Why Facebook’s attribution data is mostly guesswork

One of the biggest challenges when running ads is measuring accurate attribution data. This is difficult for a number of reasons, including the fact that different systems calculate metrics and attribution differently.

Differences in measurement approach mean that SegMetric’s will typically disagree with the sales according to facebook. They include:

  1. Facebook measures thank-you page visits or web events, while SegMetrics looks at processed payments
  2. Facebook only attributes conversions to Facebook clicks, while SegMetrics attributes across all of your ad platforms
  3. View-through attributions will take credit for a sale, even if a customer barely glanced at the ad
  4. Facebook has a 7-day attribution window by default, which will miss sales that take over a week to convert

Let’s look at these in more detail…

Web events vs Payment Events

Facebook really only attributes checkout events, not real revenue. 

In marketing analytics, it is important to define a Source of Truth. Ideally, your Source of Truth should be as close to reality as possible. When measuring sales this means processed payments, or when measuring leads it means contacts in your email marketing system.

Facebook’s Pixel can’t access either of these sources of truth. It looks instead at javascript events or thank-you page visits. That means, it will still report that a sale has occurred even if 

👎 the payment fails
👎 the purchase is refunded
👎 the order is canceled later on

These uncompleted purchases can quickly burn through your profit margin, so it is vital to use an attribution tool that helps you avoid fake “sales”.

Similarly, leads can be double-counted over multiple browsers and sessions, even if there’s only one contact in your email marketing system.

SegMetrics hooks directly into your payment provider and email platforms. That lets us only report on actual sales that turned into money in the bank or leads that made it into your subscriber lists.

Facebook Focused vs Holistic Attribution

Accurately defining which clicks are responsible for a conversion is the most challenging part of marketing attribution.

Facebook makes things easy for itself…by pretending other ad platforms don’t exist.

Facebook’s first and last touch attribution only looks at the attribution within their platform. They will still claim credit for a sale even if there were other clicks, such as on Google or AdRoll, since their Pixel ignores these other touchpoints. We call this greedy attribution.

SegMetrics instead looks at all possible touchpoints and attributes leads and purchases to the corresponding ads based on your selected attribution model. This creates a holistic attribution system, which gives you true attribution across all of your marketing tools.

Facebook will claim attribution even when visitors came from other sources before or after

7-Day vs Lifetime Attribution

Facebook is limited to a 7-day click attribution window.

This means the attribution data is missing anyone who took their time before making a purchase. You can check your own typical time in Google Analytics, using their Time Lag report. For SegMetrics, it looks like this:

The Time Lag report for segmetrics.io

For our own funnels, Google reports roughly half of signups occur after 7-days. For e-commerce, we have typically seen an average of around 14 days from first ad click to purchase.

Note:  this stat can be distorted by people who came back after 30 days, whose cookie will have reset so that signup will now be measured as same day.

The 7-day window is dangerous as it can mislead marketers. In an attempt to follow the data, advertisers will be biased towards impulse buyers, disregarding potential customers who take a slower approach to making a purchase.

Facebook’s Inflated Metrics

Facebook has a history of dodgy data…

In 2018, they paid $40 million in a class-action lawsuit for inflating viewership metrics of their new video ads service by 150% to 900%.

While it disputes the lawsuit, Facebook did admit in 2016 to inflating its average video viewing figures by only counting views that lasted longer than three seconds.

— Fortune

This focus on video, unfortunately, decimated the written journalism industry, as the high-value metrics convinced publishers to move to video.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only time Facebook has been caught muddling the attribution metrics — and were sued again for misrepresentation of their “estimated potential reach” data.

The lawsuit cites an example when Facebook told advertisers it had a “Potential Reach” of 230 million adults, even though census data showed only 170 million were using Facebook. – CNBC

Then they blundered again with the “Conversion Lift” tool. A bug was found that lead to over attributed view-through sales. In some instances, Facebook are compensating advertisers for vouchers for millions of dollars of ad credit.

It’s reasons like these that it’s difficult to implicitly trust Facebook’s black-box data, and why it’s important to use data in holistically attributed, accessible systems like SegMetrics.

How to Determine the Truth

One of the core tenets of SegMetrics’ reporting is that all data should be available and accessible. You can see exactly which leads, customers and purchases are making up the data in each report.

Accurate attribution means no more inflated metrics.

You can then click into a contact to see details of their journey, down to every ad click, tag and purchase they have made. It gives you the ability to see how Facebook ads truly contributed to individual sales, instead of taking them on good faith.

Step 0) Trust but verify

We don’t want blind faith from our users. You should first verify your SegMetrics setup, such as that your ad_ids are pulling in and that your Pixel is firing for accurate attribution.

Start by going through your custom setup guide and the troubleshooting SOP. If you’re confused about any step, you’re welcome to email [email protected]

Once you’re set up, there are a couple of simple steps you can take to quickly understand where your conversions are coming from, and what your true ad attribution is. Check out these helpful articles we have on Facebook Lead Ad Tracking and Setting Up Facebook Ad Tracking.

Step 1) Filter to show only Facebook Ads

In the default report, SegMetrics will report across all of your ad platforms, and attribute leads and purchases correctly to the platform that brought them in. Facebook defaults to assigning all multi-touch attributions to Facebook.

To only show purchases that involved a Facebook ad click on their journey, go ahead and add a report filter.

Then make sure your date ranges are matching up.

Step 2) Flip the Script

The easiest way to get our true attribution numbers is to flip the script, and look at the leads or purchases for a single day, and then see where each one came from.

This can be a little time consuming, which is why we recommend looking at a day or two of day, but it’s the best way to understand the full customer journey of your ads, and verify what Facebook is reporting.

From the New Leads or Orders report, choose a specific 1 or 2 day timeframe that you can easily confirm with live data.

Next, choose the Contacts or Purchases table to get a list of all the contacts or customers that came in during that day. You’ll see their first-touch information in the report, which gives you a quick view if you are getting tracking or not.

Accurate Attribution Data starts with a client by client view.

Click the Open icon next to each of the names to open the contact’s full customer journey.

Contact Activity in SegMetrics

Here you can see all the clicks that a contact has made during their marketing lifecycle, and quickly verify which purchases and conversion events are attributed to which ads.

Conclusion

Multi-Touch Attribution will always be a challenge for digital marketers. That’s why the most critical tool a marketer can have is an accurate attribution platform that allows you to verify the metrics it reports on — by being open about the data it collects, how it attributes, and its limitations.

There will never be a perfect marketing tool. But SegMetrics is dedicated to being open with its attribution and data, so that you can trust the marketing decisions you make.

Because you can’t reliably improve your marketing if you can’t trust your reporting platform to have accurate attribution data.

Vanessa Copley

Vanessa Copley is a business automation specialist and the founder of Custom Client Journey. She specializes in client journey management and bringing the human touch to your automated experience. In her free time, she enjoys reading science fiction and horror novels, studying real estate, practicing Tang Soo Do and spending time with her amazing children, the love of her life, and their birds and guinea pigs.

Don’t let adblockers disrupt your data, with the new Self-Hosted Pixel

In an age where some websites shove in more ads than halftime at the Superbowl, it’s understandable that 43% of people now use some kind of adblocker.

Self Hosted Pixel
What do you mean “Too many ads?”

According to the Digital Trends report, the top reasons for using an ad blocker are:

  • 22.3% – Excessive amounts of ads
  • 22.3% – The irrelevance of ad messages
  • 19.9% – Ads are too intrusive
  • 16.7% – Ads take up too much screen space
  • 16.5% – Ads might contain viruses or bugs

And we agree with that. Ad overload makes the internet worse for everyone, so we respect people’s choice to block them. 

Blocking more than just ads

Unfortunately, other tools can get caught in the net.

For example, many adblockers stop Google Analytics from running, despite that it has nothing to do with displaying ads. It has many uses for website owners, such as monitoring that everything is running smoothly.

Some extensions also block the Facebook Pixel, in a quest to stop Zuckerberg and co. from watching you across every website. Combine this with the iOS changes, and measuring RoAS becomes a real challenge.

Even tools such as Google Tag Manager are often blocked, despite just being a container.

Dressing the part

SegMetric’s snippet plays by the rules. 

We don’t have anything to do with showing ads…

We don’t watch visitors anywhere other than your website…

We only save data about people who submit their email…

But, a few services take a sledgehammer approach that stops our snippet from loading. They stop any 3rd party javascript snippets from running, despite that this includes completely innocent tools.

But, our new Self-Hosted Pixel lets SegMetrics dress the part.

Think of an ad blocker like a simple security guard. If you walk past the desk wearing the company’s uniform, he’ll let you go past. But if you look like an outsider, you’ll be stopped and inspected.

With the Self-Hosted Pixel, the snippet will be dressed to look like part of your website’s infrastructure. Ad blockers won’t stop data from going back to the original domain, so you get 100% of your visitor data.

Performance tracking for every visit

Setting up the Self-Hosted Pixel only takes a few steps to configure. You will then get the full advantage of server-side tracking, but without the complex setup.

  1. Add a new CNAME record so your server talks to SegMetrics
  1. Enable the Self-Hosted Pixel option in the settings and message the domain name to our support team so they can double-check to make sure everything is configured correctly!
  1. Copy the updated SegMetrics Tracking Pixel onto your site to use your new Self-Hosted Pixel

That’s it! Your SegMetrics pixel will run smoothly for every visitor to your site, giving you even more accurate data.

Start Hosting Your Pixel

If you have a SegMetrics account, then read the support doc for more detailed instructions for how to configure your pixel.

Or if you’re not yet a user, go ahead and grab yourself a free 14 day trial.

Vanessa Copley

Vanessa Copley is a business automation specialist and the founder of Custom Client Journey. She specializes in client journey management and bringing the human touch to your automated experience. In her free time, she enjoys reading science fiction and horror novels, studying real estate, practicing Tang Soo Do and spending time with her amazing children, the love of her life, and their birds and guinea pigs.

Tripwires 101, aka stop with the free stuff

Getting lots of leads but few sales? Or people who are getting sticker shock at your prices? Well, a tripwire offer could be just what you need.

Why lead magnets are like lettuce

How many free ebooks do you have sitting forgotten in your inbox? Ones where you gave them your email but then never got around to reading them.

It’s like lettuce. We pick one up with the best of intentions, convincing ourselves we’ll be virtuous and make some healthy salads. But we never get round to it, so it just sits there wilting at the back of the fridge until it starts smelling funky. 

So it’s not surprising that 700 million pounds of lettuce end up in the garbage each year.

Ebooks often suffer from the same fate. People grab them with the best of intentions. We want to learn the business advice, health tips, or whatever else was in the ebook. But, we get distracted so leave them to sit forgotten in inbox (although thankfully without the smell).

Using them to start building a relationship isn’t effective if they just get ignored. 

“People value what they pay for…You’re not doing [prospects] a disservice by charging them, you’re actually doing a profound service for the people who want to take action.”

Ramit Sethi

Sure, you can hope that people read your follow-up emails despite not opening the ebook. But, don’t trust your open rates, because they’re definitely lying to you.

Stop undervaluing your content

Yes, you’ll get more conversions if you give something away for free…

…but will that actually lead to more revenue?

If your core product has a three or four-figure price tag, it’s sensible to avoid the sticker shock and not scare people away.

A great alternative approach is a tripwire campaign, where you first sell a low-priced offer.

For example, let’s say your main product is a $300 dollar course. You want to give people a low-stakes first interaction, so you could offer a $20 mini-series as a first purchase.

Or perhaps you offer high ticker consulting services? A popular tactic is to sell a short book filled with advice as a low price introductory product, which is “free” other than the price of shipping.

Add a valuable tripwire offer

There are then two potential funnel strategies:

  1. The immediate upsell, where the checkout sequence pitches higher value products
  2. A nurture sequence, giving them time to find value from the first product before upselling

Both aim to sell the full course, with the best approach depending on your content and sales style.

A 2-Step Tripwire Sales Funnel

OptinMonster suggests this 2-Step approach for a tripwire sales funnel

Advantages of a tripwire

As well as making a bit of extra revenue, running a tripwire has various advantages compared to a lead magnet:

Freebie hunters – you don’t want an email list of people only after free tips. Charging upfront removes these time wasters.

Value perception – all of your content is valuable and helpful, so charge for it! Instead of making it a major jump from free to paid.

Cover ad costs – Revenue from the tripwire can go a long way to covering your advertising costs, giving you a much bigger reach.

“Yes” mode – it is easier to pitch the high ticket product when customers are already in a purchase mindset and happy to buy from you

So if you’ve been building your email list with dubious results, then go ahead and try selling a low-priced entry-level product instead.

Matching up the three pieces

Much like with lead magnets, the key is to optimize the set of three parts. That’s why you’ll want a set of metrics such as 

  1. Cost per visitor to the tripwire page
  2. Conversion rate for the tripwire
  3. Conversion rate for the upsell

You want to find a tripwire that will attract folk who will want the upsell. That sounds easy, but it is very easy to be misled by your metrics.

Tools such as Google Analytics make it easy to measure how many visitors are buying your tripwire. If you’re upselling them the same visit then it will also capture that data, but if you’re taking your time to nurture them first then it will fall short.

This can be dangerous, as a more popular tripwire won’t always mean more core product sales.

Here is an example of a previous client who had a fitness course, who was selling a recipe book for fitness folk. It was very popular but didn’t lead to many course sales. It turns out the people who enjoy cooking healthy food aren’t necessarily the people who enjoy working out. The tripwire was tangential but wasn’t connected.

Connect account data with Segmetrics

Take this set of lead magnets from EOFire. The Resource Guide is the most popular with 4,029 downloads, yet the Cheatsheet, Burnout Template, and 5 Reasons are all converting to paying customers at triple the rate

It is far more profitable for EOFire to promote these resources that are less initially popular, but more often lead to sales.

That is why it’s important to test a few different products before throwing resources promoting one in particular.

How to measure your tripwire performance

Even if you’re immediately pitching the upsell, it’s worth measuring long-term performance.

Frank Kern covers this in his Hardcore Scaling YouTube series. His campaigns look like they’re losing him money if he measures the sales generated within a week of people clicking an ad.

But, he then expanded the view to 4 weeks and the RoAS jumped up to 200%! The leads were great, it was just that they needed a few weeks of nurturing before they purchased.

It is only by looking at the long-term RoAS that he was able to assess which ad campaigns were turning a profit.

(Note: SegMetrics reports on this in the “Sales Velocity” report, showing the time from lead to first and second sale)

So, let’s look at how to measure the total revenue your tripwires have brought in.

Step 1: Tag your contacts

Use the tagging feature within your email platform.

Most major email platforms will let you tag subscribers with extra information. This might be the URL of the signup page or the name of the product they purchased.

We can’t cover every system, but for two examples…

HubSpot – HubSpot’s automations can enrich the contact’s data to show what product they purchased. 

Create a static list for each tripwire, then add an automation step to add contacts to the relevant list after they complete a purchase.

Add tripwire leads to a relevent sequence

MailChimp – Use Mailchimp’s automations to add tags to each contact. 

Create a separate tag for each tripwire, then tag people with the relevant one when they make a purchase.

Step 2: Find the LTV from each tripwire

The next step is to find the lifetime value of customers who bought each tripwire, even if their follow-up purchases were much later.

There are a few ways to do this, depending on your setup.

Option A) Export and manipulate data from your email platform

If your email platform already imports revenue data then it’s a matter of viewing the revenue per tag. To do this you will need to:

  1. Export the list of subscribers, then tidy it up so it is just the name, product tags and revenue.
  2. Create a pivot table between the tripwire tag, and the number of core purchases and revenue that were generated by those contacts.

Option B) Export and merge the lists from your email and payment platforms

The aim is to match up the email addresses of people on your subscriber list with customers in your payment processor. That way you can see the revenue associated with each tripwire. To do this you will need to:

  1. Export the list of subscribers, then tidy it up so it is just email addresses and tripwire tags.
  2. Export the list of customers from your payment processor and again tidy it up into only email address and revenue.
  3. Use a VLookup to attach the sale to their subscriber entry
  4. To see how much revenue is associated with each tag
Segmetrics Makreting Analytics

Option 2c) Do it in a few clicks with SegMetrics

There are funnel analytics tools designed to look at long term customer data.

SegMetrics will directly collect information from multiple sources, such as your subscriber data and payment processor to let you analyze lifetime revenue.

Order placed
ProductPurchasesLTVRevenue
Tripwire A23$82$1886
Tripwire B7$96$672
Tripwire C40$16$640

You can even connect SegMetrics to your ad platforms. That will let you see the lifetime RoAS for each campaign based on the revenue from both the tripwire and upsell.

Vanessa Copley

Vanessa Copley is a business automation specialist and the founder of Custom Client Journey. She specializes in client journey management and bringing the human touch to your automated experience. In her free time, she enjoys reading science fiction and horror novels, studying real estate, practicing Tang Soo Do and spending time with her amazing children, the love of her life, and their birds and guinea pigs.

Great News, Open Rates are Dead!

We’re very excited here at SegMetrics to hear that open rates are the next victim of iOS updates. It’s a similar change to Gmail’s image prefetching update a few years ago, which will make open rate stats even more drastically inflated and meaningless.

“The iOS 15 update means that marketers could lose around half of their open rate data. That will render it effectively useless, as it can no longer be used as a legitimate KPI or optimization metric.”

Omnisend

And that’s great news! Because do you know what’s worse than not optimizing your campaigns? Optimizing them for misleading metrics…

Open and click rates – misleading marketers for decades 

Here at SegMetrics, we’re big optimization nerds. There’s nothing we love more than combing through data to determine what’s working.

So you’d think we’d enjoy open rates, rights?

Well, the bad news is that testing subject lines to improve open rates has never been helpful. According to Mailchimp’s data:

“Unfortunately, we found that opens and clicks don’t predict revenue any better than a coin flip!”

This is confirmed by research into 50 million emails, that concluded:

“Open rates wrongly predict success 53% of the time”

Or in other words, an improvement in open rates has no connection to improving sales.

(Note: We’re sorry if this reality check is distressing. We’ll understand if you want to take a minute to try and reason why we’re wrong)

Focusing on what matters – money!

Now we’re not just saying you should take a hit and hope approach to your emails. Open rates are meaningless, but there’s a better alternative!

How about…which emails actually make money!

Alternative #1, measure immediate sales

The most obvious choice is to measure which emails are leading directly to purchases. 

This is standard in e-commerce, where most emails are aimed at bringing in sales (although there’s other options). Most major email platforms have integrations for platforms such as Shopify and Woocommerce to attribute sales to email clicks.

For industries such as info products, this isn’t always so straightforward. You might have a nurture sequence where immediate sales aren’t the aim, which brings us to…

Alternative #2, measure impact on LTV

With tools such as SegMetrics, you can see how email sequences impact average lifetime value.

This is ideal if your aim is to increase spending, days, weeks or even months after someone received the emails. Revenue data from your email platform or payment processor will be matched up with someone’s contact data and the sequence they have been tagged with.

It is ideal if you have a long nurture sequence before pitching your course, or want to build the brand relationship after a first purchase.

Example: lead follow up sequence

Let’s say you have a free mini-course you email out to people who downloaded your lead magnet, after which you pitch your main product. You’ve been wondering if switching the content to a different content would be a good idea.

Previously, you might have looked at the open rate to see if the new series got in front of more eyeballs.

But with SegMetrics, you can split test them to see which brings in more revenue. Simply

  1. Tag leads with which email sequence they are receiving
  2. Let the emails run until enough people have gone through the funnel
  3. Use SegMetrics to see the revenue attributed to each tag

If you then want to take it up a level, you could even measure which course content works best with which lead magnet!

Vanessa Copley

Vanessa Copley is a business automation specialist and the founder of Custom Client Journey. She specializes in client journey management and bringing the human touch to your automated experience. In her free time, she enjoys reading science fiction and horror novels, studying real estate, practicing Tang Soo Do and spending time with her amazing children, the love of her life, and their birds and guinea pigs.

Looking past the purchase: how to test the best ways for increasing customer value

It’s a simple calculation really,

number of customers × spend per customer = revenue

Yet it can still lead us astray.

Optimizing for quality, not just quantity

As marketers, we have traditionally focused on bringing in more customers. It’s all about attracting visitors that convert, as many customers as possible.

Spend per customer gets mostly left to chance. Maybe we put some effort into promoting products that are more expensive or that have a higher profit margin. But after that initial purchase, we lose enthusiasm for optimizing touchpoints to increase customer spend.

It’s common for marketers to have a PPC manager who spends 5 days a week working to bring in customers. Meanwhile, aspects such as the follow-up emails get set to endlessly repeat, or become someone’s small weekly blast.

Part of this bias is due to the data.

Numbers such as ad clicks are easy to measure with rapid changes in performance, so optimizing them feels more worthwhile. In the background are stats such as lifetime value or upsell performance. They are harder to measure with tools such as Google Analytics and require waiting weeks or months for changes to appear, so less attention is given to optimizing them.

“One of the quickest ways to add positive cash flow to your business is to figure out how to turn more of your one-time buyers into repeat customers”

Drew Sanocki, CEO Growth Engines

But a new range of tools and techniques are changing that. You can now directly test strategies for increasing the spend per customer, giving huge opportunities to boosting revenue.

Two knock-on effects from increasing your lifetime value

Not all customers are created equal. According to the Adobe Digital Index, 41% of revenue typically comes from 8% of visitors.

It is easy to think of the 80/20 rule as one of those inevitable laws of nature that you can’t influence. But, what if you could increase the number of big spenders?

On average, only 20% of the revenue from each sale is profit, with a whopping 15% going to marketing. That means if you can increase the amount of second purchases without big marketing spend, that second sale is almost twice as profitable.

Meanwhile, increasing the average order value or amount of repeat purchases give you the ability to outbid competitors while staying profitable.

Two paths to boosting customer spend

There are two main approaches to boosting the amount spent per customers

  1. Increase the average order value (AOV)
  2. Nurture customers to increase lifetime value (LTV)

Most companies already try some tactics to increase both. They might have an “also bought” section along with sending a monthly newsletter to past customers about new products.

But there is also a whole range of underused tactics.

So, let’s take a look at some alternatives, along with suggested ways to measure their impact on optimizing each one or test which is best.

Tactics to increase average order value

If you use a platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce, then plugins are available that aim at boosting AOV. They modify the buying experience, adding extra suggestions or buying opportunities. The most common top of funnel “buying opportunities” are the cross-sell and the post-purchase upsell.

Cross-sell complementary products

Cross-selling is the classic “would you like fries with that?” add-on. It is all about suggesting extra items that would complement the one a customer is interested in.

Cross-selling: suggesting a second product such as a relevant accessory

Amazon achieves this with their “frequently bought together” suggestions such as the bracket for the TV shown above.

Companies such as Wiser give any store the ability to add intelligent recommendations. From their case study with Kappa they describe:

“Kappa displays a ‘complete the look’ section on its product pages. In this section, it recommends products that fall under the same category the shopper is interested in but is from a different range.

“For example, if a shopper is looking for track pants in sportswear. You can use the ‘complete the look’ Wiser widget to recommend buying a t-shirt that would match with it.”

This one change gave an 11% increase in AOV

Post-purchase offer

Post-purchase offers are all about creating a second buying opportunity on the thank you page. The key advantage is that they don’t impact the original purchase as they don’t disrupt the primary sales funnel.

With tools such as CartHook, merchants see an average 10% increase in revenue!

They let merchants easily set up post-purchase funnels, customizing options such as timers and special discounts to encourage the sale. They then include some analytics to help users track the changes to AOV.

It is best to test whether a range of price points for the post-purchase offer. A small $15 product might convert better, whereas a $200 premium follow up could bring in more revenue.

How to measure product combinationsIf you want to measure which products are commonly bought together then check out SegMetrics.

You can filter reports to see only customers whose purchases include a certain product. That lets you see what other products they bought either on that visit or the next time they came back.
That lets you plan tactics to increase the AOV, or see which products would be best to promote in follow up emails.

Going for the long game

So you bought in a new customer, fantastic! That’s great, but it doesn’t mean you can get complacent.

It’s easy to send out the usual stream of coupons and products announcements, with the risky assumption that some customers will inevitably come back to make more purchases.

Slacking off on nurturing new customers is a huge missed opportunity. Repeat customers typically spend more than new buyers, while bringing in higher profit margins from the reduced marketing costs. Even converting a few more percent of customers into repeat buyers can bring huge profit increases to a business.

Increasing lifetime value is all about building relationships with your customers.

Unlike AOV, it’s what happens after the purchase that counts. Do they have a particularly great experience with your product? Do you help them learn more about the business? Do you make them feel valued?

Or, do you only send them emails pushing them to buy the product, reducing the relationship to just a financial one?

Credit: Automizy

Build the connection

Lowering the price via sales and discounts is only one way to increase the buying motivation.

You can also help customers appreciate the quality of your product…the reasoning behind it…the ways it can be used…how it differs from competitors…why they should stop putting off their decision.

Think of your email sequence as a chance to share details about your store that buyers wouldn’t otherwise find out. It’s about making the reader feel valued beyond the purchases they make, helping them share your vision.

Instead of adding the pile of coupons in their promotions tab, try a sequence based on building the brand perception. You could share information such as:

  • The origin story of how your store began and how you got to this point
  • Behind the scenes details of how you do things differently
  • The values of your business and what they mean for customers
  • Relevant advice and tips for getting the most out of your products
  • Interviews with staff, customers, or industry experts

SendPulse shared a great example from Brooks Brothers, it builds the status of the brand through sharing the origin story before going on to share more recent innovations. It is not aimed at selling a specific product but instead building general brand perception.

The “winback” campaign

Every company has inactive subscribers. They’re the past customers who haven’t visited your website, clicked an email link or made a purchase in a long while.

The aim of a winback campaign is to recapture the attention of these past customers, to try and get them back as returning buyers. They are highly effective, with research showing that 45% of recipients who received a win-back campaign read a subsequent message [source: Martech].

Klaviyo recommends testing a short series of 2-5 emails, where the subject lines with a personal feeling such as “We miss you,” “Come back,” or “It’s been a while”.

These subject lines can lead to content such as offering discounts, information about new products or educating the customer.

You don’t have to aim to get an immediate sale. Try to build the curiosity back up, get the reader engaged so that they will make a purchase in the following months. To test which email series is most effective, measure the LTV associated with each one either by manipulating data from your existing platforms, or with a tool such as SegMetrics.

Taking it offline

Have you considered sending physical mailouts instead of only email blasts?

With prices as low as $0.70 per piece, it works out cheaper than clicking a remarketing ad. Plus, recipients get an item they can hang on to as a constant reminder to revisit your store.

Postalytics have a fantastic case study around running a winback campaign like above but with direct mail. Zogics, a gym company, sent the postcard below to past customers.

They used the Postalytics software to automate the process, integrating with Hubspot so that a postcard was sent to any customer who went quiet. The results were a 500% increase in ROI and an order volume increase of 140%

The wider statistics also back up the approach. For example  “59 percent of U.S. respondents enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.”

Upgrade the experience

Bringing in repeat sales is about more than just product quality. What else could you be doing to upgrade the customer’s experience? It could be

  • Premium or sustainable packaging
  • Faster delivery (even for free shipping)
  • Including small freebies or gifts

For example, Aeropress includes a sachet of ground coffee with each purchase. That gives buyers the opportunity to immediately put the product to use. This is backed up by research saying: 

“60% of online shoppers said they’d be more likely to purchase from a retailer again upon receiving surprise giveaways (magnets, stickers, etc.) with an order” – Dotcom Dist

You don’t have to just blindly hope that there is an ROI when making these extra investments. Tools such as SegMetrics can let you split test what you are shipping to customers and see the LTV in the following months.

That way you can see if the freebie or next day delivery was worth the cost in terms of bringing back customers.

Upsell to a subscription

One-off purchases are great, but monthly revenue is even better. It can hold the potential for extreme increases in LTV, such as Oatly whose milk subscription increased LTV by 14x.

Subscription boxes have led the charge, but now other online stores are adding subscription options to their products. It is especially well suited to industries such as:

  • Beauty products
  • Fashion and clothing
  • Food and beverages
  • Health and wellness
  • Home goods
  • Pets and animals

Tools such as Recharge enable merchants to easily set up, promote and manage subscription products. They have great potential either as a primary product, or to upsell to buyers who were happy with their first purchase.

If you set up a subscription, it is important to properly attribute the sales. With SegMetrics you can see what campaigns bought in the initial purchases that then lead to a subscription.

How to measure changes in LTV

So hopefully you have some ideas you want to try out for increasing LTV.

But blindly picking one and hoping it pays off isn’t ideal. Iit’s best to instead test how each one impacts your revenue using the following steps:

  1. Create your new email sequence and set up the relevant automations
  2. Tag customers within your email platform to determine which approach you’re using with them
  3. Send them the relevant email or direct mail package and wait the desired time to see what happens
  4. There are two choices to analyze the impact
    1. Export the tag and revenue data from your email platform and manipulate it in Excel
    2. View the data directly in SegMetrics by comparing LTV per tag
  5. Boast to your boss about how much you increased revenue

SegMetrics can also attribute this LTV data back to your ad campaigns and traffic sources. You can discover which campaigns are more likely to bring in repeat customers and measure RoAS based on lifetime value.

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Turning a college hustle into a successful business – with Thomas Smale

This week, Keith sat down with Thomas Smale, the CEO and founder of FE International, a top-ranked global M&A advisor of SaaS, e-commerce & content businesses. He has worked with a number of business acquisitions both before he became founder, and he now specializes in it through FE International.

Smale started the foundation of what is now FE International about 11 years ago while he was a struggling college student. At this time, he was buying domains with his credit card to clean up websites and sell them back to business owners and other consumers for a small profit. This process is what inspired his thriving business today. He oversees a team that uses a similar business model to consult higher-level marketing and SaaS websites.

In this interview with Thomas Smale, you will learn:

  • Smale’s process for scaling your business up successfully
  • Tips on how to maintain credibility and authenticity with your client base
  • The benefits of tracking your customer’s movements early on in the sales funnel
  • How important a strong support team is for keeping clients long-term
  • How to prioritize and delegate as the founder of a company

You can connect with Thomas here:

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.

How to Cut Your CPA by 24% Using Advanced AI Training

Increasing traffic is no longer enough

It’s the core challenge of every digital marketer; more sales for less money.

There are now armies of AIs dedicated to this goal. Their sole mission is to bring in ideal traffic for ad buyers, the people who best match an advertiser’s specifications.

But, more isn’t always better.

According to eMarketer, improving the quality of leads is a priority for 58% of businesses. It is no longer enough to bring in leads that seem interested in your product or service. What’s needed is traffic that will go beyond downloading a PDF and actually make a purchase.

Do you ever envy ecommerce marketers?

In theory, ecommerce folk have it nice and simple. They show someone some ads, they visit the website and maybe make a purchase.

It is a nice simple journey to track, where the Facebook and Google bots get a clear view of the sales steps. That means the ad traffic can be automatically optimized to bring in more people like those buyers.

But, what about when your sales flow isn’t that simple?

If your sales flow is even slightly complex or the sale doesn’t happen immediately, then you end up having to make compromises. Instead you will optimize for rough indicators of success, such as:

  • Lead magnet downloads
  • Enquiry submissions
  • Demos booked
  • Trial signups
  • Webinar registrations

Optimizing for these funnel steps is straightforward and easy…but is still a big step off from actually optimizing for sales. There’s nothing to say that leads from a campaign are turning into sales.

It is a shame, as sending higher quality data back to the ad AIs can help drop the CPA by around 24% on average. Want to hear how? Well keep on reading.

Stop blowing budget on attracting time wasters

By using the Ad Conversion events, you tell the bots “I want more traffic like these folk”, and that’s what they send you. That’s great so long as you’re training them with good data.

But sometimes what we think is good data isn’t so good after all.

In the world of AI, there’s a concept of “garbage in, garbage out”. It means if you feed bad data into an AI then you’re going to get bad results on the other end.

(For a mad example, check out when Microsoft’s AI accidentally became racist.)

You might tell the bots to send you more traffic like the people who are downloading your lead magnet. But, the bots can’t tell if those leads are good or not. It might be that they start optimizing for freebie hunters who don’t have the budget for your product. Or worse, they might optimize for fraudulent traffic and card scammers (scroll down to read about this happening to us).

You’re then left hoping the leads you’ve paid for are turning into sales without any way to check.

Data from HubSpot’s Marketing Report

It can be easy to assume that leads all close at the same rate, but as this Hubspot report showed, that’s not the case. Paid Search channels close at about half the rate of organic traffic on average and that’s ignoring the variation between campaigns.

Tracking these longer sales cycles is impossible with the normal pixel and snippets, but thankfully Facebook and Google both offer an underappreciated feature.

Adapting the Offline Conversion tool

You might have heard of offline conversions. Facebook and Google both created versions so that big brick and mortar stores could link online ads to in-store purchases.

The feature is designed to use data from a store’s PoS or CRM database. Once manually edited and uploaded, the bots would try their best to match purchases to ad clicks using identifiers such as the name and email address.

Even though it’s called offline conversions, it can still be used to track online transactions — especially those after the (incredibly short) click attribution window.

Savvy marketers have started using it to improve attribution and train the bots in a range of scenarios, such as:

  • When sales happen after a long email funnel
  • Deals closed on a sales or demo call 
  • Measuring subscription payments, not trials
  • Payments that are collected on a separate website
  • Sales outside of the 7-day attribution window

Here’s our own nightmare use case to give you an example…

Case Study: Spam trial signups

25% is considered a good conversion rate from trial to paying user. That means if you’re teaching the bots to get more trial signups you’re teaching them to find the 75% who never spend a dollar.

Tracking scenario

  • Old optimization goal: Trial signup
  • New optimization goal: Complete account setup
  • Tracking challenges: 
    1. setup doesn’t always happen same day, 
    2. setup can’t be seen by the FB pixel

It also means that ad AIs can start optimizing for folk who are intentionally wasting your time.

In early 2021, we had a rollercoaster ride with our own ads. We had trial signups as our goal, running ads on both Google and Facebook.

After steadily ticking along for months, the CPA suddenly dropped by around 30%. We were pleased with ourselves, congratulating our PPC manager for doing a great job.

But… our paid signup rate then tanked. 

We looked at the new signups and realized they all had ridiculous gmail accounts with lots of numbers such as [email protected]. The “signups” was a wave of card scammers, spam bots using SegMetrics’ free trial to test whether stolen credit cards were still working.

Thankfully, we were already developing our new Conversion Feeder to automate offline conversion tracking.

The spam traffic all made an account then left, instead of proceeding to set up SegMetrics. So, we made an offline conversion event for people who completed their set up within SegMetrics, proving they were a real person, and a valuable trial.

It took a few weeks to retrain the ad platforms, but they learned to send us visitors who were likely to go through and set up. Our trial-to-paid conversion rate shot up, while the CPA was still lower than it had become before the whole nightmare.

Reducing cost per lead by an average of 24%

In our initial tests, a small selection of users were invited to implement offline conversions to optimize their ad campaigns.

They were a mixture of infoproduct and ecommerce businesses, all spending between $2,000 to $60,000 per month on ads.

We then compared their CPA for the two weeks before and after they turned on conversion tracking. The cost per lead was reduced by an average of 24% and median of 31% across all of the accounts.

3 options you can use to optimize with Offline Conversions

Hopefully you now understand the power of using offline conversion data. So, let’s look at three ways you can use it for your own advertising.

#1: Manual sorting and upload

The ad platforms expect most folk to manually manipulate and upload their sales data. You can read the full guides from Facebook and Google on how to upload your data to their platforms.

We won’t duplicate the full instructions here, but the general process for both is:

  1. Create an offline event set
  2. Export the conversion data
  3. Remove excess columns and entries
  4. Map your data to the platform’s format
  5. Upload your CSV to the platform
  6. Resolve any errors or warnings

For Google, you will need to add code onto your website to capture the GCLID and then set up your CRM to store this ID when creating a new contact.

Manually processing offline conversions will work, but becomes time consuming to do each day or week, especially since you have to capture the click ids yourself.

#2: Zapier connection

If you use Zapier then you can set up a connection between your CRM and Facebook, such as this Offline Conversions for ActiveCampaign.

It will automatically send through conversion data to Facebook based on the chosen action.

Be warned that you might only get a 2% match rate, the typical rate for matching without a click-ID. CRMs don’t normally track the click ids from your users and are limited in what data they collect about each contact. So, it will still be a hefty loss of attribution.

#3: Use SegMetrics’ Conversion Feeder

You can set up offline conversions with two clicks in SegMetrics.
1. From your Integrations Page, click the Settings button, and choose Setup Ad Tracking

2. Follow the instructions above, choose your conversion pixel, and then click Save

That’s it! Your conversion data will be synced daily to Google and Facebook, improving your ad attribution and targeting automatically, even days, weeks or months after the initial click event!

Unlike importing data through manual uploads or Zapier, the enriched contact info from our Conversion Feeder gives Facebook and Google the best chance of matching a sale to an ad click, as we’re able to track the exact click id that brought the users in.

TL;DR Use SegMetric’s Conversion Feeder to better train your ad AIs

Look, we get it. You have enough on your plate already, like wondering how the iOS changes will affect ads on Google and Facebook.

But, that’s even more reason to stop relying on the inbuilt conversion tracking. 

Using the Conversion Feeder, whether manually or via SegMetrics, can drop the CPA and improve your attribution.

So stop measuring ad success in terms of PDF downloads or form submissions, and get the data you need to focus on boosting your revenue.

If you want to try out the Conversion Feeder then grab a free 14-day trial of SegMetrics. 

Zach Goldie

Zach is lead copywriter for SegMetrics. As a former engineer, he loves the puzzle of how to best write a piece that matches the prospect's priorities.

5 Advanced Ways to Maximize your RoAS

Once you have followed the generic advice around match types and automated bidding, it’s easy to feel lost about how to further improve your ad campaigns.

Well, here are five methods to kick your ads into high gear:

1) Avoid relying on vulnerable cookies

The 3rd party cookies used by Facebook and Google are increasingly unreliable, due to iOS 14 and ad blockers. You can’t trust you are really seeing the correct amount of visitors and events.

So, verify the data with reliable 1st party cookies.

Tools such as Fathom only collect a minimal amount of anonymous data. Others such as SegMetrics record each customer’s full journey by connecting the visitor cookie to their contact ID.


2) Optimize for sales using Offline Conversions

Google and Facebook both support “Offline Conversions”. It is designed for uploading conversion data about purchases made in physical stores, but it is also ideal for purchase events such as:

  • When sales happen after a long email funnel
  • Deals closed on a sales or demo call 
  • Conversion from trial to paid subscription
  • Payments that are collected on a separate website
  • Sales outside of the 7-day attribution window

You can manually upload this conversion data each week using CSVs, or you can automate the process with SegMetrics’s Conversion Feeder. It feeds conversion data to the advertising AIs, without being impacted by iOS 14.


3) Separate funnels for different lead types

Let’s say you have two ads, one that will appeal to newbies and one that addresses a pain point of experienced folk. Visitors download a lead magnet and enter your email sequence.

No information can be ideal for both of these groups. Yet they are usually all poured into the same sequence. It would be better to build out different content variations instead.

Experiment with sending your leads into different funnels based on:

  • Decision making stage 
  • First time buyers or switching from competitors
  • Pain point that attracted them
  • Company size/industry
  • Demographics such as age or parent status

That way you can send information specific to them, instead of trying to have mass appeal with each message.


4) Measure success using LTV, not small events

Measuring success with PDF downloads or trial signups isn’t good enough.

To make the most of your ad spend you need to see where your big spenders came from. Whether it’s leads that turned into customers, trial signups that became paying subscribers, or customers that become repeat buyers.

The attribution from ad platforms hides the fact that leads aren’t converting into customers at an equal rate. SegMetrics users find that there’s as much as a 3x variation in the LTV of leads from different campaigns, with some “successful” campaigns actually wasting their money.

There is a range of tools (such as SegMetrics) that will track customer journeys from ad click to repeat purchases, so stop measuring success through proxy metrics.


5) Test upsell combinations and strategies

Boosting the average order value (AOV) is a great way to get the most from your ad clicks.

So, go ahead and run an A/B test on your upsell. Or if you don’t have an upsell, test a new strategy for promoting follow-up purchase. You could try:

  • An upsell vs a downsell
  • A delayed “next purchase” suggestion
  • Other complimentary products
  • Offers exclusive to existing customers

Of course, you will ideally want to see whether people from different ad campaigns work best with different upsells instead of treating them as one uniform group of people. You could do this using the tags in your email platform, or with a few clicks using SegMetrics.

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.

Apple-Proof Your Attributions (While Cutting Your CPA)

Ad platform automations are great…so long as they’re receiving good data.

Facebook and Google can currently measure basic goals in a short time frame. But with privacy protection measures like GDPR and Apple’s iOS changes, even that is getting harder.

So without event-based conversion tracking, how are you meant to optimize your campaigns?

Well, SegMetric’s conversion tracking gives you a robust way to report sales back to the ad platforms, while respecting the privacy of your visitors. Even better, you can attribute purchases that happen day, weeks or months later.

This means that with a few clicks you can give the AIs the information they need to keep your ads profitable.

Introducing Conversion Feeder

The Conversion Feeder reports back on conversions that the Facebook & Google pixels aren’t able to detect. It can attribute immediate sales as well as more complex situations such as:

  • Payment transactions that happen on a separate site
  • Deals that are closed via sales calls and paid directly
  • Trial completion payments that are taken automatically
  • Purchases made beyond Facebook’s 7-day attribution window

With changes such as iOS 14, it is now also ideal for feeding the AIs with conversion data they would otherwise be blocked from seeing.


How does Conversion Feeder work?

Conversion Feeder builds on a feature built into both ad platforms called the Offline Conversions. You can manually upload offline conversion data using CSVs, or you can let SegMetrics process it automatically and improve the results.

SegMetrics integrates with your ad platforms, email system and payment process, then joins up the data for each customer. It doesn’t matter if there was an email funnel or demo call between the ad click and the sale, SegMetrics will connect the two together. It is this sales data that SegMetrics feeds back to the ad platform.

That way your attributions don’t rely on fragile cookies or website events, while Facebook doesn’t get to spy on every visitor.

For more information on how it works check out our documentation:
Facebook Conversion Feeder
Google Conversion Feeder

What about iOS 14 and Apple’s ATT?

Conversion Feeder is fully compliant with the various privacy protection measures introduced in iOS 14 and iOS 14.5.

SegMetrics save the ad ID for each contact entry, such as when someone makes a purchase or downloads a lead magnet. We then use this ad ID to feed attribution data to the ad platforms.

There is no cross-app tracking or reporting on bounced visitors. Add to that the 1st class cookies and server-side tracking and you’ve got a completely Apple-proof attribution system.

Even better, Conversion Feeder will send back attribution data on actual sales, even if there was a long funnel before they converted. Optimizing for actual sales means that advertisers decrease their CPA by an average of 24%.


Start Optimizing Your Ads Today!

Get started with two easy steps:

  1. From your Integrations Page, click the Settings button, and choose Setup Ad Tracking

  1. Follow the instructions above, choose your conversion pixel, and then click Save

That’s it! Your conversion data will be fed daily to Google and Facebook, improving your ad attribution and targeting automatically!

Zach Goldie

Zach is lead copywriter for SegMetrics. As a former engineer, he loves the puzzle of how to best write a piece that matches the prospect's priorities.