Marketing guru Seth Godin recently reminded us that “reach is overrated“. Advertising is about getting your message to the right people, not the most people.
This is one of the reasons why search advertising can be so effective. Imagine a search results page not as an ‘answer’ generated on the fly, but as a permanent page on the web. Now, if we sold ‘blue widgets’, and knew there was a page on the web solely viewed by people who wanted to buy blue widgets, wouldn’t we want to advertise on it?
The challenge is to find that page. Or more practically, the pages on the search engines viewed by the most people who might want to buy our stuff.
Here’s where the ‘reach’ idea comes in. The page about ‘blue widgets’ might get 100x the views of the page about ‘blue widget suppliers’, so its ‘reach’ is much better. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get more enquirers. More people who want to buy blue widgets might head straight for the Google page about ‘blue widget suppliers’. That’s why it’s so important to work out where the buyers, enquirers or simply engaged visitors are coming from. All pretty obvious stuff, but it’s surprising how many people fall for the ‘bigger reach’ argument, sometimes without realising it.