What’s working? What’s not working? You’ll never know without a good command of analytics. Learn about what metrics count for your marketing goals, and how to move the needle.

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How To Design A Landing Page That Converts

landing-page-match As marketers, getting quality traffic to our websites has never been easier. We have SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, display ads, photo marketing, mobile ads... and the list keeps growing. Consumers, however, are learning to automatically tune out anything that isn't interesting. This drives businesses to spend even more, becoming more creative and pulling out every tactic they can think of to capture consumer attention. So, with all the above tools at our disposal, why do we still have terrible conversion rates, hovering between 1 to 3% on average? The largest culprit I see? [...]

Is Your Marketing Program Ready For Holiday?

computer holiday sale Q4 is closing in and retailers are bracing for yet another record-breaking onslaught of promotions, traffic, sales and revenue that will make or break the business calendar. With the end of back-to-school comes the inevitable code freezes and holiday lockdowns. So while production teams audit for site stability, scalability and vulnerability, there's no better time to take a step back and audit your marketing program. In this post, I'll present three different ways you can take your marketing program to the next level -- conversion rate optimization, intent recognition and product exposure. [...]

4 Must-Know Facts On Product Listing Ad Mechanics

Google Shopping Google's Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have rapidly gained market share since being introduced last year, and PLAs are now well established as an integral part of retail marketers' pay-per-click (PPC) strategies. This rapid growth has been fueled in part by the improved performance of PLAs over traditional text ads. However, the increased spend has also resulted in competitive inflation, where CPCs for PLAs now match or exceed that of text ads. Despite their growing importance as a marketing channel, PLAs remain frustratingly opaque when compared to traditional, paid-search text ads. Part o [...]

Page Speed Matters! Why You Need to Improve Yours Today

Pizza! My three-year-old daughter loves it -- which is why the delivery guy knows exactly where our house is. But… if it takes too long to arrive, she'll quickly move on to something else more readily accessible. Speed clearly plays an important role in her user experience -- much as it does for the digital user experience. Why Page Speed Matters Given my e-commerce and conversion background, I have always been obsessed with the usability aspect of digital. I see user experience as Job #1. After all, what's the point of achieving top search rankings if you don't provide a great user experi [...]

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Customer Analytics

Big Data We marketers love our data. What surprises me is the percentage of us ignoring one of the most valuable data sources we have available to us -- our customers. Too often, we mistake our site visitors for our customers. While site behavior is important, it's not all our customers have to tell us. [caption id="attachment_55560" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via shutterstock[/caption] The rise of Customer Analytics comes out of a need for more information. Marketers need more than site behavior and conversions to steer them in the right direction. As is the case with most analytics e [...]

Google Analytics Email Marketing Dashboard For Beginners

google-analytics-featured I received an email from an online retailer today that was a hot mess. It had no text, only one gigantic image, and the image had no alt text or anything to indicate what the email was about before I consented to loading the image. Fail -- major fail. With the sophisticated software and programs available today for email marketing, the state of emails I receive from huge corporations blows me away. Historically, email marketing has been an afterthought. There are those that do it well. Really well. But it seems to me that a majority of email marketing is this last-minute, "crap I forgot [...]

The Secret Source Of Power For Future Marketers

IT vs Marketing I was recently asked, "What do you think the landscape for targeted conversion optimization will look like in five years?" A number of things came to mind, including: Automated personalization technologies that essentially eliminate the need for conversion optimization The end of the website due to the rise of apps The end of the website due to the rise of mobile devices The end of the website due to the collapse of civilization These all made for interesting writing. But the one thing that I think will define website optimization in the next five years is the rise of the Marketin [...]

Gmail’s Tabbed Inbox: The Good News & The Bad News

gmail inbox tabs Reactions to Google's new tabbed inbox in Gmail are reminiscent of past changes to some of our favorite inboxes. A quick Google search shows dozens of articles on how to survive major inbox overhauls like Google Wave, Gmail Priority Inbox, and Hotmail's Sweep. These changes to the inbox pale in comparison to the threat that mobile devices and social media pose to email marketing -- yet, despite the death threats it's received over the years, email has always triumphed over adversity. So, the question here is: Will Gmail's tabbed inbox pose little threat to email marketing, or is email market [...]

Are You Smarter Than A Supercomputer? It Depends.

Algorithmic Marketing Matrix Who knows what is best for your customers? You or a computer algorithm? That is the question that big data has raised for many marketers. And like all great questions, the answer is, "It depends." I've wrestled with the question for a while, because I appreciate both sides. There's no doubt that tremendous value can be unlocked from all the data that customers emit these days. Digital pheromones that drive marketers wild, if you will. Computers are capable of analyzing such voluminous mountains of data and, if we let them, acting on it within milliseconds. How could we humans ever exp [...]

How To Use Visitor Engagement Insights To Improve Conversions

Wile E. Coyote One of my favorite tragic characters is Wile E. Coyote. How can someone be so brilliant yet fail to capture the roadrunner? We see him regularly creating some very elaborate, physics-defying devices and traps, yet he is still unable to catch the bird. I think if he had ever paused for a moment and thought about his failures, he would have realized most of his ideas would have worked with just a little tweaking. Unfortunately for him, his constant failure kept me glued to the TV each Saturday morning when I was a kid. I often wonder if the level of interest would have died off if the road [...]

The Analytics Platform Wars & What They Mean To A CMO

analytics marketshare “Should I move to Google Analytics Premium or keep my current vendor? Or both?” It’s a question I get asked all the time and clearly one many CMOs are struggling with. But too often it’s the wrong question, and often asked for the wrong reasons. It’s as if a single feature, processing limit, or interface element could credibly drive such a big decision. The question they should be asking is, “How can I integrate my data?” In most cases, feature sets should not be driving the decisions -- integration capability should. And increasingly, the market is reflecting this as all o [...]

Google’s Quality Score Change: What Marketers Need To Know

image002 Last week, Google announced changes in the way Quality Score is reported in AdWords. As stated in Google's official AdWords blog, the update changes the way each keyword’s 1-10 numeric Quality Score is reported. Quality Score is a metric in paid search that represents the relevancy of an ad with respect to the search query, affecting the rank and cost-per-click (CPC) of ads within the auction. (For more detailed information, there is an excellent article on Search Engine Land giving an overview of the history and mechanics behind Quality Score.) Google states that the recent change onl [...]

Incentivizing The Omni-Channel Marketing Team To Work Together

Purchase Processes E-commerce consumer intent and purchase behavior is a difficult story to capture and even more difficult to understand with disparate data sources telling overlapping stories. Businesses leverage technologies including ad servers, analytics, third-party cookie aggregators, internal-tracking platforms and more... trying to understand what leads to sales. Despite these fancy technologies, more often than not, businesses resort to a hacked-together Excel report merging various data sets to answer the ultimate question: what’s the bottom line? Take a step back and it becomes clear that the [...]

Ditch Your Top 10 Metrics Now!

Chart 2 What are your Top 10 Landing Pages? Can you name your Top 10 Keywords? How about your Top 10 Campaigns? If you are like most digital marketers, you know exactly what these are! But, focusing on such "Top 10" metrics is risky. Let me tell you why. Hanging On To Antiquated Measures In the early days of digital marketing, data analysis was pretty rudimentary. Back then, I recall trying to get insights from looking at server log files and/or some vague click reports collected by ad rotation scripts. But, analytics has evolved. Today, we're able to measure myriad KPIs -- everything from unique [...]

Statistical Tricks You Need That Prove You Should Read This Column Every Month

estimated pageviews The folks at Search Engine Land spend a lot of time trying to divine the Google search algorithm from Matt Cutts' words like reading tea leaves in the bottom of a cup. All the while, several of my brilliant colleagues and I from the Search & Conversion column have been talking about what to do with the traffic the Almighty G bestows upon our sites. On Search Engine Land, we were somewhat limited to topics directly or indirectly related to search marketing. Now, we can spread our wings here at Marketing Land. Represent! With a completely new audience, I'd like to entice you to read t [...]

How To Measure Local Area & Directory Referrals With Google Analytics

ML Metro Map If you're a small business that relies on foot traffic, referrals, and/or calls from a specific geographic area, Google Analytics has likely been a bit of a mystery to you (unless you're a power user). Your website might be getting traffic, but how much of that traffic is really local to your area? There are two things we can look at to determine this information. We can look at the referral traffic from sites that focus on local area traffic, and we can also see the "location" of visitors under the "Demographics" area of Google Analytics. The issue here has always been ease of use. As a sm [...]

Dashboard Series: Creating Sexy Scrolling Charts In Excel

analytics-excel-featured Last month, I promised a series on creating dashboards in Excel. To kick off the series, I started with a tutorial on how to create combination charts in Excel. Every marketer should have this critical skill mastered. You can expect this series to focus on cool visualizations in Excel. Next up, I'm going to show you how to create a super-cool scrolling chart. These are especially helpful to show traffic trends over a long period of time, like years. They really add panache to your dashboard and save on space. It's also a great way to show your boss or client(s) the progress they've made [...]

The Most Important KPI For A Performance Marketer

ROI_MODELS1 Many performance marketers continue to consider click-through rate (CTR) as a key performance indicator of their search campaigns' effectiveness and evolve their PPC optimization strategy around that. At the end of the day, what matters most is achieving the best ROI given your business objectives and budget, and you might optimize directly to CTR or ROI or a combination of success metrics to achieve that. In order to have the best optimization strategy for your SEM campaigns, it is important to understand and quantify the influencers of ROI. The Two Extreme Optimization Strategies The [...]

The Digital Marketing Metrics Pyramid

Digital Marketing Metrics Pyramid Greetings, Marketing Land readers. I'm excited to be moving here from my previous 4-year gig writing for the Search & Conversion column on Search Engine Land. It's better to be here because, frankly, it's hard to keep topics in the "search" bucket these days. Marketing is converging, with silos spilling over and bursting like dams from a 1970s disaster movie. So what better way to kick things off than to take a look at six marketing metrics that help connect the dots between low-level activities such as search, social, and other pay-per-click (PPC) tactics with broader measurement of [...]

Desktop OS & CTR: Opportunities Abound Depending On Target Market

Despite the growing impact of mobile devices on the Web browsing ecosystem as a whole, desktop users still generate the lion’s share of North American Internet traffic. This is particularly true during business hours, when desktop Web browsing reaches a prolonged peak. It's important for marketers to recognize that this sector has remained anything but stagnant, and strategies can and should be adjusted as user behavior shifts. Based on a sample of tens of millions of ad impressions seen on the Chitika Ad Network through the final week in June 2013, Windows users far outpace their Mac [...]

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