How Can Capture (C) Be Improved?
What you’ll learn:
Learn a variety of strategies for driving traffic and leveraging your website’s architecture to capture email addresses and build relationships – the keys to selling products to your audience in multitudes.
- Don Nicholas, Founder, Chairman & CEO
- Kim Mateus, EVP & Client Success Group Leader
- Bill Dugan, SVP & Client Success Group Leader
Time: 5 minutes, 50 seconds
‘C,’ which is the capture pillar of the asymmetrics of the Mequoda Method, are very important to online publishers because to the extent of which you have people coming to your site and leaving, is a relationship lost. The extent to which you can entice a site visitor to hand over their email address to you, and to opt-in to further communication is the beginning of a relationship that can be monetized.
The conversion metric is interesting and has actually been challenged by Google pretty strongly over the past 6 to 12 months. In a nutshell, at a simplest level, you have to design the website so that it’s meant to capture. That capturing email address is signing them up for free newsletters, and offering free products for incentives, to do that is key. And the folks at Agora figured out more than 15 years ago that what they dubbed a “free on free offer,” a free premium with a free newsletter was gonna generate the maximum conversion rate for people who were arriving at the site, who didn’t know the publisher, didn’t know the brand, etc. But, this was a really attractive offer. Not only can I get a free newsletter about a topic I was interested in, but I could get a free report or a free guide in real-time, as a user showing up at the website. The conversion has evolved now so that we have many elements. We love acronyms at Mequoda. The ‘floater’ is actually just one that floats on top of the website. You’ll often hear it referred to as a pop-up. In reality, today’s floaters are interstitials, they are actually part of the web layer, they’re not blocked by pop-up blockers. And when we track where website conversions come from, the floater is always the number one source.
Behind that, the next two elements we talk about are the OFIEs, the order form in editorial, and the text ads. The order forms and editorial are very similar to the floaters, but they’re embedded in the editorial well, often at the top, sometimes at the bottom, maybe even sometimes in the middle, depending on the length of the content. And then, the text ads are like the OFIEs in that they’re embedded in the editorial well, but instead of being served by an ad server, they are served by a text ad manager that we built from scratch with the goal of not having to put ad tags around it. And that’s important because if you are experiencing a user who’s doing ad blocking, the floaters won’t show up, the OFIEs won’t show up, but the text ads will still be there. So they’re kind of like our last defense to make sure that these great offers get in front of a consumer who’s visiting the website.
Once you’ve got the right conversion architecture, it’s back to the old direct marketing, test, test, test. Again, we recently had a client who went through about a six-month optimization program, very formal, and hadn’t been doing anything like this. They were kind of rolling along with the conversion architecture that they had launched the website with. And over a period of six, probably more like eight months, we were able to triple their conversion rates. And we’ve been able to do that pretty routinely. Number one, we have lots of different creative ways we can go at, the OFIEs, and the floaters, and the text ads and some work better on some websites, some work better on others. Different audience segments, different approaches. And at the end of the day, they fatigue. You do end up with a fair amount of users who will end up coming back to your website a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth time, over the period of what could be six months or a year. And if you keep showing ’em the same creative, the creative that they didn’t respond to the first time or the second time, the chances diminish a lot that you’re gonna get ’em on the third, or the fourth, or the fifth. So, there’s always gonna be an opportunity to lift the conversion rates on a website that’s using conversion architecture that’s old, that’s been around for awhile.
So capture is kind of a beast. There’s so much that can be done to improve it. It’s not even that that can be done, it’s what needs to be done. Testing is critical. It’s classic direct response testing where you’re testing the headline, you’re testing the images, you’re testing the calls to action. We can’t just sit back on anything capture related at all, because you just never know what’s gonna work with your market. You know, we were at our recent annual Summit, and were showing the results of some testing that we did, looking at the losers and the winners. In a lot of cases, the winners were ugly in a lot of people’s opinions, like, “I can’t believe that won, that’s hideous.” Well, you’re not the market, right? So that’s another kind of important lesson that I think we all have to remind ourselves of. It’s very tempting to be like, “Oh, I hate those pop-ups, I always click out of them.” You’re not your market. There’s a reason that smart publishers are using them all over the place because they work. So with capture, it’s just a relentless, ruthless amount of testing. And again, having somebody dedicated to that responsibility is key. One of our clients has a person who’s dedicated to it, and they are testing and trying everything because Google’s making it a little bit harder on publishers with new rules around. You know, again, their primary goal is to present users with a positive, friendly web surfing experience. So they’re kind of cracking down on how you can display ads, and especially on a mobile screen. So as they release rules, you just need to be completely on top of it and just testing the brains out of absolutely every element that’s on your page that’s meant to capture.