Month: February 2013

How to Use the New Google Offer Extensions in AdWords

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Google Offer Extensions, AdWords' latest new advertising extensions, is now being rolled out to all AdWords advertisers and can be found under the “extensions” tab. The new feature merges discount deals with search ads—exciting!

Offer Extensions enables AdWords advertisers to post a rebate, coupon, or discount to their regular Google search ads. Here’s a peek at what they look like:

Google Offer Extensions

Clicking the offer will take users to a landing page, detailing the logistics of the offer and how to use it. From there, users can print out the offer or can save it for later by saving it to the My Offers section of Google Offers.

There are plenty incentives for this new ad extension – it lets advertisers easily enter the ever-popular deal space without contending with Groupon and Living Social-esk sites.

Offer Extensions also mean more search ad real estate, broadcasting discounts that are likely to bring in better click-through-rates, although the cost-per-click will be the same as it would be for a regular ad.

Setting Up Offer Extensions

AdWords Offer Extensions can be created at the campaign level or ad group level, and are fairly simple to set up. You’ll need to start first with an “enhanced campaign.” Once the campaign is created, click Ad Extensions à  Offer Extensions, and then “Create New Extension”.

From there you fill in the details concerning the redemption dates, the offer headline, redemption details, etc. Make sure to follow best practices to get the most out of your Offer Extension.

The offers won’t show up in every SERP – only when an ad already appears in one of the top three ad positions, and only if Google think the offer is relevant to a searcher’s query.

What Does Offer Extensions Really Mean?

Offer Extensions cuts advertisers a pretty sweet deal for a number of reasons:

  • Advertisers can post “deals” without going through deal sites and using the familiar AdWords landscape.
  • Extra Google Search ad space that has the potential to stand out and be more clickable than regular text ads.
  • Online activity can now affect offline activity – a simple Google ad offer can drive business to a physical brick and mortar store.

Is This the End of Groupon?

Could AdWords ad extensions spell out the end for Groupon? Sites like Groupon and Living Social post business deals on their site, relying on their name to bring in potential customers. However, Google Offer Extensions does one better, matching an advertisers’ offer with relevant users who are ready to make a purchase, increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

Groupon is known as being a difficult group to work with – they are known for taking a big cut of deal profits, and often deal sites bring in one-time users who are just looking for a good bargain. Google Offer Extensions only shows discount offers to users who already are interested in what you are selling, therefore bypassing the frugal rebate wranglers who are just looking for a deal.

Advertisers should keep their eyes out for this new ad extension – it could mean big changes for the existing deal space, and offers a lot to AdWords advertisers.

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3 Tips for a Successful B2B Affiliate Program

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Affiliate programs have long been known in the B2C world for being able to provide a great value for growing your ecommerce business with a pay-for-performance model. For B2B marketers it isn’t as easy and obvious, but there are still great opportunities out there for those who are willing to give an affiliate program a try. Below are three tips to help you be successful in B2B affiliate marketing.

1. Find the Right Affiliates For Your Business and Aggressively Recruit Them

It will be crucial to your affiliate program that you target specific partners based on research and aggressively pursue those partners to become affiliates. Most B2B products and services have a limited scope in audience and you’ll want to make sure you are reaching the right customers. A big chunk of traditional affiliate partners have more of a B2C focus such as loyalty, deals and coupon sites that typically don’t work well in a lead generation B2B affiliate program. Once you have found the partners you’d like to target, it makes the most since for you to get in contact with them. This is true for all affiliate programs, but it is crucial for a B2B affiliate program because you are likely dealing with a limited audience.

2. Fully Inform Your Affiliates of Your Sales Cycle

Sales cycles in B2B can vary wildly and some can be very long. It will be crucial to inform your affiliates upfront of how long and how complex your sales cycle can be. This will help temper expectations and calm any tensions if they don’t see any commissions immediately after becoming an affiliate. The more communication with your affiliates on your sales cycle upfront could save headaches later on. If your affiliates are used to a simple B2C sales cycle, you must get them to be patient for a longer sales cycle, and remind them their patience will pay off.

RELATED CLASS: Affiliate Marketing 101

3. Find a Resource with Time to do Heavy Lifting — Or Hire One

It’s going to be important that either you or someone who knows something about affiliate marketing make time for your B2B affiliate program. As mentioned before, it will be important to do plenty of affiliate recruiting and affiliate communication. There is also tracking, reporting, order management and much more. All of this time adds up to be a significant amount and it might mean adding additional resources to your team. If you think this might be the case, do not be afraid to reach out to find an employee or agency partner to help you out.
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10 Expert Tips for Increasing Landing Page Conversions

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Brian Massey Landing Page Conversions

Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist & Author of "Your Customer Creation Equation"

An effective landing page optimization program can have a profound impact on your organization's bottom line. In fact, according to data from landing page optimization vendor ion interactive, 73% of their customers that create and test landing pages achieve 100% lift in their conversion rate. Amazing, right?

Data doesn't lie, but I've also seen first-hand how simply creating and testing targeting landing pages can impact digital marketing performance, so I'm thrilled that Brian Massey, the
Conversion Scientist and author of Your Customer Creation Equation, is joining us next Thursday, February 22 for an interactive, online workshop on landing page success. I have seen Brian present many times (both in-person and online), and he is by far one of my favorite instructors on digital and conversion marketing. This will be an informative AND fun virtual workshop that you don't want to miss.

To give you a sneak peek of next week's workshop, I interviewed Brian and asked him for his best advice on landing page optimization. Here's what he had to say:

1. What are some of the most common landing page mistakes marketers make?

The first and most damning is to start their landing page with the template of their corporate website. It typically adds a whole bunch of distractions and opportunities to abandon. Navigation, social media links, a logo that links to the home page, alternative offers and more columns than is needed all contribute to clutter and distraction.

I say start with a clean page.

2. What are the top 5 elements of an effective landing page?

Start with a landing page. Blank is preferred. Add an offer and some way to take action, a button or form is typical. To overcome the abandonment, slather on persuasive copy. Show the product with an image.

Add some trust symbols, sprinkle in some proof, and, voila! You have a landing page.

I’ll be talking about these components in my workshop in more detail.

3. What makes a great landing page headline?

First, it should keep the promise made by the ad, link or email that brought the visitor to the page. If you offer 15% off in the ad, the landing page needs to restate the 15% off offer again. This is a great use of the headline.

Second, it should promote the offer with a payoff or promise. If you’re offering a white paper, don’t pick a headline that talks about your product or company. It should pimp the white paper. “The guide that shows you how to deliver great results” might be a good headline template for a white paper.

4. How many calls-to-action should you include on a landing page?

One and a half at most.

5. What makes a great call-to-action?

Tell the visitor they’re going to get something they want or need. Take as much space as you like.

6. How long should landing page copy be?

As long as is needed and no longer. Methodical visitors scroll, and can’t take action until they already know most of the answers. Give it to them.

For quick-deciding visitors, give them the summary at the top, above the fold. But don’t design just for them.

7.  What is the most important piece of advice you can give to marketers that need to improve their conversion rate?

Landing Page Optimization

Check out Brian's new book.

Make time. When a marketer is short on time, they either create messages that they like, or create messages that won’t get pushback from the boss. In both cases, the messages are targeted inwardly, not at the visitor.

Make time to be curious. Give yourself the time to write down the ten things that you think your visitors would prefer.

Make time to be deliberate. Budget for the extra time and creative to try two versions of your ads, pages, and informational offers.

Make time to review. Take the time to look at your analytics, test results, customer feedback, reviews and hate mail. Learn from the data you can and already are collecting.

Make time to educate. Be the “Cheerios Guy” of your company. Brag about your successes. Help your extended team understand the value of the extra work you’re doing. Be the expert.

Make time to learn. Have you read the books? Have you scanned the blogs? Have you taken that course? Have you been to the conferences? A career in marketing is a lifestyle. Choose your lifestyle and live it fully.

Make time.

8. Copy vs. design? What do you think is more important?

Both are important. Copy is the offer, proof, and call to action used on the page. It can be delivered by words, images and video.

Design is the way the placement, font, color, and whitespace guide the eye.

I’ve seen too many “ugly” pages win in tests to believe that a designer has enough tools to overcome a bad offer or copy. We’ve been able to find success with changes to words, headlines and copy.

So, I’m a copy-first kind of scientist. Get the messages right and a competent designer can turn them into a high-converting page or site.

9. What are your favorite elements to test?

My favorite element to test is Gold (commonly known as Revenue). I like to see how much of it we can generate from a given amount of Traffite (common name: Traffic).

Youranium is one of my favorites. It’s radioactive and infects everything on the page. It influences the copy and images you choose on the destination. It can be found by understanding your visitors. It eliminates Melium (an inert gas). It decays into Trustanium.

I also like testing Headlinum, commonly known as “Headline.” It’s a great predictor of who will read the site and who will not.

Formite is used to create forms. Understanding which form fields will scare away unqualified leads and which will scare away qualified leads is very important, and takes some experimentation.

Textosterone is another favorite, though it’s not technically an element. Copy will make or break an ad, landing page or microsite.

10. When starting a testing program, where do you begin?

We always start with what you know. Slap some analytics on the site and see what your visitors can tell you with their actions. Quiz the sales staff to see what triggers a customer to call or visit. Apply what we’ve learned from other’s tests to a site and see if there are opportunities to improve it.

All of this leads to a hypothesis list. When vetted and ranked, it provides a program for optimizing a site to high conversion rates and higher revenue per visit.

BONUS QUESTION! How did you get started in conversion optimization?

What else would a Computer Scientist with Sales and Marketing experience who ran his own company do?

I wrote my own analytics package in 1999-2001 (Open Source Online Marketing).

I learned when running my Web development company that traffic wasn’t enough.

My sales experience taught me how to listen to the customer, so it was natural to apply that to visitors.

My marketing experience didn’t hurt me enough to make a difference

I was heavily influenced by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, who taught at a unique business school near Austin called The Wizard Academy.

Given all of this, there was no choice but to become a Conversion Scientist.

 


How to Measure B2B Social Media Marketing

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Measure Social MediaWe know social media is the “it” thing. We all need to be there. We understand that social media is about engaging in conversation with current or potential customers (versus traditional marketing which is talking at them), but for B2B companies it's sometimes hard to define who is talking about your product and where.

It's easy to think  - my product isn't fun or sexy, so why engage in social media? Really, nobody wants to read about {insert your product here} - I'm here to explain what success you could have with social media in a B2B landscape and give you the exact ways on how to measure it.

Over the last few years many companies jumped into social media because it was the next big shinny object. After claiming their brand page, they started shouting out marketing messages better suited for traditional media. Not much thought was put into defining objectives or creating success measurements. These same companies are still struggling to realize how social media works to increase leads and sales, especially in B2B industries.

1. Establish Goals

The first step to realize this is to define your goals and objectives. Overall, most companies have three main goals regardless of your industry or what you sell:

  1. Increase sales - or for many B2B companies this means increase leads which will increase sales
  2. Decrease cost - which is achieved by increasing the number of leads at the lowest cost
  3. Improve customer experience - the easiest sale is the repeat sale, so keep your customers happy and you will be happy too

2. Define Metrics

Once your goals for social media are established, a few of the many useful metrics to track social media success are as follows:

  • Amount of reach based on impressions
  • Shift in buzz over time
  • Social mentions of competition's brand vs own
  • Buzz by social channel
  • Growth of fans, followers or friends
  • Rate of sharing/re-tweeting
  • Embeds or installs of apps/programs
  • Downloads
  • Views of videos
  • Comments
  • Social bookmarks
  • Increase in branded organic traffic
  • Referral traffic to your site from social media sites
  • Registration for webinars

Now that I’ve cleared up the misconception that you can’t measure anything within social media the question is how do you decide what to track?

RELATED CLASS: 10 Essential Elements of a Mature Social Media Marketing Strategy

Goal: Brand Awareness

Increase your brand awareness and establish your company as the B2B industry leader in your market, which will help nurture leads and increase sales

1. Do this by creating content that helps address your prospects' concerns and publish it on your blog, send it out in your email newsletter, tweet it, post it on your LinkedIn & Facebook page as a status update with a link to read the full article on your blog. One piece of information can go a long way.

2. Comment on forums and answer LinkedIn questions about your industry to be seen as a B2B industry leader without selling or pitching your company or product. Present yourself as a thought leader and people will naturally want to learn more.

Best Measurements

  • Increased traffic to your blog articles
  • Increased branded searches
  • Increased fans, followers
  • Shares & re-tweets
  • Increased engagement with emails

Goal: Increased Customer Satisfaction

Increase customer satisfaction by staying in front of customers & creating an open dialogue

1. Stay connected by sending out a monthly newsletter with industry and company news so people remember your company and what you do.

2. Respond quickly to any questions or concerns posted on Facebook. Every company has an issue now and again. It shows your commitment to customer satisfaction if you respond quickly (Bonus tip: Setup Google Alerts to receive an email anytime someone mentions your brand name).

Best Measurements

  • Increased engagement (forwards, opens and clickthroughs) with newsletter content
  • Increased campaign traffic to website monitored in Google Analytics by UTM coded newsletter links.
  • Increased positive comments on social sites

These two goals can really help any business whether B2B or B2C business get started in social media regardless of your product or services. Just remember even though one of the best aspects of social media is that most of the marketing efforts cost little upfront to implement, they demand time and effort from employees - who often have a lot of other responsibilities. If you start marketing on social media channels, make sure to secure the mind-power to make it grow.

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Top 3 Conversion Optimization Trends from WhichTestWon’s 2013 Awards

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Justin Rondeau

As a marketer that's passionate about optimization and testing, I always look forward to WhichTestWon's Annual Testing Awards.

It's a great opportunity for me to geek out on before and after A/B tests, and see how other marketers are achieving big wins in digital. In advance of this Friday's WhichTestWon Awards ceremony, I interviewed one of the judges, Justin Rondeau (follow him on Twitter), to get a sneak peek of what we can expect this year. Justin is Chief Evangelist & Editor of WhichTestWon, and he's on a mission to inspire and educate more marketers to optimize their email campaigns and web sites via testing.

That's a great mission, and I'm thrilled to introduce him to our OMI readers.

1. As you're judging this year's WhichTestWon Awards, are you noticing any trends in A/B testing?

A/B and multivariate testing for conversion optimization is exploding – both in the US and globally. We received hundreds of entries for WhichTestWon’s 4th annual Testing Awards from an incredible variety of companies big and small. Ecommerce marketers are heavily testing now, but we also saw a big uptick in entries from lead generation marketers, financial institutions, SaaSs, automotive firms, and even online newspapers. So testing has definitely gone mainstream at last.

Big Giant Photographs

Photos on landing pages, homepages, ecommerce pages, all sorts of pages have gotten bigger and bigger so in many cases they now dominate the page. In many cases, there’s no more “white space”, a single huge photo is itself page background with forms or navigation laid on top of it.

We can’t reveal winning tests until our free, live Webcast Awards ceremony on Friday Feb 15th, but to get you excited, here’s an A/B test example conducted for Dell by ion interactive where you can see this in action. The new version of this ‘contact us’ page for business visitors increased leads generated by 36% and lowered the page bounce rate by 27%.

The Control

The original "control" landing page.

The Winner!

B2B Landing Page Winner

The champion! The version of this ‘contact us’ page for business visitors increased leads generated by 36% and lowered the page bounce rate by 27%

Slashing Form Fields

Lots of lead generation marketers are testing cutting the number of form fields (i.e. questions) on registration, opt-in, and sign-in pages. Often this requires a lot of maneuvering in office politics behind the scenes because form fields may be dictated by your sales department who only want “qualified” leads or by your database or CRM set-up which have predetermined fields that “must” be filled out. Test results are showing it may be worth the extra work to get other departments to agree to fewer form fields. In general, you’ll get better conversions if you cut fields…. But it’s not always the case. We’re going to be revealing one Award winner who added a big fat field without hurting lead generation at all!

Less Sales Funnel Measurement

We’re sad about this trend, but expect it to reverse over time. Marketers conducting tests are less likely than they were in years past (in the case of lead generation marketers FAR less likely) to measure test results beyond an initial click or form fill. This can really hurt your company because sometimes test results can reverse when you track leads further down the sales funnel or get more stats on the size of an average ecommerce sale – so the version you thought was the winner is actually the loser.

We think this trend is occurring because so many marketers are getting into testing these days. It’s a flood of newbies who don’t have the experience to use best practices yet. Our goal is to increase education about this, so in future nobody makes this mistake.

2. What is the most common objection you hear to starting an A/B testing program?

Many marketers have told us their biggest difficulty is putting together a proof of concept for the HIPPOs to sign off on. We’ve posted a 300+ Case Study library on our site specifically to help marketers with that because they can use test examples from their competitors to impress the HIPPO.

Another issue we have seen time and time again is building an experimentation culture. Conversion rate optimization via testing makes the marketer (in some eyes) more accountable for their decisions, mainly because they are creating a test that will either be a success or a failure. If you have not built a testing culture and redefine the notion of ‘failure’ marketers won’t be enticed to think outside of the box.

3. Any plans for including multivariate tests? What are your thoughts on MVT?

We do include them – many of our winners were MVT tests as are many of the tests in our Case Study library. MVT is a great way to refine a page with tons of elements when you don’t want to wait for months of A/B tests. We prefer A/B tests for very simple tests and radical redesigns… which then you might also run MVT tests on later to tweak the winner.

4. As a marketer yourself, what is your favorite element to test?

Overlays. These are those ‘pop-ups’ that take over a page you are looking at but don’t completely obscure it. (Unlike classic pop-ups, they are not commonly blocked or banned by Google.) We got a lot of awards submissions for overlays, and we just released a Case Study about our own site’s email opt-in offer overlay test. We tested the timing of the overlay – how soon should an overlay appear after a visitor enters your site: 15-seconds, 30-seconds or 45-seconds? We were surprised to see that our site the 15-second timing worked the best! You can see the overlay for yourself at http://whichtestwon.com... Just go there and wait for 15 seconds.

5. Design or copy: what is more important when it comes to landing pages?

Copy tests are VERY powerful and often the easiest to run. If I had to pick between the two, I’d run a copy test first. But your copy can’t work if your design is too cluttered or distracting, or your images aren’t supporting it. These things go hand in hand.

6. When starting a testing program, where should marketers begin?

Look at the data to figure out what’s a problem on your site. Generally we advise that you start with a page that is working fairly well – because if you can improve results even a little that’s a big lift to your bottom line. Then on that page, use every bit of data you can get your hands on to make a hypothesis about what could be changed to help conversions. Data might be web analytics, visitor surveys, customer interviews, click data, eyetracking heatmaps… there’s all sorts of ways to get information about your page. Then consider your internal resources – can you do a copy test?  Can you do a design or image test? And, what sort of testing tech will your IT team feel good about using? There’s lots of (very) inexpensive options for testing tech out there. We list them in a free vendor guide on our site. Lastly, before you get started, consider how you’re going to use the results to promote the idea of testing within your own organization, either to win your boss to the idea of more tests or of investing in an agency to help you do really great tests. Office politics play a big role in this.

7. What test has surprised you the most? Why?

You’ll find out at the Awards 😉

8. Should all marketers test? Why or why not?

As long as you have a boss who will support testing – don’t do a ‘black ops’ test and risk your job, always get management buy-in – and the page you intend to test gets enough conversions per month to support a test, you should be testing. Conversions could be sales, opt-ins, form-fills, clicks, etc. You can use a testing calculator (there are several free ones) to see how many conversions you need to wind up with a statistically conclusive test.

9. What is the most important piece of advice you can give to marketers that need to improve their conversion rate?

Sorry – I’ll be boring and say “test smart” – use the resources mentioned above to construct a solid hypothesis. If your hypothesis is strong, then it doesn’t matter if your test wins or loses…you will gain insights for future iterations.

10. How many elements should you test at once? Why?

For an A/B test you can test one per variation. (So you could run a/b/c/d/a…. etc variations all at the same time if your traffic supports it.)  For a multivariate test you can test tons of different elements at the same time, but again your traffic must support it.

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13 Free SEO and Social Media Tools

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Whether you’re a B2B marketer, focused on social media or someone who draws upon a wide range of online marketing skills, we’re all looking for ways to save time measuring the return on our digital efforts and welcome any services that make researching and analysis more efficient.

There are many out there, but below is a list of a few of my favorite SEO and social monitoring tools to get you started. No matter if you're a small business owner or a vast marketing department in the B2B industry, you can use these tools to gather valuable insight.  

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Keyword Research

1. Keyword Density Checker: This service scans your URL to tell you what the most used words are on that page and presents the data in a keyword cloud.

2. Screaming Frog: This is a java program that you download and install on your computer which will scan up to 500 URLs for free (if you're interested in researching more, you'll need a license). It will present the data in an interface with the option to export to CSV. It will not provide insight on what to do next (unlike paid services such as SEOmoz), so you'll have to have a bit of understanding of what the results mean.

This service is great to use anytime a new website launches to identify internal issues. Especially with larger sites, sometimes things get missed. You can use the tool to locate any 404 pages, 302-redirects, page titles over 70 characters, ones with missing meta data or duplicate content.

It is also useful when you're curious about what keywords your competitors are focusing on. Use it to spider your competitors' websites and browse the tool's tabs for H1 tags, meta descriptions, page titles, etc. Export the data to Excel and sort by A to Z to see which terms are being used in the highest volume.

Which leads into the next set of tools, competitive research.

Competitive Landscape Research

Domain Authority and Backlink Measurements

3. OpenSiteExplorer: Use this to find out if that mommy blog that boasts 100,000 unique visits per month is something you’d actually want linking to your site, or use it to create a benchmark for your client to measure their rank against their competitors.

Competitor Paid Search Campaign Insight – Free Now While in BETA

4. SpyFu Recon Files: While it’s still in beta, SpyFu is giving free access to their PPC recon file reports. Uncover what words your competition is most likely to spend money on, and what they used for ad copy. Hey! It might be a useful addition to your SEO content strategy. SpyFu will require you to register an account, and it’ll take about an hour for the report to generate, but for some industries this report proves very useful.

Measure the SEO Health of your Website

5. WooRank
This service focuses on the technical aspects of SEO. It will provide a score (0 to 100) for your website and explains what the current problems are and how to fix them. You can run a report on one website per day per IP address otherwise WooRank will prompt you to sign up for a paid account.

6. Marketing Grader
Hosted by HubSpot, this service points out many ways you can improve your current website. It also focuses on blog success metrics, which is something that WooRank does not report on.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

Monitor Sentiment

7. Social Mention
This tool is pretty self explanatory. Enter in the term you want to monitor, 'search' and browse the results. You can sort the results by date or by format. See something negative? Respond. See something new? Read it. Located brand advocates? Connect and share their content.

You can also export the list of mentions to a CSV file, which includes the date it was shared, name of who shared it (if applicable), title/description of share and a link to where the share can be found. Pretty important stuff when measuring the reach of a campaign.

Services to Count Social Mentions

8. Shared Count
Use this service if you’d like to export reach result data and import into Excel to add as part of a larger report. Click on "Multi-URL dashboard" in the top navigation, add all URLs and click on 'export to CSV' to retrieve the report.

9. HowManyShares.com
Use this service over Share Count if you want to see the data in a visually appealing graphic. Then take a screen capture of it to use in your reach report.

Link Tracking on Print Media

Link Shorteners

10. Bit.lyOnce you create a free account, this service allows you to edit the ugly numeral and digit combination trailing most shortened URLs with an easy to read vanity URL - perfect to include on flyers.

11. Google URL Shortener: Similar to Bit.ly, Google's URL shortener provides similar analytics in a different format—Google plots your traffic in a line graph. Plus, the Google name adds some authority as well.

QR Code Creator

12. Kaywa: Even though many marketers question the effectiveness of QR codes, they may prove useful to the correct audience. To create the QR code is free, but if you want the analytics data from Kaywa directly, you’ll need to pay them. Or, you could just use UTM tracking codes on your URL and measure success by looking into campaign traffic sources if you're using Google Analytics.

Just for fun

13. Check out what other websites are sharing your IP using Neighborhood Checker.

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What other tools and services do you love having in your digital marketer’s toolbox?

 


3 Things You Need To Know About the New AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

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If you haven’t heard by now, on February 6th Google announced the new AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, which combines mobile and desktop search in every campaign. This is a major change in the fundamental organization and behavior of AdWords campaigns. From the AdWords blog:

“Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.”

While there is intense debate from both sides we’ll focus on how to move forward since Google isn’t going to change its mind. Here are 3 important things you need to know about AdWords Enhanced Campaigns:

1. No More Tablet Targeting

AdWords added tablet targeting in July of 2011.

With Enhanced Campaigns desktop and tablet search will be combined. As Google says, “consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar.” I know that many PPC managers dislike losing the control and granularity this change entails. However, for basic users this will simplify the experience.

2. New Conversion Types

Conversion tracking is one of the most attractive features of PPC advertising. Knowing exactly which keyword and ad version got the conversion allows advertisers to optimize their ROI. To improve conversion tracking AdWords will be adding a couple of new conversion types directly into AdWords reports:

  • Calls (you can set how long the call must be before counting too)
  • App Downloads

Since many advertisers haven’t yet gone “all in” on mobile advertising, these additional conversion types can help justify spend and demonstrate the effectiveness of mobile PPC.

3. When Will It Happen?

If you’re an early adopter, you can get started right away. I’ve already started seeing a message in AdWords to upgrade to Enhanced Campaigns right away.

If you’re comfortable with the current setup and don’t like change, the news is both good and bad. The good news is that you don’t have to change right now. The bad news is that Google plans to upgrade all campaigns in mid-2013 (probably starting around June and then phasing into all accounts).

Conclusion

As with all big changes there are pros and cons. While many lament the loss of control and transparency, there are many advertisers that will benefit from the simplified campaigns and additional conversion tracking options. What do you think of the changes?

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AdWords Conversion Tracking vs. Google Analytics Goal Completions

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adwords goal completionsWondering what's the difference between AdWords conversion tracking and goal completions in Analytics? For starters, they are not reporting the same data, so do not expect the two to match. Because of this, both tracking codes can be on the same page without interfering with one another.

The difference between AdWords Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics Goal Completions

Goals in Analytics count a completion at the exact time a visitor reaches the goal completion URL location. For example: a prospect fills out the lead generation form and is taken to the /thank-you.html page to receive the white paper download – at that moment that action is counted.

This is unlike AdWords conversion tracking which attributes ‘the win’ to the time of the last ad click BEFORE conversion. Meaning a person clicks an ad, bookmarks the landing page, clicks off the site but within 30 days came back to the website via bookmark and filled out the lead generation form – that original click on that ad (even though the success action happened days later), was just attributed as a conversion.

Analytics would have counted that action as a non-paid goal completion since the visitor left the site and their last action BEFORE the conversion was by clicking on the bookmark, which brought them to the landing page, but not from an ad.

Oh, let the data discrepancies begin!

But don’t be deterred. If you understand what each tracking code is reporting you’ll be better suited to use the data to tell two different stories of which paid campaigns or landing pages are best performing.

Goal completions can be attributed to any traffic source, where conversion tracking only counts users if they clicked on an ad from the AdWords account. This means you would need to apply an advanced segment in Google Analytics to separate goal completions attributed to paid traffic from the remaining traffic sources like organic, referral and direct.

Setup goals in Analytics and import them into AdWords if you:

1. Want to track if an event occurred from Google Search paid traffic which does not result in the visitor being directed to a unique thank you page, like:

  • Downloading a file
  • Starting a live chat session
  • Watching a video

2. Want to report on which goal completion URL a visitor ended up on, because you’re not too concerned about what ad copy got that visitor to the site. It’s more important that you know what pages a visitor clicked through, what date they completed the goal, and what form they filled out.

3. Use a template landing page creation tool where Google Analytics is setup to track each landing page for bounce rate and total visits, but you'll also need to report on the conversion rate percentage per landing page. Since AdWords conversion tracking attributes the conversion to the ad that was clicked on, you'll want goals setup in Analytics and imported into Adwords to be able to track how many people visited the landing page and converted.

Conversion tracking is configured within AdWords and is useful when you need to track:

1. Whether this ad led to this sale on my ecommerce website, and because each sale is important, I want to know if that one ad may have possibly resulted in multiple purchases (many-per-click conv.). Analytics would count each purchase separately.

2. How many people clicked on my ad and then at some point within 30 days filled out a form. It doesn’t matter when someone completed the form to receive more information; I just need to know which ad campaign got them there.

3. Sales within an ecommerce platform which do not have a clearly defined ‘thank you’ success URL like /receipt.html, but instead creates a dynamic purchase confirmation page unique to every customer that buys from the website.

The biggest difference is to remember that you will not be able to track Analytics conversion rate percentages based on AdWords clicks or ad spend if you do not import your goals into AdWords. The goal completions would be measured based on URL paths setup in GA, and AdWords conversions would be contained with the AdWords platform and report actions solely completed by paid traffic.

The above were just a few of the scenarios where you'd want to configure one tracking method over another, and of course you can set up both and pull the numbers from each to tell their different stories if needed. In the comments below, share what you’re using the different data sets to say about your site visitors’ engagement rates.

 


4 New Ways to Personalize Google Analytics

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With so much of today’s marketing and advertising being geared towards personalization, it’s no wonder Google Analytics took its interface a step forward in making their dashboard a little more personalized for users too. Earlier this month, a handful of changes were implemented, all of which make Google Analytics easier for its users and provides a much more unified placement for tools within the platform.

Customized Dashboards

A huge beneficial change to the new Google Analytics platform is that it now gives users the ability to create personalized dashboards. This then offers up a lot more options when it comes to how the dashboard is laid out and how users can see their data. With this change, Google Analytics now offers a handful of options available when choosing the best layout for you.

What is nice about the new personalized dashboard is the added feature that you now have the ability to share them with others. This feature allows users to have their dashboard seen by others, such as stakeholders, marketing directors and IT managers, and export a personalized view to each, based on what data their department needs.

Google Analytics Layout Options

New Dashboards Widgets

Two new widgets have been added to the updated dashboards; Geo Maps and Bars. Within the Geo Maps widget, users are now able to color code by country, state, etc. While the Bars widget provides more advanced graphing of data.

Google Analytics Goal Completions

Updated Navigation

Fewer tabs now line the top of Google Analytics. This is yet another change that’s been implemented to provide a more powerful dashboard to users. Reporting, Customization, Admin and Help are the only tabs now listed atop the dashboard. This area has been cleaned up, moving some of the tabs to the left sidebar, which makes for a more unified placement of tools.

Another neat addition to the new Google Analytics interface is that the top orange navigation bar now floats with the page. So rather than being a static component on each page, this bar now scrolls down along with the user.

Google Analytics New Navigation

Advanced Segments Added to Dashboard

The updated Google Analytics interface now provides Advanced Segments as a feature on the dashboard. This tool is nothing new to the platform, but with its move to the dashboard, again, makes for easier gathering of specific data for users. So, for example, those interested in looking at paid traffic performance versus organic traffic performance can click on the Advanced Segments button (upper left corner of the dashboard, near Audience Overview in standard Google Analytics dashboard layout), select two options you’re interested in seeing reports on, and hit “Apply” to review the data.

As you can see, there have been some pretty simple, yet beneficial changes to the Google Analytics interface. This comes as a pleasant revision to the already highly useful platform.

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5 Expert Tips for Engaging Brand Advocates

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In advance of tomorrow's virtual Crash Course on brand advocate marketing, I interviewed course instructor, Rob Fuggetta, and asked him to share his best advice for activating and engaging brand advocates. Here's what he had to say:

1. What is a brand advocate?

A Brand Advocate is a highly-satisfied customer or other person who recommends a company, brand, or product without pay or incentives.

Many people confuse Brand Advocates with Influencers like bloggers. The big difference between Advocates and Influencers is loyalty. Your Advocates will promote, support, and defend you for years. Bloggers, on the other hand, are loyal only to themselves.

2. Why should marketers engage with brand advocates?

Advocates are your company’s best marketers and salespeople. Here are three reasons why:

First, Advocates are highly trusted and influential. Ninety-two percent of people trust Word of Mouth. You may ignore or skip through ads. But when a friend or peer recommends a restaurant, hotel, car, fitness club, software, or just about anything, you’re very likely to buy.

Second, you can reach lots of prospects through your social media-powered Advocates. A company with 10,000 Advocates can reach about 6 million prospects, we estimate. And keep in mind: these are trusted impressions because they come from Advocates.

Third, there are lots of Advocates! One in four online adults in the US are Brand Advocates, says Synovate. And our research shows that about 50% of customers are potential Advocates. If you have 100,00 customers or end users, you may have 50,000 potential Advocates. That’s a massive virtual marketing force!

3. How can marketers identify brand advocates? 

A simple way to identify Advocates is to ask the “Ultimate Question” for customer loyalty: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us?” Customers who say 9 or 10 are considered Advocates. We recommend asking this question everywhere. One of our customers has created an army of 250,000 Advocates!

4. What is a common pitfall of Brand Advocate marketing?

The number one pitfall is paying or providing incentives to Advocates. Advocates recommend brands and products because they’ve had a great experience and want to help others, studies show. Giving people money or swag for recommendations is lame and doesn’t work. I’ve recommended the movie Lincoln to about 10 of my friends because it was fantastic. Steven Spielberg didn’t pay me for this. True advocacy can’t be manufactured or paid for. It can only be earned. 

5. What kinds of results have your clients achieved with brand advocate marketing?

One client got a whopping 56% conversion rate on Black Friday when Advocates shared a promotional offer with their friends. A hotel client jumped 50 rungs on the TripAdvisor rankings ladder. And another client doubled their ratings and sales on Amazon.com by mobilizing Advocates. On average, our customers are getting a 25X ROI from advocacy programs, as measured by media and sales value.

One client of ours said it best: “Word of Mouth is the number one way we get leads. Why not invest in what’s working?”

Do you want to build and activate an army of advocates that will sell your product or service for you?

 Join us Tuesday, February 5 at 12pm ET for the "Brand Influencers Crash Course" with Rob Fuggetta. Rob is the world’s leading expert on brand advocacy, and the author of the hot-selling book: “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force” (Wiley, 2012). He's also the founder/CEO of Zuberance, a social marketing company that manages and powers ongoing Brand Advocate programs for B2C and B2B companies. 

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