What is a Solo Ad? All You Need to Know
Solo ads are well known to most affiliate marketers out there but, if you’re new to the business,
you may have only just started to come across the term and you may now be wondering what
exactly a solo ad is.
Well, it’s a great question; and one that it’s important for you to get the answer to, as solo ads
have the potential to be one of the greatest weapons in your marketing arsenal if you know what
they are and how to use them.
That’s why we’ve prepared this introductory guide to solo ads to help you learn all you need to
know to get started. We’ll be covering all the key points and answering all your burning
questions; questions like:
● What is a solo ad?
● What are the advantages of solo ads?
● Who can benefit from solo ads?
● Who sells solo ads?
● How much do solo ads cost?
So sit tight, keep reading, and take the first step in learning how to become a solo ads expert!
What is a Solo Ad?
Let’s start with the basics…
A solo ad is essentially an email advertisement that you send out to a third-party list owner’s
The solo ads list you choose will typically contain subscribers that have already demonstrated
an interest in your business niche, which means the solo ad will go out directly to your target
market. For this reason, solo ads are generally defined as ‘targeted email advertisements’.
The ad itself usually contains your promotion and is designed to get your readers to open it and
click a link. That link might be to get them to subscribe to your own email list, drive traffic to a
website, or even sell a product.
The solo ad email itself is known as the solo ad swipe. All solo ad swipes are different from
each other, but many follow the same basic format. We’ve written in more detail about it in our
guide ‘How to Create a Solo Ads Email That Converts’, but in short, they’ll usually consist of an
interesting/attention-grabbing subject line, a short paragraph about the promotion, and a call-to-
action asking them to do something.
To fully understand what a solo ad is, you need to also know why they’re useful, who they’re
useful for, and where to get them. With that in mind, let’s move on to the next section and look
at the advantages of solo ads.
What Are The Advantages of Solo Ads?
Do you know what the number one digital marketing channel is in 2018?
If you’re up to date on digital marketing trends, your mind has probably instantly strayed to
social media marketing, or perhaps content marketing.
Nope; guess again.
Despite becoming increasingly important, they’re still lagging far behind the number one digital
marketing channel. The number one spot is still the same marketing channel today as it was a
That’s right, it’s email.
In fact, according to the email tracker carried out by the DMA this year, emails still receive, on
average, around a 3000% return on investment, making it one of the most lucrative marketing
channels available. It’s no surprise, then, that 95% of organizations still rate email marketing as
important to their business.
It goes without saying that email marketing is an absolute necessity for all internet marketers
and online businesses out there. However, there’s a problem. To market your products or
services over email, you need to actually have people to send your marketing communications
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses out there don’t have there own email subscriber list – and
that’s where solo ads come in.
Even if you don’t have your own email subscriber list, you can use solo ads to leverage the
power of email marketing regardless, and even use them to grow your own email subscriber list.
However, not having a email subscriber list of your own isn’t the only reason you might want to
use a solo ad. There are plenty of other advantages too. Let’s look at three:
1. It’s Cheap
Generating traffic through things like content marketing and social media is both time-
consuming and costly. You need to pay writers to pump out huge amounts of content, or social
media managers to grow your audience. This can take months or even years for you to see
returns on investment and, if your marketing budget is small, it’s probably just not viable.
Solo ads are one of the cheapest forms of traffic – and one of the quickest too. A solo ad will
usually be sent in as little as 48 hours from the moment of purchase and, once it’s sent out,
results can be more or less instantaneous. Traffic will start coming in straight away, and
continue to trickle in over the next few days.
It’s also much cheaper than other standalone advertisements, such as magazines and banner
ads, but we’ll talk more about the cost later.
2. It’s Highly Targeted
A solo ad can be sent to any email list you can find through a seller. This means you have the
potential to be very selective and get really highly targeted traffic.
Sure, you can pay for a magazine advertisement instead, but how many people will read that
magazine who just aren’t interested in your niche?
A good solo ad sellers email list, on the other hand, will be full to the brim with people that have
willingly opted in to receive emails because they’re genuinely interested in receiving promotional
emails about products and services in your niche.
3. You Can Access a Broader Market
Even if you have your own email subscriber list, a solo ad can help you to reach new markets
you might otherwise not be able to access.
For example, if your target market is tech enthusiasts, and you’ve grown a sizeable email
subscriber list through your tech blog, there might be a whole lot more tech enthusiasts out
there who aren’t regular blog readers of yours. Perhaps your blog is targeted to a younger
audience, and older audiences just aren’t reading your content.
Another tech retailer or blogger, however, might have managed to build an email list of tech
enthusiasts from an older generation – and these people still might be interested in your
promotion. Paying for a solo ad to be sent out to this list can therefore help you to access a
All that being said, solo ads aren’t right for everyone. In fact, many businesses won’t even
consider using them. So who should use solo ads? Let’s take a look.
Who Can Benefit From Solo Ads?
There are three main types of businesses/marketers that can benefit from solo ads. These are:
1. Those About to Launch a New Product/Website
If your a new startup and launch day is approaching, you most likely don’t have the time (or the
cash) to organically build an audience through things like guest posts and social media outreach
as these things tend to take days or weeks to complete, and time is of the essence.
In these circumstances, solo ads may be beneficial, as they can send a huge amount of traffic
your way quickly and with little effort.
2. Those in Competitive Niches
Certain niches are massively over-saturated, and getting your content seen is an incredibly
difficult task. I’m talking about niches like weight loss and personal finance. Therefore, you can
get around the competition by drawing traffic from other sources, like solo ads. The great thing
about solo ads is that they’re heavily underutilised by marketers, so competition is low.
3. Those in Expensive Niches
Just like some niches are competitive, some are expensive too. Pay per click prices for things
like Adwords and Bing are hugely dependent on the niche and how expensive it is. If yours is on
the pricier side, solo ads may be so much cheaper that it makes them worthwhile.
4. Those On a Tight Budget
Like I said earlier, solo ads are cheap. Even if you just have a few hundred dollars to invest, it
should be enough to get you started and run a few tests. If you see a good return on your
investment, you can always reinvest more later.
Who Sells Solo Ads?
Solo ads have a bit of a bad reputation on account of the number of phony sellers out there
which provide low-quality – or sometimes totally fake – traffic. Because of this, it’s important to
make sure you’re very cautious when selecting a solo ad vendor.
Detecting and avoiding illegitimate solo ad sellers is a topic for a whole other article entirely –
and one we’ve already written about in a previous blog, so we won’t go into too much detail
here, but you can check that out to find out more on the topic.
But what you should know is that the best solo ad sellers who those who have built their list
organically through their own promotional efforts. For example, a blogger who regularly
publishes articles on a certain topic will have build their audience – and email list – organically.
Their audience has a relationship with them and is genuinely interested in reading the emails
The solo ad sellers you want to avoid are those that have bought their list specifically to sell solo
ads. This is a red flag that the list is probably full of people that aren’t interested in the emails
being sent through to them, as it’s probably been overused, and the email addresses on the list
might have been scraped from various online sources.
There are four main types of people that sell solo ads. These are:
– Ezine publishers
– Online marketers
– Solo ad specialists
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid the last type.
Of course, we should also throw our own hat in the mix. Results Inspired sell solo ads. We sell
solo ads specifically for the Internet Marketing niche. We like to think we’re one of the best solo
ad vendors on the market, and can guarantee you that all our traffic is genuine, high-quality, and
How Much Do Solo Ads Cost?
Solo ads are typically priced in one of two ways: CPC (cost per click) or CPO (cost per open).
With CPC solo ads, you pay per click (which means each time someone opens an email and
clicks you link). With CPO, as you might have guessed, you pay each time someone opens the
Most solo ads are sold on a CPC basis, and can be priced at anything from $0.10 – $1.50 per
click. A sweet spot is typically around $0.30 – $0.50, as anything under this is probably not worth
your time as it will probably provide poor or fake traffic.
Results Inspired follow the CPC pricing model and sell solo ads in three different packages
which start at $0.35 per click, depending on the number of clicks you buy.
That’s All For Now!
That’s it for this guide – we hope we’ve answered the question ‘what is a solo ad?’ for you and
that you’ve learned something useful. There’s plenty more to learn though, so check out our
other blogs for more tips and advice.