The Ultimate Goal : Conversion
With so much time spent and money invested into online marketing efforts and capabilities, it is important to remember what the process is all about. Many gurus speak about traffic and multiple metrics to measure all aspects of Internet and website activity. While these all play a role in the process, it is important to always remember the primary objective. In simplest terms, that goal is conversion. Whether your specific objective is to make a sale and have a prospect become a customer or simply have a visitor provide an email, conversion is the term used as a measure of the ultimate success or failure of the effort.
Much of the attention of today’s Internet marketing experts is focused on developing as many channels and methods as possible to get visitors to a selected website. After all, everything from SEO to PPC has this goal as its primary reason for existence. As multiple channels and methods become more sophisticated and expensive (think social media), it becomes more of a priority to determine which channels produce not just the most visitors but, more importantly, the most efficient and cost-effective conversions.
All marketing is ultimately about finding the best way to fill the sales funnel with a continually renewed stream of qualified prospects. All marketing budgets have finite resources allocated to accomplish this flow, making proper allocation important.
Another Play by Google
A little over two years ago, Google introduced an analytic that can produce a report that shows you the role various channels play in delivering a visitor to your website. As this tool has been refined and marketers learn how to use it, several important elements are gaining importance in the evaluation of final conversion rates by channel.
The concept of an attribution model is not, of course, a new concept. There are a number of different applications and tools that focus on this issue. However, most website managers follow a simplified “last touch” approach that gives credit for a conversion to the last step in a process with multiple elements. Another approach uses a linear model for attribution and divides credit among those elements equally. Both approaches fail to provide the information needed to optimize your spend on the various channels available.
In the latest evolution of Google’s product, Google Analytics Premium, the process of appropriate attribution is easier and more understandable. This version of the tool takes a look back for a rolling 90 days to help evaluate which channels and keywords attracted which visitors to the website.
This data-driven model provides a report on which channels produced visitors with the highest probability of conversion. This ability to take hard data concerning each channel and ultimate conversions allows the site owner to backtrack and, costing each channel spend, calculate the actual cost-per-acquisition – a very useful number.
With return on investment (conversions) being the ultimate metric, Google has released a tool that represents a major advance in providing the ability to evaluate appropriate spends for each potential channel.