From billboards and the Yellow Pages to Google Display ads and Facebook Promoted Posts, advertising has come pretty far. Remember Yellow Pages? While they definitely still exist, I’d be willing to bet they’re more commonly used as paperweights than as an actual way to find something.
So many things separate online and offline advertising, but one of the biggest things that make online marketing so game-changing is how easy it is to determine return on ad spend. With digital marketing platforms like Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and social media advertising, conversion tracking is simple, flexible, and transparent. (You definitely can’t call a Yellow Pages book flexible. Those things are bulky.)
Thanks to conversion tracking, it’s possible to pinpoint exactly what a customer does after he or she clicks on one of your website’s ads. Definitely can’t do that with billboards, huh? Let’s dive into why conversion tracking is so awesome and how it can benefit your business.
So, why is conversion tracking so important?
First, let’s start with what exactly a “conversion” is. A conversion is any important action that a user takes on your website. This can be a purchase, creating an account, signing up for an email list, or even spending a designated time on a specific page. We will refer to all of these as conversions going forward.
As for why tracking these conversions is so important, let’s put it this way. Without proper conversion tracking, it’s nearly impossible to determine how close you’ve come to accomplishing your goals. Who doesn’t want to measure that?
Three ways to set up conversion tracking
Conversion tracking can get pretty confusing. Essentially, there are three main ways to set it up.
- A conversion pixel. This is a small piece of code specific to your ad-buying platform (think AdWords, Twitter, Facebook, and so on) installed somewhere on your website. It’s generally tied to the conversion you’re tracking. For instance, a “thank you” page will typically have a conversion pixel on it. This pixel will attribute the conversion to the exact click that drove that visit.
- Google Analytics goal tracking. Each Google Analytics account can track up to 20 goals through URL tracking or through small pieces of code installed on your website
- Through your company’s CRM. This method is done internally and depends on which CRM you use.
Each of these types of conversion tracking comes with different benefits and drawbacks. Because of these limitations, the best situation for your business is to track conversions with a combination of all three.
That way, if one of your tracking methods breaks you won’t have a gap in your data. Having internal CRM tracking will also allow you to verify that your other conversion methods are set up correctly and that you have the most accurate data possible.
How can conversion tracking benefit your business?
If I had to put it in two sentences, the most direct way conversion tracking will help your business is by improving the importance of existing and future online advertising efforts. By tracking conversions, you can tie the traffic to your website to specific keywords, ads, and advertising channels.
This isn’t just helpful for basic optimizations and testing, but it helps in deciding how to allocate your advertising budgets across search, display, social, and any other advertising efforts your site has.
Along with campaign optimizations, conversion tracking also allows you to better segment and target audiences. Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Facebook Ads Manager all allow you to create audiences based off of users that have registered conversions through their interfaces. This can help improve performance depending on what conversion you are tracking.
If your conversion is a user signing up for a subscription, you can also build an audience of converted users to exclude. That way, your campaigns are only targeting new user acquisition and you’re not wasting money advertising to people who have already completed the desired action. Efficient!
Plus, there are specific benefits for e-commerce businesses. If you have an e-commerce site, you can actually create an audience of all users that have made a purchase larger than your average order volume (AOV) to retarget to.
But wait—there’s more (conversions you can track)!
Another great aspect of website conversion tracking is that you have the flexibility to track multiple conversions at the same time. This is important for many businesses that have a variety of key website actions, or multiple ways for a customer to contact them.
Let’s walk through an example of how helpful multiple conversion tracking can be. A while back, I was only tracking one conversion—phone calls—for a client.
All of our optimizations were made to increase the amount of phone calls coming to the website. After several months of increasing call volume, we discovered that most of the growth was coming from spammy calls. Though the call volume increased, these calls weren’t doing anything for the business.
After this discovery, we worked to set up multiple conversion goals and then provided weighted values for each based on how likely each conversion was to result in a purchase. This provided us with a more accurate picture of the value our online advertising efforts.
In some instances, you may have several important conversions to track that are unrelated. With properly set up conversion tracking, this is simple.
Perhaps your primary focus is driving profit through e-commerce sales, but you also have a well-established email marketing campaign that you want to drive signups for. It is likely that the best way to increase online sales is different than the best way to entice users to sign up for your email list.
No problem. Separate advertising efforts can be created for each of these conversion goals and they can be optimized individually to maximize returns from each.
Are you a conversion tracking convert yet?
Once your business sees the light of proper conversion tracking, you’ll never go back. Let’s just run through the benefits again: optimize campaigns, allocate budget efficiently, gather more data on how users interact with your website, and improve the performance of secondary goals like boosting email signups. (And that’s not even all. I just didn’t want to add more commas in that sentence.)
It’s time to get rid of those musty Yellow Pages and get onboard with conversion tracking.
Do you think kids even know what Yellow Pages are? Any conversion tracking questions? Tweet us at @Perfect_Search.