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Alternative sources of traffic

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Alternative sources of traffic

2008-09-23 02:48:57

You're probably already using Google Adwords, Yahoo (USA, UK and Australia) and MSN to buy traffic to your site, but did you know there are many other sources for paid traffic that can be really profitable? In this lesson we're going to take a look at Alternative Sources of Traffic.

Three of our favorites include:


1. Google Content Network — We're listing this as an alternative because most people using Google Content Network don't do it the way that we're going to show you.

Google content network


2. Facebook — Facebook provides the ability to have highly targeted Ads

Facebook ads


3. YouTube — Now that it's been absorbed by Google, this has become a pretty big player.

YouTube advertising


The good news is that most of these sources aren't being heavily exploited by merchants and affiliates yet, so you can still get clicks for pretty cheap! Here's the low-down on these great alternative sources for paid traffic:

Google Content Network

1. Text vs. banner ads

It doesn't cost any more to have your Adwords ad display as a banner graphic rather than text, and it means that your ad takes up a lot more space than it would if it was just text. Often these can be a lot more profitable than your standard text ads as well, and at the very least it's good free branding for your site — even if it doesn't get clicked on.

Of course Google displays ads pretty randomly, so you're never really guaranteed a space in the ad slot. That's why it's a good idea to hedge your bets and create both text ads and banner ads.

2. Separate Your Ads 

We recommend you separate your ads for "content match" and your ads for "search match" into separate campaigns. This is really important for a number of reasons:

  • The results you get for your search match campaigns are going to differ from the results for your content match campaigns, and it's vital that you can see the difference. You can't do this if they're all lumped into the same campaign.
  • You can write different ads for the different campaigns. What works for content match might not work for search match, and vice versa. It's important that you have the flexibility to target your ads accordingly.
  • You might find that search match is profitable in a bunch of countries, but content match is only profitable in the United States, or you might find that your content match works well in a whole bunch of countries while your search match campaign fails in all markets but the UK. In either case, you need to be able to work out your profit margins for each campaign, and then you can tweak your countries accordingly.

3. Don't be lazy, be relevant!

Categorize your AdWords

Imagine you're creating a PPC campaign for a dog training product. Take the time to categorize your keywords and note the major trends: you might have a bunch of keywords focusing on German Shepherds, and you might have another bunch of keywords related to "stop dog biting". Once you've categorized your words you can create different ad text for each group, so that the ads are actually relevant to what people are searching for!

For instance, you could write "Discover step-by-step how to stop your dog biting right now" or "Discover how to stop your German Shepherd's behavior problems for good" instead of the very generic "Get expert dog advice and stop your dog problems for good"

When your ads are more closely related to the search term, you get better clickthrough rates and better conversions. A little bit of extra effort equates to a whole lot more profit.

One tool we highly recommend for categorizing your AdWords is Traffic Travis

Create different size banners

If you're creating banners for your Google content match ads, be sure to make them in every size that Google supports. That way you've got a better chance of having your ad appear on someone's site.

Create effective banners

This is at least as important as having your ad show up - make sure your banner ad is effective! Remember to target your banners to your keywords, so if your keywords are "poodle training", then create a banner focusing on poodle training!

Remember that while images draw attention, it's the text in your ad that sells. Make text a big focus of your ad, and if you're using multiple frames in your ad (as an animated gif or a flash movie) then make sure your viewers have time to read the text. We recommend that you allow about 4 seconds per frame.

(If you're looking for free pictures for your ads, pay a visit to Stockxchng. If you need free image editing software, check out Paint.net.)

You don't need to take a long time or a lot of effort when designing your ad - your initial design might take you a little while to come up with, but you can usually just use this as a template and switch a few words around here and there to target your ad at different search terms; again: a little extra effort goes a long way!

(Read our blog post for more tips on effective banner ads.)

4. Use Conversion Tracking 

It's important to know which keywords are actually resulting in sales so you can prune away the unprofitable words and amp up your efforts on your profitable words; for this purpose we recommend you use Conversion Tracking or Tracking IDs to see where your sales are coming from.

Google gives you a really effective way to do this with their conversion tracking tool. It places a little cookie in a user's browser when they click on your Adwords link, and if they make it through to the merchant's afterpurchase page (which means they've made a purchase) it triggers a little alert that records a conversion. You can then look at your ads and keywords and see which ones are resulting in the most conversions.

The downside of this is that you need the co-operation of the merchant site to make it work. You need them to insert your conversion tracking code into their afterpurchase page so that it can trigger the cookie when the user makes it through. Some merchants have no problem with this, but others can be reluctant. If you encounter a reluctant merchant, there is another method you can use if you're promoting a ClickBank product.

ClickBank allows you to add tracking IDs to your affiliate links. This means that you can set up a different tracking ID for each of your landing pages, and different landing pages for each of your adgroups. You might not get the same detail you'd get from the Google conversion tracking code, but you'll at least have some idea which landing pages are converting the best.

(For more information about Google Conversion Tracking, click here, or for more information about adding ClickBank Tracking IDs, [Link no longer available].)


Facebook is now the second most popular website in the United States, and in the top ten in many other countries. Facebook claims to have 250 million of it's users log in each day

How does this help you? Well, you can advertise on Facebook - and that's just the beginning.

Because people pour so many personal details into their Facebook profiles, it gives you unprecedented ability to target your ads towards the people who will be really interested. You could narrow it down to single women in the New York area between the ages of 45 and 60 if you so choose - a great market for promoting online dating sites or relationship secrets products.

The other advantage with Facebook advertising is that you still have less competition compared to Adwords because fewer people are doing it.

(Read Mark Ling's in-depth opinion of Facebook advertising on our blog)


YouTube is another monster on the Alexa charts — already it's almost up there with Google and Yahoo. It's also another arena where there's much less competition, so it's not too hard to get your video ranking highly. Even if you just create a screen-capture video or a series of PowerPoint-style slides to teach people something, you can get some good traffic to your site. The trick is to add some subtle branding to the video that directs viewers to your website. The people who are most successful in YouTube tend to be ones who create a series of videos and develop a following of viewers, so consider this as well.

The other benefit to YouTube is that you'll find your videos showing up in Google search results, and your video result listing has a nice picture from the video next to it. This makes it more appealing to click on.

Other Ad networks/places to advertise

  1. DoubleClick — You can choose which types of sites you'd like to advertise on: for instance, you might advertise your dog training products on dog training websites.
  2. Cost-Per-Acquisition networks (like Azoogle.com) — Once you know how well your campaign converts and what your profit margin is, you can use these networks to pay affiliates for generating particular actions. For instance, if you know that every newsletter signup you receive on your opt-in page you earn 50c, you could use a CPA network to pay affiliates 20c for generating newsletter opt-ins. You still earn 30c, and it takes no effort!

Lesson Summary

In this lesson we've looked at some alternative sources of traffic, which include:

  • Using banner ads on the Google Content Network
  • Targeting specifically with Facebook
  • Using Youtube with subtle branding, or to create a following of viewers

Additionally, we also suggested you take a look at

  • DoubleClick
  • CPA Networks


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