It seems that in the digital world, a common theme tends to dominate among companies and marketers alike – marketing comes first, measurement comes second. The most significant contributing factor to this theme is the speed at which certain technology mediums and platforms become adopted by consumers. It’s not like organizations don’t want to measure, they just have priorities….and usually the first priority is establishing a solid presence.
Therefore, it’s not really surprising that many organizations have never developed a measurement program based on the type of device a visitor employs. Of course, organizations are beginning to wake up to the need to develop a multi-screen strategy – one that takes into account website user preferences based on the type of device they are using. But how do you utilize data to inform this strategy if you’ve never taken the time to develop a measurement program?
The focus of this discussion is to provide practical steps on how to utilize website analytics to plan and research a multi-screen strategy for your website. These steps will also help you build a business case for obtaining resources to improve overall return on investment for your entire digital marketing plan.
Step 1 – Segment by Type of Device
Companies should segment and analyze website traffic based on the type of device used. To avoid being overwhelmed with data, it’s usually reasonable to divide screens into three categories:
- Desktop Devices
- Mobile Devices/Smartphones
The reasons they should do this is simple—website usage and consumers behaviour differ based on the type of device used when online. There is a plethora of research outlining how activity varies, for some examples view this article.
These differences in tendencies are important because they shape the context in which we analyze website performance. Fortunately, popular web analytics programs have made this easy to do. For instance, Google Analytics has an option to view site usage by Mobile and Tablet devices through their ‘Advanced Segment’ dropdown menu.
Step 2 – Get a Sense of the Visitor Size for Each Device
Visits from mobile devices can represent a decent portion of website visitors as well – and knowing this size can really help to build a business case for spending resources on developing a multi-screen strategy. For instance, on many of our clients’ websites, mobile traffic currently accounts for up to as much as 25% of all traffic. And mobile visits will continue to rise.
The real trick of course is to determine whether device traffic has increased over time – this is something that has been quite noticeable over the last couple of years for many sites. And while it is true that there are some companies that do not experience significant portions of website visitors coming from mobile devices, those seem to be becoming more of a minority.
Does Your Mobile Traffic Look Like This?
Step 3 – Site Usage Statistics and Expectations
Many commonly used out-of-the-box site usage statistics are applicable across all types of devices. The smaller the screen size however, the more likely site usage becomes more focused on immediate need-satisfaction (e.g. users are less likely to browse – they are more goal-directed). Thus, when analyzing performance, the appropriate expectations need to be employed. Consider the following examples.
Average Time Spent on Page
The key here is to ensure that each segment of users is spending enough time to absorb the most important content. For example, if you do not have a mobile-optimized website and mobile visitors are spending significantly less time on a page featuring a news article compared to desktop visitors, mobile visitors are likely not reading the article. If you do have a mobile-optimized website it allows for better reading, then a lower average time spent on the page might be telling a more positive story.
Most Visited Pages
For mobile segments, it is quite possible that a smaller amount of pages will account for a large portion of all page views compared to desktop visitors. For example mobile visitors may only be interested in certain content, so they tend to flock to a fewer number of pages. Desktop users might be interested in obtaining more information, so their behaviour tends to be spread out.
Bounce Rates should be fairly similar for each type of device. A high Bounce Rate on a mobile device versus a low Bounce Rate for desktop devices usually suggests a problem with the mobile experience. In most cases, the same can be said for Exit Rates (loosely defined as the percentage of visitors that leave the website through a specific page).
Step 4 – Establish Device-Specific Conversions
While mobile visitors are very goal-directed in their browsing of a website, conversions for mobile visitors will differ from desktop users. For instance, they may be more likely to visit a page that features a map to your store or to click on a phone number, and they may be less inclined to fill out a form.
Obviously the activity in this step involves examining whether users are engaging in the appropriate conversions based on the device they are using. However, it is quite possible that your company or department has not even taken the time to consider these differences, and so you might not have the data available. If this sounds familiar, you’ve just identified an immediate opportunity to improve your organization’s digital strategy.
Step 5 – Overlay Different Segments
There is a lot of value in overlaying different segments on top of device segments. For instance, this is where you can really begin to understand whether your other marketing activities (e.g. online advertisements) are optimized for mobile devices, as well as how the entire user experience – from finding your website to leaving it – differs across device types. The following List considers some commonly used overlay segments and some of the questions that you might employ when integrating them into your analysis.
Do mobile users tend to favour one online channel over the other? Do mobile users tend to engage in conversions when coming from one type of traffic source versus the other? Are our online marketing activities (e.g. newsletters) effective at driving users to the website regardless of device type?
Are users employing more generic terms to find a site on mobile devices? Are smartphone users leaving the website right away if they have used a certain keyword to access our site? Is our mobile SEO strategy effective at helping users find our website for popular keyword terms?
Which pages within the website do mobile users tend to access the most? Are mobile users leaving the website upon arriving at a landing page? Is the landing page doing a good job of driving mobile users to take a specific action (i.e. conversion)?
Using these five techniques will put you well on the road to understanding whether your organization’s multi-screen strategy is working in the way it was intended (or whether there is a significant need to begin thinking about one). Even more importantly, it will help you identify and improve your entire visitor experience, so that they’re taking the actions you want them to take.
All this leads to enhanced return on investment from marketing initiatives (regardless of whether the website is the focal point of a campaign or not –it might drive users indirectly). Now, how to utilize analytics for online marketing initiatives based on the type of device they’re using – that’s a whole other blog post.
We were honoured to partner with Creative Mornings Vancouver this month to kick off the new year with the theme of “Happiness”. There are many ways to approach a theme and celebrated origami artist Joseph Wu chose to approach it from a “journey in progress” that has not yet been reached. Joseph was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult after his son was diagnosed with it. He says it was tough to discover this fact and that the it was the catalyst for a two year depression of which he is just emerging. Joseph’s journey is like so many other creative people that I know and his talk shines a bright light on what having ADHD and being creative can be like.
We have included the entire video below for your viewing enjoyment. If you want to know more about the Creative Mornings organization, then make your way over to thier site and see how the other 42 chapters embraced the topic of Happiness.
So do it right
Depending on which marketing professionals you listen to, or what articles you read, direct email marketing is either on the decline or maintaining its impressive ROI. Despite the differing opinions, almost everyone agrees that the digital marketing tactic must evolve with the changing technology and online habits of the intended audience.
Much of the focus has been on pairing email marketing with social media. But most recently there has been an urgent need to adapt practices again, this time to meet the rapid growth of mobile users. Marketing strategies that don’t have a mobile component are less successful now and will be in the future.
Mobile use growing
We’ve already experienced declining numbers of consumers visiting web-based email sites using PCs, according to comScore. A November 2010 study also showed email engagement using desktop and laptop computers declined by nine per cent while the number of page views dropped 15 per cent. However, during the same time period daily email access using mobile devices increased 40 per cent. Further to that, comScore’s January, 2012 study estimated 90 million Americans access email through a mobile device, with 64 per cent doing so on a daily basis. With such overwhelming numbers, its obvious today’s email marketing campaigns must cater to both PC computer and mobile users. Unfortunately for many campaigns, mobile is still an afterthought, where it should be front and centre.
Old webpages not good enough
The growing number of mobile users are increasingly fickle and likely won’t engage with a website if it isn’t mobile optimized. A 2012 survey conducted by BlueHornet, a leading email marketing service provider, found 70 per cent of consumers delete emails immediately that won’t render on a mobile device. Marketers must ask themselves, who wants to view a website if they can’t read the tiny type on their four-inch smartphone screen? To answer this, conduct your own experiment to better understand the experience of mobile users. Open your emails in the morning with a smartphone – chances are you receive three or four marketing emails each morning. When you open an email, click through the links all the way to the checkout, as if you were going to buy the product or service.
It’s likely that somewhere through the steps you came across a PC-designed webpage and the type was so small you had to zoom in to read it. For an example of how to cater to the mobile audience, have a look at the marketing emails sent out by Groupon. They’ve recognized the growing number of mobile customers and geared campaigns towards them, further proof of the importance of mobile.
Take it from Groupon
One thing Groupon and other daily deals marketers do correctly with their mobile strategy is they employ a specific mobile landing page with a prominently displayed call to action (CTA) and use large buttons, photos and type.
Some others tactics and elements that should be incorporated into a successful mobile email campaigns include:
- Design emails to be easily viewed by both desktop and mobile email consumers.
- Images should be larger and should span the full 600px
- Buttons and CTA’s should also be larger and clickable if viewed in a mobile browser.
- You can use media queries for iOS devices so that emails dynamically serve up emails optimized for each platform. Lululemon does a great job with their newsletter using this technology.
- Have a link at the top that lets users view both desktop and mobile versions on the web.
- Auto direct mobile users to mobile-optimized landing pages.
Marketers using e-commerce emails that drive users to auto-direct websites should consider using mobile e-commerce platforms such as shopify.com and mobecommerce.net to ensure the mobile user experience encourages sales.
Photo credit: Marc Flores
Hard to believe that anything good could ever come out of recent disasters like the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
But in the midst of these catastrophes we learned all about the power of mobile to help those who were suffering. The American Red Cross became one of the first charities to successfully use text-to-give campaigns to raise funds for disaster relief. For Haiti, $32 million was raised and $312 million for Japan.
Mobile has far-reaching implications for all charities. And is not limited to disasters of the magnitude of Haiti and Japan. In fact, we’re seeing some charities adopt it as their main fund-raising channel to pay for homeless programs and school lunch programs.
In May I wrote an article for CharityVillage.com, a prominent website for Canadian charities, explaining the power and reach of mobile that not-for-profit organizations can harness. I also made sure to include some of the dos and don’ts for mobile campaigns.
As someone that runs a digital agency, I must admit I have mixed feelings on the use of QR codes in general. I like the concept in theory, and I am seeing them more and more in market, promoting a whole list of products and services. The principle is a solid one, and you would think that the abundance of smart phones equipped with both cameras and onboard software to process the QR codes would bring leads and customers through the web channel. The reality is that if things don’t change quickly, this too will be another passing marketing gimmick that never really took off. Agencies and marketers are sticking the QR codes in the ads without an end-to-end strategy. I would say 8 out of 10 QR codes I snap a picture of takes me to a site that is not optimized for mobile; hell, most of the time, it just dumps me at brandname.com without even a custom campaign landing page built for desktop browsers, let alone mobile ones. It’s true that modern smart phones can render web standard compliant sites just fine, but the scrolling and zooming looking for the related content in the mobile browser is tedious at best when viewing a site on the move. When was the last time you did a digital campaign and just dumped the users off at your homepage? Well, the same applies to QR strategy if you want it to succeed.
Take a ride with me.
I went for a ride on one of Vancouver’s more popular commuter subway lines to test this theory for this article, and I have the following examples of the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.
The first example is for an online learning campaign for a college in the interior of British Columbia. The campaign is for online learning, which I suspect is essential for an educational system that is not located near a major metropolitan area. They understand that their target market is professional, mobile savvy, and looking to advance their career through online learning. The posters are well placed on the trains, although a bit weak in design, and have a triple call to action (CTA) at the bottom to call, go to the web, or snap a QR code. The code itself is unobtrusive but visible and supports the other two CTAs well. When the QR code is snapped, the user is taken to a mobile optimized site designed with clear paths into areas of the site that would be of interest to the potential online student. Viewers can see tabs entitled “About,” “Programs,” “Courses,” “Testimonials,” and—most importantly—a large button that says “Open Learning” placed an inch away from where the thumb would be on a smart phone. This is a campaign that I suspect is doing well in lead generation and mobile page views. If viewed at the beginning of a commute, then I would guess that the time on site might also be quite long. Commuters are a captive audience thirsty for something to do during the ride through town, so you should give them something good to read. They may even have time to sign up for a course or two before the end of the journey if the site is built correctly. At the very least, there will be significant recall on “Open Learning” for the college.
In the second example, I chose a black mark on our city from last year’s NHL playoff run of the Vancouver Canucks. Long story short, when we lost in the final game, many fans decided to riot and trash the downtown core to bits. As
luck would have it, the event was documented like no riot before through the use of camera-equipped mobile phones; the event was uploaded to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, then turned over to the police for the ongoing (now year-long) investigation. They are actually in phase II of the campaign
that invites every day citizens to go to the VPD website and identify rioters in the uploaded photos. The out of home posters are big, bold, and eye catching with a large QR code in the middle. They are peppered at bus shelters around the city, which is great for those with nothing to do while waiting for the bus. Sounds like a great idea right? Unfortunately, when a user snaps an image, the user is taken to the non-mobile optimized VPD homepage with only a tiny banner on the lower right of the page to direct the user to the campaign site. It’s a shame that all that effort is wasted in the last portion of the campaign.
The third example is probably the worst of the bunch. The idea for the campaign was for the Vancouver Autoshow to sponsor free papers on the subway line and have prominent placement on the front page with a very strongly-worded CTA to go to the website to learn more. When I tried to snap a pic of the QR code with my smart phone, it became apparent that no one tested the size required for the QR readers to be able to clearly focus on the QR code. I tried everything to make my iPhone 4S focus on the QR code, but without a macro lens, I could not. Again, all that money to own the frontpage and to pay for the paper distribution on transit that day with a strong focus on QR and the web was wasted with an untested QR code for the CTA.
Top things to consider for a QR campaign:
- Plan your campaign from QR code to conversion.
- Point the QR code to a campaign page, not just the home page.
- Optimize your site for mobile—if not your entire site, then at least the campaign landing pages.
- Add analytics to the QR codes to track usage and ROI.
- Make sure that the QR code is large enough to be processed by smart phone cameras.
- Test your QR codes; does the path work for you all the way through?
Let me know if you have had a successful campaign in the comments below, and please send any other tips for others doing QR code campaigns.
With a new Yaletown agency address came the requirement for new business cards. So when I was cleaning out my office drawer I found an old box of Moo Mini Cards that I used personally. I thought that these could be the solution I was looking for. The response when I handed the little cards out personally was always the same. That of wonderment and affection. Those are emotions that I would love to have associated with the brand. They are also very Web 2.0 like us and as new employees come into the fold we could order them up easy peasy. That said they are so cost effective that even contractors could get a set. Couple that with the cool key chain case and it was a no brainer.
So with that I present to you the new POWERSHiFTER mini cards. [Cool black case sold separately].
- 54% Female
- 46% Male
- Each has an average of 220 friends
- They make up 12% of the Facebook population.
- They represent 80% of all online 12 – 17 year olds†
- 77% use it more than email
- 44% use it more than cell phones
- 40% use it more than any other communication tool
- 57% add/use an application
- 41% become a fan of a page
- 62% upload/view/share a photo
- 39% RSVP to an event
- 47% share/post/watch a video
- 58% read their news feed
- 13% send a gift [that surprised me!]
- 48% Female
- 52% Male
- Each has an average of 247 friends
- They make up 29% of the Facebook population.
- They represent 93.8% of all online 18 – 24 year olds†
- 82% use it more than email
- 43% use it more than cell phones
- 45% use it more than any other communication tool
- 52% add/use an application
- 33% become a fan of a page
- 63% upload/view/share a photo
- 56% RSVP to an event
- 47%share/post/watch a video
- 67% read their news feed
- 20% send a gift
- 53% Female
- 47% Male
- Each has an average of 153 friends
- They make up 32% of the Facebook population.
- They represent 27% of all online 25 – 34 year olds†
- 79% use it more than email
- 49% use it more than cell phones
- 44% use it more than any other communication tool
- 50% add/use an application
- 31% become a fan of a page
- 59% upload/view/share a photo
- 34% RSVP to an event
- 44% share/post/watch a video
- 63% read their news feed
- 19% send a gift
- 56% Female
- 44% Male
- Each has an average of 85 friends
- 67% are parents
- They make up 16% of the Facebook population.
- They represent 78.2% of all online 35-44 year olds†
- 58% use it more than email
- 56% use it more than cell phones
- 47% use it more than any other communication tool
- 62% add/use an application
- 30% become a fan of a page
- 60% upload/view/share a photo
- 37% RSVP to an event
- 43% share/post/watch a video
- 62% read their news feed
- 26% send a gift
- 62% Female
- 38% Male
- Each has an average of 49 friends
- 75% are parents
- They make up 9% of the Facebook population.
- They represent 74.8% of all online 45-54 year olds†
- 65% use it more than email
- 60% use it more than cell phones
- 49% use it more than any other communication tool
- 55% add/use an application
- 28% become a fan of a page
- 64% upload/view/share a photo
- 29% RSVP to an event
- 50% share/post/watch a video
- 58% read their news feed
- 31% send a gift
- 59% Female
- 41% Male
- Each has an average of 51 friends
- 81% are parents
- They make up 6% of the Facebook population.
- They represent 61% of all online 55+ year olds†
- 60% use it more than email
- 69% use it more than cell phones
- 40% use it more than any other communication tool
- 51% add/use an application
- 25% become a fan of a page
- 51% upload/view/share a photo
- 30% RSVP to an event
- 46% share/post/watch a video
- 51% read their news feed
- 30% send a gift
In a recent Adage article, using data from the research firm Hitwise, t was reported that Facebook now accounts for more referral traffic to some sites than Google. Facebook now has a confirmed number of registered users in the range of 200 million. Social networking has grown a whopping 93 percent since 2006; the amount of time people spend communicating online has increased from 18 to 32 percent of their total online time. The actions performed in Facebook are shifting as well; users spend a good portion of their time on the newly redesigned newsfeed page, where they can quickly scan for status updates and user-recommended videos, products, and articles. Similar streams in Twitter and FriendFeed are also becoming powerful recommendation engines. Further, the low click-through rate of banners on social media sites is even further below the already shockingly low industry average of .01%-.02%. These low results are primarily due to the highly focused activity performed by users on social media sites, and also explain why media placement companies have bluntly told me, “Social media does not work for online advertising.”
- Last fall, it was reported that 40 hours a month are spent online by the average internet user in North America.
- Of those online, 75% are spending time in the social networking and social media space.
- The the industry attributes a .1%-.2% click though rate on most web banners and that number drops further on social networking activity.
- Social networking has grown 93% since 2006.
Now, let’s look at some of my anecdotal social media link click-through activity. According to mrtweet.com, a Twitter user recommendation site, I post an average of 42 tweets a day. 28 percent of my posts contain links; that’s about 12 links per day. I use Hootsuite to post links, as it enables me to measure the stats of those who actually click on the Hootsuite to post links, as it enables me to measure the stats of those who actually click on the links I post. Last week, I had a total of 1250 clicks[pretty graphs], either directly or through re-tweets, on 84 links. That gives me an average click-through rate of 7%. I have approximately 1200 followers, and there are hundreds of thousands of Twitter users with substantially more followers than me. With the growing number of Twitter users alone, recent rumours of the company’s acquisition by Google make sense. I post about half the number of links on Facebook as I do on Twitter, but can’t measure the click-throughs as Facebook currently lacks the requisite analytical tools. The total number of online social media users across the various platforms-Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Del.icio.us., etc.-provide a clear indication of where consumers spend their time, and why it’s important for companies and agencies to create content and campaigns that are viral-worthy.
So where does that leave the web banner? Should we abandon the staple that has given hope to so many web start-ups and sustained others? The answer is no; the web banner has its place in delivering brand presence and campaign messaging online. Perhaps if the web advertising industry had not hung its collective hat on CTR, this issue may not have seen so much back-peddling as there is today. The industry was so keen on proving its relevance in the web’s early days that it differentiated itself from other mediums through the highly measurable CTR. Unfortunately, what wasn’t considered were the lack of novelty and typically bad experiences users often associated with the click.
However, banners are still important in that we can track their impacts by measuring all customer impressions through comprehensive analytic tools. I believe it is all part of the mix, but the final destination of any campaign must be relevant and engaging enough to hold the attention of users, and contain content that will compel them to share it with others. Creative agencies play an important role in orchestrating compelling ad campaigns that customers can relate to, but ultimately, the method of directing viewers to those destinations is shifting from the once almighty banner ad, to the terrain of “the people’s media.”
 This, according to a survey conducted by Netpop, based on the 105 million U.S. broadband users.
 PEW Internet research, March 2009
 A re-tweet is when a Twitter user likes your post so much and recommends the link to their followers through the method of what is called re-tweeting.
I call this Twitter Search Engine Optimization and it will become more and more important as the Twitter base grows in the coming years. In fact the real time search functionality twitter is so powerful that I suspect that Google is trying to figure out how much the acquisition is going to cost and whether or not they have more in their war chest of cash to fend off Microsoft in the in the deal. But the Twitter Search Engine Optimization of your branded URL only works if clean un-shortened URL or your brand is mentioned by name in the tweet stream. Quite often tweets only include the URL and not your brand name in order to save the precious characters for the tweet comment.
Now if I had posted this from a tiny URL service like this “Ok so I am not sure whr 2 go w/ this so I am just putting it out there. I had no idea there was a demand 4 this? http://tinyurl.com/btp55y” there would have been no response from the company. My post and the subsequent conversations with others would have gone completely un-noticed by the Go Girl team that was monitoring the conversation on Twitter.
Companies and brands will need to figure out ways that their brands and branded URLs get into the Twitterstream the same way that they are concerned about key words getting picked up by search engine crawlers if they are to take full advantage of Twitters search capabilities.
The floor is now open. What are your thoughts on this and who will step up and create this application if it’s needed. If ya make a million or two off of the deal then you can buy me lunch.