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Comments Off on Tracking Search Marketing Conversion Rate ROI

Tracking Search Marketing Conversion Rate ROI

Robert B. Gelman

Here at BGAmedia, we talk a lot about “Return on Investment” for you marketing dollars. From our standpoint, it’s the only way marketing or any aspect of doing business makes sense. But since marketing and sales are a moving target for every business, it is most important that they be tracked and evaluated on an ongoing basis. Change happens too fast these days for there to be gaps in your feedback loop.

One of the key metrics to track is your conversion rate.  And what is a conversion?   It could be many different things, depending upon what and how you sell. For example, if you are using pay-per-click advertising, it could be the number of clicks on your ad after viewing a search page. Or more relevant might be whether they looked at specific additional pages on your website, or actually bought something.

Google Adwords (and now Facebook advertising) allow you to track conversions to keep an eye on whether you are getting enough return on what you are spending.  Determining this is of course different for every business, but here are some factors you might want to consider.

  • Not all conversions are worth the same to you. A visit to a page on your website may not have a value, but a sale there might be worth $100. Identifying the value of conversions lets you track your ROI on specific keywords
  • Example:A keyword may cost $1 per click, but a conversion from that keyword is worth $100. If you’re getting a conversion out of every 10 clicks, that’s an ROI of $90.  A good investment.  If you’re only getting a conversion for every 75 clicks, it’s marginal, and maybe not worth the money.
  • Cost-per-click is critical too and needs to be a part of the equation

We counsel our clients to start their campaigns with a brief, low-budget test period to get a sense for both how much traffic is generated by their keywords, and the bid cost for those words.  You have the option to give a value to any one of your conversions during the set up process.  And, if you’re selling multiple products with different prices, you’ll need a single conversion page that has variable conversion values.

If you are interested in this type of activity to enhance your business (or the less costly Search Engine Optimization process), we encourage you to call us for a no-cost and no-obligation conversation about how a Search Marketing Campaign might work for you.

The logical extension of our conversation about ROI for Search Marketing Campaigns is a discussion of what it takes to create more customers (or conversions) out of the traffic you are already getting.The answer involves testing and modifying your web site or other online tools to become more effective.

We’ll address this in an upcoming post.




Comments Off on Japan Earthquake & Tsunami: 7 Simple Ways to Help

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami: 7 Simple Ways to Help

Ref: Ben Parr at

While the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami have passed, the recovery and mourning have just begun. The disaster could become the most expensive earthquake in history. The crisis could get even worse, depending on what happens next at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Now, more than ever, the Japanese people need our help and support to get through this crisis.

You don’t need to pack your bags and fly out to Japan to help, though. There are plenty of ways you can help online, whether it’s with your wallet or simply with your Twitter account. New technologies make it possible to lend a helping hand with your texts or even with virtual crops.

Every little bit counts. Here are a few ways you can help the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami:

1. Text to Donate

The American Red Cross has once again launched a texting campaign to raise money for relief efforts in the Pacific region. Last year, the Red Cross was able to raise over $20 million for Haiti relief through simple text donations.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake Relief, just text REDCROSS to 90999. Each text will provide $10 towards the Red Cross’s humanitarian efforts.

2. Donate via Facebook

The Red Cross has also launched a campaign on Causes to raise at least $25,000 for relief efforts. By logging in to Facebook, you can donate anywhere from $10 to $500 to help Tsunami victims and their families.

As of publishing time, the Causes campaign has raised over $40,000 from over 1,000 donors and 3,000 promoters.

3. Buy Virtual Goods

Virtual sweet potatoes and the Japanese Tsunami may not seem related, but buying digital crops could help children affected by the earthquake.

Zynga, known for its effective social good campaigns, has partnered with Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund to get its users to donate money through the purchase of virtual goods in CityVille, FrontierVille, FarmVille and its other games.

100% of the proceeds from the purchase of sweet potatoes in CityVille, radishes in FarmVille or kobe cows in FrontierVille will go towards Save the Children’s efforts to provide relief in the Pacific. The world’s largest social gaming company is shooting to raise $2 million for relief efforts.

Zynga has raised millions of dollars over the last few years with these types of social good campaigns, most notably for the relief efforts in Haiti.

Read the full article for four additional suggestions…

Comments Off on New Remarketing Technology Boosting E-commerce Sales

New Remarketing Technology Boosting E-commerce Sales

by Ryan Bardo, Website Intel blog

Unless you are concerned that Google has become too powerful a force in Internet services, you’ll probably want to know about “remarketing,” a new function that is offered as part of their Adwords service. If you are conducting sales via a website, or even have a trackable conversion, such as the downloading of a free PDF, this program can help you target and maximize your results with what has been, up until now, a highly valuable target-market that was being lost. This article by Ryan Bardo spells it out in detail. –Bob G

What is Google Remarketing?

Google remarketing is a technology that allows an advertiser to show an ad to a user who previously visited the advertiser’s website. The goal of Google remarketing is to two-fold, branding and increasing conversions. The latter is accomplished by being able to “retarget” visitors who, for example:

  • Abandoned a shopping cart
  • Didn’t convert
  • Converted
  • Signed up for a trial
  • Subscribed to a newsletter

The audience in a remarketing campaign is more valuable than other audiences because retargeted audiences are more likely to convert into a sale or lead due to their known prior interest (they were on your website or a specific web page).
Google remarketing is a perfect solution for staying in front of your target audience, especially those who need to visit your site more than once to make a decision. In this white paper you’ll learn:

1. The basic set up of a Google remarketing campaign
2. Remarketing best practices

Setting up a Google Remarketing Campaign

Google remarketing campaigns are set up and managed within Google Adwords. The basic steps of setting up a remarketing campaign are as follows:

1. Define your audience
2. Retrieve code script and install it on corresponding web page(s)
3. Create an ad group with your defined audience that you wish to remarket

Define Your Audience

With regard to a Google remarketing campaign, defining your audience means determining to whom you want to show online ads, e.g. you want to show online ads to visitors who abandoned your shopping cart. Other types of common audiences are:

  • converted users
  • Non-converted visitors
  • Current subscribers
  • By shopping category
  • By product

Install Code Script

To receive the code script, click on the tag for the audience that you’ve created. Once you click on the tag it will display a box with the code you need to install on your web page. Copy and paste the code in between the body tags on your web page. Once the code is installed visitors will be included in the Adwords audience that you specified. You can also specify the duration of retargeting. For instance, if you specify a 30 days your ad will show to that user for 30 days.

Create an Ad Group and Add Your Audience

The final step of building your remarketing campaign is to create your ad group and add your defined audience to that ad group. Make sure that the display network is turned on in your campaign settings; otherwise the remarketing will not work. If you are just starting out it is best to let Adwords automatically manage your placements. Once you get used to the campaigns and see which sites are performing you can start managing your placements manually.
Start out simple with one audience per ad group until you get the hang of it. Bidding and management gets very complex with all these elements added to an ad group. So start out small until you get your bearings. Ad groups should correspond to the audience you are adding. For example: If you are trying to retarget shopping cart abandoners your ad group should be labeled “shopping cart abandoners.” Identify the keywords used by your “abandoners” and add them to this ad group. Once again, keep things simple.

Remarketing Best Practices

Both building and managing a remarketing campaign can be complex. In this section you’ll learn some tips on how to successfully build and manage your remarketing campaigns.

1. Plan and organize your campaigns in an excel spreadsheet.

2. Use image/video ads as much as possible. Also have text ads created in every ad group for the websites that doesn’t support image/video ads.

3. Create various remarketing ad groups to show different ads to different audience lists.

4. Customize ad groups around the ad creative that will be displayed.

5. Rank ad groups in terms of qualification, this is the qualification level. For example: Non-engaged users are less qualified than shopping cart abandoners. Therefore, do not invest too much into the non-engaged user’s ad group.

6. The retargeting duration is directly influenced by qualification level of the ad group, i.e. the higher the qualification level, the longer you want to remarket to that ad group.

7. Google retargeting organizes visitors who match an audience definition into lists. An audience will not become active until that list reaches 500 unique visitors. In other words, until a certain audience consists of 500 visitors, your ad group won’t serve ads. All that said, don’t define your audiences too strictly or your audience will never become active.

Remarketing helps advertisers stay in front of their users. There are as many applications of this technology as there are types of convertible web pages. Remarketing can help increase the number of times per month those pages convert.

Comments Off on PPC Innovation: How will Google’s new lead capture extension affect your pay-per-click campaigns?

PPC Innovation: How will Google’s new lead capture extension affect your pay-per-click campaigns?

Corey Trent, Marketing Experiments Blog

We have been quite busy at the labs here, but I wanted to cover a PPC development that blipped on our radar earlier this year. For many of us, PPC is a critical source of traffic, and can be quite the task to manage. Well to add to the list of things to consider, Google is beta-testing the collection of phone lead information directly from SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Google generates roughly 97% of its revenue from online advertising, so it makes sense that they delve into new areas of online marketing – which now seems to include part of the sales process as well.

Given the huge potential (or threat) this represents to you, the Internet marketer, I think this is a vital development to cover on this blog (and even reached out to a search engine marketing firm to get their ideas for you as well.) While this will not affect all verticals, for some niches this might pour some gasoline (or more correctly napalm), on already very competitive areas.

So how does it work?

According to Amber from PPC Hero, “The gist of the beta is if you’re running a PPC ad in Google, and you’re in the top position, you can click on a plus sign next to a call to action (the name you give your contact form) and Google will drop down your contact form to be submitted right there in the Google search results.”

Here is an image from that article to show the lead collection:


It’s important to note that, as with all things in beta, this has the potential for change, as I believe Google does do some testing from time to time.

And since this new feature is currently in beta, limited to businesses appearing in position #1 of PPC results, and on select keywords, it may not be available to you yet. If you’re interested, the best person to contact is your friendly Google rep.

More importantly…how can I make it work for me?

While I think this could have potentially large ripples in certain areas of online marketing, I wanted to have a chat with our friends at ROI Revolution, and get another viewpoint as well.

As a quick background, ROI Revolution is a company whose main area of focus is in pay-per-click management and they are quite good at it. Here are just a couple of points they presented:


  • Simplifies the conversion process.
  • No friction (and lead loss) from weak landing pages.
  • Great tracking for businesses that use the phone a lot, a traditional weakness of current PPC tracking solutions.  Interesting, how could this be applied to other voice communication/VOIP solutions like Google Voice?
  • The feature will be good for certain verticals (e.g., plumbers) that provide local services tied to specific keywords (e.g., “broken pipes”).


  • Can’t have a conversation in a PPC ad. Landing pages provide a good service for addressing anxiety and questions. So how effective will this lead capture be?
  • Opportunities to increase the value of a lead with a well-optimized funnel are lost (e.g. upsells). Without the ability to do that how valuable will the leads really will be?
  • Because conversion is expected on the search page, you do not have their undivided attention.  On a landing page, you can guide their thinking.
  • Maximum cost-per-click (CPC) rates are applied to leads submitted. This will likely cause your cost per acquisition to rise.
  • Since you must in position #1, the bids for the top position might heat up significantly.
  • Many people also now use many CRM solutions for keeping track of customers and sales. Will this information be easily integrated with common solutions or sent to advertisers in a standardized way?

Won’t you tell me your name? I love you. Hello.

Personally, I am interested in seeing are how users respond to putting their information directly into a form on a search engine results page. While I think some users are very trusting, others might be turned off by your attempt to get their number so soon.

It might seem like an out-of-sequence conversation. As Flint McGlaughlin, the director of MECLabs Group (our parent company) describes trying to ask for a lead to early in the process, “You don’t ask a girl for a kiss before you have a date with her.”

That might seem kind of corny. But think about how you handle your own phone number. Many of us treasure our phone numbers and can guard them quite fiercely. Will a relatively short ad space be enough to capture users and convince them to give up this information? Are you asking for too much, too soon?

Also, some of the things we talk about in great detail here are anxiety and value proposition. While you can address these with your ad copy in a limited fashion, the fact remains you only have so many characters to work within.

Your pay-per-click ad copy and the space search providers give you is simply to get the conversation going – address why they should click, how you are meeting their motivation, and then get them to a landing page to do the heavy lifting.

In skipping that step, you can end up with spending a lot of money (especially by paying max CPC) with leads that are not as qualified or do not convert.

Also, since this is a new technology, you might be getting a fair amount of people using it because they wanted to see how it works, rather than being genuinely interested in your message.

I have some more thoughts on this that we will post soon, but I want to get your opinion on what impact, if any, you think this new Google innovation will have?

Comments Off on List Segmentation Effects on Email Marketing Stats

List Segmentation Effects on Email Marketing Stats

compiled by Mail Chimp

Does list segmentation really help email marketing stats?

It’s common knowledge that segmenting your email marketing lists can help you get better open and click rates. The idea is that by narrowing your focus and sending messages to targeted groups within your lists, your recipients will find it more relevant, which will get you better results.

Really? We scanned our system for MailChimp users who have used our list segmentation feature. We found 1,988 users who sent 10,961 segmented campaigns to 8,762,207 recipients. We compared the email marketing results of those users’ segmented campaigns to the results of their non-segmented campaigns. We actually uncovered some counter-intuitive results in a few places.

Global Results:

When we measured stats “across all segmented campaigns” segmented campaigns definitely helped email marketing performance almost across the board, except for one metric: unsubscribes. Why would more people unsubscribe from targeted messages that are supposedly more relevant to them?

Opens: 14.444% better than the list average
Clicks: 14.994% better than the list average
Bounces: 0.803% better than the list average
Abuse Reports: 0.010% better than the list average
Unsubs: 0.632% worse than the list average

Segment by: Merge Field

When MailChimp users segmented their lists based on some field in their recipient database (examples might include “customer_type” or “ZIP code” or “job_title”) results went way up compared to non-segmented lists. This turned out to be the most popular way to segment lists.

Opens: 18.852% better than the list average
Clicks: 21.976% better than the list average
Bounces: 1.429% better than the list average
Abuse Reports: 0.015% better than the list average
Unsubs: 0.986% worse than the list average
Total campaigns of this type: 6,040

Segment by: Signup Date

In MailChimp, we have a feature that lets you segment your lists based on “those who signed up within the last x days” or “those who signed up since I sent my last campaign.” One common use for this segment is to send a campaign to your most recent subscribers.

Opens: 11.641% better than the list average
Clicks: 10.501% better than the list average
Bounces: 0.492% worse than the list average
Abuse Reports: 0.002% better than the list average
Unsubs: 0.126% worse than the list average
Total campaigns of this type: 2,761

Segment by: Interest Groups

Email marketers can create signup forms with checkboxes so that subscribers can indicate their interests. For example, a music website might have an email signup form with options for favorite musical genre. When segmenting campaigns based on these interest groups, MailChimp users got slightly better results than average.

Opens: 1.659% better than the list average
Clicks: 1.712% better than the list average
Bounces: 0.206% better than the list average
Abuse Reports: 0.002% better than the list average
Unsubs: 0.071% worse than the list average
Total campaigns of this type: 851

Segment by: AIM reports

Here’s the shocker. MailChimp offers an add-on module called AIM Reports that allows our users to track user-specific stats in their email campaigns. For example, instead of just seeing your campaign’s total number of opens and clicks, this add-on allows you to drill down and see who opened and clicked. This allows for some extremely focused segmentation, which one might think would improve one’s results dramatically. For example, one can use this to segment a list based on “those who opened a previous campaign” or “those who opened my 3 most recent campaigns” or “those who did not open my last campaign.” Extremely powerful segmentation. But it turns out almost all metrics went down when users segmented by “AIM Reports.”

Opens: 2.072% worse than the list average
Clicks: 2.524% worse than the list average
Bounces: 1.842% better than the list average
Abuse Reports: 0.003% worse than the list average
Unsubs: 0.262% better than the list average
Total campaigns of this type: 297

Observations and Followups

For the most part, segmenting your email marketing lists can help improve your open and click rates, and will reduce the number of bounces from each campaign you send. We’re baffled as to why more people would unsubscribe from seemingly more relevant campaigns. We have some theories, such as “perhaps the segmented campaigns were sent in addition to normal batch-and-blast campaigns, which resulted in annoying duplicate messages.” We’ll save that for another study.

Most disturbing was the discovery that AIM Reports generated worse results than non-segmented campaigns. We had to look more closely at what was causing this, because the AIM Reports add-on is so awesomely cool, there’s no way it can do harm (scientifically speaking, that is). Turns out the majority of users who had AIM Reports installed were not using it to send special emails to loyal subscribers (“segment based on those who opened my recent 3 campaigns”) but were using it to send follow-up campaigns to “those who did not open my last message.” This has been documented on email marketing sites as an extremely effective tactic to generate more bookings by hotels and event organizers (Marketingsherpa: Should You Re-Send Your Email Newsletter to Non-Openers?). But when you factor in how inherently inaccurate open rate tracking is, it’s understandable that some of these followup campaigns are perceived as pesky duplicates to some recipients.

Comments Off on Trust Your Tests, Not Google Recommendations

Trust Your Tests, Not Google Recommendations

Originally published in ROI Revolution Blog

Occasionally, Google will show alerts in our AdWords accounts introducing new products or tools, or notifying us of maxed out budgets or disapproved ads. These are usually very helpful to us. We have noticed the following message in our clients’ Google AdWords accounts suggesting that the Ad Serving setting be changed from “Rotate Ad Serving” to “Optimize Ad Serving” in order to ‘increase traffic by showing your best ad most often’.

Click to View The Image Larger
At ROI Revolution, we recommend always setting our campaigns’ ads to “Rotate” as part of what we call “AdWords 101” or the most basic and well-known practices for an AdWords account. There are two main reasons why we do this:

More Clicks Does Not Equal More Conversions

Google optimizes your ad serving based on Click-Through-Rate. This works out great for Google, because showing the ad that gets the most clicks more often means more Google revenue. However, optimizing ads based on Click-Through-Rate is not always the best practice for advertisers, because conversion rate is never factored in to the equation. While increasing clicks is a wonderful way to get more visits to your site, conversion rate is equally as important, if not more important, to most advertisers. With the exception of brand awareness, there is not much of a payoff in getting someone to click on your ad and then leave your site without buying anything or submitting any of their information.

Test, Test, Test

It is best practice to run at least two ads in a paid search ad group. If you’re not continually testing ad text, headlines, landing pages, basically everything, then you’re missing out on new opportunities that could bring in more money for you. If those ads are not rotated evenly, there is no way to tell which one generates the most profitable traffic for your business. Rotating ads evenly will ensure that the data you’re seeing in your reports is a fair representation of how they actually perform when given an equal chance.

The moral of this story is DON’T choose this setting if you want to maximize your results through testing and conversions. Leaving your ads set to “Optimize” is a common mistake, but one that you can and should avoid. In order to make the best decision for your AdWords account, it is essential to outline goals, prioritize them, and optimize your ads based on those goals.