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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we're all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!

User Explorer Joins the Google Analytics Arsenal of Tools

Google Analytics User ExplorerFor marketing professionals, having a solid understanding of Google Analytics is incredibly important to gain insight into marketing performance. It’s the tools and features within Google Analytics that can determine if measurable results are being achieved. This is why it’s important to stay on top of introductions and new features like User Explorer which was recently released. This new set of reports lets users perform analysis of anonymized individual interactions within websites. User Explorer leverages existing anonymous Google Analytics data to provide incremental insights needed to improve and optimize websites.

Types of Insights
With User Explorer, a list of client IDs is collected from visitors’ devices and browsers, as well as their session count, average duration, bounce rate, revenue, transactions and goal conversion rate. The report also provides user activity history and time-stamps each site interaction. Some believe that this new feature will give digital marketing platforms like Marketo, Pardo and Eloqua a run for their money.

The new feature also enables examination into specific users within a segment to gain deeper insights into their behaviors. With this data, the site experience can be personalized based upon these behaviors, and users can be directed to relevant content that is targeted to them. Ultimately, this feature offers tremendous opportunities to identify key personas, upsell, remarket and personalize customer service.

Other Valuable Reports from Google Analytics
Of course, User Explorer is not the only source of reports. Google Analytics can also be used to create a wealth of custom and standard reports that can guide many digital marketing decisions. These include:

Traffic Acquisition Reports – This important report provides tremendous insight into the success of ad campaigns, websites and SEO strategy. This includes details on which external sites are driving site traffic.

Content Efficiency Report – When content is king, you need a report that tracks entrances, page views, bounces and goal completions. This data can help answer common content questions, such as:

  • What content (images, videos, infographics, etc.) performs the best with site visitors?
  • What content is most likely to convert site visitors into customers?
  • What content is being shared by users?

Keyword Analysis Report – This is another valuable report that offers data that can help guide digital marketing decisions. A Keyword Analysis Report offers details, including visitor metrics, conversion rates, goal completions and page load time for every keyword.

Are your digital marketing efforts falling short of expectations? Do you need help creating a digital marketing plan that can enable you to achieve your goals? Call the experts at Connected Culture today.

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5 Strategies for Maximizing Your Digital Marketing Dollars

digital marketingWe’re well into the second quarter of 2016, and you probably have a good idea what has and hasn’t worked so far this year when it comes to your digital marketing dollars. If you aren’t getting quite the results you expected, or you want to hit even higher goals that you projected for the year, the following ideas may help you make the most from your digital marketing budget.

  1. Strengthen Your Website
    Some marketing professionals make the common mistake of launching aggressive digital marketing campaigns without first ensuring that their website is functional and robust. Your website should have an XML sitemap, correct page titles, simple-to-use navigation, a strong call to action, quality search engine optimization (SEO), conversion tracking through Google Analytics and mobile responsiveness. Without taking care of these necessities first, dollars spent on other digital marketing efforts will not be as effective as they could be.
  2. Don’t Focus Solely on Customer Acquisition
    Another common mistake is putting all of your marketing dollars into acquiring new customers. Nurturing relationships with existing customers can sometimes be more financially beneficial. The key is to evaluate the potential of both potential and current customers to determine which one can generate greater profit. This is where you should put the largest percentage of your marketing budget.
  3. Identify the Best Social Media Channels
    An industrial manufacturer is unlikely to generate interest on Pinterest. Likewise, a non-profit won’t attract much interest on an industrial blog or forum. Carefully consider where your potential and current customers are consuming content. These are the channels that you should be focusing your efforts. The latest and greatest social media channel may or may not be right for what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach.
  4. Extend Your Budget with Remarketing Efforts
    Remarketing is a strategy that involves continuing to market to website visitors once they’ve left your website. With this strategy, a visitor will continue to gain exposure to your branding and advertising on third-party websites for up to 90 days. This is not only cost-effective, it offers a higher conversion rate than many other forms of online advertising. Remarketing can happen on Google, as well as Facebook and YouTube.
  5. Stay Current
    Digital marketing continues to grow and change in a multitude of ways. With a single Google update or the launch of a new social media channel, you may have a new opportunity to reach potential customers. Also stay up-to-date on your KPIs. From organic keyword ranking and social media stats to cost per conversion and competitive insights, you need to always be up to speed on your efforts and those of your competitors.

Continuously sustaining successful digital marketing campaigns isn’t easy. It requires both expertise and daily effort. Do you need help maximizing your marketing dollars? Contact the team at Connected Culture today.

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Google Releases New Analytics Tools to Increase Marketing Insights

Website StatisticsIf you haven’t heard already, Google recently launched a new marketing suite that was created to help busy marketing professionals improve their digital marketing results. Called Google Analytics 360 Suite, the new offering integrates tools that enable you to better understand your online audiences by giving you greater insight into marketing data.

This suite doesn’t come a moment too soon. According to a survey conducted by Google and Forrester Research, 84% of marketers believe that their data sources lack sufficient integration. Google Analytics 360 Suite is designed to help address this common challenge by linking platforms to allow users to seamlessly transfer data between six programs contained in the suite.

Analytics have become an essential part of achieving digital marketing goals. However, there has been the ongoing challenge of integration. Because of this, Google set out to build a new solution that would enable a 360 view of the customer journey, provide greater insights and offer better sharing of these insights to support cross-functional goals and better decision-making. Alas, we now have Google 360 Suite.

How It Works
Google Analytics 360 Suite consists of six products, four of which are new, that support sharing of data and insights:

  1. Google Audience Center 360 – This data management platform can help you understand your customers and find more of them across channels, devices and campaigns.
  2. Google Data Studio 360 – Provides data analysis and visualization to integrate data across all of the suite products, as well as other data sources. You can create reports and dashboards using this product, too.
  3. Google Optimize 360 – A website testing and personalization product to help deliver better experiences. Using the product, you can show consumers multiple variations of your site, depending on what best works for them.
  4. Google Tag Manager 360 – Empowers you to make better decisions by gathering site information.
  5. Google Analytics 360 (formerly called GA Premium) – This product is still being rolled out, but will serve as the tool to analyze customer data from multiple touchpoints and can be integrated with Google ad products.
  6. Google Attribution 360 (formerly called Adometry) – Enables analysis of performance across channels, devices and systems to help support smart marketing investments and budget allocation.

Currently, Google Analytics 360 Suite is in limited BETA. It is expected to be fully launched in the 3rd quarter.


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Google’s New SERP Ad Layout – What It Means for You

serp-ad-layoutLast month, Google announced that its search result pages for desktops will no longer display text ads in the right sidebar. Instead, up to four text ads are now being displayed above organic search results, and three ads appear at the bottom of the page. The reason behind Google’s update was to make the user experience more consistent across all devices. While this certainly de-clutters the look of the desktop search engine results page (SERP) it affects online advertisers that now have to compete for ad space on the top and bottom of search results. Many digital marketing professionals were shocked by Google’s recent change. However, the reality is that the company has been testing variations of this new layout for a few years.

With changes to the layout resulting in fewer ads per page, many are rightfully concerned that advertising costs will jump due to supply and demand. Digital advertising experts are currently weighing in on this, and only time will tell exactly what the impact will be over the long term. While there are some uncertainties with the new layout, there are some unwavering facts worth considering:

The Change Only Impacts Desktop Searches
The SERP layout on your smartphone will not look any different. It’s important to note that more than 50 percent of all searches are now conducted on mobile devices.

Top Positions Get Higher Click-Through Rates
Advertisers that are able to secure top positions will enjoy higher click-through rates than when their ads were on the right side of the page.

Ads Appear More “Native”
Because ads now blend in with organic search results, they are more likely to produce click-throughs.

Lower Position Ads Will Be Less Effective
Few users will actually scroll down to see the ads at the bottom of a page. Thus, first page and top of page bid minimums may change quickly. Advertisers are wise to update their bid-to-position strategies.

Organic Search Has Become More Difficult
With this change, Google has made the paid position #4 the new organic position #1. Organic search results will now be located below the fold on many desktop computers and tablets – especially on highly commercial queries where there may be four ads before the first organic position. Space on search pages has been diminishing for years with the steady addition of news, images, ads and more. This change has simply continued the trend of reducing available space for organic search results, and because of this, SEO strategies will also need to be adapted accordingly.

Have specific questions about Google’s new SERP layout and how it will affect your advertising campaigns and SEO efforts? We have answers! Leave a reply below.

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Discover Your Most Profitable Audience Segments

people-profilesMuch has changed since Google first launched Google Analytics (GA) more than a decade ago. If you’re responsible for your organization’s digital marketing, you’re probably already familiar with some of its basic functions. Yet, there have been updates and it’s always beneficial for a refresher when it comes to these valuable tools.

Get to Know Audience Insights
Audience Insights can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to your digital marketing campaigns. The tool allows you to reach people based on their specific interests as they browse pages, videos, and content across YouTube and the Google Display Network. Once you’re able to identify the audience segments that generate the most conversions (i.e. Leads or Sales), then you can target those specific segments in your online advertising campaigns.

Familiarize Yourself with These Other Reports
There is a tremendous amount of data that can be generated from reports created through GA. Each one can help you better understand your web traffic. These include:

  • Source/medium reports – Provides information on who is visiting your website and their behaviors, including how long they spend on your site and how many pages they view.
  • Audience acquisition reports – Offers you a view of what channels are bringing you traffic so that you can evaluate your qualitative metrics.
  • Content report – Gives an overview of the pages on your site and the performance of each page, including whether or not these pages are leading to conversions.
  • Funnel reports – Also referred to as goal flow reports, these let you look at how your site’s users flow through a process, such as the order in which they view your site’s pages. From this data, you can determine where you may be seeing traffic drop off and areas you can improve.
  • Use GACheckerGAChecker.com crawls your site and creates a spreadsheet of missing Analytics and AdWords tags. This useful tool makes sure all your pages have the right code in place so you can accurately track visitors.

Link Your Google AdWords with GA
Do you have a Google AdWords account? If so, you will want to link this with GA so that the two can feed and inform each other. By doing so, you can gain a much better view into your campaign performance.

Leverage the Tutorials
Google Analytics Academy provides a wealth of information to help you improve the success of your website. There are intro videos on how the platform works, along with tutorials on how to install tracking tags, work with reports and even set goals.

Although Google Analytics certainly provides you with information about how your site has already performed, its real value is in providing predictive and prescriptive insights to guide the decisions you make as your website continues to evolve. By using it to help drive your decisions, you can make intelligent modifications based on measurable data.


How have you used audience insight reports to help improve your results?


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Why Organic Search is Your Best Type of Traffic

Organic search traffic – it sounds almost as if it’s coming hgoogle-485611_640ome-grown, from a search engine farm outside of the city, doesn’t it? This image holds true, as organic search traffic is defined as being traffic coming to your website from no paid source other than typing a search query into a box. However many times, organic search traffic is overlooked because of its home-grown, natural approach to directing traffic to your website. Here are some reasons why organic search traffic is the best type of traffic to be directing to your website.

1). Home grown usually means the right people – Picture organic traffic as a job listing. You put out a listing for this incredible job with amazing pay and benefits in the newspaper. Some people may apply and have some of the qualifications to do the job, but the person who gets this amazing position is the right one. That’s how organic traffic works – people type in a search query and click on your listing in the search engine depending on a variety of factors. Generally, the people who click on that listing are the people who know what they’re looking for, so having them bring traffic to your website helps to keep them there longer and convert into a possible sale.

2). You’re the answer to someone’s question – We all know what happens when we get sick like we’ve never been sick before – we use a search engine to look up our symptoms. Granted, some people go to the actual doctor, but people are generally looking to find the answer whatever’s ailing them. This goes for organic search traffic as well. Search engines are designed to provide answers to questions, so having the answer to that user’s question or search query is going to give them some sort of conclusion to their issue. The people who are looking for your answer are out there and they are going to greatly contribute to your success online.

3). It means whatever you’re doing is working – Having a high organic search traffic rate signals so much more than how much people use search engines. It could mean that your website is working and functioning correctly for the user or that they’re able to complete a goal they had in mind when they visited your website. Whatever the reason for your organic traffic being so high, it shows that what you’re doing online as a brand is working for your users.  In a study done by the internet bargain retailer Groupon in 2014, it showed that organic search traffic is exponentially more important than previously thought – with it being about 60% of the internet’s total traffic. That’s no small slice of the internet pie – that’s more than half of all traffic, meaning if your organic traffic rate is high – people are coming to your website and enjoying their stay.

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The Best of the Best Blog Posts of 2015

We’ve posted a wide variety of posts in 2015 to help you increase your digital marketing success. While each post offers valuable takeaways, the following have proven to be the most beneficial according to our readers because of their useful tips, ideas and best practices.

Are you ready to experience significant results in your digital marketing efforts in 2016? We encourage you to read the list below of our top blog posts for 2015. And, why keep this valuable content to yourself? In the spirit of the holidays, go ahead and share this list with a few colleagues, too!

Traditional SEO: Going Old School Pays Off
With all the talk in 2015 about content, many began to wonder if there was still a place for SEO in a successful digital marketing campaign. Yet, the reality is that SEO is still alive and well and being utilized effectively by savvy marketers who want to increase their site’s rankings.
Read more about the benefits of traditional SEO

SEO Cheat Sheet
Did we convince you that SEO is still beneficial? Good! To serve as a basic guide to help you with your SEO efforts, we created a handy cheat sheet for you to hang on to and use as needed. This is a good post to bookmark or print and tuck into your desk drawer for easy access.
Get the Cheat Sheet.

Build Your Online Fingerprint: How to Create a Unique Social Media Presence
With countless businesses building their presence on social media, it can be a challenge to differentiate yourself from the others. This blog post offers some very helpful ideas on how to create a unique online fingerprint that will make you stand out in an increasingly crowded digital environment.
Start Building Your Online Fingerprint.

Content Marketing Hack: How to Repurpose Your Content Effectively
Most likely you upped your content marketing game in 2015. You may even have an amazing stockpile of blog posts, case studies, newsletters, articles and other content that is no longer being used. One of the benefits of producing quality content, is that it can be repurposed to extend its reach and effectiveness.
Learn a few creative hacks to repurpose your content.

5 Facebook Post Ideas to Keep Your Page Fresh
Yes, it can be difficult coming up with new ideas for Facebook posts. We’ve all seen the pages of those companies that bore their online audiences by simply promoting the same products and services over and over. The good news is that there are some simple ways to create posts that will encourage your existing community to engage with your brand and will generate interest from others.
Read these 5 post ideas and attract more people to your Facebook page in 2016.

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Traditional SEO: Going Old School Pays Off

Hoffice-594132_1280ow many historic phrases have ended with “- is dead”? For us in the world of internet marketing, the words “SEO is dead” rang like a death knell and algorithmic updates to Google and other search engines were the ones holding the bloody daggers. Over dramatization and hyperbole aside, the “death” of SEO was a dark day for many who honed their skills at website optimization to help their clients climb search engine rankings. Quality content became the new name of the game. Old dogs would have to learn new tricks or fall by the evolutionary wayside for refusal to adapt. They new mantra for internet marketing sounded as though a bold new monarch was claiming the throne of a decrepit, deposed, and dethroned former ruler. “SEO is dead. Content is King.” That death declaration was a bit premature, though, as traditional SEO pulled a Lazarus to remind everyone of what was so great about it in the first place, and to rule with King Content as an advisor of sorts. See, to call something that is still used, but in adapted ways, completely dead is naïve. Traditional SEO and modern, content-driven best practices drive and inform each other to truly improve a website’s rankings. It’s not enough just to have great content if no one is going to your website to read and consume it, just as it’s moot to drive people to your website without relatable, informative, useful, interesting and engaging content that will encourage further action and conversion. This begs the question, “How can we use traditional SEO in the modern era for the best pay off?”

To evaluate what traditional techniques can be adapted into the new era, one must first circle back to the motive behind search engines’ actions against SEO. Black hat SEO, dubbed so for the unethical manipulative tactics used to increase a site’s rankings, was a major driver for search engines to “get smarter” and ultimately “kill off” the remaining value of traditional SEO methods. If one uses white hat SEO techniques and pairs them with writing quality content, it becomes a symbiotic recipe for success. Building quality links, using keywords wisely in optimized, quality content, optimizing meta tags for any images or content on the site all still hold their value. Don’t be afraid to kick it old school and raise the dead. There’s a lot to learn from the past.

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The SEO Cheat Sheet

computer-767776_1280The cheat sheet. To some, it’s a dirty word and tactic. To others, it’s a godsend. No matter what school of thought one prescribes to, it’s clear that a cheat sheet is designed to give someone a leg up on something. (Besides, we’re sure that when you were in school, you delighted in the rare occurrence of a teacher allowing a cheat sheet for a test!) All debates and school references aside, in the working world, particularly the modern and mutable dominion of domains we call internet marketing, any sort of (ethical) advantage is a welcome gift. The problem with seeking out such advantages, as with anything related to the internet, is knowing where to find and identifying reputable resources. If you are in the internet marketing field, and/or SEO, you are most likely aware of how search engines work, the frequent updates their developers implement to prevent spammy content from showing up in results, and how to read a URL, meta tags, and the pages themselves for red flags.

Well known sites with reputations as good SEO resources such as Moz.com are great places to look for tips and cheat sheets of all kinds. Some cheat sheets cover the bare-bones basics of SEO, while others go more in depth. Cheat sheets may come from different perspectives- from those of web developers to bloggers to SEO’s. Down below, you’ll see a very simple sample cheat sheet we’ve drafted. What would you include in your cheat sheet?  This one is formatted as a questionnaire of sorts and only touches on some very basic SEO aspects.

  • Tags
    • Are any pages not being indexed? (Do they have a noindex tag in the site’s coding)
    • Is there an appropriately formatted title tag on each page? (Using a keyword and under 70 characters)
    • Does each page have a meta tag using keywords, a call to action if applicable, and under 160 words?
    • Does the page have more than one H1 tag?
    • Do images have alt text/tags?
  • Content
    • Is the content an appropriate length (ie is the site full on lengthy product descriptions but thin content)?
    • Is the content engaging, keyword rich, and appealing to both readers and search engines?
    • Is the content spammy?
  • Other
    • Are redirects and status codes in place?
    • Does the site have a sitemap submitted to Google?

Is the site user-friendly to navigate?

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Build Your Online Fingerprint: How to Create a Unique Social Media Presence

SEO-FingerprintIf you’re just getting started in the world of online marketing, you’ll likely hear the word “unique” repeated over and over again. Everyone wants unique content, a unique audience, a unique online presence. But what does that really mean, and how do you go about achieving it? Fortunately, building your unique online fingerprint is simple once you’ve figured out a few key things about your business.

Consistency Is Key

Too many businesses make the mistake of thinking that being unique means having a “crazy” string of images and content with no consistency. Nothing could be further from the truth! You want to figure out a simple, clear, elegant style and stick with that for as long as you can. Define a color palette that you want associated with your content, and highlight it in your logo, your promotional material, and your online content.

You want your audience to see your colors and immediately think of your business. Likewise, come up with a short, powerful mission statement or message and repeat it in your promotional material until it’s become part of your audience’s psyche. A single striking message is much more powerful than a hundred bland ones.

Know Your Niche

In the past, companies tried to market to everyone by creating big box superstores that sold everything. These days, with the online market so diverse and fragmented, it’s much more effective to dig out your niche and cater to that.

Figure out who your particular audience is, what their tastes are, what kind of media they consume, and build your online identity and content around that. Understand that your product is more than just a set of features and solutions. It’s an expression of identity, and the more deeply your audience can connect with that identity, the more loyal they’ll become to your business.

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