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adam infinitum

analytics, optimization, marketing and a dash of web development

Looking Into Time On-Site via Analytics

While this post is about an analytics method that occurred to me intuitively (nearly a year ago) the writing and posting is related to Avinash Kaushik’s post about focusing on profitability.

I have no formal training in analytics. I got started because I had built a site and I was figuring out how to market it and I learned that I could set up a Google Analytics account for free; so I did.

One of my first clients was a friend in need of help. The vast majority of their marketing budget was dedicated to AdWords, and (in the off-season) a payment to the company managing the campaign had bounced.

They asked me to look into the account. I did, only to realize it was being completely mismanaged; I quickly started working on it.

Before long, I realized that they had serious bounce rate problems, which I suspect stemmed from page load time (site/page speed) problems. What do I mean by that?

After I had fixed other issues, their AdWords campaigns averaged a 90%-ish bounce rate (with a site average of over 85% bounce rate).

One day, I decided to take all their ‘conversions’ (only AdWords) and add together their cumulative ‘time on site.’ I then took all visitors and multiplied their average time on site. I then subtracted the cumulative time on site of their conversions from the cumulative time on site of all visitors and divided by the number of non-converted visitors (conversions were miniscule—in my eyes—Avinash says that 2% is the industry average and they were probably in line with that).

What I learned was that for the vast majority of visitors (likely, the ones who weren’t absolutely certain that this service was right for them), the time it took pages to load was longer than the average time on site.

Ouch.

I advised my clients/friends of this promptly. They opted not to do anything about it (website controlled by corporate), but it was eye-opening.

I didn’t know of anyway to do this automatically (perhaps a segment or custom report would do so), so I just did it with a calculator and a sheet of scrap paper. And it gave me supremely useful information—just by using a bit of common sense and simple math.

Amazing!

Fun CSS3 and JS demos

We have a meeting every Monday morning at Ibel Agency. Since many of the designers there come from a print background (and since we can all use to learn about the others methods, tools, and techniques), we have started having workshops where we discuss the professional ins-and-outs of design.

I was bookmarking a bunch of demos and decided it would be easier just to post them here so I can access them anywhere; I plan to annotate them later.

http://desandro.com/packery/

http://css-tricks.com/examples/AlternateStyleSheets/

http://isotope.metafizzy.co/

http://thepixelator.com/

http://css-tricks.com/examples/HoverEverythingBut/

http://css-tricks.com/examples/BlurryBackgroundEffect/

http://v2.desandro.com/articles/the-new-lens-flare/

http://css-tricks.com/examples/CSS3Gradient/

What is PPC advertising?

PPC is an acronym for Pay Per Click

ppc is often used as a generic term for online advertising. Some other terms that might be used more or less synonymously are “banner ads” or search engine marketing (SEM).

One of the best known PPC advertising services is Google AdWords so that’s another term that might be used generically even though it is actually a trademarked name.

CPC vs. CPM

To muddy the water a bit more, ppc is often used to include ‘display’ advertising which maybe billed as cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM) which is usually on a CPM basis—with ‘M’ being an abbreviation for (1) thousand. Thus, you are bidding and paying per thousand times your ad is displayed.

Google AdWords and Bing/Yahoo! Ads

Google AdWords and Bing Ads (formerly known as Microsoft AdCenter and including Yahoo!), are the industry leaders on the consumer or retail level for ppc advertising. And as actual search engines they actually provide true search engine marketing.

What’s so great about ppc?

What makes these services so powerful is that you can run an ad only to someone searching for the things you specify: A florist can advertise only to people searching for flowers.

Beyond that you can very carefully control the geographic area your ad will show, the times it will show, how much you are willing to pay per click, and per week/month.

What about display advertising on websites?

Display ads (cpc and cpm) are most cost effective when used for branding, awareness or reminders. Whether you have a business or product you’d like to raise the visibility of or you want to show an ad to people who have visited your site before, display ads are an easy way to do so.

What’s the catch?

The services that allow people to run these ads seem much simpler than they really are—at least to get maximum benefit—as it is normally quite competitive.

For instance, in 2006 when I first used AdWords, I was working for a marina and we were able to advertise to the Columbus metro area on less competitive keywords (‘Pontoon’ instead of ‘ski boat’) with bids of 33¢ a click and $1.00 a day. Now, I’d be amazed if ads would even show with a bid that low.

The other thing is it doesn’t always work.

That said, it usually works, and most people who try it find it so effective that they shift a large percentage of their advertising and marketing budget to it.

Google AdWords and Bing Ads both offer introductory coupons, discounts and specials regularly

To induce new customers to try their services there are frequent—nearly always—offers from Google and Bing. One of the most common from Google is an AdWords coupon that lets new advertisers get $100 in advertising for $25. If you’d like to know more, or try it out for yourself please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Google+ Local Listings

Google+ Local

Google+ Local was introduced in 2012. Search results on Google following queries that include terms related to local businesses (usually a city and state) are now showing a clear preference to displaying Google+ Local pages/profiles. Right now it augments Google Places for Business but it is widely assumed it will eventually merge with, and overtake, Google Places altogether.

We setup, verify, and optimize Google+ Local pages for business.

In order to make the most of this service it is important that you make the most of it by providing us with basic business information including a logo, pictures of your office, products, trucks, etc. Basically, anything you customers will identify with you.


Google Places

(local business listings on Google Maps)

Google Places for Business offers free local business listings set up in Google Maps. By setting up or claiming your listing you get a highlighted pin on the map shown for local searches related to your business. We will also verify and expand the information listed to make sure your contact information, hours, location, categories, links and more are correct and set up for maximum benefit.

Additionally you can upload a few YouTube videos which are a nice touch. If you don’t have YouTube videos (YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine in the world) we can help you create them and upload them for even more impact. With or without the videos, this is one of the highest traffic, highest quality services we know of. Accordingly, we strongly recommend claiming, optimizing and regularly checking on your business listing on Google Places and Maps.