What if you could actually know which of your marketing efforts really drove bookings regardless of where they booked? Yes you probably currently know how many people clicked on your digital ad and eventually booked on your website. But think about how many other scenarios you are missing. Most people never click anything but were influenced by your ads. Some people still call or book in person after being exposed to digital marketing. Others might get interested in your travel product after a live event, print ad or TV spot. So they start offline and then months later they end up booking online.
Convergence analytics is a brand new discipline that is still being molded but it is safe to say that at its core it tries to aggregate data from many different paths both internally and externally. Andrew Edwards does a tremendous job of helping to build support in his ClickZ series on the topic. Convergence analytics can help more accurately measure conversions from a variety of sources plus better attribute those conversions. For years we have only looked at ROI channel by channel so your online ads are measured based off of online conversions while your search campaigns are tracked within the search silo. But a user might see your email one day and then see your banner ad a week later for the same campaign. That same user might then pop over to Google and search for your brand name before eventually converting on your site. It would not be accurate to only attribute the conversion to search or the last click. So who gets credit here? The answer should be "everyone.”
MediaPost’s own Laurie Sullivan just released a great piece on moving away from last click attribution so hopefully travel marketers will strongly embrace this new methodology. In the travel sector we know that many travel shoppers visit twenty sites before actually booking. So even if you are anti-view through, the math here still suggests that even a 5% attribution would be justified. For the record, I am very pro-view through, so for more in-depth analysis dive into my article on Tnooz.
Convergence analytics can also help uncover trends that are currently scattered across various consumer touch points and travel distribution players. Many travel organizations still rely on their call centers and travel agents to garner bookings. Most cruises and quite a few tour operators would fall into this category. Destination marketing organizations with their welcome centers and call centers also have a myriad of data sources. So in order to measure the true success of your marketing efforts you would have to review all the data from all of these sources including both online and offline.
Convergence analytics is still just getting going so even more will be possible down the road. But the early concepts are very promising and allow you to start to put together the puzzle. As things evolve you will be able to fine tune your tracking and increase your bookings. So think twice before you only reward a certain channel, promotion or website with all the glory for a certain conversion. Chances are a few other things played a key role in driving that travel transaction.