NB: This is a viewpoint by Tony Gray, senior director of North American Professional Services for Webtrends
Every travel company wants to use data to make the right decisions about marketing, but the reality is that it’s still a challenge to wade through loads of metrics to find insights that really mean something.
Digital analytics data can help marketers make wise decisions – and it can also be an important source for ‘uh oh’ alert when a problem arises, such as a conversion drop.
Let’s walk through four steps that illustrate an example of data-driven decision-making by a large travel brand, where an analyst spotted a significant drop in conversions using analytics, investigated it, identified the cause of the underperformance and then – most importantly – did something about it.
Understand demand, conversion and other key measures (bounce rate and error rate, for instance) by top markets.
This travel business had already identified its most important originating markets. Originating markets are defined as the departure city/area for the activity.
This view is important as it often leads to different profiling and segmentation opportunities based on that geography for marketing programs.
At a regular channel performance meeting, a group of employees reviewed the following:
At first glance, it’s clear there’s been a year-over-year decrease in demand (the ‘Visits with Purchase Funnel Interaction’ column) across all markets. But one that stood out was the alarming decrease in conversions for Las Vegas.
With visits up more than 16 percent, a drop in conversions of more than 18 percent appeared incongruent. While there are other data points worthy of investigation from this table (Why is the error rate for Atlantic City so high? And what’s the driver for Orlando’s stellar conversion rate?), for this example we will dig deeper into Las Vegas.
For any markets with a significant level of conversion decrease, begin exploring at the traffic source level.
Looking at channel performance is a great way to start. This particular travel brand was spending loads of money on paid search and other digital advertising channels to drive visitors to Vegas site content and Vegas-themed landing pages. So traffic going up for Vegas made sense – but the conversion rate decrease was concerning. It was time to look closer at traffic source data.
Here we see immediately that conversions are down across all traffic sources for Vegas. However, an anomaly appears in that paid search is driving a significantly higher year-over-year increase in traffic – almost 44 percent more – but with a substantial decrease in interactions with the purchase process and large year-over-year increases in bounce and error rates. So why the decrease in conversions for this important demand channel?
Review poor performing channels at the campaign level for significant changes in key measures.