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Ep. 63 - Diversifying Marketing Channels and Measuring What Works Through Surveys with Matt Bahr

Matt Bahr has been in Ecommerce for the past 10 years. Founded Emob in 2011 to help mid-sized online retailers optimize their growth and choose the right technology solutions.

He was the first operating employee at Master & Dynamic and he helped the company to scale to over 50 employees and 10-figure top-line. 

He also founded Hodi in 2016 to solve last-mile delivery problems, before pivoting to Enquire during the summer of 2018.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [1:01] Matt before Enquire Labs
  • [2:12] What is attribution and why is it important?
  • [3:30] How does a post-purchase survey going to help online store owners?
  • [5:41] Interesting things that Matt observed on post-attribution survey data
  • [7:37] Enquire Labs is working on a report about how attribution is changing
  • [8:38] Do Enquire Labs give tips on their clients based on the surveys they’ve had?
  • [10:32] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
  • [11:20] Can you DIY post-purchase surveys and can Enquire work for SMBs?
  • [12:53] Enquire’s surveys only have 1 question
  • [13:29] Survey incentivization
  • [14:54] Diversify your media and find ways to measure effectiveness - Matt

Resources:

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Transcript:

 

Matt Bahr  

Start diversifying early. Obviously, start on Facebook. But at least start to build this model and standardize this process internally for measuring outcomes for anything you try.

 

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. 

 

I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

 

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

 

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Honest Ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. Welcome to the show. And also welcome to the show is our guest today, Matt Bahr

 

Matt is the founder and CEO of Enquire Labs, but before that, he did a lot of cool stuff in the space. So I'm actually going to hand it over to him to say hello and give us his background before we get into it.

 

Matt Bahr  

Awesome. Yeah. Thanks, Chase for having me. Yeah. Just to go a little bit in my background, I guess I've been in Ecommerce for about 10 years, the first 3 of which [I] had a small consultancy. 

 

And then, actually [I] was an early employee at a headphone company here in New York called Master and Dynamic, where I ran a bunch of things there; everything from the D2C P&L, to logistics, to digital marketing. [I] was there for about 3 years and then left in 2016 to found a startup in the same day delivery space. 

 

Essentially, it was just going on the coattails of UberRUSH and Postmates and we're really excited about that vertical. [But we] never really found a product-market fit with that. And then about a year and a half ago, we pivoted into Enquire. 

 

One of those customers was having trouble with their top-of-funnel attribution. Long story short, all of their last-click conversions in GA were direct or branded search and [we] really didn't have any insight into where their customers were coming from. 

 

We told them to go implement a post-purchase survey and just ask [their customers] and [we] found out there was no attribution survey or just [a] survey platform, in general, that was built for Ecommerce. So, in scaling that for the past year and a half, [we] have about 450 Shopify customers [that's] really investing in the product today. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Awesome. So I'm just going to play dumb. What is attribution? Why is it important? You know, what problem are you solving? I don't even know if I have a problem. 

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah, totally. So attribution, there are a lot of ways to look at it. But the more simplistic way [to explain it] is really just giving credit to what channels drove sales. 

 

So, in a very simplistic sense, what we're doing is just productizing this question "How did you hear about us?" which is your top-of-funnel attribution? I think in the space today, everyone's convoluted the problem. 

 

There are a bunch of ways that you can look at attribution, whether that's just looking at last-click, which is essentially just giving full credit to that last source that drove the sale. 

 

If you're a bit more complex, you can use multi-touch attribution, which starts to weigh every single touchpoint on the path to the purchase. [It] definitely gets quite complex as you dive into it. 

 

But what we're doing at Enquire is we're just simplifying that problem. So taking this qualitative approach, which essentially allows you --what we say-- [to] just measure the unmeasurable. 

 

It's very difficult to give weights to "heard from a friend" or "saw from a billboard" or even "heard from a podcast" if they're not using a discount code. 

 

So, that's pretty much attribution in a nutshell. It's really just helping you allocate your budget to the channels that are performing best.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So, if we're going to put that into an example: I'm selling snowboards online and I'm testing out, I don't know, two or 3 different solutions to drive traffic. 

 

So let's say, I'm doing Facebook and Instagram ads. I'm doing some cool content on YouTube, we're making really cool videos. And then we're going to events. We're standing up, you can try our boards on the mountain, do you know what I mean? 

 

So we're doing these 3 things. So, if I was to do this post-attribution survey thingy, why is that going to help me?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah. So, a couple of things you mentioned. Attribution is from a digital sense... Tracking digitally, rather, is quite easy if people aren't jumping across devices and they're just clicking on ads to find your products. 

 

That's pretty much a linear path to purchase. But once you start advertising at events, you start going into channels that are offline, measuring how those things are working becomes very difficult. 

 

For a Shopify merchant, for example, how do you measure your word-of-mouth? So obviously, word-of-mouth is one of the best channels. [It] can create virality with your product. 

 

It's just very difficult to measure through just Pixels and cookies because people are searching for your brand on Google or just going to your site directly. 

 

So the way in which using an attribution survey works, it helps you to uncover all of those channels that aren't necessarily measurable through your typical  Pixel and cookie tracking. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Cool, cool, cool. So it's going to help me identify like, "You know what, even though it's a bit more manpower to sell these boards on the mountain, actually, it pays off a bit better than some of these other channels."

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah, exactly. And that's what... Well, we work with our customers all the time and that's what we hear. It's like, "Oh, I didn't even know this YouTube ad was working, because people were just going to Google and typing our product in. 

 

But now we have this whole new data set we didn't have before that's essentially direct engagement from the customer [and] that's allowing us to really understand the effectiveness of these channels."

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. And then, by the way, I'm just making up this whole selling your boards of the mountain thing would work. I have no idea. (laughs) You should probably test all of your marketing channels yourself and don't listen to some voiceless... Some faceless voice on the internet, aka me. (laughs)

 

Matt Bahr  

(laughs) Totally. 

 

Chase Clymer  

So what are some of the fun results that you guys have seen with doing these surveys if you can share some?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah, I think the most interesting thing is just really measuring or being able to measure the channels that are just gaining popularity from a marketing perspective now. 

 

So, we've served about 10 million surveys in the last 12 months. We get about 60% response rates so it's about 6 million survey responses around attribution. 

 

I guess the first thing to note is everyone is still very highly leveraged on Facebook and Instagram, which is a little bit concerning just given the fact that CPMs are increasing and [the] tactical nature of making those channels ROI positive is just getting very complex. That's definitely something we're seeing. 

 

And part of our --call it-- mission or just strategy in 2020, is to continue iterating on the product to allow people to expand into new channels. 

 

So one of the stories that we tell is it's quite difficult to jump into podcast advertising or out of home unless you have much larger budgets. 

 

It's very easy just to put in your credit card and start spending on Facebook and Google. And what we're trying to do is allow these customers, allow our customers to just diversify their spending in a more comfortable nature. 

 

So that's one of the things that we're looking at. It's like how leveraged are people on these channels that are getting more expensive? 

 

And then the second point, --I guess to really answer your question--  some of the interesting learnings is seeing TikTok and a few other channels just slowly rise in popularity over the last 12 months. 

 

Going from "Okay, we get maybe 10 responses a day [on] our TikTok." to "We're getting about 2000." So it's really just escalating, and we have the insight to... We have the data to show that. 

 

So yeah, what we're going to be doing is just starting to surface that to our customers so they can more effectively allocate their spend and not be so reliant on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Chase Clymer  

You know what I would love to see a report put out by you guys, just because 10 million surveys is a pretty big data set. I think if you could furnish up a report [and] be like "These are our findings in 2019. These are the attribution trends." I think that'd be a cool thing to put out.

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah, totally. And we've been talking about that a lot internally. We work with probably about 2 dozen brands that are quite large. [earning] over $100 million. 

 

And we work with a bunch of brands who are just doing between maybe $1 [million] to $10 million.

 

One of the things with that report, --we are working on it-- is trying not to uncover the tactical nature of the larger brands because their media mix is going to be very different. 

 

So what we're most likely going to do is --what I alluded to before with TikTok-- is just have a TikTok report [or just] go channel by channel and just show how these are increasing...

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Matt Bahr  

...just to give a general scope of how acquisition is changing over the next couple of years.

 

Chase Clymer  

Okay, you mentioned something earlier that it's pretty heavily skewed right now on Facebook and Instagram. I just want to... I'm trying to ask this in a way that's not a leading question so I'm probably going to fail. 

 

But have you... Do you warn clients or consultees or just people that you're talking to about their... Do you warn them about putting all their eggs in one basket, per se?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah, that's part of a lot of the content we're starting to push out. It's exactly that. So just looking at the distribution, a lot of these brands, I'd say maybe half the brands we work with only have 1 or 2 paid channels driving more than half of their sales. 

 

So you look at the distribution, and maybe it's 55% - 60% come from Facebook and Instagram, and then 15% come from word-of-mouth. And then there are some organic, organic sources in there as well. So what we're trying to do is just get people, allow people to be more comfortable diversifying and help them build... 

 

The bigger goal is to help everyone build a process internally to help them test new channels and understand if they worked and if they didn't versus --I guess historically, maybe-- you would just run a regression on something. 

 

So you spend here and then look at your sales and see if there was any correlation. For us, we're just trying to build that or allow people to build that internal processes to measure all of these channels. 

 

Because we're very much this third party that is transparent and sits in the middle. So we're not a multi-touch attribution platform that really only measures cookies and clicks. 

 

Essentially, we're this kind of unbiased third party that just sits and just listens. So yeah, the goal there is to more programmatically say "Hey, it looks like you're really heavily leveraged in this channel. Maybe you should try these other channels."

 

Gorgias Ad  

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Chase Clymer  

You mentioned that your clients are... You got a few of them up in that $100 million range or plus and then you've got, another segment of them in that $1 [million] to $10 [million] range. I think a lot of our listeners are just starting out. 

 

They're finding that product-market fit and they're looking to grow things within their business. 

 

Now, if I wanted to implement a post-purchase survey to try to do something like this myself, is this something that I could take on myself? Would there be processes that I could probably do myself to get some of this information back?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah. So, at least with Enquire, if you're just a merchant and starting out, you can install us. We start at $10 a month so it's very cost-effective. We priced it in a way that will beat any kind of build versus buy argument in that regard. 

 

But just starting out, yeah, it takes about 2 seconds on Shopify to install, Enquire. And right now, we live solely on the order confirmation page. 

 

So that's very much on purpose. We actually can't take a survey response without other data points so that you'll never get a response that says Facebook and you don't know who the customer is that's attached to it or what they bought, or how much they spent. And what that allows us to do is model against that. 

 

But yeah, if you're just getting started, I think if you asked me that question 5 years ago, I'd probably say just like buy Facebook ads and enjoy the ride. (laughs) But in the current 2020 market, I would look to start diversifying early. 

 

Obviously, start on Facebook, but at least start to build this model and standardize this process internally for measuring outcomes for anything you try.

 

Chase Clymer  

Cool. And then so is it just 1 question on that order confirmation page?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yes. We're really focused on... We're going deep on attribution. So it is a single question. We are actually rolling out --I don't know if anyone knows this-- we're rolling, rolling out response clarification this month, which would allow you to drill down on a response. 

 

So if someone selects "podcasts" you could then list which podcast you're advertising on and then a user can click into that. 

 

But for the most part, I'd say for at least Q1, Q2, and probably at least most of q3, we're really just focused on this single question or 1 - 2 step question in regards to attribution.

 

Chase Clymer  

Is this a survey incentivized? Or...

 

Matt Bahr  

It's not right now. So we haven't done too much on increasing the response rate yet. And that's really just because the average response rate across all of our customers is just over 60%. 

 

So the response rate, I'd argue, is already pretty great. We have a few customers who are incentivizing, like offering 15% off if you complete the survey and they definitely have response rates of 75% to 80%. 

 

But for us, we're collecting a lot of data in how fast the survey loads, how fast the user is submitting the response. 

 

And I think there's still a lot of opportunities for us to more or less increase the response rate coming from maybe the back-of-house versus and forcing someone to provide a code or provide some kind of incentive.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. I think that when you're that far down the funnel you've already put in your credit card information and stuff and you're just in the zone of clicking buttons to get it done, I think it's probably just like second nature to be like, "Yeah, whatever. Boom."

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah. You just purchase a product, you're probably pretty amped on what you just purchased. You're waiting for that order confirmation page. So your focus is pretty much on this one thing like "Did my order go through?" And we're right on the top of that page. So front and center, 100% of the users’ attention.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that's amazing. So before we go here, is there anything else that I forgot to ask you that you think would be valuable to share with our audience?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah. I think just in general, --and I've alluded to this a bunch of times-- it's really just the fact that we're really starting to educate and create content for our customers just to start diversifying their media or be comfortable diversifying their media. 

 

So going into 2020, one of the things that I would just push everyone to do is just start looking at the space, understand if you're highly leveraged on Facebook and Instagram. And don't get so caught up in the quantitative marketing analytics. 

 

Because oftentimes, it's very easy to forget how important the qualitative side is. And that's just the message that we're sending is to diversify your media, be comfortable doing so and just find ways in which to measure it. And we obviously think that attribution surveys are the best way to do that.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. And if they want to learn more about you, they want to learn more about what you guys are offering, where should they go?

 

Matt Bahr  

Yeah, so you just head to our website. It's enauirelabs.com and we actually created a custom landing page for this. So it's enquirelabs.com/honest, there's a 14-day free trial. You could take it for a spin. 

 

No questions asked. If you want a personal onboarding, don't hesitate to email me at matt@enquirelabs.com and [I'd be] happy to walk you through. Whether it's talk[ing] through your media mix, look[ing] at your GA, whatever you need. [I'd be] happy to chat. Awesome. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Thank you so much for being on the show. The link to that's going to be in the show notes and I look forward to talking next time.

 

Matt Bahr  

Awesome. Thanks, man.

 

Chase Clymer  

We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing the truth. links and more will be available in the show notes. If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you'd like to apply to your business, please reach out at electriceye.io/connect.

 

Annette Grant  

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