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Latest Issue: Nov/Dec 17

Masks

There’s a research study making the 24-hour news cycle that says early Alzheimer’s and other similar memory diseases are often more difficult to spot these days.

Why? Technology.

In the “old days” when you got done work/grocery shopping/whatever and you hopped in your car to go home, you had to figure out how to get there yourself. Now you can push a button or say “home” to your car or phone and presto! A detailed map and step-by-step voice directions appear. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t need to call anyone if you forget. It happens automagically.

Technology masks the “I forgot where I live” issue.

The whole thing made me think about how many masks I am seeing right now. There seem to be more than ever so I thought I’d spotlight three of the most popular issues and their masks and what you should really look at. Sound good?

Direct traffic decreasing or not increasing at the rate you had planned. For many companies, direct/no referrer traffic is the lifeblood of the business – the very best traffic they have. Many marketers are quickly blaming this direct-traffic-dive on their offline efforts (catalog, radio, TV, etc.) and while for some, this is definitely a factor, companies who carefully study their direct traffic are finding that it’s also because of search and how search is changing.

One example: voice search.

Instead of typing Omaha Steaks into your browser bar, you tell Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or whoever your Flavor du Jour is to find you Omaha Steaks. Right off, there’s a HUGE difference in user experience -- getting to a destination immediately vs having to go through another step. Sadly, there’s also a difference in results – the former goes directly to Omaha Steaks, the latter goes to a page where you choose Omaha Steaks from multiple paid and organic listings, or if you’re using advanced technology, it goes to whatever The-AI-In-The-Sky thinks is best representative of Omaha Steaks.

In this scenario, your spend and subsequent ROAS may change, your attribution changes (from direct to PPC/organic/whatever), but what’s even more important? The user experience changes as well. Think about your PPC pages vs your organic pages. Think about what the user sees coming into your home page vs a random category page that Google favors but your customers despise. And remember, we’re talking about direct traffic here – JUICY, DELICIOUS DIRECT TRAFFIC, some of the very best you may have. Dig deep on this one, friend. It’s not easy but it’s vital.

Mobile results look fantastic on the surface but overall this whole mobile trend isn’t making you richer overnight. Let’s be crystal-clear: mobile as ONE category masks that handheld behavior is typically way different than tablet behavior in terms of traffic and conversion. Many industry experts insist that you combine all mobile (handheld and tablet) results into one bucket. Please note: more than not, these people are selling you something mobile-related. It’s to their benefit, not yours.

These days, if you can’t get twice the conversion on tablets that you do on your desktop, you need to look at your tablet strategy. However, if your phone conversion is half your desktop conversion, you’re often seen as lucky. Combining handheld and tablet traffic into the same bucket hides what’s really happening for you mobile-wise.

Why is this especially important? Because emails are opened more on handhelds than tablets and email traffic tends to have a different PTB (propensity to buy) level. Other reasons? Social traffic (huge on handhelds) performs way different on phones than it does on tablets and desktop (especially Instagram and Pinterest.) For many, shopping (PLA) traffic results are night-and-day. Instigated chat works very differently. So do request for quotes, forms, and other instances where there are market-value transactions.

Separate your traffic and then really look into what’s happening where. I know your mobile numbers look better when you combine them and that your responsive site has made your life easy. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that either are any good for your business.

Abandons are up and down like an elevator. All abandons are not created equal so like dumping all your mobile stuff into one bucket, it’s a mistake to just look at all your abandons in one bucket too.

It’s critical that you separate your abandons by device and by channel/source. Marketers tend to do one or another but not both. This can often mask HUGE issues in your flows. For example, older folks who are ordering from catalogs tend to really suck at using Catalog Quick Orders on their phones so the abandons might vary greatly by devices. (This is why savvy marketers often pull catalog ordering stuff off their mobile devices. TEST IT FIRST though, please. Results do vary on this.)

Different devices typically require different abandon programs so if your handheld abandon program is the same as your desktop abandon program, you may want to test a separate strategy. Handheld abandons can often tolerate more and faster frequency, CDT (cross device targeting) and triggered SMS and emails.

You’ll also want to look at chat. Chat is one of the things that performs much differently on a handheld than on a desktop. I’ve found that very few people really dig into their chat results but it’s one of the very best sources of information especially for abandons.

Don’t have chat? Inbound Customer Service emails also tend to be wildly different. That’s why companies who are really excelling at mobile separate their mobile inbounds from their desktop inbounds and reply to the mobile inbounds first. (This is also one of the best places to start with text messages if you haven’t already done so.)

What other masks are you seeing these days?

by Amy Africa, CEO, EightbyEight

Come and see Amy Africa at the DCA Annual Summit on 15th June- click here for more details