Paid Traffic: The Insider’s Guide (+6 Tactics to Boost Online Growth)

Finger pressing an "on" button to increase paid traffic

There are many reasons why you might be considering utilizing paid traffic sources.

Perhaps you’re launching a new product or service, and you want to quickly generate interest with your target audience. Maybe you have an e-commerce site that experiences seasonal lulls and you’re thinking paid traffic could help maintain a steady flow of visitors to your site. Or maybe, you’re looking to expand into new geographical markets or demographics, and using paid traffic could be a way to test the waters before committing more resources.

Whatever the reason, paid traffic can be an effective way to reach potential customers and achieve the results you want. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of paid traffic sources and share some winning tactics for boosting your online growth. Let’s get started!

What is Paid Traffic? 

Paid traffic refers to any type of online advertising where you pay for impressions or views on a particular piece of content. It includes search engine advertising, display ads, remarketing, and even social media ads.

The goal is to get people to visit your website as a result of seeing your advertisement or clicking on it. This type of advertising is ideal for targeting specific locations, interests, and behaviors.

Difference Between Paid Traffic and Organic Traffic

Man typing on laptop with coffee
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Paid traffic refers to the visitors who come to a website or digital platform as a result of paid advertising efforts. Unlike organic traffic, which comes from unpaid sources like search engine results or word-of-mouth referrals, paid traffic is generated through various forms of online advertising.

Paid traffic is typically used as an immediate source of leads, whereas organic traffic can be great for generating sustained visitor flow and increasing brand awareness. Both types of traffic are important to a healthy online presence.

Types of Paid Traffic

Before you can start down the road of paid ads, you need to know what kind of paid traffic options are out there for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of the most popular forms of online paid advertising so you can figure out what suits you and your needs. Let’s go!

PPC Ads

PPC Ads or Pay Per Click ads are exactly what they sound like: ads you pay for each time someone clicks on them. PPC campaigns are some of the most common forms of paid traffic. For instance, Google Ads is a popular platform for PPC campaigns. These ads show up on Google search results pages for queries related to the content of the ad. With this kind of paid traffic, you get to create ads and choose your keywords. It’s a great way to drive targeted traffic quickly and can be especially effective when combined with organic SEO.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing refers to the process of paying other companies or individuals to promote your product or services on their channel. Unlike influencer marketing, which we will talk about later, affiliate marketing is used almost exclusively to drive traffic to a brand’s website to complete a transaction.

In other words, in this kind of paid traffic campaign, companies don’t pay affiliates for brand awareness, increased web traffic, or brand mentions. Instead, they will pay for leads that turn into conversions. This makes this kind of marketing highly effective, as you only pay when someone completes a purchase or action. Additionally, it’s easy to track the success rate of an affiliate traffic campaign with analytics tools, giving brands more control over their spending and ROI.

Google Shopping Ads 

Search engine results for the query, "green tea."

Search engine results for the query, “green tea.”

If you’ve ever Googled any products, chances are you’ve come across Google Shopping Ads. Google Shopping Ads allows brands to advertise their products directly on the search engine results page, which increases visibility and drives traffic to their website. As apposed to regular Google Ads, which contain ad copy and no images, highlights visuals as seen above.

Google shopping ads are popular because you can target users based on location, device, price range, product categories, and more – making it highly effective in driving qualified leads.

Sponsored posts (social media or online publication) 

Now, if you are anywhere on social media, you probably see your fair share of sponsored posts. But sponsored posts aren’t just influencers peddling products. It can also be online publications like blogs

Sponsored posts are highly effective because you can target specific audiences with the content. Plus, research shows users are more likely to trust content from an influencer than traditional advertising.

For instance, Mr. Beast featured a sponsored Youtube video about the coupon browser extension, Honey:

Honey advertising with MrBeast (ad)
Paid Traffic: The Insider's Guide (+6 Tactics to Boost Online Growth) 9

Honey advertising with MrBeast (ad)

The video itself amassed over 2 million views! Through this form of content, Honey was able to reach a huge audience in an authentic way. To get started with sponsored posts look for online publications in your industry, or reach out to influencers you admire.

Video Ads

Video ads are everywhere, and for good reason. Studies show that 4 times as many consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it. Some popular platforms where you’ll see video ads include TikTok and Youtube. 

With video ads you can be creative in how you present your product or service. Animations, live-action videos, (or endorsements from influencers like we saw above)—you have plenty of options when it comes to creating content for your ad. Even better, you can target your audience. 

Display ads/website banners

One of the biggest paid traffic sources is display ads. They are usually at the top, bottom, or sides of a website. Essentially, these paid ads are the billboards of the internet.

Display ads are great because they allow you to target your audience with specific visuals, text and even calls-to-action. They’re a way of getting your message out in front of a specific group of people.

To create a banner ad, you’ll need to choose a display network like Google Ads and then work with them to design and create your ad.

Social media ads

Screenshot of Instagram ad for makeup lights.
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Screenshot of Instagram ad for makeup lights.

Have you ever been scrolling on Instagram and had an ad pop up that seems like it was made for you? Well, that’s because it kind of was! Social media ads are quickly becoming some of the most popular digital advertising options. After all, more than 4.74 billion people across the world use social media and in 2023, ad spending on social media is projected to reach more than $268 billion.

Similar to display network ads, you’ll need to choose a social media platform and then use their advertising tools to create an ad. You’ll also be able to target your audience with specific age groups, genders, or interests.

How to Define Your Paid Traffic Strategy

When crafting a paid traffic strategy, it’s crucial to consider your business goals, target audience, and budget constraints. Two effective strategies are the Brand-Oriented Strategy and the Offer-Oriented Strategy. Understanding the nuances of each will help you decide which approach, or combination of both, aligns best with your business objectives. Let’s take a look at them:

Brand-Oriented Strategy

The Brand-Oriented Strategy is particularly well-suited for startups and companies with larger budgets, focusing on building brand awareness and engagement over immediate conversions. This approach targets low-intent leads who may not be actively seeking to make a purchase but could develop an interest in your brand. To achieve this, the strategy employs a diverse mix of Display Ads, Social Ads, and Search Ads, functioning akin to digital billboards that enhance brand visibility across the internet.

The key to the execution of this strategy lies in creating ads that are both eye-catching and memorable, with a strong emphasis on conveying the brand’s core message and values. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the brand remains at the forefront of potential customers’ minds, positioning it as their go-to choice when they decide to make a purchase. In terms of cost efficiency, this strategy usually results in a lower cost per lead due to its broader targeting scope.

It’s important to recognize that this is a long-term investment, requiring both patience and a budget committed to sustained brand exposure.

Offer-Oriented Strategy

The Offer-Oriented Strategy is a highly effective approach for budget-constrained businesses and local service providers. It zeroes in on high-intent leads who are at the lower end of the sales funnel, primarily targeting individuals who are on the cusp of making a purchasing decision. The cornerstone of this strategy is its emphasis on targeted, direct-response advertising, which might encompass specific promotions, discounts, or urgent calls-to-action.

The execution of this strategy revolves around crafting ads that resonate deeply with an audience actively seeking solutions or ready to commit to a purchase. The messaging in these ads is designed to be straightforward and compelling, highlighting the immediate benefits or unique offers available. A critical aspect of the Offer-Oriented Strategy is its cost considerations.

Generally, this approach entails a higher cost per lead or cost per click, attributed to the focused targeting of users with a high intent to purchase. Despite the higher costs, the precision of this strategy often results in more immediate conversions, making it an attractive option for businesses aiming to quickly convert interest into sales.

6 Tips on Getting Paid Traffic 

Now that you are an expert in all the different kinds of paid traffic, there are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your campaigns:

1. Pick the right advertising platform 

As you can probably surmise from the above information, the right advertising platform for you will depend on your business goals. Some platforms are better at getting more general exposure while others are great for lead generation or sales. Make sure to pick the one that is most suited for your goals and budget. For instance, if you are advertising on a website, make sure it is suited to the niche you are targeting. 

You should also pick a platform that your target audience frequents. For example, if you are targeting a young demographic, consider using platforms that focus on younger people such as TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat for your social media ads.

2. Get familiar with the platform you’re advertising on

Each advertising platform has its unique features, audience types, and advertising rules. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these aspects. For instance, Google Ads has specific guidelines about ad content, like prohibiting excessive use of all caps in text. Knowing these rules helps in creating effective ads and avoiding disapproval or penalties. 

The best way to get familiar with a platform is to research the platform and look into its features. Additionally, reading about case studies or success stories of other brands can help you learn more about re-targeting on a particular platform.

3. Consider using lead magnets

Incorporating lead magnets, such as free ebooks, webinars, or discount codes, into your advertisements can generate paid traffic significantly increase engagement and conversion rates. These offers provide value to the audience, making them more likely to provide their contact information or engage with your brand. Furthermore, lead magnets can help build a larger and more engaged email list that you can use in the future for retargeting purposes.

Hands using a tablet, overlayed with the words "SEO", "Web" "Content", "Backlinks", "Analysis", and "Traffic".
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4. Use A/B testing

Implement A/B testing for your ads to determine which versions perform the best. This involves creating multiple variations of an ad (changing elements like headlines, images, or call-to-actions) and testing them to see which one yields better results in terms of clicks, conversions, and ROI.

5. Focus on lead qualification

To ensure that your advertising efforts are not just generating any leads but the right ones, incorporate lead qualification strategies. This could be a form on your landing page that gathers essential information about the prospects, helping to identify the most promising leads that are more likely to convert into customers.

6. Write quality ad copy

One of the best things you can do to get your ads noticed is by writing compelling ad copy that focuses on the benefits of your product or service. Make sure your copy clearly conveys your value proposition and encourages people to click, while also using relevant keywords to ensure that it appears for the right target audience. Additionally, you should regularly update your ad copy with new content ideas so as not to become stale in the eyes of consumers. You can learn more about how to effectively do this by reading this article all about how to maximize the benefits of paid ads.

Benefits of Paid Traffic

Just like anything in life, there are benefits and drawbacks to paid traffic. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits:

Faster ROI compared to organic traffic

Compared to SEO and other strategies, paid ads offer a much faster ROI. With the right targeting and ad copy, you can start seeing results quickly from your campaigns.

Easy to track and measure the success of paid campaigns 

One of the great advantages of paid traffic is that they are easily trackable and measurable. You can measure the success of your campaigns through analytics tools such as Google Analytics or through other tracking mechanisms. This makes it easy to assess the effectiveness of different components in a campaign and make changes accordingly.

Ability to target very specific audiences 

The granular targeting available with paid ads means that you can reach audiences that have a high likelihood of engaging with your business or product. This type of targeted advertising ensures that the right audience will see your message, leading to improved conversions and ROI.

A variety of paid traffic sources to choose from 

With paid traffic, you have access to a range of different traffic sources. This allows you to explore different options and find the best one for your business. Popular sources include Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Ads.

Competitive Advantage

Paid ads can give you a competitive edge, especially in markets where organic visibility is highly competitive. By appearing at the top of search results or on popular websites and social platforms, you can stay ahead of your competitors.

Person typing on a laptop that has marketing analytics on the screen
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Drawbacks of Paid Traffic

With the good also comes the bad. Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of paid website traffic:

Over-Targeting Limits Reach

Granular targeting, a key strength of paid traffic, can sometimes become a drawback. By focusing too closely on a specific audience, you might miss out on potential customers who fall outside your defined parameters but could still be interested in your offerings.

Ongoing Costs

Unlike organic traffic, which can generate results over time without continual investment, paid traffic requires ongoing spending. The moment you stop paying for ads, the traffic typically stops. This reliance on continuous funding can be a significant consideration, especially for businesses with limited budgets.

Negative Perception of Ads

Many consumers have a negative perception of advertisements, often considering them intrusive or irrelevant. This attitude can lead to ad fatigue and lower click-through rates, especially if the ads are not well-targeted or creatively designed.

Risk of Click Fraud

Click fraud, where individuals or bots repeatedly click on an ad to drain the advertiser’s budget, is a concern in paid advertising. It not only wastes money but also skews campaign data, making it challenging to gauge the true performance of an ad.

Ad Blockers

The increasing use of ad-blocking software by internet users can significantly reduce the visibility of paid ads. This means that a portion of the target audience may never see the ads, impacting the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

Short-Term Gains Over Long-Term Growth

Paid traffic typically provides immediate results but may not contribute significantly to long-term brand growth or customer loyalty. In contrast, organic methods like SEO or content marketing can build a more sustainable online presence over time.

Final Thoughts

Employees at a meeting with tablets and coffee
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Paid ad campaigns are a great way to get more visibility on search engines or social media, but they don’t always provide the most effective use of the budget. A well-rounded digital strategy should include both organic and paid elements to maximize reach and ROI. It’s important to consider the potential drawbacks of investing too heavily in one type of technique over another before launching any campaigns.​

To learn more about website traffic sources and how to use them to your advantage, check out our blog. And remember, with the right mix of organic and paid traffic, you can create a sustainable online presence that will carry your brand into the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does paid traffic mean?

Paid traffic refers to the visitors who come to your website as a result of paid advertising efforts. This includes a range of advertising strategies such as banner ads, native ads, and campaigns run through ad networks like the Google Display Network. The aim is to attract website visitors by purchasing visibility on various digital platforms.

Is paid traffic worth it?

The worthiness of paid traffic depends on your specific marketing goals, budget, and how well your campaigns are managed. When executed properly, paid traffic can provide a quick boost in website visitors, targeted reach, and measurable results. It can be particularly effective for short-term goals, such as promoting a new product launch or a time-sensitive sale. However, it requires ongoing investment, and its long-term benefits should be weighed against those of organic strategies.

What counts as paid traffic?

Paid traffic includes any website visitors that arrive through paid advertising channels. This encompasses clicks from PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns, visitors from banner ads placed on other websites through ad networks, users coming from sponsored posts or native ads, and traffic from social media ads. Essentially, if you are paying for the placement of ads in any form to direct traffic to your site, it counts as paid traffic.

Is it legal to buy traffic to your website?

It is legal to buy traffic to your website through legitimate advertising methods, such as using the Google Display Network, engaging in social media advertising, or working with reputable ad networks. However, purchasing traffic from sources that use unethical practices like bot traffic or click farms is frowned upon and can have negative consequences, including damaging your website’s reputation and search engine ranking.

What are the top 3 sources of paid traffic?

The top three sources of paid traffic typically are:
Search Engine Advertising: Such as Google Ads, where businesses pay to have their website listed for specific keywords in search engine results.
Social Media Advertising: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer targeted advertising options to reach their vast user bases.
Display Advertising: Through ad networks like the Google Display Network, businesses can place banner ads and other ad formats on a wide array of websites targeting specific audiences.

How can I get paid traffic?

To get paid traffic, you can start by setting up advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads for search engine marketing or the Google Display Network for display advertising. Social media platforms also offer robust advertising options. Creating compelling banner ads or native ads to place on relevant websites can also attract visitors. It’s essential to target your ads effectively to reach the desired audience, set a realistic budget, and continuously monitor and adjust your campaigns for optimal performance.

Noelle Thuillier

Noelle Thuillier

Noelle is a Content Specialist for WGM. She writes and edits all business content, including blogs, press releases, social media posts, and technical writing pieces. With over ten years of experience writing, Noelle has been published on many reputable sites during her career, including TheScriptLab.com and HelloGiggles.com. Before coming to WGM, she worked as a News Director at KWHI in Brenham, Texas. Noelle oversaw the newsroom writing stories, producing content, and being an on-air personality. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Noelle holds a Master in Arts degree in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Greenwich in London, England. Noelle’s other passion in life is her family. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, daughter, Frankie, and English Bulldog, Alvin. She also loves to travel, with her favorite destinations so far being Ireland and the Czech Republic.

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