There are many ways to monetize a website and make money online. One avenue that often gets overlooked is creating viral content that drives thousands of users to your site. This method is one of the easier ways to scale a website and create a recurring income.

In this article, we’re going to show you a very simple monetization model using viral traffic which you can scale to get the highest eCPM rates with PropellerAds. At the end of the article, you’ll find some real examples of viral traffic monetization.

One of our very own publishers uses our monetization solutions and some of the tips below, and here are the results:

viral website profit

They generate as much as $200 per day! Want to know how? Continue reading.



Getting started

Our concept is simple and is currently being used by thousands of successful online marketers. You will need to:

1. Build a website
2. Create viral content
3. Set up a Facebook page and promote your content
4. Monetize traffic using Propeller Ads

The key to success relies heavily on steps 2 and 3 in which you’ll create content and drive traffic. Viral content is any piece of media that is shared rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another, and becomes an online sensation. Viral content can be just about anything, but current news stories, sporting events, or amazing nature stories usually work best.

If you’ve ever come across viral content, you’ll notice that most of it is in visual form, generally photos and videos. People don’t like reading thousands of words, and visual content has been proven on numerous occasions to provide better engagement than text.

Since image and video-heavy content doesn’t rank well on Google or drive viral traffic, we suggest you use Facebook. Content that goes viral on Facebook will receive lots of comments, likes, and shares, which allows you to increase the reach of your content without having to do too much work.

Here you can find the content topics of the posts that were shared on Facebook in 2020, the most:

Facebook Posts by Reach
Image Source: Social Media Today

Below you can see the most popular post from 2020, which was shared about 3.48 million times on Facebook. 

the most popular post of 2020

One of the most well-known humor-focused British websites UNILAD regularly creates viral content and shares it on Facebook. Just look at the total number of interactions on one of their latest posts:

Recent-Unilad-Video

In only 5 hours it has gained 9,1 Million views, 2,600 likes, 228 comments, and 111 shares. All from a single piece of content.

Internet users today are using sites like Facebook as a news source. If you can catch trending topics and get them to go viral on Facebook, you can drive thousands of visitors to your website in hours.


Build a website

In 2021, building a website has never been easier. You don’t need coding skills as most platforms today are either drag-and-drop or allow you to install a ready-to-go theme. We suggest using WordPress to build your site as it’s the easiest platform to use and grow your website.

To learn more about setting up a WordPress website, check out this startup guide from HubsSpot or visit the WordPress site to learn more.

WordPress has thousands of themes to choose from, and the majority are mobile-friendly and work with PropellerAds. Most of them are paid, but we recommend you spend some money to get a premium theme with a lot of customization options and good support.

Some of the best-optimized themes for viral websites are TruePixel and Codelight. For more theme suggestions, check out this great post on the top WordPress themes optimized for ad placement.


Creating viral content

Arguably the hardest part of this model is finding and creating viral content. With the right tools and research, finding topics can be a piece of cake. Viral content can be anything from:

  • Celebrity news
  • World or political events
  • Sporting events
  • A Pandemic
  • Funny videos or images
  • Cat pictures
  • Memes
  • Anything of interest (niche specific)

As you would expect, cat videos draw tons of attention. Just look at what The Dodo achieved in only 17 hours – 52k likes, over 1,000 comments, 2,800 shares, and 1.4M Views: 

Cat-video

Here’s a viral article posted by The Sport Bible, which received more than 2,000 likes, 351 comments, and 52 shares in 8hours:

SportBible-Article

5 Minutes Crafts, a brand of The Soul Publishing managed to get 6,800 likes, 105 Comments, 576 Shares, 690k Views within 7 hours for viral content about fast sewing techniques:

5-minutes-crafts-post

Viral content can be anything interesting, fun, weird, wacky, or downright disgusting. Google Trends is a great platform to source topics that are currently trending and being searched by users:

Google-Trending-Searches

Although nowadays this feature is set by default to show personalized results (and can’t be deactivated), Twitter also reveals trending hashtags that will help you come up with article ideas for trending topics:

Twitter Trends
Image Source: iamrohit.com

Sites such as Upworthy, Reddit, and BuzzFeed are all great resources to find trending stories, too. But, no matter what you choose, just remember that all content must be organic and re-written in your own words!


Set up your Social Media Pages and promote your content

After you’ve set up your website, you’ll need to create Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter pages, along with your WhatsApp and Telegram channels next.

You can create them for free and they can become your main distribution to and promotion platforms for your viral content. Moreover, you can also share and promote it through Facebook Adverts Manager, and various groups.

Why is Facebook traffic so important? The Social Network currently has more than 2.85 billion monthly active users and unlike SEO, you can send viral traffic from it to your site instantly.

If a user comments, likes, or shares your content, it aggregates to their friends’ newsfeeds and gets more eyes on your content. Research has shown that Facebook refers more users back to a website than any other social media platform:

Social-Media-Network-Traffic-Referral-Share

There are a lot of ways to drive traffic to your Facebook page, but if your website is new, the best way to get people to see your content is to pay for them to see it.


Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising is one of the most powerful forms of promotion on Facebook, and some people rely on Facebook ads to get hundreds of thousands of likes.

The objective here is to promote content on users’ news feeds so they interact and engage with it. When they engage, your content will distribute onto their friends’ newsfeeds who hopefully engage as well, and the process continually repeats itself. 

If you spent $10-20 per day to promote a Facebook ad, then your Facebook page could potentially get thousands of likes and shares every month. As you keep doing this, your Fan page will grow as will the amount of traffic hitting your website.

facebook-advertising

Remember, Facebook reviews every ad before accepting them. Content must provide value to the reader and must not use click-bait headlines when paying to promote. You can find Facebook’s ad policies by clicking here.

Please note that driving traffic from Facebook Ads to a page that contains pop ads is not allowed! Instead, you can use Facebook Ads to promote your FB post (this will give you a lower CPC) and then drive traffic to your website.


Who are the Viral Content Creators?

Aside from the obvious Facebook social media content creators, the category of social publishers has greatly increased over the past few years and now it also includes: 

#1. WhatsApp Traffic – there are a lot of websites with hot topics like the coronavirus, or the elections, including quizzes or sweepstakes that ask the users to share a link via WhatsApp and as many times as possible to get a quiz result, or win something. 

However, these websites don’t have a long life span, as their traffic comes in waves. You can easily recognize them, as they usually include a button enticing users to share their results/links on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Share Button

#2. Traffic coming from Apps – this kind of traffic is monetized with the use of PropellerAds tags that are integrated inside the apps, or on the Landing Pages on which users are getting redirected to from the apps.

#3. Educational Websites – this is a byproduct of the Pandemic which over the span of the previous year pushed parents to look up answers for their kids’ homework. And where there is a need, there will be offers.

#4. Lottery results websites – since more people rushed to make a quick buck, these sites sprouted like mushrooms after the rain. 

#5. Traditional Social Sites with Articles (on wellness, lifestyle, cooking, etc.) – have been around from the dawn of time, and will continue to prevail as they encourage users to contribute to the content, share, and engage.

#6. Paid Surveys – who wouldn’t want to find out how good of a driver, what Mortal Kombat character, or what kind of bread they are? Following the example of demand and supply, these websites work wonders and go into the ‘social content websites’ basket.

#7. Sweepstakes shared via Facebook – they’re just sweepstakes shared as Facebook Articles.

Sweepstakes shared via Facebook

#8. Instagram Traffic – the same as with Facebook, the users are being redirected from Instagram.


Buying traffic on Content Discovery Networks

Content Discovery Networks are ad networks that place native ads in the “Recommended Stories” sections commonly found on entertainment and news sites. The ads are designed to look like recommended stories related to the content of the article.

Such promotions are suitable for new websites, because the clicks are relatively cheap if you send visitors to a content-rich page, not a landing page. 

However, if you’ve filled your site with high payout ads like Propeller Ads’ Onclick ads, you can make money through ad arbitrage. Just don’t forget to optimize your website advertising placements to make as much ad revenue as possible.

Here are some of the largest Content Discovery or Native Ads Networks:

For many viral websites, Content Discovery Networks are at the top of traffic sources:

Google Search Console Manual Actions

Using PropellerAds to monetize your traffic

If you are successful, you’ll bring in thousands of website visitors each day, and you’ll want to monetize that social traffic. The benefit of driving viral traffic is that you can receive huge amounts, within a short period of time, doing very little work. 

The downside is that once a visitor lands on your website, unless they like your Facebook page, they will most likely never visit again. Because of this, most online marketers use ad networks to make the most of their traffic and a number of different ad formats to maximize profits – and that is exactly what we specialize in, here at PropellerAds.

We are one of the few networks that offers ad formats that will monetize every visitor that your viral content attracts. In fact, we are so good with social traffic, that we have created a special segment on our Supply Side Platforms (SSP) that our social media publishers can choose when they register. 

However, we do draw the line at incent traffic, as well as when it comes to sites and landing pages that are obviously misleading the users. But, as long as you’re carefully crafting your content while respecting our common-sense regulations, you’re gonna find a partner for life.  


Onclick Ads

Onclick Ads, a form of popunder advertising (also known as Onclick Popunder), appear in a new browser tab next to the main page the user is viewing. This way, the user sees our Popunders once they close the main browser window he was watching.

Onclick is the most effective Ad format, that allows you to get paid for every visitor that views your ads, instead of getting paid for the number of clicks on the ads.

Onclick Popunder ads don’t require any optimization or testing and this is why the CPM and revenue amount is a lot higher than traditional banner ads, making them ideal for viral traffic. They also don’t impact any existing banner ads (or Adsense units) you have placed on your site, allowing you to monetize your traffic further by using other ad formats.

Some website owners avoid using Popunder ads because they’re afraid that such advertising may have a negative effect on their site’s audience loyalty or harm the website’s ranking in search engines.

We work with thousands of high-ranking websites and our experience shows that if your content is of high value and provides your visitors information, entertainment, or any other positive outcome, Popunder ads (or any form of advertising) will not harm your audience or your website search rankings.

This isn’t to say you should place as many ad formats as possible on your site. Too many ads will impact the user experience on your website, and more ads doesn’t mean more revenue.

If you have any concerns about the negative impact on SEO or user experience that these ads may inflict, our managers can manually configure your ads to behave how you want them from each unique traffic source. They can adjust frequency caps per user and even set up delays based on the user’s session time and clicks.


PropellerAds Monetization Solutions

Here, at PropellerAds, we offer many other formats that publishers just like you can use to monetize their website. This way, you will always have new ways to make money from your traffic, by using our:

  • Push Notifications
  • In-Page Push (IPP)
  • Interstitials
  • MultiTag
  • Direct Links

In fact, you can use our Direct Links both, on your social media channels and the website, but also in messaging apps and emails as well. 

We recommend combining all our ad formats because all of them can be easily customized. Moreover, even if your audience is more sensitive, it’s always possible to set a lower frequency on ads, and leave only a few loyal ad categories. 

However, if you only boost your traffic a few times per week, you can try increasing your ad frequency and using all our formats. Luckily for you, we have the MultiTag which will make it much easier, as it effectively combines all 4 monetization formats to match your traffic’s ad viewing appetite.


What are the rates?

The amount you earn with PropellerAds as a publisher depends on a number of factors. Some of these factors are in your control, while others depend on traffic performance.

But we could say that viral websites with a large share of traffic from social networks like Facebook get higher rates than websites with other traffic sources and almost reach $ 7 per 1000 impressions (including the traditionally “hard to monetize” countries). Below are some examples of our publishers’ statistics.


Case #1: In-Game Currency Website

This website allows users to get in-game currency and use it to purchase in-game upgrades or avatar accessories.

  • Traffic sources:
Currency Website - Traffic Sources

* Based on SimilarWeb stats

  • Ad Formats: : OnClick + Push Notifications
OnClick and Push Monetization Performance

Results: past 14 days revenue = $ 1,675; avg. eCPM = $ 6.74


Case #2: Pinterest Traffic 

  • Traffic sources:
Traffic-Sounrce-CS-2

* Based on SimilarWeb stats

  • Ad Formats: OnClick Ads
Traffic-Outcome-CS-2

Results: past 14 days revenue = $ 2,127; avg. eCPM = $ 4.85


Case #3: Malaysian recipe website

Malaysian-Websit
  • Traffic sources:
Malaysian Recipe Website Traffic Source

* Based on SimilarWeb stats

  • Ad units: Push Notifications
Malaysian Recipes Websiste Performance

Results: past 15 days revenue = $ 3,976; avg. eCPM = $ 0.75


Summary

Earning as much as $500 per day or more using PropellerAds is a lot easier than you think. The Facebook platform promotes engagement and sharing of great content. If you can find the right topics, craft awesome headlines and use wonderful imagery, there is no reason why you can’t start the next viral news site.

Setting up a small advertising budget of $10-$20 per day to promote your page gets the ball rolling and your content into Facebook newsfeeds. If users find it interesting, they will like, comment, and even share your content. This has a knock-on effect and within a few hours, you could drive thousands of visitors to your website.

Happy monetizing!

Editor’s Note: Originally published on September 2015, this article was updated for accuracy reasons.