Click my banner...NOT
Andrew Chen writes a definitive post on what’s ailing the click through marketing yardstick for digital marketers.
It's a good piece of read and will benefit those in the realm of marketing. It captures why so many marketers break their head when the google ads and the web banners and the tweet links fail to work in getting qualified people on to the site.
The problem is not of the click through. The problem is everyone is doing it. And in troves. Everybody wants you to go somewhere from the page you have chosen to come to. Now if you did not reach the right page in the first place, there is no need for you to go to where banner is pointing you. Hence the click through fails. Even if you go to the page the banner takes you, there is no reason for you to actually do anything beyond that, if there is no immediate need and the solution does not fit your exact need ( from your requirement to your budget to internal buy-ins and so on ) which inevitably leads to high bounce rates and benchmarks of 1.6% on CTRs. ( just saying)
Sure search marketing is necessary. It helps you reach newer audiences when your databases are tapped out. It is also a powerful indicator of intent. But creating relevancy takes time. Understanding your content partners who drive the most relevant audience takes time and is a continuous process because it keeps changing. Understanding your search network takes time. Building an authentic score takes a lot of planning, because your content needs to engage those who come from that one click - Especially when you are competing on bids, in markets where your competitors have already captured the top slots and built a reputation of delivering the most engaging and location relevant content on high value keywords and phrases.
Understanding the key phrases that people organically use to search for an answer needs constant study of analytics and then building content that answers those queries needs context ( and an agile content delivery arm). It's a slow and intensive process. Bid, burn, watch, analyze, tweak, optimize, change, control your burn over particular days of the week, change the cycles, A/B test - REPEAT. Every day, every week.
Using the phrases which on your dashboard show the best conversion and then incorporating them in your organic content over time…and then integrating your SEO processes. Changing the meta nomenclature on your pages ( headers/ body/ CSS) using schema's - because it's not just about adding tag words copied from ad words accounts based on search volumes. It's about defining context for the search crawler in the code, because the crawler is not human.
Changing your content directory subfolder architecture in your main content server, so that based on IP, the search engine can throw region specific domain content which is contained together in one unit in your CMS database and overrides www.whatever.com to www.whatever.com/country/language or better still www.whatever.country/ language.
Killing campaign specific landing pages the day the campaign ends.
And those are just for starters.
Thing is we don't always click on banners and ads, so when we do, if the experience, content, and value of time spent is not optimum in terms of getting exactly what we want, CTRs will continue to languish in the low 1-2%.
And if this was not enough, today the beloved CTR faces intense competition from the stream. Because the stream was conceptualized and coded for a mobile world, the stream is far more native and immersive. The stream also utilizes far more analytics and algorithms based on our personal choices and recommendations to push forward content that we have a higher propensity to like and consume.
Moreover, all of the technology that drives search led advertising – the algorithm, the auction system, and machine learning – are skills that don’t really translate to the more touchy-feely qualities that make a social service or content site compelling.
Ultimately for any business - impressions, CTR's, leads, form fills et-al mean very little if it does not convert to a sale and what we need to remember is that the more we scale on a digital platform used by everyone for every marketing campaign, (and more or less targeted at the same audience), the less will be the number of qualified customers.
From sheer fatigue.
Hence in the digital realm, where the click through is going to stay for some more time, it is better to make the CTR a run rate hygiene mechanism and bolster it by adopting newer technologies at a lower scale and create interest through the new-ness of approach. Marry search and discovery by productising marketing assets and wrapping content with in-built analytics.
Case in point: F Commerce was a failure, but Huggies moved so fast on it that they created a differentiator when people least expected it and made a killing. Everyone else got on the bandwagon and it bombed. Classic case of growth hacking moving at the right time and taking a risk.
The experience on digital is everything. The surprise of discovery and the intent of search are powerful engagement parameters which need context and subsequently content. If we can create this right and keep the scale realistic, then the click through will provide some value. Or else it is just a tactic that everyone else is doing.