Product vs Channel Followup

by Dan Walsh

 Flip-flopping my perspective to find new opportunities.

I run tons of AdWords traffic at the office. It all goes to about 100 different software products. Despite this extensive library I’m always on the lookout for new products as a way to grow revenue. If there’s another niche – a software need – that we don’t cover, then I want to find a way to cover it. But Google has a bunch of restrictions on their traffic, including limitations on products, trademark policies, and all kinds of black-listed no-no words. That means there are all kinds of niches that I exclude because I can’t run ads for them on Google. I miss out on a lot of potential revenue this way, but I realized I don’t have to.

Youtube downloaders are a great example of a high demand software niche that I can’t cover. There are a ton of people out there who want to download Youtube videos onto their hard drives and I want in on this action. Youtube generates revenue from users clicking ads on the site. If users aren’t on the site because they downloaded the videos then Youtube loses all that revenue. Youtube downloaders are bad for Youtube’s business.

Google owns Youtube, however, and they protect this property every way they can. I can’t use any form of “youtube” in my ad copy or it will get banned. This drastically reduces the efficiency with which I could run this products. But even on the slight chance that I could make it work, as soon as Google sees that I’m running this product, they’ll black-list my entire website. That’s obviously a bad thing.

Because running a Youtube download product profitably would be so hard, and because it carries such a high risk, I always just ignore it. I don’t even think about these types of products – products I can’t run on Google – because there’s no point. If I can’t run them on Google then I don’t have any traffic, and if I don’t have any traffic then I don’t have any revenue. There products are non-starters.

Or are they?

I realized I’ve been falling victim to channel-first thinking. AdWords is my bread-and-butter form of driving traffic, so I conform all my other decisions to this constraint. I’m missing out on tons of revenue because my thought process is “I have Google. What products will work on Google?” instead of “I have this product, how can I drive traffic?” There are actually a bunch of other advertising marketplaces from which I could drive traffic.

I’m limiting myself with this one directional thinking. There are a lot of high potential product categories that I ignore because Google doesn’t allow me to run them.  I’ve approached my product library from a channel first perspective because that’s what I know, that’s how my infrastructure is setup. But, if I approach this problem from a product first perspective, then the question changes from “what can I run on google?” to “what product has high demand? Ok, where can we run it?”