Most Search Engine Marketing is Measured Using
the Wrong Metrics, Here’s How to Change That
Tying Search Marketing Results
to Campaign Objectives
By Peter DeLegge
Online marketers handling search engine
marketing campaigns often chase after what
their gut tells them are the most important keywords (I’ll use the term
keywords for single keywords and keyword phrases for the sake of simplicity)
for their products and services or the keywords that attain the highest
click through rate (CTR) at the search engine or a combination of high CTR
at the lowest cost to achieve a desirable listing position. But this model tells a marketer nothing about a keyword’s
ability to perform on campaign objectives. After all, a keyword with a CTR
of 35% at $.30 per click might look great on the surface, but this says
nothing of that keyword’s performance on campaign objectives.
At best, e-commerce marketers track which
keywords lead to a sale and which don’t, dropping a cookie to track behavior
over say 30 days. But this approach neglects the value of other brand
events. After all, there is a value to moving prospects further down the
purchase funnel – and shouldn’t those visitors who don’t purchase but
complete certain events that indicate movement down the purchase funnel be
valued, monitored, and managed?
To use a direct mail marketing analogy, the
sponsored search listing copy is a lot like the teaser copy on the outside
of the envelope. The click is similar to the recipient opening the envelope
and the landing page and user flow through the website pages to the end
desired action (s) (or conversion event) is a lot like direct mail
recipient’s actions opening the inserts inside the envelope.
While direct mail marketers commonly limit
measurement to actions tied to response and conversion, not actions that
have brand value or that push recipients further down the purchase funnel.
Simply put, measuring these kinds of actions offline isn’t simple, it takes
research and may push a campaign over budget. However, online, it’s an
entirely different story.
Online metrics enable measuring user paths
through click actions and time spent, two very valuable indicators of
visitor behavior. While most search engine marketing campaigns focus, at
best, on conversion events, few also measure the value of activity that
pushes visitors further down the purchase funnel and events that have brand
The Search Engine Marketing Scorecard: An
Objectives Based Approach
Online ad server applications like Dart
(tm) and Atlas (tm)
enable detailed keyword tracking and custom scoring of click events for
campaigns possible. A handful of very savvy internet marketers and agencies are
beginning to score actions on landing pages for paid search campaigns and
online banner ads. This enables the keyword purchasing choices to be made
based on campaign objectives, not merely click through percentages or the
lowest cost per click – two methods commonly used by search engine marketers
that have little connection to a keyword’s ability to perform on campaign
objectives. (Note: The scorecard method can be applied to other types of
online marketing, not just search engine marketing.)
For example, if you’re a B2B widget
marketer, you may see the keyword phrase “size a red widgets" as perfect
because you’re getting a click through rate of 15% at a cost of around $.35
per click. However, this approach neglects to take into account whether or
not that keyword phrase is effective at bringing visitors to take the
actions you desire – and that’s critical to an effective campaign. Whereas,
if you have scored website actions according to your objectives and say,
there are ten potential actions a visitor could take once at the landing
page and a total possible score of 100, you will be able to determine that
keyword’s ability to deliver on your objectives at the lowest possible cost.
Let’s say that your two most important actions are subscribing to your email
newsletter and registering for a webinar, you will want to give these two
items a higher score than other events to signify their importance to your
Scoring actions according to campaign
objectives enables your search engine marketing agency or in-house team to
optimize all search marketing tactics around your objective of attaining the
highest possible score at the lowest possible cost. Even more, it provides
the campaign manager with more meaningful metrics than click through rates
from search engines and web operational metrics, metrics that can be used to
determine and manage campaign effectiveness and ROI.
Simple Example of Scoring Actions
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Peter DeLegge is the publisher of
Marketing Today and has more than twenty years experience in marketing,
marketing communications and more than ten years of it managing online
marketing. He has managed online marketing at two Fortune 500 and
has had numerous marketing programs hailed as marketing best practices. He
is a regular speaker at marketing events. His bio is available at
© Copyright 2005, Peter DeLegge Consulting/Marketing
Today. All rights reserved.
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