The Nuts and Bolts of Traffic, Engagement, and Conversions
Back in the day, I would hear my contemporaries going on and on about all of the millions of hits they were getting on their websites. Bragging about their high traffic numbers and selling themselves or their brand based solely on traffic hit numbers.
Scoring big with hits isn’t really a big deal when you consider that a search engine robot looking at a single 1 pixel by 1 pixel image can be just one hit.
What my contemporaries failed to realize at the time was that hits don’t really mean anything .. Hits are very different from actual page viewing visitors. Just one actual page viewing visitor can generate hundreds of hits at a time. If your site is big enough, one actual page viewing visitor can quite possibly, produce, or otherwise generate, thousands of hits.
Basic understanding of just exactly what a hit, verses and actual page viewing visitor is, is just the beginning. But we still might have a ways to go here.
Advertising your business based on the amount of hits you get might seem fairly foolish once you figure this whole visitor-ship thing out, but we can’t be too hasty, even still, running ads based just on visitor-ship — the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet —
There’s even still more to this than just getting the actual page viewing visitors.
Years ago, we had to figure out just how to get our actual page viewing visitors to convert — We got the traffic, now how can we get the traffic to purchase, buy, or otherwise *Convert. What is or was our conversion rates? How many, out of 1,000 visitors, at any given hour of the day, actually purchase something from our site? — Was it 30?, 45?, or none?
We can go on and on about our traffic numbers, but if our traffic doesn’t convert, then all we are really doing is spinning our wheels. Anyone can go into a website, poke around a bit, and leave without so much as even saying Howdy to you. Comes in real handy when the bills are due, don’t you think?
We went through all of this back in the early days. We enticed our visitors with free stuff, great deals, and amazing mark-downs on nearly everything — Conversion was the order of the day, and it still is. We also went to great lengths to engage or otherwise hold the interests of our visitors. We wanted to like what they liked and do what they did, and we set out to appeal to their general sense of nature and varied interests in order to make the sale, or otherwise cause them to convert.
Enter the Social Networks
We spent literally years, some of us, working to get our sites to convert, only to find ourselves repeating history as it might relate to conversions and social networking — This time we are somewhat stymied by the likes of Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few — thinking that if we get enough likes or Google+’s or re-tweets, that somehow we’ll be all off rolling in the monetary successes of 2002-03.
Getting likes to your facebook page isn’t any different than getting visitors to your website — how many of these likes actually convert, or do they even convert at all?
Overall, we’ve raised the bar so to speak, on our pursuit for conversions — Now, not only are we working to trying to get our Facebook likes to convert — We are trying to get conversions on a platform that belongs to someone else — on a site that belongs to someone else, and all under the rules of someone else. Getting your Facebook likes to convert is a whole ‘nuther animal — it isn’t going to be as easy, or even possible for some, because most who run small shops and web businesses have only got their friends to like their page and no other.
If large corporations are finding it difficult to get their Facebook likes to convert, then how much more difficult could it be for you?
Conversion rates on large corporate Facebook pages are abysmal. Out of 3 millions likes, only a handful of about 1,000 convert. That’s a fail of epic proportions in my opinion. It’s like having a website of your own that costs you nothing but money and that’s all.
Even the traffic numbers for large corporate websites are suffering when you look at the social networking end of things .. couple that with the lousy conversion rates on the social end of things and you’ll soon see how absolutely bad the social networking experiment has gone.
It’s Time to Stop Collecting Facebook Fans
Companies have spent millions gathering fans on their Facebook pages and being “liked” all across the web. But what started as a volume play — call it Facebook marketing 1.0 — is shifting. Increasingly, it’s not so much how many people are liking your brand, but who those people are and how many are engaging with you once you’ve got them.
According to the once Facebook strategist and CEO of Buddy Media Michael Lazerow, numbers are relative. “If you have 100,000 fans and only 1,000 are engaging with you over the week, that’s not as good as having 10,000 fans and having 1,000 engage with you,” said Mr. Lazerow, whose company worked with some of the biggest brands on Facebook. Mr. Lazerow called it the “engagement index,” a measure of effectiveness on Facebook beyond sheer numbers. It is, in a sense, a reality check on the real value of a fan and a reminder that not all fans are equal.
Engagement is the name of the game. It’s the only thing that could ever possibly lead to conversions for most of us. It doesn’t matter if it’s your blog, your web page, or social networking. If you can’t or won’t engage, chances are good that your likes or site traffic won’t mean anything at all.
Traffic is what it is, and in a nutshell, traffic to your site isn’t really all that different from all of those Facebook likes. If what you have doesn’t convert, then what you’ve got is all for naught …