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December 15 2010

Anatomy Of A Perfect Landing Page

Although there is no exact formula to making a perfect landing page, there are some common rules of thumb to increase your chances of making a winning one. If you’re looking for ideas on where to start with your next landing page design, the infographic below is a great place to begin. And remember, after you build your first landing page you must continually test variations to improve your conversion metrics.

Landing Page Design
via Formstack

View an enlarged version of this Infographic »

Reposted bythatsridicarusjrbmstrzadmn

October 12 2010

Landing-page optimization: another area where less is more

OK folks, today’s post takes us to lovely Andover, MA to eavesdrop on the recent Conversion Leaders Summit.  Well, not physically to Andover, it was a virtual meeting;  but Andover is home to SeeWhy, who sponsored the Summit.  And home base for Charles Nicholls, who posted a nifty summary of a Summit presentation on improving [...]

April 30 2010

Conversion Optimization Tips from the 2010 Online Marketing ROI Tour

On April 22nd, Lisa Regall attended the 2010 Online Marketing ROI Tour put on by MarketingExperiments, MarketingSherpa, and InTouch. Here are a few key points discussed during the conference regarding Conversion Optimization for websites.

The theory of conversion optimization

Notes from Greg Burningham’s first presentation

In terms of conversion optimization, what works for one website might not work best for another website. Though there are guidelines for testing, they are just guidelines, not set in stone rules. You should test everything that might be limiting your conversions to find what works best for your specific company and target audience. Also, conversion testing is not an event, it’s a process. Even if you see strong results from your first test, you should continue to test to keep increasing your conversions.

Four main concepts to remember regarding conversion optimization are:

1. People don’t buy from websites; people buy from people.
2. Don’t optimize websites; optimize the thought sequences of the website.
3. To optimize thought sequences, you must enter into a conversation with visitors.
4. Guide the conversation so visitors convert with no unsupervised thinking.

When testing to improve your website’s conversions, focus on determining why the site isn’t converting and what you can do to better guide visitors to complete the conversion rather than just focusing on the color of a specific button or the font size of a heading. Make the content conversational and informative for visitors and then focus on guiding them to the conversion rather than letting them just “wander” around the website aimlessly.

When visitors land on your website, you have on average seven seconds to capture their interest so your page should answer the following questions for visitors:

1. Where am I?
2. What can I do here?
3. Why should I buy from this specific website?

Visitors should be able to clearly understand what your website is about and what the purpose of it is. If visitors are confused about what your site is about or how to navigate to what they are looking for, they will most likely leave and find a site that makes more sense to them. Distinguish what is unique about your website by stating your unique value proposition.

Identifying an effective value proposition

Notes from Greg Burningham’s second presentation

The value proposition is the primary reason why a potential customer should buy from your website, so identifying an effective value proposition for your company is one of the most important steps in marketing your website and converting traffic.

Your value proposition should set you apart and describe what makes you unique from competitors. There needs to be at least one aspect you exceed in over your competitors that would convince customers you are the best company to buy from.

Be as specific as possible in describing your company. Quantitative statements and results are much more effective than vague claims of your company’s quality that any other company could potentially make. Focus on the value you provide for customers and how you uniquely serve their needs.

Expressing your value proposition

Notes from Jimmy Ellis’s presentation

Once you have determined a value proposition for your company, you need to clearly express it in your online marketing and on your website to convey to visitors. Three key points to remember for expressing your value proposition are congruence, continuity, credibility.

Congruency is important because every aspect of your website page should either state the value proposition or support it in order to guide visitors to complete the conversion. Additionally, each step of the buying process should either state or support the value proposition as well. Visitors should see the same value proposition message from the ad that brought them to your site, whether it’s the PPC add or the title and Meta descriptions of the site’s organic listings, that they see on your website and your checkout process. This way you can ensure that the visitor’s journey through the conversion has a continuous flow.

Also, credibility is a major factor for any website as it’s important to limit the anxiety and sales friction for visitors, especially at the point in which they need to make their decision to buy or submit their contact information. It’s beneficial to include secure site and secure checkout seals right at the purchase section and keep the purchase as risk free as possible for visitors. Testimonials and detailed information about your company, such as how many years you have been in business, can be reassuring for customers as well so you can more easily guide them to a conversion.

Lisa Regall

Organic Search Analyst

March 25 2010

Google AdWords Search Funnels Beta Unveiled

Finally, the day all of us AdWords advertisers have been waiting for is here! As of yesterday, Google has released a new beta feature called AdWords Search Funnels and it’s going to modernize the way we optimize our keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

Here’s how it works:

Currently, your conversions in AdWords are attributed to the very last ad someone clicks on before making a conversion on your website. This set up overlooks the fact that many consumers perform multiple searches before finally converting. This AdWords Search Funnels feature helps us now see the full picture by giving us insight into the ads our customers interact with during their shopping process.

How Do I Find These New Reporting Metrics?

You can find this data in a series of reports describing the ad click and impression behavior on Google.com that leads up to a conversion. Besides only being able to find this data in a Top Conversions report, AdWords Search Funnels consists of 7 reports including:

  • Assisted Conversions – shows the last click conversions and click-assisted conversions for each campaign, ad group, and keyword.
  • First and Last Click Analysis – shows the number of conversions with a first click or last click from each campaign, ad group, or keyword.
  • Time Lag – shows the time it takes customers to convert and is a general indication of the duration of your funnel. You can choose Time Lag from first impression, first click, or last click.
  • Path Length – this is a high level diagnosis of your current funnel. You can drill the path length down by impressions & clicks and sort by conversions or value.

So How are Search Funnels Really Useful to Me?

AdWords Search Funnels help advertisers create a better experience for their customers by helping to understand how they actually search for their products. It’s an important tool that helps “de-code” consumer shopping habits and thought processes, which you can easily relate back to your online advertising.

By reporting back to you which ads your customers clicked on before eventually converting, AdWords Search Funnels give you a more complete picture of the value of your keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

Here’s a practical example:

Let’s say you run an Online Store for Flying Blue Widgets. Suppose on Day 1 that someone searched for “widgets” and clicked on your ad. A click was therefore registered in your AdWords Account. Then, two days later, the same person searched for “blue widgets” and saw another one of your ads, but didn’t click. An impression was therefore registered in your AdWords Account. Finally, three days later, the same person searched one more time, this time for “flying blue widgets”. This time they clicked on your ad and then purchased. A conversion was therefore registered in your AdWords Account.

Blue Widgets Example

Normally in the above situation, AdWords would only show a purchase conversion for the search term “flying blue widgets”. Search Funnels in this case will show an assist click for the keyword “widgets” and an assist impression for the phrase “blue widgets”. Testing the value of assist clicks and impressions is incredibly important when evaluating and understanding the true value of all of your keywords.

AdWords Search Funnels really helps you to understand the keywords that were and weren’t seen by converters. For example: From our “flying blue widgets” example before, let’s say that another keyword such as “widget store” didn’t contribute to any assist clicks or impressions, or last click conversions, indicating that this keyword phrase is providing little conversion value. The assist information is an additional metric that you can use when making strategic decisions, from the campaign level down to the keyword level.

Some Additional Key Features

I wanted to elaborate a little more on some key features I briefly mentioned above including Path Length and Time Lag, as I found these metrics particularly useful. “Path Length”, or average number of clicks and impressions prior to conversion, can really help you understand and target repeat visitors. This metric can therefore reveal the “Time Lag”, or the amount of time it takes a customer to convert after seeing or clicking on your ads for the first time, which can help you determine the lead time for seasonal campaigns. These breakdowns can help you further understand your customers’ search behavior and allow you to create targeting strategies around that information.

Blue Widgets EX 2


This Search Funnels beta will be rolling out gradually to all AdWords accounts in the “Conversions” sections under the Reporting Tab in the interface. In order for this function to be activated, you must either have conversion tracking running or import goals or transactions in AdWords from Google Analytics. Additionally, Search funnels will only show data for keywords that show up in at least one conversion path and is limited to your search ads only on Google.com.

These new reporting functions are so valuable for companies that have really been trying to separate out the “research only” terms from “buying terms”. The basic idea behind this separation is to be able to send research term searchers, to a landing page that’s concentrated on acting as a convincer, so your website sticks in their mind when they move onto the next stage. Your research page can also concentrate on delivering your brand to users and provide priceless information that makes your site a fantastic resource.

When optimizing your campaign with your buying terms, your conversion page is then freed up to focus on USP’s, price, and motivators to close the deal.

Whether your conversion funnel is lead generation or direct response, I urge you to take advantage of these features immediately and continue to tailor your online marketing campaigns in a new way.

By Jerrold Burke
Paid Search Manager



March 05 2010

Utilizing the Value per Visitor Metric to Scale Your ROI

When evaluating your internet marketing campaigns, there are a number of different metrics that you could possibly use to optimize your account. This blog entry focuses on the Cost per Visitor, or CPV, model, and how you can use similar metrics to find your Value per Visitor and Gross Profit per Visitor. Ultimately, you will be able to use these metrics to scale your ROI to your internet marketing campaigns goals.

Cost per Visitor

Cost per visitor, or CPV, is a metric used to measure the quality of your website visitors. It can be calculated by taking your website’s monthly spend and dividing by your site’s number of monthly unique visitors. This will tell you how much your company spent per visitor for that month.

Let’s say you spend $3,000 a month online and you have 1,000 unique visitors to your site a month.

Ex:          $3,000 spend / 1,000 visitors = $3.00 cost per visitor.

Value per Visitor

Using your Value per Visitor, or VPV, you can figure out exactly how much you can spend per visitor in order to keep your ROI goals in check. To find your website’s VPV, take your monthly website sales and divide by the total number of monthly unique visitors.

Let’s say your monthly sales online is $4,000 and your unique visitors/month is 1,000.

Ex:          $4,000 sales / 1,000 visitors = $4.00 value per visitor.

Gross Profit per Visitor

Using your VPV of $4.00 and subtracting your CPV of $3.00, you would know that you have a Gross Profit per visitor = $1.00. What this means is that for every new visitor to your website per month you will gain an extra $1.00 in profit.

Ex:          $4.00 VPV – $3.00 CPV = $1.00 Gross Profit per Visitor.

Return on Investment

Also, using your VPV of $4.00, you can use this to scale the return on investment you would like your internet activity to achieve. If you wanted a 100% ROI from your internet investments, then you would not want to spend more than $4.00 per visitor to your website. This means that you would want to keep your average cost/clicks below $4.00 in order to align with your 100% ROI. Some clicks will be more expensive than $4, pending how much traffic you have to compete with for certain keywords, but with keywords there is little competition for your cost/click will be much lower. Each website visitor is valued at $4.00 and they are brought to your website through clicks, so that is why you would want to keep your average cost/click below $4.00.

Let’s say you get more aggressive, and want a 200% ROI on your internet investment. Well this would mean that you would want your average cost/click to sink even lower to $2.00/click. This is where working with a skilled internet marketing team can help you with advanced techniques to raise your quality scores, limit your costs, and lower your average cost/click to align with your business’s ROI.

Concluding Statements

CPV is when advertisers pay for the delivery of a targeted visitor to their advertised websites. You can use this metric combined with other similar metrics mentioned above to figure out how your average CPC can define your ROI. Look for more coming blog posts analyzing other various cost methods involved in internet advertising.

By Nick Haertel
Paid Search Analyst

February 05 2010

Utilizing Google Analytics to Track Your Facebook Advertising Efforts

You’ve likely heard that Social Media is the wave of the future. Companies will be able to target any exact demographic through Facebook like never before. This ability to pick only qualified traffic is so beneficial that numerous advertisers are testing the waters and trying a hand at Facebook advertising.

Facebook Interface

Figure 1: This is a figure of the Facebook advertising platform.

But while the Facebook platform appears easy to use and very straightforward, there are two major qualms advertisers have encountered. First, and likely most important, there is no surefire way to monetize Facebook (including sending traffic to a Fan Page and Facebook advertising). And second, there is no conversion tracking on the Facebook advertising platform.

How Do I Track Conversions from Facebook?

The lack of tracking leads advertisers to use the E-commerce function in Google Analytics. By affixing a specific URL to the Facebook ads, Google Analytics will track the URL as a link from Facebook only. In the same sense, having a unique landing page exclusively for Facebook ads will show only what clicks came from Facebook. You then are able to monitor all the variables you would normally track in a PPC Campaign, such as bounce rate, time on page, or transactions.

One thing to take note of; there does appear to be a discrepancy between the metrics tracked within Facebook and Analytics. Make sure to look through the Traffic Sources within Google Analytics to confirm that Facebook has everything tagged properly.

Below are two suggestions to get optimal results when trying Facebook advertising:

  • Do a Cost-Per-Click Campaign – Facebook has both a CPC or CPM (Cost-Per-Impression) option when creating campaigns. Historically it has been seen that Facebook ads get numerous impressions, but very few clicks resulting in a low CTR. To avoid unnecessary costs, stay away from CPM Campaigns.
  • Have an Updated Fan Page – People now, more than ever, have turned to the Internet to browse, research, and make purchases. The more fans engaging with your Facebook Fan Page, the more reputable your company will look. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.

To summarize, because Facebook does not have its own conversion tracking yet, using Google Analytics has been the preferred and free method for tracking. Make sure to monitor Facebook campaigns as closely as you would any other PPC campaign to ensure the data is being recorded and tracked correctly.

By Abigail Wolf
Paid Search Analyst




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