Thursday, September 17, 2009

Internet Usage Rates

There is an interesting post at ReadWriteWeb today on the change in Internet usage patterns from 2003 through 2009.

Communications web sites - online email and instant messaging - are the big losers. Looks like content sites are big winners.

Here is a copy of the chart...

This never mentioned time spent on applications for software as a service. These are almost always behind firewalls. That would be an interesting number.

The general consensus seems to be the continued decline of email. How do you think this affects your business?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Web Site Traffic - Free Search vs Paid Search

Following up on my notes on Facebook ads, I thought there might be some interest in the comparison of one of my sites sources of traffic. Specifically comparing free search traffic and paid search traffic.

For some groundwork:

  1. This is a mature web site. It has been around for over five years. So the ratio of returning visitors to new visitors is different than a new site would have.
  2. Very good free search placement. Almost every one of the 100's of pages is a top 5 result in free search for it's targeted keyword.
  3. Top paid search placement. I pay to almost always be the #1 result in paid search.

So here is a quick peak:

Source of Visit % of Total Visits

Google Paid Ads 11.20%
Google Free Search 11.23%

Bing Paid Ads 2.84%
Bing Free Search 2.83%

Yahoo Paid Ads 1.79%
Yahoo Free Search 1.64%

You will notice this totals only 31.53% of the visits to this site.

Look back at my posting on our Long Tail for Keywords and you will see that most of our traffic comes from places we would never have guessed would create traffic. This is something that builds over time.

The result here is that paid search doubles my traffic. If your results in free search are not as strong as mine - always is the top five results - paid search will have an even larger effect. Of course, you have to decide if it is profitable for you. It is easy to get visitors, it is a challenge and constant chore to make money from visitors.

Like my Daddy always told me, that's why they call it fishing instead of catching.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Facebook Ad Click Through Rates

What to Expect From Advertising in Facebook

For the past two months I have been very actively working to put together hard numbers on Facebook advertising for local insurance agents.

Facebook Advertising is Similar to Google Adwords

Both Facebooks ads and Google Adwords do the following:

  • You bid for the ad
  • You only pay when some one actually clicks on your ad
  • Getting the click is only part of the value – the page the click take people to has to be successful in getting those people to take the next action you want them to take
  • You can set a daily and monthly budget
  • You can turn the ad on and off in real time

Facebook ads have several features you cannot get in Adwords. Facebook lets you filter the people you want to target your ad for based on most all of the person’s Facebook profile information. You can decide only to show you ad to people in very small geographic areas – perfect for a local business. You can filter by age, income range, occupation, interests and more.

Facebook is at a disadvantage to Google in one key area. Google shows your ad only to people who are looking for your product or service. Facebook shows your ad to folks who are not looking for your product or service. This makes Facebook advertising more like newspaper, radio or TV ads. It is an interruption hoping to catch the attention of some folks.

Click Through Rates

Based on the information from actual Facebook ad campaigns run over a period of months I have seen click through rates from less than 1 click per 1,000 impressions to as high as 7 clicks per 1,000 impressions of ads.

I have seen cost as high as $1.90 to as low as a few pennies.

Google click through rates I know about range from 5 per 1,000 to 300 per 1,000. Because folks using Google search are actively trying to find something it is no surprise the click through rates are higher.

I have seen Google costs for these same keywords from well over $10.00 to as little as 10 cents for very narrowly targeted niches.

In general you get more clicks and you pay more per click with Google than with Facebook ads based on the information I have available to me.

Return on Money Spent

I do not have hard numbers on your return on money spent on Facebook ads.

Even if I did, the problem is always the quality of the page to which the ad takes a person clicking on the ad. The landing page effectiveness is the main factor in return on money spent on ads. I have personal experience with at least a 1,000% difference with the exact same ad and different landing pages.

This is a topic for another time.

Conclusion – Facebook Ads Are Worth A Shot

I personally have found Facebook ads have created additional sales worth more than the money I spent. I recommend you give them a try and carefully track results.