Analyze this: Tips for setting up analytics on your website

This post first appeared on Ueno’s company blog here.

Making things pretty is not enough. The things we make also have to work well for their intended purpose — telling a story, selling a product, sharing content. One of the ways we use to tell if what we build achieves its purpose is through analytics. Information is power!

Gathering useful information from a website is more than slapping on some code. Before adding any code snippets, you must first identify what you want to track, and why. Then work with your developers to implement the analytics code, check that all is firing as expected, and BOOM! You’re ready to go. Simple, right? Sort of.

We recently did an analytics audit of the Ueno website to establish objectives and make sure we’re getting the information necessary to make the best decisions. Website changes take time and money, so we needed to prioritize, and data would allow us to do just that. We chose Google Analytics (GA) because it’s a powerful tool, generally easy to use, and one of the most commonly used platforms across industries.

Our first step was to define our objectives. What’s the purpose of Ueno’s website? This is what we came up with:

  1. Attract new business
  2. Attract new talent
  3. Showcase our work

Once we established those objectives, we brainstormed a list questions that would help us measure them.

  • How many people are visiting the site? How many of those are completing the new business inquiry form?
  • How much content are people consuming? How many pages to they visit and how far do they scroll?
  • Where are visitors coming from? Which channels are most likely to result in a new business inquiry or job application?

When we had a broad sense of the information we needed, and it was time to set up the GA account. Here are three key components to the setup:

1. Conversion Goals

Based on the primary objectives, we defined two Conversion Goals to measure how often users complete specific actions.

A conversion goal might seem more obvious on an e-commerce site (a purchase, for example) but depending on your objectives you can always find some action to measure success. Here are ours:

  • Conversion Goal 1 — New business form submission: Fires every time someone completes our new business inquiry form
  • Conversion Goal 2 — Careers application submission: Fires every time someone submits an application

These are the two main actions we want people to take on the site, so at a high-level they can tell us how effective our website is and which traffic channels are performing best.

2. Events

Next, we defined several GA Events to help measure how well the website is achieving its objectives.

  1. New business events
  • New business form form: Number of visits, submits and successes
  • Track what page(s) are driving the most new biz submissions / what content influences people to submit
  • What channels (e.g. social, newsletter, referring sites) drive submissions

2. Career events

  • Job application form: number of visits, submits and successes
  • What channels (e.g. social, newsletter)/websites are driving applications

3. Engagement events

  • Clicks: all clicks to outbound links
  • Expands: expansion of content
  • Scroll tracking: what percent of visitors scroll to 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of the page

3. Audience Segments

We wanted to view website data through the lense of different audiences to hone in on behaviors — who is doing what and why. Here’s a list of audience segments we set up:

  • Engagers: Users who clicked an outbound link or expanded content
  • Non-Engagers: Users who did not click a link or expand content
  • Converters: Users with at least one goal completion
  • Non-Converters: Users with less than one goal completion
  • Organic Traffic: Users who were referred from a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.)
  • Social Traffic: Users who were referred from a social media channel
  • Email Traffic: Users who were referred by email (our newsletter)
  • Blog traffic: Users who were referred by Ueno blog

Segmenting the audience lets us filter information such as:

  • How does traffic from email channel behave differently from traffic from the blog?
  • What actions from converters are contributing to conversion?

Are you thinking about setting up analytics for your own company or agency? Here are a few tips based on our experience.

  • Start simple. It might be appealing to gather ALL the information, but it can also be overwhelming. Establish two or three goals to start, and focus on learning as much as you can about what contributes to those goals. Build from there.
  • Enlist help. Even though I had a good sense of what we wanted to achieve, we hired an expert GA consultant to help. It was great to have someone confirm or challenge my ideas, share his experience from working on GA setup for other clients, and help with technical implementation.
  • Keep iterating. Setting up your analytics isn’t a one-and-done process. The first phase will establish a baseline, but you may quickly discover that there’s more you want to know. And as your website grows, make sure new pages are tagged.
  • Don’t forget to block your IP address. You can blacklist visits from your company’s IP address so internal traffic data doesn’t muddy your data.

We’re using the data from GA to establish a performance baseline, so we can measure the impact of any changes to the site.

We’ll keep you posted.

-Posted by Elizabeth Donovan-

 

Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion

It’s been quite a while since I posted on this blog, but I hope my excuses are legitimate. Last March after returning from ten months of traveling around the world, I joined digital agency Ueno as a Senior Marketing Strategist. Fast forward one year later, and I just became a mom to my first child! So, things have been busy but wonderful. And I’m here to tell you a bit more about the wonderful lesson Ueno has taught me about creating a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion sounds like a cliche HR term we’ve heard all too often, without stopping to think about what it means or have meaningful conversations about how to achieve it. The truth is, I didn’t think much about it until I started working at the most culturally diverse company I’ve ever been a part of… and a light bulb went off.

We represent six nationalities in our office of only ten people. It’s amazing. At any moment I might hear four different languages being spoken, and we spend our team lunches talking about cultural differences, where and how people grew up, and learn all kinds of fascinating tidbits about each other’s home countries. (One of our favorite topics is food because there’s no better source of culture, and we’re all foodies!) Our differences actually unify the team by giving us the shared identity of being international. When we have clients or friends visit our office, I proudly tell them that I am one of only two born-and-raised Americans in the office, naming all of the different countries where my colleagues are from. Impressive, right!?

Our wealth of cultural backgrounds impacts our work more than you might think. We’re all influenced by the things we grew up around, and learning about these different experiences sparks curiosity in one another. It leads us to ask more questions. In one example, I never realized how weird and stupid the American tradition of Groundhog’s Day is until a French colleague asked, perplexed, “So Americans think a little animal can predict the end of winter… for real?” Ummm, yeah, it’s super weird. And I’d never questioned it before.

So, while Trump isn’t making it easy, I would encourage any company to hire international employees. It really does impact the overall flavor of a company and naturally fosters creativity.

In addition to our international employees, Ueno has a culture of sharing ideas. The thought that great ideas can come from anywhere is ingrained in us. A designer can have a great marketing idea. A marketer can offer valuable design input. And, importantly, an employee with two years of experience can have an equally valid idea as the employee with ten years. Some might describe this as a flat culture, but to me it’s common sense. How can people grow professionally if they aren’t encouraged to share and test ideas?

The tricky part is soliciting ideas from people who might otherwise keep their mouths shut for a myriad of reasons… “That’s not my job” or “I’m thinking too differently from everyone else” or “This will probably sound stupid.” One thing I’ve learned from my boss is that you can proactively include people by asking them, specifically by name, what they think during meetings. Rather than inviting general feedback, calling on someone specifically for their ideas–even if it may seem like putting someone on the spot–is much more effective. Over time, people get used to it and can start to feel more comfortable sharing what’s on their mind. It’s not easy to open up to people and put yourself out there, and I personally still need to work on it. But if I’m asked my opinion, I’ll definitely take the opportunity.

It helps to have a socially-conscious and inclusive leadership team. I want to share something one of our company leaders recently shared on Slack:

 

Ok, so I’ve observed that some of our younger and non-english native people sometimes don’t fully understand what people are talking about, and feel too embarrassed and vulnerable about it to call it out.

Communication is the foundation for understanding and our ability to function but more importantly our ability to connect as people.

Two things to keep in mind:

1) If english is not your first language, you shouldn’t be afraid to be vulnerable about your language. You are learning and learning is hard. You should not get blamed for not speaking perfect English, or for not understanding the native english speakers (or anyone really). You are here because we want you here, we love that you have a different background and you add value in so many different types of ways.

2) To native speakers: english is the company language, but Ueno is an international company: you need to be aware that not everybody shares your cultural and language context. You are responsible for making yourself understood, not the other way around.

If you don’t understand something, just ask. And if you still don’t understand that’s ok, just ask again. And keep asking until you understand.


A simple observation with encouragement like this could make all the difference. Even if it seems like it should go without saying, it needs to be said.

Our diversity track record isn’t perfect. We’re mostly white, and our tech/development team is overwhelmingly male. But diversity is a common theme and one of our core values. It’s a crucial area of focus for our leadership team as we grow.

This may not be a marketing-specific topic, but I hope it sparks some thinking about diversity and inclusion, and why it’s so important to any business. Thinking and talking about it is a great first step to creating a stronger, more inclusive culture.

 

-Posted by Elizabeth Donovan-

Why marketers should care about design (and how to set up a design project for success)

 

Written & illustrated by Seth Roberts and Brian Hawes

In just a few short months working at Ueno, I’ve learned so much about design and why it is one of the most important pieces of the marketing puzzle.

Prior to joining Ueno, I fell into the trap that many marketers do —I assumed design generally came after my work as a marketer was mostly complete. “Now,” I thought, “I have everything ready… I just need designers to make it pretty!”  (Designers everywhere roll their eyes.)

Now I see this thought process underestimates design’s real potential value. Design is a core part of the solution to any challenge marketers need to solve. Good design does so much more than look good; it communicates your brand, raises visibility, and drives conversions.

With a few projects under my belt and this new way of thinking, I uncovered some takeaways marketers can apply to set up any design-related project for success. Here they are:

  • At the beginning of the project, marketers and designers should define “What is the key problem we’re trying to solve?” As the process moves forward, keep returning to this question and answer to stay on track.
  • Trust is essential to a successful marketer/designer relationship. Work with people you respect and trust. If you don’t know each other well, spend time together and work side-by-side in person as much as possible.
  • For a project to be successful, all stakeholders should be involved from the beginning. If everyone agrees on the challenge and proposed solution from day 1, there will be fewer roadblocks later.
  • Most importantly, recognize that design is a collaborative process. Especially for big projects like a marketing website, it’s not enough for a marketer to say “Here’s what I need, come back with your design in a few weeks!” Design teams work with you, not for you, so your input at every step along the way is crucial to success.


I’m learning more every day, so I’ll share updates in a few months. In the meantime, what advice do you have for marketers on approaching design & working with design teams? Please share in the comments!

Thanks for reading. 🙂  

 

-Posted by Elizabeth Donovan-

Simply because you can talk to your audience, doesn’t mean you should.

-The following is a guest post written by Amy Jaick. This article originally appeared on Goodman Media’s website here.-

Social media has revolutionized the PR and marketing world by enabling brands and celebrities to speak directly to their audiences. While this offers an amazing opportunity for ongoing engagement and authentic conversation, it also opens the door to larger potential issues.

Even though companies and individuals can communicate with their followers directly without PR support, for marketing efforts to be truly successful, communications executives should always have a seat at the table.

Identifying The Squeaky Wheel

There’s an old saying that the squeaky wheel is the one that gets greased. Nowhere is that more true than on social media. With a direct line of communication to the brand, followers can publicly criticize or laud a product, often prompting knee-jerk reactions from the brand itself, especially when the commentary is negative.

Before you react to new social media feedback, ask your PR team to do a deep dive into general sentiment. Since PR professionals focus on overall perception, they can quickly evaluate whether all customers feel a certain way or it’s only a small portion of the audience. With this insight in hand, marketers can make more accurate decisions about inventory, product modifications, and more.

 Living Outside The Moment

We can all think of a celebrity or public figure who, in the last month or even the past week, has endured public criticism for incendiary comments fired off in the heat of the moment. Take, for example, Kanye West’s Twitter feed. Though many did “shut up and enjoy the greatness” of some of West’s Twitter rants, his actions ultimately reflected negatively on his brand, causing the public to question his mental health and ability to continue performing on tour (it was cancelled midway through).

Situations like these never end well for the criticized party. While brands often think they won’t make the same mistake as individuals, that’s simply not true. Without the same training as PR executives, brands may inadvertently turn a small issue into a larger crisis.

Publicists are in place to provide safeguards for off-the-cuff responses by those closest to the brand, and plan for the time and distance to carefully craft an on-brand response to any unforeseen criticism. When negative commentary starts flooding in, turn to your PR team, who can assess the situation, formulate a proper response plan and share that with key stakeholders. After all, all it takes is one well-meaning tweet with the wrong word or message to create a firestorm.

Keep Messaging On Brand

While organizations and celebrities are immersed 24/7 in all aspects of their brand, PR pros keep a targeted eye on the messaging and positioning across all channels. Finding an authentic voice is important to engaging and keeping an audience, and a larger team should be involved in accomplishing the sometimes difficult task of brand voice. But, PR people are well-trained to help navigate the brand team through the nuances of language and communications – and ultimately help distinguish between the next top-engagement tweet and a tone-deaf, off-brand gaffe.

Testing, testing, 1,2,3…

Each year, companies spend countless amounts of money and resources developing new marketing campaigns. Even with advanced research and insight, it’s not always clear how the public will react until these campaigns go live. Today, social media provides a valuable opportunity for marketers to test new messages and narratives in a lean way. However, marketers who test it on their own, without incorporating other groups, will quickly find out that they’re only getting part of the story, a mistake that could become costly later on.

PR and marketing executives, who have both spent their careers building and executing campaigns, can work together to test new ideas. Unfortunately, all too often these two groups are working in silos, never connecting until after a campaign has been approved. Working together early in the process, can help marketers figure out what to build upon, what to test further and what to drop, before making a hefty investment in a splashier, all-encompassing marketing campaign.

ROI

While a core component of PR is media relations, the idea that media relations is the singular focus, is no longer correct. Today, PR touches upon all areas connected to the consumer or audience, ranging from social media to marketing to customer service.

This means that marketers don’t have to do it all alone. You can leverage your PR team to help amplify the work you’re doing on social and digital. By working with your communications team, you can draw more attention to your campaigns and increase your ROI.

Good PR professionals – whether an in-house team or an outside agency – bring to the table a targeted expertise when thinking about the overall marketing picture. As the part of your team with a constant pulse on what the marketplace and the media is talking about, it’s always wise to consult PR before engaging with that same marketplace. Teamwork makes the audience engagement dream work!

Written with help from Lauren Hiznay from Goodman Media.

Why Segmentation is Marketing 101

Good looking adult woman working at the office. Probably waiting for lunch...The basics of marketing are to establish the benefits of the product you are trying to sell and to communicate those benefits. But a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t cut it. Your customers and audience are as unique as your friends—each has different goals, problems, and interests. And each person will use your product in a different way, for their own reasons. So, it’s important to segment your audience by their differences and communicate benefits in a way that speaks to them as individuals.

Today there are any number of ad and email tools that help marketers segment and target different audience groups for better results. But before you dive into execution, there’s some legwork to do. Here’s my broad checklist on how to segment your audience for the best results.

  • Before you can understand the differences within your target audience, first identify what commonalities they share. Who is your audience: where do they live, what do they like to do, what brands and products do they like? Identifying the key problem that your product solves on a high-level is also important. For example, Postmates might identify their main benefit as “We enable busy people to have anything delivered on-demand,” therefore solving the problem that people don’t have time to go to the store. The target audience is people who don’t have time. (Note: I’m using Postmates solely as an example; I don’t have any insider knowledge of their marketing strategy.)
  • Next, gather information about your current and prospective customers. You can do this through surveys, collecting information at registration to build your own database, or use built-in targeting options through your email-service provider or ad platform. For example, many ESPs will offer geo-targeting based on IP address and or Wifi/GPS data. Facebook is the best platform when it comes to data, because you can target by dozens of categories and data points.
  • Once you’ve established your high-level benefit and target audience, build out segments. If we look at the “people who don’t have time” audience, there are a hundred ways to break down this very broad definition depending on the information available to you. For example, you could segment by age group, urban/suburban dwellers, high-tech/low-tech users, parents, singles, etc. Overlap is inevitable, so try not to get bogged down with creating dozens of super-minute segments. Start with the basics.
  • Last one: think about the messages that might work best for each individual group, and how they like to receive information. Come up with a hypothesis and then test and reiterate to find the combination that works best. Here’s a (very simplified) example of how you might approach the Postmates case with a Facebook ad campaign:
    1. In Facebook Campaign A, use an ad with the same message and photo “You have better things to do than run errands this weekend. Try Postmates to get what you need, delivered anytime.” (image of individual outside jogging in park)
    2. In Facebook Campaign B, change the image depending on whether the individual is single or married:
      • Single Ad Group: You have better things to do than run errands this weekend. Try Postmates to get what you need, delivered anytime. (image of singles at bar scene)
      • Married Ad Group: You have better things to do than run errands this weekend. Try Postmates to get what you need, delivered anytime. (image of couple at home having romantic dinner)

Let’s say your hypothesis is that Campaign B is more efficient. If you’re correct, you can continue to refine the image/message for better results, or segment even further. Also, you may find out that certain segments respond better on different platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Partner Marketing, etc.) or via different mediums (email, push notification, SMS, desktop notifications etc). Pay attention to the data and continuously test your hypotheses.

For retention-based campaigns, it’s important to segment messaging based on how your users interact with your product. For example, at Reuters TV we segmented users into super users, medium users, and low users and built email campaigns based on how often a user was watching our content. This strategy is very common with e-commerce sites. Ever gotten the “We miss you, Person! Come back and receive 15% off your next order” email? If this tactic feels like a no-brainer, it’s because it works.

The bottom line: if you’re not segmenting your marketing campaigns, you’re behind the times. It’s important to build a segmentation strategy for customer acquisition and retention, but don’t feel overwhelmed. You can start with the simplest tests to gather valuable data and become more sophisticated as you learn.

Read more on this topic:

-Posted by Elizabeth Donovan (Pace)-

On the job hunt: Should you pay attention to what former employees say?

job-hu1I am freshly back in the USA after taking some time off to travel through Europe and Asia. (For more on that, visit my Instagram: @Donovans_TakeTheWorld.) As I start my job search, one of the important factors I’m considering is company reputation and whether employees are happy. There are multiple tools to research employee sentiment, including GlassDoor.com. Former employees’ personal blogs and other forms of outreach are also becoming more common. But should you trust what a former employee says?

Major tech companies like Uber and Amazon have received negative press based on blogs published by or statements made by former employees.  When individuals speak out against their former employer, I usually take it with a grain of salt. Some former employees are disgruntled and have their own agendas. However, the company’s response is far more telling and provides insight into the values of its leadership team.

For example, after former Uber employee Susan Fowler wrote a negative post about the company’s allegedly sexist culture, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took it seriously. Shortly after the post was published, Kalanick met with 100 female engineers internally and committed to addressing the issue head-on. A head engineer was also fired in the aftermath. While these actions don’t immediately solve the problem, they do prove that Uber’s leadership team acknowledges and cares about improving employee welfare.

In another famous example, The New York Times published an article in August 2015 about Amazon’s workplace that was critical of how it treats employees.  Several current and former employees were interviewed, offering varying degrees of negative comments. Despite the excellent reputation of the NYT, I’m not convinced the article presented the entire story. If you pick any company and interview its employees anonymously, or talk to its former employees, negative aspects of the company will come to light. How many of your friends need a night of venting about work every now and then, even if they love their job?

Interestingly, Amazon shot back with a scathing response to the NYT article. Amazon’s Senior Vice President for Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon, Jay Carney, published a blog on Medium claiming the NYT didn’t provide all the facts. He also claimed that one of the former employees who was quoted in the NYT article left the company “after an investigation revealed he had attempted to defraud vendors and conceal it by falsifying business records.” Carney provided other specifics providing background on the comments made by other disgruntled employees. What he didn’t do, and maybe should have, was make a public statement about Amazon’s commitment to employee welfare.

These examples demonstrate the obvious cliché that there are two sides to every story. While it’s important to research the reputation of a company you want to work for, don’t dismiss a company outright based on a few instances of negative press. I rely more heavily on first-hand information from trusted friends and colleagues, as well as my own impressions throughout the interview process.

Wish me luck in my job search!

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Should your brand talk politics?

politics
Everyone is talking politics lately, and some brands are jumping in to the heated discussion. But is it smart to insert a political stance for your brand?

There are a number of considerations to take before a brand should make politically opinionated statements. First, know your audience. Chances are you have an audience/customer base that is diverse– from geography, gender, age to political stance, etc. So first, consider the business consequences of angering or alienating even a small group of customers. Is it worth it?

Also importantly, don’t be rash. Especially lately, many of us are passionate about our political opinions. But passion can lead to rash Tweets that can cause damage–even if deleted later. Is your brand or business the right place to voice your personal opinion? Think it through, talk with your peers, superiors and advisors before making any heated statements you may regret later.

Dont participate just to participate. All too often brands insert themselves into trending topics just for relevance. Customers can see right through this misguided approach. While it’s smart to participate in trending discussions when appropriate, participaton should be authentic to the brand’s voice and cause. Otherwise it can feel out of place, confusing or downright off-putting to your audience.

If you’ve weighed the consequences and feel there is a compelling reason that your brand should take a stance, do it with taste. Bashing, name-calling or ranting is disrespectful and will almost certainly divide your audience. Stay positive and supportive in your statements, and be authentic and consistent in your voice.

Lastly, understand that your brand is human and you can’t please everyone. The strongest brands are those that forge meaningful and honest relationships with their customers. People make companies and people have opinions. Your customers will respect you for honesty. So if your opinion is relevant and adds value, standing up for your beliefs through your brand can have long-term benefits for your customer relationships.

Read more on this topic:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace