You have probably already figured out how CPA networks work: you sign up to a CPA network → join affiliate programs → get affiliate links → use them to drive traffic to the advertisers' websites → receive a reward for performed actions from the advertisers.
The question arises: what is traffic and where can I get it?
Traffic in online advertising means the number of users who visited the advertiser's website. There is also such term as traffic volume — it means the number of website visitors over a certain period (a month, a year). Accordingly, "to drive traffic" means to encourage users to visit the advertiser's website. To do that, publishers place ads with affiliate links in various traffic sources, and the main purpose of these ads is to interest users, make them follow the link, and perform a certain action. A traffic source may be your website, a group in a social network, a YouTube channel, an email newsletter, a contextual ad, etc. — every place where you can insert your advertising.
In Admitad Affiliate, publishers work with the following traffic sources:
- PopUp / PopUnder / ClickUnder;
- Contextual ads;
- Doorway traffic;
- Email marketing;
- Social network marketing;
- Mobile traffic;
- Incentive traffic;
- Adult traffic;
- Teaser networks;
- YouTube channels;
- API traffic.
Cashback services, or cashbacks, are the services that let users get back a part of the money spent on the purchase. They are widely used in CPA as ad spaces where their owners (who are simultaneously publishers in a CPA network) place affiliate links to the websites of affiliate programs. When a user visits the website of an affiliate program from the cashback website and makes a purchase, the advertiser pays reward to the cashback website for this action, and a part of the reward is shared with the user.
Here we should also mention loyalty programs. They work in a similar way, but unlike cashback services, usually accrue bonuses to the user, rather than money; the user can spend bonuses to get a discount on certain products/services or spend them on purchases in other online stores.
The advantages of such ad spaces include:
- attractiveness to the users: everyone wants to make a good buy;
- high conversion rates: cashback is a powerful incentive for making a purchase;
- audience loyalty: after making an advantageous purchase once, users are likely to return to the website.
A piece of advice to the owners of cashback websites:
Pay a reward to your users only when you see that the action got the Confirmed status. In this case, you will not have to pay your own money for the orders that have been rejected by an advertiser for some reason.
When specifying the amount of time during which the user will get cashback, keep to the hold time of each store. This will help you to save the loyalty of your customers, and lower the number of early requests for refunds.
Admitad affiliates: Panda cashback
Pop-up, Pop-under, Click-under
Pop-up is an ad that opens in a new window over the web page.
- Attracts maximum attention to the advertisement;
- Unlike banners, is not affected by "banner blindness"; pop-up cannot be ignored.
- Intrusiveness, may cause negative associations both with the product advertised in the pop-up, and with the website it is placed at;
- Excessive use of pop-ups has a negative effect on SEO;
- Can be blocked by special browser extensions, like AdBlock.
Pop-under is an advertisement that opens in a new window behind the main page.
The pros and cons of a pop-under are almost identical to the pros and cons of pop-up. The main difference is that a user sees the pop-under after they have viewed and closed the main page, so it is considered less annoying than a pop-up.
Click-under is an advertisement that opens in a new window when a user first clicks anywhere on the webpage. The pros and cons of click-unders are the same as those of pop-ups.
Contextual advertising is a type of Internet advertising when advertisements are displayed according to keywords in a user's search query and a user's interests. An advertisement may be in the form of text, banner, or video inside of which an affiliate link is inserted.
If a user clicks on the ad, goes to the advertiser's website, and performs an action that is confirmed by the advertiser, the publisher receives a reward.
Features of contextual ads
- Ad is displayed only to potentially interested users, which increases traffic quality and the chance of a conversion.
- Ad placement is paid by the CPC (cost per click) model, and publishers set the cost per click themselves.
- To choose which of the advertisements to show on the page, the system every time runs an auction, compares costs per click for all ads, and selects the ads with the highest cost. Another important parameter is CTR: if the costs per click are the same, the system will choose the ad with a higher CTR.
Types of contextual ads
Contextual ads are divided into contextual ads in search engines and on websites.
Contextual ads in search engines
These are the ads that are displayed on the search results page of search engines, such as Google or Yahoo. The ad units may be placed above, under or to the right of the search results. The principle of selecting ads is as follows: when publishers create ads, they specify a set of keywords and key phrases; if these keywords or keyphrases correspond to the words in the user's query and the ad wins the auction, it appears on the search results page.
Contextual ads on websites
These are the ads that are displayed in ad blocks on the websites that belong to ad networks like Google Display Network. As in this case, there is no search query, ads are selected based on the topic of a website.
For example, on a car blog, you will see offers to buy one.
Another principle of selecting ads is the principle of behavioral targeting (ads are selected based on the previous search queries of the user).
For example, if the user searched for a bank to open an account in, they will see ads on this subject on other websites, even if their topics are totally different from banking, e.g. on a beauty blog.
A variety of contextual advertising is brand bidding.
Brand bidding is a kind of contextual advertising when keywords of the advertisement contain the advertiser's brand name, its translations, transliteration, or derivatives. In most cases, brand bidding is prohibited by advertisers.
Example: if you work with "Asos" affiliate program that bans brand bidding, then when creating an advertisement, you can not add the word "Asos", its transliteration, and derivatives to the keywords of the ad.
Why is brand bidding usually prohibited?
If advertisers place contextual ads themselves, each ad that contains their brand name but is not owned by them deprives them of a part of the audience and traffic. Furthermore, search engines display only ads with the highest CPC, so advertisers have to constantly compete with publishers, and increase the CPC, which results in higher expenses. And if a user clicks on the publisher's ad and performs an action, the advertiser will also have to pay reward to this publisher.
Example: Babyshop company works with publishers and places ads itself (i.e. spends certain funds on it). If brand bidding is prohibited, all search queries such as "babyshop", "babyshop dresses", "babyshop toys", will only return Babyshop’s ads. However, if it allows brand bidding, the search results will include not only its ads but also ads of publishers. It may even happen that Babyshop's ads will not be displayed at all, and users will click on someone else's ads. This way, though Babyshop has spent money on placing ads, it will not get benefit from it and what's more, will still have to pay publishers for all actions performed on their ads.
Even if the advertisers do not place ads themselves, brand bidding is is still unprofitable for them: in most cases, the advertiser's website is at the top on the search results page (as the advertisers also spend a lot of effort on SEO), and most users will click on it. If brand bidding is allowed, the first position will be taken by a publisher's ad rather than the advertiser's website.
Note that ban of brand bidding applies only for contextual advertising, i.e. if your ad space is a group in a social network or a YouTube channel, you can freely use the word "Babyshop" and that will cause no trouble (if these traffic sources are allowed by the affiliate program).
Besides, the ban on brand bidding does not mean a ban on the use of all brand names, but only prohibits using the advertiser's brand name.
For example: Asos sells products of various brands (River Island, Miss Selfridge, etc.). When placing ads, you cannot mention "Asos", but you can mention "River Island", or "Miss Selfridge".
When is brand bidding allowed?
Brand bidding may be allowed if an advertiser has a small store with a poorly recognizable brand, and/or the advertiser does not want or cannot engage in contextual ad placement. In this case, the advertiser can entrust this function to publishers by allowing this type of traffic.
Doorway is an "auxiliary" website made specifically to rank well in search engines for particular keywords and redirect users to the main website. Doorways are divided into black, gray, and white.
Black doorways are generic pages with meaningless content that automatically redirect users to the main website.
Gray doorways do not use automatic redirection, and contain high-quality content on the topic similar to that of the main website. The goal of these doorways is to send the link juice. For this purpose, links to the promoted website are inserted into the doorway content; then the content is spread, e.g., by email marketing.
White doorways are self-contained web pages or websites with unique content, optimized for a narrow range of keywords and containing links to the promoted website.
Unlike black doorways, which are illegal and banned quickly by search engines, white and gray doorways are legal and can drive good traffic.
Email marketing is one of the most effective tools of Internet marketing. It allows establishing direct communication between a company and potential or existing customers. The result of such communication can be both increased customer loyalty to the company and increased sales volume.
The essence of email marketing is the following: publishers send emails to the subscribers of their database, in which they notify the subscribers about new special offers and discounts, attach catalogs or price lists, give advice, or try to interest the recipients in the advertiser's product in any other ways. The user follows an attached affiliate link, visits the advertiser’s website and makes a purchase, or performs another action. If this action is confirmed by the advertiser, the publisher receives a reward.
If you use this traffic source, you must have the subscribers' consent to receive your newsletters. If there is no consent, such newsletters are defined as spam.
It is also important to read carefully the requirements of the affiliate program for the content of the emails. For example, advertisers often require to coordinate all drafts.
Social network marketing
Social networks are a new and rapidly growing traffic source. They have a huge audience and allow direct interaction with users, which makes them popular both with publishers and advertisers.
Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing aimed at promoting a brand, product, or service through social networks. This is a set of measures of using social media as channels for promoting and solving other business tasks.
- Creating communities, groups, blogs, forums;
- Running promo campaigns, contests, deals;
- Generating unique content that would encourage subscribers to share it;
- Communicating with the subscribers and followers;
- Creating applications and games for social networks.
Examples of social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn
At the moment, there are 3 basic ways of advertising in social networks.
Advertising in groups and communities
Placement of promotional posts with affiliate links in your community or buying advertising space in another person's community.
It looks like this:
Ads are shown to the users as “suggested posts” or near the news feed based on their age, geolocation, subscriptions, and search queries. Since social networks have the most complete profiles of their users, one can most accurately adjust the advertisement settings according to its target audience.
Advertising in apps and games
Mobile traffic means visiting websites from mobile devices (mobile phones, tablets).
Mobile traffic is a generic concept, which only indicates the type of device that is used for visiting an advertiser's website, but does not specify the actual ways of generating this traffic. In fact, any traffic can be classified as mobile traffic if the transition is made from a phone or tablet: pop-ups, contextual advertising, targeted advertising in social networks, etc.
Since now almost everybody has a mobile phone and/or a tablet, and the number of people who surf the Internet from mobile devices is steadily growing, more and more publishers use mobile traffic to attract users to the websites of affiliate programs.
Mobile traffic takes up a considerable share in such segments as apparel, shoes, electronics, household goods, cosmetics, fitness. In some segments, the share of mobile traffic in various areas may reach 75%.
Toolbar is a browser extension that helps users in their work.
At the moment, the most popular toolbars are promo code toolbars that offer the user who is visiting a website a list of available coupons and promo codes. If the user selects a coupon or a promo code, their browser receives a cookie of the affiliate network, and when the action is performed, it is assigned to the publisher.
Despite their usefulness, toolbars have an ambiguous reputation. Disreputable publishers actively use toolbars for cookie stuffing. The users may even be unaware of the fact that they have the toolbar installed. Monitoring and struggling with such toolbars is very complicated, so often advertisers simply prohibit this type of traffic.
Incentive traffic is the traffic that publishers attract by promising the users some non-monetary rewards (bonuses, gifts) for installing an app, filling an application, or performing another action.
For example: "500 bonuses for achieving X level!"
Do not confuse incentive traffic with cashback traffic:
In case of the cashback traffic, the user is originally interested in buying a certain product, and is just looking for an opportunity to save money, i.e. cashback traffic is the targeted high-quality traffic. In the case of incentive traffic, the user performs a lead only to get the promised reward and is not interested in the product itself. Such traffic is untargeted and of poor quality, and these users are of no value for the advertisers.
Due to its low quality and inefficiency, incentive traffic is usually prohibited by advertisers. However, there are exceptions:
1. Advertisers who pay publishers for performed actions (not leads) may allow using incentive traffic, as in this case, the user still makes a purchase, and the advertiser gets profit.
2. Incentive traffic is also often allowed in mobile programs and online games, whose main goal is getting as many registrations and installations as possible to rank well at Play Market or AppStore.
We remind that Admitad Affiliate rules strictly prohibit the usage of Active Advertising Systems (AAS), buxes, and other systems, where one can create a task and pay a reward for its fulfillment. If publishers violate these rules, their accounts will be blocked.
Adult traffic is the traffic driven from the websites with adult content (pornographic and erotic resources, sex shops, etc.). Websites with such content are actively banned by search engines, but this weakly affects their popularity and profitability.
Adult websites are good for advertising clothes, games, jewelry, or other adult resources.
Teaser is an ad creative in the format of a small image with an intriguing or provocative text. It is aimed at arousing users' curiosity so that they click on it.
Most often, teasers are used for advertising of:
- Weight loss products, supplements, and food additives;
- Cosmetics and perfumes;
- Products for adults;
- Replicas of brand clothing, shoes, accessories, equipment (mobile phones, tablets);
- Gambling websites: casino, poker, sports betting;
- Dating websites.
Teasers do not suit programs where a user needs time to make a decision — financial programs, travel programs, etc.
Teaser networks are networks for buying, selling, and exchanging teaser traffic.
There are teaser networks that work with the traffic of particular topics (women's traffic, news traffic, etc.) and general topic networks.
Despite the prejudice against teasers, with proper use (placement in a network with the appropriate topic, with regard to geolocation and the audience) one can attract the traffic of good quality.
It is another kind of traffic along with social networks that quickly gains popularity. YouTube is an ad space with a huge audience where one can promote anything they want.
The format of the ads may be different: pre-roll, native advertising or even a video with a review of your product, with an affiliate link in the description.
API traffic is a type of traffic specific to financial programs.
In this case, publishers act as “brokers” that collect personal data of the users online or offline, fill applications for a credit card or loan on their behalf (and of course with their consent), and send the filled applications from their ad spaces to an affiliate network. The affiliate network checks these applications and transmits them to an advertiser. If an advertiser approves the applications, the publishers will get reward.
Application data are transmitted via API and are fixed in the Admitad Affiliate statistics only if the application has been received by an advertiser.
In API traffic a click is the fact of receiving application by the Admitad Affiliate side, click time is a moment when Admitad Affiliate receives the application from the publisher. An action is the fact of receiving the application by the advertiser, action time is a moment when the advertiser receives the application. The action will be in On hold status until the advertiser sends Admitad Affiliate its new status.
Learn more about API traffic in the API traffic tab on the page of the program that works with this type of traffic, or in the API documentation.