Marketing

Micro-optimization: How to Optimize Your Campaigns Faster and More Effectively

So what is micro-optimizing?

Get ready for some good old fashioned digital marketing nerdsplaining!

Micro-optimizing is using small but statistically significant tests based on micro-conversions to determine what is working best in your campaigns.

It empowers you with the data that you need to optimize your campaigns for better results much faster and more effectively.

What is a micro-conversion?

A micro-conversion is built on Avinash Kaushik’s idea of ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ conversions.

Simply put, a ‘macro’ conversion is going to be whatever is bringing in revenue for your business. Be that software subscriptions, dog training treat sales, or a new client for your agency.

A ‘micro’ conversion is going to be anything that leads up to that macro conversion. I.e someone spending 5 minutes on your site reading your marketing materials. Or someone putting a product in your shopping cart before buying to see what the total cost with tax and shipping would be (tip you should be retargeting these people with abandoned cart ads).

Why do we need it?

Many times, a businesses web analytics measurement model looks something like this:

Image borrowed from Avinash’s  blog post  - full credit to Avinash.

Image borrowed from Avinash’s blog post - full credit to Avinash.

Most websites are going to a macro-conversion rate around 2%. If you only look at your main conversion that means you are essentially ignoring the 98% of website visitors that did not purchase from you on their visit.

Your measurement should look more like this:

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.40.50 AM.png

It’s plain to see that filling the measurement model with insightful data is going to give you much more information to use in optimizing your campaign and your businesses performance.

In addition to helping you better understand your website audience, micro-optimizing can be used to optimize your paid marketing campaigns to determine the best:

  • Audience
  • Ad copy
  • Keyword
  • Bid strategy
  • Landing page

And more....

 How can I start ‘micro-optimizing’ my campaigns? 

The first step is going to be setting up your measurement model to include micro-conversions. You need to do this in your analytics platform (which is going to be Google Analytics for the vast majority of businesses). Facebook is going to be a little different and we’ll get into that below.

There are many different types of micro-conversions but ultimately the ones you choose should do these 2 things:

  1. Align with real business goals and objectives
  2. Correlate to these business goals and objectives. I.e you should know if someone spends 10 minutes on your site that they are more likely to buy than someone who spends 2 seconds. Or someone who requests a free audit is likely to become a client.

For a small digital marketing and design shop like ours, we would want to data like:

“Users that spend at least 2 minutes on our site” or “Users that viewed at least 2 pages on our site”. These certainly align with our business goals and correlate with potential client behavior.

For a SaaS company that sells to Marketing VP’s at Fortune 500 companies, maybe their micro-conversion is a PDF download, or a request for product demonstration by a salesperson with a cleverly disguised non-salesy sounding title.

AdWords example:
The best way to do this for AdWords campaigns is to set up some sort of goal in Google Analytics and then import it into AdWords. This will give you the data you want down to the campaign, ad group, keyword, ad level.

This is as granular as you can get, but you’ll need to make sure that your AdWords and GA accounts are linked first.

  1. Create the goal in Google Analytics. Kissmetrics gives a good walkthrough here.
  2. Import the goal(s) into your Google AdWords account.
  3. Start optimizing!

Facebook Ads:

Facebook does not play well with Google Analytics at all. There is not a direct integration like there is from AdWords to Google Analytics.

Even when you set up Google Analytics tracking URLS (UTM codes) you will probably only see a fraction of clicks from Facebook actually translate into trackable sessions in Google Analytics.

To ‘micro-optimize’ in Facebook, you will want to set up the relatively new Facebook pixel on all pages of your website or mobile app and then setup event tracking and/or custom conversion tracking.

Your custom conversion or event would align with one of these micro-conversions. I.e if someone downloads one of your PDF’s - track that as an ‘lead’.

How to start micro-optimizing:

Now that you have your micro-conversions setup, and you have campaigns up and running let’s look at an example of how you would micro-optimize.

AdWords Ad Optimization

In AdWords you can ‘segment’ your conversions to see all of the different conversion types that you are tracking and the results tied to your campaign. Note that these are not reported on retroactively so you will only be able to see this data after you complete the steps above.

Here is an example of optimizing ad performance in AdWords using a micro-conversion setup to track users that spend at least 2 minutes on a website.

Ad Testing: Ad “A” Vs Ad “B”

Which ad performs better?

sample-table.jpg

Not using micro-conversion:

Looking at actual purchases of the product there is not enough data to have a statistically significant result. We can either continue to spend budget and wait until there is enough data, or look at another conversion metric with more volume.

Kissmetrics A/B statistical significance calculator.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.48.13 AM.png

Using micro-conversion:

Looking at users who spent at least 2 minutes on the website we see that ad “B” is the statistically significant winner of this ad test with a higher conversion rate (73.61% vs 64.93%)

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.49.41 AM.png

Ad B performs better than ad A by 13% with 98% certainty.

Optimization action - pause ad A and create a new ad based on ad ‘B’. Run another test, rinse and repeat!

Facebook Optimization

In Facebook you will need to customize your reporting columns to pull your micro-conversions into your report. For this test we compared the performance of 2 different retargeting audiences.

Audience Testing: Retargeting audience 1 vs. retarget audience 2

Which retargeting audience performs better?

retargeting.jpg

Not using micro-conversion:

Looking at actual ‘purchases’ of the product.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.52.29 AM.png

Not enough data again. Either continue to spend budget until there is a winner, or look at micro-conversion data.

Micro-conversion data - statistically significant results:

Looking at views of the shopping cart page instead of actual purchases.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.54.56 AM.png

Audience B converts 61% better than A. Optimzation action - move budget from A to B or shutdown A entirely. Start a new test, rinse and repeat.

As you can see, doing this will get to to statistical relevance faster, without having to spend as much budget. Ultimately this is going to drive much better performance from your digital campaigns and you will need to spend less to get better results. I don’t know what marketer or business owner wouldn’t want that!

Thanks for reading!

If you need help or have questions about how to set any of this up contact us here feel free to shoot me an email at andrew@levelup-digital.com

5 Reasons Why Your Marketing Director Should Not Manage Your AdWords Campaigns

We often come across AdWords accounts that are managed ‘in-house’ by a Marketing Director with very little experience or time on their hands to dedicate to their account. Managing AdWords campaigns is something that should be handled by a specialist, and in companies without huge marketing teams that means finding an agency to partner with.

Here are 5 reasons why your Marketing Director should not manage your AdWords campaigns:

1.  Lack of resources - This is a big one. Managing any digital marketing campaign, especially AdWords will require at least several hours a week of oversight, and that increases depending on the amount of budget under management. It’s easy to underestimate the demand that managing a campaign requires. Sure you might start off highly motivated and interested, but that will wane quickly as you realize how much work is required. All of a sudden you realize you haven’t looked at your campaigns in 6 months and Google has suspended your account.

2.  Wrong skillset - Most Marketing Directors have a generalized marketing skill set (as they should). It is more important that they are managing from a macro level than at a micro level. It can take years to become an expert at AdWords and most AdWords experts are not looking for Marketing Director roles (i.e transitioning from PPC Strategist to Marketing Director).

3.  The need to stay up to date with industry changes - Google is constantly changing the rules for marketing through their platform. Without knowing exactly how to pivot and react to changes, you will find yourself losing money and falling behind competitors.

4.  Specialized software - Agencies usually pay for software to do research and competitive analysis before launching campaigns. They also usually pay for software to manage, optimize and report on campaigns. This can get expensive, but agencies find it worthwhile because they are usually managing several accounts.

5.  Easy to waste money - Google makes it very easy for anyone to set up an account and be spending on ads in a matter of hours. The downside is that without the right know-how you will waste all of your budget on the wrong things. Something as simple as using the wrong keyword match type, campaign setting, or bid in AdWords can cost you big time.

Potential customers are going to Google and searching all of the time. Whether your business is there to capture the traffic depends on you being set up for success with an experienced team managing your campaigns.

"Businessman doing business."

"Businessman doing business."

Why We Love Landing Pages

All too often, marketers make the mistake of sending campaign traffic to a website’s homepage, and not a dedicated landing page.

First impressions are everything, and a well designed landing page is the best way to generate new leads directly from paid marketing campaigns. Below, we’ll explain a few key reasons why you should use landing pages in your paid marketing campaigns.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a single dedicated page containing ONE call-to-action for the visitor. The call-to-action (CTA) is what we want the visitor to complete.

The CTA can vary based on your campaign goals. Popular examples include signing up for a newsletter, submitting a form to receive more information, or scheduling an appointment for a service.

We love landing pages because they box users in, and produce measurable and testable results. Results that you can show your boss and take home to your Mom.

Here are a few reasons why we like them so much:

1. Focused lead generation

Because a landing page only focuses on one goal, the visitor is more likely to complete the call-to-action. While conversion rates on a website are generally lower than 2%, landing pages can often have conversion rates of 10% or higher.

Whether it be signing up for a free proposal or scheduling a demo, the moment they complete this call-to-action you have secured a new lead.

Most businesses are going to have a longer sales cycle than a single interaction. You wouldn’t expect to sell a user on a several thousand dollar software subscription on the first visit right? It’s better to capture their name, email address and phone number so that you can follow up with them directly.

2. You control the messaging and the CTA (call to action)

While your website is meant to appeal to all types of visitors — current customer or not, a landing page is designed to have specific messaging and a specific conversion goal aligned with where the user is in the buying process.

This is your first opportunity to capture their attention and help them understand the benefit they get for subscribing to your product or service.

Giving something in exchange for a lead is a great way to maximize your conversion rate. A PDF download, e-book, or access to a free webinar all are effective ways to do this.

3. You can improve your results with A/B testing

One of the best things about landing pages is that you can easily A/B test them to see which one drives more conversions. This can make a significant impact on the performance of your campaign.

We recommend testing from ‘big to small’. Work on the biggest differentiators like two different CTAs (call to action) first to determine a winner. Then focus on smaller things like button color and text positioning.

Ongoing A/B testing over time will lead to the best campaign results. We use Unbounce to A/B test and set conversion goals for our landing pages.

In summary:

Once you have found an effective landing page + campaign formula, it’s time to scale up your campaign budgets. There are a lot of technical implementation steps involved so reach out to us before you get started to avoid pitfalls and save time.

 

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