Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3 Tips to Track Conversions More Effectively

As analysts, we are taught and bred to have an insatiable desire to track as many aspects of our websites and marketing strategies as possible. We often go out of our way to tag everything with codes and scripts so we can sniff out trends and insights. This hard work usually pays off in the form of content performance and traffic source reports.

More often than not, we like to pay close attention to the conversion report. How many newsletter subscribers did we get last quarter? Did online sales increase or decrease from last year? How many visitors from my target market downloaded an application? Conversion tracking is clearly an important element of marketing as a whole, but how do you do it effectively? Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your Google Analytics conversion reports:

  1. Assign a Conversion Value: Conversions are usually actions visitors can take that result in some sort of revenue, be it directly or indirectly. Whether the conversion is for a completed transaction or for downloading more information, an average value should be assigned. This is paramount to demonstrating ROI for any digital marketing initiative.

  2. Identify & Use Funnels: It’s great to know how many online sales transactions there were or how many new member registrations took place over the past month, but there is a great deal more that can be studied about these conversions. Conversions like these often feature several steps (a checkout process for instance: Add to Cart, Checkout, Billing Information, etc.). Specifying a conversion funnel within Google Analytics for these processes can shine a great deal of light on problem areas where visitors and leads are dropping off and leaving the conversion process.

  3. Pay Attention to 2nd and 3rd Degree Touch Points: The conversion process can often pan out beyond just the first visit. In the case of an online purchase, the sales process usually spans across several sessions, as the modern consumer researches your product or service, looks for reviews, and reassurance that this will be a wise purchase. With that being said, do not ignore the first touch point that the converting visitor made with the website! If they initially discovered your site via your company’s Facebook page but completed the sale after returning to the site directly three sessions later, your social media efforts might be paying off more than you think. In the case of paid campaigns on Google AdWords or Microsoft adCenter, the destination URLs can be tagged with “utm_nooverride=1” to ensure the first touch point gets credit for the conversion. A nice, quick explanation of how the nooverride tag works can be found here. The latest version of Google Analytics also makes analysis of multiple conversion touch points easier with its new Multi-Channel Funnel reports.

  4. Multi-Channel Funnel Report

Knowing how many conversions were triggered on your website is one thing. Having a deep understanding of how much revenue was generated from those conversions, where improvements can be made in the conversion process, and which of your marketing campaigns helped drive them can save your company time and money. Most of all, however, it can help you market more effectively and efficiently to ultimately increase conversions and ROI.

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