How Much Should You Spend On Optimization? Calculate Your BUU

shutterstock_157334462-scale-tools-money Analytics platforms. Split testing software. User testing tools. This is starting to sound expensive. And it is. What if it were more expensive not to have these things in your online business? It might very well be. Your business may be one of the many that is hobbled by a “launch and hope” approach to digital marketing. Not every business will benefit from such tools, but yours may. How much will you benefit? How much does it make sense to spend? This is an exercise in budgeting for website optimization. We will show you how to calculate a Basic Upside Unit (BUU) and h [...]


Marketers: The Busier Things Are, The Less You Should Be Testing

Adobe Real Time Analytics Dashboard Any experienced A/B or multivariate tester has probably encountered a situation similar to the following: You are put in charge of testing a new design on the company website. You set up the test with your testing platform, making sure that visitors are randomly assigned to the old and new experiences. A few days later, you check back on the results and are thrilled to see that the new experience is a clear winner, with statistically significant improvement over the old. You excitedly report the results to your boss, and the web team rolls out the new design the next day. But then, thin [...]


How To Generate Money-Making Test Hypotheses

Game site We were contacted this week by a company that offers hundreds of online games all on one site. The site's home page displayed dozens of colorful tiles, each linking to a game. To find out how we might improve on this, I went straight to our online gaming expert: my 13-year-old son. I sent him a simple email: "How can we make this site better?" Here's what he wrote back: I think it needs a more home-like homepage. It looks like it's jumping in to the "pick a game" attitude a bit early. A homepage that shows the most played and featured games that also includes tabs at the top listing the [...]


How To Use Google Analytics To Create Campaigns, Not Just Track Them

SEL 1-4-14 pic 1 We all know that analytics are good for understanding how a visitor behaved on your website -- what pages they looked at, what buttons they clicked or what keywords they used to find you. You can also use analytics to track campaigns like email blasts and paid advertising.  That's pretty basic stuff. What many beginning marketers and small business owners don't know is that you can use analytics data to create an online marketing campaign. Analytics can answer some of the key questions you might ask when you want to create a campaign: Who are you targeting? Where do they live? When [...]


9 Questions To Ask When Reading A Digital Marketing Case Study

case study The digital marketing landscape is moving faster than ever before, with dozens of new tools, platforms, and advertising media coming into existence every year. When making a decision to adopt one tool over another or making an entrance into a new market, the case study oftentimes becomes an important factor in whether the trigger is pulled. While a proven tool or medium is certainly less risky to adopt compared to one that is completely unproven, it's worth remembering that case studies are generally crafted to make the object look as good as possible. The results presented may be distortio [...]


Analytics: A Beginner’s Guide To Data Visualization

TREEMAP2 Lately, I have been writing about taking a closer look at your marketing data, and my last piece discussed the design of meaningful dashboards for Google Webmaster tools. I received an overwhelming amount of emails, tweets, and comments asking me about the dashboard tools I used in it. Today, I've created a beginner's guide to data visualization to help you get started with your first dashboard. The Benefits Of Data Visualization Tools There are many data visualization tools (DVT) in the marketplace that can help you create interactive dashboards. Of course, each has its pros and cons, so [...]


How To Design Analytics Dashboards From Google Webmaster Tools Data

google-analytics-icon-250px SEO Chaos! That was my topic last month. Ever since Google blacked out keyword-level data, people have been scrambling to substitute or replace it. Not surprisingly, I received a lot of emails about that article, asking how to use Google Webmaster Tools (WMT) data as a replacement source. The general answer is that you can't use WMT data as a true replacement data source. That's because Google Webmaster Tools does not collect any information about user engagement on your site. Instead, it collects user behavior on the search results page. However, you can use your WMT data as a proxy. (H [...]


Comprehensive Guide To Creating Branded Templates In Excel

Webmaster Developer Tools color picker Wrapping up my series on dashboards, I want to address an issue I see in just about every spreadsheet I've seen in my career as a marketer: using Excel's (hideous) default formatting for visualizations. You've seen them … the blue and red charts are particularly unforgivable. Worst of all, sticking with Excel's default formatted table and pivot table styles can also be discordant, especially if you are a brand with your own panoply of branded colors. So, let's see if we can remedy that with this post and make the digital world more beautiful. Customizing Chart Formats If you haven't [...]


How To Use Site Search To Get Keyword Insights In A (Not Provided) World

ML 10-2013 3 Not Provided is all anyone is talking about these days -- with good reason. Holding data hostage and forcing users to buy ads to see it is pretty dirty pool, in my opinion. Most of my clients cannot lay out the money just to grab data, so we've had to come up with some creative ways to see information at a keyword level. I've shared previously how using a "Not Provided Filter" can give you insights into landing pages that are triggered by a keyword search. If you know the landing page, you can extrapolate and "guess" what the keywords might be. This is great if you have time to really look [...]


How To Update An Entire Dashboard In Excel With One Radio Button [VIDEO]

How to create an interactive dashboard in Excel I've been writing a series on how to create dashboards in Excel that started with this post on Search Engine Land and carried over to Marketing Land. Now, I'm going to show you a trick that will give you the ability to control an entire dashboard with one menu -- in this example, a radio button menu. In the sample file I'm including, I've put months in the menu at the top of the dashboard, but you could put anything in there to segment your charts and tables: countries marketing channels departments in a company sales staff traffic source affiliates etc. Just as I mention [...]


Is Your Site Foreign To Visitors? How To Present A Tourist-Friendly Experience

Like visitors to a foreign city, your Web visitors are looking for something familiar. You're being tested. Right now. You're being probed and compared and measured and documented. Would you like to know your results? [caption id="attachment_58698" align="alignright" width="300"] Like visitors to a foreign city, your Web visitors are looking for something familiar.[/caption] Having spent the past week in two foreign (to me, at least) cities -- Frankfurt and Stockholm -- I've tackled the challenges they presented with a mix of science and creative abandon. I've been finding my way through these marvelous cities alone, most of the time. I needed very much the same sorts o [...]


How To Create Interactive Charts In Excel

final interactive chart in Excel Continuing with my dashboard series that began on Search Engine Land and continued over to Marketing Land when the entire analytics column migrated to Marketing Land, this post is going to talk interactive charts. When you're creating a dashboard, real estate is minimal, so you find ways to consolidate your data and allow the dashboard user to manipulate a single chart different ways. Excel offers a panoply of interactive controls that make this possible. I'll be the first to admit that working with interactive controls were really intimidating to me when I first started. They seemed to hav [...]


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? [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


‘Tis The Seasonality Of Your Metrics

Screen-Shot-2013-07-08-at-1.50.26-AM A few posts back, I examined a simple technique for using an exponential moving average (EMA) on your time-series metrics. This has the advantage of smoothing out the metrics while at the same time keeping a "memory" of all previous values of the metric that came before. It also has the side benefit of being easier to update as new values to your metrics become available. This time, I want to show you a technique to fix another common time-series problem: seasonality. Yeah, your metrics are down in January, but is that the usual post-holiday sales slump? Or is it the start of a true downtre [...]


How To Convince Your Management Team To Test And Optimize Your Website

shutterstock_53595259-persuasion It’s accepted wisdom that testing and optimizing your website is crucial to creating relevant and seamless experiences for your customers and increasing conversion rates. Something as straightforward as search keyword testing can result in as much as a 67 percent increase in conversion. But whether it’s testing your landing pages, keywords, navigation or design, doing testing right requires convincing senior management to invest the resources and the time to do it effectively. Unfor­tu­nately, quite often your plans won’t be met with open arms from your senior exec­u­tives.  [...]


How To Make Millions From Losing Tests

I’m often amazed at how naive companies can be about their online testing efforts. The bigger the company, it seems, the more disconnect there can be between the talented optimization team and the senior management. And that, as you might guess, often ends up undermining the revenue and efficiency improvements that come from continuous testing. This is part 1 of a multi-part column. In future columns, I’ll discuss why you want to celebrate every time you “lose” when testing -- which is really what I wanted to write about. But I realized it’s important to lay the groundwork for why [...]


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