Web Analytics: Why You Need It & What Ideal Positions Can Offer, Part 3

 

This post is Part 3 of a three-part series.  To get caught-up, see Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

 

Part Three: Ideal Positions’ New Reporting Suite!

Ever since Ideal Positions began offering Read-Only Access to Google AdWords accounts there has been a tremendous amount of feedback, both positive and negative.  The positive feedback was expected; many business owners find the level of transparency that Ideal Positions offers to be a breath of fresh air when compared to other providers they have tried in the past.  Providing access to Google AdWords directly ensures that the data is completely uncorrupted by any conflicts of interest, which can only be a good thing!

Admittedly, we may have been a little short-sighted in that we didn’t anticipate a common negative reaction to this level of transparency: Google AdWords reporting isn’t the most user-friendly, easy-to-use interface.  We know that many of Ideal Positions’ clients enjoy the services we offer partly because those clients don’t have to worry about navigating or monitoring the labyrinth that is the Google AdWords Web Interface.  So, in an effort to provide greater transparency, I must admit that we may have fallen a little short of the mark by over-complicated the reporting process.  As an Internet marketing agency, Ideal Positions isn’t afraid to admit when we may have made a mistake, and I believe that fact serves to further accentuate the level of transparencey and honesty you get when working with us.

In light of this experience, Ideal Positions is proud to announce a new, custom-built in-house reporting suite that is significantly easier to use than the Google AdWords reporting!  Our staff is really excited about all the hard work our developers have put into designing this new reporting suite, and we’re excited to enhance our clients’ experience by providing the metrics they care about the most in a simplified, easy-to-view format.  This new reporting pulls data directly from Google Adwords and bing Ads, so it is still 100% unadulterated.  Data is pulled automatically using  existing features available in Google AdWords and bing Ads, combined with custom software built by Ideal Positions’ in-house developers.  There is no data entry involved, and as such there is no room for typos or other “human error.”

 

What Data is Available in the New Reporting Suite?

Using the new reporting suite, you will be able to view the total number of clicks (how many times your ads were clicked on), the total number of impressions (how many times your ads were viewed), and the Clickthrough Rate (CTR) from Ideal Positions’ service, broken-down by keyword and by search engine.  With nearly two years of feedback from clients that have had access to the Google AdWords accounts that Ideal Positions uses to advertise their websites, we believe that this will be just enough reporting to be of value to our clients without over-complicating the reports to the point of obfuscation.  To see how these clicks are performing once the user gets to your site, Ideal Positions recommends the use of Google Analytics.

In addition to providing reporting for the Google AdWords account that Ideal Positions uses to drive traffic to your website, the new reporting suite will now allow you to see how many clicks and impressions you are receiving from bing Ads!  Better yet, the reporting for both Google AdWords and bing Ads is now available all in one report.  You will no longer need to contact Ideal Positions to get a traffic report for bing Ads, that data is now available all in one place.

 

New Reporting Suite Will Launch in Q1 2014

At the time of this publication, Ideal Positions’ new reporting suite is almost ready for prime-time.  To get early access when the new suite launches in Q1 of 2014, like Ideal Positions on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or add us to your circles on Google+.  More updates will follow in the coming weeks and months.

 

Lead Attribution and The Future of Ideal Positions’ New Reporting Suite

Reporting on clicks, impressions, and Clickthrough Rate is only the beginning.  Over time, Ideal Positions plans to integrate automated lead attribution into the reporting suite, giving our clients even more direct access to metrics that specifically measure how many phone calls, contact form submissions, newsletter signups, downloads, and online purchases that are directly attributable to Ideal Positions’ advertising services.

We’ve already set the wheels in motion to begin offering advanced call tracking using Google Analytics and Ideal Positions’ new reporting suite beginning in 2014.  Using dynamically-generated phone numbers, combined with custom-built landing pages expertly designed just for Search Engine Marketing, Ideal Positions will be able to track roughly how many phone calls you receive from our service, and even show which keywords were most responsible for generating the phone calls.  This data can be used over time to refine the allocation of advertising spend to the avenues that generate the most revenue for our clients.

Additionally, we plan on integrating contact form submission tracking into the new reporting suite, also beginning in 2014.  For those of you that get more form submissions than phone calls, this system will play a key role in reporting roughly how many submissions are directly attributable to Ideal Positions’ services, and the data can be reported right there in the new reporting suite alongside the rest of your campaign performance metrics.

Over time, we hope to create a one-stop reporting system for our clients to use that will provide the same level of transparency that Ideal Positions has become known for, while keeping a refreshing level of simplicity that will save advertisers both time and money.

 

Setup Fees Waived on All New Accounts!

 

All new accounts initiated with Ideal Positions between December 16th, 2013 and January 31st, 2014 pay no setup fees!  Simply give the coupon code NOSETUP13 to your Customer Service Representative when you sign up with Ideal Positions, and applicable setup fees will be waived.  Past clients returning to Ideal Positions are eligible as well!

 

 

 

Promotion Rules:
Purchase necessary to receive rebate.  Coupon code must be given to a representative of Ideal Positions prior to January 31st, 2014 in order to qualify for waived setup fees.  If the coupon code is provided by January 31st, 2014, setup fees will be waived for all Customer Service Agreements with a Date of Sale between December 16th, 2013 and January 31st, 2014.  Offer valid only to persons that own or make final marketing decisions for US-based businesses.  Qualification for waived setup fees will be at the sole discretion of Ideal Positions.  All advertising campaigns must conform to all existing Terms & Conditions of Ideal Positions’ Fixed-Rate SEM service, Local Listings Optimization, Google AdWords, bing Ads, and any other applicable platforms and/or services.  Advertising will not be provided for any businesses, organizations, or persons that Ideal Positions deems to present a conflict of interest, including but not limited to businesses that could be viewed as a competitor of Ideal Positions.  Offer void where prohibited.

Get 10% Off All Increases in Advertising Spend through January 31st, 2014!

 

All businesses that sign-up for Ideal Positions’ advertising services between now and January 31st, 2014 will receive a rebate equal to 10% of any increase in advertising spend with a Date of Sale between December 16th, 2013 and January 31st, 2014. 

 

Simply give the coupon code 10HOLIDAY13 to your Customer Service Representative to sign up for your rebate!

 

 

 

Promotion Rules:
Purchase necessary to receive rebate. Coupon code must be given to a representative of Ideal Positions prior to January 31st, 2014 in order to qualify for a rebate. Rebates will be provided to qualifying clients by February 28th, 2014. Rebates will be provided in the form of a refund to the client’s credit card. In the event rebates cannot be provided via credit card refund, a check equal to the total rebate will be mailed to the client’s billing address. An “increase” in advertising spend is defined as any advertising fees in excess of the highest fees paid by the client in any 30-day period within 180 days prior to the coupon code being used by the client. Ideal Positions holds the sole and final discretion in calculating rebate totals. No rebates will be paid on any advertising fees received after January 31st, 2014. Ideal Positions holds the sole discretion in determining when advertising fees are “received.” Offer valid only to persons that own or make final marketing decisions for US-based businesses. Whether the winner has received their rebate will be at the sole discretion of Ideal Positions. All advertising campaigns must conform to all existing Terms & Conditions of Ideal Positions’ Fixed-Rate SEM service, Local Listings Optimization, Google AdWords, bing Ads, and any other applicable platforms and/or services. Advertising will not be provided for any businesses, organizations, or persons that Ideal Positions deems to present a conflict of interest, including but not limited to businesses that could be viewed as a competitor of Ideal Positions. Offer void where prohibited.

The History of Ideal Positions

Beginnings

The origins of Ideal Positions can be found in the humble setting of a small studio apartment and the ambitious vision of founder and entrepreneur Kelsy Anderson. In the beginning, Kelsy and a small handful of employees sold online advertising exclusively to real estate agencies and realtors on what was then the largest search engine on the internet, Yahoo!. What happened from there eventually flourished and grew into the bustling, successful company that Ideal Positions is today, boasting over 40 dedicated employees, multiple departments collaborating in their expertise, and countless clients who have seen their own businesses flourish and grow alongside our truly unique company. What follows are some of the sea changes that led to where Ideal Positions is today and where we are still going. You will find that Ideal Positions is a company that has adapted to the changes of our industry, stayed ahead of the curve, and yet never sacrificed the integrity and personal touches that make our company special.

Any business that has been involved in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as long as Ideal Positions remembers the days when Yahoo! was king. Ideal Positions began by advertising exclusively on the Yahoo! and MSN search engines using the Overture Pay Per Click (PPC) platform. In these early days, Ideal Positions’ focus was solely on marketing for real estate professionals. As the success of the company grew and our top-notch marketing was proven with scores of realtors, it was time for Ideal Positions to expand its services beyond the real estate market. Over the years, Ideal Positions has brought expert marketing and campaign management to a wide variety of different industries, including attorneys, photographers, plastic surgeons, locksmiths, bail bondsmen, carpet cleaners, electricians, contractors, counselors, therapists, dentists, plumbers, wedding planners, and countless other industries too numerous to mention. Ideal Positions continues to expand into new verticals, building experience and expertise with a vast diversity of businesses.

As the Internet evolved, so did Ideal Positions. It wasn’t long before Ideal Positions realized that the Yahoo! and MSN search networks were no longer reaching enough users to deliver the volume of traffic our advertisers needed. At the time, Google AdWords was emerging as the dominant platform for Search Engine Marketing, and Google eventually overtook Yahoo! as the most popular search engine in the United States. Ideal Positions took note, incorporating Google AdWords into its existing Search Engine Marketing services, expanding to encompass the two largest search engines on the Internet and bringing our clients incomparable web presence in the process.

With the adoption of Google AdWords, Ideal Positions dedicated itself to the mastery of the Google AdWords Pay Per Click marketing platform. Concurrent with our ever growing proficiency in Pay Per Click account management, our rapport with Google grew and Ideal Positions became a Google AdWords Qualified Company.

In 2009, Microsoft launched the successor to MSN and Live Search: the bing search engine. Ever on the bleeding edge, Ideal Positions immediately adopted the new Microsoft adCenter Pay Per Click platform (currently known as bing Ads) and began offering Pay Per Click marketing on the bing search engine network. A client of Ideal Positions could now be found on the most popular search engines in the world: Google, Yahoo!, bing, and their innumerable search partners!

From the beginning, Ideal Positions focused on Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing over Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for many reasons, among them speed, potential Return On Investment (ROI) for our advertisers, and reliability. However, as the Internet and the search engines continued to evolve, a third major element of online marketing came into play: Local SEO. In early 2010, Ideal Positions took note and began to offer a new service, branded as Local Listings Optimization (LLO). LLO focused on optimizing and managing a businesses’ presence and reputation across many search directories and Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), providing a new way for our clients to be found by the users searching for their services. The local ecosystem has gone through dramatic changes over the years, and Ideal Positions has adapted and evolved LLO every step of the way to keep the service robust, flexible, and effective.

One of the biggest developments in the history of Ideal Positions was the introduction of the Web Development Department in the first quarter of 2010. Our talented web developers have used their expertise to build better websites for many of our clients, not to mention Ideal Positions’ websites as well. Perhaps the best testament to Ideal Positions’ web developers is the site you are currently on. As you can see from the screenshots of our past websites, the skills of our Web Development Department have consistently elevated Ideal Positions and our clients’ online presence to the next level, keeping up with the cutting edge of web design on the Internet.

In February of 2011, Ideal Positions began offering a level of transparency still unheard of in Internet marketing to this day. Utilizing Google AdWords’ user invitation system, Ideal Positions granted clients access to their Google AdWords accounts, giving advertisers the ability to see exactly how their campaigns were being managed, how many clicks they were receiving, and much more. Providing this level of access extended far beyond the norm for SEM agencies, most of whom still provide reporting only in the form of third-party tools whose data cannot be easily checked against Google AdWords’ own reporting.

In July of 2013, Ideal Positions made a significant change to our service, advertising all clients on Desktop Computers, Mobile Devices and Tablets. Whereas the mobile network had been offered in the past, Ideal Positions now incorporated all of the networks into a single package, anticipating Google’s introduction of Enhanced Campaigns, which integrated all devices into the same campaign. By staying ahead of the curve, Ideal Positions’ clients were advertising on mobile devices and tablets ahead of their competitors and got the edge on Google’s Enhanced Campaigns before they were rolled out to the general populace.

Ideal Positions has always placed the client’s needs first, customizing each advertising campaign to the specific needs and nature of each business. Years of experience in Search Engine Marketing have proven that the more time we have to fine tune a campaign, the better the results. The bright, Google AdWords Qualified Individuals that work with Ideal Positions’ SEM Team are dedicated to developing these long term campaigns to optimize for the lowest cost per click and cost per conversion for our clients.

Every step we have taken along the way has been in the best interest of our clients and together we have grown. As our industry continues to change with every passing year, Ideal Positions will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the people and businesses we serve. The future looks brighter than ever!

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

The Concept

We are currently living in an age where the lines between which device we use to view and interact with the Web is becoming more ambiguous. As a website owner, you will never know how a person will potentially view your website. They may be on their phone, on their laptop, or sitting on their sofa and viewing it through a gaming console on a big screen TV.

The fact of the matter is that web browsers now run on a range of electronic devices with various input methods and screen sizes. Because of this, the web design community has proposed various solutions to foresee any usability and accessibility issues and try to address them appropriately.

It was the case that designers tackled the solution by creating separate sites for devices; thus, a separate “mobile” and “desktop” version of the site was created. However it soon became clear that the amount of devices and screen sizes available to users made this approach unrealistic. You simply couldn’t build separate websites for all of the devices on the market.

A newer solution has emerged in what is known as “Responsive Web Design.” What Responsive Web Design (RWD) does is address the problem of a multi-device landscape, as smartphones and tablets are now just as capable as, if not better than, a traditional “desktop” computer when it comes to browsing the web.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are what give a website its appearance, everything from the color, line-height and size of font, the layout of the pages and the color of the buttons.

A technique known as Media Queries (CSS version 3) now allow designers and developers to apply CSS rules depending on variables such as the “max-width” and “height” of the screen or the orientation of the device, among other things, and are supported by all modern browsers.

The major browser vendors now acknowledge that the web landscape is changing and have implemented media query support to help address the problem of a multi device landscape.

How it Works – Adjusting Screen Resolution

We don’t know how people will be accessing a website, as they may have different hardware, network connections and web browsers. RWD allows us to target all ranges of devices, from HDTVs to smartphones, but applying certain rules depending on variables such as the viewport of the screen, both vertically and horizontally, and the aspect ratio, be it landscape or portrait.

What this does is allow websites to become very “fluid.” Ironically a web page with no style or CSS is responsive by default.

It should also be noted that RWD isn’t necessarily focused on “mobile” devices, as you can also make a website look good on huge screens (like an HDTV). In essence, we can now focus on how a page looks regardless of the device.

Google Analytics can give you an accurate statistic as to how people are viewing your site, organized by types of devices, browsers, and resolutions. The ”Screen Resolution” metric will show you what size the screen is (not the width of the actual browser window).

Why It Needs to Be Considered – Mobile First

Mobile is growing fast.

The reality is that mobile usage is growing fast. In a report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (Venture Capital Company), as of 2013, mobile traffic is 15% of global Internet traffic, up from 10% in 2012

Growth is increasing at a rate of 1.5x per year and will probably maintain, if not increase.

Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.

http://mashable.com/2010/04/13/mobile-web-stats/

Mobile Internet adoption has outpaced desktop Internet adoption by eight times. These statistics should be enough evidence to show you that the mobile trend is very real and here to stay.

Why this mindset?

As project stakeholders, designers and content writers, if we start out on a small browser, we are limited, so our mindset switches to what’s really important. By doing so, we trim away the fluff and focus on the essentials and the core values of the website’s design, in turn making our site more relevant, usable, and accessible.

It’s clear that we don’t have long to impress a potential client that visits our website. If your service or core message is not clear, if your text is illegible or if your menu items are unusable, there is a very good chance that they will simply click back on their browser and move elsewhere. All you have to do is to put yourself in the user’s shoes.

With the small screen mindset, we don’t have the luxury of 1920 x 1080 (2,073,600 px) pixels a canvas. One of the main issues with many websites has been the “kitchen sink” mentality, because its so easy to add more elements to a website on a large canvas. It’s then up to the web designer to try and find a good balance with all of these UI (User Interface) elements.

With this approach, it’s often the case that the core purpose or message of the website is unclear and, in the worst case scenario, completely lost.

The Process – At a base level.

Not all websites are the same, but at a basic level all of the following should be addressed:

RWD can be thought of as building a very robust and highly functional foundation for a website. It the site looks good and functions perfectly on a phone, then ultimately this foundation will help shape “larger versions” of the site

As a business owner, you need to ask yourself: “What is the message I want to communicate to my users?” or “What are the core values of my company/website?” By using this approach, you focus on what matters most, and this can then be applied to the mobile version of the site.

UI elements need to be made more “clickable,” as the most common method of interaction is by using a touch screen. The precision of a mouse is not an option.

Optimizing images for different devices and connection speeds.

Changing navigational position to account for how people hold a mobile device.

Ensuring elements like video or data tables re-size properly rather than just hiding them.

Dynamically resizing fonts to work better at different screen resolutions.

Providing retina versions of graphics.

All of the above are what your site should be doing at the very least in order for it to be as accessible and usable to the public as possible.

With this new approach, just one site is built and maintained. While it may require more resources initially, the long-term benefits should outweigh any additional costs.

Also as a bonus, you are building a site that’s optimized by default. Assets such as images need to be served appropriately and this approach should ultimately lead to a fast-loading website, which both your users and the search engines will greatly appreciate.

Conclusion

We should be creating websites that are future-ready today. RWD isn’t the ultimate answer, however, it’s a technique that, when executed correctly, can improve the end user experience.

The web offers us many choices that it can be both a positive and negative thing for a website owner. Ultimately though, it’s up to you to put your best foot forward and serve your client base as best as you can.