Archive for the ‘pay per click’ Category

Nov 29
2011

 

landing page with bullseyeImagine you’re a used car salesman.  I know, you’re disgusted and feel like taking a shower now, but humor me.   A customer who has been searching for a Toyota Camry comes to your car lot because he saw your flashing sign for just that – a great deal on a Toyota Camry.   You tell him, “Sure!” and point him in the direction of the entire car lot.  “Find it yourself!”  Do you think you’ll close that sale?

How about imagine he walks through the lot with your Toyota deal in his mind, but you have salesmen calling him over trying to sell him BMW’s, Honda’s, KIA’s, etc.  Not only is your customer now annoyed that you made him search for the deal himself, you’re team is bugging him with promotions he’s really not thinking about or interested in.

Let’s say after that, your now annoyed customer sees a car lot next door, and ALL they sell are low priced Camry’s.  Who’s going to get that sale?

This is how you should be thinking about your site and competitors.    In particular, basic web usability theory says the internet make things so easy and convenient for us, that it’s trained us to be…well…lazy.  If you don’t make things as easy as possible for your visitors, your competitor will, and there is no penalty or price for your visitor pressing the “back” button and then clicking on your competitor.

10 Tips for Building Effective Landing Pages

The beauty of the internet now is that you can create targeted custom landing pages focused on closing one product or service without any distractions.  Landing pages are focused, eliminating confusion, putting your prospects into a “track” that hopefully will result in a lead or close.

In this post, I’d like to talk list some best practices on how to do that right.

1 ) Simplicity = Clarity.  This is a key point that not only web design and other media is based on in general,  but most of the landing page best-practices are based on this.   There is definitely a balance that needs to happen – all important information needs to be included – however, it’s important that information is succinct and that also there is no other fluff on the page that will distract the visitor from closing.  Hubspot (a great authority on internet marketing) calls this the “blink-test” – meaning it should be clear on the page (any web subpage) what the page is about within the first 5 seconds (before you blink).  How do you do this?  With clear headings, images, calls-to-actions and reducing all other distractions.

2 ) Maintain the Scent.  In many cases, your paid ads/email ads will be targeted and a landing page will be best to serve them, since the landing page can be focused specifically on what your ad/mail is talking about.  Like our Camry analogy, there’s nothing more annoying than coming to a page that says “Free Kindle!” but then all it says (and in fact is yelling), “Here’s a bunch of information that has nothing to do with that.”

Maintain the scent from your ad to your landing page
3 ) Headline.  In many cases, this is the first thing a visitor will see.  Make sure it maintains the scent of your ad if it’s from paid traffic.    Also, make sure it conveys what the page is about, whether it’s the name of your product, why they should purchase it, a promo you are offering, etc.   Again, internet surfers like to think as little as possible, if they scan your headings and don’t find what they’re looking for, there’s no penalty for them bouncing.

4 ) Salespoints.  Sounds obvious, but too many times we’ve come to a page and they dance around the main reasons why we should buy their product or contact them.  Understand your prospects, what they are looking for, what possible hesitations may stop them from taking advantage of your product/services.  Outline that then make sure it’s all included in your landing page.  Only thing to keep in mind is when you put them there, you don’t want to write a novel as to why visitors should buy.   Minimal, succinct words and phrases that best convey your ideas.

5 ) Clear Calls-To-Action.  Another one that sounds obvious.  Your design should clearly distinguish it’s call(s)-to-action.  It’s image should contrast (a bright button on a muted surface) or the link should be bright and big.  If there is only one clear button, and that’s the only place they can go, it increases their chances of them going there.   Also, minimize your calls-to-action and keep them above-the-fold (meaning it shouldn’t be at the bottom of the page where visitors have to scroll down to find it).  If your conversion element or call-to-action is a form, make sure it’s nice and big, stands out, and is above the fold.

6 ) No Escapes.    I want them to look at the rest of my site!  I want them to see what other services I provide!  I want them to see my Facebook page!  By them leaving this page that nurtures the lead, you are significantly risking them losing the sale.  Remove all escape elements from the page – no navigation, no social networks, no other offers.  In the case where they may want more information on your company, you may provide one hidden escape to again minimize the chance of them getting distracted an you losing the lead (maybe link your logo to your homepage), but make sure to open this page in another tab/window so the original offer/landing page is not lost.  If you want them to see your certifications, high-profile clients you’ve served, etc – include that in the actual landing page design and layout.

urchin landing page with call to action

7 ) Reduce Distractions.  Aside from actual link “escapes”, design can get in the way too.  Too many images, background patterns, textures, rotating information, etc – can distract a visitor from your main “track”.  You may need to include some of these things, but minimize it.  Simple backgrounds, simple images, simple colors.   You can still be simple and be aesthetically chic.

8 ) Credibility Badges.  Any certifications, testimonials, client logos, authority certifications of your business will help legitimize you and could refute apprehension by your visitors to convert on your landing page.  The nice thing is now that your landing page is simple, it has space for this information.

9 ) Test! In design, it’s always important to understand – best practices are just that – “best practices”.  They are not written in stone and may not always apply, or a tweak to them may further optimize them.   It’s great to have hypotheses of how your visitors will act on the page based on their marketing personas and to also follow best practicesthis is a great starting point.  However, you wont truly know how your page will perform until it goes live, and you wont know if it’s doing the best it can do till you test different strategies, layouts, designs. You can have different landing pages under different campaigns to test, conduct user-testing, or you can try A/B testing services such as the Google Website Optimizer.

10 ) Thank You Page UPSELL!  This is something everyone neglects (even until recently, so did we!) .  You just closed a lead!  You can place a plain thank you message, or further your business by putting a promotion on the thank you page, upsell other products you have, or even better, add a social “share” link so that your happy lead can share this info with their friends.  Word-of-mouth sales close significantly greater than cold leads.

Nov 20
2009

It is a crime to have your AdWords campaigns on auto-pilot! :)

Google AdWords Alert functionality allows you to proactively monitor your AdWords campaigns with custom alerts. Set your campaign criteria via custom alerts and AdWords will notify you within the account or via email.

Log into AdWords and Alerts will greet you and you are presented with changes to key performance indicators at a glance.

Increase Traffic with New Keywords Alert

Please note the keyword suggestions need careful review. Please take the time to review the keywords before adding, also consider giving feedback to AdWords regarding the relevancy of suggestions.

Custom Alerts

To support active monitoring of KPI fluctuations you want to track and take action on, email yourself the Alert. In the office or on the go, use the powerful AdWords Alerts to stay plugged in to your campaign performance.

Similar to the Google Analytics intelligence alerts, AdWords offers customizable alerts – thirteen alert types!

From Impressions to Conversion metrics, you can choose:

  • metric
  • operator
  • comparison timeframe
  • frequency of alert
  • method of delivery

Powerful data formally requiring a manual investigation is now neatly delivered to your AdWords interface or email for quick action! :)

If you have a MCC, hang on because there is no alert access via MCC yet; you will have to log in to each account for Alert control.

See AdWords Alert blog post more details. This functionality is only available in the USA and a few other locations for now.

Happy Optimization! :)

Dec 12
2008

In September of this year, Yahoo! announced the formation of a Digital Advisory Council to drive discussions with advertisers. Our agency was invited and we welcomed the invitation to listen to what Yahoo had to say and provide some feedback. Our office being literally less than ten minutes away made the decision a little bit easier!

During the meeting we were told that we are under an NDA so I won’t go into the specifics.  But here are some comments and thoughts:

  • We applaud Yahoo’s efforts to be open, reach out to their clients (advertisers and agencies), and solicit their input. That spirit was felt throughout the council meeting, from the Senior VP that hosted the event to managers and other Yahoo staff.  They really wanted to be transparent and sought input from us.  Good job, Yahoo!
  • Despite the poor picture that might have been portrayed in the news about Yahoo and search, we were reminded that Yahoo! is still a profitable company and has some very high traffic sites, including Yahoo! Sports (we were told it has more traffic than ESPN) and Yahoo! News (gets more traffic than CNN).  I didn’t know that and I would say it is pretty impressive!
  • Various folks from Yahoo! presented about new features and innovations (sorry, can’t blog about it yet :( ) but expect to hear from Yahoo! on areas they are strong in, including Display (banner) Advertisement.
  • There was a talk about Traffic Quality and the favorite discussion topic of click fraud.  Without spilling their beans, we got a better picture of how Yahoo! handles click fraud and also learned that you can get reports from within your Yahoo! Search marketing account about credits your accounts is getting for false clicks.
  • Lunch was really good too, including the Israeli Couscous which was very tasty!  To be fair, I have to say that the food in Mountain View during the GAAC Summit was really good too.

So in summary, I am really glad to see Yahoo! opening up and creating additional forums to communicate with advertisers and agencies.

While we are on the subject of Yahoo! Search Marketing, there is another topic that we have been wanting to blog about but didn’t get to until now.  Yahoo! has a mechanism of optimizing your accounts and campaigns on their own! Yes, that means without your
knowledge.  Maybe this is not so recent but many clients I speak with are still not aware of this mechanism, so it is important that we share it. The following was drafted by a couple of folks in the office:


We hope you are aware of Yahoo’s decision to optimize PPC accounts by creating optimized campaigns on their own and running them without checking with the client. As strange as this may sound, it is very true! For a regular advertiser who doesn’t tag his campaigns and review them in any analytics tool, this may not be that bad. For those who do tag their campaigns and review all of their traffic sources and conversions via an analytics tool, this could be trouble.

Yahoo does the whole nine yards when it comes to campaign creation (naming convention, ad group, keywords, ad copy) but they miss a very crucial step. They don’t tag the campaign at all with tracking parameters so a web analytics tool can recognize it as PPC traffic. This means traffic from this new campaign will be recorded as organic traffic and will dilute the quality of your data. The number of visits attributed to Yahoo cpc and Yahoo organic will be wrong, and conversion rates for these two sources will be subject to speculation.

There are two ways that you can deal with this issue:

  1. If you would like to try these optimized campaigns and see how they will perform while capturing the data properly in your analytics account, you need to go to your Ads under the AdGroup they created and make sure that you tag the destination URLs properly. If you are using Google Analytics, here is a good post from our friends at PPC Hero that will help you.
  2. Otherwise, once you see a new optimized campaign in your account, pause or delete it and make sure that you opt-out from this service. You can opt-out by submitting a request to Yahoo customer support.

If you have too many campaigns in your own or your client’s accounts, the easiest way to spot the Yahoo optimized campaigns is by their naming convention. See the below snapshot for an example.


My request to Yahoo! is that they back out of this practice and allow user more control before they turn campaigns on and spend someone else’s money!

Sep 23
2008

At a recent speaking engagement on analytics, I was asked some questions on what appears to be discrepancies between search marketing platforms (such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing) and the data in the Google Analytics. I didn’t get a chance to answer these questions in details but here are some pointers on where to start your investigation!

In Adwords, ensure that your “auto-tagging” feature is enabled under account preferences.

Ensure proper URL tagging for all your PPC traffic. A useful tool to help you set up your URL tags is the Google URL builder. For tips on tagging Yahoo Search Marketing campaigns and MSN adCenter PPC campaign, check our earlier post.

Another area where problems may occur is URL redirects. Check our earlier post on this subject for more details.
So assuming you have turned on auto-tagging or your URLs are manually tagged, you will still see a discrepancy but don’t panic! Some Google Analytics help posts come to the rescue and explain why your “click” and “visit” numbers won’t match :( .
http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=57164
http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=55610&ctx=sibling
http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=63917&ctx=sibling

Click on the the following thumbnail to view the full screenshot. It shows Adwords clicks and Google Analytics visits.
Adwords clicks vs GA visits

Now you have something to go back to your customer with (if you are a consultant) or to your boss (if you are an in-house analyst) and let them that the culprit wasn’t you. It isn’t Adwords, it isn’t Google Analytics, it is just how things are when looking at data from two different systems. Instead, we want to examine trends and not just absolute numbers (easier said than done :) ).

Aug 22
2008

Strategy, Techniques, and Track it all with Google Analytics

So you are the resident pay-per-click (PPC) guru, you have your campaigns running in Google Adwords, your metrics are looking good, your cost per acquisition is looking great, your post-click metrics in Google Analytics are just shining, and your return on your marketing spend is just outstanding. Your boss, or your client if you are an online marketing agency, says: “bring me more (and dangling the promotion/bonus carrot)!” And being the good sport you are, you say with confidence, “of course!”

You know Google is king when it comes to traffic volume, but you more or less exhausted your creative ideas to drive additional traffic through Adwords – what do you do? It is now time to explore other search engines, Yahoo! Search Marketing, MSN adCenter, and maybe some vertical or secondary search engines.

In this blog post, I’ll cover some PPC implementation techniques to optimize your paid search marketing across multiple search engines, especially Google Adwords and MSN adCenter, while ensuring your PPC post-click metrics are properly tracked in Google Analytics.

The process of transferring campaigns from one search engine to another can be very time consuming and tiring, especially when you have a big account with a large number of campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. A frequent problem popping up on the web these days is the ability to transferring campaigns from your Google Adwords account into your MSN adCenter account. In this post I hope to to answer this question and a little more.

  • We first advise that you optimize your campaigns in Google Adwords, allowing enough time for testing different ad variations, adding relevant and negative keywords, and applying other PPC optimization techniques. You can even go further and test few landing pages and pick the best performing ones. When you feel satisfied with the performance in Google Adwords, you can now start planning to migrate them into your MSN adCenter account.
  • You need to create and run an ad performance report in Adwords to get the needed information to transfer into your adCenter account. Our friends at Affiliate-Blog have came up with a clean and straightforward way to create this report and transfer it into your adCenter account.

Adding the campaigns in adCenter is one thing, but to be able to see campaign data and more in Google Analytics requires a little more work. It is time to tag those URLs! Here are few tips that will help you tag your URLs properly so that the data shows up in a clear and consistent manner. You can use the Google URL builder to create custom tags for your adCenter destination URLs.

Here is a list of the elements you needs to tag.

  1. Campaign Source: msn
  2. Campaign Medium: cpc
  3. Campaign Term: {QueryString}
    Adding this parameter will allow you to track all your keywords in Google Analytics without having to type each keyword manually.
  4. Campaign Content: (used to differentiate ads)
  5. Campaign Name: (whatever the campaign name is)

Example:

http://www.domain.com/?utm_source_=adcenter&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=mykeyword&utm_content=variation1&utm_campaign=campaign1

For more details, check out this article written by our friends at PPC Hero

Few Suggestions:

  • I recommend you use a unique naming convention to make it easier for you to identify your adCenter campaigns in Google Analytics reports. For example, I want to set up a campaign to market E-nor’s Google Analytics services. In Google Adwords, the campaign name can be g_GAServices and for an adCenter campaign you can name it m_GAServices. Using this naming convention will make it very easy for you to visually identify which PPC system the campaign belongs to.
  • I would recommend you import one campaign to adCenter and allow enough time to test it. Check the results in GA to make sure your URL tagging was thorough. If everything goes smoothly, then start transferring the rest of the campaigns after following the same steps we mentioned earlier.

Have a great day transferring and tagging your campaigns! ;-)

Aug 29
2007

I just returned from my Internet marketing and web analytics training session in Melbourne, Australia. The training session went very well (my user engagement metric was calculated as the number of trainees awake after a heavy lunch divided by total number of trainees :) ).

Seriously though, in the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) optimization session, one of the consultants asked about Adwords account structure for clients that have campaigns targeting different geographies/countries. It is best practice to set up a unique/separate campaign for each geography, even if you are using the same list of keywords.

For example, if you have a client in the hospitality industry and they want to drive traffic from the UK, Australia and Japan, one campaign per country should be created. You’ll then have control, at the campaign level, for each of the following attributes:

  • daily click budget
  • language preference
  • ad serving and distribution options
  • start and end date

Following the same example above, if we see high traffic potential and good conversion from the UK campaign, we can increase the daily spend for that specific campaign with one click. And while the UK campaign is performing well, we can examine the other campaigns that might not be performing as well and make the necessary adjustment.

Another benefit of having different campaigns for different geographies is that it will make your analytics and ROI measurement much easier.

I also recommend you use a campaign naming convention that relates to the content of the campaign. For example, AirportTransportation_UK and AirportTransportation_Japan are much more meaningful than Campaign#1 and Campaign#2.

Will have a more detailed post on campaign naming conventions sometime in the future.

Jul 15
2007

If you are running PPC campaigns in Google Adwords and you are not taking advantage of the enhanced Adwords Editor, you are missing out big time! :-)

The Adwords Editor is a free desktop application that you can download, import your Adwords account into, work on them offline, and then upload to Adwords when you are ready to take the changes live. The application might take some getting used to (especially for making changes <–> approving changes <–> sharing files with changes) but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.

Check out these top ten features and put them to use right away. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time and effort and end up spending more time on analysis and campaign performance improvements than edits and updates.

Thanks!

Jul 02
2007

Here is a cool tool to help advertisers see how their ads are shown on Google. Check it out at the following link; it is referred to by some as the “Ad Preview“.

I recommend you use this tool instead of you (or your colleague or clients) going on Google and searching for your ads. This way you don’t add unnecessary impressions to your keyword/ad performance.

Along the same lines, clients often ask why they can’t see their ads on Google. Here is a recent post on Google’s Inside Adwords blog that addresses this issue.

Hope you find this useful!

Apr 06
2007

I was traveling last week at my Ambassador Training Session and super swamped this week catching up, so I missed few days of reading my blogs and forums and it seems that I am two years behind! :-)

One the most important announcements this week from Google is the availability of Google Website Optimizer (GWO) to all AdWords users. The folks at Google did a fine job with this tool.

We were beta testing the GWO on a few of our accounts and the results were pretty amazing. I read somewhere today that this is like free money! The tool allows you to test various combinations of copy & images on your landing pages, manage all the combination juggling and crunching for you, and finally announce the winning combination when the experiment ends. We ran a quick experiment for one of our clients and achieved 129% improvement in conversion rate. This is just the beginning and it is on top of an already high performance landing page.

If you have a client that is investing money in Adwords, GWO is a must. You’ll improve their conversion rate and they’ll reward you for the improved Return on Investment (ROI). We offer Google Website Optimizer services to anyone that is interested. We’ll be more than glad to help you!

Apr 06
2007

Over the last few months it seems that a good percentage of the business we are getting is of the consulting or audit nature. Instead of clients asking us to implement PPC, they are actually complaining about PPC and how they are not realizing the anticipated ROI.

I once heard that “PPC is so easy to learn but it takes a lifetime to master”. That is so true! It only takes minutes to set up a campaign but few people invest the time to do the job right.

One of the most common mistakes we find when we audit an existing PPC account is the lack of meaningful account structure. The advertiser will create one campaign and then throw in all types of keywords in to one ad group. After turning the traffic on, they wonder why they are not seeing a good ROI!

It takes work and effort and creativity to implement a high performance PPC campaign. A recent post in the Inside Adwords blog addresses this issue of PPC Account Structure. Take look and re-examine how you set up your Adwords campaigns and see improvement & ease of management almost immediately.

We would love to hear your questions or comments!