Thursday, 1 January 2009

Why value will beat volume online in 2009

In 2009 the value of your audience will trump the volume of your audience. In some ways this isn't new but 2009 will see the triumph of small, highly motivated campaigns online over mass audience sites. Let me explain.

Volume advertising is dying

For some time, the usefulness of running a very large website has been questioned. Yes, it's nice for the BBC, Guardian or Telegraph to have millions of visitors a day (even if the absolute number of visitors is much less). But it's not useful for them - and means little to the reader. We know this because advertising is sold increasingly on a pay per click basis rather than as a unit of number of page impressions.

Volume leads to diminishing returns

Blogs have tended to only receive significant wider attention if they have a large audience. The leading UK bloggers have all built their audiences thanks to interactions with the mainstream media. However, as Guido Fawkes recently reported the greater his audience, the less worthwhile the comments. In a similar theme, Martin Clarke who is response for the Daily Mail online told the Society of Editors that global unique web figures are a waste of time and unhelpful to advertising purchasers (though presumably he needed to say this because his main competitors still use them and they work and they're better than his).

Good value can build volume

One of the most effective and most socially entreprenuerial groups in British web development, MySociety, have recognised the importance of value over volume. One of their core principles is that their websites should be useful for one person - that they don't depend on volume to deliver a successful outcome for a single user (unlike an online petition site, for example). Their sites show that delivering great value for one person can build volume - but volume can't build value.

Aim for value over volume in 2009

The challenge for bloggers and website owners is to aim for value over volume in 2009. We all know the ways that we can get lots of clickthroughs to articles that will help our end of month statistics. But we need to kick the habit. Instead, try to use the internet to build meaningful relationships that you can influence. So when you blog you can motivate people to act, not just click.

I'll be giving some thought to what this all means over the next few weeks on my blog. There's plenty of advice for how to build a large audience. Let's have some more on how to build a valuable audience.

1 comment:

Guido Fawkes said...

Up to a point. My blog's influence on the mainstream media agenda, (such as it is), is partly due to journalist's knowledge that it is widely read. If they thought it had a 100 readers rather than 100,000 readers they would pay it less attention.

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