B2B Video Marketing: A Strategy for Lead Generation

Video marketing is booming. It’s no longer news. Cisco predicts that, globally, video traffic will be more than 80% of all web traffic by 2022 (up from a prediction of 75% made in 2017). Other recent reports claim a 17% leap in video content usage in 2018, with the average person watching more than 90 […]

The post B2B Video Marketing: A Strategy for Lead Generation appeared first on CXL.

Video marketing is booming. It’s no longer news. Cisco predicts that, globally, video traffic will be more than 80% of all web traffic by 2022 (up from a prediction of 75% made in 2017).

Other recent reports claim a 17% leap in video content usage in 2018, with the average person watching more than 90 minutes of online video every day. In the same report, 85% of surveyed consumers said they would like to see more videos from brands.

However, simply creating videos isn’t enough. Content marketing in general—and video marketing in particular—needs strategic planning to work.

For B2B marketing, the primary goal of content, video included, is often lead generation. That’s why, when it comes to B2B video marketing, a great strategy weaves individual videos into a “hub”—a long-term asset that can attract and nurture leads.

Let me explain…

From “videos” to “asset”: Planning your B2B video marketing strategy

When it comes to B2B video content, two potential long-term assets make sense:

  1. On-site knowledge base. Possibly gated, since the focus is lead generation.
  2. On-site and/or off-site video course. Your own video-on-demand channel for potential customers to join and stay engaged with.

Of course, there’s nothing preventing you from creating both. For example, Yoast offers a free gated knowledge base on their site as well as a repackaged version as a free video course on Udemy:

example of yoast knowledge base and video course.

Planning your video marketing strategy around a lead-generating asset has two main benefits:

  1. It allows you (and your whole company) to understand how video creation efforts should come together.
  2. It helps create content for both the top and middle of your sales funnel, turning your site into a destination. People find videos more memorable and more useful than text content or pictures (e.g., infographics slideshows), which makes video a perfect fit for the purpose.

A video hub can attract traffic through search (if you come up with a searchable topic) and create new traffic via third-party sources. If you put a free course on LinkedIn Learning or Udemy, for example, you tap into those platforms’ user bases, discoverable through their internal search function.

Further, all sources are lead-nurturing mediums to engage with students or email subscribers on a regular basis—and get them closer to the final conversion:

  • With a video course, you can engage your students by providing updates, hosting Q&A sessions, sending out a survey, etc.
  • With an on-site knowledge base, email automation can reach out to leads to invite them to access new videos, provide feedback, etc.
diagram showing how three videos fit together into a course to attract and nurture leads.

Let’s look at the component parts of this overarching asset—individual video types that generate leads. 

Choosing video types for lead generation

The first step is to come up with the “final asset” topic, which, ideally, combines all of the following criteria:

  • Be based on a popular search query to rank and generate traffic on its own. Selecting keywords for your content is a huge topic that deserves a separate article, but you can refer to my detailed keyword research guide here as well as this quick exercise to see the process in action.
  • Complement the products or services you sell. Videos should cover problems your product or service solves.
  • Not be too specific. You’ll want to add fresh videos on a regular basis to re-engage your current viewers or email subscribers. A super-specific topic is a hub without spokes.
  • Be on brand. Yes, determining what’s “on brand’ is a huge and complex topic. This thread from Wistia’s Phil Nottingham is an excellent summary (and justification) for creating videos for “brand affinity” not just “brand awareness.”

Moz has repackaged their popular Whiteboard Friday videos into a free standalone course on Udemy that ranks third on Google for “SEO training.” The course walks you through SEO basics—while also mentioning Moz’s tools as solutions to solve common SEO issues.

Plus, the topic of “SEO training” is broad enough to give limitless possibilities to add new videos as they’re created.

example of how to repurpose videos into a course to engage with students via Q&A and announcements.

Once you have an idea of the topic for your video hub, create a video editorial calendar to align with it. You can mix and match video types to diversify your content:

  1. Influencer-driven videos (e.g., live videos, webinars, etc.);
  2. Demos and product walk-throughs;
  3. Customer-generated videos (e.g., live Q&A, video reviews, etc.).
example of video types within a video course.

All of these video types can address (and solve) relevant problems while suggesting your product as the solution. Let’s look at some examples of each.

1. Influencer-driven videos

To see a brand-owned, webinar-driven channel in action, check out SEMrush. They continue to grow their library of on-demand webinars featuring industry experts. You don’t have to opt in to watch a webinar, but you can put your questions or comments through a lead-generation form.

example of b2b company with large group of webinars.
Take note of that “Discover SEMrush” label on the right. Some influencer-driven webinars mention the platform as solution to the discussed problem, funneling participants into trying the platform.

The beauty of collaborating with influencers for creating videos is that you can use their authority and existing community to generate leads before and after the webinar or live-video session:

Webinar marketing is multifaceted: Webinars educate, engage, automate, and convert, and each process supports the other in a cycle. That makes webinars a perfect medium for building a long-term video marketing strategy.

ClickMeeting refers to this strategy as the Webinar Flywheel,” showing how you can use webinar marketing at every stage of the sales funnel and—at the same time—how it transforms the idea of the linear funnel into a cycle:

flywheel marketing concept applied to webinars.

There’s no beginning or end here: Every part supports the other, similar to Hubspot’s Flywheel and, earlier, Jeff Bezos’s “virtuous cycle.”

As you’ll see later, the concept of “the whole drives the parts, and every part supports others as well as builds the whole” is exactly what a lead-generating video content marketing strategy should be.

2. Demos and product walk-throughs

If you’re selling a SaaS product, you’re likely doing product demos on a regular basis. There’s no reason why you can’t reuse some of those demo recordings to give your audience a glimpse inside your platform.

Product demos make great content assets. For example, Salesforce uses demos as gated content. And Coschedule uses them for blog content, even ranking some for pretty generic (i.e. high-volume) terms:

example of product demo video that ranks well for high-volume search term.

You can use your webinar solution to create product demos, or any of the many tools out there.

3. Customer-generated videos

Encourage (satisfied) customers to create video reviews of your tool. It can even be a contest to reward the best video creators. Depending on what you’re selling, you could also set up regular live video meetings with brand advocates to address audience questions.

It can be as simple as inviting your customers to ask questions through a branded hashtag for you to respond to in a (live) video. Google’s #AskGoogleWebmasters video series is a good example of this tactic in action. 

Or, it can be a more advanced approach: Invite customers to make a video for you or join you in the video. For example, back when it was called “Google Hangouts,” we invited our community brand advocates to join a monthly video chat to discuss the best ways to use our platform.

Later, over at Viral Content Bee, we invited our current users to submit video tutorials of how they use the platform to include in our official Udemy course:

example of udemy course based on user-generated content.

Seeing how established users use the platform helps our new or soon-to-be leads better understand all the possibilities. It also adds credibility—it’s not just us claiming what can be done; it’s real users showing how they’re getting value from it. 

4 ways to repackage video content

One video may take plenty of time to create and edit. There’s no reason to use it only once. The beauty of video marketing is that it’s highly repackagable: You can come up with lots of alternative formats to use across channels:

1. Use the full video on your blog. Wistia offers custom branding as well as clickable calls to action and even opt-in forms inside the video—you could generate leads right from inside your video. Read about other video platforms here, or review this guide on how to embed videos on your site.

2. Create a text summary or put together a full transcript. This makes great content to go on your blog together with the video. You can also re-use screenshots or other images from the video to make the content more useful for people who choose not to watch the video.

This makes your page search-friendlier and more accessible to people with visual or hearing disabilities. Obviously, use best SEO practices as well as structured markup to ensure visibility in organic search.

Other options:

  • Convert each article into a PDF and offer it as a bonus download through your course or knowledge base as an alternative way to review the content.
  • Collect all those articles and combine them into an ebook. This one can also be a free download for your students/subscribers.

3. Create annotated video takeaways to publish on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. for brand visibility. Releasing shorter versions of your video using third-party platforms prompts users to look for the full videos, which can be found only on your site.

Tools like Placeit help you put together annotated videos and slideshows in seconds. Link everywhere you can to your blog post to try and build some traffic:

  • YouTube: Link from the video description and (possibly) pinned comment.
  • Facebook and LinkedIn: Link from the update or comment.
  • Instagram: Link from Instagram stories.

4. Extract audio from your video, especially if it’s an interview or Q&A, and upload it to SoundCloud and iTunes. You could end up getting known as a podcaster if you do it regularly enough.

  • The audio files can then be turned into an audiobook and offered as a bonus download through your course or knowledge base as an alternative way to consume the content (e.g., while driving).

To give you a better picture, this is what your final strategy may look like:

diagram of how all pieces of a b2b video marketing strategy fit together.

That’s exactly what I did when putting together my own video courses, including one on reputation management:

  • Each chapter was based on a public article.
  • Each chapter offers downloadable materials (ebook, audio version, and sometimes cheatsheet).
  • Each audio file was reused as a podcast chapter on Soundcloud and iTunes.
  • I market the ebook on my site as well as Slideshare.
how to create bonus materials as resources within a video course.

This strategy generates multiple, complementary assets that increase brand awareness, generate traffic, and bring in leads:

the components of a b2b video marketing strategy that act as top-of-funnel content.
I didn’t visualize the strategy as a cycle, but you can see how it works like one: You use the idea of a whole—what you’re working toward—to drive the creation and marketing of all the parts, and each part helps create and promote the whole.

When your course or knowledge base is live (i.e. fully formed), you can use all those channels to promote it, too.

Promote your asset via collaboration

To plan the whole strategy more effectively, use an editorial calendar like ContentCal. With ContentCal, you can:

  • Schedule content campaigns and create content briefs.
  • Add your whole team and manage permissions.
  • Get your whole team working on promotional assets to support each channel effectively.
example of how contentcal tool helps manage content publication.

Finally, the influencers you included when creating videos (via interviews or webinars) can help you promote your video course or knowledge base. All you need is to ask!

  • Email them with pre-made tweets to make it easier for them to share.
  • Create custom images for your participating influencers to use when promoting your content.
  • Tag them in tweets and Instagram updates whenever you share their video, or even the whole course.

You can also reach out to their friends by creating a follower targeting ad on Twitter or via Facebook remarketing.

Conclusion

B2B video marketing can be much more effective if you focus on creating a long-term asset that consolidates all your video creation and promotion efforts.

Embracing this approach also grows the number of channels that can increase brand visibility, providing new avenues to acquire and nurture your leads.

The post B2B Video Marketing: A Strategy for Lead Generation appeared first on CXL.

Experimentation news round-up #7: Why eRetailers need experimentation, State of Experimentation 2019 Report, the “digital subscription renaissance” and more!

Welcome back to another edition of the Widerfunnel Experimentation News Roundup! These are the headlines that caught our attention over…Read blog postabout:Experimentation news round-up #7: Why eRetailers need experimentation, State of Experimentatio…

Welcome back to another edition of the Widerfunnel Experimentation News Roundup! These are the headlines that caught our attention over...Read blog postabout:Experimentation news round-up #7: Why eRetailers need experimentation, State of Experimentation 2019 Report, the “digital subscription renaissance” and more!

The post Experimentation news round-up #7: Why eRetailers need experimentation, State of Experimentation 2019 Report, the “digital subscription renaissance” and more! appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

With loss of Yahoo and image search, Google Shopping search partner traffic nosedives

While it is a small fraction of Shopping traffic, the partner network can help advertisers currently excluding this traffic to grow moving forward, particularly in a competitive Q4 holiday season.

The post With loss of Yahoo and image search, Google Shopping search partner traffic nosedives appeared first on Marketing Land.

Click traffic from the Google search partner network took two major blows in early 2019. The first was Yahoo’s move to begin showing only Microsoft Ads-powered sponsored listings following a more than a three-year stint in which some of Yahoo’s listings were powered by Google. The second was Google’s update to bring ads featured in image search out from the partner network and into the core Google Search Network.

Here we evaluate a sample of long-standing Tinuiti (my employer) advertisers to assess the effects of these changes to the share of Google Shopping traffic coming from search partners, the relative value and cost of that traffic, and what it all means for advertisers.

Search partner click share falls dramatically across device types

As you can see from the chart below, search partner traffic once accounted for a significant share of Google Shopping clicks, and in August 2017 was at 16% for desktop. In August 2019, that figure was just 3%, with share on tablets and phones at 2% and 1%, respectively.

The timing of the dip seems a bit delayed from what we might have expected given the details of the two announcements ostensibly driving this trend.

In the case of Yahoo, it announced in January that it would only serve Microsoft Ads, but the change was said to have rolled out through March. For image search, Google announced that it would be integrated into the core Search Network in late March. As such, April would have presumably been when much of the decrease occurred.

However, our numbers show that traffic share really took the biggest month-to-month dip from June to July. It’s not entirely clear why there seems to have been a delay, but the decline is certainly what we expected in light of these two changes, and it’s possible Google’s change to image search took longer than expected to roll out. There may have also been other less publicized updates to the partner network affecting these trends.

Some advertisers choose not to allow Shopping ads to show on the search partner network, owing to the lack of controls available in terms of bidding and where ads are shown. However, our research shows that the Google Search Partner Network is usually an efficient way to extend the reach of Shopping campaigns.

Search partner clicks convert at a lower rate than core search, but cost less too

Looking at the conversion rate of search partner traffic relative to core search, partners clearly convert at a significantly lower rate.

In July and August, search partner conversion rate improved relative to core search across device types. This makes sense if the image search change really did take a few months to roll out, since the transition of image search clicks from the partner network to core search would likely put downward pressure on core search conversion rate.

Regardless, the disparity in conversion rate might be enough to send some advertisers running to Shopping campaign settings to shut down the partner network. However, looking at relative CPC, search partner traffic also consistently tracks well below core search in the price paid for clicks as well.

All told, the median advertiser saw no difference in the cost per conversion of search partners versus core search network in August 2019. As such, opting Shopping campaigns into the partner network garners incremental traffic without harming ROI for many advertisers.

Conclusion

These updates meaningfully reduced the importance of the partner network to Google Shopping campaigns, and it seems unlikely that we should ever expect partner click share to regain its former heights. There just aren’t many properties out there for Google to partner with that can produce the kind of click volume that Yahoo and Google image search provide.

Still, it remains the case that the partner network is typically a worthwhile investment for retailers looking to maximize the reach of their Google Shopping campaigns. While it may only be a small fraction of Shopping traffic, it can certainly help advertisers that are currently excluding this traffic to grow moving forward. Particularly in the competitive Q4 holiday season, it would be a shame for brands to leave this opportunity on the table.

Of course, Google didn’t actually lose image search ad traffic, and those impressions and clicks are now just a part of its core Search Network. Advertisers that were already targeting the Search Partner Network shouldn’t have seen much of a change to overall Shopping traffic as a result of this update specifically, though the change may have forced competitors that were formerly excluding partners into competing for these image search placements.

Yahoo’s move did give Microsoft Ads traffic a boost, and while Google will likely continue to account for the vast majority of paid search traffic in the U.S., Microsoft Ads is still a crucial part of reaching searchers who might not turn to Google with their queries.

The post With loss of Yahoo and image search, Google Shopping search partner traffic nosedives appeared first on Marketing Land.

Adobe Analytics Implementation: Hacks You Don’t Know About

A few years ago, our developers rolled out Angular on a few key web pages—without consulting the web analytics team. The pageviews on some of the pages suddenly dropped to almost nothing. I bought two books on Angular to try to find a solution. Meanwhile, my manager stumbled on an alternative syntax for tracking pageviews […]

The post Adobe Analytics Implementation: Hacks You Don’t Know About appeared first on CXL.

A few years ago, our developers rolled out Angular on a few key web pages—without consulting the web analytics team. The pageviews on some of the pages suddenly dropped to almost nothing.

I bought two books on Angular to try to find a solution. Meanwhile, my manager stumbled on an alternative syntax for tracking pageviews in Adobe Analytics. As we found out, a similar alternative syntax also exists to track clicks (and anything else).

My first reaction was that both syntaxes were equivalent, but I could not have been more wrong. It also turned out that Adobe has barely documented the features you’re about to uncover.

1. Tracking pageviews

The classic syntax (Adobe’s recommendation)The overrides syntax (undocumented)
s.pageName="homepage";
s.channel="home";
s.prop1="home";
s.t();
s.t({
  pageName:"homepage",   channel:"home",
  prop1:"home"
});


In both examples above, you pass the same information to Adobe. Looking at the tracking request URL in the browser dev tools Network tab, you can’t even tell which of the two syntaxes the web page uses.

The advantages of the overrides syntax emerge when you need to tag a single-page application (SPA). An SPA tends to load a page only once, then updates it partially to build the next page it needs to display. This produces the illusion of a new page but loads faster because fewer things change—there’s no need to reload the top navigation, the footer, etc.

Consider the following sequence:

  1. A visitor lands on an SPA, and the first page loads fully:

s.pageName="home";
s.channel="home";
s.prop1="home";
s.t();

  1. The same visitor sees a second page:

s.pageName="products page 1";
s.channel="products";
s.t();

With Adobe Analytics, the problem is that your second pageview request contains s.prop1 again. That’s because the second page didn’t load as a new page—only an updated version. As a result, the s.prop1 is still there until a new page loads, or you reset it back to nothing:

s.pageName="products page 1";
s.channel="products"; 
s.prop1=""; //resetting s.prop1 back to nothing
s.t();

I don’t know about you, but remembering to clean all the props, eVars, events, contextData, product strings, etc., takes a lot of discipline. Someone is likely to forget one (or a few of them) in their tagging guides.

You could use s.clearVars before tracking your pageviews to reset most of your data points to nothing, but not contextData values. The s.clearVars has been around since at least 2016, but many companies still use ancient versions of the Adobe Analytics libraries.

Using the overrides syntax, there’s a more efficient, surgical way to clean these data points than s.clearVars that’s also supported by old Adobe Analytics libraries. Let’s revisit the second-page sequence but use the overrides syntax:

  1. A visitor lands on an SPA, and the first page loads fully:

s.t({
  pageName : "home",
  channel  : "home",
  prop1    : "home"
});

  1. The same visitor sees a second page:

s.t({
  pageName : "products page 1",
  channel  : "products"
});

Now, if you looked at the tracking requests for both pageviews, you would see that prop1 is in the first pageview request but not the second one. You no longer need to remember what to reset; you don’t need s.clearVars either.

The data points you declare inside the JSON that you pass as a parameter for your s.t() call have a scope that’s strictly limited to that s.t() call. With this overrides syntax, you declare private data points. Using the classic syntax, you declare public data points.

In the context of an SPA, Adobe Analytics remembers your public data points and forgets your private ones.

2. Tracking clicks and other page element interactions

As mentioned in the introduction, the overrides syntax exists for tracking clicks, too. You can also use the overrides syntax for any page element interaction, not just clicks.

The classic syntax (Adobe’s recommendation)The overrides syntax (undocumented)
document.getElementByID(“mybutton”).addEventListener(
  “click”, function(){
    s.linkTrackVars=”prop2″;
    s.prop2=”test”;
    s.linkTrackEvents=”None”;
    s.tl(true, “o”, “my button was clicked”);
  });
document.getElementByID(“mybutton”).addEventListener(
  “click”, function(){
    s.linkTrackVars=”channel”;
    s.linkTrackEvents=”None”;
    s.tl(true, “o”, “my button was clicked”,{prop2:”test”});
  });

The s.tl() method lets you track these page element interactions. It can take a fourth parameter, which is a JSON override object similar to the one for tracking pageviews.

The three-layer onion model

Any data point you declare inside the s-code (ancient) or the AppMeasurement Library (the new name for several years now) acts as a constant for all websites using that specific version of the Adobe Analytics library.

Details about your tracking servers, currency code, and character set are typical examples of such constants. This is a documented feature of Adobe Analytics implementations.

You can use the classic syntax after your Adobe Analytics library has loaded, making those data points public data points. You can check their values in the browser dev tools JavaScript console.

Typical examples are the page name, site section, sub-section, etc. There’s also an overrides syntax that lets you create private data points:

  1. In the Adobe Analytics library file: site-wide constants;
  2. In the page code public page-specific properties;
  3. Inside the s.t() and the s.tl() calls: private tracking request specific properties.

For a non-SPA website, you’ve probably used only Layers 1 and 2 together. You can replace your page code properties with the overrides syntax (i.e. use Layers 1 and 3 instead). But with an SPA website, you should use all three layers, repurposing Layer 2 to declare only template-wide constants.

If you’re a fan of Functionalism, you may have categorized all web pages into page types. I would consider declaring the page type using a prop at Layer 2 with pathing enabled. (Functionalism is a topic for another blog post. Read the blog posts by June Dershewitz, and the original whitepaper by Gary Angel, Joel Hadary, and Paul Legutko.)

In SPA parlance, the developers refer to the content that updates a page template to create the illusion of new pages as fragments. When you go from page to page, the SPA loads fragments to update the page you were on before you clicked on that link. The page name probably changed as a result of that click, too.

You want to track that page name on Layer 3—inside the overrides JSON that you pass as an input parameter to the s.t() call because the page name is specific to the pageview tracking request.

And there you have it: Adobe Analytics on all three layers. Adobe has never documented how these layers work together.

A fourth layer for the onion model?

I have explained how you can declare data points as constants for your whole website, or a collection of websites when you declare them at a layer inside your Adobe Analytics library code.

The concepts of constants and default values are closely related. You might declare a data point on Layer 1, then redeclare the value for that data point on Layer 2 or 3. When you do, a given data point will be set to different values as the screen renders.

Generally speaking, the last value you pass to a data point will be the value you will see in your reports. The overrides syntax overrides all previous values the data point contained (should you redeclare its value in the JSON overrides object).

But this is not always true.

The Adobe Analytics library contains a function called s_doPlugins(). You need to set the s.usePlugins function to true, or the s_doPlugins() function will never execute.

At this point, you should be asking what difference it makes to declare a data point inside the library file versus inside or outside the function. It turns out that inside makes the data point read-only, and redeclaring it in Layers 2 or 3 makes no difference—the original value inside the s_doPlugins() function is the value you will see in the reports.

This happens because s.t() checks for the s.usePlugins flag, and if it’s set to true, it executes the s_doPlugins function that redeclares your data points. You could call this the fourth layer of the onion model:

  1. The Adobe Analytics library loads and declares the data points declared outside the s_doPlugins() function for the first time.
  2. The page code redeclares some of them.
  3. The s.t() function redeclares some of them in the JSON overrides object.
  4. The s.t() function executes and checks the s.usePlugins flag:
    • If it’s set to false, the reports show the values of the data points set inside the JSON overrides object in the s.t() function call.
    • If it’s set to true, the reports show the values declared inside the s_doPlugins() function.

Using s.t() for all your tracking needs

If you hadn’t guessed by now, I find strange ways to spend my free time. I once decided to deobfuscate the H.26 s_code.js Adobe Analytics library. I found the code for the s.t() and the s.tl() functions that handle pageviews tracking and page element interactions tracking, respectively.

The s.tl() function calls the s.t() function, which ultimately calls a deeper Adobe Analytics function called s.mr(). (I assume that mr stands for “make request” since that function builds the pixel URL for your s.t() and s.tl() calls.)

If you’re looking for April Fools ideas to confuse your junior Adobe Analytics developer, you can make s.t() calls using the overrides syntax that behave just like s.tl() calls. Here’s how:

document.querySelector("button").addEventListener(
  "click", function(){
    s.t({
      lnk : true,
      linkTrackVars : "channel,prop1,prop2,prop3",
      linkTrackEvents : "None",
      linkName : "Button was clicked",
      linkType : "o",
      pageName : dataLayer.pageName,
      channel : dataLayer.channel,
      prop1 : dataLayer.prop1,
      prop2 : dataLayer.prop2,
      prop3 : dataLayer.prop3
    });
  }
);

Callbacks

Adobe introduced callback support in AppMeasurement 1.8.0 in 2017. These are the s.registerPreTrackCallback() and s.registerPostTrackCallback() functions. They’re documented, and they let you execute code in response to a tracking request just before it fires, or right after it fired.

If you’re working with an older version of the Adobe Analytics library and need these callbacks, all is not lost, but what follows is not supported by Adobe—it requires modifying the code in the “do not modify” part of the library (which could void your support).

I’ve mentioned above that s.mr() functions generate the tracking request and fire the HTTP request. The function contains this line of code:

im.src=rs;

  • im is an <img> tag element created on the fly. This object has a src property that is the URL of that <img> tag.
  • The rs is a string containing the tracking pixel URL. If you commented out that seemingly innocent command, the tracking requests stop firing altogether.

Setting the src property of an <img> tag triggers an HTTP GET request. You could call a custom JavaScript function before and/or after this line of code to support callbacks with older versions of the Adobe Analytics library code.

For even greater code decoupling, consider firing two distinct custom Javascript events—one before and one after the tracking request. Each of these custom JavaScript events can take a custom JSON object, which could be the same JSON you used with the overrides syntax (or a subset or superset of it).

document.body.dispatchEvent(new CustomEvent(
  "preCallback",
  detail:{},//optional JSON, can be your overrides JSON object
  bubbles:true//optional
));
im.src=rs;
document.body.dispatchEvent(new CustomEvent(
  "postCallback",
  detail:{},//optional JSON, can be your overrides JSON object
  bubbles:true//optional
))

Two things to remember (unless you want to generate infinite server calls and get fired):

  1. Never call s.registerPreTrackCallback() or s.registerPostTrackCallback() inside the s_doPlugins() function.
  2. Never call s.t() or s.tl() inside the s.registerPreTrackCallback(), s.registerPostTrackCallback(), or s.mr() functions.

Please note that more recent versions of Adobe Analytics support HTTP POST requests. Old versions of Internet Explorer only support URLs of up to 2,083 characters. This leads to truncation, and truncation leads to loss of data.

Since 2014, Adobe Analytics has supported switching from HTTP GET (i.e. using <img> tags to send the data to the Adobe servers) to HTTP POST (i.e. submitting a hidden form). This article does not cover creating callbacks for HTTP POST, but I’m sure that determined minds will find the HTTP POST equivalent of im.src=rs.

Conclusion

I believe that Adobe originally had a single method to track pageviews and page element interactions. Then, later versions of Adobe Analytics introduced a separate function for tracking these interactions, and so the s.tl() function was born—and the s.t() was restricted to tracking pageviews.

I also believe that the overrides syntax was the original way of tracking; the page code came later on. Omniture, then Adobe, has had to ensure that upgrading the s_code.js file and, later, the AppMeasurement library code didn’t force clients to redo all their tagging. 

The latest and future versions of the Adobe Analytics library will continue to contain code that supports ancient implementations. I like the overrides syntax. I find it elegant, and it has worked very well for us, especially on our SPAs.

The post Adobe Analytics Implementation: Hacks You Don’t Know About appeared first on CXL.

Important Ecommerce Metrics To Track For Increased Conversion Rates

It’s important to understand that metrics simply show symptoms, and different symptoms become visible through different metrics. Tracking these metrics can help you uncover different behavioral trends on your website. To understand how ecommerce metric tracking can help increase average conversion rate, let us study them by taking an example of company “X” that sells…

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It’s important to understand that metrics simply show symptoms, and different symptoms become visible through different metrics. Tracking these metrics can help you uncover different behavioral trends on your website. To understand how ecommerce metric tracking can help increase average conversion rate, let us study them by taking an example of company “X” that sells 2 products: one for $1 and the other for $100. 

Conversion Rate

A conversion is any desirable activity performed by a visitor on your site. From an ecommerce business’s perspective, conversion is checkout. 

Conversion Rate = Number of Checkouts/Number of Unique Visitors

If you have an average of 1000 visitors to your site on any given day, and 50 of them become customers, your conversion rate is 5%. Optimizing for conversion rate will make more visitors into paying and returning customers and help you:

  • Convert more of your current visitors, which is more cost-effective than acquiring new visitors
  • Generate more revenue at the same cost

Since you are already paying in some way to acquire traffic to your website — through PPC, SEO, Email, etc — it would be a great idea to convert more of those visitors into customers. It brings you more revenue for each dollar spent on acquiring traffic.

It made sense.

However, let’s say, company X conducted an A/B test on the product page and this is what was found:

breakdown chart of results of A/B test on an ecommerce product page

Average Order Value

Sometimes it may so happen that revenues can drop because of a dip in conversions among high paying customers. To avoid such obstacles and tackle them, Average Order Value is what you should be tracking. It’s a direct indicator of what’s actually happening on the profits front.

Average Order Value(AOV) = Total revenue/Number of Checkouts

Comparing AOV against Cost Per Order gives a great idea of the profits you make on each order. Consider your Cost Per Order (shipping costs etc.) is $1 and your AOV is $10, giving you a profit of $9 per order. By increasing AOV by 10% to $11, you stand to gain an additional profit of $1 per order.

There are a lot of simple ways to help you bump up the AOV of your ecommerce business:

Set a Bar for Free Shipping

The first tip is to offer free shipping on purchases which are slightly more than your current AOV.

value proposition of free shipping during cart checkout

I say ‘slightly’ because free shipping is a tricky subject. You’ll end up increasing the AOV, but the additional shipping charge could reduce the total number of transactions. In fact, there’s a lot of research to suggest that the lack of free shipping is the biggest reason behind cart abandonments. A/B test between completely free shipping and one that is free after a minimum order value, the metrics to track closely are AOV, the number of sales, revenue, and cart abandonment rate.

Offer Discounts on Minimum Purchase

So you are planning to extend that generous 20% flat discount to clear all your dead stock? Improvise. Tell them they will get the discount on a minimum purchase of $50 or $100 or whatever figure sufficiently makes up for your lost margins in giving that discount. Give some, take some.

discount vouchers for your next purchase

Give Limited Period Offer

Shoppers tend to procrastinate and mull purchase decisions. To continue the ‘special discounts on minimum purchase of 50$’ tip, adding a limited duration to the offer can create a sense of urgency among visitors and encourage them to buy more in one go. For example, ‘Get 40% off on all products’ might motivate the visitor to browse the products. But when you say ‘Get 40% off on all products for next 2 days’, it compels them to act right away.

the influence of limited period offer on average order value of ecommerce store

Try Volume Discounts

Offer discounts on bulk purchases of the same product. Paperstone, an office supplies company, used VWO to launch a bulk discount deal on its website. It ran an A/B test and found the bulk discount deal increased its average order value by 18.94% and revenue by 16.85%.

discounts on volume purchases of products on ecommerce store

However, remember that you have to determine the right discount value that helps you acquire a new customer, and at the same time, doesn’t throttle your profit margins.

Upsell

Upselling, if implemented intelligently, is a great way to increase the value of an order. If a visitor is eyeing that 320GB Windows 7 laptop, just throw in the gleaming photo of that 500GB Windows 8.1 laptop on the side. Simply put, upselling is offering a similar but more expensive variant of the product to the buyer.

product recommendations on amazon product listing page

However, don’t try to maximize every transaction, and throw in random products just because you have them. Don’t be like one of those aggressive salespersons trying to sell the entire catalog to someone who hasn’t even made their first purchase.

Cross-sell

Purchasing that 500GB Windows 8.1 laptop? Would you need a laptop bag with it? Or perhaps a USB drive?

cross-selling on amazon ecommerce store

This is precisely what cross-selling is known as – soft selling complementary or additional products to your customer base. Studies show that cross-selling, even though it has always played second-fiddle to upselling the former is 20 times more effective than the latter. What you need to keep in mind is that the suggestions need to be relevant. A person buying a laptop will need a laptop bag, not necessarily a DSLR.

Offer Package Deals

A package deal or a combo offer is a cool way of selling two or more related products at a discounted price through your online shop. It’s a convenient way to increase customer spends, to move your slow-moving goods, and most importantly grow your average order value. The Hut offers a pretty smart discounted price on clothing bundles. Going with the stereotype that most men don’t enjoy shopping, and prefer to get all their stuff quickly, The Hut’s offer is well-targeted.

package deals for complete outfit options on fashion ecommerce store

Incentivize the Purchase

Always give something to the customer, and they will merrily return the favor. Whenever they make a purchase, either offer them a great loyalty program, cash-backs, or anything that is redeemable on their next purchase of minimum order value. For instance, you can give a $5 cashback offer on their next purchase worth $40, or a free gift voucher worth $10 on an order above $60, points for purchasing, and so on. This works two ways. One, customer satisfaction, and second, repeat purchases.

Apart from ensuring a second-time visit and fostering customer loyalty, this increases the order value. Customers tend to buy more in order to experience that all-important gratification that comes after having bought something for free (intended oxymoron). It’s easy – see how Paperstone increased AOV by 18.94% using A/B testing

Revenue Per Visitor

Again, it may so happen that lesser people end up purchasing on your website as a result of bumping up the minimum order value for free shipping, even though it successfully increased your AOV. Your revenue could take a hit harming your profits while still showing a higher AOV.

If company X tracks AOV alone, it could make the company blind towards conversion rate resulting in a revenue sheet like the one below:

breakdown chart of revenue per visitor for an ecommerce store

Revenue Per Visitor (RPV): Revenue Per Visitor combines both Conversions and AOV to give the whole picture. RPV is deceptively simple – it tells you how much revenue each unique visitor is driving. The trick here is to understand RPV from a different perspective.

We already know that,

RPV = Total Revenue/Total Unique Visitors(checkouts)

So we can rewrite the RPV equation this way: RPV = (AOV x Conversions)/Total Unique Visitors

And since (Conversions/Total Unique Visitors) = Conversion Rate

RPV = AOV x Conversion Rate

What’s the most important thing for any online ecommerce store? Revenue. For revenue, you need traffic. Once you are able to attract traffic, increasing revenue is a two-dimensional process:

  • Convert more visitors into paying customers (Conversion Rate)
  • Increase customer-spend per conversion (AOV)

RPV involves both these dimensions leaving no blind spots. If there’s a drop in RPV, it could be due to:

  • A sudden increase in visitors without any buying intent (drop in conversion rate): Check if there has been any recent marketing, such as email marketing activity that brought a lot of unqualified visitors with low buying intent. Use segmentation to understand what channels are bringing the right traffic.
  • Customers are buying less of high-value goods and more of low-value goods (drop in AOV): Consider using a recommendation engine.

Now, after going through all of these metrics and recommendations, Company X may wonder why use only unique visitors and not total visitors (unique and returning). 

Of all first time visitors to an ecommerce site, 99% won’t make a purchase. The typical buying cycle involves a visitor first visiting your site to check out the products, leaving to compare prices elsewhere, consulting a few friends, reading reviews and eventually a trip back to your site for the purchase (if at all a purchase decision is made). There could be even more steps involved here.

Using total visitors bloats up your metric denominator considerably, resulting in small figures and giving you less credit than you otherwise deserve.

This is not to say it’s a bad practice, just sub-optimal. (In fact, if for some reason, you are getting many orders from repeat buyers it might even make sense to use total visitors instead of unique visitors.)

Using ‘unique visitors’, on the other hand, paints a real-world picture of what’s happening with your users, who are, of course, unique.

Surely you track some metric/s that help increase your brand’s conversion rate! What metric/s have you found most useful to track, and why? Getting your perspective as a practitioner would be invaluable.

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Get lead scoring data right in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

Ruth Burr Reedy, VP of strategy at UpBuild, on the benefits of setting up lead scoring in Google Analytics and the steps to get there.

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Ruth Burr Reedy, VP Strategy at UpBuild
Ruth Burr Reedy, VP strategy at UpBuild speaking at MarTech Conference 2019 in Boston.

“These are the wrong kind of leads.”

Sound familiar? If you’re a lead generation marketer, it’s an unwritten right of passage to get that complaint from your sales team.

Perhaps you are generating more leads, but they’re coming from higher funnel campaigns, and sales isn’t seeing them convert like quickly enough. “Top of funnel marketing means you’ll get top of funnel leads,” said Ruth Burr Reedy, VP of strategy at digital marketing agency UpBuild, during a talk at our Martech Conference in Boston last month. Those higher funnel leads will, by their very nature, need more touches to convert to sales. “If the sales team is not expecting them, they’ll be unprepared to deal with them,” said Burr Reedy.

Expectation-setting is critical when marketing teams run higher funnel lead gen campaigns. To help marketers get a claear sense of how their campaigns are performing, the touches involved in converting certain leads and other insights, Burr Reedy laid out a framework for setting up lead scoring for attribution in Google Analytics. This can provide a better picture than what you get in your CRM. “Attribution in CRM can be really confusing and not snapshot of reality,” she said.

How to get started

First, talk to the sales team about how they qualify leads. “If you press them,” said Burr Reedy, “they’ll tell you they look at one or two dimensions — often title, company revenue or company size.” Then agree on the thresholds for those dimensions that qualify a lead as hot, warm or cold. Be sure you’re capturing these criteria in your forms.

Establish with sales the criteria for each lead type.

Once you know the fields you’ll be tracking, using your browser developer tools, get the field ID for each. Then, in GTM create a custom JavaScript variable for the ID with getElementById or getElementByName.

Test your custom variables in the GTM console and in preview mode to be sure they’re returning the data you want. (If you want to track fields from a dropdown list on your forms, Burr Reedy recommends Simo Ahava’s blog post for tips.) Of course, be very sure you’re not collecting personally identifiable information (PII).

Next, in GTM, create Triggers for each lead type — hot, warm, cold — and then Event Tags for each one.

Configure Triggers in Google Tag Manager for hot, warm, cold leads.

Establish and document naming conventions for capturing your lead criteria. Burr Reedy suggests putting lead type criteria right in your Event Labels in GTM for clearer reporting and continuity.

Document your naming conventions.

How to use the lead scoring data in Google Analytics

Once you have this set up, you’ll be able to get a much better picture of how these leads perform from within Google Analytics.

See customer pathing to understand how long the leads take to convert. Share this information with sales to help set expectations as well as get a better understanding of where you should focus your efforts by seeing which referral sources drive a disproportionate share of hot/warm leads that convert. You can also use this information to find on-page optimization opportunities. Look at landing page reporting in Analytics to see which pages drive hot/warm leads and which pages only drive cold leads.

Capture lead scoring data in Google Analytics to better inform your marketing efforts and communication with sales.

To make this work consistently, said Burr Reedy, “You need to have a good system for managing all of your IDs. When a form is changed, be sure there is a process for notifying and capturing those changes. Be consistent with naming conventions.” This requires tight orchestration between any internal and external teams involved in any piece of the process.

Once it’s up and running, marketing will have a much more accessible and real-time view into the lead performance to inform their campaigns, site content and communication with sales.

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14 industry experts on the future of attribution

Competition for customers’ attention has never been so relentless, or so complicated.

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Consumers interact with your brand across a dizzying number of channels, touchpoints and devices. The average person today has four to six connected devices and switches constantly from one to the other. It’s harder than ever to know whether your ads and other marketing tactics are reaching the right audience—or making an impact. The average marketer doesn’t have the ability to consolidate data to understand the influence of touchpoints across digital and traditional channels.

At the same time, an industry-wide focus on enhancing consumer privacy and data security has raised the bar for trust and transparency. New regulations and technology changes make collecting, tracking, measuring and other data-related practices more challenging.

For this report, Nielsen asked 14 industry experts two questions to help marketers navigate this challenging environment:

  • How should marketers prepare for an increasingly complex customer journey?
  • What measurement strategies and tactics do marketers need to be successful today and in the future

Use their answers as a resource to help improve marketing effectiveness and develop strategy so your brand can thrive. Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “14 Industry Experts on the Future of Attribution,” from Nielsen.

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How Retailers Should Take on the 2019 Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is a fun but chaotic time for shoppers. This year, the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is condensed by six days, due to a later Thanksgiving. So, this means less time for consumers to shop.

Here are a few tips ret…

The holiday shopping season is a fun but chaotic time for shoppers. This year, the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is condensed by six days, due to a later Thanksgiving. So, this means less time for consumers to shop.

Here are a few tips retail marketers should keep in mind for Holiday 2019:

Are these 5 content marketing myths holding you back?

Although there may include a grain of truth, these myths ultimately stand in the way of content marketing success.

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Nowadays, most marketers understand the essentials of content marketing: know your audience, provide value, don’t sell aggressively. 

But content marketing is evolving quickly – and success is not always cut-and-dried. As a result, it’s easy for old ideas to outlive their usefulness, or for marketers to overreact to changes in the landscape. And when that happens, myths and misconceptions creep in. These myths may include a grain of truth, but ultimately they stand in the way of content marketing success. 

With that in mind, let’s clear away five myths that continue to haunt content marketing. 

#1: Your content speaks for itself

Myth: If your content hasn’t truly broken through with your audience, either your content isn’t good enough or you’re not producing enough of it. 

Reality: Content remains the heart of your marketing efforts, and there is no substitute for brilliant content. But it’s easy to fall into the cult of “more” or the cult of “better,” and fail to examine the role of amplification and distribution in content marketing success. Without support and validation from other marketing channels, even the best content can fail.  

#2: SEO is dead

Myth: Old-school SEO tactics – such as keyword stuffing and amassing low-quality backlinks – no longer work. Therefore, competing for organic rankings is impossible and a waste of time. 

Reality: SEO is as important as it’s ever been. It’s true that search engine algorithms have evolved, and there are no tactical shortcuts to the top of the rankings. As algorithm updates make search engines better at gauging whether content has value to actual humans, the focus has shifted to creating unique, rich and engaging content – while still optimizing so search engines can crawl and interpret content properly.

#3: RIP Facebook 

Myth: Young people are abandoning it in droves, “organic reach” is an oxymoron, and Mark Zuckerberg is seemingly in front of Congress every other day. The targeting tools might be nice for advertisers, but organically Facebook is over. 

Reality: Despite the bad press, Facebook is still the world’s largest social network. While it may not be the main social channel for every business, a decent Facebook presence is still a necessity for most well-rounded organic social strategies. An abandoned-looking Facebook page is a missed opportunity and may lead visitors to think less of your brand. 

#4: More content is better content

Myth: The more you throw at the wall, the more likely something is to stick, right? 

Reality: There is some truth to this myth. If you sink all your resources into one content masterpiece, you can’t iterate and learn – and if your piece doesn’t perform, you’ve got a problem. But the trouble with turning on the content fire hose is that your audience is already inundated – they’re seeing vast amounts of low-quality, unmemorable content every day. The soundest content strategy is a happy medium – a series of strategically chosen bets rather than trying to be everywhere at once.  

#5: More martech, more money

Myth: Technology solves problems. Therefore, marketing technology solves marketing problems. 

Reality: To be clear: great tech, used well, is a massive advantage. Martech solutions become problematic when you lack a clear strategy, or don’t have strong executional foundations. In those cases, you’re adding a whole new set of costs – in money, implementation time and ongoing effort – that can divert resources from doing the basics well. Also, marketers often underestimate the difficulty of mastering the new competencies that technology enables. Technology can help you personalize content, for example, but personalization is not a switch you can flip – it’s a capability that needs to be developed and nurtured over time.

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Less is More: Why Providing Your Customers with Fewer Options Will Increase Your eCommerce Sales

You know the drill: You arrive home after a long workday, curl up onto your couch, and turn on Netflix to find a movie or show to lose yourself in. You end up spending what feels like hours browsing and reading various synopses, but still can’t decide what to watch. By now, it’s late, so…

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You know the drill: You arrive home after a long workday, curl up onto your couch, and turn on Netflix to find a movie or show to lose yourself in. You end up spending what feels like hours browsing and reading various synopses, but still can’t decide what to watch. By now, it’s late, so you give up and decide to just go to bed instead. 

Sound familiar? 

If so, then you’re not alone. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz claims that the abundance of options that we’re confronted with on a daily basis paralyze us and cause us to put off making a decision. 

On top of that, having more options causes us to be less satisfied with the decision that we end up making because we keep thinking about everything that we missed out on (the opportunity cost a.k.a. buyer’s remorse). 

The famous Jam Experiment proved this. Here’s what happened: Psychologists, Iyengar, Jiang and Huberman, went to a grocery store and offered one group of customers 24 different types of jam. To another group of customers, they only offered six different types of jam. 

In the end, the study with 24 jams attracted more people but resulted in far fewer purchases. To be exact, 30% of people bought jam when there were only six to choose from, and just 3% of people bought jam when there were 24 on display. 

But it doesn’t stop there: Having fewer options has also been proven to boost happiness, decrease buyer remorse and increase the probability of repurchase

One study by Shah and Wolford found that providing more choices helps to boost sales…up to a certain point. After a certain number of options, you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns. Here’s a graph from the study that demonstrates that:

graph from the study by Shah & Wolford depict more number of options boost sales

So how many options is too many? That answer will depend on your business and audience. The only way to find out is to test. 

Reduce Decision Fatigue to Increase Conversions 

Research has found that “decision simplicity,” which is “the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product and confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options,” is key to driving conversions and increasing customer retention. 

One obvious way to increase decision simplicity is to offer your customers fewer options and reduce the number of products in your eCommerce store. But decision simplicity goes far beyond that. 

Read on to find out a few other ways that you can reduce your customers’ cognitive load, boost decision simplicity…and increase eCommerce sales.

1. Have Just One CTA

You’ve probably heard this one before, but your emails and landing pages should have just one main call-to-action. 

Not convinced? 

NameOn, a Scandinavian e-tailer, noticed that they were losing a third of their customers just before checkout. They reviewed their checkout process and found that they had nine calls-to-action on the cart page. So they created another variation with just one CTA on the page, which directed shoppers to checkout. In the end, the page with just one CTA performed 11.40% better, leading to $100,000 more in yearly sales.  

Here’s yet another example: Whirlpool created an email campaign that had one primary CTA directing their customers to their rebate page, along with three other secondary “Learn More” CTAs. 

But Whirlpool wanted to find out if the secondary CTAs were distracting the recipients from the primary CTA. So they created another variation with just one primary CTA and no secondary CTAs.

Can you guess which email performed better? That’s right: The email with only one CTA had a 42% higher click-through rate

That’s because, with several calls-to-action on the page, it’s easy for people to get distracted and confused—even if your main call-to-action is the one that stands out. 

So consider eliminating secondary CTAs or anything that distracts from your main call-to-action-whether it is your checkout pages on your eCommerce website or your email marketing campaigns. Think of one specific action that you want your email recipient or website visitor to take, and make that crystal clear. The more that you have segmented your audience, the more personal you can get and the easier this will be. 

2. Bundle Your Products

Product bundling is when you sell several complementary products together, generally at a cheaper price than it costs to buy each product individually. 

It tends to work because not only do your customers feel like they are snagging a good deal, but it also reduces their cognitive load. Instead of having to browse through your entire store and choose each product individually, the products are already selected for them. 

Dollar Shave Club is one example of an eCommerce brand that does this well:

bundled product options available on Dollar Shave Club

3. Provide Social Proof 

Have you ever seen a line outside a restaurant and subsequently felt an urge to eat there? If so, then you know the importance of social proof. 

As you may already know, social proof is the psychological phenomenon whereby one’s decision is influenced by other peoples’ opinions or behavior. 

To add social proof to your store, you’ll need product reviews. You could also add “Best-seller” tags to your top-selling items. Or you could show user-generated content (photos taken by your happy customers), like the mattress brand, Casper, does on their homepage.

social proof on the homepage of Casper.com

Knowing that other people have purchased and been happy with your product will encourage your shoppers to make a purchase as well and feel more confident in their decision.

4. Provide Personalized Choices

Rather than presenting your customers with a bunch of random options and asking them what they want to buy, instead try presenting them with just a few handpicked or personalized options. 

In a post-purchase email campaign, the online retailer, Indochino, picked out three different shirts that matched the suits customers had just bought and then promoted them as a bundle.

post-purchase email sent from Indochino.com

Each email increased the brand’s revenue by 540% compared to their normal promotions. It worked because it presented each customer with just one highly personalized and simple offer. It didn’t make them have to think. 

If you don’t have that data to go off of, you could have your website visitors take a quiz to find out more about what they’re interested in. For example, the glasses and prescription eyeglasses company, Warby Parker, encourages their website visitors to take an eight-question quiz to find out what type of glasses are best for them. 

online quiz for buying eyeglasses on Warbyparker.com

Once the quiz is complete, they then provide them with a curated selection of glasses based on their answers.  

a curated selection of products on warbyparker.com

5. Simplify Your Website

It’s not only about how many options you provide your customers; it’s also about how you present them. 

Take a look at Bellroy’s homepage, for example.

homepage for bellroy.com
example of product layout on Bellroy.com

Notice how they don’t overload their website visitors with information and products right off the bat. Rather, just below the fold, they display their best-selling items, and below that, they show the different product categories, making it easy for their shoppers to find what they need. They still offer a variety of choices, but they present their products in a way that makes the shopping experience enjoyable and effortless. 

In addition to a beautiful, whitespace-friendly design, you should also make sure that your website is easy to navigate and use. As Bellroy does, categorize your products in a way that makes it easy for your shoppers to find what they’re looking for. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes; you could also think of your products that complement each other and categorize them together. 

6. Compare Your Products 

Don’t you hate it when you’re browsing a website and can’t figure out what you want to buy because you don’t know the difference between the products? For example, take a look at this Bose product page for headphones:

feature & detail comparison on product page of bose.com

A little confusing, don’t you think? It would be much clearer if they had a comparison chart showing the difference between the headphones. 

See how Apple does it, for instance:

product comparison of Apple mac models

Shoppers can pick the products that they want to compare and then compare them, feature by feature.

Bottom line? Make it very clear what your product features and benefits are. If you have products that are similar to one another, then create comparison charts, like Apple does, that clearly define the differences between them.

7. Offer a Killer Guarantee 

One of the problems with shopping online is that you can’t touch or try out the product. There’s more pressure on the decision-making process since you often don’t really know what you’re going to get, especially if it’s a first-time purchase. To reduce the pressure your shoppers are feeling, try offering them a return policy and guarantee that’s hard to refuse. For example, you could offer free shipping on returns and a lifetime guarantee. Or, as Warby Parker does, you could allow your customers to try out your products before committing to a purchase.

offer banner for products on warbyparker.com

But all of that aside, it’s also a hassle to return products. One survey found that 27% of shoppers dislike purchasing online because they don’t want to have to deal with returning it if it doesn’t turn out right. 

One way to address that is by creating a video that shows your potential customers how easy it will be to return the product if it doesn’t turn out right.

8. Highlight Certain Items in Your Store

There’s a reason why brick-and-mortar stores have displays in their windows. By showcasing certain products, they’re more likely to grab people’s attention and pull them inside. 

The same goes for your eCommerce store. Highlighting certain items in your store, like your best-selling products or recently added items, is effective because it draws attention to certain products, helping to make the decision-making process easier for customers. Here are a few badges that you could add to your products: 

  • Top-rated 
  • Best-seller 
  • Recently Added  
  • On Sale
  • Limited Edition 

In particular, highlighting your best-selling or top-rated items also works because it adds an element of social proof. You could simply display a “Best-seller” tag next to your most popular items or you could devote an entire page to your best-sellers. 

Amazon even has individual pages devoted to its best-selling items in each category:

bestselling items listed on Amazon.com

You could even get more specific with product badges and tell your visitors exactly what your product is useful for. For example, if you sell a variety of different jackets, you could add product badges to each jacket that tells shoppers what type of weather the jacket is best suited for (ie: freezing cold weather, torrential downpours, tornado-like wind).

9. Provide Them With Support 

According to eConsultancy, 83% of shoppers need support during the buying process. And they expect to get it quickly; 48% of shoppers will abandon the site if they don’t get the help they need within five minutes. 

So how can you provide them with that support? Make sure that you have a live chat installed on your website—and that it’s manned by personnel from your organization. You should also have your phone number prominently displayed on your site, so people know how to reach you.

Recap: Easing Customer Decision-Making to Increase eCommerce Sales

Your shoppers are overloaded with options on a day-to-day basis. Having many choices might attract them at first, but it will often result in decision paralysis and buyer’s remorse. 

To prevent this from happening, reduce your customers’ cognitive load and provide them with a limited number of options. Follow the 80/20 rule: Focus on the 20% of your products that are generating 80% of your sales…and get rid of all the rest. 

Also, remember that reducing cognitive load isn’t just about reducing the number of options you offer your customers; it’s also about making the shopping and decision-making process as easy as possible for them. 

To that end, increase “decision simplicity” and: 

  1. Have just one primary CTA. 
  2. Bundle your products that go well together so your shoppers don’t have to go around looking for them.
  3. Provide social proof of previous happy customers.
  4. Personalize the choices that you offer your customers; if you aren’t sure what they’re interested in, have them take a quiz to find out! 
  5. Simplify your website, so that it’s easy to navigate and find things.
  6. Provide comparison charts for your products that are similar to one another. 
  7. Offer a killer guarantee so that your customers don’t feel as much pressure on their buying decision.
  8. Try grabbing your customers’ attention by highlighting certain items in your store with product badges. 
  9. Provide them with as much support as possible during the buying process. 

And whatever you end up doing, be sure to test to find out what tactics are most effective for your store and audience. 
If you do all of that, then you’re sure to reduce your customers’ cognitive load, ease their decision-making process⁠, and most importantly, increase eCommerce sales.


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