Choosing an ad network has never been simpler, there we said it. No seriously, with all the information out there about affiliate ad networks it’s made the process much simpler. If you are searching for what to look for in an advertising network, then you’re in the right place.
Let us show you what is important and what you can ignore when choosing the ad network that meets your needs.
Read on to find out how to choose the best affiliate ad network for you and your affiliate marketing campaigns!
What is an ad network?
An advertising or ad network (or even ad exchange) is the place affiliates like you come to find traffic for your ads. These ad networks have access to the consumers that an affiliate marketer wants to reach. They have access to these consumers via publishers who will host your affiliate ads so that the consumers can interact with them either by viewing or clicking on them. So it is beneficial for ad networks to have a large number of publishers as the more people able to see your affiliate ads the better. As we all know the more interested eyeballs on your ads, the more chance of conversions.
So an ad network must have a good relationship with its publishers and their affiliate marketers in order to be successful.
Choosing the best ad networks — everything you want to know
You all know by now what an ad network is, the place you come to for high-quality traffic for your affiliate marketing campaigns, but do you know how to choose the right one?
We’ll start off by explaining where to look for information on ad networks, so that you can make your own mind up about which one best suits your needs.
Why not try looking in these places to get your research started?
- The ad networks’ websites – This may be a self-evident place to start, but each ad network will have detailed information on what they have to offer. But remember that this is where they promote themselves so focus on the facts. For example, traffic quality, the number of ad formats, customer service, the price of the traffic, targeting and optimization options, and anything else that is important to you and your affiliate campaigns.
- The super affiliates – No this isn’t the next installment in the Marvel franchise, but rather the affiliates that have made more than enough from affiliate marketing to tell you what’s what. You can head to their websites or find them on the affiliate forums. They often know what offers are converting best in their niche with up-to-the-minute accuracy. Most also have classes and tutorials you can attend to teach you their skills and help you raise your affiliate game. So, reach out to them to discuss what you can learn from them and I’m sure they can tell you all about the best ad networks.
- Risk and reward – Also known as trial and error, the best way to really learn about which ad network is right for you is to run some campaigns and see for yourself. You will need to invest some of your money and time, and we say invest as you should be learning something new from each campaign you run. That way if you are successful you will earn back this initial investment through affiliate commission. This is the only way you can find out for yourself whether the ad network is the right fit for your affiliate campaigns.
- The Affiliate marketing forums – If you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth so to speak, then you’ll head to the affiliate forums. After all, this is where people who actually use affiliate ad networks go. Some of the people writing posts there will work for the advertising networks though, and not everyone’s campaigns are running profitably 24/7. So, take what is said here with a pinch of salt. However, the communities there will likely know the answer to any question you might have and try to help you out with your affiliate campaigns.
Everything here can be used with each and every ad format you are wanting to try. Remember to do your own research, and to try different strategies that way you will surely find the ad network that is perfect for you.
What to look for in a good ad network?
When choosing an ad network it is best to have a list of things to measure it against according to your business needs. Therefore, we have come up with a list of the fundamental criteria that you should look out for when choosing one ad network over another.
Feel free to make your own pros and cons list based on this and your individual affiliate marketing needs.
- Traffic volumes
- Traffic quality
- Available GEOs
- Available ad formats
- Price of the traffic
- Targeting options
- Optimization options
- Support options
- And anything else that might be important to your affiliate business.
Once you have looked at each of these aspects you will surely be able to find the best advertising network that works best for you. We’ll be sure to cover all of these in enough detail within this article to help you with much of the heavy lifting of the research.
Why is traffic volume important?
One thing that marketers have always worried about is having enough people viewing their ads. That’s why at times like the Super Bowl, companies pay millions to advertise to the millions of people watching the game. Well, traffic volume is all about how many people could potentially view your affiliate ad, so it is important. Every bit of that traffic is another potential lead for you, which can turn into a customer and kickback some commission to you.
So, if you are choosing an ad network based on traffic volume don’t forget about the scalability that comes with this. We’d suggest you opt for one with a high traffic volume which obviously comes with high scaling potential!
Speaking of high traffic volumes, the traffic calculator in Zeropark will show you exactly how many available redirects are available per ad format, as well as in a particular GEO too.
For example; there are more than 62 billion redirects available for Pop traffic, 2.4 billion for push and nearly 4 billion for domain redirects this month.
This means there is enough traffic for any of your affiliate marketing campaigns in any ad format we offer, no matter how niche.
Traffic Quality — is bot traffic a problem for ad networks?
Every affiliate marketer wants to serve their customers with ads that will fulfill a need or want in their lives, however, there are obstacles in the way which means that this is not always possible, one of these obstacles is bot traffic.
You see, the Internet not only has users like you but is also made up of bots. And while some of these bots are useful there are some which are a menace to the advertisers of the world.
First, it’s important to state that some bots are positive and others are negative. The positive ones improve the internet by completing tasks such as indexing for SEO. And then there are the negative ones, that are used to create spam comments or even worse some bots are used for ad fraud where these bots click on your ads automatically.
This ends up costing you money and losing you the opportunity to present that impression to an interested user, and overall resulting in bad KPIs for that campaign.
So, yes bot traffic is a problem for ad networks, but there is a solution.
Some advertising networks platforms like Zeropark take pride in tackling bots like these with coding that filters them out. Unfortunately, not every ad network has bot filtering which might lead you to pay more for clicks and impressions that have little to no chance of a conversion. That’s not what anyone wants.
Available GEOs — where do your ads convert best?
If you have been looking for which countries to target with affiliate marketing? Then choosing an advertising network with access to multiple GEOs would be a good place to start.
So, take a look below to understand which countries are available to advertise to within Zeropark.
This infographic shows the three tiers of GEOs available in Zeropark:
This is the most expensive zone for purchasing traffic but often has good conversion rates. This tier is for seasoned affiliate marketers, the ones who know how to optimize their campaigns well, and when it’s time to kill a failing campaign. But that comes with practice.
The tier 1 GEOs are as follows: US, FR, UK, IT, DE, CA, & AUS, to name a few.
The average bid for pop ads in tier 1: $0.0009-$0.0004
The average bid for push ads in tier 1: $0.0269-$0.0449
The average bid for domain redirect ads in tier 1: $0.0161-$0.0464
The second classification of GEOs is made up of the following countries and can be considered on the whole cheaper than the first tier, but more expensive than the third tier.
You will find countries such as AT, BE, CY, RU, CZ, GR, ES, NL, JP, and many more.
The average bid for pop ads in tier 2: $0.0006-$0.0003
The average bid for push ads in tier 2: $0.0123-$0.0947
The average bid for domain redirect ads in tier 2: $0.0021-$0.0101
Although this may be the cheapest tier it is also where profit can be found by many affiliates. Consider factoring the volume of traffic you use for each of these tiers when running your campaigns as it can be more profitable to run in a cheaper GEO with more traffic volume. We recommend if you are a beginner to try out this tier to get started as you will lose less money with the learning curve that comes with affiliate marketing, or new ad networks.
Examples of countries found in tier 3 are; CN, IN, HU, ARG, KR, MX, PL, BR, and more.
The average bid for pop ads in tier 3: $0.0005-$0.0001
The average bid for push ads in tier 3: $0.0014-$0.0127
The average bid for domain redirect ads in tier 3: $0.0037- $0.0092
The average bid can be calculated using the traffic calculator, try it for yourself with more specific GEO targeting for your campaigns.
How much is the ad network charging for traffic?
Everyone in the affiliate industry is looking to make money, and that’s why it’s important to be careful with which ad network you choose as some charge more than others.
When you buy from the ad network (or ad exchange) you will likely be purchasing on a CPM or CPV/CPC basis. And we know that you know what these terms mean by now. It’s also important to remember that prices vary per ad format, with pop being cheaper than push, or redirect ads.
With that in mind, you can be paying from as low as $0.0001 per view for pop traffic (depending on your targeting options) with some networks charging more than others. Again using pop traffic as an example here, traffic would be considered expensive if it were $0.005 per view or more.
Whereas, push ads are typically around $0.03 per view and domain redirects could be between $0.0021-$0.0101 per view (depending on GEO).
However, it’s worth remembering that just because you pay more for traffic doesn’t mean that it will convert better. As we said before many factors affect the success of your affiliate campaigns such as keyword targeting, GEO, and optimization methods used. So, keep that in mind when planning your campaign budget.
We also mentioned above that the average bid per ad format will likely differ depending on which countries you target. It’s a good idea to go with the recommended bid suggested by the ad exchange if they have this as a feature.
Another thing to remember is the minimum deposit needed when signing up for some ad networks, as some are as much as $1000 (within Zeropark it’s only $200).
What Targeting options are there affiliate campaigns?
Targeting is vital to the success of any affiliate marketing campaign as it determines who sees your ads. And with any good marketing campaign, the narrower you are with your target niche the more likely you are to get a good conversion rate.
Affiliates should choose an ad network that helps them to find an audience that will react positively to their marketing campaigns.
If you’re still wondering which targeting options you should choose, then have a look below.
For campaigns in Zeropark here are your targeting options:
- RON – (Run of Network) This option targets all traffic coming from a selected GEO. If a new source appears in this GEO, your campaign will start buying traffic from this new source as well.
- Target – This method targets a single website(s). You need to provide a list of targets for this campaign to start receiving traffic. The only way to obtain that list is to build it yourself, based on the best targets from your previous campaigns.
- Source – This method targets traffic coming from a single source publisher, that usually consists of several targets. You need to provide a list of sources for this campaign to start receiving traffic. The list can be created by yourself or you can also request one from your account manager or the support team.
- Keyword – This method targets traffic that contains a certain keyword or keywords. You need to provide a list of keywords for this campaign to start receiving traffic.
- Multi-Geo – This method allows you to target several GEOs at once. If a new source appears in one of the selected GEOs, your campaign will start buying traffic from this new source as well.
You can find all of the targeting options above in the campaign setup in Zeropark. but it doesn’t end there as you can get really specific with your campaigns too. Targeting options also include Device targeting, GEO targeting, Adult filtering, Frequency filtering, Day-parting, and more.
However, not all of these mentioned are available in other ad networks.
What kind of optimization is offered by ad networks?
It is a well-known fact that if you are making a profit then the ad network you choose to be in business with is making money as well. Some ad networks want to help you with a variety of optimization options that can make your campaigns more efficient. Whereas others just leave you to it, which can be useful to be your own boss but it also makes it difficult if you run into trouble.
So, choose an ad network with an adequate level of support for your campaigns. They might be able to help you make a decision on which ad tracker works best with their network or whether a spy tool is really necessary. Whether you are a new affiliate or have been in the industry a while, a helping hand is something that is needed every so often.
Automatic optimization tools — do you really need them?
While not all ad networks have access to automatic optimization tools, the ones that do help you to get the most out of your campaigns. And how do they do that?
Well, it comes down to the reason any optimization tools were created, saving you time and money.
Within Zeropark it’s known as rule-based optimization. It’s just one of the things that allow affiliate marketers to make money while they sleep.
What you need to do to get started is set up some rules that you want your campaign to be governed by. All you need to do is set up some IF-THEN conditions for your campaign to follow and you will be all set to make money while you sleep. Based on these rules you set, the campaigns will be able to optimize themselves automatically.
For example, you set up a rule that your campaign should bid up when you are getting a high number of conversions, then it does and you buy more of the traffic and get a chance to get more conversions. Sounds simple, right?
Our advice would be to look for an advertising network that has access to some type of automatic optimization. It could just save your campaigns from burning their budget.
Affiliate ad tracking — do all advertising networks have this?
Affiliate ad tracking software is the reason why you know whether your campaign is working well or needs to be killed for poor performance. This is something valuable to any and every affiliate marketer. But the question is do the ad networks have ad tracking built-in?
The answer is not as simple as a yes, or no. There are some that have a rudimentary level of tracking and others suggest you outsource it to a specific ad tracking company like Voluum, LandingTrack, or RedTrack.
If you want to succeed, we recommend that you invest in an ad tracker for yourself as this will help you with spotting where your campaign is making money from and applying that to future campaigns. Also, pay attention to the available integration options. The closer the integration between an ad network and a tracking solution, the more accurate the data passed on between the two.
And if you are a Zeropark customer there is an added bonus as there are many partners that have discounts for you. If you’re looking for affiliate ad tracking software you should head to the Deals & Offers tab to find the perfect one for you and your business needs.
Doing business with ad networks
Sometimes the affiliate industry can be a lonely one as you work for yourself. But there is an argument that can be made that you have many colleagues which are those on the affiliate forums, and more importantly those at the ad networks that work with you.
You still call the shots, but you can ask for guidance and advice when it’s needed from the right ad network.
That’s why it’s important to choose to do business with an ad network that helps you to get the most out of your campaigns. As we’ve said before, if you succeed they succeed so choose one that helps you do just that.
The first point of contact with an ad network is often the person that reviews your application and your campaigns. This step needs to be handled quickly so that you can get to the real business. This means that you should choose an ad network that says it will handle this process quickly. However, this stage is also necessary to make sure you run campaigns that will be allowed in that network so check what types of campaigns will be allowed in the network you are researching. There is nothing worse than setting up a campaign and waiting for the green to start coming in only to see it has been flagged and stopped for a compliance issue that could have been avoided.
We know you want to see your new campaigns performing as soon as possible and to be able to make tweaks and adjustments to make them perform even better. So choosing an ad network that approves your campaign quickly is important. But if you were to have a campaign that had been approved and then it started earning a good ROI only to get flagged for a compliance issue or a problem with your account then that would put a stop to the fun too.
So there needs to be a balance. Zeropark offers a quick campaign approval process (within an hour). This helps you get back to optimizing your campaigns faster, it’s a no-brainer, right?
Whenever you join a new ad network to do business you need to be shown a couple of things to see how everything works. If there is a good onboarding process then the ad network will leave you with no unanswered questions about how to use the platform with your affiliate marketing campaigns. But this is not an easy thing to get right, and not every ad network has such a process.
We’d recommend you choose an ad network that has a detailed onboarding, that offers a call with the customer support team to get to know you and your affiliate business better. After all, not every ad network is the same and there might be new metrics and terms you might need to get your head around and the customer support team can explain things to you. They should treat you like a VIP, whether you are new to the industry or have been running an affiliate business for years.
A good customer support team
Customer support is necessary for any business that has customers, that’s obvious, right? But what makes a difference is an ad network that has a good customer support team.
When choosing an ad network, have a look at the list of what we believe to be the most important things an affiliate needs from a customer support team.
Characteristics of a good ad network support team:
✔︎ Quick response time
✔︎ Talking to a real person
✔︎ Affiliate marketing knowledge
Trusting the customer support team should be an obvious choice and they should be quick to respond to any query you might have. You never know they may recommend that you speak to your own account manager to help you with your campaigns, or at least help you out with a set of whitelists that could boost your campaigns in the short term.
All we are saying is that you should do your research and choose an ad network that can help you succeed with your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Scaling up your campaigns
Every affiliate starts at the bottom and works their way up with knowledge and with a campaign budget. That’s why choosing an ad network that helps you scale up is so important. The difference between a good affiliate and a great affiliate could simply be due to the ad network they choose.
Zeropark allows every customer to scale up via the optimization features mentioned above, such as rule-based optimization which can make all the difference.
For example, with rule-based optimization, if a target or a source surpasses a certain number of conversions, it can be set to automatically bid up, so you can scale up. And if a target has been consistently underperforming, you can set it to pause after reaching a certain spend and no conversions.
Ad compliance is a necessary step in the affiliate marketing campaign setup process as without it a campaign could start earning only to get flagged and all of the money earned by it would be lost. That’s why it’s important to have a team in place to help out and check if a campaign will be ready to start earning or if one aspect of the campaign could be changed to let it run.
Another reason compliance is needed is that it helps reduce ad fraud which is a problem facing affiliates everywhere. Again, it is a waste of the campaign budget if the campaign is allowed to run when there is bot traffic that will steal views and clicks from the customers you are trying to target. Zeropark’s compliance team ensures that the traffic is free from bots that cause ad fraud so your campaigns can run without interruption.
So, when researching ad networks make sure you make a note of whether or not there is a dedicated compliance team to help you save time and money with your campaigns.
Customized affiliate marketing campaign solutions
Customized affiliate marketing solutions can help boost the potential of an ordinary campaign. If you contact a good ad network for a customized solution they should help you. Not every campaign is the same, so the level of tweaking, targeting, and optimizing will be different. That’s why it is good if an ad network has a support team with access to knowledgeable account managers that can recommend areas of improvement in the customer campaigns. After all, we all need a point in the right direction every so often. They might offer whitelists, or suggest a new targeting option you have not applied, or maybe even an update to your landing page.
You should try to choose an ad network that offers some form of tailor-made solutions if possible because it might help you reach more customers and make more money.
We hope now you have enough information to do your research and find the right ad network for you and your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Take your time and be sure to evaluate several networks thoroughly. Finding the best fit for your affiliate marketing strategy is worth it.