Cameron Cowan will be speaking about “Landing Page Testing” at SearchFest 2010, which will take place on March 9th at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available now. To purchase, please click the following link.

1) Please give me your background and tell us what you do for a living .

I currently work as Product Manager for SearchCenter, the paid search campaign management and optimization platform which resides in the Omniture Online Marketing Suite.  As a product manager I am constantly talking with customers, prospects, and other industry thought-leaders on what their biggest business challenges are (specifically in the realm of acquisition marketing) and how SearchCenter and the other Omniture products can help them overcome those challenges.

I have been part of the team at Omniture – now an Adobe company – since 2005, over which time I have worked in many capacities: Consulting, Account Management, Training, Sales, and now Product Management.  I have also been heavily involved in our international markets, having spent two years living and working for Omniture in Australia and Taiwan.

With an educational background in finance, I am highly “dollars-focused” and was particularly drawn to search marketing – specifically search marketing built upon the solid foundation of business analytics – due to its high level of measurability as well as its metric-based decision making and accountability.  Combine that with a truly pull (not push) approach to marketing, unique to search, and I can’t think of any other industry I’d rather be a part of!

I can be found on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cameronrcowan, and followed on Twitter at SEMCameron.

2) What members of an organization’s “team” need to be involved with a landing page testing project?

Everyone who is responsible for the performance of the website.  That is a broad answer, and intentionally so.  Website content owners, user experience & design folks, and technical staff absolutely need to be involved.  But search marketers (and their counterparts in other online marketing channels) need to play a much larger role in landing page testing and optimization than they have historically.

Far too often search marketers are content with saying to themselves, “Well, I got the visitor to click-through my ad to the website – it’s out of my hands now; my job is done.”  Then if poor site conversion does not trend with CTRs feeding the website with traffic the marketers are far too ready to point fingers at the content owners and site designers.  If your performance as a search marketer is tied directly to actual campaign conversion and bottom-line profitability – which I strongly believe it always should be – then you have no choice but to be intimately involved with website testing, both on the landing page and throughout the visitor conversion process.

3) Is revenue / ROI the only important metric in determining landing page testing success or are their others?

Certainly not.  In fact I’d say that it’s not even the most important metric in determining landing page performance.  Anyone familiar with a basic income statement can tell you that revenue is the rawest top-line figure, with many other factors below it that can significantly affect the final figures.  A company can be generating tons of revenue and still not be profitable.  If you really want to add value to your organization, you need to be a “bottom-line search marketer”.  Hone in on profit.

The other metric that far too often gets ignored (or cannot even be measured, depending on the technology you are using) is Bounce Rate.  It’s a simple enough metric, but it can really help you in identifying where the problem exists to begin with.  A landing page may have a terrible reported ROI, but there’s a big difference between one that has a high bounce rate and another that has a low bounce rate which is instead losing visitors further down in the conversion funnel.  It’s a fairly basic measurement – are visitors going just one step further in engaging with your website and brand – and yet it can be incredibly insightful.  The unfortunate truth, however, is that an embarrassingly small number of search marketers are even measuring it.

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