Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Missing Metric

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Excerpted from: Offline Conversion Tracking: The Missing Metric
"I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted...I just don't know which half." It's not a joke: it's an astute observation from pioneer marketer John Wanamaker. John was a Philadelphia businessman who conceptualized the department store in the early 1900s. Today, 100 years later, we share the same problem Wanamaker faced of identifying which advertising works and which doesn't.

Online search drives offline sales

In March 2006, comScore conducted a study for Google that showed 63% of purchases by consumers who conducted online searches were made offline. This means consumers called or went to their local stores rather than purchasing an item from a web site.

With the holiday season fast approaching, small and local businesses should sit up and take notice. History repeats itself in marketing, just as in life, so there's a good chance this upcoming holiday season will produce similar statistics as previous years.

Local search behavior dictates purchase method

A Neilsen//NetRatings and WebVisible local search study revealed some interesting insights on local search behavior. The study found that consumers using a search engine to find a local service shopped very differently from a searcher on Amazon or eBay where the transaction occurred online.

According to the study, the local searcher would find a local business via search, but then use the phone 68% of the time to make contact with and/or purchase from the business.

The results of this study send two loud and clear messages: if you're a local company that is not advertising online, you should. And secondly, if you are advertising online and your company completes much of its transactions offline, you need to track offline conversions to get a complete picture of your marketing performance. And just which methods are proven to offer accurate offline tracking?

Methods of tracking offline conversions

Here are a few methods used to track conversions offline.

1. Simple Methods for Offline Conversion Tracking

2. Intermediate Methods of Offline Tracking

3. Advanced Offline Conversion Tracking Techniques

4. Graduate level offline conversion tracking

...The preferred method for conversion was the phone. This particular client does over 90% of its business by direct phone calls driven from their web site, but none of that is captured in their online analytics.

Offline conversion tracking gives you the information you need to make better marketing decisions and to better allocate your advertising resources.

Christine Churchill is President of, a full service search engine marketing firm. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.

My Take

The gist of this article applies to all local businesses - they need a way to track the efficiency of their advertising.

It is revealing that most companies that spend large amounts for online advertising are struggling with monitoring which of their ad campaigns really produce sales.

What if local small business owners had the power to immediately harness and measure their most effective advertising channel - and only pay as much as they want to - and pay it after they have earned their revenue?

Wouldn't that be something?

- - Tim
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Tags: localsearch, socialsearch

Thursday October 18, 2007 - 02:32pm (EDT)

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