For over 100 years, the Amer­i­can Cancer Society (ACS) has worked relent­lessly to save lives and create a world with less cancer.

The goal of the Amer­i­can Cancer Society (ACS) is to elim­i­nate cancer as a major health problem by helping people stay well, get well, by finding cures, and by fight­ing back. To support this effort, the ACS has created several websites and mobile appli­ca­tions to provide cancer detec­tion and treat­ment infor­ma­tion, to accept dona­tions to cancer research, and to provide volun­teer oppor­tu­ni­ties.

In early 2012, the ACS began working with Search Discovery to help under­stand how users are inter­act­ing with their sites and appli­ca­tions, and to address data quality concerns with the Google Analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tion on several sites.

The Challenge

When the Amer­i­can Cancer Society started working with Search Discovery, it quickly became appar­ent that users of the websites owned by the ACS fall into three main personas:

  1. Cancer Infor­ma­tion Seekers: Users seeking cancer signs and symp­toms, or infor­ma­tion on what to expect from a cancer diag­no­sis.
  2. Event Partic­i­pants: Indi­vid­u­als who are seeking oppor­tu­ni­ties to partic­i­pate in an event to fundraise for cancer research and support services.
  3. Donors: Those users who simply want to make a dona­tion to the fight against cancer.

Each of these segments is defined by the unique goal that the user intends to achieve on the website, but it can be chal­leng­ing for the digital market­ing team to isolate these customer segments to help users achieve those goals, monitor how these behav­iors change over time or remar­ket to these segments after they have been iden­ti­fied.

The Process

In order to accu­rately clas­sify the three main Personas, the Amer­i­can Cancer Society started by captur­ing the neces­sary data using Google Analyt­ics to iden­tify each segment, and then deter­mine if they are success­ful at complet­ing goals.

First of all Custom Dimen­sions were used to capture infor­ma­tion neces­sary to under­stand which segment a user belongs to:

  • Donor = User has made a dona­tion
  • Partic­i­pant = User has regis­tered for event
  • Cancer Info Seeker = User has viewed pages in the cancer info section

Secondly, website events that indi­cate when a user is success­ful or unsuc­cess­ful at meeting a goal were mapped, and Custom Metrics were used to send a score for each:

  • Recency Score = 1 point awarded if the previ­ous session was within the past 7 days
  • Engage­ment Score = 1 point awarded for every three pages viewed
  • Conver­sion Score = 1 point awarded for each trans­ac­tion, event regis­tra­tion or view of an entire article on cancer infor­ma­tion
  • Revenue Score = 1 point awarded for gifts larger than the average size ($70)

This scoring method allowed the market­ing team to monitor the overall health of the site for each user segment as it trends over time, and dig deeper into the data when abnor­mal­i­ties arise.

More impor­tantly, the Amer­i­can Cancer Society can now remar­ket to their users based on any combi­na­tion of segments and scores using DoubleClick Campaign Manager.

Below are some of the ways this inte­gra­tion can be used:

  • Target cancer infor­ma­tion seekers with an invi­ta­tion to donate to cancer research.
  • Share fundrais­ing ideas with event partic­i­pants.
  • Encour­age event partic­i­pants who have not donated to make a personal dona­tion in addi­tion to fundrais­ing.

The Results

Cancer.org is the primary site used by the Amer­i­can Cancer Society to distrib­ute cancer research and infor­ma­tion, but there is a sepa­rate site called Making Strides Against Breast Cancer that is used to raise money for breast cancer research.

In Oct 2014, the site perfor­mance score for cancer.org began to increase dramat­i­cally over the prior month. Follow­ing a behav­ior analy­sis, the team deter­mined that this was due to an increase average trans­ac­tion size and average time on site during Breast Cancer Aware­ness month. However, they had expected breast cancer donors to arrive on the Making Strides site, and cancer.org was not opti­mized to receive this traffic. In response, the team at ACS created promo­tions on cancer.org to drive traffic to the Making Strides site which were used by more than 39,000 during that month. Also, they created a breast cancer focused dona­tion form on cancer.org that restricted funds to breast cancer research, gener­at­ing a 5.4% lift in cancer.org revenue over the prior year.