How to track and measure success when conversions have crash during Covid-19

Given the restrictive measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have come to a halt, resulting in a loss of income for businesses and consumers.

This financial insecurity has led to a drop in consumer confidence, and as a result many verticals are seeing a drop in traffic – especially from users with the intention to buy. With conversions dropping in many markets, a lower conversion rate doesn’t necessarily mean your brand isn’t reaching relevant users and it is important to look to other metrics when defining success during this period. Users are engaging with brands in different ways, and many may be using this time to carry out research, intending to purchase your product or service when the pandemic is over.

Adjusting how you measure success during this time can help to inform budget decisions and assess the effectiveness of your marketing activity.

Pay close attention to user behaviour

With success during the pandemic looking different to how it did before, you will need to look at your data to understand which site interactions and behaviours high-value users and customers took before purchasing. While users may not necessarily be  converting right now, displaying these behaviours suggest they will convert in the future – meaning they can be classed as a successful session in this period. An analytics segmentation tool, such as the segments tool in Google Analytics, can be used to identify these behaviours.

The behaviours and interactions that define success will be unique to your business. For ecommerce retailers, you may find that users who viewed four or more pages, one of which was a product page, have a significantly higher likelihood to convert. Tracking how many users are currently exhibiting this behavioural pattern, even if they do not reach the final step and convert, can be measured as a successful session as these users are engaging with your product, most likely with the view to purchase later down the line.

For a B2B lead generation website, a valuable user and successful session could be someone who viewed a key solution guide page and spent a certain amount of time on it, or a user who viewed your pricing page and then went on to view two or more pages without exiting.

There will be a number of behaviours that are unique to your site. During a time when users are holding off on purchasing, it is vital to find and measure these highly engaged users in order to understand what a successful session may look like.

Define, value and measure engagement

Once you have analysed your customers’ behaviour understand your unique measures of success, set a definition of engagement and value it. Unlike a sale or conversion, there is no exact value to how much an engagement and a ‘successful’ session is worth, however, doing so will help you to understand where your budget is best placed over this period.

Create a goal conversion for engagement

The Google Analytics segmentation tool is a good way to analyse user behaviour, however, we would recommend using Google Tag Manager (GTM) to monitor and report on your newly defined set of engagements in relation to your unique set of definitions. GTM allows you to define and track a bespoke event or event combination, offering a more robust and reliable way of measuring engagement than the standard destination goal definition in GA.

Create ‘soft’ conversions and focus on awareness activity

While you may be experiencing fewer sessions and fewer conversations during this period, you will still have relevant users browsing your site and products. Creating content which taps into their current needs and wants can help to keep engagement high and drive ‘soft’ conversions, as well as capture customer data. What issues are your customers facing right now, and how can you help ease these? Whether it is offering usually paid for content for free, or creating bespoke downloadable guides, creating content will drive engagement with your brand and presents your business in a positive light, increasing the likelihood that users will turn to your brand when they’re ready to convert.

To help you get started, we’ve created a Google Data Studio dashboard template, which connects to your own Google Analytics and offers information to help you focus your attention on engagement. During this time, investing in and using your digital channels to drive awareness and consideration is key. Keeping engagement up and remaining visible to your customers during the pandemic helps ensure your business remains relevant once restrictions are lifted, and buyer confidence returns to normal.

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