What do you think about these stats?
Within its first 4 months, from its public launch on March 22, 2011 through July 22, 2011, according to Google Analytics, the site received 2,230 Visits and 12,636 Pageviews from 949 Absolute Unique Visitors from 33 sources in 33 countries/territories. The top five sources of traffic, in order, were direct traffic, the site's blog, Google, Facebook, and Handshake 2.0. The Average Time on Site was 00:05:38.
In its first 10 months, from its launch on September 12, 2010 through July 12, 2011, according to Google Analytics, the blog received 5,464 Visits and 6,657 Pageviews from 4,689 Absolute Unique Visitors from 90 sources in 46 countries/territories. The top five sources of traffic, in order, were direct traffic, Facebook, the blog's site, Google and Twitter. The Average Time on Site for the blog was 00:00:32.
I've thought about these stats a lot. I'll disclose the site to which they belong and my relationship to it – and feel free to skip to the end of the post to find that out now – but, in hopes that it might be of value to others, I wanted to semi-objectively share my thought process as I considered advertising on this site for one of my online enterprises, Handshake 2.0.
What Handshake 2.0 does is serve clients who seek global reach for their products, services and messages. Since the top source of traffic to Handshake 2.0 is Google – and Google is global – Handshake 2.0 is a good match for clients seeking global reach. A search user reads a client's post, respects and trusts the content, and clicks through to the client's site. That's a qualified prospect for the client.
Since Google values original content, Handshake 2.0's presence in Google search results is already significant. Might a high-quality ad on a high-quality site that links to our clients' posts on Handshake 2.0 also serve to create a qualified prospect for our clients? Might I experiment with Handshake 2.0 itself first to find out? I examined the pros and cons.
When I looked at the stats above, I liked the countries/territories numbers – 33 for the site and 46 for the blog. That's global, so that's a pro. The figures of 2000+ Visits for the site and 5000+ Visits for the blog are low if we're playing the social media sales funnel game and assume traffic and clients are causal, even correlated, i.e. the more traffic we get, the more clients we'll get. A con.
Absolute Unique Visitors are always intriguing because each new visit represents a new handshake of greeting, an opportunity for the latest features on the site to meet visitors' needs or answer their questions. "Direct traffic" in the top sources of traffic means the site's owners are actively getting the site known - and, online, "It's still who you know." Possible pros.
"The Average Time on Site was 00:05:38." Over 5 minutes?! That means that visitors aren't quickly seeking answers to questions and moving on, but staying, engaging with the content. If our ad is present while they're engaging? That could mean something. Potentially a big pro.
I decided to advertise on the site. I contracted with Kelsey Sarles to design the ad and a landing page. Per the site's advertising specifications, I submitted the ad in the correct dimensions for approval. It was approved and placed on the site's home page sidebar on July 24, 2011 with a tagged Google Analytics URL linking to the landing page. As required, the ad debuted on the site and I have waited the requisite 7 days before displaying it elsewhere.
Disclosure: The site's stats are from She Chooses(TM) which I and three others co-founded. I wrote the exacting advertising specifications with the support of the She Chooses team. As the advertising page states, we do have a "specific vision" for She Chooses. Excellence in advertising is part of our business model.
So I share with you two experiments in online advertising, from the buyer's side and from the seller's side. As the founder of Handshake 2.0, I'm experimenting with buying advertising space. As a founder of She Chooses, I'm experimenting with selling advertising space. For the founders and clients of both enterprises, I count on the two experiments being wildly successful.