Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.
Today I participated in #CROchat, a Twitter Chat on conversion rate optimization that has become a favorite, and a discussion started about the length of qualification forms. Ion Interactive said no matter what length the form is please don’t ask, “How did you hear about us?” Several of the #CROchat participants agreed, but Carlos Del Rio wanted an explanation. Ion Interactive shared a blog post by Anna Talerico on banishing self-serving questions from your conversion process, and although I agree, I feel that’s only part of the answer.
Yes, you should definitely limit or remove questions that don’t have any value for the customer from your conversion path, especially the “How did you hear about us?” question. During my DRTV (direct response television) days, clients often wanted to have the call center ask it and we would get free-form answers like “my wife/mother/friend/boss told me to call” or “I saw it in the newspaper” (tough to do when it was a TV-only campaign). People lie, or they tell you what they think you want to hear, or they simply say, “I don’t remember” which is true more often than not.
Here’s what to do instead: Set up campaign tracking.
- Track by medium – Online (SEO, PPC, Affiliate, Email, Social Media), TV, Radio, Print (Newspaper, Magazine), Billboard, etc.
- Track by source – Google, Yahoo/Bing, Email Newsletter, WJZ-TV, WWMX-FM, USA Today, etc. – Be as specific as you can: is there a specific webpage, newspaper section, radio or television show?
- Track by content – Make sure you test ads against one another. Continuous testing will optimize your media spend.
- Track by keyword term – This is especially helpful for PPC ads, but you can also track any special phrases in your other ads.
Joe Teixeira from MoreVisibility wrote a great blog post on how to set up tracking in Google Analytics. His post’s emphasis is on paid search campaigns, but with a little ingenuity you can make it work for any other media.
There will be times, especially when dealing with offline media, when people don’t cooperate and just use the “base URL” instead of your customized version with tracking in place. Watch your analytics to see spikes in traffic where many of the users are coming from the custom URL and use your best judgment on attributing some or all of the “base” traffic to that source. If you’ve got a sophisticated analytics program like Coremetrics, you can even track your viewers by first click, last click, or distributed click attribution. Eric T. Peterson did a great white paper on appropriate attribution that might be helpful for a better understanding of that concept.
How did you hear about this blog post? Since I don’t advertise I can tell you without asking, someone saw my Tweet and either directly or through a combination of events (your mother saw my Tweet and told you to check out my post) you made it here. I can look at my analytics and tell you for sure or you can leave a comment below to let me know!
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