local media insider

Track and share response rates (but why is it so hard?)


This week we've posted a dirt simple tracking document you can use to collect - and share - measurable results from banner ad campaigns (such as you see on this site in  Winning Ads, except that internally you want both winners and losers). 

Just about every ad director we talk to complains that the sales staff is not selling measurable results. But if the only thing you track in the CRM system is leads, objections and sales... the whole culture is actually designed to ignore campaign results. The reason is institutional;  our organizations are set up in silos that don't communicate. 

No one needs one more job to do. 

So while management agrees that training the team to sell digital is top priority, and wants sales people to more get interested in customers' real business issues and to obtain agreemert on measurable results, they don't require tracking and sharing the results they are getting.

Knowing offers that work and types of inquiries generated by different categories is cash in the bank for sales reps who are coaching customers how to invest in digital services. It builds confidence and changes the conversation. 

Even so, I've yet to come across a company that routinely tracks and shares response rates from each of the digital campaigns with the sales and design teams (a possible exception is this week's case study, OAOA.com,   who has shared some of their successfully campaigns with us  on this site). 

We suspect this is because sales managers do not want to fall into a time-sucking organizational black hole. 

So whose responsibility is it?  

My take is that it is the responsibility of the publisher or general manager to  get this done. Shifting the culture to deliver results for customers  is a vision/direction issue that needs leadership from the top. Plus, frankly, getting this piece of information circulated quickly requires the cooperation of departments that report outside the sales channel.

To help, this week we've posted a tracking document you can use to collect - and share - measurable results from banner ad campaigns here.  I've even made this document free to non-members, because, at the end of the day, it's "not about the bike."  It's about whether or not you have a real commitment to reorganize your organization to work as a team on behalf of clients. 

Let me give you an example: An ad on a highly targeted niche site (such as this one) may have  a 2% click through rate for banner ads (we do!); so even though pages views are  only at the 10,000 level, that's 200 customer inquiries. This is what we want our clients focusing on: The big 200 inquiry number, not the miniscule 2%. 

This is the same number of inquiries as, say, a  .02% click through rate on a buy of  1,000,000 impressions!

If you are selling, say, teeth whitening services, you might prefer to pay $20 cpm, or $200, to a targeted audience versus paying $6000 at a $6 cpm to buy-out the home page. 

But do sales representatives use what they know about the sites they are selling? No, in part, because they just don't have the information, at least not outside of their own personal online clients. What about a free whitening offer versus $100 off on teeth whitening?  If you wouldn't put up a daily deal that would not reach the tipping point, why would you ignore the results of your own ad campaigns? 

So here's a quick fix:

1. First all, commit to take this on.
2. Use the tracking document on this site, just cut and paste directly on to an  email.
3. Assign an email "route" through the company with one person coordinating and due dates from sales, or turn around times for trafficing and production to add their pieces to these documents. All campaigns that have been up long enough to track, should be tracked.
4. Have production use this form to produce a one sheet - for internal use. It does not require advertiser approval and does not need to be souped up, you are after real, meaningful information.

5. Call key customers when necessary to find out more. Yep. They love getting a call from a publisher or general manager who wants to know how their campaign is working. Add notes to the one sheet. It doesn't take that long and, well, its your job.

6. Share the one sheets at sales meetings and in power point presentations with designers and reps.

It doesn't really matter how you organize this effort, but the better your team gets at sharing successes - and flops - with the whole department the smarter your team will become, including the designers who rarely get feedback on their work. So close the loop!

While I'm dishing out advice: How many times have heads of interactive failed to submit a real RFP to three potential vendors, rather than going with "who they know?"  In response to numerous requests,  this week we do half the work by giving you a list of questions for daily deal vendors.  Much thanks to Mark Roth, head of interactive for Sun-Media Times for his help with this list.

And finally, a new idea for a niche site that is actually fun to read - and sold out. Check out Houstonbelief.com, this week's top case study. Thanks to Samuel Brown, Vice President of Regional Advertising and Digital Services at the Houston Chronicle for sharing information about Houston's niche sites, we are planning to feature more of them in the weeks ahead. 


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