As you know, if you’re a customer or a regular reader of the WordStream blog, we’ve recently added call tracking features to our PPC management software. Call tracking is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to accurate measurement of return on ad spend, since many prospects and customers choose to pick up the phone and call your business when they see your PPC ads, rather than visiting your landing page and filling out a form.
If you’re not using call tracking software, you won’t know to attribute those leads to your PPC campaigns, and you’ll underestimate your ROI. You also won’t know which keywords and ads are driving calls and which aren’t.I recently had the opportunity to interview Chen Zhao, an expert on call tracking data and analytics, and ask her some question... > Read more
Dwell time is one of the most important, yet frequently misunderstood, site metrics. Many marketers put too much faith in Time on Page when evaluating traffic, but this metric is unreliable and can be misleading.In today’s post, we’re going to look at what dwell time is, whether search engines use it as a ranking signal, and examine ways in which you can increase the average dwell time on your site.
What is Dwell Time?Three years ago, Duane Forrester at Bing wrote a blog post about how to build quality content. It was in this blog post that the concept of dwell time was first introduced.Simply put, dwell time is the actual length of time that a visitor spends on a page before returning to the SERPs. In theory, the longer the dwell time the better, as this indicates that the visitor has ... > Read more
I recently learned six Google Analytics tips that literally changed the way I use the software. Until just last week, I only used Google Analytics casually. I’d log in, poke around a little bit, then leave with only a vague idea of what was going on with our traffic. In other words, I was barely scratching the surface of what was possible.
We recently did an all-day intensive Google Analytics training session, which showed me a ton of features that I wasn’t using and didn’t even know about.Before the training, I was pretty much just using Google Analytics to check daily and weekly blog traffic trends. However, the features I’m going to share with you allow me to see:Detailed visitor demographic data and how the behavior of certain types of users can be tracked against “typical” ... > Read more
The (Not Provided) OutlookSince October 2011, organic keyword data from logged-in Google users is not visible in Google Analytics. Google explained its new policy as an effort to protect privacy, but as keyword data continues to be available to Google advertisers, one is left to wonder whether privacy or profit is behind the move.
Whatever the reason, this lack of keyword data presents real problems for the SEO industry. Since October, most firms have seen the percentage of (not provided) data grow, currently averaging around 23% according to some estimates. Making tactical decisions 23% in the dark is hard enough, but things are going to get worse. Firefox, with a hefty 35% market share of browser usage, recently announced that it would default to HTTPS Google search. Whether ot... > Read more
I have to assume that by now you know what Pinterest is. If you don't, I have only one question for you: How long have you been living under that giant rock? Because Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites and trends on the web, with people going crazy over it.Where once the major addiction was Twitter and Facebook, now there are users constantly pinning images to their Pinterest board and sharing pictures with friends.
Pinterest has been announced as the #1 traffic referral for many image-friendly sites. While being an effective buzz marketing tool, it's yet that effectively tracked. Feel free to skip ahead to a tool of your interest.Pinterest Analytics Tools:Google ReaderCyfeGoogle AnalyticsPinerly1. Google ReaderMore than for just subscribing to blogs and site updates, Google Reade... > Read more
This evening I was doing some SEO research, digging through some web server log files and came across a bunch of weird HTTP referrer fields like this one:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CF4QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wordstream.com%2Fblog%2Fws%2F2011%2F07%2F18%2Fmost-expensive-google-adwords-keywords&ei=WjhFT_yFGqW0iQKJ_u3aDg&usg=AFQjCNH6jAtufiEV9QQ4URJCPcqKj60iuA&sig2=R881GkyXe-xIhCnCm6pxaQI couldn't figure out what the q=&esrc=s string was because:The q= parameter was emptyI had never seen this esrc=s parameter.
There were literally thousands of HTTP referrer strings from Google containing the string: q=&esrc=s parameter set.I did some digging and figured out that "esrc=s" has to do with the Keyword "... > Read more
Internet video has begun to form a large part of the online marketing strategies of brands, businesses and bloggers worldwide. The potential for video content to go viral, its power to engage with universal audiences and its distribution simplicity has made it a necessity for any online marketing campaign.
So how do you know your video has actually become successful? How can you be sure using it as a marketing strategy is working for you? How can you track that it is achieving your marketing goals? The following article assesses how you can track your video marketing campaigns, and how you can do so for absolutely free.Why Should You Track Your Video Campaigns?Tracking the success of your video marketing campaigns not only helps to determine whether or not your video is achieving the goals ... > Read more
As is the case with many AdWords features, Google’s impression share report is a powerful, useful, but incomplete and potentially misleading tool for AdWords advertisers. There are two major issues with taking impression share reports at face value:You don’t always want all the impressionsA small percentage of a large campaign can be much more impactful than a large percentage of a small campaignIn any PPC campaign there is a concept of diminishing returns – just because you can get x conversions at y price per conversion doesn’t mean that if you get 2x the conversions your cost per conversion will hold – in fact in a vast majority of cases it won’t.
For this reason there are many instances where even if your campaign is profitable and you’re only capturing 40% of the possibl... > Read more
As is the case with pretty much anything Google does or pays attention to, if you’re a search marketer or someone for whom search traffic (paid or natural) is an important part of how you market your business, it’s helpful to pay attention to the things Google does, and to think about why they’re likely to do those things.
In the past week Google has made two big announcements surrounding their analytics offering:They unveiled Google Analytics Premium, an enterprise analytics package.They announced real-time Google Analytics, which allows you to see how people are interacting with your site in real time rather than waiting hours for the data to refresh.When looked at in a vacuum, these seem like pretty standard iterations for the folks at Google. When you layer on some context, though... > Read more
Despite being somewhat overshadowed by slightly more interesting tech news yesterday, the Google Analytics blog made a big announcement: multi-channel funnels are now available to everyone.First of all, I want to call out that this is very likely great news for anyone who makes their living optimizing Google AdWords accounts.
Why? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that before they rolled this feature out for everyone (and particularly for multi-million-dollar-a-month spenders) they took a look at whether or not the data was, shall we say, “flattering” to paid search – and particularly AdWords – traffic. The same is likely true for search engine traffic in general, so if you’re optimizing websites for paid or organic search, you probably just got another weapon in your value dem... > Read more
The first question you should ask yourself if you’re looking for a Google Analytics alternative is, of course: why?There are a few key classes of reasons you might be unsatisfied with and want to find an alternative to Google Analytics:AttributionTroubleshootingReal-Time AnalyticsParanoiaIn this post we’ll walk through why you might be interested in any of the previous incentives to find a Google Analytics alternatives, as well as providing at least one possible free to cheap solution.
1. Google Analytics Alternatives for Attribution Typically the problem here is one you’ll want to solve with a system that’s significantly more expensive and more full-featured than Google Analytics, which is free. SEO Moz had a nice run-down of alternatives to Google Analytics from an attributio... > Read more
“Conversions” can mean many things for a business, but the most important conversions are sales. Your marketing and sales teams can learn a lot by doing some dedicated reporting around closed deals. It’s great to know what activities are attracting interest (traffic, leads), but even more compelling and valuable to know what activities result in new customers in the books.
Here are 10 metrics to track on closed deals, if you’re not already gathering intelligence on those all-important conversion. 1. Lead source – You likely have at least a handful of ways of getting leads into your sales funnel. Which lead channel results in the most actual sales? PPC? Organic search? Referred traffic? Conferences? Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)? Can you pour more... > Read more
David Cancel is a serial entrepreneur with a twelve-year record of building businesses in online marketing technology, social media, and scaling large data systems. Prior to becoming the CEO of Performable, David was the co-founder and CTO of Lookery, and before that, he was a founder and CTO at Compete, which was acquired by WPP(LON:WPP).
Prior to his seven years at Compete, he was the CTO of BuyerZone, which was acquired by Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK). In the late 90s, David was part of the founding team of Bolt.com and part of Lycos. He sits on the advisory boards of Visible Measures, Sonian Networks, Yottaa and Shareaholic. David is originally from New York City and now lives in the Boston area with his wife and five-year-old daughter. He likes to grow vegetables, make pizza from scratch... > Read more
ImpressionsAn impression, in online advertising, is an appearance of an ad on a web page. In search engine marketing, an impression constitutes an appearance of a text ad on a search engine results page. Internet advertising costs are sometimes measured in cost per impression. An impression will tell you how many people have been exposed to your brand or product.
What impressions won’t tell you: If that exposure actually left “an impression.” Search behavior tends to be a fast and reactive experience. Often users only look at one or two results on a page. Even if your ad is at the top of the list, it may be missed.Click-Through Rate (CTR)Your PPC click-through rate is the percentage of people who view your ad (impressions) that actually go on to click the ad. You can view your cl... > Read more
In most cases, leads are the premier metric for any pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Sure, click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), bounce rate, pages per visit, and other data are important. This information is great for measuring performance and progress -- and optimizing campaigns -- but typically the end goal of a PPC campaign is generating leads and ultimately sales.
Tracking online conversions is easy with PPC and web analytics programs, such as Google AdWords and Google Analytics. These tools associate online conversions directly with a campaign, ad group, ad and keyword. Unfortunately, as soon as someone picks up a phone, this useful lead intelligence is lost. To effectively gauge PPC campaign success you need to see all pieces of the lead-conversion puzzle, whether activ... > Read more
One of the most under-utilized aspects of Google Analytics is the tool's filtering and segmentation capabilities. By using custom reports you can get at some very useful and actionable data, but a lot of people don't fully understand how custom reports and advanced segments work and how they can be leveraged to gain insights into your online marketing efforts.
In this post we'll walk through the difference between custom reports and advanced segments, and where and why you might want to use one and not the other.How is a Custom Report Different From an Advanced Segment?The main thing here is to think of custom reports as reports, and advanced segments as filters. (NOTE: Important and hopefully not too confusing distinction: There is a separate function within Google Analytics that is actual... > Read more
I recently wrote up a short, actionable custom report from Google Analytics to help you get at some useful SEO and keyword level analytic data in a few short steps. This time we'll try to keep it equally short and just as sweet, and walk through a custom report that can help you to understand how different types of content perform.
Getting Unique Visitor & Goal Data on Content Segments with Custom ReportsSEO Moz had a couple of great posts on benchmarking and analyzing different segments of your site's content. Those posts do a really nice job of explaining exactly why comparing various types of content are important, and what we'll do here is walk through how you can get a bit higher resolution look at exactly what's going on with different types of content.First, we need to set up a c... > Read more
There are a lot of great Google Analytics hacks and a myriad of ways to get at some terrific data in Google and other analytics packages. This can be a great asset for veteran analysts, but the different ways available to slice and dice data inside of these analytics packages can often overwhelm small businesses and those new to analytics.
In this post and in a follow-up post, we'll walk through two very simple custom reports that you can set up in Google Analytics to get actionable insights surrounding keyword-driven traffic and subsequently traffic to certain types of content on your site. Creating a Google Analytics Custom Report Setting up custom reports is very simple. First, you select Manage Custom Reports: Next, you can create a new report: Google has a nice overview of how to cr... > Read more
Google Analytics (GA) is undoubtedly the most popular web analytics tool on the planet. If you're a search marketer, blogger or online business owner, you likely use Google Analytics on a daily basis to do some basic traffic and performance analysis. But like many, you're probably not harnessing the full power of Google Analytics.
So to help you get even more out of GA, we reached out to 17 Google Analytics experts to create The Power User's Guide to Google Analytics Hacks, Tips and Tricks. The guide features a variety of advanced user features from our all star lineup of Google Analytics Hacks Panelists, including Aaron Wall, Vanessa Fox, Joost de Valk, David Harry, Will Critchlow, Brian Clifton, Justin Cutroni, Bryan Eisenberg, Bas van den Beld and many more analytics experts. Hope ... > Read more
Last week Google announced a new tool for its AdWords customers to measure conversions: Search Funnels.Search Funnels are a collection of reports that detail the Google.com search ad click and impression conduct leading up to a conversion. The reports, for example, show the number and percentage of conversions that were “assisted.
” Assisted conversions result from two or more Google searches. The user conducts a keyword search, sees or clicks on a particular ad, and then abandons the ad. Then, sometime within the next 30 days, the user conducts another keyword search, sees another ad for the same company, and clicks on it. A conversion follows. Search Funnels also show advertisers which keywords led to assisted conversions, the number and percentage of conversions that resulted fr... > Read more
A few years ago, Google Analytics added benchmarking, allowing site owners to compare their own sites to others in the same category. Of course, many sites fit into more than one category, and to enable benchmarking, you must first enable data sharing from within your analytics settings. Using my art blog, ArtNewYorkCity.
com, I wanted to see how well it performs against other blogs in its category. Selecting the right category is crucial for this exercise – fortunately, Google Analytics has a fairly rich selection to choose from, especially if you drill down a few levels. Once you have chosen a category, you can view six charts (see below) comparing your site with the averages of other sites in its category, aggregated from several thousand sites using Google Analytics that have also el... > Read more
At the end of October, Google Analytics announced a series of exciting updates. Included was the Analytics Intelligence engine which algorithmically tracks significant changes to patterns in your website’s metrics. This engine works both as an automatic feature for general alerts and a custom feature for you to leverage Intelligence based on any metric and/or traffic source you choose.
Intelligence comes with the ability to provide Daily, Weekly or Monthly alerts. As a PPC manager, I'm thrilled to be able to let Google track my data and tell me when things are going well, and more importantly - not going well. Today I'm going to share with you some quick ideas on how you can leverage Analytics Intelligence for your own PPC campaigns. But just in case you missed the offici... > Read more
Keyword research as we know it suffers from a major disconnect. On one hand, you have keyword tools, which provide keyword suggestions and associated keyword frequency estimates. On the other hand, you have web analytics applications, which provide you with the actual search queries that are driving traffic to your site, and the true relevancy of your keywords based on real conversion data.
But there is no reason for these two types of tools to be divorced from each other. In fact, in my experience, successful keyword research largely depends on your ability to leverage and manage data from both keyword tools and web analytics in a continuous fashion.Let's take a look at why neither keyword tools nor web analytics alone is sufficient for complete keyword research, and how the future of key... > Read more
Bounce rate has become a hot topic in the search community. It's a bit of a buzz word, and if you're doing any sort of SEO or even PPC consulting you'll likely have clients concerned about theirs. In analyzing a site's bounce rate, I like to look at three main factors: Bounce Rate Factor #1: Traffic Source Often times the place traffic comes from (search, direct, referral) can have a major impact on bounce rate and can be an indication of irrelevant traffic (some perhaps that you may be paying for).
There are a variety of ways you can quickly diagnose problems using analytics packages. Bounce Rate Factor #2: Page Content/Structure Obviously the way you’re structuring the page or the content therein may cause people to bounce quickly. By carefully syncing your pages' headlines with the ... > Read more
I had a chance to write a guest post for Web Analytics World last week. In it I talked about quickly diagnosing quick jumps or dips in traffic or conversions, and oulined three steps for getting to the bottom of a shift in traffic: Consider the Source Analyze Your Overall Mix Identify Who or What is Sending You Traffic To learn more about each step and how you can accomplish the above in Google Analytics, check out the post.
... > Read more