Archive for category Digital
When it comes to digital marketing channels and understanding what and why people do the things they do online, it can become a complex and daunting task. With the plethora of recording tools, testing, experimentation and analytics applications available to us, the decisions of which one and what data do I need to be looking at – becomes harder and more time-consuming all the time. Have you sat there, staring at a Google Analytics dashboards, flicking through the massive amount of clickstream data, hoping to pull out any number of insights to justify your involvement in a project? If you said yes – don’t worry you’re not alone.
In a book by Avinash Kaushik, called Web Analytics 2.0 (The art of online accountability & science of customer centricity), Kaushik points out that we need to look at a combination of tools in order to get closer to insight. He also points out that we can still do this without investing huge sums of money and in fact for SME’s we can still do it for free (well not including someone to implement the code and test it).
So what do we need? Below is a list of free (or relatively cheap) tools you can implement to start to build a powerful web analytics tool box. I’ll go into detail in later posts, but for now, here’s an overview for you to get going.
- Clickstream eg. reporting from Google Analytics, Woopra, Clicktale.
What is it? Collecting, storing and analysing your users click-level data such as visits, time on site, page views, bounce rates, campaign traffic and user stats like browser, mobile software and geo-location. All the while allowing you to store specific reports, customise dashboards and schedule reports. This is collecting the ‘WHAT’ users are doing. It can also be extended to email, online advertising, mobile apps and software i.e. basically any interaction with a digital device can be recorded and contribute to your clickstream data.
Why we care? Remember the terms ROI, cost per acquisition, cost per conversion, cost per lead etc? In plain and simple terms these mean – money gained in relation to the money spent. The first step in getting to arrive at ROI, is the recording of what users are doing when they interact with your digital marketing. Access to these reports should be a given – not an option.
- Multiple Outcomes Analysis eg. goals and sales funnels analysis in GA, task completion rates in iPerceptions, social media outcomes in Sprout, recognising customer struggle via Tea Leaf.
What is it? This data looks at how user activity (and the end outcomes) are tied to the underlying business goals of the project. Albeit increased revenue, reduced cost and/or increase customer service/satisfaction (there’s not much that doesn’t fit into one of these 3 broad categories). These measures look at the macro goals (eg. sales of products) in relation to the micro goals (eg. sign up for newsletters, social interactions on site etc). To effectively report on multiple outcomes however, it relies on the fact that the project and business goals are clear from the outset and that it has been identified upfront, what outcomes are to be measured.
Why we care? Because essentially – this what we are here to do? Deliver digital solutions to help achieve our clients business objectives. It is a necessity in order to remain competitive.
- Experimentation and testing eg. Google Website Optimiser, Optimizely.
What is it? This helps us understand ‘Why’ something has performed good or bad. Through experimentation and testing we can run real-time experiments on site with various ideas and let our customers tell us what works best. Many are afraid of failing in this area and don’t test to avoid embarrassment with the client or boss. But in the good news is, this type of failing allows us to quickly (and with minimal cost) re-adjust strategy. We can do this with sales messages, images, copy & entire pages, not to mention the many email broadcast and ad-serving solutions that offer these features built-in.
Why we care? Why guess, when you can upload a number of versions and let the customer help you ‘optimise’ the content. It’s an easy win for everyone.
- Voice of customer eg. TestmyUI & OpenHallway for usability, Treejack for card sorting.
What is it? Measuring again the ‘Why’ but this time via direct interaction and feedback from the user. This gives us valuable insight into the customer experience and therefore at the end of the day – readiness to purchase or engage with our products and services. Could they find what they were looking for, how long and how frustrating was it to get there?
Why we care? These are some of the questions we should be asking to ensure that our customers have a positive experience with the interaction (and ultimately the brand experience). The great news is – it’s not expensive or going to push your project deadline out by weeks like most would think. For usability testing, 5 users is enough to get worthwhile results and with the above tools listed can be done within a day.
- Competitive intelligence eg. Compete, Google Ad Planner, Google Trends, Wordtracker, Quantcast, Trackur.
What is it? Measuring the ‘what else’ or how do we compare against our competitors? Taking your analysis and optimisation to the final level, is looking at your performance outside a vacuum and in context to your competitors.
Why we care? There is a plethora of data sources out there that provides information (much available for free) and analysis based on your performance against your competitors. Use this to help set competitor benchmarks and mine industry trends for actionable insights to help you better plan for future developments and marketing activity
In summary, the aim of this article is to highlight that we should and can easily be using a broader set of intelligence tools to build effective understanding of the success (or failure) of our digital work. One tool from each of the categories is adequate to cover the 5 bases. Kaushik calls this the ‘Multiplicity Strategy’.
RockMelt is a browser based on Google Chrome that’s pretty revolutionary. There are lots of reasons why several of the Digital team use it – mainly because it’s simpler and easier than Safari, IE, and even Firefox. The main feature is that it’s integrated with social media, which means that you can add RSS feeds and updates from Twitter or Facebook in a nice little organised side bar.
Although it sounds like RockMelt’s ‘always on’ features will distract you fundamentally by pushing all the distractions further into your view, it doesn’t. It shows you a count, so that you don’t get stuck in that process of going back to check what’s going on all the time (Fear Of Missing Out). If your FOMO gets too bad, now there’s a feature that let’s you go into ‘quiet mode’ – so you can ‘pause’ the distraction temporarily and get on with the task at hand.
Then there is the ‘View Later’ button. On all of your feeds, and all of the pages you’re browsing, you can use the ‘View Later’ function to collate all the bits and pieces you’d like to save until you have the head space. So useful.
But most importantly, now you can search in browser and select which country’s search results you want to see. So for example, if I want to see how high in the results Tesco is when people in Russia search for ‘Tesco’, I can do that easily, without having to use a masking site or other weird and wonderful tools.
So this browser (like all browsers) is not giving me hyper-local search results unless I tell it to in my search terms, but it’s helping me see things from another country’s view. And if RockMelt can build it for country level search results, maybe default regional or hyper-local search results filters are around the corner.
When you buy a car, suddenly you start noticing all the other cars that are the same as yours, so much so that you’re convinced that there are more than there were before.
The transition between marketing ‘generally’ and then marketing ‘locally’ is similar. When you’re working in an agency that specialises in Local Marketing, suddenly you wonder how you missed all the stuff going on in the Local Marketing space. It’s so fundamentally obvious that in the battle for relevancy, proximity matters. Everywhere you look, people are talking about local – and not just as an intangible theory, but as an actual ‘thing’.
An actual ‘thing’, you say?
A highlight of the series of Maroon Peugeot 307s is the launch of a new US hyper-local industry trade publication StreetFight a few days ago. They’ve positioned the service as a collection of everything that’s happening in the hyper-local space, including vouchering, check in services, and local news sites. Then there’s the super-massive Patch.com hyper-local news service based in the US run by Arianna Huffington. EveryBlock (US) and StickyBoard (UK) community noticeboards have redesigned and launched respectively. Talk about Local‘s community efforts are ongoing and the Big Society ideas continue to generate meaningful conversation. These are just a few of the bigger things that are going on, but community activities and new ways to use technology to help communities engage are popping up every day. So too are hyper-local, hyper-relevant marketing opportunities.
People continue to have debates about the definition of the words hyper-local, localisation, local marketing… whatever we end up calling it in the history books, we’re part of a shift. The UK’s take on local is a little different to the US’s as pointed out wonderfully by Joni Ayn Alexander, but the main point is the same. It’s a thing.
A thing with big agencies predicting daft numbers like 42.5 billion dollars by 2015.
Frank Rose is the author of soon-to-be-released book ‘The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories‘. He attended the Festival of Ideas at the Bristol Watershed to introduce the concepts in the book.
Frank led with a throw-away comment ‘Stories are to humans like algorithms are to machines‘. We use stories to make sense of our world and share that understanding with others. Our human instinct to find the story means that we’ll find the story even when there isn’t one – he showed us an experiment performed by Fritz Heifer and Marianne Simmel in 1944 where subjects were shown a video involving triangles and a circle, and asked to interpret them. Inevitably, the subjects humanised the shapes and created a narrative for them.
He took us through various examples of immersion – when the original media used isn’t the only place that people can interact with the story. He says that ‘digital’ gives everyone the opportunity to tell stories in many different ways, because the internet can be all types of media – video, text, audio, or all. For example, Lost fans created Lostpedia to help them understand the story, Star Wars merchandising gave fans ways to create new sub-stories including comic books, Nintendo games and even fan movies.
He touched on co-creation too, and gave the example of Apple/Nike’s chipped running shoe where the brands don’t create the story – they give the users the tools to create and share their own.
When asked how immersion is affecting marketing and advertising, he said that the 30 second TV spot is dying and cited ‘rising costs, falling viewership, ever-proliferating ad clutter, and viewers’ TiVo-fueled power to zip through commercials‘ as reasons. But he also said that history shows us that cultures take 20 – 30 years to figure out how to use technology, and that we’re only part-way there. Examples like the Old Spice commercials, where co-creation was embraced to great viral success, and failures such as the Harry Potter Wars (where the studios failed to recognise and utilise/facilitate or allow co-creation attempts on a massive scale) show that we’re still learning, but also that the opportunities are endless.
Frank believes that advertising is another kind of story, and to be effective it should be non-linear, participatory and above all, immersive.
Personally, I found the talk quite hard going but definitely thought-provoking – Frank Rose is clearly a brilliant thinker and writer but the ideas presented were bigger than a 40 minute slot. I’ll be getting the book and adding it to the library once done!