I remember it well, about 5 years ago, when it was released to AdWords. I could qualify the work I’ve been doing for an old eCcommerce employer. He was very ROI focused because he was, well, cheap (not at all generalizing a business who rightfully cares about revenue as cheap). This boss didn’t buy into internet marketing even though he was running an internet store. So this code – which I had to map cart variables too – helped me justified the good work I was doing in my job. While many industry peers were frustrated by the extra scrutiny they were getting, I was actually saved.
But conversion code isn’t everything. It’s not supposed to be. It has its place.
Online analytics is still really young. Now, we have great conversion tracking, and more advanced attribution modeling. But only a few years ago, it was all about impressions and CTR. Basic analytics told us a little of the story, and forced us to take chances. Now, with more of the story, I truly believe many of us find ourselves backed into an ROI corner in which we are afraid to press against. Did these better bullets make us cocky?
“Bullets are great. But you don’t win a war with firepower. It’s with strategy and tactics.”
I had three fortune cookies today with lunch, and this is what they said:
I think for many conversion tracking created and atmosphere for marketers to worry about performance to the dollar versus creativity on the web. On the web, creativity is vital and clearly yields bigger results when you strike gold. Creativity with focus speaks to more segmented audiences, which we now know are even more plentiful than we did before the web. General analytics and demos let us focus on those audiences, but data on whether they convert on the last click does not tell the full story. It answers the immediate need of passing a report to your boss, but it doesn’t always lead to the lifetime value.
Marketing is, and should always be about risk taking. If you’re not taking risks, you’re playing on the same level as not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of other tepid companies. Marketing is also about developing strategies as you build. Tying yourself to ROI alone hurts you in the long run if you’re the kind of company that needs to be competitive. If you disagree, are you really being effective marketers and doing the w0rk the internet demands? Is it our job to encourage options and opportunity? Or is our job to keep stay in a box?
Would love your opinions.
I often see new features, or hear rumors about other experiments going on in the sidebar (including some social or real time things coming – shhh…), but I really wonder why Google wants to use this property. This long block is where Google makes a good chunk of change. Will new features bring more eyeballs to it, or dilute their click throughs?
I understand maybe using it when there are no ads to place – which they do – but why give other clickable options that take away ad share? Maybe Google’s last redesign was still too traditional after all? Maybe they just don’t have enough space in this format to try everything they want.
Take a look at this search for Technorati. See? No ad – but there was one! I just didn’t get a screen grab, and now can’t recreate it. I hate that. So even if they were only testing something, I don’t understand the logic on this one. I know as an AdWords advertiser, it makes me a little grumpy to have to compete with more noise in this column.
Keep your eyes open. Maybe they’ll go the Ask.com route after all?