In general, 97% of browsers of a commercial website don’t convert.
OK, so I’m not sure what the exact number is and to be honest it completely depends on your industry and your own structure. It used to be about 97% anyway, so I’ll stick with that for the purpose of this piece.
Regardless, it’s a simple fact that the majority of people who visit your website do not then convert and buy something. Agreed?
When I started out in the marketing tech industry this was an issue. At that point I worked for an agency operating fairly rudimentary retargeting using basic programmatic capabilities (although it was sophisticated at the time).
Essentially we followed that 97% around the web, persuading them to return and spend some money on our website.
Now this was an issue because we were spending the same amount of money on all the individuals in the 97%, regardless of who they actually were. Within that 97% there were definitely some people who matched our high value customer profiles but also a lot of people who didn’t.
To take a real life example, a brand that sells high-end sports cars will get a fair amount of traffic of people who love the cars and the brand but are not viable customers. Whether that’s because they can’t afford it, have totally different lifestyles or can’t even drive. Spending money advertising to these guys could well get you a good click through rate on the ads, but will never improve your CPA.
What we needed to do was dig into the 97% and figure out who they were and what we should do with them. We couldn’t even be sure that the 97% hadn’t converted – only that they hadn’t converted on the website.
Increasingly regularly, Desktop mobile and tablet devices are used for browsing, price matching and investigating product specs before the purchase decision is made (whether that’s in store or online).
You can imagine how much of a headache this caused. We had no way of telling whether someone had browsed online and then purchased in store. Now, this is an on-going challenge regarding attribution – and it’s one that needs to be tackled – but it also affects the customer experience.
Imagine you’ve researched something online and then gone and bought it in store. Now imagine being followed around by ads for that very product (I’m sure that, for 97% of you, this exact scenario has probably happened in the last 6 months). Annoying right? Especially if that ad includes a discount you didn’t benefit from before or it’s a product you only ever need to buy once. So wasted ad spend and a negative brand experience. Well, that’s not great is it?
Opening up the 97%
What we needed to do was open up that 97%. We needed to know more about these people in order to make our programmatic retargeting more relevant.
Clearly with additional insight and with channels talking to each other this should be possible. We wanted to join up the online and offline and be able to recognise existing customers and people who would never purchase. The contextual information – often gathered from third parties – needs to be taken into account and play a role in the decisioning process.
And this is where we get to where we are now. It’s all about the data and the ability to ingest the right data and spit out actionable insights. Data from all the sources – first party, third party, channel specific, offline etc. – and process it in order to drive relevant insights and actions.
A clear win for clients is the process of more accurately finding high value customers and only targeting those with retargeting. Those people who are far more likely to be interested, far more likely to eligible and, importantly, who haven’t already gone and bought that product offline since visiting the website.
The answer’s a Data Management Platform (DMP). A DMP and the right data, of course… Without the relevant contextual data it’s impossible to understand each individual enough to be able to service them correctly. This is the case when retargeting valuable prospects who have yet to decide to convert, when deciding who not to advertise to at all (those youngsters who really, really want a sports car but are only 13) and when sending messages to an existing customer base.
Keeping customers loyal is just as important as convincing them to buy from you in the first place.
Interested in DMPs? Download the white paper DMPs and data-informed decision making for more.