Paid search ads have changed a lot over the years, and with the inclusion of extensions, marketers are able to make their ads not only more personal, but allow consumers to find exactly what they are looking for.
On Tuesday, August 25th, Diane Pease presented the one hour web seminar, All About Ad Extensions. In this webinar, Diane covered the various types of ad extensions, examples of each, and how to use it effectively. She also covered mobile extensions and how they work differently.
Diane is an Inbound Marketing Manager for Cisco, and has been in online and traditional marketing for over twenty-five years. She has expertise in SEO, social and traditional marketing, but her primary specialty and passion is paid search and analytics. Diane is also a monthly contributor to Search Engine Watch and SEMRush. She is also speaker at the SES conference series, ClickZLive , SMX and Internet Summit.
Missed this web seminar? Find the presentation slides and audio recording here.
If you’re brand new to the AdWords Display Network, my earlier post introduces you to re-marketing, in-market audiences, keywords, managed placements, target by topic, similar audiences, interests, affinity groups, and demographics. Once you have an overview, read some tips for your bid strategy, campaigns, placement monitoring, overall design, and mobile-friendliness. After those posts and some time implementing previous suggestions, you’re ready for even more tips on how to use the AdWords Display Network.
Combine Targeting: You can use a combination of the targeting methods available to find a very specific audience. For example, if you choose keyword targeting with one of the other methods, your ads will be served within the context of a relevant article on a content site. This can be a good option if you find clicks from your Display Network ads are not bringing you traffic that converts.
Don’t overdo your targeting: If you combine too many targeting groups, your reach is reduced significantly. If you combine a number of targeting methods and find that you are reaching too few people, broaden those groups to ensure you reach a larger number. Another problem can occur if you overdo targeting because it becomes difficult to determine which targeting method is providing the best return. Keep your combination to a maximum of two groups when you start out so you don’t make your audience too narrow and so you can also get a feel for which targeting method has the greatest return.
Custom affinity audiences: An affinity audience is a group of people with similar interests. The custom affinity audience introduced by Google in October of 2014 lets you decide exactly who you want to reach. For those who are concerned about being too narrow, immediate estimates are provided as the audience is built, which shows demographics and relevant affinities. This real time feedback lets you make changes to your ads before you launch.
Google Plus can be a bit confusing when you use the platform for the first couple of times. Many people mention they have issues understanding what the difference is between the other social networks and Google Plus. This post will go over three segments of Google Plus that makes the platform different from other sites.
First off Google Plus is an easy way to connect with people who share the same interest as you. If you have a strong interest in photography, then finding like-minded individuals who share many photos to their groups is easy. You are instantly able to connect with people who you want to see and connect with. Other social networks require you to know the person or go through a process in order to connect with them. Google Plus eliminates this issue because remember it is more of a platform.
Quick Tip- You can gain better search results ranking if you add the official Google Plus Button to your site which can be found Here
Below are the three main things that will help you get a better idea of how to use the network.
Ever afraid of posting the wrong thing to the wrong people? Maybe you just don’t want to share everything online because it may mix with your different relationships that you have. Some people have even lost their position at their jobs because they have posted something about their job and the manager ended up seeing the post!
To prevent things like this from happening Google Plus has what is called Circles. Circles enables you to target the people you post to on the platform. Let’s say you want to target your loyal customers vs your general customers. You can do this with Circles. Also if you are traveling and want to announce that you won’t be in town maybe it’s a good idea to send these types of posts to certain friends and family Circles etc. There are many stories on how doing these strategies can protect your privacy.
This tool also helps if you want to be able to communicate with a group of individuals in an organization. Everyone in the organization can be members of the same Circle so that communication can be seen only by members. You can also add the same people to multiple circles. It’s important to note that people will not be able to see what circle you place them in. So when you post be sure to add them accordingly.
Hangouts is another really useful way to use Google Plus. Hangouts are divided between two types, Hangouts and Hangouts On Air. Hangouts serve as a conferencing feature that enables you to talk to up to ten people at once. This feature is very useful for people who work in an office where there are many locations but they do not want to drive to meetings. This also plays a role in some tech companies hiring process as they use this for interviews. Unlike some platforms that offer conferencing features, this one gives you this ability at no cost!
If you are a user of Google Docs (a tool that lets you work on the same documents at once) you may be interested in the feature that lets you use Google Docs while you are using Hangouts with other people. This helps make conferencing features and collaborations much more engaging. Whenever a group is on Google Plus, whoever is talking will be zoomed in for a more up close look at the person. Participants are also able to mute their mic in the case of background noise.
Quick Tip- You should definitely utilize land line internet access whenever doing Hangouts for good use
Hangouts On Air
Hangouts on Air is meant to help you have a wider audience for broadcasting. Instead of just having the ten people, this hangout is broadcasted across the web. This is done by the platform showing your live hangout on YouTube. Many users have used this opportunity to put on cooking classes and many other class ideas. Another way people use this tool is to hold events that cannot be attended. While doing the broadcast you are able to see exactly how many people are viewing the broadcast.
Communities helps you create a group revolving around a niche that your company can relate to. For example Lowes Home Improvement has a community specifically about technology within your home. The group can be formed to be private or a public community that anyone can join. Once people join your group they can begin to post things related to your community. The good thing about Communities is that once enough people join the group many people will be contributing so that the owner just has to manage and maintain everything instead of posting.
This should help you get started with Google Plus and understand how to use the tools!
The people and culture in a company have a significant influence on its overall performance. A company that wants an above the line culture needs to first know where they are today and recognize that culture is more than a buzzword. It is something that impacts the employees and bottom line performance of the company.
Culture is defined by values and beliefs and should align with the business’s objectives. A culture that forms on its own is necessarily beneficially to the business’s bottom line, which is why the creation of it must be intentional. Unfortunately, many companies accept the party line of ‘that’s the way we do things’ without bothering to ask the why behind the way things are done. It isn’t until employees understand the why that they are willing to give 100%. This helps them understand what they are working towards and allows them to define their role in it.
Values have a direct impact on a person’s performance. When values are defined and match those of the company, everyone is focused on the same goals. The added benefit is that employees can work together better to reach these goals.
Companies cannot just claim to have a certain type of culture. They need to make sure their culture delivers on what the brand promises. Only then will leaders be in a good position to reach business goals. They can also evaluate whether their culture is moving them in the right direction.
An above the line culture is easy to spot. These are the companies where people want to work and likely receive a significant number of applications for every opening. Employees enjoy working with customers; believe in what they do, and are inspired to perform at their best. They have camaraderie and work in a team environment. When change is needed to stay in alignment with strategy, it is likely to happen quickly because employees are empowered by the company’s leaders.
Below the line cultures are the ones where there’s a revolving door. Employees are stressed out and unproductive. They are burned out and look to take more than give which results in high levels of absenteeism and brand erosion. So for those organizations below the line, the question is how can they shift towards moving above the line?
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A/B testing is a critical component of any marketer’s arsenal these days. Marketing as a whole is becoming much more reliant on data-driven decisions that are derived from split testing, which provides insight into what we should and shouldn’t do. Conversion rates are becoming much more important to all levels of management, especially as testing tools get easier to implement and allow us to be extremely agile in our marketing efforts. Here are seven A/B testing lessons that may give you some ideas of what to test to help increase your conversion rate.
1. Good title vs. a title that will always get clicked
In marketing it is important to evaluate how you showcase your product in front of potential buyers. In fact, there is a common saying: “Sell benefits, not features.” While writing the title of your landing page, ask yourself if it really sells the benefit.
Recently, Neil Patel launched an all-in-one SEO analyzer on his personal blog, QuickSprout.com. Though the tool created a buzz around Digital Marketing circles, Neil A/B-tested the title of the landing page of that tool.
Title A: Are You Doing Your SEO Wrong?
Title B: Do You Want More Traffic?
Both the titles were good, but the second one is catchier. Neil Patel hasn’t revealed how much impact this test had in his conversion rate. Maybe it is too early to reveal
Another great example: Movexa, a natural joint-relief supplement by Vitamin Boat Corp. has done an A/B test on its product page. Earlier, Movexa’s title was too vague. Later, the company improved its title to catch people’s attention.
Title A: Natural Joint Relief
Title B: Natural Joint Relief Supplement.
Test hypothesis & the impact: The ideas behind these tests were to improve the clarity of the titles. As titles are one of the first things seen by the users, improving it will have a big impact on conversion.
Movexa has reported that improving clarity of their title on the product page has increased its sales by 90 percent.
Lesson to learn:
Think like your customer. Make sure you are selling benefits and not features. Split test with different elements and find which works best for you.
1. Description vs. Overview
A recent study about how users read on the web reveals that users read, at most, 28 percent of the copy on the page. This means, instead of reading the full copy, users will typically scan the content.
A couple of months ago, Keep&Shareconducted an A/B test with 4 variations of titles and descriptions.
Variation 1: Longer title with brief overview
Variation 2: Longer title with longer overview
Variation 3: Longer title with brief but different overview from above 2
Variation 4: Shorter title with shorter overview
Test hypothesis & the impact: The objective is to analyze which of the 4 variations work better in terms of conversion. The test will be fast to run and easy to analyze as the title and descriptions have changed.
The winner? Variation 4 with a conversion rate of 103 percent.
Lesson to learn: It doesn’t matter how good you describe the product, unless the users are really interested in reading it, results won’t vary. Try to give a brief overview of what you provide. Make sure the copy is easily digestible. Remember, less is better almost always.
2. Making your call to action prominent
Fiverr.com is the world’s largest marketplace for small services. Unlike other websites, in a service-based marketplace, users are more likely to learn how the website works before creating an account.
Having said that, the above fold of the previous Fiverr homepage design was more intended to teach people how the site works.
At first, on the homepage I clicked on the “how does it work” button. That was a better explanation. I was amazed. On the home page, if you click on the how it works button, you get a much better explanation of the product.
As you browse through different categories, you can see interesting gigs and read purchase reviews. There is no need yet to create an account. Therein lies the problem. The call to action on the homepage was not prominent on the previous design.
The nice news is that, unlike the older page, the call to action on the current design is prominent.
Similar to Fiverr, the old design of Consolidated Label didn’t have any call to action on their page. So they A/B tested by placing a prominent call to action on their test page.
Test hypothesis & the impact: As call to action is prominent on the new design, obviously the expectation from the test is increased conversion.
Fiverr hasn’t revealed conversion rate of its new design yet. Consolidated Label confirmed a huge increase in conversions by 62 percent.
Lesson to learn: You may want to let your users know more about your product or services. However, make sure your call to action is prominent on homepages.
1. Checkout process – Single step vs. multiple steps
Recently, HostGator.com reduced the checkout process from 2 steps to 1 single step. Earlier, users were required to choose the domain name and discount coupon on the first step and enter the billing information on the second step. Currently, all the steps are merged together.
Test hypothesis & the impact: The idea here is to simplify the checkout process as much as possible to reduce the possibility of hitting the back button or going elsewhere.
A study conducted by Getelastic.com has revealed that a single page checkout process has increased the conversion rate by 21.8 percent.
In fact, reducing the number of steps does not always increase the conversion rate.
CrazyEgg.com had a 10 percent hike in its conversion rate when it changed the checkout process from 2 steps to 3 steps.
Lesson to learn: Research shows that single-page checkout outperforms the multi page checkout in terms of conversion rate. However, it depends on the type of the product and the target market. Make sure you split test and learn what works for you. For a multi-page checkout, it is better to provide a visual indicator, which shows the user’s checkout progress.
2. Explanation – Slide vs. videos
If a picture speaks a thousand words, how many words does a video speak? After all, we are lazy. As mentioned earlier, users read at most 28 percent of web copy on a given page. So why not to create an explainer video instead of putting all your efforts on writing and improving the copy?
A nice explainer video not only showcases what your product is all about, but it makes your product stand out from your competitors.
Test & the impact:
According to a Statistic Brain study, the average attention span of a visitor on a web page is 8 seconds. However, it would be harder to explain the purpose of a product in 8 seconds, especially if the idea behind a product is somewhat complicated.
This is why an explainer video is vitally important. Research shows that, on average, explainer videos are watched for more than 2 minutes. Hopefully using an explainer video will be helpful with increasing conversion rate.
Crazyegg.com has reported an increase in conversion rate by 64 percent.
Work.com and Dropbox.com have also found increases in conversion rates by 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Lesson to learn: No matter if you use slides or explainer videos, make sure the end users understand what your product is all about.
Explainer videos are great, however there are some exceptions where the videos would be less than ideal.
For instance, videos might not be ideal when:
- · Visitors have poor Internet connectivity
- · Products are simple and it is easy to convey the main message
- · Visitors are in a hurry and don’t want to watch the entire video
3. How long the landing page should be?
A common way of attracting a younger generation is to bring the prospects to a smaller squeeze page with fewer or no distractions. However, in some cases, you may want a longer sales page for further convincing the users to signup. Syed Balkhi, the founder of WPBeginner.com uses both the concepts together in a single landing page.
Users can click on a CTA button and they are directed to a contact form that needs to be filled out. Users are also able to click on information that will show them more details of the services provided before signing up.
Test and the impact: Longer pages will be needed if it is harder to convince the prospect to buy a product or if the product is costlier.
Quicksprout.com has observed an increase in conversion rates of 67.2 percent with a shorter squeeze page, where the prospects were just asked to submit their email address.
FitnessWorld.dk has found 11 percent more conversions when they reduced the size of the page where the gym is well known and the offer is simple and inexpensive.
Lesson to learn: You should split test between different kinds of landing pages and use the one that works better for you. If you are not sure, you can combine both the concepts of smaller and longer page into a single landing page so that users can easily choose from it.
1. Split testing- the down side
Split testing can be a nice way to learn what works best for your website, however there may be some drawbacks if you don’t use it effectively.
- Duration: Make sure you conduct A/B tests long enough. Shorter duration tests may not hold true for the long run.
- Number of conversions: For better results, you shouldn’t stop the test unless you receive a specific number of conversions for each variation. This means if you have a low-traffic website, you’ll have to keep the test until statistical significance is achieved.
- SEO: Rumors are spreading that split testing can hurt SEO. One of the major problems for the long term A/B tests is the duplicate content issue. Make sure your test URLs are not indexed on Google.
Lesson to learn: Despite having some drawbacks, A/B tests are vital for conversion rate optimization. Tools like Visual Website Optimizer can give you a rough idea of how long you should run the A/B tests by inputting elements such as the number of visitors, number of variations and expected improvements in the conversion rate.
It is common to have negative results when you run A/B testing on your website. Don’t be discouraged from further testing. Remember, options that worked for someone else may not always work for you.
About a month ago, I had an identity crisis. I am an account manager at a firm that does social media marketing for small businesses, and I had all but tweeted myself into burnout.
I swear, I would think, drowning amidst Google Alerts and the ever-updating Hootsuite feeds, if I have to cleverly craft one more status update … It’s a wonder one of our clients didn’t end up “getting’ slizzard” with the Red Cross. Even for people that love social media, the feeling of being trapped in a bottomless pit can get overwhelming.
In the end, a break wasn’t even what I needed — I just needed to know there was a point to the hours and hours of work. While I had noticed great uptakes in engagement with our accounts, I had no way of knowing whether the comments and follower counts were actually doing anything. Was there a social side to social media?
I asked one of our clients, a wedding venue, if I could write a case study on our work. “Did we increase sales?” I asked with the aggressive urgency of an investigative reporter. “If not sales, then business leads? How has business changed since you started working with us?” (more…)