Traffic Sources for Affiliate Marketing

So, you are a beginner arbitrator. You have already heard something about affiliate marketing and have some knowledge in advertising, albeit not complete. The first question that all beginners ask is where to send traffic and from what source? It is about the sources of traffic for affiliate marketing that we will talk in our material.

How to choose a traffic source

Leads can be found everywhere as there are dozens of sources. However, there is no universal source among them, each needs to be studied depending on the offer, audience and a number of other factors. That is, it’s not right for a novice traffic manager to find the “same” source, but to learn how to choose it correctly depending on the situation.

Here’s what to look for when choosing a traffic source:


If the traffic manager works independently, and does not manage the company’s allocated budgets, then the affiliate pays for all advertising from the own pocket. Accordingly, the goal is to attract as many leads as possible, spending as little money as possible.

There is no clear cost framework, a lot depends on the amount of remuneration. If the offer involves the sale of luxury real estate, then the cost of one lead can cost several thousand dollars but the reward there will be appropriate. On the other hand, the offer of some simple application involves paying a couple of dollars for downloading it.

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Available volumes

Advertising is not a limitless thing. For example, the number of users subscribed to push notifications from sites of interest to them, of course. Besides you, there are thousands of other arbitrageurs who need specific traffic in a specific geo. That is, you may encounter a lack of traffic through the selected site.

The only exception is contextual advertising. There volumes are almost limitless.

In this case, the choice depends on the scale of the campaign. The larger it is, the more traffic is needed. On the other side, when you run a test or small advertising campaign, you can choose traffic with small volumes  and then scale.

Traffic quality

The main problem with traffic arbitrage is bots. They only increase views, but do not make sales. And for the most part, offers work according to the models associated with various kinds of sales. Such traffic harms both the company and the partner.

The quality of traffic can be determined by reading reviews about the source and network where you plan to buy it. You can also run a small test campaign. If there are bots, the test will show it.

Audience segmentation options

There are different offers from dietary supplements for prolonging youth and maintaining health to buying access to a webcam resource. At the same time, some products are also tailored for a specific region, for example, only for Latin America. All this must be taken into account when advertising a campaign – the more you narrow the audience, the more likely it is to hit a potential client.

Alas, not every traffic source has many filters in principle. For example, advertising on social networks can be customized even taking into account the interests of the user, but the email newsletter will filter out the geo at best.

Best Sources for Affiliate Marketing

Contextual advertising

This is one of the most common sources of traffic and at the same time the most difficult. It’s easy to waste your budget here. Advertising messages in this format are displayed based on the context – what the user is looking for or has previously searched for. They look very similar to regular search queries and are located at the very top or bottom of the search results.

The results marked as ads are just contextual advertising.

In contextual advertising, the main thing is keywords. The ad is displayed if the keys are present in the query that the user specified. That is, ads are shown to relevant users.If they are not interested in the product, then they revolve in its subject matter. Before starting a campaign, you need to study similar search queries and add them to the ad text so you can get to the right audience, and motivate them to follow the link.

Both Google and Yandex allow you to set up an advertising campaign for the selected parameters of geo, age, gender, display time, and much more. However, they simply don’t let through many offers. Adult will definitely be unavailable.


SEO is search engine optimization, a complex of measures aimed at increasing the position of a site in a search query. SEO involves improving the navigation of a resource, correct indexing of pages, filling content with keywords, working with reputation, and a number of other procedures.

All traffic from SEO is organic and you don’t have to pay for it. Each visitor to the site himself found it on the Internet upon request. Compared to paid promotion, this can be called a big plus.

On the other hand, SEO optimization does not work immediately. There are very competitive positions for which it will take months to reach the top of the search. In addition, SEO services are expensive. Accordingly, working with SEO is about serious and long-term projects.

Email distribution

Nowadays, affiliate managers do not seriously consider mailing lists. The fact is that collecting a subscriber base is now a laborious task. You need to collect user contacts on some site and get their consent to receive emails, including advertising ones. In addition, people do not go to the mail far as often as to social networks. And the system can recognize your message as an advertisement.

On the other hand, the value of the collected database increases many times as this is the most targeted traffic. And the collected data can be used for several offers at once. Such a mailing list is also a shareware way of promotion, because you only need to pay for a subscription to mail services that can send thousands of messages.

“Black” methods of working with email involve buying a subscribers’ lists and sending out an offer without any of their consent. But, most likely, such a letter will end up in spam. Also, these methods violate the law.

Advertising in social networks

According to We Are Social, the average user spends 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media. This alone can already be considered a reason to drive traffic from Facebook, Instagram and other sites.

As a rule, the term “advertising in social networks” means targeted advertising. It is available for Instagram, FB and VK and is an advertisement in the user’s feed.

This is what a standard Facebook ad looks like

In the same social networks, you can buy advertising directly from major bloggers or communities. Then it will look like a normal post at all.

On Twitter, advertising is purchased directly from the social network, but it still looks like a regular post.

The only exception is the inscription Promoted. It is she who issues the post as advertising.

In addition, ads can be purchased on Reddit, Quora, TikTok, Pinterest and many other sites.

Each social network has its own limitations. Before pouring traffic from there, you should carefully read them. For example, adult is going pretty badly everywhere so ads of this kind will have to be masked, releasing rather hints of erotica.

In Instagram, given its focus, it is good to pour on the inside – goods for sports and health. Quora is often used to advertise financial and cryptocurrency offers. Pinterest is one of the few social networks where erotica is more or less allowed. In a word, advertising in social networks is very dependent on the specific platform.

Banner advertising

Banner ads involve placing clickable images on various websites. Typically, the banner adjusts to the content of the site in order to look organic. This way it irritates the user less.

Banners are more informative than contextual advertising. A good banner clearly demonstrates the product. Therefore, such advertising has a higher click-through rate than contextual ads.

Banners can be so – you want to click on them.

Basically, traffic from banners is purchased using the CPV or CPM model, depending on the number of impressions. CPM is a special case of CPV when a fixed cost per thousand impressions is assigned.

Banners, however, have one big drawback. Browser extensions like AdBlock completely block them so users on the site will not see them. Money for impressions will not be written off, but the audience of banner advertising in this case is much smaller than, for example, contextual advertising.

Advertising through bloggers

Getting promoted by influencers with some kind of offer is a rather innovative solution. Bloggers are willing to take on advertising, but in arbitrage this source of traffic is rarely used. On the other hand, so far this is an unplowed field so there is a lot of traffic here.

The main advantage of advertising with a blogger is confirmation of the quality of the product. The audience believes that opinion leaders will not give bad advice. In addition, such advertising works all the time as long as there is a video or post, leads can potentially go.

The only disadvantage of this format of work is the difficulty with GEO. For example, PewDiePie is watched all over the world, while the traffic manager needs specific countries. That is, applications may be invalid.

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Push notifications

A relatively new advertising format is desktop or phone notifications about updates. For mobile pushes, you need a downloaded application, for desktop pushes, you need consent to send notifications, similar to email.

Push traffic is relatively cheap. Its CPC starts at $0.003. At the same time, real people subscribe to push notifications, it is much more difficult to arrange bot traffic here. However, in most verticals now there is serious competition, there may not be enough traffic.

Main Points

  • For an affiliate, it is important not to find a universal source of traffic, but to carefully select it based on the situation.

  • Traffic is selected based on price, quality, volume and audience segmentation options.

  • Some traffic sources are designed to work for a long time. For example, SEO in the first months may not generate leads at all, but a well-made site will bring visitors constantly.

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