“What do you mean, you don’t have analytics? How are you measuring the success of your campaigns?”
I find myself asking that question over and over to both new and prospective clients. It seems like analytics would be the logical companion… especially when you may be spending thousands of dollars per month with online marketing initiatives. You would think, right? Well… that’s not always the case.
Maybe it’s that people don’t recognize the importance of an analytics program… After all, the major engines offer a free conversion tool. Shouldn’t that be enough? What do I need with analytics, if I already know how many people are converting?
If you have all the money in the world and don’t care about how much you spend on your traffic, then it might be okay to focus only on conversions… But, if you’re like most companies, the ROI is a big deal. In fact, ROI is at the center of most campaign strategies.
That being said, consider this. The “free conversion tool” tells you A, B, and Z
– A — Your ad got impressions
– B — Someone clicked on your ad
– Z — someone converted
It’s easy to forget about what happens in-between B and Z… Like, “how many people landed on your site, and clicked off without looking around?” or “how many people put a product into your shopping cart, but didn’t complete a transaction?”… Take it one step further, and ask yourself what it was that people typed in organically when your ad came up. If you sell CDs, do you want your ad to come up when someone searches for “free music”?
An analytics program will give you vital information to help identify issues with keyword choice, ad copy, and your shopping cart. It gives you tangible, raw data in it’s purest form… You can expand on keywords you didn’t realize people were searching on. You can see what your website is being associated with, and include negative keywords to prevent your paid ad from coming up among the undesirables. This will inevitably result in lower drop-off rates, and a higher ROI.
In a nutshell, It pays for itself.
So you want to show up in the top results within the search engines? The question is, are you willing to pay for it? Whether you are new to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or a savvy online advertiser, setting an appropriate budget can be a difficult task without a strategy in place. I have found through experience that many firms setting new Cost per Click (CPC) budgets are simply shooting in the dark.
A common recommendation is to set a testing budget and monitor your results. This flexibility allows you to find the right budget to maximize your ROI. Keep in mind that bidding for first position is not always as profitable as lower priced positions. By using the following tools, you can investigate keywords and bid prices to come up with the right budget for you:
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Yahoo Bid Tool
I have worked with several companies that found through this testing process, whether increasing their CPC bids or monthly budget, they actually produced a higher return on their investment. Remember there is no perfect solution, and the more flexible you are, the more open you will be to online success.
At the recent WebmasterWorld Conference in Las Vegas, I attended a few sessions about optimizing e-commerce sites. I will summarize the takeaways in this blog.
Acquiring traffic and driving sales are two different processes that need to be considered. The most common reasons for people leaving a site are: the user intent is not met, poor page design, and dead links. You should look at the search terms that are driving traffic and try to discern what the visitor is expecting of that query, and make sure the content matches that intent.
It is also about the formatting of the content. Be consistent in navigation and use recognized naming conventions, don’t get cute.
There should be multiple navigation options: primary navigation, a site map and an internal site search utility. The internal site search can dramatically increase conversions. This function is also great for reporting the most popular searches & allows customization of search results. Create a custom search. For instance, if there is something you don’t have, instead of yielding 0 results, show similar items that might be of interest.