Here is an astonishingly brilliant, yet simple idea (if I may say so myself!):
Why just measure conversions as one purchase or conversions just as a submission of a lead or opening of an account on facebook / twitter / what ever?
Why not measure Visitor behavior after that first purchase / lead / membership sign up (or the first super poke)?
Why obsess about the "quickie" that is opening an account? Why not the Visitor behavior in the 30 days after sign up?
For your Search campaigns.
Or your Display ads. Or Affiliate programs?
If you do that, you are not just measuring the "one night stand quickie" what you are measuring is something more of value: Was there a second date? Perhaps a proposal in five months? Maybe a marriage in nine months (because that's when the baby showed up). : )
We do this so rarely.
Success for campaigns (Search, Social Media, Display, TV and what not) is always measured based on that one visit or what happens when the campaign runs.
Yet it is likely that you are measuring incomplete success.
Let's do an example.
Facebook, in its quest for world domination, runs a world wide campaign (of whatever sort, really, make one up).
Success is to increase the membership on Facebook and thus making it a more "valuable" property (so that even in a weaker economy they can raise another billion dollars of cash).
So they get another 500k memberships.
How about this….
Rather than measuring membership sign ups why not wait 30 days and look at the Recency report for Visitors that came to the site as a result of that campaign?
Did that just blow your mind? : )
Ok, what you are measuring in the case of Recency is not simply people who signed up BUT rather the behavior of the visitors who signed up.
You are measuring if people you acquired from this campaign are visiting the site frequently lot in this 30 day time period after the campaign launched.
My hypothesis being that simply signing up is not enough. That's not enough success (not in this economy baby!). Real monetizable success is:
1) Do those people visit facebook again? And this is key…
2) They visit every day, or every other day, or every few days.
The more frequently people visit facebook.com, the more valuable they are to facebook. They see more ads, they super poke more, they friend more, they add more apps, and so on and so forth.
All activities (sexy translation: "visitor behavior") that is multiple multiple times more valuable then simply signing up.
When you look at campaigns not just from a "quickie" view (did they sign up?) you are not sure if you really added value to your business.
This is the kind of analysis you'll do. . . .
And here's a specific example of what you are looking for:
Campaign 1: 100k sign ups. "Top Bracket" Recency: 10% (i.e A month after the campaign 10k of these Visitors visited in the last 23 hrs on the 31st day.)
Campaign 2: 50k sign ups. "Top Bracket" Recency: 50% (i.e A month after the campaign 25k of these Visitors visited in the last 23 hrs on the 31st day!.)
Which one is more valuable?
With the "quickie" method it's campaign #1.
With the "post quickie" method (visitor behavior) it's campaign #2.
Super Sweetness: Combine looking at the Recency report with the Loyalty (Frequency) report (below) and you have a gold mine of insights. You'll now how exactly how many times Campaign 1 and Campaign 2 Visitors visited. That's helps your truly find your BFF campaigns.
Now the reality is most of us will follow the traditional "lets make sure we measure conversions" path and rarely do this.
Usually because we don't know that free or paid tools now allow you to do this reporting standard off the bad. AND that they are so easy to use that even my 4 year old son can do these segmented views (while, and I am proud of Chirag for this, remembering to filter "New Visits" out!).
This is one other hidden reason: Marketers are impatient. They want to know now what happened so they can collect their bonus (not really their fault, its how the compensation works).
But if you as HIPPO's and Leaders put the right structures in place to incentivise the right behavior and then encourage the right measurement than Queen Success will be yours!
If you buy into measuring Visitor Behavior then another fantastic metric to measure your campaign "conversions" is Visitor Loyalty.
Your display campaigns are purely for a "branding" impact and the measure of success is nothing.
Ok just kidding (am I? :)).
Your display campaigns are geared towards driving people to your brand and not bounce. Great. Measure that.
But also measure this, do these campaigns results in a increased likelihood that people will come visit your site again? And which display campaigns (on Yahoo or New York Times) result in Visitors that after a 90 day period come again and again and again?
Or "glorious" Campaign # 2:
Clearly New York Times display campaigns (#2 above, as an example :) are terrible and should be abandoned because they are not resulting in a longer term relationship with the acquired Visitors.
This is what I mean by measuring "latent conversions" (by that I mean using visitor behavior as a "conversion").
More marching orders:
- If you are a Social Media website (with no discernable outcomes) don't use "membership acquisition" as a measure of success.
Show your investors and potential advertisers that your property is driving the kind of "sticky" / "engaging" / "viral" / "insert buzzword here" actual visitor behavior. They will love you more.
- If you are a non-profit like NTEN (the "craigslist of non-profits") then use Visitor Loyalty metrics to measure success of your AdWords campaigns.
- Even if you are a ecommerce website take the data from your web analytics tool (not easy with Google Analtyics at the moment, maybe with the API, but you have Omniture so you should be doing this already) and measure not just the first purchase based on campaign traffic.
Look back 90 days and see which campaigns drove more repeat purchases. Value those campaigns higher, even if initial conversion was lower.
And more stuff like this (add your examples in comments).
Any Reporting Squirrel can report instant conversions. Only a true Analysis Ninja will do this kind of "post quickie" analysis and help the business make thoughtful and cost saving intelligent decisions.
Good things come to those who are patient, and those who focus on Visitor Behavior.
Ok your turn now.
Do you measure "latent conversions"? How about Visitor Behavior as a success? Especially pan session visitor behavior? Have I missed any other examples of analyses that can be done (it is late in the night)?
Please share your thoughts and feedback via comments.
[NOTE: I am using a new new wordpress plugin that will allow you to edit your comment for a couple hours after it has been posted. In case you make a mistake.]
Couple other related posts you might find interesting: