Category: Traffic Training

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We Analyzed 5 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About Organic Click Through Rate

sourced from: https://backlinko.com/google-ctr-stats

We analyzed 5 million Google search results to better understand organic click through rate.

First, we analyzed CTR data across 874,929 pages and 5,079,491 search queries.

Then, we looked at how factors like title tag length, sentiment and meta descriptions affect organic CTR.

Thanks to data provided from ClickFlow, we were able to get CTR data from several different Google Search Console accounts.

So without further ado, let’s see the results.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.73%.

2. The #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in #10 spot.

3. Organic CTR for positions 7-10 is virtually the same. Therefore moving up a few spots on the bottom of the first page may not result in more organic traffic.

4. On average, moving up 1 spot in the search results will increase CTR by 30.8%. However, this depends on where you’re moving from and to. Moving from position #3 to position #2 will usually result in a significant CTR boost. However, moving from #10 #9 doesn’t make a statistically significant difference.

5. Title tags that contain a question have a 14.1% higher CTR vs. pages that don’t have a question in their title.

6. Title tags between 15 to 40 characters have the highest CTR. According to our data, pages with a title tag length between 15 and 40 characters have an 8.6% higher CTR compared to those that are outside of that range.

7. URLs that contain a keyword have a 45% higher click through rate compared to URLs that don’t contain a keyword.

8. Adding “Power Words” to your title tag may decrease your CTR. We found that titles with Power Words had a 13.9% lower CTR compared to titles that didn’t contain Power Words.

9. Emotional titles may improve your CTR. We found that titles with positive or negative sentiment improved CTR by approximately 7%.

10. Writing meta descriptions for your pages may result in a higher CTR. Pages with a meta description get 5.8% more clicks than those without a description.

I have detailed data and information of our analysis below.

The #1 Result In Google Gets 31.7% of All Clicks

The initial goal of our study was to establish CTR benchmarks.

Using our full data set of ~5 million results, we found that the #1 result has the highest CTR (by far).

We also saw a sharp CTR dropoff starting on the 2nd page of the results.

In fact, only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.

This CTR trend is consistent with other CTR industry studies, like this one from Advanced Web Ranking.

Because CTR starting on the 2nd page is extremely low, we wanted to zero-in on the first page results. So we re-ran this analysis with data that excluded results from page 2 and beyond. We also eliminated queries that may skew the results with an abnormally high CTR (for example, branded queries).

And after we analyzed only the first page results with this data subset, we found that the #1 result in Google has a CTR of 31.7%.

Here is the full CTR breakdown for Google’s first page organic results:

As you can see, the #1 result in Google has a 10x higher CTR compared to the #10 result.

For anyone that’s worked in the SEO field for any length of time, this finding shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s well-known that ranking #1 is significantly more valuable than any other position.

That’s because, according to a recent Moz survey, many Google users instinctively click on the first result in Google. This likely explains why the #2 result, which is just a few mere pixels below the #1 spot, has such a large CTR dropoff.

Key Takeaway: The #1 result in Google gets 31.73% of all clicks.

Organic CTR Spikes At Position #5… And Again At Position #3

As I outlined, the #1 result in Google has (by far) the highest CTR.

However, there are still clicks to be had outside of the top position.

Specifically, while CTR is relatively flat between positions #6-#10 there’s a significant CTR spike starting with position #5.

This suggests two things:

Most users don’t scroll past the 5th result.
Moving up from position #6 to #5 may result in a significant CTR boost.

We see another sharp CTR increase starting with position #3.

This may be due to the fact that, for results without ads or SERP features, the #3 result often appears above the fold.

In fact, we found that the top 3 Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks.

Key Takeaway: Our data suggests that “ranking on the first page” may not be a worthy SEO goal. Instead, it’s all about ranking in the top spot (or at least in the top 3). The top 3 organic results get 75% of the clicks.

Moving Up One Position Increases CTR By 30.8%

We discovered, all things being equal, moving up a single position in Google increases relative CTR by 30.8%.

However, this CTR boost isn’t evenly distributed. Not even close.

The CTR impact of moving up in the SERPs varied widely depending on position.

For example, moving from position #9 to #8 will result in 5% more clicks. Not a huge difference.

However, moving up from #6 to the #5 spot will result in 52.6% more clicks.

Key Takeaway: Moving up one position in Google will increase your relative CTR by an average of 30.8%. However, this increase varies greatly depending on position. We found that the greatest CTR increase came from moving from #6 to #5, which resulted in an absolute CTR boost of 52%.

Most Websites Get 8.1 Clicks Per Query

We also looked at, for all the queries reported in the Google Search Console, how many resulted in clicks.

First, we discovered that most of the queries that a site ranks for in Google get very few impressions.

This suggests that most of the keywords that a site ranks for are long tails with low search volume. Or that the site isn’t ranking highly for these terms. Or both.

And likely due to a low number of impressions, most queries result in a small number of clicks (8.1 per query).

Key Takeaway: “Ranking for X keywords” may not be a valuable SEO metric. That’s because most pages rank for keywords with little search volume. Instead, most impressions and clicks tend to come from a relatively small number of queries.

Question Titles Have an Above-Average CTR

We compared the average organic CTR between titles that contained and didn’t contain a question.

(We defined a question as a title that used the terms “How, Why, What, Who” or a title with a question mark).

We found that questions with titles had a 14.1% higher click through rate compared to titles without a question.

Here’s the full CTR breakdown across the top 10 results.

This finding is consistent with headline CTR studies, like this one published in the journal Social Influence.

Questions may improve CTR because, when someone is searching for something in Google, they’re essentially looking for an answer to a question.

(They are called “queries” after all).

And using a question title may confirm to the reader that your result contains the answer to their exact question.

For example, I used a question title on this page optimized around the term “nofollow link”.

According to my GSC data, that page has a CTR of 29.2%.

Most people searching for a broad term like “nofollow link” want to know what a nofollow link actually is. And my question title shows that my result will give the searcher the answer they’re looking for.

Key Takeaway: Question-based title tags have a 14.1% higher CTR compared to non-question titles.

Title Tags Between 15 to 40 Characters Have The Best CTR

What’s the ideal title tag length? Should you keep your titles short and sweet? Or use long titles that contain lots of info about your content?

According to our data, you want to aim somewhere in the middle.

Specifically, we found that titles between 15 to 40 characters have the highest organic CTR.

While there may be an SEO benefit of long title tags (longer titles=more keywords), this may be partially offset by a lower organic CTR.

In fact, Etsy tested numerous title tag variations as part of a large-scale SEO experiment. And they discovered that “It appeared in our results that shorter title tags performed better than longer ones.”

The author of that post hypothesized that shorter titles may perform better in Google due to query matching. However, according to our analysis, CTR may also play a role in why short and medium titles work best.

Key Takeaway: Title tags between 15 and 40 characters have the best organic CTR. Titles inside of this range have an 8.6% better average click-through-rate compared to those that fall outside of this range.

Keyword-Rich URLs Are Correlated With a Significantly Higher CTR

We wanted to see if keyword-rich URLs positively impacted CTR.

For example, take someone searching for “weekend trips”. Would a URL like travel.com/weekend-trips have a higher CTR than travel.com/travel-page?

To accomplish this analysis, we looked at each of the search queries, compared them with the URLs, and provided a similarity index that ranged from 0% to 100%.

A value of 0% means that the two words are not similar at all, while a value of 100% means a perfect match. We ignored all punctuation marks and symbols. We also treated certain words as the same (book vs books, cake vs cakes, etc.).

Indeed, we found a strong correlation between keyword-rich URLs and organic CTR (p-value = 0.01)

Although having a perfect query-keyword match resulted in the highest CTR, our data shows that a URL that partially matches a query can also result in a significant CTR boost.

Google’s Search Engine Optimization guide reminds webmasters that your page’s URL shows up in the SERPs. And they recommend that you use “URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content…”.

And a 2012 paper published by Microsoft found that “trusted domains” had a higher CTR in search engines compared to domains that people weren’t familiar with.

The theory behind this is that search engine users use a page’s URL to figure out the best match for their query.

Key Takeaway: We found a 45% increase in CTR for pages with a perfect query match (the entire search query is in the URL) vs. a non-match (no search query term matches the URL).

“Power Words” May Negatively Impact Click Through Rate

“Power Words” are specific words and phrases designed to help your headlines stand out, and in theory, get more clicks.

For example, Power Words and terms like:

Secret
Powerful
Ultimate
Great
Perfect
Best
Insane
Amazing

Our data found that Power Words actually decreased CTR by 13.9%.

My theory on this is that, while Power Words are great for grabbing attention on noisy platforms (like Facebook), they may look like clickbait in Google’s search results.

For example, look at the top 3 results for the keyword “how to write headlines”.

For a keyword like this you’d expect over-the-top titles like “How to Write Insanely Amazing Headlines”.

However, the top 3 results all use title tags that are pretty subdued.

Key Takeaway: While Power Words may work on social media, they can hurt your organic click through rate. In fact, titles with Power Words have a 13.9% worse CTR compared to titles without any Power Words.

Emotional Titles Can Increase Organic Click Through Rate

Our data suggests that emotional titles (titles with a positive or negative sentiment) have a higher CTR compared to emotionally-neutral titles.

Specifically, we found that emotional titles have a 7.3% higher absolute CTR compared to non-emotional titles.

We also discovered that negative and positive titles tend to work equally well. Controlling for other variables (like ranking position), titles with a positive sentiment have a 7.4% higher CTR, while titles with a negative sentiment have a 7.2% higher CTR.

For this analysis we analyzed each word in the title for “text polarity”. And each title was assigned a sentiment score based on the title’s estimated negative or positive sentiment.

For example, a title like this was considered neutral.

And this title was scored as having a positive sentiment.

Several industry studies, including this one from BuzzSumo, have found a correlation between emotional headlines and engagement.

However, I wasn’t able to find any industry study that specifically looked at the relationship between emotional title tags and Google organic CTR.

And at least according to our data, emotional titles can result in a higher click through rate in the organic results.

What’s interesting is that, while we found that Power Words hurt CTR, emotional titles help CTR.

This may be due to the fact that sentiment is a more nuanced metric than the presence or absence of a single Power Word. In other words, it’s possible to write an emotionally-charged title without using a Power Word. And titles that deftly push emotional buttons without looking like clickbait can stand out and get more clicks in the SERPs.

Key Takeaway: Titles with negative or positive sentiment have a higher organic click through rate vs. neutral titles.

Pages With a Meta Description Have a Higher Average CTR vs. Pages Without a Description

Even though descriptions don’t directly impact SEO, Google still recommends writing a unique meta description for every page on your site.

In fact, they even suggest that well-written descriptions can improve the number of clicks you get from Google search.

Which is why we decided to compare organic CTR between pages with and without a meta description. We found that pages with meta descriptions had a 5.8% better CTR compared to pages without a description.

This finding shouldn’t surprise anyone with experience in SEO. Even though Google doesn’t always use the meta descriptions you write for them, your meta description can appear fairly often in the SERPs.

Without a meta description to fall back on, Google has to pull snippets from your page to fill in that space in your snippet.

And the text that Google pulls from your page is almost always going to be less enticing than a well-written description.

Key Takeaway: Writing unique meta descriptions for each page can increase your site’s organic CTR. We found that pages with a meta description had a 5.8% higher CTR compared to pages without a description.

Summary and Conclusion

Again, I’d like to thank Eric Siu from ClickFlow for helping make this study possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we collected and analyzed the data for this study, here is a PDF of our methods.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway from this research?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, go ahead and leave a comment below.

The post We Analyzed 5 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About Organic Click Through Rate appeared first on Backlinko.

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How to Make Your Google Search Snippets More Clickable

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/google-search-snippets/

An alarming digital marketing trend should scare all online publishers: Organic traffic from Google is vanishing:

Google’s latest search elements (featured snippets and People Also Ask) steal clicks from organic listings.The first three positions account for over 50% of clicks. This means that you’re still “buried” on the bottom or middle of Page 1.Organic click-through rate (CTR) is declining across the board: The top position had a CTR of 38.7% in May 2014. As of June 2019, it was 31.0%.

On top of all that, most browser-based searches on Google result in zero clicks:

Zero-click searches result from Google’s ability to give quick answers on search result pages—current local weather, definitions, solutions to math problems, currency conversions, etc. (Image source)

Yet, Google remains the most effective online traffic source. With more than 3.5 billion searches a day (and 1.2 trillion per year) worldwide, a presence on Google isn’t optional. If a business isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.

Search (read: Google) is still where most buying journeys start. It’s also the only scalable, sustainable source of free traffic. You may not like the trend, but there’s no alternative to Google’s traffic. So how can you still get organic clicks from a Google SERP?

Making your search snippets more clickable is a good place to start. Whether you rank first or fifth, improving your click-through rate is low-hanging fruit that will impact your bottom line—without a major investment in link-building or dedicated marketing campaign.

Here are things you can do to improve your click-through rate in Google.

1. Get more clickable links inside your search snippet.

There’s an accepted truth from email marketing: The more clickable links you have in your email, the more clicks you get. When web users see something that looks like a link, they feel compelled to click it. Links invite clicks; it’s as simple as that.

The same principle applies to Google’s search snippets. The only difference is that we can’t directly edit links’ appearance on a search results page (SERP) or—more importantly—how many links they choose to include.

There are two ways to increase your odds of having more than one clickable link inside your search snippet:

Create an on-page clickable table of contents.

Have you ever seen “Jump to” links inside a search snippet? They take you right to the part of the page with the information you’re searching for. Here’s what they look like:

And here’s what populates that link from the document:

Google’s “Jump to” link is populated by a “named anchor” HTML element that identifies (or “names”) a part of the document.

There are two ways to add these:

Do it manually. Create anchor links for fast navigation. This method requires a bit of work, but, on the bright side, you have full control over how you name your anchors and links for better usability and SEO-friendliness.Use a WordPress plugin like Easy Table of Contents. Automatically add a clickable, named-anchor table of contents to each article based on H2 and H3 subheads. Here’s a detailed tutorial on using this plugin.

Optimize for mini-sitelinks.

While generic sitelinks usually appear for navigational queries, mini-sitelinks may be triggered for all kinds of searches, and there may be more than one search snippet with mini-sitelinks on a SERP.

Both types of sitelinks rely on on-page navigation (and whether Google deems your navigational links relevant to the current query). This is what mini-sitelinks look like for an informational query:

You don’t have control over mini-sitelinks, but you can increase your odds of earning them. Google uses on-page clues to generate mini-sitelinks, especially:

On-page tables of contents (see above);Related content blocks underneath your content. This is the case in the screenshot above. Mini-sitelinks are populated from a “related reading” block underneath the article:

Having both (named anchors and related content blocks) increase your chances of getting those extra links.

2. Get more words in bold in your search snippet.

Bold font immediately attracts user eyes. Within search snippets, Google highlights certain words in bold to help users choose the best result. Having more words in bold inside your search snippet will help it stand out and likely attract more clicks.

Here’s how you can ensure that more words are highlighted in bold in your search snippets:

Use your target query strategically.

This is an easy one: Google will bold the query (or part of the query) that the user typed into the search box:

The obvious solution is to use your target query in your content (more than once) to give Google more opportunities to generate a search snippet with those words in bold. Note that I’m not talking about keyword density, a concept that should have been long forgotten (yet stubbornly reappears in our industry).

Strategic keyword usage means using your target query in prominent places around your document to ensure search crawlers and human readers instantly see them when landing on the page.

I previously wrote a detailed guide on keyword research, which lists places to include your target query:

Headline;URL slug;First paragraph;Subheadings.

Use related terms and synonyms.

Google has long moved away from exact keyword matching. These days, they understand search queries in context. Specifically, Google can understand closely related words as well as synonyms, which they often highlight in search results:

Google bolds related terms—not just exact keyword matches—that relate to the query.

You’re likely doing this already without realizing it. Good writers use varied vocabulary and include synonymous phrases and concepts without thinking about “click-through optimization.”

However, being a bit more strategic about it will help you on many fronts, including creating better, more thorough copy, improving your organic rankings, and, yes, increasing your click-through rate (CTR).

Tools you can use to make this easier

Ahrefs

Ahrefs has a cool section inside their “Keyword explorer” called “All keyword ideas.” This section offers “keyword extensions” (i.e. extending your base term into a longer phrase) and lists closely related terms you should consider using in your content.

To use the tool to go beyond your core term, use the “Exclude” filter to filter out phrases containing it:

Text Optimizer

Text Optimizer is the semantic research tool that goes right to the source—Google’s search snippets. It uses that data to generate a list of closely related terms and concepts.

You need to use common sense and editorial judgement to pick terms you want to use, but if you choose at least 25, you’re likely to see an organic visibility boost (i.e. higher rankings) and higher search snippet CTR:

The tool also helps you use those important phrases in close proximity. Click any term, and it generates possible sentences for you to use:

3. Structure your content well.

Optimize for enhanced snippets with structured markup.

Structured markup adds code to a webpage to make it easier for search crawlers to understand, extract, and display key information in SERPs.

When it comes to the actual search snippets, Google supports a limited number of structured markup types. Most supported structured markup helps Google include data in additional search elements (e.g., brand knowledge graph elements, video and image carousels, claim-review results, book reviews, etc.)

To impact your organic search snippets, you can use the following types of structured markup:

Structured markupWho/when it should be usedWhat it does to your search snippetRatings and reviewsTool reviewers, product reviewers, etc. If you review entities often, consider installing one of these plugins.Depending on how you implement it, the search snippet displays the reviewer’s name and the star ratings given.LogoEveryoneIn mobile search results, it shows a logo next to your search listing.BreadcrumbEveryoneOn desktop, it generates a prettier URL path showing section names instead of the actual URL. (On mobile, it is displayed this way, regardless of markup.)CourseIf your page lists available coursesShows a list of courses underneath your page title in SERPs.FAQIf your page contains a list of questions and answers around the target query. Shows a collapsible list of questions underneath the search snippet.How toIf your page contains a detailed how-to tutorial on any topicShows time required, list of required tools/materials, and collapsible steps to follow.Q&AIf your page features a question with multiple answers posted by usersLists all available answers, including the “best answer,” underneath your search snippet.

Create lots of comparison and summary charts and tables.

Google loves good-old tables and charts. They often use them to generate enhanced search snippets. Here’s what it may look like:

Notice how Google also highlights key sections of the chart in bold, making them stand out in search results even more.

And here’s the summary <table> that triggered the enhanced search snippet:

Note that the table is preceded by a keyword-based subhead, which may have helped Google discover it.

To give Google more reasons to generate enhanced search snippets, summarize multiple tools and tactics with tables.

4. Work on your title tags.

This is a no-brainer, which is why I’m not listing it first, even though it’s vital.

But some people don’t realize that the title tag (i.e. article headline) impacts the click-through rate from search results—not just rankings—as it’s the biggest clickable part of the search snippet.

Using well-discussed headline tricks (e.g., numbers, adding colons or hyphens to separate parts of the headline, experimenting with negative words, etc.) will likely help your page stand out in search and improve its CTR.

5. Update your ranking content regularly.

Google loves fresh content. So do users, which is why Google shows dates in search results:

Keeping your content up-to-date helps organic rankings and CTRs. However, don’t just re-publish the same content with a new date. Google may frown upon that.

To justify an updated publish date, you need to provide substantial new value. How “substantial” is up for discussion, but Ross Hudgens suggests that at least 5% of your content should be updated:

(Image source)

To make sure your content remains up-to-date, evaluate and update old content as part of your monthly marketing routine. Make it a task in your editorial calendar.

I use ContentCal to keep my team organized and alert them of upcoming projects:

Apart from organizing a content maintenance routine, the tool also urges your team to market it again, sending fresh signals to Google.

Tools to help you keep your content up to date

Revive

Animalz came out with a free tool that connects to Google Analytics, analyzes your traffic for the past 12 months, and identifies pages that have been steadily losing traffic:

By updating these pages, you may “revive” their performance in search results. A new publish date may help clickability, but, as part of the updating process, consider all the other tips in this tutorial.

Finteza

While Animalz looks at all your content, Finteza limits the audit to the pages that drive the most traffic. You need to have it installed for some time before you can access historical insights.

Once you accumulate some data, log in to your account and follow these steps:

Click “Websites” and open the report for the site you’re analyzing.In the left-hand panel, navigate to “Sources > Search” to access your organic traffic report. Until you disable it, this will filter all further reports.Click “Pages” to see the list of your best-performing pages. You can clearly see if any are losing clicks:

The report is ordered by the percentage of total traffic each page brings to the site, making it easy to monitor the most important assets.

Google Search Console

Finally, Google Search Console offers a helpful “CTR” report inside the “Performance > Search results” section, which you can use to monitor changes:

Click the “Pages” tab underneath the line chart. Then, filter pages for a minimum number of clicks to focus your attention on those that drive the most traffic:

Using a date range comparison, you can sort pages by changes to CTR, helping you identify those that would benefit from further optimization:

Once you identify a page that’s suffered a decline in CTR, you can add in “Average position” to see if a drop or rise in CTR was likely caused by a change in rankings—or something else. 

In the example below, the CTR declined substantially even though the average position remained the same. That suggests that a change to a SERP element (like a featured snippet) may be costing you clicks. 

From there, you can investigate the SERP to see if optimization of your content may help you recover those lost clicks.

Conclusion

Keeping your content well-structured, up-to-date, and in-depth will improve rankings, as well as click-through rate and on-page engagement. It’s a win-win.

Choose from the optimizations above to boost your overall content performance in an essential, albeit fickle, acquisition channel.

The post How to Make Your Google Search Snippets More Clickable appeared first on CXL.

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High Rankings & Low Traffic: How to Fix It

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/high-rankings-low-traffic-fix/

A recent BrightEdge report said that organic search drives 51% of all website traffic. That means organic traffic is the best traffic source for almost any business. And there are several reasons for this:

With organic search, you can get the most targeted traffic
It’s more affordable than paid advertising (I don’t say it’s free, because SEO may also require some costs)
Unlike traffic from paid advertising, the organic search usually results in long-term traffic

But even without knowing that stat, it’s likely that you’ve taken efforts to make organic search work for you, and maybe the results have appeared to be impressive: now your page is ranking on the first page of Google search results.

But your ranking is not the final goal. Often, when you are tracking your traffic, you’ll notice it doesn’t always improve with higher search rankings. How’s that possible?

In this post, I’ll tell you 3 possible reasons why your high rankings didn’t result in high traffic and help you fix the issues.

1. Your Content is Ranking for the Wrong Keywords

This is the most common reason. But what does the concept of “wrong keywords” mean? It means that in the process of keyword research, you collected the terms that wouldn’t bring you any profit.

There are 2 ways this could have happened.

1. You selected too specific keywords

Long-tail keywords are trending these days. These phrases are longer and more specific than 1 and 2 keyword phrases. Because they are less generic, long-tail keywords also have lower search volume than “head” terms. However, this is their main advantage. Using these keywords, you avoid competing with niche giants that are unlikely to lose their positions.

That’s why you are focusing on long-tail keywords. But there’s always the flip side of the coin. You might have selected very specific keywords.

Ranking high for keywords almost nobody is searching for is the same as not ranking at all. For instance, showing up on the first page of Google for “black superman t shirt with red logo” is pretty useless.

Solution: Check search volume

When selecting the right keywords, always consider their search volume–a number of searches for a particular keyword in a given period. Most keyword research tools provide this score for every queried keyword.

In case you don’t use any, you can go with Google Trends. This website analyzes the popularity of search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. Moreover, with this tool, you can compare several terms. If you aren’t sure which topic or keyword is more popular, you can check it with Google Trends:

2. You didn’t consider search intent

Is your page ranking for keywords that don’t match searchers’ intent? To answer this question, let’s look into the concept of search intent.

People conduct searches for different reasons. The ultimate goal of a person searching for a specific keyword is called search intent.

Google has learned to determine the search intent of a queried phrase and show results that meet this search intent. That’s why if you search for “how to shoelace shoes,” you don’t necessarily see the exact keyword match in the results. The search engine understands what kind of information you need and provides you with relevant content:

There are 4 types of search intent:

Informational: to learn something new. The following modifiers are specific to this type of search intent: how to, what, why, guide, tips, learn, etc.
Navigational: to find particular information on a specific website. These queries usually contain branded keywords.
Commercial: to find the best solution. The searcher is going to take action, but he or she is still trying to make a final decision. Commercial queries are followed by such words as best, review, top, vs., etc.
Transactional: to take action. Transactional intent is the intent of making a purchase. The modifiers are: buy, order, price, purchase, etc.

So if you didn’t denote your page’s intent with keywords, Google could have started to rank your e-commerce website for informational queries (and vice versa). In the result, people seeing your snippet won’t click and your target audience won’t see it in the search results.

Solution: Denote search intent

To make your content rank for the relevant queries, denote the specific intent with your keywords. For instance, if your product page contains a long description, add the modifiers specific to transactional search intent.

To avoid this problem in the future, Google your selected keywords before implementing them. Check every top snippet to understand the majority intent.

(NOTE: Before you get started fixing your traffic problem, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

2. There are Too Many Special Elements in the Search Results

According to Andy Crestodina, the more features there are on search results pages, the lower the click-through rate is.

If there are too many special elements (featured snippets, ads, “people also ask” box, etc.) in the search results, there’s a chance that users simply don’t scroll down to your number 3 post.

Solution: Adapt to the changes

You shouldn’t despair. Trends are changing, and so should we. There are various techniques to increase your search traffic, and I’ll highlight 2 that work the best:

1. Target keywords with fewer SERP features

You can optimize your content for keywords that result in fewer special elements. Your SEO tool of choice will help you cope with this task. To illustrate the process, I’ll go with Serpstat.

First of all, enter your target keyword into the tool’s search bar and select your country. In the Keyword Selection section, apply filter Special elements in SERP > Does not include > *here you should select any feature you don’t want to appear in search results for your query*. I selected 3 of the most popular (and massive) elements: featured snippets, related questions, and top PPC block.

When you see the list of keywords filtered by the specific criteria, you can either export it or select only the most suitable for your goals.

2. Try to win featured snippets

Featured snippets usually take up a bunch of space in the search results. By winning these snippets, you will increase the visibility of your page significantly (and steal some traffic from #1 ranking page). But how to win them? Although nobody can guarantee winning Google’s featured snippets, you can increase your chances significantly with these simple steps:

Among all the keywords your page is ranking for, identify those with featured snippets in the search results. If you use Serpstat, the algorithm is pretty much the same as when we were filtering out specific SERP elements. But this time, the condition is just the opposite, and the filter should be: Special elements in SERP > Includes > Featured snippet.
Analyze your competitors’ featured snippets to have an idea on the most efficient content structure.
Provide clear content structure with H1–H3 subheads, lists, and bullet points.
Implement the keywords you selected into your subheads.

Check my recent post to find a detailed guide on optimizing for featured snippets.

3. Your Meta Data Doesn’t Make People Click

Last but not least. What if your meta descriptions simply don’t look appealing enough?

Your meta data is the first thing users judge your page content by. If your headline and meta description don’t provide a clear description of your page content, people don’t see what they should expect. In the result, they give their clicks to your more compelling competitors.

Solution: Improve your meta data

Here are the simple rules for creating efficient meta data:

Don’t ignore meta tags. Google will build a description for you using some random text abstracts
Titles should contain no more than 65 characters. Search engines cut long lines. For your potential visitors to see the full title of your page, make sure its length lets them do it
Place the keywords at the beginning—this will help you attract people’s attention right from the start
Denote competitive advantage
Add call to action (CTA). Such invitations as “Learn more,” “Order now,” “Read here,” etc. will help people better understand what your page offers them

Organic search isn’t the only traffic source

Search is a great source of long-term traffic, but it’s not a panacea. Experiment with new potential traffic sources, and you can find channels that also drive a significant number of visits and links to your website. Moreover, diversify your traffic channels to reduce your risks of losing all your traffic when your site is affected by some new Google update.

(NOTE: Before you get started fixing your traffic problem, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post High Rankings & Low Traffic: How to Fix It appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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6 PPC Tactics for Account-Based Marketing Campaigns

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/ppc-account-based-marketing/

PPC campaigns continue to become increasingly well-targeted. More and more companies are using tactics like single-keyword ad groups (SKAGs) and single-product ad groups (SPAGs).

While those tactics may have differentiated your campaigns in the past, they no longer do (or won’t soon). One way to stand out is to go beyond keyword targeting and create PPC campaigns for specific targets—an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.

This post gives you six tactics to help execute PPC campaigns as part of an ABM strategy. You can’t focus on paid channels alone, however. Other tactics that support paid campaigns—like company-specific content and strong social media profiles—are equally vital.

To get started, you first have to balance your ABM efforts with the always-on campaigns that drive consistent growth.

The Quota-Campaign approach

You can’t execute a smart, super-personalized ABM PPC campaign without first making sure your team is hitting their minimum quotas.

ABM campaigns dedicate resources and time toward only a few prospects, and enterprise-level leads often have long sales cycles. That makes an ABM-only approach risky. So how do you balance the allocation of resources between ABM and traditional campaigns?

The Quota-Campaign approach is one solution. The Quota-Campaign approach establishes minimum output levels while allotting the balance of time to projects—like ABM campaigns.

Your Quota project focuses on weekly (or monthly) minimums, like relaunching brand campaigns or optimizing existing product-focused campaigns. Once quotas maintain an undercurrent of growth, you can test more freely.

This is where Campaign projects (i.e. PPC for ABM) begin. These campaigns periodically spike growth by deploying tactics outlined below. Regardless of tactic, however, all ABM PPC campaigns start with one thing: ad creative and supporting content.

Ad creative and content for ABM PPC campaigns

With account-based content, you’re usually cutting out search engines and proactively reaching out to prospects. Content for paid advertising campaigns—ad copy, images, landing pages, downloadables, etc.—is all personalized for singular brands. (Or, at the very least, narrowly targeted verticals.)

So what content is essential to run an ABM-focused paid campaign? Below (on the right) are just a few examples of account-based content, most of which can be used in PPC campaigns. (There are more specific examples further below.)

ABM tries to surround singular targets with more content. (Image source)

The key is to customize content for specific targets and channels (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook retargeting). That task can quickly become expensive. To make content creation more sustainable:

Think of content production in terms of topics (e.g. Trends in Industry X), not outcomes (e.g. a blog post). You can repackage variants of the same information for multiple channels (blog, whitepaper, video, etc.). Create industry-specific (rather than company-specific) downloadables that can be lightly redesigned for multiple targets.Translate company research into competitive research—research on four prospects’ PPC campaigns, for example, can be offered to each as competitive research on the other three.

Ultimately, the array of offers and offer timing require the support of multiple channels. PPC campaigns for ABM don’t work well in isolation.

With that in mind, a few tactics detailed below have important supporting roles, even though they’re not “PPC” or “ABM” tactics per se. Each helps integrate PPC campaigns with a multi-channel ABM strategy.

1. Customer Match In Google Ads

As the Google Ads Support Center explains:

Customer Match lets you use your online and offline data to reach and re-engage with your customers across Search, Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube.

With ABM campaigns, this offline data (like prospect/lead information) can help you customize your ABM ads. Ideally, you’ll be using some form of lead management tool to keep track of how far your prospects have moved through your ABM funnel.

With Customer Match, you can target users based on their Google accounts (if you have their information), so only your ideal ABM prospect list sees your ads.

That’s what you call highly targeted. (Image source)

To set up Customer Match in Google Ads:

Create a list in Google Ads of your ABM prospect list.Upload the data file containing user contact info.Create or update your new custom ABM ad campaign.Now, when these users are signed into their Google account, they see your ads.

And this is only getting started with targeted PPC campaigns for your ABM strategy.

2. Similar Audiences in Google Ads

Like their Facebook counterparts (Lookalike Audiences), Similar Audiences in Google Ads allow you to scale your Customer Match audiences by entrusting Google to identify similar users (potentially from the same company) to add to your list.

(Image source)

Similar Audiences let you gently expand your audience while ensuring it’s visible only to relevant eyes. Just be cautious that your ABM strategy doesn’t devolve into an old-fashioned spray-and-pray campaign.

Still, if you’re targeting a narrow vertical rather than a specific company (or don’t have the data for a true company- or target-specific ABM campaign), Similar Audiences can be useful.

Keep in mind, though, that just like Lookalike Audiences, you need at least 1,000 users in your Customer Match Audience to start scaling.

3. Radius Targeting in Google Ads

Radius Targeting in Google Ads is a cheeky way to get your ABM prospects to engage with your ads during work hours (when business decisions tend to be made).

If you know the address of your target company’s office (or simply Google it), you can isolate the geolocation of your ads to the radius of that company’s property.

This eliminates wasteful spend in siloed ABM campaigns and also enables you to focus your ad copy on the exact audience you’re targeting. If your highest value prospect company has one location, there’s no need to target an ABM Google Ads campaign to the entire city.

4. Promotion of account-based content via social media

Social media may be the most powerful ABM channel. Both paid and organic strategies engage directly with the decision-makers of the companies you’re targeting.

LinkedIn is the king of social media platforms for ABM. Success, however, is not just about running ads—it’s about building an authoritative presence that helps build a relationship with potential buyers after you capture their initial interest with, for example, a promoted post.

How do organic efforts connect to paid social campaigns? Let’s take a look at a brief ABM social promotion campaign that we ran recently.

First, we started off with a list of software companies we thought were a good fit for our agency—ideal prospects. We then created content just for them, based on the value they could instantly take home.

[This post contains video, click to play]

We decided to create a series of hyper-personalized videos that we called “Funnel Fixers.” Each was tailored to their specific needs and their brand and included:

Overall SERP analysis for their primary keywords;Overview of their competitor ads;Analysis of their ad copy;Analysis of their landing pages and forms;Prescriptive suggestions based on our findings;Potential competitor analysis (1–3 examples per video).

To promote these videos across our paid social channels, we cut smaller, bite-sized snippets out of the original videos and promoted YouTube links across our branded channels on LinkedIn (as well as Facebook and Twitter).

For Facebook and Twitter, we even tagged our target prospect in direct social shoutouts:

From #bigwins to #biglosses, learn what #marketingmistakes your competition is guilty of in our PPC Funnel Fixers: #Accounting #Software Episode | https://t.co/djpfeAslqK | with real examples from @NetSuite @SageIntacct and @ChaseforBiz — love to hear what you think! #feedback pic.twitter.com/9B6bwSTrcp

— KlientBoost (@KlientBoost) March 14, 2019https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This is also where LinkedIn is an ABM powerhouse for enterprise-level B2B marketers. For starters, boosting these videos was a must. We kept an eye on how these posts performed organically to decide when (and where) to boost them.

LinkedIn Pulse rewards a spike in engagement by raising the placement of your content in the feeds of LinkedIn channels you tag. On top of these boosts in LinkedIn visibility, you get to engage directly with your target decision-makers (which is why strong company and individual profiles are important—more below).

Because you can track down actual individuals based on which companies they work for, you can customize your LinkedIn social promotions by tagging decision-makers at the companies you’re targeting—starting a conversation with the person who will sign on the dotted line (with content made specifically for them).

LinkedIn also allows for scheduled content promotion to keep your brand top-of-mind during the long sales cycle. You can integrate LinkedIn posts with automated social management tools like Buffer.

By the time your scheduled Sponsored Content ads re-engage your LinkedIn audience, your content will have earned plenty of social proof.

But before you start spending thousands on LinkedIn Ads…

Make sure that your presence on LinkedIn reflects well on your brand. Many interactions with ABM prospects may take place organically, as comments on promoted content, for example.

That means optimizing your company page and getting individual reps to optimize their personal LinkedIn profiles.

Here’s a great example of a strong LinkedIn profile. (Image source)

“Optimizing profiles” means:

Consistently sharing branded content;Sharing and tagging external content to boost authority;Tagging prospects in relevant, helpful posts;Posting about locations and events;Not salesy at all;Participating in conversations via comments;Direct Messaging prospects while approaching conversion.

If this seems overwhelming, you may want to invest in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to make engaging these prospects easier to manage.

Once you’ve developed a LinkedIn reputation that your prospects can trust as an authoritative voice (as opposed to obnoxious sales rep), your Linkedin Ads campaigns will be much more likely to generate a strong ROI.

5. Scaling ABM PPC campaigns with dynamic text insertion

As mentioned earlier, ABM has its drawbacks. It limits the scope of your campaigns to a much smaller audience. Dynamic text insertion can customize your broader marketing and promotion strategies to strengthen your brand presence and support ABM campaigns.

It’s a way to offer more tailored messaging to prospects at scale—somewhere between a traditional blanket approach and hyper-targeted ABM efforts. That effort can help maintain a consistent message after a prospect clicks on an ad or joins your email list.

Dynamic text matches the copy of your ad, landing page, and thank-you page with the exact words your prospects used to find you in the first place. Depending on where prospects are in the funnel, you can customize your CTAs as well.

Dynamic Text Insertion can generate more relevant landing pages, which, in turn, can lead to more relevant calls-to-action and content offers. (Image source)

If you’re a company or agency that offers multiple services (e.g. PPC and CRO), then you may want to segment your prospects based on the type of account-based content your traffic comes from.

If this is the case, dynamic text insertion is the perfect solution to continue message matching from externally facing content to the internal, customized user experience.

6. Account-based retargeting for ABM

ABM retargeting isn’t that different from ordinary retargeting. The key differences are the greater precision of targeting and customization—for the audience and the specific point in the funnel.

As Ed Fry details, running effective retargeting ads for ABM is a multi-step process. A reverse IP lookup (with the help of Clearbit or related tools) can reveal the associated company of site visitors.

But that list may still be too broad. The next level of refinement is to narrow the list to best-fit companies. You can do that with CRM data and lead-scoring software.

Real advancements, Fry continues, come when you enrich prospect information and create dynamic ad audiences—serving ads to the best prospects within the best-fit companies while avoiding tedious re-uploading lists.

(Image source)

Such well-targeted PPC campaigns for ABM, Fry notes, have two benefits:

1. Disengage ads after paid conversion – this prevents wasted ad spend and confusing offers. Not every prospect at an account will hit a burn pixel. Dynamic audiences ensure you’re only retargeting individuals before the conversion.

2. Saturate ads to stakeholders who are close to paid conversion – it pays to accelerate pipeline, and further down the funnel with a small, high value audience, it can make sense to outbid everyone else for the inventory amongst your target

When it comes to ABM and Facebook Retargeting, the biggest win is re-engaging the same users about the same offer based on their previous interest.

Facebook retargeting layers customer contact information over already highly custom-built audiences. This makes it the perfect ABM weapon for prospects who may be interested but are currently unavailable. This can be for a few reasons:

Currently with another vendor;Don’t have the budget;Are going through internal changes at the company, etc.

Facebook Dark Posts (i.e. posts that are not publicly visible) can help identify the most compelling offers, keep you engaged with unavailable prospects, and help you to gauge where they are in the ABM funnel.

Here are a few more ways to make sure your ABM retargeting doesn’t go to waste:

Keep your brand and messaging ever-present in the eyes of your prospects with display ads on competitive keywords.Improve your organic and paid presence on branded keywords as your prospects move down funnel from research to consideration.Use Facebook Dark Posts and Smoke Tests to identify new ABM offers to increase click-through and conversion rates.

Conclusion

The saturation of the PPC market with hyper-targeted campaigns has made it more difficult to stand out. ABM is a potential solution.

ABM focuses the list of target accounts to a select few or even one at a time. This cranks up the pressure to close. Using a Quota-Campaign approach can balance ongoing needs with ABM campaigns.

Successfully run ABM campaigns allow you to stand alone in your dedication to potential clients by creating ads and content just for them. It also helps you surround them on all sides with:

Customer Match, Similar Audiences, and Radius Targeting in Google Ads;Strong profiles, tailored content, and boosted posts on social media, especially LinkedIn;A focus on retargeting to keep prospects warm during the long sales cycle.

The post 6 PPC Tactics for Account-Based Marketing Campaigns appeared first on CXL.

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We Analyzed 12 Million Outreach Emails. Here’s What We Learned

sourced from: https://backlinko.com/email-outreach-study

We analyzed 12 million outreach emails to answer the question:

What’s working in the world of email outreach right now?

We looked at subject lines. We looked at personalization. We even looked at follow-up sequences.

Along with our data partner for this study, Pitchbox, we uncovered a number of interesting findings.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. The vast majority of outreach messages are ignored. Only 8.5% of outreach emails receive a response.

2. Outreach emails with long subject lines have a 24.6% higher average response rate compared to those with short subject lines.

3. Follow-ups appear to significantly improve response rates. Emailing the same contact multiple times leads to 2x more responses.

4. Reaching out to multiple contacts can also lead to more success. The response rate of messages sent to several contacts is 93% higher than messages sent to a single person.

5. Personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%. Therefore, personalizing subject lines appears to have a large impact on outreach campaign results.

6. Personalizing outreach email body content also seems to be an effective way to increase response rates. Emails with personalized message bodies have a 32.7% better response rate than those that don’t personalize their messages.

7. Wednesday is the “best” day to send outreach emails. Saturday is the worst. However, we didn’t find an especially large difference in response rates between different days that messages were sent.

8. Linking to social profiles in email signatures may result in better response rates. Twitter was correlated with an 8.2% increase, LinkedIn an 11.5% increase, and Instagram a 23.4% increase.

9. The most successful outreach campaigns reach out to multiple contacts multiple times. Email sequences with multiple attempts and multiple contacts boost response rates by 160%.

10. Certain types of outreach get higher response rates than others. Outreach messages related to guest posting, roundups and links have an especially high response rate.

We have details and additional data from our study below.

Most Outreach Emails Are Ignored or Deleted

You may have heard that it’s challenging to get people to reply to cold outreach emails. According to our data, poor response rates do appear to be the norm.

In fact, we found that only 8.5% of all outreach emails receive a response.

This response rate is similar to what several cases studies, like this one from the Moz blog, have previously found.

The fact that 91.5% of cold outreach messages are ignored may not come as a surprise. After all, generic outreach emails like this are extremely common:

Fortunately, our research found several factors that helped certain outreach emails outperform the average. We will cover these findings later in this post.

But for now, it’s important to note that very few outreach emails receive a response.

Key Takeaway: 91.5% of outreach emails are ignored.

The Ideal Outreach Email Subject Line Length Is 36-50 Characters

Our study found that long subject lines get a significantly higher response rate than shorter subject lines.

Specifically, subject lines between 36-50 characters get the best response rate.

To compare subject line response rates, we placed them into 5 buckets: short, medium, long, very long and extremely long.

And we found that long subject lines outperformed short subject lines by 32.7%.

Why do long subject lines do best?

It’s likely because longer subject lines give you an opportunity to fully describe the content of your message.

For example, imagine a super short subject line like: “Quick Question”.

At 13 characters, it’s impossible for your recipient to know what your email is about. It could be a question about their sales process. Or their lunch plans.

Plus, because it doesn’t note anything specific, it makes your outreach email seem generic before they’ve even opened it.

Contrast that with a subject line like: “Quick Question About Your Latest Blog Post”

This subject line is much more specific. That way, if the recipient decides to open your email, they know what to expect.

However, it’s possible for your subject line to be too long.

For example, “Quick Question About Your Latest Blog Post About The Top 10 Paleo Diet Myths” is an extremely descriptive subject line. But it’s likely to get cut off by most inboxes (like Gmail):

Key Takeaway: Long subject lines get 32.7% more responses than short subject lines.

Sending Follow-up Messages Significantly Improves Response Rates

Should you send follow-up messages to people that don’t reply to your initial outreach?

According to our findings, yes. We found that multiple outreach messages work better than a single message:

While sending 3 or more messages results in the best overall response rate, sending just one additional follow-up can boost replies by 65.8%.

Why do follow-ups work so well?

Simply put: people receive lots of emails in their inbox every day. In fact, The Radicati Group found that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day.

With 100+ emails to sift through per day, the chances of your single outreach email getting seen, opened and replied to is pretty slim.

But when you send more than one message, you have yet another chance to stand out and push through the noise in someone’s inbox.

Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to send follow-up messages.

Annoying follow-ups like these can damage relationships, lead to spam complaints, and overall, do more harm than good.

However, gentle follow-ups that provide additional context can improve conversions without burning bridges.

Key Takeaway: Follow-ups can significantly improve outreach conversion rates. In fact, a single additional follow-up message can lead to 65.8% more replies.

Reaching Out to Several Contacts Increases the Odds of a Response

We looked at the effect that reaching out to several contacts at the same organization had on outreach conversions.

And we found that, compared to a single contact, sending emails to more than one contact improves response rates by 93%.

We also looked at how outreach success rate correlated with number of contacts. We found a clear pattern that more contacts leads to more responses.

However, we did find a point of diminishing returns at 5+ contacts.

If you’re reaching out to a single-author blog, you probably don’t need to worry about sending messages to several different contacts.

However, multiple contacts becomes important when reaching out to large websites with dozens of employees. That’s because it can be hard to tell who exactly is responsible for which task (even with the help of an org chart and “About Us” page).

For example, let’s say that you’re sending an outreach message to a large publisher as part of a link building campaign. Should you email the author of the article? Or the editor of the blog? Or maybe the best person is the head of content.

It’s almost impossible to know without an intimate understanding of the organization’s inner workings. That’s why it usually makes sense to reach out to a single person. Then, if you don’t hear back, try again with another contact. That way, over time, your message should get in front of the person that is most likely to add your link to the post.

Key Takeaway: Having multiple contacts to reach out to increases your chances of getting through. In fact, outreach emails sent to multiple contacts can boost response rates by 93%.

Personalized Subject Lines Lead to More Replies

Personalizing emails is considered an outreach best practice. However, to our knowledge, there hasn’t been any research done to support this strategy.

That’s why we decided to investigate the effect of personalization on outreach email replies. Specifically, we compared the response rates between messages that did and didn’t use personalized subject lines.

Our data showed that personalized subject lines got nearly 1/3rd more replies than those without personalization.

Why do personalized subject lines lead to more responses?

Although it’s difficult to fully answer this question from our data alone, my theory is that personalized subject lines help you stand out in someone’s crowded inbox.

For example, take a non-personalized subject line like: “More Leads”. For someone that’s hurriedly scanning incoming emails from their iPhone, “More Leads” doesn’t compel them to see or open the message.

On the other hand, adding a bit of personalization makes your subject line much more compelling to the person on the receiving end of your message.

Key Takeaway: Emails with personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%.

Personalizing Email Body Copy Can Significantly Improve Response Rates

As we just outlined, personalized subject lines are correlated with higher response rates (likely due to a higher email open rate).

However, we wanted to see if the benefits of personalization extended to the outreach email body itself.

Our data showed that personalizing the body of outreach emails also improved conversion rates. Specifically, personalized messages received 32.7% more replies than those that weren’t personalized.

Generic outreach messages are easy to spot. For example, here’s one that I received a few days ago:

The telltale “Hi,” or “Hello,” is usually enough to let you know that this exact same email has been sent to hundreds of other people.

On the other hand, even a relatively small gesture, like using the person’s first name, can go a long way.

And for those that are interested in getting the highest reply rate possible, writing outreach emails from scratch (or working from a template with lots of room for personalization), seems to work best. Here’s an example of one such outreach email someone recently sent me:

According to our research, personalizing subject lines and body copy is correlated with above-average response rates. Yes, personalizing takes more time and effort. But the data suggests that this extra work pays off.

Key Takeaway: Emails with personalized bodies boost response rate by 32.7%.

Wednesday Is the Best Day To Send Outreach Messages

Several industry studies have set out to answer the “best day to send emails” question. However, most of these studies (like this one from GetResponse) are specific to newsletter messages. They also tend to focus on open rates, not reply rates.

Which is why we decided to look at how response rates differed based on the day of the week that messages were sent out.

Our data showed that Wednesday had a slight edge over the other 6 days of the week. Also, Saturday appears to have the worst response rate.

However, I should note that the differences in response rates were somewhat small.

For example, when we looked at the response rate for the “best” day (Wednesday) to the “worst” day (Saturday), we found that messages sent on Wednesday had a 1.99% higher overall response rate.

In other words, according to this data, sending outreach emails on Wednesday vs. Saturday could theoretically boost your response rate from 6% to 7.99%. If you’re only sending a few dozen outreach messages per month, this may only lead to an additional reply or two.

However, this finding is more significant if you’re doing outreach at scale. That’s because, while 1.99% may not mean much in absolute terms, it amounts to a 33.1% higher relative response rate. Which is significant for those that send out a large amount of outreach emails every month.

We also compared response rates for messages sent during the week vs. those sent on the weekend.

And we found that outreach emails sent Monday through Friday had a 23.3% better conversion rate than emails sent on Saturday or Sunday.

Key Takeaway: Outreach emails sent on Wednesday get more responses than any other day of the week. However, most small-scale outreach campaigns don’t need to organize their sequences based on the day of the week.

Linking to Social Profiles May Slightly Improve Outreach Response Rates

Do social profile links in the email signature affect response rates?

According to our study, they do. Messages that contained links to social profile links in the sender’s signature had an 9.8% higher average response rate compared to messages without them.

We also broke down the impact of social signature links by social network. We found that linking to Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles positively affect response rates. However, linking to Facebook profiles didn’t seem to make a dent.

Why would social profile links lead to more responses?

I have two theories:

First, links to social profiles make you seem like a living, breathing person.

I doubt that many recipients actually click on these social signature links. However, their mere presence may suggest: “I’m not an outreach robot. I’m a person that’s reaching out to you”.

Second, it’s possible that social profile links may not have any direct impact on responses at all. It could be a case of correlation, not causation.

For example, people that tend to be transparent may also spend more time personalizing their messages, which is the true underlying cause of the improved response rates.

While it’s impossible to glean the exact effect of social profile links on outreach response rates, they don’t appear to hurt conversions. Which makes them something worth testing.

Key Takeaway: Outreach emails that contain links to social profiles have a 9.8% higher response rate than those without social profile links. Links to Instagram and LinkedIn appear to be most effective.

Email Sequences That Involve Multiple Contacts and Multiple Messages Perform Best Overall

As I covered earlier in this write-up, follow-up messages and sending multiple contacts are correlated with higher outreach reply rates.

We also decided to investigate the combined effect that these two strategies had on conversion rates. Specifically, we compared reply rates between a single email to a single contact with a 3-part email campaign to several different contacts.

Our data showed that more contacts combined with sequencing yield a 160% higher response rate than sending a single message to a single contact.

Key Takeaway: Taken as a whole, campaigns that involve sequences that go out to several contacts perform significantly better than one-off emails to a single person.

Outreach Emails About “Links”, “Guest Posting” and “Roundups” Have Especially High Response Rates

We investigated reply rates between eight common email outreach topics.

Specifically, we looked at the reply rate for outreach emails related to:

Link building
Guest posting
Sponsorships
Infographics
Resources
Reviews
Mentions
Roundups

And we found that outreach emails about guest posting, roundups and link building all had an above-average response rate.

This is an especially interesting finding considering that many content marketing and SEO experts consider guest posting and roundups “dead”.

However, at least according to our study, site owners are still largely receptive to pitches for guest posts and expert roundup invitations.

Emails related to sponsorships also tended to get a fair share of replies. I found this noteworthy as Influencer Marketing, which relies heavily on paid product placement and promotion, is growing. It appears that influencers are still happy to receive pitches from brands that want to sponsor their website, YouTube channel or Instagram profile.

Our data also showed that messages about infographics receive relatively few replies.

This may be due to the fact that infographics have lost the novelty they once had. Or that the most infographic-focused outreach is untargeted.

For example, I got this infographic pitch in my inbox a few months ago:

My site has never written about or even touched on holiday promotions. This was clearly someone that created a mediocre infographic with the hope that mass outreach would help get the word out.

Key Takeaway: Emails about guest posts, roundups, links and sponsorships tend to get the best response rates.

Conclusion

I’d like to thank Michael Geneles from Pitchbox for providing the data that made this study possible. I also want to give a shout out to Alex Gopshtein for digging deep into the data and making it easy to understand and digest.

And for those that are interested, here’s a link to our study methods.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway from today’s study?

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

The post We Analyzed 12 Million Outreach Emails. Here’s What We Learned appeared first on Backlinko.

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How to Find the Right Keywords to Rank #1 on Google For

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/right-keywords-seo/

Do you want more traffic?

Well, who doesn’t?

The reason you want more traffic is that you think more traffic equals more revenue.

But here is what you’ll learn the hard way… as your traffic goes up, your revenue won’t increase at the same pace.

And in many cases, as your traffic goes up, your revenue won’t increase one bit.

In other words, if you get the wrong kind of traffic, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels and becoming frustrated.

It happens to all of us, let me show you what I’ve learned the hard way.

So how good is my search traffic?

Take a look at the screenshot below.

That’s a laundry list of keywords that drive me the most traffic. But there is an issue with a lot of those keywords. They drive traffic but not revenue.

Keywords like affiliate marketing, SEO analyzer, SEO checker, statistical significance calculator are all terms that won’t drive me any revenue.

I don’t offer affiliate marketing services and anyone searching for terms like “SEO analyzer” are looking to do SEO themselves versus paying my agency to do it for them.

Even terms like “statistical significance calculator” don’t drive revenue. Anyone searching for that is looking to see how their A/B tests are performing versus hiring my agency to run tests for them.

If I naturally ranked for these terms without any effort, that’s one thing. But I created dedicated landing pages, like this one, because I was trying to rank for them.

In other words, I spent time and money ranking for keywords that don’t drive any revenue.

Now, there is a reason why I rank for these terms and I do want this traffic, even though they don’t drive revenue, but I will get to that later in this post.

First, let’s go over how you can pick the right keywords to rank number 1 for.

How to pick the right keywords

You probably already have some ideas are a good fit for your business. I want you to type them into Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest will show how many people search for that keyword within a particular region as well as the SEO difficulty and paid difficulty.

In addition to that, you’ll see a laundry list of keyword ideas if you click on the “keyword ideas” navigational option.

What you’ll want to look for are keywords that have high paid difficulty, which means the keyword is so valuable that a lot of people are competing for the paid ad spots.

In addition to looking at the paid difficulty number, you’ll want to find keywords that have a low SEO difficulty score.

When a keyword meets those 2 requirements it means it is easy to rank and people find it valuable enough to buy ads on the keyword. And if they find it valuable enough for people to buy paid ads, that means the traffic is converting into customers.

That’s more important than just finding popular keywords as traffic doesn’t always equal sales.

And when you are doing keyword research, make sure you pick the right regions.

Not all traffic is equal

Again, you already know I get good traffic, but as I mentioned earlier, not all of the traffic is equal.

Just look at the regions that made up my traffic in the last 7 days:

The United States makes up a large portion of my traffic. Over time I’ve expanded globally, hence you are seeing my traffic increase in regions like India and Brazil. Even Japan, which is the newest region I have been expanding to, has been growing rapidly.

Knowing the split between regions, which ones would you say make up the largest portion of revenue?

If you guess the United States, you are correct. But what region do you think is in second place?

If you guess India or Brazil, you are wrong.

I love those two countries, but the United Kingdom generates more revenue than both of those regions combined, even though it produces 25.6% of the traffic as Brazil and India combined.

Are you picking the right regions?

When you are doing keyword research, you need to think about regions. This is also the main reason why I integrated regions within Ubersuggest.

You can’t just focus on keywords that have high paid difficulty and low SEO difficulty. You need to focus on the countries where the majority of your customer base is.

Now, you know SEO is competitive and it takes a while to rank. So if you can go after up and coming regions that you know you’ll want to target in a few years, then you should go after those keywords right away.

It takes a while for people to see this, but the reason I have done pretty well when it comes to picking the right terms is that I focus on regions that aren’t ready for my company just yet but will be over the next 5 to 10 years.

I know that sounds crazy, but to do well you need long-term goals and a strategic outlook for your business.

To give you an idea of how I think, let’s look at how the worlds GDP is going to change over the next 10 years:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9l2yCH5wBk?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

That video bases GDP growth off of historical data. Companies like Standard Chartered believe there will be much more aggressive GDP growth, especially coming out of Asia.

China: $64.2 trillion
India: $46.3 trillion
US: $31 trillion
Indonesia: $10.1 trillion
Turkey: $9.1 trillion
Brazil: $8.6 trillion
Egypt: $8.2 trillion
Russia: $7.9 trillion
Japan: $7.2 trillion
Germany: $6.9 trillion

No matter what source you look at, almost everyone is coming to the same conclusion… countries with big populations will see faster GDP growth.

If I were you and I was trying to pick the best keywords to rank number 1 on Google, I wouldn’t just focus on countries that are already established and saturated, I would also focus on countries that are growing fast and aren’t competitive yet.

Even in the short run, although some of these countries may not have as much demand, there is no competition, which means it will be easier to take up a larger chunk of the market.

How do you find popular keywords in these countries?

Doing keyword research in new countries isn’t as simple as typing in random keywords and seeing what’s popular.

You can do that with tools like Ubersuggest, but that may still cause you to pick the wrong ones.

For example, in the United States, the keyword “SEO” is more lucrative than the phrase “digital marketing.” But in Brazil, the phrase “marketing digital” (their version of digital marketing) is more lucrative than the term SEO.

In other words, cultures are different.

So, what you should do is use a tool like Similar Web to see who your closest competitors are. When I look at NeilPatel.com on Similar Web, it gives me the following results:

You can then take those competing URLs and enter them into Ubersuggest.

What I want you to do is first look at the “top pages” report. This report shows you the most popular pages that are driving traffic to any given site.

The best part about this report is that you can break down popular pages by country.

From there you can see the popular pages and even the keywords that drive traffic to that page within that country.

And similar to the top pages report, you can do the same thing with the keywords report.

With the combination of the top pages and keywords report, you should have a list of great keywords to go after. Not just from a domestic standpoint, but from a global standpoint as you can see the popular keywords for each country in Ubersuggest.

But how do I rank number 1?

Once you have a list of keywords, it’s time to create content and focus on ranking at the top of Google. But you already know that. 😉

The real question is, how do you rank high?

Well, I have tons of blog posts on that. Here are a few of my favorites that will help you out:

How to dominate Google – there are over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm. One too many for you to follow. In this post, you’ll find a 4-step process that will help you climb to the top. It’s made SEO more feasible as there is no way you are going to focus on all 200 of Google’s algorithm factors.
How to build links when no one will link to you – link building is still a huge part of Google’s algorithm. This post breaks down how to do link building when nobody knows you and you don’t have money to spend on link building.
The future of SEO – if you want to rank high and maintain your rankings, you need to know the future of search and how algorithms are going to change.
How I think about SEO – this post breaks down my personal SEO strategy for NeilPatel.com. If you copy it, you will do well. Look at the brand hack I mention in that post, it helps a lot with rankings.
The advanced SEO formula that helped me rank for 477,000 keywords – this is how I rank for thousands of keywords on Google.

Once you start ranking for the terms you want to go after, you need to do one last thing.

The last step

Remember how I said earlier in this post that I rank for terms like “SEO analyzer” that don’t drive me any sales?

And how I want to rank for those terms?

Once you rank for the main terms and even the long tail ones that will drive you direct revenue, you need to start winning mindshare.

The way you create a successful SEO campaign is to capture an audience before they are even ready to become your customer. This way your brand will grow with all segments of your potential customer base.

Just think of it this way, when people Google the term “SEO analyzer” and land on my site, the majority of those people will want to do SEO on their own.

But a small portion of those people may get frustrated and realize that they should just hire someone to do it for them.

And then there is another group that will search for that term, want to do SEO for their own site, and they’ll even get great results over time. Then when their friends asked them how they did it, they’ll mention how they used a free tool on NeilPatel.com.

Their friend will probably check out my site and maybe even contact me for services as they don’t care to do their own SEO.

In other words, when you are doing keyword research, you’ll want to focus on ranking for all the terms in your industry if you want to build the biggest brand and dominate.

The mistake I made is I went after those terms too soon. It worked out in the end, but I should have first focused on keywords that drove direct sales and then went after the keywords that would grow my brand.

Conclusion

SEO isn’t free! It takes time and money.

You have to look at it as an investment just like you would with paid ads.

So, if you are going to rank for keywords and do SEO, go after the correct terms. Spend a little bit of time doing keyword research and competitive analysis because you don’t waste a year climbing to the top of Google only to find that the term you went after doesn’t drive any sales.

And if you happen to be lucky enough to have extra money to invest in SEO, consider expanding internationally. It’s the best move I made, and I am dumping in as much money as I can to dominate the globe.

Businesses no longer have to live within one city, region, state, or even country. You have to think global if you want to win in the long run.

So, what do you think about my keyword research process?

The post How to Find the Right Keywords to Rank #1 on Google For appeared first on Neil Patel.

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How I Grew My Declining Google Traffic

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/declining-google-traffic/

When you look at the chart above, what do you see?

A site that gets a ton of traffic, right?

I am a marketer, so I should be somewhat decent at getting traffic… or so you would hope.

But here is the thing, just because I am decent at marketing doesn’t mean my Google traffic keeps climbing up and to the right.

Just like you, I face challenges.

I have ups and downs, I can also get penalized, and I have to continually battle algorithm updates.

When you are doing SEO, nothing is ever going to be perfect and it won’t always go the way you want.

My overall traffic growth

Let’s look at my overall Google traffic. Here’s my organic search traffic in January of 2018.

I had a whopping 743,744 visitors during that month. 550,607 of those visitors were unique.

Now if you fast forward to January 2019, my organic search traffic increased to 2,035,321 visitors. Of those visitors, 1,495,372 were unique.

That’s a 173% increase in search traffic in just 12 months.

Now you may think that it was easy for me to achieve those results because I’m a decent marketer. But just like you, it’s a constant fight to maintain and grow my traffic.

And in many cases, it goes down.

My decline in search traffic

Yes, you saw my search traffic from January to January, but let’s look at the dips as well.

Here’s my search traffic in October of 2018.

As you can see, I had 1,941,994 visits from Google of which 1,417,994 were unique.

Now when you fast forward to November, my search traffic went down to 1,799,837 visitors of which 1,347,775 were unique.

That’s a 7.3% decline in search traffic.

Sure, November had one less day than October and there was a holiday in the United States in November… but my traffic is global and NeilPatel.com is currently in 10 different languages.

In other words, there are holidays everywhere in the world every single month. Plus, the United States only makes up 23% of my total traffic.

And, of course, in December it got much worse, but I expected that as that happens each year.

As you can see from the graph, the last few weeks are really slow, but that is because of Christmas and New Years.

So, how do you know when your traffic is dropping?

If you don’t, you should start looking at your Google Analytics daily.

The one report I look at to make sure everything is going right is a week over week comparison.

The reason you want to look at a week over week comparison is that your traffic is going to fluctuate day by day. For example, Tuesdays are typically my highest days and Saturdays are typically my lowest days.

The last thing you want to do is compare a Saturday with a Monday.

As you can see in early November, my search traffic started to drop. In the first week, I saw a 4% dip.

And on Tuesday I saw a 6.94% drop in search traffic.

In the following weeks, the traffic didn’t bounce back. That’s when I knew something was off.

Now when you start to see traffic drops you shouldn’t panic. The first thing you should do is head over to this site.

It will tell you if there is a holiday somewhere around the world that could be negatively impacting your traffic.

The second thing you should do is check out Search Engine Roundtable, as they tend to cover more algorithm updates than anywhere else. They’ll even break down what people are experiencing and potential solutions.

Assuming your traffic did drop and it didn’t bounce up within a week or two, you need to start making changes.

The longer you wait the harder it is to recover your decreasing search traffic.

How do you increase your search traffic when Google keeps reducing your rankings?

9 out of 10 times when your traffic drops it’s related to your content. Whether it’s content on one page or content on your whole site it typically is content related.

The moment you see drops you need to login into Google Search Console and see if there are any messages.

Chances are, there won’t be any messages. 🙁

The next thing I want you to do is to click on “Performance.”

You should see a screen that looks something like this:

Now click on the date button above the graph. It should say “Date: Last 3 Months.”

Then click on compare…

Then enter the dates you want to compare on start versus end date. Make sure you select a 7-day period so you get the full picture.

You should now see a report that looks something like this…

I want you to unclick “Impressions.”

Then, I want you to click “Pages” and sort by “Difference” (the arrow should be pointing up).

This will show you all of the pages that dropped in traffic. These are the pages that lost the most significant rankings and, ultimately, your drop in traffic.

Next, I want you to click on a URL. You should start from top to bottom (you’re going to have to repeat this process for each URL with a massive drop).

Then click on queries and again sort by Difference.

Now before you do anything, scroll back up and click on “Position” in the graph. This will adjust your table and show you if your rankings dropped for any of those terms.

Assuming it did drop, I want you to do a Google search for that term and look at all of the sites that rank in the top 10 and compare your content with those that are ranking on page 1.

I know there are companies that offer software solutions that break down all of the keywords your competitors use on their page and it tells you what you are missing. I spent over $60,000 doing this in 2017 and it didn’t help boost (or even recover!) any of my rankings.

Instead, I want you to ignore all of the SEO software out there and just put yourself in the user’s shoes.

What do you honestly think of your competitors’ pages? Is their content better than yours? Is their design more user-friendly? Does their site load so much faster that it creates a better experience for you?

When you put yourself in the searcher’s shoes, it will give you an idea of what you need to fix.

I know I am making it oversimplified, but it really comes down to doing what’s best for the user. In most cases, that might be adding better images or improving your content because it isn’t up to date.

It’s not about keyword stuffing or having more words than anyone else. Heck, I rank higher than my old blog Quick Sprout for the same terms, with content that contains fewer words.

Just look at the term SEO. I’m on page 1 of Google for it:

Now let’s look at my SEO guide. It contains 10,244 words.

The Quick Sprout guide on SEO has 9 chapters and is a bit shy of 30,000 words.

Can you guess where the Quick Sprout guide ranks?

Middle of page 2.

The point is, it’s about quality.

That’s why most sites lose their rankings. Because other sites come out with content that is better for users. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have as many backlinks or that the word count is lower. In the end, Google focuses on user metrics.

Things like backlinks can help boost your rankings temporarily, but if the user metrics show that people hate your content once you are at the top, your rankings will drop.

This can’t be the case, my content is better and my rankings keep dropping

You might look at the steps above and believe your content is better but your rankings keep dropping. You might even talk to users and they agree and give you the same feedback. They think it’s better. So what’s going on?

The chances are your rankings dropped because of age.

Do you remember how my traffic dropped from October to November? Well, in November, I hired a few contractors to help fix my old content.

A lot of it wasn’t outdated and through surveying, we found people were happy with it. However, it just wasn’t ranking.

I had more backlinks than my competition and even more brand queries.

So, I embarked on a journey where I had a few people update my older content pieces. Sometimes they only adjust a few sentences and sometimes they rewrote entire paragraphs or sections.

That one thing grew my search traffic to 2,199,658 visitors over the last 31 days:

With over a billion blogs on the web, Google truly has its choice of deciding who to rank. There’s too much content to rank on the web, so when picking between 2 sites that are almost identical in SEO metrics, they are going to pick the fresh site versus one that hasn’t been updated in years.

Conclusion

No matter how good you are at SEO, you are going to see traffic drops. The key to seeing consistent growth year over year is to focus on the process I outlined above.

I know people still talk about backlinks and on-page SEO. But that is something everyone already does and you should be as well.

To truly stand out in the crowd, you need to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and create the best experience for them.

And a simple thing like updating your old content will usually solve the problem and boost your traffic. 😉

So, how often do you update your old content?

The post How I Grew My Declining Google Traffic appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Top 10 Takeaways from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019 Every Marketer Should Know

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/top-takeaways-traffic-and-conversion-summit/

A LOT happened over the last 3 days at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019.

But over the course of 119 sessions, we noticed some common themes and takeaways that we think every marketer should know…

Takeaway #1: The Marketing World is About to Be Massively Disrupted

In 2019, we are living in a time of innovation and disruption. Marketers who don’t create a movement will be left behind.

During his Day 1 Keynote, Ryan Deiss outlined his strategy to ensure DigitalMarketer is one of those game changers.

He is implementing one strategy: Do the complete opposite of what used to work really well.

Everything that is fast becomes slow
Everything that is big becomes small
Everything that is small becomes big

Let’s use DM as a case study to see how Ryan is applying this strategy so you can use it as inspiration in your business…

To Shift from Fast to Slow, DigitalMarketer Is:

Placing emphasis on journeys (i.e. the Customer Value Journey) over funnels.

This is being done by changing automated customer interactions to one-on-one conversations. We use automation to start the conversation with our customers and move it toward a human interaction.

Plus, we’re removing the focus from scalable ideas and trackable strategies to ideas that don’t scale and strategies that can’t be tracked. Like when we launched 2 new podcasts last year. We’re doing this because it feels like the right thing to do for our customers.

To Shift from Big to Small, DigitalMarketer Is:

Segmenting our customers into the following categories:

And we’re using longer form fields to do just that. It may sacrifice some conversions in the process, but it’s leading to better data and more qualified leads.

Then, we use the customer’s self-identification to pair them with the best DigitalMarketer products for them (i.e. WarRoom, certifications, the Certified Partner program, etc.).

To Shift from Small to Big, DigitalMarketer Is:

Asking what do we fundamentally believe to be true about the universe and our place in it?

In 2019, marketers need to create movements.

Don’t tell stories about your product—change the stories the customers tell about themselves.

Movements matter and if you want your business to matter, start a movement.

We’re doing this with our products, like with our newly launched company and product, Praxio.

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

Takeaway #2: There Are 2 Things in Digital Marketing that Will Never Change

Ryan closed out his Day 1 Keynote with a reminder to all marketers: no matter what the future of digital marketing holds, there will always be 2 certainties:

We will always need to generate traffic
We will always need to convert that traffic into revenue

It all comes down to traffic and conversion.

So at the end of the day, it all comes down to this.

No matter how your company may change in the future, no matter what you’re implementing next, it all comes down to traffic and conversion.

So make sure you keep traffic and conversion at the core of your digital marketing strategy.

Takeaway #3: Use Authority to Capture the Heart, Mind & Wallet of Your Audience

In his Day 2 Keynote, Ryan reminded people about the importance of creating a movement.

But, you can’t create a movement unless you have authority.

No one will deny the importance of creating authority for your brand. But building authority is easier said than done.

So how do you do it?

There are 5 elements of authority:

1. A Plan

It is impossible to have a movement without a plan. Nobody wants to follow a leader without a map.

Do you have a plan people can tell others about?

Ask yourself, what is the step-by-step plan for success that you have created for your clients and customers? 

2. Answer Your Customers’ Questions

You need to come down and meet your customers where they are by answering their specific questions.

Why is Dave Ramsey so popular? One reason is because he answers the same questions over, and over… and over, again. He may be answering the same few questions about personal finance, but the question comes from a different person each time.

So answer your customers’ questions, no matter how many times you’ve said the same thing. New customers will have the same questions.

Use AnswerThePublic.com to find the questions your customers are asking and use Quora to answer those questions. Or create a FAQ section on your homepage like we do here…

So, ask yourself, what are 10-20 ultra-specific questions your customers are asking that you can answer?

3. Speak in Absolutes

Tell your customers what they can and can’t do. This is a strategy you’ll see Dave Ramsey, Grant Cardone, and Gary Vaynerchuk using.

They speak in absolutes. Just like Gary does here.

Love ’em or hate ’em. Agree with them or not, they stand for something. Speaking in absolutes tells people what you stand for.

If you qualify everything you say, you may never be wrong, and you may never piss anyone off, but you will risk sounding like you don’t stand for anything.

If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing, sort of thing.

So, use these words to convey your authority:

All
None
Always
Now
Never
Period
Guaranteed
I promise
Going to happen
Fact
Evil
Dumb
Stupid
Genius
Best
Greatest
Worst
One thing
Everything
Nothing
Everyone
No one

When you start getting haters, this is when you know your absolutes are working. This also means you have to be prepared to support your absolutes and be prepared to be challenged.

So answer this, what absolutes are you willing to maintain even in the face of haters?

4. Define Your Core Beliefs

Your core belief speaks to your place in the universe. How would you define your place in the universe? Your business’ place?

This belief is the reason people want to buy or work with your business. If your core belief aligns with your audiences’ core belief, they will get behind what you are saying and they will become a customer.

For example, at DigitalMarketer our core belief is that the best product or service should win.

Think about and answer, what do you fundamentally believe to be true about the universe and your place in it? Your brands place in it?

5. Change Their Rites or Rituals

There are 3 options to get people to become raving fans of your brand.

Option 1: Get People to Do Something They Normally Wouldn’t Do

Tony Robbins does this by getting people to walk on fire.

Dave Ramsey does this by getting people to call into his radio show and yell, “I’m debt free!”.

None of these behaviors are “normal.”

But getting people to do just that builds a community. And there’s power in that.

(RELATED: 8 Essential Strategies to Build a Thriving Customer Community)

Option 2: Get People to Alter an Existing Routine

Is coffee part of your morning ritual?

Do you start your coffee maker before you’ve even used the bathroom?

What about putting butter in that freshly brewed cup of coffee? Is that also part of your routine?

It is for some people.

Bulletproof Coffee got people to make butter coffee. They nailed this option and altered a pre-existing routine for many of us.

And because of it, Bulletproof Coffee created a movement.

Option 3: Get People to “Lick” Your Brand by Giving Them Free Promotional Items

As a kid, did you ever lick something to claim it?

Your big brother wants the last cookie. Nope! Lick. Mine. Claimed.

So along those lines, how can you get your customers to “lick” your brand? To claim you.

Offering free incentive items is one way to do it.

Beachbody is the perfect example of this—if you send in a before and after picture, they’ll send you a t-shirt. A t-shirt that you can wear with pride for all the hard work you’ve put into changing your body.

It serves as a trophy or reward for your customer. And it also serves as a promotional item for your brand.

And promotional items start conversations. “Cool t-shirt. Where’d you get it?” And with that, people are talking about your brand. And it all happened naturally.

At DigitalMarketer, we give away stickers of our branded gears. And people put them on their laptops. Customers send in pictures of it, and we see the gears throughout Austin where we’re based. People are claiming us.

So finally, what customs and rituals should you promote and institutionalize?

Keep in mind, it’s hard to embody all 5 of these elements of authority. Really, only the world’s dominant religions have come close.

But if you can start bringing in these elements to your overall business strategy, you’ll see positive results.

Start by focusing on 1 element to build your authority.

Takeaway #4: It’s Good to Be Better, But It’s Better to Be Different

Do you want to fascinate? To cut through the noise and grab and hold people’s attention.

What business wouldn’t? Which is why we asked the Queen of Fascination, Sally Hogshead, to kick off Day 3 of T&C.

Sally’s expertise lies in helping brands discover what makes them more fascinating than the competition.

In her Day 3 Opening Keynote, Sally explained fascination is an intense state of focus where a person is bewitched and held captive by what they’re seeing.

What qualities make people fascinated by you and showcase you as intensely valuable?

This can be a hard question for many to answer. You can start by focusing in on what makes you different. As Sally said throughout her presentation, “It’s good to be better, but it’s better to be different.”

She also dove into the Personal Brand Archetypes. This is how the world sees you. This is what makes you different and therefore fascinating. Based off of your Primary Advantage and your Secondary Advantage, you’ll understand what makes you captivating.

For example, Ryan Deiss, CEO of DigitalMarketer, is positioned as a thought leader in digital marketing. Why? Because he is the “Maestro” personality archetype and is seen with power and prestige. The adjectives that best describe Ryan are ambitious, focused, and confident.

Ryan can use these words to differentiate himself from the competition.

What YOU Took Away from T&C

But we weren’t the only ones who had key takeaways. We loved hearing the aha moments our attendees had, like…

Brands that tell stories create movements and go on to rule the world.

Business partners should complement each other, not be copies of each other. Perry Belcher pointed out the reason he, Ryan, and Roland have been so successful is because of their varying personality traits that cumulate to a power trio.

How do you save your business? By putting in the work. Choose 3 specific takeaways from the 119 presentations at Traffic & Conversion 2019, and start implementing those in your business.

Remember what Ryan said in his Day One Opening Keynote? Everything big needs to become smaller.

If you can get people to feel something, you can get them to take their wallet out.

Last Key Takeaway

There is nothing that is out of our league.

As business owners, and specifically as humans, we have the ability to solve any problem or adversity that we are facing. That was the theme of Sir Richard Branson’s Day 1 Closing Keynote.

Case in point, after wrapping up his keynote, Branson planned to fly back to Necker Island to meet with entrepreneurs who are trying to decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by figuring out a way to vacuum it out and transform it into something less harmful.

If there’s anything we want you to take away from the 10th Traffic & Conversion Summit, it’s this:

“Changing the world begins with a small group of people who simply refuse to accept the unacceptable.” ~Richard Branson

See you next year!

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The post Top 10 Takeaways from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019 Every Marketer Should Know appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Ryan Deiss on the End of Marketing As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/end-of-marketing-as-we-know-it/

There is a huge event happening that directly affects digital marketers, agencies, entrepreneurs, and founders.

As Ryan Deiss pointed out during his opening keynote at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019, change occurs in a cyclical pattern. Just like the seasons change, the world of marketing is changing in phases.

And right now, we’re at the end of a cycle—which means the opportunity for innovation and disruption is the largest that it’ll be for years.

To learn more about this opportunity and how to make it work for you (and not against you), watch Ryan Deiss’ opening keynote from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019:

Ryan covers:

Why it’s the end of marketing as we know it… and why he’s not worried about it
3 digital marketing strategies to help you rise above the noise
A brief history of digital marketing and what the future of digital marketing holds

Don’t have time to watch an hour-long presentation? Read on to learn the highlights from Ryan’s keynote!

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The 5 Phases of Technology

History has shown us this cycle over and over again.

In 1801, the first steam engine was unveiled.

In 1830, railroads were opened across the US and UK.

By 1880, there were 2,000+ railroad companies causing a necessary standardization that regulated the industry in 1886.

By 1906, all of the rail lines were owned by just 7 entities.

Alexander Bell patented the first phone in 1876.

His patent expired in 1894, and immediately 6,000 phone companies were launched.

Today, there are only 4 major phone service providers.

We see the same pattern with the newspaper industry and the automobile industry.

The world is moving in cyclical phases which means—technology is too.

There are 5 phases of technology:

Phase 1: Discovery and Invention

In Phase 1, there is a new technology that benefits an industry or is even so large that it changes society.

To succeed during Phase 1, you have to be in the right place, at the right time.

The invention of the steam engine and the phone are examples of Phase 1.

Phase 2: Proliferation

The proliferation phase is the gold rush and becomes the wild west of the new technology.

In an ideal world, our business enters at this stage. Here, we have the first mover advantage.

It’s during this phase that businesses spring up and grow at a rapid pace, like the railroads in the US and UK. And—unfortunately for those like Alexander Bell—patents expire and entrepreneurs rush to launch their own company causing a ton of new companies to start.

Phase 3: Standardization

By Phase 3, there are so many companies selling the new product that the economy, government, or industry itself has to create regulations for the benefit of everybody.

It’s at this stage that a lot of companies fail because they don’t get with the program.

Instead of adapting to standardization, they fight the change and go out of business or get bought up, which leads to the next phase…

Phase 4: Consolidation

During consolidation, companies get gobbled up and the industry becomes consolidated in the hands of only a handful of dominant companies.

For instance, the 2,000+ railroad companies and 6,000+ phone companies of the past merged into 7 railroad companies and 4 phone companies.

This is the phase where the rich get richer.

Phase 5: Innovation Or Disruption

In the final stage, the company that was once on the cusp of the brand new has become so normal, so part of the every day that the companies that own them become comfortable and the level of competition that once existed goes away.

This is a crucial stage because there are only 2 directions to go: avoiding or embracing innovation.

Companies rather become stagnant and will have a harder time competing when a new player comes onto the stage and starts to disrupt the status quo.

Or companies lean into innovation and push the boundaries of the current technology and create a brand new cycle.

The process of discovery and invention begins again.

This cycle has been happening for centuries, and it is happening in the digital marketing world…

The History of Digital Marketing
Discovery: 1994-2000

This is when the first banner ad was displayed (and had a 78% click-through rate!!!)…

…the Dotcom bubble placed the internet in the news and Google AdWords launched.

Proliferation: 2001-2009

During proliferation, the first (of many) mommy blogs were created, WordPress launched, and the major social media players were established (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter).

Facebooks ads rolled out and the first iPhone was released. 

Standardization: 2010-2014

In 2009, Google introduced its newest ad ranking feature, Quality Score. This forced advertisers to completely change tactics as Google now favored high-quality ads and landing pages. Paired with Panda, this standardization is now referred to as, “ The Google Slap.”

During this time, Facebook started to audit advertisements, banning dating sites and weapons in 2014.

The whole era can be best described as a giant flaming pile of poop for marketers as the rug was ripped out from under them.

And then it got worse…

Consolidation: 2015-2019

The technology wave of consolidation placed Google and Facebook at the top of the advertisement world. They control 84% of the ad space, allowing them to push their prices up.

Facebook’s ad revenue doubled in 2009 and 2018. Think about this… they doubled their revenue without doubling the number of users. And they did this in a very short amount of time… by increasing their prices.

Then came Amazon, who is accountable for nearly 50% of all US ecommerce sales. FIFTY PERCENT!

Startups are currently spending almost 40 cents of every VC dollar on Google, Facebook, and Amazon advertisements.

Why?

Because the average Facebook organic reach is 0.5%.

In 2019, traffic costs are up and conversions and engagement are down. And they have been for some time now.

The question digital marketers are asking themselves today is, do we innovate or disrupt?

Innovation or Disrupt: 2019-?

“Today digital becomes king.” ~Ronan Shields

2019 is the year that US digital ad spend will surpass offline ad spend. Digital marketing is disrupting the world of marketing.

The digital marketers, agencies, entrepreneurs, and founders who don’t want to accept that it’s time to disrupt are going to be left behind.

DigitalMarketer is not one of them. Change is here and Ryan’s strategy to become a disruptor is simple. And it can be applied in your business, too.

Do the opposite of what used to work:

Everything that is fast, needs to be slow.

Everything that is big, needs to be small.

Everything that is small, needs to be big.

What does Ryan mean? Let’s take a look…

Strategy #1: Shifting from Fast to Slow

There are 3 ways to make this shift.

Fast to Slow
Automation to Conversation
Scalable to Unscalable and Untrackable

Let’s start with…

1. Fast to Slow

Funnels need to be shifted into a journey.

I have nothing against funnels, but in 2019, they focus too heavily on value extraction (how do we get customers to buy?) instead of completing the Customer Value Journey (how do we get customers to sell our product without being asked?)

The Journey starts with the customer coming to us in an incomplete and sad state and shifts to them being in a complete, happy state.

This is known as the Before & After.

In the “Before” state, the customer is discontent in some way. They might be in pain, bored, frightened, or unhappy for any number of reasons.

In the “After” state—life is better. They are free of pain, entertained, or unafraid of what previously plagued them. All thanks to your product or service that solved their problem.

And to get them to buy your product, you need to move them through your Customer Value Journey…

The Customer Value Journey

The Customer Value Journey starts at Step 1 with Awareness and moves to Step 8: Promote.

To get customers to sell your product by becoming a promoter, you need them to be successful. You need to help them get to their ideal After state.

Have you mapped your customers’ Journey? You can do it for free (without having to opt-in) here.

2. Automation to Conversation

I’m sure you’ve heard Newton’s famous law that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The action in the past decade has been toward automation, and we are about to see a significant reaction to it.

The reaction is going to come as a solution, talk to your customers.

Chat with them on Facebook, use Drift to automate chat conversations on your website and have bots filter (but not replace) basic human interaction.

Or, here’s a crazy idea, answer the phone.

Here’s an even crazier idea, send emails without links—this feels more like a personal conversation.

Ryan believes the future of digital marketing belongs to companies that are willing to invest in real-time, one-to-one interactions.

Now, there are 2 questions to ask yourself during this time of disruption:

Do you know how much it costs you to acquire a conversation?
How much is a conversation worth?

Answer those questions to help your company focus and grow.

3. Scalable to Unscalable & Untrackable

If you want to kill any idea, say, “It doesn’t scale.”

What “it doesn’t scale” really means is—we don’t know if it’s working and we don’t know how to track it.

But if you’re not careful, saying something doesn’t scale can hurt you in the long run by killing a good idea.

Here’s a new idea, do the things you cannot track.

Untrackable Idea #1: Send Emails Without Links

Instead of links, ask for replies or ask if your customer has any questions.

The response you get can lead to a conversation that generates a sale.

Or at the very least, can help strengthen your relationship with your customer and continue to move them through your Customer Value Journey.

Untrackable Idea #2: Managed Facebook Groups

Do you have a Facebook group? Assign a team member to manage that community so it becomes a community that delivers value.

Does your community actually make you any money? It’s hard to tell. We’re unsure if our private community does.

But we know it helps retain customers.

So while we may not be able to track how much, we know the DigitalMarketer Engage Community makes us money through retention and happy, successful customers.

Untrackable Idea #3: Post Unrelated Content

At DigitalMarketer, one of our most popular blog posts is, “100 Books Every Marketer Should Read.”

And this post actually helped generate a lot of buzz for Traffic & Conversion.

What does it have to do with selling tickets to the event?

Not a whole lot.

But it was unrelated content that our customers wanted and responded to when we distributed it throughout our channels.

Untrackable Idea #4: Answer Stupid Questions

When you’ve been doing something a while, the easy, intro questions start to sound pretty basic and stupid to you. You may even get tired of answering them because they’re not what you want to talk about.

But that doesn’t matter because they’re the questions your customers want to talk about.

Find ways to answer questions that your customers inevitably have.

For example, you can use Quora to answer questions about your industry or place a “Questions and Answers” section on your homepage, like we do here…

Untrackable Idea #5: One-on-One Onboarding

Assign a team member to onboard each new client.

Give them that special white glove treatment and make them feel special. We do this for the highest level of our membership.

Untrackable Idea #6: Write a Book… or 2

Writing a book is a painful process with absolutely no trackability—do it anyway.

It exposes your brand to new audiences.

Ryan wrote Invisible Selling Machine years ago, and people still ask him to sign it. Since then, he’s worked on Digital Marketing for Dummies and another book is in the works.

Untrackable Idea #7: Publish a Podcast

DigitalMarketer has 2 podcasts, Perpetual Traffic and The DigitalMarketer Podcast, and helped launch Roland Frasier’s Business Lunch, and we have absolutely no idea if these podcasts are helping us acquire more clients.

But the podcasts have helped build the DigitalMarketer brand and expose us to different audiences.

All of these ideas are very hard to track and therefore, hard to scale. But we do them because they feel right. They feel like the right thing to do for our customers.

More businesses should start doing things that feel right for their customers.

If you want to know more about becoming an expert at these techniques, read this book.

Strategy #2: Big to Small

At DigitalMarketer we’ve created a system that segments our customers. And we’ve done this by adding in more fields as a customer signs up for our products—be it for our free membership of Lab or one of our products.

While this longer form has decreased our conversions, it has increased the value we are able to deliver to our customers.

And we’re happy to accept lower conversion rates for better data. We’re able to get better customer segmentation.

And through this customer segmentation, we’re able to…

Figure out the best products to pair customers to so we can help them reach their ideal After state
Increase the number of customers in those programs
And get a better idea of the ROI of a customer

Strategy #3: Small to Big

Fact: No one willingly follows a small idea.

But as companies have niched down, their focus has become so granular that they’ve stopped thinking big. They’ve become kings of tiny, little ant hills.

As marketers, we need to start thinking big again.

Marketers need to define new categories for themselves.

Drift has defined a new category of conversational marketing and entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson have defined a new category of celebrity entrepreneurship. These are examples of companies and brands thinking bigger.

Want to get in on this? Ryan suggests reading Play Bigger, the playbook for category creation.

In 2019, Marketers need to create movements.

Don’t tell stories about your product—change the stories the customers tell about themselves.

Movements matter and if you want your business to matter, start a movement.

Ask yourself, what do we fundamentally believe to be true about the universe and our place in it?

But despite all that’s changing or will change, in digital marketing, we can be certain that 2 things will never change:

The need to generate traffic
The need to convert that traffic into revenue

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The post Ryan Deiss on the End of Marketing As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

Harnessing Statistical Power for Test Results You Can Trust 0

Harnessing Statistical Power for Test Results You Can Trust

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/statistical-power/

Years ago, when I first started split-testing, I thought every test was worth running. It didn’t matter if it was changing a button color or a headline—I wanted to run that test.

My enthusiastic, yet misguided, belief was that I simply needed to find aspects to optimize, set up the tool, and start the test. After that, I thought, it was just a matter of awaiting the infamous 95% statistical significance.

I was wrong.

After implementing “statistically significant” variations, I experienced no lift in sales because there was no true lift—“it was imaginary.” Many of those tests were doomed at inception. I was committing common statistical errors, like not testing for a full business cycle or neglecting to take the effect size into consideration.

I also failed to consider another possibility: That an “underpowered” test could cause me to miss changes that would generate a “true lift.”

Understanding statistical power, or the “sensitivity” of a test, is an essential part of pre-test planning and will help you implement more revenue-generating changes to your site.

What is statistical power?

Statistical power is the probability of observing a statistically significant result at level alpha (α) if a true effect of a certain magnitude is present. It’s your ability to detect a difference between test variations when a difference actually exists.

Statistical power is the crowning achievement of the hard work you put into conversion research and properly prioritized treatment(s) against a control. This is why power is so important—it increases your ability to find and measure differences when they’re actually there.

Statistical power (1 – β) holds an inverse relationship with Type II errors (β). It’s also how to control for the possibility of false negatives. We want to lower the risk of Type I errors to an acceptable level while retaining sufficient power to detect improvements if test treatments are actually better.

Finding the right balance, as detailed later, is both art and science. If one of your variations is better, a properly powered test makes it likely that the improvement is detected. If your test is underpowered, you have an unacceptably high risk of failing to reject a false null.

Before we go into the components of statistical power, let’s review the errors we’re trying to account for.  

Type I and Type II errors

Type I errors

A Type I error, or false positive, rejects a null hypothesis that is actually true. Your test measures a difference between variations that, in reality, does not exist. The observed difference—that the test treatment outperformed the control—is illusory and due to chance or error.

The probability of a Type I error, denoted by the Greek alpha (α), is the level of significance for your A/B test. If you test with a 95% confidence level, it means you have a 5% probability of a Type I error (1.0 – 0.95 = 0.05).

If 5% is too high, you can lower your probability of a false positive by increasing your confidence level from 95% to 99%—or even higher. This, in turn, would drop your alpha from 5% to 1%. But that reduction in the probability of a false positive comes at a cost.

By increasing your confidence level, the risk of a false negative (Type II error) increases. This is due to the inverse relationship between alpha and beta—lowering one increases the other.

Lowering your alpha (e.g. from 5% to 1%) reduces the statistical power of your test. As you lower your alpha, the critical region becomes smaller, and a smaller critical region means a lower probability of rejecting the null—hence a lower power level. Conversely, if you need more power, one option is to increase your alpha (e.g. from 5% to 10%).

Type II errors

A Type II error, or false negative, is a failure to reject a null hypothesis that is actually false. A Type II error occurs when your test does not find a significant improvement in your variation that does, in fact, exist.

Beta (β) is the probability of making a Type II error and has an inverse relationship with statistical power (1 – β). If 20% is the risk of committing a Type II error (β), then your power level is 80% (1.0 – 0.2 = 0.8). You can lower your risk of a false negative to 10% or 5%—for power levels of 90% or 95%, respectively.

Type II errors are controlled by your chosen power level: the higher the power level, the lower the probability of a Type II error. Because alpha and beta have an inverse relationship, running extremely low alphas (e.g. 0.001%) will, if all else is equal, vastly increase the risk of a Type II error.

Statistical power is a balancing act with trade-offs for each test. As Paul D. Ellis says, “A well thought out research design is one that assesses the relative risk of making each type of error, then strikes an appropriate balance between them.”

When it comes to statistical power, which variables affect that balance? Let’s take a look.

The variables that affect statistical power

When considering each variable that affects statistical power, remember: The primary goal is to control error rates. There are four levers you can pull:

Sample sizeMinimum Effect of Interest (MEI, or Minimum Detectable Effect)Significance level (α)Desired power level (implied Type II error rate)

1. Sample Size

The 800-pound gorilla of statistical power is sample size. You can get a lot of things right by having a large enough sample size. The trick is to calculate a sample size that can adequately power your test, but not so large as to make the test run longer than necessary. (A longer test costs more and slows the rate of testing.)

You need enough visitors to each variation as well as to each segment you want to analyze.  Pre-test planning for sample size helps avoid underpowered tests; otherwise, you may not realize that you’re running too many variants or segments until it’s too late, leaving you with post-test groups that have low visitor counts.

Expect a statistically significant result within a reasonable amount of time—usually at least one full week or business cycle. A general guideline is to run tests for a minimum of two weeks but no more than four to avoid problems due to sample pollution and cookie deletion.

Establishing a minimum sample size and a pre-set time horizon avoids the common error of simply running a test until it generates a statistically significant difference, then stopping it (peeking).

2. Minimum Effect of Interest (MEI)

The Minimum Effect of Interest (MEI) is the magnitude (or size) of the difference in results you want to detect.

Smaller differences are more difficult to detect and require a larger sample size to retain the same power; effects of greater magnitude can be detected reliably with smaller sample sizes. Still, as Georgi Georgiev notes, those big “improvements” from small sample sizes may be unreliable:

The issue is that, usually, there was no proper stopping rule nor fixed sample size, thus the nominal p-values and confidence interval (CI) reported are meaningless. One can say the results were “cherry-picked” in some sense.

If there was a proper stopping rule or fixed sample size, then a 500% observed improvement from a very small sample size is likely to come with a 95% CI of say +5% to +995%: not greatly informative.

A great way to visualize the relationship between power and effect size is this illustration by Georgiev, where he likens power to a fishing net:

3. Statistical Significance

As Georgiev explained:

An observed test result is said to be statistically significant if it is very unlikely that we would observe such a result assuming the null hypothesis is true.

This then allows us to reason the other way and say that we have evidence against the null hypothesis to the extent to which such an extreme result or a more extreme one would not be observed, were the null true (the p-value).

That definition is often reduced to a simpler interpretation: If your split-test for two landing pages has a 95% confidence in favor of the variation, there’s only a 5% chance that the observed improvement resulted by chance—or a 95% likelihood that the difference is not due to random chance.

“Many, taking the strict meaning of ‘the observed improvement resulted by random chance,’ would scorn such a statement,” contended Georgiev. “We need to remember that what allows us to estimate these probabilities is the assumption the null is true.”

Five percent is a common starting level of significance in online testing and, as mentioned previously, is the probability of making a Type I error. Using a 5% alpha for your test means that you’re willing to accept a 5% probability that you have incorrectly rejected the null hypothesis.

If you lower your alpha from 5% to 1%, you are simultaneously increasing the probability of making a Type II error, assuming all else is equal. Increasing the probability of a Type II error reduces the power of your test.

4. Desired Power Level

With 80% power, you have a 20% probability of not being able to detect an actual difference for a given magnitude of interest. If 20% is too risky, you can lower this probability to 10%, 5%, or even 1%, which would increase your statistical power to 90%, 95%, or 99%, respectively.

Before thinking that you’ll solve all of your problems by running tests at 95% or 99% power, understand that each increase in power requires a corresponding increase in the sample size and the amount of time the test needs to run (time you could waste running a losing test—and losing sales—solely for an extra percentage point or two of statistical probability).

So how much power do you really need? A common starting point for the acceptable risk of false negatives in conversion optimization is 20%, which returns a power level of 80%.

There’s nothing definitive about an 80% power level, but the statistician Jacob Cohen suggests that 80% represents a reasonable balance between alpha and beta risk. To put it another way, according to Ellis, “studies should have no more than a 20% probability of making a Type II error.”

Ultimately, it’s a matter of:

How much risk you’re willing to take when it comes to missing a real improvement;The minimum sample size necessary for each variation to achieve your desired power.

How to calculate statistical power for your test

Using a sample size calculator or G*power, you can plug in your values to find out what’s required to run an adequately powered test. If you know three of the inputs, you can calculate the fourth.

In this case, using G*Power, we’ve concluded that we need a sample size of 681 visitors to each variation. This was calculated using our inputs of 80% power and a 5% alpha (95% significance). We knew our control had a 14% conversion rate and expected our variant to perform at 19%:

In the same manner, if we knew the sample size for each variation, the alpha, and the desired power level (say, 80%), we could find the MEI necessary to achieve that power—in this case, 19%:

What if you can’t increase your sample size?

There will come a day when you need more power but increasing the sample size isn’t an option.  This might be due to a small segment within a test you’re currently running or low traffic to a page.

Say you plug your parameters into an A/B test calculator, and it requires a sample size of more than 8,000:

If you can’t reach that minimum—or it would take months to do so—one option is to increase the MEI. In this example, increasing the MEI from 10% to 25% reduces the sample size to 1,356 per variant:

But how often will you be able to hit a 25% MEI? And how much value will you miss looking only for a massive impact? A better option is usually to lower the confidence level to 90%—as long as you’re comfortable with a 10% chance of a Type I error:

So where do you start? Georgiev conceded that, too often, CRO analysts “start with the sample size (test needs to be done by <semi-arbitrary number> of weeks) and then nudge the levers randomly until the output fits.”

Striking the right balance:

Requires a thoughtful process as to which levers to adjust;Benefits from measuring the potential change in ROI for any change to test variables.

Conclusion

Statistical power helps you control errors, gives you greater confidence in your test results, and greatly improves your chance of detecting practically significant effects.

Take advantage of statistical power by following these suggestions:

Run your tests for two to four weeks.Use a testing calculator (or G*Power) to ensure properly powered tests.Meet minimum sample size requirements.If necessary, test for bigger changes in effect.Use statistical significance only after meeting minimum sample size requirements.Plan adequate power for all variations and post-test segments.

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