A known business model, Traffic Arbitrage is where one can buy traffic at a relatively cheap rate and make money by displaying ads at high CTR zones and making a profit. In this process, you buy traffic at a lower cost and make money out of it by the placements of ads at prime locations which increases the overall click-through-rate. The difference in revenue is the profit. There are a number of viral websites which are doing this for a long time and making profits out of it. Additionally, popular search engine Ask.com has been using this model to monetize its paid search results for over a decade, now. There are many success stories on native ad arbitrage and today, and in this article, we are going to discuss how you too can create a successful native ad arbitrage model and make money from it.
How Native Ad Arbitrage Works?
Native ad arbitrage is said to work when you buy traffic from Facebook or native ad networks at cheaper rates and monetize your website by showing native and display ads. One of the underlying principle of a successful native ad arbitrage strategy is to ensure that you select the right niche.
The Secret Sauce for a Successful Native Ad Arbitrage Strategy
Any long term arbitrage strategy works on the underlying principle of “making the ecosystem”. Essentially, the ecosystem consist of the advertiser, the publisher, and the ad network. So, as a publisher, if you can help advertisers make more money, they would essentially bid on your traffic. This would increase the competition since your traffic is converting for advertisers, and this would essentially boil down to higher revenue for you. For conversions, content remains one of the essential part of the strategy and you should be confident enough to ensure that your content strategy and niche are good enough to make advertisers encash on their bids.
Best Themes for Native Ad Arbitrage
If you can identify the correct theme for your arbitrage model, you can increase your overall CTR and in the process, earn money too. Any arbitrage is essentially a click arbitrage and one needs high CTR to make good money. Hence, making choice of the appropriate theme with supportive functionalities is essential for any traffic arbitrage model. There are some prerequisites for a theme to work well in traffic arbitrage or click arbitrage, and these include:
- High CTR- While you might think color and design are quite secondary and would not affect the CTR of ads, but it sure does and also provides assistance in keeping ads professional, clean and sorted. Such theme, allows the focus to be concentrated on ads and thereby increase the click through rates.
- Pagination- If you’re doing traffic arbitrage or AdSense arbitrage, one of the most crucial thing is to have pagination enabled for your posts. Your theme should have “Next” and “Previous” buttons and long image posts should be broken down into pages which users can read and then click on the next button once they are done reading the first page. In this way, your page views per user increase, and you can make more revenue with CPM based ads.
Other features include quick setup, better customization, good loading speed and overall professional look with ready to import templates. We have used over a dozen of professional and premium themes for traffic arbitrage and came down to these few recommendations for you.
Publisher WordPress Theme– The Publisher theme from Themeforest is our first and most preferred choice. It is a multi-purpose theme and probably the best theme currently in the market. Apart from having a number of interactive demos, this theme has slideshow features and a number of pagination features which can be quite handy. Also, you can use the theme on your other blogs to increase your overall CTR. We have seen the theme to perform quite well in terms to increase the AdSense CTR and we use it on a number of our blogs like Essencz, TheBreakupCafe, and others. Take a look at Publisher theme now.
Bimber- Bimber is yet another viral WordPress theme which is recommended if you’re running a blog on cats/dogs, celebrities, inspiration, science facts etc. This theme has custom pagination options and can be used to divide your long post into multiple pages. Bimber offers sticky share buttons for Facebook and Twitter to increase the chances of your content going viral in social media. If your entire source of traffic is Facebook, then this theme can be an appropriate choice for you. Take a look at Bimber theme now.
Ad Networks to Monetize your Traffic Arbitrage Website
Here is a list of ad networks which we highly recommend to publishers who are running viral sites or using ad arbitrage model to make money from their websites. We suggest publishers split the revenue across multiple channels and run them parallelly to have a sense of your overall revenue potential.
1) AdSense- AdSense, run by Google is one of the best ad network there is, and definitely the go-to ad network for monetizing your worldwide traffic. It is the primary ad network for CPC arbitrage. However, to boost your overall ad revenue, you could try using both AdSense and Ad Exchange. It is assured that it would show results. You have to place your AdSense display and native tags on those locations where you expect the maximum click-through rate since that will increase your revenue from AdSense. The ad units which perform well for AdSense includes 300×250, 300×600, responsive link units and responsive native ad units.
- Minimum Traffic Requirement: NA
- Payment Terms: NET 21 days payment via Direct Deposit
2) Google Ad Exchange- It is one of the best ad exchange platforms that offers high fill rates for global traffic. We suggest putting the ad tags on places where the CTR is comparatively lower than AdSense like sidebar (you can place a 300×600 ad unit), in between the post content or right before the last paragraph of your article. The ad exchange bid prices are primarily based on cookies and audience targeting defined by the advertisers. Higher the auction pressure, higher the overall CPM value for your impressions. Your Google Ad Exchange sub-account can be approved by third party ADX partners. Kindly contact us!
- Minimum Traffic Requirement: 300,000 page views per month
- Payment Terms: NET 30 days payment via Wire Transfer
3) Media.net- It performs specifically well for US traffic on product related niche. So, if your site has content that targets specific users, then media.net can be a good addon network for your overall revenue. You can use their contextual/native ad unit at the bottom of your article and analyze the performance. Either you will be earning good rates with Media.net or you won’t be earning well enough to keep their ad unit. However, we strongly recommend you adding Media.net on your ad stack. Sign up with Media.net using this link and get 10% extra income for next 3 months.
- Minimum Traffic Requirement: 100,000 page views per month, depends on the site
- Payment Terms: NET 30 days payment via Wire Transfer or Paypal
4) Spoutable- Spoutable is an exit-intent native ad network that helps publishers with incremental revenue through its screen optimization technology. The basic idea is to monetize your exit traffic with engaging ads and thus it can act as a completely new source of monetization for viral publishers. We have used them for long and they make payments pretty much on time, every time. If you’ve US traffic, you can expect the CPM rates to be around USD 1 and more. Note: This is additional revenue and we recommend publishers using them. Sign up with Spoutable here.
- Minimum Traffic Requirement: 100,000 page views per month
- Payment Terms: NET 45 days payment via Paypal
5)Taboola- Taboola offers higher CPC for US audience. The network can pay as high as 20 cents per click for US traffic. Running 2-3 Taboola widget can increase your overall ad revenue and certainly is the best alternative to Adsense, at the present day. Also, Taboola is constantly expanding its team and putting in more marketing efforts to add more advertisers to its base. Thus we recommend using them after post content and in the sidebar for maximum visibility and clicks. (We intend to write a post on Taboola arbitrage and shall update the link here once the article is published).
- Minimum Traffic Requirement: 500,000 page views per month
- Payment Terms: NET 45 days payment via Payoneer
6) Sulvo X- Sulvo uses advanced price optimization technology to enable a publisher earn more for every impression that is being delivered. We recommend using Sulvo’s sticky ad units like 320×100 for mobile, and 728×90/300×250 for desktop in addition to existing ad stack to increase your overall revenue from ads. Sulvo’s fill rate is almost 100% for US traffic. Although their net payment is in 60 days,also they pay pretty much on time. Sign up with Sulvo here.
- Minimum Traffic Requirement: 500,000 page views per month
- Payment Terms: NET 60 days payment via Paypal
There are quite a few other ad networks which can be equally useful to further monetize your site- these are Revcontent, Zergnet, Gemini, PubGalaxy, Setupad, AdRecover, Disqus, Content.ad, Mediavenus to name a few.
Native Ad Networks to Buy Traffic for Native Ad Arbitrage
While getting started with CPM arbitrage, Adsense arbitrage or traffic arbitrage, it is important to know that buying traffic from unreliable sources can actually get you in trouble since most of these networks sell fake clicks or traffic. My recommendation would be to build your plan and content which is viral in nature and promote only on these ad networks.
- Taboola– Taboola is a native ad network and is a good source of cheap traffic for certain geographies especially if you’re targeting Asian countries for your arbitrage.
- Facebook– Driving social traffic from Facebook by promoting posts can be quite useful in the long run. It can not only help you drive a good amount of traffic but also help you generate social signals and build a robust brand around your content. Facebook should be one of your primary traffic acquisition sources for your arbitrage site.
- Revcontent- Most of the popular traffic arbitrage sites use Revcontent to buy traffic. Having a good teaser and an image can help you increase the CTR of your ad and hence the overall cost per click will be highly reduced. Revcontent arbitrage is very popular as there are a lot of publishers who also advertise on revcontent and make money from arbitrage.
Native Ad Arbitrage Content Strategy
For the first few days, you might be running in negative ROI. That is completely fine since you are just setting up your ad placements which can be optimized for a profit. Ensure that you’re targeting the right audience through Facebook and native ads. Try to provide in-depth information about the subject. Many websites which are doing traffic arbitrage or creating viral content don’t seem to provide engaging content. You may take inspiration from Bored Panda which focuses on viral content and uses Facebook post boost and yet maintains the quality of the content and thus have a wide readership across the globe. Your content creation inspiration should be something like Bored Panda if you’re looking to scale your site. Hope we have been able to provide all the resources required to start AdSense arbitrage and we hope you’ll be running into profits after the initial optimization is done.
Additionally, it is your responsibility to audit the quality of the traffic you’re getting. Networks like Revcontent has a lot of fake and junk traffic which needs to be filtered out. Thus, if you’re planning big, you need to have a dedicated resource that can just filter your traffic by passing essential parameters and having view-ability vendors monitor the traffic. You should be blocking all the sites which are bringing fake traffic and essentially get rid of those networks with are bringing a substantial volume of fake traffic. This will ensure that the quality of your traffic is good and you’e all good to go.
Investment for Native Ad Arbitrage
You need to have a good amount in your pocket, we suggest keeping at least $2000 in your kitty to get started. You would be spending around $500 to build the content, keeping aside around USD 1200 for buying the traffic for the next 2 months. The remaining amount of $300 will go in setting up the website, optimizing it for page load speeds, buy plugins, hosting and do other necessary integrations which can help users or visitors share your content smoothly. Since most of the networks pay in NET 30 days, you will have money in your hand after 60 days which you can roll over. The first two months will be more of a roller-coaster with experiments and trials. But once you crack the winning formula, you can monitor your traffic buys and optimize the ad placements for higher yield. Also, keep an additional $1000 as a backup and use it to scale the traffic as required. Generally, arbitrage sites see a profit margin of 30%. So, if you’re investing $3000 per month initially, you can take home an additional $1000 and work on to optimize your campaigns and ad placements for higher ROI. Now the amount mentioned here is marginal and if you’re planning to do native ad arbitrage at a good scale, you need much higher investment. However, you can always negotiate with networks to have ad credits on your account or bills which you can pay in NET 60 days since that will give you enough time to encash from advertisements.
In order to scale native ad arbitrage, you need to have a proper flow of transaction since you will be flipping your revenue to buy traffic. Additionally, it is important to have good contacts with ad networks. Above all, you need to have a fair idea of filtering bot traffic and traffic sources which are not converting. This would essentially help you manage your campaigns better and generate more profit for every impression that is served. If you need to know more about native ad arbitrage and traffic arbitrage, get in touch for a consultation!