There are a ton of different traffic sources out there you can run your affiliate marketing campaigns on and one of the easiest things you can do is completely overwhelm yourself by trying to run campaigns at all of them at the same time.
I think it’s really important that you choose a traffic source, test a spread of campaigns on that traffic source, optimize your campaigns, and then scale until you hit a ceiling. If you simply setup campaigns on a bunch of different traffic sources all at once you are going to spread yourself too thin. So, what traffic sources do I suggest focusing on based on your experience as an affiliate marketer?
I’ve broken down your possible experience level into four different levels. Those levels are Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. Here is an explanation of each level and one traffic source I suggest based on that level.
Remember, these are simply my suggestions based on my experiences working with my publishers. You should look into different traffic sources on your own, but these are the ones I suggest.
Freshmen (“Newbie”) – PopAds
There is a pretty large learning curve when you first start affiliate marketing. You will lose money at first and I think it is important that you learn as much as you can while losing as little as possible, which I am sure most people would agree with. The main concepts with any affiliate campaign are setting up, optimizing, and scaling. The traffic source that I think makes this the easiest and has the lowest barrier of entry is PopAds.
PopAds has a very low minimum deposit of just $10. That means you can get started running ads with a very small budget. The budget I recommend for getting started is at least $50. They also have 4 great options for depositing funds into your advertising account:
- Credit Card
You can spend that $50 very quickly on PopAds. They have a massive amount of traffic. You can go through your budgets quickly so make sure you are smart with setting them.
I recommend setting up each PopAds campaign with a daily budget of 3x the offer payout and a total budget of 5x the payout. For example, if the offer payout is $2, you would set your daily budget at $6 and your total budget as $10.
The maximum amount you would spend on this campaign is $10 which means with a $50 budget, you could create 5 campaigns for offers that pay around $2. This should be good enough to get a lot of data that you can then use to optimize your campaigns. If you get a conversion within your first batch of traffic (the $6 daily budget), then I would focus on trying to optimize for that traffic and potentially scale by adding more total budget.
PopAds gives you a ton of options to optimize. Make sure you are tracking every variable possible so you can properly optimize and scale your campaigns!
If you’re brand new to affiliate marketing I suggest “getting your feet wet” with PopAds. Once you have some experience setting up a campaign and you have a few profitable PopAds campaigns running, then I suggest you give Bing Ads a try.
Sophomore – Bing Ads
Running campaigns isn’t as easy on Bing Ads as it is on PopAds, but there is a ton of potential to run profitable campaigns on Bing Ads so it’s worth learning how to take your affiliate marketing to the next level.
In most cases, you can start advertising on Bing with just $25. I recommend a budget of at least $100, but if you use this link to sign up for Bing Ads you will get a promo code for a $100 credit after you spend your first $25. This will give you an extra $100 to run offers and find profitable campaigns.
Bing Ads does not allow you to simply copy and paste your affiliate link into your campaign and run it. It’s one of the big hurdles for someone fairly new to affiliate marketing, but it’s also reason this traffic source is my 2nd level (Sophomore) recommendation.
To run a campaign on Bing Ads, you will either need to create an iFrame with your affiliate link in it or create your own custom landing page.
Bing Ads has a great keyword tool built in that you can use to find awesome cheap keywords. Make sure you track the keywords you are getting clicks and conversions from so you can try to optimize and scale your campaigns. Bing says that 1 out of every 3 searches done online is from their search. They have a lot of traffic and there’s a ton of potential for very successful affiliate campaigns.
We have quite a bit of Bing Ads discussion going on in our Search forum on affLIFT that you might find helpful as well.
The traffic quality is going to be quite a bit different on Bing Ads than it will be on PopAds. Bing Ads campaigns will likely get less traffic (at least initially) than what you will see from PopAds and you will be spending more per click on Bing Ads than you do per click (which is actually a pop-up impression) on PopAds. Keep these things in mind. I would use the same 3-5x the payout as your budget (mentioned above for PopAds) on Bing Ads and then optimize and scale from the traffic you get from that budget.
Once you have multiple profitable campaigns from the traffic sources mentioned above and a bigger budget, I would recommend you begin testing on one of my favorite traffic sources, PropellerAds.
Junior – PropellerAds
One type of traffic that I have seen great results with for years now is PPV traffic and the source that I have recently started focusing on with my PPV campaigns (besides PopAds mentioned above) is PropellerAds.
PropellerAds is a great PPV traffic source with multiple ad formats you can use to drive a ton of traffic. They have great targeting and optimization options as well as some interesting pricing models.
They have a fairly low minimum deposit of just $100, but I recommend a budget of at least $200 to really take advantage of everything PropellerAds has to offer.
I primarily run their Popunder and Push Notification traffic. I have tested the SmartCPA option, but mostly use the SmartCPM pricing model.
PPV traffic is fun to work with and can be very profitable if done right. You’re paying for every single view and your CPC will end up being a lot more than what you’d pay on Bing Ads, but you’re guaranteeing yourself a lot of “clicks” and with a good offer or landing page, you can see a great ROI.
Senior (“Super Affiliate”) – Facebook Ads
I chose to use Facebook Ads as my traffic source for the most “Senior” affiliate marketers because it probably provides the best traffic and scale out of any of the other traffic sources I typically would recommend for affiliate marketing.
I have worked with and continue to work with affiliates generating tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on Facebook.
Even with the recent privacy issues on Facebook, the ad platform is hard to beat and the audience is tremendous. There is a ton of opportunity to make a lot of money with affiliate offers and Facebook Ads if you know what you are doing, are patient, and properly track and scale your campaigns (yes, even when direct linking).
I recommend a budget of at least $500 for running campaigns on Facebook Ads. This will allow you to test different campaign objectives, build up data on your Facebook Pixel, start generating conversions, and retarget those who do not convert.
I actively use Facebook Ads to advertise this blog, affLIFT, and all the rest of my projects. It’s been my most profitable and long term traffic source.
Which traffic source is right for you?
Based on your experience in affiliate marketing, those 4 different traffic sources should help get you driving some traffic you will be comfortable with. Each traffic source is a different “traffic method” for the most part. PopAds is Pops, Bing Ads is Search, PropellerAds is PPV (Push Notification) or Pops, and Facebook Ads is specifically Social.
Being able to work with a range of traffic sources and methods is what is going to allow you to make the most money possible and the ability to do that is completely dependent on your experience.
So, setup some campaigns, run some traffic, and let’s make some money!
This article was originally published on November 26, 2012 but was updated on October 10, 2018 to reflect new recommended traffic sources.