TargetInternet.com aims to provide practical and easy to understand information on using Digital Marketing for businesses of all sizes. You’ll find a mix of blog posts and articles, the digital marketing podcast and audio training, video and more interactive e-learning all on the topic of digital marketing presented by Digital Marketing trainer Daniel Rowles.
Author Archive: Target Internet
In this episode, Ciaran and Daniel discuss how they use URL shortening and eventually…reveal an interesting technique which enables you to view the analytics on any published bit.ly shortened URL link. Since recording this episode, we have also discovered that the same technique can be used to see results on goo.gl shortened links as well.
We were both a bit shocked that we could make 10 minutes of content from such a short and easy to implement technique….( but if you want to quickly get to the tip jump to around 8.24 in the recording.) but it seemed a worthwhile opportunity to explore what can be done with url shortening services.
Bit.ly link to this page which we used to promote this episode below if you want to test out the technique
just add the magic character to it and paste it into your web browser address bar.
Interestingly you can choose to make bitlinks private in Bit.ly by using the lock icon next to your bitlink, but as far as we can see this still doesn’t hide the public analytics. It just hides the bitlink from your social networks should you have linked your bitly accounts to those networks. Making bitlinks private does however hide any notes you have added to them, so if you want to make your bitly account a little more private go to settings and set private as your default setting for your account.
We hope you enjoy this, and as always we would love your feedback. We are running a poll on our Facebook page it you want to take part and share your views.
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Target Internet | June 28, 2012
Blogging used to be something only undertaken by serious writers and journalists. Nowadays anyone with access to the internet can share their views and opinions with the world and be heard and the ability to influence online is no longer confined to the rich and famous. But sometimes getting started can be the hardest thing, something I know a lot about!
While suffering a particularly frustrating episode of writer’s block I decided to venture outside of my usual sources for inspiration. In the process I came across some really good infographics which, as a creative thinker, appeal to me much more than huge chunks of text and thus inspired the idea to make them the focus of this post. The irony of writing a blog post about writing blog posts and inspired by not being able to write a blog post is not lost on me.
Here are some of my favourites and if you know of any more, share them in the comments section.
#1 The history of blogging
See how blogging has evolved and predictions for 2012
#2 22 ways to create compelling content
Some helpful ideas for blog posts (great when you’re having a block)
#3 Breaking out of a creative rut
Getting creative without the worry.
#4 Optimising your article
The main points for ensuring your article is visible. (White hats only!)
#5 5 reasons blogging grows social
How does blogging help us reach more people.
# 6 The future of Marketing: blogging and social media
WHat’s next for bloggers.
Written by Felice Ayling
Digital Marketing Podcast Episode 66 – How to run a Successful Social Media Customer Service Operation
Target Internet | June 26, 2012
In episode 66 Ciaran talks to Bian Salins, Head of Social Media Innovation for BT Customer Service. An experienced social media practitioner and visionary, Bian heads up the team who manage @BTCare, BT’s hugely successful social media customer service channel. Ciaran met Bian at the recent Social Media Influence conference in London where Bian was a guest speaker. Inspired by her presentation and story, Ciaran grabbed this interview during the lunch break and talks to Bian about the unique way she set about creating her team. We also discover some of great insights into how to successfully manage social media customer service and how to navigate challenging social media situations within a huge telecommunications corporation.
How to get in Touch:
Well it’s been a bad week for Microsoft who have been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
What should have been a good news story last week turned into a media debacle when Microsoft announced its much talked about new Windows 8 Tablet ‘Surface’.
While it was speculated to be next big thing to rival the iPad, unfortunately it appears that the latest offering from Microsoft is rather aptly named, in that only on the surface does it demonstrate even an ounce of the creativity and design required to knock the iPad off its perch. Even a slight nudge is still very far from a possibility.
Surface really just appears to be a typical Windows machine re-skinned as a touch screen, opting for the same operating system as opposed to designing a system specifically around a tablet device. When you consider the lengths Apple went to in designing the iPad operating system to be unique, and take into account the very specific requirements that makes the iPad so desirable, it’s hard to imagine how Surface can even begin to compete.
It seems that Microsoft just can’t break away from its image of going for the safe option rather than putting itself out there in the name of innovation and exploration.
Having seen the steady flow of reviews it seems I am not alone in being completely underwhelmed by Microsoft’s big news. With scathing reviews and headlines such as ‘Why Microsoft’s Surface Tablet Shames the PC Industry’ Microsoft is taking a battering from all sides.
And as if that weren’t bad enough, they have had to contend with the mild embarrassment of their new super toy failing in the middle of a demo during its unveiling in LA. Not the moment you want your product to fail. But having said that, with all the negative press it’s been getting it actually seems rather fitting.
If you’ve not seen the video, or if you have and want to relive the humiliation I’ve popped it in below. If you don’t spot it, keep watching Steve Sinofsky’s
hands while he desperately tries to get it working again.
I think the message is clear; nice try Microsoft, come back to us when you’ve tried a bit harder.
Written by Felice Ayling
Target Internet | June 12, 2012
In this episode we have scooped another exclusive for you!
Daniel caught up with Thomas Brown, Head of Insights at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) to get the low down on the second wave of the CIM’s Social Media Benchmark 9 days before the report is out.
Wave 2 of this important report looks at how marketers are making use of social media and how that’s impacting on the way organizations behave. It looks at social media usage, investment and resources and takes a deep dive into digital capability, skills shortages and talent, plus it takes a timely look at data, privacy and regulatory issues being faced by UK businesses and benchmarks social media listening and monitoring. With data gathered from over 2000 organizations, find out how your use of social media for business stacks up with the rest of the UK before the benchmark report is released this Thursday.
The launch event takes place on the 21st June at Bloomberg London.
Find out more at:
Social Media Benchmark Live! results briefing
21 June 2012 | 09:00-10:25 (UK time)
· Head of Insights, CIM
· Director, Ipsos ASI
· CMO, Bazaarvoice
· CMO UK, Microsoft
· Global CMO, Clifford Chance
· Group Marketing and Chief Digital Officer, Tesco
No cost to attend – register online at http://live.smbenchmark.com
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Target Internet | June 8, 2012
While many remain skeptical about the validity of Google+, it’s starting to look as if they are on the money with their promise of a more social search experience. A recent research paper published by Searchmetrics has shown that social sharing signals correlate much more highly with search rankings than ever before. In fact, social signals are now appearing to affect rankings more than traditional keyword link placements.
Editor: We’ll investigate this more as I’m not 100% convinced of the data, but social is certainly having an impact on search results and I like to create a bit of discussion! Bear in mind the fundamentals of link building are still essential. I’d also say that content that generates social discussion also generates links, so keep up your focus on engaging content.
The graph below shows the various elements assessed in the report and their correlation to search rankings.
While the report is interesting, the results were generated through data collected over a two month period, however this period covered the Panda update and so demonstrates how SERPs(Search Engine Results Pages) could now look following the changes.
What it does demonstrate, although not in a concrete way, is that social signals are becoming much more important for ranking higher in results pages. Facebook shares in particular are having a high impact on relevance and comments are coming up fast as another indicator of quality.
You can see from the graph that Google+ is not listed as a factor, but this is not because +1s have no affect, in fact they ranked as the highest influencer on search results. Searchmetrics have chosen to leave this result out as the relatively small number of members and their subsequent activity means the data isn’t as meaningful as other indicators. It does however, give a clear indication of the impact of this trend if it were to continue. And that is that +1s could become the most powerful signal affecting search results than ANY other factor.
In it’s report, Searchmectrics stated “When Google+ has values that are stronger and more independent from SERPs, these values will also be included in the overview. That Google is trying to make Google+ an important player is indisputable and therefore SEOs should be sure to keep an eye on further developments.”
What is encouraging is that according to the data, backlinks remain the second highest factor affecting rankings which is one of the strongest indicators of quality content. However, the report has categorised backlinks to indicate what quality looks like and how to maximise on the benefit of these.
The report contains a lot more insights into the power behind search rankings and I would recommend having a look through it for some nice stats which can support your social media activity. The report is free but you’ll need to ‘pay’ with a tweet to access it.
For most of us this won’t be a surprise, but hard data is always hard to come by when it comes to measuring ROI for social engagement.
It’s a clear message that the power of customer engagement is paramount to demonstrating quality and relevance of content.
Written by Felice Ayling
I recently spoke with the very entertaining Thomas Brown , Head of Insight at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, on the latest results from the excellent Social Media Benchmark. You can see my slides from the presentation below:
The emergence of free and low cost analytics tools that help us truly understand our customers (and potential customers) are now widely available. However, the effective adoption of these tools is rare, and answering questions about ROI in digital marketing is still often seen as a dark art rather than a practical process
Digital Marketing ROI
In this blog I want to discuss the key issues of Attribution Modelling by showing how it allows us to move practically toward understanding the customer journey and show how this can help us move toward calculating true ROI. I also want to highlight why this isn’t as easy as it may first seem, highlight some of the key pitfalls and look at some simple options.
Defining a Conversion
Before we get going we need to define what we mean by a “Conversion”. A conversion is when one of your goals is completed. This could be an online sale, a form being filled in, a report being viewed or a file being downloaded. It is essentially somebody doing something you want them to do on your website. Setting up goals is essential to get best use of your analytics, and without it calculating ROI or using attribution modelling is impossible.
Attribution modelling is a hot topic right now, and at first glance it looks like a quick solution to working out ROI. We purchase an Attribution system, we then track and look at each of the interactions our customers have with us online, we weight these appropriately and then see how each touchpoint contributes to our bottom line. However, the devil is in the detail with attribution modelling, because this is still, as the name suggests, modelling.
Another key point to remember is that most of the solutions available will generally look at online channels only. Factoring in what impact your print or TV ads have had takes things a step further, and is not an easy thing to do. It is possible, but its complex. We’ll come back to this topic at a later date.
Google Multi-Chanel Funnels
A very good step toward attribution is using Google Multi-Channel funnels. The video below is a great introduction to what multi-channel funnels actual is. I’ll also explain the key premise below.
Last Click Attribution
The most important ability of multi-channel funnels is to go beyond the last click. Analytics packages, when applied in a basic way, will generally tell you where your completed goals came from. That is, what was the traffic source that delivered the user that converted. That’s not to say they hadn’t visited your site 10 times before from various other sources. Multi-channel funnels goes beyond this and lays out the different digital channels that a user used before converting. You can start to see things like although your email campaigns might not generate much direct sales, they do contribute to a large percentage of your sales overall.
Last Click Example
The image below shows two paths to conversion. The first includes an email click through and then sometime later a search. The second just has a search that leads to conversion. Analytics that just looks at last click would see these as being the same, as the last click was the search in both cases. You could then make the mistake of thinking that the email added no value. However, without the email, the first conversion would not have happened (well, maybe! We’ll discuss that later).
The Difference Between Attribution and Multi-Channel Funnels
Attribution modelling attempts to take this one step further and understand the value of each step and then allows us to test out this value attribution. This means having some sort of weighting mechanism that attributes value and we’ll discuss this more below.
Attribution and Modelling – that’s the point
Essentially we are taking each of the touch points a customer has online, such as email, online ads, social media,etc and we then look at what order they experienced or interacted with these touch points in the lead up to the conversion (the point at which they did the thing we anted them to do, which need not be limited to a purchase). In order to correctly understand how important each touchpoint is we using a weighting mechanism, looking at things like how much did they interact, how long for and how recent was? By looking at each of these factors we are deciding how important this touchpoint is and then assigning it an appropriate percentage of the revenue it helped generate.
For example, a video viewed for 2 minutes yesterday will generally have more influence on our behaviour than an ad that we saw but didn’t interact with a week ago.
So, we get some software and we set everything up to track and give us some data. We also need to set up some rules as outlined above. If we get these rules wrong, or we bias them incorrectly in some way, any results we get will be bogus. For this reason many Attribution solution providers also offer consultancy to help work through this stage. So far so good, but probably a little more complex than we first imagined. This is when things really start to get interesting.
At this point we could start blindly following what our attribution system tells us and look at the revenue it tells us our online touch points are generating. Based on this we may take a touchpoint that looks expensive but ineffective and cut it from our plans. What we will very quickly see is that this changes the values for all of the other touch points in many cases. Some that seemed very effective now don’t work at all! The reason is that each touchpoint impacts the others, and in order to do some effective with attribution modelling, the work is only actually just starting.
At this stage we need to start testing. What works and what doesn’t? How do different touchpoint interact? Whats the best mix of digital channels? How are online and offline interacting? This all takes planning and resourcing, and without this you’ve just wasted a lot of money on data you can’t really use or interpret.
So looking at the complexity of attribution modelling, why bother? Fundamentally because we can suddenly achieve the holy grail of marketing, something that has never been possible before. We can actually calculate ROI, know what parts of are marketing mix are effective and improve both the bottom line and the user experience. Its hard work, but if you get there, you’ll be in a position that 99% of organisations aren’t.
Any experience of trying to carry out Attribution Modelling or calculate your ROI? Let us know. Also happy to hear from providers of analytics and attribution software on why your system is better than all the rest.
There has been a LOT of comment on the recent Google algorithm changes following the Penguin update and Panda tweaks in April. As with most things, people generally only speak out when they have a problem so it would be easy to assume these updates were a negative thing for your website. Wrong! The updates are designed to reward sites with useful, quality content and meaningful inbound links and downgrade those that don’t. And that is exactly what they do.
It’s perhaps had one of the biggest impacts we’ve seen for a while from a Google update but that was entirely its intention, to begin stamping out the sort of black hat tactics that boost poor quality sites above those who choose a more ethical approach.
Penguin and Panda. What’s the difference?
The Panda update is the newest of the two and it looks specifically at the quality of your links. For the marketers out there who don’t know what this means; links to your website are good and give the impression that other web users like your content enough to point to it via a link on their site/blog/comment etc thus indicating high quality.
BUT there are many unscrupulous folk out there who have been selling links to site owners in the hundreds and thousands for a set fee, these links are not quality as they have no real relevance to your site nor has a conscious decision been made based on the user’s requirements.
Google has always has processes in place to identify these low quality links and discount any boost they may have given to the site’s ranking as well as penalizing the sites of those selling links. With Penguin, Google has taken this a step further and is actually penalizing sites that appear to have engaged in link buying.
Before Penguin, the action was only penalized the seller for selling and not the buyer for buying. Worst case for the buyer, they lose the potential rankings boost and are a few quid out of pocket. Now there is a much stronger deterrent to buying in the first place which is a good thing for all the sites out there who take the time and trouble to create good content that users actually want to find and promote on their own networks. It’s great news for marketers and PROs as it puts a lot more of the weight of attracting traffic onto engaging content and effective marketing to gain high quality links.
I’ve seen a few companies bemoaning the update’s negative impact on their site, apparently the fact they’ve been buying links for years is grounds enough to continue doing so. Just because it’s taken Google a while to work out how to catch them doesn’t mean it was ok in the meantime.
As a compliment, Google also release two tweaks to its Panda update which was launched a year ago and targeted low quality content, laden with keywords and very little else. The update had a huge impact and really cemented the notion that quality was indeed better than quantity and saw the worst hit sites have to work hard to clean up their acts.
The two changes were positioned either side of the Penguin update which I personally feel was a stroke of genius as penalized sites didn’t know which one they had been hit by. (At least, those who had poor quality content AND paid-for links didn’t know which one had found them).
The bottom line is it doesn’t matter, Google’s message is clear; if you’re investing in good content that’s marketed and shared well you won’t be affected.
SEO isn’t about easy fixes and quick wins, it’s about making good content visible to Google so it can promote it to users that want to find it. This takes a bit more time and effort but the rewards are much more substantial and requires both sides to work together. I personally hope Google continues to make these improvements and pushes ownership of web visibility more towards the marketers who know what their customers want.
If you want to find out more about SEO listen to the Digital Marketing Podcast – Out favourite SEO myths and mistakes
Written by Felice Ayling
Target Internet | May 10, 2012
Facebook isn’t slowing down as it kicks off its IPO roadshow and has launched a brand new app store featuring apps which utilise its Connect feature. The app store has attracted a lot of coverage and its timing couldn’t better when all eyes are on the company as it prepares to float its shares on the stock market.
While the store is specifically for apps that integrate with Facebook, its aim is not to compete with Apple’s app store or Google Play and in fact once a user selects an app to download they are taken to the relevant store to finalise the transaction.
However there are two reasons why Facebook’s some 900 million users may prefer to select their apps from the new store; firstly the store only stocks apps that work with Facebook’s Connect function which makes interconnectivity a breeze and secondly apps are displayed not only by user rating but also based on the account holder’s interest history which makes the top rated selection much more relevant and personalised. Users can browse apps that are compatible with their device so they only see the apps they can actually use.
The store also offers greater opportunities for developers around pricing and charging for apps. Up to now, apps have generated income through in-app purchasing in games such as Farmville where users pay real cash for virtual goods. Now Facebook will allow developers to charge one-off prices for users to access the app’s features.
One of the benefits to Facebook is that it acts as a giant sandpit for developers to try and test a whole host of features which can add to the Facebook experience without Facebook itself having to change. And as seen recently with the purchase of Instagram, if an app does particularly well and proves popular with users Facebook can pick it up and fully integrate it.
One area this could really benefit is Facebook’s mobile offering which it has openly admitted is a problem area. In a recent statement to potential investers Facebook stated “If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetisation strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.” This was quite a bold and frank admittance given the company’s current position but the fallout could create some very real opportunities for developers to create new features which could fill this void.
The company is clearly looking for improvements in this area and the app store is the perfect place to showcase and test out new ideas at very little initial cost to the company, only shelling out once an app is tried and tested.
In a recent post on Facebook’s developer blog, Aaron Brady said that the app centre is expected to launch ‘in the coming weeks’ and is calling for anyone interested in submitting an app to do so now via its Facebook Developer App.
It also wants to test the notion of paying a flat fee to access app features and is calling for users to sign up for the beta programme.
It’s a creative approach to solving a significant problem and provides developers with the chance to get their app seen but it’s the users who decide which ones they want to see grow into a fully fledged Facebook feature.
Written by Felice Ayling