If you have recently tried Googling the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing in 2021, the results are enough to make any beginner affiliate confused. We’re here to make the complex, simple. So sit back, relax and we will explain exactly what a traffic source is and which ones you should be using for your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Read on to find a selection of free and paid affiliate marketing traffic sources.
What is an Affiliate Traffic Source?
You might be asking yourself where do I get traffic for affiliate marketing? Well wonder no more, we will show you exactly where most affiliates are getting their traffic from in 2021.
As you might expect from the name it is the place that your website visitors come from before landing on your page. While there are a number of methods of gaining visitors, affiliate marketers often choose to pay for traffic of a particular type. It’s more efficient that way as the organic route, while technically being free, has a large cost in the number of hours that you are prepared to put into it before a return on investment.
So, to make the distinction there are traffic sources that are free but we are going to discuss some of the most popular paid traffic sources.
These platforms connect publishers (those with websites) with advertisers (people who advertise offers in return for commission). You’re the latter, being an affiliate advertiser.
Your balanced equation revolves around traffic sources and the amount you are willing to spend for their traffic, hoping that it will be less than the payout you are offered for advertising the offer.
So, you win every time you find an offer that converts well from your traffic source and the payout is larger than the amount you have spent on the traffic.
What Criteria Do You Need to Measure Your Traffic Source On?
We’ll keep it to the basics. You will need to focus on your affiliate marketing strategy first, and whether you want to use a number of different traffic sources or stick to one type. Affiliates that tend to do more of their work via blogs and SEO often choose to back up their campaigns with multiple affiliate marketing traffic sources such as email and social media.
Another important factor is targeting options. This goes for all types of affiliate marketing, without defining your target audience you are going to lose money. That is a fact. So a key determining factor in choosing which traffic source you use is how well you can define your targeting options. These range from locations (GEOs), languages, device type, and time of the day.
If you are running social media campaigns with, for example, Facebook Ads Manager or Twitter ads, then your targeting options become very narrow as you can specify precise demographics to separate your audience.
You also need to remember that each of the traffic sources has a different set of rules and restrictions when it comes to the types of products and the creatives you choose to advertise. So keep that in mind when choosing your traffic source.
So, to sum up…
The criteria used for choosing your affiliate marketing traffic source is as follows:
- Your affiliate marketing strategy
- Cost of the traffic
- Targeting options
Whether you want to choose a free or a paid traffic source will help determine your criteria too.
What Are Free Affiliate Marketing Traffic Sources?
As well as the option of paying for traffic that converts there is another option, an option that works best if you have a lot of time and a good following on social media or online via a blog or website. This option is referred to as free or organic traffic.
Examples of Free Traffic Sources
- Blogs – this is where a lot of affiliate marketers start.
- Anything on the SERP – Search engine results page, whether your search queries are on Google, Bing, or another search engine is classed as search traffic.
- Social media – Instagram, YouTube, Facebook groups even Twitter or TikTok if you are an Influencer.
- Email – creating a database of engaged contacts to serve your ads.
- Forums – Quora, Reddit, and many more affiliate forums to have discussions on e.g. like affiliatefix, Dijs Forum, or i Am Affiliate, affLIFT, STM.
It seems sensible to gain traffic from sources that don’t cost you anything but you know the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Well, it applies here too. That’s because getting to the point where you can make a passive income (make money while you sleep) from organic traffic is hard, and it takes time.
It also needs a large amount of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work to capture the audience from search traffic and enough content to be created for brand awareness. Scaling up this kind of business often requires more than one person to do everything so can cost more in that way too.
This is why many affiliates choose to only use paid traffic, it’s more efficient.
What Are Paid Affiliate Marketing Traffic Sources?
You might be asking yourself now, why do I need to pay for traffic to my affiliate offers if I can get it for free? Well, as we have said above, it’s often a time-saving exercise, once you become a media buyer and have found traffic that has a good chance of converting you can move on to optimizing your campaigns and finding your next offer to promote.
It gives you more time to do what you do best, and that’s affiliate marketing!
Here is a comprehensive list of all of the ad formats you can use with paid traffic:
- Push Notifications – notifications appearing on the devices of users who have chosen the option allow notifications, which are then sent to them.
- Pop Ads – pop up or pop under windows that display due to browser extensions users have installed on their desktop or mobile devices.
- Domain Redirect Ads – websites or landing pages that you get redirected to based on the keywords (including misspellings) entered in your search bar.
- URL Shortening Websites – ads are displayed while users wait to be redirected to the destination website.
- Interstitial Ads – full-page ads appearing, for example, in-between game levels in mobile apps.
- Banner Ads – clickable banners appearing on either side of a website or in between posts on social networking sites.
- Native Ads – ads meant to look like an integral part of a website.
- Google Adwords – paid ads displaying at the top of the search engine results page and/or throughout the Google Display Network in the form of banner ads.
If domain redirect is your ad format then you should check out this article on the best traffic sources specifically for domain redirect.
Which Sites Do Affiliate Marketers Get Traffic From?
If you’re still wondering “what’s the difference between a traffic source and an ad network?” then let us explain. We have told you that a traffic source is as simple as it sounds, the place where your website visitors come from before they see your page and we know this includes organic traffic too. And we know that this organic traffic comes from websites like forums, blogs & social networking sites.
An ad network or an ad exchange platform, on the other hand, is designed to sell you traffic. Each of these ad networks cater to a different set of advertiser needs, some have huge volumes of traffic, others have precise targeting options, some have both.
So, below we will go through some examples of the best advertising networks that you should buy your affiliate marketing traffic from.
Examples of Paid Traffic Sources
The following list is a list of paid traffic sources that affiliate marketers use, we have included a range of different options so you can find one that best meets your affiliate marketing business needs.
Yes, we did mention Facebook groups in the list of free traffic sources, but it is also a large paid traffic source. You might not think of Facebook as being a traffic source designed for affiliates, but Facebook Ads Manager is not to be underestimated with the global reach, precise targeting, and lookalike audience feature it makes it an almighty advertising platform for anyone, even affiliates.
However, they do have what can be described as a ban first, ask questions later policy. So you need to be careful about the products which you promote and also about which creatives you use.
With that said, it’s still the best option for social media advertising though.
- Banner ads: Image, video, carousel, and collection displayed on the Audience Network which includes Instagram, Messenger, and of course Facebook.
Unless you have been living in China, where the most popular search engine is Baidu, then you will have heard of the most popular search engine on the planet. You may not know, however, that Google is a traffic source used by some affiliates who employ PPC and native advertising on the Google advertising network.
However, it is important to mention that the affiliate products you are advertising need to be something legitimate and it would help if you had a well-defined audience to target too.
It might also be worth using an affiliate ad tracker even while using Google Ads and Google Analytics as ad tracking software is much more powerful and gives you better data insights for affiliate marketing. Here are some examples of the best affiliate ad trackers are Voluum, BeMob, Binom, LandingTrack.
- Text ads, (found at the top of the Search engine results page)
- Banner ads on the Google Display network
- App promotional ads
- Call-only ads (also at top of SERP)
- Product Shopping ads (also at top of SERP)
You are probably aware of what Zeropark is, but if you need a reminder let us tell you now. Zeropark is a self-serve ad network that’s been well-known for helping digital marketers scale their performance marketing advertising campaigns. The traffic quality is also a plus point as there is no bot traffic sold to customers.
Founded in 2012, Zeropark offers a variety of ad formats available for both affiliate marketers as well as advertising agencies.
What’s special about Zeropark is that, as a traffic source, it offers the biggest volumes of available ad impressions on the market. While as a self-serve ad platform, it’s constantly driven to further develop its features and platform functionality to help marketers make the most of their campaigns.
To give you a clear picture of what we’re talking about here are some hard-cold facts about Zeropark. Also, if you’d like to learn more about Zeropark yourself, just have a look at the special onboarding offered for everyone interested.
And don’t forget, if you run adult offers this article on the best adult traffic sources will help you out.
- Domain redirect (also known as zero-click) traffic,
- Pop up and pop under traffic,
- Push ads,
- In-page push ad notifications,
- Injection traffic (keyword-based variation of pop traffic),
- Custom solutions are also possible for native in-app and search traffic.
PropellerAds, founded in 2011 is a self-serve platform that helps unite affiliate marketers into a unified advertising system. They are considered to be one of the industry leaders in ad-serving and optimization with affiliate advertising campaigns in the thousands being launched every day and offering billions of unique visitors monthly, both on desktop and mobile.
This is all done via their advertising network which has many ad formats, and advanced targeting options, and optimization solutions.
- Pop under ads
- Push notification ads
- In-page push traffic
- Native interstitials
We have walked you through the most popular traffic sources on the market and shown you the differences between free and paid traffic. Of course, there are thousands of other traffic sources out there for you to choose from.
Which method you choose to drive traffic to your affiliate offers depends on your niche, offers, and ultimately your preferences. Hopefully, you will know by now which type of traffic you want to use in your affiliate marketing campaigns.
If you have decided paid traffic makes the most sense for your campaigns then you can get started today with Zeropark.