Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't be like American Express

The wrong way to spend millions of ad dollars:  Are you familiar with Firesheep and Facebook security threats when browsing facebook without security?  If not, read about it in the international news magazine of your choice.   After firesheep hit the press shortly after the October 2010 release, Facebook quickly allowed users to switch browsing to the more secure https in Late January 2011.

Fast forward to 10 months later.  American Express is doing an international marketing push to get small businesses to do online advertising through their new ad platform branded American Express Open.  I've been tracking them since I saw their booth in January at CES, Las Vegas.  One of their ads on Facebook was targeted at small business owners.  The ad probably hit me due to the my Facebook showing "Owner at" or some other keyword I have in my profile.    Amex is spending tens if not hundreds of millions on digitally marketing AMEX Open to small businesses.  Where do they drive their traffic?  To this page:

 THUD!  Fail!
  • American Express want users to switch to a vulnerable non-secure connection just to see their ad?
  • How is this going to get them conversions? 
  • Are they not monitoring their bounce rates?
  • Novice User Reaction: American Express isn't secure?   They can't communicate with me over a secure connection?
This failure has to be doubling, if not tripling, bounce rates and cost per customer acquisitions on HTTPS users

For just $50 a year they could have gotten a banking-grade SSL certificate that would have solved this whole problem letting security conscious users pass through to their content.

You could make the point that a smaller chunk of Facebook users use HTTPs, but is this where you want to trust your digital marketing dollars?   Why cut off ANY of your target market to avoid a 50$ fee when you're spending millions, especially if you're a financial institution with security concerns.

The Lesson:  If you are unloading tens of millions of dollars on digital advertising you should know your stuff.  And just in case you screwed something up you should be measuring the bounce rate of every user click.  Either of these two best practices would have made their advertising budget at least 2x more effective.  Don't be like American Express.

No comments: