Although there’s definitely a fun side to being a publisher, most website and app owners develop awesome content in order to attract traffic and monetize these visitors. That said, there are many cases where the hard part is not getting the traffic, but finding and setting up the right monetization scheme can become a major problem. 

This is the reason why our team has developed a superb solution that simplifies traffic monetization as much as possible, which is called direct links for publishers. 

Let’s take a look at our direct links feature, discuss how it works, and go over everything you need to know to easily make money from your visitors. 

What’s a Direct Link?

Also known as smartlinks or simply “directs”, direct links are among the most flexible traffic monetization alternatives for publishers available at PropellerAds and in the industry as a whole. By using this ad format, publishers can generate revenues and send traffic to the advertiser offers through any method they see fit. 

The direct link we provide leads to a feed that consists of thousands of different landing pages and offers. Once you place your SmartLink in your content, our optimization team will choose the most profitable offers based on your niche and specific channel.

We continue optimizing the landing pages and offers until we find the most profitable match for your site.


Benefits of Working with Direct Links

There are many benefits of working with smartlinks, but all of these boil down to increased convenience and profitability. For example, when working with direct links you enjoy benefits like: 

  • Use the link with your own banners, buttons, and text
  • Place as many links as you can on one page
  • Does not require manual sorting nor offer testing necessary

Not only this but the leader of our Publishers department, Svetlana Prishchak, also explains how these links can be used for any type of content: “direct links can be used for monetizing traffic regardless if a publisher actually owns a page or website. For example, an app developer can use directs to monetize remnant traffic. The same goes for any organic traffic that comes from Facebook, WhatsApp, or any other source.

Where Should You Place Your Direct Links?

There is no exact formula to choose the best placement for your direct links, so you need to evaluate your platform and choose the area that has the highest chance of success.

That said, remember that your smartlinks can be placed anywhere, including banners, CTA buttons, and as simple links in your text. Therefore, you should find the most clickable spot on your pages and place your links somewhere close to this area.

According to Anton Averchenkov, the leader of our traffic acquisition team, “smartlinks are like watered-down versions of our pop ads. This is because smartlinks send users directly to offer pages, so you need to ensure that the visitors you attract are interested in the offer.”

“Additionally, it’s worth noting that these links usually produce the best results for publishers that already have CTA buttons organically in their sites. The reason for this is that users are motivated by clicking on CTAs like ‘download now’ or ‘start watching’ so publishers that have these buttons will likely get better results” says Averchekov. “Our goal is to find offers that align with the publisher’s content, so the clearer it is, the better.”

With the above in mind, Anton also warns us that “placing giant banners that have phrases like ‘click here’ can seem suspicious, so publishers should avoid doing that at all costs.”

Instead, publishers can place links directly on the website elements like “watch now” buttons. In these cases, users will click on the button because they want to get the content, but they will trigger the smartlink instead. 

How Much Money Can You Make with Direct Links

“It’s important to understand that the results obtained when using direct links depends heavily on the industry. Obviously, it’s not suitable for everyone, but the right publishers can expect 30% to 60% of revenues than they would with pop advertising” says Averchenkov.

For instance, if you usually generate $100 from pop, you’ll make between $30 and $60 with directs. But, remember that these can run simultaneously because they don’t interfere with each other, so you can have both on your site at the same time.”

Best GEOs for Direct Links

Anton reminds us that, “as with pop, the best GEOs for direct links are tier-1 countries like Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, and so on.” 

PropellerAds accepts traffic from tier-1 countries, but we also work with traffic from Asian nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and India, among others, so don’t hesitate to contact us today if this is your main traffic demographic.

Before Getting Started…

Lastly, some of the main elements you want to keep in mind include:

  • Direct links don’t tend to work well with ad blockers. If you want to monetize ad block traffic, we suggest using pop-under ads.
  • If you get traffic through direct channels rather than search engines, users will get used to the elements that trigger ads. If this is the case, you need to optimize constantly.

Ready to test direct links?


While working as a writer and marketing consultant for the past 9 years, Tom has also developed a passion for the world of affiliate marketing. With first-hand experience and a solid background in online marketing, he has a deep understanding of the different ad formats, offers, and other elements that affect the performance of an affiliate campaign. Tom also loves backpacking around tropical countries, listening to the boom-bap sound of old school hip-hop, and playing amateur rugby with his local team.