goal conversion vs. real conversion

When discussing with clients how they compare esp. online channels the advanced ones mention how much they have to pay per conversion. It becomes interesting then looking at what conversion they mean.

Towards: Visitor/User, Lead, Applicant, Paid application fee, Accepted, Enrolled, Student, or Alumnus (the latter is mainly desired by public universities)

The most common interpretation of conversion is towards the point an anonymous visitor becomes known. This is the point where usually the tracking with CRM takes over from the tracking via Google Analytics. What struck me here once was, when a university shared that they pay with AdWords for a lead 25€. Later when a client of mine also mentioned paying less than 200€ for an applicant (so filling out a larger form than just a lead form), I had the chance to actually analyse it further with their Google Analytics.

AdWords and Facebook offer the possibility to optimise your budget towards a goal conversion on a website. Unfortunately in our business the goals we can set are hardly the goals we care about: Student, Alumni, or in my favourite quote “butt on the bench”. So while the client got good conversion rates towards their goal in Google Analytics, the countries the goals were triggered could not be found in the actual students. To understand this better I went one more step further and compared the timestamps of the goals with their CRM data and got a more accurate conversion rate for their AdWords visitors. In the end they got a single digit conversion rate from an AdWords applicant to a student, which was ¼ of the average conversion rate.

The very good CPL via AdWords became very expensive when taking into account the next conversion steps towards a real student.

Leave a Reply