According to a recent survey of marketers (75% of whom were internet marketers), most search campaigns are evaluated by click-related metrics like cost per click and click-through rate rather than conversion data. Internet Retailer reports that only 18% of marketers surveyed evaluated the success of their search campaigns based on ROI-centric metrics like profit per order.
The study, no surprise, was conducted by Omniture (a web analytics company) which allows firms to analyze the behavior of visitors to their sites after a click has ocurred. Whatever analytics and/or CRM system your company uses, that information can and should be used in the management of your search campaigns.
At Search Mojo, we are definitely proponents of post-click marketing efforts. Even if a client does not initially express an interest in measuring ROI, we find that ultimately profit is usually the ultimate underlying goal (or, at least, it should be!)
The Internet Marketer article points out that most marketers surveyed were unaware that it was possible to tie their paid search campaigns to conversion actions like sales. Even among marketers who do track conversions within their Google AdWords accounts, many could be delving deeper into ROI by examining the quality or relative value of those conversions.
For example, a conversion action for an e-retailer would likely be a sale. But rather than treat all sales equally when managing PPC bids, why not recognize that the sale of certain products contribute higher margins? That way, more budget can be allocated toward adgroups dedicated to those higher-profit items. Keywords for those items may also be allowed higher costs per conversion. There are even a number of tools out there that help manage large PPC accounts advertising on a large number of products with tight margins.
However, for companies who do not actually sell products on-site, the conversion metric may represent another action like a whitepaper download, newsletter signup, request for more information, or other kind of lead. In these cases, why not follow these leads down the sales pipeline to learn how many leads coming from each keyword end up eventually converting to a sale?
Of course, the major obstacle to implementing post-click marketing activities is not having the IT resources to implement the proper on-site tracking that ties visitor behavior to search data. But it can be done, and we are seeing more and more clients willing to partner with us to put that tracking in place.
The Internet Retailer article focuses mainly on paid search campaigns, but the same principles of post-click marketing can be applied to SEO campaigns for organic search traffic- especially for homepages.
Since a company’s homepage tends to be one of its most common listings in search engine results, isn’t it worth using an incoming visitor’s search query as a clue to what aspect of your company they are most interested in? Once you have a visitor on your site, there are also many design elements that can help drive that visitor to conversion faster. And if you have the right tracking in place, you can get a sense of which keywords are most valuable to your business.