Marketing, Clueless

Ian Lurie

One lesson, two examples, and proof (as if it were really necessary) that I’m not infallible:

First, the lesson: If an online ad venue is a flop at 1x, increasing it to 6x will only make it a bigger flop.

I just got a call from a sales rep from an ad network. They explained that one of my clients had received about 300 clicks from their network in the last year, and tried to sell me on spending more of that client’s money to get more clicks.

300. clicks. In a year.

Sorry, there’s no chance. If you want me to spend more money, you’d better prove yourself first.

But then I went and ignored my own rule: We sent out an initial e-mail test using a rented, opt-in list. The message went to 6500 recipients. We got 10 clicks, which qualifies as the worst result I’ve ever seen.

Not believing my eyes, I then requested an additional 40,000 person e-mailing. Guess what? We got 18 clicks.

Here’s the lesson again: If an ad venue is a flop at 1x, increasing it to 6x will only make it a bigger flop.

Now and then I have to remind myself, I guess…

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. What were you sending the emails out for and where did you get the list?
    IMO, its great that you have 40,000 email address, but if you are sending them a message that is not even targeted to them the results will be horrible.
    Its like sending out 200 emails about getting ready for marriage to an older demographic.

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