Clickers and gawkers wont buy. What I learnt from a failed stall and wasted days.Some years ago, I was running a digital ad agency, and we had a chance to put up a stall at a fete in in the heart of a tourist district.I went ahead and put up a stall because a.) it was cheap(INR 10,000/$200). b.) I knew the fete was really well attended.The hall was packed with people, to be sure. Other stalls sold shirts, herbs, spices, and food which got lapped up by locals who were there for a weekend evening out. Yet, these same locals would walk by our stall, gawk curiously(digital ads? what’s that?) – and move on to the popcorn stall next to ours.We’d bet money and time on finding resort owners in the tourist district whom we could sell to. “Even if we get ONE client, we’ll recover our investment,” I’d said. Only, we didn’t get a single resort owner in the throng of thousands.Gawkers after gawkers – not a single prospect. A couple of hours into the fest, I realized there was no point talking and explaining to passers by what we were about – for these guys were so obviously not our prospects.I learnt my lesson.This of course, doesn’t have to do with just trade fairs. Ever so often, it is so easy to target gawkers, not buyers. Footfalls and a full house are easy temptations to fall for – for me, just having a stall up in a fete was a symbol that *felt* good – after all it was a sign I’d done something, even as I fought the sobering reality that what I was doing was making me zilch money.**That of course happens in advertising too. So many campaigns that I see optimize ads based on which creatives have higher click throughs, and not which have higher conversions.This is more insidious on platforms where creative-wise CTRs aren’t easily available unless you do put in work to excavate that data(which unfortunately is the case on most platforms – Adwords, as you see below makes it really clear and easy to see).