In speaking to hundreds of people a year about marketing their websites, there always seems to be a theme among them. I’ll get to that, so bear with me. First I have to explain where I am coming from before I say where I’m going on this . . .In reading through the news this morning, everything seems to be either in love with MySpace or bashing it – Yes, I am getting very tired of the MySpace bandwagon. Finally, I see an article that talks about the bottom line results of the investment.

From Internet Outsider:

“Judging from the year over year comparisons in the “Other” category, in which MySpace and the rest of Fox Interactive Media have been unceremoniously dumped, we can assume that the company might have contributed somewhere up to $100 million in revenue in the last quarter ($400 million run-rate), while losing up to about $50 million. Although these revenue numbers are not tiny, they pale in comparison to those of Yahoo, Google, and other Internet leaders. Unlike the revenue at the other Internet leaders, moreover, they appear to come with significant losses, suggesting that the MySpace business model is nowhere near as leverageable as those of its larger brethren. Geocities and Tripod, if memory serves, had a similar problem.”

And this is critical – the business model. MySpace really didn’t start as a business model – that’s one of the reasons that it became so popular. People could go, create a personal page and interact with their friends without the hassle of “business.”

Now that advertisers are literally trying to squeeze something out of the MySpace puzzle, the article ends with one of the most cogent thoughts that I have been preaching for the past few years, but is said very distinctly:

“Perhaps traffic, after all, doesn’t necessarily lead to business value.”

Thank you.

I’m not going to rail against the pre-2000 ways of marketing websites, when traffic was the indicator of value. But I did think that people were beyond that. This has proven me wrong. I guess advertisers are still in love with big numbers . . .
Many businesses ask about ranking #1 for a term that they believe will bring them business. However, after careful analysis, that #1 term brings visitors, but is rarely their best term for sales or conversions. This happens in every case that I’ve seen. Even in other metrics besides ROI, there are other terms that provide a better measure than that #1 desired term. Typically, because the market is so full of additional verticals that a broad approach is better than a singular focus.

Which brings us to the current trend of articles recommending MySpace as an advertiser or Search Optimizer’s best friend – measure your business value – and don’t become singularly focused. Measure and analyze to find those things that ARE working for you, and you may be surprised to find out what they really are.