Source: Larry Kim
Source: Larry Kim
If you are trying to digitally market your business, whether that is to other businesses or to the end consumer, then you are going to want to make sure that you know the best new trends that are happening right now as well as what is coming up in the future.
To help you, we have put together our guide to the top marketing trends that you need to know about during 2019.
It is no secret that we all rely on voice searches much more than we ever thought that we would. This means that the way that businesses think about their keywords needs to change. Rather than being stale and relying on simple keywords on their own, the idea now is thinking about things from a much more conversational approach, as if someone is asking a question rather than typing in a keyword search. Chatbots are very useful and popular and constantly being refined.
Ikea was one of the first mainstream companies to adopt a chatbot when they launched a virtual assistant called Anna in 2005. Customers ask Anna a wide range of questions from opening hours and prices to items of stock and hot dogs. Ten years after they released Anna she was shut down due to poor customer feedback. In hindsight maybe they were premature in shutting Anna down – it was just as chatbots were being picked up more broadly and taking leaps in functionality and refinement.
Conversational commerce is becoming more integral to digital marketing now as it enables consumers to provide feedback, make suggestions and help ease the shopping process. This isn’t something new – commerce has always been a conversational process it’s just we used to do it face to face and ask questions to real people. E-commerce has moved away from this over the years and we now see the trend moving back towards offering more of a conversational service but delivered in a slicker more effortless manner.
The thing about digital marketing is that it can be all too easy to think about making sales, gathering clients and essentially working on your ROI. Of course, this is incredibly important to keep in mind, but you should never discount how vital it is to create brand loyalty, create brand understanding and of course create a demand for your product or service too. You need to think about digital marketing as a whole, you need to set goals for each segment of marketing and work on it as best that you can. By setting up your digital strategy in this way you break each micro strategy down and assess what it is trying to achieve and the end success or failure as opposed to putting it all together and working out one headline ROI that masks some super successes and failures.
Amazon is a giant in the retail world and for many companies, there really is no choice but to get on board their train. Whilst this may help you to get sales, the trouble with Amazon is that it can be hard to get repeat buyers, especially those that go through you directly. Think about how you can make your brand strong. You need to focus on the lifetime value of a sale/ new customer and encourage them to come back directly to you and not via Amazon swerving the commission you would pay on repeat sales. Use Amazon and the Amazon Advertising campaign suite to your advantage, and you should go far.
Whilst mobile searching is still a part of marketing that you need to think about, it isn’t quite growing as fast as you may hope. That said, one part of searching on Google that is seeing some increase in use is YouTube. This platform has been one that you should keep on your radar for a while now, so, if you really want to be seen, then you are going to need to embrace YouTube and get yourself on there as soon as possible.
You might think that you need to have a campaign for each platform that you use to market on, however, the truth is, as things are changing so is this. Campaigns are now able to move across a number of platforms, still targeting your specific audience and making sure that they are who you reach. Whether that is on YouTube, Facebook or perhaps just your standard Google search.
We are expecting the rollout of new campaigns that will enable you to target specific audiences across a range of categories and services. So, to give you an example you will be able to roll a remarketing campaign across a specific audience covering YouTube, Play Store, Search and Display networks. It will make the whole process more streamlined and easier to manage driving revenue growth on Google as both mobile and desktop even off.
There has been plenty in the media of late about security breaches and issues with data on Facebook, which has meant that some people have decided to limit their use of the app. In fact, more people are dropping off than signing up. That said, you should never discount just what Facebook can do for your business. It is still an incredibly useful platform and one that can help you to get your reach and build a network. Facebook Ads is going from strength to strength – last year just under 30% of all digital spending in Europe was made through Facebook and they plan to grow this share. Facebook has expanded its opportunities to advertise across its ecosystem. Currently the company has a reach across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger. Next year WhatsApp is being added to the stable of digital advertising channels on offer and we think it’s going to be a great addition.
One thing that hasn’t quite come into power at the moment, but that is on its way, are automated campaigns. These are likely to make an appearance in the next 12 months. It will start with Google; of course, however, it won’t be long until other platforms are also going to take this on, which means that you need to think about how this is going to work for you. The goal here is to make it simpler and encourage more small to medium business to jump on board.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to look forward to if you are thinking about marketing in 2019. Why not take a deeper look at what is coming up and see how you can make them work for you? Better still speak to one of our award winning team who will be happy to discuss which channels your company should be leveraging and what strategy should be deployed.
It is no secret that when it comes to marketing powerhouses, Google is the search engine of choice for many. However, that doesn’t mean that it is the only one. There is a wealth of other search engines out there that you can take a look at and which one you use will really have something to do with your age.
A study carried out by Further during 2015 showed that those aged 45-64 were most likely to use Bing, whilst for those that were over the age of 65, Yahoo!, was the go-to search engine.
Which answers the question that so many of us in the know may ask, “does anyone use Yahoo anymore?”
In comparison, those who were aged 25-34 (who most used Google for their search needs) were not fans of Bing, whilst those who were aged over 65+ were not fans of using Google.
The above graph, courtesy of Further, shows that there is a definite link between the age of a person and how they use search engines. The positive scores show where they are most likely to use a search engine and the negative shows where they are less likely to use it.
Yet more research has been completed into this, with comScore carrying out their own review during 2015. This showed that Bing was definitely the search engine favoured by older users. Those who used Bing were at least 35 years old, most commonly within the 55-64 bracket, whilst their children, who fell into the younger age bracket, would be the ones to use Google.
One of the newest introductions to the world of search engines has to be voice searching. However, it definitely seems that there is an age bracket preference on this particular approach to searching for what you need.
Google carried out a survey in 2014, looking at 1,400 smartphones in the US and how often voice searches were used on those smartphones. The usage of voice searches was the highest in those aged between 13-18 and of those teens over half of them said that they used voice searches more than once a day. Teenagers were also much keener to use voice searches with their friends or other company with 57% happy to do this in public, this compared to the 24% of adults who would be willing to search in public.
The amount that adults used voice searches was at a much lower rate than teenagers, however, at least 41% of those adults who used voice searches said they did so multiple times each and every day.
It makes sense that your age will affect how you use your mobile phone and the internet in general, however, it is interesting to see that your age actually has a much bigger impact on what you do then you may realise.
As CPCs rise, proper Shopping campaign setup becomes that much more important. This setup involves segmentations around various product types, brand and products. On the feed side, it means ensuring all products have clear titles, descriptions, and images with all categories being classified correctly according to Google’s specifications. But there is another component to Google Shopping that is just as important.
Often neglected in Google Shopping management is the actual optimisation side of things. Though Shopping campaigns lack traditional keyword targeting and standard text ads, they still require ongoing updates. In this post we will detail five ways in which you can effectively optimise your Shopping campaigns to improve performance.
Though Shopping campaigns don’t include keywords for which you bid, PLAs are triggered by search queries. You can view these search queries in the “Dimensions” tab under “View: Search terms” or in the “Keywords” tab by clicking “Details” and then “Search Term > All.” We prefer to review search queries directly within the “Keywords” tab, as we’re able to exclude directly from this interface.
Once we have the queries we’ll set up a filter to view poor performing terms. The filter can be set to your desired preference. We first look at queries that haven’t converted but have seen at least 50 clicks over the last 60 – 90 days.
We’ll also look at queries with the highest cost per conversions and/or lowest conversion rates. For example, we’re likely to exclude a query that has seen 100 clicks and only 1 conversion with a cost per conversion of £100. We may then leave a query that has seen 300 clicks with only 5 conversions at a cost per conversion of £50. Determining when to exclude a query can be subjective so it’s important to analyse in conjunction with your account goals.
When excluding queries you’ll also want to pay attention to your Search Funnels report. This report shows how your keywords and campaigns are working together to produce conversions. For example, a click on a PLA might have been the first click, but the user left the site and then clicked a branded ad and ultimately converted. Unfortunately, you can’t see which query assisted, but you can see that a Shopping campaign helped.
Just like search queries, you can see individual product performance within the “Dimensions” tab.
You can easily see which products are producing conversions at acceptable rates and which are not. For products that are performing well you can bid higher within the Shopping campaign that they are housed. Within the appropriate product group you can subdivide by item ID and set a higher bid.
In this example, the specific item ID may get a £1 bid while the accessories product group may continue with a £0.85 bid. Recognising that the specific product performs better, you are giving it more exposure with a higher bid.
Conversely, you can lower bids on products that aren’t performing or exclude all together. We’ve also created poor performers campaigns that house these ineffective products. The idea is that we’ll exclude these products in our regular Shopping campaigns and relegate to a campaign with a much lower bid.
You can also view performance by brand utilising the “Brand” report in the “Dimensions” tab. Just like individual products, you can see which brands perform better or worse. The goal is to subdivide your product group by the specific brand. For example, if you are selling socks you may only want to bid on the Nike brand because it has the highest profit margin. You would then exclude everything else in that accessories product group. Thus, any “sock” related search would produce a PLA containing a Nike product.
We’ve found that dayparting and geotargeting are two optimisation techniques that are easy to do, but often forgotten. We don’t know if it’s a misconception that these techniques aren’t applicable to Shopping campaigns, but they can pay huge dividends.
After we accrue enough data (again, subjective based upon your goals and industry), we will set my time and geo modifiers. Unfortunately, these modifiers can’t be set at the ad group level (like in standard Search and Display campaigns). We may find that cost per conversion is too high during the hours of 1 AM – 6 AM, thus eliciting a substantial negative bid modifier. After setting the modifiers, continue to review at least once a month for additional opportunities.
Admittedly, optimising the feed can be difficult, but is well worth it in the long run. As stated earlier, Shopping campaigns don’t utilise keywords so Google pulls the most relevant product based upon the feed details. If we’re searching for an oval coffee table, Google is going to show a PLA from my feed based upon the product that best matches this query. We want to make sure that product is the right one.
Similar to SEO page titles and meta descriptions, product titles and descriptions should be written with the targeted keyword(s) in mind. The “keyword research” for potential titles and descriptions can come from:
Having shared these sources, you’ll want to make sure that you still include the product name in the title and description.
Another technique is to ensure that product images are enticing to click. Often retailers will use the standard manufacturer’s image. We suggest having a professional photographer take photos of all products for better quality. We realise that a Shopping “photo shoot” isn’t always in the budget, but we would encourage retailers to do what they can to make the product images stand out.
There is much to be done with Shopping campaigns beyond the initial setup. Just like standard Search and Display campaigns, it’s not “set it and forget it.” Make sure you are utilising optimisation tactics to continue improving performance.
What we have recently come to understand is that bottom line performance does not tell the entire story. As users become more sophisticated in their searching patterns, the path from initial search to conversion is growing longer. This conversion path is called a ‘search funnel’.
Understanding an account’s conversion path will help you make more informed optimisations and overall account management decisions. Quite often, your underperforming keywords could be indirectly helping other keywords in the account to convert. Pausing an underperforming keyword that drives conversions in another area of the account will ultimately hurt overall volume and profitability.
Today we will dive into the search funnel report and discuss how to best use it, so you can better understand what comprises the conversion path.
The search funnel report documents a searcher’s entire path to conversion. Sometimes the path is just one query long. Other times it’s an entire series of keywords and queries.
Search funnel data can be found in three locations:
Below is an example of a search funnel report.
Interpreting the search funnel report can seem daunting. There are dozens of mini reports and filters that show search funnel activity in a variety of ways. We’ve provided simple definitions to help make it easier to remember what the report’s key fields mean.
Assisted Clicks: Clicks on keywords that led to a conversion on a different keyword.
Assisted Impressions: Impressions that led to other impressions that led to a conversion.
First/Last Click Analysis: Keyword performance at the beginning or end of the conversion path.
Click Assisted Conversions: Total number of conversions a keyword contributed to by having assisted clicks.
Top Paths: The actual path searchers took that led to a conversion.
Path Length: The amount of clicks it took until a conversion occurred.
Attribution Modelling: What marketing channel got credit for the conversion?
Search funnel data is collected via conversion tracking. If conversion tracking is already installed, no additional set up is required. If tracking isn’t installed, all you have to do is create a conversion pixel and install it per Google’s directions. For more information on setting up conversion tracking, just visit Google’s help center.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what the search funnel report, the next question is:
We use search funnel reports to communicate value to our clients, and to better understand user behaviour. For instance, when it’s time to decide where to increase or pull back spend, we can justify keeping keywords live that might normally get paused if we were looking exclusively at the bottom line data.
Below is a sample keyword report that we pulled from the Google interface. All we did was add assisted clicks, click assisted conversions, assisted impressions, & impression assisted conversions.
The cost per converted click for ‘nursing associates program’ is £389. Based on that bottom line cost, we wouldn’t want to continue on with that keyword. However, there is 1 impression assisted click. Whether you value your assisted conversions equally as last click conversions or not, this extra conversion means the keyword is performing much closer to goal and is worth keeping live.
On the other hand, the 2nd keyword, ‘nurse degrees’ has only 1 conversion at a £327 cost per converted click, and it has 0 assisted clicks, conversions, or impressions. In this instance, we can be reasonably assured this keyword is not producing any conversions and is only running up cost, and can therefore be paused.
Below is an example of user behaviour. We’re particularly interested in this query path. Notice the progression from a general interest search (‘degree in dental hygiene’), to a more targeted search (‘dental hygienist schools’), and finally to a specific search (‘dental hygienist schools Georgia’).
From this simple view, we’ve learned 2 things:
We also learned we need to fill any keywords gaps by making sure my list contains keywords that mirror the conversion path our prospects are taking.
We dug into some data to find out. Check out the Google AdWords industry benchmarks including:
You’ll find averages across these AdWords metrics for twenty industries: Advocacy, Auto, B2B, Consumer Services, Dating & Personals, E-Commerce, Education, Employment Services, Finance & Insurance, Health & Medical, Home Goods, Industrial Services, Legal, Real Estate, Technology, and Travel & Hospitality.
Dating and personal services really click with PPC – boasting an average search CTR of 3.40%! No doubt, it’s easy to write powerful emotional ad copy when your prospects are searching for love. Other industries with high search CTRs include Finance (2.65%), B2B (2.55%), Consumer Services (2.40%), and Technology (2.38%).
Legal services struggle to attract attention on the SERP (with a relatively low average 1.35% CTR)– in large part due to advertising restrictions enforced by both Google and government organisations. Legal advertisers have to be extra smart and crafty to do well in PPC. Other industries that often have poor CTRs are eCommerce (1.66%) and industrial services (1.40%).
Tech companies should find a lot of reach with strong CTRs (0.84%) on the display network, as many apps host display ads with high CTRs for these products and services. On the flip side, employment service advertisers have struggled on the display network to create ads to entice potential job searchers and typically have poor performance, averaging a 0.14% display CTR. Maybe they fare better on LinkedIn!
The average click-through rate in AdWords across all industries is 1.91% for search and 0.35% for display.
It’s no surprise that legal services have some of the highest CPCs on the search network. Both “Lawyer” and “Attorney” make the top 10 most expensive keywords on Google and on Bing. Average CPCs in the legal industry are $5.88 – 40% more costly than the next most expensive industry, employment services ($4.20 CPC).
Advocacy and nonprofit groups have a cost per click just under $2, likely as a result of the $2 max CPC bid Google Grant advertisers have to set on all of their keywords.
Whereas most industries have pretty inexpensive CPCs on the Google Display Network, the Employment Services industry is a notable exception – paying $1.66 per click on GDN. No doubt, some of their troubles stem from their abysmal CTRs on Display (0.14% CTR) which hurts their display network quality score, making them pay considerably more per click.
The average cost per click in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 for search and $0.58 for display.
The Finance and Insurance industries convert amazingly well on both the search (7.19% CVR) and Display (1.75% CVR) networks. In many of these cases, the best converting advertisers aren’t afraid to change their offer or their conversion flow to boost their conversion rates.
Home Goods and Real Estate are conversion rate standouts on the Display network (2.19% and 1.49% respectively), no doubt because both are visual industries where a sexy picture can inspire people to click and investigate.
Ecommerce clients may not have many options to change their offer and consequently suffer one of the poorer average search conversion rates (1.91% CVR). To boot, they often have gigantic inventories, which prevents doing fine-tuning on ad copy across all ecommerce keywords. While removing barriers to purchase will always be an important CRO tool to help ecommerce clients, AdWords advertisers should focus on improving the performance of their keywords with high commercial intent to yield the most out of their search campaigns.
The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 2.70% for search and 0.89% for display.
(Almost) free love on the SERP! Dating and personal sites have, by far, the lowest average cost per action from search ($6.91 CPA). While Google may be a great place to find a boyfriend, it is an expensive place to find an employee, doctor, or lawyer – average search CPAs for employment services, medical services, and legal services are $105.79, $126.29, and $135.17, respectively. Of course, the lifetime value of a new client in these industries is very high, making it all worthwhile in the end.
On the display network, technology companies take an easy win with CPAs below $20 ($19.23). While it should be obvious that Google and Technology pair well together, this is also in no small part due to the success of tech advertisers promoting their app installs across the search and display networks.
The average CPA in AdWords across all industries is $59.18 for search and $60.76 for display.
If you find yourself on the lower end of these numbers, that just means there’s plenty of room for improvement. If you’re hitting these benchmarks – don’t stop and settle for average either. Always strive to be writing the best ad copy and creating landing pages that convert better than anyone else.
Are you looking for ways to convert more of your website visitors? Exit-intent popups are the secret weapon that all smart marketers use to dramatically increase their conversions. In this article, we’ll show you 40 exit popup hacks that will substantially grow your subscribers, and your revenue.
Exit-intent technology allows you to make one last-ditch effort to convert visitors as they are about to leave your site. By detecting when someone is about to navigate away, it presents the visitor with one final message (in a lightbox overlay) right at that pivotal moment.
Unlike immediate popups, which interrupt your visitor as they are trying to browse your site, exit popups aren’t an annoyance.
Some people are of the opinion that any form of popup is an annoyance. However, even if your exit popup did annoy the occasional visitor, you were about to lose that lead anyway. So what’s the harm in trying?
The truth is, regardless of how you feel about popups in general, data shows that exit popups actually do work really well. When you implement an exit-intent popup on your site, you could recover 10-15% of lost visitors.
If you’re not using exit popups yet, that’s a lot of money left on the table.
Whether you’re looking for an idea for your very first exit popup, or you’re looking for new things to tweak and test, here are 40 effective ways to hack your exit popups…
The big reason why so many popups are aggravating to users isn’t because they are advertisements: it’s because they are often far too generic.
Imagine for a moment that you are walking out of a store, and you are approached by a solicitor who wants you to sign her petition. Suppose she said something that most solicitors would say to try and grab your attention, such as, “Excuse me, sir, do you want to save the pink polka dot pandas?” (or promoting some such cause).
What do you think your reaction would be? Most people would probably feel irritated, even if they cared about the cause.
Now suppose that a second solicitor called you by name. Perhaps he even mentions that he knows you love yellow-striped pandas, so he thought you’d be interested to learn about the plight of the pink polka dot pandas. What would your reaction be then?
Granted, having a complete stranger call you by name is a bit creepy, so let’s imagine that you’ve already given him your name in an earlier interaction.
You’d probably feel a lot more receptive to talking to the second solicitor, right?
That’s because the first solicitor was all about getting what they wanted: they didn’t care to know anything about you or your interests; all they care about is getting as many signatures as they possibly can. The second solicitor, on the other hand, cared enough to learn your name (and possibly even a bit about you) before he ever asked for your signature.
Your website can do the same thing.
Before you ever ask for a sale, you could ask your visitor for their name.
Later, when your visitor is about to abandon one of your product pages, for example, you could grab their attention with an exit popup that has their own name on it:
This can be accomplished by getting your visitor’s name when they subscribe to your email list, by asking for their name in a previous popup, or by detecting the name of an existing customer.
As we just discussed, personalization is key to making advertisements like exit popups feel less like an intrusion and more friendly.
One really smart and simple way to do that is by personalizing the popup based on the referral source.
For example, let’s say the visitor got to your page through a guest post you wrote for a specific website. Or perhaps you got featured somewhere recently, and you want to get the most out of that traffic by personalizing your exit popups for that particular audience.
You can use referrer detection technology to detect when a visitor is coming from any specific domain, and use that information to customize your exit popups.
Here’s an example from RebootAuthentic:
See how the headline is personalized for Smart Blogger readers? You can personalize your exit popups for any audience you choose.
Another possibility is to personalize your popups for traffic coming from your social media channels.
For example, if the referring domain was Pinterest, your exit popup might include an invitation to view some of your most pinned posts.
If the referring domain was Facebook, you could invite visitors to join the conversation over on your Facebook page or private Facebook group.
Think like a detective: what information can you deduce about your visitors from the referring domain? How can you use that knowledge to personalize your exit popup?
How about presenting your abandoning visitor with an upgrade to the content they were just reading?
By offering content upgrades, RazorSocial increased their conversions by a whopping 520%!
A content upgrade is simply a more in-depth or a higher-value version of a particular blog post. So for example, let’s say your blog post is about how to cook the most delicious duck à l’orange. A visitor might read your post, decide to cook it, but then close out their browser as they are about to go shop for the ingredients.
At that moment, present them with a free download of a printable shopping list with the exact ingredients they need for your recipe. Think of how pleased they will be that you’ve gone the extra mile and saved them from having to make their own shopping list!
Your website is your online storefront: the longer someone stays in your “store”, the better.
So, sometimes your main objective is simply to reduce your bounce rate and have your visitors to spend more time on your site.
A really great way to do that is by using an exit-intent popup to suggest blog posts that are related to the one they were just reading.
Remember, there are a number of different reasons why someone might be about to click away from your site, and it doesn’t always mean that they aren’t enjoying your content. Perhaps they simply got distracted by something, such as a new email or social media notification.
So remind them of why they visited your site in the first place: to get specific information from your content.
The key to the related posts technique is making sure that your headlines are highly clickable. Also, use enticing images that draw the eye and relate specifically to the post topic. If your related posts are appealing, you’ll likely re-engage distracted visitors and persuade them to stick around for a while longer.
The problem with so many exit popups is that they don’t offer something that the visitor really wants. This happens because many businesses have several different buyer personas, and each persona is going to respond to their offers differently.
Sure, your popup might be offering the greatest eBook known to man about how to juggle 6 balls in the air, but if a segment of your visitors has already mastered that technique, and now wants to learn how to spin a ball on their nose, then your offer is completely useless for capturing those visitors.
A simple way to get around this problem and present the perfect offer to each visitor is by allowing them to choose what they are the most interested in.
You can do it like this: first, present an exit-popup with 2-3 options for them to choose from.
Once they select an option, then present them with the opt-in form to receive a lead magnet specifically tailored to the interest they selected.
There is a psychological phenomenon which causes people to fell uncomfortable leaving things incomplete. It’s known as the Zeigarnik Effect, a term coined by the 20th-century Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik.
Zeigarnik observed that waiters were able to remember long food orders and match the correct meal to each customer. However, they promptly forgot these orders just as soon as the food was delivered. She wondered why, and so she conducted a series of experiments to figure it out.
Her theory was that the pending order created a state of “incompleteness” in the waiter’s mind, which made him or her unable to let go of the information until that state of mind was resolved through delivery of the meal. Through her experiments, she discovered that unfinished tasks are remembered approximately twice as well as completed ones, and that we as humans have a child-like impatience to gratify this need for closure.
You can take advantage of the Zeigarnik Effect to coax your visitors into action by showing them that they have yet to complete a task. By pointing out the “incompleteness”, they will seek to get closure by completing the task.
LinkedIn does this by showing you your progress as you fill out your profile. By showing you your “profile completeness”, you get the urge to enter all the information that they want until your profile appears as “100% complete”.
This can work for exit popups as well. All you have to do is display a progress bar at the top. Here’s an example from CoSchedule:
Images can make a huge difference in any online marketing campaign, and exit popups are no exception.
For instance, in eCommerce, 67% of consumers say that the quality of the product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing the product… even more important than product-specific information, a long description, or even ratings and reviews!
If images are that important to shoppers when deciding whether to purchase a product, imagine how you could use images to get people to do something smaller, such as entering their email address for your free eBook.
Matthew Barby includes an appealing mockup of his Growth Hacking eBook in his popup:
Since he’s using an image of the “product”, which includes its title, he doesn’t even need that much copy in order to get the point across. In fact, the only description he offers is that the book you’ll get is 54 pages long.
If Barby removed the image, it’d be a whole lot less appealing, wouldn’t it?
This hack is perfect for eCommerce product pages and checkout pages.
What if your potential customer is on the fence about purchasing your product because of just one small objection, and if you could overcome that objection it would be the last nudge they need to make the purchase?
One of the biggest objections that shoppers have is the worry that they will buy your product and later regret it. Thankfully, this is also one of the easiest objections to overcome when you provide some sort of money back guarantee.
Neil Patel overcomes this objection by including a 30-day money back guarantee on his exit popup for Quick Sprout.
But don’t stop at a money back guarantee. Take inventory of all the likely objections that your shoppers may have, and check that you have thoroughly covered them all, either on your product or checkout page, or on your exit popup.
Here are the 10 common objections that online shoppers have, and ideas for how you can overcome those objections in your exit popup:
When a shopper is about to abandon their cart, do you use an exit-intent popup to recover them?
As in exit popup hack #6, you can use the Zeigarnik effect to prevent shopping cart abandonment.
Simply remind them that they still have un-purchased items left in their cart, and it will create a strong–sometimes irresistible–urge to get closure by completing the purchase.
Your copy could say something along the lines of, “Wait! You still have these items in your cart…” or “Wait! Don’t leave without your…” and then show images of the items they are about to leave behind.
Sometimes, however, shoppers just aren’t ready to buy, even though they are still interested. Offer to save their basket, and collect their email in the process. Then it will be super easy for them to come back to your site and pick up where they left off, and you can even start sending them emails.
The great thing about offering a discount in an exit popup, in exchange for the visitor’s email address, is that it accomplishes two things at once…
#1. Offering a discount encourages shoppers to go through with a purchase they were on the fence about.
#2. Even if they don’t buy today, offering a coupon rarely fails to at least collect their email address, so you can market to them in the future.
Here’s an example:
What’s really great about this example is that they also point out that getting on the email list gives you exclusive access to new products and discounts, so even more reason to opt-in. And instead of a generic “Subscribe” button, they’ve used the much more compelling copy: “Get My Discount Now”.
If you are looking for a surefire way to “save” visitors who are about to abandon your eCommerce site, coupon exit popups are the way to do it. After all, if someone is interested in buying your products, why wouldn’t they accept an easy discount?
Tip: Make sure to include any fine print about the offer somewhere at the bottom of your exit popup.
Did you know that shipping costs are the #1 reason for shopping cart abandonment? Offer free shipping in your exit popup, and you stand to recover 44% of shoppers about to abandon their carts.
So, free shipping exit popups are a no-brainer. However, there are two different ways you can approach them…
The first way is to give the free shipping coupon code right inside the exit popup, as shown below:
To make the purchase easier, you might even include a link back to the product they were viewing, or a link back to the shopping cart, similar to what Baby Age does below with their “Apply Coupon Instantly” button.
The advantage to this method is that there is no additional work needed on the shopper’s part in order to complete their purchase. If they were already thinking about buying, but shipping was an issue, all they need to do is copy and paste the coupon code and checkout.
The only disadvantage to this method is that, if they don’t buy now, you will have missed out on collecting their email address.
My suggestion is to give the free shipping code directly on your shopping cart pages: this will help to prevent shopping cart abandonment. On product pages, you might try offering the free shipping in exchange for an email address.
As with anything, you’ll need to test it out to see what creates the best results for you.
It’s a well-known fact that scarcity (having less of something) increases the urge to buy. Nobody wants to miss out on getting something they want, and it doesn’t feel good when someone else gets it and you don’t.
Zulily does an amazing job creating scarcity. When you add an item to your cart, they include the number of items left (e.g. “HURRY– only 6 left!”) in big red letters on the shopping cart page.
Now imagine how effective this could be as an exit popup which appears when someone is about to abandon their cart.
Booking.com uses a popup during the reservation process to show how many other people are looking at the same hotel. Better act now before someone else gets your room!
It is human nature to procrastinate. Whether it’s deciding to entering an email address or make a large purchase, people tend to avoid making difficult decisions.
Urgency gets the ball rolling by defining a definite deadline: either you get the offer before this time, or you miss out.
OptinMonster’s exit popup highlights the limited time discount with yellow and a red arrow so you are sure to notice it.
Diamond Candles uses a countdown timer to just a few minutes, so you have to checkout right now or you’ll miss out on the free shipping.
It takes approximately 7 touches to make a sale. So if you’re trying to sell anything to a first-time visitor, good luck.
Offering a free trial gives you the opportunity to get your foot in the door and warm up your leads with multiple touches.
Snack Nation understands this well. All you have to do to get a free sample box delivered to you is cover the $9.95 shipping and handling.
Web Designer Depot offers 7 days of free downloads. What’s great about this popup is they bring to your attention how valuable these 7 days are, with over 250,000 graphics, icons, vectors and more.
Similar to suggesting related posts in an exit popup on a blog post page (as in #4), you can also suggest related products on product pages.
Especially if you have a wide range of products (such as clothing or shoes), it is extremely helpful to recommend other similar products related to the one that the shopper is viewing. The product that they are looking at might not be the right fit, but a similar product might be just what they need.
Throw some social proof into the mix and suggest your most popular items in an exit popup.
Not only does this help keep shoppers on your eCommerce site for longer, but it reminds them that other shoppers love your products too!
Muubbaa uses the headline, “Most Wanted” to reinforce the desirability of their clothing.
Some customers might be leaving because the product you offered wasn’t quite robust enough for them. If you think that might be the case, offer them an upgraded version of your product (or an up sell).
Norwegian Cruise Line adds value by offering to add additional amenities to your reservation, free of charge.
Don’t hold anything back that you can offer or give away as a bonus. Your exit popup is your last chance to capture those leads, so make it good!
Surveys are a great way to learn more about your visitors and how you can make your website better. However, many sites use them at the wrong times, which makes for a terrible user experience.
Imagine landing on a website for the first time and then being hit with a survey about how your experience has been on the website. Or imagine being right in the middle of completing a purchase, and getting interrupted by a popup survey. That would be pretty annoying, right?
The good thing about exit popups is that they don’t interrupt you in the middle of doing something on the page. So exit popups are great for surveys. Just make sure that you don’t include a survey on your homepage, or on any other page that wouldn’t make sense for someone to be filling out your survey.
Also, be respectful of your visitor’s time and don’t expect them to fill out a survey for nothing. Give them something in exchange. Here’s an example of a quick 15 second survey with a free gift:
Quizzes are one of the most irresistible lead magnets because they provide personalized information based on how the user responds. Personality type quizzes are especially popular.
Why? Robert Simmermon, Ph.D., a media psychologist, says, “I think [online quizzes] are fun, but I think it also does touch something about our own sense of our unfolding story.”
Quizzes satisfy our natural desire to make sense of our lives by organizing events into stories to create our own “biographies” (according to narrative psychology). They also offer the opportunity to reaffirm judgements we’ve already made about ourselves, so they allow us to be the heroes of our own story.
VisualDNA uses quizzes to gather insights into audiences. People voluntarily take their quizzes to uncover who they are on the basis of psychological theory, and they get to amass an enormous amount of audience data. It’s brilliant!
But quizzes aren’t just limited to personality types. You can use quizzes to re-engage your abandoning visitors on just about any topic.
Here’s an example of an exit popup quiz from Healing ADD on finding your ADD type:
Sometimes your visitor is enjoying your content, but they’re too busy to implement your advice on their own. Solve that problem for your visitors by offering a done-for-you solution.
For example, Betty Means Business offers 3 essential done-for-you scripts to attract more clients.
You could offer something similar with a fill-in-the-blank PDF template, an Excel spreadsheet, a Photoshop file, a Word Document, or even audio clips.
On product pages, you could implement an exit popup with an offer to configure the product for the customer. Or, if the product requires any work on the customer’s part, offer a complete done-for-you service.
Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and think, “What can I do to make their life easier?”. If you can save them from a lot of time or frustration, you’ll have the perfect “hook” for your exit popup.
Stop your visitors in their tracks with the powerful word, “wait”.
Perhaps it is due to our need for closure, but there is something almost irresistible about the word “wait” that makes us curious to know what it is that we should be waiting for.
Green Mountain Mustard knows that you were thinking about buying mustard since you were browsing their site, so their exit popup gives you a friendly reminder.
You could do the same thing on a landing page or a product page: remind them of what they’ll miss out on if they click away now.
Another reason for visitors bailing on your site is that they’re simply bored. But if you can make them smile or even laugh, it will be hard for them not to take you up on your parting offer.
KlientBoost uses the “pile of poo” emoji–that’s right, cute, smiling piles of poop–to lighten the mood.
Here’s another example of a humorous exit popup… how can you resist those big, brown puppy eyes?
GQ Magazine gets real in-your-face with this humorous exit popup:
Especially if humour fits with your brand, this is not the time to hold it in… let it loose in your exit popup!
You’ve probably been on a sales page before where you saw a chat box pop up, like this one from Xchop:
This of course allows you to give your potential customers answers to any questions they may have about purchasing your product or service.
However, you don’t have to offer 24-hour live chat in order to support your website visitors.
Use your exit-intent popup to schedule a time to chat at a later date. Neil Patel asks for the visitor’s name, email and website URL to reserve a confidential discussion:
And here’s another example where the popup asks for the best contact information, giving the choice of either email or phone:
Psychologists have discovered that we all have a strong urge to be consistent. Once we make a decision or perform an action, we have the tendency to stick by that decision in all our future actions. This is known as a “decision heuristic”: a mental shortcut for making decisions.
Asking your visitors to take the first step is always the hardest. But if they just take that one step, all the next steps will become much easier. That’s because they are building up mental momentum.
Making that first step really, really easy for prospects to take gets the ball rolling. Then, you can get them to take a more difficult action. Kind of like a domino effect: you have to apply a bit of force to knock down the first domino, but after that all the other dominos fall down effortlessly.
Smart marketers understand this principle and put it to use in their opt-in forms by asking for an easy action first (press a button) before asking for a more difficult action (submitting their email address). This is called a two-step opt-in.
How can you use a two-step opt-in with your exit popups? Simple. Place a button on the exit popup which they’ll have to click before they can see the opt-in form. Use a call-to-action that would be a no-brainer for your target subscriber, or something they simply can’t resist.
For example, QuickSprout once used the headline, “Are You Doing Your SEO Wrong?” If this headline had been on a two-step exit popup, they could have had a button below it saying, “Click Here to Find Out”. Then after the click, they could have displayed the opt-in form.
Treehouse uses the headline, “Change your Career. Change your Life.” If they put that headline on a two-step exit popup, they could display a button below it saying, “Claim Your Free Trial”. Then and only then would they reveal the form to enter your name and email.
See how that works? A simple button looks a lot more harmless than a form asking for information. They won’t see the harm in taking that first action, but then they’ll feel “committed” to following through.
Another version of the two-step opt-in is a “yes/no” choice. But instead of just one call to action button, you offer two: a “right” choice and a “wrong” choice.
Here’s an example from Social Triggers:
This works to increase conversions because of the psychology of choice: when given a choice of doing something, people are more likely to want to do that very thing.
You see, choices make us feel more in control, more powerful. When we feel powerful, we tend to act more impulsively when it comes to making decisions.
In order for this to work for your exit popup, you need to make the “right” choice really obvious to the visitor. So obvious, in fact, that they don’t even have to think. (Remember, the minute they have to think about the choice, you’ve already lost them.)
So, the color of your call to action buttons is really important for this type of exit popup. We have been conditioned to associate bold colors with action, and dull colors with inaction. So by making one button pop with a bright red color, and making the other button grayed out, the visitor gets the psychological message that they are supposed to click on the red button and not the gray one.
Your button copy is important too. Make them feel that they actually have a choice–don’t cajole them into choosing a particular option–while still making it a no-brainer decision. This is something of an art, and many marketers tend to go over the line by writing copy that sounds too pushy or condescending.
The Social Triggers example above is a great example because the negative option uses the word, “reject”. This is an excellent word to use because it’s empowering: being able to “reject” something gives me that feeling of being in control of the situation. At the same time, why would I want to reject something that’s being offered for free, especially if it delivers on the big promise in the headline (“Want to learn how to get 5,000 subscribers for free?”).
Naturally, I’m going to go with the free eBook.
Social proof works because we tend to look to others in order to decide the “right” thing to do.
Over 100,000 web developers can’t be wrong, right?
Or how about 310,000+ dog lovers? In fact, if you’re a dog lover you might be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I join this community sooner? If that many others have joined, they must know something I don’t.”
These are some pretty impressive examples, but you don’t necessarily need huge numbers in order to leverage social proof in your marketing. In fact, you don’t need your own numbers at all. You could simply use someone else’s numbers or results as an example. Simply point out what others have done, and how your prospect can follow their lead.
Authority is a powerful tool that you can use to increase conversions on your exit popups.
Do you have any special certifications or qualifications that can give visitors greater confidence in your authority and expertise? Show that off on your exit popup!
Timothy Sykes displays his “Top Trader” badge right on his exit popup:
Have you written any guest posts for popular blogs? Have you been featured in any magazines? Display all of those logos at the bottom of your popup like PreneurCast does:
Remember, people have a natural tendency to follow authority figures. Position yourself as the expert, and it will be so much easier to get visitors to take the action you’re asking of them.
Numbers can be used in a variety of different ways to increase conversions on your exit popups.
For starters, numbers are great attention-grabbers. There is just something about seeing a number–especially a very specific, odd number, such as 1,837–that causes us to stop and take notice.
We also know that people have a tendency to infer larger sizes, or “more” of something, from larger numbers. So 660 minutes sounds larger than 11 hours, even though they are the exact same amount. Use this to your advantage in your popup copy by using smaller units when you want to give the impression of bigger amounts.
Of course, if you have big amounts to show off, like Syed Balkhi, then by all means, do it!
Just like great copy, great design can also increase conversions on your exit popups by drawing the eye where it needs to go.
Our eyes have the ability to take in so much visual information that it’s more than our brains can consciously process. So, we are hardwired to focus on only the most compelling information–the information we believe to be the most important–and skim over the rest.
This is called selective attention. The consequence of selective attention is that people naturally look for visual information to tell them what’s important and what’s not. Because of this, we can actually direct where the eye will look by guiding the viewer’s eye along a specific path using visual cues, such as arrows.
Arrows actually help the viewer to comprehend information better than written directions alone. They point the way, direct the viewer’s focus, and help the viewer to filter out unimportant information. Use arrows on your exit popups to direct attention towards your call to action.
Here’s an example from Kindlepreneur:
Another way to guide the eye towards your call to action is with movement.
An animation, like the one below, is nearly impossible for the eye not to follow. In fact, this particular animation points at the call to action button, combining a directional visual cue with movement. The result is an extremely powerful exit popup.
(It’s hard to look away, isn’t it?)
Asking for an email address can be tough: due to information overload, people tend to closely guard their email addresses these days.
Asking someone to follow you on social media, however, is a lot easier. Especially if your social media channels have a significant following (social proof), it should be relatively simple to get an abandoning visitor to click the “Like” or the “Follow” button.
A particularly gutsy move is to stop asking whether a visitor wants to take action, and just assume that they do.
For example, on his webinar registration page, Neil Patel’s exit popup is a simple registration form.
Notice he doesn’t try to sell you on the webinar at all. There’s no headline, or any details about what the webinar is about. He simply assumes that you wish to register.
CrazyEgg assumes that you want to buy one of their plans. Rather than trying to sell you on their plans, they simply ask, which one will you choose?
We all know how important testimonials are on sales pages, but what about exit popups? The fact is, your exit popup is a mini sales page. You may be giving something away for “free”, but you are still asking for something in return, whether that’s an email address or a small action, like following you on Twitter.
Convince visitor’s to take action by using recommendations from your customers and subscribers. If you can include a photo of their faces, all the better.
Kevin Duncan of Be a Better Blogger uses a subscriber testimonial on his popup to drive home the value of becoming a regular reader and subscribing for updates.
Is your call to action button copy generic, such as “Subscribe”, “Download”, or “Sign Up”?
Scratch that. If you want your button to be compelling, you’ll need to ditch the generic copy.
Instead, use copy that focuses on the big benefit that they will get from your offer.
For example, Shoe Money offers free case studies as their lead magnet. Rather than a generic, “Download Now” button, their button copy reads, “I Want Millions of Dollars Now”.
You can also make your button copy more compelling simply by getting more specific on what they’re getting, or the action that they’re taking.
For instance, if you are giving away a coupon, you could use a specific dollar amount right on the button (e.g. “Get My $10 Off”):
To give you some inspiration, here are even more great examples of call to action button copy…
Sometimes visitors need a little extra incentive to take action. Free digital downloads are increasingly common, however physical items tend to have a higher perceived value. So why not give away something physical?
You don’t need to give everyone a physical gift. Just give them a chance to win the gift when they sign up for your newsletter.
For example, Invision gives you an entry into their free t-shirt drawing when you sign up with your email address.
Yorkdale offers an entry into their monthly drawing for a $150 Yorkdale gift card.
You could also offer additional entries for other actions, such as sharing on social media, or referring a friend via email. Giveaways are a powerful means of driving traffic to your website, so put them to good use in your exit popup.
Sometimes all you need to grab your visitor’s attention is a striking image.
For example, Made uses this unusual image of a model with chairs stacked on top of each other to grab your attention:
Fedex uses a map of the globe to illustrate their point in a fun, unexpected way:
Solarwinds uses animals with a dash of humor to spice up their ad campaigns:
Even something as boring as a Band-Aid can be made interesting with an eye-catching image:
Use a dramatic or unexpected image in your exit popup and you’ll stop your visitor’s right in their tracks.
Remember how we mentioned that our eyes can take in way more information than our brains can actually process? Therefore, people look for visual cues to tell them what’s important and what they can ignore?
Colour is one of those important visual clues. The specific colour you use is less important, but how you utilize contrast in colour is essential to directing the eye where you want it to go.
Studies show that the eye naturally skims a website from top to bottom, taking forays into the middle from left to right, forming an “F” shape.
Once you understand this, you can place important elements along that natural F-shaped path, and use colour to place greater visual weight on some of those elements.
Take a look at this exit popup from Marie Forleo:
Do you see how the colour pink was used to place emphasis on certain words? “We can help” and “award-winning” both pop right out at you, just before your eyes land squarely on the opt-in box at the bottom.
Because the “Subscribe Now” button is yellow (in contrast to the pink background), and it’s the only element of that color, it stands out even more than any other element on the popup.
The information gap theory of curiosity says that we get curious when we feel that there is a gap between what we know and what we don’t know. It’s like a mental itch… we simply have to scratch it!
So if you want a surefire way of making your visitors stick around longer, use an information gap to incite curiosity. Once they’ve got the “curiosity itch”, they’ll have to stick around in order to satisfy it.
In this popup, the headline promises to reveal the strategy that Gary Vaynerchuk used to get 832,241 YouTube views:
Because there is a perceived information gap, visitors will be driven to enter their email out of curiosity.
Derek Halpern offers five templates for crafting headlines that incite curiosity. These are perfect headlines for your exit popups…
By far the best way to get big results from your exit popups is by putting yourself in your visitor’s shoes, and offering them exactly what they are needing and wanting in that moment.
Ask yourself, what are all the possible reasons for a visitor to leave this particular page on my website? Out of those, which are the most likely reasons?
CountryLiving knows that their visitors would love to have one of their mouth-watering meal ideas for dinner tonight. However, the main thing holding them back is time: most people feel that they simply don’t have the time to cook an elaborate meal. So, they swoop in and save the day with “26 Easy Dinners that Can be Made in 30 Minutes or Less”!
If you don’t want the easy dinners, well, you’ll just be ordering takeout then.
This is exit popups at their best: get inside your visitor’s head, solve their reason for leaving, and become their hero.
If someone has already taken the action you wanted them to take, such as subscribing to your email list, don’t show that exit popup to them again! Besides wasting a good popup, it can annoy your visitors and make them even more keen on leaving.
Maybe there is another action you’d like them to take to move them further along your sales funnel. Or maybe you want to take advantage of the fact that these visitors are “warmer” than the others, and ask for something bigger this time around. You could also offer a different lead magnet than you did before: that way, you can build on that relationship by offering even more value.
We hope this article has given you tons of new ideas to hack your exit popups. Take one of these and run with it, and don’t forget to run a split test so you can measure your results.
Whatever service or product a business sells, a website for that business has grown beyond just a convenient portal for accessing information. Therefore, it’s vital to look upon visitors who land on a site as more than just traffic – they are real people, and they’re eager to engage on many levels.
With each piece of content (words, images, graphics etc.) they interact with, that person is forming an opinion about your business. If they like what they see, then they’ll make a decision about becoming your customer.
Before delving into the main points which a business should focus on with regard to CRO, let’s first discuss the major obstacle to improving the overall impression of a website.
What is ‘user experience’? To put it simply, it’s the total of all the experiences a user has on your site – visual, audio, design, usability – basically any impression that is made from the time spent arriving on the site, to making a purchase or contact.
This experience will determine the way a person will feel, think and behave while visiting your website, and it can be dependent on the type of industry you work in, and the market you’re targeting.
To create a meaningful user experience, there are a few obstacles to overcome which require you to examine the finer details about what it is you’re projecting about your business:
These are just a handful of instances that build or shatter the impression of a business. By taking care of these points, you’re on the way to growing your online presence in a positive way.
The following list of ideas and solutions will provide a solid foundation on which to build upon Conversation Rate:
1. Get to know your customers by understanding what they want. You can study customer behaviour using online surveys (tools available include SurveyMonkey and Qualaroo).
2. Or, interact with your customers live using live chat software (try Olark, LiveChat, Kayako).
3. If your site is popular, check out what people are saying about you by reading reviews. If you’re doing something wrong, you’ll soon learn about it.
4. Research your competitors – what are they doing right, and what can you learn from their mistakes.
5. Use Google Analytics to identify top performing products or services and then focus on promoting them.
6. Perform landing page split tests using Analytics Content Experiments in Google Analytics – it’s free!
7. When you conduct your tests, make sure you have enough data – remember ‘Statistical Significance’ is what you’re looking for.
8. Use Google Webmaster Tools to check the Click Through Rate (CTR) of the keywords your business ranks for, and then use those for your Meta Tags.
9. Clearly display how customers should interact or order from you on your homepage. Small buttons won’t attract attention; oversized buttons can make your site look amateurish.
10. Different button wording such as ‘Buy Now’ and ‘More Info’ results in different behaviour – see what works for you.
11. There’s psychology behind colours, so consider the impact your button colours may have.
12. Use videos on the homepage to showcase the quality of your product or service.
13. Keep your navigation structure clear and simple so a visitor can find what they’re looking for quickly. If they have to dig around, chances are you’ll lose a customer.
14. Avoid vague category structure in your navigation links. Find out the search terms people used to arrive at your site using Analytics, and then utilise those for your categories.
15. Place your logo in the top left of the screen and keep sizing to a minimum, you’ll be wasting crucial landing page space otherwise.
16. Create an attention-grabbing tag line for your business that summarises what you’re offering to a visitor.
17. Keep Meta Tags relevant to your business. These are the doorways to your business from the Search Engines.
18. Your headings may lose you visitors because they’re misleading or not explaining why the visitor should stay on the page. Test out your H1s and H2s.
19. If you’ve got a special deal on, make it stand out.
20. Keep your USPs specific i.e. ‘Free Shipping on orders over £50’ rather than ‘Free Shipping’. The latter will annoy your customer when they hit checkout to find they had to spend £50 in order to qualify.
21. Have a search facility that works. Test your search box for accuracy and make sure to cover misspellings, singular/plural versions, and auto-suggestions.
22. Use quality images on each of your product/service pages. Avoid stock images; take actual photos.
23. Make sure your descriptions are accurate and provide two versions – a brief summary and a detailed description.
24. Try using bullet points in your content rather than blocks of text.
25. For your top selling products/services, create videos for added impact and tell the visitor why it’s worth the money.
26. Ask for testimonials or reviews, and display them on site. A good review adds credibility to your business.
27. If you provide a service, try appealing to visitors through the use of 3 or 4 pricing models. One price doesn’t always suit everyone.
28. Highlight a pricing model that you think is best – call it ‘top selling package’ or ‘most popular’. People will convert if they think it’s the best value deal on offer.
29. Guide your visitor through the contact/checkout process – don’t abandon them once they’ve shown interest!
30. Give the visitor obvious ways to contact you or to make a purchase.
31. If a form needs filling out, that information should be preserved in the event the form doesn’t validate. It’s infuriating having to retype the same information.
32. Offer help tips against each field in the form – your visitor may not understand what the field requires them to input.
33. If there’s a validation error, display it next to the field in question so the visitor knows where the problem is.
34. Be clear and specific about how to submit the form once it’s been completed.
35. When a visitor contacts you, make sure they receive an auto-responder email. Your auto-responder is the first one-to-one communication with your customer, so make sure it reflects well on your business.
36. Create a 404 error page. This is the page a visitor may see if a page doesn’t exist on your site e.g. due to migration, deletion by admin, dead hyperlink etc.
37. Best practice 404 error pages include: a friendly message apologising, a way to search for further information, contact details, links to high priority pages.
38. Offer multiple ways of getting in touch. Contact details should include: email, phone, address and social media.
39. Use social media! Visitors are more inclined to trust your business if you display your followers from Twitter/Facebook/Instagram etc.
40. Give your visitor a clear link so they can follow/like you on social media.
41. Create a quality ‘About’ page. Many people look to this page before making contact with a business, especially if it’s their first time. So, write naturally and be authentic.
42. On your about page include: your whole business history, your team (images work really well alongside names and job descriptions), facts about your business.
43. Make sure your offer a support page that includes a landline (free to call if possible) and an address. Not every potential customer wants to interact with you online.
44. Consider a usability test from companies such as Spotless or ExperienceSolutions. This will provide a real-world user experience of your site along with findings and suggestions.
45. Ensure your website loads quickly. The more time a visitor has to wait for pages to load in their browser, the more likely they are to go elsewhere.
46. Utilise browser caching – this will reduce page load time for subsequent visits, reduce bandwidth and lower hosting costs by eliminating HTTP requests.
48. Optimise your images for web so they download quicker. You can reduce file sizes without compromising quality.
50. Use AdWords Remarketing. Visitors who have been to your site and gone elsewhere can be targeted again while they look on other sites. Remarketing ads can help bring them back with custom offers and landing pages.
This guide will focus on comparing cost-per-click (CPC) advertising by which we mean as the advertiser you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and lands on your site. There is another type of advertising whereby you pay every time your ad is displayed, irrespective of whether a person clicks on it, but we’ll cover that in another article.
CPC campaigns are action-oriented which means you’re looking for a definite outcome such as a sales lead, data capture, product sales, a like on Facebook, or some other action. You’re looking for the user to click on your ad, and then be taken to your site to complete the action, and as an advertiser you’re prepared to pay for those clicks.
To begin with it’s useful to know that the big players in the world of online advertising include Google, Facebook, and Bing. So let’s see how they compare against each other in order to give you a clearer idea of how they rate in terms of online advertising campaigns.
Google Adwords provide a search driven marketing platform that allows advertisers to target users/customers by displaying adverts based on keywords entered into Google Search when a person is looking for something.
For example – you can target and show an ad only to people who have searched using keywords: “Home Lighting Birmingham” , “Birmingham Kitchen Lighting” , “Birmingham Lighting”.
Facebook Ads take a different approach because unlike Google their business model doesn’t rely on search terms. Instead, Facebook allows advertisers to utilise data based on location, demographics, interests and psychographics to target users.
For example – An advert can be displayed to people in Birmingham, between the ages of 30-50 years-old, and with an interest in decorating, interior design, and DIY.
When using Facebook as an advertising platform it’s useful to remember that you’ll have a smaller audience reach if you narrow the focus of your targeting. While this can lead to clicks of higher quality, they’ll be more expensive than if you were to target a wider criteria.
Bing Ads operate in much the same way as Google in that they are search driven. However, as of 2014 Google has nearly 90% of the UK search engine market share with Bing at 6.5% and Yahoo at just under 4%. But why would you advertise on Bing when their market share is so much smaller?
Well, first of all it’s important to remember that Bing and Yahoo search engines both use Bing Ads helping to increase the market share you can tap into. Secondly, Internet Explorer has Bing as its default search engine and there is a huge demographic using IE over Chrome and Firefox. Thirdly, due to their smaller market share, there are less advertisers using them which means less competition. We’ll discuss this more later.
Like any advert an online campaign will have a peak period in which it draws attention followed by a downward phase.
Google Adwords perform better, and last longer, due to the huge numbers of people searching for related keywords via their search engine.
Due to the fact that not everyone will see the ads at the same time, as a result your campaign will run effectively without needing constant updating to copy, images and graphics.
Facebook Ads offer good click-through-rate (CTR) when they first go live as people see the ad for the first time. The lifecycle however tends to be much shorter and the number of clicks/likes will plateau quickly and then decline as people see the ad more than once and no longer take any notice of it.
As this occurs, the CPC increases and the CTR reduces. To remedy the situation, you will need to update the copy, images and graphics in order for the ad to feel fresh, keep momentum, and subsequently keep clicks high and costs low. However you will need to factor in the costs of new creative each time this happens.
Bing Ads provide a similar lifecycle as Google in that they operate the same way. However Bing does have an advantage in certain areas.
Below are two screenshots taken from the same account over the same time period – one from Google Adwords, one from Bing Ads:
You’ll notice the number of clicks is significantly more with Google (as they have far greater market share). However, the click-through-rate (CTR), Average Position and Average cost-per-click (CPC) are better with Bing. In these instances, Bing has an advantage during the ad’s lifecycle.
The big question – how much money will you spend across these platforms to make it happen. There is no simple answer to that other than it varies based on any number of factors.
However, in our direct comparison between Google, Facebook and Bing, we can say that Bing Ads is the least expensive when using cost-per-click (CPC) and relatively cheaper if the keywords you choose are less competitive in the space you wish to occupy. However, Google provides higher impressions (how often the ad is displayed) and higher click-through-rates.
Facebook Ads are more expensive, but remember the platform offers a different advertising experience so direct comparisons are difficult to draw in that respect.
The best way to approach your first online advertising campaign is to consider what you’re trying to achieve and from those objectives you’ll be better placed to spend your money wisely.
Consider the three platforms as a whole rather than in direct competition with each other. Google has a massive reach, Facebook delivers great brand awareness, and Bing covers an audience that your Google ad may be missing out on.
During our initial conversations with these clients, we often hear how they are overwhelmed by their accounts and at a loss where to begin. We’re often asked:
The idea of starting all over again rings alarm bells for those who have spent years putting their accounts in place.
So let’s put your mind at rest on that one…
As Certified Partners we’ve spoken with the Google AdWords team who assure us there’s more success to be had if you leave all the old mess behind, and start afresh with a properly organised account structure that aims for simplicity.
With that in mind, here we present the top reasons why you should be creating a brand new AdWords account from the ground up, and why you should abandon the current chaos that you’re attempting to put right.
You can make managing your AdWords account so much simpler by starting over. When you look at your current strategy, it’s quite possible that you have 10 or more campaigns, ad groups running into the 100s, and as for those keywords….1000s!
All this means is you’re looking at each individual element and trying to decide what’s the best optimisation route to take. Each day you might be asking which of the many thousands of keyword bids need altering, how many of your match types are working hardest, do any ads require optimising…..what a nightmare!
If your account has this many campaigns and ad groups it’s inevitable there’ll be account overlaps, plus keywords competing against one another while others are just causing confusion by taking up valuable space and under-performing.
Imagine trying to manage anything without a basic structure that allows you to locate a specific item. All that mess requires action, and you may not have been involved with the account setup and ongoing growth in the first place. Where would you look, never mind where would you begin?
By starting again, you’ll be able to trim all those keywords, ad groups, and campaigns to create a lean account that has the ability to advertise your specific service or product.
With a clean slate, you can tap into those handfuls of semantically related keywords that can be best served to communicate your service/product. A new account will provide a focused organisation that provides easy access to keywords and themes with the ability to change smaller number of keywords during a normal optimisation workflow. Basically, you’ll regain control of targeting and communicating to your potential clients.
Now you no longer have to wade through a messy account, you’ll find you can track performance effortlessly and efficiently. Instead of digging into the dark recesses of your old account to see which individual aspects are doing well, there’ll be less places to look and a clearer understanding of what’s working, and what needs improvement. Isn’t tracking the performance of 100 or so rich keywords easier than struggling through those 1000s that you had before? We think so.
With an array of broad keywords and overlap, it can be tough to identify what exactly is working – there’s just too many things flying around in your account. You may have multiple keywords all competing for the same search queries, which means you need to look at each one’s performance to see if it’s a success or not. By trimming down your keywords, there’ll be just one instance that needs identifying for performance.
Isn’t fixing an old account better when there’s the chance of losing some good data by starting over? There must be a benefit to that legacy performance? All the work from the past, can you really just turn your back on it?
Fair points all, but from experience we can say there are more problems lurking in your old account than you realise.
For example, any time you pause or change a keyword, there’s a possibility that 1000s of other keywords that were under-performing previously may be activated by a change. A pause with one keyword can trigger a spike in performance in other keywords that you weren’t even aware of within your account – and the bigger and more disorganised the account, the bigger the unknowns making any outcome of change unpredictable.
A new account will bypass the never-ending scenario of patching one leak only to find another has burst elsewhere. Instead of stretching your resources in different directions just to keep an account that is ready to fail, take control over what goes in from the start and push it forward rather than reacting to something when it goes wrong.
A client came to us with an existing AdWords account that held over 50 campaigns, 100 ad groups, and close to 100,000 keywords. That’s a lot of data to analyse!
They were determined to rescue the old account so we began pausing keywords that contributed nothing and reworking the ones that were wasting money. This left us to focus on the high CPA areas.
Pausing tens of thousands of keywords had zero effect in performance because there was so much mess laying around contributing very little, if anything at all. It also made managing the account a frustrating task. Changing keywords led to unexpected and unwelcome surprises in performance as there were other keywords we were completely unaware of.
These small fixes just weren’t working, performance metrics weren’t keeping pace with the goals we’d set, and the account just didn’t become any more manageable. Time to ditch it for a new account.
Now with full control over everything, and within a couple of months, performance has delivered:
Performance is what we strive for, but there’s another great motivator to bring into play when starting over with a new account – an easier workflow.
If your position within the company is to manage one, or more, AdWords accounts then don’t you want it to be easily manageable? Your PPC experience should be effective and efficient so don’t make life hard for yourself by patching up an old bloated account, the time and effort just isn’t worth all the potential negative results.
Create a new AdWords account that is easy to navigate and in doing so you’ll reduce the time spent working on it as well.
As a footnote, starting again may not be the right path if you account just requires a little TLC (we can do that for you too!), but don’t rule out creating something new because you don’t want to give up on that existing account.
Before we look at some quick fire tips lets consider the argument of whether landing pages should short and punchy (short form) or long and informative (long form).
On the short form side you will commonly hear that long landing pages don’t sell. We consider this to be a myth, they can actually be very effective. Look at Amazon the pages go on and on but they provide all the information you could ever want from testimonials to additional products, specifications etc.
On the long form side you will be told that short pages don’t give enough information to make a decision and therefore these pages perform poorly. We consider this to also be a myth/ incorrect.
In our experience we tend to find that long form landing pages work betters for productsd or services that are more complicated or perhaps newer to the market and the customer wants as much information as possible to build trust with regards to sign up or purchase.
Similarly the short form landing pages work better for products that are familiar or easier to understand e.g. a baby stair gate, iPhone etc. and have a bigger brand awareness.
Below, we’ve listed a few more guidelines to consider when optimizing and testing your landing pages.
Testing the wording on buttons can make a big difference e.g More Details, Buy Now, GO Etc.
It’s always a good idea to test the size of your buttons – too big and they can look nasty and
unprofessional or too salesey, too small and the visitor can miss them and move on.
Colours of your buttons
Different colours can have different effects on visitors and much has been written with regards to peoples relationships to different colours. So consider this point when creating your buttons.
Position of buttons
Make sure they are clearly positioned on your page maybe have arrows from your key point text pointing to the next step/ button.
If you have a long page then add the button in a variety of places to save scrolling all the way to the top to place that order.
Test existing landing pages against direct response ones
Try a page with no other navigation other than the one activity of Buy or Go alongside your normal pages that have loads of routes to take.
Don’t be scared of sending people to your home page rather than a segmented landing page. If you have a strong home page that clearly provides the information for the product or service then definitely test against that as well. You may be surprised!
Test out price points
Why not consider trying to create pages with a variety of price options, all good shops and sites do this. That way you can grab the premium purchase as well as the bargain basement ones. Having 2 or 3 price points means you can present your product to the full spectrum of visitors and budgets. Similarly highlight your top sellers. People like to be shown which is the top seller or most popular package amongst the range of options.
Real reviews or ratings are very popular and really influence people. So adding independent channels really helps conversions.
Play around with layout
Fiddle around with the layout of your page and bin some content that may be waffle or surplus to requirement. Single content columns with right hand information bars are very popular as people are used to them and know where to look. Again think Amazon, people don’t mind scrolling through clearly labelled and split information if it’s relevant and punchy.
Use high res clear images.
A powerful image or clear image of the product is always a plus. Don’t slow your page down though!
Provide as much detail as you can
More information on the product the better – specifications, images from all sides, feedback, videos etc. Don’t leave the visitor wondering or having unanswered questions.
Keep it simple
Explain your product or services in laymen’s terms and don’t bamboozle them.
People love videos and creating a you tube channel or adding videos to your server is easy. Let them see an advert for your company and services or see the product in more detail.
Bullet points Vs Text
Don’t be afraid to test out punchy bullet points alongside long block of text.
Split testing, or A/B testing for your ads’ landing pages is an advanced but pretty reliable method of scrutinising and improving how your website interacts with visitors and achieves your visitor goals. Split testing essentially looks to monitor and improve the % of visitors that accomplish goals. Goal conversions that sites can optimise for could be:
A home page or landing page that is correctly tested will essentially lower the bounce rate, increase the amount of time a visitor spends on the site and ultimately boost revenues.
Split testing is a system that lets you create two or more variants of a particular page and allows you to test them to ascertain which is the most popular. Essentially we want to test a variety of page combinations and see which one delivers the greatest conversion improvements with regards to conversions i.e. activities that are competed and measured as a goal or metric value. The key thing to bear in mind when doing split testing is there are two types of testing that can be done with regards to ad campaigns. The first is Adwords Experiments and the second is Content Experiments.
Content Experiments are the type of split testing we will be looking into for this article. So when you test landing pages using Google Analytics you are able to test up to 10 variations of a page, each one containing different content and layout. When you launch the experiment each page will be shown in equal proportion to the other and rotated through to people clicking on your ad. Then impression share can be optimised to ensure the page with the highest performance gets more impressions over time. Then monitor your landing page experiment for around 4 weeks and Analytics Content Experiments will let you know which landing page has completed the most goals and achieved the most campaign metric improvements.
So first of all you need to embed the tracking code for Google Analytics and set up all the goals. These goals can vary from which URL they visit an event goal e.g. call back request, enquiry form fill out, overall visit duration goal etc. Once you decided upon these elements (URL visit goal, event goal, visit duration goal), it’s time to get split testing.
Next to get access to the Content Experiments feature, go to Standard Reporting – Content – Experiments
Next up, enter the URL of the original landing page that you want to test then click on ‘Start Experimenting’. You will be taken to a page where you will be required to name your experiment and add the URLs of all the home or landing page that variations that you want to test.
The next step is ‘Set your experiment options’. Here you’ve got to confirm the type of goal that you want to be improved and measured. At this stage you’ve also got to state the percentage of visitors that you want to run the experiment on. You may find it handy at this stage to write notes to remind you later about the experiment’s purpose especially if you are running a few at the same time.
Next you will be provided with some important code to insert after the <head> tag of the control page’s HTML. This bit of code informs Google Analytics how to display all the landing page variations to your visitors.
Finally this control page complete with the code script must be uploaded to your server. The simply check all the landing pages are working correctly and start your testing!
It takes Google Analytics a couple of days to show you the first results from your experiment – now you are on the way to optimising your conversion rates. There is nothing worse than running a test over a prolonged period and finding at the end it wasn’t set up or reporting correctly so make sure you check the data is coming okay.
So to test this, enter the url of your control page into your web browser and you will see one of the page variations will appear. If you are running an experiment with a lower than 100% of visitors, refresh the page a couple of times to see if the page rotates around.
If you want to double check the URL will have a different ID number indicating it’s a variation. Luckily for you the whole testing and measuring process is predominantly done by Google Analytics. However don’t take this as an invitation to do nothing whilst it’s running
You need to regularly check in and see what data is coming back in. Obviously the amount of data you are able to aggregate depends upon the overall visitor traffic from your ads. So make sure your budgets are set to send some visitors through your funnel.
At the end of the experiment Google Analytics will arrive at an overall winner based on all he performance metrics. Armed with this information you can select this as your new landing page confident that it is guaranteed to increase your conversion rate and the all-important return on investment.
From this point forward you can use this as the starting point or control to conduct more landing page split tests if you think more improvements and increased ROI can be achieved.
If you feel you have achieved as much as you can currently achieve you may consider having a look at other high traffic ads that may help you improve conversion rates and run Content Experiments on them.
Generally your campaign landing page quality and conversion rates contribute to improving your Quality Scores which can reduce budget spend and increase the all-important profit.
So, your landing page needs to be tailored to each individual marketing campaign in order to maximise conversion rates. And here are 6 essential elements to help achieve this:
When someone visits your landing page it’s because they have a problem: they want to earn money, lose weight, secure their home…etc. etc. It’s up to you to tell your visitor how you’re going to solve their problem and it starts with the headline:
…clearly describes what a visitor will get from your page (its goal) and conveys a strong message that leaves the visitor in no doubt that they’re in the right place.
You’ve given your visitor a solution, now you need a more detailed explanation in order to convert them into a customer.
Your subheading can be a direct extension of the headline in that it finishes the sentence your headline started, or it can extend the message by adding an additional persuasive message which supports the primary one.
The key with subheadings is:
Whenever we view an offer or product it’s natural to ask whether or not it’s the right fit for our needs. Visitors rarely convert to customers if they’re unsure if the solution is correct for them but this is easily solved by clearly listing who would benefit from the product or service:
Simply adding use cases to your landing page can boost conversion rates because you’re helping visitors overcome any niggling doubts about your product or service. If other people or businesses are using your product, your visitor will feel more secure in following their lead.
You need to offer some proof in order to back up your claims so testimonials and case studies are a great way to show visitors that your statements are true.
If you’re going to include testimonials then include your customer’s full name, a photo, and the specific results achieved. A video testimonial is even better and typically can convert higher than a static text based version.
You’d be surprised how many landing pages don’t include a Call-To-Action (CTA). This involves some testing to see where to best place your buttons so people will click on them and convert.
Here are the main elements to test:
Many people are cautious about buying products or services online, particularly if you’re not a known brand. By adding trust elements to your landing page, you can reassure your visitor that what you’re selling is genuine which in turn will help boost conversion rates.
A trust element is typically a badge or logo from an approved source. For example when a visitor is using a checkout page they can be reassured that it’s safe by adding an SSL Encryption badge. However don’t just place these elements on the final page, have them on display throughout the visitor’s flow through the site e.g. Landing Page to Pricing Page to Checkout Page.
It’s possible to measure the value of each landing page via analytic reports that highlight engagement metrics for visits started from a specific landing page. These reports give an instant understanding of how a page performs and once armed with this knowledge you have a better understanding of where to focus your optimisation efforts through design and segmentation.
A landing page needs to be simple with a clear call to action so your visitor will give you what you want.
Say you want to improve the number of people signing up to your newsletter. Is your sign-up form obvious with a clear message? The website below has placed a simple form in a prominent position on their home page. The enlarged size and bold colour choice draws your attention along with a clear statement on the benefits signing up.
The above example demonstrates capturing data on a home page, however sometimes visitors will click through to a landing page from your home page or arrive there from an ad or social media link. In this instance, the page is created for one purpose only.
In the example below the landing page has been designed with easy-to-read copy and large images to help generate interest and sales of a mobile app.
To ensure your landing page is giving you maximum performance, here are a few more tips to consider:
Read more about optimising your PPC landing page
Using various metrics it’s possible to know where someone clicked to arrive at your landing page. What isn’t so obvious is who is on your page and why:
By offering segmentation choices on your landing page, you can filter your visitors so they head in the right direction thus enabling you to market the product or service more effectively. Segmentation can be based on product features, gender, location…the list is endless.
For example, say you’re selling wireless security systems to private and residential customers. Someone performs a search for ‘wireless security systems’ on Google and your website appears. They click the link and land on this page. They know they want a system for their home, however this company didn’t have that exact information – so they asked …
As you can see, the visitor is given a clear choice. When they click on the choice relevant to them, they’re put into a specific segment and will be taken to a subsequent page for who they are and what they need. This experience increases the chances that the visitor will convert into a sale.
By avoiding the ‘one size fits all’ landing page, you can control the segments your visitors are placed into giving them a better online experience and you a more targeted and relevant audience. This will help improve chances to convert an enquiry into a sale, and provide you with effective online traffic data to further improve your landing pages.
When approaching natural search (SEO) and paid search (PPC) for the first time, the majority of businesses view SEO and PPC as two separate entities and typically direct their immediate efforts towards SEO. While there may be differences between both, SEO and PPC should actually co-exist, each complementing the other to create one successful search strategy.
Consensus amongst the search community was that PPC should be rolled out first before undertaking SEO work in phase two. The key reason is Pay-Per-Click campaigns are an excellent way to generate keyword and performance data for literally hundreds of keyword variations. This data can then be used to create Keyword Insight Report which can help formulate an SEO strategy to bolster your natural SEO campaigns.
Coming right up to date SEO and PPC have started to converge. What this means is whilst PPC can help show the road map for an SEO strategy with the data it churns out, the work undertaken in setting up and optimising a PPC campaign actually boosts SEO as a by product of the process. To understand why, you need to look at changes in the PPC and SEO best practice guidelines from the major search engines.
In the old days to get your PPC ads to appear pretty much all you needed to do was be the highest bidder. Nowadays merely being a big spender isn’t enough; you need to consider a raft of factors that combine to deliver a high quality score which in turn delivers a cheaper CPC and higher placement.
Some of these best practice PPC ‘ingredients’ overlap with ones that need to be addressed when delivering organic SEO results such as page relevance, quality of landing page and page loading times. Essentially Google rewards relevance, and the work carried out to construct relevance for PPC campaign on your website will help your organic keywords results for your SEO.
Our team notices time and again that our clients organic traffic is substantially boosted as a by-product of our PPC work and this has become more noticeable in the last 12- 18 months as Google aligns the two areas together encouraging businesses to engage in PPC as a first step in creating a digital footprint.
So why are the search engines converging SEO and PPC together and apparently shifting the emphasis to PPC? Publicly the search engines (specifically Google) talk about not being ‘evil’ and providing an even playing field. However behind the scenes and in reality the search engines make no money from businesses engaging in SEO. In the UK it is estimated that last year alone £500m was invested in SEO whilst in the US it was a $2.2 billion industry. None of this money goes to the search engines and they want a share of the pie.
So by shifting the algorithms on a more regular basis under the guise of fairness it causes the shifting SERP’s sands that we have known for years to be more like quick sand. So a business can invest is SEO and finally get to page one just as a new algorithm is released dragging them off page one and back to the foot of the mountain. This uncertainty is designed to encourage more businesses to engage in PPC as a first step on the optimising and digital marketing ladder. Don’t get me wrong SEO is important and dual visibility on organic and paid results is important. However a sensible marketing strategy will be based around PPC as a cornerstone delivering immediate results and lead generation. SEO on the other-hand should be adopted as a secondary medium to long term strategy. Structuring your strategy in this way ensures a worst case scenario drop of your organic traffic wont put your business at risk of closure due to all your eggs being in the wrong basket.
So let’s look in greater detail at 8 different ways that PPC can help drive your SEO.8 ways PPC can drive SEO
It’s easy to fall into the trap of cheering for one side or the other, but the fact remains that in any aspect of advertising and marketing you lose market share by not being visible on all mediums. The same goes for search marketing. The average SERP will display 5-7 results without any need for the user to scroll down the page. Most people don’t scroll down, they prefer to type in a new search. If you appear in two out of the first 5-7 results through paid search (PPC) and natural search (SEO) you are more likely to generate clicks through to your business.
If you kick off with an SEO campaign you could find the wait to see results anywhere from weeks to months (depending on keyword popularity and your website’s status). PPC gives you an immediate visibility entry point to the search engines.
A keyword may appear poorly on organic searches and data will drip in far too slowly to enable real analysis. PPC provides instant data that you gather for stepping into SEO.
Why spend valuable time using organic search to test your keywords when PPC is a more effective and efficient testing ground.
High performing PPC ad text is a springboard to effective meta description tags for SEO. While some might say meta information has been de-valued over the years, when used properly there are still benefits to be found. Search engines other than Google may still consider them when determining their natural search results, and Google hasn’t said not to use them and may still consider them in their quality score algorithms to determine relevancy between landing page and keywords bid in a PPC ad group.
Organic search algorithms and Quality scores are equally relevance-minded. The work you do to improve quality score for an ad with landing pages and load times will get better positions with ads for lower CPC, this in turn helps the overall SEO. Our team see this happening time on PPC accounts we manage where a by product of our work is a healthy boost in organic keyword traffic.
The best way to market your products is by utilising your top converting PPC keywords to enhance your SEO strategy. Through data mining you see actual data on specific keywords that have been searched, clicked and converted for your product or services.
It’s easier to track the ROI of PPC, especially because SEO encompasses the efforts of multiple departments within Google.
So which should come first? SEO or PPC? In the next article we delve deeper into that very question.SEO before PPC?
So, when it comes to increasing the traffic to your website visa the major search engines you have two options to consider – Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
is the process where you pay for the traffic using the advertising programmes presented by Google, Yahoo and Bing. Simply put you pay for ads that are placed in the sponsored ads section of the search engine results. You are then charged a fee for each ad – this is dependent upon how competitive the selected keyword is – whenever a viewer clicks on your ad and goes to your website.
is the process of optimising your website to so that chosen keywords are indexed and appear in a high position on the search engines. The search engine results for these organic or natural keywords are ‘free’. NB. However before you consider the traffic as free you need to factor in the time/ effort put in to achieve the results by yourself or a 3rd party. Whereas PPC can achieve page 1 positions the same day with SEO there is no certainty how long it will take to achieve results – weeks, months or in some cases never.
So which of the two approaches is better and the most cost effective/ achievable? Well it first of all depends on your budget and also the urgency i.e. the time scale you need the traffic delivered by.
If you need more traffic quickly and you are happy to pay for it then PPC is the most logical route. If, however you have no or little budget then your options are limited and your time may be better spent trying to obtain organic keyword rankings.
Other key factors you need to consider are:
Are your keywords targets affordable with relation to your return on investment ratio or are they far too expensive. In some industries CPC’s can be as high as £50-60 e.g. ‘car insurance’ or ‘SEO’. If you are targeting these terms it makes it almost impossible for new advertisers or entrants to the market place to generate a profit from this PPC traffic.
Before embarking on SEO you need to know how ‘achievable’ are your goals? One way to estimate this is to enter your keywords into the Google Keyword Planner Tool. This clever tool will give an indication of your estimated competition level along with the number of other advertisers bidding on your keywords as well as the average CPCs.
In competitive sectors you can find that the organic results for your targeted keywords can be dominated by authority websites. If this is the case they are practically impossible to displace without a very significant investment of money and time.
For example using the ‘car insurance’ example again is your work going to dislodge heavy weight competition websites such as the AA, Compare the market, Tesco, Confused, Go Compare, RAC? In such instances it makes more sense to acquire your traffic via PPC campaigns.
It is amazing how many businesses still prefer to launch straight into an organic search campaign bypassing the PPC route. But if you do this, aren’t you going in blind?
As we have established the SEO process can be long and protracted, so you need to be 100% certain you are targeting the right keywords for your business/ products. This means identifying keywords can deliver worthwhile traffic volumes (what’s the point of achieving organic page 1 results for a keywords that in the real word no-one searches for?) and also to ensure that you are setting achievable goals and not chasing the end of a rainbow.
If you take a step back and re-evaluate your needs you’ll soon appreciate the key benefit of being in possession of targeted data which provides you firm ground upon which to make a decision.
The importance of getting enough data or ‘information’ to enable us to make an informed decision affects everyone the world over.The Department Of Applied Mathematics at Hong Kong University put it far better than we ever could….
Data is the basis for all scientific research – PPC and SEO are no different. Collecting good quality data plays a vital role in supplying objective information so that analytical understanding of a problem and hence solution can be obtained.
Making decisions on the basis of poor quality data is risky and may lead to disastrous results, as the situation may be distorted and hence all subsequent analyses and decision making will rest on a shaky ground.
A focused PPC campaign can provide an efficient set of performance data that can be extracted and analysed within a Keyword Insight Report which can in turn be used to formulate your SEO strategy.
Onsite analytics can also be used to determine how your website is performing and which pages need work from a user/ search engine point of view. Again this onsite analysis can be used to drive an SEO keyword strategy that can be implemented across keyword specific landing pages.
Google’s AdWords platform for analysing data now allows both paid and search traffic to be pulled into one report highlighting the strong links between SEO and PPC marketing. This valuable insight will help improve overall marketing performance.
Here’s what Google says:
Previously, most search reports showed paid and organic performance separately, without any insights on user behaviour when they overlap. The new paid & organic report is the first to let you see and compare your performance for a query when you have either an ad, an organic listing, or both appearing on the search results page.
This new reporting process provides a number of useful options:
This greater transparency within AdWords should allow online marketing to be optimised for maximum conversions across both SEO and PPC.
Whilst Organic (SEO) and paid search strategies rely on similar best practices as demanded by Google and other major search engines, in our opinion a well constructed and managed PPC campaign will always have an immediate and positive knock on effect by dripping down into SEO. This doesn’t necessarily translate back the other way.
We consider that there is a logical progression from PPC leading down to SEO. By rolling out PPC first some key benefits will be:
It is important to understand it isn’t always a question of one or the other. By combining the two (PPC and SEO) you can achieve powerful results. You need to ask yourself some of the questions listed above to pin down the optimal mixture of PPC and SEO for your business.
Hopefully the points raised will go some way to improving your understanding of natural and paid search strategies and how combined they can help each other to improve your visibility on the search engines and ultimately your visibility to potential clients.
Compare those figures to the UK internet advertising spend of £200 million in 2002 and you can see how digital ad growth has exploded over the last ten years.
And as digital spend reached a landmark figure, so mobile spend also crossed a significant milestone. Triggered by increased smartphone ownership (64% of the UK population), mobile advertising hit the half billion pound mark with like-for-like growth up by 148% to £525 million in 2012 compared to £203.2 million in 2011.
In just three years, mobile has seen a huge increase and now accounts for 9.7% of all digital advertising spend compared to 1.1% in 2009.
Display advertising across the entire digital landscape, boosted by the increase in video and social media advertising, grew in line with the market at 12.4% on a like-for-like basis to £1.30 billion from £1.14 billion in 2011, representing a 24% share of digital ad spend in 2012.
Video advertising grew 46% to £160.0 million from £109.0 million, accounting for 12% of online and mobile display in 2012; up from 10% in 2011. In the last three years video ad spend has increased almost six-fold (471%).
Social media advertising grew 24%to £328.4 million from £265.0 million. In the last three years social media spend has increased almost four-fold (383%).
Online and mobile sponsorship advertising grew 34% to £65.7 million from £49.0 million, accounting for 5% of digital display. In the last three years digital sponsorship spend has increased 128%.
Online in-game advertising revenue grew 30% to £23.4 million from £18.0 million in 2011.
Paid-for search marketing increased 14.5% on a like-for-like basis to £3.17 billion from £2.77 billion – representing a 58% share of digital advertising.
Classifieds grew 6.3% like-for-like to £853.8 million from £788.0 million – accounting for 16% of digital ad spend in 2012. Recruitment classifieds showed strong growth of 7.6% from £276.6 million in 2011 to £297.7 million in 2012.
Anna Bartz, Senior Manager at PwC, said:
“Over the past two years, the digital advertising revenue model has also changed from an emphasis on direct response to being more about branding and awareness.”
The top five display advertising sectors in 2012 are completed by:
Quality Score – A formula search engines use that takes a number of factors (including CTR) into consideration in order to decide if keywords are relevant to ads and landing pages. When multiplied with max CPC, Ad Rank is calculated which determines what the ad position will be.
Remarketing – Shows ads to users who have previously visited a website as they browse other websites on the Display Network. Increases the opportunity for users to click on an ad and return to the advertisers website.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – Ration of money gained or lost on investment in relation to PPC money invested.
Return on Investment (ROI) – Ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Online marketing for increasing visibility on search engine results and paid advertising (such as PPC).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Techniques for increasing organic traffic via SERPs. Web pages are analysed and ranked based on relevancy to the user’s search criteria.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – The list of results a user is given on a search engine after typing in a search query. Both organic and paid results are typically displayed.
Search Network – A group of websites where an ad can be displayed.
Search Partners – Google partnered websites showing PPC ads on the Search Network.
Search Query – The words a user inputs into a search engine when looking for specific content. Keywords that appear in the search query which an advertiser has bid on will appear depending on match types and targeting criteria.
Search Query Report (SQR) – Allows advertisers to identify search queries that have triggered the display of their PPC ads. Can be used to identify new keyword ideas and block irrelevant queries.
Shared Budgets – An option to allow advertisers to specify an amount to spend on a group of campaigns within a given day. A good option to avoid too thin a budget for smaller accounts.
Sitelinks Extensions – Displays links to different pages of a website beneath ad text. Must direct users to a different destination URL than the one the main ad points to.
Social Extensions – Displays public endorsements (+1) when an eligible Google+ page is attached.
Text Ad – A standard AdWords ad with headline, two lines of descriptive test and a display/destination URL.
Text Placeholders – Ad variables to allow multiple updates simultaneously. One or more placeholders can be added to title, text, display URL or destination URL.
Top vs. Side – The placement of an ad within SERPs. An ad can appear at the top of the results or along the right-hand side.
Topics Targeting – Allows advertisers to display ads on other websites with content relevant to selected topics.
Tracking Code – Often added to a ‘thank you’ page once a customer clicks, this HTML code enables the conversion-tracking tool.
Traffic Estimator – Predicts how well a keyword can perform at local and global search volume.
TrueView Video Ads – Video ads giving viewers the option of which messages are displayed and when.
View-Through Conversion – Measures online conversions that occurred within 30 days after a user viewed an ad on the Google Display Network, didn’t click on it, and then converted by another means.
Image Ads – Ads that include graphics specially formatted for the Google Display Network. Ads can be static, animated or flash.
Impressions – The number of people who view a PPC ad.
Impression Share (IS) – The number of impressions received divided by estimated impression eligible to receive based on targeting settings, approval statuses, bids and Quality Scores.
Interest Categories – A way to reach users based on interests while browsing across the Display Network. Categories can include: autos, sports, travel, fashion etc.
Invalid Clicks – Sometimes referred to as Click Fraud. Ads that are considered unintentional or resulting from malicious software.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – What is most important to the success of a business e.g. conversions and cost-per-acquisition are considered KPIs for many advertisers.
Keyword – A word or phrase used to target and display ads based on search results.
Keyword Matching Options – A level of control over how closely a keyword has to match a search term in order to display an ad. Can set to broad, modified broad, phrase, exact or negative match. Can also include plurals, misspellings or close variants.
Keyword Tool – A feature used to find new keyword ideas. Can also help determine competition level and estimate traffic volume or negative keywords.
Landing Page – The webpage a visitor lands on after clicking an ad (specified by the Destination URL). Landing page quality is an important factor in determining Quality Score.
Lead – A desired action that allows the capture of a user’s information such as filling out a form or downloading a file etc.
LinkedIn Ads – Advertising placed on pages across LinkedIN network of professionals using specific targeting options.
Location Extensions – Addresses or contact information within text ads. Can help attract customers to local businesses.
Long-tail Keyword – A keyword phrase containing two or more words. These generally have less competition due to being less specific and can reduce CPC.
Managed Placements – Allows advertisers to choose individual sites for displaying adverts.
Manual Bidding – Manually set CPC bids for a particular keyword, placement etc.
Manual Tagging – Allows advertisers to tag destination URLs with information that Analytics or tracking software can read. Used in email and promotional campaigns.
Match Type – Allows advertisers to control when search query triggers an ad.
My Client Centre (MCC) – A tool for handling multiple AdWords accounts.
Negative Keywords – Added to an account to ads won’t display for a search query containing that keyword. Can help qualify clicks to site effectively.
Opportunities Tab – Designed to suggest opportunities such as budget recommendations, potential keyword additions.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Advertising whereby an advertisers pays for every click through from a search engine.
Pay-Per-Click Management – Online management services by certified agencies or individuals helping businesses achieve a return on investment from PPC.
Phrase Match – Allows ads to show only when a search includes the exact phrase of a keyword or close variant of a specific phrase.
Placement Exclusions – Prevents ads from appearing on individual websites and designed to increase relevancy.
PageRank (PR) – Google’s measurement of a website’s quality. PageRank scores are assessed on a scale from 0 to 10, based largely on the number and quality of inbound links pointing at a given site.
Product Listing Ads (PLA) – Ads that include product information such as images, pricing etc. without requiring additional keywords or text. Ads appear in Google Shopping results automatically for queries relating to products on offer.
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