Thursday, May 19, 2016

How We Increased A Client’s Google Display Conversion Rate By 37.08% & Reduced Cost Per Conversion By 43.70%!

The Google Display Network (GDN) is an effective way to advertise to relevant audiences across the internet. The network reaches more than 80% of the online users with over 700 million users each monthWhilst these statistics make the Display Network a very powerful advertising platform it also means there are many mistakes you can make which will lead to targeting irrelevant audiences and wasting your budget.
To really harness the power of Google’s Display Network the campaign needs to limit the audience so that only the target market will be shown the ads. Incorrect targeting can cost your company a lot of money for very little return.
 Image sourced from: Udemy

Client’s Background

In this week’s AdWord’s Quick Win we explain how we successfully rebuilt a client’s Display campaign ad groups and Network to target relevant topics and audiences. This client is an eCommerce website in a competitive market that requires a quick lead time. Therefore, typically an internet user will click on a Display advertisement that clearly states the benefits and is relevant to their needs.

Objective: To Reduce Cost Per Conversion On The Display Campaign

Our objective was to reduce the cost per conversion (sale) of the Display campaign to successfully align with the Search conversion cost. We had been managing the Search campaign for the client and have achieved a low cost per conversion with a high number of conversions. To expand our reach we devised a strategy for the Google Display Network to work alongside the Search Network.

Implementation: How We Increased Conversion Rate & Reduced The Cost Per Conversion

Step 1: Optimised Keywords, Copy & Landing Page For High Relevancy

We rebuilt the Display campaign ad groups splitting them into their most popular searched for brands and product types online. Extensive keyword research was performed using thematic keyword groups and popular, relevant Australian search terms.
Careful optimisation was implemented to ensure the ad, landing page and ad group keywords were effectively matched. This relevancy was very effective for the campaign as the ad groups were brands that were popular search terms. This allowed us to create ad groups with tightly targeted keywords that were highly relevant to the ads and landing page.
For generating more qualified leads from the web


Step 2: Targeted Managed Placements

The next step in the strategy was to efficiently target placements for the Display ads, rather than using automatic placements with Google. Managed placements lets you choose which websites (even filter as far as sections of a website) to display your ads. The ads should be placed on websites where your ideal customer spends time online to ensure the clicks and leads to the website are relevant.

Step 3: Selecting Accurate Needs and Interests

The target audience for this client is widely varied with customer being of any age or gender. So, to optimise the campaign to target audiences by their needs and interests we targeted topics of interests that an ideal customer would be interested in online.

Step 4: Creating An Enticing Offer For The Campaign

To entice audiences to click on the ad we decided on an offer that would help solve the customers’ problem…the need for super quick delivery times on top brands in the industry. Therefore, the ad copy communicated this solution to the audiences’ problem, enticing them to click on the ad to the highly relevant landing page.

Step 4: Continuous Testing & Optimisation Of The Campaign

The continuous optimisation of the Display campaign included;
  • Bid optimisation based on ad position and performance
  • The removal of keywords and ad groups with poorer performance
  • Exclusion of placements with poor conversion
  • Targeting of network sites more relevant to the product offering


The results have been very successful with the conversion rate increasing by 37.08% from February to March, and are still increasing into April.
The cost per conversion has reduced by 43.70% and is still falling!

*Screenshot taken 14/04/2013

The Google Display Network is a great opportunity to increase relevant and qualified traffic to your website. However, there are many working variables that impacts the success of the campaign including; specific targeting, placements, landing page, copy, keywords and offer. Continuous testing and optimisation of the Display campaign will ensure maximum results are achieved in order to increase your online leads.
Interested in learning more effective AdWords strategies? See how we  reduced the cost per conversion by 63.11% in just one month!

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Google Adwords Ad Preview Tool

I try to keep on top of new features and tools surrounding the Google Adwords and Google Analytics products because I use them a lot in my day to day work.
Here’s one that I didn’t know about until recently – this Ad Preview Tool that lets you see how your ads are being displayed in other regions besides your own.
The tool also returns natural search rankings as well, so you can see how your site ranks on Google.[country].

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The Democratization of Web Technology

A colleague recently told me about his experiences putting together a quote to build a website for a government department way back in 1996. The department in question had no idea how much it should cost so they set aside a budget of $400,000(!!). Needless to say, my colleague was more than happy to take the project on board, using relatively low-priced contractors to put together the site and rake in 80%+ margins.
Ah, the good old days…
A few years later, in 2000, a medium-sized company of my acquaintance thought it was about time they got on the web. They located a designer who offered to put together the site for $40,000(!). Unfortunately, they chose the wrong developer and the site didn’t even make ONE sale over the next few years. OUCH!
Fast forward to 2003 – the Internet had started to mature and become a viable revenue-generator for most “offline” product and service businesses. A wide range of web design companies and specialist firms had sprung up in addition to clearing houses such as Elance and
But essentially, what companies were paying for was for geeks to manipulate impenetrable technology to achieve a desired result. It’s been compared to the early days of motoring, when well-to-do families who could afford an automobile would also retain a mechanic to make the thing work and deal with frequent breakdowns.
Now in 2007, we’re seeing this trend of “democratizing the web” continue, and the geeks in the middle are getting squeezed out and commoditized. The technologies for building and managing websites are becoming more and more accessible and user-friendly.
The in-demand, “top 20%” skills that companies will pay for are now shifting toward marketing and analytical skills rather than technical skills.

Examples of emerging technologies that are democratizing the web

Web design:
Tools such as Google Pages allow even absolute novice to put together a reasonable looking webpage in under an hour. There are also countless other platforms connected to simple content management systems that allow you to design your own site without touching any code. These tend to lack advanced functionality, but if it’s a simple brochure site you want they can certainly do the job.
Web analytics:
Web analytics tools have become much more accessible in recent years. 5 years ago you needed a propellerhead to generate meaningful, useable statistics from your website (i.e. beyond page views and hits). Now there are a number of free or very cheap tools available to provide you with most of the analytics you’ll ever need. Some recommended tools are:
Google Analytics – an outstanding free service
Crazy Egg – slick clickpath heatmap tool (earlier post here)
Google Adwords conversion tracking (for calculating ROI)
Email list stats such as those generated by Aweber
Website conversion optimisation:
Multivariate analysis of landing page content is another area that has come a long way. Testing different landing page versions is one of the core techniques of website conversion optimisation. Traditionally it has involved setting up software to serve and track different content.
As a provider of this type of consulting service myself, my impression is that many companies feel they are paying more for the technical component of the sevice as much as the marketing component (i.e. results).
Testing functionality which would have been considered cutting edge not too long ago is in the process of becoming freely available via new services such as Google Website Optimizer (still in Beta). While Google’s new service doesn’t provide particularly advanced functionality, it’s adequate for most uses and is certainly easy to use.
Providers of conversion optimisation services are thus going to have to ensure they add sufficient value in terms of marketing smarts as the technical side becomes more accessible and transparent.

My take on what this means

At the lower end especially, technical smarts are getting squeezed out and commoditized in favour of the marketing and analytical skills required to make sense of data and turn it into improved outcomes (i.e. Return On Investment).
There will always be a place for highly competent technical people, but I expect to see more mid to low-level tasks done inhouse or outsourced offshore.
The real growth in demand will be for people who can show companies how to profit from the web. This is the trend that I’ve built my new business model around.
Instead of building new sites from scratch, I now specialise in working with companies and/or their inhouse or external teams to optimise the results of their existing site. This includes a combination of SEO / SEM / Conversion Improvement / Web Analytics / List building and management.
I believe that many companies can often tap into greater leverage opportunities by understanding and optimising their online marketing rather than investing in “capital works” projects.
It’s important to start with the right structure, but it’s what happens after your site goes live that separates mediocre from stellar results.

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1ShoppingCart Affiliate Program Not Working?

The issue has now been successfully resolved, as per my followup post here.

Original Post:

I’m currently working with a client to promote a series of business events in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
We have been using 1ShoppingCart to run the shopping cart for event tickets and manage the affilate program.
Problem is, the affiliate program is not working. Affiliate sales are not being tracked – we’ve been through our settings with the 1ShoppingCart support team and their operator has acknowleged that there is a problem with affilate tracking.
However, 1ShoppingCart is not addressing this problem as a matter or priority, and are unable to give a timeframe on the fix.
I would have thought that when a major feature of your service is malfunctioning, a company would move heaven and earth to put it right, but in this case it looks like I’m mistaken.

The problem has been going on for weeks

A colleague recently promoted the World Internet Summit in Melbourne, who were also using the 1ShoppingCart affiliate system. He noticed that affiliate sales were not being recorded and asked people who had purchased via his affiliate link to email him.
My colleague contacted the merchant and they eventually credited him for his referrals (well, the ones he picked up anyway).
And this is not an isolated case. This post, [and this one] documents another case, and I notice that a representative of 1ShoppingCart has weighed in with a reply along the lines of, “it’s not our fault, it’s the merchant’s fault”. Yeah…right.

A case study on how NOT to handle complaints

This was the same tack taken by the 1ShoppingCart email support team. Despite our efforts to explain the specifics of the problem, we received inadequate templated replies along the lines of, “our system works perfectly, it must be a problem at your end”.
When we called up suport and talked the operator through the specific issue, he acknowledged that the issue is at their end, that they are aware of the issue, and are “working on it”, without being able to give a timeframe for the fix.
After all, it’s just gone 5 o’clock – the development team have gone home for the evening!

Why we’re replacing the 1 Shopping Cart Affiliate System

So far, we’ve received a great response from affiliates for the event and we’ll be holding affiliate conference calls etc. to help them promote the event and earn commissions. We owe it to our affiliates to ensure that our system is absolutely rock-solid and is correctly tracking sales.
I’m sure 1 Shopping Cart will resolve this issue in time, but we don’t have time to play with and we DON’T want dozens of affiliates to be asking where their commissions are.
My project manager Phil is currently coding an affiliate system replacement, which will be up and running within a few days.
Just one of the dramas of running time-sensitive internet marketing projects…

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How To Beat Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update

Just over a month ago, Google announced the big news… on April 21st the internet giant will introduce mobile usability as a ranking signal to their current search algorithm, all with the intention to follow up on their promise of a more mobile-friendly user experience.
The change will introduce a ranking signal that will help users easily locate mobile-friendly content via search results. The new results will also start including information from indexed apps, which will result in app content appearing more frequently in user searches.
The algorithm revamp will do wonders for the 77% of us who use our mobile devices to search – even when our desktops are well within reach. This handy checklist will ensure you emerge as a winner as a result of this algorithm update…

1. Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

The first and easiest step to diagnosing how Google rates your website (in terms of being mobile-friendly) is to take Google’s own mobile-friendly testing tool.
If your website passes with flying colours, you have nothing to worry about. However, if your website fails the test, you’ve got some work to do on your website in order to prep for the updates. Google gives you some advice on how to make your website more mobile-friendly should your website fail the test.

2. Perform a PageSpeed Insights test for mobile devices

Use Google’s Page Speed Insights test on the main pages of your site. This tools analyses your website speed performance on all devices and gives you recommendations on how to improve page speed. Page speed is a critical factor in SEO and conversion rate optimisation.  Slow websites lead to higher bounce rates and poorer user experience, which contribute to lower search engine rankings.

3. Configure Your Site for Mobile

Choose the mobile configuration carefully for your site. You can do this by choosing one of the three configuration options: responsive web design, dynamic serving or separate URLs.
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and Google doesn’t favour one in particular, so decide which is best for your site and go with it. At Marketing Results, we favour responsive design as it is very effective at shifting the design according to the viewer’s device and/or screen resolution. Building a responsive website also means you only have to maintain one website.

4. Tell Search Engines Which Configuration You’ve Chosen

Next you should signal your site’s mobile configuration to search engines, which allows all search engines (not only Google) to recognise and read your site setup.
The way to signal to search engines depends on which site configuration you’ve chosen, so be sure to use the correct signal depending on the method you’re working with.

 5. Avoid These Common Mobile Site Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes that often show up on mobile sites:
  • Blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files
  • Unplayable content
  • Faulty redirects
  • Mobile-only 404s
  • App download interstitials
  • Irrelevant cross-links
  • Slow mobile pages

6. Don’t Forget Devices Besides Mobile Phones

When setting up your mobile site, be sure to configure for other devices. While your main focus may be on smartphones, there are other devices out there that also need relevant and easily accessible content. Be sure your site is not only prepared for smartphones, but also for tablets, desktops and special feature phones.
Once you’ve gone through these 6 steps, your website will be ready for mobile-friendly searches and will appear higher in the mobile search engine results after the 21st April.
Have I missed any other mobile usability tips? Please let me know in the comments….

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Followup on Close Connexion

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Close Connexion, a new singles concept that has been recently launched in Brisbane. I worked with the founder Danielle Rodgers on her online marketing strategy.
Anyway, the opening event was on 22nd June at Brisbane’s Platform Bar and I was one of the punters! Even though I was involved in the marketing side of the project, it was great to also experience the format as a “customer”.
Unlike any other singles event formats, Close Connexion evenings are based around a table game developed by Danielle called The Meet Market™.
The game is very clever – after 3 minutes of explanation, people who have never met each other before can start interacting via the game. This avoids the “uncomfortable silences” that we all fear when meeting new people – especially in a dating setting.
Danielle has also developed a cool viral marketing tool – packs of 20 “Frequent Flirter Calling Cards” – you use them to exchange contact details with that intriguing person across the room.
From a purely marketing angle, every time someone uses one of the cards, the Close Connexion name also gets a bit of exposure.
I had a fantastic time at the inaugural event and met a number of great people. If you’re on the lookout for a singles event in Brisbane, give Close Connexion a try. The next event is on Thursday 27 July so get in quick.

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7 Tips For Writing Blog Posts That Attract Leads

As digital marketers, we write and share blog posts to either attract ripe sales leads or boost online sales. Yes, blogging demonstrates thought leadership, boosts organic search engine rankings and engages your audience, but the real reason we blog is to bring more business to the table.
If you’re haphazardly posting without considering your sales process or the relevance of your content, you may be significantly reducing (or even repelling) a prospect’s desire to do business with you.
The key to attracting quality leads is being strategic with your writing and blog composition.
Here are 7 ways to get the maximum attraction and conversion out of your blog posts.


funnel (1)
Behind every sale is a sales funnel—whether you realise it or not. Before you purchase new trainers, accommodation for a weekend away, or legal advice, you pass through the stages of Awareness, Consideration and finally, Decision.
A blog post can be the catalyst that propels the buyer from considering their options, to opening their wallet.
If you’re going to the trouble of creating content for your blog, it’s worth ensuring you don’t shoot off on an ineffective tangent. Start by thinking about what your customer is doing and how your content can help drive them towards a purchase…
  1. They have a problem or need and search online for a solution.
  2. They find your blog post. The post is “sticky” and establishes credibility.
  3. The customer starts to consider the rest of your blog and think of you as an authority.
Now, a customer may not buy from you immediately. Perhaps you own a property investment company that typically has a long sales cycle and your focus is on capturing the visitor’s information so you can send them nurturing emails regularly and move them closer to making a decision.
So it’s a great idea to include an email capture as part of your blog strategy. On this blog, we invite prospects to sign up to our lead generation video series if they want to know more about effective and systematic lead generation. Click on the image below for an example.


You may be tempted to write from personal experience (often an excellent starting point), but if the topic you choose has no “search demand”, it doesn’t make any commercial sense to write about it.
You can find out how many people search for a topic using Google Keyword Planner.
If you were thinking of writing about “best answers to interview questions” then you’re setting yourself up for success. There are 3,600 searches performed per month on this term and could be quite lucrative if you are in the careers vertical.
However, if you write about ”worst answers for interview questions“ there is 0 search volume. As there isn’t enough demand for people looking to find the answer to this question, it doesn’t make any commercial sense to write on this topic.


Writing for everybody is a strategy that no longer works, and if you’re tempted to write a “me too” article, with vanilla content that doesn’t add value… stop.
Writing on standard industry topics that have been extensively covered by influential authorities makes no sense, especially if your article doesn’t offer anything new and is on a topic that “everybody” has written about.
As Marcus Sheridan says – “The more content an industry/niche has written about it, the harder it is for a blog to make headway and find success in that field. And when an industry has very little online content available to the masses, it can often be gobbled up within almost no time at all.”
Instead, you should write about topics tailored specifically for your ideal client profile. Think of your blog as a qualification step and write only about topics that directly interest your client’s problems and situations.
Here are some examples of blog post titles that feature qualifying phrases in order to focus the piece on a specific target audience:
  • How to Double your Leads in the Financial Industry
  • Digital Marketing Strategies for Lawyers
  • Lead Generation for IT Services


You might be wondering how to find topics that are both interesting to your target market and not already done to death by other bloggers.
Check out Keyword Researcher which is a tool that collates the auto suggest queries from Google, based on the industry you specify. In other words, the actual search queries that your prospects are seeking answers for!


There is a tool called the Moz Keyword Difficulty tool that analyses the search results, and gives an estimation on how difficult the competition is. If you’re investing the dollars into a blog, it makes sense to know that there’s a chance to rank in Google before writing the first word.


As I mentioned earlier, the purpose of a blog post is to increase trust and authority so that the prospect is open to considering doing business with you.
One way of doing this is by adding proof to your blog post. This could be highlighting your research findings, providing testimonials, or showing credible photos of your business performing in the industry.
Feel free to use our Monster List of Marketing Proof Elements to help you do this.


Blog posts are like tickets in a raffle; the more you have, the more likely you are to win. For winning in Google organic search, it’s much the same (provided you follow all the above steps). Create as many quality posts as you can.
What tips do you have for making blogging more than just a content production exercise, but an effective sales driver instead? Leave a comment.

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