When it comes to getting a holistic view of the customer journey, marketers’ vision isn’t always 20-20. But when they have the right technology, they can collect the appropriate data points and start to see a fuller picture. Canadian contact lens etailer PerfectLens learned this firsthand.

The e-commerce company had a history of relying on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to acquire new customers and measured its success based on direct click-to-conversions. Unfortunately, this method didn’t give PerfectLens the full view that it needed. The company could track only customers who made a purchase directly after clicking on one of its ads — giving the company zero insight into the customers who saw or clicked on an ad but didn’t purchase until a few weeks later.  

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So when the etailer implemented programmatic ad platform SourceKnowledge Engage in February 2016 to better attract new customers, it decided to adopt a new strategy, too — one in which it tracked the behaviors leading up to a conversion and not just the conversions themselves.

[With] marketing, [it’s] very difficult to not look for that instant gratification,” says PerfectLens’ marketing manager Mariam Demian, “and with programmatic, you can’t have it.”

Here’s how SourceKnowledge’s VP of marketing Deborah Kilpatrick describes the platform and PerfectLen’s newly adopted strategy: PerfectLens places lead pixels on its home, special sales, and shopping cart pages, as well as a conversion pixel on its sales confirmation page. Whenever a cookied user sees a SourceKnowledge ad and ends up making a purchase, that conversion pixel fires. PerfectLens also uses cookies to track consumers’ behavior throughout their path to purchase and identifies which consumers clicked through ads and which ones saw them but decided not to engage. This can be valuable information considering that the path to purchase for contact lenses can be a bit longer, Demian says.

“We want to also know what led to that conversion,” she notes.

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Through the use of SourceKnowledge Engage’s SmartBidder Technology, SourceKnowledge can then optimize PerfectLens’ ad bidding based on which consumers are most likely to convert. For instance, after learning that PerfectLens’ core customers were located in specific metropolitan areas in Canada, SourceKnowledge optimized PerfectLens’ campaigns and bid rates to better target consumers these regions.        

Kilpatrick says that SourceKnowledge has been running an ongoing campaign with PerfectLens to target new and lapsed customers. According to Kilpatrick, the contact lens etailer “consistently” sees a four-time return on ad spend. However, Demian still hasn’t seen an “insane spike in conversion or new impressions.” But all in all, it looks like taking a bifocal approach, one that considers conversions and pre-conversion behavior, paid off.

This story first appeared in DMN.