Archive for May, 2011

Using Dynamic Keywords: 5 Tips

Earlier I blogged about using Dynamic Keyword Insertion for paid links. Here are five tips to maximize your return using DKI.

1)  Tighter adgroups work better.

Dynamic Keywords can help make your ads more relevant, but they can also make you look silly. Have you ever seen an ad that says something like, “Buy Abdominal Pain at Amazon.com!”? I know I have, and I doubt it performed very well.  You need to look at your keywords and make sure that they will work properly when the dynamic content is in place. It is simplest when all of the ads are on the same theme and have the same syntactical requirements.  After you launch your campaign, you can use Google’s Ad Preview tool to check your work.

2) Specify a good default.

The Ad Copy rules regarding character limitations still apply in the case of DKI. So if the dynamic ad including the dynamic search term exceeds the space alotted, the engine won’t show the ad that way. Instead it will show the fallback default option that you have supplied.  Don’t just punt here and write something that will fit.  Work the ad! Write something that fits AND sells.

3) Use case properly.

Each engine has it’s own rules for case. The help links will give you the details.  Remember to use the casing abilities you have at your disposal and test different versions.  Though the example above doesn’t include it, I’ve found that an ALL CAPS word can make a big difference in ads. Give it a try.

4) DKI is not just for titles.

Dynamic keywords are most often used in titles only.  Indeed, that’s a fine place to start.  In my experience, the titles make the biggest difference. However, I think agreement between titles and description can also make a big difference. I definitely suggest testing a version where you try a dynamic insertion in the description lines too. You can also test dynamic insertion in the display url.

5) DKI works in MSN/Yahoo too. Try “param” values in MSN/Yahoo

Not only does MSN/Yahoo Adcenter have Dynamic Keywords, it’s also has something that Adwords does not that can make your ads more relevant. That’s right, the Alliance is out ahead in this area. The feature is called “Placeholders”.  Placeholders allow to change your ads throughout your campaigns by changing parameters that are inserted in your ad.  These parameters are referenced as {param2} and {param3}.

Example: The ad text “All roses are {param2} and {param3}” could change throughout the ad campaign to:

All roses are 10% off and shipped anywhere in the country.
All roses are 25% off and shipping is free.
All roses are half-price and guaranteed fresh.

Like dynamic keywords, you can (and should) specify default copy for your placeholders. Learn more about placeholders here.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Intro

Here’s a Quick Tip to help you get more out of your CPC ads.

Do you know what Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is?  If you do Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising, you should.  Dynamic Keyword Insertion allows you to insert the individual keyterm that triggered your ad into your text ad creative.  I’ve used dynamic keywords many times in Adwords and AdCenter campaigns and I can tell you that, in my experience, Dynamic Keywords DO generally improve your clickthrough rates. However, they are not a silver bullet and you need to know the details of how Dynamic Keywords work in order to get the most out of the functionality. This article is broken into two parts: this basic Overview of Dynamic Keyword Insertion and 5 Tips to Remember when Using Dynamic Keywords  Overview of Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)

Dynamic Keyword Insertion allows you to display a different ad for each person based on what they searched. Specifically, it allows you to include the keyterm from the search in your text ad. This can be helpful if you have adgroups with many different keywords (or keyphrases) that are similar and will work when inserted into your ad dynamically. Done well,  the usage of the keyterm related to the search makes your ad more relevant to the searcher, i.e. “a better match”, and it will garner your ad more clicks (higher clickthrough rates).

Here’s an example. Imagine that you have a store that sells handles and knobs, including doorknobs.  You have an adgroup with keyterms for doorknobs, e.g. Glass Doorknobs, Chrome Doorknobs, Cherry Doorknobs, Bronze Doorknobs, etc.
If you wrote a single ad for the adgroup in the typical way, someone searching for “glass doorknobs” would see:

Doorknobs
100s of knobs to choose from. Free Shipping.

Using DKI, you could write an ad like this:

Buy {KeyWord:Doorknobs Here}
100s of {keyword:doorknobs} in stock. Free Shipping!

Now the customer looking for “glass doorknobs”, would see:

Buy Glass Doorknobs
100s of glass doorknobs in stock. Free Shipping!

Is that better? I think so (but I’d be sure to test!).

So, how do you do it? Basically, you have to put some code-like language within curly braces.  Of course, the engines each have their own requirements and using the exact syntax is important.

Here are the help pages you need:

Google Adwords
Microsoft/Yahoo AdCenter

Next up: 5 Tips to Remember when Using Dynamic Keywords  Overview of Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)

Shopping on Facebook: Beta Testing & A/B Testing

There’s no such thing on Facebook as a “staging site” or a “sandbox”. So as you develop your embedded shopping experience you’ve got come up with a way to do it that won’t cause problems for your Facebook Fans or other visitors. This can actually be more difficult than it sounds, since the whole point of social shopping is to enable a shared experience and integrate fully with your Facebook presence, and how can you do that without disrupting users?

And once you’re live, can you manage A/B and multi-variant tests like you would on your own web site, or do you have to go through additional steps? And how do you seamlessly manage code updates so they don’t affect live shoppers?

Facebook Test Users

First, the easy part. If you’re testing involves user interactions, Facebook has a way to associate “test accounts” with applications so you can easily manage manual and automated testing via these accounts. You can read the official documentation here. Test users keep you legal and avoid Facebook’s automated secret police units that weed out fake users. In other words, they remain persistent (with a few caveats) so you can expect problems during testing to be related to your code, not your user.

Creating the Fake Fan Page

I don’t know if this is officially sanctioned or not, and certainly sounds like a Bad Idea, but during most of my testing, I simply create a fake “fan page” for a fake company, so I can link my app in to the menu and do strenuous testing, including browser testing. I use a single fake page for all my testing, and I have read that Facebook finds and removes them somehow, but I’ve never been caught I suppose. Unfortunately over time I seem to be getting real fans, so if I’m not careful I might have to convert the fake company to a real one just to keep them happy. 🙂

With a fake company page you can add the FB App and leave it there for others to test and comment, all the while keeping it hidden from real shoppers who could cause real problems for merchants and themselves. From the fake fan page I can fully flesh out templates and manage iFrame issues like pop-outs and such. Your mileage may vary, and of course it depends on your e-commerce platform, but with the CV3 platform a lot of testing involves making sure the Facebook Theme variable remains set, or gets unset if you pop out of the iFrame.

Moving to Your Real Fan Page

This is the toughest part of all, and I’d love suggestions on how this is best accomplished, but rolling out your shopping app to your Facebook Fans seems to be an all or none proposition. I’ve seen it done in different ways, but the simplest and most obvious is to add the app to the left-side menu with a parenthetical disclaimer and then follow that with in-app messaging and/or removal of checkout buttons.

So, for instance, your users might see in your page menu the link “Shop With Us (beta!)” and when they click on it and your app loads they might see embedded messages explaining what they can and can’t do at the moment. One neat idea is to add a prominent button during testing that simply pops them out if the iFrame and takes them to your real site if they have trouble.

In addition, you can comment out “add to cart” or “continue to checkout” buttons as needed during testing if you are concerned about customers having major issues.

The only saving grace here is that because of your fake fan page testing, by the time you reach this step you are necessarily ready for public testing and should have the entire shopping experience to a point that you shouldn’t have too many issues. One tip that will make this easier: anywhere in your app that calls for the fan page ID should use a variable, so you can swap out the ID in one place as you move back and forth between testing and live.

A/B and Multi-Variant Testing

This is really a topic for a larger conversation, and the resources are pretty limited still, but in general there are two things you need to be wary of when testing the Facebook shopping experience for better conversion. First, the tools you use must function within the iFrame environment. People have had trouble with many of their favorite tools, including Google Website Optimizer. One big issue arises when an embedded iFrame tries to set cookies at a domain other than the parent window, which pretty much defines exactly how Facebook Apps are intended to operate. This predominantly seems to affect Internet Explorer. Don’t ask my why, but setting an additional header seems to have cleared up most of my problems. Here’s the header, in PHP form:

<?php header(‘P3P: CP=HONK’); ?>

The second thing to keep in mind is the mathematics behind your definitions for success. You may choose to simply value the addition of a Facebook fan in the same way you would consider a catalog or e-mail sign-up on your web site, but be careful. We are talking about social shopping after all. Do your fan counts expand at ever increasing rates, faster than e-mail sign-ups? This certainly indicates that the valuation should be different on Facebook.

What about purchases? Are they valued in the traditional way, or do you see an upswing in fans or orders when purchasers automatically post their purchase to their wall?

These are just a few of the things that crop up when considering exactly how to embed your shopping experience inside Facebook. I’m certainly interested in hearing from others, feel free to comment and let me know what is working for you.

Where’s the Banana?

Okay, so I know this is a pretty basic topic, and not nearly as buzz worthy as Andy’s product extensions or Facebook’s credits, but it seems to me by far the easiest and most productive thing one can do to increase web store transactions. And even though I’ve told people at every cocktail party I’ve ever been invited to, it’s hard to believe how many web stores still don’t do it, even after all those parties.

My big secret is this: if you want people to buy stuff, you’ve got to get them to click the “proceed to checkout” link, so make it the biggest, bestest action item on the page.

It’s that simple. But try this experiment. Go visit a dozen online stores and count the ones that still use just a text link for the “proceed to checkout” action. Or if they use a button, they make it the same size and color of the “continue shopping” button. You’ll be amazed.

So to update an old Seth Godin theory for our purposes, your shoppers are (no offense) gorillas, and when a gorilla gets to your view cart page, what do they ask themselves?

Where’s the banana?

That’s right. You want it to be super clear to shoppers what you want them to do next. If they aren’t done shopping, they’ll know what to do, or take the time to figure it out. If they suddenly realize they’ve got the wrong size or color, they’ll take the time to figure out how change it.

But when they’re confused, or they start to slow down with their shopping, or they just aren’t sure what they want to do, that’s when we want to help them, that’s when we want to show them the banana.

Make it a big, bright green image button. Or do some fancy CSS and round the corners. It doesn’t matter what technology you use, it matters that it’s the most noticeable call-to-action on the page.

So why do so many stores not consider implementing this? It certainly can’t be a conscious decision. We’ve certainly never done an A/B test on a checkout button that suggested we should use the tiny, blue text version. I think a lot of it has to do with the way designers often mock up home, category and product pages, and programmers then interpret these designs for the rest of the site pages. Most e-commerce platforms, even CommerceV3, use text-based checkout links by default. It’s easy to replace, but someone has to remember to do it.

So take a fresh look at your own efforts and make sure you (or your testers) can immediately spot the banana. While you’re at it you may want to review the rest of your site pages using the same technique. But start on the view cart, where you’ll see the best return for your efforts.