CPC ROIs Coming Up Short

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band leaderScanAlert’s “Digital Window Shopping” analysis has found that even though there is more shopping being done online today, customers are taking more time to choose purchases. This has led to the recommendation that pay-per-click advertising campaigns may need to be reassessed to use longer time frames to calculate return-on-investment.

The company’s first report on the subject was two years ago, and since then, ScanAlert has seen that the level of caution in shoppers is increasing. 26% take more than three days to complete a transaction, 18% over a week, and 6% over two weeks. Compared to the 2005 results, the figures have increased 23%, 28% and 50%.

The originally reported average time of a customer’s first visit to a Web site and the time of purchase was just over 19 hours, whereas now it is 34 hours, 19 minutes. This is an increase of almost half a day.

Nigel Ravenhill, director of marketing communications for ScanAlert suggested that online retailers focus on site desertion rather than shopping cart desertion since the act of deserting the cart is actually the consumer continuing to seek out comparisons. Ravenhill also proposes that retailers create and elevate comfort levels for prospective and current cutomers.

He states, “Someone who clicked on your $0.50 keyword ad and didn’t immediately convert is not necessarily a foregone half-dollar investment. There is a good possibility that she will return and buy. Make sure that your analytics data can reflect the origin of multiple subsequent return visits. Study your AdWords conversion tracking code data, for example, and take a holistic, long-term view of your campaign spending to arrive at more accurate ROI numbers.”

2.6 million online sales generated by more than 128 million visitors to 470 Web sites over the past two years have been analyzed by ScanAlert. This is an average site conversion to sales of 2.07%.

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