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Every Online Retailer’s Dream: Knowing Where The Money Lies


Data has always been at the center of marketing decisions, but today it enjoys a constant, glaring spotlight! Results based marketing is here to stay, so it’s time to get the tracking machinery in place and get in front of the dashboard for some action.

At a very basic level, you need to know which categories, product types and price ranges are top performers and which are not. Once you know this, reallocate, prioritize and execute for success.

It is so much more fun to plan and execute when you know with confidence that you are putting your resources where the money lies. Here are some tips to unearth your top performers:

ROI Tracking: Pull All The Data Points

  • For each product, collect data on cost of sales percentage, conversion percentage, revenue generated and number of orders generated.
  • ROI trackers have a window of tracking, which means sometimes even if there is no immediate purchase, you are able to see how the traffic channel performs as a long-term advertising platform in addition to the short-term revenue generated. Every CSE does this differently, so find out how the window of tracking is set up. Is it last click, first click or a mix of revenue? You can influence how this is set up. One way to get to get a more accurate reflection of revenue and sales reporting from comparison shopping engines is to configure the revenue piece of the code to conform to certain rules that make sense for your specific business. Identify your business rules and then determine if you need split revenue reporting or full attribution.
  • Extract performance information on both a category and product level. Then dive into which combination of content does better on which channel. Work with your account managers to develop the most effective portfolio of category and product level content for each channel. This will allow you to optimize feeds based on the categories that different shopping engines convert well on.
  • Most shopping engines offer sophisticated ROI trackers with automated optimization systems that use the conversion information gained from the tracker to produce better search results for the shopper and higher margins for you. Many account managers will be able to leverage feedback systems installed in ROI trackers to boost performing categories or products and dial down non performing ones.

Site Search: Look At Deliberate Searches On Your Site

Site search gives you visibility into what users are searching for on your sites. This makes for a goldmine of data because these searches are from your users, those who know what your site is about and are the right target audience.

Once the shopper is on your site, start tracking their behavior and dive into site search queries to understand what they search for, which pages they visit and how soon they convert. Shopper behavior and queries on your site will vary vastly from the behavior on channels that brought them to your site.

Referring Channels: Rank Your Most Profitable Channels

Line up all your referring channels and deep dive into all the key metrics beyond just traffic. Analyze the cost of sale, conversions, revenue, ROI, top categories and products for each traffic source.

Next, determine the strengths of each channel and reorganize optimization efforts, target landing pages and budgets for each channel.

Navigational Queries: Own These Queries On Your Site

A navigational query is a search term where the user is looking for a particular section on your site or a specific web page. These queries are typically brand searches. If a page on your website is the perfect corresponding match for a query, then it should be collecting all the traffic for that query.

For example: If you are BestBuy.com, you should rank for and get a lot of traffic for the query “Sony cyber-shot at Best Buy”. If you are not getting the lion’s share of traffic for navigational queries related to your site, you should get on this case right away.

Ongoing data collection and analysis are key to a successful search campaign, whether it is organic search or paid search. Monitoring, analyzing and decision making based on these data points is not meant to be a one-time exercise.

Institute a system to constantly identify your best performers in all areas: keywords, landing pages, products, channels; and focus your resources to fuel their growth.

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