Yesterday I looked at a quick way to put a value on any external websites where you’re being charged money to appear. It’s a really simple procedure, but it’s also something which few companies get around to doing. However, the analysis can be made more sophisticated, and perhaps you owe it to the third-party websites to do so.
The first thing which might spring to mind is: “What about the branding value of being on that website?” This is a fair point. In your spreadsheet, you might want to build in a factor for each website which takes into account the value of the times your ad was shown but not clicked on. When you think this through, however, I doubt it will change the relative value of one site over another. Maybe you’re considering that site A and site B both sent 100 visits, but your ad was far less prominent on site B, so it’s likely that it was seen by a lot more people on site B to have got the same number of visits. But this would be counteracted by the prestige of the prominent position on site A, so maybe it’s a red herring. And so on. It takes a lot of thought. It might be reasonable to say that although clicks can be “bought” from pay per click sites at £2 each, you’re getting £3 or £4 of “value” from each click because of the branding impact of the ads which were seen but not clicked on. But as this applies to Google AdWords as much as any third-party site, and that’s what we’re comparing our sites to, you might argue that it’s cancelled out.
You might also like to look at “quality” visits. If you’ve set up a “benchmark” in Google Analytics for what constitutes a quality visit, you could use that. Your benchmark might be that the visit was from a first-time visitor, located in your country, who spent some time on the site. After all, one third-party site could be sending you much more relevant visitors than another. Now we can repeat our spreadsheet exercise, but just looking at the “quality” visits. Again, you can compare it to the results from a pay-per-click campaign if you’re running one; this time, for example, you might find that 35% of the £2-a-time visits meet the “quality” benchmark, so each “quality” visit is costing you £5.71. If you’re not running a pay-per-click campaign for comparison, you’ll need to dream up a figure, but £5-£6 might be a decent guess.