Pay per Click (PPC) campaigns, or search advertising, raked a cool $106.5 billion in 2019. Yet, managing a PPC campaign is complex and, short of hiring a PPC manager, you might well fall into the trap that leads 72% of companies to ignore checking, updating, and fine-tuning their campaigns, letting them run without looking at them for weeks or months at a time. Given that only 9% of Google ads generate revenue, and that ad fraud is eating up to 25% of brands’ budgets according to Traffic Guard, that might be a costly oversight.
PPC is difficult to budget accurately as PPC campaigns rely on keywords. The price per click on each selected keyword-based ad is determined through bidding, making it heavily biased by competitors’ depth of pocket. It can even be affected by external events such as elections, sports events, or even pandemics, that raise related keywords’ competitiveness and price. To make matters worse, Jeff Allen, President, Hanapin Marketing, reckons that the most significant trend to pay attention to today is the lack of search query growth in recent years. “2020 will see this come to a head due to platforms lacking additional SERP space to monetize. This will result in the continued rise of search CPCs, and a potential for increased CPAs and a lack of growth in sales volume.” So, for the advertiser, gaining control of the price per click is a potential game-changer.
Though PPC is the most popular marketing tool, electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM), also known as referrals or refer-a-friend marketing, is by far the most trusted promotional tool and the one with the highest conversion rate.
But quantifying the ROI of eWOM is far more complex than that of PPC, due to the lack of accurate tracking tools. The meteoric rise on influencer marketing in the last few years continues despite widespread engagement fraud. Instascreener reports that, in 2019, $255 million of the $1.4 billion spent on Instagram went to accounts with fake followers.
What if there was a way to combine PPC and eWOM in one solution, and draw on the 6-degree separation law as a bonus?
The Best of Both Worlds, and Then Some!
The dream of every marketer is a solution that:
- Gives them complete control about the Cost per Click (CPC)
- Automates word-of-mouth
- Tracks and quantifies the results
- Manages itself
Until now, gaining the ability to dictate the CPC independently of keyword bidding wars, coupled with accessing the high conversion rate of eWOM was not an option.
Today, this pipe dream is within reach thanks to blockchain technology.
2key network, the first blockchain company listed on Zoom Marketplace, is launching its PPC SmartLink product. PPC SmartLinks makes that dream possible and provides detailed analytics about the way the content is spreading as well as the open rate and cost of the campaign.
2key PPC SmartLink incentivizes regular people to share content and reap rewards when their sharing activity converts into a click.
What Do SmartLinks Do?
Instead of sharing a regular HTTP link, users share a SmartLink. That SmartLink contains an embedded smart contract that executes a number of actions:
- It granularly tracks and tabulates every interaction with the SmartLink itself
- Preview: someone viewed the options of accessing the full content or of merely sharing it further based on the thumbnail content.
- Click: a viewer chooses to click the “Open Link” option to access the content.
- Share: a viewer opts to share the link further without opening it.
- Give feedback: any recipient has the opportunity to give feedback as to the content value.
- When a click occurs, it redistributes the value of the click to each member of the referral chain according to the reward allocation model defined in the smart-contract.
- It builds the referrer’s reputation: the integrated AI analyses the link open-rate and the feedback and uses the result to score the referrer’s reputation.
That reputation ebbs and flows with each new share. A considerate referrer who empathically shares content based on the target recipient’s interest will benefit from a high reputation score and earn additional revenue from 2key dedicated funds.
Conversely, a spamming referrer’s reputation will plummet and might result in being disqualified from receiving the reward.
This integrated reputation scoring minimizes spamming.
What kind of result can you expect?
Let’s have a look at the two first PPC SmartLink campaigns in May 2020.
The first PPC SmartLink campaign was run by 2key to announce the launch of PPC SmartLinks and demonstrate its efficiency. Having set up a US$100 total budget and a reward of $0.0588 per click, 2key first seeded the campaign by sending the link to their own community through their active social media channels:
- Telegram -3123 members*
- Facebook -382 followers*
- LinkedIn - 317 followers*
- Twitter - 1858 followers*
*The numbers indicated here reflect the number of followers/members before the launch of the SmartLink.
From this original seed community, 70 people shared the link further. Though that does not seem like much. it quickly propagated and grew to an exponential reach.
Within 72 hours, the entire budget had been spent yielding impressive results:
- 7525 Previews – That is people who saw the invitation but did not open the link. Previews are free and great to increase brand-name recognition.
- 111 Forwards spread over 14 layers - As you can see in the video, a single share by an influencer with a targeted audience generates a large amount of traffic and pushes discovery within new target audiences identified through human intelligence instead of heartless algorithms.
- 1712 approved clicks – approved clicks are clicks that passed 2key tests for eligibility. Click validation involves 14 verification points calibrated to rule out multiple clicks by the same user, bots, spamming activity, and more. There were over 400 unapproved clicks for that initial campaign.
As an added bonus, 2key social media channels grew considerably as a result of this campaign, auguring well for the result of subsequent campaigns.
The second campaign, by 2key launch partner SparkPoint, promoted a landing page designed to entice viewers to sign up.
In just 24 hours, the 892 approved clicks, priced at $0.0735 led to 453 signups on SparkEarn platform, an unheard of 50.7% conversion rate. From an acquisition budget perspective, that translated into a $0.15 per signup, a result rarely, if ever, attainable from traditional PPC campaigns.
That is the beauty of relying on humans instead of algorithms to direct traffic to an audience that is indeed interested!
How do SmartLinks work?
SmartLinks are disconcertingly simple to use.
Let’s imagine that you want to promote a specific page content. For this example, we will use the 2key new SmartSession announcement blogpost.
After signing in your 2key account, create a page. This is necessary because personal wallets and page wallets need to be separate, which avoids mixing between personal and business expenses. Access to a page can be granted to external users by adding Admins to the page.
From your page, you can create a PPC SmartLink campaign in a few clicks.
1. Start your campaign.
2. Create your campaign!
You have two different ways of creating a campaign. Either use an existing link or create entirely new content.
If you are targeting different communication channels or mixed audiences, creating separate campaigns with different titles and thumbnail images maximizes the conversion rate.
For example, one for each email segment, one for Facebook and Twitter, and one for LinkedIn.
As your initial audience is the one that will propagate your link, it is worth investing the extra time to maximize the initial effect.
3. Set up your campaign budget.
One of the attractions of the 2key SmartLink system is that you keep full control of your budget. No more keyword bidding sudden price increase that sees your inbound traffic plummet unexpectedly.
You set up the price per click, and it is fixed and immutable regardless of external factors.
Also, instead of financing mega-corporations that will use your budget to increase the data point collection of the people who click your post, it rewards the individuals who shared your link and helps to create a new economic model that redistributes the immense Internet wealth.
- Select the reward split model.
Each time your link is clicked, each person in the referral chain receives a fraction of the click’s budget. This is called the Referral Reward.
As you can see below, there are three ways to split the reward between referrers.
As the campaign creator, you select the reward split method best suited for your audience.
2key’s AI scores referrers’ reputation, penalizing spammers, and rewarding high performing referrers with 2KEY tokens reserved for that purpose, the quality of the referral increases with time.
One of the best ways to establish what works best is to run A/B testing with each method and analyze which one brings the highest conversion.
4. Seed your campaign by sharing it with your core audience
Once your campaign is deployed on Ethereum blockchain, all you have to do is to give it the initial push by sharing it with your existing audience and let them propagate your message with their own circles and beyond.
This is easily done from your campaign dashboard, where you can edit the text that will show in social media platforms above the link’s thumbnail that shows the title and image you defined earlier.
From that point on, your campaign is entirely self-managed, and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and watch the referral tree grow as your seed audience shares it forward.
When setting up the campaign, there are a lot of additional options to target specific audiences by location, gender, age, etc., but these are all very easy to understand, and this post is just meant to give a general overview of the system.
Now that you saw how easy it is to set up a campaign, time to take a peek at how it looks from the referrer’s side.
From the referrer’s perspective
When referrers share your SmartLink, this is what they are sharing:
The recipient can decide whether to open the link to access the content or just share it with his circle and potentially earn compensation for his sharing activity.
Keeping in mind that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation or less, less than six steps are needed to reach anyone! Without any complex algorithm, just with good old-fashioned human intelligence and social knowledge, with one to one contact from known sources.
This new solution comes on the heels of 2key SmartSession, the first blockchain-based app listed on Zoom Marketplace in April 2020, as 2KEY token began to trade.