Only 10% of retailers use unique visitor-based metrics over time

Only 10% of retailers use unique visitor-based metrics over time to evaluate demand generation activities while 63% rely on response and activity-based metrics (clickthroughs, page views, visits and orders), according to WebTrends. Although significant value can be gained from basic activity-based metrics, using them to calculate campaign conversion leads to double-counting and declining conversion rates over time even for successful campaigns. 
According to a survey of more than 300 multi-channel retailers by Web analytics provider WebTrends, the biggest problems threatening the accuracy of retailers' metrics are the use of third party cookies and the misuse of activity-based metrics like page views or response-based metrics like clickthroughs, to measure demand-generation activities, writes ClickZ. Instead, marketers should be using visitor-based metrics like unique visitors and deferred conversions, which are tracked over time, according to Jason Palmer, VP of marketing at WebTrends.

Report Highlights: 

  • Segmenting users, even at the basic level of separating new and returning visitors, can have a dramatic impact on campaign performance. For example, while overall conversion rate might be 1.8%, you might find out that first-time visitors converted at 1% and repeat visitors at 3%. 
  • The number of retailers that are identifying unique visitors increased from 32% last year to 44% this year. 
  • The rejection rate of third party cookies can exceed 20%, while for first party cookies it can be as low as 0.5%. The use of first party cookies by retailers grew by only 1%, reaching 25%. 
  • More than 80% of respondents said they regularly use e-mails for demand-generation activities - build and maintain customer relationships. 

For client Designer Linens Outlet, cookie rejection was cut by more than 97% when it switched from using third party cookies to first party ones. As a result, it found its return visitor count increased by 10%, and its conversion rate went up by 20%. Because the company was better able to reallocate budget to successful campaigns, marketing costs went down by more than 23% while revenues increased by 3.5%, Palmer said. 

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