Performance marketing Archives - Pixated

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which eCommerce Platform Is Better?

Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the world’s most popular eCommerce platforms, between them boasting 5 million users who generate billions of dollars a year. But with key differences between the platforms, which is right for your eCommerce business?

Setup and UX

Shopify is geared much more toward the public, while WooCommerce has been created with designers and programmers in mind. WooCommerce entails a far steeper learning curve for business owners, whereas Shopify guides you automatically through a step-by-step setup process, at the end of which you’ll have a fully functioning eCommerce site.

Shopify’s dashboard is easy to navigate. It’s intuitive to add new products, not least because of the simple guide advising you on what details to add. WooCommerce’s dashboard is also easy to navigate and add products to, but since it’s not a subscription-based platform you’ll need to perform some integrations before you can get underway:

  • purchasing a domain name
  • finding a hosting account
  • installing WordPress
  • finding and installing a WordPress theme

These integrations are better performed by someone confident with the platform and who knows what plugins to use.

Design and themes

When you sign up for Shopify you get immediate access to over 70 free themes, as well as several paid themes, all of which are visually striking and easy to implement. There’s also a ton of design elements to explore. You might choose to purchase a theme from the Shopify store for a one-off fee.

Over at WooCommerce are hundreds of themes and designs, which can be automatically programmed to be mobile-responsive. However, with WooCommerce it takes longer to ensure your website’s design is clear and easily navigable, because every plugin has its own unique user experience to learn. On the other hand, WooCommerce is the best platform if you’re looking for a more custom layout for your eCommerce site—as long as you have the requisite time and money for its development.

Costs

Shopify has a 14-day free trial period, after which you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee. Its Basic package is $29 a month, its medium Shopify package is $79 a month, and its top-of-the-range Advanced package is $299 a month. All plan prices are paid annually, and include web hosting and SSL, the standard technology for keeping your internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data. If you want your own domain name without your URL containing the brand name (such as Shopify), you’ll need to pay an additional $14 a year.

With Shopify, the entry-level package allows two users per account, along with unlimited product and storage space. However, it doesn’t include the use of in-platform third-party tools and add-ons. And remember, with Shopify there’s a sliding scale for transaction fees. With the Basic package you’re charged a flat fee of 2% for all transactions, while the range-topping Advanced package entails a flat fee of only 0.5% on transactions. Depending on the sales volume you’re processing, it might be worth upping your package to retain more of the overhead profit on your offerings.

Meanwhile, WooCommerce offers a free initial service, but you’ll need to pay for additional services like SSL certifications, domain names and one of the many WordPress hosting accounts. Costs for these services vary from $5 to $30. Purchasing a domain name costs an average $9 a year. Depending on how you mix and match your third-party apps for WooCommerce, you can create a website at a fairly low cost, although bear in mind you may find yourself needing to pay for several extensions in the future, like SEO plugins.

Support

While Shopify and WooCommerce both offer support, Shopify’s is much better. Shopify has a 24/7 customer service team, able to give you a fixed solution to your problem by virtue of the fact it operates on a closed platform. This results in better-documented user errors. On the other hand, as an open platform WooCommerce allows anyone to integrate add-ons, but this means the support team simply can’t have a predetermined solution for every lodged issue.

SEO

SEO is vital for making your eCommerce website discoverable on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Shopify has a builtin SEO plugin and helps with basic practices, like web copy and metadata. It’s also important to note that Shopify sites load faster than WooCommerce sites, and site speed is an important SEO ranking signal. However, because it’s integrated with WordPress, which is designed specifically for blogging, WooCommerce is easier than Shopify when it comes to altering URLs, alt tags, body content, meta descriptions and lots of other on-page elements.

Dropshipping

When starting an eCommerce website you need to ensure your customers are actually receiving what they ordered. This means integrating delivery vendors into your site. Shopify has several popular options, the costs of which vary, as well as its own monthly membership fees or one-off costs for dropshipping—although then you’re limited to the platform’s own plugins. Whereas with WooCommerce you can browse hundreds of options and decide what you need. For example, if you’re a small business with only one or two deliveries a month, the best choice will be per-item delivery as opposed to a monthly subscription.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: which should you choose?

Shopify is incredibly easy to use from the beginning, and enables you to optimise your website for search within hours. It’s a more complete package than WooCommerce for business owners with neither the time nor inclination to learn more technical skills. However, Shopify is less customisable than WooCommerce because it’s a closed platform.

WooCommerce has become the behemoth of eCommerce platforms it is today because it’s basic but customisable, meaning you can build a more creative interface. Of course, creativity entails the cost of hiring a developer, which offsets the fact that WooCommerce is free in itself.  WooCommerce is suggested automatically when you register an account with WordPress, giving new users an easy route to getting started. However, WooCommerce is perhaps less intuitive than Shopify—or at least requires more development experience—so you may need to devote more time to building your online store than you would with Shopify.

Shopify is the eCommerce platform for you if you want:

  • a myriad of integration options
  • lots of easy-to-use apps and features
  • an all-in-one platform that gets everything running quickly
  • a helpful and enthusiastic support team ready to assist you with any problems

…Whereas WooCommerce will be right for you if you:

  • already have a WordPress website or plan to create one
  • are particularly focused on ranking well for SEO on Google’s SERPs
  • want to take more control of your eCommerce store or have the time to pore over its design details
  • are especially interested in finding a platform that’s highly adaptable and can be scaled up by magnitudes

Choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce depends on your budget, objectives, your target audience, the experience of who’s building your website, and who will be editing and managing it. Both platforms are fantastic at what they do, and as long as you understand the inherent limitations of whichever you opt for, you’ll have an aesthetic and intuitive eCommerce website going live in no time at all!

Webflow vs WordPress: Which Website Builder Is Better?

There are so many website builders to choose from, but most of our clients use either Webflow or WordPress. Despite having similar functionality, they’re markedly different products—which is why today we’re comparing the two so you can see which is right for your business.

Webflow… is easier to set up

As a cloud-based all-in-one SaaS product, Webflow has everything you need to get your website live.

It’s easy to get your account set up: simply follow the step-by-step tutorial. A short survey will assess your level of coding experience, asking you a few questions about your knowledge of CSS and HTML. Then the Webflow bot walks you through using the tool, highlighting the most important areas you’ll need to know about and what they do. You can click to read more, or start building your site when you’re ready to go.

WordPress entails a clunkier setup, not least because it won’t be hosting your website as part of a package and therefore you’ll need to find and pay separately for a host and domain—and identifying a suitable host can be tricky.

Once you have your host, you download WordPress as a one-size-fits-all version which comes with instructions for installation described as ‘basic’—although many non-developers might feel otherwise.

While many web hosts offer WordPress installer tools to simplify the process, it’s never going to be as easy or seamless as an all-in-one package like Webflow.

WordPress… is free (in its basic form)

WordPress is an open-source web platform, so it’s free to use—technically. But you still have to pay a third party to use WordPress—for hosting, domain name, and usually plugins and templates (which WordPress calls themes). This is assuming you don’t have a web developer to design and build your site from scratch—but of course, dev time is also far from free!

Your total expenditure for a WordPress website can creep up if you’re after something more than basic, because of the associated costs:

  • custom domain: $10–$30 a year
  • hosting provider: $2–$15 a month
  • preset theme: some are free, some cost up to $200 a month—or alternatively, you may wish to go all-out and hire a designer
  • plugins: many are free, but premium plugins cost $40–$200

To be clear, Webflow isn’t free either, but one upside to the platform is that you pay for everything you need to build and host your website in a handy monthly package. The price you pay depends on the tier of the package, but you’ll always know upfront what it’s going to cost:

  • Basic package: $14 a month, billed annually
  • Standard eCommerce package: $29 a month, billed annually
  • Business package: $39 a month, billed annually
  • Advanced eCommerce package: $212 a month, billed annually

Webflow billing is split into two categories: Your site and Workspace—but as the Workspace is where you build and manage websites, the latter billing category is mainly for consultants working on multiple website projects at once.

Webflow… is more accessible to non-developers

If you’ve never built a website before, Webflow will ease you in—especially if you’re a designer or content manager, as the platform is visually oriented and requires almost zero code.

If you’re not using a preset template, you’ll build using drag-and-drop building blocks called containers to construct the various sections of your website. Within these containers are elements, like headings, buttons and images, which you style using classes.

With Webflow, the code is still there, and you can access it if you want, but you can build and manage your website without ever having to look at it, too. But if you tried building a WordPress site without a preset theme and no coding experience, you’d probably never get the thing off the ground. However, as WordPress’s preset themes are fairly inflexible, you’ll get more out of them if you know at least a little HTML. You can integrate a visual drag-and-drop design builder plugin like Elementor on WordPress—making it work more like Webflow, incidentally—but you’d need to pay for the plugin package, which is where the endeavour might start getting pricey.

WordPress… is better for blog hosting

There’s a reason so many blogs are hosted on WordPress: that was the platform’s original raison d’être when it was launched back in 2003.

WordPress is incredibly easy to work with when it comes to blogging. With its Gutenberg editor you can build blogs using blocks, which contain text and other media. It’s a simple and intuitive system.

While Webflow does have a CMS package, it can’t hold a candle to WordPress. Its editor isn’t the easiest to use, and it lacks many of WordPress’s advanced features, such as the comments section, and the ability to categorise and add multiple tags to posts. Webflow just isn’t built with content-driven businesses in mind—which is totally fine if that’s not what you’re about, although even then it’s worth bearing in mind in case you want to build out your blog in the future.

Webflow… offers customer support

Because you’re paying a monthly fee for Webflow, you benefit from new features, continual product improvements and customer support, the latter being especially handy if you don’t have in-house developers to call on when something goes wrong.

WordPress, on the other hand, is an open-source platform, so there’s no customer support available. That being said, the platform’s been going so long that a raft of free resources has accumulated on easily accessible websites like WPBeginner, although naturally nothing compares to realtime assistance from a dedicated customer support team as you’ll enjoy with Webflow.

WordPress… caters better to marketers

If you have a team of marketers who will be working on your website daily, WordPress is the platform for you, not least because it can handle an unlimited number of users.

Webflow enables you to edit on-page, which is a nice touch, whereas on WordPress you always need to make changes to pages via the CMS dashboard. But generally, Webflow simply isn’t built to support the level of activity possible on WordPress. With its CMS package you can have up to three ‘guest editors’, but the free and Basic packages don’t allow any editors whatsoever, meaning you’ll also be working from a single login. With the most expensive package you can have up to 10 editors. (Technically you can have more if you opt for a custom plan, but that’s when things start getting seriously pricey.) Even the nomenclature of guest editors speaks to the fact that Webflow considers marketers from within the company using the CMS as ‘guests’ to the website.

The two platforms’ different approaches to SEO optimisation also reflect their target users. Much of the SEO performance on Webflow is generated automatically, negating most of the manual work. You simply define a pattern using things like title tags and meta descriptions, then all pages in that collection will use that pattern to generate SEO settings automatically. This setup suits designers who don’t want to be thinking about writing metatags and other SEO-related tasks.

Meanwhile, over on WordPress is the Yoast plugin, which is either free or $99 annually for the premium version. This caters far more for marketers, because rather than doing anything automatically Yoast highlights keywords and guides you to create higher-quality content that’s as SEO-friendly as possible.

Webflow… offers more design freedom

Webflow is aimed at those with little or even no coding experience, often visually oriented designers and marketers who don’t want to be limited by code. Webflow therefore gives you a lot of freedom to design your website. You have the same level of customisation on WordPress too, of course, but if you’re not confident with coding then you’ll need a developer’s help to realise your vision.

Because of this setup, Webflow has far fewer preset templates than WordPress—1,000 vs 10,000 respectively. WordPress’s templates are out-of-the-box, whereas with Webflow’s templates you need to want total control and freedom over designing your website yourself.

Making changes to your Webflow design is easier post-build than on WordPress. Webflow utilises classes to style elements, such as headings, buttons and images, and you name each class—Big heading, Medium heading, Small heading, for example. Then if you want the text to be bigger for all your Big headings, you simply search for the class in the righthand menu, where you can make changes to its size, spacing and layout. These alterations are then applied automatically across all elements using that class. You can do this with CSS in WordPress, but the platform doesn’t offer no-code design tweaks unless you integrate a visual drag-and-drop design plugin.

WordPress… integrates better with other tools

WordPress is specifically designed to be used with plugins, and at present there are 60,000 available. WordPress plugins make integrations native: you don’t need to leave the platform to add them—simply go to the plugin menu on the dashboard and browse the thousands of options. Installation is performed with a single click!

In contrast, the premise of Webflow is that you have everything you need ready to go in a single handy package—no need to integrate any add-ons. You can still pull other tools into your Webflow website using code snippets, whereby you embed code into the backend of your site—but since Webflow’s strength lies in the fact you barely need code to manage your site, these code snippets are a workaround at best. Moreover, you’ll need to work with the third-party software separately, as it won’t be fully integrated into Webflow.

Webflow vs WordPress: which should you choose?

Webflow is the website builder for you if:

  • whoever’s building your site has little to no coding experience
  • you want to get your website up and running fast and with minimal effort
  • you’re new to website building and would benefit from customer support
  • you want to be able to make custom design changes to your website without having to call on a developer

…Whereas WordPress will be right for you if:

  • you have coding experience or the budget to hire a web developer
  • you have an existing tech stack you want to integrate into your website
  • you have a team of editors or marketers who will be contributing regularly
  • you want to host a blog or plan to frequently add new content pages to your site

Choosing between Webflow and WordPress depends on your budget, objectives, the experience of who’s building your website, what you plan to use the website for, and who will be editing and managing it. Both platforms are fantastic at what they do, and as long as you understand the inherent limitations of whichever you opt for, you’ll have a fabulous and SEO-worthy website going live in no time at all!

Top 5 AI Tools to Enhance Your Marketing

You’d be hard-pressed to find any company, big or small, that’s not either using or at least considering AI tools to promote its brand and business—if only because that’s what the competition’s doing. But with so many tools to choose from, it can be tough knowing where to start. That’s why today I’ve collated the 5 best AI tools which have helped our clients reap immense rewards—and in rapid time.

An AI marketing tool is simply any platform or software that draws on AI to automate decisions based on your customer data, then analyses it and implements it according to your business goals and current market trends.

The goal of using such a tool is pretty much universal: anticipate the buyer’s next move—sometimes even before they know it themselves. This is all done in real time, and with no human supervision or intervention necessary. It’s this capacity to automate decisions at lightning speed that makes AI marketing tools formidable and game-changing. They crunch unimaginably large chunks of information from email, social media and the internet at large to bridge the gap between data and the actionable solutions you need to enhance your sales and marketing campaigns.

There are endless AI marketing tools to choose from, and it can feel overwhelming even trying to research them. So let me offer you a cheat sheet—the 5 finest AI marketing tools with which I’ve had firsthand experience of generating epic results for clients.

1) Flick

Price

7-day free trial, then:

  • Solo: £11 a month
  • Pro: £24 a month
  • Agency: £55 a month

Standout features

  • Post scheduling
  • AI idea brainstorming
  • Autosuggested hashtags
  • On-brand AI caption writing
  • Hashtag Search and Manager

Flick AI Social Media Assistant is a powerful tool designed to help marketers streamline the brainstorming, writing, and planning of their social media content. And by virtue of its 7-day free trial, users can create engaging and entirely on-brand content more easily than ever.

With Flick you can ideate around distinct content concepts, arrange and schedule your posts with a single click, and turn lengthy pieces into bitesized nuggets ready for sharing. And with Flick’s autosuggested hashtags and Hashtag Search and Manager, you’ve got every base covered when it comes to effective content management and visibility enhancement.

Flick is simple to set up, and even offers 24/7 support. It’s trusted by over 100,000 brands, marketers and content creators worldwide, who love how the tool saves them time, boosts their results, and improves their social media presence.

2) Phrasee

Price: Custom quote

Standout features

  • Dynamic content
  • Predictive analytics
  • Engagement metrics
  • Content management

Phrasee’s focus is brand language optimisation—that is, enhancing the language companies use for their brands online. Phrasee utilises a natural language generation system and machine learning algorithm to produce copy not only for socials but also for email and even push notifications. The result? Human-sounding copy that’s both effective and on-brand.

Phrasee is already turning heads in major places, counting Virgin and Domino’s among its fast-expanding client base.

3) GrowthBar

Price

  • Standard: $29 a month
  • Pro: $79 a month
  • Agency: $129 a month

Standout features

  • SEO
  • Meta generator
  • AI blogging tools
  • Paragraph generator

GrowthBar automates content generation using GPT-3, the first AI technology to pass the Turing test—that is, a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of a human. GrowthBar suggests links, images, keywords, word count—and that barely scratches the surface. It’s capable of providing extensive backlinks and creating outlines for blogs. There’s also a Chrome extension.

4) Optimove

Price: Custom quote

Standout features

  • A/B testing
  • Campaign insights
  • Hypersegmentation
  • Multichannel tracking

Optimove is a customer data platform packed with AI-based marketing functions. It helps collect data from a multitude of platforms to form a unified view in one handy dashboard, where you can analyse your information, share it with your team, and leverage it to execute more precise marketing strategies.

Optimove uses a proprietary AI tool called Optibot, which scours all your customer data to generate actionable insights. Optibot can suggest which of your campaigns aren’t worth continuing with based on loss, and inform you when customers are potentially being exposed to excessive company comms.

Optimove must be doing something right, counting among its clients John Hardy, Sweaty Betty and the New York Racing Association.

5) Jasper

Price

  • Starter (20k words): $40 a month
  • Boss Mode (50k words) $82 a month

Standout features

  • Machine learning
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Content generation
  • Tone of voice settings
  • Customisable templates

Previously called Conversion.ai, Jasper is an advanced AI marketing tool designed to create high-quality ad copy, emails, articles, landing pages and social media posts. Like GrowthBar it draws on GPT-3 to produce human-sounding text, and comes with built-in templates for PAS, AIDA, BAB and FtB. All you need to do is insert your brand or product name, and voilà!—on-brand copy, ready to go.

And as if that weren’t enough, if you’re an eCommerce brand you can even use Jasper to create product descriptions whether in meta or bullet point form, all at the click of a button.

What are the benefits of using an AI marketing tool?

Creating realtime personalisation

Today’s customers expect you to know what they want. This is an area where AI marketing tools come into their own, empowering you to adapt your sales and marketing strategy to generate a personalised experience for any given customer. Using predictive analysis, AI gains an exponentially better understanding of each individual shopper’s behaviours and buying habits. Imagine that power—being able to guide a customer to exactly the product that best suits their preferences, and at the precise time they want it most.

Automating tricky decisions

Data is everything in modern marketing, so being able to automate the gathering, analysis and implementation of your data is beyond powerful. For example, you can ascertain with great accuracy how your audience would react to a message before even having to launch it. Think of how many headaches that’s going to save you.

Increasing ROI

AI tools enable marketers to maximise the amount of information they produce while minimising the costs of other campaigns. At the same time they offer deep customer insights, and throw light on what your customers really want. What’s more, with AI tools you can group warm leads and guide them to move forward in the buying journey, ultimately boosting your odds of making a sale—and transforming ROI for your business.

Saving time and money

Every business owner is on the lookout to save money on their marketing campaigns. So while an AI marketing tool may be a sizeable investment to begin with, it pays dividends by cutting heaps of costs down the road. With an AI tool in your arsenal you can work faster and more efficiently, because you’re no longer having to pay staff to do the majority of the manual work. Instead of hiring a full team you can just recruit people for those tasks that absolutely can’t be performed without human supervision. And ultimately, AI massively reduces the chance of human error, too.

If you haven’t invested in AI marketing tools yet—the time is now

AI itself is nothing new—for years companies have been looking for ways to apply automation to accelerate their processes, streamline their systems, and draw ever more actionable insights to boost revenue. What is new is the power of these up-and-coming technologies—and the fact that investing in AI is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. So as a business, it’s vital to become conversant with AI marketing tools to stay ahead of the competition. In no time at all you’ll be honing a prosperous and futureproof brand.

How Do Google’s Performance Max Campaigns Work?

What sets Performance Max apart from other types of Google Ads campaign is automation, which Google uses to produce ads based on the creative assets you provide. But how does Performance Max optimally combine these assets to maximise campaign performance?

Unlike other types of Google Ads campaign, Performance Max automates target and delivery according to the data you feed into it. It’s also differentiated from other campaign types by its eligibility to run across all of Google’s inventory, able to serve in any placement filled by Search, Display, Gmail, YouTube and Discovery campaigns.

What controls do I have with Performance Max?

When you set up your Performance Max campaign, you choose your objective depending on your goals, and have the option to connect your product feeds and store locations.

Budget and bidding

To begin you set your budget and select your bidding strategy, whose options include maximum value and maximum conversions. You can also set a maximum CPA or target value or conversion, enabling you to leverage Target CPA and Target ROAS strategies.

Location, language and scheduling

Performance Max isn’t currently supported by Google Ads Editor, so setting up its targeting is a little more fiddly than with most campaigns. If you’re looking to include multiple locations, you can hit Enter another location, which expands to include a space, then hit Advanced search, which enables you to bulk-import locations. From there you can select your languages, ad schedule and campaign run dates.

Advanced URL options

Google defines its own final URLs by default unless you toggle that option off. It’s worth noting that if you permit Google to send traffic to whatever links it sees fit, you can exclude links as well. You can also add tracking templates.

Setting up asset groups

Next you’ll be directed to set up an asset group, which is effectively an ad, and so named because it acts like an asset to all platforms. It’s similar to a responsive display asset. You can create as many asset groups as you like.

Automated targeting

Each campaign has only one set of targeting—so no ad groups. You can select audiences to give Google insight into who to target, and it will automatically show your ads to those users most likely to convert for your goals. Then you can accelerate optimisation by providing audience signals. This means your campaigns may not be delivered only to those audiences—rather, Google uses the audiences you provide to generate signals, and uses that data to identify similar customers who are also likely to exhibit the same interests and behaviours.

Ad extensions

Finally you add your extensions. You can opt to use existing account-level sitelink extensions, or instead select and create specific sitelinks for your Performance Max campaigns, which suggest extension formats based on your goals. For example, if your primary goal is lead generation, the campaign suggests you create a lead form extension. You can also add callouts, snippets, call extensions, and price and promo extensions.

What does a Performance Max campaign include?

Performance Max reporting is currently somewhat limited. Advertisers can report broadly on campaign performance as they can with any other campaign, but matters become more opaque when it comes to granular analytical breakdown.

At present there are three general types of performance you can report on:

  • top-level campaign performance
  • performance by hour of day, weekday, or hour and weekday combined
  • location performance—and if you’re advertising a chain, your store report is available based on location extensions

However, there are still several things you can’t report on. For example, while you can add multiple asset groups (ads), it’s not currently possible to report on performance by asset group. For instance, you can report on performance by responsive display ad, but you can’t break that performance down by individual asset in any meaningful way. And in fact, with Performance Max you can’t even take that initial step of breaking down performance by asset group.

Furthermore, at the moment there’s no information given on targeting. Remember, the targeting parameters provided are used as indicators to identify other potential customers in-market—so those audiences provided won’t necessarily be used as targets, but rather as a means of identifying qualifiers and indicators to find other likely prospects. That means ultimately there’s no way of knowing who actually sees your ads—no reporting on keyword, audience or demographic. It’s therefore not possible to add exclusions for these factors. You also can’t report on device performance or make exclusions accordingly.

Is Performance Max worth it?

As a marketer I have to say that some aspects of Performance Max still feel novel even now, like URL expansion and autogenerated video assets. That’s fun! Other elements feel more familiar, like responsive ads and conversion-only bidding.

In my experience Performance Max performs well, driving a lot of volume for our numerous eCommerce clients here at Pixated. On the flipside, if you’re a lead generation company then I don’t recommend Performance Max unless you’ve got sophisticated tracking in place (and have the capability in-house to use it and interpret its output).

Furthermore, Performance Max isn’t worth trying full stop unless you’re prepared to spend at least $50 a day for at least a month, although really you want to be looking more toward $100 a day. Otherwise you’re unlikely to generate enough data and learning for the format to work as it’s designed to.

For inspiration, check out a case study shared by Google outlining how online lender MoneyMe leveraged Performance Max to the max, boosting conversions by 22%, increasing revenue from newly funded loans by $800k, and reducing overall CPA by 20% across the account.

If you’re an eCommerce brand, don’t wait to find out whether Performance Max could be right for your business model—the time is now! Just be prepared to set aside an adequate budget to generate the data Google needs to learn and optimise your campaigns.

Top 6 AI Tools That Marketers Should Know About

Today, large and small businesses use cutting-edge AI marketing tools to promote their brands and grow their enterprises through artificial intelligence (AI). With AI marketing tools, automated decisions can be made based on analysed data and interpreted against current market trends. They can predict consumers’ next actions in real time without human involvement, making them incredibly powerful for businesses.

AI-based marketing tools are vital for bloggers, e-commerce entrepreneurs, and affiliate marketers alike. Therefore, you will be able to develop and implement a more effective marketing strategy, which will assist you in meeting your goals more effectively.

To maintain a competitive edge in this rapidly evolving marketplace, staying current on the top AI areas in marketing is essential. This article will explore some of the best tools available for these areas, providing you with valuable information to maximise the potential of AI marketing in your organisation.

AI-Powered Analytics

AI analytics tools are technology-driven solutions designed to collect, analyse, and interpret data related to marketing efforts. Businesses can use them to gain insights into marketing campaigns, customer behaviour, and overall performance. This enables businesses to make data-driven decisions and optimise their marketing strategies.

By leveraging these tools, businesses can gain a competitive edge and stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly data-driven world. A good example of such a tool is SEMrush, which is used for AI analytics.

SEMrush

SEMrush is a renowned name in the field of marketing. They offer a range of digital marketing tools that can help businesses optimise their marketing strategies, improve their online presence, and gain insights into their competitors’ strategies. Their platform includes tools for search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, and competitive analysis.

Moreover, SEMrush provides various AI-powered tools such as the content outline builder, SEO Writing Assistant, and ImpactHero. These tools can assist in improving online presence by identifying gaps in content and providing insights for optimizations. By utilising their suite of tools, businesses can stay ahead of the competition in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

AI Email Marketing

AI email marketing refers to using artificial intelligence-powered tools and technologies to enhance various aspects of email marketing campaigns. AI-based email marketing can optimise email marketing campaigns’ construction, administration, and optimisation to make them more efficient and effective, resulting in stronger connections with audiences and higher conversion rates.

Overall, these tools enable marketers to create more targeted, personalised, and timely communications, resulting in stronger connections with their target audience and higher conversion rates.

Twilio SendGrid

Twilio SendGrid provides a suite of tools for developing effective email marketing campaigns. These include email automation, sign-up forms, email testing, email design, email templates, and email statistics. In addition, they provide an email API with SMYP service, email validation, deliverability insights, dynamic templates, and email integration.

It employs AI in three key areas:

  • Validation of email addresses: The real-time API examines your list to detect and prevent invalid email addresses, keeping your list clean and lowering bounce rates.
  • Neural protection: This improves your deliverability rates by identifying potentially dangerous transmission patterns. The AI examines outgoing messages to identify ways in which you harm your reputation with ISPs.
  • Deliverability insights: The AI analyses your real-time metrics and email performance to provide suggestions for enhancing email deliverability.

AI Graphic Designing

Effective visual representation of campaigns is crucial for lead generation and prospecting in marketing. AI-powered graphic design solutions assist in developing, editing, and optimising visual material. These tools leverage artificial intelligence to automate various aspects of graphic design, making the design process simpler and more efficient for experienced designers and non-experts.

By streamlining and improving the design process, these tools enable the creation of visually alluring and effective graphics that can facilitate better engagement with the target audience and help achieve marketing objectives. DALL is one such AI-powered graphic design tool that we will explore.

DALL-E

Among the most popular tools in creating graphics is DALL-E. The DALL-E AI from OpenAI can create unique pictures based on written descriptions. It is a creative tool that combines natural language processing and image generation, allowing it to generate original visualisations based on user input.

While DALL-E isn’t free ($15 for 115 credits), it’s a great way to quickly and easily create engaging photos for use in social media, email marketing, and advertising. In addition, you may load an existing picture to use as a template.

AI Copywriting

Next up, we have our AI-generated copywriting. Artificial intelligence copywriting solutions use Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning models to streamline the writing, editing, and publishing processes.

These resources make copywriting less time-consuming and more accessible, empowering writers of all skill levels to produce excellent content for use in marketing campaigns, blogs, social media posts, and other contexts. Two of the most popular tools for creating marketing copy are ChatGPT and Jasper. There is no denying that these tools have garnered headlines in the copywriting world. Now let’s dive into each tool in more detail:

ChatGPT

OpenAI created ChatGPT, an AI-powered text generation model that can understand and generate conversational-like text. Here are some of the ways that ChatGPT can help with marketing copywriting:

  • Write copy: ChatGPT can be used to write full pieces of marketing copy, including blog posts, website copy, and email marketing campaigns. This saves time and creates high-quality content.
  • Edit and refine copy: ChatGPT can also be used to edit and refine marketing copy. This can be helpful for copywriters who want to make sure that their copy is clear, concise, and persuasive.
  • Generate ideas: ChatGPT can be used to generate new ideas for marketing copy. Copywriters who are stuck or who are looking for new methods can benefit from this resource.approach a campaign.
  • Brainstorm headlines and taglines: ChatGPT can be used to brainstorm headlines and taglines for marketing campaigns. It can be a time-consuming task, but ChatGPT can help to speed up the process and generate more creative ideas.

In general, ChatGPT can improve the marketing copywriting process. By using ChatGPT, copywriters can save time, generate new ideas, and create more effective marketing campaigns.

Jasper AI

Jasper AI and ChatGPT are both AI-powered language models, but separate entities develop them and have unique use cases. Conversion.ai has developed Jasper AI, formerly known as Jarvis. It is a copywriting tool designed to assist businesses and individuals in producing high-quality content for a variety of purposes.

Jasper helps in creating marketing copy by using a combination of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning algorithms to analyse and understand the brand’s voice, target audience, and marketing objectives. Jasper AI provides users with content templates and prompts, speeding up the process of content creation and sparing them time. Here’s how Jasper can assist in creating different types of marketing copy:

  • Social media posts
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Landing pages
  • Blog posts
  • Case studies
  • Press releases

Overall, Jasper helps in creating marketing copy by leveraging its AI-powered capabilities to understand your brand’s voice, audience, and goals.

AI Video & Audio Editing

To assist in the production of audio and video marketing materials, an essential category is the use of AI-powered video and audio editing applications. This collection of applications simplifies the production, modification, and optimization of audio and video content. Through the use of these applications, editing and producing video and audio content becomes more accessible and efficient. This allows professionals and non-experts alike to craft high-quality videos and audio files for various purposes, including marketing materials, podcasts, and social media postings. Finally, these tools prove to be of great use for enhancing the effectiveness and reach of audio and video marketing materials.

Synthesia

Synthesia is an AI-powered video creation platform that can help you save time and money when creating videos in multiple languages. Over 50 video templates and 70 AI avatars are available in Synthesia, so you never have to repeat the same templates.

You can use Synthesia for your business in the following ways:

  • Train your employees with educational content.
  • Produce synthetic media in large quantities.
  • Replace voiceover actors with it.
  • Use it for HR onboarding.
  • Enhance your video marketing.

However, using these tools raises security concerns, particularly when dealing with sensitive marketing data. Using a VPN can solve this problem. By using a VPN, marketers can ensure the security and privacy of their data and prevent unauthorised access to it. A VPN encrypts all data being transmitted and creates a secure connection. This means that even if a third party intercepts the data, it will be unreadable. To ensure maximum security, choosing a reputable VPN service suitable for marketers who want to use AI tools securely is important.

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence has vastly transformed the marketing industry, providing businesses of all sizes access to advanced AI marketing tools to enhance their brand and expand their operations. These AI marketing tools leverage AI technology to make automated decisions based on analysed data and current market trends. By utilising AI-powered analytics, email marketing, graphic design, and copywriting tools, businesses can gain actionable insights into their marketing campaigns, strengthen their marketing strategies, and create visually appealing graphics that improve marketing outcomes.

The evolving landscape requires businesses to incorporate AI-powered marketing tools into their strategy to stay ahead of the curve in a data-driven world, make data-driven decisions, and execute a successful marketing strategy. AI-powered marketing tools enable businesses to gain a competitive advantage, enhance their online presence, and improve their conversion rates, leading to a better return on investment.

How Do Facebook’s Advantage+ Campaigns Work?

If you’ve set up a Facebook ads campaign recently, you might have noticed a campaign option called Advantage+. This streamlines Facebook’s proven processes by following recommended settings. But if you haven’t seen this option yet, today we explore Advantage+: how it works, and both its benefits and drawbacks.

Advantage+ campaigns, Facebook’s new model for conversion campaigns, have made it easier than ever to get the results you need. By allowing Facebook to automatically select tailored campaign settings on your behalf, like bidding strategy and optimisation methods, they’ve massively reduced the amount of manual input required.

Unlike traditional conversion campaigns on Facebook ads, an Advantage+ campaign merges the campaign, ad set and ad creation stages into a single stage, and encourages advertisers to utilise Dynamic Ads.

While Advantage+ Campaigns aren’t currently available to all advertisers, Facebook is rolling them out to more and more worldwide. They look set to eventually replace the existing manual creation process entirely.

How do I set up an Advantage+ campaign?

You can set up an Advantage+ campaign in Facebook’s Ads Managers. Hit Create a campaign, and choose Conversions as your campaign objective. If you’re a selected advertiser with access to this relatively new feature, you’ll be presented with the option of an Advantage+ campaign. Then Facebook will prompt you to complete the usual setup stages: campaign name, ad copy, ad set targeting. Of course, this is far fewer steps than normal, as Advantage+ is geared toward Facebook ads novices.

What are the benefits of an Advantage+ campaign?

There are three primary ways in which using an Advantage+ campaign could benefit your business, especially if you’re a newbie when it comes to Facebook marketing:

  • It’s recommended by Facebook, with preset parameters depending on the nature of your business
  • It’s streamlined, with a simplified setup enabling advertisers to create a campaign in far fewer steps than normal
  • It’s tried and tested, the result of Facebook having helped countless businesses produce high-performing conversion campaigns through Advantage+’s optimised settings

If you’re inexperienced with Facebook ads or lacking in confidence, Advantage+ is a godsend, with its easy campaign creation process and minimal manual work required to get your ads up and running.

What are the drawbacks of an Advantage+ campaign?

While an Advantage+ campaign simplifies the conversion campaign creation process, they’ll be of little interest to those advertisers seeking to have a lot more input. For example, many won’t be keen on Facebook automatically choosing the optimisation method for them, as this loss of freedom could ultimately prove detrimental to their marketing goals. What’s more, the one-window setup isn’t ideal for those who want to create their campaigns in stages, rather than in one big chunk.

Is an Advantage+ campaign right for me?

Advantage+ campaigns are aimed at those who are beginners when it comes to Facebook ads, enabling these users to skip the more fiddly stages. The flipside of this accessibility is that they’re of little use to anyone looking to refine their settings manually based on their goals or experience. Nevertheless, it’s brilliant to finally see them as an option on Facebook’s Ads Manager, where a simplified all-in-one campaign creation process has been long sought after by less experienced advertisers.

The Top 5 Social Metrics Businesses Must Track

Social media metrics are vital to your marketing strategy. But of the countless metrics you could track, which should you track? These are the top 5 that have helped my own clients find success time and again.

Your social metrics enable you to take a deep dive into your channels’ performance, gain insights into what your audience really thinks about your brand and business, and understand how to improve those perceptions.

However, with the seemingless endless number of metrics available, it can be hard knowing where to start. That’s why today I’ve laid out the 5 most powerful metrics to track for your social media marketing, as evidenced by the stellar results and immense successes enjoyed by my own clients.

1) Likes and Comments

Having a big following is a great start, absolutely—but ultimately it doesn’t mean much if your audience isn’t interacting with your content. Measuring how often users like and comment on your posts is crucial, not least because it comprises both qualitative data (likes) and quantitative data (comments), both of which you can leverage in different ways to improve your content and shape it around what your audience wants to see.

2) Impressions

Social media impressions measure how many users were exposed to your content. This matters because it gives you an insight into just how far your ad spend can actually go, and therefore can inform future paid ad spending to help you maximise your budget.

That being said, even if paid ads aren’t part of your current marketing strategy, you might still want to look at impressions—they can also teach you about what kind of content is resonating most with your audience. On that note, remember that each platform measures impressions differently. An impression on Twitter is when a user sees a tweet, whereas on Facebook it’s when they see a paid ad onscreen. On Instagram it’s when a user views a piece of content, and on TikTok there’s actually no metric called impressions, although of course for the purpose of your own data you could count a video view as an impression.

3) Lead generation

Lead generation is when you attract prospects to your business and nurture them to boost their interest in your brand, with a view to converting them into customers. Marketers use social media to generate leads by creating compelling and irresistible content that attracts and delights audiences in equal measure. Measuring lead generation actually entails tracking other metrics, like web traffic, lead quality, and conversion rates from your social channels. For example, a significant amount of web traffic coming from Facebook highlights that your Facebook presence in particular is a good source of lead generation.

4) Sales or revenue

Most social media platforms that offer monetisation schemes are transparent in how much you can earn from them as a marketer. That makes it easy to track precisely how well your activity is translating into sales or revenue.

5) Web traffic

If you’re reading this, your business probably relies at least somewhat on web traffic—so measuring it is imperative. For example, you might track pageviews across your Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest profiles to measure how much of your web traffic is coming from organic social media.

Top 3 tools for tracking social metrics

1) HubSpot

Price: Free trial, then $800–$3,600 for the Marketing Hub

HubSpot monitors both your web traffic and brand mentions across social media. Its accessible dashboard follows the customer lifecycle, automatically tracks engagements, and makes it easier than ever to schedule posts.

2) NetBase Quid

Price: $300–$1,000 a month

NetBase Quid enables you to quickly identify emerging trends to make better-informed decisions and increase ROI. It provides realtime analytics on conversations involving your brand worldwide, and helps you scope out the main drivers of these conversations all across social media.

3) Google Analytics

Price: Free

Google Analytics collates data from across your app and website to better understand your customer journey. It includes privacy controls like cookieless measurement, as well as advanced conversion and behavioural modelling.

A brief learning period—and a lifetime of brand growth thereafter

Your social metrics are key to knowing how your brand’s social media profiles are performing with regard to your predetermined marketing goals. They’re essential for growing your business and continually enhancing its public image. Invest some time in understanding how they work and which would be most valuable to track, and soon you’ll be enjoying greater brand visibility and happier customers than ever.

Webflow Review: A Website Builder for Website Designers

A few years ago, web design platforms that we now think of as more traditional like Drupal and WordPress were flying high. Then their hegemony was usurped by free and eminently accessible website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. Then Webflow came along, a brilliant compromise between modern and traditional. It’s a website builder, sure, but it brings levels of power and customisation usually reserved for those platforms suited only to reasonably accomplished web designers, like WordPress. That makes Webflow perfect for users who don’t have the time or knowledge to get into the code at the backend but still need a platform that can be fully tailored to their needs.

There are two ways of using Webflow:

  • Designing and hosting your website on the platform, and using Editor to update it
  • Designing your website on the platform, then exporting the code and hosting and editing it on your own server space.

Most users choose to design and host on Webflow, simply because websites built on the platform are more reliable when hosted on its own servers. They’re also easier to update, because you have access both to a CMS and to Webflow Editor, neither of which is available when you self-host. Those who do choose to export the code to their own server space tend to be professional website developers, experienced and confident in updating and editing via code rather than via a CMS.

Webflow: key features

  • Multiple payment options including Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay
  • Parallax scrolling, and a whole host of other multi-step animations and microinteractions
  • Automatic tax and VAT calculations at the checkout, saving you hours of time inputting different tax brackets and amending VAT costs
  • Facebook Store and Instagram Shop integration so you can cross-sell between your site and your social channels, as well as run smarter marketing campaigns
  • SEO control, not just giving you basic capabilities like creating image alt text, targeting keywords, and editing metadata, but also enabling you to autogenerate sitemaps and customisable 301 redirects

Webflow: user experience

Editor
Once you’ve completed the easy-to-understand tutorial and chosen a template, you enter Webflow Editor, which is packed with design options. The platform usefully breaks the process down into what Webflow calls the box model: think of every element of your site as sitting in its own separate box, and then all the boxes are stacked on top of each other to create the final layout. This makes it easier to visualise what you want.

Template design
Webflow comes with over 100 templates, 40 of which are free, so you’re sure to find one perfect for your brand. You can preview designs before making a decision, and explore which support dynamic content. Every template is fully responsive, automatically adapting to different screen sizes, and comes with a description outlining what type of site it’s best for and what design options are available to you. Premium templates range from $19 to $149. All of Webflow’s templates, free and premium, can hold their own against those of Squarespace when it comes to aesthetic, responsiveness and customisation.

Backups and security
Webflow provides automatic backups so you can restore your site to the last save point if something goes wrong. It also comes with a free SSL certificate, which helps protect your site, and shows visitors they can trust it with their personal data.

Help and support

Webflow doesn’t enable you to contact help directly. There’s no phone number or live chat—the only way to get in touch is via email. That being said, Webflow University is an online resource stuffed with guides on how to use the platform. There’s also the community forum where users can seek help and advice for specific issues or just share their experiences. No matter your difficulty, there’s almost certainly someone who’s gone through that problem themselves—and resolved it!

Webflow isn’t perfect—but it surpasses the needs of its specific target audience

Webflow isn’t the easiest platform, but it most certainly stands out when it comes to design. It feels simultaneously advanced and accessible, because there’s no end to your customisation possibilities, and yet you don’t need to be a coding maestro to fully leverage its capabilities. Webflow’s templates are well designed and fully optimised for mobile, and cover a range of industries—although you may need to draw on some third-party integrations to get it looking exactly how you want. With total control over every aspect of your website’s design and access to stunning animation effects, you’re well positioned to manifest the site of your dreams.

Webflow isn’t suitable for beginners, who would get much more out of intuitive and easily accessible website builders like Divi and Elementor, which still leave a lot of leeway for creativity. But it’s ideal for web designers looking to build detailed sites without need for coding expertise. It’s also great for users who have previously only used builders like Weebly but now want more control over the look and feel of their site.

Ultimately, of course, no matter what website builder you end up choosing, just make sure you’re confident in using it. Utilise all the guides and resources on offer, tap into the potential of the community forum, and watch as many tutorial videos as you need to get conversant with your new platform!

Shopify Review: Arguably the Best eCommerce Platform on the Market

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that caters equally well to both beginners and experienced website builders, bringing together all the tools a business owner needs to create an online shop. It has an easy-to-use backend, a variety of payment processing solutions, and a wide assortment of themes you can use to customise your store. Shopify even comes with Liquid, its own templating language, ideal for those who love tinkering with code to ensure their store totally represents their brand and conveys their message.

Shopify is hosted on the company’s own servers, meaning you don’t need to install software or buy any separate hosting packages to use it. You just build your online store using your web browser, and there are even mobile apps to manage it on the go. You can also expand your store’s functionality by adding apps from the Shopify marketplace.

Shopify: key features

  • CSS and HTML options for those confident in coding
  • Online editor enabling you to customise your store with ease
  • Built-in email solutions for reaching out to customers direct
  • App for Android and iOS for managing your store wherever you are
  • Vouchers and discount codes to maximise your odds of making a sale
  • Abandoned cart recovery to boost your chances of converting customers
  • Range of mobile-responsive themes, including both free and paid options
  • SEO capabilities including control over your redirects, metadata and sitemap URLs
  • Git integration for more advanced developers to manage workflow and version control
  • One-click theme duplication, allowing you to update and preview pages before they go live
  • Blog where you can develop your inbound marketing strategy and showcase your thought leadership
  • Social media integration to seamlessly meld your public-facing platforms with your online store
  • Reporting and analytics covering sales, customer behaviours, search data, marketing insights and abandoned cart stats
  • Global selling options, including both direct and wholesale transactions and the ability to sell in person through point-of-sale integrations using a dedicated app
  • Shipping functionality, enabling you to offer overnight delivery, package pickups, shipping insurance, shipment tracking, international shipping and discounts on shipping costs
  • Marketing tools enabling you to nurture customers over time, including audience insights, customer segmentation and chat functionality, through which customers can contact you direct with their queries
  • Secure checkout where you can accept orders and take payments where you sell online—in fact, Spotify is the market leader in this area to the point that WordPress plugin developers are now replicating it for WooCommerce
  • Shopify Payments, which accepts a range of credit cards, has its own fraud protection capabilities, and can be connected to the payment processing on your other channels both online and off- if you wish to expand your store’s potential

Shopify: pros and cons

Pros

  • Dozens of apps
  • Point-of-sale tools
  • Easy management
  • Product categories
  • Tax calculation tools
  • Multi-currency selling
  • Multi-language hosting
  • Shopify Shipping service
  • Plans for every kind of store
  • Email marketing capabilities
  • Variety of payment gateways
  • Abandoned cart functionality
  • Accessible layout for beginners
  • Seamless drag-and-drop builder
  • Responsive and flexible templates
  • Shopify-managed hosting and security

Cons

  • Relatively high transaction fees on cheaper plans
  • Rudimentary reporting and analytics on cheaper plans
  • Only a handful of free themes compared to other builders
  • Some store functionalities only improved by installing apps
  • Custom changes require some knowledge of its templating language Liquid

Shopify: user experience

Ease of use
Shopify is clean, sleek and intuitive, built specifically for beginners but just as useful to experienced website builders confident in producing a modern and dynamic online store from scratch. It’s also easy to merge your store with your omnichannel sales environment through accelerated payments, buy buttons for social media and Facebook and Instagram integrations. Linking out to other places like eBay, Etsy, Pinterest and Amazon does require third-party apps, but it’s still relatively straightforward.

Online store design
The Shopify interface has become increasingly user-friendly in recent years, and now its Online Store 2.0 solution gives you access to a convenient drag-and-drop builder whereby you can add and move blocks and sections around in seconds. If you’re looking for a more advanced design solution, it’s worth reaching out to an experienced developer or established agency, as the page builders provided by some of Shopify’s competitors like Wix and Squarespace are poor for eCommerce. That being said, the fact your online store can be created entirely without code makes Shopify an obvious choice for beginners who just want to get their shop up and running.

Product management
You can sell both physical and digital goods with Shopify, adding products one at a time or using a CSV file to upload data in bulk. Add photos and videos to your product pages, alt text for your images to enhance your SEO ranking, and even 3D models depending on your theme. Shopify doesn’t crop images on your behalf, so be sure to either upload your media in the right size or use the built-in photo editor to adjust them before publishing.

Inventory management
Shopify supports multichannel selling across every plan, and it’s easy to manage stock and orders no matter which channel you’re using. Track and transfer inventory across locations, and sync everything within your store. Just be aware that you may be limited in the scope of your inventory management unless you integrate additional apps. For example, you won’t be able to manage dropshipping orders unless you install an app.

Help and support

Shopify has a comprehensive approach to customer support. The Shopify Support team are available 24/7 via phone, email and live chat, and there’s an abundance of FAQs and resource articles in over 20 languages to explore, although they don’t include many visual insights into how to use your admin interface. That being said, you can sign up for Shopify courses to access a more thorough education in using the platform.

For supported themes, Shopify Support can actually make code updates and customisations—for free! What’s more, most popular apps have automatic installation and free installation support courtesy of the app developers, so you don’t need to worry about development costs when scaling your business. And finally, don’t underestimate the power of the community forums—they’re inhabited by experts ready and willing to help out anyone who’s run into a problem with their online store. You can even hire a certified Shopify Expert through the website!

No matter your industry or expertise, Shopify’s got you covered

Shopify is endlessly flexible and adaptable, empowering business owners around the world to sell both physical and digital goods and grow their companies, often with unprecedented ease. Of course that’s not to say Shopify doesn’t have a few downsides—unlocking some of its functionalities can be expensive, especially when you account for the additional transaction fees on some of its plans—but it’s intuitive, comprehensive, and rich in features. And what kind of price can you put on that accessibility and peace of mind?

WooCommerce Review: The DIYer’s eCommerce Platform | Pixated

WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform that gives business owners a lot of freedom to customise their online stores. A free plugin on WordPress, it’s not ideal for beginners because users need to be able to handle the technical side of the site—but if you’re a confident website builder then WooCommerce brings a raft of benefits!

WooCommerce: key features

    • Stock level control
    • Hundreds of plugins
    • WordPress integration
    • Total control over data
    • Mobile-friendly structure
    • Adjustable taxes and shipping rates
    • Unlimited products and product categories
    • Free extension for Facebook Ads and Facebook Shops
    • Built-in WooCommerce Payments—and you can easily integrate other gateways like Stripe and PayPal via free plugins

WooCommerce: user experience

Ease of use
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, not a subscription-based solution like Shopify. That means you’ll need some experience in setting up a web server, redirecting a domain to that server, and installing WordPress and ensuring it’s operational. And you’ll need to complete a few simple tasks before you can starting building your online store with it:

  • Get a domain name
  • Install WordPress
  • Sign up for a hosting account
  • Find and install a WordPress theme

Then you can install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress website and get building!

To make things easier if you’re not an expert but still feel confident enough to give WooCommerce a go, consider bringing on board a specialised WordPress hosting company to take care of the domain and installation, leaving you to focus solely on WooCommerce.

It’s also important to note that WooCommerce doesn’t come with any ‘design’ as such—it’s all handled via a WordPress theme of your choice. That being said, it’s still relatively easy because WooCommerce works with pretty much all themes on the market. All you need to do is find one that suits your brand and install it on the site.

As soon as you install and activate the WooCommerce plugin you’ll see the onscreen setup wizard, which guides you through each element in turn. It enables you to define the parameters of your store and get everything neatly configured, so tax, shipping, inventory, currency and payment gateways are ready when you go live.

Payment processing
With WooCommerce you can embed Stripe and PayPal in your online store, then process transactions conveniently without directing shoppers to a third-party checkout page. Both payment processors are reliable and efficient, and most WooCommerce stores run smoothly with those alone. You don’t even need a merchant bank account to get things up and running. But if you would like to try out a different service, you can integrate a plethora of other alternative payment processing solutions, most of which are simple plugins. It’s even possible to go beyond online selling, by leveraging the WooCommerce POS plugin for in-store transactions. This accommodates a range of providers offering in-person card-processing functionalities.

Once you’ve identified the gateway that’s right for you, simply install its add-on and connect the service to your merchant bank account. Now you can handle transactions on your online store without having to pay WooCommerce a penny, although note that the payment processors will charge you. The fees differ from one provider to another.

SEO
WooCommerce takes full advantage of the fact that WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, renowned by SEO experts for giving business owners the best chance to rank well for keywords. WooCommerce provides more SEO-specific options than other eCommerce platforms simply because it’s built on top of WordPress.

Security
Technically there aren’t any security measures included with the WooCommerce plugin. As it runs on WordPress, most of the responsibility for security falls to you. For example, you need to ensure your hosting company has secure servers, and configure your site’s security plugins and two-factor authentication. You also need to source your own SSL certificate, although you can usually get this through your hosting provider, sometimes even for free.

 

Help and support

Since WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, you can get a lot of support simply by exploring the latter’s community forums. But there’s also a dedicated WooCommerce team who will do their best to answer your queries and solve your problems.

Enjoy full control of your eCommerce store with WooCommerce

WooCommerce gives business owners access to thousands of site designs, as well as thousands of plugins which enable them to extend their stores’ functionality. As long as you don’t mind investing half a day into setting up your site, and you’re confident in handling most or all of it solo (unless you’ve brought an expert or specialist company on board to do it for you), WooCommerce is a fabulous and flexible platform that can open up a whole world of eCommerce possibilities, and empower you to grow your business like never before!

Google Analytics 4 Is Here—But Are You Ready? | Pixated

Google Analytics 4 represents a fundamentally different way of collecting data, and signals the increasing overlap between web and mobile app content and development. Businesses that haven’t yet installed GA4 need to get conversant with it fast—there’s just a month to go before Google deprecates Universal Analytics and GA4 becomes the only data analytics service available on the platform.

On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) accounts will stop collecting data, and a year later on July 1, 2024, Google Analytics 360 (GA360) accounts will also stop. They’re being replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a new Google product enabling users to collect web and app data separately or in one continuous property.

GA4 marks a major milestone in the tracking of web and app properties. Formerly called App + Web when announced in its beta stage in October 2020, GA4 builds on the foundation of cross-device unified measurement which Google introduced in July 2019. GA4 eliminates the need for manual stitching and workarounds between platforms, and ultimately quenches marketers’ thirst for unified data.

But if you haven’t implemented GA4 yet, read on and get ready—you don’t have long!

Have you seen the latest TikTok de-influencer trend?

This is basically where social media influencers slander a hyped up viral product and tells you exactly why you DON’T need it.

Is this going to be the death of influencing or another clever ploy to encourage you to buy a product. The double bluff?

What is Google Analytics 4?

GA4 isn’t a simple redesign of UA. It’s a whole new product, which until July 1, 2023 can be installed alongside your existing UA profile.

If you’re new to Analytics, however, GA4 is the default Google Analytics platform. It superseded UA in October 2020.

Google Analytics used to be divided between web properties—what we might think of as ‘traditional’ analytics—and Analytics for Firebase, which caters specifically to app needs.

GA4 unifies users’ data, and most importantly gives them flexible and powerful analytics tools within the bounds of cookieless tracking and consent management.

Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4: what’s changing?

Implementing GA4 doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your existing Analytics setup. For now you should keep that in place—its valuable historical data will be available for a further 6 months, and will complement the insights gathered from GA4. But as of July 1 next year, GA4 will become Google’s sole analytics platform.

If you’re setting up Analytics for the first time you can get started with GA4 right away, no need to create a separate UA profile. But if you’re transitioning from UA to GA4, a variety of changes are coming in the wake of growing data privacy restrictions.

Google Signals regionality
Launched in 2018, Signals is a Google product that collects data from users who’ve opted in to ad personalisation. The data is anonymised and made available to integrate into reporting and audience building. Signals can be disabled for specific countries and included for others. This level of control can be vital for political or socioeconomic reasons, because while not necessarily a GDPR requirement, it enables whole regions to be excluded from intake.

IP address logging
Google has deprecated IP logging; all processing for locations will now be passed through to GA. This meets GDPR requirements and mitigates any compliance issues that could arise during the transfer of personally identifiable information (PII).

Granular location and device data collection
Several data points are no longer default, including city, device information and browser versioning. Some companies may choose not to collect these data points for the sake of making sure they’re fully compliant with GDPR. Those data points that are no longer default can still be collected according to specified regions.

EU data
EU data was being moved to the US for processing, but this practice has been deprecated. EU data is now processed within the EU to comply with GDPR.

What new features does Google Analytics bring?

With GA4, a variety of metrics that users of UA are accustomed to have changed, deprecated, or been replaced.

From pageviews to views
GA4 prioritises views over pageviews because it unifies web and app properties: views encompasses screenviews and pageviews. But as was previously the case, repeated views of the same content are counted individually.

Identity Spaces
GA4 comes with four distinct identity methods, which together produce a unified view of cross-device user journeys:

  • user ID
  • device ID
  • modelling
  • Google Signals.

All data associated with the same user—that is to say, associated with the same identity—is assigned to the same identity space. Identity spaces are used across all GA4 reporting, enabling brands and advertisers to deduplicate their list of users and gain a richer understanding of their relationship and interactions with their businesses.

From average session duration to average engagement time
While the two metrics are calculated differently, average engagement time reports on what average session duration was always attempting to encapsulate: user focus on web- or screenpages.

New metrics
Goodbye outdated user behavioural measurements like bounce rate and average session duration. With GA4, new metrics for understanding behaviour include engaged sessions and engagement rates, which are both more impactful than the old metrics.

From goals to conversions
This change is mainly just semantic. It’s come about because of the deprecation of the category–action–label hierarchy of previous events. That being said, it’s still important to note that GA4 will count every instance of a conversion event, even if it occurs multiple times in the same session. For example, if the same user fills out a form three times in one session, that conversion is counted three times.

Multipurpose audience lists
When you create an audience in GA4, it’s automatically imported and becomes available for remarketing in Google Ads on YouTube and the Google Search and Display Networks. By contrast, advertisers using UA have to recreate audiences in Google Ads they’ve already created in Analytics.

From session to session start
GA4 slightly changes the definition of when a session is said to have been created. It’s now determined when a session start is triggered. This generates a session ID which is appended to each event that occurs within the session. Sessions end after 30 minutes or the defined timeout period. They can no longer restart at midnight or when new campaign parameters are encountered.

A different data display
UA’s data model is hit-based, characterised by sessions and pageviews. The latter are the starting point of data collection in UA, whereas in GA4 the key metric is events.

 

What are the business benefits of Google Analytics 4?

By leveraging AI and machine learning components for the near-cookieless future, GA4 is a step in the right direction in terms of giving businesses the insights they actually need.

Simplified and organised reporting
GA4 introduced several new reporting tools of interest to marketers and web analysts, and the existing web and app reports have been reorganised in the platform UI. The standout benefit from these changes is the unified user view between app and website, but it’s also worth noting that Google has revamped its custom reporting tool as an ‘analysis hub’. This offers more flexibility, with custom and ad hoc reporting.

Unified metric and dimension scopes
GA4 brings together the view between app and web, which is probably the single biggest advantage it brings. Previous iterations of Analytics required separate tagging and properties, which sometimes led to inconsistent metrics and dimensions. Just remember when you start out with GA4 that you won’t have any historical or 24-hour data, but you’ll soon start to see that populate.

New privacy-conscious data controls
Unified reporting and the user journey across platforms has been a perennial challenge since the dawn of app and web development. GA4 represents an acknowledgement of these needs and the fact that they’re growing increasingly complex in the face of exponentially more stringent data regulations. As privacy advocates criticise third-party data collection, Google is now ready to embrace anonymised first-party data instead, along with consented tracking. By unifying properties and collection scopes (and announcing significant server-side capabilities), Google is moving away from client-side dependencies.

 

 

What will my operations look like using Google Analytics 4?

Over the last few years we’ve seen users and sessions switch places in Analytics, a nod to a future in which analysts track users over session-by-session data. GA4 manifests this shift in full. Event-based tracking over hit-based tracking produces a degree of granularity in data that simply wasn’t possible before.

Meanwhile, old categories like action and label have been deprecated, and all interactions with a website are now ingested at the same level of granularity. A pageview happens at the same level of detail as a link click. This precise level-setting enables flexibility that would have been otherwise more limited. The question now is less “What happened in the session?”, more “How did the user behave in the session?” Fundamentally, data points are being translated into human actions.

 

 

How do I track my marketing data and create reports in Google Analytics 4?

You can set up a default attribution model for your reporting needs in Property Settings. You can also specify a lookback window, whose default is the last 30 days. This marks a stark evolution from UA, whose default was Last non-direct click, which couldn’t be changed across the account—different models were comparable only in a specific tab.

With GA4’s attribution models, direct visits are excluded from receiving attribution credit on all attribution models unless the conversion path was direct visits only. The models have been and will continue to be introduced on different dates, with their data available only from their start dates. If you select data outside the available window, you’ll only see some of it.

Analytics’ attribution reporting previously looked at how a website had acquired a user’s session, but GA4’s will focus instead on how the user was acquired in the first place, as well as how their subsequent sessions were acquired.

There’s also an exciting range of metrics exclusive to GA4:

  • event count: number of hits or triggered events
  • active users: number of users active in a 28-day period
  • engagement rate: percentage of total sessions that were engaged sessions
  • average engagement time: calculated summation of user engagement durations per active user
  • engaged sessions: number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds and had a conversion event or at least 2 views.

How do I migrate to Google Analytics 4?

GA4 is a new product unto itself. You can’t just hit an Update button in your existing UA or GA360 property—you must create an entirely new property for GA4, and your site will need the appropriate tagging to start collecting data.

While Google is providing a mirroring service to translate UA tags to GA4, you shouldn’t rely on it—indeed Google itself recommends that you don’t. The inherent differences in data structure will likely confuse your setup, and any issues or errors from your old setup may get carried forward into your GA4. Much better to start afresh with GA4, and prime your business for success as we hail a new era in analytics.

3 simple questions to ask before implementing Google Analytics 4:

  • Should I migrate to server-side tracking?
  • Is my app running the latest version of the Firebase SDK?
  • Is my existing tag Tag Manager or gtag integration collecting all the data it should be?

Finally, remember that to have YoY data available in GA4 before the deprecation of UA and GA360, you’ll need to have fully implemented GA4 by July 1, 2023, the deprecation data for UA. Otherwise your GA4 will have gaps, and this will complicate your 2023 YoY reviews.

 

What if I don’t have time right now to learn how to use Google Analytics 4?

GA4 data is forward-facing from the date of installation—the sooner you get it, the more historical data you’ll have. For that reason you should add GA4 to your website ASAP.

Business owners are rushed off their feet—we get it. So even if you don’t have time right now to familiarise yourself with GA4, try to at least install it, as data capture will begin immediately. Leave it ticking along in the background. When you’re finally ready to learn how to use it, you’ll have a wealth of statistically significant information ready to go.

It may take a little time to get your head around GA4’s newly available insights. Historically, Analytics data has been driven by pageviews, providing metrics now familiar to us like bounce rate, the numbers of users and new users, and the number of sessions and their average duration. By contrast, GA4’s data is more oriented toward understanding the customer lifecycle, so includes information about retention, acquisition, engagement and monetisation.

Is it worth making the switch to Google Analytics 4?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: hell yes!

If you still have two profiles—GA4 along with UA or GA360—it’s best to use them both individually and in tandem, with a view to seeing which metrics are related or influence one another. You’ll soon start connecting the dots. Moving forward, the understanding you’ll glean of how A impacts B and B impacts C will be invaluable.

Come the deprecation of UA we’ll see site owners who haven’t yet installed GA4 scramble to get it set up. There’s no sadder sight than a scrambling site owner. (Try saying that after you’ve had a few.) So start preparing as soon as possible. Export and maintain hard copies of historical data for your records—it won’t be transferrable from your UA or GA360 because of the differences in their data models and how their definitions function and operate.

Take all the time you can to get to grips with GA4. After all, ultimately you execute most of your business decisions according to Analytics, right? The data you work with moving forward must be as accurate as possible.

This is a seriously exciting time in analytics. Because GA4 introduces a whole new way of looking at your data. Of course that can feel daunting, especially if you’ve been accustomed to UA or GA360 for years—but once you see the myriad possibilities open up before you, you’ll wonder how you ever went without.

If you need some help or advice, whether with exporting your data from UA or GA360, or familiarising yourself with GA4’s interface and methodology, or understanding how to leverage its insights, reach out to us. We’ve been running countless clients’ GA4 accounts since the platform superseded UA as Google’s default back in October 2020, and we’d be delighted to help you as well.

De-Influencing: What does it mean for brands and influencers?

Have you seen the latest TikTok de-influencer trend?

This is basically where social media influencers slander a hyped up viral product and tells you exactly why you DON’T need it.

Is this going to be the death of influencing or another clever ploy to encourage you to buy a product. The double bluff?

When did influencing begin?

Influencing has been around since the dawn of time, I’m almost certain someone once saw Celopatra in a pair of earrings and thought ‘I MUST HAVE THEM!’ but it really hit its stride in 2009 when content creators such as Zoella and Tanya Burr Began to influence their followers into getting must-have products such as Morphe makeup brushes or an item from a large Primark haul.

So when did De-influencing start?

De-influencing has existed for longer than you realise: a great example (even if it was unintentional) is back in 2021 when Ronaldo moved a Coca-Cola bottle out of shot during a press conference and chose to drink water instead. This resulted in the brand’s market value dropping by $4billion. This highlights how easily influenced we can be, if our idol does or doesn’t want something, then suddenly neither do we.

Some creators such as Remi Bader (Remi Jo on Tiktok) have literally grown their channels purely from de-influencing their followers. Remi began creating content in 2020 and has now grown a huge following of 2.2M on Tiktok alone. As a curve model, Remi creates “Realistic” clothing hauls highlighting the sizing issue that exists in the fashion industry. Remi’s content typically consists of try on hauls from specific brands, in which she is brutally honest about the sizing, comfort and quality of every item she puts on, influencing and de-influencing viewers on which brands to purchase or not to purchase from. Remi’s honest and relatable content has resulted in huge brand deals, gifting and even a brand collaboration with Revolve Clothing.

Does influencing / de-influencing work?

Everyone has an idol, someone they look up and would do pretty much anything to be a little bit more like them. When that idol wears, owns or uses a product it immediately becomes more desirable.

Influencer marketing is a great way to ensure you are reaching your intended target audience. Influencers add authenticity to a brand, they prove to followers that the brand has clout and is worth purchasing from purely because a trusted person (influencer) claims to use it.

Products are often likely to sell out when influencers such as Mikayla Nogueira or Molly Mae are seen wearing, using or even owning them.

Although influencers are seen as trusted individuals, there have been scandals around them not even using a product when they promote it.

Some influencers have even been seen promoting products that are dangerous to their viewers’ health or encouraging people to buy a makeup product that has been tested on animals.

Influencers have a lot of power over their followers and often forget the responsibility that comes along with it. When money is involved it can really blur the lines on whose opinion you can really trust.

What does de-influencing mean for brands?

I would say… not a great deal, it just keeps them on their toes.

Obviously de-influencing could be incredibly dangerous for a brand if they are featured on the negative side of things. But, equally if your product makes it to the ‘I recommend this product instead’ side of the video, then you are winning.

De-influencing is simply just deceptive marketing, another sneaky way to sell a product, yet this way it seems less cliche. ‘Don’t buy this product, buy this one instead’ could be the new marketing strategy for a lot of brands, requesting that influencers recommend their product over another.

What does de-influencing mean for influencers?

Many influencers are absolutely loving the de-influencer trend. Beauty influencers are using it as a way to show off their favourite beauty products, by creating content such as ‘Get ready with me whilst I de-influence you!’.

It is really interesting to see the impact this is having on the beauty industry, how a viral product that has been trending for a while is now getting negative reviews and another major beauty brand product is being hyped up instead. 

In a way, content creators who ‘de-influence’ shouldn’t be a big crazy trend, it should be normal. Not liking a product or a product not working for you should just be seen as realistic. Maybe more influencers should share Remi Bader’s attitude to honesty.

If you look at the bigger picture… The idea of de-influencing can be seen as a positive, a way of reducing overconsumption. This could have massive benefits to our planet, as the fashion industry is one of the most damaging industries in the world.

Instead of telling viewers what to buy and what not to buy, should influencers be showing us how to make the most out of what we already have? But this way of influencing is of no benefit to brands, or influencers for that matter, as they would make no money this way.

It is hard to decide what de-influencing really means for the marketing industry, but it is clear to see that it has and will always be around, it just might take on different forms.

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