The Little Things Matter in Digital Life: Impressions, Clicks and Conversions

Digital marketing trends have made way for more acronyms, buzz words, fillers and overall confusion amongst providers and purchasers of products. Keeping up with campaign implementation, delivery, measurement and so on, has opened up a gap to determining what is valuable in regards to metrics and what they truly mean. Today it is my turn to try and help you understand some of those buzzwords with the hope of providing a knowledge base to show you how the pieces of the digital marketing puzzle fit together.

First, let’s start with a road map of how viewers get to and interact with your site from a digital marketing standpoint:

  1. Impressions (ad view; the first touchpoint)
  2. Clicks (user actually clicking on your ad to be driven to an area of your site; first interaction)
  3. Conversions (user completing an action you’ve deemed as valuable; second interaction)

Obviously this is extremely general and there are numerous activities in between that can occur but in essence this are the steps that we generally assume happen in any favorable digital marketing campaign. So which of these are valuable and why? Let’s dive deeper.

Impressions

As mentioned above impressions are measured anytime an ad (text or content) are shown to a user. Far too often I hear clients say that impressions aren’t important or they don’t mean anything. This logic is unfortunately flawed. Impressions are the first touchpoint in your digital marketing campaign without which, the next steps are impossible. Now, before moving on you may say that people can get directly to my site by typing in my URL directly and that is accurate but if you’re looking for new traffic from a digital standpoint, generally the majority of traffic will come from a search engine result (or content campaign) versus direct traffic.

What’s the value of an impression?

  • As mentioned above they’re usually the first contact point for online viewers
  • If you’re running a cost per click (CPC) campaign versus a cost per impression campaign they’re free business mentions until a click is registered
  • They allow you to be numerous places at once if you’re using multiple campaigns
  • Using information such as Google’s impression share figures allows you to find out in your given area if you’re hitting your target and where you can improve
  • Most importantly they let people who may not know about you find you!

Now a campaign cannot simply be measured by impressions alone. After all, if you’re getting thousands of impressions without clicks, odds are your campaign isn’t intriguing enough to get people to your site and find out more information about what you have to offer. So we must move further down the line to clicks.

Clicks

To recap, clicks are measured once a user who has been shown your ad clicks on said ad. When a user completes this action they are driven to a landing experience set by you or your ad provider where they can view more information about what you have to offer. This is an excellent time to provide contact information via phone or online form fill. Remember, the more opportunities the better, but keep in mind that it isn’t a good idea to fill up the screen with popup boxes.

What’s the value of a click?

  • A click lets you know that someone is interested in your message
  • It brings users to your site where your most valuable information should be
  • A click sets up the user to complete a conversion
  • If you’re using retargeting (or remarketing depending on your preferred vocabulary) you now have an opportunity to show a banner ad targeted to that user based on their interest, which can give you further opportunity
  • For measurement purposes you can now compare your clicks to your impression numbers to determine your click through rate (CTR; clicks/impressions) to get a better understanding of what campaigns are performing better than others

As with impressions, clicks also aren’t the only metric that’s important to measure with a digital campaign. While they are a vital part of the process, they can only provide so much information.

Conversions

A conversion is considered an action that is marked as favorable to the advertiser. While there are many differences in opinion as to what should be marked as a conversion, we count conversions based off of tracked phone calls as well as form fills from a respective campaign. It is important prior to starting any campaign, that you decide what is valuable for you and measure it appropriately. Conversions should lead to contact with your business in the hopes of turning that shopper into a customer.

What’s the value of a conversion?

  • If setup correctly, this should lead directly to contact with your business setting up a potential sale
  • Even if you don’t achieve a sale immediately, you should now have contact information for potential future business
  • From a tracked action standpoint, this is one of the most valuable metrics in the marketing process

At this point, I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to say next. Conversions are most definitely of value to your marketing campaign, but they’re not the only metric that matters. For this particular metric though, we now can start some serious thought into where your marketing campaign may be falling off and where tracking isn’t as complete as everyone thinks it is.

One flaw in digital advertising is that you cannot always attribute the effectiveness of your digital campaign. Consider that users may be getting to valuable areas of your site and then visiting you in person. This would make it very difficult to attribute the valuable visit to the dealership back to your digital marketing campaigns. That is why it is important to consider if your site content is informative and/or entertaining, if your tracking code is placed correctly, if your site provides enough contact opportunities, etc. A digital campaign can get your name to customers that might not have seen it otherwise; they may not be in the market for your product now, but a digital advertisement they see now, could lead them to your business a couple months from now when they need what you have.

What do these all mean together?

In summary, impressions, clicks and conversions are all pieces of an effective marketing campaign. Paying attention to all of these parts and considering them carefully is what will help you improve your digital campaigns. However, I would urge you, prior to dropping a service or even a provider, to look deeper. Take some time to understand why something is or isn’t working. Ask questions about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and seek out professionals for their advice and determine where you want to be in regards to results.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give is to think like a consumer and be brutally honest. Ask yourself “what would I do if I were the user.” Your answers may be the difference between success and mediocrity.

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