Welcome, esteemed community! Everyone involved in affiliate marketing knows that this niche has a high entry barrier, primarily due to the initial budget required because traffic cannot be free; it must always be purchased. Even sources that claim to be free actually involve some costs, hence they are referred to as conditionally-free traffic (CFT). But is CFT better than paid traffic, and does it differ in quality? Let’s compare.

But before that, we recommend you review our other materials. Particularly, find out how and why it’s important to choose GEO from where you will be driving traffic, because this topic also borders on what we are discussing today.

What is Conditionally-Free Traffic (CFT)?

Conditionally-free traffic is clients that you acquire with minimal financial expenditures. This is achieved through various tools, from using client databases to spamming via bots. However, the main point here is that you will need to spend some amount of money to acquire traffic.

Paid traffic is the type you purchase from advertising networks or other webmasters. Certainly, working with paid traffic requires being prepared to spend a lot of money. However, you also gain certain advantages:

The ability to set targeting, choosing exactly the kind of person you are ‘buying’: their age, gender, or even interests;

  1. Minimizing potential fraud;
  2. Saving time.

Somewhere between paid and CFT lies organic traffic. Organic traffic is acquired ‘naturally’: a person finds your website or blog through a search engine, or sees your page in a friend’s social media subscriptions and then uses your service. Certainly, organic traffic can be free under certain conditions. But if you plan to work specifically with it, substantial funds must be spent to make your source rank highly in search results. Achieving this without financial investment is impossible, so don’t count on it.

What Does Paid Traffic Entail?

The type of paid traffic is determined by the means through which we obtain it. There are not many types, but they are very different.

Contextual Advertising

The most popular type of advertising is contextual. Such ads appear every time someone searches for something on Google. This advertising has two main advantages:

  • It is relevant, hitting the target precisely;
  • It is almost impossible to miss.

A key disadvantage can be considered its cost, which can be extremely high for certain niches and GEOs. Here, competition plays a significant role because the cost per click depends on the prices set by your competitors. Decided to save money? Be prepared for your ads to be seen much less frequently, and very rarely.

Targeted Advertising

Contextual advertising also works on targets. By targeted advertising, we mean the tools offered by social networks. Particularly Facebook and Meta services in general, which are most often used in traffic arbitration. Moderate traffic prices and a powerful toolkit for setting up targeting are the key advantages of this type of advertising, giving us the opportunity to obtain the highest quality traffic.

Moreover, targeted advertising allows the use of not just text ads but almost any creative, as long as it is approved by the moderator.

And it is worth emphasizing that despite all its advantages, targeted advertising is ideally suited only for white-hat offers. Working with others can also be done, but it will require even more financial investment and time spent creating and warming accounts, or purchasing them.

More professionally, you will need to engage in cloaking. And not everything is so rosy here because if your gray campaigns are checked by real people rather than bots, they are unlikely to let such ads pass.

Teaser Advertising

If you want as many clicks as possible on your ad, teaser advertising is the best way to achieve this goal. Even the original name, Teaser, comes from the English word ‘to tease.’

Unlike the advertising formats mentioned above, there is no need to carefully select creatives here. You can put almost anything that will be maximally triggering.

Today, there are quite a few networks offering to buy teaser ads. Choose based on the cost per click and the number of platforms where your ads will potentially be shown.

Banner Advertising

Another type of advertising where the main focus is on graphics. It’s a bit similar to teaser advertising, but if it’s extremely standard (for example, you can’t change the size of the block or add larger creatives), banners give you more creative freedom.

You can pay according to two models: CPC, CPM. But there’s also an opportunity to rent space for a banner on a popular website, which is also a very popular model of interaction between the arbitrator and the webmaster. In this case, you will most likely be offered to pay the ‘rent’ for the advertising space for a month, and the cost will depend on the number of visitors to the site and the size of the banner.

Banners also exist in the In-App format. This is the advertising we see inside mobile apps, games. Keep this in mind if you’re pouring into mobile.

Push Notifications

This advertising format works as follows: traffic is offered to subscribe to notifications, and if they agree, they will periodically see various information, including advertising.

Push notifications exist in many formats. Predominantly, it is the best method to attract mobile traffic to your offer. Because push notifications in the browser are very easy to skip, but if a person sees a notification on their phone, they’re unlikely to miss it.

However, don’t expect high conversion rates, as for many, such push notifications are more likely spam. Hence the quite moderate price for traffic, which is usually calculated by the CPM model (a fixed price for 1000 notifications).

There are also push notifications through the calendar on iOS. Their advantage is that the average user is unlikely to be able to turn them off without external help. Unlike traditional pushes, here you will buy traffic on a CPC model. And this is also, more likely, a plus. Because you pay for results.

Pop-Up and Pop-Under

A pop-up is an advertising format where the ad is a tab that opens on top of other tabs in the browser. It is extremely intrusive, allowing you to maximize the impact of creatives.

Pop-under is almost the same but the opposite: the advertising tab will open underneath the page the user is currently on.

Although this advertising format irritates many users, it is still extremely effective for the arbitrator. Because you essentially get a 100% click-through rate while paying by the CPM model. However, when promoting serious products, this format not only doesn’t fit purely from a common sense perspective but also because not every advertiser pays for such traffic. Consider this.

What Does Conditionally-Free Traffic Look Like?

Now let’s move on to the ‘Economy package,’ so to speak. It’s impossible, or very difficult, to categorize CFT because here you can gather traffic almost anywhere. Everything depends on your imagination.

A fairly popular case is to create teaser videos on YouTube or TikTok, motivating people to go to the comments, where they will already find an affiliate link waiting for them. Of course, the potential audience reach strongly depends on many factors. It’s quite possible that your videos will barely gather about 200 views, and if at least two people click on the link, that’s already good. But that’s how CFT works: you spend more effort and time, although you save money.

A similar case can be used in other social networks, including Instagram, or even FB. Create a dating community and promote dating offers there. Why not?

There are also various tools, for example, for spamming. Want to send thousands of emails with a couple of clicks and at a reasonable price? No problem! However, spam is a red flag for many advertisers, so with CFT, you will have to find the appropriate offer.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Paid Traffic

Let’s summarize. What exactly are we paying for when buying traffic? We would highlight the following advantages:

  1. The ability to set targeting, which ensures you receive high-quality traffic. The better the traffic quality – the higher the conversion.
  2. Rational distribution of the advertising budget. You can adjust the number of clicks and views, intervals between displays, etc.
  3. Ideal for beginners who are still mastering the niche. Even if you can’t perfectly set the target, you still have the opportunity to generate a lead. The question is only how much you will have to spend for this. However, learning from your mistakes is a good way for your further development.
  4. Ads launch very quickly, allowing you to quickly implement any fresh connections.

Disadvantages might include the cost, which sometimes must be recouped over a long period. Also, don’t forget about potential sanctions that can be applied to your campaign when promoting gray offers. In such cases, you will incur even greater losses.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CFT

Although the quality of CFT is significantly lower than that of paid traffic, there are certain advantages, including:

  1. An ideal option for those who are still unsure whether to try their hand at affiliate marketing. Costs are minimal, so if you feel uncomfortable during the process, you lose nothing and can return to your previous job the next day.
  2. The methods of obtaining CFT are mostly native, which, in the case when your project ‘takes off,’ allows you to gain extremely loyal and active traffic that is genuinely interested in the offer.
  3. The ability to promote any offers.

The drawbacks include the time and effort required to achieve any effect. Also, to work with CFT, a person needs certain skills, such as creating quality and interesting content. When working with paid traffic, your ‘talents’ don’t play as significant a role.


Working with paid traffic may be more expensive, but you understand exactly what you are paying for. By obtaining quality traffic, you are likely able to recoup all expenses. Working with CFT also has its place, but be prepared to sweat it out. And do you know where to find the hardest-working affiliates in Ukraine? Right, in our Telegram community! There you can always find fresh and useful information that will allow you to develop and become even more professional.

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