I recently attended an event where a presenter talked about the reasons that they didn’t use email marketing as part of their online business. One of the main reasons that he presented was that he didn’t think that people coming from a newsletter would click the ads on his site.
His reasoning was that people coming to his site week after week from a newsletter would become blind to the AdSense ads he was using (his main source of income). So rather than working on building loyal readers he put all of his efforts into SEO to generate one of readers.
There were lots of nods in the room from attendees – on one level what he was saying did make some sense – but for me it didn’t quite ring true.
You see my biggest days of earnings from AdSense are always the day I send out my newsletter. It drives a lot of traffic but also does seem to convert in terms of income (all kind, including eBook sales, affiliate promotions and AdSense).
Today I decided to dig a little deeper into my Google Analytics stats (which now integrates with AdSense) to see if what he said was actually true. Here’s what I found when it comes to AdSense earnings on my photography site from different sources of traffic over the last 3 months.
I’m not able to share with you actual eCPM (earnings per 1000 impressions) or CTR (click through rate) as I think it’d break the terms of service with AdSense – but I think the chart speaks pretty clearly for itself.
‘Aweber’ is the traffic coming from my newsletter and I’ve included a number of other sources of traffic to compare how it performs. You can see on both eCPM and CTR that Aweber out performs not only Search Engine traffic but traffic coming from different types of social media and referral traffic from other sites.
Newsletter traffic is certainly converting on both CTR and eCPM. This is confirmed when I look at other newsletter traffic (for example traffic coming from AOL and Yahoo’s mail servers) which is similarly higher than other types of traffic both in terms of eCPM and CTR.
What I also found interesting in these results was traffic coming from sites like Facebook and Flickr which both again out performed Google traffic on both CTR and eCPM. I had always assumed that social media traffic didn’t convert as well as other types of traffic but at least on these results it seems that not all social media traffic is alike. On that topic – Twitter didn’t convert anywhere near as well as Facebook.
Of course these sorts of results will vary from niche to niche. Perhaps because my photography site is not specifically a ‘product’ site but is a ‘how to’ site the traffic from Google is a little more general and less in a buying mood which could decrease the conversions – but for me at least it is an indication that I’m on the right track investing time into growing my newsletter list!