SMX East 2009 has been a great show so far and I have the pleasure to work an entire track on day 2 to make sure everything runs smoothly. I am located in the Video, Ecommerce & Blended Search Track, which is sure to be a good one! The first panel of the day is ‘Ecommerce and Search Marketing Tactics’. Here is some quasi-coverage of the panel!
The panel is moderated by Allan Dick from Vintage Tub and Bath (always an entertaining one) and contains 6 different speakers who have to keep each presentation under 8 minutes. Needless to say, the presentations are quick and I am just going to be dropping some of the best takeaways from each.
The audience gets riled up with some Toilet Paper trivia, and then Eli Goodman of comScore kicks things off. Eli cut right to the chase and started flying through really great information. He stated that search numbers are up, comparison shopping is up, but that email marketing is down. Could this be from Email exhaustion? Probably.
Next he is onto talking about coupon sites, their popularity, and how this trend can help you make money. Coupon site usage is way up, like double digit percentage point up. Year over year there was a 47% increase in visits for coupon sites in Q4 ‘08. So what? Well, Eli states that you should link this knowledge with your PPC. Use terms like deals, savings in your copy. However, ‘free’ has the perception of being cheap, so you should be aware that it might be a turn off.
Eli then jumps into YouTube – some real detailed stuff. YouTube searches are up 41% over last year and believe it or not, you can use it for ecommerce. There are generic & basic terms that you can target, and you should also think about brands within YouTube so you can be found for searches. Look to YouTube promoted videos, as it is a much less crowded place than main search. There is also a great opportunity to go after longer tail searches with Promotional YouTube. So a term like “women’s shoe’s” might not have a promotional video shown – so go buy it. Why? Well, JCPenney did this and saw an increase of 165k uniques & 339k visits, and Target did this and saw an increase of 330k uniques & 630 visits. Easy pickings – so do it. Eli then proceeded to finish with 13 sec left and was out of breath due to all the knowledge he just dropped. Overall it was one of the best presos of the session w/ really nice, actionable ecommerce tips!
Next up is Karon Thackston from MarketingWords, who gets started and her presentation starts taking off on its own. Only 40% land on homepage & 60% of people on product pages leave instantly. We then had a bit of a glitch in her presentation as it started going a bit too quick (not reliant on clicks), so I had to skip a bit of coverage to make sure we got back on track. Once back into it, she began to talk about using category pages as your landing page – and to make sure that there is content along with the products. Putting content on the pages and really aiming for a better experience will go along way on the category pages. When close to complete, the presentation gets wonky again and PowerPoint can’t handle the animations. After a few attempts to show the final slide transition, we give up and say thanks.
Next is Khalid Saleh of Investp, who has a boatload of analytic terms that he will be focusing in on. Firstly, he wants everyone to know that the sitewide bounce rate might be misleading. Break down the data and analyze … there might be a few bad pages that are gumming up the works. After removing some of the pages, then you can get a better view of what is going on.
Next, you really want to make sure that the categorization is working for your visitors. He termed a metric called the“Bounce Around Affect,” which is ‘the # of visitors’ navigation to a parent or sibling’/'total visitors who are on the category’. This can show how interested people are and how well of a job you are doing.
He finishes up with some metrics for your pages: you should have the following stats if you want to be healthy:
- Bounce rate < 5%
- Exit rate < 5%
- “Bounce around rate” < 5%
Adam Audette, the man of many internet marketing hats (one of which is AudetteMedia), steps up next with a very western theme, yeeeee-haa He actually says “Give ‘em wind of yer kit and kaboodle” before he starts, which gets a laugh from myself (but not the audience – booo). He has three main points:
- Be quick on the draw
This is old-timey for talking about your load time. Why is this important? Because of the crawl and because of the user experience. Make sure your pages are loading quick. What to do to fix this? You can compress content perform server level optimization (he mentions how much he likes the Yahoo! Dev Network for this). Also, he gave the important reminder that redirects affect load time, which many people tend to forget.
- Give ‘em wind
This means show them recommendations in modern speak. He shows the example of Zappos and how they started to show related products based on what was viewed and also related items that people have bought right on the product pages. What did this all bring? Pages up over 20% time on site increased by 2.8%, bounce rate was down 5.9% and the conversion rate was up 5%. Pretty powerful stuff.
- Kill dead ringers
AKA get on top of your duplicate content. It impacts indexation more than you may think. It can hurt in your battle vs. crawl caps, causes PR split, and can cause page dilution. How to fix? Depends on how much time you have. The Low level is to partake in parameter removal, start using the Link canonical tag. The Medium level is the use of redirects and the High level is total URL restructuring (not recommended).
If you were at SMX east and missed the session, I would recommend downloading Adam’s if not solely for the rockin’ Meatloaf cover.
Next up is Laura Thieme from Bizresearch, who is going to talk about PPC. She emphasizes that you should cut those keywords that are over acceptable rates or not converting, but do so with a 13 month scale so you can have accurate data. She stresses that you need to give time before cutting – if possible a full 13 months. She then goes on to talk about the benefits of the “see search terms” on keywords with clicks right in AdWords and how easy it has become to look up terms thanks to the Google.
Tools she highly recommends using include the Adwords Editor, an analytics pack with seasonal and visual trends and 4-6 hour chucks of time where you can concentrate on improvement (I agree strongly on this one!). Then she hypes up Google’s new implementation of “Many-per-click” conversion tracking in AdWords and how you can see a truer data set that way. She ends with an example of what not to do (stop buying ads for terms you already rank for) and stresses to increase brand spends.
Jiyan Wei from PR Web is up and is going to talk about optimizing your press releases. When using Press Releases make sure to use images. Those releases with images have a CTR of 15-25% higher. It can also help to attract more bloggers and webmasters. One example had 3 press releases that drove 50 blog articles. Images in press releases can also increase your footprint in image search. In press releases you should also use video. One release with video drove over 2 unique visitors per month and 500% increase in time on page. He then talks about the different Press Release options out now (says to just Google “Online distribution”). Surprisingly, he ends a few minutes early and never really tied the press release back to ecommerce, which was a bit disappointing. It was a good presentation on Press Releases, but not great for selling things on your site.
Then I am off to help with the Q&A, which Allan handles masterfully. I was really looking forward to the questions and in my opinion the audience came up a bit lame. There were 6 ecommerce hotshots with brains waiting to be picked and the audience ran out of questions. Allan, however, saved the day and very generously donated over $500 worth of certificates to audience members who shared their own tips, and it worked very well.
Overall, the session was a great one. Eli and Adam’s presentations are “must-downloads” and it seemed like the audience loved it – IMO it was the best session of Day 2!