Uncommon Marketing

Bringing sarcasm, humor, and common sense to this mess of marketing and business.

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Digital Desperation – “Buying Traffic,” and Why It’s A Bad Idea

I recently abandoned an online job application after spending an hour on it, just based on my professional principles.


The question had to do with “best practices” and “metrics” around “buying traffic.”  I began to write my answer, and, the longer it became, the more I began to doubt whether I wanted to work for this company.  My own personal “best practices” kicked in, you know, those best practices that have made me successful.  I realized that, if I submit this application, I am doing so entirely against my core professional beliefs.


If, as a business, your core strategy is to “buy traffic,” you’re missing the entire point of engaging with your audience based upon the very principle of adding value.  You’re wasting dollars by casting a wide net and hoping the fish are there (affectionately known as the “Spray and Pray Method”).  Casting a wide net rarely results in an effective ROI. The more effective approach includes targeting your content while leveraging technology to capture what the responders need or want from you.


Alternatively, develop a targeted content strategy (this includes “offers”) that meets the needs of the customer and communicates the right message, at the right time, in the right channel. With so many paths to engagement today, every customer will have a preferred method of communication. That may be email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.


So, what are the key performance indicators of an effective content strategy?  Identifying your KPIs depends on your goals for your business; however, most of the time, the relevant metrics for a targeted content program are  1) Response, 2) Engagement, and 3) Conversion.  Whether that conversion is identified as purchasing an item, downloading a piece of content, or just an opt-in to your email list – how well the channel, offer, and content contributes to the business goal (usually, revenue) is the true measure of success.


If I were tasked with increasing your sales from online marketing, “buying traffic” would be the absolute last resort tactic. I personally think “buying traffic” comes from a place of desperation, and your audience can see it for what it is.


In my next blog post, I’ll cover some of the steps to take to improve and optimize current programs, targeted messaging, and examine the question, “Are you meeting the needs of your customers?”  Have a great weekend!