Portent http://www.1shishuo.com Digital Marketing Agency - Seattle, WA Tue, 11 Feb 2020 22:56:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 http://www.1shishuo.com/images/2018/11/favicon.png Portent http://www.1shishuo.com 32 32 How to Build a Media List for Content Promotion http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/internet-marketing/how-to-build-a-media-list-for-content-promotion.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/internet-marketing/how-to-build-a-media-list-for-content-promotion.htm#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2020 15:00:39 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52263 More than 4.4 million blog posts are published online every day, and more than 500 hours of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute. Competition is high for online content, and with so much of it produced each day, it’s easy for your content to get lost. It’s like you’ve created the perfect taco, […]

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                More than 4.4 million blog posts are published online every day, and more than 500 hours of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute. Competition is high for online content, and with so much of it produced each day, it’s easy for your content to get lost. It’s like you’ve created the perfect taco, but no one can find your taco stand. Even if you create the most amazing content, people may not find it—unless they have a little bit of help.

                Promoting your content can help you get it seen, so it can generate valuable backlinks and increase brand awareness. And to properly distribute your content, you’ll need to create media lists.

                Why Do I Need Media Lists?

                Media lists are an extremely important part of content promotion. Your street tacos may smell good, but even that ultimate taco stand needs Uncle George on the street corner, wearing a giant taco costume and waving a big sign that points hungry folks to your stand, right? Media lists contain contact information for journalists, reporters, editors, bloggers, and other online writers. Their purpose is to get your content in front of people—the right people—who will share it on their websites and link back to you.

                Your media lists should be targeted and specific. You’re trying to reach people who will share and link to your content, and they’ll only do that if your content is relevant to them in some way. Media lists should always target relevant contacts. When they do, you have a greater chance of getting coverage and links. Furthermore, the coverage will be relevant to your website and help you build more authority and credibility in your industry.

                How to Build Your Media Lists

                Follow the steps below to build targeted media lists for your content, and get you the links and coverage you deserve!

                Figure Out Which Verticals to Target

                The first thing you should do is look at your piece and decide which verticals it fits with. Start by asking yourself, “what audience(s) will be interested in this piece?” Make a list of these verticals. Keep in mind that each vertical you choose should be relevant to your piece in some way, even if it’s only tangentially relevant. When you’re trying to sell tacos, you want to target people who are hungry and like tacos. If someone is walking by your stand with a burger in their hand, it will be harder to convince them to buy your tacos, so it’s better to focus your efforts where they’ll be effective.

                Common verticals to think about are:

                • Technology
                • Finance
                • Travel
                • Health and Wellness
                • Business
                • Lifestyle
                • Fashion
                • Sports
                • Parenting
                • General News

                Create a Separate Media List for Each Target Vertical

                Instead of lumping all of your contacts into one giant media list, it’s best to separate them. To stay organized, create a media list for each vertical you’ll be targeting. Since each vertical has a separate focus and needs its own email pitch, this will help you send the right pitch to the right vertical. The best ways to build media lists are in spreadsheets or a digital PR platform like Buzzstream. Both of these allow you to keep multiple media lists in one place, add to them continually, and filter or sort them quickly.

                Spreadsheets

                If you’re going to use a spreadsheet for your media lists, create a workbook for each campaign. Within each workbook, you should have a sheet/tab for every target vertical. The columns in each sheet should include (at the bare minimum):

                • Website Name
                • Website Domain
                • First Name of Contact (you’ll want this when it’s time to send email pitches)
                • Last Name of Contact (you’ll want to tell all the Lisa’s apart from each other)
                • Email Address
                • Notes (another thing that will come in handy for email pitches)

                Additional columns you may choose to include:

                • Writer vertical
                • Job title (assignment editor, reporter, site owner, etc.)
                • Location (country, state, city)
                • Relevant content (an article they’ve written or covered that is relative to your piece of content)

                screenshot of an example of a media contact list in a spreadsheet

                Buzzstream

                Like a spreadsheet, Buzzstream has columns for each field of information above. It also gives you the option to create your own field to help you filter your contacts, like location, vertical, etc. Buzzstream also has different “views” where you can toggle between looking at websites or individual people.

                screenshot of an example of a media contact list in Buzzstream

                Unlike a spreadsheet, it has a browser plugin that allows you to add contact information and notes directly from any webpage. It also allows users to easily upload contact information from a spreadsheet and keep multiple media lists in one place. Buzzstream also doubles as a platform to manage all of your pitches and email communications.

                However you decide to organize your media lists, keep them separated by vertical, and make them easy to filter through so you can use them effectively.

                How to Find Relevant Websites and Contacts

                You need to find people hungry for your content. Even if Uncle George was willing to put on that costume and get some attention, you need to find the people that want your kind of content. There’s not one single way nor tool you should use to find relevant media contacts. Rather, there are multiple ways to search for them and various tools that can assist you. Here are some of the best tools and methods for finding websites and contacts you can add to your media lists.

                Google Search

                Search the name of the vertical in Google to find which sites write about topics in that vertical. Try out multiple queries and experiment with advanced searches. Don’t stop at the results on the first page for each search query—keep going. You might even reach the 10th, 30th, or 50th page of search results.

                Example search queries:

                • [keyword/vertical] writer
                • inurl:[keyword/vertical]
                • “[keyword/vertical] news”

                Google Alerts

                Set Google alerts for keywords related to your piece. You’ll get email notifications that show you who is writing about those keywords and what websites have content related to them.

                Check Backlinks to Similar Content

                Find a piece of content that’s similar to the one you’re promoting, but on another website. Check the backlinks of the URL of the content piece to see who covered and linked to it—they may cover it again, especially if your content is new and updated. You can check for backlinks by using tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs.

                Cision

                Cision is a PR platform that has tons of media contacts. It allows you to search for media contacts and websites by vertical, job role, location, and many other parameters. Cision will return tens, hundreds, or even thousands of websites or contacts based on your search criteria and export the list as a spreadsheet.

                How to Find Emails for Your Contacts

                There are a variety of tools out there that can help make finding email addresses for your media contacts a piece of cake.

                Search the website

                Take a look around the website. See if they have a “contact” item in the navigation. If they don’t, see if they have an “about” tab. You may need to scroll to the very bottom of the page to find a better view of the menu options.

                Hunter.io

                Hunter.io scrapes websites to find email addresses. All you need to do is search the URL of a website, and it will return all of the email addresses associated with the website. It also has a browser plugin that will show you the email addresses of whichever site you’re on.

                Google search

                Search the name of the editor/reporter/writer in Google and see what comes up.

                Cision

                As mentioned before, Cision gives you the option to search the name of a media contact. You can just search the name of a reporter, editor, blogger, etc. and if they’re in Cision, it will bring up their profile with any contact information.

                RocketReach

                RocketReach is similar to Cision—you can search a name, vertical, or even the LinkedIn URL of someone, and it will give you contact information for a website or person.

                Skrapp.io

                Skrapp.io will find emails for you, like Hunter.io, if you search the first and last name and the website or company name of that person. It also has a browser plugin to make things quicker and more convenient.

                What to Do with Your Media Lists

                The best media list does nothing if you don’t use it the right way. Here’s how you can get the best results from your media lists.

                Write the Best Email Pitch

                Write an email pitch that’s tailored to each vertical. You’re trying to convince your media list contacts to write about and link to your content, so you need to show them that it’s relevant to their site and that their readers will be interested in it.

                Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

                This is where you’ll need to know the first name of each contact, and you’ll use any notes you’ve taken on them. Address each contact by name and send a pitch that is relevant to them. You may even want to mention one of their articles that you enjoyed reading.

                Re-Outreach

                If you’ve already promoted a piece of content, it doesn’t mean you’re done with that piece forever. A few months down the road, you may want to try promoting that same piece again. Find more media contacts and create or update your media lists, then write new pitches and send out those personalized emails!

                Update Frequently

                Be diligent in updating your media lists. It’s a good idea to go over them before you launch each new campaign, or at least every few months. There can be high turnover at online publications, and it’s common for editors and journalists to move around between publications, so you’ll want to make sure you know where each of them is working and what verticals and topics they’re currently covering.

                When editors and journalists do move to another publication, many of them will have an auto-response email set up letting you know what their new role is and how to reach them. Remove them from your list or change their information accordingly whenever you receive such an email.

                If you’re updating your lists and you aren’t sure if an email address is still working or valid, use MailTester to check it out. Just enter the email address you want to test, and it will let you know whether or not it’s functional.

                Get Promoting!

                Now that you know how to build media lists, it’s time to get to work! Building media lists can take time, so it’s a good idea to start now. Your media lists can be reused over and over again, so take care to find the most relevant contacts and keep their information updated. Your efforts will not be in vain, as building these lists will help you get links on links on links. And have everyone rushing to check out your taco stand.

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                Podcast Advertising: The Pros and Cons of Geo-Targeting http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/internet-marketing/podcast-advertising-the-pros-and-cons-of-geo-targeting.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/internet-marketing/podcast-advertising-the-pros-and-cons-of-geo-targeting.htm#respond Thu, 06 Feb 2020 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52227 Thanks to mobile devices and major streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, podcast creators now have a rather holistic breakdown of their listeners – including their geographical location. And while the podcasting industry is still deciphering and fine-tuning their internal targeting capabilities, podcasting networks have started partnering with third-party data providers to reach even […]

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                Thanks to mobile devices and major streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, podcast creators now have a rather holistic breakdown of their listeners – including their geographical location. And while the podcasting industry is still deciphering and fine-tuning their internal targeting capabilities, podcasting networks have started partnering with third-party data providers to reach even more specific audiences; right down to those that reside in a given zip code.

                In this blog post, we’ll share everything we currently know about geo-targeting through podcasts, in hopes of helping you decide if this is right for you and your brand.

                What is Geo-Targeting?

                Geo-targeting enables brands to target consumers based on their geographic location. This means that a company can target-and customize-their marketing efforts to an audience based on their country, state, metro area, and zip code.

                While location-based targeting isn’t a novel idea, the practice in relation to podcast advertising is not yet very well understood. Additionally, the nature of how podcasts are consumed creates some potential limitations of geo-targeting. Unlike a typical ad, podcast ads are not always served in real-time. Listeners can download a podcast on the go and listen to it at a different time and in an entirely new location – which may cause podcast geo-targeting to be a little skewed. Despite this, geo-targeting podcast ad placement is still on the rise, with brands taking advantage of the opportunity to customize a campaign for a very specific audience based on where they live.

                Geo-Targeting Ad Placement Formats

                In our blog post on podcast advertising formats, we explained the difference between the two types of ad placement formats: baked-in and dynamic. If you’d like to experiment with both ad placements for your geo-targeting campaign, here’s what we recommend:

                • Baked-in – work with hosts that have a strong local following (think of your local radio station or a well-known sports team).
                • Dynamic – work with podcast networks that have geo-targeting capabilities.

                Keep in mind, finding podcasts that cater to a local demographic takes some work. If you’re short on time or don’t have the capacity to research local podcasts, dynamic ad placement with podcast networks is the next best thing. And while your ad may not get the host-read endorsement of a baked-in ad, podcast networks allow you to distribute your message to a much larger audience, without the vetting hassle.

                Maximizing Your Geo-Targeting Reach

                As mentioned above, working with hosts that have a strong local following can be incredibly time-consuming. To identify podcasts that are a good fit for your ad, you may be required to do a lot of manual vetting and outreach. And even once you’ve done all of that leg work, there’s no guarantee that their audience size will be substantial enough for a campaign.

                If geo-targeting is your primary campaign objective, consider working with podcast networks to maximize your reach. Based on our research and experience, here are the networks that we’d recommend:

                Depending on which network you choose and what other campaign objectives you’d like to target, here are some of the other targeting parameters in addition to geographic location that those networks can offer:

                • Age
                • Gender
                • Income
                • Education
                • Marital status
                • Interest (e.g., business, history, science, sports, true crime, etc.)

                But keep in mind, the more targeting parameters you choose to include in your campaign, the smaller your reach will be. And smaller targeting pools often lead to a higher ad spend.

                Is Geo-Targeting Right For You?

                If you’re not quite sure if geo-targeting should be your primary campaign objective, consider the following geo-targeting pros and cons:

                The Pros of Geo-Targeting with Podcasts

                • Grows local presence
                • Drives traffic to brick and mortar stores
                • Great for brands that are impacted by seasonality
                • Creates hyper-targeted audience segments

                The Cons of Geo-Targeting with Podcasts

                • Hyper-targeting audience segments tend to be more expensive
                • Baked-in ad options are limited
                • Host-read endorsements are more rare
                • Podcast networks are still figuring out how it’s done

                In Conclusion

                If you think that podcast geo-targeting might be the next step in your advertising strategy, working with a podcast network may be a worthy investment to reach a new audience. With the help of podcast networks, advertisers are able to geo-target podcast listeners at scale. And while the ad read may not always result in an organic host endorsement, podcast networks allow you to test different audience segments and learn whom your brand resonates with the most.

                And again, geo-targeting for podcast advertising is still gaining momentum; we’ll continue to watch how podcast networks can leverage geo-targeting to maximize the success of advertising campaigns.

                Still trying to decide if podcast advertising is right for you? Check out our Digital Marketer’s Guide to Podcast Advertising for more information.

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                How to Optimize for Google’s Position Zero http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/seo/how-to-optimize-for-googles-position-zero.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/seo/how-to-optimize-for-googles-position-zero.htm#respond Tue, 04 Feb 2020 17:10:43 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52269 Early on, Google was so confident in their ability to answer our queries that they added a button that said “I’m Feeling Lucky” to their homepage. The button skipped the search results page entirely and took us to the first organic result. Google still has the button on their homepage, and they’re still confident they […]

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                Early on, Google was so confident in their ability to answer our queries that they added a button that said “I’m Feeling Lucky” to their homepage. The button skipped the search results page entirely and took us to the first organic result.

                Google still has the button on their homepage, and they’re still confident they can immediately deliver an answer. Only now they think they don’t need to take us to another page at all. The trend over the last few years has been to put the answer to our questions directly in the search results page in “position zero.”

                What Is Position Zero?

                The search results that come after ads and before the classic ten blue links are what we’re calling “position zero.” Google’s aim with these results is to provide an answer to the user’s query directly in the SERP, without them needing to click on anything.

                Since users don’t need to click on a result to get an answer, position zero results are also pretty important to Google Assistant, their replacement for Google Voice Search.

                What Occupies Position Zero?

                There are three main types of search results that occupy position zero: featured snippets, Knowledge Graph cards, and answer boxes.

                Featured snippets are excerpts of text taken from a page ranking in the first ten basic search results. They come in three flavors: paragraph, list, and table. Google chooses the text excerpt it thinks is most likely to answer the user’s query.

                Screenshot of Google's featured snippet for how to season cast iron

                Google’s Knowledge Graph is a database of facts and relationships about entities Google extracts from content on the web. Knowledge Graph results are the bits of information Google thinks will directly answer the query. You will often see these in position zero when you search for things like “when was the great Seattle fire?”

                Screenshot of Google Knowledge Graph result for the query "when was the great Seattle fire"

                The position zero that brands are mostly concerned with are Google’s answer box results. These are the app-like widgets that come in a variety of flavors. There are answer boxes for weather, song lyrics, definitions, hotel booking, job listings, stock prices, calculators, sports league standings, time zone clocks, and many more.

                The content for these widgets either comes from Google themselves, like flight schedules and calculators, or Google finds a reliable source of information like with definitions and song lyrics. Other answer boxes are sourced from multiple websites using rich data markup, such as job listings. There are even ad-driven answer boxes like Google Flights and Hotels Search.

                Screenshot of Google's answer box for what time it is in New Delhi

                The Zero-Click Crisis

                Featured snippets and answer boxes are great for users. They offer immediate information on mobile, desktop, voice search, and Google Assistant queries. However, publishers are worried that Google is sending fewer users down the SERP when the answer is available above the fold. And they’re right! 2019 was the first year where less than half of searches resulted in a click.

                Screenshot of a pie chart that breaks down Google searches in 2019 as 4.42% searches with ad clicks, 45.25% searches with organic clicks, and 50.33% zero-click searches
                Image courtesy of SparkToro

                I have a client in one of the spaces heavily affected by Google’s position zero results, and they are hurting. Their traffic is down year-over-year for two years in a row. Their rankings are fine, their site speed is pretty good, and their impressions in Google Search Console are up a little year over year. The problem is their click-through rate on desktop and mobile is in a gradual slide downward from fewer clicks.

                Screenshot of a graph showing a gradual click-through rate decrease from September 2018 through December 2019

                As I dig into their traffic and look for an alternative explanation, I can’t find one. When I look at their STAT account, I see their share of voice for answer boxes continues to move upward while featured snippets decline. They are still answering the questions their users are looking for, but Google is now making them available without having to click through to their site.

                How to Deal With Zero-Click Getting Worse

                The situation isn’t going to get better for most verticals. In fact, we should expect it to get worse. As Google improves its Knowledge Graph and develops more widgets to place in position zero, more industries are going to have year-over-year decreases in available organic traffic from Google.

                What’s even more unfortunate, there isn’t anything we can do to reverse this trend. Google has a dominating share of the search engine market, and users aren’t switching. All hope is not lost, however. Below are some ways to work around Google’s position zero results and even take advantage of the search features.

                Offer Deeper Content

                If users are getting the answer to their query directly in the SERP, why are they still clicking on search results? Google’s answer boxes aren’t stealing all of our clicks, just the clicks from users who are least likely to spend time on our pages.

                If a user gets the basic answer from Google and then clicks on an organic result, they want more information. Our job as SEOs is to determine what that next bit of information is and deliver it to them.

                Publishers that make money by serving ads definitely need more in-depth content when zero-click searches are increasing. If we can increase our average pages per session from 1.25 to 1.5, that could mean a potential increase of 20% in ad revenue.

                If you’re in the song lyrics or dictionary space, the information the user wants could be closely related, like the meaning of the lyrics or how to use the word in a sentence. For instance, I use Google’s answer box when I want just the lyrics, but I’ll go to Genius or Song Meanings if I want to know what the popular interpretation of the song is.

                Optimize for More Profitable Keywords

                Not every keyword has the answer to the query directly in the search results. If you’re finding that Google’s answer boxes are siphoning off too many clicks, then maybe it’s time to look for new territory.

                Get your favorite SEO toolset and begin researching keywords based on SERP features. Ahrefs will allow you to exclude keywords where the SERP has answer boxes, but they call the feature a “Knowledge card.”

                Screenshot showing how to apply a knowledge card filter in Ahrefs

                SEMRush has a similar filter in their Keyword Magic Tool, but you’ll need to exclude “Instant Answers” and include the rest:

                Screenshot showing how to filter instant answer features in SEMRush keyword magic tool

                Many of the keywords you’ll find this way will have a featured snippet instead of an answer box, but at least you’ll have the possibility of capturing the snippet. And, don’t forget the value in researching keywords the old fashioned way: human analysis of SERPs.

                Capture the Featured Snippet

                The best search feature you should target to take advantage of position zero is the featured snippet. Optimizing for featured snippets is just like on-page SEO, only at a smaller scale. As the first and most prominent organic result in the SERP, it’s also likely to get the best click-through rate. It’s pretty much a super snippet.

                I’ve had clients express fears about featured snippets increasing the zero-click rate of Google’s search results and conclude they aren’t worth capturing. I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. Roughly 23% of all search result pages include a featured snippet, so they’re kind of hard to avoid. And then, if an important keyword has a featured snippet, would we rather have our competitor occupy it instead of us? It’s still valuable real estate.

                Google just recently started to “deduplicate” featured snippet source pages. This makes having a featured snippet a little less valuable than before because the source page isn’t also collecting clicks, but having the first organic result on the page is still better than anything lower on the page.

                Don’t Count on Knowledge Graph or Answer Box Attribution

                While featured snippets generate traffic for the source page with a big attribution link, sources of Knowledge Graph and answer box results don’t get very good attribution.

                Google sources the data in its Knowledge Graph from a variety of sources and doesn’t always say where they sourced the fact from. Their justification for this could be that many facts are “common knowledge” and don’t need attribution.

                Screenshot showing Google's Knowledge Graph answer to the query "how tall is smith tower" showing no data source

                Knowledge Graph results without attribution are generally not something you should spend time strategizing around. Google has pretty firm ownership of this space in the SERP.

                Some answer boxes have source attribution, but it’s often a small link below the box. Weather boxes link to The Weather Channel, song lyrics are sourced from LyricsFind, movie reviews link back to sites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, and there are many more. These aren’t great targets for getting the attribution link, though. Google tends to pick one or two big players in the space for the answer box and changes them infrequently.

                Screenshot of a Google answer box for song lyrics, with a blue arrow pointing to the source attribution LyricFind

                The Featured Snippet That Is Also the Knowledge Graph

                There is a featured snippet variant that lives in the Knowledge Panel on the side of desktop SERPs and in position zero on mobile. The text part works like a regular featured snippet, but it’s embedded in a Knowledge Graph panel with image search results above and links to SERPs for related topics below.

                Screenshot of the Google SERP for a query about YouTube ads that embeds featured snippet text within a Knowledge Graph panel with image search results and related topic links

                In this Twitter thread, Danny Sullivan said the sidebar knowledge panel results are going to be moving to position zero on desktop results, so it will be a position zero search result on desktop and mobile pretty soon.

                I mostly see Wikipedia used as the source for these featured snippets, but not every industry is like that. I found that digital marketing topics rarely use Wikipedia, such as the screenshot above. If your industry is like mine and this featured snippet variant isn’t dominated by Wikipedia, then these featured snippets might be the easiest Knowledge Graph feature to get link attribution from.

                It’s not yet clear how Google chooses the source for these featured snippets, but there will be a lot of scrutiny after they move into position zero.

                Position Zero Will Continue to Change

                It’s reasonable to expect Google to continue expanding their position zero results. Users like them, and they keep coming back to Google for future searches. This is exactly what Google wants in a search product to serve ads on.

                We should also expect Google to get more sophisticated. Every year they announce a new advance in natural language processing, and they’re a little closer to writing their own featured snippets. It won’t be long until they won’t need organic links at all. But until that time comes, these methods can help you work around the zero-click crisis and keep your organic traffic afloat.

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                Don’t Get Lost in the Numbers: Effectively Report on PPC Performance http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/ppc/dont-get-lost-in-the-numbers-effectively-report-on-ppc-performance.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/ppc/dont-get-lost-in-the-numbers-effectively-report-on-ppc-performance.htm#respond Thu, 30 Jan 2020 15:00:16 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52208 Reporting on paid search performance is the single most impactful element of a PPC engagement between agency and client, even more so than performance. If you’re driving great results from your paid search campaigns and blowing past your client’s goals, what good is it if you can’t effectively communicate that fact or prove it through […]

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                Reporting on paid search performance is the single most impactful element of a PPC engagement between agency and client, even more so than performance. If you’re driving great results from your paid search campaigns and blowing past your client’s goals, what good is it if you can’t effectively communicate that fact or prove it through reliable reporting? Likewise, if you have a few months of poor performance, maintaining a good working relationship through quality reporting that provides insights and recommendations may be the thing that salvages it. It is vital that you report effectively.

                Common Mistakes That Make for Ineffective PPC Reports

                I’ve been working in paid search accounts for nearly ten years. I’ve seen—and made my fair share of—mistakes when it comes to reporting and communicating performance with clients. The following are some all-too-common practices that have destroyed engagements that need to stop happening in our industry.

                Exporting a Spreadsheet and Sending it to the Client Without Any Edits

                Seriously, an exported .csv file from Google Ads IS NOT A REPORT. The only time you should ever send an unedited export directly to the client is if they’re a data-savvy practitioner themselves and specifically ask for one.

                Reporting on Too Many Data Points

                Ever seen a graph like this?

                Screenshot of a report with 10 campaigns represented by 10 different colored lines all on the same graph

                Can you tell at a glance what’s going on here? Neither can I. And neither can your client. Don’t do this.

                Focusing on Data Points Irrelevant to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

                If your client’s goals center on revenue, your KPIs for your paid search campaigns are probably metrics like average cost per conversion, conversion rate, or return on ad spend. Your reporting should highlight these metrics and focus on them. Don’t waste time highlighting metrics like impression volume or click-through rate; if they didn’t substantially contribute to their revenue goals, they’re not going to care.

                Providing No Analysis, Insight, or Context With Trends or Visuals

                If your reports are just some metrics highlighted on a page, your client’s response every time will be just a slew of questions: “So what?” “Is this good?” “What happened?” “What optimizations have you made?” “What’s working?” “What needs to change?” and so forth. Don’t send reports that create more questions than they answer.

                Elements of Effective PPC Reports

                An effective PPC report should clearly communicate the answers to questions clients will inevitably have with any regular update. They should also do so in a way that someone “not in the room” when you’re giving your overview would be able to quickly review and clearly receive the message you want to send them. After all, your relationship with your client is directly impacted by the story around your work and performance.

                One analogy you could make is with the “blank sheet of paper test” digital marketing strategists use when analyzing content on a webpage. If all a user could see was a brief headline on a blank sheet of paper, would that person know what to expect from the rest of the content on that page? That same philosophy should apply to PPC reports: if someone were to skim through your report quickly, would they be able to ascertain the narrative you want to convey to them?

                In order to do this, your PPC reports need to do four things:

                1. Primarily focus on a limited set of KPIs tied directly to goals and conversions
                2. Demonstrate trends visually
                3. Provide context and valuable insight (analysis)
                4. Keep granular details (e.g., keyword-level data) secondary to the focus on KPIs

                Goals

                Primary KPIs must correlate with the primary goal of your client’s paid search campaigns. For example, if their goal is to drive revenue at a certain threshold, then your main KPIs should probably be revenue and return on ad spend (ROAS). Furthermore, your KPIs should be limited to a small set of metrics (between one and three). You don’t want to have the client try and focus on too many metrics and create confusion.

                Visuals

                Visually demonstrating trends helps ensure the story you’re trying to tell gets through to the client. It’s one thing to write out what happened last month and why in paragraph form. It’s another thing to see your set of KPIs demonstrated in an easy-to-read graph than illustrates the story you want to tell at a short glance. Having clear visuals with contextual utility that emphasize your KPIs and analysis helps minimize confusion, as well as the chance of your client walking away with another interpretation of the data you’re presenting.

                Analysis

                Context and insight—proper analysis—are vital as they answer key questions your client will always have, which must be routinely addressed:

                • What’s happening?
                • Why is it happening?
                • Is this good or bad? Why?
                • Where do we go from here?

                On top of KPIs and visuals, giving clear answers to these four questions in a concise written format will help ensure your client has minimal follow-up questions.

                Secondary Details

                Granular details and metrics can be helpful to a fellow PPC strategist or tactician, but shouldn’t be the primary focus of a PPC report (unless it’s a one-off request specific to a particular ask). Once you’ve finished highlighting the three key elements above for overall performance—which is what will apply to all stakeholders who may reference your report—then feel free to add secondary pages to your report which cover other details such as campaign-level data, keyword-level data, ad copy analysis, etc.

                Here’s an example of the reporting we do at Portent. We use Google Data Studio to implement these four contextual elements in all of our client-facing reports:

                Screenshot of a GDS report on campaign results across all digital channels, including goals, visuals, analysis, and secondary details

                Screenshot of a GDS report on organic landing page results across all digital channels, including goals, visuals, analysis, and secondary details

                In Conclusion

                Effective reporting that is easy to understand and that supports your client’s primary goals is a key component of a successful PPC campaign. To make sure you are maximizing your ability to engage your clients with PPC metrics, take a look at the reports you’re delivering now and consider the following:

                1. Are you missing any of the key elements outlined above?
                2. What do you need to adjust to ensure you’re giving yourself every chance to make your client engagements successful and profitable to both parties?
                3. Make sure you’re avoiding common mistakes that may damage your relationship with clients and include these four elements in your paid search reports.

                Keeping these things in mind will set you on the right path to a successful working relationship with your clients, built on efficient and reliable reporting.

                The post Don’t Get Lost in the Numbers: Effectively Report on PPC Performance appeared first on Portent.

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                Adding Contextual Utility to Reports Without Writing a Novel http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/analytics/adding-contextual-utility-to-reports-without-writing-a-novel.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/analytics/adding-contextual-utility-to-reports-without-writing-a-novel.htm#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52100 Reporting can be a chore. Even with all the data automation in the world, to frame our results, we feel the need to write an executive summary and hope we touch on the why behind all the painstakingly-created charts and graphs. But sometimes, we might not be able to boil down the proper context for […]

                The post Adding Contextual Utility to Reports Without Writing a Novel appeared first on Portent.

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                Reporting can be a chore. Even with all the data automation in the world, to frame our results, we feel the need to write an executive summary and hope we touch on the why behind all the painstakingly-created charts and graphs.

                But sometimes, we might not be able to boil down the proper context for the client in just those few introductory paragraphs. So let’s explore some simple ways to have the data elaborate on itself.

                Annotations

                Annotations can be as simple as “campaign starts” with an arrow pointing to a place on the timeline.

                Screenshot of a GDS line graph report that shows an arrow indicating when in the data Portent's work beganto forecasted click data for the same future time period

                They can also be as simple as a caption under a point in the graph you want your client to pay attention to.

                Secondary Dimensions

                You have two pages in your report to address channel performance and landing page performance? Why not combine them? Adding two dimensions to one data table can frame a combination of things that lead to better performance and keeps the overall page count in your reports down.

                Why not show campaign, country, and device while we’re at it?

                Screenshot of a GDS report with a red box calling out the campaign, country, and device data columns

                Titles and Subtitles

                I’m a big fan of teeing each page in the report up with a question in the title and answering it with the subtitle and the ensuing data. In the title and subtitle, you can lay out:

                • Where you got the data
                • What baked-in comparisons exist
                • What business question you’re trying to answer with the report

                Screenshot of a GDS report titled "How efficient are our paid campaigns?" and the subtitle "Last year's conversion and CPA data from all Google Ads campaigns" that answers where the data is from, and what is being compared

                Benchmarks

                How many of us have been in a client meeting and heard the question: “Is this performance good?”

                Good compared to what? Their past performance or the performance of their competitors? In either case, as consultants, we should provide the answers and have them available quickly.

                Screenshot of a GDS report that includes the benchmark CTR for the campaigns at the bottom of the data, for quick reference

                Ratios

                Our clients’ conversions were up 20% over last month. Great! But was that just because they spent more money? Or just because they got more traffic? Or did we really drive higher conversion rates? Add the ratios alongside volume to have it there in case the question comes up.

                Screenshot of a GDS report that shows the click-through rate next to the number of clicks

                Cost

                Like it or not, we live in an ROI-focused time. Never leave Cost Per metrics off of your report! Cost Per Everything: Impression, Click, Lead, Sale. If the client is going to have to answer to their CFO for how much they’re spending on customer acquisition, give them Cost Per every step of the acquisition funnel.

                Screenshot of a GDS report that shows three cost metrics side by side: CPM, CPC, and CPA

                Trendlines and Forecasts

                We can’t predict the future, but there are several forecasting models that come pretty darn close. These forecasts can help clients estimate results, which makes it easier for them to write our campaigns and marketing costs into their budgets.

                Screenshot of a GDS report that shows actual click data for a time period next to forecasted click data for the same future time period

                Context, Not Writing

                If we can’t figure out how to provide the context in our reports without writing a novel of an executive summary every month, we’re gonna spend an awful lot of time writing summaries and answering questions. So try some of these to create contextual utility in the data visualizations you already provide. And if all else fails, change the chart type! Switch your pie chart back to a simple table and add several more metrics. Never settle on a visualization that can’t explain itself.

                The post Adding Contextual Utility to Reports Without Writing a Novel appeared first on Portent.

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                8 Google Analytics Reports You Need to Pay More Attention To http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/analytics/8-google-analytics-reports-you-need-to-pay-more-attention-to.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/analytics/8-google-analytics-reports-you-need-to-pay-more-attention-to.htm#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2020 15:00:22 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52131 I celebrated my eighth anniversary at Portent earlier this month. A couple of us reminisced about my job interview that was held in a server storage closet. We’ve come a long way since then, and my role here has changed quite a bit as well. Something that hasn’t changed is my ability to dive into […]

                The post 8 Google Analytics Reports You Need to Pay More Attention To appeared first on Portent.

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                I celebrated my eighth anniversary at Portent earlier this month. A couple of us reminisced about my job interview that was held in a server storage closet. We’ve come a long way since then, and my role here has changed quite a bit as well.

                Something that hasn’t changed is my ability to dive into Google Analytics, dig around, understand the numbers, and derive actionable next steps for strategy and tactics. I learned how to do that early on in my career here, and the skill set has stuck ever since.

                In my opinion, the ability to do so is the most foundational technical skill that a digital marketer can hold, and making sure I stay agile in GA is one of the reasons I still work day-to-day with a long-time client of ours.

                If you’re not jumping into your data regularly to pull insights and build actionable next steps, it’s time to level up. With a properly configured GA property, all of this information is free, and the ability to use it appropriately can provide you with insights to help your organization make monumental KPI improvements.

                The following GA reports are well-known and well-used (I hope). I consider these top-level reports:

                • Acquisition – All Traffic – Channels
                • Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium
                • Acquisition – Google Ads – Campaigns
                • Acquisition – Search Console – Landing Pages
                • Behavior – Overview
                • Conversions – Goals – Overview
                • Conversions – Ecommerce – Overview

                If you’re diving into those reports on a regular basis, that’s a solid start. But when you’re ready to dig a little deeper, here’s where you should go next.

                Quick note: none of these reports utilize custom or user-defined variables. And while using custom variables is great, this post focuses on what’s already provided in GA out of the box. Every report outlined below is available in standard Google Analytics property Analytics.

                1. Audience – Geo – Location

                Find Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics broken down by location.

                Screenshot of a geo report in GA that displays performance by state

                Quickly view metrics by country, state, and city to see where performance soars and struggles. Consider how to adjust your budget, strategy, and tactics based on regional performance.

                2. Audience – Technology – Browser & OS

                This report shares Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics across several technology-related primary dimensions.

                Discover performance broken down by browser type, operating system used, and screen size. It’s amazing how much performance can vary across these dimensions.

                Pulling insights here can be impactful when it comes time to address strategy around design and development. Yes, data should be considered when website design and development decisions are made; here’s one place to get that data.

                3. Audience – Mobile – Overview

                This tab isn’t just for mobile-traffic learning. Find Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics broken down by device category.

                See how traffic performs differently from users using a desktop, mobile device, or tablet. Consideration around which device types are most commonly accessing your site should fuel strategy for your next campaign or initiative.

                Screenshot of a device category report in GA that displays performance by tablet, mobile, or desktop

                This information can be incredibly valuable when designing and optimizing PPC campaigns or planning your next website redesign.

                4. Acquisition – Google Ads – Search Queries

                This tab will only be useful for marketers utilizing Google Ads and those who have their account linked to their Google Analytics property.

                Discover which queries users are searching for to trigger impressions and clicks of your paid ad.

                Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion insights here should inform your paid search strategy, but can also influence SEO direction.

                5. Acquisition – Google Ads – Hour of Day

                Discover Google Ads performance broken down by the hour of the day and the day of the week that your campaigns run.

                Based on insights dug up here, build custom ad schedules in your campaigns to boost spending when performance is best and pull back your budget to save money during low conversion periods.

                6. Behavior – Site Content – Exit Pages

                Identify which pages most commonly result in a user leaving your site.

                Information here might highlight critical pages in your conversion funnel. If exit rates are high on conversion path pages, think about how the content and layout of that page should change to create a more frictionless experience to conversion.

                Screenshot of a report in GA that shows the number of exits each page had

                7. Behavior – Site Speed – Page Timings

                Locate pages with slow load times.

                This report will compare individual pages on your site to your site’s average page load time. While it’s not the best report to provide you with overall site speed performance, it can help highlight the most important pages that are lagging behind your site’s average load time.

                Site speed and page load time are core factors to Google’s algorithm and studies have time and time again shown that a faster site leads to higher conversion rates.

                8. Conversions – Multi-Channel Funnels – Top Conversion Paths

                Discover the touchpoints needed by a single user along the path to conversion.

                This report breaks down source and medium pathing to provide a story of how multiple touchpoints and visits influence a conversion on your site.

                Screenshot of a top conversion paths report in GA that displays channel paths to see how touchpoints influence conversions

                If you’re aligned in using an appropriate attribution model for your business, this report is a must.

                Leverage Automation to Help

                Automation and shortcut building is a great way to save time, but do not rely on automation to roll all of your data aggregation up for you. I guarantee you will miss something if you never dive into the numbers on your own and do some digging.

                That said, consolidate and automate to help highlight performance highs and lows. Creating a custom dashboard in Google Analytics or Google Data Studio is a great place to start. Google Analytics has an automated alert capability that can be leveraged as well. Feed those alerts into Slack or straight to your inbox to further ease the burden of digging into the data every day.

                Use automation to notify you of issues. Don’t rely on it to do everything for you.

                As you go through your detective work in GA and set up automated reports and alerts to aid your efforts, be mindful of the parameters that your data comes with. These parameters become incredibly important to make sure that time comparisons (YoY, MoM, etc.) are valid. Ask yourself questions, such as:

                • Is your data reliable and free of tracking errors?
                • Have goals and conversion points changed?
                • Do you need to account for seasonality?

                When marketers are mindful of the questions above, armed with the know-how to gather insights, and have the desire to do a little detective work, the potential insights found can be substantial.

                The post 8 Google Analytics Reports You Need to Pay More Attention To appeared first on Portent.

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                How to Hire the Right SEO Agency http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/seo/how-to-hire-the-right-seo-agency.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/seo/how-to-hire-the-right-seo-agency.htm#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:00:26 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52089 For many organizations, the work performed on their digital marketing campaigns can make the difference between success or failure for the entire business. Search engine optimization is a critical element of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, as millions of people use search engines every day to find information, products, or answers to their questions. There […]

                The post How to Hire the Right SEO Agency appeared first on Portent.

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                For many organizations, the work performed on their digital marketing campaigns can make the difference between success or failure for the entire business. Search engine optimization is a critical element of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, as millions of people use search engines every day to find information, products, or answers to their questions. There are more than 60,000 searches each second on Google, and most users search three to four times a day.

                SEO has come a long way in recent years and is continuing to grow at an increasingly rapid rate. Keeping up with these changes, the competitive landscape, and the impact of new algorithm updates and technology provides both a challenge and an opportunity for organizations, and requires dedicated SEO support.

                Why Hire an SEO Agency

                Once your organization has welcomed the need for SEO (or additional SEO support), you must decide whether you want to hire someone in-house or work with an SEO agency.

                There is a lot of value and advantages of hiring an in-house SEO or having an SEO team. However, some organizations do not have the support structurally or financially to do this work in-house. In these instances, hiring an agency can be a cost-effect solution for a company’s SEO needs.

                Meanwhile, organizations that may already have an in-house SEO team face different challenges that can be solved by hiring an SEO agency. They may be managing a large or complex website, be low on bandwidth, or the team may be missing a key piece of expertise.

                While it may seem like hiring an in-house SEO is the ideal solution, finding someone with the experience level needed can be challenging. Plus, hiring an agency can also bring in a fresh perspective and new ideas.

                How to Identify an Inadequate SEO Agency

                The process of finding and hiring an SEO agency can be daunting if you are not familiar with SEO yourself. There are many reputable SEO agencies out there. But there are even more bad ones, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the real deal from a total fraud. Just as hiring a bad in-house SEO can be very costly, so can working with a weak SEO agency.

                Following are some of the warning signs and things to look out for to help you identify an inadequate SEO agency:

                Keyword Stuffing

                Keyword stuffing is a spammy SEO technique that targets a keyword an excessive amount of times in order to gain an unfair rank advantage in the search results. You can read more about keyword stuffing in Google’s Quality Guidelines.

                The screenshot below is of an agency’s homepage, which I found on the first page of Google when I searched for “SEO Agency Seattle.” The company used the keyword “SEO agency” on its homepage a total of 60 times!

                Screenshot of an SEO agency's landing page with red boxes around 12 instances of the keywords "SEO Agency"

                If the agency has a page stuffed to the brim with keywords, then they’re a danger to themselves and others and should be avoided. Do you want this quality of work on your website and potentially run the risk of being negatively hit by search engine algorithm updates?

                The keyword stuffing technique may work for a month or two, but it’s a faulty tactic that will land anyone with a long-term business plan in trouble.

                Charges Per Link

                As tempting as $10 per link may sound, those are penalty-generating links. Even if the agency charges based on the “link quality,” the quality of a link can be hard to measure, and the link may not appear for weeks or months. Selling links also means that they likely have a link network (which is very bad), or they’re naive. Either way, avoid any agency that charges per link.

                Makes Promises

                If an agency promises #1 rankings (or anything that seems too good to be true), RUN AWAY! If they make these promises, among many others like, “we promise 1,000 new visitors to your site next week,” or they know someone at Google and have insider knowledge around Google algorithms, then don’t work with them. As tempting as it may sound, it will hurt your organic search performance in the long run. Even if it is a “money-back guarantee,” your site’s recovery from a penalty is not guaranteed.

                Automated SEO

                I’m not 100% sure what agencies mean by offering “automated services,” so I won’t go too far. But anyone claiming any automated technique for SEO should make you suspicious. While there are plenty of SEO tools out there, none of them can perform an SEO analysis or optimize a site as well as a living breathing human can.

                Incompetence

                If the SEO agency you’re researching can’t do SEO for themselves, that’s the most evident sign you’ll be wasting your money. Simply look at the essential on-page SEO elements (title tag, meta description, and headings) and check how well they are optimized (if at all).

                You can easily see all on-page elements for any webpage using Portent’s SEO Page Review Chrome extension.

                Get Familiar With Black Hat SEO Tactics

                While search engines are getting smarter every year, there are still many black hat and spammy tactics SEOs use to deceive search engines into ranking a page when the page does not deserve to be ranked.

                Take the time to familiarize yourself with black hat SEO and spam tactics to make sure you aren’t being sold these tactics, and your agency isn’t implementing them on your site. As mentioned earlier, black hat SEO strategies may work for a little while, but they will eventually result in your website getting penalized by search engines.

                Questions to Ask an SEO Agency Before Hiring

                Before you begin on the journey of hiring an SEO agency, you need to have a set of questions to ask each agency, so you can accurately compare each one. You’ll also want to do your background research to familiarize yourself with each agency before you meet with them.

                You can start with the standard questions like, “Have you worked in our industry before?” Most agencies will lie, but it won’t help you make the best decision. Instead, start with these questions to get the conversation started.

                1. What is Your SEO Process?

                If the agency can explain their SEO process in 60 seconds or less and it makes sense to you, then that’s a good sign. If they talk until your ear goes flat, or if they make no sense, then it may be best to move on from them.

                It should go without saying that if the SEO process seems shady or the agency keeps many of their processes a secret, then it’s not safe to work with them.

                2. What Kind of Work Will You Do on My Site?

                Make sure the agency includes details on providing recommendations around technical issues, improving on-page elements, optimizing existing content, creating a content strategy, and acquiring backlinks. Bonus points if the agency talks about quick wins and long-term growth.

                3. Can I See a Sample of a Recommendation Report You Give to Clients?

                Look at how the agency provides SEO recommendations to their clients. Is the report easy to understand, actionable, and insightful? Or did the agency not have a report to share? If not, then it would be best to say goodbye and work with someone that knows how to provide SEO recommendations.

                4. How Do You Acquire Backlinks?

                Backlinks are very valuable in SEO, and it takes a lot of hard work to acquire them. It’s always a good idea to get high-quality natural backlinks rather than buying links, as mentioned earlier.

                Buying backlinks is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and will very likely result in a penalty if you are caught.

                If the agency you’re talking to says they don’t reveal their backlink sources, then don’t work with them. Your SEO agency should want to tell you all about the links they got you and where they came from.

                Some acceptable strategies for getting backlinks are guest posting, link reclamation, content promotion, HARO queries, and creating high-quality content.

                5. Do You Guarantee Results?

                As I mentioned earlier, if the agency promises they will get you to rank #1, run away from them. Even if they promise first page rankings, that doesn’t mean that the traffic for those keywords they get on page one will be any good.

                Instead, you will likely get the famous SEO response of, “it depends.” Which, in this case, is an acceptable answer (with hopefully some additional details).

                6. How Do You Measure Success?

                Everything should be around your goals. If an agency answers “rankings” and nothing else, then they are not a good fit. Stuff like “traffic” and “organic revenue” is what drives results.

                Whatever the answer, that’s how the agency determines if their efforts are successful on their end. Does it align with how you define success for your investment?

                If you aren’t sure how to measure the success of an SEO campaign, you can read our article on how to measure SEO performance.

                7. What Kind of Reporting Do You Provide?

                You will want to know what to expect from the agency each month and how they plan on reporting on their efforts, so it’s a great idea to ask for an example of their reports.

                Feel free to let the agency know how in-depth you want your reports. Some people prefer high-level stuff they can share with their executives. While others wish to see the finer details. Don’t be afraid to ask for both.

                8. What Significant SEO Trends Do You See Coming up in the Near Future?

                For 2020, SEO agencies should be talking about zero-click searches (featured snippets), structured data, BERT and high-quality content, E-A-T, and mobile performance, just to name a few.

                Don’t expect agencies to go down the list of trends to impress you, but ask which trends will be most relevant to your organization. This question helps you know which agencies have a pulse on the SEO landscape, and they know how to leverage it to benefit your organic performance.

                This is, of course, just a partial list of questions you should ask before hiring an agency. The bottom line is that you have to use common sense. SEO is not supposed to provide instant results and guarantee #1 rankings on Google. The SEO agency you hire should be trustworthy, a good teacher that shares knowledge and empowers their clients, and someone you can have a positive relationship with.

                Getting The Most Out of Your SEO Agency

                Begin with a clear understanding of what you’re looking for from an SEO agency and include all stakeholders in the process. By the end of the rigorous process of interviewing numerous SEO agencies, there will hopefully be a unanimous decision on the best agency for your organization.

                Once you are ready to hire the agency, make sure your stakeholders all know what is expected of them. A good SEO agency will tell you everything they will need from you to be successful. Take this input from them seriously.

                Without internal adoption, you will likely see minimal improvements, if any, at all. And trust me, we have seen this more times than we can count.

                The post How to Hire the Right SEO Agency appeared first on Portent.

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                How You Can Run A/B Tests on Low-Traffic Sites http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/analytics/how-you-can-run-a-b-tests-on-low-traffic-sites.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/analytics/how-you-can-run-a-b-tests-on-low-traffic-sites.htm#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52104 You may have heard that A/B testing isn’t a viable approach for sites that don’t have enough traffic. Or that to reach statistical significance in a timely manner, you need to have thousands of visitors a day. I’m here to tell you that those days of A/B testing FOMO for your low-traffic site are over! […]

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                You may have heard that A/B testing isn’t a viable approach for sites that don’t have enough traffic. Or that to reach statistical significance in a timely manner, you need to have thousands of visitors a day.

                I’m here to tell you that those days of A/B testing FOMO for your low-traffic site are over! Having low traffic is no longer a barrier to optimize your site or learn about your users.

                In this article, we discuss different tactics on how you can run A/B tests on your site and reach statistical significance without waiting for hundreds of days. We’ll also look at some alternative strategies that can help achieve the same thing as A/B testing: a better-optimized website.

                Note: These tactics also apply to low-traffic pages. Maybe your site overall gets a ton of traffic, but there’s a specific page you’d like to optimize that doesn’t get nearly as much.

                Tactics for Successful A/B Testing on Low-Traffic Sites

                First, let’s define the term “low-traffic.” If your site or page has a few hundred visits a day or less, that would be considered “low-traffic.” Alright, now we can jump in.

                Make Big Changes

                The higher the MDE (Minimum Detectable Effect) of your proposed variation, the less time that will be needed to reach significance. The MDE, in simple terms, is how impactful you think the variation will be on the conversion rate.

                Most A/B test duration calculators will include this field when deciding how long to run your test. See the screenshot below from VWO’s A/B Split & Multivariate Test Duration Calculator as an example.

                Screenshot of VWO's A/B test duration calculator
                Courtesy of VWO

                This metric is pretty much asking you, “How much difference do you anticipate the results to be for the variation compared to the original?” The more differences that exist in the variation versus the original, the higher this number should be.

                This is one of the most common and impactful tactics for testing on low-traffic sites: creating a variation that is vastly different from the original. On high-traffic sites, you can test CTA button copy or small elements one at a time. With low-traffic sites, you don’t have that luxury.

                You’ll want to make big changes to the page, or changes that you would anticipate to have a big difference in user behavior. Alternatively, you can make a bunch of small changes. The more design or copy changes you make to the page, the higher you can expect that MDE to be.

                Jay Lee, Experimentation Program Strategist & Web Analytics Consultant at Microsoft, outlines some “big changes” you can apply to your experience:

                “For low-traffic sites, it’s all about making larger changes that will allow you to observe a difference. For example – changing up pricing, offers, etc. Those make big differences.”

                VWO explains how to determine what a “big change” looks like for your site:

                “Understand their [your user’s] concerns. Know what primary factors they consider before taking an action on your site. For a funky clothing site which targets teenage and college students, pricing and free shipping can be very important. For a luxury-clothing brand that focuses on high-end celebrities, 1-day shipping guarantee or exclusive collection section on the site might be high-impact.”

                Some examples of “big changes” include:

                • Reformatting the layout of the page
                • Changing up the pricing
                • Changing the offer or the “value-add” of the page
                • Using a completely different creative approach

                Michael Wiegand, Director of Analytics at Portent, gives a great guideline for determining what a “big change” looks like:

                “What I’d focus on would be things that capture the eye in the first split seconds a user sees the page: Headlines, Hero Images, CTA Buttons. If you can’t squint your eyes and notice the thing you’re testing, even with few variations, it probably isn’t going to be effective on a low-traffic site.”

                Alternatively, if you aren’t sure what “big change” can take place, you can make a bulk amount of small changes. In this case, you can be more narrow in your optimization ideas. The only drawback here, as is the case with any A/B test where you make more than one change, is that you won’t know which change led to any performance difference.

                You will always be balancing “optimizing” and “learning” when it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization. But there are other ways for low traffic sites to get more of those “learnings” without running an A/B test, which we outline later in the article under “Recommended Alternatives to A/B Testing.”

                Use Fewer Variations

                If you have a high-traffic website, we recommend always testing more than one variation against the original. Unfortunately, for low-traffic sites, we recommend the opposite.

                It’s tempting to test all the different optimization ideas you have to solve a single problem. But with every variation you add to your test, the time to reach statistical significance also increases.

                As we will touch on later, you can utilize usability testing to determine which variation to move forward with. While this might cost you some extra resources, it will save you much more time compared to running the test with all of the variations.

                Test High-Funnel KPIs

                These are also known as “micro conversions.”

                One factor when plugging those metrics into A/B testing duration calculators is the existing conversion rate. The higher this conversion rate is, the less time you will need to reach significance.

                The lower in the funnel you go, the lower conversion rates get. Alternatively, as you go higher in the funnel, those conversion rates increase. Therefore, by running tests that are targeting higher-funnel KPIs, you will more likely be able to reach significance in a timely manner.

                Illustration of the sales funnel with a "higher conversion rate" callout at the top and "lower conversion rate" callout at the bottom

                The best example here is for e-commerce. Beyond “add-to-cart” and “checkout complete” KPIs, look at the micro conversions that naturally come before that. This can include things like product searches, product detail page views, or other engagement metrics that happen well before an end purchase or conversion.

                If you can determine the current conversion rates for these higher-funnel KPIs and their impact on the end conversion, you can still calculate the potential impact of your tests on the end conversion.

                For example, if you know the conversion rate of users who view a product page and you also know the rate of people who view a product page then make a purchase, then you can directly anticipate the impact your test will have on the bottom line. In this case, the end conversion would be a secondary KPI you’ll want to measure.

                Use Different Statistical Measurement Methods

                Reaching statistical significance isn’t the only signal of your variation outperforming the original, especially when you are looking to reach that 99% mark.

                When you don’t have the luxury of large sample sizes to get there, you will have to treat these methods more as “guidelines” than hard-to-follow rules.

                For example, Optimizely gives you the option to lower the statistical significance level in which it would declare a winner. So if you wanted to reach about 70% or 80% significance, you would require a much smaller sample size versus going for 99%.

                Bhavik Patel, Head of Conversion at Teletext Holidays and Founder of CRAP Talks, describes the type of approach you should take in regards to A/B testing on low-traffic sites:

                “You’ve got to level the playing field by taking risks on tests which are bolder, loosen the reins on the statistical rigor of your analysis and not be afraid to cut your tests short (you need the traffic and don’t have time to “wait and see”).”

                For the more statistically-savvy testers, you can use a completely different statistical measurement method when calculating significance for small sample sizes. There are arguments for different methods, but the ones we recommend are below (I’ve linked to calculators for each one for you):

                Another tactic to get around statistical significance is to use confidence intervals to determine a winner.

                Per Optimizely, a confidence interval (or “difference” interval) shows you the range of values that likely contains the actual (absolute) difference between the conversion rates that would show up if you were to implement that variation.

                The article goes on to explain, “A useful and easy risk analysis that you can do with a difference interval is to report best case, worst case, and middle ground estimates of predicted lift by reading the upper endpoint, lower endpoint, and center of the difference interval, respectively.”

                Below is a screenshot from Google Optimize of a test we ran for a client’s landing page headline. The highlighted region represents the confidence intervals. None of these tests have reached 99% significance, but you can see the range for the last three variations’ confidence interval is much higher than the original. Even though we didn’t reach significance, we could potentially call this test in favor of those variations based off of these confidence intervals.

                Screenshot of a test run in Google Optimize with a callout box around the confidence intervals data

                Another way to get around waiting on statistical significance is to measure your test by sessions and not by users. The majority of the A/B testing calculators and tools out there (i.e., Optimizely and VWO) measure significance based on unique visitors. This means that the test treats each person as a participant in the sample group.

                If you open this metric up to sessions, it will include instances where the same user visits the experiment two or more times. This strategy increases your sample size and reduces the time to reach statistical significance.

                This approach is more appropriate for experiments that would only impact a user’s behavior within a single session versus their entire experience on the site. Therefore, some of those big changes we referred to before may not be applicable in this scenario.

                Recommended Alternatives to A/B Testing

                These recommendations can benefit all conversion rate optimizers out there, regardless of how much traffic comes to your site. They just happen to be great alternatives if you don’t have the traffic to test a specific optimization idea you have.

                User Research

                Moderated and unmoderated user tests are great ways to understand the “why” behind a person’s decision making. Have them navigate the experience you want to optimize and narrate their thoughts as they go through it. You only need five to eight participants to start to identify any patterns that would help improve on-site experience.

                Design surveys are another beneficial approach to learning how you can improve your site’s experience. Simply present your page to a panel of users and ask them prodding questions such as, “What’s missing? What’s distracting? Is there anything we could add here that would help you make a decision?”

                Design preference tests are similar to design surveys, except you are showing them multiple options and asking which one they prefer. This is where you can decide which variation to use if you are stuck on choosing from a group of them.

                Some tools we use at Portent for user research include:

                User research has proven to be one of the most powerful tactics when coming up with ideas to optimize website experiences.

                In 2019, Portent’s A/B tests that were aiming to solve a problem that was discovered through user research had a winning rate of 80.4%. For comparison, the average winning rate for all A/B tests was 60%. This highlights the idea that tests derived from user research projects have a higher chance of improving your experience, versus only using other methods in isolation, such as data or heuristic analyses.

                Heuristic Analysis

                A heuristic analysis is when someone reviews a page and makes recommendations on how to improve the experience through user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) principles or best practices.

                But you don’t need to be an expert to do this.

                Alex Abell, Conversion Optimization Expert and Founder of Lunchpool, provides two different approaches you can follow to perform your own heuristic evaluation:

                “For low traffic websites, one of the most useful techniques I’ve found is to employ the use of heuristic analysis to make sweeping changes to the site. We call this a “radical redesign.” Two of the most popular heuristics to use are that of MarketingExperiments.com (C = 4M + 3V + 2(I – F) – 2A ) and WiderFunnel’s LIFT methodology. Although these formulas look complex, they are really just a mental shortcut that allows you to systematically look at your website through the eyes of your potential customer.”

                In Summary

                Having low traffic is no longer a barrier to optimize your site or learn about how your users engage with it. Some tactics for successful A/B testing on low-traffic sites include:

                • Make big changes
                • Use fewer variations
                • Test high-funnel KPIs (micro-conversions)
                • Use different statistical measurement methods
                    • Use statistical significance as a “guide” 
                    • Use different measurement calculations
                    • Use confidence intervals
                    • Measure by sessions instead of users

                There are also some great alternatives to A/B testing, which can benefit all conversion rate optimizers out there regardless of how much traffic you get to your site. You can try things such as:

                • User Research
                  • User testing
                  • Design surveys
                  • Design preference tests
                • Heuristic Analysis
                  • Follow UX and CRO principles
                  • MarketingExperiments formula
                  • WiderFunnel’s LIFT methodology

                The two goals of A/B testing are to optimize your website’s performance and learn more about your users.

                Referencing the tactics in this article will empower your (or your client’s) low-traffic site to achieve both of these goals. No more FOMO for low traffic sites. Get out there and start testing!

                The post How You Can Run A/B Tests on Low-Traffic Sites appeared first on Portent.

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                New Instagram Features are Making it Easier to Shop In-app http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/social-media/instagram-making-app-based-shopping-easier.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/social-media/instagram-making-app-based-shopping-easier.htm#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2020 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=43383 Updated 1/14/20 to include current information and new features. If you’re already running social advertising, you know that Facebook Ads Manager makes it easy to repurpose creative intended for Facebook directly to Instagram by simply selecting a story or feed placement. But as Instagram becomes more of a discovery tool for shoppers, there is a […]

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                Updated 1/14/20 to include current information and new features.

                If you’re already running social advertising, you know that Facebook Ads Manager makes it easy to repurpose creative intended for Facebook directly to Instagram by simply selecting a story or feed placement. But as Instagram becomes more of a discovery tool for shoppers, there is a massive opportunity for e-commerce brands to drive sales beyond promoted posts or stories.

                In an effort to further establish itself as a destination for inspiration-based purchases, Instagram has not only made available paid ad placements more engaging, they’ve found more ways to let brands of all sizes showcase their products organically with conversions in mind.

                Features like Instagram story links have been around since 2017, but availability is limited to business accounts with 10,000 followers or more. Enter: Shopping in Stories.

                In September 2018, Instagram formally rolled out Shopping in Stories, which started as a limited beta in June of that year. As a result, brands large and small can tag products available in their Facebook catalog in organic stories in-app using shopping stickers. In turn, users can tap the sticker during the story experience and see the price and item description, or head directly to the product page. If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook catalogs, check out this post on Catalog Management Best Practices for Social Media.

                Shopping in Instagram Stories
                Image Courtesy of Instagram

                Shopping in Explore, which also launched in summer 2018, utilizes “topic channels” and personalizes categories of interest unique to each user on their explore page. Shopping in Explore leverages the Instagram algorithm to show users shoppable posts by brands they follow, alongside non-shopping content served based on your other browsing habits.

                Shopping from Instagram Explore
                Image Courtesy of Instagram

                Fast forward to March of 2019, when Instagram rolled out Checkout, an in-app shopping feature that allows users to purchase items without ever leaving the ‘gram. By tapping on a product tag in a shopping post, shoppers are directed to a product page with a “Checkout on Instagram” CTA. You can select options like size or color, proceed to payment, and then seamlessly return to scrolling.

                Three screenshots showing how Instagram Checkout works as an in-app shopping feature
                Image Courtesy of Instagram

                This provides another revenue path for brands that are looking to drive conversions online. It’s important to note, though, that this level of consumer accessibility comes at a price. TechCrunch confirmed via Instagram that there is a “selling fee” at the merchant’s expense “to help fund programs and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses.”

                Long before Checkout launched, business owners have been selling their products from the app. Even without advertising dollars, creators have used well-curated feeds and influencer marketing to develop their brands and sell merchandise to their followers. This is especially true in the world of streetwear, where scarcity has become a commodity for brands and consumers alike.

                As Instagram notes, “Once unconventional strategies, including creator collaborations and limited releases, are now being adopted by fashion, beauty and luxury brands.”

                As a result, the Reminders for Product Launches feature went into beta in September 2019. Thanks to product launch stickers in Stories and a product launch tag option in-feed, users can set reminders for a new drop, preview details, and make a purchase once it becomes available.

                Two screenshots showing how mobile reminders for product launches work
                Image Courtesy of Instagram

                In preparation for the holiday advertising season, Facebook gifted advertisers with templates to create vertical, full-sized assets for the Stories placement across Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.

                With 500 million users posting to their stories daily, Instagram Stories have become a significant outlet for brands to engage with users and drive conversions. With the rollout of the templates, Facebook has given advertisers the chance to strengthen their creative and remain competitive in a space dominated by large retailers.

                Screenshot showing how to use Instagram story advertising templates
                Image Courtesy of Instagram

                With a steady stream of product updates under their belt, it’s clear e-commerce will remain a top focus for Instagram. In fact, many of the major updates in 2018 came on the heels of news that Instagram may be launching a standalone shopping app. Now that 2020 is here, it’s hard to say if and when that app could become a reality. In the meantime, however, Instagram is working to keep itself a destination for shoppers and advertisers alike.

                The post New Instagram Features are Making it Easier to Shop In-app appeared first on Portent.

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                Where to Start Diversifying Your Traffic in Today’s Digital Landscape http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/internet-marketing/where-to-start-diversifying-your-traffic-in-todays-digital-landscape.htm http://www.1shishuo.com/blog/internet-marketing/where-to-start-diversifying-your-traffic-in-todays-digital-landscape.htm#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2019 15:00:20 +0000 http://www.1shishuo.com/?p=52034 Google has always presented businesses with unprecedented opportunities to start, sustain, and grow online. It’s also created an unhealthy dependence on the product set for many companies. Shifts in Google search result pages are shrinking the opportunities to earn organic traffic. Everyone is talking about it, including some of the top contributors in our industry. […]

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                Google has always presented businesses with unprecedented opportunities to start, sustain, and grow online. It’s also created an unhealthy dependence on the product set for many companies.

                Shifts in Google search result pages are shrinking the opportunities to earn organic traffic.

                Everyone is talking about it, including some of the top contributors in our industry.

                Google continues to make changes designed to boost ad revenue, direct users to Google-owned properties, and fulfill searchers’ needs without leaving a SERP. That means fewer opportunities for digital marketers to earn organic traffic from Google.

                No, this isn’t another “SEO is dead” post.

                Organic search is still a strong traffic source and should be a core component of your long-term strategy. But you need to adjust your strategy if you’re reliant on Google’s organic traffic.
                None of the strategies shared here are new or trendsetting, in my opinion. They do level up to solid marketing, though. It’s not about algorithms or quick wins to boost your quarterly bottom line; it’s about diversifying your traffic to create stability when change comes (and yes, change will continue to come from Google).

                Let’s dive in.

                Ramp Up Your Paid Budget

                Whether we monitor the shifts that are changing Google’s SERPs, react to the disappearance of organic social reach, or account for the improvements brought to programmatic from AI, it’s time to increase your paid media budget.

                With fewer opportunities for organic traffic, we’re recommending brands significantly bump up their paid budgets for the coming year across our agency’s book of business.

                On the paid search side, Google is constantly testing and tweaking its search network ad formatting and SERP coverage. Early 2018 marked the end of the right rail and the introduction of the four-unit, top of the results page. It must be working for their bottom line; Q3 revenue from Google search ads was up 16% year over year as advertisers are tapping into Google’s ad product set with larger budgets than before.

                As organic listings continue to get knocked down, paying to play (even on your branded keywords) is essential.

                The decrease in organic social reach has been more than well documented over the past few years. With Instagram’s feed changes this year and closer integration with Facebook, we see their ad platform driving more demand from marketers (especially on the B2C side) to stay relevant on the platform.

                On the display and programmatic front, we’re placing a higher focus on filling the top of the funnel than ever before. Effectively building top-of-funnel users ready to engage with your brand for the first time provides the opportunity to create carefully segmented remarketing lists. While the influx of traffic shouldn’t drive conversions immediately, your remarketing campaigns should be able to drive mid-funnel and purchase-decision conversions depending on the industry you’re in.

                Building an appropriate attribution model for your top and mid-funnel-focused campaigns is key to understanding the value your driving from your paid efforts.

                Provide Value for Free

                Provide as much value as you can with no strings attached. Gasp!

                Hear me out. What if you actually gave your audience a reason to consume content on your site without expecting something in return?

                Find a way to provide something useful and valuable.

                It could be something innovative that users can’t find elsewhere, something interactive to engage them with your brand, or a piece of content that fulfills an immediate need and creates a moment of clarity for them.

                Be useful for free. (Asking for an email address is not a free transaction.)

                Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles features an interactive map that allows visitors to learn where the company’s product supplies come from. The information is available to anyone who visits the site, without having to provide anything to access it.

                Screenshot of Patagonia's Footprint Chronicles Page

                It’s informative. It’s unique. And it drives affinity for the brand. It also has nearly 2,800 backlinks.

                There’s a reason why 10x content is a thing.

                It’s tough to put a direct ROI on efforts like this. Please don’t try and do it.

                When done right, good things happen. Brand affinity grows, opportunities for link building pop up, shares spread organically throughout social platforms, and referral traffic consistently builds your acquisition funnel. When done right, the results can be immense.

                If your plan is to continue putting out high volume, low value (be honest with yourself) content, time to change it up.

                Find Your Influencers

                Get ready to continue buying attention.

                Finding influencers that resonate with your brand may be as important as ever. As younger generations depend more on the personalities they trust over brand names and value propositions, the importance of identifying and partnering with influencers is growing.

                Think about the demographics of your customers. Research shows how variably different generations lean on influencers in their purchase decision.

                We’ve seen massive success in this space when executed with precision, and it all starts by picking the right influencers.

                Finding influencers doesn’t have to result in buying promotion from trendy “Instagram Celebrities”. Some of the best success we’ve seen came from highly targeted, low volume-producing influencers. Think quality, not quantity.

                We’ve also found success in this space with podcast advertising.

                On the long list of emerging tactics and trends in the digital space, podcast advertising blends digital ad buying with influencer marketing. With ad inventory levels growing and the market around pricing beginning to solidify, podcast advertising opportunities offer advertisers a diverse set of promotion opportunities. Podcast advertising techniques are solidifying as well, creating a viable medium for many advertisers to tap into for the first time.

                Take Advantage of the Traffic You’re Already Getting

                While the three topics covered focus on finding ways to drive more traffic, we’re recommending brands focus more of their time and budget on optimizing website experience to drive the bottom line.

                Yes, detailed plans need to be made and carried out on how to acquire traffic. But don’t forget about the traffic you’re already getting.

                While you can find countless definitions for UX and CRO in the digital marketing space, we look at it as the work required to decrease friction on the journey to a conversion point.

                Focus on experience-driving factors like site speed, removing unnecessary content, and accounting for elements of influence to build trust throughout your funnel.

                If done right, the immediate results can bring big changes to your conversion metrics without adding more traffic.

                Don’t Get Carried Away

                I mentioned earlier that this isn’t an “SEO is dead” post.

                SEO certainly isn’t dead, and your digital strategy should continue to find ways to effectively grow your organic presence.

                There are still a lot of opportunities for organic search to thrive in your digital marketing initiatives. But be wary if you’re too dependent on that particular avenue for revenue-driving traffic, you may only be a few algorithm or SERP layout changes away from a place where your singular traffic source runs flat.

                The post Where to Start Diversifying Your Traffic in Today’s Digital Landscape appeared first on Portent.

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