This post explains the different traffic sources/types that are common in the affiliate space and highlights the offers that typically use those sources.

Search Traffic:

Affiliates can promote landing pages or websites by actively bidding on keywords with an aim to increase visibility in search engine results. It is one of the most targeted traffic sources, since it allows anyone to bid on keywords used by people specifically searching for a product or topic that is related to a campaign.

Therefore, search traffic works very well for campaigns with a defined target market or niche. Because it’s so targeted you may not see as much volume as you would with other traffic sources that hit larger masses. It’s recommended as an advertiser to provide affiliates and networks with a list of popular keywords for your offer,  which also eliminates the problem of bidding against each other’s keywords (especially if you do your own SEO in-house as well).

Examples: usually offers with high payouts (dating, finance, business opportunities)

Display Traffic:

If you own a website or multiple websites with a significant amount of traffic then display banners or onsite banners could be a great way to monetize. If you don’t have a website with high-volume traffic, you can buy advertising space on other websites for a limited time through media buys.

In both situations, you need to ensure that your display ads are either relevant to  the content on your site, or that they appeal to the website audience. This requires some insight in your website demographics. Display traffic or media buy traffic has large volume potential for well converting campaigns and is especially suitable for offers that target a mass audience.

Examples: our download offers do really well with display (such as ezLooker, Drop Down Deals), but also cost per sale offers, health/beauty

Email Traffic:

If you accumulated a large number of email addresses (either because you own a website with newsletter subscribers or because you own a business) email marketing could be a great way to promote offers. Another option is to purchase an email list; however, this requires some research since there are a lot of low-quality lists out there. Email traffic is a traffic source that traditionally provides great quality and potential for strong volume.

It’s important to keep your list relevant and make sure you update your list frequently. To get the most out of email campaigns, it’s important for advertisers to provide strong subject lines, keep creatives fresh and adjust them to seasonal needs or recent developments.

Keep in mind that email traffic comes in waves due to the nature of email traffic and how it’s received by the user: a mailer will do an email drop which will increase traffic significantly for a day or two which trickles in until the mailer does another drop.

Examples: branded Education campaigns, business opportunities, credit offers

Contextual/PPV Traffic:

Contextual or PPV (Pay per view) traffic are advertisements selected and served based upon the content displayed to a consumer. They’re basically adware in the form of a toolbar or installed software which enables ad pop ups when a user inputs a certain search or visits a certain website. It can be a great way to get exposure, but as the name suggests affiliates pay per view of an ad regardless of whether the user clicks on it or not.

Even though it’s a low cost traffic source, affiliates still pay for it (like media buys) so it’s important that offers are well converting and appealing. Therefore, brand campaigns work well with contextual sources because of the recognizable connection users make when seeing logos or colors, or other offers with eye-catching display pages in the contextual box that draw users into the page from there.

Examples: freebie offers with recognizable brands (Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret), credit offers

Social Media Traffic:

Social media traffic has become a specialization itself. Promoting through Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and other social networks can be very targeted and open up your offer to a mass audience.  However, it requires an ability to create high-quality content and the effort necessary to build up an audience of loyal followers.

If you can create high-quality content consistently and build authority on the social sites while interlink everything, it could be a great way to get exposure. In addition you can promote with banner ads, however you generally pay for clicks or impressions so they’re not suitable for every offer and affiliate.

Examples: dating, education, daily deals, freebies, contests, games