Media buying is one of the many options available to affiliates, and can be the biggest source of traffic for a website. Media buying, also known as display advertising, is essentially purchasing a set number of views for your advertisements, and are sold at CPM (cost per thousand views) rates. There’s no bidding involved, like CPV (cost per view) models, and there’s no strict quality score like with Google. But despite the advantages, most affiliates don’t use media buying because it seems like a daunting system to set up and run. Here’s a step-by-step guide that will get you on the path to increased traffic with media buying.
1. Setting Up a Tracking Solution
Before you buy traffic from a site, you have to be ready to track all of the data you’ll be collecting. If you’re not monitoring how your offer is performing, you can’t optimize your offer for maximum traffic/conversions. To properly track this data, you’ll need two things: an ad server and a landing page.
a. Get a Beginner Ad Server
If you’re just starting out, you can sign up for a free account with DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) Small Business. It’s a free remotely hosted ad server hosted by Google! As long as your campaign is smaller than 90 million ad impressions per month, you can use this server free of charge.
b. Getting a Tracking System
Save as much money as possible by getting free, self-hosted traffic software such as Prosper202. Tracking systems track the CTR (click through rate) of your ad to your landing page, and also your conversion rate between your landing to your offer. It can also help you test different landing pages and offers with a little bit of code added. Pretty neat.
2. Select Your Niche
The product/service that you’re looking to promote should be something that appeals to a large range of people. Unless the site you want to purchase traffic from has a very small niche, your offer should appeal to everyone. When media buying, the potential customer is not actively searching for your product/service, so you need to capture the attention of as many eyes as possible.
3. Select a Site to Buy Inventory
When you’re starting out, and don’t have the budget to do a lot of experimenting with your campaign, it’s best to do as much research as possible to find a site with an audience that your offer will appeal to. There are lots of free tools available to help narrow down which sites are visited by your target demographic. You can then inquire about advertising on the specific websites you’ve selected. With data in hand, you’ll be able to more aggressively negotiate your CPM rates.
Free tools to hone in on your target demographics:
4. Test EVERYTHING
Once you’ve purchased your traffic, you’ll want to test everything. Right at the beginning, it’s imperative that you test multiple creatives (different designs for your landing pages). An ad or landing page with different calls-to-action, different formats, different colours, etc. could all influence the effectiveness of your campaign. Experts recommend testing at least 10 different variations on the landing page, but as many 50 could really help you further narrow down what is the most effective with your audience. When you’re purchasing traffic by CPM, your CTR is VERY important.
Leave your campaign running for at least 24 hours before analyzing the data you’re collecting. This gives you enough info to make informed optimizations with your campaign. You can immediately eliminate the landing pages and ad designs that under perform. It’s also important to look closely at the times of day when your ads performs the best, because many networks allow you to run campaigns only for certain hours of the day. Running your campaign for only part of the day could be a huge money saver for your company.
Common Media Buying Terms:
CTR – click through rate
EPC – earning per click
CPM – cost per one thousand impressions
Insertion Order – a contract that states the amount of impressions you are purchasing and the flight dates of your campaign.