Tag Archives: united

What Science Can Teach Us About How to Create Viral Content

Think about the last thing you shared on the internet. Maybe it was an insightful video on the political turmoil in a far away country, or maybe it was a funny picture of a cat wearing a bow tie. Either way – you saw it, had an emotional reaction to it and decided to share it with others. But in the process of sharing the latest video, picture or article to your social media feeds – did you ever stop to think about why you shared it? What was your emotional response to the content? What about that response made…

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What Science Can Teach Us About How to Create Viral Content

Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website

When it comes to building and maintaining a website, one has to take a ton of things into consideration. However, in an era when people want to see results fast, while at the same time knowing that their information online is secure, all webmasters should strive for a) improving the performance of their website, and b) increasing their website’s security.

Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website

Both of these goals are vital in order to run a successful website. So, we’ve put together a list of five technologies you should consider implementing to improve both the performance and security of your website.

The post Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website

What is Web Spam?

Web Spam: Intentional attempts to manipulate search engine rankings for specific keywords or keyword phrase queries. But isn’t that what SEO is? Trying to get your website content to rank better in search engine results? Well… There’s a fine line between doing everything you can to give your website content the best shot at ranking well in the search engines, vs. trying every sneaky trick possible. The Old Days of Web Spam – Keywords, Keywords, Keywords Everywhere! The first search engines (Lycos, HotBot, AltaVista to name a few) used a fairly basic approach to ranking webpages. For the most part,…

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What is Web Spam?

How Twitter Can Bring You Top Talent

Using Twitter For Talent

Usually, when we talk about how social-media savvy companies use Twitter, we talk about doing smart and non-intrusive marketing; we talk about really getting into conversations with customers, and we talk about providing customer support using this particular social media channel. However, it has been some time since companies have started utilizing Twitter for something else – human resources. More precisely, there are companies out there which use Twitter to find and recruit top talent in their industry. Why Twitter? There is a list of reasons as to why Twitter is a fantastic recruitment tool, sometimes even giving LinkedIn a…

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How Twitter Can Bring You Top Talent

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…

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Are Your Keyword Rankings You See On Google Correct?

Facebook Organic Reach is Dying: Here’s Why It’s a Good Thing

Facebook reach
More and more our News Feeds are full of updates from friends… not companies — but there are benefits to this. Image via Shutterstock.

Facebook wears many hats. It does everything, and is everything. It’s where we turn to celebrate many important life milestones, share our lives with our friends, organize events, consume media and much, much more. But for marketers, it’s an advertising tool.

Social media marketing has changed a great deal over the past few years. One of the biggest changes is Facebook’s shift away from organic reach into a paid marketing channel.

If you manage a Facebook Page, I’m sure you’re familiar with this subject, and you’ve probably noticed a sharp drop in the number of people who are seeing and interacting with your content organically.

As a marketer, this change has been tough to stomach. It’s now much harder to reach your audience than it was a few years ago. And with recent updates that Facebook is, again, shifting its algorithm to focus on friends and family, it’ll be harder still to reach people who are already fans of your page.

Facebook organic reach is hard
TFW you can almost reach your audience… but not quite. Image via Giphy.

Before we dive into why the plight of organic reach is a good thing, let’s first take a look at what brought along this decline in the first place.

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Understanding how social reach is declining

In 2014, Social@Ogilvy released its much-cited report, “Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach.”

In the report, Ogilvy documented the harsh decline of organic reach between October 2013 and February 2014. In that short period of time, organic reach dropped to around 6% for all pages, and for large pages with more than 500,000 likes, the number was just 2%.

Ogilvy graph

Based on this data, a Facebook Page with around 20,000 fans could expect fewer than 1,200 people to see its posts, and a page with 2 million fans would, on average, reach only 40,000 fans.

The reasoning behind this change from Facebook’s perspective is twofold, as Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland, explained in a blog post.

The first reason for the decline in organic reach is purely the amount of content being shared to Facebook. Advances in smartphone technology means we can now create and share this content with just a few swipes of the finger or taps on a screen. More and more of our friends and favorite brands are also active on the platform, meaning competition for attention is higher. Boland explains:

There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.

The second reason for the decline in organic reach on Facebook is how the News Feed works. Facebook’s number one priority is to keep its 1.5 billion users happy, and the best way to do that is by showing only the most relevant content in their News Feeds.

Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

To a marketer, this may feel like a negative, but it’s actually a good thing, because what we’re left with now is a far more powerful marketing tool than we had when reach was free.

Let me explain…

Why the decline of organic reach is a good thing

When a social network first achieves mainstream popularity (think Facebook circa 2009, Instagram in 2014-15, Snapchat in 2016) organic reach rules the roost. As a marketer, it’s all about figuring out what content your audience craves and giving it to them.

Then, we hit a peak, and suddenly the social network all but transforms into a pay-to-play platform — bringing with it another huge marketing opportunity. At Buffer, it’s something we like to call The Law of the Double Peak:

Buffer double peak

Facebook hit the organic peak in 2014, and since then reach has declined to a point where it’s almost at zero now. But, on the other hand, we’re left with a far more powerful advertising tool than we had before.

It’s also important to remember that before social media — with print, radio, TV, banner ads, direct mail or any other form of advertising — there was no such thing as organic reach. You couldn’t create a piece of content and get it seen by thousands (even millions) with no budget.

Facebook, now, is probably one of the most cost-effective digital ad products we’ve ever seen. It’s the best way to reach a highly targeted audience and drive awareness about your product or service, and probably an even better marketing channel than it was back in 2012 when organic reach hit its peak.

4 ways to maximize the paid marketing opportunities on Facebook

Once you’re over the fact that not everyone on Facebook gets to discover your brand for free anymore…

1. Ensure your ads are relevant

With more than 3 million advertisers all competing for attention in more than a billion users’ News Feeds, Facebook uses what’s called an ad auction to deliver ads.

The ad auction pairs individual ads with particular people looking for an appropriate match. The social network’s ad auction is designed to determine the best ad to show to a person at a given point in time. This means a high-quality, hyper-relevant ad can beat an ad that has a higher advertiser bid, but is lower quality and less relevant.

The two major factors you need to work on to ensure Facebook sees your ad as relevant are your targeting and ad creative.

For example, if you’re targeting a broad audience such as men and women, ages 18–25, living in the United Kingdom, chances are your ad may not be relevant to every person. However, if you were to break your audience down into smaller, more specific groups your message may be more relevant (and therefore successful).

2. Test different messages and creative

There are endless opportunities for testing on Facebook Ads: titles, texts, links, images, age, gender, interests, locations and so on.

The image is the first thing people see when your ad shows up in their News Feed. It’s what grabs their attention and makes them stop and click, which means it’s essential to get the image right. Though, you probably won’t hit the nail on the head first time ‘round. Thankfully, Facebook allows you to upload multiple images for each advert and optimizes to display best performing ones.

Your creative can have a huge difference when it comes to conversions. AdEspresso recommends coming up with at least four different Facebook Ad variations and then testing each one. For example, you might test two different images with two different copy texts (2 images x 2 texts = 4 variations).

AdEspresso also found that creative with a picture of a person performs far better:

Facebook ad variations

When you create ads, plan out a number of variations — changing copy, images and CTAs in order to discover what works best for each audience you’re targeting.

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3. Be specific with your content

Combining the first two points above, targeting to a specific segment using creative that is specifically built for that target audience is incredibly powerful.

Many businesses have a range of customers, all with slightly different needs. For each customer your business is targeting, jot down as much information as you can about them and try to form a few customer personas to create specific ads for.

Then, with your target personas in place, think about how you can use Facebook Ads to target each individual group. This could mean creating an ad set for each group and testing different images and copy within your ads to see what works best for each group.

By tailoring ads to specific personas, you can vastly improve your advert’s relevancy and also serve the needs of your customer better.

4. Pay attention to real metrics

With social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of measuring only soft metrics — the things that don’t correlate directly with sales or revenue growth, but can still be good indicators of performance. On Facebook, this means things such as Likes, Comments and Shares.

When it comes to paid marketing channels, like Facebook Ads, it’s important to have some solid goals in mind and pay attention to the metrics that translate into your ultimate goal. For example, having a post receive a few hundred Likes or a high engagement rate could be seen as success, but that’s probably not the ultimate goal of your campaign.

Paid advertising on Facebook is a lot like paid-for marketing has always been. For 90% the end goal is sales or, for larger companies, brand awareness. And with paid-for ads you’ll want to be a little stricter with yourself when it comes to measurement. That’s not to say ALL advertising on Facebook must be purely focused on selling — that strategy likely wouldn’t work — but certainly any specific advertising campaigns should be focused on increasing your bottom line.

How do you use Facebook?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of Facebook as a marketing channel. How have your strategies changed over recent years? Are you one of the 3 million businesses who advertise on the platform? I’d love to hear your learnings and perspectives too.

Thanks for reading! And I’m excited to join the conversation in the comments.

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Facebook Organic Reach is Dying: Here’s Why It’s a Good Thing

The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a barber say you’re only as good as your last haircut. In marketing, this couldn’t be more accurate — using last year’s tactics just won’t cut it.

Surely, you’re staying up to date on the latest marketing trends with blog posts, AMAs and webinars. But sometimes, in order to level up, you need to step away from your desk and get a front-row seat to the action.

people having fun at Unbounce’s CTA conference
Knowledge learned in the flesh will help you reach new heights in 2016. Image via Unbounce CTA Conference.

With so many digital marketing conferences to choose from, we’ve selected the top marketing events we think will inspire and educate you in 2016.

These marketing conferences cover a variety of topics: content marketing, conversion optimization, design, email marketing, entrepreneurship, innovation, mobile, performance marketing, search, social, growth marketing, video marketing and local marketing.

If you’re on a mission to get some real life knowledge and socializing under your belt, here’s an epic list of the 20 most thought-provoking, engaging digital marketing conferences 2016 has to offer.

Bonus: to help with you whittle down your conference wish list, we found out what people had to say about last year’s conferences.

1. MozCon: September 12–14, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

MozCon Logo

MozCon promises three days of actionable sessions, speakers sharing first-hand advice and fun networking events that won’t disappoint. If you’re looking to get exposed to what’s new in SEO, CRO, content marketing and community building, don’t wait too long to sign up.

Bonus: Roger, the cutest and cuddliest robot, will be there to give you a hug.

What last year’s attendees said:

2. Unbounce Call to Action Conference: June 19–21, 2016 (Vancouver, Canada)

CTA digital marketing conference

Our very own Call to Action Conference brings together experts in conversion optimization, pay-per-click, email, copywriting and UX design. If your goal is to become a faster, better and stronger marketer, we have amazing hands-on workshops that will expand your skill set and help you get there. Vancouver is at its most charming in the month the June, not to mention the parties and the swag are pretty awesome! Come pay us a visit in Vancouver.

What last year’s attendees said:

3. ConversionXL Live: March 30–April 1, 2016 (Austin Area, Texas)

CXL image 2016

ConversionXL Live brings the top conversion optimization experts in the world together to teach you all their processes and methods. Unlike other conferences, networking is underlined and emphasized so you can further your learning while building relationships with your peers. If you’ve read Peep Laja’s ConversionXL blog, you know this is one of the most informative blogs on conversion optimization out there. And if this is an area you want to dominate, ConversionXL Live is one of the best marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

4. MARTech: March 21–22, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) and October 20–21, 2016 (London, UK)

Digital Marketing Conference Martech

As the name MARTech implies, this conference is for hybrid professionals that are both marketing experts and technology savvy. This event blurs the lines between marketing and IT and introduces conference goers to new technologies that will influence the data science, growth-hacking and digital marketing landscapes.

What last year’s attendees said:

5. Hero Conf: April 25–27, 2016 (Philadelphia, PA) and October 24–26, 2016 (London, UK)

Hero Conference

Hero Conf is one of the top marketing conferences for marketers who want to focus on improving their PPC skills. This PPC theme allows for actionable takeaways focused on improving your strategy around paid ads and data on LinkedIn, Bing, Google, Facebook and more. A low speaker-to-attendee ratio means that networking and nightly events are both fun and informative.

What last year’s attendees said:

6. WistiaFest: June 5–7, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Wistia image

WistiaFest delivers you three days of video marketing insights, data, analytics content and more from some of the industry’s top professionals from around the world. This is an important event for marketers who use video in their marketing efforts and want to see where the future of video lies, and who want to catch up with their peers at one of the best video marketing conferences.

What last year’s attendees said:

7. MozCon Local: February 18–19, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

Mozcon local image

If you’re part of a local business and want to gain insights and knowledge on local SEO and other marketing tools, this is a great event that will feed your SEO and marketing hunger. MozCon Local will arm you with knowledge as well as tactical tips in the form of talks, workshops and cool networking events in lovely Seattle. What more could you want in a conference?

What last year’s attendees said:

8. ad:tech: November 2–3, 2016 (New York City, NY)

Adtech image

ad:tech is an event held in eight countries that covers the changing landscape of advertising technology. The event is for marketers, brand strategists, agencies and publishers. ad:tech helps you navigate the evolution of key technologies and keeps you ahead of the curve so that you can drive innovation within your brand or agency.

What last year’s attendees said:

9. Marketing United: April 18–20, 2016 (Nashville, TN)

United image

Marketing United is bringing some of the world’s top marketers to Nashville to share their tips, tricks and stories to help inspire you. Each session promises to be informative and exciting, not to mention the venue is steps away from great food and music à la Nashville.

What last year’s attendees said:

10. Advocamp: March 7–9, 2016 (San Francisco, CA)

Advocamp image

If you’ve got customer growth and development on the brain then Advocamp is one of the best marketing conferences for you. Advocamp is the only conference that focuses on customer delight all while providing you with the tools to build a viable business strategy. Not to mention they take the conference’s name seriously and pair attendees into smaller “camp” groups. This is Advocamp’s second year, and it’s sure not to disappoint.

What last year’s attendees said:

11. C2 Montreal: May 24–26, 2016 (Montreal, Canada)

C2 logo Marketing Conference

C2 focuses on creativity and commerce by bringing together some of the most innovative thought leaders across various disciplines. Not only does creativity take center stage, it also makes an appearance after hours. C2 has created some of the most engaging and entertaining networking events all with the help of Quebec’s own Cirque du Soleil. Get exposed to innovation and creativity from all facets of the business world.

What last year’s attendees said:

12. Searchlove: May 3–4, 2016 (Boston, MA) and October 17-18, 2016 (London, UK)

Searlove Logo

This two-day event attracts some of the world’s top online marketing talent and covers a variety of topics from search, analytics and paid to content strategy and optimization. With actionable advice, tips and processes, SearchLove is filled with the information you need to push your career forward.

What last year’s attendees said:

13. SXSW Interactive: March 11–15, 2016 (Austin, Texas)

SXSW logo

Considered one of the top marketing events out there, SXSW Interactive has historically been the place to launch your product and boost your career. With a guest list brimming with the who’s who in the industry, this event is usually packed with stars from the digital world as well as Hollywood. It’s also one of the best conferences work on your networking skills. SXSW Interactive puts an emphasis on innovation and the changing digital landscapes. If you’re a startup or looking to launch your product, SXSW Interactive may be the place for you.

What last year’s attendees said:

14. Intelligent Content Conference: March 7–9, 2016 (Las Vegas, NV)

ICC Best Marketing Conference 2016

If you’ve been looking to improve your content strategy skills, ICC is that best marketing conference to help you up your game. With topics covering how to scale content production, reusing and repurposing legacy content and diffusion of content on different platforms, ICC is one of the most on-point content marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

15. Inbound: November 8–11, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Inbound logo 2016

Inbound’s four-day event has over 170 training sessions, five keynotes and lots of entertaining and fun activities at night. Past entertainment has included the likes of Amy Schumer and Janelle Monáe. With 14,000 attendees, the event is a huge opportunity to network and see some of the best professionals in the marketing industry.

Pro tip: Inbound is a huge event with lots of great workshops and speakers happening at the same time. Make a list of the events that you’d like to attend in advance to get the most of out of your experience.

What last year’s attendees said:

16. Search Marketing Summit: May 30–June 3, 2016 (Sydney, Australia)

SMS logo 2016

If you’re living down under or you’ve always wanted to visit, Search Marketing Summit is the number one event of its kind in Australia. This five-day event is packed with advanced workshops that cover topics from mobile, search and email marketing. Search Marketing Summit is a great way to update your skills and advance your knowledge in just a few days.

What last year’s attendees said:

Time to step it up

Attending conferences is important because they push you out of your professional habits and routines and expose you to new technologies, trends and people.

We’ve armed you with the a list of the best digital marketing conferences of 2016 that will provide you with the right tools and knowledge to level up your marketing game. It’s up to you to make the next move.

Your personal growth and that of your agency or company depend on it.

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The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

Average Order Value, Conversion Rate or Revenue Per Visitor – What Should You Track?

Have you met Richard, the eCommerce entrepreneur? This is the story of how Richard found the perfect eCommerce metric to track and measure his eCommerce performance.

Richard runs an online store selling two kinds of water bottles – a generic item worth $1 and a premium designer edition worth $100. As a data-driven marketer, Richard decided to look towards analytics.

Then it hit him.

The analytics universe is full of curiously named metrics. Which of these metrics should he track over time to measure his eCommerce performance?

That should be easy, Richard figured. He’d reach out to the experts.

Expert 1: Go For Conversion Rate

A conversion is any desirable activity performed by a visitor on your site. From a revenue perspective, conversion is checkout. Conversion rate(CR) is simply

Conversion Rate = Number of Checkouts/Number of Unique Visitors

If you have an average 1000 visitors to your site on any given day, and 50 of them become customers your conversion rate is 5%.

Optimizing for conversion rate will make more visitors into paying customers.

How does it help?

  • Converting more of your current visitors is more cost effective than acquiring new customers
  • It essentially gives more revenue at the same cost

Since you are already paying in some way to acquire traffic to your website — through PPC, SEO, Email — it would be a great idea to convert more of those visitors into customers. It brings you more revenue for each dollar spent on acquiring traffic.

It made sense.

But Richard wasn’t convinced. He had once conducted an A/B test on the product page and this is what resulted.

Conversion Rate Optimization Table

Overall conversions increased by 10% and his website that used to convert 1100 customers started converting 1210 visitors.

It was a moment of triumph.

And it lasted exactly a moment.

Later analysis showed that revenues had actually dropped because the conversions among high paying customers had declined.

Unsatisfied, Richard reached out to Expert #2

Expert 2: Without Doubt, Average Order Value is What You Should Be Tracking

Average Order Value(AOV) is just what it says. Total revenue/Number of Checkouts. It’s a direct indicator of what’s actually happening on the profits front.

Average Order Value (AOV) = Total Revenue/Number of Conversions

In the last A/B test he conducted, optimizing for conversion rate alone had left Richard susceptible to the blind spot — the average order value.

Average Order Value Table

Despite the increase in conversion rate, Average Order Value had dropped by more than a dollar, resulting in an overall decrease in revenue.

How does it help?

  • Comparing AOV against Cost Per Order gives a great idea of the profits you make on each order. Consider your Cost Per Order (shipping costs etc.) is $1 and your AOV is $10, giving you a profit of $9 per order. By increasing AOV by 10% to $11, you stand to gain an additional profit of $1 per order.

Here’s a statistic to remember: AOV in United States during 2014 Q3 was $72

This was great news.

At this point I should tell you that Richard didn’t go alone to Expert 2. Tom, Richard’s best friend since that last A/B test hiccup, was there too.

Doubting Thomas asked,

“What if we successfully increase our AOV by bumping up the minimum order value for free shipping, but less people buy as a result? Our revenue could take a hit, harming Richard and his profits while still showing a higher AOV.”

Tom had a point, Richard thought. It was similar to what happened with his last test. There he had forgotten to take into account AOV and suffered. Tracking for AOV alone could make him blind towards conversion rate resulting in a revenue sheet like this:

Revenue Sheet

There had to be something better. A metric that combined both Conversions and AOV to give the whole picture.

Hoping for better, Richard and Tom reached out to Expert 3.

Expert 3: Track Revenue Per Visitor, Dodge The Rest

Revenue Per Visitor(RPV) is deceptively simple. It tells you how much revenue each unique visitor is driving.

RPV = Total Revenue/Total Unique Visitors

Why is it so potent?

The trick is in understanding RPV from another perspective.

We already know that

Total Revenue = AOV x Number of Conversions (checkouts)

So we can rewrite the RPV equation this way:

RPV = (AOV x Conversions)/Total Unique Visitors

and since (Conversions/Total Unique Visitors) = Conversion Rate

RPV = AOV x Conversion Rate

The great thing about the RPV metric is that it combines both AOV and Conversion Rate.

What’s important for any eCommerce business?

Revenue.

For revenues, first you need traffic. Once you are able to attract traffic, increasing revenue is two dimensional process:

  • Convert more visitors into paying customers (Conversion Rate)
  • Increase customer-spend per conversion (AOV)

RPV involves both these dimensions leaving no blind spots.

Avinash Kaushik recommends using an ‘actionability test’ before choosing any metric to track. The idea is that any metric you track should help you take definitive actions to correct/improve business.

Does RPV pass the actionability test?

With a crisp dollar certificate.

Dollar Certificate

If there’s a drop in RPV, it could be due to

  • A sudden increase in visitors without any buying intent (drop in conversion rate): Check if there has been any recent marketing activity that brought a lot of unqualified visitors with low buying intent. Use segmentation to understand what channels are bringing the right traffic.
  • Customers are buying less of high-value goods and more of low-value goods (drop in AOV): Consider using a recommendation engine. Read the article I’ve linked to under the section above titled ‘AOV’ for 8 quick ways to improve AOV.

Touting RPV as a very useful metric to track does not take anything away from metrics like Conversion Rate or Average Order Value. It’s important to understand that metrics simply show symptoms, and different symptoms become visible through different metrics. RPV is simply one that helps you see the bigger picture.

Although it’s a lot of metric talk to take in, Richard feels he’s found what he was looking for – one metric that he could keep track of to measure his eCommerce success.

He thanked Expert 3 and got ready to leave.

Wait!”, Tom had more doubts.

Why Use Unique Visitors and Not Total Visitors?

Expert 3 cleared his throat and explained.

Of all first time visitors to an eCommerce site, 99% won’t make a purchase. The typical buying cycle involves a visitor first visiting your site to check out the products, leaving to compare prices elsewhere, consulting a few friends, reading reviews and eventually a trip back to your site for the purchase (if at all a purchase decision is made). There could be even more steps involved here.

Using total visitors (unique and returning) bloats up your metric denominator considerably, resulting in small figures and giving you less credit than you otherwise deserve.

This is not to say it’s a bad practice, just sub-optimal. (In fact, if for some reason, you are getting many orders from repeat buyers it might even make sense to use total visitors instead of unique visitors.)

Using ‘unique visitors’, on the other hand, paints a real-world picture of what’s happening with your users, who are, of course, unique.

With this explanation, Doubting Thomas went poof, and Richard went back wiser.

What’s Your Doubting Thomas Wondering?

What metric have you found most useful to track? Share it with our readers and us.

We’ll soon be coming out with a brilliant guide on understanding all the right metrics, including the bad-ass ‘Customer Lifetime Value”.

Stay Tweeted @VWO

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Average Order Value, Conversion Rate or Revenue Per Visitor – What Should You Track?