A/B Testing – Online Marketing Term of the Week

A-B TestingA/B Testing

  1. Or A/B Testing is a method of comparing the performance of two sponsored listings, landing pages or other promotional content.
  2. A controlled experiment containing 2 variants, A and B, one as a control and one as a test.  The goal is to identify changes that increase or maximize a set outcome: I.e. clicks, conversions, etc.

The Internet in 60 Seconds

60 seconds may not seem like much time at all, but look at what happens online every 60 seconds.

the internet in 60 seconds

89% of Paid Search Traffic is Not Replaced by Organic Search

A Google Study Says: 89% of Traffic Generated by Search Ads is Not Replaced by Organic Search:

Um isn’t that obvious??

I just read a post by Avinash Kaushik over on Google+ (Yep I’m on Google+ as well: Bryan Coe), about the use of PPC versus Organic Search. He was specifically talking about a study by Google where they found Studies Show Search Ads Drive 89% Incremental Traffic. Basically what the study is saying is that if you are running PPC ads and you stop them, you will see an 89% drop in traffic. By “overall” they mean the combination of clicks due to organic search results and PPC ads.

ppc management one piece of the puzzleIn my opinion this is a trivial study? Because if you are already ranking very well for keywords organically (ie #1 or maybe #2), would you target them with PPC? My guess is no. Google and others have done studies to show how quickly the percentage of clicks drops as you go further down the list.

So, by using PPC with keywords for which you are unable to grab the top spots, you can augment your traffic. And let’s face it, for most sites the list of keywords where you rank #1 is much smaller than the list you would like to target.

Therefore, it seems to me quite obvious that your over all clicks would be greatly reduced when ads are paused.

Avinash pointed out that the study was structured to show the empirical data behind my assumption that advertisers are not targeting keywords for which they are ranking well organically.

But really the study does not address this. It only makes an assumption about the “Incremental Ad Clicks” or IAC being low when advertisers use keywords in their PPC list where they are also ranking highly organically.

“A low value for IAC may occur when the paid and organic results are both similar and in close proximity to each other on the search results page. This increases the likelihood of a user clicking on an organic result as opposed to a paid result.”

The study would be more accurate if it looked only at these keywords. Comparing PPC keywords that you pay to be in the top positions to all keywords regardless of where they rank organically skews the data towards a dramatic conclusion. I think the idea that removing your PPC ads is going to give an 89% drop in clicks is a shock factor.

To put it simply, if you are going to use the PPC you need to evaluate the cost of buying a click vs. the profit it gains. If you are pay too high a price for your clicks then it is not a profitable model. Plus, if you are ranking well for certain keywords, you probably don’t want to target them with PPC.

Now, what goes into that evaluation? You can use this study to evaluate keywords that you are ranking highly for organically compared to the same keywords that you are paying to get a high ranking via PPC. For keywords that are not doing as well organically or maybe that are not on the radar at all on the organic side, then you need to look more directly at the cost per click as apposed to the value of the click.

The main point is that using PPC Advertising can do a great job to augment your organic search, but you have to evaluate if it is the best value for your company.

Wondering About the Cost of Social Media? Think: “Time is Money”

Their is a misconception among a lot of businesses and business owners that Social Media is free. When I come across people that believe this, I try to explain to them that even though many of the tools and platforms are free, using the free tools correctly is not. The old adage always comes to mind:  “Time is Money.”  Here’s some data to back up that up.

Social Media Examiner recently published their annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report (<– Get the full report). Some of the most interesting data to come out of the report is the amount of time that marketers spend on Social Media:

A significant 58% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week and 34% for 11 or more hours weekly. It’s interesting to note that 15% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.

Those with more years of social media experience spend more time each week conducting social media activities. For example, 63% of people with 3 or more years of experience spend more than 10 hours a week doing social media activities. Only 41% of those with 1 to 3 years experience spend that much time.

time commitment for social media

I typically estimate that companies need to invest at least 5 hours a week in Social Media in order to see a real benefit. In my opinion this is an absolute minimum! This includes, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, forums, video, social bookmarking as well as others.

How much time do you spend on your Social Media activities?

Some other useful reading:

Social Media ROI – What’s Your Plan?
How much do you need to budget for Social Media in 2011?

How To: Five Things You Can do With Social Media Marketing

New Feature for Facebook Public Profiles: Post Insights

If you administer a Facebook public profile you may have noticed a new feature Facebook snuck in on us called Post Insights.

Post Insights shows you the data for each post in the form of “Impressions” and “Feedback“. Impressions is how many times the post shows up in your fan’s news feed or when someone views the profile’s wall. Feedback is the number of comments and likes per impression. This gives you a quick idea of how many times your posts are being viewed and how well they are being received. Which can help with deciding what is working and what’s not.

The data is visible right below each post.
Facebook Public Profile post insights

Visit our page Facebook Public Profiles for more information about public profiles.

Why Do You Follow People/Businesses on Twitter?

People use Twitter for many different reasons. It could be just for fun, for business, for information or something else. We’re interested in why you use Twitter, and more specifically: Why do you choose to follow people/businesses on Twitter?

Why do you follow people on Twitter?customer surveys

B2B Marketing with Social Media

Do you think B2B marketing with social media doesn’t work? Check out this video, it gives information on how today’s executives and decision makers are using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It also shows that they are using social networking to find B2B leads for their business. Are you using social media marketing for your B2B Business leads?

Number of Twitter Followers, Does Not a Successful Campaign Make

Yoda on TwitterIf our old friend Yoda had used Twitter, he might have said this, and I believe he would have been right!

I was just reading about a Twitter study from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany where they concluded that the number of Twitter followers you have is not so important. The study goes onto explain that the number of retweets (reposting what someone else just said) and mentions (using the @ and a users name) is more important.

Here’s my take on the subject (comment on the post I just read) :

Yes, the number of Twitter followers you have is important to a certain extent, because without followers you are only talking to yourself. But there are many other aspects that need to be considered to measure influence through Twitter. For example: retweets and mentions as discussed in the study, but also clickthroughs for links shared, favorited tweets, clickthoughs for the profile link, etc… so interaction.

If you understand SEO and web analytics, Twitter can be viewed in a similar way. The raw number of visitors to your site is not all that good at rating the success of a site. Your site can have millions of visitors, but are they helping your business any? Do you sell trail running shoes? 10 million hits for Shoes isn’t necessarily going to sell your running shoes. Even worse, if your getting traffic from something totally unrelated.

Furthermore, with Twitter you have to understand why you are using it before you can judge what “success” means. Someone like Ashton Kutscher most likely does not have the same goals as a company like Dell, or even the local Restaurant/Bar.

So, bottom line, and I’ve said this before, social media is about engagement and conversations. Plus, you need to have a plan so you when you get into social media and if you want to be able to judge your success.

There are a few services that you can use to measure your influence on Twitter. One that we use is Klout. Here’s our score BbeS Klout.

Social Media: You’ve Got to be Willing to PLAY to PLAY

This is a great video from Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics. The whole way we look at the return on investment for social media is inherently flawed.

Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics” -Erik Qualman

Title quote from Alex Bogusky, Co-Chairman, CP&B

Top 20 Social Networking Sites

According to the Hitwise (the leading global online competitive intelligence service) Facebook is still holding the number one spot and MySpace is continuing it’s descent and has now been bested by YouTube. Another interesting note is that even with all the talk about Google Buzz. It’s not even ranking. Where are you concentrating your social media campaigns??

Top 20 Social Media Sites as of 3-27-20

Top 20 Social Media Sites as of 3-27-20 source: Hitwise.com