Is advertising on shady platforms a good idea?

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Shady display ads platforms. Can they really sell “regular” products and services?

 

Okay, so where can we display our ads? Most people, when planning on advertising their product online, think about Google Ads or social ads on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Some people might want to try Twitter, Reddit or other popular but not so obvious platforms. There is also a huge market for advertisers that don’t mind the environment, where their brand is advertised… or their product wouldn’t be accepted in Google or Facebook ecosystems. 

If you visit Torrent pages, illegal VODs or adult websites – you’ll see multiple ad placements available. Usually ads on this nasty internet offer us magic pills that help with any medical condition there is. They can also offer dating services for singles living in your area or get-rich-quick schemes. But is this all there is? Is it impossible to sell regular products and services with advertising platforms like TrafficJunky, Exoclick or countless alternatives? 

Well, the answer is – it depends. Because there’s nothing that stops us from displaying ads of consumer loans with the lowest interest rates or wide spectrum of used cars in your town next to illegal files available to download, but there are several factors that we need to keep in mind, when deciding about going to adult internet with our ads. Let’s see!

 

Consider buyers intention

 

It’s a general rule, important when designing a strategy on any platform, but it’s especially important when working on TrafficJunky or similar providers. One of the first things I personally take care of when designing a Google Display Network campaign is to exclude most of the mobile apps placements. It’s because of tricks mobile apps publishers use when releasing a free app. These often design ad placements to display in a way to increase CTRs by making it harder to close ads or make it easier to click on them by accident. If a user clicks on our ad by a mistake, the purchase intent is very little, not to say non-existent.

The same goes for “shady” advertising platforms. When you go on an illegal streaming service, before you play a video you have to close multiple popups. It’s not that easy as it may sound. And then, before you play a video another ad appears out of nowhere, and it’s too late – you already clicked on an ad, and now you’re on a website that tells you to start investing in Bitcoin. Knowing that, what’s the point of generating hundreds of clicks to your website, when most of them come from people, who didn’t even want to click your ad and get to know your product?

 

Targeting and selection – slim to none…

 

The strength of advertising with Facebook or Google comes from information these platforms have about their users. What keeps you occupied? Facebook knows it perfectly. What have you been searching for online? Google remembers it well. What videos do you prefer? They both know it better than you do. Using this information when designing campaigns allows you to display the proper message to proper people at the right time. “Shady” (or adult if you prefer) platforms provide limited options regarding audience targeting. Below you can see how’s the majority of the targeting screen looks like on TrafficJunky.

 

 

It’s different to what we got used to with most PPC platforms. It’s pretty basic and don’t let “keywords” fields fool you – it doesn’t work like in Google Ads. It’s mostly useful if you want to select on what adult videos your ads will appear.

With very little influence over who can see your ads, you can expect the engagement rate to be really low. This is why most products won’t sell well on TrafficJunky and its alikes.

In my experience, only businesses that operate locally and sell universal products can take advantage of these platforms. If they don’t mind the advertising environment, obviously.

 

All eyes are on…

 

The trick with PPC advertising is to show the ad at the right moment. Find that window when the purchase intent is the highest, and you’re halfway there. With Google Search ads it’s rather simple to achieve, because you display your message at exactly the time when potential customers are looking for it. With display advertising it’s much harder, but with the right setting you can also sell – it all depends on how you configured your campaign and where do you display ads.

Let’s be honest, with TrafficJunky or Exoclick it’s much harder to convince users to stop doing what they’re doing on the websites to click on an ad of your e-commerce business with pet accessories. Displaying your ad next to a video with tips & tricks for Golden Retriever owners on YouTube can bring you a few sales, displaying your ad next to an adult video, may not be this effective.

So, when does it make any sense?

 

It’s time we finally get to a conclusion. Adult PPC platforms aren’t for everyone. Most businesses won’t be able to take advantage of it (unless you design a retargeting campaign), but there are various industries that can generate a lot of high-quality leads from these sources. Some examples?

 

  1. Cryptocurrency – mostly because these ads are limited or even forbidden on the most popular ad platforms. It’s also not local, but nowadays, especially after the latest Bitcoin hikes, it’s popular. You can start with as much as you’d like when trading cryptocurrency, so these exchanges can and are successfully advertising with these platforms;
  2. Adult products – it’s mostly because it’s much harder to run these campaigns on Facebook or Google, but also the TrafficJunky environment is perfect for advertising it. Based on user preferences regarding content they consume you can design a well personalized message that will sell.
  3. Local and universal products and services – with CPC lower than on any other advertising platform you can reach out to people in your area and offer them your products. It requires a lot of guts to advertise regular products on adult and illegal streaming websites, but if your customers aren’t the type that gets easily offended, it’s worth a try.
  4. Dating – especially that we can easily select sexual preferences of our audience and display the proper message convincing to sign up to our services. It’s also pretty universal service and a lot of dating services or apps take advantage of these platforms.

 

If you sell a niche product that has nothing to do with the content of placements where TrafficJunky and Exoclick ads are being displayed, it’s much harder to design a selling campaign. You have to be patient and perform multiple A/B tests before you make your first sale, but it’s not impossible. You just have to accept that the conversion rate could be lower than expected and conversion cost could be higher than on other platforms. It’s always worth a try to explore new sources for customer acquisition, but my professional recommendation in most cases would be to start testing it only after other sources hit the ceiling. Because other than that it’s vertical like any other.

 

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