First Published: March 29, 2016; Last Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2021.There are plenty of paid traffic sources on the web from where you can buy targeted traffic to your website. The best thing about online advertising (unlike television, radio, print, etc.) is that it's totally accountable and you get to know the exact returns of every single dollar that you are spending. Online advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry and the digital ad spending in the U.S. is all set to surpass television ad spending. Paid advertising on search engines and social media accounts for over 50% of the total ad spend (dominated by Google, Microsoft, and Facebook). The good thing about online advertising is that it's super easy to kick-start an ad campaign and it could attract a lot of targeted traffic in the shortest span of time. But the bad thing is that it may be effective only in the short-term because when you stop your ad campaigns the traffic may pause. However, online advertising is extremely flexible and efficient (in terms of ad targeting, spending, and tracking) and it basically means that if you have a solid marketing strategy then your online ad campaigns can bring in higher return on investment for the short-term as well as for the long-term. As I have already mentioned, majority of the ad spend happens on paid search because of the superior traffic quality (and hence the performance). Also, you can reach 96% of the U.S. searchers by signing up as an advertiser on Google.com (via Google AdWords) and Bing.com (via Bing Ads). Over the past several years, I have published a dozen blog posts about website monetization and it was all about selling ads on your website and rarely about ad spending. Actually, I’m a lover of organic traffic (or search traffic). But it’s also true that it takes a lot of time to get some traction that way. So if you start a new business and want to tap the online advertising space then the best way is buy paid traffic on different traffic sources like search engines, social networks, display ads, video ads, etc. Here is a curated list of some of the best paid traffic sources on the web — categorized and subcategorized.
If there are three companies that are dominating the technology space, they are --- Apple, Microsoft, and Google. And you know how Apple and Microsoft makes money. But, do you know how Google makes money?
Sixty billion dollars ($60 bn). Guess what? That was the annual revenue (and it was $37 billion when I first published this blog post back in 2012) of the world's largest search engine, Google, in 2014.
But how is that really possible when they hardly have any tangible products or when they don't charge a penny for most of their products and services?
Well, it’s advertising, and again advertising. Google's majority revenue comes from two advertising platforms --- Google AdWords and Google AdSense. In fact, 96% of Google’s revenue is from advertising.
Recently, I came across this interesting thread on Quora.com where Oliver Emberton answered the question "If I want to become an entrepreneur, where do I start?".
Think of a company as a machine you design and build. Your 'machine' always has certain parts. It sells something to someone, and re-invests some of that to help make more sales in future. What's left over is profit for the owners.