man wondering what targets and sources in zeropark are

What are Target and Source Campaigns and How Should You Use Them

1081 754 Chris Wilson

Target and source campaigns are the bread and butter of many affiliate marketers and are a great way to dip your toe in the affiliate industry. However, optimization of these affiliate marketing campaigns can seem tricky at times.

The 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, said: “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Well, sorry Teddy but with Target and Source Campaigns in Zeropark, simple optimization does come easy.

We’ll cover questions like What is a Source and a Target in Zeropark? As well as the differences in these campaign types and how they can help with campaign optimization.

By the end, you’ll be ready to go out and prove Teddy wrong.

Read on to learn more about target and source affiliate marketing campaigns in Zeropark, as well as how to optimize your campaigns for the best results.

What’s a Target in Zeropark?

In Zeropark, a target is a single traffic placement (Push, Pop, or Domain) from a publisher. So, if a publisher has five domains that provide domain traffic, that would be five different targets in Zeropark. Likewise, if a different publisher has 12 websites that provide push traffic, you’d see 12 push targets in Zeropark. Each traffic type can pass information about the targets where your ads were displayed and their performance.

What’s a Source in Zeropark?

A source is all the targets from one publisher of traffic to Zeropark. In a few rare cases, a source may have only one target (as that person has only one site) but in the majority of cases, they have more. Some sources have thousands of targets. So in general, a source is broader than a target (though there are a few exceptions where a source and target could be viewed as the same thing).

What are Target and Source Campaigns?

Unlike Run of Network (RON) campaigns, which buy traffic from every target and source, a target and source campaign only buy traffic from the options you select (targets in a target campaign and sources in a sources campaign). These campaigns are often recommended to beginners when they start affiliate marketing.

You might be wondering How is a RON with paused targets/sources is different from a Target/Source campaign? Well, RON campaigns will keep on buying from new sources/targets, so if you want to buy traffic only from selected publishers/placements, then Target/Source campaigns are the only option.

One thing to note is when you set up a target or source campaign there are two steps. 

  1. The first is the general settings including geo, bid, targeting options, and so on.
  2. The second involves selecting some targets or sources (depending on the campaign type). If you don’t complete the second step, your campaign will remain in “draft” mode as we have no idea where you want to buy traffic from.

These campaign types are great when you have some data on what sources and targets respond to your approach. There are a few ways to get that information.

pros and cons girl Zp blog

How to Find Good Sources and Targets?

There are three ways to get information on what targets and sources you should select for your campaigns.

  1. Past campaign experience (if you ran a similar campaign, the data may apply too)
  2. Asking your account manager or our support for a whitelist
  3. Getting data from a RON campaign.

Even if you choose to go for the first two options, it is still a good idea to start a RON campaign. You might think that your new campaign is very similar to your last one especially if it is in the same vertical, but in reality, it might appeal to a very different type of person. The type of health product a yoga-loving 20-year-old woman wants is different from the protein shake guzzling gym resident.

It’s Good to Keep a RON Campaign Open

Although it sucks to spend cash on traffic that isn’t converting, digital marketing is a fast-changing environment. Some of our affiliate marketing traffic sources and targets add more supply at different times and we also get new paid traffic sources joining.

By keeping a RON campaign open, you can spot new opportunities as they arise which can help improve the longevity of your affiliate campaigns. You don’t have to spend a huge budget here as the majority should go to those proven targets and sources you’ve already found. Instead, it should be a smaller sampling budget. Everyone knows that to make money online you need to invest money first.

Some people say all you need to succeed in affiliate marketing is an affiliate program a website that will generate traffic to buy your affiliate products in order to give you a commission. That’s a lot of hard work. After all, there is no such thing as free targeted traffic, SEO can be expensive work too.

With target and source campaigns it’s simpler, you don’t need organic traffic or search engines, all you need is a landing page with an attractive offer that has an affiliate link from an affiliate network, and the traffic from the target or source will flow to your offer and lead to affiliate sales.

Target and Source Pro Features

Now that you know the basics of Target and Source campaigns, you might want to check out these pro features that can help you save time and spend your budget on more profitable sources.

Target and Source Bid Capping

A source or target budget cap prevents an affiliate marketer from spending more than they want on any single source and target. This is good when testing so you can get an equal amount of traffic from different targets and sources rather than spending more on sources that have more paid traffic.

Push traffic is different from domain and pop traffic due to its nature and pricing model. Because it is based on PPC and clicks can have a delay (up to a couple of hours) between when a notification is sent and the user responds. This means your ad spend on Push traffic may not match your budget or cap. Additionally, push traffic only supports budget capping on the source level.

Custom Target and Source Bids

You may notice that one source or target is performing well, or is providing a minimal ROI. At this point, you might want to adjust your bid to buy more or less traffic from that source or target. The easy way to do this is by setting a custom bid for that target or source.

A custom bid will override the auto bidding settings and instead bid based on your custom amount. A source bid will override the campaign bid and a target bid overrides both the campaign and the source bids.

Use Rule-Based Optimization

You can also save time by using Rule-Based Optimization to automatically pause, bid up, or bid down on geos, Targets, and Sources based on their performance. You set the time frame, and conditions to be met as well as the action to be taken.

The good news is, RBO is available on all campaigns in Zeropark. However, it may be called something like automated optimization in other affiliate networks.
One more important note, you should use RBO with care as sometimes the risk outweighs the benefits. It can help you to make money while you sleep, but if used incorrectly it can stop your campaign from making money when it is winning too.
rule based optimization


Whether you are running affiliate marketing campaigns using social media advertising, search engine optimization, or paid traffic you need to make sure you are optimizing them.

Source and target campaigns are some of the simplest ways that you can start optimizing for more profit. If you want a head start, contact our support or your account manager and get a whitelist that will suit your target audience.

Otherwise, run a RON campaign and optimize from there. That’s all there is to it, now all there is left to do is to start running target and source campaigns with Zeropark.

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