Understanding how your value proposition drives conversions is essential to building out a successful messaging campaign. However, testing multiple aspects of your value proposition via webpage and collateral messaging can quickly get expensive and complicated. Fortunately, there’s an easier way – AdWords. By setting up ads with different variations of your UVP, you can quickly gauge customer interest by tracking the click-through rates of each ad. Here’s how to do it in 5 steps:
Step 1 – Determine the areas of your UVP to test
A good place to start is looking at your benefits and how your solution stands out from the competition on the basis of those benefits. The goal is to determine which benefits/messaging the customer deems most important, and therefore the best way to position your UVP. You’ll need at least two for A/B testing purposes, but no more than five, in order to keep the test manageable.
Step 2 – Develop an offer for each area
This can actually be the same offer, framed in different ways based upon the benefits. A free trial, free sample, a consultation, whitepaper, ebook or other offers can work well. The most important consideration is to make sure that the offer is uniquely tailored to the value proposition you want to explore.
Step 3 – Create ad groups for each offer
Tailor your ad messaging to match the value proposition you are trying to measure. For example, if your company’s value proposition is tied to your experience in your field, your ad might mention how many years you’ve been in business, certifications, or other concrete statements around the experience level your company brings to the table.
Step 4 – Create landing pages for each offer
These landing pages should elaborate on the messaging in the ads, and direct visitors to take advantage of the offer you created in step 2. Landing pages for each of the separate offers should be the same visually, but use very different wording to express the different value propositions in order to track conversions based on messaging only.
Step 5 – Measure conversions and qualified leads
When you set up your AdWords campaign, use equal spend and budgets to get the same level of exposure. The click-through and conversion rates will tell you which messaging is most popular with your target audience.
Once you have an understanding of what kind of messaging drives the most qualified leads, you can use the results you get from your AdWords campaign to your other inbound marketing channels. This will result in better customer experience, higher conversions, and greater revenue.
When it comes to integrating social features into your web application, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether or not your app will benefit from integrating social features depends largely on the level of engagement you expect users to have within your app, and if social sharing will enhance that engagement.
If you do decide to pull the trigger, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Privacy – some users will embrace the new social functionality; others will not. Providing users with control over how and when they decide to share is important to ensure that your current users are comfortable with the additional features. For happy users, make sure privacy controls are simple to use and easy to find.
- Moderation – for some web apps moderation may make sense, while for others it may not be feasible. For instance, if your user base is made up of business professionals, moderation may be unnecessary, while for product reviews you may want to include purchase verification or some other limits. If you do decide to moderate, make sure you have the staff to handle the approval process – no one wants to feel like his or her message was lost, and you may have a lot of repeat posts and frustrated users in the process.
- Organization – social integration requires careful thought about how it will be organized in order to provide the best user experience. This is true whether it’s reviews and comments on a product page, private messages from friends on an account page, or an interactive profile page with badges and rewards for social behavior.
- Metrics – while social options can be fun for users, they are only worthwhile if they accomplish the business goals you intended. Whether that’s an increase in purchases, time spent in the application or some other measure, make sure you’re tracking the results both before and after implementation so that you can directly measure the impact.
Deciding to integrate social features into your web application is a big step, but one that can lead to impressive ROI in terms of engagement and user loyalty. Making sure your social integration goes off without a hitch requires taking these areas into consideration at every point in the process from concepts and storyboarding all the way to final implementation.
Tell us what you think: What’s the biggest challenge you face in social feature integration for your web applications?
Basic metrics like DAU/MAU, ARPU, and others are great for getting a top-level view of how your social game is performing, but they won’t give you the specifics you need in order to successfully monetize your game. For that, you have to take these basic metrics and use them to inform the implementation of custom tracking that will give you the insights you need in order to turn players into payers.
Let’s take the following hypothetical social game scenario:
A social game has been active for the last 12 months. Their initial MAU numbers increased rapidly in months 1 through 3, increased slightly in months 4 and 5, but have now leveled off to an even number. Meanwhile, DAU continues to increase. The overall conversion rate for in-game purchases is 2%.
From this high-level assessment, we can make some general (and potentially conflicting) assumptions:
- The game may not be retaining new players well. – increasing number of new players engage with the game, but few are retained to subsequent months.
- The game may be retaining some subset of new players well, but not in general. – players who engage in a certain subset of activities are retained, those who do not engage in these areas are not well retained.
- The game may have a core following of well-retained players brought in via a specific channel. – players who are brought in by friends are retained, regardless of the activity played, while users who come in on their own are not retained well.
- The game converts well early on, but not later in the player lifecycle. – Most new players make a purchase, but then aren’t retained. Continual influx of new players keeps conversion rate steady.
- There are issues with conversion for new users, but not for users who are retained. – the same subset of retained players continue to make purchases month after month, with only a small percentage of new players making an initial purchase.
Any of these explanations may be true. It is only through deeper analysis that we can uncover the insights that will help this game to improve. Looking at the assumptions above, we can clearly see the need to track (at minimum):
- Which acquisition channels bring in retained users
- Which areas of the game have the most activity from new and retained users
- Which areas of the game are largely abandoned and/or cause users to stop returning
- When do monetized players typically make a purchase – here we can break this down even further into:
- New players’ purchasing habits
- Retained players’ purchasing habits
- Where in the purchase flow do most non-monetized players drop out, including:
- Problems with the conversion flow itself (drop-offs)
- Technical difficulties (failed transactions)
Answers to these types of questions require in-depth tracking capabilities and are unique from game to game. While some games may have multiple mini-games to track, others may have only one. Likewise, competitive games will have different measures (leaderboards) versus cooperative games (gifting) that make a direct impact on the level of engagement.
Knowing What to Track
Even with this basic scenario it’s easy to see that the analytics involved could potentially become overwhelming. It’s best to pick one area of your game to focus at a time, with the understanding that there will be overlap between these areas, such as acquisition channels potentially being covered by retention rates or monetization.
For example, if we wanted to understand the current monetization within our hypothetical game, we might measure the following:
- How long monetized users have played the game
- What areas of the game monetized users spend the most time with
- When in the play cycle monetized users are more likely to purchase
- What are the acquisition channels for monetized players
… and so on. In this way, we build out an accurate idea of what makes for successful monetization in this particular social game. We might also drill down further and gather information about whales versus more average purchasers.
Understanding what brings in your best players and payers, along with what keeps them engaged in your game isn’t as simple as running a few generalized reports. It’s only by digging into the data and gaining insights as to how players are interacting with your social game that you can truly start to optimize the play experience, and from there, your monetization rates.
Sound off: What do you think is the most important metric for social game success?
Google’s latest addition to AdWords remarketing includes the ability to integrate with Google Analytics for custom targeting. While remarketing itself isn’t new, the new addition has opened up tremendous potential for highly targeted remarketing – albeit with a few caveats. Here’s how it works:
Using a snippet of tracking code on the pages of your website, you will be able to create and define remarketing lists based on specific criteria such as the page viewed, the visit duration, whether or not the user made a purchase, and so on. You create custom ads to run on the Google Display Network to target these lists.
Once this is set up, users who fit the criteria you’ve set up will be shown the relevant display ads when they browse sites within the Google Display Network.
Your first step in creating remarketing lists is to link your Google Analytics account to your Google AdWords account. When this is completed, you’ll then need to update a single line of the Google Analytics currently on your website. Why would you do it this way versus adding in remarketing directly from AdWords? Several reasons:
- Users who fit your remarketing segments will be automatically added to AdWords from your Google Analytics account.
- You can create custom lists based on highly specific criteria within custom segments.
- You can create custom remarketing lists tied to your existing goal funnels and events
- Changes you make to your remarketing lists in Google Analytics are automatically ported over to AdWords.
Some ideas on how you might use this:
- A remarketing list targeting users from a specific location who downloaded a whitepaper or ebook
- A remarketing list that targets users who visited a landing page, submitted their information, but didn’t make a purchase
- A remarketing list that targets users who have purchased a specific product during the last 30 days
- A remarketing list specifically for users who returned to your site, but then bounced
- A remarketing list specifically for users who spent a lot of time on your pages, but don’t convert
The possibilities are only limited by what you are able to accurately track within Google Analytics.
Other Important Things to Note
While the new remarketing functionality offers tremendous opportunities to stay top of mind with your website visitors, there are a few things to know about implementing this functionality.
Retargeting lists only become active once there are 100 users on the list. Your display ads will not run until this criterion is met. Once there are 100 users on the list, the display ad competes with other ads in the same fashion as any other Display Network ad.
The default here is 30 days, and you’ll want to adjust this higher or lower depending upon the typical sales cycle for your product or service. This cookie can be set for as long as 540 days, which is helpful for seasonal and/or holiday ads.
When a user is a member of two or more lists, your ad with the highest ad rank is the one that will be shown. This means that if you want a specific ad to run for individuals who qualify for more than one group, you’ll need to increase your ad score and/or increase your bid to ensure that the ad you want to show is the one that has the best rank.
Even with these considerations, the ability to pinpoint very specific segments of website visitors for retargeting can provide a tremendous ROI – especially when coupled with the data within Google Analytics. The key to finding success with remarketing is in analyzing the data to find the areas where remarketing will benefit you most, and begin your targeting from there.
Email remains one of the most effective means to engage your audience and grow conversions. However, the lingo surrounding email marketing can be confusing – which can in turn lead to mistakes in best practices that negatively impact your email marketing efforts. Our first edition of the email marketing lexicon covers common terms surrounding conversions and best practices, as well as how to tell if your email marketing strategy needs a lift.
This is the percentage of users who opened your email. It’s calculated by dividing the number of opens by the number of successful deliveries. Average open rates vary from industry to industry. For example, retail-based email marketing campaigns may see an average of 15%-20% open rates, while non-profits see 21%-25% open rates.
By far, the biggest contributing factor to open rates is the subject line. While there are many guidelines about how to write an effective subject line, the only way to know what will resonate with your list is to test subject line messaging. You need to have a specific strategy in place that will let you identify trends in the types of messaging that gets the greatest number of opens, and compare that to the click-rate to discover which types of messaging lead to engaged email recipients.
Click Rate, Click-through Rate, CTR
There is a lot of confusion around the terms click rate and click-through rate (CTR). Generally speaking, the click rate is the percentage of users who clicked versus the total number of recipients, while the click-through rate measures the number of users who clicked versus the total number of users who opened the email. However, this is not always the case, and different email service providers may track this metric differently.
In general, the click-through rate gives you a better idea of the effectiveness of your email copy and design, while the click rate is a better measure of overall list engagement. These numbers vary from industry to industry, just as open-rates do. If you find that your emails aren’t performing at least as well as industry benchmarks, there are many areas that you may need to address, including:
- Image use – if your entire email is an image, users who block images can’t see your messaging and this can significantly lower the number of clicks you receive.
- Call to action (CTA) – if your CTA is unclear or your links aren’t easy to spot, your recipients may not follow through, leading to lower click numbers.
The bounce rate is the percentage of users who do not receive your message. This can happen for various reasons. Bounces are classified in two ways – hard bounces, or soft bounces. Hard bounces can impact your deliverability, so it’s important to trim these emails from your list.
A hard bounce is any bounce that is the result of a permanent error. This most often happens when a user has entered the wrong email address on a form, or the email address has expired. One easy way to prevent misspellings is to require email confirmation before users are signed up to your mailing list. However, for emails currently on your list, you may be able to correct misspellings for common domain names such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail.
A soft bounce occurs because of temporary errors. This can be due to a full mailbox, a server error, or some other issue. When it comes to soft bounces, you don’t need to clean these emails from your list. However, you may need to resend your email campaign to these users if your email service provider does not attempt redelivery on your behalf.
Some email addresses can impact deliverability more than others. Some anti-spam organizations seed the internet with email addresses that are used specifically to identify spammers. Known as a honeypot, these planted email addresses can cause the sender to be marked as a spammer by email servers across the internet, reducing deliverability considerably.
Honeypots are a major reason for avoiding scraped/harvested email lists, purchased email lists, and other means of collection that cannot be verified.
Are there any terms you’d like us to tackle in the second edition? Let us know in the comments section below!