Answers.com has evolved from a bad version of Google with forum posts filled with wrong answers, to a weird new platform, where answers don’t even matter anymore. Why would anyone ever go to this site? Social Media posts built to get clicks, for instance:
As you can see, the post is 1) sponsored, or paid for with advertising dollars, 2) the Facebook page itself is actually not Answers.com, but a 3rd party “brand” facebook page, and 3) even though it’s a post for the “Everyday Life” brand, it’s actually linking back to Answers.com.
What does this mean?
Answers.com either a) owns Everyday Life and uses the moniker to push traffic to the (awful) Answers.com website, or b) Everyday Life is a part of a network of Facebook pages owned by a social media engagement company which accepts payment to push this type of traffic. Why does it have to be “This type of traffic”? Why is this traffic any different?
Two words: Click Bait. These visitors hold no value for answers.com, and answers.com holds no value for the visitor. They create a post that is statistically more likely to receive clicks, and show banner ads on their website with MORE click bait and MORE odd images to get even MORE random clicks.
Some of these images barely make sense, don’t match the context of the advertising, or are simply so weird that it’s hard not to look.
If you take a step back and look at what is being laid out here, you may think, “Ok, About.com paid for this traffic. But who is placing these ads and why do they exist?
This, my friends, is called Google Display Network Advertising, aka Banner Ads. What began as a productive way to show a billboard on the internet has become a mutation of statistically proven click bait, odd imagery, and essentially anything that will make us uncomfortable enough to take notice. If you are wondering “Is this the future of websites and advertising”, you could be partially right. This shows a swarming market of businesses wanting to advertising and put in creative effort and investment in order to drive the traffic. What’s wrong about this is the approach.
- Don’t drive traffic by using click bait. The audience is scattered, and as a business, you are trying to drive traffic in order to produce new business. Traffic and engagement hold values that are set on a slippery slope when volume becomes more of a focus than quality. If you have 10,000 visitors, and only 10 buy your product/service, your traffic is failing you. If you have 100 hits and 50 people buy your product/service, you will be able to grow your traffic to 10,000 while keeping a consistent track record of growth in sales.
- Don’t pay companies to pump traffic to your website. Hire a dedicated professional who consults, builds, and manages your traffic and provides reports, and most importantly insight into your performance and how to improve. Paying companies to randomly generic traffic is going to result in sporadic waves of traffic that comes from sources you may not be too proud of.
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