• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • If you are reading this, hopefully you have Google Analytics set up and ready to go. It is collecting data from visitors, but how do you get value from that data, and in a form that really helps you? The answer: through use of Goals.

    If you are reading this, hopefully you have Google Analytics set up and ready to go. It is collecting data from visitors but how do you get value from that data, and in a form which really helps you? The answer is through use of Goals, which let you measure how often users take or complete specific actions. (Otherwise known as a conversion).

    Before you can get going with setting up a Goal, let’s look at what we should view as a Goal in terms of Analytics.

    What is a Goal?

    There a few different types of Goals set up within Google Analytics for you to use:

    1. Destination Goals
      These are commonly known as Lead Goals or Success Goals. In essence they track the load of a particular page within the website which is shown once someone completes a given action. For example, a user completing a contact form. These are commonly used as a “funnel goal”: this simply means to count toward the goal, you must have loaded specific pages before landing on the destination page – if you visit one of my “thank you” pages, you won’t count towards my goal.
      Common use: Contact Forms, E-Commerce, Resource Download Thank You Pages.
    2. Duration Goals
      This type of goal allows you to look at how long users spend on a particular page or across the website, and you can set targets for when you want the goal to be triggered. For instance, on SEOAndy I have a goal to tell me if a user spends more than 15 minutes looking at an article – this tells me there could be something wrong with the structure of the post.
      Common use: Video playbacks, Blogs.
    3. Pages per Visit
      This allows you to set a goal of a specific number of pages to be loaded within a visit. This can be helpful to see how users interact with a site and whether more work needs to be done (for example on your navigation). If someone is visiting 15 pages, are they finding what they wanted, researching or simply stuck as to what comes next?
      Common use: Ecommerce, Blogs, Portfolio Websites.
    4. Event Goals
      These are goals counted based on an event trigger; this could be anything from someone clicking to social share your site, view a video, download a resource or click on an advert/promotion banner.
      Common use: Downloads, Video Playbacks, Portfolio Views.

    Now that we’ve a basic grasp of what types of goals there are, let's get one set up.

    Action: Open Google Analytics and follow the steps below. This practice will make it easier for you to set up your own goals in future.

    Setting Up a Goal

    STEP 1. Within Google Analytics click Admin and then in View (right col) click on Goals. Then click Create a Goal.

    Note: Goals do not save until you complete the creation process, exiting the process before then will mean the loss of your Goal and you will have to set it up again. However, Goals can be edited at a later point if you notice a mistake.

    You will now see a screen displaying a number of different templates. These suggested templates are the most common Goals, and will cover 99% of website actions and goals. If you can’t find one you need you can click “custom”, however we won’t be covering that in the article.

    Google Analytics Goal Setup

    As you can see the templates are split into 4 categories (revenue, acquisition, enquiry and engagement), within each of these are a number of options and the descriptions as to what they cover.

    For the purpose of this example we will be using the Enquiry template for “Contact Us” – this is a Destination based goal, meaning that to be reached the user must hit a given page.

    STEP 2. Select Contact us and Click Next Step.

    setting up goals in google analytics

    In this section you will now see the types of Goal available for this given target. It can still be any of the ones listed above, in most cases one will be pre-selected, if not refer to the above section on types of Google Analytics Goals.

    STEP 3. Name your Goal and Select Destination, then Click Next Step.

    Destination Goals are what are known as Boolean, either something happens or it doesn’t – in this case someone has to land on a given page or not -you can also in Google Analytics say someone must land on part of the site with a given part of the domain …

    STEP 4. Define your Destination page

    For me it is /coach/thankyou
    Note you do not need to include your domain (eg seoandy.net) in your destination.

    using google analytics to track goals

    For example ThankYou.html would be a singular final destination, however someone clicking a link on SEOAndy with a url including /go/ is also a destination and goal even though what follows /go/ (eg seoandy.net/go/vote ) would be a goal. 

    You can now define whether the goal has a value, in this case it doesn’t but if you are asking people to sign up for a website at £5 a time but don’t use an e-commerce platform you could make the value £5 such as to know how many times this given goal is completed and its true value to you.

    Note: e-commerce websites can track transactions within GA, you don’t need to set up as a goal.

    STEP 5. Creating a Funnel

    Now although optional, doing this will prevent you from getting false positives within your goal counting and ensure your data is accurate.

    1. Click to turn On the funnel (shown below)
    2. Give each step a name and relative url (as you did with the final destination)
      You do NOT need to enter your final destination as a field here.
    3. If a step is required check the relevant box.

    setting up goal funnels in Google Analytics

    In my case the person is required to have been through the /coach/ (seo training) page before reaching the thank you page to complete the goal. In the case of ecommerce websites this would be the checkout pages.

    Tip: You can add as many steps as you want or need, just remember if steps are optional not to mark them as required.

    STEP 6. Verify the Goal (optional)

    Verification of the Goal will ensure it is set up correctly, however if you have only just set up analytics or do not yet see many conversions on a regular basis this won’t help – thus it is optional.

    STEP 7. Create the Goal

    You will now see the Goal in your Goals Dashboard along with information about the conversions in recent days and whether or not it is recording. You can toggle on and off recording, this means you keep the data if things change or the site is relaunched – deleting a Goal will remove the data from your account (don’t do it).

    STEP 8. Sit Back and Have a Brew

    As with all things it can take a few days for you to see results appear in your full dashboard.

    TIP: In the “real time” dashboard you can select Conversions and “Goal Hits” to see if any goals were reached in the past 30 minutes.

    STEP 9. Check your Conversions

    A few days after click in to “conversions” in your Google Analytics Dashboard and click Goals you will now be able to see the number of conversions for that goal.

    Take Action

    Now it’s your turn. I want you to set up a goal today in Google Analytics for your website. Once you’ve set it up leave a comment and let us know how it went.

    IBM Verse fixes email to give you back your day. If you have been around the IBM software ecosystem this week, you probably couldn’t have missed our announcement about IBM Verse. IBM has been working to bring the world of social collaboration into a context where many of us still work – email.

    IBM Verse fixes email to give you back your day.

    If you have been around the IBM software ecosystem this week, you probably couldn’t have missed our announcement about IBM Verse. IBM has been working to bring the world of social collaboration into a context where many of us still work – email.

    Most of us still use IBM Notes, Microsoft Outlook or some other email client as the primary place we work. We use it for filing, for storage, for search, for communicating and well, for being able to be productive at work. The trouble is, these days, email clients are not designed for this. If you are under the age of about 35 you probably only have a small number of folders with thousands of emails in them. If you’re older than 35 you probably have tens if not hundreds of folders and spend a significant part of your time diligently filing your emails for later retrieval.

    Most of us, though, rarely look for and seldom find the emails we’re looking for. Lots of us, when on vacation come back to hundreds of unread mail, most of which are either for information, or if they were urgent, have probably been actioned by someone else in your absence.

    The truth is, that emailing replaced the paper memo and as a result the explosion in information – both relevant and irrelevant – which lands on our desk is overwhelming. Email has become a hindrance not a help to daily business.

    IBM Verse fixes email to give you back your day.

    Smarter organizations have realized that social collaboration solutions such as IBM Connections can move much of the information chatter out of email and into centralized communities where people can work together productively and with purpose.

    Until now, however, a social enterprise still had to struggle with a decidedly unsocial email world. That’s until IBM unveiled Verse. It is intended to bring the social enterprise (the “we”) to the email user (the “me”). It interconnects sharing and collaboration with messaging to give you the opportunity to see through the forest of information you get every day and help you be better at work. Who knows, you might even get home on time!

    One of the more interesting aspects of the modern web economy is the ability for talented people to transmit their expertise regardless of their location. It’s meant things like Khan Academy have streamed their tutorials to millions around the world, TED videos have been viewed over a billion times, and MOOCs have made stars out of the best lecturers.

    One of the more interesting aspects of the modern web economy is the ability for talented people to transmit their expertise regardless of their location.  It’s meant things like Khan Academy have streamed their tutorials to millions around the world, TED videos have been viewed over a billion times, and MOOCs have made stars out of the best lecturers.

    That’s obviously great if you’re one of those that this amplification has made famous, but a slightly more warming side of the story is that it’s brought expertise into the lives of those who would normally be disenfranchised, and who might suffer from a lack of such resources in their own countries.

    A nice example for instance was the success of the MOOC launched on the Alison platform that helped to deliver Ebola advise and assistance to residents in west Africa.

    Nowhere is this more so than in education.  We’ve seen with the famous Sugata Mitra experiment that children in rural villages are dying to learn and enrich themselves, if they’re only given the opportunity.

    His experiment famously placed a computer terminal in such a village, but a new project called Making Ghanaian Girls Great is aiming to go one step further.

    The project is currently in a two year pilot phase and sees lessons streamed into remote parts of Ghana in a bid to provide schooling to those currently deprived of the opportunity.

    Each lesson is filmed in a central studio in Accra, and streamed live throughout the country.  Two way video conferencing facilities allow students to receive an interactive class for two hours each day.

    Each classroom is equipped with a webcam, computer and a satellite to facilitate the experience, with local helpers on hand to provide support and mentoring in addition to the remote tuition.

    The learning doesn’t end in the classroom either.  Afterwards, each school has a ‘Wonder Woman’ club whereby female role models are profiled for the class, with students encouraged to quiz each participant to learn more about their lives.

    There are currently 72 schools throughout Ghana participating in the scheme, which means that some 4,000 girls are currently receiving an education they probably wouldn’t otherwise receive.

    It’s a nice example of the kind of projects that are allowing people in more developed nations to stream their expertise to more under-privileged parts of the world.  We’ve seen similar projects in areas such as healthcare.

    All in all, it’s a wonderful project, and well worth checking out.

    photo: Gems Ed Solutions

    My friend Jonathan Barrick had the unique opportunity to cover the AdTech 2014 conference in New York City recently and collect digital trends, ideas, and opportunities from some of the biggest the companies in the business. He told me that there was a “distinct attitude shift about digital marketing” compared to other years and we are fortunate to have some of these observations today.

    My friend Jonathan Barrick had the unique opportunity to cover the AdTech 2014 conference in New York City recently and collect digital trends, ideas, and opportunities from some of the biggest the companies in the business. He told me that there was a “distinct attitude shift about digital marketing” compared to other years and we are fortunate to have some of these observations today.

    Many thanks to Jonathan, Claude Ricks and Krista LaRiviere of gShift for gathering these insights from the floor of AdTech for our community!

     

    Blurring lines between channels

    The lines we’ve previously drawn between owned, earned, and paid media are constantly getting blurrier. Each one is inextricably linked to the others, and if they are not aligned and working towards the same end then marketers are not maximizing their investments in content, social engagement, and paid efforts.

    Content confusion

    Marketers KNOW they need to be creating content, but they don’t know how to effectively inform the entire content marketing process. What methods and strategies should be deployed to gather and analyze the right data to determine WHAT content should be created, WHERE the content should be distributed, and HOW they should measure its performance.

    Digital brand discovery strategies

    Most brands haven’t wrapped their head around learning what questions their prospects are asking in order to find them, and how/where do they/should they answer those questions in their digital content. Understanding the sequence of events that their customers follow throughout the sales process and which questions apply to each stage is crucial to a strategic content plan.

    If a brand has answered those questions, how are they actually measuring the uptake/engagement of their prospects on the content that has those answers? If a brand is not measuring the impact of content, how it affects a prospect throughout the cycle, and what stages of the cycle benefit from certain types of content, how can they ever expect to truly measure content performance?

    The data and analytics gap

    CMOs investing primarily in a content marketing to drive their overall paid, owned and earned digital efforts were shocked to learn about the importance of data in the overall content creation process. Content creation that takes place without timely, accurate data as its foundation results in a ‘dumb’ content strategy with minimal impact, engagement and sales conversions. ‘Smart’ content marketing makes use of information such as keyword data from current, relevant conversations in social media and competitive content intelligence from search.

    Growing importance of content distribution

    Marketers are missing the boat when it comes to content distribution. Investments are being made in content, however marketers are not being tactical, strategic and thoughtful enough about where and when to distribute content.

    Writing a blog and publishing it solely to a website is short-sighted, and so is publishing solely into a brand’s own social channels. Seeking out the right influencers on the subject matter and publishing to industry verticals with the proper calls-to-action will elevate content engagement and performance. More time and resources are required on the distribution aspect of the content marketing workflow process if marketers want their content investments to pay off.

    Conclusion

    Overall, the main messages coming from ad executives were the need to more intelligently inform content marketing strategies, determine the best distribution channels for maximum impact, and identify the most effective measures of performance and ROI. Not only do marketers want better ways of creating smart content, but they also want better ways of distributing and better ways of measuring.

    How do you envision these shifts will impact your business?

    Disclosure: gShift is a sponsor of The Marketing Companion but I have not been compensated for this blog post. Illustration courtesy AdTech 2014.

    Given Uber's prominence in the early days of the collaborative economy, it may seem odd for me to suggest, but I believe a significant decline in Uber's business may be terrific for the long-term interests of the collective consumption movement. My reasoning is that the sharing economy is not simply about more collaborative products but more collaborative companies. Viewed through this lens, Uber simply has not earned its premiere status in this new business movement.

    Uber has been a poster child for the emerging sharing economy. While other collaborative economy startups like Airbnb and LendingClub have grown and garnered attention, they have yet to create the sort of impact within their verticals that Uber has in the livery business. In San Francisco, for example, Uber (with an assist from other ride-sharing startups) has already caused a 65% decline in taxicab trips and New York has seen a small but unheard of decline in the price of taxi medallions.

    Given Uber's prominence in the early days of the collaborative economy, it may seem odd for me to suggest, but I believe a significant decline in Uber's business may be terrific for the long-term interests of the collective consumption movement. My reasoning is that the sharing economy is not simply about more collaborative products but more collaborative companies. Viewed through this lens, Uber simply has not earned its premiere status in this new business movement.

    Uber's embarrassments have been many and frequent, such as:

    All of these blunders occured before this week's embarrassing dustup over threats to dig up dirt against critical journalists and their families. Then, as if Uber's crap week needed icing on the clueless cake, the company's CEO, Travis Kalanick, compared his company's woes to those of the residents of Ferguson, MO.
     

    Travis Kalanick (Photo Credit: Silicon Prairie News)

    That Uber has a terrible corporate culture is in no doubt. Of course, what would you expect from a CEO that calls his company "Boob-er" for the way it helps him land dates. If the CEO at a traditional company said these sorts of things or presided over a fraction of Uber's PR stumbles, he or she would be shown the door immediately, but Kalanick seems to have nothing to fear, provided he keeps the billions rolling in for investors.  In fact, not only has the latest gaffe caused no apparent ruckus among investors about Kalanick's leadership, one investor--actor Ashton Kutcher--came to the executive team's defense, tweeting "What's so wrong about digging up dirt on shady journalist?"

    If Uber's leaders and investors are unwilling to foster the sort of culture consumers want and expect, then perhaps it is time for consumer action. There is a small but growing trend among people deleting Uber from their smartphones. Comedian John Hodgman wrote a blog post saying "I just can't get into the car with those guys any more." Tech writer Nilofer Merchant is also deleting her Uber app. I have deleted mine, and you can too.

    Yes, Uber is an astounding service, but is that really enough? Study after study validates consumers' growing desire for better companies--ones that act ethically, contribute to the community and treat both employees and customers better. This is made clear by a slew of research such as Edelman's Trust Barometer and Havas Meaningful Brands study.

    We have the power to demand better leaders and companies. If we fail to act now--if we let our love of Uber's service blind us to its terrible and uncollaborative actions--that will only embolden and encourage VCs, startup leaders and others to accept aberrant leadership behaviors and build companies that respect nothing but profits. That is not the collaborative economy I want.

    Some may suggest that an Uber failure would be a strike against the new sharing economy, but I believe the opposite is true. The collaborative economy is changing the world, but its progress will be hindered if we support companies that violate every tenet of the social era.

    Cash may pay the bills, but trust is what drives the collaborative economy. Trust is the necessary ingredient to convert customers to new ways of consuming goods and to win the support of doubting regulators. Today, Uber's trust-killing antics are harming the entire sharing industry, raising suspicions about the kind of ethics and honesty that are driving crowd companies. At a time when Uber and other sharing economy companies should be winning hearts and minds, Uber's arrogance and mistakes are instead breeding suspicion at the Federal, state and local levels.

    The best thing for the collective consumption movement would be for consumers to send a clear and unmistakable message to Uber and its peers. If enough of us act, we can shape the future of this emerging way of doing business. We can and should put the collaboration back into the collaborative economy and help Silicon Valley understand that we want more than better services; we want better companies.

    Uber is not the only ride-sharing service around, and I urge you to consider exploring other options such as LyftSidecar and Curb. The next time you use a ride-sharing service, make sure it is one that has earned not just your business but your respect, as well.

    (Added note: It seems advisable to point out that my opinions are my own. Moreover, let me state that I want ride sharing in general and Uber in specific to succeed. But on the trajectory it is going, I fear Uber will not only undermine its own success but harm other companies in the budding peer-to-peer economy. If deleting Uber now can bring about a change in its corporate culture and force Uber to be more collaborative, trustworthy and respectful, then I will gladly reinstall the app in the future and feel as if I have helped the company succeed in the long term.)