CONVERT OR DIE! Or Things What I Have Done Learned 4

by sarahtwonames

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the problem is I do not know which half.”* – John Wanamaker, probably.

It is the solution to this conundrum which formed the crux of Squared’s fourth module. You’ve planned the shiny multi-channel campaign, but how do you know if it actually worked? Pre-digital, you were probably looking at two to three months before you knew if a print campaign had been successful or not. Sure, you had the focus groups to test things out, but they tend to fall victim to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

Enter Google Analytics!** Tag the relevant bits of your campaign and watch the numbers flow in. Bounce rates (the user making like Bravest of the Brave Sir Robin), conversion rates (the user doing what you wanted them to do, like signing up to a newsletter), location, devices used…You name it, it can be monitored.

However, man cannot live by numbers alone. He needs insights (to be said in suitably reverent tones). As insight is not just an analysis, it is –

A thought, fact, combination of facts, data and/or analysis of data that induces meaning and furthers understanding of a situation or issue that has the potential of benefiting the business or re-directing the thinking about that situation or issue which then in turn has the potential of benefiting the business.” Vriens and Verhulst

Having insights and analytics means you can achieve one of marketing’s Holy Grails – full optimisation. Realise no-one’s using the “Join Us” page on your website, despite the fact that everyone loves the “About Us” page? Start optimising! Simply put – find out what works by making alterations to the relevant things, and use analytics to see its effect. Continue making small incremental changes, and suddenly a wild Optimised appears!

Optimisation benefits all parties. Customers/users get a vastly superior experience, and businesses get more of the cash monies. They get mo’ money in two ways:

  1. People stop bravely running away, thus start buying your products/services
  2. By knowing what works and what doesn’t, businesses stop wasting money on the fail and start spending on the win. Hello better ROI.

Unfortunately, optimisation has a bit of a sting in its tail at the moment: attribution. This is the process of identifying what happened where in a customer’s journey to conversion i.e. they got to your site via a search. Was it paid or organic? Did they click on a social media ad before hand? Attribution also looks at the causal relationship between all the steps, and aims to assign credit where credit is due. The list and combination of steps are endless.  If your user stays on one device, attribution is relatively easy***. Attribution becomes a massive migraine when your customer starts changing device. And God help you if they started offline and moved online, or vice versa. But you can be a tricksy hobbit here.

The future of attribution could go one of two ways at the moment. Either it gets easier as our tracking gets more advanced. Or the fallout from Edward Snowden’s revelations means that tracking gets infinitely harder.

Given that this is my favourite kind of data –

I am not the one to solve this 21st Century conundrum.

*There is a school of thought that it’s the Facebook half. But that’s another kettle of exabytes altogether.

** Many, many other tools are available.

*** You still have to be using the right model. This is the point in the course where my brain exploded all over my laptop, so I will hand you over to the wonderful Avinash Kaushik  for enlightenment.