In Digital Marketing, two aspects of customer engagement seem to get the lion’s share of attention: Campaigns and Conversions. There’s always excitement about powering up a new way to reach customers and of course, when they convert, that rings the register and everyone is happy.
But the most costly errors and most critical customer losses occur during the engagement process. Engagement: that’s the rather unexciting middle part of the conversion funnel where users are right there on your site, looking at what you have to offer (whether its goods, services or content). And they either move on to conversion or they bolt. And you may see them again (there’s good data to suggest that some buyers need to visit at least twenty-five times before converting); but also, you may not. And you also may not know about the repeat visitors getting closer and closer to conversion as they continue to visit the site.
Does your funnel look like a distorted martini glass? Many enter but few get past the landing page? It means you’re losing your most valuable marketing asset (people who came to your site) almost immediately.
Most of the time there are two reasons for this:
your overall messaging is somehow driving the wrong traffic
your content is devoid of interest to people who should be interested once they show up.
Both of them require some serious marketing work. You can test which of the above is your problem by looking at bounce-rates, though there are other ways as well. For instance, if you had an email open, but then a one page visit, it may be your messaging (or that your landing page is failing). However, if you know that users are going one or two pages into your site and then leaving, you may have a more general problem. You need to know where they go, and what their exit page is. If it is a page that was supposed to lead them towards conversion, that page needs attention. If it was a page leading not to conversion–then the bigger question is: why do you have that page?
Any of these measurements requires a careful implementation of analytics. Relying on campaign data and purchase data (or download data) alone gives only the barest indications of success, and is not really actionable.
In order to develop strength up the middle (as the baseball folks might say), you need to develop the middle of your site so it matches the quality of your reach and conversion capabilities. Whether you’re using Google or a paid application, this requires the careful attention it deserves.
By understanding the middle of your conversion funnel, you will probably get it to look less martini-glass and more like a coffee filter. That’s what a well implemented analytics effort is meant to do.