One day as I was working on one of my startups, I realized our server is down, and we’re losing potential clients and sales while still paying for traffic. I started talking to friends and colleagues, they all had been there but didn’t have a single solution that will prevent us from throwing money down the traffic drain in real-time, while our websites are down, as happens evidently from time to time.
That’s how SwitchUrls was created. I am not a fan of throwing away hard-earned money, so I created the solution I needed. And if you are someone who uses their site as an active channel through which you drive sales, generate leads, acquire users or get users to download apps – you need this too.
The premise for the service is to allow these types of sophisticated entities who actively use online resources to achieve any of the goals above to automate their traffic aggregation process in a managed way. In other words, If you are spending money on digital advertising or trying to generate traffic to your site through social media – here’s how SwitchURLs will be of service to you.
Let’s assume you run a fashion brand and have the following web properties:
- Your branded web store – (your own domain) running on Shopify or WooCommerce
- Your Amazon web store – a secondary destination, primarily for the US audience
- Your social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
Now Let’s assume you are running multiple ad campaigns on Google, Facebook, Adroll, Taboola that drive buyers to your branded web store (your own domain) since that enables you to own the customer and enjoy the highest profit margins.
Your media buyer spends a lot of time setting up each campaign with multiple adgroups, adsets, ad variations, destination links that include the proper UTMs and set them live on all the platforms.
Your campaign goal is simple – all of these advertising campaigns are setup to acquire new customers and sell products. You may be spending $1,000 / day across all ad platforms.
Your web store is up and running for most of the year, but every now and then you suffer from downtime that could not be predicted or controlled by your team. This can happen from a cloud outage, code conflicts, DNS issues and more. You and I both know from experience – It happens.
You already have an uptime monitoring tool that alerts you as soon as your web store goes down which triggers an already known mitigation protocol that includes:
- Escalating the issue to engineering
- Alerting your social media team to apologize for the downtime
- Alerting your customer service team of the downtime
- And most importantly alerting your media buying team asking them to pause the paid campaigns or do something about it so that you don’t lose money. Because – every time your website is down you are losing $100’s in ad spend and $1,000’s in potential sales.
This protocol tends to cost your team a lot of time, effort, frustration and revenue loss, all of which can be mitigated and automated by SwitchURLs.
Here’s how your campaign would look like if you start using SwitchURLs today:
- As your media buying team setup your paid campaigns they would create a new campaign on SwitchURLs.
- On SwitchURLs – the media buyer would enter your default destination URL for that campaign (the landing page URL on your web store)
- Then the media buyer would enter the fallback URLs for that campaign. These would be setup by order of priority starting with your Amazon web store, then your social media outlets
- When the media buyer finishes the campaign setup they will get a SwitchURL redirection link which is what they will input in the advertising UI. Meaning – they will input the SwitchURL when they setup the actual campaign on Facebook, Google, Taboola etc’.
Behind the scenes is where SwitchURLs’ real magic happens:
As your campaigns begin serving and traffic begins passing through the SwitchURLs link we begin to check your primary destination every minute.
SwitchURLs will run multiple tests on the destination URL (actual web store landing page) to determine if it is healthy enough to accept your precious clicks.
These tests include (but not limited to) the following:
- Server responsiveness test. We ping the server to make sure it’s alive and well, checking to see if it returns the familiar HTTP Status Code 200 which means your server is active. If your server returns a status code different than 200 we will deem the page unavailable and switch the traffic over to the next fallback.
- Load speed test. Even though your web server could be responding 200 we like to make sure that the actual page is loading fast enough to ensure that your traffic gets the best possible experience when visiting your property. If SwitchURLs detects that your page is taking longer than 3 seconds to begin loading we will deem the page unavailable and switch the traffic over to the next fallback. Think about it like an external load balancer for your campaign traffic.
- HTML present on page – in some plans we allow your media buyer to include a test that will lookup a specific HTML phrase on the page. This is particularly important to mitigate times when your web server is live, your page is loading fast but certain elements like buy buttons or links are either missing or broken. It’s best to set a unique phrase for the lookup as you would want to make sure that the most important element on the page is still intact. If this test fails SwitchURLs will deem the page unavailable and switch the traffic over to the next fallback.
If any or all of these tests fail SwitchURLs will automatically route your paid campaign traffic to the next available fallback – which in our example would be your Amazon web store. In the unlikely probability that both your branded web store (primary destination) and your Amazon web store (secondary destination) are both down – SwitchURLs will continue going down the list of fallbacks in your campaign setup until it finds a destination that is healthy and routes your traffic to that destination.
After 5 minutes of delivering traffic to your alternate, switched destination SwitchURLs will retest the primary destination to determine if it can switch the traffic back to your preferred landing page on your branded web store.
Each time your traffic is switched between destinations you will receive an email indicating what change has been made.
So – by setting up your advertising campaign with a SwitchURLs you are essentially guaranteeing that customers arriving through your paid ad campaigns will not suffer from any downtime, poor performance, missing content or broken links.
When my startup’s server was down that time I was telling you about, we lost a lot of time and money trying to fix everything in real-time. I promised myself I am never going through that stress again and I created this so you won’t have to experience it.
And you won’t go through what I went through that day because SwitchURLs is your insurance policy even when things go wrong: it’s your hands free, always on, always available, always fast-as-can-be solution to keep your business running smoothly.
Oh, and… You’re welcome.
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