Measuring Success in Your Sales Funnel
Measuring Success in Your Sales Funnel
The FieldTest Team · August 7th 2019
When it comes to your digital advertising campaigns, success comes in many shapes and sizes. Many advertisers expect their sales to skyrocket the moment their digital campaign goes live, but it’s not that simple. Advertising success doesn’t always equate to revenue, at least not immediately. You see, when a potential customer first sees an ad they begin what is called their consumer journey. To put it another way, they begin to travel down what is called the sales funnel, the process of getting a customer from first impressions to conversion.
Every stage of the funnel has different metrics for success and, more importantly, each stage should lead your customers to the next stage. If you’re a new brand, you’ll find success in the top of the funnel by simply making people more aware of your brand and its offerings. Once your brand is established in the minds of your customers, your success metrics will be clicks to your site, engagements onsite and of course conversions. While you can still drive conversions from top of funnel leads, smart marketers know that a full-funnel approach is the best way to build lasting relationships with repeat customers.
Here’s a closer look at the expectations for each stage of the funnel. Remember that every brand is different, and your goals will change based on what you’re trying to accomplish in each phase of the funnel.
Top of the Funnel: Awareness
The top of the sales funnel (aptly called the ‘Awareness Stage’) is the first touch point you’ll have with your future customers and where you’ll generate initial interest in your brand. Remember that this stage isn’t necessarily about sales - it’s about generating interest and traffic that eventually creates an audience for lower funnel conversions. This means making the best first impression possible, not making your final sales pitch.
All too often, young brands think their campaign is a failure because the ads aren’t driving sales. That couldn’t be further from the truth! In the awareness stage, you’re simply getting your product on more people’s radar. This means that your success is measured not necessarily by sales (though you will be driving sales down the line, more on that later) but by what we call reach and frequency. Reach is the unique number of people in your chosen audiences that you're able to put your ad in front of. Frequency is the number of times they see the ad. The more impressions driven in this stage the more brand awareness you drive, the more complete a picture you can draw of your most interested audience groups, and the more effectively you can target them again down-funnel!
So how do you drive those impressions? By putting your best creative foot forward! Use your best images, choose premium ad units and aim for high end placements and you’ll quickly find yourself drawing the attention of plenty of potential customers. With a little care and patience, you’ll lay a strong foundation for an effective down-funnel campaign.
Middle of the Funnel: Consideration
The customer has moved through the awareness stage and now they’re considering their options. This right here is a victory to celebrate. Why? Because you’ve gone from an unknown brand to an actual blip on their radar.
Once again, every brand will have different goals at this stage, but your basic mission in the mid-funnel is to drive deeper brand engagement. How do you achieve this? Start by using your awareness stage stats to create powerful new audiences based on that data. These new audiences, called lookalike audiences (or LAL) target new people based not on interest group but by their proximity to the interests of people who interacted with your awareness stage ads. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of your campaign and lets you optimize for cost knowing that your traffic is high quality.
The second way to drive engagement and clicks is to drive your audiences to content worth engaging in. Ideally you'll give your customers some way to interact with your brand, build trust, and convince them to buy from you rather than your competition. How do you go about this? Create a landing page with a newsletter signup, informative interactive content, or simply create an easily navigable shopping page and track what items people check out using the FieldTest tracking pixel. Every interaction between your potential customer and your site is a valuable piece of data that will allow you to effectively target them with bottom of funnel creative messaging. These engagements leading up to a conversion are as much a part of a healthy ad campaign as the conversion itself. FieldTest broadly looks at success in this phase as CPC. Pages viewed on your site, engagements by targeted group and number of touches all play an important role as well. In consideration, every brand interaction is a major win!
Bottom of the Funnel: Action
It's been a long journey down the funnel but we've finally made it to the Action stage, the last phase of the customer journey. Success at this stage has many forms but can generally be understood as driving those coveted sales conversions and even better, repeat customers. You've put in a ton of ground work getting the most qualified traffic to this stage and if you use it right you'll be rewarded with customers who feel a deep connection with your brand. Metrics we look at in this phase include number of touches, days to convert, device the customer bought on vs where we initially messaged them, creatives that drove the sale, cart size, amount of purchase.
By taking a full-funnel approach you now have a more complete understanding of who your customer is, what they respond well to and what they're interested in. This makes it easier to make informed decisions about what products to promote to them with action creative and content. For example, if you notice a lot of traffic being driven to a specific product this is a great time to target the people who viewed it with a discount coupon.
Another benefit of paying attention to your top and mid-funnel stages is that your bottom of funnel traffic will be extremely qualified and likely to buy. By retargeting these highly selective and highly curated audiences you increase chances of conversion exponentially. These people have already expressed interest in your products in your previous stages, the Action stage is the time to push them over the edge.
At the end of the day, success is determined by the stage of the funnel your campaign is operating in. This means broadening your understanding of advertising success to look beyond the final sale and seeing all the steps that customers must take to get there. Focus in on specific goals throughout each stage of the funnel and you’ll be more likely to win over new customers, retain their loyalty, and get more repeat sales from happy customers. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a metric for success that every advertiser can get behind.