5 Paid Traffic Sources Every Online Marketer Should Be Testing
Paid Traffic can be a really powerful tool for Marketers. EMarketer conducted a survey in 2017 and discovered that 42% of Small and Medium Scale consider Facebook and other Social ads as the most effective marketing method available to them. Even better than their websites or email lists.
Paid traffic is not just limited to Facebook, other sites or platforms exist as well. By definition, any service you pay for which drives leads or eyeballs to you is a paid traffic source.
Here are some of the well known paid traffic sources:
• Display ads
i.e. those things on the side of the web page your that your ad blocker hides or erases.
• Paid search
like Google AdWords or Bing Ads; sites that pop up at the top as suggestions when you type in a search query on your search engine.
• Social media ads
The sponsored content that appears in your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feeds or other placement areas, or before the YouTube video you clicked on
• Paid discovery
or content promoted by networks such as Outbrain Amplify
• Sponsored content
This is a type of content marketing that appears like an article on a website or even in a print mag i.e. it looks native to its publishing source but it’s a piece of content marketing for a brand.
• Influencer marketing
This is where a social media influencer promotes your product, service or brand to their large audience amassed due to their fame or influence.
There are many ways traffic can be paid for, depending on the type of marketing you’re buying. It could be by Pay Per Click (PPC), Pay Per View (PPV), Pay Per Acquisition (PPA), or a flat rate for each output. For instance, with a social media influencer, you typically purchase a certain number of posts.
Asides that, there are also some old-fashioned forms of display advertising. They allow you pay to keep your ad displayed for a certain duration of time.
That’s quite a number of options, and finding out which works for you could be time-consuming. Generally, it can be an inefficient use of your time. From experience, a mix of organic and paid traffic is usually the most effective way to grow a business.
However, the exact magic combination will then depend on your target audience. Regardless, when you’re testing paid traffic sources to decide which is best for your business, these are the five you should consider first for best results:
1. Google Adwords
2. Facebook Ads
3. Outbrain Amplify For Advertisers
4. LinkedIn Ads
5. Twitter Ads
1. Google Adwords
AdWords is one of the oldest paid traffic sources that still offers huge potential rewards. Though the cost per click may be relatively high. The basic idea is that you select keywords that you think your potential customers will search. After that, you then bid on putting your ad as one of the sponsored search results at the top of the search page. With ongoing developments in the online advertising world, Adwords has also gotten more sophisticated than before.
Now dynamic search ads can be used. This is a feature that customizes your ads based on the content on your website. That way, people can search without having to make adjustments to your list of keywords all the time. AdWords is a paid traffic source also offers marketers the ability to make bid adjustments by target users, device, by geographic area or demographic group. Also, retarget people who have visited or engaged with your website before.
You’ll have a higher chance of success the more specifically you can target your Adwords.
Figuring out exactly the little details and intricacies that work best for your brand takes experimentation. This is achieved through trial, so keep detailed records of which changes produced good results as you move along. Don’t forget to keep optimizing accordingly.
Google also has the offering of display ads on it’s Google Display Network. Discerning marketers are now well aware of the bad rap Display ads get these days, and for good reason. Below is a heat-map study from the Nielsen Norman Group showing how those without initiated ad blockers ignore display advertising:
On the other side of the coin, GDN reaches 90% of people on the internet. Hence, It will just depend heavily on your audience and your keywords selection whether or not GDN ads work for you. If your AdWords are killing, fantastic, keep at it. Still not sure? Here’s a flowchart to help you decide.
• AdWords now offers tons of targeting and remarketing options, so test, test, test and test some more to find out what works.
• It won’t come as a surprise if Google Display Ads aren’t worth it for most businesses. Nonetheless, it is worth a try if you find a lot of success with AdWords.
2. Facebook Ads
95.8% of social media managers surveyed unsurprisingly said Facebook ads gave them the best ROI of any social platform. It goes without saying, that Facebook advertising is a must for a marketer or anyone at all paying for traffic. But Facebook has LOTS of options, and they keep changing constantly. Do you want to put your ad in newsfeeds, messenger, on Instagram, or in the audience network? Are you looking to target by place, interest, age or find prospects similar to a group you know already works using lookalike audiences? Do you want to use video, images, text, slideshows, or collections?
The biggest advantage of Facebook is that it’s possible to reach exactly who you want in the way you intend to reach them. You can create big or small campaigns, dynamic and static campaigns, retargeting campaigns, campaigns with a huge spend or campaigns with minimal spend. Facebook also has lead ads, that make it extra easy for people to give you their information. Link ads, that send people to your website. Or ads that contain in-Facebook product catalogues, which does automatic retargeting.
Yes, it can be a lot to learn, but it’s also easy to get started. There are Experts such as Jon Loomer that can help you stay abreast or on top of best practices. Including loads of tools that can help you optimize your campaigns without having to become a full FB ad pro.
• Advantages: many options
• Cons: also the availability of lots of choices
• If you’re still in limbo, get help, or just play around and see what works, you never know!
3. Outbrain Amplify For Advertisers
Amplify as a paid traffic source works differently than AdWords or Facebook ads, in that it doesn’t do ads. Instead, it provides a platform where you put a link to your awesome content.
This is where you begin the relationship with your prospect, bringing them down the funnel by providing nothing but useful, valuable, funny, informative and endearing content. Amplify is similar to Facebook and AdWords in the sense that it offers a cost-per-click bidding system, it is also able to test multiple headlines directed to the same content, geographic targeting, device targeting, lookalike audiences, and custom audiences, the retargeting tool. They have a premium network of publishers that ensure that you’ll always be getting traffic from high-quality sources.
More importantly, though, the algorithms behind their content discovery platform are continuously working to ensure they find the most engaged audience for your content. It is important to note also that the people who click their content recommendations are much more engaged than the traffic sourced come from search or social, according to this analysis from 2016:
It’s not just upper-funnel, though: see how One King’s Lane used our Custom Audiences tool to drive four times more conversions.
• Content discovery can hit consumers anywhere along the sales funnel
• Retargeting is the conversion driver here
4. LinkedIn Ads
For marketers in the B2B space, LinkedIn’s native ads is a great paid traffic source option. You can target people who have visited your website; target by title, industry, contact or account, by demographics, or geography. Their options are a display ad, a sponsored post in people’s feeds, or InMail ads delivered to the registered emails on the platform. Similar to Facebooks Lead Ads, they offer a pre-filled contact form; the most exciting thing about LinkedIn however, is the ability to target people by their business information and to reach them in the “confined garden” of LinkedIn.
Just like how discovery has lower bounce rates than social because users are in “content consumption” mode when users are inside of LinkedIn they’re in “professional” or their “work” mode and will see the ads and read content therein with a different mindset. This could be a very strong point of leverage for the right advertiser: according to marketingland, LinkedIn ads are best suited to high-value B2B products and services, recruiters, and higher ed.
However, LinkedIn’s network is quite expensive as its price is based on a cost-per-click. It’ll be impossible to find any targeting for less than $2 per click, and most of the targeting will start at $4.50 which is relatively on the high side of things.
For example this one:
• For B2B, higher ed, and recruiters, LinkedIn is the best option.
• Expensive but worth it for the right people
5. Twitter Ads
For those familiar with Twitter, you can agree that it is quite an interesting one because if you’re good at it, you should be able to generate tons of organic (free) interactions, but in the same vein, Twitter is one platform where people can be very wary of brands co-opting what they see as part of Twitter’s ‘culture’. Offensive or ill-timed tweets can also spiral out of control in a careless social media manager’s face. Being “Good at” twitter means more than just being able to make conversions or generate retweets or likes as you have it, it means a deep understanding of and sensitivity to the medium.
If you are great at Twitter, the payoff is massive: 94% of customers will purchase something from a small or medium-scale business they follow, and 69% have bought something because of something they saw on Twitter. So you may ask, is it worth it to pay to advertise on Twitter? With the numbers above, it’s worth a try.
You can pay to promote a single tweet, a trend or even an account, and either pay per click, impression, follow, video view, engagement, app install, or lead. When you design your campaign around the objective and type of promotion, then you target the audience by geography, gender, income, phone carrier, or interest. It goes further, for “interests,” you can get as granular as keywords like specific movies or TV shows. Twitter has a relatively high CPC, so make sure anything you promote has a very strong CTA and you may want to think hard about your goals before you create a campaign. If your goal is to generate leads and conversions, great, if you’re only paying for followers, you might be able to get that with quality relevant content.
• Amazing conversion numbers for small to medium scale businesses
• Ensure you’re not paying for something you can get free of charge
Due to the extreme variations related to the consumer journey, it’ll do you good to have it in mind that, a mix of pay-per-click advertising and other organic channels is most probably the best way to bring potential customers through the funnel. So far as you understand the requirement to build trust and provide value first without asking for anything in return, you will certainly achieve results from these paid traffic sources.
Lastly, don’t get too caught up in expecting people to move down the funnel the way you want them to. The funnel, in reality, doesn’t look anything like a funnel. It looks more like this: