Browsing Traffic vs. Buying Traffic

When you’re paying for every click your ads get, it’s important to understand the difference between browsing traffic and buying traffic. To maximise your profit margins with AdWords, you need to avoid the former and attract the latter. So, what’s the difference?

Browsing Traffic

Imagine it’s a male relative’s birthday coming up. You don’t have a specific idea what to buy for him, so you just type ‘gifts for men’ into Google. Unless you get very lucky, it’s not likely that you’ll click on the first ad that comes up, see the perfect present for your relative and buy it on the spot.

No – when you type such a non-specific term into Google, you’ll be looking to click around, noting ideas and then going back to Google to see if you can find these new gift ideas cheaper elsewhere. This is browsing, and it’s not profitable for the companies that have ‘gifts for men’, or variations of it, in their AdWords campaign. Browsers are unlikely to buy then and there – they will do plenty of research and explore alternatives, often not buying until days later.

Buying Traffic

Now imagine that the same relative has a birthday coming up, and you already have a gift in mind that will be perfect. Instead of typing into Google ‘gifts for men’, you might type in ‘left-handed golf clubs’. You’re therefore far more likely to find what you’re looking for when you click an ad, and if the prices are reasonable, you might even buy on the spot.

According to Google’s traffic estimator tool, the search term ‘left-handed golf clubs’ will cost the advertiser between 48p and 70p per click. If one of those clicks is converted to a sale of around £120, that’s a fairly impressive profit margin! Of course, not every click will convert, but at 70p per click, the advertiser can pay for 171 clicks before making a loss.

Let’s compare this to ‘gifts for men’, which is between 85p and £1.10 per click, according to the traffic estimator. When you’re searching for this, you don’t know what exactly you’re looking for. There’s a high probability that you’ll take a quick click around a website and then head back to Google to try somewhere else. If the advertiser is selling £20 wallets, it’ll take only 18 clicks for them to make a loss – and there’s a big difference between 117 and 18.

The Moral of the Story

Be specific. If you sell screwdrivers, don’t bid on the keyword ‘DIY’. Bid on ‘screwdrivers’, and whichever variations of screwdrivers that you sell.

Never actively target browsers.  Add keywords like ‘compare’, ‘information’, ‘prices’ and ‘reviews’ to your negatives list, and cut down on browsing traffic.

Draw on your own browsing and buying habits when you build your AdWords campaign, and you should see improved results. A little forethought can go a long way!