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SMX Advanced: What You Should Be Measuring - But Aren’t!

By jameszol
Published on June 4, 2008

Christine Churchill

Offline Conversions - The Missing Metric

63% of purchases by consumers who conducted online searches for various product categories occur offline. Sourc: Google - ComScore Study March 2006

Why Offline?
-Many companies push prospects to a phone call “If I can get them on the phone, I can close the deal.”
–Power of human voice to convert prospect
–Appropriate for complex sales
–Works for B2B and companies with long sales processes
–Common for local service companies

“Web-only metrics…don’t provide a full picture of search campaigns.”

For job preservation, make sure you are tracking offline conversions.


-Make assumption based on sales, anecdotal data, in-store surveys.

-SWAG it from limited pilot tests
–Use a unique phone number in ads from pilot campaign
–Determine an online-offline ratio
–Extrapolate for future sales

-Offer coupons or special offer codes
-Unique pricing


-Customer tagging
-Use of Unique Phone Numbers
–Phone per campaign
–Javascript provides different number based on referrer
–Track via phone logs

-Pay Per Call

-Keyword driven traffic

Ryan Gibson

-Managing at least to keyword level but preferably ad level
-Ultimate program goal is to drive profit
-Difference between brand & non-brand terms

Measurement by Proxy
-Typical measurements
–A/S: Ad Spend to Sales
–ROAS: Return on ad spend
–ROI: Return on Investment
–CPO/CPA: Cost per Order/Acquisition

Proxies based on margin
-Companies with a larger margin will have a higher ad spend

Typical calculation
-A/S = (1 - COGS - Variable Costs)/2
-ROAS = 1/(A/S)
Roughly target 1/2 of MARGIN
Why not use margin directly? There might be a diminishing margin of returns when you start spending more than you’re actually bringing in. The real question

is how much in marginal sales can I create for the next $ thousands in ad spend?

-Products vs Accessories…Accessories are almost always more profitable in terms of margin dollar ratio than the Product itself.

Order level info - tie it to the keyword
–Existing tracking via Analytics…data can be passed to bidding system
–Post sale data feed…nightly process to match up orders to the margins
–The Best…feeding the margin data on the fly coupled with a nightly process to knock out frauds and cancels

Driving More Margin
-Understand lifetime value and adjust margin targets accordingly
-What other actions are of value on the site? Email sign up? Request a catalog? Other downloads?

Rich Devine

Problem with Conversions
-Don’t tell the whole story
–Money left on the table, miss the big picture
–Engagement, Attribution, Keyword Stacking

Study your micro-conversions too…which micro conversions are occuring prior to the revenue generating conversion?

Custom built performance model that assigns $$$ values to key website behaviors to create a monetization model for the website.

Micro conversions can also be called key site behaviors or success events

Building a Monetization Model
-Confirm business goals
-Identify and align site goals to business goals
-Establish accurate, key site metrics
-Identify Key Site Behaviors or “Micro-conversions”
-Assign Value to Key Site Behaviors
-Then…have a beer or sprite

Discover all available data sources you can get
-web analytics
-financial data

Prioritize your optimization activities

Study opportunitcy costs as expressed by revenue model

Implications for paid search
-Are you assigning too much value to conversions?

Models aren’t meant to be perfect

Akin Arikan

blog -

Measure multichannel success by customer - one size does not fit all

Paid search is easy to turn on and off

Social media is not so easy and can be hard to measure. Use blog monitoring and text mining to get a better idea about social media Matchback is the art of response attribution…for example, somebody receives a paper catalog 2 weeks ago, then they show up on the website via search so the inference might be made that the catalog increased the liklihood that the person would search or arrive at that website


What method do you use to find the value of your micro conversions?

First thing is to get what you can out of analytics. Identify core key site behaviors - 4 or 5 of them and focus on the core business objective - sale? lead?

and value that activity. Get a little more complex after that and compare that value to other key site behaviors Another thing to do is identify what your measures of success are - what parts of your website are considered a measure of success? White paper? Page views? Sign ups? Newsletters?

Are those micro conversions happening offline in other channels? Always consider your offline channels and the possible micro conversion that is happening there because that can add to the lifetime value of a customer.

How do you dynamically switch your phone numbers?

External well known call tracking tools include

How do you manage expectations?

Address all the situations you can before you execute. It can take months with bigger clients and before you execute, expectations should be signed off on how to perceive value and attribute performance. One of the first conversations you should have with a client is what their expectations or measurements of success are. Your clients are smart and they see things from a different vantage point so education is key - on both sides of the fence.

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