Google Analytics: Revenue Tracking and Evaluating Campaigns

Have you taken advantage of Google E-commerce tracking in Google Analytics.  It's a bit of code you have to insert onto your confirmation page after an order is processed that will recognize what was purchased and where it came from.  It really helps in evaluating your marketing campaigns if you are also using the Google URLs.

E-commerce Tracking through Google Analytics – How to Set it Up:

  1. Go into your analytics and click on the "Admin" section in the top right.
  2. Click the name of the account and the name of the property that has the profile that you want to enable ecommerce tracking for.
  3. Click the Settings tab
  4. Click "Yes, an E-commerce Site/App" under the E-commerce Settings section
  5. Click Apply

Now, before this will work, you need to set up and access your source code to apply the ga.js ecommerce tracking.  For more information about this click here.

Once you are tracking your revenue, you can now start to see how much you are generating from your traffic sources: organic, paid, referrals, direct, email marketing, social media, etc.  These are all already broken down in Google Analytics.  For specific campaigns, you may want to work with Google's URL builder.  This allows you to build out tracking URLs and tags for specific promotions to test your marketing.

Finally, you can evaluate your marketing based on ROI.  Using Google Analytics, use the E-commerce tab now available across most pages within your analytics.  You can see your conversion rate, your trafffic, time on site, etc.  After a year, you can compare campaigns from year to year.  You can even go in your paid and organic and see the value and conversion of keyword phrases.  For more information, call us at 1-866-249-6095 or email us at info@icoastalnet.com.

How To Optimize Your Website Forms For Improved Conversion Rates

Forms are a great way to obtain much needed data from your users but they don’t work if people take one look and back away from them without ever typing a single keystroke. Time and again we’ve seen website form conversion rates that are in the single digits on an otherwise fabulous website. Website conversions can be highly successful if you keep some basic things in mind when creating your forms.

website conversions1. Keep it Short and Sweet — On the initial form, don’t overwhelm people with too many questions. Save those for follow up emails.

2. Use Fewer Form Elements — There are plenty of bells and whistles you could use on a form. Don’t. When you’re after website conversions less is more.

3. Add a Privacy Line — It will reassure your readers to see “We respect your privacy.” so add it or something similar at the bottom of your form to increase your website form conversion rates.

4. Use Optional Form Fields — It’s proven that website conversions are greater on forms with less required fields. Keeps things optional when possible.

5. Include a Lead Form Above the Fold — Lead forms convert best when located above the fold, preferably in the upper right hand corner of the page.

6. How You Write Matters — Sentence casing is better than phrase casing. This is why headlines work so well.

7. Design Buttons That Convert — Design call-to-action buttons that get results. Make them stand out with vivid colors and a size that gets noticed.

8. Use Action Words on Submit Buttons — Punch up your website form conversion rates with something as simple as the wording on your buttons. For instance, “Act now!” is better than “Submit” but “Act now for awesome free stuff!” is even better.

9. Two-Page Lead Form — You will get better results with your form when you use a two-page lead form. Keep the first page of your form simple and ask additional “required” questions on the second page, traditionally known as the “thank you” page.

10. Don’t Use Captcha on Forms — Remember, your objective is to improve your conversion rates. There are plenty of other methods available to authenticate humans are filling out your forms, so use one of them.
 

Hospitality/ Vacation Rental Sites – Puzzled by a recently higher bounce rate?

Vanessa Humes takes a deeper look at your analytics:

Have you noticed your bounce rate increased?

We’ve been analyzing our customers’ data and noticed a recent increase in the bounce rate happening between July 1st through July 14th.  Around this time, we had more people hit the sites and leave soon enough that Google Analytics (GA) would count them as a bounce.

What’s contributing to my higher bounce rate? 

Our studies are showing that your peak rental season of when you will be able to engage more visitors on your site is from about May 1st to July 14th.  If you have Google Analytics set up on your site, log in, and go under “Content” – “Top Landing Pages” and click on the tab under the title “Top Landing Pages” that says “Entrances”.  Select “Compare Two Metrics” and select “Entrances” as your blue radio button and “Bounce Rate” as your orange.  You should see something similar to this: 

Notice the cris-cross around the middle of July.  With all the other variables remaining stable with your site, and seeing this trend applied to multiple sites, its safe to wager that more people are shopping the web looking for good last minute or weekend warrior deals.

What’s this mean for my site?
Make sure your specials are easy to find when you land on your page.  Preferably, above the fold (the area you see when you hit the website) and only a click away.  Though we still see that people want to search out for what they want specifically rather than first looking at the clearance rack (the specials), the Specials Page is definitely in the top 3-5 top content pages listed.

Make sure you’re also pushing other avenues you announce specials such as signing up for eblasts and social media.  You’ll want your visitors to follow you there so you can capture their information and push these deals to them in the future.  Be creative and detailed oriented.  Stand out from your competition.  You have a couple extra minutes this time of year to breathe so now is the time to really think about how to keep customers on your site and leverage the opportunities with social media and email marketing.

Need more ideas?
Contact us today at info@icoastalnet.com or your ICND account manager for more information.
 

Vacation Rental Peak Season Coming to an End…. What's next?

Vacation Rental Peak Season Coming to an End.  Where do we go from here?
 
As vacation rental managers start to feel the lessening of the weight of the world off their shoulders, we urge them to take some time to evaluate their marketing and websites.  The off-season is the perfect time to explore, make changes, and gear up for a prosperous 2012 rental year.  Here is our list of the top things we recommend you do, if you haven’t already:
 
1.    Install Google E-commerce Tracking to your website.  You can't effectively evaluate your SEO company, email campaigns, and PPC campaigns by the traffic alone that’s driven to  your website.  You have to be able to track your rate of conversion and your revenue generated from every campaign.  It’s so easy with Google E-commerce tracking.  If you don’t have it, that is NUMBER ONE!  Get Google E-comm set up within your booking engine pages.

2.    Look at your PPC vs SEO keyword phrases.  You’re paying big money for PPC ads and you’re paying big money to be on the top pages of the search engines for popular keyword phrases.  For PPC, you’ll want to check your quality score for your keyword phrases and see if you can improve them by adding quality content to your landing pages thus, making them more relevant to your keyword phrases.  You’ll also want to see which keyword phrases you are converting best on (in which you have the best conversion) for PPC and make sure that those are also keyword phrases that you are ranking well for.  If you aren’t, you know where to focus in the off season (your off-season focus should include) working on content, backlinks, and blogging.  You may also want to explore with PPC other (with other PPC) keyword phrases that you haven’t been targeting through SEO and set up a few campaigns to see if they are a niche you can optimize organically.

3.    Call tracking.  If you haven’t evaluated a call tracking company you should really get in the game.  It’s one thing to be able to track your online reservations, but it’s even better to be comprehensive.  Sure, Google may offer this for free in the future (Yes! Please!) but in the mean time you really need a well-rounded approach to tracking your marketing.

4.    Evaluate your marketing mix – Social Search and Social Media are getting bigger and bigger.  Sorry.  You’re not going to be able to avoid it.  You can’t hide from it.  If you haven’t found a way to make money off of the 4 hours a day your reservationist is spending on Facebook, then it’s time to talk to a specialist.  Social Media can be very time consuming, but there are ways to generate fans and followers fairly quickly and there are ways to convert them to reservations. 

Remember, it takes a certain number of touch points before you can convert a new customer and you need to cultivate relationships with your existing customers.  Email marketing is still producing, but let’s be honest, I haven’t checked my personal email in well over 4 weeks!  In addition, the search giant, Google, has recently released Google + to invitation only.  It’s only a matter of time until it’s publically released and another avenue you will have to manage and maintain.  In addition it’s the first SURE sign of social and search being integrated and that’s even a whole new world for you to keep up with.  Check these articles for more information about Social media and Google +.

5.    Review your website and make changes and upgrades as you need.  Important things you have to do are highlight your amenities, feature reviews and lots of them, interact with social media sites with share functions, have good content, make your website easy to use and easy to find what people are looking for—Vacation Rentals! 

Analytics is another great tool for this.  Check your bounce rates, your top landing pages and their bounce rates, your top exit pages, your pages with the highest bounce rates and look at how you are driving traffic to those pages and how to improve.

6.    Do you have a mobile site?  If you look back at your analytics, you’ll see how many visitors are viewing you on mobile browsers (and iPads etc too).  Do you have a mobile version of your site?  Sure the phones are getting faster and faster, but it’s so much easier to navigate if you get rid of a lot of that fluff and just let the visitor find and book a vacation rental as easily as possible.  Mobile apps are handy too.  If you have a smart phone, you know the web can be rather slow and jumping on an app that allows you to do exactly what you are setting forward to do will really help out your mobile conversion rates.
 
And you thought the off-season was going to be easy!  Give us a call for more information about any of the topics above.  We’d love to help you out and do the analysis for you, for free.