Posts in Intermediate: 201
How Do I Measure Remarketing Performance?

How do you know if you’re remarketing well? This is a tricky campaign to measure, especially since it’s more likely to play a big part in assisted conversions compared to any other campaign. For ecommerce clients, the “Time to Purchase” report might help give you some insight into how remarketing compares to the typical conversion cycle for last-click conversions. The “Time to Purchase” report (categorized under the Ecommerce Conversion reports) has two views: “Days to Transactions” and “Visits to Transactions.” These two reports together give you a sense of just how engaged remarketed users are within the conversion cycle.

   Photo: Company A remarketing results showing low engagement.

In the above report to the left, 18.18% of remarketing transactions have occurred 7-13 days after the initial visit. However, we see to the right that most remarketing transactions occurred in less than 4 visits to the site. What we’re seeing here is that, potentially, one to two weeks can go by with few visits back to the site before a remarketed customer will convert. This company may be interested in trying to close that time gap with a more robust remarketing strategy.

Alternately in the example below, most remarketing transactions occurred less than 4 days after the initial remarketed visit, yet a significant portion of visitors come back to the site 7-25 times until they convert. These visitors are highly engaged for fewer days. The company below had remarketing results much like what’s shown above until we put an expansive remarketing strategy into place. Now remarketing brings in a significant portion of last-click conversions and assists in almost every AdWords conversion.

   Photo: Company B remarketing results showing high engagement.

Take a look at your "Time to Purchase" reports. If it looks like you’re not getting much engagement through remarketing, it might be time to rework or start up a new strategy. If you’re not sure where to get started, let us know so that we can help.

The 4 Most Overlooked Items During Google Analytics Setup

Google Analytics offers incredible insights on your site visitors, and the data it provides helps you make the most optimal business decisions. That being said, there are countless items in Analytics that usually end up overlooked when a new site is launched. If you want the cleanest, most relevant data possible from your Google Analytics, here are four key items to pay attention to during your setup.

1. Site Search

An easily overlooked Analytics option, site search can provide invaluable data on how your users are utilizing your internal search. Setting this up is a very simple process. First, perform a search on your site and then look in the resulting URL for the term you searched for. The string between the "?" and and "=" is the query parameter. In the case of Delegator.com, the query parameter is "s", as seen below. Site Search Query Parameter Now that you know your query parameter, head over to the Admin panel in Google Analytics and click "View Settings" at the Profile level. Towards the bottom, you will see what's in the screenshot below. Just check the box for "Do track Site Search", enter your query parameter, click Apply, and you're good to go! Google Analytics Site Search Setting

2. IP Filters

Decisions are best made when backed by accurate, meaningful data. There's no quicker way to muddle your Google Analytics data than to ignore its awesome filter options, specifically IP filters. A common best practice is to exclude the IP addresses of anyone on your team who is regularly on your site, so you're not skewing your data.

To find out your IP address, just visit WhatIsMyIP.com and record the IP address it returns. Next, head over to the Admin panel in Google Analytics and click on "Filters" at the Profile level, then click on "New Filter". Enter in a name for the filter and follow the layout in the screenshot below, inserting the IP address you recorded earlier. Then, just click save and you're done! Repeat this process as needed for more employees or internal computers.

IP Filter - Google Analytics

3. Linking AdWords & Webmaster Tools

As simple as these two items are, I've seen them overlooked time and time again in Analytics audits. If you don't link your AdWords account to Analytics, you are flying blind on your AdWords spend with respect to on-site metrics and ecommerce data. Don't be that guy - it's foolish to ignore such juicy, free data. Google walks you through the process in very clear detail here.

While you're at it, linking your Webmaster Tools is a very simple process as well, outlined here. This lets you view Webmaster tool data within the Analytics interface, which is a lot more streamlined and easier to navigate.

4. Missing/Inaccurate Ecommerce Tracking

There are few things more frustrating in Google Analytics than having no ecommerce data for an ecommerce website. Setting up ecommerce tracking is a tricky piece that will most certainly require a developer to help implement, but it is absolutely invaluable to your long-term success. If you don't have crystal clear transparency on how much revenue your various traffic sources are driving to your site then you are making suboptimal decisions, plain and simple.

Ecommerce Tracking Fail

These four items only represent a small portion of what often gets overlooked with your average Google Analytics setup. There are countless things you can do with remarketing lists and custom metrics. Same can be said for custom dashboards, reports, and advanced segments. The moral of the story? Don't be content with "Vanilla Analytics". Get out there and make your GA data more accurate and relevant!

The Science of Digital Landscapes

Calm down, reader. We're not telling you to go out and buy goggles and an Erlenmeyer flask (but you can if that makes you feel fancy). The science of digital landscapes is grounded in one simple method: testing. As elusive as website testing may seem, it's a method with important foundational principles.

A/B Testing

Maybe you've known for years that your company should be testing its webpages, but you don't know where to start. Some testing tools that are marketed as easy-to-use quickly turn complicated, and sometimes they don't allow the full spectrum of testing that you're looking for. In our experience as a digital marketing agency, platforms for testing are ever-evolving, but throughout our years of testing we've established some staple principles and approaches that anyone looking to improve their digital presence should follow.

1. Annotate Everything

Even if you don't know what to do with Google Analytics data, annotations are a crucial piece to both effective testing and keeping track of your website history. If you ever think, "Should I annotate this?" the answer is usually, "Yes." We often dig into old data looking for trends and would never be able to identify what kicked traffic up or down without a stream of relevant annotations. Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 6.40.38 PM

2. Measure Results

With annotations in place, all you really have left is interpreting the data between and through these annotations. Figuring out what's really going on with your site and attributing that to a cause will continue the beautiful cycle of testing. Maybe you changed the color of a button, and suddenly navigation to the page referred from the button click drops off. This information is just enough to start back at square one and try a different approach.

3. Form Realistic Hypotheses

Sometimes it's hard to know what to test. As much as possible, let the data dictate what you test. Look for data drop-offs and low-engagement page elements. Rework huge eyesores, like walls of text and jarring readability roadblocks. Once you're in the regular practice of measuring results, you'll find yourself quickly collecting a pool of what to test and how to test it.

As a general rule, avoid forming hypotheses with "best practices." Your site users are your own, and they don't belong to A-list marketer/blogger Joe Schmo who wrote that post about always including purple unicorns in the footer. Nothing can inform what's best for your site like your data does.

4. Use only SIGNIFICANT DATA

"How long should we test this?" I dub this the question of the year, every year. My response: "Until the data is statistically significant enough to draw a conclusion."

Not everyone is a statistician. That's okay. Just make sure you've got one on hand to check your conclusions. Interpreting data is not necessarily easy, so it's best to leave any complicated analysis to the ones who can measure statistical significance.

5. Accept When You're Wrong

Hypotheses are going to be wrong. Many tests will show you that you didn't have it all figured out after all. Don't let this make you feel like a failure, or like you don't know your market well enough. There are too many factors outside of your control for you to always have a handle on how things should pan out. Being wrong in your assumption will ultimately land you on what does work. Let testing teach you about your audience. Relationships are hard!

We at Delegator know as well, if not better, than anyone else how difficult the entire testing process can be. We try our best to stick closely to these core principles and attitudes that we know will carry us through the frustrations, and, consequently, we land on many victories. Go ahead and make some adjustments. Approaching website improvements scientifically should alleviate some fears and uncertainty, and it's best to remember that your website can ALWAYS be improved, no matter how great you may think it is. Just ask the data.

3 Advanced Segments You've Probably Never Used

So, it's been a while since we last talked about Advanced Segments in Google Analytics. Over the past 18 months, Google has added even more value and depth to their Analytics offering, enough to easily overwhelm your average user. Advanced Segments allow you to quickly compare certain groups of visitors against one another, and these segments can also be combined with custom reports and filtering for even greater in-depth analysis. Here are three segments we highly recommend that you can quickly add (and tweak) to get even more out of Analytics.

1. Visitors who Abandoned a Goal

Conversion rates are the bread and butter of what keeps an e-commerce business ticking. Though it heavily depends on the industry, the average conversion rate for e-commerce sites is around 2-3%, at best. Having said that, wouldn't you love to have better insight on your site visitors who DON'T convert? Having an advanced segment for visitors who start but do NOT finish a goal is invaluable. As illustrated below, this segment will allow you to track these visitors and try to narrow down the reason(s) why they dropped out of the funnel. Download it here. (Must Be Logged Into Google Account)

Advanced Segment - Abandoned A Goal

2. Separate Segments for AdWords Text Ads, PLAs, Remarketing & Display

With the recent addition of enhanced campaigns, it's clear that Google is varying the ways it allows advertisers to reach their target audience. That being said, if you have a large account that uses more than just basic text ads it's crucial to be able to see how they contrast with one another. If your account has PLAs, Display ads and Remarketing ads, why not have an Advanced Segment for each? This way, you can divide that traffic out and see how each is performing across ALL of the reports in Google Analytics. If your naming conventions are in proper order, this can be easily done by using our Advanced Segment (download it here - Note:Must Be Logged Into Google Account) and modifying it by using a simple "Include Campaign Containing" for "Remarketing", "Display", and "PLAs". Create one advanced segment for each of those. Then, for the text ads, you simply set a filter to "Exclude Campaigns Containing" those same three, separated by "AND" statements. If your AdWords account doesn't have each of these broken out into their own campaigns then you should definitely knock that out first.

Advanced Segment - AdWords Breakdown

3. Using the Service Provider Report for B2B Lead Gen

My last advanced segment comes straight from the LunaMetrics blog. I feel that this report has the potential to deliver a lot of value for B2B lead generation, as well as marketing agencies. With this advanced segment a large majority of the "legitimate" Internet Service Providers are filtered out so that when you go to the Network report under Audience > Technology > Network, you then should be able to scroll through this list and pick out companies that are large enough to show as their own "service provider". Just to show the proof of concept, our Chattanooga neighbor Smart Furniture shows up on our list. Feel free to tinker around with this segment to try and see what more it might offer. Download it here(Must Be Logged Into Google Account)

Advanced Segment - B2B Lead Generation

Set Up Analytics Alerts During Product Listing Ad Transition

Since Google Shopping completely falls under the umbrella of paid search as of October, some retailers are on edge about smoothly making this transition with little to no loss of product listing shoppers. This is especially important going into the holiday season when shoppers are clicking the mess out of those pretty pictures on their Google SERPs. Now that these campaigns are becoming staples for positive PPC ROI, you’ll absolutely need to know whenever any anomalies occur. This is where custom alerts come in. Inside Google Analytics, you can set up a custom alert specifically for product listing ad campaigns and ad groups to monitor any online metrics on your site through these sources. To make sure your traffic isn’t dropping off, we recommend you set up an alert for any day when visitors from these sources significantly drop compared to the same day of the previous week. This way, you won’t have to lose days of revenue simply because you weren’t aware of a glitch that threw off or limited the eligibility of product ads.

Product Listing Ad Custom Alert

There are numerous other alerts you might want to set up for product ads, so think of what you’ll need to know in order to monitor this traffic and its conversions. For example, some product landing pages from these ads might have high bounce rates. You’ll be able to monitor these with alerts as well and begin looking into optimizing those particular pages. Take a few minutes to strategize and set up as many of these alerts preemptively as you can before you have to find out about an issue too late.

What The Wire Can Teach Us About SEM - Part 2 of 2

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

“All in the game, yo. All in the game.” - Omar Little

Omar Little - All in the Game, Yo

At the end of the day, SEO is a kind of game. It’s a very serious game with billions of dollars riding on it, sure, but it’s a game nonetheless. There are rules and strategies that work - that have been proven to work for years. Even when the rules change (aka Google gets a big idea), smart players simply work to familiarize themselves with and exploit the new playing field.

There will be bumps in the road (there may also be a few boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios and bags of cash dropped from on high), but dogged and intelligent pursuit of organic power using the rules that search engines created and SEOs have trail-blazed is a surefire route to success.

“I want my corners.” - Avon Barksdale

Stringer Bell believed in a new kind of game - the game beyond the game as he memorably put it - and he stopped believing in the importance of territory. It was a classic case of vision becoming unmoored from reality. Yes, in a perfect world Stringer’s strategy might have worked, but in the real world it was always going to be a flop. Owning the corners was a fundamental building block of the drug trade in Baltimore - you couldn’t divorce them from the rest of your strategy. The same idea can be applied to SEM; you’ll never get anywhere unless you execute on fundamentals. You’ve got to have your corners.

There are dozens of aspects of SEM that all contribute to a better organized and optimized web presence. There are a hundred ways to make your online presence more visible, more effective, and more profitable. But there are a few rock solid fundamentals that absolutely every SEM effort will fail without.

  • Content
    • Without it, you don’t exist to search engines.
  • Site Structure and Speed
    • Without it, you don’t exist to Google.
  • Analytics
    • Without it, you are flying completely blind.

Without those basic building blocks in place, nothing else you do is going to work the way it should, or the way you want it to. There is a game beyond the game, there surely is - but you’ve gotta have your corners.

“‘Failure to properly identify myself as a police officer.’ Sounds like what I was guilty of most of my career, actually.” - Detective Roland Pryzbylewski

Prez was not natural police. He got on the force because his father-in-law was a higher up in the department, he was unable to control his fear in the field, and he consistently failed to take his situation as seriously as he should. He just wasn’t a good cop - he wasn’t cut out for it.

But he was a fantastic teacher. After being drummed out of the force he ended up working in Baltimore public schools and making a real difference. It was a match for his skill set - it was his calling.

We see this happen a lot with e-commerce sites. They can get carried away chasing rankings and traffic for terms that aren’t their real strengths. If you’re a company that makes vacuum cleaners, then focus on selling vacuum cleaners! Don’t waste time and money trying to rank for other items that are insignificant in the larger scheme of things, and which are inferior products to your main offerings. Know thyself, and do what you do when you do what you do.

“A man got to have a code.” - Omar Little/Bunk Moreland

Perhaps the most quoted line from The Wire. It expresses the moral center of the entire show - that a man must have a personal code of conduct that transcends the law, and any traditional or makeshift authority or set of rules. It’s an acknowledgement from Omar that there is indeed a “game beyond the game” - but it’s not about what Stringer thought it was. It’s about integrity.

We would argue that’s the primary value of an SEO company as well.

At Delegator we don’t do black hat SEO - while it may pay off in short term results, we know it’s a losing strategy in the long game and a threat to the businesses of our clients.

We track and keep our clients apprised of their organic and PPC results at all times - good or bad. That keeps us accountable.

We assign an account manger for each client so that communication never breaks down, and there’s always someone looking out for your best interests with skin in the game.

We believe in comprehensive packages that keep us flexible, rather than monthly draws on your bank account for services you might not need anymore or that may have become less important to your business.

It’s all in the game, yo. All in the game.

Riding the New Google Analytics Features Roll-Out

With great patience, we’ve all been waiting for Google Analytics to roll out new features on its swanky, contemporary interface. As the resident analyst here at Delegator, I admit I was wary of the new Analytics when it first appeared this past fall. I compulsively clicked  the “Old Version” option in the top navigation bar upon logging in for a couple of weeks, but I gradually (begrudgingly) trained my eye to the new look and feel. And as any good love story goes, distaste slowly transforms into bedazzlement for my new GA beau as each refined feature appears. New Feature Improves Productivity

The first thing that stood out to me on the new interface was how much more user-friendly it is than the old version, which meant it didn’t appear to be quite as analyst-friendly as I desired. It was easier to find the quick hit metrics, but I didn’t initially see how the layout was as conducive to cross-metric analysis. As each new feature is released, however, I find my worries falling away one-by-one. There are a couple of highlights worth noting already, and they haven't even rolled out the custom reporting PDF or email features yet (hint hint)!

1. Multi-Channel Funnels

Most notably, the multi-channel funnel feature has improved my traffic sources-conversion analysis beyond compare. I’ve singularly used this tool to optimize a small AdWords account within the past month, which resulted in truly staggering ROI results. For companies with fewer conversions, having this ability to optimize for assisted conversions adds a level of unprecedented refinement to data analysis that I didn't even think to request.

2. Converting Standard Reports Into Custom Reports

I'm trying not to go too crazy on this one. When I saw the "Customize" option in one of the Standard Reports tabs, I gasped thinking of the endless reports I could build from these standard platforms. However, I do urge caution on this frontier. Building custom reports from scratch may be a pain, but they remain my most valuable reports. I can imagine this customize feature being incredibly useful in instances where you really do just need to add one or two more metric columns to a standard report, but I don't think it should supplement the careful planning that typically goes into a custom report. Customize wisely, my analytical brothers and sisters.

Much to my delight, the new Analytics interface is beautiful and fast. With fresh new buttons, streamlined categorization, and new dashboard building options, it seems Google is finding that sweet spot where Analytics will please both the average user and the analytics guru alike.

The Top Ten Ways to Optimize Your Wordpress Blog and Make It More Powerful than Ever - Part II

Welcome back campers to the exciting conclusion of our two part mini-series on juicing up your Wordpress blog. Hopefully you've had enough time to lay the groundwork with our last round of suggestions - now it's time to blow the roof off. Enjoy!

6. SEO Packs

Okay, most of the things on this list are good for any blog anywhere. But Wordpress has a few major advantages when it comes to SEO. One of the best is the All In One SEO Pack, a nifty plug-in that allows you to create meta data at the same time you write and post your blog entry (and you don’t have to mess with code at all). There’s a whole world of great plug-ins at Wordpress - take the time to dig through them and find the ones that are the best for you. (Hint: The ones that are the best for you are the ones that make running the blog easier and more efficient!).

7. Posting Regularity

Self-explanatory, but here we go for the back of the class - if you don’t post with regularity your readers will not keep coming back to see what you have to say. Even if no one is commenting, no one seems to be reading and you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, post with regularity! It’s vital to your success. New folks won’t want to read through a blog started in 2010 that has four posts.

8. Posting Volume

Regularity is the most important thing, but volume is essential as well. Once a month is fine if that’s the best you can do, but the most successful and popular blogs post daily - usually many times a day. Do your best to write as much as you can. Remember, it’s okay to be a little bit unfiltered, or even occasionally wrong on a point of fact - your community will correct you, and a blog is a living document. You can always correct the record.

9. Comments

We’ve touched on comments earlier in the post, but they’re so, so important to your success. Allow them, and read them, and post and promote them if they’re worthy. When you listen to your readers they tend to listen to you, stay engaged, and keep your blog on their roster of daily reading. Yes, sometimes comments can get annoying. But they're an excellent way to engage.

10. Blog to Blog Partnerships

This is a fun and productive way of keeping up your volume and regularity, gain access to new and larger communities of readers, and of course make friends. When you can have online conversations with other blogs, go back and forth and mix and mingle your content, you spread your message. Go forth and befriend.

And now, go forth and conquer. Huzzah!

The Top Ten Ways to Optimize Your Wordpress Blog and Make It More Powerful Than Ever - Part I

1. Top Ten Lists

You see what we did there? Top ten lists are enduringly popular. They present a lot of information in quick, easy to read bits, they give the reader a reason to keep reading, they show off expertise and a depth of knowledge, and they create arguments. And that’s what blogging is all about. Not many people know this, but the Ten Commandments are considered to be the very first blog post.

2. Infographics

In an increasingly visual society infographics are a fantastic way to draw the eye, impart information, and get your blog linked. A lot. Make it good, make it useful, make it colorful (literally and figuratively) and put it out there to get noticed.

3. Keyword-Rich, Compelling, Unique Headlines

This is an SEO recommendation combined with an interest-grabbing tactic. Most people read blogs in compressions (think Google Reader, RSS, etc.) and the headline is often the only chance you have to get them to read what you wrote. Moreover, headlines are a great way to get the attention of the google-bots crawling the internet looking for relevant, useful content. Make your headlines attention grabbers, but also fill them with keywords. For instance, “Optimize Wordpress Blog.” See what we did there?

4. Unique Content

For SEO purposes this is absolutely essential. Never take content from another source and present it as your own (unless you’re quoting), and don’t repeat yourself. The bots don’t like it. And you won’t like the bots when they’re angry. Besides, who wants to spend their time reading an un-orginal blog?

5. Reader Participation

Blogs need communities of readers to really thrive. And the best way to build that community is to engage with them. That doesn’t just mean good content, headlines and graphics. That means literally inviting them in, listening to their thoughts and airing their opinions. Keep and cultivate a vibrant comments section (don’t let it get abusive), post reader polls, ask questions, and post worthy thoughts on your main pages as blogs. Involve your readers and they’ll keep you in their life.

Check back in with us in the next few weeks, when we'll reveal the rest of the top 10 list. We want to give you some time to start working on the first five. See you then!

Top 5 Custom Advanced Segments for E-commerce Websites

The “Advanced Segments” feature on Google Analytics has been helping companies optimize website analysis for a few years now, and gurus across the globe have designed their favorite custom segments for all brands of websites. We have a few favorites of our own around here at Delegator, especially for our e-commerce clients. If you are looking for more useful, streamlined filters on your own e-commerce account, here are five custom segments we highly recommend.

1. Visits with Add to CartE-commerce Advanced Segments

Google Analytics has a default segment called "Visits with Transactions." Convenient, right? What we discovered is that we not only love having shoppers roll up to the conveyor belt and checkout, but we also want to know who may have added items to her cart but failed to commit to a full-on transaction. Filtered metrics like these can often give you superior insight, both for debugging purposes and, particularly, for content analysis.

2. Specific Product Purchases

One simple fact of e-commerce is that some items generate higher transaction rates than others. You know your company's hottest items. Customizing this filter will take your product analysis beyond the scope of e-commerce’s “Product Performance.” Now you can dig into AdWords under Traffic Sources and identify the types of keywords that commonly lead to a particular item transaction. This same method can be applied to specific product views, as well, revealing similar data on a wider scope.

3. High Revenue Products

Not only do some items produce higher conversion rates, but some produce higher revenue than others. You need to isolate these items for many purposes, including --but definitely not limited to-- identifying potential revenue skews and improving marketing on these items. These high-dollar products are what you’re banking on, so go ahead and give them their own special segment.

4. Low Revenue Products

This segment is as useful as number 3. Ever wonder how many of your conversions are being sucked up by low-revenue items on your website? Set a low ceiling price in this segment and check out how many viewers are only buying your cheapest products. If this number is high, you may consider redirecting your marketing campaign to a wider audience with more promising high-revenue returns. Additionally, you may reconsider the prominence of low-revenue items on your site in order to draw more attention to higher quality products.

5. Social Networks

While we know that most popular social media sites receive a lot of traffic in general, you ultimately need to know how this is reflected in profit for your business. Is your time spent on social media worth the investment? With a social media filter, you can include any or all social mediums utilized. You may find that some networks are more profitable than others, and some, not at all. Social networks guarantee exposure, but as any good business does, you need to check your actual return on investment.

Thanks to Google Analytics, customizing your own advanced segments is a simple process with great returns. Give these five segments a try, and you may find yourself designing even more streamlined segments that fit your business perfectly. If this does happen, feel free to drop by and share!