Understand customer purchase behavior from Search | Lars Birkholm Petersen

Understand customer purchase behavior from Search

Wow it’s really been a while since my last blog post, so what have I been up to all this time?

Well first and most important I became a father to a lovely baby girl, what a thrill and many new things to learn (including changing diapers)..

I also enrolled for the Web Analytics Master Certification, by Market Motive – teached by John Marshall and Avinash Kaushik – so it also takes a little time, but it’s definitely worth the time. Really inspiring lections!

It’s really cool to dig more into the wonderful world of Web Analytics – and all the fantastic insight it gives you. Combine that with the wonderful world of opportunities Sitecore Online Marketing Suite gives you, and you have some powerful opportunity, to create great results for your organization.

If you want to understand customer purchase behavior, that comes from search, you should have a look at the analytics on your site today. Segment so you only see visitors, that comes from search.

Now look at your goals mapped with different search engines and now you have an overview of which engines are bringing you most conversions. You could also segment this report by paid and organic search, or even segment brand vs. non-brand keywords – to get an understanding of you are reaching out to new customers, who don’t know you in advance (searched for non-brand keywords).

Remember to look at the conversion ratio, perhaps paid search from Bing aren’t giving you that much conversions, but if the conversion rate is high – you properly wants to throw more money at that Bing paid search.

Now you have insights into which engines are bringing you most conversions, drill down to see which keywords from each engine gives you conversions – are there any surprises here?

Are there any keywords that are giving you lower conversions than expected or even worse – they don’t convert at all! Also take a look at which landingpages keywords are routing visitors to and the bounces on them.

It takes some time, but it’s definitely worth the time! And you should end up with a lot of insight into visitor behavior, dig more into the wonderful world of data and understand visitor behavior on keywords, you expected convert but doesn’t – do they bounce, which pages do they look at, do they use internal search (what do they search for), where do they leave your site.

If you have high bounces on landingpages, you should properly revise the content, think about which call to actions there should be on the page.

Segmenting the Keywords
In terms of keywords, try to index those into three buckets:
1. Looking
2. Confirming
3. Buying

Different Target Groups and Behaviors for Web visitors

These three phases, maps the user journey from visitor to customer, if you sell cameras on your site, the user journey could be:

1. Peter wants a new digital camera, he goes into Google and search for “Digital Camera”, which gives him the Search Engine Result Page. Peter clicks and browse several of the results, learning more on Digital Cameras and finding out which camera, could suit him best. It could be, that a perfect fit for Peter is a handy compact camera with HD video.

2. Peter search for “Digital compact Camera with HD video”, reading about different brands, customer reviews/recommendations and price. Perhaps best match for Peter is the Canon IXUS 120 IS.

3. Knowing which camera is best match, Peter search for “Canon IXUS 120 IS”, here he looks at several sites – looking at price, deliverability, Gurantees, Service etc. – And properly ends up buying the camera.

The user journey above could take from a few hours to several days. If you think about the three phases – it’s really hard to sell a camera to a visitor in the Looking phase, you could properly (with the right triggers) sell to visitors in the Confirming phase and you just need to motivate that visitor in the buying phase, to buy your product, depending on that they have the ability to do so (money).

By mapping your keywords into these three phases, you could identify the visitors once they arrive on your site, from Search – and show them relevant content according to the phase they are in. If they are in the looking phase, you could focus on getting a sign-up for a newsletter or a registration, so you can start your dialogue and be top of mind along the road to the big conversion (buying). If a visitor are in the buying phase, you would properly show customer statements about your fabulous service or have quick you can deliver, even a special offer could trigger the conversion.

Your list of keywords mapped to the different phases, could look like this:

Keyword looking, confirming and buying phase analysis

Rules for personalization
Next step is to bind the keywords, to personalization rules – here you could build three simple rules with Sitecore Online Marketing Suite:

Looking phase rule, where the condition are that keywords match any the keywords from your looking phase list. If a keyword match, then show relevant content – in this case triggers for getting a sign-up with right message “Check out our comprehensive guide for selecting the right Digital Camera, click here to register”.

Confirming phase rule, where the condition are that keywords match any the keywords from your confirming phase list. If a keyword match, then show relevant content.

Buying phase rule, where the condition are that keywords match any the keywords from your buying phase list. If a keyword match, then show relevant content.

Of course you could build more rules, that reflects some of your top priority keywords, like show relevant messages for Canon IXUS 120 IS, if the visitors has searched for “Canon IXUS 120 IS”, it should bring you more value – but just by creating three simple rules, you have distanced your site from all the other static brochureware sites out-there.

Then you could simple place the rules on your design, so they would be triggered when the user comes from search with a matching keyword and sees the page with the rule. It could be a user search for “Canon IXUS 120 IS”, enters the Canon IXUS 120 IS product page, clicks on “About us” – and here the rule will show related content regarding Canon IXUS 120 IS, like “Click here to see why Canon IXUS 120 IS is best in test”.

But don’t stop here – go further and optimize on keywords, with higher Average Order Value than other keywords, build rules that are using insights on Days to purchase or Visits to purchase.

In the example above I have used purchase as buying a product on a eCommerce site, but it could be any type of site, like a B2B lead generation site – where the purchase is happening, when the visitor submit a form like “Call me up”.

Are you using the insights from Search keywords to engage with the visitor today?

Please share your thoughts or experiences, by commenting below.


Bookmark and Share

Category: Behavioral Targeting, Online Marketing, Sitecore, Web Analytics | Tags: , One comment »

One Response to “Understand customer purchase behavior from Search”

  1. Chris


    Great post on using search keywords to optimize user experience and hopefully drive conversions. I will definitely be looking more into this.



Leave a Reply

Back to top