The Cost of Clicking

clickingThere’s thunder and lightning outside, leaving me little to do for the birthday BBQ (though I did get some Farmer’s Market shopping done), so let’s talk about The Big Birthday Celebration that’s starting Monday on the website.

With a special marketing promotion, it’s all about traffic.  And increasing traffic is all about advertising.  I can’t send out Sunday fliers in the newspaper, I’ve got no brick and mortar for you to shop at.  What I need to do is get more traffic to the website.

There are a lot of ways to do this, but the most reliable is putting targeted ads on the internet.  The operative word here is “targeted”.  To do that, you usually have to buy an “audience” and the current market trend for doing so is paying for “clicks”.

I’m not going to do a tutorial post on the ins and outs of internet advertising (there are a lot of great sites who can do a much better job), I’m just going to boil it down for you.

Large networking companies (Facebook, Google, et al) amass tremendous amounts of information about the users of their products or the websites attached to their products (scary to think about, isn’t it?).  Using constantly refined computer programs, they can drill down into the tens of millions of users to come up with eyeballs who are looking at sites that are about your product or closely relate to it.  This creates the optimum “spread” for your ad.

Once you determine where the ad is going, the only thing remaining is how often your ad is displayed and how prominently.  This is done through a “bidding” system.  It’s a fancy way of saying the more you spend, the more your ad will be noticed.  Pretty much like any other advertising, electronic or print.

You’ve seen thousands of ads while browsing the internet.  It’s likely you’ve only clicked on a few of them, maybe as much as a couple of dozen.  The “hook” with Cost per Click (CPC) advertising is your ad doesn’t cost anything if no one clicks on it.  Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Of course, nothing is that simple.  The purpose of putting the ad out there is not to “get away free”.  That implies it was a crummy ad or you got crummy placement.  However, bidding up the price isn’t necessarily smart, since the only thing the click “guarantees” you is that they got transported to your website.  If the site, the promotion or whatever doesn’t grab the person, you get no value for your money.  Also, since you budget based on an effective daily amount, once you hit your “clicks” for the day, your ad stops running.

Maintaining interest in the website is not currently my goal.  Getting people to pop by and read about the rules for winning prizes in the promotion is my focus.  That makes the value of CPC more sensible for an event that only has a 30-day window.

I’m excited about the promotion; enough that I am willing to pay the cost of clicking for more people to participate.

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