Search Engine Marketing Blog

Cutting edge interactive advertising.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a rapidly changing field rife with opportunities, but it takes expertise and experience to run optimal interactive advertising campaigns. When engaging in digital advertising, such as paid search, display media, social media advertising and remarketing, it's extremely important that your efforts are backed by knowledge and strategy. Here, our SEM experts provide the tips and information you can use to improve your campaigns, and your ROI. To stay up to date on our search engine marketing blog, subscribe to our feed.

April 4 2007

Fantasy Football = Web Analytics

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With the 2007 NFL Draft now less than 1 month away, fantasy football geeks such as me are already in mid-season football form. To us, NFL Football is a year-round sport that does not stop for other sports, such as the Daytona 500, the “Final Four”, or even the NBA Finals. Thank the Lord for the NFL Network!

So the other day, a few of my fantasy football league members and I were reciting (and arguing) to each other what the top 10 picks in our draft would be, which is rapidly approaching in less than 5 months. Some of the reasoning behind our banter is based upon factors such as weather, coaching staff, offensive playbook, other teammates, and even plain old gut feelings.

However, our discussions and subsequent evaluations mainly centered on some Key Performance Indicators, such as:

-Yards (Passing, Rushing, and Receiving)
-Touchdowns (Passing, Rushing, and Receiving)
-Turnovers (Interceptions and Fumbles)

It was during this meeting of the minds that I realized how close Fantasy Football Analysis and Web Analytics are, as we also use Key Performance Indicators in Web Analytics. While these are usually different from campaign to campaign, or even Ad Group to Ad Group, there are usually a couple of very important metrics that you look at.

Example: I am running Campaign XYZ. My KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) just happen to be:

-Click-through Rate
-Conversions
-Conversion Rate
-Cost / Conversion

Now, we all know that looking at one of these metrics on its own can be extremely misleading. For example, last season, Tiki Barber gained 2,127 all-purpose yards, which is fantastic. However, upon further review, he only scored 5 Touchdowns, which is extremely pedestrian. Also, 258 of those 2,127 yards, and 3 of those 5 Touchdowns came in the very last game of the NFL season, which for most fantasy-footballers is completely useless, as our seasons generally end on week 16, and sometimes on week 15. Tiki Barber has retired from football, but if he were playing next season, he would no doubt have a tough time cracking anyone’s “Top 5” list, despite that massive yardage total.

If I’m looking at the performance of one of my Google CPC Campaigns in Google Analytics, via the All CPC Analysis report, I can see that I got 3,554 Clicks last month (Good!). I can also see that my Click-Through Rate is a very solid 7.74% (Awesome!). But then, as I use the bottom horizontal scroll-bar on my browser and slide it to the right, I can see that this cost me a whopping $1,844.93. My Cost per Conversion is a rather un-mentionable – $614.98. A quick math calculation will show me that I only collected 3 Conversions all of last month, costing me almost $2,000! Clearly, we would need to do some work on this Campaign, despite all that traffic and that good Click-through Rate.

“Player vs. Defense Match-ups” is one of the most under-rated concepts / strategies in Fantasy Football, but also one of the most over-analyzed as well. Every fantasy football team owner knows what’s coming when you “Over-Coach”, and possibly bench a great player for one week, only to see that player have the game of his life while scoring exactly zero points for your team. This happens quite frequently with superstar players. Last season, I was fortunate enough to play a team that benched Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chad Johnson (an elite player), only to see him explode for 260 Yards and 2 Touchdowns, against, at the time, a very potent San Diego Chargers defense. The moral here is to always play your superstar players.

Your homepage on your website is YOUR superstar player. It’s going to get the most visits, the most Pageviews, and chances are very good that a lot of your conversions and sales are going to come right off of that homepage. So when you see that 3% of your visitors spent less than 8 seconds viewing your homepage before they left your site entirely, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush to change the font-size of all the text, the location of all the graphics, and add a giant Flash presentation right in the middle of the page. Know that your homepage gets the most traffic, and with more traffic, the more chances of some of it being of no use to you.

I could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure that by now you can see the correlation between two completely opposite worlds. Or, are they opposite worlds?

April 3 2007

It’s Time to Give Your Campaigns a Spring Cleaning!

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The Search Engine Industry never remains stagnant, and therefore, your online marketing campaigns shouldn’t either. It’s time to clean things up a bit! That being said, when was the last time you gave your campaign a Spring Cleaning?

It is always good to test out new engines, ad copy, keywords, and/or landing pages, especially if you are not seeing the results you are looking for. Maybe you have added new products and/or services that have not yet been incorporated into your Marketing Program? Perhaps you have a new landing page that you would like to try out? What about new engines/channels? If it makes sense for your business model, why not try: Business.com, Amazon.com, Quigo.com and/or Verizon.com?

While the big names like Google, Yahoo, and MSN still take up the largest piece of the pie, these other channels can certainly be beneficial and deliver very targeted and relevant visitors to your site. Don’t limit yourself, and by extension, your website, by focusing solely on the top 3 engines.

Get out there and test the waters with some new channels, keywords, landing pages, ad copy, etc! A Spring Cleaning may be just the solution to give your campaign the boost needed! Happy Spring Cleaning!

March 30 2007

Just Where Do You Think You’re Going?

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MoreVisibility Analytics Blog

Listen, let’s be realistic here. You will never have 100% of the visitors to your website all convert, or all fill out your form. It’s just impossible, even if you have the best website in the history of the internet. People like to “window shop” or comparison shop before they actually purchase something. But, we all knew this already.

Now that we have that out of the way, I can tell you that you probably can improve upon the percentage of visitors who are leaving your website altogether, and probably improve upon the percentage of visitors who eventually convert. In fact, it’s not a probability, it’s most likely a fact, jack.

So, how do you do it? The first thing you’re going to have to do is take a good look at the pages on your website. Are they what’s called “user-friendly”? Does it take forever and a day to load? Does it not offer a lot of useful information? Does it display 5 pop-ups, including my favorite “Click YES to bookmark this site!” JavaScript message?

In some cases, you may be doing everything correctly, and still not see the conversions you’re looking for. But, thanks to the good people at Google, and special thanks to the good people on the Google Analytics team, we can see what users are doing on each individual page. With one report in particular, you can see the exact number of Exits on each page, and what the Exit Percentage is on each page of your website. It’s a very easy report to look at, and it’s located here:

Content Optimization >> Navigational Analysis >> Top Exit Points

A few notes to keep in mind about this report:

1. Because your homepage is usually, by far, the most visited page, you can make a “logical assumption” that it will also accumulate the most Exits. This doesn’t automatically get your homepage off the hook, but if you have a good, clean, properly formatted / tagged / optimized homepage, you shouldn’t worry too heavily if your homepage leads in Exits.
2. Hopefully for you, your Conversion Page (“Thank You” page) will be at least in the top 5, or top 10, if your site has a lot of pages. While reaching the Conversion Page of your website is your ultimate Goal, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be the very end of the user’s experience with your site. Add some links or a nice graphic on the actual Conversion Page, inviting the user to stick around for a little bit.
3. You can Cross-Segment each Exit Point by any number of variables. This is very useful. For example, Cross-Segment your homepage by Browser, or by Platform. Maybe something on your homepage is causing visitors using a certain Browser type, Platform, or even a certain version of Flash that is interfering with the user’s experience?

Enjoy, and Good Luck!

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