Are you using the best tools for your search marketing and conversion marketing programs, and are you using them to the best of your advantage? There are a variety of applications offered by various vendors, however Google leads the pack with three applications in particular: Analytics, Adwords and Website Optimizer. It may not be perfectly clear as to how the Google applications work together and what the function of each one is. So let’s demystify the situation. Below we highlight a few Google applications, and each one can be used to help you create, manage and implement your search and conversion marketing program. Best of all, these applications are free or are available at very reasonable costs. As an added bonus, these applications are web-based, which means you don’t have to host them on your server.
Information is power, and from that perspective Google Analytics, Google Adwords and Google Website Optimizer together are a nuclear power plant! Together, these three applications can help you answer more than just how many visitors were on you site yesterday. They can help you answer as specific of a question as, “How many visitors from Chicago who speak Spanish clicked on my pay-per-click advertisement and actually converted?” And “Which version of the specific advertisement I showed them was more effective?” Furthermore, the tools can help you use the information from those questions to identify and create tests with your site to further improve your conversion rates. Now, that’s powerful stuff!
Google Analytics houses all of the information collected about your site’s visitors, and allows you to view it in hundreds of different reports. It costs nothing (other than your time) to open a Google Analytics account for your website. Think of Google Analytics as a giant database that allows you to collect loads of data about your site’s visitors, and perform highly specific queries to slice and dice visitor data in just about any way you desire. Google Analytics can be even more powerful when used in conjunction with another Google application (Adwords or Website Optimizer) to help you manage your search and conversion marketing programs. If you’re serious about increasing your site’s traffic and conversion rate, you should be incorporating Google Analytics into just about everything you do.
Google Adwords is Google’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) program, and its interface allows users to manage the campaigns that drive traffic to Web sites on a cost per click basis. Opening an Adwords account is easy, and only requires $5 and a few minutes. In Adwords, users can implement new PPC campaigns, edit keyword lists, change ads, and manage their PPC budget. Additionally, Adwords gives you access to a number of tools than can give you insights into everything from seasonal trends across industries to keyword research. Adwords also provides a number of reports to view your PPC campaign statistics and progress, and your Adwords account can be linked to Google Analytics to give you even more data about your ads and paid traffic. The data available in Adwords are certainly extremely useful, but any organization serious about improving their search and conversion marketing program should be exploiting the wealth of information that a solid analytics package (like Google Analytics) provides in addition to the Adwords reports.
Google Website Optimizer allows users to conduct statistical tests on their site’s pages to determine which variables will improve the probability that a visitor will convert on the website’s goals. Website Optimizer is free, but as it is accessed through the Adwords interface, it is only available to users who have an Adwords account. So technically Website Optimizer costs you the $5 you need to open an Adwords account. The variables you can test are virtually unlimited – they can range from changing the page background color, testing different ad copy, different images, different headlines, different positioning, and different layouts and designs to the combination of size and location buttons, trust logos, affiliation links, and anything in between. Website Optimizer offers two statistical analysis methods (A/B split testing and full factorial multivariate testing) to help you design and implement tests that will determine what changes on your site affect the probability of visitors converting on your site’s goals. Website Optimizer uses Analytics-like tracking code to run the tests, and you can use Google Analytics to see the long term trends that result from your Website Optimizer testing. If you’re not converting 100% of your visitors, then you should be testing your website right now.
Still not sure where to begin? WebShare (now Cardinal Path) offers consulting and training services to help you make the most of your search and conversion marketing programs. Webshare is one of a handful of companies in the world that is an authorized consultant for Google Analytics, Adwords and Website Optimizer as well as a certified consultant for a number of other tools including Yahoo! Search Marketing. Without a doubt, Google Analytics, Adwords and Website Optimizer can be intimidating, and they do take time to master. However, if used to their fullest potential these three applications can help you improve your search and conversion marketing programs by leaps and bounds.