We were marveled at Google Marketing Live. Fascinating demos and ground-breaking announcements like the Discovery Ads and the Bumper machine. The keynote also emphasized that Google is taking privacy seriously, which I was particularly pleased to hear. And in the ad innovations keynote, there was an overwhelming feeling that Google takes competition from Amazon more than seriously without ever mentioning it.
“Did they just say that?” was one of my common reactions during the keynote. I like the format of their presentations and the fact that you can go back and review presentations via the online portal almost immediately after they are finished. “Yes, they did!”, they said they were going to allow advertisers to book campaigns on national broadcast networks and local TV stations programmatically later this year. Google is reaching into the Ether. They also said they wanted to enable purchasing from a whole host of places within the Google properties; via voice commands, in images, in videos, in cars, in search results.
Wait, in search results? Did they just say that?
Buying functionalities will be available everywhere you use Google, a bit like the ozone gas which is distributed in the air around us in the atmosphere. Ozone is present in different doses but everywhere to be found. And it is, of course, the ozone layer that protects us from strong radiation from the sun. Fun fact, ozone which is composed of oxygen, is also lethal to humans if the concentration is too high.
Not only is Google working on Shopping Actions, which you can read more about here [https://searchengineland.com/new-personalized-shopping-actions-enabled-google-shopping-debuts-in-france-314458/], a functionality whereby you can compare products and buy from shops either within Google, by going to an online store or by going to a physical store. Initially, I found this surprising – and even a bit of a fuzzy positioning: buy either here or there or offline in a shop – buy wherever you see fit. It makes a little more sense when you consider that they are also activating the shopping experiences within all their properties and in future projects like in cars which were mentioned several times during the day. Will they be changing their mantra from Mobile First toShopping First, I wonder? This impressive host of shopping-related initiatives is clearly aimed to defend Google from the rise of Amazon. Put up an ozone layer to protect them from Amazon radiation.
Why is Amazon such a danger to Google?
We currently observe a user behaviour by which an increasing number of people end their user journey on Amazon, whether they start it on Google, Facebook or somewhere else.
If this user behavior expands further, then Google risks being excluded from the strong monetization related to e-commerce and limited to generating advertising revenues which can’t be connected directly to sales. Due to the way the digital marketing ecosystem works, this is increasingly important.
What originally made Google advertising so compelling was exactly the fact, that an advertising campaign could be directly connected to a conversion. This was what made Google Ads become such a dominating part of the marketing mix, and in turn, this, is what made Google rich.
Today, the user journey is not as linear as it was back then, and it has many more touch-points as the Ads innovation presentation on Google Marketing Live further illustrated: a purchase decision can take a user through 50 to 250 touchpoints and run over long periods of time. In parallel, organisations are increasingly measuring and monitoring the performance of their campaigns based on the impact they have on sales.
Facebook is generating powerful influence on buying decisions but it is a challenge to connect that influence to sales. The same goes for display and video advertising which is the reason why improved integration and measurement between channels is so important. If a sale takes place in a different Walled garden (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, …) than the one which generated the decision to buy, connecting influence to action is difficult. As we saw in the presentations yesterday, Google aim to make it easier to track and monitor behaviour among their own properties and more difficult to track from other properties – in the name of privacy.
We found in our research at Innovell, that search & shopping strategies involving both Google and Amazon are already a winning approach for leading paid search teams around the world. Approximately 80% of these teams include shopping services in their offering, and 32% of them have already started working with Amazon Ads despite limited availability around the world.
Google today master the entire user journey except for the final sales transaction. They are reaching into the ether to connect with one of the last offline media outlets, TV broadcast. And at the other end of the user journey, rather than trying to do what Amazon does, they have chosen to do like the ozone gas, dilute their shopping capabilities everywhere around us when we are in touch with products or services via a Google service. Everywhere to be found, and aiming at disrupting the user journey to their advantage.
Large consumer brands are losing share to more nimble, digitally savvy challengers. With one click, consumers can have nearly anything delivered to their door — from beds to laundry detergent to pet food. Digital disruptors such as Casper and Dollar Shave Club operate with ultra-fast supply chains, using digital channels to create convenient and authentic […]
Large consumer brands are losing share to more nimble, digitally savvy challengers. With one click, consumers can have nearly anything delivered to their door — from beds to laundry detergent to pet food. Digital disruptors such as Casper and Dollar Shave Club operate with ultra-fast supply chains, using digital channels to create convenient and authentic shopping experiences.
How do traditional consumer goods marketers compete? And how do you overcome the impact of generic brands and point-of-sale data collection to grow digital sales and customer loyalty?
Join our brand marketing experts as they tackle the biggest challenges facing consumer goods companies – and provide the strategies and tactics that will help you win.
How do you bring a data-driven approach to your website redesign? BigCommerce hired Chris Nolan to do just that. Here’s how he used data to drive a Market-first redesign. When we lose an employee to another company, I feel a mix of pride and salt…
How do you bring a data-driven approach to your website redesign? BigCommerce hired Chris Nolan to do just that. Here’s how he used data to drive a Market-first redesign. When we lose an employee to another company, I feel a mix of pride and saltiness. I’m proud that working here turns otherwise ordinary men and […]
Beginning in June 2019, Facebook will enable a tool that shows users a summary of the apps and sites that are reporting their off-Facebook data to Facebook through Business Tools (the Facebook Pixel, SDK, and Facebook Offline Conver…
What is happening?
Beginning in June 2019, Facebook will enable a tool that shows users a summary of the apps and sites that are reporting their off-Facebook data to Facebook through Business Tools (the Facebook Pixel, SDK, and Facebook Offline Conversions API) as well as the Facebook Audience Network. Users will have the ability to "clear their history"—deleting all previous off-Facebook data and resetting Facebook Login connections—as well as to prevent data from those apps and sites from being associated with their Facebook accounts going forward.
As an agency, priority #1 has to be your clients. After all, your job is to solve problems for your clients, answer some pain they have, and lower their anxiety. Any tools you pick to build your digital agency have to first and foremost simplify your c…
As an agency, priority #1 has to be your clients. After all, your job is to solve problems for your clients, answer some pain they have, and lower their anxiety. Any tools you pick to build your digital agency have to first and foremost simplify your clients’ lives.But priority #2 is making money! Because you’re […]
Call analytics can be a touchy subject among some marketing teams, particularly those that have strained relationships with the sales team of their organizations. The tension between the two departments often leaves a gap between our teams that, when bridged, create valuable insights into cross-channel campaign effectiveness and sales results. Thanks to the rise of […]
Call analytics can be a touchy subject among some marketing teams, particularly those that have strained relationships with the sales team of their organizations. The tension between the two departments often leaves a gap between our teams that, when bridged, create valuable insights into cross-channel campaign effectiveness and sales results. Thanks to the rise of mobile in e-commerce, digital marketers need to incorporate call analytics into their reporting strategies to tell the whole story of the customer journey.
Go beyond basic call tracking
According to research from Forrester, customers who call tend to buy more, make purchases quicker and remain customers longer than customers from other channels. Customers who initiate an inbound phone call during the customer journey convert an average of 30 percent faster — and spend an average of 28 percent more.
Having a handle on customer sentiment will significantly improve your holistic digital strategy. You know what your customers “do” with your campaigns, but how do they “feel” towards your brand? What happened when they called? What was the salesperson’s impression of the customer’s attitude towards him or her? Understanding the conversational context in which the sales team engages with them can help you better understand these factors and identify signals of intent (or attrition).
Amanda Farley, partner at SS Digital Media, recommends that marketers with the bandwidth listen in to sales calls — with both positive and negative outcomes — to better understand the conversation that drove the result. “There is usually a disconnect between marketing campaigns and the people answering the phone,” she said. “The messaging on the ads might be clear about who a brand is, but it’s really about how phone calls are facilitated.” Establishing this practice, according to Farley, can create valuable learnings for sales and marketing teams and improve the experience for inbound callers.
On smaller teams, dedicating a marketer to listen in on recorded phone calls might not be feasible. However, working with the sales team to provide visibility into your digital campaigns can be a step in the right direction towards understanding the context of inbound calls. Enabling the sales team with a process and the right tools to do this; for example, custom fields can be added to your CRM to capture the information.
More advanced organizations with systems already in place can take advantage of natural language processing features to perform on-call analysis of spoken words and phrases that have been identified as signals of conversion intent.
Create sentiment-informed campaigns
Analytics provide a healthy performance analysis, but they lack the contextual elements of what the customer’s experience with your brand was. Conversation analytics are an example of measurable insights that we can use to determine messaging, identify strengths and weaknesses, assess campaign effectiveness and measure customer sentiment.
Customer sentiment should be considered when you are developing segmentation strategies for email campaigns, designing landing pages and marketing automation. Messaging, for example, can be explicitly written to serve the individual’s needs based on their sentiment rating. If a salesperson indicates a customer has a negative experience, use the event as a trigger to initiate a win-back campaign — before the customer hangs up for good.
It’s all about the relationships
Our relationships with sales can present many challenges for organizations of all sizes — from using siloed platforms to being in different physical locations, it can be difficult to establish rapport with other teams. However, building that relationship is a critical element to optimizing and truly understanding call analytics and customer sentiment. Partnering with sales to clearly define and align goals improves the holistic sales and marketing strategy with the added layer of customer-data to help influence campaigns. Adding the measurement of customer sentiment to this will provide new opportunities for your teams to share valuable insights, better understand customers and foster better relationships with them.
YouTube is the second-most-visited site in the world. And YouTube mobile ads are 84% more likely to hold attention than TV ads. If you’re not running YouTube Ads campaigns, you’re missing out on key advertising opportunities. Although YouTube Ads campaigns run via Google Ads, YouTube advertising is different from other online ad options. The platform […]
Although YouTube Ads campaigns run via Google Ads, YouTube advertising is different from other online ad options. The platform relies solely on video (of course), but it also includes unique ad options and specifications.
This post shows you:
How to set up your YouTube account and Ads campaign;
How to identify your target audience for YouTube Ads;
Keys to successful YouTube Ads campaigns;
Measurement and attribution for YouTube Ads.
How to set up YouTube Ads
The first step to set up YouTube Ads is to create a YouTube channel. From there, you’ll be able to publish your video ads. Sign in to YouTube with your Google Account, then click on “My channel.”
If you don’t already have a channel, you’ll be prompted to create one.
Now that your channel is set up and your videos are uploaded, it’s time to create a campaign.
Creating a YouTube Ads campaign
YouTube Ads campaigns are set up through your Google Ads account. Once you log in, select the “Video” campaign type.
Then, select your marketing objective, or opt for a campaign without a goal. By choosing no goal, you have more flexibility to craft the campaign the way you want it.
However, if you don’t have a lot of experience with Google Ads, a guided approach can simplify the process. There are four objectives to choose from:
Brand awareness and reach;
Product and brand consideration;
You can also select from six campaign subtypes:
Custom.This option gives you the freedom to customize every aspect of your ad to suit your goals. If you have Google Ads experience, you may prefer this over the next five guided-build options.
Non-skippable in-stream. This selection helps you create non-skippable ads, which are discussed further below.
Outstream. This guides you through the creation of outstream video ads, also discussed later on.
Drive conversions. With this choice, Google Ads guides you through the creation of ads that encourage interactions.
Ad sequence. If you have a series of ad videos that build upon each other, select this option.
Shopping. Select this option to promote your products or services to ready-to-buy viewers.
As with any Google Ads campaign, the next step is to name your campaign, enter your budget, and select your start and end dates.
Under the custom campaign type, you can choose from two bid strategies:
Maximum Cost-per-view (CPV). Set the most money you’re willing to pay each time your ad is viewed. Maximum CPV is used mostly for bottom-of-funnel ads and a narrowly defined target audience.
Target Cost-per-mille (CPM). Set the average amount you’re willing to pay for every thousand times your ad is shown. Target CPM ads are generally chosen for awareness-building campaigns.
After selecting your language and location, you need to refine where your ads will appear. You can select whether your ads will appear within YouTube search results, in YouTube videos, and/or on a collection of other sites and apps that are part of the Google Display Network.
The next step is to choose the inventory of videos for which your ad may appear. Google recommends selecting the “Standard inventory” option. Think of this as the “PG” rating on movies.
“Expanded inventory” will show your ad on some videos that have sensitive content. It expands your potential reach but could result in your ad being associated with explicit content.
At the other end, “Limited inventory” shows your ads only on content that is the equivalent of a “G” rating. This selection limits your reach but makes sense for some brands.
You may also see an option to exclude sensitive content types, but Google is in the process of phasing this out.
Additional content exclusion options include certain content types and labels.
There are three advanced options you can alter to customize your campaign based on devices, frequency, and time of delivery:
Next, you need to name your ad group within the campaign, pick whom you’re going to target, and where you want your ads to show up. (Audiences and ad targeting are detailed in the next section.)
Finally, select your bid amount and paste in the YouTube URL for your video ad.
Once Google Ads approves your ad, it will go live.
How much does it cost to advertise on YouTube?
YouTube advertising works the same way as other Google Ads campaigns—using an auction. You have complete control over how much you spend on your ads.
You can set a maximum amount for your overall campaign, as well as a target bid amount for each ad group you create.
Keep in mind that the greater your budget, the greater your reach. For instance, you can increase your bid by a fixed percentage for top content channels, sites, and apps. This increases your chances of having your ads show up on the most popular videos.
As you input different bids, Google Ads will show you the estimated reach. You can use that information to find the best balance between budget and reach for your campaign. Google Ads also provides an average estimated value for your campaign type and goals.
How does the cost of YouTube Ads compare to other platforms? Some companies have tried to quantify it in tables like this one:
But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Your advertising costs vary widely depending on many factors, including:
Whether you’re targeting competitive keywords;
The Quality Score of your ads;
Where you’ve chosen to place your ads;
Which type of YouTube Ad you’ve selected;
Who’s in your audience.
One way to estimate a reasonable budget is to see how much your competition spends. Tools like SEMRush offer advertiser research for YouTube Ads.
Here are three segments to narrow your audience for better ad targeting:
1. Custom intent audiences
Custom intent audiences allow you to segment your ad groups by keywords and the landing pages that you want to target.
You can use Google’s auto-created audience segments, or you can create custom intent audiences. To create your own, select “New Custom Intent Audience” in the audience section of your campaign setup.
Enter keywords, URLs, apps, or YouTube content related to your product or service to help you target only people who are likely to be interested in your ads.
For example, if you’re a new travel blogger who’s creating videos about new destinations, enter keywords related to those destinations or the URLs of top travel sites.
If you want to rely on Google to auto-create custom intent audiences, you need conversion tracking. This allows Google to understand what people were searching for or watching when they interacted with your ads. Google can then create and refresh audiences based on viewer and customer behavior.
Which should you use?
Creating a custom intent audience yourself works well if you already have a comprehensive list of keywords, URLs, and YouTube content to target. Aim for at least 10–15 items to help refine your audience.
Google-created custom intent audiences work well if Google has enough traffic and conversion information to analyze your target market.
Note: Google Ads used to have an ad group targeting audience keywords, but this was migrated into custom intent audiences in November 2018.
2. In-market audiences
In-market audiences allow you to target customers who are actively researching and considering buying a product or service like yours.
These audiences are designed for bottom-of-the-funnel conversion ads. Google has curated a list of in-market categories that you can select from for targeting YouTube Ads. New categories are continually beta tested and added to the list.
In-market audiences are a useful way to connect with consumers who are comparing products and services across Google Display Network sites and YouTube. You can also combine in-market audiences with remarketing audiences.
3. Remarketing audiences
Remarketing is a way to connect with people who have already interacted with your website, mobile app, or YouTube videos. Remarketing ads can increase brand visibility and nudge audiences toward completing a purchase they abandoned.
Google Ads offers four different types of Remarketing Audiences for YouTube Ads:
Standard remarketing. Standard remarketing enables you to show ads to your past website or app visitors.
Dynamic remarketing. Dynamic remarketing takes it a step further by allowing you to modify the ads shown based on the products or services that people previously viewed.
Video remarketing. Video remarketing shows ads to people who have already interacted with your videos or YouTube channel.
Customer list remarketing. Customer list remarketing allows you to upload lists of contact information that customers have given you. Then, you can target them with YouTube Ads (as long as they’re signed in to the platform).
Google Ads creates custom remarketing lists for you automatically during campaigns. As long as you’ve linked your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account, it will automatically capture data on people who interacted with your videos to allow you to launch video remarketing.
The following video interactions are captured by Google:
Viewed any video from your channel;
Viewed certain videos;
Subscribed to your channel;
Visited your channel page;
Liked any video from your channel;
Added any video from your channel to a playlist;
Commented on any video from your channel;
Shared any video from your channel.
You can then use these lists in your targeting settings for YouTube Ad campaigns. You can view and manage your lists by selecting “Shared Library” then “Audience manager” within Google Ads.
Unlike in-market audiences—which limit your ads to people about to buy—remarketing audiences can keep you top of mind throughout a longer sales cycle. They also connect you with past purchasers who may buy again.
Once you have your account set up and your initial audience defined, you can identify the best way to reach them.
5 Keys to running successful YouTube Ads campaigns
There are five keys to running high-converting YouTube campaigns:
But you don’t want to target an awareness campaign at an in-market audience. The ad content, campaign goals, and funnel all need to align.
Each of the three funnel stages should have a different ad group:
YouTube is great for top-of-funnel awareness, as 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.
You can reach your target audience in the awareness stage by identifying the content with which they’re already engaging. For instance, BT Sport is a cricket broadcaster that discovered their fans often searched for football highlights and travel content.
By targeting people searching for football highlights, BT Sport experienced a positive uplift in view-through rates versus brand benchmarks, as well as significant increases in ad recall and purchase intent.
In the consideration stage, your audience is looking for more information about a product or service. Some 80% of shoppers who watch YouTube videos just prior to a purchase also did so in an earlier research phase.
Explainer videos, tutorials, demonstrations, and walk-throughs are all great ways to showcase your product or service. Those formats work may well for YouTube videos but not short ads.
Instead, you can construct a sequence of complementary ads that build on each other. In the UK, 20th Century Fox created a series of YouTube Ads for the Greatest Showman that guided their audience through the consideration stage.
Users who engaged with a basic trailer were then shown a behind-the-scenes ad, followed by a different trailer with a strong call to action. The ad sequence significantly outperformed the stand-alone trailer ads, generating triple-digit uplifts in “consideration” and “organic title searches.”
In the purchase stage, you can combine effective YouTube Ad design with in-market and remarketing audiences to convert more visitors. Majestic Heli Ski gets nearly half of their new skiers from YouTube by targeting ads at people searching for skis and ski resorts.
The company boosted its customer base by more than 400% over the last five years and increased sales around 25% each year since starting with YouTube Ads.
2. Monitor the right performance metrics.
There are a lot of YouTube performance metrics that you can monitor, including view rate, average cost-per-view (CPV), earned views, conversion rate, cost per conversion, watch time, earned subscribers, and earned shares.
You can view these metrics by clicking on the “Videos” section within your Google Ads account.
If some metrics don’t appear, you can add them by clicking on the “Columns” drop-down menu, finding the metric you’re looking for, and clicking “Add.”
A few metrics are essential to monitor baseline performance:
Click-through rate (CTR);
Earnings per view.
View Rate lets you know how many people watched your video ad compared to how many people it was actually served to.
If you have a low view rate, it means too many people are skipping your ad. This can indicate that either your ad targeting is not effective, your ad content is not compelling, or your ad is too long.
Note: This metric is relevant only for skippable ads.
Your CTR lets you know how many people clicked on your ad compared to how many people saw it.
If your CTR is high, you know that your ad targeting, content, and CTA are all generating interest and action. If your CTR is low, it could indicate an issue with any of these areas.
However, if your view rate is high but your CTR is low, it may indicate an issue with your call to action, which we’ll discuss in a minute.
Earnings per view
This metric tracks how much money you earn per ad view, on average. A high CTR but low earnings could indicate a problem with the landing page for YouTube Ads traffic.
Bottom-line metrics like this are the best way to determine whether a campaign is generating ROI. That said, they may be less relevant for YouTube Ads campaigns that focus on awareness.
3. Select the right format and placement for your audience.
There are four main types of YouTube Ads:
TrueView ads are also known as skippable ads. These ads don’t force people to watch the full advertisement before proceeding to their chosen video.
One benefit of TrueView ads is that you don’t pay for unwanted views. You pay only when a viewer interacts with your video or watches at least 30 seconds of it (or the full duration of your ad, if it’s shorter than 30 seconds).
There are two types of TrueView ad formats:
In-stream ads. In-stream ads run before, during, or after videos and give viewers the option to skip the ad after five seconds.
Discovery ads. Discovery ads appear outside of videos, such as in YouTube search results, next to related videos, and on the YouTube mobile homepage.
Non-skippable ads look exactly like in-stream TrueView ads except that they cannot be skipped. Non-skippable ads force people to watch the entire ad before going to their selected video.
You can use these ads only as in-stream ads. Since they can’t be skipped, these ads are restricted to a maximum of 15–20 seconds in length.
There are two types of non-skippable ads:
Pre-roll ads that appear before a video plays;
Mid-roll ads that appear at the midpoint of 10+ minute videos.
Bumper ads are also non-skippable but last only six seconds. Bumper ads play either directly before or after a viewer’s chosen video. The short length makes them more cost-efficient than longer options.
They’re also ideal for mobile, which is important as mobile usage on YouTube continues to grow. Consider combining bumper ads with one of the longer formats. Duracell created one of the top bumper ads by combining their six-second ad campaign with longer ad videos.
Outstream ads are mobile-only video ads aimed at reaching your target market on partner sites. Outstream ads let users tap to play your video ad or scroll past it. The ads default to playing on mute, but viewers can unmute the ad with a tap.
Outstream ads are charged based on viewable cost-per-thousand impressions (vCPM), which means that you’ll only pay if your ad is viewable.
As noted earlier, you can choose whether you want your video ads to show on video partners when you set up your YouTube Ads campaign.
4. Use a strong call to action.
If you have a strong view rate but a poor CTR, the problem may lie with your call to action (CTA). You can read more about calls to action here or here.
Ultimately, your CTA needs to match the intent and tone for your audience. You can experiment with different language to discover the phrase that works best for your market. A tool like Grammarly Goals can also help match your wording to your audience.
You set up your CTA by clicking the “Call-to-Action” checkbox during TrueView ad creation.
Within YouTube Ads, you have three ways to implement a CTA:
Standard. The standard CTA can appear as an additional click-target alongside your video ad, and it takes users to your chosen landing page. This CTA appears in your ad at certain points that you select, such as the beginning and end. During the rest of the ad, no CTA is visible.
TrueView for action. TrueView for action is a newer format that includes a tailored and enhanced CTA that constantly runs as an ad companion on mobile and desktop TrueView ads. Using this ad type enables you to show a CTA throughout the entire ad.
End screen. End screens show up at the end of your video ad and can include a CTA to go to your landing page as well as other video suggestions. However, your ad needs to be at least 25 seconds long to have an end screen.
If you opt for the Standard CTA rather than a TrueView one, make sure you include more than one of them in your video, unless it’s a six-second bumper ad. Aim to have one around the 5-second mark, another after 30 seconds (or halfway through, depending on the ad length), and one at the end.
5. Optimize your landing pages.
If people are clicking through your ad but not converting, it may indicate a problem with your landing page. Whether your goal is to achieve newsletter signups or sales, your video ads and landing page must be cohesive.
Go to your “Reports” dashboard and click “View all.”
Then, navigate to “Conversions,” select “Conversion source,” and you can filter for conversions attributed to your YouTube Ads.
You can also use YouTube Studio to see how all videos—not just ads—perform. By assessing which device types generate the most (or least) views, which have the top end screens, etc., you can refine your paid campaigns.
If you’re working on a top-of-funnel ad campaign, you can also gauge how impressions affect interactions and watch time.
YouTube is the second-most-visited site and the second-biggest search engine after Google, making it an ideal platform to connect with your target your audience.
But, like every paid channel, it requires a solid strategy to generate leads and sales, not just views.
By tailoring your target audience, running the right ad formats, and taking users to persuasive, relevant landing pages, you can increase the chances that video impressions, views, and clicks turn into revenue.
Most marketers largely depend on website analytics, heat maps, click maps, form analysis, and visitor recordings to identify areas of friction and leakage within the conversion funnel. Admittedly, these tools are great to get valuable information and quantitative data to build hypotheses — however, they only tell part of the story. The best way to […]
Most marketers largely depend on website analytics, heat maps, click maps, form analysis, and visitor recordings to identify areas of friction and leakage within the conversion funnel.
Admittedly, these tools are great to get valuable information and quantitative data to build hypotheses — however, they only tell part of the story.
The best way to truly understand your customers and finding out what they want is by asking them and hearing it straight from them – firsthand.
According to Hubspot, Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a powerful methodology to get into the customer’s mind. You can capture what your customers feel about your website and understand the gap between customer expectations and their purchasing experience using website surveys.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about the different types of eCommerce surveys you can run on your website, real examples from some of our customers, and how to create a survey using VWO. Let’s get started.
What’s in store for you?
Why should every eCommerce business run on-page surveys?
Where on your website should you ask survey questions?
The top 6 types of surveys you should be running right now + examples from real customers
Setting up an on-page survey using VWO
Why should you run on-page surveys?
On-page surveys help you understand your customers’ common characteristics, build customer personas, understand their terminology – the exact words and phrases your customers use.
They also uncover insights about what your customers are looking for, how do they prefer to buy, conversion blockers, their emotional psyche, their opinion about your competitors and lots more.
What more? They also serve as a repository of ideas!
Think about it. Hundreds of visitors come to your store, every single day. If you get 50 unique responses from a survey, these responses turn into 50 different test ideas for your website. Out of those 50, even if 10% win, you get 5 solid winners that actively contribute toward scaling your business revenue. It’s a win-win situation!
Now, building an excellent survey for your website largely depends on two things:
The probes you present in front of your website visitors
Which page(s) do you prompt your survey
This brings us to our next question – where should you run your survey?
Where on your site should you run surveys?
On-page surveys are exceptional for in-the-moment feedback. Experts suggest that you must run surveys on pages that have a high bounce rate or under-perform in your conversion funnel.
Identify pages that have a high exit rate or are crucial to your business. Curate a list of questions that you need to ask to determine why your visitors are dropping off on these pages.
However, don’t limit your surveys to your conversion leaks. You can also ask questions on your post-purchase thank you page to learn from successful conversions. You can use all these insights to build a solid hypothesis for a/b testing ideas on your website.
The Top 6 types of surveys you should be running right now!
(Ready-to-use examples from real customers)
You have access to information such as your customers’ IP address, device type, browser, and location. However, other vital details such as your customer’s age, gender, profession, what are they looking for on your website, purchase frequency, their opinion on your competitors are slightly challenging to collect.
With on-page surveys, you can ask relevant questions to your customers while they’re on your website without being intrusive or disturbing their shopping experience.
Here’s how a leading UK based online store selling hair and beauty salon supplies learns more about their customers every day.
These survey questions not only help the brand in understanding the customers better but also make it easier to provide a personalized shopping experience and improve conversions.
Pro tip: Don’t hesitate to ask for seemingly personal or controversial questions. However, ensure that the timing is right.
For example, popping your survey immediately after a user has landed on your website may seem overwhelming. Wait for the user to spend more than 15-20 seconds on a page, and then begin your survey. You can also keep certain questions optional to avoid customer hesitation.
Always remember, hindering your customers’ shopping experience to know more about them may back-fire. Keep it simple and contextual.
2. Uncover customer psyche
Honestly, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Nobody knows what your customers want more than your customers themselves. So the best thing one can do is, ask.
Get inside your customer’s mind, wear their shoes and get to know them better by asking the right questions.
Here’s how Germany’s largest lingerie manufacturers run surveys to provide tailor-made shopping experiences.
This helps the brand understand customer needs and expectations. They also discover growth opportunities to provide a personalized shopping experience to their customers.
Pro Tip: Be bold and creative. Want to launch a new product collection? Have a unique loyalty program that you wish to run? Get quick feedback from a small group of customers before going all out with guns blazing.
3) Get website feedback straight from the horse’s mouth
Getting experts to review your website is brilliant. However, what’s better is getting your customers to tell you what they feel about your website. Discover process bottlenecks and conversion roadblocks by gently prompting your customers to share their experiences.
A fast-growing online retailer selling quality and low priced home and fitness products runs this survey to find out what their customers feel about their website.
They also identify improvement areas by asking their customers for feedback on the new additions on their website. For instance, they recently launched product videos and wanted to understand if their customers were getting value out of them. Here’s the survey they ran.
Pro tip: You can also improve your checkout process with customer feedback. Prompt a survey like the one below.
Using Google Analytics, heat maps and click maps gives you an overview of how your visitors are interacting with your website, such as pages they’re spending time on, products and elements that they’re clicking on, pages with the highest drop-offs, and so on.
However, understanding the ‘why’ behind their exit – getting qualitative data, the real reason from your visitors, in their own words, isn’t possible without exit surveys.
Triggering an exit survey, right when a visitor is about to leave your website is a great way to get insights from your bouncing or non-converting audience; without having to rely on guesswork.
Here’s how the biggest pizza chain in the world runs exit surveys.
These insights are a gold mine for marketers!
If done right, the exit survey can be a great feedback tool to reduce bounce rate and improve conversions. Plus, you can run surveys for different audience segments such as web users, mobile users, mobile web users, country-specific, device specific, and lots more.
Get personal with your customers; make them feel special while concurrently obtaining the feedback that you require.
Here’s how the globally renowned lingerie manufacturer from Germany decodes user habits and behavior on their website.
Getting insights about your users’ habits and online shopping behavior can be a pathway to endless possibilities! You can drive personalization and drastically improve conversions by running such surveys.
Pro Tip: Here are a few more personal questions that you can ask your customers to know them better:
Which payment methods do you prefer?
How much would you be willing to spend on (insert your brand category/products)
Would trust badges/reviews influence your purchase decision?
Do you prefer shopping on weekdays or weekends?
6) Measuring Customer Happiness with Surveys
Did you know, bad customer experiences are twice as likely to be shared as compared to great customer experiences — thereby making it imperative to identify customer issues and resolve them before they go viral on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter or Yelp.
What your customers think about your brand is essential for the sustainability of your business and is vital throughout the customer lifecycle.
Using feedback surveys can help you identify your brand’s Net Promoter Score i.e. your happiest customers who have the potential to become brand advocates and simultaneously boost customer retention.
Here’s an excellent example of how the marketing team of this online retailer selling home and fitness products collects feedback from their customers.
Customer surveys are an excellent resource to get tangible data to make swing-for-the-fences decisions. And the best part is that your decisions aren’t based on assumptions or hunches but rather based on real insights about how your customers feel about your eCommerce store.
Here’s a 2-minute walk through of how you can create a website survey using VWO.
Creating an on-page survey with VWO
Step 1: Go to Surveys on the dashboard and click on ‘New Campaign’.
Step 2: Enter the URLs of the pages and define visitor segments.
Step 3: Define user actions that will trigger the on-page survey
Step 4: Add questions to the survey and choose the type of answers you wish to receive (single-line, drop-down, radio, and so on)
Step 5: Configure the theme for the pop-up survey, use custom branding, define the placement of the survey on the visitor’s screen, etc.
Step 6: Finalizing the survey – name the survey, specify the traffic percentage, and define other additional settings and you’re good to go!
In a nutshell, on-page surveys are incredibly crucial to optimize your conversion funnel. They help you spot roadblocks in the buyer’s journey and remove friction from the checkout process, thereby increasing conversions and growing your business.
Here’s a quick recap of things to remember while running an on-page survey:
Have a clear goal in mind
Ask the right questions and at the right time.
Ensure that your surveys fit into the bigger picture of your conversion optimization efforts
Surveys are iterative, and every poll – whether it’s a success or not – is a learning experience.
Use learnings from every survey to synthesize significant observations and develop more informed experiment ideas.
8 Hacks to write excellent survey questions that encourage responses
Keep it simple: Avoid jargon like the plague. Keep your questions to the point and make it simple for your users to understand them. Skip using acronyms — your respondents may not even know what they mean.
Keep it concise: Short surveys (up to 3-4 questions) generally achieve a higher response rate as compared to long surveys. Ensure that all the questions in your survey are focused on meeting your end objective. Avoid adding nice-to-have questions to your survey that doesn’t help you get the direct data that you need.
Incentivize your survey: Study suggests that offering monetary incentives increases the response rate by 19.1% and non-monetary rewards boost response rate by 7.9%. Throw in an occasional discount voucher/cashback/loyalty points to encourage respondents to complete the survey. Giving incentives can work exceptionally well if your survey is long or the responses are incredibly crucial or may have a substantial impact on your business.
Avoid asking for too many answers in one question: “Are you happy with our loyalty program and also our new free shipping policy?” Loyalty program and free shipping policy are two separate topics altogether. Asking a double-barrelled question like this may confuse your respondents. They may end up answering only one of the two questions, which can further distill the accuracy of your survey responses. Your best bet is to ask both these questions separately.
Don’t ask leading questions: “We love our new loyalty program, do you think it’s awesome?” This question seems to convey an opinion that you want your respondents to agree with. Such questions can wrongly influence your respondents into sharing answers that don’t reflect how they feel. Be careful of your tone and frame your questions to be neutral.
Allow customers to skip questions: Not every respondent that takes the survey may know or be comfortable answering all the questions. Giving them the opportunity to skip questions can encourage them to complete the survey.
Do a balanced mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions: Open-ended questions can be a great way to get your customers to tell you how they feel, in their own words. However, these questions require more effort and time to answer. Limit open-ended questions to two-three per survey. Try placing them at the end of the survey so that even if the respondents drop off, you’ll still have data for the rest of the survey.
Test test test: Nothing hurts more than finding out mistakes in a survey that’s already live. Give your survey a quick test run with your colleagues before hitting ‘go.’
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As urban millennials and self-proclaimed nature geeks, we look for brands that reflect who we are. Where we’ve been. What we care about.
Brands are catching on — particularly when it comes to environmental responsibility. From Nature Valley granola bars to Seventh Generation cleaning products, corporations are leaning into our generation’s collective call for corporate sustainability.
But as scholars and critics have noted, there’s more to being a sustainable brand than adding a recycling symbol to your packaging. We’ve noticed two brands that go beyond greenwashing — with very different approaches.
In April 2019, Everlane, a clothing brand known for its approach of “radical transparency,” teamed up with TheNew York Times to launch a microsite about fact-based climate reporting. The site offers a series of simple climate talking points linked to the New York Times reporting. Then, it asks the reader to purchase a New York Times-branded Everlane sweatshirt. Proceeds from the clothes support New YorkTimes subscriptions for public schools.
With this activation, The New York Times and Everlane got some big things right. But they also missed the mark in a few key ways.
Throughout the site, the two brands balance their respective voices, seamlessly linking The New York Times’ iconic “Truth” campaign to frank, assertive language from Everlane. The microsite tells a story: table stakes for good brand activism. It’s an unexpected collaboration, but one that makes sense for both brands: one long-committed to fact-based reporting, and the other focused on sustainable, ethical production.
The microsite feels right for its customers. The messages arm Everlane’s educated, urban shoppers with talking points for coffee dates and Thanksgiving dinners. The sweatshirts are a uniform for sustainability virtue-signaling. And all of that’s important — because without a compelling reason for a consumer to engage, an activation can’t make an impact.
But there’s a disconnect. At the very top of the page, a rotating tagline for The New York Times asserts: “Truth. It affects us all. How we waste. What we buy.” Then, at the bottom, you face a link to buy a $50 sweatshirt.
Suddenly, the message feels hollow. After all, isn’t needless consumption part of the problem?
If “truth inspires action,” as the site reminds us, how does the action Everlane and The New York Times want their readers to take further the cause they’re highlighting? The short answer: it doesn’t.
In comparison, consider Patagonia: a poster child for authentic environmental stewardship. Sustainability is core to their purpose, their promise and their product. Their purpose statement, “We’re in business to save our home planet,” summarizes their commitment to sustainability and good business.
Their marketing promises authenticity by giving people new ways to connect with the brand while tangibly delivering on its mission. Notably, Patagonia does not want you to buy excess product – they’d rather customers reuse, resell and share. By accepting trade-in “Worn Wear,” repairing used products in their stores and ultimately extending the life of the products they sell, they send a powerful message about their commitment to sustainability. The classic “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign articulated this message succinctly.
And while the gear they do sell is sustainable (read: recycled, durable and efficiently produced), their product is bigger than trendy puffers and corporate vests. By offering its customers tangible ways to connect with real causes through its Patagonia Action Works platform, the company creates an opportunity to be part of a lifestyle and community committed to preserving the outdoors, no matter where the consumer actually lives. Calls-to-action across the experience emphasizes pledge-signing, event-going and petition-signing, not just buying.
Tying language to action allows Patagonia to truly own their position as an advocate for our planet. Whether you’re an adventurer or not, the approach resonates – because it’s real.
Brands win customer loyalty when messaging and experience work together seamlessly. One without the other is either an empty promise, or a missed opportunity. Everlane and The New York Times remind us that it’s not enough to have a call-to-action. That action has to deliver on the story you’re sharing.
With a two-pronged approach, Patagonia both talks the talk and walks the walk. We applaud them for their sustained commitment to sustainability that resonates with their customers.