You're going to spend time doing this, and if you're not, you should. That's money at the end of the day. If you can get insight early on, it's worth it. It can inform your whole messaging campaign. Identify the sweet spots in the dialogue and you can use it as a way of forming your whole communication strategy.
I normally think of an ad as selling something. But it sounds like you can just use it to bring people to your website.
Tippett: Yes. Google “food” and see what happens.
The domain name is important
Recipes. Change school lunches. So you've got some advocacy groups. This is worth spending your time on. Each one of these elements is important. The domain name is important.
Citymeals.org—you know what that's all about. The link is the most important thing. That's worth spending time and creative effort in getting right. So if I refresh this, you might get two brand new ads. They're using a different tagline there. They'll see what the response rate is. Because Google will tag it.
Be your own ad agency
Tippett: If you went to an ad agency, they 'd say, let's test and copy, but you don't need an ad agency. You just need to sign up. It's also about finding the audience you want. You don't just want a click-through. If they think they're getting something general, they just click and go. You want it to be super precise to weed out anybody that's just passing.
Ruth: So you don't want to just say “sexy food security”?
It's more important to get the audience than produce the content
Tippett: What you do need to understand is it’s as important, or more important, to get the audience than to produce the content. It's the tree falling in the forest thing.
Our strategy is not dissimilar from a tabloid kind of mentality. Arianna Huffington is the master of this. If you go to Huffington Post...the homepage of your site is really less relevant than the traffic that comes from Google.
Do not ignore search engine traffic
If you look even at the sites that you think are destinations, the audience that just comes to them is diminishing in relation to the traffic that Google sends them. To ignore it is to be willfully blind of what people want.
At the end of the day it's about human behaviour, and people are more interested in finding information through search directly or through their social networks. Do you ever look at Nick Belton, TED lecturer?
He did a couple of lectures. He’s the guy at the New York Times that does their digital stuff. One of the things he said that's interesting: he looked at his history file in his browser and he said there were 90,000 links in his history file and 1,000 that he clicked through.
The question was which were the ones he clicked on or didn't click on?
References from friends cause people to click on links
Overwhelmingly, they were the ones that were referred by his friends. Your social network is providing influence and distribution.
The Vancouver Observer is unique and valuable, a destination site
Search and social networks are driving consumption on the web and it's less about having a destination, if you have something unique and valuable.
Vancouver Observer is an example of something that is that. It can be a destination site. I get most of my news through Facebook updates. It's just the way it is.
If you want to understand where you are in the world as an agent of influence, there's a couple of places you can go and type in whatever it is in Google. What you want to do is type in something generic.
Maybe the Vancouver Observer wants to cover arts in Vancouver. If that's a focus, who owns it on Google? What are the four or five other sites who own it doing to own that traffic? There's research to be done there.