Part 2: Critical Research that Can Boost Your Conversion Rate Optimization Results

This is the second part of a three part guest post by one of our GACP partners, Conversion Rate Experts.

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In the first part of this three part series, we looked at how many marketers rush into setting up their conversion rate optimization process but Conversion Rate Experts (one of our Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants) recommend instead applying a little bit more strategic planning, and how this can get you a much better outcome and avoid you overlooking some fundamental factors. Now we need to drill further into this approach so that you have can be armed with all the research that you need and make an informed decision going into your actual experimentation. Make sure you check out part 1 to see the previous three steps.

Step 4: Research the market


No business exists in a vacuum. You need to understand the ecosystem that you are working in. Study your marketplace by researching

  • Your competitors
  • Expert commentators
  • Social media
  • Review sites
  • Anywhere your target market gathers.

Explore possibilities for improving your positioning against that competitive environment by building upon your company’s core strengths.

Step 5: Reveal the hidden wealth in your business



You will likely have elements within your business that would be highly persuasive to your prospects, if only your prospects could get exposed to them. The key is to identify all of these persuasion assets, then present them to the prospect at the right time in the buying process. In effect your website should be a “proof magnet”, incorporating all the necessary support material, persuasive content and evidence necessary to move your prospect forward with confidence.


Your website should be a “proof magnet”.


It can also be useful to identify assets that would be compelling to your prospects —

  • Invest time in gathering your company’s existing material and sort through your collection to find under-used persuasive assets.
  • Create missing assets that would be persuasive to your target market, if only you had them.
  • Compile a wish-list of persuasive content and material that your company needs to acquire from outside sources, such as paying for material to be created or interviewing clients for case studies and results.


Step 6: Create your experimental strategy




Extraordinary improvements come from extraordinary ideas. Take all of the ideas you’ve generated from the research, and prioritize those big, bold, targeted ones that will grow your business in the shortest time. After collating all the ideas, prioritize them based on three simple metrics:

  1. How likely is it to double your conversion rate?
  2. How easy it is to implement the test?
  3. Has this idea worked before?


Summary of Part 2



Rather than starting with the first optimization experiments that come to you, it will pay big dividends if you take a short step back and really research and prioritize what you should be working on. As you have seen, there might be gold hiding in terms of your positioning in the marketplace and in your previously under-used proof elements. You can see how Conversion Rate Experts used this exact process to ?quadruple Voices.com’s conversion rate from under 5% to 22% here in this case study. In the next and final part of this series, we will put all of this research and planning to good use.

 


Conversion Room

Spurring more vulnerability research through increased rewards

We recently marked the anniversary of our Vulnerability Reward Program, possibly the first permanent program of its kind for web properties. This collaboration with the security research community has far surpassed our expectations: we have received over 780 qualifying vulnerability reports that span across the hundreds of Google-developed services, as well as the software written by fifty or so companies that we have acquired. In just over a year, the program paid out around $ 460,000 to roughly 200 individuals. We’re confident beyond any doubt the program has made Google users safer.

Today, to celebrate the success of this effort and to underscore our commitment to security, we are rolling out updated rules for our program — including new reward amounts for critical bugs:

  • $ 20,000 for qualifying vulnerabilities that the reward panel determines will allow code execution on our production systems. 
  • $ 10,000 for SQL injection and equivalent vulnerabilities; and for certain types of information disclosure, authentication, and authorization bypass bugs. 
  • Up to $ 3,133.7 for many types of XSS, XSRF, and other high-impact flaws in highly sensitive applications. 

To help focus the research on bringing the greatest benefit to our users, the new rules offer reduced rewards for vulnerabilities discovered in non-integrated acquisitions and for lower risk issues. For example, while every flaw deserves appropriate attention, we are likely to issue a higher reward for a cross-site scripting vulnerability in Google Wallet than one in Google Art Project, where the potential risk to user data is significantly smaller.

Happy hunting – and if you find a security problem, please let us know!


Google Online Security Blog

Brand measurement research using the DoubleClick for Advertisers platform

We think that better online brand measurement is a hugely important area where technology can play a significant role. We’ll have much more to announce in the coming months; but we wanted to highlight one early experiment. Our research team is working with our clients and Vizu to conduct online brand measurement research for about 70 DFA campaigns.

The IAB’s publication on online ad effectiveness measurement noted that true experimental design (creating consistent, randomly assigned control groups) would be a major step forward in online ad effectiveness research. Our approach does just that. We use DoubleClick ad serving technology to create two randomly selected groups of users – one that sees the campaign’s ads, and another that sees public service ads instead. We maintain this control group for the duration of the campaign, across all sites where DFA serves ads. Vizu’s sampling technology is then used to deliver a brand lift survey to all users so that we may individually measure variables like brand awareness, purchase intent and favorability.

The brand results, presented through DFA, will show how ads performed across the campaign, as well as different sites and ad frequencies. This data can be used with the other campaign metrics in DFA to help marketers to see the impact of the campaign using any metric they want – from impressions to clicks to brand impact to conversions.

Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President of Research, Analytics and Measurement at the IAB commented, “This is very promising and innovative research. After years of settling for less than optimal designs, the industry will finally see if a true experimental design is possible through the use of technology. The results of this research, if successful, could have far reaching implications for the future of brand impact measurement of online advertising campaigns.”

DoubleClick is sponsoring the survey research for all participating clients. We hope this pilot will show that the use of experimental design principles is a great way to address the brand measurement challenge, and to provide real and actionable insights to brand marketers. It’s one of our early stage efforts to re-imagine measurement for online marketers.

To participate in the Brand Lift experiments pilot with DoubleClick and Vizu, you can contact either your DoubleClick or Vizu sales representative for more information and eligibility requirements.


DoubleClick Advertiser Blog

Celebrating one year of web vulnerability research

In November 2010, we introduced a different kind of vulnerability reward program that encourages people to find and report security bugs in Google’s web applications. By all available measures, the program has been a big success. Before we embark further, we wanted to pause and share a few things that we’ve learned from the experience.

“Bug bounty” programs open up vulnerability research to wider participation.

On the morning of our announcement of the program last November, several of us guessed how many valid reports we might see during the first week. Thanks to an already successful Chromium reward program and a healthy stream of regular contributions to our general security submissions queue, most estimates settled around 10 or so. At the end of the first week, we ended up with 43 bug reports. Over the course of the program, we’ve seen more than 1100 legitimate issues (ranging from low severity to higher) reported by over 200 individuals, with 730 of those bugs qualifying for a reward. Roughly half of the bugs that received a reward were discovered in software written by approximately 50 companies that Google acquired; the rest were distributed across applications developed by Google (several hundred new ones each year). Significantly, the vast majority of our initial bug reporters had never filed bugs with us before we started offering monetary rewards.

Developing quality bug reports pays off… for everyone.

A well-run vulnerability reward program attracts high quality reports, and we’ve seen a whole lot of them. To date we’ve paid out over $ 410,000 for web app vulnerabilities to directly support researchers and their efforts. Thanks to the generosity of these bug reporters, we have also donated $ 19,000 to charities of their choice. It’s not all about money, though. Google has gotten better and stronger as a result of this work. We get more bug reports, which means we get more bug fixes, which means a safer experience for our users.

Bug bounties — the more, the merrier!

We benefited from looking at examples of other types of vulnerability reward programs when designing our own. Similarly, in the months following our reward program kick-off, we saw other companies developing reward programs and starting to focus more on web properties. Over time, these programs can help companies build better relationships with the security research community. As the model replicates, the opportunity to improve the overall security of the web broadens.

And with that, we turn toward the year ahead. We’re looking forward to new reports and ongoing relationships with the researchers who are helping make Google products more secure.


Google Online Security Blog

Celebrating one year of web vulnerability research

In November 2010, we introduced a different kind of vulnerability reward program that encourages people to find and report security bugs in Google’s web applications. By all available measures, the program has been a big success. Before we embark further, we wanted to pause and share a few things that we’ve learned from the experience.

“Bug bounty” programs open up vulnerability research to wider participation.

On the morning of our announcement of the program last November, several of us guessed how many valid reports we might see during the first week. Thanks to an already successful Chromium reward program and a healthy stream of regular contributions to our general security submissions queue, most estimates settled around 10 or so. At the end of the first week, we ended up with 43 bug reports. Over the course of the program, we’ve seen more than 1100 legitimate issues (ranging from low severity to higher) reported by over 200 individuals, with 730 of those bugs qualifying for a reward. Roughly half of the bugs that received a reward were discovered in software written by approximately 50 companies that Google acquired; the rest were distributed across applications developed by Google (several hundred new ones each year). Significantly, the vast majority of our initial bug reporters had never filed bugs with us before we started offering monetary rewards.

Developing quality bug reports pays off… for everyone.

A well-run vulnerability reward program attracts high quality reports, and we’ve seen a whole lot of them. To date we’ve paid out over $ 410,000 for web app vulnerabilities to directly support researchers and their efforts. Thanks to the generosity of these bug reporters, we have also donated $ 19,000 to charities of their choice. It’s not all about money, though. Google has gotten better and stronger as a result of this work. We get more bug reports, which means we get more bug fixes, which means a safer experience for our users.

Bug bounties — the more, the merrier!

We benefited from looking at examples of other types of vulnerability reward programs when designing our own. Similarly, in the months following our reward program kick-off, we saw other companies developing reward programs and starting to focus more on web properties. Over time, these programs can help companies build better relationships with the security research community. As the model replicates, the opportunity to improve the overall security of the web broadens.

And with that, we turn toward the year ahead. We’re looking forward to new reports and ongoing relationships with the researchers who are helping make Google products more secure.


Google Online Security Blog