Most people decide to buy within 15 minutes

If visitors do not buy from you within the hour, they probably never will

We know that people decide whether or not to stay on a web page within about three seconds – though the subconscious decision is made in less than one second. So, the crucial thing for any online business is to make sure people stay for longer than three seconds. At least that way you stand a reasonable chance of them engaging with your material.

But how long do you need to keep people on your website if you want them to buy something?

The answer to that is provided in new research which shows that three-quarters of all sales are made within an hour of someone visiting your website.

Chart showing time taken to purchase online

In fact, the study found that most sales happen within 15 minutes.

So what is happening? People decide to stay on your website within seconds and then if they see something they like can linger around for quite a while. What the study shows is that the greatest sales and conversions come from detailed web pages. In other words, people are spending between 15 and 60 minutes finding out as much detail as they can about what you offer.

They want plenty of detail. The bulk of purchases online appear to come from detailed information that has taken up to 15 minutes to go through.

How long does it take to read the detailed information on your products and services?

The message here is the same as for blogging. The more you provide, the more impact it has. Far too many ecommerce operators are providing only summary information. People cannot decide whether or not to buy if you only provide a small amount of product or service detail. This study clearly shows that people love lots of information. Studies on blogging show that long articles out-perform short ones.

To sell more – think quantity

If we want to sell more online we need to think in terms of plentiful detail. You need articles, data sheets, videos and so on which will take up to an hour to go through. E-commerce operators that think “less is more” will be disappointed; online, people like more, not less.

So instead of thinking how you can summarise your products and services, think about how you can expand on the detail and provide even more information. That will increase your sales.

Why is this the case? It is about the psychology of risk. When we buy something we risk making the wrong decision and thereby losing money. So before we part with our cash we seek to minimise that risk. In the real world we touch, feel, poke what we are about to buy, gaining a wide range of sensory information into the bargain. We also look a things from a variety of angles and talk to shop assistants about the items. We gather a vast amount of information in the real world about things we are considering buying.

Yet, on the web many businesses seem to think that people only want a short amount of information “because they are busy”. Yet as this new study shows, people will give up a whole hour of their time to reduce the risk of making the wrong purchase. You can only help them do that if you provide enough data to fill that hour.

Categories: Online Business

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Your website sharing statistics are fibbing

Analytics misses out most of what is shared

Some business people spend hours trawling through analytics data in a bid to find out exactly how people are using their online presence. The idea is that by understanding this information a business can tailor-make a more precise web experience for visitors, thereby increasing the likelihood of sales. It makes sense.

Well, it makes sense if the data you get from analytics is true. A lot of the time it is not.

As anyone who has used dual analytics systems in a bid to compare things will tell you, the data from one system is often at complete odds to the information coming from the other. Most people trust Google Analytics – even though there are 14 reasons why Google Analytics could be wrong.

Much of the data businesses are analysing is false – either because they haven’t set things up correctly, or because the system is failing them.

New research now shows up another potential failure.

Businesses are keen to know how their material is shared, where it is shared, who shares it and when. Several studies have shown that most material is socially shared on Facebook, hence businesses are piling in their resources to get more of their content shared on that social network. The problem is, that for businesses on Facebook the company limits your potential reach to just 9% of the people who have liked you – their aim is that if you want to reach the other 91% you have to pay for it through a sponsored post.

All around the world, businesses are looking at their potentially false Google Analytics reports, getting amazed at the amount of sharing via Facebook and then spending hours on producing Facebook content for a mere 9% of their target market. Madness.

New research shows that three-quarters of everything that is shared is done in the “dark social” sector – sharing that is hidden from analytics, such as email or instant messaging.

Chart showing amount of social sharing

It means that if you are trawling through your analytics to see how you can get more stuff shared you are only looking at a quarter of your information – and then you are probably using that 25% of data to feed just 9% of your potential market.

What this data really suggests is that we need to find ways of ensuring that people can share our content using email. You might have sharing buttons on your website for Twitter or Facebook, but it looks like you’ll do much better as a business if you have an email sharing button too.

Categories: Internet Marketing

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Save this page – boost your memory

The simple act of saving a document can enhance your memory skills

Business concept male finger pointing save to cloud key on  a metallic keyboard

Scroll down to the bottom of this article and you will see a button allowing you to save it as a PDF.  Using it will help you boost your memory, according to recent research.

Researchers from the University of California have found that saving documents actually helps us remember subsequent information. In the study participants were given two documents to read and were tested on their memory of the second document. The people who were asked to save the first document after reading it were able to significantly improve their memory of the second document compared with the people who did not save the first document.

It appears that the act of saving appears to free up some of our brain processing power, allowing us to more easily remember the next set of information we face.

This could be an important finding because we are being faced with an ever growing amount of information to process. It took several thousand years for all of human knowledge to double by the 19th Century. A hundred years after that it doubled. In the past two years alone the amount of information ever known by humans has doubled. Estimates are that in 2015 it will double between January and August. Never before have you been required to remember so much material – and our brains are not coping well.

The simple act of saving each document – even if you are never going to open that file – appears to help you remember the next thing you do. So, pressing a “save button” on all the information you need is a good idea. It appears it will boost your memory in this information-rich age.

Categories: Internet Psychology

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Personalisation is not working

Businesses are using the wrong kind of personalisation

Dear First Name…..you’ve had an email like that, I am sure. Some hapless email marketer fails to enter the right data and you end up being called “First Name” or some such bland tag.

The trouble for most internet marketers is that they haven’t got much to go on. Often, all they collect is your name and your email address. The only thing they can use to make any emails personal is your name. However, even though we all love being called by our own name, it turns out that it is not perceived as “personal”.

The fact is, we expect to be called by our own name when someone is writing to us. So it isn’t “personalisation”. Indeed, new research shows that in terms of return on investment using a person’s first name is towards the bottom of the list of effectiveness.

Chart showing effectiveness of different kinds of personalisation

Indeed, the research shows that using someone’s name is the most popular method of personalisation, but it is one of the least effective methods of achieving a return.

Much better at gaining business is using purchase history or personal preferences. In other words, you make more money out of deeply personalising than you do if you are merely superficial.

What this research implies is that you have to collect more data about your website visitors and then use it to provide them with something that is centred upon their personal interests. Amazon is a great example of this. Log in and what you see will be different to every other person who has logged in. Amazon uses your behaviour, your purchase history, your wishlists and other expressions of interest to deliver something much more personal than merely saying “Hello First Name”.

It all points to the need to collect more data about people other than just their name.  However, if you are collecting information using an online form, the more fields you have the less likely people are to fill it in. So you need to be able to collect information in other ways.

You can:

  • Manually add data after phone calls or face-to-face meetings
  • Integrate CRM data with your web data
  • Track logged in people using analytics

Alternatively, you can narrow your niche so tightly that everything you provide is already deeply personalised to a subset of people sharing the same interests. Frankly, this is the easiest way to go for many businesses. Plus it has search engine benefits too.

For instance, if you provide accountancy services to small businesses a website describing what you do is of general interest but not personalised enough to attract people. But what if you have a website for accountancy services for independent florists? That is much more personalised to their needs. Those florists won’t even care that you have a pretty similar site on accountancy services for independent shoe shops, or another for independent funeral directors.

There are two ways to achieve deep personalisation:

  1. Sophisticated and complex data systems
  2. Highly specific niche websites

For many businesses the niche route is going to be the easiest and the most cost effective.

What this new research shows, however, is that you cannot ignore the personalisation route. The more you make what you deliver focused on the precise interests of your visitors and email recipients, the more you will get a return.

 

Categories: Internet Marketing

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Online publishers told to STOP running adverts

Annoying advertisements costs websites more money than they bring in

Online AdvertisingOnline advertising is a feature of many websites. They are a cost-effective way for companies to sell their wares because they do not pay for the advert until someone clicks, or until they reach a certain number of views. Unlike print advertising, where your advert may never be seen, online advertising can be much more easily measured. As a result, advertisers are keen to use digital advertising as they can see the impact of their campaigns as well as target people more individually.

The problem for advertisers is that most online advertising is ignored. Even if we are aware of it, we don’t usually act on it. Less than 10% of users of Google, for instance, click on a sponsored link. Several studies of online display advertising have shown that the average click-through rate is less than half a percent of all visitors. The fact is, almost all of us ignore online advertising most of the time.

But the advertisers are not worried. Firstly, they are not paying if we do not click. Secondly, even if we do not click we have awareness of their brand or product. Advertisers are perfectly happy if we do not click because they are increasing their brand awareness – for free…! What could be better than that?

Well, what an advertiser really wants is an advert that is seen and acted upon and which boosts their brand all at the same time. They also want their advert to have an air of respectability – they spend a long time selecting the right outlets for their adverts, making sure that the website has the right target visitors, for instance.

But new research shows that this is the crux of the problem. It appears that people are failing to recall websites when they contain annoying adverts. The very thing that advertisers are seeking – positive association with good websites – is being destroyed by those adverts.

Worse than this, the authors of the research, published by the American Marketing Association, are suggesting that website publishers which run annoying adverts run the risk of reducing their income overall. The money raised from publishing the adverts does not outweigh the loss of income from annoyed readers. In other words, it is more costly to run adverts than not to run them.

Coming from such a major and respected organisation that is a powerful message. Being told that as publishers you run a massive financial risk if you carry annoying adverts is going to mean that many will stop carrying such material. And that will mean an issue for brands and the advertising industry.

The research does define “annoying”, though. It suggests that animated adverts, those from companies with a poor reputation and adverts with  poor design were all annoying. But if you ask people they find most advertising annoying.

What does this mean for website owners? It means you are likely to make more money overall if you stop carrying adverts. Besides, almost none of your visitors look at them anyway.

 

Categories: Internet Marketing

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