5 Minute Read.
This article explains the problem with measuring online lead generation, why Google Goals are not enough, how to close the loop to get your lead and sales revenue and how to get the revenue back into Google Ads & Analytics automatically.
Leads, by their nature, are not sales. At least not yet. Your leads could be high value, or worthless.
They could close into a sale tomorrow, next year or not even close at all.
Your analytics might not even be telling you a true picture of where your leads are originating from as people will visit your site on multiple occasions from different channels.
The industry standard for tracking online marketing methods is Google Analytics which does a good job of tracking E-Commerce but can only count the number of form fills as Goals.
Whilst most people track form fills, other leads can also come through mediums such as phone calls and live chat and go unattributed.
Goal completions are not enough – different traffic sources, keywords and ads produce different revenue per lead and different lifetime values.
Without this insight, it’s impossible to accurately calculate ROI from different marketing sources and optimise your campaigns accordingly.
If you’re running a marketing campaign and measuring success based on leads only, you have a gap in the insight that is stopping you improving results.
Whilst tyre kicker, top of the funnel and research keywords may appear to be creating cost-effective leads and making your campaign look great if there isn’t any revenue coming out at the other end you’re going to run into a problem.
Take for example a client who we are working with who relies on lead generation from their website for their business and spends a significant on online marketing to generate them,
Looking at their Ads and assume Analytics accounts would leave you to believe that performance was great.
They were acquiring leads and they were making (some) money.
But that middle bit is what makes the difference.
Like many others, their sales and marketing were disconnected, they were failing to link their marketing activities directly to revenue, knowingly leaving a chasm in their insight.
As an exercise to prove the value of this process we took a sample of 20 calls from various campaigns to track what the outcome of the calls was.
12 of the calls came from Google Ads where they make a significant investment.
Of the 12 calls, 9 were poor quality, not qualified or a salesperson.
However, 3 of the calls turned into sales. 2 of the sales were relatively low value but acceptable but the final call was worth over 10 times the amount of others.
This process allowed them to see the real value of their campaigns and keywords and to optimise and report more effectively.
Evaluating your campaigns the same way you evaluate business: by the amount of revenue it generates.
To find out if leads are turning into real sales and creating revenue, you need a process to track them and then match them with the marketing campaign or keyword that created them.
This added insight is what will drive your campaign to the next level.
There are few steps to get this right but once they are in place they should produce the data you need each time.
NOTE: Manual revenue tracking can be complicated and time-consuming. You can use Ruler Analytics to speed up and automate this process and more.
The first step is making sure the traffic coming to your website is tagged correctly so that you can see the exact source and any other variables associated such as campaign, keyword or advert reference. This commonly done using UTM tags which allow you to add specific labels to the landing pages (more info in our guide here.) It is also recommended that you capture fields specific to the products you are using such as GCLID for Google Ads.
The next stage is to ensure that the data captured is at visitor level so you are able to match with the marketing source and to a closed sale later. Most leads come in the form of an enquiry form, live chat or phone call so you may need some additional marketing analytics or call tracking software at this stage but you can also pass UTM tag values in your forms.
Once you have captured the lead with the applicable marketing source there needs to be a feedback loop to see which leads closed into business and just as importantly which leads didn’t.
This can be done manually in a spreadsheet, to begin with, to get used to the workflow and prove the business case. However, this could be cumbersome at higher volumes so ideally they should be automatically matched where you handle leads, for instance in CRM.
Finally, now that you have the leads and marketing source matched, once the sale is completed you are able to pass this into your products. Most products have an API or a manual CSV upload.
For instance, Google Ads supports uploading the GCLID along with revenue value.
Once you have this process in place it allows you to see where the real conversions and revenue come from, measure ROI definitively and optimise your campaign accordingly.