It may feel like Google and Facebook are mindreaders, but they aren’t. User journeys to conversion are so fragmented and complex that it’s impossible to find and nudge the user at the exact right moment. Or is it?
As marketers, our role is to create a web of touchpoints. We set up marketing channels to build awareness, campaigns to create trust and engagement, and a final layer that tries to nudge people over the line when they’re finally ready to act. This moment could occur after just one exposure to your marketing, or it could occur after 100 different points of contact. Your audience may pop backwards and forwards between these layers, with so many variables ready to disrupt their journey: on and offline social distractions, reviews that change their mind at the last minute, a surprise bill that impacts their finances, or impulse purchases that affects their cashflow for the month.
So how can we identify that those moments where a user is more likely to convert, and nudge them over the line?
Most organisations will find that Direct is their highest converting channel. Conversions occur via direct when the user has made their decision offline, in the “real world”, and deliberately visited your website to make their donation or purchase. Brand PPC sees a similar effect. We don’t know exactly what combination of awareness and engagement activity built up to that decision, but now they are here. The problem is, you can’t invest budget in Direct traffic. And you’re hopefully already maxing out your Brand PPC spend (if you’re not… that’s a discussion for another day).
So what else can you do?
This is where Google Analytics comes in. Create a segment for “people who have converted”, and a segment for people who haven’t. Use these segments to identify what behaviours people who are ready to convert have in common. We are talking about behaviours, not characteristics – i.e. things that define a moment, not a person. Examples of this are browsing on desktop rather than mobile, or visiting your website on a weekday evening rather than a Saturday morning. These “moment-related cues” will change from visit to visit, but the person will remain the same. The profile of visits that are “more likely to convert” will differ from organisation to organisation, and by picking up on these cues, you can invest these learnings into your nudge campaigns across paid media.
In case you’re wondering, “but what about those characteristic-based cues” – this is what the core of all of your marketing should already be designed around. If it isn’t – act on that first!
Assuming that your audience is already defined by their characteristics and interests, and we’re free to focus on moment-related cues, try looking at things like:
- Time of day
- Day of week
- Day of month
- Landing page
- Search query (if relevant)
Outside of your Analytics segment, you could also look at other things that define a moment:
- Weather (rain, heat, snow)
- Wider media (is your cause being mentioned in a soap, or in a newspaper?)
All of the above are behavioural cues, and are separate from your standard audience analysis where you might look at age, gender or interests. These are transient, changeable indicators that suggest this person *might* be more ready to convert than others on your site. Increasing your ad spend on these behaviours, and ensuring that “ready to buy/donate” messaging is clear for this audience is essential.
For example, if Wednesdays and Thursdays see a 20% uplift – review whether you have room to increase bids or inventory on those days across all campaigns. You could try bid modifiers on specific campaigns, or review sitelinks – it’s not just about how much you spend. Your social messaging and landing pages might change at a specific time of the month to leverage a higher likelihood to convert.
All of this assumes that your funnel is reasonably balanced – if you’re already heavily investing in bottom of funnel activity, pushing harder on these levers might not have the desired effect. Instead you might need to increase your awareness or engagement activity to deliver more users into your “nudge pool”.
In terms of wider effects, ecommerce is often affected by hot weather – consumers prefer the pull of a beer garden to online shopping. On the other hand, snow or rain can increase online spending. Use brand monitoring tools like Hootsuite to spot if there is a surge of activity talking about your brand, your cause or your product, and act quickly. A spike in interest could be over in a couple of hours. If an agency manages your spend it’s a good idea to allocate them a “slush fund” so that they can jump on an opportunity like this without approval.
You may not be able to design a perfect and measurable user journey – but you can identify signals of user intent, and by acting on those signals, you can nudge your users closer to conversion.
If you’re ready to get deep into your audience journey and talk about moment-based behaviours – get in touch.