Zimana spotlight: broadAngle

This interview with Garrison Atkisson, founder of broadAngle, was conducted via online in 2012.  Portions were used as part of a post for Business Agility.  I met Garrison during my grad school days at Georgia Tech. Later we crossed paths, and More »

First Digital Marketing and Analytics Seminar a Success for #Chicago Incubator @Blue1647 and Zimana

Zimana has partnered with Blue 1647, a Chicago start up and entrepreneurship incubator in the Pilsen neighborhood. Founded by Emile Cambry, and co-managed with Antonio Rowry as Chief Operating Officer, Blue 1647 provides a working space for 32 companies and More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: Scientifically Speaking @business317 merges presentation skills with social media

Eric Anderson has been a driving force with his company Scientifically Speaking (nicknamed SciSpeak).  Based in Indianapolis, Scientifically Speaking provides social media and presentations coaching to technology professionals and small businesses.  The end result for the client is an improved More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: @SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson – Shining a big bright light on small business

You have to admire Melinda Emerson.  Her motto is to eliminate small business failure, and 2012 is shaping to be a great year for her to do so.  With her media site Succeed As Your Own Boss being seen by a More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: @smallbiztrends Small Business Trends unveils new design and Twitterchats – offers more news by and for small business owners

Small Business Trends, a media site for small business tips and information, has launched a redesigned look that showcases its recent navigation bar redesign. The design adds a new look to the logo, modified colored, highlighted quotes (typically appearing in the More »


Useful #Twittertools to Discover Conversations With #Hashtags


Hashtag Audi Auto Show

This Audi Chicago Auto Show display reflects the growing importance of hashtags. Audi used this display to guide attendees to comment on its vehicles. Here you see an enthusiastic attendee commenting on the R8, Audi’s exclusive high-powered sports car.

Hashtags are becoming the “black” for social media – a desirable feature used to enhance a social media message.   Though recently introduced in Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, hashtags have been around a while. Sometimes they are used blatantly – witness the flashing tags in the Robin Thicke’s controversial Blurred Lines video – and other times they are subtle, like appearing in the corner of a television show.

Most importantly, from a business perspective, hashtags are becoming the means in which customers research products and services.  Buffer noted in a collection of surprising Twitter facts that tweets with hashtags gain twice the amount of engagement.

If your small business is looking to use hashtags more consistently, the first step is understanding the conversation surrounding a desired hashtag topic.  To learn what is being said and shared, give the tools listed below a try and see how they reveal hashtag usage to your communication plans.



Topsy provides a breakdown of results by media and time period – handy for refining the understanding of a hashtag usage

A site to certainly check out is Topsy.com. The excellence of this tool is its ability to divide results by links, tweets, photos, videos and influencers.  It can detail results according to past time period, so recency can be included as a factor in the results.


Twubs permit users to follow a hashtag in real time. Enter the desired hashtag in the search bar and a live feed of all tweets using that hashtag will appear. You can also select the feed speed that you want and post messaged with that hashtag directly from the feed page on the hashtag chat.


BackTweets is a very basic search engine site meant to display historical mentions of a word, hashtag, TwitterID, or URL mention.  Backtweet results can compliment search results in Twitter, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and other Twitter-related applications.


hshtags analytics list example

This Hshtags page displays how search results can be incorporated into a list. This capability allows the user to track multiple responses and discover followers of a given hashtag phrase.

This hashtag-dedicated social media engine is in its initial beta as of this writing, but it does offer surprising and outstanding functionality. First, it can aggregate hashtag usage across the major social media platforms, so a comparison of Instagram usage can be alongside Twitter. You can also create lists according to interest. You can then use that comparison to tailor a “to do” list of text to use in your hashtags, tweets, and shared content.


This real-time hashtag intelligence tool provides charts and graphics, as well as numbers of tweets and retweets, reach, impressions and other details that will help you get more insight into the success of your hashtag.


Hashtags.org also provides some hashtag tracking, although for more in-depth analytics you’ll need to be a paid member.


Bottlenose is more akin to Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Postling as a social media dashboard than a search engine like Hashtracking. It gives users data that reflects an overview of an owned social media channel.  But it does have a unique sonar feature that permits users to discover other hashtags associated to the ones already used in a Twitter account.

Combining Bottlenose with any of the aforementioned tools should provide a thorough review of what related hashtags are worth your time.

Positive #TwitterDrop – Great People-Engaging Ideas from Super Bowl XLVIII #sb48 , #Twitter, and the Internets

“To make great content, make it for your customer or your audience, not for yourself.” -Gary Vaynerchuk

That Gary Vaynerchuk quote can easily capture the essence of a “Positive TwitterDrop” – when an Twitter follower inserts a comment that ties into an event stream or ongoing related conversation. Admittedly the phrase Twitterdrop has a negative connotation – it is used for poor-behaving Twitter users who pretend to be in conversation with someone when they are not.

But to be positive in most people’s eyes, apply a festive, playful mood to events in which the conversation is taking place.  The images in this post contain positive examples to join a conversation. The key to success is selecting events based on the persona of your desired customers.

Does your customer enjoy American Football? The Super Bowl is fast becoming the event of choice.  or does your customer enjoy “Football” – aka soccer?  The World Cup fits the bill.

But if your events are on a smaller local scale, the same technique applies. Consider joining the conversation about that event.  To get inspired take a look at the examples provided below.

Hillary Clinton Super Bowl 48 Tweet

Hillary Clinton made a splash with her mention of Fox news’ coverage of her and Fox Network’s Super Bowl coverage.

Amazing SpiderMan 2 Super Bowl Trailer Tweet

The trailer for the Amazing SpiderMan 2 notes the Super Bowl in its tweet. The tweet has a simple intro – “Bored with the game?” with a call to action “Re-watch” the trailer.

embed sb48 digiorno pizza

This Digiorno Pizza tweet noted the commanding lead of the Seattle Seahawks and noted a benefit from choosing a Digiorno Pizza. To embed well means having a team with a sensibility of what is happening in an event.

Embed MB Seats NCAA

This Mercedes Benz Twitterdrop was connected with the 2014 NCAA Basketball championships. Mercedes Benz relied on its image as a comfortable place to be after being in a difficult environment. Embeds can be creative with its imagery.

There are other examples of embeds, not necessary tied to the world of sports…

Muppets Jimmy Fallon

The Muppets join Jimmy Fallon on his last Late Night With Jimmy Fallon show, an embed meant to build interest in “Muppets Most Wanted”

With the Muppet movie “Muppets Most Wanted” Disney embarked on a campaign that “embedded” Muppet characters everywhere. In this example, the Muppets join Jimmy Fallon for his transition to the Tonight Show – it was a fit since both Fallon and the Muppets sing in their respective programs. Embedding is about a proper fit of character behavior to make the experience natural.  Note that this example was on Facebook – an embed can be anywhere on social media.

University of Maryland Muppets Tweet

This University of Maryland Tweet shows how even a university can embed on an embed campaign, using factoids. In this case, the university reference Muppet creator Jim Hanson alongside a mention of a Muppet appearance in a Toyota commercial.

@Pharell @SmokeytheBear

Finally even a hat can be an embed moment. Pharrell’s hat, which garnered attention at the Grammy Awards, earned the rightful attention of Smokey The Bear, reintroducing a character into the media spotlight and highlight attention to a public safety message.

Know some great examples?  Share your ideas for a great Twitterdrop on this post.

Tips to Create Positive #TwitterDrops

There are a lot of slang terms used to describe Twitter-related behavior. The phrase “Twitterdrop” has gained  a negative connotation – it is used to describe poor-behaving Twitter users who pretend to be in conversation with someone when they are not.

For business, not everything has to be a negative. Consider doing a “Positive TwitterDrop” – adding a positive comment as an Twitter follower into an event stream or ongoing related conversation.

Offer a festive comment to events, even for a negative occurrence. Oreo has been a master at making the odd events playful, with this example of what they said during the game delay in Super Bowl 47, in which the lights lost power during the game.

Oreo Superbowl 47 Daak

Oreo, the “Top Cookie” in social media, references  the Super Bowl 47 darkout in the New Orleans SuperBowl.  This playful Twitter visual was tweeted during the unusual pause in the game because of the power outage.

The key to success is selecting events based on the persona of your desired customers.  The event, the Super Bowl, attracts consumers who are most likely eating snack food.  The event itself is a pastime, a gathering of people being social and enjoying a popular sport.  If an event brings a desired audience, consider it an opportunity to join the conversations.

Now, joining a conversation is a art. Here are a few other ideas on how to do so as a high art through a PT – a Positive TwitterDrop

  • First develop a list of events that are covered in Twitter – determine if those event are worth establishing TwitterDrop coverage. Embed on event with a collective shared value of your target demographic. An event can have a local collective meaning well suited to build awareness in a local market, or a national collective meaning well suited for your products and
  • Use a tool like Twitter Analytics geography reporting to see if your following matches closely with the events location and follower interest.  If possible, take time prior to a elected event to engage people from the regions or associated topics that
  • You can also use Bottlenose to search any associated hashtags – for example, the SuperBowl typically uses a variation of #sbXX where XX is the number of the super bowl. Thus Super Bowl 48 s #sb48
  • Have live support ready – be it yourself for a solopreneur, selecting panels at an expo to participate, or having a support team that handles your social media. The purpose it to spot and respond to comments shared online. Use a dashboard such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to create a dedicated Twitter stream bases on the event hashtag. Advanced analytics tools like Adobe Social also provide quick means to monitor response.
  • That aforementioned support must be creative relative to the event. The embed team should have a sensibility about the event in which the campaign will be embedded in.  That awareness helps to not only spot an opportunity but to create a witty insertion.
  • Monitor website analytics to see if participation in a Twitter-based event lead to better exposure to conversion goals. Use social reports in Google Analytics and set annotations notes that coincide with the dates of TwitterDrop events. Doing so highlights the best
  • Despite an urge to mention a product, consider subtle tactics and totally avoid hard sells. Note in the Oreo Superbowl example how it references the typical “product usage” behavior – dipping cookies in milk – while noting the power outage.  Aim for humorous reminders of what makes your product or service worthwhile.
  • Also remember that a TwitterDrop can go both ways.  When Oreo suggested to bring its cookies to the theatre – a violation of theatre rules about bringing outside food – AMC Theaters quickly responded:
Oreo-AMC Theatres Tweet

This AMC Theaters response to Oreo shows that a Twitterdrop can go both ways…


Metrics Spotlight: How Quality Score Analysis Makes Your Paid Search Budget Better

A small business marketer will run into a number of variables to launch a marketing campaign. But one constant a small business marketer can count upon is the need to establish a marketing budget, particularly if paid search ads are included.  When looking at Adwords and Bing Ads in particular, one factor that will influence a given paid search budget is the quality score.   Let’s take a look at what influences a score and why it is a factor to establishing a cost effective marketing budget.

What Influences A Quality Score

A quality score is an essential guidance rating in planning Google Adwords or Bing Ads campaigns. It is a keyword rating factor which influences the price for a paid search ad to appear alongside a search query.  Thus an increase in quality score can mean a decrease in cost.

In practice, a quality score is assigned to a keyword. It calculated every time the keyword in a given ad matches a query for the keyword. Thus, an ad with a high quality score usually achieves a better position from a search query, gaining clicks that reflect as better metrics in your analytics referral reports.

Google Adwords Quality Score

View the quality score of your Adwords campaign keywords by clicking in the Adwords manager. Bing offers a similar view and check for its paid search campaigns.

The quality score should be researched when you are considering two keywords that may have similar meaning but can potential attract your intended audience. You can do so in the ad managers for Google Adwords and Bing.  Both platforms have similar factors for a quality score, but with nuanced differences. Here is a summary of those differences:

Google Adwords

Three quality score indicators are used to calculate the quality score in Google Adwords.  These indicators are:

  • Expected Click Through Rate (CTR),
  • Ad Relevance
  • Landing Page Experience

Here’s an explanation of each indicator, and how they play into your quality score.

  • Expected Click Through Rates  This normalized click through metric is a pure keyword targeting metric – a below average rating could be a strong indicator that you are bidding on the wrong keyword or not providing what people are really looking for when they do this search.
  • Ad Relevance is an indicator that examines your ad effectiveness against that from other ads competing for the same emphasized keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Landing Page Experience is a reflection of whether or not searchers are really finding what they are looking for on your pages. Create destination URLs for individual keywords to improve this metric and try to remove any obvious roadblocks on the user purchase journey.

Each of these indicators have ratings according to Below Average, Average and Above Average.  The ratings have different meanings according to the indicator. For example, for Ad Relevance, a below average rating indicates that your ad copy should be examined to see what message better answers the user’s search query.  Search Engine Watch covers the quality and some of the detail for ratings in its post on Google Adwords quality score.

To view an Adwords quality score, login into an Adwords account.  Navigate to the  Campaign, then click the keyword tab (need image) Hover your cursor over the status bar of a keyword that you want to learn more about its quality score. A dialog box appears with a quality score indicator.

Bing Ads

The quality score for Bing Ads has some similarities to that for Adwords. There is a 10 point score system for the Bing Ads quality score, from 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest score. Bing also follows a similar 3 point quality score indicator system, but with an emphasis on landing page qualities over the expected click through rate. The three indicators  are:

  • Landing Page User Experience reflects the degree to which your landing pages follow the Bing Ads editorial guidelines
  • Landing Page Relevance -  indicates how relevant your ad and landing page are to the customer’s search query or other input.
  • Keyword Relevance – is an indication of how well your keyword competes against other keywords targeting the same traffic.

For more on how each indicator can be improved, read this page on the Bing Ads site.

Seven #YouTube Marketing Tips for Effective Analytics

You can insert links in a video, and with some planning, the embedded links can compliment your images.  This video embedded link for a sports car comparison displays the link for each car based on the cursor selection.

You can insert links in a video, and with some planning, the embedded links can compliment your images. This video embedded link for a Porsche 911 comparison displays the link for each car based on the cursor selection.

These days YouTube seems to be the latest fashion in marketing a business online. The Zimana post What’s On YouTube Tonight examines YouTube’s growing importance. To leverage that knowledge effectively for your business, here are seven aspects that should be deployed in a marketing campaign which includes YouTube videos. Using any of these can make measurement in an analytics solution meaningful, and increase the ease in making a YouTube channel effective.

1. Link videos to marketing initiatives: Decide how your YouTube videos aid branding or conversion tactics. The YouTube videos displayed in your network should support your company’s overall marketing goals and message. These can be as simple as selecting the same background for your business. Create one main channel and then use playlists to organize your videos within it. That helps customers find all your videos.

2. Incorporate video measurement that shows how activity matches website objectives: To monitor your video performance, consider spending a dedicate amount of time using YouTube Analytics. Doing so focuses on how the videos are being accepted within the YouTube platform. To understand how that activity leads to conversions at an associated website, connect YouTube to Google Analytics. You can also insert tags in the links, from a URL builder, Google Tag Manager, or another tag management system.

3. Vary the content message: To keep your customers’ attention, vary the messages within the videos presented. Some customers will view the videos for basic information, while others seek deeper knowledge about a process associated with your product or service. Plan the video content – also consider teaser segments that can be used on Vine and Instagram to draw visits.

4. Use ads for direct appeals. Many small business owners overlook using ads to provide an appeal, and instead try to create an ad in a video. Creating a separate ad opens ups options for deploying a direct message. There is an Adwords for video advertising, in which users sign into Adwords, set up a campaign, and select a video in the YouTube Account. There is a True-View, in which an ad appears just before the video “in-stream”, and an in-search selection, in which ad appears in the search results alongside YouTube. Either way, an ad should be used for a direct appeal to action (“Call for prices, register today, etc”), and can potentially compliment YouTube video content that has softer appeals such as demonstration of a product or service.

5. Be discoverable in online search. Use descriptive titles to help viewers find your videos. Compare a few words in Google Trends then see if you can insert them into the titles and description as keywords. YouTube titles and descriptions can appear in Google search query results, as well as being searchable in YouTube, so using keywords that match general search trends is vital.

6. Ensure consistent video branding: YouTube channels have a number of sharing options; Thus videos from the channel can appear on a variety of sites, and should have a consistent look. The benefit is developing a consistent appearance that will entice viewers to play the video and click on associated links.To do so add end cards to a video that include a company logo. If there is no logo, try a similar font and format for beginning and end. Another trick is inserting Powerpoint slides with each slide saved as a jpeg file. This can can be done with a video editor such as Camtasia.

7. Engage the social media community to share: Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus can extend the viewership of a video and encourage traffic to the YouTube channel. Also, adding video can spice up the feeds on those platforms, increasing engagement performance among followers. And as mentioned in tip #3, sharing short video teaser segments or creative segments in Vine and Instagram can draw visits. Monitor responses within a platform (Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics) to note how well a post with video has reached followers, then view reports within a web analytic solution if a goal is to drive traffic to a website conversion goal.

Universal Analytics and WebTrends Streams Improve How Customers and Sales Tie Together


WebTrends Streams

This images shows traffic flow reporting from WebTrends Streams, a analytics product that further centralizes camapign-related data in the user interface.

Google Analytics Universal Analytics

This snippet of code is making big waves, as Google introduces Universal Analytics as a means to better connect with customers across multiple devices.

Imagine a Christmas wish list for marketers. You can probably imagine improved digital campaign measurement at the top of that list. Thus this year’s changes to analytic solutions can seem like an early Christmas gift. The new features will help marketers make better decisions on customer and sales activity.

For a while marketers have faced an increasing array of marketing media choices. Online marketing strategy was once limited to search and paid search. But QR codes, digital coupons, social media, and video have increased the selection, compounded further by smartphones, tablets, and newly discovered functionality of website design code.

The end result is an environment in which marketers struggle to monitor and to compare various referral traffic sources. eMarketer noted last August that marketers found only half of the current analytics tools “useful”. However, marketers are not deterred. The marketing research firm referenced an Adlogy survey, in which businesses, particularly small businesses, are increasing their budgets for websites and social media. 25% of respondents plan to increase their website development, while another 20% planned for more resources on SEO.

These investment decisions have enticed analytic solution providers to step up their game. Google and WebTrends are among the first providers to incorporated new features meant to address real time reporting from digital campaigns.

WebTrends introduced Streams, an application that integrates data into visual graphic dashboards. These reports can monitor real time influence of customer digital activity across devices and correlate the dataflow against other data, such as KPIs.
There is also more reporting flexibility. For example, Stream users can create filters through writing a SQL-type syntax. This feature adds flexible, tailored to an analyst’s demands instead of that from default settings provided by the solution.

Where as WebTrends created a new application, Google revised its venerable application Google Analytics. Over the past several months Google has released a beta version of its Universal Analytics package (yesterday Google announced that UA is out of the beta phase). This revised tag incorporate capabilities to reflect a more realistic view of how traffic contribution to a conversion goal, including features such as additional configuration options in the reports, time zone based reporting (meaning that the data is updated based on the account’s timezone of usage rather than Pacific time), a User ID feature to better connect multi-device traffic sources, and an improved demographic reports. The changes also better positions the solution for web development changes. Read more about Google’s full release of Universal Analytics.

A marketer’s understanding of data relative to a given objective is always changing, so a solution redesign to support evolving outlook of data is inevitable. By including more real-time reporting, analytic providers have assured marketers that the gift of more dynamic reporting is not a lump of coal in the stocking.