web analytics

The fight for online leads and sales has traditionally been fought at the search engine. That is changing.

Web analytics, bid management, competitive intelligence, ad testing and ad management tools are all common staples of any serious paid search effort. Return on ad spend (ROAS) is being tracked all the way through the sign up or purchase process and ad strategies are being adjusted accordingly.

Quietly, the battle for online leads is moving to a new front. This new front is measured by revenue per visit, and it’s kissing cousin, conversion rate. Like the tide that floats all boats, website optimization is being seen as the way to reduce all marketing costs by dropping the acquisition cost of new prospects and customers.

Why do we say this is happening quietly? That is the conclusion we came to when examining an unusual data set from SpyFu.com. We were able to determine which businesses had conversion optimization tools installed on their website. This, we reasoned, gave us a pretty good idea of which businesses would dominate in the world of online marketing — assuming they were actually using the tools.

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In this month’s podcast, based on the Marketing Land column Data Exposes Scandalously Low Adoption Of Conversion Optimization Tools, Brian the Conversion Scientist explores the usage of conversion optimization tools for two industry segments: Higher Education and B2B Software.

In one report, 73% of businesses are spending between $500 and $5000 per month on paid search ads. Almost a quarter are spending between $5000 and $50,000 per month. Yet, only 14% of businesses have at least one website optimization tool installed.

Who are going to be the winners in this new front? Where does your business fit in this statistic?

To get the most out of his column, download one of the free reports that share all of the data he uses.

In these reports you will learn:

  • Why your team needs time to review analytics.
  • Why businesses with smaller ad budgets should focus more on acquisition costs.
  • How to decrease your Search Ad costs.
  • Why you shouldn’t invest in social media sharing.

What kind of person is “good” at analytics? It’s time to change our opinion of what a “data scientist” is. If you are involved in the care and feeding of an online marketing endeavor, you have to be good at this “data thing.”

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you put on your lab coat and pocket protector and spend endless hours combing through data, charts and spreadsheets.

That IS the job of the data scientist. No, you are more of a data detective, finding data to guide your decisions in unexpected places.

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I outline the sources of what I call “unalytics” in my podcast 3 Refreshing Ways To Look At Marketing Analytics. Here are a few:

  • Salespeople and customer support people.
  • Live chat transcripts.
  • Ratings and reviews from your site or from Yelp.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
  • Do a study.

Check out the podcast or column for the full list.

In 2014, we declared Austin, Texas the Conversion Optimization Capital of the World. We will be updating our yearly list of Austin’s greatest conversion minds on CRO Day, April 9. Subscribe and see if you agree.

If Austin is the conversion capital of the world, it was a supernova of conversion optimization brilliance this past week when the Conversion XL Live conference was held here. Luminaries from around the globe converged here for a program that covered topics from landing page design to “bandit” algorithms.
I learned a lot.
Here were some of the highlights for me.

The Dame, The Detective and the Double-cross

The Detective BogartI used Humphrey Bogart detective movies to illustrate that conversion optimizers use a variety of data sources to determine what to test and what not to test.  The femme fatale will appear in the detective’s office and pose a problem. The salty detective will investigate, looking for clues. If he’s not careful, he can be double-crossed by the data.
[pullquote position=”right”]For a data detective, the initial hypothesis is the “dame’s” story. Of course, she is hiding something.[/pullquote] He must find clues to tease out the truth using alternative data sources. He can use post-test analysis techniques to make sure he wasn’t double-crossed by his data.
Some of the alternative sources I discussed were:
Aggregated Behavioral data like Google Analytics and AB Testing Tools.
Aggregated User Interaction data like click tracking tools and form-tracking tools.
Individual User Interaction data, like session recordings, ratings and reviews data and live chat transcripts.
Self-reported data, such as surveys and online feedback.
Customer knowledge, often found by interviewing sales and customer support people.
When you prioritize hypotheses that have lots of support in data, you keep yourself from being double-crossed by unexpected results.

Mobile Website Design

We believe that the mobile Web is like the desktop Web in the 1990s: we will look back and laugh at the choices we are making today.
Amy Africa has done a lot of testing on mobile websites, and gave us a flood of Mobile Web 2.0 tips. My notes were extensive, but some of the her revelations were surprising.

        

  • Don’t think in terms of pages. Think in terms of screens and scrolls.
  •     

  • Make your “action directives” (action buttons, search options, etc.) big and bold.
  •     

  • 80% of mobile success is having the right navigation.
  •     

  • One third to one half of mobile visitors will use search. Design search results pages as if only three items will be seen.
  •     

  • Mobile forms are abandoned more often on mobile.
  •     

  • Email is of even bigger importance with mobile users than desktop users.
  •     

  • Social logins can reduce abandonment if done right.
  •     

  • “Oversell the phone number” in the purchase process.
  •     

  • Responsive design comes with a mobile performance hit.
  •     

  • Transfer mobile visitors to the desktop by sending email or text.
  •     

  • Email will make up for deficiencies in the mobile experience.

She introduced me to some new terms, including “donuts”, “spreaders” and “cart hoppers.”
It’s clearly an exciting time in the mobile world.

Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning

Matthew Gershoff introduced us to the world of predictive analytics and machine learning.
Optimization = Learning efficiency + Applying the “best” learnings
New tools, such as his company Conductrics provides tools that use the key ingredients of optimization.

        

  1. Setting goals
  2.     

  3. Sensing the environment, usually through analytics.
  4.     

  5. Having the ability to act and execute on learnings.
  6.     

  7. Observing outcomes.
  8.     

  9. Learning the decision logic of visitors.

These ingredients are the basis for machine learning.
He recommended courses on VideoLectures.com to get up to speed on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Conversion Maturity Model

Brooks Bell was interviewed by conference host Peep Laja about the Conversion Maturity Model that defines how advanced an organization is with respect to optimization.
Her namesake company surveyed 300 companies, rating them on six criteria.

        

  1. Culture
  2.     

  3. Team
  4.     

  5. Tools and Systems
  6.     

  7. Process
  8.     

  9. Strategy
  10.     

  11. Performance

The executive sponsor at a company is key to the success of the optimization effort, she pointed out. Very true.

Conversion Optimizers from Everywhere

Austin truly was the Conversion Supernova of the World.
In from Vancouver, Oli Gardner of Unbouce took us through the rules of good landing page design. He provided us all with some free tools to help us evaluate our landing pages and forms.
André Morys runs one of the largest conversion optimization companies in the world. He’s both hugely entertaining and German.
Michael Aagard flew in from Denmark to share some of his most embarrassing testing mistakes and his triumphs.
Yehoshua Coren is a cross-cultural phenomenon as the Analytics Ninja from Israel.
Lukas Vermeer traveled from The Netherlands to share his conversion challenge game, So You Think You Can Test?
Michael Summers of Rockville, MD showed us the powerful insights to be gained from eye-tracking studies.
Anita Andrews showed us how using the wrong goal will result in poor testing decisions.
You should be at ConversionXL Live next year.
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The Brad Pitt Shuffle: we’d all like to think that our target market is pretty sexy.  It’s good looking, it has money, it has style.  If you’d like to keep up this charade because it makes you feel better, by all means.

When we try to sell to everyone, our message becomes confusing.

When we try to sell to everyone, our message becomes confusing.


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But if you’re ready to figure out why your marketing campaign isn’t working, it’s time to remove yourself from this little dance and turn yourself into the Digital Dr. Frankenstein you really are.  [pullquote]Use all of the resources you have at your disposal to create the ideal fake customer[/pullquote], and you’ll realize that you can target your campaign in a way you didn’t think possible.  Listen to a Brian’s keynote summary to get an idea of what we mean.
 
Brian Massey keynote overview from Conversion Hotel 2014 from webanalisten on Vimeo.

There are special visitors on your site right now. They blend in with all of the others in your analytics, but they behave differently from the others.

They visit more pages, spend more time, share more often and are more likely to buy from you.

Would you like to know them better?

Would you like to know how to treat them better?

Would you like to have more of them?

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Transcript

These visitors are your account holders. Some have bought from you. Some have not.

Account holders should walk around your site in their socks on the plush red carpet you’ve laid out for them.

  They’ve put forth more effort interacting with your site than your other non-buying site visitors because they’ve shown you buying intent.  And that’s a big deal for you.

In my Marketing Land column Use Google Analytics To Treat Your Account Holders Like Royalty I show you how to isolate these wonderful visitors and see how they behave.

What is tripping them up?

Where do they come from when they visit?

Do they respond to email?


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

People sometimes confuse us with robot-like scientists, being lead by data and caring little for the creative side of marketing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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I like to think that we can be more creative because we add a rigor to our creativity that allows us to try riskier things. If we have some data that says risky might work, we have a methodology through which we can confirm it’s effectiveness with a high level of confidence.

We backstop our creative with data, and this gives us a freedom that few designers and writers have.

In my new column Enhance Your Creativity Through Analytics I show you how we find data to backup or disavow our creative efforts.

Listen here or read it online.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

We were very surprised by the marquee results of a TrustRadius survey on Conversion Rate Optimization.

While 72% of the companies surveyed have implemented some CRO processes, only 18% of them consider CRO as “Part of their DNA”.

We would speculate that many of these 18% of companies are in very competitive commodity industries, such as travel, office supplies, and pet apparel. In other words, they had to optimize or die.
These aren’t the only industries in dire need of optimization, however. While CRO isn’t a zero-sum game, you do not want to find yourself playing catch-up with your competitors. As this survey shows, CRO is a key competitive advantage online, just as SEO has been.
TrustRadius is in a unique position to conducted a survey of businesses. They offer some of the most helpful reviews of business software on the Web, and were able to get 4100 companies to complete the survey. This is statistically significant stuff.
Here are some of the highlights from their survey.

        

  • 58% of companies spend more than $10,000 per year on digital analytics, while 44% spend that much per year on A/B testing tools.
  •     

  • 59% of companies have plans to spend more this year than in the previous year on digital analytics tools, but only 48% plan to increase spending on A/B testing tools. Download the TrustRadius Buyers Guide to see what they are spending that money on.
  •     

  • The vast majority of companies (91%) use between two and ten digital analytics tools regularly.

Check out the full report now and then give Conversion Sciences a call to see what you can do to inject CRO into your DNA.

As Conversion Scientists, we obviously eat this stuff for breakfast.  We’ll show you how much money you could be making with our 120-day Conversion Catalyst™ program.  It’s free, and it’s invaluable.
Jump on a call with us at (888) 961-6604.  You’ll be glad you did.

Here we thought we were the only ones who loved a good periodic table. Data collected from Convirza based on millions of phone calls analyzed in the first quarter of 2014 answers the critical question: what are the differences between a converted call and a non-converted call?
McKay Allen shared the results from this study in this incredible infographic. Some interesting facts you will find:

  • Agents asked for the business 3x more frequently on converted calls than non.
  • Converted calls were 42% longer than non-converted calls.
  • Lead quality score was 65% higher on converted calls than non.

Please share and enjoy.
Infographic, Logmycalls, converted calls

The Elements of a Converted Call

Conversion Sciences shows you how to get phone leads in our free Webinar with Convirza.

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Call tracking is what happens BEFORE the call. Conversation Analytics is what happens ON the call.
The Convirza (formerly LogMyCalls) Conversation Analytics uses sophisticated speech recognition technology and hundreds of thousands of proprietary algorithms to extract data from phone calls. McKay Allen shared the results from those Conversation Analytics in this incredible infographic.
Some interesting takeaways:

  • If an employee asks for the business, the caller is 10.4 X likely to convert.
  • 46% of all sales inquiries are missed opportunities.
  • 6% of calls results in caller dissatisfaction.

Millions of calls are being processed by LogMyCalls. This infographic provides high level data about all of the calls analyzed in Q1. Enjoy and share!

Conversation Analytics: Data from Every Call Analyzed in Q1

Here’s a webinar that shows you how to  get quality phone calls with our webinar.
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This is a guest post by Craig Andrews.
Sorry, no salacious stories about sons killing their father and sleeping with their mother. But in Oedipus Rex, Sophocles had insights about Internet Marketing more than 2 millennia before the internet. The play’s hero had a tragic flaw that plagues all of us. It is our Internet Marketing Oedipus Complex.
[pullquote position=”right”]“My poor children, I know why you have come— I am not ignorant of what you yearn for.” – Oedipus Rex, Sophocles[/pullquote]
The Greek tragedy opens with Oedipus, the King, telling the people he knows the source of their pain. It turns out that he is the source of their pain.
At some point, we all approach our internet visitors the same way Oedipus approached the Thebans. We are absolutely convinced we know why our website visitors have come and what they yearn for. But if we don’t continually test and challenge our assumptions, we are just as guilty as Oedipus.

The Origin of Our Complex

We are passionate about our business and our customers. We invest time in serving and understanding our customers. When this makes us over confident, we can miss important insights. Even in looking at our website analytics, we can find data that confirms what we believed. This “confirmation bias” can cause us to quit scouring data when we find the data that supports our hypothesis. We must press further.
As an example, a client was convinced their customers wouldn’t visit the website using mobile phones. Yet 5 months after launching a new site, 1/3rd of their website conversions were from mobile phones. In another instance, we saw sustained double-digit organic traffic growth and assumed it was due to Google.
Turns out Google traffic was dropping while traffic from other search engines was rising. Haunted by the words of Oedipus – “I know why you have come” – I was wrong. Continuing with the wrong assumption without correction would have resulted in additional lost traffic from the world’s largest search engine.

No Fate But What We Make

Oedipus thought his ruin was the product of fate. We should not. Rather, we must continually test and challenge our assumptions.
In the digital world, every customer touch offers an opportunity to learn more:

        

  • Website visits, email campaigns & pay-per-click advertising all enable you to study customer behavior
  •     

  • Free analytics tools provide extensive demographic data and even a degree of psychographic data (interests & hobbies)
  •     

  • The technology customers use to access your site provides valuable insight into your customers’ context and experience

Don’t Gouge Your Eyes Out!

“You don’t know whether something will work until you test it. And you cannot predict test results based on past experience.” – Eugene Schwartz, author of Break-through Advertising
Take action and put a plan in place. Effective plans should include 2 types of testing: testing a new hypothesis and challenging an existing belief.

New Hypothesis Challenge an Existing Belief
The call to action isn’t clear The increased conversion rate is because of recent changes
Item X is causing friction & will be corrected by doing Y Our website visitors prefer using PCs
Site Navigation isn’t clear Most of our mobile visitors use iPhones
Our visitors don’t identify with a specific graphic Our website visitors are in a specific demographic
Our current graphic isn’t objectionable, but distracts from the conversion Our visitors are looking for bargains

New hypothesis testing is familiar – it’s classic conversion optimization. But testing to continually challenge existing beliefs is what really helps to avert our Internet Marketing Oedipus Complex. Our existing beliefs, held too tightly, can get us in deep trouble.
Our team recently improved a client’s home page bounce rate 10%. Immediately, conversions started shooting through the roof. Initially we thought the changes to the home page were an overwhelming success. It seemed logical. Change followed by success, right? We chose to challenge our belief. After digging into the analytics, we discovered a few things:

        

  • Indeed, reducing the bounce rate improved site conversions
  •     

  • Only about half of the increased conversions were attributable to the home page changes
  •     

  • A different high volume landing page (Page “R”) had also seen an increased conversion rate
  •     

  • No changes had been made to the other page (Page “R”)
  •     

  • The increased conversion rate on the 2nd page (Page “R”) appeared to be seasonal

We found our answer in analytics under Behavior=>Site Content => Landing Pages. This lets us track conversion rates based on the first page visited on the site.

Home Page Page “T” Page “R”
Conversion Rate Improvement 48% -8% 39%
% of Total Site Traffic(as a landing page) 57% 15% 28%
Percent of total Conversions(as a landing page) 26% 44% 31%

Our focus was on the Home Page and Page “T” but ignoring Page “R”. Again, it seemed logical. The Home Page receives more than half of the site traffic and one of our home page changes directed traffic to Page “T.” Our confirmation bias initially led us to ignore the 39% improvement on Page “R” where we have a significant number of conversions. But without changes Page “R” seems to be seasonal.

Now We Know (More) Why They Have Come

This discovery put a finer point on what we reported to the client. Instead of promising the client continued conversions at the new rate, we showed them how some of the higher conversion rate would be seasonal. Now the client is happy because they have permanent changes that increased the conversion rate. They also have realistic expectations for the future.
As a conversion optimizer, we now have a new hypothesis to test. There may some seasonal surge in this one category. We record that and study it next season. If it is indeed a seasonal surge, then we can tune the website and email campaigns for this newly discovered seasonality, giving the client a strategic advantage they didn’t have before.
This is the power of challenging existing assumptions. In addition to perfecting our view of reality, it opens new opportunities. With these new opportunities, we can find new and innovative ways to increase conversions in our digital media channels.

Do you yearn for success?

When Oedipus discovered the reality of the situation, he gouged his eyes out so he wouldn’t have to see it. To be effective, we can’t fear the truth. We must pursue understanding even if it results in abandoning a strongly held belief that we want to remain true. That means we need to:

        

  • Commit to a thoughtful, structured and methodical process of testing
  •     

  • Regularly compile a list of hypotheses and rank them
  •     

  • Regularly identify currently held beliefs and rank them
  •     

  • Perform systematic testing on these hypotheses and beliefs
  •     

  • Always learn from each and every test – especially if the test appears to be a failure

When Oedipus proclaimed he knew what the Thebans yearned for, he was speaking from his gut and intuition. Intuition is a useful tool, but let’s let the data proclaim what our website visitors are yearning for. By avoiding our Internet Marketing Oedipus Complex we lay the path to greater insights and greater profitability.

About the Author

Craig Andrews is the Principal Ally and founder of internet marketing agency allies4me. Andrews brings extensive scientific and marketing expertise to allies4me. Over the last 25 years, his experience has spanned search engine optimization, internet marketing software, biomedical and semiconductors. Andrews is backed by a team of marketing allies who support start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
In recent years, clients have been seeking guidance from allies4me on Social Media strategies. Rather than jumping on the latest hype, Andrews sought to understand Social Media through solid metrics across large data sets. The result is an unconventional and insightful approach to Social Media. Testing and data driven decisions advise all areas of allies4me work. Solid metrics and disciplined parsing of data is where allies4me clients find results.
You can connect with Craig Andrews on Google+ and LinkedInYou can find allies4me on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
 
For more information about testing hypotheses that convert, check out the latest Conversion Scientist’s Podcast,  “Writing Test Hypotheses That Make You Money”.
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