Yesterday Kevin Heisler and I spoke with Chad Baldwin, a product manager at Coremetrics. We learned about the announcement being made by Coremetrics today. There is some very interesting stuff in this announcement.
For those of you who are heavy into PPC, you may also be used to treating your campaigns in a direct response model. Someone came in by clicking on your ad after searching on a particular keyword within a search engine. So did they convert? Did enough convert to justify the cost for the keyword?
But the world has changed, and dramatically so. More and more purchases are being made only after multiple visits, and multiple purchases. A classic sequence of searches may be "digital camera", followed by "Sony digital camera", followed by "Sony cyber-shot DSC-W70". Only after that 3rd search did the customer in this example finally purchase.
One of the clasic bid management problems has been that we have always provided all the credit to the last click (in this case Sony cyber-shot DSC-W70). However, if the user came to your site for all 3 of these searches, surely some credit should go to the earlier searches. Yet classic web analytics packages and bid management systems don't allow you to handle this.
How this hurts you in your PPC campaigns is that your bid management solution might tell you to turn off that broad keyword (digital camera) because it is not profitable in a direct response model. But, when you do, your total margin goes down.
With this new announcement by Coremetrics, a unique new solution to this problem is available. Now you can associate the revenue with the last click, the first click, average it across all clicks, or setup a custom allocation across the various clicks. This allows advertisers to balance the allocation of revenue in the manner that best fits their business.
Better still, Coremetrics' announcement also includes detailed tracking and attribution of clicks that come in from display advertising campaigns, including those that come through from Google AdSense advertising you might be doing. So, if you are running AdSense, and a click on your ad comes in from About.com, you can attribute some of the revenue to that campaign, even though the purchase does not occur until 2 visits later after 2 click throughs from regular search ads.
This is really cool too. A while back I did an article on Search Engine Watch with the help of Dustin Engel of Range Online Media. This article outlined one element of the relationship between display advertising and search advertising. It recommended a cyclical approach to emphasizing display versus search spend. It just illustrated one element of how diplay and search advertising interact. Now with this Coremetrics announcement you can begin to truly measure some of the interactions.
Ultimately, the key to this announcement is the recognition that user sessions may in fact span multiple visits. You want to be able to track the cumulative behavior across all of a user's visits, and to understand the interactions between them. This is a new frontier that top marketers are major brands are already embracing. Coremetrics is now offering the tools to be able to look at this more closely than ever before.
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