3 Key Factors that are Stealing your Web Traffic - from the American Marketing Association

3 Key Factors that are Stealing your Web Traffic

When marketers publish content or buy ads from Google or Facebook for their clients, what is it that we're trying to accomplish?

Well simply put - we're trying to drive traffic to your website, where they can convert from a lead to a customer. "It’s quantifiable, it’s reportable and it can lead to real business outcomes like increased leads, subscribers to your newsletter or blog and of course sales." - Medium.com AMA Marketing News

According to the AMA's article we've quoted here, website traffic is getting harder to come by every day and they belive we’re in the midst of a digital marketing sea change. One that will compel businesses to reassess their assumptions about how to approach digital marketing. The reckoning marketers have to face is the disappearance of web traffic from three main forces they've outlined, here:

  1. Facebook Wants to Keep You on Facebook Facebook changes all the time. In the last couple years alone, Facebook has devalued unpaid marketing posts, added live streaming (aka Facebook Live), embedded video and introduced ever-more engaging ad formats like carousel and canvas.

All of these features make Facebook’s engagement machine ever-more addictive and all but eliminate the need for a user to click through to your website. That’s the first force that’s eating your web traffic.

  1. Google Wants to Keep You on Google Google, which has been the doorway to the internet for almost 20 years now, continues to release features that ensure a greater share of users who open that door end up in a room that Google owns.

Google AdWords, for example, has lots of features that make a click-through unnecessary. Call extensions allow mobile users to call an advertiser right from within an ad. Message extensions do the same for text messages.

That’s just one platform. Add Google Maps, Google My Business, Google Knowledge Graph and the fascinatingly creepy Google Duplex to the mix, and websites start to seem outdated fast.

  1. Voice Assistants Will Make Websites Obsolete My boss has Apple’s Homepod in his office. For kicks, he and I struck up a conversation with it the other day. It went like this:

Boss: “Hey, Siri, what’s the best hospital near me?” Siri: “I found two options. The first is X hospital, which is two miles from you and is rated two and a half stars. Would you like directions?” Boss: “No, thanks.” Siri: “The next option is Y hospital. It’s 3.4 miles from you and is rated two stars. Would you like more information?” Boss: “No, thanks”

And that’s where the conversation ended. Siri had no more information to offer, so she said nothing further.

Thing is, there are five hospitals within 15 minutes of where we were sitting. If we had asked the same question in a browser, we would have the option to click into those hospitals’ websites.

Conversations like this are quickly becoming common. Some reports suggest that voice assistants could reach 55% of U.S. households by 2022.

A New Model, An Old Lesson As all these shifts make web traffic harder to win, marketers will need to replace the already old mental model of how digital marketing works. At a high level, the new model looks something like this:

What’s interesting about this model is just how large the center is, where search, social and what I’ll call “owned web” overlap. It’s not crazy to think that we’re approaching a time when all your key content formats should have a presence on all three platforms.

The implication of this model is that driving traffic to a website is no longer a valid strategy. The new strategy is to simply give provide potential clients with all of the information they need across all platforms.

This new model shouldn’t surprise us. In fact, it’s just a reminder of a lesson marketers have learned and relearned for decades: We can’t expect potential customers to follow our lead. We have to follow theirs. It’s as simple, and also as complicated, as that.