Despite what an ill-informed lawyer thinks, parked domains convert well for advertisers.
Yesterday, we learned of a lawyer who felt that domain parking can’t convert for advertisers because he didn’t have success spending $136.11 on parked domain advertising. I met an advertising network CEO a few weeks ago who said his blood boils when someone doesn’t get conversions and claims he received “bad” or “fraudulent” traffic. After looking into his advertisers’ claims, that CEO said he often finds that other advertisers are converting rather well with the same traffic.
We have anecdotal evidence that parked domain names convert for advertisers. Efficient Frontier released a case study, and owners of large portfolios have run their own campaigns with success. I’ve even had great conversions on Dark Blue Sea’s ROAR network, which I understand is delivered via pop-ups on parked domains.
So I decided to run the numbers on a campaign I’m running on Google. The campaign promotes a free report download and requires the visitor to provide their email address. In other words, it’s a lead generation campaign similar to the lawyer’s campaign.
Not to my surprise, parked domains covert quite well.
Here are my stats for the month to date:
Search + Search Network 19.8% conversion rate, $.77 per lead
Content Network (not including parked domains) 23.9% conversion rate, $.74 per lead
Parked Domains 23.3% conversion rate, $.75 per lead
As you can see, both the content network and parked domains are outperforming search ads! Get this — some of the domains that are converting are being promoted through arbitrage, too. And for those people that complain it’s not fair that parked domain names are sometimes served as part of the search network, here’s another surprise: almost all of the conversions I have on parked domains are from the search network feed, not the content feed. In other words, without include parked domains in the Search Network numbers google provides, the search network would be performing relatively worse.
Proof that Google’s smart pricing works? Perhaps, but I’m paying the same amount per click on the search network as the content network.
If I want to further refine the campaign and get better conversions, all I have to do is block the domains that aren’t converting well. But one thing is for sure, I’d be stupid to block the domain channel for my ads. And it’s clear that parked domains names can provide value to advertisers.