Every website requires continuous evolution and improvisation. To understand what needs attention it is important to dissect the flow and analyse the structure. This is a brief overview of the ABC model, a popular framework used to analyse performance across acquisition, behaviour and conversion.

Acquisition is also known as grabbing attention. It is usually the first point of interaction with the customer. Grabbing a prospect’s attention becomes even more important where competition is tough. If you don’t do something different to grab a customer’s attention, somebody else will. This stage is about, ‘what brings customers to your store’.

Different online marketing channels have different acquisition points. In paid search this refers to your ad copy as it is often what attracts a customer to click and interact with your website. The way customers react to ad copy can vary depending on where in the purchase funnel the customer is. Your marketing strategy establishes which area of purchase funnel you’re focusing on. However, irrespective of the funnel stage it is important to understand what interface drives better acquisition.

Online, the attention span is short, perhaps a second or even less. Considering the character limitation in AdWords and even organic results, it is almost impossible to include all the relevant detail required by the customer. Furthermore the customers are becoming smarter and when they see an ad that says up to 75% off they understand it does not mean all items are 75% off, but it does instil in their mind that the website has offers on. Therefore, ad copy does not lead to purchase and should not be deployed for this purpose. Rather it should be used to generate initial interest, leading customers to investigate further.


Once a curious customer has landed on your website it is important to see how the customer behaves on your site. This includes matrices such as time on site, pages per visit, viewed pages etc. Here, your website structure influences how a customer behaves. A poorly designed website with excellent ad copy is likely to get an amazing CTR and poor web stats. There are particular outcomes associated with specific matrices. These matrices indicate how engaged a visitor is.

Finally, conversion relates to the outcome of the customer’s visit. Did you capture customers’ details? Did you complete a sale? Did you find out why they left? Did you find out what they were after?

Conversion is usually the most difficult part to analyse. You don’t expect every user to buy something or everybody to tell you why they left. What you can do is flag post important corners and make sense of the pattern. Google categorises final outcomes (for example a sale) as macro conversions. Other actions suggesting a registered interest are marked micro conversions. These include actions such as downloading a catalogue, newsletter signups, leaving a comment / review / feedback etc.

This is a brief overview of the ABC model which can help you understand what needs to improve. Therefore, say your website has an acceptable conversion rate and behavioural matrices are also in place. Now if you want to grow sales you might be better off concentrating on acquisition. You might want to try new ad copies and explore / investigate new or existing channels of acquisition.

If your website conversion rate isn’t great then the first thing you should be focusing on is investigating behaviour by creating goals and analysing visitor funnels. Any investment in acquiring customers through AdWords or SEO is likely to result in wastage.

Rick Tobin | Managing Director | Circus PPC Agency

Rick Tobin
Managing Director

Over 20 years dedicated PPC experience working with some of the world's biggest brands.

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