Podcast #10: How to Get Started With Large Scale Display Advertising Campaigns

Length: 16:57

Overview: Today I discuss the 3-step process to create, launch and track your own large scale display advertising campaign.

Description: In this, episode 10 of the BigCommerce podcast, I discuss the 3-step process to create, launch and track your own large scale display advertising campaign for just a few hundred dollars using either Google AdWords or BuySellAds.

Here are the 3 steps I discuss in the podcast:

1. Banner design

  • You need to come up with strategy
  • Can use Google images for competitive intelligence – “[competitor] banner”
  • Need a strong call to action
  • Create 3 versions of your ad all with completely different calls to actions and designs
  • Test static (single frame), animated GIF and rich media (flash)
  • Can use CrowdSpring or a contractor from oDesk to do the actual designs

2. Campaign strategy

  • Who are you trying to target? Run a survey of existing customers to find demographics, which websites they spend time at, etc
  • What do you want to track? Sales? Newsletter signups? Etc
  • How will you define the campaign as successful or not?
  • What is your ROI goal? If you can get more than 1x ROI then you can scale up indefinitely

3. Campaign rollout

  • Can get started with Google AdWords display ads or BuySellAds.com
  • These will get you tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of impressions per day
  • You want to setup 3 separate campaigns, one for each of the different designs
  • After 2 weeks, look at the numbers and drop the word performing campaign based on your most important metric
  • Now test another design for each of the 2 remaining ads – same message, different look or call to action
  • After 2 weeks, pull the 2 worst performing ads
  • Goal is to keep testing new designs and calls to action against the winning ad

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3 Simple Ideas

It’s always the simple ideas that help either a company or a person grow, whether it’s financially, emotionally, physically or spiritually. Below I’ve included a memo I just sent to our newly expanded leadership team. As a business owner yourself I realized that you might also find it valuable, so I decided to post it on our blog:

I’ve been wanting to share three simple ideas that I’m confident will improve our ability to lead as we continue to grow the company. These three ideas are all simple, but really effective and can really help take us to the next level this year based on our metrics for growth.

1. Raising the bar

This relates to new people we’re looking at bringing into the company. The “bar” in this example is the level of skill, communication and culture we have in the company. You can imagine the bar being “set” like this:

Image by Phil McElhinney

When we agree to bring someone new in to the company, regardless of their role, we need to answer two questions:

- Will they raise the bar?
- If yes, how?

The bar of course is a metaphor and we want new people coming into the company to continually raise the bar, meaning for example that a new sales rep will “shake up” our existing team because he or she is either better at closing sales or is more competitive.

Another example is on the support side. If a new support ninja starts and he or she can do 20% more cases than our best performing ninja at a higher standard then they’ve raised the bar.

If you ask yourself “will they raise the bar?” after an interview and your answers is “no” then we can’t hire that person because they won’t be improving our overall collective position.

2. “Is this the best and highest use of my time”

This comes down to how we spend our time. Every 10 to 15 minutes, ask yourself if what you’re currently doing is the best and highest use of your time. If it’s not then do something that is.

A good example here might be organizing lunch delivery. Let’s assume it takes 10 minutes to figure out what everyone wants to eat, place the order and then collect the order when it arrives. That’s not a leader’s job. A leader would delegate that task to someone on his team because he values his time over and above everything else.

If someone else on your team can do the task you’re currently working on at the same or better level than you, then it’s time to delegate.

3. 80% strategy, 20% tactics

This goes hand in hand with point number two. As leaders our job is to focus on implementing the vision for the company. That’s strategic, not tactical – and here’s the difference:

Strategy is all about defining the goals which help us achieve our vision.

Tactics are the day-to-day tasks (there could be hundreds of them) that we hire people to accomplish so we as leaders can achieve our goals that make up our vision.

So as you can see, these are just three simple ideas but if we all implement them every day then our collective improvement in time management and resource allocation will be high.

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The View From Where I Sit…

“…is good, for now. It’s on the couch in my living room, the place where most of my revelations have come from. Laptop on lap, e-cigarette in mouth, son asleep. My review of BigCommerce is not so much a review, as a thanks. BigCommerce has offered me my dreams. If it was expensive, I wouldn’t have gone for it. If it was time consuming, no dice. It was the perfect blend to get me to jump in and take hold of something I had been itching to do for many years.

But, that was only the beginning. See, BigCommerce is not just software, it is an idea, their “mission” if you will, and I feel it. To provide the best, easiest to use, and fulfilling product they can. I’m not sure if ours is there yet, but I can tell you that they nailed it. Learning from Mitch on the BigCommerce blog, and watching the videos keeps me going, it gives me insight and helps me come up with my own ideas. I hope he’ll continue to educate us in the “ways of the web.”

Haha, just last week I showed my partner the post on StumbleUpon and generating monster traffic…. he hasn’t been able to get off it since: winner in my book. We’re implementing it soon. It’s these types of things that really can make a difference. Every little bit helps.

So, thank you Mitch, and especially, thank you everyone at BigCommerce that have made this possible for me. I sincerely appreciate it.”

Posted in our forum by William Jagers. Care to share your own BigCommerce review?

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Mashable: 3 Facebook Commerce Success Stories (Featuring BigCommerce)

“BabyAndMeGifts.com sells gifts for mothers and babies. Owner Jacquelyn Myers uses her Facebook storefront to highlight some of the most popular items for sale on the site, which works well next to the deals and incentives that the company offers on its Facebook Page.

Myers’s Facebook store is powered by BigCommerce, the same software that runs her e-commerce store. She is able to display her inventory on her Facebook Page at no extra cost, and users are directed to her main site to complete their purchases. This differs from some other storefronts that allow users to checkout within Facebook.

Myers attributes about 50% of her online sales to her Facebook Page.”

Read the entire article on Mashable or learn more about SocialShop, our free Facebook application

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Announcing Our New Marketing & Community Forum!


We’ve been using Get Satisfaction to power our community for a while now. And it’s been good – but not great. Initially we decided to use Get Satisfaction because it was quick and easy to get going and required no training (remember “Smart and Gets Things Done” is one of our core values).

Now that we’ve grown our client count (0 to 12,000) and our staff count (15 to over 50) over the last year or so, however, the time has come to rethink our community strategy so we can more effectively help you grow your business into the empire it’s destined to become.

Today I’m happy to announce the beta launch of our new forum, which you can access here.

The new forum is designed to make it easier to get the tools and advice you need to grow your e-commerce business, by talking with and learning from not only our team but also our 12,000 other clients who no doubt have hundreds (thousands?) of years combined experience in sales, marketing, growth, partnerships and customer service.

There are three main areas I wanted to address with our new community forum:

1. A Place to “Talk Shop” About Marketing

If two businesses launch at exactly the same time selling similar products then the business who gets their marketing right will dominate the competition. We’ve known this for years and we hope you know it too.

The new forum really centers around helping you with your marketing. You can post questions to our 12,000 clients and the odds are that you’ll get a great response. If you’ve never done marketing before then this is a great way to get your feet wet.

On the other hand, if you have a 7 figure marketing budget then there’s always room to improve by learning from you peers, right?

2. Real People, Not Aliases

Forums thrive and survive when real people are participating – not aliases. Posting in our new forum is available to paying clients, however anyone can view. When you login to the forum for the first time you’ll be able to upload your photo and share some information about yourself, and your forum username is your real name.

It’s important in any community that the people participating are who they say they are. The idea here came from both Facebook and Quora, my favorite new Q&A site. When people are posting as themselves they’re more honest, show more empathy and want to participate in the conversation with good intentions.

That’s important to us and I’m sure it’s important to you.

3. Get to Know Other Merchants

Finally, we’ve got 12,000 merchants just like you who are all trying to achieve the same thing – business growth so they can work less and spend their time doing what they want. By interacting with (and learning from) other merchants, you can grow your business faster and have fun doing it.

What About The Existing Community Forum?

The new forum will run in parallel to our existing community forum until April, at which time community.bigcommerce.com will show our new forum instead of our Get Satisfaction community, so if there’s anything posted on Get Satisfaction that you’d like to copy or archive then you’ve got plenty of time to do that.

All of the existing ideas in the community have been noted down internally and have been roadmapped already, so any effort you’ve put into suggesting new ideas or voting hasn’t been lost. The new forum lets you post ideas but doesn’t have the voting system in place (yet – watch this space).

Click here to visit our new forum (in beta)

P.S. Partners – we’re currently working on a login system for you so that you can answer questions and provide value to our clients. We’ll send you more details via email when it’s ready to go.

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New BigCommerce Update + oLark and Visual Website Optimizer Integrations!

Hi everyone,

I’d encourage you to upgrade to the new minor version of BigCommerce (released today), which applies a number of patches to your existing store, and includes two new modules. You should start seeing the “upgrade your store” toolbar when you login to your Control Panel, some time over the next few hours.

What’s been fixed?

  • Resolved an issue with eSELECT Plus receipt page, where the template variables were not being parsed
  • Resolved issue where after a product import, each product’s tax class setting is reset
  • Resolved issue causing some eBay listings to fail, due to invalid UPC codes.
  • Resolved issue with USPS Parcel Post shipping option, which was not generating quotes
  • Resolved reported “invalid value for girth” error on USPS orders (both US and International)
  • Resolved some minor grammatical issues in the Control Panel
  • Resolved an issue with batch ‘Print Invoices’ not show shipping address after an order for a downloadable product.
  • Resolved an issue with US Zip Code Plus Four values with USPS.

New oLark module

oLark is a service which provides real time chat and monitoring of your website visitors through Google Talk and Jabber. It’s also available on various devices, including your desktop, laptop, iPhone and Blackberry.

The best thing is, they have a FREE plan so you can start offering live chat on your BigCommerce store to increase your conversion rate.

For more information, please visit:

New Visual Web Optimizer module

Visual Web Optimizer provide A/B, split and multivariate testing software for websites and web applications, delivered over a WYSIWYG editor and point-and-click test designer.

For more information, please visit:

BigCommerce Code BanditHappy Code Bandit is Happy.
The BigCommerce Engineering Team.

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Office Closed Today due to weather, but we’re available in Chat and Tickets

A bit of inclement weather this morning has forced the office to be shut down today. Sales and Support are available via Chat and tickets during our normal hours, 7AM – 9PM CST today, Friday Feb 4th.

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New Minor BigCommerce Update (A Handful of Fixes)

Hi everyone. Very soon you’ll find a new upgrade available in your Control Panel, which is being made available as opt-in. Overall, it’s a relatively small release, but encompasses some important bug fixes. So let’s explore them:

Google Base exports
We found that some stores had issues exporting Google Base. This was an edge case, isolated to products without brands.

Database improvements
We’ve managed to further optimise BigCommerce databases, leading to overall performance improvements. I’m sure that you’d agree that this is a good thing!

Deleting categories with large datasets
This was an interesting problem – some customers with very large subsets of products in a category found it “took forever” to delete the category and its orphaned products. We’ve made changes significantly improving its performance. We’ve also tested the changes against a nested 125,000 product category set with very encouraging results.

Importing a large dataset of products
This release sees better identification of session activity, to ensure that you’re not logged out of the Control Panel (15 minute mandatory timeout) before your large product import completes.

Inventory issue with returned items
The expected behaviour for setting a customer’s return request to “Item(s) Refunded” should register the item as back in stock. This release restores that functionality.

So there you have it – a straight forward upgrade to start off February. Our next minor release is scheduled for Monday February 14th.

Happy CodeBandit is Happy.
The BigCommerce Engineering Team.

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(Update) Office Closed Due to Blackouts (We’re Still Available Via Chat & Email)

Update as on Feb 3rd: We’re back to our normal schedule with phone, chat and ticket support.

Just a quick post to let you know that we’re experiencing rolling blackouts in Austin. We’ve been forced out of our office by building management so unfortunately our sales and support teams are currently unavailable by phone. The good news is that both sales and support are available by live chat and ticket in our support portal.

We’re hoping to be back on normal schedule tomorrow (Thursday) but will keep you updated as things progress.

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