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After the Click: What Products Do Your Users Actually Buy?

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Keywords are the backbone of any search marketer's day-to-day life. They spend countless hours determining just the right mix given their businesses product mix and end goals. This is a great approach, and well documented/encouraged on this and other sites.

However, have you ever stopped to think about what products people are actually buying after they click on your ad? The old saying applies, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Consumers start by searching for a specific product, but don't always buy that product. While there isn't much you can do to stop this from happening, you can be aware of it, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Consumers often start by researching a keyword, and through general research, or due to promotions on the site, purchase something else. Our client set sees this happening between 20 and 40 percent of sales. This is a pretty large percentage, considering the typical way people approach search.

Too often we assume that because someone raises a their hand and asks for an "HDTV" that they will buy that item. However, the data is showing that isn't always the case.

Once you understand this is occurring, and you're capturing the data to understand user behavior, you can think about:

  • Cross-selling: What are the similarities in the keyword to product purchased combinations? Is it the same set of shorts and shirt combination, or earrings and necklace? How can you lay out your landing pages, or site navigation to facilitate this behavior?

  • Valuation: How are these users impacting your profit margins? If you think your keywords are only promoting high margin projects, but consumers purchase a lower margin does your promotion have the same value? Should you be targeting a different ROI?

Understanding user behavior, and having the most granular data available, gives any search engine marketer the advantage. This is a data point that certainly opens a lot of our clients' eyes, and helps drive business impact not only in paid search, and beyond into every online touch point.

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