Advertising is one of the greatest sources of passive income anyone can have. But first of all an important distinction between marketing and advertising. Marketing is the whole process of researching, designing, creating and implementing the best way to bring a product or service to a target audience. Advertising is the part of marketing which involves putting the message about the product or service in front of the relevant audience.

There are two distinct ways to make money from advertising. The first is to pay to advertise as part of a bigger marketing campaign where you have a product or service to sell. This is not what we will be talking about here. The second way is to be the person who hosts the adverts. This is the way we are focusing on in this article because almost everyone will have access to some area they can place adverts which you can do both online and offline.

In order to successfully make regular passive income from hosting adverts you need two key components. A platform to advertise and people to view the advert. The more people you have viewing, the more you can make.

“Money follows attention” – Grant Cardone


When it comes to having the platform to advertise online, you have many different options: a blog, website, podcast, a Twitch or YouTube account. The more viewers or followers you have the more you will be able to charge to place some advertising on the site. There are different types of pricing models which you can choose. Depending on the platform and the amount of traffic you have some may not be suitable. If you have a blog for example you will have much more choice over using any of these whereas a YouTube channel will be limited by the choice of advertising YouTube offers you. Whatever the platform, the more traffic or viewers you have the more you will make. This is by no means an exhaustive list but the main types of online advertising models available:

  • PPC or CPC: Pay Per Click or Cost Per Click is the same thing. You will get paid every time someone clicks on the advert placed on your site. This generally is how the larger advertising networks such as Google Adwords allow people to place adverts on their platform. You can sign up to a program such as Google adwords which allows you to copy and paste some code to show advertisers on your site. You get a share of the revenue every time the adverts are clicked.
  • CPM: This is where you get paid for every thousand views of an advert. So you get paid even if people don’t click on the advert. This works really well if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of viewers per month. YouTube often uses this model and videos that have millions of views allow the owners to pull in thousands of pounds per month.
  • CPA, CPL or CPI: Cost Per Action, Cost Per Lead, or Cost Per Installation all require the viewer to actually do something once they have clicked on the advert in order for you to get paid. This may be something such as download an ebook, enter their details into a signup form or install a piece of software. When the viewer does this you get paid.
  • Banner ads: Less common than they used to be but still a very profitable type of advertising if you are displaying them. Banner ads are a bit like an online billboard in all different shapes and sizes. You may have banner ads at the top of a website or square images on the side of blogs. You can get paid to display these for a certain period of time or using one of the above revenue models.
  • Email advertising: This is where you build a list of emails from people who join your list through an opt in form on your website, blog, landing page etc. If you grow your list over time, engage with the subscribers and produce good content then you can charge other people to send an email to the people in your list. The bigger your list or more focused on a particular nice, the more you can charge people to send their advertisement to your list.
  • Influencer: The latest way to make huge amounts of cash on social media. The larger the following you have the more you can get paid or given products to promote brands and services to all your followers. See more here.


There are more places to host adverts offline than you may realise. At least some of which you will have access to.

  • There is the more traditional media such as TV, Radio or print. Unless you own a TV, radio station, newspaper or magazine you won’t be able to benefit from this. However the modern equivalent is a YouTube channel, podcast or blog.
  • If you own land or can rent some land where there is lots of people passing by (such as on a high street or next to a motorway) then you can offer companies to place billboards on that land.
  • If you own a shop you can offer advertisements in a window or on a notice board inside. Even if your house is in a busy area with lots of people walking past, you can sell advertising in a window.
  • If you own a car or vehicle you can opt in with a company such as CarQuids to put stickers on your vehicle. You can also approach business owners to put advertisements in your car window. Great if you cover a lot of miles every day.
  • Some people use Freelance sites to promote companies by painting logo’s on parts of their body.
  • Your own imagination! There have been some quirky ways to raise money through advertising money throughout the years by thinking outside the box. There have been people who have sold space on their skin to get tattoos of companies. There was The Million Dollar Homepage where the founder sold advertising by the pixel and made over one million dollars. If you come up with a unique way then you can make a lot of money.

Ultimately you can sell advertising pretty much anywhere where you have control over what is published and there are lots of people viewing something. It doesn’t matter what the medium or platform they are viewing on. This will continue to be true even when things like virtual reality start to grow in consumer use. Spotting trends or getting in early on an opportunity such as social media or virtual reality  will allow you to grow an audience and sell advertising if you wish.

Extra Cash

The alternative method mentioned above is making money from purchasing adverts to drive traffic to your product or service. If you don’t have a service you can use advertising to sell affiliate products. This essentially is the buying (rather than the selling) of adverts on any of the platforms listed above.

To reduce it to its fundamentals, if you can make more in sales than you spend on the advertising to make those sales then you will make money from purchasing adverts. Any decent online platforms allow you to track sales made from your advertising. Offline it is a bit more difficult to track but still possible if you were to offer some sort of discount code only relevant to that advert.

Top Tip

The larger the audience you have the more can charge to place advertisements in front of those people. Whether that is readers of a blog, viewers of a YouTube video, miles driven in a vehicle or foot traffic in front of a billboard. Advertising is all about attention. The more attention you are getting the more cash you can make. It takes time to build attention but doing something unique or giving value to people will, over time, allow you to grow your audience.

Recommended reading

May I Have Your Attention, Please? – How To Build A Brand And Become An Expert Influencer With Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Instagram – Top Digital Networking & Personal Branding Strategies

Social Media Marketing 2020 – Your Guide to Business Writing That Charms, Captivates and Converts

Sites to use

Builderall – Complete online solution to start building and promoting your business including website creation and hosting, email list, sales funnels, image editors etc.

AdCardz – Get an online advertising business ready made in a box.

Google Adsense – Join the largest online advertising network to place ads on your site.

CarQuids – Earn money advertising on your car.