Neil Walter

Marketing Analytics Q&A: Is Google suited to manage your Google AdWords account?

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Is Google suited to manage your Google AdWords account-

Is Google suited to manage your Google AdWords account?

It depends…

The thing is, Google likes to flirt with both sides a bit. On one hand, Google actively works with agencies and consultants (through the Google Partner program) to acquire new clients, court existing ones, and generally provide incentives and competitions to Partners to get new clients with such prizes as a rare trip to San Fransisco, Chromebooks, big containers of Jelly Beans, hampers of food, Google collateral, lots of AdWords credit to hand out etc…

Google also actively courts businesses directly, through direct mail, email promotions through affiliated services such as Google Analytics with offers of free credits and free setups. As part of this direct help to new businesses, Google sometimes steps on the toes of Google partners who might be already speaking to the potential clients, or sometimes even unintentionally approaches them when they are already working with a partner.

But that’s not the point of this email, the point is to ask, what’s the best option for you?

You’re either:

1) Happily working with someone managing your AdWords
2) Not happily working with someone managing your AdWords
3) Managing your AdWords yourself with maybe some help from Google
4) Thinking about AdWords soon for your business
5) Not interested in AdWords

When I spoke to a Dentist late last year about managing their AdWords I found out that the Dentist wanted to kick-off AdWords to:

1) Get some basic exposure on relevant keywords in a few suburbs
2) Rank on their brand name (as a competitor was bidding on it)
3) Perhaps trial some re-marketing later

Very much AdWords 101 stuff…

It might take my team 5 hours to setup an account like this including writing the ad copy, setting up the account and getting feedback. Then it might take 1-2 hours a week to monitor and optimise in the first month.

We’d obviously have to charge for this, so as the Dentist didn’t want to spend too much (perhaps $500 – $1000) in the first month on advertising spend including professional fees, it didn’t make economic sense for us to set it up. Since he had an offer from Google to set up and manage, I told him to take them up on that offer and come back to us when he wanted to optimise it and make it gain him more customers…

Conclusion: If you’ve got a fairly basic account to setup, it might be worth taking Google up on the offer of doing it. Just don’t expect too much help beyond making the ads show and getting some clicks.

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On another case, I met a training company who wanted to drive hard inquiries through their website via Google AdWords and was going to spend $10k+ per month

In this situation, working with Google probably wouldn’t be a good idea. The reason being that what you need in this case is:

1) A strong understanding and focus on Analytics
2) Optimisation of the conversion rate via the landing pages and application flow
3) A stronger focus on the AdWords, including which position you want to bid for and how much you can pay
4) At least 3-4 hours a week of optimisation on the AdWords, at least in the first few months
5) Various flexible bidding strategies and rules based on your competitor bids

Much more complex and business ROI-driven AdWords

In this case, you’d be wise working with a Google Partner as opposed to Google themselves, especially someone who had relevant experience in what you were trying to do, and a solid positive ROI driven proposal.

It will take taken dozens of hours to research and set up such an account correctly, including integration with Google Analytics, the website, and various tweaks before you would be happy to go live. You just won’t get this from Google, at best you’ll get some ads showing on the keywords but no optimisation that extends beyond the AdWords account itself.

If I am going to work with Google, is there anything I should worry about?

In my experience, Googles setup and management follows a fairly standard process. The inherent risks are the KPIs for the Google employees/contractors setting up your account are related to you spending a certain amount per month on AdWords. While you will certainly get clicks to your website, it is unlikely they will spend time helping you convert those clicks to customers and help understand the behaviour. Remember clicks are meaningless without understanding what those visitors did on your website.

Are there situations where I could manage Google AdWords myself?

Yes, of course. If you want to learn the ropes and save on professional fees, this is always an option. It’s probably going to be an uphill battle if your account or situation is overly complicated (e.g. if you are like the training company), but if you’ve had a professional or Google manage your AdWords before and you’re happy to take over and continue the status quo then this is a recommended option.

We’re opening an online course soon for business owners and marketing managers who want to learn AdWords via a simple but effective process. Send us a message via the Contact Us page if you’d like to find out the details of that course before it opens publicly.

Marketing Analytics Q&A: Learning from the Best Digital Agencies in New York!

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Learning from the Best Digital Agencies in New York!

 

Precise data & targeting capabilities

The first significant insight from meeting various Digital Agencies was the availability of different data sets, the merging of those data sets, and analysis to determine the best targeting capabilities for digital advertising. We would be able to target a potential buyer with certain demographic data who also shopped at a specific store, or bought a particular type of product. We could also reconcile POS (Point of Sale) data with advertising campaigns to determine accurate ROI.

The context depends on the established players in the market, the regulations regarding privacy and data handling, and the demand from businesses. The US has quite flexible laws regarding privacy and data handling, at least regarding cookies and the selling and consolidation of data points on consumers. Certain countries in the EU have very strict laws to protect consumers, and other markets which may have slightly stricter laws than the US may not have the market size to warrant investment in this area, or not as much demand from businesses at this stage.

Large players such as Google already enable demographic and affinity-based targeting through their display network, and this is expanding. Facebook is also making a play in this area, and there are some third party companies present. The learning for the majority of SMEs that read this is that there is already technology available to target your advertising more efficiently, and this is likely to increase and get better this year and beyond. I was impressed watching case studies and listening to various experts speak about how much companies could improve their performance by focusing on using the technology to target more efficiently and proactively learn from campaigns.

I’m waiting to see this attitude shift to other markets and enable businesses that take the lead to force others to invest in the technology and expertise, out of fear of being left behind and losing market share to competitors.

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“Customer first” focused experiences and marketing

In the past 12-18 months, I’ve noticed a shift in Australia to begin focusing on “Customer First”. Organisational roles such as “Customer Experience Officer” have started to appear in organisational charts, and I’ve seen various conferences dedicated to the cause of the customer.

The customer is important and always has been. So why the need to suddenly assign internal focus solely to the customer? My observations are that from a digital perspective, this has primarily been driven by competition, including a greater transparency of organisations through reviews, and other transparent real-time customer feedback online.

Technology has enabled us to interact with and direct specific offers towards existing customers. For example, here are a couple of examples I’ve seen just recently:

– Personalised offers via email and snail mail based on buying behaviour and previous purchases
– Customised personalised content and pricing based on being logged into the website or having visited recently
– Incentive based marketing such as coupons or high value offers based on a higher probability of a negative behaviour such as churning
– Value added content and other techniques to improve customer loyalty

Sure, some of these things may not seem new to you, and many have been around for several years. However, the adoption of technology by organisations appears to be driven by competition and the threat of having customers taken away by competitors. Despite the ability to use analytics to retain and delight the customer, the greater focus needs to be on providing greater value, and moving as far from a commodity as possible, to be distinguishable in more than dollars and cents.

Marketing Analytics Q&A: Analytics Battle Plan for 2016

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Analytics Battle Plan for 2016 (1)

 

I want us to get better with data in 2016. Where should we start?

I read some predictions that data will be one of the big trends in 2016 (I think I read that in 2015 too). Data is important, but it’s also quite a non-specific term without quite a bit of context.

I mostly work with website data, marketing data, and occasionally databases and other business data. Often, the biggest problems when undertaking a project is that the data we want isn’t available, or worse, is available but not reliable.

Often, when I’m speaking to a client about a data related project, I will mention that they need to begin collecting some additional data before a project could go ahead. Practically, one way to determine if you are collecting the right data is to undertake measurement planning. A measurement plan is basically a plan that outlines what data you need to collect, how you will collect it, and how it will be used.

A measurement plan will usually relate to a particular system such as a website, a database, or another sort of information system. The simplest measurement plan is just answering the following example questions with some short answers:

– What information do we need to collect?
Further details about the source of phone sales inquiries.
What is the purpose of collecting this information?

For analysis later with other sales data.

How will understanding this data improve my business?
Yes, we can understand more about what our customers call us about and how we can provide more value.

How will we store this information?

Excel or CRM system.

How often will we analyse this information?

Quarterly.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to hire an external firm to do this for you. You’d want to hire an external company if you were not an expert in the system you were looking to collect data for, or you wanted deeper answers to the above questions than you could come up with yourself.

So if you want to get better with data in 2016, start off by creating a measurement plan for your business, and think about how you can use data to improve your business.

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What can I do to ensure we get better results from our website this year?

The fastest way to improve your site this year is to understand what objectively happened last year. By results I assume we are talking about conversions, the business generated, etc.

When we look at improving website results we are seeking to understand:

a) Why would your potential customers come to your site?
b) What information are they looking for?
c) What device are they accessing your website from?
d) What marketing channels are bringing in the right kids of people, what can we do to improve this?

In my experience, the fastest way to do this is to analyse or have someone interpret your web analytics data such as Google Analytics, and draw conclusions.

Walter Analytics offers the Marketing Opportunities Report, which does this and answers critical business questions.

The analysis helps you understand what channels to prioritise, what website changes you might make, and actionable recommendations to help you make your site convert better.

If you’d like a specific recommendation for your site, just send us an email, and I’ll provide you with some pointers.

Marketing Analytics Q&A: The analytics behind SEO

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Introducing calculated metrics in Google Analytics (3)

Can you give me a brief history of how SEO has been measured in the past to how it is measured today?

SEO was traditionally measured by keyword tracking. Basically, SEO companies had automated tools that would check for certain websites ranking for different keywords, and turn these into nice looking PDF reports. If you ever hired an SEO company in the past ten years, you might have received these on a monthly basis.

Over time, as website traffic was deemed more important, reports that included traffic for specific keywords as well may have been included. Google Analytics used to let you see which keywords from organic search were bringing traffic to your website. This would let an SEO company effectively say: “We have targeted these ten keywords and here are the concrete results”.

Then one day, Google decided to mask all this data, citing they didn’t want people focusing on keywords alone. This coincided with a push for longer tail keywords in the algorithm and a change in communication for SEO between Google, Webmasters and SEO professionals.

Last year, Google began providing more comprehensive data through Google Webmaster Tools (Now rebranded as Search Console). Under the Search Analytics section, you can now see keywords, impressions, click-through rate, and a host of other useful metrics. This data can also be linked to Google Analytics, to be accessed directly in the GA interface.

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In late 2015/early 2016, how do I measure my SEO efforts using Google Analytics?

There are a couple of primary reports that are important for doing this, it does rely on your Google Analytics to be linked to your Search Console data, technical instructions for doing that are here:

Access Search Console data in Google Analytics

1) Look at the trend of “Organic Traffic” over a previous six month period.

The fastest way to do this is to select the Organic Traffic segment from Advanced Segments and look at the overall visitor graph. Is it going up, going down, or flat-line?

2) Access the Acquisition > Search Engine Optimisation  > Queries section.

Once you’ve successfully linked your Search Console data, it will appear here. Take note of:

– The number of unique keywords in the table
– The impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position for these keywords

Many keywords in this chart is a good thing and shows your website has spread to longer tail queries. Obviously, queries with higher impressions are good, and if highly relevant to your business should be looking to improve the average position of those queries.

3) With the Organic Search segment on, look at Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages.

A good way to see if people from search engines see your valuable content is to see where they land. If your key landing pages are also attracting people from organic search, your best content is likely to be seen and acted upon.

Commonly in this section, you’ll identify a page or two which for some reason has picked up a significant amount of organic search traffic, but provides little additional value to users (It might be a blog post of a few paragraphs long for example). You can work on these pages, linking them to other parts of your website and providing call-to-actions here to capitalise on this traffic.

I hope that helps, get in touch with me if you want to discuss your website search analytics.

 

Marketing Analytics Q&A: Introducing Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics

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Introducing calculated metrics in Google Analytics (2)

Can you give me a basic introduction to Calculated Metrics and how they will become relevant to me?

Calculated Metrics allow you to add up to 5 (50 in GA Premium) metrics to the View Level which can be used in custom reports, or just in your Google Analytics standard reports.

To get started, navigate to Admin > View > Calculated Metrics (You’ll need at least Edit permissions to do this).

For those analysts that export data and undertake calculations in Excel, Calculated Metrics allow you to do this in the GA interface, saving time, and allowing you to present relevant business data to other stakeholders directly in the GA interface.

For example, if you run an eCommerce website, you could add the Revenue Per User metric to Google Analytics. This would allow you to see Revenue Per User in Google Analytics, and then undertake segmentation with advanced segments in order to look at this by channel, or other marketing campaigns. For example, did Facebook or SEM bring us the most revenue per user in November?

The formula to do this would be {{Revenue}} / {{Users}}. Once you type Revenue into the Formula box, you can select it from the drop-down and Google Analytics will automatically add the other formatting needed.

While there will be some standard calculated metrics for each website, the flexibility exists to define some metrics based on your unique website and business. Just like you should be defining goals and Events unique to your website in your measurement plan, think about what’s important on your website and define calculated metrics around that.

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We have a blog set up to teach our potential customers about our industry. How can we use calculated metrics?

I think Calculated metrics can be valuable to identify Users that like and consume your content often. One way to do this is to define micro conversions (Goals) based on your valuable content, and then use Calculated Metrics to total these up and segment users.

For example, if you run a blog about content marketing, you might have a goal that triggers when a user looks at one of your most valuable pieces of content or downloads a PDF worksheet. It’s likely that you’ll have several goals defined, hence Calculated Metrics can be used to add these together to get a total.

Goals are counted on a sessions basis, but the Users variable is consistent assuming the browser cookie is not deleted. If you also practice linking Users across devices with the USERID functionality, you will be able to see as users go between devices such as mobiles, tablets and desktops.

For example, you will be able to find users that viewed at least 15 pieces of valuable content across a 6 month window. This may have been across 10 unique sessions in this time period. You might decide to re-market these users specific paid content, an in-person event, or new content as it comes out.

Get in touch with me if you’d like to discuss your unique measurement plan for your business.