Course Review:

Paid Traffic Mastery by DigitalMarketer takes you through DigitalMarketer’s paid traffic system. Molly Pittman, the instructor, starts by laying the foundation of the traffic system where you emphasize the importance of architecting a funnel and then running traffic to each stage of that funnel. She mainly uses Facebook as her platform of choice, but there is a module on other platforms as well.

This course is more about the strategy than the tactics of media buying, so it’s not as detailed as her Train My Traffic Person, and there are no examples of a company she’s running buying traffic for. Furthermore, it’s a bit outdated in that Facebook changed a few of their Ads Manager functionality.

Course Notes:

The following notes from Paid Traffic Mastery by DigitalMarketer are meant to be very concise, reminding me of high-level concepts and not trying to recreate the whole course. This summary is basically a bunch of notes and lessons paraphrased or quoted directly from the course and does not contain my own thoughts.

Module 1. Start Here

• Your goal is not to run a one-hit wonder campaign—it’s not sustainable—you want to create consistency in business by architecting an automated system. The automated system will allow you to go out, introduce yourself to the market where you’ll turn those people into leads, sales, and repeat buyers.

• If you’re not bringing in new leads that can possibly become new customers, your business is going to dry up, and it might even die. So this is an incredibly important function of a business.

• Your goal is to use paid traffic to acquire customers at break even—if you spend $1 on traffic, you would get $1 back—or better. You’ll do this through a system that brings in new customers to your business without hemorrhaging cash. Remember that he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer will win—if you have a system set up where you acquire customers without hemorrhaging cash and while staying at break even, then you’ll win.

• He (or she) who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer will win; this is done through really strategic paid traffic plans but also by having a good offer and a solid funnel that’s going to allow you to optimize and make the most money back for your advertising.

• Not every business is going to buy traffic from the same platform because different businesses have different target markets which might be on different platforms. Don’t think that you need to get really good at a single platform, instead think of how you can build a traffic system that, no matter what the platform, will automatically turn in leads and sales.

• You aren’t just running traffic to the top of the funnel; you want to bring traffic for the entire funnel.

• You’re also building media—anything that aggregates the attention of definable market segment into a specific location at a predictable time. Basically, you’re building an audience, which is what every business needs.

• You must figure out who you’re talking to before you say anything to them. You can’t start creating ad copy, images, or targeting before you understand who you’re talking to. The better you know your prospects, the better you’ll be able to speak to them—you’ll be able to hit their pain points and overcome whatever objections they may have.

• Create as many avatars as your business speaks to. You might have multiple products and they all speak to different avatars, or you have one product that speaks to four different avatars.

• A marketing funnel is a sequence/process to get someone who just met you to become a buyer. It starts with Awareness where you address a pain point or you answer a question or anything that catches their attention. From awareness, they have a choice to either exit your funnel if they’re not really interested or they’ll move on to Evaluation where they’ll figure out whether they even want to buy and whether they want to buy from you. As they evaluate you, you have a chance of converting them into buyers—this is the last phase, which is the Conversion phase. The goal of the funnel is to take people who’ve never heard of you and turn them into some of your best and most loyal customers.

• In the same way that you can’t just go to someone and ask them to marry you, you can’t simply run traffic to a $5000 product and ask people to buy when they may not be searching for it or even be interested in it, yet. This is why sequence is really important, and why you need a funnel that takes people through different offers and different levels of commitment based off whatever last action that they took.

Module 2. Paid Traffic As A System

Paid Traffic As A System

• This system is made up of multiple advertising campaigns that work hand in hand to acquire leads and sales for your business.

• All of your campaigns are going to have a specific goal, and you need to determine what that goal is before you develop your system. There are really three different goals that you might choose from when setting up your campaigns:

  1. Introduce your business to people in your market who have never heard of you before (indoctrination).
  2. Convert a site visitor to a lead (acquisition).
  3. Sell a high-dollar product to your best, repeat customers (monetization).

• You have to understand who you’re talking to, and at what stage you are in the relationship in order to make the appropriate offer.

Cold Traffic Goals & Offers

• Cold traffic is the new blood of your business. This is the most important aspect of the entire system because if you’re not reaching out to new people in your market, you’re never going to acquire new leads to help grow your business.

• If you have an existing customer base, website traffic, existing leads, etc. it’s still essential to run traffic to cold audiences or you’ll continue to swim in the same pond of existing leads and customers.

• Cold traffic is the Awareness stage—at the top of the funnel. All you’re doing with cold traffic is creating awareness; you’re creating awareness for your business, educating about an issue that your prospects have and that you solve, catching their attention, giving value, establishing yourself as an authority, gaining trust, and building a relationship.

• A lot of people take their product/service straight to cold traffic and then complain that paid traffic doesn’t work because they’re not making sales. The real issue is that they’re not at a point in the relationship to go ahead and offer whatever they’re selling to people who have never met them—they’re asking strangers to marry them.

• The goals of cold traffic are:

  • Introduction/Indoctrination: Introduce your brand and establish credibility.
  • Pixeling: If someone hits your website and you have the appropriate piece of code on your website, you’re going to be able to pixel them, which means you’re going to be able to add them to certain audiences inside of your traffic platform in order to run ads to them in the future—you’re building media to run ads to these people later.
  • Segmentation: For DigitalMarketer, if people click on a blog post about email marketing, they know that they’re not just interested in digital marketing, they’re specifically interested in email marketing, and they can make them a more relevant offer.

• Before you think of ad copy or images, you need to think about what you’re going to give them. If you don’t give people something they’re interested in, you’ll never succeed with paid traffic. Some cold traffic offers are:

  • Blog Posts
  • Social Media Updates
  • Content Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Lead Magnets: These fall into the category of cold traffic and warm traffic.
  • Quiz / Survey
  • White Papers

Warm Traffic Goals & Offers

• Warm audiences are really your “acquaintances”—you’ve met, you know each other a little bit, but you’re still not comfortable. You’ve introduced yourself, and they’ve shown interest in return, which could be that they liked you on Facebook, or they clicked to read a blog post, or they opted in for your email list.

• Here are a few types of warm traffic prospects:

  • Leads that opted in for your email list (that you’ve uploaded to a traffic platform).
  • People who have visited your website (and you pixeled them).
  • Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube channel subscribers, etc.

• Warm prospects live in the evaluation stage. They’re trying to figure whether you have exactly what they’re looking for, or whether there is another competitor that might be doing it better, or whether they even need to solve whatever pain point you solve. Your job is to convert them to a lead or a low-dollar buyer so that you can push them down the funnel.

Maybe they visited your blog and read one of your posts on how to play the guitar, but they didn’t opt in or buy. You’re going to run ads to your warm traffic that encourages them to convert to a lead or buyer. You’ve already introduced yourself, they’re familiar with who you are and what you’re about, so it’s time to make the move!

• There are two goals for warm traffic:

  1. Generate Leads: You want to get them on your email list if they haven’t already opted in.
  2. Low-Dollar Sales

• Some warm traffic offers are—remember that they now understand that you know what you’re talking about, and you know that they are interested in the following items:

  • Lead Magnets
  • Quiz / Survey
  • Free or Paid Webinars
  • Flash Sales / Low Dollar Offers
  • Product Demo
  • Branding Videos
  • Book (Free or Paid)
  • Free Trial

Hot Traffic Goals & Offers

• Do not think that just because you’ve run traffic to acquire the lead for the sale, the process is over. If you want to make sure that people come back and become repeat buyers, then traffic is just as important to your buyers as it is at the top of the funnel.

• These are people who have bought something from you. They’ve already committed. They know you really, really well. Now, you’re either wanting to increase their value as a customer (get them to buy again) or reactivate them (remind them that you still exist).

• Most of your communication with “hot traffic” is going to be through retargeting ads and email marketing.

• There are two goals for hot traffic:

  1. Activation: Remind a customer who hasn’t purchased in a while that you still exist, or see if they’re interested in a product that’s different from what they purchased.
  2. High-Dollar Sales

• Some hot traffic offers are:

  • Events: Traffic & Conversion Summit, for example.
  • Paid Webinar
  • High Dollar Offers
  • Done For You Services

• The reasons you need a system—that’ll introduce you to cold traffic and them to content first before asking them to do something—are:

  • Traffic platforms are changing: They are maturing and thinking more about the end user because if he/she leaves the platform, then they’ll be no one for the advertiser to market to, which means the platform will die. So the platforms are really pushing advertisers in that direction with things like the relevance score in Facebook and the quality score in Google.
  • The online buying cycle is changing: Nowadays, it takes a lot more touch points for someone to purchase your product.
  • As users, we are changing: When we log in to Facebook, we are familiar with the ads, and we know why we’re being targeted. People understand what’s going on, and therefore it has to be a little bit more natural.
  • We want to automate relationship building: Relationships are what will turn cold traffic into leads and sales for your business. You want the campaigns to run at the same time and work together to make sure you’re doing that.

• The system works this way:

  • Step 1. Introduce yourself to cold traffic.
  • Step 2. Convert your acquaintances to leads. You’re getting to the warm section of the graphic. You built relationship equity with the first ad—they got value from your post—now, it’s time to ask for something in return.
  • Step 3. Convert the “warm” audience into buyers.

• Different businesses speak to different audiences and buy traffic from different “stores”. One traffic source does not fit all. There isn’t a perfect traffic source out there!

• Before you craft a marketing message, you must figure where your market is hanging out online. if you craft the perfect marketing message but then failed to put it in front of the right audience, the entire campaign will fail. You can’t sell Apple accessories using Google display ads on a blog about PCs.

• The biggest thing to keep in mind when picking a traffic source is that you must do research on your audience/avatar to figure out where they are.

Module 3. Facebook Ad Platform

• As long as you’re able to give the best experience for the user on the platform, you’ll be fine as an advertiser. This is really what Facebook is looking for.

• What you pay depends on who you’re targeting and how many other advertisers are competing to show their ads to your audience. Well-designed ads will encourage more people to take an action; the more actions you get for your budget, the lower your cost per action will be. Ad platforms, in general, will reward you for having well-performing ads because that’s how they make their money.

• Facebook is more of a “display” platform… you’re putting your message in front of your audience. You’re basically interrupting your target.

• One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they get lazy with their targeting—they think that they know their market and that they know where they to find them on a platform, and they don’t get specific enough.

• The potential audience size differs depending on the audience type:

  • Cold Traffic: 500K – 1 Million
  • Warm/Hot Traffic: It depends.

• Remember that you want to aim for specificity. If you’re targeting golfers, you don’t want your interests option to include someone like Tiger Woods because anyone can be a follower of Tiger, not just golfers. In this case, you want to target only mid-range golfers that are only known to people who actually play golf.

• If you don’t have a specific end benefit for your offer, you can’t write ad copy or create an image that’s going to overcome a bad offer.

• It’s also important to think about what kind of language your market responds to. You should’ve done research, read forums and blogs they read, and figured out their educational level and what’s enticing to them.

• All ads are not going to be the same. You have to think about what you’re running traffic to, what the pain point is, etc.

• Speak to the audience based off of what point you are in the relationship.

• It’s suggested that you set your budget to at least $15/day if you can; if you can spend more that’s great because you’ll get more data.

• You must allow a campaign to run 3-5 days before you begin to analyze the data, 7-10 days if you are leading with content—you need to reach a good number of people so that you aren’t looking at false negatives or false positives on your campaign.

• If your campaigns are working, you should scale them. There are a few ways to do this, and all of them can be done at the same time:

  1. Increase the budget.
  2. Take the offer to new targets: Basically, you find new audiences to target.
  3. Trim fat off of your current campaigns: You go to the reports and see which demographics aren’t converting for your campaign, and you make sure that you’re turning off different aspects of the ads that aren’t working.

Module 4. Retargeting To Maximize Results

• Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website—you’re following up with people after they leave the page. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away.

• Retargeting is the easiest aspect of running paid traffic. It’s cheap. It’s mostly dynamic. It allows you to make specific offers to specific audiences—the more specific your offer, the better it’s going to convert.  It also runs on autopilot, and it’s not platform specific.

• It’s important to create specific audiences based on the content that people visit on your website in order to retarget them with a specific offer such as a lead magnet—something that’s enticing and really specific to what they already read on your website. However, this is where most people stop—they use traffic to get people to the top of the funnel, but they don’t use retargeting to move them from one step to the next in the funnel.

• You need to use retargeting to get people to move to other steps or phases in your funnel. You’re going to run ads to people who had a particular offer but didn’t make it to the next offer. You can set up audiences based on that logic—people who visited an offer (e.g., lead magnet landing page) but didn’t hit the next offer (e.g. tripwire sales page).

• As a medium, video consumption is skyrocketing. Facebook is actually out-performing YouTube in daily views.

• While videos can work for cold traffic, they’ll make the biggest impact if they’re used for retargeting. Specifically, retargeting during the sales process (warm/hot).

Module 5. Troubleshooting Your Campaigns

• After you set up your campaign, you let it run 3-5 days in order to gather data. Once you have some data, you’ll need to look at the campaign in order to figure out what’s wrong and to optimize.

• The four biggest culprits of a failed ad campaign are:

  1. Offer
  2. Targeting
  3. Ad Copy/Creative
  4. Ad Scent

Troubleshooting Your Offer

• The first thing to look towards when your campaign isn’t performing is your offer. Whatever it is you’re running traffic to (Blog posts, social media updates, content videos, case studies, quizzes/surveys, white papers, webinars, flash sales, etc.), if you’re not offering something that people actually want, then conversions aren’t going to happen. One of the biggest underlying issues, when people are running traffic, is that they expect a campaign to work on an offer that the market doesn’t even want.

If your answer is no to any of those questions, then you really need to go back and look at your offer.

Troubleshooting Your Targeting

• Another big culprit of a failed ad campaign is the targeting. It doesn’t matter if you have the best offer and marketing message, if you put it in front of the wrong audience, it will fail. If you have a good offer, it’s time to check your targeting.

• The biggest targeting mistake you can make is to go too broad in fear of missing out on potential prospects. If you’re targeting golfers, you don’t want to target interests like Tiger Woods, ESPN, or the PGA because you’ll be targeting people that aren’t actually golfers and therefore won’t purchase products related to golf.

Initially, you want to be super-specific in order to reach the avid people in your market, and then with scale, you’ll go broader.

• This also goes to the fact that you could be targeting too many people in terms of the number of people that you’re targeting. For cold traffic, 500K-1 Million is the sweet spot. If you’re targeting millions and millions of people, that’s simply too big.

On the other hand, if you’re targeting too small of an audience to cold traffic, your offer is either going to have a false positive or a false negative.

• You want to target an avid part of the market—people that go to events, read, watch, and listen. You want action takers and purchasers.

• You also want to make sure that you’re on a platform where your market hangs out.

Troubleshooting Your Ad Copy/Creative

• After assessing your offer and your targeting, it’s now time to assess your message. The ad copy/creative is really the segue between your offer and target market—it makes sure that the end user can see the benefit.

• You can create a compelling offer and put it in front of the right audience, but if you aren’t able to catch their attention and give them a reason to click– your campaign will fail because you aren’t generating traffic.

• Make sure that you’re making changes one at a time. You don’t want to change your targeting and messaging at the same time. Tweak your targeting and give your campaign 3-5 days before you move on to the ad copy/creative in order to isolate the issues.

Troubleshooting Your Ad Scent

• When people click on your ad, they need to get what they’re expecting on the next page.

• According to research from the reputable Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, we search the web using a hub and spoke model. We start in one central area (the hub) where we find a number of different spokes or trails we can follow. The hub might be a search engine or a social site like Facebook.

We follow these trails from the hub as long as we feel confident that we are on the path to our desired outcome—as long as we feel interested and comfortable.

If, at any point, we feel we are not on the right path we return to the hub (or get distracted by cat photos).

• The key to getting the scent right is to understand the importance of maintaining the scent for these three major elements:

  1. Design/Imagery: You want the ad and landing page to look very similar.
  2. Benefits: You don’t want to promise something in your ad and then not mention it at all on your landing page.
  3. Offers: You don’t want to tell people that you’ll do something and then do something else or send them somewhere else or give them something else.

Module 6. Other Traffic Channels


• With Twitter, you can reach almost any market, and the targeting is very similar to Facebook.

• It’s especially great for running traffic to cold audiences—blog posts and various pieces of content that provide value upfront. This is because people are used to consuming content on Twitter whereas, on Facebook, people are more so there to scroll through their newsfeed to see pictures and their friends’ status updates. Distributing content through Twitter is not as invasive as in other platforms.

• When running traffic to content, your tweet should be the headline of your content. You need to be very straightforward with these tweets because people are reading them really fast, so you have to be quick to the point.

Content Distribution Networks

• This where you advertise on other publishers’ sites. You’re sending a high volume of traffic to pieces of content, and you’ll ultimately want to pixel these people and also have a strong CTA.

• Do not use CTNs unless you’re really running a lot of traffic, and you’re ready for serious scale. When you do, you want to contact these platforms to see which one is going to be the best to get in front of your audience.

• The problem with these platforms is that there isn’t a lot of specific targeting. What you do is that you give them a list of headlines—you want to clearly call out your audience in these—and blog posts, then you hope that somehow through their algorithms, they’ll put your stuff in front of your target market.


• Advertising on LinkedIn is somewhat expensive, but the audiences are more qualified. The platform has 350+ Million users, and it’s perfect for content distribution (cold traffic) and lead generation.

• Don’t worry about the audience size on LinkedIn because it is such a specific platform where you’re speaking to such a specific market that it’s okay if the audience has just 1000 people, for example. You don’t have sweet spots as in Facebook or Twitter.

Dedicated Email Drops

• This is an interesting traffic source especially for businesses who have trouble or can’t run traffic at conventional traffic platforms like Google or Facebook. For example, these businesses could be in an adult market or they’re selling tobacco, weight-loss products, or dating information.

• Dedicated email drops are the way to go when you can’t run traffic on a traditional ad platform or if you have a proven offer that you want to scale.

• You want the emails to be about a lead magnet or a low-dollar offer. Think of these people as warm traffic because the sender already has a relationship with them.


• This platform is great for people who are selling physical products and local businesses. It’s also great for people who really know a specific pain point or a specific desire of their market.

• Google AdWords is an entirely different animal because we are catching people in the moment when they’re actively looking for a solution. With Adwords, people are already in the awareness stage, possibly even at the evaluation stage.

• Because they are showing a specific desire/pain point, you can run traffic to Cold and Warm offers. Even though they may have never heard of you before, they’re actively searching for a solution, and if your lead magnet solves their problem… great!


• YouTube is especially great if you’re in a market that is video-centric or a market where you have to demonstrate things.

• YouTube works best when you have content videos uploaded to your channel that directly relate and make calls to action to your lead magnet/offers. Think of your YouTube channel and the videos you make as a blog and its posts—you want to create content that has value.