Google’s Avinash Kaushik Talks Optimization Across All Channels at #SESTO

avinash-kaushik-profile-picAvinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google, took the stage at SES Toronto this morning to talk marketing program optimization across all channels. Where can we find audiences we care about and those that care about us? Once we connect with these people, how can we best influence them?

Through a series of entertaining stories, he shared tips for marketers in need of a better way to connect, largely through a shift in your marketing mentality to multi-touch attribution. It’s not hard to see why they call him an evangelist; Kaushik had the standing-room only crowd hanging on his every word throughout the entire keynote. His passion and creativity in coming up with unique methods of measurement offer great insights for marketers.

Measure Things That Actually Matter

Stop measuring hits. Kaushik had the crowd at SES laughing as he paced the stage in a rant over people who measure hits – “don’t be STUPID!” he yelled. Later, he recommended marketers ask themselves, How am I doing in terms of acquired traffic and what happens after they land? Look to influence, experience, and value as better measurements of the activity on and around your site, he said.

Don’t Bog Users Down in Things That Don’t Matter

Kaushik used the example of Rogers website, where you could once find a 37-question user survey. “Torture!” he said. What is it you actually want out of users? You’re not going to get it in a 37-question survey.

Check & Fix All Your Campaigns, Landing Pages, Every Day

Citing a terribly long URL on Expedia that didn’t match the fantastic AdWords copy that led him to the page in the first place, Kaushik warned against crappy landing pages. Check them out and make optimization a part of your daily duties. If you aren’t doing this, you might as well be flipping burgers, he said. Further, every time you use Flash on a website, a puppy dies. It’s true.

Keep Your Site up to Speed & Invest in Your Own Success

For every second slower your site loads, conversion rate drops 7 percent, Kaushik told the audience. Why do companies balk at putting $500 into their website? Eighty-five percent of customers abandon their online purchases because the online cart sucks – would you accept this in a physical store?

His top priority with a new client, he said, is to help them make more money; typically, this simply means fixing all of the things that are keeping them from making money. It’s an ongoing process and one that requires investment.

Make Loyalty Your Primary Metric

People aren’t hits. It takes a long time for people to convert; 14 days in the example cited by Kaushik. Take visits right out of your Google Analytics, he said. Focusing on visitors as people who are trying to make a decision will protect you from what he calls “data-puking” and focusing on all the wrong metrics.

If you’re measuring any of the following, he said, you need to change your focus:

  • clicks
  • visits
  • emails sent
  • pageviews
  • video views
  • engagement
  • followers/Likes/+1s

Know Your Share of Search

How many queries were relevant to your company and how many did you capture? This is what you need to measure, Kaushik said. The lenses with which you can better measure website performance are acquisition, behavior, and outcomes.

Look for Influence, Experience, Value

”How am I doing in terms of acquired traffic and what happens after they land?” Kaushik asked. Look to influence, experience, and value as better measurements of the activity on and around your site. Judge your traffic based on owned, earned, and paid for the top 20 referrers on your site. Which ones make the most money?

Stop Obsessing Over Conversion

Revenue isn’t equal to economic value, Kaushik said. Marketers need to consider the entire opportunity landscape and be careful to avoid focusing only on converting visitors to buyers.

The average conversion rate for the top 50 websites in the U.S. in only 2 percent. People may not convert immediately; you may still collect information, follow up, and have the visitor convert weeks down the road. Recognizing that all touchpoints affected the purchase allows you to put an economic value on channels you may not otherwise credit for conversion.

Consider That All Actions Have Some Value to Your Business

The value of an email campaign may not be immediate, but don’t underestimate the economic value of near-term, medium-term, and long-term strategies, Kaushik said. Whether social, PPC, email marketing, or another touchpoint, you’re building a relationship and that has a real economic value for your company.

Kaushik demonstrated a model where he measured the number of people who started with, ended with, or used a particular channel partway through in a circular graph. Clearly, the lesson one is to take away from the keynote this morning is the importance of understanding what is happening across multiple channels.

In addition to his position with Google, Kaushik is the co-founder of Market Motive Inc. and the author of bestselling books “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day” and “Web Analytics 2.0”.

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