Digital marketing is often praised for its’ ability to track metrics. Unlike print media or television, digital marketing campaigns allow you to monitor and analyze ad engagement and website interactions in real time. If you’ve ever heard someone in the digital marketing industry talk about “conversions”, “goals”, or “events”, they are likely talking about online conversions, one of the key performance indicators digital marketers use to assess campaigns.
What do digital marketers mean when they talk about online conversions?
Online conversions are actions that prospects take online that indicate intent to purchase, an actual purchase, or an increase in a desire to purchase.
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What online conversions do apartment communities usually track?
On apartment community websites, certain events are often recorded and analyzed to help advertisers and marketing managers know if a campaign was successful in bringing prospects further along in the leasing process.
Website conversions are typically tracked in Google Analytics.
Within Google analytics you can track the completion of “events”. To get an idea of what an event page looks like in Google Analytics, take a look at the example shown below (setting up event tracking usually requires the help of a developer).
You can set the completion of certain events as goals. This step is usually set up by an in-house marketing manager, the agency you are currently working with, or sometimes by a web developer. This is what a goal page looks like in Google Analytics.
Typical website “goals” for apartment websites include: clicking on a clickable phone number on mobile devices, clicking to email the community, submitting a contact form, clicking on an apply now button, or submitting an application.
Contact Form Submission
Once a prospect submits a contact form, this action is tracked in Google Analytics as an event fire and goal completion.
Click to Call or Email from the Website
Many apartment websites offer click to call interactions on mobile and click to email interactions on both mobile and desktop. These actions represent a desire to contact a community and are often tracked in Analytics.
Apply Now Button Click
Sometimes prospects click on an apply now button to get more in-depth floor plan or pricing information. If a prospect clicks on an apply now button, this is tracked as a goal completion in Analytics and indicates interest in finding out more about the leasing process.
Once a prospect clicks on an apply now call to action, navigates to a leasing portal, fills out every step in a leasing application and submits their application, your analytics account will reflect an application goal completion.
Conversions in Ads
Other online conversions often tracked, are within the ads themselves. If someone becomes a lead from a lead generation Facebook ad or from a click to call number on a mobile paid search ad, these actions may be considered conversions.
Call Tracking Conversions
Not all call conversions are the result of a click to call interaction. These calls from websites or digital advertising campaigns are tracked through call tracking software. Call tracking software collects all the calls that a community received from their digital marketing efforts by using dynamic number insertion (DNI) technology.
Why do online conversions matter?
Online conversions help communities and advertisers attribute digital marketing efforts to leads. In Google Analytics, communities can see which marketing campaigns are bringing people to the website who “convert” (complete website goals). They also serve as a measurable benchmark to analyze increases or decreases in marketing performance.
How should I interpret my conversion data?
Carefully. They make for great indicators and can give you an idea of how your marketing efforts are doing, but they don’t provide communities with a complete road map to success. Conversion data should be taken into consideration along with onsite information and other key performance indicators.
One important thing to understand when interpreting online conversions is the fact that the last step in the marketing funnel usually gets all the credit. Comprehensive marketing efforts work together to bring a prospect through a marketing funnel. The earlier steps in the marketing funnel (brand awareness campaigns like banner ads and social media campaigns) may be the first interaction a prospect has with your community. After seeing your community in a banner or social ad, someone may search for the community, navigate to the website and fill out a contact form.
In Google analytics it will appear as if organic traffic is the source of the lead, when in reality, many marketing outreach efforts were at play. You can track engagement that occurs earlier in the marketing funnel with clicks on ads that led to website visits and view throughs (instances where someone viewed an ad and then came back to the website) but with most attribution models, and Google Analytics stats, these earlier actions are often discounted or omitted from attribution entirely.
It is important for communities to take a holistic approach when attributing campaign performance. In person tours, total website traffic, and ad engagement all provide communities with a greater view of the overall marketing picture.
How can I improve my online conversions?
- Make it easy for prospects to find and engage with your call to actions.
- Identify what is driving an increase in online conversions.
- Bring in more website traffic with paid and organic marketing efforts.
- Increase the quality of your website traffic through better targeting, budget reallocation, and campaign optimization.