For many websites and business owners, getting enough traffic to their site can often be challenging. Maybe you’ve tried SEO and content marketing in the past with a blog or guest post, but you just aren’t getting the traffic you want. In times like these, many business and website owners often look to alternative methods to drive traffic.
One of the most popular ways to get visitors to a website is with paid traffic. This type of traffic as you may have guessed involves paying someone else to provide it. Whether its buying display ads or setting up a pay per click campaign, all this type of traffic falls under the same category.
In this post, we’re taking a look at paid traffic and asking the question: is it worth it?
With so many people buying traffic and so many others thinking of doing so, should you bite the bullet or spend your money elsewhere? Well, we’re here to find out!
If you’re still not sure what paid traffic actually is, then don’t worry, that’s the first thing we’ll be covering in this article. Let’s get a better understanding of paid traffic by exploring what it is.
What Are Paid Traffic Sources?
The term paid traffic can be a confusing phrase and often means different things to different people. To some people, paid traffic is traffic from pay per click advertising only, while to others it includes things such as banner ads and other forms of paid advertising.
In this article, we’ll be referring to paid traffic as any website traffic that has been paid to obtain it. Whether that’s a website banner, pay per click advert, or YouTube advert. Since money is exchanged for the traffic, we’ll class it as paid traffic. By giving paid traffic this definition, it opens up a world of different types of traffic. Simply pretending all paid traffic is the same would be foolish.
Since different types of paid traffic come from various forms of advertising, some traffic actually performs better. To investigate further, we’ll examine two of the most popular forms of paid advertising: paid ads and pay per click traffic.
Paid Ad Traffic
The first most popular type of paid traffic is ad traffic. This means traffic that is generated from users clicking on banners, adverts, pop-ups, and videos. Unlike other forms of paid traffic, such as pay per click, advertisers who use ad traffic are usually charged per one thousand impressions. Also known as CPM or cost per mile, this type of advertising does not guarantee any clicks or traffic to your site but instead offers a much lower rate.
Depending on the site you are advertising on paid ad traffic can be bought for as low as $0.5 per a thousand impressions. If one person out of those one thousand impressions clicks your ad, then you paid $0.5 for that one visitor. Obviously, the click-through rate of the ad can greatly affect this number. Sometimes it will be much higher and sometimes it will be much lower.
For some businesses, paid ad traffic can be much more profitable than other types of paid traffic, especially if they have a high converting advert. On the other hand, some businesses end up spending hundreds of paid ad traffic without any results. With no guarantee of visitors for their budget, lots of businesses prefer pay per click traffic instead.
Pay Per Click Traffic
Another highly popular type of paid traffic is most certainly pay per click traffic. Unlike the usual banner and ad traffic that runs on a CPM basis, pay per click traffic charges advertisers per click (hence the name!) This type of advertising allows advertisers to usually get a better return on their investment, assuming the price per click isn’t too competitive.
Instead of paying $0.5 in the hope of getting a click, people who use PPC traffic only get charged when they receive a click. This makes managing budgets and working out if their campaign is going to be profitable or not much easier.
However, as good as pay per click traffic may sound, there are some disadvantages of it that we’ll cover later. But before we jump into the disadvantages, let’s take a look at the advantages of paid traffic in general.
The Advantages of Paid Traffic Sources
When it comes to advertising, paid traffic has many benefits and can help almost any business improve their exposure and conversions. One of the many benefits of paid traffic is the fact that it’s practically instantaneous.
You can set up a PPC or paid ad campaign in a matter of minutes and have it running instantly. This means you can start to receive traffic to your website on the same day. Unlike other forms of advertising out there, paid traffic offers much faster turnarounds and results.
Another benefit of paid traffic is that it allows you to target users that you never thought you’d be able to. With PPC networks offering huge 3rd party display networks your advert can be shown on literally millions on other websites. Not only does this massively increase your exposure, but it also attracts users other advertising methods would struggle to reach.
A good example of a company who has taken advantage of paid traffic sources is CloudTalk.io. Currently, paid traffic accounts for more than 30% of CloudTalk’s revenue. Being a cloud call center software in a highly competitive niche, they are a great example of a SaaS business that is driven by a good paid advertising strategy.
The Disadvantages of Paid Traffic Sources
As you’ve probably seen by now, paid traffic can be a powerful tool for many businesses to help them drive traffic to their websites. However, before you go buying as much paid traffic as possible, it’s important we take a look at the disadvantages as well.
Now the first and most obvious disadvantage of paid traffic is that it costs money. This means that it’s entirely possible to lose hundreds or thousands if you don’t know what you’re doing. But there’s also another problem, you can still lose hundreds of thousands even if you DO know what you’re doing.
Over the past several years there has been a massive increase in ad fraud which is costing advertisers billions of dollars a year. No matter if you run paid ads or PPC campaigns, almost everyone is affected.
Remember earlier when we said paid ad traffic is usually charged on a cost per thousand impressions? Well, imagine if you got ten thousand views without a single click. You’d probably think maybe your advert sucks or people are not just interested.
However, in reality, the truth is that 90% of those ten thousand views are most likely robots. Not only does this massively increase the cost for advertisers but it also puts them off spending any more money.
In November of 2017, a company called AdForm discovered one of the largest botnets to affect digital advertising. Similar to that of the Methbot operation previously observed in 2016, this new discovery dubbed the HyphBot, is estimated to cost advertisers between $262,000 to $1,285,714 a day. As you can see, for any advertiser this is sure to put them off spending money on paid traffic.
However, advertisers are starting to fight back. Thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence and improved security, many advertisers now run fraud detection tools along with their campaigns to reduce the money lost to fraud. Unfortunately, this kind of protection only really works on pay per click traffic.
Stopping bots from viewing banners and ads is a lot harder when the network has the final say on the matter. Some don’t want to stop these fraudulent views as it would mean less money for them, others wouldn’t even know where to start even if they wanted to.
With so many major problems why should you buy paid traffic when you can invest your money in search engine optimisation?
Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic
Now we’ve covered the main advantages and disadvantages of paid traffic, how does it hold up to other types of traffic?
If you’re new to the world of digital marketing, then it’s important to understand that there are various ways to attract traffic to your website. One of the most popular ways to drive traffic to a website outside of paid ads is most certainly with search engine optimisation.
Although it doesn’t directly cost anything to do, businesses invest thousands into improving their sites and increasing their rank on search engines.
This is done by writing content, guest posting, creating backlinks, on-page SEO, and a whole lot more. Of course, in order to do this many businesses pay companies a hefty amount, but the return in traffic is often substantial.
Compared to paid traffic, the results from SEO are not instantaneous and can take a few months to kick in. But once the traffic starts rolling it, for most of the time it remains constant while growing at a steady pace. This means that in the long run organic traffic from search engine optimisation can often work out cheaper. However, with that being said, it’s not that easy to implement an SEO strategy.
Compared to say, pay per click, almost anyone can create a pay per click campaign in a matter of hours. With so many tutorials and resources out there, creating your first ad is literally a breeze. On the other hand, SEO takes a whole lot of skill, patience, and persistence. Leave one of those traits behind and your campaign is also destined to fail.
Should You Use Paid Traffic?
Now we’ve covered everything there is to know about paid traffic we can finally answer that vital question: is it worth it?
To put it simply, yes it is, but there are a few exceptions;
As we explored earlier, there are various types of paid traffic out there with the main ones being ad traffic and pay per click marketing. Although both can provide excellent results for businesses and generate a lot of traffic, both are also subjective to high levels of fraud.
If you purchase a paid ad on a CPM basis in the hopes of attracting visitors, then the chances are you’ll be disappointed. With so many robots out there constantly viewing the ads and wasting your impressions you’ll be lucky to get a click.
The only way to stop this type of fraud is if the ad network improves their fraud detection, which is very unlikely to happen. This leaves you with two choices, continue buying impressions in the hope of getting a click or invest in a different type of paid traffic.
Similar to paid ad traffic, pay per click traffic also experiences the same type of fraud. Known as fraudulent clicks, this type of fraud occurs when a competitor or user repeatedly clicks on your ads. Since you’re charged per click, you lose money.
However, unlike paid ad traffic, there is something you can do to stop it. Since platforms such as Google Ads allow you to add IP exclusions to your campaigns, it is possible to block users from see your ads altogether. This means you can block users that repeatedly click your ads and save yourself money. Don’t think it’s easy though; the process can be extremely time consuming and tedious. Luckily there’s a much faster and automated way to do it.
Software like PPC Protect automatically monitors and blocks fraudulent clicks on your PPC campaigns without you having to lift a finger. If you’re currently running or planning to run pay per click ads, then having protection is essential. See how much you can save with PPC Protect with our free 14-day trial below.