Have you ever wondered how Quality Score (QS) is determined?

Have you ever wondered how Quality Score (QS) is determined? Did you know there are nine variables that Google reviews when they calculate your QS?
Check out DEP’s newest infographic on everything you need to know. We illustrate how QS is determined, how it affects your account, and even include tips on how to improve your score.

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<a href="http://downtownecommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Quality-Score-Infographic.jpg"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-540" title="Quality Score Infographic" src="http://downtownecommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Quality-Score-Infographic.jpg" alt="Quality Score Infographic" width="600" height="1965" /></a><br /><br />Infographic by <a href="http://www.downtownecommerce.com">Downtown Ecommerce Partners</a>

Paid Search Ad Copy Testing Infographic

Following our last infographic on the basics of Google Adwords we have created our top techniques on building the optimal messaging for your ad copy. This infographic will explain 5 steps of testing ad copy to discover the perfect ad copy variationfor your account.

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<a href="http://downtownecommerce.com/blog/search-engine-marketing/paid-search-ad-copy-testing-infographic/attachment/ad-copy-testing-infographic/" rel="attachment wp-att-522"><img class="size-full wp-image-522" title="Ad Copy Testing infographic" src="http://downtownecommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Ad-Copy-Testing-infographic.png" alt="" width="600" height="2745" /></a><br /><br /> Infographic by <a href="http://www.downtownecommerce.com">Downtown Ecommerce Partners</a>

Google Adwords Infographic

In the last couple of weeks, a number of our clients have asked important questions about how Google structures a paid search account within their paid search platform, Adwords, as well as requested more information on acronyms that are commonly used when talking about an Adwords account. This infographic is our answer to these questions.  Please feel free to share this information by copying the code at the bottom of the image and pasting it on your site.


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To embed this infographic in your website, simply copy and paste the code below into your webpage. If you have any problems doing so, please let us know.

<a href="http://downtownecommerce.com"><img alt="Adwords Infographic" src="http://www.downtownecommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/adwords-info.jpg" width="646" /></a><br /><br /> Infographic by <a href="http://www.downtownecommerce.com">Downtown Ecommerce Partners</a>

DEP Has Got Your Back! Is Your Workspace Ergonomic?

Work related injuries are often times due to the physical stress from sitting in the same position for long periods of time. This can leave you with strain on your muscles, joints and your spine. This damage can lead to long-term health problems. If your 9-5 requires long sessions grinding it out at your desk, it’s important to know that these injuries can be prevented.

We have worked closely with Dr. Brisson, spine specialist NYC on the ‘Stop the Back Pain’ campaign. Dr. Brisson has comprehensive experience treating a wide range of spinal disorders. He has been acknowledged as the best spine surgeon in New York City and has performed countless scoliosis treatments across the globe. Are you ready to create a comfortable environment at your desk while giving your workplace a makeover? The visual guide below details the importance of ergonomics in the workplace and preventative measures. DEP has got your back.


If you would like us to help you design an infographic for your business, please get in touch.

Tracking PayPal Transactions with Adwords & Analytics for Dynamic Thank You Pages

Ok folks this is going to be a brief blog post on something that took us entirely too long to get answered. There are a number of extremely informative blogs on how to setup conversion tracking for BOTH Google Adwords and Google Analytics for PayPal transactions. Two in particular we’d recommend you check out are:

SEER Interactivehttp://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/track-paypal-purchases-with-google-adwords-in-5-easy-steps

Analytics Resultshttp://www.analyticsresults.com/2010/02/tracking-paypal-with-google-analytics.html

Both have clear and precise steps on how to setup conversion tracking for transactions that use static confirmation thank you page URLs. Example scenario and subsequent static URLs below:

1. Shoppers goes to client site.

2. Shopper adds item to cart and heads to check out.

3. Shopper selects PayPal as purchase option. Shopper hits PayPal button and heads to PayPal

4. On PayPal shopper fills out their info and hits purchase. At this point the confirmation thank you page (return URL is fired) and sends the shopper back to the webstore. That static URL would look something like


To configure steps 1 – 4 above is super easy. Again check out the blogs above for specific directions. The point of this post is to clarify the part of those blogs where they advise you on how to SET the return URL that is fired once the shopper hits purchase on PayPal.

We’ve repurposed the image from the Analytics Results below.


In the above picture you will see the PayPal section where you set the return URL. The return URL in the picture is a STATIC URL. Meaning it will always be the same no matter what type of transaction is being performed.

Here was our problem….we had a client that had a dynamic URL that changed on every transaction by adding the order id to the end of the URL. Example


IMPORTANT: If your client’s URL does this the steps (outlined in the above blogs) for setting the return URL are irrelevant. They are irrelevant because that URL will change on every transaction.

SOLUTION: As the SEER blog pointed out you will need to work with a consultant who has experience working with PayPal’s API.

The simple explanation is this…..using PayPal’s API you set the DYNAMIC return URL via the PayPal button that is clicked on via the webstore site and ultimately sends the user to PayPal to complete the purchase. In that same button CALL you would also make sure to add BOTH Google Adwords and Google Analytics tracking scripts. When the user hits the purchase button on PayPal the DYNAMIC URL is fired with BOTH the Google Adwords and Google Analytics Scripts. SHAZAAM you’ve got tracking configured.

If you need additional help with this please contact us.

Visitors Behavioral Insights using Google Social Plug-ins

It’s been almost a year now; Google launched the Social Component in their Web Analytics tool, and since then, we have worked with various clients setting up their Social Dashboards, and understanding the on-site behavior of their Social Visitors, and gauging their off-site activity stream via Data Hub Network.

Social Media Leverage

In this post, we are not going to discuss on the fundamentals or, how to create Sexy Social Dashboard because, there are number of blog posts have been written on this topic in last 12 months so; in order to make it spicier, engaging and actionable for our marketing friends, we are sharing some interesting data analysis techniques by blending Social Reporting and Behavioral Segmentation.

Interesting Findings in last 12 Months: -
•    Approx. 78-82% of the Landings via Social Referrers get BOUNCED immediately.

•    “Social Network” as an “Assisting Channel”, contributing significantly higher Conversion Value as compare to “Last Interaction Channel” for almost all our clients. The Social Channel Revenue Contribution is not more than 1.5-2.0% of the overall revenue generated on the website. Despite of this poor performance, Social Networks playing an important role higher in the conversion funnel, and their contribution can’t be ignored.

•    For the Ecommerce Players, majority of the on-site Social Actions gets originated from the Product Pages (Social Entities under Social Plug-ins), and the corresponding referral traffic from Friends and Family have a significantly higher Bounce Rate i.e. 80-85%. The on-site surveys conducted on the Product Pages highlighted the following 4 reasons behind higher bounce rate:

1.    Since, my friend shared the Product; I just wanted to look-around
2.    Poor Quality and Size of the main Product Image with no Alternate Views
3.    Too Expensive
4.    No ongoing Promotion (Free Shipping or % OFF on the Product)

•    We spent lot of time understanding the Navigational Behavior of the Social Visitors by applying custom Engagement and Retention Segments, and learned a lot about their behavior and affinity towards different content sections of the website. Here are 15 Segments that really helped us getting deep-dive insight in to Social Visitors Behavior:

1.    Return Frequency Less Than 24 hrs
2.    Return Frequency within 1-3 Days
3.    Return Frequency within 3-5 Days
4.    Return Frequency within 5-7 Days
5.    Return Frequency greater than 7 Days
6.    Visits with 1 Page
7.    Visits with 2-4 Pages
8.    Visits with 4-6 Pages
9.    Visits with greater than 6 Pages
10.  Visits with less than 60 secs
11.   Visits between 60 – 180 seconds
12.   Visits between 180 – 300 seconds
13.   Visits between 300 – 480 seconds
14.   Visits between 480 – 600 seconds
15.   Visits greater than 600 seconds

By applying the above segments in the “Social Visitors Flow” and “Conversions” reporting we identified that, almost 85-90% of the Social Visitors didn’t go deeper than 3 Pages on the website, and their visit lasted for less than 180 seconds. The Return Frequency of Social Visitors was quite lower as compare to other channels while, those online brands and retailers, who are spending consistently on Social Paid Ads month over month, have a strong brand loyalty, diligently creating buzz in their network, and have a strong fan base across different networks, were driving decent % of returning visitors with-in 1-3 Days window. Overall, the % of revenue contribution from Social Channels was under 1.5-2%, and unfortunately Social is still an unexplored channel and account for merely 6-7% of the Total Marketing Spend.

•    Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google + are the 4 major Social Sources contributing over 80% of the Social Actions. Among our clients customer-base, Pinterest is considered better suited than Twitter to find about new products while, Facebook is the top social network accessed via Mobile Devices for our USA Clients. Almost 75-80% of the traffic contributed by the above 4 Social Networks was Unique.

•    We couldn’t extract much value out of Activity Stream under “Sources” section because, it was not including the Top Social Networks for our clients including Facebook and Twitter so; couldn’t find something significant to take immediate actions.

We are really excited to hear your findings and any lessons learned while analyzing the Social Data of your online visitors.

5 Tips on Improving Your CR For Holiday 2012

holiday ecommerce shopping

Image by Blog.nsbank.com

The holidays are right around the corner. Its about that time to start enjoying hot chocolate, writing your Christmas list, setting up family gatherings and preparing and prepping your Adwords account…..yes its that time! 52% of ecommerce retailers began their holiday sales by Halloween in 2011.Have you started to prepare your account? Below are 5 tips on improving your conversion rate for the holidays.

Phone number

Let your customers know you are there for them! During the holiday season there are many shoppers and many gifts being purchased. Offer a phone number online for your customers. This offers them instant gratification on any questions they may have on the product and/or shipping information before they check out.

Create Urgency

Make sure all your customers will receive their products before Christmas and everyone will be happy. Creating urgency online can assist in increasing your conversion rate. Including tactics such as “order by and delivered by” creates urgency for your customer to purchase. Also, showing how many products are left can encourage the customer to purchase sooner.

Holiday ecommerce promotions

Image by Popsop.com

Promotion placements

Everyone is looking for a sale during the holidays. Make sure to include promotions through the site. Also, implement promotions on pages that offer similar products. For example, if you are purchasing an iPod place a promotion on a case or headphones on the product page. This will entice customers to purchase more products. Lastly, offer last chance promotions in the shopping cart to try to increase their order before they check out.

Social buttons

Sharing sites/products is huge for social media. With social media exploding over the web make sure you have all your social buttons live. Run down the check-list and make sure you have all of them created from Google + to Facebook to Twitter and more! This will create credibility for your customer to purchase when they see a friend from their Google + has endorsed your site.

Holiday Mobile Shopping

Image by Guardian.co.UK

Mobile shopping

2011 was named the Ecommerce Comeback with a 16.8% increase in sales. It is predicted that mobile shopping rates will exceed 20% in 2012. Make sure to utilize mobile and tablets during the holiday season starting now. Ensure your mobile site is running properly and all promotions are live and current. Don’t miss out on mobile this year!

So with Halloween soon approaching us be sure to create your plan of action for the upcoming holiday. Let us know if you have any other tips for the Holiday and lets get started!

5 Ways to Boost CTR in Your PPC Account

CTR Increase

Have your ads in your account come to a point where you need a boost in your the click thru rate (CTR)? There are many things to consider when working on ways to improve CTR of your PPC account. So how can you get started today?

Here are 5 ways to improve your Click Thru Rate today:

1.     Refining Your Account

Review your account and dig into your keywords. Expand your ad groups so each one has their own niche to speak to in your ad copy. Many times we group keywords into one ad group that could be split into two or more. Create separate ad groups for your keywords so you can include one or more of them into your ad copy variations. This will also help boost your quality score.

2.     Improving Your Ad Copy with Offers & Credibility

Is your ad copy lacking something important or unique? Look into your ad groups and create 3 ad variations that include the keyword, a call to action, pain point and/or creditability. You want to stand apart from your competitors and offer something they cannot. Creating a promotion to entice the user to click on your ad maybe a way to go or creating creditability by stating you are the official site can encourage users to select you over competitors. Get into Google and search several of your terms per ad group and see what competitors are creating and offering. This will give you ideas and aid in creating new messaging that is not yet live.

3.     Creating Sitelink Extensions

If you have not added Sitelinks into your account do so today! Create at least 4 to 10 sitelinks to each campaign in your account that will send users to different landing pages and give you the opportunity to extend ad messaging. Adwords saw a 30% boost in CTR in campaigns after implementing sitelinks into campaigns. Each sitelink has a 35-character max and is a great way to offer promotions. Implement your sitelinks today and in 2 weeks review your CTR and see the magic happen!

4.     Adding Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are important for any Adwords account. We all add a list of these to the accounts upon set up but then how do you continually create new negatives that you may have not discovered before? A great way to find these negative keywords for campaigns and ad groups is pulling the All Search Term report in Adwords. We run this report daily to monthly for clients.

This report is located in the keyword tab and pulls all search terms related to the keywords in your account. This is a great report if you have many broad match keywords live. In the report you can view terms that have displayed your ad due to being closely related to a keyword in your account.  Review the report and highlight and add keywords that you do not wish to appear on in Google.

5.     Google + Social Extensions


Creating credibility is huge online. If you have not already created a Google + profile do so and then add it to your Adwords campaigns! When users search and your ad appears they can preview people in your Google circle that have 1+ the site. On average, ads with Google + have a 5 to 10% improvement in their CTR. Users will be able to view recommendations that the site has received.

I hope you apply some of these to your account in order to boost your CTR.  If you have additional CTR tips please let us know today!

What is Time Per Visit? A Very Powerful but, Underutilized Engagement Metric!

Pocket Watch

Did you know that?

• Approx. 68-75% of the visitors don’t spend over 5 minutes on the website.

• Approx. 75-80% of the visitors don’t view more than 5 pages per visit.

• 5-10 mins slot is a sweet-spot for majority of the online businesses, and contribute significantly to the top-line. So; if more and more businesses can stick the visitors on their website for atleast 5-10 minutes, it can impact their top-line numbers by 10-15%.

Over the last 2 years, I have been traveling quite extensively across Asia Pacific to conduct Web Analytics and Digital Marketing workshops for the Banks, Insurance Giants, Telecom, Retailers, Media and Agencies, and it’s quite disheartening to see that majority of these online businesses pay less attention on the engagement metrics, and emphasize too much on the macro transactional metrics. Among the list of various engagement metrics available in the online space, one of the metric that I often talk about during my training sessions is the “Time Spent per Visit”.

Most of the ecommerce managers and digital marketers I met in last 2 years in the APAC region, realize the importance of this metric however; they don’t understand, how to use this metric in an effective way and find opportunities for improvement on the website by understanding the visitor behavior. Let me explain this by sharing some interesting facts:

• Approx. 65-70% of the Keyword Searches are performed by those visitors who spend less than 5 minutes on the website and a lion share of them come from those who spend less than 60 seconds on the website. Majority of these are Category or Product Type specific.

• Approx. 20-25% of the Keyword Searches done by above visitors are Failed Searches.

• Approx. 14-18% of the conversions on the website are contributed by those visitors, who spend less than 5 minutes on the website.

• Approx. 35-40% of the Email Sign-ups for Newsletters came from those visitors who spend less than 5 minutes on the website.

• A significant % of visitors who spend less than 5 minutes on the website, often exit from the Product Page followed by Shopping Cart.

As you can see from the above facts that, unless and until you segment your visitors behavioral data based on “Avg. Time Spent per Visit” metric, you are not going to find any opportunities for improvement on the website for those visitors, who come with a defined objective and usually have a shorter engagement time-span so; it’s very important that, you define the following key segments in your analytics tool and gauge the Taxonomy Navigation, Search, Product Engagement and Shopping Cart engagement behavior of these visitors:

• Visitors who spent less than 60 seconds
• Visitors who spent less than 180 seconds
• Visitors who spent between 180 and 300 seconds
• Visitors who spent between 300 and 600 seconds
• Visitors who spent between 600 and 900 seconds

Here is my favorite report template for “Time Spent per Visit” metric:

Screen Shot 2012-09-27 at 8.57.02 AM

In case you have explored some other interesting applications of this metric, please add your comments below.

Forum Participation Rubric for Ecommerce Link Building

As mentioned before by Jason Acidre and Steph Chang, catching quality links for eCommerce sites can be among the most difficult challenges one can face in this game. Scott Cowley wrote about the route that he took to get sales conversions instead of links to affect rankings. Smart thinking, and if you are like me, you investigated where to place links that result in sales. I’ve found a most valuable resource for finding these opportunities and a scale by which to put them into tiers of quality.

Getting links for converting traffic isn’t difficult if you know where to look. Sometimes it’s simply where competitors are not looking. Where do I look? Forums, yes forums and communities. I don’t mean to spam and “scale” this method. That is far from the point of this exercise. If it is quantity of links you’re looking for, look elsewhere. Here, the value is found in the traffic and sales a link placed on a forum can generate. You should be advised with common sense to never spam a forum because you’ll never last long if you do. Forum moderators are wise to what you are doing; they are likely not going to tolerate flagrant, shameless plugs for your products. As always, you need to add value!

But how can we ensure we participate in online discussions and ensure that the discussion contributes to the discussion? Successful, collaborative online discussions are directly linked to assessment; in other words, to encourage good online discussions, qualify them. How? I use a rubric that I created. The idea is simple: the rubric helps you determine what is ideal, and then is used to grade the prospects according to these ideals. Use this rubric, or create your own, so you can better participate in forums.

To generate a list of prospects, I use the best tool for the job: Link Prospector from Citation Labs. For the most part, I use the broadest key phrases for the initial query, and then narrow the choices by inclusion/exclusion of keywords in the title, page description or domain name using filters once my prospects are gleaned. (Note: your mileage may vary using this method, but it is a good starting point from a potentially overwhelming list of prospects).

Now that you have your set of prospects, use the rubric to qualify the best ones to try participating in the conversation. One note to also consider is the voice you choose to participate with in the conversations. This guide for ethics of using personae from Outspoken Media is one of the best references for this. Please remain consistent, and do not deviate from your initially chosen voice. Having more than one shill in the town square can lead to an instant turn-off for readers/other participants and/or have moderators drop the hammer on you.
Once you’ve gotten to this stage, here’s where the real work comes onto play. From my experience, this is where most of my peers give in and lose out on the passive sales I collect every month. Like anything else, follow through and finish is everything in this business. You must read and comprehend the conversation before you jump into one. Sometimes you’ll find it’s best not to begin with a link. You may need to drive the conversation to get participants to ask your opinion. You may need to feel out the community before they’ll accept you as a reliable source of information they want



Here is the legend for qualifiers on the left of the rubric:

Timely: I like to try and stay current, as sales opportunities can go from hot to cold very quickly. Online conversations can change focus just as instantly. As an online retail salesman, you must be ubiquitous on “the showroom”. Which any good salesman knows is everywhere he is. You can use this method for current press hits as well.

Collaborative: Agree or disagree, supporting another user’s statement helps you build a relationship, and that’s what link building really is when you boil it down. Keep in mind, the first few interactions you make will most likely not be a good time to drop a link. This is a situation that calls for patience and being genuine in your responses. Remember, this is not about ranking sites and scaling the shit out of a process, this is about adding value to a community.

Education: This is most likely the best facet of this approach. Every product, no matter how much like other products it may be, has unique features, advantages and benefits. These are the selling points of your product over others. Your on-site content should communicate these FAB’s and offer the G, which stands for Grabber (ask for the sale, without asking).

Clarity: This is one of my most common 4’s on the scale. Having an opportunity to address a misprint or correct an opinion formed by the reader is a blessing in disguise. This is also where it pays to have assessed all of your press mentions and link profile. Many times, I have found opportunities to place links to other sites that already have links that generate sales. BOO-YAH! Some press hits from 2 years ago had no inbound links in the body, but after giving a clarifying statement (with an informational page link) they still bring in significant monthly sales.

These results were incredible, but only after careful planning and expert execution. Here is a snapshot of what a monthly sales report can look like when you implement forum participation into your traffic strategy.


Some of the lowest traffic sources can bring consistent sales because of the quality of that traffic. Once curated, social media promotion of these links can amplify the effect when applied at the right time. I hope this helps you on your quest to be a Joseph Decreaux of eCommerce.


We are honored to have the above contribution from a peer that we highly respect, Donny Rhoades. Beyond being from our home state Kentucky, Donny Rhoades has a strong affinity for one of our most revered fellow Kentuckians, Hunter S. Thompson. Don Rhoades is a search marketing savant and eCommerce consultant since 2006. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC and works as a freelance SEO consultant. Follow him on Twitter: @TheGonzoSEO