July 2015

Analytics

There have been technology and behaviour changes in Analytics in 2014. In this article, our Analytics guy Shaun runs through how medium companies are leveraging data for a competitive advantage. Price and functionality improvements are fuelling this exciting time.

We have seen the widespread adoption of A/B testing in large companies, with medium companies starting to make the move to incremental data driven changes through A/B testing as well. For web insights, new features in Google Analytics include Universal Analytics and Enhanced Ecommerce, and more recently Demographic and Interest Segmenting, has meant greatly increased insights into behavioural difference between different website users. So many changes in a market can be hard to grapple, and many businesses just don’t adapt at all. To ensure you remain competitive you must make a measured move to keep your marketing budget accountable, and new analytics insights now allows you to do just that.

The best business decisions are always driven by data; data that is readily available, and data that is gathered specifically for that decision. Unfortunately, this mindset hasn’t always extended into marketing decisions as much of the data wasn’t available; this is no longer the case. The most significant change in 2014 is the advent of the ability of marketers to measure – almost exactly – how many sales have been made due to each and every campaign. You are no longer restricted to previously immeasurable success metrics such as ‘brand awareness’, ‘reach’, or ‘impressions’. With the new tools at our command, we need to crack down on how these and other marketing activities account for the bottom line. To do this, however, we need to wade through all available data to find those that help to inform decisions and measure performance.

At the end of the day, you can have all the data in the world, but if you can’t or worse don’t – do anything with it, then there is no point in collecting it in the first place. Data in marketing, just as with all data, needs to be used to inform decisions relating to business objectives. It is all too common for businesses to fail into the trap of feeling that the data is more easily available is the data that matters. Think about Facebook post reach, the number of likes, and the number of shares. I get as warm and fuzzy as the next person when I get public recognition, but if it doesn’t bring you more sales, either now or in the futures, then this data is not informative for business goals. There are many example of this, you are probably thinking of other data you check every week or so. For this reason, it is important to focus on the end goal data; sales data.

“Likes are for Vanity, Sales are for Sanity”

Segmenting audiences and demographic information. User segment insights have received a significant upgrade this year. Looking at groups of users according to behaviour such as a threshold of time on site, or users who make a purchase, and demographic insights – such as gender, age or interest group – grants you better insights into different target audiences. The Google display network of ads has now been able to leverage its data to approximate the demographic information of approximately 60% of users. This means that you can identify the differences in behaviour between men and women, over 45s and under 25s, and android users compared to iOs users and many other details, and of any combination. From what we have seen so far there are very often significant differences in behaviour between different groups. The significance that this has is really quite remarkable for business decisions, and to inform changes to your web strategy. It is not uncommon for a particular demographic to have significantly different purchase behaviour. This means that you can increase your advertising activities where you are able to target these demographics specifically and bid more for more profitable segments.

So how have the changes this year contributed to this data collection, the data used to make decisions or measure performance? Universal Analytics was a change introduced early this year to Google Analytics while providing extra insights on the default set-up, the strength was in the opened applications of the code that is now available. With developers’ help, data from Google Analytics can now be imported into your CRM, and custom user attributes from our CRM can be sent back into Google Analytics. Users can now be tracked more successfully across multiple devices if the site has a sign-feature, which increases accuracy of data in an increasingly multi-screen environment. The real power of custom applications of Universal Analytics is yet to be seen; there are some exciting developments expected in Universal Analytics.

Enhanced Ecommerce was a major add-on for anyone who has a dollar value transaction on his or her site. Once set-up with your product data feeds, Enhanced Ecommerce allows you to view, from the Google Analytics interface, data relating to purchases at the product and value level. What this means for business decisions is that you can identify the behaviour of groups of users who purchase specific products, or whose order value is within a certain range. With this infromation, you can really drill down into the best savings that can be made in your marketing.  A company may notice that a certain demographic is much more likely to purchase certain product combinations, or have a higher order value. This information can be used to improve the web experience for these users, and can be fed into the bidding strategies for advertising to these specific audiences.

While not a new feature, building AdWords audiences through Analytics deserves a mention. Google Analytics can create a segment of users who fit a certain criteria. These segments can be exported directly into AdWords and can be targeted through some advertising networks. You can use this information in two instances of your advertising activities. The first application is to increase the effectiveness of remarketing. Remarketing is typically used to show display ads to past visitors of the site, but with advanced segmentation, you can instead just show display ads to those in segments based on behaviour or demographics. Instead of showing display ads to all past user, you can choose only those who were most engaged with the site. Secondly, you can use the information in conversions of market segments to target the broader audience of people within this category – thus increasing the effectiveness and viability of display advertising. Audience building is now much more powerful with the additions of Ecommerce, Universal Analytics, and Demographics data. We can now target audiences that are of certain demographic groups, or who looked at high priced items for specific advertising campaigns. You can segment Analytics data by these segments – furthermore, all of these groups can be targeted either with remarketing, or even in general from AdWords:

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Demographic Information

Gender

  • (Male/Female)

Age Groups

  • 25 – 34
  • 35 – 44
  • 45 – 54
  • 55 -64
  • 65+

Geographic Information

Location down to the state and mojor city

Affinity Categories

  • Movie Lovers
  • Technofiles
  • TV files
  • Travel Buffs
  • Shoppers/Shopaholics

In-Market Segments

  • Employment
  • Real Estate
  • Financial Services
  • Travel
  • Apparel and Accessories
  • Home garden and furnishings
  • Automotive
  • Consumer Electronics etc

Pay-Per-Click Acquisition

Google’s AdWords revenue amounted to over $50 Billion US Dollars in 2013. Neil Walter had his first AdWords account 7 years ago and in this article he outlines the key to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) success.

Walter Analytics-Insights-PPCAdwords, or the ads you see on Google search results, are the major money generator for Google. AdWords allows a business to generate traffic from relevant keywords quickly and turn a percentage of those visitors into sales through their website. I’m writing this article to talk about a couple of businesses that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years, naturally evolving into their Google AdWords manager. These businesses were in a unique position in that they could “turn on and off’ the AdWords tap as they pleased and generate sales every time the tap was on. What made these businesses unique, was that every conversion they got on their website was worth hundreds, often thousands of dollars. Due to this, it was very important to harness the power of Analytics to measure conversions and what ads were leading to conversion. It was also important to test search, AdWords runs an auction process and determines where to rank companies. Position is based on a metric called AdRank which takes into account your quality score (Click through rate, ad relevance & landing page) and your bid. Obtaining a top of page position and keeping it is usually the result of testing and creating ads that win over your competitors. Having an eye for persuasive ad copy is what makes the difference between a high performing ad and a low one. If you gain a top position, it’s likely you’ll eventually lose to a competitor’s new strategy – so you need to be constatntly innovating to stay at the top.

 I’ve worked on dozens of AdWords accounts over the years and the key factor that leads to success is the time and effort put in. The secret sauce is having a methodology of testing and refinement – and defining a strategy based on the client’s unique niche and cost per sale allowances. AdWords management can take anywhere form 2 to 15 hours a week, so be prepared to pay in order to optimise the channel to your business goals.

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How can my business run a successful AdWords campaign? As a business, you are increasingly likely to encounter a sales pitch for Google AdWords if you are not already on it. If you are just a regular business in a local or lower competition niche, you’re probably ok working with Google To get a presence established. Google has a certification program, so you should only work with an agency who is a Google Partner. If you’re in a highly competitive niche, or you have run AdWords and have not gotten results, Walter Analytics can provide you with an AdWords audit which will go through your setup and make recommendations for imporovements. We also provide management services for selected businesses, usually in competitive markets.

What is the most important advice to take away from this? Buying AdWords means that you are just buying traffic for your website. If the AdWords is targeted, then that traffic is more likely to convert into customers or leads for you. It is important to develop thinking around what you are expecting to get when you buy traffic and how it fits into your business goals. If you’re utilising forms or transactions on your website, then it’s good to create a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) number that you’re happy paying for a customer. You can work back from this to develop how much you’re willing to pay for a click.

While having a presence on Google search is important, it’s also important to generate business from your marketing dollars, and AdWords allows you to do that very well when used properly.

It’s also likely when using AdWords you’ll notice opportunities to improve your website. Using a software such as Google Analytics to understand how people are using your website, allows you to improve the conversion rate. This is why having a good relationship with a web developer is important, and ensuring that your marketing and digital teams can work well together. Walter Analytics offers an Analytics Auditwhich looks into the data in an Analytics software to create a business insights and generate better ROI from marketing dollars.