An often-overlooked metric is the time taken from the first click on an ad to the final conversion of the keyword. That is, the total conversion time for a keyword in a given campaign. While this metric may seem relatively unimportant to ROI (for instance), it can help you understand your clients and also help you better manage your campaigns. In this article, I’ll demonstrate a few ways in which conversion time can be very useful.
Consider an apparel retailer which sells several lines of clothing including menswear, womenswear, kids clothing, wedding and bridal wear, footwear etc. As a retailer, you would like to know if customers who buy more expensive items take more time on average to make their purchase. It seems like a reasonable hypothesis, but what does the data say?
While the connection is not exactly linear (the linear regression only explains about 38% of the variance), there is a connection. Further, it appears that three campaigns Women 2, Women 1 and Nightwear take a disproportionately long time to convert compared to the order size. Apart from the (ahem!) obvious conclusion that women take a longer time to buy than men, what are the implications of this finding? Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Evaluate your keyword performance. Don’t treat all keywords the same across your campaigns. Keywords in a campaign where the average order size is larger than average, should be evaluated after longer periods of time. A wedding campaign conversion takes 5-6 times longer to convert than an underwear keyword. A smart way to approach this is to evaluate the performance of closely clustered campaigns together but independently of other clusters. Wedding keywords would be evaluated separately but underwear, kids etc. should be evaluated together.
Use the appropriate retargeting duration. If you are running a search and display retargeting campaign, the above chart gives you a hint of the retargeting duration and frequency for every consumer type. A consumer typing a wedding related keyword should at least be retargeted for six days while a consumer looking for footwear should be retargeted for a shorter duration such as 2-3 days.
Know your comparison shoppers. Buyers with a lower click to conversion time are likely to spend less time comparison shopping than a longer conversion time buyer. Hence, wedding dress buyers are more likely to comparison shop than footwear buyers. Your ad copies should address these diverse populations.
Carefully evaluate the attribution window of individual campaigns. Make sure you understand the right window to attribute a conversion to a click. If you have a short attribution window for a wedding dress campaign, your campaign will appear to be underperforming. However, too long an attribution window and you would likely be giving too much credit. Surely, one cannot give credit for a purchase that followed an ad seen 2 months ago!
The last point regarding revenue attribution is a complex and important topic. However, conversion times can help you estimate the correct attribution window. My next column will address this important topic. Stay tuned.
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