Solo Ad Advertising

Solo Ad Advertising

In this article, I will address the common question, “What is a solo ad?”, and I will describe in detail the types of solo ads available and the likely costs involved.

What is a solo ad?

Solo ads fall into the category of “Permission Based Email Marketing”, otherwise known as “double opt-in marketing”. Website owners and affiliate marketers essentially purchase the right to email a group of recipients that have agreed to receive marketing emails from a particular website or marketing service. The single email delivered to this group is called a solo ad. The administrator of this service is responsible for ensuring the clean delivery of this solo ad to the entire list as advertised, and ensuring that it does not fall foul of anti-spam laws.

Types of solo ads and the estimated costs involved.

Solo ads can be purchased from many online sources. Their prices can vary depending on site pricing, the size of the list of recipients, the nature of the nature of the audience, and at times, depending on whether the solo will be delivered to the recipients’ “contact” addresses or their “list” addresses. A list address is a secondary email address set up by recipients to receive the bulk of their marketing mail, and will naturally receive a lesser open rate than a solo ad sent to contact email addresses. Prices of solo ads are significantly lower for marketers who sign up for a program, agreeing to, in turn, receive marketing emails from other members.

Please note that most online marketing resources are priced in US Dollars and that is the currency that we will use to estimate costs in this article. These costs are an estimation and not a guarantee and are based on prices currently available in the year 2012.

Text Ad Exchange Solo Ads – By far the most cost effective method of permission based email marketing, members are required to join the site and agree to receive solo ads in return for the priviledge of sending their own. Solo ads can be purchased on site, or traded for with points earned. When a member clicks on the url link found in a solo ad, they are required to stay on that page for a certain amount of time, usually around 10 or 15 seconds. For doing this, they earn points that go towards their own trade for a solo ad (or other advertising if they prefer). Point allocations vary greatly depending on the Text Ad Exchange.
Solo ad prices vary from $1 to $10.

Viral Mailers – Similar to Text Ad Exchanges in the way that marketers are required to be members of the site that they wish to purchase a solo ad from. What differs here, is that members are also allowed to make use of a credit mailer, one, two or three times per week depending on their level of membership. Members earn credits for clicking through the url links in these credit mails, as well as through the links in solo ads, but solo ads hold a much higher credit value per click through, and therefor receive a significantly higher open rate than credit emails. Not all viral mailers sell solo ads though, so one should check this before signing up.
Solo ad prices vary from $10 to $30.

Network Solo Ads – These are also known as super Solos, Jumbo Solos, Affiliate Network Solos, Mega Solos, or any other name that the service chooses to call them. What happens here, is that any number of sites, usually Text Ad Exchanges and Safelist Mailers, make their email lists (memberships) available for mass rent. One such solo ad will potentially reach thousands of email inboxes, without the purchaser having to be a member of all the sites listed. The effectiveness of such a solo ad depends greatly on the sites involved. If the sites all belong to one owner, or a small group of owners, it is almost a certainty that the solo ad will not be delivered to the number of people as advertised, since through cross promotion, there will be a lot of recipients that will be members of more than, or even all of the sites listed. Your solo ad statistics may show that 500 people clicked through it, when in actually fact the amount of unique visitors to your site is significantly less. One is advised to carefully consider whether investing in such a solo ad is worth while, especially if the cost is high.
Prices vary from $5 to $30

Traffic Exchange Solo Ads – A traffic exchange is a marketing service where members view an unlimited amount of website pages in return for credits that will put their own website page into rotation for viewing by fellow members. Put simply, people exchange page views, both to increase traffic to their website, and in the hopes of converting some of those views to sales or subscriptions. Occassionally one will find a traffic exchange that sells solo ads, and on a rare occassion, one that allows members to trade credits earned for same.
Solo Ad prices vary from $3 to $6

Ezine Solo Ads – These can be quite expensive, though highly effective if one is targeting a niche market. It is best to contact a few ezine sites that have a membership that should be interested in your offer for pricing details, as these will vary from one to another, as will procedures and availability.

To Conclude:

Factors that will effect the results of your solo ads are many. For a start, just the subject line that you use, can greatly increase or reduce the amount of recipients that actually open it. The content could be of a nature that attracts the attention of spam filters, and even the marketing service that you purchase your solo ad from could have a list of mostly “inactive” recipients. You should beware of making expensive solo ad purchases until you has some experience of what works well.

Most services provide tracking for solo ads. This will tell you how many times your site was viewed through the credit link within the solo ad. It is not true that large groups provide better click through rates. It is the service that has respected its members and maintained good “list hygiene”, that will produce the best results. Sometimes smaller groups produce exceptional results.

Svend Erik Laustsen and Clare Bowen