Much as we advocate SEO as a method of getting clicks, the fact remains that paid advertising, both Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per View (PPV) does have its place. Such services can be helpful in getting the initial word out about your business or they can also help you to build a subscriber base and or to grab some eyeballs to improve Alexa rankings and or Adsense clicks. I
While most of us are of course familiar with AdWords, there are dozens of other options out there too. I should also mention that I’m not talking here about CPA (cost per action) networks. The reason is simple – such services are not inexpensive.
CPA networks do offer you the best value for your money if you have a relatively high priced item (i.e. if you sell software for $67 per month and then give away 30-40% to your affiliates), CPA networks like Clickbank can be a boon. However, those don’t help you if you just want to build some momentum for a blog or other kind of website.
Now, before I go into the actual list I’ve compiled for you, a word of warning: in most cases, there’s a very good reason why these guys are cheaper (sometimes much, much cheaper) than the big guys like Google Adwords, Facebook, Bing, etc. They often have what is known as “low quality traffic.”
By low quality traffic, I mean that they are often not geotargeted and if they are geotargeted they tend to not be keyword targeted. You see, Adwords works well because you can specify that you only want to display for people with a particular range of IP addresses (i.e. only USA). You can also specify a specific keyword that you’d like to have your advertising show up for.
Some of these networks do offer geotargeting though it’s often more limited (Google’s system often lets you choose specific regions whereas some of these only let you choose countries). Some also let you target specific keywords though that does tend to be more expensive than targeting the general population.
So who are these networks good for? The companies that will benefit the most from cheaper PPC and PPV networks are the ones that have very generalized products which can appeal to pretty much anyone anywhere in the world. So for example if you run a website for online coupons, that’s a much more generalized website than say a local bakery in Boise, Idaho.
Those are of course extreme opposites but the point is that the more generalized your offerings are, the more likely you are to grab new customers with these services. Okay, so let’s take a look at some of them:
One of the oldest PPC networks on the planet, having been around since 1999, 7Search actually does get their ads onto some kind of search engine but I can’t quite figure out which one from looking at their website. What I can say about these guys is that when I did a search for them I came across a number of people complaining about them and saying that they quality of visitors was very poor.
To 7Search’s credit though, most of those comments seem to be fairly old. I found one thread on Warrior Forum and one on BlackHatWorld which had the same thoughts but both were around 2-3 years old. I have no idea if they have improved the quality of their searches since then.
This is one of the few networks I have personal experience with. I had put up a Chitika ad on my personal finance website a while back when I first created it. I also saw several people recommend them for lower traffic websites because they pay out with just $10 of click traffic as opposed to Google’s Adsense, which requires $100 of clicks before they pay you.
The thing is, the ads that Chitika put up on my site were always weird and seemed to have little connection to what I was actually offering there. They were often for sites offering photography equipment and sometimes stuff that simply didn’t seem to be for any kind of a real site. Given this, I’m not sure how effective they are in the other direction as an advertiser.
Okay, let’s talk for a moment about a PPV (pay per view) network. These guys are crazy cheap. You can get prices as low as 40 cents for 1,000 visitors. The most expensive are US visitors who will cost you five bucks for 1,000. They have specific criteria for the visitors – must have cookies enabled, must have flash enabled, must stay for at least 5 seconds, etc.
The bad news is that Adfly visitors tend to be the least likely to be engaged by whatever it is you are offering unless it has a very wide appeal. That’s because they get their visitors by offering a URL shortening service. In essence, when people click an Adfly link, they are shown your ad for five seconds before moving on to the site they wanted to get to.
The problem here is that while you can now geotarget your visitors, you cannot keyword target them. This means effectively that you’ll get pretty low quality traffic. On the other hand, advertise to a large enough group of people and you may well land some new customers.
The key again is to have something which is fairly big tent in its appeal (i.e. money saving tips for consumers as opposed to the latest server technology for large telecommunications companies).
These guys are a bit different from most services. They’re not quite a traditional PPV service nor are they a PCC service. It’s kind of PPV with a twist. In essence, what they do is to take your bid for how much you are willing to pay to advertise on any given website and when your bid is the highest, your ad appears.
The idea is to cut down on click fraud (see further down for what that is) while at the same time offering you the kinds of sites you like. I gather they’re pretty new so they don’t have that many sites on offer yet, but the pricing seems pretty reasonable for many of the sites they do offer so I think it’s worth taking a look at them.
Kontera does do context ads which means that their ads are targeted to specific keywords in the same way that Google’s Adwords are targeted. They also offer you geotargeting to allow you to only advertise with people in a specific country. However, they’re not super cheap. They are however often cheaper than the really big guys like Google which is why I mention them here. I believe they also put ads onto images which is a bit different.
I had never heard of Adbright before I started researching this article however they do seem, at least on the surface, to have the right combination of features to make for some quality advertising. In essence, they use a complex algorithm similar to the way Adwords uses a complex algorithm to put up their ads on the various websites they work with.
I am including Adbight in this list primarily because it was highly recommended by a number of members of the Warrior Forum when I did a search for cheaper PPC networks. Give them a shot and please let us know what you think down below.
Another service I’ve never seen before, they seem to work similarly to services like Google’s Adwords and AdBright above – they offer pay per click ads and they charge based on the number of clicks that you get from them. They also let you bid on the advertising that you want to purchase from them. However, from what I’ve been told, they are significantly cheaper than Adwords.
Like AdBright above, they were recommended on the Warrior Forum which is why I’m putting them into this list. Again, would love to see what folks who have used them think of them. Please comment below and let us know your thoughts.
So this one is interesting; I found LookSmart on an old thread in the Warrior Forum and the people there mentioned that they felt that these guys were not worth a whole heck of a lot. They’re a pay per click service similar to most of the others in this roundup but as I said, some folks in WF were saying they felt it wasn’t worth using them.
One of the LookSmart representatives had dropped by the thread and mentioned that things had changed since these folks had posted their thoughts and offered a coupon code to try to woo them back. The coupon is more than two years old though so I doubt it’s still working. However, I’d be curious to try them out if I could find a current coupon code…
Finally, let’s talk about Miva. This is one of the best known of the cheaper PPC networks. It was also one of the two that Yasir suggested I check into for this roundup when he asked me to write about these kinds of services. Now again, I have no personal experience with Miva so I cannot comment from that standpoint.
However, I did find several warnings from folks about click fraud which was not being addressed by Miva. This is a big problem and so I want to make sure to spend a bit of time discussing it. Again by the way, it’s important to remember that the review I saw was around two years old so things may well have changed since then.
With Google’s Adwords, one thing that you generally don’t need to worry about is so called click fraud. In essence, this is the practice of a person repeatedly clicking your link in order to make money off of you and the advertising network. It’s pretty easy to spot – the amateurs will do it by repeatedly using the same IP address and doing it repeatedly over a short period of time.
All of these services should provide you with a report on who clicked your links and where they were from. This is standard practice in the industry. However, not all of these guys are as good as Google is about watching out for click fraud.
Google will actually ban people who engage in this practice. Some cheaper networks will however not only tolerate folks who do it but they’ll also charge you for the clicks unless you complain. Thus it’s important to carefully read the reports that you get from these networks so that you can see if this is happening to you. If it is, make sure you complain and let us know below.
Look, there’s usually a reason why ads on these kinds of services are so much cheaper than they are on the more established networks. Either they aren’t as good about targeting just the right kinds of buyers or they simply lack the numbers of quality buyers that you need in order to make some good money from these folks.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should be ignoring these cheaper networks. Instead, what you should be doing is to keep in mind whom you are likely to hit and to put up ads which are appropriate.
For example, if you advertise on Adfly, make a joke out of the fact that you’re interrupting people on their way to whatever it is that they want ultimately see and keep it simple. Try an image like the one above this section because it’s funny and gets right to the point – remember you have just 5 seconds and the ads are not targeted.
Finally, please be sure to share your experiences below. I really do want to know what folks think of these kinds of services and I’m sure many of our other readers would like to know as well.