Google Conversion Room Blog Tips on tracking and improving conversions online

Saying goodbye to the Conversion Room blog

Wednesday 18 July 2012 | 17:23

Thanks to everyone who has been a loyal reader of this blog over the last few years. After some consideration, we recognize that we're just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won't be posting here any longer. We encourage you to visit the Google Analytics blog or the Inside AdWords blog for ongoing news and best practices about measuring and improving your online efforts.

Making Mobile-Friendly Websites - Webinar Recording

Monday 14 May 2012 | 13:55

In March I presented a webinar on building mobile-friendly websites with UK site examples. There was a large turnout of website owners but there have also been a lot of calls for copies of the recording so I’m including the link here for those of you who are interested.

So, if you like to get your updates aurally and visually rather than having to read it all yourself, check out the webinar.

Summary of Contents:

  • The mobile momentum
  • Why mobile sites matter
  • 10 mobile site best practices
  • Best practices in action
  • Build a mobile website



If you have feedback or questions, please leave a comment.


Posted by Shane Cassells, Google Conversion Team

Google Analytics has learned 9 new languages

Thursday 9 February 2012 | 10:06

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Part 3: Implementing Your Conversion Rate Optimization Process

Monday 16 January 2012 | 13:22

This is the third part of a three part guest post by one of our GACP partners, Conversion Rate Experts.




Previously in this series, we discovered how your conversion rate optimization process can be improved by adding some critical planning and research. In this article we will see how Conversion Rate Experts (one of our Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants) recommend taking those learnings and applying them. Take a look at part 1 and part 2 to see the previous steps.

Step 7: Design your experimental web pages (your "challengers")


This is the point at which you’ll create the content that you’ll be testing. Create wireframes of the new pages (or page elements). 
 
Create your wireframe first

Pay particular attention to critical copy elements such as the headline, introductory paragraphs and calls to action. Carry out several usability tests on the wireframe and discuss them with anyone who has an empathic understanding of your customers.

Step 8: Carry out experiments on your website


For each split test, follow a procedure that ensures that all team members understand what the test is, why you’re running it, how it fits into the site, how it aligns with the business goals, and how you’ll measure success. These experiment plans create a valuable archive of your business’s evolution. Once a test is started, the software takes over. All split-testing software automatically calculates when one version of the page has generated statistically significantly more conversions than the others, at which point you can end the test and promote the winning version to be your new “control”. If you are new to split-testing tools, check out this
quick start guide to Google Website Optimizer and conversion rate optimization.

Step 9: Transfer your winning campaigns into other media


Diversifying your customer acquisition channels gives your business more stability. Your increased conversion rate will mean you can profitably invest more in advertising channels such as SEO, PPC, social media, affiliate marketing and offline media. Also, explore how the insights from your winning experiments can be implemented in other parts of your marketing funnel.

  • A winning appeal in a landing page test can provide a winning headline for your AdWords campaigns (or vice versa)
  • A winning landing page can be adapted for space advertising in offline media
  • If a particular offer performs well in your own marketing materials, your affiliates may benefit from using it too

Insights from winning experiments can be implemented in other media such as print advertising.

Summary


As you can see, while a lot of work, your results will reflect the effort that you put in. Keep in mind that the process is not a one-off event, rather it is an iterative methodology. Subsequent experimental plans will be based on the outcome of the previous experiments and each improvement builds upon the success of the previous ones. 

With iterative testing your profits can only go up—because you only keep the winners.

Each time your conversion rate is increased, it becomes increasingly difficult for competitors to compete. Also, as your conversion rate grows, more opportunities present themselves. Hopefully this series will give you some ideas that you can take and implement into your own Conversion Rate Optimization processes. If you want to see the whole process in more detail, check out the full Conversion Rate Experts Process.


Part 2: Critical Research that Can Boost Your Conversion Rate Optimization Results

Tuesday 20 December 2011 | 19:28

This is the second part of a three part guest post by one of our GACP partners, Conversion Rate Experts.

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In the first part of this three part series, we looked at how many marketers rush into setting up their conversion rate optimization process but Conversion Rate Experts (one of our Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants) recommend instead applying a little bit more strategic planning, and how this can get you a much better outcome and avoid you overlooking some fundamental factors. Now we need to drill further into this approach so that you have can be armed with all the research that you need and make an informed decision going into your actual experimentation. Make sure you check out part 1 to see the previous three steps.

Step 4: Research the market



No business exists in a vacuum. You need to understand the ecosystem that you are working in. Study your marketplace by researching

  • Your competitors
  • Expert commentators
  • Social media
  • Review sites
  • Anywhere your target market gathers.
Explore possibilities for improving your positioning against that competitive environment by building upon your company’s core strengths.


Step 5: Reveal the hidden wealth in your business



You will likely have elements within your business that would be highly persuasive to your prospects, if only your prospects could get exposed to them. The key is to identify all of these persuasion assets, then present them to the prospect at the right time in the buying process. In effect your website should be a "proof magnet", incorporating all the necessary support material, persuasive content and evidence necessary to move your prospect forward with confidence.



Your website should be a “proof magnet”.

It can also be useful to identify assets that would be compelling to your prospects —
  • Invest time in gathering your company's existing material and sort through your collection to find under-used persuasive assets.
  • Create missing assets that would be persuasive to your target market, if only you had them.
  • Compile a wish-list of persuasive content and material that your company needs to acquire from outside sources, such as paying for material to be created or interviewing clients for case studies and results.


Step 6: Create your experimental strategy




Extraordinary improvements come from extraordinary ideas. Take all of the ideas you’ve generated from the research, and prioritize those big, bold, targeted ones that will grow your business in the shortest time. After collating all the ideas, prioritize them based on three simple metrics:
  1. How likely is it to double your conversion rate?
  2. How easy it is to implement the test?
  3. Has this idea worked before?


Summary of Part 2



Rather than starting with the first optimization experiments that come to you, it will pay big dividends if you take a short step back and really research and prioritize what you should be working on. As you have seen, there might be gold hiding in terms of your positioning in the marketplace and in your previously under-used proof elements. You can see how Conversion Rate Experts used this exact process to ​quadruple Voices.com's conversion rate from under 5% to 22% here in this case study. In the next and final part of this series, we will put all of this research and planning to good use.


 

Part 1: Improving Your Conversion Rate Optimization Process

Monday 19 December 2011 | 17:33

This is the first part of a three part guest post by one of our GACP partners, Conversion Rate Experts.

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Many marketers start their Conversion Rate Optimization process by going straight into creating a list of things to test.  Conversion Rate Experts (one of our Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants), however, advise you to resist the urge at this stage. Here are two good reasons why:

  1. You don’t know why people aren’t converting yet.
  2. You need to experience your business as a customer rather than a marketer.
Conversion Rate Optimization isn’t about tweaking a particular type of page element or simply setting up new tests. Instead it’s a well-defined, systematic process — a list of things you need to do. In this article series we will take you through the Conversion Rate Experts methodology so that you will have a full process to follow.



CRE Methodology Mind Map

First, in this article, we will cover some preparation steps:

Step 1: Define your strategy, long-term goals, and how you’ll measure success

First decide the strategy and vision for your business. You need to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will ensure you meet your goals. Next, it is important to have customer empathy and to understand the thought processes your visitors are going through, so become a customer of your own site. Discover what the actual visitor experience is really like. The insights gleaned from these activities will give you a better guide for what you need to work on.

Step 2: Understand (and tune) your traffic sources

It’s impossible to critique a website without knowing where its visitors are coming from, which landing pages they arrive on, and how they navigate around the site.

  1. Seek to understand your entire conversion funnel
  2. Aim to work on the areas of your business that will have the biggest impact on your goals.
  3. Also prioritize your efforts on parts of your business that are easiest to make changes to.



Discover blockages and missing pieces in your funnel with web analytics tools.

Search for any aspects that are under-performing and any required parts of your conversion funnel that have not yet been created. For example:

  • Turning a one-step sale into a multi-step sale
  • Adding a well-placed refer-a-friend program
  • Adding an effective email autoresponder sequence
  • Adding a series of post-sale offers
  • Growing a customer community
  • Rolling out successes into other media

Step 3: Understand your visitors (particularly the non-converting ones)

Your key question to answer at this stage is, “Why is the visitor not converting?”. The answer typically comes from research in these core areas:

  1. Understanding different visitor types and intentions
  2. Identifying user experience problems.
  3. Gathering and understanding visitors’ objections.
There is a list of 15 tools here that will help you with your visitor research.

Summary for Part 1

By the end of this part of the process you should have a great idea of the priority areas that you need to work on, both from a funnel and an end-user experience point of view. In the next article we will look at further refining your strategy so that you get the best possible outcome from your efforts. If you would like to see more about how to implement the CRE Methodology we have been outlining here, check out this case study which describes how sunshine.co.uk used the process to almost double their revenue.


Introducing Flow Visualisation: visualising visitor flow

Thursday 20 October 2011 | 09:54

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Many of you have shared with us difficulties you’ve experienced when using traditional path analysis tools. For instance, many of these tools don’t sensibly group related visitor paths and pages, and segmentation analysis can be difficult. You’re looking for better ways to visualise and quickly find those insights about how visitors flow through your sites.

The Google Analytics team has been listening and is working hard to meet your needs. Our design team chose not to build individual “path analysis,” which can quickly become complicated. Instead, they took inspiration from a wide range of sources to reimagine approaches for visualising visitor flow. Our goal is to help marketers and analysts better optimize their visitor experience by presenting the ways that visitors flow through their sites in an intuitive and useful way.

So we are releasing “Flow Visualization” in Google Analytics, a tool that allows you to analyse site insights graphically, and instantly understand how visitors flow across pages on your site. Starting this week, “Visitors Flow” and “Goal Flow” will be rolling out to all accounts. Other types of visualisers will be coming to Google Analytics in the coming few months, but in the meantime, here’s what you can expect from this initial release.

Visitors Flow

The Visitors Flow view provides a graphical representation of visitors’ flow through the site by traffic source (or any other dimensions) so you can see their journey, as well as where they dropped off. You’ll find this visualiser on the left hand navigation menu, where you’ll see a new “Visitors Flow” link under the Visitors section.



Nodes are automatically clustered according to an intelligence algorithm that groups together the most likely visitor flow through a site.

You’ll also notice that we made the visualisation highly interactive. You can interact with the graph to highlight different pathways, and to see information about specific nodes and connections. For example, if you want to dive deeper into your “specials” set of pages, you can hover over the node to see more at a glance.



This type of visualisation allows you to answer important questions, such as “How successful is my new promo page?” In the example above, a marketer instantly gains the insight that there are 5.46K visits (based on the sources on the left hand side) and the majority of visits to the “specials” or promo page come from Google search.

To take this a step further, you can drill down into any node by “exploring the traffic” through the node. In this case, you can see how visitors coming specifically from Google search journeyed across your site.



We realise that you might want to specifically focus on a node, so we’re providing data on all the visits that lead to that node, and not just the ones that come from the top sources in the Visitors Flow. You can also traverse the path forwards or backwards on this visualiser to gain more insight on how engaged the users are to your new promotion.


Goal Flow

Goal Flow provides a graphical representation for how visitors flow through your goal steps and where they dropped off. Because the goal steps are defined by the site owner, they should reflect the important steps and page groups of interest to the site. In this first iteration, we’re supporting only URL goals, but we’ll soon be adding events and possibly other goal types.



You can find the Goal Flow visualiser in the Conversions > Goals section of the “Standard Reporting Tab.” Goal Flow helps you understand:
  • The relative volume of visits to your site by the dimension you choose (e.g. traffic source, campaign, browser)
  • The rates at which visitors abandon different pathways
  • Where and how visitors navigate each of the steps that you defined
  • How the visitors interacted with your site, including backtracking to previous goal steps

You can also apply any advanced segments to a Flow Visualiser. In addition, for those who want to see how visitors arrive at a page (or pages) of interest, they can select that page (or pages) and visualize “backward”. Such “reverse paths” could help site owners identify suboptimal placement of content. Similarly, “forward” paths from a page (or pages) can be visualised to understand most visited pages or to see visitor flow leakages that a site owner might be unaware of.



Pages before and after the node of interest are automatically grouped based on the most common “visitor” flows, and we’re building continued improvements to help group together sensible visitor paths and page nodes.

If you don’t have goals or goal funnels already set up, don’t worry. You can create a new goal or goal funnel from your profile settings and check it out right away - it works backwards on your historical data.

These two views are our first step in tackling flow visualisation for visitors through a site, and we look forward to hearing your feedback as all users begin experiencing it in the coming weeks. We’re excited to bring useful and beautiful tools like these to help you understand your site, so stayed tuned for more!

As always, we welcome your input on how we can make Flow Visualisation truly useful for you, so let us know in the comments, or send us your thoughts.

- Posted by Phil Mui, Google Analytics team