Measuring Search ROI: For Marketers

Better search means happier users. How does it impact your bottom line?

Every investment can be a risk. Your team invests in new equipment, new staff or new advertising campaigns. You research and buy the best. And then you hope and you measure. Is it performing against your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Ultimately, is it driving revenue?

Good search can have a tremendous impact on your KPIs. Studies have found up to 225% growth simply by providing the right information at the right time to site visitors. A critical part of the user experience, measuring the impact of search has a direct impact on the bottom line.

Measuring ROI

Studies have shown that good user experience increases business-critical KPIs by up to 83%. It’s no surprise, then, that the top ten sites rated by user experience consistently outperform the S&P average – in some cases, by over 40%.

Most teams measure ROI as a key performance metric for any investment. Dashboards, like those listed below, break out these metrics in ways that make clear the profitability of certain investments.

We have also built a Search ROI Calculator for higher education, available here.

Business dashboards

With an impact dashboard, measuring the performance of a new search platform is easy. The benefits of good search are often tied to existing KPIs like:

  • Cost of customer acquisition;
  • Support costs;
  • Training costs;
  • Customer retention;
  • Monthly revenue.

With state-of-the-art search APIs, you can connect existing dashboards to your search analytics to ensure that these business-critical benefits are properly attributed to your search implementation.

Search-specific dashboards

With sophisticated site search, additional revenue-impacting KPIs can be added to your dashboard. These include:

  • Search to sale conversion: Most searchers already know what they want. With smart, predictive search, you should always expect positive growth in this number.
  • Searches per visit: Visitors who search for the same topic multiple times may not be having a successful experience with your search. This number will help you understand how to adjust your content ranking as well as creating new, more specific content.
  • Percentage of exits from search results page (bounce rate): Ineffective search is a bad user experience, and the ultimate sign of ineffective search is a user simply leaving your site. 88% of consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
  • Top search results: Once they’re on your site, what are your visitors hunting for? This can help with UX, promotions, and other improvements to drive conversions.

When users search on your site, there is already intent. How well are you serving them and, in turn, providing the opportunity to convert?

Subjective research

In UX studies, it’s not uncommon to perform eye tracking studies. These follow the movement of the eye as the viewer browses a website, helping designers understand most-viewed “hot spots” and underutilized elements. A similar tool called Hotjar tracks movements once your page is launched, allowing you to optimize your site even post-launch.

In almost every circumstance, users look for the search bar in their first sweep of the site. Does your navigation make the search bar evident and easily accessible?

Eye tracking also helps designers understand how search results pages are performing. Are users finding the answer to their question in the first three results? (Only 12% view the last result on a page.) Are you using designs that engage?

Thorough search metrics like those on Funnelback Marketing Dashboard also highlight search-related ailments. For example, one user noticed that return customers were searching for a retired item on their site. By redirecting searches to the replacement page, they drove customer satisfaction and kept more users on the site.

An open laptop with a view of the marketing dashboards first screen

Do I need to measure?

How important is measuring your ROI? Think of it this way: even if you’re already convinced that you need to buy a new car, you still research the gas mileage for your vehicle of choice before (and often after) you buy it. You expect those measurements to prove the value of your investment. Measuring the ROI of your investment into search should be no different.

One of the key benefits of measurement is the opportunity to find room for improvement. In many offices, employees demand measurement not (just) for performance bonuses but as a means of improving their work. It all goes back to the mantra that we should first work smarter, not harder. With good measurements, you can prove ROI and identify changes large and small that have an immediate impact on KPIs.

If you’re curious how to get started measuring the impact of search, get in touch with us here or check out this Measuring Business Performance course on Lynda.com.

Learn more

Site Search: The hidden potential in digital investment

ROI Calculator for Higher Education

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