Can Psychics Predict the Super Bowl?
At SEER, we manage a few PPC campaigns for an online psychic business. We had noticed a spike in new paid member sign-ups over the weekends during the fall of 2013 and wanted to investigate a bit more for new ideas. Looking at our conversion data month-over-month by city, we saw that Las Vegas had made its way into our top ten cities. Based on that background data, we constructed a hypothesis that users were signing up for the services for betting advice. More importantly, we identified this as a new opportunity and audience that we had not invested much time in before. Here was our experiment:
Conveniently enough, the next big event on the betting schedule happened to be the Super Bowl. We developed keywords, ad copy and landing pages related to sports & psychic predictions. We launched on 1/22, just under two weeks before the big game.
What Did We See?
A lot of traffic. And for our industry, a lot of cheap traffic. We also held very high positions above the results for very popular queries.
However, almost 99% of them bounced. Taking into consideration that their only option is to pay or leave, it was still a very high percentage. Even our more specific keywords like “psychic super bowl predictions 2014” had zero direct impact and a high bounce rate. One positive outcome would be that 92% of these visits were new, introducing our brand to a new audience as expected.
The largest downside: zero conversions. We generated over 3,500 clicks from our ads and none resulted in a paid sign-up. (We did see some other on-site activity though like free member sign-ups.) Looking back this year from April1st, we haven’t seen any impact on other source s in GA’s multi-channel reports, likely indicating that the newly exposed audience was not initially interested. However, now we can remarket to these specific users and hopefully loop them back into the sales cycle.
What Did We Learn?
Perhaps our strategy or premise weren’t sound. Would someone looking for Super Bowl predictions really be interested in paying for psychic services? Well, that was the point of this test. Maybe that’s the case, maybe it’s not. Maybe our landing page was too hard of a sell or not tailored enough toward the intent of our users. Either way, we did not hit our goal of generating new paid members.
What Would We Propose Next?
Even though we didn’t achieve our desired goal, our team now had a ton of new ideas of how it might work for future initiatives. Could we have, instead of pushing users to sign up for a paid service, promote some relevant content to engage users with the brand and potentially share, like an infographic? Or even promote our free offering with the intention to later re-engage via remarketing or email campaigns? We never revealed who the psychics picked, even though there was a press release about it, instead attempting to push them to pay for it.
Moving forward, our team found this as another opportunity to integrate our divisions (SEO, PPC, Content, Analytics, etc.) and tailor our approach more holistically by promoting content rather than solely focusing on direct response. One thing’s for sure though, I wish a psychic would have predicted these results so we could have developed a new strategy from the start!
I’d love to hear your thoughts or how you’ve created opportunities with campaigns that missed their original objectives in the comments below!