Latest Intelligence From the Field

Setup An Awesome Adwords Campaign In 6 Steps

Many of our blog posts can get very advanced, but today we wanted to take it back to the basics of best Google Adwords practices.

When push comes to shove, the best functioning Adwords campaigns are not built on great ad copy, stellar keyword choices or obnoxious keyword bidding, they’re built on a great setup. Before you setup your first Adwords campaigns, take serious note of where, who and when your customers want your business. Additionally, consider when, who and how you want your customers to come to your website.

Even if you’ve been doing Adwords for years, it’s always good to double check your settings against best practices to make sure you’re utilizing everything Google offers on their ad platform. If you don’t check often enough, you might be surprised to see a lot of updates on a month-to-month basis in the settings tab.

After creating a new Adwords account, the next step is setting up your campaign. The most prominent features in campaign creation are deciding what kind of campaign should be made, location targeting, budget and bidding strategy.

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Vuurr Turns 2, Opens Office in San Francisco

On this day two years ago, a team of four united (much like Voltron) and amassed to what is now known as Vuurr Digital Marketing consultancy. Today, June 13, 2013, celebrates two years of building and expanding metric-driven digital marketing campaigns for our clients.

With this occasion, we’re also taking the opportunity to announce the opening of our new satellite office located in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. We have a number of clients and partners in San Francisco already, and the opportunities for expansion and networking are obvious here.

In two years we have grown from just four partners, to a team of over ten with an annual revenue of over $1 million for 2013. Our current client portfolio includes companies such as Cox Communications, Cold Stone, MIT, Infusionsoft and PandoDaily. We’re looking forward to building up our portfolio and opening up more product partnerships in the bay area.

Two years isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things but we’re proud of our team’s accomplishments. We’d like to thank our clients – without you we are nothing. And a thank you to our team, friends, and families who continue to support us along the way.

There will be changes; but we’re not going anywhere. Tally ho.

Copywriting for Conversions

You’ve probably noticed the articles, blogs or retail copy you prefer reads more like talking to your best friend and less like talking to a robot. Gone are the days of strict AP Style or Chicago Style grammar rules. In are the wily thoughts of creative writing, boastful copy and enticing new words that aren’t really words but for some reason still make sense in a trendy way.

And although I’m loving the freedom to take on a project with my real voice, there are still some key ideas to keep in mind when writing for conversion. Here, many copywriters might still argue with me and say there’s no way to put a value sign on a piece of copy – they’re wrong. In fact, if your copywriters don’t know how to track the effectiveness in their copy, it’s time they get to reading up on A/B testing and SEO. This post won’t make you a genius, but here are three things you want from your copy now.

1. Write Why

I’m reading a great book right now by Simon Sinek called Start With Why. After feeling inspired by his TED talk, I immediately bought his book. According to Sinek, just like there are only seven story plots, there are really only 8 ways to convert customers: Manipulation, Price, Promotion, Fear, Aspiration, Peer Pressure, Novelty and Why.

The first 7 copy strategies do work; however, these approaches are less likely to create loyal customers or inspire your customers to use your product. You want customers to be loyal because you always want them to come back, you always want them to seek you first with a problem or a need, and you always want them to recommend you first to their friends. You want customers to be inspired by you because you want them to believe your product makes their business/family/friends/sex/life better. When these two things happen, your customers belong to your brand so wholeheartedly that price, promotions and novelty don’t matter, nor will they feel fear before or after buying because they trust you.

When you’re brainstorming copy, be very sure you know why it needs to be written. Remember there are hundreds of thousands of words on the internet that will match yours, so make sure it’s ordered to answer the question “Why?”

2. Mindful Keyword Insertion

After you’ve done your keyword research, mindfully read through your drafts and insert keywords before finalizing copy. A couple keywords or iterations of each are probably already written throughout, so edit and reframe sentences to better highlight and explain the use of each keyword.

I call this “mindful” keyword insertion and not the more familiar term “keyword stuffing” because if you are actually stuffing keywords, your sentences are going to convert to total crap. I know you know those sentences… they’re high and mighty, and if you don’t have time to read them three times slowly, your readers certainly don’t have the patience to read them either.

Only use keywords for clarity or your readers will sniff your bs and forget you existed.

3. Split Test

Here’s a likely scenario: You like two titles or two sentences or two wireframes. You could choose, but you shouldn’t and you don’t have to anymore. A/B and multivariate testing software have made choosing the best of two or three or hundreds easier than jumping rope. Submit your best ideas and watch your very own customers choose for you. We like Optimizely because it’s intuitive and your customization choices are almost endless, but Adobe and Kissmetrics also have great products. When your test has achieved statistically significant user data, make permanent changes to reflect the copy your users think is best.

jQuery Diagonal Grid Fill Algorithm

This week, the team mulled over a compelling code challenge: “How do you fill a grid in diagonal columns starting at the top left corner?”

As a person who legitimately takes pleasure in solving trivial puzzles, I approached the problem head-on. And although easy to solve on paper, the evolution of a grid quickly became tricky to invent for web use. But alas, after a couple Redbulls I came to a solution.

Visualization of jQuery Fade and Fill Diagonal Algorithm

To achieve the diagonal grid fill algorithm, only the height and width of the grid are necessary. Each diagonal column must be filled from top to bottom, left to right. It’s achieved by a loop and decrements to the selected cell by (width-1) and (height-1). The loop continues until the selected cell no longer exists.

Below is a PHP representation of the algorithm.

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Track Links With Google URL Builder

So… you’re wrapping up all your holiday advertisements this week. You’ve got traffic coming in from Adwords, Facebook, email blasts, Twitter and more. You’re getting great results, your ROI is through the roof and you’re almost on to celebrating. Sadly, when it’s time to analyze trends and individual campaign performance next week you notice a serious problem: You have no idea which ads or sources to attribute fiscal success because you didn’t build links correctly, or at all.

Bummer. That sucks.

But you can redeem your future self. Here’s how:

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Minimum Sample Size: How Many Users is Enough?

You’re running a test on one of your landing pages with the primary goal of getting the user to click on a button. You are split testing (A/B testing) two different button colors (green and orange) to determine the impact of the button color on click-through rate. You collect the following initial results:

Button Color Visitors Clicks CTR (y)
Green 38 2 5.2%
Orange 39 3 7.7%

The orange button is better, right?

Not necessarily. Sure, the orange button has a 7.7% click-through rate (CTR) compared to only 5.2% for the green button. However, the orange button has really only earned one more click. If the next visitor on the page clicks on the green button, both variants will have a 7.7% CTR, indicating that button color is irrelevant in this application.

Here is what happens if we run this experiment for several months with 16,000+ visitors:

Button Color Visitors Clicks CTR (y)
Green 8,238 486 5.9%
Orange 7,893 734 9.3%

Is the orange button better now? Hell yeah, it is.

While the danger of making decisions based on too little data is an incorrect conclusion, the danger in collecting too much data is a waste of time, effort and money. Even though there was little data to determine orange was best in the first variant, had you decided to go with the orange button anyway, you could have sent all the above 16,000+ visitors to the page that performs at a 9.3% CTR. Thus, giving you a whole lot more sales/leads/etc.

So how many users are required to make this decision? We can use the following equation:

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Twimlbin October Updates

After meeting with some good friends from the developer evangelist team at Twilio, we’ve added a couple additional features to Twimlbin at their request.

1. XML Output

The first of these new features will give users the ability to force Twimlbin to render the actual XML rather than the HTML interface when viewing in a browser by appending “/raw” to the end of any Twimlbin URL.

For example, if you visit twimlbin.com/external/6b322bf0fda7ae7a, you will see the entire Twimlbin rendered as an HTML friendly view. But with the new feature, when you visit twimlbin.com/external/6b322bf0fda7ae7a/raw, you’ll see the raw XML rendered to your browser.

Here’s another hint: This will work with any interface that accepts XML.

2. UTF-8 Encoded Character Handling

Another of the newly added features gives users the ability to properly validate UTF-8 encoded characters. Previously, if you put special characters (like emoji) in a Twimlbin, it would return back an invalid Twiml. This has been fixed and updated.

Keep an eye open for additional new features coming soon. We’ll also be adding support for all of the new Twiml verbs so things like Queues will properly validate as well!

Why the RFP Process is Broken

Since the end of the KGB, few three letter combinations have evoked as many negative feelings as RFP. No agency I know enjoys going through an RFP process, and most customers dislike the outcome it produces. The process is broken and outdated for both parties. It needs to be replaced.

An RFP is ostensibly implemented in order to protect buyers who aren’t knowledgeable about which vendors are best suited to solve a specific need. Many times, they are required for government “fair bidding” requirements. The goal in these cases is to get an “apples to apples” comparison and remove biases from the procurer.

The reality, however, is a different story.

Here is where the RFP process fails for both parties.

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