Monthly Archives

November 2016

Acronym Awarded US Patent for Invention of Keyword Provided Algorithm (KPA)

By Archives, SEO No Comments

After Google Encrypts Search and Introduces <not provided> Acronym Provides a Solution.


Acronym has developed a patented algorithm to recreate your keywords with near perfect accuracy. The Keyword Provided Algorithm (KPA) maps each keyword “not provided” visit to one of thousands of visitor profiles that are customized to your site using such factors as geography, buying patterns, unencrypted keywords, URLs visited and much more. The profiles are created from multi-dimensional web analytics integration and proprietary mapping technology that translates into user intent.

The outcome brings back your keywords matched with visits and conversions. Specifically, in a testing environment Acronym was able to “back-test” and produce results that are 100% comprehensive and 99% accurate.


You can view the patent here:

Acronym Named “Strong Performer” by Forrester

By Archives, News, Top 10 No Comments

Receives Highest Scores Possible in Reporting and Analytics, Account Management and Client Satisfaction.


Acronym reinforced its top agency status this year in The Forrester Wave™: Search Marketing Agencies, Q1 2016 report by Forrester Research, a 23-criteria evaluation of the 10 most significant search marketing agency providers.


The report, part of which includes feedback from reference calls with three of each vendor’s current customers, states, “Acronym brings a consulting-partner model rather than an agency-feel to this evaluation” and that “client references “love this hands-on approach.” The report also noted that “Acronym ties for the highest customer satisfaction scores in the study, in part due to accessible account management, executive involvement in account strategy, and its emphasis on mapping and influencing critical moments in a customer’s decision.”


Forrester’s evaluation rank Acronym with the highest possible scores (5 out of 5) across the following categories:


  • Results
  • Account Management
  • Tools and Technologies
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Report Flexibility
  • Multichannel Correlation
  • Visibility Methods
  • Quality of Work
  • Client Satisfaction
  • Geographic Traction


“Our business is all about our clients. And we thank them for their honest evaluation and high scores,” said Michael Bruh, Acronym’s President and COO. “During the past five years alone we have invested $10 million in further advancing our proprietary business intelligence platform to become the most sophisticated intent and content mapping technology in the industry. One of the coolest features for large, enterprise clients is our ability to bring together almost every paid and organic search metric side-by-side, something everyone in search has been asking for and no one else can deliver. We think it’s clear our clients appreciate our unique technology and we understand why we scored so highly in the tools and technology category.”


Acronym CMO Mike Grehan credited Acronym’s clients for being adventurous early adopters in new approaches and techniques. “We’re enormously grateful for the hugely positive feedback Forrester received from our clients,” Grehan said. “As we evolve through a process of digital marketing transformation, much of the received wisdom is undergoing reconsideration. In this time of the connected consumer, we need to think less about the connections between machines and devices, and more about the human connections. Our intent-based marketing framework helps our clients’ prospects connect with not just relevant but useful content during key ‘micro-moments’ on the path to purchase. This consultancy based approach, backed with our proprietary intent-mapping technology, invigorates clients and fosters innovation for newer strategic approaches to search and discovery marketing.”

The Independent That *Did* Win In 2016!

By Archives, News, Top 10 No Comments

aoyAll eyes may have been glued to the TV during the bare-knuckle fist-fight otherwise known as the election. And as usual, it was two major contenders slugging it out, with no real room for an independent to be noticed.

But in the world of digital marketing, one independent that really stood out in the crowd this year is Acronym; proudly named as MediaPost Search Agency of the Year. And we’re thrilled, naturally. As the largest and longest established agency of its kind, we’ve won awards before (quite a few, actually) and we’re always honored and proud, at the same time, to be recognized in such a way. But this particular award, in this particular year, is so timely.

We’re going through a dramatic period of innovation with our technology platform, new methodologies in our service portfolio, and rapid growth in both our customer and employee base; as you can see from the front page of this edition of our publication, TMN. We’ve had a bunch of awards and nominations including being awarded the only patent of its kind for our Keyword Provided Algorithm (KPA). The results of an independent survey into our technology by Forrester in a total economic impact (TEI) report showed beyond doubt the benefits economically and otherwise of our Keyword Objects technology. Our CEO Selina Eizik made it into the 40-Under-40 marketing executives of the year. And our paid search team cleaned up with a big win at The Landys. Quite a year, indeed.

“We’re over the moon with excitement about winning the MediaPost Search Agency of the Year Award,” said Selina. Adding, “This is a direct result of working with such fabulous clients and having such a fabulously talented team supporting them.”

Each year, the editorial board of MediaPost honors those agencies, executives, suppliers and clients whose work and stature in the business define them as visionaries, innovators and industry leaders. Acronym CMO and industry pioneer Mike Grehan said: “We’re big fans of MediaPost and Search Insider, so we thank the editorial team of judges gratefully for selecting us as winners from the many excellent companies that submitted. Oh, and happy 20th birthday MediaPost!”

Acronym’s submission was based around core areas of achievement and strength:

  • In 2016, we were granted a US patent for our advanced technology development and passed a thorough total economic impact study (TEI) by Forrester Consulting proving the success factors and financial value gained by our clients following implementation. Both accolades act as official, top-level 3rd party validation that our technology is genuinely outstanding within the search industry.
  • We have developed a unique, scientific methodology which utilizes our technology platform to execute campaigns designed around consumer intent, by understanding psychology, tracking consumer behavior, and applying data mining and analytical techniques to uncover and map crucial, content rich, micro-moments on the buyer journey.

2016 Agency of the Year winner profiles will be published in December. Award Ceremony will be held on January 25, 2017, at The Yale Club.


AcroBabble – Going (Creatively) Digital – November 3, 2016

By Archives, News No Comments

Going (Creatively) Digital

Welcome to ‘Acrobabble’ where we check-in with our team members to see what industry news piece that have made it onto their reading list.

Mary Sutter | Account Manager

Social media melts down over dramatic Cubs-Indians World Series finale

World Series finale gives Cubs a social media win, too

Keeping with the theme of baseball from last time, social was the big winner this week as the Cubs won World Series, ending their 108-year drought!

Jonathan Cho | EVP, Head of Agency Development & Operations

Twitter killed Vine but it still sees a ‘$10 billion’ opportunity in video

Despite news that Twitter is sunsetting Vine, they are still focused on increasing its share in what COO Adam Bain forecasts to be upwards of $10 billion.

Dentsu Will Return $2.3 Million in Advertising Overcharges

Dentsu is planning on repaying $2.3 million USD to clients after admitting improper management of funds after an internal investigation.  This all comes at a time when the media industry is under intense scrutiny for media rebates and an overall feeling of insufficient transparency for advertisers.

Jaime Nash | Creative Director

Designing the perfect notification UX

Notifications is needed in order to help us manage our work flow, but also need to not get in the way of our tasks. When it comes to notifications, like many things in the world of digital, usability is key. It needs to be useful, wanted, and unobtrusive.

Simple Methods for Improving UX with Subtle Motion

I believe animation has been over done, especially with flash. Now that flash is over and people are really focusing on user experience as a whole, I truly believe that minimal animation could be extremely helpful where it’s not just the flashy element, but rather a useful interested part of UX.

Do I need to go AMP after all?

By Archives, Mobile No Comments

By Ryan Pitcheralle

amp_295x175The Internet used across the world is most decidedly mobile; accounting for more than half of all recorded sessions. Still, most websites are not yet mobile friendly.

Most websites owners are under the belief that as long as their sites look good on mobile device screens, they are considered friendly to mobile users. Though, the friendliness they assume is heavily related to load speed instead of the “looks”. Most of what makes the site render well on mobile devices is actually leading to the extended load times due to the dependency on JavaScript and large image files.

Recent studies performed by Kissmetrics have noted that these load times are very pervasive to the bottom line. It has been commonly reported that a, “1 second delay in page response time could result in as much as 7% reduction in overall conversions”. Imagine running an e-commerce based site that typically earns $100,000 each day – a 1 second lag could cost as much as $2.5 million in lost sales a year. This means mobile is now a game of seconds.

Making matters worse, it’s known that most Smartphones have significantly less powerful hardware when compared to that of the desktop machines and laptop devices. In response to these technical limitations, Google wants to be sure that when they refer users to mobile sites, those destinations meet the expectations of users well.

Google’s solution for these limitations is known as AMP – short for Accelerated Mobile Pages.

AMP means a few important things:

  • It is a restriction on the slower bits of web technologies, with a focus on delimiting the heavy use of JavaScript, parts of HTML and thinning out of CSS files.
  • It adds custom <amp> tags to fill in lost functionality from restricting the above
  • Ads will still be supported, but there is now a list of supported ad formats and networks
  • Google provides the benefits of using a CDN through similarly caching AMP pages in order for the server to serve them up in quick order.

With that said, some of what Google is trying to accomplish is similar to the efforts already known to reduce heavy file sizes and done right, these actions would relieve the need to move into the AMP standard.

So how can we tell if our sites really do need to go AMP after all?

Ask yourself the following questions in order to determine if AMP is right for your sites today:

  • Do you have more “non-article” type pages then “article” type pages?
  • Do you have a reliance on third-party tools used for audience tracking?
  • Are you using a non-supported ad network? (link to supported list above)

Answering, “yes”, to any of the above means you may be better suited to improving load speeds on your own, within your own familiar site infrastructures.

Further considerations for skirting the new Google standard consist of the following:

You are using a CDN. Short for Content Delivery network, these networks of servers host site image and content files for when you audience requests them. Then, they are served out from servers closest to the location that the search takes place. CDNs use smart caching of files and built in compression features to speed up loads times by nearly 50%.

You’ve made reductions in the code for the mobile version of the site. AMP minimizes page load times by disabling most plugins and other JavaScript-reliant assets in order to limit code that the website needs to be downloaded by the browser before it’s viewable. Most CMSs, especially those on open source tech like WordPress, allow commands that disable functions if its senses the user making request is using a mobile device. This means you don’t need AMP to disable the unfriendly JavaScript and plug-ins.

You only require a single CSS reference. CSS files power the styles sheets of a site and overall could be considered relatively small by web standards, but typically sites have way too many of them. This leads to slow loads times since the user’s devices makes server requests for each and every CSS file. These many server requests actually lead to the slower content load times. The ideal approach is to roll-up multiple style sheets into one CSS file to rule them all.

If you have now, or are working towards, the above points, then you are already on your way to effectively reducing the size of your code base in order to make your mobile pages fast enough to refute the need to move into the Google AMP standard. Effectively, you would have developed a light and nimble site infrastructure that Google is looking for when determining how friendly your site really is in relation to the expectations of mobile users.


Inside Acronym – November 3, 2016

By Archives, Cool No Comments

Meet Acronym’s Courtney Rubenbauer

Associate Director, PPC

courtney_295x175When did you join Acronym?

May 2016


What is your title at Acronym and which clients do you work for?

Associate Director, PPC. Working across Iron Mountain, Nasdaq, Denihan, Wharton, Wallace & SharpSpring.

What are your specific responsibilities?

I’m responsible for the day to day execution and strategy of PPC efforts across my accounts.


What do you consider the most interesting things you do at work?

Ad hoc requests. You never know what analysis is right around the corner!


What do you like to do best when you are not working?

I like kayaking and biking when the weather is nice and traveling/vegging out when it isn’t. Love to play and hang out with my dog any day though!


You are going on vacation to a place where there is no Internet connection. What book or magazine would you bring with you?

Working through the Outlander series right now – big fan!


4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Adobe SiteCatalyst

By Web Analytics No Comments

Go to enough online marketing conferences – or talk to enough analytics experts – and you’re bound to hear a statistic that’ll stop you cold: Over 80% of web analytics implementations fail to deliver the data companies expected.

Let that sink in for a second. Eighty percent. That’s a whole lot of missed opportunities…and lost marketing dollars. And while I’m not sure who first reported that statistic, first-hand experience seems to confirm an alarming trend: the number of multi-million dollar web analytics technology solutions that are set up incorrectly is astounding.

The reason? Most web analytics tools are implemented by engineers, not marketers who understand the insights needed to make branding and direct marketing campaigns work. And there really is a difference between the two. It’s not enough to just have programmers come in and configure your tool out of the box; our web analytics solution must be customized by experts who fully understand your marketing goals and can get the data needed to achieve them.

This is especially true with Omniture-powered Adobe SiteCatalyst, a robust web analytics solution that can deliver tremendous data and visibility into customer behavior and site/campaign performance. But unless it’s set up and configured correctly, you could potentially be crippled by problems of missing/incorrect data or a lack of visibility. Given that this data ultimately fuels your marketing insights and optimization strategies, that’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.

With that in mind, here are 4 reporting tips to ensure you get the most out of SiteCatalyst:
Properly tracking actions is the most important step in gleaning valuable data.

1. Tracking

The most important step in getting valuable data from your tool is to make sure action tracking is set up properly. The latest version of Adobe SiteCatalyst allows you to track up to 100 events and 75 event variables – more than enough to keep tabs on all key performance indicators and customer interaction across your site. Be sure to talk to your web folks to ensure proper tracking code is on all pages of your website.

As a best practice, place tracking code just before the end of the tag in the page code. This’ll limit the effect tracking code has on page load time. (If tracking code is placed at the start of the tag, it has the potential to cause pages to load slowly, which can drive visitors away from your site).

2. SAINT Classifications

Properly classifying data is critical to successful reporting.

SAINT (SiteCatalyst Attribute Importing and Naming Tool) classifications

To set these up, go to SiteCatalyst’s Admin Interface and click on “Edit Settings.” From there, you can select “Conversion Classifications” to create unique SAINT classifications.

Allow for easy categorization and maintenance of campaign data; in other words, it helps ensure uniformity across all of your data, making it easy to understand.

Again, doing this will make it much easier for stakeholders to understand the story being told in your reports.

3. Correlations/Sub-Relations

Link metrics together to uncover even more actionable insights.

The correlations/sub-relations feature within SiteCatalyst allows you to link multiple metrics together to identify the combination of actions that drive conversions (as well as what stage these actions occur within a user’s visit).

For instance, you could map and compare which internal search terms come from which pages on your site to understand where customers are struggling to find what they’re looking for. Or, if you offer a number of downloads on your site, you can track which regions of the country tend to download specific files to allow for further targeting.

To set up correlations, go the Admin Console and select “Edit Settings,” followed by “Traffic” and then “Data Correlations.”

To set up sub-relations, once again go to “Edit Settings,” followed by “Conversion” and then “Conversion Variables.”

Remember, for both correlations and sub-relations, focus on related metrics to make sure you get insights and trends that are actually useful for your business.

4. Exporting Reports

SiteCatalyst, like most web analytics tools, allows you to easily export data to Microsoft Excel (or any number of other tools). The key, however, is to export to the platform you’re most proficient in. After all, Excel (or whatever tool you choose) is where most of your data manipulation will take place. These tools allow for an almost infinite array of analysis options that are not possible within web analytics tools themselves, so make the most of the raw data you’ve gleaned by working in an environment you’re comfortable in.

Web analytics is a complex endeavor. Tools, data, human expertise – they all play a role in determining the return you get on your web analytics investment. But when it comes to reporting – especially in SiteCatalyst – there are specific ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your tool. So, take the time to set up all aspects of your web analytics solution properly. If you need help, get expert advice. Doing so just might be the deciding factor between actionable insight and missed opportunities, big returns and wasted spend – so make sure you’re set up for success.

Email us directly at [email protected] for more tips on how to set up SiteCatalyst for optimal performance.


Beyond Conversion

By Web Analytics No Comments

There was a time – remember Cool Site of the Day? – when “disciplines” like Web analytics, usability, search engine marketing and conversion weren’t even twinkles in mainstream eyes. None of this stuff was a top priority for Internet marketers, and those of us trying to make a buck (or a pound) in these areas ate lean.

The dot-bomb dropped, folks reeled for a while, and then they got a clue: their bottom lines mattered. Conversion became the name of the game, and anything that increased conversion rates became a hot topic. “Halleluiah,” the disciplines cheered. “Thank goodness,” ebusinesses whewed.

Conversion has only recently become the must-have piece of the pie. It’s where my company started in 1998, so it feels really good to be hearing the same language. But we’re not all on the same page yet.

The ability to achieve truly dramatic improvements in conversion rates will require a shift in “conventional” thinking. Internet marketers need to understand that while the goal may be conversion, the practice must be persuasion.

Conversion is a Linear Process
Conversion is about “the click.” We all understand the macro-level conversion, which is the business’s site objective. But it is important to realize that conversion also takes place at the micro-level – every single click takes the prospect deeper into the buying decision process. The true imperative in conversion rate marketing is to persuade each and every click.

Conversion is what the visitor does; it’s the “take action” part of the buying decision process. At the macro-level, the visitor converts from prospect to buyer. Helping prospects convert basically entails making it easier for them to buy by getting out of their way. Getting out of their way usually entails a copy, usability or information architecture adjustment.

As we worked with clients in the early days of our business, we began to realize we could remove the obstacles to conversion, but that would only take us so far. Conversion is fundamentally about completing your linear scenarios. Think multi-page processes such as shopping carts or registration forms. However, people rarely go about accomplishing their goals in a linear fashion – the buying process behavior of a majority of prospects is non-linear.

Consider this common example: A site with complex selling scenarios successfully funnels a majority of its traffic to a call-to-action form, but few prospects who land on that page complete the form and click through. The page rejection rate is staggering. Thinking they have a conversion problem, the company performs a variety of A/B tests on the form page with little success. Nothing they do to “fix” the conversion problem yields significantly improved results. They imagine themselves at a conversion dead-end.

In this situation, the problem usually isn’t the form; it’s the scenario visitors participate in before they reach the form. Prospects haven’t acquired enough information or developed sufficient confidence to feel comfortable completing the action the site is asking them to take. This company’s linear sales process is undermining its prospects non-linear buying decision process – the site is failing to persuade before it attempts to convert.

Persuasion is a Non-Linear Process
Persuasion is about meeting the buying needs of your audience. It’s a non-linear, multi-branched, integral part of your selling process – you present relevant information for your buyers in a way that suits you as the seller and allows you to make the case for buying from you.

Non-linear scenarios are the scenarios visitor segments create as they navigate your website. In this type of scenario we measure conversion differently, from where people enter the scenario to where they complete the intended scenario and whether or not they hit our key value pages. Explicitly planning these non-linear scenarios is the goal of persuasive design.

When we dissect the buying process into its component parts for each persona and then measure those micro-conversions in the click-stream not only can we better understand how well we are persuading but we can also segment our conversion rates by persona segment. That allows us to focus on cumulative conversion rates for the website instead of simply an average conversion rate.

Persuasion Maximizes Conversion
Persuasion is the next step in conversion rate marketing’s evolutionary chain. You may clear every last one of your conversion hurdles, but you will still face the question of how you move your prospects from click to click, how you orchestrate persuasive momentum. Building persuasive, persona-based scenarios that allow prospects to “buy naturally” is the only way to achieve the dramatic results that are possible when you think beyond conversion.

From a conversion perspective, the Internet marketer asks, “How do I build a single pipeline that gets me the highest conversion rate?” From a persuasion perspective, the Internet marketer asks, “How do I build multiple pipelines that give me the highest conversion rates overall? It’s the difference between trying to increase your conversion rate from 2% to 4% (a 100% increase) and imagining what small percentage of all your visitors you will have to write off because they are simply “unconvertible.” Reach for 4% or 100%?

When they “buy naturally,” you will truly “sell effortlessly.” The future for Internet marketing lies in developing non-linear systems that deliver exactly what prospects need, when they need it, so they can accomplish their goals in the manner most comfortable to them. The future is not about optimizing conversion, it’s about maximizing conversion.

We call that future Persuasion Architecture.