Hitmetrix - User behavior analytics & recording

Marketers can benefit from tier-two traffic optimization

With fleeting pay-per-click ROI, marketers need to look beyond what they have done historically. That could include venturing into traffic diversification.

Alternative ad networks are usually less expensive and they have more ad inventory (less competitor saturation and spaces available for sale at any given time) than ordinary tier-one sites. Tier-two networks can deliver far more efficient results — less traffic, but higher ROI.

Tier-two can perform as well as tier-one. Web site marketing company Brick Marketing decided to test ABCSearch.com, a tier-two ad network, using LasVegasUSA.org, a tourist travel guide to Vegas. Nick Stamoulis of Brick Mar­keting selected 28 keywords based on traditional research related to Las Vegas tourist attractions. The keywords ranked organically and were ones that he had been bidding on with tier-one engines.

Reviewing the performance of the campaign after 10 days revealed that the average visitor looked at 2.8 pages per session. “Our goal was to encourage visitors to read the blog, make com­ments, use the blog as a resource,” said Stamoulis. “Our average page view during the test was 42 seconds, which is actually very good. In the past, we had run tests on another top-tier content network and the results were pretty poor. The partners for this network were obviously a very good fit for this vertical.”

Stamoulis considered the results high quality in terms of traffic and transparency. “Overall they were very good, on par with most other tier-one traffic, and much better than the major tier-ones I’ve had experiences with,” said Stamoulis.

After reviewing the traffic, Stamoulis worked with the network to optimize and remove poor sources. The next review indicated that the average time spent on the site increased to nearly two minutes per session and 2.94 pages were viewed on average per session. It performed as well as several tier-ones on organic traffic.

“It’s very important to have control, to have transparency with your network,” said Stamoulis. “That is PPC optimization 101.”

Stamoulis recommends that more marketers try a tier-two network. “People should have open minds rather than just focus on the top three engines. Then, if it doesn’t work they eliminate PPC altogether. They don’t even think about regrouping on PPC in general and they should.”

While it’s easy for a network to aggregate and fake traffic, that only hurts the reputation of tier-two players. It is important for tier-two networks to segment traffic, offer transparency and be responsible for good quality.

Dan Yomtobian is CEO of ABCSearch. Reach him at [email protected]

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