SES Toronto 2010: Meaningful SEM Metrics

Results matter. Even though the web is a relatively new channel for marketers, we cannot simply dismiss business objectives and go with intuition, as I'm sure the people you report to would agree. The great thing about the Internet, though, is that we can do a good job of measuring and tracking things online.

On today's panel we have:

Tami Dalley, Director, User Experience Optimization, ROI Labs
Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO, EightFold Logic
June Li, Founder & Managing Director, ClickInsight
Noran El-Shinnawy, Internet Marketing Manager, Acquisio

Tami Dalley, Director, User Experience Optimization, ROI Labs

Tami gives us a quote: "Life's too short to learn all the lessons the hard way". With that in mind, she'll be giving us three life lessons that we can hopefully learn the easy way.

1) Don't let someone else decide what's best for you

Look at Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), and tie creative IDs to ROAS. Don't just look at click through rate (CTR).


1. Use dynamic URL parameters
2. Look at the entry page report
3. Add in AdWords Data, and match the creative ID data to the copy

2) Don't forget to focus on what helps you get to your goals

We're talking about attribution here. The industry standard is to use last-click attribution, but it doesn't tell you the whole story.


1. Pull a campaign report for last-touch attribution
2. Pull a campaign report for first-touch attribution
3. Average the sales from #1 and #2
4. Calculate CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

3) Don't judge a book by its cover

No metric on its own tells the whole story, so do a multi-metric mash-up (deep dive analytics). Move away from counting things, to solving business problems.

Tami also mentions that they're always looking for web analytics talent (they're hiring).

Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO, EightFold Logic

It's good to collect data, but if you're not using the data, then you're not listening. There is a lot of data available, so use it. Although offline is not easily measurable, online is completely measurable. "You can't manage what you don't measure," says Richard.

Not every metric is a KPI, and vice versa. KPIs are things that you measure and react to.

Key metrics for online marketers:

  • Basic Counts (Visits, Uniques, Time on Site, Bounce Rate, ...)
  • Share of Voice (percentage of available traffic)
  • Return on Investment
  • Cross-channel mix

To look into the cross-channel mix, look at your log files for the referrer, session cookie, and persistent cookie information. Consider the attribution over time, and take into account everything so that you can invest properly into what works.

Businesses need to understand how all the channels fit together.

Use predictive analysis to project market opportunity, and don't just look at historical metrics. Look at data beyond tables of data; look at it in relation to the offline world. Segmentation is key to understanding your metrics.

Businesses care about:

  • Channel investment
  • Expenses per click/referral/etc
  • Revenue generated
  • Average order value
  • ROI
  • Share of voice

Businesses don't care about the terms used day-to-day by search marketers.

June Li, Founder & Managing Director, ClickInsight

Now it's time to talk about process! Look beyond the metrics, as they're not the problem. Ask questions and find out what's meaningful so that you can maximize value.

There are many tools, but the driver (analyst) is more important.

Go from:
Data and reports -> Analysis -> Opportunities -> Action -> Value

However, we begin our journey with value. What is expected to be delivered? Understand the desired business outcomes and goals. Identify the KPIs. Note that the KPI combinations will be unique.

Look beyond just the clicks, and drill down to the website to see where in the funnel there are issues. After that you can flip the funnel upside down to maximize long-term revenue. Turn loyalty into increased usage, then upsell or cross-sell.

In summary:

  • The analyst is the key, not the tools
  • Goals > Questions > Metrics > Analysis > Action
  • Go beyond the initial conversion, and maximize long-term revenue

Noran El-Shinnawy, Internet Marketing Manager, Acquisio

Noran starts off by introducing an acronym from Avinash Kaushik, HiPPO. HiPPO is the highest paid person's opinion (your boss). It's important to tell a good story to the HiPPO and bring value.

Average metrics yield average results!

1) Targeting

  • Show the right ad to the right people. Connect the search query to the ad copy and landing page.
  • Divide the campaign by the CTR and focus on improving campaigns that are under performing.
  • Don't know why a visitor's on your site? Ask them.

2) Valuing

  • Increase the number of qualified viewers while keeping costs down. Use negative keywords and adjust bids.
  • Quality Score has a huge impact on CPC.
  • Run an impression share report.

3) Satisfying

  • You're not a robot, so automate or semi-automate. [She's semi-pitching Acquisio here. :)]
  • Focus on increasing value.
  • Create buyer momentum, from click, to consider, to convert.
  • Give them an easy call-to-action.

On Twitter: @noranshinnawy

Posted in SEO

About the Author: Shockley Au

Shockley combines digital marketing and innovative technologies to help businesses succeed. He is certified in Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Bing Ads. Follow him on Twitter @ShockleyAu.

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