Traffic exchanges are a niche in online advertising, just like, marketing forums or blogs are. Traditionally, traffic exchanges are defined by the expression “you view my site and I’ll view yours”. This definition induces a certain misinterpretation by which for every site you see, there is someone who sees yours. In fact, as a free member on a traffic exchange, you usually have to see two or three sites before someone sees your site.
Conversely, you don’t have to see any sites at all, and still have your adverts seen. How? If you buy credits or if you upgrade and your membership includes bonus credits. So, all you need is credits: 1 credit = 1 view to your site. The way to build credits is up to you: you can either put in your time or your money for that.
Now… consider this: when you market to a different niche, other than traffic exchanges, do you consider the niche as a whole or adapt your marketing based on your research, on the information you have on sub-niches? For example, in a forum about paid advertising, would you promote free traffic exchanges? Or on a blog about revenue sharing programs, would you comment and add a link to your evergreen product? Maybe it would work in some cases by contrast, but generally, I doubt it.
So, the traffic exchanges niche shouldn’t be treated as a whole either. There are various characteristics of traffic exchanges you need to consider when you launch a full campaign to them and expect results:
- Big and Active
- Active, But Not Big
- Not Very Active, Or With Problems Delivering Traffic For Allocated Credits
- Paid vs. Unpaid
- The Network Traffic Exchange Belongs To, Or “Gravitates” Around
- Focus Your Campaign
- Type of TE and of Membership
- Traffic Cooperatives
A big and active TE will eat your credits almost instantly without noticeable results. If you add 1000, 5k and sometimes even 10k credits to your ad at a site like EasyHits4U, for example, you will probably be disappointed. Why? Because it is very likely no one will see your ad multiple times, enough to convince him to act. But if you have plenty of credits, a nice budget or want to use start pages, that’s a great way to tap into a huge membership.
An active, but not big traffic exchange is probably what you are looking for, if you are an advertiser, without huge traffic needs, but also not a newbie. Your ads will be seen relatively quickly and multiple times by active members of this TE. You will know soon enough if they are appealing to them or not.
Only consider these TEs for long term campaigns, branding and awareness. Even a two week campaign would probably be to short in these cases, to see any significant results. Consider creating the maximum allowed number of ads and add less credits to each ad.
Most traffic exchanges allow free members, thus free traffic. There are exceptions to this rule. In this case, everyone is paying for the service, so the audience should be more selective with the quality of adverts and programs they are interested in.
Every big network built around traffic exchanges has its community, partners, set of tools etc. At the top of these networks, people are friends, have a business relationship, ignore each other, or are rivals. And these relationships also become transparent in the respective communities. So, to promote a “rival” product in a “rival” network would be in vain. Think about it: would Pepsi Cola expect booming results in a market controlled by Coca Cola (and vice versa)?
Focus on the same traffic source for a while. Sometimes even a week can be too short time to get any results in an active traffic exchange. If you surf one TE today for up to an hour, then move on to another tomorrow and do the same, then repeat the next day, assuming you didn’t have any credits in any of the TEs at first, you won’t have enough credits to make an impact in any of these TEs. But surf for an hour daily at the same TE for two weeks and you might get somewhere (you can surf more than one at the same time, but don’t change them for two weeks).
This can be a little complicated. Here’s what’s simple about it. Traffic exchanges either offer rewards (games, pennies, badges, zubees, etc.) or they don’t. If you advertise a site that offers rewards in a traffic exchange which doesn’t, what do you think, would it appeal to their membership? Nope.
But it also depends on the type of ads that usually run in the traffic exchange.
Not a big fan of them. You have no control of the source of your traffic, except that it is from traffic exchanges. It may be from the lowest converting TE or the worst for your ad. On the other hand though, traffic can come from TEs you don’t know of or you are not a member of.
It isn’t easy to make all these adjustments I described. And I imagine a marketer unfamiliar with traffic exchanges will want to know if it’s worth their time or money. But isn’t this part of what good marketing is all about? Niche research?