Increase ecommerce conversion rates with segments in Google Analytics

Are you generating enough site traffic? Are there enough visitors each month that engage with your content and spend time on your site? Those are good things, but the important question is how you are doing with conversions, as that is where the magic happens! For many businesses, there will be slumps where conversions are not where you need them to be and increasing conversions is tougher than bringing in visitors. The reasons for not converting are many, which could include a poorly designed landing page or frustration with a slow page load time. Fortunately, the technical aspects of your site are somewhat clear cut and influence all users to the site. Either it loads quickly or it does not. It responds to mobile devices or does not. But there are principles that are about the groups visitors to a site. What do they search for and can you provide it? How are they different from each other? How are they similar? In short, you need smart segmentation if you want to continue to increase conversions. Here's a quick guide to using segments in Google Analytics. Segments vs personas In this post, we will build on some of the work you have hopefully done to create personas and highlight the value of segments when optimizing for conversions. Personas help you be empathetic to your customers. Visualizing a 35-year old professional female makes it easier to create the right message for her rather than general messages to all women. This is not about stereotypes. Personas help you hypothesize about similarities in how people behave. So how is that different from segments? There is confusion with segments versus personas and you want establish a definition for your team so you all work from the same framework. In the simplest terms, you segment your audience with existing data and create campaigns based on personas. Start with your segments. With Google Analytics, you can use segmentation to group people by identifying criteria such as location. Think of segments as the somewhat objective view of your audience based on raw data. (There is still some subjectivity when deciding the makeup of segments). Personas are very subjective - based more how a person thinks or feels. [subscribe] Get to know your audience with Google Analytics Google Analytics provides a lot of data that helps us understand our segments if we go beyond basic metrics, such as pageviews. Below are a few ways to learn more about your segments with the goal of increasing conversions and adding depth to your personas. Pages per Session: This is a basic metric in Google Analytics but you can go beyond scenarios, such as users visiting two pages compared to those visiting seven pages. Look at which pages they visited. Did they visit the intro offerings (probably a newcomer) or the help section (probably an existing customer)? Did they read the entire section about a topic (more methodical) or buy on the first visit (maybe more impulsive)? Note these are assumptions about motivations but you can develop hypotheses based on behavior. Content Grouping: Content grouping categorizes your site content based on rules created in the Admin section of your Google Analytics account.   Once you have these rules, you can view content groups for different scenarios, such as where people are the journey, how they flow through content, how they came into your site (traffic source), and how much time they spent on there. For sites with thousands of pages, this makes it more manageable than viewing individual pages. You can analyze conversions on the categories of your site rather than a specific page. Cohort Analysis: Found in the Audience section of Google Analytics, this is used to examine the behavior and performance of groups of users related by common attributes. It allows you to view a group of visitors based on a shared acquisition date. If you have a drip campaign scheduled for May, you may want a Cohort Date Range of May 1 to May 7 to target people who first visited the site during that time period. You can learn if people who visited on a specific day were more inclined to visit again than other members of that group. User Login: Custom Variables can be fired when users login. That provides additional data for more advanced segments by identifying the behavior of different customer types. Site visitors self-segment when they log into the site to take an action. With Custom Variables, you can see how behavior is different for those who log-in versus those who do not. Bounce Rate: We all get hung up on this metric. People see a site bounce rate of 78% and begin to panic but you need to drill in to see if that matters. Do existing customers and regular visitors bounce from a blog post? That is expected. However, if new people regular bounce from the site, look at the landing pages. There could be a message mismatch with the source that sent them to a particular page. Affinity Segments: Use affinity and in-market segments in Google Analytics to help define your personas. They are broad classifications about users which may be helpful when layered on top of other characteristics. For example, you may discover segments that prefer one content grouping over another. Collect metrics that matter When there is a difference in the conversion rate and user journey among segments, it indicates your identified segments truly represent distinct types of users. Read that again because whether your segments make sense determines whether your data is any good. With the right segments, you can determine which groups to cultivate or which ones to not pursue with limited resources. For example, if one segmented group regularly buys add-ons for product, that might justify allocating more advertising dollars. With target segments identified, you can also look at which marketing effort attracted them to your site. Some of this is obvious. If users in their 30s never respond to a CTA on your site from Facebook, you may not want to pay for ads on that channel or even post to it regularly. So yes, we all care about who converts compared to those who do not. But remember there are stages leading up to a conversion and this Facebook audience could still have a role, so watch where in the process people drop off. And hopefully by now you realize that non-converters are more than just non-converters. View this by segment too to identity what non-converters may have in comment. As data comes in, additional segmenting can be done by on locations, time of conversion, brand search terms versus early stages searches. But do not collect data for the sake of collecting data. Although it is easy to do with the abundance of data available in Google Analytics, it does not guarantee a return for your efforts. Want to know more? Get in touch with Tina’s agency, 360 Internet Strategy, and follow her on LinkedIn.  

2018-06-19

Using buyer personas to adjust Facebook ads

Facebook isn't just a social platform anymore. Even though the vast majority of users come to Facebook to keep up to date with news from friends, advertisers are finding in Facebook a real revenue stream and a platform to mine for more accurate data about their ideal customers. Around this time last year, I was struggling to use Google Analytics APIs and Google Sheets to identify user profiles for one of my top clients. This process was both tedious and time-consuming, but there was no alternative to doing it manually. I was basically making user personas by hand, and once I had established this user profile service, other customers began requesting it. By presenting it to them in my portfolio I found out just how little most companies actually knew about their user profiles and the invaluable data they provide. From a marketing perspective, most companies can’t afford not to know this information. These personas can dramatically improve ad performance because they’re based on accurate, useful consumer data. Littledata is committed to automating the most time-consuming parts of your day, so we started work on a Buyer Personas algorithm. The resulting Buyer Personas feature shows you which type of customer, on which type of marketing channel, is most likely to convert -- so you can spend smarter, not just more, on Facebook ad campaigns. Here's how to use those personas to get higher ROI on Facebook. Why it can be difficult to improve Facebook ad performance The first question you ask yourself when setting up a new ad campaign is: Who is the target audience? It seems simple, but companies often struggle to come up with an answer. I faced the same problem when I was working with Pufushop and was asked to help them set up a new Facebook ad campaign. I've set up many campaigns on Facebook, but usually the website has had a target audience in mind or the site had installed a Facebook Pixel so long ago that I could have found this out from Facebook Analytics. But for this particular project I needed to find the target audience based only on Google Analytics data. If you've read any of my blog posts you know that "feeling" is not a metric for me. We all know that Facebook and Google Analytics have different ways to define demographics and interests. And that’s okay, sometimes it’s even beneficial. On one side we have Facebook's audience definition, which is sourced from how users self-identify in their profiles and also what content they interact with. On the other hand, we have the Google Analytics audience definition, which is based on presumptions about user behaviour and less rooted in user-generated data. I created the Buyer Personas profile below directly in the Littledata app. Our algorithms generate accurate personas based on your conversion goals and ecommerce setup, broken down by specific marketing channel (in this case, Facebook ads). Using our Buyer Personas feature I was able to find out the demographics and interests of Pufushop buyers -- in under 3 minutes. That persona is the result of tens of automated permutations. Note that this sample website has relatively low volumes, so four user characteristics stand out. For higher-volume sites, more categories appear automatically. Creating effective Facebook Ads from Buyer Personas Once I had the required data, I was ready to start my campaign. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can set up a Facebook ad campaign based on your Buyer Personas. Go to your Ads Manager in Facebook and click on "Create" to start a new campaign In my case, I used a catalog sale because the campaign was promoting some items that were sold out and all of my products were part of a Collection and had the same target audience. Once I've chosen the catalog for the products and added the campaign name, I can click "Continue" and move on to the next step. Define the Ad set and the audience I found out using Littledata's Buyer Personas that my highest conversion rate is with users from Oradea, who are bargain-hunting females aged 21 to 30, have their browser set up in Romanian, and like to shop on Monday evenings. So I will set up that exact same audience for this ad set. Using all this insight as well as my specific need to present a 5-day sale with a minimal budget, I've successfully set up an audience that should convert at a higher rate. I click ‘Continue’ and on the next screen I add the creatives for the advertisement (image and text) and then, just like that, I’m done. To top it all off, this discovery and set up was done in less than an hour! [subscribe] The many uses of Buyer Personas As you get to know Buyer Personas, you can also use them to: Create new campaigns when you're running on a low budget Narrow down your audience based on specific factors Reduce the frequency of your ads by choosing the best hour to deliver them Create a better re-marketing strategy by knowing when your abandoned carts are more likely to be converted into purchases Run territorial marketing campaigns, taking into consideration the interest and potential of each area Plus many more insights and discoveries to dramatically improve your conversion rate (doing something unique? Let us know!) At first glance a buyer persona like the sample above may seem to be only "four lines in a table," but if you look beyond the text you’ll start to really understand how users from a specific category interact with your website. And once you use your Buyer Personas to adjust and customize your Facebook ads, you'll come to the same conclusion I did: "This is so obvious, how did I miss it?" Facebook campaign reporting in Littledata If you're advertising on Facebook and want to see how your Facebook efforts are paying out, check out Littledata's Social traffic pack. The pack pulls from your Google Analytics data to create automated reports on social traffic and top-performing campaigns. Included in the pack are reports that will show you landing pages for untagged traffic from social networks, an overview of traffic from social media sources, and top campaigns from social networks that help you monitor your campaigns, enabling you to track how your traffic is being split between social channels. We've also recently launched a Facebook cost import feature (more details coming soon). The feature links your Facebook data with Google Analytics so that you can ensure accurate tracking of your Facebook Ads spend -- yet another way that Littledata helps you make informed, data-driven decisions. How are you using Buyer Personas and Facebook Ads? Leave a comment below! The buyer personas data in this blog post has been modified for illustrative purposes.

2018-03-28

How to quickly build user personas for PPC campaigns

Buyer personas. User personas. PPC personas. Are these just marketing buzzwords? Do they mean months of planning before you can even begin your PPC campaigns? The answer to both questions is a straightforward no. 'User personas' don't require months of extra work to build, and they aren't just another marketing buzzword. If you follow my suggestions below, you can quickly create personas to help target and optimise your next PPC campaign. Start with brainstorming Brainstorming should come at the very beginning of your process. What do you already know about your audience? This can be old-school brainstorming with a pen and paper, or a more business-like approach with a whiteboard in your conference room. If you do this with a team, hand out some Post-it notes for jotting down ideas. The Post-it notes approach makes it very easy to move your notes around and begin grouping by identified themes. Quickly create simple personas The key here is simplicity.  There is great content out there on creating more complex personas, by using a resource such as Hubspot’s 100 Questions. For the simple approach, I look at three areas to kick things off. Describe the audience by their demographics: gender, location, age, parental status, income, etc.. Identify the biggest problems they want to solve. If you are unsure how to define this one, start with 'I want' or 'I need' to put yourself in the position of your audience. For example, as a marketer, my ongoing problems include automating mundane tasks and creating simple personas. Ask how your offering specifically solves the identified problems. When it comes to creating personas, Littledata can help by automatically building personas with existing Google Analytics data. With this information, create a very short narrative with the key descriptors and needs of each identified persona. [subscribe] Find the perfect image Do this after you finish the above steps. You do not want to start with image and then create a persona to look like that person. (There’s some great discussion on that on UX Mastery). One step I often recommend is to look at images of people in existing marketing materials to see if they represent the personas created from this exercise. Digital tools to help you create user personas After you do some brainstorming and jot down initial notes about personas, you can next turn to digital tools to help you. MakeMyPersona.com is aptly named because it helps you do just that.  It is a way to organize some of the thoughts that came up in the earlier steps. Those in the B2B market can try Up Close & Persona. It meets my criteria of simple and takes you through questions that help you think of appropriate messaging for your audience. However, some of the questions have only a few preset answers so I would not start this tool. It could box you into narrow thinking. Littledata’s buyer personas feature helps you identify the website visitors that are most likely to convert.  We know that Google Analytics does not do all the work for us, but there is a lot of data available for analysis. Compare these findings to what was uncovered during brainstorming. Develop your PPC campaign around the user persona Take your 'I want' and 'I need' statements and pull out some of those phrases as keywords. When it comes to choosing PPC keywords, stay away from your corporate lingo, and instead think about how your prospects talk about you. These keywords will help you match your message to each persona. Is your persona trendy with a sense of humor? Maybe you will get a little snarky with your messaging.  Is the need something serious, such as a health issue? Stay away from the snark and instead be really clear about your benefits. Create an offer that matches the persona. An intellectual, highly educated executive may take the time to download and read your white paper. A busy single parent with four young kids wants a solution. And wants it quickly. Segment personas by channel. I like Littledata's buyer personas because they let you see how to adjust your ad spend based on specific marketing channels beyond Paid Search. PPC is not the only place to reach your audience. You will - hopefully - have a multi-channel approach and need to understand Organic Search, Email, Referral, and Social in addition to PPC. Unless you have an unlimited marketing budget, you may not be able to reach every persona and on every channel. One consideration for your PPC spend is to focus on the longer tail or brand name keywords. This is definitely a smaller audience, but it will capture people further down the funnel who are more likely to buy. What to do next I hope that you find this simplified approach to developing personas useful in kicking of the next stage of your digital marketing! My goal is to provide steps for you to take action and not get bogged down by the prospect of developing personas before kicking off a campaign. You may want to refine this approach over time, but the important thing is to get started now. Even with the best planning, you may find some surprises in your campaigns after you get started which is why I always watch new campaigns closely, especially in those first few days. Monitor your performance by channels in Google Analytics and be prepared to adjust your ad spend. Your ROI will vary by offer and user persona, so focus on actionable analytics from this wealth of data to make the right decisions for your particular business.   Want to know more? Get in touch with Tina's agency, 360 Internet Strategy, and follow her on LinkedIn.

2018-03-15

How to set up demographics tracking in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

Could you be missing out on your best customers - those that are more likely to convert, and more likely to make big purchases when they do? Watch this quick video to find out how to to set up demographics tracking in Google Analytics. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=PAeCubNxoKI[/embed] Demographics and interests data provides information about the types of customers that are using your site, along with the interests they express through their online travel and purchasing activities. Once you set up this tracking, you'll be able to see your customer base broken down by age group, gender and interests. This data isn't just nice to have; it helps you market to the biggest potential spenders by discovering who's most interested in your products or services. Analytics and AdWords use the same age, gender, and interests categories, so this is particularly useful for improving your targeting on the Google Display Network. [subscribe] That said, connecting demographics data with shopping activity and revenue is a complicated art. Our popular Buyer Personas feature automates reporting and shows you how to improve that spend. And we don't just stop with paid ads. We include personas for every significant channel, including email marketing, organic search, affiliates/referrals and social media campaigns. Wherever you want to use demographics targeting to increase revenue, we've got you covered.

2017-12-05

Introducing Buyer Personas

This week we're excited to introduce Buyer Personas, a game-changing new feature for marketers and ecommerce teams that are serious about hacking growth at a major scale. Do you know which types of customers are most likely to convert? Gathering customer data is one thing, but turning it into actionable insights is another. We've found that Littledata users are often struggling to find the exact differences between web visitors that buy and those that don't buy, especially when it comes to particular marketing channels. Littledata's new Buyer Personas feature automatically generates user personas based on your particular Google Analytics ecommerce setup or conversion goals, making it easier than ever to target your marketing and on-site content at those shoppers most likely to engage, convert, and grow with your online business in the long term. For example, if you know that users who arrive on your site on the weekend, in the afternoon are more likely to buy, then you should allocate more of your budget to those times. Or if users on tablets are most likely to convert, then target campaigns and ad formats most relevant for that screen size. [subscribe] Accurate Data If you have a decent Google Analytics setup it is possible to look at how different attributes of the user (age, browsing device, time of visit, etc.) affect their likelihood of converting. The better the data setup for your 'people analytics', the more detailed the report can be – when's the last time you audited your website's Google Analytics setup? Buyers or Users? We’re calling the new feature Buyer Personas since this is often requested by retail customers, but it is equally relevant if you have another conversion goal (eg. registrations, event bookings). In all of these cases, your customers are essentially 'buying in' to your product or service. You can switch the conversion metric at the bottom of the Buyer Personas page in the app. Marketing Channels Buyer personas give you actionable insights on particular channels, such as paid search, while also improving your overall understanding of your ideal customer base. The feedback is split out by channel so you can action it more easily: how you would re-organise your paid search marketing is very different to how you re-target your email marketing, but both are needed. The reality is that most smaller websites won’t have any of the ideal people of their site. We are not saying that only that exact profile will convert but that, by targeting the marketing on those who convert most easily, you can improve your return on investment. Pick the category with the biggest potential audience first. The first iteration of the new feature is live in the app this week. We look forward to hearing your feedback! Note that to generate Buyer Personas, you will need an active conversion goal or ecommerce tracking setup, and a minimum of 50 conversions in the previous month. Don't have a Littledata account yet? Sign up today to fix your Google Analytics setup for free and start generating buyer personas.

2017-07-04

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