Don’t make a decision based on nothing more than gut feeling

Every now and then, you probably get that call from some online publication saying: “Can I sign you up for another year to have your super-deluxe platinum profile page at the head of our much-sought-after recommended blue widget suppliers section, for the bargain price of…?” And for most companies, I know the answer is to make a decision based on nothing more than gut feeling.

However, the answer to the value of these sponsored listings or advertisements is at your fingertips. It’s simply to look up how many visits the website is sending you, put a value on each visit, and work out if it’s good value for money.

Here’s the simple version. Go to Google Analytics, set the date range to last year, click on “Acquisition” and “All Traffic”, click “Source” in the “Primary Dimension” row, set “Show Rows” to the highest number possible, and click “Export” – “To Excel”. Now you have a spreadsheet of all the websites which sent you visits last year, and how many visits each website sent.

Now work out how much each visit is worth. The easiest way to do this is to refer to how much buying a visit through pay-per-click advertising costs. If you’re running a Google AdWords campaign, you’ll be able to see quite easily. If we’re running one for you, take a look at how many clicks we got you last month and divide that into whatever you’re paying for the campaign. Let’s say it’s £2 a visit (if you’re not doing any pay-per-click advertising, that’s a reasonable figure to take in most markets). Create another column in your spreadsheet multiplying the number of visits from each site by £2, and you have a value on the traffic sent by that website. Was it more than you paid to be featured on the website? If it was, the answer to your phone call should therefore be “yes please”. If it wasn’t, that’s some more money to bring back into the kitty for next year.

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