Podcast: Quantity Versus Quality in Software Downloads with Joel Kleinman

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In this episode of Landing Page Optimization, SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash and Ask Partner Network Director of Yield Optimization Joel Kleinman talk about the end to end view of conversion for software, quantity versus quality in downloads, and the nuances of high-volume testing.

Upstream Consistency

Tim opens the discussion by inquiring about the Ask Partner Network, and Joel explains partners like Java request you to install the toolbar, and make Ask the default search engine. The goal is for you to search using Ask, because that generates revenue.

Joel explains that it’s not just about maximizing yield in terms of total downloads - it’s about finding the users who are going to make it to the end of the funnel. For that to be possible, there needs to be upstream consistency; the challenge is to make people aware of the experience they’re getting ahead of time, because you want people who will actually use the toolbar.

High-Volume Testing

Joel expounds on Ask’s propensity to test, indicating that they can get pretty granular. He talks about testing everything from font sizes, to color of the links, the clickability of the links, and notes that with the kind of volume they get, the results can be processed really quickly.

Tim inquires about the nature of the tests, asking if they just do tactical testing or conduct radical experimentation, and Joel explains that they try tests all over the spectrum, from smaller ideas to radical shifts.

Simplicity, Minimalism, and Finding the Right Audience

Joel states that simplicity works best for search. As for getting the download in the first place, he talks about being explicit to the users about what it is that they’re going to receive, like stating that their homepage will be converted to the Ask homepage, that their default settings will be converted to those settings, in very clear language. That can turn into a challenge in its own right when you have limited time and real estate, and they have tried different approaches for those disclaimers.

He notes that a relatively small percentage of the traffic is responsible for a large part of the revenue, so part of the challenge is finding the heavy users, not just the people who are willing to click “Next.” Tim inquires if there’s a way to do that ahead of time, and Joel answers that in a lot of organizations, there’s a marketing campaign oriented toward those users. In Ask’s case, they rely on their partners to do that marketing. So a lot of what they’re doing is selecting the partners, and partnering with those they know will be a good match, like video chat software providers.

Tim asks about cultural nuances in offering something internationally, and Joel starts off by saying that US users are the most sophisticated in how they consume search media, although there are emerging markets like Brazil. He notes that even with Google and Bing around, search is ubiquitous enough that all kinds of audiences are trying all kinds of queries on Ask. Still, in search marketing, advertisers are more interested in the behavior more than the demographics, so a lot of thought goes into the search process. Ask finds that after a few weeks is when they get the higher quality conversions.

First Air Date: January 6, 2014

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