Best metric for measuring online success

Beyond CTR and CPC

Recently I came upon a question posted on LinkedIn asking if there were any good metrics besides CTR and CPC. While the question was already several days old, I was surprised to read the responses. Most of the respondents agreed that cost per conversion was the only metric that really matters. However, what if your client is not running a direct acquisition campaign? If your client is a service company or perhaps cannot sell their products on the web (i.e. Pharma, Consulting companies), then there is no cost per conversion metric.

Metrics not to use for measuring online success

Metrics not to use for measuring online success

Just because your ads may receive a high CTR on a certain site, this does not mean that the audience is actually navigating beyond the homepage. Even if you judge the performance of a publisher based on cost per acquisition, there are still other things you would like your visitor to perform while visiting your site.

So what metric can be applied to both branding and direct acquisition campaigns? Actually, what do I consider the best (and proven) metric for measuring online performance?

Well ideally you want your consumers to visit your key pages on your website correct? So lets imagine that you have a website where you sale tennis rackets online and in total, you have 12 different pages on this site. The primary action you want people to do on your site is buy a tennis racket. Here are a list of all the pages on your site:

  1. Homepage
  2. Selection of Rackets on Sale Page
  3. Famous quotes from John McEnroe
  4. 2009 ATP schedule
  5. Contact Us Page
  6. Learn about different tennis strings
  7. Rafael vs Federer blog – who is better?
  8. Tips from Jimmy Connors
  9. Sign up for Email Newsletter
  10. Past Grand Slam Winners
  11. Order Page
  12. Order Confirmation Thank You Page

While the John McEnroe quotes, Federer blog, and Jimmy Connors tips pages are amusing and helpful, they don’t really help sell tennis rackets on your site. However, you have an email newsletter that people can sign up for which is an important action you want your visitors to do. In addition, visitors reaching out to you are important, so the Contact Us Page is of value. Finally, you want people to go to the Selection of Rackets on Sale page from the Home page since this is where you display the rackets you are selling. Out of all these pages, there are 5 that you want your target audience to navigate to. (Order Page and Order Confirmation Thank You page being the other two).

Okay, so now what?

Cost per weighted Point Scale

Cost per weighted Point Scale

So now that we have determined the pages that we want our audience to visit, we assign a ‘weight’ to those pages. The more important the page, the higher the weight. Obviously the Order Confirmation Thank You Page is the page we value most since we know a sale took place, thus it is weighted the highest. If you are not selling any products, but have a ’sign up for newsletter’ or ‘print coupon’ page, those pages can be weighted the highest. Now that we understand the concept of a weighted scale and have established the amount of weight we are going to apply to our most important pages, we can move on to the report we generally pull from our ad server (Atlas, DoubleClick, Zedo or whichever ad server you use as your 3rd party).

Online report from ad server

Online report from ad server

A standard report will show the date, name of publisher, creative description, impressions, clicks, cost and the volume of actions that occurred on all the pages that are tagged. (actions are visits to all pages on the website). By following the Smart Digital Spending Weighted Point Scale tutorial, you will learn how to evaluate publishers on both a CPC method and a cost-per-weighted-point (CPWP) method. The written, audio and video tutorial (written instructions are 4 pages long, video is 9 minutes) will use a real-life example and take you from start to finish on how to implement the CPWP method. So easy to follow along, a caveman can do it!

Video Tutorial of CPWP

Video Tutorial of CPWP

After implementing the CPWP, you can compare the two methods of evaluation: Cost per Click versus Cost per Weighted Point. Comparing the two methods of evaluation will show you that making planning decisions based on CPC leads to media waste since we really don’t know if these publishers are driving the right people to key pages on our website. Utilizing a weighted point scale DOES show you which publishers you should drop from your campaign and which ones you should keep. Utilizing a weighted point scale leads to smarter media buying decisions!

Best Online Metric for Measuring Online Success

Best Online Metric for Measuring Online Success

Eric Melchor

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