Acquisition metrics


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Acquisition metrics

  1. 1. Acquisition MetricsNearly every web site shares three fundamental web analytics objectives: acquire more qualified visitorsfor the lowest cost, convert these visitors into customers, and retain these customers for repeat business. • Acquire more qualified visitorsFrom online marketing to offline marketing, the first step in winning new customers today is driving newtraffic to your web site. But all traffic is not equal. You need to drive the most qualified visitors for thelowest cost. With WebTrends you can get a complete picture of campaign response, campaign conversionand overall return on investment (ROI). As a result, you can pinpoint exactly which campaigns are workingand which aren’t.This chapter discusses acquisition in more detail. • Convert more visitors by analyzing click-by-click behaviorWhether your web site goal is for visitors to register, make a purchase, or get technical support, conversionrate is a critical measure of your site’s success. WebTrends provides the most comprehensive navigationanalysis in the industry, allowing you to track visitors click-by-click, identify confusing navigation andminimize abandonment. Isolating problem areas in your site and experimenting with improvements canhave a big payoff.For more information about conversion, see . • Retain more visitors by segmenting those most likely to returnOnce you have persuaded visitors to become customers, you need to retain them as loyal, returningcustomers. It typically costs 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.WebTrends allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your loyalty campaigns such as customernewsletters by how recently and how frequently visitors are coming back and engaging in repeat business.Now you can measure whether or not you are increasing the average lifetime value of your visitors.For more information about retention, see .What the Business Person Wants to SeeBusiness people need to optimize the effectiveness of their marketing expenditures. They need to runcampaigns that drive qualified traffic to their web sites. They make decisions regarding spending moremoney on tactics that work and reducing the amount on less-efficient areas. The decisions regarding theacquisition of visitors are some of the most important decisions that business people make because theprocess of acquiring visitors (such as creating ad campaigns, using marketing resources, outsourcing someareas) is expensive. Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  2. 2. What the Business Person Wants to See Acquisition MetricsAcquisition data can help you determine if your marketing tactics are successful. With WebTrends you caneasily get reports on valuable metrics that reveal how many visitors came to your web site, whether theyconverted to registering or paying customers and how much value they brought to your organization.Acquisition data can also tell you how comparisons perform over time and which customers have thehighest lifetime value.Performance DashboardsWebTrends provides performance dashboards that lets you benchmark your acquisition campaigns, as isshown in the following graphic.The Campaign Performance Dashboard allows campaign managers to view how every level of theircampaign performs across their acquisition and revenue KPIs. Campaign managers can easily see ifcustomers are responding to specific offers better than others and can make instant decisions based upontheir agreed-upon goals for that particular campaign.Entry/Landing PageThe first page that a visitor sees on your web site is called the entry or landing page. This is the mostimportant page in your web site, because it provides the initial impression for your visitors and influenceswhether they will continue to look at other pages of your site.2 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  3. 3. Acquisition Metrics What the Business Person Wants to SeeEntry pages can tell you whether people more often start at your home page or jump to a specific page onyour site—usually from a bookmark or link. Consider also that at the entry point to your site, visitors havenot yet begun to navigate the pages of your site. This is an opportune time to guide them in the directionyou want them to go. From these pages, you can promote areas of your site that you want them to see byputting noticeable links to those areas. In addition, entry pages usually provide good advertising real estateif you sell ad space on your site or promote your own products or services.Basic Entry Page UsageThe Entry Pages report is the lowest-level report, because you don’t know exactly how visitors got there.That is, your visitors could have used an ad campaign, a search engine, or some other mechanism to get toyour page. Yet this page may help you to pinpoint the pages on your site to improve. Based on this report,you can find your leading entry pages and improve them in order to represent your company in the bestway possible and direct visitors to other pertinent pages of your web site.The following graphic shows a sample report that identifies the first page view of a visitor at a site.In this sample report, “Pages” refers to any document, dynamic page, or form. Different types of profileshave different default settings for which file extensions qualify a file as a page. “Visits” refers to thenumber of visits where the specified page was the entry page. A visit is a series of actions that begins whena visitor views the first page from the server, and ends when the visitor leaves the site or remains idlebeyond the idle-time limit.Also, in this sample Entry Pages report, the home page or “Welcome Information” page is the top entrypage. However, many visitors entered first through the products and store pages. Perhaps many of thesevisitors entered because of an ad campaign. If so, this ad campaign may deserve more scrutiny, because thecompany may have spent quite a bit of money on attracting customers via that campaign. 3 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  4. 4. Collecting the Right Data Acquisition MetricsThe information in the Entry Pages report can indicate how you might want to optimize the architecture ofyour web site based on where your visitors are entering. It can also help you determine which externallinks are most effective. You may want to consider updating META tags and links.Advanced Entry Page UsageYou can make your entry pages useful by creating specific landing pages for each campaign and makingsure that each landing page is not linked to anything except the specified campaign. That is, only theintended campaign should link to the landing page—nothing else on your web site should link to it. Thenthe landing page redirects the visitor to the page that you want them to view.By themselves, entry pages are not that interesting, but if you can design them into your web site foranalysis, then you can determine who came to your web site because of a particular campaign.Collecting the Right DataWeb sites can employ a variety of mechanisms to drive traffic to a specific web site and track its success. Ingeneral, visitors will find your site through: • Ads (banner, email, traditional media) • Searches • Links • Directly through bookmarksThe following subsections discuss the mechanisms that help visitors find your site. These mechanisms arereferrers, ad campaigns, search engines, and email marketing efforts (such as newsletters).ReferrersJust as a doctor receives new patients from a referring source—such as another doctor or a currentpatient—a referrer, or referring URL, is the page on another web site that linked visitors to your site.Referring URLs tell you where your visitors came from to get to your site. You can use this information todetermine which external sites are the best ones to place links on, or ads for, your site. This information canalso convince you to develop or maintain positive relationships with these sites so that they will continueto offer a link to your site.How do you determine what the referrer is? The record in the data file contains the page that was visitedbefore the page represented by a particular entry. So you can ascertain the referrer for each page from therecord in the data file. But more interesting is what initiated a visit to the site. How do you determine thereferrer for the visit? This is done by taking the first hit in the visit, looking at that hit’s referrer, and callingthat the visit’s referrer. Therefore, all of the referrer’s URLs come from the first hit of the visit.4 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  5. 5. Acquisition Metrics Collecting the Right DataThe following graphic shows the domain names of sites that refer visitors to your site.From this sample report, you can get basic information. However, if you have several different adcampaigns on Yahoo, this report doesn’t reveal which one is working best. Consequently, the referrerreports provide general, low-level feedback on your efforts. For more specific information, you will needreports on ad campaigns, search engines and email marketing.Referring Site, Domain, or URLSome web sites may have multiple links to your site. If you only want to know what site referred thevisitor—not the individual pages on the site that contained a link to your site—you would need to strip outall parts of the URL except the site or domain name. Doing so allows you to discover which sites ordomains refer visitors to your web site the most.For example, a site, such as may have several domains, such,,,, and of these domains are referring work for the main site domain name may have several IP address. For example,,,,,, might all be used by the www.referrer.comdomain.So your reports can give you the site name, the domain name, or the URL information. It depends on thelevel of information that you want. 5 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  6. 6. Collecting the Right Data Acquisition MetricsThe Self-Referrer IssueUsing the referring URL to determine how your visitors came to your site has one major drawback: yourown site can appear to be the referring URL. This self-referring circumstance occurs when a visitor beginsa visit, leaves your site open in the browser window, stays inactive beyond the 30-minute visitor sessionwindow, and then becomes active again. Once the 30-minute threshold is crossed, WebTrends considersthis to be a new session; however, this new session will register your site as being the referrer. For thisreason, instead of using the referrer page or URL, you may be better off using other means of tracking howvisitors come to your site. One useful method is by tracking visits from ad campaigns.No Referrer - Direct Traffic“No Referrer” or “Direct Traffic” represents direct traffic to the web site as the result of one of thefollowing: • Visitors who type the domain name directly into the browser • Visitors who bookmark the site • Visistors who have the page set as their home page • Visitors who click on an email link, shortcut, or other direct linkAd CampaignsAdvertisements can come in many forms, including ads on other sites, popup ads that are triggered, andlinks embedded in email campaigns.Here are some broad definitions of ads that are frequently used:Web-based ads These ads include “banner ads” that appear on the web pages of sites that your best prospects are likely to visit. Web-based ads have many forms such as text, moving graphics, a call to action (“Click here to download …”), Flash or streaming banners, pop-ups, and pop-unders.Newsletter-based ads These ads are directed at publications that your prospects are most likely to be reading. With newsletter ads, you can often choose from among sponsoring the newsletter, sponsoring a column or feature in the newsletter, or placing an ad that will appear among other ads, usually as a text ad.Campaign IDs and Translation TablesYou can manage your campaigns by using campaign IDs and translation tables to convert the campaign IDinto meaningful information. For example, you may see a campaign ID in your data files such ascampaign=721.WebTrends allows you to have a text file that (at analysis time) can translate all of your campaign IDs intotheir corresponding campaign names.6 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  7. 7. Acquisition Metrics Collecting the Right DataRedirect PagesMany ads are designed to initially route the user through a redirect page before they can view the adcontent. This redirect page quickly and imperceptibly bounces the visitor to the actual page with the adcontent, recording the redirect page as the entry page for the session because it was selected first. (Here,the first hit recognized as an ad campaign in the visitor session is counted.) If each redirect page for eachplacement is distinct from the others, you can track which version of the ad most often took the visitor tothe ad’s content.Let’s say you have two online ads for your product, one on Yahoo, and one on AOL. In addition, you sentan email to potential customers with a link that takes them to the content. If you wish to track them allseparately, you would create a separate redirect page for each one. In this scenario, you might have thefollowing pages:Yahoo Ad: /redirect/yahoo_ad.htmAOL Ad: /redirect/aol_ad.htmEmail Ad: /redirect/email_ad.htmBy tracking visits to each of these redirect pages in the top entry pages, you can see which ad placementsmost effectively bring people to your site. The following graphic illustrates the redirect process forWebTrends using the web server data collection method. Remember that client-side tagging will not giveyou this information unless the redirect page has the proper script. For more information, see .Using this illustration, if you looked in the web data activity file you will see a two-step process:The first web data activity file entry: GET YahooAd.htm - 302 - yahoo.comThis took the visitor from the to the Yahoo redirect page (YahooAd.htm). Status code 302means that you were redirected. 7 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  8. 8. Collecting the Right Data Acquisition MetricsThe second web data activity file entry: GET PromoAd.htm - 200 - YahooAd.htmThis took the visitor from the Yahoo redirect page (YahooAd.htm) to the promotion ad (PromoAd.htm).Status code 200 means that you were successful.The following graphic shows a sample report showing the top referring pages.In this sample report, “Page” refers to any document, dynamic page, or form. Keep in mind that differenttypes of profiles have different default settings for which file extensions qualify a file as a page. Any URLcontaining a question mark is considered a dynamic page.If “Direct Traffic” is 100% of all your traffic, then your web server is probably not logging the “referrer”field in your data files.You can use WebTrends to create a campaign profile and track either entry or referring pages. However,some ads have several possible referring pages with long, complicated URLs. As a result, it can be moredifficult to look up and define a referrer when you set up a campaign profile.Tracking Multiple CampaignsRe-direct pages are great for handling a handful of campaigns, but if you’re doing hundreds or thousandsof campaigns, this method is impractical. Instead you should use a parameter field containing a parameterID. The ID can be used to identify all of the attributes that make up the campaign, such as site name (forexample, MSN, Yahoo), program (3rd quarter ProductName upgrade), offer (25% off), creative type(120x120 GIF banner), creative (race car image), and so forth. You can then use a translation file (viaWebTrends script or custom table lookups) to create reports on which attributes are most effective (forexample, did the race car image do better than the Flash movie of a tornado, or was the 25% off offer moreeffective then the free year of support).8 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  9. 9. Acquisition Metrics Collecting the Right DataOffline Acquisition TechniquesEntry and redirect pages are handy for off-line acquisition techniques. For instance, if you place an ad in anewspaper or magazine telling people to go to your site, you might get them to, but you are unlikely to get them to EnginesSearch engines play a large role in acquiring visitors. Whenever someone uses a search engine, there is thechance that they will use a keyword that triggers links to your web site.Search engines typically come in two flavors:Paid Search Engine You pay a fee for every person who clicks through to your site, and you have to monitor which keyword phrases are bringing you the best visitors. With Paid Search Engines, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of money spent.Organic Search Engine You pay nothing for visitors who come to your site. You monitor which keyword phrases are bringing you the best visitors. With Organic Search Engines, you evaluate the effectiveness of time spent.People use search engines when they don’t know the name of your site or have no other direct link to clickor distinct URL to type in their address box. Web site designers go to great pains to figure out how to getrecognized by these search engines and appear in the “top 10” list that appears when a search is performed.Research consistently shows that more than 80% of web visitors use search engines to find what they need.The longer users are online, the more likely they will use search engines and make purchases. Since mostweb users believe that those sites that show up in the top of the listings are the most important sites, youmust take every reasonable measure to make sure your site ranks highly with search engines for the searchkeywords and phrases that your most valuable prospects use. If you can’t get good rankings by optimizing,you can always try pay-per-click advertising options, which most of the search engines offer.But search engine technology constantly changes. What you did to get a search engine to effectivelyrecognize your site or page today can have marginal results only a few months later. And each searchengine has its own proprietary method of creating a result list based on the search phrases or keywords aweb user enters. These lists use the search keywords and phrases to create a list of what they interpret asbeing the most relevant sites. Search engines also use a host of other factors, including how often visitorsclick on the link to your site from within their list, and how many of the more popular sites containingrelated content have hyperlinks to your site. Most search engines also let you register with them, and bypaying them to place your site in their index, you can get more exposure than if you’d left it up to chance toget noticed. 9 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  10. 10. Collecting the Right Data Acquisition MetricsThe element that you have direct control over in this mix is making sure that the keywords you planned forvisitors to use to get to your site actually make your site appear in the search results. By reviewing the topkeywords or search phrases entered by visitors, you can find out if those keywords are driving people toyour site. If not, you can modify your web page content to promote your site with search engines—basedon those keywords. Some common ways to modify that content involve including the keyword or phrase inthe description and keyword meta tags, and increasing the frequency with which you use the word orphrase in the HTML title, a headline, and first few paragraphs of the page. These methods will improveyour chances of being found and promoted by a search engine. Note Search engine optimization is not the focus of this guide. Please consider WebPosition ( for a complete discussion of this constantly changing topic.You can use WebTrends to find the search engines that are used most often by visitors to arrive at your site.You might want to register with search engines if you find that your site is not being noticed.With WebTrends you can generate reports on organic search engines (non-paid search engines) and paidsearch engines. The following graphic shows a sample report about most recent search engines.10 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  11. 11. Acquisition Metrics Collecting the Right DataWebTrends allows you to compare this information with information from a report on the most popularphrases for your site. The following graphic shows a Most Recent Search Phrases (All) report.Using the information from this report and the previous report you can compare search engine rankingswith the popularity and competitiveness of phrases to get a complete picture of how the web site isperforming. Search engine rankings allow you to understand where your site shows up in the list of searchresults for certain phrases; for example, if you have a phrase that performs particularly well in terms ofconversion, but your search engine ranking is low, you may want to try for more highly qualified traffic byboosting your ranking.WebTrends can also analyze paid and organic search engine usage and generate reports that show the totaleffectiveness of your search engine marketing and optimization strategies based on activity, depth andduration of visit. You can receive separate reports on paid search engine, or organic search engine, or both.Email MarketingWhen you want to reach prospects directly, consider using direct email and either your own customerdatabase or a purchase marketing list. You can also email to your in-house list of registered visitors, whohave opted-in to receive communications.By using email marketing, the recipient can click on a link to your web site, and this visit is automaticallyrecorded and catalogued by WebTrends. 11 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  12. 12. Collecting the Right Data Acquisition MetricsYou can use WebTrends to track email campaign results using entry/landing pages as a primary orcomplimentary metric to the other measures produced by email solutions. WebTrends can help you todetermine how far recipients get into the conversion process, as well as what they do once they’vecompleted the process and on subsequent visits.Advanced email solutions will track clickthroughs to the site, campaign conversions and revenue—and insome cases visitors’ clickstreams/paths—but this is where the overlap with web analytics solutions ends.Unless the visitor’s activities are tied directly to the campaign, meaning the visitor entered your sitethrough the link contained in your email, viewed campaign details/pages, and converted on the campaignoffer, most email solutions will not measure it.You can make your entry pages useful by creating specific landing pages for each email marketingcampaign and make sure that each landing page is not linked to anything except the specified campaign.That is, only the intended email marketing campaign should link to the page—nothing else on your website should link to it. Then the landing page redirects the visitor to the page that you want them to view.To analyze the detailed interactions your email visitors have with your site beyond summary campaigninformation such as the number of responses and conversions, you will need a WebTrends solution. Ifvisitors left campaign-centric pages, where did they go? What content groups or products (beyond the onefeatured) most interested them? Did email recipients purchase products that weren’t featured in thecampaign? All of these questions can be answered by using WebTrends.The following graphic shows a report that provides information about all types of campaigns, includingemail marketing.12 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  13. 13. Acquisition Metrics SummaryThis report lets you compare different kinds of campaign types to see which are the most effective. Ofcourse, the effectiveness is related to how much money you are spending on each campaign.Tracking Multiple Email CampaignsYou can use re-direct pages for handling a handful of email campaigns, but if you’re doing hundreds orthousands of campaigns, this method is impractical. Instead you should use a parameter field containing aparameter ID. The ID can be used to identify all of the attributes that make up the campaign, such as sitename (for example, MSN, Yahoo), program (3rd quarter ProductName upgrade), offer (25% off), creativetype (120x120 GIF banner), creative (race car image), and so forth. You can then use a translation file (viaWebTrends script or custom table lookups) to create reports on which attributes are most effective (forexample, did the race car image do better than the Flash movie of a tornado, or was the 25% off offer moreeffective then the free year of support).SummaryAcquisition is the most expensive step in getting visitors to your web site. Monetary expenditures onadvertising, search engines, newsletters, and similar campaign efforts often make up the largest share of acompany’s budget. But without visitors—especially qualified visitors—your web site is meaningless. Onceyou have customers, you can work on converting and retaining them. Fortunately, conversion and retentionare far less expensive.Finding the Features in WebTrends ProductsThe following paths will help you to find the topics discussed in this chapter in WebTrends.Entry Pages and Referrers Click Web Analysis > Report Configuration > Campaigns > New CampaignAd Campaigns Click Web Analysis > Report Configuration > Campaigns To create a report about ad campaigns, Edit a sample profile and click Visitor History. Make sure that Campaign History is checked. 13 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release
  14. 14. Acquisition Metrics Worksheet Acquisition MetricsSearch Engines Click Web Analysis > Report Configuration > Custom Reports > Reports or Dimensions To create a report about search engines, Edit a sample profile and click Visitor History. Be sure to check Search Engine History.Acquisition Metrics WorksheetUse the following worksheet to help understand how you want to acquire visitors. Consideration Yes No Comments Will you be using ad campaigns to drive traffic to your site? How many of these campaigns do you need to track? Do you complete test campaigns before you begin the real ones? Note: Test campaigns can help you understand which campaigns work the best. Will you use redirect pages? Do you intend to outsource the creation of your ads and the serving of your ads? Will you track referrers? Are you relying on statistics from organic search engines? Are you using paid search engines? Will you use a email newsletter campaign?14 Send Feedback Fall 2010 Release