B2C Marketing Analytics for Beginners

The B2C Marketing Funnel and its Metrics

As you’ve seen, there are many types of metrics to measure the performance of marketing channels and campaigns. This lesson will provide a framework for selecting primary metrics, the metrics that define the success of your marketing, based on what part of the marketing funnel the channel or campaign is targeting.

The B2C Marketing Funnel and its Metrics

The B2C marketing funnel is a representation of the typical customer journey and is comprised of four stages: awareness, consideration, conversion and retention. It is visualized as a funnel because it is expected that a lot people are targeted at the top, but fewer and fewer go through all the stages in the customer journey on a given company.

The B2C Marketing Funnel

Awareness

In the awareness stage, also referred to as the “top of the funnel”, you’re trying to get an audience to know you exist. You find that audience wherever they spend their online time – through social network posts and ads, display ads across the internet, Youtube video ads, etc…. You’re going after name recognition, to introduce your product, to inspire a need for your offering and you’re casting a wide net. The targeting is less focused and your messages are inspirational or informative, not transactional. Thus conversion is expected to be low. You are catching people very early in their journey – they may not need your product for a long time or you could be showing your message to people who aren’t in your core demographic.

Indirectly, with awareness marketing (also called brand advertising) you’re trying to cultivate higher-converting traffic in the future. The hope is that people will remember your name when the need for your product arises or, at the very least, that they will be primed to receive lower-funnel messages, since by then they’d recognize your brand. Unfortunately, it isn’t practical, or even always possible, to accurately measure these future indirect effects on a campaign-by-campaign cadence.

If a campaign is large enough and relatively isolated from other business changes, you can use Market Mix Modeling to get an estimate of its long term effect. You could also partner with a third party provider for brand awareness measurements. Both of these techniques are outside the scope of this course and are rarely undertaken by smaller companies. Companies that invest in brand advertising recognize the long term value of a strong brand, knowing it can’t be easily quantified.

Primary goals of awareness campaigns:

  • grow your organic audience and keep them engaged, so when you have a highly transactional message (a big seasonal sale announcement, for example) it can be amplified through your network. Metrics: reach, frequency and engagement
  • grow future organic traffic and/or increase conversion rate of future lower-funnel campaigns. Metrics: Unfortunately, no simple methods exist to quantify this objective

Consideration – Conversion

When customers are actively considering making a purchase (or other conversion if you’re not an e-commerce site), your message is much more tailored and transactional. You find these customers as they’re searching online for your product (SEO, paid search) and as they’re researching your product on experts’ sites (referrals, affiliates, influencers). Your message no longer need to inspire, you’re looking to convince and drive the conversion.

Primary goals of consideration/conversion campaigns:

  • make a sale (or other conversion). Metrics: revenue (or conversions), ROI
  • get a customer to sign up. While the first priority is to close the sale, getting contact information will allow you to keep trying to convert the user through a continued, personalized marketing relationship. Metrics: newsletter signups, app downloads

Retention

After a customer has made a purchase, you want to keep your brand top-of-mind for the next time they have a need for your product. At this point you likely have their contact information to send email, push messages or share posts through social media. You will have a mix of customers who are not yet ready for their next purchase (high in the funnel) and some who are. Ideally, you can identify users in the conversion stage (perhaps by whether they visited your site recently or viewed product pages) and send them different targeted messages.

Primary goals of retention campaigns:

  • keep your audience subscribed and engaged, so when they’re ready for their next purchase cycle, you’re top of mind; inspire the next conversion cycle. Metrics: reach and engagement
  • get repeat conversions, particularly of customers who are again in the consideration stage. Metrics: conversion rate, revenue

Conclusion

It’s possible that your company doesn’t need to invest in marketing along all parts of the marketing funnel. Your brand may be so strong already that there is little benefit to focusing on the awareness stage, or you could have a product that is intended to be purchased once, making retention marketing unnecessary. But it’s important to define the purpose of your marketing up front, considering the marketing funnel and the customer journey. This will make it easier to decide which of the many metrics available to you really matter.