If you have any kind of website, blog, or even a simple landing page from which you are offering an incentive, one thing you definitely need is traffic -that is, visitors. Ideally, you also want targeted traffic, people who have a genuine interest in what your site is all about.
Traffic doesn’t just come by itself. If you put up a website, a few visitors may find it by accident, but if you want regular and significant traffic, you have to do something to get it, and paying for traffic is typically the fastest way to achieve it.
The benefit of using ‘paid traffic’ is many-fold.
It is inexpensive in terms of both resources and time. You can dabble with paid traffic for just a few dollars to gauge how it impacts your readership. If visitors like what they see and decide to share it with their social media friends, the resulting additional traffic becomes organic, viral — and free.
Your visitors will be more inclined to enjoy your great content. You are profiling them based on their interests, so they should be more likely to engage with what you have to say.
You can offer targeted content to a targeted audience. You can drive people to a particular post or page you’re trying to promote, or one that you think will be most likely to draw them in. If you’ve had a post that was particularly popular with your regular readers, you can promote it in the hope that it will strike a similar chord with new visitors.
As powerful as paid traffic can potentially be for your bottom line, the disturbing fact is that many marketers will never realize these benefits because they commit some rather unforgiving cardinal sins when applying it to their offers and sites.
If you have been struggling with your paid traffic efforts, then this post is for you. Firstly, we are going to confirm that we are on the same page with our definition of paid traffic, and reveal the most effective paid methods that you should be taking advantage of today. Then, t, and what can be done to avoid these mistakes to increase the success rate of your future campaigns.
Paid Traffic Methods and Risks
There are sources online that allow you to buy traffic from them. When you make that purchase, you are using paid traffic. As a method of driving visitors to your sites, paid traffic is popular because results are generally very fast and efficient. With paid traffic, you can determine the type of traffic you want to attract by demographic, topic, age, language and a range of other targeted categories that are specific to the traffic source that you are using.
Paid traffic comes in many forms, and with the ever-changing online environment, it is not uncommon for today’s popular traffic sources to quickly become yesterday’s hero. That said, there are several paid traffic methods that have increased in popularity and continue to produce results when used effectively.
Paid Traffic Methods
- Solo Ads – advertise directly to a proven buyer’s list of participants in your niche
- Pay-Per-Click – target advertisements to show only to potential customers interested in your topics
- Pay-Per-View – niche targeted ‘pop-up’ advertising to prospects searching specific keywords or websites
- Media Buying – banner display advertisements on sites targeting your ideal customers
- Facebook Ads – target viral-capable audiences by location, demographics and profile.
Paid Traffic Risks
Paid traffic is all about driving targeted visitors to your site quickly, with the intention of recovering your costs many times over by converting that traffic into buying customers. For this reason, it is important that you understand how to avoid making mistakes with paid traffic, otherwise you risk losing a lot more money than you will ever receive.
Many marketers dive head first into paid traffic campaigns and fail immediately because of their mistakes. These errors can be costly not only in terms of leaking advertising funds, but also in seemingly less tangible ways. For every visitor that leaves your website immediately, your site’s apparent value in the search engines is reduced and your rankings are likely to slide. Your visitor tracking is also affected because you are not enjoying reliable measures that reveal what visitors want to see from your site. This means that you are unable to correctly test your Ads to determine visitor interest and retention. Of course, if you receive no to very few visitors at all, then your advertising efforts have again been all for nothing…much like your resulting traffic levels.
The following list of mistakes identify some common errors made with paid traffic, and reveal how you can avoid making the same marketing sins with your future campaigns. These traffic sins apply to any paid traffic technique.
Paid Traffic Sin #1 – Attracting Non-Targeted Traffic
When inexperienced or lazy marketers have not taken the time to understand their intended customer base, the result will be random, non-targeted visitors who have little to no interest in what the marketer is selling. It is essential that you know prior to paying for Ads which target audience you are appealing to and how to attract their attention.
Failure to engage this basic knowledge will result in generically placed advertisements that attract non-specific clicks and very quickly drain your budget. You need targeted clicks from interested people, so make sure your advertising copy segments potential customers, and prevents wasted clicks from prospects who instantly leave your site because your offer isn’t right for them. Learn beforehand what your targeting options are and take advantage of them to extend your budget and receive more relevant traffic.
Targeting options for attracting the right prospects and customers will also depend on the method of paid traffic that you are using. This makes it as equally important to investigate which traffic options will be most effective for the type of offer that you are promoting. An internet marketing product will be well received by subscribers targeted in a solo ad campaign, while promotion of a new household ‘gadget’ would be more successful with marketing segregated by demographics like age and gender, and psychographics like lifestyle and class. It’s a basic example, but one which is commonly overlooked.
When you are paying for ads to attract traffic, make sure you consider the complete picture. Determine if your ideal customer base has already been established, the ways in which they can be further segmented, and the paid traffic method which is most specific to their purchase history.
Paid Traffic Sin #2 – Poor Ad Copy
When creating Ads for your paid traffic campaigns, your sole purpose is to get the click through to your offer from those who are reading or viewing it. If your Ad is poorly worded this can have the opposite effect, with your prospects’ attention drawn elsewhere. When this happens you’ve lost the opportunity to send them to the location of your offer.
Regardless of which paid traffic method you employ, you only have a limited amount of space to engage the reader, so you need to make sure that your Ad captures their attention. Think of your Ad as a message and match that message to your market. One of the biggest sins advertisers make is to ignore this advice. The result is poorly written, irrelevant ad copy that fails to focus on the desires of their intended audience.
While there is no big secret to writing engaging Ad copy, there are certain elements to it that will give your Ads the competitive advantage. The most important is the need to focus on a big benefit your reader will experience if they click on your Ad. Your prospects want to know what’s in it for them, otherwise they will move along to another Ad that tells them. You can make this obvious from the start by including the benefit in the heading of the Ad. A boring heading will turn customers away right from the start.
In the body of your ad, be personable and write the way that you talk. Your prospects need to be able to relate to you. Use keywords that directly describe your product, but avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ to make your point. You should be specific so that your readers know exactly what you are offering, and remember that people dislike blind Ad copy. Where relevant, use numbers and symbols to break up your words. This will reduce character length and make your Ad more visually pleasing. If you are selling a product that others offer for free, don’t be afraid to include the price. This will ensure that those who click-through to your offer are more likely to purchase.
In Ads where you are paying specifically for clicks, you need to be careful not to over-sell your offer. Ads that are relevant and concise are extremely important here. You want to encourage prospects to click through who are more likely to purchase, rather than curiosity seekers who will leave your site seconds after they arrive.
Paid Traffic Sin #3 – No Call to Action
Believe it or not, simply driving people to your Ad is not enough to encourage them to actually purchase anything from you. Not many marketers are so persuasive that they can rely on their paid traffic to instinctively click through their Ad to any particular offer. Your visitors not only need to be told what to do at the end of each Ad, they need a strong call to action that convinces them that it is in their best interests to act as you tell them.
Your call to action should work in connection with your strong ad copy – it is the final piece of your Ad that instructs readers what they now need to do to capitalize on your offer. The wording of your call to action is therefore very important. Regardless of how enticing your Ad is, a poorly worded finale to your Ad is likely to have the same effect as no call to action at all. Phrases like View More, Browse Now, and Click Here may entice curious engagement at best. They are however, very unlikely to tempt seller urgency. Instead, you need to use words that tell your prospects what you want them to do in the next step of the process, which is to Buy Now, Order Here, Purchase Now, and so on.
Whichever active word or phrase you use, ensure that your call to action is easily visible so that it stands out directly from the Ad. There is no point in having the best instructive call in the world if it is not distinctive from the rest of the text or simply blends in with the same colored Ad space. Depending on the Ad method, it should ideally be above the fold and not ‘wordy’. You should use the same language as your offer or sales page, and ensure that the content that will be received is what your visitors are expecting.
If you tell your customers what the next step is, encourage them, get them excited and create a sense of urgency and you will see an increase in your CTR. Balance that with ensuring the content they receive is relevant and you will see an increase in your conversions.
Paid Traffic Sin #4 – Sending Visitors to Home Pages
A common sin that inexperienced marketers in particular make is to send their visitors from their paid Ads to a home page instead of the page that has the offer. You should always send your prospects to the page where the expected information is there waiting for them. If you take an engaged and excited highly targeted visitor and force them to do the horrible four letter word ‘W-O-R-K’ for the information you promised, they will likely leave your site and you have lost a potential sale.
Targeted visitors can be very profitable, however you should also expect them to be very impatient. Given that home pages are generally quite broad in their content, the details on that page are rarely going to contain your visitor’s required information. The page that you send your prospects to should be a page that specifically matches the clicked or searched keyword or offer. If it doesn’t, your traffic will leave immediately, in turn wasting the money that you paid for the Ad and, if it was a PPC Ad that you ran, adversely affect your quality score and increase the cost of your future clicks.
If you run an Ad that targets red widgets, but you send your prospects to your home page for widgets, this means that they have to spend time finding your red widgets link. While this might not seem like a big deal to you, your conversion rates with any paid offer will suffer if you make this mistake.
Don’t rush your Ads. You have gone to the time and money expense of writing and strategically placing them, so don’t blow your opportunity gateway by making prospects search for the entrance.
Paid Traffic Sin #5 – Not Tracking Results
This may sound self-explanatory to those that have been around the block with paid marketing, but not monitoring your Ad campaigns is a blunder not only many newbies make, but more seasoned marketers fall foul with too.
For those newer to the marketing scene, campaign tracking is the terminology that refers to the ways in which advertisers identify how users are finding their offers and sites. While there are several aspects to your Ad’s performance that you can focus on, some of the main metrics on which you should be tracking for campaign effectiveness include number of clicks and sales, cost per click and sale, and total return on investment, known as ROI.
It’s absolutely crucial to monitor your campaigns. You must know your figures and if you’re turning a profit compared to the amount of money that you’re actually spending on advertising. Knowing your ‘cost per conversion’ figures is critical. This can only be achieved with consistent data collection.
It’s very important to know how your visitors interact with your site after they click on your Ad. You do this by setting up your web analytics software, such as Google Analytics, to track this information. Integrating your Ad campaigns with your website analytics software gives you very valuable information which allows you to closely monitor your visitor’s behavior.
The ultimate result from any Ad campaign is to bring you profits. Only by regular tracking can you determine how successful your Ad strategies are, which campaigns you should continue with, and those which you should revise or stop altogether.
Paid Traffic Sin #6 – Not Split-Testing Ads
This common mistake is closely aligned with traffic sin number 5, in that if you do not keep track of your Ads and test their effectiveness, then you risk running incorrect campaigns or even worse, dropping Ads that might otherwise be successful with some qualified changes that improve your visitor response rate.
Regardless of the paid traffic method that has your current focus, you need to determine which Ads are working best, and what you need to change that could improve your CTR’s and conversions. The most common means of comparing Ads for the same traffic type is to run what is known as A/B testing. The idea with this strategy is that you run two versions of the same Ad against each other to test their effectiveness and success, and to ‘tweak’ the better performing Ad to further measure each set of results. Common testing metrics can include headlines, color, Ad copy, call to action, and even the target audience to which the ads are displayed.
When conducting split-testing on any element of your Ads, you need to ensure that the success metric is the same for both copies. The Ads need to be run for the same length of time and have the same amount of traffic driven to both versions. The sample size of visitors needs to be significant to ensure a valid and measurable response. You need to track each of your tests and all of your results. Concentrate on split-testing only one aspect of your Ad at a time, and then repeat the process.
After testing a selection of Ads, don’t be surprised to discover that your personal favourite bombed whilst another one you didn’t think much of was a roaring success. Use Google Analytics so you get as much information about what your visitors do when they get to your site.
While this might at first seem time-consuming, the benefits to you are in having continually improved Ads and optimized campaigns based on true empirical numbers. It is not uncommon for some marketers to increase their conversion rates by 300 per cent or more simply by split-testing their Ads and acting on their results.
Paid Traffic Sin #7 – Confusing CTR with Conversion
The difference between CTR and ‘conversion’ is one which is often misunderstood by marketers when valuing their paid Ad results. Looking at only the CTR is a false indication of a better performing Ad, and this one mistake can be costly if it results in them terminating an Ad that has better conversions.
To clarify, CTR or click-through rate is the ratio of how many times people see your Ad and how many of those times they click through on it. Conversion on the other hand, is the number of visitors who complete the action that you require, whether that be buying your product or entering their details on a form. The underlying difference between the two terms then is that CTR measures Ad views, while conversions go one step further and do what is requested in your call to action.
CTR is used to gauge the effectiveness of the Ad and the keywords that draw visitors to see what the Ad is promoting. CTR is particularly important in PPC for contributing to quality scores and lower bid rates. However, in any paid traffic platform, the bottom line is conversion rate, and whether the high CTR leads to a high conversion rate or not is another step in analyzing the effectiveness of your campaign. Only looking at the click-through rate is short-sighted, but a mistake that many newbies make.
Using the right metrics is crucial to making evaluations about your Ads. Receiving high CTR’s is of less value to you if that traffic to your offer or site then fails to convert. If the point of your campaign is branding, then driving higher CTR’s makes sense. If however, you have a Cost per Lead/Purchase at a set amount, then you need to focus on the Conversion Cost to provide the best returns on the campaign.
Bonus Traffic Sin – Falling for Low Quality Paid Traffic
It’s important that we mention a type of paid traffic you should avoid. In general, when you see ads for low cost traffic or visitors, often called “hits,” you can assume that this is very low quality traffic. An example of such an ad would be “10,000 Guaranteed Visitors for $20!”
While the visitors might be “guaranteed,” in most cases they won’t be much use to you. Some companies who advertise this use automated software to generate the hits, in which case the traffic isn’t even real. However, even when they are real visitors, you can be sure at this price it won’t be very valuable.
This type of traffic is generated in a number of ways. One is using expired domains. That is, the visitor tries to reach a certain page, but the website no longer exists. The company providing the traffic redirects this traffic to sites such as yours. While this may sound like a clever strategy, in practice visitors are seldom happy to reach a different site than they were aiming for, and generally leave without taking action.
Another type of low quality or sometimes fake traffic is “email blasts” that supposedly deliver your message to many thousands or even millions of people for a low price. This is another case where it can be hard to tell if your email is being delivered to real recipients or not. Even if it is, this is at best, a very untargeted email list or, at worst, spam.
Low quality traffic often appeals to new marketers and people on limited budgets because it’s cheap. However, if you get no results from it, it’s not a worthwhile investment no matter how inexpensive. In general, if paid traffic sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Those who avoid paid traffic as part of their marketing strategy generally do so because they feel it is too expensive, too competitive, or just too difficult to learn in order to be effective.
However, if you need fast, reliable methods to drive traffic to your sites, then paid traffic is definitely worth your time and investment.
There is no faster way to reach a targeted audience or to test the viability of promotions than with paid traffic.
Where people fail with their paid traffic options is in making common, often basic mistakes that leave them exposed to poor CTR’s and very limited conversions. Each of the traffic sins mentioned in this report has the potential to drastically impact the outcome of your campaigns. It is important going forward that you remain aware of who you are targeting with your offers, how you are engaging and directing visitors to your sites, and the relevance of your information to your audience when they click through from your Ads.
You must split-test your copy regularly to determine its effectiveness in improving the CTR of your Ads. Remember also that an impressive click-through ratio is of limited value if a poor conversion rate fails to make you sales. Be aware of your bottom line, avoid options that guarantee unrealistic expectations, and adjust Ads accordingly to improve the outcome of your campaigns.
Be mindful of these traffic sins when planning your next campaign. Paid traffic can provide fast and effective results, but only if you play your part in its success.
If you’re ready to dive into paid traffic, be sure to check out our complete retargeting masterclass. 9.5 hours of training that will cover everything you need to know to be a paid traffic master!