Archive for December 2011

Shoppers’ Mobile Context in Mobile Commerce   13 comments

Consumers are buying smartphones at an accelerating pace and using them for more diverse activities, such as consuming media, doing their taxes and shopping. Mobile is revolutionizing the way consumers learn about, choose, and buy products of all types. But with this burgeoning popularity, firms are struggling to keep up, as small screens and limited input options inhibit the design and delivery of excellent mobile experiences.

So what’s the secret to creating and delivering excellent mobile products that consumers will embrace? The answer is consumer convenience. Consumers will embrace new products and services if they are fundamentally more convenient that is to say, if the benefits outweigh the inhibitors to adoption and usage.

In mobile, convenience will come in the form of services that off er immediacy and simplicity through a highly contextual experience.  is means delivering mobile services or content when consumers need it the most, ensuring services are easy to use, and making sure the content is relevant to the individual.

Shoppers’ Mobile Context in Mobile Commerce: context is defined as the sum total of everything your consumer has shared with you to date as well as what he or she is experiencing at the moment of engagement. Context primarily involves the use of information about the consumer, such as location, time of day, or past behavior, to personalize or tailor experiences to minimize steps and manual entries.

Companies will need to anticipate what their customers want to happen when they launch an app or mobile web site, and, to do so, they must consider their consumers’:

Situation: the current location, altitude, environmental conditions, and speed the customer is experiencing. As navigation is three-dimensional and involves direction, these specifics will help create a truly tailored experience. For instance, knowing a customer’s altitude can help identify what floor he’s on in a hotel or mall.

Preferences: the history and personal decisions the customer has shared with you or with his social networks.

Attitudes: the feelings or emotions implied by the customer’s actions and logistics.

For many, the use of context in the delivery of mobile services is not yet in play. Beyond using GPS for location-based  context to help consumers find the nearest “x” (ATM, gas station, store), most simply lack the staff expertise or do not view mobile context strategy as a top priority.

But by integrating location into the research purchase processes, some e-business professionals are making sophisticated use of context. For instance, in retail, companies are pushing alerts and offers based on location through geofencing technologies (that is, to within a specific geographic area). However, few leverage location beyond guiding consumers to their bricks and mortar stores, and even this still poses a challenge.

Richer Information: But over the next several years, contextual information is going to get a lot richer as mobile devices grow in popularity.  is combination means organizations must develop a mobile context strategy if they expect to build consumer loyalty and remain competitive. Building highly contextual experiences will be a journey, as organizations evolve their expertise. This development can be mastered throughout four phases of contextual evolution:

Basics: using location, time of day, and past behavior or preferences when delivering mobile services. But access to this
type of information is straightforward on smartphones (with the user’s permission) and should be the first tool to leverage when moving toward the use of context for improved experiences.

Layering in intelligence: the most sophisticated firms already can determine if a customer is in their store, in a competitor’s store, or at the customer’s home. But reaching this phase requires creating new back-end data and logic, without encroaching on a consumer’s sense of privacy. For example, if a firm offers variable or regional pricing, as a number of retail and grocery chains do, what price does it present to a customer in the store versus a web shopper who may just be considering a purchase?

Breaking PC context: The smartphone is not just a mini-PC; it’s a personal and intimate device that knows unique attributes of its user. And the merger of the physical and information worlds will take one giant step forward here when new sensor technologies are combined with sophisticated display and video elements. In this phase, the phone becomes an opportunity to deliver entirely new innovative services and products that have the potential to generate revenue. For example, sensors and other advancements will detect smells, enabling a grocery store to demonstrate to mobile shoppers that its produce is ripe. While the mobile device can act like a PC, it has the potential to do much more.

Motion as control mechanism:Phones today can already be controlled with motion, like Sony Ericsson’s motion
sensor that lets a user shake the phone to change a music track, or the phone’s screen orientation. So what will be different in three to five years? First, the motion-detecting  sensors will be on a single chip with a common programming layer that will make them easier to use in applications.

Second, digital experiences will move well beyond the current paradigms of web browsing. Online tasks today are broken down into steps laid out in page sequences, menus, and navigation bars. Consumers will still buy airplane tickets or make payments on their phones, but they’ll do so more simply—with tools like voice-based control and authentication. While companies will move at different paces through these phases, depending on business strategy, mobile objectives, industry sector and mobile philosophy, for all e-business professionals it’s time to be proactive. For each of these four phases, there are three highlevel steps to consider: information architecture, designing new services that take advantage of context, and testing the impact of those experiences to improve the customer experience.

It will be important for e-business teams to take a leadership role when enabling these steps, as context will open up new opportunities to influence purchase decisions and increase conversions and drive sales—but only if realtime data is available, content and information are properly tagged, and the proper relationships and road maps are in place with key partners. For example, a retailer must not only know where a competitor’s store is, to identify when a shopper is in the rival’s store, but must designate that retailer as a competitor.

Tracking the Performance of Online Ad Campaigns   26 comments

When you’re tracking the performance of online ad campaigns, what data should you be looking at? Let’s examine the most important metrics for both PPC and display advertisers.

Impressions: How many times was your ad displayed? That’s the impressions metric, which is key for CPM display advertising; the more impressions, the more people who were exposed to your ad.

Impressions are also important for PPC advertising. You need your ad to be displayed before it can be clicked; the more impressions you get for your ads, the more clicks you’ll theoretically generate.

Obviously, when it comes to impressions, more is better. If your ad or campaign is generating a low number of impressions, you won’t get your message across—or generate a lot of clicks.

There are a number of ways to increase the number of impressions an ad receives. This may be as simple as increasing your ad budget or raising your bids on selected keywords; higher bidders get more and better ad placements. You can also increase your impressions by selecting higher-traffic or more appropriate websites for your ads. Improving the performance of the keywords you select will increase your impressions. That might mean changing from inexact to exact
matching or even selecting a different set of keywords for a particular ad.

Clicks: How many times was your ad clicked? That’s the clicks metric, key to PPC advertising; the more clicks, the more traffic you have to your landing page. Of course, you can’t get a lot of clicks if you don’t start with a lot of impressions, so that’s always job one. But a large number of impressions doesn’t always result in a large number of clicks; if your ad isn’t interesting or compelling, people won’t be inspired to click it.

For text ads, you should include more powerful words in your copy, make sure you talk about your unique selling proposition, and include a compelling call to action. For display ads, consider changing your image, including animation,
and adding other rich media content.

Click-through rate: A better measurement of ad effectiveness, is the click-through rate (CTR). This metric measures the number of clicks as a percentage of the number of impressions. A high CTR indicates that your ad is doing its job; a low CTR indicates that you need to retool your ad copy. CTR is totally independent of the number of impressions your ad receives. This enables advertisers on a budget to compare the effectiveness of their ads against big-budget competitors.

Percent of clicks served: When looking at the performance of individual ads within an online ad campaign, take a gander at the percent of clicks served metric. This data point tells you which ads in an ad group are getting the most displays. It divides the number of impressions for a given ad by the total number of impressions for all the ads in the ad group.

An ad with a higher percent of clicks served number is outperforming the other ads in the campaign; an ad with a lower number is underperforming the other ads.

Average position: In what position was your ad displayed on a search engine’s results pages? That’s the average position for an ad, and higher is always better. The higher an ad’s position, the more clicks the ad will get and the more traffic that ad will drive to your landing page. Advertisers are always striving for higher positions—to a point. You don’t
want to outspend your campaign by bidding to achieve one of the top two positions.

Cost: How much have you paid in total for a given keyword, ad, or campaign? That’s the cost metric—as in, this item cost you this much money over a specific time frame. Note that your cost for an ad campaign will never exceed your specified budget. In fact, it most often will come in under your budget, as you won’t always be the high bidder on all the keywords you choose.

Conversions: Next, we come to the topic of conversions. A conversion occurs when someone clicks your ad and then proceeds to purchase what you’re selling, or otherwise do what you want them to do.

Conversions—The total number of actions taken by people who clicked your ad. Conversions can never exceed clicks.
■ Cost per conversion—How much each conversion cost you.
■ Conversion rate—The number of conversions divided by the number of clicks.
■ View-through conversions—Tracks the number of conversions that happen within 30 days of a customer clicking your ad.  The assumption here is that just viewing your ad can lead to a sale some time later; the sale doesn’t have to happen immediately after the ad is served.

Customer engagement: Customer engagement revolves around the concept that the more you can engage the customer with your product or brand, through your advertising or other online activities, the more you enhance your brand identity and ultimately the more products you sell. Customer engagement is particularly important when you’re doing rich media advertising—especially ads with an interactive component. That is, you want consumers to listen to your audio pitch, watch your video, click your buttons or other interactive components, and so on.

Revenue: All of this brings us to our final advertising-related metric: revenue. If you’rein the business of selling products or services online, what really matters is how many sales result from your advertising campaign. Impressions and clicks and even customer engagement are fine, but dollars pay the bills.

Now, your ad network probably doesn’t directly track the sales resulting from your ads. That’s okay. You can do that yourself because you know what you sell and who you sell it to. Your job is to tie each sale to the ad that generated it. You want to know which ads generated the most sale revenue. That’s how you tell which ads are truly successful.

even if all you do is image-oriented display advertising, you still want to track revenue over the course of a campaign. Ultimately, you’re advertising to build your brand and increase your sales.

Mobile Email   13 comments

Twitter Metrics   4 comments

Twitter metrics, fairly simple to keep track of some top-line data of your Twitter users

-Number of followers: How many people are following you, and how is that growing over time? Your goal should be 1,000 Twitter followers, and your Twitter following should be growing at about 9 percent per month.

-Speed of growth: Track when the followers started following you. Twitter should send you an email detailing this information. Steady growth can mean a brand with strong, consistent awareness. Growth spurts can mean that people started following you based on their interest in one specific post that may or may not be characteristic of your other tweets.

-Number of questions and comments: Track the number of times people directly contact you with a question or comment.

-Are you listed: Twitter users can organize the people they follow into lists. These offer a way to group together the people one follows on Twitter so the user can get an overview of what they’re up to: one list might be for a user’s family members, another for work colleagues, another for businesses or an industry they follow. While lists do not necessarily suggest that you are being closely followed, they do show that someone is interested enough in you to segment your tweets into a group with like-minded tweeters. To see how many lists you are part of, click the “lists” link in the upper right-hand corner of your Twitter home page. While there is no simple way to increase the likelihood that someone will add you to a list, providing consistent and interesting tweets may help that to happen.

-Re-tweets: On average, a business tweets about 4.5 times per day. Measure how often and what types of messages that you post on Twitter are re-tweeted. People retweet messages that interest them, and that they think will interest others. To measure this, look at the right-hand side of your Twitter home page and click on the “Re-tweet” link. Click on the tab that says “your tweets, re-tweeted” and you can get an idea of your most popular tweets.

For some businesses, having every third tweet re-tweeted is the norm. You and use this metric to track  re-tweets, and
watch for the types of tweets that are re-tweeted. For other businesses, followers will not re-tweet messages often, but , what is most important to notice is what types of topics get the most re-tweets. These are the types of messages that are likely to be resonating with many customers, and they give you an idea of what topics to focus on in future tweets.

-Business  mentions: While on your Twitter home page, click on the link with your username preceded by the “@” symbol; on our page, it would be @smlbizsmarts. This shows you all the times people tweet about your brand.

-Response to special offers: Send out “special offers” via Twitter, and count the number of people mentioning Twitter. Can use coupons to attract visitors to the marketplace, and these coupons are offered primarily via Twitter. Use coupon-tracking codes so that you can see how quickly the customer redeemed the coupon and where they used it. Additionally,  you will  find that people re-tweet these offers, so the coupon spreads virally, which should be the goal of any promotion.

Leads: Track sales from people who mention they follow you on Twitter.

Posted December 16, 2011 by Anoop George Joseph in Internet

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Understanding Fraudulent Transactions   15 comments

There are many ways a seller can be scammed online and online fraud for merchants is just as big a problem as the various forms of online fraud that plague consumers. The most obvious effect is that you have paid out money for a transaction that is not legitimate. In addition, some credit card processors charge penalties to merchants that are the victim of credit card fraud per fraudulent transaction.

Type of Online Fraud: There are, unfortunately, several different ways that dishonest users can scam you online. Here are a few of the possible situations that an online merchant might encounter:

The buyer claims not to receive an item. A customer purchases an item from you. You ship it to the customer. The customer then claims that he never received the item and asks for a refund. If you refund the money, you’re out the cost of the item plus the purchase price—and the scammer has a brand new item obtained at no cost.

The buyer claims an item is not as described. This is a similar scam to the “item not received” scam. The customer purchases an item from you, you ship the item, and then the customer claims that the item isn’t what was described. It’s used instead of new, the wrong size, doesn’t have the features promised, or otherwise not what she ordered. To pacify the customer you issue a full or partial refund, which puts you out the cost of the original item plus the cost of the refund. The scammer, of course, has a nice new product at no cost or at a reduced price.

The buyer claims an item was damaged in shipment. This is a variation of the “not as described” scam. You ship to the customer the item purchased, and then the customer claims that the item was damaged in transit. Rather than dealing with the shipping service, you issue a full or partial refund. (Or maybe you issue a refund in advance, anticipating
settlement from the shipping service.) The scammer gets an undamaged item at a substantial discount.

The buyer pays with a stolen credit card or a hijacked bank account. The previous scams are all pretty much one-time affairs.  A much more damaging form of fraud comes from professional identity theft, where a criminal steals a customer’s credit card or debit card, or somehow hijacks the customer’s bank account. The criminal then uses the stolen data or information to make one or more purchases, typically large ones, from you (and presumably other merchants). It looks like a standard transaction from your end and you ship the merchandise—typically to a fake address (known as a freight forwarder) set up just for the purpose of receiving illegally obtained merchandise. (The merchandise is then typically fenced or resold by other criminal rings.) When the original consumer—the one who was ripped off—notices the fraudulent account activity and makes a formal complaint, the consumer’s credit card company or bank initiates a chargeback against you to recover the consumer’s funds. This activity typically results in you being out the cost of the fraudulently obtained merchandise, and having the sales price for said items deducted from your credit account.

Identity theft. Identity (ID) theft isn’t just for individuals. Many businesses find that criminals somehow obtain usernames, passwords, and other information that lets them either hack into their accounts or systems or make purchases while pretending to be someone authorized by your business. In the best-case scenario (and it’s not so good),
the thieves order various items and you pay for them. In the worst-case scenario, the criminals hack into your internal systems and wreak havoc, up to and including stealing your customers’ personal data and shutting down your systems and servers. It’s not something you want to happen.

Google Adwords Campaigns with Ad Groups   21 comments

Launch big google adwords campaigns with ad groups. It’s Google’s way of dividing your Adwords campaigns into discrete, manageable chunks. With ad groups, you can deploy a single ad for any number of keywords, including dozens or hundreds at a time. Separating your keywords into sets is the only reasonable way to make sense of your campaign’s results as a whole while keeping an eye on how individual keywords are performing.

With the Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool has noticed that keywords tend to divide themselves into natural cliques, as it were. If you sell shaving supplies, a keyword list could include the terms shaving supplies, find shaving supplies, buy shaving supplies, and where to get shaving supplies. Further down the list you might see another set of keywords that share a different theme, such as learn to shave, shaving tips, and how to shave. These groups of keywords belong together and do not warrant separate marketing strategies within each group. That is where ad groups come into play. An ad group page on the Google AdWords website, displaying all the individual keywords within the ad group.

Ad groups let you focus on the intent of users, or the reason they are typing in the search. Grouping keywords by the intent of the searcher allows you to focus on ads that make the most sense for each group. Using the shaving keywords mentioned earlier as an example, you could create one ad group campaign for the people who are just looking for supplies by emphasizing your wide variety and sterling inventory. For the people who want to learn how to shave, you could make an entirely different ad group campaign that emphasizes your shaving manuals and vast array of handsome starter kits. Ad groups let you create a customized ad for every common intention for your product or service and to create landing pages that cater specifically to those needs.

When you throw a lot of keywords into a single group, it might not be immediately clear which ones are really driving the traffic and which ones are dead weight. More importantly, if you have too many keywords in one group, Google lowers your Quality Score, penalizing you for the extremely highimpression volume of your campaigns. Google loves specificity, and the same holds true in the design and deployment of ad groups. This is why most people recommend capping each group at a couple dozen keywords. Too many terms, and your group will lose its focus, and with it, its Quality Score.

Conducting split tests is one way to refine your ad groups and make sure they perform well. A split test is basically an experiment in which you isolate different factors in an ad group—such as keywords, match types, landing pages, or ad
language—and see what performs best. For instance, you could split one ad group into two smaller ad groups and see which performs better, or you could make separate landing pages for two identical ad groups and see which page results in more conversions.

Instead of having one big list of keywords and making custom ads for each one, ad groups let you take all the similar search terms and treat them as a single keyword with one unifying landing page.

Paypal API Integration   13 comments

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