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Posts from the ‘Analytics Premium’ Category

Why monkeys aren’t to blame for all things viral

January 1, 2012

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Having a campaign go viral is widely believed to be the Holy Grail of digital marketing. And while movies have shown that primates have the capacity to spread a virus with incredible speed, we’ve yet to meet a monkey who can single handedly make your video of a kitten-cuddling hippo an overnight success in the fabric softener industry.

So how does a digital campaign gain support and spread? Let’s treat that goal like a virus and work backwards to its origin as we look for clues.

Pandemic?

First, or in this case last, we need to understand that not all people are equally susceptible to the same virus. Do all campaigns spread to millions? No. It’s likely that even a successful campaign won’t go viral. You can’t buy the Holy Grail at Costco or find the formula in a secret manuscript. But whether your goal is to reach 100 people or 10 million, a successful campaign needs a catalyst in order to spread. And unlike diseases, viral campaigns usually start with an element of excitement that stems from brand originality.

Outbreak

The virus goes airborne. The campaign is launched to reach the client’s core audience. These loyal brand ambassadors are exposed first in the hopes they’ll spread the virus within their immediate circles of influence. Their excitement is infectious and spreads through their respective communities online. Soon, those not even familiar with the client are intrigued/infected. New consumers/patients are emerging.

Consumers, new and old, are engaging with the client online. We (the agency) are rolling out new parts of the plan. The idea is evolving based on customer feedback. Everyone involved in the campaign is excited.

Quarantine 

This is the time when the idea, concocted and isolated in a lab to this point, earns its first victims. This is where the idea is pitched to the client. The pitch conveys the enthusiasm and volume of work that has been invested to this point. Like an antibody, the client may initially try to fight off parts of the idea. The plan may be more radical than their usual marketing or it may involve a new communication channel. This is where agency excitement leads to brand buy-in. Without the trust and support of a client, our plan may simply remain an idea.

Our job as the idea host is to infect the client with excitement. At this point, to stay alive, the idea goes through an adaptation process as the client’s feedback is incorporated. Now the idea is stronger. We’re excited. They’re excited.

Patient Zero

As an agency, we’re always excited about our ideas. It’s why we do what we do. When writing a client plan, we tackle the communications challenges from every angle – constantly critiquing and modifying each other’s ideas until we’re satisfied with the solution. We agonize over the wording, strategize how to deploy the message across different media, and project the anticipated audience responses. With each level of refinement, our excitement builds until the final proposal is ready.

Enter Patient Zero. Us. Bridge Nine Interactive. We’re now so excited in this idea that we can’t wait to show our client. And the process begins.

While there’s no surefire way to get your spokeshippo on the evening news, the one important factor in every campaign, viral or otherwise, is to understand that brands succeed online when original ideas lead to excitement among the core audience. Sure, we’re all primates, but we’d like to see a monkey do that.

Facebook’s New Analytics Reminds Businesses to Engage Fans

November 28, 2011

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In the past several years, businesses large and small have come to realize the positive impact of engaging their brand-loyal public and — more importantly — potential customers, via Facebook Pages. While fan pages are typically seen as a destination for users to remain privy to brand news, a recent comScore report shows that a Page is really just the place where content resides, as fans are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume branded material in their news feeds than on the actual fan page itself. This discovery led to Facebook’s expansion of “Page Insights,” including new metrics and analytics designed to constantly remind business owners of what truly matters: engaging content.

Facebook utilizes an algorithm that ensures the most relevant content for each user finds its way onto that particular user’s news feed. The relevancy of this content is determined by a number of factors, including how many times it is liked, shared, commented on, etc. When fans of a company interact with branded content, it can then be passed on to their friends and their friends’ friends. With fan acquisition as the main motive behind the Facebook strategy of most businesses, it is helpful to learn that friends of fans are more likely to visit a brand’s store, website and even purchase a product than the average, uninfluenced consumer. In addition, the average friends-of-fans group for the top 100 brand pages on Facebook is 34 times larger than the fan group. This means that a business can often have greater influence amongst its second degree connections, and the virality of a page’s content can be directly related to the success of a business. So, ultimately there’s a need for better insights into Facebook content consumption.

Facebook’s Advertising Communications Manager Elisabeth Diana states that the “one of the purposes behind Facebook Page Insights is to provide all page admins with ways to understand how to reach and acquire new customers.” New metrics have been created in order to provide businesses with not only information about how people are interacting with a brand Page, but also a glimpse into how people are connecting with the Page’s content in other parts of Facebook.

One of the metrics added to Facebook’s Page Insights is “People are talking about this.” This set of data counts stories that are eligible to appear in a user’s Newsfeed, such as any likes, wall posts, comments, shares, questions answered, RSVPs to events, Page mentions, photo tagging and location checkins. The metric allows the page administrator to know what posts have proven the most compelling and interactive.

Another metric added to the equation is the metric of virality, which allows for insight into how viral a particular post is. Virality is determined by dividing the number of “people talking about this” by the reach (the number of people who actually saw the content). Diana notes that because virality is a percentage, whether a business is large or small, the metric “can be used to compare across all Page posts.” The virality metric allows page admins to analyze the success of individual posts and will hopefully lead to an improved page strategy through a better understanding of the audience.

Along with these new metrics comes aesthetic changes as well. “Whether you want to get into the deep end or wade in slowly,” Diana says, Facebook wants to make their Page Insights “digestible for everyone, easy to sort and actionable.” She says most of the heavy numbers have been removed from Page Insights, but “for those needing something a little more data-intense, there is always the option to export to a spreadsheet.” Either way, Diana and Facebook promise that “this is just the first step in enhancing Page Insights for small businesses and brands; there is more to come.” In the meantime, however, Facebook will continue to prompt business owners to provide their audiences with the most engaging content possible to guarantee the greater reach and better sales.

by , via Mashable

What Happens When Everything’s Measured?

October 25, 2011

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Anything that can be measured can be optimized, and sometimes that optimization can lead to competitive advantage in inefficient markets. That’s the lesson of the book and popular new movie Moneyball, about the Oakland A’s baseball team and its use of statistics to overcome the limitations of its budget. It’s a seductive proposition.

What if everything were run like that, though? What if measurement and optimization were the fundamental strategic approach brought to bear on all kinds of endeavors? That may be exactly what’s happening with the rise of what’s called The Internet of Things, the emerging network of web connected streets, buildings, sensors, objects and devices expected to dominate the Internet in coming decades. But the same approach is also being taken with regard to some of our most fundamental human activities: growing up, healing our bodies and spending time alone. Three examples in particular help shed some light on the good sides and the bad sides of a Web that would make all things measurable and subject to optimization.

Becoming Human

By the time a child enters school, experts say there are about 1,000 basic words that they need to know as a foundation to maximize their reading comprehension and intellectual growth. Studies show that children from more marginal social-economic backgrounds enter school already in a vocabulary deficit relative to others.

In order to optimize the preparedness that children bring with them into school, a new class of software is becoming available to parents that combines educational play with analytics reports. New mobile apps aim to help children learn new skills and report their measured progress to parents behind the scenes.

Two recent entrants into this space are Stickery, which this month announced funding from Google Ventures, and Footsteps2Brilliance, an iPad app that has already reported substantial increase in reading comprehension by pre-schoolers.

Stickery is lead by a team with extensive backgrounds in gaming, but Footsteps2Brilliance is already performing pilot tests of its more staid software for the iPad and getting good results. One pilot test of the call-and-response, assisted reading iPad app with pre-schoolers reportedly increased reading comprehension scores from 58.5 percent to 76.4 percent.

Stickery aims to offer analytics to parents as well. The company isn’t ready to show off what it’s doing, but in a world full of games – the Stickery says the popularity of “babysitting apps” represents a huge missed opportunity.

Not everyone sees it like this, though. In a recent write-up of the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, in the heart of Silicon Valley but dedicated to avoiding technology’s influence over children, a contrary perspective was articulated vehemently.

“The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous,” Alan Eagle of Google’s Executive Communications team told the New York Times.

Critics of this kind of approach have also raised concerns regarding lost connection to nature, to unstructured free exploration and creativity and to the parts of life that cannot ever be measured but that warrant substantial investment for the good of a whole child and adult.

It’s hard to know how many of these critiques are really new, though, and how many of them are timeless, ideological and at risk of missing out on progress through tools. It would probably be just as big a mistake to reject all measured, technology driven education as it would be to presume that technology was sufficient for the whole of a person’s education.

Heal Thyself

Insurance actuaries were some of the first people put out of work by computers. Where money and well-being come together has always been a place where numbers people have sought to measure and optimize. Historically, there’s been an emphasis on mitigating risks. Today, preventative wellness programs are growing in popularity when it comes to minimizing health problems and insurance claims.

Where the rubber hits the road – in hospitals – numbers are playing an ever greater role as well.

Health care institutions are increasingly interested in adopting health care performance metric dashboards, industry watchers say.

In a recent article on HealthDataManagement.com, a survey of different institutions’ use of health data dashboards offered a broad look into the control room experience of modern hospitals and other health related institutions. It’s “a wave everybody is jumping on,” on interviewee said.

Doctors, nurses and administrators are widely adopting real-time data dashboards from companies like McKesson, CareFX and Tableau. These dashboards integrate streams of information and alerts from multiple different data sources, making the information easy to quickly visualize.

Who doesn’t love dashboards? Medical institutions use them to measure and optimize things like:

    • How long each doctor’s patients are staying in the hospital and what percentage of them come back within 30 days.
    • Which hospital office workers can get the most patients processed in through the door and with the most complete initial information. Also, which of them can get the most money out of patients on their way out the door. “Bill me,” is not a phrase hospitals like to hear because medical debts are so often ignored.
  • Doctors report what medications they use in each procedure they perform, but those reports don’t always match up with a hospital’s inventory. Keeping an eye on both enables institutions to monitor for anomalous use of medications in order to maximize treatment efficacy and doctor accountability.

“Notice that none of those use studies focus on what health dashboards are supposed to focus on, health,” says enterprise technology journalist Dana Blankenhorn. “Only $$$.”

Indeed, optimization presumes a particular party’s interests are being optimized for and while some critics might see in the aforementioned children’s education app analytics something other than the best interest of children being served – the matter of measuring medical metrics seems even riskier for the interests of patients.

There’s no reason why accountability, efficiency and institutional self-awareness have to be bad things from a patients’ perspective though. To presume so seems superficial to me.

Solitude no More

What could be more archetypal a solitary action than curling up with a good book? Now that our books are backlit, of course, things are different.

New apps measure adult reading, too, now. Yesterday Alicia Eler wrote the first coverage of a new Betaworks company called Findings, which lets you import your Amazon Kindle annotations and share them in a stream with friends. Once the highlights of what you’ve read are captured in data form and published to the web, there’s a whole world of recommendations, popularity contests and more than can be performed.

The forthcoming startup Hypothes.is brings that kind of paradigm to the whole web and beyond. It’s team of Web-scale heavy hitters want to create a “peer review layer for the internet” complete with reputation scores and a rich set of feedback from readers about everything.

There’s no doubt that such measurements could deliver some very real value – but what about the solitary relationship between a reader and an author’s work? What about unaccountable, uncounted free and independent thought about the things we read? Reading has worked very well for a long time without being subject to monitoring, measurement and automatic recommendations.

Some people, many people, are likely to enjoy the value that a layer of quantification put over or beside their reading experience can offer.

None of these instances of the increasing measurement of life seem clearly and unconditionally good or bad. They have incredible potential but also seem to post some risk of alienation, of coldness, of dehumanization and of rendering our experiences less complete than we need them to be in order to be completely human ourselves.

Hopefully we can maximize the upside of this paradigm while guarding against its dangers.

By , via Read Write Web

Google Analytics Launches In-Depth Flow Visualizations

October 19, 2011

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Google Analytics is about to get a whole lot more visual, thanks to the launch of a new feature, Flow Visualizations.

The new feature was announced by Google SVP of ads Susan Wojcicki at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It will launch later today for all Google Analytics users.

Flow Visualizations is a dynamic way to view and experience your Google Analytics data. It utilizes the lens of a Sankey diagram, a specific type of flow diagram. Flow Visualizations allow sites to drill into user behavior based on location, browser, user type and many other variables.

The key to Flow Visualizations, though, is its ability to analyze how visitors are using a website. These visualizations allow website administrators to figure out where people are visiting, how many people stay on their site, how many people visit a site’s shopping cart and more.

Wojcicki said the inspiration for the new product actually came from a Sankey diagram from the 19th century, describing the marching movements of Napoleon and his army over the course of time.

Check out a photo from the Web 2.o Summit below:

By: Ben Par, via Mashable

How To Save Money On AdWords Placements With Google Analytics

October 11, 2011

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Google’s display network can bring you tremendous amounts of clicks and conversions if used correctly. If it is not used correctly, you can quickly spend mass amounts of money and have nothing to show for it.

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article on how to manage the display network so you can spend most of your money on sites that are bringing in quality traffic. This is a quick graphic of the workflow that I still use today.

  • The Discovery Campaign is one of your lower daily budgets, and its goal is to find good placements where you want to spend more money.
  • The Placements Campaign is one of your higher budgets as it only contains sites that are helping you reach your overall goals.

 

While I find this workflow very useful, the overall problem is when do you decide to block placements?

In your AdWords account, the only data you can see for any placement is conversions and conversion rates. The problem with so little data is that if you wait until you have enough statistically significant data to make a decision, you will never find all of the good placements, and you will have spent too much money on bad ones.

There is another way to gain insight into placements with Google Analytics that can help determine whether a site is sending you quality traffic.

Evaluating Placements With Google Analytics

To have access to this data, you need to link your Google Analytics account to your AdWords account.

Next, navigate to the placements information under the AdWords reports (found under traffic sources).

If you have goals set up, then you can sort by the goal completions, conversion rates and other data points to find the sites that are doing well for you.

While this data is useful for adding placements, it can also be useful for finding placements that you want to block even if you don’t have statistical data.

Sort Placements By Bounce Rates

Instead of trying to find sites that you want to add as placements, examine bounce rates to find sites where the traffic is so poor, you don’t want to wait for statistical data.

 

In this case, we have a handful of sites that have sent more than 18 visitors and have a 100% bounce rate. No one from any of those sites has even gone to a second page, therefore, we will often block these even though we don’t have statistically significant data.

Please note, you don’t want to just block sites if their bounce rates are 100%. You should also double-check the ad copy and landing pages to make sure the offers are relevant for that site. If you consistently see high bounce rates for your display campaigns, then you might need to change the offer and landing page before deciding to block placements.

Just remember, a bounce in Google Analytics is a visitor who only went to a single page and then left your site. If someone gets to your landing page, picks up the phone and calls you, finishes an order over the phone and then leaves your site, they will be counted as a bounce even if they spent 20 minutes on the phone with you.

Create Interaction Goals

A quick way of seeing what sites are bringing in good versus poor traffic is to create interaction goals within Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you can create goals based upon time on site or page views per visit.

If you create goals with these types of metrics, then you can easily examine what sites are not meeting your basic minimum interaction and then block those sites that are underperforming.

Conversely, if you find that sites are bringing in visitors that are spending several minutes on your site, you shouldn’t block those sites until you have enough clicks to determine whether those visitors will eventually convert.

By using interaction goals, you can gain another level of insight into the placements where you are spending money, so you can make better decisions about blocking the sites or spending more money on the sites to gather more data.

 

If you have various types of goals on your site, I would recommend splitting out these types of goals by goal set. You might have one goal set that is all revenue events, and another one that is site interaction. By splitting these different types of goals out by goal set, you can see one tab of just interaction goals, and another tab of just revenue goals. That way your revenue goal events will not be polluted by site interaction events and vice versa.

Conclusion

Overall, I like Google’s display network. There is a lot of traffic and conversions to be had from managing it correctly. However, if managed incorrectly, the display network can be a money pit. Therefore, you do need a system for managing the display network so it will perform for you.

However, the patience and money required to always have statistically relevant data is beyond what most AdWords advertisers have. Therefore, when you see sites that have several visits and 100% bounce rates, feel free to block them quickly. When you see sites that have some visitors, and those visitors are spending time on your site, you should be more patient in determining whether the site will eventually be a converting one for you.

By using Google Analytics to examine your AdWords data, you can go beyond just examining conversion rates to also determining interaction rates and gaining another viewpoint into the placement sites where you are spending your money, so you can spend your budget as wisely as possible.

By: Brad Geddes, via Search Engine Land

Google Tweaks AdWords To Give Landing Page Quality More Weight

October 4, 2011

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After quietly testing in Brazil, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, Google will roll out a new algorithm globally that gives more weight to landing page quality when it comes to AdWords Quality Score. This means ads with landing pages that Google deems to be most relevant to the query will be able to rank higher for lower cost-per-click bids.

“What we’ve seen is that there are ads available in the auction that are as good a quality as the top ads. But the landing pages — the merchant sites, the advertiser landing pages — are of much higher quality than the ads that we see at the top of our auction,” Jonathan Alferness, director of product management on Google’s ad quality team told me. This, says Alferness, means the user experience isn’t what it could be. Hence the change to give more weight to landing page quality. “In the end, we believe that this will result in better quality experience for the users.”

Landing page quality has long been a factor in Google AdWords, but more as a negative signal. If an advertiser’s landing page was particularly terrible or misleading, advertisers could have their ads rejected or their accounts suspended or revoked — depending on how bad the policy violation was. The new change will assign landing page quality a positive value, incentivizing advertisers to make sure the landing page’s keywords and content are closely aligned with the keywords for which they’re bidding. Ads with high landing page quality will get a “strong boost” upward in the auction, according to Alferness.

Alferness says Google will crawl the landing pages associated with every ad and make a determination as to its quality.

“What we always ask our advertisers to focus on is relevance — choose a landing page or site experience that is both relevant to the keywords that you’re targeting and also a good experience for end users,” said Alferness. “This is just continuing to sort of push on those best practices. I gives us the ability to really reward those advertisers that have been doing this, whose landing pages really are some of the best in our systems.”

The change will roll out in the next week or two. Advertisers may see some variations in ad position and keyword Quality Score at first, but things should settle down within a couple of weeks, according to Google.

By via Search Engine Land

Google Launches Paid Premium Version of Analytics

September 30, 2011

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Google has developed a paid version of its Analytics website usage monitoring service that offers better performance, more sophisticated features and broader technical support than the free product, the company said on Friday.

Analytics Premium is designed for sites with very heavy traffic that need “extra processing power” behind their analytics software so that they can collect more data, perform more complex analysis and generate more granular reports, Google said.

The paid version of Analytics will also feature advanced service offerings for things like custom implementations and around-the-clock technical support, the company said in a blog post. Google also offers service level agreements for Analytics Premium.

While developing Analytics Premium, Google worked with some of its biggest Analytics users, including Travelocity and Gucci. The service is available in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. for an undisclosed annual fee. Companies can sign up for it directly with Google or through Analytics resellers.

Google Analytics used to be a paid service back when it was called Urchin on Demand, but after Google acquired the company in 2005, it made it a free product.

Google’s decision to offer Urchin on Demand as a free product rocked the website analytics market at the time, since most vendors charged for their wares. Urchin on Demand, for example, cost US$199 per month.

Since acquiring Urchin Software, Google has continued to develop and sell an on-premise version of the software, which in its most recent version — Urchin 7 — costs $9995 in the U.S.

However, Google from the start has encouraged customers to use Analytics, whose software is hosted by Google in its data centers in a software-as-a-service cloud model.

It’s interesting to see Google come around after six years and reintroduce a paid version of the cloud-hosted product to the market for heavy-duty users who rely on Analytics to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of ad campaigns or the popularity of website content. The decision may in part reflect the increased importance websites play in businesses, and the need for companies to closely track usage to fine-tune marketing campaigns, e-commerce initiatives and content strategies.

Google said on Friday that it will continue to develop and enhance the free version of Analytics.

By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News via, PCWorld

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