Low budget media buying for beginners: cheap traffic, simple to do, and unlimited traffic....

by ChadH
47 replies
Here's one of my favourite ones, step by step:

I recently posted this on my blog and I thought it might show some of you an unlimited abyss of traffic out there. It's relatively simple to do, not necessarily ground breaking, but it can be very affordable and targeted.

The way I generate the majority of my traffic is via Media Buying, but obviously there are some barriers of entry for most people in terms of getting into media buying, and it does carry some risks.

So today, I want to go into a bit of detail on how to do smaller site media buys, which is something that is typically cheaper per month than PPC, but can still generate good ROI.

Most of the time when people hear about Media Buying, they think of $100,000 per month costs, and large upfront minimums to mysterious ad networks.

Sure, that's one way to go about it, but really Media Buying is just buying any type of ad space/time. Most people are referring to banner buys, and while these can typically have a high cost of entry, today I want to show you a way that anyone can get started.

In fact, I still have some buys going this way that bring in a consistent 300% ROI every month without me having to really administer them much.

First, there are a few advantages as to why you will want to go direct to a site and buy banner space:

- Rarely will you encounter restrictions

- Less competition than a lot of platforms

- Most things are negotiable in terms of price/placement/term (try negotiating with Google)

- There is an almost unlimited number of sites you can go after, just takes some digging

- Full transparency as to where your ads are showing

- Uninformed web masters (basically some have no idea what to charge for advertising, take advantage of this)

- For smaller site buys which we're covering today, you can get most buys for under $300/month. And typically $150-200! That's less than $10/day for targeted traffic.

- For our smaller site buys, we will be buying on a flat rate. If your click through rate on your ads is good, you could be getting some really cheap traffic.

So how do we buy banner space from small sites? Well, I'll assume that most people reading this are into affiliate marketing and CPA marketing, so here is a brief step by step (this works great for product owners as well, but I will assume most reading are doing affiliate marketing)....

Step 1: Choosing an Offer

For this post, I'm going to focus on choosing the offer first and finding sites relevant to that offer.

You're also free to find traffic sources within a target demographic and try to monetize their traffic with multiple offers, but for our purposes today, let's find an offer first.

I always recommend that if you're doing CPA marketing, have a good relationship with your affiliate manager. If they know what they're doing, they'll give you the top offers within your vertical of choice. So our first step here is to talk to your affiliate manager and get the top 3 offers in the vertical of your choice. Check the demographics of your offer in Offervault.com. Also, cross reference if possible with Google Ad Planner and MSN Adlabs.

If you're doing Clickbank, look for the highest popularity and gravity offers that have a good amount of historical traffic. (check compete.com for traffic details)

Step 2: Finding Sites

We want to find 20 - 30 potential target sites that fit our offer demographics. Obviously you can find less but many small web masters won't get back to you.

That is probably the #1 disadvantage of dealing with small sites. If it bothers you enough and you have the funds to do so, outsource the site finding and get someone to contact all the webmasters.

That way you will deal only with setting up the buy with those that get back to you.

We want to look for sites getting less than 20k-30k uniques per day if possible.

One of my best small buys had 2500 US uniques per day.

Here are a few of the methods I use to find smaller sites to approach:

Option 1: Google Search

- Simply go to one of the Big 3 engines, preferably Google, and search for very targeted terms to your vertical.

Take a look at the sites in the organic search results. Check traffic levels in Compete.com, Google Ad Planner, Alexa & Quantcast.com. Find a common thread when it comes to traffic levels.

If you have converting keywords from PPC campaigns, easiest method is to go after sites that rank high for those converting keywords. This goes for converting Google Content Network placements as well.

Approach them privately and cut out the middle man. Try to be as targeted as possible here.

- Look up demographics and cross reference with Google Ad Planner, MSN Adlabs, & Quantcast if available.

Option 2: Google Ad Planner & QuantCast Planner

- Go to Google Ad Planner & QuantCast Planner, and specify the exact demographics of your offer.

You'll be given a list of sites that fit your criteria. I like to sort these sites by Composition Index, which usually gives me smaller sites that are the most targeted to my demographic.

Once you've found some good candidates, you can use the affinity index on Google Ad Planner and QuantCast Planner to find even more sites that are likely to be visited by your demographic.

Option 3: Forums

- A lot of times, forum owners have no idea what to charge for advertising. This can give us the opportunity to get some cheap banner space!

Go the website Big-Boards.com, and search for sites related to your niche. Big-Boards.com lists some of the busiest forums on the web for related forums.

Again, think in terms of demographics. A forum on quilting, for example, might respond well to an anti-aging product.

Step 3: Contacting Sites

Contacting small sites can be a challenge since only 10-15% of small site owners will get back to you.

First obvious step is to look at the navigation or scroll down to the bottom and see if there is an "advertise" link. If there is no advertise link, is there a "contact" link?

If there is neither of these, use your favourite "whois" look up for that domain and see if there is some contact info there.

For forums, if none of the above work and you really want to get on there, post in the forum on how to get a hold of an admin or the site owner.

I've had to do this before for a forum in Google Content Network that was converting great for me and I wanted to cut out Google.

So, now it's time to e-mail the smaller site.

The way in which I contact smaller sites is a bit more casual than when I contact a larger site.

Here is a script that I use in my e-mails:

"Hi there (if there is no contact name)
I was wondering if I could get some info for banner advertising on your site __________.com

I'd like to do a test buy as soon as possible.

Thanks very much,

Chad Hamzeh"

This is a template I pretty much copy and paste since we are contacting so many sites.

Step 4: Deciding What to Pay

Like I said, the majority won't contact you. If you like, you can e-mail them several times.

If you get a response, a lot of times it will be vague, and sometimes they will want you to name a price.

For smaller sites, I will typically then ask how many impressions my ad will see in the month. Tell them you want to buy the entire ad slot for the month, and not be rotated with other advertisers. Cross reference their impression number with the total page views number in Google Ad Planner (if available) assuming you purchased 100% impressions.

Also, keep in mind that if you are promoting CPA offers, they will only be eligible for certain countries, take this into account when measuring traffic levels. This is extremely important.

When I don't have much data to go off, I will calculate a theoretical maximum CPM (cost per thousand impressions) based on page view data, a lower click through rate (CTR) of 0.25%, and a conversion rate from the click of 1% when using a lander, and of course my offer payout.

I can use a higher conversion rate for offers not requiring a credit card or if I have a lot of data and it's my own product.

But again this is simply giving us an estimate. Also take in mind direct linking vs. landing pages. You're really just going to get a rough estimate here.

The way I calculate a theoretical maximum CPM is as follows:

Offer Payout x 1000 x CTR x Conversion Rate = Max CPM

So, if we had an offer which pays out $40, and our test CTR was 0.25%, and our conversion rate from the click was 1% it would look like this:

$40 x 1000 x 0.0025 x .01 = 1.... so the max we should pay here with these numbers in place would be $1 CPM

Now, all we need to do is calculate the max cost. And that is done by the following formula:

Max CPM/1000 x Impressions = Max Cost

So let's say that we've estimated that we will get 100,000 impressions for our buy and the webmaster has confirmed it:

$1.00/1000 x 100000 = $100 Max Cost

So for this buy, $100 should be the max we pay. Now, we were kind of under estimating on the banner CTR and conversion rates, so if you have previous data for that campaign that can warrant higher numbers there, by all means use those numbers.

I will also use Cubestat.com to get a very rough estimate of what kind of daily revenue that site might be experiencing.

And finally, sometimes I will simply throw out a low figure for these small sites, something like $50-100 for the month and see the web masters reaction. Worst they can say is no.

As a guideline, I am usually looking to pay what would equate to under $1 CPM, ideally 50 cents or under. But of course this can vary.

At this point, it's a matter of setting up your banners and tracking. For small direct buys if I'm doing CPA/Clickbank, I will use Prosper202, I reserve my ad server for larger buys. For my own products I will use Googles Website Optimizer and my Ad Server.

I simply setup each small site as it's own traffic source in Prosper202.

Again, the toughest thing about this method is hearing back from the web masters and doing the initial research.

Try to be as targeted as possible here in terms of both demographics and interests, it'll give you higher click through rates especially if you're using banner ads that call out to that specific sites visitors.

If you begin to outsource the research and/or contacting of the sites and you get a good system going, you'll enjoy the benefits of this method since most won't go through the work of doing it.

I hope that helps people having a tough time generating traffic.
#beginners #budget #buying #cheap #low #media #simple #traffic #unlimited
  • Profile picture of the author jeffrey73
    Awesome information! A couple questions though..

    When putting up a banner, do you use one supplied by the merchant or do you make your own custom banner in Paint or Photoshop?

    Also, in regards to "banner blindness", do you feel this is a myth that's been propagated by SEO gurus? I noticed media buying mainly uses banners. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamrs
    Great info, Chad!
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  • Profile picture of the author Cash37
    That is probably the #1 disadvantage of dealing with small sites. If it bothers you enough and you have the funds to do so, outsource the site finding and get someone to contact all the webmasters.
    Fiverr.com makes this no issue
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  • Profile picture of the author excoder01
    How about offering a test price for like $10 a week to place your ad...and if it's successful, tell them you're willing to pay $200 for the month? If not, tell them, they can keep the $10?
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  • Profile picture of the author Charleskidd
    Wow Chad very good post on media buying. I generally use media buys for most of my traffic to cpa offers. Media buying relies on testing so sometimes you might have to spend a reasonable amount before you hit profit. Which does not mean $10.
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    • Profile picture of the author Global365
      Hey Chad,

      Great info...can you tell me what tracking software you use? Openx or something else when you test different banners on a site..

      Thanks

      Barry
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      • Profile picture of the author ChadH
        Originally Posted by Global365 View Post

        Hey Chad,

        Great info...can you tell me what tracking software you use? Openx or something else when you test different banners on a site..

        Thanks

        Barry

        Hey Barry, with these small buys since the amount is so low, and you will be paying a flat rate, sure you can use OpenX. Heck, you could even use Prosper202 and give the webmaster different destination urls for each banner and tell them to rotate, and make each site it's own "traffic source" in Prosper. (that's annoying though).

        However, I learned using AdShuffle, so that's what I use. It costs me about 5 cents CPM on top of my flat rate cost, but I'm just used to using it. It's IAB compliant so when I do larger buys on a CPM basis it works decent enough. As far as I know, OpenX isn't IAB compliant so if you want to bill off your own ad server numbers on a larger buy, it usually won't work for the other party.


        excoder01,

        Sure everything is negotiable, as long as they will sell you 100% of the impressions and that your ads aren't rotated. We want to buy all the impressions. So, unless the webmaster is completely clueless, they probably won't sell you a weeks worth of traffic which should be $50 based on your example, for only $10. But yes, you could probably negotiate a 2 week test for $100, in that scenario.


        jeff,

        Ya give it a go, it's really not that risky actually. Typically the cost is less than PPC and it's more straight forward. Like I said the main "grinding" aspect of it is getting webmasters that follow through.

        Glad you guys liked the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author robert11
    Hi, I read your post about small media buys. When approaching a webmaster, how is payment handled? Do you pay first and just hope he holds up his end of the deal by serving your ads?

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Cash37
    I've been doing this for a while. I wrote a post on doing this with BuySellAds

    http://www.warriorforum.com/ad-netwo...uysellads.html

    An issue though, is sometimes even with Quantcast and all that, the demographics may be really off with these smaller sites. If they have Adsense on the site go with doubleclick's adplanner to view demographics for a better idea.

    Also a quick tip.

    If the site owner has twitter (simply go to Google type in "sitename twitter") send them a @reply to tell them to check their email. Usually gets a quicker response
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  • Profile picture of the author PoolWarrior
    Any experience with media Network that convert well and don't need high budget
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadH
      Originally Posted by robert11 View Post

      Hi, I read your post about small media buys. When approaching a webmaster, how is payment handled? Do you pay first and just hope he holds up his end of the deal by serving your ads?

      Thanks
      Robert..... typically payment is via paypal, most small webmasters ive worked with have been able to accomodate it, or alertpay. Typically I will pay half upfront and half 2 weeks into the month.

      Originally Posted by Cash37 View Post

      Also a quick tip.

      If the site owner has twitter (simply go to Google type in "sitename twitter") send them a @reply to tell them to check their email. Usually gets a quicker response
      very cool twitter tip

      Originally Posted by PoolWarrior View Post

      Any experience with media Network that convert well and don't need high budget
      I like AdBlade myself.... you can start with a low budget but typically to get enough data you're going to need a scaling budget. If you need really low budget you can try BuySellAds, but I've never been a fan of it, but as you can see by the thread, some guys have had success with it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sipboy3000
        Chad,

        This is an excellent post.

        I have a very similar post I did some time ago here: http://www.warriorforum.com/adsense-...e-killing.html

        It was a good discussion for quite some time, but I think many people are still not to keen on the stuff you and I are talking about.

        Your explanation is much more detailed than mine though.

        You are literally giving them the strategy on a silver platter.

        At any rate, I actually read this thread a while back and ended up buying your Conversion University because I was very impressed to find somebody else who understands this stuff like I do.

        I forgot to come back here and post, but ran across this thread again and I figured I'd chime in.

        I think your course is excellent and I know for a fact you know your stuff because I have been very successful in my own right using very similar strategies.

        If you ever have time, I'd love to connect and share some ideas.

        Again, excellent info.

        Tommie
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  • Profile picture of the author satrap
    Great post chad. Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed plan.
    for those of you who dont know where to look for potential sites to advertise on or don't want to spend time looking through search engines results, you can use sites like buysellads.com to find sites. It gives you all the details about the site, including traffic rank, daily hits and etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChadH
    Hey tommie...

    Ah i never saw that post of yours, pretty cool... Thanks for the kind words because i know you definitely know your stuff. I learned a good amount from hearing you i think on a webinar once a long time back that helped me just blow up. After that i started pursuing the other traffic channels, but google content is still a beast to build a proof of concept.

    Ya ill send you a message soon, would be cool to see what youre up to...
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  • Profile picture of the author shabach
    This is an excellent detailed post...
    thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author orangeangel
      Thanks Chad, these are really useful info. I will try some out.

      Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author marketwarrior06
    Banned
    informative and very much impressive. but don't clear to me at all. what kind of software to use to track the traffic? i am not experienced and don't know much about these so if you explain a little bit more it will be a great help thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author imback
    Great post I would be glad to take a load off of you if you need it....


    Any newbies feel free to contact me also for general help
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  • Profile picture of the author rama436
    good, thanks for info....
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  • Profile picture of the author akif
    Thanks ChaD for such a Great Info
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  • Profile picture of the author Cash37
    The best part is when the site owners triple the price or more when you try to buy another month. Everyone hate's direct response marketers because we know how to monetize traffic, and the site owners know that once they see your offer. They may not know how your making $$$ but they know you are making more than you pay them, and they don't usually like that especially when you are eager to renew.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChadH
      haha, I didn't see this post get bumped... glad you guys liked it.


      Originally Posted by marketwarrior06 View Post

      informative and very much impressive. but don't clear to me at all. what kind of software to use to track the traffic? i am not experienced and don't know much about these so if you explain a little bit more it will be a great help thanks.
      To track the traffic, I personally use my AdShuffle ad server. A free option is Prosper202, which you can use for direct to site buys done correctly. Another option is Hypertracker, $20/mth, does the job..... I like using an Adserver since I can rotate ads and such on my own.

      AdShuffle and Prosper have good documentation, easy to use.

      Originally Posted by DustonMcGroarty View Post

      I have a question... (great post by the way!)

      When you contact smaller web site owners, are you targeting
      owners who already have ads on their sites (like AdSense, BuySellAds, etc.)?

      Or are you targeting owners without ads as well?
      I'll target both... often the ones with Adsense are tough to strike a deal with if they're in higher paying verticals such as finance, debt, insurance, and weight loss... their eCPM's are high so it's tough to beat. Doesn't mean you can't though.

      Originally Posted by Cash37 View Post

      The best part is when the site owners triple the price or more when you try to buy another month. Everyone hate's direct response marketers because we know how to monetize traffic, and the site owners know that once they see your offer. They may not know how your making $$$ but they know you are making more than you pay them, and they don't usually like that especially when you are eager to renew.
      True enough... offer to work with them on a CPA basis if they pull a move like that, and if the numbers make sense. When they hear they can "make money with you", a lot of them will go for it. And if they don't, screw 'em.
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      • Profile picture of the author flintinatux
        Originally Posted by ChadH View Post

        True enough... offer to work with them on a CPA basis if they pull a move like that, and if the numbers make sense. When they hear they can "make money with you", a lot of them will go for it. And if they don't, screw 'em.
        I understand working a media buy deal with a smaller site on a CPM or a monthly flat rate basis, but I keep seeing this advice of moving to a CPA model on larger buys or when the site owner gets greedy with the price. How do you work out with them when an action is completed by a visitor?

        I could see how that would be easily tracked on your end with Prosper202 or your ad server, but the site owner would have no clue. So do you just show him your stats afterwards and then pay him, or is there a way for him to track also?
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  • Profile picture of the author edgerunner
    Love the detailed information on media buying depending on the size site you have. I didn't know you could gain this much traffic this way. Are there any free guides to helping you learn this or tools to do it?
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    • Profile picture of the author joker790
      Great post! I'm a full time media buyer at a top Alexa ranked company. The only point I would change is your banner CTR. The % that you wrote seems a bit high. You should always use the same formula twice times...at .1%, and again at .5%. This will give you a worst case scenario and a best.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Good information, I like contacting website owners, most people are too lazy to do this and you can find some gems.. (lots of duds too)
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  • Profile picture of the author anwar001
    Thanks for the great info. I had purchased a product long time back called 'Traffic Snowball' or something which was about similar strategy of buying ad spaces on websites directly.

    However, I didn't give that strategy a serious try. Now, after reading your post, I am inspired to try out this strategy.

    By the way, you said you get good conversions and clickthroughs from banners, so can you tell me if advertising on banner exchange networks is a good idea? Will it be effective for other niches outside of IM, like health or acne niches?
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  • Profile picture of the author topadon
    this is great but how would i go about outsourcing the finding of sites and contacting on Fiverr?
    what do i tell them to look for ?
    should they look for site with the same deomgraphic of my offer?
    or sites have to be on the same topic of my offer and demographic?

    Please some advice would be great
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  • Profile picture of the author imwarrior84
    Amazing post thank you for sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremiah L
    nice and interesting..
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  • Profile picture of the author PriceMaster
    Wow, great method to get cheap but quality traffic that converts well!

    Appreciated...
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    • Profile picture of the author lengxue888
      Originally Posted by ChadH View Post

      lol I always miss when this thread gets bumped... glad you like it guys.
      hello,i want to ask you some question,do you have skype?
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  • Profile picture of the author bushidosurfer
    Chad,

    This is a great share (although a couple of years old), the steps seem workable and relevant Been wanting to get my hands dirty with media buys, and this seems like a good, easy guide.
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  • Profile picture of the author MissC687
    Always nice when someone finds the time to share their knowledge.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    Hang on, surely this information is outdated right?

    (hint: NO)

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  • Profile picture of the author sanusense
    Valuable information spreading here, Thanks ChaD
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  • Profile picture of the author seoed
    nice info, heard about this before.

    however, I dont understand the fact that the website owner would not do this
    cpa or affiliate offer himself. Do you really think that he is totally unaware of this
    business?
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    • Profile picture of the author DanielMob
      Chad, amazing stuff. From what I've seen I can honestly say this forum is one of the most professional ones for affiliate marketers.
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