Introducing Google Analytics 4

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.

Brand Awareness campaigns on Facebook – 7 things you need to know

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:

  1. User who visited your website
  2. Users who engaged with your page
  1. Users who engaged with your instagram profile
  1. Customer list

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.

  1. Who is your audience? Demographics like age, gender.
  2. Where are they located?
  3. What are their interests?
  4. What tone will they understand? Formal or informal?
  5. What devices are they using ? Desktop or mobile and what brand?
  6. 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.

Let’s start with best practices recommended by the social platform

  • 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.
  • Avoid too much image textremember the 20% rule
  • 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
On the left an ad from Miles & Louie with 1 focal point, on the right an ad from Paese Romania, without one focal point.
  • Brand link : How easy is it to identify the advertiser?
Razer and Tommy Hilfiger both use specific colors in their ads in order for the client to easily 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?
I wanted to use these ads from Bose to illustrate brand personality and informational reward. Both of these points come into play with the presented creatives.

  • Emotional reward : The ad appeals to you emotionally
  • Noticeability : While browsing online, this image would grab your attention
Another example from the headphone market. This time Jabra grabs our attention from the first frame and give us an emotional connection to the people working out. We can feel that what they do is difficult but Jabra is their product of choice.
  • 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:

  1. Objective is important. Direct-response advertisers achieved higher call to action while brand-focused advertisers scored higher on brand link, emotional reward and noticeability. 
  2. 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:

  1. Say what you are about – what are your values, what makes you unique
  2. Show how you impact your clients life – how our product can change your life
  3. Provide social proof or use clients testimonials – use user generated content to prove your product works
  4. Entertain the audience – become something memorable
  5. Be emotional – establish a connection with your audience
  6. 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.

You can read more about measuring on facebook here.

The secret of successful campaigns

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!

I became a full-stack developer* – an honest review of Cinta Roja from devf.la

*kind of, more like full-stackish heading in the right direction 🦄

I have always wanted to polish my coding skills and the Coronavirus quarantine has finally made is possible. My plan was to use these few months to participate in a coding camp, but one that will allow me to continue working for my agency. It has been a challenge, but we in the end I have completed the course, deployed my final project and made a few friends along the way. Since I haven’t found anything about my bootcamp online online I would like to share my thoughts.

Since I am in Mexico I was looking around for a local bootcamp that could work for my timezone. I was considering Le Wagon, Ironhack and DevF.

  • Le Wagon – I have a few friends that completed this course but what I didn’t like is that it focused on Ruby on Rails. I didn’t have any experience with Ruby so I didn’t want to start completely from scratch.
  • Ironhack – the program looked great, but at the moment I couldn’t decide if I will be able to dedicate 24 weeks to finish the part time developer course. The 9am-5pm wasn’t an option with a full-time job.
  • DevF – is a local coding camp focused on Latin America. It is smaller than the two previous ones and has a different structure that you can take in parts.
    • Intro to HTML – White belt (cinta blanca),
    • Javascript, Node and React – Red Belt (cinta roja)
    • Backend with Node – Black belt – (Cinta Negtra)

I selected DevF, because they have a course divided in parts, each one needing aprox. 60h. You need at least 3 hours per day and the additional work you will put into understanding everything. I knew HTML,CSS and Javascript and wanted to advance my skills, so I selected Cinta Roja – Red Belt.

Course Overview

A screenshot of one of our classes

To start of, please note that the course was Remote and in Spanish. Which is great, because the participants were everywhere – Spain, Colombia, Mexico and probably more.

The course consists of 4 weeks of classes from 7pm to 10pm where the teacher – a sensei – covers our curriculum. The topics for my course include:

  • 1. Introduction to JS
    • Objects, Inheritance, Scope, Async, ES6
  • 2. Node functional programming
    • Node Intro, Callbacks, Promises, Petitions
  • 3.React.js
    • Intro, useState, Hooks, Props, Axios

The structure of the course was fine, in particular if we had 3 weeks of course and 1 week to prepare the final project. What I didn’t like was the pace. We were focused a lot of Basic JS for the whole first week and a part of the second week, then we focused on callback functions and the react.js was done in 3 days. This is something the DevF definitely needs to improve. In my opinion there are two reasons for this:

  • Students of varying levels – a few people were slowing the group down
  • Live coding homework – sometimes even half of the course was dedicated to resolving homework. I feel that this could be done in 30 minutes every day, and it didn’t need 1,5h each time.

Teacher – Sensei

Our teacher which is called a sensei at DeF was Hiromi. I really enjoyed her classes and explanations, so I can only say positive things 👌. I often asked her some tough questions after business-hours and she always replied. Apart of being our teacher, she was also working full time, so once or twice when I had a question she replied after I have resolved the issue but that was not such a big problem and I still appreciate her help. 👏

We also had consultation hours which were held before our classes. Where you ask the sensei about your problems. which is a plus.

Final Project

During the last week of the four-week course you are supposed to work on your project. The groups are decided by the participants or the teacher helped. For me, this was the most anticipated part. I felt that we rushed through react.js, but I still felt capable of delivery a ready project with some help from me.

I have a long list of ideas which I want to create, so the first step was to gather the team and convince them, that my idea is feasible and interesting.

The big idea was to create a new standard for Job Boards. There is a growing trend to create niche job boards that are visually appealing and focused on a particular market. The initial though was to create a Job Board aimed on Latin America for Developers and/or Remote developers. During further discussion and search for the correct API we decided that we would not focus on Latin America but on the whole world, as we had easy access to github jobs API. This was our starting point.

I used my Project Management experience to divide the project into kanban-style sections on Asana. This way everybody could work on their part without conflicts due to time-zone differences.

Our Project Divided with a Kanban style board

Since I also do UX I offered to prepare an initial figma hi-fi wireframe.

Our Figma Wireframe

We divided our project and my part was:

  • Managing Asana
  • Wireframing in Figma
  • Styling Navigation
  • Styling Hero Section
  • Connecting with Firebase
  • Creating a form to submit to FireBase
  • Getting results from Firebase and displaying them on the main page

Below you can also see our tech-stack:

Our project went really well, we didn’t deliver every feature we wanted but still can be used as an MVP.

The most important part for me was to practice my skills and enjoy my work, which was a complete success ! 😎

Our final project is called RemoteUnicorns and is focused on devs finding remote jobs.

The project is also online and you can view it here https://remoteunicorns.dev/

Overal DevF experinece and structure

Here I would like to write a bit about the additional features, structure and experience I had with the bootcamp in general, not my group.

First of all, when you join the course you are invited to the Slack workspace with all the students from the previous batches. To be fair, the slack community is mostly silent on the general channels. I don’t know how other groups communicate but our group channel was also mostly dead. At the beginning we tried to share links etc. but it was use mostly to do PSA. This is something to be improved, especially if we are in the new Remote era. the community experience would be a lot better if the channels were a bit more alive.

As I said, my course was remote, which for me is fantastic. We had the slack, our classes were held on Zoom, and we had access to view the classes the next day if you weren’t present. This affected the numbers of people attending the evening sessions, as some part of them were only viewing the recordings. This is still not a problem, I often did the same, because I had urgent project for work.

During our course there was also hosted an event called “hacketoncito” which is a remote express hackaton-type event that lasts 3h, where we try to develop an idea and put some structure to it. We were randomly divided into groups, that tackled a problem given to the whole community. Our topic was “mental health”. In the end we had 1.5h for project development and then we had presentations. Our group prepared a very feasible SaaS solution and the presentation also went well. Overall, this was an amazing experience, one that I will definitely repeat. It would be also great there are any scoring here, as in the end projects varied a lot.

Should you attend a remote coding bootcamp?

As a self-thought programmer, the experience helped me a lot. There were parts missing from my knowledge and finally having a structure approach to learning helped to even it out. Also the opportunity to talk to other coders was necessary for me to advance my skills. I met great people, structured my knowledge and improved my understanding of code. The final project was also my first build from scratch.So, in the end lot of positives!

The course and additional content probably took me 60-80h in total but I now feel confident in JS and also have a basic knowledge or react.js. Now my plan is to deepen my knowledge and start building project.s

Are there things to improve in the course structure and the coding school in general? Yes. Would I still recommend it? Also yes. I profited greatly from the knowledge, community and program. If you ever have a possibility to do a coding bootcamp I definitely recommend it.

The Only Guide to User Acquisition Funnels You Will Ever Need

In this guide, I will be talking about user acquisition funnels. The most common thing for a new client to ask me is, to create a digital marketing campaign. This is perfect if we are trying to put the campaigns inside the current strategy, however a lot of businesses are focused on campaigns not long term goals. What I advise is to first of all create a strategic approach to digital marketing building and build a sustainable acquisition channel. Funnels as they are often called in the digital marketing world are another name for User Acquisition Channels. Since I had a client ask me to design their strategy, I wanted to use this opportunity to explain the big picture behind funnels.

The first thing, what we need to understand is what makes a funnel. When we talk about a funnel, we are talking about a user acquisition framework. Frameworks are really popular in the business world and marketing in particular. We use this approach to describe complex ideas and put them in simpler terms. We deconstruct the big picture and put it into steps or elements, that could be understood by people not working with this topic on a daily basis. This is key aspect of funnels – simplification. We use frameworks to simplify complex models and try to put them into a structure guide / roadmap for others to follow. 

The next step is understanding funnels, which are a type of user acquisition framework. By a funnel we understand a shape that is wider at the entrance and narrower at the bottom. What we want to explain is that a lot more users enter, than convert. Depending on your business, we can see ecommerce shops with 0.5% conversion rate, but there are also other ecommerce businesses that have 5% conversion rate. The funny thing is, both businesses can be happy with their conversion rate, it really depends on the business model. For example if you’re selling very expensive and niche products, it could be 0.5%, but if you’re selling mass market product you have 5% conversion rate. There are a lot of different factors that you need to consider. When talking about high and low conversion rates. So to emphasize, we need a broad base of users that enter our funnel, and only a portion of them will come out the other end and make a purchase. There are no established proportions on the amount but based on my knowledge and experience I could be venturing educated guesses on the efficiency of your digital marketing strategy. If you would like to talk more please contact me via the contact page.

Prospecting-Remarketing funnel

Now let’s go into the types of funnels that we will be discussing.The initial and most basic one is the Prospecting-Remarketing funnel.When you start a digital campaign, you can divide the traffic into two parts. The first part would be the prospecting campaign and the second part would be the remarketing campaign. 

What happens here is this is the simplest approach. And if you are just starting with funnels and you’re just starting to divide the type of traffic that you’re trying to acquire, 

At the beginning, we need to have prospecting, so we need to acquire new customers that don’t know our brands.In this particular setup, what we do is we exclude people who already interacted with our website or facebook page. We target our Fresh users (users, who didn’t interact with our brand) and in the second step. we remarket those people who have interacted with our website and we try to make them convert. This is the digital marketing one-two. 

When I do consulting, in particular for small businesses, this is what they forget. They spend money on acquiring new customers, forgetting to use the audience that they have already acquired. The Remarketing group is usually a lot more effective in terms of Cost per acquisition, but it is a finite group. Which means if we have a 1000 users in this audience, and 10% will buy, it’s extremely possible that they won’t buy again if your product is not a repeat purchase. To make this work, we need to have a steady influx of new users from the prospecting campaign to make them convert.

Cold-Warm-Hot Funnel

Okay, so the next funnel is a very popular funnel that’s talked about a lot on YouTube &LinkedIn. It’s the cold, warm and hot funnel. The principles of all the funnels I present are the same. We need to have fresh users that enter, we do some remarketing, and then they convert – simple yet effective 🙂 !

In this funnel, we try to acquire. customers that are cold. Cold means they don’t know our brand. They don’t know our product. And they don’t really know what our brand is about. We try to reach them, we try to show our brands, we try to show our product, and they become a bit warmer towards us.  Warmer means that they have some knowledge of what we are about. This means they might have visited our website, they might have clicked the ad, they might have viewed a video, and they can recognize us. 

The second step, is we try to get them even warmer to the HOT stage. Now the users are aware of who we are, they might be aware of our products, they might be aware of similar products in our category, so they’re not completely cold. They might even need a product like ours! This is half of the job already done.This type of audience is the best to try to convert. 

Now let’s talk about the HOT audience.  These are user, who are the most engaged users on your website, closest to the purchase. This could be people for example who:

  • added to cart, 
  • Previously have made a purchase
  • Cart Abandoners
  • Newsletter subscribers

This funnel is sometimes also referred to as Top-Middle-Bottom funnel

So cold are the people who don’t know your brand. Warm are the people who already have some kind of knowledge and hot are the people who are most likely to convert or have already converted. 

AIDA or Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action funnel

Here is another funnel so you might have already heard about AIDA – awareness, interest, decision and action. Compared to the previous funnel there is an additional funnel with an additional step which is building interest. 

The building blocks are the same. At the beginning, in the first step, we need to build awareness reaching a broad user base. Using affinity/interest/behaviour and even demographic characteristics in targeting.

The second step is building interest. We have users, who are acquainted with our brand, and now we want to make the interested in our products. In e-commerce terms this could be bringing traffic to the Product page.

The third step is Decision. We try to select the users who are more engaged and we could be remarketing to them with messaging saying a limited amount of products are left. This is one of the techniques that work best. Giving the user some sense of urgency.

The final step is the Action. This means we want the user to convert. These would be people who added to cart or abandoned checkout. They are the closest to making a purchase. Now if we really want to make the purchase I recommend giving some other incentive for example 10% discount. Of course, this depends on your business model but I recommend considering this possibility.

  1. To sum up, there are users who are not aware, and our goal here is to let them know of your existence. 
  2. In the second step, we want to make them consider our product, go on the product page.
  3. In the third step, we make users want to convert. We want to influence their decision either by incentives or building more trust, showing more features of our products.
  4. In the final step, we go all out in terms of convincing to convert. We try to building pressure on the user to buy, or show them persuasive messaging that helps with the decision.

See, Think, Do, Care 

The last one is the See, Think, Do, Care methodology developed by Google.Full disclosure this funnel was made and used by Google to present their advertising tools, however I feel it it the most efficient funnel, and I would definitely recommend it to more mature businesses.

In the first step – See –  we built our brand awareness. Our brand needs to be seen. This could be a Facebook reach campaign or Google Display Network campaign using affinity targeting or demographic targeting. We want to get out there and get people aware. 

Then we have the Think phase, where we want to bring users to our website, we want to make them see the product, click the video, go on our website and do something else. We are fishing for consideration and engagement here. This will make it easier for us to reach these users later on.

In the third phase, we help the user make the action. For this kind of audience, I like to give some kind of additional messaging urgency, maybe some kind of limited offer, and make it easier for them to make the purchase. 

In the fourth phase, what happens is we care about our users. By caring we mean, user activation and retention in case of SaaS businesses or by letting them know about ongoing promotions, customer care programs in case of e-commerce shops. 

We want to be there for our users and interact with them. We already paid for their acquisition and made them buy. Now we need to use this core user base and build a relationship with the brand. 

In my opinion this is the best funnel out of all of them. This is how you should be segmenting your audiences, because you need to have some kind of brand awareness, some kind of consideration, some kind of digital activities aimed on conversions and some kind of post-sales program.

Using user acquisition funnels to plan digital marketing strategy

Now, I would like to show you how to use these funnels when planning your digital marketing strategy. When we talk about strategy we can talk about Budget, Channels, Targeting and Ad Format. We will skip Ad Formats and mostly focus on Budgets and channels.

How To Plan Strategy Using Prospecting-Remarketing Funnel

First of all we go with the most basic funnel, which is the prospecting and remarketing funnel. 

We need to start with the prospecting phase where you really need to spend more money that on remarketing. Here you should start planning from the bottom. How many users do you currently have? How many Past buyers? If you know this you can plan how often you want to reach them and show them your ads. With this in mind you can allocate the budget to remarketing and everything else spent on prospecting campaigns. In this example we put 20% of the budget on remarketing and 80% on prospecting. The proportions seem reasonable for smaller brands. 

In terms of digital marketing channels and targeting this could be anything from Google Display Network in-market to affinity targeting. On Facebook reach or brand awareness campaigns targeting – something that gets you out there. Prospecting can be in the form of Instastories on instagram which in my opinion are really effective. I know that for some brands that I work with, it works really well.

And then in the second phase we do remarketing. This could be normal GDN remarketing, Facebook remarketing or Dynamic Remarketing, Dynamic Content Remarketing or even email marketing. 

How To Plan Strategy Using COLD-WARM-HOT Funnel

The next one I want to focus on is the Cold, Warm and Hot audience. 

As mentioned before in the COLD phase you target users who don’t know your brand. So this could be a YouTube campaign for a custom intent audience. This could also be Facebook or Instagram reach campaigns. There’s a lot of different types of targeting that you can be using. What’s very important here is to try to exclude your current users. Even if you are using for example, Lookalike audiences (which could also be a cold audience) you have to exclude your current user base – all website users.  In this phase you need to spend an estimated 70% of your budget.

Then in the WARM face you target users who might have heard about your brand or who might have interacted with your website. We are even talking about GDN in-market audiences as they include people wanting to buy a product. On Facebook, this could be a campaign optimized for conversion or traffic. We are also talking about remarketing to users who visited your website but didn’t view the product.

In the HOT phase you are reaching the users who are the closest to convert or, or people who are the converted. I mean cart abandoners, people who added to cart, or people who already made a purchase previously. 

A very good practice – just just on the side notep-  is to start creating audiences from the beginning. The earlier you start to create them the better for you in the future. Some recommended audiences would be:

  • Cart abandoners
  • Past Buyers
  • Added To Cart
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Product Detail Page Viewers

Please also remember you  should start planning from the bottom. So depending on the number of users that you have in the HOT audience, you need to plan the budget for the previous phases.

How To Plan Strategy Using See Think Care Do Funnel

So now the last funnel, and with this one let’s try planning from the bottom-up. We are an e-commerce store selling custom made wall prints. We have 1000 past buyers in our database and would like to build a relationship with them.

  • Care – we decide we need to want to reach users 30 days after their purchase with a cross-selling campaign. We want to show them similar products to those which they have already bought. Also as a part of our strategy we decide to send monthly newsletter to inspire and inform our customers about our promotions and new arrivals. After careful calculations we estimate we need 10% of our budget to achieve this.
  • Do – We check the list of people who added to cart but did not convert and list of cart abandoners. We want to only reach people within 7 days from their last meaningful event as from our attribution data we see people usually buy within 3 days from their last visit. Checking the CPM and CPC we decide we need 10% of our budget to achieve this.
  • Think – as we have 80% of the budget left we check the number of Product Viewers, all visitors and look at the user drop-off analysis. Based on the percentages we decide that we need at least 20% of budget to make people interact with our website and make them more interested in our products.
  • See – we check how much money is left. If we reasonably can allocate it we will because even if it will not bring us direct purchases  it can bring us newsletter subscribers, likes on FB or followers on Instagram. Every user like this can be a purchaser in the future. We plan our channels and targeting to reach the most valuable users. For this step we allocate 60% of the budget.

Final Words

I hope this article clears up a lot of misconceptions and doubts you might have when planning your digital strategy. I focused mostly on paid channels but you can include SEO, Influencer marketing and others. The most important thing is to have a plan and stick to it. You should never forget about remarketing, but on the other hand remarketing cannot function without prospecting. This relationship between the phases can change and the budget allocation can be different from month to month. At the end, the only thing that matters are the buyers.

Now, take a minute and think about your marketing efforts. Do we spend all our money only on acquisition? If, if the answer is yes, then you’re doing it wrong.  

Don’t be a stranger, my name is Chris and you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Ultimate Guide to Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics

An often overlooked part of Google analytics setup is configuring the on site search. This feature can give you a lot of insight into your users behavior and help you and improve your website.  In this article we will cover the setup and common configuration issues of on-site search for Google analytics and Google tag manager.  

Why is Site Search important?

Let me highlight the benefits::

  • Site Search will give you insights into how users interact with your page
  • It will help you understand the queries users input
  • It will help you optimize your user journey for intent
  • Site search users are incredibly valuable because of:
    • Higher Conversion Rate
    • Lower Bounce Rate
    • Higher Session Duration

Before we begin

Before starting this tutorial please make sure that:

1. You have GTM placed on your website
2. You have admin access to Google Analytics
3. You did a search on your website and there is a query parameter in the URL for example “example.com/?q=” (write down the URL for late use)

If you got 3x YES, lets begin!

Configuring Site Search

The process to configure site search is really simple

1. Enter analytics.google.com

2. Enter into View Setting 

3. Go to Site Search Settings, set Site Search Tracking to ON.

4. Add a parameter from your search results. The most often parameter is q or s

5. Save changes and you are ready.

Striping Query Parameters from URL

The recommended option is to set this to yes. In practice this means that Google Analytics will exclude or strip the search parameter from load sent to GA. You can notice the difference on the screenshot below. Not stripting the query parameter causes the creation of a lot of additional sites in the Site Content Report.

Site Search Category Setting in Google Analytics

Enabling this setting can bring you a lot of value. First of all you can find out how users interact with the search results. You can notice if they entered into one category and then changed the scope. This can help you with displaying the most relevant results. 

In the image below you can see how the category can be noticed in search results.

Why is Tracking Empty Search Results with Site Search Important?

There are a number of different queries that users input and get into a deadend. For example using alternative popular names of products or synonyms. For example from Bucherer.com when entered “hulk” which is an alternative name for the ROLEX SUBMARINER 116610LV. 

When performing this search on Google we get a lot of results, but then when doing a search on the watch’s reseller website we can notice no results appear. For every e-commerce manager this could be additional information to map those keywords to products. Of course, in our case it is completely possible that the brand does not want to appear on this keyword but the example stands.

What areEmpty Search Results and why tracking them is important?

Empty search results also known as zero-results or null results, are an important part of the whole setup. This kind of result is a deadend, that often makes the user leave the website and never come back. This is the first point, we have to make sure this does not happen. Secondly, we should ask ourselves, what we should show the user when we don’t carry the items he’s seeking? We can use this to show him for example related articles

If you identify the search terms that bring your users to a deadend, you can optimize for this and propose them a different path. For example by showing products in promotion, related products, bestsellers and so on.

How to Track Empty Search Results with Google Analytics

To track empty search results, we need to set up an event with Google Tag Manager that will notify us if a user performs an empty search. This section is based upon this post and covers WordPress setup but you can apply it to any website with the same principles.

Empty search results tracking with Google Analytics tutorial

  1. Enter a query that has no results

1. Copy the CSS path that will inform us if there are any results. Right click the ‘Nothing found’ text and go to ‘inspect’. Ensuite select the element’s CSS path.

2. Open the Google Tag Manager panel -> Variables -> at the bottom click ‘New’ -> DOM element. Use the CSS selector method and paste the CSS path you just copied. Please remember about the proper naming of the variable ‘DOM – searchResults’

3. Save and close. Add another Variable and use Lookup Table with a name ‘LT – searchResults’. As the input variable selects our DOM – searchResults and in the input put ‘Nothing found’, the output should be set to ‘no results’. Please also remember to set the default value to ‘with results’. The aim of this is to check if our variable ‘DOM – searchResults’ displays a ‘nothing found’ text. If the text does not exist it means we got search results.

4. Add the third variable that will be used to find the query the user has input. Click “New” variable and use URL->query Component Type. Please input your search variable in our case it equals ‘s’.

5. Next we need to trigger the whole setup. Go to Triggers-> New. Select ‘Page view’ and add a condition Page URL contains “/?s=”

6. Putting it all together. Add a new Tag -> Universal Analytics -> Type ‘Event’
  1. Category = Search
  2. Action = {{LT – searchResults}}
  3. Label = {{URL – searchQuery}}

7. You are all done. Now test this in the GTM preview mode and if you followed correctly you will have 3 variables active and a Google Analytics search event triggered.

Analyzing Search Results with Product List Performance Report

This option is only available for platforms with Enhanced Ecommerce set up. The product List Performance Report Lets you check what product appeared on the search results page, what was their position, Impressions, Click, CTR. It gives you a lot of data to analyze and optimize. You can test this using the Google Merchandise Store:

The Product List Report can be accessed in Analytics by going to Conversions -> E-commerce -> Product List Performance -> Search Results (or the name of your product list)

To be completely honest I recommend modifying the list name to reflect a specific query this means “Search Results – {{Search Query}}”. With this setup you will be able to see what specific product appears on the search results page and in what order. This can also help you optimize their performance by changing product positions, eliminating irrelevant products, adding missing products. There are a slew of optimizations available. Here is the example of Product List Position

Product List Performance Use Case Example

Let’s assume we are the e-commerce managers for Google’s Merchandise Store and we have a lot of stock for our Google Color Block Notebook. We need to sell this as there is a new edition coming.

When analyzing our search results we noticed that when a user types “notebook” the Google Color Block Notebook is on the 13th position. We would like to make this notebook appear in the first row to give it more consideration. We ask our dev to manually change the order of the results for all notebook related queries so our Notebook Appears First. This way we can help our stock levels. Here you can see the results for each position of the Google Merchandise Store, and you can notice that position number one has the highest Click Through Rate.

Google Analytics Site Search Metrics Explained

Now we are going to explain all the most important metrics.

  1. Search Term – The search term used by the user and entered into the search field
  2. Total Unique Searches – The number of times people searched your site. Duplicate searches within a single visit are excluded.
  3. Results Pageviews / Search – Results Pageviews/Search is the average number of times visitors viewed a search results page after performing a search.
  4. % Search Exits  – How many exits from your site occurred following a result from an internal search.
    1. 💡 How to use this : When you find a search term with a Unique Search volume but High % of Exits you can optimize this result to include more relevant products.
  5. % Search Refinements – The percentage of times a user enters an initial keyword but then changes it within the same session. For example if a user searches for a ‘shirt’, and then for a ‘blue shirt’ this is a search refinement. It is neither a good or bad metric but should be monitored and properly interpreted. If we see a lot of broad terms that are refined we might consider adding some suggestions in the search box that help the users with the initial search.
  6. Time after Search – The time a visitor spends on your site after getting to the search results page.
  7. Avg. Search Depth – The number of pages visitors viewed after getting results for the search term.
  8. Start Page – The page where the user enters the search query.
    1. 💡How to use this : Please use this report to find pages with the highest number of searches performed. This will help you optimize your website for user intent.
  9. Destination Page – The page where the user lands after typing the search query. If you exclude the search parameter it is quite possible 
  10. Search Destination Page – Where the user goes after performing the query. 

Google Analytics Site Search Without Query Parameter

If you are using a non-standard or custom CMS it is possible that you don’t have the query parameter in the URL. In this case, it takes a few more steps to configure Google Analytics Site Search. The easiest way is to ask your developer to include the search term in a query parameter. If this is not possible please follow these instructions

Search included in the URL without query

In this case, you should add a filter to your Google Analytics View. The filter will extract the search term from the URL and add it as a search term.

This needs to be adapted to your specific setup but here is the step-by-step.

  1. Open Google Analytics Admin, go to View Settings and open filters.
  2. Add a filter with these parameters:
    1. Filter Name: Search Terms
    2. Filter Type: Custom->Advanced
    3. Field A -> Extract A: Request URI : (?<=search\/)(.*)
    4. Output To -> Constructor: Search Term : $A1

Getting insights from site search

Thanks to the setup above we have the data we need to get insights and improve our website. Now I will go through several cases to use this data.

Remember, analyzing data starts with a question.

However, in analytics this question often opens up many more, for which we strive to find answers. The second thing you must focus on is that you should not report raw data, present data with context, draw insights and give recommendations.

Why should we care that users search for “gloves” ? We should care with additional context. The searches for gloves are 50% of all searches , the winter season is coming, our glove stock is running low and the conversion rate is very low.

  1. Empty search results tracking
    • refine your product range – If you see people search for a particular item, but you don’t carry it. It might be a good idea to include it.
    • map users search terms – we all use colloquial language and not always the things we search are the things we want. With the list of empty search terms you can map new keywords to products you have in stock.
    • refine your messaging – you might be misleading your users with the messaging on your website. Users think you sell something, you actually don’t. After analyzing the search results you can identify these points
  2. Search Results
    • Search usage – Users with site search usage have higher conversion rate. Is this true for your website? If not maybe there is something incorrect with your search.
    • Search usage – I have seen this value range from 0.02% to 30% for e-commerce stores. See what’s the value for you. If the conversion rate for users who use search is high, can you increase the percentage of users who use site search?
    • Search Usage Trends – You did not do any changes on the website but the % users who use search increases. What is the reason for this? Is there a particular search that is increasing in volume?
    • Search Usage by Device type/system/model – Is there any particular device that has more searches than other? We should investigate
    • Search terms report – see what are the users searching for and optimize your website for it. Do you have all the items? Do you need more stock of a particular product? Is the search volume for it increasing?
    • Start page – We need to know where users start their journey. Is there any particular page that stands out? Check it out and look out for issues
    • Start page->search term – we saw where users start the journey, what are they looking for? If they are looking for something specific, maybe we can add this to the page.
    • Product list performance – What products appear on a particular search query? Are they correct?
    • Product list performance / device – is the performance by device different? Maybe there are any website issues that influence conversions.

I hope that this initial list will help you understand your users more and ask the correct questions.

Google Analytics site search not working –
common issues and solutions

Google Analytics not showing search queries

The problem is probably you don’t have site search enabled. To enable site search follow the instructions on in the Configuring Site Search Section

Google Analytics not showing search queries, but site search is configured.

It is possible you configured search incorrectly. In the query field of the configuration you only need to input the query word without any additional points. It should say ‘s’, not ‘?s=’.

Any additional questions?

Leave a comment if you have other problems I will try to figure it out 🙂

9 Key Elements to Build Trust on Landing Pages

The most important thing when creating Landing Pages is to build trust, especially if you are targeting fresh traffic users or doing prospecting campaigns. You need to give the user confidence that you are a legitimate business and that you can be trusted. 

I want to present nine of the most important elements in my opinion when building trust on your Landing Pages. 

  • SSL Certificate
  • Reviews
  • Badges
  • Contact Information
  • Show Your Product
  • Social Proof
  • Be Clear
  • No Grammar Mistakes
  • Professional Design
  1. SSL Certificate –  it basically means that the connection between the user’s computer and the server is secure. There are a lot of SSL certificates around and you don’t have to be a tech savvy guy to install a SSL Certificate on your website. This is something really easy to do and it builds a lot of trust. In particular, now when Chrome notifies the user  “Do you really want to go to this website? Because this website is insecure” .SSL Certificate on your Landing Page is really important.
  2. Include Reviews –  The next one is from VWO where  they included a review  from Brandon and it gives me trust because I know that Brandon is a Director in Warner Music Group. I have his name, I have his position, I see his face. This builds trust because his personality can resonate with the users – I have a similar position should I be using their product? You also don’t have to put a lot of reviews. One is enough, two are fine, three is getting excessive, four you overdid it!
  3. Badges  – This is the easiest one here. You can include badges of your partners, clients,the technology you use. When designing your landing page try to include them above the fold. It’s a device-agnostic feature. Try to position it similarly on both devices.  happens if you include the badge or the company like Siemens. I had a Siemens phone in2004, so I know and trust this brand. So now I have this trustable brand and this trust resonance with the company that uses the logo. A very easy example here is using Mastercard, PayPal, Visa logos if you are using them for payment, this is something that basically everyone can use. And there’s a lot of examples of other badges that you can use on your Landing Page. 
  4. Contact Information – If I arrive at Landing Page of a company that doesn’t put where it is from I’m not very sure if I want to trust them. However, if they add info in the footer “our headquarters are Berlin” and there is a specific street and a phone number I can definitely trust them. 
  5. Show how your product works – show the user that the product is ready to use and, how can they use it. I try to use videos instead of just text because videos are a lot more interactive. Users can just jump from here to there and see the parts they want and at the same time, we educate them about our product.
  6. Social proof – means that other users tested your product and are happy with it, This is from Zoho mail. So showed the star ratings of the App on different websites. They confirm there’s a lot of users who already use this App and that they are happy with it.. You can also use Facebook likes, Instagram followers, for example, if we have 10,000 Instagram followers, 10,000 paying customers or 10,000 satisfied customers or any other number that is significant to your business.
  7. Be clear – I also mentioned to be clear.  First of all focus only on one specific action on a Landing Page. Don’t ask for email, and at the same time invite the user to test your tool or buy it. It just creates confusion. Just be clear – If you want the e-mail just ask for the email, if You want a phone number, just ask fora phone. Clarity builds trust.
  8. No Grammar Mistakes – I remember landing pages with grammar mistakes from a client of mine. The first time I read through the page I noticed the error it really confused me, so if I saw this, anyone else could see this too. When a user that does not know our brand enters and sees grammar mistakes this torpedoes the trust we build with all other elements. If you are bad with grammar, find a copywriter to do it for you. This is crucial to building trust. Don’t forget to also always check your landing pages with a native speaker before going live.
  9. Professional Design – when you arrive on the website and the images are not aligned, the texts use five different fonts and it just seems esthetically uneven you can get doubts about trusting this company. Currently, there are TONS of good Landing Page builders with pre-made templates that you can use and just customize. This is the way you should do this if you don’t have a graphic designer. Use ready templates and customize them. Sometimes you will need to make compromises on the design part but it will save you a lot of money.

To summarize, we have nine key elements to building trust on Landing Pages. Some are more important than others but in general, try to use at least five on your website. This will help you build trust and will increase your profits. 

Landing Page Review #LPR

Now we are going to a quick overview of four landing pages to see which ones are using trust elements. The best way to find inspiration for well-designed Landing Pages is highly competitive SaaS niches. In my particular case, I selected the “Landing Page Creator industry” and reviewed wix.com, Unbounce.com, mailchimp.com. I encourage your to watch the video where I go into more detail.

Wix.com – Landing Page Review

What’s there:

  • SSL Certificate
  • Professional Design
  • Be clear
  • No Grammar Mistakes

On this landing page, WIX uses a few trust elements, which in my opinion are not enough to build sufficient trust for a new user to convert. I definitely see a lot of options to improve here.

Unbounce – Landing Page Review

What’s there:

  • SSL Certificate
  • Professional Design
  • Badges
  • Review
  • Show your product
  • No Grammar Mistakes

We see Unbounce use six out of nine Trust elements I mentioned and I definitely think they are doing the correct thing. There are a few points to improve, like for example add a heading to the badges saying “These agencies trust Unbounce”. A next point to potentially improve are social proof elements like number of clients they have, the number of successful Landing Pages created this year or similar. There are a lot of possibilities here to do this. Another thing are the confusing buttons that distract the user. I recommend keeping it as simple as possible and sticking to one call to action.

Mailchimp – Landing Page Review

What’s there:

  • SSL Certificate
  • Professional Design
  • Review
  • No Grammar Mistakes
  • Contact Information

Mailchimp had enough trust elements to convince a new user they are a legitimate brand. I like including a video review to strengthen the message, they also have a clear Call to Action but at the same time there are so many issues with this page that I think it is very difficult for fresh traffic users to convert. This means the navigation is distracting with some many link to other sections, then they don’t really focus on one call to action but redirect the user to other sections of their website. They also cover additional functions that might not be so important to New users. In the end, they try to sell more than just a landing page builder which is possibly more that a client wants. I would definitely want to test a simpler version of this landing page to see the results when we eliminate the distractions.

VWO – Landing Page Review

What’s there:

  • SSL Certificate
  • Professional Design
  • Review
  • Badges
  • Show your product
  • Social Proof
  • No Grammar Mistakes
  • Be Clear

This is a landing page from a different industry but I wanted to include one landing Page that includes trust elements in an exceptional way. 

On the first screen when we enter the page we already have a Review/Social proof showing us the results someone has with their tool, next we see how their product work with detailed features and images. 

Below there is a review from a customer. Please try to include a photo, position, and company because it builds more trust when we can see a person and not just a random quote from a person working at a company we don’t know. If the position is relevant it even builds more trust because the user reading the review can relate.

Below are the badges from companies that use their tool. And as mentioned previously the more known the brand the better but even if we don’t know the brand we can just include a logo and say what the brand does. For Example:

Screenshot from https://try.appointmentplus.com/appointment-scheduling-software

Below we have social proof elements saying the number of experiments carried out in 2018. I like this but it definitely should be updated for 2020 – 2018 seems like ages ago!

The one thing that definitely could be improved here is including some form of contact information in the footer saying where the headquarters are. This could also build additional trust. 

Summary

In the beginning, we went over trust elements, then we did a quick landing page review and saw which trust elements companies use in real life. The aim of this article is not to critique companies but to show you the different possibilities there are currently to build trust on landing pages with even an unknown product. I hope that in the future you will pay more attention to including trust elements on your website.

Share this article with your team and they will thank you the next time you need to work with a client’s Landing Page.