Friday, March 21, 2008

Online and offline campaign tracking

This is an excellent case story about online and offline campaign tracking with one of our customers. My second post in history was about SEA LIFE Helsinki and how they tracked their visitors. Now we went little deeper in web analytics, or should I say, optimization of marketing. Sea Life Helsinki opened the winter show over a month ago and we pushed measuring into this project. The campaign included two basic ideas: a pike fishing story competition and 2 in 1 special offer coupon to bring customers at their slowest time, wednesday evenings.

SEA LIFE Helsinki decided to use both offline and online advertising to promote the winter show in aquarium. They had on outdoor advertisement in place for one week and in addition, a magazine article and a press release. They also send a newsletter and we ran a small Google Adwords campaign just to test how online ads worked versus offline advertising. So, we used IndexTools web analytics system for measuring traffic from these different sources. And actually we measured much more than just clicks (click the picture below for getting a better view of the table).

We counted or evaluated impressions, and by doing that, we got either exact (newsletter) or approximate (article based on circulation) click through rate (CTR). We counted also cost of each channel, so we got also a KPI called cost per click (CPC). We measured actions, which in this case were amount of coupon prints, and we got another KPI called cost per action (CPA). And finally, we counted conversion rate, actions divided by clicks (visitors). Unfortunately, if adult entrance fee is 13,50 €, the cost per action is too high in general.

But, we have to remember one important thing: we didn't use campaign specific domain name in outdoor advertising, just sub address It's not absolute truth that outdoor advertising didn't work at all because people are lazy or just don't remember the whole address and they type just . Anyway, the table above includes very much valuable information for marketing and especially next campaign planning.

SEA LIFE has also other website goals what we measure. For example at the same timeframe they got 10 request of offers and one of them came from campaign newsletter. You should propably count this in, especially if it turned out to sales. We also found that newsletters were the most effective way in this particular marketing mix. But at the same time total newsletter subsciption conversion rate was only 0,04 %. Based on this data, one development idea is that we have to get more newsletter subscriptions and we have to bring the sign up form more visible. This is clear suggestion for action and what the web analytics is all about.

This is not all. As you can see, there's a bar code in the coupon. SEA LIFE actually counted customers and sales from the campaign. When customers arrived and gave the coupon, SEA LIFE's cash system was able to read in the bar code. After a month there was 89 returned coupons generating approximately 1.400 € turnover. We have to wait until the end of April, when campaign ends, to get final results. If you look the return on ad spent (ROAS, total revenue divided by total costs) at the moment - it's pretty poor, only 34 %.

The best thing is that we can learn great things from this project, such as which are the most effective channels and what is the best marketing mix in general. SEA LIFE also has to compare their whole turnover e.g. last year's or last month's turnover because every printed coupon is not returned but the visitors are still converting to customers. There are so many variables and this makes web analytics and marketing optimization so challenging. It's not easy and that's why I like it a lot.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

How to track calls from your web site

Measuring contacts from your web site is very important for any business. The easiest one is to measure how may requests you get via a simple contact form . You can also count how many visitors clicked your email address, Skype or chat button. Measuring incoming calls are little bit harder but very crucial to understand the whole effect of your online presence and any marketing activity. And yes, you have couple of options how to track calls from your web site. You can simply have one phone number, reserved and showed only at your site (or a marketing campaign). In this case you know that any incoming call comes from your web site or certain campaign. With eStara's call tracking solution you can also:
  • measure number of calls (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly)
  • forward calls to multiple destinations
  • record calls (check your local privacy law)
  • save caller details such as phone number and name (check your local privacy law), geographical location and call duration
eStara has also two other quite handy solutions called click to call and click to chat. You can actually put a simple "talk to us" button to your web site as many visitors and potential customers want to call rather than fill forms or write emails. Depending on situation you can use "call us free" or pay per call strategy or something between, like Amazon does. And if you want to take this deeper, here are my KPIs (key performance indicators) for call tracking:
  • call conversion rate, number of incoming calls divided by total number of web site visitors
  • call click through rate (CTR), number of actual calls divided by number of "call us" button clicks or vice versa, call abandonment rate
  • average time of call, especially if you get revenue from calls (pay per minute)
  • wrong number rate, number of falls calls divided by total number of calls
  • total revenue from calls, in case of pay per call or lead generation for off line sales
  • cost per call, almost same as more common one, cost per click (CPC)
  • return on investment (ROI) for campaigns aiming to incoming calls (and revenue)
You can link this click to call experience (or web site user exprience in general as well) to customer satisfaction survey. i Perceptions and Avinas Kaushik just presented a free tool for this called 4Q. Do you have your own experiences for call tracking? I would like to hear your comments and feedback.