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Google Hangout on Air: Understanding Attribution and Micro-Conversions

Posted on Thursday, August 29th, 2013 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEM

google hangout on air

Today, we continue the discussion on our participation in Google’s Industry Leaders hangout on air from last week.  In our previous blog post, we covered the panel’s recommendations for advertisers just getting started with mobile advertising, especially after the recent transition to enhanced campaigns.  In today’s blog post, we go a little deeper to discuss The Search Agency’s solutions for advertisers who have embraced mobile marketing and are ready to take their campaigns to the next level.  On the panel, Keith weighed in on the methods that advertisers can use to measure their success in mobile campaigns and to increase their ROI. Here were the main takeaways:

The underlying concept in a successful mobile campaign is to match intent to content.  Advertisers must understand the intent of their audience in order to match the content of their ads, landing pages, and mobile sites to that intent.  There are a variety of ways to gauge intent, but Keith specifically called on the Consumer Decision Journey, giving examples of how each stage of the CDJ provides a glimpse into the user’s intent.   Did the visitor watch a video on your site? Is the visitor looking at prices or comparing products? These actions all signal varying stages of intent, and these in turn can be traced back to the queries, allowing advertisers to align ad copy to each particular stage.

Keith applied the theory of the consumer decision journey to determine intent in mobile marketing strategy, conceding that that attributing actual conversions to mobile devices is a continuing challenge. Consumers are using mobile devices in diverse and dynamic ways, often in conjunction with other devices or as a starting point before making an in-store purchase.  Solely analyzing the last click before conversion is woefully inadequate because it disregards the many seemingly insignificant contributions to the consumer decision journey.  In particular, this model frequently overlooks the contributions of mobile.

Short of actual m-commerce sales or leads, the best way to start attributing conversions to mobile efforts is to track micro-conversions, which are revenue-generating actions such as phone calls or views of the store-locator page.  Advertisers often have internal data to quantify the value of micro-conversions, like what proportion of people who look at the store-locator actually visit the store, and what proportion of those actually make a purchase.  This data, combined with micro-conversion tracking, can allow advertisers to estimate the amount of revenue generated by a particular action on their mobile site.

Because mobile plays a role in offline and desktop purchases, shifting from a channel-centric to a consumer-centric marketing approach is essential.  Instead of segmenting advertising efforts into individual channels, Keith suggested focusing on consumer behavior, basing marketing decisions on a holistic view of the brand’s marketing efforts across the various channels that a consumer interacts with before converting.  Marketers need to break down the barrier between online and offline to best match consumer intent. However this proves to be an ongoing challenge, as marketers strive to develop better solutions for attributing conversions to mobile marketing.  As one panelist stated, attribution measurement methodology and technology is only about 10% developed, but the four representatives seem hopeful and invigorated by the challenge.

Access the full archived recording of the Google hangout here.

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