I recently came across a site called Adfly, which you may not recognise, but if you spend a lot of time online, will probably have experienced at some point. It is essentially a service that sells visitors to a site through advertising, but not in the usual Google Ads sort of way. People who want to make money from online links, can use adfly and get paid a small amount for ever time that link is clicked. When a user clicks on one of these links, they are directed to an advertised webpage for a minimum of 5 seconds before they can continue to their actual destination.
I fear I have done a fairly poor job of describing what is actually a fairly simple concept, so will provide an example to clarify. Say I post a link here to my homepage, but use a link I created on Adfly: Homepage (please be aware I have no control over the site you will see advertised – please be cautious about what you click there). If you click on that link, you will see a standard enough looking website, but with an adfly banner at the top. The button in the right hand corner of this banner will count down 5 seconds until you are able to continue on to your destination link. I think you’ll agree it is a fairly intrusive way of making links, but people use it as they receive about £2 for every 1,000 clicks. This is, in my opinion, a paltry rate, and one of the reasons this post is not looking at using that side of the service as a way to make money, along with the fact I don’t want people to have to wait five seconds when they click links from my site, as I want it to be open, useful and informative – not full of intrusive monetisation methods.
It was after clicking on one of these links from a site, I spotted the ‘get your site here’ message, and decided to have a look. Adfly had a special offer of 1,000 visits for just $0.40, and I thought a site as great as this should be seen by the whole world, so I thought I’d give as a bit of an experiment. I purchased 13,000 visitors (as there was a $5 pre-tax min. purchase) at a cost of just over £4. For such a low cost I decided it was worth a try. I did choose the cheapest option, as I just wanted to get a feel for it, so the traffic to my site was fairly low quality (from proxy servers), and from all around the world. To purchase traffic from only the UK is $4.00 per thousand, so a significant amount more, but for my purposes the increase in relevance probably outweighs the cost.
The minimum is $5, which after tax works out to just over £4. There is no maximum, but most people would agree you only want to be putting money into advertising where some kind of return is present, so this should be the upper limitation for use of Adfly. The nice thing about adfly is that it is very easy to set up, and requires no ongoing time input, apart from changing or extending a campaign.
Return On Investment
This could vary wildly. For me, as I was just experimenting, I didn’t get things completely right. I had the page to display as the homepage of my site, whereas now I think about it, I should have used an attention grabbing article instead, and more to the point, one that is likely to make me money through people staying on the site and clicking advertisements. However, I did recuperate about two thirds of the money I spent on this campaign through increased Google Ads revenue, and got a few new subscribers to my blog (although it’s difficult to tell how much of that was down to this campaign). I believe if I were to take the lessons I learned from this little experiment and apply it to make a more successful campaign, it could well become profitable, maybe not to a huge scale, but any kind of profit from such a passive source is welcome.
Projected ROI: 5-10% (This is based on an estimate of what I believe could be achieved)
ROI inc. labour: 4-9% (based upon minimum wage of £6.19/hour)
Expected Return: This is too difficult to judge without having tried it, as if it was profitable, then more investment would make sense.
Apart from the money to spend on a campaign, the other key element is to have a website to advertise. The website needs to not only have attention grabbing content – as otherwise the person will only stay 5 seconds – but also needs to be profitable content to justify the spending. I have in mind trying two articles – Making £100 in 2 Hours and Free Music. Not only are both appealing, attention grabbing ideas but both also provide me with some income from affiliate links if people decide to use the guides and click the links. A reminder that I only ever use affiliate links to recommend products/services I think are worthwhile and will help people, never simply to just make myself money.
There is of course the risk that people will not look at the site, and will just continue on as soon as the 5 seconds are up. However, risk can be easily controlled by only investing a small amount to test the water, then scaling up if successful. If unsuccessful then all that is gone is a small amount of around £5, which is certainly not disastrous.
This is one of the most easily scalable ideas I have tried, and one of the reasons I want to experiment with it. With such a low amount of £5ish, I can test the results and see if it is worth doing. If it does turn out to be profitable, then all I need to is to buy more exposure on Adfly, which would take all of about 5 minutes.
If all goes well this could be an interesting ongoing way to invest a portion of my profit so far. However, before I dive in and invest a lot of money in it, I want to try it out again, having applied the lessons I learnt from my first try, and see if it is a profitable way to advertise the site. Something I haven’t yet mentioned is that if people like the content of the site, they may well subscribe or become regular visitors, which means increased exposure in the long-term, as well as just whilst the campaign is running. This gives even greater return and the more people who are reading this blog the better – and not only for monetary reasons, but because I feel passionate about it and think it deserved to get read! I will be trying it out with my new strategy and update you with how it goes.