In full disclosure, I work for Market Ruler, LLC which makes a Marketing Tracking Tool for Marketing Agencies called ConversionRuler, and have a vested interest in the success of aforementioned company.
That said, I recently had the pleasure of working with a new sales consultant, who asked a rather benign question: Why do your customers like ConversionRuler?
In all honesty, about a year ago, I wasn’t completely sure. I mean, I know people liked the real-time reporting, the details we provide, and the ease of use of our interface, but in all honesty, the core reporting we offer hasn’t changed dramatically in a while. We had a lot of companies sign up and then start to spend more and more money using the product without ever really contacting tech support (where you’ll likely speak to me or Serge who covers while I’m away).
I had worked on a lot of the engineering aspects of the product, dealing with the occasional flare ups which happen when running a 24-7-365 service. I had heard about our competitors being down, or losing three weeks worth of data, which I found astounding for companies much larger than ours.
Then our regular marketing firm developed and ran a survey last year where we asked, almost point blank, what do you like about the product?
And now, all is clear.
Easy to use
The difference between ConversionRuler and other products out there is that setup and regular maintenance are almost effortless.
Compared to other products, once you get the basic installation in place (cut and paste), and learn the landing syntax (slightly technical), and put in the order tracking (which we help with for free) you can add, remove, change, edit, and update your campaigns without having to visit our site at all.
In a way, once it’s in place, you spend most of your time where it counts: in Adwords, YSM’s console, or MSN AdCenter, whatever your preferred advertising vendor is. We sit silently on your site, and track your inbound tagged and organic traffic and your conversions.
Our competitor’s tools require you to painstakingly replicate your Adwords and YSM campaigns in their tool, through a long form on their site, and then send people to a special URL.
In our tool, to update your FaceBook advertisement to use ConversionRuler, you would change your inbound link (within FaceBook’s advertising management system) like so:
You can more detail if you want (e.g. ad copy, campaign, segment, etc.), but it’s certainly not required. Like I said, writing the landing URL syntax is slightly technical, but learnable if you can look at a URL and decipher the query string parameters.
Compared to medium and high end products, our cost is significantly lower. For a 10,000,000 (yes, that’s ten million) page view per month site (900,000 clickthroughs), the cost is $1250/month. You would start at $2000 minimum for a high end tracking tool (such as Omniture), and then add to that for the 10M page views per month, in the realm of $5-$10K per month. This is a ballpark guess, getting pricing out of the high end vendors is like pulling teeth.
Of course, you would be getting a ton more data, reports, and other bells and whistles. We offer a basic tracking tool, for a far lower cost.
However we still give the essential data which helps make marketing decisions: How much traffic are my campaigns generating, and how much money you are making from those campaigns.
So for large agencies, with lots of clients, and lots of traffic, the cost savings is significant.
Which, I believe, is the second most popular reason why people like the product.
Also, I like to put it in perspective of the cost of Pay-Per-Click advertising vs. the cost for our tool. We still charge sub-penny per click, so for campaigns where you’re spending $0.10 per click, another $0.003 cents is nothing.
Also, the price goes down with volume, and if you run more than 10 sites on our software we start giving 15% discount off the entire bill.
And the discount goes up the more sites you put into the system.
And finally, we have many clients who simply use our server farm and data as a “remote marketing logging service”; they import the data nightly into their own systems, and run their own, proprietary reports on it. Because we offer details down to URL, date, time, and click, we offer more information than any other tool out there, free or not. And we run the server farm for you, and have our staff on pagers 24-7-365.
Our APIs are open using web standards (XML) and are available to any client who wishes to use them.
The “free” tools out there do not give any details at all in the name of privacy, which, of course, we respect. However, many marketers can use our data to dispute Pay Per Click campaign charges (with our upcoming Fraud product), and having the details is what we’re about.
Feed the dog that bites you
And finally, while we have an Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the United States Government for a good reason, we have those who charge you for traffic to your site and those who charge you to track said traffic to your site. Or those who want to see that traffic for free.
When Google is making billions on clickthroughs, and then they track said clickthroughs using free tools such as Google Analytics, it’s just a minor conflict of interest. Free just means that Google is using the information for their own purposes.
I have no delusions that we can compete with Google Analytics, IndexTools (now Yahoo! Web Analytics after being acquired by Yahoo!) or Microsoft’s Gatineau which was heavily rumored in 2007 but not shipped AFAICT. (I tend to ignore Microsoft when it comes to search marketing … until they buy Yahoo!) We can’t. But we offer an excellent, easy to use tool which saves money for all of our customers.