For 20 years, CMOs have viewed homepage traffic as the most important measure of success for their digital marketing initiatives. A business’s website accounted for most of the customer funnel: search, social, and email strategies were designed to bring users to the homepage, where they navigated the site to a transactional page that triggered an action, such as a purchase or registration.
But the customer funnel now exists off your website. Consumers interact with brands in other places like apps, maps, voice assistants and more. These third-party services might bring a user directly to a transactional page, or might serve the user the information they need without ever bringing them to the brand’s first-party site. AI-powered discovery services like search engines and voice assistants increasingly return direct, structured answers to consumer questions about businesses, instead of linking to a business website. As a result, fewer and fewer customers land on the brand homepage.
A downward trend in homepage traffic isn’t necessarily a bad thing—because it provides an incomplete picture of marketing performance. CMOs and their teams need a new metric for success: brand interactions.
Brand interactions not only include engagement from the first-party website, but also consumer engagement everywhere else business information appears online—in search, voice assistants, maps, apps, directories and AI-powered discovery services. Companies that are seeing declines in homepage traffic while optimizing for third-party brand interactions can outperform companies that see flat homepage traffic and aren’t managing these third-party experiences. If a marketing team doesn’t have the full picture of its own success, how can it make a case for increased budgets, headcount and compensation?
The variety of ways consumers can engage with a brand without ever visiting the brand’s website are ever-increasing: phone calls, appointments, reservations, orders, driving directions, chatbots and other actions are all available in places off of the brand website. Detailed information and calls to action appear within third-party apps and sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Eventbrite. Consumers can book reservations at a local restaurant directly from Google Maps. They can request the best-rated Mexican food nearby from voice assistants like Alexa or Siri. Understanding how each of these channels is performing is every bit as important to a business as measuring its owned channels.
With effective strategies for managing digital knowledge and delivering consistent consumer experiences across the relevant third-party services, marketing leaders can prove their worth and uncover new opportunities for engagement and revenue, even as homepage traffic trends downward.
To find out more about insights like this, please visit the Yext resource page.