The Era of Nebulous Advertising Metrics is DEAD

15 10 2008

With this I am on a mission. Given the ubiquitous notion that some how, advertising results can not be scientifically quantified, I believe, in this era of website analytical tools that we have (in practical terms) eclipsed that construct.  NO MORE will purchasers of advertising throw money down the toilet for non-results.  Instead, with a little bit of savvy and a properly prepared website, small businesses (including nonprofits and other budget strapped biz) will find a way to quantize advertising outreach efforts in such a way that nourishes results.

Here is what to do if you are a small business with a limited advertising budget:

  1. Install Google Analytics; or capture website traffic data in your choice of metric tool (C-Panel or Webalizer)
  2. Everytime an advertising purchase is made, match that up to a conversion action at your site (Outcomes are best:  Paid for products, or, Sales Leads)
  3. For the given time period of your advertising program equate your website viewer’s behavior to “conversions;” i.e., if you spend $1000 on TV ads for a given period and you receive 10 purchasing clients (purchasing $100 of products and/or services each), the ad purchaser can safely quantify the transaction as break even

There may be more to the story.  You might experience a 1:1 dollar for dollar trade-off (ROI) but the awareness of the public to your good or service may be worth the expenditure now that there are potential customers ready to buy.

Also, you may find that website visitations are way up but “conversion” is slow to follow in a difficult economic period.  By quantifying “interested” consumers, you might consider this a benefit to potential for sales; a key indicator that your advertising was successful.  You reached the audience, they were engaged enough to visit your site looking for more information, but they didn’t purchase (“convert”) due to circumstances beyond your control.  Admittedly, this last example is more “quality” than “quantity” but such a result has merit.  It means that an adjustment needs to be made to the advertising ROI calculation–where intent to buy is less than a confirmed purchase

Such results might mean that you can adjust content at your site to be more persuasive or more user friendly allowing viewers to execute a transaction in the near future.

Here is my formula for improved advertising results:

  • Begin looking at your website analytics with a shrewd eye for opportunities
  • Match ad dollars spent to actual consumer behavior (quantity and quality)
  • Compare and contrast different ad campaigns to evaluate cost effectiveness in any media platform (print, radio, TV, PPC or SEO)

With this approach, most advertising dollars can be assigned a fairly conservative ROI number.  Holding your ad sales person to account for and demonstrate results will allow the market for advertising to “correct” in such a way that allows greater emphasis on results rather than “pie in the sky” promises (for all of us!).  The jig is up!  Advertising sales is no longer a hit or miss proposition!

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