I started my first paid advertising campaign early this month with Google Adwords and would like to share some interesting things about it. My campaign is to promote my services in design and usability. My skills are varied and range from usability to design to marketing so I created many ads (example of one on the right) to target different users in the Bay Area. Let me walk you through the process.
1. Define the goal for your campaign and a budget. My objective was to promote my services online so that targeted people would visit my blog and email me to inquire about my services. I started with a $50 budget but you can start with $10 and see if the return on investment is greater than the costs.
2. Sign up on Google Adwords: Google helps you through this process and you can sign-up in less than 2 minutes.
3. Create a campaign: To create a campaign you need to create an ad (as shown above), identify keywords, define the regions where you know your audience is from (example: Bay Area) and define the cost per click (CPC). It is best to create more than one campaign to target different segments. For example, I make websites easy-to-use so I can target marketing people, design people and user research/usability people. I could also target industries such as healthcare, finance and retail. Let's review each step in detail.
a. Create an ad: Having decided to target an audience that wants better design I created 3-5 ads as shown on the right. Ads need to include keywords and a call to action. I created more than 20 ads and after trial and error narrowed it to the ones that I found to be most effective.
b. Identify Keywords: Keywords are the words people enter in Google search which trigger the appearance (or absence) of your ad. With the help of the Keyword tool and the Traffic Estimator tool you can identify about 10 effective keywords for each of your campaigns. Keywords should have a high Quality Score (yellow square) and attract substantial traffic for a low estimated CPC.
4. Monitor your campaign: It is critical to monitor campaigns regularly and change them if needed. I stop campaigns that don't work and create new ones that I think will work better. Similarly, I'm tracking my most effective ads and keywords. You can also connect Google Adwords to Google Analytics to track your campaigns. In the past few days I have got 6 clicks (right image). Eye Tracking and User Experience Design are effective keywords. Visitors spent an average 2 minutes on my blog and bounce rate was at 50%. Both bounce rate and average time on my blog through these paid campaigns show better numbers than the free traffic visiting my blog. I have yet to learn how to control CPC (as it's currently in auto mode) and will share my learnings soon.
Usability is making a product or website easy to use so that a user can complete his/her goals without getting frustrated. Usability metrics give structure to the design process and inform decision makers. As a usability expert we aim to execute a 'wow' experience by measuring effectiveness (can you complete the task?), efficiency (can you complete it with minimum effort and time?), learnability (how quickly can you learn to do it?) and satisfaction (how happy or satisfied are you with the experience?).
Two people in this field have motivated me- Jeffrey Sauro and Tom Tullis. Jeff wrote an exceptional paper on standardizing usability metrics into a single score. Tom Tullis is a true usability guru with whom I've had the wonderful opportunity to work with at Fidelity Investments. His book 'Measuring the User Experience' is a must read for anyone trying to create a 'wow' user experience. Insights in this post are from his book and my experience. The metrics are defined in detail below.
Efficiency: can be measured through task completion success (successful or not), task completion time, number of clicks to complete tasks, number of page views and comparing user performance to expert performance
Effectiveness: can be measured through lostness (number of steps a user takes to complete a task relative to minimum number of steps to complete a task), intuitiveness (percentage of items placed in correct menu category using a card sort), awareness (did you notice it? a memory test to repeat what the person noticed or an eye tracking test), log data checks (live user data is analyzed to study where users fail or are having issues with the task), A/B testing (test 2 design concepts to identify which is more effective), number of issues based on severity and frequency which can also be categorized into user interface parameters such as navigation issues, terminology issues, interaction issues, etc.
Satisfaction and other metrics: self reported metrics (through rating scales, qualitative feedback and online survey tools) on various factors such as satisfaction, ease-of-use, engagement and enjoyment. It could also measure a call to action such as the probability of purchasing the product or recommending it to a friend. Physiological factors such as heart rate changes, eye tracking and sentiment analysis are some other ways to measure the experience.
Want an easy-to-use metric? The System Usability Scale (SUS) is an easy way to measure the usability of any product/website. Ask users to complete a task or a few critical tasks and give them this questionnaire to rate. You can calculate the SUS Score which could range from 0-100. A score of 80+ is good usability but for a more detailed interpretation read this paper.