What is Social to Search Arbitrage and How Does it Work?

November 24, 2023

Sara Bregasi

Sara Bregasi

Content Writer

If you are currently running, or planning on starting, social to search arbitrage campaigns, this guide is for you.

It has everything you need to know, including a comparison of the top ad networks & search feed providers, information on tracking & campaign setup, and tips on how to optimize your campaigns.

What is Social to Search Arbitrage?

Social to search arbitrage involves buying social media traffic through paid ads, and redirecting it to a parked domain (i.e., monetization page) displaying related search results. These monetization pages are provided by companies such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, and each search result represents an ad for which other advertisers are paying.

What is Social to Search Arbitrage

Companies like Google work with partners to supply the search results you see on a monetization page. These partners are also called search feed providers. We will give a list of the top search arbitrage feed providers in a bit and explain how you can apply for these platforms. 

Is Social to Search Arbitrage Profitable?

Before you dive any deeper, you probably want to know if this type of traffic arbitrage is profitable. If you are running social to search arbitrage campaigns, you will be making a profit by buying traffic for cheaper on social ad networks like Meta or TikTok, and selling it for a higher price to search feed providers

Search arbitrage is a business of small margins. The payouts are generally low, resulting in low revenue-per-click. However, conversion rates for search arbitrage offers can be very high if you make your ads highly relevant to the keywords you are targeting, and continuously optimize your social media campaigns based on KPIs. When we discuss campaign optimization, we will give some tips on which metrics to prioritize. 

So, in short, social to search arbitrage can be very profitable, but your profitability will highly depend on other factors. We already discussed traffic quality above, but traffic quantity is another important factor. Since search arbitrage has small margins but high conversion rates, a larger amount of traffic means more revenue. 

Finally, apart from mastering social media advertising (highly relevant ads, good copy, top creatives, the right targeting strategy etc) and investing in getting more traffic, you also need to choose your ad networks wisely. When looking for the right ad network, your focus should be on finding platforms with high engagement and low cost-per-click. Let’s take a look at the top social ad networks next.

Top Social Ad Networks to Buy Traffic From

As of now, Meta and TikTok are the two main social ad platforms for social to search arbitrage. So, what are the key differences between these two platforms? 

    1. Meta (Facebook & Instagram)

Meta’s biggest advantage is its audience reach and diversity. With over 3 billion users for Facebook and 1.35 for Instagram, this is by far the biggest social media platform in 2023. This means that the audience is also more diverse in terms of demographics and interests. 

facebook to search arbitrage

The key downside is that competition on Meta is higher, leading to more expensive cost-per-clicks (CPC). Keep in mind that this is only a generalization, and the actual cost of traffic will heavily depend on your ads and targeting strategy. 

2. TikTok

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for search arbitrage. At 1.7 billion users as of recently, its audience is considerably smaller compared to Meta’s. 

TikTok’s biggest strength is its superior audience engagement rate of 5.69%, compared to Facebook’s 0.06% and Instagram’s 0.47%. Ads on TikTok generally blend in very well with the rest of the content on the platform, resulting in higher conversion rates.

facebook to search vs tiktok to search arbitrage

Which platform you decide to run paid ads on will highly depend on the keywords and offers you are promoting. For example, if you are promoting dental implant results, you will most likely want to prioritize older demographics. 

We have a full comparison article between Meta vs TikTok ads here. You can also find more information on how to run TikTok to search arbitrage campaigns here.

Top Search Arbitrage Feed Providers

    1. Tonic 

Tonic is a German-based traffic monetization platform, known for their Tier1 search feed, high EPCs, and quick creative approval process. You can apply here

Social to Search Arbitrage search feed provider tonic

2. System1

System1 is another major player in the social to search arbitrage space, providing offers from top advertisers and verticals, including health, finance, and travel. You can get in touch with them via this form

Social to Search Arbitrage search feed provider system1

3. Ads.com (previously Bodis)

Another top traffic monetization platform, Ads.com has over 15+ years of experience in the industry, and they also partner with Tier1 ad search providers. You can create an account with them here. You may be asked for an invitation code, in which case you can contact the team inside the platform to inquire about your next steps. 

Social to Search Arbitrage feed provider ads.com bodis

4. Domain Active

Similarly, DomainActive partners with top advertisers and helps you monetize your paid social traffic. You can sign up here

Social to Search Arbitrage search feed Domain Active

5. Sedo

Sedo is one of the largest domain marketplaces in the world. You can register here

Before approving your application, these companies will most likely need to see some sort of proof of spend. There is no specific budget you need to spend to qualify, but generally, top search feed providers are looking for media buyers who have the potential to spend more or less 4 figures per day. Traffic quality will also be very important, as well as a few basic rules such as no incentivized, push or fraudulent traffic.

Social to Search Arbitrage feed provider sedo

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup

The way you set up your search arbitrage campaigns will determine how data moves from TikTok or Meta to the search feed, and it will define your tracking capabilities. 

You can set up your campaigns in two different ways. The direct flow is when you do not use a tracker in-between, while the tracked flow includes the use of a third party tracker.

    1. Direct Flow

Since there is no tracker present with this setup, the final destination for your TikTok or Meta ads will be the link provided by your search feed provider.

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup direct flow

Generally, you need to build the campaign links manually under the direct flow. If you are not sure how to build your links, you can find examples for the top search feed providers and social media ad networks below. Please make sure to replace the domain and specific parameter information based on your specific case. 

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup domain active tiktok

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup domain active facebook

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup tonic tiktok

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup tonic facebook

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup ads.com bodis tiktok

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup ads.com bodis facebook

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup Sedo TikTok

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup Sedo Facebook

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup System 1 TikTok

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup System 1 Facebook

The direct flow is straightforward, easy to set up, and cost-effective, but it limits what you are able to track for your campaigns. If you are just starting out, this could be a simple solution, but if you are trying to scale and working with larger budgets, you will most likely need more granular data to be able to optimize your campaigns efficiently. Apart from this, you would also miss out on the ability to split test keyword groups or different search feeds under one domain. Sending conversion postbacks to TikTok or Facebook is also more limited depending on the search feed. 

For these reasons, most search arbitrage experts opt in for the tracked flow.

2. Tracked Flow 

The tracked flow involves using a third party tracker. For this to be possible, you would need to use a tracker that has a direct integration with social media ad platforms like TikTok and Meta, but also with the search feed providers you are working with. ClickFlare is a good example of a tracker that has an integration with all the platforms mentioned in this article

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Setup tracked flow

Your campaign URLs in this case will be generated by your chosen tracking platform. 

Using a tracker like ClickFlare, you will get access to deeper data about your visitors, including country, region, city, device type, OS, OS version, user agent, etc. You will also be able to rotate two or more keyword groups under a single domain, split test search feed providers, and send accurate postback conversion data back to TikTok and Facebook. ClickFlare will also automatically update revenue data from your search feed providers, removing the need for you to manually update finalized revenue data via CSV.

Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Optimization

As we mentioned above, search arbitrage is a business of small margins, so in order to scale and succeed, you will most likely need to launch a large number of campaigns, advertise from different ad accounts, or from different platforms. 

To ensure that you are not wasting your time and money on unprofitable campaigns, you will need to perform constant optimization. You will need to check the data from your traffic sources, match it to the revenue and conversion data from your tracker / search feed provider, and constantly pause, activate, adjust bids & budgets, or clone your campaigns, ad groups / ad sets, ads and more. 

At some point, it will become impossible to do this manually, unless you want to hire an entire team of media buyers who are willing to spend 24/7 watching your campaigns. This is where our campaign automation tool, TheOptimizer, can help you.

The Benefit of Using Social to Search Arbitrage Campaign Automation Software

If you are trying to scale with search arbitrage, TheOptimizer will become your best friend. It has an integration with all the major ad networks (TikTok, Meta, Google, and native ad platforms), trackers (ClickFlare, Voluum, RedTrack, Google Analytics), and even search feed providers (Tonic, Sedo, System1, Ads.com, Domain Active). 

You can connect hundreds of accounts in just a few steps and centralize all your search arbitrage efforts in a single platform, and let our automation engine take care of your campaigns for you. 

You can, for example, pause unprofitable ad sets on Facebook using an automation rule:

social to search arbitrage automation with theoptimizer rule example

With this rule, any ad sets that have spent over $50 in the past 3 days with a ROAS of lower than or equal to 1, will be automatically paused. You can select which campaigns this rule will apply to, run it as frequently as needed (from 10 minutes up to weekly), and set up notifications so you can receive an email, Slack, or Telegram notification each time a change has been made.  

You can also set up a rule that will automatically clone TikTok ads with low CPA at 9 am UTC every day apart from the weekend. The time zone and hour condition are fully customizable.

social to search arbitrage automation theoptimizer rule example with tiktok

Want to gradually increase your campaign or ad group / ad set budget when profitable? You can build a rule using accurate tracker revenue data. 

social to search arbitrage campaign automation with theoptimizer facebook and tiktok rule examples

In case you are wondering how our automation engine is superior to the ones offered by the social ad networks, we have full comparisons for Facebook and TikTok

Social to Search Arbitrage: Conclusion

Social to search arbitrage is a great way to make money online if you are willing to invest a bit of money on ads and aggressively optimize your campaigns using the right setups and tools. After you have chosen the right ad network and search feed providers to work with, you need to decide between a direct or tracked campaign flow, and use a campaign automation tool like TheOptimizer to avoid losing your investment on unprofitable campaigns. 

Check out our case study on how we have helped one of our clients make 6 figures per month with TikTok to search arbitrage. 

If you are running native to search arbitrage campaigns, we have a dedicated article on the topic here.

Need a hand?
If you want to want to learn more about how TheOptimizer can help you scale your search arbitrage campaigns faster, you can get on a call with one of our experts and get some 1-on-1 advice.