Marketing Analytics Q&A: Using Analytics To Understand Specific Customer Groups & Intent

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Using Analytics To Understand Specific Customer Groups & Intent

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Which features of Google Analytics will enable me to understand specific customer groups and intent?

Google knows a lot about you, either you’ve told Google all about yourself, or Google has “built a profile” of you based on your browsing habits. You can view the information Google knows about you and change your preferences at the following link: Ads Preferences.

This data also allows advertisers and you to understand more about your website visitors in Google Analytics. This is useful, especially when looking to understand who is your browsing your website and what they’re looking for. We can achieve this with two steps.

Firstly, we need to ensure that Audience Demographics & Interest Reporting is enabled. You do that by following the instructions on this page: Demographics & Interest Reports.

Secondly, once the demographics have been enabled for some time, you’ll start seeing data in the Audience > Demographics/Interests reports. This will tell you things such as age, gender, interests etc.

The way you can use this data is to understand what sort of people you are currently attracting to your website, and compare that to who you’re looking for. You can also compare the behavior of Converters and Non-Converters, plus define segments based on user behavior and demographics. I will cover the practical usage of Advanced Segments in another week.

Practically, you should be using this extra data to understand more about the types of users that are using your website, and defining the specific interests and demographics that are relevant for your marketing. You can undertake remarketing and display targeting on the Google Display network using these demographics and interests. Determine from your website reports the most profitable user segments and use them to improve your overall marketing performance!

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How do I know what content potential customers in my market are searching for? How can I use this information to my advantage?

Potential customers in your market have questions, about your product/service, or about the problem that your product or service solves. The fastest way to understand what they’re searching for and build some content that addresses their question is the Google Keyword Planner.

The Keyword Planner is a tool built into Google AdWords which allows you to research the keywords/phrases that people are looking for in Google Search. It allows you to see how much each keyword is searched each month in the different geographic regions that you operate.

This is important because quality long-tail content such as Q&A style content ranks well in Google Search organically. If you’ve ever hired an SEO expert, they may have asked you to create content, or created content for you. This is practically why you create content, and aligning content to what is already be searched for is the fastest way to attract people interested in what you’re offering.

You can measure specifically what queries people are using to get to your website through Google Webmaster Tools, and link that data so it’s available inside Google Analytics. If you’d like to do this for your website, get in touch!

My online store has a 2% conversion rate, is this normal?

It’s average or a little below average, but it’s not useful to look at the number in isolation. Context; including the device breakdown and marketing channels is important. Each different device category (Desktop, Tablet, Mobile), and marketing channel (Paid Search, Organic Search, Social, Display, Referral, Direct) will all have different conversion rates. This is largely based on the type of marketing channel and the usage of that device in the research process (for example, you probably find yourself researching more on your mobile or tablet).

To make this data useful, we suggest you segment by traffic channels and devices. In Google Analytics you can find device reports under Audience > Mobile > Overview, and marketing channels under Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. If you’ve setup goals for your conversions, you’ll see them as a dropdown in the reports and be able to view conversion rates by device and channel.

It’s good practice to investigate lower than expected conversion rates. There is a practice called conversion rate optimisation which aims to improve conversion rates. If you’re investing any significant money in marketing, looking further into this is a great idea, and it starts with an understanding of where you’re at. If you’d like some help navigating the reports of your Google Analytics, let us know =)

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.

Personalised Content

Technology, for a real-time, on-page personalisation can now provide targeted messages to different, previously anonymous users as they arrive on your site. Shaun Ernst Breaks down what is new, what data is relevant and how to use that data to create a personalised experience for your site visitors.

Personalised content and design is providing the best web experience to different target audiences. At the most basic implementation, personalisation is setting up marketing campaigns for different groups of users, with ads for different audiences linking to different audiences linking to landing pages optimised for that audience. At the more complex integration, it is the use of browser cookie information or other technology implementations to dynamically display optimised content and design for a site as a site loads, to audiences depending on previous behaviour or demographic information.

What you are, probably already, doing.

If you are already running any sort of marketing campaigns online, you probably already use personalisation in your marketing campaigns. If you don’t, you can start this today. You ideally send AdWords leads to a landing page customised to a campaign that is different to the landing page that users who come to your site through social campaigns or organic traffic land on. In addition, paid channels such as Social and Display advertising allows you to target different campaigns at very specific groups; you can show different display ads to targeted groups. In your analytics, if you see that specific interest groups respond better ot a particular message, then you can create a specific target audience for that group. This allows you to only reach the most valuable customers while not advertising to those who are unlikely to respond positively anyway, or you can target the rest separately but pay less to reach them.

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What is new in personalisation?

Technology for real-time, on-page personalisation can now provide targeted messages to different, previously anonymous users as they arrive on site. This new tech stems form A/B testing software; software such as Optimizely or ABTasty, presenting a different version of a page to users at random, with the purpose of judging how the different versions perform. Rather than showing a different version of a site to different users randomly, personalisation solutions show the page according to personas or behaviour; different people will respond positively to different message at different times. On-page A/B testing is reaching the mainstream now; personalistaion will be the next wave of optimised content and is already being implemented by digital leaders.

What data can you use to personalise the content?

Cookies and other tracking formats that determine characteristics of users in real-time are becoming more advanced and at the same time, much cheaper. Pesonalisation tools tell you many characteristics of your users:

  • Where they came from
  • If they have been to your site before
  • If so, what pages they looked at previously
  • If they have been to a partner site in the recent past
  • Geo-location
  • Search terms used

More detailed information around demographics is becoming more accessible as well, such as gender, age group and interests.

Once you have this data, what do you personalise?

Once your site knows certain information about your anonymous users, it is able to dynamically provide content that is going to be much more relevant to those users. Users who have previously visited your site will not need to see a splash page explaining what your service is. An Ecommerce site that sells Men’s and Women’s clothes would increase sales by showing the right type of clothes to the gender of the viewer.

How do you choose the segments?

This technology is exciting, but using it to reach the best people is what personalisation is about. It is unlikely that you are going to be able to place all of your users into personas to target, but two driving criteria should determine those that should be a priority. Firstly, users who are already categorised as high-value to your business. Whether that means they typically have high order values, high conversion rates, or other criteria. The second and alternative criteria are those who are not currently high value but are alikely to become high value if they received a personalised experience. As with all digital marketing, once segments are chosen, you will nedd to test and measure using your analytics tools to see if the personalised experience has improved conversions.

Where is this going?

Dynamic on-page real-time personalisation is being taken up very rapidly by digital leader such as Google, Dropbox, and more. Unlike A/B testing, personalisation doesn’t yet have dedicated solutions. In the next 18 months, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of digital savvy sites using personalistation , and we expect the price of tools to drop and the usability to improve.

Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update

With the convenience of being able to connect to the web while on-the-go, it came as no surprise that mobile usage has seen a significant increase over the years. It was only a matter of time before Google would create an algorithm update with mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking.

Walter Analytics-Mobile Friendly-SERP

As early as December of last year, Google broke it’s usual silence around SEO factors and announced its intent to introduce a new search ranking algorithm favouring mobile-friendliness. What the community would, later on, coin this day as “Mobilegeddon”, it isn’t really as dire as they make it out it to be. Why? Because the algorithm update only affects Google’s mobile organic search rankings.

Which is not to say, of course, that it’s not important. 80% of the global internet users own a smartphone, after all, with an increasing number of users using mobile as their only online device.* From today onwards, it will benefit your website to be mobile-optimised following a number of criteria such as readable content and font sizes, among others.

How to determine if your website is mobile-friendly? If Google has already indexed your website as mobile-friendly, it will be labeled as such in the mobile search results as seen on the photo above. If it hasn’t been indexed yet, there is also the Mobile-Friendly Test tool by Google. What’s more, with this algorithm change, a website can only be either “mobile friendly” or “not mobile friendly” based on page by page mobile-friendliness instead of a site-wide ranking . With that basis, even if some of your web pages are not optimised for mobile, it would not affect the indexing of your website as mobile-friendly. That should provide enough time to make sure that pages with important content are optimised for mobile view.

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As previously stated, this update will only impact search rankings on Google’s mobile search. Rest assured that this will not impact your desktop ranking or search rankings on searches done on tablets and the like. While the algorithm works real time, the changes in ranking of non mobile-friendly websites will be expected in a few days or even a few weeks (depending on how long the algorithm has to crawl through small or large websites) with the extent of the impact still unknown as of the moment.

To find out how the change will affect your rankings, feel free to reach out.

Here is a Q&A video from Google for more information regarding algorithm change.

*Global Web Index: Q3 2014 Global Popularity of Digital Device Usage