Are we really measuring success accurately in search? While Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the north star of search, many brands are struggling to execute this effectively and truly maximise the value of their customer data, due to a series of challenges.
These key blockers include either the lack of a tech stack in place, or not having the transformative people, direction, and leadership that are essential for driving this change.
There also remains the challenge of brands not being innovative when it comes to measuring success in search. Of course, it is extremely important for brands to create amazing marketing strategies, but what about the measurement strategy? Are brands measuring every vital customer journey touchpoint in search that contributes to real business outcomes for their brand?
When we talk about search, the most common measure of success is an online conversion/CPA target – but what does this mean for brands who also drive revenue from physical locations? The best practice would be to import offline sales data into Google Ads where offline transaction data is matched with Google Ads user information. However, this sort of project can take a large amount of time and investment to implement, especially for larger brands with complex structures & products.
Looking holistically, it is a marketer’s job to make informed decisions to drive growth for clients. This mindset should also be applied to search strategies – data should be informing the decisions marketers make. For example, a brand might have both online and offline conversion touchpoints but might not yet have the breadth of data or technology stack required to achieve total optimisation toward business outcomes such as profit or LTV (Lifetime Value). However, this should not stop a marketer from trying to take steps in trying to drive business outcomes for their clients.
David Kaul, Director of measurement & analytics at Google echoes this sentiment:
“Leading marketers don’t let incomplete data to stop them from making progress, they use proxy metrics such as micro conversions and store visits, to help fill in the gaps and improve decision making”
Testing offline data integration & optimisation with our clients
Store visits is a powerful conversion point for any search advertiser who earns revenue from physical stores as it provides the opportunity to understand how your search activity influences store visitation.
With existing technology and data at our dispense, iProspect identified store visits as the most valuable action we could drive across our search activity for a key client.
Utilising store visits is also an effective way to get brands on the journey to driving real business outcomes through search – this is a strategy we have successfully implemented with this client. Utilising Search Ads 360, we are now leveraging the store visits data point in our search bid strategies – instead of only optimising bids toward key website floodlights, we’re now including store visits as an even weight in the bid optimisation mix.
In order to ladder this bid optimisation mix back to real business outcomes, we have measured success based on a post-purchase measurement solution enabling offline sales to be linked to search activity. An email sent to every purchaser is tagged and once the email link is clicked the tag fires a conversion into our platforms. Leveraging this solution has enabled us to understand the correlation between an increase in store visits and an increase in purchases attributed to search.
We then reassessed what success looks like for the client and established a goal of measuring the impact of search on purchases, and then optimising toward purchases utilising store visits as a proxy measure. We had established a ratio between store visits and sales, based on existing sales data and determined that an increase in store visits would be the key performance indicator for driving an increase in sales across the product range. This was proposed as a major step toward a full-scale offline optimisation solution for the client.
The strategy was immensely successful in both proving the value of our client’s offline data to their business, and the incremental impact of search on purchase volume. Our initial testing showed an 11% increase in store visits, which translated to a 10% incremental lift in (high involvement) purchases or 503 incremental (high involvement) purchases.
Revealing the value of data was a huge part of the success of this project. Part of a measurement strategy is to reveal the value of data, then reassess what success looks like based on your findings. Importantly, this was a vital first step on the journey towards leveraging valuable data points to show the true value that search can deliver for our key clients.