An Overview of Conversions in Search Engine Marketing and Advertising

It takes more than an attractive website with a good content to be efficient at converting web visitors to customers. Lately we are seeing clients put more focus into conversions from their website.

For our purpose, a conversion is defined as the desired action we want the customer who is visiting the website to take. Conversions can be online, such as buying a product on the website, or making an appointment or reservation online. These are relatively simple to track, especially if the website was built with this type of tracking in mind. When the desired action is completed online, we can track each conversion back to the keyword the customer searched with and the ad they responded to before making the purchase.

Conversions can be offline also

Conversions can also be offline, such as a phone call or purchase at a physical location. By the use of tracking telephone numbers or coupons, we can separate and count conversions by source. An example would be counting the number of incoming calls that came from search engine ads (as opposed to calls resulting from natural traffic to the website).

Conversions that involve more than one step

For purchases involving several steps, such as those of many business-to- business transactions, we can track the cost of producing a lead, either online or from incoming phone calls. Dividing the number of leads into the monthly budget gives the “front end” cost per conversion. For these websites that do not involve online purchases, leads can be tracked through to the end of the purchase. To determine the return on investment (ROI) businesses can track the leads generated to sales in several ways. These can include correlation of leads with the list of new customers during a specific period of time. Other companies send leads to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system such as Sales Force which track them by source. The later conversion actions go by several names, including “secondary conversions” or “back end conversions”.