Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yahoo! Assists....Put Money Back Into Your Pockets Now!

ADVERTISERS:

How would you like to save yourself a bundle of advertising dollars and heart ache all at the same time? Well, you can. And it can be done IMMEDIATELY by using the 'Assist' metric from your Yahoo! Sponsored Search account.

This is a "no brainer" people! I've even broken it down into a simple basketball analogy so that it's easier to understand. Every online advertiser should be interested in understanding this.

The Yahoo! Assists Sports Analogy:

Basketball coaches have to make decisions every day on which players will play based on metrics such as Conversions and Assists. Here’s a scenario….

Coach's Decision Without Factoring In Assists

Player A scores 2 conversions (for 4 points) and Player B scores 12 conversions (for 24 points). If the coach only measures performance based on conversions, then which player will he bench in the next game? Player A, of course, due to poor performance.

Coach's Decision Factoring In Assists

We find that while Player A only scored 2 conversions (for 4 points) he did have 14 assists which attributed to 28 extra team points. With the Assist data now in hand, will the coach put in Player A for the next game? Of course! Even though he didn't convert well himself, Player A was still very valuable to the success of the team!

Imagine the outcome of the game had Player A been pulled from the game strictly based on Conversion performance?

What The Hell Does Basketball Have To Do With Saving Money In Online Advertising???

The same basketball analogy can be used for managing budgets for your search and display campaigns. Many advertisers really only look at Conversions as a measurement of campaign performance/success. Because of this, valuable keywords and display ads are being tossed out. Right now, bids on keywords are being lowered or paused because advertisers don't know that their non-branded keywords, for example, are driving conversions for other keywords. Budgets on display ads are being lowered because advertisers don't realize that their display ads really ARE successful at driving conversions for their other campaigns, like search (PPC).

Imagine the outcome of a campaign had the budget been lowered without factoring in Assists.

Remember though, just because a keyword or display ad does not convert well on it’s own, it does not always mean that it’s a poor performer. An advertiser must look at other critical metrics before making crucial online campaign budgeting decisions. But the only way to measure this, is to use what we analysts like to call a campaign attribution metric.

The Assist metric in your Yahoo Search Marketing account is a campaign/keyword attribution metric. In addition, using 'Full Analytics' (now available for free in all Yahoo Search Marketing accounts) you can get cross channel tracking to see if your display ads drive conversions to your other ads, such as search for example.

STOP MAKING ONLINE BUDGETING MISTAKES NOW!!!

Try using the 'Conversion Only' or 'Full Analytics' solutions from Yahoo! (in your Sponsored Search account), that provide the campaign attribution 'Assist' metric. Along with metrics such as Conversions and ROI, Assists will help you avoid from making those critical budgeting mistakes and will immediately put money back into your pocket!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Measuring Search And Display For Success...During Tough Economic Times

If there is one group that has pulled back on their budgets of late, it's the group that spends their money on online advertising. Over the past few months there has certainly been a decline in online spend by many advertisers. Most would agree that the reason for the pull back in online spend is because of the current state of the economy. But to me, it's much more than that. While I agree the economy has played a major role in reduced online spend budgets, I can't put all of the blame on it. In my opinion, a lot of the blame needs to go to the lack of helpful online advertising measuring tools.

Can you really blame an online advertiser for pulling back their spend budget when they can't really measure the true value or success of their campaigns??

But what about all of those web analytics solutions that are available in the market? Shouldn't online advertisers be using those to help them understand the success of their campaigns? Sure, and many advertisers do try and use web analytics solutions as a way to to help them out. But those solutions, in my opinion, only go so far in helping an advertiser out with making crucial online campaign budgeting decisions. The problem with current web analytics solutions is that there's been too much focus put on web page measurement and not enough focus put on online advertising measurement (and online advertising is where a bulk of the money is being spent). Also, many of the web analytics solutions don't provide the much needed campaign attribution metrics that online advertisers desperately need in order to make actionable decisions about their campaigns.

With that said, I thought I'd include my post that I wrote for the official Yahoo! Search Marketing Blog. Here I discuss the value in using an online advertising measurement solution ('Full Analytics' from Yahoo!) that will help out any online advertiser in making smarter and more actionable online budgeting solutions during these tough economic times........

Have you ever stayed away from display advertising in favor of search ads because you believed that your display ads don’t perform well? You’re not alone.

Some advertisers have shifted display marketing dollars toward search with the belief that search advertising is “more measurable” and that it provides a higher return-on-investment.
While we think there are lots of great reasons to invest in search advertising, we also believe that display ads can be powerful and effective in driving traffic to your site. So let’s take a closer look at two common beliefs about display ads.

Belief 1: Search ads are more measurable than display ads

When it comes to measuring the performance of your search and display ads, the question shouldn’t be about whether one is more measurable than the other. The real problem is advertisers often don’t use the right metrics to measure the success and value of their display ads and search campaigns.

Specifically, many advertisers primarily use
conversion percentage to measure the success of their display ads and search keywords. For example, if a display ad converts poorly (it has a low conversion percentage) then the advertiser typically lowers the budget for the ad, shifts the budget to another channel like search, or pulls the budget entirely.

The problem with only using the conversion metric method is that it is a “last click” metric. “Last click” means that the ad only gets credit for the last click the visitor made before they converted. For display ad and search keyword purposes, a last-click model doesn’t reveal the true value of the ad. For example, a display or search ad wouldn’t get the credit for driving conversions to other campaigns. This can be a major issue, as advertisers might end up cutting the budget on an effective display campaign that is driving additional conversions, brand awareness and increased visitor traffic to your web site.

Measuring Assists

If conversions aren’t enough, then what additional metrics should online advertisers be using to properly measure the success and value of search and display ads?

Enter the Assist metric available in Yahoo! Full Analytics, which is available to many of our advertisers meeting certain criteria (contact our Customer Solutions team to determine if it is available in your account). Assists measure the total number of times that display ads or search keywords contribute to the conversion of another ad or keyword. Combined with conversion data, the assist reporting provides a full picture as to the performance of online campaigns. And you might find out that the display ad you were planning to drop was actually helping you the whole time.

Accessing the Assist Report from Yahoo! Full Analytics is easy. Just follow these steps:

1. Check to see if you have Full Analytics available in your account.
2. Add the Full Analytics tracking scripts to your landing page(s) and confirmation/thank-you page.
3. Add three special Yahoo! tracking parameters to the end of your display ad destination URL.

Belief 2: Search ads provide the highest return-on-investment

Which provides the highest return-on-investment, search or display ads?
It’s a trick question, actually—a combination of search and display ads returns the highest return-on-investment. We’ve
reported in the past that, “when combined, search and display advertising deliver profoundly better results than when used independently.” The study that we sponsored with ComScore showed “a significant lift in on-site engagement and an increase in online and offline purchasing by consumers who are exposed to integrated campaigns that employ both types of online advertising.”

Don’t believe us? Third-party studies
have shown that “users exposed to both search and display ads convert at a higher rate: an average of 22 percent better than search alone, and 400 percent better than display only.”

If data from these studies is accurate, you might be asking yourself, “OK, why aren’t more marketers doing both?” Once again, advertisers haven’t been using the right metrics. Advertisers must have access to metrics that tie together their search and display efforts to see how one affects the other. By using the assist data from Yahoo! Analytics, an advertiser can accurately measure this information.

Here’s how: Let’s say a visitor comes across one of your display ads one day and decides to click on it. He visits your site but decides not to make a purchase. A month later, that same visitor searches on Yahoo! using one of your search keywords, clicks on your ad, visits your site again, and this time makes a purchase. The result? Your display ad receives credit for an assist, while your search ad receives credit for the conversion.

To summarize: If you want to ensure that you are making the right search and display budgeting decisions, you need to make sure that you are using the right metrics. With Yahoo’s Full Analytics Assist Report, you can discover the true value of your online advertising.

— Matt Lillig, Yahoo! Analytics Team

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yahoo! Web Analytics vs. Yahoo! Search/Campaign Analytics

I'm starting to think that there might be some confusion out there about the new Yahoo! Web Analytics (formerly IndexTools) and Yahoo's Search/Campaign Analytics. So let's clear things up!

Yahoo! Web Analytics (http://www.web.analytics.yahoo.com/)

Y!WA is the re-branded version of IndexTools that was announced about two weeks ago. While Y!WA is not available to everybody just yet (expect a full launch in 2009), it is currently being made available to:

- Yahoo! Small Business owners, also known as Yahoo! Stores http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/ecommerce/

- Y!OS - Yahoo! Open Strategy
http://developer.yahoo.com/yos/intro/

- Yahoo! Micro-sites (partners sites that Yahoo! builds).
Example: http://promotions.yahoo.com/honda


Y!WA is an enterprise level solution that provides both web site measurement and campaign/keyword measurement capabilities.


Yahoo! Search/Campaign Analytics

Yahoo! Search/Campaign Analytics is available to all advertisers with a Yahoo Search Marketing account and provides campaign tracking metrics only (does not provide web site metrics). It is accessible in the advertiser's search marketing account.

There are two free analytics tools available:

Conversion Only (accessible to all Yahoo! Search Marketing clients) - Provides ability to track your Yahoo! paid search campaigns, ad groups, and keywords down to the conversion. It also provides Yahoo's campaign Assist report. It also provides campaign Cost data, Revenue data (if passed through the tracking tag), and ROI data (if revenue data is received).

Full Analytics - Provides ability to track any range of campaigns including: Yahoo! paid search, display (banner ads), email campaigns, other search campaigns (such as Google, MSN, etc), Yahoo! Shopping ads, Yahoo! Search Submit Pro (paid inclusion) ads, etc. It provides more detailed reporting about the visitors who have clicked on your online campaigns. Some of the reports include:

Leads
Browsers
Prospects
Conversions
Assists
Referrers
Cost
Revenue
ROI
....etc.


If you're looking for a full enterprise analytics solution, please visit: http://www.web.analytics.yahoo.com/

But if you're just looking for campaign tracking analytics, please visit either the 'Conversion Only' or 'Full Analytics' product within your Yahoo! Search Marketing account.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tracking Display Ads Is Easy With Yahoo's Full Analytics

Lately I've been seeing a lot of stories being written about the growing gap between search and display spend. During these hard economic times, it appears that more advertisers are starting to move their online advertising budgets towards search instead of display because:

1. Advertisers prefer search advertising over display advertising because of the simplicity of tracking search.

2. Advertisers feel that search advertising performs better than display advertising.

I'm here to say that nothing could be farther from the truth! Tracking display ads is actually pretty easy. And if you feel that search ads perform better, then you may be risking a 22% lift in conversions by not running display advertising with your search advertising.

Let's tackle these myths one by one.

Question 1

Sure, tracking search is pretty easy when using Yahoo Analytics or Google Analytics. All you have to do is add the vendor's tracking scripts to your web site's pages. But tracking display ads is pretty easy too! It only takes two steps using Yahoo's Full Analytics:

1. Add Yahoo's Full Analytics tags to your landing page and your confirmation/thank-you page (which you may have done already to track your Yahoo Sponsored search!)

2. Add 3 special tracking parameters to the end of the display ad's destination URL

Let's say I've already added the Full Analytics tags to my landing page and my confirmation/thank-you page. All I have to do now is add the tracking parameters to my display destination URL which is: http://www.mattlillig.blogspot.com/

The 3 Yahoo! parameters that I need to add to the end of my destination URL are:

- Campaign Name: ysmcpn=Unique+Campaign+Name+Here
- Channel Name: ysmchn=YAH (for Yahoo)
- Tactic Name: ysmtac=AD (for advertisement)

My final appended display destination URL will look like this:
http://www.mattlillig.blogspot.com/?ysmcpn=Matts+Banner+Ad&ysmchn=YAH&ysmtac=AD
(click on this link and you'll see that these parameters are appended in the landing page URL)

Now how hard was that????

Question 2

Display advertising may not perform as well as search advertising on its own, but run it along with your search advertising and....BAM...INSTANT CONVERSION LIFT!!!!! Did you know that visitors who were exposed to a combination of search and display ads converted 22% more than visitors who were exposed to only search ads?

As an advertiser, are you really willing to risk a 22% dip in sales or leads because you thought that display advertising didn't perform as well as search? Well it does...if you run it along side search!

If I was running only search advertising during these tough economic times and was looking for a great way to drive up conversions, traffic, and brand awareness....I would definitely look into running and measuring some display campaigns. If I was already running BOTH search and display advertising right now during these tough economic times....I would NOT be pulling my display ad budget knowing the information above.

Of course, I would also be using Yahoo's Full Analytics to track this info too! :)

Check out the various studies on the benefits of search + display advertising here:
http://mattlillig.blogspot.com/2008/08/hi-im-search-hi-im-display.html

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Yahoo! Pingbox Chat Feature

I've just added Yahoo's new Pingbox widget to my blog. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about Yahoo's web analytics while reading my blog site, feel free to use Pingbox to send me a question. As long as I'm online and not in a meeting, on the phone, working on a project, or supporting a client in need, I'll send you a quick message back.

It works just like any other instant messaging service that you have used. The only difference is that Pingbox will keep you anonymous.

Thanks again for your blog support!

Matt Lillig


Monday, September 15, 2008

'Conversion Only': Simple Campaign Web Analytics

As a Yahoo! Sponsored Search advertiser, have you ever just wanted a campaign tracking tool that provides you with simple, easy-to-read, conversion performance reports? If the answer is YES, then you should be making use of the 'Conversion Only' tracking that is available in your Yahoo! Sponsored Search account.

With 'Conversion Only' you'll be able to report on Conversions, Cost Per Conversion (your cost to get a sale), Cost (cost of your clicked ads), Revenue (your earnings from sales), Revenue Per Conversion, ROAS (return on your ad spend), and even Yahoo's famous Assist report (keywords that have contributed to the conversion on your other keywords).

Implementation

Implementation of 'Conversion Only' is easy. All you need to do is:

1. Log into your Yahoo! Sponsored Search Account (select the Administration tab --> select the Analytics link)

2. Activate 'Conversion Only'

3. Copy the 'Conversion Only' tracking script and paste it either bewteeen the "HEAD" or "BODY" tags on your confirmation/thank-you page.


Passing Revenue To Yahoo!

If you want to understand what your Return On Ad Spend is, then you'll need to have your web developer write some script to dynamically pass the total sale amount into the 'Conversion Only' script as shown below (see 25.99 being passed through the "amount=" parameter in the 'Conversion Only' script below):









Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yahoo! "Web Analytics" On The Rise

Maybe all of this blogging about Yahoo's web analytics is finally paying off! According to the recent report I ran on Google's Insights report for the terms "web analytics" and "online advertising", the #1 Rising Search phrase for analytics from January '06 to August '08 is................"yahoo web analytics"

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#cat=&q=%22web%20analytics%22%2C%22online%20advertising%22&geo=&date=1%2F2006%2032m&clp=&cmpt=q

If you think that phrase is rising now, just wait until we finish integrating IndexTools! :)



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Interesting Web Analytics Stat....


Cost of searching on Google: $0


Cost of searching on Yahoo: $0


The rising trend of Googlers searching for the term "yahoo" on Google.....PRICELESS!



(A shout out to Stephane Hamel for correcting me on this)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Hi, I'm Search." "Hi, I'm Display."

Like peanut butter and chocolate, Michael Phelps and gold medals, and Britney and K-Fed....some things were just meant to be together. OK, maybe not Britney and K-Fed, but the others on the list stand true. What about online advertising's biggest money makers Search and Display though? Were they meant to be together? Well, based on the fact that most companies still track their search and display efforts with separate teams, the likely answer is..."I don't know".

If it was up to Atlas Solutions however, their latest report findings would have you believe that search and display should be together more than Harry and Lloyd (from "Dumb & Dumber"). Their findings showed that,
"When marketers supplement search with display impressions, they get a significant lift in conversions. Unfortunately, most advertisers that run both search and display are unaware of this...” The study demonstrated that "users exposed to both search and display ads convert at a higher rate: an average of 22 percent better than search alone and 400 percent better than display only."

http://www.atlassolutions.com/uploadedFiles/Atlas/Atlas_Institute/Engagement_Mapping/eMapping-TP.pdf

When running a case study for Alltel wireless, they found that, "users who clicked on search ads who were also exposed to display were 56% more likely to purchase from Alltel than those only exposed to search, illustrating a significant synergy between the two."

http://www.atlassolutions.com/uploadedFiles/Atlas/Atlas_Institute/Digital_Marketing_Insights/Published_Assets/MSA_Alltel_DMI.pdf

But as Atlas states above, "Unfortunately, most advertisers that run both search and display are unaware of this...” Why? As I mentioned above, many companies have separate teams that run and track search and display campaigns. Therefore, due to the lack of alignment between the two teams, neither realizes the benfits that a combination of search + display has on improving conversions, brand awareness, and increased traffic. Neither team has the combined data to show that display ads are assisting in converting search ads.

This is a major problem because companies are making separate online advertising budget decisions based one one single data point....conversions. For example, let's say an advertiser is tracking a new display ad. After running the ad for a month and gathering up the conversion data, they see that it's converting at a very small percentage. They come to conclusion that the display ad isn't performing well and it's not profitable so they pull their budget for the ad. Little do they realize, that while the display ad did not convert well on its own, it was very successful at building brand awareness and driving visitors and conversions to their Yahoo! or Google search campaigns where visitors later converted.

The problem? They've just cut the budget on a channel (their display ad) that was successful at driving brand awareness, visitor traffic, and additional conversions for their search ads.

Whoops. You don't know what you don't measure, right?

On the flip side, if the advertiser had been using an online advertising tracking solution like Yahoo's 'Full Analytics', they would have been able to measure that the display ad was driving additional conversions for other ads (using Yahoo's Assist report). In response, the advertiser would have continued to run the display ad knowing full well that it was driving awareness, traffic, and conversions to their other advertising channels (such as search).

As web analysts, we're supposed to make decisions based on our data findings and report on those findings. Now I don't know about you, but in terms of conversion, a 22% lift vs. doing search alone and a whopping 400% lift vs. doing display alone sounds like a pretty amazing deal to me.

Need more proof that search and display work better together......

"Grant MacFarlane, head of search at Havas agency Media Contacts and previously head of client services at Google, agrees. "Search often takes the glory for the purchase, as a lot of agencies can't track back to see where someone saw a banner ad that got them searching in the first place," he says. "We've seen a 15% or 20% uplift when you run display and search in tandem.""

http://www.brandrepublic.com/InDepth/Analysis/778222/display-close-gap-search/


How about some MORE proof that search and display work better together (do you see what I'm getting at here?).......

"The study, entitled “Close the Loop: Understanding Search and Display Synergy,” found that when combined, search and display advertising deliver profoundly better results than when used independently. The study showed a significant lift in onsite engagement and an increase in online and offline purchasing by consumers who are exposed to integrated campaigns that employ both types of online advertising."

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20061204005424&newsLang=en

and

http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=1547

So what are you doing then? As and analyst I report that you stop watching Dumb & Dumber and get tracking (and check out Yahoo's Full Analytics if you want to track this stuff)!!





Friday, July 11, 2008

Yahoo! Assists Are Higher Than Conversions! Say What?!?!

I had a comment on one of my posts about the Assists report that I wanted to share because I think it's a good one to discuss. It read:

"I have a question, normally the assist counts are bigger than conversion, why is this happening?cause I bet assist would be counted in a case conversion happens, so the counts of conversion and assist would be same or conversion could be bigger."

For those asking the same thing when looking at your Yahoo! Analytics reports, here was my response:

Good question. Sometimes you might see 2 Assists and 0 Conversions for a campaign and wonder, "How can this be?"

This happens because the Assists are being attributed to other campaigns and not necessarily the campaign you are looking at.

For example, let's say I'm looking at the data for Campaign A. Over the past two days I see that it has received 0 Conversions (meaning visitors clicked on the ad for Campaign A, visited your site, and never converted). Campaign A does however show 2 Assists. This means that Campaign A was used in "assisting" one or more of your other campaigns in a conversion (it could have helped campaign B convert twice or maybe it helped covert campaign B once and also campaign C once).

In the next version of the Assist report we'll be adding a deeper layer of Assist detail so you be able to see exactly what campaigns the Assists attributed to. For example, let's say you see Campaign A had a total of 4 Assists. We plan to show you that of those 4 Assists, 3 conversions went Campaign B and 1 conversion went to Campaign C.

For e-commerce sites, we're looking to add value information for Assists also. For example, let's say that we find that Campaign A again had 4 Assists. Of the 4 Assists, we learn that 2 of those Assists went to helping convert Campaign B and the other 2 Assists went to helping convert Campaign C. While this deeper level of information is good, how do we know how valuable those Assists really are when both Camapigns B and C each received two Assists from Campaign A?

By passing us revenue information in the Yahoo Analytics conversion tag, we'll be able to show you the revenue output of Assists. For example, we'll be able to show you that while Campaign B and C both received two assisted conversions from Campaign A, Campaign B had a revenue output total of $100 while the two Assists that went to Campaign C only generated $50. Therefore, Campaign A assisted in driving more revenue for Campaign B than it did for Campaign C.

Just imagine not having the Assist report and dropping the bid for a keyword that had low conversions only to realize later that the keyword generated 25 Assists and it ended up driving $2500 in assisted revenue.

You'd probably bang your head against the wall a few times!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why ComScore Paid Click Reports Aren't Valuable For Advertisers

Every month there is a comparison report released by ComScore that discusses the paid click search engine battle between Google and Yahoo!. For example, you may have recently read a headline titled, "Google moves further ahead of Yahoo in paid ad clicks".

The press simply eats these reports up because they enjoy writing about the big battle between Yahoo! and Google. But if they ever took the time to break the data down and really analyze it, they may be surprised to see that while more clicks mean more money for Google, it also may mean a higher CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) for their advertisers.

So are these reports really valuable to advertisers? Should advertisers think that just because Google drives more paid clicks that they should only use Google (because a lot of advertisers do think this way)?

Since those writers don't have the time to sit down and actually analyze the real data, I decided I'd do it for them and help answer these questions.

So here it goes (Note: Data is just an example).....

Let's say we have an advertiser that sells used cars and wants to advertise on Yahoo! and Google. The advertiser also has analytics tracking available so that they can see what they've learned after a week of tracking their new campaigns.

Here are the totals after a week of tracking...

Bidded Keyword: "used car"

Total number of Yahoo! clicks: 5
Total number of Google clicks: 10 (as ComScore data shows....Google drives more paid clicks)

Cost Per Click (CPC) on Yahoo!: $1
Cost Per Click on Google: $2 (Google tends to be more expensive vs. Yahoo! due to heavier keyword competition)

Total number of Conversions on Yahoo!: 3
Total number of Conversions on Google: 3

Total Spend on the Yahoo! ad: $5 (5 clicks x $1)
Total Spend on the Google ad: $20 (10 clicks x $2)

Total Cost Per Acquistion/Conversion (CPA) on Yahoo!: $1.66 ($5 / 3 conv)
Total Cost Per Acquistion/Conversion (CPA) on Google: $6.66 ($20 / 3 conv)

With data in hand, what has our new advertiser learned?

1. Google did drive more clicks because Google is more popular: 20 clicks (Google) vs. 5 clicks (Yahoo!)
2. Each campaign received the same number of conversions: 3

But what did our advertiser really learn?

1. It only cost him $1.66 to get 3 conversions from Yahoo! It cost him nearly four times the amount ($6.66) to get the same 3 conversions using Google.

But wait, the ComScore report says, "Google moves further ahead of Yahoo in paid ad clicks". As an advertiser, shouldn't that be a good thing? No, not if you enjoy blowing your ad budget to get the same number of conversions that you could have received from using Yahoo! Simply put, as an advertiser would you rather pay $1.66 for 3 conversions or $6.66 for 3 conversions?

In the end, with these ComScore reports, click data only means so much. As an advertiser, clicks only mean so much and can only go so far when making important campaign budgeting decisions. It's CRUCIAL that as an advertiser, you measure your conversions so that that you can calculate your keyword CPA's. Otherwise you could be paying too much. And as Turko says on KUSI news in San Diego ...."It ain't right!"


Monday, June 02, 2008

The Value In Tracking Online Visitor Engagement

Seems as though there's been a lot of talk in the web analytics industry these days about 'visitor engagement'. What is it? What isn't it? How you define it for branding purposes? How do you define it for other purposes? How do you measure it? I'm seeing it being discussed in many blogs and the topic came up many times while I was attending the eMetrics Summit in San Francisco last month.

It's a good topic and it got me thinking about how visitors engage using online advertising efforts (search, display, email, etc). And in thinking about online advertising engagement, I started thinking about the value of the Yahoo! Analytics' Assist report. Here's a simple explanation what what Assists are:

"Assists are campaigns that helped contribute to the conversion of another campaign".

For example, let's say I'm in the mood to buy a laptop. I click on a Sony display (banner) ad and reach the SonyStyle.com site but do not buy. I come back 30 days later and click on a Sony search ad on Yahoo, reach the SonyStle.com site again and this time make a purchase.

If both ads are being tracked using Yahoo!'s 'Full Analytics':

The Sony display ad will get an Assist while the search ad get a Conversion.

Not having the Assist information before, I would have never known how helpful the display ad was in driving conversions, not only for itself, but driving conversions to other forms of online advertising.

By showing Assists, Yahoo is able show a certain level of engagement about the vistor. In the example above, the visitor was engaged with the Sony display ad before engaging with the Sony search ad.

How valuable is this Assist information? EXTREMELY VALUABLE!!

Here's why....

- Let's say that all Sony laptops sell for $1,000.
- Let's say that the advertiser finds that the Sony display ad had 10 Assists associated with it (meaning it contributed to 10 additional purchases on the advertiser's search ads that are also being tracked) over a 30 day test period.
- Let's add in that the display ad only converted twice on itself (meaning a visitor clicked on the display ad and made an immediate purchase on the site) during that same 30 day stretch.
- Finally let's say that the display ad cost the advertiser $5,000 to run and $2000 to run the search ads.

The display ad cost: $5,000
The search ad cost: $2,000
The revenue from 1 conversion: $1,000
The display ad converted twice on itself: 2 x $1000 = $2,000
The display ad also had 10 Assists: 10 x $1,000 = $10,000

Without having Assist information on hand, normally an advertiser would see that the display ad only conveted twice itself and only contributed a total of $2,000. With spend costs of $5,000, the advertiser just lost $3,000. Upset about the poor performance of the display ad the advertiser most likely pulls the ad.

Now imagine that the advertiser has the Assist data in hand. The advertiser knows that all laptop sales are worth $1,000. The advertiser see's that while the display ad didn't perform well by itself, it was very valuable at helping drive sales down the road. In this case, $10,000 worth of sales (10 Asssist conversions). Now the advertiser realizes that rather than making $2,000 in sales, he/she has actually made $12,000 in sales (the 2 display conversions + the 10 Assist conversions). Subtract out the $5K in display ad costs and $2K in search spend costs and the advertiser had made $5,000 in profit ($12K sales - $7K costs) .

Imagine how an advertiser would have felt if they had pulled the display ad only to learn later that it had been valuable in driving an additional $10,000 in sales.

I call this the Steve Nash factor. Steve Nash won two NBA Most Valuable Player awards. He won those awards, not because he was a great scorer (converter) himself, but because he was a great assist man. His job essentially was to get his teamates the ball in the most efficient manner so that THEY could score more points. A coach would never bench (dump) Nash as long as he keeps his assists up and he helps his team score (convert).

The message here is, just because a campaign or keyword doesn't convert well itself, it doesn't mean that it's poor performing. Save yourself the mishap of lowering the bid or getting rid of a valuable campaign or a keyword because it may actually be playing a HUGE role in driving conversions for your other ads. Use a report like Yahoo's Assist report and measure how well your visitors are engaged with other ads before you make your budget decisions.

The last clicked ad, before a conversion, should not get all of the credit!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

eMetrics San Francisco

I'll be at the eMetrics Summit in San Francisco from May 5th -7th. Hope to see some of you readers there.

For more information about this large web analytics event, please visit: www.emetrics.org

Matt

Monday, April 21, 2008

Use Yahoo!'s Full Analytics To Track Yahoo!'s Seach Submit Pro Program

While many of you know that I support Yahoo!'s current web analytics products called 'Conversion Only' and 'Full Analytics', many of you don't know that I also support two other products here at Yahoo!. One product is our Sponsored Search API while the other is what we call SSP...or Search Submit Pro.

What is SSP? Well for those that have worked hard to manage their SEO (free or organic or algorithmic) listings to meet Yahoo!'s web crawler needs, SSP is a paid inclusion program that allows you to easily manage those organic listings without having to tweak your backend system (meta tags, etc).

Many of you may not know that you can use Yahoo!'s 'Full Analytics' product to track the performance of your SSP listings.....from click to conversion. You can even get ROAS (return on ad spend or ROI) data for e-commerce sites that pass us revenue information.

But before discussing tracking of SSP using Full Analytics, let's discuss what value SSP brings to those of you who do normal Yahoo! SEO optimizations.

A few Yahoo! facts:

1) Here at Yahoo!, our search mission is to: Deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.

2) Did you know that on that on average, 7 out of 10 clicks on a Yahoo! search results page go towards a natural search ad vs. a paid search ad?

3) Time Spent: Consumers spend their time almost evenly across the algorithmic and sponsored search results (40.5% on Sponsored and 53.4% on Algorithmic). With consumers spending more than half their time on algorithmic results, the importance of managing your presence in organic results is clear.

4) Yahoo! Department Store Study: When the advertiser participated in both Sponsored Search (paid) and SSP we found:

- 27% increase in CTR (Click Thru Rate)
- 11% increase in Conversions
- 39% increase in Revenue

As you can see via the information above, there’s definite value to managing the whole Yahoo results page (paid and organic listings). But managing your paid (SEM) listings is a bit easier then managing your listngs for SEO.

We all know that SEO is complex....

- SEO involves heavy backend work (meta tags, titles, descriptions, etc) to make sure that your site is picked up by our crawlers.

- Not all sites are “crawler friendly”. For example, flash heavy sites. Some of your content may not get picked up via the organic crawler.

- It may take up to 6 weeks before the Yahoo! crawler picks up your new site changes. A new sale could be over by that time!

Let SSP take the complexity out of managing your Yahoo! SEO (organic) listings and get your message to the right people at the right time...

- SSP allows you to index all of your URLs, titles, descriptions, and keywords so that the crawler does not miss them.

- Once you send us your site information (destination URLs, titles, descriptions, keywords, etc), we’ll crawl that info every 24-48 hours vs. every 6 weeks!

With SSP you have control of your messaging....

- Like Sponsored Search (paid), the SSP program allows you to manage your messaging (destination URLs, titles, descriptions, keywords). The ability to control your algorithmic messaging allows you to keep messaging consistent with your Sponsored Search listings.

- Why run through the process of doing the backend SEO work (for the crawler to pick up in 6 weeks) when you can simply send over new titles, descriptions, and keywords and have the new messaging ready in 24-48 hours?

Quick Links: Add additional messaging in your SSP ad.

- You can tack on up to 3 additional links, below your ad, to help push additional products or promotions. Quick links are great for leveraging holiday promotions, sales, discounts, new products, etc. A recent Yahoo! study showed that the presence of Quick Links led to a 15% increase on clicks to the search results. Below is an example of an ad with Quick Links enabled...

Use Full Analytics to Track Your SSP Ads

Once you've joined the SSP program, you can use Yahoo!'s Full Analytics to track the performance of those ads. Because you're supplying Yahoo! with your URLs for those organic landing pages you only need to do two things:

1) Add Yahoo!'s Full Analytics tags to your landing page and confirmation/thank-you page

2) Add special Yahoo! tracking parameters to the end of your landing page destination URLs

The parameters that you'll want to add to the end of the URLs are:

1) ysmcpn=Your+Campaign+Name+Here

2) ysmchn=YAH

3) ysmtac=PI

YAH stands for Yahoo! while PI stands for Paid Inclusion.

An example of a landing page URL with the parameters appended to it would look something like this:

http://www.mattlillig.blogspot.com/?ysmcpn=matts+blog&ysmchn=YAH&ysmtac=PI

If a visitor now searches for my blog on Yahoo!, clicks on my SSP (organic) ad, and converts on my site by filling out a sign up form (if I had one)...

....in my Yahoo! reports I would see:

Campaign Name: Matts Blog

1 Lead (a click on the ad)

1 Conversion

For more information on how to get started in the SSP program, please visit:

Eric Hamilton's blog video on SSP at: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-zIArjoQ0c6ecq_93W8LgCA--?cq=1

and

SSP program details and pricing at: http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/srchsb/ssp.php?cmp=CAP&ctv=SSPov&s=Y&s2=CAP&s3=SSPov&o=INVALID&b=0


Friday, April 11, 2008

Yahoo! Acquires IndexTools Web Analytics

As many of you have already heard, the next big web analytics consolidation purchase took place on Tuesday with the announcement that Yahoo! has picked up the industry respected IndexTools.

This is very exciting news for me because I have first hand knowledge of the IndexTools product and I support Yahoo's current web analytics products.

A few years ago I worked for an SEM agency in San Diego called EngineReady (http://www.engineready.com/). By the time I got there, EngineReady had already made the smart move of partnering with IndexTools so they could take advantage of IndexTools' web analytics product and include it as part of their SEM consulting services. I say "smart move" because EngineReady was one of the early SEM agencies to understand the value that web analytics had on helping online (pay-per-click) advertisers' improve their CPA and ROAS goals.

As part of the EngineReady/IndexTools partnership, my role was to help IndexTools improve their US presence (and increase revenue of course) by selling and supporting the IndexTools product. At times it was an easy product to sell because it had many of the similar features that you would find in WebSideStory's HBX product and Omniture's SiteCatalyst product...at a huge fraction of the cost! Other times it was a difficult product to sell because it didn't have the big brand name and more "well known" clients using it like HBX or SiteCatalyst did.

But I'm hear to say now that nearly EVERYBODY knows who IndexTools is! So congratulations to the IndexTools team for continuing to not only build great products but to continue to build that brand name. They've come a long way in 3-4 years since I worked there!

With that said, Yahoo has big plans for the IndexTools products. There are many different properties across the Yahoo network where the IndexTools products will help to play a large role in supporting the millions of Yahoo users around the world.

I already have some great ideas and I can't wait to start working with the IndexTools team to build those ideas out!

Monday, February 25, 2008

More Full Analytics Training

For those who couldn't get enough of the last Full Analytics video, Eric has created another training video based on one of our external training decks. Sit back and listen in as Eric walks you through Full Analytics for Yahoo! Search Marketing.

http://eham1906.blogspot.com/2008/02/yahoo-full-analytics-overview-by-eric.html

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Implementing Yahoo! 'Full Analytics'

For those of you Yahoo! advertisers who are thinking about using and implementing Yahoo's Full Analytics, life just got a whole lot easier! One of my coworkers (Eric, your friendly technical account manager host in the video) and I put together a quick implementation video for advertisers.

As always, this video was created with our customers in mind. Not that 'Full Analytics' was a difficult implementation before, but I figure, why read setup guides when you can watch a video (web 2.0 at its best)!

"Can life get any easier?? I submit that it cannot!" - Brian Regan, Comedian

To view a larger screening of the video, please click HERE.