There has been some chatter about upgrades to Google Analytics planned for 2013.  There are a few opportunities that may present themselves and a few issues that could arise from the possible changes.

People ask us all the time, how can I track the value of a lead generated online when they are buying in the store. This was something that we solved using Yahoo web analytics.  When the lead was generated it received a customer id number, the information of that customer is stored with their permission and if a sale occurred the revenue was attributed to the marketing channel or channels in a multi-channel attribution model.  The ability to upload revenue tracked from a CRM like salesforce allowed our clients to make informed budgetary and strategic decisions. This is the case with many brick and mortar stores, businesses that require quotes, or any business that you cannot assign a given value to each lead.

Googles new regarding Universal analytics can be seen here.  The basic news reveals Googles plan to allow the ability to track across multiple devices as long as the user is signed in from that device, the ability to sync online and offline data, and an increased ability to track Mobile Application analytics.  It will allow users to create custom dimensions as well, such as store visits and so on.

The opportunities to pair mobile app metrics, location information, crm data and attribute revenue to each impression or visit will open up another niche of mobile and brick and mortar marketing and could mean big changes in analytics for showroomer’s and lead generation marketing alike.  The insight into quality of lead generated will allow users to make excellent decisions on budgets, impression frequency, channels used and collect ROI data that is unavailable without being hindered by technology costs.

Recently after opening the AdCenter Editor and attempting to download an account we would be confronted with annoying message “Microsoft.adCenter.Desktop has stopped working”.

We tried uninstalling and reinstalling about 20 times as well as every other solution we could find.  Nothing solved the problem.

Here’s what worked for us…

Renaming the old user.config file.  C:\users\<username>\AppData\Local\Mirosoft\MAF\LocalStore – Find the user.config file and name it something like user1.config

Let us know if it works for you.  Good Luck!

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Every year the online marketers use of Cyber Monday gets more in depth. This concept came about from a trend that was initially realized in 2005 when e-commerce company released a study showing that the Monday following Thanksgiving was subject to a substantial increase in conversions for online retailers. According to the study, 77% of retailers reported the increase in sales. Seven Years later, marketers have the chance to seize the opportunities related to this retail holiday and they are did a great job with it, online sales were up over 30% from last year. However we see opportunities missed with last minute shoppers, strategies to make sure your abandoned cart become a sale and lessons learned that can be put to use year round.

ecommerce holiday tips- shopping cartTrain your customers to buy on time with a correct “holiday sale” deadline:

Last minute shoppers didn”t get their name by shopping as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was finished. In fact they rarely get around to it in time for the item to be shipped causing massive headaches for call centers and shippers as well as creating bad pr from unhappy last minute holiday shoppers. This is a large market that often times goes untapped and by the time they decide to take action it is too late, either the sale is lost or the customer goes to the mall. It”s important to train the customer on the process of placing and receiving an order around the holidays. Especially if you deal in larger products that can take up to 2 weeks to ship. In order to increase your total sales this holiday month, create a sale with a deadline on the last day that you can promise your customer in time shipping. This can be found by asking your shipper for the last date of a guaranteed shipment to arrive the day before the holiday.  Make it known that after that date they will miss out on a gift arriving in time and offer incentive to order in time.

Remarket and Follow Up on abandonment:

It is easy to be distracted from your important shopping needs, little things like a job, family, and making holiday cards with ugly sweaters often get in the way. Just as there are many window shoppers in the mall, a huge percentage of online shoppers add products to the cart that never end up getting purchased. It”s vital that your marketing team is developing a strategy to get these customer”s back using a retargeting service like Steelhouse, Adroll or Google remarketing through Adwords, as well as a customer loyalty program utilizing your past customer email list. Getting  those abandoned carts completed requires reaching out and occasionally offering an additional bonus or reminder.  Do this by using dynamic retargeting display ads and personalized emails targeting past customers that have abandoned a purchase this year.  This is also a time to reconnect with your customer base. Stepping outside of the online world and sending a direct mail piece with a call tracking number will bring you one step closer to acquiring customer loyalty and tracking it correctly.  This is important even when you sell a product that is purchased once every five years. A loyal customer will pass the word along and word of mouth travels fast when families and friends get together over the holidays.

Use holiday strategies all year long:

We have done a test with some clients by using non shopping related holidays, with sales that bring products down to the lowest MAP.  This price is normally equal to that found at other retailers and may be the same price that is offered throughout the year. We used the perception of the sale price as well as the deadline for the perceived sale as a call to action, and the customers listened. However the conversions would not occur until the deadline approached and on the final day of the sales would spike, this was true even for a “Columbus day sale”. Any holiday or event can be used as a scheduled call to action. Doing this is a way to set your own merchandising holiday. By promoting it heavily in the sidebar, with an optimized landing page, by adding a banner area or with a real time offer on the product page and following up with retargeting and an email towards the deadline you can increase conversions incrementally through the month. Some of the best sales offers include, shipping upgrades, a free gift add on and price reductions, however you may be able to simply keep an item at the same price on an ongoing sale and continue to advertise.

For strategies specific to your business feel free to contact us for a personalized assessment.

The debut of the iPhone 4 has created quite a stir for consumers worldwide trying to get the best and latest Apple product. The craze has even left some people waiting hours in line just to get the newest smart phone. But whether you are involved in the craze or not, the iPhone 4 and smart phones like it have the capability to influence you more than you may know.

For example, from an industry standpoint you may be wondering how does this affect me?  Other than the fact that you might personally want one of these smart phones, mobile phone advertising is quite different from your basic PPC ad. Most would assume that they show up the same regardless of the platform, they are actually very different.

Being the industry leader, Google is currently the only major search engine that offers full mobile advertising. For Google Mobile there are some minor requirement changes that your mobile PPC ads must adhere to differently than normal:okay

Ad Format: Mobile Ads only allow three lines of text: the headline, one description line, and one url/number line that allows the advertiser to have a one url or phone number link for their customers to connect to.

Character Limit: Due to the smaller size of your mobile phone, the size of you PPC advertisement will also appear smaller. The character limits of your headline and description line are 18 characters each, with a total of 36 characters for the entire advertisement.

While the differences remain structural, the advantages that mobile ads have will eventually become a big factor for advertisers and customers alike. Advertisers will be able to attract customers with a new form of advertisement. And customers will be able to easily connect to products that they find appealing from the convenience of their phone.

Another tip comes from Bing! They introduce Bing Ads. Microsoft”s Ad Center, the management system for paid search across the Bing and Yahoo search network, has undergone major changes over the past few years.  Now another round of revisions make it easier to import, control and analyze your and your clients” accounts.  This all comes on the heels of Ad Centers” best month to date scoring 15.9% of all internet searches according to comScore.

Though many of the changes have occurred and been implemented over the past 6 months, they are now being brought to the forefront with the new”s of the re-branding.

Bing Ads is doing their best to make their offering both competitive and transparent while also looking to increase the ease of account creation or transition from Adwords.  Here are the factors that David Pann has mentioned with our own analysis on how this affects the user.

Account import directly from google Adwords:  This tool is currently in Beta and will allow advertisers to upload their entire adwords account into Bing Ads.  This is a great way to break down any barriers to the transition that may exist regarding campaign build out costs.  It is coupled with another tool that is called “Editorial Exceptions”.  This allows users to easily detect and resolve any editorial disapproval”s that Bing Ads may return. This is important since there are separate rules for trademarks, and bidding on competitor”s brand names for adwords and Bing ads.

Quality Score Analytics: A huge complaint with adwords is the veil of secrecy that surrounds the quality score of a keyword, campaign and account.  With a historical look into your Bing Ads quality score analytics, you can view the dates when the quality score changed, associate that with the changes made in the account or the landing page and determine the cause of improvement.  This will also help to pinpoint the issues that may be hindering a keyword from improving on its” quality score.

Negative Keyword list conflicts: This tool allows the advertisers to determine if any of their keywords are not showing due to negative keywords overlapping into targeted keywords.  This will help you to narrow your impressions to the most relevant search queries without mistakenly blocking intended impressions from occurring.

Share of voice: This is the same idea of impression share.  The metric will give you data regarding the percentage of impressions that your ad shows for in comparison to the total number of possible impressions for that keyword.  As your quality score and bid raises so will your share of voice.  This will allow you to consider any missed opportunities and the potential size of any particular niche.

Ad preview tool: This is a simple concept.  See what your ads will look like without out searching for them and incurring an impression.

Bing ads editor:  This is an external tool that will allow advertisers to edit campaigns while offline and upload bulk changes all at once.  This is a useful desktop tool that allows work to be done even in the rare event that the account manager is away from an internet connection.  It is also a more efficient way to make large account changes than through the online interface.

Bing Ads intelligence tool: This is a robust keyword research tool that offers great insight into the competitiveness, search volume, cpc, ctr and other marketing data for your niche.  It is a Microsoft excel plugin and gives much more insight than what is available in other free tools.  There is a quick Bing Ads intelligence tool video available on their website as well

David Pann also outlined a few reason”s to build out your campaigns into Bing Ads that we will elaborate on.

Increase your audience: Advertisers are missing 20% of the market if they are only in Google adwords. Expanding your impressions by 20% is no small amount and  the ability to increase sales by 1/5 of your current sales is significant.  If you don”t believe us, ask your client how they would like that!

Lower CPC:  Some sources say that the cost per click in Bing Ads can be as much as 20%-40 Lower CPC allows for higher ROI.  The actual amount is going to change depending on the industry and level of competition for the keyword, however there is a consensus that there is lower overall competition resulting in a lower cost per click.

Demographic differences of Bing and Yahoo Users: Without diving to deeply into the reason”s why, evidence suggests that the Yahoo and Bing network has an higher median user age and is somewhat skewed with more female searchers than the Google audience.  This allows advertisers who”s products line up with those demographics to gain impressions in a market that is made up of a higher percentage of their audience.

Increased rate of spending by users:  Bing Ads boasts a 5% higher rate of spending than google searchers.  When this is paired with a lower CPC and an increased audience, you can see that this alternative can be added to cast a broader net and also to improve the overall ROI on your campaign.

Reasons agencies have avoided Bing Ads:

  1. Limited budget: Many clients will have their budgets set and limit their own reach due to a predetermined cost of marketing. When they are starting off in Adwords, the limited budget doesn”t leave any room to test out smaller search audiences.  It is normally advised to select the most profitable keywords by testing them in the system that gains data the fastest.  At that point we can make the recommendation to move forward and expand the budget into Bing Ads.  Unfortunately without a higher budget or a proven and successful Adwords account, agencies rarely make the recommendation.  It may be worth it to consider starting out in Bing Ads for some clients to give them a better chance at success regardless of the length of time it can take to optimize the account.  This is highly dependent on their industry and the keywords that they are targeting.
  2. Increased cost of management:  In the case of a smaller budget for bing, increasing the time to manage a second account does not always correlate with the added management fee.  However, the increased opportunity to lower CPC should allow an agency to increase the management fee on a flat rate for the second account while still driving increased value.
  3. Increased time of reporting: Another cost associated with managing a second account is pulling data from a separate system to combine in a excel spreadsheet for client reporting.  This can be avoided by utilizing a service like Acquisio or a like Strategy Analyzer. There are costs associated with both of these solutions, however it does allow for increased efficiency, budget and higher client sales volume.
  4. Trust: There have been so many changes in Bing and Yahoo”s paid search solution that they sometimes get hard to keep up with.  We are hoping that this rebranding marks a new era.  Will the major changes be settled and will the system will be stable enough for agencies to be able to recommend it?  If so then many advertisers will take advantage and improve overall campaign performance with by adding it to their marketing mix.
  5. Cost of Migration: This issue has been mitigated with the Google adwords import tool.  We see this as the first step to lower transition costs and getting new users onto the platform.

TL;DR:  Microsoft ad center re-branding itself to Bing Ads is not a major change by itself, however it does mark a new era that calls attention to the changes that have been made over the past year.  The ability to transition accounts from Adwords has lowered to cost to get started and the robust new tools offer some advantages to Adwords as well.  While solutions are available to make management and reporting on multiple accounts more efficient more work will be involved and the increased market share will need to continue to grow for smaller clients to find value in the platform.  However with the changes trending towards a more stable PPC solution, the lower click costs, their best month to date for search volume, Bing Ads has a bright future with advertisers that are looking to expand their reach, increase their budgets and lower their CPA.

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People keep asking us what will become of Conversion Analyst / Yahoo Web Analytics?

The current state of the software seems as though it will only be available for Yahoo customers, specifically large advertisers or Yahoo Store users.  While it is not a complete demise of this analytic platform, it is another disappointing use of a technology purchased by Yahoo.  This is especially disappointing since it had some serious advantages over Google Analytics.

  1. Ip tracking allowed more insight into conversion attribution and customer visits prior to purchase
  1. Last Visitor Details Which Displayed individual visitor sessions, allowing you to see the referring url, keyword, pages viewed, conversion, etc. to a specific visitor
  1. Revenue & Cost retrieval of data for both Google AdWords and MSN AdCenter. YWA could also calculate your ROAS for each channel as well.  This can now be done with reporting software but not google analytics.
  1. Increased demographic dataincluded users areas of interest data along with the user location, age and gender.
  1. Increased access to historical data. YWA would allow access all the way back to 2002.
  1. Tracking up to 50 unique conversion goals and actions.

Unfortunately, this leaves Yahoo Web Analytics users in a bind and in need of a quick solution to their web analytics software.

The Situation:

As of August 31st 2012, clients using YWA will lose all data prior to the last 2 months and will no longer gather additional data.  On Oct 31st these users will lose all of their historic analytic data.  At that point they will no longer be able to access their accounts unless they are a Yahoo Store Customer.

The Problem:

With no past data, the benchmarking process of marketing channels and campaigns starts over.  All A/B testing, traffic data, keyword and KPI data will all be lost.  This is highly important information for analysts, marketing managers, executives and all personnel all the way to the top. Without knowing your history, you are doomed to repeat the past. Marketing decisions based on very short term data may miss the larger scope of a strategy.

The disappearance of valuable data that has been gained over past months and even years is what we all use to optimize our own marketing initiatives and to show improvement strategic results to our clients. While much data can be salvaged with a professional migration service, much of the data that is unique to YWA (such as user IP information) will inevitably be lost in the process.

The Solution:

The first course of action is to export the data into CSV files that has been gathered in YWA.  You can do this yourself, however the data is not displayed in a friendly way and unless you are an excel wiz, it will be difficult to decipher. An analytics professional will be able to do this for you easily. Our tech support has a process in place to export the data, refine it and upload it in reporting software so that it can be usefully displayed and acted on.

Anyone who is using YWA as their main analytics platform needs to choose, and install their next analytics platform. We recommend contacting a Google analytics professional and having a discussion about the key performance indicators that are valuable to you and your analysts. (Engine Ready can help with this) These may include on site actions, conversion data, revenue data, traffic data etc. Not all of the same data can be tracked specifically in Google analytics so there may be a need to shift the KPI focus depending upon your new analytics solution. A program like Strategy Analyzer is able to display the specific data that you focus on and can be customized depending on those metrics.

Strategy Analyzer is one program that will allow you to visualize the exported data and compare it with your next analytic solution. Automate your reporting and visualize your data with Strategy Analyzer.

Knowing the power of Analytics and how important it is to successful marketing strategies, Engine Ready and MOZ will be hosting an SEO meetup in downtown San Diego on Tuesday night, December 21st. Come on out to learn about the latest developments in the SEO world, and to see some short presentations. MOZ CEO, Rand Fishkin, and Engine Ready CEO, Jamie Smith, will be there among other professionals to network with.

San Diego SEO Meetup

SEOmoz San Diego Meetup

The event will be held at the San Diego Beer Company, located at Broadway and 6th Ave. For more information, check out the MOZ event calendar or Eventbrite. And by the way, if for some reason you need more incentive to come, the first two drinks are complimentary.

If you are part of the YWA situation feel free to contact us and we can help you!

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Engine Ready has announced that they have agreed to host a new monthly radio show on WebmasterRadio.FM designed to keep online marketers informed on the most up-to-date and successful search marketing strategies. The free show called “Best Search Strategies” will air the last Tuesday of every month at 2 PM Eastern time.

Engine Ready’s CEO Jamie Smith and VP Brian Lewis will host the shows and plan to discuss findings from the Engine Ready Research Team’s most recent studies on search marketing.

To listen to or download this first radio show, visit Webmasterradio.

Upcoming episodes will discuss:

  • June 30th – Study Results on Keyword Assists and 800-number Prefix usage on websites
  • July 28th – SEO versus PPC, which tactics bring the highest converting and most engaged traffic
  • August 25th – Ad Position Study, which ad position in Google AdWords is the most cost effective

Great Question.

According to Google they jumped the gun just a bit too soon with regards to the new Display Network tab in your campaign.  This is the only place where you can add IP’s to be excluded from the auction.  Simple navigate to the Display Network tab, expand “Exclusions” and look for Manage IP address exclusions (advanced) which is located at the bottom of the page.  Done!

But wait….  I don’t have the Display Network tab, how do I access this IP exclusion feature?

The work around is to create a $1.00 budget campaign (no ads/keywords/placements/topics), opt in to display.  From there you can apply the IP’s to all campaigns.

To encourage people installing conversion tracking on their account, Google is offering a $100 advertising credit for customers for the Holidays. But fear not, if you already have this installed on your site Google is still extending the offer (Until Feb. 15th 2011) to all customers.

Sign up at on this link:

This week Best Search Strategies will be airing LIVE from the SES Conference in San Francisco. Join us this Wednesday at 2:00pm(PST) as the session broadcasts from the WebMasterRadio.FM booth.

Topics will include:

  • Hear cool ways to ramp up sales
  • Get the latest industry updates from the show
  • Best Search Strategies Big Announcement



Good luck!

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