Guerrilla UX Studies Workshop at Car HMi

Guerrilla UX Studies Workshop at Car HMi 2018 Conference in Detroit, Michigan I’m pleased to have been invited to conduct my popular Guerrilla UX Studies workshop at this year’s Car HMi conference in Detroit, Michigan. This workshop is a cr…

Guerrilla UX Studies Workshop at Car HMi 2018 Conference in Detroit, Michigan I’m pleased to have been invited to conduct my popular Guerrilla UX Studies workshop at this year’s Car HMi conference in Detroit, Michigan. This workshop is a crowd favorite. The reason why is attendees get to conduct hands-on training in UX research and […]

CXL Live 2018 Recap: Top 5 Lessons from Each Speaker

CXL Live is our flagship conference about growth and optimization. The 2018 edition of CXL Live brought together 400 practitioners from 22 countries and everyone was “locked in” at a beautiful resort for a full three days. The event had returning attendees… Again wow’d by #CXLLive — plenty of knowledge to bring back to the […]

The post CXL Live 2018 Recap: Top 5 Lessons from Each Speaker appeared first on CXL.

CXL Live is our flagship conference about growth and optimization. The 2018 edition of CXL Live brought together 400 practitioners from 22 countries and everyone was “locked in” at a beautiful resort for a full three days.

The event had returning attendees…

… as well as first-timers:

The event was again emcee’d by the only and only Michael Aagaard:

Here are 5 tips / thoughts / lessons (it was super difficult to narrow it down to just 5!) from each of the speakers.

Bryan Eisenberg – Saying Goodbye to the Buy Button

  • The interface that we’re going to be using to buy stuff in the future will not be the big screen.
  • Voice is growing super fast, time to invest in it is now. 57% of folks have ordered something via voice on their device. Amazon has hired more people for their Alexa division than Google has for the entire company – it’s not hunch, this is going to be the focus
  • The actual year of mobile was 10 years ago (release of the iPhone) and we still have horrid mobile experiences out there.
  • Amazon built its growth on top of these 4 pillars:
    • Customer Centricity
      • “The most important single thing  is to focus obsessively on the customer” – Jeff Bezos
      • They may believe “the customer is always right” but how do they act? [Lush example]
    • Culture of Innovation
      • Prime was a 6-page memo: inspired by Costco membership model – built as a test
    • Corporate Agility
      • Two pizza approach – organized for execution
      • How many emails do you get cc’d or bcc’d on? Transparency correlates to agility (Does your CEO know how many tests you ran last month?)
    • Continuous Optimization
      • Aligning customers & business objectives
      • Not just about lift – what kind of impact does this have on the customers?
  • Amazon is a big grizzly, we are the fish it’s trying to catch. In order to survive, we don’t need to beat the grizzly bear, just need to be faster than other fish. Fastest fish wins.

Hana Abaza – Thriving on Change, Driving Growth and Lessons Learned at Shopify

  • There are low-hanging fruits everywhere. Following that can be damaging to long-term goals.
  • You have to get more systematic about positioning. No more puking up unicorns and rainbows
    • Marketing can polish a turd. Positioning can turn turds into fertilizer.
    • Positioning isn’t something marketing makes up, it’s something marketing uncovers
    • Messaging and branding is an expression of positioning
    • If you’re in an established industry, positioning needs to focus on how you are better vs who you are.
  • Most marketers say they know that not everyone is in their target market, but they don’t always act like it.
  • Facts don’t change minds – true for both sales and customers.
  • You need clarity of purpose – otherwise everything else will fall apart and you’re not able to prioritize.

Ed Fry – Customer Data Operations: Unleashing your hidden growth engine

  • What you need to do hyper-personalization at each touch point:
    • Know everything about your customers.
    • Personalization is a data problem, not a marketing problem.
    • Data is siloed – sitting in different tools that don’t talk to each other. There are 5k marketing tools – completely overwhelming! Madness! It’s the “Frankenstack”. This causes a drag on all aspects of what we trying to do as marketers.
  • The solution is customer data platforms (CPD’s). Buying a CDP? Don’t be fooled – look for these must have capabilities/features…
    • Unified customer profile
    • Transform raw customer data into new traits
    • Query, build & update segments of customers
    • Map & sync profile data
  • The power is in how customer data is used. What experiences can you create from your tools, teams, and data?
  • 5 steps to freedom:
    1. Find your ideal customer profile. Find agreement on a common definition.
    2. Map entire customer journey. Track & trace all customer paths/journeys. Map out each lifecycle stage and variations, and name each. Assign content & channels for each experience
    3. Hire & fire – tools to do a job. Experiences happen in loops. Identify your channels. Use data enrichment.
    4. Integrate profile data between tools. Map all key profiles & data. Enrich – to understand if this is an ideal customer. Create segments, sync across data across your tools.
    5. Orchestrate 1:1 Personalization [at scale]. Ex. email: use data to send highly personalized message  by pulling data from across sources (e.g. previous conversations, facebook, intercom…). Explore the orchestration ideas together as a team. Work through 1 at a time.

Ezra Firestone – What Works in Email Marketing Right Now

  • Email & ads are the 2 big communication channels. On avg $1 spent on email returns $38.
  • Structure that works the best for emails
    • branded header and tagline
    • headline
    • sub-headline with CTA
    • remind people that you care about them
    • upleveled aesthetic
    • match the brand ethos, congruent with the website
    • updated footer
    • add links to relevant content
    • 88% check email actively on smart phones, needs to be mobile optimized
    • mobile is  ~50% of revenue, shorter form works better
    • 66% of unsubscribes takes place between 5 and 10pm
  • Target email openers and clickers, run ads to people who opened but didn’t click, clicked but didn’t buy.
  • Embed blog videos hosted on facebook so you can track consumption and advertise to them.
  • Messenger will become the biggest channel over the near years. Example: wechat in China
    • intimate communication is how we actually have our conversations, not email, or ads
    • more activity and engagement than any marketing channel, better than email, paid, physical mail
    • messenger sub worth 5 to 10x an email sub
    • 60-80% open rates and click through rates
    • instant delivery
    • buy right from Facebook news feed
    • it will never be as easy or affordable to build Messenger audience for your brand as it is right now.

Alexa Hubley – Master Customer Marketing by Watching Romantic Comedies

  • Customer Marketing – our job is to build relationships at scale so they fall in love with us. We want them to sing from the rooftops about how much they love us.
  • Two scariest words for SaaS customer – “pricing change’ – avoid shocking customers
  • Create intimacy
    • Hard to scale
    • Focus on planning for segmentations
    • At unbounce – works at a modified Google Sprints structure. Understand-decide-prototype-finalize-launch (data and research at beginning, decide on targets in middle, QA before launch). 14k customers at unbounce -> 14 groups/cohorts
  • Woo your customers. They used humor – created a Chief Discount Officer’ – CDO – ‘humor to sell a deal’ campaign that included multple emails and direct mail.
  • Build trust through recriprocity. When people are made to feel special, they respond favorably to offers.

Tara Robertson – How to 10x Growth by Optimizing Customer Marketing & Retention

  • Retention is the most important thing – if that’s poor, nothing else matters. Concentrate heavily on retaining your customers. Flip your funnel – only 5% of revenue comes from optimisation but 92% of revenue from retention.
  • 2 reasons for churn: 
    • Customers don’t see value (perceived value)
    • Environmental (change in strategy, etc nothing to do with you)
  • Main focus – start testing your pricing model and the value proposition (what resonates with the clients)
  • Create win-back campaigns for churned customers
  • Use qualitative research: Send out surveys and use incentives (10 questions). Arrange interviews after the survey to get a deeper understanding. Only ask open ended questions. Ask for brutal and honest feedback (try to get negative/bad feedback) that shows what to change.

Bangaly Kaba – The Path to 1 Billion: Lessons learned from Growing Instagram

  • Focus on the marginal user (= non-power user) – matters because every click is expensive to that user. Growth exists to remove barriers to adoption.
  • Impact requires “understand work”. Sustained impact requires working from first principles – Understand, Identify, Execute vs Identify, Justify, Execute (the latter is the wrong way to do it). 
  • Track ecosystem health daily. Start with retention. Understand growth accounting – new, resurrected vs churned = net growth (can also look at this at feature level, not only product). Work hard to define meaningful product metrics – enabler of team success.
  • Iterate to the vision. What is the end state you want to have? Have a vision. 
  • Zoom out & solve the larger problem. 
    • Understand: funnel analyis to identify opportunities – 75K people / day werent able to  login because of a bad login screen design
    • Identify: increase prominence of FB login entry point
    • Execute: things don’t always go as planned – the update did not work, so had to iterate

Candace Ohm – a Mathematician’s Guide to Growth Optimization

  • To understand acquisition you must understand lifetime value.
  • You have 2 types of users: occasional users and frequent users. Frequent users:  key to your growth.
    1. Increased engagement
    2. Virality: # of users that refer your product for you: exponential growth if your K factor is greater than 1
    3. Network effects: Uber effect. Each additional user leads to exponential growth
  • If you’re not focusing on the right things the slope of the curve will just shift up but stay flat. Spiceworks focused on increased users, but it ate them alive. In 2016, they had a huge layoff and had to shift strategy.
  • Dropbox: first achieved growth through virality. Friends referring friends. So they optimized referral process. Dropbox:  refer my friends and family – generates a nice personalized email. Easy process for the referred friend to follow, and it’s a win for both. Building trust. Everybody wins.
  • Optimize for getting people to become more frequent users.

Guy Yalif – Demystifying AI for Marketers

  • What is AI is good at? Managing a lot at once. Accelerating learning. Listening and reacting 24×7. Acting with precision (sample size can be big). AI helps to get more done, deliver a lot.
  • Before AI – we come up with an idea, do 50/50 of traffic and get a winner to show everyone. Is my audience all the same? No. AI can do 1:1 personalization at scale. 
  • When not to use AI – when you’re a small startup – first figure out your market; if you don’t have internal or external people who come up with ideas.
  • AI can dramatically increase your testing velocity. You can use AI even when you haven’t mastered traditional testing.
  • AI is perfect for situations when your traffic sources change, and what works best changes.

Chad Sanderson – The Statistical Pitfalls of A/B Testing

  • Significance in the inverse of the p-value. P-value is the probability of an event happening under normal circumstances.
  • In an A/A test the distribution of p-values is random
  • If we are running AB tests and we are adding trials, then the more trials we add, the higher the chance we see an error<
  • Do not stop a test because you see significance.Set your sample size in advance. Run your test for weekly intervals or for other intervals that take into account customer behavioral changes through time.
  • The larger the number of visitors in your test the higher the likelihood to detect a significant difference.

Els Aerts – Without Research There is Nothing

  • Do the research for your situation. Do not copy other people’s templates or best practices. Do the research for your own models. You are gambling if you use other’s best practices.
  • Start with the user. Obsess with the user. Start with what the customer needs and start backward. It’s not touchy, it’s business. Customers drive growth.
  • In-person moderated user testing is great.  One on One. Allows you to have the user right in front of you. Do moderated user testing and not focus groups. The data is observed behavior and not customer opinions.
  • Focus Groups are great for ideation. A FOCUS GROUP IS NOT A USER TEST!
  • Three things for valid data
    1. Recruit the right users. Test your target audience (both existing and target)
    2. Write a good scenario. Do not ask questions, set tasks. Goal: observe behavior (not look for opinions)
    3. Be a kick-ass moderator. The moderator is the biggest strength and the biggest weakness in moderated user testing.

Matt Roach – How to Optimise Big Corporates (with a Lot of Legacy)

  • So easy to say you need to do this this and this but the devil is in the execution
  • 7 drivers of optimization success
    • You need to have a standardized process
    • Budget (tools & resources)
    • Organization structure. Typically the hardest thing to get right in CRO. Silos are not effective.
    • Skills. Value = (Knowledge + Process) x Skill x Attitude
    • Attitude (People). Enthusiasts “just get it”. Proofers “have to prove it”. Deniers “just don’t want to know” and need to leave.
    • Culture. Attitudes, opinions, and traditions you have within the company. Culture Need: Data-driven, permission to fail, focus on long term customer value.
    • CEO. With their buy-in, you can succeed, without it you’re fighting every step
  • Size exacerbates issues, but age is the real issue.
  • Not getting big AB testing wins doesn’t mean you are not optimizing.
  • You can optimize anything – even your worst nightmare.

Mats Einarsen – Lessons Learnt from Creating a Large Scale Experimentation Culture

  • Don’t assume people get it – Many of the terms we’re using are overloaded. You want to be sure you’re really explicit and make sure people are trained to understand the terms.
  • Train your people. Get everyone on the same line. Create a structured curriculum. Track who’s trained. Especially the new people. Do spot checks. Talk randomly about Type II errors with people from the team. Teach people how to convert.
  • Systematically recycle hypotheses. Mats uses spreadsheets for this. Where have I tested this? What other pages could I test this hypothesis on?
  • Decisions become rules. Bad testing habits tend to spread throughout organizations. Keep a strict decision-making process as the #1 in importance. Testing velocity comes second.
  • Everything must be tested. You need to test literally everything. Bugfixes, strategic initiatives, legal requirements, known wins, known losses.

Renee Thompson – How to Win at B2B Optimization

  • What makes B2B different?
    1. Offline sale – typically
    2. Long sales cycle – 18 months or more
    3. There’s a buying team (as opposed to individual)
    4. High risk – can’t send back if it doesn’t fit
  • There’s no single metric to track, there are many:
    • Leads
    • Quality of leads
    • Engagement
    • Are they in your target demographic, firmographics…
    • How do you tie this all back to business value?
  • How to do shorten a long sales process? Empathize. Activation:
    • Move them to the next stage
    • Email
    • In-experience (nudges etc)
  • Optimize for lead quality, not quantity. You’ll make more money.
  • Free email service (gmail ,yahoo etc) leads don’t become users: worth 2.7x less than business emails. Require corporate email addresses on your forms.

Yu Guo – Scaling experimentation at Airbnb: Platform, Process, and People

  • Airbnb growth is empathy driven, evidence fueled, through experimentation. Fueling growth means scaling experimentation effort.
  • All new recruits go through Data University. The goal is to empower EVERY employee at Airbnb to make data-informed decisions by providing data education that scales by role & team.
  • Everyone can see all experiments. Knowledge Repo – open sourced. Stores not just data, but the knowledge that comes with testing. Learnings, next steps, etc. Improves knowledge sharing.
  • There are guidelines for end-to-end lifecycle in data-driven decision making. This ensures decision consistency across teams.
  • There’s an Experiments Council: internal consulting to help with tricky design , setup and interpretation.

Vab Dwivedi – E-Commerce and Customer Experience Optimization Practices from

  • Be customer obsessed, you’re really presenting the voice of the customer.
  • Deliver analytics in a consumable manner. Drive decision making through data, take out the emotion and opinions.
  • Serve as a channel of knowledge. Share test results via newsletters and open forums.
  • Be agile, move at the speed of business, don’t hold up product development.
  • Dell launched an entirely new frontend and backend. Tested it on a smaller segment before pushing it live to everyone. They expected a quick win but it “really didn’t work” -33% revenue per visit. After more research, they introduced UI enhancements, 24 of them. Result: -45% revenue per visit. The reasons were all technical (bugs).

Merritt Aho – May the Best Ideas Win (They Usually Do)

  • We produce a nearly endless stream of bad ideas. We’re true maybe 30% of the time. It’s our imperative to find ideas that work. But how big was your bonus based on your learnings? No-one’s making a career based on learnings alone.
  • Ideas that are most easily accessed from memory seem to dominate our thinking. Out of a universe of possible decisions, we usually choose the first one we remember. It’s not just laziness. Brainstorming is not the right answer. Ideas die in team brainstorming sessions. They are not thought out deeply enough.
  • You have to believe that the best idea is not the most promising one that comes from your consciousness. The best ideas are the result of a process. Quantity over quality. 3-5 people. Subject matter experts + people with very different backgrounds (the spark). Remove distraction. Narrow your focus: talk about specific things.
  • During sessions go deep. Just get it all out. Kick it off with a couple of really dumb-sounding ideas. I don’t want you filtering the ideas out. You’ll never know when an idea sparks a tought in someone else. Just keep it at it until the pace slows down. Build on someone else’s idea.
  • Take care of decisions later – only when a decision really needs to be made. This gives you the ability to broaden your audience. No-one gets to critique, no-one gets to evaluate in the session.

Gary Angel – Extending User Experience Analytics into the Real (non-digital) World

  • Stores (physical) have not changed in 20 years, online has. But now everything is changing (Amazon Go stores – online to physical).
  • Optimizing physical stores has to happen, or it’s not really omni-channel. What gets currently measured in physical stores?
    • Door count (how many customers go in) + How much is sold
    • Experience inside is a mystery
    • Key questions that we can’t answer – foundational info we don’t have so we can’t optimize
      • Interested but didn’t buy?
      • Consider a new product category?
      • Did associate interactions improve conversion rate?
  • Tech helping us monitor behavior
    • Wifi. It’s everywhere and always geo-tracking you.
    • Passive sniffer. Similar to wifi, but a little more accurate.
    • Phone. Geolocation is in mobile apps as well (actually very accurate). Small snippet of code
    • Video camera. Security yes, but also doing double duty for measurement
    • Allows us to answer fundamental questions
      • What engages and when does that sell?
      • Are areas of the store underperforming?
      • Is the staffing level appropriate?
      • How much localization is necessary?
  • Measuring physical space
    • Floor Mapping (path analysis) – track route, where they stopped/paused, how long they spent at each stop
      • Parallel to what we see in analytics on URLs (same premise)
    • Functional analysis. Utilizing space to “push” customers into certain spaces, increase impulse purchase, etc.
    • Funnel abandonment. Where do people leave? What do they look at?
    • Content Attribution. What’s engaging people? What’s staff performance like?

Moe Kiss – The Pursuit of Customer Happiness: Why Customer Experience Across Devices Matters

  • There’s no such thing as an “app user”-  we use multiple devices across the whole user journey.
  • Embrace the randomness of customer behavior. Example: customer checking order status over 100 times in one day
    Trying to push into linear view of journey doesn’t work.
  • Talk to analysts to figure out what kind of user stitching you’re doing.
  • Challenge data silos (metrics split out by different devices) by reviewing your metrics.
  • Create an experiment about a frustrating user issue.

Rachel Sweeney – Building an Optimization Framework driven by the Cloud and AI

  • If you want to do Data Science, hire a Data Scientist. You need the broad knowledge, depth and skills of a data scientist.
  • If you want to embark on a machine learning project, decide on a project area. Find ONE specific thing that you can create a model that will learn what to do.
  • Stress test and build trust. Pilot test with LIVE Data.
  • Machine learning is new. Know if you can trust it. It only takes one team member to turn the team against it.
    Tip: Establish the benchmark that people are comfortable with (e.g. 95%, similar to statistical significance.)
  • Machine learning will be huge.


This was just 5 tips picked from 100 tips every speaker shared. The experience can’t be passed on via a blog post.

You need to come to CXL Live.

The post CXL Live 2018 Recap: Top 5 Lessons from Each Speaker appeared first on CXL.

Trust Seals: We Ran 3 Tests on McAfee and Norton Trust Seals. Here’s What We Found

In this article, we’ll show you 3 of Norton and McAfee trust seals that led to an increase in revenue. Learn more about when and how to use trust seals on your site.

We’ve tested security and customer service seals countless times in our ten years analyzing eCommerce websites. Here’s a little of what we’ve learned:

  1. Seals are more important if your company or your industry has trust issues.
  2. Seals are more likely to positively impact smaller or lesser known brands. If you’re Amazon or Walmart, seals don’t matter as much.
  3. Certain seals work better than others.

When we say certain seals work better, we don’t just mean building trust in your brand. Seals can also positively impact your SEO — since increased trust in your site can result in longer site visits and lower bounce rates.

The right trust seal can also increase conversions.

In this article, we’ll show you three tests we’ve conducted with Norton and McAfee seals that led to an increase in revenue, and we’ll conclude with recommendations for when and how to use different trust seals on your site.

Our Recent Tests on Trust Seals and Why We Tested McAfee and Norton

We’ve tested numerous seals in our work (McAfee, Norton, BBB, etc.).

Through our testing, we’ve consistently found:

  •, TrustGuard, and Trustwave seals can actually lower conversion rates
  • GeoTrust and BizRate seals tend not to impact conversions one way or another
  • BBB, Norton, and McAfee seals are the most likely to increase conversions

Norton and McAfee are trusted and well-recognized brands in the digital security market. Similarly, BBB is the biggest brand in customer service ratings and has a huge trust factor.

Other security brands, such as, TrustGuard and Trustwave, are cheaper (and sometimes even free with hosting), and they tend to be associated with less professional sites. This association, in turn, decreases the trust of other sites that use them.

We’ve learned that the McAfee seal is—at the moment—the most likely to increase conversions and the one we use most on client sites. As you’ll see from our recent tests, in all cases, conversions improved with the McAfee seal and decreased without it.

Note: Still unsure which security and customer service badges are right for your site? Or looking for other ways to optimize your site for conversions? Contact us here.

Test No. 1: Electronics eCommerce Site

We evenly split over 78,000 visitors between three versions of an electronics eCommerce site. The three versions of the test were the same in every other way except the presence of no badge, a Norton security badge, or a McAfee security badge. Showing the McAfee badge returned the highest lift rate of 15.7% with a 97% confidence score.

Most sites that use a McAfee seal, including this client’s site, choose to use a floating badge, which sits on the bottom of the screen.

Test No. 2: Outdoor Gear eCommerce Site

On an eCommerce site specializing in a popular outdoor gear line, around 42,000 visitors were split between a site with no badge and one with a floating McAfee badge. The version of the site featuring a McAfee SECURE badge saw a 21.5% lift in conversions with a 95% confidence rate.

Test No. 3: House Plans eCommerce Site

For this test, half of the site visitors, over 156,000, saw a McAfee badge in the header of the homepage and all product pages, as well as a floating McAfee badge on the bottom of the screen. This version resulted in a $24,229 increase in revenue compared to the control. This test has a 100% confidence score.

Will You See These Results If You Add a Trustmark like McAfee SECURE to Your Site?

The tests detailed above are common in our experience, which is why adding a McAfee SECURE seal to our clients’ websites is often one of the first things we test in our conversion optimization process.

We suspect if you add a McAfee SECURE badge to your site, you’ll see a noticeable bump in conversions and revenue, because it almost always goes that way for our clients.

With that said, nothing in CRO is universal, and every site is unique. Our advice is that every eCommerce site should at least try adding a trustmark like McAfee SECURE and see what happens.

How to Test  

We always advocate for testing on a particular site, especially if you’re considering a trust or security seal not discussed in this article. You should even test seals related to your industry.

The right placement makes a difference and should be tested. Raising questions about the security of someone’s money and identity while a customer is making a decision about a product may derail their willingness to buy online or simply at that moment from your site.

Where raising security concerns on the cart/checkout pages on one site may cause customers to react poorly, on another site, it might help raise conversions.

Consider testing a floating versus static seal, as well as testing the size of the seal — small changes can make a difference in your conversion rates.

Note: We’re pros at finding small changes that reap big results. Let us help you maximize conversions on your eCommerce site. Contact us here.

CRO: 8 Design Features Top eCommerce Sites Use on Gallery Pages to Increase Conversions

Read our research about website design trends on eCommerce gallery pages — combining what we’ve learned from studying top eCommerce sites with insights from work with our clients.

Each year we analyze leading eCommerce sites across dozens of categories to identify what features and technology they’re using. We also run dozens of A/B tests for our own eCommerce clients.

In this post, we detail our research about mobile and desktop design trends on eCommerce gallery pages — combining what we’ve learned from studying best-in-class sites with insights from work with our clients.

Here are the top trends found on best-in-class eCommerce sites in 2018, including:

  1. Popular Gallery Page Features
  2. Up-and-Coming Gallery Page Features

Note: Want to talk to our CRO team (who performed this study) about how your site compares to the best-in-class? Reach out here or schedule a call above.

Part 1: Popular Gallery Page Features

We found these three features were among the most common features found on gallery pages across the eCommerce sites we reviewed.

1. Multi-Select Facets

In use on 19 of 20 best-in-class websites (1 site not applicable)

If you do not already allow users to select multiple facets when searching for products on gallery pages, this is a must-have for 2018. We’ve found a strong return-on-investment (ROI) for our own clients who have invested in this feature.

On mobile sites, we’ve also seen a great improvement in the user experience around this feature. For instance, many sites allow you to select multiple facets before refreshing the page. Wayfair shows you the filters you’ve already selected as well as how many products this leaves in your search results.

2. Show Available Product Colors

In use on 15 of 20 best-in-class websites (1 site not applicable)

This feature has grown more common and is becoming a convention as eCommerce technology has advanced. In our own testing, we’ve found that showing what colors are available for a given product aids conversions.

Once again, this is a feature that is trending and useful on desktop sites, but is significantly less popular on mobile sites due to interface issues, such as passing the “fat finger rule.” (Your friends with larger fingers should be able to easily use the feature.)

3. Price Selection Within Facets

In use on 11 of 20 best-in-class websites (1 site not applicable)

Filtering products via a price range is a useful feature that customers appreciate; however, highlighting it can lower your average-order-value (AOV). The key on most sites is to place it lower than other popular filters you want customers to consider first — such as color, brand, etc.

Part 2: Up-and-Coming Features for Gallery Page Design

We also found several up-and-coming features for gallery pages design.

These aren’t in use on all of the websites we studied, but they are being adopted by more and more companies when compared to our research from last year.

4. Contains a Promote Section at Top of Gallery Pages

In use on 15 of 20 best-in-class websites

Having a promotional section on top of product search results is trending up this year; however, it’s something we recommend testing to ensure it works well on your site.

This is also a common feature on mobile sites and a good way to promote site-wide or department-wide sales.

5. Highlight “New” Items

In use on 13 of 20 best-in-class websites

This feature is especially important for sites like or that cater to trend enthusiasts. For these sites, “new” is an important navigation stream to their customer’s experience.

6. Showing Ratings and Number of Reviews

In use on 10 of 20 best-in-class websites

While showing ratings and reviews is growing more common in certain markets, it doesn’t work well for everyone.

The feature is more useful for resellers, such as and But when personal taste is a top selling point or when the eCommerce store is also the product manufacturer, we find that best-in-class sites generally don’t push review ratings up the gallery pages.

On mobile sites, there is a downward trend and if you’re currently using this feature or considering it, we recommend testing.

In our own testing, we’ve seen removing reviews on gallery pages have a positive impact on conversions, especially when not all products have reviews or there are not a lot of reviews per product.

7. AutoScroll

In use on 7 of 20 best-in-class websites

Autoscroll on gallery pages — the ability to see all products on one page rather than click to another page — is trending up this year, but the majority of best-in-class sites have yet to sign on, possibly due to the difficulty to implement. It’s worth testing as we’ve seen this feature raise conversions when well-implemented.

8. Mobile Trend: Sticky Filter/Sort Bar

In use on 7 of 20 best-in-class websites

A sticky filter/sort bar allows users to continue modifying their search results as they scroll. This is a very new and useful trend which is rapidly catching on. Back in 2016, no best-in-class site we researched had yet implemented it.

What Will Work Best For You?

Looking at the features top sites are implementing is a great way to gather ideas for your own site — especially if you see them happening in your market.

However, nothing beats testing new features for yourself.

Note: Want help improving gallery pages on your eCommerce site to optimize conversions? Contact us to discuss how to optimize your site for conversions.

Tips for measuring marketing impact to prove ROI

Contributor Kristie Colby explains how to align your systems so that you can track prospects’ interactions all the way to the sale and beyond.

The post Tips for measuring marketing impact to prove ROI appeared first on Marketing Land.

Marketers can struggle to prove the value of their programs when there isn’t always a direct response or purchase. This is especially true for B2B marketers focused on lead generation programs with long, complex sales cycles. So, how does a marketer faced with such a challenge assess the impact of their marketing efforts, prove contribution to revenue and demonstrate ROI?

Understand marketing objectives

Most marketers have several different goals that drive their strategies and programs. Typically, we are allocating resources across multiple programs and channels to meet the following objectives:

  • Brand awareness and market positioning.
  • Lead generation.
  • Lead nurture and sales enablement.
  • Target account acquisition (via Account Based Marketing).
  • Customer loyalty and growth.

Each of these efforts will involve multiple touch points that have varying levels of impact on a prospect or customer’s decision-making process. But what is their ultimate value to the organization?

Critical success factors to measure marketing impact

Here are some of the items that need to be addressed in order to assess the value and contribution of marketing programs:

• Acquiring customer data. Marketers must have the technology and infrastructure in place to record meaningful information about various touch points that contribute to lead generation and customer acquisition. These systems do not rely solely on what the prospect might provide. For example, online registration forms might capture name, email, company name and phone number. In most cases, a marketing automation platform is used to supplement prospect-provided data.

TIP: Most marketing automation systems provide cookie data that can be appended to lead records automatically. Then, when that lead takes a specific action that is important to the marketing program, the engagement can be recognized and possibly addressed with proactive campaigns and programs.

• Ensure consistent parameters. The entire organization must utilize the same parameters and field values to record information related to lead/customer acquisition. They must be categorized with meaningful and actionable values that can be captured by the technology and systems in place. Most companies use a combination of UTM parameters that can be captured by hidden fields on forms and lead source details that can be programmed into a form or labeled within their own parameter.

TIP: Two parameters that must be consistently used by sales and marketing across all programs are utm_medium=[insert medium] and utm_source=[insert source name]. This allows proper channel grouping for the medium (marketing medium of the tagged URL — paid search, social, email, for example) and aligned source values (where the visitor clicked on the tagged URL — for example, Google, Facebook, newsletter).

Often, organizations don’t have total alignment on how to use and populate these parameters, and this can cause data errors and inconsistencies. Taking time to map all lead fields with values that can be used consistently is essential to evaluating marketing programs and their impact on revenue.

• Fully integrate systems. In order to maintain data integrity, sales and marketing systems must be aligned to share all of the data being acquired over time. Specifically, marketing automation and CRM systems must utilize the same fields, populate those fields with common values and pass these details back and forth as data is acquired. Data in these systems must sync as leads move through the sales cycle.

Furthermore, this integration allows marketers to personalize the experience they are creating for each prospect and measure the impact of individual touch points. One example of this type of data integration and how it effectively enables a personalized experience is for leads that have been qualified and sent to sales.

TIP:  The ability to understand the marketing touch points a prospect previously engaged with will help sales reps set the proper tone and context for their initial sales discussion. The prospect’s specific challenges and requirements can be addressed with helpful, relevant content throughout the nurturing process and tackled head-on in sales discussions.

Later, when (hopefully) that prospect becomes a customer, the marketing automation system will route the record to a customer list and begin customized programs focused on loyalty and retention.

Now, with these three critical infrastructure items nailed down, marketers can focus on developing different types of reports to measure and analyze the impact of their programs.

Analysis and insights

With more data comes the power to analyze and assess marketing programs in multiple ways. As leads move through the funnel, I recommend that marketers consider and analyze their results based on these three views:

  • Acquisition (initial lead source).
  • Attribution (across channels and touch points).
  • ABM (target account engagement).

By analyzing marketing data in these three ways, a marketer can start to:

  • Understand the relative impact of various marketing programs.
  • Allocate resources based on the efficient acquisition of qualified leads.
  • Determine the best approach to attribution modeling.
  • Quantify marketing’s contribution to pipeline value and revenue.

Why is this important? These insights allow marketers to better allocate resources, reduce waste and further accelerate sales.

Here is an example of how a marketer might utilize these insights to better focus their resources and drive sales. Let’s assume their organization has a long, complex sales cycle and therefore, had determined they wanted to take an ABM approach to a segment of their marketing programs. Beyond creating the target account list, the marketer will want to understand and measure engagement with multiple stakeholders within that target account.

It is likely that several different contacts within the account will participate in the process and engage with marketing programs over time. A clear understanding of which decision-makers are engaging, when, and how, will be much more insightful, when viewed in aggregate from the ABM perspective with attribution, than if each contact were viewed as an individual, independent lead and not treated as part of the whole. This ABM view will allow sales and marketing to communicate more effectively and efficiently with prospects based on all of the observed behaviors of the group of target account stakeholders.

Prove marketing ROI

Today’s marketers must demonstrate a clear, measurable contribution to the bottom line. This means you must be able to track and measure impact (in an integrated fashion across all sales and marketing systems), and you must be able to analyze all of this data holistically to draw insights, properly allocate budget and demonstrate ROI. This data-driven approach is critical to the success of any marketing team.

The ability to validate programs and confirm impact might seem like the unattainable holy grail for some marketers, but with this data and reporting in place, the holy grail is within your reach.

The post Tips for measuring marketing impact to prove ROI appeared first on Marketing Land.

SXSW 2018 Exhibit Hall 6 Minute Tour

SXSW 2018 Exhibit Hall 6 Minute Tour by Craig Tomlin This SXSW 2018 exhibit hall 6 minute tour is a guided tour by yours truly. Watch this brief video to learn what cool, interesting and new products were on display at this year’s SXSW. This is a…

SXSW 2018 Exhibit Hall 6 Minute Tour by Craig Tomlin This SXSW 2018 exhibit hall 6 minute tour is a guided tour by yours truly. Watch this brief video to learn what cool, interesting and new products were on display at this year’s SXSW. This is a handy way for anyone who was not able […]

What To Do When You Hire People

Hiring is tough. Interviews and not even their history are not perfect to assess somebody’s ability to perform at your company.
So instead of telling new recruits “you’re hired!”, I do this instead.

The post What To Do When You…

Hiring is tough. Interviews and not even their history are not perfect to assess somebody’s ability to perform at your company.

So instead of telling new recruits “you’re hired!”, I do this instead.

The post What To Do When You Hire People appeared first on CXL.

Craig Tomlin SXSW TV Interview

My SXSW 2018 FireFly Rocket TV Interview SXSW 2018 was interesting and as expected, very much the same and yet very much different than any other year. I enjoy going to SXSW because you just never know what you’re going to get. This year I was in…

My SXSW 2018 FireFly Rocket TV Interview SXSW 2018 was interesting and as expected, very much the same and yet very much different than any other year. I enjoy going to SXSW because you just never know what you’re going to get. This year I was interviewed by TV Station KXAN while I was chatting […]

Case Study: How One eCommerce Brand Spends Its 7-Figure Adwords Budget

Ever curious what big-name brands do with their millions a month and thousands per day Google Adwords budget? Here’s how we manage the process for one of our 7-figure clients.

Ever curious how big-name brands spend their budget?

We’re talking about companies that spend millions a month and thousands each day in AdWords. They’re in a different world when it comes to marketing spend.

How do we know? We’ve helped companies with seven-figure marketing campaigns stay on top. Not only that, but we’ve helped them spend less to do so.

In this post, we’ll share with you the exact strategy we use with one of these eCommerce companies.

How We Manage a Seven-Figure Campaign

This particular client maintains a small number of products, and they’re known for producing the best quality product in their market.

They’re one of the most expensive options, but people will pay for the quality. This is why maintaining brand awareness is their top priority.

Breakdown of Their Campaign Budget

Our client has a four-tier campaign:

  1. Search
  2. Shopping
  3. Display
  4. Video.

Their total budget fluctuates between $1 and $3 million per month.

Because of their particular focus, brand-heavy tactics (search, video, and display) make up about 75% of their budget, even though their shopping campaigns, which makes up the other quarter, has the most effective cost-per-click.

A pie graph showing 50% goes to search, 25% goes to shopping and the remaining 25% goes to video and display.

Our client is more concerned with maintaining and increasing brand awareness than their return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) — a mindset well-suited for a max impression share strategy.

The Max Impression Share Strategy

This approach can work well when they’re the top (or one of the top) players in their market, and they want to stay there. This means getting their name in front of as many people as possible in memorable ways, which doesn’t come cheap.

Basically, they’ll spend big across all marketing avenues (pay-per-click ads, video campaigns, TV and radio spots, etc.) to ensure they get the top listing on a competitive search page, the best prime-time ad spot, and so on.

All of this be the first name on someone’s lips when they think of their type of product.

The Weaknesses of This Approach

Their massive search-campaign budget averages between $250,000 and $750,000 a month. With that big of a budget, it can be easy to waste thousands of dollars on low-converting searches without even realizing it.

Before they came to us, we estimate that they wasted $300,000 in three months on irrelevant searches.

This is because — with that much money to work with — Google’s Adwords algorithms start including all kinds of keywords that are only vaguely related to your core keywords — just to find places to spend the budget.

The result? Though they didn’t know it, this client was paying for searches on singular words like “for” and “the.”

How did this happen? Two problems.

1. Poor Keyword Cleanup

Companies with massive search budgets often go after broad-based keywords. For instance, think of a company that sells memory foam mattresses.

Memory foam mattresses relate to keywords like mattresses and beds, which Google will automatically start including in your campaigns.

If that doesn’t exhaust your budget, Google might start including terms related to bedroom furniture, which can then turn into keywords related to furniture, none of which are likely to drive conversions and sales.

If you don’t work on gates and controls, Google will spend your money freely.

Be sure to spend your money on keywords that are relevant to your brand and product.

Tip for any pay-per-click campaign: When the majority of your spend is going to relevant searches, you might forget to “look in the weeds.” Paying for search terms that are irrelevant to your brand or products—even if it’s a small percentage of your budget—adds up month-after-month, and those searches can hurt your campaigns’ relevancy scores.

2. Conflicting Campaigns

Brands of this size often have upwards of thirty to forty active campaigns. It’s easy to lose track of what keywords are triggered per campaign, which can easily create a situation where you’re accidentally competing against yourself, potentially costing you thousands more in ad spend every day.

Note: Looking to uncover other new ways to tighten up spending on your PPC campaigns while improving your ROAS? Contact us here.

Our Approach with This 7-Figure Budget: Cleanup and Sculpt

We used several approaches with this client to improve their results.

1) Negative Keyword Sculpting

We added negative keywords to each campaign to root out the irrelevant or non-converting searches.

We also use negative keywords to make sure that our client wasn’t duplicating spend on multiple campaigns. For instance, if we had a campaign for hypoallergenic mattresses, we only want related searches to trigger that particular campaign, not multiple campaigns.

Tip for any pay-per-click campaign: We’ve also written about how you might be lowering your relevancy scores if you’re bidding on the same keywords over multiple campaigns. Learn how to fix this.

2) Modified Broad Keyword Searching

Google allows you to add modified broad match keywords, which provides more control than “broad match.” This option lets you specify the broad match keywords that can trigger your ad.

3) Keyword Sculpting

While broad-based keyword searching is still relevant to our client, we de-emphasize broad-based keyword searches by bidding lower on it. We bid the highest on specific-phrase and exact-word searches to ensure the majority of their spend was going the searches most likely to convert.

Remember, this brand’s priority is to stay on top of their market. This means owning prime search terms at whatever cost. We’re talking $10-15 cost-per-clicks.

Keyword Sculpting is key.

What to Know If You Compete with a Big Spender

If you’re competing against a company (or companies) with massive Adwords budgets, it helps to know how they think as they set up their campaigns.

Beyond the specific max impression strategy used by some big spenders, here are more general rules many big-spending companies use to stay on top of their market.

1. They pay-to-play

Big companies know that staying the top in a market requires a well-rounded approach. By only doing text-based search ads, for instance, they’d be missing a lot of relevancy when search pages are dominated by shopping campaigns.

They cover all the bases (text-based ads, shopping campaigns, display ads, etc) to be the brand that people find. This includes doing SEO work to make sure they’re at the top of organic searches as well.

2. They think expensively

Covering all the bases is not enough. For instance, they know that if their AdWords budget runs out at 9 or 10 am, or if they could only budget for the prime period of the day, they’re not going to own that space.

Effectively reaching people doesn’t just involve getting an ad in front of them, either. It means personalizing the ad experience: unique copy and display content, as well as landing pages designed for different personas.

3. They work to constantly extend their reach

All marketers know that if they keep reaching the same audience, they’re not going to gain new customers and grow brand awareness. What sets the biggest companies apart is often their ability to pay for new ways to extend their reach.

Pay-per-click campaigns can help with this some, but they’re not nearly as effective as display and video campaigns to reach new people.

4. Remarketing across all campaigns matters a lot

When companies spend thousands a month on brand-awareness, it just makes sense to make sure they’re not just engaging with someone once.

This is especially true for companies that primarily deal with large-purchase products which require a longer the conversion path.

5. Controlling the conversation around your brand

Companies with massive budgets are more able to control the conversation around their brand, through their videos and other content.

This comes with leverage. For instance, they can push back at resellers. Think about Nike. You can’t buy a new pair of Nikes on Amazon except from Nike.

6. They use the perks of being known

Being a bigger player comes with other advantages besides a big budget. For instance, one of our seven-figure clients receives cool things like betas features from Google that can track traffic to their website immediately after a television ads.

There Is No “One Right Way”

Do all the big players market themselves the same way? Of course not!

However, there are some general marketing guidelines we feel apply to any company, not just those with mega budgets. Things like:

  • Look in the weeds for unnecessary spending
  • Maintain separate brand and general campaigns
  • Be prepared for growth (with an up-to-date, mobile-friendly site)

The rest can be personalized on a company-by-company, campaign-by-campaign basis. But it’s always good to know what the competition is doing.

Note: Want to know how your marketing strategy stacks up against the competition? Contact us here.

These 9 eCommerce Examples Show What Top Sites Are Doing with Product Page Design

Customers have come to expect more and more info about a product before making a purchase. What customers expect from an eCommerce product page greatly depends on the norms set by popular eCommerce sites, which is why each year we analyze leading eCommerce sites across dozens of categories to identify what features and technology they’re

Customers have come to expect more and more info about a product before making a purchase.

What customers expect from an eCommerce product page greatly depends on the norms set by popular eCommerce sites, which is why each year we analyze leading eCommerce sites across dozens of categories to identify what features and technology they’re using.

In this post, we detail our research about product page design trends, complete with examples from many of the websites we studied.

For product pages on leading eCommerce sites in 2018, here are:

  1. Popular Product Page Features
  2. Up-and-Coming Product Page Features
  3. Features Becoming Less Popular

Note: Want to talk to our CRO team (who performed this study) about how your site compares to the best-in-class? Reach out here or schedule a call above.

Part 1: Popular Features for eCommerce Product Pages

For product pages across the leading eCommerce sites we studied, these five features were extremely common:

Feature #1: Wishlists

In use on 17 of 20 best-in-class websites

Seventeen of the 20 best-in-class sites maintain a wishlist feature on their product pages. We also found many sites have a “save to wishlist” CTA on their gallery pages.

The number of sites with gated wishlists — that required a user to login before saving a product — are decreasing. Based on our testing, ungating favorites or wishlists increases their usage, sales, and registration.

On mobile, while wishlists are still popular, we found fewer sites maintaining them than we did last year, which potentially reflects the difficulty of successfully implementing this feature on mobile devices. The majority of mobile sites require a user to register as their first action after selecting an item to save to a wishlist.

Feature #2: Customer Reviews

In use on 15 of 20 best-in-class websites

We classified reviews as a “must-have feature” because your customers expect them — they are now the norm.

Importantly, implementing a review feature isn’t enough on its own. Your reviews need to be filled in for them to work. If you don’t have many reviews on a product page, it can result in distrust of your brand.

Feature #3: Personalized Cross-Selling

In use on 14 of 20 best-in-class websites

It is becoming a convention to use personalized language such as “You Might Also Like,” or “Complete the Look”  to display other products on a product page. This is often done via a recommendation engine rather than curating related products.

Feature #4: Sticky Navbars

In use on 13 of 20 best-in-class websites

Another option we see more and more are sticky anchored navbars that allow users to scroll down or click to the appropriate section.

For lengthy product pages, this helps customers find the information they need — without getting lost on the page.

Feature #5: Click Through Product Images

In use on 12 of 20 best-in-class websites

Alternative views for product images is in use by the majority of sites we compared. Per the current convention, users must click to get to the next image.

However, an up-and-coming feature is to allow users to change the main image displayed by simply mousing over the thumbnail. Although currently only four of the best-in-class sites are using this feature, it has tested well for our clients.

Part 2: Up-and-Coming Features for Product Page Design

We also found several up-and-coming features for product page design.

These aren’t in use on all of the websites we studied, but they are being adopted by more and more companies when compared to our research from last year.

Feature #5: Customer Question and Answer

In use on 6 of 19 best-in-class websites (1 site not applicable)

Customer Q&A is slowly catching on within eCommerce. When done well, this feature can go a long way to building trust through transparency and customer engagement.

One note about Q&A: it’s often not executed well. To do it right, make sure your customer support team is answering customer questions quickly and professionally.

Feature #6: Product Videos

In use on 5 of 19 best-in-class websites (1 site not applicable)

Product videos have taken off over the past year as well — with more sites adding them to their product pages.

Part 3: Product Page Features That Are Becoming Less Popular

Finally, here are two product page features — while still in use on many eCommerce sites — we’re seeing used less than they were last year.

Feature #8: People Who Viewed/Bought Also…

In use on 9 of 19 best-in-class websites (1 site not applicable)

“People who bought this item also bought …” is still a must-have feature when accessories are required for an item; however, this is best displayed after a user adds the item to their cart.

Displaying products from the same designer or brand for multi-brand eCommerce sites is also becoming less popular. Based on our testing, we have not found it to drive sales.

Feature #9: Comparing Products on the Product Page

In use on 1 of 20 best-in-class websites

Best-in-class sites have all but abandoned comparing products on the product page unless it’s very important to differentiate between a few comparable products — as with Webroot’s antivirus offerings.

Note: Want help improving the product pages on your eCommerce site? Contact us to discuss how to optimize your site for conversions.