Difference between traffic and audience

There is a difference between ‘traffic’ and audience. It’s a quality, not a quantity, game

I’m sure I’m not alone in having clicked on an article or blog after being sucked in by a disingenuous headline. The NT News aside, many brands are guilty of this practice aimed to drive traffic to their sites known as ‘click bait’. It is simply misleading, false, fake ads and damaging.

There are scammers at every level using images and falsehoods to drive traffic. As a side note, anything you see with Shark Tank — as per the one below — is a scam, designed to drive clicks. If you see something like this, please report it.

Shark Tank Scammers

But I digress, many marketers look at headlines that will initiate a click through (like a shop window), but if it misrepresents the real offer, people will bounce straight off the site (or walk out the door), maybe never to return. In the world of cost-per-click this is a complete waste of marketing spend.

Really, it’s just leading potential customers down the garden path. Clicks for the sake of clicks are not all they’re cracked up to be when you really look at the difference between ‘audiences’ and ‘traffic’. And it really matters for your business.

In one of his recent YouTube contributions, professor of marketing at NYU Stern Scott Galloway claims:

“Audience trumps traffic every day of the year. Only two firms can monetise traffic at scale: Facebook and Google. Everybody else needs to build a group of loyal followers, or as we call it, an audience … If you’re ad supported and have strong traffic, but no audience, you’re in deep trouble”.

Being a truly customer-obsessed business means offering your customers value, every single time you interact with them. This means no longer just asking, “What is the problem I am solving?”, but, “What is the job my customer is hiring me to do?”. Turning this question on its head implies a commercial outcome for your business. I want to know that people will pay money for the job I’m hired to do. I work with my Shark Tank businesses on this a lot. What role do you play in people’s lives? What relationship do your customers want to have with you?

Customers are not targets

The way people interact with a brand is determined by the role that brand plays in their life at any given time, and it usually fits within three categories:

  • Functional: The task a customer wants or needs to get done;
  • Emotional: How customers feel about and perceive the relevance of what you’re offering; or
  • Social: How customers want to be perceived by others.

I would urge all brands to ask themselves, “What job are you being hired to do?”. This basic question will guide you when it comes to engaging with your customers in a truly meaningful way, and not just for the sake of clicks.

And can you scammers please leave us alone — seriously get a life and find a proper job!

This article first appeared on Smartcompany.

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