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Case Study: Conversion Improvement Via Audience Identification

Greg Sobiech   
March 29, 2018  
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Increasing conversions and reducing spend is the goal of every marketing team. Recently, we proposed that you could improve website conversions in just 3 hours. In that post, we referenced a client for whom we performed exactly that analysis.  Today, we’ll show you how we improved conversions for our client by identifying and targeting highly engaged audiences.

Increase Website Conversions: The expensive and laborious path

A traditional approach to increasing conversion rates results with a website update. If a website is a ‘leaky bucket’, brands will often re-platform, to increase site speed, improve the conversion funnel, fix a product page, or change the shopping cart – and all of the above.

However, re-platforming often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and takes on average 6 months to accomplish from start to finish. And, re-platforming is just the beginning of the journey. The version of the website that a brand will launch will be different than what that website will look like in several months. That’s because not all of the assumptions that drove specific site changes will play out as planned.

Bottom line: some updates to the website UX will deliver lifts in site performance; others won’t. Will the conversion rate increase after you replatform or redesign your site? Probably and hopefully, but, this process won’t be cheap or quick.

Increase Conversion: The quick, cheap and flexible (but more complicated) way

Not every customer that comes to your website will convert at the same rate – we all know that. But do we, as Marketers, truly act on that (obvious) insight? Let’s quickly review the pieces of information of which you should have at least a high level understanding.

  • Who are the best Audiences, those that buy often, a lot or with high propensity from your Brand?
  • Can you point to the share of sales that come from those ‘sweet spot’ Audiences?
  • Do you know what those Audiences are buying, which SKUs?
  • How often they come back?
  • What is their LTV?
  • And most fundamentally, what is their conversion to purchase?

Google Analytics (both the free and the paid 360 version), can provide answers to all of these questions. And in fact, the quick, cheap and easy question to answer is the one around Conversion rates.

Audience Analysis: International Brand

We conducted an audience analysis for our client, a major international non-profit, seeking to identify higher performing audiences.


  • The site avg (conversion rate) was 3.98%
  • Data analysis revealed a number of Audiences that converted at 2x the avg, such as “people that like to travel, and are over 65 yrs old”

Note: size of the bubble represents the relative size of Audiences that exhibited strong above-average characteristics.

Using the Audience and Acquisition modules of Google Analytics 360, we can understand key metrics at the Audience level — like share of new users, bounce rates and of course revenue — and with respect to Audience size.




Note: identifying Audiences that represent 1% of your Revenue yet may convert at 2x your site average may be an interesting intellectual exercise, but it’s hardly one worth pursuing seriously. Such Audiences, representing such small share of revenue, may be an outlier and will likely be difficult to scale.

Why High Conversion Audiences?

Fundamentally, there are two basic strategies in Digital Marketing: either target many, many people and leverage the power of volume to hit your conversion goals at an otherwise inefficient spend; or zoom in efficiently by focusing on fewer, higher value audiences and ignoring non-target demographics.

A simple ROI analysis reveals that optioning two — targeting best-fit audiences, aka “sweet spot” audiences — can dramatically improve marketing ROI. The below example illustrates how the same exact cost of media translates into an ROI.



Specifically, in this example, had this client only attracted high value audiences, their ROI could improve 4x from 82% (site avg, for all Audiences), to 305% (best customers).

The key here is that it doesn’t cost any more to target high value customers. The limitation, however, is that your pool is necessarily smaller. Prioritize your audiences from highest value down and as you need to expand your pool, always ensure that you’re getting the next best option.

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