Affiliate marketing means a business model where you buy traffic at a lower cost to get visitors to your website (landing page) and make money through placing ads on your website. To put it simply: you buy traffic with $1 and sell it with $2. You may find numerous examples of success where marketers/bloggers have earned on traffic arbitrage over $100k.
Affiliate marketing provides marketers with numerous opportunities; however, it is not a field you make money with no effort applied. To keep your ROI high and get a significant income increase you have to develop affiliate campaigns and work on optimization. But the crucial issue we’re going to discuss now is finding trustworthy traffic sources. Also, we are going to touch on how to develop a successful strategy and implement it.
Before getting started lets’ see some key pointers while choosing traffic sources. Well, not all sources provide you with high-quality traffic. There may be frustrating times when paid traffic doesn’t work, so do not rely on a single source, it’s always beneficial to develop several traffic sources that complement each other nicely. The crucial parameters while dealing with traffic are CTR and conversion. Moreover, you need to compare the costs of traffic from different sources for every specific offer. Rather often expensive traffic is of higher quality; therefore, it turns a higher profit.
Paid traffic sources differ from each other in the following aspects:
Let’s reveal the truth: there is no single traffic source that can be considered the best. In various situations, verticals, and marketing strategies different sources might lead to the best results.
The key advantage of this network is its huge audience (more than 2 billion Facebook users and 700 million Instagram users); you may find potential clients for almost any offer. In fact, Ads Manager Facebook allows publishing full-fledged ads on Instagram (Insta users absorb ads much better than other social networks’ users). Facebook and Instagram offer several options for displaying ads with graphics and video, demonstrating slide shows and dynamic galleries:
Note: settings for displaying ads are very detailed and flexible: you may customize targeting according to gender, age, location, interests, social and demographic parameters. What is more, it’s possible not only to include users into a targeted group but to exclude them from seeing the ads. As for a budget, you can select daily or total limit. However, there is an automatic mode, rather efficient as experience proves.
Let’s see a couple of examples:
A marketer has developed and conducted several advertising campaigns. Total ads costs made up $4 187, received income — $9 125. So, net profit in this case — $4 937. It must be noted that there were several pilot drafts aimed at determining the targeted audience!
A marketer made up $1 200 in a week via an essay writing affiliate program. Having bought targeted ads in spring, just before the beginning of a summer session in colleges, he sent traffic to a BestEduDeal partnership program. To make the ad appealing he used a well-known Internet meme. The affiliate program offered a discount, which was mentioned in the ads. Targeted audience — undergraduates, location — USA, states, and cities where large colleges are located. All ads were displayed only in the Facebook newsfeed. Ads cost — only $50, income — $1 240, so net profit — $1 190.
Compliance with existing policies and competent settings of targeted Facebook ads provide impressive high-quality targeted traffic flow and ensure attractive gains. Really, Facebook offers great opportunities to acquire quality traffic to be monetized later via ads. However, the price of Facebook ads has increased; yet, many webmasters and marketers complained in 2019 that their ads weren’t approved as often as they had been before. Facebook authorities have become “very pedantic and make sure any information there is very accurate and validated and fact-checked”. Many marketers try to adapt to Facebook’s new rules and adjust their ads to look “more like a traditional publisher’s now: longer posts instead of slideshow format”.
For some niches Pinterest is a marketer’s dream: many bloggers use Pinterest not only for affiliate marketing but for sending traffic to their own websites. To make a Pinterest Ads campaign you can join Promoted Pins. Pinterest works best for women-oriented verticals because Pinterest is a pretty popular social network that is almost exclusively women-oriented.
Besides, there are various strategies to expand your readership on Pinterest:
Now, these are not things that allow you to make money directly but they help you attract more people to your website or blog where, in its turn, you earn money through ads display, affiliate links, selling products and services, and so on.
There are various product categories, such as fashion, design, etc, where Pinterest represents one of the major marketing instruments. For example, a sock company from Chicago, Living Royal, promoted its products (successful and known on other channels) via promoted pins.
The company used promoted pins per one month and increased referral traffic sixfold. Interestingly, the conversion rate of promoted pins was 40% higher than from other channels and CPA was 31% lower.
An online furniture shop, MADE.com, used Rich Pins to promote its products. Rich Pins provide more information than regular pins, including product name, availability, and price. These details work like an ad and make a big difference for e-commerce. With Rich Pins, MADE.com increased traffic by 36% and conversion rate by 51%.
Hint: some successful marketers hire Pinterest virtual assistants to run Pinterest profiles.
Smaller audience in comparison with Facebook, but the quality of the traffic is significantly higher that is why we include Twitter ads in our list. Let’s see the pros and cons of using Twitter Ads.
Let’s see how Motorola used Twitter to promote its new Moto Z smartphone with a set of innovative features. The objective was to show off the new phone and provoke interest in it.
The campaign used First View and Promoted Trend, as well as conversational ads to reward Twitter users to retweet by offering a prize (Moto Z + Moto Mods). Within the frame of the campaign, the company offered users to imagine how they might use and integrate new features in their lives (as retweets).
“Using the combination of Twitter First View, Promoted Trend, and a custom branded emoji allowed us unparalleled reach for our brand, as well as a great way to extend our brand message at scale.” — Beth Reilly, Head of Global Media and Consumer Engagement, Motorola.
PPC is believed to be one of the most popular sources of paid traffic. Sometimes it can be paid off quicker than other sources but there is a risk due to the cost. Initially, PPC was associated with search engines (Google Ads or Bing Ads (currently known as Microsoft Advertising)). However, social networks (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have adopted the PPC system as one of the advertising models. The huge advantage of PPC model is that it is paid every time when an ad is clicked: every time the ad is clicked, the link sends a visitor to a website or a landing page, so a small fee is charged. We may call this system a targeted form of purchasing website visits, which in their turn may end up in a form of a sale or a sign-up (conversion).
Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) is the most popular PPC-based system. Marketers and webmasters bid on specific for their niche keywords and pay for each click on their ads. For every search, Google selects several advertisers from related fields to appear in the ad space on the search results page. Results depend on several parameters, such as relevance and quality of keywords, landing page quality, quality score (Google’s ranking of your landing pages, keywords, PPC campaigns) — the higher quality score you get the lower ad clicks cost.
Yet still, you should upgrade and refine your campaigns regularly: analyze your account and adjust a strategy through adding new and reviewing costly PPC keywords, adding negative keywords, improving landing pages, and splitting ad groups.
Code Adsense was specifically designed for contextual advertising, which provides a stable income of around $1-9 for 1 000 displays. Some websites are specifically designed for earning via Adsense; they are called MFA (made for Adsense). Quite often MFA websites are used for sending traffic to CPA offers.
According to webmasters, your income via Adsense depends on a niche, ads arrangement, and AdSense channels. Let’s say, your income from entertainment MFA websites may vary between $1 and $1.5, while medicine-oriented sites may provide you with $4-5 from 1 000 displays, financial niche offers even higher numbers — around $8.5. What do rates depend on? First of all, competition. Second, niche (in some niches you should keep in mind seasonal fluctuations). Third, design and arrangement of ads on a page (some webmasters believe that ads should fit into general website design and color palette and should be arranged within content).
As you see, MFA websites can provide you with passive income. To earn more, develop a unique design, ensure interesting and useful original content and combine it with banners for suitable (related niche) affiliate offers.
The best thing about AdSense is the platform’s reliability: no need to worry about ad delivery, security, or payments. Sure, AdSense is great for money-making, but let’s make it plain — it is not the most efficient method to earn money (for example, sales of your own services and products usually make a much higher profit but require much more work to develop an original product and assure people to buy it.)
Blog Calorie Secrets (run by Alex Chris, reliablesoft.net) was launched in 2012. From 2012 to 2017 the revenue through Adsense exceeded $100k. The marketer shared some reports to confirm the revenue and major steps he had made to achieve the results:
Alex Chris: “Don’t build your website to look like an MFA (our note: yes, it can be MFA but not to stick out a mile as MFA) — in the past, it was easier to build a website and use it for AdSense but this is not the case these days. Your primary goal is to create a rich content website that has useful and interesting content and offers a great experience for the users.”
Maybe you’re already familiar with Quora, a question and an answer platform. Unfortunately, Quora is underestimated as a traffic source. It launched the ads platform in 2017 and sometimes ads are hidden within an article or a blog post. Readers can upvote your article or your answer, so you may get a higher ranking and higher traffic.
Recently Quora has introduced an improvement: users can share your article via their profiles, upvoting it. The rule is — the more shares you get the more clicks (and traffic!) you’ll receive. As of now, Quora can’t replace other channels but it might add a significant volume to campaigns.
Being an Internet marketer you definitely know about Reddit, aka the major Internet forum. Do you know how to use Reddit as a working tool in your marketing strategy?
Reddit offers an impressive audience (over 330 million users) and is ranked #4 after Google, Youtube and Facebook. For those who are not yet familiar with Reddit: the content (user-generated content) is divided into communities (categories) known as “subreddits”, at a moment there are more than 140k subreddits. Upvotes and downvotes to post and comments determine the visibility of the content on the site. Subreddits help you hit the targeted audience and get a huge amount of good (and free!) traffic. For that, you have to make a profile with a positive karma score and participate in conversations, offer useful material (quite often a certain karma score is required to post links in subreddits). Well, you may prefer paid Reddit Ads, which are very cheap for such targeted traffic.
As for disadvantages, Reddit is known as one of the most brutal social networks due to loads of trolling and judgmental comments. Starting a campaign you must be indeed creative providing helpful and interesting material otherwise you may face a backfire.
Let’s see a couple of examples:
Give a look at the profile of Beardbrand CEO and you’ll see how Reddit community appraised his value (karma 57 068). His creative approach was rewarded with a burst of orders.
It is the second search engine and third-largest website with loads of traffic: 1.5 billion users. You don’t need to create a video ad, in many cases banners work just fine. YouTube Advertising offers very affordable quality traffic.
As for pricing, here are some numbers for YouTube ads:
Here is one interesting example of using YouTube: a blogger registered with a binary options affiliate program and opened YouTube channel where he published training videos with a detailed review of platforms, programs, technical analysis, and trading. He used an affiliate link in descriptions to his videos. Interesting fact: as long as he only posted videos his income didn’t exceed $1 000. When he entered into active discussion with the audience (in comments to videos + Skype) his income from the affiliate program demonstrated significant growth. After 9 months his monthly earnings reached $7 000.
It is quite possible that you’ve never used Snapchat. Well, the audience is obviously smaller than Facebook, but still, it has almost 200 million users daily! What does it mean? It means plenty of traffic.
Sure, it depends on your niche but for some industries, Snapchat Ads can be very useful — the dominant audience of Snapchat is youth.
Note: Snapchat has cheap international traffic, but some GEOs may provide terrible results. Recently the platform has applied some stricter rules for ads, so thoroughly read the policy because several disapprovals might result in a soft ban (that means all your ads thereafter will be disapproved).
Give this platform a try: just like with any other traffic source, some niches will respond better than others. Snapchat is not yet well known and widely used source of traffic, so grab an opportunity.
What does it mean ‘good’ traffic? Let’s see some important characteristics:
Here is our choice of 5 best traffic sources:
And again, some sources work better for specific niches. Pinterest and Snapchat might lead to greater results than PPC or Reddit for women and youth-related verticals.
Being a marketer doesn’t require special technical knowledge. Well, being familiar with HTML is useful, but still, you can improve and deepen your knowledge on the way. The same is about having a guide or a mentor. Once you’ll have to deal with arbitrage all on your own, so you’d better not adapt to having continuous help. There are some awesome resources that you might find very helpful. Give a try to STM Forum where many successful marketers share their tips and answer questions. You may also like WarriorForum, Black Hat World, AffLIFT, and Affiliatefix.
Whatever your vertical, budget, and traffic sources are, the only aspect all marketing experts agree about is unique and practical content, which your targeted audience will read and share. High-quality content is one of the keys to success (and higher profits). Keeping in mind all changes in advertising policy on many platforms, to run traffic arbitrage business successfully in 2020 you should ensure original and high-quality content. You may find plenty of e-courses and e-books on traffic arbitrage but their efficiency is questionable. Each and every project is unique and the market is unsteady and fickle, so there is no guarantee you’ll get the same results applying the same strategy.
Obviously, any training is beneficial. Though, you’d better focus on producing quality content, learn the limits and rules of specific platforms, special features, and characteristics of your targeted audience and get competent with software. Yes, it takes time. Yet, no one arbitrage guru or webmaster has succeeded and earned a fortune from a first pilot project.
Traffic arbitrage can be considered a time-tested business tool in various industries. A chance (well, not without knowledge and experience) to get cheap traffic and monetize it is a practical and attractive idea. The spread could help to get pretty profits. Stick to the road you’ve chosen, do everything in your power and the success won’t take long in coming.
Now you have a list of the best platforms for traffic arbitrage and money-making in 2020. There is no doubt that they vary in price and quality of traffic. All of them are pretty useful and well tested, just some platforms take a little more time to master, such as Facebook Ads and YouTube due to quite strict rules and higher CPC, but the quality of traffic will pay off your time and efforts.
Attract traffic from many sources (organic search, Facebook and Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, etc.) Keep experimenting and testing new sources and reconsider the familiar ones.