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Archive for eCommerce’ Category



How a Conversion Rate Optimisation Process Can Help your PPC Campaigns

My name is Kevin McCaffrey from Conversion Rate Services. What we do is help businesses increase the profits they get from their Marketing Campaigns and Websites. We do this using a technique called conversion rate optimisation.

Every single business in the World could increase sales and leads on their Websites by at least 10% but by as much as 100%  or even more by following the process I’m about to show you.

This process is the reason that companies like Amazon, Google and Ebay dominate their markets.

You can achieve fantastic results for your own PPC campaigns by putting in place a conversion rate optimisation process.

You need to implement a conversion optimisation process because it has been proven by businesses worldwide to increase sales and leads and it is cost effective, easy and reliable to implement.

What is Conversion

Look at the image below. A conversion is turning one of these guys on the left into one on the right for any given goal. There’s 100 people in the image here and we’re saying that if 2 of them completed a goal then that’s a 2% conversion rate you. 2% is a fairly typical conversion rate for selling something online.

What a 2% Conversion Rate Looks Like

What a 2% Conversion Rate Looks Like

A goal can be an

  • Order going into your ecommerce system
  • a subscription to a newsletter
  • a lead going into your CRM system or
  • simply a click on a button

And the objective of Conversion Optimisation is to get one more of the guys on the left over to the right. Because if you have 3 over there instead of 2 and you can keep that on a consistent basis then you’ve just increased your business by 50%.

So how does this sit with all the other marketing activities we’re doing.

Well there’s a very simple equation in online business. And here it is.

Traffic Plus Conversion Equals Profit

Traffic is the sexy part these days. And most business know and understand the value of traffic and have an understanding of the ways they can drive traffic to their site through SEO, PPC and Social Media. when a site goes up the first thing the business owner wants to know is: are prople visiting the Website.

But a Website is useless without conversion.

And here’s the thing about traffic. Once you get your conversion sorted out, traffic is easy. You just write a big check to Google Adwords or hire the best SEO & PPC guys  in the world  (like Jordan here at PPCNI)  and you’ll get all the Visitors you want. Because you’ll know that when these people get to your site. They’re going to convert.

So how do we do it?

Split Testing

Well the key is to use a technique called Split Testing.

This is where you create a second version of an existing page on your Website. You run a test using some easy to set up software. The software sends 50% of the traffic to original page and 50% to the new page. At the end, the one with the most conversions wins.

The example below is from a company that provides event management software. You have an original version and a new version. The conversion we’re tracking and trying to optimise is Sign Ups. So can you guess which page got 90% more people to sign up?

Split Testing Example

Can you Guess Which Page got 90% More Sign ups?

It was the version on the right that converted 90% more signups than the original. That’s almost double. As you can see it’s not very easy to tell if a change is going to be better or worse, so you should always split test when making big changes to your Website. Because the changes you make could do more harm than good.

But conversion rate optimisation isn’t just about A/B and multivariate testing; it’s about building a process for consistently  improving conversion over time.

Conversion Rate Optimisation Process

This is the process you want to strive for

Conversion Rate Optimisation Process

Conversion Rate Optimisation Process

So what Split Testing gives you is Step 4 and 5 Test & Release. But that’s the easy bit. It’s doesn’t take long  to set up the test and once the test is concluded you can Release it so that 100% of your traffic is going to the winner so you get the full benefit of the lift in conversion rate.

Taking a step back is step 3, the implementation. That’s where the graphic designers, content developers and software developers get to work implementing the changes you’ve decided to make (though you don’t always have to involve these guys to make big changes).

But it’s the first 2 steps of the process that are most important and the place where you should spend 80% of your time and that’s Analysis & Design.

So what are we looking to Analyse and why? Well we’re looking to analyse our Website and our customers to find good opportunities for testing.

The analysis takes the form of

  • Looking at how easy the Website is to use (Usability)
  • Measuring the right things in Google Analytics
  • Understanding the questions the customer has in their mind when buying
  • Analysing the benefits of the product or service
  • Getting customer feedback
  • Understanding what people are actually doing on your Website
  • Studying your competitors to understand how you can beat them
  • Overcoming the customers objections
  • and lots of other things

Once this analysis is complete, you’ll have lots of ideas of things to change on your Website. These will form the basis of split tests. And so begins the process of increasing your conversion rate and increasing your profits.

To find out more about how to implement a conversion rate optimisation process, download my Conversion Rate Optimisation White Paper titled “How Your Online Business Can Make 20% More Money in The Next 10 Weeks”.  It outlines in more detail how you can analyse your Website and has lots of recommendations on how to persuade your customers to buy.

Conversion Rate Optimisation White Paper

Conversion Rate Optimisation White Paper

(like Jordan here at PPCNI)
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AdWords Product Listing Ads In The UK!

Product listing ads have a lot of potential for sure.

Until recently they have only been available in the USA.

But on looking at one client account today I saw a new tab:-

Whoopee I thought…

I started reading up on the ‘Product Listings Ads – Basics’ help in AdWords, and it started to sound less and less great the more I read.  Turns out you *have* to use CPC bidding for a start.

Here is the message I got after I tried a ‘Product Target’ to a CPA campaign :-

Product targets may not be added to campaigns using the CPA (Conversion Optimiser) bidding option.

(Just checking). I had read somewhere that Google were allowing certain advertisers to use CPA bidding on Product Listing Ads, but this it at their discretion I guess.

So at the moment as far as Google Product Listing ads go in the UK, they are not the God-send I was hoping for.

For a start, you have to use CPC bidding.

Secondly, since you will want to use different CPCs for different products, there is almost as much effort involved in setting up product listing ads as there is traditional AdWords ads with product extensions.

But if anyone else has found in practice that CPC Product Listing ads have worked well for them and have been really easy to set up then I would love to hear from you!

**Update** – A very helpful AdWords account manager from Google’s Dublin office has pointed out the following advantages of Product Listing ads:

The key drivers of PLAs are that they can serve alongside text ads i.e. at the same time increasing their ad real estate on the page.


As well as this Product Listings can doubleserve: You can find multiple product ads from the same merchant, as well as one text ad. Because multiple Product Ads can show at the same time, and/or along with a text ad, a single merchant’s exposure on given query can increase 2x or more.

So they are worth looking into in a bit more detail after all…

Update – December 2011.

I can confirm that provided you have a fairly large database of products,  they are definitely worth using!

Even when using a low max CPC across your entire product range, you should be able to *can* make a reasonable number of profitable sales that you would not otherwise have made, and the effort required to set it up in this fashion is pretty small.

Here is an example :-

The sample size is very small, but just look at the difference in CPC! (I have seen similar in 2 other client accounts).

The screen shot above is taken from a client who has less than 100 products in their shopping feed, so if you have thousands of products on your web site, you cannot afford to ignore Product Listing Ads!

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Ask For Feedback!

I recently purchased a specialised, hard to find spare part.

I ordered it from some company I had never heard of (I think they were in Scotland).

I was blown away by their service.

The part arrived the next day, well packaged,  in perfect condition, and exactly the size and type specified, and it fitted perfectly. The price was pretty good too.

Now, if this company had sent me an email a week later to ask if I was happy with my purchase, and if I was would I mind giving them a positive review, then I would have very happily done so.

But they haven’t, and I can’t even remember the name of the company – so there was a great opportunity lost…

In summary, if you have an eCommerce site, and you do not do this already, find out if it is possible to set up an autoresponder to ask for reviews for your company and/or purchased products.

Having positive reviews on your web site (and other review web sites) can have a very positive effect on your conversion rates.

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Improve Conversion Rates On Your eCommerce Site (NOW)…

I had mentioned in a previous post about (the widely publicised) fact that Debenhams had decreased shopping cart abandonment by 23% simply by giving users the option to checkout without creating an account (the customer is still asked for the same details, but are *not* forced to create a user name and password which they will probably forget anyway).

So this worked well for Debenhams. How would it work for a small to medium sized local business?

Here are the results one of my customers got :-

Before ‘Checkout Without Account’ Option

After ‘Checkout Without Account’ Option

OK (gets calculator out)…..

That is an 18.5% increase in customers willing to proceed past the first stage of the checkout process!

This resulted in 16.2% more people actually completing the checkout process.

So, the message is clear. If you want to increase sales without increasing your Pay Per Click or SEO budgets – give the customer what they want and allow them to use a ‘fast checkout’…

If anyone else has any similar experiences, or needs any further information on this – please post a comment on this blog post.  Thanks.

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Speed Up Your Web Site

The speed of your web site is increasingly important in keeping the search engines and your customers happy. With this in mind, Google have released a new ‘mod_pagespeed’ module for Apache web servers which can speed up your web site by up to 2 times! :-

Speak to your techie guys/girls today about this.  The software is free, and it is not difficult to install.

NB – not all web sites do use the Apache web server – so it cannot be used by everyone…

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