Competing against Facebook

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Sep 30, 2021 by Paul White

Facebook dominates the web.  Rather than quoting some large numbers ( their traffic ), I want to instead focus on why Facebook dominates the web.  Just spending a few minutes on Facebook you start to see the genius in how its laid out. It is built to ensure a user only sees content they want to see.  Not just that but they do not jump you from one page to another.  Facebook is a very AJAX intensive environment.  This means much of the data is transmitted behind the scenes and only updates sections of your screen rather than refreshing your entire screen.  This is similar to the way we use a desktop computer.

Most websites don't load their content via AJAX calls.  They load a webpage,  then a user clicks on a link and they load an entirely new webpage.  The question is are we burning out our visitors by forcing page refreshes?  A page refresh is not only a server intensive operation, but it also forces the user to readjust their eyes and take in what they are seeing.  Page Refreshes cause fatique.  

One of the traffic metrics we focus on is Average Visitor Duration.  On average how long does a visitor stay on your website until they leave?  For websites providing answers to questions, this figure tends to be relatively low.  Users will find the content via a search engine.  Consume the content then leave.  They rarely browse around the site to see what else is available.  Not because more interesting content is not available, but because its not apparent to them.

Too many websites think they need to saturate their pages with Ads.  They park a 728 x 90, some 300 x 250s, and then a ton of 120 x 90s all over their pages.  Then they try to convince some small business that a 120 x 90 located below the fold is some how a value at $200 per month.

Advertising Revenue and Traffic is a chicken or the egg paradim.  You need traffic to Sell Ads to make revenue, but if your pages are all ads, you will have no traffic to sell.

The focus needs to be on growing your traffic first.  Selling it second.  Consider how visitors interact with your content. What do they see?  Is your website laid out in a way that encourages them to stay longer?  Do your pages have too many ads?  If the Ads on your pages get ZERO clicks, you have too many ads!  Is the content the same for every user, or does it use tracking cookies to customize itself to the user's tastes?  Is your content all text, or do you use plenty of photos?

At LPG we focus on helping our media clients sell more advertising, but sometimes its good to remind our clients that you are only as good as the product you sell.  

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