In this Insider’s Guide to GA4 series, I will share all the practical tips you need to know when working with the new version of Google Analytics. The first post in the cycle is dedicated to setting the Full URL as a custom dimension. Let’s roll up the sleeves and do it.
Why do you need it?
by default the query parameters are not removed from URL and split the page addresses into several instances
Do I need to add anything in GTM?
How to setup this up?
In this Insider’s Guide to GA4 series, I will share all the practical tips you need to know when working with the new version of Google Analytics. The first post in the cycle is dedicated to setting the Full URL as a custom dimension. Let’s roll up the sleeves and do it.
Why do you need it?
If you have cross-domain tracking
When you have GA4 on subdomains
Do I need to add anything in GTM?
You don’t need to add anything. The page_location parameter is automatically added to all event sent to GA4, but for some reason Google forgot to add it as a standard Custom Dimension and we need to do it manually. No GTM changes needed. No coding neede.
How to setup this up?
Go into the Events reports on the left
Click Manage Custom Dimensions
3. Add event parameter name page_location and set a name of the custom dimension.
4. The page location will begin to appear in your reports after about 48h.
It’s just one of those days, we have all been there. You check your campaigns and see 50 conversions in Google Ads, but Google Analytics shows only 45. The plot thickens! In this article, I will play the detective and explain the differences between Google Ads and Google Analytics Conversion Tracking. By the end of this article you will understand the differences and have the knowledge to make informed decisions for future projects.
Google Ads Conversion Tracking Explained
Counts only Google Ads touch points
The first and most important part is that Google Ads takes into consideration only clicks on ads when attributing conversions. This means that if a users clicks your Search Network ad, checks our your website but leaves, and the next day comes directly to the website and buys, Google is going to say “oh yeah, this is my doing”. This is a standard way advertising platforms work. Same for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.
One vs every conversion counting
In Google Ads we have some flexibility to decide if we want to count the conversion once or various times. Lets present a few scenarios that will help you understand what this means. This is the scenario:
A user clicks an Ad, makes a purchase, then comes back to to the website to make another purchase
In this method there will be only one conversion reported. This situation is good for business that for example want to know if the keywords convert but don’t care if they do it once or several times.
When we count every conversion, we will then see two purchases. This is a preferred option when we optimize for ROAS. We get two purchases for one click.
Google Ads attribution models
In Google Ads, the model is by default Last Google Ads Click. This means, that the conversion will be assigned to the last Google Ads click. There are several other attribution models that are available but I will not get into them now, but there is one incredible option available, DDA (Data-Driven Attribution). It uses the Shapely model to estimate the impact of each click on partial level. In the end there can be 0.5 conversions assigned to one ad, and 0.5 conversions assigned to another.
Attribution goes to the date of the click
This a Google Ads specific thing. If you clicked an ad on Monday, but you make a conversion on Friday, Google Ads will assign the conversion to the click on Monday. This is one of the big reasons why there might be discepencies between the number of conversions for the same period in Google Ads
Google Analytics Conversion Tracking Explained
Counting all touch points
Google Analytics takes into consideration all click touch points, which includes: social clicks, referrals, paid social and Google Ads. The result is that you get a big picture overview of how the user interacted with the website from all of the sources. It’s mostly click based but with GA360 and programmatic campaigns you can also get View-Through Conversion Data that adds another layer of complexity to the user journey.
Google Analytics default attribution
By default Google Analytics is using the “last non-direct click” as an attribution model. This means it assigns the conversion to the last touch point that was not a direct entry to the website. There is also a possibility to compare different models and their impact on the campaigns in the Model Comparison Tool report in the Multi-Channel Funnels section.
Google Analytics reporting delay
It can take several hours or even days for Google Analytics to attribute the conversion. A frequent situation is to see the conversion in Analytics the following day. This means you should not treat analytics as a real-time dashboard.
Attributed on the date of conversion
Google Analytics attributes the conversion to the date when it had happened. This is different to Google Ads which attributes the conversion to the day of the click.
Google Ads vs Analytics Conversion Tracking Comparison
Google Ads vs Analytics conversion discrepancies
There might be several reasons for discrepancies and lets put all of them out there.
Technical issues – the conversions are configured incorrectly. An incorrect trigger is all that is needed
Date of the conversion vs date of the click – Both tools attribute the number of conversions differently. I would go as far as saying, you should see different number!
Attribution – Google Analytics uses “last non-direct click” while Google Ads uses “last Google Ads click”.
Recency – Some conversions get attributed after several days. If you are checking a recent period, it is possible that Google Ads has already picked it up and Analytics will need a few hours to see the same conversion
Order ID de-duplication – If we are talking about transactions and you import the order ID as a parameter Google Ads will de-duplicate it, and Google Analytics will just duplicate the same conversion with the same order.
If you want to learn more I advise to read through this Support Page.
Should I use Google Ads or Analytics conversion tracking?
The million dollar question. To be honest, for the performance campaigns purposes I always recommend using Google Ads conversion tracking.
It attributes more conversions to your campaigns, omits all other channels and uses data-driven attribution for search. What you need to understand is that thanks to this data Google can improve the end result of your account as a whole. This means if you select correct biding strategies they will maximize the return on your ad spent. In the end you squeeze the lemon a bit harder to get more juice thanks to algorithms that take into consideration more things than we do.
Let’s bring this one home
For optimization, I always recommend using Google Ads conversion tracking. For reporting, it depends. When for example you are reporting various channels and using their own attribution like for example Facebook Ads, then I recommend also using Google Ads conversion to make the playing field more even. On the other hand, it will never be even because the models are different and for example Facebook can attribute impressions whereas Google Ads is not the best for this.
In this article, I highlighted the most important differences in the attribution models and gave you the knowledge to make an informed decision. In the end, the final decision is up to you.
The best way to bring back some sunshine to your life is to get rid of the boring tasks. How to do that? By automating everything! During the next few paragraphs I will guide you through the basics, use cases and how to start using machines to do your dirty work.
What is Apps Script?
Apps script is a coding environment by Google that facilitates coding and connecting services like Spreadsheets, Docs, Slides and others. The full list is available in the developer documentation.
How to code in Apps Script?
Of course the number one reason to learn coding is to create your own Artificial Intelligence that will conquer the world, but there are also some other reasons.
Limit developer involvement and speed up implementation – For a lot of companies this a real problem. Devs are stretched to the limit. Priorities change daily. Backlog gets fatter by the minute. Marketing tasks get pushed back to the very end. Unfortunately this is our reality. I have worked with a client that was implementing the enhanced eCommerce dataLayer schema for 6 months. Not joking. If you do even a part of the implementation yourself it will help.
Know limitations and understand technology – It’s very important to understand the basic limitations. For example:
Why variables can be undefined
How async works
How JS can impact website performance
Apps Scripts New Coding UI Overview
List of all the files in your Apps Script Project
You can reuse code that you have previouslu written by using them as libraries
Click to enable additional services in your project like GMail, Google Analytics or others.
The execute button.
You can choose the function you want to run from the dropdown menu
Execution log to preview the result.
If you want to get access to your app or to use it as an API you can deploy it to the public.
Apps Script Examples and Use Cases
There is a lot of potential uses for Apps Script automation. Let me list some of the simple ones:
sending automated email reminders – this is a great case for automating and letting the robots take care of everything.
listing all of the sheets in a spreadsheet – have you ever worked on a spreadsheet that constantly gets bigger and you loose control over the files. You can write a script that creates an index sheet and refreshes it on every open of the file
retrieve the pages from sitemap.xml – this is a great idea for SEO.. When you need to get a list of all the pages from the website into a spreadsheet using a script makes it easy.
get data from and API – if you need to retrieve data from an API the best way to do it is using a script. For example you sales data, marketing data or similar.
sending emails with reports – do you have a report set up that you would love to share with your colleagues on a regular basis? Apps scripts is the way to go. You can send email with a PDF report attached just by writing a few lines of code.
Where to get started with coding in Apps Scripts
There is a lot of places where you can learn Apps Scripts. I would like to recommend the ones listed below:
Dark mode – to enable Apps Script dark mode please press F1 and select “Toggle High Contrast Theme”
You can color your console logs with different colors
Let’s bring this one home
Apps script is a power house. With functions ranging from fetching data from external APIs, through connecting with Google Services like Youtube or Google Analytics, to sending reports via email the possibilities are endless. Sometimes you will feel frustrated, sometimes you will code for hours at a time, my advise is – just enjoy the journey 🙂 .
Google Ads Management is time consuming and can take hours weekly, but you are in luck! In this guide I will share the deepest darkest secrets of paid traffic agencies and their workflows. Let me present the Weekly Google Ads Management Routine with ready to use recipes and tips to use on your account. Just don’t share it with anyone 😉 .
Google Ads Management without additional tools can take 5h-100h per month. It really depends on various factors. First of all, the number of campaigns, the budget, your love of spreadsheets and the amount of time you are willing to spend in the account. However, independently of all that below you can find the seven most basic reports you should check on a weekly basis if you run Google Ads Campaigns. Proceed with caution these tips may increase conversions 🙂 !
1. Add Negative Keywords
This is the most basic report. Even though Google has made it a lot more difficult for performance marketers to do their job it’s still the most important report. You should always go to the “search terms” report and export it to a Google Sheet. Then go through it on a weekly basis to exclude search terms that are incorrect. Please remember to add variations. If you see searches from job hunters for example “design agency job” – exclude them. Block also related keywords like: staffing / job / jobs / work / recruitment. It will save you a lot of money
2. Add New Keywords
From the same report you can also get new keywords. It’s always good to use DSA campaigns to hunt for new keywords you can use but even in search campaigns you can find some new keywords. Adding them in separate ad groups is really important for maintaining a high Quality Score and our Single Keyword Ad Groups will be clean and organized.
3. Check Highest Spenders
Even for the smallest account with a few campaigns this is really important. Check your spend per week. Is any campaign underspending? Which campaigns are overspending? Are they delivering the desired results? All these questions need to be answered weekly.
4.Check Impression Share
I always recommend dividing the structure based on business goals. For example you can have keywords that are the most converting lets call them Priority 1, and supporting keywords, let’s call them priority 2. With this in mind you should always check the impression share on Priority one keywords. This can help you understand the relationship between impression share and number of conversions.
5. Check High CPC keywords
in the heat of the moment we can over optimize. Google’s Machine Learning Algorithms can overbid (of course not on purpose), we can also increase bids way to high. This causes overpaying for some keywords. Go to the “keywords” report and check what are the keywords with the highest CPC. Optimize accordingly.
6. Check keywords with most clicks
Similarly to high CPC keywords you should always check which keywords get the most clicks. Even though you are not paying a lot per click you are getting a lot of clicks that can result in incorrectly spent dollars.
7. Asset performance report
In Responsive Display Campaigns you got a new report showing you the performance of separate assets. This can be below average,average and above average. You should optimize it when you see an asset underperforming. It’s difficult to say this out loud, but we, Google Ads experts are not all knowing and in the end we have no idea how a particular image will perform . For this sole reason you should check the report and act on them. Change up the assets, experiment, grow.
To wrap things up
I hope that this routine will be useful and will help you grow your business. This is just a basic setup, there are a lot of other reports and optimizations you can do to grow your business and scale paid traffic. If you hit a dead end and are in need of help I can jump on a call and help you get better results.
Hotjar is a website heatmaps and behavior analytics tool. It helps you to see how visitors are using your website.
The main functions of Hotjar are
user sessions recording,
Each of these has a different objective and can work as separately as a single analysis tool but give best results when mixed and used together.
At the time of writing this article, Hotjar has notified that funnels and form tracking will be retired by 14 December 2020. This is a shame, since funnels those were crucial functions for power users. On the other hand there are some alternatives that we can use to get the same result.
Will Hotjar work on my website?
Apart from this, there are no other requirements in particular.
How to install Hotjar manually (static code) ?
Go to your hotjar dashboard, find the code snippet and copy it.\
Go into your code editor and find the head section. Paste the code snippet before the </head> tag. For example in wordpress you can go to the header.php file and find drop the code before the end of the head tag.
Ready! Now we can see if it works.
How to install Hotjar with Google Tag Manager?
The first step is to copy the Hotjar code ID.
Then go to your Google Tag Manager > Tags section and click add Tag.
Find the hotjar template
Add your site ID and for the trigger please select “all pages”.
Publish the container.
Add all the heatmaps you need and want inside Hotjar’s inference.
How to install Hotjar on a Single Page Application website (for example React website) ?
With SPA (single page applications) the installation process is a bit different. We need to use the stateChange function instead of a standard pageView. In the default configuration, Hotjar is loaded with every page reload. On the other hand, web frameworks like React don’t refresh the whole page, but they use VirtualDOM events to refresh only a section of the page. Thanks to this the website is faster, but it’s a bit trickier to trigger tracking events.
To track SPA we need to create a stateChange event that Hotjar will detect and tell the script “this should be treated as a new page”.
To enable a trigger please select a Custom HTML tag in Google Tag Manager and use the code below.
triggerName – The name of your trigger. It can be anything for example “productPage” // string
Checking if Hotjar is installed properly?
The easy option is to use the Verify installation button.
Another way to verify if Hotjar’s code is triggering correctly is using the inspect tool in chrome. Go to Inspect->Network, in the search bar please type “hotjar” and refresh the page. You should be able to see Hotjar’s snippet triggering and sending data.
Bringing It All Together
Hotjar is an extremely useful tool for improving your website. The installation is easy but can be tricky at times. There are tons of resources if you get stuck. In particular I recommend Hotjar’s installation documentation, but if this still is not enough don’t hesitate to drop me a message.
Ever since I read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini I became fascinated with human behavior. Understanding how rules of Reciprocity, Scarcity or Authority work has benefited me immensely. First of all, you begin to understand when others try to influence your decision. Second of all, you can use the same techniques to influence the decisions of others.
Cialdini was one of the first people to focus and write a book for the general population on this topic. Since then we have gone a long way and identified more psychological principles that run our lives.
These findings are particularly prominent in marketing for eCommerce and SaaS businesses. Psychology has helped many businesses to grow, one of the best examples of this is booking.com. They use almost all of the principles listed below to influence users behavior and thanks to Conversion Rate Optimization other businesses can also benefit from the learning of psychology.
In the following article, we’ll go through the principles that can help you influence consumer behavior, optimize campaigns, create new user flows and write better copy.
We find familiar things easier to process and understand than the unfamiliar. So things that are easier to read and say are perceived as more trustworthy and valuable.
The speak-easy effect means using simple language instead of difficult words on your website. It allows people to feel more comfortable and trustworthy.
The secret to having the attention of your users is avoiding elaborated sentences or uncommon words. In one of the famous case studies of this effect participants rated food additives as more harmful when their names were more difficult to pronounce. This proves that words that are easier to understand are perceived as more trust.
A master in this area is Apple. They always manage to explain a complicated topic with words easily understandable.
Priming is a complex process that impacts a significant part of our behavior. It is driven by the subconscious mind and it works by activating an unnoticeable association in the users’ short-term memory towards a second stimulus.
The uses of priming in a digital marketing can be endless.You can prime your customers using visuals, music, elements of your website or even words.
A great example of this for eCommerce is showing the coupon field by default in the checkout. When you expose the customer to an open coupon field they are more likely to search for a coupon. This is a very good example of priming. We have shown the user that there is a coupon available thus making him look for a cheaper option.
Giving users more options makes it harder for them to make a decision.
As humans we tend to resist situations where there are too many choices, the reason is that we have limited attention, and prefer minimalism when processing things for the first time.
In effect abundance instead of increasing customer happiness can heighten the expectations and create a fear of missing out.
A great example of this phenomenon is when you’re browsing Nextflix’s catalogue and you have so many options that you end up feeling overwhelmed and not choosing anything. Does it sound familiar to you?
As marketers we can mitigate this problem by emphasizing one choice over the others and avoid having many products with slight variations.
Consumers are influenced by the opinions of others.
When they are unsure about buying a product or service they look to other opinions and consider them for their final decision.
In digital marketing, we can incorporate social proof to influence decisions. Here are some examples of Social proof:
Booking.com uses testimonials and information about how many people view/book the same property to build social proof.
Framing is when our decisions are influenced by the way information is presented.
Similar information can be more positive or negative depending on the features that are highlighted. For example, people tend to have different behavior depending if something is framed as “gain” (you could have) or “loss” (don´t miss out). This is because consumers avoid risks when presented with gain frames and seek chances when faced with a loss frame.
Another example marketers can use is that people tend to choose options that have higher numbers, as our bias believes that higher is better.
Framing can affect behavior so, it’s essential to understand how we can use it to be more influential when talking to potential customers.
Visual frames are related to factors such as color, font size, font style, or even body language all these play a huge role in getting the attention of potential clients and persuade them to make a purchase.
2. Value frames
Value frames are used to make us feel that we are getting a better deal or offer than we really are. Higher numbers tend to mean better value. For example getting $120 off instead of 20% discount.
3.Positive and negative frames
When you make people feel like they are losing something, people tend to fear and take action to avoid losses. So when we may lose out on a good deal, we are encouraged to take action.
The principal idea of Hick’s law is that the more choices available, the more time users take to make their decisions.
In life and in work it’s always recommendable to keep things simple. This also applies to UX design.
For a marketer and a designer it’s essential to know Hick’s Law. With this in mind you can examine how many options you give the user and how it affects the decision-making process.
If you look around you’ll find many other examples of Hick’s Law. For example, in a menu at a restaurant. Having a limited choice can be a good thing, because customers will make a decision faster. If your business is all about turnover you should think about carrying a selected but limited inventory.
However, this law doesn’t apply to every situation, especially the ones that need deep analysis. When there is a lot of different factors to examine and take into consideration the decision process is long by default and Hick’s law does not affect the decision as strongly.
Our brain is programmed to remember incomplete or interrupted actions more.
Imagine this – you leave work just before sending the last important email and you keep it on your mind until you finally click send. Problems like this, that aren’t completed give us a sensation of stress. This is also the reason why we tend to think about things that still have to be done, but which we have been postponing for ages. In marketing this type of situation encourages customers to pursue certain actions.
For example, if you integrate the Zeigarnikeffect into your website, you can ensure a longer browsing time on it. A great way of making this happen is showing percentages in certain processes such as registration, checkout or shipping process. When users move from one stage to another you should inform about progress to keep them engaged.
You can apply this principle also in news and blog posts by giving your readers an insight of the headline combined with a short teaser text, this will encourage them to keep reading.
An average person is capable of storing 5–9 elements in short-term memory.
The number varies depending on the kind of information required to memorize (sound, taste, image, number).
You can apply this law on your website by organizing your products in groups from 5 to 9 categories instead of listing all of them. This way you help your customers find what they need faster.
This is especially useful for new customers because it allows them to familiarize themselves with the structure and organization of the site.
Miller´s Law also highlights the importance of proper planning in the design process, because as you add more features to a product your interface must be able to accommodate those without modifying the visual foundation of what you built.
Another important thing to keep in mind next time you’re about to create a campaign or improve your website is that most successful tag-lines are never longer than seven words.
We interpret things based on our preconceptions and we give more credit to information we believe in and ignore the one that we think is wrong.
The reason for this phenomenon is because the chemicals in our brain fabricate incoming data to intensify our perception of the world: emphasising supportive evidence and minimizing anything contrary.
A clear example of this is that people still buy supplements, even though studies have shown that they are useless because we have been told they are good for our health.
As marketers, we can benefit from this by pointing out our target’s beliefs around our products and services and then provide the evidence that confirms those beliefs. And once we’ve achieved a level of brand awareness, we can use confirmation bias to reinforce what consumers “already know” about us.
It has been proven that consumers are more willing to pay when there is no physical money involved in a transaction, this is called the Cashless effect.
Therefore, when users pay with a credit card it makes them feel more comfortable because they are actually not seeing the amount of money they are spending.
This effect occurs in any situation where digital forms of payment are used instead of cash. People tend to be much looser with their money when it only exists in a digital form, and often spend more money that they wouldn’t if they had to make the same transaction with physical cash.
Take the example of Apple & Amazon who have been capitalizing on the pain of paying by introducing new technologies such as Apple Pay, which involves Apple users simply waving their gadgets in order to pay for purchases and Amazon’s patented “1 click ordering” technology.
Von Restorff Effect
When multiple similar objects are present, the one that differs from the rest is most likely to be remembered, this phenomenon is called the Restorff Effect.
For example, in a list of images that have similar characteristics (size or color) except for one that is notably different, users’ will notice this one and remember it more clearly.
Von Restorff effect shows how human eyes and brains are constantly on the lookout for things that disrupt the norm so it can be applied to all things (words, products or messages.
In the context of eCommerce this is the main reason why all call-to-actions look different from the rest of the action buttons on a site. This is also the reason, we remember bold words more, or if that CAPITALIZED words stand out inside a phrase.
To make use of this effect in eCommerce we can for example include a banner inside a list of products at the same time providing a different background or product photo to an item we really want to push out is a good strategy.
This principle refers to the discrepancy between what we currently know and what we would like to know.
Curiosity Gap it’s a powerful copywriting technique used to create irresistible headlines that catch users’ attention and makes them click to see the rest of the content.
Please keep in mind, when you use this technique for headlines, it needs to be specific enough to entice the reader, but not so specific that the reader doesn’t need to click through.
Media websites such as BuzzFeed or Upworthy are great examples of using the Curiosity Gap. Sometime this effect may seem as a manipulation to get high click-through rates, but so do other psychological principles. The best way to defend against it, is to understand the underlying principles behind it. In the end, it’s recommended to use this method with moderation.
Occurs when the first positive impression of a person or brand influences the overall perception of the person or brand.
When consumers have positive experiences with a specific product they cognitively form an assumption about the whole brand. The explanation of this is that subconsciously a person assumes that if a company is exceptionally good at one thing, they will undoubtedly be good at something else.
The halo effect increases brand loyalty, strengthens the brand image and reputation, and translates into high brand equity. In marketing it is a great technique to establish leadership in the industry. When one product positively imprints in the minds of consumers, the success of that product infectiously affects other products.
A clear example of the Halo Effect is again, Apple. The success of the Ipod allowed the company to successfully launch products such as the Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad.
The total amount of mental effort that is required to complete a task is called the Cognitive Load.
As marketers we can use this theory to figure out the best way to feed information to our potential customers. You can think of it as the processing power needed by the user to interact with your website. If the information that needs to be processed is too difficult the cognitive load will be too high. This means that to improve UX present less information or present it in chunks, so you can ensure it can be easily understood. Whether it’s a blog, an ebook or a landing page, make sure it’s easy to navigate and process.
When you need to explain complex ideas, create short sentences, multiple subheaders, bullet points, and use videos and images to support your ideas.
In addition you can also use tools to help your user’s memory such as checklists, glossaries, quick reference guides, or diagrams. Avoid trying to cover too much ground when you’re writing about a topic. The same goes for multiple call to action buttons. If you ask too much from your potential customers you might get nothing in return.
Human nature wants to offer something in exchange when something is received.
When you give a product or service for free, people feel a real sense of indebtedness towards you.
A great example of reciprocity are free trials. Spotify has mastered this with its Premium membership, the ingenious thing about it is that you begin to integrate this service into your daily life, such that when the trial ends, you feel the need of having the service permanently.
In addition another important thing to consider is that there are two types of reciprocity: material and emotional. Although businesses often use material incentives for reciprocation, emotional reciprocation offers a great customer experience and it also makes them feel more valuable.
Bringing It All Together
I strongly believe in using psychology in marketing. As mentioned at the start, the first way to defend against psychology is understanding it. When you finally get a grasp of this, you can start using it yourself.
If you liked the article, I would be really if you’d subscribe to my newsletter. I send out monthly tips and tricks regarding digital marketing, analytics and CRO.
Is no secret that this year the eCommerce industry has pushed to new heights. The global pandemic changed our daily lives and reshaped everything we knew. Businesses had to adapt and create solutions in order to keep up with their customers expectations.
It is estimated that by the end of 2020 eCommerce sales will reach $4.2 trillionand make up 16% of total retail sales and these numbers are only predicted to go up as we continue into the decade. This is a great opportunity for everyone.
At the same time, the industry is also experiencing internal changes. If you don’t keep up with the latest trends you run the risk of being left behind. To help you out with the coming novelties I investigated top trends for eCommerce stores for 2021 and beyond and present them in the article below. I hope you discover something new!
1. Headless eCommerce
Nowadays users interact with the web differently. We are used to consuming content cross-device and making purchases through various touch points. From app to Amazon’s Alexa. We are living in the future.
Consumers are embracing the Internet of Things era and retailers need to meet them halfway. The best way to facilitate purchases is adopting a flexible ecommerce infrastructure called headless commerce.
To understand this system you need to imagine two separate layers working together. The first layer is the backend, which is the heart of headless ecommerce. It is an application that can be connected and interact with various endpoints and brings a truly omnichannel experience. It works as a standalone solution that can be connected to various touchpoints.
The second layer is the user interface – be it a website, an app or a marketplace.It is important to note, both layers can exist independently, but are constantly communicating with each other.
Headless eCommerce works by passing requests between the presentation and application layers through web services or application programming interface (API) calls. For example, when the user clicks a “Buy Now” button on their smartphone, the presentation layer of the headless eCommerce system sends an API call to the application layer to process the order. The application layer sends another API call to the presentation layer to show the customer the status of their order.
Flexible updates across channels. Headless commerce gives your business the ability to update more quickly across channels, allowing you to stay ahead and gain competitive advantage.
Faster changes, less hassle. To make changes to a traditional e-commerce application the developer would have to make the changes to the e-commerce backed. This involves editing databases and code. A headless commerce platform functions independently, giving developers the freedom to implement customized designs and interactions on one side and at the same time leave the inventory source without delay.
Headless commerce can be expensive. You may need to invest in developer or infrastructure costs that can add up quickly.
2. Social Commerce
Social commerce is the missing link between e-commerce and social media platforms. It gives the user the possibility to make a purchase directly from a third-party company within the social media experience. For example, you can make the purchase on Facebook instead of going to the company’s site.
Three social media sites that are owning the social commerce space: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Is the most popular social commerce platform,it has the largest user base, which offers businesses a lot of exposure.
Businesses can create “Shop Now” stores, and use them to interact with customers . But remember that Facebook is a social network and not everyone may like the social commerce concept yet so don’t overwhelm your audience.
Facebook data reveals that 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery. It’s no surprise that Instagram introduced Instagram Shopping, a feature that allows users to tap on images to view products featured on it.
The next step of the social commerce roadmap was a checkout feature inside the instagram app.
This social network has always been a favorite of retailers, especially because of its targeted consumer base of women aged 18-30. The visual platform features products from tons of brands and businesses. What’s unique about Pinterest is that only a small portion of the site’s content is original. According to one source, 80% of Pinterest content is repins. This is a major opportunity for original content creators. By providing new content you can stand out easily and bring relevant traffic to your ecommerce.
The truth is simple: Other people’s opinions matter. Users can easily share their opinions and recommend brands to their friends. This creates enormous opportunities for businesses to capitalize on our social links.
Although social commerce seems to be wonderful there are some cons important to consider:
Cannot control opinions. Customers often take shipping problems or quality issues to social media. Some cases even go viral. To make sure this doesn’t happen you have to be on top of your Social Media game and control the narrative. And remember the customer is always right, sort of.
Depending on a third party. If you have high hopes for social commerce, you have to remember that you depend on social platforms. Any change to their system or Terms and conditions can affect your business. I am all for adding Social as a purchase channel but you should not only exist on social. Diversify!
3. Mobile Payments
This trend offers convenience and security, so is not a surprise that solutions like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Amazon Pay are showing no sign of slowing down. Mobile payment technology is becoming very important to ecommerce shops. Online businesses that have successfully integrated this into their infrastructure have gained a competitive advantage as a result.
Mobile payments are considered any form of payment using a mobile device and in particular a digital wallet solution like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Amazon Pay
Using mobile payment gateways makes the process of payment easier and more convenient for consumers.
Mobile payments are fast.They create a friendly experience for customers and also helps merchants expedite transactions.
Mobile payments are secure. They provide extra layers of biometric authentication which reduces the fraud chances for both merchants and consumers.
Mobile payments are effortless and have revolutionised the way customers can buy, providing an enjoyable experience, where the customer can easily checkout and pay for their purchase without looking for their credit card.
This is a great opportunity for ecommerces to future-proof your business by allowing users to pay with their prefered digital wallet. Here is a list of some of the popular mobile wallet solutions:
4. Voice search
Voice search is a popular emergent technology that will only keep getting bigger. It can improve the customer experience, drive more traffic to your site, and help you sell more.
The possibilities of voice technology are endless, and at the moment one thing is clear: voice search is taking off among consumers who already use devices with voice assistants, including Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
There are already 45 million voice-assisted devices in use only in the United States, and while screenless browsing is expected to account for 30 percent of browsing by 2020, 50% of searches will be conducted through voice technology by that same year.
A few points for you to consider in our voice controlled future.
Be present where customers are looking for you. Voice assistants are becoming more popular outside of our homes and mobile phones. They are popping up in our cars, in smart TVs, wearable devices, and home appliances. These provide opportunities to reach even new customers and increase sales.
Develop a new sales channel. Voice assistants are still considered a novelty. On the other hand marketers can use this channel to reach new customers since this channel is yet to be saturated by many competitors.
Data security concerns. Although consumers are using voice assistants often, there are concerns over the data these devices collect and the companies behind the apps on those devices. The manufacturers say they only do QA with humans listening to the conversations occasionally but some doubt if this is true.
Imagine entering your favorite shop and on the homepage instead of a generic promotion you see a dedicated offer to your needs. This is now possible thanks to website personalization tools.
If you still need confirmation that this is the future of ecommerce please remember that in 2019 McDonalds bought Dynamic Yield for an estimated $300million.
6. Conversion Rate Optimization Team
Improve by 1% everyday and you will be successful. That should be the motto for every company. And companies that want to grow faster definitely live by this rule. Conversion Rate Optimization helps with this. You can either hire a Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant or build your internal team to optimize your website.
Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of improving the results. It’s not only about Conversion Rate, it can be about minimizing waste, maximizing reach, optimizing Customer Experience. Conversion Rate Optimizers have a wide range of skills and can help you with a lot of different issues your company is facing. Lets now mention why it’s important to invest in CRO.
Competitors are not standing still. Even if your company is in great shape and you are happy with your results now, you should never rest on your laurels. Your competitors definitely are not. You should always challenge the status quo and test everything. Don’t assume you cannot improve, everyone can, with a bit of additional help 😉
Increase ROI and ROAS. The principal marketing objective is to drive purchases. This is done by driving traffic to your website, but how can you be sure that they will actually make a purchase when they get there? CRO helps by optimizing the user experience by eliminating Fears and Increasing user motivation. It is effortless for users to jump from store to store looking for the best deals using social media, Google Search or Price Comparison engines. The catch is to make users convert when they enter your website.
Stores that are planning for the future are adopting the CRO growth mindset and put progress over perfection. We have to accept that we are not all knowing, but we err. To be sure something works we need to test it. With this growth mindset you can set up an experimentation framework that will make your company grow and in result bring you higher profit.
Continuous improvement is key. Best part of CRO is that it brings short term results and at the same time has long-term implications for ROI of your marketing activities. Remember, continuous improvement and testing is key.
This list is a result of talking to industry leaders and exploring possible routes for technology in the coming years. I hope this comes in handy to you. Thees are the trends I thing will be BIG in the next few years.
On the other hand, I would love to hear your opinion on this. What do you think will be the biggest game-changer in 2021?
We are witnessing an epic in web analytics. Yesterday Google announced Google Analytics 4 which was formerly know as App+Web and is the future of data measurement. In this post I want to discuss a few key points that are the pillars of this new tool.
There are two main reasons for the change from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. First of all, the change of how users interact with the web. A few years back users were only interacting using their computers and now it’s not uncommon to see 60-80% of traffic coming from mobile devices. This created a gap in understanding user behavior, which Google now wants to fill.
The second reason is that Universal Analytics was hit based, and the new Analytics 4 is event based. The reason for this is the growing popularity of React and Angular based websites. They don’t need to refresh the page to load data. They use a Vritual DOM to display new information and causes difficulties to measuring User Interactions.
Google has worked hard to build the new system. There are however a few key foundations of the new default Analytics property.
Unification and deduplicate across devices and platforms showing a full picture of how users interact with your business.
Privacy first analytics in line with GDPR and CCPA
Cross channel measurement of users on various devices
Prediction and insights easy to navigate and use
Enabling action using data to power Google Ads adn Google Marketing Platform
As mentioned previously this is going to be the new default property, so we all need to accept the change and use it to our advantage. In the near future I will provide a more in-depth overview on using Google Analytics 4. In the meantime let’s take a look at the features with Krista Seiden.
Building GREAT Brand Awareness campaigns is difficult. Many brands struggle with strategy, creatives and not being able to report the impact of such activities. The measurement part is particularly tricky as the effects of our marketing campaign is not easily measurable. In this article, I will help you with this. We will start with planning, then discuss targeting and creative to finish it off with great examples of ads. By the end of this article, you will understand how to build brand recognition, trust, and familiarity with Facebook. Let’s start!
What is Brand Awareness?
To understand the key elements of Brand Awareness, first we need to make it clear what it is.
Brand awareness, in short, is audience familiarity with your name, symbol, and logo. To give you an example, if I talk about Apple, do you know what company I am talking about? Could you distinguish Apple products from Samsung? Could you tell me what values are driving Apple? Making sure your audience knows the answer to these questions is the basis of Brand Awareness.
Campaigns with the objective of increasing brand awareness are mostly optimized towards reach. This means we want to show our message to as many users as possible. A very simple way of measuring brand awareness is by doing surveys in which we ask users «Which of these brands have you heard of?». The answers gives a percentage of users who recognize us. With the Brand Awareness campaigns, we try to increase this number.
However, before starting brand awareness activities you need to think about a few key points.
Purpose: What does your brand stand for? What is the impact of your business?
Personality: How would you define your brand using human traits?
People: Who is your audience? Can you define them?
Promise: What can your customers expect from doing business with you?
After replying these four questions with clear and thought out answers you are ready to move to the next part.
How to select the best Facebook campaign objectives for brand awareness
Knowing your options is the base of successful campaigns. Facebook gives you several objectives that you can use to optimize your campaign. Let’s talk about all of them in terms of Brand Awareness.
Reach objective – with this type of campaigns facebook will try to reach the maximum number of users in your budget. I recommend adding frequency capping to this to obtain the best results. Viewing you ads once is often not enough. I recommend setting it to 3-4 per 7 days to get best results.
Brand awareness objective – helps you reach the people that are «most likely to recall your ad». This is the definition straight from Facebook, however in practice can we with full confidence show our ads to people who are likely to remember it? I rarely use this objective because it lacks control over frequency.
Video views objective – uses facebook machine learning to get the most views for your videos. We can select which of the two delivery options we want to use ThruPlays or 2-Second Continuous Video Views. In Brand Awareness Campaigns I recommend using ThruPlays, as they are optimized to longer interactions with your video. Machine learning will try to get the most complete views for videos shorter that 15s and at least 15s viewed for longer videos.
Post engagement objective – with this objective facebook optimizes your campaign towards an audience likely to interact with your ad. The objective here is to get more Page likes, event responses, or post reactions, comments or shares.
When planning the ad objective take into consideration the Estimated Ad Recall Lift metrics. It measures how many people would remember seeing your ad if facebook asked them within two days. It must be underlined that this is an estimated metric and not a real survey sent out to users. This metric will only appear with objectives 2), 3), 4), we cannot get the data for «reach» campaigns.You can read more in Facebook support.
How to target your audience
Planning a brand awareness campaign is the easiest part of the equation. As mentioned in the user acquisition funnel guide, the most important thing is excluding people who already know your brand.
For this to work properly, you need to have a few audiences set up:
When we have all these audiences created we can go ahead and plan our campaign. The ists that we just created will be used as exclusions in the targeting phase.
Before you start please take a minute to think about you audience and explore their interests with Audience insights. Although if our list is too small, we will not get a lot of data. Event if facebook is not helpful we still can create a user persona.
Who is your audience? Demographics like age, gender.
Where are they located?
What are their interests?
What tone will they understand? Formal or informal?
What devices are they using ? Desktop or mobile and what brand?
Which type of content do they interact more with? What content is used by your competitors?
When you answer these questions you already have an idea of how to approach this topic. The next step is setting this up in the Ads Manager and excluding the audiences mentioned earlier. This is what we call a Fresh Traffic / Prospecting / Cold Traffic campaign. The goal here is to reach audiences that did not have contact with your brand.
Creating powerful ways to engage your audience with Creatives and ad formats
To create powerful and impactful experiences for your audience you need to keep one thing in mind – Stop the scroll. This is a statement, I read somewhere and I completely agree. We are overwhelmed with interesting content on the internet. The algorithms of facebook and other social platforms are optimized to keep us engaged with the app. We as advertisers need to create content that will stand out and stop the scroll.
Creatives can be classified as focused on product and focused on brand. As you have guessed, in brand awareness campaign we focus on the latter. However, you cannot just slap your logo on an aspirational image and say it is fulfilling its purpose. There additional aspects of creatives to consider.
Use high-resolution images – this is a no brainer, dont upload 200x200px images, they will not get accepted. Facebook encourages high quality imagery.
Show your product or brand. People scroll through Feeds and lose interest quickly, this is why it’s important for a brand to show from the start what you are about. Design your creative creating interest from the first look.
Preview your ads – before publishing, you have the possibility to review your ads in different formats to see if the message is appropriate.
Some time ago facebook conducted a study regarding driving brand awareness. There are several interesting points that I think you should also take into account when preparing creatives:
Focal point : The image has one obvious focal point
Brand link : How easy is it to identify the advertiser?
Brand personality : How well does the ad fit with what you know about the brand?
Informational reward : Does the ad have interesting information?
Emotional reward : The ad appeals to you emotionally
Noticeability : While browsing online, this image would grab your attention
Call to action : This ad urges you to take a clear action. In terms of call to action I always think it’s better to include it than not, but the decision is up to you.
While I think this study is interesting, I want to point out it is based on users scoring the creatives and can be biased. Even if the study has some potential flaws, I think their findings are correct. Here are the two most important conclusions from my point of view:
Objective is important. Direct-response advertisers achieved higher call to action while brand-focused advertisers scored higher on brand link, emotional reward and noticeability.
Focus should change based on objective – Top performers for online conversions focused on either the product (informational reward and call to action) or on the brand (brand link and brand personality).
With this in mind let’s discuss also additional point to consider when designing your creatives:
Design with device in mind – for Instagram stories you have 1080px by 1920px to use (aspect ratio of 9:16). Use the space that Facebook gives you! Don’t use your creatives made for landscape mode.
Consider keeping the user inside facebook’s ecosystem – One incredibly important factor is, when you create campaigns for mobile the user never leaves Facebook’s apps. People flow eseamlessly between Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp. This is a very powerful feature that you also need to consider. If you design this correctly you will not have problems with page speed, pop-ups asking the user if they want to continue or other friction potins.
As for formats this page from facebook has a great overview of all the formats available.
What to say in brand awareness campaigns
A picture is worth a thousand words. This saying should be your main focus when designing brand awareness campaigns.
As this is the first step of the funnel I would ask the user to «purchase» and neither would I ask them directly for their email. First of all get noticed, then make the user «discover» our brand on his own. As he will get familiar with the brand, website or instagram account we will be able to reach him again with an offer.
In this phase focus on your brand. Who we are. What are we about? What are we selling? How can we help? To whom are we talking? What are our values?
I really like the ad shown below. It does not have a direct call to action. It just shows the product and relays the message, and it’s enough to get noticed.
The is no one formula for your creatives. Below I wanted to share some ideas what can you say in the campaign:
Say what you are about – what are your values, what makes you unique
Show how you impact your clients life – how our product can change your life
Provide social proof or use clients testimonials – use user generated content to prove your product works
Entertain the audience – become something memorable
Be emotional – establish a connection with your audience
Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS) – create the problem and a solution in the same ad.
Measuring brand awareness with facebook
Measuring brand awareness campaigns is not simple. We cannot always directly connect an impression of an ad with future purchases. Below I wanted to present a list of metrics that you should check when running a brand awareness campaign.
Post Engagement – can be a like, a comment, link click or share. Basically any action connected with a particular post. There is also a metric called cost/post engagement, which also helps you to determine the success of your creatives.
CTR – the higher the click-through rate the better your ad resonates with your audience. We can measure two CTRs: All clicks and Link clicks. The former is measuring «interactions inside the ad», the latter is measuring «outgoing clicks». Both are relevant and should be measured.
Conversion Rate – how well does your creative convert. It can be a purchase conversion or a landing page view. Select one metric and don’t change it between the compared campaigns.
Cost Per Click — you should check this metric always and optimize it to be as low as possible.
Cost Per Thousand Views (CPM) — tell you how much are you paying for reaching a thousand users. The lower the better.
Ad Reach and Frequency — this metric tells the story of how many users saw your ads and how many times they saw it, in the selected timeframe.
Estimated Ad Recall Lift (People) – is the estimate of the number of additional people who may remember seeing your ads, if asked, within 2 days. This metric is only available for assets in the Brand awareness, Post engagement and Video views Objectives.
Video Views – can tell us how many people saw our ads. Is available with video creatives.
Facebook likes / Instagram Follows – write down the number of users following your page and see if after the brand awareness campaign how much did the number increase.
Traffic to your website – did the organic and direct traffic increase. This can be connected to your brand awareness campaign.
I presented a lot of different aspects of brand awareness campaigns, and I feel there is only one more thing to say. Test and learn. Every brand is different, every creative can have different results depending on the targeting. It is important to test your strategy, learn from it and optimize. The only one you should compare yourself to is yourself from yesterday.
Ideate, plan, execute, report, optimize.
This is the strategy of winning brands, make it your strategy!