Imagine, for a minute, that you're deep in the middle of your favorite time passer on your phone and all of a sudden, an ad pops up! It's right under your thumb, over something you were just about to click. You can't stop! it's too late. And you click. Now you're taken off your game (I know - you never play games on your phone - but just for argument's sake, let's assume you do), and end up on a website that you didn't intend to look at. You immediately close the window and go back to your game. Well, a LOT just happened!
First of all, free games are not free. You gave up a piece of your identity to run that game or app. If you didn't have to sign in to download or install the app, the application found another way to get the information from your device. Candy Crush didn't sell for over a billion dollars because it was such a cool game. It sold because it had a collection of users who play that game well into the millions; over 273 million monthly active users according to the company that owns that app.
So, beyond the fact that your phone and the application you're using has your identity all wrapped up in a nice, neat, tidy bow, what is the value of that unintentional click? In, and of itself, not much! You weren't paying attention to the place that click sent you. You closed the window immediately and went back to what you were doing. The application owner did make some money however. Not much but with 273 million users, you don't need much. If you were developing a "free" application, if would be in your best interest to place ads within that application that got clicked.
So we have a beast to deal with. Game and application developers make money by getting ads clicked. The allure of the game or application is what keeps your attention, the click is usually unintentional with the exception of maybe shopping apps.
Knowing the above, now imagine that you are an advertisor for some product or service. Does it serve you to pay for clicks like the above. Does the unintentional click have value to you as an advertiser? If you look at the clicks derived from a geofencing campaign (using Google Analytics), you'll quickly discover that all that traffic that you spent your hard earned money for spent less than 1 second on your page. There was hardly any intent to be there. Geofencing ads show up on a phone, usually inside of applications and game, and when they are clicked, the click intent is almost ZERO. The digital marketing company that you paid to develop those tricks is being less than honest if all you're seeing in the digital marketing report is "traffic". So, how can you improve these campaigns to avoid wasting money. Geofencing is a very effective way to target, but if the visitors to your site didn't intend to be there and don't engage, then you need a better strategy.
AVOID SENDING ADS TO MOBILE APPS
One way to improve intent is to stop placing ads in games and applications where the user's attention span is on the game or application itself. This includes Facebook by the way. Users don't like to leave Facebook. If they click an ad that takes them off the site, they click right back. Facebook ads need to be very clear that you're taking them off site. While it can be cumbersome, it is possible to choose which specific apps and sites your ads appear on. This is almost never done. Generally, when setting up these campaigns, you can just globally turn off ads inside of mobile apps (including games). In that situation, your ads will show up in the usual places when the user is in his browser checking out various websites. Ads clicked within websites usually have more intent and that user spends more time on the page he lands on.
RETARGET ALL WEBSITE VISITORS
If you're doing ANY paid advertising, you should be retargeting your visitors anyway. In our opinion, retargeting should be your first paid advertising campagn - even before standard Google pay per click advertising. The assumption is that any person that has found your site did so intentionally - through a search or went there with a direct link. Retargeting allows you, the website owner, to "follow" the visitor as he visits other sites, reads the news, check his email et al. Buying intent follows visitor intent but you never know exactly when that is going to happen.
Now, back to the unintentional clicks discussed above. If you're geofencing and you are creating all kinds of traffic but the dwell time on your site from those clicks is nothing but pathetic, is it worth doing? The answer is: It MIGHT be. After all, that person is in your target market. But you will never drive business if you stop at the GeoFencing campaign. You can improve your results dramatically if you ALSO retarget the visitors that came to your website, even if they were only there for a short second! Once the retargeting pixel has been dropped on the visitors phone, ads will start to pop up around the web for your products and services. You should ALWAYS set your retargeting ads to NOT show up in apps. You're now driving intent and there will be ample opportunity for the visitor to see your ads and click when the time is right and the intent is real. Retargeting can turn unintentional clicks to intentional clicks.
Search advertising works because the intent is high - plain and simple. Your ad doesn't show up unless it's related to a keyword that you've associated with the ad. Presumably your ad reinforces the search and the page that the user on goes even deeper relative to the ad intent. You may be avoiding the cost of search advertising by using display ads and other non-search oriented ads but if you're driving unintentional clicks from much cheaper ad campaigns you may not be getting any increases in your business. It feels good to have traffic but you need to drive intent... not just traffic.
With all that said, ALL of your campaigns should be tracked for the result you're looking to achieve. The result is NOT traffic. Digital marketers love to report "cost per click" and "click through rate" but that doesn't tell the entire story. The result ultimately is additional revenue. Know your key performance indicators - like "time on page" and know what traffic and campaigns are causing that. How many people on your landing page completed your form? Wait! You don't have a contact form on your landing page? Really? FIX THAT!!! Everything you expect the visitor to do should be included ON the landing page. Don't make the visitor click around your site to get in touch with you. It should be all right there. Further, your campaign landing pages ideally should be unique so that only a single campaign drives to a specific page in your site - making tracking the results of that campaign much easier.
Even without unique landing pages, it is possible to derive a lot of the information you need to measure results from Google Analytics. Pay attention to your traffic "channels" and evaluate the intent of that traffic. That will give a good overview of intent at least and help you decide on additional strategies to improve.