Conversions and Conversations Online and on the Gridiron

Published 12/3/13
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Football season is here (go Eagles!) and while I can’t claim to know the ins and outs of all the rules and calls, I can get by. And yes, unless my team is in it to win it, I just watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. What intrigued me most while watching a game one of these past Sundays was the two-point conversion. A risky, aggressive move because the conversion rate to a point is statistically less likely than the extra point.

Wikipedia defines it as: “In American and Canadian football, a two-point conversion is a play a team attempts instead of kicking a one-point conversion immediately after it scores a touchdown. In a two-point conversion attempt, the team that just scored must run a play from close to the opponent's goal line (5-yard line in Canadian, 3-yard line in amateur American, 2-yard line in professional American) and advance the ball across the goal line in the same manner as if they were scoring a touchdown. If the team succeeds, it earns two additional points on top of the six points for the touchdown. If the team fails, no additional points are scored. In either case, the team proceeds to a kickoff. Various sources estimate the success rate of a two-point conversion to be between 40% and 55%, significantly lower than that of the extra point, though if the higher value is to be believed, a higher expected value is achieved through the two-point conversion than the extra point.”

It got me thinking about conversions and conversion rates in the world of online travel and how a football game is a really a great way to talk to clients about conversions in a conversational way… pun intended! This is to help them understand that a sale is not the end-all be-all in order to convert your web traffic to an action – just one of many goals (field goal or not).

Getting the first downs and pass completions are just as important and necessary to getting points on the board.

Many people think a conversion is when you run an ad online, someone clicks on it and they buy something. A purchase is definitely an outcome of a conversion, but not the only factor in moving someone forward. There are various stages to a sale, just as in football there are various stages to a win, and understanding a client’s goals and having these conversations early on are important because it’s the little outcomes in the beginning that paint the big picture at the end.

So, here it is in football terms: Getting the first downs and pass completions are just as important and necessary to getting points on the board, whether those are through touchdowns, field goals or two-point conversions. And that’s just on the offensive strategy. You can’t win a Super Bowl without first winning games and then the playoffs – you have to master each of these early junctures to make it to the final victory.

The same can be said for online advertising: conversions aren’t measured in sales alone. They can also be increasing traffic to your website, viewing your availability or pricing if you are hotel or an attraction, increasing the number of friends and “likes” on your social media channels, growing your opt-in email database, viewing a video, entering a contest, spending more time on your site or increasing referral traffic from the site on which you are advertising to your own site. People are savvy and not everyone is ready to buy on their first visit – especially in the travel world.

Just like a coach giving a pre-game motivational speech, it’s important to have these types of conversations with your clients early and often. Happy converting!