Special Report - Search Engine Marketing
Turn Web data into online strategic direction
What would you do if you knew for a fact that 50 percent of all prospects who spend 10 minutes or more learning about your product line and view at least one of your competitive comparison charts go on to buy one of your products? You would focus your marketing efforts to drive this kind of behavior, or at least make it easier for prospects to find this information, right? Well not only does Web analytics make this kind of insight possible, but it also helps you determine if such sales are profitable in the short term and the long term.
By analyzing search engine data that show what happened before people got to your site along with Web site data that tell you what these people then did on your site, you can better manage your keyword bidding, site optimization efforts, affiliate programs … basically your overall SEM investment. What's even better is that analytics is not an all or nothing game. While Lisa Wehr, founder and CEO of Lake Leelanau, Mich.-based search engine marketing firm Oneupweb, says it's "shocking how many marketers still don't even track their SEM and online activity," she notes that even the most basic analysis can produce real results.
What Are You Tracking?
Just as you could in the offline world, you can gather data on just about any permutation of online activity. But the online space provides even more options for slicing and dicing. How sophisticated you get depends on what you need to know to make an impact on your SEM investment and the resources you have to track, analyze and act on this information.
According to Josh Stylman, managing partner of SEM services firm Reprise Media in New York, marketers should focus on those metrics tied to their program goals, such as sales, leads and ad impressions, and the costs associated with driving these actions. To do this, you will need to look at the "building blocks" to the metric. In most cases, this involves determining what percentage of people might be exposed to your search engine link; what percentage of this audience is likely to click on your link; what percentage of this group then is likely to progress past your homepage; etc. This exercise gives you a starting point against which to measure your campaign performance and test options to improve your return.