What Are Solo Ads and Ad Swaps?

What Are Solo Ads and Ad Swaps?

swap barter or trade solo ads

Solo Ads & Ad Swaps
Technique for Internet Marketing List Growth

Several of the social media communities I’m involved with are just starting to dip their toes into classical internet marketing…

A fundamental component for making money online with internet marketing is list building. The adage that “the money is in the list” is incredibly true!

(Technically the money is in your relationship with your list, but that’s a different soap box!)

If you’re still not sure about this whole list building thing, or why can be an important part of monetizing online, be sure to check out List Building Basics.

With that has came a lot of discussion of Solo Ads and Ad Swaps.

What Are Solo Ads and Ad Swaps?

In super basic terms, a “Solo Ad” is when you (generally) pay someone to mail THEIR email list, on your behalf, with a recommendation and link to your free optin offer squeeze page.

An “Ad Swap” is the same idea only two people do it in exchange with each other to help each other out. (If one has a much larger list than the other, the one with the smaller list may need to mail twice, to send a fair amount of traffic.)

These two are basically the same, except that one is paying with an exchange and the other is paying with cash.

This type of advertising takes advantage of the relationship a marketer has with their list… that their list KLT’s (knows, likes and trusts) them… to get some optins for the other person.

This can be an incredibly powerful form of list building although there are a lot of variables that go into how good the results will be.

What Is Needed To Participate In Ad Swaps?

To start with, before you can do ANYTHING you have to have a few things in place….

1. Hosting – your squeeze/optin page has to be hosted somewhere on the internet

2. Autoresponder – this service allows you to capture a list and get good deliverability when you later send emails to them

3. A “Ethical Bribe” – this is the freebie you are exchanging with the visitor for his/her name and email address. Can be your own product/ebook or a PLR you have giveaway rights too.

4. A squeeze page (aka optin page) for the other person to send traffic to for you.



1. Money to pay for a Solo Ad.


2. An existing double  optin list you have a good relationship with to be able to mail an ad for the other person. (If the other person has a larger list than you do, you may also need to leverage your ability to promote to your twitter followers/etc although these are technically not a list.)

Where to Find Ad Swaps and Solo Ads?

There are a number of places in the internet marketing world online that one can find potential people to do business with. The Warrior Forum often has lots of people either looking for/ offering ad swaps, or selling Solo Ads. Definitely be careful in there as you MUST find someone that has a good reputation or you could end up out some money.

One of the best ways however is within your own preexisting communities.

For example many of the tribe syndication communities are currently attempting to facilitate ad swaps among their members.

Often within your own niche and own private communities you can find groups offering ad swaps.

It is ALWAYS best to start these swaps in your existing communities (or communities you trust) so that the trust level is high and you feel comfortable promoting the other person.


Have your squeeze page together and need help finding an ad swap partner? Feel free to talk to other people that reply to this thread and see if they wouldn’t make good partners!

Want to learn more about Solo Ads? Pick up a copy of Solo Ad Revolution which I found really helpful.

Also, check out a breakdown of a Solo Ad/Ad Swap mailing I did for a friend and show you how simple it was and all of the numbers!

I appreciate all you’re comments, shares and tweets!

PS: Yeah you guessed it… some of those links are my affiliate links. If you purchase through them, they have to buy me a cheeseburger! (Maybe you can sweet talk them into giving me a Mt. Dew while they’re at it eh?)

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50 Comments on "What Are Solo Ads and Ad Swaps?"

4 years 6 months ago

As always, valuable information teaching me things I haven’t come across before. Thanks for keeping me up with all that’s important to expand my marketing experience. As I have only just begunm selling products, also doing some guest posting, will have to come back to this and see how I can apply it to my small niche blog. Thanks for sharing Kimberley.

Patricia Perth Australia

2 years 11 months ago

Patricia I agree, I will have to come back to this! There is so much gems in one post, I thought I was going to get a simple definition of solo ads, but Kim totally over delivered here. Thanks for taking so much time and energy to give such a valuable lesson here.

4 years 6 months ago

Ad swaps can be effective as long as they are within the same or very similar niche and targeted properly. I’ve had great success by always making sure the other person really has the same or bigger list size or site traffic.

4 years 6 months ago

Quite true. You can’t just throw it out there to anyone — no harm is done per se, but time IS wasted.

4 years 6 months ago

I can verify, ad swaps work well.

4 years 6 months ago

It is a pleasure seeing someone speaking about solo ads, and while your setting is more along the lines of communities, for more than a decade ezine ad co-ops have been (and remain) a standard go-to spot for running solo ads (and other forms of online advertising).

I’ve been helping people for the past 10 years, and this resource is still hanging in there (where so many other things come and go).

Thanks for calling attention to viable ways to help people spread the word :)

4 years 6 months ago

Hey Kim, Great Post!

I don’t have much experience with Ad Swaps but it is something that I will look into in the near future for sure! I agree that Warrior is a great community and I will look into starting some Ad Swaps with some of the good folk there! I look forward to reading some of your future posts Kim!