Serving up my thoughts since 2004

Month: September 2006

How to Advertise Online

It all boils down to this:

Only Advertise Where You Are Able To Calculate ROI.

We track each campaign individually with web analytics tools like google analytics (which is now open to everyone so you have no excuse for not having performance data).

Lets say that on average 1 in 100 visitors will purchase something on your site and that the average purchase is for $50.
The math is pretty simple:
1/100 = 1% conversion rate
$50 (avg purchase)  *  %1 = 50 cents.

This means that 50 cents per visitor is your break even point.

Of course, these are just averages.
In order to know if a specific campaign (or keyword) is actually profitable at a certain price point, you need to measure the actual behavior of visitors from that campaign.

Our main problem is that sometimes it takes a lot of traffic to measure the true effectiveness of a campaign.

Lets say that you have a keyword (or campaign) that has brought in 100 visitors but no sales yet.
Do I let it ride?
Do I stop?

It’s impossible to make a good decision at this point only based on the number of visitors and number of sales.

That’s why you need other performance metrics that can give you earlier indications of performance.
For us, we measure (among other things):
– bounce rate (abandonment rate)
– avg number of page views
– avg time on site
– email leads (signed up for our newsletter)
– viewed any product detail page

When you take a look at the above numbers for each campaign, you can quickly see if the campaign has the potential for being profitable without waiting for actual sales data.

Of course, you need to also take into account lifetime value of a customer, but that to can be factored in if you record the campaign that brought you the customer.

Hope that helps
– Ophir

A Better Spam Solution

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and have decided to finally write about it. This is basically an open letter to the people that write email clients and/or spam filtering services or software.

Spam is an issue that effects everyone I know – even my mom sometimes calls me and asks what to do with the emails that she doesn’t understand why she received.

I’ve been looking for a good spam solution for the past couple of years, but to be honest, I haven’t really found anything that I’m 100% happy with.

I think a big part of the problem is simply the fact that all email clients that I’m aware of define spam as black or white. While it’s usually obvious to a human eye if an email is spam, to a computer program, it’ll always be shades of grey.

What usually happens when a computer tries to determine if an email is spam is that it goes through a number of “tests”. Think of it as checklist that the computer is going through – like a 100 point inspection given to a used car (some questions are worth more than others). At the end of this process, the computer gives the the email a “spam score”.

Lets say a score of zero means that the email is for sure not spam and a score of 100 means the email is for sure spam. In reality, very few emails get a score of 100. Spammers are getting better at “passing the tests”. What happens is that the computer decides that if an email is above a certain threshold, lets say 80, then the email is flagged as spam and goes into your “spam box”.

Some of the better spam services do indeed allow you to define how aggressive you want them to be – in other words, what number to use for the threshold that splits between spam and non spam.

The problem is that if you aren’t aggressive enough, to many spam emails are not getting tagged as spam (called false negatives) and if you are to aggressive, you start tagging non spam emails as spam (false positives).

My proposal is to simply:

  • Expose the internal spam score to the user.
  • Be able to sort by the spam score column.

That way, if I receive 100 emails a day which the computer thinks is spam, I don’t really have to skim through all 100 to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I can just check the ones that are borderline and go ahead and delete the rest.

Of course, this does give spammers a tool which makes it easier for them to check how “spammy” an email is, but they’d be able to check in any case.

I need to write more

I was just thinking yesterday that I’m feeling unsatisfied and was trying to figure out what was missing. Then I realized – I need to write more.

I know a lot of stuff. I’m a very bright guy and I like to teach. The problem is that I think to much about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it, and I don’t spend enough time just doing it.

So I’m doing it now – I’m writing. I have tons of ideas what to write about.

Like for instance, spam. It’s a problem that effects everyone, and there is a fairly simple change that spam aware email clients can make that would help a lot. I’ll write more on this in a separate post.

Or the fact that most web sites are missing a big piece of the puzzle about how to create web sites that “get the job done”. I’m fortunate enough to have worked on all aspects of a web site to know how most people who work on a web site think.

The tech people are thinking about performance, security, scalability etc. The designers are thinking about does it look good, clean, etc. The biz dev / marketing people are usually thinking about what offers to make, copy-writing, messaging, branding etc.

What most web sites do not think about is conversion. Again, this is a subject that I’m sure I’ll write about in detail in a future post.

For now, I just want to keep on writing as I think without worrying to much about what I’m writing. In the past I used to write a line and then edit it to death and then write another line and then edit it again and so on. I guess I just need to write as my thoughts come to me and edit it all at the end.

Heck, I even bought a book called “How to write”. I think that’s the title, but instead of now going and finding the book and making sure this in indeed the correct title and thus loosing the momentum of writing, I’ll just keep on writing.

I must say, this is great. Just rambling along as the thoughts come to me.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be sure to write some more soon, but I guess I should quite while I’m ahead.

I’m sure you’ll hear from me again soon,

I’ve read in several places that the best way to write online is that instead of trying to write to the “masses”, just try to imaging that you’re writing to one single person. I must say that this seems to be working for me.

If you have read this so far, It would be great if you sent me a note just letting me know:)


Ophir Prusak on MarketingSherpa

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything really related to my work. I should try to update my blog more often, since in essence, it’s self marketing 🙂

Back in June did a case study on a project I’m in charge of at work – Email Marketing.

 A few days later Anne posted an entry about how we use our forums –

I’ve been dealing with deliverability issues at for about a year now. I’m glad the hard work is now paying off 🙂

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