Facebook’s announcement in April of their new Open Graph made waves across the web. Its release has introduced a new level of social integration and personalization readily available to all website publishers. If you are in charge of the strategy and/or user experience for your organization’s website, Facebook’s new social plugins are new tools for the toolbox you’ll want to become familiar with. In this post, I’ll outline some strategic ways to bring your website and your Facebook audience together. Read more…
2010 is shaping up to have a number of tight political races. The Wisconsin Governor’s race will likely be one of them. A very important component of any political campaign these days is how well the web is utilized.
In this post, I take a look at the websites of each of the three candidates, Scott Walker, Mark Neumann, and Tom Barrett, and evaluate them based on their homepage performance, promoting email signups, usage of video, and available supporter tools and resources.
By now, you’ve probably seen all the top-rated ads either during the game itself or afterward online and picked your favorites. Most of the ads had some sort of mention of their web address, but not all of those sites greeted you with anything special upon arrival. Here are four that went the extra mile to create experiences to make the most out of their massive Super Bowl ad expenditure.
Martha Coakley’s failed Senate run has led many to review the key differences in strategy between her campaign and Scott Brown’s. It’s pretty clear that Brown took the web seriously and Coakley seemed to largely ignore many of the social media and web analytics strategies and tactics that swept Obama into office.
Ad Age and Social Media Today have taken a look at (and criticized) Coakley’s overall digital and social media’s approaches. This post narrows in and serves as a reminder of web analytics best practices which can mean the difference between coming in first or a distant second.
The Obama campaign tracked digital metrics obsessively yet ingeniously with great success. The techniques they used are just as applicable today as they were over a year ago.
Continuing to tread on the territory of the major paid analytics vendors, Google Analytics just announced a number of new features that raise it to yet another level. These powerful, time-saving additions allow you to spend more time analyzing and interpreting your site’s performance, and less time foraging though the data.
Among the major additions are; automated and custom alerts based on significant changes in your data, advanced table filtering, expanded mobile reporting, the ability to share advanced segments, and more.
What do these new features mean for your business? Quite a bit. Read on for the details. Read more…
Website testing and optimization involves the utilization of software to compare the performance of two or more versions of a page or process to determine which version is the most effective in driving desired user behavior. Tools such as Google Website Optimizer and more robust options geared toward the sophisticated enterprise such as SiteSpect, are available to automate (as much as possible) the process of conducting A/B or multivariate online tests.
Web analytics expert, Eric T. Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified and website optimization software creator, SiteSpect, recently teamed up to release a white paper entitled, “Successful Web Site Testing Practices.” This must-read document provides a road map for setting up and leading a web testing team within an organization and leveraging it to yield definitive and dramatic results. Below is our take on some of the highlights of their recommendations. However, we strongly recommend you read the document in its entirety and take full advantage of case studies, testimonials, and direct examples including a sample test plan approval form (highly useful)! Read more…
Podcasts remain one of the best ways to keep up with the latest trends and to learn new methods and approaches. Whether listening while getting ready in the morning, during commutes or business travel, or even while working, there are more options than ever before as the medium has truly matured. Even better, the vast majority are free. Make the most of your downtime (in this economy, there may be more than usual), and never stop learning.
Below are some of the best podcasts that we “keep an ear” on: Read more…
Information Architecture, Interactive Industry News & Events, Internet Marketing, Social Media, User Interface Design, Web Analytics, Web Development, Web Graphic Design, Web Project Management, Web Strategy Consulting
Microsoft just can’t seem to win these days. Their huge roll out for 2009 complete with expensive television ads is an effort (Bing) designed to compete with Google’s oldest product. Shortly thereafter, Google responds with a tool that may revolutionize business e-communication as we know it. Read more…
APIs (Application Programming Interface) have a way of turning things on their head and shaking things up. When you open up a major platform to developers, very interesting things can happen. Think about the Google Maps mashups, or the iPhone app store.
Google’s changing the game again, and giving paid analytics vendors a serious run for their money, this time by releasing an API for Google Analytics.
Many companies have already leapt on this integrating Google Analytics data within their tools. Using campaigns in Google Analytics to track email marketing performance has been possible, but requires separate tagging of URLs. Using the API, MailChimp (great email tool), now allows for a single checkbox selection to add tracking code to all email links. Clickthoughs of these links are tracked using Google Analytics, and then sent right back into your Mail Chimp account reporting. If you’ve also setup Google Analytics ecommerce features and/or goal tracking, Mail Chimp will be able to report on email marketing performance in terms of ROI for the campaign, revenue created, average value per visitor, goals completed, and conversion rate.
ShufflePoint is particularly impressive in that they’ve already integrated Google Analytics with Excel and PowerPoint. This takes things one step closer to creating truly custom dashboards and custom calculations (major differentiating features within Omniture) with very little financial investment. Using ShufflePoint, you define the custom calculations, pulling specific metrics straight from your Google Analytics profile(s). Then, each time you open the Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation, a simple click of a refresh button updates all data instantly. A massive timesaver in terms of data entry, as well as a professional presentation to stakeholders with automatically updated data.
We look forward to integrating these new methods and tools into our own services and plan to blog about the best-in-class inventions as they spring up. Stay tuned!
On March 12th Google announced yet another ground-breaking service with major implications: Google Voice. The internet search giant is now jumping headlong into the highly competitive world of telecommunications. Just like other areas Google has firmly dipped its toes into such as online advertising, analytics, office software, and others, Google Voice seems poised to redefine how many of us use phones in general.
The service is currently only open to users of GrandCentral, the company Google bought in 2007 and has been quietly building upon ever since. Google plans to offer the service to the public in the coming weeks.
David Pogue of the New York Times wrote a great article (and produced a demo video) that provides an in-depth look at the service. Here is a breakdown of the major features:
- One number to ring all your phones: Create a new number with Google Voice using any area code you choose, then set the service to ring one, multiple, or all of your numbers simultaneously. If you really want to be reached, you’ll now truly have that ability. This includes your text messaging as well. All calls, voicemails, and text messages can be manged from a visual interface via Google’s website. Text messages can even be sent from the web via your account using a full-size keyboard.
- Call screening from any phone: Those using desktop phone systems are accustomed to being able to listen to a message that goes to voicemail as it’s being recorded, but this is a new thing entirely for mobile phone users. Google Voice will give you the option when a call comes in to take the call, send it to voicemail, or listen in as the caller records their message (you can pickup the call at any time). You can also have new callers record their name prior to being patched through to you.
- Just like Skype, you can place calls via the Internet for free, directly from Google Voice. You can also make calls from any phone and have your Google Voice phone number show up in the caller ID.
- Dominate your voicemail: Similar to the iPhone’s visual voicemail, any voice messages will be associated in your account with specific calls which can be played back at any time. Two other game-changing features have been added. Messages can be automatically transcribed into text which can be archived and searched. Voicemails can also be forwarded to someone else. No more having to decipher that 5 minute misdirected voicemail from the long-winded caller before you can pass it off to who’s really supposed to act on it. Just send them the original message and it’s off your plate.
- Conference calling for up to six people at once: Many people have plans with major carriers such as AT&T where you can setup three-way calls. Many others have web conferencing accounts with companies like GoTo Meeting or WebEx which allow for larger groups (between 11 and 15 on average). Google Voice will soon offer a free conferencing system which handle the capacity of most remote meetings. These calls can also be recorded and stored…for free.
- Received a call on your office line, but need to jump in the car to head to the next appointment? You’ll be able to transfer a call to any other number within your account.
- GOOG-411: Voice activated, automated directory assistance. Just dial in, say what you’re looking for and where, and the service will send you a text message with the results. Google provided an app for the iPhone earlier this year facilitating voice searches, but this takes it to the next level.
What does all this mean? The real impact is of course, yet to be determined, but the major phone providers as well as internet-based phone services such as Skype and Ribbit.com, may find some very steep competition in the coming months. Google will likely integrate this service with its other offerings such as Google AdWords, Analytics, Docs, and more. Also expect to see an API released which will unleash a flurry of innovation from start ups. Think CRM integration as an obvious first step.
The highly-likely integration with Google Analytics will be very interesting. Various call tracking systems already exist, but can be expensive and of course, are not always integrated with your analytics tool. Imagine being able to generate multiple unique numbers, post them on your website and be able to track calls as conversions within Google Analytics. Similar to in-site search, voicemail transcriptions could also be mapped to specific pages. Over time you could see what terms frequently come up in customer service calls which can provide great insight as to what content your pages are lacking.
One thing’s for sure, the telecommunications industry will never be the same.