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Are AMP Landing Pages All They’re Cracked up to Be? A Look Into Page Speed

AMP landing pages worth the fuss?

For a while now you may have heard the buzz surrounding Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and—if you haven’t already done some research—you might be wondering what all the fuss is about (or wondering why a landing page and conversion platform like us hasn’t mentioned this trendy topic yet).

Well, we’ll get to all of that! Today we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about AMP as a marketer and why your Google rep has likely been singing its praises.

First up: What is AMP?

AMP is a project that was first announced by Google back in 2015 as a means to serve up mobile pages faster. Accelerated mobile pages use a restrictive HTML format to serve up web pages almost instantly to your visitors, with the added benefit of pages being cached and pre-rendered by third parties (like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing News, and Cloudflare).

This is a stark change from waiting for every single element on your page to load and, at its core, it’s a way of developing simple web pages that meet strict guidelines for preventing slow load times. It’s helping bring the internet back to basics.

AMP pages on mobile
How AMP pages look in mobile search results.

Early adopters of AMP included publishers like The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Much like Facebook’s Instant Articles, AMP gave these publishers a way to reach audiences in an almost-instant way (ultimately important for decreasing bounce rate, and signalling to Google your content is satisfying visitors). Since publishers run their business on page views, this was a natural place to start and great fit for AMP.

Google then created extra incentive for publishers by prioritizing AMP articles in their “top stories” carousel. You can currently spot AMP articles in your own mobile search results by looking for the AMP thunderbolt symbol.

Some AMP myths, debunked

The AMP Project has come a long way since 2015, but it’s still having a hard time shaking some of its roots. Here are a few of the myths floating around:

Myth 1: AMP is only for online publishers
AMP landing pages are a perfect match for publishers, but serving up news faster is not its only use case. Believe it or not, even eCommerce brands are increasing their revenue with the same traffic by converting their product pages to AMP.

While this giant conversion over to AMP may sound like a massive undertaking, remember: You don’t need to create an entire AMP mobile website like Aliexpress. You can start with a single landing page that lots of customers reach from organic or paid search. Simply decreasing your bounce rate on the visitor’s first entry and speeding load time up can have a big impact on first impressions, and ultimately your conversion rate.

Myth 2: AMP is owned by Google
We can’t deny that Google has been the driving force behind the AMP technology and its adoption around the world. But despite its massive role in driving AMP forward, the team is insistent that AMP is not a Google project, but rather an open-source project. Although the lion’s share of the more than 500 contributors on GitHub are Googlers, they’re not the only ones.

Myth 3: AMP is only for mobile
It’s true mobile is a huge part of Accelerated Mobile Pages (it’s in the name, after all), but that can be a little bit misleading. As Paul Bakaus from Google explains, AMP HTML is mobile first but not mobile only. He believes you’ll see better gains from AMP on mobile pages, but recommends trying AMP on desktop as well.

What are AMP landing pages good for?

We know that fast-loading pages equal lower bounce rates and higher conversions, and AMP provides an almost foolproof way of achieving fast mobile landing pages. Its strict guidelines for what can be included have speed best practices built in, which is why AMP landing pages have a medium load time in under one second. And let’s be honest: We could all use some extra conversions on our landing pages via speed increases.

So what does AMP mean for SEO?
While an AMP landing page does not necessarily equal a higher search ranking, Google recently announced that, starting this summer, page speed will finally become a ranking factor in its mobile search algorithm.

While Google has always favored content with a positive user experience (speed being a part of that) speed did not previously have a direct effect on the ranking algorithm. Before July 2018, it might be a good idea to do some spring cleaning of your mobile landing pages (swapping out massive images and keeping things small)—whether these pages are accelerated or not.

What do AMP landing pages mean for PPC?
For a long time now, “landing page experience” has played into your Ad Rank on AdWords, and we know that page speed factors into this experience. One of AdWords’ five tips for improving landing page experience is to “decrease your landing page load time,” for which they suggest to “consider turning your landing page into an Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP).”

AdWords expert and ex-Googler Frederick Vallaeys has even called AMP landing pages “the best kept AdWords secret” due to the opportunity for improving conversion rates.

It’s really all about page speed

At the end of the day, the reason you’d create an AMP landing page is to improve your page speed. By creating these pages, you ensure fast load time, but this doesn’t guarantee your content is good enough to keep people around. Page speed is only one factor in a positive landing page experience, and won’t solve the problem of bad content.

Moreover, if page speed is what you’re after, AMP is only one way of achieving it. Even the AMP Project’s website admits that the format puts user experience above the developer experience. Simply put, it’s not the easy way to do things. So before jumping straight into AMP, consider whether or not you can reduce page speed in simpler ways, like cutting back on scripts and image sizes.

Not sure where to start, try running your landing page through our free Landing Page Analyzer for some actionable tips.

What are the limitations?

AMP can do wonders for your page speed, but it doesn’t come without a few caveats. In fact, the reason the AMP framework creates a fast page is because it is so restrictive. AMP is constantly being improved, but it’s still far from perfect. Here are a few limitations to consider before going all in on AMP:

Scripts are often not supported

landing pages built with AMP sacrafice scripts
Photo by Henri L. on Unsplash.

Scripts are a speed killer, period. Support for JavaScript is incredibly restricted in the AMP framework, so if you build an AMP landing page, you won’t be able to add all the scripts you currently use. As an example, if you want to connect your page with your CRM (a pretty common integration via a script), you’d need an AMP version of this script to be supported. Scripts are supported currently on a case-by-case basis and more often than not they’re unsupported at this time.

Analytics aren’t straightforward

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash.

One of the best features of AMP is also one of its biggest drawbacks. Since the AMP pages are pre-cached, they are served from a different domain than your own. That means that your website visitor might click an ad, then visit your AMP landing page served up pre-loaded from Google.com, and then click through to your website.

This can really throw off your site’s analytics, splitting up your user sessions between your domain and third-party domains. If you’re not comfortable giving up perfect analytics for gains in load time, AMP might not be for you.

Worried about your website visitors seeing inconsistent domains? As of last month, AMP released an update that will keep the display URL as your own domain even if the page is being served from another domain such as Google.com.

Even though AMP Analytics are available, there are a limited amount of options available. Here’s what you’ll be able to track:

  • Page data: Domain, path, page title
  • User data: client ID, timezone
  • Browsing data: referrer, unique page view ID
  • Browser data: screen height, screen width, user agent
  • Interaction data: page height and page width
  • Event data

Setup isn’t super quick
Just because AMPs format is restrictive doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park to implement. Developing AMP pages could take your developers significantly longer to create than a non-AMP page. They’ll then need to validate that their code ticks all of the boxes of the AMP format and also upkeep the pages to make sure they continue to comply with these restrictions.

Browser versions are limited
A smaller restriction (but one nonetheless) is that AMP only supports the most recent two versions of major web browsers. This means if your visitors are hanging onto a circa 2014 version of Chrome, they won’t see your AMP page.

What naysayers are saying

Like anything, there are two sides to the AMP story. Because of its close ties to Google, some think the company has too much control, using its power to shift the internet to a new way of developing web pages altogether. Some think it’s unfair for Google to pressure companies to adopt the framework in order to reach the top stories carousel or maintain their organic rankings. Others worry that Google could abandon AMP at any moment, after more than 1.5 billion web pages have already been published using the format.

On the other side of the argument, web users are speaking for themselves by abandoning slow pages at a faster rate. They’re also choosing Google more than any other search engine. Although there are alternatives, Google holds 90% of mobile market share. There must be a reason for this, and I’d hazard a guess that it’s because Google gives a better user experience than its alternatives.

From the AMP Project’s website:

“The companies involved in the project want to make the mobile web work better for all — not just for one platform, one set of technologies, or one set of publishers, or one set of advertisers. Making the project open source enables people to share and contribute their ideas and code for making the mobile web fast. We are just at the beginning of that journey and we look forward to other publishers, advertisers and technology companies joining along the way.”

What Unbounce is doing about AMP

This info’s all well and good, but you’re probably wondering: what’s Unbounce—best known as a conversion and landing page platform—going to do about AMP?

I’m glad you asked.

We’re happy to share that we’re currently building AMP capabilities into the Unbounce builder.

We’re premiering this functionality with a tight-knit group of customers in an alpha test before we open up to a wider closed beta of additional customers. The reason we’re working with a small group first is to ensure that we are able to get early feedback while we work on adding more capabilities. We’ll be closely monitoring conversion data from the alpha participants to ensure customers are seeing the value that we think they’ll see with AMP.

Here’s a taste of what it might look like in the Unbounce builder:

What took us so long?

By now you’re likely convinced that fast pages are critical to your conversion rates, and AMP can help, so you may be wondering, what took Unbounce so long to build (let alone talk about) it?

Well, we began investigating AMP and how it would work in the Unbounce builder back in 2017, and our friends at Google have been supporting us along the way. We made the decision not to publicly share our progress on AMP until we officially kicked off the development of our alpha program last month.

Trust us, page speed is something that’s been on our mind for quite some time. Last summer, our team became one of the first to complete Google’s Mobile Site Certification, and in September we returned to Google’s Canadian HQ in Toronto to join the search giant in co-hosting a mobile speed hackathon. Most recently, Google mentioned our alpha at their annual developer conference, and in a few months, they’ll be hosting the very first Canadian West Coast date of the AMP Roadshow right here in our Vancouver office.

Sign up for the AMP Roadshow at Unbounce HQ hosted by Google, on September 5, 2018.

We had hoped to bring you AMP a little bit earlier, but our team has been heads down for the past several months focused on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Keeping your data safe and secure is our top priority, and we believe it is important to provide you a landing page solution that is GDPR compliant as this sets a critical foundation.

We are proud to say after months of hard work, Unbounce is GDPR compliant. Less than a month ago, AMP also released an update designed to help AMP pages become GDPR compliant as well.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Learn all about GDPR and how it affects your business here. (It’s a big deal).

Our next steps with AMP

Now that we’ve got your data safe and secure via GDPR compliance, our team is full steam ahead experimenting and developing AMP capabilities in the Unbounce builder. We’ve made some great progress and it’s looking pretty darn cool if I do say so myself (seriously, we can’t wait to show you). Once we’ve completed our alpha test, we’ll be widening the scope to a closed beta test.

The progress will look something like this:

  • Alpha >> Closed Beta >> Open Beta >> General Availability >> Public Launch

We’ll be sharing our progress right here on the Unbounce blog, and—if you’re a current customer (or about to create landing pages with us)—we invite you to sign up for early access to the beta once it’s launched.

Not sure whether AMP is for you? You can still achieve faster pages without this markup. Try running your landing page through our free Landing Page Analyzer to get some quick tips on how to improve your landing page today.

Read more: 

Are AMP Landing Pages All They’re Cracked up to Be? A Look Into Page Speed

5 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

If you want to craft a delightful marketing experience and you’re using popups, you need to make sure you hold them to the same high standards as the content they are covering up. You can learn a lot by looking at bad website popup examples.

Once you understand what not to do, you’ll default to starting your own popup designs from a better baseline.

What does a bad popup design actually look like?

Well, it depends on your judging criteria, and for the examples below, I was considering these seven things, among others:

  1. Clarity: Is it easy to figure out the offer really quickly?
  2. Relevance: Is it related to the content of the current page?
  3. Manipulation: Does it use psychological trickery in the copy?
  4. Design: Is it butt ugly?
  5. Control: Is it clear what all options will do?
  6. Escape: Can you get rid of it easily?
  7. Value: Is the reward worth more than the perceived (or actual) effort?

The following popup examples, each make a number of critical errors in their design decisions. Take a look, and share your own worst popup design examples in the comments!


#1 – Mashable Shmashable

What’s so bad about it?

If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

  • Design: Bad. The first thing I saw looks like a big mistake. The Green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.
  • Clarity: Bad. And what on earth does the headline mean? click.click.click. Upon deeper exploration, it’s the name of the newsletter, but that’s not apparent at all on first load.
  • Clarity: worse. Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.
  • Design: Bad. Also, that background is gnarly.

#2 – KAM Motorsports Revolution!

What’s so bad about it?

It’s motorsports. It’s not a revolution. Unless they’re talking about wheels going round in circles.

  • Clarity: Bad. The headline doesn’t say what it is, or what I’ll get by subscribing. I have to read the fine print to figure that out.
  • Copy: Bad. Just reading the phrase “abuse your email” is a big turn off. Just like the word spam, I wasn’t thinking that you were going to abuse me, but now it’s on my mind.
  • Relevance: Bad. Newsletter subscription popups are great, they have a strong sense of utility and can give people exactly what they want. But I don’t like them as entry popups. They’re much better when they use an exit trigger, or a scroll trigger. Using a “Scroll Up” trigger is smart because it means they’ve read some of your content, and they are scrolling back up vs. leaving directly, which is another micro-signal that they are interested.

#3 – Utterly Confused


(Source unknown – I found it on confirmshaming.tumblr.com)

What’s so bad about it?

I have no earthly clue what’s going on here.

  • Clarity: Bad. I had to re-read it five times before I figured out what was going on.
  • Control: Bad. After reading it, I didn’t know whether I would be agreeing with what they’re going to give me, or with the statement. It’s like an affirmation or something. But I have no way of knowing what will happen if I click either button. My best guess after spending this much time writing about it is that it’s a poll. But a really meaningless one if it is. Click here to find out how many people agreed with “doing better”…
  • It ends with “Do Better”. I agree. They need to do a lot better.

#4 – Purple Nurple

What’s so bad about it?

  • Manipulation: Bad. Our first “Confirm Shaming” example. Otherwise known as “Good Cop / Bad Cop”. Forcing people to click a button that says “Detest” on it is so incongruent with the concept of a mattress company that I think they’re just being cheap. There’s no need to speak to people that way.
  • I found a second popup example by Purple (below), and have to give them credit. The copy on this one is significantly more persuasive. Get this. If you look at the section I circled (in purple), it says that if you subscribe, they’ll keep you up to date with SHIPPING TIMES!!! Seriously? If you’re going to email me and say “Hey Oli, great news! We can ship you a mattress in 2 weeks!”, I’ll go to Leesa, or Endy, or one of a million other Casper copycats.


#5 – Hello BC

What’s so bad about it?

Context: This is an entry popup, and I have never been to this site before.

  • Relevance: Bad. The site is Hellobc.com, the title says “Supernatural British Columbia”, and the content on the page is about skydiving. So what list is this for? And nobody wants to be on a “list”, stop saying “list”. It’s like saying email blast. Blast your list. If you read the first sentence it gets even more confusing, as you’ll be receiving updates from Destination BC. That’s 4 different concepts at play here.
  • Design: Bad. It’s legitimately butt ugly. I mean, come on. This is for Beautiful Supernatural British Columbia ffs. It’s stunning here. Show some scenery to entice me in.
  • Value: Bad. Seeing that form when I arrive on the page is like a giant eff you. Why do they think it’s okay to ask for that much info, with that much text, before I’ve even seen any content?
  • Control: Bad. And there’s not any error handling. However, the submit button remains inactive until you magically click the right amount of options to trigger it’s hungry hungry hippo mouth to open.

Train. Wreck.


Well, that’s all for today, folks. You might be wondering why there were so few popup examples in this post. Honestly, when the team was rallying to find me a bunch of examples, we all struggled to find many truly awful ones. We also struggled to find many really awesome ones.

This is where YOU come in!

Send me your terrible and awesome popup examples!

If you have any wonderfully brutal, or brutally wonderful examples of website popup design, I’d really appreciate a URL in the comments. If you could share the trigger details too that would be rad (e.g. exit, entrance, scroll, delay etc.).

Tomorrow’s Post is about Awesome Popup Examples! YAY.

So get your butt back here same time tomorrow, where I’ll be sharing my brand new Popup Delight Equation that you can use to grade your own popup designs.

Cheers,
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

Source article – 

5 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups.

Today I want to talk a bit about what it’s like, as a marketer, to be marketing something that’s difficult to market.
Stop blaming the popups for what bad marketers do.
You see, there’s a common problem that many marketers face, and it’s also one of the most asked questions I hear when I’m on the road, as a speaker:

“How do I great marketing for a boring product or service?”

That’s a tough challenge for sure, although the good news is that if you can inject some originality you’ll be a clear winner, as all of your competitors are also boring. However, I think I can one-up that problem:

“How do I do great marketing for something that’s universally hated, like popups?”

We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us when we decided to release the popups product because of the long legacy of manipulative abuse it carries with it.

In fact, as the discussion about product direction began in the office, there were some visceral (negative) reactions from some folks on the engineering team. They feared that we were switching over to the dark side.

It makes sense to me that this sentiment would come from developers. In my experience, really good software developers have one thing in common. They want to make a difference in the world. Developers are makers by design, and part of building something is wanting it to have a positive impact on those who use it.

To quell those types of fears requires a few things;

  • Education about the positive use cases for the technology,
  • Evidence in the form of good popup examples, showcasing how to use them in a delightful and responsible manner,
  • Features such as advanced triggers & targeting to empower marketers to deliver greater relevance to visitors,
  • And most important of all – it requires us to take a stance. We can’t change the past unless we lead by example.

It’s been my goal since we started down this path, to make it clear that we are drawing a line in the sand between the negative past, and a positive future.

Which is why we initially launched with the name “Overlays” instead of popups.

Overlays vs. Popups – The End of an Era

It made a lot of sense at the time, from a branding perspective. Through podcast interviews and public speaking gigs, I was trying to change the narrative around popups. Whenever I was talking about a bad experience, I would call it a popup. When it was a positive (and additive) experience, I’d call it an overlay. It was a really good way to create a clear separation.

I even started to notice more and more people calling them overlays. Progress.

Unfortunately, it would still require a lot of continued education to make a dent in the global perception of the terminology, that with the search volume for “overlays” being tiny compared to popups, factored heavily into our decision to pivot back to calling a popup a popup.

Positioning is part of a product marketer’s job – our VP of Product Marketing, Ryan Engley recently completed our most recent positioning document for the new products. Just as the umbrella term “Convertables” we had been using to include popups and sticky bars had created confusion, “Overlays” was again making the job harder than it should have been. You can tell, just from reading this paragraph alone that it’s a complex problem, and we’re moving in the right direction by re-simplifying.

The biggest challenge developing our positioning was the number of important strategic questions that we needed to answer first. The market problems we solve, for who, how our product fits today with our vision for the future, who we see ourselves competing with, whether we position ourselves as a comprehensive platform that solves a unique problem, or whether we go to market with individual products and tools etc. It’s a beast of an undertaking.

My biggest lightbulb moment was working with April Dunford who pushed me to get away from competing tool-to-tool with other products. She said in order to win that way, you’d have to be market leading in every tool, and that won’t happen. So what’s the unique value that only you offer and why is it important?

— Ryan Engley, VP Product Marketing at Unbounce

You can read more about our initial product adoption woes, and how our naming conventions hurt us, in the first post in the series – Product Marketing Month: Why I’m Writing 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days.

Let’s get back to the subject of popups. I think it’s important to look back at the history of this device to better understand how they came about, and why they have always caused such a stir.

Browser Interaction Models & the History of the Popup

The talk I was doing much of last year was called Data-Driven Design. As part of the talk, I get into interaction design trends. I’ve included the “Trendline” slide below.

You can see that the first occurrence of a popup was back in 1998. Also, note that I included Overlays in late 2016 when we first started that discussion.

Like many bad trends, popups began as web developers started trying to hack browser behavior to create different interruptive interaction modes. I know I made a lot of them back in the day, but I was always doing it to try to create a cool experience. For example, I was building a company Intranet and wanted to open up content in a new window, resize it, and stick it to the side of the screen as a sidebar navigation for the main window. That was all good stuff.

Tabbed browsers have done a lot to help clean up the mess of multiple windows, and if you couple that with popup blockers, there’s a clear evolution in how this type of behavior is being dealt with.

Then came the pop-under, often connected to Malware virus schemes where malicious scripts could be running in the background and you wouldn’t even know.

And then the always fun “Are you sure you want to do that?” Inception-like looping exit dialogs.

Developers/hackers took the simple Javascript modal “Ok” “Cancel” and abused it to the point where there was no real way out of the page. If you tried to leave the page one modal would lead to another, and another, and you couldn’t actually close the browser window/tab unless you could do it within the split second between one dialog closing and the next opening. It was awful.

So we have a legacy of abuse that’s killed the perception of popups.

What if Popups Had Been Built Into Browsers?

Imagine for a moment that a popup was simply one of many available interaction models available in the browsing experience. They could have had a specification from the W3C, with a set of acceptable criteria for display modes. It would be an entirely different experience. Sure, there would still be abuse, but it’s an interesting thought.

This is why it’s important that we (Unbounce and other like-minded marketers and Martech software providers) take a stance, and build the right functionality into this type of tool so that it can be used responsibly.

Furthermore, we need to keep the dialog going, to educate the current and future generations of marketers that to be original, be delightful, be a business that represents themselves as professionals, means taking responsibility for our actions and doing everything we can to take the high road in our marketing.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

Technology is NOT the problem, We Are.

It’s the disrespectful and irresponsible marketers who use manipulative pop-psychology tactics for the sake of a few more leads, who are the problem. We need to stop blaming popups for bad experiences, and instead, call out the malicious marketers who are ruining it for those trying to do good work.

It’s a tough challenge to reverse years of negative perception, but that’s okay. It’s okay because we know the value the product brings to our customers, how much extra success they’re having, and because we’ve built a solution that can be configured in precise ways that make it simple to use in a responsible manner (if you’re a good person).


Get your butt back here tomorrow to see 20+ delightful website popup examples. More importantly, I’ll also be sharing “The Delight Equation”, my latest formula for measuring quantifying how good your popups really are.

See you then!

Cheers
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

Continue reading: 

Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups.

How To Increase Website Conversions With The Right Messaging

 Note: This is a guest article written by Josh Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing at Privy. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Josh’s.

Let’s cut right to it. We all suck at conversion. According to E-marketer, 98% of online traffic leaves a site without filling out a form or completing a purchase. That means you have missed a chance to start building a relationship with potential customers. While it’s easy to shrug off a low on-site conversion rate, imagine if you owned a physical store and 100 people walked in… and 98 walked out without interacting with a represented or making a purchase. You’d be pretty sad, right? Yet, that’s what most of us are doing in our online stores and are not able to increase website conversions.

Why Do We Do This To Ourselves?

For starters, most organizations are thinking their product far more than they are thinking about conversion. If you’re a publisher, that might be the articles you are producing. If you’re an online store, it’s literally the products you are sourcing, merchandising, and selling. If you’re a non-profit, it’s the services you are providing to the world.

They are also likely thinking about how to drive site traffic. Whether that is through building a social media presence, paid search, radio, or even print ads.

And they may have even hired someone to think about the customer or member experience and how to keep those people engaged and generating word of mouth. But they often forget the middle, critical piece of the funnel, which is on-site conversion.

For the (much) smaller group of organizations who are actively trying to drive conversion, most fall into one of two camps. They either take a very passive approach because they don’t want to be too salesy. Or they take an overly aggressive approach with forms coming at a visitor from all angles, blocking a site’s core content.  But that’s not what good salespeople do. They take what they know about a prospect (in this case, a site visitor) and they use that to craft a message.

What We Know About Site Visitors

Through the magic of digital marketing, we know a lot about a site visitor without having to ask. While some people may find this creepy, for marketers it is an untapped goldmine of messaging opportunity.  For example, we can usually answer the question:

  • Where did they come from?
  • Is this their first visit?
  • What page are they on?
  • How many pages have they looked at?
  • What language do they speak?
  • What device are they on?
  • How much is in their cart?

What Do You Do With That Information?

While most organizations who have started thinking about conversion might have a simple opt-in form pop-up for visitors to their site, those who are focused on it can use the information we know to their advantage to create a more targeted experience for visitors to their site by crafting different messages based on who they are and what they have done. For the example below, I am going to imagine an E-Commerce company selling women’s clothing and I want to offer a 10% discount to new customers who sign up for my email list. While you probably wouldn’t want to hit someone with ALL of these messages, you can see how your core message might change based on what you know about a visitor.

Question What we know Messaging Strategy
Where did they come from? The visitor clicked on an Instagram ad featuring a specific blue swimsuit . Try featuring the product that they already expressed interest in within your message. “Looking for a new swimsuit? Get 10% off your first purchase by entering your email below.”
Is this their first visit? They have visited before but have never bought anything from you. Don’t treat them like a stranger! “Welcome back to my store! We’ve just launched a new product line. Sign up below to get 10% off your first purchase.”
What page are they on? They are on the “About” page of your site and not actually shopping. Try a “stay in touch” message over a discount. “Sign up to hear about new products and special offers.”
How many pages have they looked at?

AND

How much is in their cart?

They have looked at 7 different pages in your store without adding anything to their cart, which means they are browsing but are not yet sold. “Having trouble finding what you are looking for? Sign up and we’ll let you know when we launch new products and give you a 10% discount for your first purchase.”
What language do they speak? The visitor’s primary language on their browser is spanish. “¡Bienvenidos a mi tienda! Regístrese abajo para obtener un 10% de descuento en su primera compra.”
What device category are they on? The visitor is on a mobile device, which is a great cue to slim down your text. “Sign up today for 10% off your first purchase.”

How To Deliver The Message

There are two things that you need to think about when delivering the message to your site visitors: timing and format. Let’s look at the format first :

1- Targeted displays – There are three categories of display types that drive the most on-site conversions.

– Popups: Popups, also known as lightboxes, typically display in the center of the website, or sometimes as “fly outs” in the corner.

– Bars: A full width bar that typically sits either on top of your site, or at the bottom.

– Banners: A more subtle interaction that sits at the top or bottom of a site, but starts in a “hidden” state until triggered, then rolls into sight at the desired time.

Pop-Ups for Increasing Website Conversions
Pop-Up for Targeted Display


2-
Chat
More and more often, successful online stores are investing in automated and live chat to help reduce the anxiety that consumers feel before making a purchase from a new retailer. In fact, the availability of a “live” person on your site accomplishes two important goals:

– It allows people to ask any questions ahead of completing a purchase. Especially for larger ticket items, this inspires confidence that they are making the right decision

– It tells them that if something goes wrong with an order, there is a real person they can reach out to for help. The combination of those two factors makes shoppers more likely to hit the buy button.

Chat for Increasing Website Conversions
Engaging Visitors through Chat

3- Video
The third way of delivering the message that can have a huge impact on conversion is the use of video. Unlike static images and text, video helps bring your products to life and gives you the chance to both explain why someone should buy and put the product in a real life context. Or in some cases, lets you tell a broader story of how the product came to be in the first place.  Here’s an example of one I love (and am desperate to own.)

Product Videos for Increasing Website Conversions
Product Videos for Capturing Visitor Attention

Triggering Your Messages

The second consideration is deciding when to trigger each of your messages. There are four primary ways you can trigger a campaign to your desired audience.

  • Timer: The time trigger simply enables you to determine when to display your campaign, based on how long a visitor has been on your site. It could show immediately when a visitor lands, 10 seconds later, etc.
  • Exit intent: This trigger is growing in popularity. Exit intent tracks your visitors mouse movement, and if the visitor appears to be leaving or “exiting” your site, you can use that as a trigger for your campaign.
  • Scroll percentage: Show your campaign once a visitor has scrolled down your page a certain percentage.
  • Tabs: Tabs, or other visual calls to action can be customized to fit in with your site layout, and when clicked, trigger your campaign to display.

Which Converts Best?

Ultimately any combination of targeted messaging delivered through displays, videos, and chats will improve your conversion rate. We’ve looked at thousands of campaigns and found that each of the display types and triggers can be effective.  Because investing in video can take significant resources (time and money), I recommend starting with display and chat to deliver the right message at the right time. Once you have videos on hand, you can embed them on your product pages to level up your product content and add them into your displays to get them in front of shoppers as they navigate your site.

In terms of display types, banners are actually the highest converting format largely because they are less subtle than a simple “bar” but less frustrating to visitors than pop-ups that interrupt the browsing experience before a visitor has had a chance to consumer any of your content. In addition, we find that triggering a campaign in less than thirty seconds from the time a visitor lands on your site (or a specific page) is most effective in driving conversion.

Setting that data aside for a second, recent trends are showing that among the most impactful things you can do if you operate an online store is actually combining a pop-up with an exit intent trigger that serves as a “cart saver.” Simply put, if someone is visiting your store and attempts to leave by closing the browser tab or clicking the back button, you can show a message with a special offer that gets them to sign up and/or keep shopping while giving you permission to market to them in the future.

Exit Intent Pop-Ups to Increase Website Conversions
Exit Intent Pop-Ups

Walk. Jog. Run.

So, where do you get started? You don’t need to craft custom messages for every audience and every page on your site right out of the gate. We suggest thinking about one or two of your most common audiences and creating targeted offers and messages just for them that you can track, test, and adapt before rolling out a full on-site conversion program.

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How To Increase Website Conversions With The Right Messaging

Are Your Keyword Rankings You See On Google Correct?

Google Search Results Differ

Have you ever doubted Google? When it comes to the keyword ranking accuracy, we can be skeptical about rank tracker tools we use or SEOs we hired. But when we check rankings manually, we trust our eyes and Google. But you shouldn’t be so careless. Google is clever and agile. They have a massive list of factors that affect the search results they display for you. Even if you see your website in the Number 1 position, it doesn’t mean you really are on top of the world. Your customers may see a very different Top 10. Fortunately, you can…

The post Are Your Keyword Rankings You See On Google Correct? appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Are Your Keyword Rankings You See On Google Correct?

Unbounce Convertables, Now with Advanced Targeting: Show the Right Offer to the Right Visitor at the Right Time

advtarget_blogtop

Imagine you run one of those old-timey candy shops.

It’s packed wall to wall with chocolate, gummies, bubble gum, licorice and everything in between.

Unfortunately, you spent all your money opening the shop, and haven’t the funds to hire someone to help the customers while you tend the register. So when the shop gets busy, you notice many of your patrons become overwhelmed by the selection, often walking out of the shop empty handed.

Now imagine the candy shop is your website, and the patrons your visitors.

Each visitor to your website is unique — one may know exactly what they want while another requires a little more assistance. Your website, however, is simply not equipped to convert all your visitors, and you don’t have the time or resources to make changes to your website, hire a consultant to run a bunch of A/B tests or run a new campaign to attract more prospects.

What do you do?

Overlays can help

In November 2016, we launched Unbounce Convertables, a new conversion tool to help you capture more conversions on any page of your website, blog or online store.

The first type of Convertables is website overlays triggered by visitor behavior: entrance, exit, timed and on-scroll.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

If we’re using the candy shop analogy, overlays are the shop helpers that present your visitors with exactly what they’re looking for (or what they didn’t know they were looking for!). And the best part is they’re a fast, reliable and affordable way to add conversion opportunities to any web page, meaning you can launch them effortlessly while looking like a conversion hero.

Overlays work because, when implemented properly, they leverage psychological principles to focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer.

However, just like the rest of your marketing campaigns — be it PPC or email — the better targeted the overlay, the better results you’ll get.

Which is why we’re pleased to announce our new advanced targeting and trigger options.

Here’s what’s new:

These new features, combined with Unbounce’s core offerings — our trusted drag and drop builder, high-converting templates and marketing automation integrations — mean that you can build on-brand overlays quickly and…

Present the right offer to the right visitor at the right time

Has this ever happened to you? You’re killing time surfing the interweb when boom! — you’re presented with the most perfect-for-you offer that you wonder if your fairy godmother really does exist.

There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon: she does (lucky duck) or the offer was so perfectly targeted that it only feels like magic.

The latter is at the crux of Unbounce Convertables’ new advanced targeting: target the right person at the right time with the right offer.

Not only does this approach ensure your prospects see only the most relevant, timely and valuable offers, it ensures that you generate the best quality leads, signups and sales.

Let’s dig in.

Location targeting

Thanks to the internet, we can find what we’re looking for regardless of where we live.

For marketers, this is both a blessing and a curse — a blessing because you can cast a much wider net, and a curse because of differences in language, currency, laws, competitive landscape and preferences.

By pairing your overlay with location targeting, you can guarantee only visitors arriving from a specific country will see it. Here’s how it might look in the real world:

  • Offer region-specific ecommerce promos, like free shipping for UK visitors only
  • Abide by local data collection and age requirement laws, like the US’s CAN-SPAM or Canada’s CASL legislation
  • Promote local events to only local visitors
  • Present the same offer in different languages of origin
  • Highlight the most popular product in a country only to visitors from that country
  • And much more

Referrer targeting

Message Match is a principle we consistently preach at Unbounce. It’s about making sure your visitors see the same message from point A to point B of your funnel, which is important because strong message match increases conversions by reassuring visitors they’ve come to the right place.

With referrer targeting, you can show a Convertable to visitors who have arrived from a specified URL, creating that message match and forward momentum through your funnel. Here are just a few of the many ways referrer targeting can be used:

  • Offer organic visitors popular content, like a 101-level ebook, via a lead gen overlay
  • Present visitors navigating from an internal product page an offer to purchase
  • Show visitors who’ve viewed a technology partner page content relevant to them, like, for example, how your tool integrates with the partner tool
  • And, you guessed it, much more

Dynamic Text Replacement

Like referrer targeting, Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) allows marketers to maintain a consistent message from referral source to overlay.

However, unlike referrer targeting where the visitor’s source triggers the presentation of a unique overlay, DTR lets you customize the actual text of your Convertable using URL parameters.

This means that the visitor sees custom copy, which increases the relevancy of your overlay for each individual user. Here’s what that could look like:

  • Create personalized incentives (e.g., “Hey Judy, how ‘bout free shipping?”)
  • Make relevant offers based on previous account activity (e.g., “You really really really like Carly Rae Jepsen — sign up for our newsletter for more on your favorite artists”)

Forget Cookie Monster, marketers love cookies. But we’re not talking about the ooey gooey chocolate chip kind (though I certainly wouldn’t scoff at one), we’re talking about cookie targeting.

Cookie targeting allows Unbounce users to specify which visitors see (or don’t see) a Convertable based on their browsing history. Here are a few examples of what cookie targeting allows you to do:

  • Hide Convertables from visitors who have already opted in
  • Show only one Convertable per visitor and hide all others (this is key if you’re running multiple Convertables, since you want to avoid bombarding your visitors)
  • Ask returning visitors who have already converted to complete a post-conversion action, like following you on Twitter

But wait, there’s more

You didn’t think that was it, did you?

On top of our advanced targeting and DTR, we’re also releasing a new type of trigger.

On-click trigger

Whereas targeting allows you to specify which visitors see your overlay, triggers determine when they’ll see it. Convertables launched with four triggers (on arrival, on exit, on scroll and after delay) and today we’re rolling out a fifth trigger: on click.

Overlays triggered on click mean you can select any element on your web page to trigger an overlay when the user clicks on it. Use it to build your newsletter subscriber list on your blog or to gather interested contacts for product updates.

Still not sure what we mean? Click here.

The secret to highly effective overlays…

The secret to highly effective overlays is really no secret at all — it’s all about presenting the right offer to the right visitor at the right time.

Using Unbounce Convertables, you can mix and match different targeting and triggers to present the most relevant, timely offers for your visitors.

And you can do it all within Unbounce’s trusted drag and drop builder, loaded with fully customizable overlay templates so you can stay on brand and still launch in mere minutes.

Convertables are available now from Unbounce. Try them for free for 30 days!

Already an Unbounce customer? Log into Unbounce and start using Convertables today at no extra cost.

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Unbounce Convertables, Now with Advanced Targeting: Show the Right Offer to the Right Visitor at the Right Time

Website Review: charmingcharlie.com

VWO recently conducted a giveaway along with Concept Feedback where we promised a free website evaluation by a Concept Feedback expert. Charmingcharlie.com won this contest and Concept Feedback expert Tom Charde along with the team has been working hard to churn out a brilliant review for this website. Read on for a review of CharmingCharlie.com, head to tail.

Analysis Environment

Note that the following analysis was done viewing the site on;

Web – MacBook Pro 15” Retina display (2880 x 1800) | OS X (10.10.3) | Firefox (38.0.1) browser

Mobile – iPhone 5S | iOS (8.3) | Safari browser.


First Impressions

After a quick walkthrough of the website, a couple things are very clear: it has a very clean design, is aesthetically appealing, has an audience-appropriate tone, and provides an impressive product offering. Charming Charlie steers clear of excessively large images and in-your-face promotional messages, which, in itself, is a big win for the user experience.

Brand Messaging

The first big hurdle that we noticed upon visiting the site is that it lacks any kind of site description, positioning statement, brand promise and/or value proposition. Your existing customers may know all about you, but there’s a large, untapped audience you’re overlooking: people who are unfamiliar with your brand.

Here’s a few basic questions one should ask themselves:

  1. How would you describe the company to someone who’s never heard of it?
  2. How does it provide value to its customers?
  3. What differentiates it from the rest of the market?

Here’s what we can make out from a simple research of the brand; Charming Charlie is a retail store (online and offline) with the latest trends in women’s apparel, fashion jewellery, shoes, handbags, accessories and more. This should ideally be mentioned  on the home page and done so in text format.

There are several great copy points on the ‘About’ page that could ideally craft the messaging and help establish a unique tone for Charming Charlie.

  • We’re crazy for color.
  • We live for sparkle.
  • We thrive on making a statement.
  • We know accessories have the power to transform both your outfit and your outlook.
  • Helping every woman, everywhere, find her fabulous.
  • If it feels good, do it. If it looks good, do it in every color.
  • Unleash your one-of-a-kind style.
  • Bring out your most fabulous, fierce and fun self.

Value Proposition

Charming Charlie needs a one-line “hook” statement; something succinct and hard-hitting that can be used as a tagline near the logo and possibly in the header area. The fifth bullet above (Helping every woman, everywhere, find her fabulous) is close, but it’s a bit too long. Consider this;

Charming Charlie
find your fabulous!

Refining the messaging will not only strengthen the brand, but will also boost the search engine rankings for relevant keywords.


Website Analysis

Moving forth we will break our analysis down to 3 categories; Technical analysis, Heuristic analysis and Mobile website analysis.

Technical Analysis

(Desktop)

The first and foremost thing that one should focus on is to ensure a glitch free website experience. Fixing minor bugs is low-hanging fruit, one that you can make a lot of money on. We found some of these conversion killing bugs on Charming Charlie;

GLOBAL-1 Upon arriving, the site immediately forces an intrusive promotional pop-up on the user. We’d recommend running a few tests on this (one without any pop-ups; one with a 15-sec delay; etc) to see if the bounce rate improves.

GLOBAL-1

The top promo banner in the header (scarves) is loading an error message.

GLOBAL-1

The “Quick Views” feature on the “As Seen In” page doesn’t seem to be working; it displays an endless loading spinner.

Many of the text-based graphics throughout the site aren’t retina-ready. (Examples: Charming Charlie logo, media logos in footer, free shipping banner.) Most users won’t experience a difference, but those with retina displays are seeing a pronounced drop in graphic quality.

(Mobile)

The email sign-up page (under “Customer Service”) gives an “invalid certificate” error. Testing this on Mercury Browser also showed similar results.

MOBILE-3 (1)


Heuristic Analysis

Homepage

CharmingCharlie.com’s clean, minimalistic design is one of its major strengths. It sets the tone right away. The homepage’s look and feel is right on target. Design-wise, one thing we’d suggest is tweaking the styling (inconsistent text colors and alignment) and placement (perhaps move to hero image area?) of the promo banners, which seem to jumble up the header space. The area of the homepage with the most room for improvement is the content.

  1. Allocation of page real estate: The current viewport is dominated by a giant slider; an area that can be used much more efficiently. Try reducing the height of the slider images, moving some of the featured products and messages up, and testing for engagement.
  2. Complete absence of copy: There is literally zero copy as HTML text; the entire page is image-based. In addition to accessibility issues and increased page load time, lacking text on the homepage is killing the chances of achieving a decent search engine ranking.
  3. Lack of Clarity around Newsletter sign up form: There is a “Sign up for emails” form in the footer, but there’s no information about what this is for. Think about it from a user’s perspective: “Why should I sign up? What are you going to send me in exchange for giving my personal contact information?” Try adding a brief description near the form or a link which describes what a user can look forward to.

Following is a screenshot of homepage, annotated with things that should be worked upon.

Modified Home Page copy

We’ve also made a quick mockup for one possible way the header might be transformed.

Variation

VWO_proposed-header_TC edits

vs

Control

Home header

Category Browsing

The What’s New category is confusing.

  • It has a combination of “themed” content (Modern Americana, Citrus Splash, Moroccan Muse).
  • A redirect to an existing main category (CC Essentials).
  • An out-of-place sub-category (Best Sellers).

There’s really only one true subcategory that fits here: New Arrivals. To remedy this, simply eliminate the What’s New category entirely by ‘New Arrivals’. Following is a screenshot of the category browsing drop down of Charming Charlie and things that should be worked upon.

Category browsing-1

GLOBAL-1

Also consider sorting the resulting list of categories into two grouped areas: those which are a product type (Jewellery, Handbags, Apparel, Accessories) and then all the others (New Arrivals, Best Sellers, Seasonal, Special Occasion, CC Essentials, Sale). And it may help to separate the two groups in the side nav with a faint line. Check the mockup with these suggestions implemented.

Product Page

The product page looks pretty standard but there are multiple tweaks which can be done to make them convert more. The screenshot below annotates some aspects which can be improved.

Product Page (1)

One other glaring aspect which we noticed was that there is no product review system. It often acts as a social proof and really helps the visitor take a decision on the product page.


Mobile Web

With e-commerce buyers rapidly gravitating towards mobile, fully functional mobile site is a must. CharmingCharlie.com isn’t a true responsive site, but it does have a fairly decent mobile
version.

Home Page

Similar to the desktop site, the mobile version of the homepage suffers from a serious page real estate concern: the promo messages, navigation, utilities, etc take up almost 60% of the initial screen. Reducing the size of this footprint and moving the meat of the content up will almost certainly improve bounce rate and conversions.

MOBILE-1

Store Locator – Visual Hierarchy Issues

With two form fields (styled differently for some reason) interspersed among three large, black buttons — the eye just doesn’t know where to go on this page.

Converting the buttons to links, and adding some space between the main content and the footer (email signup form) should help create a better flow.

MOBILE-2

Product Page Readability

We would recommend increasing the font size of the product page body copy. The size used on the About, Privacy, and other non-product pages is much easier to read — as can be seen below in a side-by-side comparison.

MOBILE-4

This brings us to the end of the website review of Charmingcharlie.com. We definitely hope Charming Charlie would implement these changes and share the results with us. We thank Tom Charde for working rigorously on this review and helping us in bringing this review to such good shape.

We are going to conduct another giveaway very soon; Can’t wait for the giveaway? You can head to Concept Feedback and hire expert services to get your website reviewed in detail.

Cheers!

The post Website Review: charmingcharlie.com appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Website Review: charmingcharlie.com

Beautiful Covers: An Interview With Chip Kidd

The work of Chip Kidd spans design, writing and, most recently, rock ’n’ roll. He definitely has the charisma to get ahead in that third field. He is best known for his unconventional book jackets, but he has published two novels of his own: The Learners and The Cheese Monkeys. Uninterested in design trends and fashions, he often draws inspiration from collectibles and memorabilia.
Kidd is now busy creating his masterpiece, a graphic novel born from his lifelong fascination with Batman (he regards himself as Batman’s number-one fan).

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Beautiful Covers: An Interview With Chip Kidd

Giving Users Some Credit

Websites are designed to be used by people of varying backgrounds, educations and technical levels. One of the challenges we face when designing for the Web is finding a way to create sites and applications that can be accessed by a widely disparate audience while avoiding the pitfall of sacrificing the quality of our work to cater to the dreaded ‘lowest common denominator.’
Further Reading on SmashingMag: What You Need To Know About Anticipatory Design Improving Customer Service with UX How To Successfully Educate Your Clients On Web Development Users are Not Idiots Even though it happens to me with some frequency, being told by a client that one of the requirements for their project is that it must be ‘idiot proof’ never fails to give me pause.

Originally posted here – 

Giving Users Some Credit

Users Are Not Idiots

Websites are designed to be used by people of varying backgrounds, educations and technical levels. One of the challenges we face when designing for the Web is finding a way to create sites and applications that can be accessed by a widely disparate audience while avoiding the pitfall of sacrificing the quality of our work to cater to the dreaded ‘lowest common denominator.’
Further Reading on SmashingMag: What You Need To Know About Anticipatory Design Improving Customer Service with UX Improving Customer Service with UX – Idiots & Drama Queens How To Successfully Educate Your Clients On Web Development Giving Users Some Credit Even though it happens to me with some frequency, being told by a client that one of the requirements for their project is that it must be ‘idiot proof’ never fails to give me pause.

Link: 

Users Are Not Idiots