How many times have you clicked on a link only to realize the website it redirected you to is irrelevant and a waste of time? Believe it or not, websites are rewarded for those meaningless clicks. It gives them better Nielsen ratings and therefore enables them to get higher ad rates.
Well, all that is about to change. Nielsen Media Research just announced that it will begin tracking how long users spend on a website – not just how many people visit it and “bounce” away.
Yes, this gives advantages to websites like Facebook and MySpace where users spend hours on end updating their profiles, linking to friends and meeting new people. But as a web advertiser – isn’t that what you want? Your ad to be in front of potential customers for as long as possible?
We’ve been doing quite a bit of work in search marketing lately, and what we’ve realized is that relevance should be the number one consideration for any web campaign. Google ranks search results based on relevance to the search, so your site should be relevant to people searching for it. It should provide them with relevant information they want to read and experience, not irrelevant information that sends them back to the search results. And web ads should be strategically placed near relevant information. (I always hate the dancing mortgage ads, but I especially hate them when I’m reading about cutting edge marketing strategies.)
So take heed – even Nielsen is on board here – and stop trying to attract the most visitors to your website. Most of them don’t stay. Instead, spend your time and marketing dollars making it a site that your targeted audiences want to spend time browsing. Those are the visitors you want because those are the ones that are likely to become your customers. In the end, it will bring you higher ROI and more money to spend on those dancing mortgage ads.