What is paid traffic
Any traffic that is acquired through direct payment of a vendor. This generally takes on several different forms. Specifically direct payment in exchange for direct traffic.
There are ultimately 3 major types of payment options
PPC (pay per click) – this is model that allows an advertiser to pay based upon individual clicks. If a user doesn’t click on your advertisement you don’t pay a penny. This is great for testing your offering to a select group of a target audience
PPV (pay per view) – this is a model that counts the number of times an advertisement is served up or shown to a user. This is typically measured using a PPI (pay per impression) reimbursement where you pay a fixed rate for every 1000 times an ad (typically a banner) is served to a real user. This is typically filled with fraudulent (page loads). Other smaller types of media buys charge a very small fixed rate for a single view.
PPA (pay per action) – becoming increasingly popular especially in the CPA golden age. You only pay per desired action. This is common for data collection or free product disbursement, examples include:
- Free download
- Email captures
- Personal Information Captures (i.e. name, address, phone)
- Service Trial Initiation
- Account Signups
Due to the increase in complexity level of engagement required these can be substantially hiher in compensation.
The most common forms of paid traffic (in order of commonality):
Paid Search: this is some of the highest converting traffic you can get if you continue to optimize your campaigns. This is at a PPC model. These can range from a few dollars to the high double digits. This has a direct competition model multiple bidders compete against each keyword and thus prices rise and fall accordingly. Most traffic will be appropriately labeled as “Paid Traffic” in your analytics tool.
Paid Social – this is a category of it’s own however, this is incredibly important as it specifically targets exact demographics and psychographics for individual users. It is uses PPC, PPA, and PPV models based on campaign types and platforms. Most analytics tools will show this traffic as “Social” and they will not segment between paid vs organic social.
Large Banner Buys: You typically need a large advertisement agency to even consider this option and this can easily run from $100,000 – $2,000,000+ using a PPI model. This is not a every conversion friendly campaign but it is primarily used from brand awareness camapgins. Due to the increase of “banner blindness” these are slowly becoming more and more antiquated and may soon become obsolulet if this doesn’t update itself. Most traffic will be labeled as “Display” traffic or possibly even “referral.”
Content Syndication/Distribution: has increasionly become the answer to the advertisers need to spend. Generally a PPC model you can expect to pay anywere from $.10 – $1.00 per click. You can genereate a lot of users from similar types of topical content but demographic data is pretty limited. As soon as this medium gained traction more and more people are dismissing it as clickbait headlines are needed in order to generate clicks which ultimately lead to learned habits of rolled eyes heavy scrolls. This traffic has been labeled within multiple categories including Paid, Referral, Direct, Other, and many others. Due to this it is best to use some type of UTM tracking services such as Google Tag Manager.
Popups / Pop-unders – typically using a PPI model you too can expect to pay only a few pennies to a couple of dollars per pop. This model is a nusance and is dependent on a very strong offering inorder to work so don’t expect this to make you millions of targeted users. In addition most people are moving away from this as it is a poor user experience. There are many technological problems as popups are usually blocked by default in many browsers. This will generally show up as “Paid,” “Display,” or “Other” traffic in your analytics tool.
Adwords/Bing – A paid search tool that are ultimately the industry standard for paid search. With Google owning 80% of the market share you can literally focus all of your eggs in this basket. With that said everyone else takes a similar approach therefore Bing is a good paid search platform as it is naturally less saturated.
Facebook – Due to their extensive demographic data, Facebook ads are the gold standard for paid search. They are a bit heavy with regulation however dollar per dollar you can’t find a more effective paid social tool.
Outbrain – This is currently the web’s largets publisher for content distribution. Therefore you can find many topically related websites in virtually every market. Despite their size you can also have a very small budget to see what content works and what doesn’t.
Don’t get fancy with multi-paid channel variance testing, that stuff is for nerds! Pick a realistic monthly budget, and 1 specific goal for your site or product. Select ONE platform that works for your established goal and start measuring your performance against your goal: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually and make small adjustments until your goal is reached.