Do you remember the time when the best paid traffic sources for a business were ABC, NBC, and CBS? A simple time that consisted of three boring TV channels with the same content geared towards appeasing a mass audience. Or when a small business could be successful with paid ads in the yellow pages?
Well, things have certainly changed! Today new businesses don’t need the spray and pray mentality when buying media. There are so many different ways to drive traffic through paid media, businesses can pick and choose which ones they want to use based on where their target market hangs out.
If you’re new to paid media, and this article assumes you are, we’ll show you that a solid advertising plan and modest budget will beat the spray and pray EVERY TIME.
If you’ve ever doubted that you could have success with paid traffic sources, read on! Here is the tell-all to help you understand how to choose the best paid traffic sources for your online business.
Find Your Market to Target Paid Traffic
Advertising is when you combine the perfect message with the perfect audience to create the perfect benefit to help your ideal prospects move forward with your services. To help you do this, we need to start first with the market you want to target.
Everything else falls into place, once we know who we want to talk to about our product. Here are five steps to make that happen.
First, you need to understand your market. To do this, you need to ask pertinent questions to understand who your ideal prospect really is.
For example, do you know their age, gender, and income? What is their marital status? What are their hobbies? What is their favorite TV show? Do they have a favorite book or genre? What is their average day like? What problem are they looking to solve?
For example, if your niche was golf you should look for golfers on Facebook. That is what Zac Johnson did when he launched an affiliate promotion. The small campaign he ran had a 253% return, because he targeted the 300,000 men on Facebook ages 30-50 who played golf.
This type of targeting isn’t even as granular as Facebook gets! Just gender, age, and interest are common place. You can learn more about Facebook’s targeting capabilities by reading this complete guide by Molly Pittman at DigitalMarketer.
Second, determine where your market hangs out. What social networks do they use? For example, you might find that professionals gravitate towards LinkedIn, but younger generations are more interested in WhatsApp, YouTube, or Instagram.
A great tool for determining the demographic breakdown of any site is Alexa. Alexa is great because the site provides a breakdown of the demographic users for each site, including the education, browsing locations, and gender of the audience of the website…and it’s FREE (though the free version does have SOME limitations).
Third, map out a plan of action. Don’t just follow a site. Instead, learn the rules of the road for your advertising website.
For example, the massive social bookmarking site, Reddit has a number of users who are anti-promotions. You need to make sure your message resonates with your audience. Otherwise, they might torpedo your ad before it even takes off.
The power of sub-reddits to create something viral is not to be underestimated.
Fourth, you need a strategy to keep your prospects in your sphere of influence. It is not enough to merely advertise your business online nowadays. Instead, you need to have a plan that not only connects with your audience, but also keeps you in front of them for the foreseeable future.
A great way to stay top of mind is by creating retargeting campaigns using the Facebook Pixel to track your website visitors from Facebook. If you have the pixel installed correctly and your campaigns created, you can reduce your advertising costs on Facebook, while strengthening your relationship with targeted prospects.
Fifth, have a great ad that matches the needs of your audience. For example, the headline in any ad is very important. The right headline can translate into the difference between 100 and 5,000 visits to your website.
Spend time making sure that it hits the right notes for your audience.
Then focus on including a great, relevant image for that headline. Together these two aspects of your ad can do more than anything else to promote your business.
Sixth, you need to leverage this knowledge through tools and resources. We discuss tools and resources more in-depth in the next section. However, be aware that it is not possible for someone to keep up with technology trends without some assistance.
Once you follow the first four steps we discuss, the tools below help you become more efficient. Then you can keep up with the trends without doing all the menial work yourself.
Tools to Find Best Paid Traffic Source
Wordstream : Provides free and paid reports to help you find the right keywords for your search engine marketing campaign. They have everything from a free AdWords grader to Keyword Research tools to make sure your campaign is fully optimized for success.
SEMrush : Get help with your paid and free Google search strategy. SEMRush also helps users with optimizing their search through the right keywords. You can run over 3,000 keyword research reports every day for over 10,000 keywords per report. Additionally track your results in 5 different campaigns.
SpyFu : Stop guessing what keywords do your competition use. Instead, use Spyfu to get the complete results. They have free and paid tools to help you research your competition. No need to reinvent the wheel, when you can just spy on what your competition is doing.
Socialbakers: Similar to Spyfu, Socialbakers helps you spy on your social competition. The difference is that Socialbakers looks exclusively at content marketing. You can track your competition to see how their paid and social strategy work for their business.
Keep in mind that the more you are aware of the success model of companies in your industry, the more you can replicate and improve on their strategy.
Buzzsumo: One of my favorite tools for tracking your competitors. Learn where other bloggers get their social shares from online, just paste their URL into Buzzsumo and see with the convenience of a couple of clicks who shares their content. The free version provides limited, but useful results. The paid version gives you extended results and unlimited searches.
SocialMention: Research what people are mentioning and sharing in social media. The more you know what your prospects talk about and share on social networks, the more you can create ads that would work for your specific audience.
Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights are available for any fan page manager and advertiser to learn more about the content and ads they share on the social network. Get demographic breakdowns, as well as the result of your content strategy on Facebook.
Sumall: Helps you organize your data across social media. Additionally, if you need to convince your manager or clients of the value of what you do, check out the reports section where you can turn your efforts into a demonstration of your ROI.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Traffic Sources
Google AdWords: The largest online advertising platform in the world. Google AdWords allows you to do everything from conventional ads to retargeted ads to television spots right from Google.
While it might be a bit pricey, it has a proven track record of success with tens of thousands of marketers over the past 15 years. Remember that peopel searching on Google are searching very differently than people searching on Facebook or LinkedIn. The majority of Google queries will be ‘problem’ driven where they are looking for an answer to a particular question/problem.
- Plumbers in Boston
- Who do I fix a faucet
- Does draino really do the job of a plumber?
(As you might be able to notice, I had some pipe issues recently so this is top of mind).
Many marketers can increase sales by 136% by increasing the conversion rate from .50% without a PPC campaign to 2.25% with a PPC campaign.
YahooBing Ads: In an effort to combat Google’s dominant AdWords program, Yahoo and Bing combined their ad platforms into one cohesive whole that allows users to run ads simultaneously on Yahoo and Bing.
7Search: A smaller ad network, 7Search is known for Cost Per Click (CPC) as low as a $.01. Great if you want to test out your ad results, but be aware that the ROI might not be strong on 7search when compared to Google or Bing. Plus, it does not have the amount of traffic that you would find on Google and Bing.
Advertise.com: Have a full array of contextual, display, and remarketing ads at your disposal through this publisher network. Advertising.com works with over 10,000 publishers across the web, and can provide contextual ads inside the content, display ads on the side and top banners, and remarketing ads to people who already visited your site through the publisher network.
Bidvertiser: This advertiser started with promoted content a few years ago, and has expanded to a full blogger ad network for web publishers. If you want to expand your blogger outreach, this is a great resource.
DirectCPV: Most of the advertising solutions we discussed previously have been Cost Per Click. That means you pay for every click. However, another popular option which is also available on Google, Bing, and Facebook ads is Cost Per View. DirectCPV is a CPV specialist with rates starting as low as $.015 CPV. This is significantly lower than what you would pay on the major ad networks.
BuySellAds: We have discussed a little bit before with Advertising.com, how they have a network of website publishers. This is similar to the model that BuySellAds uses. They have a network of some of the largest websites in the world where you can advertise your business in a variety of different niches.
If you have a strong idea of who your ideal prospect is, then you might want to match it up with the advertisers on BuySellAds. This way, you can target your ads more effectively.
Outbrain: Have you ever noticed at the bottom of major publications today like Buzzfeed, CNN, and Forbes that there are links to additional articles?
This is because of sites like Outbrain. The content amplifier contracts with major publishing brands to bring advertising revenue through those promoted articles. Whenever a user clicks on the ad, the advertiser is paying for a referral from a top-notch website.
Plus, the content looks organic, so the ad blindness that affects other forms of advertising is significantly reduced by using Outbrain.
Infolinks: Another interesting form of advertising is Infolinks. Infolinks matches your keywords with articles around the web. They, then, place the ads as keywords in the articles.
For example, have you ever read an article in which when you moved your mouse over a specific word, an ad appeared? That is Infolinks . It is a great way to increase your traffic to your site through targeted keyword traffic.
AdMob Mobile: This is Google AdWords mobile advertising department. Initially it was a separate company from Google.
However, now when customers want to integrate their desktop and mobile ad content it combines the AdMob and Google AdSense platform together for one consistent campaign across all devices.
Facebook Ads: If you want to advertise on the largest social network in the world, then you are in luck. Facebook has come a long way since they first introduced ads on their platform back in 2004 with their inaugural Facebook Flyers for colleges.
Today you can advertise your business on the social network through the sidebar ads, promoted newsfeed ads, and mobile ads. Companies use Facebook Ads to promote their fan page, business, landing pages, events, brand, and products. The choices are varied, so you can reach whichever of the 1.4 Billion people you want on Facebook.
Annalise Kaylor mentioned that successful Facebook ads are “a bit of an art form”. Her campaign was for $100 and she made over $14,000 in revenue. To do so, she created 30 ads to the same landing page. That way she could determine the best ad for the audience.
Twitter: Twitter jumped into the advertising game a lot later than Facebook. In fact, until the last year or so they had not made a lot of strides in regards to advertising.
However, they now have a full array of advertising products for businesses to promote their company. Most of these ads are shown in the Twitter newsfeed, so they look like native advertising.
LinkedIn Ads: While LinkedIn Ads are not as popular as Twitter and Facebook, they still drive a significant amount of revenue for the business network.
In the last year, LinkedIn reverted back to allowing advertisers the option to use either Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impression. They also updated the system in the past year, but it is still not as robust a system as others social ad networks we mentioned previously. Analytics are a little sparse, and the pricing is not clearly laid out when you create an ad.
StumbleUpon: One of the largest social bookmarking sites in the world, StumbleUpon is similar to Twitter in that they provide native advertising for brands. This implies that just like how Twitter includes ads in their stream, StumbleUpon includes it when you stumble between different websites.
Note: It has been a while since I advertised on the platform, but when content marketers combine great content and promoted posts you can truly leverage the power of this site with great returns on traffic and conversions.
For example, Stefan Maescher received 60,275 visits to his site by only spending $128.90. It would be almost impossible to get those type of numbers on Facebook or Google AdWords.
Reddit: Advertising on Reddit can be a bit tricky as we mentioned before, due to the fact that many of the users are extremely averse to marketing.
Therefore, if you do plan on marketing your content on the site, make sure you spend some time exploring Reddit first from the standpoint of a user. While the explosive viral power of Reddit is a tempting lure for many marketers, approach with caution.
Pinterest: The visual social network is just launching their ad network. While they do have enterprise level options available right now as well, the price is out of range for most small business owners. However, you can join the waitlist. More information to come on Pinterest Promoted Pins.
Final Thoughts on Best Paid Traffic Sources
Creating a paid traffic campaign comes down to making sure that you have the best plan for your business combined with a targeted list of prospects on a platform where you know they hang out regularly.
Here are a few final questions you need to ask before you start that campaign.
What do you feel is the best game plan for you to market your business with paid ads? Do you see yourself going to the larger ad networks, or approaching a smaller niche audience?
Whatever the case, we would like to know. Put in the comments below, what you found to the be the most effective paid traffic source for your business. And hey, don’t forget to make use of the social share buttons below.
What an excellent article about traffic! I have used some of the resources you shared but not all of them. I am a true believer in paid traffic. I use paid traffic to generate leads and then my blog as my authority site to build a relationship with my leads. Good content, such as this article, still leads the way in online marketing. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your next article. ~ Cheers, Patty Scheeler
This is a great list of resources thank you!
I wonder if/when Snapchat will have paid traffic as well.
Content so rich with loads of value. Perfect.
Awesome post Daniel. Very well crafted and well outlined steps to carry out with paid traffic sources. I always research before starting a campaign and like you mentioned the tools to carry out research on demographics such alexa and similar web. They comes very handy. Thanks again for sharing such a great article. Have a nice day 🙂
Very informative. But just a word of caution to all of your readers regarding the different PPC sources you mentioned. Most of them are riddled with fraudulent traffic. We’ve tested most of the sources on your list and found out the hard way, with wasted money! 7Search is a joke, Infolinks is just as bad, Bidvertiser and Advertise.com are the worst. I know for a fact that their IAS, Fraudlogix, DoubleVerify and WhiteOps scores are atrocious. Don’t waste your money on these fraudsters.
If you’re looking for real traffic, just stick with Adwords, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. There is a reason why their traffic is expensive. It’s because real people clicking your ads. In the PPC traffic world, the old saying of “you get what you pay for”, stands true. If you pay .01 for a click and think it’s a real person, I’ve got a bridge for sale you might be interested in! 😉
Thanks for sharing. I tend to agree with you to stick with the big guys, e.g., AdWords, FB, LinkedIn, etc…
Now about that bridge…
Great resources Justin 🙂
Comments are closed.