Closing the Loop on Marketing ROI with Conversion Studies

Director of Research and Online Marketing
Published 3/30/12
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There are a lot of different metrics or key performance indicators we like to measure to determine if our marketing efforts are yielding a positive ROI. And, while these are important to making sure we are implementing smart and effective strategies and tactics, they don’t always give us the complete picture. We have worked with many destinations to close further that loop on actual visitation, visitor expenditure, bookings and economic impact generated by the marketing activities by conducting conversion studies on web sites and print guides.

We most recently completed a study with VISIT FLORIDA to review VISITFLORIDA.com and the VISIT FLORIDA Magazine. The results were incredibly positive, and very insightful. The learnings from an effective conversion study provide a very powerful road map for future efforts. You can read more about VISIT FLORIDA’s conversion study on their Sunshine Matters blog.

Here are the highlights on VISITFLORIDA.com:

  • 4.5 million visitors to VISITFLORIDA.com (excluding residents/relocators) during the study
  • 78% subsequently traveled to the state – representing 3.5 million visitors
  • Average trip expenditures were $3,298, resulting in $11.5 billion in direct spending generated by visitors to VISITFLORIDA.com.
  • Among those website visitors who had not decided to visit Florida prior to going to the site, 56% subsequently traveled to Florida. This totaled one million visitors whose direct spending equaled $3.4 billion.

The VISIT FLORIDA magazine also had a great story to tell:

  • Travel by publication requestors was quite high, at 65.9%
  • Out-of-State and Potential Visitors who requested a magazine generated more than $200 million in spending to the state (including the decided and undecided).

Our white paper Audience Measurement – Online Analytics goes into more detail on the importance of conversion studies and offers some best practices on how to conduct one. The main thing to remember, though, is that the research must be robust in its methodology, conservative in its assumptions and independent in its implementation to be credible.