Are Your Goal Conversions Undefined?
As marketing expands to incorporate more involved levels of business strategy and growth, measurement too must grow with it. Understanding the power and capabilities of online tracking is often lagging for many major companies. Even those who do undertake digital measuring may fail to see the benefits. Unfortunately, we are noticing a rather common pattern in the Australian Marketing industry. Brands (even fairly prominent ones, who are managed by some of the industry’s biggest agencies) still haven’t clearly defined the goals of their online campaigns. The reason for this is simple. Campaigns are setup with undefined or misaligned business goals. But why are setting goals crucial to the success of your business? Let’s delve a little deeper. First, I will explain the importance of having well defined goals, like the image below. Then how to set them up, and the errors you should try and avoid.
The importance of setting clearly defined goals
Defining your goal conversions, just like any other business goal, should be one of the first things you do when setting up an online campaign. Setting well defined goals will not only help guide you in working towards something. Goals will also help you measure change. This, in turn, will get your whole team on the same wavelength working towards the main outcome. So, let’s drill down.
How can you measure without goals?
If you do not set goals, how will you know if your online campaigns have been successful or not? Or, where you need to improve? Setting goal conversions for your online campaigns are the key to efficiently measure them. It will allow you to see not only where you stand before, and after your campaigns, but it will also give you insights into what to expect, and what you can possibly achieve. Moreover, without goals, and therefore elements to measure, you won’t be able to make the necessary adjustments. For a campaign to succeed, you have to measure, test, analyse, and adjust all the time. Without goal conversions, you won’t be able to do any of these and if your campaigns succeed, it’s most likely a run of luck more than anything else. If you are not that lucky, you may lose a lot of money and resources while not knowing why, as you are not able to measure it. When you have well defined goal conversions, you will be able to get deeper insights into a lot of different data, such as which traffic source converts the most, for example. Or, even take a closer look at each source. You can look at conversions per keyword in your organic report, or which third-party website/referring URL is bringing in the most conversions, for instance. More than that, goal conversions will give you critical information on:
- New vs Returning Visitors
- Browser and OS
- Type of devices used
- Landing pages
On the other side of the spectrum, if you lack this critical data, it can create miscommunication, and thus tensions in the office. Especially, when a campaign isn’t very successful. How will you know the amount of leads you have collected from each goal, such as in the image below?
Lack of goal conversions is a recipe for disaster
A lack of clear goal conversions can lead to miscommunication between the digital departments and business executives, which can cost a business its strategy. Without accountability for your digital campaign’s goals, you might not be seeing the true potential reflected in leads and sales. By introducing measured goal conversions and tracked events, your campaigns will be the potential that others aspire to. Now that you understand why setting up goal conversions is important, you need to make sure you set them up correctly. Let’s take a look at the 2 main elements you should think of when setting up your conversion goal.
The recipe for Success
So I’ve talked about the importance of setting goals and tracking your conversions. But how exactly do you clearly define your goal conversions? You need to come up with a winning strategy. And to do that, you need to decide:
- What actions will be associated with your conversion goals?
- What conversion goal type(s) are you going to use?
Let’s take a look at what your options are.
Possible actions that can be associated with your conversions goals
When businesses think about “goals” or “conversions”, they often stop at “revenue”. Tracking the main actions that will bring in revenue (also called “macro conversions) such as a completed transaction, is important. However, they are not the only ones you should be tracking. Indeed, by only keeping track of macro conversions, you won’t be able to collect a full picture of your user journey and will miss out on important information. There are many other important actions you should be tracking, depending on what is on your website. Some of the most popular actions that most successful businesses set as their goal conversions are:
- Subscriptions (blog, newsletter etc.)
- Contact form completion
- Downloads of guides/ebooks/whitepaper
- Clicks that trigger live chat conversations
As a company, it is normal to track the main sources of revenue. However, to collect the maximum amount of information, you also need to track “micro conversions”. Those are conversions that indirectly contribute to revenue. For example, a traffic source that may not drive much direct revenue. However, if it can still drive a lot of subscriptions, it’s still very valuable because, indirectly, it does positively affect revenue. Once you understand what your macro and micro goals are, you will need to implement them and choose your goal type.
Choosing your conversion goal types
Once you know which actions represent a direct or indirect increase in revenue, you will have to choose what type of goal conversion it is and implement it, just like the image above. There are four types of goal conversions:
- URL Destination
- Visit Duration
- Pages per visit
Let me explain these a bit more. A URL destination is simply a page that marks a conversion goal. The most common example is those “thank you” pages. When one of your users hits one of those pages, track this as a goal conversion. A Visit Duration goal type can be set when someone visits one of your pages for a certain amount of time. So for example, if someone stays on one of your product pages for a few minutes. A Page Per Visit goal type can be set when your user visits a certain amount of pages during one visit, So say someone visits several of your product pages during the course of one visit. An Event goal is when one of your users performs a certain action on your site. This could be clicking to download an ebook, or watching a specific video. While events are a great way to base some of your goal conversions on, you should not over abuse them. I will explain later on what happens when the wrong events are defined as goal conversions. Once you have chosen what your goal conversions are and how you want to track them, you should be ready to implement them. However, make sure you don’t make the three most popular mistakes that many businesses make. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Setup your goal conversions correctly by avoiding common mistakes
Too often, companies have goals set up but not correctly. In the digital marketing industry, one mistake can mean the difference between making a profit and a loss. The three most common errors when it comes to setting up goal conversions are:
- Not knowing the difference between goal conversions and events
- Not defining a clear funnel
- Lack of a Google Analytics guide
Let me explain those a bit more.
Difference between goal conversions and events
One of the main errors that businesses make when setting their goal conversions is that they tend to confuse them with events. Goal conversions are whereby you identify a clear goal that you want your users to reach in exchange for key customer information which makes an impact to the business. For example, a thank you page after completing a form or booking order or confirmation page after an online transaction has been completed. This results in a true business conversion. It allows the delivery of a physical lead for further nurturing or a business sale which contributes to more revenue. An event, put simply, is all the activities that take place on the journey to conversion.
Event tracking on a website is purely related to the behaviour of the user, which allows a business to evaluate analytical data and understand the path in which consumers take on their website or funnel. It is usually in the form of a click or ‘doing something’ that results in activity such as a click on a call to action or a link that leads to somewhere, a play button on a video, a link to an email address, etc. The mistake marketers make is by defining the success of a campaign to tracked events. For example, one of our key clients had a previous agency who established the success of a campaign from a tracked event to a click of an email link [email protected] on their website. This is undefined as there is no technical exchange of information to the business. After the link is clicked there is no evidence that the customer would have physically sent an email to the brand and that was passed through as an actual lead? But that’s not the only mistake that marketers and businesses make.
The avoidance of clear funnels
The other error made is a lack of planning in establishing clear funnels that lead to proper goal conversions. For example, either you attain information about your customer or prospect or you don’t. If your website does not have the structure in place to capture information on the customer, then it is highly possible there is no clear identification of a funnel. I see this as a massive fail for any brand or organisation investing in online spend to a landing page or a website that has no end goal. Above all, you need to have a journey that allows you to clearly track events of the behaviours of your audience.
The goal is what leads to the end of the funnel: what results in completing a form, downloading a white paper, registering for an event, requesting a quote. All of these things allow you to grow your strategy further and re-market to your audience directly, keep them engaged, and deliver further strength in your brand. While the first two problems can relate to the knowledge of your analytics platform and your implementation, one of the other main issues with goal conversions is communication. Let me explain this further.
Too many cooks spoil the analytics broth
In many cases larger organisations tend to loose control on what is considered as a business conversion. Multiple parties, media companies and agencies are tracking and attributing ‘conversions’ in their own way. Just like brands need a brand style guide, in the business world of 2019 and beyond organisations now more than ever need to benchmark and establish a consistent process and guide for their marketing analytics. This will ensure the metrics that are reported are really important. It will also enable you to make the appropriate business decisions in regards to budget, campaign effectiveness and strategy.
So there you go
You’ve got all the information you need to start defining all of your goals, just not the macro ones, while avoiding the common mistakes. Setting up well-defined goals will help you measure and evaluate your online campaigns and your overall business strategy. By clearly defining your goal conversions, you will be able to fully grasp how your leads are converting. Moreover, you can collect data that you could use in your next online campaign. So start measuring, testing, analysing, and adjusting to further grow your business online.