The past decade has seen drastic changes in the publishing industry in terms of web structure, monetization formats, ad stack evolution, mobile connectivity of users and content consumption. From GDPR compliance to website speed optimization, the demands have grown exponentially. One constant, however, remains –the pivotal role of traffic in monetization.

In this article, we will delve into the essential strategies and considerations for acquiring audiences from a spectrum of traffic sources, discuss the average profitability of audiences that come from different sources and how publishers can strategize their traffic mix.

Understanding Web Traffic Sources

Organic Search Traffic

Organic search traffic refers to visitors who arrive at a website through a search engine's results page, without any direct advertising involved. It is driven by the user's query matching the content of a webpage. This traffic is considered highly valuable as it indicates a strong relevance between the website's content and the user's intent.

Audience acquisition tip: Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for maximizing organic search traffic. This involves optimizing website content, meta descriptions, titles and using relevant keywords. Additionally, creating high-quality, original content that caters to user queries can significantly boost organic search traffic.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic, as the name suggests, involves acquiring visitors through advertising efforts. This can include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, display ads and sponsored content. Paid traffic provides more immediate results compared to organic traffic, but it requires a budget allocation.

Audience acquisition tip: Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns involve bidding on specific keywords to have your ad displayed when users search for those terms. Effective audience targeting is essential for a successful PPC campaign. This includes selecting relevant keywords, setting demographics and utilizing retargeting to engage with potential customers who have shown interest.

Social Media Traffic

Social media traffic is driven by users clicking on links or engaging with content shared on various social media platforms. It offers a dynamic way to connect with audiences, leveraging the highly interactive nature of social networks.

Audience acquisition tip: Different platforms cater to different audiences and content formats. Understanding your target audience's preferences is key. For example, visual content may perform better on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, while informative content might excel on LinkedIn.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic originates from other websites or online sources. It occurs when a user clicks on a link from a different site that directs them to your own. This traffic is often highly qualified, as users are already interested in related content.

Audience acquisition tip: Building a network of reputable referral sources can significantly impact audience acquisition. This can be achieved through guest posting, partnerships, influencer collaborations, and creating shareable, high-quality content that encourages others to link back to your website.

Benefits of Diversifying Traffic Sources

Diversifying traffic sources is a vital strategy for any online business or marketer. It involves spreading out your traffic acquisition efforts across various channels rather than relying heavily on just one. Here are some key benefits of diversifying your web traffic sources:

  1. Risk mitigation: Relying on a single traffic source can be risky. If that source experiences issues or changes its algorithms, it could lead to a significant drop in your traffic and revenue. Diversification helps spread this risk.
  2. Broader audience reach: Different channels attract different types of users. By diversifying, you can tap into new audiences that you might not have reached otherwise.
  3. Reduced dependency on paid ads: Relying solely on paid advertising can be expensive. Diversification allows you to explore organic channels like SEO, content marketing and social media, which can often provide sustainable, long-term traffic.
  4. Adaptation to industry changes: The digital landscape is constantly evolving. Diversifying your traffic sources prepares you to adapt to shifts in trends, technologies or consumer behavior.
  5. Improved SEO and brand visibility: Having a presence on various platforms and channels can enhance your overall online presence. This, in turn, can positively impact your SEO efforts and brand visibility.
  6. Better insights and data: Different traffic sources provide different types of data. Diversification allows you to gather a wide range of insights about your audience, their behavior and preferences.
  7. Resilience to algorithm changes: Major platforms often update their algorithms, which can significantly affect traffic. Diversifying helps to mitigate the impact of these changes.
  8. Testing and optimization opportunities: Different channels require different strategies. Diversification gives you the chance to test various approaches and optimize your campaigns for better results.

Remember, the key is not to spread yourself too thin. It's important to select the channels that align with your target audience and business goals.

Strategies for Audience Acquisition from Multiple Sources

You already understand that employing a multifaceted approach to audience acquisition is key, as it taps into the varied preferences and behaviors of internet users. Let’s explore the core strategies for acquiring audiences from an array of sources.

Content Optimization and SEO

Content optimization goes hand in hand with keyword research and on-page SEO:

  • Conduct thorough keyword research to identify high-potential search queries related to your content or products. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find relevant keywords with a balance of search volume and competition.
  • Integrate these keywords naturally into your content, including titles, headings, meta descriptions and body text. Ensure the content provides comprehensive and valuable information related to the chosen keywords.
  • Optimize meta tags, such as meta titles and descriptions, to be both informative and enticing for search engine users. This helps improve click-through rates from search results.

You also cannot do without content distribution and link building:

  • Develop a content distribution plan that includes sharing on social media, email newsletters, and relevant online communities or forums. This broadens the reach of your content and encourages organic backlinks.
  • Actively engage in guest posting or outreach to reputable websites in your niche. Guest posts with a well-placed backlink to your website can significantly boost your SEO rankings and increase referral traffic.

Paid Advertising Campaigns

When working with paid companies, first of all you need to pay attention to the choice of platform and ad format:

  • Evaluate the demographics and user behavior of different advertising platforms to determine where your target audience is most active. For instance, if you're targeting professionals, LinkedIn might be a more suitable platform than Instagram.
  • Choose ad formats that align with your campaign objectives. For instance, use video ads for engaging storytelling or carousel ads for showcasing multiple products or features.

When creating ads, it is important to carefully consider the issues of audience targeting and the nuances of creating ad creatives:

  • Leverage the detailed targeting options provided by advertising platforms. Define your audience based on factors like age, location, interests and online behavior.
  • Craft compelling ad creatives that resonate with your target audience. Use attention-grabbing visuals, clear messaging and a strong call-to-action to encourage clicks.

Social Media Engagement and Marketing

Working with social media requires serious work on building communities and engaging audiences:

  • Establish an active presence on social media platforms that align with your brand and audience. Create and curate content that encourages interaction, such as polls, quizzes and discussions.
  • Respond promptly to comments, messages, and mentions. Actively engage with your audience to build a loyal community around your brand.

Don’t forget that paid promotions also work on social media:

  • Utilize paid social media advertising to expand your reach beyond your organic followers. Use the targeting options to ensure your ads are seen by the most relevant audience.
  • Experiment with different ad formats, such as sponsored posts, stories and carousel ads, to see which resonates best with your audience.

Partnering and Collaboration for Referral Traffic

Finding referral traffic through collaborations can be both rewarding and challenging, and here your goal is to achieve clear communication and shared goals:

  • Identify brands, influencers, or websites with a similar target audience but non-competing products or services. Look for opportunities to collaborate on content, events or promotions.
  • Ensure that partnerships are mutually beneficial. This could involve co-hosting webinars, guest blogging or sharing each other's content on social media.
  • Provide incentives for partners to drive traffic to your site, such as affiliate programs or exclusive discounts for their audience.

How to Grow Website Traffic: Challenges and Considerations

Growing website traffic is a vital goal for any online presence. But if everything were so simple, then neither the questions “how to grow website traffic” nor the extensive and varied instructions on this topic would arise. When working to increase traffic, you will likely encounter the following challenges.

Balancing Resources and Budget Allocation

One of the most significant challenges in growing website traffic is efficiently allocating resources and budget. This involves making strategic decisions about where to invest time, money and effort. Here are some considerations:

  1. Prioritizing channels: Determine which channels are most effective for your audience. For instance, if your target demographic is active on social media, allocating resources towards social media marketing might yield better results.
  2. Testing and iterating: Experiment with different strategies and channels to find what works best. This may involve A/B testing ad campaigns, trying out various content formats, or adjusting SEO strategies.
  3. Setting realistic goals: Be realistic about what you can achieve with your current resources. It's better to focus on a few key channels and excel in them rather than spreading resources too thin.
  4. Measuring ROI: Continuously monitor the return on investment (ROI) for each channel. This involves tracking metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates and customer acquisition costs to ensure resources are effectively utilized.
  5. Allocating for long-term growth: While immediate results are important, it's crucial to also allocate resources for long-term strategies like content creation, SEO and audience building. These efforts may not yield immediate traffic spikes but are essential for sustained growth.

Managing and Optimizing Multiple Channels

Diversifying traffic sources is essential, but it comes with the challenge of effectively managing and optimizing each channel. Here are considerations for managing multiple channels:

  1. Segmentation and targeting: Understand the unique characteristics of each channel and segment your audience accordingly. Tailor your messaging and content to resonate with the specific audience on each platform.
  2. Consistent branding: Maintain a consistent brand voice and identity across all channels. This ensures a cohesive experience for your audience, regardless of where they encounter your brand.
  3. Utilizing analytics tools: Implement robust analytics tools to track performance on each channel. This helps in identifying what's working and where adjustments need to be made.
  4. Content adaptation: Content that performs well on one platform may not have the same impact on another. Adapt your content to suit the preferences and behaviors of each channel's audience.
  5. Time management: Effectively managing multiple channels requires good time management skills. Prioritize tasks, set schedules and automate processes where possible.

Adapting to Evolving Algorithms and Trends

Digital platforms, particularly search engines and social media, frequently update their algorithms. Adapting to these changes is crucial for maintaining and growing website traffic. Here’s how:

  1. Stay informed: Regularly follow industry news and updates. Join relevant forums, attend webinars, and subscribe to reputable sources to stay informed about algorithm changes and emerging trends.
  2. SEO agility: SEO is particularly affected by algorithm updates. Keep abreast of best practices and be prepared to make necessary adjustments to your SEO strategies.
  3. Diversify traffic sources: Relying heavily on one platform leaves you vulnerable to sudden algorithm changes. Diversifying traffic sources helps mitigate this risk.
  4. User-centric approach: Algorithms increasingly prioritize user experience. Focus on providing valuable, user-friendly content to align with these trends.
  5. Experiment and iterate: Don’t be afraid to try new strategies and tactics. Experimentation can lead to insights about what works best in the current digital landscape.

Traffic Sources and Their Average Revenue Potential

Direct traffic shows the most loyal audience; these are the users who visit the website by clicking on a bookmark or typing in a URL. These users view several pages and stay on-site the longest, for 5.3 minutes on average. Also, direct traffic generates 17% of revenue while accounting only for 14% of ad impressions. In contrast, app traffic accounts for 34% of ad impressions but generates also 17% of revenues.

On average, users referred to a publisher through other sites are the most responsive to ads: this traffic source accounts for 31% of ad impressions and 45% of revenues. Organic visitors are more driven by their intent to find relevant information, so it makes sense that they stay for a while on the website. Organic traffic accounts for 16% of ad impressions and publishers’ revenues.

Source: MGID platform; aggregated data of U.S. publishers, April-September 2020
Source: MGID platform; aggregated data of U.S. publishers, April-September 2020

Balancing Audience Development and Acquisition

From the marketing perspective, you would want to compare acquisition costs from different sources with their lifetime value. For some traffic sources (especially social and paid advertising) it can be a feasible task to do, and in this case, audience acquisition costs should be lesser than their LTV.

Alternatively, you can also focus on the well-balanced mixing of different traffic sources and user acquisition channels. Publishers’ rates change over time and also depend on how users respond to advertisements they see. To increase website earnings, publishers have to diversify traffic sources by adding ones that generate more responsive visitors and try to convert them to direct traffic, the most loyal audience segment.

To retain users, the best strategy would be to know the core reader persona that comes from the most converting traffic sources and regularly produce content which this audience appreciates. Combined with other inbound approaches, such as email marketing, SEO optimization, internal content recirculation and content promotion, etc., websites can achieve outstanding results on the way to building their most profitable audiences.

Future Trends in Audience Acquisition

Traffic channels remain the same, but approaches to them change along with developing technologies. So anticipating the future trends in audience acquisition becomes crucial for staying ahead in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. We cannot say for sure what will happen tomorrow, but some key trends that will shape audience acquisition strategies in the near future are quite clearly visible even now:

  1. AI-powered personalization: Artificial intelligence and machine learning will play an even larger role in tailoring content and messages to specific audience segments. This level of personalization enhances user experience and engagement.
  2. Voice search optimization: With the rise of smart speakers and virtual assistants, optimizing content for voice search will become increasingly important. This trend requires a shift in SEO strategies towards more conversational and natural language.
  3. Video dominance: Video content will continue to dominate online platforms. Marketers will need to invest in video production and optimization to effectively engage and capture the attention of their target audience.
  4. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR): These immersive technologies are expected to become more integrated into digital experiences. Brands that leverage AR and VR for interactive and engaging content will have a competitive edge.
  5. Micro-moments and instant gratification: Audiences are increasingly seeking quick, relevant information. Marketers will need to create content that caters to these micro-moments, providing instant value to users.
  6. Zero-party data: With growing concerns over data privacy, consumers are becoming more selective about the information they share. Zero-party data, which is willingly provided by users, will be a valuable resource for audience insights.
  7. Social commerce and shoppable content: Social media platforms are evolving into e-commerce hubs. Brands will need to integrate seamless shopping experiences into their social content to drive conversions.
  8. Community-driven marketing: Building and nurturing online communities will be a powerful strategy for audience acquisition. Engaging with like-minded individuals fosters trust and loyalty.
  9. Blockchain for trust and transparency: Blockchain technology can provide enhanced security and transparency in data transactions. It may play a role in building trust with audiences concerned about data privacy.
  10. Ethical and sustainable marketing: Consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that demonstrate social responsibility and sustainability. Aligning marketing efforts with ethical values will resonate with conscious consumers.

As you can see, there is nothing unusual or unexpected in these trends. Moreover, many of them are being implemented right now, dynamically changing the rules of the game for those who are looking for ways to work with different web traffic sources. So be sure to keep them in mind when building your audience acquisition strategy.


What is audience acquisition from multiple traffic sources?

Audience acquisition refers to the process of attracting and engaging potential customers from various online channels to build a loyal user base.

Why is diversifying traffic sources important?

Diversification minimizes reliance on a single channel, reducing vulnerability to sudden shifts in algorithms or market trends.

What are common traffic sources for audience acquisition?

Organic search, paid advertising, social media, email marketing, referral links, influencer collaborations and content marketing are key sources.

How can businesses optimize their organic search traffic?

By employing effective SEO strategies, producing high-quality content and ensuring website technicalities are search engine-friendly.

What is the role of paid advertising in audience acquisition?

Paid advertising allows businesses to reach a targeted audience quickly, offering precise control over ad placement and budget allocation.

How can social media platforms be leveraged for audience acquisition?

Engaging content, active community participation and targeted advertising campaigns help businesses tap into social media traffic.

Why is it important to track and analyze audience acquisition efforts?

Monitoring performance provides insights into which sources are most effective, enabling businesses to allocate resources efficiently.

Final Thought

In conclusion, mastering audience acquisition from diverse traffic sources is the cornerstone of a successful online presence. By leveraging organic search, paid advertising, social media, and strategic partnerships, businesses can reach and engage their target audience effectively. It's an evolving landscape, demanding adaptability and a keen understanding of each channel's nuances.

For publishers seeking to maximize their audience potential, MGID stands as an unparalleled platform. With MGID, publishers enjoy not only cutting-edge technology but also complete control over their audience. This empowers them to engage, retain and monetize users with precision. Furthermore, MGID's robust analytics provide invaluable insights to refine monetization strategies and drive revenue. Don't miss out on the opportunity to elevate your publishing endeavors. Join MGID today and take your audience acquisition strategies to the next level.