Thinking Outside the Bounce

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Everyday too many online marketers make bad keyword decisions based on perfectly good web analytics data.

If you think your web analytics are giving you all the data you need to manage your paid search accounts, you’d be shocked to see what they’re not telling you.

When a prospect visits your site from your PPC ad, instead of ordering on your site or filling out an inquiry form, they might call to ask for more details about your services … or perhaps place their order with you over the phone.

Since that transaction does not go through on your web page, your web analytics are blind to that conversion.

And that blindness passes through to your analytics reports understating keyword conversion rates, ROAS and incorrectly bloating CPA metrics.

Without seeing the full picture, your keyword strategy might be completely counter to your goals and objectives.

Don't Be Misled By Good Data

Let’s take a look at a simple example of how ignoring your call-in sales will lead to bad decision-making. Figure A is an analytics report for a fictional pet supply company showing performance for their important keyword phrase “pet supplies”.

Figure A

Note that based on this report, since neither of their target metrics were met, they’d want to find a way to reduce advertising costs for that phrase. They’d probably be tempted to lower their click costs by bidding that phrase down which would likely reduce their visibility while increasing their competitor’s visibility.

However, if we factor in orders that came in over the phone from customers that clicked on their PPC ads, their bidding strategy will not only be different, it’ll be more supportive of their goals as you‘ll see on the next page.

In general, the percentage of call-in sales will vary based on factors such as the prominence of the 800-number, the price of the product, and the relative complexity of the product or service sold.

For our example let’s assume, that on average, they receive 17% additional call-in orders from the "pet supplies" keyword.

Further, since their sales reps get the opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell to those callers, let’s assume that the average order value for their call-in sales from PPC ads is 20% higher than the online orders.

Figure B reflects the more accurate data for the keyword phrase “pet supplies” that incorporates call-in sales resulting from their PPC ads.

Figure B

Including the metrics for these call-in sales shows that the keyword “pet supplies” did indeed meet both of their CPA and ROAS targets and they should not reduce their bidding or visibility in the paid search listings.

How To Easily Track Call-in Sales

Fortunately there is an easier and more accurate method for tracking call-in sales than the error-prone manual system of receptionist, pencil and paper. After all, how many of your customers are even going to find your products and services?

With Engine Ready’s Call Analytics, you’ll be able to automatically track call-in leads and sales by campaign, search engine & keyword. Here’s how it works:

  • You select the marketing campaigns or keywords you want to measure
  • Receive an exclusive pool of 800 numbers from Engine Ready
  • Place scripts on your landing page that will dynamically serve up your unique 800 numbers for each campaign, search engine or keyword you wish to track
  • Review reports to determine which campaigns or keywords are generating call-in leads

All of the behind-the-scenes work including the call forwarding is done through the software based on scripts placed on your landing pages.

Figure C is a sample report from the Call Analytics package that shows call-in sales by keyword phrase. This example shows call-in sales data for the different match types for the keyword phrase “pet supplies”.

Figure C

Figure D shows a sample production report that provides important details on the keyword and revenue information for call-in sales.

Figure D

By summarizing data from this report we can see exactly which keywords drove call-in sales and the amount of revenue generated. Combining this information with our analytics data will provide the complete picture on how our keywords actually performed.

Be Careful With Automated Bid Management

Many bid management tools are available that automatically adjust your bids based on business rules you set up. These business rules are usually tied to user-defined CPA or ROAS targets.

For example, the pet supply store above could have used a bid management program to automatically lower the bids on the “pet supplies” keyword when the CPA exceeded their target of $26. However, since the bid management tool was not aware of any call-in sales data, it would actually be executing the wrong strategy.

Some might argue that you can counter this oversight by modifying your CPA target in your bid management software by a percentage representing the anticipated impact of your call-in sales.

The problem with that logic, though, is that the ratio of call-in sales to online sales is usually not consistent throughout an entire campaign and instead will vary based on types of keywords and the products related to those keywords.

Sharpen the Focus on Your Reporting

It’s both easy and quick to start getting a more accurate read on your paid keyword performance. By sharpening the focus on your reporting with call analytics, you’ll be able to optimize top spending PPC keywords that may appear unprofitable based on your web analytics.

And, you’ll be able to maximize the value of your search marketing spend by knowing which keywords drive your call-in leads.

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