As a digital agency, if we aren’t driving conversions we aren’t doing our job. Online conversions are easy to track and it’s easy to see when digital efforts are working, right? Wrong – online conversions can be harder to track than you think and we are often quick to stop campaigns if we don’t see direct results.
For offline campaigns it’s harder to see direct results so we have advanced attribution models in place to estimate the value of each campaign. We conduct expensive surveys to prove that marketing efforts had brand uplift and all those other marketing buzz words, but when we look at digital ads we say “if it didn’t convert, turn it off”.
6S Marketing has been a Google Analytics Partner since 2007. Each year, we have visited the Google Campus, in Mountainview, California in the heart of the Silicon Valley, for their annual Google Analytics Partner Summit. At the Google Analytics Summit for GACP Certified Partners this October, Google highlighted some of the shortfalls in online tracking today and offered solutions for each. Below are 3 scenarios that may make you think about improving your digital ad tracking before “turning it off”.
1. Multiple Devices
How many different devices do you use on a weekly basis? Have you ever visited the same site on your mobile device and your laptop? Research from Google shows that 90% of consumers begin a task on one device and then complete it on another device. (source)
This means that these multiple visits from different devices are all being tracked as individual visitors rather than one visitor from multiple devices.
Google made one of the largest announcements ever on day 1 at the Google Analytics Summit this year with the introduction of Universal Analytics. With Universal Analytics, we are able to attribute visits from multiple devices to the same visitor.
For example, if I visit the same site from my tablet, smartphone and then finally purchase something from my laptop, I am currently tracked as 3 separate visitors and my original visit from my tablet doesn’t get credit for my purchase. However, with Universal Analytics, I will be tracked as one visitor, with 3 visits from multiple devices.
2. Attribution issues
The next issue we have with perfect tracking is that often we overlook the impact multiple campaigns have on one another. If someone sees a search ad followed by a remarketing ad, are they more likely to convert than someone who did not see that remarketing ad? How much uplift did the remarketing ad have on the initial touch point? If someone didn’t convert directly after seeing the remarketing ad, should we “turn it off”?
In traditional marketing we learn that it can take 5-7 impressions for a marketing message to be remembered. Therefore, when someone completes a conversion, more than one medium can usually be attributed to this conversion.
With Multi-Channel Funnels you can see how multiple touch points interact with one another but not how much value that search campaign is adding. At the Summit this year, Google also released the attribution modeling report in whitelist. With this report, you can change the weight of each touch point with different preset models such as the last click, first click, etc., in order to estimate the value of each campaign so you can have better insights into budgeting.
The most exciting model introduced is a data-driven model. This model analyses the probability of a conversion occurring based on the specific sequence of events and gives credit to incremental change. Therefore, if it notices search ads followed by remarketing ads often play a role in a conversion, it will give this combination a larger portion of credit than if one medium was involved separately.
3. Offline Conversions
If you paid $300 for a specific conversion and your average sale value is only $400 you would consider turning that campaign off? What if that one conversion resulted in sales of over $6,000?
The last issue with valuing campaigns is that often companies have a complex sales process and the conversion value isn’t being related back to Google Analytics for you to properly evaluate your campaigns.
If you aren’t purely an ecommerce retailer, then you are likely affected by this issue. Many companies have a lead form on their site but the actual sale occurs offline through a salesperson.
Another exciting announcement by Google is the ability to upload goal events from a CRM into Google Analytics using a user id. With this function you will be able to see the full value of offline conversions attached to its source.
This isn’t an all-encompassing solution for offline conversion tracking but it’s a start. I’m sure if you get a little creative there are ways to create unique coupon ids for in store purchases that can be uploaded to Google Analytics separately. There are also individual providers to allow you to track phone leads to a source and then once they are in the database, that conversion data can be passed back into Google Analytics via upload.
Overall, with device proliferation, complex sales cycles and multiple marketing mediums, tracking is no longer as easy as it used to be but Google is making every effort to make it as seamless as possible for us to get accurate data.
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