Life After Websites

February 21, 2017

It’s no surprise that 80 percent of the web’s transactions and engagement now come from places other than a website. Social media, e-tailer apps and a bevvy of other outside resources now capture the attention of most users. As consumer habits evolve, website visits are taking a backseat. IDC issued a report which stated that the computer has been relegated to an accessory for mobile devices.

The New York Times’ Innovation Report claims that traffic to a company’s home page has dropped globally by 50 percent in the last two years—showing that visitors are primarily coming to websites through their discovery of specific interests found on external sites rather than using a website as a means to discover.

This isn’t shocking news. Websites have been on life support for a decade. I even announced the “death of websites” at a global advertising forum in New York City in 2009. Still, companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into large, database-driven websites with diminishing returns.

Let’s look at an example of misplaced promotional dollars. Let’s say a company spends an average of $100,000 on a completely new website, CRM, creative, development and organic promotion. This company will, on average, spend and go through this process every three years. That means, in a decade, they are spending $300,000 on a website that averages 100,000 users a year—or 1 million visitors in the 10-year span. In contrast, had that company spent the same investment on earned and paid media (social media, programmatic, remarketing), the investment would have yielded 100 million impressions at a $3 CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

That’s 100x the return on investment, just by shifting strategies to match market trends.

Our chief strategy officer, Richard Cassey, is a visionary in understanding what motivates a brand’s affinity. “It’s the moments between the moments. Owned media has expanded well past the website. The website was originally the first stop of the customer journey; now it’s the last,” he opined, and he leads our award-winning agency with this clear marketing motivation.

We aren’t advocating getting rid of your site altogether, but rather being strategic about your assets for a more calculated approach with closed loop marketing—capturing those moments between moments and expanding your owned media property in the digital sphere.

Go to the consumers; don’t make them come to you. Amplifying influence is a more sustainable model.

More and more, dynamic media is becoming the norm. If a visitor sees a hotel ad on a website, they can now, often, use the dynamic banner to search and book a room. Restaurants are researched and selected on OpenTable. Products are searched for, compared and delivered in an hour with Amazon Prime Now.

With the correct audit of your brand’s industry and habits, it should be easy to connect ROI to expanding your owned and paid media—relinquishing an old practice of controlled sales journeys.

Seventy-eight percent of the U.S. population has a social media profile as of 2016.  Those users check their profiles and social media sites an average of 10-20 times a day.

Facebook has been challenging Google with search share for going on four years, and it’s winning. With 1.44 billion active monthly users and a brand that has become synonymous with “social media interactions,” its independent search function is quickly gaining momentum.

When a user searches for keywords related to your brand on Facebook, they will receive pages, posts, reviews—not websites. With a clever pixel remarketing strategy, the search information is stored and used by savvy buyers to deliver a customer to a landing page for permission or purchase.

In this case, social stores, promotional micro-sites, landing pages and eCommerce click-to-buy strategies replace the antiquated black-hat SEO and homepage traffic tactics.

Bottom line: Service your customers on their turf, understand the expanding landscape of owned assets so that you can compete with substance and, for the love of Pete, shift those big website build dollars to amplifying influence.