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How PPC Agency ParaCore Used Clever Account Management to Save a Client $30k in Ad Spend

Before digging into your or your client’s AdWords account, you might need to do some tidying up first. Image via Shutterstock.

When PPC agency ParaCore started working with a niche inspection company, they realized pretty quickly that before they could start optimizing this client’s AdWords account, they needed to do some necessary housekeeping.

The client — who shall remain nameless due to their highly competitive industry — was already pairing landing pages with their PPC ads. However, because they had so many market segments to target, they were juggling 60 different landing pages. This approach was certainly scrappy, but it was also incredibly challenging to maintain and optimize.

The client also lacked insight into both how many phone call leads they got, and exactly where these leads were coming from. Without this data they were unable to attribute leads to the appropriate campaign, making optimization —  let alone determining the ROI of their ad spend — virtually impossible.

In efforts to better manage this client’s account, ParaCore used Unbounce to reduce the number of landing pages from 60 to just four (while maintaining hyper segmentation), set up CallRail for improved phone call conversion tracking, and implemented a negative keyword approach in AdWords that ultimately saved the client $30k in ad spend and lowered the cost per lead over 40%. Needless to say, their client was thrilled.

Here’s how they did it.

Simplify market segmentation with landing pages

ParaCore’s client was already deep in the PPC game. They were spending $10k monthly on Bing and AdWords ads, and they had the wherewithal to pair their ads with targeted landing pages. But in order to target each individual market segment, they were using 60 landing pages (15 markets x 4 services).

Despite the benefit of better segmentation, juggling this many landing pages has its challenges, as ParaCore founder Adam Arkfeld can attest to:

Updating one thing on all landing pages takes forever. If you want to change content, it’s 60 changes. If you want to change something major like design, that’s a huge effort. It’s also just more difficult to track analytics and keep track of all the pages.

So ParaCore’s first task was to take those 60 pages and whittle them down to just a few manageable (but still high-converting) pages.

Using Unbounce’s drag-and-drop builder, ParaCore built their client four pages, each highlighting a specific service.

Using Dynamic Text Replacement on their Unbounce pages, ParaCore was able to reduce the amount of landing pages to maintain. Image via ParaCore.

To ensure they maintained the same hyper-relevance for each market segment, they implemented Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) on the landing pages, an Unbounce feature which allows you to automatically swap out keywords on your landing page based on someone’s search intent and the corresponding ad clicked.

That is — if someone searches “piano lessons in Arizona” that’s exactly what your corresponding landing page’s headline can read to match their query.

In this example of a landing page for a music school, the instrument type is swapped out depending on which ad is clicked.
Preview DTR in action today to see how it can improve the relevancy of your landing pages.

With the help of DTR, ParaCore could still serve up those 60 hyper-customized messages, but using a much more manageable four pages. Their next move was to set out to optimize those four pages.

Clarify metrics with proper tracking and attribution

ParaCore’s client knew their ads were contributing to massive call volume but they didn’t have insight into the number of calls or which keywords were responsible.

After a bit of initial digging, ParaCore found that 76% of the client’s leads came via phone calls, but according to Adam:

There was so much more we could do to optimize their PPC campaigns if we had more data.

To get said data, Adam et al installed AdWords Call Conversion Tracking and CallRail on the client’s landing pages and set up keyword-level call tracking.

CallRail works similar to DTR, by dynamically populating a unique phone number depending on the original referrer. So when a visitor clicks on an ad and then calls the number on the landing page, that lead is attributed to the appropriate click-through ad.

Attributing your phone call leads to the original ad has never been easier. Image via CallRail.
Don’t know where all your phone call leads are coming from? CallRail integrates with Unbounce landing pages, so you can track which ads and landing pages result in calls. Find out more here.

Not only that, but CallRail allows you to create regional phone numbers, which was especially important to their client. Adam said it was key that their client’s prospects saw “a 480 number for Phoenix instead of an 888 number.”

AdWords Call Conversion Tracking, on the other hand, allowed ParaCore to see which keywords were converting so they could kill the underperforming keywords or ad sets.

For leads that came in through the landing page form, ParaCore also set up AdWords conversion tracking on all Unbounce form confirmation dialogues (a.k.a. thank you pages).

Within four months, this is what team ParaCore had found:

55% of leads came from calls made after seeing the new Unbounce landing pages, 24% came from landing page forms and roughly 20% came directly from ads.

Once they had the data they needed, it was time to actually dig into AdWords.

Optimize ad groups with negative keywords

Now that ParaCore had all the necessary data to determine which keywords were and weren’t working, they could start optimizing in AdWords.

ParaCore’s client had already done a significant amount of keyword research resulting in a robust collection of targeted keywords; however, a review of their analytics revealed not all of them were performing top-notch.

ParaCore added negative keywords to the client’s campaigns, followed by daily negative cleansing (which sounds like something you’d do with a smudge stick and quartz crystal, but is actually just excluding search terms that aren’t relevant).

After the initial cleanse, ParaCore scaled back to periodic reviews to ensure keyword relevancy. They kept an eye on conversion data over the first two months and turned off keywords that were, as Adam put it, “eating up the ad budget without producing good returns.”

Clever Account Management Pays Off

By adding negative keywords to their client’s AdWords account and turning off the keywords that weren’t bringing in results, team ParaCore managed to save their client $30,000 in annual ad spend and reduce their cost per lead by 40.7% in the first three months.

Not only that, with these all of the changes in place, ParaCore’s client was set up to scale. Now when the client wants to add additional markets, the agency doesn’t even have to create a new landing page, they simply “add dynamic text insertion with new phone numbers and local text.”

This kind of progress wouldn’t have been possible had they not first simplified their client’s landing page collection and clarified their metrics. Only then could they turn their efforts toward their client’s AdWords account.

According to Adam, the data collected during that initial exploration “continues to guide our efforts as we optimize the company’s PPC campaigns to bring in the highest quality leads at the lowest cost.”

And ParaCore’s client could not have been more pleased. Their Google+ review says it all:

These guys have been awesome for us so far! We love the reporting metrics they use as it really identifies the important information and tells us a lot about our PPC campaigns. We have also been very happy with how thorough they have been in implementing the crossover from our old PPC manager… All in all, we are very happy to have made the switch and wish we would have pulled the trigger sooner.

Sounds pretty dang blissful to me.

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How PPC Agency ParaCore Used Clever Account Management to Save a Client $30k in Ad Spend

How do ad agencies win a Cannes Lion award?

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As the Cannes Lions Festival is wrapping up this week, we’re seeing the annual breathless, self-congratulatory statements coming out of agencies with photos of their awards and sun-tanned creative teams sipping champagne.

Cannes Lions
Thanks for the trip to the south of France, clients!
We’d like to thank the little people who made this possible.

They should feel proud. They’ve achieved a huge accomplishment that has been the recognized stamp of credibility for advertising creativity since 1954.

How do agencies win at the Cannes Lions festival?

When I worked at the big ad agencies, I was often shocked at how they used clients’ budgets for the purpose of winning awards and self-promotion.

I’ve seen ad agency executives planning how to maximize their billings for minimal work and use their clients’ budgets to submit campaigns for awards.

I vividly remember, shortly before I walked away from my ad agency career, being part of a team that created a poster to promote a lightbulb.

It involved an elaborate set rental, professional photography shoot, intensive image editing, and ultimately cost the client $17,000. For a poster.

It did nothing to communicate the benefits of the lightbulb for consumers. And there was not a single conversation at the agency about how we should measure results, or even what the goal was for the poster.

Was it a failed poster campaign?

It certainly didn’t achieve the goals in the official creative brief.

But, it did win a prestigious award for that agency and the creative director.

It was certainly a clever (if not esoteric) concept with beautiful, subtle photography, but it was entirely useless as an ad.

I watched as the client contacts turned a blind eye to the waste, knowing that they would be repaid with lavish expense account dinners in exchange for handing over their company’s cash.

CMOs are turning against award-obsessed agencies

That’s why today’s CMO’s are rejecting traditional award-seeking agencies. They know those agencies don’t care about their clients. Much less their clients’ customers.

Today’s CMOs know award-seeking agencies don’t care about their clients. Much less their clients’ customers.

They know that too-clever ads often don’t achieve results. Their digital transformation is changing their priorities. Data-informed ad campaigns are now revealing how ineffective the old gut-feeling approach can be.

They are seeking alternatives, and finding them in the Zen Marketing approach that balances intuition with data, big ideas with bold experiments, inspiration with rigorous validation.

The alternative to cleverness is customer insights that are validated by robust data.

The alternative to awards for cleverness is measurable results lift.

I firmly believe that creativity is still required for advertising. And a rigorous experimentation program is enabling today’s marketing innovation.

I’m reminded again, in this Cannes Lions Festival season, of why I started WiderFunnel to be the “anti-agency.” And again, why we will never make a recommendation if we haven’t tested its ability to lift the client’s revenue.

So, the next time you’re in an agency pitch where they’re bragging about their awards, don’t walk; run away from hiring them. They’re telling you they don’t care about you.

Why we will never win a Cannes Lion award

Short answer: Because we will never submit for one.

The post How do ad agencies win a Cannes Lion award? appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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How do ad agencies win a Cannes Lion award?

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Promo Code Box on your Shopping Cart Page could be Bleeding Dollars. A/B Test it.

The Company

Bionic Gloves is an online store that designs and sells a range of gloves, such as golf gloves, fitness gloves, and more. Their focus is to provide customers with gloves that have fine grip, comfort, and durability.

To increase sales from their eCommerce shop, they decided to optimize their website. The task was given to Portland-based marketing & conversion optimization agency, Sq1.

The Test

Sq1 performed many tests on the Bionic Gloves website. In this case study I’ll be taking you through an interesting test that was performed on one of the most important pages of any eCommerce website, the shopping cart page. In fact, one study by Surepayroll estimated that each year eCommerce websites lose a whopping $18 billion because of shopping cart abandonment.

To test their hypothesis that removing the ‘special offer’ and ‘gift card’ code boxes from the shopping cart page would result in more sales and less cart abandonment, they set up an A/B test in VWO.

This is how the original shopping cart page looked like:

Bionic AB - Control

The Result

The test was run on close to 1400 visitors for a duration of 48 days. This is how the variation page (without the code fields) looked like:

Bionic AB - Variation

The primary goal that they were tracking was the revenue made. The variation won and increased the total revenue by 24.7%, and revenue per visitor by 17.1%.

Why the Variation Won?

In the words of David from Sq1, “Anytime you leave the door open for a user to leave the conversion funnel – even if it seems like they’d come right back – you risk losing sales. By showing the Promo Code field on the cart, users were enticed to leave the site in search of a promo code. At that point, the conversion process is interrupted and you are more likely to lose potential customers. As such, hiding it was a very logical test.

A shopping freak myself, I wouldn’t lie that I, too, have gone looking for coupon codes a number of times in the middle of my purchasing process. This, as David pointed out, has a number of risks:

  • The sight of the coupon box triggers visitors to look for one on Google and other places. I did a quick Google search of “Bionic Glove”, and look what I found in the auto-complete searches:
    google_search_result1
    google_search_result_2
  • eCommerce websites also risk losing money to affiliates and websites offering deals, coupons, etc.
  • Many a times, visitors end up finding a better deal on another web store.

To avert this, I have seen many websites now show all available coupon codes right on the product page and also on the cart page. Not only does this help them reduce cart abandonment, but also helps them increase their average order value as many shoppers go ahead and buy more stuff to cross the threshold at which coupons can be applied.

See how Myntra, a fashion ecommerce website based out of India, does this beautifully:

myntra_coupon_codes

Let’s Talk

Tell me what you think about this case study in the comments section below. I am also available for intellectual discussions on CRO and A/B Testing which can fit in less than 140 characters on Twitter @taruna2309. See ya!

8 Checkout Optimization Lessons Based on 5+ years of Testing

The post Promo Code Box on your Shopping Cart Page could be Bleeding Dollars. A/B Test it. appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Promo Code Box on your Shopping Cart Page could be Bleeding Dollars. A/B Test it.

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Adding Certificates & Payment Options on Product Pages Increased Clicks on Add to Cart

The Company

Manna is a Hungary-based online store that sells chemical-free, organic and handmade personal-care products like soaps, body butters, essential oils, etc. Their products are available for purchase in Hungary, Germany, Austria and Serbia.

The Hypothesis

Being a Hungarian brand in Germany, they have to deal with a lot of trust issues. To overcome the same they decided to test various certifications and payment seals on the website. The hypothesis was that adding these certificates and payment icons near the “add to cart” button on the product page will increase clicks on the button as well as sales and revenue.

This is how the original product page looked like:

Original product page - Manna A/B test

The Test

The team at Manna decided to a/b test 2 variations of the product page against the original. The first version had a big banner showing the payment options and 3 certificates below it. This is how it looked:

Variation 1 - Manna A/B test

The second version had 2 rows of various certificates. This is how it looked:

Variation 2 - Manna A/B test

The test was run on more than 3000 visitors split equally between the 3 variations.

The Result

Variation 1 won and 11.26% of the visitors, who viewed this version, clicked “add to cart” button, in comparison to 1.48% in original (and 8.73% in variation 2).

Here’s a screenshot of the bar graph from the VWO app showing conversion rate of each variation:

Result graph - Manna A/B test

Why Variation 1 Outperformed the Other Two Versions of the Product Page?

As an online store selling natural and organic items, the pressure on Manna to prove their credibility is much more than any other web-shop selling cosmetics and skincare. This is because in addition to having great product pages and a seamless web experience they also have to constantly re-iterate the fact that they sell authentic natural products made from chemical-free substances. Having certifications, right on product pages, thus helped them boost the clicks on “add to cart” button. This is why even version 2 recorded a whopping increase of 490% in click rate.

Variation 1 emerged as a winner because of showing the certifications and ease of payment option together. This addressed the two most common concerns faced by customers — whether the product is authentic and if their preferred mode of payment is available as an option.

Let’s Talk!

Have you done any tests on your product pages? I’d love to know what you learnt about your visitors from them in the comments section below.

Also, since you are here, why not sign-up for our webinar by Siddharth Deswal on “7 Inspiring Tests to Create High-Converting eCommerce Product Pages”. I promise you lots of useful insights in just 45 minutes on Oct, 29.

The post Adding Certificates & Payment Options on Product Pages Increased Clicks on Add to Cart appeared first on VWO Blog.

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The Myth Of The Sophisticated User

As I sat in my local co-working space, shoulder-deep in a design problem on my MacBook Air, I could hear him. He was on the phone, offering screen-by-screen design recommendations to his client for the project they were working on. When this acquaintance of mine arrived at the subject of a particularly hairy task flow, he said, “Well, these aren’t going to be very savvy users, so we should probably put some instructions there.

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The Myth Of The Sophisticated User

Innovative Techniques To Simplify Sign-Ups And Log-Ins

There are many ways to design sign-up and log-in forms. Most designers are familiar with the conventional ways. But understanding and applying a few innovative techniques could make your forms simpler and more efficient to fill out. In this article, we’d like to present a couple of new ideas that might be useful for your next designs. Please notice that before using these techniques, you should make sure that they make sense in the context in which you are going to use them.

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Innovative Techniques To Simplify Sign-Ups And Log-Ins

Starting Out Organized: Website Content Planning The Right Way

So many articles explain how to design interfaces, design graphics and deal with clients. But one step in the Web development process is often skipped over or forgotten altogether: content planning. Sometimes called information architecture, or IA planning, this step doesn’t find a home easily in many people’s workflow. But rushing on to programming and pushing pixels makes for content that looks shoehorned rather than fully integrated and will only require late-game revisions.

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Starting Out Organized: Website Content Planning The Right Way

Art Manifestos and Their Applications in Contemporary Design

The way you express yourself with words is a crucial extension of your creative identity. Professional designers are usually busy focusing on the visual aspects of their craft, but visual arts and literary arts collide and coincide regularly. The two fields meet not just in typography, but also in press releases, social networking communication, slogans, promotional materials, ‘About Me’ pages, marketing strategies, and every single pitch, contract, and email you’ve ever sent to a client.

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Art Manifestos and Their Applications in Contemporary Design