Having worked in the digital world for more than 14 years now, I’ve seen lots of trends come and go–does anyone remember “push marketing”? But during that time, Web traffic has been the constant metric for measuring success…until now.
I’ve come to realize that I really don’t care about Web site traffic. Site visits are overrated.
In fact, for my next program, if I get zero visitors to McDonalds.com, I’m ok with that. I don’t want traffic, I want conversations…and conversations don’t happen on my Web site. They happen on millions of blogs, twitter pages and forums spread throughout the Web.
We are relaunching McDonalds.com right now. The new site is gorgeous and features tons of great information about our company and our menu items. We’ve also made sure that the content is easily shareable. But like a lot of brands, we aren’t trying to stoke conversation on our brand site. Those rich conversations are happening elsewhere and it wouldn’t be an efficient use of our resources to try to move them to a branded environment where we would be legally obligated monitoring and moderating, and thus stilting, those discussions.
Think about it this way. When you build a Web site, you need to drive people to it. It would be silly to think that people will just “show up” (insert tired 1990’s quote from Field of Dreams here). Getting people’s attention in terms of awareness and clicks takes a lot of time and money. For certain types of campaigns traffic should be the number one metric, but for most of mine it won’t.
But my job is to make people aware of the high quality of our ingredients and the great balance in our menu. I want folks talking about our yummy salads and the 600 calorie Happy Meal and the most effective way to do that is by talking with people and having them talk with others in return. My key metrics will be the number of posts, and tweets that are generated. The number of comments/replies will be very important. The tone and sentiment of the conversations will also be critical.
It is a simple view of the Conversation Economy where traffic doesn’t count.