Clickbait Doesn’t Work (in SEM)

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You won’t believe how great these leads are.

Clickbait is rampant in marketing. I am not referring to appealing copy that resonates with the user but rather aggressive, misleading ads that drive website traffic with little thought to the end goal.

Why then is clickbait so prolific?

SEM Lead Generation vs. Conversions

Aggressive, misleading copy can increase click-through rate (CTR), drive down cost-per-clicks (CPCs), and sometimes even bring down conversion costs. It is no surprise that many marketers shrug their shoulders and go for the lowest-hanging fruit when running search ads, both in ad copy and landing pages.

That digital marketing strategy can provide initially promising results. Yet, like the ad copy, those results can be misleading. What type of conversions are you actually driving?

Say you are a trucking company, running lead ads for driver recruitment. Your conversion event is a form submission. You might be able to lower your conversion costs with a top-tier salary that .1 percent of your drivers receive. You might be able to lower your conversions costs if you omit that all drivers must have six months of on-the-road experience. Yet, a huge chunk of these leads you have paid dearly for do not convert to actual drivers.

Sure, you send them emails, invest valuable hours into calling them, and try to drag them through the funnel. However, the low-priced leads you were so excited to have are not, and will not, be the drivers you need. They don’t have the experience. They are only willing to move companies for the high salary advertised in the ad copy. Some of them may not even be certified. For a plethora of reasons, they simply do not convert.

You got their click. You got their information. Only you did not get the lead you wanted. Well, many marketers grumble, that is just one example. Everyone knows less is more, right? Wrong.

Let’s switch industries and go e-commerce. You, or your marketing team, run compelling search ads. The copy reads “Beautiful Modern Desks, Under $100.” CTR goes through the roof. People really want to check out these affordable desks! However, when they get to your landing page they find to their dismay ONE desk under $100. The rest vastly exceed the advertised price. They hit the backspace key and continue searching for a desk that is actually under $100.

If you are paying per click, you wasted money on a user that was never going to convert. Regardless, you didn’t get the sale.

Authenticity in SEM

Some might drop the "$100" in their ad and consider that a solution. Others might place driver requirements neatly into their landing page.

However, I would urge you to test going a step further. Let your leads pre-qualify themselves. If your desks are luxury, advertise them as "top-of-the-line." Or include in your ad headline "6 Months OTR Experience" if that is your barrier to entry.

Authenticity is the cornerstone of effective marketing. In search engine marketing, the user is searching with a goal in mind. Your product or service can meet their needs. Do not waste ad spend and hours on users that are not potential customers or leads. Stop the SEM clickbait and reach your actual audience.

Need a team of expert digital marketers to authentically reach your audience with SEM? Contact our web consulting company today.

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