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September 6, 2016

Optimizing Toward Conversions? 3 Best Practices for Digital Professionals

As you’re likely already aware, more and more brands have shifted their ad dollars to digital tactics such as programmatic, video, native and, of course, paid search and social.

Web designer at work

As you’re likely already aware, more and more brands have shifted their ad dollars to digital tactics such as programmatic, video, native and, of course, paid search and social. However, the shift to digital is an ever-evolving one, and with that, the need to optimize in real-time and focus on capturing the attention of the right user at the right time is paramount.

For example, a digital campaign is no longer just about high click volume and high click-through rates (although these metrics are still valuable). It’s all about conversions and generating quality leads and/or sales. It is now possible to analyze the digital makeup of a converting user, and then tweak the campaign as needed to target look-alike users who share similar interests and have the potential to convert as well.

Having the ability to record online conversions such as purchases, form fills, ticket sales, and much more is a critical piece of the digital media landscape today. These types of conversion events can easily be identified by taking a deep look at a brand’s website and, particularly, the landing page where users will end up after clicking on an advertisement. With this also comes the need to determine the most typical or desired path to conversion, and then applying the appropriate pixels (more on this below) to your website to track on the back-end.

Starting off with retargeting, a highly-recommended strategy to repeatedly serve ads to non-converting users who have been to your website, let’s look at three optimal ways to make sure you’re set up for success.

Make Retargeting A Top Priority

Yes, retargeting is a tried and true strategy that many digital advertisers still rely on. Prior to any campaign launch, it’s always highly recommended that a site-wide retargeting pixel be placed on your site’s homepage. Right away, you will be able to begin collecting data on these users, and once the campaign is officially launched, you’ll be able to start serving ads to users already familiar with your brand and their website.

If conversions are your ultimate end goal (and they should be), you’re off to a great start just by adding one pixel to your site and allocating funds to a retargeting tactic. There’s a reason that over 44% of B2B merchants still use retargeted ads to reach shoppers who abandoned their shopping carts or left the page prior to completing the desired action (article via eMarketer). Invite these users back to your page and, hopefully, they’ll turn into a customer the second or third (or seventh) time around.

Identify Your Top Conversions And Pixel Accordingly

Whether you want people to schedule an appointment or buy tickets to an event, it’s important that you determine which pages of your website correspond with these conversions. For example, if a ticket purchase is made, perhaps there is a ‘Confirmation Page’ that loads after the user’s payment information is entered and accepted. Creating and placing a pixel for this page would make tons of sense, as this is ultimately the primary conversion that you’d want to record and optimize toward.

Similarly, even before a user completes their purchase, they will need to be taken to or navigate to the main ‘Tickets’ URL of your site. A preliminary conversion pixel should also fire on this page of your site, as you can now determine who is going to the tickets page (Step 1) and who is actually buying the ticket(s) and truly converting (Step 2). Both pieces of data here are important, and if you’re seeing a large volume or users ending up on the tickets page, but only a few actually completing the required steps, it may be worthwhile to see if a tweak needs to be made to your campaign’s targeting, your website or both.

Map Out And Tag Your Conversion Events Using A Tag Manager

Time for the fun stuff: Mapping rules and pixel management. We’ve already determined that digital is continuing to grow, and we’ve also listed some of the specifics behind retargeting tactics and conversion goals. Now, it’s onto the best ways to handle pixel management and set up.

As with any digital component, you want to make sure that you have a coherent naming convention in place, and that you’re also keeping track of which buttons/web pages your pixels are being placed on. It’s also key to denote what a pixel is for (site-wide retargeting versus conversions coming from the tickets page). Luckily, tools like Sizmek VersaTag and Google Tag Manager make this painless and even allow you to implement tags on multiple pages with just a few clicks.

Specifically for Google Tag Manager, once a piece of code is on your website, you can control the tags within the GTM interface without the need for a developer or engineer to go page-by-page and add the pixels to your website. If you want a tag called ‘Automotive Retargeting’ to fire on the ‘Automotive Homepage’ URL, for example, you can quickly complete that task and enable the tag via the available mapping rules.

Having these tags on your website will pay off in the long run as you set up and run your digital campaign, and having the tools to succeed will only make your life easier.