It’s an understatement to say that the nature of marketing has evolved at a breakneck pace. The dizzying array of multi-channel options and their need for almost real-time attention to measurement and optimization has transformed marketing from a conceptual art form into something akin to hedge fund analysis. And while there has always been the call, the need to bridge gaps in measurement and accountability has never been greater.
Take the example of an online pet supplies company. With their old analytics service, they could tell that a major competitor was suddenly attracting significantly more traffic than they were. That was a problem. The bigger problem was that they didn’t know why and couldn’t take appropriate action as a result.
The measurement gap – how the competitor was driving lots of new traffic – led to the accountability gap – what they could do about it and how to measure the effectiveness of their own effort.
Using Alexa’s site comparison feature, they were quickly able to determine that their competitor was putting almost all of their eggs (dog bones) in the Facebook basket. Through an ongoing series of promotions, that company had rapidly built a very large Facebook following, and was stoking the fires of that following by posting relevant content on Facebook almost hourly. In fact, they had nearly 50-times the number of Facebook likes and Facebook shares compared to other retailers in the category. Not surprisingly, this proved to be a huge source of new traffic.
Without this information, a company would be powerless to launch an effective counterattack. The best they could hope for would be to guess and get lucky – not a winning marketing strategy in the new world of measurement and accountability.
But should the pet supplies vendor counter with an identical campaign? Maybe, but you’d have to know if the Facebook campaign was driving useful traffic for their competitor. Again, we bridge the measurement and accountability gap.
Looking at the engagement metrics for their competitor’s site revealed a great deal about the effectiveness of the campaign. Pageviews per user were much lower and bounce rate much higher after running the Facebook campaign. However, time on site per user remained almost on par with other vendors in the category.
You could likely conclude that traffic to the competitor’s site engaged based on special offers for single products, and that those visitors were not browsing for or purchasing multiple products.
Should the original pet supplies store copy their competitor? While having a strong Facebook presence has significant benefits in its own right for many businesses, the answer is far more nuanced. If their competitor was only selling loss leader and low-margin products as a result of the Facebook campaign and not getting multiple purchases or downstream customer loyalty, it might not be a good idea to duplicate the effort.
In this case, taking a slightly different approach that rewards customer loyalty is more appropriate. Either way, they have a theory that can easily be tested and measured with their own business.
Here, we’ve crossed the measurement divide, and have now shown how data can lead to significantly greater accountability as well. What are your competitors doing right now? Is it working? Are they attracting your audience away from you? What should you be doing about it? Alexa is built from the ground up to help answer all of these questions. To learn more, take a look at alexa.com/tools to see how we can help bridge the measurement and accountability gaps for you.