Black Friday and the holidays are fast approaching. Big box retailers have filled their storefronts with holiday décor, and Santa will soon to have hour-long lines at the mall. You’ve got a choice with your brand: to embrace holiday marketing or to let it pass you by. Of course, you know that your strategy, no matter what needs to engage your customers across multiple channels. And with email being 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter, it’s important to note that email is not to be ignored.
In this blog, I’ll cover six critical tactics to run a successful email marketing campaign this holiday season.
According to DMA, marketers have found a 760% increase in revenue attributed to email from segmented campaigns. Start with some basic segmentation: separating your active subscribers from your inactive subscribers. This not only ensures the best possible deliverability, but you can then target the two separate groups with different messaging. A simple subject line tweak to the inactive segment that feels personal and triggers emotions, such as ‘We missed you,’ can go so far as re-engaging them. Once you have this covered, you can delve deeper into segmentation, focusing on things such as age, gender, browsing activity, and purchase history.
A key element of successful email marketing lies in personalization. This can be as simple as putting the subscriber’s first name in the subject line or body copy of the email, or something a little more sophisticated, such as re-targeting the consumer with similar options to items they have previously purchased or browsed, or adding personalized suggested content through a solution like Marketo ContentAI. Campaign Monitor’s report states that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, so why not start there?
Remember—always keep an eye on your data and watch to see what works for your audience. If you consistently achieve a higher open rate with subject line personalization, consider making it a permanent fixture in your email strategy.
One strategy for the holiday season is targeting inactive subscribers with a re-engagement campaign in the lead-up to Black Friday. This means slowly ramping up the re-targeting campaign—to avoid being blacklisted—and aiming to re-activate subscribers and build your database in time for the big sales. The first step is ensuring these subscribers are still within the time limit of permissions in the various CAN-SPAM/CASL laws. Once you have that covered, you can split the segment into manageable chunks and begin to email.
I suggest sending a similar email to that of your active list, with a varied subject line and intro paragraph. This keeps it relevant and straightforward and only involves minor copy tweaks to be more personalized to that segment. At the end of a couple of weeks of re-engaging these subscribers, hopefully, a number will drop back into the active list, just in time for those sales!
Another tactic in the lead-up to the holiday period is to re-email those who have not yet opened the email from your initial send. If you’re sending a daily email, wait 6-8 hours and use a query to find those subscribers who haven’t opened.
Compile a segmented list of these email addresses and re-send the email—with a different subject line and hero. Everything else in the email can remain the same, and you should hit the audience who choose to check their emails at a later time. If they happen to see the earlier email, the subject lines are different, so it’s win-win.
One of the key elements of successful email marketing is testing. With a test and learn principle, it is possible to continually make improvements to those all-important KPIs, such as open rate and click-through rate. This principle remains true around the busy holiday period, and you should continue to utilize it to boost engagement.
Subject line testing is the most obvious, with a straightforward tactic being to send two separate subject lines to a select group of active subscribers, and send the remaining subscribers the winner 2-4 hours later. This ensures relevancy and can be done each time an email campaign is sent if desired. (Tip—most email service providers will automatically send the winning subject line to the remaining subscribers, so no need to set an alert here!)
Once you have subject line testing covered, try moving on to content testing. You could test static vs. GIF in the hero image or a different content layout. Always split these A/B tests and keep all other variables the same to ensure a fair test. The time of day and day of the week are other tests to optimize send time. Remember to re-test these each year, as the database changes over time and so can preferences. Analytics will be your best friend here. Pay close attention to the insights provided, and continue to build on them to achieve a successful strategy that consistently improves your KPIs.
6. Mobile Optimization
Always make sure your email design is responsive. According to MovableInk’s Consumer Device Preference Report from Q1 of this year, 73% of email is now opened and read on smartphones or tablets, and 27% is viewed on a desktop (non-apparel). With over half of all emails being opened on mobile devices, a non-responsive design will cause high unsubscribe/spam rates and deter consumers from interacting with your brand. Ensure that you are providing the best possible user experience to your consumers so that your click through and conversion rate don’t drop over the holiday period. With an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, email continues to be the most effective online marketing tool.
With these six email marketing tips for the holiday season, you’re set for success! Do your email marketing tactics around the holidays differ from the rest of the year? How might you introduce some of these tactics into your strategy for this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The post 6 Tips For Email Marketing Success This Holiday Season appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
As digital marketers, we have a strong understanding of remarketing’s value. Our most successful competitors are taking advantage of remarketing opportunities in AdWords, DoubleClick, AdRoll or Criteo. But what happens when your site’s unique monthly visitor total is too low for Criteo campaigns to be successful? How about when Google or AdRoll policies become a roadblock? Don’t have time to spend 5+ hours per week managing your remarketing efforts? If you are facing any of these remarketing obstacles, consider SteelHouse. In this post, I’ll review the benefits of SteelHouse, how to set up an account through the SteelHouse Premier Advertising Suite, and how to develop creative without a graphic design degree.
SteelHouse optimizes campaigns in real-time based on the goals you set. These goals are on a post-click basis. Since visits to your website and conversions can also be attributed to ad impressions, post-view metrics are also available in SteelHouse reports.
Another major benefit to using SteelHouse is their Creative Builder. If you or your client do not have the resources to make ads, the Creative Builder allows us design-challenged account managers to develop high quality image ads. Advertisers have the option to utilize their own images or search thousands of stock photos from Getty Images.
The support SteelHouse provides for potential and current accounts is another perk. A jumpstart call will include a full demo of the interface while the QA call occurs pre-launch to ensure the campaign is set up for success.
SteelHouse uses a flat CPM pricing model. Work with the implementation team to get estimates on the percentage fee per CPM. This percentage depends on the inventory you’ll be using. To be eligible for invoice billing, your monthly campaign budget must exceed $20k. If you are allocating a lower monthly budget to the campaign, you must use a credit card. The card will be charged after each $5k of spend or at the end of the month.
Creating an Account
SteelHouse does not yet allow multiple users on a single account. They recommend utilizing an email alias if multiple users need to access the interface.
Once the account is created, you will see a list of open action items you’ll need to complete before launching the campaign. Before working on creative, SteelHouse recommends to first install the pixels.
Implementation for the SteelHouse pixel is simple. One pixel (the Smarter Pixel) should be placed on all pages of the site within the <body> tag. This will populate the previous site visitor audience you’ll target within the campaign. To track website conversions, place the Conversion Input Pixel on all thank-you or confirmation pages. Visit the SteelHouse Pixel Implementation Guide for more detailed instructions.
Once the pixels have been tested and approved by the SteelHouse team, you’ll receive a verification email. The pixels will also be QA’d during the pre-launch call.
Above is what will display once you are in the SteelHouse Creative Builder. To use a current ad template, hover over the ad and select “Edit in Ad Builder”.
The Ad Builder is where you can adjust text, formatting, images and more. Pay special attention to the number of scenes within the template you select. If you prefer to use a static ad, delete the templated scenes and work on Scene One only. To create more advanced ads, consider changes to language or images that are eye catching to viewers. In the Fresh Cuts template, the scenes contain similar copy and different colors of flowers.
Use the Image Element to upload your own images or select stock photos from Getty Images. You can save several stock images to review later by hovering over the image and selecting the “+”. Keep in mind that images can be cropped to fit each ad size as needed.
To adjust formatting, font, text and background colors, navigate to the right side of the screen in the editor. Formatting options are available for buttons as well.
While SteelHouse will dynamically update the sizes of your ads to fit available ad spaces, you need to create 5 different sizes for the platform to use.
Only one creative can run at a time in SteelHouse’s Premier Suite. Consider building a few different options for ads to put into rotation to avoid stale creative and a decrease in click-through rate. Also, use the email preview tool to show colleagues or clients the proposed ads before launch. Even if the ads look great in the Creative Builder, adjustments to button, image or text placements might be needed after seeing the previews.
Once your ads are complete and ready to apply to a campaign, open the Creative Suite option on the campaign action item list. You’ll then see the below screen where you can preview your creative in all sizes again, determine the Click URL and set up third party tracking and/or a tracking parameter. Be sure to implement UTM parameters if you would like to see SteelHouse performance in Google Analytics. In the below example, the following parameters are being used: utm_source=Steelhouse&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Remarketing.
Creative can take several hours to be approved. Once the approval process is complete, SteelHouse will confirm via email.
To display remarketing ads on Facebook and Instagram, you must first link your site’s Facebook page to SteelHouse. Directions to do so are in the campaign action item list. Once the SteelHouse account is granted access to the Facebook page, it’s time to set up the ad.
Since Facebook requires a certain ad format, the process to create these ads is relatively simple. Choose an image size 1200×638 pixels as well as a post text, headline, description and display URL. Unlike the web remarketing creative, you cannot fully customize the call to action language for Facebook ads. Choose a CTA from the dropdown instead.
Setting Monthly Budget and Goals
After launching your campaign, wait a full week before adjusting the monthly budget or eCPA/ROAS goal. SteelHouse’s algorithm uses the first seven days to collect data about the targeted audience and user behavior. After the initial week, adjust the goal to restrict or increase spend based on performance. If the goals are not being met, daily spend will decrease automatically.
Visit the SteelHouse Knowledge Base if you have any other questions about setting up and managing your campaign.
Welcome to session 15… we made it to the launch ? This is by no means the finish line, but it's an important milestone, and if you are following along, make sure you take some time to give yourself a well deserved pat on the back. In this session we are going to cover the latest in Amazon product launch strategies for my European launch, but this is still useful for any marketplace. We're going to cover a range of different launch tactics, how they work, and the benefits and downfalls of each. By the end of this session, you will be armed with all of the knowledge you need to know to decide on your own path to launch. If you are following along and also launching in the UK then you will want to stick around until the end, as there is an exclusive free trial for Jump Send for all UK sellers. Jungle Slumber Updates A quick update on some progress of Jungle Slumber: Photography sample has been sent to the UK based photographer We have a quote to air freight 300 units which are now ready to ship The rest of the inventory will be ... Read More
Sydney Decking Specialists @pergolassydney #deckingsydney https://t.co/I0E0sTeE9w https://t.co/bwENyxglSP
There are numerous studies confirming that long-form content works. It performs better in search and attracts organic traffic. But while everyone agrees that long-form content is the most efficient way to gain attention, not everyone can write as well as a professional journalist and keep the readers engaged.
There is increasing pressure to write long-form content, but the attention spans of users are getting shorter each day. People are used to consuming short bits of information and when presented with a longer piece, they simply scan the article or jump directly to the summary. So how does one build a good long-form post that provides tons of value and is read from start to finish?
In this blog, I’ll explore the tricks that can make your content more readable and cover key reasons to write long-form content despite the obstacles.
Why Long Form Content Works
Long form content works for many reasons. From a technical perspective, Google considers long-form content more authoritative, but that doesn’t mean that you should throw in thousands of meaningless words into the article and expect rankings to improve. Even though such a black hat tactic might work, it will inevitably lead to high bounce rates and the page will go down in search, eventually.
Instead, try to come up with a topic that provides value to your targeted audience and cannot be covered in a shorter format. There is a general misunderstanding that the readers won’t have enough patience to read the long form content, but if the topic requires detailed coverage in order to be understood you won’t have to fight for the readers’ attention.
There are three key reasons that long-form content gets results:
1. It Provides Detailed Information.
Customers are inundated with short content. It’s common for the users to scan several short-form content pieces before an objective opinion can be formed. Long form content is different. It provides a comprehensive overview of the topic including contrasting opinions, step-by-step action plans, and detailed instructions.
2. It Keeps the Readers Engaged
Surprisingly, long-form content presents a challenge to the users. The benefit of short-form content is that it’s incredibly easy to digest and doesn’t require much effort. With long-form content, readers know that they need to invest time and effort.
It might sound contradictory, but when you see a long article online, the association with authoritative media, such as New York Times or New Yorker, comes up. You then assign more value to the article, which in turn makes you more attentive to the information at hand. This offsets, to an extent, the fear of having to invest more time in the article.
3. It Increases Shareability
The power of social is undeniable. There is a whole slew of psychological forces that come into play when we share content. From boosting our egos to trying to be helpful and expressing virtual empathy, it is undeniable that sharing makes us happier.
Sharing long-form content makes us look better because it shows that we follow authoritative resources. Long form content also provides tons of value that we feel compelled to share with others. Additionally, considering the amount of effort that goes into writing and producing the long form piece, it’s normal to want to support the author, who created such an outstanding piece.
How to Keep the Readers’ Attention
Human focus is limited. While you might have the most interesting topic and groundbreaking research data, you can’t expect the readers to consume it all. It’s important to construct your long-form content in a way that makes it easy to read and comprehend.
Here are some tips to help you create a great long-form content piece:
1. Break Down Longer Content Into Shorter Pieces
Just like large projects have to be broken down into tasks, long-form content must have distinctive paragraphs and headlines to help the readers navigate the article. Having no proper structure makes the content look visually intimidating. But when the readers see distinctive paragraphs and commit to reading one of them, they feel compelled to read further.
2. Close Every Section With a Kicker
A kicker is a compelling closing idea or a quote. Essentially, a kicker is similar to a cliffhanger in a TV series—it promotes anticipation and keeps you thinking about possible future scenarios. Most articles end with a kicker, but in a long-form piece, you’ll have to use several kickers to keep the readers engaged. Try to incorporate kickers at the end of each section. A kicker could be a surprising revelation, a challenging question or a hint of what is coming in the next section.
3. Start Every Section With a Lede
Lede is another technique used in journalism to improve readability. Opposite to kicker, a lede is placed at the beginning of an article or an article section. A good lede contains the essence of the story and communicates the important information all the while capturing the imagination. You don’t want to give out all the information in the lede, but you can tease the readers or give a catchy summary.
4. Use Lists
Bulleted or numbered lists are the structural elements that support readability. Readers like bulleted lists because they allow for quick scanning. Bullets and numbers in text are also perceived differently than words and letters so they can be used as stylistic elements to draw attention to certain parts of the article.
5. Insert Screenshots and Visual Cues
Visual elements give the readers a long-awaited break from reading. Pictures are sometimes more compelling than text and convey the information in a straightforward and creative way. You can create custom designed visuals with the help of online graphic design tools and incorporate them into your long-form piece for increased engagement and better readability. Screenshots also help get the point across or provide step-by-step instructions if you’re trying to give actionable advice.
6. Adjust Your Fonts
When it comes to fonts, it’s best to take the web designers’ approach. Sans serifs such as Arial, Helvetica, Trebuchet, Lucida Sans, and Verdana help readability online, while creative fonts can be used for headlines to make them stand out.
The size of the font matters too. Most web designers recommend 16px as a standard size for web content. 16 px on screen looks exactly the same as the text in the book, which is why most people find this font size the most convenient and legible.
7. One Idea Per Sentence
“One idea per sentence” is a writing technique expressed by Theodore Bernstein in his book Watch Your Language. The author claims that content with multiple ideas per sentence is hard to comprehend and even harder to remember. On the contrary, a story with only one idea per sentence allows the writer to express the idea in a clear and concise manner, which in turns makes the article more memorable.
If you’re using multiple conjunctions, dashes and connecting words in a particular sentence, this might be a sign that you have too many ideas in that sentence. Try to break the sentences into shorter pieces. Also, question the purpose of each sentence and paragraph as you write.
SEO also takes into consideration the Flesch-Kincaid Readability test which analyzes how difficult it is to read copy within an article. The longer your sentences are, the more difficult it is to discern the point.
8. Indicate Estimated Reading Time
Reading time indicators simplify the selection process of readers, and are being increasingly employed in online content platforms. In 2011, psychologists Claude Messner and Michaela Wänke concluded that the faster we make decisions the happier we feel. The reading time indicator tells us the time we need to read the article, simplifying our decision process and contributing to our happiness. Additionally, knowing the length of the article assists the reader with time management. No one likes to commit to something that doesn’t have a defined time frame. When you provide the readers with estimated reading time you eliminate a possible source of anxiety.
Creating long-form content requires a substantial investment of time and resources, but it also helps establish your expert image online and drive thousands of visitors to your site. So get on the bandwagon, brainstorm topic ideas, write your long-form piece and develop a promotion strategy to distribute your article online.
How have you used long-form content in the past in your marketing plan? How might you use it in the future, based on the strategies I’ve outlined here? Let’s keep our discussion going in the comments.
Do you advertise on Facebook? Do you wish you could be a little more efficient with your time and money? Well these six tips could help you! I hope they help you. No really I do! We love helping advertisers like you!
Tip 1: Learn To Use Power Editor
Those of you who aren’t using the Power Editor for your Facebook advertising efforts could be wasting a lot of time in the ads manager interface. When creating campaigns, ad sets, and ads the Facebook interface will automatically default to ads manager. The power editor is an option you should be utilizing instead. The power editor is a much less clunky version of ads manager. It allows you to create, edit, swap, duplicate, pause, etc… across multiple campaigns, ad sets, and ads all at once. Plus, any changes you make will be saved to a draft before uploading. It’s a two step process unlike ads manager. This will allow you to fix any mistakes you made to your mass edits before they go live.
Tip 2: Have A Strategy, Don’t Wing It
Facebook should be treated like any other digital advertising platform. Meaning use it, but have a strategy in place. I know that sounds painfully obvious but it needs to be said. We all have seen those ads on Facebook trying to shove product down our throats from a company we have never heard of before. How annoying is that? Take the opportunity to build a funnel approach if you can. Hit people with a little branding before you try to sell them something. Introduce yourself, let me get to know you, and then you can ask me on a date. Are we still talking about Facebook???
Tip 3: Use Descriptive Naming Conventions
So you’ve got your strategy in place and you want to build some campaigns. Great! Ok so this is going to be called Campaign #1…..STOP! Don’t you dare use such an ambiguous naming convention! Anytime you name something it should be ridiculously obvious what the purpose/type of the campaign, ad set, or ad is. Did you create a campaign for your top of funnel efforts? Then “top of funnel” should be in your campaign’s name somewhere. While we’re at it, is your campaign objective (conversions, clicks to website, etc.) in it’s name too? Who are you targeting with this ad set? What type of ad (image, video, etc.) is this? Keep this thought process in mind when naming absolutely anything. This makes it super easy to go into the account and see what is and isn’t working from a top level view.
Tip 4: Utilize Segmentation
Ah segmentation, my old time consuming nemesis. We meet again! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just throw everything in one campaign/ad set and it would spit out gold? Alas, poor digital advertiser! We must segment for success. Let’s break it down with an example. Say we sell men’s and women’s shoes and we want to introduce ourselves on Facebook to people who haven’t heard about us with some branded content (oh hey look, I’m referencing myself). Do you think it would be wise to use different messaging for men and women? Then we should have two ad sets, one targeting men and one targeting women. That way our ad’s creative and messaging can be tailored very specifically. This method doesn’t just work for gender! We can do this with geo locations, age, and more! Don’t be afraid to show your excitement.
Tip 5: Edit Your Ad Placements
When creating ad sets make sure to check the placements you have opted into. An ad you create for Facebook could end up on Instagram. It could also end up on the audience network which is inventory that is off of Facebook. It can even end up in the Facebook messenger. While I absolutely suggest you utilize Instagram, you might want to opt out of audience network and messenger if you are worried about where your ads are showing.
Tip 6: Test Facebook Algorithms
The machines! Artificial intelligence is taking over! They tried to warn us that Skynet was a threat! Oh wait, this isn’t my conspiracy theory blog. Yes, so Facebook algorithms. When it comes to what you should be setting bids at, you should trust automated bidding or at least CPL based bidding. The algorithms are pretty good at finding the most relevant user at the right cost for you. Machine learning has come a long way from what it used to be so don’t be afraid to test this out. Besides, manually bidding is a pain and can be time consuming. Not very efficient if you ask me! Wait didn’t I say that segmentation is time consuming too? Yes. Yes I did, but segmentation is worth it while manually bidding just isn’t. Who of us digital advertisers are smarter than machine learning when it comes to math? Is it you? Then stop advertising on Facebook and go work for NASA. I look forward to visiting Mars someday.
Google’s new promotion extension is on its way to becoming one of the most effective ad extensions in an ecommerce PPC advertiser’s toolbox. It boasts a simple, quick setup and quality results. In fact, it has become the first thing I look at when new promotions roll in. While it may not always garner direct clicks (see below), it can help improve overall CTR with a more prominent, informative ad.
If you love time-saving, ecommerce PPC solutions like this, then promotion extensions are a must for your accounts. Below, I’ll cover what they are, how to set them up, and four different cases that prove their worth.
What Is A Promotion Extension?
Before I get into some hard data on what makes the promotion extension great, let’s first address what it even is. Previously, they were only available as a beta. Now, they are available to every advertiser within the new AdWords interface. The extension adds another line of promotional information to your ad. However, they must be specific to a discount or offer (i.e. a monetary discount, a percent discount, a price qualifier, etc.). Beyond that, advertisers can choose to also display promo codes, occasions, dates, and/or order amount qualifiers.
On the back end, advertisers can further control start/stop dates, tagging options, and device preferences. This is a quick list of what the extension currently offers, but I encourage browsing through the setup to learn more. Fortunately, they are fairly self-explanatory once you begin the setup process.
The Set Up
Currently, promo extensions are located “Ads & extensions” tab of the new AdWords interface. After selecting “+ Extension” and choosing the account option, certain campaigns, or certain ad groups, you can then create the new promotion. Here’s what you should then see:
Here are your options for the first few drop downs. (Language, currency, etc. are fairly self-explanatory.)
Here are your options for management on the back end.
Again, experimenting in this view is the best way to arrive at how you want your promotion extension to look because it generates a preview. However, the preview is not identical to how it will show on desktop or mobile. Here is an example of a preview.
Here are some examples of how they would look on desktop and mobile, respectively.
Again, the best way to figure the promotion extension out is to play around in the setup view and test different features with your ads. However, it is important to note that Currency, Promotion Type, Item, and Final URL are all required. The rest can be customized based on advertiser preference. The terminologies shouldn’t be too different from what you’re already working in within your accounts.
Case 1 covers the performance of one promotion across branded campaigns. The first table displays the performance of the ad when the promotion extension was present, broken down by click type. The second table covers ad performance between an ad that spoke to the promotion versus a standard branded text ad. All of this data is from the same date range with the same promotion, whether displayed in the extension and/or the text ad headline.
It is important to note that the promotion extension itself will not always garner direct clicks. However, as shown above, performance was clearly higher when the extension was present. In other words, cost per conversion was lower and CTR was higher. Conversion rate was lower when compared to “Text Ads (promotion),” a.k.a. when the promotion was in the actual ad copy. However, the promotion extension was often included with text ads that also spoke to the same promotion. Furthermore, the promotion extension was the second most engaging extension behind the sitelink extension.
There are two main takeaways with this case:
Case 2 is the same setting as Case 1 (however, with a different date range and promotion). In other words, it covers one promotion across branded campaigns. The first table shows data when the extension is present. The second table shows text ad performance, broken down between general ads and promotional ads. Again, both the promo extension and the promotional text ads speak to the same promotion.
This is a perfect case of not controlling when promo extensions are displayed with the ad. Ads that included the promotion extension were better across the board. Although they had the same opportunity and time to be shown, Google decided to only show the extension about 29% of the time (43,526 impressions divided by 148,434 impressions). Yet, ads with the promo extension accounted for around 39% of conversions (376 conversions divided by 954 conversions).
This case also helps prove that the extension itself can indirectly improve ad performance. Although it only directly accounted for seven conversions, it helped display a prominent, more informative ad. Granted, the promotion itself had the costliest CPA. However, overall performance is the important focus point. As with Case 1, ads with the promotion extension are the winners in Case 2.
Cases 3 and 4
Cases 3 and 4 show situations where the promotions differed between the promo extension and the promotional text. In other words, when they were shown together, two different promotions were covered. Other than that, they were similar to Case 1 and Case 2, focusing on branded campaigns. Again, the first table covers ad performance when the extension was present and the second table covers ad performance without the extension, comparing a promotional ad and a general ad.
Although CTR and CPA performed better for the promotion extension ads, Case 3 was the first situation where conversion rate was down. It is important to note that the promotion extension and the promotional text ad were covering two different promotions. Granted, this test was not as straight-forward as Cases 1 and 2, but Google will only let one promotion extension run per campaign. If an account has multiple promotions running at once, it is important to view the results through this lens as well.
The lower conversion rate could be attributed to multiple factors. Maybe the wrong promotions were used? Maybe one promotion was better? Maybe two promotions in one ad provided too much information? Either way, some data was still consistent. That is, CTR was higher and cost per conversion was lower. This leads me to think that the drop in conversion rate was likely due to the actual promotions and how they were used, not the extension itself. Let’s see how Case 4 went.
Case 4 was the exact same situation as Case 3, only with two different promotions. This time, running two different promotions worked best. When the promotion extension was present with the ad, performance improved across the board with the higher CTR, lower cost per conversion, and a higher conversion rate. Unfortunately, this was another situation where (for whatever reason) Google decided to show the promotion extension only a fraction of the time. So, it is important to keep in mind that a quality promotion extension doesn’t guarantee quality impressions.
Before jumping to conclusions or questioning my methodology, let me play devil’s advocate and address the concerns you may already have.
One could argue that the actual promotions and what they offered created better performance, rather than how the promotion was shown. Yes, this could be. However, based on the four different cases in this post and a frame of reference for previous account performance (again, looking at one ecommerce account), promotion extensions have improved ad performance anywhere from barely noticeable to substantially. Furthermore, they have never hurt performance to this point. So, if they are that quick and easy to setup, then why not?
One could also argue that the cases have better performance because they are under the scope of branded campaigns. Yes, this is true, but here is my reason why I chose to only look at branded. For one, I did not have enough data for promotion extensions in specific campaigns (the extensions were in beta at the time). Also, more specific campaigns generally have a more specific intent. For these tests, I wanted to analyze a broader intent around campaigns that historically performed well, and see if there was actually room to increase performance. I was pleased with the results.
So far, there are a few limitations with promotion extensions and much room for improvement. For one, the character count in the “Item” line is limited to 20 characters, which often creates a struggle to display your intended message. Also, as I’ve said a few times, we can’t control when they are shown. However, this is the situation with other extensions as well, so it makes sense in that regard.
All that aside, promotion extensions have proved to be a great addition. I am constantly hit with different promotions – sometimes they are in advance and often times they are a day late. Either way, the promotion extension has become my first step for getting that initial exposure. It is a quick and easy option that buys me some time to work the offer in elsewhere without missing out on initial opportunities in search campaigns.
Want to see proof? Check out this Case Study on the Google site where we got a 20% higher ROAS for Shoe Carnival with promotion extensions!
Approaching an anniversary commemorating the time I’ve spent in the glorious arena of conversion rate optimization under the umbrella of a stellar PPC agency (#8 on AdAge’s Best Places to Work list), I wanted to take this small corner of the Interwebs to share a few key lessons with you all. Why? Because I am a doer. I learn by doing. Thus, I tend to make mistakes. It solidifies my lesson retention, but sometimes mistakes just don’t need to be made. For those of you lucky enough to effectively learn vicariously, learn from my mistakes and prevent your own! Because trust me, when you make these mistakes you generally embrace the look of shame; downward-turned eyes and all.
#1 Limit Risk
I pride myself on being one of those folks that has to do ALL of the research before I carry out any task; in life, in CRO, you name it. However, when first stepping into CRO I also believed that it made sense to test on 100% my traffic straight out of the gate.
No matter how much data you put behind a testing recommendation and how much time you pour into QA there are always variables you may not be aware of and therefore unable to control. One of these may come out of left field and slam your test and your conversion rate right into floor-level metrics. No one wants to experience that.
When you launch a test of any capacity, limit your traffic for the first few days while you closely monitor everything in order to ensure that the test is running smoothly. We want to disrupt traffic by nature. We strive to optimize that traffic’s performance. But if it goes south quickly, there is no logical argument you can hold to keep it running in hopes that it will turn up and to the right. It won’t happen reliably and consistently and pulling the plug early is better than forcing that traffic, and the site, to suffer while you hold your breath and hope for the best.
#2 Data is Your Friend
Experience is a well-rounded teacher, but in an ever-changing industry that rests on human behavior your gut and your experience may not be the most reliable foundation to stand on. Data (preferably quantitative) is rooted and solid and will enable you to ground yourself and your testing endeavors.
I promise not to lecture you on bias, but I will assert that you are biased and you should come to terms with that sooner than later. You may absolutely hate a specific element of a site or how it functions. That element may make no sense to you, but it may be completely intuitive to your users. Assuming that your experience is similar or identical to everyone else’s experience on that site is also known as the false-consensus effect.
Let the data do the talking and try not to place your own personal lens onto that data. If it helps, I try to think of every data analysis as a learning experience. Prove me wrong. Let’s bring it back to square one of the scientific method: form a hypothesis, then try to disprove your own hypothesis.
#3 Learn Regex
I cannot tell you how many times I have failed to capture all traffic to a thank you page because I had a very specific destination goal set up to match a URL. There are all sorts of ways that anyone and everyone can add a parameter to the URL you’re tracking and if none of those people loop you in, you’re goal is invalid. If you copied the URL wrong, your goal will be invalid.
In order to eliminate most threats seeking to invalidate your goal tracking, isolate the critical pieces of that URL and blend it together using regular expressions.
RegexBuddy lovingly describes regular expressions as “wildcards on steroids.” The language is rather robust and you can get very granular using regex, but I use 3 symbols in total: .,*, +.
Imagine the thank you page we want to track hits to is as follows: www.ppchero.com/thank-you
You know that someone is going to track traffic source via parameters so we already know that folks may be coming in on a URL with all sorts of shenanigans following “thank-you”.
I would use the following expression to track this URL:
Note that I’ve replaced every symbol in the URL with “.” because “.” is a wildcard and, as I mentioned earlier, I like knowing what every character is doing. I am not a regex expert but I do know that it is technically a language and has the capacity to interpret many characters and perform functions based on those characters. I take no risks in regex. Wildcards are safe.
If you’re still confused or wish to dive deeper into regex here is a very informative site: RegexOne
While you practice your skills, double-check your phrases for complete functionality with this site: Regex Tester
#4 There is Always a Catalyst to Your Problem. Or 2. Or more…
Be very wary when assuming that any singular variable is responsible for a problem.
This seems counterintuitive to testing because we attempt to control every variable beyond the alteration to ensure similarity and can attribute performance to that alteration. However, “attempt” is critical there. There are too many variables involved in anything we do and you may not always be able to find every variable that affected your performance.
For instance, while hunting for a catalyst responsible for an irregular drop in conversion rate on mobile devices we discovered several key factors on a similar timeline and none of them could be ignored.
All of these are critical and most definitely impacted that conversion rate. All at once? Maybe not. Nonetheless, compounded problems are still problems.
Never rule a problem as completely solved (unless you’re positive you caused the problem). Always keep your eyes and ears open and ask yourself if anomalies could have worked together to cause your problem. Keep digging.
Also keep in mind that while most our work lives on the Internet, people’s lives do not. Anything and everything our users see, hear, or even smell can affect your conversion rate if it reaches a significant portion of your traffic.
#5 QA Your Landing Page Tests
This is a basic step in the test set-up process and as such it tends to go by the wayside when your personal confidence concerning testing starts to increase (Or is this just me? Bueller?).
Whether you are testing for your own site or for your client’s site, you should always be aware of what your test looks like. In an ideal world, we would test on every single browser (including various browser sizes) and operating system. However, most of us don’t have that kind of time on our hands. To compromise, test on the browsers and operating systems that the majority of your traffic utilizes.
Never forget this step. The worst message you can receive, the most “tail between your legs”-inducing, is the message with the screenshot of your test rendering in a very unintended format. Even if you change a button color, QA that nonsense. You can never be too safe, right?
You’d also be amazed how many times I catch random browsers having severe difficulty rendering the variation correctly. Don’t deprive your niche browser users of aesthetically pleasing or functional experiences purely because you didn’t want to spend time in QA.
When you get excited and go a little crazy, take a step back, breathe, and remember that you’ve totally got this and that you don’t have to repeat Kate Wilcox’s newb mistakes because you’ve read this article and learned vicariously.
If you feel like you’re on the breach of a good mistake or you would simply enjoy sharing an “I’ve been there” story, reach out via Twitter (@katewilcoxkcco) and make my day.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a game-changer, but it’s not uncommon for sales to push back against implementing it as a new strategy. It’s understandable. On the surface, it appears that ABM is asking sales to work with fewer leads, and that kind of change can be a scary proposition. In my previous blog post, I touched on this very subject when discussing outbound prospecting. The reality is, the sales team is not only holding marketing back from a necessary evolution, they are holding themselves back if they’re not getting on-board with ABM. Account-based strategies require input from across the organization because they work for, and benefit, the entire organization.
Alignment needs to happen across the board and if your B2B brand is targeting named accounts but hasn’t yet implemented an ABM strategy—your competition is getting a head start on your customers. ABM’s popularity has been rising and for good reason: coordinating your resources to focus on pursuing and converting specific accounts works.
So, Why ABM?
Inverting the traditional B2B strategy of lead generation-based marketing brings in bigger, more valuable accounts and increases engagement with target and existing accounts. But what do marketers and salespeople need to do in order to ensure ABM success? Align.
In this blog, I’ll cover the key to successful ABM as well as how to get your sales team on board and how to achieve alignment.
Sales and Marketing Alignment is Crucial
Alignment between sales and marketing is beneficial for any organization, but if you want to get the most out of ABM (and what marketer doesn’t?), it’s crucial.
The good news is that ABM by its very nature brings the two teams together—as long as both sales and marketing can agree to work together. If you’re finding it challenging to get sales to buy-in at first, you’re not alone. Ultimately, you are working toward a sales and marketing partnership but the first step is, of course, alignment.
How to Get Sales on Board
So, you’re a marketing team leader who needs to convince sales to buy in or a sales team leader who needs to get the rest of the sales team on-board. Where do you start? First, make sure the sales team understands the dramatic benefit that ABM brings to their lives. Then, demonstrate how a successful ABM strategy hinges on their input.
1. ABM is Good for the Sales Team
Whether you’re meeting one-on-one with the director of sales, writing an email, or pitching the entire sales department, ask a few questions:
Most honest sales reps will take the opportunity to express their frustrations because it’s just statistics that sales departments are commonly frustrated by what they feel are unqualified leads and by not being able to find the content resources they need.
But those are two of the best reasons that sales should be excited about an account-based strategy.
ABM starts with selecting target accounts, which is very much like qualifying leads at the beginning. There is almost no chance for an unqualified lead to land on a sales rep’s proverbial desk because sales and marketing have selected target accounts together from the very beginning. How would the sales team like to only talk to highly qualified, ready-to-buy leads?
After selecting target accounts, account-based marketing hinges on strategic, personalized content that marketing develops for specific personas, accounts, and even—sometimes—individuals. How would the sales team like to be able to deliver a case study in the same industry as a prospect, or a report generated especially for his/her company?
It might force sales out of their comfort zones at the beginning, and it might be a little longer before they start seeing new ABM-generated leads, but most sales reps won’t turn down a much greater percentage of qualified leads, at much bigger accounts, and the content they need to close the deals.
2. ABM Needs Sales’ Input
Everyone wants to be needed, right? Even though it’s called, “account-based marketing,” ABM involves more than just the marketing department. Alignment between sales and marketing is both a prerequisite for and a product of an effective ABM strategy.
Consider the five basic steps of account-based marketing. Almost all depend on input and insights from experienced sales reps:
Account-based marketing is not a new marketing trick that sales needs to deal with or help implement. It’s the natural evolution of marketing, sales, customer service, etc., but doesn’t work unless the whole organization grows together—and there is plenty of incentive for sales to be on-board.
How Does Alignment Work?
With a broad-based marketing strategy, the marketing team attracts leads through avenues such as advertising, email, and social media. Leads come in, and then sales takes over to work to convert them. With ABM, sales and marketing work together throughout the process, but that alignment has to be strategically planned—at least for a little while. Two teams who have worked in separate silos for generations won’t suddenly start playing as one team just because an executive tells them to be aligned. Even the most well-intentioned team members need to break a lot of old habits.
So once both teams are on-board, look at those five steps again, and plan how alignment needs to happen at each one.
What’s happening here is that both sales and marketing have a stake in every step, but it has to be intentional. That alignment makes for a stronger strategy that, combined with a focus on targeted accounts, can make a big difference in conversions.
ABM has proven its effectiveness for a growing number of businesses, but it can only be truly successful if both marketing and sales buy-in. This can seem like a hard sell for sales teams that are set in their ways and feel that what they’re already doing works. You need to drive home that a shift to ABM can work better. Ultimately, you are working toward a marketing sales partnership, but alignment is essential to reach partnership.
Your first step? Sell your internal customer first–the sales team. Write a pitch they can’t resist and present it with confidence. When they see the real potential of ABM, they’ll get on board without hesitation.
As a savvy marketer, it’s our sincere hope you never start a campaign without a dedicated landing page for sending your paid traffic to. But — as you know — the job isn’t over once a landing page is created.
Your real opportunity is in understanding how your page performs.
Beyond tracking standard performance measures like conversions and landing page quality (LPQ), you’ve likely wondered about other factors like:
Ultimately you want to know whether you’ve got an especially high converting page, or if there’s anything specific you can improve. But it can be difficult to know what ‘good’ looks like, and you may not always have a second set of eyes to help you critique.
New: Try Unbounce’s Landing Page Analyzer
For years we’ve seen the need for a landing page audit tool or landing page grader of some sort, and so—after many months of development--we’re very pleased to unveil the Unbounce Landing Page Analyzer.
With this grader-style tool, you input your landing page URL (along with a few key details) and The Analyzer instantly delivers a comprehensive, personalized report with custom recommendations you can try today to increase your conversion rates.
Unlike other landing page reviews, The Analyzer is truly a deep dive into your performance.
Not only do you get a summary of how your page compares to others in your industry, but you also see important page performance insights including your landing page’s speed, load time, and page requests that may be slowing things down.
If The Analyzer discovers your images are too large (contributing to slow load time), your custom report will include compressed versions of all your images to replace quickly and get your page loading even faster.
Pictured: you’ll get custom, compressed images as part of your page analysis.
In The Analyzer’s comprehensive report, you’ll see specifics across nine categories, and discover whether your landing page:
Evaluate your landing page to reveal rea, data-backed insights in minutes.
Wait, aren’t there other landing page graders out there?
Touche! There are other landing page analyzers/graders/calculators available, but we can confidently say Unbounce’s is the most sophisticated and comprehensive you’ll find. Ours is the only landing page analyzer on the market leveraging AI technology, and the endless amount of campaign research done by our customers and our in-house marketing team.
For the past eight years, we’ve been obsessed with the question “what’s a good conversion rate?”, and Unbounce’s internal research team has employed proprietary AI technology to analyze the behavior of over 75 million visitors to 65,000 landing pages with a goal of understanding what makes a customer convert.
We have more data than any other conversion platform to provide insights on what a high-performing landing page looks like, and The Analyzer leverages this insight.
The Analyzer’s data is sourced from Google Page Speed Insights, and our very own proprietary data broken down by industry.
Actionable feedback you can implement today
The best thing about this landing page review? You’ll discover instant improvements that might take you only minutes to fix.
The Wizard of Moz himself, Rand Fishkin ran the following product’s landing page from Moz.com through The Analyzer and had some great things to discover.
How’d this Moz page fare? Here are Rand’s initial thoughts:
“I’m glad to see we passed so many of the technical checks! I was a little nervous. [I] Realized that the page is missing testimonials or social proof. That’s a head-smacking moment.”
Rand may be a bit self-depreciating here, however. Moz’s page scored really well with a 75% overall:
Rand’s overall landing page grade.
Rand’s verdict on trying out The analyzer?
What did we learn?
Interested in what The Analyzer could teach us about our in-house landing pages at Unbounce, we ran our recent event landing page for PPC Week through to see what we’d take away:
Pictured: The landing page for PPC week we input into the Landing Page Analyzer.
We learned the page converts very well for our industry (7.7%), and while the page loads pretty quickly (0.7 seconds), at 3.32MB it’s overweight and could be loading even quicker if we reduce it to less than 3MB:
Our PPC Week page’s overall grade. Note our message match and page speed could use some work.
Our PPC Week landing page is running a little slowly.
Fortunately, The Analyzer also provided us with some compressed images that will help us load up to 9% faster:
We also saw that our page title, meta description and H1 tags were helping our SEO visibility (which was important for this particular page).
All of these quick-to-change factors can improve this PPC Week page for us, but we’re most excited to see what you’ll discover about your own landing pages. Bonus, you don’t need an Unbounce-built page to try The Analyzer, either. Give it a try today and let us know what you think!