What Your SEO Numbers Aren’t Telling You

Owning a successful business of any size means you should have at least a minimal grasp on your company’s sales and marketing. In particular with your marketing you should already be aware of terms when someone on your team brings them to light, such as: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or CTR (Click Through Rate).

Since the early 2000s many companies have found leverage with consumers through an online presence — some even prior to 2000. But, while this was a fantastic driver early on, the consumer evolution has altered the website banner design, as well as interaction.

That being said, over the past 10 years we’ve all been inundated with the presence of Google and its power as a brand driver. The discussion of having a #1 ranking is still prevalent among many marketers.

While it’s important for your brand to be searchable on the web, ever since the consumer search strategy has altered, your SEO could not be providing a full picture.

Every day I spend time talking with marketing leaders guiding some of the largest companies in the brewing industry. What continually surprises me are the amount of individuals that realize there’s something else occurring they can not track, and the ones that are still basing entire decisions on their own incoming website traffic or SEO performance.

It should be made aware that over the past 17 plus years the average CTR for website banners and newsletter banners has decreased drastically. Today we’re looking at an average CTR for image banners around .05 percent. That means 5 clicks for every 1,000 impressions. I guess if you’re monitoring incoming traffic, you’re hoping those 5 weren’t accidental and were highly qualified browsers.

Charts and analytical data on the tablet screen with a cup of coffee and a telephone in the background

Research suggests that the average CTR does improve with new advertisements referred to as Rich Media. Advertisements that would fall into this category would be your flash-driven, motion ads with either video, audio, interaction or all three. That average improves to .15 percent, but even so the numbers are more greatly skewed because the biggest impact is through sports-focused media. If any of you reading own a sports franchise, do this right now. Otherwise, we’ll continue.

The point in all this is that we can clearly see a shift in consumer interaction with advertisements. Therefore, you could be missing the big picture if you’re only focused on your SEO, Google ranking, CTR or incoming tracking data.

What is vital for the existence of brands moving forward is finding select locations to place brand advertisements that possess qualified eyes. It’s vital that if you’re a brewery you look for opportunities around you that are focused on similar audiences as your brewery. And, while Facebook and other social outlets are a fantastic location for garnering attention to your company, you still have to remember that CTR is only a number and doesn’t explain the whole picture.

So, in conclusion, what exactly is the whole picture? I’m glad you finally asked. In my opinion we’re reverting back to our grandparents, where you had to see an advertisement and then move to a research step. While they might have had to fill out a card attached to the ad, we can now shift over to our smart phones and do a quick search on the company. Even with online advertising, while it might seem easy to simply click and go to wherever the company takes you, but we’ve been taught as consumers that this may not be safe for your computer or device.

Consumers will make notes, asking Alexa to remind them to search something later, or simply go type in the website the advertisement told them about. While you might see a bump in traffic, you won’t always know where the hit comes from.

Does that make SEO and tracking obsolete? In my opinion, that’s a definite no. Tracking data can make for a strong understanding of your brand, content and how users are engaging with your content. I believe tracking is more important for the design or redesign of your own website and content strategy than as an indicator of advertising efficiency.

Your goal moving forward should be to question all tracking. Strive for a strong understanding of the numbers corresponding to surfing your own website, and place your advertisements with qualified brands that match your own strategic goals and be consistent. Consistency is the true king in this discussion, but we’ll touch on that in another article.

Tyler Montgomery is the Publisher/Founder of Brewer Magazine and the CEO of its parent company No Walls Media. He possesses more than a decade in assisting companies with strategic advertising in traditional and digital mediums.  

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