Awe-inspiring customer experience starts, and ends, without ‘gotchas’

Recently, I had a remarkable and inspiring customer experience with Maui Jim. So much so, that I will never buy any other brand of sunglasses ever again.

As a long time CX professional (CCXP and CXPA), it’s not easy to WOW me.  Here are the elements that made Maui Jim stand out:

  1. Have a great product they stand by.
  2. Listen to their customers.
  3. Follow through and do what they say they will.
  4. Strong partners in their distribution network.
  5. Easy to do business with no “gotchas.”

Let’s unpack this by answering the fundamental question of “what is customer experience?” While each company needs to define this for themselves, within the context of their brand promise and culture, a working definition is:

CX = In  X TnTPn

Customer experiences are the sum of ALL interactions, longitudinally, across touchpoints

Yes, it’s much greater than a single interaction and needs to be delivered consistently. That’s precisely why CX is everyone’s job and needs to be championed from the C-suite and orchestrated across lines of business and functions.

Here’s what made my Maui Jim customer experience awesome.

Maui Jim sunglasses are high performance eye protection. For sailors like me, we’re not averse to a pricey pair because we’re protecting our eyes from the sun and flying objects. Their glasses have a lifetime warranty, and I put it to the test. When racing in a high wind regatta, a sheet thwacked my face. The glasses protected my eye, but the frames broke. Same thing happened to my yacht-captain husband, so I returned two broken pairs for replacement.

I was informed by email that both pairs were discontinued and that they couldn’t fix either. But here’s how the Maui Jim team began to differentiate themselves. The email was from a real person with direct contact info – full name, email and direct dial phone number.  They actually wanted to talk to me and asked that I call them to discuss how they could make things right. They listened to me and made a personalized accommodation that we agreed upon. This wasn’t a standardized scripted dialog this was an empowered brand ambassador doing what was fair and reasonable. Not only that, but the supervisor was there in a moment collaborating with the call center representative and me to authorize our agreement. This was already unlike many front-line CSR’s; hiding behind a script and avoiding escalation saying the supervisor isn’t available or having you wait for an excruciatingly longtime hoping that you’ll give up.

Now, it gets even better!

Maui Jim’s ability to systematically follow through is remarkable. They remembered their promise and personalized accommodation two years after purchasing the glasses. While they have a “My Maui” sunglass configurator on their site, I needed to try on glasses to find a contoured fit.  

Through their strong partnerships with opticians and pop up stores, I not only found what I needed, but learned that I could also get bifocals made. A big win, not needing “cheaters” on hand to read a chart or instrument.

Honestly, I was dreading placing the order and trying to redeem this two-year-old promise. Girding myself for a “difficult” conversation, and keeping the stream of interactions, I dialed the phone. A delightful representative answered and immediately gave me confidence that she knew what she was doing and was going to be able to help me. Remarkably, all of my information and our agreement were put into my customer profile. Now that was EASY! No explaining, no recreating the wheel and no escalation. 

WOW! Mahalo Maui Jim! Keep up the awesome CX and please teach others.

In my next post, I will juxtapose awful CX and highlight how they could learn from Maui Jim’s outstanding customer experience.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Aileen Cahill is a Fortune 100 C-suite client advisor; selling and delivering consulting insights while building robust relationships and driving business results. She is a classically trained CPG brand marketer who blends “Big Data” analytics and customer insights with business strategy to drive strategic growth from the “outside in.” Unlocking revenue growth through customer focus, data analytics and process reengineering, she is a digital marketing pioneer who leverages analytics and design thinking to create new products and curate engaging customer experiences.

The Real Secret to My Social Media Success

The other day I was recording a podcast episode with my
co-host Eric Siu and he wanted to discuss something in particular.

He wanted to talk about how I got to 62,000 Instagram followers in a very short period of time and without spending any money on ads or marketing.

Eric is a great marketer as well, and when it comes to
social media, he spends much more time than me on it and he even has people at
his ad agency dedicated to helping him grow his personal brand online.

And of writing this post, he has 4,056 followers.

It’s not just with Instagram either, I beat him on all

Heck, he even does something that I don’t do, which is smart… he continually pays for advice. For example, he had his team jump on an hour call with Gary Vaynerchuk’s social media team so they could learn from them and grow his brand faster.

So, what’s the secret to my success?

Well, before I get into it, let me first start off by saying I love Eric to death and the point of this post isn’t to pick on him or talk crap… more so, I have a point to make and you’ll see it in a bit below.

Is it the fundamentals?

Everyone talks about strategies to grow your social following… from going live and posting frequently or talking about the type of content you should post and what you shouldn’t do.

I could even tell you that you need to respond to every comment and build up a relationship with your followers, which will help you grow your following and brand.

And although all of this is true, I dare you to try the fundamentals or the strategies that every marketing guru talks about doing. If you do, I bet this will happen…

It will be a lot of work and, if you are lucky, in the next 30 days you may get 10% more followers.

Sure, some of you will get much more growth, but you’ll find
that you can’t always replicate it and it won’t be consistent.

So, what is it then?

Is it luck?

Luck is part of some people’s success, but not most. The problem with luck is it doesn’t teach you much and it isn’t easy to replicate.

The reality is, some people will just get lucky and have tons of traction.

In other words, luck isn’t the secret. But if you do want to get “luckier”, then you can always become an early adopter which helps a bit.

How early is early?

When you jump onto a social network when it’s new, it’s
easier to grow and become popular.

For example, I got to over 30,000 Twitter followers
extremely fast when Twitter first came out.

At that time, I wasn’t as well known… it happened because of
a few reasons:

  1. Social algorithms are favorable early on – algorithms are typically favorable and most people will see your content. There aren’t many restrictions, hence it’s easier to grow. After a social network becomes popular, algorithms tighten up.
  2. Algorithms are easier to game early on – when you are early, you can use a lot of hacks to grow faster. For example, on Twitter, I would just follow tons of people a day and unfollow anyone who didn’t follow me back.
  3. First movers’ advantage – social networks want more users, that’s what they need to succeed. In the early stages of any platform, they want to help you gain more of a following so you will keep using their platform.

But here is the thing: even though being an early adopter helps, it’s not the secret to my success.

Just look at Instagram, I am really late to the game. But I started growing fast just this year as that is when we really started.

If you can get in early, you should do so, assuming you have
the time to invest. For example, this is the time to get in on Tiktok.

When you get in early, there is always the chance that the social network may end up flopping. But if it does take off, you’ll be ahead of your competition.

So what did I do?

Here was the secret to my growth… and it still works today. Eric Siu is even doing it with me right now.

It’s piggybacking on brands that are already popular.

When I first started, no one knew who I was. And I’m not saying everyone knows who I am today… by no means do I have a large brand like Tony Robbins.

What I did early on in my career was piggyback off of other popular brands.

For example, I hit up Pete Cashmore from Mashable, Michael Arrington from TechCrunch, Arianna Huffington from Huffington Post, and so many other popular sites like ReadWriteWeb, Business Insider, Gawker Media, and GigaOm to name just a few.

I know some of them don’t exist anymore, but back then they were extremely popular. Anyone who was in tech, and even some who weren’t, knew about each of those sites.

So, when I got started as a marketer, I hit up all of those sites and offered all of them free marketing in exchange for promoting my brand and adding “Marketing done by Neil Patel” or “Marketing done by Pronet”, which was my ad agency back then.

Just look at the image above. TechCrunch used to link to my site on every page of their site… forget rich anchor text, it really is all about branding.

The hardest part is, I had to email and message these
influencers dozens of times just to convince them to let me help them for free.
And a lot of them ignored me or didn’t accept my offer.

But of a few said yes.

Pete from Mashable was one of the first to say yes. Once his traffic and rankings skyrocketed, his competition hit me up. Especially TechCrunch.

What was funny, though, is that I was constantly emailing TechCrunch and didn’t hear back. 6 months from my first email, they eventually accepted my offer.

I made a deal with Michael Arrington at the time in which once I boosted his traffic, he would add a logo that I did marketing for him, which you saw above.

In addition to that, he would tell all of his venture capital friends what I did for him and share the results (so hopefully they would share it with their portfolio companies, which would help me make money) and write a blog post about me.

He didn’t end up writing the blog post, which is fine, but he
did the other two.

When he sent out emails to VCs showing a Google Analytics graph of his traffic growing at a rapid pace, I quickly got inundated with inquiries about my marketing services.

In addition to that, I was building up my brand… and my
social media following. I was gaining “social clout” because I was doing good
work for influencers.

One could argue that boosting traffic for someone like TechCrunch by 30% is worth millions and I should have charged for my services. Although I spent countless time doing free work, I wouldn’t trade it for any single dollar as it is what made me and helped build up my reputation.

And I didn’t stop there. Even today, I try to associate myself with other popular brands. Just like how I was lucky enough to work with Robert Herjavec, who has a popular TV show in the US along with Mark Cuban…

Here’s how many visitors I was getting for my name “Neil Patel” on a monthly basis before I started working with Robert.

And this is how many visitors I get for my name on a monthly
basis a few months after I worked with Robert.

That’s a 37.84% increase in a matter of months!

By piggybacking off of popular brands, it doesn’t just help my website traffic but also helps to grow my social media following as well.

Just like as you can see below with my Instagram growth…

Now it isn’t just me who can do this, anyone can.

How can you piggyback off of other brands?

Just like how I piggybacked off of brands like TechCrunch, Eric is doing something similar to me at the moment.

We have a podcast that generates over 1 million downloads a month.

Eric’s had a podcast for years, but the one he has with me has more than 10x the listeners. This has helped him grow his brand a lot over the last year.

Let’s just look at the data. According to Eric, due to the podcast, he has signed up 6 clients, which has generated 540,000 dollars in annual revenue.

Now when he goes to tech conferences, 3 to 4 people tend to come up to him and mention how they love Marketing School and his work. In addition to that, it has been easier for Eric to set up meetings (people respond back to him more now), and he is also getting advisory shares in companies due to his growing brand. And the best part is, he is getting more paid speaking gigs for up to $10,000 a pop because of the podcast.

The data shows it was a good move by Eric for partnering up with me. He pushed me to do a podcast years ago and I told him no because I was too lazy. He didn’t give up though. Eventually, he got me to say yes and flew to my house in Las Vegas to record our first episode.

He did all of the work and it has been a great mutual relationship as doing this podcast has also helped grow my brand at the same time.

Now you are probably thinking, why isn’t his follower count growing fast enough?

Well, he needs to do what he is doing with me with a few more influencers to really put fuel to the fire. Just like how I didn’t only piggyback off of TechCrunch… at one point the Gawker Media network was linking to me on every page of their sites, which was seen by over 100 million unique people per month.

That really gets your brand out there!

Another example is Brian Dean from Backlinko as he did something similar with me back in the day. Years ago I approached him to write a detailed guide on link building with him and he also created videos that were on my old marketing blog Quick Sprout, which helped him grow his brand.

I can’t take credit for “making” Eric or Brian successful. They would have done well without me… and in the grand scheme of things, I really didn’t do much for either of them.

It’s like saying TechCrunch made the Neil Patel brand. Of course, it helped, and helped a lot… but one partnership won’t make or break you.

And if I didn’t continually blog, create videos, speak at events, or do any of the other stuff that I did, the TechCrunch partnership wouldn’t have been as effective.

Eric and Brian would have grown their brand in other ways because their work stands for itself, hence they would have been successful on their own. I just helped provide a little boost, just like how TechCrunch provided me with a boost.

And once more people get to know you, you’ll naturally do
better on the social web.

For example, when Will Smith created his Instagram account, he didn’t have to buy ads or anything. Everyone just knows him already and that’s why his Instagram account blew up really quickly.

And you can do what Will Smith did on a smaller scale. Similar to what I did.

But don’t expect it overnight. Will Smith has been on television for over 20 years. It’s multiple shows, movies, and connections with other famous people that have really helped grow Will’s brand.

Of course, we won’t get on TV as Will has, but you can piggyback on other popular brands multiple times to create a similar (smaller) effect.

All you have to do is help these influencers out for free.

If you are a web designer, offer design services. If you are
a marketer, offer marketing services. If you are selling a product or service,
keep giving it away for free and maybe someone will talk about your company.

If you don’t have anything you can offer that has value, just look at whatever influencer you want to associate with, see where they may need help, learn that skill, and offer it for free.

It’s the easiest way to become popular on the social web.


That’s my secret to being popular on the social web.

It’s also how I built a decent size company… purely by
leveraging other popular brands in the early days

You can do the same, but you have to be patient. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.

For example, Eric’s brand has been growing but we have been
doing a podcast together for over 2 years now.

Plus, he continually pushes on his own and doesn’t just rely
on leveraging other influencers.

Remember, nothing worthwhile happens overnight.

You have to be persistent with your emails, your direct messages, your text messages, and whatever else you can do to get a hold of these influencers. Most will ignore you but it is a numbers game and, eventually, you’ll be able to associate your brand with someone popular, which will grow your brand.

And last but not least: Don’t expect an influencer to make you successful. Sure, multiple influencers are better than one, but that’s not what I meant.

If Brian Dean from Backlinko wasn’t good at link building, creating content, SEO, and educating, he wouldn’t do well… no matter who he associated himself with. The same goes for Eric.

Your skills, your abilities, your product… whatever you are
trying to brand needs to stand on its own.

So, what do you think about my secret? Are you going to
copy it?

Top four social listening tools for 2020 and why they’re great Search Engine Watch

Top four social listening tools for 2020 and why they’re great

Every business wants as much customer feedback as possible. That’s why we obsessively measure NPS (which barely has any statistical validity) and run surveys (which, in addition to being biased by definition, can negatively impact customer experience) like it’s the end of the world.

But the feedback we really want is different. It’s genuine, quick and easy to get, and structured enough so we can analyze it effectively. That’s where social listening, or social media monitoring, comes in.

Social listening is the process of monitoring mentions of keywords (for example, a brand name) or key phrases across social media and the Internet at large. Think of it as a way to measure people’s awareness of any subject – and their opinion on it – without having to ask questions.

Google Trends

More and more companies are adopting social media monitoring every year, and social listening tools are also evolving quickly. Even though they’re called social media monitoring tools, many apps go beyond social media and monitor the web at large. Finally, they analyze the data in order to provide you with insights you can learn from and act on.

In this post, we’ll look at the best social media monitoring tools you can use in 2020.

top-Four social listening tools for 2020 and why they're great Awario

Awario is one of the best options in terms of bang for the buck. With pricing starting at $29/month, it comes equipped with many features of Enterprise-geared tools: sentiment analysis, topic clouds, Boolean search, and more.

In terms of coverage, Awario monitors Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, news and blogs, and the rest of the web. Let’s look at what makes Awario stand out.

Rich analytics

Awario lets users measure dozens of social listening metrics, such as sentiment, reach, share of voice, key themes, top countries, and more. On top of that, you can use the tool to identify your biggest influencers and compare several brands side-by-side against crucial metrics for benchmarking and competitor analysis.

Boolean search

Boolean search isn’t for every brand. If your company name isn’t a common or ambiguous word (think Apple or Tesla), you’ll be just fine by simply feeding your brand name to the tool.

However, social listening has plenty of benefits beyond brand monitoring: from lead generation and PR, to doing research for your content strategy, this is where Boolean search comes in handy. It’s an advanced search mode that uses Boolean logic, letting you create flexible queries of any complexity to make sure you only get relevant results, whatever your use case may be.

Alert settings


Awario offers a free 7-day trial. Pricing starts at $29/mo for the Starter plan (with 3 topics to monitor and 30,000 mentions/mo) and goes up to $299/mo for Enterprise. 

Top Four social listening tools for 2020 and why they're great - Tweet Deck

Although TweetDeck isn’t a specialized social media monitoring tool, it definitely deserves a place on this list.

First of all, TweetDeck is free. Second, it lets you run Twitter searches using its powerful filters. And third, it combines the search functionality with everything else you’ll need to manage your Twitter presence.

Monitoring and scheduling in one tool

TweetDeck lets you schedule tweets, manage your DMs, and track mentions of your company on the network. You can set up as many searches as you need and reply to tweets right from the dashboard by connecting your Twitter account to the app.

Customizable column layout

Another great thing about TweetDeck is its column layout where you get to choose what each column shows. For instance, you could have your Twitter feed in one column, your DMs in another, and your social listening search in yet another one.


TweetDeck is free.

Top Four social listening tools for 2020 and why they're great - Talkwalker

Talkwalker is an excellent social listening tool for digital agencies. The software collects the latest mentions of your brand and offers detailed analytics on your social media presence.

The tool’s social media coverage is pretty impressive, on top of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, the platform also monitors Flickr and Pinterest. 

Demographic analysis

In addition to monitoring mentions, Talkwalker will give you insights on people who mention you, including your audience’s gender, age, interests, and geography.

Image recognition

Talkwalker’s Enterprise plan offers an ability to monitor images and videos, this way you’ll be notified whenever your logo appears in an Instagram photo or YouTube video. 


Pricing starts at $9,600/year for 10,000 mentions/mo. 

Top Four social listening tools for 2020 and why they're great - Mention

Mention is a social media tool that’s primarily geared towards agencies and big brands, although they do offer plans for smaller businesses. Mention’s focus is on real-time monitoring – if you sign up and create an alert, you’ll only see mentions from the last 24 hours. Historical data is available under custom plans.

API access

For businesses that like to have their analytics in one place, Mention offers API access, letting you integrate it into your own tools. If you’re not into coding, Mention offers an integration with Zapier, letting you automatically send mentions to a Google Spreadsheet, set up Slack notifications, and more.

Influencer marketing

In addition to social media monitoring, Mention lets you search for industry influencers across Twitter and Instagram; on top of that, it finds influential websites that you can partner with or guest post on. 


Mention’s pricing starts at $29/mo for its basic Solo plan, which lets you monitor one topic. For bigger brands, the app offers custom plans which start at $600/mo.


That’s our list of the best social media monitoring tools for the coming year. Each of them has its own unique pros, so I do hope you’ve found one that’s a perfect fit for your use case and budget.

This is a sponsored post from Awario. Awario is a social listening and analytics platform trusted by over 5,000 companies worldwide. The tool gives brands access to meaningful insights on their customers, industry, and competitors through real-time social media and web monitoring. Awario monitors social media networks, news websites, blogs, and the rest of the web in real time, crawling over 13 billion pages daily to ensure you never miss important conversations that spark out online.

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It’s Time to Start the Critical Activity You Can No Longer Afford to Postpone

I’ve always been stubborn.

So, it wasn’t out-of-character for me to stand my ground when everyone I knew was quite skeptical about my career ambitions.

“How are you going to be a writer?”

“What have you written?”

“Who is going to listen to you?”

I’ve heard it all, and I really didn’t care in the beginning.

But a couple of years after pronouncing myself a “freelance writer and editor,” things started to get a bit scary.

I wasn’t getting the long-term work and challenging projects that I hoped would grow my business.

Every time I ran into a former colleague who had given up on writing and currently had a completely different job, it got a little scarier.

“Writing? I don’t do that anymore. Not for work. You don’t make a living writing.”

Maybe everyone else was right. Maybe I was ridiculous to think I could become a full-time writer and editor.

Your writing skills alone don’t build a business

One day, I was sitting in my car while stuck in traffic.

I looked up at a giant billboard that sat above the crowded intersection and noticed the ad was for McDonald’s.

If a company as large as McDonald’s still needs to promote their offers, why did I think I could get away without proactively marketing my services?

In that moment, I realized there was so much more that I needed to do to sell myself as a freelance writer and editor.

Truth be told, I was a much better marketer for other people’s products and services.

When it came to describing my own strengths and winning difference, my marketing was weak. I sounded pretty much like everyone else.

But the last thing I wanted was to sound sleazy or overly confident. To me, cockiness felt empty, so I thought my value would “speak for itself” in the content I produced.

However, the great work opportunities I wanted weren’t just falling into my lap. Something had to change.

I had to start consistently demonstrating that I was the perfect match for the creative projects I wanted — in a variety of ways where I was still true to myself.

Advanced strategies that land game-changing clients

For today, I just want you to think about how long it takes to get to know someone.

When you meet a new person, they usually only reveal a few pieces of background information at first. That’s natural.

From their perspective, they might feel that they’ve given you a good sense of who they are — but for a while, they’re essentially a stranger, an acquaintance at most.

It takes time to discover:

  • They run marathons to raise money for clean water around the world.
  • They spend Saturday mornings helping abandoned kittens find homes.
  • They meditate regularly to stay centered, so they can be more thoughtful in their relationships and interactions with others.

If they’re remotely humble, all of those details aren’t going to come out of their mouth right away.

You’re not going to immediately know that they are the type of person you’d like to get to know better (if you’re into Runner-Kitten-Helping-Meditator Types).

Similarly, after reading a few pieces of your content and a couple of visits to your About Page, a prospective client still isn’t going to feel like they know you and want to hire you.

It takes time.

Your website is a vital part of your content marketing plan, but successful service providers also incorporate additional strategies to get game-changing clients.

McDonald’s had the right idea

So, stay tuned to the blog as we cover this topic more to help you shift into the type of writer who knows how to sell naturally and effectively — whether you need to sell the services you offer or the products you’ve built.

By the way, McDonald’s had the right idea … I’m a writer, and I didn’t even have to pay for a giant billboard.

Making Your Money Count: 7 Effective Social Media Advertising Tips

Making Your Money Count: 7 Effective Social Media Advertising Tips

Making Your Money Count: 7 Effective Social Media Advertising Tips

According to Hootsuite’s Global State of Digital in 2019 report, there are 3.484 billion social media users worldwide. This number keeps growing each year by 9 percent.

With the rise of social networks, it’s becoming harder than ever to put your content out there and reach potential customers. Algorithms change constantly, and brands try to keep up with the trends.

As a brand, you can’t afford to spend time and effort on posting content without spending money on ads. Only a few of your posts will have an organic reach. You have to pay for the rest in hopes of being noticed.

Here are seven essential social media advertising tips you need to know to get your money’s worth for each ad you put out there.

1. Build a Social Media Strategy

Before you begin with social media advertising, you need a solid social media strategy. First, decide on the content you’ll post, the timeframe, and frequency. These parameters are different for each platform and for each type of audience.

For example, LinkedIn users are the most active after work, while Facebook users are the most active at noon, during their lunch break, or in the evenings. Then, decide on the type of ads you’ll run, your budget, and frequency.

Remember that it takes time for your strategy to produce results. Even with paid ads, platforms need time to figure out the best audience to present your ads to and gain momentum. However, if you don’t see results after a month, either kill the ad campaign or change something about it.

2. Decide Which Platforms You’ll Use

With so many social media platforms, it can be hard to decide which ones to use for the best results. Where does your target customer spend the most time online? Which platforms do they use every day and for what purpose?

Each platform has its own rules on advertising, but also different types of audiences. This means you should prepare different ads and pay different prices.

It’s important to choose your top advertising vs marketing channels and allocate your budget accordingly. Some marketing efforts don’t require big budgets but may need the support of paid ads to convert.

3. Know Your Target Customer

Social media ads are easy to set up, but no matter how advanced their algorithms, this doesn’t mean they’ll reach the right audience. This is why you have to know your target customer in terms of demographics, purchasing power, lifestyle habits, shopping habits, and even the generation they belong to.

Once you have a detailed buyer persona, you’ll know the type of voice to use, images and graphics, price ranges, and calls to action. Running ads just for the sake of it will not only drain your ad money but also result in low conversion rates.

4. Engage With Your Followers

If you want to learn what your audience wants, you have to interact with them on a daily basis. This means replying to comments and messages, organizing giveaways, making polls, asking questions, and posting regular social media content.

The more you engage with your followers, the closer they’ll feel to your brand. They’ll tag their friends, post photos of your products, and participate in discussions. This will help algorithms show your posts in users’ feeds, and earn the trust of your followers. And when your audience learns to trust you, they will buy from you.

Remember that trust is hard to earn, but it’s easily broken. Your interactions with the audience should always be friendly, professional, and helpful, no matter how much time it takes to turn them into customers.

5. Set a Social Media Advertising Budget

Most social media platforms make it easy and affordable to run ads, but you still need to set a budget. Otherwise, your ads will run indefinitely, and you’ll spend money with little ROI.

Divide your advertising budget into several parts for different social media platforms. Then, decide which platform can bring you the most return on ad spent, and assign the biggest chunk there.

Remember that click-through rates aren’t as important as conversion rates. If you see a great CTR, but also high bounce rates on your website/landing page, you need to change something there.

6. Do A/B Testing on Ads

Advertising on social media can be tricky because you don’t know how the audience will perceive your ads. This is why A/B testing is important if you want to see what type of copy and content performs better.

A/B testing means you’ll create two different ads and see which performs better. Then, you can easily see where to tweak and optimize until you get a better conversion rate.

This is especially true when you want to attract new customers and don’t know how they’ll respond to your ads, if at all. This data will help you create better-targeted ads in the future, and with better results.

7. Dive Into Social Media Insights

To truly understand the results behind your advertising efforts, you should dive into your social media insights. There, you can see which ads performed best, what the conversion rate was, and what the audience was.

Then, follow the analytics on your website to see where users clicked, how they interacted with the landing page, and if they took some action. The goal is to make a sale or generate a lead, so if these metrics are too low, you need to adjust your ads or landing pages.

Learn how to read and analyze your data to make the most of it. It’ll always show you the real state of your ad efforts so you can learn, adjust, optimize, and repeat.

Reach New Customers Online With These Advertising Tips!

No matter what industry you’re in, using social media ads to boost brand awareness is a must if you want to get new customers.

The first steps are having a social media strategy, an advertising budget, and a lot of patience until things take off.

Want more marketing and advertising tips? Check out some of the other articles on our website where we share the latest trends and tools in the social media world.

How To Increase CTR and Rank Using Search Console

While SEO can get very complicated, some of the simple steps deliver the biggest impact. In this weeks video, I’ll share how to leverage Search Console to make gains in both your rank and CTR. The best part, is that doesn’t take a lot of time and delivers great ROI!

Video Transcript:

Hey, what’s up and welcome to Hack My Growth. Today, we’re going to do a quick video on how we can leverage Google Search Console to optimize our pages for better click through rates and more engagement. All right, let’s go. Are you looking to grow your business but you’re not sure where to start? That’s where we come in. Hey, thanks for checking out this video. If this is your first time watching or maybe you’ve been watching a while and you have not yet become a subscriber, please do so now. We would love to have you join our community. We create new content each and every week to help you get more out of your online marketing initiatives.

So like I said, today, we’re going to be talking about Search Console, and more specifically how we can use it to get better click-through-rates in the search results, improve our ranks, and really just improve the overall search visibility of a page. Now, if you aren’t using Google Search Console, I highly recommend it. It used to be called Webmaster Tools, but this can sync and connect with your Google Analytics account and it can allow you to see exactly how your site is performing in search. A lot of the data here is for data from real users typing in real search queries and it can give you some really powerful analytics, but also lets you know how your site is performing in search. So once you’ve set up your site here, we will go ahead and go to the site.

All right, so this is what it looks like once you’ve logged into Google Search Console. You’ll need to connect to your domain. You can connect it through a variety of different ways, so follow the onscreen instructions, it’ll help you out here. So as you can see, there’s a number of things going on here. The overview is going to show you your performance in search. It’s going to show you your index coverage. It’s going to show you what kind of enhancements you have as well. Mobile, AMP pages, breadcrumbs, any other kind of schema. They’re starting to pull in FAQ schema and a couple of other things as well, which we talked about those rich cards in a past video, if you want to learn more about those, I highly recommend you check that out.

Today, we’re talking specifically about how we can improve our performance in the search results. The performance report, and specifically the search one, is going to give us that information. When you click in here, you’re going to see a number of different metrics. At the top right highlight is going to be clicks and impressions. You can also see your overall click-through-rate, your average position, all of these things. Right now we’re looking at web. You can also adjust this up until 16 months. You can also do custom time frames as well. This has really grown over the year, so it gives you a lot more data. You can even compare stuff not totally in real time, but in pretty good, 12 hour periods.

Underneath, you can filter down through queries, pages, countries, devices, search appearance, et cetera. What we like to do is understand the pages that we’re trying to grow and the pages that we want to have a better click-through-rate and more visibility on. So what you would do here is click down on pages. What this is going to show you is the pages you have clicks on and the impressions. For instance, let’s say we have this blog here, 64,900 impressions, 101,318 clicks. We click on here. It’s going to tell us we have an average click through rate of 2%, average position of 43. And now the average position is aggregating all the terms that it’s ranking for and what’s the average position of all those terms together.

We can obviously work through that and make this higher, maybe get more visibility. Now, once you are segmented on our page, you’ll notice it’s up here in the filter. You want to look at the different terms that people have used to find that page and that’s what you’ll use queries for now. What we can do is then look at how many impressions and how many clicks we’re getting. The number of clicks, so How to Promote Direct Sales Business, How to Agree Direct Sales Business. Now this is just one example, right? How to be successful as a direct sales. This page isn’t necessarily super specifically what we’re doing, but it can drive in some leads. What we want to do is then look at direct sales marketing. This right now, for this specific term, we have a very low click-through-rate, even though we’ve got a decent average position. What we can do now is then look at this term and then look at this page that we’re targeting here, which is this one.

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All right, so now we’re in the back end of our CMS and we’ve got our blog title, the URL, meta-description. This is the basic SEO elements. Now this works the same if you’re on WordPress or Squarespace, Wix, any of those other sites that allow you to edit your title metas. We go back to Search Console, remember the term we were looking at, and we saw that we’ve got some impressions but we have bad click-through-rate, in direct sales marketing.

Now, again, before we start targeting these terms, it’s probably also good to know that there’s some search volume associated with them. So we did quick keyword research, about 110 searches a month. Not a ton, but it’s enough, right? If you start to grow a lot of these different terms in a lot of terms around your core terms, you’re going to start to grow significant traffic to your site.

So this is a valuable term to us. We can still take some initiative here. If we want to increase the click-through-rate, we can start to test things like adding direct sales marketing up here to the blog title and then shifting the way that the title tags are being represented so that it’s a reflective a lot more to the keywords. Also, start to work out this meta-description and change the meta-description. Add in that term. What I like to do is make sure that we have a good list of terms before start going through and making all these major edits. If you want to start to go through them all, you can easily download them here and export them into a Google sheet. What’s nice about this is you can see them all in one place and see how they’re connected. You can also look at your position, the click through rates. You can really start to see is there anything we want to filter through and look at click-through-rates that are under 2%. So we’ll go clear.

You can do this. You can also create a filter, but I’m just going to click these boxes really quick and okay. So that’s going to leave us with all of these terms. Now you also want to filter it by impressions. Obviously, you want to start with the ones that have the highest impressions first and go down from there. Direct sales, direct sales marketing, direct selling, direct sales leads, attracting new customers. All of these are terms that we can look at and we can look to adding them not just to our titles and meta, but also moving into the content and saying, “Okay, well, maybe we need to use some of these terms more frequently through our content,” and begin to build the content that way as well. Once you’ve done this, obviously, make your updates, and then you want to feed this page back to search.

Take this page and paste it into your URL inspector here and ask Google to crawl this page again. I’m not going to do it because I haven’t made any changes. You don’t want to just send that to Google every time. Only when you make major changes, that way they can go and then validate those new changes and reposition your site. Once you do this, also, I highly recommend that you make an annotation in your Google Analytics account, which will allow you to know when those changes were made.

Now, you take a couple of pages a week, a couple pages, a couple months, you can start to really grow your traffic this way. And these are simple steps that you can take that will produce real results for your business.

If you’ve got any questions about this process and how to optimize your site and how to really leverage Search Console, let us know. We’d love to continue the conversation with you and really help you build out the rest of that process together. And until next time, Happy Marketing.

Interview with Marie Haynes: What you need to know about E-A-T

Interview Marie Haynes: What you need to know about E-A-T

I had the great pleasure of being able to ask Dr. Marie Haynes a few questions about E-A-T. What it is and how you can improve it.

Dr. Marie Haynes is a well-known SEO expert from Ottawa, Canada. She speaks a lot about Google penalties, algorithm changes such as Panda, Penguin, and also Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines.

Marie Haynes interview what you need to know about E-A-T

Paul Lovell: What is E-A-T?

Dr. Marie Haynes: E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust”. Google mentions E-A-T many times in its Quality Raters’ Guidelines. Google also mentioned E-A-T in a whitepaper recently published, saying, “Where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in the response.

As such, if a site wants to rank well for Your Money or Your Life queries, it is very important that it has all three elements of E-A-T.

PL: How does the Quality Rater Guidelines, help website owners?

DR M H: Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines were created as a guideline to teach human quality raters how to assess high and low-quality issues on websites. In early 2017, we noticed at MHC (Marie Haynes Consulting) that many sites coming to us for site audits after seeing traffic drops were sites that were generally technically sound, but were being outranked by businesses that had all of the components of E-A-T as described in the QRG.

Google has said that the QRG do not exactly reflect Google’s algorithms, but that they fundamentally show us what they want the algorithm to do. We believe that if something is in the QRG as a sign of high or low quality, it is something we should be assessing for our clients.

PL: How can you improve E-A-T?

DR M H: Because E-A-T has many components, there are many things that can be worked on in order to see improvements in this area. Expertise is a tough one to improve upon, but we have seen some cases where we felt it helped by simply adding more “braggy” information on expertise on the homepage and about the page in an effort to show potential readers why this website is an expert on its topics.

We believe authority is heavily tied to links. The QRG talks about how important it is to have other experts recommending you as an expert. In other words, do you have people linking to you because they truly want to recommend your content, your business, or anything else? If you have true recommendations from authoritative places, this contributes to the “A” in E-A-T.

The “T” in E-A-T is the most interesting to me. There are so many elements of trust that we believe Google is measuring. These may include your online reputation, whether or not you have easy to find contact information, whether your refund policy is available online, whether you quote medical sources appropriately, and also, for medical sites, whether you write on topics that contradict general scientific consensus. There are many other elements as well.

What we have found is that the key to recovery for a site that has seen an E-A-T related hit is to determine where the issues are, and then find ways to improve upon them. If people are distrusting your site because perhaps it is too ad-heavy, removing some ads could potentially help. If your nearest competitor has thousands of authoritative mentions, where you have tens of them, this is an area to work on.

PL: What is the best signal for website owners to work on first?

DR M H: I’m going to give an SEO answer here and say that this really depends. First, don’t get too stuck on just E-A-T. If your site has dropped in traffic or rankings, it could be due to technical issues, or perhaps because a competitor is simply outranking you. It doesn’t always mean something is wrong.

With that said, however, one area where we seem to be seeing some significant gains repeatedly is in disavowing large volumes of links that were made for SEO purposes alone. Our thought is that link quality is tied in to “T” in E-A-T.

PL: What does YMYL mean?

DR M H: Most sites we analyze are “Your Money or Your Life” sites. If people make important decisions by reading your site, or if you are spending money on this site, no matter how small the amount, then it is likely YMYL.

PL: How can you track if your E-A-T is rising?

DR M H: There is no “E-A-T metric” or signal to track. But, in our experience, if a site is negatively affected at the time of a core quality update, there is likely an E-A-T issue. What we have seen is that if we can make enough improvements in E-A-T, the real benefit comes with the next core update. That’s usually our barometer for improvement.

Google has updated its algorithm many times over the last few years. Which updates would you say have been more focused on EAT and why?

I personally believe that almost, if not all, of the core updates since early 2017 are focused on some element of E-A-T.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on E-A-T in the comments. If you wish to stay up to date with Marie you can do so on Twitter @Marie_Haynes or head over to

Paul Lovell is an SEO Consultant And Founder at Always Evolving SEO. He can be found on Twitter @_PaulLovell.

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These 4 Things Can Destroy Your Internet Business

Many people often talk about the strategies to implement into your content marketing but they fail to outline the elements you should be avoiding. I like to focus on both because from my experience, some people have an easier time following the DONT’s instead of the DO’s. Anyway, Google is changing things around quickly so it’s important we know what to focus on. For example, what factors used to matter several years back no longer matter as much because the search algorithm has changed. There is more emphasis on quality and increasing the user experience. If you view Google’s writing guidelines, you’ve noticed they made tweaks outlining the importance of quality, creative, formatting, and keyword usage. Next,

There is so much content being published daily that tries to answer content quality questions, with every blogger providing their own insight. Personally, I find too much information can be very confusing so I’ve decided to narrow it down, outlining the MOST important marketing blunders made by bloggers.

Let’s jump right in…

businesswoman and plan business strategy

BlackHat SEO Practice

If you want to succeed online, then it’s important you know the link building strategies to avoid. If you think Google hasn’t caught on, you’re completely wrong, because the recent Panda and Penguin updates were aimed at bloggers trying to manipulate the SERP’s. For example, in the last 4 years, we’ve seen the following…

  • Bulk link building
  • Spin content
  • Duplicate content
  • PBN’s (private blog networks)
  • Buying links

This has destroyed the quality of search results and decreased the user experience. Google gained popularity by providing searchers the type of content that is unique, providing a complete solution. Through manipulative strategies, affiliate websites have been able to outrank value adding content blogs, destroying the overall experience. Whatever you do, stay away from “blackhat” SEO and focus on a natural link building process. You’ll do much better in the long run because Google is always tweaking the SERP’s to crack down on SPAM sites.

Fake Followers

Social media is changing the way people interact online. At one point, it would take months for content to go viral, but now it takes minutes. The problem is many bloggers think the more people you have following you, the better for your content marketing but they couldn’t be more wrong. It all depends on the quality of followers you have so DON’T waste your money purchasing “fake followers” because you’ll be doing more harm than good. Next, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ understand this is becoming a major problem and will ban your account permanently. Going forward, you’ll be restricted from logging into their platform and you’ll lose a vital source of relevant traffic.

Low Quality Content

One of the biggest Internet marketing mistakes people are making, low quality content will destroy your website. We are in a time where it’s about frequency and quality combined together. Google introduced a freshness update to help searchers find trending content but they’ve put greater emphasis on quality at the same time. Why? Simple…

First, up-to date information will ensure people find the most trending content available, increasing the user experience. Google has succeeded as a search engine because they will able to connect people with the MOST relevant information. Next, with the influx in websites all competing for traffic, something needs to differentiate them all, other than websites and a link building campaign. If you want to stand out compared to your competitor, then focus on quality going forward.

Lack of Passion

One factor that differentiates people who succeed online compared to those who’ve failed is “passion”. You have to be passionate about the industry you’re in or you’ll give up without putting 100% going forward. You have to remember the business of online marketing is very difficult and there are going to be times you don’t make money, attract a following, and feel like you’re making progress, but it’s your passion that will keep you pushing forward. Here’s something the late Steve Jobs said about passion…

There are going to be times you’ll want to give up and many people do because it’s the obvious and easiest thing to do. However, it’s the insane ones who keep pushing forward because they’re crazy about the business they’re involved in. If you want to succeed, then you’ll have to be crazy about your niche so you keep pushing forward when everyone else is telling you to give up.

How advertising rates vary by category on Amazon

It was 10 years ago, Jeff Bezos famously quipped that “advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product.” As it relates to Amazon today, that logic holds as much water as any of these fine-looking sieves found on Amazon itself. In 2019, the retail site is largely a “pay to play” platform when it comes to defending and driving market share growth. This reality necessitates that Amazon sellers commit to advertising spending on the platform, but also do so based on expected conversion rates and search volume in order to preserve profitability while gaining market share.

How we got here

Two contributing factors have driven Amazon to its current state for sellers. First, across the most popular search terms on Amazon the share of total conversions for a given keyword, on average, heavily weight towards the first few results on the search page. This fact may have been true in the past, but its significance today becomes crystal clear when looking at Amazon’s own brand analytics data. Over the month of August, across the top million search terms on Amazon, the top three organic results captured an average of 62% of conversions.

Dovetailing with this behavior are the increasing prevalence of ads on Amazon search pages. Across nearly every popular search term across nearly every product category on Amazon, multiple Sponsored Product listings exist above the fold, along with, to a lesser degree, a Sponsored Brands placement at the very top of the page. Using the organic conversion share as a proxy for user behavior on the search page overall, those top paid placements are capturing a substantial share of total conversions.

All this being said, when it comes to user behavior on Amazon, not all categories are created equal. Anecdotally, think about how many options you would consider, and how long you would take to shop, for a 2-pack of ketchup bottles online versus a pair of pants. These differences bare out in the underlying data, which I studied as part of my work at Teikametrics.

How advertising varies by category on Amazon

To get this category-specific picture of Amazon advertising, I examined the paid and organic listings present on the first page of results across the top one million search queries on Amazon over the month of August 2019. The search results data for this analysis was captured over the course of the final week of August 2019, and the category segmentation was based on the top category suggestion from Amazon listed in the sidebar for that search.

I focused on top 20 physical goods categories by the number of queries present in the top million search terms. I then examined the number of ads present in the top 10 combined paid and organic results, in addition to any Sponsored Brands placements, on a per term basis, expressing this on a 0 to 100 index. The category labeled ‘100%’ had the most ads in the top 10 results, with all other results being expressed as a percentage of that total.

For context, I also provided the average top three organic conversion share of each term analyzed in the category, as provided by Amazon Brand Analytics, along with the average price of all products on the underlying search results page. The analysis underscores the level of variance across verticals when it comes to the number of ads at the top of a search results page on Amazon. 

Categories more aligned with hobbies, specifically “outdoor recreation,” “arts, crafts and sewing,” and “automotive” had the highest number of ads in the top 10 terms. This is likely due to brand affinity being a major driver of purchases generally in these categories, and many players outfitting across an entire category itself. You may know someone who always buys Coleman or North Face camping products, as one example. For brands, attracting those shoppers and getting them introduced to their brand can create subsequent, related purchases across their wider catalog.

Categories with comparatively lower rates of ads in the top 10 results were more aligned with high consideration, and more accessory-laden categories. These include “toys and games,” “computers and accessories” and “baby products.” In each of these categories, consumers are looking for the “right fit” for their needs based on a wide range of criteria (e.g. age of the child, color preferences, cord length etc.), and may place those needs above sticking with a certain brand, or be more brand agnostic in general.

Both fashion categories stand out, with relatively high ad rates, but lower Sponsored Brand rates. While these are both competitive marketplaces on Amazon, the fact that consumers aren’t as likely to convert on the top results makes those top placements potentially less valuable. These categories are also home to a particularly large number of resellers, who cannot purchase Sponsored Brands placements.

On the other side of the spectrum, both the “beauty and personal care” and “office products” categories have a comparatively high top three conversion share, yet a relatively low rate of ads in the top 10 results. This could relate to slimmer product margins crimping the ability for brands to commit significant budget to ads, but similarly represents a good opportunity for brands in this category to capture more conversions should it be economically viable.

Next Steps

While this analysis captures a moment in time on Amazon, marketers should see this as directionally relevant as they set their strategy for Q4 and beyond.

Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands advertising is particularly intense across certain categories on Amazon. If you’re a seller in those markets, you need to gain a thorough understanding of which search terms you should target, both from a volume and margin perspective, and be able to bid to value effectively. Remember to not fall into the “magic keyword” trap. Once you have enough data to make an informed decision, you may want to trim down the list of terms you are targeting against, and reallocate budget and adjust bids towards that smaller, higher volume subset, especially during high-traffic periods like Q4.

Conversely, in those few categories with top conversion rates outstripping advertising placement rates, marketers should see this as a market inefficiency they may be able to take advantage of. In these categories, it’s more likely you’ll find relevant, fairly popular search terms where a Sponsored Product ad for your product can rank high on the page, without breaking the bank on a CPC basis.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Andrew Waber is the director of insights at retail optimization platform (ROP) provider Teikametrics. In his current role, Andrew manages the analysis, editorial direction and strategy for Teikametrics’ reporting on online retail advertising and the larger online retail marketplace. Prior to his time at Teikametrics, Andrew served as the manager of data insights and media relations at Salsify, the manager of market insights and media relations for advertising automation software provider Nanigans, and as the market analyst and lead author of reports for Chitika Insights, the research arm of the Chitika online ad network. Andrew’s commentary on online trends has been quoted by the New York Times, Re/Code and The Guardian, among other outlets.

Solve Attribution Woes in Digital Marketing

Very rarely in my PPC life do I bring up the subject of attribution with clients, colleagues, or industry friends without seeing a look of pain cross a face that may have been perfectly congenial a moment ago. Much teeth-sucking and drink sipping ensues when the difficult topic of attribution enters the discussion.

We all fear we aren’t properly attributing our conversions to each platform, be it paid or organic. Namely, this frustration stems from 3 main factors:

  1. The customer journey is more complex than ever before. Customer journeys are not linear, between multiple devices, long sales cycles, and mere impressions (view-throughs) that may or may not have encouraged the user to convert. Facebook and YouTube now have brand-lift studies to close some of the gap, but the cost for these kinds of prove-the-brand-is-improving tests is often beyond the financial reach of smaller brands.
  2. There are more attribution platforms, both free and paid, offered in the digital marketing space. And we have no idea which one has the true data. We are at full saturation and everyone has a solution, including the new Amazon Attribution Beta, and Facebook Attribution, which became available to all advertisers in October 2018 after testing for a year in beta. Third-party attribution vendors crowd the market too, and marketers have decision fatigue.
  3. Getting any attribution source to play nice and line up with another seems like an impossible task, in a world of walled gardens. In the /r/PPC subreddit, it’s common to see cries for help every week regarding two reporting sources misaligning – most commonly, Google Ads and Google Analytics failing to align.

So what can we do to make more educated attribution choices? There are a few main things every marketer must take into account.

1: Pick Your Windows Wisely

Aligning your attribution with the truth starts with the windows you choose in each ad platform. A conversion window is a defined period of time in which a publisher can claim that a click or impression led to a conversion (be it a lead, app install, purchase, or otherwise.) You can set your conversion windows in every single ad platform except Google Analytics, which has reports specifically built for comparing windows.

The Google Analytics Time Lag report is a good place to start if you want to understand how long it takes a user to move from consideration to conversion:

The Google Analytics Time Lag report counts number of days between first touch and conversion

You can use the Path Length report in Google Analytics and segment by specific goals:

The Google Analytics Path Length report counts the number of interactions a user takes before converting

Which window do you choose? 30-day impression, 7-day click? 7-day impression, 1-day click? There are several ways to find out! Your window will depend on:

1) The Nature of your Business

  • You’ll want to pick longer windows for your conversion settings when your products are more expensive, high-consideration products such as software as a service, home remodeling, etc. Comparison shoppers take their time. This is where tracking different movements of users from trial to paid subscription, email signup to quote request are vital so you can track the entire journey of the user. Each movement – from a potential customer learning about your brand to putting money in your pocket, must be tracked in all the platforms you can, from Facebook Analytics Event Source Groups to training salesmen to properly label leads in your CRM software.
  • You’ll want to set your windows to a short period of time if most of your customers are buying with their gut. This is true for those random products you buy from Instagram without much thought. Pony-Os Instagram ads, I’m looking at you! (I swear, it felt like a good purchase in the 7 minutes it took for me to consider it, toss it in my cart, and purchase it!) If your windows are short, you’ll want to align them with the settings of each and every platform you use, as well as your reporting software.

2) Advertising Channel

  • You’ll want to consider the purpose of the advertising channel. Are you advertising for a conversion result, or a lift in brand awareness? For example:
  • Search tends to be a low-funnel channel and results in more direct conversions due to search intent.
  • Social channels tend to suffer from misguided budget cuts, due to marketers not recognizing that these channels are often first-touch or awareness-based. For example, we have a B2B client who runs LinkedIn campaigns to grow brand awareness among a highly specific, professional audience. Just having these high-quality audiences visit their site is improving the quality of their retargeting audiences and will be worth the investment in the long run. But by no means do we treat these campaigns as a conversion-producing, direct channel.
Pony-O low consideration product
Pony-Os are the fastest I’ve ever gone from watching an Instagram video ad to tossing my money at an advertiser. If you have a product with a short window like this, consider changing your attribution windows to more accurately reflect your buyers!

2: Learn How Different Platforms Attribute Conversions Differently

For Google Ads, the Attribution Playbook is a good place to start. Google also is helpful enough to provide an attribution tool that allows you to compare different search attribution models before taking the plunge and adjusting your conversion attribution settings:

If you haven’t picked through the Google Attribution modeling tool in a while, you’re missing out. You can model cross-device activity, paths and time-lags (similar to what you’ll find in Google Analytics), and first and last click analysis, among other handy tools to slice and dice your data.

Most marketers agree that “Last click” or “Final click” attribution does not even begin to tell the truth and it is no longer recommended. Industry leaders agree, and this Invoca blog on how Google last-click attribution leads marketers astray clearly lays out the reasons why.

It’s easy to look up how each platform uses attribution modeling. A quick search turns up these resources:

3: Appreciate Lag & LTV when Testing a New Channel or Campaign

One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is deciding a strategy isn’t working too soon. When testing, make sure you have a specific statistical significance you’re shooting for or even a time period in which you’re willing to stick it out and test. If you need a refresher, this post on calculating statistical significance from our own Carrie Albright is a great place to start! Once you have concrete goals, it will make your analysis a lot easier, although patience is always needed when testing any new channel or initiative.

4: The Source of Truth is Beyond the Platforms: It’s in Your Sales Data

This should go without saying. But I’m going to say it anyway! Your salespeople are sure to know more about lead quality than your marketing team. Train your team to gauge lead quality in their CRM. If you’re an e-commerce company, use internal resources to understand revenue and lifetime value. It is vital to have complete clarity between each marketing dollar spent and trendlines of success in your company.

As an agency, Hanapin is always pushing to get more internal information and reporting transparency because if leads do not lead to revenue, we want to know about those failures as quickly as possible. The same for successes – Have regular meetings between all teams to make sure your marketing dollar is balanced between first-touch and bottom-funnel, brand and non-brand. The ultimate source of truth will be money in your pocket. For new clients, often the process of clarifying attribution is working hard to ensure all tracking flows smoothly from campaigns into whatever system is being used to measure success, be it Bizible, HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, Shopify, BigCommerce, or any number of propriety systems.

The Best Time to Fix Your Attribution was Yesterday. The Second Best Time is Today

We are having more conversations with our clients about attribution every day. This is natural. The rise of automated systems within platforms (Google’s automated bidding settings, Facebook’s mysterious way of using their algorithm to find potential customers) is going to depend on your attribution settings being correct. So if they aren’t correct, fix them today. Look at your attribution windows. Check your settings. Talk to your agency, and get your sales reports in line.

The marketing stack is more complex today than it was yesterday. But there is no time like the present to evaluate your attribution within and without your digital marketing platforms. Review often, and review thoroughly. And make use of absolutely free tools like Facebook Attribution, which uses advertisers in similar verticals and products in the same price points to inform your attribution choices, and Amazon Attribution – they’re free and comprehensive, why not use them?

I hope this blog has given you some places to start auditing your own attribution settings and systems to cut through to the truth and pave the way for a more informed marketing strategy.