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The Exhaustive List of Ecommerce Types and Categories

If you’re interested in starting up a web business, it’s important to have a good idea of what business you might start. What kind of ecommerce category do you fall into? There are important considerations for each different type, and those considerations can vary quite a bit. For example, if you’re looking to sell a service, you need to establish yourself as enough of an authority that people will trust you. If you’re selling something in a retail format, you need to figure out your inventory and fulfillment processes. Let’s explore, shall we? B2C Vs B2B Vs C2C Vs C2B First, let’s cover the broad, top-level ecommerce categories. I figure there are only four of them, but some people think there are as many as six; more on those in a moment. The main four are those I’ve listed in the subhead. So what are they, if you’re not familiar with the acronyms? Business to Consumer is the most traditional type of business you think of when you think about, well, a business. A retail store is a business to consumer brand. Amazon is large business to consumer. A store like Office Depot is a hybrid, catering to home users and to businesses. Business to consumer brands are businesses that sell products directly to non-business customers. Business to Business brands are also very common. Think about any service provider with a business tool to sell you. Google has a lot of business to business tools. Marketing platforms like Hubspot or MailChimp or HootSuite are all business to business companies. A business to business brand is simply a brand that is selling their services to other businesses, either of a specified scale or of any scale with varying pricing and service levels. Consumer to Business is a less common type of transaction, but it has become increasingly common over the years as the benefits of hiring an employee drop, while the benefits of contracting a freelancer rise. A freelance writer working for a company is a C2B relationship. A website that provides stock photos is acting as a middleman; consumers produce the content and businesses can buy it. Consumer to Consumer is the newest and fastest growing form of transaction. There are a variety of different ways this can manifest, from traditional to brand new. Traditional consumer to consumer transactions include small-scale sales like a yard sale or the transactions facilitated by eBay or Craigslist. It also includes the entire gig economy, ranging from for-contract courier services to Uber. Some people also consider B2G or B2A as different from B2B. The G or the A stand for Government or Administration. Selling a service to the government as a contractor would be a B2G transaction. Filing and handling tax services would be a B2A service, potentially. I figure these are just a sub-set of B2B, if you consider the government or various public administrations to be a variety of business, or at least an organization. It’s not strictly necessary or beneficial to make the distinction. So, the first thing you need to decide when you’re starting a business is what your target audience will be. Are you going to be a freelancer selling your services to companies? Are you a creative, working with whoever will pay you? Are you going to set up a deal with manufacturers or retailers to sell for them or refer customers? You have quite a few options. The second thing you need to do is pick a business model. Here are three divisions, and the business models you might find within. Tangible Goods The first category of ecommerce is the traditional retail sales model, and various related business models. I call it the tangible goods category, because what you would be providing to your customers is a tangible product, something that can be handled physically and requires shipping. Retail Sales, also known as Wholesaling and Warehousing, is the traditional sort of sales model. You produce, or hire someone to produce for you, physical products. You then store those products somewhere, be it in your spare bedroom or in a warehouse down by the docks. You create a website with a catalog users can use to browse your products, or you use a third party system like Amazon or Etsy to showcase your inventory. Customers make an order, and you fulfill the order, handling all of the shipping and support. Some companies, like Amazon, offer services like Fulfilled By Amazon to ease some of this process and guarantee shipping. Retail sales can range from B2C, where you’re a company selling items to people, to B2B, where you’re wholesaling large quantities of products to other retailers, who will sell at a markup. Either way, you’re the initial provider of the item, not counting whatever factories you have hired to produce it for you. Drop Shipping is a way to streamline the retail sales model. A wholesaler doesn’t care about most small customers; it’s not worth their time selling individual cans of Coke to people when they can sell truckloads to retailers instead. A drop shipper steps in and says “I will make you a deal; I will aggregate orders from small customers and process them; all you need to do is ship to the addresses I supply.” There are a ton of drop shippers on Amazon. It’s incredibly easy to set up contracts with certain wholesalers and list products on Amazon (or your own storefront, set up using Shopify and some plugins), and sell those products. Customers are buying at a markup – so you can profit – but they don’t care, or the wholesale price isn’t available to them, and so on. White Labeling is sort of like a form of drop shipping, or of wholesaling, as a kind of bridge in the gap between them. You typically purchase products from a company and sell them to individuals, like you would with drop shipping. However, instead of keeping the manufacturer or wholesaler’s branding, you add on your own branding. This is common in the health and beauty niche, but is more difficult in other niches. Print on Demand is somewhat similar to drop shipping, though you can be the first-party provider or a second-party middleman depending on your position. You can do the printing yourself, or you can hire a printing company to print what you want them to. The difference between print on demand and drop shipping is simply that, with wholesaling and drop shipping, there’s a warehouse full of products somewhere just waiting to go out. With print on demand, the item is not created until an order comes in. This is exceedingly common with apparel and small accessories like phone cases. It’s also common with art prints.  Affiliate Marketing is similar to drop shipping, except you’re not handling any part of the process except advertising. With drop shipping, you have to create the storefront, and forward orders on to your wholesaler. With affiliate marketing, you don’t even handle orders; you simply direct customers to your wholesaler’s storefront. Amazon also does this; the Amazon affiliate program allows anyone to just make a link that points to a listing on their storefront, where they get paid if their referred user makes a purchase. It has the lowest overhead – all you need to succeed is a blog – but it’s also likely to have slimmer profit margins. Manufacturing can be considered the root of all B2B tangible goods sales. Being the company that actually creates the products means you can make a lot of profit; if a widget you sell costs $100 per case, and it takes you $2 worth of materials to manufacture the case, you’re pulling in a lot of cash. The trick is, you have to source raw materials and you need the hardware to manufacture the products in bulk at a rapid pace. There’s a reason most manufacturing is now performed in places like China; it’s expensive to get set up and reconfigured. Many of these ecommerce categories have a supplemental or spin-off type in the form of subscription services. The Dollar Shave Club is a prime example; they’re a drop shipping and white labeling company that operates on a subscription model rather than discrete sales. For the most part, I don’t consider these subscription services to be different categories; they’re just recurring orders for existing categories. Intangible Goods There is a lot of overlap between tangible goods and intangible goods sales. Many of the same business models apply. Affiliate marketing, for example, works equally well for Amazon regardless of whether you’re buying a book or an ebook. Digital Product Sales are a form of intangible good where you’re simply selling something that has no physical form. Software is the prime example; everything from boxed software at Best Buy to the library you can buy on Steam can count as digital product sales. Training Courses are another form of intangible good. It’s different from a service, because you aren’t necessarily training anyone directly; rather, you’re providing video lessons and coursework in PDF form, and whatever else is included. Services The final ecommerce type is being a service provider. Rather than providing a book, you provide the service of writing. Rather than providing a painting, you provide the service of graphic design. Freelancing is one of the primary forms of service one can provide online. Freelancers can do anything from coding and writing to art to marketing. Almost anything a business needs can be done by freelancers, though it’s not always appropriate to contract freelancers rather than hire employees. There’s also the middleman business model of providing connections; sites like Upwork or WriterAccess provide the service of connecting freelancers with people who want to hire them. Consulting is another form of service one can provide. You don’t have to provide the service for a company directly, but you can examine their processes and explain to them how they can improve, with your own recommendations, and perhaps your own services on offer. Consulting is simple outsourcing institutional and industry knowledge. Training is similar to consulting, but more in-depth. You can hire someone to train yourself or your employees in a task. Training is often provided along with tangible and intangible goods as well. As A Service (XaaS) is an entire class of internet-based service providers. Anything you think of as a web app today is usually “software as a service”. Rather than buying a piece of software and the hardware to run it, you buy access to someone else’s computer running that software. Anything from Google Analytics to Canva to Microsoft’s Office 365 can be an example of software as a service. More than just software can be provided as a service. Amazon’s web services, Google’s App Engine, and WordPress.com hosted blogs are examples of Platforms as a Service. Content Delivery Networks and outsourced processing power in the Google Compute Engine are examples of infrastructure as a service. Any as-a-service model relies on uninterrupted internet connections and reliable providers to succeed, which is why many of them tend to be B2B; they need the scale to support themselves. Still, more and more, these are becoming commonplace. Once you have chosen your target audience and the category for your ecommerce business, you can start to nail down more of the details. What is your product or service? How are you going to provide it? What kind of infrastructure do you need in place to succeed? Have at it, and good luck! The post The Exhaustive List of Ecommerce Types and Categories appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

The Ultimate Guide to Google Display Banner Ad Sizes

Getting the best return on your investment is the core desire for anyone using paid advertising of any sort. You’re spending money, so you want to make as much in return as you can. Part of optimizing your ROI is knowing everything you can about how the ads system works. One crucial element of Google ads is the size of the various display ads you’re able to use. Publishers need to know this so they know how much space to assign for ads on their site. Advertisers need to know this so they know how large their images should be. Google has quite a few different ad sizes, many of which are surprisingly similar, so it’s best to get the dimensions straight from the horse’s mouth. Remember, though, that these ad formats are not for Google’s search result advertising. Those ad slots are text-only, as are several other formats for Google ads. If you want to use image ads where the dimensions matter, you need to choose that particular format of display advertising. Google divides their ad sizes into three categories. These are “top performing ad sizes”, “other supported ad sizes”, and “regional ad sizes”. Why they keep any beyond the top performers is anyone’s guess, but I suppose giving people more options allows them to test variations on ad sizing and performance. Top Performing Ad Sizes 300×250 pixels. This format is known as the Medium Rectangle in most publications and is one of the most common ad sizes Google offers. As a publisher, it’s a good option to choose because you’re always going to have something to fill in the space. Since it’s very common amongst publishers, it’s very open to advertisers, with plenty of inventory to fill. This format is available for text ads, display ads, and mobile ads. It tends to perform well when embedded within the text of articles, or when merged with a multi-column layout on a website’s feed. 336×280 pixels. This format is slightly larger than the medium rectangle format, being 36 pixels wider and 30 pixels taller. This means the aspect ratio is very slightly different, but not by enough to truly matter. This one is called the Large Rectangle in many publications and is another common ad format. Like the medium rectangle, the large rectangle is very commonly found embedded within content like an image, though obviously it stands out as an ad due to ad disclosure rules. This format is available for both text and display ads, but is not available for mobile ads. 728×90 pixels. This is the “leaderboard” ad format, but the majority of you out there probably recognize it as a typical “banner” ad. It’s very wide, not very tall, and forms a horizontal bar that is used in a wide variety of ways. You very frequently find this ad format placed above content or below it, as part of the navigation or in the footer. Sometimes you see these used in place of spacers in the middle of articles, but this can cause issues with people encountering the ad and assuming the content is concluded. Be sure to encourage further scrolling if you use this format in the middle of your content. These are available for text and display ads, but not for mobile. 300×600 pixels. This is occasionally called the Half Page ad format, though many people just think of it as “that large ad to the side of the screen.” These ads are tall and vertically oriented, which means they would fit a cell phone orientation, except they are not available on mobile. Rather, they are often used to fill in whitespace to the sides of your content, which would normally simply be a gutter for widescreen monitors to center content. Google claims this is one of the fastest growing ad sizes, and as such it is becoming increasingly available amongst both publishers and advertisers. If you want to experiment with some of the most cutting-edge ad formats, this is one to look into. As mentioned, this is not available on mobile, but works with both display and text ads. 320×100 pixels. This is known as the “large mobile banner” ad format. Unlike the other top performing ad formats, this one is available for mobile ads but not for traditional display or text advertising. It is considered a mobile alternative to the 320×50 and 300×50 ad formats, which we have not discussed yet. They are vertically quite tall compared to other mobile ad formats, offering plenty of space for mobile viewers. If you want to capture as much mobile attention as possible in content with display advertising, this is a good format to use. Other Supported Ad Sizes 320×50 pixels. This is the “mobile leaderboard” style of ads, and is only available for mobile ads, not for desktop displays. Unlike the top performing mobile ad format, this one is half the size vertically, making it very squat and very wide. They are often used the same way as banner ads for mobile browsing, used at the top of content or in the footer at the end of content. 468×60 pixels. This is the ad format Google specifically calls the “banner” ad format, not to be confused with the leaderboards. Like leaderboards, it is short but wide, but it’s not quite as wide as the leaderboards. This is to make it more accommodating to narrower website layouts that don’t have the space to plug in such a wide ad format for the leaderboards. This format is available for desktop display and text ads, but not for mobile. Additionally, Google warns that this ad format is going out of style and, as such, inventory tends to be limited. Fewer publishers are using it, fewer advertisers are paying for it, and it will eventually be deemed a legacy ad format. 234×60 pixels. Those keen with math will notice that this is exactly half as wide and exactly as tall as the banner ad format. Fittingly, it is thus labeled the Half Banner ad format. It’s designed to fit in smaller spaces than the usual banner ad, and can be a small and unobtrusive ad format. However, this means it is also prone to being overlooked, which means it tends to underperform compared to other ad formats. Ads need to be large and in charge to be successful these days; trying to slip under the radar only works if you have some inexplicably high value display ads. This format does not work for mobile, either. 120×600 pixels. The official name for this ad format is the skyscraper ad format. It is less than half as wide as the half page format, while being just as tall. It’s essentially a banner turned on its side, which is how it got its start, more or less. As a desktop-only display ad, this one allows you to take up some gutter space on the sidebar of your website, without needing to dominate it with something as large as the half-page ad. However, this is also a less popular ad format than the half page, which leads to lower ad performance. 120×240 pixels. This is the actual “vertical banner” ad which, like the similarly sized half banner, suffers from being too small to capture a ton of attention. This kind of ad format would be ideal for small slide-in or pop-in widgets, but Google doesn’t like ads that only appear in certain dynamic circumstances, responsive design notwithstanding. The small size, the fact that it is limited to desktop-only display advertising, and the strange dimensions mean it isn’t very well suited for modern web advertising outside of specific circumstances. 160×600 pixels. This format is slightly over half as wide as the half page format, and is a little wider than the skyscraper format, serving as a sort of middle of the road between the two. The wider space than the skyscraper allows more creativity in your display ads, while still being narrower than the very dominant half page format. This tends to have a lot of inventory available, and is ideal for publishers with sidebars they want to fill with advertising. It’s available for desktop advertising, but not mobile. 300×1050 pixels. This is the “portrait” advertising format. It’s not very wide, but is extremely tall. Many modern mid-range computer monitors today are only 1080 pixels tall, so this can take up most of the vertical space, accounting for the navigation bar of a browser. These are brand-centric, which means they tend to work best when run alongside specific branded content or sponsored posts. Some sites use these as a sort of pseudo-background element in the gutter space of a centered page, making it look as though the ad content is peeking out behind the page content. Again, this is not available for mobile advertising. Currently, this is a high-demand, low-supply ad format, as few publishers are equipped to run them. You can take advantage of this for exclusive positioning and always-full advertising, if your site is configured for it. 970×90 pixels. This is occasionally called the Large Leaderboard format, and is a uniquely dynamic ad format. When a user views it for the first time, it will expand downwards, sliding the content further down to reveal the full content of the ad. The fill size of the display is 970×415 pixels. Once the user has seen the ad once, it no longer automatically expands, but can expand if the user clicks on it. This format is often used to display video, animations, and app advertising that tends to be very dynamic by its nature. 970×250 pixels. This is a billboard ad, and as such, has the same basic dimensions as a billboard you would see on the side of the highway. It’s very wide and quite tall, making it a very prominent ad. It’s best to run this at the top of your page, since it will often be cut off below the fold, and if it’s embedded in your content, users will assume it signals the end of a post unless otherwise indicated. This is another format where advertiser demand has outstripped publisher supply, putting publishers in a good position to earn. 250×250 pixels. This is a square ad format, which Google helpfully calls the Square ad format. It’s good for fitting into small spaces that aren’t wide enough for banners or leaderboards, and aren’t tall enough for skyscrapers. It’s large enough that it is not entirely ignored like the other small ad formats, and it’s quite common to be seen within text. This is also one of the more prominent formats for mobile advertising, because it’s available for both desktop and mobile ads. 200×200 pixels. This is the “small square” ad format, called such because it is a square and is smaller than the base square format. Why Google doesn’t call this the square and the other one a large square is anyone’s guess. It has all of the same benefits as the square ad, except it’s smaller, which means it is often overlooked. It is also limited in supply. It too is available for both desktop and mobile ads. 180×150 pixels. This is a small rectangle and, of course, is called the Small Rectangle ad format. It can fit into small spaces, but that’s often a detriment, as explained several times before. It doesn’t tend to perform very well and is probably well on its way to being deprecated. 125×125 pixels. This is the “button” ad format, which is basically just a small square, slightly larger than what most web forums use for avatar photos. It doesn’t perform very well and is limited to desktop advertising only, so it’s at the bottom of the list where Google can try to forget it exists. Regional Ad Sizes I’m not going to go over every regional ad size variation, because there are a lot of them. Google Ads makes certain specific ad sizes available in different countries, because different regions tend to have different preferred website layouts. For example, the most popular ad size in Russia is 240×400 pixels, called the vertical rectangle. It’s smaller than a half page, but larger than many other formats. Google also provides a few specific formats exclusively for use in Poland. Your guess is as good as mine as to why. The post The Ultimate Guide to Google Display Banner Ad Sizes appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Google Ads Expert?

“Who has time for all this?” This is a question I hear time and time again, and it’s one I’ve asked just as many times. Who has time to do everything for their business? Sure, when you’re a one-man operation you can cram everything in for a while, but you face the very real risk of burnout. Even the most high-powered cocaine-fueled titans burn themselves out. It just makes sense to offload tasks that end up being a lot of busywork. If you’re spending 4 hours a day filing paperwork, you hire a clerk. If you’re never getting work done because you’re stuck answering the phone, you hire a secretary. Other tasks are worth offloading because they require skills that are outside of your skillset. Instead of spending the time learning and fumbling and wasting money, you hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Many of these tasks can directly make you money as well, so it’s a very worthwhile endeavor to spend a little to make a lot. Hiring someone to manage your Google Ads is generally more of the latter position. It’s pretty difficult to just dive into Google Ads and expect to be successful. There’s a definite learning curve, a lot of skills that go into managing ads for a company, and there are expectations for a certain level of success. Plus, they take a lot of time to manage, monitor, and improve, even if you’re using tools that do a good chunk of that automatically. Of course, you need to make sure you’re balancing out the cost of your employee or freelancer with the profits you make from the ads. If your ads, at their peak, only make you an extra $500 in a month, it doesn’t make sense to spend $2,000 that month on the ads manager. Now, if the ads manager can turn that $500 into $5,000, that’s another story. How to Find an Ads Expert As with any case where you’re looking to hire a freelancer or a new employee, or even contract an agency, you need to know what you want out of the relationship. Different levels of requirements will have different levels of pricing. Let’s look at some of the factors you should think about, and some factors that can affect the cost of hiring a Google Ads expert. What level of service do you require? I already mentioned this right above. Are you looking for an employee you pay a regular salary and can control completely, a freelancer who will likely cost less but dedicate less time to your ads, or an agency that knows exactly what they’re doing, and charges like they do? In general, a freelancer is going to be the cheapest option. Freelancers tend to have numerous clients at a time, and while they can run a wide range of skill levels, it’s easy to pick up and drop a contract if they aren’t working out. Freelancers are also often less reliable; it will take a few attempts to find someone who meshes with your brand, who has steady availability, and who knows what they’re doing. That said, freelancers sometimes come with the additional cost of the platform you’re hiring them through. Sites like Upwork often skim a bit off the top, so you’re paying for both the freelancer and the platform that connected you. An employee is going to cost more than a freelancer, and depending on your business situation and their requirements, you may have additional factors to consider, like benefits. You probably don’t want someone working for minimum wage to be in control of your advertising budget. You need to go through the whole application and interview process, which is much more time consuming that scoping out a freelancer, and you often need to find someone who has adequate experience with managing paid ads. An agency is probably going to cost the most, and in fact often will charge you a percentage of your ad spend in place of or in addition to a flat fee. The upside is that they know exactly what they’re doing and likely have professional tools to help them squeeze every cent out of your ads they possibly can. You’ll see the best returns, but it’s the biggest investment. Did your ads manager learn with their own money? This is a good question to ask when you’re looking at individuals you might consider hiring or contracting. You don’t want someone who is just bluffing with their skills and will be using your budget to practice. You also don’t want anyone who is used to spending other people’s money, and thus feel like mistakes don’t personally affect them. It’s really easy to fall into a trap where, when consequences are minimal, you take risks you shouldn’t. An ads manager may be more likely to be experimental without data, or to go with gut feelings instead of analytics, or to shrug off mistakes that cost their employer money when it doesn’t affect them. If they learned by using – and losing – their own money, they’re more likely to be careful with yours. Are you getting what you pay for? This is usually a question for agencies. Agencies often bundle together a bunch of other services. They’ll run your Google Ads, but they might also offer Facebook, Twitter, or other paid advertising as well. Some will be total marketing agencies, willing to run your social media organically, as well as running a blog for you. The important thing to watch out for is agencies who offer all of those services, but charge you for them even if you don’t want them. If you’re perfectly fine running your own blog, don’t pay for someone else to not do it for you. Alternatively, take advantage of every service the agency has to offer you. Do they have experience in your niche? This is a pretty important question. You want people who are familiar with not just your industry, but your niche within your industry, your competitors, your audience, and the kinds of techniques that tend to work best. Even something as simple as picking the right selection of colors for ad images can vary depending on audience and industry. What are their KPIs? If possible, view a sample report from the agency or individual who will be producing reports for you. If they’re showing you things like the number of clicks or impressions your ads get, they’re not a good ads manager. You want them to be talking about metrics like cost per action, conversion volume, and profit. Is the agency certified? For agencies specifically, you want to find one that is certified as a Google Partner. This usually isn’t available to individuals and freelancers, since it requires maintaining a certain level of ad spend, but agencies can reach that bar quite easily. Are there onboarding or setup fees? When you take on a new freelancer, you may be charged setup fees. Agencies usually have fees, but individuals might not. Some may charge an initial fee as a buffer in case the contract doesn’t work out. Others might use it to cover the costs of the tools they use to manage ads for you. This is generally a one-time fee, so I’m not considering it in the cost analysis below. What Payment Model Are You Expecting? When you’re considering who you should hire or contract to manage your Google Ads, you need to consider the style of payment. This is similar to the decision between employee, freelancer, and agency, except any of them might use any payment model. There are a handful of different models you’ll likely encounter. The Flat Fee Structure is a simple structure where you you’re charged a flat fee per month for services rendered. This fee will be presented as an estimate based on what you need from the individual or agency you’re contracting and the budget and ad requirements you have for them, and can be readjusted periodically. If you’re operating with gradual growth, a flat fee can work out as a discount in the long run between reevaluations. The Hourly Rate Structure is not usually a good choice, so if someone is charging hourly, you may consider looking elsewhere. People charging hourly are either working with a large number of clients to maximize their earnings, or they are inflating their time spent, or both. This is simply because, from the freelancer end, hourly rates are very hard to make a living wage on. The Percentage Spend Structure is one of the most common for ad management agencies, and many high powered freelancers are adopting it as they gain enough of a reputation to make it feasible. When you buy ads, the ad manager bills you for the ads + 10-20%, depending on their fees. This model helps incentivize the ads manager to be successful, because when their ads are successful for you, you’re more likely to spend more on ads, meaning they make more money. The Performance Fee Structure is usually a pretty big warning sign. Paying only on successful performance of your ads may sound like a good idea, but it’s a structure generally used by people who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing, and it puts a lot of risk into the relationship. If the whims of the market mean an ad unexpectedly fails, sure, you don’t have to pay, but the freelancer doesn’t get paid, so they have to struggle and may abandon that line of work entirely due to the risk. The Employee Structure is, of course, simply hiring an employee for a regular salary. The drawback to this is generally the work you need to put into finding a good employee, rather than anything inherent with the fee structure itself. How Much Can An Ads Manage Cost? Now you know the kinds of things that can affect the cost of hiring someone to run your Google Ads. How much money actually changes hands, though? In terms of actual numbers, what are the appropriate ranges? If you like, you can consider looking at it from the perspective of a freelancer, so you know where your money is going. At the low end, the cost of your ads management is going to be basically just the cost of your budget plus 10%. If you’re spending $40 per week on ads, and someone is charging you a skim off the top, you’re only paying something like $44 per week, or around $175 per month. That’s quite reasonable, consider the majority of the money is in the cost of ads themselves. Of course, when you’re functionally paying your freelancers $16 a week to manage your ads, you can bet they’re only spending an hour a week doing it. This goes up as your budget goes up. For freelancers, the cost per hour seems to run between $50 and $200 an hour. You can see a bunch of profiles and their cost ranges by checking out hubs like Upwork. There are outliers, like one who is only charging $36 per hours, but the average seems to run around $75 per hour. This is, of course, an hourly rate, so the total cost per week or month to run your ads will depend on the number of hours it takes them to manage your ads. Plus, you have to consider the cost of the ads as well. Full-service agencies tend to be the most expensive. I’ve seen fixed-price packages running for $1,000 per month at the low end. Mid-sized agencies will charge as much as 10x that, and the sky is the limit for top-tier agencies used to working with companies with a global presence and costs in the 6+ digits. The post How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Google Ads Expert? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

25 Shopify Integrations That Are Proven to Increase Sales

In many ways, Shopify is to e-commerce what WordPress is to blogging. It’s a common, powerful platform that works well out of the box, but the true power of the system comes from the apps and plugins you can install. Shopify apps come in a wide variety of different purposes, but many of them are extremely good and useful to businesses. Before we dig in, I do need to make one disclaimer. I label these apps as proven to increase sales, but that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to work for you. Some web stores simply don’t need certain advanced features, and others might not know how to get the best use out of them. Pick the right tools for the job, apps with functions you can make immediate use of, and don’t try to shoehorn in any integrations you don’t know how you’ll use. 1. Boost Sales This app by Beeketing is an upsell and cross-sell engine that helps you turn a low value cart into a higher value customer. When a user is checking out a product, it will show them recommendations of higher-end versions of similar products, as well as products that go well with the original. Looking at a shoe? It will show off pricier shoes, as well as accessories like laces, insoles, or shoe polish. After the free trial, the app costs $30 per month. 2. Facebook Channel This is a free app that allows you to create an embedded store on Facebook directly. One of the hardest parts of Facebook marketing is getting people to leave Facebook long enough to make a purchase on your website. Why bother, though, when you can sell directly through Facebook? Integrations allow you to post photo albums of your products and have them tagged automatically with links to purchase those specific products. 3. Optin Monster Optin Monster is one of the pioneers of exit intent pop-overs and lightbox calls to action. Their Shopify app helps you turn visitors into email subscribers, even if they don’t make a purchase. You can also use exit intent pops to capture abandoned carts, retarget returning customers, and even use geolocation features to target customers with specific regional deals. On top of it all, it comes with easy split testing. The app costs $50 per month. 4. Smile Smile is a loyalty and rewards program manager. If you’ve ever wanted a loyalty card, a rewards or points system, or any way to incentivize returning customers without having to give them special coupons or extreme deals, this is the app for you. It’s responsive, easy to manage, and can integrate with other Shopify apps with no issue. They offer a free plan, but have paid plans for additional features. 5. Omnisend This is an email marketing app that includes several other ways to contact customers and reach out to potential new customers. Not only does it include email, it also can use SMS/text messages, Facebook Messenger, and even Google retargeting. It’s a very robust app, though it does need some configuration and a smart plan for using it. You can’t just shotgun out messages and hope to see a decent return. The app is free but has paid features. 6. SEO Manager We all know and understand the importance of SEO. Web stores often encounter issues unique to them, such as a lower amount of content per page, the need for keyword-focused descriptions, and issues with canonicalization. All of these and much, much more are handled with this app. You can deal with broken links quickly and easily, you can set up structured data to integrate with Google and other apps, and you have all the usual SEO tools like meta data management, keyword research, and connection to the Google search console. The app will run you $20 per month. 7. Printful Printful is a powerful print on demand service. It’s almost less of an app to facilitate your store than it is a system to set up a new business. They have over 200 different products you can customize, including shirts, apparel, embroidery, posters, and more. You just add designs. Users buy them and the Printful facilities create the item and ship it out quickly and with minimal hassle. No minimum order sizes and no warehousing requirements to be found. 8. Referral Candy Referral Candy is an app that incentivizes and rewards users for referring others to your store. It’s basically a way to set up a tiered rewards program for your brand advocates. You can customize the interface from the ground up, track all of your referral performance, and reward customers however you like. Coupons, cash payments, special gifts; it’s all available for you to set up. The app costs $50 per month. 9. Plug In SEO This SEO app is a decent alternative to the other SEO app I’ve already mentioned. It’s a very simple tool that helps scan and monitor your store’s SEO health. It checks things like site speed and blog performance with some keyword analysis. It finds problems and notifies you when they crop up, with regular email alerts and health analysis. Use it to find problems and figure out how to fix them. The app has a free plan available. 10. Socialphotos This is an app that integrates your Shopify store with your social media feeds, in a different way than usual. When users buy your products and post photos of themselves with those products, you are notified, while the app monitors hashtags and widgets. You can then curate those photos and, once you obtain permission from the user of course, can use them in your marketing. What’s better than user testimonials and social proof? 11. WisePops No, it’s not talking about your dad here. WisePops is a pop-up manager. It has a drag and drop editor for creating pop-overs with exit intent or timed display, with a number of different possible calls to action. The most important part, however, is the 30+ different targeting options it’s able to use to display different pop-ups to different people. Of course, you get analytics for all of it on top of the tool. The app costs $50 per month. 12. Sales Pop Have you ever been on a site and seen little notifications in the corner that another user purchased a product? Have you ever experienced the fear of missing out, inspired by limited quantities of an in-demand product? Do you think you could leverage both of those feelings to encourage customers to buy, and buy now? That’s what this app does for you. It’s the second offering from Beeketing on this list, and with good reason; for a free app, it does a lot to encourage sales. 13. Yotpo This is a social reviews app. It monitors your social media and follows up with customers to encourage them to leave their ratings, reviews, photos, and testimonials – as well as questions you can answer – in a way you can use them. The free plan includes on-site display and social monitoring, some SEO features, and even some content generation. Paid plans give you even more ways to display your customer reviews, and more besides. 14. Oberlo Oberlo is an interesting app and it’s not for everyone, but dropshippers absolutely love it. It’s a product search engine that helps you identify products you can sell on your site via dropshipping. The major benefit to the app, though, is that Oberlo has a network of suppliers already working with them, so you can skip the tedious outreach and negotiations and get right to selling. 15. Pre-Order Manager Before you skip this one because you don’t do pre-orders, hang on a moment. While this is a manager for pre-orders, it’s also a way to elegantly handle limited stock. When you run out of stock of an item, instead of showing out of stock and sending users elsewhere, this app allows you to let them pre-order copies for when the product comes back in stock. This helps you continue your sales, as well as know just how many products you need to order to refresh that stock. 16. Messenger Channel More and more people are using Facebook Messenger to talk to both each other and with brands. Many brands on Facebook are setting up response bots and using Messenger as a channel, so why not do it on your store? This free app allows you to add a “contact us” button branded with Messenger, that works in Messenger. So long as you have someone on the other end to answer the line, this can be an excellent channel for both sales and support. 17. Gleam Gleam has quickly become one of the most popular and most common engines for social media contests. You can set up a wide variety of integrations to harvest information about your customers, as well as encourage engagement by requiring visits to your social profiles, asking for retweets or subscriptions, and even referrals to their friends. Gleam is free, but access to certain types of entry, high volume contests, and other expanded functions will cost money. 18. One Click Social Login The easier it is for users to log into an account, the more likely they are to make a purchase. When they don’t need to create a new account from scratch and can just click a button to sign in with Facebook or another social network, they’re a lot more likely to buy just because of the lower hassle of purchasing. This integrates that one-click social media access and helps auto-fill forms based on the information they provide. 19. Free Shipping Bar Remember how, years ago, Amazon used to have threshold-based free shipping? You could get free shipping on orders that met a certain cart value. This had some problems – the proliferation of “filler” items was one of them – but it was still a good way to encourage larger carts under the guise of offering additional value. This app allows you to offer the same sort of plan; free shipping on orders over a certain value, configurable to your custom threshold. 20. Coopt Campaigns This $20 app is a spin-off of another popular app linked in its description. It’s a DIY version. What does it do? It incentivizes your customers to share their purchases and your posts on social media by giving those users coupons or rewards instantly. Think of it like Gleam, except with offer claims instead of sweepstakes or giveaways. 21. Instagram Shop This app by Snapppt is integration into Instagram. Instagram allows you to configure a store with structured data, and can use that data in special posts that allow you to tag products and sell items directly through the site. Setting it all up can be a bit of a mess, so that’s where this app comes in. It can configure it all for you, and gives you analytics, user generated content features, and influencer marketing all in one. 22. Wishlist Plus One great way to ensure that customers can come back, while also giving you excellent data to use to contact those users and sell them when a sale, deal, or contest is underway, is the wishlist. This app lets you set up a wishlist system for your store, complete with deep customization, re-engagement and retargeting options, and a lot more. 23. Shippo If you’re not a dropshipper, you know you have to manage your shipping costs, and it can be a huge hassle to keep on top of all of the various ways to manage shipping without spending a fortune. That’s what this app does; it manages shipping methods and label printing to maximize your profits while minimizing the cost of shipping. It’s a free app, though you do have to pay a flat fee per label printed. 24. Compass Using all of these tools is one thing, but how do you know where your store is underperforming in the first place? Analytics! Compass is a high quality e-commerce analytics platform that can track and benchmark your performance across a variety of different platforms, all on one dashboard. It benchmarks you against similar stores as well. 25. Back In Stock Nothing is worse than losing sales because you didn’t have enough inventory in stock. Rather than offering preorder sales as the preorder manager app does, this one allows users to sign up for email notifications and alerts when products are back in stock. It integrates with a number of popular email apps as well. The post 25 Shopify Integrations That Are Proven to Increase Sales appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

20 Ways to Promote Max Bounty Affiliate Links and Offers

MaxBounty is one of the largest affiliate networks out there, with thousands of offers you can run to make money. All you need to do is get people to click your links and, depending on the offer, maybe fill out a form or something. It’s not that difficult, but a lot of people just don’t know where to start. What I’ve done here is compiled 20 different ideas for ways you can promote a MaxBounty affiliate offer. You can do a few of them, or a lot of them, or even all of them, though layering all of them on top of one another is likely going to be overkill. Pick and choose a few techniques you can pull off first, then ramp up into others. Broaden your base of offers you promote and start raking in passive income. 1. Make a Good Website I’m putting this “tip” up at the top, but it’s less of an individual technique and more a necessity. Almost every kind of affiliate offer needs some way to promote the offer, and the majority of the time, a simple site with a basic blog and a landing page will do the job. Your website just needs to look good enough to be trustworthy, with enough content that helps push people in the right direction. You don’t need a lot, but you need more than a basic no-theme WordPress.com blog. A simple landing page also serves as a destination for traffic you get from other sources, like social media pages or paid advertising. 2. Make a Facebook Meme Page Well, a Facebook niche page, in any case. A Facebook page is a pretty good way to build up a bit of a community while being able to promote your offers in the descriptions of your posts. Claim a bunch of offers relevant to a specific niche, then create a bunch of content from that niche and start sharing it on Facebook. As long as you can get a foothold in a basic audience, you can start building up traffic. Some of these affiliate pages have hundreds of thousands of followers by now, it’s incredible. You’d be surprised at how well they can perform with minimal effort. 3. Make a Twitter Theme Account Twitter is just as easy to get up and running as Facebook, but it’s a little harder to run affiliate links, simply because you don’t have as much space to work with in every post. You’ll want to get a URL shortener up and running, and get used to doing your hashtag research ahead of time, but you can get a lot of traffic this way. Keep in mind that both Facebook and Twitter are great sources of traffic to your website rather than directly to your affiliate links as well.  Nothing says you need to limit your posts to links to offers, right? Make sure to split your traffic over to your website as well. 4. Make a YouTube Promotion Account A YouTube account that you use to create offer-promoting videos can be surprisingly effective. Just make sure you have a high enough basic video and audio quality, as well as some editing skills. Far too many people go into it with a webcam and a hint of a script; you want to stand out from that pack and be obviously better quality. You can promote your offers directly, or you can hint at your offers and link people to the articles on your site, where you have more space to promote the offers directly. Just don’t expect to earn money directly from YouTube monetization; their requirements for that are way too steep for a casual account now. 5. Write for Free Platforms like HubPages HubPages, EZineArticles and several other free content platforms exist as places you can write authoritative content that refers people back to your main blog. Many of these sites have rules against directly promoting affiliate links in your posts, but not all of them. The point is to write high quality content that will bring authority to your name and to your primary money site. Bringing in traffic is a good benefit as well. It helps SEO, it helps CPA, and it helps you earn money; what’s not to like? 6. Answer Relevant Questions on Quora Quora is a great source of traffic to links. There are a ton of people using it for affiliate promotion, which can be a bit of a pain to wade through. However, most of them are pretty terrible at what they do, so you can easily out-do their posts. Just write in fluent English and pay attention to the actual question being asked and you have a good chance of getting some clicks. 7. Write Individual Offer Reviews on Your Blog The time-honored tradition of “blogging about blogging” is still alive and well. Spin the concept over to affiliate marketing and you have an entire niche that is both quite competitive and quite open. Write blog posts about your individual offers – either the products themselves or how the offers work – and get clicks that way. 8. Write Larger Comparison Articles with Multiple Links One of my favorite techniques for affiliate marketing is to make comparison or top-5 lists. People like to have options, but they also like to see how those options stack up against one another. Build a table with a handful of products you’re promoting, compare them across a few categories, and let your users decide which they want to click on. 9. Create Themed Pinterest Boards with Offers Pinterest is a surprisingly ignored social media platform. It gained an early reputation for focusing entirely on topics like crafting and food, so the tech-focused group usually responsible for writing blogs wrote it off. It’s still around, it’s still huge, and it gets a ton of traffic. Promote your MaxBounty offers there and you’re almost guaranteed to get a good chunk of traffic. 10. Join and Promote (Carefully) on Web Forums Web forums are often niche communities with old and dedicated audiences. If you have a good, relevant offer you can promote to that kind of community, go ahead and join the forum. You can promote it by offering it as a legitimate offer, or by asking if people think it’s legit, or whatever you like. Just don’t swoop in to spam; you’ll likely be banned before anyone clicks the link. 11. Join and Promote in Existing Facebook Groups Facebook groups are similar to web forums, except they’re more open and younger in general. There are also like trillions of them or something, it’s incredible how many groups there are. Anyone can make one, after all. You can browse Facebook groups by searching for keywords and looking at what groups come up. Look for groups with a decently sized userbase and recent posts. You don’t want anything that’s basically dead or that has very stringent moderation, and watch out for anti-affiliate rules. Otherwise, go nuts! Join and post in 2-5 groups per day and you can built up quite a lot of traffic in a few months. 12. Comment on Posts from Large Facebook Pages This one happens pretty often by people who don’t know how to look like a legitimate post. Every blog that has Facebook comments on it has people spamming these form-letter copy-and-paste affiliate links. You don’t want to look like that. Look for relevant posts made by big creators – so there’s a large audience to view it – and leave a comment about your experiences and how your product benefitted you. Remember with this kind of outreach that you’re basically being a salesperson, and you can’t drive people away with your spam. 13. Create a Deals App App development is pretty complicated, but making something that’s basically an interface for showing a user affiliate deals is pretty much the simplest kind of app you can make. Spice it up with an interesting UI and you might even be able to monetize it with some ads. A deals app wouldn’t be too much of an investment to make, and you can keep it loaded with as many affiliate offers as you’re able to sign up for. 14. Leave Good Comments on Relevant Blog Posts We all have to deal with spammy blog comments, so we all know what they look like. You can still use blog comments for marketing purposes, though. Target your blogs carefully and make sure you know what you’re going to promote. In fact, don’t even promote anything the first few times you comment; you need to build up a bit of recognition as a legitimate user before you use this platform for your own marketing. Once you’re a familiar face, you can drop a link and not have it immediately removed. I recommend links to blog posts rather than directly to affiliate offers for this kind of thing. 15. Build a Mailing List Mailing lists are a sort of “advanced” marketing technique for affiliate marketers, because most affiliate marketers aren’t looking at things from a long term perspective. The best affiliate blogs are the ones that provide plenty of good information and insight, tutorials and instructions. You click the links because the information is good. The trouble is, building up a mailing list requires that kind of quality and trust; you need to convince users that they want more of your content. You can’t do that with mediocre spun affiliate posts. If you’re in it for the long game, build a mailing list and offer deals and recommendations through it. 16. Consider Promoting on Reddit The rest of the tips on this list are “consider” tips because they aren’t guaranteed to work, and they could have negative consequences if you do them wrong. All of them except this one, the consequence is “losing money.” This one, it’s getting banned from Reddit. Reddit has a million little subdivisions where different people discuss different topics. If you can find the right subreddit, you may be able to promote an offer and have people click through it. It’s not guaranteed, and in fact a lot of redditors hate this kind of thing, so you have to do it right. I recommend spending some time on Reddit before you try to use it for marketing. That, or just go through their own paid ads system. 17. Consider Paid Facebook Advertising Facebook, again, is a great platform for affiliate marketing, particularly when you can build up an audience. If you’re struggling to get that audience, want to kick-start your growth, or just want to send people through to your website, you can use paid Facebook ads. Facebook ads have a ton of very good targeting options to help you narrow down to the specific audience you want to reach, which is why they can be one of the best platforms to use. 18. Consider Promoted Tweets Twitter ads aren’t as robust or as useful as Facebook ads, but they can be pretty cheap, and all you have to do is be able to tweet in the first place. Set up a promoted tweet once you have one that is getting attention – or “doing numbers,” as they say – and put a little money into it. With luck, you’ll get more than you put in. 19. Consider Google Ads Google ads reach millions of people every day, and you can easily get a slice of that pie. Remember for most of these ad systems, you can’t promote an affiliate link directly. You’re going to need a good landing page, and your targeting should be on point so you don’t waste too much money. 20. Consider Bing Ads Bing is like Google except smaller. The ads system works in much the same way, but you can fairly easily get a $50 ads credit to get you started. Free money turning into more money is never a bad thing, right? The post 20 Ways to Promote Max Bounty Affiliate Links and Offers appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

List of 50+ App Directories to Submit Your Mobile App To

Developing an app takes a lot of time, energy, and money. When it comes time to launch it, you need to treat it with the respect it deserves. Simply throwing an app up on the Play Store and iTunes won’t cut it. Some older estimates put the number of new apps on just the Google Play store at 1,250 per day, and you can bet it’s even higher now. Forget about standing out from the crowd; it’s a wonder if anyone ever sees you at all. That’s the beauty of the internet, though, right? You’re not limited to just one platform. You can put your app up on the store, and then you can submit your app or its store listing to directories for reviews, for promotion, and for user ranking. No one directory is going to have even a fraction of the traffic of the main three stores (iTunes, Google, and Amazon), but they have a much higher engagement rate. The only question is, where should you submit your app? Here’s a huge list of directories and assorted app-focused sites for your consideration. Note: I make no claims as to the viability of submitting your app to any of these directories. They all have their own means of contact, their own requirements to be reviewed, and their own themes. Some of them may have a fee for submission; it’s up to you to decide if that’s worthwhile. AppAdvice – A site with a series of regularly published lists that collect apps based around certain themes, like apps for beer lovers or apps for movie fans. AppShopper – An app toplist that monitors prices and allows people to mark if they own or want to buy an app, to watch for price drops. Touch Arcade – A gaming-focused site that covers mobile apps as well as games for the Nintendo Switch. Excellent if you have a game to submit. Apptism – An app directory that displays apps by icon with rating, platform, and pricing information for users to browse. App Addict – An app and mobile device blog that reviews apps and various mobile devices and accessories. App Apes – An app review site that allows a wide variety of apps, though they tend to focus mostly on games. AppChatter – An app directory that produces daily app reviews as well as articles on how to use certain advanced apps or use apps for specific tasks. App Saga – A site that focuses on free apps, though it counts apps that are only free temporarily if they’re good enough. iOS specific, as far as I can tell. App Safari – An app directory focusing entirely on iOS apps, covering anything that can go on an apple device, whether it’s the newest iPhone or an old iPod. 101 Best – A constantly-evolving directory of the top 101 apps for Android. Submitting an app allows it to be reviewed and placed on the daily, weekly, monthly, and all time lists. AppModo – A site dedicated to mobile devices and everything about them, from quirks in the YouTube app to toplists for new apps. FeedMyApp – A directory with app reviews and some longer, more in-depth articles about specific apps or about specific tasks and the apps that assist. GetApp – An app search engine that focuses on business-focused apps. Submit yours to the directory to appear as recommendations for your task. Netted – A site by Webby’s, this general tech and mobile blog has sections dedicated to Android, iOS, and Tablet apps. Phandroid – Another directory with a variety of app reviews, posted fairly regularly. They also maintain several evolving toplists. GameZebo – A multi-platform app directory specializing in games. If you have a game, usually a free game, you can submit it here. Android Guys – A site focused on all things android, from reviews of games to the best choice of cellular providers to reviews of new devices. AppsZoom – An Android-focused app directory. You probably won’t show up on the front page, but you can show up in searches for specific categories. TouchMyApps – A relatively small and somewhat personal app-focused blog, the owner reviews and ranks apps but doesn’t post all that frequently. RazMag – A publication by RazorianFly, this magazine is highly focused on apps that provide a certain aesthetic or experience to the user, specifically to the founder. FreeAppsArcade – An app directory that focuses entirely on the games vertical. There are a lot of different apps to view, so submit yours. Easy App Finder – A directory that helps users find apps in specific categories that aren’t your usual categories, like “dice games” and “fisherman apps” among others. AndroLib – An app directory that focuses on both free and paid Android apps, with ranking and pricing information available up front. AppSpy – One of the more well-done app review sites, this one is quite active and does detailed reviews and price monitoring. AppleNApps – An iOS focused app directory that maintains top 100 lists and daily app lists. Don’t let the trending bar fool you, it’s an active site. BestAppsForKids – An app directory with a very specific focus on apps that are mainly aimed at children, meaning they don’t have in-app purchases, they’re cute and not violent, and they’re child appropriate. AppPicker – An app directory with a very perfunctory blog stapled on, largely aimed at apps that have discounts to make them free. The iMums – Another child-focused app directory run by a handful of moms. App developers are encouraged to submit apps to this Australian blog. AppsMirror – Another broad-spectrum app review and top list site. You can submit apps to their directory quickly and easily. AlphaDigits – An app directory with a fairly large audience, though it might not look like it at first glance. They tend to write fairly detailed reviews and sometimes tutorials. To take a bit of a break from basic directories, here are a few other kinds of sites you can submit your app to for potential review. These sites tend to have much larger audiences, but also less of a chance to get in if your app isn’t stellar. For many of them, you won’t be able to submit an app directly; submit the release of your app as a tip to their writers. Mashable – The tech section of Mashable often covers apps, though you need to be worth noting in some way to be noticed. Make sure your app is top-tier and submit it as a tip. TechCrunch – TC often covers apps in a wide variety of categories, but again, you need to have a very noteworthy or newsworthy app to be featured in one of their posts. Cult of Mac – As the name would imply, this site covers all things Apple, including iOS apps. If you have a good app you want them to check out, submit it. 9to5 Mac – Another Apple-focused news site that will happily cover iOS apps if you have a good one and get it to them the right way. Wired – Wired is one of the biggest tech sites in the world, and they definitely cover apps, but they require a real good reason to do so. They won’t just publish a press release about your new asset-flip game, you need a good app. LifeHacker – If your app can be used in a life hack, regardless of how upscale or bizarre the life hack may be, you can try submitting it here. They might decide it’s fun enough to pick up and write about. MakeUseOf – This site tends to focus more on apps that can be used for specific purposes, to the point that they publish as many tutorials as they do reviews. If you have a great unique task app, this is a great place to send it. CNet – CNet does app reviews, though they tend to focus on apps with a big presence behind them or otherwise with a good reason to be reviewed. PCMagazine – PC Mag will review apps, though they tend to pass games over to their companion site, PC Gamer. Tech apps are generally more appreciated. VentureBeat – If you have a powerful app or something with a lot of funding behind it, VentureBeat has you covered. They tend to focus on newsworthy apps, but you might be able to slip in with something that’s just really good. GeekWire – You know the drill by now; high end tech site, occasional app reviews, need a good reason to feature them. Worth sending in a tip, at least. Android Central – One of the largest Android-focused blogs out there, you can get some good features about your app by submitting it. PocketGamer – Another game-focused app review and ranking site. This one also has a lot of spin-off sections for news, guides, and reviews, so it’s good to get featured. EuroGamer – Another gaming-focused site, only submit your app here if it’s related to gaming in some way, otherwise they probably won’t give you the time of day. Bonus if you’re a European dev. Mac Rumors – Another of the main Mac-focused blogs out there, they don’t cover every app that comes their way, but they’ll be fairly amenable to iOS only apps. Gizmodo – One of the largest mobile-focused sites out there, there’s a lot of content on the site, but they’ve had a bit of a questionable time of it. You can submit your app and see if they’ll review it. Slashdot – News for nerds, you can submit your app here but be aware that they will be quite unforgiving if you give them something terrible. BoingBoing – A pop culture blog that covers a lot of stuff off the beaten path. You can get good coverage if you’re something atypical in some way. Digital Trends – You can get a lot of good coverage for an app here, though you probably want something that’s cutting edge in some way. Ars Technica – You know it, you love it, another high end blog! Submit your app and if it’s great, they’ll give it some coverage. If not, you’ll probably never hear back. Now let’s round out this post with a few other kinds of app view venues. Primarily, YouTube channels. These channels often review apps, so you can get some coverage if you send a copy to the creator. Be sure to check if they have a specific press email or anything first! Nathaniel Reichert – This guy posts weekly videos covering a variety of app-related topics, from app reviews to how to use a mouse and keyboard with yur mobile device and much more. Android Critics – This isn’t a very high-content channel but it does post lists about apps. They aren’t always good reviews – sometimes it’s lists of dangerous apps – but it can be worth submitting. Dave Bennett – Dave is a verified channel where he talks about a lot of different kinds of tech, where apps are just one part of it. iBertz – Another verified channel with over 200K subscribers, he covers an array of different kinds of tech, including the occasional app. Android Authority – The site has its own YouTube channel with three million subscribers. They cover apps as well as Android tech news. Explore Gadgets – Another mobile-focused channel with half a million subscribers. They review apps fairly often. SakiTech – Another mobile channel, this one has half a million subscribers as well. Give it a look and shoot them your app. AppFind – This channel posts weekly videos for your perusal. Some are on hidden features or cool uses of tech, while others review apps. Device Customizer – They only post one video a month on average, but they frequently cover cool apps in lists that do reasonably well. Tech Avenue – A channel that reviews apps and posts top ten lists fairly regularly; worth giving a shot if you have something to contribute. So there you have it; 60 different places you can send your app to maybe get it reviewed or shared in a directory. The post List of 50+ App Directories to Submit Your Mobile App To appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

10 Ways to Solicit Amazon Customers for 5 Star Reviews

As we all know, getting reviews on Amazon is crucial to having a product that sells well. Users often look to reviews to see how they should feel about a product, or how much they should trust it. People tend to buy products with not just positive reviews, but a larger number of positive reviews, even if there are a few negatives mixed in. At the same time, users are fairly stingy with leaving reviews. It’s difficult to get even 1% of your customers to leave a review, and the most motivated to do so are the people who don’t like your products. What you need to do is solicit reviews from the people most pleased with your product. How, though, can you do so? Amazon has rules about review solicitation, so here are a handful of techniques you can use that play by those rules, or skirt them a little. What Not To Do Before we dig into techniques you can use to get more reviews, let’s first talk about techniques you should avoid. Remember, Amazon has no qualms about banning a seller for breaking the rules. You’re one of millions to them, and you’re entirely expendable. Don’t leave reviews for your own products. Don’t buy fake reviews from a review service. Don’t pay for reviews in any way, including bonus products or gift cards. Don’t offer special deals or promotions to qualified reviewers. Remember that if a review is removed, the user who submitted the review will not be able to leave a new one on your product. Only one customer in a given household can review a product: one product for a house of four does not mean four eligible reviews. Now let’s dig into some valid techniques you might use to solicit reviews. 1. Use the Seller Messaging System When you send out a product to someone who ordered it, you will be able to message them through the Amazon seller messaging system. There are a number of ways you can use this, but one I’ve seen quite often is a simple review solicitation. Hello <Customer>. Thank you for your recent purchase from our store. If it’s not too much trouble, we’d love to hear what you think of the item you received. Just click here to leave a review! It doesn’t take much to solicit a review, you just have to be careful not to ask specifically for positive reviews. Any mention of “leave us a good review” can get you penalized. My top tip is to figure out the average amount of time between shipping a product and the user actually using it. Waiting until the user is more likely to have used the product is a good way to ensure a higher review rate from your messages. 2. Filter for Positive Reviews Organically You can’t solicit for positive reviews directly, but what you CAN do is solicit for contact from those who aren’t satisfied. For example, you can send out a message with phrasing sort of like this: Hello <Customer>. We greatly appreciate your order of our product, and we’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve experienced any trouble with the product or need assistance with getting it set up, please send us a message <contact link.> We’d love if you could leave us a review; all feedback is welcome! Your feedback helps us know what’s working and what isn’t, so if you can take a minute or two to let us know about your experiences, that would be great! You’ll notice the very careful lack of specific solicitation of reviews from satisfied customers. However, by including the “if you’re disappointed, click here” message first, the only people who keep reading are the ones who aren’t having issues, thus self-selecting for satisfied users. 3. Use a Drip Campaign for Reviews I’ve had a few Amazon sellers set up a sort of drip campaign prior to soliciting a review. This can be excellent if your product has some complex details or common misperceptions about it. For example, I ordered a UV Flashlight from Amazon, and the sellers send three sequential messages. The first included a detailed FAQ about safety notices for the UV light, tips for battery usage, usage tips for the light itself, and some nerdy statistics about the hardware. This message arrived immediately upon ordering, to lay the groundwork for the device. The second was timed to arrive just after the product arrived, and included a link to get support for shipping from Amazon if there were issues. It also included some usage tips for the light, like how to spot – and then clean up – pet urine stains. The third explained their warranty, included instructions on how to file a claim, and then solicited a review. It even provided a few sample questions you can answer in a review. This kind of drip campaign helps make sure customers who ordered the product are using it properly, and helps get dissatisfied users to self-filter before soliciting a review. It’s quite clever. 4. Provide Helpful Accessories Free Now, I don’t mean “file a review and get X accessory” here. I ordered a USB Bluetooth adapter, and the seller sent out an email that included download links for the driver software, in case the packaged CD didn’t work for some reason. This ensures that their customers can use the device, and can leave a review once they have it up and running. The best part of this is they’re proactive about it. They know their drivers might not be available to everyone right away, and they acknowledge the several different versions of Windows users might be running, so they have several different options. 5. Stagger Solicitations If you get a lot of reviews in a short amount of time, it’s possible that Amazon will view it as fraudulent. After all, that’s the sort of pattern that occurs when a user buys a bulk package of reviews. It’s also the usage pattern for cases where a seasonal spike means you go from 5 sales a week to 50. The spike in reviews can be dangerous. Instead of timing all of your review solicitation messages a set time after the purchase, stagger them out. Send them out in waves, so the reviews come back in similar waves, spaced out to not look fraudulent. This isn’t generally an issue, except when you’re first starting a review solicitation campaign or when you have dramatic spikes in sales. Spikes can be dangerous if you’re not careful, but most often I see this problem crop up when over-eager sellers send out their first solicitation campaign. 6. Offer Advance Copies or Review Copies There’s an entire community of people who receive copies of products and review them. Amazon prohibits any compensation other than the item itself, but does not prohibit using that item as an incentive. “We will give you this product for free if you review it for us” is perfectly legitimate. You simply need to find the people who are willing to make this deal, and those people have to disclose in their review that they received the product for free in exchange for an honest review. I recommend checking Facebook groups and specific review-based communities around the web. 7. Solicit Amazon Reviews from Non-Amazon Customers Nothing prevents a customer from leaving a review on Amazon for a product they bought elsewhere. When you sell products through your own website or another storefront, send out a message to those users. Acknowledge that they didn’t make their purchase through Amazon, but ask them to leave a review on Amazon nevertheless. You can do this by sending a review solicitation out via email to your customers, the same way you do with your Amazon customers. Simply ask them to leave you a review with a link to your Amazon storefront. The difference is, with your own store customers, you can be a lot more direct asking for reviews. Amazon doesn’t monitor these conversations, since they aren’t on the Amazon platform. Alternatively, you may consider soliciting those reviews for your own storefront. Good customer testimonials can be very useful for your sales pages, after all. It’s difficult to ask for both, though, so consider carefully which you would prefer. 8. Include a Product Insert A simple insert in the packaging of your product is a good way to solicit reviews on top of other means of communication. It’s guaranteed to arrive at the same time as the product, so you don’t run into issues with a solicitation arriving before the product. You can include whatever information makes the most sense; instructions, tutorials, links to useful further reading, and so on. Just make sure to include a solicitation for a review. I recommend testing a few different styles. A minimalistic style just soliciting a review might work better than a packet that offers information as well as asking for a review. It’s hard to split test this, since it’s difficult to track, but you can at least send out one type for a few weeks and another type for the next few weeks. I highly recommend hiring a professional designer and/or printing company to handle your inserts. A nicely designed card with a graphical element looks and feels a lot better than something quickly dashed off on a home printer on standard printer paper and clipped up for the package. It’s up to you, of course, but I find a professional feel works a lot better. 9. Include Documentation One technique that is becoming increasingly common is including a free eBook along with each purchase. If you’re selling a cooking tool, create an ebook with tutorials for using it, recipes that make use of it, care instructions, and of course a review solicitation. You don’t need to host or sell this ebook on Amazon; it can be available on your website instead. The key to this is to not mention it until the user has already made a purchase. The unexpected value is an emotional jolt that makes the user feel like they “won” somehow, even if every order gets a copy of the book. I find it to be very worthwhile to hire a couple of freelancers to create this book. Hire a writer to write it – aim for something of decent size, maybe 10-15 pages in a magazine-style format – and hire a graphic designer or photographer to provide illustrations for it. A cookbook can have some good food photos to adorn each recipe, a product guide can have technical and usage illustrations, you name it. 10. Fish for Top Reviewers Amazon maintains a list of the top reviewers on the platform. These are people who leave reviews very frequently – often with hundreds or thousands of reviews under their belts – and who have extremely high rates of “helpful” votes. You can see the lists here. Go fishing! Look through these reviewers and look for ones that review the kinds of products you sell. Many top reviewers include contact information in their profiles, which allows you to reach out to them. Offer them a product to review; many will take you up on it. Top reviewers have a lot of trust within the Amazon review system, and their reviews are never flagged as fraudulent. They’re almost always going to be worthwhile unless the product you send them is somehow inferior. What are your favorite ways to get reviews on Amazon without breaking the terms of service? I’d like to hear if you have any tips or tricks I didn’t cover. Let me know in the comments below! The post 10 Ways to Solicit Amazon Customers for 5 Star Reviews appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Can You Earn Money with PopAds.net Traffic?

PopAds is one of a wide range of ad networks available for publishers looking to earn some extra cash. It operates using pop-under advertising, which may or may not be ideal for your situation. If you’re interested in learning more, read on. What Is PopAds.net? PopAds is an ad network. It’s not an ad network that uses embedded ads on your site, overlays in front of videos, or other sorts of display ads, however. Rather, PopAds uses pop-unders, a kind of ad format that has been in and out of favor for years. PopAds has a few benefits over old-school pop-under and pop-up advertising. It still opens a new window, but that window is layered below the current window, so the user doesn’t have their browsing of your site disrupted. More importantly, it waits to trigger until the user clicks somewhere within your site. This minimizes the immediate bounces that occur when a pop-up or pop-under shows up, from those web users who are sensitive to that kind of thing. The PopAds network has been around since 2010 and has adapted well with the times, making it one of the larger and most successful pop-up based advertising networks available today. Pop-ups and pop-overs are generally frowned upon, while pop-unders tend to skirt by because it’s more difficult with long browsing sessions to identify which site originated the ad. The Benefits of PopAds PopAds has a few benefits as an ad network. First of all, they have a fairly large range of advertisers, meaning you’ll pretty much never be left with un-filled ad space. Since the ads require a click to appear, your bounce traffic and short-lived visits won’t dilute your click rates. The ad network is also very liberal with their acceptance of websites. It’s not like something like Taboola or Outbrain, where you need hundreds of thousands of visitors to even get into the network. Essentially any website is allowed so long as it doesn’t violate the laws of the United States or, interestingly, Costa Rica. Costa Rica is included because it’s the location that PopAds is using for their headquarters. Basically, that means sites that advertise gambling or pornography are fine, but sites that sell weapons or illegal drugs are generally not. There may be some quirks about the Costa Rican law that I don’t know, but I imagine it’s largely what you might be familiar with. One major benefit of PopAds is that publishers can set the minimum bid for their site. This requires that advertisers who want to advertise on your site have a minimum bid, so you’re not spamming your audience with low-quality advertising and only earning a few cents per click. PopAds also uses a system that, since it requires a user action to open the window, tends to bypass most pop-up blockers. It’s not entirely reliable – some blockers still catch it, and disabling scripts site-wide will catch it – but it’s better than most pop-up based ad networks. PopAds claims that their system is allowable under Google’s rules, specifically for AdWords – now known as Google Ads – but they disavow any responsibility if it gets your Google Ads account sanctioned or restricted. If that happens, of course, it will be up to you to decide which you would rather prioritize. Because of the unique bidding system that PopAds uses, there’s a certain level of diminishing returns for publishers. You can choose how many pop-unders a particular visitor will receive, but each additional pop-under is typically filled with a lower bidder than the initial ad. This means allowing 1 pop-under might be more valuable in the long run than allowing 2 or 3. Additionally, there seems to be mention of a daily limit of pop-unders for publishers, at least in the PopAds FAQ section. I don’t know what this limit is, but it does potentially set a limit on the amount you can earn per day. The PopAds network is global, with a presence around the world. They have advertisers and publishers throughout over 50 countries, though of course some of them are going to be much less valuable than others. You will have to look to see if your country is supported. Can You Earn Money With PopAds? A short section here, but yes, you can earn money using the PopAds pop-under network. There are some caveats to it that I’ll go into later, but it’s not a scam and it does pay people. In fact, the payment is on request, rather than NET30 or another regular distribution. PopAds claims that their average revenue for publishers has never gone below $4 per 1,000 pop-unders. This isn’t the highest rate in the world, but it’s far from the lowest. As usual with any ad network, it largely depends on a wide variety of factors. PopAds also has an affiliate/referral program. When a user signs up as a publisher using your link, you get 10% of their earnings. When a user signs up as an advertiser using your link, you get 10% of their ad spend. All in all, it’s not a bad deal. Frankly, that’s likely where the biggest success stories come from. None of the links in this post are affiliate links, by the way. This author posted their experience with PopAds. Their rates ranged around $2.50 per 1,000 views from the USA, $1.50 for Australia, and $2 for most of Europe. For India it was 60 cents, for the Philippines it was 30 cents, and so on. Well below the promised $4 per 1K views, but that’s the way it always is with ad network advertising. Maximizing Earnings with PopAds If you’re interested in using PopAds to make money as a publisher, here are my tips for making the most of the network. Target high value countries. You would be right in assuming it’s the usual suspects here. The USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and so on tend to be the high paying countries, while countries in the middle east and south east Asia tend to have much lower rates. Unfortunately, a sizable proportion of PopAds traffic comes from Brazil, which is also not a high value country. Make sure to set your category and restrict advertiser categories. Your category helps ensure there is a match between your content and the content of the ad. Of course, it helps if you’re in one of the niches that is most commonly represented within the PopAds network. Which categories are those? Well, if you remember it’s a pop-under network, you’ll have a pretty good idea. According to PPCMode and my own research, most of the advertisers and most of the publishers in the network are in the adult content niche, with others in file sharing, image hosting, web/Flash games, and gambling. There’s also a lot of sites in various automotive niches, usually in auto sales (through shady subprime auto lenders or used car lots) and in insurance. File sharing in particular is not a great niche to allow. The kinds of people who are interested in file sharing are not the kinds of people who want to pay for anything, so the traffic is pretty low quality and won’t earn you much. Other niches, particularly adult niches, tend to be better performing. Pick offers that you know you can fulfill as much as possible. You pick offers to participate in, but if your metrics for them are low enough – that is, low click and conversion rates – the people managing the offers can blacklist your site from them. In particular, click-to-download offers and other sorts can be difficult to convert, especially with pop-unders. You can try the offers, but you are liable to be kicked if you underperform. Make sure to set a moderate minimum bid. If you set your minimum bid too low, you’ll be flooded with low quality advertising and will eat up your quota of daily pop-unders very quickly. Your rates will be low, though of course if that’s acceptable to you, go for it. I personally prefer higher rates that result in fewer ads, but higher quality and higher value ads. Conversely, don’t set your minimum bid too high. If you set the level too high, you’re cutting out too many advertisers, and the remaining audience might not want to advertise on your site. If your site is really good, you may be able to swing yourself as a premium publisher, but I wouldn’t count on it. Do what you can to encourage clicks on your site. Since PopAds requires a user interaction to trigger the pop-under, you will perform much better if you have some reason for your user to click on your site. Ironically, pop-over light boxes are a great way to do this, since they’re disruptive enough to require a click, but not so disruptive that they drive users away. Monitor your metrics and maintain a level of agility. The pricing and bidding for ads will waver throughout the week, with lower rates on weekends simply because of the number of businesses that shut down for weekends. Keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to adjust your minimum bids and other targeting on the fly. Why I Don’t Recommend PopAds All of the above makes this seem like a decent ad network, somewhere in the middle of the road. I have to say, however, I don’t want to recommend PopAds to my readers. Why not? Several reasons. First of all, PopAds has by all reports gone significantly downhill in the last few years. Every time a post is published on a high profile marketing blog about PopAds, a flood of low quality publishers streams in. This decreases the average quality and value of the network, which means advertisers spend less money. When advertisers spend less, publishers make less, driving the whole network down. The addition of the third point on this list makes it even worse. Secondly, pop-up and pop-under advertising is, frankly, a bit annoying to your website users. There’s a reason most websites have transitioned to display advertising, affiliate marketing, or lightbox-based advertising. Having tabs or windows appear when you didn’t want them is a prime violation of the user experience.  Some people are more sensitive to it than others – I’m not the biggest fan – but in general pop-ups are an outdated technique struggling to maintain relevance. Third and perhaps most importantly, PopAds has been abused by hackers. There are a handful of pieces of malware and viruses that run hidden browser windows and constantly browse PopAds for the benefit of the hacker. This is a guilt by association issue: PopAds is not responsible for these, nor do they sanction them. However, the fact is, it’s a network used by viruses, and there’s always the possibility that it will serve malicious ads to your traffic. Personally, the risk isn’t worth it. I don’t want to risk subjecting my audience to the kinds of issues PopAds can bring with it, so I don’t recommend it. You all, however, are adults capable of making your own decisions. Feel free to give them a try and see if you like them more than I do. To be honest, I would only use PopAds on a site that I’m using for experimentation, or one that’s running in one of the niches that isn’t normally allowed on most ad networks. Even then, the ads that appear can be shady, and you probably want to monitor them to make sure you aren’t accidentally serving malware to your audience. Exercise caution and you can make some money, but frankly, there are better options available. The post Can You Earn Money with PopAds.net Traffic? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

How to Track Phone Calls as Conversions on Your Ad Campaigns

With most forms of advertising, you’re hoping to attract a customer “eventually”. That eventual time in the future might be in a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks, depending on the type of ad campaign you’re running. Brand awareness campaigns might not even care if a conversion is six months down the line. Ads with a phone number or a call-based call to action are different. They’re aimed at attracting hot leads, the people willing to call you because they’re ready to make a purchase right now. You don’t want to miss these leads, but you also don’t want to fail to track them. Without appropriate data, how can you tell how effective your ads are? I’ve split this post into two parts: one for Facebook ads and one for Google ads. Both have the ability to track phone calls, though the methods for doing each are pretty different. Let’s dig in! Facebook Call Tracking There are two different ways you can track phone calls using Facebook ads. One of them involves ads entirely on Facebook, while the other tracks off-site conversions on your own website. The first method is to track phone calls as a conversion action through your Facebook page. Go to your Facebook page and look for the call to action button in the upper corner, beneath your cover photo. You can change this call to action to be a number of different things. Any Page Admin, Editor, Moderator, or Advertiser can change this button. You can have that call to action be anything from “like this page” to “give us a call” in terms of options. Here’s how to set your call to action, according to Facebook’s help center. In this case, what you want to do is plug in your business phone number as your call to action. This way, when a user clicks that call to action button, they will be presented with your phone number. In some cases, if they’re browsing on PC and have a VoIP application installed, clicking this button might bring up the option to initiate a call via their VoIP system. Likewise, if the user is browsing on a mobile device, it will bring up the option to initiate a phone call using their mobile device. Assuming, of course, the device has phone call capabilities; some people browse on tablets, after all. What you will then need to do is create a promoted call to action. These are specialized ads that have the ad objective of “get the user to click the page default CTA button.” On Facebook, go to your main menu and click Promote, then click Promote Your CTA. You’ll have to fill out all of the normal details for an ad, and then promote it. This is fine, except it only tracks when a user calls you. If a phone call is your conversion action, it’s good to go. If, however, you want to track conversions that occur via a phone call, you will need to record that data separately and import it later. Tracking offline conversions is a surprisingly difficult and complex prospect. You can’t simply ask users if they called you because of your Facebook ad, right? You could set up individual phone numbers for each possible conversion method, but then you’re managing a bunch of different numbers and the associated expenses of having phone management. Thankfully, Facebook has a fairly complete guide to tracking offline conversions in their help center, found here. You will need to use the Facebook business manager rather than their normal ad manager or Power Editor to manage offline conversions. One thing that will probably be useful when you’re setting this up is this table. It’s a reference for how you should format the data for individual kinds of conversions offline. With phone numbers, you need to include the country code for your phone number, which many people forget. You should also, of course, include additional data about your offline conversions, like the name of the event, the value for the event, the ID for the order if applicable, the name of the converting user, and so on. This is all necessary to fully include all information in your analytics. I said there were two methods for tracking calls on Facebook, and so far have only mentioned one. The other is to create awareness ads, under the reach option. You will need to have your phone number as one possible action a user can take on the landing page to their ad, and that phone number will need to be tracked using the Facebook pixel. You can view the pixel API data here, with “contact” being the relevant call. This, again, will only track if a user calls using a call button on your site, so it’s not a perfect option. There’s a third alternative as well, but I’ll cover it in a third section below. Google Call Tracking Google actually has four different ways to track conversions from phone calls. You can track your calls from ads. With Google Ads, you can create a specific kind of ad called a call-only ad. These ads use a special call extension for your advertising, that encourages users to call and only displays in the first place when the user has the ability to make a call. You are also able to set a minimum length for the call, so you don’t track frivolous or spam calls as conversions accidentally. You can track calls from a phone number you have embedded on your website. Much like the second option for Facebook above, you need to have Google’s tracking code embedded on your site. You’re already using Google Analytics, so all you need to do is add the appropriate structured data call to a specific call forwarding number displayed on your website. Again, you can track the length of a call to ensure that the worst, shortest calls are filtered out. You can also track calls specifically on your mobile website. Google can even detect if the version of your website displaying to a user is the mobile or desktop version of a responsive design. This is only tracked as a click, not as a phone call; they can’t monitor the length of the call or filter the data. Finally, much like Facebook, you can import your call conversions as tracked via another system internally. You can track as much data as you want about the call, from customer identity to conversion value to call length, but it’s all data you need to track and then import into Google’s systems. In order to track calls or to import call tracking data, you need to be using a Google call forwarding number. Google forwarding numbers attempt to at least share the area code of the geographic location for your business, so they aren’t obviously a tracked or otherwise “strange” number when a user is considering calling. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that Google can only provide call forwarding numbers in specific countries. You can see a complete chart of the countries where these numbers are available here. Some, like India, only allow toll-free numbers and not local numbers. Others, like Brazil, do local numbers but not toll-free numbers. Most do both. A few, like Japan, will show the caller as Google in Caller ID, due to local transparency laws. There are a lot of different considerations when tracking phone calls through Google analytics and Google ads. I can’t give you specific tips because it will come down to your specific setup and how you want to be tracking call conversions. I recommend mapping out exactly where your calls are coming from and how you want them tracked, and then dig into the help center to find specific information about those sources of data. The general process will involve setting up a call-based conversion action in your Google Ads system. You will then want to install a tracking tag on your number on your website and ads, if applicable, and make sure the phone number you’re tracking is a Google forwarding number. Google also provides a troubleshooting document here for when you’re setting up call tracking but things aren’t working quite right. Third Party Call Tracking The alternative to both of these, and a simpler one, is to use a third party call tracking service. A third party call tracker will do basically the same thing as Google’s call tracking, using a forwarding number to track information about phone calls. Many of them also offer a CRM or related application your call center or sales team will use. When a call comes in, the application activates. The person who picks up the call will then log information about the caller – such as name, purpose of call, and if a conversion happens – along with automatically logged data like date and time. All of this information will then be compiled into one format, usually a specific call-based set of analytics. The third party call tracker may or may not allow you to integrate your data with Google and Facebook analytics, or a third party analytics system. They might allow exports in a format for you to import, as well. It really depends on the system. With that in mind, here are a few possible third party call tracking companies you might consider. Full disclosure, I haven’t used any of these myself, so I can’t vouch for their quality. Do your own research, make sure they offer the features you want at a price you can afford, and contact their sales teams if you want to know more. CallRail – A call tracking company that offers call attribution, business-level call management, integration into several large systems like Google Ads, Hubspot, and Salesforce, and call routing with geographic-level targeting. They have a two-week free trial and their starter plan begins at $30 per month. That includes 10 local numbers, 500 minutes of phone time, and 100 text messages. Call Tracking Metrics – Despite the generic name, this is a specific company. They offer call management, analytics, text messaging, reporting, and agency-level tools. Their business plan starts at $20 per month plus additional fees for usage based on the type of number, whether or not you’re getting transcriptions of your calls, and the geographic location of your calls. Active Demand – This app has predictive automation and has versions for both agencies and for individual businesses. Basic call tracking can be free at low levels, so small businesses might consider looking into this app first and foremost. For larger business plans, they also include email marketing and tracking, as well as automation for varying levels of need. CallCap – This platform has call tracking and call monitoring, as well as some call recovery features for cases where a call is dropped unexpectedly. They also have some tracking for outbound marketing, texting, and integrations into several ads systems, including Doubleclick. Pricing is par for the course and starts at $30 per month, with additional fees if you go over the basic usage limits. Telecapture – One of the older call tracking companies, they offer real time reports, local numbers and toll-free numbers throughout the United States. They’re fully open for exporting your data, and they can allow you to customize called ID and other features. Call recording is available for review, and they have a spam call filter to avoid noise in your analytics. They’re also quite cheap in comparison to some others, starting at $6 per month. Hopefully with at least one of these options, you’ll be able to track the call information you want in your analytics. It can be a little complex to set up, that’s for sure, but the agents working for any individual company, even Facebook or Google, should be able to give you a hand. The post How to Track Phone Calls as Conversions on Your Ad Campaigns appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Can You Use Multiple Conversion Tracking Pixels on a Page?

Tracking pixels are an extremely important component to any sales funnel. They’re the code that allows you to track information about your visitors, particularly their conversions. Without the appropriate tracking pixel, you won’t have the relevant data in Google Analytics, in Facebook Insights, or in whatever other analytics software you want to use. Not to mention all of the affiliate tracking code that’s becoming more and more common every year. The question is, do you need to pick one tracking pixel, or can you include more than one piece of tracking code on a single page? A Simple Answer The short answer is “generally, yes” you can add more than one piece of tracking code to any given page on your website. This is very common for landing pages and “thanks for buying” pages, for example. Facebook Ads want to track data one way, Google Analytics and Google Ads track it another way, and if you want fluid information on both of them, you need both pieces of tracking code. I can’t give you an unqualified answer, right? Those of you who have been reading my blogs for a while now know I never give a straight answer. There are a few reasons why this might not be the case, and a few issues you might run into, so let’s talk about them. Multiple Google Ads Tracking Pixels One common misconception I’ve come across on the Google Product Forums and elsewhere is that your Google tracking pixel is associated with an individual ad campaign. These users believe that each ad campaign has its own associated tracking pixel. If each campaign has its own tracking pixel, you would run into issues where you have one order confirmation page that is triggered from multiple different landing pages. You would need multiple copies of the Google tracking pixel, one for each ad campaign, on that page. It would be a complex mess of referrer data and tracking. Obviously, the easiest solution here would be to make multiple visually identical confirmation pages, one for each landing page, but that can spiral out of control quickly. Thankfully, none of this is the case. The fact is, your Google Ads tracking pixel is associated with your account, not with any one campaign or ad set. You put the one instance of tracking code on your confirmation page, and you’re good to go. Google’s tracking is smart enough to track user information from page to page, and can carry that information forward from the moment the user clicks your ad to the moment they convert. In fact, due to the slow expiry of cookies, Google Ads can track a user who clicks on your ads but doesn’t convert for up to 30 days. There’s no need for multiple tracking code snippets or anything else complex like that. All of the complexity is on Google’s back end. Multiple Analytics Suites Let’s say that you want to track three different sources of traffic to your landing page. You only have one landing page, but you have traffic coming from Google Ads, from Facebook Ads, and from Twitter Ads. You want to be able to associate what conversions come from which source. Can you do it? In this case, you will need to be installing three different tracking pixels to your landing page and confirmation page. You need the Google Analytics tracking pixel, the Facebook Pixel, and the Twitter Universal Website Tag. All three of these code snippets is a script that loads when the relevant part of the website loads. Usually, this is in the header of your site, though some frameworks might put it elsewhere, and sometimes you want it attached to specific sections of a page. It depends on your site architecture. The key is that all three of them go in the same place in your code. Can you plug in all three of these tracking code strings without issues or conflicts? In general, yes. All three of them are stand-alone, self-contained pieces of code that call scripts hosted on their respective sites. One issue you could run into is instances where you’re flagging certain actions on a page as events to be tracked by individual tracking snippets. This can get pretty clunky in your code, though there’s no real way around it. The biggest potential problem is not with tracking your data, it’s with accuracy in cases where the user comes from multiple sources. For example, let’s say a user finds your product through a Google search and clicks on your Google Ad. They land on your landing page, but they choose not to convert. They have 30 days before the Google Ad tracking snippet expires. Now say that 28 days later, the user remembers you and looks you up on Facebook. They click a link on your Facebook page that leads them to the same landing page. This time, they go through and convert. Which analytics app gets the conversion recorded? Google has a valid claim to the conversion from being the original source of the visitor, but Facebook is the most recent touch, and thus the most immediately relevant. The answer is that both apps will track the conversion, and it’s up to you to realize that some of your conversions will be duplicated. This is actually a pretty complex problem, and it’s something that engineers at Google and Facebook – as well as other agencies – struggle with. Facebook added some advanced tracking configuration options in 2017 to help with this issue, but it’s still something you need to be aware of that could happen. Google also has their own tool to assist with this, called the Google Tag Manager. The Google Tag Manager supports a wide range of tracking pixels from a large number of analytics apps and affiliate tag trackers, including Adobe Analytics, AWIN, Cxense, Hotjar, Salesforce, Personali, Snowplow, Tune, and Webtrekk. If you’ve never heard of most of those, don’t worry; neither have I. Regardless, you can check the full list here. Facebook even has a tutorial on how to add their tracking pixel in the Google Tag Manager here. The other issue you might encounter with multiple pieces of tracking code is simply copy-and-paste errors. You have to copy code from one source, paste it into your site’s code, then copy a second set of code and paste it in as well. It’s easy to accidentally shift around a bracket and break everything, if you’re not careful. So, you know. Be careful. Multiple Affiliate Network Tags Affiliate network tracking comes in a very wide range of complexity. Some, like Amazon Affiliate links, are simply bits of code added on to Amazon links. Others might need to be run through a redirect page. Some can have Google UTM parameters added on top, while others might be disrupted if too much is going on. I can’t give you a simple, clear answer as to whether or not you can add any two given affiliate network tags to the same page. They work in too many different ways. The main problem you might encounter when tracking multiple affiliate networks is if they both track the same thing. If the same vendor is on multiple networks and you’re also using both networks, you could find that one sale is tracked by both networks. Suddenly two networks are supposed to pay you for one conversion, meaning the advertiser is over-charged, meaning the networks need to investigate. It’s fairly likely – and reasonable – that this will be considered fraud, and they will come down on you like a sack of hammers. The best solution to this is to be careful with what affiliate networks you’re tracking on any individual page. Generally, your pages want to be single-focused enough that they’re only tracking one product on one network, anyway. Of course, everyone has their own setup, so I can’t say how your site should handle everything in an ideal situation. Just map everything out and look for conflicts, I guess. Multiple Instances of One Pixel Now let’s go to another situation. You’re a marketing agency, and you want to track customer data with your agency-level Facebook pixel. You also want to track the customer’s individual data with their own Facebook pixel. Since you want to track the same data in two different places, you can handle this in several ways. The first thing you might consider doing is saying “screw it” to your customer’s pixel and just tracking everything with your pixel. After all, you can drill down to just stuff coming from their domain, so you can export a report for them. What happens, though, if the customer decides to cancel their contract with you? They can’t get reports on their data anymore. They don’t have their own historical data to work with. It’s a big mess that no one wants to deal with. The second thing you might consider is to paste in two different copies of the tracking pixel on the site. This works, but it’s clunky. See, both pixels will be initializing the same script, so the same script is running twice for every user. This can slow down the page and, in some cases, cause conflicts. You may end up with duplicate data, with every conversion being tracked twice for each tracking pixel, since the script is running twice. So, that method is out. The actual answer is to realize that the Facebook tracking pixel is smart enough to be able to handle more than one ID. In the tracking pixel code, you’ll see a line that looks like “fbq(‘init’, ‘{{pixel_ID}}’);”, up near the top. This is the line that calls the specific pixel ID, telling Facebook which ID should have this data assigned to it. You can just copy that line, though, and change the Facebook Pixel ID for the second line. You’ll end up with something like: fbq(‘init', ‘{{pixel_ID_1}}'); fbq(‘init', ‘{{pixel_ID_2}}'); This allows one script to refer one piece of tracking data to two different IDs at the same time. You get the data for your overview analytics, and the customer gets the data for their analytics. One thing you need to make sure of in this scenario is that the customer doesn’t start using the wrong ID for other marketing they’re doing on the side. You don’t want them to start sending data from strange sources to your main analytics. Google is a little less graceful with handling tracking multiple properties on one landing page. They can do it with the new Universal Analytics code, the analytics.js script. If you’re still using the old ga.js script, though, you can’t use more than one copy. You can use one of each and it should work. They have a whole article about tracking across multiple domains and tracking across multiple properties, so you can explore the Analytics Help Center to find the information that most closely suits your situation. Your Turn Have you ever needed to track the same conversion or the same piece of referral data in multiple analytics suites? How did it work for you? I’m curious what kind of configurations you’re all using out there, and how tracking it all has worked out. Some of you are probably doing some pretty insane things, and I love reading the crazy stories. Let me know! The post Can You Use Multiple Conversion Tracking Pixels on a Page? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

How to Successfully Lower Your Amazon FBA Seller Fees

We don’t talk too much about Amazon selling on this site, but it’s definitely a topic worth covering. We’ve covered how to view the sales for individual products, and we’ve talked about improving product rankings, and a handful of other topics that revolve around selling more on Amazon. There’s just one problem: the more you sell, the more you lose to those pesky Amazon fees! The most convenient way to sell products via Amazon is with the Fulfillment By Amazon program, or FBA, but they have a bunch of fees associated with the program that you may want to minimize. How FBA Works Fulfillment by Amazon is a program any seller can opt into if they want to add a lot of convenience to selling through Amazon. Essentially, you ship off all your products pre-packaged and ready to go to Amazon, and when someone buys one of those products, they handle shipping from there. It’s sort of like a cross between running your own storefront and dropshipping. You still have to handle inventory supply, but you don’t have to handle the mechanics of addressing and shipping individual products. Set up FBA on your account. Create your product listings for the products you plan to sell. Prepare your products to be shipped quickly and easily. Ship your products to Amazon to be held in their warehouses until such time as they are purchased. Rake in the profits when users buy your products, without needing to worry about shipping. FBA has a handful of great benefits. The biggest and best of those benefits is the fact that Amazon handles shipping to customers. As long as the products are in stock in their warehouses, your customers can receive them in a matter of days, rather than the weeks it might take if you ship normally. Other benefits include Amazon handling your customer service for returns and refunds, the space you save by sending inventory to Amazon instead of keeping it in a spare room, and a consistent means of shipping, tracking, and managing inventory. The primary drawback, of course, are the fees. Amazon FBA’s Fee Structure Amazon FBA is much like their affiliate program and many other programs they offer: it’s flexible, which means it changes based on a bunch of different factors. You can view their full fee structure here. Basically, they have two fees you have to pay. The first is a fulfillment fee, which is a per-unit fee and covers Amazon’s picking and packing of your products from their inventory, their shipping and handling, and their customer service and return handling. For standard size products that are under 1 pound, it’s $2.41 per unit. Larger units scale up, as do oversize units. They also charge an additional 40 cents per unit for clothing. The worst case scenario for a fee would be a special large oversize clothing unit, which could have a fee as high as $150 or more. The second fee you have to pay is for inventory space. This fee depends on the cubic feet of space required to store your inventory and is not a per-unit price. It also varies depending on the time of year, with one fee for January through September, and another, higher fee for October through December. Standard sized products at the low time of year are 69 cents per cubic foot per month, while the highest possible fees end up being $2.40 per cubit foot per month. The fee structure page I linked above will show you a few estimated products and their associated costs, as well as providing you with a calculator if you’re interested in estimating what your costs could be. FBA has a few additional fulfillment options that can have different fees associated with them. They have a specific option for multi-channel fulfillment, one for specifically small and lightweight inventory items, and a subscription service that offers discounts for eligible customers. All in all, it’s very complicated, and it’s easy to see how you can eat up some or all of your profits on some items if they’re not packaged properly, if they’re too heavy, or if they take up too much space. What I’ve done, then, is come up with as many tips as possible to help you reduce the FBA fees that Amazon will charge you. Some might only carve off a few cents, while others could be much more significant. Use as many as you can! Use Tight Packaging As you can see from the fee structure, one of the primary costs associated with FBA is storage, based on the amount of space an item takes up. This works exactly counter to how the US Post Office operates, with standard-sized packages being usually the cheapest shipping options. One mistake I see newbies make quite often is using standard sized boxes for everything. If you use a large box for a small item, there’s a lot of wasted space inside the box, but Amazon is charging you for all of that space. It will generally be well worth your time to find precisely-sized packaging for every product you want to ship and store in Amazon’s warehouses. Now, it’s not worth your time to optimize this by millimeters. Amazon uses size tiers to determine storage costs, since it mostly determines what size racks they need to put the packages on in their warehouses. If you’ve ever seen the inside of an Amazon warehouse, you know that they’re often insanely dense and picked through by robots as much as by humans. You can use the fee calculator again, or browse the tables on this page, to help you figure out the appropriately sized boxes for your products. Use Precise Packaging One item of note that Amazon calls out on their packaging and fulfillment page is that they use very precise scanners to measure any package they’re storing in their warehouses. This measurement scans each dimension of the package and feeds the data into their algorithms to figure out the most efficient way to store it. This includes all three spatial dimensions as well as weight of the package. Amazon’s scanners don’t differentiate between something substantial and something insubstantial. The example they use is a piece of your packaging tape curling up. A ribbon or bow around the top of a package, like a traditional Christmas present, would be another example. Something insubstantial sticking out of the package, you know? When the scanners scan the package, they will record the additional length of that insubstantial bit of tape as additional height/width/length. This, even though it can be fixed by pressing the tape down or trimming it, can bump your product into another larger size tier. This can dramatically increase your fees! It’s may sound a bit silly, but just make sure that you’re being precise with the boxes and tape you’re using to ship your products. Try to avoid anything sticking out, no matter how insubstantial, because if it blocks a laser, it counts. Use Consistent Packaging When you’re selling numerous copies of the same product on Amazon, they don’t precisely measure and scan every single item. They take a representative sample of your packages and scan those, and use the average to calculate the storage space for your products. This means inconsistent packaging could reduce your fees, or it could drive up your fees, depending on which ones Amazon chooses to sample. I would generally assume that inconsistency is going to raise your fees, so make sure you’re packaging everything as consistently as possible. Monitor IPI Your IPI is your Inventory Performance Index. It’s a measurement of several metrics Amazon records about your inventory, and they grade you based on it. Each metric can give you a hint on how to reduce your fees by optimizing your inventory. The general advice here is never just ship everything you have to Amazon. The longer it takes to sell an item, the longer you’re paying for storage fees. If you have an item you only sell 2-3 per month, it does you no good to have more than, say, 4 of them on hand in Amazon’s warehouse at any given time. Conversely, if you sell 20 copies of an item per month, only having 15 on hand can delay shipping and give you penalties. Here’s what goes into IPI: Excess Inventory Percentage. This is the percent of your inventory that is considered in excess of what is necessary. Liquidating excess inventory through sales or deals can help you reduce storage costs, rather than letting those items collect dust in the fast-paced warehouse. Sell-Through Rate. This is similar, and is a metric measuring how accurately you keep your inventory close to how much you sell. Too little inventory is bad, too much inventory is bad. Keep to the sweet spot in the middle. Stranded Inventory. This is items in your inventory that no longer have product pages, or a number of other errors that might trigger this error as a catch-all. Avoid these whenever possible. This post in the FBA Forums is a pretty great overview of the IPI metric and how it works and influences your fees. Primarily, a low IPI might mean Amazon will restrict your storage space or bump up fees to account for it. Unfortunately, as a small or new seller, you might not have the data necessary to really optimize this. You’re likely going to end up having some products go out of stock or others under-sell from month to month. The sad reality is, Amazon is going to charge you fees for not having the foresight or the data to extrapolate from to keep right in that sweet spot. Luckily, the sweet spot is relatively large, all things considered, so you won’t eat TOO many extra fees if you stray outside of it. Still, it’s worthwhile to try to predict as accurately as possible what you need to have on hand from month to month. Don’t Store Inappropriate Products By inappropriate, in this case, I mean products that don’t really benefit from Amazon managing the storage for you. Big and heavy items that benefit from Amazon’s fulfillment are great candidates, though they’re expensive, especially if you don’t sell them quickly. Small, cheap items, on the other hand, often incur almost as much in fees as they give you in profit. You’ll break even or even lose out in the fees, particularly if it’s a slow-selling item, like an older replacement piece of tech. Make heavy use of the calculator, and assume the calculator is under-estimating fees, as it usually does. Anything that ends up in the Oversize category might not be worth storing, and anything that’s unusually heavy likewise might be difficult to store appropriately. Use Combo Packs Combining two items into one will reduce fees, since fees are both per-item and per-space. For example: Set of Tongs: $10 Fees: $1 for pick, $1 for shipping, $1.50 for referrals Baking Sheet: $10 Fees: $1 for pick, $1 for shipping, $1.50 for referrals Total fees: $7   Combination pack of tongs + sheet: $20 Fees: $1 for pick, $1 for shipping, $3 for referrals Total fees: $5   Now, this is a great option in certain circumstances. It doesn’t work if your products aren’t likely to be bought together, for example. Don’t, say, package a light bulb and a pair of tongs. They aren’t related, and finding people who need both is going to be rare compared to finding people who just want one or the other. You may need to dig into your product metrics to monitor what products are frequently bought together, and offer those as combo packs. Your Turn Do you have any tips you’ve tried and tested for reducing your FBA fees? I’d love to hear them. Just don’t tell me to fill my packages with helium; it doesn’t really work. The post How to Successfully Lower Your Amazon FBA Seller Fees appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Is The New Quora Advertisement Platform Worth Using?

Quora is such a bizarre platform. Originally created to occupy the same space as contemporaries like Yahoo Answers but classier, the site spent years running on investment capital with no source of monetization to be found. It was heavily adopted by marketers and similar folks, anyone who could benefit from being known as a thought leader. About the middle of 2017, they finally rolled out an ads platform, as most of us expected they would. With a new monetization stream, I’d venture to guess that the valuation of the company skyrocketed. Indeed, in 2014 or so the site was valued at around 900 million, while it’s now floating around 1.8 billion. Not everyone agrees that Quora is here to stay, though. Some lump the Q&A site in with such big names as Orkut, Google+, or Myspace. Personally, from a marketing standpoint, I don’t really care if the site lasts forever or if it keels over next year. So long as I can get some value out of it in the here and now, I believe it’s worthwhile. Enter the ads program. By running ads on Quora, you can drive traffic to your landing pages and pull in value from the Q&A site above and beyond what you get from answering questions organically. The question is, how does it work, how much does it cost, and is it worth using? Quora Ads Versus Other Ads Quora is a question and answer site with a bit of a reputation for high profile thought leaders – and many people who want to be seen as thought leaders – answering questions. This doesn’t always mean the answers are accurate, of course. Plenty of marketers use the site as a way to pitch their products rather than objectively answer questions. Some are a lot more transparent than others. At the core, Quora is used for information. In this sense, it’s perched in the same space as Reddit, Wikipedia, and just plain old Google search results with their infoboxes and their information ranking. You can’t run ads on Wikipedia, so the comparison there ends for us. When you advertise on Google, you’re capturing intent from users by virtue of keyword choice. If you’re good at choosing the right keywords, you’ll rake in the views, but only so long as you have enticing copy. If the user doesn’t like any of the search results, they’re going to draw back and re-tailor their query, and your ad impression went for naught. With Quora, you already have an audience interested in whatever topic is at hand. You know they’re looking for information, because they’re already on the Q&A site. There’s more intent and more basic assumptions that can be made to help refine your advertising. Plus, Quora ads display between answers and, while they’re somewhat ignorable, they aren’t such a disruption that it drives users away. That alone is somewhat unique these days. The most powerful aspect of Quora ads is the ability to target yourself. Target your own product, your own niche, your own company name as keywords. Your ads will be positioned between the answers for any questions involving those keywords. You can seek out those questions – or even ask them yourself – and contribute answers as well. You’re basically capable of turning a Quora string into a fairly customized landing page for your brand. How to Use Quora Ads How does the whole Quora ad process work? To start, you need a Quora account. If you’ve followed some of my past content, you’ve likely already created an account for organic use, and you can just use that. For the purposes of Quora ads, you should use an account with your company information, rather than a sock puppet you use for creating answers without looking biased. Now, before you even think about running ads, you need to lay the foundation for tracking their results. As you might expect from using Facebook for advertising, this involves installing tracking code on your site. The Quora Pixel is their version of the tracking pixel that traces its roots all the way back to email tracking. In your Quora Ads dashboard, one of the top navigation links is the Quora Pixel. Click it and set up the pixel by clicking the gray button in the far right. Fill out the information it asks for and copy the code it gives you. You’ll want to put this code in the head section of your site, just as you would the Facebook pixel or Google Analytics tracking code. It’s easy enough to do, but if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, send it over to your developer to handle. Quora has a similar ad structure to Facebook: you have Ad Campaigns, Ad Sets, and Ads. Think of it like ice in a fridge, the old style, not those fancy automatic ice makers kids these days get to play with. Your ad campaign is your freezer. Each ad set is an ice tray, and each ice cube is an individual ad. Ads are within sets, which are all within a campaign. The only place this metaphor breaks down is when you’re running multiple campaigns; not many people have multiple freezers these days. Click to create a campaign and you’re brought to a fairly standard ad creation window, though it doesn’t have a ton in the way of extra documentation. You have two objective options: conversions or app installs. Choose the most relevant, which 9 times out of 10 will be conversions. Choose a daily maximum budget as per your willingness to spend money, and set a lifetime maximum if you want to make sure your campaign doesn’t over-spend. Be aware that your daily budget is a $5 minimum. Finally, choose whether the ads start immediately or you want them to start on a specific date – and end on a specific date if you want. Once you have all of this set up, click continue to move to the ad set level. Come up with a name for your campaign, something descriptive enough to remember; this is internal information so don’t worry about it being public. Here you can choose a type of targeting to use. Topic targeting is typical keyword targeting. Use keywords, both positive and negative, to refine the sorts of questions and answers your ads will show up on. Audience targeting is more like Facebook ads, where you choose audience demographics to show your ads to regardless of the content they’re reading. Once you’ve run ads for a while with the Quora pixel installed, you can access audience retargeting here as well. Topic targeting is easier to refine in terms of ad copy and relevance. The best use of Quora ads is to run ads on topics that are close to your intent, so your ads look more like an intended part of the answer string. Once you dump in a list of keywords, Quora will give you a list of suggested topics based on the content they have available for advertising. Scan through this list and un-check any of the topics that don’t match your intent. For example, if you plug in a bunch of Facebook Marketing keywords, the suggested topics list will include a bunch of advertising and marketing strings. Find any that don’t fit your goal of Facebook marketing, and remove them from the list. You can then further refine your targeting with excluded locations and excluded topics, as negative keywords. Now on to your ad copy. You have four components to a Quora ad you can specify, and they’re quite similar to Google ads, since they’re entirely text. Business name. This will show as a “promoted by business name” and gives you 30 characters of space. Headline sentence. This is like your ad title and shows up in bold at the top of your ad, with 65 characters of space. Body text. This is the non-bold main body copy for your ad. You have 105 characters of space here. Display URL. This is another 30 characters that shows the URL a user lands on, along with a brief call to action you choose from a list. Use this space to good effect. All of the typical advice for text-based advertising apply here, so any tips for any other text ads can apply. Once you have that all filled out, you can run the ad immediately. Do Quora Ads Work? Quora ads certainly work. Let’s look at some data, shall we? This post on Medium has a review of different aspects of Quora ads, giving them all middle of the road ratings. This is similar to my impression of them; it’s a basic ad system without a lot of the bells and whistles you might be accustomed to using Facebook ads, or even modern Google ads. They work, but they aren’t slick or deeply customizable. That post, and this one from WordStream, both share another gripe with Quora ads, which is their expense. They tend to be 15% to 25% more expensive than comparable Google Ads. Google ads can be fairly cheap, though, and a more accurate comparison might be to third party blog ads or ad networks like Taboola or Outbrain. In those cases, Quora comes in somewhat cheaper. This case study from the Quora Ads beta indicates one of the biggest problems with Quora, which is intent. Quora is primarily an informational platform. The people who end up on Quora from a Google search or from some other source are there because they want to learn or read information about a subject. It’s the same reason they might end up on Wikipedia. The problem here is that the intent is to learn, not to buy. You have a harder time converting that intent into sales. The best ads on Quora tend to be ads that provide more information. A detailed landing page about a subject with a mailing list opt-in for more, a page that convinces the reader to opt-in to download or buy an informational e-book, and so on. Ads that try to push a product or service aren’t going to do quite so well. This means Quora tends to work best as a top-of-funnel way to get new users into your sphere of influence, rather than a way to drag them further down into your sales funnel. Then again, that’s what remarketing is for. Once those users have visited your site, make new ads with audience targeting to remarket to those users and pull them ever deeper. Effectively Using Quora Ads First of all, check out this article. It’s full of examples of Quora ads in action, and can give you an idea of what a good ad is and what a not-so-good ad looks like. After that, put all of your typical PPC ad knowledge to use. Your keyword research for Google ads transfers quite well over to Quora, so that’s a good place to start. Keep an eye out for common mistakes. Make sure to follow the ad guidelines for capitalization and sentence formatting. Quora wants their ads to look native, so they require sentence case capitalization and will automatically reject ads that use camel casing or other odd formatting. Don’t run ads that are too broad. You’ll end up with a scattershot approach that doesn’t give you much useful data. Err on the side of narrow ads and expand from there once you see what works. Be aggressive in culling topics that are outside of your focus. It’s better to have a smaller selection of more relevant ads than a broad selection of irrelevant questions. Bid appropriately. Quora suggests a bid based on your targeting and it’s usually a good idea to aim for somewhere in the middle of their range. Don’t set a low bid cap lest you end up under-bidding and not winning the auctions. And of course, my common piece of advice: start small and work your way up. Unless you have money to burn, it’s always better to start with a few small tests to see how the waters feel. The post Is The New Quora Advertisement Platform Worth Using? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

How to Track Google Ad Conversions with Free Trials

One way many web service providers hook people is with the free trial. Think about how many services and web apps out there have a free plan available to new users. It might last a week, two weeks, a month, or even indefinitely. This is fine! Free trials are a great way to hook new users on a product, integrating it with their workflow such that they can’t live without it. Once the free trial runs out, you push them right into converting to the level of paid plan appropriate for their usage. Throughout it all, you’re harvesting data you can use to optimize future conversions. There comes a problem with free trials, though. The existence of the free trial is a sort of air gap between two systems. You can track the conversion from a free trial to a paid account using whatever billing service you run, or you can track it through Google Analytics. That’s fine. The other end of the system, though, is Google ads. You probably run Google ads to get more users to your landing pages, where they will be enticed to try your free trial. You can use the Google ads built-in tracking to monitor conversions from that group, people who sign up for free trials. The problem is, how do you track which of those people moved on and upgraded to paid versions of your product? Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can do this, depending on the systems you use to track various aspects of your conversion process. Option 1: With Stripe Stripe is a payment processor a lot of you out there use, and with good reason. In addition to their wealth of useful features, they allow you to evaluate your conversions on an ongoing basis. It’s hidden in your Billing tab, where they show you your conversion percentage and value per customer. The data there can be used to track to show which people came in from a free trial and converted into a paying customer. You can link this with your Google data to match up the users who came in from your ads. I’m not going to go into great detail here because we’ve already covered Stripe conversion tracking over in this article. Go ahead and give it a look if you’re into Stripe. The one quirk you need to watch out for is that Google’s tracking code can’t be loaded via PHP. The workaround here is to add it to the customer dashboard, where you can track the user’s account status. Monitor when they log on and check if they’re still a free user or if they’re now a paid user. This tracks as your conversion event for analytics usage. Option 2: Manual Tracking Instead of relying on an obtuse and hidden tracking system, you can always just track your data manually. Monitor your Google ads and track a signup for a free trial as a conversion. You can even flag your accounts in some way internally with the source of the conversion. Did they come from Google ads, or an organic link, or a link from an affiliate you set up, or what? This is useful particularly for the affiliate angle. Many web services and apps can get a lot of mileage out of running an affiliate program. You can get a lot of people willing to advocate for your product in exchange for a cut, and you can kick that up into the stratosphere if you publish your affiliate offers on one of the major affiliate networks like OfferVault. When you track where the user came from when they signed up, you can then track what they do. You can have a list of people who signed up because of your Google ads, and you can quickly and easily determine which ones converted into paid customers from there. Of course, the more you do manually, the harder it is to keep track of all of this data. You need to have a set of custom spreadsheets, or custom data sources in your Google analytics, or whatever other system you use. It can be pretty annoying to handle data for hundreds of customers, and if you expand and start dealing with thousands or tens of thousands of customers, it can quickly reach a point where you either automate it or you write it off. At this point you might end up hiring a developer to create a custom tracking script for you, and you may end up with some wonky integrations or inconsistent data. As they say in the infomercials, there has to be a better way! Option 3: Data Hand-Off Possibly one of the smoothest options you have available is to link up your Google Ads and your Google Analytics tracking. It makes sense that two different Google systems with Google-based tracking in them would be able to hook together, right? Here’s what you need to do. First, you need to make sure you have your conversion tracking set up in Google ads. In this case, you want your conversion tracking to track each possible goal that a user might make. Signing up for a free trial is one goal, immediately signing up for a paid plan is another, and so on. You can track mailing list sign-ups as well, if you have them. Google has fairly robust conversion tracking options for Google ads. The problem you run into with Google ad conversion tracking is you don’t get that second layer of tracking. If someone signs up for a free account, there’s your conversion as far as Google ads is concerned. You lack the ability to follow that user and then track their upgrade. It’s worth noting that you do have the ability to track conversions that happen outside of your website. Google offers conversion imports, where they let you either upload a data file or transmit data via their API. This allows you to, for example, track the people who called your sales team and converted via phone, or who walked into a physical retail location and made a purchase, so long as you have some way to identify those users. You can read more about setting up conversion tracking with Google ads in this help center article. This is the first step of several. The second step is to track your additional goals in Google analytics. The primary goal you want to be tracking here is the conversion from a free user to a paid user. You can set up different goal tracking events for converting to different levels of paid service if you have different plans, or for different products if you have several. You can also just have one goal, if there’s only one option for a user to take. Creating a goal in Google analytics is pretty easy. In the Admin section, find the right View to show the goals section. Click to create a new goal and choose which type of goal you want to use. Templates. There are several different template goals you can create, based on common conversion actions Google sees. Buying tickets, buying a product, registering for a mailing list, and so forth are all goal types. The goals you have available will depend on the industry you have chosen for your business, which you can change when you edit your web property in your dashboard. Custom. Custom goals are goals you set up yourself. They can be a duration of a video play, a number of screens visited per session, a particular destination, an event, and so on. Event tracking (executing a conversion) or page visits (to the specific order confirmation page) are both options for tracking a free trial upgrade. Smart. Smart goals are goals Google can determine how to track just from the data they track about your site. You need to have sent at least 500 clicks through analytics over the previous month (and no more than 10 million sessions in that same period) in order to activate smart goals. Additionally, if you fall below 250 clicks in a month, you will lose access to smart goals. You’ll probably want to set up a custom goal for this. You don’t want to mess around with potentially missing data by using a smart goal, and you might not be able to see a template for the precise goal you want to track. Still, it’s very easy to set up a custom goal, you just have to fill out a form. When you create a specific goal, you will need to add the associated code trigger to your website. Again, this will likely be in your user dashboard or in a purchase confirmation page, though it all depends on your specific sales funnel setup. Google’s goal creation help center article is here. This still tracks data in two different places, though. You have your conversion tracking in Google ads and your upgrade tracking in Google analytics. How do you get them to talk to one another? That’s where goal imports come in. Importing your Google analytics goals into Google ads allows you to access the data from both sides of the coin and link them together. You’ll be able to see your analytics conversion data in your Google ads, directly correlated with the people who clicked through your ads to reach your sales funnel in the first place. An added benefit is that this allows the Google ads conversion optimizer access to more data about how your users are acting once on your site, which gives it more ability to optimize for the people who eventually upgrade. In order to import goals, the first thing you need to do is link your two accounts. You will need to sign into your Google ads account and click the settings wrench. Click linked accounts and click “details” under the Google analytics section. This will show you a list of the Google analytics properties attached to your Google account. Click the right property for your website and, in the actions column, click to link the property. You are able to link as many different properties to Google ads as you like, though the more you link, the more complicated your tracking becomes. This is why a lot of people like to use a dedicated Google ads account for each website they advertise, though there are problems with that approach as well. You will also need to make sure auto-tagging is turned on with your Google ads. It’s turned off by default. Go to your Google ads account settings and find the box that says “tag the url that people click through from my ad”. Check the box and save your settings. Incidentally, steps for both of those are for the new experience. The links I gave you also have the old experience steps available if you haven’t changed to the new experience yet. Now you can import your analytics goals into Google ads. Go to your Google ads account and click the tools tab, then the conversions section. There will be an Imports option, which you should check. Click the Google analytics button and continue. You will be given a list of goals and transactions you want to import; choose the appropriate data and import it. This gives Google ads the data you want to see. It can take up to half an hour after you link accounts for analytics goals to show up in Google ads, and it can take up to nine hours for the data to fully integrate with Google ads. Basically, give it a day before you try to use it as accurate data. You can read more about the data imports here. The post How to Track Google Ad Conversions with Free Trials appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Best Practices for Creating and Optimizing Registration Forms

A conversion funnel starts wide, with broad spectrum advertising and awareness campaigns. These campaigns feed into more targeted advertising, where the user might think “hey, I’ve heard this name before. This is interesting, maybe I should check it out.” That tier of advertising then leads to landing pages, blog posts, and other properties where you have one all-important goal: getting the sign-up. A form, be it for registration, for mailing list opt-in, or any other form of data harvesting, is what your entire funnel leads up to. It’s the tip of the inverted pyramid. If your users reach the point where they could fill out the form and don’t – or worse, fill out part of the form and stop before submission – you need to optimize your forms. I’m not going to beat around the bush. Here’s a bunch of tips, in no particular order. Take the ones you can, make use of the optimizations available to you, and rake in those extra conversions. Customize This Advice Before I get into the specific advice, I need to say one thing. Not every tip here will fit every brand. Some of them are changes that, if you made them, would hurt your conversions. Others might have no effect. Some might not even apply to your specific situation. Always test your changes using traditional A/B testing. If a change you make hurts your conversions, revert it and try something else. Remember: you can always change back if something doesn’t work out. The key is to accumulate a representative sample of data to test any change and choose which is objectively superior. Remember, also, that not all tips are aimed specifically at increasing the volume of sign-ups you get. That’s what a list like this one is for. Some of the tips I’m listing today are aimed at getting better sign-ups, rather than MORE sign-ups. Remember, if you have 100 sign-ups with a 1% conversion rate after the fact, you only have 1 conversion. If you have 50 sign-ups with a 10% conversion rate, you have 5 conversions. Even if the second scenario looks worse on paper initially, the conversion profits are better in the end. Now, on with the tips! Keep It Short Shorter is better when it comes to a registration form. The less a person needs to read, the better. Include just the information you need the user to know – like what each box is for and what each requires – and minimize other information. Users don’t need a 100-word-long paragraph about the virtues of signing up at the top of the registration form. Each box should have a simple label, which is often a single word. You generally need your legal disclaimers, like “we do not sell personal information.” Anything required by the new GDPR rules is good to have as well. Beyond that, you don’t need much of anything. Minimize Fields The less a user has to plug in to register, the better. You generally need a Name field, an Email Address field, and a Password field for account registration. Anything else can be added to the user profile once the user has registered. For something like a mailing list, you don’t even need a password field. If you’re using a registration form to collect qualified leads for future sales messages or calls, you’ll need extra information. Company name/size/employee count are useful to your sales team, but some users balk at giving that information. In some cases, you might be operating a software beta or other test where you might want information about the user’s computer. There are automatic scanners you can use to harvest that information without the user needing to know it, but this is a double-edged sword. One way, you lose the people who don’t know the information you’re asking for and don’t care to find out. The other way, you’re losing the people who don’t trust your scanner or don’t want to give you ALL of that information. You have to weigh the options. You should also minimize the fields you ask for at a time. If you need to ask for 10 pieces of information, it’s better to ask for 1 page of 5 pieces, and then a second page of 5 pieces, than it is to ask for 10. What you’re doing is taking advantage of sunk costs. If a user plugs in five pieces of information and clicks to the next page, they feel more likely to add in five more pieces of information and hit submit. You’ll lose some people, sure, but not as many as you would lose by presenting them with a dauntingly large form right off the bat. Make Progress Visible If you have a simple registration form, chances are it’s just a single page. This is great, because the user can fill out four or five informational boxes, check a confirmation button, and hit “register” to finish the process. In other cases, you might be asking for more information. If you split your form into multiple pages like I mentioned in the previous tip, make sure you have a progress bar. Lay out the exact number of pages, and include labels for them. Even something as simple as a percentage progress bar can make users feel more comfortable, rather than unsure about how deep they have to go to finish submitting the form. Minimize Distractions Many modern sign-up forms today work either as an overlay that covers the screen, or as their own landing page that has no other elements on the page. There’s a good reason for this: it minimizes other options. If a user is presented with a form in the middle of a blog post, they have a bunch of other potential distractions on the page. They could at any time click one of your other calls to action, or an ad, or even just abandon the form to keep reading the post. Like a good landing page, you want your registration form to have as few other options for the user as possible. Ideally, they only have four: fill out the form, hit the back button on their browser, navigate to another page via bookmarks or the URL bar, or close their browser altogether. Indicate Signs of Trust Trust signals are an important part of any conversion process. Depending on the kind of information you’re asking for, you should include those signs of trust. Here are some options: Include enough branding that the user knows they aren’t signing up for some random site mimicking you. Include a statement verifying that you’re not selling their information, with a link to a privacy policy. Include a trust seal, like the Norton Secured (VeriSign) seal. If asking for sensitive information, like bank details or a password, use SSL so the user has the browser-based lock of trust. Consider a numerical indication of other users who have signed up. 100,000 others can’t be wrong! If there may be a question, verify up-front that you handle other countries or languages, if applicable. Don’t go overboard, though. Avoid layering on half a dozen trust sigils like some kind of magic seal that will make people love you. It won’t work, and wraps around into “what are they hiding?” territory. Remember Mobile Mobile users exist. Half of all web traffic today is mobile. You’re going to have a lot of people viewing your forms that are using mobile devices. This means you need to put a lot of effort into making sure your forms work and are easy to fill out via mobile. Asking for as little information as possible is a big part of this. You also want to make each field easy to select and fill out. Minimize typing. Make it easy for a mobile user to scroll through options if necessary, to select fields like State or Country. One big convenience is to set specific fields to numerical inputs, which triggers mobile devices to use the number keyboard rather than the full keyboard. It’s a pain to have to type in a phone number using a normal qwerty layout on a phone, but easy if the number pad is given right up front. Validate Errors Form validation is a dying art, sometimes. A lot of users fill out a form, hit submit, and expect it to work. If they are presented with an error message telling them some field is improperly filled out, a lot of them will drop it in frustration rather than try to troubleshoot whatever the error is. You can perform field validation as soon as users are typing. Many modern forms do this, and you’ve no doubt seen it. Plugging in a username and being told it’s taken before you even proceed to the next field, filling out a phone number and being told it’s not a phone number because it has too many or too few digits, filling out a password and being told it doesn’t meet security criteria because it doesn’t have a special character, and so on. These are all aspects of form validation. If you can use an active script to read what’s in the form and validate it – without having to send it to a server, to keep passwords and the like secure – do so. Form validation makes it a lot easier to fill out a form in one pass, which in turn makes it easier to submit. Don’t Mask Passwords One of the “best practices” from the 90s was that every password field should be a series of dots or *s when you type it in. After all, anyone could be looking over your shoulder, right? Well, how often is a password stolen from looking over a shoulder? I would venture to guess it’s a lot, lot less often than the number of times someone plugs in a password incorrectly. It’s frustrating to plug in a password and have it be wrong, preventing you from logging into something. You know what’s worse? Plugging in a password you think is correct, but it’s actually wrong, when you register. Then, when you go to log in later, your password won’t work. If the user could see what they were typing when they typed it, they wouldn’t run into this problem. Harvest Background Information There are a bunch of different ways you can harvest information about a user when they submit a form, without them needing to plug in the information themselves. For example, you can harvest their IP address and use a lookup tool to guess at their general location. You can harvest their user agent to get information about their browser or device. You can even in some cases use mobile device access to harvest more precise location or other factors, though this often requires the user to authorize some action and might not be ideal. This ties into minimizing form fields and asking for less. The more you can harvest in the background, the less you have to ask for. Just don’t make use of that information in a creepy way, otherwise users will lose trust in you. Use One Column Studies have shown that using a single column is more readable and more likely to be filled out than splitting your form over multiple columns. It’s also better formatted for mobile, though a responsive design solves that issue regardless. Indicate Required Fields Most of the time, a user won’t want to fill out information they don’t need to. Unless every field in your form is required, mark the required forms with some kind of marking, either color or the traditional asterisk. Drop the Clear Field Option Many traditional forms have a “clear” button to reset the form. It’s a sort of emergency button for fringe cases. Maybe a previous user filled each form with gibberish. Maybe the user got two thirds of the way through and decided to change the information they’re giving you. 99% of the time, the user will not want to clear a form, and when they do they can just as easily refresh the window, since most browsers don’t save partially completed forms without intentional configuration. Instead, they hit the clear button instead of the submit button, and it destroys their desire to convert. Just drop the button. The post Best Practices for Creating and Optimizing Registration Forms appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

18 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Music on Bandcamp

Bandcamp is a global platform for hosting and selling music, used predominantly by small independent musicians. It’s excellent for its purpose, but it’s also a crowded platform. How can you make effective use of Bandcamp for music promotion? Let’s talk about it. About Bandcamp Using Bandcamp is free and pretty easy for musicians and artists. Sign-up is a quick and painless process, as is uploading music. Music fans can create accounts and follow individual artists, maintain wishlists, and explore similar music to what they already like. Artists can sell directly, with complete control over pricing and how accessible the music is to stream. I’ve seen some albums available on Bandcamp with unlimited streaming, and others that only allow each track to be played 2-3 times before it’s locked behind a purchase. Bandcamp also works directly with some music labels, and it can be a great discovery platform. Since we’re talking about selling music, I’m going to look at things from the perspective of an artist looking to sell. So here’s what Bandcamp offers musicians: Easy accessibility for fans. The website and mobile apps allow unlimited streaming of purchased music in high quality formats. Total control. You can charge any price and change prices whenever. You can charge a minimum price and let users pay more if they choose. You can even require nothing more than an email address. Global availability. Bandcamp accepts 18 different currencies from around the world. Analytics. Bandcamp offers fairly rich analytics about links to albums, music embeds, track popularity, purchasing, search terms, and more. Product sales. You can bundle music sales with physical items, ranging from CDs or vinyl to apparel to whatever else you want to sell. You can even sell tickets to your shows directly through Bandcamp. Chart access. Bandcamp submits sales reports to several global music charts, meaning you can place on them if you’re popular enough. Search engine visibility. Everything is indexed, so band names, lyrics, and song titles can all show up on Google’s results page. Album codes. Artist accounts come with the ability to generate 200 codes for free albums to send out and give away. You earn more by selling, an additional thousand codes for every $500 in sales, or you can purchase more directly for a few cents each. Customizable band and album pages. You can make your pages look pretty dang slick with minimal effort. Plus, of course, there’s the element of trust. Bandcamp is a trusted platform that processes millions of dollars in payments on a monthly basis. Users know that if they pay for something on the platform, they’ll get it. The only major downside to Bandcamp is them taking a cut of the profits off any album sold. That’s not a big surprise, though; every platform and every record label, manager, and anyone else involved in selling music is going to want their cut. Bandcamp only takes 15% of digital sales and 10% of merch sales, which decreases once you top $5k in total sales. That’s a lot less than a lot of other alternatives. Bandcamp also has a Pro version, for artists who want to pay a fee to gain access to additional features. Batch uploads, to queue up uploading an entire album + assets all at once instead of track by track. Messaging to reach fans, with geographic targeting and other features. Private streaming organization, you can send invites to specific people via email, message, or any other contact method, and stream to a DIY audience. Video hosting without ads. A custom domain name for your Bandcamp profile page. More advanced analytics, and Google Analytics integration. The ability to disable streaming for specific tracks. All of this comes at the cost of $10 per month, which is pretty reasonable if you’re getting any sales at all from the platform. Which, if you follow the tips I’ve accumulated below, you should be! Tips for Bandcamp Success I’m going to divide up these tips into a few categories to make things simpler. For example, this first category is off-site benefits. You want to establish a presence outside of Bandcamp, because no one platform alone (except maybe Facebook) can reach enough people to become a great success. Build a website. You want at least one web presence that you 100% control on your own. You can do it through a website builder like Squarespace, you can set up a WordPress template and run on a cheap web host, you can pay for a web developer and set up a custom site, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you have a bandname.com URL people can use to find you and find information about your band, your show dates and locations, your albums, and so on. Build social media profiles. Social media is how millions of people interact with the bands, brands, and people they want to engage with on a daily basis. At the bare minimum, you should have a Facebook band page and a Twitter profile. You might also consider an Instagram account, possibly something like Snapchat, and – depending on how modern savvy you are – something like one of the new platforms, like TikTok. Build a mailing list. It might seem strange for a band to keep an email newsletter going, but a mailing list is a great way to ensure your fans always know when you’re touring, playing shows, or releasing new music. You don’t have to rely on going viral or reaching the front page of some suggested music feed; you have your fans already at your fingertips. It’s pretty simple to set up something like Mailchimp to maintain a list and send out a new newsletter once a month. Run a blog. Much like a newsletter, you don’t often think of a blog when you think of a band, but a blog can go a long way towards increasing visibility. You don’t have to write frequently, even once a month is fine; just enough to keep fans aware of what you’re doing and remind people you’re alive. Share stores of being on the road, of composing, of performing, or even just life. Your fans won’t complain. Set up your Bandcamp pages. Bandcamp is very easy to get up and running, and you can customize your album pages with colors and uploaded imagery quite nicely. Do so, and make sure to upload your albums and configure them properly. Writing album descriptions, uploading album covers, and a proper credits section are all quite useful for helping your music stand out. Once you have your presence established, you need to get down to optimizing your presence on Bandcamp. One element too many musicians miss is the opportunity to optimize the little details that can have a big impact. Specifically, these details can help you reach the Discovery section of Bandcamp, which means front page exposure and a lot of new listeners. Choose a Main Genre and Sub-Genres. You have to understand your own music and, more importantly, the way others categorize your music. Maybe you feel like “Acoustic” as a genre fits you, but if most people think of you as Folk, you want to tag yourself as Folk so you can show up in those searches. Your choice of Main Genre is incredible important, as you can only have one, and it dictates your sub-genre choices as well. If you try to pick sub-genres that are outside of the main genre, you get zero visibility for them. Make sure to do plenty of research, and consider reading up on some case studies for ideas of how the Bandcamp algorithm works. Pick a geographic location. Bandcamp’s Discover section has city sections in it, but only a limited selection of cities. Browse through their available cities and see if one of them is close to you. If it is, choose that as your home city. It’s ideal if you can visit the city on a regular basis, particularly for tours and establishing a presence. Then, if you take off, you can be one of the top musicians in your genre in that city, which is a great jumping off point for future gigs, bookings, local press, and other benefits. It’s also why you shouldn’t choose a city you can’t visit; what if they want to interview you, see your studio, or have you perform, but you chose a city across the country? Pay attention to your album art. Album art is quite important, as it’s an introduction to your album and your aesthetic. People choose whether or not to tap on something from the discovery queue based on imagery, since there aren’t audio previews. You should also make sure your album art works at a small scale, since a lot of users will be seeing a scaled-down version of it displayed on a smartphone screen. If your art loses a lot of fine detail, you lose out on those potential listeners. Specify your lyrics. If your songs have lyrics, that is. I know a lot of musicians use ambient and electronic or even just instrumental music as the basis of their albums, with lyrics a rarity. Still, any song that has lyrics, you should upload the accurate, proof-read, typo-corrected lyrics. This helps you show up in Google search for the lyrics whenever someone wants to find a song they half-remember, plus it fills out your album page and allows users to follow along with the song more accurately. Choose your pricing. I don’t have a wealth of pricing data available, but you should be able to see what prices have worked the best in the past, and you can do some research into recommendations from other successful artists. One great recommendation, though, is enable flexible payments. If you set a minimum at $5 for an album but allow users to pay more than the minimum if they want to support you, chances are a sizable number of users will. Bandcamp themselves say a whopping 50% of purchasers pay more than the minimum when they buy, and I’ve done it myself. Use image maps for links. Bandcamp allows you to put an image map on your page header. This converts sections of the header image into clickable links. Design your header to include symbols or words that call out your website, social profiles, storefront for merch, tour dates, and any other critical pages. Then use the image map to map links to those pages on the relevant parts of the image. Essentially, you’re making top-bar navigation out of a header image. Now let’s get into a few of the more traditional marketing tips that help bring users to your page. Then we can convert those users into paying customers. Take advantage of your free album copies. As I mentioned above, Bandcamp gives you a handful of codes for free copies of your album. Run contests and giveaways, reward band ambassadors, and send previews to influencers to make the most of these codes. Share new music posts, blog posts, and newsletters on social media. Bandcamp’s algorithms aren’t quite as focused on traffic as other social networks and storefronts, but more traffic means more listeners, more listeners means more buyers, and more buyers means more chance to end up on best seller lists in your genre and in your city. It can’t be overstated: ending up on a discover list is one of the best things that can happen to an artist on Bandcamp. It opens a lot of doors. Offer discount codes. Discounts on an album you release, which go directly to your newsletter, reward your fans. This works quite well in conjunction with flexible pricing; many users will pay full price or more, even with a discount code! Learn your listener persona. Who is listening to your music? More importantly, who is paying for your music? Learn about those people, and use that knowledge to adjust your imagery to appeal specifically to them. Be cynical about it, and don’t be afraid to sell out. Everyone needs to eat. Consider split testing. Split testing is when you run one option for a while, see how it works, then run an alternative and compare the results. You can split test album imagery and tags on your albums in an ongoing process to capture the most attention. Unlike more chronologically-focused social networks, Bandcamp will happily throw a years-old album in the discovery queue for a new tag just added to it. Make sure your content is high quality. Very high quality audio recordings can be downscaled for streaming, but please the audiophiles amongst your audience. There’s no reason not to upload high quality masters. Consider applying for PayPal’s micropayments. Since Bandcamp is likely a lot of small payments, the PayPal fees can eat up a lot of your potential profits. Micropayments allow you to process low-value transactions at a lower cost. What are your favorite or most successful ways you’ve sold your music on Bandcamp? Let us know in the comment section to share with others! The post 18 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Music on Bandcamp appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Complete List of All Google Ad and Campaign Types

Google Ads are changing. The biggest change, of course, is the new branding. AdSense is still the publisher end of the Google Ads coin, but AdWords has been rebranded simply as Google Ads. Those of you who commonly use Google Ads have probably encountered the change from the old experience to the new experience. Google has been slowly changing over features and reorganizing their entire dashboard for over a year now. They’ve been gradually rolling it out to new advertisers, and those given permission to use the new system are free to choose between new and old. Both the new and the old Ads Experiences work, for now. I know that eventually Google will force everyone to the new experience and will retire the old experience, but for now, both are available and you can choose which you want to use, if you have access to the new one. Since both Ad Experiences are available, I’m going to cover this topic from both sides. In order to determine which experience you’re using, navigate to the home dashboard of Google Ads, as though you just logged in. Alternatively, just go log in. Look in the upper right corner. What do you see? If you see a gear icon, you’re using the Old Experience. If you see a wrench icon, you’re using the New Experience. There are, of course, a lot of other differences. The thing is, a lot of those differences are buried deeper in the system, or can be changed by setting up different dashboards and tables. Rather than rely on something that might change, it’s easiest to just look for iconography that exists on every account. Google has announced that they’re going to retire the Old Experience by the end of the year, but it’s already October and they haven’t quite done so just yet. They may be pushing it out until December, or they may be delaying and will finish the change-over some time in the first quarter of 2019, I don’t know. Either way, if you’re using the Old Experience, I recommend changing over to the New Experience sooner rather than later. Learn it and get ahead of the curve before you’re forced to switch by being thrown into the deep end. Google Ad Campaign Types for the Old Experience Let’s start with the Old Experience, since that’s the former default. If you’re using the New Experience, go ahead and skip to the next section. I might reference something in this section, but it’ll be easy enough to scroll back up and look, I promise. First up, you have both campaign types and campaign subtypes. Campaign types determine where your ads are displayed, while subtypes help determine the settings and options available to your campaign within that main campaign type. Subtypes are fairly simple, and include Standard, All Features, and Marketing Objectives. They essentially set your campaign settings to a specific archetype prior to you adjusting them for your own targeting and objectives. Let’s talk about specific campaign types, then. There are six types of campaign within the old Google Ads experience. These are: Search Network with Display Select, Search Network Only, Display Network Only, Shopping, Video, and Universal App. Let’s start with Search Network with Display Select. It’s essentially the same as a Search Network Only campaign; you set a budget, choose keywords, make ads, and set bids for those ads. Your ads will appear on Google’s search results pages for relevant keywords, as well as search partner sites, and on relevant pages in the Display Network. You don’t have much control over Display Network appearances, and bidding for them is automatic. Search Network Only campaigns are essentially the same, except they can’t appear in the Display Network. They only show up in search results pages and in Google sites that have ads. To compare and contrast the two, I’ll be using SNO for Search Network Only, and SDS for Search with Display Select. SNO ads show up in search results and partner sites, while SDS adds in display network sites as well. SNO ads have keyword targeting and remarketing, while SDS adds site category and placement options. SNO ads have manual and automatic bidding options, while SDS has those for search network but is automatic only for display network. You can also run ads directly to the Display Network without including the Search Network. These are DNO, or Display Network Only ads. They don’t appear in the search results or on Google partner pages, only on publishers running AdSense. Shopping ads are ads that specifically aim to promote online retailers, but work with local-only retailers as well. They’re special ads that showcase products with descriptions, images, and pricing information, and will show up in the Google Shopping section as well as purchase-intent search results. They can also show up in the Display Network for specific local catalog ads. It should be noted that certain countries cannot use Shopping ads. Shopping ads also have specific requirements found here. European countries have specific regulations to follow as well. Video ad campaigns primarily show up on YouTube, but they will also show up on videos embedded in other sites. TrueView in-stream ads, video discovery ads, and bumper ads all count as Video Campaigns. Discovery ads only appear on YouTube, as they are part of the surrounding layout, not the video itself. Finally, you have Universal App Campaigns. These are ads aimed at promoting mobile apps, which is easily the more up-and-coming industry to dig into these days. Apps are only going to explode as time goes on and more and more people get more and more powerful mobile devices. App campaigns are a little different from normal ads. Instead of creating specific ads, you create libraries of text ideas and assets from your app store listing. Google will use your bid and targeting, and will create their own ads based on your assets. This is important; Google has specific regulations about what can and can’t be on a store page listing, to prevent misrepresenting apps. By making their own ads from your store page, they guarantee that your ads aren’t misrepresenting how your game looks and plays. App campaign ads can appear in the Google search network, on search partner pages, in the Play Store under various app recommendations, on YouTube as part of video or discovery ads, in the Display Network, and in the sections of the Display Network that appear only in other mobile apps. They’re very broad and very good, in other words. Google Ad Campaign Types for the New Experience With the Old Experience, you choose an ads campaign type, and then choose a goal subtype, from a limited selection of goals. With the New Experience, you choose a campaign goal, and then a campaign type to use to achieve that goal. This is a more streamlined approach, though it means some of your ads won’t work the same way you’re used to. There are six possible goals for New Experience ads. These are Sales, Leads, Traffic to Website, Product and Brand Consideration, Brand Awareness and Reach, and App Promotion. Some goals are recommended for different kinds of campaign types. For example, if you want to promote an app, choosing App Promotion will recommend that you use a Universal App Campaign, while choosing Brand Awareness will recommend Display Network or Search Network campaigns. As with Old Experience, the New Experience campaign types determine which audiences see your ads; that is, the placement of your ads within the overarching volume of potential exposure. Unlike Old Experience, New Experience has five campaign types. These are Search Network, Display Network, Shopping, Video, and Universal App Campaigns. You’ll notice that there is no longer a difference between Search Network and Search Network with Display Select. Google has essentially removed the latter and made it a sort of subtype for targeting purposes. That is, if you want an ad to be Search Network with Display Select from the previous experience, you need to choose Search Network ads in the New Experience, and opt into display network visibility in the ad campaign options. Search Network ads are ads that appear in the Google search results and in specific Google partner sites, like the Play Store or any of the associated Google services. If you want your ads to appear in both the Search Network and the Display Network, you have two options: Create a Search Network ad and opt into Display Network visibility. This will allow you to control both with a single type of ad. Duplicate your Search Network ad and change it to a Display Network ad. This will allow you to control targeting, bidding, and optimization for each display type individually. I generally recommend the second option, because it gives you more control. However, if you’re the kind of advertiser that leaves a lot of the optimization and bidding strategies set to automatic, this kind of additional micromanagement won’t help you much. Display Network campaigns work the same way as you would expect: they show up on the websites or in any app or embedded video in the broader display network. This gives you a ton of visibility. New Experience Display campaigns are simpler and more intuitive than Old Experience campaigns, which is better for newcomers to advertising, but worse for those of us with extensive experience. Still, it’s worthwhile to switch and learn the new experience sooner rather than later. If you’re used to using “site category” options for the old experience, you can now use Content Exclusions for the same purpose. Remarketing is rolled into the main interest targeting, so it’s all in one place, which is a nice convenience. You can browse the Audience Manager for deeper insights and remarketing lists, which is nice to have. There are also other minor changes that will make the whole place seem unfamiliar, but which are easy to learn, like the separation of targeting and bidding into their own sections. Shopping Campaigns work basically the same with in the New Experience, with a couple of key differences. First of all, they’re not fully implemented. Conversion Management still links to the Old Experience. Advanced location options, advanced editing, bulk uploads, shared libraries, manager accounts, and account linking are all currently unavailable in the new experience. Shopping campaigns are one time I do not recommend switching to the new experience if you use them heavily in the old experience. Wait until Google finishes rolling out all of the features before you switch over, if at all possible. Like Shopping ads, Video campaigns work the same way but are missing a few features. The New Experience is missing device targeting, automation, advanced editing, shared libraries, account linking, manager accounts, and a bit more. The benefit of switching to the New Experience is primarily in the fact that targeting and remarketing are unified. You don’t have to go out of your way when using remarketing. I don’t know how many of you use video remarketing, but it’s a great strategy, so it being more readily available is nice to see. On the other hand, the lack of advanced features means, like Shopping, those of you who are heavily invested in video ads may want to stick with the old experience for now. Finally, for Universal App Campaigns, nothing has changed. Both the Old Experience and the New Experience for Google ads are identical with regards to universal app campaigns. The post Complete List of All Google Ad and Campaign Types appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Can a Mobile Site Reduce Your Google Ads Cost Per Click?

A lot of different factors go into the calculation for determining your Google Ads CPC. It’s no surprise that we marketers struggle to keep up with what is and isn’t relevant. It’s even worse when you consider that every company offering an ads platform will only specify a portion of what goes into their calculations. It’s fine, really. If Google told you every single detail about how their algorithm works, or even just published the algorithm publicly, you can bet there would be loopholes to exploit within days. With the calculations kept secret, at least there’s some incentive to act in the best interests of your viewers, and not just the search engines. Calculating CPC Google will happily tell you what goes into their calculation for CPC. First, though, you have to remember that it’s an auction system. The same keywords, the same ads, the same targeting, everything identical in two different situations where the only change is the day of the year can result in dramatically different CPCs. Why? Competition. If you set a bid cap of $1 and no one bids against you, you’ll get your ads basically free. If your $1 bid is out-bid by people willing to bid $2, you’ll max out your bid and only get low-tier placement. CPC can range from a few cents all the way up to prices in the $50-100 range. The former are low volume, low competition keywords. The latter are extremely high value, high competition keywords. Given that some high-end retailers can spend millions per month on advertising, it should come as no surprise that the niches they want to dominate will be dominated. On top of all of this, Google will adjust prices depending on your Quality Score. This alone is huge, because a wide array of factors go into the calculation of quality score. Cascading Influence In a sense, nearly everything goes into your CPC. The total cost of your ads is your CPC calculated with your quality score. Your CPC is calculated based on an array of factors that include elements like your past performance, your choice of keywords, and the relevance of your landing page. Your quality score, meanwhile, is calculated by a bunch of additional factors. Your landing page quality and usability, your ad copy relevance to your landing page, your click-through rate, your account performance; it’s all part of an ongoing quality score calculation. Then you have to consider the factors that influence those factors. The usability of your website is influence by your design, your color choices, your layout, how well your scripts work, your load times, the geographic location of your servers, and on and on. Where do we draw the line? Thankfully, at least for the purposes of this particular article, it doesn’t really matter. Mobile Compatibility Google has been playing an increasing emphasis on mobile compatibility for years now. Initially, it was a mere suggestion to have a mobile version of your website, back when smartphones were an uncommon luxury item mostly used by the silicon valley elite and those with more money than sense, if there’s a difference between those two groups at all. As mobile browsing has become more and more prevalent, so too has the emphasis Google places on mobile compatibility. Their suggestions became recommendations, which became best practices. For a while, anything went. You could use a dedicated m.domain.com mobile site, or an adaptive design, or even a task-focused site app and it would suit Google’s recommendations. These days, though, they recommend responsive design over other options. It’s easy to see why; responsive design adapts to the size of the device browsing it. You can test a responsive design just by resizing your browser in the desktop. No matter what odd dimensions your device uses, responsive design will work. Other designs might leave fringe devices out of the loop, which means some proportion of dissatisfied users. These days, Google has taken an even stronger perspective. Their recent Mobile-First Indexing Update hit the playing field back in March. It hasn’t done a ton to shake up search results, but it has further emphasized the need for a mobile site. Essentially, if you have both a mobile and a desktop site, Google gives preference to mobile versions for the sake of indexing. Since they look primarily at usability and content, and care less about sidebars and ads as long as they don’t exceed a certain density, mobile is a fine place to start. For the moment, Google rightly assumes that any site with a good mobile version will likely have a usable desktop version. The inverse is not true; a good desktop version doesn’t necessarily mean the site even works on a mobile device. Google is simply pushing this update as a prelude to future penalties for sites that don’t have a mobile site at all. For now, Google is not treating different designs for mobile sites differently. A m.site, an adaptive design, and a responsive design all work just fine. It’s more of a simple yes/no question. Can mobile users use your site, yes or no? Mobile in Google Ads If you don’t have a mobile site, and you use Google ads, chances are pretty good over the last several months you’ve seen banner notifications about mobile compatibility. Google will harp on you endlessly in every way they can, from newsletters to banners in ads to banners across webmaster tools and your search console, all to cajole you into creating a mobile version of your website. One of my sites lacked a mobile version, nevermind why. I have firsthand experience seeing this banner at the top of my Google ads dashboard. Let me tell you what happened. I finally decided to implement a basic responsive design. It’s not full of bells and whistles, but it’s functional and usable for those who come to read the site or to browse my services. As soon as Google re-indexed the site with the mobile version, several things happened. I immediately bumped up a little in the search ranks for keywords where such mobility was more easily plausible. The banner enticing me to make a mobile version in Google ads disappeared. At the same time, my quality score went up. That alone is anecdotal evidence that mobile compatibility directly influences quality score. I didn’t make any other major changes, so unless it was the coincidental publication of a particularly tasty blog post, the site change was the only factor that mattered. Quality score, as we know, is heavily influenced by user experience. Adding a mobile site was a dramatic improvement to the user experience of a wide swath of users, specifically those on mobile devices.  Their user experience went up, and so too did my quality score. Quality score, then, goes into the CPC calculations. And, indeed, my costs went down a hair. Now, I’m operating in niches where variations in keyword, in day, in copy, and in the whims of the universe can change CPC on a daily basis. Scores rise and fall for many reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all. I can’t definitively point to the release of a mobile site as the reason my scores went up and my costs went down, but it’s persuasive enough to me personally. Of course, this is all anecdotal. I have a sample size of one (1) site and one (1) ad account. That’s far from scientific. That means I have a question for you: Do you have a mobile site? If not, I want you to make one, and tell me if your quality score goes up, and if your CPC for your ads goes down, with no other changes being made. I understand this is a bit of an investment, so you don’t have to do this solely for my sake, but I would appreciate the data. Shoot me a message or leave me a line in the comments and we can talk. Mobile for Lowering CPC Is making a mobile site a good way to lower your CPC? I’m not convinced. The reason is, a good mobile site is a serious investment. Sure, you can run your site through one of those simple converters, but that’s not likely to give you good results. It’s better than nothing, and you may still see improvement, but who knows how it all shakes out. If you’re capable of making the investment necessary to roll out a responsive design, it can be a marked improvement to your CPCs. Or, if you’re in more open niches or operating on low budgets, it might not be noticeable at all. There are a lot of other changes you can make that will have an equal or greater impact on your CPC. A change of keywords, the addition of new negative keywords, a change in targeting options, a change in ad copy, ad images, or ad placement; these can all affect costs. Heck, for that matter, changing from search ads to display network ads will almost guaranteed drop your CPC, and that’s a very minimal change. That said, there’s not really a way to go wrong with a mobile design. Frankly, it’s incredibly important, and the fact that I put it off as long as I did probably cost me a lot more than the investment it took to make that new design. The way I see it, you shouldn’t use Google ad CPC as your sole reason to create a mobile version of your site. Instead, you should recognize the number of users using mobile devices, the subtle pressure from every element of Google’s algorithm, the pressure from other sites who have mobile versions when you don’t, and all the other elements encouraging or demanding a mobile site. If all of that doesn’t convince you, well, I’m sure something will eventually. I don’t believe for a minute that Google is done with their pressure. I firmly believe that within the next five years, not having a mobile site will be a definite search penalty. Should You Make a Mobile Site? All of that said, there’s always the chance that you’re operating in a niche where mobile device usage is nearly nonexistent. It’s entirely possible that your customers are 100% on desktop devices, and that even if you had a mobile site, you’d see zero change because of it. Of course, there’s no way to tell for sure without having that mobile site in the first place. Even if you don’t think you’re going to get any mobile traffic, having a mobile site will be a benefit. With mobile-first indexing, it will give you a leg up over competitors that themselves have put off creating mobile sites. That will carry over to desktop rankings as well, since there’s only one index. Plus, of course, the higher quality score in Google ads will affect your costs across the board. You don’t have to be targeting mobile users to take advantage of the boon having a mobile site grants you. There’s basically no reason to keep stalling on mobile site development. At this point, you can hire a freelance coder to whip you up a functional design in a matter of a few weeks at most. Delaying even this long is a waste of money. The post Can a Mobile Site Reduce Your Google Ads Cost Per Click? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Why Does Google Ads Exceed My Set Daily Budget?

If you don’t pay a ton of attention to Google Ads, you may not have noticed the news from about a year ago. You might, however, noticed some odd behavior with regards to budget and spending. When you set a daily budget, it’s entirely possible for Google to charge you more than that cap. In fact, they can charge you up to double! What the heck is going on? Intended Behavior Google prioritizes your advertising goals, not strict adherence to your budget. If you say you want 100 conversions and Google can get you those 100 conversions, but they might need to spend more on certain days, they’ll do so. What this means is that, for example, let’s say you have a daily budget of $50. Google can spend $100 one day and $0 the next. This averages out to $50 per day, and thus stays within your goals. The cost spike for one day is balanced out by the zero spend the next day. This is fully intended behavior. Google relies on averages for a lot of systems within Google Ads, in fact, and this budget system is no different. When you set a daily spending limit, you’re not setting a hard limit, you’re setting an average limit. Calculating Averages Google needs some way to finalize the average in order to know how much to charge you. Otherwise, they could rack up as many charges as they want under the assumption that, later on, they can charge you virtually nothing to balance the scales. In order to force an average in a reasonable time frame, Google makes an ongoing monthly calculation. What Google does is multiplies your daily budget cap by the “average number of days in a month” which, if you’ve ever had the curiosity to look, is 30.4. So if you set your cap to $50 per day, your monthly budget cap will be $1,520. Now you have a one-month period with a monthly cap of $1,520. Google will do everything in their power to maintain that average. However, they have one more limit in place: they will never charge you more than twice your daily cap. When you set your daily budget cap to $50, Google is free to charge you up to a maximum of $100 per day. This gives Google a lot of flexibility. On a day where your audience is over-performing, perhaps because of industry relevant news or some new content you published, Google is free to double your daily spend in order to get you more conversions at a peak moment. Conversely, on slow days, Google may charge you little or nothing – generally not showing your ads at all – to balance the scales. The end result is that Google shoots to spend at most $1,520 throughout the month. The next month, the same thing happens, adjusted for any changes in budget you choose to make. Overall, this simply allows Google to adjust to the whims of the market more easily. They can take advantage of spikes and lulls in the market better, without needing you to manually adjust your bidding after noticing the spikes yourself. In general, this plan improves advertising success rates. This isn’t actually anything new. According to the Wayback Machine (web archive), prior to this change, Google could charge up to 20% more than your daily budget, while still aiming to never exceed the monthly budget calculation. By changing 20% more to 100% more, Google gives themselves even more flexibility. Ideally, so long as you’re running your ads over the course of months at a time, and you’re not adjusting your budget repeatedly, this will give you better performing ads than you would otherwise see. It’s important to note that Google may accidentally overstep their bounds. If, for example, their end-of-month average reaches $1,600 out of your $1,520, you will not be charged for the overage. You will be charged the $1,520, and the additional $80 in overages is basically free value. The Loss of Control There’s still one major downside to this change, which is the loss of yet more fine-tuned control you have over your campaigns. Many people who run Google ads do so with carefully tuned ideas of what they can and cannot do. Often, these operate on a weekly or daily basis, rather than a monthly basis. Small businesses can change quickly, and markets need constant monitoring. If Google is potentially doubling your daily ad spend, you don’t have the luxury of being able to predict performance on a daily basis. If you can’t actually support a doubled daily budget, either because of some spending limit on your credit card or from a sheer monetary standpoint, this has the potential to cause a lot of issues. It’s even worse if you’re operating on daily deposits via prepaid card; if Google wants to overspend, they can’t, and they’ll ping you with notifications about no funds available. No Alternative Perhaps the biggest issue I have with this change, and the one many other marketers share, is that there’s no alternative. You can’t, say, set a monthly budget cap so you know where you stand. If you want to know how much you’re going to spend on a monthly basis, you need to take your daily budget cap and multiply it by 30.4. It’s that .4 that trips up a lot of people. Often, you tend to just multiply by the number of days in the month. On a 30-day month, you’ll end up with $1,500 instead of $1,520. Sure, when you’re operating in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, $20 doesn’t seem that big a deal, but it can still be an unnecessary overage you didn’t plan for. If you’re running a very tight ship, this can cause problems with your bookkeeping. Adjusting for Hard Caps If you’re in a position where you cannot possible over-spend on a daily basis, you may want to consider setting a lower daily bid cap to prevent Google from over-spending and ruining your budget. For example, if you can spend up to $50 per day, and that’s a hard limit to what your finances will allow on a daily basis, you should set your daily bid cap to $25. This means that Google can spend anywhere between $0 and $50 on any given day. Sure, your monthly limit will be half of what it would be otherwise, but you won’t over-spend on a given day. Of course, there’s not necessarily a reason to do this. Remember that you’re only charged according to your payment thresholds, or on a monthly basis, depending on how you have things set up. If your payment threshold is high enough, and your bid caps are low enough, you will only be charged once a month. When you’re charged once a month, the average will always play out properly, and you won’t end up spending more than you want to. On the other hand, if you have a low payment threshold – which most small and newcomer marketers do – you can find unexpected early charges due to Google’s over-spending. If they give you a spike in the early parts of the month with doubled budget caps, it’s entirely possible to encounter unexpected charges when you have tight finances. This can potentially cause an overdrawn account, unexpected balances on credit cards, and other problems. Overdelivery Credits So what happens if your ads run too much and Google ends up spending more than your monthly cap? If, say, you end up spending $1,600 out of your $1,520 cap for the month? Thankfully, Google credits your account on the invoice. You will get an invoice that bills you for $1,600 worth of services rendered, but credits you $80 for overdelivery. This is called the Overdelivery Credit. Overdelivery, put simply, is when Google uses more of your ad budget than your total monthly budget would allow, and doesn’t have time in the month to under-display ads to make up for it. When overdelivery happens, any overages beyond your monthly average will be credited on your bill. It doesn’t roll over or carry over to the next month. You don’t start the next month in the hole. Google essentially says “good job on your ads, they performed better than we expected, here’s some free money.” Checking Overdelivery If you want to see if you’ve gotten overdelivery credits, you can check the information in your Google Ads account. Sign in to Google Ads and find the Reports tab. There will be a series of predefined reports you can view. Choose Basic, and then choose Billed Cost. This alone won’t show you your overdelivery credits. What you need to do is compare the Billed Cost to the Served Cost for any ad, ad set, or ad campaign you want to measure. You can download the full data CSV and compare everything in bulk, or you can do individual calculations. Simply take the Served Cost and subtract the Billed Cost. If the number is anything greater than $0, the number is the amount of overdelivery credit you have received in that billing period. Changing Mid-Month This adds a slightly dangerous new element to adjusting your budgets throughout the month. Google takes this budget per month, rather than on a rolling 30-day basis. This is both good and bad. If you decide to adjust your daily budget cap during the middle of the month, Google will do what it has always done: reset the monthly spend. They charge you for what has already been spent and then start from scratch for the remainder of the month. Google interprets a new monthly budget and applies it to the rest of the month. The problem here is if you have front-loaded the over-charging. Let’s say in a 30-day period you set your budget to $50 on day 1, $100 on day 10, and $150 on day 20. From day 1 to day 10, Google calculates your monthly budget as $1,520, and is free to charge up to $100 per day, based on your daily limit of $50. If they decide to do so, for the first 10 days of the month, you can be charged up to $100 a day, for $1,000 in ad spend. You decide on day 10 to increase your ad spend to $100. Google does not factor in the previous spend at all. They calculate your new 30.4-day average to be $3,040, and are again free to double your ad spend. If your ads are continuing to over-perform, from day 11 to day 20 you can be charged $200 a day, for $2,000 total ad spend. This means you will have, by day 20, spend $3,000 out of your now-potential budget cap of $3,040. On day 20 you change your budget again, to $150 per day. Google will again wipe the slate clean and calculate a new monthly average, which ends up being $4,560. For the last 10 days of the month, Google can charge you up to $300 per day. Again, your ads are dramatically over-performing, and they charge you $300 per day, for a total of $3,000 for the remainder of the month. This results in an end-of-month total of $6,000 in ad spend, out of your total monthly calculated maximum average of $4,560. Except, at no point during the entire process did Google exceed what they calculated to be your monthly limit. As far as their paperwork is concerned, this is a perfectly valid charge, because they break it down in a way that is “beneficial” to both you and them. Yes, you get the value of the ad spent, but you are also charged more than you might have planned to afford. This is, of course, an extreme circumstance. Very, very rarely will Google max out your budget for an entire month like that. Most of the time, there are lulls and surges, and you won’t come close to this scenario. Even so, there’s the rare chance it could happen. As such, my recommendation is pretty simple. Set a lower daily budget than you might otherwise want, keeping in mind the potentially doubled maximum per day. More importantly, try to avoid changing your budget mid-month, unless you know you can afford additional overages beyond what a new monthly maximum might be. The post Why Does Google Ads Exceed My Set Daily Budget? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

20 Ways to Optimize Your Sponsored Products on Amazon Ads

If you’re not familiar with Amazon marketing, you probably should be. Sponsored Products are ads you can run through Amazon, designed to feature a product in a way that makes it look recommended by the platform. Think of it like native advertising for Amazon. They’re immensely popular, and will only grow more popular as their use catches on. Better to get in now while the getting is good, optimize to be at the top of the pack, and get a head start on the future of Amazon marketing. What are Sponsored Products? If you’ve ever browsed Amazon, at least without an adblocker, you’ve seen products in the search results with a Sponsored label next to them. These look like any other product listing in the search results, appearing at the top and bottom of the results page, only they have a “sponsored products” category heading. They can appear in many categories, though not all product categories allow them. Appliances, Automotive, Beauty, Collectibles, Computers, Electronics, Art, Grocery, Luggage, Music, Outdoors, Shoes, Software, Sports, and Video Games are just some of the available categories. Sponsored products are ads designed to send traffic from the search results page to the product detail page for the product you choose to advertise. You don’t have a ton of flexibility with the copy for the ads; you can choose which product and which details of the product are most relevant, but you can’t completely customize the ads. What you can do, however, is adjust a lot of the behind the scenes elements to improve the visibility and click-through rates for these ads. Let’s talk about how. 20 Methods for Optimizing Sponsored Product Ads There are a lot of options available to you for optimizing your product ads. I’ve compiled 20 pieces of advice you can use. Play around with them, experiment, and figure out what works best for your products in your categories. 1. Understand Campaign Types First up, you should understand that there are two types of campaigns, and what the benefits and drawbacks are to each of them. They are Automatic and Manual, and they are different types of targeting. The difference between the two is pretty simple: Automatic targeting allows Amazon to choose which keyword searches are relevant to the product, and thus where to show your ads, based on your product page copy. Manual allows you to choose specific keywords to run for your ads. Automatic targeting is, obviously, easier and less time consuming to run. Manual gives you more control, and thus typically higher click rates and better results – assuming you optimize properly – but has a higher time investment and a greater chance of failure. 2. Use Automatic Campaigns First Start by running automatic campaigns. This allows Amazon to use their vast array of customer data and intention analytics to figure out how to advertise your products for you. They won’t be the best converting ads, or the cheapest ads, but they’ll be a middle of the road level of serviceable. You won’t be wasting a ton of money or leaving a ton of conversions on the floor. The key to success with Amazon sponsored products is to start with automatic campaigns for at least a month, to gather data. The data Amazon will provide you is invaluable to future optimizations. 3. Don’t Fall to Product Bias Everything in your storefront is something you believe will sell. All too often, I see Amazon marketers get tunnel vision, hoping to increase sales of the products they feel are most successful, leaving their other products in the dust. If you have a huge catalog, you might not have the budget to advertise for all of them, but you should definitely experiment. The problem here is that all too often your successful products are successful because you’re already reaching a significant part of your audience. Sponsored product ads will make them a bit more successful, but it might not be as big a benefit as advertising a less successful product. If you consider that you’re only as successful as your least successful product, it makes more sense to raise up the underperformers than to boost the overperformers even more. 4. Run One SKU Per Ad Group When you run an ad campaign with Amazon sponsored products, you can add as few or as many individual product SKUs to the campaign as you like. I highly recommend you only add one SKU per ad group. Why? Amazon’s analytics used to provide detailed data about your ads, including which keywords drew in clicks to which SKUs. However, they wiped some of this data, and now you can see which keywords are bringing in how many clicks and sales, but you can’t see which SKU in the ad group brought in that data. However, if you only have one SKU in the ad group, you know that it’s that one SKU that brought in that performance. This is a lot easier with small catalogs than larger catalogs, of course. If you have 30 products, managing 30 ad groups is relatively easy. If you have 1,000 products, managing 1,000 ad groups becomes a lot harder. 5. Use Bulk Operations if Necessary This is less of an optimization tip and more of a time-saving tip. If you have over, say, 100 products, you should probably make use of Amazon’s Bulk Operations for Sponsored Products. This is a tool that allows you to essentially automate the creation of sponsored product ads for your product catalog. It will require a little bit of excel wizardry, but it allows you to manage a large number of ads simply by uploading a spreadsheet, rather than having to manually create and specify details of ads for every single SKU or keyword you want to use. 6. Harvest Data As already mentioned, Amazon’s analytics will provide you information about the ad groups you run, including how well that ad group performed and for what keywords. When you have one SKU per ad group, you can draw a direct set of data: this SKU performs X well for Y keywords. After you run your ads for at least a couple of weeks, if not a month, check your search term reports and see how well your products have performed, and for which keywords. 7. Understand Data The data you harvest needs to be understood before you can use it for further optimizations. Amazon will report a variety of different metrics, which you can attribute to individual SKUs if you divided up your ads as I mentioned in step 4. Number of orders. This is the number of conversions per keyword per SKU. Be sure to normalize this by time, otherwise it will look like older ads are performing better than newer ads based on this metric alone. Sales. Similar to the above, this is the number of sales of a SKU per keyword for the ad. This includes individual product sales, however, and thus will be higher in cases where one order included multiples of the same product. Clicks. The number of times a sponsored product ad was clicked, per keyword per SKU. This allows you to calculate the conversion rate for individual ads. 8. Correlate Data Using the data Amazon gives you, you can correlate trends and figure out where you want to focus your energies. Export your data and start making some charts. Compare each SKU and the keyword data for that SKU, compiling lists of the best keywords for each. For each keyword, calculate the clicks-per-sale rate, and identify the best handful of keywords for each ad group, which will correspond to each SKU. 9. Build Manual Campaigns Once you have your data correlated and ready to go, you can cancel the automatic campaigns for certain products and replace them with manual campaigns. Specify which keywords go with which SKUs and run those ads without the additional exposure in underperforming keywords. Keep an eye on these and make sure the data continues to perform. 10. Use Broad Match Keywords Broad keyword matching is any search term that includes part of the keyword or a synonym thereof. If you’re advertising “green mascara”, your ad will show up for product searches including “emerald mascara” or “green makeup” or even just “mascara.” Use these for exposure and to gather data about what modifiers your customers are most likely to use. 11. Use Phrase Match Keywords Phrase matching for keywords means the full phrase must be part of the search term, but the search term can include additional words. Amazon will also take close variations into account, including typos and close synonyms. This is useful for more refined ads once you know which keywords work best. 12. Use Exact Match Keywords Exact match, as you might expect, is specifically your keyword and no other words, synonyms, or phrases. Use this only once you’ve drilled down to the most effective keywords and know they’re going to last for a while. If the keywords have high seasonality, you’ll need to keep a close eye on when they fall off and cut off the ads before you waste too much of your budget. 13. Use Negative Keywords Negative keywords are keywords that you include if you specifically don’t want your ad to appear for those searches. For example, if you know users are searching for organic or natural makeup and your mascara is not all-natural, you can include natural/organic as negative keywords. This will prevent you from advertising a product to people who aren’t going to buy it because it doesn’t match what they want. 14. Calculate Advertising Cost of Sale Your advertising cost of sale is essentially your potential profit margin. You can calculate this by taking your total ad spend, dividing it by your total sales value, and multiplying the result by 100 to get your percent. Products with a low ACoS should have higher bids to get more traffic. Products with a high ACoS probably have a lot of traffic but few conversions, and may be an opportunity to prune out an underperforming keyword. 15. Rotate Products The larger your catalog, the harder it is to advertise everything in it with a limited budget. Periodically rotate out the majority of your ads until you’ve advertised everything in your catalog for at least a base amount of time, typically two to four weeks. Rotate out 90% of your ads, while keeping your top 10% best performing ads, until you have base data for everything. From there, keep your top performing 50% and rotate through your remaining 50% with experiments to see how they can be optimized. 16. Know Your Goals Make sure, when you’re optimizing your sponsored product ads, that you know your goals. Are you trying to achieve the most revenue, or the highest number of sales in general? This can affect how you adjust your keywords and bidding strategies. In some cases you might be focusing on the highest return on ad spend, while other times you simply want sales numbers and even breaking even works fine. 17. Don’t Be Afraid to Return to Automatic The general progression for a single SKU is to run automatic ads to harvest initial data, then run manual ads to optimize on that data. However, sometimes you’ll end up pursuing a dead end with underperforming ads all around. In these cases, consider returning to automatic ads to harvest fresh data and look for a new place to start. 18. Use the Right Number of Keywords When you’re creating your sponsored product ads, you can use as few or as many keywords you want. How many should you use? I recommend somewhere in the range of 25-50. Too many keywords will spread your ads too thin, while too few will fail to capture large portions of your audience. 19. Be Consistent Consistency is key when you’re comparing your data. Try to avoid comparing apples to oranges. If you’re determining which of two products should be advertised, make sure you’re not comparing an ad that ran for two days to an ad that ran for a month, or one with 10 keywords and one with 500. 20. Optimize Product Listings Amazon’s product ads pull data from your organic product page, with all of the images, details, and information you include available for them to choose. Since you can’t really optimize your ad copy, optimize your product listings instead. The post 20 Ways to Optimize Your Sponsored Products on Amazon Ads appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Can Switching to CPA Bids in Google Ads Hurt Conversions?

Google Ads have a number of different bidding strategies. One of them, most commonly known as Target CPA Bidding, is an automatic bidding strategy. Can changing your bidding strategy to CPA Bidding hurt your conversions? About Target CPA Bidding Target CPA Bidding with Google Ads is a “smart” bidding strategy, which means it’s automatically optimized by Google algorithms, rather than your own micromanagement. Google uses an array of data sources, including your ad past performance, your goals, and general ad performance across similar keywords to determine what their bidding strategy should be for your ads. Each different Automatic bidding strategy focuses on optimizing your ads for a different metric. For example, you can optimize for conversions instead of costs, or for clicks over conversions. If you’re running an awareness campaign, you’d prefer a higher volume of clicks, versus a higher percentage but lower volume of conversions. With Target CPA bidding, you’re being optimized to get as many conversions as possible, so long as those conversions are at or below a given cost threshold. This means you might be able to set a higher cost cap and get more conversions, but since you don’t want to spend that much per conversion, you’re getting fewer conversions than you otherwise might. Note that according to Google’s help center, Target CPA bidding optimizes for average cost per action/conversion, rather than individual prices. If you’re optimizing for $1-per-conversion, and Google gets multiple 50-cent conversions, it means they have the flexibility to get $2 or more conversions, so long as it averages out to at most $1 each. In practice, this isn’t important. So long as the average cost remains where you want it, it doesn’t really matter if you’re getting 100 conversions at that price exactly, or 50 at a lower and 50 at a higher price. You’re still paying the same amount overall for the same number of conversions, within certain bounds. Target CPA Settings When you’re setting up ads using Target CPA bidding, you have a handful of different settings you can specify to attempt to guide your ad performance. First up, you have the target CPA itself. If you want to average $1 conversions, your target CPA should be $1. Again, this is an average, so you might get some 10 cent conversions and you might get some $5 conversions, so long as the sum total of all conversions divided by the number of conversions averages out to $1. Using a low target CPA can hurt conversions. If you set $1 as your threshold, but the average cost per conversion in your niche is closer to $2, you’ll have far fewer conversions than you otherwise could. A target bid that’s too low will mean you’re being out-bid in the ad auction for your best converting audience. Google will attempt to recommend an ideal target CPA when you set up your ads, based on historical data for similar ads you have run in the past. This target suggestion will be calculated based on the past few weeks of performance; data too much older than a month isn’t useful to current ad auctions. Secondly, you can specify bid limits. You can set both a minimum and a maximum bid limit. For example, if you know that any conversions obtained with a bid under 10 cents are going to be worthless to you as a whole, you can set a higher minimum to eliminate those low bids. Conversely, if you know that extremely expensive conversions rarely end up worthwhile, you can set a maximum bid cap to cut those out. Google does not recommend setting bid limits for automatic bidding strategies, because it restricts flexibility. If you set a $3 bid cap for your target $1 CPA, automatic bidding will not be able to give you those $5 conversions, even if it keeps your average under $1. This results in a lower number of conversions. You must use portfolio ads rather than standard ads to set bid limits. You can choose to adjust your target CPA based on device. This is essentially a prioritization system. If you know that your mobile users are most valuable to you as customers, you can set a focus on mobile users, with less priority given to desktop ad auctions. These adjustments are percentile, meaning you can adjust the value of a given platform up by however much % you want, and down by a maximum of 100%. If you adjust a platform to -100%, those ads will be eliminated. A -100% adjustment to mobile, for example, will force your ads to only display on desktop and tablet devices. Those are the only three categories; mobile, desktop, and tablet. You are also able to choose to only pay for conversions, rather than pay for positioning in the ad ranks. Paying for conversions has its own slate of benefits and drawbacks, which you can read about here. Does Switching to Target CPA Hurt Conversions? To go back to the initial question, as posed in the title of this post, does switching to target CPA hurt your conversions? The answer is “it depends”, and it depends entirely on the settings you use and the settings you’re changing away from. For example, if you used manual CPA bidding prior to the change, you may lose many of the optimizations you have made, and be reverted to a more average line of bidding. This can result in fewer conversions, or a lower average conversion value, due to your optimizations being wiped. On the other hand, if you’re switching from a manual bidding strategy that has been working quite poorly for you, the switch to automatic bidding can increase your conversions, as well as increasing the average conversion value. In part, this depends on the target CPA settings you’ve chosen. If you set lower bid caps, a lower target CPA, or a higher required value for your target conversions, you are likely to get fewer conversions overall. Conversely, if automatic optimizations allow you to open up your bids to spend your money as best as possible, Google will likely be able to get you more conversions than you were with your manual optimizations. The Benefits of Target CPA Bidding One of the biggest benefits of using an automatic bidding strategy is saving yourself both time and money. As long as you set bid caps to prevent over-spending, and you set a target CPA that sits firmly in the middle of your plausible conversion range, you should be able to get more conversions for the same budget as with manual bidding. This is because Google’s algorithms can take in data on an ongoing basis and make adjustments to your bidding automatically throughout the day. They can even dynamically adjust bidding based on user performance from hour to hour. If you were to try to make these optimizations manually, you would be adjusting on the fly constantly throughout the day. It would be a full time job. Chances are good that switching to an automatic bidding strategy will get you more conversions than using a manual strategy, while also saving you time. However, it may not save you money, and depending on your settings, it might not get you as many conversions. In general with the automatic ad auction, if you increase your target CPA, you will get more conversions. It’s not even a complicated equation. If you have more money to spend, you’ll get more people coming in. It will, of course, increase your average cost per conversion. Achieving Success with Target CPA Bidding If you’re interested in using target CPA bidding or another automatic strategy, I can give you some tips to help your initial forays be a success. First up, how long should you experiment with a bidding style before making a determination as to its effectiveness? I generally recommend about a month. 30 days will get you a good set of data, so long as you aren’t operating in a niche with very strong seasonality. Obviously, it’s hard to run a viable experiment comparing a data set that isn’t equal to another. A heavily Christmas-themed niche is going to have vastly different performance numbers comparing 30 days in November to 30 days in June. I also recommend that you be careful with split testing and incremental changes. Usually, incremental changes and optimizations help increase performance for ads. However, with automatic CPA bidding, Google considers both past and current performance to determine bids. If you make a change, Google will be considering data from both before and after the change when deciding on bidding strategies. You have to wait until the older data falls off to see how the change really impacted performance. This applies to ad targeting, ad copy, and even ad placement. You should also be careful with setting your target CPA much lower than Google’s recommended target CPA. You will generally end up leaving a lot of conversions on the table if you do so. The other aspects of your ads will need to make up for the lack of budget, meaning they have to be incredibly compelling, which may not be plausible. You will have a lower cost per conversion, but also a lower volume of conversions. Another decision you have to make is whether you want your ads to appear in search or in the display network. PPC Hero studied this and found that, usually, display ads performed better with target CPA bidding. A target CPA in a reasonable range usually ended up close to or slightly over the target average with display ads, while it ended up much higher – up to 106% more than the target average – with search ads. This may vary based on niche or performance, of course, but it seems consistent that display ads are cheaper. Paying Attention to Valid Metrics One thing you need to keep in mind when you’re choosing a bidding strategy and various bid caps is what your targets should be. Do you want to focus on a specific cost per action? You are free to do so with target CPA bidding, but be aware that you may end up with fewer conversions on average. If you care more about the cost per conversion than you do about the number of conversions, this can be a good way to balance out your advertising costs. Do you want to focus on a specific value of conversions? Using other automatic bidding strategies, you can optimize for the value of a conversion. If you know that fewer conversions with higher average value is a better result for your company than a larger number of smaller value conversions, this can be a good option. This is particularly useful if user support or account maintenance is a huge money sink, and your high value customers are where your profits come from. Do you want to focus on a specific volume of conversions? Setting a target CPA is likely to give you fewer conversions than keeping your CPA open and aiming for as many conversions as possible. You simply need to be aware that if your CPA rises too high, you may end up spending more on customer acquisition than you profit from those customers. Always know which metrics you want to monitor before you start creating your ads. While you can always adjust your bids and bidding strategies later, it’s always best to have a foundation in mind before you begin. The post Can Switching to CPA Bids in Google Ads Hurt Conversions? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

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