A Look at the Analytics of a Content Targeting Campaign
I started working with a new client this past week and in typical web nerd fashion I was curious to see what was going on behind the scenes in the analytics world. I took a look at the website’s history for the last 2 years and glancing at their data I noticed a pretty huge spike in traffic from November 2010 to February of 2011. This spike in traffic came from a paid content targeting campaign (Google display ad network) that ran during those months. With all of this increased traffic, how did those marketing dollars pay off? Was this campaign a success?
At first glance, we can say “yes this campaign was a success.” More visits to the website = greater brand awareness = success. To truly measure success, the real question is what did visitors do once they reached the website. In looking at the graph we can easily see that a person visited this site (page views), looked at one page (pages/visit) in a pretty short time frame (time on site) and then left the site (bounce rate).
Digging deeper into the website’s analytics I discovered the landing page that users would be presented with when an ad was clicked. The targeted landing page contained some brief copy, a product demo video and a form to request more information about the product. All solid landing page techniques. This campaign was also set up with a conversion goal in the analytics. This goal tracked how many people filled out the form on the landing page. Clearly the goal of this campaign was lead generation and they were measuring the success of the campaign by how many people filled out the form. How well did this campaign do? How many users filled out the form?
124. 124 people completed the form out of the 11,117 visits to the website that the campaign generated. That gives this campaign a 1.1% conversion rate. Not so hot in my mind but I have no idea how much money they put into this campaign or how much their product sells for. In theory, out of those 124 leads, one sale could pay for the entire campaign depending on the price of the software being sold. Unfortunately it’s a mystery as I’m missing some data to fully analyze the ROI of this campaign. Purely by the numbers this doesn’t look like a successful campaign to me.
Improving that Conversion Rate
Out of all of this I do find the marketing decision interesting, going with display ads over search. This aspect alone is a challenge as content targeting is a push medium. Realistically, this type of campaign would’ve done better as an AdWords campaign because it’s a pull medium. AdWords are served up based around a user’s search in Google. This type of user initiated marketing tends to do better than a medium that pushes a message to an audience.
It’s hard to say what went wrong in this campaign, most likely the content of the ad reflected something different than what was on the website. What makes me think that these elements were not aligned is that the average time on site for this campaign was a mere 19 seconds. On top of having the ad and content misaligned we need to think about where these ads were placed and what determined the ad placement. More research and tweaking of these elements as the campaign progressed could’ve helped out. The other side to the argument is that this campaign was perfectly executed and this data truly highlights the disadvantages of display advertising.
What do you think? Success or failure?