Monthly Archives: January 2009

Money left on the table

Sorry to bang on about it, but today’s post will again be related to my ‘data is the new black’ theme. In a time where value for money and return on investment are sacred, it amazes me that some businesses are still taking a laissez-faire approach to conversions on their websites – in other words, something that can directly affect the bottom line.

Figures vary by industry, but on average about two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned at checkout – an astonishingly high number. I’m not sure whether some retailers see drop-offs in the sales process as part and parcel of ecommerce, but we have to change this

Imagine going to your local supermarket or high street store and seeing hundreds of trolleys scattered about at the checkouts. It never happens. Why? Because bricks and mortar stores have not only had decades to streamline the shopping experience for customers, but the time and effort it takes to wheel a trolley round a shop means shoppers are much less likely to drop out at the last minute and move on to another shop to repeat the process again.

The web breaks down these barriers. A few clicks and you’re at another store with your basket refilled, hoping for a better checkout experience second time around.
There are plenty of tools available to help with conversions, and a growing industry of specialists who are helping retailers achieve their customer conversion goals.

As we see it, there are a number of ways businesses can tackle problems at checkout:

* Ensure that your analytics package is programmed to measure the right things – a must for optimising for conversion. Important metrics include: bounce rate, site search exit rate, checkout flow exits. Base your optimising decisions on real data.
* Continually test and tune. All websites and their customers are different; what works for one site may not work for another. Identify areas of improvement using analytics, then design and build alternatives to test. Let your customers decide what they prefer.
* Build your team to optimise for conversion. There are a lot of pieces that need to fit together to improve conversion. There is the backend of technical staff, ecommerce managers trying to drive traffic, designers trying to make things look pretty, etc. Make sure that they are all working together to the common goal of improving conversion.

I’d like to see e-commerce players and their agencies really getting to grips with the challenges of conversion in the months to come. The better the web is for consumers and the better their online shopping experience, the better for us all in the digital industry in the long run.

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Infectious Digital Blogumentary – Episode 3

Breakfast meetings seem to be the new thingnowadays!

Don’t know whether it’s because we’re all too busy and only grab a sarnie at lunch, or it’s a cheaper, non-alcoholic alternative?!

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Stage is set for a new era in UK broadcasting

Ofcom’s investigations into public service broadcasting have been going on for as long as the hills.

It began its first review in 2003 and released its latest blueprint for the future of PSB provision last week. The Government will now use this document, allied with Stephen Carter’s imminent Digital Britain report, to shape proposals for the future of UK broadcasting.

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Agency bosses not in the poor house yet

Times might be tough in media but the top players in the agency community are still more than happy to pay themselves juicy salaries, according to a new report.

Accountancy firm Kingston Smith’s Financial Performance of Marketing Services Companies 2008 shows the top-paid director at Media Planning Ltd earned £1.4m in 2007, 72% up on the previous year. Mindshare UK’s top earner took home over a million pounds as well (£1.02m).

Read more on Agency bosses not in the poor house yet…

Are Facebook & Twitter Better Than Porn?

Robin Goad at Hitwise has just Tweeted that we’re spending more time on social networking sites than fiddling around with online porn!

Apparently this change took place in October but Robin’s been keeping his beady eye on it and although the gap hasn’t widened much, our love for keeping in touch is still out-weighing our need for titillation!

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Behind bars

I had the rare pleasure of spending time at HM Prison Wolds this week ….. and before you start thinking Howie’s in trouble with Sarbanes-Oxley or something, it was actually in the company of Hedley Aylott, the founder and MD of Summit Media and the operation he runs there.

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Interview – Matt McGowan from Search Engine Strategies – Get a 20% Discount!

For readers of Media Week who might not be aware of what Search Engine Strategies is, could you give us the 30 second “elevator pitch”?

SES London is the only established Search Marketing Conference in the UK. Specifically it is a forum for marketers and their executive management teams to get together with expert practitioners and discuss digital marketing opportunities for their business specifically as they relate to Search Engine Marketing and Optimisation (SEM/SEO). SES London is a fantastic opportunity to see if your marketing plan stacks up to the competition’s.

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ITV will bite back if contract rights renewal is dumped

On page 108 of last week’s preliminary response on ITV’s contract rights renewal obligations from the Office of Fair Trading, there is a mind-numbingly complicated formula that explains the “CRR Ratchet”.

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Little Chef Loses Web Taste Test!

Anyone see Big Chef Takes on Little Chef last night on Channel 4?

The roadside cafe and the Happy Eater chain were the height of gastronomic delight when I was a child, so seeing Heston Blumenthal try his hardest to revamp the menu and kick start a bit of life into the British standard was a funny and at times gripping show, although he was definitely taking the p*ss with some of the dishes like Lancashire Hotpot with sweetbreads and oysters!

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Data is the new black

This week I was at an industry event chatting with a couple of old mates – one from a traditional media background who now works on the client side, and one from a media agency – about the use of data in our industry.

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