had very cheaply (1-2 cents) but you are paying per impression or per ‘pop’. Generally this sort of traffic is not as targeted as other sources, because they didn’t willingly click on your ad to see what it was about, rather your ad just popped up on their screen. Offers that require the least amount of input from the user (email submits, one page submits etc) tend to perform better on this traffic source.

The key to succeeding with PPV is to test wide and budget low. By that I mean target many URL’s and keywords, but keep your daily budget low (if you targeted facebook.com for example, you are going to burn through your entire budget in a mater of seconds, so having a small daily budget to begin with will help to prevent 1 or 2 targets from draining all of your funds) then keep a close eye on your campaigns and pausing any targets that don’t perform after a certain amount of traffic (I usually give them 100 impressions or so). Once you have a good list of performing targets you can increase your daily budget and get all the traffic you can.

If you don’t like or don’t know how to make landing pages, then this traffic is not for you. Direct linking can work, but in most cases you will find creating your own landers will perform better. I had to force myself to learn how to do it, and it is definitely a skill worth having.

Mobile

Similar to media buys in that there is an insane amount of traffic available. You will need 2 main tools to get anywhere with mobile traffic. The first is decent hosting to handle the traffic volume, the second is decent tracking. Things are a little different with mobile, in that you will be tracking carriers, handsets and operating systems mainly. Day parting is also going to be important as there will be some hours of the day and some days of the week that convert better than others.

There are hundreds of mobile ad networks out there, and traffic is pretty cheap (5 cents per click or less). When you look beyond those tier 1 countries, you’ll find it actually isn’t that hard to get profitable with such cheap traffic.

The wrap up

So that is my brief 2000 word overview on paid traffic. I’ve barely touched the surface here, but I could go on forever if I went too deeply into it!

The main thing to understand with paid traffic is that you are buying data. So don’t sweat it if you blow through $20 without any conversions – very few campaigns start out profitably – they get profitable by testing, so make sure you track everything and use the data you are buying to optimize your campaigns and get them making you money!

email