Posts in General
“Hold the Door” - An A/B Testing Case Study of Doorstops

Hodor hodor! Hodor. At Delegator, one of our core mantras is to be data-driven. Every day, we look for ways to enhance clients’ campaigns and return a better ROI. A big part of this philosophy is that we are always A/B testing things behind the scenes. We regularly test ad language, bid modifiers, landing pages, and more to ensure we’re putting our best foot forward.

Our mantra of “Always Be Testing” isn’t limited to just our clients, though. We are always testing things around the office to maximize our workflow and productivity. To prove that point, we have been strenuously testing a wide variety of doorstops to see which one is the one, true champion. Metrics such as price, immobility, material composition, and torture testing (swift kicks) were all taken into account and eventually there emerged a clear winner.

Doorstops - There can be only one.

Bear witness to the inferior doorstops bowing before the one true doorstop.

All jokes aside, we do take our jobs very seriously. We live and die by results and a big component of driving results is creative thinking and a good testing approach. We hypothesize how we can generate more revenue for our clients’ campaigns and test those theories. Finally, we validate them with data and choose the winners - rinse and repeat.

GeneralJohnny Ewton
SoDA Report Gives Agencies a Glimpse at the Future

Soda Report: Digital Marketing Outlook

While marketing creativity held a steady second place in value comparison to 2015, the newly introduced strategic leadership was declared the most valued skill in clients’ relationships with their agencies. This supports the notion that clients are prioritizing execution over big ideas when it comes to agency relationships. Considering that emerging technologies topped the list last year, we believe this may also point to a trend of getting back to digital fundamentals, where clients are remembering that trendy tech is fun to talk about but may not be as successful at helping them reach their goals as solid data-driven strategy.

A must read for any agency, the SoDA report spawns from an alliance of 100 or so digital agencies, ranging the geographical spectrum. Along with many other points, the report reemphasizes the need for clients and agencies to be agile, but not stray away from the foundation of what makes your business run.

Data-driven strategy is what Delegator does every single day. Give us a shout if you need a partner to help create, guide, or execute yours.

Delegator: A Google Premier Partner

badge-onlyAs the first Google Certified agency in the state of Tennessee, Delegator manages and optimizes digital advertising campaigns for clients around the country ranging from growing startup shops to $150M corporations. Today, we are pleased to announce we have been selected as a Google Premier Partner.

"I am very excited to announce Google's new tiered premier badge program which provides further differentiation and benefits for our most valued partners, like Delegator,” said Sara Waters, Agency Development Manager at Google. “As a Premier Google Partner, Delegator will have direct access to more resources from Google that will help drive forward their clients digital advertising strategies and meet their goals."

Google announced the new Premier Google Partner designation on their blog last Monday:

"[The program] is designed to recognize Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers." --Allan Thygesen, VP Global Sales & Operations

"It's an honor to be recognized by Google for consistently producing positive results for our clients," said Stephen Culp, CEO of Delegator. "We've enjoyed our close relationship with Google, and we look forward to an increased level of support that will benefit our clients."

4 Best Practices For User Testing Your Website

So you've built out a new website or landing page, and you're excited to show it to the world. Your colleagues, friends, and family think that your new creation is awesome - and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You're thinking that you might be ready to launch..

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DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER WITHOUT USER TESTING!

Here at Delegator, we preach the gospel of thorough and unbiased user testing. In fact, we have distilled our approach to using a singular partner (most of the time) that we really enjoy working with, because they have a great platform: UserTesting.com.

Simply signing up for their service, however, isn't enough to get you the actionable data you need to properly optimize your new site.

Here are four best practices that will allow you to user test efficiently and effectively:

Get involved in, first hand, user testing videos AND analysis sessions:

User testing is one of the most important pre-launch protocols.  If you are a decision maker, there is no substitute for first hand consumption of user testing content.  If you pass the task off through multiple degrees of separation, you are opening yourself up to multiple layers of bias. Instead, consume the user tests first hand to see for yourself EXACTLY how people interact with your site.

Do not make definitive conclusions based on just a couple of user tests:

Although you may feel that a random user test is providing you with a goldmine of actionable data, temper your eagerness to make changes with the understanding that one or two tests are not statistically significant relative to hundreds of site visitors.  If multiple users tests start revealing similar faults or potential enhancements, AND your team agrees with said faults, you should probably feel safe making that change.

Find the right balance between instruction specificity and freedom:

Unless you want your user tester to be floundering around the site with no clear direction, be specific in dictating to the tester who they are, and what their goal is.  Don't, however, instruct them on every step they need to take to reach the goal.  You want your user tester to best emulate your actual customers.  You, unfortunately, won't be able to instruct each customer on how to use your website step by step, so take that into account during your UserTesting.com session setup.

Use the convenient annotations feature of UserTesting.com for efficient & effective sharing:

You'll want to share the user testing intel with your team members.  Since the tests are delivered in the form of a narrated video and can often be quite long, take a pass through the videos and annotate the important revelations.  This way, other team members can quickly scan the video and watch the important parts where your tester might be stumbling, or (hopefully) completing tasks with ease.

Delegator is an official partner of UserTesting.com and can help you set your account up,  work through your testing, and analyze the tests to form actionable recommendations.  Contact us here if you would like to learn more!

10 Interesting Ecommerce Facts & Trends

The ecommerce industry has become a major part of worldwide consumerism and is now baked into popular culture and daily life.  Companies like Amazon and Ebay are household names and often the first choice when something - anything - needs to be purchased.

Estimates place worldwide ecommerce sales at $1 trillion in 2012, a 26% increase from the previous year.

With ecommerce representing such a massive money-making opportunity with relatively few barriers to entry, it is no surprise that this industry experiences more disruption than many others - often leading to wild swings in consumer trends.

Here are 10 interesting facts and trends about ecommerce that you may not currently know:

  1.  Pizza Hut was one of the first major brands to experiment with online commerce, starting in 1994.Pizza Hut - Welcome to PizzaNet!
  2. Ecommerce is predicted to represent 10% of all US retail by 2017.
  3. North Dakota, Connecticut, and Alaska lead all US states in ecommerce sales per capita.
  4. India is home to the fastest growing ecommerce market, and France is experiencing the slowest growth.
  5. 80% of the online population has used the internet to make a purchase, and 50% of the online population has purchased online more than once.
  6. 'Apparel and Accessories' is the fastest growing ecommerce sector of the 9 major categories.
  7. Although it launched in 1995, Amazon wasn’t able to turn a profit until 2003.Amazon's First Gateway Page
  8. 26% of all products added to cart are abandoned and never purchased.
  9. 44% of smartphone users admitted to “show-rooming” - They browsed products in brick-and-mortar stores, picked what they liked, then purchased online.
  10. During the third quarter of 2012, $4,423 was transacted via Paypal, per second.

Sources: 

Irony, Man.

Source: pinoytutorial.com By now, you’ve heard about the ‘controversy’ surrounding Iron Man 3’s dubious depiction of Chattanooga, TN as a backwoods hick town with internet so deplorable the world might end.  For any of you actually living in Chattanooga, this is comical (Iron Man is a comic book, afterall), as ‘The Gig City’ is a beautiful, populous town, with a cutting edge broadband infrastructure rivaled by few in the world.   

The chuckles might nervously trail when one considers that that Verizon FiOS, boasting "Internet speeds that will rock the competition", is one of the main promotional sponsors of Iron Man 3.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 11.41.28 AM

Surely it's a coincidence that all the other small towns in Iron Man 3 are fictional except Chattanooga, whose sole plot line contribution is 'slow internet', right?

Surely there isn't some Verizon guy in a suit who thought it would be clever to rip Chattanooga for slow internet, just because he can, right?

If so.... not sure he thought it through, as the publicity has been priceless, and the content flowing fast -- roughly a gig a second.

We love irony, man!

Practical Tips to Improve Your E-Commerce Website - Part 2 of 2

(In case you missed it: Part 1 of 2)

5. Visible contact info establishes credibility.

While this might not be high on everyone's list, you must establish credibility to all of the users that have not bought from you before. You may know you are trustworthy, but that does not mean the user does. List a landline phone number somewhere clear on the homepage and every page if possible. I personally like when sites do this because it provides a reassuring sense that human help is only a phone call away. Below is a perfect example of this.

Great Example Of Clear Contact Information

Also, studies show that 79% of people still prefer phone calls for customer service and problem resolution versus other mediums. This is not surprising, given that a phone call can be much quicker than multiple back-and-forth e-mails or online chat assistance. Many people shy away from websites that have hard-to-find contact details. Don't be one of these sites.

6. The checkout process: Help them push the cart.

The checkout/order process is where the most potential customers will abandon a purchase. There are plenty of things you can do to help prevent this from happening though. One common tactic is to break-up the checkout process into multiple steps to keep from overwhelming the user with everything at once. That being said, many users still prefer it all on one page. In a study performed by The Official Vancouver 2010 Olympic Store, they found that a single-page checkout outperformed a multi-page checkout by 21.8% in having fewer users abandon their carts. Which strategy to follow is going to depend heavily on your target market but you should definitely put a lot of thought and testing into your checkout process.

Secondly, give the user a few recommendations. Don't drown them, but make sure you at least give yourself a few cross-selling and/or up-selling opportunities. Data shows that up-selling helps drive sales by as much as 4% and that cross-selling can drive sales by around 3% when shown on the check-out page.

Lastly, when it comes to credit card purchases be sure to use copy that increases credibility and ensures the user that all of their data is encrypted and as safe as possible. In an age of increasing fraud and identify theft this is the last thing you want to fall victim to. A little reassurance is always a good thing. Depending on your business size, I would heavily consider utilizing VeriSign encryption and having your checkout process done through a HTTPS URL to boost trust with potential first-time buyers.

7. Why yes, we do take PayPal.

This last one is my own personal recommendation. PayPal offers several benefits to a buyer but the primary one is the ability to make online transactions without divulging your payment info to a retailer. First, you place a credit card and/or bank account on file. Then, when you go to make a purchase from a retailer you simply complete the final steps of the checkout process through your PayPal account and the money is taken from your account and paid to the retailer on your behalf. It offers safety and convenience since you don't have to continually take out your credit card to key in info on websites where you have never purchased before. Both of these factors make PayPal invaluable to me and with well over 100 million users, clearly I'm not alone. Definitely consider it as a payment option if your business has the means to do so.

Target's Online Checkout System With PayPal Option

Conclusion

The E-commerce landscape is ever-changing and as the old adage says, you have to adapt to survive. My final piece of advice is to never be too content with your website. Many people are resistant to change, but where would Facebook be today if they didn't constantly strive to refine their service and make it easier for users to read and share information? Perfection may be unattainable but that does not mean you shouldn't strive for it. Utilize analytics software and seek out data on how customers interact with your website. Strive to make everyone's visit enjoyable by giving them an appealing site where they can find things quickly and easily. You want them to have a pleasant experience regardless of whether they are just window shopping or actually intent on buying. If you don't give them a sufficient reason to use your site versus competitor sites, then you should not act surprised when that's where they choose to spend their dollars.

Practical Tips to Improve Your E-Commerce Website - Part 1 of 2

Designing and building an e-commerce site is a massive undertaking for a business seeking to expand into the digital realm. E-commerce continues to grow year by year while brick and mortar retailers are forced to continually adapt to the changing landscape of retail sales. Many consumers clearly prefer the simplicity and convenience of shopping online. Here are a few tips to help ensure your site is as welcoming and efficient as possible in attracting business.

1. Simplicity

Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication." Think about some of the fastest growing companies on the market. Apple and Google are two great examples. They both have a core framework with user simplicity at the base. It's all about the experience. Apple's products, website, and ad copy are all very attention getting but do not drown you in an excess of information. The same can be said for Google. You should have a clean and simple hierarchy for navigation and never overwhelm the user with too much info on any given page. Be detailed, yet concise.

2. No hidden fees. No hiccups.

These constitute one of my biggest personal pet peeves. Taxes, freight, and other such costs should never be hidden in such a way that the user cannot see them until the final phases of checkout. Do NOT require a login or other such gateway for a user to get a freight estimate on your product or service. I cannot tell you how many times I have been ready to purchase something online and noticed an additional cost that was not initially included. This does not only apply to "hidden" fees but also to companies that only offer limited shipping options. The site below is a perfect example. With UPS Ground being the only service offered, a $2.80 bolt gets an $11 shipping charge. This will dissuade almost any customer from buying small items. Only a handful are willing to "bundle" small items into an order to justify the shipping costs.

3. Breadcrumbs - Keep the user continually informed.

Let's face it. At some point we have all been overwhelmed when trying to buy something. Whether in real life or online, shopping can sometimes be a hassle. If you have an e-commerce site that deals with multiple products across various categories then leaving the user "breadcrumbs" is a great idea to help them conceptualize where they are at any given time. Amazon, Office Depot, and NewEgg are all great examples of this. Breadcrumbs serve several different purposes. They let a user backtrack easily, show hierarchy, help eliminate additional (unnecessary) clicks, provide additional help, and generally lower bounce rates.

4. Search. Sort. Streamline.

It should go without saying, but having an efficient search tool on your website is an absolute must. I have visited a handful of sites before where it took me minutes to find an item either because their search was not working properly or there was no search function at all.

Sorting options are a must too. Most e-commerce sites do a fairly good job in this regard so you are going to be behind the curve if you don't allow your user to sort products by price, attribute, brand, reviews, etc. Lastly, make sure your interface is streamlined. Users don't like having to click four times to search something on your site if it takes two clicks on a competitor's site. The easier you make things for the user, the less likely they are to bounce to a competing site. Personally, I will return as a repeat user to a site if it is easy to search, organized well, and easy to checkout on. But you can count that if your checkout process is overly complicated or difficult, I will most likely avoid your site in the future.

Head right over here for Part 2!

Delegator.com’s New Years Resolutions! (This time we’re really going to do it!)

1. This year, I will stop focusing on the numbers on the scale. I will stop focusing on keywords only when I write SEO content.

2. This year, I will do something active and physical every day. I will regularly add to and refresh the content of my site.

3. This year, I am finally going to get organized - my house, my office, and my life. I am finally going to start utilizing Google Analytics - to track and analyze my traffic, my users, and my conversion statistics.

4. This year, I will quit smoking once and for all. I will stop using Flash to create large or important sections of my website.

5. This year, I’m going to put myself out there and try to meet some new people. I’m going to kick my AdWords campaign into high gear, try some email marketing, and optimize my site every chance I get.

6. This year, I am going to start saving money. I am going to let professionals actively manage my AdWords account, and stop over-paying for keywords that are too competitive or that aren’t going to get me the customers I’m looking for.

7. This year, I am going to be on time wherever I go. I will use Google Calendars to give me reminders about important dates, deadlines and meetings.

8. This year, I am going to learn something new. I am going to try a different online marketing tactic to see if I can improve my results.

9. This year, I am going to indulge my artistic side. I’m going to create banners for my site and start using Display Networks to attract and re-target users.

10. This year, I am going to give some time or money to charity (This is one that should stay on the list). Check out Causeway.org if you need some ideas in the Chattanooga area!

Get it Done: New Years Web Resolutions
New Years Confetti and Blowers

By this time of year, a lot of people have made out their New Years resolution lists. The end of the old year and the beginning of the new is a good time to re-commit to self improvement; out with the bad, in with the good, if you will. But it’s not just people who need to make these kinds of lists; businesses and websites need them too. Below are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for people, and our suggestions for how the same concepts can be applied to your website or your business.

1. Get Organized

Everyone wishes they were better organized. Whether that means cleaning out closets, doing the dishes regularly, or scheduling and keeping track of appointments, organization is essential to modern living.

When it comes to websites, organization is key to search engine optimization, a positive user experience, and a great-looking site. It’s also vital to keeping your business streamlined and efficient. With help from delegator, you can focus completely on your core competencies, and we can focus on the rest.

Google Analytics and an SEO site review will help you get organized.  Google Analytics lets you see who’s visiting your website, where they’re coming from, what they do while they’re there, and how long they stay. Everything is tracked and catalogued with precision and charted statistically. With Analytics you can set a goal, like a user seeing your site and subsequently contacting you, and then track it to see how well your site is accomplishing the goal. Delegator sets up Analytics the right way, and then manages and monitors the program, making suggestions and improving performance.

An SEO Site Review will give you a comprehensive look at every aspect of your website, complete with analysis over how you could improve it  (i.e., to boost your ranking in Google). This can include updating or creating meta tags, organizing your urls, and siloing your pages and content for optimum search engine rankings.

Get In Shape

2. Get in Shape

After Christmas and Thanksgiving, everyone is fighting the battle of the bulge, trying to get back in shape and looking the way they want to. Most websites need to undergo the same kind of transformation. Delegator knows how to redesign your website so that it runs smoothly, drives clicks and revenue, and puts the best possible face on your company. We can also help you get rid of unnecessary or unhelpful features - trim the fat, if you will.

3. More Quality Time

Many people pledge to spend more quality time in the coming year. That could mean time alone, time abroad, time with family, or simply a more focused and effective working life. With websites, quality takes on a slightly different meaning.

There are dozens of ways to make your site attractive to Google and to get lots of Internet eyeballs to look at it (AdWords, etc.). But unless the content on your site is useful and attractive, unless it serves a purpose and is high-quality, you can be sure that visitors won’t be spending any of their own quality time with you.

The most important thing, when it comes to SEO, is quality content. You need people to read it all the way through, to spend time on your site, and to help grow your brand. That’s why delegator employs professional writers and videographers to give you the best possible on-site content. Not just key-word rich, not just unique, and not just well-organized; high quality.

2011 Glasses for New Years

Another way to get more quality time with your business is to focus on what’s important, on what you’re good at, and to let us focus on the rest. Take care of core competencies, and when you get into areas where you’re not an expert, delegate to those who are.

4. Travel

So how on earth can a website travel?

At delegator, we not only expose your website to the rest of the country and the world, we do it on a budget! As one of the first AdWords experts in the Southeast, we have a track record of getting great results with low budgets, pushing sales and name recognition. No matter how big or small the account or the budget, we have the knowledge and the experience to get your company out there. With the ability to target local, national, and global searches, there’s no better way for your business to travel.

5. Track Your Goals and Stay Accountable.

New Years resolutions are all well and good, but you have to have a system to keep you accountable, and to track your various goals. That’s where delegator comes in. Not only will we manage and maintain the parts of your business that fall outside your arena, we use Analytics and periodic site reviews to make sure everything about your website is in tip top shape, meeting goals, and performing the way it should.

So whether it be getting you organized, looking great, expanding your reach, focusing on quality time, or being accountable to your goals, delegator can help you get it done.