Understanding Your Conversion Attribution Model

Have you ever wondered why your AdWords or ad campaigns aren’t yielding any conversions? Or at least not as many as you’d like them to. You do the usual: you check keywords, tags, add negative keywords, fine tune your landing pages, but still conversions aren’t adding up. This frustration is more common than you think, but it is also a symptom of not looking at the big picture.

Don’t rely on a single strategy to get your conversions

Often times business owners hear about isolated strategies that might help their business. Or marketers put all their eggs in a single basket. This couldn’t be further from the true path a user takes when deciding to make a purchase, or contact a service / product provider. Even if Google’s micromoments video makes you instantly think about how a single click on your ad can lead to a direct purchase, this is rarely the case.

Micromoments and context

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that “Micromoments” are a lie. Quite the contrary, it points out true, real life situations in which we pull out our smartphones and search for whatever we need, think or want an answer to. And brands should definitely be there for those moments. However, that does not mean users make an instant purchase.

If you watch the video, you’ll see how a woman needs a new blow dryer, and another woman is looking for a running app. Their search was sparked by a moment in their lives, a thought, or a life goal (getting fit in the case of the running app). However, it’s most likely that the woman looking for a blow dryer will try to compare brands, prices, and shipping dates and costs before making a purchase. The other woman will may be download the app, or ask her friends, and compare app reviews before making a decision.

Thinking that this single micromoment will turn into an instant purchase would be like saying that all love relationships are the result of love at first sight. Although some relationships are indeed the result of love at first sight, the truth is the vast majority of relationships go through many other getting-to-know-each-other steps. The same thing happens when buying a product or engaging with a brand.

Understanding attribution models

There are many types of industries, companies, products, services, and values. They all work differently. For some, AdWords will be more effective than for others. Other factors also play a role: geography, target, landing pages, etc. So in order for you to understand what strategy mix works best for you, you need to get to know how your user behaves, thus the importance of your attribution model, or to which strategy(ies) do you attribute your success to.

Go to Google Analytics > reporting > conversions > multi-channel conversions > top conversion paths. You’ll see something like this:

top-conversion-paths

As you can see, there are a number of paths different users take in order to finally convert. You can see how different strategies influence each other. On the first path for example, paid search is a major driver, but the conversion doesn’t end there. The user exits the funnel, and reenters it through a referral link. Referral links can be links placed in an email, publication, or anywhere else.

I’ve seen conversion paths that are longer than the ones you see above. It really depends on your product, and its costs. As a rule of thumb, the pricier the product, the longer the path. Users decide more carefully when it comes to bigger purchase decisions or stronger commitments.

Designing the right strategy mix for you

Once you have enough data, you can start making conclusions on how different strategies support each other. Design your conversion funnel accordingly, and don’t be afraid to test new strategies, landing pages, or even targets. Just remember to always go back to your analytics and check on these conversion paths.

For example, you may not see conversions on your AdWords campaigns. However, if you take a look at your conversion paths and see that they play a major role in driving the user through the conversion funnel, then it means that your campaigns are still working and are important enough to influence buyer’s intent.

iOS Country Restrictions

Recently my partner and I had a major change in our lives: we moved from Mexico to the US. Besides the fact that an international move has its major challenges in practically every area in life, there is one minor detail I didn’t count on: iOS’ country restrictions.

You see, Apple assigns you a “national” iTunes store according to your credit card’s country of origin. It doesn’t matter if you are now living in a new country, are an exchange student or what have you. Your iTunes store will not change countries unless your credit card does.

That wouldn’t be a major problem, except for the fact that I’m fairly new to the city/country, and don’t yet have a local credit card (though it’s on its way!). Therefore, cool services like Car2Go, Zipcar, and oh! Starbucks Rewards US, are beyond the reach of my crazy-for-iOS fingers. Bummer.

On the other hand, my partner decided to jump the Steve Jobs ship, and moved over to the dark side: Android. He now owns a shiny new Nexus, and as much as a I hate to admit, he has the full US-tech experience that I don’t. He doesn’t have the restriction I do. I’ve never personally owned an Android phone, but just the fact that he can find parking through a local app and I have to circle around for more than 15-min in downtown Seattle to find a spot, makes me want to have one too.

Fortunately, I don’t have to jump over to the dark side since it will be sooner rather than later that I can make the switch to the US iTunes store. But that just made me wonder, what about iOS users who are staying in another country for a short period of time, a few months or even a year? They will have to miss out on local experiences just because they won’t have a local credit card. Did Apple ever thought about this? Is that a deal-breaker for iOS users who want to enjoy what local apps have to offer?

I’ll ask around and tell you the answer soon enough.

When Growth Strategies Should be Outsourced

Where to begin? I’ve read dozens of business books on growth, startups, and product market fit. They all have been of great influence on how I perceive digital marketing to be, and the role it plays for businesses. But more importantly, experiencing first hand what marketing efforts can do for a startup or a business, has made me truly understand why outsourcing growth can be of great value for a company.

Growth Hacking seems to be yet another buzz word. In my view, it is just a trendy way to explain what businesses (digital & brick and mortar alike) have been doing – or trying to do- since Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”. After all, if you are a business owner, wouldn’t you want to actually grow your business? Yet throughout time we have gradually narrowed down or specialised our skill sets to come up with better results. That has given way for a bigger division of labor. You may be a business owner, but that does not mean you will excel in all of the tasks, skills, and knowledge required to build a profitable business; in fact, that’s the point, you shouldn’t be. You are trying to deliver value to your customers with your product or service, so focus on creating that value from the ground up. Thus “delegating” and “team work” become the key to your business’ success.

This delegation of tasks need not necessarily mean that you need to hire a great deal of people and do everything in-house. On a broader scale, that would defeat the purpose of delegating; you would be trying to do everything yourself, as a company. This can happen at any level of expertise or industry. So in order to decide which tasks should be done in-house and which should be outsourced, you should really put pen to paper, and define what you really are good at as a company: what exactly are you selling? Everything else, should be delegated or outsourced. Not only will this make you greater at what you do, but will also save you costs in the long run.

Growth Hacking can certainly be one of these outsourced tasks. There is an entire industry dedicated to help you grow your business. This doesn’t mean that you should forget about your marketing strategies at all, it just means that you are leveraging someone else’s expertise for your benefit. Of course, you should always find a company or a professional that understands your offering, delivers results, and maintains an open channel of communication with you. Remember, you are outsourcing your growth strategy, not alienating it, so communication with your growth hacker or marketer is of the utmost importance. The only way to know that for sure, is to go out and try their services.

Make sure to first check your own expectations, and goals. Are they realistic? What are your metrics of success? Find someone who gets them, and designs an actionable growth strategy for them. In the end, the successful scenario is one where you can focus 100% on your business, while someone is making sure it grows.

Original Post Published on LinkedIn

Out of Stock: iPad Mini & iPhone 5

iPad Mini
iPad Mini

It seems it is an entirely new era for Apple. Even if the world hadn’t learned about Steve Jobs’ passing away and Tim Cook taking over the direction of the company, one need only take a look at the latest developments chez-Apple to notice things have definitely taken a new direction.

First off, the iPhone 5 has taken heavy criticism. Even though people stood in line for hours outside Apple stores around the world to get their hands on the new iPhone, many have also felt there hasn’t been true innovation in the latest iPhone model. Other than it being slimmer, lighter and of course taller, there are other things that haven’t really changed. To be fair, the new aluminum model maintains the innovative model, and an easy grip.

The real annoyance was with the new Apple Maps application. Routes, streets and general addresses are inaccurate and practically unusable.  I have personally tried to use them several times, and there’s an even number between failure and success to find my way thanks to the app. Tim Cook had to publicly apologize to all users, saying that in truth, the new Maps app has fallen short from high expectations. Samsung of course took huge advantage in this flaw to start campaigns like “With Samsung, you know where you’re going”

iPhone 5
iPhone 5

What does really come as something new, is the iPad Mini. When Jobs was still around, he often refused the idea to come up with a smaller iPad model, mainly because he did not want to “go down” a level and compete directly with the Kindle Fire. Still, interestingly enough, after Tim Cook announced the new tablet, there was mention that Jobs was “reconsidering” his statement days before he passed away.

However, the iPad Mini is much more affordable, and even though it is not equipped with retina display, a great number of users are extremely satisfied with the mini tablet. Online sells have run out of stock [fortunately I could get one of the last online purchases of the iPad Mini myself – does it show that I’m an Apple lover?]. To play devil’s advocate, nothing can be perfect forever. There are bound to be flaws, even from the greatest companies in the world.

Both products have run out of stock mostly as soon as they are released in different parts of the world. Not to mention the never-ending lines outside retailers. If you ask me, the video shown at the Keynote by Cook on the new opening of an Apple Store in Barcelona was a tad much, even tacky if you will.

Just to sum it up, as they say “God – or the devil? – is in the details”, as is Tim Cook or Steve Jobs once upon a time. Can you tell the difference yourself?

watch?v=SvAjFZ0gWNc

The Pros and Cons of iOS 6

iOS6 Update
iOS6 Update

So it’s that time of year when Apple presented the new iPhone to the world with a unique keynote (others would call it a sales pitch). Aside from mentioning the new iPhone 5 now that everyone is talking about it, let’s focus more on the iOS update. Even though there are camping lines outside Mac stores in Asia and Australia to purchase the iPhone 5 , the rest of the world is updating iOS on their previous iPhone versions.

There are quite a few features that have changed in iOS 6. The thing that has stirred up a few loud opinions is Apple’s move to discard Google Maps and replace them with Apple Maps. Although indeed there is a 3D mode to view these maps, there is no street view and the UI seems a bit more austere when it comes to hybrid view.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps
Apple Maps vs Google Maps

Another move from Apple is to have removed the pre-installed YouTube app. Yet on the other hand, iOS6 now has a native Facebook app; among other things, this allows for you to directly share your media from your camera roll onto Facebook, as opposed to previous iOS versions in which you had to pull your media from the Facebook app. These changes have driven some to believe that there is an alliance between Facebook & Apple to try to keep Google out of the competition. Now if we all remember the part in which the late Steve Jobs vowed to crush Android because of its “stolen” technologies, well, there isn’t much room for doubt.

Another very interesting improvement is that now Siri speaks other languages, including Spanish. You can also include other voice commands, like Tweeting via Siri.

Tweeting with Siri
Tweeting with Siri

The App Store has a whole new UI and even has recommended apps for you to download. It no longer asks for your Apple ID password. There are plenty of other sutil changes you’ll notice as you navigate through your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. If there are any you like or I didn’t mention, please drop me a line and I’ll make sure to include it in this post.

What is your opinion of iOS6? Would you stay with the previous version if you knew beforehand?

 

Self Improvement Everywhere

Technology has always been there to make our lives easier. Get things done quicker, with less hassle and of course with better quality. But today, with a smartphone being a lot of people’s personal savior, apps do almost everything, everywhere.

However, something that can be noticeable and trending in the last few months is self-improvement. Being apps, or gamification features in certain brands (like Nike +), their ultimate goal is to make you stick to your goals and always be looking for self-improvement. This results in a win-win situation: you get things done in a better, faster way and brands have you engaged.

As mentioned before, Nike + has a very interesting gamification plan. It gets you to buy the appropriate gear to be in the game, or at least download their Nike+ app for iOS (iPod nano, touch and iPhone included). Personally, I’m hooked with this game plan. Not only do I now save Gym money, but I actually use my gear and run 15k a week. What keeps me going? The fact that I can track my progress and share my results with my friends via social networks. It’s nice to see a histogram of your performance and then compare the actual results in your every day life.

Now, as far as self-improvement apps go, there are several start ups with this idea in mind. For example Lift. As described in Venture Beat, Lift is a one-year-old start up in San Francisco that is looking to make people seek self-improvement –guess post it notes on your mirror aren’t cutting it anymore–. You set up alarms and tasks so you know what you have to do, when you have to do it; and of course, it exposes you in front of your friends via social media. Avoiding the judgmental finger perhaps? Well, apparently with this and many other examples, it does help to be in the spotlight, whether you’re doing things right or wrong.

Brands call it engagement, people call it motivation. Whatever the point of view is, in the end, you achieve your goals and thank a brand for it in the process.

Scribble Away on Google

Article first published as Scribble Away on Google on Technorati.

Scribble your Search on Google
Scribble your Search on Google

Lately, there are more practical ways for you to input information on your smaller screens, especially when it comes to Google products. Not only has  for Android been recently released, but now you can scribble on your touchscreen for whatever it is you’re looking for on the Google Search Engine.

Google has now enabled a small button on the bottom right corner of your touchscreen for you to scribble block letters or cursive writing. As you go on scribbling, the autocomplete feature will be changing according to what you have written; then you can select the best option or the closest one to what you wrote.

TechCrunch says that “The new feature will work on iOS5+ devices, as well as Android 2.3+ phones and Android 4.0 tablets.”  Be that as it may, the new handwriting feature will not replace keyboard input. It will only make it easier for you to look for something while you’re holding a cup of coffee or are busy with other activities.

In order for you to use it, you first need to enable the handwriting option on your device’s Google preferences. Once you do, you’ll notice a small button on the bottom right corner, once you click on it, scribble away!

 

Introducing Bottlenose

Article first published as Intoducing Bottlenose on Technorati.

Dashboard
Dashboard

Without a doubt, the king of search engines doesn’t need to be introduced. It has become a verb and even an adjective. Google has been top innovation for quite a while now. This said, it also bases search results on keyword relevance and geolocation, among other very important factors. However, a new search engine is starting out with a similar notion, yet it has concocted a recipe with social media and crowdsourcing as its main ingredients: Bottlenose.

Unlike Google, you need to set up an account with Bottlenose so it can shape your search results based on your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Linked in and others). It also provides you with a remote posting service for all of your linked accounts.

As for search results, it gives you the option to save them to your dashboard so you can review them later. It also gives you a list of trending topics and trending people which with one clic you can browse everything about that subject. With all the saved results, trends and a summary of all the publications and articles you follow, you can review topics as if they were an electronic newspaper.

To play the devil’s advocate, this is not 100% new. There are plenty of other services that can come up with a summary of your favorite publications, just like Rockmelt, Percolate, or Flipboard. As for search results combined with Social Media, Google had iGoogle which was recently shut down.

However, this little video might walk you through this new product and if you find it convenient enough, you can always sign up, and of course, it’s for free.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUCcxGDzZDs&feature=youtu.be]