February 3, 2023
18 Min. Read
Digistore24 has put together a comprehensive guide on picking the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing to help you make more informed decisions and start making more sales as quickly as possible.
A good strategy often boils down to picking the right traffic sources for promoting affiliate offers. You can have the best affiliate marketing product or offer ready to promote, with everything from content to pricing and upsell options perfectly set up, but if you don’t know which part of the internet to utlize & send it to and which outlet to use, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot.
You can’t just throw your affiliate link left and right without having a solid outreach strategy. Choosing the best channel, whether it is email, social media advertising or YouTube video ads, is critical to your business’ success. Building a strong audience and loyal customer base takes time and effort, and a good chunk of it has to do with your ability to properly target them.
The good news is, there are dozens of traffic sources you can tap into depending on the offer you’re promoting, the target audience you wish to reach, and the type of content you’re creating. The bad news… you need to figure out which channel will work best for you and the niches you’re working with.
In this article, we’ll be going over all the traffic sources that can help you crush your affiliate marketing efforts. Plus, if you’re new to the game or just need a refresher, we’re also going to cover some of the basics, including what traffic sources actually are, the various types of traffic, and much, much more.
In case you need a short-list with all the highlights, here you go. This is everything we’re exploring in this blog post:
First thing’s first… Let’s start with the basics.
The simplest way of explaining what a traffic source is as follows: A traffic source can be defined as the origin through which users find your website, landing page, or sales page. High quality traffic can come from multiple traffic sources across any part of the internet where a link to your site or sales page is displayed.
Every visit or “session” can be tracked using tools like Google Analytics to view the source or origin where a user came from. Not only can you track the exact source, you can also see in some instances what browser they were using, and whether they found your link using a desktop or a mobile device.
You can collect tons of data on your traffic, and continuously tweak your advertising campaigns based on accurate and up-to-date information to reach the best results possible.
Before we dive deeper into this article, let’s go over the basics of warm traffic versus cold traffic.
Cold traffic is anyone who visits your website or clicks your affiliate link who has no prior knowledge of you or your business, or the business you're linking to. When you’re just starting out, or you’re relatively new, this is the type of traffic you’ll be getting the most. Even when you’ve made a name for yourself, you can still expect cold traffic.
Cold traffic usually comes from paid ads. Conversion rate is generally lower with cold traffic because no prior trust has been established, so your goal with this type of traffic is to create a connection as soon as possible. If you're a product owner, you can, for example, encourage visitors to fill out a form in order to receive a free sample once they land on your website, so you can later target them with email (warm traffic).
Warm traffic is a returning visitor to your site, a subscriber, a social media follower, or simply someone who was recommended to check out your business. These potential customers are already somewhat familiar with your brand, viewed your content, or engaged with you in some level, shape, or form. Conversion for warm traffic is considerably higher compared to cold traffic.
Furthermore, chances of recurring purchases are also higher, especially if you keep your target audience engaged with giveaways, value-add content, gifts, and more. Popular warm traffic sources include email, social media, YouTube, forums, and more.
There are several types of traffic sources, which we will go into full detail in the article, but for now, let’s briefly go over them to get a basic understanding.
For us to talk about the best traffic sources, we first need to split them into two distinct categories: free and paid traffic. Understanding how these operate and which can yield the best results and land you the most visits and sales is something that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Also, you can watch this Affiliate Marketing Episode for more info on traffic sources.
Before even considering choosing a traffic source, you first need to nail down a niche you’re going to be focusing on. Once you have decided on a niche and have a product ready for promotion, it’s time to determine where you can make the greatest impact with your efforts. Ask yourself: Which channels would work the best with the current offer I'm trying to push? What outlets can showcase this offer in the best possible way? Carefully choosing platforms that can amplify the strengths of a digital product or service can go a long way.
Also, keep in mind the type of users you’re going to promote to on each platform, and tweak your promotional content accordingly. The user’s behavior differs from channel to channel, so even though you’re promoting an offer within the same niche, you’ll have to convey your message differently depending on the platform you’re promoting on. In addition, don’t forget to stay up to date with certain algorithms for best practices - especially when search engines or social media channels are your main traffic sources.
Ok, so let's see a couple of examples.
Basically, you can leverage social media, email and forums for free traffic, and reap the benefits without spending a dime on ads.
Facebook is a great medium that can help you generate free traffic, but you need to go the extra mile to build out your profile. Remember, you're building your brand organically - no paid advertising. So what does this mean?
It means that you need a non-business profile, a “Friends” list filled with people interested in the niche you’re working with, and consistent value-add posts to keep your audience engaged. Joining groups and posting regularly also helps a ton.
Make sure that in between educational and helpful posts, you also slip in your affiliate links to send social media traffic to your landing page or a sales page.
With over 1 billion users, Instagram has essentially become a virtual, visually pleasing “living room”. Instagram presents huge potential for affiliate marketers to send traffic to affiliate offers. One of the biggest upsides of Instagram is its accuracy of showing users exactly what they want to see, but the downside is that the platform is extremely crowded, and you need to stand out with your content if you want success.
This means that you can’t just create an account and post "lazy" content and affiliate links in your bio, hoping for tons of social media traffic. Before anything else, you need to focus on creating a good profile filled with high quality and visually appealing content, engaging stories and maybe even slip in a few giveaways, as well. Make sure you keep affiliate links in your bio and promote them subtly once your audience grows.
If you want to target the Gen Z audience, TikTok is arguably the best channel to reach them. Creating short but fun (and informative) videos can land you thousands of views in just a couple of hours. The better your content is, the more people it will reach. And don’t worry, you don’t need an immense following to reach thousands of people - the algorithm will do that for you!
You can get quality and organic traffic from TikTok quite easily; just make sure you establish your target audience first. Although Gen Z makes up the majority of TikTok users, you can tap into other population segments with carefully curated content, a well-defined strategy and consistency. Just don’t forget to add your promolink in your bio so users can easily reach what you’re promoting.
Pinterest looks like a social media platform but also kind of acts like a search engine. This hybrid space can supply you with organic traffic, and the best part is that you don’t need to invest too much time to start pulling in some solid numbers. Make sure you create a couple of Boards and fill them with relevant Pins. Link the photos in your Board to the offer you’re promoting - or your affiliate site - and that’s about it.
All you need to do now is wait patiently for some affiliate sales to roll in.
The average Pinterest user navigates the platform to look for inspiration, so realistically, don’t expect too many sales, but do expect a lot of organic traffic. To increase your chances of conversion, make sure you link to a high-quality landing page, so when the user arrives, the chances of them making a purchase are significantly increased.
Reddit walks a fine line between being a forum and a social media platform. Making a name for yourself on Reddit might take some time, but the payoff is worth it when it comes to attracting organic traffic and customers. However, instead of flooding the platform with your promolinks, start joining subreddits and adding value to the community.
For example, if someone creates a thread in a fitness & health subreddit asking “What are the best keto diet plans?”, you can respond and explain why the particular offer you happen to promote is the best, and convince them why they should give the product a try.
Build trust, be helpful, and once you establish yourself as a good contributor, you can start squeezing in offers within your content. Avoid being spammy, and always read community guidelines on promotions.
Essentially, the same rules apply to forums as to Reddit:
Aside from paid advertisements on YouTube, you can essentially make a name for yourself on the platform by becoming a content creator. Of course, this can take time and dedication, but if you’re into YouTube and enjoy creating videos, it might be one of the best channels for you to generate high quality traffic.
Post fun and interesting videos, or review videos, and mention whatever you’re promoting in natural ways to make the viewer curious, rather than suspicious. This is among the best affiliate marketing strategies on YouTube. Flesh out and hype up the product you’re promoting, and don’t forget to add a link in the video description for convenient access.
8. Website & Blog
You don’t need a website or a blog to be successful in this industry - you can easily make money in affiliate marketing without a website. However, having a space where you can show a little bit of your unique personality is a plus.
Running a successful blog can land you huge amounts of targeted traffic. Essentially, you can write almost anything and carefully place promolinks within your content. Just make sure you choose a specific niche first, so your blog isn’t all over the place dealing with topics across every industry.
Also, don’t shy away from including multiple affiliate links to different offers in your blog posts. Focus on interesting pieces of content, and don’t forget to do top 10 listicle type of articles from now and then, where you can essentially go a little more crazy with the affiliate links. Plus, if you make your articles SEO-friendly too, they can become visible on Google search and organic traffic is going to potentially roar.
Search engine optimization is extremely vital for you to generate traffic.
9. Guest Posts
You can take your content game further by partnering with like-minded people from the industry who run their own blogs, and write guest posts for them now and then. This opens up brand new opportunities for high quality organic traffic, as well as collaboration.
Plus, be open to other people writing guest posts on your blog. Collaboration is one of the key elements of affiliate marketing, so don’t be afraid to network and build connections. Also, you can consider writing on platforms like Medium and leverage the traffic of an already established website.
You can build affiliate marketing email lists and start sending personalized and value-add emails to your audience and drive traffic to your website or a lander. The best part about email is you can tailor the content to your preference, and include as many links as you want. Plus, you now own this data.
However, keep in mind to not make your emails look and feel spammy. Your main goal with email is to provide relevant content, and to try and lure your prospects to sales pages with clever hooks and great copywriting.
Let’s take a look at what we’re working with when it comes to paid traffic sources, and how ads can help us achieve success within affiliate marketing.
1. Google Ads
Google Search and search engines in general can bring you loads of paid traffic, but the catch is, you have to invest some money first. Depending on what niche you’re working with, and what keywords you’re trying to rank for, the amount of capital that you need to invest on Google Ads can significantly change.
Some niches and keywords are more competitive than others. However, a good strategy can do wonders for your affiliate marketing efforts.
2. Banner Ads
Banner ads can help you increase your traffic, especially if they are placed on websites with high traffic - AND if the asset can easily grab the user’s attention. Usually, banners can be placed within search engines and different websites, and come in many shapes and sizes.
The trick to a good banner is a great design that should invoke both curiosity and urgency. Banners can usually be found on the top, bottom or sides of a website. When working with banners, make sure they blend in with the overall design of the website you’re running them on.
These ads work best when they don’t feel out of place. The more natural they feel and look, the more traffic you’ll get. If they feel out of place, the user might be reluctant to click it. However, sometimes banners that pop work well too, so figuring out what works best requires some research and trial and error.
3. Native Advertising
Native advertising is an excellent paid traffic source. These types of ads match the content of the website or platform upon which they appear on. They are ads, but don’t feel like ads to end users - especially if done right.
Native ads can be found on different websites, platforms and even some search engines. Native advertising should definitely be included in your affiliate ad strategy.
4. Solo Email Ads
A great way to drive paid traffic to your website, landing page or the offer you’re promoting is leveraging the power of solo ads. Solo ads can be found in emails or newsletters in which your ad is the only dedicated promotional piece.
You can get featured in these spaces by negotiating a spot with people within the industry who run email campaigns or send out newsletters. Once you land a dedicated spot in their email list, traffic will start flowing, but remember to keep optimizing your ads for better performance.
5. Facebook Ads
Running ads on Facebook will also land you a great chunk of paid traffic. Working with Facebook ads is relatively easy once you get a hang of their Business Suite Manager. Their targeting system is great, and you can essentially tap into any audience in the world by using the platform’s intuitive tools.
One thing about running ads on Facebook: due to their complicated compliance rules, in most cases, you can’t link directly to offers - you need to link to a lander first. Also, for further assistance and information, check out Digistore24’s Facebook CAPI tool.
6. Instagram Ads
Instagram ads are another great paid traffic source. If you’re running ads on Facebook, you might as well run a few on Instagram too and increase your traffic juice. Luckily, Instagram advertising is highly similar to Facebook’s. In fact, you can create ads for both Facebook & Instagram using the same tool: Meta Business Suite Manager.
On Instagram, you can place ads in the feed, in stories, reels and of course, videos.
7. Other Social Media Ads
As an affiliate marketer, the internet is your playground, especially when working with paid ads on social media. The key is not to limit yourself to one platform, but to branch out across the world wide web. Of course, you have to start small, but once you gain some momentum, checking out other social platforms with high paid traffic potential is more than necessary.
Social media ads work similarly on every platform: you create your asset (design + copy), set your targeting (geolocation, age, gender, etc.), allocate a budget and woosh… your ad is ready to roll.
Apart from Facebook & Instagram, here are other platforms where you can successfully run ads and increase your paid traffic:
In one of the previous sections, we talked about how having your own website can help direct targeted traffic to offers and products you’re promoting. We wanted to expand a bit on this, and tell you a few tips and tricks on how you can increase traffic to your affiliate blog or website.
Right off the bat, you need a strong content strategy in order to attract and retain an audience. Creating a blog and writing articles is key. Adding promolinks in your content is important, but building engaging and high-value content around those products or offers is a top priority.
In order to consistently attract traffic to your affiliate site, you need to set up a blog and explore topics that are trending and relevant to your audience.
Use your industry expertise to tackle subjects that you know your readers will appreciate, and try incorporating real-life stories and examples into your content for greater impact. Over time, you will develop a loyal audience, and you’ll start to gradually see traffic hikes.
And make sure you tap into AI if you're short on resources... There are plenty of AI copywriting tools for affiliate marketing that will help you create content in a super short time.
As much as your time permits, research ways to optimize your content, and test. Your blog doesn’t have to be perfect, and writing articles should feel enjoyable. Don’t get caught up in over-optimization, but do be mindful of the ways you can improve your content.
Here are a few ways you can do just that:
Remember to always optimize your website to attract both desktop traffic and mobile traffic. If your blog looks clunky on mobile, or loads too slow, you’ll miss out on tons of valuable visitors.
Use every social media platform to share your content. Having a blog allows you to share your work on social media and keep your followers engaged while also attracting new ones.
Plus, this can diversify your social media strategy, as you’re now not only sharing other people’s content, you’re also sharing your own. This can attract new visitors to your affiliate site, increasing your overall incoming traffic.
Another great way to increase your traffic is by taking your content to your competitors. This might sound weird, but writing guest posts for competitors that link to your website is a very good strategy if you want to increase the number of your site visitors. This also gives you the opportunity to examine other blogs, and invite others to write guest posts on your domain. It’s a win-win situation.
If you want to take it a step further, you can also include your blog content in your email marketing campaigns, or even run ads that lead back to your blog posts.
We really hope you enjoyed this comprehensive affiliate marketing traffic source guide, and that you now have a much better understanding of the overall scheme of things when it comes to traffic sources. There’s a lot of information in this blog post, so a single read-through might not be enough for everything to sink in.
Make sure you go over each section in depth at least a couple of times, and put everything you learn to the test to deepen your understanding and knowledge. Take your time to understand cold traffic versus warm traffic, and which strategies to use to attract more users to your desired affiliate offer sales pages or website.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Digistore24.
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