Geomarketing: It’s Where It’s At Today

by Samuel Greengard, Contributing Writer, CMO.com:

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Digital marketing has made clear that getting the right message to the right person at the right time is paramount. Yet somewhere at the intersection of technology and opportunity lies the very real world of putting an effective plan into place. At the center of this concept: geomarketing.

“There’s a growing understanding and appreciation for the role of location-based data in marketing,” observed Michael Boland, chief analyst and vice president at consulting firm BIA-Kelsey. “Almost everything hinges on where you’re at and what you are doing at a particular moment.”

Marketers have traditionally approached the task by using IP addresses to identify where a person is conducting a search and what might be relevant. If it is raining in Akron, then an ad network might serve up an advertisement for raincoats or roof repair services. In some cases, news sites and others provide further personalization–and more geographically targeted ads–by letting individuals enter their ZIP code. Meanwhile, retailers, restaurants, and others operating on Foursquare, Facebook, and other social media services have depended on customers to check in manually to drive promotional offers and collect data.

However, location-based technology is evolving rapidly–particularly as consumers turn to smartphones for transactions, product information, loyalty programs, payments, and more. BIA-Kelsey predicts that U.S. mobile ad revenue growth will skyrocket from $7.2 billion in 2013 to $30.3 billion by 2018. Within this space, geofencing, beacons, and real-time data feeds are ushering in an era of instant promotions, contextual information, and big data.

Said Asif Khan, founder and president of the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA): “The key question that advertisers and marketers must answer is: How, once I know the location of a person, do I put the right messages, information, and media in front of them?

It’s no simple task. “Mobility and geomarketing are difficult areas for marketers to get their arms around,” noted Ray Pun, mobile marketing and analytics leader for Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company) and author of CMO.com’s Mobile First blog. “There are a growing number of channels and an increasing array of things to think about in regard to mobile marketing. There is a need to take data to a far more granular level.”

Location-based marketing takes a step beyond knowing when someone is in proximity to a store or restaurant. “It’s about building a marketing strategy and technology framework that takes location into account across channels, devices and situations,” Pun explained.

Beyond GPS
It’s no secret that the Internet and mobile technologies have transformed the face of marketing. The post-PC era has ushered in entirely new ideas and expectations about companies, brands, and relationships. Within this framework, accprding to Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, computing is changing in distinct ways. “It becomes more ubiquitous. It’s something we do anywhere and everywhere, and not just in a fixed location. It becomes more casual, something we do in in-between moments, such as waiting in line at Starbucks.”

In fact, about 60 percent of all Internet activity in the U.S. originates from mobile devices and about half of total Internet traffic flows through mobile apps, according to comScore. In addition, more than half the searches conducted on mobile devices involve location in some way–frequently to find something.

“A few years ago, the goal was to convince consumers to share their location data actively. It was about identifying what a customer was doing and where they were at a given moment–in exchange for a coupon or discount,” LBMA’s Khan said. “We are now adopting a passive framework that revolves around consumers opting in and sharing their data on a constant and ongoing basis.”

A number of factors have contributed to this changing environment. Data networks and connectivity are now nearly ubiquitous, and mobile apps have become increasingly sophisticated–tying into GPS data, social networks, sensors residing both on and off the phone, and enterprise and cloud-based data sources. There’s also a growing use of geofencing tools to establish an electronic perimeter around a specific area. When a person enters the space, a business may send a notification or a coupon to the smartphone. Starbucks, for instance, notifies mobile app users when they are near a store. Other retailers have used the technology to deliver loyalty points and promotions when a customer opens a mobile app in or near a store.

In addition, retailers, professional sports clubs, and others have also begun to adopt beacons–including Apple’s iBeacon–to establish indoor geotracking capabilities using Bluetooth Low Energy. Walmart, Safeway, Tesco, Macy’s, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association have turned to the technology to deliver coupons, promotions, and information to customers.

“Indoor tracking is the final piece of the puzzle,” BIA-Kelsey’s Boland said. “There’s a need to link communication and interaction outside and inside stores.” In fact, the technology introduces capabilities that transcend geotargeted promotions. “It makes it possible to understand how people move through stores, where they spend time, and how they react to different cues and offers,” he added. “This can influence store displays, design, and customer service.”

Khan said he believes that beacons and other emerging tools have remarkable implications for marketers. Apple’s iOS 8 will reportedly introduce geotargeted app recommendations on the bottom front left corner of a locked screen. “Although you haven’t purposely checked in or provided any active information, the phone can notify you that there’s an app available for the business or museum and ask you if you would like to download it,” he said.

Kahn also pointed out that the use of beacons needn’t be limited to smartphones. For example, billboards along a highway could transmit offers to automobile navigation systems. This, in turn, might lead to digital billboards or services such as Google Outside, which pulls contextual data and introduces a dimensional location-based marketing approach.

“The goal,” Khan said, “is to create a real-time environment that taps into contextual data. It must be relevant and valuable to the individual … the true power of location-based marketing is the ability for marketers to move from a framework of mass media into a world of where it appears as though you’re delivering a TV commercial for an individual.”

Marketers must get to a level where a number of data points and variables come together, including location, time of day, weather, past behavior and purchase history, and inferred intent when conducting a search. What’s more, a company’s databases and IT systems must be equipped to respond to this real-time environment. “It’s a step beyond what almost every organization is doing today,” Khan said.

Mapping A Future
Navigating the emerging world of location-based marketing is not a task for the faint-hearted. Khan, who coined the phrase “location in the new cookie” in 2012, said that CMOs must adopt a more holistic and comprehensive view that ultimately connects to loyalty and branding. This means thinking about mobility as more than the sum of smartphones and tablets, and viewing coupons and promotions as only part of the marketing opportunity.

Within this arena, success revolves around the relationships of “people, places, media, and objects,” including sensors and machines comprising the Internet of Things. Contextual data drives results. For example, this might translate to a clothing retailer using a smartphone app and RFID tags on clothes to deliver personalized music in a dressing room–and later texting the customer with an offer to purchase the song.

Adobe’s Pun said he believes that a key to building out this type of next-generation environment is assembling, storing, managing, and sharing data effectively. “Too often, data winds up residing in different places in different formats,” he explained. “Moving forward, there’s a need for a centralized data source for digital marketing.”

This could include the use of a master marketing profile that feeds data through multiple channels, including SMS, e-mail, push notifications, mobile apps, and other forms of interaction and communication. In almost every instance, it also means breaking down internal silos and working with business partners to establish an IT platform and data exchange standards to support an agile, real-time framework. This also could include the use of marketing and analytics clouds.

Boland said that it’s critical to think about the customer cycle in an end-to-end fashion. Among other things, this means tying together all the various elements of customer interaction, including loyalty programs and payments, and bridging online and offline channels. There’s also a growing need to use beacons and other tools to deliver product information at the store shelf.

“Businesses must extend systems to the last mile of the store and the point-of-sale terminal,” he said. “In order to achieve complete visibility into the relationship, everything must be traceable and trackable.” Boland pointed out that within this emerging environment, objects such as Google’s Nest thermostat and Apple’s iBeacon embedded in phones become potential data sources. At the end of the day, he added, smart homes, smart cars, computing devices, and just about everything in between create data collection opportunities.

The marketing field is currently in the early stages of adopting a location-based approach, Boland pointed out. Unfortunately, adoption typically lags expectations and buzz–and many of the same challenges that undercut other tools and technologies may slow adoption of location technologies. There’s a fundamental need to think differently on both a conceptual and practical basis, he said. This includes rethinking metrics, key performance indicators, and other measures of success. Yet, more than anything else, success revolves around segmenting groups, bridging technologies and digital delivery channels, and understanding markets, customers, and advertising in fundamentally different ways.

Boland and other experts said it’s wise to think creatively, pilot projects, conduct A/B testing, experiment with technologies, and continually learn from results. Testing different providers of ad technology and different ad networks specializing in location marketing is also advised.

“There’s still a need for national campaigns–that isn’t going to go away,” Boland said. “But it’s important to target more narrowly and understand each customer’s unique behavior and interests.”

Pun said that marketers must think more in terms of using a carrot rather than a stick. “It’s critical to find ways to get customers to share their data and make sure there’s something valuable in it for them,” he said.

In the end, all roads lead to location-based data, Khan said. “Whether you’re at home or in the car, at work or in a store, you’re at a location, and you’re using a device–phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer–to go online and handle tasks. There is a constant transition through the day of an average consumer–where are they, what device are they using, and what are they trying to do? That’s the cookie we need to be tracking. Marketers must obtain data from devices and then combine and correlate it with other data–both online and offline–to produce new and deep insights that are relevant to both the business and the consumer.”

Facebook Tests Buy Button To Let You Purchase Stuff Without Leaving Facebook

Written by  (@joshconstine), writer for TechCrunch:

Facebook is trying out letting you pay for ecommerce purchases from other businesses without leaving its site or app. For now it won’t be charging the few small and medium-sized businesses in the US to test this new Buy button on their News Feed Pages posts and ads. When I asked if Facebook would be charging businesses for the feature eventually, it said “it was not disqualifying that option” in the future.

Rather than clicking away to a merchant’s site, the Buy button lets you complete the entire purchase flow within Facebook, which could boost conversion rates and endear retailers to the social network. You can use a credit card you have on file with Facebook, enter new payment details and save them for future use, or just checkout and not store your payment info. The feature is privacy safe, and Facebook won’t pass payment details on to other advertisers. Users who have

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Getting A Cut Of Ecommerce

Facebook made several forays into ecommerce over the years. It tried a Pinterest-styleCollections feature with buy buttons that led off-site back in 2012. It enabled on-site payments to charities with its Donate Button, last year. And most recently, it’s been testing an “Auto-Fill With Facebook” feature that automatically enters your payment details when you’re making a purchase in a third-party ecommerce app. Now it’s experimenting with letting you make purchases of physical good from for-profit ecommerce retailers entirely within its walled garden.

A Buy button recently surfaced on Twitter, indicating it too wants to try hosting ecommerce transactions. The method could also be how Pinterest eventually gets deeper into ecommerce.

If the test is succesful and rolls out, Facebook could eventually earn money on the feature by charging a fee or revenue share in exchange for processing payment and improving conversion rates. It could also use the purchases to prove return on investment to advertisers, encouraging them to buy bigger campaigns. Collecting credit card info could also help Facebook with other commerce-related intiatives.

Shaving Down The Purchase Funnel

Whether its websites, apps, social media, or ads, with ecommerce, it all comes down to conversion rate. Can you make someone who might be interested in buying something actually complete the purchase. The problem is this usually involves a narrowing funnel where each step of the process hemorrhages potential customers. Two especially lossy steps are getting the customer to the checkout screen, and having them painstakingly enter their credit card number.

Facebook effectively eliminates both these steps with the Buy button. You don’t have to leave the comforting blue chrome of Facebook and your friends. And even if you’ve never bought something from a merchant before, you don’t have to re-enter your payment details if you’ve already stored them on Facebook. You just click Buy, and click again to confirm, and the item is on its way to your door. It’s like the candy they sell in the grocery line. You’re already at checkout with your credit card out, so it’s easy to make an impule purchase.

By shaving down the time and effort from interest to purchase, Facebook could get more people plopping down cash for ecommerce purchases. That’s something retailers might be very willing to pay for.

Visual Social Marketing 101

Written by Seth Fiegerman, Business Reporter at Mashable:

Digital_marketing

IMAGE: MASHABLE COMPOSITE, GETTY CREATIVE. ELLAGRIN

In preparation for the upcoming Mashies awards, we are running a series of articles looking at the changing face of marketing. More information on the Mashies can be found here. There’s no shortage of mobile platforms available for brands to reach consumers with gripping visuals. If anything, the problem is picking out which platforms to embrace and which to ignore. Brands can now share images and videos with followers through InstagramVine and Snapchat, just to focus on three of the most prominent visual platforms. Some companies may try to make use of all three of those; others may struggle to get a grip on just one.

While Snapchat, Vine and Instagram may share certain features in common, the strategy for making the most of each is different. In general, Snapchat is best used for sending playful messages that look more informal, Vine’s optimal use is for posting playful videos that look professional and Instagram is best employed for sharing professional content that looks professional. We talked with a couple marketing experts to pick out some of the best brands on these three platforms and identify some dos and don’ts for each.

Snapchat

Of the three platforms, Snapchat is the one marketers may have the most difficult time getting a grip on. The tools are intended to produce clips that are less polished than creatives are used to and the platform isn’t designed for reach. “It’s not the way the typical creative process works, nor is it the typical way the advertising process works,” says Ian Schafer, CEO and founder of Deep Focus, a digital agency. Snapchat, he argues, isn’t really designed for marketers all. “Snapchat is probably for their kids.” Still, a growing number of brands are braving the platform. Schafer highlights Taco Bell, one of the first brands on Snapchat, as a prime example of how to do it right.

“The key to it has been them figuring out their voice and being able to speak in the vernacular of their audience,” Schafer says of Taco Bell’s success on Snapchat. “It means being relevant to them and understanding where they fit within their customers’ lives.” Taco Bell isn’t afraid to be weird and make use of Snapchat’s illustration features. Perhaps more importantly, Schafer believes Taco Bell’s customer base overlaps significantly with Snapchat’s user base. “They know where their audience is. You follow the scent and that’s where it led them,” he says. That same thinking also explains the success that other food and entertainment brands like GrubHub, the New Orleans Saints and HBO’s Girls have had on the service. The best brands on Snapchat are playful and authentic. They’re willing to experiment with features and offer candid behind-the-scenes moments. And they’re relevant to the younger demographic using the app.

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A Snapchat from Girls

Vine

Vine is the newest of the three platforms, though many learned of it before Snapchat gained more mainstream attention last year. Vine videos are often whimsical and some even seem effortless, but the most popular users may spend hours or even days creating memorable stop motion videos. “Don’t take a 15 second spot and cut it to 6 seconds,” says Josh Engroff, chief digital media officer at The Media Kitchen. “Embrace the medium and create for it.” The best videos, according to Engroff, tend to be surprising and memorable. He offers the example of Tide, which frequently shares videos that are unexpected and hilarious.

Another of Engroff’s favorites on Vine is the video below from Samsung. Not only is it clever, but it succeeds in using Vine to make a soft sell rather than a hard sell for Samsung’s products. “You don’t really notice that it’s a Samsung device… It’s interesting in its own right,” he says. “That’s the bar. These have to be interesting in their own right, regardless of the brand.”

Beyond that, those we spoke with pointed out that Vine has more potential for real-time potential than the other visual platforms because it integrates with Twitter. That doesn’t mean brands should constantly be trying to put out Vine videos that tie into real-time events, but if it’s a good fit, you might find some traction. The Vine video below from Nike is a good example of a timely post that ties into a big event — the World Cup — which Nike’s customer base clearly cares about. It gets bonus points for working very well with Vine’s infinite loop.

Instagram

Many of the world’s top brands are now on Instagram and for good reason. The social network has more than 200 million users, integrates well with its parent company Facebook and lends itself more to the types of professional photographs and 15-second video spots that marketers are accustomed to. The brands that prove to be the most natural fit for Instagram, according to Schafer from Deep Focus, are those that have products that can be “fetishized.” These tend to be more high-end products like Lexus cars, Beats headphones and Burberry outfits.

Brands can also find success on the platform by capturing a gripping moment in images or video. Engroff lists GoPro and Red Bull as prime examples of that.

Those we spoke with recommend adding some topical hashtags to your posts on Instagram to gain traction, but not to go overboard or try inventing some complicated branded hashtag of your own. As for whether to post videos or images, the goal is just to optimize the mix. Videos haven’t caught on among users the way Instagram had hoped, but they remain an effective tool for brands and media outlets if done well. For Instagram, and indeed for all three platforms, Engroff stresses that it’s important to remember you’re not dealing with marketing on a television or a giant billboard. These images and videos are being seen on a small screen that is much more personal and intimate to the viewer. “It has to be authentic, has to be an evocative emotional moment in that it stirs something in the viewer,” he says. “The brands are getting much better at it, but it’s often been something they’re not good at.”

DOT REPORT: Five Steps to Better Content Marketing

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We’ve all heard the marketing mantra: Content is king. With the volume of information traveling the Internet every day, every hour and every minute, that adage is more relevant than ever. A solid content strategy is an absolute must for achieving your Internet marketing and website goals.

Here are some tips to help you stay on top in the content wars.

Set Clear Objectives

It all starts here. Do you want to increase website traffic? Introduce new products or services? Maximize lead generation? Drive sales conversions? Be known as a thought leader in your business segment? You may even want to encourage people to visit specific pages of your website. Regardless of the particular goal, you need to get a handle on what you want to happen when your audience reads your content.

Differentiate Yourself

You can’t afford to ignore the competition. And they probably have some valuable things you can learn or need to counter. There’s no harm in admitting your competition is doing a better job than you are. So define what makes their content strategy strong and proceed accordingly, in a strategic way that sets you apart.

Think Through Your Topics

A helpful way of coming up with a content strategy is to use a topic-oriented approach. Work with colleagues who will be collaborating with you and take a day or two to brainstorm. Topics could be anything from info on industry trends and new technologies as a value-added, educational resource to a listing of awards that builds credibility for your organization. Then, prioritize your topics into a spreadsheet and set up a timeline to stay on track.

Take a Visitor Perspective

Be objective. Put yourself in your audience’s place and think about how you would respond to your message. One way is to ask some of your customers what they think, since they’re your ultimate target. The visitor perspective counts for any size and type of business. Then you constantly need to be innovative to maintain interest.

Leverage Channels

Content can be broken into two parts, on-site and off-site. On-site is the pages of your website. Off-site is what you use on external websites,

which can have a direct impact on search engine rankings. Ask yourself, “How can we use our content to move people through these channels?” For example, a YouTube video could direct people to a landing page on your website. You will provide your audience with relevant content, utilize a social media channel and drive visitors to your site.

These steps will help you create content that is relevant to your targets audiences and delivers results.

How to Use Google Analytics Audience Data to Improve Your Marketing

By , Contributor for Social Media Examiner:

Do you need to learn more about the Audience reports in Google Analytics?

Do you want to know more about your website visitors?

Understanding the demographics, behaviors and interests of your website visitors improves your online marketing.

In this article I’ll share what data is found in the Google Analytics’ Audience section and how it can apply to your online marketing strategy.

google analytics audience

Take a deeper look into your audience data on Google Analytics.

Note: One way to get the most out of any Google Analytics data is to set up conversion goals. If you haven’t done this already, set up the easiest goal type by reviewing the first point under the Google Analytics Admin header in this Google Analytics Basics post.

google analytics left side menu

Google Analytics left sidebar menu with Audience section.

 

The Audience Reports

There are nine separate reporting sections under Audience in your website’s Google Analytics profile.

With the exception of Overview and Users Flow, each section includes an easy-to-read sessions graph and table chart showing the acquisition, behavior and conversions data for each group.

google analytics data age details

Google Analytics acquisition and behavior data broken down by age group.

Below is a brief description of what data you’ll find in each reporting section, based on the reporting period you define in the date range drop-down menu.

Overview—A top-level view of user metrics

Demographics—The age and gender makeup of your website audience

Interests—User behaviors segmented by affinity and marketing categories

Geo—The languages and locations of your website audience

Behavior—Comparisons of new and returning visitors, how often return visits occur and how long visitors spend on your site

Technology—The browsers, operating systems and networks of your website visitors

Mobile—A breakdown of devices used to access your website

Custom—Reports you define

Users Flow—A visualization of how users move through your website

Now, let’s dive into the Audience report sections of Google Analytics. You can access it using the menu in the left sidebar of your Google Analytics dashboard.

#1: Overview

The Audience Overview is generally what you see when you first log into your website’s Google Analytics. At the top of the Overview tab is a graph of the number of sessions performed by website users.

google analytics audience overview sessions

Number of sessions in the Audience Overview.

Beneath the graph are top-level session details showing you the number of users who have performed sessions on your website, pageviews, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate and the percentage of new sessions.

google analytics audience overview session detail

Session details in the Audience Overview.

At the bottom of the Audience Overview are quick links to top demographic, system and mobile data, along with a chart showing the number of sessions on your website from visitors speaking a particular language.

google analytics audience overview demographics summaryA quick view of the first ten rows of data from detailed Audience reports.

You can click on each of the links to see the first ten rows of data from each of the referenced reports, or you can access the full reports from the corresponding section on left sidebar menu under Audience.

#2: Demographics

The Demographics Overview breaks down your visitors by age and gender.

google analytics data demographicsGoogle Analytics traffic breakdown by age and gender.

You can access the full Age and Gender category reports by clicking the link in each chart or from the left sidebar menu.

If you’re tracking goals in Google Analytics, look at the data next to your conversion rates in these reports to find out which age groups and gender are mostly likely to convert.

google analytics audience conversions by age

Conversion data for visitors by age group using the Goal Set 1 explorer view.

For example, if you’re targeting an audience for social media advertising, especially on networks like Facebook, the table above shows that people in the 18–24 and 55–64 age groups are your highest converting website visitors.

Creating ads that are specific to these age groups will increase the likelihood of making a conversion.

#3: Interests

Curious what your website visitors are interested in? The Interests Overview will show you just that.

google analytics interests overview

Google Analytics shares the interests of your website visitors.

There are three reporting categories under the Interests section.

  • Affinity Category—Affinity categories are used to reach potential customers to make them aware of your brand or product. These are users higher in the purchase funnel, near the beginning of the process.
  • In-Market Segment—Users in these segments are more likely to be ready to purchase products or services in the specified category. These are users lower in the purchase funnel, near the end of the process.
  • Other Category—These are more granular categories than Affinity or In-market, and let you identify users who are not in those other categories.

If you’re an advertiser, the data in these reports can help you effectively target ads based on specific interests, especially if you use goals to know which interest group is mostly likely to convert.

Publishers can use this data to target their content toward the main interests of audiences that already come to their website.

#4: Geo

The Geo section covers the language and location of your website visitors.

google analytics audience conversions by language

Conversion data for visitors by language using the Goal Set 1 explorer view.

While the Language and Location categories both include the standard charts showing the acquisition, behavior and conversions data, the Location portion also has a map that visually displays your visitors’ locations.

google analytics map overlay

Google Analytics map overlay for location.

The map is extremely useful for targeting social and search ads—especially if you know the locations and languages of visitors most likely to convert using your Google Analytics goals.

It can also come in handy for local businesses that want to know if their marketing efforts are driving traffic from the right regions, and for publishers who want to create content that is locally focused.

#5: Behavior

The Behavior section includes detailed category reports New vs. Returning Visitors, Frequency & Recency and Engagement. These reports tell you more about how often a visitor comes to your website, how many days on average it is between sessions for repeat visitors, how long visitors stay on your website and how many pages they visit while they’re there.

google analytics audience behaviorThe Frequency & Recency distribution report in Google Analytics.

By using goals in Google Analytics, you can track the behavioral patterns of visitors who are most likely to convert. For example, you’ll know if you’re most likely to get the most conversions on a visitor’s first visit or returning visits.

google analytics audience conversions by new returningConversion data for new and returning visitors using the Goal Set 1 explorer view.

If you notice returning visitors are more likely to convert, do everything in your power to get first-time visitors back onto your website by having them subscribe to your blog or email list.

If you notice new visitors are more likely to convert, aim for conversion optimization strategies that grab people on their first visit, such as exit intent pop-ups (like the ones that ask for your email or offer you a discount code as you’re leaving a site).

#6: Technology

If you want to learn more about the browsers, operating systems and Internet service providers your visitors use when visiting your website, look through the Technology reports.

There are two category reports in this section: Browser & OS and Network.

google analytics technology

Technology reporting that shows you browsers, operating systems and additional visitor details.

If your business creates online tools or software, you can use this to gauge whether you should be creating Chrome extensions or Mac-based desktop applications. You can also use this to make sure your website is working well in the top three browsers your visitors use.

#7: Mobile

Not sure if you should optimize for mobile? This is the area you need to visit. The Mobile Overview shows you the number of desktop, mobile and tablet userswho visit your site.

The Mobile Devices category report shows you exactly what devices those visitors use.

google analytics mobile

Mobile device breakdown in Google Analytics reports.

If you’re interested in creating an app for your business, now you’ll know if your visitors are more likely to use it on an Apple, Android or Windows device.

#8: Custom

This custom audience report goes beyond the standard reports. This is a more advanced report.

The other reports here are simple to access. You simply click on the link to get information.

With this custom report you have to define your own variables, metrics and dimensions to create a report. This is too advanced for this article. We’ll cover this later when writing about custom reporting options.

#9: Users Flow

If you’re curious about the path your visitors take through your website, you can find it in the Users Flow.

Using the drop-down menu at the top left, you can see the flow of users based on language, location, browser, mobile device and similar dimensions of data.

google analytics audience user flow

Users Flow view in the Audience section.

Follow users from the starting page where they enter through as many interactions as they make or pages they view on your site.

It’s an interesting way to see which pages on your website lead visitors to view even more pages.

Wrapping Up

I hope this has given you a good feel for what you can learn from your Audience reports and how you can apply it to other areas of your online marketing. In my next posts, I’ll continue to dive deeper into Google Analytics acquisition, behavior and conversions data to show you how to analyze and use the data to improve your blog or business!

World Cup Extra Time: Mobile, Social-Referred Viewing Up

by Adobe Digital Index:

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The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil goes down in history as the most mobile sporting event ever, with recent data from ESPN showing it surpassed the Super Bowl XLVIII.

An analysis by the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) also supports that statement. ADI’s analysis of more than 2.7 billion World Cup rebroadcaster online video starts captured by Adobe analytics found that during peak days, almost one in four online video starts happened on mobile (16%) and tablet devices (7%), up from 18% combined for both smartphones and tablets pre-World cup.

Additionally, the opening match saw a 152% increase in video starts from smartphones from a daily average pre-world cup.

Social media played a large factor in the World Cup being the largest talked-about event in history. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube all saw referral video start increases over May 2014 during the World Cup, according to ADI. Tumblr, although small in overall percentage, saw the largest boost in referral video starts percentage, with a 406% increase on opening day and 176% on peak days. Facebook referral video starts increased almost 100% for the opening match, compared with the average day in May, and Twitter referral video starts increased 158%.

“Consumer viewing habits are more mobile during sporting events today than ever before,” said Joe Martin, an analyst at ADI. “We already proved it during the Super Bowl, and now with the World Cup, it is even more evident that mobile and social media play an important role during large events. Marketers looking to engage with consumers around sporting events need to understand these content consumption habits or risk losing to the competition.”

Also part of ADI’s World Cup analysis: the impact of sponsorships on social buzz. On average, World Cup sponsors saw a 125% daily social buzz increase over the May daily average.

For example, World Cup sponsor Adidas averaged 71% more daily championship-related social buzz social buzz than Nike, which wasn’t an event sponsor.

World Cup advertiser data is based on an analysis of 100 million World Cup mentions captured by Adobe Social technology from blogs, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, Twitter, Dailymotion, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, VK, Disqus, Foursquare, Metacafe, WordPress, and YouTube. The term “World Cup” was tracked in more than 36 languages.

In terms of global sentiment, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat can clearly be tracked, according to ADI, with 41% of buzz relating to “sadness” or “disgust” and 45% relating to “joy” or “admiration.” Brazilian social sentiment is back at pre-World Cup levels, according to ADI, with 55% of buzz related to “surprise,” “sadness,” “anger,” or “disgust” following the national team’s ignominious defeat to Germany.

FC Barcelona player Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior received the most social media attention during the World Cup, with more than 22 million mentions during the month-long championship. Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez averaged 2 million mentions a day for several days after his biting incident, while U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard received more than 2 million social mentions from his heroics against Belgium on July 1.

In the final match, Mario Goetze’s winning goal scored him 1 million-plus mentions on the July 13. Germany and Argentina also ended the tournament in the top tier of social mentions for the World Cup teams, with 30 million-plus combined mentions from June through July.

“Social media is extremely important during sporting events because it is how fans interact with one another,” Martin said. “Marketers—both sponsors and nonsponsors—can capitalize on the fact that consumers naturally turn to social media during these types of events by meeting them there, with relevant, interesting, and helpful content.”

Twitter’s New Analytics Tell Advertisers And Publishers How Many People Actually Saw Their Tweets

by  (@anthonyha), Writer for TechCrunch:

If you’re looking for more details about how all of your tweets are doing, Twitter today released a new analytics dashboard for advertisers, Twitter Card publishers, and verified users.

The company already gave its advertisers data about tweets that they’d paid to promote, covering things like impressions, replies, and link clicks, but there was nothing equivalent for “organic” tweets, i.e., regular, non-promoted messages. So the new dashboard offers a broader view of an account’s entire Twitter strategy.

That comprehensive view is important from an ad perspective because, as Twitter’s Buster Benson noted in today’s blog post, Twitter’s ads are just organic tweets that advertisers have paid to promote to specific audience.

The new dashboard includes data like total impressions, total engagements, and engagement rate for each tweet, and also aggregates that data for the past month, showing you how you’ve been doing compared to past months.

Benson wrote that Twitter also looked at the data for “200 active brand advertisers” and found some patterns. One of the big messages was just to tweet often: “Tweet consistency is a key factor when it comes to maximizing your organic reach on Twitter.” Other “best practices” include:

  • Pay attention to when you tweet. Note which time of day and day of the week yields the highest engagement and impressions.
  • Analyze the frequency of your Tweets. Use your new insights to determine your Tweet cadence.
  • Identify what Tweet mechanics work, and which aren’t as effective. Keep an eye on elements like different calls to action, the inclusion of rich media and copy length.

The dashboard definitely got the attention of some TechCrunch writers, who are poking around their data as I write this. Hey, it’s one of the perks of being verified — and if you’re not verified, well, you can always create an advertiser account.

You can read more on the Twitter blog.

How to Retarget Content to Facebook Custom Audiences

By , Contributor for Social Media Examiner:

Have you considered using Facebook to reach your existing customers or those who visit your website?

Have you tried Facebook’s custom audience options?

Retargeting to the right audience is a must if you want to see more conversions from your Facebook ads.

In this article you’ll discover four Facebook custom audiences you can create to retarget your content to the most relevant Facebook audience.

retarget your content

Retarget content to a your audience with Facebook Custom Audiences.

Why Retargeted Content?

The goal of retargeted content (also known as remarketing) is to place your brand top of mind. Common strategies remarket to people who have already visited your website.

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Updates like this can show up in your news feed if you’ve ever visited the Plated website.

People rarely buy from you the first time they visit your site or see an offer. They would rather take their time, compare your pricing with competitors’ and visit your site a few more times before completing that valuable sale.

Here are four custom audiences you can use to retarget Facebook users with your content.

#1: Website Visitors

The most common remarketing tactic is targeting relevant ads at people who have already visited your website (usually a specific landing page).

To create a targeted audience based on website visitors, you must have a Facebook website custom audience in place.

Overall, retargeting website visitors is a simple concept: When someone visits a page with your custom audience code (i.e., an offsite pixel), they’re added to your custom audience list in your Facebook Ads Manager.

You can include those visitors (and the custom audience they’re part of) as a target audience in a Facebook ad retargeting campaign.

choosing an audience for ad targetingCustom audiences are important to Facebook retargeting campaigns.

There may be a case where you want to retarget only a portion of the traffic that has visited a landing page on your website. No problem. You can do that by creating a personalized custom audience:

1. Go to your Facebook Ads Manager and choose Audience.

2. Click on Create a Custom Audience.

3. Under Website Traffic, select People Visiting Specific Pages.

3. Next to the Visited field, customize the URL elements to match the pages you want to retarget.

4. Click on Create.

website visitor custom audience set up

You don’t have to retarget everyone who visits your website.

After you create your personalized custom audience, it’s ready to use. However, keep in mind that it may take a few hours for the new audience to have the final user count.

#2: Facebook Fans

Retargeting to existing Facebook fans is incredibly easy: When you set up your Facebook ad, choose to target people who are already fans of your page.

facebook fan targetingNarrow your retargeting audience to include only people who are fans of your page.

Does it seem odd to advertise to existing Facebook fans? Consider that acquiring sales from existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new leads (and many of your fans are probably customers). You can also upsell those existing customers with new or better products and services.

Additionally, your fans may not be seeing all of your Facebook updates. If youretarget your most important content to them via a Facebook ad, they’re more likely to see it.

#3: Email Subscribers

You can actually strengthen the power of your newsletter by serving Facebook ads to existing email subscribers.

To set up this custom audience, you need an Excel file with a column that includes all of your subscriber email addresses. Once you have that, go to Audiences in your Facebook Ads Managerclick Create Audience and choose Custom Audience.

Click on Data File Custom Audience and follow the instructions for the setup. Make sure to indicate that you’re updating email addresses.

Retargeting to email subscribers can increase the chance of conversion exponentially. It’s worth the extra effort to set it all up.

#4: Similar Audiences

Many of your users—whether website visitors, Facebook fans or list subscribers—have overlapping demographics, interests and behaviors. Wouldn’t it be great to find more people like them? Well, you can.

You can create a custom audience targeting people who share similar characteristics to your existing connections—people who are very likely to be interested in your products, services and content.

The custom audiences you create to retarget to by similarity are called lookalike audiences and they expose your ads to a more vast and relevant audience.

To create a custom audience based on similarities to website visitorsgo to the Audience section of your Ads Manager and choose the custom audience installed on your website (see #1). Click Create Lookalike Audience at the bottom of the page and choose the desired audience reach.

To create a custom audience based similarities to your current Facebook fans’ personal data (e.g., behavior, interests, etc.), go to the Audience section of your Ads Manager, click Create Audience and choose Lookalike Audience from the menu.

create audience dropdown menuCreate a lookalike target audience to find potential Facebook fans and customers.

Click Source and type your page name. Select the country you want to target and how similar your audience should to be to your current fans. Click Create Audience.

creating a lookalike audience

Choose the characteristics of your fan page lookalike target audience.

To create a custom audience based on similarity to your current email subscribers, go to your Audience menu, click on the name of the email list you loaded in #3 and click on Create Lookalike Audience at the bottom of the page.

Once you have your custom lookalike audiences in place, you can select each as needed depending on the goal of your Facebook ads.

Wrapping Up

Retargeting via Facebook ads helps you stay top of mind while they’re considering their decision.

The trick is to retarget content to a precise audience rather than a generalized audience that may or may not be interested in learning more about your business, product or service.

Take advantage of Facebook’s extensive custom audience options to capture more conversions and meet your advertising goals.

Customer Attribution: What FedEx Can Teach Us

Written by Matt Langie, Senior Director Of Strategic Marketing, Digital Marketing Business Unit at Adobe and Vice Chairman of Education, IMA:

How well do you know your customers? If an individual approached your business, would you be able to quantify the likelihood that she will make a purchase?

We have the capacity to build an infrastructure from direct feedback and indirect cues our customers provide, one that can define what, where, and how they came to be our customers. For many of us, however, the enterprises we serve have yet to establish a solid customer attribution model, one defined by direct engagement and indirect signals.

Have you built a holistic, 360-degree view of your customer? Are you prepared to drive product development based upon direct and indirect signals? Some have been successful at adopting a customer attribution model. Let me share the experiences of a global market leader.

The FedEx Approach
Mike Rude, managing director of customer experience at FedEx for 20 years, sat down with Adobe’s John Mellor, VP of business development and strategy, at this year’s Adobe Summit conference. He explained how FedEx has transitioned to not only a global leader serving its customers, but a global leader that identifies its customers’ needs through attribution modeling.

Mike told us that FedEx has upward of 30 million people per day directly interacting with FedEx brand. The number of indirect interactions, however, is eclipsing direct interactions. This has led the company to develop a customer attribution model comprised of both types of customer engagement.

“What brings customers to our stores?” asked Mike and his team. To answer this question, he chose to model customer interactions using indicators that could signal customer preferences. Once that question was answered, the next question became, “Which products and services can we develop to satisfy the indicators embedded in our model?”

Mike told us that “well over 70% of decisions made about our company are made before they directly interact with us.” This drove the need to understand clearly what most customers wanted and how they viewed the company.

So his interactive marketing group created the Web analytics to discover needs for change within the FedEx business model. They began to reveal opportunities that could not be uncovered without the development of a customer attribution model. One example was the need to provide improved search functionality across the FedEx domain ecosystem. Additionally, they found that mobile activity, social, and search all present opportunities where a customer might indirectly engage with his brand.

As a result of its customer attribution modeling, FedEx has now deployed an omnichannel strategy by connecting its drivers, customer service reps, and other customer-facing agents. “They are bonded by digital,” Mike said. Front-line employees are a part of an interconnected system that can respond to feedback and provide input about the direct and indirect interactions that comprise the attribution model.

As FedEx did, so must we all reinvent ways to define the customer journey and the multiple engagements that occur along the way.

Digital Roadblock Takeaways
We need to identify and integrate direct and indirect interactions along the customer journey.

We now have a 360-degree view of customer preferences, activities, desires, etc. through direct and indirect interactions. So how do we use this information to underpin our digital marketing practices? Let’s look at three ways we can reinvent our marketing approach by leveraging the data we collect.

1. One of the interesting takeaways from Adobe’s 2014 Digital Roadblock report was that 54 percent of marketers believe the ideal marketer should take more risks. While taking risks might seem like a worthy goal for other occupations (like a stunt double), I’m not sure we need to take more risks to achieve digital marketing excellence. We’ve got the people, process, and products to enable a reinvention of our marketing ethos without taking huge risks. We can shift marketing spend to react to information delivered in milliseconds, using predictive analytics enabled by big data. We don’t have to guess.

2. Next, clearly address how we are defining the customer journey. Nearly 80 percent of marketers agree that we need to be more data focused to succeed, but just under 50 percent reported “trusting my gut” as the primary resource for making decisions about marketing budgets. Through attribution modeling, we are provided with a customer profile that can be targeted and followed throughout the customer journey. Again, we don’t have to guess.

3. Adopt an integrated strategy across all channels. More than 60 percent of the respondents to our Digital Roadblock survey see social media as the most critical marketing vehicle to focus on, followed by mobile at 51 percent. We all know about the available channels, but we need to be smarter about how our customers are connecting with our brand. Mike explained how FedEx must interact with customers on their terms, which change by the hour. First, they connect through the smartphone on the way to work, then it’s the desktop at the office, and finally it’s the tablet while relaxing on the couch.

Why do we need to commit to customer attribution modeling? Because the devil is in the details. Customers have experiences with our brands that are measurable. Marketers must curate those experiences, to Mike’s point, in order to develop the products and services FedEx and others provide as well as to shape the customer journey to our doorstep.

We must control the customer journey from first touch point. As such, we need to be proactive in uncovering the steps—both direct and indirect—that are made along that journey.

 

About Matt Langie

Matt Langie is senior director of strategic marketing for the Digital Marketing Business Unit at Adobe. He gained extensive experience in technology marketing while at Omniture, WebTrends, Datastream, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard. Langie’s responsibilities span go-to-market strategy, messaging and positioning, product pricing and packaging, sales enablement, competitive intelligence, and product evangelism for the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Mobile Now Exceeds PC: The Biggest Shift Since the Internet Began

Written by , July 8, 2014

If you’re still struggling to leverage the website to support goals, you have some catching up to do, as the landscape has recently experienced a tectonic shift.

Mobile Exceeds PC Internet Usage for First Time in History

In early 2014, the landscape in which businesses operate changed forever when Internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage.

Time Spent on Internet Desktop vs Mobile

It has taken considerable time for businesses and brands to embrace the potential of the Internet. Today, most recognize the Internet as a vital foundation for everything from operations to marketing and sales to logistics, CRM, and customer service.

Still, many businesses and brands struggle to truly leverage the digital landscape to meet the expectations of their customers. Many more will struggle with the migration of audiences (customers) to mobile.

The time has come to seriously consider integration of mobile-friendly versions of all mission-critical assets: applications, data, the website, communications, demos, sales materials, customer service, etc.

What Are Consumers Doing on Mobile?

How do consumers use mobile devices to access the Web? According to Online Publishers Association/Frank N. Magid Associates:

  • 99.5 percent access content/information
  • 63.1 access the Internet
  • 62.1 percent check email
  • 49.2 percent listen to music
  • 46 percent play games
  • 41.7 percent download and use apps
  • 15 percent make purchases
  • 15 percent read a book

Shift to Mobile Impacts B2B Significantly

If you imagine that the mobile usage is merely a reflection of consumers logging onto social media, checking email or conducting search, or shopping, think again.

Executives lead the way in mobile adoption, validating the theory that digital assets for a business or brand must serve target audiences 24/7, and not just during business hours.

What Time of Day Do B2B Professionals Conduct Mobile Research

Meeting your customers wherever they work is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. If you wish to convert interaction to action you must compel the decision-maker.

B2B Decision-Makers Rely on Mobile Devices

Mobile is preferred over the PC for executives conducting research during and after office hours, according to the IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014.

  • 92 percent of executives own a smartphone used for business.
  • 77 percent of executives use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business.
  • 93 percent of executives will purchase that product via the Internet using a laptop or desktop.
  • 86 percent use their tablet and 72 percent of executives use their smartphone to conduct research for products or services for their business.

Business Product Research on Mobile

Executives rely upon mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) to conduct business research more frequently in the evenings than any other time of day.

Mobile as a Competitive Advantage

Whether your day-to-day focus is business management, marketing, sales, SEO, social media, advertising, software development, or customer relationship management, the mobile device has increasingly become the preferred tool for work and communication. How quickly and effectively an organization plans, develops, and adapts to deliver quality mobile experiences will likely become a competitive advantage.

Some organizations may continue to view mobile as an “add-on” or supplementary effort when planning for digital interaction with customers. However, those who embrace the shift in behavior and deliver what their customers want and need to make a purchase decision will likely be the ultimate winners.