The Ultimate Guide For Choosing A Traffic Source [Paid Only]
This is a very common question for people who are getting started. There are many courses, reports, videos covering different traffic sources out there and it's easy to get lost and make the wrong choice... or no choice at all and work with many traffic sources simultaneously.
So, I decided to make this post to help people here in this forum to understand the traffic sources a bit better and make a wiser choice when running their first campaigns.
However, before I go deep into details about the traffic sources, I'd like to say that there is not a hard rule that says which traffic source is better. All the traffic sources have good and bad aspects, so you have to analyze them properly to decide which one is more suitabe for your current situation and the type of campaign you intend to run.
Now, let's go to what really matters...
1. Search PPC
PPC on search engines used to be the most popular traffic sources in terms of paid advertising in the early days of internet marketing. AdWords was the hottest place followed by Microsoft AdCenter (Bing) and Yahoo! Search.
However, Google started changing their policies for advertisers and affiliates started suffering with the new rules.
So, let's see what's the current situation of the search PPC platforms...
The king of all search PPC platforms. The big G has enormous amounts of traffic and a great advertising platform that allows advertisers to build and manage campaigns with a lot of accuracy.
However, they don't really love affiliates. So, if you're acting as an affiliate you have to choose your offers carefully, build Google-friendly sites and think very well about you're doing before uploading an ad.
If you can do it, if you know exactly what you're doing, Google still is a great place to make money.
Of course, there is also that sneaky trick called "cloaking", which is basically a way to fool Google and prevent their robots from accessing the same site as the real visitors. It does work, but it's not an easy science and many people are not comfortable doing it.
1.2. Bing & Yahoo
Bing is similar to AdWords, but with less volume and slightly more flexible rules. It's not as hard as AdWords to get started there if you're new, but it doesn't mean it's easy.
Search PPC is always competitive and so is Bing (and Yahoo). Unless you have a proven campaign or feel confident about your knowledge or guidance, Bing is probably a tough route.
The smallest player in the search field. It can't be compared to the other big guys in terms of quality and volume, but they are flexible and it's pretty easy to get a campaign running there.
I wouldn't say it's a great place to start, but it's definitely not a nightmare, so depending on your goals and preferences it can be a doable route.
2. Social PPC
I am a bit suspicious here, since this is my expertise, but I promise I'll do my best to fair and expose both the good and bad aspects.
Well, the first good thing about social PPC is that it's usually based on demographics and also very precise in this matter. You can have a tight targeting and know exactly who is on the other side, making the process of converting visitors into leads a lot easier.
Social traffic is also awesome for pretty much anything related to entertainment and relationships, so if you use the right niches and offers it's far from difficult to build profitable campaigns on social PPC platforms.
On the other hand, most people in social networks are not buyers, they are not on the buying-mode and it's tough to use social traffic to promote high-ticket offers. Usually, when a CC is required the process becomes much longer, with email captures and other things... so, in this case, it would be an arena for seasoned marketers.
Another aspect is the fact that campaigns come and go too fast. It's easy to create new campaigns, but it's also easy to see they die away a few weeks later. So, consistency is a challenge when you're working just with social PPC.
Facebook is the blue giant. Some people say that they are living their last days and it can be true, but now, at this moment, while I'm writing this paragraph, they have billions of people using their network and sharing information there... and it's a huge power in terms of information and, of course, advertising.
Their rules are getting a bit tighter, it's true, but it's part of evolution and, honestly, Facebook is far from becoming an "impossible" platform for affiliates. We can do plenty of stuff there yet and that's without cloaking or any other advanced techniques. There are many offers we can run and it's still relatively easy to get profitable there.
The bad aspects would be that their rules and platform have been changing very often recently, and the prices are not as attractive as in the past, but, in general, Facebook still is a very interesting traffic source for affiliates who know how to pre-sell simple offers to targeted audiences.
2.2. Plenty of Fish
Not as big as Zucky's son, but also very interesting. They have laser targeted traffic and there is something I must say: their support rocks! They don't hate affiliates... they love us! So we owe them some respect, too.
PoF is a nice traffic source for dating and also for other niches. If you can use smart angles and nice landing pages to pre-sell simple niche dating sites or quick lead gen offers you can hit the big bucks there.
The bad aspect of PoF is the low volume when it comes to international traffic.
There different PPV platforms such as Traffiv Vance, Lead Impact, etc... they are different in terms of quality and price in certain niches, but their essence is the same, so I'll not talk about each platform specifically.
PPV is based on unsolicited ads, their model is a bit intrusive and people usually don't like to see PPV ads. So, yes, the quality of the traffic tends to be lower. However, the high volume and low price offer a fair compensation.
So, in short, PPV has a great potential if you can learn how to deal with relatively low quality traffic. It is possible and there are people making tons of money with PPV, but, IMO, it's easier to start with high quality traffic and high prices than the opposite.
But I am sure that many will disagree here and I have to admit that this is a tough point. There is no right answer and it depends a lot on the affiliate and their personal preferences.
4. Media Buying
The playground of the big boys. Here is where you will find most super affiliates. There is simply endless money in the media buying game. The potential is huge.
However, media buying is a more complex science, since we buy ad spaces on many different sites and, sometimes, without the help of an ad platform.
Media buying is a mix of PPV and social PPC, so it's probably a wiser decision to get started with one of those 2 first ad then move on to media buying. However, it's not a hard rule and depending on the strategy and guidance that you have media buying can be your friend in the beginning as well.
4.1. Media buying platforms
Media buying with platforms isn't cheap, but it's easier and safer, because you can control your budget, start with a small investment and avoid paying webmasters directly.
So, if you're new to media buying, I'd recommend you to go with the platforms first.
4.2. Direct-to-site media buying
When we cut down on the platforms and deal directly with the site owners we usually get super cheap rates and the ROI of the campaigns goes through the roof.
However, in order to do this you have to have a good budget and some experience, since the testing phase tends to be more expensive due to the delays in changing banners and upfront payments.
My suggestion for people who intend to do direct-to-site media buying is to look for good placements using platforms first and then, after finding sites that convert well with the campaigns, contact the webmasters and try to cut down on the platforms.
There are many other traffic sources such as YouTube, mailing, etc... but they are less relevant and I won't cover them here now. However, if you have questions about any other ad platform or advertising model, feel free to ask questions below. I'll do my best to answer the questions and, if I notice that it's necessary, will also add more traffic sources here.
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