Archives for : October2015

Corporate sector devoid of marketing techinques

They said local marketing experts even lack traditional skills, such as creativity … Market analyst Benish Toor said the traditional marketing-mix models …

SearchCap: Bing Shopping Campaigns Updates, SEO For Local Businesses & Google’s Halloween Doodle

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Bing Shopping Campaigns Updates, SEO For Local Businesses & Google’s Halloween Doodle appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Are Your Analytics Telling the Right Story?

Posted by Bill.Sebald

A process can easily become a habit. A habit may not change without awareness or intervention.

Before it becomes a habit, a process should be adjusted to change along with new goals, constant learning, experimentation, and so on.

Considering your time in analytics, are you engaging in a process, or in an outdated habit?

That’s a real question that digital marketing practitioners should ask themselves. Inherently, marketers tend to be buried with work, reusing templates to speed up results. But many agencies lean on those templates a little too much, in my opinion.

Templates should never be written in stone.

If your company is pumping out canned reports, you’re not alone. I do the business development for our company and regularly ask prospects to explain or share the reports they’ve received in the past. Sometimes it’s truly discouraging, outdated, wasteful, and the reason businesses search for new SEO vendors.

Look—I’m all for scalability. It’s a huge help. But some things can’t be scaled and still be successful, especially in today’s SEO climate—or, frankly, marketing in general. Much of what was scalable in SEO prior to 2011 is now penalty-bait. Today’s analytics tools and platforms can slice and dice data faster than anything Ron Popeil ever sold, but the human element will always be necessary if you want your marketing to dominate.

Find the stories to tell

I like to tell stories. I’m real fun in the pub. What I’ve always loved about marketing is the challenge to not only find a story, but have that story change something for the better. I like adding my layer based on real data and experimenting.

Analytics work is all about finding the story. It’s detective work. It’s equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Batman, and Indiana Jones. If you’re lucky, the story jumps out with very little digging. However, it’s more likely you’ll be going on some expeditions. It’s common to start with a hunch or random click through reports, but you need to always be looking for the story.

A great place to start is through client conversations. We schedule at least one monthly call with our clients, where it’s truly a discussion session. We get conversations going to pull intel out of the key stakeholders. Case in point: Recently, we discovered through an open discussion that one of our clients had great success with an earlier email campaign targeted to business owners. There was specific information customers positively responded to, which was helpful in recent content development on their website. It’s amazing what you can learn by asking questions and simply listening to responses.

We should be true consultants, not report monkeys. Dive into the discussions started and enjoy the ride. I guarantee you’ll take note of a few ripe areas to review next time you log into your Google Analytics account.

An impromptu survey says it’s a time issue

Most SEO engagements are designed around a block of purchased hours. Hopefully the client understands they’re not only buying your time to complete SEO tasks, but also your expertise and analysis. If someone on your team were to say, “I don’t have time to do analysis because all my tasks used up their budget this month,” then you really need to question the value of the chosen tasks. Were they picked based on front-loaded analysis, or were they simply tasks pulled out of guesswork?

A few weeks ago I pushed a quick Survey Monkey survey out on Twitter and Linkedin. Thanks to a few retweets, 94 people responded (please consider the following results more directional than scientific—I’m well aware it’s a shallow survey pool). I asked two questions:

  1. If you work in-house or have clients, how often do you log into your clients’ analytics? (Multiple choices ranged from several times a day to a few times a month).
  2. Do you, or do you not, get enough time in Analytics to interpret the data?

The responses:


While some do make a habit of logging into analytics once or more times a day, more do not. Is it required to check under the hood every day? Personally, I believe it is—but your answer may vary on that one. If something went south overnight, I want to be aware before my client tells me. After all, that’s one of the things I’m paid for. I like the idea of being active—not reactive.

More notable is that most respondents didn’t feel they get enough time in analytics. That should absolutely change.

There was also a field for respondents to elaborate on their selections. There were several comments that jumped out at me:

“In house, day to day tasks and random projects prevent me from taking the deep dives in analytics that I feel are valuable.”

“It’s challenging to keep up with the changes and enhancements made in Google Analytics in particular, amongst other responsibilities and initiatives.”

“Too many things are on my plate for me to spend the time I know I should be spending in Google Analytics.”

“Finding the actionable info in Analytics always takes more time that expected—never enough time to crunch the numbers!”

“I log in to ‘spot check’ things but rarely do I get to delve into the data for long enough to suss out the issues and opportunities presented by the data.”

These results suggest that many marketers are not spending enough time with analytics. And possibly not because they don’t see the value, but simply because they don’t have time. “Either you run the day, or the day runs you (Jim Rohn)” is apropos here—you must make time. You need to get on top of all the people filling your plate. It’s not easy, but it needs to be done.

Get on top of those filling your plate. Kind of like professional crowd surfing.

Helpful resources

Dashboards are fantastic, but I rarely see them set up in analytics platforms. One of the best ways to get a quick glimpse of your key metrics are with dashboards. All good analytics platforms provide the ability to make custom dashboards. Get into work, grab a coffee, fire up the computer, click your dashboard bookmark. (I recommend that order!) Google Analytics, which most of us probably use, provides some decent options with their dashboards, though limited compared to enterprise analytics platforms.

However, this basic dashboard is the minimum you should review in analytics. We’ll get deeper soon.

Building these widgets are quite easy (I recently created a tutorial on my site). There are also websites that provide dashboards you can import into Google Analytics. Dashboard Junkie is a fun one. Here are some others from Econsultancy and Google themselves.

It’s not just analytics platforms that offer dashboards. There are several other vendors in the SEO space that port in analytics data and mesh with their own data—from Moz Analytics to SearchMetrics to Conductor to many, many others.

SEMrush has a unique data set that marketers should routinely review. While your traffic data in analytics will be truer, if you’re targeting pages you may be interested in monitoring keyword rank counts:

Are backlinks a target? Maybe you’d find Cognitive SEO’s dashboard valuable:


RankRanger is another SaaS we use. It’s become way more than just our daily rank tracking software. The data you can port in creates excellent snapshots and graphs, and strong dashboards:


It also offers other graphing functionality to make pretty useful views:

While some of the bigger platforms, like SearchMetrics and Conductor, make it easier to get a lot of information within one login, I’m still finding myself logging into several programs to get the most useful data possible. C’est la vie.

Analytics is your vehicle to identifying problems and opportunity

Remember, dashboards are simply the “quick and dirty” window into your site. They help spotlight drastic changes, and make your website’s general traction more visible. Certainly valuable for when your CMO corners you by the Keurig machine. It’s a state of the union, but doesn’t focus on subsections that may need attention.

Agencies and consultants tend to create SEO reports for their clients as a standard practice, though sometimes these reports become extremely boilerplate. Boilerplate reports essentially force you to look under the same rocks month after month. How can you get a bigger view of the world if you never leave your comfortable neighborhood? A new routine needs to be created by generating new reports and correlations, finding trends that were hidden, and using all the tools at your disposal (from Analytics to link tools to competitive tools).

Your analytics app is not a toy—it’s the lifeblood of your website.

Deeper dives with Google Analytics

Grouped pages lookup

A quick way to look at chunks of the site is by identifying a footprint in the URL and searching with that. For example, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages or Landing Pages. Then, in the search bar right below the graph, search for the footprint. For example, take as a real URL. if you want to see everything in the blog, enter */blog/ into the search bar. This is especially useful in getting the temperature of an eCommerce category.

Segment sessions with conversions/transactions

So often in SEO we spend our time analyzing what’s not working or posing as a barrier. This report helps us take a look at what is performing (by leads or sales generated) and the customer behavior, channels, and demographic information that goes along with that. Then we can identify opportunities to make use of our success and improve our overall inbound strategy.

Below is a deeper dive into the conversions “Lead Generation” segment, although these same reports can just as aptly be applied to transactions. Ultimately, there are a lot of ways to slice and dice the analysis, so you’ll have to know what makes sense for your client, but here are three different reports from this segment that provided useful insights that will enhance our strategy.

  • Conversions
    One of the easy and most valuable ones! Directions: Under any report, go to Add a Segment > Sessions with Conversions > Apply.
  • Demographics – age, gender, location
    For example, our client is based in Pennsylvania, but is receiving almost as many request form submissions from Texas and New York, and has a high ratio of request form submissions to visitors for both of these other states. Given our client’s industry, this gives us ideas on how to market to these individuals and additional information the Texans may need given the long distance.
  • Mobile – overview, device type, landing pages
    For this client, we see more confirmation of what has been called the “micro-moment” in that our mobile users spend less time on the site, view less pages per visit, have a higher bounce rate, and are more likely to be new users (less brand affinity). This would indicate that the site is mobile optimized and performing as expected. From here, I would next go into mobile traffic segments to find pages that aren’t receiving a lot of mobile traffic, but are similar to those that are, and find ways to drive traffic to those pages as well.
  • Acquisition
    Here we’re looking at how the inbound channels stack up for driving conversions. Organic and Paid channels are neck and neck, although referral and social are unexpected wins (and social, glad we’ve proven your viability to make money!). We’ll now dig deeper into the referring sites and social channels to see where the opportunities are here.

Assisted conversions

There’s more to the story than last click. In Analytics, go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted conversions. Many clients have difficulty understanding the concept of attribution. This report seems to provide the best introduction to the world of attribution. Last click isn’t going to be replaced anytime soon, but we can start to educate and optimize for other parts of the funnel.

True stories from analytics detective work

Granted, this is not a post about favorite reports. But this is a post about why digging through analytics can open up huge opportunities. So, it’s real-life example time from Greenlane’s own experience!

Story 1: The Forgotten Links

The client is a big fashion brand. They’ve been a popular brick-and-mortar retail destination since the early 80s, but only went online in 1996. This is the type of company that builds links based on their brand ambassadors and trendy styles. SEO wasn’t the mainstream channel it is today, so it’s likely they had some serious architecture changes since the 90s, right?

For this company, analytics data can only be traced back about seven years. We thought, “Let’s take a look at what drove traffic in their early years. Let’s see if there were any trends that drove volume and sales where they may be slipping today. If they had authority then, and are slipping now, it might be easier to recoup that authority versus building from scratch.”

The good news—this brand had been able to essentially maintain the authority they launched with, as there were not any real noticeable gaps between search data then and search data today. But, in the digging, we uncovered a gem. We found a lot of URLs that used to draw traffic that are not on their tree today. After digging furthur, we found a redesign occurred in the late 90s. SEO wasn’t factored in, creating a ton of 404s. These 404s were not even being charted in Google Webmaster Tools, yet they are still being linked to today from external sites (remember, GWT is still quite directional in terms of the data they provide). Better yet, we pulled links from OSE and Majestic, and saw that thousands of forgotten links existed.

This is an easy campaign—create a 301 redirect matrix for those dead pages and bring those old backlinks to life.

But we kept wondering what pages were out there before the days where analytics was implemented. Using the Wayback Machine, we found that even more redesigns had occurred in the first few years of the site’s life. We didn’t have data for these pages, so we had to get creative. Using Screaming Frog, we crawled the Wayback Machine to pull out URLs we didn’t know existed. We fed them into the link tools, and sure enough, there were links there, too.

Story 2: To “View All” or Not To “View All”

Most eCommerce sites have pagination issues. It’s a given. A seasoned SEO knows immediately to look for these issues. SEOs use rel=”next” and “prev” to help Google understand the relationships. But does Google always behave the way we think they should? Golly, no!

Example 2 is a company that sells barware online. They have a lot of products, and tend to show only “page 1” of a given category. Yet, the analytics showed instances where Google preferred to show the view all page. These were long “view all” pages, which, after comparing to the “page 1” pages, showed a much lower bounce rate and higher conversions. Google seemed to prefer them in several cases anyway, so a quick change to default to “view all” started showing very positive returns in three months.

Story 3: Selling What Analytics Says to Sell

I have to change some details of this story because of NDAs, but once upon a time there was a jewelry company that sold artisan products. They were fond of creating certain kinds of keepsakes based on what sold well in their retail stores. Online, though, they weren’t performing very well selling these same products. The website was fairly new and hadn’t quite earned the footing they thought their brand should have, but that wasn’t the terminal answer we wanted to give them. Instead, we wanted to focus on areas they could compete with, while building up the entire site and turning their offline brand into an online brand.

Conversion rates, search metrics, and even PPC data showed a small but consistent win on a niche product that didn’t perform nearly as well in the brick-and-mortar stores. It wasn’t a target for us or the CEO. Yet online, there was obvious interest. Not only that, with low effort, this series of products was poised to score big in natural search due to low competition. The estimated search volume (per Google Keyword Planner) wasn’t extraordinary by any stretch, but it led to traffic that spent considerable dollars on these products. So much so, in fact, that this product became a focus point of the website. Sometimes, mining through rocks can uncover gold (jewelry pun intended).


My biggest hope is that your takeaway after reading this piece is a candid look at your role as an SEO or digital marketer. You’re a person with a “unique set of skills,” being called upon to perform works of brilliance. Being busy does create pressure; that pressure can sometimes force you to look for shortcuts or “phone it in.” If you really want to find the purest joy in what you’ve chosen as a career, I believe it’s from the stories embedded within the data. Go get ’em, Sherlock!

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21st century local marketing

Yellow Page ads, sandwich boards, local newsletters, bulletin boards, street criers — all of these forms of marketing seem pretty outdated, right?

SEO For Shops: The 12 Tips Of Xmas

It’s almost Halloween, and you know what that means — it’s time to prepare for the holidays! Columnist Marcus Miller provides tips for local businesses to make the most out of this holiday season. The post SEO For Shops: The 12 Tips Of Xmas appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How to Write for the Web—a New Approach for Increased Engagement – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Dan-Petrovic

We tend to put a lot of effort into writing great content these days. But what’s the point of all that hard work if hardly anybody actually reads it through to the end?

In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Dan Petrovic illustrates a new approach to writing for the web to increase reader engagement, and offers some tools and tips to help along the way.

How to Write for the Web - a New Approach for Increased Engagement Whiteboard

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

G’day, Moz fans, Dan Petrovic from DEJAN here. Today we’re talking about how to write for the web.

How much of an article will people actually read?

This year we did an interesting study involving 500 people. We asked them how do they read online. We found that the amount of people who actually read everything word-for-word is 16%. Amazingly, this is exactly the same statistic, the same percentage that Nielsen came up with in 1997. It’s been nearly two decades, and we still haven’t learned how to write for the Web.

I don’t know about you guys, but I find this to be a huge opportunity, something we can do with our blogs and with our content to change and improve how we write in order to provide better user experience and better performance for our content. Essentially, what happens is four out of five people that visit your page will not actually read everything you wrote. The question you have to ask yourself is: Why am I even writing if people are not reading?

I went a little bit further with my study, and I asked those same people: Why is it that you don’t read? How is it that there are such low numbers for the people who actually read? The answer was, “Well, I just skip stuff.” “I don’t have time for reading.” “I mainly scan,” or, “I read everything.” That was 80 out of 500 people. The rest said, “I just read the headline and move on,” which was amazing to hear.

Further study showed that people are after quick answers. They don’t want to be on a page too long. They sometimes lose interest halfway through reading the piece of content. They find the bad design to be a deterrent. They find the subject matter to be too complex or poorly written. Sometimes they feel that the writing lacks credibility and trust.

I thought, okay, there’s a bunch of people who don’t like to read a lot, and there’s a bunch of people who do like to read a lot. How do I write for the web to satisfy both ends?

Here was my dilemma. If I write less, the effort for reading my content is very low. It satisfies a lot of people, but it doesn’t provide the depth of content that some people expect and it doesn’t allow me to go into storytelling. Storytelling is very powerful, often. If I write more, the effort will be very high. Some people will be very satisfied, but a lot of people will just bounce off. It’ll provide the depth of content and enable storytelling.

Actually, I ended up finding out something I didn’t know about, which was how journalists write. This is a very old practice called “inverted pyramid.”

The rules are, you start off with a primary piece of information. You give answers straight up. Right after that you go into the secondary, supporting information that elaborates on any claims made in the first two paragraphs. Right after that we go into the deep content.

I thought about this, and I realized why this was written in such a way: because people used to read printed stuff, newspapers. They would go read the most important thing, and if they drop off at this point, it’s not so bad because they know actually what happened in the first paragraph. The deep content is for those who have time.

But guess what? We write for the web now. So what happens is we have all this technology to change things and to embed things. We don’t really have to wait for our users to go all the way to the bottom to read deep information. I thought, “How can I take this deep information and make it available right here and right there to give those interested extra elaboration on a concept while they’re reading something?”

This is when I decided I’ll dive deeper into the whole thing. Here’s my list. This is what I promised myself to do. I will minimize interruption for my readers. I will give them quick answers straight in the first paragraph. I will support easy scanning of my content. I will support trust by providing citations and references. I will provide in-depth content to those who want to see it. I will enable interactivity, personalization, and contextual relevance to the piece of content people want to retrieve in that particular time.

I took one of my big articles and I did a scroll test on it. This was the cutoff point where people read everything. At this point it drops to 95, 80, 85. You keep losing audience as your article grows in size. Eventually you end up at about 20% of people who visit your page towards the bottom of your article.

My first step was to jump on the Hemingway app—a very good online app where you can put in your content and it tells you basically all the unnecessary things you’ve actually put in your words—to actually take them out because they don’t really need to be there. I did that. I sized down my article, but it still wasn’t going to do the trick.

Enter the hypotext!

This is where I came up with an idea of hypotext. What I did, I created a little plugin for WordPress that enables people to go through my article, click on a particular piece, kind of like a link.

Instead of going to a new website, which does interrupt their reading experience, a block of text opens within the paragraph of text they’re reading and gives them that information. They can click if they like, or if they don’t want to look up this information, they don’t have to. It’s kind of like links, but injected right in the context of what they’re currently reading.

This was a nerve-wracking exercise for me. I did 500 revisions of this article until I got it right. What used to be a 5,000-word article turned into a 400-word article, which can then be expanded to its original 5,000-word form. People said, “That’s great. You have a nice hypothesis, nice theory, but does this really work?”

So I decided to put everything I did to a test. An old article, which takes about 29 minutes to read, was attracting people to the page, but they were spending 6 minutes on average—which is great, but not enough. I wanted people to spend way more time. If I put the effort into writing, I wanted them to digest that content properly. The bounce rate was quite high, meaning they were quite tired with my content, and they just wanted to move on and not explore anything else on my website.

Test Results

After implementing the compressed version of my original article, giving them a choice of what they will read and when, I expanded the average time on page to 12 minutes, which is extraordinary. My bounce rate was reduced to 60%, which meant that people kept browsing for more of my content.

We did a test with a content page, and the results were like this:

Basically, the engagement metrics on the new page were significantly higher than on the old when implemented in this way.

On a commercial landing page, we had a situation like this:

We only had a small increase in engagement. It was about 6%. Still very happy with the results. But what really, really surprised me was on my commercial landing page—where I want people to actually convert and submit an inquiry—the difference was huge.

It was about a 120% increase in the inquiries in comparison to the control group when I implemented this type of information. I removed the clutter and I enabled people to focus on making the inquiry.

I want you all to think about how you write for the web, what is a good web reading experience, and how content on the web should be, because I think it’s time to align how we write and how we read on the web. Thank you.

Video transcription by

A few notes:

There are a few things to note here. First, for an example of an implementation of hypotext, take a look at this post on user behavior data.

Next, keep in mind that Google does devalue the hidden content, disagreeing with its usability. You can read more about this on the DEJAN blog—there are further tips on the dangers of hidden content and how you can combat them there.

One solution is to reverse how hypotext works in an article. Rather than defaulting to the shorter piece, you can start by showing the full text and offer a “5-minute-read” link (example here) for those inclined to skim or not interested in the deep content.

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for listening!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

5 Questions: Indiana Grown leader touts local produce

… to use his knowledge and experience to turn the program into a benchmark other state-supported local agricultural marketing initiatives can follow.

Click-Through Rate Isn’t Everything: 8 Ways to Improve Your Online Display Ads

Posted by rMaynes1

You are exposed to an average of 362 online display ads a day. How close are you to buying anything when you see those ads?

Online display ads have been around for over 20 years. They’re nothing new. But over the past 2 decades, the content, format, and messaging of display ads have changed dramatically—because they have had to!

The click-through rate of that first banner ad in 1994 was 44%. CTRs have steadily declined, and were sitting at around 0.1% in 2012 for standard display ads (video and rich media excluded), according to DoubleClick. Advertisers had to do something to ensure that their ads were seen, and engaged with—ads had to be a useful resource, and not an annoying nuisance.

It’s important, however, that the focus is not firmly fixed on CTRs. Yes, online display ads have largely been considered a tool for direct response advertising, but more recently, advertisers are understanding the importance of reaching the right person, in the right mindset, with an ad that can be seen. This ad may not be clicked on, but does that mean it wasn’t noticed and remembered? Advertisers are increasingly opting to pay for performance as opposed to clicks and/or impressions. Advertisers want their ad to drive action that leads to purchase—and that isn’t always in the form of a click.

Mediative recently conducted and released a research study that looks at how display ads can drive purchase behaviour. If someone is browsing the web and sees an ad, can it influence a purchase decision? Are searchers more responsive to display ads at different stages in the buying cycle? What actions do people take after seeing an ad that captures their interest? Ultimately, Mediative wanted to know how indicative of purchase behaviour a click on an ad was, and if clicks on display ads even matter anymore when it comes to driving purchase behaviour and measuring campaign success. The results from an online survey are quite interesting.

1. The ability of online display ads to influence people increases as they come closer to a purchase decision.

In fact, display ads are 39% more likely to influence web users when they are researching a potential purchase versus when they have no intent to buy.

Advertiser action item #1:

Have different ad creatives with different messaging that will appeal to the researcher and the purchaser of your product or service separately. Combined with targeted impressions, advertisers are more likely to reach and engage their target audience when they are most receptive to the particular messaging in the ad.

Here are a few examples of Dell display ads and different creatives that have been used:

This creative is focusing on particular features of the product that might appeal more to researchers.

This ad injects the notion of “limited time” to get a deal, which might cause people who are on the fence to act faster—but it doesn’t mention pricing or discounts.

These creatives introduce price discounts and special offers which will appeal to those in the market to buy.

2. The relevancy of ads cannot be understated.

40% of people took an action (clicked the ad, contacted the advertiser, searched online for more information, etc.) from seeing an ad because it was relevant to a need or want, or relevant to something they were doing at the time.

Advertiser action item #2:

Use audience data or lookalike modeling in display campaigns to ensure ads will be targeted to searchers who have a higher likelihood of being interested in the product or service. Retargeting ads to people based on their past activity or searches is valuable at this stage, as potential customers can be reached all over the web while they comparison shop.

An established Canadian charitable organization ran an awareness campaign in Q2 2015 using retargeting, first and third party data lookalike modeling, and contextual targeting to help drive existing, and new users to their website. The goal was to drive donations, while reducing the effective cost per action of the campaign. This combination helped drive granularity in the targeting, enabling the most efficient spending possible. The result was a 689% decrease in eCPA—$76 versus the goal of $600.

3. Clicks on ads are not the only actions taken after seeing ads.

53% of people said they were likely to search online for the product featured in the ad (the same as those who said they would click on the ad). Searching for more information online is just as likely as clicking the ad after it captures attention, just not as quickly as a click (74% would click on the ad immediately or within an hour, 52% would search online immediately or within an hour).

Advertiser action item #3:

It is critical not to measure the success of a display campaign by clicks alone. Advertisers can get caught up in CTRs, but it’s important to remember that ads will drive other behaviours in people, not just a click. Website visits, search metrics, etc. must all be taken into consideration.

A leading manufacturer of PCs, laptops, tablets, and accessories wanted to increase sales in Q2 of 2014, with full transparency on the performance and delivery of the campaign. The campaign was run against specific custom audience data focusing on people of technological, educational, and business interest, and was optimized using various tactics. The result? The campaign achieved a post-view ROI revenue (revenue from target audiences who were presented with ad impressions, yet did not necessarily click through at that time) that was 30x the amount of post-click revenue.

4. Clicks on ads are not the only actions that lead to purchase.

33% of respondents reported making a purchase as a direct result of seeing an ad online. Of those, 61% clicked and 44% searched (multiple selections were allowed), which led to a purchase.

Advertiser action item #4:

Revise the metrics you measure. Measuring “post-view conversions” will take into account the fact that people may see an ad, but act later—the ad triggers an action, whether it be a search, a visit, or a purchase—but not immediately, and it is not directly measurable.

5. The age of the target audience can impact when ads are most likely to influence them in the buying cycle.

  • Overall, 18–25 year olds are most likely to be influenced by online advertising.
  • At the beginning of the buying cycle, younger adults aged 18–34 are likely to notice and be influenced by ads much more than people aged over 35.
  • At the later stages of the buying cycle, older adults aged 26–54 are 12% more likely that 18–25 year olds to have made a purchase as a result of seeing an ad.

Advertiser action item #5:

If your target audience is older, multiple exposures of an ad might be necessary in order to increase the likelihood of capturing their attention. Integrated campaigns could be more effective, where offline campaigns run in parallel with online campaigns to maximize message exposure.

6. Gender influences how much of an impact display ads have.

More women took an online action that led to a purchase in the last 30 days, whereas more men took an offline action that led to a purchase.

  • 76% more women than men visited an advertiser’s website without clicking on the ad.
  • 47% more women than men searched online for more information about the advertiser, product, or service.
  • 43% more men than women visited the advertiser’s location.
  • 33% more men than women contacted the advertiser.

Advertiser action item #6:

Ensure you know as much about your target audience as possible. What is their age, their average income? What sites do they like to visit? What are their interests? The more you know about who you are trying to reach, the more likely you will be to reach them at the right times when they will be most responsive to your advertising messages.

7. Income influences how much of an impact display ads have.

  • Web users who earned over $100k a year were 35% more likely to be influenced by an ad when exposed to something they hadn’t even thought about than those making under $50k a year.
  • When ready to buy, people who earned under $20K were 12.5% more likely to be influenced by ads than those making over $100K.

Advertiser action item #7:

Lower earners (students, part-time workers, etc.) are more influenced by ads when ready to buy, so will likely engage more with ads offering discounts. Consider income differences when you are trying to reach people at different stages in the buying cycle.

8. Discounts don’t influence people if they are not relevant.

We were surprised that the results of the survey indicated that discounts or promotions in ads did not have more of an impact on people—but it’s likely that the ads with coupons were irrelevant to the searcher’s needs or wants, therefore would have no impact. We asked people what their reasons were behind taking action after seeing an online ad. 40% of respondents took an action from seeing an ad for a more purchase-related reason than simply being interested—they took the action because the ad was relevant to a need or want, or relevant to something they were doing at the time.

Advertiser action item #8:

Use discounts strategically. Utilizing data in campaigns can ensure ads reach people with a high intent to buy and a high likelihood of being interested in your product or service. Turn interest into desire with coupons and/or discounts—it will have more of an impact if directly tied to something the searcher is already considering.

In conclusion, to be successful, advertisers need to ensure their ads are providing value to online web users—to be noticed, remembered, and engaged with, relevancy of the ad is key. Serving relevant ads that are related to a searcher’s current need or want are far more likely to capture attention than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Advertisers will be rewarded for their attention to personalization with more interaction with ads and a higher likelihood of a purchase. Analyzing lower funnel metrics, such as post-view conversions, rather than simply concentrating on the CTR will allow advertisers to have a far better understanding of how their ads are performing, and the potential number of consumers that have been influenced.

Rebecca Maynes, Manager of Content Marketing and Research with Mediative, was the major contributor on this whitepaper. The full research study is available for free download at

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