What is the performance of a marketing channel?

After identifying the performance of all the traffic sources, you will surely want to get more information about a particular marketing channel, whether it’s a general one (from the set of channels predefined by InnerTrends), or a custom channel defined by you. That’s why we created a ready-to-use report entitled What is the performance of a marketing channel?

Here you can see the evolution of this channel in time, as well as more information about the performance of the accounts created as a result of the visits it generated. To be more precise, you can find out up to what extent they reached certain goals, what their current engagement is and what their distribution is according to various user properties.

For this report InnerTrends applies the Position Decay attribution modeling, just like for the report: What traffic sources drive users to onboard or reach a specific goal?. A visitor does not perform a single visit before signing up. That’s why, to identify the contribution of each traffic source or marketing channel, we apply this attribution model. Note that we store and analyse only the last 7 traffic sources available for each account, which is considered to be enough for most of the Saas businesses.

Defining a new marketing channel

In this report you can apply the default marketing channels that we have already defined, or you can create your own.

To create a new channel, click on “define new” and a modal will appear where you can combine rules in order to obtain the marketing channel that you want. Let’s take the example of a Facebook campaign from February. You know that you named this campaign “February_FB”, and one of your colleagues created another campaign called “February_Facebook”. You can define it like this:

Within InnerTrends, there are 7 elements that can be used to define a marketing channel:

  1. Referrer
  2. Campaign name
  3. Medium
  4. Source
  5. Term
  6. Content
  7. Landing page

Whenever the Google standard of utm parameters are used in your marketing campaign (the most used tool to build marketing campaigns is Campaign URL Builder), InnerTrends maps them automatically as follows:

  • Campaign name: utm_campaign
  • Medium: utm_medium
  • Source: utm_source
  • Term: utm_term
  • Content: utm_content

If you have enabled the Google Ads integration with InnerTrends, and Google Ads auto-tagging is enabled for your campaign, InnerTrends will identify campaigns as follows:

  • Campaign name: The Google Ads Campaign Name
  • Medium: paid
  • Source: adwords

If none of the utm parameters are set, then InnerTrends will try to identify the website that referred a visitor to your website. If no website is identified, the visit will be considered (direct). These values are mapped to the Refferer category inside InnerTrends. Referrer gets populated only if no utm_parameters are set that will identify marketing campaigns.

In case you don’t know the exact parameters you used to define certain campaigns ( or in case they were defined by your colleagues), you can see all this information in the general report on traffic sources, in the table section:

You can also define campaigns for the landing pages built for various purposes. Thus, whichever the traffic source is, all the visitors that reach a certain landing page can be further analysed to find out how many created an account, finished onboarding or became paying customers.

Visits distribution of a marketing channel

Some people need multiple visits to your website before deciding to use your product. Those visits can be categorized as follows:

  • discovery or intent visits
  • consideration visits
  • decision visits

The visits distribution of a marketing channel tells you how many of the visits that came from that marketing channel were the last visit before creating an account (decision stage - blue bar) and how many were part of the other stages: discovery and consideration stages (the grey bars).

People that only visit your website once and then create an account will go through all 3 stages in the same visit. They will be represented in the last column (the blue one).

Other people might need multiple visits to go through all the stages. The last visit before creating an account is always going to be a visit where the decision happens. For example, if a visitor performs 3 visits, we’ll count them on the last 3 positions starting from the right:

You can adjust the messages from the ads according to the specifics of your campaign so that it reflects the purpose for which it was created.

Quality goals

The performance of a campaign does not consist only in the number of accounts that were created as a result of that campaign, but also in the number of accounts that reached various goals since then until the present. 

For instance, let’s assume the average time for reaching the payment goal is 5 days. It would then be advisable to analyse the visits that happened at least 5 days ago. The visits that happened less than 5 days ago will have very few chances of converting into paid accounts. 

InnerTrends compares automatically the conversions of the selected channel with your default values identified for that goal. Then, by applying the statistical significance, we can tell with certainty if that particular channel converted better or worse for every single goal.  

How do we calculate the default value? For every goal, for your default segment we identify the conversion for the last 3 days (which is considered to be enough to eliminate fluctuations).

The quality of the campaign reflected in the conversions of the created accounts that reached certain goals, is related to the fulfillment of the promise made on that channel. For example, the newsletter campaigns can be targeted on every niche with messages specific to the audience. Because they are adapted to every category of audience you might expect that the conversions of these campaigns are better than the default ones. 

You might want to know more about the performance of this channel. For example: the retention of the users coming from this channel, how they are going through the onboarding process, what features they are using (to identify if there are differences in behaviour) etc. To get this information you can  create a behaviour-based segment with all the accounts created as a result of the visits from this channel (see the image below), which you can then apply in any other report in InnerTrends.

How to optimize a Marketing campaign?

This report focuses on 2 performance indicators:

  1. the number of signups that a campaign generates
  2. the quality of those signups

1. Increasing the Number of Signups

The conversion rate from visiting a website to signing up is an indicator of how well that marketing channel is targeting users, especially in the case of paid channels.

We break this conversion in 2 stages:

  • the conversion from visit to signup intent
  • the conversion from signup intent to creating an account

A low conversion from visit to signup intent usually hints at the wrong targeting, a mismatch between the message from your ads and the message from the landing page or the missing call to actions. 

If your campaign shows a signup intent well below other channels, go through the following checklist:

  • Is the call to action clear to people coming through this marketing channel?
  • Are the messages from the campaigns matched by the ones on the landing pages?
  • Are the targeted people the right ones to visit the website?

A typical scenario refers to paid campaigns promoting blog posts that miss a clear call to action. People come, read the article but there is no incentive for them to discover more about who wrote the article and what your product is about.

A high signup intent but a low conversion rate to create an account often hints to a difference between how people expect the process to be and how it really is. They might find it too difficult to go through (they might think: too many fields, I’ll try later...) or the opposite, they might expect a much more thorough process then just email and password for what they believe to be a complex setup.

In this case focus on adjusting or personalizing the signup flow for the people coming from this marketing channel. An idea worth experimenting is testimonials from personas that represent the people that are being targeted by the marketing channel.

2. Increase the Quality of Signups

Once they create an account, even though they need to go through the same onboarding process and use the same product just like every other user, you’ll notice sometimes very big differences between onboarding or other goals rates, including upgrading to paid.

The reason: there is a mismatch between the promise that the marketing channel made, the expectations those promises created and the reality of the product.

By simply adjusting the promises in your campaign messaging you can increase or decrease the chances to match user expectations.

A marketing campaign that promises “the easiest setup” versus one that says ”get your result in 2 days” will have a significant impact on setting the right expectations.

InnerTrends reports automatically the quality metrics compared to the average of your product for the last 3 months, so you can spot immediately where the channel outperforms or under-performs other channels.

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