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Low-Data Hack: Optimize Towards an Intermediate Conversion Event to Drive ROI

Published: April 6, 2017

Author: Kevin Hamill

Data scarcity is a reality for lots of marketers, and it presents a real issue: how do you optimize when there’s not enough data to trust (or to identify a promising direction)?
For instance, let’s say your end goal is to drive subscriptions, but you don’t have enough data that low in the funnel to optimize toward it. Instead, you’re optimizing toward sign-ups, which is an action much higher up in the funnel. But that’s leaving you a more specific challenge to solve – namely, a very low sign-up-to-subscription rate.
What do you do now?

Solution: Identify an event/behavior that has a higher propensity to lead to a subscription and happens between the sign-up and the subscription to act as a stronger signal to optimize towards. Note: this requires research from the client end.
Important: The event/behavior also has to be unique to a higher sign-up-to-subscriber rate – meaning people who sign up and don’t subscribe usually don’t complete this event/behavior.
What this might look like:


Optimizing bids to sign-ups isn’t a direct indicator of subscriber volume because of a low sign-up-to-subscription rate. With such low daily subscriber volume, we cannot effectively bid to subscribers.

Solution (hypothetical scenario)

In the example above, the overall CVR from sign-up to purchase (subscription) is being heavily weighed down by Event B, which is associated with 81% of sign-up volume with only a 4% CVR to purchase. Advertisers should shift towards optimizing for Event A, which has a significantly higher CVR of 22% from sign-up to purchase and is a stronger signal of intent.

Tag and begin optimizations towards Event A to get more of Event A and less of Event B – and, ultimately, more down-funnel conversions.

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