April 9, 2009, 12:00 AM

Marketers use superficial metrics to manage search campaigns, study says

Online marketers overlook the most important data when managing Internet search marketing campaigns, focusing on superficial metrics like cost per click instead of deeper data like profit per order, web analytics company Omniture says in a new report.

Online marketers overlook the most important data when managing Internet search marketing campaigns, focusing on relatively superficial metrics like cost per click and click-through rates instead of deeper data like profit per order, web analytics company Omniture Inc. says in a new report based on a recent survey of more than 500 marketers.

Only 18% of respondents use profit per order to manage keywords,says Michael Chertudi, Omniture`s vice president of demand and interactive marketing. 75% of the survey`s respondents were Internet retailers, he adds.

By focusing on deeper analytics data, marketers can drill down into how they can manage search marketing campaigns to increase revenue and profit margins, he says. In addition to profit per order, this deeper data includes cost per unique customer, time spent on site per unique visit, and click path.

Many retailers apparently are unaware of the ability to more effectively analyze performance metrics to improve revenue and profits from search marketing campaigns, Chertudi says. The Omniture Search Center bid management tool, for example, integrates with an online retailer`s merchandising management application to pull in data on total cost of goods sold, combine it with keyword costs, then produce reports on the profit margins of products advertised through search marketing campaigns.

Marketers can set business rules in the bid management system that, for example, will automatically increase or decrease the level of keyword bid prices based on the expected profit margins after factoring in the total cost of goods, Chertudi says.

Many retailers, however, spend too much time manually reviewing search marketing data, he adds. In the survey, Omniture found that, on average, marketers spend 15% of their time pulling reports from search engines, 21% on campaign analysis and 10% on refining keyword bids. "So 46% of their time is spent on manual processes that could be automated," he says.

The Omniture survey also found:

  • 43% of e-commerce marketing managers who responded to the survey don`t know how to accurately measure profit per customer or profit per order.
  • 67% of respondents say they don`t have enough time to effectively manage search marketing campaigns.
  • The majority of search marketing managers use Excel spreadsheets to manually manage keywords, and only 35% use an automated keyword bidding application.

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