Category: Traffic Training

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Move Over SEO: How Developers Can Generate You More Traffic

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/developers-generate-traffic/

I’m a marketer. I know more about traffic generation than most others, and I surely know more about marketing than developers.

But what if I told you that developers can generate you more traffic than an SEO or any other type of marketer?

And no, it’s not because the developer implements changes to your site… they are just able to produce more traffic.

What’s crazy about this is that it’s cheaper in the long run than paying marketers.

Most of you know that I have an ad agency, Neil Patel Digital. And although I always want more big companies to pay us, typically a developer can generate you more traf… Read More

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Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics: The 2018 Guide

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/mixpanel-vs-google-analytics/

This post is not a dry feature-by-feature comparison, nor does it include a winner-take-all verdict. Your business won’t benefit from either of those things.

Instead, we’re comparing Mixpanel and Google Analytics in the terms that drive business growth—identifying the core use cases for each tool and the business problems they solve, while highlighting the features that make it possible.

Anything else is merely a list of data points. That’s as useful as analytics without analysts: troves of data but no actionable insights.

The core use cases

Google Analytics is the standard for measuring acquisition—identifying the sources of traffic to your website or app. Google Analytics also tracks on-site behavior through events and goals. It does not, however, de-anonymize data. User ID tracking allows you to track the behavior of individual users, but their identities remain unknown.
Mixpanel, in many ways, picks up where Google Analytics leaves off. It has robust, user-centered tracking that connects company CRMs to the online behaviors of real people—and enables you to send targeted messages to them, at a group or individual level. Mixpanel’s event-based tracking is fundamentally different than the Google Analytics pageview model.

Google Analytics switched its default metric from “sessions” to “users” in 2018, mirroring Mixpanel’s emphasis on users over pageviews.

Most businesses, even Mixpanel’s paying customers, retain Google Analytics. It’s free, after all, and, at the very least, offers the chance to corroborate data across two platforms.

When Google Analytics makes the most sense: If your business relies on its website solely for marketing purposes—to attract visitors and generate leads—Google Analytics provides most of your actionable data. You’ll be able to see which channels (paid, organic, social, etc.) have the highest conversion rate and identify the content that earns the most interest from your target audience.
When Mixpanel makes the most sense: If your website or app is your product, however, Mixpanel offers the granular detail that’s essential for monitoring user behavior. You’ll be able to see which acquisition channels are best for long-term retention or lifetime value, not simply those that drive initial conversions.
When it could go either way: Other companies—like ecommerce sites selling physical products—may straddle the use-case gap. The size of their business, the number of products, the length of the buying cycle, and other variables may determine whether Mixpanel can deliver a strong ROI.

In the end, the more user data you have to push into Mixpanel—and the more that data shapes your business decisions—the more value you’ll extract from it.

The business problems that Google Analytics and Mixpanel solve
Hundreds of user reviews of both platforms on G2 Crowd reveal the key benefits—and shortcomings—of each. (Image source)
Acquisition
1. “We don’t know where our traffic is coming from.”

G2 Crowd, a business technology review site, has almost 3,000 reviews of Google Analytics. When we analyzed all of them, the patterns were easy to spot, one phrase above all others: “…traffic is coming from.”

That phrase alone—there were other, similar ones, too—appeared 53 times. Google Analytics excels at revealing your traffic sources. In the words of hundreds of reviewers, Google Analytics was essential to “identify channels,” “track campaigns,” and monitor “traffic flow.”

“Google Analytics is definitely better at measuring traffic,” noted Dan McGaw, the founder and CMO of Effin Amazing. Other digital marketing experts I asked seconded his opinion. Google’s dominance of the ad market has bolstered its primacy for acquisition metrics—integrations with Google Ads (search and display) are comprehensive and seamless.

Mixpanel also tracks acquisition sources but, in its tracking and reporting, emphasizes what those users do, not the raw visibility of web pages. As Mixpanel’s Aaron Krivitzky explained:

[Cost per Acquisition] and [Cost per Click] are important, but they tell you nothing about user retention, they tell you nothing about lifetime value, and they tell you nothing about the actual end-user sentiment, behaviors, or experience.

For high-traffic sites or short-lived apps, the need to understand real-time acquisition paths and performance offers a point of separation between the two tools.

2. “We need to know how our site (or app) is performing right now.”

A small subset of businesses may have unique acquisition strategies that depend on real-time adjustments to copy, design, or resource allocation. All Mixpanel reporting is real-time; Google Analytics has real-time reports that, after a few hours, filter into core reports.

Fully integrated, real-time access to data has potential benefits for large media sites:

The Huffington Post tests multiple headlines for articles. After a few minutes of data—a meaningful amount, given the site’s traffic volume—they discard the less-popular headline.
Real-time analytics help streaming video services shift resources based on demand. If, say, a season finale or critical moment in a sporting event risks overwhelming servers, real-time analytics can tip off technical teams to the need before issues affect users.

Real-time reporting can also help large ecommerce companies manage their products. “Mainly it’s an inventory issue,” according to Steve Kurniawan of Nine Peaks Media, “although it can also help other things like tracking product deliveries and negative reviews.”

There are other use cases, too, such as app developers seeking to maximize the value of users for a viral game with a lifespan of days or weeks. Real-time data can validate near-constant changes to keep users engaged.

Still, the use-cases for real-time reporting are limited. For most Mixpanel users, the platform’s most meaningful feature is its ability to tie actual prospect and customer data to online behavior, providing greater insight into the experiences that affect engagement, conversion, and retention.

Engagement, conversion, and retention
3. “We can’t connect analytics data to our real-life customers.”

“Mixpanel is a great tool for tracking user behavior and acting on it,” affirmed McGaw. Realizing those core benefits—tracking and acting—requires stitching together online actions at two levels:

From device to device. Google Analytics has cross-device tracking. However, its system relies on cookies and User IDs, and includes only those “who have opted in to personalized advertising.” For companies with a SaaS platform or app, that system may not be enough. In McGaw’s experience, “If you have a web app and mobile app, Google Analytics is pretty shitty at tying those users together.”
From user to human. Google Analytics’ User ID policy prevents this second connection, providing the sharpest break between its capabilities and those of Mixpanel. By connecting companies’ user data to its analytics, Mixpanel can build analytics cohorts based on CRM data and push messages to high-value segments.

What do these differences look like in the real world? Saas consultant Sid Bharath gave an example:

Let’s say Google Analytics shows that paid search has the highest conversion rate. With this data alone, it seems like you should double down on paid search.

However, if you had Mixpanel in there, you could see how those converters interacted with your software. So you could filter by paid traffic, and it may show that these customers actually churn at a much higher rate, or they’re not as engaged as organic customers.

At Mixpanel, Krivitzky has seen potential clients come to him with similar business needs: “How do my end-users use my app? Which features are sticky? How common is X use case versus Y?”

In addition to identifying high-value cohorts, Mixpanel also lets businesses send targeted messages to those same users—a benefit noted regularly across more than 200 product reviews from G2 Crowd. “With Mixpanel’s cross-device marketing automation suite,” noted McGaw, “You can email, text, push, and pop up across devices to provide a pretty amazing experience.”

Mixpanel allows businesses to send messages to real people based on online behaviors.
4. “We don’t understand our customer journey well.”

Both Google Analytics and Mixpanel offer conversion funnels. Mixpanel funnels—based on feedback from experts and hundreds of reviews—are more user-friendly to create and more granular in their segmentation. (Notably, Mixpanel funnels also apply retroactively to data.)

Google Analytics funnels and Behavior Flow visualizations lack the customization of Mixpanel funnels, which allow segmentation by user characteristics.

Creating segmented user groups based on broad demographic data is possible in Google Analytics; however, it requires applying a segment to the Funnel Visualization, rather than embedding that segment in the funnel itself.

Mixpanel users can set up custom funnels by selecting any series of user behaviors.

The customization and comparative intuitiveness of Mixpanel funnels—which can be set up simply by defining a series of steps—were a common highlight in user reviews:

“Easy ability to create funnels”

“Easy to set up events and funnels”

“Easy to set up powerful user funnels”

“Easy to understand user interface for funneling”

In contrast, Funnel Visualizations and Behavior Flows in Google Analytics were a frequent frustration: “Trying to set up goal funnels is an exercise in mania.”

Google Analytics funnels are notoriously difficult to set up and interpret.

The difference between technical capacity and ease of implementation is not trivial. It speaks to the importance of actually using analytics tools—not just having access to the data within them—and hints at some of the data-centric problems the C-suite often looks to solve.

C-suite level
5. “We don’t know the impact of each marketing channel.”

Cross-channel attribution extends beyond first and last clicks. For large organizations, stronger attribution can help demonstrate the ROI—or lack thereof—for multi-million-dollar television campaigns or in-store promotions.

The Google Analytics 360 Suite offers extensive attribution tracking. “Some clients ask us to design and implement marketing attribution models for them,” recounted Kurniawan. “In these cases, we use Google Analytics 360 Suite, which offers an amazing custom marketing attribution feature.”

In contrast to standard Google Analytics, which uses a last non-direct click attribution—thereby attributing 100% of the conversion to some online source—Google Analytics 360 accounts for television ads’ impact on online behavior and also folds in-store purchases into conversion data (crediting online sources for offline purchases).

That benefit comes at a cost—starting at $150,000 per year. For many organizations, no matter how accurate the insights, the ROI simply isn’t there. (Mixpanel, whose paid version starts at $999 per year, charges by the number of data points tracked; costs can quickly scale into a four-figure monthly fee, especially for SaaS or app companies that offer freemium models.)

6. “We need to make data collection more efficient.”

In some cases, the technical capacities of Google Analytics and Mixpanel are similar. The value of one tool over the other depends on the technical abilities of those using the platform.

Several Mixpanel users—in in-house and agency settings—viewed the user-friendly components of its analysis as true cost savings because they reduced the amount of human labor necessary to create and interpret reports.

Nishank Khanna, the CMO of Clarify Capital, explained why they added Mixpanel to their analytics suite:

We were using Google Analytics for years, until it became a chore to track custom event-driven data. As our business needs for analytics grew more sophisticated, we needed to easily define events to track, ensuring a flexibility that promotes focused and meaningful analytics.

We found that in Mixpanel, and the time saved was day and night.

Khanna’s experience wasn’t unique. As Kurniawan confirmed, the ease of implementation is, at times, more important than the technical differences:

Technically, for event tracking versus pageview tracking, both Mixpanel and Google Analytics can do them very well given enough effort. So it’s a matter of ease of use: Setting up event tracking is significantly easier on Mixpanel opposed to Google Analytics.

In our case, since we set up marketing systems including analytics for clients, some (well, most) of them are not tech savvy. Ease of implementation is very important so we don’t have to go back and forth often.

Throughout user reviews for both products, definitions of “easy” and “hard” varied. Complicating matters, an “easy” setup often meant easy data collection—not easy interpretation.

The paradox was clear. Some Mixpanel reviewers lauded its easy setup; others lamented its challenges. Google Analytics was “great if you have no experience” but also only useful “if you have experience.” Just because you can gather data quickly doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do with it.

No product feature or technical capability can replace human interpretation, at least not yet. Both Google Analytics and Mixpanel have rolled out systems to automatically push alerts or pull insights from their platforms.

Mixpanel (left) and Google Analytics (right) have both rolled out automated alerts to make data more accessible.
Conclusion

“Mixpanel is most valuable for companies who need to track revenue over a long period of time, or really know how their users use their product,” summarized McGaw.

In other words, What percentage of your business decisions are driven by things that happen after a website visit or form fill?

If the stopping point in Google Analytics is only the midpoint (or less) for your customers’ online experience, Mixpanel can extend and deepen the analytics portrait—tracing individual users or cohorts all the way back to their initial interaction.

Still, the question of which analytics platform to use doesn’t hinge on these two alone. Others, like Amplitude, Kissmetrics, and Heap, also gather and aggregate user and product data.

All require an investment beyond the tool itself—one in human capital—to translate data into the product improvements and user satisfaction that make analytics meaningful.

The post Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics: The 2018 Guide appeared first on CXL.

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How to Curate Sitelinks to Increase Conversions

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/sitelinks/

If you rely on search engine traffic, conversion optimization starts before visitors get to your site. Why? Sitelinks.

For most sites, a brand query (e.g. “king arthur flour”) generates sitelinks—links from other pages on your site that appear below the main link, typically the homepage. For mobile searches, those sitelinks may be expandable, allowing users to browse multiple levels of your site, all before clicking a link.

These potential shortcuts can streamline the user experience and get visitors to the places they want to go—and the places you want them to go—faster. After all, how many users accomplish their goal on your homepage?

Yet few know:

which sitelinks show up for their site;
how their sitelinks have changed over time;
why they may have changed; or
how they can influence the sitelinks that appear.

If you want answers, keep reading.

Why sitelinks matter for conversions

Google’s own research has shown that, compared to non-branded keywords, brand keywords have a 2x higher conversion rate. Supporting research also shows that brand queries consistently deliver higher conversion rates.

That conclusion aligns with intuition—searchers using brand keywords already have brand awareness and, presumably, brand affinity—and also underscores the importance of a great user experience for those visitors.

When a brand search generates sitelinks, some of your most qualified users are choosing their next step based on those options. Taking good care of them can have a disproportionate impact on your leads and sales compared to optimizations that target non-branded queries.

Neglecting those visitors, on the other hand, may cost you easy sales.

How do search engines choose sitelinks?

Sitelinks appear below the main link for a “navigational” query, or “one in which the user is looking for a specific web site, rather than information from a web page.” About 18% of all queries qualify as navigational queries. Most navigational queries are explicit brand queries.

The main link (1) and its (2) sitelinks. (Image source)

According to Google, sitelinks are “shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.” Bing refers to sitelinks as “popular destinations,” or pages where users typically end up after entering a website.

Importantly, sitelinks are not merely a cache of popular pages: “The destinations may not be among the topranked results, may not contain the queried terms, or may not even be indexed by the search engine.”

So how are they chosen? Sitelinks are generated algorithmically. Bill Slawski, who monitors search engine patents, summarizes the likely factors:

How many times the page has been accessed
How long visitors stayed upon the page
If a visitor scrolled down the page, or clicked on a link, without scrolling down
Information retrieval scores for the page, along with an indication of how good a match the page may be for the query that was used in the search
The likelihood that someone might make a purchase on that page
Other information that might indicate that someone would be interested in the page

Until 2016, site owners could use Google Search Console (GSC) to “demote” sitelinks—blocking irrelevant pages from appearing as sitelinks for 90 days. Bing still allows site owners to block “deep links” in its Webmaster Tools.

How are sitelink labels chosen?

Even if the ideal sitelinks are chosen, the labels for those sitelinks may be uninformative or misaligned with the content of the page.

Confusingly, Major League Soccer’s website has three sitelinks with a “news” label, including their RSS feed.

As Yahoo confirms, accurate, informative labels are vital to earning clicks:

Eye-tracking studies have shown that search engine users focus a lot of their attention on the link title of the results, paying even more attention to the link title than to the summary provided along with the result.

Ultimately, sitelink labels are chosen based on several factors. Again, Bill Slawski summarizes potential factors based on patent filings:

Anchor text pointing to the page from internal or external links
Search queries for which the page was returned as a result, especially if it was the first result or among the top ten
Search queries for which the page was clicked upon from search results
Key phrases extracted from social bookmarking tags

The ongoing rise of mobile search has made sitelinks and their labels increasingly important.

Why sitelinks are critical for mobile conversions

Google introduced sitelinks in 2006. Initially, they appeared for only the first result of a navigational query and only underneath a site’s homepage.

Over the past decade, Google has rolled out a number changes, such as one-line sitelinks below multiple results and sitelinks for pages other than the homepage. Yet for conversions, the most important change—expandable sitelinks—has happened on mobile.

Expandable sitelinks—initially tested in 2017 and later rolled out on a larger scale—allow users to browse a website directly from search results, potentially navigating through multiple levels before clicking a link:

Getting expandable mobile sitelinks hinges, in large part, on a consistent site structure.

For ecommerce sites, a clear, consistent hierarchy is vital. REI, which gets 1.9 million monthly brand queries according to Ahrefs data, reveals what can happen if you don’t get it right:

 

First, if you’re looking for women’s clothes, there’s no sitelink. Second, if you’re shopping for men’s goods, there’s no expandable sitelink menu to refine your choice. And it’s not as though REI doesn’t have pages for various types of menswear:

 

 

However, those pages are part of a flat site architecture rather than a nested, hierarchical structure:

Men’s clothing sitelink URL:

https://www.rei.com/h/mens-clothing

Sample product category URLs:

https://www.rei.com/c/mens-boots

https://www.rei.com/c/mens-casual-jackets

https://www.rei.com/c/mens-pants

The lack of a hierarchy weakens search engine connections between the top-level page and product categories, preventing that section from earning expandable sitelinks.

In contrast, the Classes & Events page includes individual locations behind the main URL:

Classes & Events sitelink URL:

https://www.rei.com/events

Individual location URLs:

https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-ga-atlanta

https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-ca-los-angeles

https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-wa-seattle

Sure enough, the top-level category receives expandable sitelinks:

 

For REI, an inconsistent site structure puts unnecessary clicks between mobile shoppers and a sale. (Those looking for women’s gear have no choice but the homepage.)

Of course, you won’t be able to diagnose or resolve these issues unless you know which sitelinks appear for your brand.

How to identify sitelinks for your brand

Beyond the anecdotal (and “personalized”) evidence you may uncover in a self-search, how much do you know about which sitelinks appear for your site?

GSC provides an easy way to see which sitelinks show up. First, filter queries to include only brand queries:

Depending on your brand name, you may need to use “Queries containing” rather than “Query is exactly” (especially if your brand name has multiple words, is frequently misspelled, or includes geographic modifiers). It’s impossible to capture every brand query, but filtering for most is sufficient.

GSC provides up to 16 months of data. Choose whichever time period you’re most interested in (and compare results over time, something covered in the next section).

From there, navigate below to the “Pages” tab and filter “Position” by “Smaller than 1.5.” This limits the data to instances when pages rank first for brand queries. (GSC reports an appearance as a sitelink as a ranking of 1.)

The resulting list allows you to see your sitelinks for the given time period ordered by impressions (the number of times they appeared) or clicks (the number of times they earned user clicks):

You can also run the same analysis with the Device category set to desktop, mobile, or tablet to determine whether different sitelinks appear for mobile users.

This static portrait, however, is just the beginning.

How to measure changes to sitelinks

Exporting month-by-month or quarter-by-quarter data from GSC—using the same parameters identified in the previous section—can show how sitelink visibility has changed over time. This is particularly useful to determine how changes to your site affect changes to your sitelinks.

Divide the number of impressions for each page by the number of impressions to the homepage. The resulting percentage shows how often each page shows up as a sitelink. For example, if a services page has 20,000 impressions and the homepage 40,000, the services page shows up as sitelink 50% of the time.

For CXL, the Agency, Institute, and Blog pages have appeared as sitelinks nearly 100% of the time over the last year, with the About page trailing just behind. The remaining sitelinks have appeared more recently:

(Certainly, other pages have appeared—and disappeared—over time. To create a cleaner chart, I’ve included only the seven pages that currently appear most often as sitelinks.)

Similarly, you can chart the percentage of clicks that have gone to each sitelink. Simply divide the number of clicks to a given page by the total number of clicks to any page on the site:

These charts reveal where brand-query users go first on our site. If 4–8% of users searching for “conversionxl” enter through the blog, the blog landing page—a de-facto homepage for some of our highest-value users—needs enough information to engage those visitors.

While the above sitelinks make sense for CXL, what happens if your sitelinks fail to include key pages or list irrelevant ones?

A sitelink for Dell’s New Zealand site is a wasted opportunity to streamline a user experience. (I’m more than 10,000 miles away.)

Jobs pages are a regular offender. If you’re not desperate to hire and you syndicate your job listings through other sites, there’s no reason to take up valuable real estate with a page whose presence relies on signals from non-customers:

Jobs pages have tons of user signals—but low ROI—for brand queries.

If your sitelinks aren’t tailored for key visitors—for any reason—there are things you can do.

How to improve sitelinks for your site

Many search signals affect which sitelinks appear and which labels identify them. As Google noted in 2011:

From a ranking perspective, there’s really no separation between “regular” results and sitelinks anymore.

Existing best practices for the link structure of your site are still relevant today, both for generating good quality sitelinks and to make it easier for your visitors.

Thus, no single optimization can guarantee changes to sitelinks. But you’re not helpless, either.

Google’s advice to improve sitelinks highlights a few standard SEO best practices:

Provide a clear structure for your website, using relevant internal links and anchor text that’s informative, compact, and avoids repetition.
Allow Google to crawl and index important pages within your site. Use Fetch and Render to check that they can be rendered properly.
If you need to remove a page from search completely, use a “noindex” robots meta tag on that page.

Another post from Google harps on the importance of site and page structure, going so far as to advocate a table of contents to generate “in-snippet” sitelinks that take users directly to sections of multi-topic pages:

Ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors.

Those recommendations about the importance of page structure apply beyond in-snippet links—just as pages contain sections, subdirectories contain pages, and websites contain subdirectories.

Given the rise of expandable sitelinks for mobile search, the importance of a clear, hierarchical site structure will only increase—users may navigate through multiple subdirectories on a search results page before they click a link. (Or, if they don’t find what they need, not click at all.)

In addition to a clear, hierarchical site structure, there are other options for improvement.

Additional ways to influence the sitelinks for your site:

Own your brand name. Obviously, this recommendation isn’t feasible for established brands, but those choosing a new brand name should avoid direct competition with other sites. If search engines don’t identify a query for your brand as a navigational query, they’re unlikely to return sitelinks.
Set irrelevant pages to “noindex.” Use a “noindex” tag to keep low- or no-value pages (such as a privacy policy or jobs page) from appearing as sitelinks. Do so cautiously: Some pages that are poor sitelinks may still have valuable search signals—such as backlinks—that a “noindex” tag casts aside.
Develop a robust internal linking structure. Internal links should reinforce your site structure—parent pages link to child pages, child pages link back to parent pages, and so on.
Choose informative, semantically varied anchor text. Anchor text is an opportunity to include descriptive text that helps search engines understand the content of a linked page. Those anchors, when consistent but not identical (i.e. synonyms), may also help search engines determine which text to include for a sitelink label.
Earn backlinks to deep pages. Most sites are “top heavy” with links from other sites pointing primarily to the homepage. Deep links that point to interior pages help build the authority of those pages, making it more likely that search engines will include them as sitelinks.

Ways to increase user engagement and conversions from sitelink clicks:

Ensure that sitelinks that are “de-facto homepages” engage visitors. Treat your most common sitelinks as de-facto homepages: They should make a good first impression and include relevant internal links to move visitors through your site. Avoid dead-end “About Us” pages that don’t encourage visitors to explore product or service pages after learning about your organization.
Make sure you have a coupon or sale page. Coupon, discount, and sale queries usually include a brand name (e.g. “aftershokz coupons”), qualifying them as a navigational search. Even if you don’t offer coupons, a targeted page explaining your policy may show up as a sitelink underneath the homepage for generic brand queries. That sitelink may bring more ready-to-buy clicks to your domain versus the third-party coupon sites below it.

Conclusion

Search engine users typing in a brand query are some of the most valuable users for a site. Yet they’re often ignored—relegated to the homepage or offered a selection of algorithmically curated pages that fail to differentiate between a job seeker and a paying customer. Mobile searchers may even browse sections of a website directly in search results.

Google Search Console provides the data that site owners need to identify sitelinks and monitor changes over time. Those insights can help measure the impact of efforts to put the most relevant, high-value sitelinks in front of brand searchers.

That, in turn, gets more users to their destination pages faster, making conversions quicker and easier—and making websites more profitable.

 

The post How to Curate Sitelinks to Increase Conversions appeared first on CXL.

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Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/how-to-use-facebook-messenger-ads/

It’s been a little over a year since I first wrote this post, and a LOT has changed since then. Messenger marketing has come a long way, and today there are more ways than ever to engage your customers using Facebook Messenger ads.

In the updated version of this post I’m explaining the ins and outs of Facebook Messenger ads and how to strategically deploy them in your business.

But before you can put them to work, you need to know the why—why this ad type matters to ANY and EVERY business…

I know it’s easy to assume that this ad type (or channel as a whole) would only work for “high-tech” audiences, or “big” companies that have the resources to man a customer communication channel… but, stay with me.

That’s not the case.

After doing a bit of thinking and research, I realized that assuming Messenger only works for highly technical markets is like saying that Facebook as a marketing channel only works for highly technical markets…

This chart from Business Insider is mind-blowing.

At the beginning of 2015, monthly usage of the top 4 messaging apps surpassed usage of the top 4 social networks… and it continues to grow.

And, over ONE BILLION people use Facebook Messenger as a whole. Even my great-grandmother (she’s in her 90’s) uses Facebook Messenger…

My point is that we must not only enter the conversation that’s already taking place in our customer’s head, we must BE in the places where our customers are having their conversations.

Aside from even advertising through Messenger, being reactive and responsive to your people throughout the entire Customer Value Journey via Messenger is essential.

I recently experienced this as a consumer.

I was driving down the road and saw a new apartment complex. I reached out via Messenger from their Facebook page to inquire about the property.

Every step of my Customer Journey, from scheduling a tour to negotiating the lease, was done through Facebook Messenger. It’s very likely that if they weren’t as responsive on Messenger as they were, I would’ve ended up living somewhere else.

If you get nothing else out of this article remember this… Messenger is an essential communication channel for businesses (and it’s still experiencing rapid growth).

Facebook reported that more than 1 in 2 people say they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message, and 67% of people expect to message businesses more in the next 2 years.

It’s how people are communicating with family and friends. A large portion of our society prefers to communicate via a messenger with quick responses.

Adapt… or lose business to your competition. 

Now, we, as marketers, have the opportunity to tap into this tremendous channel to grow our business and better serve our customers.

Here’s How It Works…

There are 3 different “types” of Facebook Messenger ads.

Click-to-Messenger ads: These drive traffic and conversations, using Messenger as a destination
Sponsored Messages: These allow you to send promotional messages even after the 24-hour rule has passed
Messenger Home Placement: This is a placement for ads that can appear on your Messenger home screen (and they can take people either to a Messenger conversation or to a landing page)

Let’s start with…

Messenger Ad Type #1: Click-to-Messenger Ads

Purpose: To build your subscriber list and start conversations with new people.

These are the most popular and commonly used Messenger ads, and it’s easy to see why. They provide you with an extremely versatile way to start new Messenger conversations with people, using all of the normal ad & targeting options available inside Facebook.

Destination ads appear in the newsfeed, and when clicked on, open inside of a Facebook message (instead of sending traffic to a URL):

You can find this destination option at the ad level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Click-to-messenger ads look and feel like a normal Facebook ad, with the option to include an image, video, carousel, slideshow, etc. The only real difference in their appearance is the call to action button, which will say “Send Message” or “Get Started”:

A few things to note about destination ads…

You can target ANYONE(this is important—you can target interests, behaviors, custom audiences, etc.)
They can show up in the newsfeed for Facebook and Instagram (desktop and mobile)
They’re available for campaigns with the objectives “Traffic,” “Messages,” or “Conversions” (So, don’t panic if you chose another objective and don’t see Messenger as an option)

Ways to use this ad type…

Retargeting

What’s the biggest “hang-up” in your Customer Journey?

Use destination ads to give people an extra touch point with your brand. Help them overcome any barriers to purchase.

For example, we use Messenger ads to retarget people who visit our sales pages but don’t purchase the product. If you visit the sales page for DigitalMarketer Lab but don’t buy, you’ll see this ad:

There’s usually a reason people don’t buy, and if you give people a platform to ask questions and help overcome doubt, it works wonders. For example, people want to know if the product will actually work for their business, if there is a contract or commitment, if they can add team members, etc.

Once their questions are answered, most are ready to purchase the product. This entire conversation is happening via Facebook Messenger.

Cold traffic

We have the option to run destination ads to cold traffic (people who have never heard of our brand).

This can be used to raise awareness and acquire customers, but—it must be done right.

The key here is to make sure the ad prompts an ideal sales conversation. For example, if your ad asks people to respond with their favorite color, it’s probably going to be a waste of time and money.

But, if you can prompt a conversation that leads to your ideal sales conversation… you’re golden.

Imagine you own a home improvement company that provides a slew of services: plumbing, landscaping, painting, etc.

You could run an ad in your local area that says: “If you could ‘fix’ one aspect of your home, what would it be?” People will respond with answers like “landscaping” or “I’d paint my home.” You now know each person’s pain point, and you can cater your conversation with them around this topic. As a result, your odds of making a sale will be much higher.

Again, I wouldn’t recommend starting here as I don’t believe this is the most highly leveraged activity within Facebook Messenger ads, but, it’s worth a shot when you’re ready for scale.

2 Quick Tips for Your Click-to-Messenger Ads

For the best results, I highly recommend following these best practices when creating click-to-messenger ads inside Facebook:

Always set the right expectation.

Even though these ads have been around a while, many people are still unfamiliar with them and may be surprised when they click on the ad and Messenger opens. So make it clear, in your ad copy, that clicking on the call to action button will open a Messenger conversation.

You don’t want to surprise people, because they may get confused. So make sure they understand exactly what’s going to happen.

For your marketing objective, use “Traffic” or “Messages” instead of “Conversions.”

I know, I know—we all want more conversions (more leads and sales). But the problem with using “Conversions” for these ads as your objective is that Facebook won’t get enough data to really optimize your campaign.

So until pixels are implemented inside Messenger in some way, I recommend optimizing your click-to-messenger ads for Traffic or Messages.

Messenger Ad Type #2: Sponsored Messages

Purpose: To re-engage with and send promotional messages to people who are already subscribers.

Sponsored messages appear inside the Facebook Messenger inbox of your Messenger subscribers (in other words, anyone who has messaged you in the past and has not unsubscribed).

It’s an identical experience to receiving a Facebook message from a friend, these just come from a brand.

If you’re using a Messenger marketing tool like ManyChat (and I hope you are), then you already have the ability to send broadcasts and promotional messages to the people on your list. But when sending messages through a tool like ManyChat, you’re only allowed to send promotional messages within a 24-hour window after that person has interacted with your chatbot.

What makes Sponsored Messages so powerful is that you can send a promotional message anytime you want—even if it’s outside of that 24-hour window.

You can find this option at the ad set level when creating a campaign in Ads Manager or Power Editor. First, set your marketing objective as “Messages”:

Then choose “Sponsored Messages” from the drop-down:

By default, your message will be sent to everyone who has an existing conversation with you in Messenger. If you want to narrow down that targeting further, you can do so by clicking on “Advanced Options” under Audience. There you can narrow your focus to target subscribers based on their location, demographics, interests, etc.

In terms of placements, there’s only 1 option available: Sponsored messages. So you don’t have to change anything there.

For Sponsored Messages, Facebook recommends choosing a lifetime budget over a week. And right now, the cost is about $30 per 1,000 impressions. So a little napkin math should make it easy to figure out what your budget needs to be in order to reach all of your Messenger subscribers.

When creating an actual message, you can include links and images—like we do in this one:

Here’s where you can customize that stuff inside the Ads Manager:

You can also customize customer actions (such as providing suggested quick replies). But if you’re using ManyChat, you don’t have to worry about that—just use Facebook to send the initial message, and then let ManyChat take over from there.

A few things to note about sponsored messages…

You can ONLY target people who have previously messaged your page in the past. (As long as they haven’t unsubscribed.)
It’s available for campaigns with the “Messages” objective.
Keep in mind that your messages won’t necessarily be delivered immediately. In Facebook’s words: “You should expect the majority of your sponsored messages to deliver in the 3–5 days after your campaign starts. If you want to manually schedule a start and end date for your campaign, it’s recommended to set your campaign length for at least 1 week, to ensure full delivery.”
Only 1 sponsored message will be delivered per person, per ad set. If you want to send multiple sponsored messages to each person, you’ll need to create multiple ad sets.
Facebook charges advertisers by impressions, which means you are charged whether the end user opens the message or not. That is, unless you use a tool like…

ManyChat.com

ManyChat is much more than a “bot” (in my opinion, the bot is the least sexy feature).

ManyChat builds a list of subscribers that you can send sponsored messages to; people who have previously messaged your page:

Although Facebook is building this list, too, the benefit is ManyChat allows you to broadcast sponsored messages to your subscriber list for just $10/month (instead of paying Facebook on a CPM basis):

We’ve sent sponsored messages to our subscriber list, and the open rates have been INSANE (especially compared to email open rates)!!

As I mentioned above, the only limitation to ManyChat broadcasts is that you can only send promotional messages in the first 24 hours after someone has interacted with your bot. That’s Facebook’s rule, not ManyChat’s, and it’s there to help keep spam low and engagement high inside Messenger.

So that you, as an advertiser, can continue to use this channel effectively for years to come!

(RELATED: Episode 72: How DigitalMarketer Generated 500% ROI in 3 Days Using Facebook Messenger)

Messenger Ad Type #3: Messenger Home Placement

Purpose: A new placement where you can display your Facebook ads.

This isn’t really a type of ad, so much as a new placement. And the difference here is that your ad shows up inside Messenger home (as opposed to showing up inside of a specific conversation).

Here’s an example of what that looks like. Notice that the ad is sandwiched in between 2 different conversations:

Here’s another example:

And here’s where you can choose the Messenger Home placement:

Depending on your campaign, you could choose to have this ad open inside of Messenger… or you could have it take the person to a landing page. Feel free to experiment with these options, but keep in mind that because people are already inside of Messenger, there will be less friction if you keep them on Messenger rather than try to take them somewhere else (like your website).

OK, next I want to touch really briefly on…

How to Monitor Your Messenger Ad Performance

Obviously you’ll want to monitor the performance of your Messenger ad campaigns to see how they’re performing. And to see all the engagement metrics from your Messenger ads, just head over to the Ads Manager and choose “Messenger engagement” from the drop-down on the right:

Facebook will organize the columns to show your Messenger stats, including your total replies, link clicks, new messaging conversations, etc.

Just wanted to make sure you know that these metrics are available to you!

So, ready to put Facebook Messenger ads to work in your business? Let’s talk about…

(NOTE: With Lab+, you can access all 11 of our acclaimed marketing certification and mastery courses PLUS everything Lab has to offer. Quickly become a full-stack marketer with the best training available. Start your free trial today!)

How to Build Your Subscriber List

Sponsored messages are so powerful, and—this is really important—the fact that you can only send them to people who have previously messaged your page will keep this from becoming a spam-fest.

But, there does need to be list building strategies, similar to email.

For one thing, you can use destination ads to build your Messenger subscriber list.

ManyChat also provides a unique URL that when clicked, opens a Facebook message with your brand page.

For example, we sent an email and used the link to drive messages:

Not only did this provide an extra line of communication for people who would prefer to use Messenger, it sold tickets! As you can see from this Facebook Messenger conversation between a customer and one of our sales reps…

If you’re using a software like Shopify, you can integrate with Facebook and build your subscriber list as people purchase your product:

You can also send follow-up messages to confirm the order and send shipping information:

…Which is a great way to improve user experience.

And, don’t forget—even people who message your page (for customer service related questions, for example) are added to your subscriber list!

You may be wondering, Wow… this sounds awesome, but it requires a lot of human resources to answer messages!

And, you’re right. But, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it AND it doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from this ad type even if you’re a 1-person show. Here are a few tips:

Start super small, down the funnel. Use destination ads to retarget people who are toward the bottom of your funnel. This will ensure you’re having fewer, but more highly-leveraged conversations.
Get help from a bot. Use ManyChat’s bot feature to welcome people who message your page, you could essentially automate the sales process with this tool.
Use the tagging system inside of Facebook Messenger to stay organized. Our team created tags to help systemize the process:

I also recommend integrating your customer service and sales platforms with Facebook Messenger so that your team can leverage Messenger while still having access to customer information.

Using Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature to Grow Your Subscriber Base

If you’re using ManyChat (or similar tools), you have the opportunity to leverage Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger feature. This feature allows you to auto-message any person that comments on a specific Facebook post.

And if they respond to your message, they’ll automatically be added to your subscriber list.

Here’s an example…

Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to set up and deploy this strategy… along with examples of different business types.

Take advantage of Facebook Messenger ads to connect with your audience in a more interactive and meaningful way. Using the tools I’ve described in this post, you can build systems in your business that leverage this channel so that you can build a subscriber list, similar to email. Then…

Test, test, test, and as always… let us know how these strategies are working in your business!

(NOTE: With Lab+, you can access all 11 of our acclaimed marketing certification and mastery courses PLUS everything Lab has to offer. Quickly become a full-stack marketer with the best training available. Start your free trial today!)

The post Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

3 Google Analytics Reports Every Business Should Monitor

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/best-google-analytics-reports/

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Knowledge is power.”

Well, that is absolutely true when it comes to your website.

Without in-depth knowledge of what’s happening on your website, you’re basically flying blind. You don’t know how people are finding your site. You don’t know what they’re doing once they get there. And you don’t know which visitors are buying which products.

In other words, you’re powerless to actually improve your website’s performance… because you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t.

That’s where Google Analytics comes in.

When you know how to use it, Google Analytics can tell you SO MUCH about your website and the people on it. Who are your users? Where are they coming from? What actions are they taking?

This is the kind of information (power) you need to make smart, informed decisions to grow your profits and your business.

But for many people, Google Analytics can seem overwhelming. Confusing. Complicated.

And that’s especially true if you’re a beginner and you don’t know where to start.

That’s why I’m writing this post.

You’re about to learn the 3 Google Analytics reports that give you the most bang for your buck—so you can gain the most valuable insight into what people are doing on your site, in the least amount of time and effort possible.

By the time you’re done, you’ll know how to use these 3 reports to get a quick snapshot of your overall website performance. You’ll also have a few tricks you can use to drill down and get more focused data that you can use to bring in more sales and revenue from your website visitors.

NOTE: Throughout this post, I’m going to be showing you a lot of screenshots. These screenshots come from the Google Test Account, which is a publicly available analytics account you can use to play around and learn more.

If you don’t yet have a Google Analytics account—or if you don’t have much data yet—feel free to open the test account in a separate tab or on a second monitor. If you do have a Google Analytics account, open your own dashboard instead.

Either way, you’ll get the most benefit from this post if you follow along at home as you read. So let’s get started.

Google Analytics Report #1: Source/Medium Report

In my opinion, this is the most important report in Google Analytics.

It gives you an actionable, high-level overview of your website’s performance broken down by traffic source.

You’ll find it under the “Acquisitions” tab, which contains all the reports that tell you about how people are getting to your website (How you are “acquiring” your traffic).

To find it, first click “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” then “Source/Medium”:

For the moment, you can ignore the graph at the top of the page. Instead, you’ll want to scroll down to the table—this is where you’ll find the real meat of the report:

This table shows you all the different traffic sources for your website along with the performance details for each source. So you can see things like…

The identity of each traffic source and how many users they are sending you
How engaged those users are on your site
What bottom line results are each of those traffic sources producing (measured by purchases and/or goal conversions)

You want to look for anomalies. Things that stand out.

So what should you be looking for here?

In general, you want to look for anomalies. Things that stand out.

We have a saying at our company, “The truth is in the trend, the power is in the pattern.”

For example…

Knowing that your site has a 46% bounce rate is not particularly helpful. But if you know that YouTube traffic has a 58% bounce rate and email traffic has a 13% bounce rate—that is, almost 5x higher… well, that could be a useful thing to know.

This tells you that people coming from email are much more likely to engage with your site and visit more than 1 page. Once you know that, you can go about making changes to improve your website’s performance—perhaps by prioritizing email over YouTube. Or perhaps by creating a new landing page made specifically for your YouTube visitors.

Another thing I love about this report is that it shows you the big picture. You can see your overall results in terms of sales and revenue from each traffic source:

This reveals that even though YouTube is your second-highest source of traffic, it doesn’t bring you any sales. On the other hand, deal sites are your #1 source of revenue—despite the fact that they bring you far less traffic.

The Importance of Tagging Your Traffic

In order to get the most insight from this report, it’s essential to tag your traffic.

Here’s why:

See that “(direct) / (none)” traffic source?

Anytime someone comes to your website and Google Analytics can’t figure out how they found you, that’s where Google puts them. Inside the “(direct) / (none)” source. Basically, Google doesn’t know if those visitors typed your URL directly into their browser, or if they clicked on an untagged link. And if they did click on a link, there’s no way to know which link they came from.

Basically, (direct) / (none) is like a black box. And as you might imagine, having a black box in your analytics is not very useful…

Fortunately, you can reduce the amount of (direct) / (none) traffic in your Analytics account by tagging your links.

By tagging your links, you’re letting Google know where your traffic is coming from. This gives you better insight into ALL your traffic sources and generally makes it easier to organize your analytics reports.

To tag your traffic, you simply add a bit of code after your website URL anytime you link back to your site. Here’s what it looks like:

https://yourwebsite.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=widget

If you tag your links like this, then the traffic that comes from that link will no longer show up as (direct) / (none). Now, it will show up in Google Analytics with a source of “newsletter” and a medium of “email.”

You definitely want to get in the habit of tagging your traffic at all times. It’s not hard to do once you get the hang of it. One easy way is to use Google’s Campaign URL Builder.

Now some people don’t like using tagged URLs because it makes the link itself look longer and uglier. After all, yourwebsite.com is a lot simpler and nicer-looking than:

yourwebsite.com?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=widget.

But here’s a trick for getting around that: use a link shortener (like bit.ly) to effectively hide the UTM parameters.

To do this, just create your tagged URL. For example:

https://measurementmarketing.io/?utm_source=digitalmarketer&utm_medium=guest-post&utm_campaign=academy&utm_term=office-hours&utm_content=office-hours

Then use a link shortener to create a new URL that redirects visitors to that longer, tagged URL. For example:

measure.tips/dmexample

Try clicking that link and then looking at the URL at the top of the page. You’ll see the UTM parameters are there, even though you can’t see them in the shortened version of the link.

(RELATED: Get back to the basics of Google Analytics with The Complete Guide to Google Analytics Campaign Tracking)

Google Analytics Report #2: Landing Pages Report

The next report you’ll want to monitor on a regular basis is the Landing Pages report.

Now when people talk about landing pages here at DigitalMarketer, they’re often talking about a specific type of page—like an opt-in page that’s designed to generate a new email subscriber.

But Google Analytics defines a landing page a bit differently. To Google Analytics, a “landing page” is the first page that someone sees when they visit your website.

So if someone’s visit goes like this:

Homepage → Category Page → Product Page → Exit

Then the homepage was the “landing page” for that session. Another visit might go like this:

Blog Post → Homepage → About Us Page → Exit

In this case, the blog post was the landing page—because that’s the page they first landed on when they reached your site.

When you start combining the insights from these different reports, that’s when you start to glimpse the really awesome power of Google Analytics.

Make sense?

Great!

And what’s really cool about this report is that it breaks out all the sessions people had on your website into the landing pages that initiated those sessions. In other words: it shows you which pages people are seeing FIRST. Then it allows you to compare the performance of those pages to see which landing pages are doing the best job of engaging your visitors.

It’s located in the “Behavior” tab, which contains a bunch of reports that give you better insight into the behaviors people are taking on your website.

To find it, first click “Behavior,” then “Site Content,” then “Landing Pages”:

And once again, the meat of this report lies in the table farther down on the page.

The leftmost column in that table lists all the different landing pages on your website:

Remember, these are the pages that people arrive on FIRST when they visit your site.

And when you start to look at the engagement metrics of these landing pages, you can learn some really interesting things.

For example, if you look at the bounce rate, you’ll find that some landing pages do a much better job of engaging your visitors than others:

The sixth landing page in this table has a much higher bounce rate than your other landing pages; it’s more than double the bounce rate of the fourth landing page.

You’ll probably want to take a look at that page with the high bounce rate and see if you can figure out why people are bouncing when they come to it. Maybe it’s missing a menu, or maybe the content doesn’t do a good job of addressing what the visitor is looking for.

2 other metrics you’ll want to look at are Pages / Session and Avg. Session Duration. These can also reveal insights into how well your landing pages are performing.

For example, the fourth page in this table does a much better job of engaging visitors than the second:

This is another example where you’ll want to take a look at the high- and low-performing pages to see what you can learn (And more importantly, what you can do to leverage the high-performers and improve the low-performers).

Now that’s all really cool, useful stuff you can uncover in this report.

But when you start combining the insights from these different reports, that’s when you start to glimpse the really awesome power of Google Analytics.

(NOTE: With Lab+, you can access all 11 of our acclaimed marketing certification and mastery courses—including the Analytics & Data Mastery Course that will teach you how to interpret your data so you can make informed business decisions—PLUS everything Lab has to offer. Quickly become a full-stack marketer with the best training available. Start your free trial today!)

How to Segment Your Report by a Secondary Dimension

Remember that in report #1, you learned how to analyze your website by looking at each traffic source individually.

We’re in a different report right now, but you can still apply Source/Medium to this report using a secondary dimension.

In simple terms, what this does is allow you to analyze all your landing pages, broken out by traffic source.

That might be kind of hard to conceptualize, so let’s just go through an example to make this a little easier to understand.

To apply a secondary dimension, just click “Secondary dimension” above the table. Then click in the search bar and type “source.” Finally, click on “Source / Medium” to apply that segment to the table.

You’ll notice that this has added another column to the table: the “Source / Medium” row:

Now you can see the performance of each landing page, broken down by traffic source. For example:

In the table below, row 1 shows all the data from sessions starting on /home and coming from organic Google traffic. Row 6 shows all the data from sessions starting on /home and coming from Adwords (Google CPC):

And if you want to dig down and focus on 1 particular landing page, you can click on it in the table:

Doing this will show you only that particular landing page, so you can compare all the traffic sources going to that page. Like so:

I LOVE doing deep-dives like this because this is where you can learn some really useful information. For example, if you take a look at that table you’ll see that even though organic traffic accounts for the most visits to your homepage… it does NOT result in the most revenue.

Instead, the traffic sources linking to your homepage that create the most revenue are rows 3 and 4 (email and deal sites):

Knowing this, you might realize you want to do things a little differently. For instance, you might decide to change your homepage so that it speaks more directly to people coming from emails and deal sites.

One Last Thing to Keep in Mind

There’s one thing I want to make sure you realize: this report shows you the data from your users’ ENTIRE session.

To understand what that means, first you have to know what Google Analytics means by a “session.” A session is essentially a “visit.”

If you visit a website and browse around for a few minutes, then leave, that was 1 session. If you come back the next day and browse around some more, that’s another session.

And the Landing Pages report shows you what happens during the entire session—NOT just what happens on the landing page itself.

For an example of what that means, take a look at this column of data:

This section shows 243 transactions with /home as the landing page.

But those transactions didn’t occur ON the homepage itself. Instead, they most likely occurred AFTER the person landed on the homepage and then navigated to a different page (Probably a product page, then a checkout page, then a confirmation page).

For example, 1 session might have gone like this:

Homepage → Product Page → Shopping Cart → Order Confirmation Page

Another session might have gone like this:

Homepage → Features Page → Product Page → Shopping Cart → Order Confirmation Page

The point is that those 243 transactions didn’t necessarily occur ON the homepage. But they did occur during sessions that BEGAN on the homepage.

(RELATED: Want to shape up your landing pages to get better engagement? Check out our 15-Point Landing Page Audit that you can download for FREE!)

Google Analytics Report #3: Product Performance Report

The last report you’re going to want to keep a close eye on is the Product Performance report. And this one gives you a detailed view into your ecommerce sales broken out by product.

It’s located under the “Conversions” tab, which contains all the reports that dig into the goal conversions happening on your website.

To find it, first click on “Conversions,” then “Ecommerce,” and finally “Product Performance.”

You’ll notice that this table is broken down by product, allowing you to view sales performance for all the different products for sale on your site.

Here you can see, at a glance, how much revenue you generated from each product. You’ll also see your sales broken down by quantity, average price, refunds, and more.

This is another high-level report that can reveal some important insights if you simply look for the things that stand out.

Another thing you can do is to compare “Unique Purchases” and “Quantity” to get an idea of how many people are purchasing multiple copies of a product. In this table, you’ll see that in row #2, everyone purchased exactly 1 copy of the product (8 sales, 8 units sold). But 2 rows lower, you had 7 purchases resulting in 21 total units sold—which means people are buying more than 1 at a time.

This gives you even more insight into the buying habits of your website visitors, which you can use to better optimize your site for more purchases and revenue.

You Can Segment This Report, Too

And once again, you can segment this report by a secondary dimension to get even more focused data.

You can segment by source/medium to find out which traffic sources are resulting in the most sales of each product:

Digging down into the data, you might notice that your top-selling product brings in 10x more revenue from deal sites than it does from organic traffic:

In this case, you might want to spend less time on SEO and more time on getting featured on more deal sites.

You can also segment by landing page to find out which landing pages are resulting in the most sales of each product:

You may notice, for instance, that your buy-to-detail rate is highest when the landing page is /basket.html:

And that makes sense when you think about it. If someone’s session begins on /basket.html, they’re probably coming from a shopping cart abandonment campaign of some kind. So you would expect to see a high conversion rate from those visitors.

Applying these secondary dimensions can reveal some really useful insights. For instance, which traffic sources or blog posts are leading to the most sales of your best-selling products? Do people coming from YouTube buy the same products as people coming from PPC? What products do people usually end up buying when they arrive on a certain category page?

When you know the answers to questions like that, you can start to drive more traffic through your best sources—and to your best landing pages—to increase your sales even more.

Start with ONE Thing

Google Analytics can be really overwhelming at first.

(Don’t feel bad. It was the same way for me and everyone else I’ve ever known.)

But there’s something you can do to minimize or even avoid feeling overwhelmed:

Start with just ONE thing.

Part of the reason why Google Analytics seems so complex is because people start clicking around and looking at a dozen different reports at once.

That’s a sure-fire road to confusion, frustration, and overwhelm.

But if you look at ONE report at a time, and just focus on making sense of what that one report is telling you…

…then you can start to learn useful information right away.

Then, AFTER you’ve mastered that first report, you can move on to another.

Then another. Then another.

And the cool thing about Google Analytics is that each time you learn how to use a new report, you’ll also understand how to use that dimension as a “secondary dimension” to segment other reports.

So… Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t try to figure it all out at once.

Just start with one of the reports in this post (personally, I’d suggest the Source / Medium report), and take your time figuring it out. Then move on when you’re ready.

(NOTE:With Lab+, you can access all 11 of our acclaimed marketing certification and mastery courses—including the Analytics & Data Mastery Course that will teach you how to interpret your data so you can make informed business decisions—PLUS everything Lab has to offer. Quickly become a full-stack marketer with the best training available. Start your free trial today!)

The post 3 Google Analytics Reports Every Business Should Monitor appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

Making Marketing Training Work: Closing Skills Gaps, Proving Value

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/marketing-training/

Does investing in employees’ marketing skills pay off? Or is it just a waste?

Businesses spent nearly $94 billion on corporate training in 2017—a 33% increase over 2016.  Per employee, expenditures ranged from $399 at large companies to $1,886 at smaller organizations, according to the same report from Training magazine.

Within marketing departments, an estimated 4.2% of the total marketing budget now goes to training programs, up from 2.7% in 2014. The Association of National Advertisers’ CMO Talent Challenge Playbook highlights success stories from marketing training investments:

After Unilever rolled out a training program to 5,000 marketers in 2016, it reported a “35% uplift in knowledge” and “96% uplift in confidence.”
Graduates of IBM’s E.School now produce marketing content that “performs better on average than content previously produced.”
Fifteen months after implementing their “New Modern Marketing Curriculum,” Johnson & Johnson’s team showed a “statistically significant increase” in prioritized skill areas.

What about your team? Are you spending too much? Too little? Are you training the right skill sets? Is training a good investment? A wasteful expense? Do you even know?

The State of Marketing Training

Some 23% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot identified “training our team” as a top challenge. “Hiring top talent” was immediately below, at 22%.

Companies trying to hire their way out of a skills gap face a competitive marketplace. LinkedIn’s May 2018 Workforce Report revealed a 230,000-person shortage in the United States for marketing skills, with demand highest in major cities.

That tight talent market has pushed training to the forefront, especially training to develop new marketing capabilities. The biannual CMO Survey anticipated a 6.5% increase in investment for “how to do marketing.” No other increase in marketing knowledge development—such as the transfer of internal knowledge or honing of market research skills—topped 3.9%.

As a segment of the training market, however, marketing lags behind the stalwarts of the industry—sales and leadership training:

Search volume for “marketing training” has consistently trailed other disciplines. Source: Google Trends.

Still, marketing’s share of the corporate training budget is significant: $17 million annually for large companies (10,000+ employees), per Training magazine. Mid-size companies (1,000–9,999) spend an average of $1.5 million per year; small companies (100–999) invest around $375,000.

Those figures are supported by similar findings from a 2016 Brandon Hall Group Benchmarking Study, which surveyed training spending for equivalent tiers: $13 million (10,000+ employees), $3.7 million (1,000–9,999), and $290,000 (100–999).

In recent years, most of that money has tried to close a single marketing skills gap: digital.

A Skills Gap Marketers Don’t Know They Have

The Digital Marketing Institute’s 2016 report “Missing the Mark: The Digital Marketing Skills Gap in the USA, UK & Ireland” lays bare marketers’ shortcomings. Only 8% of those tested achieved entry-level digital marketing skills, and the perception of skill exceeded performance: 51% of U.S. marketers perceived a skill level that only 38% demonstrated via testing.

A 2018 analysis of client data by General Assembly—which has benchmarked more than 25,000 marketers with its “Digital Marketing Level 1” skills assessment—found no correlation between seniority and expertise (among those below the vice-presidential level), and cited “data and measurement” as the biggest skills gap.

“It’s not uncommon for us to hear, ‘We don’t know what we don’t know,’” noted Alison Kashin, an Education Product Manager at General Assembly who focuses on digital marketing training. Kashin elaborated:

Most corporate marketers have outsourced digital execution to agencies, and clients now realize they’re too far removed to be effective. It’s hard to give direction, ask the right questions, or make confident decisions if you don’t know how something works.

Marketers’ Self-Inflicted Wound

The yawning skills gap is, in part, self-inflicted. As the Digital Marketing Institute’s report notes, “The general consensus among employees is that the pace of technological and digital change within their organizations is too slow, and that factors such as a fear of loss of control, especially among employees aged 35–49 years, is hindering its adoption.”

The push to close the skills gap also has the potential to create tension with agency partners, who at times transfer knowledge that reduces the need for their services. As Rhea Drysdale, CEO of Outspoken Media, explained:

Companies want to train their team so they can handle more internally, and that makes sense. They see our work as a means to an end. More often than not, that end is team growth.

“This exact scenario happened last year with an enterprise-level professional services company,” Drysdale continued. “Our advocate went from managing one person to a dedicated team that included a data person, an SEO, an editor, and developers. We’re still working with them but as a consultant on project scopes.”

Digital marketing isn’t the only skills gap disrupting the industry—in-house and agency—either.

Further Fronts in Marketing Training

Niches like account-based marketing (ABM) have seen rapid growth in recent years as well.

“The top question we get around education and training development is account-based marketing,” stated Rob Leavitt, Senior Vice President of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA). “There is a hunger and demand for ABM, and it’s far beyond us.”

Search volume for “account based marketing” began a dramatic rise in 2016. Source: Google Trends.

Leavitt believes ABM training has been a reaction to the digital wave, which can confuse interested individuals with interested accounts:

If I download four whitepapers to understand something relevant to my client, I look really interested—but I’m not a relevant account for you. So how do we take what we’ve learned in digital and overlay an account-based strategy and approach?

At times, the skills gap comes full circle. Just as experienced marketers may hesitate to invest themselves in digital, newer marketers, Leavitt cautioned, risk undervaluing traditional skill sets: “More experienced people feel more comfortable with soft skills—collaboration, leadership, teamwork, etc.”

For every marketer, there’s need. For every facet of marketing, there’s training. But can training close the skills gap?

Does Marketing Training Work?

Few executives know.

In Learning Analytics: Measurement Innovations to Support Employee Development, authors John Maddox, Jean Martin, and Mark Van Buren reveal that, when it comes to training, some 96% of CEOs want to measure one aspect more than any other: impact.

How often is it being measured? Just 8% of the time. Another 74% of CEOs want to connect money spent on training to money earned—the return on investment (ROI). It’s measured just 4% of the time.

Measuring the business impact of training is possible. But individual knowledge gains don’t guarantee company-wide improvements.

Recognizing the Limits of Training

On August, 8, 1963, a band of 15 robbers stole £2.6 million in cash from a mail train traveling between Glasgow and London. Media outlets dubbed the heist “The Great Train Robbery.”

In 2016, Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor Michael Beer and TruePoint researchers Magnus Finnstrom and Derek Schrader reappropriated the moniker to allege a similarly monumental fraud: “The Great Training Robbery.”

Despite the ominous title, the authors are less critical of training programs per se than the “fallacy of programmatic change,” which mistakenly focuses on individual behavior change as a way to shape institutions. Their findings suggest the inverse is true:

The organizational and management system—the pattern of roles, responsibilities and relationships shaped by the organization’s design and leadership that motivates and sustains attitude and behavior—is far more powerful in shaping individual behavior.

Evaluating the Corporate Climate
Professor Amy Edmondson uses the metaphor of “fertile soil” to describe a corporate environment in which individual training can thrive.

Additional work by another HBS professor, Amy Edmondson, distills the prerequisites for effective training programs down to a single metaphor: the need for a corporate climate to provide “fertile soil”—a psychologically safe environment in which subordinates can voice opinions freely. Only fertile soil, in turn, can allow the “seeds” of individual training to germinate.

Beer et al.’s work found that just 10% of training programs surveyed had the fertile soil necessary to derive value from training. Too often, they lament, the rush to invest in individual training protects obdurate executives—or the HR representatives who would need to confront them—rather than addressing core organizational or leadership issues.

Those findings align with Kashin’s experience working with clients at General Assembly:

There are layers of team structures, technology, planning processes, etc., that need to be re-examined to be successful in digital. Most corporate programs have an element of change management. The most success occurs when we support a larger change-management effort that has been set in motion with strong internal leadership.

Measuring the Success of Marketing Training

Even with strong organizational support, how do you know if a marketing training program works?

“It usually looks like ‘program success,’” according to ITSMA’s Leavitt. “Clients look at basic satisfaction with the education training: Did it seem like a good use of time? Have we been able to develop the program and succeed? Are we hitting our targets?”

For Kashin, numbers are only part of the picture: “At the core of every one of our success stories are individuals who were motivated to learn and change, and highlighting their stories is one of our most powerful and rewarding ways of showing value.”

“The reality of a lot of these programs,” Leavitt summarized, is that “education training is hard to measure. A lot of it is qualitative, informal. We know it when we see it. We’ve not cracked code.”

Jack Phillips believes he has. Phillips, an expert on determining the value of training programs with a doctorate in Human Resource Management, is chairman of the ROI Institute:

We don’t like ‘estimates,’ but our choices are to do nothing or claim it all. Neither one is any good. Quantitative data is more believable. Executives understand it quite clearly. Our challenge is to make and defend credible estimates if quantitative data isn’t available.

That combined measurement—exhausting quantitative data sources while communicating qualitative ones persuasively—begins with the identification of KPIs.

Identifying KPIs for Marketing Training

“Sales and marketing tend to have the same metrics,” explained Phillips. “Increase existing customers, acquire new customers, increase client quality, etc.”

(A scan of marketing-specific KPIs highlighted by training firms also reveals a list of familiar metrics: number of qualified leads generated, cost per qualified lead, marketing staff turnover rate, and marketing staff productivity.)

When attempting to identify KPIs, a common mistake is not translating a problem into its underlying metric. For example, “poor copywriting” may be a marketing problem, but improvement can’t be measured unless marketing executives identify an underlying business metric—like conversion rate—that can show the effects of successful training.

According to Phillips, identifying KPIs is far easier than parsing the influence of factors that may affect them: What if an improvement to an ad campaign drives more qualified visitors to a landing page? Or a recent website redesign increases site speed?

Isolating the impact of marketing training, Phillips asserted, is the key to unlocking assessment methods that can demonstrate ROI. Still, the math can quickly become complex. So can the cost of measurement. On average, companies spend just 4% of the total training budget on measurement; most spend less than 1%.

Many models, Phillips’ included, outline progressive levels of measurement to help companies scale accountability based on resources.

The Phillips Measurement Model
The methodology behind the Phillips Measurement Model. Source: Phillips, Jack. Measuring the Success of Sales Training.

Phillips uses a five-level model (an optional sixth level assesses intangible values—job satisfaction, organizational commitment, teamwork, etc.):

Reaction: Did participants like it?
Learning: Did they learn from it?
Application: Did they apply their new knowledge on the job?
Impact: Did the training have a business impact?
ROI: What was the value of that impact, and was it a good investment?

While authoritative, Phillips’ model is not the only one. Models by Donald Kirkpatrick and Josh Bersin are also widely used. (General Assembly uses a version of the Kirkpatrick model.) The Kirkpatrick model allows for immediate post-training measurement, while the Bersin model folds values such as efficiency and utility into Phillips’ approach.

Levels 1–3: Generating a Baseline Measurement

The initial levels of measurement include assessments such as post-training surveys to measure trainee satisfaction as well as tests or instructor evaluations to measure knowledge transfer.

Phillips believes the first two levels are sufficient for a baseline measurement of knowledge transfer. Additional levels of measurement connect training outcomes more closely with business metrics and monetary returns, but those insights come at a cost.

Kashin concurred: “Measuring behavior change and business impact is something we always encourage, but it requires a fair bit of investment on the client side.”

Measuring behavior change (“Application” in the Phillips model) also requires a time lapse—Phillips suggests three months—but can be a simple retest of training knowledge or follow-up survey about trainees’ perception of its enduring value.

Levels 4–5: Bridging the Gap between Training Costs and ROI

To complete a five-level measurement with “Impact” and “ROI,” companies must identify a business outcome (e.g. web leads), assign it an accurate monetary value (e.g. dollar value of a web lead), and isolate the impact of training from other factors.

Phillips offers quantitative and qualitative options to isolate the impact of training:

Quantitative

A/B Testing. Find two similar groups of marketers within your organization (e.g. teams in roughly equivalent markets located in different cities or countries). Offer training to one and not the other. Measure the difference in performance between the two based on a key metric (e.g. increase of sales-qualified leads the three months before and after training).
Trend analysis. Use past performance to project expected progress of a given metric. Measure the actual outcome after training. The impact of training is the difference in performance between the two lines.
Modeling/forecasting. If training aligns with changes to other variables (e.g. advertising campaigns), subtract the known impact of that variable from the total change; the remaining change is the impact of marketing training.

To identify outside variables that affect progress toward business metrics, Phillips leans on experts within the organization, asking questions like:

Would this trend have continued if we had done nothing?
Is it market growth?
Did anything else happen in the environment around the marketing share?
Were there other marketing promotions?
Did prices changes?
Were there added incentives for related groups, like sales staff?
Did competitors shift strategies or enter/exit the marketplace?

Qualitative

Estimates. Conduct surveys of clients or marketing staff. Ask clients to identify the channels or efforts that made them aware of a product or influenced their purchase. Survey marketing staff about the degree to which various marketing efforts (training included) influenced results.

If, say, a digital marketing training program, an online advertising campaign, and a website redesign all launched in the past three months, ask marketing staff to weight the effect of each, multiplying by their confidence:

As Phillips argued:

When you combine these estimates from a group of people, they become powerful. Our effort is always to go to the most credible process first. If we can’t use a mathematical approach, we’ll use estimates—and we’ll defend them.

Time and again, Phillips has seen the “confidence” adjustment account for human error effectively. (Phillips cited Jack Treynor’s jelly bean experiment as corroborating evidence.)

Expert opinions. When collective estimates by customers or staff aren’t available, use internal experts or key managers to make individual estimates.

“The key is to ask the right person and collect it the right way,” Phillips explained. Finding the “right” person or conducting a survey the “right” way is open to interpretation. But, Phillips is adamant, no less necessary:

You have to do it. You can’t just say, ‘We’ll take full credit for it,’ and life is good. Executives will require you to sort it.

Translating the business impact into ROI requires two additional steps:

Converting the business impact to a monetary value (e.g. the dollar value of a whitepaper download)
Determining how many dollars are returned above and beyond the initial investment in marketing training

Importantly, an ROI calculation differs from a benefit-cost ratio in format (percentage versus ratio) and formula (subtracting program costs from benefits):

How ROI differs from a benefit-cost ratio. Source: Phillips, Jack. Measuring the Success of Sales Training.

Even without a complete ROI calculation, assessing the “business impact” of training—when supplemented with a list of intangible benefits—can be a powerful defense at multiple levels within an organization, c-suite included.

Conclusion

Need alone—digital marketing skills today, account-based marketing skills tomorrow—may continue to fill training budgets and grow training programs. Measurement challenges will not fix or excuse skills gaps in marketing departments.

“To some extent,” Leavitt concluded, ruminating again on the question of ROI, “When your clients come back for more, they’re happy with what they got the first time.” It’s a purely qualitative measurement.

Still, robust, quantitative ROI models, though more persuasive in the c-suite, lean on qualitative components, too. All measurements can be defended; all surpass a failure to measure anything at all.

Nor can any assessment answer other, broader questions: Is training currently the best use of marketing resources? Does the commitment to change extend to the highest levels of the organization?

In short, is it the right season? Is the soil fertile? If yes, then plant the seed. And grow.

The post Making Marketing Training Work: Closing Skills Gaps, Proving Value appeared first on CXL.

0

How to Get Around Google’s Latest Algorithm Change

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/google-algorithm-change/

Have you noticed that Google is constantly making algorithm changes? And when they do, they rarely tell you the change they’ve made.

They tend to keep it a bit vague, like this…

So, do you want to know how got around this algorithm update?

Well, before I tell you how, there are a few things you need to know.

How Google works

Can you guess how many factors there are in Google’s algorithm?

It’s over 200!

SEO is complicated. If Google made SEO easy you would see product and service pages rank at the top of every Google search instead of content-rich pages.

That means it would be easier for you to rank and make money, which would cause fewer companies to spend money on Google Ads.

Just look at the image above, Google generated over 95 billion dollars in ad revenue. That’s a ridiculous amount of money!

Now, Google isn’t just focusing on placing content-rich sites high up in the search results because they care about ad revenue, they do this because that’s what you want.

See, Google’s goal is to provide the best experience for you.

If you as a user wanted to see product and service related pages in the top of organic results, then that’s what they would start doing.

By providing you with the best user experience, this causes you to keep coming back to Google, which allows them to monetize through ads.

If they didn’t focus on user experience and making you happy, Google wouldn’t be the most popular search engine. It would be Bing or some other search engine.

So, when Google makes an algorithm change they are doing this because they’ve learned how to provide a better experience for you.

They aren’t making these changes because they want to screw up your rankings or ruin your business.

Google isn’t perfect

Similar to any other business, Google isn’t perfect. They make mistakes (we all do), and sometimes the changes they make may not provide the best experience for you.

When they may roll out changes, they may learn some adjustments didn’t work out the way they wanted, which causes them to constantly go back and make tweaks.

This is why you see search traffic fluctuations. Just look at my search traffic for all of 2017:

When looking at the graph above, you may notice that I generated 6,162,300 visits from search of which 4,284,056 were unique.

And if you look even closer, you’ll see that 2017 started off really well. February was a great month even though it has fewer days.

In February, I generated 390,919 visits from search but then in March, my traffic went down. And then in April, I saw another drop.

The drop may not seem that big when you look at the graph, but April’s search traffic came in at 292,480. That’s a 25.18% drop in search traffic when you compare it to February.

Ouch!

I didn’t make any major changes to my website that would have caused the drop and there isn’t seasonality around that time…

As you can see from the screenshot above, my 2018 search traffic shows a trend of going up and to the right (that throws the seasonality theory out the door).

And honestly, I don’t know if Google made any algorithm changes during that time in 2017 because I don’t pay attention to them (I’ll get into this a bit later).

In other words, your traffic is going to fluctuate, and that is ok. But when you look at your search traffic, as long as it is going up and to the right year after year, you are fine.

2017 was a rough year for me as my search traffic didn’t start going up again until August. I wasn’t doing anything different, it’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

So why don’t I pay attention to Google algorithm updates?

I mentioned this above, and I know it may seem shocking. Yes, I do read up on them every once in a while, but I don’t need Google to tell me about where they are heading with their algorithm.

You, the user, tell me this.

So instead, I focus on you. If I do what’s best for you, eventually my site will rank higher.

Sure, in the short run my rankings may drop, but I know if I focus on you (the user) it will give me the highest probability of ranking in the long run.

Just look at my search traffic for the first 7 months of 2018:

I’ve already beat my 2017 numbers!

5,017,790 is the number of unique search visitors that have come to NeilPatel.com in the first 7 months of 2018. The count for all of 2017 was 4,284,056.

That’s a huge difference.

As long as I do what’s best for you I know that my total traffic should go up and to the right.

If you look at my traffic from when I started to blog on NeilPatel.com (August 2014) to now, you’ll see that my traffic goes up and down each month, but the overall graph is up and to the right.

So, are you saying that you don’t care about SEO?

No, I still care about SEO and I practice it daily.

I just don’t stress out about every Google algorithm update because it isn’t in my control.

This doesn’t mean I ignore the advice Google gives. For example, when they announced that they were going to create a mobile-first index, I made sure I optimized my site for mobile.

But trying to read into every Google update and making assumptions on what I should do next is like playing a game of cat and mouse.

It’s time consuming, exhausting and inefficient. You are better off spending your time making your website better for your users.

Like I always say: Succeeding with digital marketing is a long-term game. Focus on the long term.

So how do you ensure long-term success?

I already showed you that my traffic goes up and to the right over time.

Here’s my secret to ensure that Google loves you in the long run.

Please, please, please note that some of the tactics I’m about to share with you may reduce your traffic in the short run, but you will be better off in the long run.

Strategy #1: Prune and crop

A lot of marketers discuss how pruning and cropping your content can triple your traffic.

If you aren’t familiar with the process, it’s as simple as updating your mediocre content and make it amazing. And as for your irrelevant content that is no longer valid, you would delete them and 301 redirect those URLs.

I’ve done this multiple times on dozens of sites. I have friends who have done it as well. We all see one major trend from doing this… traffic usually drops.

Even if those pages that you are pruning and cropping barely get any Google traffic, you’ll still typically see a drop in traffic.

The only time you’ll see an increase is if your content was so bad, such as deleting short blog posts that are filled with duplicate content.

Even if your blog is new, you should consider pruning and cropping once a year. It will ensure that you are updating your content, thus providing the best experience for your users.

Here’s the process I use to prune and crop (use Excel or Google Sheets to do this):

Create a list of all of the URLs on your website – using Screaming Frog, I crawl my website so I can get a full list of every URL, title tag, meta description, number of inlinks (number of internal links pointing to that URL), and the word count.
Add in traffic per page – I then log into my Google Analytics account and list out how much traffic each URL is generating.
And then I add in backlinks per page – I put each URL into Ahrefs to see how many backlinks each URL has.
Lastly, add in social shares per URL – using a tool like SharedCount you can get the total social shares per URL.

You should have a spreadsheet that looks something like this:

I know the image may be hard to see, so here is a sample.

Some of the data is junk and inaccurate in the sample. Also keep in mind that I am missing some data, such as meta description and social shares (I still haven’t completed this spreadsheet).

The reason I shared the sheet with you is that you’ll notice I added a few additional columns such as “what to do” and “redirect to.”

The 4 options I have under “what to do” are: optimize, delete, redirect, and nothing.

Once your spreadsheet is complete, you need to manually review each URL and select one of the 4 options above. Here’s when to select each one:

Optimize – if the page is popular, it has backlinks, traffic, and social shares, consider optimizing it. This could involve adding more internal links to the page, updating the content, or even optimizing the on-page code.
Delete – if the page has little to no search traffic, backlinks, social shares, and doesn’t provide any value to the user, consider deleting it. When doing so you will want to update any internal links that were pointing to this URL and then, of course, take this URL and 301 redirect it to the most relevant page.
Redirect – if the page is very similar to another page on your site, consider merging the content and 301 redirecting the URL to the similar one. You’ll want to take the least popular version and redirect it to the popular one. A good example of this is if you have two blog posts about social media marketing tools, you’ll want to combine the content, create a 301 redirect, and adjust the internal links to point to the final URL.
Nothing – if the page is fine and there is nothing wrong with it, do nothing.

Strategy #2: Expand internationally

There are over 7 billion people in this world, and most of them don’t speak English.

Yes, Google is a difficult beast to conquer, but it isn’t in non-English speaking countries. Whether it is France, Germany, Brazil, or any other country where English isn’t the main language… it’s much easier to get to the top of Google.

Sure, the search volume may not be as high in countries like Brazil, but because the competition is low, you can dominate fast.

Here are the most widely spoken languages in the world:

And here is the GDP per country:

And here is the population per country:

The best countries to go after when it comes to SEO are the ones that have a high GDP and a large population.

Going international has done wonders for my traffic.

In the last 31 days, the United States only made up 24.23% of my traffic. If you want to grow your global search rankings, just follow the steps in this blog post.

It goes in-depth on international expansion and the lessons I learned from a Google employee.

The cool part about international SEO is that it also creates a better user experience for your users as they will be able to read your content in their native language.

Strategy #3: Fix broken links, images, and media files

Let me ask you a question…

What if you were reading this post and half of the links you clicked on where broken? Especially the links that were supposed to teach you the steps you needed to take to grow your traffic?

You would be upset, right?

I know I would.

And to make matters worse, what if half of the images in this post were also broken?

Do you see how that would provide a terrible experience?

Well of course you do. That’s why you need to fix broken links, broken images, and broken media files on your website.

You don’t have to do this every month, but you should do this once a quarter. You can even use tools like Broken Link Check to make things a bit easier for you.

Strategy #4: Fix errors within Google Search Console

Even if you don’t log into Google Search Console, they will email you when there is a spike in errors.

When you get these emails, make sure you fix them. If you don’t know how to fix them, find a developer on Upwork to help you fix them.

And once you fix them, Google will email you when they acknowledge the fix.

It’s really important to fix your Search Console errors. I know this is an obvious tip, but most people don’t do it.

This one little thing will reduce your search traffic fluctuations. You will never be able to stop the fluctuations, but this will help reduce them.

Strategy #5: Build a brand

Do you know what the future of SEO is?

It’s brands!

The websites that dominate Google may not have the most backlinks, but they tend to have big brands.

People trust brands, which means Google trusts brands.

When you want to buy running shoes, what brand comes to mind?

I bet it’s Nike.

When you want a credit card, what brand are you going to choose?

Probably Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.

You don’t always Google for a product or service, in many cases you just go to the brands you are familiar with.

Not only does building a brand help with Google traffic, but it helps diversify your traffic sources so you aren’t just relying on Google search.

If you don’t believe that branding is valuable, check out this blog post. It breaks down how I grew my traffic from 240,839 to 454,382 visitors in one month (before exploding into seven digits) all because of branding.

It even breaks down the steps you can follow to build up a brand for your company.

It works so well, that I was even able to grow the brand value of my free marketing tool, Ubersuggest.

Strategy #6: Keeping a close eye on my competition

You don’t have to be 10 times better than your competition to beat them. Just being a little bit better can do wonders.

Now, if it was up to me, I would tell you to be 10 times better, but I know that can be expensive and is unrealistic in most cases.

If you haven’t, subscribe to your competition’s website.

From joining their email list to following them on their social profiles to even testing out their products/services.

Do whatever you can to stay up to date on your competition. If you can beat them, even by a little bit, people will prefer your site over their site in the long run. This will help you rank higher and get more traffic (and sales!).

And as I mentioned above, being 10 times better is a bit crazy, but usually when you do that your competition won’t copy you.

When you beat them by a little bit, that’s where you will find yourself battling back and forth when it comes to winning over people (and Google).

Conclusion

If you want to get around Google’s algorithm changes, you have to stay ahead by focusing on your users. Do what’s best for them and you won’t have to deal with Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

If you don’t follow the tips above, you’ll save time in the short run, but you’ll find yourself playing a game of cat and mouse in the long run. That just seems exhausting to me.

I don’t pay too much attention to algorithm updates and you shouldn’t either. Instead, focus on providing an amazing user experience. That’s what will cause you to win in the long run.

Now, there will be times where your traffic will drop, but don’t freak out. You can eventually come out on top by focusing on your users.

And if you got to the top of Google by optimizing your site for search engines instead of people, you will eventually get caught up in an update. When that happens, check out this algorithm tracker as it will help you determine what’s changed, what you did wrong, and what you need to fix.

It’s just tedious, which is why I get ahead, focus on the user, so that way I don’t have to focus on Google as much.

So, do you pay attention to every algorithm update Google does?

The post How to Get Around Google’s Latest Algorithm Change appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

25 AMAZING Free SEO Tools [2018 Reviews]

sourced from: https://backlinko.com/best-free-seo-tools

This is a list of the 25 best free SEO tools on the planet.

In fact, these tools have helped my site get 200k+ visits per month.

(Most of which came from SEO)

The best part?

All of these tools work GREAT in 2018.

Let’s get started…

25 Best Free SEO Tools
1. Answer The Public

Find 450+ of keyword ideas in seconds.

Most SEO tools get their data from the same place: The Google Keyword Planner.

Answer the Public is different.

This nifty tools finds questions that people asks on forums, blogs and on social media.

And it turns those questions into awesome keywords:

Best Feature: “Vs. Keywords”

You’d be surprised how many people search for “X vs. Y” keywords in Google.

(For example: “iPhone vs. Android”)

And Answer the Public has a section of the results dedicated to “Vs. Keywords”.

Which brings us to the 2nd tool on our list…

2. Woorank’s SEO & Website Analysis Tool

Get a list of SEO improvements in seconds.

This is a very handy Chrome extension.

First, you get an overall SEO score.

Then, the tool shows you EXACTLY how to improve your site’s SEO.

Best Feature: “Marketing Checklist”

Most SEO tools only tell you about problems… not solutions.

What’s cool about Woorank is that it hands you an actionable checklist you can use to fix issues that you run into.

And now it’s time for our next free SEO tool…

3. Detailed.com

Get intel on your competition.

Detailed gives you a curated list of the most popular sites in your industry.

That way, you can size up your biggest competitors.

(And copy what they’re doing)

Best Feature: “Mentions”

This features shows you who recently linked to (and tweeted about) your competition.

4. CanIRank

Quickly answer the question: “Can I rank for this keyword?”.

CanIRank is a super-detailed keyword difficulty tool.

And unlike most tools, CanIRank doesn’t just tell you: “This keyword is really competitive”.

Instead, it tells you whether or not you can rank for that keyword.

Very cool.

Best Feature: “How can you better target this keyword?”

CanIRank isn’t just for sizing up the first page competition.

It also gives you in-depth suggestions to help you rank for that specific keyword.

5. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

Get your site ready for Google’s Mobile-first Indexing.

You might have heard that Google recently made a big change to their algorithm.

(This change is officially called “Mobile-First Indexing”).

The bottom line is this:

If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re in big trouble.

Fortunately, you don’t need a full-time developer to get ready for this update. All you need to do is run your site through the Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

And it tells you whether or not your site is prepared for Google’s new algorithm:

Best Feature: “Page loading issues”

This feature shows you how you can improve your site’s code. That way, Google’s mobile crawler can find and index all of the resources on your site.

6. Seed Keywords

Find completely fresh keyword ideas.

Most keyword research tools work the exact same way:

Enter a seed keyword into the tool.
Get a list of closely-related terms.

The problem with this approach is this:

Everyone types the same seed keywords into these tools.

Well, Seed Keywords takes a completely different approach.

Instead of pulling seed keywords out of thin air, you ask your customers how they’d search for you online.

Then, type those seed keywords into your favorite keyword research tool.

Best Feature: “Submit Query”

Once the results come in, you can use SeedKeywords to do a Google search for the keywords that people gave you.

That way you can quickly scan the search results… and see how competitive that keywords is.

7. SEMRush

Copy your competitor’s best keywords.

SEMRush might be my all-time favorite SEO tool.

It’s got a paid plan with lots of awesome features.

But the free version is pretty cool too.

Whether you go with free or paid, SEMRush works the same way:

It finds the exact keywords that your competitor’s rank for.

Best Feature: Keyword Magic

Enter a keyword…and get a list of 78,350 keywords!

Insane.

8. Seobility

Get a deep-dive SEO site analysis.

SEObility crawls your entire site and lets you know about search engine optimization issues like:

Slow loading pages
Blocked pages
Sitemap problems
Technical SEO issues
Lots more

You usually only get this type of stuff from paid SEO tools. So it’s really nice that Seobility gives you this data for free.

Best Feature: Content Report

This report hands you a list of pages that have content-related SEO issues.

(Things like: thin content, missing meta titles, keyword stuffing, and duplicate content)

9. Keywords Everywhere

Get keyword data from around the web.

Keywords Everywhere has quickly become one of my favorite keyword research tools.

Why?

Because it shows you search volume, keyword competition and CPC info… inside of your browser.

That’s right: you don’t need to login anywhere to get this data. You can see keyword info while you shop on Amazon.com, watch videos on YouTube and check your stats in the Google Search Console.

Best Feature: Bulk Upload

Want to get data on a massive list of keywords?

Well, you can upload a list of up to 10k keywords…

…and get data on every single one:

10. SEO-Browser

See your site through the eyes of a search engine.

As it turns out, search engines see your site VERY differently than you do.

And SEO-Browser gives you the type of x-ray vision that search engines have.

Best Feature: Show Alt Text

Alt text are text-based tags for images.

(Moz has a great primer on Alt text that I recommend checking out)

And one of the cool things about SEO-Browser is that you can see all of a web page’s alt text in one place.

11. Ubersuggest

Scrape Google Suggest for hundreds of keyword ideas.

Ubersuggest is simple:

Type in a keyword.

And Ubersuggest scrapes HUNDREDS Google’s autocomplete keywords for you.

(You also get info for each keyword… like CPC, search volume and more)

Best Feature: Negative Keywords

This feature lets you filter out terms that you don’t want to see.

For example: filtering out keywords that use the term “free” or “paid”.

12. Google Search Console

Get SEO help straight from Google.

No list of free SEO tools would be complete without the Google Search Console.

Why?

The GSC is a VERY feature-rich piece of SEO software. And unlike pretty much every other tool on the market, you know the data is legit.

(After all, it comes from Google)

For example, you can use the Google Search Console as a rank tracker to check your site’s rankings in the SERPs.

Best Feature: Index Coverage Report

The Index Coverage Report gives you a list of pages on your site that aren’t getting indexed.

You can also see how you can get things back on track.

13. Keyworddit

Scrape keyword ideas from Reddit.

Keyworddit is pretty darn cool.

This nifty little SEO tool scrapes terms that people use on specific subreddits.

And if you spend a few minutes with this tools I can almost guarantee that you’ll uncover a handful of excellent keyword ideas.

Best Feature: Context

This feature gives you a list of Reddit threads where that keyword was used. That way, you can see how people use that keyword in their online conversations.

14. Screaming Frog

Find and fix technical SEO issues in seconds.

Let’s face it:

Finding technical SEO problems on your site can be a HUGE pain.

Enter: Screaming Frog.

This nifty tool crawls your site using a Google-like crawler. And it generates a report of potential issues (like HTTP header errors, javascript rendering issues, bloated HTML, and crawl errors).

Best Feature: Discover Duplicate Content

As you might have heard, Google HATES duplicate content.

Fortunately, you can use Screaming Frog to quickly ID pages with duplicate content.

15. Google Analytics

See how people find and interact with your site.

Google Analytics isn’t really an SEO tool.

But it’s almost impossible to run an SEO campaign without it.

Why?

You need the data in Google Analytics to see whether or not your SEO efforts are paying off.

I’m talking about data like:

Organic traffic
Bounce rate
Traffic sources
Time on site
Page speed

Best Feature: Google Analytics and Google Search Console Integration

Google Analytics is super powerful on its own.

But when you combine it with the Google Search Console?

It’s even MORE powerful.

Linking your GSC account with GA hooks you up with helpful info, like the keywords people use to find your site, your organic CTR, and more cool stuff.

16. Keys4Up

Generate a list of untapped keyword ideas.

Keys4Up uses a proprietary algorithm to generate “lateral” keyword ideas

For example, when you type “Content Marketing” into the tool, you DON’T get a list of variations of that term.

(Like: “Content marketing strategies”).

Instead, you get keywords that people would associate with that term:

Best Feature: Keyword Export

The one downside of Keys4Up is that you don’t know how many people search for the keywords that it gives you.

Fortunately, you can export your keywords to a CSV… and upload that CSV to another SEO tool that does provide monthly search volume.

17. Yoast WordPress Plugin

The best SEO plugin for WordPress.

If your site runs on WordPress, you need to install Yoast ASAP.

It’s by far the most robust SEO plugin on the market.

The best part? It’s 100% free.

Best Feature: XML Sitemap Generator

Sitemaps help Google and other search engines find, crawl and index all of the pages on your site.

And with the Yoast plugin, you don’t have to tinker with your sitemap every time you add a new page to your site.

That’s because Yoast updates your sitemap automatically. Cool.

18. Panguin Tool

Get to the bottom of a rankings drop.

This tool correlates your search traffic with known Google updates.

Why is this helpful?

Well, if you notice that your rankings dropped around the time of a big Google update, you can figure out what went wrong… and fix it.

Best Feature: Switch Updates On/Off

Panguin makes it easy to zero-in on a specific update.

For example, if you’re a local business that focuses on local SEO, you can only have Panguin ONLY show you Google updates that impacted local results.

19. Wordtracker Scout

Steal your competitor’s keywords.

Wordtracker scout takes a unique approach to keyword research…

Instead of entering keywords into a tool, Wordtracker shows you the most-used terms on a page.

That way, you can go over to one of your competitor’s pages… and grab the keywords they’re using in their content.

(Note: This is only available as Chrome extension and isn’t supported for Firefox)

Best Feature: Opportunity

Shows you which keywords on your list has the best ratio of search volume and competition.

20. Lipperhey

Powerful website analyzer.

Lipperhey is a full-featured SEO analyzer that doesn’t cost a penny.

Best Feature: Keyword Suggestions

Get a list of keywords to add to specific pages on your site.

(Which can help you get more organic traffic from long tail keywords).

21. Bing Webmaster Tools

Optimize your site for Bing.

Bing Webmaster Tools is basically the Google Search Console… but for Bing.

So if you want to get your site indexed (and ranked) in Bing, Bing Webmaster Tools is a must-have.

Best Feature: Keyword Research Tool

Get keyword ideas (and data) straight from Bing.

And unlike the Google Keyword Planner, the data from Bing is strictly for organic search (not Bing PPC or Adwords).

22. Dareboost

Analyze your site for speed, SEO, security and more.

Dareboost isn’t strictly an SEO tool.

But it does analyze your site for things that indirectly impact SEO, like your site’s loading speed and security.

Best Feature: Priorities

Let’s you know where to start first. Helpful if you’re strapped for time.

23. Siteliner

Get a full SEO report for free.

Siteliner scans your site for SEO problems (like blocked pages, messed up redirects and broken links).

Best Feature: Comparison with Other Sites

This lets you compare your site’s loading speed and page size to other site’s in Siteliner’s database. Helpful for benchmarking.

24. KWFinder

No-nonsense keyword research tool.

The best part of KWFinder is how darn easy it is to use.

But don’t less this fool you into thinking KWFinder isn’t powerful. It’s a legit keyword tool that lots of pros use.

Best Feature: LPS

LPS=Link Profile Strength.

This feature basically tells you how many links you’ll need to rank for that keyword.

So if you find a keyword that has a LPS of 50+, you know that you’ll need to do some serious link building to rank for that term.

25. Varvy SEO Tool

Get a free SEO site checkup.

Varvy is an extremely cool SEO audit tool.

Most SEO analysis tools only give you surface level info.

But with Varvy, you get access to data that most other free tools don’t show you… including mobile-friendliness, missing alt text, HTTPS setup, robots.txt analysis and more.

Best Feature: Google Guidelines

Varvy doesn’t just hand you a list of SEO problems.

It also gives you specific recommendations that you can implement to fix them… straight from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Bonus #1. Bulk Google Rank Checker

Simple and accurate rank checker tool.

If you want to see where you rank for a specific keyword in Google, you definitely want to use a rank tracking tool.

This free tool makes the process a cinch (and you can check up to 10 keywords for free).

Best Feature: Search Engine Rankings

See where you rank in the SERPs… and where your competitors rank.

Bonus #2. LSI Graph

Advanced content optimization.

LSI keywords can help take your on-page SEO to the next level.

And that’s exactly what LSIGraph is designed to do: it creates a list of LSI keywords that you can sprinkle into your content.

Best Feature: Analysis

Analysis lets you dig deep on an LSI keyword from your list. That way, you can find even MORE awesome LSI keywords to use.

Anything I Missed?

So those are my favorite free SEO tools.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

Are there any tools that you love… but didn’t see on this list?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

The post 25 AMAZING Free SEO Tools [2018 Reviews] appeared first on Backlinko.

0

Subconscious Selling: Your Customers Won’t Buy Without These 3 Elements

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/they-wont-buy/

Your customers are social, plugged-in, and savvy.

Selling to them (even with high-impact direct response) isn’t easy. Which is why today, I’m giving you some contrary advice…

Stop focusing on features and benefits. Stop hyping up your copy. Instead, sell your product on a subconscious level, and you’ll have customers drooling with desire before they know what hit them.

Keep reading and I’ll give you 3 ways to do just that. Plug these essential elements into your marketing to drive customer sales naturally and easily.

1. Social Proof

Think benefits sell? Think again. To sell your product, you need to build trust. Seth Godin says it well:

Without trust, marketers know that there are no sales. Trust means the prospect believes not only that the product being sold will actually solve his problems, but that if for some reason it doesn’t, the company will make good on its reputation of performance.

Today’s consumers assume marketers are trying to take advantage of them, so it’s important to establish credibility in all your marketing. But here’s the thing: You don’t actually have to prove you’re trustworthy if you can show that other people already trust you.

This concept, called social proof, was made popular by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence. In it, he explains that we “view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”

To see how powerful this concept is, we have to take a quick dive into biology.

In 1992, scientist Giacomo Rizzolatti noticed that monkeys’ brains would fire not only when they performed an action, but when they saw someone else perform that action too. He later discovered the same tendency in humans.

Sell your product on a subconscious level, and you’ll have customers drooling with desire before they know what hit them.

This phenomenon, dubbed “mirror neurons,” explains why you laugh when everyone else in a meeting laughs (even if you didn’t hear the joke), and why you wince when someone falls or hold your breath when your kids are learning to swim underwater.

It also explains why, when you see an actor dressed in the newest fashion, you want to wear something similar. When you see them getting second glances, your brain starts firing as if you were getting those looks. And your subconscious brain tells you that you’ll be just as sexy and successful if you wear the same type of clothes.

As Martin Lindstrom says in his book Buy-ology, “It’s as though you’ve just bought an image, an attitude, or both.”

What This Means for Marketers

Social proof isn’t just smart marketing, it’s a mandate if you want to more customer sales. And it’s as easy as showing other people enjoying or benefiting from your products. While there’s no limit to the number of ways you can do this, 3 come immediately to mind.

a. Case Studies

Share stories of real people using and enjoying your product. How you tell the story doesn’t matter: use written case studies, videos, and interviews. What’s important is that you show how your product or services are helping people reach their goals.

The secret to powerful case studies is this: site real numbers and specific details. Notice the headline in this case study for LinkedSelling. It doesn’t site “massive growth” or “impressive returns.” It spells out “400% ROI.”

b. Endorsements & Testimonials

Make it a regular practice to ask customers for a testimonial. Then use them liberally to sell your product.

Ideally, you’ll collect enough to create a “Reviews” page. This one, from Boom! by Cindy Joseph, starts off with text reviews…

…followed by a collage of images showing how well the product works on real women:

When you get a testimonial from someone with celebrity status—either because their name or the company they work for is easily recognizable—by all means, feature it. On Single Grain, this testimonial by the Director of Marketing for Amazon Alexa carries weight because we believe anyone who works for Amazon knows their stuff.

As you can see, when other people show confidence in you—especially if it’s someone well-respected by your community—it’s easier for others to trust you too. That makes it easy to push people off the fence and increase customer sales.

c. Customer Logos

Another way to communicate trust is to pull back the curtains a bit and let prospects see who else uses your product. When they see brands they respect on the list, you gain instant credibility.

For example, this impressive list shows you how many big brands trust Single Grain.

Notice the link to “view case studies” prominently displayed below the graphic. This makes it easy for prospects to get even more details about how Single Grain works.

PRO TIP: Any time you can add specifics to your marketing, you boost your credibility. So turn all general statements into specifics by adding precise numbers, brand names, and facts.

2. Scarcity

As soon as you hear something is off limits, you want it.

Cialdini calls this “The Rule of the Few.” He says:

The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.

It’s true. As soon as you hear something is off limits, you want it. If a book is going out of print, you want to buy it. And if a product is only available until midnight tonight—even if you don’t need it right away—you’re inclined to buy it… just in case.

That’s how scarcity drives customer sales. It makes you aware that you might miss out if you don’t take action.

What This Means for Marketers

Consider Black Friday offers that promote just 100 electronics at 75% off or an 80% discount only till 10 am The fact that the offer is limited drives people to stand in line for hours before the store opens or to physically wrestle with one another for the prize.

How can you do this in your digital marketing? Check out this email from DigitalMarketer’s Founder and CEO, Ryan Deiss:

Ryan is a master at leveraging scarcity in his marketing. Look at how he piles it on in this email:

There’s a “special link” that gives you a discount. “Special” makes you believe it’s not available to everyone, which creates a feeling of exclusivity.
The discount is only available through Monday at midnight. So there’s a time limit pushing you to respond now.
Seats sell out every year. If you don’t act quickly, you could miss your chance to attend.
And if you don’t honestly believe the event will sell out, you might be motivated by the “best seats” reference. Again, a bit of exclusivity makes you feel you might miss something if you don’t click through and buy your ticket.

Scarcity can be achieved through limited inventory, a deadline, or making something only available on certain dates or times. You can use it in emails to make people click through, in your sales pages to make people take action, and as a value-add offer before or after purchase.

PRO TIP: Any time you can reduce or reverse risk, you’ll improve response rates. Absorb as much of the risk as possible with a strong guarantee, lengthy trial period, or ridiculously low price.

(NOTE: Want more clicks from Facebook, Twitter, and your own blog? Copy and paste these 72 proven headline formulas and get more clicks to your content now. Plus, get 3 simple hacks to optimize any headline in 12 seconds or less. Learn more now.)

3. Sensory Language

Deep in your brain’s temporal lobe is an almond-shaped cluster of neurons that some experts call your lizard brain. Known as the amygdala, this primitive part of your brain is both pre-verbal and pre-logical. So it can trigger action before you have time to think about it.

Neuromarketers also call it a “buying brain,” because pushing its buttons leads to a Buy Now response that’s almost instinctive. Here’s how Dr. A. K. Pradeep says it in his book The Buying Brain:

The basic lesson is that human brains process much of their sensory input subconsciously.

Our senses are taking in about 11 million bits of information every second.

Our thinking brains—that part of thinking in which we are aware of thinking—can only process, at best, 40 bits of information per second.

The subconscious level of the brain is where elements that are essential to marketing success such as initial product interest, purchase, intent, and brand loyalty are formed, and where they reside.

In other words, spark desire by connecting with people’s primitive brain, and you can generate a buying response without manipulating anyone. People want to buy without knowing why.

The result? More customer sales.

What This Means for Marketers

Research shows that mirror neurons (that’s the monkey-see-monkey-do thing we talked about a few minutes ago) can be stimulated by reading as well as observing. For example, read this:

Yawn.

Just reading the word makes you want to yawn.

That’s especially good news because you can’t pump smells and velvety softness over the internet. But you can stimulate the subconscious with sensory words.

Engaging the buying brain is as simple as tickling the five senses in your writing. Sight is easy (pictures). But you can also evoke scents, touch, sounds, and taste. Let me show you what I mean in this example from Lawrence Bernstein.

“Like the windows in a store” creates a mental image. (I visualize a big display window with mannequins in high-fashion dresses.)

“Created on the fly” gives you a sense of speed or motion.

Circled words—melt, explosive, verbal dynamite—are sensory. You can see, feel, or hear them.

He could also have said something like this:

“Pepper your writing with these irresistible words and your prospects will feel compelled to buy.” (Taste)
“Build a rock-solid foundation for your sales pitches by using words that hit hard as nails.” (Touch)

Now notice how naturally these words fit into the copy. Sensory writing is nothing more than good writing. It reads naturally and isn’t likely to be perceived as hype or manipulation. But it excites people’s primitive brain and makes them more likely to respond.

PRO TIP: After you’ve written your sales page, go through it to find places where sensory language could be added naturally. In particular, replace being verbs (is, was, are) with active verbs and make sure you help people see themselves using your product.

Selling to the Subconscious

Your customers may love to buy, but they don’t want to be sold.

Your customers may love to buy, but they don’t want to be sold. Your job, then, is to sell your product to the subconscious brain, so you trigger desire before they know what hit them.

Fortunately, it’s easy if you sprinkle your sales copy with social proof and sensory language, then mix in an element of scarcity.

Before you know it, you’ll have people drooling over your products without ever knowing why.

(NOTE: Want more clicks from Facebook, Twitter, and your own blog? Copy and paste these 72 proven headline formulas and get more clicks to your content now. Plus, get 3 simple hacks to optimize any headline in 12 seconds or less. Learn more now.)

The post Subconscious Selling: Your Customers Won’t Buy Without These 3 Elements appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

There is Nothing Magical About 95% Statistical Significance

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/magical-95-statistical-significance/

You are probably ending your A/B tests either too early or too late.

The standard best practice in the conversion optimization industry is to wait until two conditions have been met before ending an A/B test. First, that a representative sample is obtained. Second, that the winner of the test can be declared with 95% certainty or greater. You can see the latter standard touted here and here and here.

So why is it that Jeff Bezos writes this in an annual letter to shareholders?

“Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”

Notice he is not laying down an immutable law; he says ‘most.’ Still, what is the dynamic he is describing?

It is opportunity cost. There is a cost to not acting on the information you have and instead opting to wait for greater certainty, but we rarely make a robust effort to calculate that opportunity cost and compare it to the potential gains of continued testing.

A hypothetical

Let’s take a hypothetical example. These are the results of an A/B test for the lead generation page of high-ticket-value product – perhaps a SaaS company. The test has been running for two months.

A
B

Visitors
1,000
1,000

Conversions
100
120

Right now there is an 8% probability that we would have seen these or more extreme results in B’s favor if B was inferior to or equal to A. Let’s see an approximation of what the probability curves look like in this situation.

Figure 1

If we continue the test, and if we assume that the data keeps coming in the same proportions, it would take roughly three weeks to get to statistical significance. (Of course, if B’s advantage grows or shrinks the time to significance could shorten or lengthen.)

What are we losing during that time?

If we discontinue the test today then as best as we can guess, we would gain a lift that would give us an average of a 2% higher conversion rate – except that half the visitors are already seeing option B, so it’s likely to be closer to 1%. Still, in absolute terms, we would be gaining an average of about 7 or 8 more leads than we would otherwise over three weeks – a number that would likely be significant to a sales team.

Of course, there is also an 8% probability that A is actually the superior choice.  But not only does 8% represent roughly just a 1 in 12 chance, look at where the pink area in the graph above is falling. The scale of the potential loss 8% of the time – the widest likely gap between a leading A and a trailing B – is about 2%, while the scale of the potential gain 92% of the time – the widest likely gap between a leading B and a trailing A – is about 6%.  When you take into account the effect of these outcomes, the probabilistic value of choosing B increases.

It’s perhaps obvious, but still worth noting that waiting for significance is not the same thing as waiting for certainty. Three weeks later we would still have a 5% chance of making the wrong pick – there would still be a pink overlap area.

95% is just a convention

So why is it that 95% became a standard for statistical significance? In a normal data distribution, 95% is two standard deviations from the mean (a deviation being a measure of dispersion.) Apart from that, there is nothing special about 95%; it is just a convention.

Certainly, a convention is necessary. The probability curves in the graph above never actually touch the axis, but slope towards it until they touch zero on one end and the maximum on the other. What the 95% convention allows us to do is quickly define how widely dispersed the curves are. We can say, “95% of the time, our sample results will fall within x% of the actual results in the total population.” This, in effect, slices the bell curves on their outward slopes so their width can be measured in a standardized way.

This convention also provides a standard for academics to report their results: they can say, “these results are significant” or “these results are not significant.” This makes reports easier to understand and sum up.

But other than these communicative advantages, there is nothing magical about 95%.

When to end an A/B Test

First, let’s not forget the need for a representative sample. It’s best to only check your test on the same day of the week that you started it, so that each monitoring is comprised of complete weekly cycles.

However, we can confidently make these two statements:

In any A/B test that has been running for a reasonable time there is a cost to not presently concluding a test and choosing the version which the data tells you is superior: this is the opportunity cost.
There is also a cost to ending a test and perhaps making the wrong choice: this is the error cost (and, of course, it is present even at 95% significance.)

Rather than using the somewhat arbitrary 95% criterion, a better guideline for ending an A/B test is when the opportunity costs start becoming greater than the error costs.

In collaboration with Santa Clara-based data scientist, Wesley Engers, my company has created an Excel document that tells you when you have crossed this inflection point. You can download it for free here.

How to Use the Calculator

Here is what you put in to the calculator, and here are the most important outputs:

 

Inputs
Outputs

Visitors in version A
Conversions in version A
Visitors in version B
Conversions in version B
Days test has been conducted

Amortization Period (i.e., period of time during which you are calculating your returns.)

Estimated lift of superior version
P-value (Percentage of confidence is equal to 1 – P-value)
Are prospective opportunity costs greater than prospective gains in accuracy? (Yes, discontinue testing/No, continue testing)

The first five items in the input column are fairly self-explanatory, but the sixth might need some elaboration.

In order to calculate what the error costs are we need to project them over a certain period of time from the beginning of a test; we are calling this the Amortization Period. This is the time over which the results of the test are likely to be useful to you.

Given the number of elements that might change in both the page you are testing and your business situation – product line updates, customer preferences, interaction with other on-page elements, etc. – we recommend setting the Amortization Period to 534 days (which comes to 18 months.) However, if you anticipate a complete site re-design in a few months time, then by all means use a smaller number of days for this field. Likewise, if you foresee your situation as fairly stable, then you might want to switch to a longer Amortization Period.

The outputs include the estimated lift of the currently superior version, the P-Value so far (which is easily translatable to a confidence percentage,) and the conclusion of the model to the question: Are prospective opportunity costs greater than prospective gains in accuracy?

The answer to this question is not meant to be a decision-making machine, replacing the arbitrary 95% criterion. Yes, you should make your decision based on ROI rather than arbitrary rules, but there are multiple other considerations affecting your investment and returns that you will want to take into account. Here are just a couple of them:

This calculator only takes into account returns for this experiment. If you are planning on conducting other experiments, which potentially might bear fruit, continuing your current experiment also delays their returns. This favors a quicker conclusion to the experiment.
On the other hand, we often do not calculate the cost for preparing a new A/B. If this model is pushing you towards quicker iterations, remember your time is a cost too. This favors a slower experimental tempo. (You can read about some other ROI considerations here.)

With this or any other decision-making methodology, often the toughest call is when the test is not giving you a clear answer. If you have collected a sizable sample and the result is still too close to call – both in terms of p-value and opportunity/error costs – often the best course of action is to choose a winner before it is declared by the models and look for another testing opportunity that might provide you with greater returns.

How the Calculations are Made

If you would like to know what is under the hood of the calculator, following is an explanation.

Figure 2

The first things we calculate are the Average Number of Daily Lost Conversions from Not Ending an Experiment (Daily Opportunity Cost) versus Average Number of Daily Lost Conversions from Making the Wrong Choice (Daily Error Cost.) In real life, these lines would go up and down in response to random fluctuations of the data, but if we assumed that it arrived consistently in the same proportions, the lines would look something like this.

The Daily Error Cost line is sloping down because as the data is gathered, statistical confidence is gained, and the chances of error decrease. The Daily Opportunity Cost line is flat because, as mentioned, we are assuming that the results are not fluctuating: if the results for each version don’t vary, neither will the average daily cost of not choosing a winner.

How do we calculate these numbers? Daily Opportunity Cost is just the difference between the number of conversions of the better-performing version with the number of conversions of the worse-performing version, divided by the number of days the test has been running and then divided by two, since half the visitors are already seeing the superior version.

Daily Error Cost is a more complicated statistical calculation that you can review in the excel sheet, but here is Wesley’s summary. (Don’t be discouraged… it gets much easier after this.)

Daily Error Cost is calculated by determining how many conversions would be lost if the wrong choice of version was made. For example, if the current higher conversion is version A but the truth is actually that version B has a better conversion rate then the estimated number of lost conversions is calculated for using version A instead of the correct version B. Mathematically, this is done by calculating the estimated difference is conversion rates assuming that version B is actually better. This is based on the normal distribution of the difference between the conversion rates of version A and version B. Mathematically, first let’s suppose that PA> PB then this is the expected value of PA – PB given that PA – PB <0 (i.e. E[PA – PB| PA – PB <0]). This can be calculated by doing the integral from -1 to 0 of x*π(x) where π (x) is the density function of the normal distribution with mean PA – PB and standard deviation . See Data Value tab in Excel sheet for calculation.

Now let’s assume that we are at a certain point in the life of the test, and we are considering ending the test today or tomorrow. In Figure 3, we see the case where we discontinue the test today. We are accepting the Daily Error Cost over the remaining Term of Amortization. In Figure 4 we see the case where we continue the test until tomorrow, accepting the Opportunity Cost over that period, then switch to the lower Error Cost.

 

Figure 3

Figure 4

Notice that we are adding an area and losing an area in Figure 4. Figure 5 makes this clearer.

Figure 5

When we choose to continue the test, we are adding Area a but losing Area b.

If we are taking away more than we are adding – that is, if Area b is larger than Area a, then the Error Costs we are losing will be greater than the Opportunity Costs we are acquiring. It makes sense to continue the experiment.

However, if we are adding more than we are taking away, if Area a is larger than Area b, then the Opportunity Costs we are paying to continue the experiment will be larger than the Error Costs we are losing with a more accurate data sample. We should discontinue the experiment.

It’s clear then that the Optimum Time to discontinue the experiment would be when Area a starts becoming greater than or equal to Area b, because that will result in increasing costs.

Calculating these areas for tomorrow is fairly easy. Area a is a breadth by length calculation:

(Daily Opportunity Cost – Daily Error Cost) x 1 day since it’s tomorrow

Area b is calculated by projecting data one day into to future, so as to estimate the Daily Decrease in Error Cost, then multiplying it by the remaining days in the Amortization Term:

Decrease in Error Cost x (Term of Amortization – Days Test Has Been Conducted – 1 since it’s tomorrow)

When Area a is greater than or equal to Area b, then the Opportunity Costs start accruing faster than the Error Costs. This is when you should consider discontinuing the test. In the hypothetical case of the SaaS company that we started this article with, the model recommends concluding the test, even though our confidence level is below 95%.

Conclusion

As we’ve mentioned, this article is not intended to replace one hard-and-fast rule (“End your A/B tests when you have 95% significance!”) with another. It is to make these points:

We need to take into account the opportunity cost of not presently ending an A/B test
We should arm ourselves with tools to calculate these opportunity costs and compare them with error costs
Marketers cannot afford to think as academics do, searching for Truth (with a capital T.) Our job is to provide the best ROI, and that might mean operating with less certainty than we would like.

This model might push people who receive a lot of data past the point of 95% confidence. However, I imagine it will be most useful for marketers whose data comes in slowly. The model will give them leave to terminate experiments before they reach statistical significance. Often times, marketers with little data are discouraged from A/B testing because of the 95% shibboleth, and are instead urged to follow ‘best practices.’

That is a disservice. In the real world, if something is 5 or 10 times likelier to be true than not, that is significant; 19x (what 95% translates to) is not a mystical threshold.

Special thanks to Georgi Georgiev from Analytics Toolkit for comments and reviewing statistical methodology in this article.  

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