“Are “weird tricks” what drive click through rates for web ads?” a friend of mine posted on Facebook today. He had presumably clicked on any one of the multitude of links that lie to you about their content or mislead people as to the extent of their value.
Everyone has clicked on a link as a result of one of these weird tricks. Some links look like part of the website, and when you try to close out you accidentally click on the link. Others are misleading with their titles or images. “Tricks” in web ads seem to be a common tool, and – in some ways – a successful one.
But although they have some success, they should never be modeled after. Many business owners try to emulate the tricks used by this content, hoping to garner more hits and more clicks. This is a mistake.
Visitors Are Not Everything
When you build a website, you are not seeking visitors. You are seeking conversions. If you were asked whether you wanted 1,000,000 visitors and 1 sale or 10 visitors and 10 sales, you’d choose the latter, because that is the ultimate goal of a website. There are a few exceptions (branding, etc.) but those are best saved for a different article.
It is possible to profit off of tricks. It is also possible to profit from walking to strangers and asking them for $20. Tricks still have more downsides than upsides, including:
- Poor Conversions – Those that utilize tricks are less likely to get conversions than those that market themselves accurately. If someone expects to find something on your website and cannot find it, it doesn’t matter if you still offer a great product/service. They are likely to ignore it and walk away. Accuracy targets the right people and improves conversions.
- Negative Branding – Branding always matters. Those that use these tricks to try to get hits will brand their business and their website in a negative light. They’ll be seen as spam or untrustworthy, and certainly will not get backlinks or any other forms of natural marketing. Negative branding can be a dangerous risk.
- Google Crackdowns – Search engines are constantly on the lookout for tricks. Does the title match the content? Does the backlink match the content? Over time, these tricks are unlikely to work.
Those that try to pay for ads that use tricks usually go broke quickly, because the high click through rate gets expensive quickly. There is a reason that you tend to see the same websites using tricks for months at a time – they’re the only ones finding success from that method, and they likely had to spend thousands in trial and error to achieve that success.
CTR tricks can work. But don’t use them. They’re risky, expensive, and the alternatives (like content marketing) work much better.