8 Ways To Make Your Analytics (More) Awesome

Analytics2 Comments

Google Analytics has to be one of the most used, but least understood tools in digital marketing.

While most users have a good understanding of what it does (track visits and behaviour on your website), there is a big gap between generating and acting on data in isolation as opposed to generating meaningful, actionable insights.

To illustrate what I mean, check out this wonderful ad from Adobe that really cuts to the heart of the problem:

See? Making major marketing decisions based on misleading data.

I had the pleasure of presenting at the October #socadl event on precisely this topic and came up with a few cool tips and tricks I use to make my Google Analytics rock.

While you really do need the talk to go along with slides, this should hopefully inspire you to go research these features yourself or alternatively feel free to reach out.

8 Ways To Make Your Google Analytics Awesome from Mal Chia
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When the data breaks

Digital Strategy2 Comments

As a digital marketer, I’ve been raised to love data and I do. The ability to make decisions based on real-time evidence is one of the most empowering and liberating things to happen to me as a marketer. But as we trust so much of our decision making to what the numbers are saying, ostensibly to identify and take advantage of previously-missed opportunities, do we run the risk of becoming over reliant on the data?

The holy grail of marketing communications is to serve your customers with timely, relevant, targeted communications. The volume of data that we are now able to capture, track and analyse about our customers means that you no know what they’re interested in, what they’ve bought and the what time they are most likely to buy it. In fact, this is part of the strategy behind the success of several online retailers like Vinomofo and Amazon. But what happens when the data breaks? What happens when what you’re collecting is no longer accurate?

As an example, and not just because I mentioned Vinomofo 25 words ago, let’s use wine. When I first visit the site, I’m only interested in one varietal, let’s say Pinot Noir. I only click on links to Pinot Noir and that’s the only thing I ever buy. The wine retailer correctly assumes I only like Pinot Noir and stops sending me emails with any other offer and prioritises Pinot Noir when I’m on the website. But what if I go our to dinner one night and try an amazing Shiraz and suddenly want to buy Shiraz? All the emails I’m receiving still only spruik Pinots and since the website thinks that’s all I like, I never see the Shiraz deals so I think I need to go somewhere else to buy wines.

As marketers, we must avoid only just going by what the data tells. Here’s a couple of ways to avoid this happening:

When the data breaks

Give the option to fix

As the screenshot from Amazon shows, give your visitors a chance to fix the recommendation so you can continually learn as their tastes evolve.

Balanced observed with stated behaviour

Open up your customer profiles and allow customers to self-select what they are interested in rather than just relying on the data. While you can begin just by observing on-site behaviour, you can send a follow-up survey to confirm that what you’re collecting is accurate and ask if there’s anything else they’re interest in.

Don’t hide other offers

While you should tailor your communications to prioritise what the data tells you they are most interested in, don’t hide the rest either. Make other products and categories easy to find if their preferences change and they know you don’t just do one thing and there’s a whole lot more to you.

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You are not Thom Yorke

Digital Strategy0 Comments

thom-yorke

Photo Credit: Silvio Tanaka via Compfight cc

Just because Radiohead say “pay what you want” for their album and millions gobble it up doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.

Just because Thom Yorke pulls all his (solo) music from Spotify because he doesn’t think the system is fair to new artists doesn’t mean you should follow suit (ironic given his band along with Nine Inch Nails were two of the main acts instrumental in creating the perception digital downloads had less value than a CD or LP).

While there is definitely truth to the fact that musicians have swapped physical media/analogue dollars for digital streaming cents, it doesn’t mean that there is no benefit to your brand.

If, like Thom Yorke, you have millions of fans following your every move, then removing your music from Spotify will barely register as a blip. Your fans will still find a way to listen to your music and will clamour for tickets next time you’re playing in their town.

But if you are nothing like Thom Yorke, then you need to think about how best to get your product – your music – into the market and leverage every opportunity to get it there. True, your Spotify royalties may not amount to more than a few dollars a quarter, but how much were you making before this?

As the saying goes, your mileage will vary. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your b(r)and, not blindly hop on the bandwagon just because someone famous says it’s right.

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Welcome To The Centralised Web

Digital Strategy12 Comments

The number of industry stats that get published every week is truly remarkable, but two in particular released in the last few weeks really made me sit up and take notice:

  • Smartphone and tablet sales are continuing to grow as PC sales decline [1]
  • Google and Facebook account for over 70% of mobile advertising revenue [2]

As a long-time citizen of the web, I fell in love with the Internet precisely because unlike the traditional media that it would go on to fundamentally disrupt, it grew from the premise that it is open and decentralised. Anyone could access the network and establish a presence.

It struck me then, that those two stats – particularly when taken together – are a clear signal that things are not like what they once were. While the web is still vast, expansive and continuing to grow, for many users their entire online experience revolves around just two web properties: Facebook and Google.

Facebook users check the smartphone app an average of 14 times a day, while Google handles over 4 billion search queries a day. Not being on Facebook can be seen as either a badge of honour, or being horribly out of the loop (but mostly the latter). I’ve long contended that as we continue to share more and more of our digital selves on Facebook, the gravitational pull of Zuckberg’s network will grow exponentially making it increasingly harder to leave. While in the case of Google, we have simply outsourced our memory while simultaneously gaining access to the entirety of our digitised knowledge.

Add to this the impending demise of Google Reader (and by extension RSS which gave us the ability to consume what we want, where we wanted), the pervasiveness of Android devices (750 million and counting) and the recent launch of Facebook Home, there will soon be no escaping either of these two online behemoths anytime you’re connected – which is already close to ‘always’, especially with Google Glass on the way.

Why the aforementioned mobile ad spend is important is that where the dollars are spent is where innovation and content will follow. Publishers and developers who still primarily look to ad-supported as their monetisation strategy will by default seek to develop closer and closer ties with the networks that control the ad dollars.

The unavoidable truth is that in a post-PC world, Facebook and Google will command our attention more than ever. When two companies have effectively become our gateway to the rest of the Internet, we run the serious risk as marketers of turning it into something bland and derivative as we rinse, recycle and repeat ideas we’ve seen work elsewhere in order to get a higher search rankings, likes, +1’s or shares.

Let’s hope we don’t.

i-will-follow-the-rules

 

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Make It Count

Marketing, Social Media3 Comments

As marketing and communications professionals, we often spend so much time thinking about what the big message is we are trying to communicate to our audience, we forget about the impact the tiniest interaction can have.

Living in South Australia during Summer, we are no strangers to power outages. When one inevitably hits, the logical first step (to me, at last) would be to visit the SA Power Networks website and check the status of the outage. This is what I saw:

photo

Aside from the initial acknowledgement that they are aware of the problem, very little else is actually of any use. The status and estimated restoration time never changed from what is clearly an automated message and approximate restoration time that left you guessing if anyone was even really there. In other words, it was a signal that their time is more valuable than yours.

While SA Power Networks are undoubtedly one of the State’s largest and most important organisations with enough in their coffers to facilitate and communicate a rebrand from ETSA Utilities, they dropped the ball in this case. The failure to provide timely, helpful updates means that those affected are left not only to speculate, but unable to make any future plans.

This was an opportunity for them to create a connection with their customers. Providing regularly updated information that is both valuable and useful would help to build trust and faith in a brand that has historically been short on both.

In short: don’t underestimate even the smallest messages ability to communicate and reinforce your brand story. Keep it helpful, on-message and above all else, try to realistically address your customers questions at this point.

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