Published on 24-Oct-2011
"Multiple attribution windows provide actionable data that show us where and when our sales originate, helping us to uncover hidden gems and exploit opportunities to drive millions of dollars in incremental revenue. They also give us the unvarnished truth on poor performers so we can take prompt corrective action and move on to focus our efforts in areas where we can deliver the biggest impact." - Manager, Search Marketing, Hanover Direct
EMM - Digital Marketing Optimization, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Marketing
Hanover Direct, Inc. (HDI) and its business units provide quality, branded merchandise through a portfolio of catalogs and ecommerce platforms to consumers. Hanover Brands, Inc. comprises the company’s catalog and ecommerce website portfolio of home fashion and apparel brands, including The Company Store, Company Kids, Domestications, Silhouettes, UnderGear and Scandia Home.
HDI had limited visibility into which search terms were performing and which were not. Industry standard “last click” attribution did not provide visibility into how multiple touch points across the purchase cycle were contributing to sales.
Coremetrics attribution management allowed HDI to apply credit for traffic and sales across all channels. HDI was able to fully document paid program revenues and document their cost of acquisition.
• Hidden gems were uncovered, leading to a sixfold increase in investment • Landing pages were remerchandised to make core keywords profitable which previously had shown low performance • HDI identified and resolved channel shift issues
Hanover Direct, Inc. (HDI) and its business units provide quality, branded merchandise through a portfolio of catalogs and ecommerce platforms to consumers. Hanover Brands, Inc. comprises the company’s catalog and ecommerce website portfolio of home fashion and apparel brands, including The Company Store, Company Kids, Domestications, Silhouettes, UnderGear® and Scandia Home.
For every brand, certain paid search keywords are must-haves; without them, you risk losing a vital source of new customers. To make smart advertisement-spend decisions, you need insight into how these keywords move customers through your marketing funnel so that you can invest in the real performers and turn your “losers” into winners.
Hanover Direct has built a substantial inventory of generic search terms that are vital to its online brands. Sheets, comforter covers, and kids’ furniture are terms used frequently when searching for home fashions, making them critical for business units such as thecompanystore.com and companykids.com.
Competition for these terms, however, is fierce; faced with stringent ROI requirements, HDI’s marketers needed visibility into which terms were performing and which were not. But like most companies, their view was restricted by the industry-standard, “last-click” attribution—which assigns full credit for each sale to the last channel before conversion. And because HDI customers visit multiple times, using multiple channels before they buy, the marketing team needed to look at touch points across the complete purchase cycle to understand how and when each search term was contributing to a sale.
Uncovering hidden gems
IBM® Coremetrics® solutions provide the ability to open multiple attribution windows simultaneously, which has allowed HDI to carefully document the roles—acquisition, persuasion, or conversion—played by each keyword, and have found “first-click” data indispensable in documenting the return on acquisition investment. For example, under last-click attribution, HDI marketers were concerned that the company was taking unsustainable losses on the term kids’ furniture—and unable to prove otherwise. Consequently, the top search terms for an important product line had been relegated to a minor role in the paid search effort.
But first-click attribution data quickly revealed the advertisement group as a hidden gem; return was nearly three times the sales reported by the last-click model and well into the profitable range—promising an enormous opportunity.
To test the finding, HDI repeatedly increased advertisement spend—ultimately to six times the original level—and improved average ranking by one and a half positions. In the process, the company was able to go from holding a token presence to owning a significant footprint in a core product category—maintaining consistent, profitable performance all the while.
Turning losers into winners
First-click data also identified terms that were literally not delivering the desired results by any measure. Yet some of these terms—sheets and comforter covers—were also core to the business; going dark was simply not an option.
HDI marketers began investigating onsite factors affecting conversion; they knew their selection and inventory were solid, so they zeroed in on remerchandising the landing pages for several core keywords.
In some cases—even with new landing pages in place—the last-click data saw only minor performance gains. But once again, the first-click data told a different story: With tailored landing pages, conversion rates rose convincingly into the profitable category, allowing the team members to recognize a successful outcome when they had achieved it, and move on.
Leveraging attribution in multiple ways
The staff continues to use multiple attribution windows to identify and resolve other issues as well. Tracking channel shift during the purchase cycle, the team documented a high percentage of “affiliate” traffic with recent visits to HDI sites, and identified large numbers of visitors abandoning HDI sites mid-session to look for coupons before completing a purchase. Having documented the extent of the behavior and monetized the impact, HDI is now systematically revamping the affiliate programs to bring them in line with each business unit’s brand strategy and ROI objectives.
In other applications, HDI uses forward-looking attribution—in which the sale is tied to the date of the first click instead of the date of conversion—to clearly delineate performance before versus after site changes, and in response to nonline or serendipitous events. Because consideration cycles vary by product category, HDI uses these data to document real ROI during the preholiday and last-minute shopping periods, timing advertisement spend for each category’s window of greatest opportunity.
HDI’s marketers credit IBM Coremetrics data with enabling them to peer behind the conversion channel curtain; to track and analyze events occurring much earlier in the buying cycle; and to act to optimize search performance and capture new market share.
For more information
To learn more about IBM Coremetrics please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions
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