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PPC

Philosophy, Pragmatism & Paid Search. The Convergence of Human Psychology and Marketing applied to Google AdWords.         VOLUME 1/3 about the philosophy and pragmatism behind writing powerful Adwords ads.   Warning: This article contains mature content. Reader’s discretion is advised. Marketers. Always craving for attention, talking about our products, services, offers, always trying to make a sale. It’s not our fault, we just want more customers. And more money. The paradox. Those who think less about making that quick sale and more about helping people, make the most money. Is it really obvious? We think we’re helping when in reality, most of the time, we’re not. When it comes to Adwords ads, this is overwhelmingly true.     Forgive the mature content of the example that follows, it was the best I found to illustrate the effectiveness of taking an altruistic approach to ad writing. Here are two ads:     This first ad outperformed all its peers with a CTR of 3.65%. The keywords were not very specific and quite broad in nature but this ad attracted the attention of my prospects in a way that my other ads never could. Because of it, the seven keywords in the ad group were awarded perfect Quality Scores of 10/10 and allowed me to bid a few cents while getting more exposure. The reason this ad worked was because I finally offered my searchers exactly what they wanted to know. Not what I wanted them to buy from me. The dozens of ads I wrote before it barely managed to get a CTR above 1%. The second highest performing ad in the ad group never went above a 1.62% CTR and a Quality Score of 7/10. It was the best I could do for a long time. This wasn’t bad, in fact it was doing pretty well by current standards and I could have just moved on. However, it was my highest traffic ad group, I wanted a 10/10 and the benefits that came with it so I made an extra effort. With intensive research, I discovered what the hidden questions in my prospects’ minds really where and the true nature of their search. Reading many forum posts on the subject matter, going through every link in the search results, it became very clear what people “really” wanted to know. Each of the many variations I tested took me about an hour to write. Some even more. And the vast majority of them did not work. Most advertisers lack the determination and patience that is often required to find the gold that is right in front them. Worse, most don’t know that it exists. And even those that do know the gold exists, will often give up after a few attempts proclaiming that they have done all that can be done, not admitting to their failures. I have succumbed to those failing attitudes many times myself, and many times I have surprised myself to find words that made all the difference when I had completely lost all hope. Of course I have not won all my battles, but the reasons for my own failures, and the mistake I made have always been the same.     Ad Writing Mistakes The 3 bad habits robbing you of your ability to write better PPC ad copy Mistake #1 Writing ads staring at your AdWords account This is how you’re writing your ads, it doesn’t work. It can take me over an hour to write an ad because of research. I’m not staring at my Adwords screen for an hour nor trying to pull it out my… Yes I’ve managed to increase CTR or conversion rates by a few percentages by switching description line 2 with 1 or using similar clever tricks, but never in ways that tripled my results and significantly improved performance. Great ads are created by caring about users and going where they are. When you’re in front of your AdWords account, you’re not caring about your users and it will be evident as you write ads of no importance over and over again. Before everything, it all comes down to you making a decision. A decision not to be blinded by your business needs in thinking that what you offer is really what they’re looking for. It is harder than you think, as it always catches up with you no matter how far you leave it behind. You simply need to recognize when it does, and make a conscious effort to preoccupy yourself with the needs of the searcher instead of your own. Selflessness.   Mistake #2 Not doing enough research before writing new ads If you’re trying to improve your AdWords Quality Score, you can stop the research only when you’ve managed to write an ad that doubles or triples your ad CTR and shows a significant, permanent increase in QS. Until then, the research is not over. You still don’t know what users want until you’ve been able to write that ad that magnifies your results in ways no other test has been able to. There are many ways to conduct user research. My favorite is to follow users where they are before they reach my landing page. In many cases, we trust that Google knows user intent better than we do. Your ability to analyze the search results and squeeze information out of it is what will define your success or failure. This will be the topic of my next article that will cover Empathy: How to put yourself in your searchers shoes to discover their world. Mistake #3 Thinking you know what searchers actually want I was having a call with Marilyn the other day (Marilyn is our fabulous content writer for Tenscores Daily PPC News & Tips) and I asked her whether she knew what people searching for “violin rosin” in Google actually wanted. She knows a lot about violins and so her natural instinct was to tell me what violin rosin is, what people searching for that term actually want and the kind of ads we should write for them. That is the number one behavior that will ensure you never write great ads. You should always assume you know nothing. It’s only when you acknowledge that you don’t know, that you can truly take the steps necessary to write ads that make a difference. It is accepting this reality that will drive you to hours of research in a market that you’ve already been working in for years. It was this that pushed me to write an ad that would get a perfect score of 10, while in reality a 7 was already good enough. The first two mistakes all stem from this last one. It’s a decision you have to make for yourself, a choice to always assume you don’t know until you’ve written an exceptionally high performing ad.   Selflessness What it is and why cultivating it is crucial to the ad writing process Selflessness is a very attractive quality. One that can also be very lucrative when done right. Think about the times a friend truly did something for you simply to make you feel good or just because they cared. Now think about the times someone stopped you on the street trying to sell you something. One is attractive, the other is repulsive. Of course, we’re marketers, and I’m not suggesting you become Mother Theresa (although I suspect she would be a better marketer than any of us), but your close friend would be much more successful at selling you something down the line than a salesman ever would. You need to learn how to talk to your users like you were their best friend, and they need to believe that you actually care. It is harder than you think, especially if you don’t start practicing this approach.   Best practices When it’s time to leave best practices behind Best practices are never the best. They produce average results, not the best. They will only give you the same results as everybody else because everybody follows best practices. You’re probably one them, those I call “best practice advertisers”. It is time to stop doing that. This doesn’t mean that best practices are bad, they’re just training wheels that prevent you from making mistakes and falling face first. The problem is we tend to keep those training wheels on and never catch up to speed with those who are riding unassisted. They travel faster. This doesn’t also mean that you should just try anything that pops out of your head. Nope, that doesn’t work either. You let your research guide you and you leave any bias behind that you may be carrying with you. One of the best practice I like to break is the idea that keywords should be in the headline or the ad itself. Sometimes a slight variation of the keyword works best, sometimes not having the keyword at all works better. That is because when you present to the searcher exactly what he wants, he can’t resist, and sometimes what he wants is not exactly what he typed. You can only figure this out when you dedicate yourself to understanding who your searchers are. In my example above, notice that the keywords I was advertising are not systematically in the ad, in fact, you might not be able to guess exactly which they were. If you’re still one of those who believe that a headline should always contain a keyword, then you will never be able to surpass yourself nor beat your competitors. The kinds of results we’re talking about are only accomplished by the top 1% of advertisers and they employ strategies that go beyond the average “best practices” advice you generally encounter.   Landing pages Understand what needs to be on your landing pages to convert more visitors Once you know what people want through your ads, you’ll understand what is lacking in your landing pages to convert better. When you decide to hop on that quest, what you learn allows you to find the offers and how to present them in way that generates conversions. Your skills as a marketer evolve continuously. The ability to influence people with words start with understanding who those people are. The first time I wrote an ad that significantly improved my results is when I decided to learn more about copywriting. If this article convinces one person to read and research about how to be a better copywriter, it would be my success as this is in my opinion the most important skill a ppc marketer should have. How can one sell anything without words? Most words are meaningless, but a few create emotions that drive actions. They are different for different groups of people. It is your job to find out which they are. Isn’t that what “ad words” is all about? For the example above, what I did was create an entirely new landing page on which I offered the answers to the questions in exchange of an email address. An opportunity to build a relationship with people who would soon buy from me. It’s always a good thing when people come knocking at your door to shop and you already know who they are and what they want.   Perfect scores Make all your keywords behave like your brand terms Is that even possible? You’ve seen how cheap you’re paying on your brand related keywords, you know you don’t have to worry about them as no competitor can beat you. You’ve probably put them in their own campaign and you have perfect scores for each of them, the acquisition costs on those are way lower and you generally don’t have to optimize them. What if all your keywords behaved that way? I want you to know that this is possible. It is not easy for most, but it is possible. I’m not asking you, nor expect you to make this a reality for yourself tomorrow. I just want you to understand that this is a reality for some advertisers in any market you’re in. And that you can catch up to them. Eventually. We have many Tenscores customers who have whole accounts with thousands of keywords with Quality Scores ranging from 9 to 10/10. In this article and the ones that will follow, I will attempt to give you the strategy to make it a reality for you. At the very least, I hope it will help you write a few ads that will increase your scores for the main keywords that are responsible for the bulk of your revenue.   Difficulty It’s hard at first, really hard… then it becomes easy It’s like trying to forcibly push your way through a closed door. You’ll push hard and hard at first until the door gives and let’s you in. The work that I’m suggesting here, for most markets, has to be done once and your discoveries can be used across the board. It’s like finding the core that drives a group of people to behave a certain way, once you’ve found the heart of the issue, everything else is a slight variation of the center. So if you’re thinking to yourself “I have thousands of keywords”, you’ll only need to figure out a handful of searches that will open the door to understanding what you need for the vast majority of your ad groups.   VOLUME 2 Selflessness is the mindset, empathy is the process, charisma is the language You’ve just read how important it is to be selfless and be concerned with your searchers needs, but I haven’t told you how to actually discover what they really want. I’ve written about it in the past but didn’t go into detail about how I do it myself. In fact I skipped over some very important aspects of the process. There are two other qualities you need to cultivate: Empathy and Charisma. Empathy is having the ability to really understand where users are coming from, being able to put yourself in their shoes. This is where all the research comes into play and will be the subject of my next article. Charisma is about knowing which words, which tone, which message to convey in order to attract swarms of clicks. It will be the last article of this series. Together with selflessness, empathy and charisma amplify your ability to write irresistible ads and dominate your market. Stay tuned. Do you have any deep insights on ad writing you would like to share? Thanks to Rand Fishkin of Moz for providing initial feedback on this article.   Save...

The Advanced Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics by The Evangelist himself   Being book smart is good. The outcome of book smart is rarely better for analytics practitioners then folks trying to learn how to fly an airplane from how-to books.   Hence, I have been obsessed with encouraging you to get actual data to learn from. This is all the way from Aug 2009: Web Analytics Career Advice: Play In The Real World! Or a subsequent post about how to build a successful career: Web Analytics Career Guide: From Zero To Hero In Five Steps. Or compressing my experience into custom reports and advanced segments I've shared. The problem for many new or experienced analysts has been that they either don't have access to any dataset (newbies) or the data they have access to is finite or from an incomplete or incorrect implementation (experienced). For our Market Motive Analytics training course, we provide students with access to one ecommerce and one non-ecommerce site because they simply can't learn well enough from my magnificent videos. The problem of course is that not everyone is enrolling our course! :) All this context is the reason that I am really, really excited the team at Google has decided to make a real-world dataset available to everyone on planet Earth (and to all intelligent life forms in the universe that would like to learn digital analytics). The data belongs to the Google Merchandise Store, where incredibly people buy Google branded stuff for large sums of money (average order value: $115.67, eat your heart out Amazon!). And, happily, it has almost all of the Google Analytics features implemented correctly. This gives Earth's residents almost all the reports we would like to look at, and hence do almost all the analysis you might want to do in your quest to become an Analysis Ninja. (Deepak, would you kindly add Goal Values for the Goals. Merci!) You'll also be able to create your own custom reports, advanced segments, filters, share with the world everything you create, and all kinds of fun stuff. For consultants and opinion makers you no longer have to accept any baloney peddled to you about what analytics tool is the best or better fit for your company/client. Just get access to this data and play with the actual GA account along with Adobe and IBM and WebTrends et. al. and suddenly your voices/words will have 10x more confidence informed by real-world usage. No NDA's to sign, no software to install, no IT resources required. Awesome, right? In this post I'll highlight some of my favourite things you can do, and learn from, in the Store dataset. Along the way I'll share some of my favourite metrics and analytics best practices that should accelerate your path to becoming a true Analysis Ninja. I've broken the post into these sections: How to get Store Dataset Access? Jump-Start Your Learning 1. Play with Enhanced Ecommerce Reports 2. Gain Attribution Modeling Savvy 3. Learn Event Tracking's Immense Value 4. Obsess, Absolutely Obsess, About Content 5. SEO & PPC, Because You Should! 6. Develop a Smarter Understanding of Your Audiences 7. Icing on the Cake: Benchmarking, #omg I'm sure you are as excited as I am to just get going. Let's go! How to get Store Dataset Access? It is brilliantly easy. Go to the Analytics Help Demo Account page. Read the bit in the gray box titled Important. Digest it. Then click on this text: ––>ACCESS DEMO ACCOUNT<–– Looks scary in the all caps, right? That is just how the Google Analytics team rolls. :) You'll see a tab open, urls will flip around, in two seconds you'll see something like this on your Accounts page… Click on 1 Master View and you are in business. If you ever want to remove access to this real-world data, just go back to the page above and follow the five simple steps to self-remove access. Jump-Start Your Learning. You can start with all the standard reports, but perhaps the fastest way for you to start exploring the best features is to download some of the wonderful solutions in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. You'll find my Occam's Razor Awesomeness bundle there as well. It is a collection of advanced segments, custom reports, and dashboards. You'll have lots of features incorporated in them. You can customize them to suit your needs, or as you learn more, but you won't have to start with a blank slate. You can also search for other stuff, like custom reports or attribution models. Another tip. If you are a complete newbie (welcome to our world!), you probably want to start your journey by reading about each type of report, and then looking at the Overview report in each section in Google Analytics. At this point you'll be a little confused about some metric or the other. That's ok. Go, read one of the best pages in the Analytics help center: Understanding Dimensions and Metrics. Go back into GA, you'll understand a whole lot more. This is a beginner's advanced guide, so I'm going to do something different. Through my favourite reports, often hard to find in your company's GA dataset, I'm going to push you beyond other beginner's guides. I'll also highlight frameworks, metrics, custom reports, and other elements I feel most Analyst's don't poke around enough. 1. Play with Enhanced Ecommerce Reports. It is a source of great sadness for me that every single site is not taking advantage of Enhanced Ecommerce tracking and analysis . It is a complete rethink of ecommerce analysis. The kind of reports and metrics you'll get straight out of the box are really amazing. Go to the Reporting section of our Store Demo account, click on Conversions in the left nav, then Ecommerce, and now Overview. You'll see in an instant the very cool things you can track and analyze… With a little bit of smart tagging you can track your internal promotions (buy one Make America Great Again hat and get one Stronger Together hat free!), transactions with coupon codes, affiliate sales and more. Very nicely summarized above. Next go to the report with new things that will help you drive smarter merchandizing on your mobile and desktop websites. Go to Shopping Analysis and click on Shopping Behavior… I adore this report. Most of the time when we do funnel analysis we start at the Cart stage (third bar above). We rarely hold people responsible for Traffic Acquisition accountable, we rarely hold people responsible for Site Design and Merchandizing accountable. The former are promoted on silly metrics like Visits or Visitors or (worse) Clicks. The latter are promoted based on silly metrics like PageViews. The first bar to the second shows the number of visits during which people went from general pages on your website to product pages (places were there is stuff to be sold, add to cart buttons). A lame 26%. See what I mean. Insightful. How are you going to make money if 74% of the visits don't even see a product page! The second bar the third is even more heart-breaking, as if that were possible. Of the sessions with pages with product views, how many added something to cart. A lousy 17%. One. Seven. Percent! On a site were you can do nothing except buy things. See what I mean? Question time for your Acquisition, Design and Merchandizing team. Do you know answers like these for your website? That is why you need Enhanced Ecommerce. I won't cover the last two bars, most of you are likely over indexing on funnel analysis. Practice segmentation while you are here. Click on + Add Segment on top of this report, choose Google (or whatever interests you)… And you can analyze acquisition performance with a unique lens (remember you can't segment the funnel that exists in the old ecommerce reports which is still in your GA account!)… A little better. Still. You spend money on SEO and PPC. It should be a lot better than this. If this were your data, start with questioning your PPC landing page strategy and then move to looking at your top SEO landing pages, and then look at bounce rates and next page analysis for those that stay. I can honestly spend hours on just this report digging using segmentation (geo, media, new and loyal customers, all kinds of traffic, product page types and so on). It has been a great way to immediately influence revenue for my ecommerce engagements. While you are here, you can play and learn to use the new funnel report… it is called Checkout Behavior Analysis… Much simpler, so much easier to understand. You can also, FINALLY, segment this report as well. Try it when you are in the Store demo account. Take a break. A couple days later come back and checkout the new Product Performance and Product List Performance reports. The latter is particularly useful as an aggregated view for senior executives. In case of the Store data, the first report has 500 rows of data, the second just 45. Nice. I wanted to flag three metrics to look at in the Product Performance report. Product Refund Amount is $0.00 in this dataset, but for your company this is a great way to track refunds you might have issued and track were more of that is happening. I love Cart-To-Detail Rate (product adds divided by views of product details) and Buy-to-Detail Rate (unique purchases divided by views of product-detail pages). Remember I was so upset above about the poor merchandizing. Using the sorting option on these two columns I identify where the problem is worse and where I can learn lessons from. Very cool, try it. I could keep going on about more lovely things you'll find in the Enhanced Ecommerce reports, but let me stop here and have you bump into those cool things as, and I can say this now, you have access to this data as well! Bonus: If you are a newbie, in your interview you'll be expected to know a lot about Goals (I call the micro-outcomes). Explore that section. Look the Overview, Goal URLs and Smart Goals. Ignore the eminently useless Reverse Goal Path report (I don't even know why this is still in GA after years of uselessness) and Funnel Visualization (almost totally useless in context of almost all Goals). 2. Gain Attribution Modeling Savvy. My profound disdain for last-click reporting/analysis is well known. If you are using last-click anything, you want your company to make bad decisions. See. Strong feelings. Yet, many don't have access to a well set-up account to build attribution modeling savvy and take their company's analytics the year 2013. Now, you can! I am big believer in evolution (hence my marketing and analytics ladders of awesomeness). Hence, start by looking at the Assisted Conversions report (Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels)… Then metric you want to get your company used to first, to get them ready for savvier attribution anything, is the metric Assisted Conversions. The last column. Here's the official definition: A value close to 0 indicates that this channel functioned primarily as the final conversion interaction. A value close to 1 indicates that this channel functioned equally in an assist role and as the final conversion interaction. The more this value exceeds 1, the more this channel functioned in an assist role . Now scroll just a bit back up, stare at that column, what would your strategy be for Organic Search if it is at 0.46? What about Display advertising driving which plays primarily an "upper funnel" introducing your brand to prospects 1.58? The change required based on this data is not just your marketing portfolio re-allocation, that is almost trivial, what' bigger, huger, crazy-harder is changing how your company thinks. It is painful. Largely because it quickly becomes about how people's budgets/egos/bonuses. But, hundreds of conversions are on the line as well on insights you'll get from this data. Learn how to use this metric to drive those two changes: marketing portfolio – people thinking. Couple bonus learnings on this report. On top of the table you'll see text called Primary Dimension. In that row click on Source/Medium. This is such a simple step, yet brings you next layer of actionable insights so quickly. You'll see some surprises there. Second, look at the top of the report, you'll see a graph. On to top right of the graph you'll see three buttons, click on the one called Days before Conversion… I love this report because it helps me understand the distribution of purchase behavior much better. I profoundly dislike averages, they hide insights. This report is the only place you can see distribution of days to purchase for Assisted Conversions. If you've changed the think in your company with Assisted Conversions… You are ready for the thing that gets a lot of press… Attribution Modeling! You'll find the report here: Conversions > Attribution > Model Comparison. You'll see text called Select Model next to Last Interaction. Click on the drop down, ignore all the other models, they are all value deficient, click on the only one with decent-enough value, Time Decay, this is what you'll see… Half of you reading this post are wondering why I don't like your bff First-Interaction (it is likely the worst one on the list btw) or your bff Linear (the laziest one on the list)… worry not, checkout this post: Multi-Channel Attribution Modeling: The Good, Bad and Ugly Models . The column you are of course looking at is % Change in Conversions. The GA team is also helping you out by helping you understand where the results are significant, green and red arrows, and where it is directional, up or down gray arrows. This is the data you'll use to drive discussions about a change in your marketing $$$ allocations. Where you have CPA, it is is an even more valuable signal. And, such a blessing that the Store demo account has that data for you. You'll need all your brain power to understand the report above (make sure you read the models post above), and then some more to drive the change in how your company thinks. Attribution model is not a software or math problem, it is an entrenched human minds problem. And because I'm the author of the quote all data in aggregate is crap I recommend scrolling up a bit in the attribution modeling report and clicking on the down arrow under the word Conversion…. This is admittedly an advanced thing to learn because even understanding marketing dollars plus user behavior overall is hard, this just makes it a bit more complicated because you can actually understand those two things for every goal you have individually or just ecommerce all by itself. It is incredibly awesome to be able to do that because now you are this super-data-intelligent-genius that can move every variable in a complex regression equation very finely to have max impact on your company. If you can master this, and IF you can evolve how your company does marketing portfolio allocation and how it thinks, then you are ready for the max you can do in Google Analytics when it comes to attribution… custom attribution modeling. On top of the table, click on Select Model, then Create New Custom Model. To get you going, here's one of my models for a client… Custom attribution models are called custom because they are custom to every company. It requires an understanding for everything I've requested you to do above, business priorities (what the business values), and business strategy. Creating a couple different custom attribution models, seeing how it affects the data, what decisions GA recommends, helps you have an intelligent argument with all your stake holders. Again, the decisions from this analysis will flow into changes to your marketing portfolio and how people in your company think. Once you get into custom attribution modeling, and you spend serious amount of money on marketing online (a few million dollars at least), you are ready for the thing that actually will drive the best changes: Controlled Experiments (aka media mix modeling). Hence, it is critical that you approach your learnings in the precise steps above, don't jump steps if at one of them you have not changed how your company thinks. Bonus 1: You might think the above is plenty advanced. It is not. For the higher order bits, when you are all grown up, read this post and internalize the implications of it: Multi-Channel Attribution: Definitions, Models and a Reality Check Bonus 2: The Time Lag and Path Length reports in your Multi-Channel Funnels folder are extremely worth learning about. I like Path Length more, more insightful. When you analyze the data, be sure to play with the options under Conversion, Type (click AdWords), Interaction Type and Lookback Window. With each step absorb the patterns that'll emerge in the data. Priceless. 3. Learn Event Tracking's Immense Value I'm very fond of Event Tracking for one simple reason. You have to create it from scratch. When you open GA, there is no data in these reports. It can only get there if you spend time trying to understand what's important to the business (Digital Marketing and Measurement Model FTW!), what is really worth tracking, and then through intelligent thought implementing the tracking. I love the fact that you have to literally create data from scratch. For any beginner who is trying to get to advanced, Event Tracking will teach you a lot not just about Event Tracking but creating smart data. Lucky for us the GA team has created some data for us to play with. Go to Behavior in the left nav, then Events, and then Top Events… This is what you'll see… The Store team is capturing four events, you can drill down into any one of them to get a deeper peek into user behavior. I choose Contact Us to analyze the Event Labels, I get all these strategies that people… It would be valuable if the Event Value had been populated, which would also give us Avg. Value in the table above. Still. Understand that data, how it is collected, what it implies about user behavior is incredibly valuable. You can also create an advanced segment for any of the events above, example Email. Then, you can apply that segment to any of other reports in Google Analytics and really get deep insights. What cities originate people who call is on the phone? What sites did they come from? How many visits have they made to the site before calling? So on and so forth. The event tracking reports have three options on top of the report. Event, Site Usage, Ecommerce. Try the Ecommerce tab… While we did not see any event values, you can tie the sessions where the events were fired with outcomes on the site. Really useful in so many cases where you invest in special content, rich media, interactive elements, outbound links, merchandizing strategies etc. This report, in those cases, will have data you need to make smarter decisions faster. Bonus: While you are in the Behavior section of Analytics, familiarize yourself with the Site Speed report. Start with the scorecard in the overview report. Move on to Page Timings to find the pages that might be having issues. One cool and helpful visual is Map Overlap, click the link on top of the graph on the Page Timings report. Close with the Speed Suggestions report. Your IT team needs this data for getting things fixed. Your SEO team can do the begging, if required. :) 4. Obsess, Absolutely Obsess, About Content It is a source of intense distress for me that there's an extraordinary obsession about traffic acquisition (PPC! Affiliates! Cheat Sheet for Video Ads!), and there is huge obsession with outcomes (Conversion Rate! Revenue!), there is such little attention paid to the thing that sits in the middle of those two things: Content!! Very few people deeply look at content. Yes, there will be a top pages report or top landing pages report. But, that is barely scratching the surface. Look. If you suck at content, the greatest acquisition strategy will deliver no outcomes. Obsess about content dimensions and content metrics. Since you know some of the normal reports already, let me share with you a report that works on many sites (sadly not all), that not many of you are using. The Content Drilldown report uses the natural folder structure you are using on your website (if you are) and then aggregates content on those folders to show you performance. Here is what you'll see in the Store demo account you are using… Nice, right? You are pretty much seeing all of the content consumption behavior in the top ten rows! A pause though. This report is sub-optimally constructed. It shows Pageviews (good), Unique Pageviews (great) and then three metrics that don't quite work as well: Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, % Exit (worst metric in GA btw if anyone asks in an interview)… At a folder level these really help provide any decent insights, and might not even make any sense. Think about it. Bounce Rate for a folder? Good time for you to learn simple custom reporting. On top of the report, right under the report title, you'll see a button called Customize. Press it. Choose more optimal metrics, and in a few seconds you'll have a report that you like. This is the one I created for my use with valu-added content metrics that work better: Average Session Duration, Cart-to-Detail Rate (as it is an ecommerce site) and Page Value (to capture both ecom and goal values at a page level)… Much better, right? Would you choose a different metric? Please share it via comments below. Ok. Unpause. Even a quick eyeballing of the report above already raises great questions related to overall content consumption (Unique Pageviews), merchandizing (Cart-to-Detail Rate) and of course money. You can now easily drill-down to other more valuable bits of content and user experience. I click on the first one, most content consumption, to reveal the next level of detail. I can see that Apparel is the biggest cluster of content, with pretty decent Cart-to-Detail Rate… Depending on the business priorities I can ask questions like how come the summer olympic games stuff no one seems to want (and we spent $140 mil on an Olympics sponsorship, kidding). At the moment the company has a huge investment in Google Maps branding, so we can look at how various brands are doing… YouTube FTW! Maps is not doing so well. You can see how this data might make you curious if this list is what your business strategy is expecting will happen? Or, is this how we prioritize content creation? I mean, Go! People are interested in something esoteric like Go (programming language in case you are curious) rather than Nest! What a surprise. That is what this type of content analysis is so good at. You can continue to follow the rabbit hole by the way and get down to the individual pages in any folder, like so… Ten percent Cart-to-Detail Rate is pretty poor, compared to some of the others above. Time to rethink if we should even be selling this combo! If not that, definitely time to look at the page and rethink copy, images, design, and other elements to improve this key metric. The above custom report is really easy to create, for Subscribers of my newsletter I'll also email a downloadable link for this and other custom reports below. Bonus: Most people stop at what the reports show in the default view. The GA team does a great job of adding good think and express it all over the standard reports. For example, in context of our discussion here, try the Content Grouping primary dimension. Here you see what happens to the report when I switch to Brands (Content Group)… Even more useful than what was there before, right? So, how does GA get this data? As in the case of Event Tracking above, the Analyst and business decision making combination are thoughtfully manufacturing data. In this case using the immensely valuable Content Groupings feature. Invest in learning how to use it in the Store demo account, learn how to create content groupings to manufacture useful data. When you interview for higher level Analytics role, or for a first time Analyst role, you'll stand out in the interview because this is hard and requires a lot of business savvy (ironic right, you stand out because of your business savvy in a Data Analyst interview!). 5. SEO & PPC, Because You Should! Ok, you've waited long enough, time to talk about the thing you likely spend a ton of time on: Acquisition. Since you likely already know how to report Traffic Source and how to find the Referring URLs and Sessions and… all the normal stuff. Let me focus on two things that are a bit more advanced, and will encourage you to learn things most people likely ignoring. The first one I want you to immerse yourself in when you are in the Store data is Search Engine Optimization. You know that this is hard because when you go to Acquisition > Campaigns (what!) > Organic Keywords you will see that 95% are labeled "(not provided)". This report is completely useless. You do have other options to analyze SEO performance. Here's the advanced, advanced, lesson: Search: Not Provided: What Remains, Keyword Data Options, the Future. But, you also have some ability in Google Analytics itself to do keyword level analysis for Google's organic search traffic. Go to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. This report shows you the top thousands of keywords (4,974 precisely today in the Store report today). The data is available because the team has configured the Search Console data to connect with GA. Here's what you'll see… I sort the data by Clicks, because Impressions is a lot less valuable, and with Clicks I get something closer to Sessions (though they are very different metrics). I immediately value CTR as a metric in this context, you can see the variations above. This is perfect immediate data for SEO discussions. Average Position is also interesting, perhaps more so for my peers in the SEO team. As a Business Analyst I value Average Position a lot less in a world of hyper-personalized search. My next data analysis step is to take this data out of GA (click Export on top of the report) and play with it to find macro patterns in the data. I'll start with something simple as creating tag clouds, using Clicks or CTR as contextual metrics. I'll classify each keyword by intent or other clusters to look for insights. Try these strategies, can you find weaknesses in the Google Store's SEO strategy? How do your insights compare to what you just discovered in the content analysis in terms of what site visitors actually want? Really valuable stuff. What you cannot do with this data is tie it to the rest of the data in GA for these visitors. You cannot get conversions for example, or Page Depth etc. This is heart-breaking. But, see the not provided post I've linked to above for more strategies and meanwhile you can do some cool things in Google Analytics when it comes to SEO. Bonus: In the Search Console reports, I also find the Landing Pages report is also helpful because you can flip the center of universe, for the same metrics as above, to landing pages rather than keywords. The insights you get will be helpful for your SEO team but more than that it will be critical for your site content team. A quick note on the above… for the current data you'll see the Landing Pages report looks a little weird with no data in the Behavior and Conversion columns. Something weird is going on, on my other accounts there is data. The team can fix this in the very near future. Next, spend a lot of time in the AdWords section. Both because Paid Search if often a very important part of any company's acquisition strategy, and because at the moment there are few digital acquisition channels as sophisticated and complex as AdWords. When you are getting ready for your interviews, being good at this, really good, is a great way to blow your interviewer away because most people will know only superficial stuff about AdWords. As if those reasons were not enough, in Google Analytics AdWords is a great place to get used to the complexity that naturally arises from mixing two data sources. In almost all GA AdWords reports the first cluster of data (pink below) will come from AdWords and the second cluster (green brace) is the normal collection of metrics you see in GA… This will naturally prod you into trying to understand why are Clicks different from Sessions? After-all it is a click that kicks off a session in GA when the person arrives. It is internalizing these subtle nuances that separate a Reporting Squirrel from an Analysis Ninja. Above view is from the Campaigns report. I usually start there as it gives me great insights into the overall PPC strategy for the company. While you are learning from this report, here's a little smart tip… Click on the Clicks link on top of the graph you see (you'll see it along with Summary, Site Usage, Goal Set 1, and Ecommerce), you'll get a different set of metrics you should know intimately as well… The combination of CPC and RPC is very important. It is nice that they are right next to each other in this view. When you look at Store data I also want you to live-see why ROAS not even remotely a useful metric. It looks alluring. Return On Ad Spend. That sounds so awesome, surely it is in some holy books! No. It is not. For now, invest in understanding what is is measuring, what the data shows, is that good or bad, and what's missing. When you already to move to advanced-advanced stage, read this post: Excellent Analytics Tip #24: Obsess About Real Business Profitability Once I've exhausted the value in Campaign reports (drilling-up, drilling-down, drilling-around), it is time to shift into detail. While it might seem that the very next step will be the AdWords Keyword report, it is not. I like going to the Search Query report first. In AdWords context, Keyword is what you buy from Google. Search Query on the other hand is what people are actually typing into Google when your search ad shows up (triggered by the Keyword of course). Here are the two reports from the Store account, you can clearly see why I like starting with the Search Query report…. I would much rather learn to anchor on what people are typing and then go into the Keyword view to see what I can learn there. The Search Query performance report helps me re-think my AdGroups, Match Types, bidding strategies and more. It also helps me optimize the landing pages, both from a content they contain and what ads I recommend send traffic there. You could spend three months in these reports just learning and finessing your PPS savvy, so I'll leave you to that. :) Bonus: Shopping Campaigns are incredibly successful for most ecommerce properties. Spend time in that report in the AdWords section, drilling-down and segmenting, to learn what makes these campaigns distinct and if you were tasked to identify insights how would you go about it. 6. Develop a Smarter Understanding of Your Audiences Having grown up on cookies, we have typically have had a finite understanding of our audiences. This has slowly changed over time, most recently with the awesomeness of User-ID override empowering us to understand a person. Still, most of the time we are not great at digging into Audiences, and their associated behavior. Hence, to assist with your evolution from beginner to advanced, three often hidden areas of Google Analytics for you to explore now that you have access to real data. Go to Audience > Interests > In-Market Segments. Here's the official definition of what you are looking at: Users in these segments are more likely to be ready to purchase products or services in the specified category. These are users lower in the purchase funnel, near the end of the process. I've developed an appreciation of this report as I think of my performance marketing strategies, especially the ones tied to Display advertising. Far too often we rely on just PPC or email and don't use Display in all of the clever ways possible. This repor, leveraging insights from my users, help me understand how to do smarter Display. You can drill down to Age by clicking on the in-market segment you are interested in, and from there for each Age group you can drill-down to gender. Per normal your goal is to identify the most valuable ones using micro and macro-outcomes for your business. After I've mastered in-market segments by adding near term revenue to my company and helping shift the thinking about Display in my company, I move to leverage the data in the Affinity Categories. Also a report in this section. Affinity categories are great for any display or video advertising strategies you have to build audiences around See Intent (See – Think – Do – Care Business Framework). A bit more advanced from a marketing perspective (you would have had to master strategy #2, attribution, above). For the second hidden area, go to Audience > User Explorer. This lovely beast shows something you think you are dying to see. It is also something I really don't want you to obsess about (except if you are a tech support representative). But you want it. So. Here it is… What you are looking at is a report that shows you the behavior of an individual user on your website, as identified by an anonymous Client-ID. You can loosely think of it as a person, though it is more complicated that. If you have implemented User-ID override (congratulations, you deserve a gold star!), then you areas close to a person as you'll ever be. Because this is everyone on your website, there is no wrong place to start and a hundred thousand terrible places to waste time. You can literally watch each person! See, what I mean when I say I don't want you to get obsessed about this? On the rarest of rare occasions I look at this report, my strategy is to understand the behavior of "Whales", people who spend loads of money on our website (why!). I sort the above report by Revenue, and then look over the users who form the first few rows. The data, fi you do it in the Store account for the person who's at the top at the moment, looks like this… The report is sorted from the last hit (08:16 above) to the first hit (which you don't see above, the person browsed a lot!). You can quite literally watch the behavior, over just five minutes, that lead to an order of $2,211.38! You surely want to know what this person purchased (Men's Cotton Shifts FTW!), what pages did they see, where did they come from, how did they go back and forth (this person did) and so on and so forth. Looking at the top few of these Whales might help know something about a product merchandizing strategy, a unique source, or how to change your influence with your acquisition strategy to get a few more of these people. There will always only be handful of folks. The higher order bit is that the best analytical strategy is to analyze micro-segments rather than individuals. Small groups with shared attributes. You can action these, at scale. Nothing in your marketing, site content delivery, servicing at the moment has the capacity to react to an individual's behavior in real time. And if you can, you don't have enough visitors. Hence, obsess about micro-segments. That is a profitable strategy. The spirit above is also the reason why I don't mention real-time reporting in this guide. Simply not worth it. (For more, see #4: A Big Data Imperative: Driving Big Action) For the third hidden area, ok, not so hidden but to expose all your analytical talent, go to Audience > Mobile > Devices. With greater than 50% of your site traffic coming from mobile platforms, this audience report obviously deserves a lot of attention (in addition to segmenting every single report for Mobile, Desktop, Tablet). The problem is that the report actually looks like this… It is poorly constructed with repetitive metrics, and an under-appreciation for mobile user behavior (why the emphasis on Do outcomes when Mobile has primarily a See-Think intent clusters?). It makes for poor decision making. So. Time to practice your custom reporting skills. (Oh, if you as an Analyst only use custom reports, you are closer to being an Analysis Ninja.) Scroll back to the top of the Mobile Devices report and click on the Customize button. On the subsequent page, pick the metrics you best feel will give you insights into Acquisition, Behavior and Outcomes. While you are at it, you'll see just one dimension in this report, Mobile Device Info, you can add other drill-down dimensions you might find to be of value. I added Screen Resolution (matters so much) and then Page (to analyze each Page's performance by resolution). Here's what the report's Summary view looks like for me… Nice, right? Smarter, tighter, more powerful. My obsession is with people on mobile devices and not just the visits. Hence Users come first. Then, paying homage to See and Think intent, my focus is on Pages/Session. For the same reason, my choice for success is goals and Per Session Value (ideally I would use Per Session Goal Value, but as you saw in the opening this account does not have Goal Values). I would delete the Revenue, it is there mostly in case your boss harassed you. Delete it later. Depending on the role, Acquisition, Behavior or Outcomes, I have everything I need to start my mobile analysis journey. As I recommended with AdWords analysis above, the tabs on top of the report hold more analytical insights for you… You will discover that you'll have to go and practice your custom reporting skills on all these tabs as there are sub-optimal elements on all three of them. For example with Site Usage, I added Think intent metrics. For Goals and Ecommerce tabs there are fewer and more focused metrics. Now almost all of the stuff I need to make smarter decisions from my mobile data is in one place. This exercise requires a lot of introspection and understanding business needs as well as what analysis makes sense. That is how we all move from Reporting Squirrels to Analysis Ninjas! :) As with the above custom report, I'll email a downloadable link to the Subscribers of my newsletter The Marketing – analytics Intersect. You can contrast your choices with my choice of metrics and dimensions. Bonus: If you present screenshots from GA to your management team, make sure you take advantage of the option to show two BFF trends. In my case above you can see I choose to pair mobile Sessions with Goal Completions (again to put the stress on See – Think intent). 7. Icing on the Cake: Benchmarking! One final beginner's advanced recommendation. You just finished looking at a whole bunch of mobile metrics. How do you know if the performance of the Google Merchandizing Store is good or bad? Yes, you do see trends of past performance. But, how about with others in your industry? Others who have your type and size of website? I've convinced that most of the time without that competitive / ecosystem context, Analysis Ninjas are making incomplete decisions. The cool thing is, you can get benchmarking data in Google Analytics. Audience > Benchmarking > Devices. And now you have a really strong sense for what is good performance and what is non-good performance… You might have come to one set of conclusions doing the analysis in the mobile section above, and I suspect that now you have very different priorities with the lens pulled back to how the ecosystem is doing. And, that's the beauty. There's a lot more you can do with benchmarking. You can explore the advanced-advanced version here when you are ready: Benchmarking Performance: Your Options, Dos, Don'ts and To-Die-Fors! I hope you have fun. That is it. A beginner's advanced guide that hopefully accelerates your journey to become an Analysis Ninja. As always, it is your turn now. Be sure to visit the blog formerly known as Occam's Razor by Google Analytic's expert Avinash Kaushik....

The Billion Dollar SEO Empire built under the guise of Google Ventures     Have you ever taken some time to reflect on Google’s massive list of acquisitions and mergers? I mean seriously actually sit down and looked at what Google as actual has accumulated over the years? It's quite staggering. Here's just some of their properties.   For a full list just take a look at their plethora of properties here from advanced robotics to digital marketing CRM's they have their net cast across every field. It’s a bit scary if you do. Actually, it might make some of you go hide in the woods before the robots arrive and take over. For the uninitiated, check out this list on Wikipedia and just scan through some of those prices. Is this for real? Yup, they throw around gazillions of dollars like it’s monopoly money. But that isn’t all, they invest in more than just this list of mergers and acquisitions. This is where “Google Ventures” comes in, their investment arm which allows them to dip into all kinds of cool stuff. And that is where things can get a little sketchy. What happens when an investment is heavily fueled by organic SEO from their very own engine? This is concerning to a lot of people in the SEO community, but let’s be honest, Google doesn’t give a shit about us. The reality of the situation beyond just a bunch of whiny SEOs is the potential anti-trust implications, general shittyness, and hypocrisy from Google’s double dipping. A few years back I wrote a saucy piece about RetailMeNot being backed by Google ventures which led to some more light being shined on the company. All was well, then they received a minor penalty. Shortly there after a full recovery. What’s troubling is this seems to be a reoccurring theme with companies getting outted for questionable SEO who are also backed by Google Ventures. The most recent case was with Thumbtack.com who has done very well with aggressive local SEO growth and also received $100 million from Google ventures. These guys were doing some shady shit, no doubt about that, and once it came in the public spotlight from this post (quite similar to my RetailMeNot piece) it was only a matter of time until the hammer came down. Sorry buddy, but been there done that, check my post date ;-) Okay, maybe a bit of jealousy there because his post got shared by Master Fishkin himself and wound up delivering a straight KO punch right in Thumbtack’s gonads. All pretty standard stuff so far, but then Thumbtack managed to get the fastest “get out of jail free” card in the history of Google penalties. In under a fucking week! That’s right, less than seven days and out of the penalty box with shitloads of new backlinks from us SEOs. Have we been trolled? Kind of seems like it but before we start spazzing out we need an overview of all the Google ventures backed companies who have crushed it with SEO. We need numbers to dig deeper into what is actually going on. The Great Big List of Google Ventures Backed SEO Sites To get started I went to GV.com/portfolio (sorry bros, nofollow) and pulled all the outbound links. Shazam, got a list of all their URLs. Now onto SEMRush to get some data on all these. But before getting there I noticed Thumbtack.com is not on the list of Google Ventures investments. Wait a second, there is another “investment arm”, Google Capital which has some interesting companies under its wing as well. Lendingclub, Surveymonkey, Thumbtack, Glassdoor, Credit Karma, and Auction.com to name a few. So farther down the rabbit hole we go. There was one problem though, it was going to take me all day to download 200+ reports one by one. At this point I was forced to utilize the small amount of tech skill I have and use the SEMrush API. But wait, why not just send a quick email instead? Thankfully I have a contact over there and they helped me out. Big thanks you guys are awesome. Here is the data I pulled, enjoy :-)   Google's Portfolio Monthly SEO Stats Provided by SEMrush Show 10 25 50 100 entries Search: Domain Organic Keywords Organic Traffic Organic Cost creditkarma.com 92,767 5,945,665 $14,900,000 glassdoor.com 1,125,085 7,097,346 $14,200,000 retailmenot.com 331,019 12,128,660 $9,946,189 thumbtack.com 109,262 536,320 $4,500,000 uber.com 12,554 1,750,090 $3,683,236 Lendingclub.com 7,778 390,688 $3,400,000 homeaway.com 222,315 2,218,832 $2,687,534 hubspot.com 28,152 324,900 $1,872,331 lendup.com 5,460 150,432 $1,197,143 tunein.com 156,713 2,168,876 $1,024,655 Showing 1 to 10 of 206 entries PreviousNext Some interesting things to note about the data. The total estimated organic traffic cost is about $67 million per month and that is in the United States only. Certainly some of these domains are doing well in other countries so this number is actually much higher. The next number I found interesting and rather low is the total amount of adwords spend. This is around $2.8 million, not bad compared to their estimated overall organic traffic cost, roughly 23 times the amount. Needless to say, their portfolio is reaping the rewards of their search engine quite strategically. They’ve hit some of the most profitable industries: coupons, legal, loans, etc. But hey, wouldn’t you do the same? Well you’re likely not a billion dollar corporation so the implications aren’t quite the same. The real interesting thing is what these properties have done SEO wise.   Let’s look at some explosive growth shall we? CreditKarma Watch out, you might break the backlink checker with this one. Phew, how is the air up there guys? Uber Google loves them some Uber. Can’t really blame them, they got some big stacks invested there. Thumbtack Now this graph might knock you out of your chair when considering they received a penalty. LendingClub Need a loan after all the money you wasted on blackhatworld PBN links? Well don’t worry G ventures has got your back. Just do a quick search for “loans” and you’ll find Lendingclub at #3 and Creditkarma at #1. Shall we dig into the backlinks? Before we start pointing the finger for anything sketchy, freaking out, and starting a riot let’s consider that most large sites are bound to have at least some spammy links from scraper sites or something similar. So the plan is each site gets the 5 minute Jacob King spam check (trademark pending). If I can find some shit in that amount of time then you can make your own conclusions from there. Let’s take a quick look at these sites hopefully without breaking ahrefs. CreditKarma Well they are doing quite nicely. It must be the social signals pushing them to #1 for “credit score” ;-) Or maybe it’s the 6k+ referring domains? Well I started the spam check timer and found some anchor spam at the 1:35 mark. Take a peak at their anchor profile, the untrained eye might miss it.   Ah but wait, exact match anchor text? It couldn’t be, yup, yup it is.   Almost looks like some contextual link spam I’d throw out there, damn near the anchor text profile I’d build too. I’m not going to dig into the actual links as the spam check time ran out. I saw some weird site wide links for “free credit score” on realtor sites and figured I could call it good there. Uber This one is pretty tough, there are just so many links to look at in only 5 minutes. One thing I did notice that looked a bit strange was links to their geo landing pages with some uniform anchor text. I just randomly clicked to the 7th page of anchors, like trying to find a needle in a haystack.   Thumbtack   Wow, 32k referring domains, I thought my hair might turn grey waiting for this one to load. No need to even spam check these dudes since their recent penalty has been posted about a tonnnnn. I’d like to get an estimate of how many new referring domains they picked up from news of their penalty but it’s tough to say with the link removals they did. LendingClub   This one is just too perfect for a closer. So I started peaking at Lendingclub and nothing popped out at me. Then I decided to navigate to the top pages section and check some link building to specific landing pages. Noticed this guy here with a bunch of spam links and the top anchor “consolidated credit “. But wait, upon closer look that’s our friend negative SEO. It’s almost inevitable to get hit ranking on these big SERPs by some spitefull asshole. It’s next to impossible to drop them and if you’re blasting the main anchor it will probably just help them. How did I know this was neg SEO? It’s easy when you spot these anchors: “visit poster’s website” and “strona www” The first is “visit poster’s website” is a default generic anchor text in the software GSA search engine ranker and the second “strona www” is the default from one of the comment engines. Signing Off What can we conclude from all this? Well obviously these sites have done incredibly well and some insights can be gained from them. Although Google has made statements before that an investment doesn’t provide an extra SEO edge or insider information, one still has to wonder. Is Google double dipping? Is it the ultimate case of “do as we say but not as we do”? You be the judge. Save Save Save Save Save...

Growth Hacking The Ultimate Spying Guide for Media Buying (via iAmAtilla)   All right guys, some of you remember me posting a spying thread that explains how to spy on your competitors using a proxy and android apps. That is one way but today I decided to go a little deeper to explore many other ways from cheap to expensive that can help you get a lot of great ideas to minimize your risk, and maximize the profits – I’m calling this iAmAttila’s Ultimate Spying Guide for Media Buyers – because really, it IS really bad ass! I plan to make this guide very detailed, so be prepared … it’s gonna be LONG!   Feel free to skip ahead if you want to the part that is most important to you. Questions i’ll be showing you how to find answers to A) What offers are running on a specific site? B) What offers are being run on specific app placement? C) Where/what placements/traffic sources/sites is the offer being advertised the most on? D) What creatives are being used for specific offer and which ones are being used the most (sizes, angles, etc) E) What landing pages are being used? F) Exposing other affiliates trackers,  learning which ones send the most volume for an offer, and finding their landers/creatives G) Spying on your CPA Network and finding out if they are re-brokering the offer, or you are really going direct to the source Methods & Tools Wee will be using in our journey: In order to do spying you need tools,  these tools are expensive for the newbie but a must for any successful media buyer.     I use all of these tools below myself every time I spy and my friends – the best of the best like Charles Ngo & Finch use ’em too! 1. What Runs Where Mobile [sign up here for $1] 2. HMA+Android Phone+Android Apps [get hma here] 3. Opera Mini Emulator for PC & HMA VPN Proxy  [buy hma proxy] 4. STM Adult Ads Spy (available FREE for STM Members only – get an STM account) 5. SimilarWeb to find who is sending most volume to tracking link/offer landing page 6. Ad planners like Decisive’s, ExoClicks, TrafficJunky’s, etc. to find sites/placements to spy on. are you ready?…    Let’s get started!   A) What offers are running on a specific site Scenario – Adult Dating Campaign / TJ & PornHub 305×99 placement Imagine you are about to do a mobile adult dating campaign,  you don’t have an offer picked out yet, didn’t talk to your reps nothing –  instead you are taking an other approach.   You looked at TrafficJunky and learned that there’s a shit load of volume for CHEAP in Argentina.     The site you have this great opportunity for tons of volume and cheap pricing is on the Pornhub 305×99 banner sizes.     Great!  Now let’s figure out what offers are currently running on it PRO TIP:   You always want to see what offers are running on a placement, because it gives you an idea of what kind of offer WORKS there.  We can use 3 methods here to find out what’s running on the 305×99 placement on PornHub.com Method 1) What Runs Where  This method works great to get an idea on what kind of offer types are running on a specific site’s placement.   While you can’t select exactly the 305×99 size when you follow these steps you will be able to pick out those banner sizes with your eyes right away. -Login to what runs where mobile here -Click the publisher tab, where it says enter domain here,  type in pornhub.com, then click search -From the All Networks drop down select Traffic Junky and click Apply -On the left side menu click on Banner Ads and now you will see all the banners that are running on this particular site. TIP:  To see what’s the best ad that was running the longest click on Sort by AdStrength.    This is usually good sign that this type of offer is working great on this particular placement. Note:  WRW lets you see creatives within a specific time range, ie seen on the last 7 days,  last 14 days, etc.  You can play around with that as you like using the grey menu    Method 2) Opera Mobile Emulator on PC and Apple and HMA Proxy This method is awesome because you can use the opera mobile emulator to pose as any popular smart phone / tablet from your PC or Mac.  If you don’t have Opera Mobile Emulator you can grab it here  Once installed follow these simple steps. 1) Open the Opera Mobile Emulator, select a profile – ie: Samsung Galaxy SIII or iPhone (whatever you intend to target) and click Launch 2) Start up HMA Pro VPN and select the geo you want to spy  -Open HMA Pro VPN –Click DashBoard,  then select a geo from the Quick VPN Location change dropdown menu and then click Connect to VPN 3) Go back to Opera Mobile Emulator, and you should see the opera browser already open, type in pornhub.com in the address bar and press ENTER Method 3) Check out the site from an mobile phone using the built in browser This is fairly straight forward,   if you have a smart phone handy simply go to the site using your mobile phone and refresh it to see what offers are being run right now. You can use your HideMyAss VPN account in connection with their HMA App for Android to spy on different geos.  To do this you simply install the HMA app from Play Store,  then open it, select the geo you want to spy on, connect to the VPN, then go to pornhub and see what banner ads come up.   B) What offers are being run on specific app placement? Scenario:  Picture this..  your AM hits you up and says there’s a hot new global CPI offer called Acme Speed Up!   It pay $10 dollars for 1 install.  WOW.     You are a big super star affiliate,  you don’t mess around and you go for the placements with top volume.   You immediately jump on APPANNIE and see what the top are 20 apps right now in the utilities category are.       Sweet, you jot down the list of top 20 util appz.    Next, you want to pick which apps have your competitors ads on them (lets just say for laughs which apps have clean master advertising)   how do you find out? Method 1)  Grab an android phone, install apps on it, and open them and see whats running there. NOTE: If you don’t already have an android phone,  then you can pick up a cheap one on ebay.com or local craiglists.  I recommend Samsung Galaxy S3 as a bare minimum. #1) Open Google Play Store on your phone by clicking its icon #2) Click on the Magnifying glass to search #3)  Type in the name of the app from your list, and tap search on your keypad.  #4) After you located the app, open it’s page and tap the INSTALL button #5) Repeat the above steps for all of the apps you’ve written down until all 20 is installed. #6) Open each app one by one, and wait a few seconds.  Make note on a piece of paper what ads you saw.     I recommend exiting the app, and opening it again a few times – so you cycle threw a few different sessions to catch more banners/advertisers. #7) One important thing to remember is to always spy in different countries, this is where the HMA Proxy VPN comes in handy.    Basically you’d want to check what kind of banners run on specific placements in the geo the offer you want to promote accepts.   In our case its a global offer so we’d want to test it in a few tier 1 countries, a few tier 2 countries, a few tier 3 countries.  The more data you have the more solid plan you can make. To conclude our scenario:  I’d install the top 20 apps app annie showed me,  check out whats running on them using the steps above, and then figure out which one would be most suitable for my offer (i’d look for competition/same offer that im promoting being advertised – because if someone is already advertising it on a placement, chances are that is where my demo is)   Method 2)  Use a tool like whatrunswhere to see what ads are running on the specific app placement.   If you don’t have an android phone, and don’t want to spend too much time spying – a quick way to get insight whats running on a specific placement is to use a spy tool.  My spy tool of choice is WRW (get it here) for this.      The quick method is good, but the time consuming method #1 I talked about is way more accurate, and solid.     Affiliate marketing is a dog eat dog world, so those take take extra steps are often the ones that are crushing it! Anyway, here’s how you’d look up a specific placement to see whats running on it using WRW: #1)  Sign in to WRW #2)Click on By Publisher on the top menu #3) You have to get the package name of the android app you want to look up.  To do this follow these 3 simple steps a) Head over to http://play.google.com b) Type in the name of the app in the search bar and click Search c) Click the app’s icon on the search results page and when you arrive at its landing page, look in your browsers address bar #4) Now that you have the package name,  head back to WRW and type in the package name and click SEARCH.  That’s it!  You will get all kinds of data,  I personally head over to the Banner Ads section on the left menu, and sort by ad strength to see which ads ran the longest to find what kind of offers do best on this placement.   C) Where/what placements/traffic sources/sites is the offer being advertised the most on? This is a very good question that helps that if you get the answers to can help you save a lot of time and money. Let’s look at an example –  someone is interested in promoting the game CPI Farmville2,    they never promoted a farming game before but have limited funds.    They did their research and know happy farm was killing it before and it is a very similar game to farmville.  So what can they do to find out where happy farm advertised so they can put their ads for essentially the same kind of game on those placements? Lucky for you WRW is very powerful when it comes to answering this question,   while there’s other ways to find out what placements worked great for a specific app,  this is the one that gives the highest impact time invested vs outcome gained.    So let’s answer this question together. Where/what placements/traffic sources/sites does an offer advertise on? #1) Sign in to WRW #2) Click on By Advertiser up top and type in the name of the game –  #3) After a few seconds, WRW gives us a breakdown of Traffic Sources,  Categories,  iFrame Hosts/Placements, etc all on one screen.  We can dive in and explore it in great detail – which I won’t do here. What is important is to take a note of the top traffic sources,  these have been proven to work so if you want to promote this offer – start there!    Also look at the iframe hosts/placements – these are sites that worked well for this offer, again start there if you are budget limited. The data tells the tale of success, if a placement was seen/used for many, many days for an offer that means it was working.       The right demographic that is interested in the offer is on that site, so by targeting the same sites as your competition (similar offer) you are saving yourself a huge amount of guess work. D) What creatives are being used for specific offer and which ones are being used the most (sizes, angles, etc) WRW is very lucrative tool,  I don’t know of any other one for mobile atm that is as good.  By doing a simple lookup you can quickly find out what angles, banner design styles and banner sizes work best for an offer.     Let’s look at a very popular App Mobogenie.    (The process is the same for any mobile offer, you just type in the one you are interested in promoting – I’m just showing you real examples so you can get it easily.) #1) Login to WRW, and click on By Advertiser #2) Type in the box com.mobogenie.markets press search #3)  Click on banner ads in the left column  #4) Next select sort by Ad Strength #5) And look at the banner sizes that come up.   Also make note of the angles, and the look and feel of the banners.    This is all very important.       Taking these ideas, and using it as a jumping board is a great way to find success fast;  never steal – just take an idea lets say a design and change it a little bit, improve it, then test it.   Take the angles (the text written on the banners) and reword it so it has the same meaning, try different variations – you’d be surprised how a little change can mean a huge difference in CR! For Mobogenie I see a few things -The 120×120 and 320×50 banner sizes are most popular -Upgrade your Android Market! Install Now (Angle1),  Mobogenie 1,000,000+ Free Apps & Games,  Download (Angle2) and Mobogenie Market – Download Now (Angle3) are the most popular. -Blue colour, red with white font, and system message looking banner is the style that seems to be killing it. E) What landing pages are being used for mobile offer? To find landing pages for an offer things get a little bit more complicated. Unfortunately more often than not, i’d say 80% of the time WRW is going to be useless here showing you no landing pages other affs are running if you look it up by offer. I am going to show you how to find some landings for the infamous WHATSAPP content billers.     It will be HARD to do this, but I will take you a journey so you can see the methods you can try. Method #1)  Analyzing Upstream Data by Working Backwards First things first, when you are working backwards you want to identify the offer landing page, this is where everyone ultimately sends their visitor that pushes the offer.      To do this, just follow through on the campaign link your AM gave you for the offer. After I followed the link I got from ClickDealer I arrived at http://p.shoopadoo.com/mx/whatsapp.pinsc/ Step #1) For the hell of it, Lets see what WRW brings up when we type p.shoopadoo.com in the where does domain advertise box. As you can see nothing of use to me,  its all the same domains just variations of the official landing page for the offer. Meh.. next.. Step #2)  Head over to Alexa.com and type in shoopadoo.com and press search.    On the results page scroll down to upstream sites. What do we have here?   Hmm..  could these be the tracker URLs of other affiliates?   Let’s find out! Step #3) Go back to WRW, and type in each domain from the list above and see what comes up under landing pages.  1. go2cloud – meh nothing, but i discovered a lot of traffic sources seem to have subdomains on go2cloud top level domain, so that’s something to investigate later maybe.. 2.  textsrving.info – not found in WRW 🙁 3.  softonic.com – some irrelevant text ads found – no lps 4.  srv123.com – nothing found 5.  No search results for “loadingnow.info”. Okay, well that is dissapointing – alexa didn’t get us closer to finding an LP — this method didn’t work this time, lets try another way.. Step #4) Go to www.similarweb.com and type in shoopadoo.com hitting search We now want to check two things,  the top referring sites column, and the top destination sites column. We’re going to run every site in WRW, see if something comes up. UPDATE I ran it and some came up but not with relevant information.  So we’re back to square one.   The reason why I am showing you this hands on follow along style is because I am hoping to get something very important across,   doing spying is no walk in the park – it takes time and effort on your part.  We’ve checked alexa & similarweb and so far nothing concrete, we didn’t discover any landing pages.   So do we give up?  No,  what else can we do? Method #2A) Finding affiliate tracker URLs by looking up the links networks give you  I am working with ClickDealer and MundoMedia for the WhatsApp Offers – the offer links they gave me for whatsapp contain their domain which are: clickdealer: cldmob.com mundomedia: sebcotrk.com chlcotrk.com #1) After you have the offer domains from the links your AM gave you,  fire up WRW + Login. #2) Click the advertiser tab and where it says where does Enter a domain advertise, type in the tracker domains one by one pressing Search. #3) You should now get some data, and see some landing pages – if you are lucky.  Hah,  well I was not lucky so lets take it a bit farther. NOTE: This method doesn’t work often – but that doesn’t mean it does not work at all.   So always try it,   due every step to uncover some great stuff no other guys will because they are lazy to do the footwork required! Method #2B)     Method #2A + Similar Web + Upstream Domains Sending Tracking Domain Traffic We can take Method #2A further if we weren’t happy with our success.   What we want to do is take the tracker domains from our CPA Network, type them in to similar web and look at what sites are sending it the most traffic.     *Remember how we worked with similar web already in our journey to expose mobile landing pages of our competitors?* #1) Hop on to www.similarweb.com #2) Enter the domain(s) from your CPA Network link(s) –  I entered cldmob.com  and pressed the magnifying glass to search #3) Look at referring sites –  For my domain, it said not enough data – if you encounter the same result – look at the next link. #4) Looking up sebcotrk.com showed me referring sites where I was able to find one, that showed landing pages.  Unfortunately the landing pages I found were for toolbar offers and for adult dating – so the guy that was pushing whatsapp was also doing these two other verticals.   Not useful in this case, but I discovered some random stuff. Take away: This method is somewhat useful, but unless you have SimilarWeb Pro you will not have a full list of referrals and will most likely not see the trackers/landing page hosts sending relevant traffic (in our case whatsapp landers).      SimilarWeb Pro is $500/month which a little bit out of reach for most, however if you can afford it – it can unlock the full list of referrals which you can go through to find the landers.   Method #3)  Proxy + Android and becoming a user method We can look at the placements sending the most traffic to this offer using a proxy in MEXICO.  We can visit each placement from a mobile phone, and click through and explore it that way.  Then once we find the trackers/landing page hosts, type those into WRW to see if it has any more details.  If not we’d copy the link from our mobile phone and send it to ourselves for viewing on the PC. This might work, it may not work – it depends on the affiliates running the offer – if they are targeting only specific carriers – we’d need to somehow come from that specific carrier to experience the effect of their targeting, so it really is a very complicated process. Method #4)  Using WRW keyword feature to find landers This method may work or it may not.  You gotta try it.    Again,  what may work for one offer might not for the next… #1) Click on By Keyword #2) Type in offer keyword (in my case whatsapp) and make sure you select Search in ALL Countries – this is important! #3) Press Search #4) Look for banners that relate to the offer – click a few, opening them in new tab (CTRL+Click on PC, not sure on Apple – maybe Command+Click?) Sidenote: YAY Success! Finally we’re getting somewhere with whatsapp.  So keyword search method is working. #5) After you opened a few banners in new tabs,  on the left menu, click landing pages #6) Here we go, we found one whatsapp lander!  #7) Now copy the link from WRW to the clipboard (CTRL+C, CMD+C) and paste it into a new browser tab address bar and press enter, and bam you should see a lander! #8) We are not done yet,   note the domain of the whatsapp lander we found  ->  whatsappmobile.net !! There might be some more landers here, let’s check it out #9) Go back to WRW, Click on  By Advertiser and paste in the domain whatsappmobile.net and press search. #10) Click the landing pages tab on the left, and HOLY CRAP –  for this particular site there are over 114 entries (that means many landing pages for whatsapp baby!)  Now we’ve made it.. we’ve SUCCEEDED in our landing page spying effort after such a long run. NOTE1:   This is just one site I found using the keyword search function > All geos in WRW.  You can open multiple banners, check the banner host URL and look up each using wrw’s by advertiser function. NOTE2:  I said it but I’ll say it again,   this method works for some, but not all offers – that is why I outlined every single way I use to find landers by taking you on a real life journey using whatsapp.   F) Exposing other affiliates trackers,  learning which ones send the most volume for an offer, and finding their landers/creatives Without getting into too much detail why anyone would want to do this … this method can come in handy because it can lead you to many ideas on how to run a specific offer.    To make this easy to understand, I am going to be showing you a scenario.    Let’s say we want to look up who the top trackers are sending traffic to the offer landing page which is http://m.pl.funfone.me/wap/9183/?af=457 Method #1)  Similarweb – Top Referring Sites + WRW #1) Go to www.similarweb.com #2) Type in m.pl.funfone.me – press search #3) Look for the Top Referring Sites #4) Write down every single site in this list in your text editor of choice (for most of us Notepad will be just fine) #5) Now while you hold CTRL (CMD on Apples) click on each of the sites to open them in a new tab. #6) Write down all the top referring sites you see for each site into your text editor as well.    After you complete it you should have around 110 total sites written down. #7) Login to WhatRunsWhere and click on search by Advertiser – typing in one by one the domains from our similarweb top referring sites list we saved in notepad. Do this for all of the ones on your list, checking banners and landing pages in the left tool bar on WRW.     Not all sites will bring back results, but some will and in a big way.  I was able to find landers for pop traffic this way I never thought of. Golden nugget:  I found a kick ass sweeps lander that had testimonials on it where chicks were holding iphones,  it had an automatic javascript to show the todays date,  it said they are part of the phone model rewards program, etc.      And this lander doubled my CR – so it def pays to spy on your competitors!   Method #2)  Using tracker footprints to find trackers! This method is very advanced, and requires even more time.  But time spent can bring huge returns.     I will show you how to do it with prosper footprint  /202-login.php.  #1) Head over to www.google.com #2) In the top url type this:   inurl:/202-login.php  & click on search #3) I ended up getting over 15 pages of results and uncover many trackers this way.. #4) Next I made a list of all the domains I found, and saved them in a text file. #5) After that I went back to my very favorite WRW tool, and plugged each in one by one.     Again a lot of work, but in the process uncovered some real gems that gave me some new ideas for both landers & banners.   G) Spying on your CPA Network and finding out if they are re-brokering the offer, or you are really going direct to the source Why in the world would you want to spy on your CPA Network?  The answer is simple, just because they might say they are #1,  they are honest with you, this and that – at the end of the day their own interests are most important to them – so that means profits.      Many networks might say we have the offer exclusive, and direct but in reality that isn’t true.  That is why a smart affiliate always does his/her homework and spies on the CPA Network to make sure they are pushing offer X as close to the advertiser as possible. I am going to show you what a non-brokered offer looks like vs what a brokered offer looks like.    For this part of my tutorial we are going to be using Live HTTP Headers (get it here for Firefox,  get it here for Chrome) and also HideMyAss Proxy [get it here] Scenario #1 – What a NON-Brokered Offer Looks Like #1) Start up your browser of choice – Chrome of Firefox #2) Take the campaign link your CPA Network gave you (for this example I am using http://mpdotrk.com/mt/w264v24474q233r244s20324/ which is a MUNDOMedia link) and copy it to clipboard. #3) Make note of what GEO the campaign accepts (you will need to disguise as if you are from this geo using HMA) #4) Start up HMA and connect to the geo, wait till it gets an IP #5) Close all other instances of your web browser to make sure only 1 is running, and only 1 tab. #6) Click the Live HTTP Headers icon in the toolbar to open it in a new tab #7) In another tab, paste in the URL of the offer and press enter. #8) Switch to the Live HTTP Headers tab and look at the data. As you can see,  if a visitor hits your campaign link that Mundo gave and is from Spain, they will be taken direct to the advertisers landing page.  Which in this case is wap.mozzi.com.   This is what a NON-Brokered offer looks like, this means Mundo runs this direct (which is what u always want) Scenario #2 – What a Brokered Offer Looks Like Mr Green @ STM setup a brokered offer over at F5 for me, so I can show you what it looks like on the HTTP Live Headers screen when an Offer is BROKERED. #1) I closed all tablets/browser instances leaving just 2 tabs open. #2) I cleared the previous results from the Live Http Headers Screen by pressing the CLEAR button as shown below: #3) I pasted the link I received into the new tab’s address bar and press enter. #4) After looking at the data screen this is what I saw. F5 is brokering the deal from Glispa.   Glispa was sending it to gltrkk.net?   WTF is gltrkk.net – is that the tracker owned by glispa, or another network? Let’s find out! Easy Method to try First –  Type gltrkk.net into your address bar and see what happens  (this method actually confirmed glispa does in deed own this domain – so our search is over) Method #2)  *For the hell of it* What if Glispa Did NOT own that tracker domain? What if it was another CPA Network?   How can we find out who it belongs to? Here are some methods to try,  but again; nothing comes with a guarantee. Way1)   Do a WHOIS lookup – go to www.geektools.com, type in the domain, and look for the company/contact details —  in this case the details were protected by whois guard so that’s no good. Way2)  Reverse Look up the server address of gltrkk.net, then see what other sites are hosted on that server and work your way back using a reverse ip domain checker tool. Way3) Look at the upstream/downstream sites for the domain gltrkk.net using similarweb.com and look for aff network names there. Way4) Type the tracker URL into google.com and see what comes up.   This guide is focused around Android, because I personally hate iPhone (yes I owned one – so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and sold it after 3 weeks and went back to Android) and because Android is the most popular OS in the world and iPhone usage is on a decline anyway.    Regardless, much of the ways on android can be repeated on iPhone with the iphone software version. NOTE:  This guide is 100% unbiased, no one paid me a single cent to write this guide.   Of course there are paid tools in this guide being mentioned because without them you just can’t get from A to B.  If you want to make $1000+/day you MUST invest in proper tools,   these are the tools I use and recommend because they help me, and they will help you.   I used my affiliate links for referrals when linking these tools,  you can skip the links and go direct by typing them into the address bar if you feel I don’t deserve the credit.   Whatever you do,   I thank you for reading this guide....

THE 7 Pillars of Growth Hacking and why Growth Marketing is the Future Through our own experience helping clients grow, we developed (and are continually improving) a general methodology for achieving exponential growth. We call it the RockBoost Growth Playbook, and it consists of 7 foundational pillars. We’re going to share it with you to give you a taste of our approach.   What Is Growth Hacking, Actually? If you have read anything related to startups or marketing this decade, you will undoubtedly have come across the popular term “Growth Hacking” and wondered what all the fuss was about. People everywhere are writing about it. They’re calling it “Lean Marketing” or even “Marketing 2.0.” Did you miss something important? If you’re feeling a bit behind the times, I’ve got good news for you: this post will explain everything you need to know about growth hacking so you can get back up to speed with the rest of us. It is 2016 after all and the world has changed since you studied marketing at university. The term was actually coined by a guy named Sean Ellis in 2010, to describe the process by which many Silicon Valley companies rapidly transitioned from budding startups to multimillion dollar enterprises using creative and unconventional techniques. These “growth hacks” were highly successful tricks, often employing technical expertise, that traditional marketing professionals would never have come up with, nor have had the necessary skills to implement. “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.” - Sean Ellis Growth hackers trace their roots back to programming engineers. But they are much more than that. They are creative marketers, product managers and data analysts as well. They are focused on a singular goal: finding the most effective and efficient way to grow a business. This often involves rapid experimentation across marketing channels, constant attention to product (re)development and an unending focus on building and engaging a company’s user base. Most importantly, every decision a growth hacker makes is based on data. A growth hacker knows how and what to measure. They use analytics, landing pages and A/B testing to understand their target customers’ habits and behavior. They test everything, iterating and optimizing until they find the most effective solutions with the most potential for growth. They don’t make assumptions. Instead, they are obsessed with data.     Not yet sure how all these pieces fit together? Let’s have a look at some well-known examples. Growth Hacking Examples   Dropbox One of the most famous examples is Dropbox. Now with more than 500 million users (Statista, 2016), they started small as an invite-only service with a waiting list. By notusing expensive, widespread ads targeting every Joe out there, but by using targeted messages carefully crafted for selected platforms where they knew their potential customers already congregated (e.g. Digg, Reddit), they created a sense of exclusivity. On top of this, they put together a fun homemade video that made the relatively complex cloud service easy for anyone to understand. The video went viral and drove massive amounts of trackable traffic to their landing page. But the real hack was this: They set up a referral system where for each friend invited that subsequently opened an account, the user would be given 250MB of free space. Sign ups jumped from 5k to 75k overnight as users invited their entire contact lists. Spotify Spotify grew enormously by simply allowing its users to automatically post whatever they were listening to on the social media giant, Facebook. How many times do you remember seeing messages about what your friends were listening to on Spotify? Did you ever click on one of these? How many signups do you think this simple automated arrangement led to as people became curious and wanted to show off their own musical tastes to their friends? … Let’s just say quite a few. This hack is a classic example of what we call leveraging other people's platforms or audiences, something many companies have had success with Airbnb Another well-known example is Airbnb. Struggling to scale up, their growth team came up with an ingenious leveraging idea. They wrote a sophisticated API that automatically cross-posted all new Airbnb listings onto Craigslist, who already had a gargantuan user base. By doing this, Airbnb suddenly had distribution access to one of the world’s most popular websites and generated enormous exposure, leading to exponential growth. This is something a traditional marketing team, with all the organizational pressures on them, and with limited technical ability would not have had the capabilities to pull off.     Even though Craigslist didn’t have an official API for cross-posting, through creative thinking, boundary pushing and some clever programming, Airbnb was able to create their own. Craigslist eventually closed the loophole in their system, but by that time the hack had already been a success that helped Airbnb gain tremendous momentum. This example illustrates a key point: Many of the best growth hacks have a limited lifetime, and the new ones are often closely kept secrets. Because of this, the world of growth hacking is constantly evolving as new hacks are discovered and methodologies are developed. Many larger companies, impressed by the successes of these startups, have begun experimenting with many of the same techniques. Growth hacking is no longer just for startups. The good news for you is,  that many of the principles behind growth hacking are simple, easy to understand and don’t require lots of technical knowledge. We’re going to teach them to you.   So, What Are the 7 Pillars of Growth Hacking? Much of growth hacking comes down to systems and processes. It’s about finding the weakness in a system and exploiting it. It’s about the processes of continual ideation, prioritization, testing and analyzing.     Silver bullets like the Airbnb hack are generally few and far between. Growth hacking is not magic. While the examples above, and many others, are oft quoted sensational examples of growth hacking, one does not typically hear about the time invested, the hard work and the perhaps dozens of failed attempts that preceded the breakthroughs. For a growth hacker, however, failures are progress. They are part of the experimentation and learning process. Through our own experience helping clients grow, we developed (and are continually improving) a general methodology for achieving exponential growth. We call it the RockBoost Growth Playbook, and it consists of 7 foundational pillars. We’re going to share it with you to give you a taste of our approach.   1. Achieving the Growth Mindset Growth hacking starts with your mindset. It involves focusing all your efforts on achieving your One Metric That Matters (OMTM). This is typically an ambitious and specific growth goal, for example “to achieve 10 million in revenue by 2020.” It is very important that it be measurable and achievable. It is also important that it be straightforward so you can always keep it in mind, letting it guide your team’s every move. As the person or team in charge of growth, all of your activities should be geared towards achieving your OMTM. The growth mindset is also about challenging yourself and realizing that you are capable of far more than you give yourself credit for. Growth hackers think big, take risks and constantly ask the question “what if?” Relentlessly pursuing a goal, even when it takes you beyond your zone of comfort, is what makes growth hackers effective. “Impossible” should not be in your vocabulary.   At RockBoost we like to constantly remind each other to hustle. By this we mean to take risks and try things that would normally be outside our comfort zone. You never know if something will work or not until you try. We even encourage each other to do silly things like randomly asking the Starbucks barista for a 10 percent discount… just to keep the mindset primed. It can’t hurt to ask, right? You’ll be surprised by how many doors will open for you. Some of our greatest achievements have resulted from practicing this attitude. Hustling is about having the courage to reach out for what others might think to be unattainable.   2. The Right Team Growth hackers’ skill sets are in a T-shape where the horizontal bar represents breadth of knowledge and the vertical bar represents depth. No single person can be an expert in every area, which is why having a solid team is so important. The typical member of a growth team will have knowledge about a broad range of topics while specializing in one or two key areas.   There are 3 primary areas of expertise that are necessary for every growth hacking team to have: 1) creative marketing, 2) software programming & automation, and 3) data analysis & testing. Building a team with this combination of skills--that also understand each others’ T-shapes and can leverage each other’s strengths--is fundamental.   Standard Operating Procedures At RockBoost we take lots of inspiration from the U.S. Navy SEALS. One of the SEAL principles we practice that gives us a cutting edge are standard operating procedures (SOPs). SOPs enable you to standardize common processes for an entire team, allowing things to get done more quickly, consistently and with less energy. They help to remove the thought process behind common activities. The discipline of developing and using SOPs will free up your team’s time and mental energy. Many people ask, “If you set up systems and processes for everything, can you still be creative?” We actually think it allows you to be more creative. Systems and processes save you energy and time on mundane tasks so that you can focus your cognitive energy elsewhere. This is not only good business practice, but a powerful life tool. “The mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” - David Allen   3. Measurement, How and What? As you and your amazing new growth team pursues your OMTM, everything you do to speed up growth should be measurable. If you’re achieving results, great! If not, stop and move on to the next idea.     There is no room in the world of growth hacking for assumption. As the saying goes, “When you assume, you make…” you know the rest. All decisions should be based on data. And in order to have that data, you need to start measuring. Many traditional marketers or small business owners wouldn’t be able to say what the ROI was on their most recent ad campaign, likely because they don’t know what to measure or they just don’t have the right tools to do so. Knowing what and how to measure can be tricky, but it is so essential. If you succeed in reaching some target, but you didn’t measure everything you did, you don’t know what it was that led to success. Conversely, if you fail at something, without measurement you won’t be able to avoid the same mistake next time. Measurement allows you to know what exactly correlates with success and it gives you a baseline to which to compare your performance as you experiment. Luckily, technology has made it possible to track almost everything you do. Here are just a few of the online measurement tools we use to help business track and improve their performance: - Unbounce - Optimizely - Mixpanel - Qualaroo - CrazyEgg - Sumo.me - Inspectlet - Google Analytics - Google Tag Manager - Kissmetrics - Hotjar - Ghostery These tools will give you rich information about how users interact with your websites and apps. Where do they get stuck? Where are they clicking? What makes them leave? Once you understand your customer’s journey, you can begin to formulate hypotheses and start experimenting.   4. How to Listen to Your Market The #1 reason why startups fail is that they try to sell a product that nobody wants.Here’s a news flash: Just because you think you have an amazing product, doesn’t mean that there is a market for it. Accepting this reality early on will save you lots of trouble.     Entrepreneurs sometimes fall in love with a product they create, and when it fails to sell, they are often unwilling to let go. They fruitlessly spend all their time, money and energy trying to push something for which there is no market. Don’t let this be you. How can you avoid this? By listening carefully to your market and tailoring a product to what your potential customers are already asking for. It seems obvious, right? It’s amazing how often this is neglected. One of the most useful things you can do is to create a customer desire map. Research your potential customers as thoroughly as you can until you know what makes them tick. Here are some of the things to look for:   Hopes and Dreams What does your customer want to attain or achieve above all else? Pains and Fears What are your customers wanting to avoid or get away from? Barriers and Uncertainties What is preventing or getting in the way of what your customers want?   Of course you can use surveys, focus groups, interviews and other traditional market research tactics to find this information, but consider some other options as well. Where does your potential customer segment congregate and how can you tap into what they are saying? Amazon book reviews, for example, often contain a wealth of information about what your customers are thinking and feeling. Try looking at the reviews of some of the best selling books related to your subject or business and see what people are saying. Look at question and answer sites like Quora and Reddit. We call this forum mining. The goal with all of this is to know your customers better than they know themselves.   5. The Elusive P.M.F. Using the results from your market research, you can now determine if you have a product market fit (PMF). This is about finding ways to remove all doubts or hesitations your customers might have about your product or service. It’s about offering them a product they cannot live without.     Take a minute to think about some products that you would be devastated if you could no longer use. In most traditional companies, product development teams are separate from the marketing teams. The product developers build it and the marketer's job is to sell it. One of the reasons growth hackers are so successful at helping companies grow is that they don’t live within these boundaries. When you are working towards your OMTM, all options need to be on the table, including the willingness to take your product back to the drawing board and make adjustments based on your continual process of market research, measurement and testing. Based on experimentation and constant iteration, you should tailor your product to your customers. The rule of thumb is this: When at least 40% of your users report that they would be very disappointed could they no longer use your product or service, you probably have PMF. Sean Ellis found this out after working with more than 100 startups. Those who had more than 40% PMF were able to achieve traction and grow. Those that didn’t constantly struggled to stay afloat. PMF is vital to achieving growth. If you don’t have it, your marketing efforts are going to be wasted as you try to push a product nobody wants. When you have PMF, people will be so satisfied with your product that they will become your sales people as they share it with their friends. Product Market Fit is about building growth into your product or service so that it sells itself.   6. Which Traction Channels? If you are handing over bags of money for ads on Google and Facebook without any idea as to your ROI, it is time to rethink your approach. It’s not that these channels are not useful--on the contrary! But they are not the only channels. And they might not be the best channels for your situation at this point in time. So, how can you best reach and interact with your (potential) customers? There are actually 19 different traction channels you could (and should) exploit to grow your business. You definitely don’t want to use all of them simultaneously. But figure out what the right combination is for your business at this moment in time. Remember, it is not about the size of your reach, it is about its effectiveness. In the end it doesn’t matter how many people have heard of you. What matters is that theright people know about you: the people with the highest potential to become loyal customers. Overview of the channels - Viral marketing - Public relations - Unconventional PR - Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Social and Display ads - Offline ads - Content marketing - Email marketing - Engineering as marketing - Target marketing blogs - Business development - Sales - Affiliate marketing - Existing platforms - Trade Shows - Offline events - Speaking engagements - Community building Each of these deserves its own blog post (we will try to do that in the future). But for now, it is enough that you are at least aware of these channels. One of the biggest pitfalls is that people tend to only utilize what they are familiar with. By doing this, you may be missing out on big opportunities. You can never know exactly what your market is going to do, or what channels are going to work best. But you can experiment, measure and test! In order to find the right channels for you to pursue, spend some time thinking with your team. Divide the list into three categories: 1) Promising, 2) Potential and 3) Long-shots. Find the top 3 options, and start optimizing these. And go through this process regularly because they are likely to change over time. Remember, it is not about the size of your reach, it is about its effectiveness.   7. The Key to Optimization By now you have embraced the growth mindset, put together a stellar team with a broad set of skills, you have understood the importance of measurement, you have begun listening to your market, you have developed a product people can’t live without, and you’ve identified the most promising traction channels. So now what? What do you do to achieve exponential growth? The key to growth hacking is to test, test, and keep testing! Using your research and measurement techniques, you should continually search for ways to optimize. This requires a systematic approach in which you develop hypotheses and then test them. Hypotheses need to be simple, clear, relevant to your goals and based on data. Like this: Because we saw [data/feedback] We expect that [change] will cause [impact] We’ll measure this using [data metric] But where should you start? The Lift Model ® Developed by Chris Goward is one guide you can use to ensure you cover many of the most important aspects of your business. It consists of 6 essential elements that you should constantly monitor, measure, tweak and optimize. Value Proposition: Are you communicating the benefits of what you are offering with crystal clarity? Relevance: Are the design elements on your site motivating and stimulating desired action? Clarity: Is the content on your site as clear as possible? Are users getting lost and confused? Distraction: Are there design elements on your site that are preventing or distracting from desired actions? Anxiety: Are you credible? What is causing uncertainty or doubt on your website? Urgency: How can you add a sense of urgency for people to take action? So these are the 7 pillars of the proven RockBoost growth methodology. Start using them, and we can’t promise you will be the next Airbnb, but we can promise that you will see results quickly. We know because we have helped lots of companies accomplish exponential growth.   The RockBoost Mission RockBoost was the first growth hacking agency in the Netherlands. We were already running our own highly successful digital agency, DotControl--a team of software engineers that could build just about anything. But we noticed that having a stellar new website or app didn’t necessarily translate into traction and growth. And so we began thinking about how we could help clients not only with their platforms, but with setting up a system for growth as well. At the same time, the Silicon Valley growth hacking trend was getting bigger, and we took inspiration from the systems approach they advocated. Chris, our lead growth hacker and co-founder, had developed an appreciation for the power of processes while working as an auditor at KPMG, and so growth hacking appealed to him right away. We had now found the missing piece that could help DotControl clients get a bigger ROI on their new platforms, and RockBoost was born in November 2014 as a partner company to DotControl. Since its founding, less than 2 years ago, we have grown from 3 people to a solid international team of 14 and have helped dozens of clients on their road to exponential growth. The RockBoost mission is now all about growth hacking implementation and education. We do the hard work of implementation for you. But we also believe that training your teams is an essential part of setting up your business for sustainable growth.   Let's start growth hacking! Hopefully you have a pretty clear understanding now of what growth hacking is all about. It is for all types of businesses (and individuals) looking to accelerate their growth--whether it be in terms of revenue, customer base or anything else. It’s about understanding systems and processes, and learning to exploit and craft those systems to do what you want. It is about having a ‘hustle’ mindset in which all of your team’s focus and energy goes into achieving your one metric that matters (OMTM). It’s about constant measurement, testing, experimenting and optimizing. It’s about listening closely to your market, achieving product market fit (PMF), and then finding the channels best suited for your situation. Finally, growth hacking is about creativity. It is about pushing the boundaries of what marketing is and trying things that you might not have learned in the text books. All in the name of growth. ...

How to start a blog and get Google to send you over 100,000 visitors a month.   When you first think about starting a blog you kind of don’t imagine you’ll ever get more than a trickle of traffic. And then you have your first 100-visitor day. Then your first 1,000-visitor day. After a while even 5,000 or 10,000 visitors a day seems like just part of the plan. What I want to do today is show you that detailed plan and take away some of the mystery. Let’s look at all the ins and outs of how to get over 100,000 visitors a month from natural organic Google search. Things are so much nicer when you have a plan.   Why is Google traffic still the best? If you’ve been reading Blog Tyrant for a while you’ll know that I occasionally warn against relying on Google too much. And I stand by that. Organic traffic from Google search is still the most valuable traffic you can get because it grows, it’s free (sort of), and people who are using search engines are usually in a buy-ready frame of mind. A screen shot of my Clicky Analytics account showing one of my first 28 day periods where I had 100,000+ unique visitors hitting my blog from Google searches.However, if your begin to rely solely on that traffic you run the risk of getting yourself into a bit of trouble in the longterm. Every time Google updates its algorithm there is a chance your blog is going to be less relevant. And that means your traffic vanishes. My own little story with this issue I’ve told this story before but when I first got into blogging I had a few fitness blogs which made money pretty exclusively through Google Adsense. One day I woke up and all my traffic (and revenue!) had gone – I’d received a pretty significant Google penalty for some unknown reason. Lucky for me, the traffic came back. But it was a very scary experience and it taught me that I need to ensure that I have diversified traffic sources that act as a back up in case one of them gets accidentally or deliberately turned off.   How long does it take to get 100,000 visitors a month from Google? Something I want to stress in this post is that my approach to Google traffic is one that is very clean, natural and safe. And “safe” isn’t always a word that sits well with entrepreneurs. Because it usually means slow. If you’re after some short term SEO tricks to help you get an inferior website ranked in two weeks then this isn’t the post for you. This is all about a high-value approach to blogging that you can use on a site that you love and don’t want to take unnecessary risks with. But saying it will take 6 months or a year is kind of irresponsible of me because every blog and niche is different. It will depend a lot on how prolific you can be, and how willing you are to learn a new approach.   How to get 100,000 visitors a month from Google Okay, now we can get into the real tofu and potatoes of the post. And, as always, if you get to the end and think I’ve missed something important or have any questions please leave a comment and let me know. 1. Choose a topic, keywords and target market that has the depth   The very first thing you need to do if you want to have a good SEO strategy is know what keywords you are going after and what target market you are trying to tap into. Too often I see blogs that have a very generalised topic which leads to a lot of fragmented content, an unresponsive mailing list and not a lot of success. When researching your topic, please make sure you know what you want to talk about and how your blog is going to be different to all the others out there. It is very important that you think about deliberate ways that your topic is going to stand out. When researching keywords, it’s a good idea to know who your competition is and how saturated the market is. There are some niches that are very, very hard to compete in. The main worry, however, is a niche with not enough traffic. One simple place to start is by logging into Google Adwords and using their suite of Tools. One of them will estimate search volume and show you the Adwords bidding competition. This will give you a pretty good idea about whether your market is worth the effort. Make sure you try a lot of variations of your keywords here. Even small changes like plurals or alternative words that seem similar can have a massive effect on traffic numbers. At this stage you’ll also want to look at your competition using a service likeMajestic to see what keywords are going around, who is working on what, etc. You can then go and spend some time manually searching and clicking through to websites to see if there is anything that you can do better than what is already out there. At this point I’d like to just mention that passion really is the most important thing here. It’s something I’ve heard successful bloggers like Glen from ViperChill say again and again. Even if you find a profitable niche to work in, you’ll soon lose interest at all the hard (and boring tasks) if you don’t love it and sincerely want to help your readership. That is very important. 2. Get your own domain name and self-hosted WordPress setup   How many times have you seen a free blog like Tumblr or Blogger in the first position on Google? Not often is the answer. Google gives a much higher weighting to websites and blogs that have their own domain name and host because it is a pretty basic signal that that website is going to be taking itself more seriously – hence better quality. Here’s a quick video explaining my preferred setup. So how do you choose a good domain name? Well, there are several options: Exact match keywords A few years ago if you could get an exact match phrase you’d be more likely to rank at the top. Now this isn’t so popular and can look a bit spammy. However, for local search, things like ArchitectMelbourne.com.au still rank extremely well if you can get them. Keyword + noun Another popular method is to take the keyword that you are targeting and add a noun or adjective to it. Blog Tyrant could be an example of this approach if I was targeting the keyword “blog”. Distinctive domains This is actually now the best option given that all the good keyword domains are taken. Being distinctive is important. Look at a site like ViperChill where the domain name has nothing to do with anything but you’ll never forget it. Once you’ve decided on your domain name you can register it and do all your WordPress set up through BlueHost. This is a good idea because then everything is in the one place. Here is a tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog and bit more about blog hosting in general if you’re interested.   3. Change your general WordPress settings for better SEO performance   For the most part, WordPress is a pretty SEO-friendly platform. That being said, there are a few little default things that we want to change from the get go. The first is your default permalinks structure which is often set to some combo of the date and name. I like to set this to just post name as we will want the keywords that we are targeting to show up in the post. Just go Settings > Permalinks > Post Name. Remember, if you already have your blog up and running you don’t want to change any existing permalinks as that will result in any links pointing to that old structure to throw an error. We only want it for future things. The next thing you want to make sure is that your post titles are set to h1 tags and not anything else. Often you find that WordPress themes have the site name as the first header and then the post title is h2 which is a mistake. You can change this by going Appearance > Editor > Single Post and then changing your post title to the right tag. The last basic WordPress thing we want to change is your sidebar. Get rid of everything in there except for an email subscriber opt-in form and maybe some links to your most popular posts. You don’t need all that Meta stuff in there, and you especially don’t want any blogroll links.   4. Install an SEO-specific plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast I personally use "All in One SEO" by the great guys at SemperPlugins for WordPress over Yoast, I found Yoast useful when I started blogging but certain aspects just irked me the wrong way. So I simply searched "SEO" on the plugin page and found "All in One SEO", saw the number of downloads read the reviews and was sold...

5 NEW SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TRENDS TO JUMP ON FOR UPCOMING HOLIDAYS   As summer’s winding down, it is time to start gaining a competitive edge before the holiday rush, which is why you need to pay attention to these three big social media marketing and advertising trends that are all the rage these days.   #1: Live Video Streaming   As video has taken over our social feeds, live streaming has popped up on the horizon as the hip new hip sidekick to regular video. Whether it be Facebook Live, Periscope, SnapChat, or Instagram, engaging with your audience in real-time through video is becoming essential to your social strategy. Video helps humanize your brand, but live video actually connects an individual to your brand in real-time, which is even more powerful than well-produced recorded content. The other benefit of live video is that the production quality isn’t expected to be high, which eases the production process. Most recently we’ve seen big brands use live video in a variety of ways, from Marc Jacobs using live video to give a sneak peak of their 2016 fashion line, The Tonight Show providing a behind-the-scenes look backstage before the show, and Madden video games providing behind-the-scenes coverage of players. But these are HUGE brands. How can you use live video? Live video can be used to build excitement about a new product release, show off your company culture, give live coverage of an event, or even host a live Q&A with your super-fans. The possibilities are endless. Check out the post below for a live video we made at Wistia of the unboxing of the brand new Canon 5D MarkIV. This is a great use-case of live video as this new video camera is a pretty big deal for a huge chunk of our customers, so the live stream was especially interesting for our audience.     Still not convinced? Live videos receive 10x more comments than pre-recorded videos, according to the VP of Facebook in Europe, Nicola Mendelsohn.   #2: Social SlideShow Ads   Ahh! More new and exciting forms of interactive visual content. What could be better!? Social slideshows are popping up in more and more social networks and for good reason! Social slideshows are easy to create and can utilize images, videos, or both. Advertisers can even pay to play for these babies leading to more, even more, exposure and interaction. So whether you’re showing off your new winter ski apparel or displaying videos promoting your upcoming conference, slideshows are a great way to help your social audience interact with your brand in a memorable way. These ads also work! Take the sock company Stance for instance;comparing their static image ads to slideshow ads, they saw a decrease in cost per acquisition by 48%, a 2.42X increase in click-through-rate, and a 1.48 increase in return on ad spend. Pretty outstanding stuff! Facebook also just made some improvements to their slideshow ads, outlined here.   #3: Diversifying Landscape of Social Channels   With different forms of content and social interaction, we’re also seeing more channels emerge as important places for marketers and advertisers to build a strong presence. Online social communities, run through platforms like Slack, are becoming a more and more important area for marketers to engage with their customers and prospects. Medium, Inbound.org, and Reddit are critical places to spread awareness of your content. Not to mention Snapchat and Instagram are taking over with sponsored stories and in-line ads. Long gone are the days of only having to maintain a Facebook and Twitter page. “Now, forms of interaction are starting to diversify. Platforms like Snapchat are allowing more one-sided conversations, in a more fleeting, temporary context. Brands and consumers are able to talk to each other in new, more diverse ways, and that range is only broadening,” says Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.   #4: Instagram Stories   Instagram recently stole a page from Snapchat’s book by adding a story feature at the top of the feed. Now social browsers can see what their favorite Instagrammers are doing for 24 hours. So why copy Snapchat? Perhaps Facebook is still a bit bitter about Snapchat’s declining to sell the app for $3 billion, but regardless the reaction to this new Instagram feature was mixed. Some were outraged, others pleased to have their snap stories moved to their favorite social network.     Regardless, this has been a big opportunity for businesses to showcase their brands in a prime location on the app. Large brands like Starbucks, Taco Bell, and JCrew have already been taking advantage, as well as smaller brands like Justin’s PB and HubSpot. “Over time we look forward to introducing new advertising and other business opportunities as part of Instagram Stories,” says the Instagram Business Blog. “In the meantime, we’re excited to see all the ways our community will use it to highlight their businesses on Instagram.”   #5: Social Chat   Did you know that over 900 million people use Facebook Messenger? WhatsApp has become one of the largest chat apps in the world. Seventy-seven of the top 100 Fortune companies use Slack. Chat is no longer just used for internal communications, but it’s being used more and more to engage with prospects in a more personalized manner. “People are becoming more interested in actually communicating, rather than broadcasting,” according to Harvard Business Review. Marketers need to start utilizing chat apps to engage in real-time with their leads rather than posting and wishing for the best. In the future chat, bots will likely make this scalable in new and fascinating ways. About the Author: Margot is a Customer Success Coach at Wistia. She loves all things digital, and spends her free time running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on: Twitter: @ChappyMargot Google+: +Margot da Cunha LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/margotdacunha...

Jack Smith is one of the premier Growth Hackers out there & straight online hustler, CEO, Founder & Advisor.   Founder of Mediaroots, Vungle & Shyp talks about his growth hacking technique that landed his startup in the hands of VC AngelPad. Here is his keynote at last years HustleCon conference.   [su_youtube_advanced url="https://youtu.be/y5RVV37_-Kc" width="560" height="320"]   Here is his personal story and visionary tactics. Visit Jack's personal blog here. (via JackSmith.eu)   I moved to America four years ago, when I was 22. Since then, I’ve co-founded two startups that have raised ~$90 million in venture capital and have created hundreds of jobs in five different countries. Greg Kumparak, a writer at TechCrunch, wrote that I was “just about the biggest (actual) hustler I’ve ever met.” And so, because this month on The Hustle is all about gaming the system, here are 1,200 words explaining how I honeybadgered my way into a situation that changed my life. Only a few years ago I was in a cramped East London office with my co-founder and three interns. It was the summer of 2011. I was running my first startup when I came across an article on TechCrunch that changed everything. A new incubator in San Francisco was giving $120,000 to anyone accepted into its program. At the end of the article, it said: “[The incubator] was nice enough to keep one spot open for any entrepreneur(s) reading this post. If you’re interested in applying, you have until Wednesday.” I told my business partner Zain that we should apply. “Naw man, they just tweeted that they’ve gotten hundreds of applications in the past few hours. There’s no point,” he said.   Thomas Korte ‏@thomask 160 AngelPad applications in the past 8 hours ...

New to Google AdWords? Don't have a clue on what to do or how to even begin? Well there's a solution for that, but you have to admit your a dummy first.   The powerful Larry Kim of Google fame and founder of one of our Influencer's WordStream.com has put together an INCREDIBLE resource for PPC & AdWords beginners properly titled "AdWords for Dummies"   WordStream, a provider of PPC Management Software and Web Marketing Services, is committed to helping small businesses learn AdWords and better understand the PPC process. That’s why we’ve organized a free Google AdWords For Dummies Learning Center, providing the ultimate resource library of information that will assist you in understanding AdWords and optimizing your AdWords campaigns. We have a wide variety of the best free tips, tools, white papers, and ebooks for beginner, intermediate, and advanced Google AdWords users. Beginner's AdWords for Dummies Help Intermediate AdWords for Dummies Help Advanced AdWords for Dummies Help Google AdWords for All Dummies   Beginner's AdWords for Dummies: PPC Help and EBooks for Newbies If you’re new to AdWords, our Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies section is the best place to start! How AdWords Works – Wondering about what is AdWords and how AdWords works? Our informative infographic explains process of the AdWords bid auction in a visually appealing and easy to understand format. Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies Book: Improving Quality Score This Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies eBook offers an in-depth look at Quality Score, how it's calculated, why it's important, and what Google says itself about optimizing Quality Score. You’ll gain a clear understanding of how to obtain the benefits of higher Quality Score, and how high Quality Scores can lower your cost per click. Beat AdWords at its own game with this Improving Quality Score download. Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies Download: Top 10 Ways Keyword Management Improves Search Marketing This Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies EBook explains top ten benefits of implementing keyword management best practices. Following these best practices turns your keywords into qualified traffic, leads, and sales. This free download discusses: Keyword Discovery Keyword Grouping and Organization Structuring Campaigns for Maximum Reach and High ROI Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies: Keyword Research for SEO EBook Our Beginner’s AdWords for Dummies Keyword Research EBook includes: The Keyword Research Cheat Sheet – This PDF cheat sheet offers a bird's-eye view of what keyword research is, what it isn’t, and why it’s important. The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Competition – Top 35 of the biggest names in SEO weigh in on how to best determine the competitiveness of a keyword. 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After reading this guide, you'll understand: If you really need to outsource your PPC campaign management What qualities to look for in an online marketing agency What questions to ask potential PPC advertising agencies   Intermediate AdWords for Dummies: PPC Tips for Intermediate Advertisers Free AdWords Performance Grader – This free tool grades your Google AdWords account by examining essential AdWords metrics such as Quality Score, CTR, and long-tail keyword optimization. Perfect for the intermediate AdWords user looking to evaluate their current AdWords performance. Intermediate AdWords for Dummies: PPC Best Practices This intermediate AdWords for Dummies eBook contains proven methodology, workflow, and tools for maximizing return on investment and simplifying the management of PPC campaigns. Intermediate AdWords for Dummies Download: How to Choose a PPC Software Platform This Intermediate AdWords for Dummies PPC buying guide will provide you with the information necessary to choose the best PPC management platform that's right for your business. With this free buying guide download, you’ll be able to answer key questions like: Is PPC software worth the investment? Could the right platform help me increase my ROI? What areas of my campaigns need extra help? What kinds of tools address my specific needs? Intermediate AdWords for Dummies: Controlling Costs with Negative Keywords This free intermediate AdWords for Dummies white paper is packed with information to help you understand and implement negative keywords.   Advanced AdWords for Dummies: Tricks for Advanced Marketers Advanced AdWords for Dummies: AdWords Match Types The keyword matching options that you use in Google AdWords can have a major impact on the effectiveness and spend level of your PPC campaigns. Read this advanced AdWords for Dummies white paper and gain insight into: Different keyword match types offered in AdWords How, when, and why to use each match type to get the best results Best practices for applying each match type Advanced AdWords for Dummies PDF: Measuring the Long Term ROI of PPC This advanced AdWords for Dummies download offers tips to evaluate and improve the long-term value of your campaigns. Download this white paper and learn: Why search engine marketing campaigns are chronically undervalued Questions you should be asking about your SEM campaigns How to measure the long-term ROI of your PPC campaigns How you can improve the profitability of your SEM efforts with superior tools and techniques Advanced AdWords for Dummies: 7 Ways to Conduct a Better Search Campaign If you’ve got seven days, you’ve got the time to create a hard-working, high-performance search campaign. This advanced AdWords for Dummies download will help you build a comprehensive, relevant, dynamic campaign. As soon as next week, your business could be seeing: An increase in impressions and traffic More qualified leads Lower costs and higher ROI   Google AdWords for Dummies: Free Resources for All Levels! These tools and resources are great for all levels of PPC knowledge. AdWords Help From the Experts – Read our collection of interviews with top AdWords experts who scored high on our AdWords Performance Grader. Get AdWords for Dummies tips from the experts. AdWords Learning Center - Find out how to best optimize your PPC account through our learning center. Webinars – Watch past AdWords help webinars online, download webinar slides, or sign up for our next webinar! Subscribe to the WordStream Blog – Our blog is updated every day with new help topics for PPC and AdWords. The WordStream Marketing Blog provides the best tips for all levels of PPC knowledge, from beginners to advanced users. Free Keyword Tools – Our AdWords keyword selector tool provides the AdWords keywords help you need. Our free AdWords tools include: Free AdWords Keyword Tool Free AdWords Keyword Niche Finder Free AdWords Keyword Grouper Free AdWords Negative Keyword Tool Try WordStream Advisor Free! - WordStream offers powerful PPC software that can help revitalize your Google AdWords account. Our advanced software makes it easy to create and craft successful   What is Google AdWords What is AdWords? Google AdWords is Google's advertising system in which advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google's search results. Since advertisers have to pay for these clicks, this is how Google makes money from search. This infographic will help you understand how AdWords works, detailing the AdWords auction, bidding process and explaining important factors like Quality Score and cost-per-click. If you're asking "How does AdWords Work?" this infographic is for you! Does AdWords Work? Does Google AdWords work? Depending on the competitiveness of the keywords you're bidding for and the relevancy of that keyword to real conversions for your company, AdWords may or may not work for your business. For the most part, we've found that Google AdWords is extremely effective for many kinds of businesses, as long as they don't waste their money on the wrong keywords, or write weak, low CTR ads. How much does Google AdWords cost? Many factors can affect the costs of AdWords for your business. Learn all about these costs, how bidding works, and the average cost per click for advertisers in our guide to "How Much Does AdWords Cost?" How to advertise with Google AdWords Businesses can advertise on Google by opening a Google AdWords account. How does AdWords bidding work? The actual position of your ad is determined by your ad rank (Maximum Bid times Quality Score). The highest ad rank gets the 1st ad position. Your actual CPC will be determined by the ad rank of the next highest ad below you divided by your Quality Score. The only exception of this rule is when you are the only bidder or the lowest bid in the AdWords auction; then you pay your maximum bid per click! AdWords bidding heavily penalizes advertisers who bid with low quality scores. Conversely, those with high Quality Scores get higher ad ranks and lower CPC. How many times does a Google auction run? The auction gets run billions of times each month. The results are such that users find ads that are relevant to what they're looking for, advertisers connect with potential customers at the lowest possible prices and Google rakes in billions of dollars in revenue. How does the Google auction work? Once a query is made on Google, the search engine processes the request and runs the auction which will then determine the ad positions and each advertiser's CPC. How do you enter a Google auction? Your ads are eligible to be entered into an auction whenever you're bidding on keywords relevant to the user's search query. Your bids, Quality Score, and relevance will come into play in determining whether your ad qualifies to display on the SERP. What gets entered into a Google auction? Once advertisers identity keywords they want to bid on, Google then enters the keyword from your account that it deems most relevant into the auction with the maximum bid you've specified as well as the associated ad. What is CPC? CPC, or cost per click, is the amount an advertiser pays each time someone clicks on their AdWords ad. How does CPC work? Your CPC is determined by the competitiveness of your keywords, your maximum bids, and your Quality Scores. Learn the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords. What is average cost per click? The average amount you spend each time a searcher click on your advertisement. What is Google Quality Score? This is a metric Google uses to determine how relevant and useful your ad is to the user, based primarily on your ad's CTR, keyword relevance, and the quality of your landing page. The higher your Quality Score, the better: high Quality Score keywords will save you money and earn you better ad rankings. How does Google determine what you pay? The price paid by the advertiser is determined by the amount of clicks that the company's advertisement receives. What is Google ad rank? Google ad rank is the position of the company's advertisement on the search engine page based on a combination of the company's maximum bid and quality score. Ad rank vs. Quality score The ad rank is more significant to an advertiser because it determines the how high on the page the advertisement will be displayed. Quality score on the other hand is determined by the relevance and usefulness to the searcher and is only a portion of the advertisement positioning process.As of 2013, Google's Quality score has become more and more valuable as the average quality score has changed from a 7 to 5. Quality score vs. CPC Quality score and CPC are important because they collective determine the positioning of the advertisement on the search engine results page. What is ad position in AdWords? Ad position is the position on the search engine page results where the advertisement appears in relation to all of the other advertisements. What is Actual CPC? Actual CPC is the amount an advertiser pays each time a searcher clicks on their advertisement; this number varies depending on the other advertisers in the auction and is always lower than the maximum bidding price. How does AdWords calculate Actual CPC Actual CPC is determined by dividing the ad rank of the competitor below them (ad rank to hit) by quality score plus $.01. What are alternative bidding methods? Alternative bidding methods include CPM and CPA. What is CPM bidding? CPM bidding is based on impressions and can be used alongside CPC bidding. CPC vs. CPM CPC is the cost for an advertisement based on how many clicks it receives whereas CPM is the cost for an advertisement based on how many impressions it picks up. Both methods can be used simultaneously. What are AdWords keywords? Keywords in AdWords are the words and phrases that advertisers bid on, in hopes that their advertisements will appear on the search engine results page (SERP) when people are searching for those products or services. For example, if you sell shoes online, you might bid on keywords like "Nike sneakers" and "penny loafers." Keyword research is the process of using tools and data to determine which keywords are most likely to drive relevant traffic to your ads and your site. What is search engine optimization? Search engine optimization is the act of improving the visibility of your site or page within a search engine results page through organic methods. This can be done by using search keywords within your content so that a search engine can find and display your site faster and with more accuracy. Site authority and your link profile also play a role in your search engine rankings. How does the Google display network work? The Google Display Network or GDN is a very large network of sites that allow Google to place display advertisements, which reach over 90% of all Internet users! Advertisers generally find that Display Network clicks are less costly than those on the search network. And depending on your targeting methods, the CTR's can be high and the CPA's low. What is an ad group in Google AdWords? How do ad groups work? An ad group is a container for your AdWords advertisements, keywords, and landing pages. Google tends to reward advertisers who create AdWords campaigns with tightly structured ad groups. It's important not to dump all your keywords into the same ad group, but to organize your keywords into themes. What is ad relevance in AdWords? Ad relevance is a measure of how related the keyword you're bidding on is to your advertisements as well as how much your keywords match the message of your ads and landing pages. Higher ad and keyword relevance can improve your click-through rates and Quality Scores. How does Conversion Optimizer work? Conversion Optimizer in Google AdWords is a bid manipulation tool that manages bids at the keyword-level with the goal of trying to drive as many conversions at or below an advertiser-specified cost per conversion (also known as Cost per Action, or CPA). I advertise on Google. How am I doing? At WordStream, we've analyzed tens of thousands of Google AdWords accounts from all over the world, in all sorts of industries. The easiest way to see how you're doing at Google PPC is to benchmark your PPC performance against similar advertisers in your industry and spend range. Thankfully, WordStream's got a free tool for that. Click below to give our Google AdWords Grader a free run!  ...