AdWords Cross-Device Conversions: How 1-800-FLOWERS Is Using The Data To Be More Customer Centric

1800flowers-mobileYesterday,  we got an early preview of the first case study Google will publish on the use of estimated cross-device conversions in AdWords. It features 1-800-Flowers and also addresses the company’s use of click-to-call.

When Google first announced the release of estimated cross-device conversions in October, it seemed to be received with a collective shrug. Much like the view-through conversion metric, several marketers I spoke with at the time were skeptical of its worth. Yet, there are many, such as the 1-800-Flowers team, who have embraced the new insights as a positive move toward giving marketers a more holistic view of their AdWords contribution.

This morning, I spoke with Amit Shah, Vice President of Online, Mobile and Social for 1-800-Flowers about the case study findings and how he and his team have use the cross-device data to inform their marketing efforts. 1-800-Flowers was part of the beta test and began looking at cross-device conversion estimates in July 2013.

First the stats: When looking at estimated cross-device conversions, 1-800-Flowers saw the overall conversion contribution from AdWords rise 7 percent when counting orders that started on one device and ended on another. The contribution from mobile devices increased by 4 percent when looking at conversions that started with a mobile click.

It’s probably not too surprising that click-to-call has worked well for the company. After all, the very name 1-800-Flowers was explicitly designed to drive phone orders when the company was founded over 20 years ago. Shah says that 8 to 10 percent of AdWords revenue now comes through click-to-call on mobile devices.

I asked Shah the obvious question about whether he viewed this new data with skepticism. He said that while tends to take a skeptical view of attribution systems in general (and obviously understand that Google is the one running the auction), the amount of data Google gives it an unparalleled view of the world. ” Whenever Google introduces measurement tools, I tend to take it pretty seriously because of their volume. This is the start of what I think mobile has been lacking,” he says.

“The Users Are The Winners”

“Mobile is where the users are moving,” says Shah. “The users are the winners with this data availability because marketers will think more about the mobile experience than they do now. This is a fundamental change because it’s the user that is being taken into account now.”

To those who still have their doubts about using the cross-device data to inform their marketing decisions, Shah says, “We have moved on from the ROI discussion to ROMI, return on marginal investment. What we now use internally allows me to ask the question, where should I be investing my marginal dollars for the most efficacy. We always kind of knew that our customers were moving to mobile, and we have been moving that way for five years, but we weren’t able to [fully understand the behavior].

Shah says they are also seeing tablet behavior beginning to morph to a hybrid of that seen on phones and desktops, with customers using click-to-call on some of the newer Android tablets. iPad users, however, still demonstrate typical tablet content consumption behaviors.

Product listing ads have been competitive in the flower delivery market from day one it seems. Shah says PLAs continue to be a very important part of the mix. “We see them evolving both in how Google is testing the display of the ads as well as the algorithm.” They haven’t seen the same traction from mobile PLAs as non-mobile yet, but believe that will change and that the image-based ad units are being well received by users on mobile.

With the insights Shah and his team have gleaned by looking at cross-device conversions, he says they are asking themselves more questions about the mobile experiences they are giving prospective customers. “We are very deeply of the view that we want to run our marketing from a very user centric lens. We ask, do we have a real view of how customers are searching for when they are sending a gift to their loved ones? Are we part of that process? With cross-device conversions, we have better insight into whether we are really getting our message to our customers by each medium.

“Now with this data, what marketers should really ask themselves is, if customers are starting their journey on mobile and we’re not providing a good experience, were are under serving our audience.”