Content often defies the law of gravity; we’ve all seen cases where something innocently placed within the confines of a website goes viral, takes on a life of its own and flies off into the ether.
Whilst these instances can be meticulously planned, more often than not it takes website owners by surprise. To capitalise on the opportunities exponential traffic can bring your way and to make a guesstimate about which content might have wings, it’s important to understand the various environments within which content may exist.
- Content Troposphere – Where things remains close to the core
Content is what keeps your website alive, allowing it to breathe and allowing those looking in to understand your species. Even if visitors have come from many light-years away, this is where they will carry out their interactions and transactions with you, so the content portraying your brand needs to be solid as a rock.
Become a content cosmonaut: The most appealing websites are those which offer a different way of absorbing what can often be standard information. Give all your content a sense of style, from the privacy policies to the press releases.
- Content Stratosphere – Where you’ll experience strong jet streams
Translating company knowledge into interesting content about your products and services is a vital tactic for wide message disbursement. It isn’t about you or what you want to say, it’s about what your audience wants to hear – the key to success is delivering content at the right frequency, in the right format and through the right channels.
Become a content cosmonaut: Treat your customers as individuals and attempt to tailor their experiences as often as possible throughout your website journey with dynamic content placement.
We are always thinking of new and innovative ways to create content for our clients. Often this involves starting from a blank page, but here’s an example of where we discovered existing assets that we didn’t think were getting the attention they deserved.
While you may not think old knickers command much attention, it’s a different story when they’re from legendary lingerie innovator M&S. Using information and images buried deep in the retail giant’s fascinating Company Archive, we brought these to life through an interactive timeline that spotlights the style, technology and history of M&S lingerie from the 1920s, through the War and into the 80s.
What gems does your brand have hidden?
The history of lingerie timeline is hosted on the M&S Stories social site.
Analysing data is paramount in the day-to-day work of internet marketers so strategic decisions can be made based on scientific evidence. However, in some occasions some commonly used terms are sometimes misunderstood and used in the wrong context. Some of the most typical ones include:
- Bounce rate
- Average time on page
- Average time on site
By and large, a high bounce rate is considered as a negative signal, often flagging the need foe some conversion optimisation & usability improvements. Similarly, low average time on page/site is also considered as positive signals although these may not always be valid assumptions. An in-depth understanding of what these metrics represent is absolutely necessary, otherwise decisions may be made based on misconceptions.
The definitions of all major analytics metrics need to be well-understood before analysing the data of the various analytics packages. For instance, the definitions for Google Analytic metrics s can be found here.
Below, we will discuss the flaws of bounce rate and time on site/page, and then define a better alternative, commonly known as dwell time.
Bounce Rate Flaws
This is the percentage of single page visits. However, bounces do not take into account the average time a user spends on a landing page. That means that when a user lands on a page from a search engine and stays just for a few seconds before exiting the site, it counts as a bounce. Similarly, when a user lands on a page and stays on that for several minutes before exiting the site, that also counts as a bounce.
In the first example, the user did not find the landing page useful and left, whereas in the second example the landing page satisfied the user’s requirement.
So far, there are two takeaways:
- Bounce rates should not be seen in isolation but in conjunction with other metrics (e.g. average time on page).
- Bounces should not always raise concerns, as in certain cases a bounce can be a positive signal. This is when there is evidence that the user digested the content of the landing page before they happily left the site.
Google announced in January that it now has 90 million Google+ users, this was a massive jump from the 40 million reported in September 2011, however it turns out that the 90 million user figure reported in January actually included other Google properties such as Gmail and Google Search. However misleading the 90 million figure is the more important question is “what is the impact of Google+ on my site?”
I took a look at the impact of Google+ on some of our clients’ keyword data. Keeping true to all things Google, I used Google Analytics to report on the number of keywords recorded as “(not provided)” from the 1st October 2011 to the 31st January 2012.
Firstly let me explain what “(not provided)” actually means. In essence once you are logged in to Google any search term you enter is not passed across to the website you select from the organic search results. Google wants to protect your privacy so whereas analysts, like myself, and website owners would have seen what terms you actually searched for, now all we see is (not provided). Pretty useless when you are trying to ensure your site is fully optimised for what customers are looking for, but there are a few ways around it so don’t panic SEO and user experience optimisation hasn’t gone back a decade just yet…
So let’s get back to seeing the impact of (not provided) data. I looked at 15 client accounts across the following verticals; retail, travel and finance. Although SEO traffic levels varied greatly across the three verticals (finance received far less SEO traffic), the consistent result was that only 1-2% of keywords were recorded as (not provided).
One common gripe over Facebook page creation is that, as a page administrator, you aren’t able to set a unique URL for a page until it has at least 25 fans.
In September 2011 there was a loophole which allowed page admins to set a username for pages with fewer than 25 fans, but this soon closed up.
However, whilst setting up a page for a client yesterday, I discovered that there is indeed currently a way to set a unique username/URL for a Facebook page with less than 25 fans. It’s a little lengthy but ultimately does work.
However, it’s worth noting that this will only work for brand new pages – you can’t use this loophole to set a unique username for a page you’ve already created. You will also have to follow the entire process again for each individual page/username you want to set.
Expect this loophole to close quickly; here’s how to take advantage of it:
1. Go to Facebook.com and make sure you are logged out. Beneath the sign up form, click on the ‘Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.’ link
2. Choose whichever category is most appropriate for the page you want to create and continue
3. Even if you already have a Facebook account, select the ‘I do not have a Facebook account’ option
4. Sign up using an email address that is not associated with any Facebook account; you could create one just for this purpose. Follow the Facebook account creation and confirmation steps
5. Set up your profile (you can come back to this later)
6. Click on ‘Edit page’ and then navigate to the ‘Basic Information’ tab on the left
7. Click on the ‘Create a username for this page?’ link
8. This brings up a notice asking you to verify your account before you can create a username. Follow the verification steps
9. Once Facebook confirms that the code is correct, the page doesn’t seem to auto-redirect anywhere. Don’t click continue again, but instead click on the Facebook logo in the top left to go back to your page’s home page feed. Click ‘Edit page’ to bring up the admin section again, and click on the ‘Basic Information’ tab
Last year I posted on elements which I’d like to see Google incorporate into AdWords during 2011. Google claim to have tested over 100 new ad formats in 2011, along with a bunch of new features, so unsurprisingly a couple of my predictions came up. There are still some omissions which I feel are no brainers, but given the progress made this year I’m pretty optimistic about them.
How I did before…
Ad scheduling was resolved by automated rules, which opened up to all advertisers in February. Not only that, it allows for some reasonably advanced automation at most levels of the account. It would be good to see ad extensions added to this, but ultimately it’s a big step in the right direction.
Video Ads have rolled out in the same format as the US rather than the more flexible way I’d hoped. But no real surprises here.
So there’s no sign of sharing impression cookies outside of conversion tracking and Google analytics. Or of the privacy sensitive, search re-marketing. Weather-parting also remains a pipe dream (and probably always will do).
So on to 2012…
Google’s focus on monetising every last click seems to have intensified if anything so expect a further slew of alphas, betas and general releases. So here are some expectations, highly likelies and a couple of very long shots…
As has become tradition in February we’ve taken a fresh look at the state of the mobile web and who are the main players with respects to Mobile Operating System (Mobile OS) market share. We looked at 15 countries from all corners of the globe to see what the predominant mobile platforms are in that country and how the situation has changed in the last year.
2011 has been a big year for Android, with the platform seeing massive growth in many countries, growing from 17% to 47% in Spain in the last year and from 6% to 45% in Peru. In the UK Android has grown by 10% which has mostly been at the expense of Nokia and BlackBerry which have fallen 2% and 7% respectively.
Of the 15 countries we looked at, BlackBerry only had a significant presence in two markets (USA & UK) and has lost a significant amount of market share in the USA dropping 26% in the last 12 months, with both Apple
[*not an actual Google quote]
On Tuesday Google announced via its blog that from 1st March, more than 60 of its privacy policies will be helpfully consolidated into one, easy to read document. What a fantastic idea! We all know how sensitive the issue of internet privacy has become and anything that provides transparency in a simple way has to be of great benefit to internet users.
But before we shake Google by the hand for doing the honourable thing and distinguishing themselves from privacy flouters like Facebook, let’s investigate what this privacy update actually means…are Google demonstrating transparency or are they pursuing a commercial agenda under the cover of advocating privacy?
A new game of Google maps will be available for Google+ customers next month.
Below is a screenshot of the video called “Play Your World with Google Maps” released by Google a few days ago.
It is not a surprise that Google and other large companies such as Nike, McDonalds or eBay amongst others are taking the online gamer community very seriously. Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Gamer community stats
According to Jane McGonigal, author of the book ‘Reality is broken’ the online gamer community –including console, PC and mobile phone gaming – counts for:
- More than 4m gamers in the Middle East
- 10m in Russia
- 105m in India
- 10m in Mexico
- 13m in Central and South America
- 10m in Vietnam
- 15m in Australia
- 17m in South Korea
- 100m in Europe (31m in the UK)
- 200m in China
With the old Google Analytics (GA) interface being phased out later this month, I take a look at the duel between Internet Privacy and Google Analytics that is likely to be more heated than ever in the coming year. Analysts like myself are preparing to wrestle with reduced data samples and doubts over the reliability of tracking data in Google Analytics.
[The purpose of this blog post is to inject an element of humour whilst identifying some of the new GA5 features and privacy-driven issues undermining GA’s performance upgrade – likely to impact GA in 2012. In the week that ‘The Greatest’ turned 70, there is only one way to sort this out…]
Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Let’s Get Ready To Rummmmblllllllllllllle!
In the red corner representing the interests of personal internet users across the globe, weighing in at 201lbs, the rising challenge to tracking data and analyst insight – Internet ‘it’s the law’ Privacy
In the blue corner representing web analytics and e-commerce marketers from around the world, weighing in at 220lbs, the undisputed heavyweight champion of website statistics – Google ‘Real-Time’ Analytics 5
Google Analytics 5 comes out fighting early in 2012 giving the crowd what they hoped for. Packed with new features that not only look pretty but fill some of the gaps that have frustrated data enthusiasts for some time.
Sign up for email notifications of Connect blog posts.
- Connect – iCrossing U.K.
- Conecta2 – iCrossing LATAM & Spain
- Greatfinds – iCrossing U.S.
- Talblick – iCrossing Germany