Blog Header Ad Formats In Times Of Coronavirus

How The Virus Changes The Way We Run Ads? — Top Ad Formats Insights & Analysis 

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Five months into the coronavirus pandemic we can see that the whole world is slowly resuming its regular track… or at least it’s trying its best to. Not an easy task given all the safety limits and regulations. How’s that worked for our industry? Which ad formats proved to be crisis-resistant? And what works best in affiliate marketing right now?

Read on and learn more about top affiliate marketing ad formats and excel at your job!

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected affiliate marketing so far?

The virus outbreak caused billions of people around the world to adjust their lives to the most unexpected situation. That’s why the global shift towards online reality comes as a natural solution and a safe answer to our needs. And from what could be observed, people actually love it! Sounds like a pretty convenient scenario for all affiliate marketers out there.

So how has our industry been affected by the covid-19 spread? 

At the very beginning of the lockdown, verticals like Travel or Sports Betting went virtually dead. Such an outcome was caused by a total hold on any activities falling into these categories, which naturally decreased the need, interest, and demand for related products or services. Affiliate advertising included.

Stay Home

While some things went down, others spiked all the way to the top — especially streaming services or anything related to the home entertainment angle. Suddenly the whole world was told to #StayHome and both parents and kids, younger and older generations, everyone had to find an occupation. That’s why a notable increase could be observed for verticals like:

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly influenced the way people interact with technology… or as the New York Times puts it — The Virus Changed the Way We Internet. The affiliate industry has also been affected by such a course of events, not only in terms of trending verticals or location-based advertising but also in terms of device split. A major spike in desktop traffic could be observed especially with Streaming or Antivirus & VPN verticals.

As a consequence of the global lockdown and #StayHome trend, people started seeking for opportunities to work remotely and make money online. Within a couple of months, affiliate marketing has seen a huge spike in popularity as a work-from-home kind of job for covid-19 times. And since new players always bring some thrill to the game, we’re curious to see how this trend develops. 

The most pressing question of what the future holds for the affiliate marketing industry, or the digital industry as a whole, remains unanswered yet intriguing for marketers of all sorts. Hopefully, there are many new opportunities that this crisis will bread for us. 

Ad formats insights and analysis

Having dug into the subject of the best and worst trending verticals for affiliate marketing, device split, and newly emerged opportunities for tech-savvy entrepreneurs, now it’s time to delve into top ad formats for affiliate marketing. Here’s a thorough analysis of pop, domain redirect, both push and in-page push, as well as native in-app ads during the covid-19 days.

Pop Traffic

Pop is not dead — you’ve probably heard that phrase before. And yes, despite being almost as old as the Internet itself, pop-up and pop-under ads still work well. Here’s how and why!



  • Proven performance: no other type of programmatic advertising has such a track-record and testing history. Pop ads have been on the market for almost 30 years and have proven three things for sure — they are popular, effective, and stable.
  • Popularity: almost every traffic source offers pop traffic, not to mention its huge volumes. Zeropark alone offers more than tens of billions of available impressions monthly! But that whooping number is not the most important thing. What counts is that pop ads’ popularity means there’s demand for pop traffic even (or maybe especially) during the coronavirus times. And where’s demand there’s profit.
  • The effectiveness of pop ads can be confirmed by nearly any super-affiliate in this industry. Attila O’dree from iAmAffiliate hub, Colin Dijs from Dijs University, Ian Fernando from the ADvengers hub, Luke Kling from the affLIFT forum, KJ Rocker or Servando Silva — everyone starts with pop traffic and many make their first big number with pop ads, too. 
  • Stable investment is what everyone needs right now. Keeping a top position in the advertising market for three decades is definitely proof of that.
  • The cheapest on the market: prices start with as little as $0.0001 per view! 
  • All-inclusiveness: pop ads are for everyone, both the affiliate pros and those who are only starting in the industry. Not to mention the amount of knowledge and experience-insights, as well as the number of tips and tricks one can learn on the subject of pop traffic optimization. 
  • Universality: pop ads are proven to work with nearly any vertical or offer there is. Get smart with pop traffic, and you’ll be able to run anything, anytime. Noteworthy, given the need to adapt fast when things like coronavirus hit each and every industry. 


  • Reputation: there’s no denying that pop ads have earned themselves some black PR during those past 30 years. Yes, the early days of online advertising remember the days of intrusive pop ads that were nearly impossible to chase down and shut. But this was decades ago, things have progressed since then… a lot.
  • Competition: being a top choice of numerous affiliates means that competition is tight. It’s tight with almost every ad format, vertical or well-converting offer though. Deal with it!
  • Banner blindness: it’s real, it needs to be accounted for, and it needs to be dealt with. That’s the price of great popularity and a lifetime on the market. 



  • VOLUMESeven during the pandemic, pop traffic still remains one of the most popular ad formats offering huge volumes of available inventory. To give you an idea of the scope, right now Zeropark offers 58 billion of available monthly visits.
  • DEVICEsurprisingly, mobile pop wins with nearly 34 billion vs. 24 billion available impressions on desktop pop traffic. 
  • GEOswhen it comes to country targeting, it can be observed that the top five locations depending on the device split are still within the scope of countries heavily affected by the pandemic with billions of people forced into lockdown. These countries are as follows:

A) For all devices: US, IN, BR, UK and IT 

B) For mobile: US, IN, BR, UK, JP

C) For desktop: US, DE, IT, FR, UK

  • VERTICALS the top performing verticals on pop traffic also shouldn’t come as a surprise given the ongoing situation. If you’re into pop ads, then going for Surveys & Sweeps, Downloads, Gaming, Gambling, Dating or Antivirus & VPN is definitely worth it.
  • KEYWORDSnaturally, best trending keywords for pop traffic right now prove that the above angles are having momentum. Some of the top keywords for pop traffic are fun, movies, streaming, adult, downloads, torrents, poker, gambling, casino, hosting, shopping, and entertainment. 

All in all, pop traffic remained unaffected by the pandemic outburst if not doing a little better than usual. This can be caused by the spike in popularity of top pop traffic verticals and keywords, which as shown by Zeropark traffic insights, are definitely linked to the current situation.

Domain Redirect Traffic

Or zero-click traffic (as domain redirect is also called) is generally believed to be a bit more complicated than pop traffic. That’s why it’s often suggested as a better solution for more experienced advertisers. The prices and volumes of available traffic also seem to suggest it wouldn’t be the best idea to start an affiliate journey with zero-click campaigns. It is similar to pop traffic, though, that’s why if advertisers have done their fair share of pop campaigns, trying their luck with domain redirect might be a great choice. 



  • Fast redirects: one of the biggest advantages of domain redirect ads is actually the fact that the said redirects are triggered within split seconds and users are immediately shown what they were looking for! But how’s that even possible? Or relevant right now?
  • High interest: because domain redirects are triggered via matching keyword input with relevant ads, a landing page featuring a promoted product that is then displayed to a user matches what a person was actually looking for. With the huge increase in online engagement, remote work, home entertainment, VOD streaming, or online shopping, domain redirect traffic seems like a jackpot.
  • Precise targeting: keyword matching, combined with all the usual targeting set up (device split, location-based targeting, day-parting, frequency filtering, etc.) allows for targeting users showing interest in the scope of the products you’re promoting, at the time and place most suitable for a given offer. Knowing top trending categories during the pandemic lockdown and most-search products, finding offers relevant to top-trending keywords right now seem like a great idea.
  • Value for money: though slightly more expensive than pop, domain redirect ads offer great value for decent money. Domain redirect ads bidding can usually start as low as $0.0003 per view.
  • Easy set up: domain redirect ads not require ad creatives, though pre-landers are much recommended. They allow for increasing user interest and significantly influence the campaign’s conversion rate.
  • Similar to pop: yes, that’s actually a huge advantage of zero-click traffic. These ads are essentially the same thing, differing only in the way they’re displayed to users — as a redirect or a pop ad. This means that once you’ve got a bit of experience running pop ads, domain redirect traffic might be a great way of scaling up a well-converting offer using keyword targeting.


  • Top keywords’ price: if a keyword is working well and is all the rage at the moment, the minimum bid is definitely not going to be cheap. But if you’re sure of your offer and targeting setup it might be well worth paying slightly more to win the bid.
  • Viewing vs. converting: a user redirected to your offer landing page most of the time does not equal conversion. That’s why the best converting landing pages require a great deal of effort.
  • Competition: again, the best converting keywords have probably a huge competition. This means not only paying a bit more to win the bid but also fighting the creative fatigue and constant landing page optimization to answer and match the user’s current needs and help them convert.

Work From Home


  • VOLUMESnaturally, because of the much more narrow targeting, the available volumes of domain redirect traffic are much smaller than for pop traffic (though the similarities between the two ad formats). Luckily for affiliate advertisers, domain redirect traffic offers some great numbers in times of coronavirus with more almost 5 billion monthly redirects.
  • DEVICEthe split is actually quite even with 2.3 billion available redirects for mobile traffic and 2.5 billion views for desktop.
  • GEOstop country targeting for zero-click traffic isn’t much different to the one of pop, which may have more to do with the current pandemic and general online trends rather than similarities in two types of traffic. Again, the top countries include:

A) For all devices: US, BR, IN, IT and UK  

B) For mobile: US, IN, BR, UK, ID

C) For desktop: US, DE, IT, RU, IT

  • VERTICALS again, results for top trending verticals are much similar to those for pop traffic. These categories include: Surveys & Sweeps offers, Streaming, Downloads, Nutra offers, Gambling, Gaming, and Crypto offers. Such an outcome is most primarily caused by relevant keyword targeting.
  • KEYWORDScrucial for domain redirect ads, top keywords include a wide variety of VOD/mainstream streaming related keywords, adult streaming related keywords, VPNs and antivirus related keywords.

As the analysis shows, the best trending domain redirect ads are very much connected to the pandemic situation and to what’s currently trending due to the lockdown and remote work or online entertainment. If you’ve got an offer promoting products or services answering the quarantine and social distancing demand, domain redirect ads might be the best choice.

Push and In-page Push Traffic


Push ads are undoubtedly an absolute winner of 2019 and luckily for all advertisers who decided to upskill with push traffic — push ads continue to perform great. Despite the thrill and drama caused by the Chrome 80 update and the (quickly busted) threat of push going dead due to cookie blocking, push ads have survived the turbulence. What’s interesting, though, is that thanks to the Chrome 80 update frenzy we also got in-page push traffic this year. That’s actually some great news given that in-page push finally allows advertisers to reach the iOS audience!


  • Amazing performance: none of the other ad formats available on the market has proved to be as successful and effective as push traffic. Yes, all super-affiliates have started with pop traffic, but now they’re all into push ads! Push ads have gained tremendous popularity with everyone — advertisers, publishers, and even (or maybe most importantly) with users! Even though push traffic isn’t as easy and newbie-friendly as pop, it’s the ultimate winner so far and continues to stay on top even during the crisis situation.
  • User trust: again, one of the key advantages and features of push traffic. Thanks to their notification-like format, push ads are non-intrusive, user-friendly, and highly-engageable! Given that people tend to follow news and react to all the news and updates coming their way in the past weeks, a trusted and well-received advertising format seems like the right tool of communication with your target audience.
  • Freshness: though market saturation is a real struggle for all ad formats, push ads are still relatively new. Also, a new audience has been recently added to the push ads inventory thanks to the launch of in-page push ads and iOS users! And with the recent shift towards the online reality, many fresh users are found right now. 
  • Unmatched quality: push traffic is proven to come from great quality traffic sources that allow for reaching the right audience at the right time, without wasting time, energy, and money on poor quality traffic. Smart resources management is a much-needed skill right now, and push ads offer just that.
  • Broad reach: available for all devices, iOS users included, both push and in-page push allow for reaching a huge audience of users… whenever it’s convenient for them! Thus increasing chances for conversion while people take a break from their home-office/kids-office mode. 
  • Easy setup: push ads are definitely super easy to set up, even though they require creatives. They do not require advanced graphic design skills at all. What’s actually recommended is keeping them simple yet telling… with emojis. Making push ads system-notifications like, especially with people frantically following all the latest news, might be the key.
  • Multiple creative testing: and even when not sure which push ad creative is the best, there are multiple creative testing options allowing us to choose the best performing ad creative to bid up on. Again, testing, optimization, and careful scaling is a must regardless of the situation.


  • Price: push ads are not cheap, so if you’re new to affiliate marketing it’s best to pass for the moment.
  • Creative fatigue: because the push ads creatives should be kept simple, there’s no room for many variations. This may cause the ads to quickly “die out” and hence negatively impact the campaign’s effectiveness. Luckily, testing multiple creatives allows for quick shuffling and ads rotation. Even small changes can make a huge difference with push ads.
  • Conversion delay: one of the biggest advantages of push ads for users may also mean a problem for less experienced advertisers. That’s due to the fact that a push ad may be “waiting” for a user to engage with it until its cookies expire and hence bring zero results to advertisers. But knowing why this occurs and that advertisers pay for actual clicks only should put those worrying at peace. 

In-Page Push Ads vs. Push Ads Infographic


  • VOLUME: although push traffic has the lowest volumes of all, with almost 2 billion available impressions, this shouldn’t cloud your judgment. Push ads may be more expensive than other ad formats, may have less available inventory, but their performance is still on-point. 
  • DEVICE: mobile reigns push, pandemic, or no pandemic. The device split comes to almost 90% on mobile devices vs. 10% on desktop at the moment. 
  • GEOs: the currently trending countries on push traffic aren’t that similar to pop’s and domain’s ads, but still consist of a similar group of countries. The same countries can be identified for all device types and mobile, as 90% of the inventory comes from mobile devices anyhow. The split goes as follow:

A) For all devices: IN, US, FR, BR, and DE

B) For mobile (also): IN, US, FR, BR, and DE

C) For desktop: US, CA, FR, UK, ES.

  • VERTICALS: given that most of the inventory comes from mobile devices, the top trending verticals can be usually featured for mobile, too. These include: Surveys & Sweeps, Gambling, Finance, Crypto offers, E-commerce, Lead Generation, Dating, Trading or Nutra.
  • CREATIVES: this time it’s the push ads creatives that need to consist of relevant ad copy to catch the user’s attention. Text included in the push ads creatives can be adjusted to match each offer separately, but it’s best to keep it simple and informative — just like classic system notifications. In this way, push ads look more credible and trustworthy, which has been already proven to significantly influence the campaign’s performance. Also, the actual news is what we all expect to pop on our phones right now, isn’t it?

Keeping ads as close to news/notifications style as possible might be the key to success in running push traffic campaigns during the virus outbreak. 

What works best in affiliate marketing right now?

The answer is simple — whatever you’re most experienced with, and most involved in. The truth is the success of your affiliate marketing ad campaign is not tied to the ad format of your choice. 

The most significant difference in choosing one ad format over another might be the advertising budget, which needs to be calculated individually per each campaign. Knowing how much you’re ready to spend might be the best guideline. To give you an idea, the average bid for the US on mobile push traffic is approximately $0.03. That’s fifty times more per one bid than for the same set up on pop traffic where the average CPC is ca. $0.0006. This should give you an idea of how much traffic you’d be able to test with a $200 testing budget on push vs. mobile.

The success of every affiliate marketing campaign is achieved thanks to the knowledge and effort put in the preparation, testing, optimization, and scaling phase. Depending on many variables, such as offer vertical, details and angle, bid prices, country targeting, restrictions, creatives, landing pages — each ad format might turn out to be the figure making tool. Still, it’s worth getting as many insights and as much information on each as possible to make the best choice for your affiliate efforts.

Analysis summary

There’s something for everyone, and success stories are possible with all available advertising formats… even or especially during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ad formats insights



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