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5 High ROI Uses for Facebook Custom Audiences

Just about everyone knows about Facebook’s custom audience feature by now – but most don’t know that you can get extremely creative with the way you use them.

Most marketers simply upload their entire list and use it to push products. That strategy works…but the application of custom audiences goes far beyond that.

My team has tested hundreds of approaches for using custom audiences but I always find a small handful of techniques drive the highest ROI, by far.

Here are 5 ways we use custom audiences that generate 5-10X ROI for almost all of our clients…

Build up hype for a launch or new service


If you run the type of business that does product launches custom audiences could be a big time game changer for you.

One of my favorite ways to build up excitement around a launch is to upload my most responsive list segments to Facebook and nurture them with launch ads for the upcoming product. As far as creative – I recommend making a special launch video that introduces the product to the prospect, shows them the value and why they should care, then gives them an option to get on an ‘early bird’ list. Now you have a laser targeted segment that you know is interested in your new product. (hint hint, mail these people more often)

Nurture prospects at different stages of the funnel

facebook-custom-audience-hyper-responder-segmentSome sales teams have incredibly complex sales cycles – they can literally span months at a time for some industries. If you’re segmenting your list based on the different stages of your funnel (i.e. prospect, qualified prospect, engaged prospect, customer, premium customer) you can upload each segment as its own audience then use it in your ad targeting.

What to use for creative? Lets say your sales team knows qualified prospects are mainly interested in your competitive advantages – you can tailor your ads to speak to that question to increase response and conversion rate to the next step in the sales cycle. Figure out what type of messaging compels customers to take the leap to the next stage of the cycle and focus on that.

Create a lookalike audience based on buyer list

Lookalike audiences are probably my favorite targeting option right now. We’ve had a ton of luck with them, especially in the last few months. If you upload your BUYER list to Facebook and create a lookalike audience, it will automatically find new people to target with the same interests and demographics.

But wait…it gets better. You can take a lookalike audience and continue to filter it by any of the standard targeting options. For example, lets say I took the Conversion Juggernaut buyer list and uploaded it as a custom audience then created a lookalike audience. If I was trying to sell my email marketing course I can then take the lookalike audience and filter it down by people who like “Andre Chaperon.” That makes the audience even more targeted and success even more likely.

In most cases lookalike audiences will work great on their own, but don’t forget you can always continue to filter them down to target a more specific demographic.

Custom audiences based on different interests or needs

If you can’t tell by now, I’m all about hyper granular list segmentation. You should setup as many list segments as possible: buyers vs. non-buyers, responders vs. non-responders, owners of specific products, customers that have spent over a certain dollar amount with you, etc. You never know when those segments will come in handy.


One way you should definitely be segmenting your list is based on what people buy so you can sell them more stuff they actually want. My list is segmented based on interest in different digital marketing topics like email marketing, Facebook ads, AdWords, SEO, Analytics, etc.

Now if I release a product related to one of those topics…guess who I’m going to email first and most frequently about the new product? But we can take it a step further with custom audiences…

Uploading these segments to Facebook will let me target people that have raised their hand and told me “I’m interested in what you have to say about email marketing.” Hopefully you can see how powerful that is…

Exclusion audiences (buyer segments)

When optimizing Facebook ads, the little tweaks and optimizations can add up big time and save you a lot of ad spend. Don’t forget to use exclusion lists to prevent certain people from seeing your ads.

If you’ve never used an exclusion list…

Basically, you can tell Facebook NOT to target certain people which is the inverse of normal custom audience targeting.

Why would you want to do this?

To prevent certain people from seeing your ad that you know won’t take the offer. The best use for this is to exclude your buyer segments – if they’re already a customer they probably aren’t going to buy the same product again, so showing them an ad is a waste of money.

But you can take it well beyond that…

You can exclude the “freebie seeker” segments that never buy from you…or the people who have only invested small amounts if you’re launching a big product…or people that are already on your list if your goal is to generate opt-ins…

If you’ve never used an exclusion audience, you can set these up in Power Editor under the “Audience” section when creating your ads:


Just always keep in mind that little optimizations go a long way and can be the difference between a break even campaign and a profitable one.

Try these out and don’t forget to always be looking for creative ways to use custom audiences. Facebook pioneered this technology and we as marketers should be constantly pushing the boundaries on what’s possible with them.

What are some of your favorite uses for custom audience targeting not listed here? Let me know below!

The 2D Funnel and How It’s Killing Your Revenue

If there’s one commonality I’ve noticed with online businesses that are failing or having a very difficult time gaining traction it’s with the way their funnel is setup.

Fact: most businesses don’t have a proper funnel or backend.

Fact: setting up a proper funnel will without a shadow of a doubt increase your revenue, immediately.

Fact: creating a proper funnel is within the budget and capabilities of anyone doing business online.

Depending on the type of business you’re running, you might think about the word ‘funnel’ in a few different ways. For this discussion we’ll use this definition:

Funnel: the process and sequence of events a prospect goes through while becoming a customer

Did you know that a well documented study found that the average consumer needs to interact with a brand at 7-13 times before becoming a customer?

Think about that for a second…

It’s really no wonder so many “marketers” go around saying things like “Facebook ads didn’t work for us” or “native ads don’t generate direct response conversions.”

It’s because they’re doing it ALL wrong.


What they don’t realize is that showing your ad to someone once isn’t going to cut it if you’re trying to sell a product or service.

You need multiple touches, in most cases more than 10, before someone will *really* consider doing business with you.

Enter the 2D Funnel.

Not only that, but you need to build your relationships slowly with prospects and deliver them value in some form along the way.

I call it the 2D funnel because it truly is 2 dimensional and lacking any depth. You would be surprised how many online businesses are setup this way…

A 2D funnel has four major flaws…

  1. No prospecting or pre-qualification stages: you’re either a customer or you aren’t.
  2. Only one “touch” which will repel 99% of website visitors.
  3. No backend or upsell path so it’s impossible to increase average order value or customer lifetime value.
  4. No way to provide value to the customer before you ask them for money.

Those four problems are seriously throttling your revenue.

Lets say you’re selling a workout program with paid traffic. Most marketers would send the traffic straight to their sales page, probably using a long form sales letter and add to cart buttons sprinkled throughout the page.


If the visitor doesn’t buy the product on the spot, they’re gone forever.

They were never *really* a prospect, and unless they’re in the 1% that will buy your product immediately the first time they see it, that’s it.

This is why I call this type of funnel (or lack thereof) 2 dimensional. There’s no opportunity to re-engage that prospect and you’re out a whole lotta revenue.

Customer or no customer. On or off. 2 dimensional.

Now lets rap about 3D funnels.

a 3D funnel is setup much more intelligently to first qualify prospects then give you ample opportunity to re-engage with and provide value to them. A 3D funnel converts a much larger chunk of visitors into customers while generating more revenue per customer. That second part is key.

Always keep in mind it requires a minimum of 7-13 “touches” in most cases before prospects will buy. Look at how much revenue this client would have lost if they only focused on the first handful of interactions:


We’re literally talking about millions of dollars here. This is the one part you really can’t afford to be lazy about.

Going back to the previous example, here’s exactly how I would setup the funnel for the workout program:

3d_funnel (1)

Two important notes about this type of a funnel:

  • Whatever you give away in exchange for an email address should pre-qualify the prospect as the type of customer you want. For example, if someone is opting-in for a report on fat loss it’s safe to assume they’re interested in learning how to lose fat.
  • The key is to provide value at each stage of the relationship – focus on the value you provide and the money will follow.

The more specific you are with the squeeze page offer the more tightly you can dial in your messaging. Fat loss is pretty vague so if this were a real client I would look for a more unique and specific angle. Lets say the program requires no weights and can be done from anywhere, a good squeeze page offer (lead magnet) might be:

5 fat blasting exercises that can be done from anywhere, with no gym and no equipment

If someone enters their email address to claim this report, you can assume:

  1. They’re interested in the core product you’re selling.
  2. They’re interested in the bodyweight aspect that can be done from anywhere.

Now that you have their email address you can re-engage with them through email while nurturing them with retargeting ads to get your 7-13 touches in before they eventually become a customer.

With a 3D funnel you’re in control. You set the pace and can advance prospects down the funnel however you see fit. You’re also going to be able to capture A LOT more high quality leads using a 3D funnel.

Always be thinking about your funnel and how you can improve it. With your funnel you should be:

  • Maximizing the value of each customer.
  • Creating as many “touches” as possible with different channels (email, social, retargeting, etc.).
  • Providing massive value at each stage of the relationship.

How “3 dimensional” is your funnel?


These 3 Words Will Help You Draw Out the Benefit of ANY Product Feature

I’m sure you’ve heard the benefits vs. features rant a million times by now.

Most marketers and business owners ‘know’ the distinction between features and benefits, but still focus *only* on features. Why? Because features are easier to draft up than benefits. Benefits require thought and insight into what your product or service really does. That kind of thinking is no bueno for the lazy.

This is going to sound harsh, but it’s very honest: all your prospects care about is what’s in it for them.

They don’t care about awards you’ve won, technology you’ve invented, or processes you’ve simplified. They care about the benefit of those features or achievements. They want to know what it means for them. Would you care about the awards an auto dealership won or their 5-star customer service rating or the free lifetime oil changes if you knew the car they sold you was going to be a lemon? The obvious answer: hell no. That’s not the result you want or are expecting so the features are completely irrelevant. 

Lets go over a quick example…

Feature: Over 500 styles of dress shirts to choose from

Benefit: Always be the most stylish person in the room with a unique dress shirt that makes you look the part, every single time.

A feature is something that describes a product or service.

A benefit is the end result of that feature. If there is no causal link between a desirable end result and one of your features, it’s a crappy feature. It’s fluff. Air. Snake oil.

Before you get carried away and take this the wrong way…

Features are important. Features tell people what they’re getting. This is especially true with technical products or services but benefits still outweigh features 10,000% of the time. Yeah. 10,000%.

I hear you over there…

but Tom…I don’t know what the real benefit is! I have ‘benefit block.’

The good news is that I’ve got your back. Let me show you my favorite technique for drawing out the benefits of any feature of your product or service. 

List out all of your features into a spreadsheet or word document, then add “so you can…” to the end of each feature and complete the sentence. The point is to give the feature context and show why it’s useful, what it’s going to do, or how it’s going to help achieve the end result the customer is looking for.

Lets put this idea into play:

Feature: Proprietary sorting algorithm developed by world-class software engineers. 

Benefit: …so you can save 15 hours a week with an optimized workflow and say goodbye to busywork. 

See the difference?

Your turn. 🙂

6 Out of the Box Ways to Mine Precise Interests for Facebook Ad Targeting

Sometimes finding the right ad targets on Facebook can be tricky. Half the time the fanpage you want to target isn’t available as a precise interest or the audience is so small the campaign will never scale.

I’ve tested all kinds of precise interests on Facebook…seriously just about anything you can imagine. I used to spend hours and hours researching and brainstorming new precise interests to target. I was probably spending more time looking for solid ad targets than I was managing or setting up the ad campaigns…

From all of my trial & error with Facebook ads I’ve found a few ways to mine precise interests for ad targeting that I come back to time and time again. These are the quickest ways I’ve found to find new ad targets for Facebook that will both convert well and scale at the same time.

Lateral Competitors

Before you do any type of ad campaigns you need to have a good pulse on your competition. There are two types of competitors: literal and lateral. Lateral competitors are businesses that compete in the same space or industry, but sell a different product or service. What that means is that you share a demographic with the competitor, but you’re not competing with them directly for the same business.

Lets say for example you’re trying to sell an analytics tool like KISSMetrics. A few lateral competitors you can try targeting might be, WhatRunsWhere, Qualaroo, and Hubspot. Same demographic, different offering.

Lateral competitors are one of my favorite types of ad targets to use because you know the demographic lines up so they’re usually a homerun.  I recommend creating a spreadsheet to track both literal and lateral competitors – they’ll come in handy not only on Facebook but other ad platforms like Adwords as well for things like Funbox targeting.

Literal Competitors

Literal competitors are directly competing with you for the same business. Going back to the KISSMetrics example, some literal competitors would be Google Analytics, MixPanel, GetClicky, and WebTrends. This is where it gets a little cut throat…

Here’s what you do…

Target your literal competitors and give their fans a reason to join forces with you. What advantage do you have over the competitor? Are you more affordable? More feature rich? Easier to use? Do you have better customer service? Make sure in your creative you highlight these advantages and you’ll be blown away by the results.

There’s virtually no such thing as brand loyalty on the Internet – if you can offer a better solution, you win.

Google related: search

When I start running out of ideas I turn to Google related searches. Start with running a related search for your website then branch out to the lateral and literal competitors you put together.

Going back to the KISSMetrics example again running a search for “related:” (without quotes) gives me some great ideas for different websites/businesses I can target.

Try this for all of your literal/lateral competitors and any other websites your demographic might frequent like forums, blogs, and social networks.


Facebook Graph Search

Facebook graph search is such an amazing tool, especially for finding Facebook ad targets. I like to compare it to the Google Keyword Tool in terms of how useful it is for research. If you haven’t had a chance to experiment with Graph Search yet check out my Facebook Graph Search Cheat Sheet here and get your hands dirty. The utility of Graph Search is practically endless but you’ll find it extremely useful for finding fresh ad targets.

Amazon Search

Remember that precise interest targeting isn’t limited to just fanpages and businesses, you can target virtually anything people add as an interest to their profile. For that reason, I love using Amazon to find books that my target demographic might read. This usually works extremely well because if someone has both:

a.) read a book about a topic and
b.) liked it enough to add it to their profile

they’re probably a good candidate for whatever you’re trying to sell.

Head over to and search for the niche/industry/vertical you’re creating ads for. Lets say I’m trying to advertise a sales CRM like SalesForce on Facebook. I would go to Amazon, search ‘sales’ and filter my campaign by ‘Books’ then sort by ‘most reviewed.’ Why most reviewed? Well, there’s usually a direct correlation between the popularity of a book on Amazon (number of reviews)
and how many people are in the audience on Facebook when entered as a precise interest.


Add all of the top books to your precise interest list and search for more related topics/keywords.

Google Top 10 Lists

To round off this post I’m going to give you another one of my favorite Google tricks for mining ad targets: top lists.

Head over to google and search “[keyword] top 10 list” or “top 10 [keyword]” replacing [keyword] with a topic related to your niche.


If you’re creative you can squeeze a ton of precise interests out of this one method alone. Try searching all kinds of combinations like:

  • Top 10 [keyword] blogs
  • Top 10 [keyword] books
  • Top 10 [keyword] tools

Those are 6 of my favorite ways to mine precise interests for Facebook ad campaigns. What are yours?

Facebook Ads Wishlist: 6 Facebook Ads Features I Can’t Live Without Any Longer

Facebook ads is by far one of my favorite ad platforms for generating brand awareness and direct response conversions. The ad targeting options are completely unprecedented. You can target people based on demographics (age, location, gender), psychographics (likes, interests, desires) and now with partner targeting based on behavior and habits.

No other ad platform has this much raw power in its targeting capabilities. You can filter down to your most ideal customer by comboing together all of these targeting options.

With that said, Facebook ads still leaves a lot to be desired. Despite their recent efforts to improve and optimize the ad platform there’s still some “no brainer” missing features…

Frequency Capping

How often you show your ads to your audience is known as campaign frequency. For some products, you might need 30 views per person to make a sale, where others might only need 3. This is something that you should test but currently you have no control over the maximum number of times your ad is displayed to each unique user per day. Frequency capping gives you control over how often people are exposed to your ads. In some cases you might need to be extremely aggressive, where in other cases more than one or two impressions per user per day might upset your audience.


Optimizing ad campaigns usually comes down to making small, strategic tweaks that make your ads more relevant or timely. Dayparting is a standard feature on many other ad platforms, like Google AdWords, but is still missing as a Facebook advertising tool. There are software solutions available that will let you setup a dayparting schedule but Facebook should offer this natively instead of making me use a 3rd party tool.

If you aren’t familiar, dayparting is the process of setting a schedule to tell the ad platform when your ads should show up. For example, lets say you run a brick-and-mortar store that operates and services customers from 9-5 Monday – Friday. You wouldn’t want your ads to show up on the weekends or after hours, right? In this scenario a dayparting schedule that turns your ads off on Saturday, Sunday and between 6PM – 9AM would be the most optimal schedule.

Dayparting isn’t just for physical stores though, here are a few other scenarios where it can, and should, be used:

  • If you sell more products during a certain part of the week (i.e. right before the weekend).
  • If you tend to sell more products during a certain time of the month. If you’re B2C keep in mind people typically get paid on the 1st and/or 15th.
  • If you have better lead quality at a certain time of the week.

Precise Interest ANDing

why-or-doesnt-work-for-precise-interestsI’ve wrote about it more than once. If you ever talk to me about Facebook Ads you’ve probably heard me complain about precise interest ANDing. If Facebook made one tiny tweak to the way precise interest targeting works Facebook Ads would instantly become a much more powerful and profitable traffic source.

When you create an ad, if you use more than one precise interest Facebook targets anyone that likes interest A or interest B. Digital marketing (and PPC more specifically) is most effective at an extremely granular level.

Lets say you want to target people who are likely entrepreneurs and copywriters. If you enter entrepreneurship and copywriting as precise interests Facebook will target anybody who likes entrepreneurship or copywriting, making your audience larger instead of smaller.

Making the audience larger is almost never going to give you better results.

Facebook – PLEASE, I am begging you, give us the option to AND interests together so I can spend exponentially more money with you.

Ad Rotation Options

Facebook still hasn’t developed a reliable algorithm for rotating ads in an ad set.

Right now, if you put a group of 3-4 ads you want to test into an ad set you’ll notice that one will get impression priority WAY too quickly. Basically, your other ads will never see the light of day.

In my opinion Facebook should have several rotation options similar to AdWords that let you rotate ad variations based on:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Rotate evenly
  • Rotate indefinitely

In the mean time, a good workaround for this is putting each ad in its own ad set with its own budget. It’s a little bit more work to setup but you can be sure that your ads are getting even amounts impressions.

Precise Interest & Category Breakout Reporting

The new reporting manager in Facebook Ads is significantly improved over the old reporting but still leaves a lot to be desired. (sorry Facebook)

Currently, you can breakout campaigns in the reporting manager by:

  • Campaign
  • Ad set
  • Ad
  • Ad Objective
  • Country
  • Gender
  • Placement
  • Destination

But you know what you can’t do? You can’t see which precise interest or category target the conversion is responsible for. This is another reason (aside from the lack of precise interest ANDing) I only use one precise interest per ad. There’s no other way to know which one worked.

T0 sum up my complaining: unless you’re using one precise interest per ad, you have no way of knowing which is generating conversions.

For now, only use one category or precise interest target per ad.

Precise Interest Freshness

This one would be a serious game changer for advertisers. The problem with precise interest targeting is that as time goes on, people “like” more and more pages, often times without really “liking” the product or business. The average number of likes per profile is increasing every day since people don’t actively unlike pages.

If someone “liked” the Los Angeles Lakers page 3 years ago, do they still like them? Have they changed their allegiance to a different team that’s performing better? Did they only like them because they had a phenomenal season or a star player they follow?

If Facebook added a ‘freshness’ feature that lets you choose how recently the person liked a page, we can be more confident in answering some of these questions.

If I can choose to target people who liked the Los Angeles Lakers within the last week or month I can make some assumptions about whether they like the team right now.

Another example…

Lets say you want to promote your health book about the Paleo diet by targeting Paleo related pages. If you can target people that have liked “Paleo” within the last month you can assume they’re just getting started and encourage them to hit the ground running.


What Facebook Ads feature(s) are you waiting for?

Don’t Make This Facebook Sponsored Story Mistake Unless You Want to Waste 50% of Your Ad Budget

Most people that are new to paid acquisition and optimization in general are always under the impression there’s a trove of secrets to building effective campaigns. The truth is that long-term scalable PPC campaigns are built through iterative optimization, lots of testing, and fine tuning.

Facebook sponsored stories are one of my favorite types of ad units to run on social. If you’re not familiar with how they work, sponsored stories allow you to leverage word-of-mouth marketing by promoting any of your posts that fans have interacted with to friend of those fans. For example, if I “like” a post from a blog like Search Engine Land and they’re running a sponsored story to that post, all of my friends are eligible to see that I interacted with that post.


Why are sponsored stories and word-of-mouth on Facebook so powerful? Most people are friends with people who do similar work – at least half of my friends on Facebook are marketers, entrepreneurs, paid acquisition specialists, PPC account managers, or some type of Internet business person. When they see that I interacted with Search Engine Land I’m basically endorsing that content and making a powerful recommendation.

Targeting everyone that’s a friend of a fan can be dangerous and costly, though. It’s easy to lose your shirt fast and squander the effectiveness of sponsored stories if you aren’t careful with who you’re targeting.

Here’s an example that popped up in my mobile feed last week. This is a sponsored story from Victoria’s Secret that a friend of mine on Facebook interacted with. The big mistake here is that Victoria’s Secret didn’t limit the sponsored story exposure to women only – they’re also targeting men, effectively wasting half of their sponsored story budget.

You can make the argument that maybe men will “claim” this offer for their girlfriend or significant other but I’d to gamble that less than 10% of their sales from this campaign are generated from men. In that scenario you’d be spending 50% of your budget for 10% of your sales – ouch.

The lesson here: always be thinking about who you’re targeting and what makes the most sense for the greatest sales impact. One simple tweak to this campaign would have without a doubt increased ROI significantly and maybe even turned the campaign from a loser into a winner.


How to (and Not to) Protect Your Brand on Search Engines


I’m a huge fan of running brand campaigns for all of my paid search clients, especially when they lack real estate on the first page of search results.

Since the first listing on search engine result pages (SERPs) capture the lions share of the clicks it’s important that you show up #1 for all of your branded search terms.

If you aren’t #1 you’re either being outranked by a competitor organically or your competitors are bidding on your brand terms and stealing customers that are ready work with you.

I was recently in Las Vegas for Pubcon and I met the owner of a small hosting company called Zeneva. He went on and on about how great his company is at web hosting and how great they are at search marketing as well. After an hour or so of hearing him talk up his company I left the conversation with a business card that was likely to go in the trash by the end of the day.

Fast forward to that evening, I was emptying my pockets in my hotel room to follow up on some legitimate leads and found his card on top. I thought to myself “why not see if they’re really as good as I was being led to believe?”

I ended up Googling the name of the company and found this little gem:


A competing hosting company, Peer1, is bidding on “Zeneva hosting” as a keyword and used “Hosting for Grown Ups” as the headline in the ad copy. Genius.

Think about this for a second: a prospective client wants to do some digging on your company so naturally they turn to Google – what’s the first thing they see? An ad for a competitor in the #1 position with a headline that makes you second guess your decision about working with them.

This is why protecting your brand terms is critical.

Now here’s another example, this time showing how to protect your brand terms, especially if you have a competitor (or a company with the same name) outranking you organically.

One of our clients over at Single Grain, an artificial intelligence and robotics company named Anki, recently ran into this problem. Anki’s website was brand new and there was another very established company with the same name that sold flash cards with an aged website and lots of indexed pages.

Our SEO team started setting the ground work to take over the #1 position immediately but we knew it would take at least several months to confidently take over that #1 spot.

To prevent losing prospective customers interested in purchasing Anki’s new product we setup a brand campaign to protect them from losing branded search traffic.

We setup campaigns for every variations of their brand terms and because brand campaigns usually have a near perfect quality score it only cost $0.05 – $0.20 per click.

You can see in the screenshot below that we’re getting closer to dominating the first page organically for branded searches but until then we’ll keep protecting branded traffic by outranking the flash card site with our brand campaigns.


The big lesson here: being #1 for brand terms is extremely important. Not only is it important to be #1, you need to own as much of the first page real estate as possible to absorb all of the attention you’ve already earned. If prospects are taking the time out of their day to find you don’t make them hunt for your page or accidentally end up a competitors website.

Is your brand protected?


Hidden Conversion Killers: Page Load Times

We all know that ineffective page elements like a bad call to action, incorrect color usage, and long forms can ruin conversions on your landing page, but what about the factors you can’t visually see? When optimizing your sales funnel for sticking points you have to pay attention to some hidden conversion killers that can potentially kill your conversion rate. These factors can easily be the difference between a profitable campaign and a money hemorrhaging marketing nightmare.

The first hidden conversion killer I want to address is page load times. This is something few usability and conversion experts actually spend time on (even though they know it’s important) so pay attention and make changes where appropriate!



Optimizing Page Load Times for Conversion


I can’t say it enough: page load time is huge. Internet users are getting more impatient by the day and if they can’t find what they’re looking for immediately – yes IMMEDIATELY – they will leave your website and go straight to a competitor. If your website takes longer than a few seconds to load it doesn’t matter how optimized your landing page is for conversions, you’re going to lose a big chunk of your traffic before they can even see what you’re all about.

Fortunately for us Google analytics is pretty telling as far as how fast your website is. You can easily find out how fast your website is loading for all visitors in your Google Analytics profile by going to Content > Site Speeds > Overview




Here are a couple great examples of site speed problem areas:



This particular client had a couple days in a row of ridiculously long load times – way longer than it takes for most users to leave the page and find an alternative. I called the clients web host and asked if anything happened on that day that might have caused the load times – it turns out they were upgrading the server so there was some weirdness for a couple days. Without checking Google analytics I would have never known about this. Now in the future if we do any site upgrades I know that we should pause any paid marketing efforts because the traffic will likely be wasted.


Another great thing about the site speed report in Google Analytics is the device and browser segmentation. Your website might load great on desktop computers but does it load fast on different browsers and mobile devices?

It looks like this clients website has some trouble loading on Android devices and Safari web browsers. The average load time for these are far higher than the rest and indicates some sort of problem with the page rendering on those particular browsers and devices. This could be due to any number of things and will likely take some trial and error to figure out what’s going on. Try minimizing heavy elements like javascript, flash, and interactive design. I also recommend optimizing all of your images and having a [good] developer go over your landing pages with a fine-tooth comb to make it as light as possible. If you’re using full resolution HD photos all over your page of course it’s going to take a long time to load!

Don’t make the classic mistake of thinking “it loads fine for me so it should load fine for everyone else.” I’ve had clients with websites that load lightning fast for them (and myself) but some users in various parts of the world we’re experiencing load times over 10-20 seconds. That’s an eternity in Internet time. The truth is that nobody will wait around that long, I don’t care how cool your product or service is.

If you notice that your page speed load times are inconsistent in different areas of the world or country look into getting a content discovery network (CDN). Basically a CDN lets you strategically place the large and hard to load files on servers around the world instead of everything being centralized in one place. With a CDN no user should ever be across the world from where your content is being loaded and load times should improve dramatically across the board.

If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what’s causing your site to load slowly there’s one more Google Analytics report you can make use of: Speed Suggestions. To access the Speed Suggestions report go to Content > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions. 


The way the report works is pretty straightforward – you’re given a list of URLs and blue hyperlinks to the right with the number of problems found on that page. This is definitely worth looking through even if your site is decently fast – sometimes optimizing a bloated javascript file or large image can make all the difference. (and Google kinda knows what they’re talking about…)




A couple notes on this report:


  • You can select either Desktop or Mobile segments for optimization from the top right – USE THIS FEATURE!
  • The left hand side will list all of the different potential problems and reasons for slow load times – have your developer work down this list as much as possible to ensure there are absolutely no problems with your page.
  • The blue “Measure Sitespeed” button will create a report that gives you an idea of just how much faster these optimizations will make. This is useful if any of the outstanding items are difficult to implement and you need to decide whether it’s worth the effort/time/hassle/money to fix.



Take advantage of the Site Speed reports in Google analytics and fix any problem areas on your website/landing pages. This is easily one of the most prominent hidden conversion killers but can be easily fixed.

2 Conversion Conference Chicago Sessions I Can’t Miss

Conversion Conference (#convconf) is only 8 short days away and I couldn’t be more amped to attend this year. The speaker lineup is stacked and the session topics go far deeper than most conferences I’ve attended – this is going to be awesome. While I plan on attending as many sessions as possible there are 2 in particular I can’t wait for because the speakers have had a profound impact on my life and career in this field.

So who are they?


Jeremy Schoemaker (A.K.A. Shoemoney)

[hr] Even though Jeremy has no clue who I am his blog and writings have made a huge impact on my life and career. I’ve been following Jeremy’s Internet marketing blog since I was a clueless 16 year old in high school trying to figure this whole Internet business thing out. Jeremy’s blog without a doubt helped keep me motivated and inspired for a lot of different reasons.

Seeing Jeremy hold a check for over $100,000 from Google was a real eye opener for me – it was basically the point where I realized I can do this type of work as a career and build something real; not just a fly-by-night business.

If you aren’t familiar with Jeremy’s story, I highly recommend reading his about page – his story in inspiring to say the least and resonates very closely with mine. We both had a turning point where we realized we can do a whole lot better and turned things around with a ton of self-education and hard work. The other reason I’ve always been a fan of Jeremy is that he’s not afraid to be himself on any of his public outlets (blog, social media, interviews, etc.) – too many people working online hide their personality in fear of losing clients or jobs. I feel like if I had played it safe like most people I’d be at least a year behind where I am now; being overly cautious and calculated has not proven to be an effective business strategy for me.

Aside from the inspiration to keep moving forward Jeremy’s content has always been actionable and backed with real world experience and methodical testing. That’s exactly why I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about converting one time visitors into customers, I know this session alone will be worth the trip to Chicago. If this ever makes it way to you Jeremy, thank you for everything you’ve done – you’ve helped a lot more people than you realize.


Tim Ash

[hr] I’m such a nerd about conversion rate optimization that Tim Ash is like the George Clooney of CRO to me. When I first started exploring the world of CRO SiteTuners was constantly mentioned and recommended so I inevitably checked them out and ended up spending hours pouring over their content and books. Many of the lessons I learned from SiteTuners teachings have been applicable to not only improving conversions but building a better business, making customers happy, and delivering an excellent stress-free user experience.

Thanks to Tim and his awesome team of true experts I learned countless invaluable lessons that helped me improve clients websites while becoming a better marketer and professional. For that I have Tim to thank and can’t wait to hear his keynote at Conversion Conference Chicago – I just hope I can take notes fast enough…


If you aren’t already subscribed to the SiteTuners blog, I highly advise you do so right now.




Some other sessions I look forward to:


  • Angie Schottmuller – Organic Conversions – Conversion Strategies for SEO Traffic 10:30AM Tuesday (CRO and Search is a big puzzle to most people, should be interessting!)


  • Michal Parízek – 7 Pillars of a Mature Conversion Optimization Strategy 11:30AM Tuesday (I’m a big fan of systems and processes; I have a feeling this session will teach me a lot about structuring and organizing my CRO campaigns more efficiently)


  • Jodie Ellis – Getting Personal: 5 Ways to Optimize More with Targeting 3:45PM Tuesday (It’s mind blowing how far online marketing tech has come in the last 2 years – the things we can do with targeting today are insane and would have been near impossible in the recent past)


  • Jon Morris – High-Impact PPC: Reduce Pain Points, Increase Profits 4:45PM Tuesday (As a PPC professional there’s always another trick, method, or strategy to improve your campaigns across the board – can’t wait for this one)


  • Dennis Yu – Facebook’s Hidden Conversion Rate Impact 10:30AM Wednesday (With Facebook’s new partner category targeting options I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation wit their ad platform as of late, this is a topic I’ve been curious about for awhile now)


  • Josh Krafchin – After the Conversion: Leveraging the Power of Confirmation Pages 1:30PM Wednesday (There are a lot of creative things you can do with conversion/confirmation/thank you pages and I know I’m barely scraping the surface with my current strategies – this session should be an eye opener)

[hr] I can already tell this is going to be a great conference with plenty of immediately applicable takeaways, see you there 🙂

WhichTestWon TLE 2013 Speaker Notes – Thursday

If you missed any of the Thursday sessions I was able to take notes for, you can get mine here:


GetitFree Case Study – Make Online Advertising Convert (Much) Better with Path Optimization

Experian – How to Get Consumers to Fill Out Long, Complex Forms Requiring Personal Information

BlazeMeter – Increase Conversions for SaaS Sites

Dell – High Impact Segmentation and Behavioral Targeting

Wayfair – Increase Conversion Using Dynamic Messaging

Google –  Customer Optimization Versus Conversion Optimization: Advanced Analytics

Legal Zoom – How LegalZoom is Improving Conversions

Lifesize Communications – How to Overhaul Your Corporate Website Based on Customer Interviews, Personas, & Testing

Motorcycle USA –  Top 5 High-Impact eCommerce Conversion Optimization Tactics from Motorcycle Superstore

Paypal – How to Roll Out Winning Tests Globally

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – Travel & Hospitality Conversion Optimization – New Lessons Learned


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