There are many thoughts on why we get so addicted to social media and the dopamine kick that we get every time someone likes one of the pictures we posted of yesterdays scrumptious dinner. One the one hand you have the gratification you get from the phone buzzing with yet another message while on the other we have the fact that you can get more or less instant feedback on any contents that you produce.
Leaving aside the discussion on whether the devious marketers out there have figured out how our brains respond to these intrusive messages (I turn all notifications off) and how to tap into our addictive personalities I have during these last 3 months thought quite a lot about the real value of a click through or a page view.
Let me start with the conclusion that i have reached which is "Not all clicks are equal"
Rewinding time a bit further this train of though actually started when I picked up the domain "googleplay.com". I wanted to look into how the latest Google search algorithm worked and can not say that I was not a bit surprised that this domain was available for purchase. My theory was that Google was penalizing contents aggregation farms in the rankings and that there was actually some manual work being done as to who was ranked on top. Yes, yes, I admit it, I have quite a cynic view when it comes to the honesty of large corporations.
Anyways, using Yahoo pipes and two other websites that I ran in parallel I aggregated my own contents and had the site re-post it with a new time-stamp every three seconds so that I looked as though I posted more news than Reuters, Bloomberg and CNN combined. My theory was shattered in the fact that not only did I rank top on all search engines for the search term Google play" but I had to start load balancing servers to deal with the increased traffic.
The experiment ended abruptly when Google decided to release their online platform Google Play and found out that they did not own the domain. Lawyers contacted me and I happily handed over the domain after many many e-mails both from ICANN and shady Russian domain traders giving me "tips" on why I should sell it to them.
Years later and I am now in a position where a large portion of my business is generated online. As I just mentioned increasing web traffic is a fairly simple operation but when you need to convert this into business you also need to consider the root of the traffic and not just the volume. The truth of the matter, as any online market guru will happily explain to you, is that a large number of the clicks out there are performed by robots. There are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts that are set up just to click on links that people post or to follow certain accounts. I am sure you have seen advertisements for "get 5000 followers in an instant" on any given Social network. These are just some of the robots out there. You also have the search engine bots crawling the web for updates and new contents as well as bots like the one that I set up aggregating contents from just about everywhere and anywhere.
What about advertisement then?
Ask yourself this question, how many time when you search for something on your favorite search engine do you click on the advertisement at the top? For me I would say that I only do it when I am very close to making a purchase. When I am browsing for information I want blogs/articles and real user feedback rather than the company site itself which, as I explained above, I tend to trust about as far as I can throw it. Most companies know this as well which is why the cost of ranking top for google paid search on popular keywords is expensive to the point where for a small startup it might not be realistic to even use it except for with very niche search terms.
Social media is a whole other beast and many of marketeers rack their brains on getting not only likes for their page so that they can organically push contents for brand awareness but also hopefully get some sales in the process. There are multiple ways of getting people to click on advertisement in Social media and the first question we should ask ourselves is do we want volume or quality. If it is volume that we are interested in then a giveaway of product or service is by far the easiest way to get traffic. Who does not love a free sample or perhaps the opportunity of winning a fantastic prize. Quality however can be very tricky. It is said that the average attention span of generation Y,Z is about 8 seconds which means that you have time for about 1 picture and a catch phrase. Writing long beautiful stories is doomed for failure as people jump to the next cute cat video that their friend just shared for the 5th time.
Short, sweet and packing a punch that talks directly to the need of the customer seems to be the recipe for success. Always A/B test with different images/messages and when you try something new be ready to release at 80% instead of wasting time perfecting it. Should you find a hit then spend extra time perfecting it at stage 2.
Also make sure that you focus on your own conversion pages as many times you turn on the traffic tap and get tons of inquiries but they do not convert because of something that you forgot in the ordering process.
Finally test, test and test again. Get some friends or colleagues to do a blind test and order the product/service to make sure that it really gets delivered.
Good luck and feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.