February 15, 2007
In this previous post I mentioned the ABCE’s desire to move to unique users as a measure of traffic to a website and the coming death of the page view/impression. To update that I’d like to point you all to this post by Steve Rubel which surmises what should really be used to replace page impressions as the metric that matters. Remember that with the advent of Ajax many websites do not request new pages, rather they respond to user driven events and supply content dynamically to the same page.
Steve has come up with three possible new metrics:
- He starts with events; now this seems a good choice as it can catch user events on Ajax pages and interactions with RSS feeds etc
- He then mentiond unique visitors
- And continues with time spent on web pages; this is a useful measure of the quality of a sites content. Our site is extremely content rich and as such we experience long user sessions, this is great for advertisers as a measure of a sites value to them.
So which should it be? Well, in my opinion a combination of all three would be best. In these days of dynamic, active websites using a single measure is never going to give a fair comparison between sites with vastly different technology profiles. If someone can come up with a formula which takes into account the myriad ways a user can be measured then they will have a hold grail for online marketers everywhere!
October 2, 2006
Paid search is a highly effective way of getting more people to your site and converting them to sales. The beauty of paid search is that through careful selection of keywords and optimisation of bid limits you can aim your adverts at people at varying points in their purchasing journey. By exploring the metrics and intelligence you gain from running a paid search campaign you can uncover your customers searching habits giving you a really good insight into how they find your products.
We’ve experienced huge growth in our paid search campaign, but when you delve into the figures you realise that you can be double counting sales from other sources (affiliates, banners, organic search) a lot of the time. This is all good however and as long as you are treating your online marketing activities as a cost of sale (and you’re coming within your target limit) then it’s working well for you.
There was a time where paid search results were scorned and seen as less trustworthy than the natural results. I would always scan and click organic results and rarely paid any attention to the paid results until that is I started running a paid search campaign myself. It was only then that I realised the value of paid results. Search engine marketing specialists spend a huge amount of time optimising campaigns to get the best results (and conversions) which of course means they are working hard to give the user the most relevant results possible.
In it’s infancy, paid search was often something a company felt it had to do, and they most times dabbled in this area without much experience or advice. Nowadays the wealth of search engine marketing agencies add much needed insight and knowledge to campaigns, and as they are working to get you sales (or users, registrations etc) it’s in their interests to do the job well.
Figures just released by Performics (a division of DoubleClick) suggest that we could see an increase in online sales of up to 53% this coming holiday season driven by paid search. Of course some of this increase is down to the increased sophistication of tracking and many sales are counted across other sources (affiliates etc again) but this really doesn’t matter as it’s just demonstrating how important it is to be involved in paid search if you sell a product online.
So it seems that paid search is becoming more trusted by the consumer. It would be really interesting to see figures from a search engine comparing the number of clicks on paid links compared to organic for a number of specific, high volume search terms! In my opinion, even if your website positions highly in organic results, if you have something to sell then you should be in paid too (or your competitors will be).
Paid search is a bit of a hobby of mine so I’ll be posting much more on it in the future!
September 18, 2006
An ex-colleague of mine who’s an extremely gifted technical wiz with the rare talent to be able to talk turkey with the business world set up a range of GPS based mobile services a while back. I’ve just been to check out his progress and the service is looking amazing now!
The service is called Sportsdo, originally it was a range of services aimed at specific sports (Skido, Rundo, Snowdo, Cycledo and Bikedo) but he’s now got a single service aimed at users of any sport or leisure activity that involves movement. The idea is that you install the Sportsdo software on your mobile phone (they support Windows Mobile and Java based phones), plug in a GPS receiver and go take part in your activity. The software tracks your progress using GPS to give you accurate realtime performance stats. It can generate live and accurate readings on your speed, distance travelled, time, gradient, calories used, pace, total ascent and descent. A full log of your exploits are created and can either be viewed on your phone or uploaded to the Sportsdo portal.
The software has a Live option which can transmit real-time performance information to the web so everyone can see how you’re doing. You can even set it to send regular text messages containing your key stats to your mates as often as you choose.
The portal has a community feel and you can share info and meet other enthusiasts through it. You can create your own sportslog which stores your sporting achievements and sorts all your data for you. The sportslog contains Google maps showing your routes and image maps from Google Earth. You can even upload pictures taken on your phone and they’re fixed to the maps at the points they were taken.
The portal has a really nice blog feel to it and a lot of influence has obviously been taken from various Web2.0 companies. I’m really pleased for the guys involved as they have been nursing this idea since it started as a way for two techies to see how fast/far they were skiing on their expeditions. The great thing about this service is it’s been developed by sports people for sports people, it just so happens that the sports people who developed it also happen to be extremely technical! I’m sure Sportsdo will be a success, there are so many activities it fits with (motorsport comes to mind) and the possibilities are endless.