Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Advertising planning and and how they relate to the Interactive Mix

Today I am having what I hope is one of those defining moments.

I am creating an advertising plan for a prospect and working from some predictions that they have supplied to us. Its a standard media plan which is split between Google, Banners, etc.

The columns supplied are as follows per campaign element:

Advertising spend
Cost per click
Number of quotes
Conversion rate
New Customers
Cost per new customer

Within this there is a straight correlation between the number of quotes achieved against the cost per click. The problem with this is that it is a huge step to take from the number of Google ads to the number of quotes, and takes no account of the usability of the system. Actually a better way of phrasing that is that it does not recognise the value of usability, the engagement factor of the ad or any of the factors that a user is greeted with once they click through. The point I am making is that the media plan does not demonstrate any value to the client of the factors which create a good user experience after the initial ad

The Interactive Mix is focused on the entire user experience, and so in my plan I have added in additional factors. The ones I've used are as follows:

Advertising spend
Cost per click
Visits
Engaged User Conversion %
Quotations attempted
Abandoned Quotes Dropout %
Number of quotes Completed
Conversion rate
New Customers
AOV
Revenue
Cost per new customer

In this the initial click through rate is gradually eroded away based on the usability of the site, and accessibility of the information, and because it is shown as a series of percentages the actual value of this can be demonstrated to the client. So if the site has high usability it will perform better, if the quotations are competitive they will convert better. I don't know how many planners and Buyers for online take this approach but I suspect it isn't a standard. It also is a fairly common charge that online advertisers don't understand the effects of usability on their business, which supports my suspicion.

For my purposes this clearly demonstrates to the client the importance of the whole experience and therefore how a budget needs to be divided up in order to achieve the results they need. I can follow the plan with a quotation for the functionality build of the system and for each push back on functionality I can feed that into the plan to show how it affects the bottom line conversion and revenue generation. With all the facts to hand, the client is then faced with some very simple choices, and the entire relationship then focuses on achieving the numbers with budgets that set themsleves.

Naturally I am very keen to hear from other planners and buyers to see whether I have made a discovery or whether I am simply following an established industry practice.

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