Conversion Rate Optimization Blog

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This blog is brought to you by the team at Invesp, a conversion optimization company.


Meet the authors of the invesp blog: Ayat, Khalid, Stephen, and Masroor.

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Every wonder how you determine the overall effect the optimization of one group of pages will have on the overall website? If I run a test on category pages and see a 30% uplift – it will not be reflected overall throughout the site; i.e. you won’t see 30% uplift in your overall conversion rate. Why is this? Well, the reality, not each page on your website has the same impact on your conversion rate.

At Invesp, we assign the different of pages on a website a specific “value” which we call the conversion correlation factor. The conversion correlation factor is the percentage increase in the overall website conversion rate as a result of increasing a particular page conversion rate. If a page has a 10% conversion correlation factor, it means that increasing conversion rate for that page by 30%, will increase the overall website conversion rate by 3%.

Continue reading 9 Essential Tips for Category Pages to Increase Conversion Rates

Posted in (Business)

Ready

After the economical slow down in most countries and especially the US, 2105 promises to show an excellent recovery. Cheaper oil prices and lower unemployment rates in the US are indicative that the US economy is on its way to full recovery. This news should be promising for those companies that weathered the storm of the last six to seven years. Now, you need to come up with a solid plan forward and start executing it to capture more business. Here are 7 steps you should take to make the most of 2015:

1. Examine Your Offer

There is no way around it. Marketing activity without having a clear strategy behind it translates into a lot of wasted effort, money and time and most likely it will not succeed. What you need to do is to invest time thinking about your service and product offering, what have you done very well, areas that you need to improve on, and areas that are not worth focusing on. Sometimes, companies try to be too many things for too many customers. In many cases, limited revenue is the driving factor behind such decisions. I typically advise companies to focus on what they do best in the market place and drop off any other offering that isn’t core to their business.

This is something that we had to do at Invesp back in 2007. Our service line up included few additional online marketing services that were not core to our offering. They were generating good revenue for us. At times, they were generating 40% of our revenue. However, we did not stand out from competition in these fields. They required our management team to spend time on a wider set of problems. It required us to hire talent to meet the needs of our customers in these fields. I recall the meeting I had with Ayat, Invesp co-founder, where we examined all the data and noticed that conversion optimization was what we did best and it is what companies and customers knew us for. We made the decision to drop all other online marketing services and focus on CRO. This was by no means an easy decision to make. At the start, we are turning away customers who wanted services besides CRO. We also had to stop renewing contracts for non-CRO services. We had to let go of some of our staff that could not make the transition to conversion optimization. And finally, we needed a website redesign and a new marketing effort to refocus our branding on what we do best. We questioned our decision many times in the next couple of months especially as we saw the drop in revenue. However within 8 months our decision paid off. Our conversion optimization services started to show healthy growth. The rest is history!

As you start assessing your offering, ask yourself these questions:

  • Which of your offerings makes you stand out from the competition? 
  • Which of your offerings does the market need the most? 
  • Which of your offerings do you have the best in-house talent to service for? 

This is a pen and paper exercise. You might have a service offering that you love but you are one of thousands of companies that offer it. You may have a service offering that is needed in the market but you do not have the in-house talent to service it. An honest assessment is the best way to get started.

2. What is your target market?

Not everyone is a potential customer. If you have been in business for couple of years, then you can go back to the list of customers you worked with in the past.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which ones benefited the most of your service? 
  • Which ones appreciated your service the most?
  • Which ones required the most effort from you?
  • Which ones generated the most revenue?
  • What is the average lifetime for a customer?
  • What is the average lifetime value for a customer?
  • What is your customer acquisition cost?
  • Which of your existing customer base stayed with you longer/shorter than the average lifetime for a customer? What is different about these customers?

Interestingly enough, in our experience, customers that generate the least revenue require the most work! After doing conversion optimization for more than 10 years, we have an eye for companies that will stay with us for a long time and companies that are not going to be happy with the service. I recall a customer back in 2010 who signed up for our monthly conversion optimization for his website. The results from his first AB test we conducted on his website came in with an incredible 34% increase in conversions. Our team was excited. They enjoyed working with the company and things started with some great results. The customer called me the next day and asked to cancel the contract. I was surprised. I told him that we thought things were going well and the test results showed great promise. I asked if any of our team members did something wrong. He laughed and said,“ you guys are great and we like what you have done for us, but I was hoping for a 60% uplift from the first month.” I did not expect this answer from him. It was unusual. I asked him if I or our sales team or our conversion optimization team promised him such result from the first month. He said, “not at all. You guys have set expectations with me all along that I should not expect high results from the start. But I will be honest, I was hoping for a 60% from the first month and you guys could not deliver on that!” I laughed because of all the things I have heard from customers this was the first and it was very honest. The point is that we know which customers will fall in love with what we do, and which customers will not appreciate it. And there are times where we choose to walk away from a customer or a prospect.

Needless to say that the more you are able to segment your target market, the better off you will be. Segmenting your target market will help you identify the best way to reach each target group and cater to them.

Let’s take couple of examples:

1. If you are a B2B company, and your target market contains small businesses and mid-size businesses, then reaching each segment will be different. The decision makers in a small business are different than the decision makers for a mid-size company. With a small business you will most likely need to target the owner of the business. With a mid-size business, your target could be a CTO or a CMO or someone else in the company.

2. If you are a B2C company, then the same concept applies. If you target market includes both college-aged students 18 – 24, as well as parents of college-aged students then reaching those two segments will require different messaging and different channels.

3. What is your messaging?

I alluded to this point while discussing target market. Regardless to the business you are in and whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, you will most likely use different messaging with different target markets. While you are examining your messaging, you need to focus on the customer. Messaging is about what you want to communicate to your customers but more importantly, it is about what is important to the customer (i.e. what you want to communicate and what they care about are not the same thing).

When coming up with new messaging or assessing existing messaging, consider these questions:

  • What is the single most important message that you must communicate to ALL of your target audiences? Here it may be wise to consider your overall value proposition.
  • For each of segment of your target market, what is the specific important message you want to communicate? Why is this message not important to other segments
  • What evidence can be used to support the claim you make in each of your messages?

Consider a website that sells books to college students. It is target market is both college students and parents of these college students. Our single most important message for both segments could be that you save money by using our website. However, our message for the college students will add an additional benefit to using the website: you will save time by using our website (convenience).

With thousands of marketing messages bombarding us everyday, the evidence you use to support your messaging becomes very critical. It is not important to claim that you are the best at what you do, because everyone can make the same claim. It is important to support your claim with solid evidence. How do you do that? Customer testimonials, independent data, case studies, business experience, number of customers, field studies and more.

4. Finding the right channels

If you have followed the steps above, you have a good understanding of your offering, your target market and the messaging you should use for the different segments of your target market. The next critical stage will be to find the channels to communicate your message to each of the segments in your market. You need to ask many questions before determining whether a channel is right for your business:

  • Does my particular market segment use this channel regularly?
  • How easy is it track customer acquisition from this channel? 
  • What is the acquisition cost per customer for this channel?

It is important to drill very deep into whether your target market uses a particular channel or not. At Invesp, we usually deal with CEOs or CMOs for making the decision if our service is a right fit for their business. In the first couple of years of the business, we thought that certain conferences would be a good channel to reach the CEO and CMO target market. We did not examine that claim carefully. Companies we were sending staff to these conferences, however we were not the “staff” we were targeting. So, our huge investment in those particular conferences did not pay off because we chose the wrong channel. In our case, although we met technical and marketing staff at these conferences, we never met the CEOs or CMO’s.

Thousands of dollars are often spent using specific channels without proper, regular evaluation. We recommend assessing each of the channels you use on a 6 months basis to determine their profitability, in order to continuisly optimize your marketing efforts.

5. Determining the right budget

I wish we had an unlimited marketing budget. Unfortunately though, similar to any business, big or small, we are limited by our budget. How aggressive you are with your marketing budget depends on the nature of your market, your financial situation, and what your competition is doing. In a steady market, where you have captured a certain percentage, we recommend around 10% of the annual budget allocated to marketing. In an aggressive situation where we are trying to capture more market share, we recommend increaseing the marketing budget to approximately 30%. I recall times at the start of Invesp, where our marketing budget was even higher than that.

6. Examine your competitors

Competitors, especially in a crowded marketplace, will have a direct impact on your business. If you are a small commerce store that sells widgets and amazon.com decided to come into that market aggressively, you can be sure that this will have a direct impact on your bottom-line. An important exercise is to run through the following five points for your top 3-5 competitors. Not only would this help you understand your competitive landscape but it can help you find opportunities that you did not think about before:

  • How do you rank organically compared to this competitor?
  • How do you differ from this competitor?
  • And how does this competitor differ from you? 
  • Is this competitor a price leader? 
  • Where is this competitor most “present” in your market space?

Few recommended posts on this topic:

7. Regular checkpoints

Now that you have a good plan and good understanding of your competitive landscape, you are ready to put it all together. This will require you to examine any marketing literature, web properties, and online presence and update it with the appropriate messaging. Keep in mind that discontinuity is one of the main reasons customers lose trust in a place and decide to take their business some place else.

You must turn your high and mid level strategic and marketing plans into low level details that you can track. Good plans are the ones that you can track at daily and weekly levels. When I see project plans for our teams or client teams, I do not like to see tasks that span more than 8 hours to complete. Tasks spanning more than 5 days are simply not acceptable and tell me that the team did not do a good enough job breaking down the task into its components. Tasks with lengthy time estimates are the ones that usually do not have clear requirements. They are also typically that teams end up taking longer than expected, going over time and over budget. Daily standing meetings to review daily tasks as well as weekly meetings are good habits to adopt regardless to the nature of the project you are working on.

By Stephen Da Cambra on January 19, 2015 11:35 am

What’s the answer?

When you are trying to maximize website and landing page conversion rates, the problem is that it’s nearly impossible to even know what is the question.

Do you use the results and advice that comes from of all the great conversion rate optimization AB testing and analysis you find around the web? Or do you spend buckets of cash on a CRO specialist to set up your own testing program? Or do you do it yourself?

CRO01

And even if you know these answers, where do you begin?

Start Here

First, while most online information on CRO test results is valuable, as we’ve pointed out on this blog before, even commonly accepted AB test results on one site often do not produce the same results on every site. So, while orange CTA buttons really grab a visitor’s attention on many sites, they will not do so on a site that has an orange background.

To maximize your conversion rates, the first answer is that you must develop and execute your own testing program.

That leaves the question of whether to use the services of a CRO specialist or run your own testing program. If you don’t want to spend any money, the DIY approach may be your only option. But, considering the almost infinite number of variables, the testing knowledge required and software infrastructure needed, a DIY approach can easily become a money pit of false results that ends up costing more than going with the pros.

But you’re still not out of questions – and you still haven’t found the answer to maximizing your conversion rates.

Unfortunately, CRO experts are a commodity. Even if you manage to avoid the less scrupulous, you are still faced with choosing from a wide range of options. Each of them will have their own theories, methods and criteria. Just like AB test results, a CRO specialist’s record of success with other sites does not automatically make him or her the best choice for your program.

Finding Some of Your Own Answers

CRO Yes No Maybe

One of the biggest mistakes that ecommerce and lead generation site managers make is to simply hand off their CRO to a specialist. Like being forced to blindly believe everything the corner mechanic tells you about your car because you haven’t a clue how it works, you will be forced to do the same with the advice your CRO specialist gives you if you don’t first find some answers for yourself.

CRO can be a mystical world of bounce rates, time-on-site and eye-tracking maps. And the question of where to begin finding CRO answers is just a big as it is regarding your AB testing program.

But, if you take a step back, away from the crowd of the details, and look instead at larger, overall goals of testing and CRO, you’ll see a different, somewhat simpler picture.

When you do, you will discover the answers you need to step back into the crowd of details with better focus on those that will help you get where you want to be.

The Three E’s of Conversion Rate Optimization

Like it should be with everything you do in business, the three Es all relate to your customer. Start looking at your CRO in the light of the following points. You’ll be better able to know where to start, how to get where you want to go, and to know when you get there. (Although, until you get 100% conversions, you’ll probably want to keep going when you get to where you thought you wanted to be.)

Emotion

Emotion is the first ‘E’ for a reason. It is perhaps the most important, least understood and most ignored part of web design and CRO.

Massive tomes have been written on human emotion as they relate to marketing and sales, but we’ll barely nick the surface here. Keeping the focus on your web visitors, each one has emotional needs and concerns when they land on your site. Job one of your testing program is to discover what are those needs and how best to meet them.

  • Personas – The first step is to find out who are your customers. Whether you study your site analytics to see what they prefer, or actually go out and talk to them (recommended!), the more you know about your target audience, the better you are able to meet their emotional needs. Personas help you create hypothetical personality composites of your customers so you can learn more about them. While it’s generally accepted that there are four basic personality types, Meyers-Briggs bumps that up to 16 and you can break each of those into many others. You should develop many different customer personas for your design and testing.
  • Emotional Needs – We all have needs, from the basic need for food and water to the higher need for love and self actualization. Fulfilling those needs is a powerful human motivator. Think about how your site can meet the emotional needs of your target personas. Before we go into it too much here, our friends at Unbounce recently uploaded an excellent post on “How to Create Landing Pages That Address the Emotional Needs of Prospects”.
  • FUDs – Or Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts. We all have FUDs about many things we do in life, like skydiving. But, while fear for our personal safety is an understandable reaction to skydiving, it’s difficult to understand all the subtle fears, uncertainties and doubts, and their profound affect our actions, that we experience when we land on a web site for the first time. Are we in the right place? Will I find what I seek? Who are these guys? FUDs manifest themselves in internal ‘objections’ to conversion. Check out this post about how addressing FUD-based objections increased conversions by 60%.

Ease

None other than the grand master of all things related to online search, analytics, and now driver-less cars, gives us the best example of how website ease-of-use can conquer the world.

Have you ever wondered how Google, who entered the game long after Yahoo and Microsoft, has managed to maintain search engine market share that is more than double the combined market share of all their competition?

You need to go back to the 1990’s for the answer. Take a look at this screencap of Google’s homepage from 1999. What do you notice? First, it hasn’t changed much in 16 years. Second, it is incredibly easy to know exactly what you need to do to get what you want.

You use Google.com for one thing, web searches, so that’s what they give you; clearly and simply.

Google homepage 1999

Now look at the pages of Google’s main search engine competition Bing and Yahoo. See any differences?

Yahoo homepage

Bing homepage

You’ll not likely be able to get away with Google’s ease and simplicity on your homepage. But the lesson is there. The easier you make it for people to convert, the more likely they will be to do so. And that ease of use can set you apart from the competition.

Experience

To be clear, we’re talking user experience (but using that term would have messed up the title of the post).

Everything we’ve discussed so far under emotion and ease can also be considered part of your visitor’s user experience. But the first two can exist and be properly executed, yet the visitor might not have a positive overall user experience. A site may be easy to navigate, but still be frustrating if it doesn’t have all the info that the visitor seeks. Similarly, in might evoke emotion, but not provide a clear path to conversion.

Journey Maps: The process of creating customer journey maps will help you focus on the path a person takes from initial awareness of your message through to becoming a repeat customer. In terms of your site and landing pages, a customer journey map reveals your potential customers’ activities (i.e.shopping online), motivations (i.e. find the best price), questions and concerns (i.e. should I buy the extended warranty?) and barriers (i.e. can’t find different color options) as they navigate through your site. From there, you can develop the graphic design, content and links that meet their needs.

The three E’s aren’t the answer to where to start your CRO program. Instead, they are a point of view that will light the path for the overall journey through conversion rate optimization. Like your customers’ relationship with your business, your quest for better conversions should never end.

By khalid on December 30, 2014 8:27 am
Posted in (Ecommerce)

According to current reports, at present only about 1.6 billion people use their mobile devices to shop online globally. However, by the end of 2017, over two billion mobile phone or tablet users will make some form of mobile commerce transaction. 95% of mobile internet users look up local information on their phones for the purpose of calling or visiting a business. Presently, mobile devices account for 19% of all US retail e-commerce sales. This figure is estimated to reach 27% by the end of 2018, which represents 1 out of every 4 US retail e-commerce dollars. Check out our infographic, ‘Mobile Commerce Statistics and Trends’ for an in-depth view into details such as the US m-commerce sales by device, conversion rate, average order value and much more.

Mobile commerce Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp conversion optimization

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US Retail M-Commerce Sales By Device (in billions)

Year Tablets Smartphone Other mobile devices
2014 $38.02 $18.49 $1.27
2015 $51.96 $22.92 $1.53
2016 $68.98 $27.47 $1.67
2017 $81.87 $30.91 $1.72
2018 $96.31 $34.63 $1.75

Average Conversion Rate By Device

Device Average Conversion Rate Average Revenue Per Visit
Desktop 2.06% $4.11
Tablet 1.54% $2.58
Mobile phone 0.55% $0.87

Average E-Commerce Order By Device

Smartphone Device Average Order Value
iPhone $117.76
Android $111.70
Windows $100.91

 

People who shop online using their mobile devices tend to spend twice as much via digital channels than those not buying on mobile devices.

Online Shopping Percentages Based On Device

Device Online Shopping Percentage (2014)
PC and Laptop Dropped from 78% to 63%
Smartphone Doubled from 8% to 15%
Tablets Doubled from 5% to 10%

 

32% of shoppers changed their minds about purchasing items after checking out product information on their mobiles within brick-and-mortar stores. Out of these shoppers:

  • 20% decided to complete their purchase elsewhere
  • 20% decided against purchase
  • 22% decided to buy the items online
  • Only 19% of the shoppers actually completed the purchase cycle in-store.

56% of smartphone or tablet users intend on utilizing their devices to search for and/or buy gifts this holiday season. That’s a 7% increase from last year. 42% will do more shopping on their smartphones and tablets this year.

53% of smartphone and tablet owners will shop on company-specific apps downloaded from an app store.

By Stephen Da Cambra on December 8, 2014 12:41 pm

2014’s holiday sales season is in full swing and so far the reviews are mixed.

According to the National Retail Federation, overall retail sales, including online and in-store, were down 11% from 2013, to $50.9 billion, for the kickoff Black Friday weekend.

And there were more slumping sales figures (vs. 2013) in the NRF’s research:

  • Overall, about 134 million people shopped over the 4-day weekend, down 5.2%
  • Average sale per online customer is down 10.2% to $159.55
  • Average total spend per shopper over the weekend: $380.95, down 6.4%

Despite the disappointing early data, the NRF sticks by its optimistic prediction for a healthy 4.1% increase in sales for the entire season.

holiday shopping cart

Many analysts blame online sales (a moot point considering overall sales are down) and Ferguson-related boycotts for at least part of the slow results, but the NRF has a different take.

“We are excited to be witnessing an evolutionary change in holiday shopping by both consumers and retailers, and expect this trend to continue in the years ahead.” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release on the organization’s website. Shay goes on to cite a stronger economy, which reduces the dependence on deep Black Friday discounts, 24/7 online shopping and early promotions as indicators of that ‘evolutionary change’.

Regardless of the reasons for the poor sales performance out of the gate, retailers are now in the heat of the holiday sales race as it runs to the next benchmark, Super Saturday. After that, you have precious few days to make up sales shortages before Christmas.

As Matthew Shay puts it, “It’s going to be a dogfight for the entire season every day, every minute,” he said. “Holiday sales are now a marathon, not a sprint.”

The Holiday Sales Landing Page Ambush

To gauge how merchants are doing mid-race in the 2014 holiday sales marathon, we took a look at the homepages (above the fold) of five leading retailers’ ecommerce sites.

We found a surprisingly wide variety of tactics, some creativity and, in more than one case, a dearth of basic conversion optimization.

Walmart 2014 holiday sales homepage

1. Walmart

Similar to their week long Black Friday event, Walmart turned Cyber Monday into ‘Cyber Week’.

The Good: Shipping costs are the leading reason for shopping cart abandonment and Walmart punches up their Free Shipping policy. The “Shop Now’ button is worded as a command and is prominent on the page, both of which should encourage clicks.

The Bad: Sliders are so 2010. Walmart’s is so fast that you don’t have time to read the panel. Curiously, the web designers chose to repeat items, listed on their permanent left-side drop-down menu, again on the right side of the page. It seems like a waste of valuable real estate.

The Ugly: Talk about wasting real estate. What’s going on about half way down the page? Imagine the holiday shopper, in the heat of battle, facing a call-to-action for snacks. And the subsequent landing page is a confusing mutation of Walmart & Frito Lay branding. Must be a sweet co-op advertising deal.

Nordstrom 2014 holiday sales homepage

2. Nordstrom

Upscale isn’t the word. They don’t even mention the word ‘holiday’ – or any others related to the season. Trés chic.

The Good: We all need gift ideas and most of us have a budget, so the broad range of choices and clear price points are appreciated.

The Bad: It’s like the designers mashed up a Nordstrom site with that of a discount retailer. The calls-to-action are whispered. Perhaps most surprisingly, Nordstrom’s very effective “Free Shipping. Free Returns. All the Time.’ tag line – again, a very effective cure for cart abandonment – is missing during the most important sales season of the year. (It’s below the fold.)

The Ugly: Did Nordstrom fire their product stylist before photographing the sweater in the top left?

Sears 2014 holiday sales homepage

3. Sears

A web design that stays as true to the retailer’s brand as any other. Land here and you feel like you’re in a Sears: clothes, appliances and Craftsman.

The Good: Yeah, yeah … ‘free shipping’; calls-to-action, whitespace, nice signature shot … yeah, yeah. But what’s this? ‘In-Vehicle Pick-Up’? Sweet.

The Bad: The ‘In-Vehicle Pick-Up’ is a unique value proposition, at least among the sites reviewed here, and Sears understates it. Click on the link and you land on a YouTube video that has less than 10,000 views (at the time of writing). If you have such a clear UVP, you should work it better than Sears does.

The Ugly: Does Sears really need to sell space on their homepage to Chevy during the most crucial sales period of the year?

American Eagle 2014 holiday sales homepage

4. American Eagle

Ah, to be young and hip again (or at least once in my case).

The Good: Lots of good conversion-oriented stuff here. Crisp, seasonal images. A 20% Off online offer. Multiple CTAs. And the reassurance that your purchase will arrive on time for Christmas.

The Bad: Visitors should get a prize for finding their ‘Free shipping All Season Long!’ offer (why not add it to the ‘On Time’ CTA?). And bonus points for finding ‘USE CODE: GOBBLEUP’.

The Ugly: Nothing really. There’s nothing on this page that makes you scratch your head and wonder ‘what were they thinking?’

In fact, AE highlights something that’s lacking across all ecommerce retailers. The gift guide. And not just a list of ‘Gifts for Him Under $100’, but a full-fledged gift idea engine, like the one at www.gifts.com

Ecommerce sites seem to assume we know what we are looking for.

Witness: a search for ‘headphones’ returns results dominated by major retailers from Amazon to Walmart. Only BeatsByDre.com and Wikipedia.com break the retailers’ stranglehold on page 1.

But search ‘gift ideas’ and the share of page one results held by the majors drops from 80% to 40%.

Crate & Barrel 2014 holiday sales homepage

5. Crate & Barrel

One of the leading ecommerce sites offers a few tips to the wannabes.

The Good: it’s the only site in our group that’s unafraid to use the words ‘Christmas’ and ‘Hanukkah’. We all know the importance of personalization, especially online, yet we shy away from doing so in even the simplest way during a most important religious time from many customers.

The Bad: Crate & Barrel chooses the height of the season to promote what are traditionally post-holiday sale items. Interesting tactic. But the page makes me feel like Christmas is over.

The Ugly: What do you think? What’s missing or what would you improve about the Crate & Barrel homepage?

Posted in (Social Media)

Did you know that the U.S. social media advertising revenue is estimated to increase by more than 194%, to reach $15 billion in 2018? This increase is from $5.1 billion last year, which translates to a 24.0% annual growth rate. This means that U.S. social mobile Ad revenues are estimated to grow from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $7.6 billion in 2018, a marked 38.3% growth rate. Check out our infographic on “Social Network Ad Spending – Statistics and Trends” for information on the global Ad spend per region on social networks and many more interesting statistics.

Social Media Ad Spending  Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp conversion optimization

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Social Network Ad Spending Share By Region

Region 2013 2014 2015 2016
North America 43.2% 42.3% 41.0% 40.2%
Asia Pacific 28.6% 29.2% 30.4% 31.0%
Western Europe 21.6% 22.4% 22.9% 23.3%
Latin America 3.2% 3.1% 2.9% 2.7%
Central or Eastern Europe 2.8% 2.4% 2.1% 1.9%
Middle East & Africa 0.6% 0.6% 0.7% 0.8%

 

Social Network Ad Spending Viewed As Percentage Of Digital Ad Spending

Year Percentage Of Digital Ad Spending
2013 9.4%
2014 12.2%
2015 14.3%
2016 16.1%

 

Social Ad Spending Per Social Network User By Region

Region 2013 2014 2015
North America $26.05 $32.82 $39.89
Asia Pacific $12.04 $13.71 $16.17
Western Europe $3.36 $3.60 $4.12
Latin America $1.87 $2.21 $2.54
Central or Eastern Europe $1.78 $2.17 $2.39
Middle East & Africa $0.37 $0.50 $0.66
Worldwide $5.14 $6.97 $7.98

 

The rate for social Ads on Facebook has risen by 54% over the last year, while the rate for cost-Per Click search Ads rose by 8% during the same period.

The Most Preferred Social Media Platforms By Advertisers

Social Media Platform Percentage
Facebook 92%
YouTube 35%
Twitter 23%

 

Estimated Social Ad Budget For Fortune 500 Companies

Social Ad Budget Percentage
None 14%
$1-1,000 10%
$1,000 – $5,000 19%
$5,000 – $10,000 19%
$10,000 – $50,000 24%
$50,000+ 14%

 

The average worldwide Cost-Per-Click rate for Facebook Ads increased by 24% in 2013

The average worldwide Cost-Per-Thousand rate per impression for Facebook Ads increased by 140% in 2013

56% of Facebook users say they have clicked on an advertisement.

Over 500,000 Facebook pages are paying to promote posts.

59% of Facebook and 81% of Twitter advertising revenue comes from mobile devices.

By Stephen Da Cambra on November 17, 2014 5:10 pm

The character of Don Draper, the dapper protagonist of the multi-Emmy Award winning program Mad Men, is a composite drawn in part from a number of real-life advertising people.

Draper’s professional accomplishments are said to be based on those of Rosser Reeves. Among other notable contributions to the profession, Reeves helped develop the idea that advertising must highlight a product’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP – sometimes referred to as unique value proposition or UVP).

Reeves’ more famous applications of the USP principle include “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” for M&Ms candy, and “Better Living Through Chemistry” for Dupont Corporation.

unique selling proposition graphics

Draper demonstrates his ability to distill and highlight a product’s USP in the very first episode of Mad Men, entitled “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”.

It’s the early 1960s, a time when cigarette smoking was at its zenith, but also a time when consumers became more aware of its health risks.

In one scene, executives of the Lucky Strike cigarette company are about to leave, unimpressed that Draper and his colleagues were unable to get around the health question. But a passing remark tweaks Draper’s imagination and he calls them back.

“This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal”, says Draper. “We have six identical companies making six identical products.”

“We can say anything we want.”

Draper asks the execs about the cigarette-making process, and toasting the tobacco is one of the steps they mention.

“There you go,” says Draper. And he writes ‘It’s Toasted’ on a chalkboard.

“But everyone else’s tobacco is toasted”, replies an exec.

“No”, replies Draper.

“Everyone else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strike’s is ‘Toasted’.”

Lucky Strikes "It's Toasted" unique selling proposition

USPs and Online Conversion Optimization

Fast forward five decades from Mad Men times and USPs are more in demand now than ever. With mere seconds to capture a visitor’s attention on websites and landing pages, digital marketers rack their brains to come up with clear USPs to quickly set their products apart and drive conversions.

But it seems that the passage of time has also blurred the vision of a USP. Today, to develop a USP, companies are advised to find the one thing they do that‘s not done by any of their competition. Or at least that’s how most digital marketers interpret the idea of a unique selling proposition.

From using the personality of an owner or employee, to developing unique packaging or processes, like Man Crates, businesses are frantic to find something that is absolutely different about their offer. They struggle to define their USP.

Make no mistake, if there is something that is absolutely unique about your company or product, then you have an excellent USP. But “if” is the biggest word in that sentence.

It’s a Unique Selling Proposition

As well as it works, it’s a simplification of the process to make your USP dependant on a unique characteristic. It’s an over-emphasis on ‘unique’. And it’s an easy solution; find something unique about your product and, poof, you have your USP.

But what happens when everyone is “dedicated to customer service”, “exceeds expectations” and “saves you money”? Developing a unique “selling proposition” takes a little more work.

A USP should propose something that will help you convert and sell. Something that customers will uniquely associate with your company. And that something does not need to be unique to your company. How so? Think about the “It’s Toasted” story.

You need to look only as far as some famous advertising slogans for examples of USPs that don’t represent anything different about a company, but that suggests something to customers that they uniquely associate with the company or brand.

  • “Just Do It”
    It’s one of the greatest advertising slogans of all time. And one of the greatest USPs. Yet it does not highlight anything that Nike shoes have that others don’t.
  • “It keeps on going and going and going”
    Isn’t that odd? Energizer doesn’t come out and say that their batteries are the longest lasting. They know that would be a fool’s game. But by suggesting that their batteries “keep on going”, longevity is forever associated with their brand.
  • “Finger Lickin’ Good”
    We lick our fingers after eating chocolate, apples and the chicken we cook at home. Yet KFC built a fast food empire on making this common action uniquely associated with their product.

SEO Shifts Focus Away from USPs

There’s more about the use of USPs in digital marketing that’s different from how they were used in Rosser’s day. And search engine optimization is at least partly to blame.

If you look at Lucky Strike’s actual “It’s Toasted” campaigns, you’ll see the USP everywhere. It’s printed on the package, it’s on promotional products and across all their media. The first time and every time you see the Lucky Strike brand, you know “It’s Toasted”.

But that doesn’t happen on digital. Indeed, we struggle to express USPs in the very first impression many customers have of our offer: search engine results.

Online, search results have themselves become the USP. If you’ve managed a first-page ranking, that’s what you have that your competition doesn’t. And considering the payoff, it’s a highly profitable USP.

However, is the fact that the first position in Google results gets 1300% more clicks than the 10th position purely a symptom of ranking. Or is it because we sacrifice USPs in favor of keywords in title tags?

Google search results page
Except for price, there is no attempt to express a USP in the titles of the search results listed above. With nothing else on which to base their decision, searchers will naturally start clicking from the top.

What if just one of those title tags offered a “Beautiful Butt Machine” or “Cellulite Killer” in addition to the key phrase?

“You must make the product interesting, not just make the ad different.”
Rosser Reeves

“Advertising is based on one thing. Happiness. Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that, whatever you’re doing, it’s okay. You are okay.”
Don Draper

Sources:
www.tobacco.stanford.edu

Posted in (Ecommerce)

The 2014 holiday season will have only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas, just one more than last year and five fewer than 2012. Still the US retail commerce is expected to grow 16.6% this holiday season up from the 15.3% growth of last year. Looks like it doesn’t matter anymore just how many days there are in the holiday season anymore. Retail commerce is growing by leaps and bounds each season. This year we estimate that holiday season sales will account for 23.7% of total retail E-commerce sales in the US.

If you’re just as curious as we are, do check out our infographic, “Holiday Shopping Statistics And Trends”, for an in-depth look-see into the holiday ecommerce stats in the US.

Holiday Shopping Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp Landing page optimization

To Publish this Image on your Blog or Website . Copy this code

Estimated US Retail E-Commerce Holiday Sales Statistics

Year Retail E-Commerce Sale ( In Billions)
2012 $53.89
2013 $62.11
2014 $72.41

 
Almost 92 percent of holiday shoppers plan to go online to research gifts and/or make purchases this holiday season.

Mobile commerce will account for 33% of US online holiday sales

94%of polled consumers said that discounts will be important to their purchase decisions.

91% of shoppers say a low price is an important factor in the decision to buy

Around 70% of US ecommerce shipments during the 2014 Christmas shopping period include free shipping. This stands at a 3% increase over 2013, when about two-thirds of all U.S. holiday ecommerce shipments were sent at the merchant’s expense.

83% of online shoppers are willing to wait additional days for delivery if they can get free shipping.

80% of consumers will use more than one device at once while shopping for the holidays, while 84%will begin shopping on device and finish on another.

Since 2012, the time spent researching popular holiday shopping categories such as toys and home appliances has increased from 9.9 to 12 hours and 13 to 15.8 hours, respectively.

Before making a purchase in 2013, shoppers referenced 12 sources of information—up from just five in 2010

74% of shoppers said a simple, streamlined shopping cart that makes checkout fast and easy was very or extremely important.

48% of shoppers were always or frequently influenced by online ratings and reviews.

73% of on online shoppers consider free shipping as the #1 criterion for making a purchase. Another study shows that 49% have at some time abandoned their shopping cart due to shipping costs.

In the simplest terms, your customers choose to buy from you because of what makes you and/or your products different.

If they find no difference between you and your competition, they have no mechanism with which to make a purchase decision.

They have no trigger to buy.

Understanding that simple fact can bring time-saving focus to your AB testing program.

If you follow conventional testing wisdom, you will maintain an ongoing program of testing every element of your landing pages, email messages, product pages, etc., to find what improves conversion rates and what doesn’t.

CRO Testing

But the consequence of the ‘test everything’ approach is that, in doing so, you can spend a virtually endless amount of time testing virtually endless numbers of elements. Just think about some of the testing staples, like headlines, call-to-action buttons and trust elements. You could write and rewrite headlines all day, every day. The size, shape, color, copy and position of your CTA buttons each have near infinite options and combinations. And what affects trust? Again, there are near infinite possibilities, from the look and feel of your page to the number of reviews you have, and their wording.

There’s nothing wrong with ongoing testing. In fact, it’s recommended – at least until you reach 100% conversion rates, (if you do, please call us, we’d like to chat). But with a little more focus your testing will get better results than simply trying something new.

How Triggers Focus Your Testing

The headlines, CTA buttons and trust elements should all be triggers. They and the other elements of your page can trigger an action by giving the customer a ‘reason’ to do so; a reason that is usually connected to a basic need.

Here’s the shocker for your current testing program – and where you begin to get more focus. If you do not have a trigger, you will not convert anyone.

If your headlines, buttons, trust icons, free whitepapers, testimonials, etc., are not perceived (even unconsciously) by your customers as fulfilling a need, then those elements won’t help your conversion rates.

To help clarify how that works, here are a few basic triggers, or reasons, that will get your customers to convert:

- Health - Brand identification
- Safety - Fun or convenience
- Education/Learning - Faster/easier process
- Make or save money - Reduce fear
- Improve appearance - Prove they are right
- Lose weight - Belonging/acceptance
- Get status - Missing an opportunity
- Save time

Triggers are More Than Simple Benefits

Yes, benefits are most often good triggers. But triggers go beyond just outlining a straight-line benefit. Triggers can reinforce something the customer already believes. A trigger can simply be a color, a sound or a check mark. You can put triggers in your content to evoke positive feelings, like claiming that your service is ‘better than chocolate’.

As a simple example of using triggers to add focus to your testing, let’s look at the wording on a CTA button. We all know that the old “Submit” button generally doesn’t work nearly as well as one with benefit-driven copy, like “Get Your Free Whitepaper”.

But the reason that “Submit” doesn’t work is because it does not appeal to a strong customer need. Yes, they have a need to submit the information, but that’s not very powerful because they are usually hesitant to give away personal information. If someone clicks on a ‘Submit’ button, they are doing so because they found a strong trigger elsewhere on the page or in the buying process.

Conversely, “Get Your Free Whitepaper” works because it hits a number of powerful triggers, including saving money, learning and potentially one based on the content of the paper, like weight loss.

So instead of almost blindly trying different versions of elements, start thinking in terms of testing different triggers in each element.

Examples of Triggers

The best way to look at how focusing on triggers can help give your testing more direction is to look at real examples.

Facebook

If you ever stopped using your Facebook account, you may have received an email from them encouraging you to sign in. As pointed out on behaviourmodel.org, that message is full of triggers.

Triggers on Facebook

First, Facebook doesn’t just ask you to sign in, they give you a number of reasons, including that you have messages and friend requests waiting. Also, immediately above the ‘Sign In’ button, which is the main call-to-action and conversion goal of the message, Facebook asks you to sign in “and start connecting”. If you use social media, you probably have a need to connect.

Klout

Klout.com offers a way to measure your influence on social media. All of that influence is based on having something to say. Say nothing and you will have no influence. A constant supply of quality content is an excellent way to always have something to say. Klout knows that content and social media marketers are desperate for content that helps them say something worthwhile and thereby improve their social media influence.

When you visit Klout.com, a place where you might expect to see lots of statistics, charts and graphs, (like at Klout’s competitor, kred.com). Instead, you find a site bent on helping you find and share content.

Triggers on Klout

Here are a few of the triggers Klout uses, none of them directly related to reflecting or improving your influence.

  • Search Window – Instead of labelling their search window “Search”, they pose the question “What do you want to share today?”
  • Create’ Button – On the left-hand navbar. They use the word ‘Create’ for one of the options (and even have a pen on paper icon to go with it). When you click on ‘Create’, you are not lead to a place where you can create anything. Instead, it links to the page shown above, from which you can find and share other people’s content. Why use a ‘Create’ button that links to a page that’s really for sharing. Every content social media marketer wants to feel they are ‘creating’ content. And Klout has already pulled the ‘share’ trigger in the search field.
  • ‘Schedule’ Button – Again, with a single word, Klout touches on an important trigger for their customers. If you have content scheduled to be published, your content marketing and social media is in better shape than if you have nothing scheduled. But clicking on ‘Schedule’ doesn’t schedule anything. It merely shows the Klout-suggested content that you chose to share when you used the ‘Create’ button. Klout gets a little tricky here: ‘Create’, ‘Schedule’ and ‘Measure’ are listed together. But they use “Create’ and ‘Measure’ as verbs, and ‘Schedule’ as a noun.

Email Inbox

If you use email marketing you are aware of the importance of your subject lines and hopefully you test them. And you’ll know the effectiveness of benefit-driven headline. But, as mentioned, benefits are usually triggers. But not always. Take a look below at the subject lines from an inbox.

Triggers in email inbox

Here’s a list of subject line trigger passes and fails from the inbox above. And the reasons why:

  • PASS: IRNewsLink Daily – “Get Ready for 3.4 million new web shoppers”. Invesp helps optimize internet retail sites. This appeals to my need to learn more about what I write.
  • FAIL: Listly – “Spooky”. I’m all for cryptic clues, but not when trying to filter a crammed inbox.
  • PASS: Jess at Contently – “3 Awesome SEO Tricks for Content Marketers” – Everyone likes to learn about a ‘trick’ that presumably leads to better results; and these tricks are ‘awesome’.
  • FAIL: Wayfair – “Rug designs that stand the test of time”. Again, this might be a bit of a trigger, but not nearly enough to get me to open it. If I’m part of Wayfair’s target market, shoppers, I probably want things go out of style so I can do more shopping. And check the snippet from the email that follows the subject line – they missed a great opportunity to tell me about a real trigger: saving money.
  • PASS: Social Media Today – “How Do Your Customers Feel About Your Brand” – If you click on this one, you will learn more about your level of acceptance.
  • FAIL: Vacay.ca – ‘Vacay.ca’. Don’t waste people’s time.

At first, it may not be easy to turn your thinking toward using triggers in your testing criteria. Take it one step at a time. Look for the obvious. And, most of all, keep testing.

By Stephen Da Cambra on October 20, 2014 4:48 pm

How can your conversion optimization be in a rut? You have an ongoing AB testing program, you stay on top of your analytics’ conversion goals, bounce rates, traffic sources, etc., and you know which are your best performing digital marketing channels.

You’re set.

And there’s the rut.

You’re never set.

woman stuck in a rut of conversion rates

Everyone knows how fickle customers can be and how constantly digital marketing evolves. Yet we continue to pour more resources into finding set-play solutions to most of our digital marketing hurdles. While we are convinced of the efficacy of being constantly aware and reactive to many digital benchmarks, those to which we pay attention are overwhelmingly numbers-based.

Think about it, you probably know the number of visitors you get; you likely have a good idea of bounce rates and you certainly stay on top of how many conversions you get.

But did you know that over 20% of your keyword research is obsolete from the moment it’s completed?

How big of a rut are you in? Despite years of research, testing and analysis, average online conversion rates continue to languish in the low single digits for ecommerce and lead generation. Bricks and mortar retail conversion rates are 700% higher. While it’s not really fair to compare online and offline commerce, it gives you an idea of the depth of the rut.

And what do we do about it? We keep tracking and reacting to the numbers and we tend to ignore many many of the ‘softer’ digital marketing tactics to which we cannot easily apply a numeric value.

  • Persona Creation – If you don’t use personas, you may think they’re a waste of time; after all, who doesn’t know their target customers? If you use personas, you probably wonder how anyone can market or optimize conversions without them.Personas are fictional amalgams of your customers’ personalities, lifestyle and buying habits. Their purpose is to give you a clear idea to whom you speak when you create your marketing messages.You should use a number of different personas to represent different personality types. Many automated online marketing and sales packages include handy modules to create many personas and assign them to new contacts.

    personas graphic

    Whether you do it by hand or use a package, the problem is that personas, like your customers, are not static. And the longer they remain so, the further away they will get from being a true reflection of your current markets.

    World events, competing messages, the weather; anything that might affect walk-in customers’ buying habits, should be reflected in your online personas. And as all of those factors change almost daily, your personas should change almost as often

    Of course it’s impossible to adjust your personas so frequently, but the mere fact that you should underlines the folly of doing the opposite: never changing them. Start thinking about dynamic personas.

  • Email Database Optimization – ‘Whoa’, you say. Yes, you get the idea that optimizing your online marketing can’t be based on static data and numbers, but you have an active and aggressive program to make sure your email marketing database constantly grows. In other words, if there is anything that’s dynamic about your digital marketing, it’s your email list.But the rut is to think that dynamism is a one way street of list building.email graphic

    ‘20% of the pea pods contain 80% of the peas’ – There’s perhaps no better example in digital marketing of the Pareto Principle than your email database. Statistics show that email open rates are 400% higher and click rates are 500% higher for initial emails versus subsequent messages.

    But, when it comes to email benchmarks, we are stuck in the numbers game of list size and we are afraid to reduce it. But if you want to instantly increase your open rates and click-through rates, start weeding out the 80% of addressees who rarely react to your messages.

    Start focusing your efforts on your new leads and customers. They are, overwhelmingly, the ones who listen and take action.

  • Keyword Research – Long ago, or at least in pre-google times, marketers used things like focus groups and consumer surveys to discover the thought processes their customers went through during the buying cycle. Those were the best tools available, but they are at once brilliant and flawed. Brilliant in that they put the focus on the customer and not the product. Flawed because of the intermediation of time between the completion of the research and the delivery of the messages it fostered.For the first time, keyword research gave us insights into the very moment that consumers seek out the information they need to make a purchase.That little gem of a trait quickly made keyword research a basic tactic in even the simplest of marketing programs.

    keyword research graphic

    If the overriding point of this post is that it’s a mistake to set and forget any part of your digital marketing, keyword research is the most salient example. From the very moment you finish your research, its effectiveness starts to deteriorate significantly.

    16% to 20% of the keywords your customers use in searches have never been used before. So even the most effective research today will uncover only 80% of the terms your potential customers will use tomorrow. And, presumably, those new terms will replace many of those that show well in your research resulting in a significant number of under-performing keywords almost from the time you spot them.

    And that process will further ravage your research as time goes on. Yet we continue to spend gobs of cash on one-time keyword searches.

The temptation to set-and-forget these digital marketing tactics is difficult to deny. Who can afford to develop dynamic personas, to keep email lists fresh and to weed-out under-performing keywords in favor of timely terms?

But can you afford not to do so?

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