Category: Digital Content

Query “What should you measure in your website analytics?” and you’ll net 190M search results. Pose the question to a dozen specialty web strategists and you will get a dozen different answers. The concepts of what a website can be are so fluid that your measurement approach could be tackled dozens of ways. Generally, these methods are neither completely wrong nor completely right, but you can achieve better results if clear on your website purpose.

The first question you need to ask yourself:  “Why do I have a website?”  Here are a few of the more common reasons for a website and Mansfield Inc.’s perspective on what you should be measuring for each

I want to sell physical things from my website.

If you have a website that is primarily an online store, user journey is the top thing to track. All the visitors in the world are meaningless if they never purchase. User drop off will be the first problem you will want to monitor and tackle as it may indicate users experiencing bottlenecks, which is a common cause to prohibiting the completion of sales. Tracking and identifying how far users get through the purchase process before dropping off can indicate that your products not being adopted by your audience or your site providing a poor user experience that they abandon the process. More importantly if you have a high drop off rate on product pages that don’t have inventory you have a successful product, but no products to sell. Those pieces of information can dictate your own vendor purchase agreements.

I want to sell services that I can invoice later.

For example, the gig economy has led to the explosion of services on demand, independents and entrepreneurs able to compete with large established companies for creative, marketing and consulting services. This type of website should include portfolios, case-studies and testimonials they believe represents their business. These sections of the website are the key drivers for website traffic, but page views alone are the not the main indicator of success.

For a successful portfolio website to work you must measure the amount of time on page. If users are generally skimming over the pieces presented on the site, they are not in line with their interests. However, if one page of your site is gaining a greater share of the time spent on site, it can indicate that that piece is more relevant or interesting to your audience. One solution is to move that more interesting content between the landing page and a call to action to sign up as a new customer and help convert passive scanning to lead generation.

I want to be a thought leader in a certain subject

Prior to the internet, people became thought leaders by publishing in books and journals that would lead to speaking engagements to grow their physical audience. Online publishing has not only greatly reduced the costs of sharing your ideas, but the lead time from concept to read content has dropped dramatically also. This content churn means that an optimized path to delivery and content topics is of the utmost importance.

To build out your website as a driver of content, some key metrics to track are pages per visitor and traffic from your newsletter. Treating your newsletter followers like an advertising campaign will allow you track which content is of interest to your current audience. Tracking the pages per visitor will give your perspective on whether all pieces of content are creating value for you or just a few select pages. Looking at which pages are getting the most views will help drive your content strategy in the right direction.

I want to sell a service that exists on my website

Understanding the difference between website and web application is critical. From a high level they both appear the same, both are viewed in a web browser and jumping between them is seamless with a good architecture. The big distinction is that web applications have processing done on a server level, driving information to a database and a code base that could be 20 times as big. A marketing website that supports these applications are used as landing pages or provide supporting documentation for new users.

A marketing website for a web application is useful to track inbound traffic to the application. Once you identify where the users are coming from you can target and remarket to turn them into customers. The most important metric to track is called the referrer source in the acquisition section of your analytics platform. These will be social media campaigns, organic search results or paid campaigns if you have implemented them.

Online business card

If none of the above apply to you, perhaps you are just using your website as your online business card. Business cards are primarily used to facilitate communications with you from someone you have shared the business card with. An online business card essentially shares that business card with the world.

The key indicator of this type of website being successful is contradictory to how many SEO campaigns work. If the user finds the contact information they need it will be automatically be considered a drop off as they will most likely leave the site after they send an email or call. If the find the information on the landing page, then the page will show an abnormally high bounce rate. These terms are typically seen as enemies to the website, but in the right circumstances they are key indicators of success.

Mansfield Inc understands the importance of tailoring analytics to the success of your website. We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to website measurement, contact us to create a custom measurement plan that fits your needs.

 

Is your social media content engaging enough? What about your website—is it equipped with the right tools to track leads or measure campaigns? Regularly analyzing how well your social media content is performing, where your website ranks and what your competitors are doing will help ensure your digital strategy is working for you.

What content matters to your business and how do you measure it?

Before you go running to Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, it’s important to know what to measure. Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) actually matter to your business. B2Cs, for example, often care about engagement and brand awareness. This means measuring social engagement such as likes, shares and comments. B2Bs, on the other hand, put more weight on the clicks, conversions and website traffic coming from social channels.

Analyze the numbers on your website to see where your leads are coming from, when and how they convert and what types of content produce the greatest returns. From there, you can determine what to fine-tune for the best possible performance, and what to discard or modify. You should consider both quantitative and qualitative metrics.

Quantitative factors easier to measure, such as optimal time of day and character count. Qualitative factors are more abstract, like subject matter and sentiment, and can be more difficult to measure. Once you’ve established your KPIs, start with the analysis. Try to find out what times work best for posting your social content. Many social media tools automatically determine this for you, but you can also check manually. For example, look at the top-performing posts based on clicks, and see if you can identify peak engagement by days and hours.

What are your competitors doing?

The next step is to identify your competition and determine which platforms they use. Hopefully, you already have a good idea of your main competitors and their general strategy but with the right tools you can track what keywords they’re investing in, what percentage of the social conversation they claim and how engaging their content is. Identify the competitors with a robust digital marketing program, not only the ones in the same line of business as you.

If your company is looking to grow and gain a digital foothold in the marketplace, your social profiles and website must adapt over time. Evaluate whether your existing profiles are working, what your competitors are doing and whether your website is set up for optimal measurement. If your LinkedIn profile is getting lots of engagement, and your Twitter presence is an active conversation hub, you might not need to do much. But if any of your social accounts are starting to falter or your website is drifting lower in search rankings, it may be time to update your strategy.

Always Be Measuring!

Consistently measuring your social media content, website and competitors will enable you to determine what’s working, where you’re at in your industry in relation to your competition and discover the ways you can take advantage of the new tools in social media and digital communications.

Send us an email at info@mansfieldinc.com to talk about a digital consultation and find out where you’re at!

Welcome to another Mansfield Thought Leadership post. Our posts our designed to help the C-Suite with Public Relations and Social Media Management.

Should your company’s C-Suite executives be using social media? Even if they should be, chances are they’re not—according to research published in 2016 from CEO.com and Domo, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.

Whether or not the company brass should be publicly active on social networks depends largely on who they are as a person and how they want to be perceived within the company and the industry. Do they want to appear more relatable and connect more genuinely with employees and colleagues? Conversely, executives may harm the brand if their social media is done poorly. Just look at United Airline’s Oscar Munoz’ response to the controversy around their forced removal of a passenger earlier this year.

To give you an idea of the pros and the cons, we broke down the simple reasons for and against your company’s leaders engaging on social media.

 

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Reasons for getting your company leaders on social:

• Shaping brand views: any executives on social media will serve as an extension of the company and their social media posts coming from the top will support the larger marketing activities. This can help the brand appear more accessible to a larger audience.

• Being approachable to employees: any efforts to be more accessible to outside audiences are applicable within the company itself. When employees are engaged on social media with their leaders they’re likely more satisfied in their job which will lead to less turnover.

• Improving relationships with customers and stakeholders: active execs help show the public and future customers how much the organization values customer experience. CEOs engaging with real people on social media can enhance brand opinions and loyalty.

• Talent recruitment: being adept on social emphasizes a CEO’s know-how with technology. Organizations searching for recruits who are invested in tech-friendly companies may value a CEO who keeps a strong social media presence.

• Keeping abreast of company or industry issues: social media allows CEOs to proactively monitor and participate in the relevant discussions that arise in regards to their company or industry. This can help company leadership react quickly to key industry developments.

On the other side, basic arguments against CEOs embracing social include:

• It may be too time consuming: sometimes time is a CEO’s most valuable commodity and forcing social media on them can take their attention away from more relevant pieces of business.

• It could be inauthentic: it’s not uncommon for executives to let their PR or communications teams run their accounts. While they’re most likely approving the posts, the words may not feel genuine which largely defeats the purpose of a personal social media account.

• The risk factor: if they are running their own accounts, giving a CEO free rein of their can be risky if they’re known for contentious or provocative commentary.

• It could harm internal productivity: if company leadership is seen as proactively social it may encourage employees to spend more time than necessary socializing online leading to decreased productivity.

However, if your company execs see the value in social media, launching them on it is a multi-step process. Approach it like any other social media campaign—establish goals and objectives, set benchmarks and most importantly, figure out the personality they want to project to the world.

Above all the brand humanizing, thought leadership and company updates from the top, their personal brands should shine through on whatever they put out.

If you need help navigating the Social Media landscape, we can work with you in confidence to improve your online presence.

Welcome to another entry in our Tips & Tricks series. In this post we will be cover tips to help with your digital services.

Every year during the weekend prior to Labour Day, Canada’s largest, and North America’s third largest, pop culture event takes over downtown Toronto. If you are unexpectedly caught in the horde, sometimes literal horde depending on the cosplay, you might think that Toronto has been taken over.

At its heart, FanExpo, which covers nearly every square foot of the north and south buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, combines comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming (video and otherwise).

The event attracts more than 120,000 people. They come to shop for artisan jewelry, original pieces of art for all the genres, collectibles of every form. They come to meet the comic book artists that inspired them. Most of all they come for the celebrities. Autographs of Hollywood celebrity or the sci-fi elites are extremely popular. Between $40 and $100 means about a minute of time while talent pen their names. Want a photo? That will be another $100, more for group shoots. The thousands of dollars an hour celebrities earn is nothing compared to the earned media that brands generate.

This year, Cards Against Humanity who are famous for their Black Friday “deals” had people lined up and taking photos of their booth titled “Apologies from Americans” while other attendees snapped shots of those in the line-up. The upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok featured actor costumes in front of a movie poster wall, which drew the attention of fans who captured the image and shared it. The upcoming TV show of Star Trek: Discovery gave fans the chance to play “phaser Tag” while other shared photos of a wall well-branded with the show’s logo.

Competing for each and every dollar are the independent artists as they hustle to position themselves as the next hot property, but these new talents lack the big budgets of the established players.

Here are four tips for low-budget hustle tactics used by the independents.

1. Know your audience, and know what they like. Artists recognized how popular the video game Overwatch is and recognized how loyal their fans are. When the lone voice actor, Charlet Chung from the game with 30 million players came to sign autographs, artists created prints for her to sign. A majority of artists promoting their own original art also featured many renditions of the popular Overwatch character D.Va. The booths that had prints had line ups of fans eager to buy which drew in potential fans for their original material.

2. Be everywhere. Most brands social media extends to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Independents need to be everywhere and their business cards prove it. The majority had at least five to to 10 social network icons highlighted: Google+, YouTube, Twitch, Tumblr, Behance, Pinterest, Dribble, DeviantArt and Patreon on top of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

3. Employ a three step approach to acquisition: interest, entice, engage. The real hustle of the art occurs when artists start selling themselves. They have a few square feet to claim as their own, and they lay it all bare to the world, that is step one, gain interest. Once they have a moment of attention they entice. They know they are surrounded by passionate fans, they quickly identify their realm of fandom and sell directly to it and they do it hundreds of times per hour. Thirdly they engage with the soft sell, offering package deals or simply handing out their business card. These artists sell on all platforms and realize that physical sales are not the only source of income.

4. Be the source. Artists don’t only sell art, they sell knowledge and experience. Patreon has made it easier for artists to receive a monthly income from people that appreciate their art as well as share how they make it. YouTube and Twitch partners share revenue with the content creators that populate their networks.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re an artist or even an established brand. If you would like any help with your digital presence, ask us how we can help you.

Welcome to another of our “Best Of” series. If you would like to be notified when our articles go live, please send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

School is now in session and yes, marketing for 2017’s back-to-school season began earlier than ever this year—campaigns from Office Depot and Lands’ End started as early as mid-June before many students even finished their final exams. Compared with 2016, back-to-school TV commercials did not begin airing until mid-July. While marketers are pushing their brands, products and tech earlier and earlier each year, we get even more time to analyze the effectiveness of each campaign.

Here are four notable campaigns from this year’s back-to-school season, plus one classic ad that’s always relevant.

IKEA

Using YouTube influencers and Snapchat to reach their target audience, the furniture brand enlisted pop music/web comedy stars Superfruit to promote their college dorm products through interactive videos. With Superfruit hosting, the ads utilize Snapchat’s vertical-video ads that let users to “swipe up” to play clips and answer quiz questions around their home décor tastes to find the right IKEA products for them. Once you’ve completed the quiz, you can then click through to IKEA’s website to buy the products featured in the video.

By using influencers to reach their target audiences on a medium they regularly interact on, IKEA created a targeted, engaging and interactive campaign that puts their products top-of-mind for the people most interested in them.

 

HP

Hewlett-Packard is attempting some serious appeals to our emotions in this tear-jerking ad based around an evolving parent-child relationship and the transition into adolescence. The product it’s actually advertising, the Sprocket Photo Printer, takes a backseat in the narrative while playing an important role within it.

The ad tells a relatable story for parents and kids and gives everyone else a subtle reminder that there’s a nifty cell phone-sized printer to make the moments you capture even more memorable.

Gap

Gap has produced a series of ads for Gap Kids with their “Forward with” theme running throughout. The campaign features four short films that each showcase a different life skill for children to adopt. This spot, entitled “Forward with Kindness”, centres around a reading of Raquel Jaramillo’s book, Wonder (that features a boy born with facial defects who helps his community learn about kindness), to demonstrate “the world wants to be kind.”

This ad is also features a racially diverse group of children including some with facial differences to drive home a message of inclusiveness and acceptance to kids returning to school.

 

Marks and Spencer

This ad for the British multinational retailer is narrated by a seemingly nervous schoolboy walking into his first day of class. Internally, he confronts the highs and lows of his upcoming school semester in an understated and thoughtful message of self-confidence.

Like Gap’s ad, this commercial does not overtly promote any one particular product but makes use of the brand’s status as a household name to instil feelings of encouragement and self-assurance in viewers.

 

Bonus ad: Staples

This 1996 Staples commercial is a classic, featuring parents skipping down the aisles singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” in anticipation of their kids returning to school, while they follow sluggishly behind with hanging heads.

Staples has used at least five various iterations of this popular campaign throughout the years, with the most recent version running in 2013.