Google Adwords – Generate website traffic or generate website contacts?

There’s always a bit of dilemma when we’re working with a Google ads agency. Is the primary purpose to generate and track traffic to a quick sale, or is it to generate website contacts with names and personalities?

Generate website traffic and then track to a sale

Google Adwords can make quite a big impact on traffic volumes amongst our clients. In fact, 30% of their traffic is not unusual.  It costs money per visit of course, unlike organic inbound content which has a one-time production cost but is free thereafter. I also don’t think anyone would disagree that ads drive traffic more quickly than organic content.

If you’re good with the google ads mechanics, you can then track journeys, events, revisits – all sorts of things. My point, however, is that unless that prospect being tracked and re-marketed to gets to some point where they have to surrender that precious email address, it’s all completely anonymous. If they don’t buy immediately, then you have to start all over again.

And here is my Inbound Marketing problem. I want to generate website contacts.

My objective is to identify at the very first opportunity who the person is. I don’t just want to know their journey, I want to start to get to know them.  If I know who they are I can nurture them, monitor their website activity forever, and be in control of personalised re-marketing.  I never have to start again because I know who they are.

In contrast, Google Ads scientists want numbers. Numbers of impressions, numbers of visits and calls, numbers of sales. And I understand that. They need to show clients that the adverts are working, and fine tune them to maximise the ones that work and delete the ones that don’t. 

So the synergy of Ads and Inbound seems to break down when the Ads bods want me to take away anything that may stop the website visitor from getting to a ‘goal’ page or activity.  Inbound works through content offered on a ‘give to get’ basis – accessed through landing pages with forms.  Google Ads agencies don’t like the forms on my landing pages, however, as they are messing with their statistics – we all know that forms stop many journeys.

What do we do then? Here is the question to ask yourself before you set up a single google advert.

What is the purpose of the adverts? Instant Purchases or Contact Enquiries?

The main answer to the conundrum lies is defining the purpose of the adverts.  If they’re trying to find buyers who are ready and looking to purchase and typing in phrases like “I need to buy [one of these]” then there is an argument to taking them straight to the bottom of the funnel and enabling their purchase. 

Statistically, however, there are always more prospects looking for top of the funnel and middle of the funnel content to help inform their decision to purchase.  They will be searching for terms like “what to consider when buying [one of these]” or “guide to buying [one of these].”  There is no immediate purchasing intent, but there is a look for help in moving forward with a purchasing decision.

I think it’s perfectly valid to use Ads to fill the upper funnel and not simply seek those few hanging around the bottom. If you are nurturing the buyer decision earlier in the sales cycle, you have every chance of developing a relationship with someone that will last a considerable time through the establishment of trust and respect.

Taking people straight to the sales page may help the sales figures, but I wonder whether the next time the buyer makes a purchase, he or she just goes to the next Ads link they see, rather than to the supplier who has helped inform in the past. 

My money would go to creating content to generate website contacts through the ‘give and get’ principle. I think there’s enough anonymous stalking of buyers we really know very little about. When I no longer get remarketing Ads about products I actually bought ages ago, I may just think again…




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