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Why Traffic Shaping is So Dang Fantastic for Conversion Rates

Do you remember the Windows game Pipe Dream? In it, the player creates a continuous “goo” path using randomly assigned pieces of pipe.


Fail to build a path in time and the goo oozes everywhere… Game over.

For a marketer, the pipe pieces are your web pages. And the goo? Your visitors. Fail to provide your visitors with a logical next step and it’s game over.

A logical next step could mean many things, like a sale or a signup. Or maybe it’s simply to keep your prospects on your website by strategically presenting them with opportunities to learn more about what you have to offer.

Like pipe building, traffic shaping is all about creating incentivized pathways that convince users to go where you want them to go. It’s effective for:

  • getting visitors from low-converting to high-converting pages.
  • showing visitors relevant offers based on what they’re currently browsing.
  • recommending further reading thereby keeping visitors on site.

But first, why is this tactic even necessary?

Take a look at your analytics. You’ll probably find your highest-traffic pages aren’t necessarily your highest-converting pages. In many cases, that’s okay; the purpose of a blog post is different from a pricing page. But that’s not to say you should ignore your organic visitors. Instead, you should provide them with clear paths to the “next step.” And that’s when traffic shaping comes in.

Using overlays as a traffic-shaping tool

So how can marketers engage users on high-converting pathways that produce better results? How can we move users through the pipes and follow our desired path?

One great way of doing this is by using a traffic shaping overlay.

Psst: Unbounce recently launched our own suite of overlays called Convertables. Install one in seconds on any of your web pages, and set it to trigger on exit, on arrival, on scroll or after delay.

Traffic shaping overlays are designed to either move visitors from low-converting pages to high-converting pages or to re-engage them with additional content. They never have a form, and they’re best triggered either on exit or after delay.

Here’s a diagram of how traffic shaping with overlays works:

Not unlike Pipe Dream, amirite?

As you can see, traffic shaping overlays offer a unique way to better align your needs with the needs of your visitors: you want to move them farther down your sales funnel and they want the incentive to do so.

Here are a few use cases with real-life examples to get you thinking ‘bout how you can use traffic shaping overlays in your own overlay strategy:

Use case #1: Cross-Sell

Blog visitors are prime candidates for traffic shaping overlays because they’ve already spent time absorbing your content and familiarizing themselves with your brand. They likely recognize your brand — heck, they may even be regular readers — but they may overlook your on-site calls to action.

A cross-sell overlay can help focus a user’s attention on a relevant offer.

Here’s an example…


This overlay (yes, it’s ours) was installed on a high-traffic post about the best digital marketing conferences to attend in 2016.

Figuring that people who read about conferences also go to conferences, we saw an opportunity to cross-sell tickets to our own conference at a greatly reduced price.

Use case #2: Re-engage with more content

Keeping visitors on your blog or resource library has a lot of advantages. The more they stick around, the more opportunities you have to:

  • Show visitors that you understand their pain and are uniquely qualified to help alleviate it
  • Educate visitors about your solution (ideally the solution to their burning marketing pain)

A strategically placed exit overlay on your blog can help keep visitors on site by recommending content similar to what they were reading previously:


This type of overlay is most effective when targeted at first-time visitors. These are the prospects that need a lil’ warming up before you ask them for their email address.

But back to Pipe Dream…

When you think of traffic shaping like playing Pipe Dream, you realize that building a logical path is just as important for you as it is the user. You don’t want to lose your visitors any more than your visitors want to be stopped in their tracks.

By implementing traffic shaping overlays on your web pages, you can better align your needs with the needs of your visitors. And that, my friends, is how everyone wins.

Find out how you can use overlays for traffic shaping, lead gen, sales and more!

Download Unbounce’s newest ebook, 12 Proven Ways to Convert with Overlays
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.



The alt-right’s high school drama reveals a bigger struggle



We’re still a hair over three weeks from the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and the controversial alt-right movement that helped lift him to power is experiencing high school level infighting.

Like a Degrassi High storyline, the alt-right is up in arms about who gets to hang out with the cool kids. Specifically, over who gets invited to the DeploraBall, a big to-do playing off Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment, which is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2017 to coincide with Trump’s inauguration (although it’s not an officially sanctioned inauguration event).  Read more…

More about Deploraball, Alt Right, Mike Cernovich, Social Media, and Politics

Social Media


Defacing Abuse: A Guerrilla Campaign

Three young creatives; Jennifer Garcia, Carl Larsson, and Mishal Jagjivan wanted to help bring more awareness to the reality of Domestic Abuse, by flipping it on its head with existing advertising being hijacked and turned into their awareness campaign. With thousands of women featuring in advertising posters and billboards around the world, it’s common place […]

Digital Buzz Blog


Snap reportedly acquired augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for up to $40 million


Snap has reportedly made an investment in augmented reality, purchasing Israeli-based startup Cimagine Media in a deal that’s said to be worth between $ 30 million and $ 40 million.

Originally reported by Calcalist News, this acquisition will provide Snap with a development center in the Middle East, one that will eventually house more than the 20 people currently working at Cimagine Media.

Founded four years ago, Cimagine specializes in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, international marketing, and more. All of these areas are obviously compelling for Snap, whose Snapchat app is heavily reliant on augmented reality and the like. But Cimagine also brings to the table a focus on commerce, and as Snap looks toward going public, perhaps sometime next year, facilitating shopping through Snapchat might open up additional revenue opportunities.

Cimagine already has partnerships with Shop Direct, John Lewis, and Coca-Cola, and it’s aiming to help more retailers tap into the potential of augmented reality. Snap itself may want to eventually strike partnerships with big box retailers and department stores to accelerate engagement and time spent on its site. And merchants may want additional advertising opportunities, so the potential that Cimagine’s technology and team could bring to bear may be enticing.

Or perhaps Cimagine’s team will support Snap in laying objects over photos and videos captured through Snapchat.

Should an IPO be in Snap’s future, it needs to remain one step ahead of Facebook, which has been rapidly copying features from Snapchat. Investors are looking for real market leadership, so Snap’s acquisition of camera technology, especially around augmented reality, could give it a bit of a leg up.

Prior to the acquisition, Cimagine had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Explore. Dream. Discover, iVentures Asia Ltd., OurCrowd, and PLUS Ventures. This would be Snap’s second acquisition his month — the company also purchased Flite to integrate its ad technology into Snap’s offering. In fact, this year has been a busy one for the ephemeral camera technology company, as it has already made a total of four known buys, including the $ 110 million deal for Vurb, the purchase of Obvious Engineering (also known as Seene), and the $ 100 million it dished out for Bitstrips.

Although the Cimagine deal was reported by Calcalist News, no official word has been released — to be honest, Snap tends to be secretive about its acquisitions. We’ve reached out to Snap and Cimagine Media and will update if we hear back.

Social – VentureBeat


Innovation in Customer Experience Starts with a Shift in Perspective


While traveling Europe this year, I met Silvia Hänig who was writing a story for Haufe.de about customer experience. She followed up our initial conversation with the questions below. Instead of shooting back quick answers, I took the time, maybe too much time, to thoughtfully reply as if I were going to share the exchange with everyone. And, that’s what I’m doing here.

I hope it helps you…

Mister Solis, why is it so difficult to create Customer Experience (CX) for many people and decision makers?

Customer Experience (CX) is a difficult process, because so many stakeholders interpret CX differently and then prioritize investments and resources accordingly.

The IT department thinks it’s about technology. The marketing department focuses on channel and content trends. Customer service focuses on contact centers. Advertising creates clever campaigns and activates experiential events. And executives make decisions based on gut instinct and maybe even cognitive biases. I could go on and on. Even though these are generalizations, much of the work I’ve seen in CX isn’t really customer-focused. It’s role and process oriented.

These types of traditional perspectives hamper the vision for change. Each group inadvertently contributes to a disconnected approach to CX because they’re attempting to solve one part of the customer’s journey and experience from their silo. Yet, customers don’t see departments, they see one brand.

Just because “this is how it’s always been done” is a recipe for digital Darwinism today. CX is an opportunity to design, improve and integrate real-world experiences that the customer is going to have. In the process, businesses will have to re-align models and processes to unite disparate groups into one congruent effort. This will help companies compete in an era where customers are taking control of their experiences.

Who should own the experience? And what skills will be important in the future?

The best companies in CX take a different perspective regarding this question. They start with acknowledging that the person who owns the customer experience is…wait for it…the customer.

Think about that for a second.

They absolutely own their experience. Yet, here we are debating, who should own it. It seems that companies do everything, but understand their behaviors, expectations, preferences et al.

I define CX this way: it’s the sum of all engagements a customer has with your brand in every touchpoint, in each moment of truth, throughout the customer lifecycle. The question to ask is then, what is the experience they have? What experiences do they expect or desire? What experiences they’re receiving from other companies? More so, how are their favorite apps – for example Uber or Tinder – changing their expectations and how should you rethink the customer journey to be native, frictionless, and delightful based on outside innovation? As such, the question who owns CX, is something that should be answered in a future state and work toward that goal now.

Companies excelling here are looking at ideal customer experiences and building inside and outside for them. New cross-functional groups lead collaboration to remove friction, optimize effective touchpoints and invest innovation based on new areas of opportunity. An empathetic customer-centric approach to CX improves retention, acquisition and relationships. Great Customer Experience is all the work, that you do so your customers don’t have to…

To what extent technology should play a role in Customer Experience?

Too many businesses today take a technology-first approach to Customer Experience, which is ironically not customer centric. I call this the remote control. No one likes the remote control. We use it, because we have to. I would go so far to say that we have a reluctant relationship with it. Yet, every year, even though we get a new generation of TV innovation, we still get a remote control that looks a little different, but also gets more complex along the way. Did you know that there are on average 70 buttons on this brick and at the same time, we all have phones or tablets where we interact with them using completely different gestures? Technology is not the answer, it’s an enabler. CX should start with three “P’s” – people, purpose and promise. Technology should facilitate experiences and bring them to life.

What is the importance of CX as part of the digital transformation?

Digital transformation means something different to everyone. Just like customer experience. It is something, that is started independently in each group with different objectives. But like CX, everything is on a collision course towards convergence. Everything has to work together, otherwise you compete against yourself.

I define digital transformation this way: The re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers (and employees), create new value and deliver delightful and relevant experiences at every touchpoint in the customer and employee journey.

In my research (see below), I’ve found that a common catalyst for rapid and ultimately holistic digital transformation is indeed CX. More so, by zooming in on the Digital Customer Experience (DCX) and asking what would my digital customer do and how is it affecting traditional behavior, companies can beeline towards fast innovation.

Customer Experience: Everything has to work together

This is the part where skeptics or laggards say: “Why would you focus on the digital customer? They’re a minority in the overall market. We should focus on customers as a whole!” They’re right in some aspects.

The thing is that ­they didn’t focus on customers. They focused on shareholders and stakeholders. Additionally, they continued to invest in technologies and systems that distanced companies from people all in the name of efficiencies, scale and profitability.

It’s the same argument with taxis in the face of Uber. They’ve had ­years to study how people’s experiences and expectations, how they were changing, how digital was affecting experiences and decision-making, how start-ups were placing customers at the center of services. Once Uber hit the market, it set a new standard for customer experience. People who take Uber don’t go back to taking taxis unless they have to. There’s an Uber of everything on the horizon of every business and digital transformation is the best defense and offense to compete in a digital economy.

Additional reports that will help you lead the way…

The Race Against Digital Darwinism: Six Stages of Digital Transformation

8 Success Factors of Digital Transformation: How Businesses Are Taking an Opposite Approach to Business as Usual

The 2016 State of Digital Transformation


Please read X, The Experience When Business Meets Design or visit my previous publications

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

Invite him to speak at your next event or meeting. 

The post Innovation in Customer Experience Starts with a Shift in Perspective appeared first on Brian Solis.

Brian Solis


4 Cross Channel Marketing Stats Marketers Need To Know Going Into 2017

As 2016 winds down and we all look forward (hopefully) to some time off from work and spending time with family and friends, I thought it a good time to give some marketers some cross channel marketing stats to get to know up close and personal as we head into 2017. 

Let's dive right in shall we?

1. Two-thirds of all shoppers regularly use more than one channel to make purchases. 

A Wharton study found multi-channel shopping behavior—defined as a consumer’s usage of more than one channel all or most of the time somewhere in the shopping process—is the norm for a majority of consumers. Note the operative word "norm" in the previous sentence. The study also found that 1/3  of consumers regularly alternates between two channels to purchase, and another 1/3 regularly uses three or more channels when they buy. Only one out of three shoppers exhibits consistent “mono-channel” purchase behavior, using just a single channel to buy.

2. The average shopper makes on average 9.5 visits to a retailer’s site before deciding to buy.

Just let that one sink for a minute. Nine and a half visits to a website before deciding to buy. And rest assured said visits are being made across multiple channels i.e. mobile, desktop, etc. 

3. Customers who shop on more than one channel have a 30% higher Lifetime Value than those who shop on only one. 

This, perhaps more than any other stat, speaks to the clear and present need for a solid, robust cross channel marketing strategy. Marketers simply must be where there consumers are to fully reap the benefits. I know that sounds overly simplistic but it is the cold, hard truth.

4. A mere 5% of marketers say they are “very much set up to effectively orchestrate cross-channel marketing activities.”

This last stat comes courtesy of Econsultancy via their annual cross channel marketing report. Another key finding from the report showed that while over two-thirds of responding companies agree their 'priority is for all key marketing activities to be integrated across channels’, only 39% say they ‘understand customer journeys and adapt the channel mix accordingly'.

Keeping Pace

Here's another cold, hard truth: Marketers must keep pace with the modern customer – who is fast, digital and unstructured – to outpace the competition.

Today’s customers frequently interact with brands across multiple channels and devices leaving a trail of identifiers (like email addresses, loyalty accounts, browser cookies, and mobile device IDs) littered amongst the various technologies that power those customer interactions

In order to keep pace with customers in real time and effectively personalize each customer’s experience, it’s up to marketers to bring all of a customer’s interactions, preferences, and behaviors across channels together in a way that allows them to get a complete profile of each customer that’s up-to-date.

It's also up to marketers to download Cross Channel Orchestration Fundamentals: Aligning Web With All Marketing Channels. Download this brief to learn how you can deliver the most meaningful, positive, and consistent customer experiences across all channels that enhance loyalty and deliver results.

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud


Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse


In the beginning, there was blogging. And for businesses looking to build an audience that helped grow the bottom line, it was good.

In fact, many of the leaders in the digital marketing space started as blogs and evolved into multi-million dollar businesses. I personally have immense gratitude for what Rainmaker Digital has been able to achieve, and it all traces back to the early Copyblogger audience.

Then, around 2008, “business blogging” gave way to the term “content marketing.” Eight years later, as we wind up 2016, we’re drowning in content, and there’s no mistaking that much of it is just poorly disguised traditional marketing.

Something seems to have gotten lost along the way. The original business blogs provided valuable content, sure … but that content was delivered with perhaps the more important ingredient — a relatable and reliable human voice.

To be clear, blogging never went away. But perhaps it’s time to go back to the roots of business blogging to rediscover the foundational aspect of content that actually works as marketing, even though it doesn’t “feel” like marketing.

Tune in to listen to my conversation with the great Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. You’ll hear how the entire content marketing movement truly began, where blogging is going, and why we all need to first return to the foundational element of human connection before we focus on fancy automation, strategic funnels, and conversion optimization.

Listen to this Episode Now

The post Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse appeared first on Copyblogger.



Government requests for Facebook user data up 27 percent in first half of 2016

facebook mobile login screen Facebook released its latest transparency report today, detailing government requests for user data for the first half of 2016. According to the report, government requests for account data increased by 27 percent globally as compared with the last half of 2015. The number of requests grew from 46,710 to 59,229, Facebook said. The majority of the requests (56 percent) received from U.S. law… Read More
Social – TechCrunch


Using Kissmetrics to Find Your Most Valuable Marketing Campaigns

So you converted 3.1% of your visitors last month?

Awesome! How many of them spent more than $ 100 on their purchase? Or how many were on your Enterprise plan?

And how many of the 3.1% added a coupon to their order?

How many of them came from your Facebook ad campaign?

Don’t know?

That’s a problem.

Here’s why surface-level analytics can lead to bad decisions, and how the Kissmetrics Funnel Report can answer some questions that lead to better analysis and decision making.

How Bad Marketing Decisions Can Get Made

Let’s take this scenario:

You, the Director of Marketing for an e-commerce company, recently launched a Fall ad campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and AdWords. A month later you notice that your purchase conversions increase 1%, so you pour more money on all three ad platforms without knowing which campaigns led the most to conversion.

90% of the boost in conversions may be because of the Facebook ad campaign, but without doing research you’ll put more money on the effective campaign and burn money on the 2 ineffective marketing campaigns.

In another scenario, you see that most of your large purchases ($ 150+) come from AdWords, yet neglect that channel because it brought fewer conversions (when what you’re missing is fewer conversions but higher total purchase volume).

Here’s how to see the whole picture with the Kissmetrics Funnel Report.

Viewing a Funnel With Revenue Data

Continuing with the e-commerce marketing director scenario, let’s say we just ran our Summer advertising campaigns. We had campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, and AdWords. We’ve tagged all three with UTMs, which makes for pretty easy tracking across Kissmetrics and other SaaS platforms. We want to see which campaigns brought customers who spent at least $ 100.

We’ll need to create a fairly elaborate funnel. Here’s what we’ll do.

The first step is to look for people who came from an advertisement. We’ll have the first event be “Ad campaign hit”.


We’ll add additional conditions to this event. This is where we’ll narrow in on these three campaigns and be able to distinguish between each. We’ve tagged each campaign with a respective Campaign source. Twitter has campaign source twitter, Facebook is facebook, and AdWords is tagged as adwords.

Let’s first enter the Twitter campaign source:


We’ll add an Or condition by clicking here:


We’ll then do the same thing, but this time enter the Facebook campaign source:


Finally, the + button you see on the right allows us to add another condition. We’ll click it, create the same condition but this time use the AdWords campaign source:


Next we’ll add a step the funnel. Since most people visiting an ecommerce website visit a product page before adding an item to their cart and purchasing, we’ll add those next two steps:


The final step, Purchased, needs some conditions added to it. We’ll look for the customers that have made a purchase of at least $ 100.

First we’ll add the step:


Click that arrow button on the right and we’ll add that we’re looking for purchases being at least $ 100:


Keep in mind that your naming of events and properties will probably differ than what I’m showing in this example. We don’t have any default events or properties named Purchased, order amount, added item to cart, etc. You can set this up with a little help from a developer.

UTMs and Ad Campaign Hit are tracked automatically, however.

So here’s how our funnel looks:


That’s it! Now it’s time to run the report and see our data:


This is looking at all the ad campaigns together. We have pretty good traffic – a little over 26k people, of which about 2k converted to purchasing. Given that all of these people are spending at least $ 100, we’ve likely made some solid returns on these campaigns (if we were able to keep costs down).

To select each campaign’s performance, we’ll simply click on each of the three Ad campaign hits. Let’s click the top one, which is Twitter’s ad campaign:


The first couple steps of this funnel perform well, but falls off pretty quickly. Only 88 people purchased, leading to a putrid 1.1% conversion rate. This means that the other campaigns are likely performing better. Let’s check Facebook’s campaign performance:


We can see that this campaign is performing much better than our Twitter campaign, with about 10x the conversion rate. We’ll have to check what we’ve spent on both campaigns. If we’ve spent more on Twitter (with fewer views) we know we should definitely cut off ad spend there or try new a new ad set.

Finally, let’s look at the AdWords campaign performance:


This one is performing even better than AdWords (although both are performing very very well). We achieve a 12.3% conversion rate off about 3,400 visits, making this the highest-converting campaign of the three. We’ll see what we’re spending to see if it delivers a better ROI than the Facebook (and keep in mind that each of these orders are over $ 50).

What to do with This Data

This data provides great information – we see which campaigns are performing well and which are falling short. We can cut off the ineffective campaigns or try different ads on the platform.

And since these are valuable customers, we’ll want them coming back to purchase again. To remarket to them with ads or drip campaigns, we’ll just click on the Purchased button to find all the people that have purchased:


We’ll click those 2,126 people and we can export the list to MailChimp, a CSV, or create retargeting ads.

Where Are Your Marketing Dollars Best Spent?

Want to get more high-paying customers?

First find out where they’re coming from.

With the Funnel Report, you’ll be able to breakdown each marketing campaign and easily track the performance of each. And with the ability to further drill down by only viewing campaigns with high or low revenue from each, you’ll be better able to track ROI.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is the Blog Manager at Kissmetrics.

The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog


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