The Dangers of Conversion Inflation

Read all of Chad's Marketing Land columnsWe’ve changed the rules of marketing a lot during the Internet Era—and it hasn’t all been in the scrappy upstart way. A huge part of that has been the metrics that we use to measure success.

For instance, we replaced readership in the world of magazine and newspaper ads with impressions in the world of display ads. And we replaced viewership in the world of television with views in the world of online video. In both of those cases, the false equivalency we created overwhelmingly favored the digital format over the traditional format to help in our battle for budget.

Beyond the apples-to-oranges comparisons, the digital formats have been suffered from click fraud, bot activity, and extremely low standards. Unfortunately, email marketing is not immune to this breed of grade inflation, and it’s most evident in how we’re defining conversions, which has led to conversion inflation.

Depending on who you talk to and what tools you’re using, you’ll see conversions defined as:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Website browsing
  • Purchasing
  • Downloading a mobile app
  • Tweeting a hashtag
  • Video views
  • Getting an email opt-in
  • Registering for a webinar
  • And on and on

It’s such a wide range of behaviors that it begs the question: Is everything and anything a conversion?

Well, yes…and absolutely not. The waters are muddy here because…

>> Read my entire column on MarketingLand.com

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