What Is ‘Content Arbitrage’ And How Do People Make Money With It?

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What Is Content Arbitrage?

The term “content arbitrage” is typically used in two distinct manners within the world of online business.

The first is as a general term describing content-marketing that leverages information quickly or efficiency to get clicks and ad impressions on their content.

The second is as a form of traffic arbitrage using paid traffic.

We will explore both below.


“Content Arbitrage” In Content-Marketing

In content-marketing (blogging, YouTubing, etc) the term ‘content arbitrage’ can refer to a form of marketing that relies on leveraging the temporary differences in the knowledge level of different audiences.

Marketing strategist, entrepreneur, and investor David Meerman Scott defines content arbitrage as follows:

Adapting the definition from the financial markets, content arbitrage involves finding information in one place and revealing it in another to take advantage of temporary differences in the knowledge level of people in those two markets.

David Meerman Scott shares a few examples of content arbitrage, one of them being:

. . . you’re watching television and an industry expert says something remarkable or controversial. If you blog about it right away, you’re the first to share with the wider marketplace who had not been watching.

Content arbitrage occurs when one strays into someone else’s market as well. As an example from David Meerman Scott:

. . . Watch for news releases from government agencies. You can sometimes spot an important development in your market that people aren’t yet aware of. If you’re first to blog it or explain what it means on a short video, you can effectively newsjack that release and have your industry’s media quoting what you said in your blog or video. Not to mention the positive exposure you get to your existing and potential customers.

Arbitrage of content can help website or blog owners gain exposure by sharing news in their industry early, likely leading to retweets and blog shares. Therefore, content arbitrage could lead to an increase in earnings from display advertisement, product/service sales, or affiliate marketing.


“Content Arbitrage” As Paid Traffic Arbitrage

Within the digital marketing space, traffic or CPC arbitrage is a term with a different meaning. Web Publisher Pro defines traffic arbitrage as follows:

Traffic arbitrage . . . involves purchasing advertising on one platform with the goal of acquiring traffic, and then monetizing that traffic through display advertising on the landing page visitors are being directed to.

To generate money, the ads on the target web page need to earn more than the advertiser is paying to direct visitors to that web page.

The clickbaity “listicles” often seen in advertisements on the bottom of articles are examples of content arbitrage in this fashion.

Three examples of ads “content arbitrage” ads.


In this strategy, a digital marketing outfit would purchase clicks from a traffic source like Revcontent or Taboola.

Then, they would send the person who clicked the ad to a listicle-style “slideshow” page filled with ads.

Every slide the person goes through earns the digital marketing outfit more money from the ads on the pages of the slideshow.

Typically, there is a “break even point” near the front or middle of the slideshow, and if the person viewing it leaves before making it to that “break even point” the digital marketing outfit would not make a profit (because the person had not viewed enough ads), and if the person makes it past that point the digital marketing outfit would earn a profit.

In this way, the more pages the visitor reads within the slideshow “listicle”, the more money the digital marketing outfit makes.

This is what is usually meant when someone refers to “content arbitrage” in relation to paid traffic strategies in digital marketing.




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