Monthly Archives: March 2015

With Social Media, Aim for Quality Over Quantity

In November, Facebook eliminated “like-gates,” the practice of requiring users to “like” a page in order to participate in a contest or access exclusive content.

In December the “Instagram Rapture” removed millions of fake accounts and sent the follower counts for the heaviest users – including Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian – plummeting overnight.

Most recently, Facebook took steps to remove voluntarily deactivated or memorialized accounts from pages’ “like” counts, causing a smaller scale drop in likes for many brand pages, including several pages we manage.

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Facebook’s change makes sense; after all, it’s meant to take users who no longer use Facebook out of the equation and it’s an extension of policies already in place that remove likes and comments from inactive users from individual posts.

It seems like every time a social media channel announces a clean-up effort, the changes prompt an online uproar from social media managers who live and die by their follower counts, along with an outpouring of articles on how to survive under the new rules. Want our advice? Stop worrying about short-term shifts in the numbers and instead focus on building a quality social media following.

Cleaning out inactive accounts– and certainly fake, spammy accounts – makes it easier for marketers and social media managers to build a profile of their true followers and engage with people who want to hear from their brand. It makes targeting tools like Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences more accurate. And, frankly, it makes social media more enjoyable to use when you’re not constantly monitoring your accounts for computer-generated comments and spammy posts.

So if all the social media housecleaning had a major impact on your online following, give us a call. We’re happy to talk about long-term strategies for building an audience that will stick around to hear what you have to say.

Office Yoga

Let’s face it: work can be stressful sometimes. Add that on top of sitting at a desk all day, and you have a recipe for stiff muscles that are begging to be stretched. This past January, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training program. I could go on and on about the benefits of yoga: increased flexibility, decreased stress levels, increased muscle tone and so on, but I’ll save that for another day. However, you may be thinking, “How does yoga relate to a marketing blog?” Let me explain.2015-03-12_0001

How many times during your 9-5 job do you move in an hour? Not a lot, right? It’s easy to get caught up in emails, media pitches and social media posts and before you know it, it’s noon and you haven’t stood up for 3 hours. If this sounds like you- keep reading!

What better way to combat excessive sitting for long periods of time? You guessed it: yoga! Doing the following easy moves at your desk will keep your muscles happy and will probably help your mood throughout your day!

Gentle Twist: What better way to keep your spine happy then with a nice, gentle twist. Use your chair to help you get into the pose. With each inhale, lengthen your spine and with each exhale, see if you can’t twist just a little bit deeper!

Backbend: Inhale your arms up high, clasping the hands together and interlacing the fingers if possible. This is a great counter-pose for the hunched back we tend to deal with when typing at the computer all day. Keep breathing!

Forward Fold: This can be done seated or standing- whichever you prefer. Either way, fold forward over your legs and let your head and neck hang heavy. Feel free to rock from side to side if that feels nice! Also, if you’re standing, but find your hamstrings are tight, go ahead and bend your knees as much as you need to!

Supported Headstand (Bonus Pose): Please note that you MAY get funny looks from your co-workers when you randomly break into a headstand at the wall. But, if you can get past the stares, the benefits to this pose are certainly worth it.

So, there you have it! Five simple yoga poses you can do throughout the work day to help make you feel great!

Namaste.

 

Google Analytics Cohort Analysis; Overview and Offline Conversion Tracking

You may have noticed the new Cohort Analysis report in Google Analytics recently. Most of our clients have access to the new feature, but it looks like Google is still rolling it out to all users. We always get excited for shiny new charts, but this one could have a much bigger impact on your reporting and Google Analytics’ overall reporting power.

Google Analytics Cohort Analysis

So what is cohort analysis? It’s not just a report that Google invented. It’s been used in marketing analytics for a while as a way to look beyond sessions and conversions, which can sometimes be one-dimensional, and see trends in how a user interacts overtime. The standard, textbook definition you’ll commonly read is: the behavior of a group of users defined by a common attribute and represented by a common metric.

So what can we do with that? The cohort analysis report defaults to user retention (metric) by day (size). Right now the only “Cohort Type” is “Acquisition Date,” which is a fancy way of saying the date of the first visit. This chart and graph show the percentage of users who return to your site one day after the acquisition date, two days after, three days after, etc., etc. This can be a very valuable report if your website is heavily content driven. How many people are coming back for new blog posts, webinars and white papers? You can change the metric to see how session duration and pages per session change with visits over time. This version of the report also makes a lot of sense if you’re a SaaS provider, tracking an app or generally provide a web-based solution. How many people come back, reengage and continue using the service? You can filter these users by specific channels or content types (using advanced segments) to get a measure of where your best customers originate.

But there are also some pretty interesting ways you can use the tool to uncover new info on your conversion funnel.

Shed light on offline conversions

We work with a non-ecommerce site that uses a free sample request as a primary call to action. Users get the sample and then go to a dealer to make the final purchase. Because most of the resulting steps happen offline, it’s difficult to tell which users are purchasing and which drop out after receiving a sample. This is where cohort analysis comes in. We can filter our cohorts by converters (by adding an advanced segment) to see when and how often these converters come back to the site and reengage. In other words, this can tell us how long it takes a user to research and narrow their consideration set.

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We found found large clusters of users returning to the site after three to five weeks. It may seem like a long time, but the product is a relatively significant and expensive B2B purchase with multiple SKU options and several internal and external audiences who consult in the final decision. When you add all these factors to the shipping time, it’s not unreasonable to assume it takes roughly a month to narrow a consideration set or make a decision.

Cohort analysis alone is not the solution. We need to combine this info with other Google Analytics reports to tell the whole story, but it uncovers part of an ongoing mystery about our offline conversions. Now, we can take a deeper look at how converters come back to the site, what pages they view and what indicates they’re moving closer to purchase. More importantly, this can inform other parts of our marketing. We can find the best time to email users who requested samples or adapt our remarketing program to ensure we’re displaying the right message (based on pages users view when they return) at the right time (when they return). We can even redesign sample packaging to provide more relevant information when the package arrives, shortening the overall time to purchase.

What does this say about Google Analytics?

When Google made the switch to Universal Analytics, we knew the user-based approach would have a lot of benefits. Cohort analysis is one of the first reports to lean heavily on the tool’s ability to accurately track users. As the tool moves out of beta, we hope to see more cohort types and other user-based reports. So be on the lookout for new reports and tools!