February 9, 2011, 4:04 PM

Cracking the code

Online retailer Oneida tries to figure out the path online shoppers take to a purchase.

Lead Photo

Oneida.com, a retailer of flatware and other products for the kitchen and dining room, is using a new online ad management and monitoring tool that enables it to see the performance of multiple types of ads that shoppers click before making an online purchase, says director of e-commerce Andrew Ruggeri.

“We’re in a competitive industry, so this is a big win for me,” Ruggeri says. “I’m bidding on a lot of top paid search keywords, but until now couldn’t accurately attribute sales to them.”

Oneida recently deployed and tested the new LXRRRetailMC online advertising management and performance monitoring tool from NetElixir, a provider of online marketing products and services. Now, instead of seeing the impact on sales of only the last online ad a shopper clicked before making an online purchase on Oneida.com, Ruggeri can view a report that shows a path of multiple ads the shopper clicked.

So instead of seeing only that a purchase was preceded by a click on an ad that Oneida ran on a comparison shopping site, for example, Ruggeri can now see if the shopper first clicked on a paid search ad and then a social network ad before clicking the comparison shopping site ad. “This will give the insight on advertising opportunities that may have appeared too costly before,” he says.

For example, he’ll be able to see if it’s worth spending more for particular keywords or keyword placement in search results, or whether it’s effective to spend on placement in particular comparison shopping engines.

Ruggeri says that, for now, he’ll use the NetElixir tool to both manage and monitor the performance of paid search, about 10 comparison shopping engines and ads that he’s just starting to place on Facebook.

Eventually, Ruggeri expects to use the tool to also monitor the performance of additional advertising channels that he doesn’t manage through NetElixir, including affiliate sites managed through the Commission Junction network and e-mail marketing campaigns Oneida runs in-house with ExactTarget e-mail management software.

“This will help me allocate marketing spend for optimum return on investment,” Ruggeri says. But he adds: “I still don’t know anyone who has cracked the code to completely attribute sales to particular online ads, but this will give me more information to make better decisions.”

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