Interpreting Web Analytics for Actionable Data-Driven Marketing

As marketing has become more data-driven, it’s become gradually easier to gather data, but increasingly more difficult to digest, analyze and interpret all of the data in order to take action. There seems to be an overabundant amount of tools that allow marketers to collect data, many of which are free, like Google Analytics, however, without enough time in the day to analyze and interpret it, the data collected becomes useless and more of a hassle to house than grow your business from.

To help solve this problem, we’ve partnered with GitGrow, a simplified analytics tool that informs data-driven recommendations to improve your site. By accessing your current Google Analytics data and integrating with MixRank, GitGrow saves you the time you would normally spend on interpreting data and determining where to focus your online marketing efforts.

The GitGrow and MixRank integration offers a side-by-side comparison of your organic, paid search and contextual keywords that allows you to visualize the keywords you’re ranking for and paying for across various online marketing channels.

Take a sneak peek at the integration here:

To take advantage of the amazing partnership between GitGrow and MixRank, try GitGrow for free. Along with the MixRank keywords, GitGrow also offers:

  • Automated Summary Reports of Web Analytics: Receive a weekly executive presentation tailored for reporting to business users.
  • Easy to Implement Recommendations: Based on trends in your data, leverage recommendations to improve your website’s overall performance.
  • Customized Out-of-the-Box Benchmarks: Uncover how the performance of your site ranks with comparable companies of your industry.

For a limited time, GitGrow is offering a 30-day free trial. Claim for your free GitGrow account today!

3 Ways To Ramp Up Your Mother’s Day Ad Campaigns Based On Industry Data

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we decided to take a look at our data to reveal some significant insights about the holiday’s online display ads.  MixRank tracks and analyzes millions of display ads on the web.  Based on the data we’ve found, I’ve put together a few recommendations for your current and future Mother’s Day campaigns.

 

1.  Invest in banner ads:  Our data shows that out of 814 advertisers who run display campaigns for Mother’s Day, only 35% of them have both contextual and banner ads. Why should you care? If you’re one of the 65% of advertisers who is only running contextual display campaigns, you are missing out on potential market share.  Consider banner ads in the future for any seasonal campaigns.  Banner ads are way more customizable to match your messaging or brand.

 

You can identify the most compelling banner ads targeting any keyword with MixRank Professional. Below are just a few banner ads that have targeted a broad match to “mothers day cards.”  Take a look:

Mothersdaybannerads

2.  Bid Higher on Competitive Keywords: Next up, our intelligent web crawlers have identified what keywords advertisers are targeting via broad match for their display campaigns. If you’re considering making any last minute changes to your existing Mother’s Day campaigns, we’ve uncovered what the most competitive and least competitive keywords are, even showing you the number of ads you are competing against.

 

Most competitive keywords for Mother’s Day ads:

 

Keyword

# of Ads

Mothers day cards

342

Mothers day crafts

301

Mothers day greetings

276

Homemade mothers day gift ideas

273

Mothers day crafts for kids

269 

 

 

Least competitive keywords for Mother’s Day ads:

Keyword

# of Ads

Mothers day gifts

8

Mothers day gift basket

9

Mothers day crafts from kids

10

Mothers day graphics

10

Mothers day clipart

10

 

 

Based on these keywords, our data suggests that the holiday card and greetings industry heavily invested in promoting Mother’s Day cards.  If you’re selling greeting cards, make sure you bid higher on the most competitive keywords before time runs out!

 

3.  Skip the keywords that no one else is bidding on: Follow the industry trends supported by our data.  If you’re one of the few advertisers who are targeting “mothers day gifts,” consider opting out next year.  Why?  Many other advertisers in the industry have chosen not to target this keyword for their display ads, most likely because it is an unprofitable keyword to target.

 

This wraps up just a few insights that you could draw from MixRank’s powerful data.  Interested in seeing similar keyword lists for your industry?  MixRank Enterprise offers these reports among many other customizable data sets.

 

Try MixRank for free.  MixRank’s search engine for ads can help you identify ad trends in your industry, uncover competitors’ ad copy, and pinpoint the most profitable publishers for your product.

 

Thank you for reading!  If you’d like more insight into display advertising trends, add me to your circles on Google+ or follow me on Twitter.

 

 

Cut Your Costs 90% by Scaling Laterally Across Audiences

Say you have a campaign that’s been moderately successful for some time. Your creatives and targeting are relevant to your audience, and you’re getting a steady flow of conversions profitably. But, after some time, your campaign will invariably being to saturate the market. You’ll see conversion rates begin to drop and costs slowly rise, while traffic remains flat. This happens to everyone. Online marketing wouldn’t be much fun if we could just throw up a single successful campaign and sit on our asses collecting checks for the rest of our dats.

How do you scale the campaign up to more traffic and stop the regression to lower profits?

One way might be to expand your ad groups or targeting and find more keywords that will do as well as your existing ad groups.

Finding lateral keywords(keywords that describe the same term in a different way)  has been a well documented and successful strategy, especially in the early days of search marketing, when a marketer armed with a thesaurus and a good imagination could build massive campaigns.

But adding more keywords to a campaign is merely a band-aid, a short term fix that won’t solve the core problem of an audience that has gotten tired of what you’re selling.

I’d like to describe a new strategy that I have used very successfully to grow new campaigns as well as breathe new life into stagnant old ones. I call this strategy scaling to lateral audiences.

Just as lateral keywords are closely semantically related to the original keyword (i.e “meet single women” and “online dating sites”), lateral audiences are closely related based on their core attributes- their fundamental needs, desires, and problems.

In other words, if your product solves a problem for a specific group of people, thinking in terms of laterally related audiences would help you find more people like them, that also have a need for your product.

To illustrate the power of lateral audiences, we’re going to walk through an example using a free MixRank account.

Just to take a random example I made up, let’s pretend we’re a company selling gold coins- a growing industry in this economy. This is a very competitive space with lots of advertisers, so we’re going to have to get creative if we want to take some of their traffic for ourselves.

Google’s Traffic Estimator shows that the keyword “buy gold coins” has a very high average CPC for position 1 of $10.10. To get this data, I set the average CPC in the Traffic Estimator to an absurdly high number like $1000 to make sure I get the absolute highest bid for this keyword.

Let’s find a way to get a similar audience, one who’s interested in buying gold, less expensively. All we have to do to start is initiate a search from the MixRank home page and find a relevant advertiser whose strategies we can study. Let’s just search for our keyword and click on the first suggestion:

Lateral-1

The search results will show us a few ads that are highly relevant to the keyword we searched for. I can already see one lateral audience here- several of the ads say “Buy silver coins”.

It’s important to be mindful of the distinction between keywords and audiences here. Lateral keywords for this theme would be phrases like “buy gold bullion” or “buy gold bars”. In other words, they describe the same product in a different way. “Buy silver coins” describes a different product but targets a lateral audience that has similar fundamental desires- in this case the desire to own precious metal. This desire could further be reduced to a core drive for security, financial stability, greed, etc.

The keyword “buy silver coins” has an average CPC of $4.92. Still high, but a significant improvement in targeting the same audience.

Let’s find out which core desire it is based on the current advertising strategies of the market’s leaders. From the search results page, I’m going to pick what looks to be the current leader in this space, “goldine.com”. I can see more data about them by clicking on that domain in the “Advertiser” column on the far right.

The Advertiser Report for goldine.com will show me their highest performing ads and traffic sources. You can also reach this report simply by typing their domain, “goldline.com” into any search box.

Looking through their text ads, I’m noticing a common phrase that’s consistent across all of their split tests: “Free Investor Kit”:

Lateral-2

They’ve probably tested many different positioning strategies and found that presenting gold as an investment is the strongest appeal. Here’s another lateral niche audience: people who are looking to buy gold as an investment (as opposed to collectors seeking gold for numismatic purposes, etc). Google Traffic Estimator shows that the keyword “invest in gold” has a max CPC of $8.87. This high number is encouraging, because it means that this is a valuable, high converting audience.

$8.87 is a bit rich for us- if we were running a campaign targeting this theme, I would probably see my margins plummet as I get squeezed out by competitors with bigger budgets.

But remember our other, related audience of silver buyers? “buy silver coins” was significantly cheaper than “buy gold coins”, so I would expect this pattern to hold across other, related keywords centered around buying silver.

Indeed, “invest in silver” has a maximum CPC of $3.71, which is a huge 58% discount from the gold keyword, yet targeting an audience that’s closely related to the original keyword, and one we can be reasonably sure will convert just as well, because they’re interested in buying precious metals as an investment.

But let’s keep going and see if we can cut our traffic costs even further using MixRank’s database of millions of ads.

MixRank’s ad search uses sophisticated matching algorithms that go beyond simply looking for the appearance of keywords in ad copy or landing pages and identifies campaigns that are thematically relevant to the query. For a great example of this, let’s search for our new keyword that we derived from the ad copy we saw goldline.com running- “investing in gold”.

Our goal with these searches is to identify keywords and audiences that don’t match our search query exactly, but are somehow related.

There’s one result that jumps out at me immediately.

Lateral-4

Of course! Some people that are interested in investing in gold are part of the small, but lucrative niche audience of people stocking up for an impending economic collapse. The Ron Paul audience, if you will. Analyzing the ads of advertisers like this one will give us great insight into this market. Let’s make the assumption that people anticipating an economic collapse are highly motivated to turn their paper dollars into gold, which we will be happy to sell to them.

The keyword “economic collapse”, which features prominently in these ads, has a suggested max CPC of $1.02, a 90% discount on our original keyword of “buy gold coins”, which cost over $10 a click.

An inexperienced marketer will suggest that “economic collapse” is a bad keyword to target, because it doesn’t show intent and is not a “buying keyword”, so it will not convert as well. But remember, we’re getting this traffic 10 times cheaper!

Let’s say you have a stagnant campaign based around the “buy gold coins” theme that’s barely breaking even. If you target the “economic collapse” keyword, all you have to do is achieve 1/10th your current conversion rate from this audience to get a huge bump in traffic and profits.

“Prepare for impending economic collapse- buy gold!”. The ads practically write themselves.

No thesaurus or keyword tool will tell us that new main keyword, “economic collapse”, is strongly correlated with the keyword we started with, “buy gold coins”. But by using MixRank to pull relevant keywords out of ad copy and searching for thematically relevant ads matching those new keywords, we can quickly identify pockets of opportunity that advertisers without the benefit of this data will miss.

In a later post, I’ll show you how to delve even deeper to identify even less expensive, high converting audiences and leveraging them for a flood of massive traffic. But following the strategy outlined above should be enough to get you started scaling your campaigns across lateral audiences very quickly.

How To Find Long Tail Keywords That Bring Massive Traffic

Let’s talk about long tail keywords. Whether you’re doing SEO for a content site or building out a PPC campaign for an ecommerce site, you’re going to be focused almost exclusively on long tail keywords, because the shorter keywords are either too competitive or too expensive.You need to remember this about long-tail keywords: Getting a little bit of traffic from random long-tail keywords is relatively easy. Getting lots of high-converting traffic from long-tail keywords is hard. Very hard.It’s so hard that Demand Media has built a billion dollar company largely on their ability to find good long-tail keywords, and Yahoo paid a lot of money for Associated Content to try to do the same.Plugging in your main keywords into keyword tools is a losing strategy; You will probably have dozens of competitors using the same keyword tool, targeting the same exact cheaper keywords. Racking your brain for synonyms and misspellings may give you a few golden, uncompetitive, profitable keywords, that will result in 1-2 sales a day, but we’re not really interested in that here at insight.io.We’re interested in rapidly delivering lots of traffic. We don’t want the piddling 10 visits a day from people who can’t spell. We want a server-melting avalanche of traffic that will catapult your business and revenues to a level you never thought possible. And in order to accomplish that, your keywords need to be scalable.

Scalable Long Tail Keywords Lead To Big Profits

Let’s say you’re selling hard drive data recovery software. Here are two hypothetical long tail keywords you might use:download data recovery softwareseagate data recovery softwareLet’s assume for the sake of argument that both keywords are equally competitive, have the same traffic volume, and convert exactly the same. If you could only pick one for a new campaign, which one would you pick? Don’t think it matters? One of these keywords could be 10 times more valuable for your business. What other keywords naturally come to mind first to expand this list further? How about:seagate data recovery softwarehitachi data recovery softwaretoshiba data recovery softwareThe secret is that one of these keywords has a specific and easily varied modifier that can be changed to quickly scale the campaign with equally relevant yet diverse keywords. This means that you can rapidly and easily build out highly relevant ad groups without using keyword tools or worrying about synonyms or misspellings.It took me about 5 seconds to find a list of hard drive manufacturers I can use as the backbone of my campaign structure. This technique isn’t limited to brands or types of products.We can try this for dating(ages):singles over 30singles over 40singles over 50or weight loss( list of food):low fat salad dressinglow fat souplow fat cakeNo matter what you’re advertising, if you start by thinking of a single specific keyword containing an easily varied modifier, it will only take a few minutes to build a campaign that contains only cheap long-tail keywords but still delivers significant traffic volume.This is one of the secrets top marketers use to build multi-million dollar campaigns: start with an easy to modify long tail keyword, and scale.

Startup Marketing Lessons Learned Part 3: Scaling Up To Massive Traffic

I recently had the pleasure of assisting over 150 Hacker News members with marketing their startups. I was surprised to learn that I was giving the same advice over and over again. I’m collecting the most specific, actionable and useful marketing advice for startups in a 3 part series. This is part 3. If you haven’t already, read part 1 and part 2, as this post builds on the advice given in preceding posts.I know what you’re going through, fellow startup founder. You’ve already gotten pretty far with your startup. You’ve already launched, and maybe even developed what you think is a solid, scalable business model. You’ve set up tracking and analytics, optimized your landing pages and customer acquisition funnels, tried some PR, and maybe even set up and AdWords campaign.You’re getting a few signups a day, mainly through word of mouth, but not even close to the amount you’re expecting. AdWords is expensive, your CTR is abnormally low, and you’re not getting very many clicks anyway on your $20/day budget.What you need now is traction, but you’re not sure just how to get traction, for it is fleeting and capricious and lost more easily than gained.But don’t worry, I can help. This post is all about quickly getting traction, customers, and profits. More specifically, it’s about leveraging the vast amounts of traffic available out there into rapid, sustainable growth for your startup.So, after you how do you make the leap from piddling along at a few signups a day to consistent, rapid growth?

Test Lots of Traffic Sources

Any successful business uses multiple customer acquisition channels, constantly adapting to shifting trends in the market . Gabriel Weinberg calls them traction verticals, and he has a pretty good list. But you can go much deeper than that list.Are you advertising on AdWords search?With a little excel skill(or some commonly available tools) it would take almost no effort to export a campaign from AdWords and convert it to AdCenter, which covers Yahoo and Bing. Do that, and you suddenly have as much as 50% more search traffic, probably at much lower cost.And, following my last post, don’t neglect media buys on industry blogs. They’re cheaper and easier than you think, and they can do wonders if you’re trying to reach small, high targeted niche audiences- like customers for your B2B software.

Go Beyond Search and Banners

What about PPV(popup ads) networks like Trafficvance and MediaTraffic? You just enter a list of URLs and keywords, and whenever a member of these networks visits one of your targets, your ad comes up.You pay between $10-$15 per 1000 visits. If, for example, you’re trying to promote an iPhone app, popping up an ad for your app over reviews of competitors’ apps is a very cost-effective and underutilized way to get targeted, engaged prospects.I know you think popup ads are so 90s and don’t work, but the success of these ad networks speaks to the contrary. For certain segments of the population(IE users) they can be effective and unobtrusive without damaging your brand. If toolbar traffic is good enough for Ask.com and Zwinky, it’s good enough for your entertainment/gaming startup too.

Leverage Your SEO Efforts

If you’re already getting conversions from SEO, but you’re struggling to get to the #1 position for every single one of your keywords, you can use what you’ve learned from SEO to get a lot more traffic. Running paid ad campaigns is all about testing; you’re essentially paying to collect data about what works and what doesn’t.[pullshow]You’ve collected that data for free(or cheap) from SEO. Use it. [pullthis]Take your top converting keywords from SEO, and put them into a new paid search campaign.[/pullthis] You already know these keywords convert, so it shouldn’t hurt to start paying for them. Even if you’re #1 for a keyword, like your product name, consider bidding on it in PPC anyway. Rand Fishkin says 12% of clicks go to paid results. If your only search strategy is SEO, you’re leaving that traffic on the table.How about keywords your competitors are optimizing for? If you see them moving up in the SERPS for a certain keyword, get the jump on them with a paid search campaign targeting it.

Learn Customer Demographics, Reach Out To Them In Social Ads

The biggest thing you can do to rapidly scale your business is to stop thinking in terms of keywords and develop an in-depth understanding of who your ideal customers really are. Start thinking not just about demographics, but also psychographics. What are their interests? Where do they work or go to school? The more detailed the better.Then take those specific keywords and create highly relevant ad campaigns targeting them on Facebook Ads. You can now target the entire social graph with incredible precision on Facebook- every like, group membership, interest, and so on. Use this data.If you create an ad campaign on Facebook targeting everyone ages 18-30, unless you have an incredibly compelling ad….You.Will.Fail. If you take the time to think creatively about who your customers really are, and microtarget their interests, you will get virtually limitless, highly relevant traffic for pennies a click.Keyword targeting on Facebook is the best kept secret in social advertising.Very few people use this strategy in their social ads, and the ones that do are making absurd amounts of money with very little competition.Did you know that you can target people who have “liked” a specific website? Wow! Imagine the possibilities now that you can show your ads only to people who not only visit but actively engage with specific domains, brands, etc.If you use MailChimp to manage your email lists, they offer a cool free feature where they will link the email addresses in your list to Facebook profiles(courtesy of Rapleaf). Browse through some of your customers’ profiles. Do they share a common interest? Belong to a certain demographic? Try targeting those on Facebook Ads and see how they convert.


I didn’t hit even 20% of what I wanted to cover in this post, and it’s already too long. I’ll flesh out the details and specific tactics for scaling traffic in subsequent posts.For now, remember this: Learn everything you can about your customers, find out where they go online, and target those sites from every angle possible.