Tag Archive for marketing

Conversion Conference London Keynotes

Conversion Conference

Conversion Conference 2012 has kicked things up a gear with the announcement of two amazing keynote speakers.  Running during Data Driven Business Week, Conversion Conference is focused on acceleration of online competitiveness through best practices, smarter adoption of web analytics and discovering better methods and technologies to provide detailed insights into your customers. Some of the other amazing conferences running that week include eMetrics Marketing Optimisation Summit and Predictive Analytics World.

Prof. Wolfgang HenselerThe opening keynote is run by Professor Wolfgang Henseler of Sensory-Minds who is a recognised expert of natural user interface design, usability and user experience.  He is also a consultant to Google & Microsoft on what you will see in the next generation of interface designs.  His keynote will examine challenges the role of applications in multi-touch computing and future dimensions in user experience.

Matthew Finlay, CEO of Rising Media responded about the keynote announcement “Professor Henseler is a global expert on customer and user-oriented e-business solutions as well as a user and brand experience specialist. He is creating the blueprint for the next generation of websites and as a result is in demand by global enterprises for his expertise in human-computer design.

also adding that

We are thrilled to have Professor Henseler open this year’s conference in what promises to be a very thought provoking keynote presentation.

Nick HolzherrThe second keynote is being presented by Nick Holzherr of Whisk who has built a service to simplify the buying process for customers by converting recipes automatically into shopping lists within online supermarkets.

Matthew Finlay, CEO of Rising Media was quoted saying that “Nick is one of the UK’s most innovative young entrepreneurs and his new venture Whisk is set to change the way people do their food shopping online. The foundation for Whisk’s success lies the company’s focus on strategic conversion and delegates will see how this is being implemented in this exciting new business.

Nathalie NahaiA final speaker Nathahlie Nahai of Web Psychologist has been added as a keynote speaker for Conversion Conference London.  Nathahlie is an award-winning speaker with a background in digital strategy and psychology and one of the leading voices in her frield to have both academic and hands-on experience in online persuasion.  Nathahlie is also a member of #OglivyChange that utilisies cognitive psychology, social psychology and behavioural economics to produce behaviour interventions in real life.

Conversion Conference 2012 Pass Options

  • Two Day Conversion Conference Pass (Access to Conversion Conference sessions and Expo Hall on 27th November AND 28th November)
  • One Day Conversion Conference Pass (Access to Conversion Conference sessions and Expo Hall on 27th November OR 28th November)
  • Combo Pass eMetrics (Access to Conversion Conference & eMetrics sessions + Expo Hall)
  • Super Combo Pass (Access to eMetrics, Conversion Conference AND Predictive Analytics World sessions + Expo Hall)
  • Exhibit Hall Only Pass (Access to Exhibition Hall Only – no conference sessions)

Conference Discount & Registration

Book early for London 2012 and save with our 15% Discount Code LOSTAGENCY12  and register for conference here
Conversion Conference Venue

Business Design Centre, Islington 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7359 3535 Conversion Conference Social Media Links Follow them on twitter @ConvCon, and track the 2012 conversation with hashtag #ConvCon

Anti-Drugs Timeline

Israel Anti-Drug AuthorityToday I discovered what I think has potentially have to be one of the most ingenious social media campaigns I’ve seen in a while, but what makes it more interesting is how topically it is to Facebook users who are just starting to get their heads around Facebook’s new Timeline.  The campaign concept is fairly basic and revolves around a fictional character “Adam Barak” who shows you a snapshot of his life with and without drugs over a year and how his life could be different.

The campaign is produced by McCann Digital Israel and is simply a brilliant use of cutting edge social media features but also something that is simple enough anyone that sees the campaign can understand the concept.  The background on the campaign seems to be that it was slightly re-worked to ensure that it was not overcomplicated but made simple enough that the idea works internationally. It also works because the message while fairly clear does not get in your way of following the idea, it only works because the campaign message is almost subliminal and it really works!

It’s really great to see some creative thinking of social issues and making them relevant to society by using social media and hopefully this campaign is expanded and potentially improved and copied around the world. The concept of showing how differently your life could be in parallel universe has been done fairly well but I want to see more on Adam than just 1 month, so hopefully the campaign is extended. You can check out Adam’s timeline here.

What does Adam’s timeline show?

  • You can see how it can impact his choice in accommodation
  • how he looks in the morning
  • what he does on a night out in town
  • how he enjoys going out
  • how it impacts on his relationships
  • what gets him through the work day
  • how he socialises with friends on the court
Anti-drugs timeline

Anti-drugs timeline

Good campaign concept for other issues

So the question is how can Facebook’s social reach via platforms such as timeline can be used to educate others about other social issues such as binge drinking, speeding and crime. There are plenty of other items that this campaign decided to drop such as checkins, video, friends updates and more there are plenty of options to emulate this campaign with slight changes to get your message across.

AdWords rematched keywords

AdWords ComicsSearch Engine Marketing (SEM) is easy to start doing. With an account and a credit card, anyone can get to the top of Google, Yahoo! or Bing in a matter of minutes. At least until they run out of money. An entire industry has grown up to help business owners avoid this, for a commission. There is one very good reason SEM agencies exist: it is easy to buy search traffic, but it can be expensive to learn how to get the right kind. Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing (soon to be defunct in Australia) and Microsoft adCenter (not in Australia yet) all provide a range of basic tools to their users to control the traffic that they receive, beyond putting keywords into a campaign.

One of the basics of SEM campaigns is understand how each search engine chooses queries that match the keyword as negative keywords operate differently in Bing/Yahoo than they do on your Google AdWords campaigns. Since Google is a majority of the web traffic in Australia this post will be focused on how you get better use negative keywords in your campaigns.

There are three ways that Google AdWords matches a keyword from a campaign to a search query:

  • Exact Match - Your ad is displayed on searches that match the exact phrase
  • Phrase Match - Your ad is displayed on searches that match or contain the exact phrase
  • Broad Match - Your ad is displayed on similar phrases and relevant variations

Both Broad Match and Phrase Match increase a campaign’s potential reach while keeping the size of the keyword list under control. These match types can also produce unproductive traffic, as ads are triggered by irrelevant searches.

Negative terms are the best way to deal with this. A negative term stops Google from showing your ad for any search query containing it. This is vital in campaigns with keywords that are relevant for multiple industries. Well chosen negative keywords make a real difference to the cost per acquisition of the campaign.

Obvious Negative Keywords?

A Sydney-based marketing agency has launched an AdWords campaign. The business focuses on generating search engine traffic for their clients, and is based in just one city. They are bidding on the keywords “online advertising” using Phrase Match in one of their campaigns. The cost per acquisition has blown out, and now they need to trim the fat.

AdWords Tree

A quick look over a keyword report, with ‘All’ selected from the ‘See search terms…’ dropdown, exposes a number of obviously irrelevant, expensive terms:

  • online advertising course
  • online advertising job statistics
  • Perth online advertising company
  • online advertising industry news

Based on this information, there are a number of potential new negative keywords, both single and phrases:

  • course
  • job statistics
  • job
  • statistics
  • Perth
  • companies
  • industry
  • news

Adding negative terms can lose sales for the campaign from other searches. For example, using ‘statistics’ as a negative term will also remove search queries like ‘online advertising statistics trends’, which might actually be productive. Removing ‘job’ may cut out valuable ‘online advertising job quote’ traffic. Negative keywords can affect more than the obvious, if you don’t have a closer look first.

Search Visibility & Negative Keywords

Instead of looking only at the cost per conversion of a campaign’s listed keywords, look at the numbers for the most commonly occurring words in the search terms that triggered your ads. Creating a list of all search terms containing all of the words from the problematic searches will show what impact using them as a negative keyword could have. Often a small number of words correlate strongly with unprofitable traffic. These can be removed from the campaign without limiting the flow of sales. If the cost per sale for all searches with the word ‘statistics’ is within your target, maybe a different response is needed.

For an accurate picture of what is going on in the campaign, this analysis needs a decent amount of data. You shouldn’t make a decision based on a small dataset if you have enough time or traffic to make a better analysis. There is a risk that the normal churn of clicks and sales will be mistaken for a trend or an impending disaster, you should also anticipate what is the expected result based on your change.

As the size of the campaign increases, so does the number of terms. Short of some heavy duty automation, or serious statistical analysis software, this technique is very labour intensive. However the idea that you can break a campaign’s traffic up into groups based on a few shared attributes is a useful tool to have. It can be applied to geo-targeting, day of the week, type of device, ads, placements, search and search partners, and even time of day.

Managing the Negatives in Search Engine Marketing

The keywords you select are just one thing that determines the quality of the traffic you will get in any SEM campaign. Other factors, such as changing search habits, competition, location, time, device and network all affect how well a campaign performs. Changes in any of the above will alter how the campaign works. Just as importantly, any change that is made to deal with this can affect the entire campaign. A campaign is more than just the keywords, and any change you make based on information from just one variable can affect a lot more than you planned.

AdWords ComicAuthor Bio: Anthony Contoleon is currently the online marketing coordinator for GreyHound Australia, who operates a portfolio of infographics, illustrations and vector drawings.

Online discounts to flooded residents

It’s always great to see people using their best skills to help those in need and last week Brisbane boutique design firm Niche Studio and Stretch Marketing launched a collaboration website Flood Discounts.  The not-for profit website is a online platform for those who were affected by the floods are able to access genuine discounts from trusted retailers and service providers across 21 categories who want to help their community get back on it’s feet.

The idea around platform is great because while it’s completely free for businesses to list and those affected by the floods it’s also been built with both intelligence and usability in mind and is not the typically hack website, its a really great site and a testimony to their skills and their staff who likely worked overtime to complete it and get it live so quickly. There are slowly a number of featured suppliers who are some of the first to come on board listed below:

How does Flood Discounts work?

There is 4 simple options for those wanting to help rebuild or those needing help to rebuild as up to 50% of those affected by the floods are predicted to be denied the ability to claim on their insurance.  The website is accurate in the statement that even with insurance it’s an enormous task for a huge number of families and communities to rebuild after the floods.

  1. List your Flood Discounts
  2. Find a Flood Discount offer by category
  3. Sign up as a flooded resident
  4. Search for relevant Flood Discounts

How do you get a discount?

The conditions are that you must present proof that your house has been affected by flood damage from a licensed electrical contractor, Energex, or an invoice from a another relevant service provider. The discounts maybe subject to terms, conditions and limitations and you will need photo ID.

Flood Discount Terms & Conditions

The websites Flood Discounts are offered over two periods of time:

  • 17 Jan 2011 – 31 March 2011
  • 1 April 2011 – 1 July 2011

How you can support them?

Become a fan of Flood Discounts on Facebook and follow Flood Discounts on Twitter to get updates on all the retailers and business who are joining up and supporting those who were affected.

Other ways to show support for those affected online

You can still show support of those affected by joining community Facebook pages like News Limited’s QLD Floods page, signup to be an emergency volunteer, or donate to the QLD Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal directly. Still going strong as one of the true leaders during the disaster was the Queensland Police Service who continue to be a great source of what is going on post-disaster with the clean-up effort. Remember to please always check the legitimacy of charities when donating to help flood victims in central and south east Queensland by visiting the Scam Watch website.

Do Hotel sites get PPC?

While doing some research on a current project I finally got annoyed at the constant poorly placed and targeted Google AdWords campaigns running by some of the largest travel booking websites in the world. The only sites that appear to be successfully buying AdWords traffic is Tablet Hotels & Tripadvisor.  The companies that appeared to be having the most problems with AdWords traffic was Qantas, Travelocity & Expedia who just seemed to have missed the market in delivering a great first impression for AdWords visitors.  Even the leader Priceline.com didn’t fair that much better with a PPC campaign obviously setup by a monkey at a keyboard who has shares in Google and wants lower quality scores and higher CPC rates.

Test 1# Hotel Alexander, New York – The first test was to pick a random New York hotel from the Upper Westside of Manhattan and see what were the relevance of the ads showing. You can see that there is a 2 ads which are well off the mark with a hotel chain in Israel and the second is stretching it a bit thin as they are the Hotel Alexander Amsterdam in Europe.  While I didn’t add any geographic markers such as “New York” to my query, you have to consider the chances that your consumers will refine your traffic for you is not as likely and the search was done on Google.com with a NYC based IP address.  Its fairly obvious that these advertisers are not making use of AdWords many geographic filters and possibly even broad keyword match types.  Knowing that what the AdWord Ad is showing does not always match the landing page results, lets look at the other more suitable results shown to confirm there is a lack of understanding of PPC.

Hotel Alexander New York

HotelReservation.com advises that it is a hotel reservation system for smart savers, but you can see the landing page showing 91 possible hotels found for “Alexander” does not provide a smart  or time-saving result for this search query.  The landing page doesn’t even narrow down the selection by my country location (USA) or by state (New York) or by city (New York), instead it presents me with another search panel.  All the geographic information is fairly easily accessible and it would save me time and if it offered my result in a single click I might have reserved my hotel instead I leave and head back to the Google search results.

Hotel Reservations Alexander Hotel

The next site HotelReservations.com actually does an even worse job for a landing page by offering me a hotel listing for the Alexander Hotel in Germany, this doesn’t present the visitor with much confidence that the booking site even understands what New York hotel they were looking for.

Hotel Reservations Alexander Hotel

To show how far off the mark, the Okeanos Hotels are, you can see they don’t even have a hotel named Alexander but there are several hotels named Alexander in Israel they were likely targeting but its not a great campaign plan.  It’s clear they don’t understand PPC as the quality score for their campaign would be very low and their cost-per-click rates for bidding on those keywords would be far higher than they should be, meaning they are spending lots more money than they need to!

Okeanos Hotels, Israel

Hotels.com also seemed to miss the mark completely with the AdWords campaign taking me through to a Hotel Alexander in Italy, not the best or most relevant for such as high-profile site.  But when they do get the hotel location right they do a good job of promoting other hotels in the surround area that you should consider booking with.

Hotels.com Alexander Hotel

Test 2# Library Hotel, New York - While Hotel Alexander was not one of the highest ranking hotels in New York according to TripAdvisor, I wanted to see how that Travel PPC campaigns might improve by picking the #1 rated Hotel in New York which you would assume is a fairly high-profile search query they would be focusing on?

Library Hotel New York

Priceline.com fails to understand how to use PPC to drive sales by just dropping all the visitors at their homepage, this method offers advertisers a lower quality score but is much easier and less time-consuming for staff or agencies running their PPC campaigns.  Typically the conversion rates for a websites homepage is one of the lowest so its likely buying traffic for the sake of buying traffic is not a sustainable or effective way to grow your company.

Priceline Hotels

Expedia is the world’s largest travel site but it also makes the same mistake as Qantas does below by presenting the visitor who clicked on the AdWords result with an error page.  The advice to choose another hotel option was not given in the first place and advising someone looking to book a hotel to try again later will lead to losing the visitors business to a competitor. Expedia has the most to lose because of the sheer volume of money that is being spent every hour on their AdWords budget by their digital agency…. but really what does conversion rates matter in the travel industry with such thin profit margins….

Expedia Fails

Qantas Hotels Search – The test was for search on Google.com.au but when one of the hotels advertised was picked I was presented with an error page.  The problem is that I didn’t select a date for when I wanted to stay at the hotel, Qantas fails fairly badly as I clicked their AdWords Ad and was presented with this screen, the only upside they at least have kept some details from my search query such as the hotel was in New York, USA so I won’t have to re-enter that information if I choose to search again.  Qantas can easily have followed Hotels.com which offers a list of hotels in the surrounding area which I could book.

Qantas Hotel Booking

Travelocity also presents the same failure message, so I could assume they are using a similar bid management platform or trying to be more advanced than their CMS will allow which is causing the range of errors.  But Travelocity does win back points for having 3 different places you can find a contact number and they clearly advise they are open 24/7 which would likely catch more lost sales due to these types of error pages being the first thing an AdWords visitor sees.

Travelocity Hotel Error

Who is doing PPC right? It appears that Tablet is actually the poster child on how to do a travel PPC campaign right, they have a hotel specific landing page with clear photos, address details, reviews and a clear call to action with a simple booking widget.  They constantly are performing well for one or two other New York hotels such as the Soho Grand Hotel and should be commended for their smarter approach for travel PPC campaigns.

Table Hotels Soho Grand Hotel

The agencies that are looking after Qantas and Expedia should take a leaf out of Tablet’s book or read my book Google Advertising Tools 2nd Edition, as they are costing their clients a lot of lost sales by a poorly run PPC campaign, and yes I think that Travel sites really don’t get PPC but that’s lucky for their affiliates who can make it work, its not like they have a good history in Hotel SEO

AdAge Power 150 fails

It’s fairly accepted in the industry that AdAge’s Power 150 listing of marketing blogs is more than broken, as its failed to deliver any value to those using it to evaluate a blog.  I’m not saying that a number of the sites listed are not quality but it seems that it’s another platform that sells its transparency on scoring the marketing blogs listed is falling fast.  I’ve admit that I’ve applied several times to have this blog admitted to the Power 150 listing which list 1,120 blogs/sites but not this blog so there is no ramifications of writing this article such as being removed from their list. While this blog continues to grow the score has actually dropped from a 19/150 in June 2009 to 7/150 in November 2009, so that would seem to point out that their measurements used to gauge what blogs should be included is screwed, you are punished for having more readers and a bigger audience?

Is AdAge Power 150 a paid inclusion directory?

The reminder to write this post came from a Tweet from David Naylor who today asked “is Adage Power 150 a paid inclusion thing?”

This reminded me to explore the 1,120 Power 150 blog listings to see if there was some validity to his tweet, the part required me to check what was the quality of listings, as I’ve found a number of listings that are not of any quality or relevance to marketing blogs but are still listed.  A number of the sites listed do not appear to have any relevance to marketing and seem more of a place to secure quality back links, it’s not clear if any of them are paid at this stage, anyone care to own up?

AdAge updates daily?

Adage advise that every morning their server goes out and grabs fresh scores from all their ranking sources, so you would assume that would mean all listed sites still exist? Based on the checks 3.4% of the blogs listed by AdAge are made up of canceled, dead sites or 404 errors, that doesn’t really help build much trust in the fresh nature of their listings. This does not include where the site had moved away from its wordpress/typepad to a hosted domain or where the AdAge link had part of the URL incorrect, if these were included the figures would be 3-4 times higher, not showing great quality control in their listings.

AdAge Power 150 Dead Links

A common occurrence I found was than a number of sites had multiple listings or used domain redirects to low quality content scrapping sites filled with advertising, Google Adsense and affiliate links, this would point again to something is wrong with their listing procedure if they are keeping these sites listed. I can understand if there is money to be made by keeping the broken links, affiliate and Google Adsense domains listed in the AdAge Power 150 but until they fix that I don’t have any trust in their listing metrics. You need to challenge platforms like AdAge Power 150 that look more like a way to build back links than actually be a valid and reputable blog ranking metric, just because they have a number of metrics doesn’t mean they don’t override them to get certain sites listed.
What is the quality of AdAge Power 150
Starting at the bottom of the list I manually reviewed 28.5% of the AdAge Power 150 blogs as these would be the ones more likely to be problematic, and if you wanted to work with a limited statistical view you could assume a multiplication factor of 1-2 if I was to check every blog listed. So the actual figures are likely to be much higher than shown below which could up to 1 in 5 sites listed should not be included if AdAge was serious about quality.
  • Outdated Listings 6.16%
  • Not Blog/Article Site 1.70%
  • Adsense Domain 0.71%
  • Malware 0.18%

What is an outdated listing? A few had a single post or two earlier in 2010, but a large number of these had no posts since 2009,2008,2007…. how can they still be relevant if no posts in over 3 years?

What is not a Blog/Article site? These sites have no blog or article part to them and are just for sales pitches, lead generation or

What is a Adsense domain? These are sites like seo projects where they serve no purpose or contain any content but ads, these surely can’t be a valid marketing source

What is malware? Not something that AdAge Power 150 should be linking to….

This blog post is not targeting poor quality of some of the many sites listed in its 1,120 blogs it is focusing on the very low quality sites listed that prevent other relevant sites from ever being listed, so feel free to have a look through the AdAge Power 150 list and see what interesting sites you can discover…

Bonobos fails Facebook Father’s day promotion

Bonobos LogoSorry to say for those who live in Argentina, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Chile, France, Japan or the Netherlands, but your Father’s day was last weekend the 20th June. The reason for the confusion is that some advertisers may not have noticed or are trying to wring every last drop of value of the event.  It is fairly common to see campaigns that run past their due date over long holidays such as Christmas but it is not acceptable for business to continue to be so lazy.

Some advertisers or marketers may argue that there is a spill over after big events and they can capture this traffic now much cheaper because there is no competition.  While this is a fair argument for events like Mayday Sales, Black Friday or Boxing Day sales, you can see from the Google search trends data below that it’s almost zero.  So paying to expose your brand to zero search traffic usually means zero sales but if you have statistics please tell me I’m wrong!

Father's Day Search TrendsAfter 21st June there is almost zero web search interest in Father’s Day

I have updated the campaign tracking code to remind whoever is looking at the Google Analytics data that it’s no longer Father’s Day so feel free to click the image below to ensure there is enough traffic captured in the analytics reports. The new campaign they will be tracking from this page is “Not Fathers Day” which should set off some alarm bells if anyone is running their campaigns and actually checking the data.

Bonobos Facebook Ad

Please click the image above

While its wonderful to see a company like Bonobos running Facebook ads and also using Google Analytics campaign tagging on the URLs the issue is why wasn’t the extra step taken to ensure the campaign would stop running on Monday the 21st June? It can happen that not all the campaign budget is spent so agencies continue the campaign at the request of the client or on their on behalf but if they took just 30 seconds to add in a new creative I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

Google AdWords

Just a note that this is not specific to Bonobos or Facebook, a simple search on Google for “Father’s Day” showed a number of ads for campaigns targeting the event.  It is possible that some of these domains might be still running on Google Grant money but they still should be ensuring they are getting value for their clicks and donations for their organisations.  It would be smarter to run a new campaign “Forget Father’s Day?” you can still make it up to him with a donation!

Google Father's Day Ads

Disclosure: Facebook and Google offer a feature to stop campaigns on a certain date as shown below

Facebook Ads Campaign Settings

Facebook Ads Calendar

Adwords Campaign Management Settings

Google Ads Calendar

Time Required: 30-45 seconds estimated including login time

So this is a reminder that it’s not really that hard to set up a campaign to run leading up to a specific event or day, but its even easier to stop that running once the day has passed and you won’t waste your money communicating to your audience that you are out of touch and don’t know what day of the week it is….