Business owners and marketing decision makers have an almost unlimited number of decisions to make when it comes to marketing a business. With thousands of vendors from which to choose, hundreds of different channels on which to run, and the nebulous task of originating creatives and messaging to send out to your chosen audience, there are more than a few unknowns. With that said, there is one aspect of marketing that is clear as day regarding its importance:
Tracking conversions when running any type of campaign is literally the most important part of modern marketing. (Free) digital tools like Google Analytics have advanced marketing so we can now track specific actions a user takes on a website and only track the actions that have business value to the client. Let me give you a perfect example of how you can use conversion tracking to determine the success of a campaign. Read the following client scenario and take note of the two types of determinations of success:
You are the proprietor of The Law Offices of Saul Goodman & Associates in Albuquerque, NM and you are targeting prospective new clients utilizing a display campaign. You want people to call you or fill out your form and increase the amount of business you get. You decided to use two separate companies to run the campaign, and they came back to you with the following reports:
Company A ran 250,000 impressions in the month targeting males ages 21-55, with lower incomes and in the geographies with a higher crime rate. The ads delivered 2,000 clicks for a Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of .08% (industry average for display is about .06 -.1%).
Company B ran 250,000 impressions in the month targeting males ages 21-55, with lower incomes and in the geographies with a higher crime rate. The ads delivered 2,000 clicks for a Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of .08% (industry average for display is about .06 -.1%).
Company B asked for Google Analytics access (full admin) and was able to determine that you had an average of 9 contact form submissions (based on goals your web developer set up in GA) and in the month your ads ran you had 27 completed forms. In addition they also showed a 42% increase in organic traffic to your site and a 38% increase in direct traffic.
Company B also asked for access to your Google My Business account, and were able to show you that in the 3 months before your campaign, you had an average of 20 click to calls, 38 direction requests and 52 clicks to your website (this data coming from “Insights” in your Google My Business account. The month of your campaign you had 43 click to calls, 84 direction requests and 124 clicks to your website.
Which company would you feel more comfortable with running your campaigns? Vendors and agencies have for years relied upon CTR and impressions to determine success of campaigns. However, those metrics don’t have a lot of business value to their clients. Calls, form submissions and directions requests absolutely do.
Options for Tracking Conversions
There is a massive amount of opportunity to track actions users take that have value. Some of those actions may include:
- Form Submissions
- Phone Calls
- Email Newsletter Signups
- PDF Downloads
- Vehicle Description Page Views
- Video Views
- eCommerce Purchases
- Reservation Requests
There are countless other conversions to track, and each business is unique in what is valuable to them. All of these actions can be tracked easily in Google Analytics as goals or events. You can even assign a value to each of them. Additionally, GA will tell you the source of all your conversions so you can see what is working and what isn’t. NOTE – branding channels such as display advertising may not be directly attributed to conversions, so it is important to keep that in mind when looking at your numbers. A good rule of thumb is to look at direct and organic traffic for raises, as well as an overall increase in conversions/leads.
You can also utilize tools like Google My Business insights to track phone calls and directions requests. Google Adwords offers a variety a different options for conversion tracking (more info on that found here). Certain vendors for display advertising will allow you to install pixels on your site to track things like a View Through, which means someone saw your ad, DID NOT click, and then ended up on your website. You can also utilize location based tools like geo-fence conversions, which tracks whether or not someone saw your ad and then ended up in a predefined radius around a point with their device location enabled.
Beyond that you start getting into really complicated stuff like Lifetime Value (LTV) tracking in analytics, or utilizing attribution models which can help you tell the whole story of what led to conversions. Media buying is moving toward an “optimization for conversion” model where conversions are set, and software will automatically move budgets, targeting, creatives and other variables around to create the highest number of conversions possible.
Overall, it’s a brave new world out there and your business should put a premium on tracking conversions. If you need help figuring this out and want to talk to someone, please feel free to contact WRAL Digital Solutions – we would love to help!