If it were my agency, I would definitely want to know…
I’ve sold most of my furniture in the past 24 hours, and I’m not going to lie to you internet. It feels good.
I’m selling everything (selling it here as a matter of fact – buy something damnit), and while I wasn’t particularly apprehensive about it in the beginning, now that I’m seeing the past 15 years of my life get carted out the door by gleeful Craigslisters who had the balls to try and haggle with me – I’m really really liking it.
I’m starting a totally new chapter. The old one is soaking in gas, and I’m about to light a match.
Now granted – I’m a LONG way from being a minimalist, mainly because I can get there only so fast, but I”m not stopping until everything I own fits in the trunk of my car.
** Edit **
Eventually, everything did, in fact, fit in the trunk of my car
A client recently asked me to determine the cause of frequent bounce rate spikes in their Google Analytics reports. Once every week or two – their bounce rate would skyrocket for a day, sometimes a bit longer, and then return to normal.
The concern was that perhaps some technical issue with the site, or the server it’s hosted on, might be preventing the site from fully loading, or people from navigating past the initial landing page at intermittent times.
After comparing the bounce rate to overall traffic though, we determined quickly that this increase in bounced visits mirrored a proportionate increase in overall visitors to the site:
This tells us that we’re probably not dealing with server issues, and after viewing their traffic sources on the days in question the increase in bounce rate could be explained quite easily – email campaign traffic.
When we compared the traffic/bounce spikes to the client’s email campaign schedule, the results lined up beautifully, and we had our answer.
Once this was determined, the client asked an excellent question:
Is there anything we can do to bring it down or is it to be expected with eblast traffic?
The answer is yes. There is something that CAN be done about it, but first let’s consider whether or not we SHOULD do something about it.
Among developers and traffic junkies, the phrase bounce rate is often whispered in hushed tones. A high bounce rate usually means there’s a problem with your page – that it lacks some quality needed to engage the user. The navigation might be confusing, or the page could just be boring.
The truth is bounce rate doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. Consider your site’s contact page. Typically it has your address, phone number, directions/map etc. It shouldn’t be too terribly alarming if this particular page has a high bounce rate because it’s purpose is to display your contact info – not necessarily direct the viewer to a new page (though that’s definitely an option).
So while it’s certainly possible to lower the bounce rate of traffic generated by an email campaign – it’s worth considering the message of the email and the ultimate goal of the landing page. The fact is some pages – especially those of a more informational nature – don’t require any further browsing, and a higher than average bounce rate means simply that the page in question is doing it’s job – providing the end-user with exactly the content they are looking for so they can get back to browsing.
Let me preface this post with the following disclaimer: I don’t believe in deceptive marketing practices – never have, and never will. That said – the FTC seems to be working overtime for the past few years to clean up the internet – most recently with it’s conference on native advertising.
From the New York Times:
I go back and forth with my view on the commission’s vigorous new stance against advertising that looks like news articles, primarily because it seems to be directed only at online publishers. How often do we hear popular morning radio show hosts touting the amazing job the local laser eye center did correcting their vision problems? These ads run during morning shows, typically with no music, or any other indication that what you’re listening to is, in fact, an advertisement, and while the host is admitting that he or she received the service – there’s never any mention of the fact that the eye surgery was provided complimentary in exchange for air time.
This is also against the FTC’s rules: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm
Let’s also not forget product placement. While it’s not exactly the same as designing a landing page to look like a news article, it does serve the same purpose – to promote a product or service without letting the viewer know they are being advertised to. Have you ever noticed that an American Idol judge will tap their red Coca Cola cup with their pen instead of clapping for a performer. Bam! You’ve just been pitched on Coke without even realizing it.
The problem with conventional advertising is that we, the audience, are hard-wired to put up a wall the moment we feel we’re being sold something, so marketers will constantly work to get their message across while avoiding that wall at all cost. The FTC’s mission to curtail what it deems as “misleading advertising” is great, but gray area is a dangerous concept.
Unscrupulous internet marketers who push garbage and scams thinly-veiled as informative reviews or news articles are the dregs of our industry without a doubt, however some responsibility MUST fall on the consumer to make informed decisions before they hand over their credit card information. If you truly believe that miracle diet pill will help you lose 30 pounds in a week while you sit around and eat Doritos, then you probably need a hard-earned life lesson more than you need to lose weight.
The FTC can and will continue to police internet marketing tactics – but in my opinion marketers will ALWAYS find a way to get their message past the audience’s protective wall using whatever methods necessary. Perhaps a better solution would be to spend some of the taxpayers hard-earned dollars educating the public, rather than slapping a few black hat marketers on the wrist every time they come up with a new (evil)genius method of promoting their chosen product or service.