Finding The Best Solo Ad Providers

Updated: July 31, 2018
by Ray Alexander

Finding a good solo ad provider can be tricky. Earlier this week I've been approached by Nik, a very unhappy affiliate marketer who feels he's been conned by his solo ad vendors. Nik is promoting a "business opportunities" niche and has recently bought a solo ad traffic twice, 100 clicks (i.e. 100 visits to his site) each from different vendors;

  • Nik paid $38 to the first vendor. He "only" received 10% over-delivery, and 18 opt-ins.
  • He then paid $55 to the second vendor. He received 25% over-delivery, and more than 80 opt-ins. He's been sending an autoresponder to his new subscribers, but virtually none of them seems to open his emails.

I looked at Nik's lead generation page and it appeared to be reasonably responsive to me. I also looked at his email swipe files and I couldn't find any faults. So I concluded it was the low-quality traffic that he received; he didn't have much luck in choosing his solo ad providers, in my opinion.

Finding The Best Solo Ad Providers

Internal Factors

I couldn't find any mistakes or faults in Nik's lead webpage nor in his email swipes. Firstly I'll explain what a responsive lead generation (opt-in) page should be and a decent email campaign should be.

I have recently explained about a responsive opt-in page in one of my posts, so I'll just summarise here;

  • The header should say it all; explain what you're promoting in no more than 2 lines.
  • The opt-in form should be placed in above-fold.
  • The opt-in form should collect the visitors' first name and email address only. Don't try to collect unnecessary information such as the visitors' last name, address, phone number etc.
  • The page should load fast
  • The page should be built using an updated page builder. It's vital to be mobile-friendly.
  • No jargons! Terms we (you and I) use on a daily basis can be someone else's alien words. For example "lead generation" "web traffic" "solo ad"... Online newbies don't know any of these words.

Now email campaigns that are not opened by recipients; there are two main reasons;

Email Campaign
  • The subject line is boring; need to learn a copywriting technique, or
  • Emails end up in spam folder.

The subject line of each email needs to be interesting enough for many recipients to open. A basic copywriting technique is essential.

To make sure your email is safely delivered to your subscribers' inbox,

  • Avoid using spammy words ("free" "credit card" "clear your debt")
  • Never use a free email address (gmail, hotmail, yahoo-mail etc.)
  • Place no more than 2 hyperlinks in one mail
  • Optimise image, if embedding. No more than 1Mb but as small as possible in file volume.
  • Write at least 10 sentences.

If these factors on your part are all clear and you're not getting good direct results from the purchase of solo ad traffic (i.e. low opt-in rates and low email open rates), it's very likely that the vendor didn't deliver responsive visitors to your page. 

What Is An OD (Over-Delivery)?

Let's look at Nik's case above (1) and (2) again. He received "10% OD" from the first vendor, and "25% OD" from the second vendor. 

Over-delivery is extra clicks that solo ad venders normally deliver as a bonus. The reason behind it is because quite oftentimes, a discrepancy occurs between a seller's tracking record and the buyer's own record. It can be due to different filtering systems they use, or it can be the server's slow response. For example a buyer's web server speed is temporarily erratic and the response is timed out when a visitor is sent to the webpage.

As a result, while the seller's statistics show "100 clicks delivered", the buyer's statistics might show less, say "97 clicks received". Anticipating the discrepancy, normally 10% or more extra clicks (=visitors) are sent at a solo ad provider's discretion. Some providers can be more generous and send more visitors, say 15% by default. If they receive a complaint from their buyer for low opt-in rate, they might send even more visitors, such as 30%, 40%, 50% and so on. 

In terms of the opt-in rates in Nik's case, he received;

  • 100 visitors plus 10% OD = 110 visitors received. 18 visitors opted in (signed up with Nik's newsletter). 18/110 means he received 16.36% opt-in rate from the first vendor.
  • 100 visitors plus 25% OD = 125 visitors received. Approx. 80 visitors opted in. 80/125 means he received 64% opt-in rate from the second vendor.

What Are "Responsive" Visitors?

Responsive visitors are visitors to your website who show interest by taking action. They would subscribe to your newsletter, they would email you back to ask some questions, and ultimately purchase your products.

So I'll rephrase this question - How and why some solo ad vendors send you non-responsive, useless visitors?

#1 "How Does That Happen?"

How come an opt-in rate can be so extremely low? (Nik's case No. 1) Or how come very few subscribers open your email, despite the fact that you've received such an amazing opt-in rate? (Nik's case No. 2). The reasons can be;

Bot traffic
  1. The solo ad provider sends out bot traffic (using a software or a bot traffic exchange service)
  2. They have many bot subscribers in their list, and they're spreading fake opt-ins without realising it.
  3. They are sending a campaign to wrong type of subscribers. For example if your webpage is about cryptocurrency investment, while the provider advertises your page to people who are looking to make success in affiliate marketing...then nobody will sign up with you.
  4. They are using a clickbait technique. Some are maliciously deceptive (e.g. "Sign up with this offer and claim your free $1,000 instant cash.")
  5. They are collecting low-quality subscribers in the first place.

If an opt-in rate is extremely low, any one or more (or all) of above can be the reasons. Whereas if an opt-in rate is unusually high (>60%) but your email open rates are so low, No. 2, 4 & 5 are likely to be the reasons; bots or fake opt-ins.

#2 Why Are Some Solo Ad Providers Doing This...?

The reason is simple; because they're not customer-focused. They don't know they have a duty of care to their customers and make their own excuses such as; 

  • "I'm delivering good results with other customers, so the low opt-in that you received must be due to some fault at your end (and it's not my problem)."
  • "You only ordered 100 clicks. I need to give priority to other customers who buy in bulk, 1,000 clicks or above at a time (so I couldn't care less about you)."

Neither of these excuses is valid, nor acceptable. They have a duty to ensure each buyer is happy however small the unit of order is. 

Finding The Best Solo Ad Providers

It's not too difficult to find out a solo ad provider is sincere or ignorant - ask questions before you order a traffic service, and see how helpful they are. Here are some tips;

  • Firstly don't forget to clarify the (1) T1 country rate and (2) over-delivery rate that they're providing. T1 (Tier 1) countries are; USA, Canada, UK, Australia or New Zealand. Normally 80% or more visitors that they're sending should be from these countries. Over-delivery should be, as I mentioned earlier, should be 10% or more.
  • Show them your lead generation page and ask them what kind of opt-in rate (%) can be expected. Their answer will be most likely to be "it's hard to say". But if the provider is helpful, they'll give you some form of idea or advice and state a reason for you.
  • Solo ad providers with a big list of subscribers can send you hundreds of visitors in a matter of an hour, or less. Ask them if they can deliver slowly; for example if you are ordering 100 clicks/visitors, ask them to deliver over the next 3 days. Or restrict to say, 30 visitors per day. Every solo ad seller can do this - if they're not capable, don't use that seller.
  • check
    ...There's a reason for this. Because if they deliver 100 visitors so quickly, they won't give you a chance to monitor the opt-ins yourself.
  • check
    If the opt-in rate seems too low halfway, or at any time, tell the provider and ask for advice. If they're sincere enough, they'll monitor the traffic closely for you, and may compensate by sending more OD/extra clicks.

You can tell how experienced and helpful the vendor is from the way they explain. If their answer is minimal ("Okay." "Sure, will do."), forget that vendor and find someone else.

About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

Thank you for your Comments!

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  1. I’m confused about optin rate including over delivery. If someone sends 100c and give you 50 optins 50% optin rate right? If someone sends 50c over delivery it’s 150c in total and give you 60 optins it’s only 40% optin rate. But that person send you more over delivery and more optins but the rate doesn’t seem as good. Why would you judge?

    1. Hi Cien, I see what you mean. The opt-in rate should purely reflect how many % of the solo ad vendor’s subscribers showed interest in your site, so how many clicks they send should be irrelevant.

      Sometimes the number of optins matters more. If a vendor sends 100 clicks to your page but only give 20 opt-ins, i.e. 20%. So to make up the low opt-ins, the vendor might send you 50 OD’s (150 clicks in total) and give you say, 40 opt-ins in total. The rate will be 40/150 = 26.67%, still low, but you’ve received 40 new subscribers which will be fairly decent.

      I hope it makes sense, but any more questions don’t hesitate to get back to me. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Very helpful. I use Udimi to buy traffic but I know some sellers send bots. Will be carefully monitoring from now on.

    1. Hi Jit, thanks for your comment. Yes I have actually reported about one seller to Udimi helpdesk – not about the seller himself but the odd pattern of the traffic I was receiving, and I was only making a query. A day later I received a full refund with no explanation…I’ve also seen some feedbacks on other sellers suspecting bot traffic too. Although Udimi filter I believe is very reliable, it won’t block all the bots. We should all be monitoring traffic when we purchase a traffic from solo ad providers. Thanks for your visit.

  3. Great tips, thanks. I have bought solo ad traffic many times in the past but I’ve never made any sales and I don’t know why. Maybe your advice will help me in the future. I have spent so much money. I don’t want to waste my precious money any more for nothing. How much should I pay for a solo ad? How many clicks should I buy before I make my first sale? Big questions I know but I’m thankful if you can answer me please.

    1. Hi Deepak, thanks for your comment. And sorry you haven’t had a success with solo ad traffic. Perhaps I can have a look at your site if you contact me directly?

      How much should you pay for a traffic? Some decent solo ad providers sell for $40 per 100 clicks or less. If you use Udimi, the price starts at $35 per 100 clicks. Check the feedback from the buyers in the past carefully.

      How many clicks should you buy before you make your first sale? It’s hard to tell because it all depends on the price of your product, the sales copy in your webpage, quality of traffic, and also a luck is involved. I make my sale from a traffic I buy on a complete random basis, and there’s no blueprint formula. Let me know if you need any help at any time. Thanks for your visit!

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