Freespee Spring: We're buzzing!

Just as spring is in full bloom, the sun is shining brightly at the Freespee corner. In the past quarter, we’ve invested more time than ever on improving Freespee: from adding new compelling features, to elevating the user experience and empowering our customers to make better decisions about ad placement. All of these developments have been accompanied by some great people joining our family, making Freespee more powerful than it has ever been. Of course, there have also been many adventures along the way, so stay with me as I walk you through.
Our engineering team has gone the extra mile in ensuring Freespee is in a class by itself when it comes to product updates: starting from the introduction of the DoubleClick plugin, which now allows Freespee to feed information about calls to the customer’s DoubleClick Search account, through some serious Dashboard boosts: adding a Plugin section and answering customers’ requests for editing Default Call Filter and Static Sources.
These developments have been acclaimed by our customers, and that makes us very impatient to hear your thoughts on what we have been working hard on in the past few months – stay tuned to find out.
In this quarter, we’ve been heavily focused on empowering our customers by sharing our views on big industry topics and taking part of events, sharing successful customer stories and revealing Tips and Tricks for marketers, crafted by our knowledgeable team.
Did you hear we took part at the Big Data Debate in Shoreditch at the beginning of April? Alongside data gurus and tech geeks, Carl did a short, yet thought (and tweet) provoking talk around inattentional blindness. Carl challenged the mindset of the audience, stating that marketers should step back and consider blind spots that exist when big data is taken into account.
Challenging our audience – our customers, partners and friends, has been a very persistent trend in the past quarter for Freespee: we’ve discussed and analysed several big industry events, shedding light on the importance of understanding the big picture when it comes to data, and pointing out that as the web is becoming more human, it’s high time for marketers to rethink online sales. Our mission has always been to make it easier for people to talk and hence, reinstate the power and significance of voice, and this has been supported by the latest developments on Twitter’s side, with their click-to-call extension.
What is keeping the fire burning at Freespee is our tremendous team – in this quarter, we’ve not only extended by 6 new great members, but we have also grown stronger thanks to the continuous feedback, ideas and suggestions from customers, partners and friends. We’d like to thank you for being part of our journey, but mostly – for helping us out in shaping the path.
Happy Freespeeing!
Carl & the rest of the Freespee Team
 

On photo: Freespee team building the blocks of the exciting new ventures ahead

 

Shift your focus from ‘big data’ to ‘fast data’

As consumer expectations of brands and services reach an all time high, digital marketing decisions need to be based on the most up to date data and real time intelligence. As humans, many of our decisions are founded on cognitive learnings, but we need to constantly learn in order to develop.

 

The same goes for companies who are taking learnings about their customers. Our CEO and co-founder, Carl Holmquist, examines why having access to big data is no longer enough. To make smart decisions we need to constantly update the data we have. It needs to be data that is fast, timely and actionable.

 

Read Carl’s views on fast data at Fresh Business Thinking 

Rethinking the online path-to-purchase

One of the most important ways for a service to build trust with its customers is to provide excellent customer service. While customers search online, successful lead conversions often happen over the phone. This was the case ProSkin Clinics, a client of ours who recently discovered that 50% of its business was coming from customer interactions via its call centre, having tracked the call data using Freespee.
Read more about how Freespee helped ProSkin Clinics with its ad targeting optimisation and understanding of the online customer journey at Real Business

Getting the full picture to increase ROI

Online Marketing is sometimes similar to a big buffé – there’s so much choice that most of the times we don’t know where to start from and what to put in our plates to get the most out of it. As we only have so much space in our stomach, we need to choose what we can allow in, and what needs to be left out. I guess we’re all very familiar with this scenario – asking ourselves what is good and what is not, and always sticking to а familiar choice. But what if we knew that some other dish on the table that we haven’t tried out, would satisfy us a lot more gastronomically than a familiar one that we always choose? Would we still go for all the familiar choices or would we switch a dish for a new one?
In order to do a comparison, in both online marketing and gastronomic experiences, we’d have to either try out new online marketing channels or new dishes. As everything around us is relative, we need to know what we have and what it costs, in order to be able to distinguish a new experience. That’s why, at Freespee, we believe that the key to stellar optimisation is understanding the big picture of all our online efforts through continuous evaluation.
By continually evaluating not only our online marketing channels and campaigns, but all our online efforts, it’s easier to keep track and calculate our ROI. In a world of clicks, it’s easy to sometimes fall into blindness and leave out so called “free” channels which we don’t pay for, but which we still put a lot of time and effort into. Just because we don’t spend money on them, does it really mean that our time and effort is totally free? What if two hours of business promoting activities on social media/week ended up in five great leads and our weekly budget of €1000 on AdWords ended up in twice as many? Wouldn’t it be great to know that the two hours we spent on social media activities had a return on investment that’s more than twice as high as the one we got from our weekly AdWords budget?
The conclusion of all this is that in order to be efficient and successful with our online marketing efforts we need to find out which ones are our best performing channels and what our return on investment for each of them is. This way, we are one step closer to understanding what the big picture holds. What’s the rest? – Our recommendation is to track every channel and all of its conversion possibilities, everything from phone calls to contact forms and the referral traffic each one of them generates. Only by having the big picture in front of us, we can improve our strategies, make better decisions in our online marketing strategy and increase our ROI.

Twitter launching click-to-call extension: Is voice the next big thing?

Since  Twitter announced a click-to-call extension to their Ad formats, it pointed everyone’s attention to what looks to be the next big thing: voice. What does the addition of voice media mean to the web, you would ask? The answer is simple – it makes the web more human. This is sometimes referred to as “staffing your web”.

Talking to a brand is a transactional event, like checking out from a web shop. A consumer that choose to talk to you is at the end of their discovery process, is in most cases ready to buy. Twitter Click-to-Call Ads is a tremendous opportunity for marketers to shorten the decision process for consumers. Marketers can now run transaction-oriented Ads with targeted messages and offers that fit into the 140 character Twitter format.
Developing a transaction format that makes the web more human means the web becomes more democratic. The reason for that is anyone can run a Click-to-Call Ad – from global brands to SMEs. As long as you know how to answer the phone, you can now talk to prospective customers and drive new sales.

In Europe only, there are about 25 million active business operations. 95% of these have less then 10 employees (often referred to as micro companies). Google chose to embrace their online budgets already a couple of years ago, now Twitter is doing the same.

We will closely monitor how businesses provoke an intention to buy with only 140 characters, and share with you the most successful ones.

How to optimise your website and increase your conversions

In this Tips and Tricks article, we’re looking into some of the core ingredients that make a website effective and attractive to visitors. Being all about path to conversion, we will focus on phone calls as a call to action, and what it is that we can do to increase the number of phone calls for the same ad spend.

When designing a website, it is important to keep in mind that every page has a specific role according to the expectations, needs, and desires of the website’s visitors. Many businesses disguise their phone number in the footer, on a subpage or are not displaying it at all, in an attempt to “force” the visitor to a call to action that doesn’t include phone calls. Keep in mind that by doing so, chances are that you are saying NO to more customers than you may think. When 77% of the online shoppers want live assistance available with their purchases, can you afford not to have your phone number visible on your website? If you think about it for a while –  do you meet your visitors’ expectations, needs, and desires by “hiding” maybe the most natural way for a human being to communicate with you? The phone call.

In this article, we will talk about how we can increase the conversions with minimum effort by looking into two website layout methods; the Z-layout and the F-layout. We would not argue saying these methods are the best solution for everyone, but they are proven concepts embraced by many marketers, and it turns out it those work very well in our trials in terms of increasing phone conversions.
“We’ve discovered that arguing that customers don’t want to talk anymore is like arguing that we are happy to remove 50% of our communication skills as human beings” – Mats Stigzelius – Co-founder, ProSkin (UK)
As most Western readers will read a website from left to right, top to bottom, the starting point for the Z-layout is actually quite simple: inflict the letter Z on top of the page and you should have something like this:

(Have you read the full ProSkin Case Study ?)

The F-layout uses scientific eyetracking studies to back up it’s concept. Studies shows that the human eye scans the screen in an F-pattern. If you look at Freespee’s website, maybe you can imagine yourself seeing an “F-pattern” in the design.

Similarly as with the Z-layout, the F-layout takes you from point 1 to 4 in a logical order. Let us break it down while looking at the examples above:

Your logo grabs the user’s attention at point 1, where they scan the navigation, search, phone number, etc.

  • The phone number displayed at point 2, is the first call to action, and by displaying it in a colorful manner, you will also reinforce the eye movement.

  • A featured image and/or informative text at point 3. Headlines that will encourage “title scanning” as the eye moves to the call to action.

  • Icons and/or colorful buttons as “call to action” at point 4 to make it stand out more.

Most websites in our A/B-testing applying either of these methods (including Freespee’s revamped website), learned they could increase their call conversion rate up by more than 30% when making the phone number more visible… for the same Ad spend!

There are tons of information and best practices on this topic. Methods mentioned above are examples we have tested ourselves with good results. We encourage you to explore the best way for your business. However, don’t forget to track all data available to you.

Have you tried anything that had a great impact on your conversion rate? Please let us know in the comments.

 

Understanding path to conversion

“To think that the exact referrer that ended up in a phone call is the only one responsible for an incoming lead, is like thinking that a goal scorer in football assisted himself and was in the game all alone.”
With time and experience, we understood that there’s a lot more than the phone call data that matters into online advertising – it’s understanding the user journey in its wholeness, from research to purchase. Sometimes, the path to conversion could be quite straight – a user would go directly to your website, browse around and educate themselves, make a decision on what service they would like to purchase from you, and eventually pick up the phone and pay.
But what happens when path to conversion is not that straightforward?
Our own Niclas Staberg takes a look into this on our Community Tips and Tricks.

Big data debate: It is important to step back and question the data in front of you

On April 2, our Co-founder and CEO Carl Holmquist took part of the Big Data Debate: Media and Big Data Analytics, where data geeks gathered to discuss how data could be manipulated to produce innovation. Carl opened up the event with a flash presentation which was then followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Charles Arthur, Head of Technology, The Guardian, including Marie-Alicia Chang, Co-Founder & Head of Data Partnerships,Musicmetric, Rob Symes, CEO, The Outside View, Duncan Ross, Director of Data Science, Teradata and Alistair Jones, Software Engineer, Neo4j.

Carl opened the way illustrating inattentional blindness – a term, coined by Arien Mack and Irvin Rock in MIT, unfolding the two ways our brains resolve problems: using our long term memory, or relying on logic when it comes to more complex problems.

“Obvious things happen around us, but when the logical side of our brain is focused on solving a specific problem, we are blind to them”
Carl continued by reminding that blind spots do exist when marketers are consuming big data: “Being busy understanding what you have in front of you, most of you are missing out on fundamental data points that the data tools you use are not collecting”. Challenging the audience, Carl gave an intriguing example of how in the banking industry, marketers were struggling with low conversion rates in their online business. In these occasions, Freespee’s software showed the contrary – more than 50% of online visitors chose to complete the transaction in the contact centre. While this data was lacking in their tools, marketers could not eliminate the blind spot when analyzing patterns.

Are you as geeky about big data as we are? We’d love you to join the conversation – simply comment below.

Are you pulling back too early on your SEM tactics?

Our Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Sevège is something of a pro at the game of Risk.
Therefore it isn’t surprising that the similarities between the game of Risk and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are very apparent to him.

 

At The Wall Blog, Thomas explains the common traits the game of Risk and Search Engine Marketing share and the importance of obtaining accurate CPA data to ensure SEM managers are taking calculated risks.

 

Read all about this over at The Wall