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3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget


Today’s ad platforms can have even the most experienced PPC marketers spending more than intended.

Campaign settings, rules and other factors change over time, which can have substantial impact on your campaigns. For example, starting October 4th, 2017 Google announced they could spend up to two times your daily budget. If you’d been sitting calm with $1,000/day budget, not wanting to spend a penny more, you could have been surprised.

There are many unpredictable reasons you can wind up with traffic or spend you didn’t plan for (and may not even know) — which is why it’s useful to consider intended vs. actual traffic.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Intended traffic: Is the traffic you planned on acquiring in your strategy as a result of the keywords, geographies, and networks you defined.
  • Actual traffic: Is traffic you actually get from your ad platforms, in spite of your strategy. Sometimes you’ll see traffic that was not intended due to campaign settings, mistakes or platform changes.

In short, the gap between intended and actual traffic is wasted ad budget. But, fortunately, you can identify and fix this to save money.

are you wasting ad budget?
Wasted budget is like wasting pizza, only worse. (via Giphy)

In this post I’ll cover three ways you might be wasting your PPC spend and how to ensure you’re both aware, and can turn things around with quick fixes.

Mistake 1. Accidentally spending on bad search terms

Wasted budget on the wrong keywords is fairly common. As Melissa Mackey of B2B agency Gyro sees often:

“advertisers [bid] on keywords that they shouldn’t be bidding on. For example, novice advertisers selling shoes try to bid on ‘shoes.’ Overly broad keywords eat up budget and do not perform well for the advertiser.”

But the bigger problem here is that some marketers believe that keywords and search terms are the same thing. The terms are commonly used interchangeably, but they’re very different. Here’s how I define each:

  • What’s a search term? This is the exact word or phrase a person uses on the search engine to find what they were looking for (how buyers search). See the “Search Term” column in the example below.
  • What is a keyword? This is the word you use to target search terms on paid search platforms (how marketers target buyers). See the “Keyword” column in the example below.

If you misunderstand or accidentally misapply keyword match types (broad, broad modified, phrase, exact match), you can have a gap between search terms and keywords causing you to spend unknowingly.

For example, a client in the continued medical education space was targeting medical professionals who need Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Here’s what happened:

  • Intended traffic in this case included people searching ‘Pediatric Advanced Life Support’ or ‘PALS certification’.
  • Actual traffic ended up including Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification and PALS certification. However, because of poor keyword match types (and the acronym in this case), the company ended up with traffic from search terms such as “penpals online,” “free kids online pen pals,” and “senior pen pals.”

See the Search Terms Report as an example:

Click above to see larger image of how intended medical certification traffic turned into pen pals traffic (via SCUBE Marketing).

Traffic that attracted anyone looking for “pen pals” wasn’t intended, leading to wasted spend. The root cause of this was confusion over the difference between search terms, keywords, and their match types.

Action item: Take a closer look at search terms

To avoid this scenario yourself, run a Search Term report discussed above to identify which search terms (triggered by your keywords) are not relevant.

Then exclude irrelevant terms with negative keywords at ad group, campaign, or account level. From there, use keyword match types to better control your exclusions. For example:

  • Exact Match Negative to exclude just the exact term that was irrelevant. Example: -[penpals online]
  • Phrase Match Negative to exclude an irrelevant phrase pattern you noticed in your search terms. Example: -“penpals online”, which will exclude ‘California penpals online’, ‘penpals online’, and ‘penpals online for seniors’.
  • Broad Match Negative to exclude search terms containing irrelevant words. Example: -penpals, which will automatically exclude all search terms with penpals.

Once you’ve eliminated any obvious waste, reevaluate your keyword match type strategy. If you skip this step, you will continue to trigger lots of irrelevant search terms.

Your match types will range from exact match (with a close correlation), to broad match (with far correlation) between your keywords and search terms.

Ideally, break your broad match keywords into more specific keywords with broad match modified, phrase or exact match types. They will give you more control and trigger search terms you intend to target.

Mistake 2. Wasting spend on unintended locations

Similar to keyword match types, incorrect location settings in AdWords can trigger ads in locations you don’t want to serve and amount to wasted budget.

When we look at the reality of the situation, your location settings can trigger three types of geographies:

  1. Physical location. Your ads appear to people physically located in your target geography. This is the option we usually expect when selecting locations to target, in that it’s very direct. This is our intended traffic insofar as geography.
  2. Location of interest. Your ads appear to people searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. With this option, physical location doesn’t matter. As long as people have your target location in their search terms, the ad is triggered. This can result in out-of-country traffic that appears to be relevant, but perhaps isn’t for a myriad of reasons. (i.e. Perhaps you don’t ship to a given location, for example and your ads would thereby be irrelevant to those in that area).
  3. Both. This setting combines both targeting options. Your ads appear to people who are physically located in your target geography, or are searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. This is the broadest option.

To see how you can waste spend this way, here’s an example of how unintended location targeting affected a client in the industrial machinery space:

With respect to intended traffic, this client wanted to target people physically located in the United States. However, they ended up with traffic from Nigeria, India, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, and the Philippines. Unfortunately, the client doesn’t do business internationally, so their budget was spent on targeting the wrong locations.

In this case, the client kept the default AdWords setting of ‘Both’, which triggered the traffic from physical location and location of interest, causing the unintended international traffic. Fairly simple mistake to make.

Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Locations

Get a list of locations where your ads have triggered by running the User Locations Report in AdWords. See an example below with multiple unintended international locations for the same client I described above.

Incorrect Location Settings causing wasted ad budget
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.(via SCUBE Marketing)

Once identified, exclude irrelevant locations from within your campaign settings. After your locations have been excluded they will appear next to targeted locations. See an example below.

Exclude Locations In Campaign Settings To Stop Wasting Ad Budget
Exclude locations in campaign settings to stop wasting ad budget

Once you have identified any unintended locations, check how these locations were triggered by reviewing a Geographic Report. In our example, the ‘location of interest’ setting caused the traffic the client did not want.

Location of Interest Targeting Setting
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.

To avoid this, simply change the setting to ‘people in my targeted location’:

Mistake 3. Using the default regarding unintended networks

Network targeting has similar quirks as location targeting. The devil is in the details and wasted budget often lies in the settings. AdWords has different campaign types. If you’re not careful, and you stick with the default settings, your targeting can (and probably will) be off.

To clarify, here’s an example from the intended vs. actual traffic angle for a new client we audited recently.

They’d wanted to target people using Google Search on Google.com, but ended up with traffic from the Search Network, Search Partners Network, and Display Network. Obviously this was unintended, and they didn’t know. As it turns out, they didn’t execute their targeting properly and their campaign settings had a default setting: ‘Search Network with Display Select’.

Click above to see larger image of default campaign network settings you may want to avoid (via SCUBE Marketing).

This resulted in the client targeting three unintended networks in one campaign. Prepared only for the Search, they didn’t have targeting and ads for Display, and ended up with automatic placements from irrelevant websites. Overall, 53% of their PPC budget went to the Search Partners Network and Display, but the traffic had zero conversions, and was a waste.

Click above to see larger image of Surprise Traffic Coming From Search Partners and Google Display Network (via SCUBE Marketing).
Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Networks.

How can you check if you are unintentionally targeting networks without your knowledge?

Segment your campaigns by network. See an example below. Once segmented, you can figure out the right settings, and can plan the action items for further optimization.

If you see traffic from unintended networks, simply change your network settings from the default.

Don’t drain your ad budget

Because of fine details, even the best marketers can fall into traps and overspend unintentionally. Paid campaigns can be difficult beasts to manage, and a campaign that hasn’t been optimized to eliminate waste is a ship with leaks in it, destined to sink.

Take a good look at your data for the above, scrub it against what you’ve learned here today, and see what you can save.

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3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget

How To Internationalize Your WordPress Website

On September 30th, 2017, the international WordPress community united for 24 hours to translate the WordPress ecosystem. For the third time, #WPTranslationDay fused an all-day translating marathon with digital and contributor day events designed to promote the value of creating accessible experiences for global users, better known as “localization”.
As an open-source community, we should all strive to localize our open-source contributions. Before you can transcribe your digital assets though, you have to internationalize your codebase.

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How To Internationalize Your WordPress Website

The New Layout Standard For The Web: CSS Grid, Flexbox And Box Alignment

Layout on the web is hard. The reason it is so hard is that the layout methods we’ve relied on ever since using CSS for layout became possible were not really designed for complex layout. While we were able to achieve quite a lot in a fixed-width world with hacks such as faux columns, these methods fell apart with responsive design.
Thankfully, we have hope, in the form of flexbox — which many readers will already be using — CSS Grid Layout and the box alignment module.

This article:  

The New Layout Standard For The Web: CSS Grid, Flexbox And Box Alignment

Upgrading CSS Animation With Motion Curves

There is UI animation, and then there is good UI animation. Good animation makes you go “Wow!” — it’s smooth, beautiful and, most of all, natural, not blocky, rigid or robotic. If you frequent Dribbble or UpLabs, you’ll know what I am talking about.
Further Reading on Smashing: SVG and CSS animations with clip-path Practical Animation Techniques Creating ‘hand-drawn’ Animations With SVG The new Web Animation API With so many amazing designers creating such beautiful animations, any developer would naturally want to recreate them in their own projects.

Originally posted here: 

Upgrading CSS Animation With Motion Curves

3 Smart Moves for eCommerce to Fuel Customer Engagement

It is not enough for eCommerce establishments to provide exceptional one-off experiences to their users. eCommerce enterprises have been increasingly working on improving customer engagement with a view to forming long-term and meaningful relationships.

Gallup’s report on customer engagement 2014 states that fully engaged customers represent an average 23% premium in terms of share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.

Interestingly, Gallup defines fully engaged customers as those who are both emotionally attached and rationally loyal. To achieve complete engagement, rational loyalty as well as emotional connections need to be leveraged. The influence of social web and its impact on engagement is another aspect toward which eCommerce enterprises need to pay significant attention.

In this blog post, we discuss the three key attributes—emotions, participation, and user behavior—that eCommerce enterprises should focus on to improve customer engagement.

Leveraging Emotions to Drive Engagement

eCommerce enterprises have started paying a lot more attention to whether their customers really associate with the brand and the ways in which they can connect with customers at a deeper emotional level. Dove’s real beauty campaign is a classic example of using emotions to drive engagement. The campaign tapped into the emotions of many women about themselves and their appearance. In their new campaign—#MyBeautyMySay, Dove wants women to define their beauty their own way. Through this campaign, Dove attempts to connect to the self-respect aspect, which many women believe is a “battle still to be won.”

Customer Engagement - Emotional Connection

Targeting Emotions for Customer Engagement

Developing deeper levels of emotional engagement with consumers also requires eCommerce enterprises to foster transparency and trust in customer relationship. Using social proof, trust seals, and reviews on the website creates a sense of trust among their users.

Using humor has a strong emotional appeal, and when used appropriately, never fails to make an impact. For example, Hublogix includes Betabrand in its list of eCommerce excellent marketing for humorous product descriptions on its website.

Using Humor for Customer Engagement
The question, however, is that how do you use customer emotions to take a preferred course of action? A post published on My Customer gives a five-point list on building emotional engagement. The post talks about the following list:

  1. Know what emotional triggers exist currently in your experience.
  2. Define what emotion you want your experience to evoke.
  3. Listen to your customers…a lot.
  4. Identify your customers’ subconscious experiences.
  5. Never stop improving the experience.

Improving Engagement through Participation

Another way to improve user engagement is by soliciting participation. Involve your buyers in product creation and innovation. Consider the example of Vans. The leading shoe brand encourages users to design their own pair of sneakers, using a customization feature.

User Participation for Customer Enagement

Moreover, to increase the engagement level of people who understand the nitty-gritty of the products, eCommerce enterprises can focus on co-creation. McKinsey talks about what brands who have mastered co-creation do to gain an edge over others. They researched more than 300 companies in three European countries and identified three key areas where those who lead at co-creation focused: targeting co-creators, finding the motivation, and focusing on a sustainable pay-off.

Leveraging social media for participation is another way through which eCommerce enterprises can drive more engagement and purchases. According to a 2016 Yotpo consumer survey, 72% of customers say that seeing Instagram photos of a product increases customers’ chances of buying. These numbers give eCommerce enterprises a good reason to invest in social curation for driving user engagement. One way of doing this is using shoppable images on your site—product page, home page, or a dedicated photo gallery page. ASOS makes a creative and engaging use of Instagram images shared by customers, by running the #AsSeenOnMe campaign on its website.

ASOS Customer Engagement with UGC

Warby Parker’s started its home try-on services in 2012. It was also smart of them to start a user-generated content (UGC) campaign for the same. Warby’s customers become a part of the campaign by sharing their photographs while trying the five pairs of Warby glasses and sharing it on their social media with the hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn.

Forever21 has created a single hashtag for all content generated by its users. (The benefit of using just one hashtag is that people associate better with the brand as well as with the hashtag.) Forever21 has the campaign #F21XME featured on its website, which asks participants to upload their favorite F21 outfit on Instagram using the hashtag, and get a chance to be featured.

User Generated Content for Customer Engagement

Twitter Product pages are helping eCommerce enterprises solicit more meaningful engagement through social media. Twitter product pages are tweets that lead to shopping information about an item. A buy button is included for those who wish to buy.

Twitter Customer Engagement

This post on Sprinkler can be your guide to social commerce.

Leveraging User Behavior to Drive Engagement On-Site

We discussed earlier how emotional loyalty and participation can be leveraged to increase engagement. However, it is equally important for eCommerce enterprises to focus on increasing customer engagement from rationally loyal consumers, which can be done by providing them an enhanced on-site experience. Continuously improving users’ on-site experiences requires eCommerce enterprises to dig deep into user insights, identify and resolve pain points, and discover what interests or repels users. This can be done with the help of tools such as heatmaps, visitor recordings, and form analysis.

Visitor recordings play back the actual interactions that any user has had on your website. These insights can be used further to analyze or validate whether any element on the website can prove to be a distraction for the user. In a case study by VWO, about UKToolCenter, removing the product filter improved site engagement by 27%. Using visitor recordings, the hypothesis that the product was a distraction was easily validated.

Heatmaps highlight areas of maximum engagement on a website and also pinpoint dead zones. eCommerce enterprises can study low-engagement areas and suggest actionable improvements, which include:

A form analysis can be run for understanding how users interact with forms. This interaction allows you to fetch insights from drop-offs per field, time taken to fill the form, fields ignored, and so on. This data can be used further for fixing the pain points that users face, and optimize web forms for more engagement and conversions.

Feedback and insights gathered from on-page surveys can also be used for improving on-site user engagement. For example, if a user spends more than five minutes on a product page, a survey can be triggered to find out whether the user intends to buy something or is searching for something specific.

Conclusion

User engagement is not just about metrics that show us click-through rates or pages viewed in a session. For eCommerce enterprises, driving robust engagement constitutes:

  • Leveraging the emotional connection that consumers form with brands
  • Encouraging participation across the website and social channels
  • Deploying user behavior data and insights to track and improve on-site interactions

How are you driving meaningful engagement for your eCommerce enterprise? Drop a comment or feedback below.

cta_fuelCustomerEngagement

The post 3 Smart Moves for eCommerce to Fuel Customer Engagement appeared first on VWO Blog.

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3 Smart Moves for eCommerce to Fuel Customer Engagement

Building Web Software With Make

Most web developers use a build tool of some sort nowadays. I’m not refering to continuous integration software like Jenkins CI (a very popular build system), but the lower-level software it uses to actually acquire dependencies and construct your applications with.
There is a dizzying array of options to choose from:
Apache Ant (XML-based) Rake (Ruby-based) Grunt (JS-based) Gulp (JS-based) Broccoli (JS-based) NPM (JS-based) Good ol’ shell scripts (although no real orchestration around it) The build tool I want to look at in more detail here though is the granddaddy of them all: Make.

Link to article:

Building Web Software With Make

WP-CLI – Advanced WordPress Management

The command-line interface (CLI) has always been popular in the world of developers, because it provides tools that boost productivity and speed up the development process. At first sight, it might seem hard to believe that using the command line to perform certain tasks is getting easier than using a graphical interface. The purpose of this article is to clear up your doubts about that, at least concerning WordPress tasks.

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WP-CLI – Advanced WordPress Management

A Critical Approach To Typefaces

I’ve always wondered, “What is it that makes a typeface or any other design good?” However simplistic this question may seem to typographers, it is a legitimate question many of us are trying to answer.
After several years working as a professional type designer, teaching, and running a type foundry, I pretty much gave up my attempts to find a golden set of rules. The answer is not so simple.

Source – 

A Critical Approach To Typefaces

What The Heck Is SEO? A Rebuttal

This article is a collective reply of the active members of the SEO community to the article “The Inconvenient Truth About SEO” in which Paul Boag discusses the value of search engine optimization for website owners. Written and edited by Bill Slawski and Will Critchlow, this article explains what exactly “SEO” means today and discusses the common view many Web designers share about the work of SEO companies.—Ed.
When I [Bill Slawski] saw a link to a Smashing Magazine article titled “The Inconvenient Truth About SEO” by Paul Boag a week ago, my fear was that the headline would lead to an article blaming SEO for global warming and other calamities.

Originally posted here: 

What The Heck Is SEO? A Rebuttal

When You Shouldn’t Use Fitts Law To Measure User Experience

The key statement of Fitts’s Law is that the time required to move a pointing device to a target is a function of the distance to the target and its size. In layman’s terms: the closer and larger a target, the faster it is to click on that target. This is easy to understand, not too difficult to implement and it doesn’t seem to make much sense to contradict such a simple and obvious statement.

Link – 

When You Shouldn’t Use Fitts Law To Measure User Experience