How to 2X Your Paid Search ROI Without More Conversions

Paid search advertising is rough, and much of the conventional wisdom around conversion rate optimization really misses the mark.

In this video, Chris Panetta, Paid Search Strategist at WordStream, joins Anita Garimella Andrews, VP of Customer Success at RJMetrics, to discuss how their most successful customers optimize to get more conversions from PPC.

You'll Learn:

  • 3 secrets from the top 5% of paid search advertisers
  • When to throw out your landing page altogether
  • The formula that best-in-class companies use to calculate the success of their campaigns


Anita: Thank you for joining us today for our event on how to 2X your paid search ROI without more conversions.

I'm going to run through just a few details before we get into the show, and I promise it's going to be pretty amazing. The WordStream folks have some pretty amazing data that I think you will be able to walk away with some good next steps.

In terms of the housekeeping, I'm going to lead a Q&A at the end of the presentation for about 15 to 20 minutes. So please be sure to tag your tweets with #CRO2015, or you can put your questions directly into this webinar interface and our folks will get them to us. We hope to get to as many questions as possible.

If that isn't incentive enough, anyone who asks questions or tweets using this hashtag will automatically be entered to win a dozen cupcakes, and we'll announce the winner at the end of the event. We are going to record the show, and we'll have this available online within 24 hours. Anyone who registers will be notified when it's available online. So I think that's it for the housekeeping side of things. Today I'm so excited to be joined by Chris Panetta, a paid search genius from WordStream. Chris, do you want to say hello?

Chris: Yeah. So my name is Chris Panetta. I work at WordStream. I have been at the company for about two and a half years, and before that I was working at SEO. Chris@PPCPanetta. Hashtag is there. I'll hand it over to Anita.

Anita: Great. The hashtag... I saw this question come through on the chat, so I'm just going to remind everyone again. The hashtag is #CRO2015.Chris, we're seeing a little chatter that... May not be able to hear you. So we will just hopefully get that in place by the time we turn it back over to you. My name is Anita Garimella Andrews. I'm the VP of Customer Success at RJMetrics. My hashtag... My hashtag? My Twitter handle is @agarimella.

We'll talk a little bit more about what WordStream and RJMetrics do to give you a little context in a second. Before we do that, I just want to set the stage for today. We have so much good stuff to get through today.

Chris and the folks at WordStream have so much data, which we obviously love here at RJMetrics. The thing that I love about his data is it's directly related to how we think you should be spending your optimization time. He's going to be talking about some of the secrets he sees WordStream's most successful clients adopting. I will be sharing some tips from our fastest growing eCommerce companies on how they measure and optimize campaign performance.

Before we jump into the show, let me give you the 15 second commercial for RJMetrics. We are an analytics platform for online businesses. We help companies measure and optimize marketing spend. So if, after today, you are interested in what we have to say and how we approach our problems with our customers, please, please, please reach out to us. We offer a two week free trial for people serious about optimizing their business. Chris, I'm going to hand it over to you now to tell us a bit about WordStream and get us started.

Chris: All right. Thank you. Hopefully you guys can hear me a little bit better now. WordStream is a PPC company specifically dealing with AdWords and Bing. We have two services. The Managed Services Department, which fully manages accounts. That's where I'm in. We also have the software side, which makes up a majority of our business. That is people who buy our software and then run the accounts themselves.

We have a variety of free tools, including our PPC grader that you can take a look at if you want, and then you can find us at So the first part here, what conventional conversion rate optimization wisdom won't tell you, is one of my favorite topics, actually. It's what I talk about a lot with my clients, and really try and get them to understand the whole that is involved in this.

Typically what they are doing is looking at it at a short term, one piece, one little bit of it, instead of the whole picture. That's where a lot of the shortcomings that I see are coming from.

First bit is an overemphasis on small tweaks. They don't really work in the long run. They will provide some small short term gains, but if you want long run optimization and long run improvement, you really have to make those big changes. You've got to really take a couple of risks, take some larger tests, and just find what is and isn't going to work.

As I'm going to show up on a graph in a couple of slides, again, in the short term, those small changes will make some small impacts, but they will kind of be voided out in the long run, if that makes sense. I also want to talk about how the classic conversation rate optimization test is silly, again, because it deals mostly with those small tweaks.

It looks at different things like changing the button color, the font, the spacing, and it doesn't really look at the big picture, changing the flow of the entire landing page itself or changing the content. It's more concerned with the aesthetics, I guess would be a good way to put it instead of the actual core content of that landing page. This is where it falls...

The small changes like buttons, fonts, colors... Basically, the aesthetic changes, don't really have any lasting, long term impact when trying to optimize landing pages and even conversation rates. We'll get into that a little bit farther down the line. Basically, what you want to do, is make big, large core changes, whether it's to the actual content on the page or just completely remaking the page itself.

To that extent, here's a nice little graph and some of that data we've been talking about. This is pulled from an actual account, so we blurred out some of the more sensitive stuff. But what you can see here is the baseline, and then the test, where initially the test does perform very well and increases conversion rates and optimizations in general.

But as we monitor it out over the long run, you can see that it just evens out in the end. The small tweaks, although they have that short term impact, don't have that long term viability that we're really looking for and that many companies need to really overhaul their PPC practices and their landing pages on their website in general.

Another more important thing is the business. Is it actually having an impact on the business? What I see all the time is people who come into WordStream wills ay, "Well, we've been able to do X, Y, Z to get our conversion rate up from 5% to 7%, or boost our conversions by 150%. But our sales are down 5%. Our sales are down 3%," or, "Our sales are only up 1%."

What you have to take into account is that business side. You can't just look at the numbers on your backend system or in AdWords and take that as the holy grail.You have to actually talk to the people in the business, sales in particular. Are you guys getting more leads? Are you able to close more sales? Are we seeing an consistent increase in lead volume that we're seeing in conversion volume?

If you're not, then there's some disconnect. So you have to look at that and really try and figure out where that disconnect lies. Typically that disconnect is in the webpage itself and that optimization funnel.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make during that optimization funnel is ignoring mobile. You have your 5%, let's say, as an example, conversion rate for desktops at 3% for mobile and tablets. Well, on the surface that might seem all right. Again, in the long run, it's going to hurt you, especially with the rate of growth that mobile and tablets have been having since the transition to enhanced campaigns. We have seen substantial growth in both of those platforms, but the conversion rates have kind of fallen flat compared to desktops.

Then you really have to look at mobile's impact on the bottom line. Are these changes you're making having any sort of impact on mobile, or are they only benefiting desktops? If you are able to get your conversion rate up to 7% on desktops, but mobile remains unchanged, again, in the long run it's going to drag down your account.

The way that mobile is growing, mobile is making up significantly more volume on a monthly, a yearly basis, than it ever had been before. Google recognizes this. They are giving us all these new tools and options to cater to mobile. But, at the same time, if you're not leveraging those and you're just ignoring mobile, your account as a whole is going to suffer from that.

Here's a nice little graph of why mobile matters. You can see right around May 2013, when everybody stated to transition over to enhanced campaigns, you got that uptick immobile and you got that uptick in tablets. Mobile being the red line, tablets being the green line.

Following through to about the end of August, when everybody was forced to transition over, it was no longer an option. It was something that was basically a flip that was switched in your account. You can see that trend continue.

We don't have data for the second half of last year yet, although we are working on accumulating it. But I am more than confident in saying, you will just see what we see in this graph continue... Mobile making up an even larger share of traffic, and then the conversation rates still not following suit with that traffic. Basically, falling flat and still well below desktops. What does a best in class webpage conversation optimization rate or conversion optimization practice look like?

First you have to take into account what is a good conversion rate. Are you happy with where you're at? Do you know what the industry standard is? Is an account wide 5% conversion rate good, bad, average? You don't know. So you have to kind of dig into the industry a little bit and figure it out.

Well, what about 7%? Is that good? Is that bad? Again, you don't know. Well, how about 9% on desktops, 4% on tablets and 3% on mobile? That's really what we're talking about, breaking down those three different platforms and trying to optimize each of them individually, while still paying very close attention to mobile.

In the end, what we see happen is people, in particular our clients, don't understand the impact of mobile. So they will just ignore it. They will turn it off. They won't advertise on it. They will see a loss of leads, traffic drop, and overall just poor performance when this happens. They come back to us and say, "Well, we turned it off because we were converting poorly. We just figured we could put that money in desktops and do better," when, in reality, it's not the case.

There's kind of an intangible aspect to mobile that, unless you are accurately tracking it, whether it's through call tracking or some type of backend tracking on your system, you are just never going to get that full picture. We never recommend completely discounting mobile until you've tried everything and you know you are tracking it properly, and that tracking is working right and telling you that it's not working.

Typically what we will see is, a lot of people will come in on a mobile device or call the mobile number and not convert, and then later convert on a desktop. Because we are so data driven at WordStream, we are able to dig into the data and identify that. A lot of people aren't.

So, simply put, there's not one single item to concentrate on. Account wide conversion rate of 5% could be good, but you could maybe have 10% on desktops and then mobile and tablets are dragging it down to 5%. So you've got to look at that complete picture. You can't just single in on one of them.

Here we have, again, some of that nice little data we have been talking about, where we have search conversion rate distribution spread out over all of the accounts in WordStream that we have either graded or house in our software right now. What you can see is, the top 10% are at that 11.45% conversion rate and above. That's kind of the unicorns. Those are what people want to try and find, and then strive to be. So you can see, again, the medium is only 2.35%. So 5% in our previous example might have been good. Then that top 15% is 5.31% and above.

What this tells us is, people are struggling, not only in mobile and tablets, but also on desktops. But when we dig into the data we see that mobile is a leading contributor. We see often that the desktop conversion rate is well above the median of 2.35% or 5%, but those mobile tablet conversion rates are just killing the account because there's that increase in traffic we have been talking about from those platforms without any real attention paid to the optimization of those platforms or how they function.

Then some data for you guys here. These are some of the conversion rates that we see in our data that we pull here. So you can see here, like we just pointed out, the median, 2.35%. Pretty unremarkable. You can do a lot better than that, but if you are at that point, you are still doing well. You just have to continue to build off of it.

That top 25% is two times the average. About 5.3%, 5.31%. Then those unicorns, those holy grails that we talked about, 11.45% and above. So five times the average. The people who do the best, who get in that top 25, are the ones who start to pay attention to mobile and tablets.

Then the people who get into that top 10 are the ones who not only start to pay attention to it, but actively put resources behind improving them, whether it's a mobile optimized landing page or better interactions on your website with tablets.

Then you also have to take into account, like I said before, you industry. So across all accounts, unrestrictive of industry, we have the numbers we just went over. But if you want to look at some of the more prominent industries in AdWords, we have four more examples here. So eCommerce is actually a little bit worse than average across the board, whereas finance, it's well above average across the board. So that median is almost... Actually, a little bit more than two times in finance what it is across all accounts and so on down the line.

Our last step here in trying to really improve that conversion funnel and the conversion rate optimizations comes down to something that we have been talking about on and off so far throughout this webinar. How to build a better landing page and how to improve upon the ones you have.

Like I said before, don't stress about the small things. Spacing. Font. Not going to matter. Language doesn't even matter to an extent. As you can see here, our example is Super Excellent Awesome Thing versus Really Great Awesome Thing. Both of those, not really the best language, but changing between one and the other is not going to have any real long term impact and probably won't even have any real short term impact.

Again, the button colors. These are the small aesthetic things that, like I said before, are going to help you in the short run. But if you're looking for that long term optimization, that long term growth, you've really got to concentrate on the core of the page itself, the content, the imagery, and really try and tie all that in together. Lucky for you guys here, I'm going to explain how to build the best landing page you can. So we've got a three step process we've kind of worked out here. It's all about the basics.

One, your first step, is your form, which is most frequently the call to action. But you can substitute that in for whatever your call to action is, whether it's a form fill out, making a purchase, downloading a piece of information. Put it in there and assume that's what it is.

Number two, no distractions. We have a couple of slides on this, so I can get into some ore detail detail. But, basically, you don't want to try and get people off the landing page. So you don't want to have a navigation bar there. You don't want to have a lot of other links to your website. You want it clean, simple and everything they need right in front of them, and then the last step is obviously make the sale, generate the lead, get the conversion, get that person to purchase.

Through the slides that we're going to go over next, we're going to tell you how to do that. So, like the first rule on the previous slide, make the form the focus. As you can see here, example one on the left side of your screen has the form, somewhat prominent, but still not dead center, still not highly visible. It's on the right side of the page and it's not at the bottom of the page, which is good.

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is assuming a potential customer or client is going to read through the whole page and then find that form or call to action at the bottom. I know you all have browsed looking to buy a product or a service before in your lifetime, and I'm assuming most of you didn't end up finishing that landing page. You read the first paragraph or the first couple of bullets and decided yes or no, and then moved on.

Having the form on the right side is all right, but not best. What you want to do is have that form front and center, like we have on the example on the right here.It's very prominent. It's one of the first two things you see, and the other one being that picture of this lovely nurse or doctor, I think. But the point is, the form is right there. It's the first thing they are going to notice and they don't have to go digging through the landing page to try and find it. If they want to fill it out, they know where it is and they can get back to it very easily.

Remove all distractions. Like I had mentioned before, removing the navigation bar. Removing the footer. Making your landing page very clean and not having any unnecessary items there. A good example is actually the landing page for this webinar here. You can see we have no header, no footer, no real links to other parts of the website. Our call to action is front and center, very big, taking up about a third of the screen even though it is on the right hand side. It's prominent, and that's what we want to see. Then we have the basic information on the left side. No distractions. It's very clean.

Again, another example here... This is for Plated. What we can see here is the example of a Facebook ad on the left will take you to the landing page here on the right, and this landing page, again, clean, simple, easy. It gets everything that it needs to get across in a very clean manner. No header, no footer, no distractions. No moving images or anything like that. It lays out the information it's trying to get across very easily and in a basic sense. Three bullet points and one sentence... Has the call to action highlighted. Get four free plates. Big font. Bold letters. Then below that is the actual clickable button.

Then lastly, make the sale. So now that you have your optimized landing page, one that's going to convert... (audio cuts) for you, that's very clean, simple and to the point, what you have to do is really get them to fill out that form or take that call to action.

So, to get that sale, the last thing you really have to know is, make the form simple. Don't have 15 required fields. Don't have 10 required fields. Don't even have five required fields. Try to keep it to two to three required fields, like a name, an email and a phone number and then everything else optional, or even just those three and nothing else. The more items you add in to that form or to that call to action, the more steps you make that person take before they get what they're looking for, whether it's that product or that informational packet, or that free trial, the less likely they are to convert.

That can be said for the conversion funnel if they have to go through three different webpages or landing pages before they reach their final page. Or, with the form. Again, having to fill out a lot of information. Keep it clean, simple and neat, is basically the motto here at WordStream when it comes to landing pages. It's hopefully what I got across to you guys here with this section.

"Well, what about landing pages for mobile devices?" you might be asking yourself. Well, everything that we just went over applies to that as well. You want to have that mobile only landing page even if it's not directly hooked up to your website and they have to get redirected to your website by clicking on that call to action. Mobile browsing is very different, as I'm sure you all know, than browsing on a desktop or even a tablet. Smaller screens in general. Less functionality.

So you want it to be even more to the point. You want it to be even cleaner and even simpler. So the example I have here, emergency plumbing service. Front and center, write what it is. It has a couple of bullet points about the services they offer and then has a very visible call to action in, actually, a two step process in the sense of, if you have your emergency, call us now. So they are telling people with that to call them... Their call to action.

Then they have that next step, which is right below. It's a button, which, if you're on your mobile phone, would presumably just dial their number directly. Again, the biggest thing about this is it's one page only. They don't have to go through two or three pages to get to that phone number. They don't have to go through two or three steps to get to that phone number. That phone number is immediately available for them. Just by hitting that button, it's already dialed. They don't even need to gather any information for that call to action.

One other thing I wanted to talk about is changing the flow. I mentioned this briefly at the beginning, so now I'm going to give it a little bit more depth in discussing it. Basically, it's what I have been talking about as well. You want to remove the friction from the website. You don't want to have them go, again, through those two, three step processes to complete the conversion action.

When they submit a form, you should send them to the thank you page or some type of confirmation page. You don't want to send them to another page where they have to fill out maybe their credit card information if they were just in the verification page, or you don't want to send them to the homepage, which is then... They might not know, "All right, I submitted this. Did it go through? I just got sent to the homepage. I don't know."

You want to tend to keep testimonials towards the bottom. Basically, the way you want to structure your landing page in terms of flow is highest priority, most valuable stuff, up top, front and center. So that product, if you're selling something, or the form or the informational download option... Whatever your call to action might be, that should be prominent and the first thing that they see. Then, moving down from there in order of necessity. So after that, then you have the information, whether it's a paragraph or two or a couple of bullet points. Then you might have another call to action just in case you want to try to capture them again. Have that form at the top and the bottom, although we only recommend really having it once.

Some people do like it put it there twice. It doesn't really improve performance and it doesn't really hurt it. It's more of a safety net. Then, again, the bottom, that's where you want to just keep the fluff, the testimonials, the reviews, anything of that nature. If that doesn't work and you're still finding yourself struggling, change the offer.

I'm pulling from my company here for a couple of examples. First off is... Our primary offer is actually fairly unusual. It's not an informational kit. It's not a free trial. The primary offer that we have is what we call our PPC grader, where people will put their account into this tool, let our program run through their account, and then we will give them a new miracle grade on their account from a 1 to 100 scale, with 100 being the highest, about how they are doing based on what WordStream has deemed best practices and overall performance.

So a little bit tangible when we look at the numbers and then a little bit intangible with WordStream just leveraging our knowledge to try and design these tools. Also, have multiple offers. This is something that WordStream excels at. We typically have three to five offers at any one point in time, again, with that grader being the main one. But we also do have informational packets, white papers. We have a free trial. We have a free session with a sales professional, where they will walk you through the software and actually give you a demo and teach you how to use it.

So, going above and beyond with the offers and even, in some facet, having them interact with the company or someone from the company with those offers. Trying to build that trust and that relationship up from the start. Again, the main point of this. Focus the optimization on the unicorns, as we call them. The landing pages that are working the best.

You don't need to optimize every page, which can be hundreds upon thousands upon even hundreds of thousands of pages, depending on what industry you're in, if you're eCommerce or lead gen. You want to apply the knowledge from which pages are working to the rest of your pages over time. It's not something that you need to do all at once, but work from the top down. If you have three pages that are making up 80% of your conversions, look at those pages. Try and figure out what's working on those and not the others, and carry that through as you build out new pages to those new pages, and working your way down to some of the lower performing pages.

Again, some of the data that we love here at WordStream... What this graph tells us is the share of overall landing page traffic versus the share of all landing pages. What we see here is the top 10% of landing pages from this one account. I should clarify that. This is one eCommerce account that had about 100,000 landing pages that is a client of WordStream. The top 10% of those landing pages are making up about 80% of that overall traffic. What we find from that is, those are our unicorns. Those are the ones we have to concentrate on the most because those are the ones that are going to perform the best for us and already are performing the best for us.

Anita: Thank you so much, Chris, for sharing all of this data. We have so many questions coming in, both on the chat and at our hashtag, #CRO2015. Keep them coming, guys. If not just for the reason to hopefully get your questions answered during our Q&A, but we also have a cupcake giveaway at the end and we will announce the winner at the end. So the hashtag again is #CRO2015.

This has been really awesome information you shared, Chris. The thing that I love the most about it is it's a great way to focus people's energies. So often we hear from our customers, where do we start? Our approach is also focus, focus, focus. But you have this incredibly data driven way that you drive the focus. The good news is to our audience, who we will walk away and start taking some actions based on all this data, is that they should find themselves with a whole lot of free time.

With that free time, we want our customers and the people that we talk to and the people on this webinar to be thinking about how to optimize the entire campaign funnel and be on just the initial conversion.

As we talked about, instead of endlessly running those AB tests, you really are, with this information, ready to level up into optimization techniques that are really going to get not just your teammates' attention, but the entire business' attention.

So this marketing funnel, we've all seen it. Impression, click, conversion, customer repeat and sometimes we've got micro conversions in there, and I see some folks here actually asking questions about micro conversions as well. None of this is any news to any of us. But, as Chris just covered, a lot of marketers spend way too much optimizing that first conversion. No surprise. There's a lot of awesome tools to help you do that, like Optimizely. And you certainly should be doing that kind of optimization.

But what we find with our customers, or what we find out there, really, just in the market, is that people tend to become too focused on data that is easy to collect and analyze, i.e. through a single tool like Optimizely and become a little bit blind to the entire funnel, when so much of the benefit to their business could come from looking at the entire funnel.

Conversion rate optimization is definitely a useful tool, but it isn't the only part of the business impact. So let's talk about the entire funnel. We really advocate that folks look at that entire funnel. Not just impression to click. Not just click to conversion. Not just conversion to customer. But really, what does that repeat path look like? Let's start with the impression to click. The first step for improving that impression to click is about two things, right? What you show and when you show it.

Chris has spent some time talking about that as well. He showed us some great Facebook ads that were doing their job very, very well, and the whole notion of the mobile versus the desktop. You can see here that being focused on what you show is very important. So the question becomes, when you think about when to show it, that becomes the place where we see some of the people that we work with not spending enough time, quiet honestly. It's very easy to think about the look and the feel, but there's often very, very high benefit that comes from the when to show.

So what we mean here is about parting your bids. So it's not just about day parting or device parting... I'm sorry. It's not just about optimizing based on the campaign, but think about day parting and device parting. We've got a really interesting thing here at RJMetrics where we can, based on any kind of criteria, whether it's the device type or the day of the week or the month of the year, we can give you a really great indication of how to optimize your bid... How much more you could bid, based on that kind of parting.

Of course, you can do that on your own as well. That impacts not just how much you're willing to spend, but of course the impressions and the clicks that you're going to get from those impressions. So the takeaway there is, don't just focus on what you're going to show, but really think about when you're going to show it and experiment with the any variety of ways that you can do the parting. In terms of improving the click to conversion, WordStream covered this earlier, right? So try new offers, change the flow, focus the efforts on the top performers. So I really have very little to add there beyond all the great stuff Chris has already shared.

So let's think about the conversion to the customer, right? Many of us... I think we saw a question come along about, what do we mean by conversion? There was an even more specific one that we will address in the Q&A, hopefully. More often than not we see customers focusing on both kinds of conversions now. It used to be the case that people were just mostly concerned about the purchase conversion, particularly on the eCommerce side, and on the lead gen SAS side it was just getting the email address.

On the eCommerce side we see people focusing much more on getting the email address because we know that people are shopping and the conversions aren't happening just right then and there on the initial click from the ad. Regardless of your business type, you are going to have a ton of visitors who don't become that customer on their first visit. They leave their email address and it's up to you to turn them into a customer. When you do turn them into a customer, when you've gotten that micro converter to turn into a customer, there are two tactics that work very well for turning those conversions into customers and the customers into repeats: e-marketing and email.

We all know about re-marketing, but we just see people not leveraging this enough and some of our best customers are the ones that are taking advantage of that. Facebook custom audiences have only been available to advertisers... Well, to all advertisers, for about a year and a half. We cannot estimate how valuable this tool is for eCommerce. we actually have a great case study on our website about how one of our clients is using custom audiences to do really specific re-marketing.It's a super targeted approach that allows them to get customers back at a super low cost per order, right?

So the basics here of re-marketing... You've got your database, you can match that up in Facebook and you can get your custom audience. Then you are just being so targeted about where you spend your dollars on Facebook. Chris, did you want to ask something here before I jumped into the email side of things?

Chris: Yeah. Certainly. All I wanted to add in here is, with analytics and AdWords as well, you can create the marketing list based on traffic sources, which I think is very important if you're doing any sort of Facebook or email advertising. So by being able to capture anybody who came in from, say, Facebook, you can really tailor the ad to that and tailor the ad language to that. In the end, it's all about being as relevant as you can to the potential customer and to your audience.

Anita: Yeah. Absolutely. So here's where we all know email is a great tool. But using email as a way to gain additional thought share in the customer's mind is the approach that we really thought works for our customers to get their 2014 holiday season traffic to not just make that first purchase, but we're seeing the repeat customers come through in January and here into February. Instead of just relying on those emails to give discounts so that they keep purchasing those same products that they always buy from you, what we see working is to send them... Well, a variety of different things.

The first thing I'm going to talk about is sending them offers for other products. The problem is, if your customer came to you for a white t-shirt and you keep marketing to them the blue t-shirts, the red t-shirts, etcetera, if your mind you are just going to become the t-shirt business. You have such a short period of time after, because many of our customers get their new customers during that holiday season... You have such a short window there to make the impression on them to keep you not just as a holiday brand that they interact with, but even just to return back next holiday season or through the course of this year.

So we really find that what's working is, when you send offers for other products, when you deepen their understanding of what you are as a brand, what you offer, that's where we're seeing success come from. The other tactic that we see working is not just doing offers, right? So we all know all the writing that happened both in the 2013 holiday season and the 2014 holiday season around the spiral nosedive down to essentially giving away the whole product for free.

So what we're actually seeing work much better in terms of email marketing is to send content email. Now, content email may seem like a waste of time because they don't actually have an opportunity to convert directly in there or even go to a landing page that has a big call to action for a purchase. But what we're seeing is that they drive much more long tail conversions than the simple product emails, especially for those interesting brander niche sites. There really are so many of them these days, whether it's in home goods or fashion or all kinds of different eCommerce opportunities.

There are these very quote unquote "interesting" or "niche" websites that are doing better not because that purchase is going to be an impulse purchase, but because you're developing this long term relationship with the brand through content email. We've got an example here for you. Birchbox. They sent this email. They know their audience very well and they know their audience was thinking about Valentine's Day. So they sent a content campaign that directs readers to a blog post most relevant to their holiday plans. It's of course a case that the blog post comes with an easy Shop This Article link, but the pitch is much softer, more relevant and more engaging, and almost resonates more, than the basic Get 30% Off campaign that too many eCommerce shops do.

Lastly, when you think of this whole funnel, it's so important to measure the business impact of the campaigns, not just the initial conversion or the initial ROI, etcetera. But you've really got to think about the entire funnel in order to evaluate the performance of any of those campaigns. Before you can do that, of course, you're got to tag your links. Chris, I don't know how it is for you guys over there, but we very often get customers who are really excited to do the thoughtful approach to understanding from initial click all the way to repeat purchase. But the initial problem lies in how they have tagged their links.

Without this data, you would be extremely limited in the insights they can derive, right? I mean, the link tagging is what connects the click to the conversions to the micro conversions to the purchase, and so on and so forth. So while all the excitement is there, it's got to be on the mundane first to make sure all the links are properly tagged. For example, our marketing team here at RJMetric uses one giant GoogleDoc to house every single campaign we run. Of course, there's an invisible hand over the whole thing that reminds everybody to either comply or perish.

It's because we know how critically important it is to ensure that those links are properly tagged, and by the way, properly tagged means you can't have one source be Fbook and the other one be Facebook and another one be Facebook_CPC and all those various combinations that I'm pretty sure many of our listeners today have within their data. You really do have to get that stuff right.

Once you do have that, then the best way, really the only way to find out what your best campaigns are... Is to look at those campaigns bringing in your most valuable customers. Of course, a lot of folks measure ROI using that first purchase, but that fails to give the proper weight to future purchases that a customer might make.

If you see this example here, you might think that the campaign scenario one looks like it's bringing in the higher dollar value. But when you look at the future purchases, it's clear that campaign number two should be invested in. One of the questions... (audio cuts) often get asked here on the customer success team is, "Well, how long should I wait?" There's no magic answer. Of course, there's always the potential that some additional user behavior on their third or four purchase will end up making one of your conclusions about your campaigns seem a little different than you might have originally thought.

But honestly, if you have waited through your average second order... Your average or your median, depending on where that falls out... Your second order time period. So, the time between your first order and your second order. If that time period has generally gone for the vast majority of the people who have come in through that campaign, and you can even measure that on a cohort basis, then it's time to asses that.

If you're getting a lot of people to go the second order, but it's the third and the fourth where you really see the differential... (audio cuts) where you want to look at... Has a preponderance of time passed, and if so, then it's okay to go ahead and draw some conclusions there.

You don't want to be so stuck waiting around for data that you never get to the actual answer. Going back to unicorns, which I love, and it's actually really funny, Chris, how many people have used the word unicorn in their questions and tweets. But your best customers are unicorns. In our 2014 benchmark report, which we have on our website, we looked at data from hundreds of eCommerce companies and found that across the board, most definitely, the best customers in an eCommerce store are worth 30 times that of the average customer. 30 times.

So, I mean, if you're going to spend your time on any customer base, you want to chase those unicorns. I mean, that is such an insane difference representing an enormous amount of value very similar to the landing page argument that Chris made earlier. So you have campaigns that are bringing in your best customers, and those are the ones where you want to seriously ramp up your spend and your efforts around optimization.

With that, we're in the Q&A section. Just to remind everybody again before I start to go through all these amazing questions, you can ask them here in the chat window and you can also tweet them to @CRO2015. Just a reminder that there is a cupcake giveaway at the end for the winning tweet or question after.

Okay, Chris. A lot of these questions are tailored towards you. If you're okay with it, I'm just going to hop them over your way. One consistent question that people have is, should they set up campaigns separately? One for desktop, one for mobile, one for tablet. Is it important to have separate campaigns?

Chris: Very good question. Up until mid 2013 it did, or it was. With the transition to enhance campaigns, it's no longer important to have that. You can specifically specify ads that will only be shown to mobile devices and site links that will only be shown to mobile devices. So even within the same campaign, you can have mobile only apps that are linked to that mobile optimized landing page.

Anita: Okay. As a follow up to that, what is the best way to split the web mobile at the ad group level?

Chris: Not really sure what they are asking. I think they are asking, what's the best way to divide the traffic? Is that what you're gathering?

Anita: I think so. Yeah.

Chris: All right. Yeah.

Anita: Go ahead.

Chris: I was just going to say, piggybacking off the first question, there's no real need to divide it, in that sense. AdWords will break out which platform any click and impression comes fro, so you have all that data already ready. Because, again, you can have mobile specific site links and ads where you can optimize them for mobile, change the language, maybe, and link up a mobile landing page. It's not that important to divide them in the campaigns anymore. But it did used to be until enhanced campaigns were pushed live for everybody.

Anita: Great. I'm going to take this question here from Daniel Post [SP]. "Doesn't Google AdWords automatically tag your URLs with the gclid, which is better than utan parameters?" There is probably intense debate within the community around which approach to go. It's certainly true that, if you go with the gclid, you are going to have more consistent tagging and not be prone to the utan parameter tagging issues. On the other hand, all of that information is obfuscated from you.

What we see is that, when you want to make decisions around... Well, there's two reasons that becomes problematic. One, it's not the case that Google just automatically applies whatever the true last click was in terms of tagging your conversions or any of the purchases, etcetera. They apply their own logic. When you use the gclid method you are actually even taking away more information from yourself.

For our customers that are really looking to understand the full padding, the full pancake stack of the users' visits, the customers' visits, and how that contributed to the first conversion, the micro conversion, the conversion, etcetera, the gclid quickly becomes insufficient information. On the other hand, there is certainly a responsibility to make sure that you are tagging things properly. Also, the way that the gclid works, it makes it difficult to bring the data sets from Google and other data sources together, because again the information is being... (audio cuts)

Okay. Let me try and... There are so many here. Okay. Here's a good one. This is from Asha Agrawal [SP]. "Do mobile conversions also matter in B to B business? What are the best ways to implement B to B mobile conversion?" I'll give that to you, Chris.

Chris: All right. Business to business is a little bit tricky when it comes to mobile. There's not many business people that are going to be explicitly searching on mobile. So what you're going to often have is an overlap of desktop and mobile searches.

But in terms of just the mobile side of that, the best way is to really just follow the practices we have outlined here, in particular with business to business. I would limit the fluff to almost nothing. Business people, as I'm sure you're all aware, are very straightforward, direct, just want problem, solution, or results. Whatever it is.

They don't care about five pages of information if it can be summed up in five bullet points. So just try to keep it clear and concise and simple would be my best suggestion for that.

Anita: Great. Thank you. I'm going to take this next one here. It's a Twitter question from @mukeshdce. "Our product is not usable on mobiles. Shall we still focus on mobile conversions?" The answer to that is almost always definitely yes, but the question becomes, check your data. If you are getting traffic to your site on mobile devices, then the answer is yes. You need to focus on doing something with that traffic.

There are still going to be the challenges around conversion rates, etcetera, that Chris talked about at the beginning. But if you're getting the traffic through there you need to be focused on doing the best that you can with that traffic, even if your product isn't usable on mobile, per se. I mean, even the case for RJMetrics... There is a process to sign up and get implemented, etcetera, before you can get going. It's still very important to us. You can't connect your data, for example, on a mobile device, very easily.

But the point is that we get tons of traffic, people looking into us, on mobile devices. We make sure that we've got a mobile optimized experience that capture as many of those conversions as we can. There's a few people, Chris, that are asking... And I'm curious if you have something on this... Around what happens with the optimization of a landing page if we have a video on it. I'm not sure what this person means exactly, but there was another question around... Well, let me broaden this up to say, do you have any specific recommendations around video on landing pages?

Chris: Yeah. It's going to honestly depend on what type of video it is. If it's a quick 10, 15 second demonstration of the product, or whatever it might be, I would say, try and put that more towards the middle or the bottom of the page. Basically, right in with the informational aspects of that landing page, but before the fluff, the testimonial and all that. If it's a minute, minute and a half or more and it goes in depth describing the product, the benefits, the tools within it, whatever else it might be... Basically, just an all encompassing video, I would say that's important enough that it should be right at the top of the page, or maybe even under the form or right next to the form.

It seems like that you put a lot of time and investment into making that video. If that's going to be the main facet that you're going to use to try and get your information across, you want it to be front and center. Again, you want it to be that center piece of the landing page because that's what you want people to click on and then watch.

Anita: Great. We have a few questions about the specific data points in the presentation today. The chart that you had around the different conversion rates across the landing pages, there was a specific question around whether that's from a variety of businesses, i.e. a mix of B to B and B to C, or is it specific to one particular type of business?

Chris: Good question. So there's only one chart that I showed that was specific to one single business, not even industry. This was one eCommerce company. That was the landing page unicorns chart, where I showed the top 10% of their 100,000 plus landing pages were generating 80% of the traffic and conversions. Everything else was taken from all of our data, which is nondescript. We're not breaking it down by industry, business to business, business to consumer, unless we specify that like we did with that one slide where it was all data and then I think it was finance, legal, eCommerce and one other industry that we looked at.

Anita: Great. We've got another question for you here, Chris. "If I am targeting around five cities in the same country, should I create a separate landing page for each for a better ad rank?"

Chris: Yes. Very straightforward answer. Yes you should, especially because relevancy is something that's becoming evermore important for Google. So the more relevant you are, meaning the more times you are able to get the key words on the landing page, the more you are able to really emphasize if you're targeting a specific region. Like, let's say where I'm located in Boston, I want Boston to be in that URL. I want Boston to be on that landing page. I want them to know this is for Boston.

If you are a multinational company or even just a company that operates in a variety of cities, it's very important that you distinguish, this is for X buyer's specific city. There might be some confusion or they might just not know if you are actually talking about their city with the offerings that you are showing them.

Anita: Great. Okay. We have a question from Rob Harker [SP] about, "Where can I learn how to tag my links?" I'm actually going to ask our marketing team here to tweet out a page that we have after the webinar that actually gives really great instructions around what we're finding to be the best ways to tag links. That should hopefully answer your question, Rob.

Great. Looks like we have time for maybe one or two more questions here. I'm going to posit this to you, but I think it might be a little bit rhetorical. @JodieGolsfinger [SP] is asking, "I'm doing great on Facebook but horrible on Google. Why such a contrast?" Do you have any thoughts on that, Chris?

Chris: Yeah. On the surface, it's because they are vastly different networks with a very different demographic. Both function very differently with the type of businesses that perform well on them. With Google there's not really any one type of business that will perform better than any other. It's how to implement your practices. With Facebook, what we're seeing from some of the preliminary data that we have started to accumulate on Facebook now that they have updated their platform and it's actually very usable and user friendly... Is eCommerce, particularly eCommerce geared at the 30 or under crowd, is where Facebook is successful.

Lead generation, especially lead generation for anybody looking to try and target anybody over 30, has been very unsuccessful. That kind of makes sense. When you think about Facebook and the demographics of it, it's heavily skewed towards the 30, 35 year olds and younger. So it makes sense in that sense that she has seen better performance there. I'm willing to bet she's probably somebody selling some type of eCommerce product geared towards a younger crowd.

Anita: Great. I'm going to take this one from Armand. "In a daily deals eCommerce website, which should be the unicorn?" I'm not sure exactly what you mean there. We have a ton of daily deals eCommerce customers, and what we see is the unicorn analysis is the same. It's just that probably your time between purchases that you are using to help evaluate that uniform perspective is probably much smaller because the very nature of a daily deals eCommerce site is to insight more frequently purchase. But the process is still the same in terms of looking at that customer lifetime value. You probably just also want to consider in terms of how often they are purchasing form you in doing your analysis there. Okay.

We've come to the end of the questions. I know there was still a few more. Chris, I'm going to share some of these with you afterwards. If you've got a moment and any make sense for you to respond to, please definitely do so. With that, it is time for the cupcake winner who is Sari Signorelli @sarisignorelli. Congratulations! You are the winner of the cupcake giveaway. Our marketing team is waiting for you to email them at to claim your prize. Once again, that's and Sara Signorelli, congratulations.

Thanks, everyone who joined this. This has been fantastic. What a great number of questions and such a wide variety of questions we got in. Thanks again, Chris, for helping us with this webinar and all this great data. Happy optimizing, everybody.