Smoking Gun Media Your Online Solutions Company Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:27:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Smoking Gun Media 32 32 xsollatest Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:27:04 +0000

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contact Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:26:17 +0000

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Frustrated with Instagram? Tue, 27 Mar 2018 21:40:06 +0000 Here’s the good news: the Instagram algorithm seems to prefer quality over quantity. So you can stop freaking out about your number of followers and likes and focus on content.  You should also just accept that Instagram will always be changing. It’s not a static app. You can choose to fight the changes or you can work with them.

Ultimately, then, the new Instagram algorithm can be described using 3 keywords:

-The Human Connection

Let’s break those down:

1. Relevance asks-
What photos and accounts do you or your potential target audience like?
What hashtags do you and your audience use?

Instagram will only show your posts on an account if it decides they are relevant to that specific person.
So let’s say you have an account about fashion. Chris finds your account. He really enjoys it and decides to follow you. But Chris never likes, comments, or engages with posts about fashion. As a result, Instagram might not show your posts at the top of his home feed…because it thinks that Chris is not interested in fashion. The algorithm thinks that your “fashion” photos are not relevant to Chris.

That may sound discouraging, but I promise it’s not all bad news. If you attract the right followers and post often on your feed and Insta Stories, Instagram will show your posts to the people who will care the most about them.

2. The Human Connection means-
Engagement is more important than the number of followers you have.

Ultimately, the algorithm tries to act like a human being:

– It wants to help you interact with people who might be interested in your account (by showing them a relevant post of yours)
– It likes when you interact with people you’re following (so don’t forget about them)
– It likes when you interact with new people (so make sure you follow hashtags and interact with new accounts that are relevant to you)

In this way, even a small account (with less than 1,000 followers) can make it into the “Top 9” posts!

3. Timing says-
The faster you get engagement, the more Instagram will promote your post.

So how can you make sure to engage people quickly?
– Post when your followers are the most active
– Use your Insta Story to tell people you have a new post
– Reply to all comments (or as many as possible)
– Engage with other people relevant to your post

That’s it!

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Website Development Fundamentals That Small Businesses Should Not Ignore Fri, 23 Feb 2018 01:16:07 +0000 It’s becoming hard to ignore the fact that websites present small businesses with enormous benefits.

As people become more connected to the digital world, the brick and mortar store isn’t the only option anymore. Creating a website is more effective and trackable in terms of opportunities and results.

In a 2017 survey, 92% of small businesses said that they will have a website ready by 2018.

Luckily, creating a website has never been easier. Even if you don’t have coding or design skills, there are many services, tools, and guides available at your disposal. There’s really no excuse not to have one.

Unfortunately, it can still be intimidating. Many small business owners don’t have tech backgrounds, and there are a lot of mistakes to make.

This article will dive into key components that small business owners sometimes overlook when creating their websites and focus on the four areas you need to get right.

Shopping Cart

Selling goods without having a proper ecommerce component is like cooking a cheesecake on a stovetop: it might get the job done, but it wouldn’t be nearly as delicious as something baked in an oven.

Take, for instance, this website for adhesive products…

The site looks pretty easy on the eyes. It even has the trendy parallax scrolling effect and an HTML5 video background to boot. But when you go further down the site to view their catalog, you’ll see that the only option you’d get is to either download the pricing in a spreadsheet format or view photos and descriptions of specific offerings.

Instead, why not showcase all your products and product numbers, but add “call us for pricing” CTA’s on the title or description of an item?

There are also websites where there will be no CTA buttons at all on product pages.

You’d still buy these items anyway if you like them or need them enough. But you would probably think twice about it, and the conversion rate would be seriously low. Manual ordering can be too tasking and inconvenient for some consumers in these modern times.

If you own a business and you’re trying to sell your items online, you’d want to give the customer the full experience; you’d want to give them options even if they don’t intend to purchase right away.

Contact Info

Maybe you offer just two or three items; or maybe you’re selling a service instead of tangible products.

In these cases, putting up a shopping cart may not be appropriate. In this case, it’s important for your customers to be able to reach you instantly.

Make your business number prominent on your website, or create a contact form that’s suitable for your target audience.

Some small business owners would even go as far as adding a click-to-call button that will prompt customers for their numbers, connect them to a phone service, and make the phone service ring their number.

Here are a couple examples:

When you click on the buttons, you’ll be able to call the company’s number but won’t be charged for the call because it will be shouldered by the called party. Think of it as if you’re placing a toll-free call, but instead of a desk phone, you’re using your browser.

About Page

Often, the creation of your website’s About Page is an after-thought – thrown together from the website’s theme with few changes.

On the internet, establishing trust is the name of the game.

To truly make a good and lasting impression among potential customers, you need to make sure that you can convey your values and passions through this page right away.

About pages can trigger emotions that can inspire website visitors to support your small business. Don’t succumb to the practice of filling it with jargon commonly seen on some sites – like the one you see above – that although sounds smart, sounds somewhat impersonal.


Moz has noticed how Google is dedicating a lot of its efforts towards “evangelizing and forcing a change of mindset from desktop to mobile.” If you’re a business owner, you should expect that visitors will be using different devices to visit your site.

Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that your website is designed to be accessible on any screen size. Don’t be part of the alarming statistic that says only 30% of small business websites are mobile-friendly.

To get started in making your website mobile-friendly, you should first determine the possible format for the mobile version you plan to make.

Check out the approaches you can use below:

  • The first-generation mobile approach in which users who visit a website using their mobile device automatically get redirected to the mobile version. The advantage is that you can create one quickly because you’re pretty much just creating a no-frills version of your main website with less content and less navigation. However, because they’re treated as a separate entity from your website (with a different URL), you also have to maintain them separately. is the least recommended option nowadays.
  • Adaptive. The Adaptive approach uses multiple page layouts then chooses what to display depending on the size or width of your screen. Adaptive design snaps your content into a defined environment or layout. Responsive. It uses CSS media queries to adjust the content according to screen size, so the display will be fluid and smooth. Because all content is delivered using just one URL, SEO and social sharing is easier to improve.
  • Progressive. Supports app-like features like the home screen and an offline mode (among others) to enhance the user’s experience. It’s faster when compared to the other approaches, too.

People are more likely to stay longer if they see that you’ve placed a premium on usability or user experience. When you get them to stay longer on your site, you get a bigger chance of convincing them to purchase something from you.

In Conclusion

While creating a website for your small business might be easier today due to the wide availability of tools and services that you can get for cheap (or even free, in some), this doesn’t mean that you should neglect the fundamentals that make a website fit with your business goals.

As customers’ attention spans get shorter, it will be harder for you to convince them to make a purchase. You don’t have to get it right the first time, though. Don’t be scared to adjust and just keep working on making your message clear. Carefully constructing various elements on your website will pay off, and it will make you stand out from the rest.


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Top 24 Ways to Drive Traffic Thu, 01 Feb 2018 17:47:36 +0000 Marketing

1. Paid Ads

Paid ads are an obvious approach to increasing traffic. You can simply turn them on like a faucet. But, if you’re diving into Facebook ads or Google ads or YouTube ads and so on, make sure your sales funnel is air tight. Otherwise, you’re largely wasting your time and your money by sending paid traffic to your site.

This is where you need to ensure the proper landing pages and funnels that are working to convert your traffic into leads and buyers. Without that, you’re largely wasting your time.

2. Search engine optimization

One of my absolute obsessions is search engine optimization (SEO). But, SEO is not for the faint of heart. It takes considerable amounts of effort. But, you can easily implement an SEO strategy alongside a paid strategy to grow your traffic over time.

What I’ve come to notice about organic traffic is that it converts from anywhere between 10 to 13 times more and greater than its paid-traffic counterparts. And it’s free. Grab a good SEO course or audiobook and take the time to study and learn it in-depth or hire someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to this skill set.

We love search, let us help schedule a free consultation today!

3. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a pretty straightforward way to grow traffic to any website. As long as you’re guest blogging on a site that has considerable reach, it should generate some healthy traffic numbers for you. Even better? Ensure that the guest blog is topical or related to the industry that you’re in. You might find a hard time convincing popular blogs and bloggers to guest blog on their site, but it’s well worth it when just one of them agrees.

4. Instagram traffic

Instagram is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Be sure to use relevant hash tags when posting pictures or interacting with others. Take the time to comment on other relevant images from those who have large followings. However, be careful not to be too promotional on every post. Add value through a 3-to-1 ratio. Three value posts to one promotional post.

5. Snapchat

Snapchat is another great avenue for social media traffic. Use Snapchat strategically to help promote whatever it is that you’re selling. But, also to document your life as the entrepreneur behind the business. Remember, these days people rarely by from brands. They buy from people they like and can relate to.

6. Facebook Pages and Groups

Find relevant Facebook Pages and Groups and start commenting and engaging with others. Don’t spam. Don’t promote. Not at first at least. But, comment and engage. Add value. Then, and only then, when the opportunity is right, direct them to a relevant piece of content on your site that would help add to the conversation. When done right, not only can you get the right eyeballs, but those prospects can quickly turn into customers.

We love social, let us help schedule a free consultation today!

7. LinkedIn article publishing

I often use LinkedIn as a platform for helping to bring awareness to a topic. LinkedIn has massive reach and it’s also what we call an authority site. When done the right way to the right audience, that article can bring in droves of traffic to your site. Use the long-form format and make it keyword specific but also relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach.

8. Email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the best methods you can use, not only for making money online, but also for driving visitors to whatever it is that you’re promoting. You can either build your own email list using lead magnets and sales funnels, or you can run solo ads through solo ad providers or email list brokers. Just search for the topic + ” email list broker” in Google.

We love email marketing, let us help schedule a free consultation today!

9. YouTube video marketing

YouTube is a powerful medium. We all know that. But, how many people are confident enough to put themselves out there and create YouTube videos? Not many. But, considering how much reach YouTube has, and the fact that it’s the number two search engine in the world behind Google, more people should leverage this platform. Find ways to make instructional videos that add loads of value. And do it often.

10. Conduct webinars

I have seen firsthand just how powerful the webinar medium is. Webinars will not only drive relevant traffic and increase visits to your site, but you can also use them to make money fast. It doesn’t matter what you sell, as long as you use the perfect webinar formula, you can quite literally make millions.

11. Free-plus-shipping offers

Free-plus-shipper offers are a great way to increase traffic to any site or offer. They help you to identify buyers and they carry the power of the word free. Free is a big motivation, verified by numerous studies. Books work great in this medium, something that’s been ardently fleshed out by the world’s best marketers like Russell Brunson and Dean Graziosi. But, other physical items work great as free-plus-shipping offers as well.

12. Marketing conference sponsorships

To get more traffic and eyeballs to your website and business, consider sponsoring one of the top marketing conferences out there. This is a quick and easy way to reach potential customers. Plus, you might even be able to meet market leaders who could further assist you with your cause by partnering up with them in some capacity.

13. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is taking the world by storm. Influencers across a variety of social media platforms and even blogs can help you get your message to the masses. And fast. While you might have to pay some money to access this medium, you can drive massive amounts of relevant traffic, and ultimately sales, to whatever it is that you’re peddling.

We’ve got lots of influencers, let us help schedule a free consultation today!

14. Create lead magnets

From ebooks to checklists and cheat sheets, and even software trials and beyond, think about a lead magnet you can offer to your audience. It’s a great way to add value while also increasing awareness for whatever it is that you’re selling. Lead magnets should be consumable in roughly 15 to 30 minutes. Not more than that.

15. Broken link-building strategy

One way to quickly increase your traffic is to go on a site like Wikipedia and search for broken links. Then, replace those broken links with quality content by first researching the old content using the Wayback Machine. Then, replace it with similar, high-quality content and contact the editor of the page to offer up yours as a replacement. It’s not guaranteed, but when it works, it’s powerful.

16. Get active on Reddit

Reddit is another highly popular platform that reaches a wide swath of the online world. Leverage Reddit by getting active, engaging, commenting and posting. Don’t spam. Especially in the beginning. Use tact and composure. But, slowly build a solid track record of healthy posts before promoting anything.

Let us help schedule a free consultation today!

17. Increase the speed of your website

Website speed is a big factor that’s related to relevancy. Your site is far more relevant if it loads quickly. To that end, find a good content-delivery network (CDN) you can incorporate such as Amazon’s CloudFront or other services. CDNs help to spread your content across servers all over the world and serve them to the nearest visitor. Also, reduce and optimize images and use a service like Oleg Schegolev’s SEMRush to help identify performance issues with your site’s speed.

18. Optimize for mobile devices

Today, we’re dealing with a mobile-first index on Google. But, the obvious truth is that less and less people are using desktop devices to access the internet. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re going to be losing out on a large amount of traffic.

19. Implement re-targeting pixels

Re-targeting pixels are great ways for increasing traffic to your site. Plus, that traffic will be warm traffic. Not cold. Warm traffic is far more likely to convert. Implement a Facebook or Google pixel on your site so that you can re-target the people who visit by following them around with ads.

20. Blog your heart out

Of course, last but not least, is to blog your heart out. If you don’t have a blog on your website, start one immediately. And blog your heart out. Add immense value and watch as the traffic comes flooding into your site. But, you have to be consistent. You can’t start and stop every few weeks or months. That won’t help.

21. Refresh expired website content

If you have outdated content on your blog, refresh it. Bring it up to date. Expired content is useless. If it expired, then you should figure out a way to make it more relevant by bringing it current. It doesn’t take much effort, but it can help send powerful relevancy signals to Google. In turn, it’ll increase your traffic over time.

22. Create infographics

Infographics are a great way you can help increase awareness to just about any business. Create an infographic based on studies that are relevant to your topic or industry. Then, share those with the world. Hire a great designer and build something that’s quality and not something that’s quickly thrown together.

23. Do industry-specific studies and share them

You could conduct studies or surveys and share them. Ensure they’re industry-specific. If you have to, hire a professional marketing firm to do this. Go out there and tally the market and figure out some of the statistics that could have an impact on decision making in your market. Then share those with the world.

24. Use Quora to answer questions

Quora has a massive following and you can reach a wide audience here to increase traffic to your site easily and quickly, without paying a dime. Go on Quora and search for relevant questions to your business or industry or niche. Answer them thoroughly and drop a relevant link or call-to-action at the end.

We’ve done lots of blogs, let us help schedule a free consultation today!

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Do you have an E-commerce holiday checklist? Hope is not a strategy.. Tue, 05 Sep 2017 17:16:32 +0000 Holiday Checklist for e-Commerce, 12 easy steps.

1. Micro-Target an Online Audience. E-commerce is basically about establishing a “territory”: defining and designing a site to reach an audience with a common interest or characteristic. Whatever your product or service, define your company’s niche markets that you can penetrate online with specialized offerings.

2. Personalize. Site visitors are demanding one-of-a-kind experiences that cater to their needs and interests. Technology is available, even to smaller players, to capture individual shoppers’ interests and preferences and generate a product selection and shopping experience led by individualized promotions tailored to them.

3. Create Content to Build Stickiness. Winning e-commerce deploys crowd-sourced content to make a site “sticky” for potential buyers. Amazon attracted millions of consumers by encouraging them to share their opinions of items like books and CDs. What is your strategy to help potential customers for your products or services find you via Google? Use keywords and meta tags to raise your ranking in search results.

4. Tailor the Browsing Experience to Target Segments. Brand-appropriate site design and well-structured navigation remain key ingredients for attracting an audience and getting them to come back. Provide an enticing browsing experience across online platforms. If you want to sell backpacks to college students, for example, use vibrant colors with a flashy design to evoke a sense of youth and adventure.

5. Integrate Across Channels. Create multi-channel offerings, enabling your consumers to experience your brand consistently, whatever their shopping method of choice. But be sure that products you are selling via different channels are sufficiently differentiated to account for price differences.

6. Invest in Mobile. Mobile commerce is growing at a rate of over 130 percent annually. If you lack a robust mobile commerce platform, you will see a dramatic drop off in revenue over the next several years. To stay competitive, you need to offer mobile-accessible services such as delivery status, real-time notifications, click-to-call, maps, and product information.

7. Tap into Logistics. To accommodate growth, you may need to tap the capabilities of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to manage a high volume of complex orders. Reverse logistics, the ability to handle returns and exchanges quickly and economically, is becoming a key differentiator. Same-day delivery and innovative fulfillment networks can be competitive advantages.

8. Consider Subscription Commerce. Subscription commerce takes several forms. In the replenishment model, a commodity item is sent to the customer every month. The discovery model is more promising. It offers a subscription to a curated experience that delivers new, hard-to-find, or customized items periodically to the customer’s doorstep.

9. Bypass the Middlemen. The Internet is enabling small companies to reach lots of consumers quickly. Manufacturers, including factories in China, are increasingly willing to work with small brands. They have discovered that small brands are more likely to introduce new products to market because they are less constrained by shelf space limitations and complex supply chains.

10. Offer a Seamless Experience Across Channels. Your sales will grow if you ensure that product availability, promotional strategies, and brand experience are consistent across all channels — whether online, in-store, or on a mobile device. Implement cloud-based supply chain technology to gain visibility into your performance across all channels.

11. Curate a Proprietary Selection. Proprietary selection is a strategy that focuses on “curating” a narrow and deep assortment of products in a particular segment. These sites make merchandise feel exclusive due to the depth and originality of the assortment, the difficulty in finding the products elsewhere, and the power of customer communities.

12. Sell Internet-Only Merchandise. This is a strategy that builds an exclusive brand — with ecommerce as the core distribution channel. By offering goods that are not available elsewhere and selling them directly to the consumer online, you maintain much greater control over your margins.

Let us help… schedule a free consultation today.

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Looking to raise capital? Wed, 23 Aug 2017 03:56:15 +0000 We love helping business get on the right track for pitch decks, this is a great outline to get started with. Contact us to get started…

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Why AdWords Accounts Succeed and Fail Tue, 08 Aug 2017 03:56:59 +0000 If you’ve ever managed an AdWords account, at some point you’ve sat back, stared at the computer screen and wondered, “Why? Why is this happening?”

Even the most experienced account manager has this sort of moment on a regular basis. AdWords is just plain hard to figure out.

You can follow every best practice and come up short…and then make some minor tweak that produces phenomenal results.

The "Why Me" Moment of AdWords Management | Disruptive Advertising

A while back, we realized that a lot of the apparent “randomness” of AdWords management came from the fact that we were relying on personal experience to figure out our best practices. That didn’t work.

After trying to figure out why one person’s “best practices” backfired for someone else, it occurred to me what our problem was—we couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

To solve this problem, we started accumulating data. We collected data on our own accounts. We audited over 2,000 AdWords accounts for potential clients.

And, amongst all that data, we made some remarkable discoveries.

A Quick Note About Currency

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to note that all currency has been standardized to the US dollar. This is important.

AdWords reports monetary figures in the currency of the account, which is why many agencies report that they manage 100-500 million in annual revenue.

However, these sorts of figures typically do not take into account exchange rates.

For example, one of our clients spent 5 million on AdWords last year…5 million Indian Rupees (₹). An Indian Rupee is worth $0.015, so the client really only spent $76,000.


As you might imagine, giving an ₹ 18 cost-per-click (CPC) the same weight as an $18 CPC would severely skew our results, which is why we standardize everything to USD.

What Did We Learn from 2,000+ AdWords Accounts?

As of writing this post, we’ve audited 2,167 AdWords accounts—representing over a $320 million in ad spend in hundreds of industries across the world.

All told, that ad spend paid for more than 90 billion impressions and well over 500 million clicks.

The question is, was it worth it?

Conversion Tracking

One of the first things you notice when you audit 2,000 AdWords accounts is just how few accounts have effective conversion tracking in place.

To the credit of everyone who’s encouraged conversion tracking over the years, 57.7% of AdWords accounts have set up some level of conversion tracking.

However, that means that 42.3% of AdWords account managers have absolutely no idea whether or not their campaigns are working.

And, it gets worse.

Of that 58% of accounts with conversion tracking, only half—well, technically 50.1%—are actually tracking anything meaningful.

The other half is technically tracking conversions, but their setup is so poor that they might as well not be tracking anything at all.

AdWords Account Conversion Tracking | Disruptive Advertising

For example, in the plumbing/HVAC industry, phone calls are a primary source of leads.

However, most plumbing/HVAC companies only track form submissions, which are few and far between—making them a terrible indicator of campaign effectiveness!

Plumbers aren’t the only ones with this problem, either. Many companies with millions of clicks have only a handful of conversions to their name.

Yes, they technically have conversion tracking in place, but it’s not doing them any good.

Conversion Rates

This poor tracking implementation heavily weights conversion rate estimates towards 0%. Even accounts with millions of clicks are not immune to this problem.

For example, take a look at this chart, which compares total clicks per AdWords account to the conversion rate of the account.

AdWords Clicks vs Conversion Rate | Disruptive Advertising

Clearly, there’s a reason why a conversion rate of 2-3% is generally considered “typical” for an AdWords account.

Based on our data, the median conversion rate for an AdWords account is 2.18%.

The bottom 27.5% of accounts lie in the 0-1% conversion rate range and the top 25% of accounts have a conversion rate better than 5.34% (note, this correlates well with Larry Kim’s findings over at Wordstream).

AdWords Conversion Rate Distribution | Disruptive Advertising

What does that mean for you? Well, if more than 5.34% of your clicks are converting, that means your conversion rate is better than 75% of AdWords advertisers.

If your conversion rate is above 11.03%, your account is in the top 10% of all AdWords accounts.

Great news, right?

Well, maybe.

Remember, only half of conversion tracking is actually set up correctly. Here’s how the conversion rate distribution breaks down for the half with good conversion rate tracking in place:

AdWords Conversion Rate Distribution—Good Conversion Tracking | Disruptive Advertising

For accounts with good conversion tracking, only 15.2% have a conversion rate of less than 1% (vs 27.5% for accounts with any sort of tracking).

On the other end of the spectrum, the top 10% of accurately tracked AdWords accounts have a conversion rate of at least 20%!

As a result, the median conversion rate for these accounts is 3.16%—or about 50% higher than the average conversion rate for all tracked accounts.

So, if you want to improve your conversion rate by 50%, all you have to do is put solid tracking in place…

Okay...? | Disruptive Advertising

In all seriousness, though, most AdWords accounts are missing at least half of their conversions, which makes it very difficult to do any effective campaign optimization.

Why? Let’s take a closer look at those well-tracked AdWords accounts and see where most ad spend is really going.

Ad Spend Efficiency

Hopefully, it’s clear by now that most AdWords accounts are not tracking their conversions properly. The question is, how does that affect campaign performance?

To get at that data, we need to look at overall budget efficiency.

Pay-per-click advertising is intent-based marketing. In other words, you want your ads to show up for internet searches that indicate a strong purchasing intent—you want to be seen by people who want your product or service.

Fortunately, AdWords provides insight into the search intent of your audience through the Search Terms report.

The Search Term report allows you to see exactly what searches triggered your ad and how many impressions, clicks and conversions each search term produced.

If your campaigns are run well, your ads should show up when people are searching for what you have to offer. As a result, when they click on your ad, they should be taken to a landing page that meets their needs and convert.

The Court Jester—"Get it? Got it. Good." | Disruptive Advertising

However, if your ads are showing up for the wrong search terms (eg, the search intent is wrong), people might click on your ads, but they certainly won’t convert.

This makes the Search Terms report a key source of insight into the efficiency your ad spend.

The more money waste on search terms that don’t convert, the less effective your ad spend is. Conversely, a well-managed AdWords budget will be primarily spent on search terms that produce conversions.

The question is, what percentage of ad spend actual goes towards search terms that convert?

Wasted Ad Spend

Obviously, you can only analyze ad spend efficiency with quality tracking, so the following results are pulled from those accounts with decent conversion tracking in place.

Across those accounts, 60.73% of their ad spend was spent on search terms that never converted.

In other words, 61% of ad spend is wasted.

Looking at the waste in individual accounts, wasted ad spend ranges from 6.58% to 99.70% as illustrated below:

Productive vs. Wasted AdWords Ad Spend | Disruptive Advertising

The median wasted ad spend for an individual account is 75.80%.

That means you are probably spending 76% of your AdWords budget on searches that will never produce any value for your business.

And, if you aren’t tracking conversions properly, there’s not much you can do about it.

However, if you are tracking conversions, you can use this data to profoundly impact the performance of your AdWords campaigns.

The Exponential Cost of Wasted Ad Spend

Not unsurprisingly, your cost-per-conversion is directly related to your wasted ad spend.

Unraveling this relationship is fairly complex, but I’ve already done the legwork for you, so you can just benefit from the results.

Now, you’d think the connection between wasted ad spend would be linear. In other words, for every 10% increase in wasted ad spend, your cost-per-conversion would increase by around 10%.

Let’s take a look.

Since cost-per-click has a significant effect on cost-per-conversion, let’s just evaluate AdWords accounts with an effective cost-per-click of around $1.00:

Cost-per-Conversion vs Percent of Wasted Ad Spend | Disruptive Advertising

Yikes! The relationship isn’t linear…it’s exponential.


As it turns out, for every 10% increase in wasted ad spend, your cost-per-conversion increases by 44-72%.

Every time.

So, if your cost-per-conversion is $10.00 and your wasted ad spend goes from 30% to 40%, your new cost-per-conversion will be somewhere around $14.43-17.22.

If it goes from 30% to say, 75.80%, your cost-per-conversion will jump to $53.79-120.20!

That’s an 540-1200% increase!


These results are consistent across a range of industries, conversion rates and average costs-per-click.

And, if you think about it, these results actually make a lot of sense. Every dollar you waste on non-converting search terms is a dollar you could have spent on keywords that convert.

That means your wasted ad spend has a lot of opportunity cost associated with it. You need your budget to buy clicks that convert.

If you waste it on something else, you dramatically reduce the effectiveness of your AdWords account.

Wasted Ad Spend vs. Quality Score

Now, it’s important to note that this model only explains about 59.7% of the variation in the data (R2 = 0.597 after log-level regression). However, it is an accurate model of the data (ρ < 0.001).

As a result, the exact rate at which wasted ad spend increases your cost-per-conversion will vary from account to account while still following the trends outlined in this article.

By comparison, let’s take a look at quality score, which has been repeatedly touted as the most effective way to manage cost-per-conversion.

Using the cost-per-click matched accounts from our previous example, here’s how cost-per-conversion varies with impression-weighted quality score.

Cost-per-Conversion vs. Quality Score | Disruptive Advertising

At first blush, it looks like a pretty direct correlation—as quality score increases, cost-per-conversion decreases.

In fact, our results are strikingly similar to those reported by Wordstream. Every 1-point increase in quality score reduces cost-per-conversion by 12.84%. Every 1-point decrease in quality score increases cost-per-conversion by 12.84%.

Or does it?

It turns out that a quality score-based model explains a mere 1.2% of the variability in the data (R2 = 0.012). To make matters worse, the data has a ρ-value of 0.46!

Statistically speaking, that’s a completely useless model.

And, it explains why improving your quality score often does little to improve your cost-per-conversion.

If you are wasting 75.8% of your ad spend to begin with, improving your quality score isn’t going to lower your cost-per-conversion by much.

However, if you’ve eliminated most of your wasted ad spend, a higher quality score will reduce your cost-per-click and—by extension—your cost-per-conversion.

What You Can Do With This Data

Fortunately, understanding how wasted ad spend affects the performance of your AdWords account gives you a huge leg up on the competition.

First off, implementing and using quality tracking puts you ahead of 71% of the competition.

Second, you can use your conversion tracking data to identify where you are wasting your ad spend. Simply eliminating wasted ad spend will cut your cost-per-conversion and make your campaigns more profitable.

Third, and this is where the real power of your data comes into play, you can redirect that formerly-wasted ad spend towards effective keywords and search terms. Remember, that exponential acquisition cost equation works in reverse, too.

Shifting your budget from budget-sucking terms to profiting-producing keywords will allow you to produce many more leads at a substantially lower price.

In fact, this approach is so effective that it has become a key part of our AdWords strategy at Disruptive. The results have redefined PPC advertising success for our clients.

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What good is a sound business strategy if your people don’t get it? Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:12:01 +0000 Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.

It is up to company leaders to ruthlessly clarify and effectively articulate the organization’s business strategy – where the company is going, why that direction is important and the specific path to get there. A strategy that has been effectively communicated is one that is understood, believable and actionable throughout the organization.

We have spent two decades working with leaders who understand the importance of transferring the business strategy from the C-suite to the shop floor. We have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and have come to recognize how so many leaders unintentionally do a poor job communicating and cascading their business priorities through their organization. Here are five strategic communication tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of miscommunicating your strategy.

  1. Do Not Overcomplicate
    This is not the time to impress with high-flying vocabulary and complex sentences. The simpler and more authentic, the better. To rally the troops, your strategy should be uncomplicated and easy to grasp. It should focus only on the critical few things that matter most. Look at Google’s corporate mission—“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Could it be any more straightforward?
  2. Do Not Dictate
    The top-down approach does not work very well in today’s flatter and faster organizations. To be broadly understood and accepted, your business strategy should be created collaboratively, not in the executive ivory tower. Include employees from different levels and different functions within the company to get their input and build their sense of ownership. When they are involved in the process, they will become advocates and help cascade the message throughout the organization.
  3. Do Not Assume Once is Enough When Communicating
    Sure, you may have planned a company-wide celebratory unveiling of the strategy. But you can’t just make the grand announcement and then walk away. The message needs to be communicated multiple ways and reinforced, discussed and debated over time. Think discussion, not communication, if you want to increase commitment levels.
  4. Do Not Ignore More Up-to-Date Communication Tools
    Use all means possible to reach your employees. This should go way beyond email. Why not use social media periodically and in attention-grabbing ways? Or use online simulations and contests to get the word out and receive feedback.
  5. Do Not Hold Back Resources
    Until your business strategy is effectively understood and believed throughout the organization, your chances of successful strategy execution are poor. Investing in your communication campaign is important. This is not the place to save money. Invest sufficient funds to see that employees get it. Only then can they do what you want them to and run full speed ahead.


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How much does a Website cost? Tue, 10 May 2016 22:10:19 +0000 BASIC WEBSITE | FREE – $50/MONTH+ OR $2,000 – $5,000
For Small Businesses and Individuals


With advances in business models, content management systems, and software there are now (and really there have been) some amazing tools online some include, among many. These tools are amazing. As a development agency it’s sometimes scary to see how far things have come.

However, it’s important to note – these tools are often complicated and our (general) audience is still not comfortable learning and using these tools. Similar to the above – these sites are highly configurable, but still require some coding, graphic design, and other knowledge to cull out of them a custom, attractive look. However, these are excellent resources and I’d recommend these services for any business looking to do it themselves.

IF YOU HIRE A DEVELOPER: $2,000 – $5,000

A basic designed website, acts primarily as an online brochure, establishing a necessary presence online to answer your customers’ questions “do you exist?”, “are you professional?” and “what do you do?” A basic website can be created in the $2,000 – $5,000 range. This website may or may not allow you to interact in a 2-way conversation with your audience (social networking, blog), transact business directly through your site (ecommerce), or enable you to manipulate and update the pages and content within your site without hiring a web programmer/designer to do it for you (Content Management System does enable this for more $$$).

This gets complicated to further elaborate on why this may or may not be included. For us, the complexities of using and designing around a content management system (or tool that allows you to update your own website) is usually a bit more time consuming then coding HTML from scratch – additionally there are a lot of customer service, content, and small testing requirements that eat up time and budgets for all projects – but which make up a significant fraction of smaller projects.

A basic website site will serve to help brand and market your company, showcase your products and services and inspire sales as a lead generating tool. The design of your website will, most likely, be templated at such low costs. This means that your site probably mirrors that of other sites on the web. With our firm, these sites will be responsive using the latest standards to allow your site to look the same on nearly every computer/device and will be Search Engine Optimized (SEO) for greater natural search engine ranking success.

But not all firms code the same and have search engine optimization or online marketing as a top priority. Also, web analytics are provided with every site we build to track and ensure your web success.

ADVANCED WEBSITE | $7,500 – $30,000
For Medium Sized Businesses

Previously our pricing was in the $3,000- $8,500 – for this line item (previously called Content Management System). We’ve since increased our pricing. We’ve gotten very good at tracking the total money needs of a project – throughout the lifetime of our relationship with clients. And this means we have to cover costs for phone calls, the sales process, meeting space, the actual work (OF COURSE!), and then after launch support.

Depending on the level of aesthetic design that is requested as well as additional features Content Management System (CMS) websites will run at a on average around $7,500. These websites are created with both functionality and design in mind, as you will receive both custom art design and the ability to manage and update all content, images, and text contained within the pages of your site (infinite number of pages possible). With a CMS capable website, your site will have endless possibilities.

These websites are built with the idea that you will have a significant number of changes, additions or updates to be made to your site in the near future. Instead of being charged hourly rates to make such changes, a CMS system enables you to do a majority of the basic additions without prior coding or web designing knowledge. Social interactivity with your site visitors is possible with a site of this caliber, as a BLOG will be present within your site enabling you to place posts of content that you believe is relevant and desired by your audience. Your audience can choose to respond to your blog posts and each others comments allowing for 2 dimensional interaction between you, your audience, and within your audience.

Some ecommerce and real state listing sites can be created within this price range depending upon level of functionality and design. Also, sites of this caliber have varying prices with regard to design elements. These sites do have custom design work, but more expensive elements like Flash Art creation will affect pricing. Again, with our firm, these sites will be CSS and XHTML Coded to allow your site to look the same on nearly every computer and will also be Search Engine Optimized (SEO) for greater natural search engine ranking success. But not all firms code the same and have SEO as a top priority. Also, web analytics are provided with every site we build to track and ensure your web success.

CUSTOM WEBSITE | $15,000 – $100,000+
For large Businesses or businesses that solely drive on the web

If you are looking for a larger site, with advanced functionality including but not limited to social networking, blogging, ecommerce, or any other web application topped off with great design and content that speaks to your audience you should expect to pay a bit more than the previous two sections. We’ll detail out some specifics in our additional sections on Ecommerce & Custom Applications, but this section should serve as a decent place for larger businesses to start.

Like I said before, some ecommerce and web applications can be created for less, while most successful ventures are created for much more. There are countless sites that have fallen in this price range include,, and to name only a few (all GREATLY exceeding 6-figures). A site within this price range may be built and hand coded from scratch – and in all cases will require extreme customization – and coordinating various technologies in order to work with your company or infrastructure.

That means your site is unlike any other and requires the attention and expertise of an experienced web application developer(s) and web site designer(s). A site that falls into this category requires months of planning, research, consulting, database design and implementation, software development and integration, site quality assurance and testing.

I know what you are thinking, ‘who knew it was so expensive?’ And the only answer I can give is that web design and creation is like any other craft or trade and requires a high level of knowledge and expertise.

Why are websites in this range so expensive? Here’s a few factors to consider, and examples of scenarios we’ve been in throughout the years that change the cost of a website, even when functionality may not necessarily be beyond the ordinary:

  • Tighter timelines
  • More meetings
  • More people (and approvals) involved
  • More exacting content specifications
  • More pages of content to port over or account for
  • Additional security concerns
  • Governmental or other requirements/regulations must be adhered to (for example 508 compliance is a beautiful and on some projects required element – accounting for this and testing for it takes extra time and money)
  • None of this is extreme or out-of-the-ordinary, but when needed or required, costs go up.
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