Sports FanI learned something from a Pay-Per-Click colleague the other day that I thought was fascinating. I asked her about her pay-per-click management philosophy. She said she chooses a keyword group to go “all Highlander on.”
In other words, there can be only one. She explained that part of her strategy is picking the most successful and profitable keyword group and focusing intensely on it. When it comes to our clients’ digital marketing strategy, our agency goes “all Highlander on” revenue, or more accurately, profitability. However, just like my colleague focuses on other keywords in addition to her Highlander keywords, we also focus on other critical key performance indicators (KPIs).
There are three core KPIs that drive revenue generation. These KPI’s drive both the strategies and the tactics we utilize to help build revenue for our clients. They are traffic acquisition, traffic conversion and traffic retention. Internally, we call this “ACR.”
Every website has different objectives, whether it’s an e-commerce site generating revenue or a lead generation site capturing contact form submissions. These objectives can be accomplished in different ways. ACR helps you determine the focus of your digital marketing efforts and identify the highest return on your money and time.
Here’s how we define each of the three ACR elements:

A is for Acquisition

The number of unique visitors you get over a set period of time is the most basic statistic tracked in digital marketing. Many treat “uniques” as the Holy Grail for their site, but traffic acquisition goes much deeper than identifying unique visitors alone. Acquisition requires you to look at all sources of those visitors. This could include organic search results, referral traffic, social media, email traffic and other traffic avenues to your website.
Knowing what is driving traffic to your site helps you make decisions to get more of that traffic. For example, after delving into the Analytics of one of our clients, we found that a substantial amount of traffic was coming from blogs reviewing their products. The $50 cost to send the product to bloggers would be substantially cheaper than investing in more organic search results since they already ranked well for many of their primary keywords.
With better understanding of their traffic acquisition sources, they chose not to spend more time on organic results just because that had been the status quo strategy.
Here are a few articles to help you work on your A:
Keyword Targeting, Density and Cannibalization
Why You Need to Use the Google Analytics AdWords Report
I’m Begging You! Do This One Thing for Your Business

C is for Conversions

Increasing conversions is often the easiest way to improve the success of your digital marketing. Small shifts in conversion rates make huge differences in revenue or leads. For example, we have a client that runs camps for high school students. They were getting a ton of great traffic from their target demographic already. Getting more of that traffic would have resulted in small gains at a high price. Plus, the conversion rate from this traffic was less than 1 percent, so it made more sense to improve conversions.
By split testing the client’s landing pages, we were able to quickly increase that conversion rate to over 1.5 percent. That is not a .5 percent increase in leads, it’s a 50 percent increase in leads! Simply getting one more of every 200 visitors to convert made a huge difference in the client’s business. Improving conversions from your existing traffic is often much easier than finding new traffic.
Here are a few articles to help you work on your C:
If You Aren’t Worried Conversion About Your Conversion Rate You Should Be
A Product Based Approach to CRO
4 Simple Ways to Use Web Analytics for Smarter CRO Testing
Track ROI in Google Analytics

R is for Retention

Retention is where most agencies and digital marketing managers miss the mark. We all want more people to go to the website and take specific actions. Yet, for some reason, we don’t always value retention as highly as acquisition or conversions. People who have already been to your site or bought from you are the easiest traffic sources and highest converters, especially if you have an e-commerce site.
Focusing on how to get more transactions from these customers is key. Are you using the emails you acquired for brand awareness, top-of-mind awareness, referral traffic and event attendance?
Even people who visited your site but didn’t take an action are part of your retention strategy. It was expensive to get them to your site, so don’t let them get away. One of our fashion retailers was a good example. The business was struggling with low conversions, so we started a Google AdWords campaign and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. We congruently developed a remarketing campaign for people who abandoned their shopping cart before purchase. We also developed a comprehensive email campaign targeting past customers. Remarketing and emails increased valuable return traffic, conversions and most importantly, revenue, while the pay-per-click campaign and SEO targeted new customers to fill the funnel back up. Traffic retention is equally as valuable as traffic acquisition or retention.
Here are a few articles to help you work on your R:
21 User Retention Tactics You Need to Know
Email Marketing Infographic
Is Your Business Neglecting Google Plus Local Reviews
Acquisition, conversion and retention are individual KPI silos. Their strategies and tactics may cross paths or have an indirect impact on one another, but it’s important that you focus on them separately.
For example, an email marketing campaign to existing customers may drive additional traffic and impact acquisition, yet the primary focus is retaining existing customers. Isolating these three KPI makes it easier to determine the best strategies and tactics for each. Plus, you’ll ultimately create that “Highlander” variable for revenue.
To initiate an ACR concept, learn how to track each KPI accurately. These questions will help.

  • How many unique visitors are getting to your site?
  • What are your referral traffic sources?
  • How did you acquire this referral traffic?
  • How successful is your pay-per-click strategy?
  • How are you ranking for your critical and best-converting keywords?


  • What are your top converting pages?
  • What is your overall conversion rate?
  • What is the cost of traffic sources?
  • What is a conversion worth in revenue and profit?
  • How much are you spending to gain one conversion?
  • Do you have goal values and cost per goal completion set up in Analytics?


  • How can you re-engage with former prospects or customers?
  • What method do you use to reach out to former customers and prospects?
  • What is the current lifetime value of a customer? What do you want it to be?
  • Are you utilizing your email list to reach former customers?
  • Are you staying in front of people who came to your site but didn’t complete your intended goal?
  • Do you have remarketing ads in place?
  • If people choose not to become return visitors, do you know why?

The answers to these questions will help you identify the holes in your digital marketing strategy. With a strategy focused on acquisition, conversions and retention, you will be able to go “Highlander” on your revenue.