CBM091217

chicken Here are the notes from the Chris Brogan Media broadcast for 09/12/2017. (You can watch this on my Facebook account).

This live video was all shot using Ecamm Live (client), the best way to do Facebook Live for Mac.

Please note that all links may be affiliate links. If someone is a client, I’ll call that out specifically.

Stories Shared

I’ve been talking a lot about the voice interface, and here’s a great article about why that matters.

Just got a new Google Assistant. Don’t tell Alexa. Here’s why I’m watching that space.

Privacy got you weirded out. There’s a new Google Dashboard that tells you about your privacy and what Google thinks it knows about you.

Some people were asking me about Bitcoin based on my recent newsletter. This helpful YouTube video might be a good place to start.

YouTube’s #1 creator is back in the doghouse. This time, Pewdiepie said the N word on a gaming stream.

You know, when the POPE is the one schooling people about climate change, you’ve got to wonder.

I’m not a coder and you probably aren’t either, but it’s interesting to note that Python is the current super growth code language of choice.

You probably check your phone a lot. Who doesn’t? Here are 10 tips how to cut that out.

If you’re not yet aware of Cheddar, it bears taking some note. Why? Because they’re redoing how we build business media and it should be a great source for teaching YOU about that.

Another Blockchain story. Yet another central bank is looking into Blockchain and Bitcoin as potential tools for the future.

Remember SuperSize Me? Morgan Spurlock is back at it with his sequel, about “big chicken.”

Hey, if this has been interesting, consider picking up my weekly newsletter. It’s all unique ideas by me about how to improve buyer interactions and grow your business. Give it a peek

What ELSE is News?

You want to get featured on the Chris Brogan Media show? Drop me an email: chris@chrisbrogan.com and let me know what’s news!

Please Get My Newsletter

My newsletter is the best work I do every week. You can get yours here.

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How PPC Agency ParaCore Used Clever Account Management to Save a Client $30k in Ad Spend

Before digging into your or your client’s AdWords account, you might need to do some tidying up first. Image via Shutterstock.

When PPC agency ParaCore started working with a niche inspection company, they realized pretty quickly that before they could start optimizing this client’s AdWords account, they needed to do some necessary housekeeping.

The client — who shall remain nameless due to their highly competitive industry — was already pairing landing pages with their PPC ads. However, because they had so many market segments to target, they were juggling 60 different landing pages. This approach was certainly scrappy, but it was also incredibly challenging to maintain and optimize.

The client also lacked insight into both how many phone call leads they got, and exactly where these leads were coming from. Without this data they were unable to attribute leads to the appropriate campaign, making optimization —  let alone determining the ROI of their ad spend — virtually impossible.

In efforts to better manage this client’s account, ParaCore used Unbounce to reduce the number of landing pages from 60 to just four (while maintaining hyper segmentation), set up CallRail for improved phone call conversion tracking, and implemented a negative keyword approach in AdWords that ultimately saved the client $30k in ad spend and lowered the cost per lead over 40%. Needless to say, their client was thrilled.

Here’s how they did it.

Simplify market segmentation with landing pages

ParaCore’s client was already deep in the PPC game. They were spending $10k monthly on Bing and AdWords ads, and they had the wherewithal to pair their ads with targeted landing pages. But in order to target each individual market segment, they were using 60 landing pages (15 markets x 4 services).

Despite the benefit of better segmentation, juggling this many landing pages has its challenges, as ParaCore founder Adam Arkfeld can attest to:

Updating one thing on all landing pages takes forever. If you want to change content, it’s 60 changes. If you want to change something major like design, that’s a huge effort. It’s also just more difficult to track analytics and keep track of all the pages.

So ParaCore’s first task was to take those 60 pages and whittle them down to just a few manageable (but still high-converting) pages.

Using Unbounce’s drag-and-drop builder, ParaCore built their client four pages, each highlighting a specific service.

Using Dynamic Text Replacement on their Unbounce pages, ParaCore was able to reduce the amount of landing pages to maintain. Image via ParaCore.

To ensure they maintained the same hyper-relevance for each market segment, they implemented Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) on the landing pages, an Unbounce feature which allows you to automatically swap out keywords on your landing page based on someone’s search intent and the corresponding ad clicked.

That is — if someone searches “piano lessons in Arizona” that’s exactly what your corresponding landing page’s headline can read to match their query.

In this example of a landing page for a music school, the instrument type is swapped out depending on which ad is clicked.

With the help of DTR, ParaCore could still serve up those 60 hyper-customized messages, but using a much more manageable four pages. Their next move was to set out to optimize those four pages.

Clarify metrics with proper tracking and attribution

ParaCore’s client knew their ads were contributing to massive call volume but they didn’t have insight into the number of calls or which keywords were responsible.

After a bit of initial digging, ParaCore found that 76% of the client’s leads came via phone calls, but according to Adam:

There was so much more we could do to optimize their PPC campaigns if we had more data.

To get said data, Adam et al installed AdWords Call Conversion Tracking and CallRail on the client’s landing pages and set up keyword-level call tracking.

CallRail works similar to DTR, by dynamically populating a unique phone number depending on the original referrer. So when a visitor clicks on an ad and then calls the number on the landing page, that lead is attributed to the appropriate click-through ad.

Attributing your phone call leads to the original ad has never been easier. Image via CallRail.
Don’t know where all your phone call leads are coming from? CallRail integrates with Unbounce landing pages, so you can track which ads and landing pages result in calls. Find out more here.

Not only that, but CallRail allows you to create regional phone numbers, which was especially important to their client. Adam said it was key that their client’s prospects saw “a 480 number for Phoenix instead of an 888 number.”

AdWords Call Conversion Tracking, on the other hand, allowed ParaCore to see which keywords were converting so they could kill the underperforming keywords or ad sets.

For leads that came in through the landing page form, ParaCore also set up AdWords conversion tracking on all Unbounce form confirmation dialogues (a.k.a. thank you pages).

Within four months, this is what team ParaCore had found:

55% of leads came from calls made after seeing the new Unbounce landing pages, 24% came from landing page forms and roughly 20% came directly from ads.

Once they had the data they needed, it was time to actually dig into AdWords.

Optimize ad groups with negative keywords

Now that ParaCore had all the necessary data to determine which keywords were and weren’t working, they could start optimizing in AdWords.

ParaCore’s client had already done a significant amount of keyword research resulting in a robust collection of targeted keywords; however, a review of their analytics revealed not all of them were performing top-notch.

ParaCore added negative keywords to the client’s campaigns, followed by daily negative cleansing (which sounds like something you’d do with a smudge stick and quartz crystal, but is actually just excluding search terms that aren’t relevant).

After the initial cleanse, ParaCore scaled back to periodic reviews to ensure keyword relevancy. They kept an eye on conversion data over the first two months and turned off keywords that were, as Adam put it, “eating up the ad budget without producing good returns.”

Clever Account Management Pays Off

By adding negative keywords to their client’s AdWords account and turning off the keywords that weren’t bringing in results, team ParaCore managed to save their client $30,000 in annual ad spend and reduce their cost per lead by 40.7% in the first three months.

Not only that, with these all of the changes in place, ParaCore’s client was set up to scale. Now when the client wants to add additional markets, the agency doesn’t even have to create a new landing page, they simply “add dynamic text insertion with new phone numbers and local text.”

This kind of progress wouldn’t have been possible had they not first simplified their client’s landing page collection and clarified their metrics. Only then could they turn their efforts toward their client’s AdWords account.

According to Adam, the data collected during that initial exploration “continues to guide our efforts as we optimize the company’s PPC campaigns to bring in the highest quality leads at the lowest cost.”

And ParaCore’s client could not have been more pleased. Their Google+ review says it all:

These guys have been awesome for us so far! We love the reporting metrics they use as it really identifies the important information and tells us a lot about our PPC campaigns. We have also been very happy with how thorough they have been in implementing the crossover from our old PPC manager… All in all, we are very happy to have made the switch and wish we would have pulled the trigger sooner.

Sounds pretty dang blissful to me.

CBM090817

Impossible BurgerHere are the notes from the Chris Brogan Media broadcast for 09/08/2017. (You can watch this on my Facebook account).

This live video was all shot using Ecamm Live (client), the best way to do Facebook Live for Mac.

Please note that all links may be affiliate links. If someone is a client, I’ll call that out specifically.

Stories Shared

Russia says that AI is the new Arms Race.

But AI also picks the best food pics for Yelp.

The great Impossible Burger company is going to build a huge new factory.

Allergic to everything? How about a keychain allergen detector?

Are you using Excel for something weird? Not this weird.

This? This is just areally cool storytelling method shared by Paul Bond.

No friends? It’s okay. In Japan you can hire fake friends for pics.

Nothing to see here. Just glorious cosplay.

Colorblind? Well, now you can play Uno.

Survival kits have been on my mind. Here’s a great kit layout.

Sprint reports they’re taking ad agency duties in-house.

Hey, if this has been interesting, consider picking up my weekly newsletter. It’s all unique ideas by me about how to improve buyer interactions and grow your business. Give it a peek

What ELSE is News?

You want to get featured on the Chris Brogan Media show? Drop me an email: chris@chrisbrogan.com and let me know what’s news!

Please Get My Newsletter

My newsletter is the best work I do every week. You can get yours here.

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Data-Backed Advice for High-Converting Real Estate Landing Page Design [+ FREE TEMPLATE]

You’re designing a landing page for your Real Estate client, and you turn to “best practice” advice articles to help guide the way.

But there’s a nagging voice at the back of your mind:

Does this “best practice” advice apply indiscriminately to my industry? Does this author really know anything about my audience at all?

“Best practices” become “better practices” when they are industry-specific.

When our design team was recently wireframing new landing page templates for the Unbounce builder, they set out to create industry-specific templates that addressed this truth: different audiences belonging to different industries behave differently. They have different pains, different motivators and different disincentives.

Firm believers that data needs to inform design, our design team sourced their research in two key areas:

  1. Data from the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report: The report includes average conversion rates for 10 popular industries, as well as Machine Learning-powered recommendations around reading ease, page length, emotion and sentiment.
  2. High-converting customer landing pages: Our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce landing pages in those industries, and analyzed common design and copy elements across the pages.

Our design team then combined insight from these two key areas of research to build out content and design requirements for the best possible landing page template for each of the 10 industries.

One of these industries was Real Estate, and now we want to share their findings with you.

See a breakdown of their process for designing the Real Estate page template at the bottom of this post, or read on for their key findings about what converts in the Real Estate industry.

Which copy elements convert best in the Real Estate industry?

Word count

The data scientists and conversion rate optimizers who put together the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report found that for Real Estate lead capture landing pages, short n’ sweet is better: overall, they saw 33% lower conversion rates for longer landing pages.

This chart shows how the word count relates to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have word count — on the y-axis, conversion rate.

This was consistent with what the design team saw across high-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in Real Estate: pages were relatively short with concise, to-the-point copy.

Reading ease

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report also revealed that in the Real Estate vertical, prospects want simple and accessible language. The predicted conversion rate for a landing page written with 6th grade level language was nearly double that of a page written at the university level.

This chart shows how conversion rates trend with changes to reading ease for the Real Estate Industry. On the x-axis we have the Flesch Reading Ease score — on the y-axis, conversion rate.
According to the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report, 41.6% of marketers in the Real Estate industry have at least one page that converts at less than 1.3% (in the 25th percentile for this industry). Download the report here to see the full data story on Real Estate and get recommendations for copy, sentiment, page length and more for nine additional industries.

Fear-inducing language

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report used an Emotion Lexicon and Machine Learning to determine whether words associated with eight basic emotions (anger, anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise and trust) affected overall conversion rates.

While these emotions did not seem to dramatically correlate with conversion rate in the Real Estate vertical, fear-based language was the exception. We saw a slight negative trend for pages using more fear-inducing terms:

This chart shows how the percentage of copy that evokes fear is related to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have the percentage of copy that uses words related to fear — on the y-axis, conversion rate.

If more than half a percent of your copy evokes feelings of fear, you could be hurting your conversion rates.

Here are some words commonly associated with fear on Real Estate lead capture landing pages: highest, fire, problem, watch, change, confidence, mortgage, eviction, cash, risk…

See the full list in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Calls to action

When our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in the Real Estate vertical, they took a close look at the calls to action and found that:

  • Every page provided a detailed description of the offer
  • Almost all had a “request a call back” or “call us” option (other CTAs included “get more info,” “apply now” and “get the pricelist”)
  • Most did an excellent job of including button copy that reinforces what prospects get by submitting the form
If you use a “call us” CTA on your landing pages, make sure you try out our CallRail integration. This will help you track which calls are a result of your paid spend and landing pages!

Here are some examples of the forms and calls to action on some of our highest-converting Real Estate lead capture landing pages:

The usual suspects (benefits, social proof, UVP…)

Without much exception, the pages featured a lot of the copywriting elements that one would expect to see on any high-converting landing page (regardless of vertical):

  • Detailed benefits listed as bullet points
  • A tagline that reinforces the unique value proposition or speaks to a pain point:
  • And not surprisingly, testimonials. One page went above and beyond with a video testimonial:

Which design elements convert best in the Real Estate industry?

The highest-converting Real Estate landing pages included lots of imagery:

  • Beautiful hero shots of the interior and exterior of properties
  • Maps
  • Full-width photography backgrounds
  • Floor plans

Some examples:

Our designers also studied other design features as basic guidelines for the template they were then going to create.

While these specifics are meant to be taken with a grain of salt (you may already have brand colors and fonts!) they could serve as a good starting point if you’re starting completely from scratch and want to know what others are up to.

Many of the high-converting pages had:

  • San-serif fonts
  • Palettes of deep navy and forest green
  • Orange (contrasting) call to action buttons
The highest-converting landing pages in the Real Estate industry sit at 11.2%. If your Real Estate page converts at over 8.7%, you’re beating 90% of your competitors’ pages. See the breakdown of median and top conversion rates (and where you stand!) via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Behold, the template our designers created

After synthesizing all that research, our Senior Art Director Cesar Martínez took to his studio (okay, his desk), and drafted up this beautiful Real Estate landing page template:

Not only is the template beautiful, it was created by analyzing actual data: what makes for a high-performing landing page in the Real Estate industry via the Unbounce Benchmark Report and high-converting customer pages.

Footnote: The design process

Curious about the process our designers used to develop this data-backed Real Estate landing page template? Here are the steps they followed:

  1. For the 10 highest-converting customer landing pages, they analyzed all common elements (such as form, what type of information is collected, what type of offer, if there are any testimonials, etc). This allowed them to build their content requirements.
  2. They referred to the word count recommendations in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and designed for that word count limit.
  3. They referred to reading ease level recommendations for that specific industry from the Benchmark Report and shared the information with their copywriter.
  4. They sketched out a rough idea of their potential landing page template.
  5. They selected typography and colors relevant to the industry based on what was popular in the 10 examples.
  6. They named their imaginary company in the industry and sketched out some potential logos. They picked photography built out a moodboard.
  7. That helped them gather all the information they needed to build out their template!

Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

As a travel marketer or agency marketer servicing the travel industry, you have a tricky gig. You need to convince your prospects to spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time.

Meanwhile, your prospects are increasingly wary of the legitimacy of your offers (thanks a lot, Fyre Fest).

Here’s to hoping your vacation is memorable, but not in a meme-worthy kind of way.

Your challenge then is to effectively convey trust on your travel landing pages. Doing so can help ease prospects’ conversion anxiety, resulting in more travel leads and sales for your business.

The importance of trust on your travel landing pages

We often talk about the importance of trust and credibility on your landing pages — this isn’t a new idea.

But for some industries, a lack of trust can have hugely detrimental effects on conversion rates.

In a recent analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform, data scientists found that travel landing pages can realistically achieve conversion rates of at least 12%. Even more impressive is within the travel and tourism industry, the very best pages convert over 25% of their visitors (schwing!).

Notice the dramatic conversion rate difference between percentiles? If you’re part of that percentile getting 2.1% or lower conversion rates, your pages have lots of room for improvement. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

If you’re not hitting these benchmarks, it might be time to take a hard look at your marketing and ask yourself if you’ve done enough to make your prospects trust you.

And don’t worry if your answer is “No” or “I’m not sure.” We’ve compiled four data-backed ways to boost trust on your travel landing page. Use them as a jumping off point for your optimization efforts.

1. Bolster your copy with trust words

Using an Emotion Lexicon to analyze copy, Unbounce data scientists found evidence that visitors to travel landing pages have slight concerns about the legitimacy of the offers.

However, they also found that using at least 7% (and up to 10%) of your copy to establish trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.

Notice the uptick in conversion rate once trust-infused copy is used more liberally? Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Unbounce data scientists found that these are some of the words that impart trust on travel landing pages:

enjoy, perfect, secret, top, team, guide, save, personal, spa, food, planning, policy, provide, star, award, real, share, friendly, recommend, school

(Keep in mind, though, that these words were generated by an algorithm and should still be applied using common sense. Just adding the word “spa” to your page — especially if you don’t offer spa services — is not going to increase your conversions.)

The travel experts at Nordic Visitor do a great job of using trust words to build confidence on their Iceland site. It’s not a landing page per se, but the same principles apply.

“Team,” “planning,” “provide” and “personal” are all words found to positively convey trustworthiness. Adding these and other trust words to your copy could be the subconscious nudge your prospects need to convert.

Take stock of the trust words you’re using in your marketing, and particularly on your landing pages. If they’re looking a little sparse, test out using confidence-building words to describe destinations in detail.

2. Cut copy that brings up emotions of fear and anger

Just as trust words can drastically improve your conversion rates, words that subconsciously trigger fear or anger will have a negative impact on travel landing page conversion rates.

In fact, Unbounce data scientists found that if even 1% of page copy reminds your visitors of feelings of anger or fear, you could be seeing up to 25% lower conversion rates.

No one wants to be angry while on vacation. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Words that may instill fear or anger in your prospects include:

limited, tree, money, hot, desert, endless, challenge, treat, fee, feeling, rail, stone, bear, buffet, bang, cash, cross, despair

So instead of…

“Feeling endless despair this Canadian winter? Warm yourself up with a limited-time-only vacation in the hot Mojave desert.”

Try…

“Escape the Canadian winter at a five-star award-winning vacation rental in sunny California.”

Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestions

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how emotion and sentiment may be impacting conversion rates in your industry.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust

Persuading your prospects to put their trust in you is tricky business, and it’s even trickier when it comes to travel, because they’re likely working with a tight budget and only a few weeks of precious vacation. They don’t want to take a leap of faith — they want a sure thing.

A proven strategy for easing prospect anxiety is to use social proof. It’s the “everybody’s doing it” mentality that helps convince your prospects to convert.

Testimonials

When you let your satisfied customers sing your praises, your credibility goes through the roof. Including testimonials on your travel landing page can have a positive impact on how trustworthy your prospects perceive you to be, but not all testimonials are created equal.

To best enhance your chance of conversion, heed the following testimonial commandments:

  • Be specific
  • Include a photo of the person
  • Avoid hyperbole (i.e., This pedicure literally saved my life!)
  • Choose testimonials that demonstrate the transformative effect of your product or service on the lives of your users

Nordic Visitor takes it one step further with a video testimonial from several happy customers:

Don’t tell your prospects how great you are, show them with real live, happy customers.

Reviews

Similar to testimonials, including reviews on your travel landing page can help convey trust to your prospects.

The luxury travel designers of Jacada Travel have embedded reviews from Trustpilot, a reputable online review community, directly into their landing page.

Awards

If you recall, the word “award” is associated with trust on travel landing pages. So if your company or client has won any reputable awards, be sure to flaunt ‘em.

Tour guide company Kensington Tours not only includes several award crests on their travel landing page, they also mention in their Adwords ad that they’re a National Geographic award winner.

Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers.

4. Security measures

Persuasive trust-infused copy and social proof are wonderful, but when you’re collecting travel leads and even money, you need to assure your prospects that their data and money is safe.

There are many ways to do this, but the two most impactful strategies are to enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and to include trust seals.

SSL

SSL creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor’s browser. It’s identified by the little lock icon and the “https” (vs. http) in the top left-hand side of your browser search bar.

Enabling SSL on all your web properties (but especially on your lead gen and ecommerce landing pages) assures your visitors that they’re not at risk of being hacked.

Trust seals

Trust seals help to reinforce the message that your landing page is secure. These can be obtained by whichever third-party security vendor handles your SSL certificate, and easily added to your travel landing page with a few lines of JavaScript.

Nordic Visitor nails it yet again with a trust seal from GeoTrust and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017, further reinforcing their credibility.

All aboard the Conversion Cruise

A lack of trust in any industry can hurt conversion rates, but in the travel industry the stakes are extra high.

Fortunately, this means the opportunities to improve your conversion rates are plenty. And if you nail the whole trust thing down, you could be seeing some of the highest conversion rates across any industry.

Leveraging a combo of effective copy, social proof and security measures, you can make your prospects forget about the stress associated with booking a vacation. Skip that trip to Poor Conversions-ville and instead put your feet up with a Mai Tai in hand on the Conversion Cruise.

For even more data-backed conversion insights in the travel industry, or for insights into industries such as health, finance, higher education and more, download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industries

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your conversion rates stack up against the competition — and how to improve them.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

Future-Proof Your Marketing with Call to Action Magazine

The Call to Action Magazine
A good marketer is like a doomsday prepper (bear with me here…)

Instead of preparing for a global cataclysm, learning about water storage and building bunkers, they’re constantly on the lookout for ways they can proof their marketing for, or get ahead of, inevitable and dramatic changes to the marketing landscape.

Frequent and mysterious algorithm changes. New ad platform features. Emerging trends, dying fads. Amidst all this, only marketers who understand these new conditions — then adapt and innovate within them — will see exponential returns.

At Unbounce, we’ve been really lucky to have a network of expert marketers around to ask about the always-changing marketing landscape. We can turn to forward-thinking strategists like Mirum’s Mitch Joel, Moz’s Rand Fishkin, Love Your Customer’s Claire Suellentrop, and even our in-house-experts, like Alexa Hubley, Carl Schmidt and CRO Michael Aagaard. We ask them things like:

  • What does the ever-increasing prominence of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning mean for marketers and their jobs?
  • Are “tried-and-true” frameworks like the buyer persona still relevant, or are there new ways of digging deeper to speak more closely to my target market?
  • Have traditional SEO tactics become completely outdated? Why are the most successful SEOs now becoming well versed in conversion rate optimization?
  • How can you use data to inform your marketing without letting personal biases get in the way?
  • Should marketing stop after the conversion? (Or is customer marketing where it’s at?)

These are questions we’ve seen tossed around recently in our newsfeeds and at conferences.

So we set out to help answer them.

In Call to Action Magazine, we aim to address these questions and dig into some of the recommendations the experts in our network have shared — those that will help you create exceptional marketing no matter what new algorithm comes along.

So, what do you say? Do you want to get lost in the rubble… or do you want to learn how you can future-proof your marketing?

Ready to Future-Proof Your Marketing?

Call to Action Magazine is filled with recommendations from marketing experts to help your marketing thrive — no matter what algorithm gets changed tomorrow.
By accessing the magazine, you’ll receive actionable marketing content from Unbounce. 
You can unsubscribe at any time.

These Are the PPC Metrics That Actually Matter

As we ramp up for Unbounce’s upcoming PPC week, we thought we’d revisit some of our favorite PPC posts from the archives. This post was originally published in May 2015 but is as relevant as ever. Dig in!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve participated in a couple of DIY home improvement projects. At the beginning of these projects, with YouTube training videos as my sidekick, I have an irrational sense of confidence in my handyman abilities.

When I’m tracking down my supplies at the local hardware store, I often find the products priced and displayed as “good,” “better” and “best.”

Good,-Better,-Best-Image-V2_02

The frugal side of me tries to argue that “good” is good enough, but is there something about the “best” product that will secure my DIY victory?

With PPC advertising, we often face the same dilemma; we need to decide which metrics are “best” to measure the success of our campaigns. There’s a wealth of content and opinions on how to measure PPC success, which can get confusing.

This post will help you understand how different metrics can paint very different pictures of PPC campaign performance.

I’ll show how traffic-focused metrics can be a good starting point, how conversion-focused metrics are even better and how ROI-focused metrics provide the most complete picture for making meaningful changes to your campaigns.

Let’s dig in.

Good PPC metrics are traffic-focused

Many advertisers will default to looking at the click-through rate or cost per click when determining the success of a campaign. AdWords provides a lot of traffic-focused metrics that are incredibly useful, including underused gems like device segmentation and impression share.

And while those are definitely a good start, it’s important not to get so distracted that you lose sight of your basic business goals: generating a profit.

My agency has serviced or audited over 1,000 AdWords accounts. Believe it or not, almost half of them had not set up conversion tracking.

Conversion tracking allows you to measure conversion actions like a purchase or a lead submission in your ad platform, usually by placing a code snippet on a thank you or order confirmation page.

Without that piece of code, the only metrics you can measure are related to traffic, such as search impressions, clicks and click-through rates. Let’s look at an example to see why this is problematic.

What traffic-focused metrics tell you

Imagine you’re a mortgage company and each new paying customer is worth on average $3,500 in revenue with 50% in gross margin.

If you haven’t set up conversion tracking, you’ll mostly end up looking at reports like this:

chart1_new

If we’re only looking at traffic-focused metrics, our top campaign seems to be Campaign 5, which has the most clicks, the best click-through rate and the lowest cost per click.

Meanwhile, Campaign 4 has expensive clicks – which looks like a red flag!

But the truth is this data alone can’t really tell us whether the campaigns are successful to a company’s bottom line. For our mortgage company, we need to know whether the clicks are actually translating into useful leads.

Better PPC metrics are conversion-focused

If you’re already using conversion tracking, pat yourself on the back: you’re better off than much of the competition.

If you’re not, then get conversion tracking set up immediately. It’s easy to set up on most platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads (and if you’re using Unbounce you can put the tracking code right on a built-in thank you page).

Think beyond web conversions

Conversion tracking is more than just web leads and sales: among new accounts I’ve audited or onboarded, I’ve found that approximately 75% of advertisers who take phone leads don’t track them as conversions.

For many industries, phone calls are the main source of leads, so it’s critical to include calls in your conversion tracking! Many call tracking platforms have built-in ways of setting this up, and Google has a solution for AdWords advertisers here.

Call leads are more valuable for some businesses than for others, so you’ll want to keep in mind that not all types of conversions are necessarily equal – but the first step is making sure everything is tracked and measured.

What conversion-focused metrics tell you

Let’s say our mortgage company joins the big leagues and sets up conversion and call tracking. Here’s how that report looks:

Better_final
Now we can track how many people are actually signing up for the service, not just clicking our ads.

Now we can start identifying our top-performing campaigns using cost per lead data (cost per conversion in Google AdWords). You’ll notice that Campaign 5 has the best cost per conversion, so it still looks like our top performer. Campaign 4 still looks like trouble.

But while conversions are great, at the end of the day what really matters is whether leads became paying customers.

Conversions tell us how many leads our company got, but not how many actually signed up to refinance their homes or how much revenue they brought in.

The best PPC metrics are ROI-focused

For marketers who want to use the most meaningful data, let’s move to the golden metric: actual ROI!

That means tracking leads from click to close and measuring revenue on a per-lead basis. When you understand which campaigns, ads and keywords are actually generating revenue, you’ll be way ahead of competitors who have no idea where they’re making or losing money.

What ROI-focused metrics tell you

Let’s say our mortgage company decides to figure out exactly which leads are earning revenue. We can track specific leads in our CRM back to each campaign, set up separate phone numbers for each campaign and record which calls led to sales.

Using our customer value numbers from above, we can calculate the following report:

Best_final
We calculated revenue by having our CRM capture the Campaign ID in Google Analytics, then created unique phone numbers for every campaign so we could track every sale back to its source. Then we calculated the revenue value of every customer attributed to a PPC campaign.

Suddenly Campaign 4, which looked so bad before, is now our hero! Not only does it have the best ROI, it brings in the most revenue and the most sales — and that’s with the fewest conversions and second-fewest clicks.

Now we know something much more useful than cost per conversion — we know how valuable a conversion is. We know where to focus our marketing efforts to maximize revenue, and where we can make improvements that impact the bottom line.

We could then respond by allocating more budget to Campaigns 4 and 5.

Meanwhile, Campaign 3 gets a lot of traffic and conversions but has a poor ROI, so we can get to work at rewriting ads and landing pages to better qualify those leads.

Those are the kinds of changes that have meaningful results!

3 simple ways to track and measure your PPC ROI

The example above mirrors what we often see in the lead generation space: more expensive leads can often be the most qualified and produce the most revenue. But without breaking down campaign ROI you never know.

So how do you move beyond conversions and start focusing on ROI?

Here are a few simple ways to get started:

  1. Call tracking: As mentioned above, get a call tracking solution that lets you track PPC calls independently and preferably at the keyword level. AdWords has a feature that lets you set it up on your landing pages here. Then make sure you’re reviewing calls to see which incoming leads are converting into sales.
  2. CRM integration for lead generation: A good CRM will integrate with any PPC platform, so you can look at customers and know which campaigns brought them to you. To determine ROI, compare sales data to the metrics in your PPC campaigns to get cost vs expected revenue.

    Getting this set up depends on your specific CRM, but here’s how to get started with Zoho, Infusionsoft, Salesforce, and Hubspot. Unbounce also has built-in hooks for integrating with most CRMs.

  3. Dynamic revenue tracking for ecommerce: The nice thing about ecommerce is that platforms like AdWords allow you to set a conversion value for specific products, so you can compare revenue and learn your ROI right from AdWords. Don’t miss out on this if your site includes a customer checkout process.

Every metric matters

PPC marketing leaders know that all the metrics we’ve discussed are valuable – they work to improve the three categories over time, while focusing most of their efforts on ROI to move their profitability in the right direction.

Traffic data like impressions, clicks and cost per click tell you how much search demand there is for your service and how many people are responding to your ads.

Better metrics like conversion data tell you how effective your ads and landing pages are at generating leads, as well as how much your leads cost.

But nothing tops actual ROI data: how much conversions are worth to your company’s bottom line. As we’ve seen, that kinda of data lets you focus on making changes where you can make the biggest difference!

At the end of the day, the key is to look at the right metrics for the right situations and use that data to make the most meaningful changes to your campaigns.

How Your PPC Strategy Should Differ on the AdWords Search VS Display Network

As we ramp up for Unbounce’s upcoming PPC week, we thought we’d revisit some of our favorite PPC posts from the archives. This post was originally published in June 2015 but still rings true. Enjoy!

Have you ever been kicking so much AdWords Search Network butt that it made you raise your chest and gave you instant super powers?

You know, the type of confidence that makes you walk with a pep in your step and hair bouncing around?

Confidence
Kinda like this mini-horse. Image source.

Feels AMAZING.

But sometimes you hit a ceiling with the keywords you’re bidding on, and there’s literally no more Search Network traffic out there (since your impression shares are all around 98%).

You immediately think of using the AdWords Display Network, simply because you know there’s more traffic, cheaper clicks and much more potential ROI just waiting to be grabbed.

dog-pee-to-claim-land-FACE-Low-Cost-SpayNeuter-Clinic-FB
Actually, don’t do that. It won’t get you conversions. Image source.

As you may already know, the AdWords Display Network (also known as the Google Display Network/GDN) is the biggest digital ad network in the world. It allows you to advertise on publisher properties like websites, mobile apps, Gmail, YouTube and more.

Compared to the AdWords Search Network, the Display Network also houses the largest viewership of any online platform. YouTube itself has a monthly viewership equivalent to 10 Super Bowls – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that display advertising is said to capture 34% of all online ad spend and about 10% of all marketing budgets.

But with new channels come different strategies.

What you’re doing on the AdWords Search Network will not perform the same way on the Display Network.

If the Display Network is uncharted territory for you, here’s how you need to adjust your current PPC strategy to get the results you want.

Different user behavior calls for a different strategy

The biggest difference between the AdWords Search Network and Display Network can be seen in the sweet visual I had my designer custom-make below.

unbounce-_chuck_norris

In the “Chuck Norris” action cycle above, you can see how the power of keyword intent in the Search Network can put people really close to taking action (AKA converting), but the Display Network typically has visitors who are a few steps behind.

This is because people who are on the Display Network aren’t actively searching for what you offer. As Erin Sagin puts it, they’re rarely in “shopping mode.”

Instead, Display Network visitors are most likely in the research phase when your display ads are hitting them. They’re on forums, blog posts, or watching that YouTube vid trying to gather enough information to make a decision. They don’t know what they need yet, so your job is create awareness.

If you’re selling more of an “emergency” service like being a locksmith or roadside assistance, then you’ll have a hard time using the Display Network to your advantage.

This is simply because ads on the Display Network are not triggered from a search engine like text ads on the Search Network are. The Search Network works as a demand harvester (your ads are grabbing the intent), while the Display Network works as a demand generator (your ads are creating awareness).

So how do you change your strategy from the Search Network to also make the AdWords Display Network a money making machine?

Create trust and deliver value

As I mentioned, your Display Network ads could be interrupting someone who’s reading the news, reading a blog or watching a video.

Because of that, the level of commitment it takes for someone to stop what they’re doing, click your ad, then call you or fill out your landing page form is high and much more unlikely compared to the Search Network. In other words, you can’t expect to have the same campaign conversion rates on the Display Network as you do on the Search Network.

If you’re offering “Free Quotes” on the search network because people are actively searching for someone who can relieve their problem, it might actually be better for you to lead with valuable educational material (i.e. your content) on the Display Network.

A perfect example of this is my crush of an email marketing company, Emma.

Emma uses the AdWords Search Network to drive sign ups, but they use the Display Network to give you great, fun and actionable value. Here’s what some of their Display Ads look like (click on them to go to the accompanying landing page):

emma-gif-1

emma-gif-2

emma-gif-3

I reached out to Cynthia Price (the Director of Marketing at Emma) and she gave me this golden nugget about how they use the AdWords Display Network:

We get that someone seeing a display ad isn’t necessarily interested in learning more about our product just yet. It’s all about brand awareness, and more importantly for us, trust-building.

So we offer content that we think will be valuable and helpful to our audience’s marketing efforts. It starts our brand relationship off on the right foot, helps them understand the strength of our expertise and paves the way for us to nurture or retarget them in the future.

You already know that content marketing’s core foundation is about adding true value.

Your display ads should be no different.

On the Display Network, your first goal is to establish trust by giving value, and then nurture the visitors down the road to become paying customers.

Revisit your targeting options

Once you have a great piece of content that delivers value and educates your audience, it’s time to figure out how to target it to people who actually want it.

Let’s have a look at the five targeting options that’ve been found to drive the biggest impact on the Display Network.

To illustrate how each one works, let’s pretend you’re a dog walker. Your name is Lori and you live in Huntington Beach, CA. You’ve been advertising on the AdWords search network and this is your landing page:

lori-the-dog-walker

What are your best targeting options?

Placement targeting

Placement targeting allows you to advertise directly on certain publisher sites. This means you could have your ad show up on Forbes or CNN if you’d like.

Best practice advice: Make sure the website or page’s audience is relevant to what you’re offering. Don’t shotgun approach all of CNN – sniper shot individual placements within CNN if you can.

Contextual/Keyword targeting

Contextual/Keyword targeting allows you to give Google your keywords and have it automatically find relevant placements for your ads.

Best practice advice: Mix this with placement targeting to be even more laser focused with your targeting.

Topic targeting

Topic targeting allows you to go more broad than regular placement targeting.

For this, you could target the topic of Pets & Animals directly and cast a wider net, with the possibility of your ads showing up on FerretLovers.com (yes, that’s a real site).

Best practice advice: See what Topic targeting gives you, then exclude unwanted placements from your campaign once things are running and data is coming in.

Interest targeting

Interest targeting is kind of similar to topic targeting, but instead of judging the context of websites, interest targeting tracks behaviors of web users. This targeting method can be even more vague than topic targeting.

Best practice advice: Every industry is different, so always test things out and see the performance. Be quick to pause and exclude irrelevant placements once data comes in.

Combining targeting methods

This is where you’ll have a lot of fun and potentially get better results.

You’re not locked into using just one targeting method with the AdWords Display Network. In fact, Alistair Dent over at Search Engine Watch and many others highly recommend never going with just one targeting option, but combining multiple together.

You can target certain placements with the addition of contextual/keyword targeting to tell Google that you only want your ads to show when a visitor is on CNN and reading an article about dog walking.

Or you can target different interests with contextual/keyword targeting as well.

Create multiple ad groups, each with their own targeting specifications, and see how they perform against each other. Once you’ve hit your stride and conversions are coming in, pause the other ad groups that aren’t working, and make variations of the ad group targetings that are working for you, so that you can squeeze more out of your PPC dollars.

Wrapping up

Wow! Quite a bit of info huh?

Now that you clearly know why your Display Network strategy has to be different from your Search Network strategy, what do you have to lose? Get started now. Try different targeting combinations, and never forget to offer true value.

What have you found to be the best driver of conversions on the AdWords Display Network? How different are your strategies compared to the ones we talked about?

Canberra Marketing ACT

Canberra Marketing

Canberra Marketing ACT

Canberra Marketing ACT

Many companies can build you a website, but only a few know how to push the boundaries to make your website work for you.

Generate Sales with our Canberra Marketing ACT Team
Rather than focusing on HTML, CSS or programming, we focus on the key strategies, content and design elements that go into creating a strategic web presence that generates sales.

Stay Optimised with our Canberra Marketing team
We optimise websites on an ongoing basis to make them likable by all three main search engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo) with the keywords customers use most to search and find your service or product.

Canberra Marketing ACT

Canberra Marketing ACT

Buzz on Social Media with our Canberra Design team
We use our unique, social-media, marketing skills to make your brand BUZZ.

Websites are living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance.

Canberra Marketing ACT

Updating content, making changes to the back-end, monitoring performance and traffic and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work. All of these actions are critical in maintaining a top-ranking spot for your website.

Unique Strategy

Canberra Marketing ACT

Our Four Salesmen ® Strategy will target your competitors, grab on-line, quality traffic and deliver it to your website. Our Four Salesmen ® Strategy is unique and exclusive to Stavridis Group

Our Goal
To move your organisation forward and achieve high, on-line prominence in a competitive environment.

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LOOKING FOR A SWITCHED ON CANBERRA MARKETING TEAM?

The Stavridis Group is an Award Winning Digital Agency
that offers a wealth of design and marketing solutions to private and government clients

 

 

[/fancy_heading]

 

[one_second]

Contact Us

 

Call [icon type=”icon-phone”] 02 6162 6333

Fax: 02 6162 6300


Office Address:
1st floor, 2 Townsville Street, Fyshwick ACT 2609

Postal Address:
PO Box 258, Fyshwick ACT 2609


 

      

 


[/one_second]

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[one]

Our Location

Our location offers ambient free parking.

[/one]

 

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Best Canberra Digital Agency 2017

canberra wdigital agency

Canberra Digital Agency

Canberra Digital Agency

Many companies can build you a website, but only a few know how to push the boundaries to make your website work for you.

Generate Sales with our Canberra Digital Agency Team
Rather than focusing on HTML, CSS or programming, we focus on the key strategies, content and design elements that go into creating a strategic web presence that generates sales.

Stay Optimised with our Canberra Digital Agency team
We optimise websites on an ongoing basis to make them likable by all three main search engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo) with the keywords customers use most to search and find your service or product.

Canberra Digital Agency

Canberra Digital Agency

Buzz on Social Media with our Canberra Web Design team
We use our unique, social-media, marketing skills to make your brand BUZZ.

Race to the Top with our Canberra Web Design team
Websites are living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance.

Canberra Digital Agency

Updating content, making changes to the back-end, monitoring performance and traffic and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work. All of these actions are critical in maintaining a top-ranking spot for your website.

Unique Strategy

Canberra Digital Agency

Our Four Salesmen ® Strategy will target your competitors, grab on-line, quality traffic and deliver it to your website.

Our Goal
To move your organisation forward and achieve high, on-line prominence in a competitive environment.


It gives us great pleasure to announce that The Stavridis Group has received

an Australian Business Award in 2017

hosted by the APAC Insider Magazine.

We’ve been voted:

BEST DIGITAL AGENCY 2017
ACT AUSTRALIA

APAC Insider Magazine Enterprise Awards 2017

 

ABOUT THE APAC INSIDER AWARDS

The APAC Insider Awards are all about bringing to the fore those firms who, through their commitment, enthusiasm, expertise and willingness to do things differently, are rewriting their industry’s rule book while achieving incredible results, both for their clients and themselves.

Each award programme and category has been meticulously tailored to provide a comprehensive overview of the very best each market, industry and sector has to offer.

 

 

 

Marketing Canberra ACT

 

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