February 26th, 2013/Internet Marketing/By /

Internet Marketing: How to Master and Dominate Traffic Sources Pt. 1


What’s Your Target?

When I first read about internet marketing 6 years ago, it took me nearly a year before I saw my first profit. One of the biggest reasons was that I was kind of all over the place: I’d launch a campaign on Adwords, another one on Facebook, & then I’d work on my SEO sites. I was taking action, but it was spread out.

I wasn’t able to make a quantum leap until I forced myself to focus. By that point I had $3,000 in savings and told myself 100% of that money was going into Facebook ads. No chasing bright shiny objects, and no switching focus because of some blogger’s case study.

By focusing only on Facebook, I learned something new each day.

  • The best way to optimize bids at the time
  • The tricks and best time zones to get ads approved easier
  • Which niches Facebook allowed, and what made money
  • The most profitable countries

All the little “a-ha” moments started adding up. Within 3 months of this decision, I went from -$xxx days to +$xxxx days and was able to quit my job. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I was fucking around on so many places.

Mastering a Niche vs a Traffic Source

A common question I see is if it’s better to focus on a niche or to focus on a traffic source. There’s no right answer because either way makes money. I’ve always preferred focusing on the traffic sources because a lot of the knowledge is invisible to competitors. People can easily take your landing pages, offers, & creatives. However, they can’t see your bidding strategies, optimization process, your understanding of the algorithm to deliver bids, & your relationships with the ad reps.

But what about diversifying? Keep in mind just because you’ve mastered Airpush doesn’t mean you’re stuck there forever. What works there probably works on Leadbolt or Sendroid, which are similar places. You can also test offers initially on Airpush, and then scale to other mobile traffic sources.

Once you felt you’ve “mastered” a traffic source, feel free to spend around 20% of your time trying out other places.

Picking a Traffic Source

I need to make something very clear: there’s no magic traffic source. There’s a thousand+ places to buy traffic from and people are making money on every single one of them. If you’re new, then I recommend sticking with the places that everyone else is advertising on. Once you get the basics down and start having a solid cashflow, you can start exploring the more obscure places.

Imagine it’s the 1800’s and you’ve arrived in California for the gold rush. You have no clue where to start digging. What I’d do is start digging where everyone else is because you know there’s gold there. Even though it’s competitive, I’m focused on improving my skills. I can also observe and learn from watching my competitors. You could go off and start digging randomly in other places, but that’s completely based on luck. A lot of motivation is due to making steady, incremental improvements. 

Some Things I Like in a Traffic Source:

  • Volume – The most important. I’m not really looking to master a traffic source if the potential spend limit’s only $500 a day. What I’ve learned it sometimes a $500/day campaign and a $10,000 could take the same amount of work, the difference is how much traffic’s available.
  • They like affiliate marketers – This is probably why I haven’t worked with Adwords in years. The amount of traffic is amazing, but I don’t want to deal with the headaches of getting my accounts banned.
  • Good interface – Can I bulk upload ads? Is the interface clean and easy to navigate around?
  • Tracking tokens – Definitely useful if they offer dynamic tokens and conversion pixels to help me optimize.
  • Responsive ad reps – Are they knowledgable about the platform and can help me?
  • Payment Options – Not really a deal breaker, but the more options the better. Also I hate places that only take Paypal and pass on that 4% fee to me.
  • The Moats – The barriers to entry for new competitors. An example is some places require a referral or a large $ deposit to start advertising.
  • Accurate Traffic – This means if I want to buy traffic from Canada, I want 100% of the traffic to be Canadian. If my tracker shows 15% of the traffic’s coming from India, that means I’m already at a -15% ROI loss.

Newbie Recommendations

There’s literally 1,000+ traffic sources to choose from. I’ve highlighted these because they’ve been proven to be profitable over the years and are easy to start.

A large majority of guys start out with either Facebook or PlentyofFish. It’s probably because the optimization process is easier to understand: you’re focused mainly on creatives and demographics. Something like mobile might be slightly harder because you add in extra variables such as carriers, operating system, handsets, & requires a top of the line tracking system.

Also if you noticed all the places I recommend are self-serve (which means you upload the creatives and pretty much do everything yourself). Managed buys (where the ad representative handles everything ) can be very, very profitable. If you’re starting out though, you should have a solid base with self-serve platforms. They get you comfortable with the optimization process instead of relying on someone else. Also managed buys tend to require a large deposit.

But….There’s Too Much Competition

If there’s money in something, there will be competition. It’s the nature of the beast, get use to it. Don’t wish things were different, work on becoming better.

How can you compete as a newbie? You can always attack where they aren’t. If everyone’s advertising in USA, why not advertise in a smaller country? $200 a day profit in a small country is better than losing money going after a bigger country (if you’re on a low budget). If everyone’s going broad, then tighten your demographic and make your creatives more targeted.

Let the lions fight over the the buffalos. You can either be trampled by the lions hunting in the same area, or be somewhere else eating rabbits.

Going Forward

At the end of the day, keep in mind the fundamentals are always going to be the same everywhere. Lower your costs, find the best offers, find the best ads, find the best landing pages, & scale. My point is by focusing on mainly one traffic source, you shorten the learning curve and start building knowledge most of your competitors won’t have.

Keep a lookout on the next article where I’ll talk about the bidding process, analyzing the competition, building relationships, and much more.