While the final score matters, any coach will tell you that the more granular stats — RBIs, home-runs, sacrifice flies, errors – provide the insight needed to drive a team’s performance. Similarly, B2B marketers need a mix of keyword performance indicators (KPIs) to truly make their campaign a winner.
Why Granularity Matters In B2B
The B2B customer is complex, dynamic, and focused on fulfilling a need. Given that, B2B marketers must tap into their available data to better address those needs. Yet many marketers limit their success metrics to revenue gains and losses. This is a mistake because this metric doesn’t tell the full story. Marketers who operate without an assortment of KPIs risk making the assumption that a campaign is performing better or worse than it actually is. As a result, they could make ill-informed decisions that could adversely impact the success of their program.
Making It Happen On The Field
To get a true picture of a campaign’s performance, marketers should leverage KPIs that are tied to their specific goals. For instance, if you want to gain insight into user engagement, you might want to examine such metrics as time on site, bounce rates, and pages viewed. On the other hand, if you want to better understand the relationship between your products, you should consider attribution metrics such as assists or lifetime value. Or perhaps you want to take a closer look at your conversion funnel to understand where users are getting hung-up. In that case, you may want to tap into metrics such as entry and exit pages. Overall, there are numerous metrics that can provide valuable insights.
However, there’s a big difference between desiring more granularity and making it happen. Marketers need to ensure that it is possible to measure the new metrics, and that the reporting process is useful and sustainable. The reality is that getting the job done may require new tracking pixels, a new analytics package, or even a change in mindset. In short, marketers need to be cognizant of the fact that there is a lot more to choosing KPIs than just making a wish list.
Looking Beyond Wins And Losses
The importance of granularity is now apparent to a B2B software manufacturer. The company provides two versions of a product on their website: a basic version at zero cost, and an advanced version for a fee. Given those offerings, the only success metrics they reported were the number of free downloads and the number of purchases. But deeper analysis revealed two key insights: 1) the keywords for the basic free version were contributing to the bulk of purchases for the advanced product; 2) customers who downloaded the free version before making the purchase had a higher lifetime value than those who purchased it first. Clearly, B2B marketers need to look beyond revenue before making campaign decisions.
Tips To Get Insights Right
But variety alone won’t provide the complete picture that B2B marketers need. To fully capitalize on metrics to gain important insights, follow the below tips to get it right:
- Broaden your analysis to include various decision makers. There are a variety of decision makers in the B2B purchase cycle, and each has different needs. For example, a procurement manager tends to identify with product fact sheets and pricing matrices. However, a COO looking for a strategic business partner searches for proven business success in case studies and company history. Diving into the bounce rates of the pages that speak to your various audiences can provide often- overlooked insight into multiple customer profiles.
- Change your metrics to match your mix. Marketing mixes constantly change, while the accompanying success measurements don’t change as frequently. For instance, companies with a deep history in TV may assume that impressions are the best metric to use online as well. And while this would be fine if the online ads are for branding campaigns, it wouldn’t be appropriate if the goal is engagement or conversion-based.
- Adjust your tracking windows. Visitor tracking windows may be too short or even outdated. For example, if a tech manager configured a company’s first analytics package two years ago, he may have assumed that the default cookie window of 30 days sufficed. But what if new research indicated that consumers took an average of 60 days to make a purchase decision? Extending cookie windows provides more accurate data about conversion sources, and gives credit to the channels that led to the conversions.
- Don’t overlook assists. Marketers could toss away important keywords if they appear to be non-performers because they don’t generate direct conversions. But tracking “assists” can give you more insight into what your campaigns are actually generating. In fact, it can demonstrate that an effort is driving significantly more conversions than previously reported. For example, top line analysis may reveal that a campaign for product X drives 10 purchases for the offering; however, by including assists, the analysis reveals that it is driving 30 purchases for the company as a whole.
- Be sure to analyze a conversion-free website. When a website is not e-commerce or trial based, marketers tend to focus on traffic. However, setting goals based on other on-site metrics provides clearer guidance for making changes to the site. For example, “cost per quality visitor” looks at the investment spent on users who engage with the site. A quality, engaged user is one who does not bounce, and continues viewing the content available. Most analytics vendors offer path analysis reports to provide further insight into content success.
Revenue is an important metric to consider when assessing the performance of a campaign, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. B2B marketers should tap into a variety of KPIs to get the insight they need to drive performance and make their campaign a winner.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.