October 07, 2015

Written by Mark Smith

Retailers: How to Turn Browsers into Buyers

Retailers Eye Analytics - KeywordFirstIn the future, retailers won’t have to work hard to find prospective buyers. Every person’s purchasing patterns and “wish list” will be readily accessible as they stroll by a store or digital signage. Retina scans and other biometric monitoring tools will read the “digital exhaust” emanating from our bodies and instantly serve up dynamic, contextually relevant ads to each passerby.

At least that’s the future depicted in the sci-fi blockbuster “Minority Report.” But for now, most retailers understand they need to make the best use of data to identify and attract people through their digital marketing campaigns.

In an earlier post, I described how Google AdWords helps retailers quantify the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts in driving traffic to their websites. My last post discussed the value of session metrics, like you can get from Google Analytics, in studying customers’ behavior during a specific visit to a website.

The goal, of course, is to discover which campaigns are turning browsers into buyers. That is where analyzing performance metrics proves invaluable. Whereas session metrics deliver information about customers’ behavior during a specific visit to the site, performance metrics can be used to gauge a campaign’s overall performance and the site’s effectiveness as a whole. Let’s examine two key performance metrics:

  • Individual page performance lets retailers track what visitors do when they are on specific pages, such as whether they click through to a third-party partner’s site. This can help retailers identify the pages they should lead visitors to the most and which are underperforming.
  • Cross-platform performance is important for retailers doing omni-channel, or multi-device marketing, because it lets them measure performance across devices. This can lead to insights about users who start their searches on one device and continue on another one, and it allows retailers to see how well an entire digital marketing effort is performing and avoid the trap of last-click attribution.

Using both Google AdWords and Google Analytics to track and analyze session and performance metrics, retailers can gain insights into which campaigns are most effective in generating real leads and increasing conversion rates. Or in other words—turn browsers into buyers.

Effective analysis can also help retailers improve branding campaigns by helping them determine the best words and approaches to use, based on performance results—even down to the page level. Understanding what is working at this deep level will enable retailers to make the best decisions about budgets, bids, landing pages, ad copy and other program elements. They can then target their dollars toward tactics that are working and cut back or remove entirely those that aren’t—even if they’re driving traffic.

In short, it will enable retailers to rely on data rather than instinct.

A recent Google report, cited in Advertising Age, asserted that 56 percent of digital ads are never seen. That means there is a startling number of ads that never even have a chance to attract prospective buyers to an e-commerce website, and it highlights the critical need to build paid-search campaigns honed by analytics.

The technology from “Minority Report” that allowed businesses to assail individuals with targeted ads might not exist yet, but with today’s analytics applications, retailers can use data to improve their digital marketing campaigns’ performance and attract the right prospects to their e-commerce sites.

Read more on our blog about how retailers can benefit from analytics and visit our website.