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.

Google and iOS14.5 – What it means for advertisers

Because running profitable ads isn’t challenging enough, Apple has got the marketing world in a spin with the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) frame. It requires any applications that use cross-app tracking to show an opt-out prompt to the user, as well as limit the ways that websites can track people with cookies.

Advertising on Facebook’s mobile app was particularly affected (as we went into detail on here), leading to them announcing a set of changes.

As with any complex changes there are plenty of folk doomsaying that this is the end of online advertising as we know it, while others seem chill about the whole thing. So, in this article we will pick apart what the new changes mean for businesses using Google Ads. We’ll break it down into:

  • Search ad targeting
  • Display ad targeting
  • Basic conversion tracking
  • Advanced conversion tracking
  • Impact on SegMetrics

All the changes will ONLY apply to iOS traffic from apps with ATT turned on. Normal web traffic (even on mobile) will not be affected.

(SPOILER: You’ll be ok, it might just require some changes)

In a nutshell

If you just want the quick answer of how iOS traffic will be affected, then here you go:

  • Targeting search ads with keywords will (mostly) work as usual
  • Display ads will target groups not individuals
  • Basic same-visit attribution will be slightly affected
  • Some changes are required for offline conversion tracking
  • SegMetrics uses its own conversion tracking which is unaffected by ATT
  • SegMetrics can still report offline conversions back to Google Ads

So if you’re running simple search ads with people converting during that visit you’ll be fine, but for anything else it’s best you know the details.

NOTE: There are other impacts such as on deep-linking apps and app install campaigns, but we won’t be covering those

How will iOS 14.5 affect search ad targeting?

Search ads don’t rely on the ad platform knowing your personal data. So, if someone searches for one of your keywords while using iOS, the auction will run as usual.

Click prices might fluctuate in the short term as advertisers get used to the new attribution data (more on that below), but the basic functionality of search ads won’t be any different.

You will also still be able to use the basic refinements, such as demographics and interest groups

The only big change in targeting search ads is with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). If someone visited your site while using iOS 14 they will not be individually identified on your remarketing list, but instead grouped into part of a FLOC (more on that below). So your RLSA will still be relevant, but might miss those users who came to your site on an iPhone.

How will iOS 14.5 affect display ad targeting?

Normally when someone visits an ad that shows display ads, Google looks at all the personal data they have about them and runs the auction to choose what to show them.

But that will now change for iPhone users.

Techniques are being developed that will identify someone as part of a closely defined group instead of as a known individual. So an ad will be chosen that fits the shared set of traits.

Google is developing ways to serve relevant adverts while protecting people’s privacy and personal data. Two methods in development are Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) and First “Locally-Executed Decision over Groups” Experiment (FLEDGE).

FLOC aims to group people into tightly defined cohorts based on their browsing history. Advertisers can then bid based on FLOC IDs, but not on a personal behaviour level.

FLEDGE is about having a new trusted server designed purely to give limited data to bidding algorithms. The user’s data will remain shielded within the device, keeping control in their hands.

This means that there may be teething problems for tactics such as remarketing campaigns, but personalized ads will still be possible.

How will iOS 14.5 affect basic conversion tracking?

First let’s look at the simple scenario. Plenty of businesses only track conversions that happen on your website immediately after they click a link or ad (or shortly after), that are picked up by Google Analytics or the conversion tag.

The core change is that affected iOS traffic will no longer have a Google click identifier (GLID).

Instead, iOS users will be assigned a WBRAID or GBRAID. These new parameters will be saved with a 1st party cookie in a similar way to the GCLID. 

Google will use the parameters to tie conversion back to an advert, but not to an individual. This should not lead to a major change in recorded conversions or in the running of adverts.

In a way, this is a good change — because it lets us know immediately if we’re dealing with an iOS user, and what level of data protection they’re applying.

Savvy marketers are probably already thinking of interesting ways to use this for their own internal segmentation.

How will iOS 14.5 affect advanced conversion tracking?

The key difference will be if you have been processing the GCLID as part of your conversion tracking or passing it across to a system such as your CRM.

Because iOS users won’t have a GCLID, it is currently unclear what the impact will be on offline conversion tracking.

Offline conversion might start accepting the WBRAID as an identifier, but Google’s documentation still only states that a GCLID is required. 

Advanced conversion tracking that have relied on GCLIDs will hopefully be updated to use these new parameters, but we can’t say for sure.

How will SegMetrics be affected?

SegMetrics does not rely on the GCLID, so will work as usual including in our offline conversion tracking.

We track our attribution separately from Google (and Facebook)which is still relevant and unaffected by iOS as it’s tied back to users in your email marketing platform, and thus follows all of the ATT guidelines for privacy tracking.

SegMetrics only saves someone’s personal data when they enter it into your database, whether it’s a purchase, trial signup or lead magnet download. This is completely allowed in iOS, GDPR, CCPA  and other rules which are aiming to protect people’s privacy online.

That means SegMetrics users can build up a comprehensive database about their leads and customers while still keeping everyone happy.

What’s next in the privacy wars?

Between GDPR, CCPA, ATT and dropping support for 3rd party cookies…it’s clear that privacy protection is a growing movement.

The built in conversion tracking from Facebook and Google are going to be two key battlegrounds. Their current approach of gobbling up every ounce of possible data about every website visitor is going to be steadily cut down.

Unlike those ad platforms, SegMetrics reports on people who intentionally gave you their data. That means our tracking is not affected by any of the changes in iOS14, iOS14.5 or Facebook.

SegMetrics is always marketer-first, and always transparent about how we collect and report on your data. Because if you can’t trust the data, you can’t trust your marketing.

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.

Stop Training Your Ad Campaigns With Second Rate Data

Ad platform automations are great… if you’re an E-comm expecting visitors to buy immediately.

Everyone else is left training the AIs using weak secondary indicators of success. You end up training the AI to send people who show interest, but who might not ever spend money.

By default, Facebook and Google can only measure basic website events, in a very limited time frame, as goals. But with SegMetric’s Offline Conversion integrations you can now send through a wide range of actions over a longer time frame back to the ad platforms.

Think of it as busting the conversion window wide open.

With SegMetrics’ conversion tracking, you can track activity both offline or online, over days, weeks or months. All of this is connected back to the ads that attracted them, then sent back to Google and Facebook to help optimize your campaigns.

Set it up once, and instantly start improving the targeting of your ads.

What are “offline conversions”?

Offline conversion tracking is a way of reporting back on sales that the Facebook & Google Pixels aren’t able to detect. It is great for situations such as:

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

SegMetrics handles it all automatically, with no uploading of CSVs or data exporting required.

How does SegMetrics measure offline conversions?

Once users have connected their ad platforms, email system and payment processor, SegMetrics will join all your customer data together into a single customer journey.

If visitors come through an ad and make a purchase, you will be able to see their full customer journey. It doesn’t matter if there was an email funnel in between or a series of demos, SegMetrics will have the data. It is this sales data that SegMetrics sends back to the ad platform.

That way you can optimize for revenue at any stage of your funnel, plus improve your ad performance.

For more information check out our documentation:
Facebook offline conversions
Google offline conversions

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 synced daily to Google and Facebook, improving your ad attribution and targeting automatically!

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 eCommerce Marketers Restore Their Profit Margins with SegMetrics

Ecommerce is brutal. Between climbing ad costs and narrowing profit margins, it keeps getting harder to turn a profit.

Facebook and Google might report a profitable return on ad spend (RoAS), but that doesn’t always translate into a bulging bank account. The source of your revenue ends up being a mystery, with both platforms taking credit for conversions, while lots of sales just appear from (direct). 

We’ll show you the blindspots that Google and Facebook gloss over, and how SegMetrics can bolster your profits.

1) Revenue data that matches your bank account

Most ad marketing tools can only look at the orders that have been placed. Because they focus on events rather than true connections, they can’t tell if an order was later canceled, unfulfilled or refunded. Plus, they might only report on sales that originated from their ads or emails.

What marketers need is a tool where a report showing $90k this month actually means $90k in the bank.

That way the task becomes to take that total and look at where each dollar came from. It might be a returning customer, a referral or an ad click, but it means you are using an accurate figure as your starting point.

With SegMetrics, you will finally get true sales reporting.

All the ad and customer data is connected to your payment provider. Even if a transaction happened offline, such as a recurring subscription payment or phone sale, it will be in your system. SegMetrics’ algorithm is able to connect those purchases back to the contacts and lead sources that brought them in — no matter where they came from.

The SegMetrics Way #1: Just authorize the integrations

You don’t need to mess around with a pile of code and custom triggers with SegMetrics. Just authorize the integrations for your tools and your revenue report will be right there waiting for you, ready to compare in different groups or criteria.

2) Find where your repeat customers came from

Big spenders are the lifeblood of any ecommerce. In fact, according to the Adobe Digital Index report:

“40% of revenue comes from returning or repeat purchasers, who represent only 8% of all visitors”

 Additionally, marketers must bring in 5 new customers to equal the revenue of 1 repeat purchaser.

Yet marketers are used to looking at isolated orders. The lack of easy lifetime value (LTV) data for lead sources has made it a blindspot when measuring if a campaign was successful. Ads are viewed as successful if they bring in immediate orders and that’s all.

That changes with SegMetrics.

With multi-purchase attribution, a customer’s entire purchase history is connected to the ad that attracted them or the emails they’ve received. You can start seeing whether certain campaigns were more likely to bring in valuable repeat buyers or if they were all just one-off buyers.

The SegMetrics Way #2: Compare how each cohort performs

When looking at longer term data in other tools you usually only get bulk averages. In SegMetrics you can choose how you want to break up the data, such as by the lead source or the product they purchased. That way you can easily compare the lifetime value of different groups.

3) See where your refunds and cancelations came from

Returns are expected for many ecommerce businesses, it’s just part of how it goes. So you might know what percentage of orders ended in refunds, but do you know where those orders came from?

An advantage of tying revenue to sources is you can compare data such as refund rates.

With SegMetrics you can compare the refund rates, revealing if there is a customer source that is particularly flaky. You can also compare how actions such as offering an alternative sizing guide affect the refund rate weeks later.

Your return on ad spend (RoAS) will also account for these metrics. You are able to see your ROI based on collected revenue, not just order value.

The SegMetrics Way #3: Automated refund reports

SegMetrics will tie all the payment transactions, refunds and cancellations back to the contact data, again without any additional code required. You can filter the data by any of the contact data in the Collections Report, to see how much of your sales revenue turned into collected cash.

4) Metrics for testing retention optimization

Maybe you have been wondering whether your customer newsletter really leads to more sales. Or if those past customers who used a sales coupon would have actually bought your new item at the full price.

Tools like email platforms typically only report on whether activities lead to an immediate sale. They are unable to see the impact that they have on behavior weeks or months later.

SegMetrics let’s you perform retention optimization tests and measure the impact on LTV.

You can compare aspects like the revenue from customers who have been through separate email series, or even if customers who received your premium packaging were more likely to buy again.

The SegMetrics Way #4: Analyze your top, middle or bottom of funnel

You can look at the data on any funnel stage in SegMetrics by using the contact tags in your email platform.By filtering and SegMenting the data using contact tags, you can compare details such as how the customer value compares for people going through two completely different funnels.

TL;DR Use SegMetrics to look past short term metrics

By connecting up the data from your ad platforms, email system and payment provider, SegMetrics lets you analyze how your marketing impacts the customer history and collected revenue.

You will be able to dive into details such as:

  1. Report on every dollar of revenue
  2. Find your source of long term customers
  3. Match your marketing to your refunds
  4. Test ideas for optimizing retention

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.

Seg vs GA: Comparing funnel and website analytics

As a marketer it’s pretty certain you use Google Analytics.

It’s the swiss army knife of marketing tools, used to handle a bunch of tasks to an acceptable degree.

But it’s being stretched past its core functionality, where the underlying tech of cookies and visitor IDs can’t easily cope. 

GA was created in 2005 when Google acquired a software called Urchin. At that point websites were a collection of static pages with online advertising being a new concept. So, all GA had to do was measure:

  • How many people were visiting a website
  • The source that took them to the site

With the growth of online businesses has come a growth in complexity, of the tasks that people are asking of their analytics such as cross-device tracking and complex sales funnels.

So, let’s look at each funnel stage and see where Google Analytics is still a great option and where SegMetrics is needed to maximize your revenue.

Google AnalyticsSegMetrics
UTM dataYesYes
Ad SpendOnly Google AdsYes
Goals completionsYesYes
eCom flowsYesNo
Email interactionsNoYes
Webinar attendanceNoYes
On-site purchasesYesYes
Off-site purchasesIf IntegratedYes
Attribution window30 DaysInfinite
Subscription revenueNoYes
Repeat purchases (LTV)NoYes
Refund rateNoYes
Multi-purchase attributionNoYes

GA: Great at Top Of Funnel

Google Analytics is still great for analyzing your top of funnel.

It can measure who is landing on your website and how they navigate it. You can see whether people stick around after reading an article, the checkout stage that’s failing on certain devices or the goal completion rate of different sources.

So it is invaluable for the acquisition and activation stages of the funnel, for analyzing situations such as UI issues and website elements that stop people from buying.

SegMetrics is not designed to capture these details. 

It will record the UTM data and goal completions for people who complete actions like buying a product or downloading a lead magnet, but won’t collect data on people who never join your funnel

SegMetrics: Best for Middle of Funnel

Once a visitor has left the website they are of minimal interest to Google Analytics.

People get moved into an email marketing platform or CRM. These silos will ignore the context, rarely collecting context such as their original source / medium or the lead magnet that drew them to the mailing list.

GA will only be able to tell you that someone joined a funnel, with no way to see which visitors progressed through your email sequence or MOF activities.

SegMetrics can bridge these data silos.

By using person-based analytics, someone’s top of funnel information and middle of funnel interactions can both be connected to their contact ID.

You can begin to see details such as how prospects from different ad campaigns interact with your email sequence or webinars.

SegMetrics: Best for Bottom of Funnel

Google Analytics was not designed to measure long-term behavior.

It can be set up to measure purchases made on the website with some amount of multi-touch attribution. But, it is weak at tracking whether someone came back to make repeat purchases or maintained their subscription.

This is where SegMetrics excels.

Each person’s transaction history is tied back to their contact ID. Repeat purchases or off-site transactions will all be connected to them, whether they’re months or years later.

It will even record refunds and cancellations, so you can see which groups aren’t converting from a free trial to paid or are sending back items.

SegMetrics: Best for Multi-Purchase Attribution

Google Analytics can tie an individual purchase back to the handful of touchpoints that prompted it within a 30 day window.

But it can’t handle complex sales cycles or compare average lifetime value, while the data is a black box that will often disagree with other platforms.

SegMetrics lets you attribute someone’s lifetime spend back to the original source. SegMetrics users often discover that not all leads are made equal, that some sources or campaigns bring in customers that spend 3-4x times as much over their lifetime.

We call this multi-purchase attribution, the ability to look beyond where an isolated sale came from to see where all of your revenue came from. By connecting it to individual customers, you also avoid conflicting data between silos as you can see exactly where they came from.

Conclusion: Use GA for measuring website interactions and SegMetrics for holistic funnel analysis

We’re not going to say you should abandon Google Analytics. It is still extremely useful, we even still use it ourselves to measure behavior on our own site.

But if you are interested in more than just single immediate purchases, check out SegMetrics.

It can help with a variety of challenges, such as:

  • a long sales cycle from lead magnet download to sale
  • attracting repeat buyers, the 80/20 customers who spend the most
  • seeing where paying subscribers came from not just trial signups

If you are looking to maximize your revenue then grab a 14 Day Free Trial. It can import your historic data, so you can get instant insights without having to wait for numbers to flow in.

It also comes with a complimentary Kickoff Call, where one of our consultants will walk through your funnel with you to show you instant answers and help you get to grips with this new style of analytics.

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 an online course entrepreneur found her funnel’s flaws with SegMetrics

Sam has an online music course that she has been running for 4 years.

The market has become increasingly crowded, so she had started running paid ads with the help of a PPC consultant, along with running a 30 Day Challenge.

Her funnel was fairly normal. She had a strong following with her free content on Youtube, where she occasionally promoted her lead magnets. Subscribers then went through an email funnel leading to a sales page for her paid course.

She was skeptical about whether she was getting a solid ROI from her campaigns. The ad platforms couldn’t give her reliable data about generated revenue, with Google and Facebook often conflicting and not matching up with her actual revenue.

Bad data meant she couldn’t be certain she was properly identifying issues in her funnel or successfully testing changes.

[Note: “Sam” is an amalgamation of various true stories from SegMetrics users, not a single person]

The plan of attack

Sam needed a reliable way to assess her whole funnel. She needed to know the ROAS based on lifetime value, with ways to test how each piece was affecting revenue.

SegMetrics let her do just that, with traceable data and multi-purchase attribution.

She decided that she needed to form a plan instead of jumping into the software with guns blazing. Her to-do list became:

  1. Optimize the web traffic to ensure that it’s profitable instead of burning money
  2. Maximize average order value (AOV) so she’s not leaving money on the table
  3. Improve retention in the middle funnel with relevant and engaging content

These are prioritized both by urgency and ease. The middle of funnel has the most moving pieces and can be the murkiest to optimize, so is best left until after the quicker wins of TOF and MOF.

With a plan in hand she was able to tackle these three challenges.

What’s my ROAS?

Top of funnel (TOF) is where quick wins are usually found, as there is great data waiting to be uncovered. The core goal is to ensure that every campaign has a positive ROI.

The core question was whether the $3k/month she was spending on ads was creating a positive return on investment. So, she looked at lifetime revenue from each campaign she was running.

Evaluating her 30 Day Challenge

Sam had a new 30 Day Challenge that she was paying to promote. Her PPC consultant was excited as it was bringing people in for only a $20 CPA, but was unable to say how that translated into money in the bank.

Google and Facebook were unable to track leads over the long sales cycle, while her customer data wouldn’t say how many of her sales were a result of the challenge.

With SegMetric’s Ad Report she could instantly see how much she made from people purchasing after the 30 Day Challenge… and the news was terrible.

She had an Ad Spend of $9,452 to promote the challenge, but the revenue from the attendees was only $1,700, meaning a loss of $7,752 and RoAS of only 18%.

Promoting her challenge was burning through money while making a loss. She immediately paused the campaign with plans to reassess the strategy.

Lesson: Number of leads and CPA are just a vanity metrics unless you can also measure the revenue from a campaign

Not all lead sources are created equal

She had also been running ads direct to her sales page on Facebook and YouTube.

On the face of it both were successful, with a Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) of around $80. Some back of the envelope maths had given her a customer value of $125, averaged across all of her customers.

But, she had assumed that customers from different sources would spend similar amounts. There had been no way to compare how much customers from organic, video ads, display ads and social were spending, especially considering her program was a monthly subscription.

SegMetric’s Revenue Report was able to segment her contacts by source, showing how the customer value varied.

It showed an almost 3x variation between the most and least valuable customer sources!

She could see that customers from Facebook spent $180, but ones from YouTube only spent $60. So, a CAC of $80 for YouTube ads was losing her money.

Her top-level numbers had hidden this variation, so again she took a step back to find the issues before wasting more money on underperforming ads.

Lesson: Looked at overall averages can hide crucial variations that are secretly wasting your money

Finding the best upsell combinations

Bottom of funnel is all about improving conversions and average order value, through testing different sales pages or offer combinations.

Now that Sam’s ad budget was all allocated to profitable campaigns, she could focus on improving the AOV.

Over the years Sam had built up a small array of core products and potential upsells, downsells and cross-sells.  She had used her best guesses to match them up, but again there was no real way to test what decisions lead to the most sales.

Her sales data could tell her the total she had sold of each product, but not how different pairs performed.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, she took a look at the data in SegMetrics

It automatically showed how pairs of products were selling together based on the customer invoices. With a few clicks she had a table of how each order bundle was selling.

She could see that while the Essential Scales eBook had more orders, her Private Lesson Bundle lead to double the revenue due to the higher cost.

By focusing on this upsell Sam realized she could easily raise the AOV, which in turn would mean she could afford a higher CAC.

Lesson: Bottom of funnel is an undervalued opportunity for optimizing revenue, especially testing ways to boost the average order value

A way to finally analyze email sequence performance

Middle of funnel can be tricky to optimize due to the complexity, but the aim is to ensure it is maintaining attention and building the desire for the proposed solution.

Sam now had a profitable funnel, with good traffic and popular offer combinations. That gave her the headspace to give her email sequences attention.

The email platform gave her the usual metrics around clicks, open rates and revenue per email.

But like with ad revenue attribution, there was no inbuilt way to see how much a group spent after going through a particular email sequence.

For research purposes, she had been asking people about their musical experience when they submitted their email. She had wondered whether beginners and advanced students were equally likely to join her course, but again there had been no easy way to tell since customer data is in a separate silo.

So Sam went into SegMetrics to look at how these groups were moving through her funnel.

At an overall level she could see a gradual drop-off through her funnel as would be expected.

However the table revealed a few surprising details:

  1. Most of her leads were beginners
  2. Most of her revenue was from advanced 
  3. The beginners all dropped off around emails 3 and 4

She went back to her email funnel and saw that emails 3 and 4 are when she starts to introduce more nuanced topics which were clearly alienating beginners.

Sam realized she had to write a whole new email sequence for beginner that would keep them interested, while also finding ways to get a higher number of advanced students into her top of funnel.

Lesson: Viewing how different groups or sources move through the funnel can be a valuable method to find drop off points and opportunities for optimization.

Epilogue: And she funneled happily ever after

With her funnel stages all working together, Sam could finally stop stressing (as much) about her business.

She could see that her course marketing budget had a healthy ROI, while her funnel lead to a higher and higher LTV.

Sam even tried revisiting the 30 Day Challenge she had paused. The improved MOF and BOF meant that these leads converted far higher so the challenge became profitable.

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.