Home Affiliate Marketing & Advertising Affiliate Traffic: 15+ Best Traffic Sources for Affiliate Marketing (Free & Paid) in 2023

Affiliate Traffic: 15+ Best Traffic Sources for Affiliate Marketing (Free & Paid) in 2023

by Patrick D

Affiliate marketing traffic can drive a lot of sales for your product via referrals. A little spend on it can generate a high return on investment. However, ensuring that your referrals come from high-quality, targeted traffic sources is important to maximize the conversion rate. 

In this article, we’ll talk about traffic sources, their types, and the best examples of such sources, whether free or paid, to generate sales via affiliate marketing. 

What is a traffic source?

A traffic source refers to any platform that can send visitors to an affiliate site, landing page, or CPA offer. It is the medium through which people find a website or offer you promote. Monitoring these sources can help you understand what attracts users and focus on doing more of that to keep the traffic coming. It gives you ample information about the target audience to figure out how to convert them best.


A traffic source can be either organic or paid. Organic traffic comes from unpaid sources, practically free traffic. The most popular type of organic traffic is from search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. 

Paid traffic, on the other hand, comes to your website after you pay for advertising promotions on social media, search engines, and blogs.

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Such traffic is easier to get because it involves advertising on sources that are guaranteed to drive views and clicks to your website. For example, if you type a common phrase like “website hosting” into Google, you’ll see several web hosting providers advertising their services before you even see an organic link. 

The downside is that this type of traffic can be costly, especially when you’re targeting highly-competitive keywords and websites.


Adsterra works with over 28,000 direct publishers that can generate high-quality traffic for CPA offers you promote. You can rely on Adsterra when you need to buy CPM, CPC, or CPA traffic from 248 GEOs.

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Organic traffic

You don’t need to pay a dime for organic traffic, but it takes time to build, unlike paid traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the most common way to get organic traffic. You should structure your website and posts in a way that makes them rank high on search engines. Use the right keywords, headings, image formats, etc. Backlinks from other websites also help build up organic traffic. 

The good thing about this type of traffic is that once you build it up, it has a lot of staying power, unlike paid traffic which disappears once you stop advertising.

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How do you pick a traffic source?

There are many factors to consider if you want to pick a good source of affiliate marketing traffic:

  • Cost, or how much you’ll pay for the traffic;
  • The amount of traffic you can generate from your sources;
  • Advertising regulations across different networks;
  • Quality of the traffic source;
  • What ad targeting options are available;
  • Your target audience and niche.

The cost of the traffic source

Every paid traffic source has a specific cost, depending on its type, quality, the number of locations you target, etc. There’s much competition for websites that bring high-quality affiliate traffic, so they tend to cost more than those of lower quality. 

You should have a defined budget and plan an advertising strategy that fits within it. The good thing about affiliate marketing is that small spending can generate big sales sometimes.

The amount of traffic available

The amount of traffic you can generate from different sources isn’t the same. Some sources may give you traffic from only Tier 3 geographical locations with large volumes and lesser costs. Others will let you target Tier 1 GEOs with higher costs. You should decide on the tier of traffic you’re interested in and identify where to get it.

Restrictions, regulations, and rules

Different affiliate advertising networks have different rules for advertisers. Most of the laws concern misleading advertising and product categories. Check the regulations of the affiliate traffic sources you want to advertise on and know what they prohibit. Violations can get you banned from a traffic source for life.

The overall quality of the traffic source

There are two main things that affect the quality of a traffic source:

  • Bot traffic is a major problem in many ad networks, making advertisers see large traffic volumes but little or no conversions. 
  • Some ad networks cater to low-quality audiences, i.e., generate little sales for your product.

Ensure that the traffic source you’re patronizing has a clean reputation or has been explored by someone you know with good results. This will prevent you from falling victim to click fraud and getting little return on your ad spend.

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The targeting options available

Targeting lets you tailor your affiliate marketing campaign to the people most likely to respond to them. Examples of targeting options:

  • Age,
  • Location,
  • Type of device, 
  • Web browser,
  • Language, 
  • Operating system,
  • Gender,
  • Time of the day.

Different traffic sources allow different targeting options. For example, some don’t allow advertisers to target by location or more intricate details like age and gender. When you plan your affiliate marketing strategy, list out your most preferred targeting options and ensure you pick sources that support exactly those settings you need. In many cases, OS, device, and location targeting will be enough.

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The niche or audience

This factor is closely related to targeting options, as different businesses serve different niches and audiences. Some traffic sources are best suited for specific niches, e.g., if you’re selling a nutritional product, you should pick social networks as your source of paid traffic. You could create a detailed review of the product in your blog and drive organic, or paid search traffic there. 

Likewise, some websites have more traffic from specific locations than others, so it’ll be smart to bank on traffic sources focused on the location you’re targeting. Check everything about your intended traffic source before jumping in to give them money.

If you’re an affiliate looking for high-paying CPA offers, your surefire choice is Adsterra CPA Network. If you’re in search of massive traffic for offers you already have, try Adsterra ad network. We send 32B ad impressions from top-selected publishers’ websites monthly.

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8 best paid traffic sources for affiliate advertising

Any marketer needs both paid and organic traffic. But the former is the best for driving significant traffic to your product website and getting sales. You can always pay for traffic using the pricing models that are best suited for you: cost-per-click, cost-per-mille, cost-per-action, etc.

1. Push traffic

There are two main types of Push ads: browser notifications sent to people that have signed up and consented to get them (Web Push notification) and ads on a website that incorporates this ad format (In-Page Push). Either way, this type of ad is good at catching viewers’ attention, and you can use creatives and compelling visuals to lure their attention even more.

In-page push layouts on Adsterra platform

Check our affiliate case study on in-page push traffic:

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2. Pop traffic

There are two types of pop traffic: Popups and Popunders. A Popup is when a new advertising window appears on top of a webpage. A Popunder is an ad that loads under the webpage; you can only see it after closing the webpage. 

Example of a Popup

Popunder ads are more effective than Popups because the latter causes interruptions while the former doesn’t. It presents a good opportunity for both publishers to monetize their traffic and advertisers to get better results from their marketing spend.

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3. Banner ads

This type of ad is a simple clickable banner on a website or between posts on a social media platform. It’s an image with a hyperlink that redirects anyone who clicks on it to an external URL. It is the most common type of ad that you can use anywhere, including on websites, social media, and even email. The key is to design an eye-catching ad using the right mix of images and text. Any text should also be short and go straight to the point. 

Sample banner ad

A slight problem with banner ads is that people see them too much and have become numb to them. You should think carefully about where to place your banners to get the best results, mostly at the top of a webpage.

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4. Native ads

Native advertisements match the look and feel of your website. They resonate with your traffic source’s audience and don’t have the perceived intrusiveness of many other types of ads, making it a win-win for both the publisher and the advertiser.

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5. Video marketing

You can use videos to advertise third-party products. Videos are more likely to capture a reader’s attention than images and text, so use the opportunity to impress the reader and clearly state what your product or service offers to them. Note that video ads tend to cost more than other types of ads, so it’s not suitable for beginner affiliates.

6. Paid search ads

You can place ads for your website on search engines like Google and Bing and pay only when someone clicks on it. You can bid for specific keywords, wherein your link will show when a person searches for them. However, bidding for commonly searched terms like “insurance” or “medical services” is fiercely competitive and drives up the price for intending advertisers.

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7. Social media ads

You can advertise on popular social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn. When someone clicks your display ad, they’ll be redirected to your social media page or an external landing page. Billions of people use social media, so it’s a good platform to reach potential customers.


The best way to use this for affiliate marketing is to write a product review with affiliate links included and promote that review. Most social media platforms don’t allow people to promote affiliate links directly, even with disclosure.

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8. URL shortening tools

A URL shortener is a tool that converts a long URL into a shorter one that’ll still take anyone that clicks it to the same webpage. Some of them offer affiliate services such that whenever someone clicks on a shortened link, they’ll first see an ad before going to the intended website. This ad space is a good medium to generate traffic for your own product or landing page.

Publishers connected to Adsterra generate over 1 billion impressions daily, presenting an ample opportunity to spread the word about your product.

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9 best free traffic sources for affiliate marketing

We’ve talked about paid traffic sources. Now, it’s time to show you the best free traffic sources for affiliate marketing; the ones you don’t need to spend money on. They are mostly social media sites, online forums, and search engines. However, it’s harder to build up traffic on these sources than on paid ones, so you must work creatively with them.

1. TikTok

TikTok is a short-form video app that has taken the world by storm and amassed over 1 billion users in barely seven years. The app tailors videos to user habits, which means that the people who watch your videos are likely interested in your genre of content. You can use videos to capture your audience’s attention and direct them to click a link to find out more. 

TikTok doesn’t let users post links on non-sponsored posts, but you can work around that by placing the link in your profile section and telling viewers to click on it.

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2. SEO traffic

If you’re using your website or blog for affiliate marketing, you can’t do without search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines are the biggest drivers of traffic on the web, so it’s essential to optimize your content to make it rank high on them, preferably on the first page. 

Each search engine has unique ranking algorithms. But some general rules to improve your website’s rank include using keywords, having backlinks, and adding relevant names and alt texts to images. SEO is a moving target, so ensure to stay on top of industry changes and adapt to them.

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3. Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms globally. It’s the first place people go to find out about global events or things happening within their vicinity. Twitter users are all about conversations and don’t like being sold to, so just putting your links won’t suffice. You’ll need to add visuals related to the content behind the link. 

Sometimes, one of your tweets can blow up, and you can insert your links at the end of the viral thread. You can also add them to your bio, as you’ll do on TikTok.

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4. Instagram

Instagram is a popular social media platform where users share images and videos. To be a successful affiliate marketer on Instagram, you must first build a following rather than just throw links into your content. You can use hashtags and geotags to improve local discovery, get featured on already popular accounts, and etc. Afterward, you can post different types of visual content along with your affiliate links and also on your bio.

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5. Pinterest

Pinterest is a social network that revolves around sharing ideas through “pins”. This platform skews towards women, but the gap is getting smaller as more men flock toward it. Many people use Pinterest to look for purchase ideas, so you can post your products as “pins” along with their affiliate links. Anyone that searches for product ideas may see your post and follow the affiliate link to purchase it.

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6. Online forums

If you’re into a particular activity, odds are there’s a forum dedicated to it. Like-minded people tend to congregate on forums to discuss relevant topics, presenting an opportunity for you to market your product. For example, if you promote an affiliate offer of exercise gear, you can visit a fitness forum, sign up, join discussions and occasionally include your affiliate links in them.

7. Reddit


Reddit is a collection of forums hosted on a single domain name. Each individual forum is called a “subreddit,” and you can find one for virtually any topic out there. You can post your affiliate links, but some subreddits have clear rules against that and ban people that violate them. Ensure you post links only on subreddits that allow self-promotion, and even with that, don’t do it too much to avoid being marked as a spammer.

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8. Quora


Quora is a questions-and-answers site where people ask for help about various topics and get answers from other users. You can answer questions related to your product category and slot in an affiliate link in them. Ensure that the link is relevant to the user’s question, which makes them more likely to click on it. Remember that the site’s purpose is to help users, not post random links, so play along.

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9. YouTube


Almost everyone knows YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing site. Unlike many other platforms, YouTube’s algorithm won’t deprioritize your video if you post affiliate links in the description. Thus, you can create videos relevant to your product or service and include affiliate links to direct people to purchase it. Add a call to action like “Link in the description” in the video to make viewers aware of your link.

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A good thing about the internet is that you don’t need to spend large sums to get noticed. You can get considerable affiliate traffic from the sources we listed, whether free or paid. 

But it can take some time to find your perfect target audience and focus on it. We’ve mentioned the most important factors to consider if you want to choose the most suitable traffic source. Adsterra is an example of a high-quality traffic source. You can pay for ad impressions while driving user actions your advertiser pays you for: clicks, orders, installs, and leads.

Affiliate traffic sources FAQs

Which is the best traffic source for affiliate marketing?

There’s no one best traffic source for affiliate marketing. It depends on several factors, such as your niche and target audience. As a rule of thumb, search engine optimization and advertising are some of the best ways to generate traffic for your product page. Social media is also a good medium to get high-quality traffic.

How do I get free traffic for affiliates?

There are several ways to get free affiliate traffic. You can post content related to your products and include links on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. You can optimize your website to rank high on search engines for specific queries. You can post on online forums and Q&A sites, and so on.

What are the top 3 sources of paid traffic?

Search engine advertising is the most common way to get paid traffic, followed by social media advertising. These two sources are a relatively easy way to get views and conversions for your affiliate offers. Another way is to advertise your offers on other websites via an ad network, e.g., Adsterra.

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