Digital marketers and business owners have been talking for a while now about how it’s becoming harder to track local digital marketing efforts.
It used to be all about rankings online. Then it became about clicks and visits. Then we all became real sophisticated and started tracking conversions and calls coming through from the website.
Then Google, as they tend to do, decided that they’d like to make our lives as marketers and business owners a little more difficult. They started to show information within the search results. In fairness, they’re just trying to give the searcher the information they’re seeking with as little friction as possible.
But if potential customers are researching a local service provider, they can now get almost everything they need, right within the Google search results. They can judge the quality of the company with reviews. They can confirm where the business is located with the address. They can contact the company by phone. They can get directions to the location as well as other tidbits that help them decide if they’re going to engage with the business.
But this creates a problem if you’re trying to justify your marketing efforts. Essentially a customer could contact you and do business with you and you have no way to track that success back to anything related to your online marketing strategy.
Just to take the problem further and see where things are going in the future, I just upgraded my Mac to the new system software. And you can now search ON THE COMPUTER and it will not only search your computer – it will search the web and return results right there within the computer interface.
So now Google has lost control. The marketer has lost control and now the business has lost control of any ability to track where a lead or sale originated unless you physically ask the customer where they found you. Many times they’ll just end up saying ‘online’ or they won’t be able to remember.
The bottom line is that justifying your local digital marketing activities is going to get harder before it gets easier. We should all keep an eye on how this evolves and continually find ways to track the value of our efforts when dealing with marketing online.