Amazon SEO Isn’t Google SEO: 6 Differences That Matter

Did you know that Amazon has surpassed Google as the go-to search platform for shoppers looking for products? This may come as a surprise to many readers. (I’ve certainly never heard anyone use “Amazon” as a verb.) Yet the data backs this up. When customers have a specific product in mind, more turn to Amazon […]

The post Amazon SEO Isn’t Google SEO: 6 Differences That Matter appeared first on CXL.

Did you know that Amazon has surpassed Google as the go-to search platform for shoppers looking for products?

This may come as a surprise to many readers. (I’ve certainly never heard anyone use “Amazon” as a verb.) Yet the data backs this up.

When customers have a specific product in mind, more turn to Amazon search than Google.

If you’re porting over your SEO “best practices” from on-site product pages to Amazon product pages, you’ll struggle. This post covers the key differences to help you thrive on both platforms.

The fundamental difference between Amazon and Google search

Anyone who’s been in SEO for a while will tell you that understanding the core goal of a search engine is critical to a sustainable SEO strategy.

Yes, in-the-moment tactics can boost rankings. But their use shouldn’t come at the expense of aligning your site to what search engines want to reward.

So what’s the main objective—and ideal user experience—for Google and Amazon?

  • Google wants to answer questions. You run a search. The first result is exactly what you’re looking for. You either get an immediate answer or click through to a site, with no need to return to the SERP.
  • Amazon wants to sell products. You search for a product, and the first result is the perfect match for your needs. In one or two more clicks, you buy—with the post-purchase experience reinforcing your initial choice. 

Comparatively speaking, Google’s task is more complex. Take outdoor grills as an example.

Google needs to help people compare the use cases for gas versus charcoal grills, to find great recipes for grilling, to understand different techniques (e.g., low and slow vs. searing).

And it needs to answer all those questions with limited data—its visibility into the user experience declines after you leave the SERP.

grill search result page on using Google.
Consider the range of intent: Shopping ads, local restaurants, barbecue techniques, and local retailers. Amazon’s algorithm manages a smaller set of users—those with the intent to buy a product online. 

Amazon, on the other hand, is there to help buyers make a purchasing decision. Every click or scroll is trackable within their ecosystem. Even after a purchase, Amazon knows whether a return was necessary or how buyers felt about the experience (through reviews).

Grill search results when using Amazon.
Amazon’s algorithm needs to solve a far narrow range of user problems and gets to use far more data to do it.

From those fundamental differences flow all tactical differences—the ones that require tweaks to titles or affect how you promote your ecommerce products on other sites.

Of course, not everything requires reworking.

What doesn’t change

Yes, Google and Amazon’s search functions are not the same. No, not everything is different:

  1. Keywords still matter. They’re the primary way that search engines match user needs to web content. You need to know how users think and talk about your product, and how to communicate that knowledge clearly but naturally on key parts of your product pages.
  2. Click-through rate is a proxy for relevance. If no one is clicking your link on Google or Amazon, that’s a sign that you’re not relevant—either because the content visible on the SERP isn’t compelling (e.g., low-quality images, typos) or the search engine misunderstands your page. In either case, you won’t last long on Page 1.
  3. Hardly anyone goes past Page 1. The lion’s share of clicks—and revenue—goes to those who show up near the top. That trend is only accelerating. The more you trust the quality of the search engine (i.e. the better it gets), the less inspired you are to dig through subsequent pages. (Who isn’t already a bit suspicious of sites or products on Page 4?)

So where do the two search engines diverge?

Keys to winning Amazon SEO (that experience with Google won’t teach you)

1. Single use of keywords is sufficient—as long as they’re relevant.

As long as the keyword is applicable to the product and appears in the listing title, there’s no need to litter the description and bullet points with the term.

Titles

On Amazon, most experts recommend including the product, material, quantity, brand, and color in the title, something that would be overload on a Google search result.

(The maximum character count before a title is truncated is 129 characters on Amazon compared to about 60 on Google.)

Consider the difference between All-Clad’s product pages and product listings on Amazon:

All-Clad cookware in Google search.
All-Clad pans on Amazon.

It’s easy to see some of the keywords added to Amazon titles and how those might target user searches: “non-stick,” “dishwasher safe,” “hard anodized.”

That’s why keyword research is paramount—not just for the obvious product name but for high-value descriptors. Indeed, keyword research is commonly listed as one of the most important factors for visibility on Amazon search.

Despite the availability of numerous tools to help sellers identify the most lucrative keywords, there’s no simple way to do it. Yes, you should start with a tool to build the initial dataset for your research, but the legwork doesn’t end there. 

Entering your product’s primary description into such a tool generates a seemingly impressive list of related keywords. But this isn’t an exact science.

Each brand must decide which keywords have that special mix of relevance, high search volume, and low competition—those with the potential to generate sales from organic search alone.

Product descriptions

Speaking of product descriptions: Amazon prefers bullets over walls of text. For users, it’s easier to scan a listing to see if a product has the desired features, especially on mobile devices. 

Product description image of a speaker.

And, for Amazon’s algorithm, bullets are a semi-structured way to imbibe information, which helps the search engine compare similar items (and rank them more effectively).

In the example above, separate bullets cover aspects like construction materials, battery life, and microphone capabilities.

Backend keywords

Remember meta keywords? Google once allowed webmasters to dump a laundry list of (supposedly) relevant phrases into the source code, hidden from users. As you might expect, it wasn’t long before:

  1. Webmasters abused the privilege.
  2. Search engines got smart enough to figure it out on their own.

Amazon is still playing catch up, allowing sellers to include “backend keywords,” such as related terms, common misspellings, and even foreign-language versions.

These are freely visible in the source code if you’re looking to do some competitor research:

Black and Decker keyword in source code.
The meta keywords for a hand drill.

This may also be an opportunity to port Amazon learnings back to your ecommerce site. If all the top-ranked products share a subset of backend keywords, they may be worth including in your copy, too.

2. Optimize for the user (no, really).

Google has always pushed webmasters to optimize for the user—to match intent and solve user problems. The challenge, of course, is that “optimizing for the user” doesn’t always optimize for Google.

Recipes are an obvious example. Does anyone really want that 1,000-word personal history above the ingredient list and procedure? No. Does it give more context to search engines—and a potential reason to rank it higher? Yes.

Because Amazon has end-to-end analytics and is interested in sales, however, sellers can focus on copywriting that persuades users to buy

That rationale applies to other aspects of your Amazon product listing, too:

  • Include great images because they will help you sell the product, not because Amazon ranks listings with X number of images at Y resolution higher.
  • Encourage honest (but mostly positive) reviews because they motivate people to buy, which, in turn, will cause Amazon to rank your listing higher.

Amazon can skip right past the superficial metrics in a way that Google can’t, and sellers benefit from it.

Too often, on Google, the inverse is true: We optimize for the micro-conversion of an organic visit—even though winning it sacrifices some of the post-click experience, negatively impacting engagement and conversion.

3. External links are valuable—if they result in traffic.

With Amazon’s A10 update to its algorithm, traffic from external sites is given increased importance.

This may appear to overlap with Google’s affinity for backlinks, but there’s a crucial difference. Amazon focuses on referral traffic—valuing only the the links that drive pageviews.

This makes total sense:

  • Google is looking at links from other sites as a mark of authority.
  • Amazon is looking at links from other sites as a source of leads. 

Calls to action on such external links are far more important for Amazon than they are for Google.

An ecommerce site trying to boost their rankings on Google benefits most from links that appear on credible sites, even if they drive limited traffic. (Yes, Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model suggests that, “The amount of PageRank a link might pass along is based upon the probability that someone might click on a link.”)

But Amazon retailers must earn links that get clicked. Whether it’s “do follow” or “no follow” doesn’t matter. External links that drive traffic to Amazon create another pathway for online shoppers to buy something from them.

Amazon will reward sellers who do that.

4. Internal PPC traffic is less influential than it once was.

With Amazon’s A9 algorithm, people who spent more on internal ads seemed to rank higher organically. With A10, the effect has lessened.

Paying for your listing to appear in the Sponsored Products, Display Ads, and Headline Search Ads may still influence your search result position. But, thankfully, you don’t need to build an organic strategy around it.

(Google, by contrast, has maintained a firewall between paid and organic listings.)

Image of cooking knifes in Amazon.

There are reasons beyond Amazon SEO to run paid campaigns.

Seller authority is paramount for Amazon (more below.) Retailers new to the platform need to illustrate their conversion potential and credibility to be “picked up” by the search engine, and PPC is one of the most effective ways to kickstart this process.

Once it happens, however, the importance of traffic generated via Amazon’s PPC campaigns falls off in terms of search visibility. PPC, in other words, is a paid tryout for the organic listings.

5. Click-through and conversion rates are critical.

Amazon’s search engine places massive weight on these two metrics. They indicate the percentage of people who:

  • Click your listing on the SERP;
  • Purchase the product the page is selling.

The good news is that sellers can tweak the content that has a direct impact on these ratios. The bad news is that they can’t hide the content that they don’t control.

Click-through rate

Amazon sellers who aim to improve their organic click-through rates have limited options. The main components of an Amazon SERP are the product image, title, price, and customer ratings, with the last item (generally) out of sellers’ hands.

As the most visible component, the product image is critical to grab attention. Test ways to make the most of this element.

Image of mugs in Amazon search.
A hit of bright color can catch the eye on a dull SERP.

The same goes for the product title. It’s arguably the second-most visible component of the search result and needs to catch the eye while also containing the necessary keywords. Finding this balance is crucial

Conversion rate

Compared to optimizing for click-through rate, there are more customizations available to a seller to optimize for conversions.

Fortunately, there are many excellent online resources on how to do so. Typical strategies include: 

On the flip side, things like out-of-stock notices can hurt conversions (and rankings).

Remember, Amazon wants sales, but not all sales are created equal. If Amazon earns a higher margin for a given product, that’s a better end result for them—and a reason to showcase that product in search. 

6. Seller Authority remains pivotal.

Seller Authority is assigned even more importance with the A10 update, meaning that retailers who exhibit a history of customer-focused behavior are given a significant boost in their search engine rankings.

Seller Authority is determined by numerous variables:

  • How long sellers have been on Amazon;
  • The percentage of customer returns;
  • Overall feedback from customers on their products.

Amazon sellers can and should (subtly) motivate customers who had a positive experience to leave good reviews. Getting this right has the twin benefits of providing social proof to drive conversions (an important ranking factor) and contributing to Seller Authority.

The choice for or against Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shifts responsibility for several aspects of Seller Authority. With FBA, sellers send their goods to Amazon, which sends them to buyers. From Amazon’s perspective, they can:

  • Ensure consistent delivery times;
  • Manage returns and overall customer service.

That, in theory, ensures a more consistent customer experience, which has obvious benefits for Amazon and possible knock-on benefits for the seller. But it also limits the customer data provided to sellers and has some other negatives.

Conclusion

SEO strategies to help pages rank on Google diverge from those that are effective on Amazon.

Amazon’s objective is to serve search results that generate a sale in as short a time as possible. Sales velocity is their primary concern, and the logic that drives their search results is designed to support this.

Mostly, this is good news: On Amazon, you can focus more on making your buyers happy and less on the needs of an esoteric algorithm.

The post Amazon SEO Isn’t Google SEO: 6 Differences That Matter appeared first on CXL.

Search competition: Who are you really competing with?

Assessing your traditional competitors in search is critical, but you also need to analyze who competes with you purely through search rankings.

The post Search competition: Who are you really competing with? appeared first on Marketing Land.

Competition is constant.

No matter what business you’re in, there will always be other people competing with you for customers, subscribers, viewers, partners, etc. Even Google technically has competition — maybe you found this article through Bing?

The point is…you have competitors trying to beat you. Do you know who they are?

“Of course, I know who my competitors are!” – You (probably)

But do you know who your search competitors are? Do you know who you’re really competing with for organic traffic? It may not be who you think…

Search is a unique channel, where competition can shift and change as the search results themselves change. Also, the only barrier to entry for new competitors is much lower than in other channels — they just need an optimized website.

And finally, search is a zero-sum game where if you’re not ranking on page one, you’re losing. If a new competitor sneaks up and bumps you off the first page for an important keyword, you’re going to feel it in your bottom line.

In this post, I’m going to dive into these questions to help you better understand and identify which brands, websites, people, etc. you’re competing with for the attention of your audience so you can position yourself accordingly and win.

Start with known competitors

As you (probably) said to yourself earlier, you know who your competitors are…so they are a good place to start your research. The companies that are traditionally your competitors in other channels are likely competing with you for many keywords as well.

To better understand how they are competing with you in search, you’ll likely need to invest in an SEO tool — Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush all offer viable options for analyzing competitor keyword rankings.

Using these tools, you can build lists of your competitors top keywords and compare them against your own. As you compare rankings, ask yourself:

  • Are they competing for the same terms you view as important?
  • Are some competitors investing in paid search rather than SEO?
  • Are they beating you in critical search results? If so, what strategies and types of pages are they using? 
  • Are there gaps in your own keyword rankings that seem to be driving substantial traffic to competitor websites?
  • Are there potential opportunities where a competitor is ranking with thin or weak content?
  • Are competitors siphoning organic traffic from you through long-tail keywords and phrases?

You won’t truly know how or where these brands are competing with you in search until you analyze their keyword rankings. But analysis goes beyond simply notating which position they’re in for a given keyword, instead you need to analyze that SERP to understand why they might be ranking there and whether your site should rank there too. Pay attention to other ranking sites as well, because if this SERP is relevant to your audience, you’ve just uncovered more competition.

Expand competitive research to ‘SERP competitors’

Did you notice some new websites consistently ranking amongst your competitors for the keywords you’re targeting? Are media sites or news publications dominating the top spots on many of your relevant SERPs? Do government websites take up valuable real estate for key head terms?

The answer to some or all of these questions will be yes  — I call these types of competitors “SERP competitors” and they are the reason you must dig into the actual search results to find out who you’re really competing with for your target keywords.

A SERP competitor could have only one page that competes with you, but if that page is ranking above you on an important SERP, they are your competition and you need to understand why they are beating you.

For example, if we look at the search results for [link building] an important term for my company, we can see this concept:

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

While we do rank on this page, there are also a few results above us from sites like:

  • Moz
  • Backlinko
  • Wordstream
  • Ahrefs

These sites provide consultation, paid search services, and SEO tools — none of these are direct competitors to our service offerings, yet we ARE competing with them for real estate on this SERP, these sites are SERP competitors for us.

Like how you would analyze a direct competitor, you need to review SERP competitors in terms of:

  • Content structure (format, length, depth, media, etc.)
  • Number of referring domains
  • Keyword focus and optimization
  • SERP feature optimization (quick answers for snippets, videos for video results, FAQs for “People Also Ask” boxes, etc.)

Understanding how these pages are designed for the specific SERPs you’re competing for will help you better optimize your pages.

Become a ‘SERP competitor’ yourself

While the intricacies and ever-changing nature of search means there is more competition for attention from your customers, it also means there is more opportunity.

If your website is new to the space and your primary competitors are firmly entrenched at the top of the SERPs for your relevant head terms, you need to become a SERP competitor yourself.

While you should still optimize both on and off-page elements for those highly competitive terms, that will be a long-term project and you need to find ways to attract traffic now. Instead of investing all your resources in the long-game, find opportunities where you can compete for specific, long-tail search rankings. Rather than trying to compete with big name brands or domains with thousands more backlinks, you just need to be a better result than the pages in those first ten results.

Look for tangentially related topics to your business, where the search volumes might not be as high, but the topic still intersects with your audience and can bring relevant visitors. As you research topics, look for search result pages with the following:

  • Poor results in terms of answering searcher intent
  • Poor results in terms of formatting, aesthetics, number of ads on the page, etc.
  • Pages with few or no backlinks ranking
  • And suboptimal keyword targeting by ranking pages.

These are opportunities for you to rank a page on your website and earn organic traffic while you build towards better rankings for your head terms. Secure these opportunities again and again, and it will add up to meaningful results for your website.

Recap

As a business, you’ll always face competition, and the first step to overcoming these competitors is, obviously, identifying them. However, in search it’s not always obvious who you’re competing with for attention and visibility. 

Assessing what your traditional competitors are doing in search is critical, but it’s only part of the picture. You need to suss out SERP competitors, or those who compete with you purely through search rankings, as well and analyze how they are winning in search.

With a complete picture of who you’re truly competing with, you’ll have the knowledge and understanding necessary to succeed in organic search.

The post Search competition: Who are you really competing with? appeared first on Marketing Land.

Will Google’s Latest Shopping Actions Changes Help It Better Compete with Amazon?

In alignment with other changes made this year, Google announced last week that it will be transitioning its current paid Shopping Actions program to Buy on Google, a 0% commission advertising opportunity. Advertisers currently using Shopping Actions w…

In alignment with other changes made this year, Google announced last week that it will be transitioning its current paid Shopping Actions program to Buy on Google, a 0% commission advertising opportunity. Advertisers currently using Shopping Actions will be invited to migrate over the next few weeks, while new merchants must join a waitlist.

Nudge Marketing: From Theory to Practice

It’s summer in the UK. Two cigarette disposal bins are erected on a littered street. One bin is marked Ronaldo, the other, Messi.  The bins encouraged smokers to vote for the best football player with their cigarette butts. After twelve weeks, cigarette litter dropped by 46%. In the United States, a similar experiment reduced cigarette […]

The post Nudge Marketing: From Theory to Practice appeared first on CXL.

It’s summer in the UK. Two cigarette disposal bins are erected on a littered street. One bin is marked Ronaldo, the other, Messi. 

The bins encouraged smokers to vote for the best football player with their cigarette butts. After twelve weeks, cigarette litter dropped by 46%. In the United States, a similar experiment reduced cigarette litter by 74% in six months. 

Instead of yelling at smokers to “clean up your butts,” the bins implied the desired behavior in an easy and fun way. 

That’s a nudge.

Nudges powerful influences in our daily lives; they help people save money, recycle, and even eat better—without requiring massive changes. 

This post takes you through examples of online nudges and how these fit within nudge theory, so that you can implement them on your website.

We’ll also take a look at how to develop an effective nudge marketing strategy to make the most of these powerful behavior drivers. 

What are nudges?

A nudge [. . .] is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid.

Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein 

Nudges are tiny changes in the environment that can help people make better choices. They are micro-modifications in design that align with “choice architecture.”

Blocks falling like dominos.

In other words, nudges modify the information you have in front of you to make choosing feel more natural. That said, for nudges to be effective, they should fall within the optimal prompt point of B.J Fogg’s Behavior Model

According to Fogg, prompts (or nudges) can be successful only if an individual is:

  • Able to complete a task;
  • Motivated to do so;
  • Has a trigger to cue initiating the behavior. 

In other words:

Behavior = motivation x ability x prompt. 

Law scholar Cass Sunstein and behavioral economist Richard Thaler popularized the term “nudge” in their book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler has since won the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Sunstein was in charge of the Obama nudge unit in 2009. 

Image of piano stairs nudge experiment timeline in Stockholm.

Before Thaler and Sunstein, nudges were often referred to as “Libertarian Paternalism.” But the theory behind it was the same:

  • Libertarian: People should be free to choose.
  • Paternalism: Attempts to guide people to perform a specific action, behave a certain way, or choose a product in line with their own good. 

When these two things come together—freedom and guidance—you have the foundational philosophy of nudge theory. 

So how do we use nudges for marketing? 

What is nudge marketing?

Nudge marketing is the process of communicating messages that encourage desired behavior by appealing to the psychology of the individual. 

How do our customers make the decisions they do? Based on Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work Thinking, Fast and Slow, there are two sides of the brain that govern all of our decision-making. Nudges capitalize on our System 1 way of thinking. 

Nudge theory: Systems 1 and 2

Nudges take advantage of individuals’ heuristics, their intuitions, their rules of thumb, their impulses, their myopia, and their laziness.

– Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein

As marketers, we’ve all heard of Kahneman’s work. But here’s a brief refresh:

Nudges leverage System 1, the subconscious, which relies on our cognitive biases. System 1 makes life easier. If we didn’t use System 1, our lives would look like a philosopher’s football game, where every pass is over-rationalized:

Nudges cater to, and can even correct, our innate and subconscious biases, paving the way for positive behavioral change. 

What does that look like in real life?

Common applications of nudge theory for behavior change 

If you look around, nudges are everywhere. The first well-known nudge experiment was the famous “urinal fly” in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Placing a fly sticker inside a men’s urinal reduced “spillage” by 80%. Who said flies were good for nothing?

Image of fly in a urinal.

Basketball hoops over recycling bins are also an effective nudge to get people to recycle more often.

Image of basketball hoop over recycling bin.

How about the piano experiment in Stockholm?

Making subway stairs interactive made people take the stairs over the escalators which encouraged healthy behavior and decreased underground traffic. 

Why are these nudges?

  • They don’t force behavior or shout about the best thing to do—behavior is implied;
  • They make the desired behavior fun to carry out;
  • They are non-intrusive;
  • They leverage cognitive biases so that people don’t have to think too hard.

All these steps are relevant to implementing nudges online.

Why nudges work online

Nudges are small, but they can have a big impact on conversions, sign-ups, revenue, and customer loyalty. 

Sure, retailers and businesses are fond of using exit-intent overlays, smart notifications, reviews, default options, and product badges. (We’ll look at all those examples later.)

But few sites have a good grasp of nudge theory.

Sports Direct uses product badge nudges in a harmful way. “Must go” implies the product is unpopular and needs to be removed from the product shelf soon. A better nudge would leverage the psychological principle of Scarcity and use fewer badges, with different colors. 

Image of shirts showing nudges in ecommerce.

Without understanding the psychology behind the choice architecture, these “bad” nudges can hurt the user experience.

TK Maxx uses too many nudges (e.g., anchoring, product badges, like buttons). This can inflict choice overload. 

TK Maxx online story.

With the data you get from testing on-site nudges, you can gather behavioral and even psychographic data about your users. But you need to implement nudges correctly. 

Let’s dig into some more nudge marketing examples. 

Nudge marketing examples 

1. Product badges 

Product badges are nudges that do two important things:

  1. Draw users attention to a product;
  2. Reveal something about the product that appeals to the user.

Foot Locker, for example, leverages social proof by pointing out that a product is popular: 

Image of Foot Locker store online.

For shoppers already looking for popular products (e.g., gift-oriented shoppers), the “popular” badge streamlines their buying journey. 

Asics, on the other hand, uses product badges to highlight product attributes:

Image of Oasics store online.

Early morning or evening runners may be drawn to the “reflective” quality of the shoe. 

These subtle nudges help consumers find the right product, driving click-behavior from the product listing page to a detail page—one step closer to an add-to-cart

2. Smart notifications and overlays 

Smart notifications and interactive overlays are strong nudges since they provide a variety of information, such as:

  • Showing new product lines;
  • Branding information;
  • Conveying messages about a product to make it more attractive;
  • Showing discounts/offers;
  • Encouraging sign-ups/registration.
Image of popup notification.

For online businesses, pop-up notifications can increase sign-ups by 600%. But intrusive notifications can hurt the CX. 

For instance, how do you click out of this pop-up?

Image of bad example of pop ups.

If the user can’t find the “X” button, the choice is presented negatively—a confirm-shaming dark pattern, which is the opposite of a nudge. It manipulates and tricks the user rather than benefiting them.  

Missguided’s notifications are also, well, misguided. Their intended nudges obscure the product image—too much social proof can prompt cognitive overload. 

Use notifications and overlays to preserve the fluency of the website design. Make your notifications and overlays subtle, informative, well-designed, and persuasive.

Nike’s smart notification is under the product, leverages data-driven social proof, and fits into the design:

3. Anchoring in ads

Image of nike shoe.

“[Anchoring] works because we use existing information as a baseline for our new judgments and decisions.”

Hidden Persuasion, Andrews, Van Leeuwen, Van Baaren

In the 1970s, Kahneman and Tversky theorized that suggesting an initial figure to a person would be a starting point for them to estimate unknown quantities. 

They used the examples of “What percentage of the UN are African nations?” The correct answer was only 25%. 

The test group they primed with the number 65% actually estimated nearly twice the real answer of 45%. In contrast, the group that was primed with a lower number estimated a lower percentage. This is called anchoring. 

Price anchoring is a sure-fire nudge to drive online behavior. For example, in Google Shopping ads, you’ll often see anchoring used together with “Sale” product badges:

Image of shoes

Both reinforce a newly discounted product. Price anchoring is a nudge because it appeals to the cognitive biases of how we view a product (by comparing it to something else). It’s a tried and tested persuasive pricing technique, but one that fits nicely within nudge theory, too. 

Anchoring allows you to command the price of your products. Using a contrasting color to highlight the former price will reinforce this nudge in a more obvious way. 

4. Increasing autonomy

When users feel like they’re in control of their online journey, it lends more credibility to your offers and products. 

Aim to increase on-site autonomy. These nudges work because you can show multiple options without inflicting choice overload. Instead, your nudges work at the intersection of libertarian and paternalism. 

For example, product recommendations curate an assortment of products that the customer can then choose from, giving consumers self-determination. Things like:

  • “Top Picks for You”;
  • “You Might Also Like”;
  • “Your Favorites.”

Topshop, for example, has a personalized wardrobe option. This generates data back to the retailer about the individual shopper’s taste and lifestyle—psychographic variables that Topshop uses to enhance their targeted communication. It also gives the shopper control over their experience. 

Many web shops also integrate customizable solutions that act as nudges, leveraging autonomy, and the Endowment Effect, the psychological principle that people attach more value to a product if they have a hand in its creation. 

With Converse, you can choose the color, shape, and stripe/star placement of their famous All-Stars:

Image of all star converse with customizable colors.

This also generates valuable data for Converse. If certain segments choose similar colors or styles, the retailer can better plan future product lines. The more “autonomous functions” you have on-site, the more you get to know your customers.

5. Reviews

Reviews are nudges that change the choice architecture by revealing more information about a product, website, or business.

Image of ratings and reviews.

Framed in the context of word-of-mouth, reviews leverage social proof and are thus a powerful method of driving behavior:

Reviews that leverage social proof boost purchasing confidence and alleviate some of the decision stress we all experience when shopping online. 

Even bad reviews are effective nudges. This is called the Blemishing Effect—when minor negative information doesn’t outweigh the positive impression of what you’re selling. It also increases the honesty and trust of your brand. 

For example, a salesperson will often add a few low stakes “cons” of a product or service when explaining it to be more persuasive. You could also include a product’s pro/con overview in your product descriptions for more complex products.

6. Default options

Image of Amazon shipping page

In Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein describe default options as the most powerful nudge. Others agree: “Since defaults do not require any effort by the decision-maker, defaults can be a simple but powerful tool when there is inaction.”

Default options:

  1. Alleviate decision stress and choice overload by choosing for the customer;
  2. Make decisions easier for the user/shopper, countering inertia;
  3. Make decisions easier for customers who rely on the expertise of the company to guide them;
  4. Streamline the customer journey.

Dell uses default options to choose compatible product functions. This nudge works exceptionally well for products with complex configurations (e.g., electronics, utilitarian products) and guides shoppers to better choices. 

Image of Dell tech customization at checkout.

You can use default options on-site for:

  • Free and standard shipping options; 
  • Opting in for deals or offers;
  • Choosing a popular product color or size as a default;
  • Choosing an option based on your expertise;
  • Personalizing the CX.

This last point on personalization means you can use smart defaults to tailor the CX. For example, if someone fills out a certain size online, then the retailer can set all products to that size. 

Nudie Jeans has a virtual size guide. Once you’ve registered, they filter products with that size to streamline the experience and increase autonomy.

7. Trust symbols

Trust symbols are nudges that enhance brand and website credibility. Placed at checkout in ecommerce, they guarantee credit card safety, data privacy, and are conventional safety nets to put your customers at ease. 

But you can also leverage different kinds of trust symbols. For example, Patagonia uses its “Patagonia Guarantee” and “For the Planet” symbols to reinforce their corporate social responsibility and brand philosophy. 

Placed at checkout, these help their target audience, the environmentally-conscious consumer, feel more confident about their purchase. 

Other ways to increase trust with nudges are:

  • Establishing third-party security guarantees;
  • Fast shipping;
  • An error-free UX;
  • No extra costs at checkout;
  • No hidden defaults (like newsletter subscriptions.)

You can also reuse your nudge data in other channels. Let’s take a look at how, using the example of ecommerce product badges. 

How to apply nudge marketing to other channels  

Imagine you’re running an ecommerce store.

On your products made with recycled material, you place the badge “Recycled Fabric.” You have a couple other product badges, too, showing different attributes like “Extra Comfort” and “Cotton.” 

Image of jacket with recycled fabric nudge.

After experimenting with these product badges, your best-performing message comes from your “Recycled Fabric” product badge. 

How do you use this information? 

Drive segmented email campaigns.

Say your “Recycled Fabric” product badge drives purchase behavior (e.g., CTR) on a specific product for female shoppers in Stockholm, on an iPhone, when coming from Facebook. 

You can target these shoppers with an email campaign that focuses on promoting sustainable materials. Depending on your maturity, you can make these segments as specific or broad as your analytics allow.

Image of the best of the month from Nike Women's Newsletter

Optimize your Facebook campaigns.

Use the values behind social badges that positively impact on-site KPIs to optimize your social media copy. For example, focus on eco-friendly materials.

Nike Instagram

Refocus your search ad copy.

Similarly, you could optimize your Google Ads copy by focusing on sustainability. Set up several variations to test what copy works best.

Improve your product detail pages (PDP) 

Image of Nike sustainability in Google search.
Product intelligence for footwear.

It’s much the same concept: Find out which product badges work best and translate their values into the copy on your product detail pages.

Your product badge experiments can also tell you which messages don’t work for certain segments. It’s likely that different customers like different things about your products. 

Without a culture of experimentation, nudges won’t work. You should continuously test your nudges to see what works and what doesn’t—and for whom.  

Conclusion 

Many nudges we’ve discussed work especially well for ecommerce websites, but these insights can be transferred to all online businesses. 

Let’s recap:

  1. Nudge theory works by guiding consumers and giving them the freedom to choose.
  2. Nudges in the real world serve to influence positive behavioral change.
  3. Online, nudges streamline the customer journey while delighting the user.
  4. On-site nudges gives you actionable data to apply to different channels.

The post Nudge Marketing: From Theory to Practice appeared first on CXL.

Optimizing Your Site For Conversions: A Primer On WordPress A/B Testing

What is WordPress A/B testing? If your site is powered by WordPress (as is 37% of the entire web[1]), you need no introduction to the endless range of A/B testing plugins and tools that enable you to optimize it for conversions. Just like WordPress is known for its robustness and ease of use, A/B testing…

What is WordPress A/B testing?

If your site is powered by WordPress (as is 37% of the entire web[1]), you need no introduction to the endless range of A/B testing plugins and tools that enable you to optimize it for conversions. Just like WordPress is known for its robustness and ease of use, A/B testing is a simple yet effective technique that can help you outdo your website user experience and grow your key metrics. By simply installing a plugin on your WordPress site, you can run as many tests on the critical elements as you need to confidently make data-backed optimization decisions. 

In this post, we discuss how you can leverage A/B testing on your WordPress site and how it could be a game-changer for your business.

What Is a/b testing On WordPress websites

What can you test on your WordPress site? 

Headlines

While there are several golden rules and best practices you can follow while writing interesting and impactful headlines, testing them could surprise you to no end. Run A/B tests on your headlines to see which ones drive more traffic to your posts, engage your readers better, result in a higher number of social shares, and more.

A/B Testing Headlines On WordPress Website

Forms

Website forms are indispensable for any lead generation business, and optimizing them can have a direct and tangible impact on your conversion metrics. However, given the wide scope for refinement and sometimes contradictory best practices, forms can be quite challenging to optimize for. What works for one niche might not necessarily work for yours, and the only way to find the sweet spot between insightful answers, high attempt rate, and frictionless filling experience for your forms is to run experiments. 

Consider contact forms, for instance. From testing for the required and optional form fields, the form length, placement of the form, there are a plethora of parameters for which you can streamline your forms and get better results.

Ab Testing Forms On WordPress Website
Image Source[1]

Call-To-Action (CTA)

A lot rides on those big, bright, attention-grabbing buttons that prompt desired responses on your pages. The color, placement, size, copy – you want everything to be perfectly optimized for maximum conversions. Test them out before you commit to a particular variation of a CTA to be confident that it will drive better engagement.

Ab Testing Ctas On WordPress Website
Image Source[2]

Page copy

Your page copy is critical. You need to ensure it is persuasive, impactful, conversion-focused, and yet centered around your target persona. While you could just hit the jackpot and write a copy that checks all boxes, zeroing in on the one that perfectly resonates with your audience is usually a virtue of methodical testing. So, whether you are revamping old WordPress pages or creating brand new ones, go ahead and test out the copy before you finalize on the one, to watch your conversion rate go up, to the north, and beyond!

Testing Page Copy On WordPress Website
Image Source[3]

Widgets

Widgets are the cornerstone of any well-built WordPress site, and play a major part in improving its functionality and adding new features. Whether it is search, social media, or a subscription widget, the placement, size, copy, and design can directly influence your conversion numbers. Experimenting with multiple variations will ensure you choose one that adequately draws visitors’ attention and helps them fulfil their purpose.

Ab Testing Widgets On WordPress Website
Image Source[4]

Images & illustrations

Text-only content has a retention rate of 10%, but when supplemented with the right kind of visuals, it increases the retention rate for the piece of information to 65%[2]. Massive, right? So, testing your graphics becomes all the more important. You can experiment with them on your posts, home page, and landing pages to see which ones cause an uptick in your critical metrics and optimize your pages like never before.

Ab Testing Images Illustrations On WordPress Websites
Image Source[5]

Themes

Themes determine a majority of the layout and visual of your WordPress website, and altering the same is an absolutely critical decision. To avoid leaving any scope for guesswork or instinct, be sure to test your shortlisted variations before making one live universally. While themes can only be tested on the server-side, it is worth going that extra mile as they form the cornerstone of your site and greatly determine its usability.

Optimizing Themes In WordPress
Image Source[6]

Menu layouts

The site menu directs your visitors to important pages on your website. It’s layout is critical as it can directly impact user experience and conversions. Therefore, to facilitate ease of navigation within your site, you must continually optimize your menu layout to figure out which layout helps your visitors seamlessly browse and take the desired action.

Ab Testing Menu Layouts On WordPress Layouts
Image Source[7]

Design & layout

It can be overwhelming to narrow down on a website design that highlights all essential elements, provides clear information, along with being de-cluttered and engaging. Therefore, A/B testing the critical elements such as images, white spaces, navigation bar, color scheme, etc. can help you zero in on the optimized version of all your pages, in alignment.

Ab Testing Design Layout On WordPress Website
Image Source[8]

Benefits of A/B testing your WordPress site

Keep data at the forefront of all decision-making

In today’s day and age of consumer-centricity, the closest you can get to making foolproof decisions w.r.t. optimizing your digital experiences is by relying on testing to validate your hypotheses. Once you decide to base all your optimization efforts on the data gathered via A/B testing on your site, your digital experiences evolve from being dictated by opinions, biases, or guesses to being driven by data, clarity, and facts. No matter how big or small the conflict, you can always bank on testing for a logical and objective answer. 

In one of the sessions in VWO’s online summit, ConvEx, Lukas Vermeer, Director of Experimentation at Booking.com, spoke in length about how the travel behemoth manages large scale experiments. One particularly interesting segment was where he highlighted how leadership at Booking.com encourages making data the cornerstone of every decision. Here’s what he had to say: 

It’s pointless to allow teams to run experiments if you’re not willing to listen to what they find. This puts an enormous onus on leadership because it means that as a leader, you need to be willing to say that ‘I think this is the direction our product should go but I’m not sure, I don’t know and please show me how I am wrong, what assumptions I’m making that are incorrect. What I think or my ego is less important than ensuring the product offers a good user experience and that users want to use the product’. To put your own opinions and ego below the data that the people in your teams are going to find is something that I’ve rarely seen and I think that really is the hallmark of an exceptional leader and I’m happy that is something that we have here.

His insights clearly indicate how testing facilitates rational decision-making in an organization and how great leaders value data way more than individual opinions.

Improve ROI on existing traffic

The amount and quality of traffic you drive to your site depends on your marketing budget and numerous other factors in your marketing strategy that might be beyond your control. However, testing rigorously helps you find optimization opportunities on your site that enable you to deliver better experiences to your existing traffic. This, in turn, improves your conversion rate and fetches better ROI from the same traffic. What’s important to note here is that even minuscule tweaks made to your site can attribute to significant impact on your critical metrics, and testing is a powerful approach to validate it for yourself before you make any change.

Eliminate friction in user experience

Measuring user experience on your site can be tough. Very often, it’s impossible to gauge what exactly could be breaking your site’s experience and causing poor conversions, drop-offs, abandonment, etc. And even if you do, you wouldn’t want to go ahead and make any decision before being absolutely sure of your hypothesis. 

Therefore, once done with user research leveraging tools such as Website Analytics, Heatmaps, Surveys, Session Recordings, you can build your hypotheses based on the insights gathered, and finally, validate them using A/B testing. This way, you can ensure that every change you make solves visitors’ pain points, eliminates friction from your site experience, and reflects positively on your conversion metrics. Sign up for a free trial by VWO and assess it for yourself. 

Here’s a success story of how A/B testing helped a leading SaaS player remove friction in their user experience and increase conversions. 

Headquartered in Belgium, Teamleader[3] is known for its customer management, project management, and invoicing tools for SMEs. Like all SaaS businesses, one of their perpetual objectives has been to increase the number of free-trial sign-ups. They realized it was a matter of continually streamlining their sign-up flow to deliver a seamless experience. 

The first couple of tests they ran after signing up for VWO proved to be incredibly successful. Simply adding ‘No Credit Card Required’ on their sign-up page on their Netherlands and Belgium websites improved conversions by 12.5%. 

In another test, they created a variation of the form where icons accompanied every field. This improved conversions by 13.1%. That’s not all. They also tested their free trial sign-up page against two variations of it; one with information on their product offerings and the other with social proof in the form of their customer logos. The result? Introducing social proof helped Teamleader increase conversion by 12%. 

Reduce risk associated with making drastic changes

Let’s say your research tells you that your website is outdated, and you are now looking to revamp it. This is a huge move that could go either way. You could hit the bull’s eye and create a site that fixes all pain points, attracts visitors, and delightfully engages them, or create one that does more harm than good. A risk like this can be completely avoided if you opt for an evolutionary redesign (wherein you build each element on top of the previous one) of the site and test each major change on a segment of your audience before making it live universally. This will save you from making any radical change live for your entire visitor base before you are completely sure of it.

Uncommon Knowledge tested its redesigned landing page, and the results received were highly unanticipated but extremely insightful. 

Scotland based psychology training company, Uncommon Knowledge had a straightforward objective – to increase sign-ups of free videos they offered to improve awareness of their brand and offerings. In order to do so, they completely redesigned the sign-up page. Here is the control and variation of the same: 

Control Version Of The Sign Up Page For Uncommon Knowledge
Control
Variation Of The Sign Up Page For Uncommon Knowledge
Variation

They gave up their traditional magazine layout to implement a rather sleek design that explicitly assured visitors that their privacy would be respected and they could opt-out whenever they wanted to. 

The results of the test were quite unexpected. The original landing page delivered 19.55% more leads than the new, fancy one. The team was surprised and learned a lot about their audience by analyzing the A/B test results. They drew the conclusion that since a majority of their audience was more than 45 years old, they were unaffected by the latest design trends. Instead, they preferred the original page design that gave them some idea about the videos in the pack compared to the variation that just told them that it’s a three-pack video set on trauma management. 

Testing one landing page taught the team at Uncommon Knowledge about their target audience and helped them avoid the risk associated with implementing the new design throughout their website. 

Stay ahead of the competitor curve

Standing out among competition and making a unique impact on visitors’ minds is a challenge every business struggles with. While your site is a reflection of your beliefs, ideologies, and offerings, it must strike a chord with your visitors to get them to take a desired action. Experimenting consistently on your site will ensure you keep customers at the forefront of all your optimization efforts, which will inevitably keep you ahead of the curve.

How VWO enables you to optimize your WordPress site

VWO Testing is a part of the all-in-one VWO Experience Optimization platform. It is a robust experimentation tool that allows you to create and run tests on your WordPress site with an easy-to-use visual editor. You don’t need to write a single line of code – all you need to do is integrate VWO’s dedicated WordPress plugin on your site, and you can run unlimited tests without any page tagging. Not just that, VWO Insights combines session recordings, heatmaps, form analytics, and website surveys so you can analyze your visitors’ behavioral attributes, and accordingly streamline your optimization efforts. 

VWO empowers you to test each and every element of your WordPress site, run simple to complex tests, segment and run tests based on your visitors’ behavior, test with an entire library of ready-to-use widgets, slice and dice test results, create custom segments in reports, and so much more. It is a one-stop solution to shaping delightful user experiences that positively impact the UX and conversions on your site. 
Sign up for a free trial to explore how you can leverage VWO Testing to optimize digital experiences on your WordPress site, effortlessly.

Analyzing Results Of A/B Test On WordPress Website In VWO
Analyzing results of an A/B test in VWO

How to use VWO Testing to run A/B test on your WordPress site 

With VWO’s easy-to-install plugin, you can create and run as many A/B tests effortlessly on your WordPress site, without writing a single line of code. All you need to do is integrate the plugin with the WordPress dashboard following these steps:

  1. Search for the VWO plugin in the WordPress directory or simply download it here
  2. Follow the plugin installation steps mentioned, extract the .zip file, and transfer them to your site’s /wp-admin/plugins/ directory.
  3. Activate the plugin and enter your VWO account details into the configuration page as prompted. 
  4. That’s it. You can now create and run A/B tests using VWO on your WordPress site following the steps mentioned here.

Conclusion

Optimizing your WordPress site is an iterative process of constantly learning about your visitors and methodically evolving the experiences you offer. While there are numerous ways to go about it, A/B testing is the data-backed path to optimization that validates (or disproves) your hypotheses by allowing your actual visitors to convey to you what works. Relying on this statistical approach for decision-making can help you discover improvement opportunities and make more changes to your site that positively impact your bottom line. So, before you make any minute or drastic change to your site, putting them to test will ensure you can do so with confidence, regardless of the outcome.

Merkle Q2 2020 Digital Marketing Report Released

Merkle is pleased to announce the release of our Digital Marketing Report for Q2 2020. This is the 35th edition of our quarterly report on digital advertising trends, which covers paid and organic search, paid social, shopping ads, and display, with in…

Merkle is pleased to announce the release of our Digital Marketing Report for Q2 2020. This is the 35th edition of our quarterly report on digital advertising trends, which covers paid and organic search, paid social, shopping ads, and display, with insights into major platforms including Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

Download the latest Merkle Digital Marketing Report here.

Below are some high-level findings from the report's executive summary:

Too Much Creative Marketing is Stifled by Attribution

You’re listening to a podcast. The guest describes a product that sounds compelling, alluring, something you’ve been looking for… What happens next?

Yup. You search Google.

And then what? Google shows you the website for tha…

You’re listening to a podcast. The guest describes a product that sounds compelling, alluring, something you’ve been looking for… What happens next? Yup. You search Google. And then what? Google shows you the website for that alluring product, and you click. Maybe you explore the site a bit, perhaps give them your email address or even buy the product. Next…

COVID-19 Impact on the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Seniors, as we know, are our most vulnerable population and even more so today in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world. In the US alone, there are more than 3.9 million confirmed cases to date. At the time of this writing, 143 thou…

Seniors, as we know, are our most vulnerable population and even more so today in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world. In the US alone, there are more than 3.9 million confirmed cases to date. At the time of this writing, 143 thousand people have lost their lives from COVID-19, and two-thirds of them are seniors, ages 65+.

Release Notes: Braze boosts orchestration and personalization

Braze seeks to boost empathetic engagement through increased personalization.

The post Release Notes: Braze boosts orchestration and personalization appeared first on Marketing Land.

Braze, the customer engagement platform, this week announced the a series of product enhancements, some of which were already on the company’s roadmap, but in Beta or with restricted availability.

Through increased relevance of messaging, and improved orchestration of campaigns, Braze hopes to support more empathetic marketing in a time of high customer sensitivity. “This has been an extraordinary year, and brands will need to listen, understand, and act with empathy in order to survive and thrive,” said Kevin Wang, Senior Vice President of Product at Braze.

Within Braze’s customer journey tool Canvas, brands can respond to intent signals from customers via push, email or Content Cards using Native Promotion Codes, now available globally.

In the Braze Predictive Suite, Predictive Churn is now available globally, helps reduce churn by identifying customers at risk. Early Access Funnel Reports signal drop-offs in conversion from campaigns, indicating opportunities to optimize. The Reports are available to select customers, and are expected to be globally available in the near future.

Other features include in-app message previewing, inbound SMS keyword analysis, and a Huawei Push integration. Braze is also expanding its partnership with Amazon Personalize, which allows brands to leveage Amazon algorithms to support content and product recommendations.

Why we care. Brands have become adept at tracking online and in-app behavior, and resolving customer identity across devices and channels. They are still struggling to send timely, relevant and helpful messages. Braze is one of the vendors addressing that challenge.

This story first appeared on Search Engine Land.

https://martechtoday.com/release-notes-braze-boosts-orchestration-and-personalization-242714

The post Release Notes: Braze boosts orchestration and personalization appeared first on Marketing Land.