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How You Lose Sales With Bad Search Marketing Decisions Based on 'Best-Practice' Web Analytics

by Todd Miechiels  |  
March 10, 2009

One of the most dangerous trends emerging is that B2B marketers, and their extended search-marketing resources, are regularly making bad decisions based on "solid analytics data."

Because as a consultant I work with various companies, I learn certain lessons much more quickly than, say, someone who is working only within his or her company and is therefore not privy to the same variety of information and experiences.

And I'm finding that all too often marketers are deciding to spend either more or less money based solely on the conversion rate of how a certain search phrase, ad creative, or banner ad performs: in other words, the percentage of people who visited the site and requested a whitepaper, a demo, etc.

While conversion rate, in the context of an analytics report, is one way to measure the effectiveness a search phrase, it can be extremely misleading.

For an example, let's take two search phrases from the same campaign: "Green IT" vs. "Systems Management."

You can see in the following screenshot that...

  • "Systems Management" delivered 66 visitors, and 1.52% of them converted to a whitepaper.
  • "Green IT" delivered 47 visitors, and 17.02% converted to a whitepaper.

The "Green IT" phrase is the hands down winner, right? Well, maybe not!

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Todd Miechiels is a B2B Internet marketing consultant who specializes in search engine marketing and Web site visitor conversion. Reach him via

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  • by Ben Hanna Tue Mar 24, 2009 via web

    Couldn't agree more with the point that its imperative to look beyond the conversion data in the most popular web analytics packages.

    Just completed a study of over 27,000 B2B web sites and the web analytics solutions they use ( One of the most important insights was that, for small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), we found that how their web analytics solution attributed conversions ("last click" vs. showing the influence of multiple campaigns on conversions) actually drove how they optimized search marketing in early '09 versus the second half of '08. Those using "last click" web analytics programs optimized to the data in front of them, increasing their average ad position on general search engines. Those using web analytics programs showing influence decreased their average ad position. We did not find this relationship for larger companies and agencies.

    Its not clear that increasing or decreasing average PPC ad position on general search engines is the right way to go - each situation will be different - but what is clear is that a company's choice of web analytics solution shouldn't radically alter their search marketing optimization.

  • by Cliff Allen Wed Mar 25, 2009 via web

    The names of companies whose people visit a Web site are also available in Google Analytics. The visiting companies can be looked up at company directory Web sites to identify key executives for salespeople to contact.

    This is a quick way to see if generating leads from server logs is an effective lead generation process. If so, it's likely that the automated services would be worthwhile.

  • by Jane Thu May 7, 2009 via web

    Smart insite, helpful and clearly expressed. Valuable for the rookie in-house analyst. Got it!!! and more importantly will use this information. Thank you Toddx

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