I’ve been asked a lot over the years, what is the best-paid traffic ad network to buy traffic for my website.
The truth is there isn’t a single traffic source out there that is the best for everyone.
Some people will have success with a source, while others will fail.
What Is Paid Traffic? Paid traffic is when a visitor views a website originating from a paid advertising campaign. The most popular form of paid traffic is Pay per Click (PPC), but it also includes banners, adverts, pop-ups, and video ads. Advertisers use paid traffic to generate new customers, leads & sales, which is usually quicker than other forms of advertising but has associated risk due to the cost.
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Reasons to use paid traffic:
- Demographics targeting allows advertisers to place ads in front of visitors most likely to buy
- Quick to setup & begin receiving traffic
- Reach an audience you otherwise may not be able too
- Ability to stop receiving traffic if any problems arise
Honestly, it's surprising to me how few business owners take advantage of paid traffic overall. Yes, there is definitely a risk associated with running any paid traffic campaign. However, if you're able to do it right, you can generate sustainable amounts of revenue that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
How Does Paid Traffic Work?
Paid traffic is purchased through an ad network or ad exchange. The advertiser is billed on a Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Mille (CPM) price structure. Advertisers can select different targeting parameters, such as demographic data, interests, placements, keywords, & more. The total amount of advertisers spend on paid traffic is determined by the campaign budget. Daily or lifetime budgets are usually both options.
Benefits of Paid Traffic
Each traffic source has a unique type of audience that is engaged in different ways, regardless if it's paid or organic. Take Youtube, for example, that audience is watching videos for a variety of various reasons. What you must realize is all the visitors to Youtube have one thing in common. They want to consume video content. So if your site or offer doesn’t have any video content, then Youtube likely won’t work for you.
On the other hand, if you offer a ton of helpful videos that already convert visitors into leads, then Youtube is the place to be! Brent, if I’m starting, how do I know which traffic source will be the best for me? Pretty simple, you have to test which source work for you and which ones don’t.
There are a TON of traffic sources out there. However, not all should be considered equal! This may not be the largest list of sources on the net, but it is the most informative.
What is Paid Search?
Paid search is a form of digital marketing where search engines show ads in sponsored listings based on what visitors are searching for. This method of paid traffic works on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers only pay when a visitor clicks an ad. Several targeting options are available to advertisers, based on keywords searched and previous actions taking by the visitor.
1. Google Ads
Tons of traffic. Google has 75.2 percent of the search market, not including mobile. Tons of tools and ways to optimize your campaigns. Ability to scale your campaign, once you find some winning metrics. If you're looking to scale a campaign and have a very large budget Google Ads is one of the only places you can go to access this much paid inventory.
Highly competitive and expensive as hell. We’re talking over $100 per click for more competitive industries. Very picky with what they allow on their network. Very high chance of account suspension if you don’t follow the rules.
Yes, I know, almost everyone and their mother knows what Adwords is already. However, because of its massive market share, if you want to scale, then you want Adwords. If you’re brand new to paid traffic, I will stay away from Adwords personally. Why? Because you can lose your budget in a matter of minutes if you mess up. Adwords also offer the ability to do remarketing, which is extremely powerful.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Many of you are probably surprised I’m considering YouTube a paid search traffic source. The awesome thing about YouTube is there is a TON of traffic, and it’s still very cheap. I’ve gotten my cost per visitor down to $.02 CPC. Not often can you get search traffic this cheap? Not only can you buy paid traffic on YouTube with normal banner ads, but also allows you to run video ads.
Like I mentioned above, the audience on YouTube is very different than other search engines. What I mean by this is you have to have video content on YouTube to be able to drive traffic. This may be a con for some companies that have never created a video before. I’ve also noticed 75%+ of your traffic won’t watch more than 30 seconds of your video.
If you have some kick-ass video content, then YouTube is the place for you. I’ve gotten several campaigns to work on YouTube because traffic is cheap and plentiful. Just be sure to put a call to actions throughout your video and try to capture their attention in the first 5-10 seconds of the video. No long-winded introductions, just hope right into the meat of your content.
3. Bing Ads (Updated)
Bing & Yahoo are teamed up. If you create a campaign on Bing Ads, you show up on both Bing.com & Yahoo.com properties. Traffic is often both higher quality and much cheaper than compared to Google. Bing is very forgiving and approves almost any campaign.
About 1/10th of the traffic, Google can provide. Their interface is complete garbage and needs an update. Can’t scale your campaign very much once you do find a winner.
If you believe Paid Search is the way to go for your business, then I would test out Bing ads. Your chances of finding a winner are much higher and will cost you much less. However, don’t expect to be spending over $100-200 a day in most niches. Bing is a great place to test out new paid traffic campaigns, which offers great quality traffic at a fraction of other paid traffic sources.
4. Yahoo Gemini
Gemini has an excellent clean interface that makes setting up any campaign a breeze. Even though Gemini is relatively new, I’ve already run quite a few successful campaigns on it. It is quite easy to get clicks for .05 CPC in the US for Display. Yahoo inventory is usually an older audience, which means they have more money and frequently purchase.
So far, Yahoo is following in the steps of Google in the sense that they’re very picky about what they allow. Also, if you plan to run search campaigns on Gemini, the CPC is quite expensive for both mobile and desktop inventory.
Gemini still isn’t known by many advertisers, so that alone has its advantages. If you’re already successfully running on Google & Bing and want to expand your traffic, I highly suggest trying out Gemini.
High-quality traffic that’s relatively cheap. It’s pretty surprising how few advertisers are using Yandex. Clean interface and many friendly marketing tools.
Unless you want to advertise in Russia, Yandex won’t have volume very much.
I’ve run quite a bit of traffic with Yandex, and overall I’m happy with the platform. If you’ve already tested both Google & Bing and are looking to diversify your traffic in paid search. Then Yandex is a great option for you.
Signup To Yandex
Massive Asian search traffic.
Very difficult to get up and to run with Baidu, unless you speak Mandarin. Not much traffic outside of the Asian Market.
I’ve never run traffic with Baidu. Every time I’ve tried has been challenging for me. With the growth of the Chinese market, however, mobile Baidu is a huge opportunity.
Signup To Baidu
What is Social Media Traffic?
Social media traffic comes in the form of banner and text ads found on some of the most popular websites in the world. Social media companies can collect a lot of information about their users and in turn, allow their advertisers to use that information. Because of this, social media traffic has some of the best demographics targeting you can find. This will enable you to drill down and see exactly what type of visitors turn into customers. Social media traffic is perfect for marketers looking to expand their brand awareness by promoting shareable, useful content.
1. Facebook Ads
Facebook, back in 2014, passed 1.19 billion monthly active users. So just like Google Adwords, if you run traffic on Facebook, you can scale your campaigns like crazy. Facebook also has impressive demographics targeting and allowing you to target audiences that already show interest in your industry or product.
Once again, just like Adwords, Facebook is super competitive, and because of this, prices are pretty steep. Also, depending on how targeted you get with your demographics, your ads will become stale very quickly. This will result in your CTR dropping, and thus your CPM or CPC is increasing.
I’ve run a hell of a lot of traffic on Facebook personally and have a love-hate relationship with the platform. I love the fact that if I can find something that’s working, I can scale it to the moon. However, because of the nature of the traffic running a campaign properly on Facebook will take a lot of your time and resources. Finally, Facebook likes to break redirects, so it makes it very difficult to track campaigns with some marketing tools.
2. Snapchat Ads
You may have never even used Snapchat... While it may be smaller than Facebook... Snapchat has nearly 200 million daily users!
That means there is PLENTY of traffic for all of us.
Currently, US teenagers dominate the audience on Snapchat. So if your offer or brand caters to this audience, then it's a platform, you need to check out.
While Snapchat does have cheap international traffic, several GEOs I've tested have had terrible results.
Recently Snapchat has gotten much more strict on what they allow on the platform. If you have 3-4 ad disapprovals before getting an ad approved on your account, it will result in a soft ban. Meaning any ads, you attempt to run thereafter will automatically be disapproved.
Snapchat is currently not a very well known traffic source. When I go on the Snapchat app to view ads, I often see the same 3-5 advertisers buying the majority of the traffic. While just like any traffic source, some verticals will do better than others, I highly suggest giving Snapchat a try.
Due to Snapchat being a mobile-only app, all traffic you will be buying will come from Smartphones and Tablets.
If you would like to run campaigns on Snapachat, read my guide: Snapchat Ads Guide.
3. Instagram Ads
Ah yes, Instagram, you know the “picture site” Facebook bought for USD 1 Billion?
Being one of the newer social networks that allow you to advertise, it’s a hidden gem.
Some demographics data include:
- 73% of users between 15 and 35 years old
- 48% of users are professionals; 46% have degrees
- Far higher brand engagement than on Facebook or Twitter
Even though it’s a bit outdated I suggest reading: 11 Instagram facts every marketer must know
4. Pinterest Ads
Currently, there is a waitlist to join what’s known as “Promoted Pins.” However, if your business targets women, Pinterest is one of the most popular social networks that are almost exclusively women. Advertise on Pinterest
5. Twitter Ads
Though Twitter is smaller than Facebook, 288 Million monthly active users in 2014, from what I’ve experienced, Twitter has much higher quality traffic. Also, since Twitter had really been pushing out more ad products in 2015, there is a ton of opportunity. Just like Facebook, Twitter has incredible demographic targeting and has even recently introduced keyword targeting.
The only real con I’ve experienced thus far with Twitter is their lack of ad types. However, as I mentioned in the cons, they have been really pushing out new ad products this year. The other drawback is Twitter ads are pretty expensive out the gate, so unless you already have to convert demographic metrics, expect to have a large burn budget to get a significant data set.
I love Twitter as both a social network and a traffic source. I would even go on to say it’s one of the traffic sources that I was most excited about here in 2015. If you’re not running on Twitter yet, I highly suggest you start.
6. Linkedin Ads
If you’re advertising B2B, then Linkedin is the place to be. Just like many other social Linkedin has excellent demographics targeting. Linkedin is also one of the best places to advertise your product to get in front of decision-makers. The traffic quality is super high quality for a select number of niches.
One of the most valuable social traffic sources that I’m aware of. I ran a $25 campaign and only got two clicks. Unless you have a very high life term value for each customer you bring in, you’ll likely struggle to get Linkedin profitable.
I’ve only run a few campaigns on Linkedin, and even though I did get conversions, overall, the traffic was just too expensive for what I am running. If you’re a recruiting agency or B2B SaaS company, then Linkedin is perfect for you.
7. Redit Ads
Reddit has 174 Million MAU, the majority of which are tech “geeks” and gamers. Reddit’s traffic is very high quality if your product or service is appealing to this audience. Reddit is unique in the fact that when you buy ad space on their platform, you’re the only advertiser during that selected time slot. This makes it very easy to know if the traffic is working for you or not, as you have less random variables, such as new advertisers screwing your data.
Unfortunately, Reddit doesn’t have very many targeting options at all. The only targeting options you have been by selecting what is called a sub-Reddit. This is essentially category targeting but makes optimizing campaigns very difficult on the front end.
Unlike the other social networks, Reddit is community-driven and is a big support of privacy. Be very careful with what you advertise on Reddit, because if the community doesn’t like it, it may backfire on you ultimately. Also, because of the privacy, Reddit has for its users and lack of targeting options. The only way you can optimize a campaign is through split testing various landing pages. Unless you’re promoting gaming or tech-related products, I will stay away from Reddit until you have other profitable sources.
8. StumbleUpon Ads
If you’re promoting content, that is very shareable, like this post ;). Then StumbleUpon Ads are a great way to get the ball rolling. I’ve had $25-50 spend campaigns to bring in over 8,000+ visits in a single day.
StumbleUpon traffic, all in all, is deficient quality. That is just the nature of StumbleUpon; the users click a button to go to the next page. Expect to have people on your site for 5 seconds or less.
I’ve used StumbleUpon quite a bit through my internet marketing career. If done right, StumbleUpon can bring you links to your site, social shares, and tons of traffic outside of the StumbleUpon community. Make sure your content is eye-catching and extremely useful as you only have a few seconds to capture their interest. Don’t expect to directly send StumbleUpon visitors to your sales page as it likely won't work.
What is Mobile traffic?
As the name suggests, mobile traffic is traffic that exclusively for mobile devices. Mobile ad inventory usually comes from mobile apps & websites. The ads can be in the form of banner, text & even multi-media such as video. Some networks even take advantage of features built into the phone, such as push notifications. Mobile ads are perfect if you’re looking to drive traffic to your mobile app, website, or running click-to-call offers.
Recommend Reading: Real Time Bidding – Ultimate Guide To Profits On RTB’s
If you’re looking to run mobile traffic, then inMobi’s impressive 1 Billion Monthly Uniques is a place you’ll want to be. inMobi has some exclusive deals with some large app publishers that you won’t be able to advertise anywhere else. inMobi also has super high-quality traffic in India & the Asian pacific, all with an easy to use interface.
Unless you’re spending some serious volume with inMobi, then you’re going to have a tough time with this network. A large majority of their traffic comes from exchanges since Google’s Double Click. If you’re advertising in the United States, for example, a vast majority of your traffic will be 2nd tier. InMobi also has several different targeting options but has no dynamic tokens to track easily what is working.
If you’re looking to run app installs, then inMobi is a place you’ll want to check out. Just note that the majority of your traffic will come from tier 2 apps, which have much lower quality traffic in most regions. Make sure to get yourself a rep at inMobi and be prepared to have some severe spend to get your hands on their top tier traffic.
2. millennial media
It has much higher quality traffic for the US and Canada than other mobile networks on this list. Since their review process is rigorous, it results in better for the users, which means higher quality traffic. The platform is also straightforward to navigate and set a campaign up for. You can quickly scale your campaigns if you find a winner.
Traffic prices are costly compared to others on the list. Unless you own the products you’re promoting outside of app installs, don’t expect to get a warm welcome. The majority of traffic is from the same exchanges as all the other RTBs fight over. Traffic prices are costly compared to others on the list. Unless you own the products you’re promoting outside of app installs, don’t expect to get a warm welcome. The majority of traffic is from the same exchanges as all the other RTBs fight over.
This is a comprehensive network for app developers looking to grow their audience in the US and Canada. Unless you’re spending some serious money, you’ll have trouble getting an ad rep on the phone. I have, however, had a lot of success with millennial media with several of my campaigns.
Airpush has one of the cleanest interfaces that I’ve seen. They also have some of the best targetings in the industry with their AirDSP. It allows for real-time optimization down to the device level. Airpush also has recently been introducing a lot of great new ad products such as abstract banners. These will result in higher click-through rates than your standard mobile advertisements.
Ever since Google officially killed off push ads back in 2013, Airpush appears to be run by a skeleton crew. My campaigns have taken as long as a week actually to get set live, and support tickets take well over a day or two.
If you’re looking for a low-cost traffic source to test some mobile campaigns on, then Airpush is a great place to start. As long as you mind slow approval times and a lack of support, you’ll benefit from the easy to use interface and real-time optimizations.
If you’re looking to grow your install numbers on new apps, then Tapjoy is excellent. Using Tapjoy to inflate your installs also works very well in helping your apps on the Play Store rank organically. I’ve averaged .30-.40 cents an install for US traffic, but you can get these numbers much lower if you go after Tier 2 & 3 countries.
Incent traffic is of low quality in nature. Expect a significant % of your install base to uninstall your app shortly after. Be sure that whoever you’re sending traffic to allows incenting as several companies don’t let this.
I am not a big fan of running incent traffic; however, it does work. If you’re looking to get a fast user base of installs on your app, then Tapjoy is the place to be. They can easily send you 10,000+ installs a day, which is nothing to gawk about.
What is Push Traffic?
Push traffic is just like getting a push notification on your device from a social network, app, etc. The difference is that the push notification being sent to subscribers of the push list are in fact, ads. Push traffic has been around for at least five years now, but within the last year, the focus of push traffic has changed. Prior to 2014, push notification traffic mostly came from Android apps that would push ads to their app users. Starting in 2019, however, several browsers started allowing web push notifications shortly thereafter, ad networks took advantage of this by selling web push notification traffic.
Ad maven has both push traffic and pop traffic, which includes both desktop and mobile. While their traffic is mid-range in terms of pricing for push traffic, their quality for most geos I've tested has been pretty good.
The team has been beneficial thus far and has responded to all my questions in a timely manner. While this may sound like common business sense, many sources and even affiliate networks have been falling short recently in terms of communication; this includes sources like Facebook, Google, and even Snapchat. So it's nice to have a cause that is helpful when you need it.
Their traffic comes in "spurts." Even if my bid is set to the current recommended bid or even a bit higher, often, my traffic will randomly slow down, only to come in hot and heavy a few hours later.
The only other con I can think of is for US-based marketers getting in contact with support. Due to them being based in Israel, their office hours are in the middle of the night for me. I'm used to this happening with a lot of traffic sources, but it's something to be aware of if you only have certain hours you can dedicate to your campaign during the day.
If you're looking to test out push traffic, I highly recommend giving Admaven a test.
What is Discovery traffic?
Content Discovery is a relatively new type of traffic source. Content discovery traffic comes from banner or text ads usually related to the content the visitor is currently reading. These ads typically show up under something like “Around the web” or “Related articles.” Content discovery is a great way to drive traffic to your site from large brands such as CNN.
OutBrain has more traffic than Facebook and Google. This means once you find a winner, you have a lot of scale potential. OutBrain has very high-quality traffic from many name brand sites. It is also effortless to get your campaign up and to run.
Since OutBrain is the king of the mountain, their prices reflect it. They have no targeting options and rely entirely on their engine to display your ads to the most relevant users.
If you’re looking for a traffic source with some serious volume, look no further. OutBrain is perfect for business owners looking to promote their content on popular and trust websites. I recommend taking advantage of this relatively new source before all your competitors do.
What is Redirect traffic?
Redirect traffic, also known as domain redirects, is traffic that comes from parked domains. Domainers purchase expired domains that still have traffic going to them from old links and content found through the web. They then take the traffic from these domains and sell them to you. There are some golden nuggets to find in domain redirect traffic because the traffic can originate from a super high-quality source. The other great thing about domain redirects is the traffic is usually dirt cheap. Perfect for any marketers running campaigns for “impulse buy” products or services.
1. Tonic Ads
Tonic has over 1 Billion/ clicks a month with a minimum CPC of $.002 a redirect. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen large amounts of traffic cheap! Tonic has some good targeting options, such as keyword/category, GEO, and dayparting. I’ve had several successful campaigns with DNTX with ROI’s of upwards of 1000%. Their traffic quality is fantastic for the price. Also, DNTX is one of the only networks I’ve ever seen that has instant campaign approvals ;).
My only real con with DNTX is I wish they had a bit more targeting options. Also, outside of the US, their traffic numbers start to dip.
If you’re looking for dirt cheap traffic that’s pretty decent quality, then check out DNTX.
ZeroPark has an excellent interface and a lot of targeting options. They also have massive amounts of traffic for pretty reasonable prices. What’s great about their platform is real-time price bidding on various metrics.
Traffic can get pretty pricey and is very volatile. Review times can take a while.
If you’re looking to expand on your redirect traffic, ZeroPark is an excellent option. They’re also the owners of the Voluum mobile tracker.
What is Pop Traffic?
Pop traffic, is driven from advertisements that open in parallel with the website they’re trying to reach. This traffic is generated in two ways: The first is when the site physically has the ad code for the popup on their property. The second is when the website visitor has a toolbar or plugin on their browser that is generating the popup. Many pop networks allow you to target by keywords or domains as a way to determine when the popup should occur.
Recommend Reading: How Dominate Pop Under & Redirect Traffic
PopAds has a ton of traffic in several geos for both desktop & mobile. The traffic can be bought for as low as $1 per 1000, so it is for people looking for a ton of traffic for a low price.
Like most pop sources, PopAds has a ton of low-quality traffic. They’re also considered a blind network and will only pass a website ID as opposed to showing the actual referrer. This is also a source that many people new to running paid traffic flock to; because of this, there are 300-400 different advertisers per country that you will have to compete against.
If your offer is simple to complete and is “impulse” driven such as Sweeps, Email submits, App installs, etc. – PopAds will do very well for you.
Learn how to run campaigns with my Popads Guide.
If you look at the top traffic domains in most countries, you’ll see adcash at the top rightly so because they have a TON of traffic. Adcash uses to be a managed buy platform but just recently released its self-serve platform.
Much like the other blind traffic sources available, adcash has a lot of low-quality traffic. You will have to spend quite a bit of money to find which placements aren't working for you and blacklist them appropriately.
If you are already having success and want to scale your campaigns on a more significant source, and cash is a great place to be. Just remember to limit your variables as much as possible, or you can burn through a marketing budget very quickly.
Tons of inventory available for a meager price.
Lower quality traffic, generally adult & torrent sites.
PopCash is very similar to Popads and even buys and sells traffic with them. If your offer is simple to complete and is “impulse” driven, such as Sweeps, Email submits, App installs, etc.
**Popcash Dynamic Tracking Tokens/Macros/Scripts**
Tokens Description %siteid% Site ID %cc% Country Code Advertise on Popcash
One of the best interfaces I’ve used. It has much higher quality traffic than many other pop-under networks.
Requires a minimum deposit of $500 for self-serve.
Wigetmedia is a great network that hasn’t been saturated yet. Advertise on wigetmedia
Useful Tools & Resources
Adplexity: If you are looking to succeed in pop & redirect traffic, it’s essential that you have a spy tool. My personal favorite is Adplexity because not only does it allow you to see what offers, landing pages, and traffic sources you are running. But it allows you to download the landing pages with the simple click of a button. Cost: $199.99/mo use coupon code: PPCMODE for 25% off.
Not Sure How To Make A Profitable Paid Traffic Campaign?: Click And Get My Launch Planning Checklist!
Does Paid traffic help SEO? While paid traffic may indirectly impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through brand awareness. Paid traffic will not have any impact on your search rankings directly.
What is the best-paid traffic source? Each paid traffic source will provide different results depending on your business. Here are five paid traffic sources that are worth testing:
- Google Ads - Paid traffic in both search & display is available.
- Facebook Ads -
- Snapchat Ads
- Quora Ads
- LinkedIn Ads