I remember the conversations we used to have in the mid 90’s when trying to figure out what to call the industry that would let people buy thing over the internet.
At the time AOL was a major force, and was known as an ‘online service’ while trying to pretend that the internet didn’t exist. For that reason I never liked the name ‘online commerce’ and steered towards ‘electronic commerce’ which ultimately turned into ecommerce.
Eventually AOL pretended to embrace the internet, the stigma fell from ‘online’ and the terms became interchangable. More important than the name, was the idea that the goal was to get the sale, or capture the lead, via the web site or page. That online conversion was the focus.
We’ve moved through probably five generation of ecommerce in the last 15 or 16 years. Today the role of the site or page extends far beyond seeking an online conversion. Often it’s just a step on the way to some other larger deferred event.
What starts online now ends in call centers, in leads that are sold or valued days after the site visit, or in all forms of offline and other transactions and value events.
External Conversions in ClickEquations
Last week we upgraded ClickEquations to allow all types of external conversions to be easily imported. This allows you to see complete reporting on all the positive results from paid search, and to have all of them influence bid decisions for your keywords.
Businesses which have conversions take place in call-centers can use this to finally connect the revenue captured on the phone to the specific clicks that drove people to the site where they got the phone number.
Lead-gen companies who don’t know the final value of leads until days or weeks after the site visit, can now connect those ultimate values to the specific costs of acquiring each unique lead.
And it’s not just initial offline or deferred revenue. This new capability can be used to bring subsequent purchases into the system – so you can see and consider the lifetime revenue impact of each keyword and text ad in your campaigns.
Better Reporting and Control Over Multiple Conversion Types
To support the new external conversion tracking in ClickEquations a number of other enhancements have been added. One that offers a lot of flexibility is that you can now customize the display names for all online and offline conversion events, and choose which events to roll-up into summary conversion and revenue metrics. For example, a web retailer may want to combine online sales and call center sales into their revenue numbers, but also track lifetime values as a separate column in their reports.
Full report customization is supported through the platform. Choose any individual online or external conversions or roll-ups in any report, in the management module, or in our Excel plug-in. However your business collects, defines, and tracks conversions and revenue you’ll be able to report on it exactly the way you want in ClickEquations.
Considering Multiple Revenue Streams When Calculating Bids
The most important reason why it’s important to bring every form of revenue into your paid search platform is so you can accurately match costs with revenue when deciding on future bids.
If until now 25% of your revenue was captured offline, but you or your system were calculating bids without considering that revenue – or without being able to allocate it across keywords accurately – then there has likely been a lot of room for improvement in your bidding practices.
ClickEquations now provides the ultimate in customization, allowing you to choose which combination of revenue events to consider when calculating each unique bid rule within your account. This makes it possible, for example, to only consider online revenue when calculating bids on some keywords (brand keywords, for example) while considering both online and offline revenue when calculating bids for others.
There was a time when clicks were the thing to count but then conversions took over. There was a time when ROAS was a useful metric but eventually it became clear that ROI was far more accurate and important. There was a time when attributing all the revenue from a sale to the last click was the best we could do but then a variety of more realistic attribution models became available.
Each of those transitions moved paid search reporting and management forward with better clarity and a more realistic measure of the business. Including sales and revenues that happen after online clicks, but as a result of them, is another huge leap forward.
We’re excited to be continuing to move forward with ClickEquations.