April 29, 2010, 12:51 PM

Stanley Steemer cleans up its ad tracking and spending with a new system

When Gavin Meyers joined carpet cleaning company Stanley Steemer, he quickly realized he needed more practical, usable analytics data than he was getting from the program in place.

When Gavin Meyers joined carpet cleaning company Stanley Steemer, he quickly realized he needed more practical, usable analytics data than he was getting from the program in place.

“We received reports and information that focused on a top-level view—for example, showing us where our money was being spent and highlighting the times of day that our target audience was more active,” says Meyers, Internet marketing manager for Stanley Steemer. “But I had a strong sense that there was a lot more going on.”

Meyers wanted to know, for instance, the path customers took before ultimately making a purchase, and not just the last ad a customer clicked before converting. To provide such information, he implemented a software-as-a-service system from search engine marketing firm ClearSaleing that allows his team to analyze ad campaigns more closely. Meyers uses ClearSaleing’s Attribution Management program to see all the ads that contribute to a sale.

The system uses tracking codes to identify which ads a consumer sees and when she sees them—all the way up to the last ad viewed before a purchase. It then classifies ads as Introducers, Influencers or Closers.

For example, Meyers says one of his top priorities was uncovering how Stanley Steemer’s branded keywords performed against broader, non-branded terms. Because the company invests in television, radio and print advertising, Stanley Steemer has strong brand recognition. Prior to initiating Attribution Management, Meyers says his branded keywords were ranking extremely high—which he expected. What he didn’t expect was all the other ways shoppers were getting to the Stanely Steemer web site.

“We were able to see that some people would come straight to the web site, but others would do a search for a broader term like 'carpet cleaning', click on our ad, look around, leave the site to perhaps shop around, then return by typing Stanley Steemer into their search engine query box,” Meyers says. “We're noticing more customers comparison shopping and are seeing more purchase paths that indicate that people are doing their pricing and features homework.”

The Attribution Management system also helped Meyers pinpoint the 20%-30% of his ad spend that was going to unprofitable keywords and initiatives. Meyers has since reinvested that savings back into his advertising budget, and has gone on to increase his ad budget by more than 30%. Beyond helping him cut poor-performing terms, Meyers also can now more easily manage his-pay-per click budget and keywords. Using a free tool, Stanley Steemer can access a list of suggested keywords, retrieve cost-per-click estimates and add a keyword to its Google AdWords campaign without leaving the ClearSaleing system.

The company also used ClearSaleing to tie online ad tracking to its offline franchisees. ClearSaleing helped Stanley Steemer build a customized report that breaks down the dollar amount of pay-per-click advertising that each franchise should be billed for, based on how many times users converted using the ZIP codes that a particular franchise covers. Shoppers on StanleySteemer.com enter their ZIP code when placing orders and requesting cost estimates.

“We have over 300 locations, 230 of which are franchise-owned,” Meyers says. “Now our accounting team doesn't have to go through an extremely tedious and time-consuming process,” Meyers says. One report saves Stanley Steemer’s accounting team an average of eight hours per month, Meyers says. Franchise owners now know exactly what they're being billed for and what the click cost was, he adds.

ClearSaleing charges clients a percentage of their online ad spend on pay-per-click search ads, shopping engines and display ads, says Adam Goldberg, ClearSaleing co-founder and chief innovation officer. The company also tracks others sources of traffic to a site, including organic search, direct visits, e-mail and affiliates, but does not charge a fee for that traffic. ClearSaleing works on a tiered pricing model and the more a client company spends in a given month, the lower the percentage. It also charges a one-time set-up fee that varies by client.

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