Use Lift Studies to Validate Product Assumptions and Measure Conversion
Lift studies help answer the most important question – did my marketing influence a purchase that would not have happened if I had not carried out that marketing?
There are many kinds of lift studies but all allow brands a more accurate insight into the performance of their campaign and help them maximize return on investment by considering the entire funnel.
Actual vs. Predicted
A Causal Impact Lift study, for instance, compares actual site activity versus the prediction of site activity had advertising not occurred during the same timeframe.
As a result, you’ll see the direct impact of all your marketing efforts, enabling you to take a holistic and well-informed approach to future campaigns, understanding the full role each channel plays in terms of conversion volume and rates, outside its individual results.
It is becoming more and more important for brands to address the issue of attribution head on and when done correctly, brands will reap the rewards.
Read: Growth Hacking By Fixing Your Attribution First Having the ability to holistically understand how effective each of your marketing channels are will allow you to maximize your budget and drive ROI.
source: Matthieu Betton, Head of Global Car and Strategic Accounts, Sojern
Steve Blank on Uncovering the Needs of Your Target Market
Customer discovery is the rigorous process of interviewing potential buyers and determining how your product or service can best meet their needs. In the videos below Steve Blank discusses how the discovery process is about validating your hypothesis and understanding which product features should be built, expanded, or dismantled.
source: Steve Blank
Are you ready for the mobile web getting faster? Google rolled out their Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which are now live in the search result pages for most users. At the moment, AMP pages are only news pages, and load much faster than regular news pages.
This means that soon consumers can expect a faster mobile web experience for images, videos, maps, and more. So, if you are not able to grab your audiences attention in seconds, they will likely have plenty of opportunities to find content on the next screen.
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative, was a project designed to speed up the mobile web. The idea was to create a new open source framework that would load images and content instantaneously. The pages are streamlined to load as little excess code and resource as necessary.
If you were to conduct a search for “David Cameron” you will note the articles are clearly labelled as AMP with a thunderbolt icon. According to Google, AMP pages load almost instantaneously with a load time that is 85% faster than normal pages.
The Downside of AMP
One downside from a publisher’s point of view is if you swipe right intentionally or accidentally you are taken to the next publisher’s article. Surely as a publisher you wouldn’t want it to be this easy to be able to end up on a competitor website, losing potential ad revenue.
Tech Partners Involved In AMP Integration
A number of publishers and websites have worked with Google to implement the service. Influential companies such as Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress.com, Adobe Analytics and LinkedIn are among some of the first group of technology partners planning to integrate AMP HTML pages.
There was some initial reservation in regards to advertising, however this has also been addressed. More than 20 ad tech providers have joined the initiative including AdSense, DoubelClick and OpenX.
It will be interesting to see the impact of this initiative for the publisher, from the readers point of view it makes sense and provides a better experience.
source: Tobias Matthews, Fourth Source
Increased traffic indicates increased profits which only acts as a hunting ground for cyber attacks from fraudsters and hackers
These threats can do more than just lead to a reduction in sales and revenue loss; they can also damage the image of the brand.
Recent research from the Ponemon Institute identified that 88 percent of consumers distrust a website that crashes and 78 percent of consumers worry about a company’s security when a website is sluggish. This highlights the extent to which website performance influences perceptions.
Failing to protect your online presence from outside threats or allowing it to crash due to traffic overload is a critical error for e-tailers as a slow load or frequent downtime will erode consumer trust in a brand’s digital presence. Rebuilding this will be a costly and time consuming endeavor.
Technology issues may be the cause of poor website performance but this also might be caused by cyber threats. The following describes just a few of the threats that e-tailers should be aware of and outlines how they can act against them:
It’s obvious, but websites get much more traffic during seasonal shopping periods, which puts extra pressure on the website. If brands don’t test their sites to see if they can handle peak traffic, disaster can strike.
The simple solution is to perform load testing in the run up to periods that are forecasted to be busier. By bombarding your site with traffic in a controlled environment, you can gauge how it will perform well in advance of the rush. This leaves enough time to tackle any urgent issues before it affects sales.
DNS Cyber Attacks
Have you ever tried to access a brands website only to find yourself on a completely different site all together? This is known as cache poisoning, aka DNS spoofing. Hackers hijack trusted websites in order to redirect customers to bogus pages where their logins, passwords and credit card numbers are siphoned off.
Solutions to combat this include digital signatures, which ensure that DNS responses are identical to those from your authoritative server, meaning you are protected against forged or manipulated data. Look for a managed DNS service with hardened security features—any good DNS protection provider will provide this at no extra cost.
Also, non-open source resolvers (unlike BIND) are less prone to malware, viruses and attacks; and go for advanced security: permission levels, two-factor authentication and access control list (ACL) by IP to restrict access to DNS records.
The Internet is the perfect feeding ground for fraudsters. It combines anonymity, reach and speed making it easy for those trying to use some else’s identify in order to make online purchases for free. Knowing whether purchase requests are legitimate or fraudulent could save your brand millions.
With seasonal shopping events and increased trades it is natural that there will be an increase in activities like registering on shopping sites and applying online for credit. E-tailers need to have the ability to confirm instantly whether a request is legitimate or based on stolen or fictitious identities. Validating online purchasers’ information can be completed quickly and accurately using a reputable fraud detection and data validation service.
DDoS Cyber Attacks
DDoS attacks can often be carried out by competitors or political/social activists and can take three form:
- Volumetric Attacks, which saturate a site’s bandwidth with high-volume traffic (UDP floods, ICMP floods, and other spoofed-packet floods)
- Protocol attacks, which consume server resources or those of related communication equipment, like firewalls and load balancers (SYN floods, fragmented packet attacks, Ping of Death, and Smurf DDoS)
- Application Layer Attacks—often masked as legitimate traffic, these more surgical attacks aim to crash the web server (Slowloris, zero-day attacks, Windows or open BSD vulnerabilities, and attacks that target Apache).
Alarmingly, hackers implementing DDoS attacks don’t need much to get up and running. They can be powered by cheap tools that are widely available online. These attacks are the easiest way to disable websites, often as a smokescreen whilst malware or a virus is installed.
Recently there has been a rise in the number of attacks that have been followed-up with a ransom demand. Online brands should implement countermeasures with purpose-built DDoS protection—hybrid solutions are best, combining on-premises hardware and cloud-based traffic scrubbing.
Trust Is Key
In our always-on and always-connected world, the digital storefront of a brand, regardless of industry, may well be the first and only “touchpoint” a customer has with a company. During competitive seasonal shopping periods a brand’s marketing, IT and security roles should converge in order to deliver a safe, trusted and seamless customer experience.
It is imperative that the leaders of these three groups have an ongoing, open and trusted dialog that points to the achievement of a shared goal. Failure to do so creates the real possibility that customer loyalty will be destroyed.
source: Margee Abrams, Director of IT Security Services Product Marketing for Neustar, Inc.
It’s important for retailers to make the most of the growth of mobile by developing a more personal relationship with their customers. As consumer activity becomes increasingly more active on mobile, the need to develop an effective marketing campaign for a mobile audience has never been more crucial. Here are five common mistakes that retailers should avoid in order to ensure a successful marketing campaign:
Mistake #1 – Not making mobile a priority
Retailers need to make a concerted effort to incorporate mobile into their marketing strategies and convert mobile browsing activity into definitive purchases by consumers. This is done by getting the user experience right from the outset. Ask yourself: is your website mobile-friendly? Are there images which limit the website’s response speed?
In fact there are already incentives in place to help you. Mobilegeddon, Google’s ranking algorithm update released in April 2015, actually rewards retailers who have made their website compatible for mobile and websites who have not done so may see a negative impact in their search results rankings. Quick tip? Use Google Mobile-Friendly Test to analyze your site and ensure it’s mobile-friendly in its design.
Mistake #2 – Having an out-of-date product catalogue
Keeping your product feed up-to-date is crucial to converting more customer transactions. The customer purchase journey starts from pre-purchase activity and continues right up to the checkout point…and beyond! The protracted journey from the research stage to the checkout phase can be difficult at the best of times, but imagine the frustration after a lengthy decision-making process you click on a product to find it sold-out, out of stock or that the discount has expired.
Also, customers will make their own decision for comparing products so unless the product benefits are apparent to the customer in an effective manner, the customer may overlook these features and focus on other factors like pricing. These are the sort of inconsistencies which will compromise customer experience and impact conversion rates.
Mistake #3 – Not following SEO best practices
Creating a flawless website is only half of the battle. If you don’t rank well in Google’s search results, then you’re not going to get the best out of your marketing campaign. So having a thorough SEO plan in place will increase your chances of success.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of customer are you targeting?
- What keywords are your customers using to search for items online?
- What are the semantics of your product titles and descriptions?
- Are your images helping your SEO strategy?
If you want to increase traffic to your website, then using Google Keyword Planner will enhance your chances of doing so. The tool, which lists the most popular searched-for words and phrases on the web, will provide you with the necessary information required to customize your SEO search strategy.
Mistake #4 – Not using images strategically
A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t place visuals as an afterthought in your marketing campaign strategy, but rather an integral tool for generating sales. Consider the following:
- Choosing the right series of images can trigger an emotional response from the customer, which inevitably increases the chances of a conversion. KissMetrics recently put together a great aid in terms of choosing colour and design that’s right for your site in order to generate more sales.
- Images that are not properly optimised will affect your page loading speeds. This will not only frustrate customers and make them less likely to complete their transactions, they will also have a significant impact on your SEO ranking.
- Also in terms of SEO, the importance of image tags should not be neglected. Used by search engines to read images, correctly optimized tags using targeted keywords can help you to rank in Image search results and obtain traffic through this alternative method.
- Adapting image format, dimensions and weight may also be necessary for other platforms such as Google Shopping. Consider any guidelines that are in place before automatically using the same images on all channels.
Mistake #5 – Underestimating the impact security can have on customer experience
Last year saw a considerable rise in high-profile cyber-attacks, with Vodafone and TalkTalk amongst those who had their private and sensitive data accessed illegally by hackers. With this issue likely to continue in 2016, more retailers must take on the responsibility of securing their ecommerce sites. Marketers must start taking a more lateral approach to cyber security.
How can you secure your ecommerce site without compromising user experience? It is important that retailers treat secure payment pages as a high priority and make sure they are using trusted providers and secure encrypted webpages for the checkout process. This is particularly the case on mobile devices, which are no longer only used for browsing products, but also to complete full transactions.
In order to get the most out of your new marketing campaigns for this year several factors must be acting together. Ensure your mobile strategy, product listing pages, SEO/ paid search campaigns, image choice, and transaction pages are all working effectively in concert in order to maximise your results and increase traffic to your listing pages.
source: Herbert Knibiehly is VP of Marketing at Twenga Solutions