Improving Top of the Funnel Website Metrics through the Eyes of a DR Marketer - Susan Rowe

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Cover image for  article: Improving Top of the Funnel Website Metrics through the Eyes of a DR Marketer - Susan Rowe

Recently I had the opportunity to field a few questions from a very savvy online marketer. His first question was about measuring the impact of offline media to the top of the website funnel. He asked if they could simply correlate impressions generated from DRTV to customers appearing on the website.

Here's how I answered that question. From a DR perspective, we believe that % Reach, % Frequency and Impressions are not indicative of response to messaging. This is due to a missing piece of the response equation, namely attentiveness. With that said, there are some associations that you can make -- namely, if you were to increase your awareness budget you would see an increase in activity at the top of the funnel and if you wanted to gain greater understanding, you could conduct an ad awareness study or put an econometric model in place. But first, let's review attentiveness and its impact on results.

Let's use DRTV as an example of how attentiveness impacts results. If we air a spot in a first run sports program, say a College Football Game, Purdue against Notre Dame, while we may have garnered great audience numbers, our response, namely people going up to your website from the spot, is simply dismal. The reason is because of a high level of attentiveness. So this program works extremely well in terms of establishing a brand, but doesn't help to get a potential customer up to the website to actually learn more about your product. The viewer is highly unlikely to disengage from the program and go to the website as he or she might miss a score -- especially if the score is close (which it won't be this year as Purdue is in a "re-building" year). So awareness won't often engage consumer to grab their smartphones and go online to check out your product, which helps you to finish the sales story online. But awareness does help in other ways.

The next question was how to know if we were hitting the right audience, employing the correct creative, using the right dayparts and putting forth the best offer. We typically review, through response tracking, if the right audience is seeing the media. We append a custom identification code to every person that we believe is generated through a TV ad and follow that person through the funnel to determine if they resulted in a sale. We are able to tell which messaging and creative, as well as which offers work best, via testing. We create test pods, and we switch out creative in each pod from one week to the next to iron out seasonality issues and individual network performance issues to determine what works best. Even if you don't employ all of the DR techniques, if one piece of creative, message or offer, out-performs another by 20% or more, that would be extremely valuable to know.

The final question was regarding the portion of media that is not meant to drive conversion, but is purchased just to drive awareness. My advice was that awareness driving media should also be measured in some way. Regression analysis would be the best method to track what is performing and what is not. When we conducted regression analysis on one particular client, the resulting report provided us with understanding as to where that next "top of the funnel" marketing dollar should be spent and what the expected ROI would be from that action. When we followed the "advice" we experienced marked improvement in our overall performance.

By the way, this particular model was the first conducted on a brand response account which included brand advertising and DRTV advertising. Surprisingly to some, but not to us, the model favored DRTV.

So I think the larger piece here is that you can employ some DR techniques to improve performance, where at the current moment, you may be only softly evaluating the top of the funnel and thereby leaving some serious profits on the table.

Prior to embarking out on her own Susan Rowe held the position of Senior Partner, Managing Director within the Digital and Performance Marketing media practice for Ogilvy Neo in New York and Chicago (Feb 07 - July 08). Her charge was to oversee Performance Marketing for a number of high profile clients, including Allstate, Investools, TD Ameritrade, Select Comfort and Six Flags. She was also responsible for leading NeoVideo, the video unit that works with new forms of video on TV and online. She was selected to be part of a Google TV's first panel primarily for her work in development of ground breaking research with Google TV on the effect of attentiveness on response. Susan can be reached at

Read all Susan's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Susan Rowe on Response-Driven Media.

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