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 »


How mobile food trucks can increase sales with social media and analytics

Mobile food trucks are very popular in urban area these days, having become a staple of urban downtowns, be it Chicago or New York.  Businesses like Fire and Rice (@eatFireandRice), a mobile food service truck based in Washington DC, have leveraged social media to connect with customers.

Mobile food trucks like Fire and Rice in Washington DC have become popular. These businesses have an unique opportunity to leverage analytic reports to better connect with customers.

Mobile food trucks like Fire and Rice in Washington DC have become popular. These businesses have an unique opportunity to leverage analytic reports to better connect with customers.

But launching a restaurant of any kind is not easy, even if that restaurant has four wheels for the kitchens and plenty of outdoor seating.

Food service businesses can be a muscle-achingly consuming effort to run, so analytics needs to be super simple to execute. In this case reporting can best impact if it reveals where customers can be best attracted

If you are running a food truck service, here are a few ways to capture a few customers and manage the effort with measurement.

  • Set up a website page dedicated to provide key information about where your trucks serve. set up a conversion report in your analytics and set tags in a tag manager for specific downloads, such as a menu or coupons in a pdf.
  • Announce locations using a hashtag phrase to let customers know where to look (Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and Twitter).
  • Consider offering coupons via mobile device. Have a dedicated page that your team can reference in the field, or create a coupon at a particular social media platform to build followers.  Again, a tag managed with a tag manager can be used to track how coupon campaigns are shared in social media.
  • Adding photos for Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, Facebook should set the expectation of how the business is doing, how customers are experiencing the food, and can convey the atmosphere – what awaits customers who arrive to your truck. Other newer platforms such as Vine can show short videos that show customers.  Another, Snapchat, can be used for “special messages” that disappears after a second.
  • Geographic maps in analytics can confirm interest from a region. They are not useful for drilling down into comparing traffic from every neighborhood, but useful if sales are spread outside of a major city.  A report covering New York City, for example, would not cover Prospect Heights from Washington Heights traffic exceptionally well, but it could reveal consistent visits from towns in New Jersey, Westchester County, and Long Island.  These may be worth the drive or investigate the opportunity to spend time.
  • For nuanced reporting in analytics, use multichannel reporting to understand which social media is assisting “conversion” – a call to click button for pre-orders for example. You can do the same kind of analysis for social reporting, if your team is more interested in which social media platform is bets supporting your participation, as well as demographic reporting to see if your food service is attracting a certain demographic.

3 Data and Analytics Tips for Prepping Small Businesses for Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is worth more than a process that advances analytics capability. It has a growing important value in a business strategic plan. Businesses struggle to organize their marketing, typically due to running separate social media, email, and platforms. The effort yields individual results to each platform, but can overlook multichannel opportunities or personalization which more customers crave.

Marketing automation addresses that need by consolidates marketing planning and reduces “clutter” from managing separate media. Planning how to automate can highlight where a message may not need to be repeated as well as how to repeat other messages that are valuable for the customer. The planning with marketing automation as a core function saves time and, when done right, improve marketing results.

Automation has a particular value for small businesses.  Small business owners and their employees are busy, leaving a limited time to analyze analytics reports repeated.  Marketing automation can streamline resources by automating marketing tasks.

There are three tips small and medium sized businesses can follow to prepare for adding marketing automation features.

  1. Get a lay of the initial data on the land. Establish the best data possible in the systems that will match up to your analytics. This means eliminating duplicate entries in sources such as CRM systems.  Use advanced databases tools where possible to find consistent duplicates and errors.
  2. Roadmap how data will flow through the organization.  Roadmap how an automation program will be implemented. Addressing all digital platforms at once can overlook needed steps.  Set a six-month goal for full implementation, with milestones along the way. Use features like an annotation in Google Analytics to journal technical changes – some marketing decisions will trigger other analytics-related decisions such as adjusting tags, setting up remarketing campaigns for certain site visitors, changing filters, or adding custom variables.
  3. Align your sales and marketing teams to sync promotion communication. Plan the marketing and supporting automation system based on the buying cycle and lead nurturing stages.  The sales team’s insight can ensure that your marketing efforts to brand and convert potential customers align with the sales team’s capabilities to execute.  This can also indicate how alerts in analytics solutions should be distributed to the teams involved.

With comment permission linked to Google Plus, Google Cleans #YouTube’s Analytics House

YouTube Analytics Dashboard

YouTube Analytics is increasingly valuable as YouTube’s comments and metrics are increasingly scrutinized

Sometimes redesigning a suite of technological products is like redecorating a house. Once you start with one room, you end with more rooms redecorated to complete a look.

Google was certainly redecorating their house a few years ago. After a revamped Google Analytics solution, along with a search engine updates for mobile search and the even more ballyhooed Google Plus platform, Google released YouTube Analytics, an analytics platform for YouTube managers that replaced Insights and was a significant response for the emergence of increased mobile video viewing in the marketplace.

eMarketer released an article noting the growing rate of mobile video watching. Total US Online viewers reached 158.1 million in 2011 – that’s more than 50% of the US population. In the article, PaulVerna, eMarketer senior analyst, noted the significant sources for the trend.

“Audience growth over the next four years will come from all demographic segments, but it will be more pronounced among preteen children, older boomers and seniors. These groups have traditionally lagged teens and younger adults in their video viewing activity, but the gaps will start to close as the market matures.…”

Add Verna’s statement to YouTube’s current recognition as one of the largest search engines. Mix those points with Google’s introduction of mobile-centric features in its online search engine, and you have a recipe for YouTube Analytics.

You can find my first impression of YouTube Analytics in my All Analytics post. Since that post was issued, a few new protocols have been added to impact the value of YA metrics. Google has focused on requiring YouTube viewers to have a Google account to comment on YouTube videos. Comments are also sorted by relevance than the date posted. The creator of video has higher priority for relevancy, follower by commentators who are signed in a Google Plus account.

The interesting responses has been from YouTube “users” who do not wish to be logged into a Google account to provide their commentary. They are suspicious of Google with respect to privacy and simply do not want to complicate their right to speak anonymously. This CNN post summarizes the complaints. Furthermore, a report from Digital Trends noted that Google uses YouTube “superflaggers” to identify abusive comments.

The comment-clensing strategy is meant for more than reducing off-color comments. The strategy also supports YouTube’s increased influence in entertainment as a source for new music or information on movies. Nielsen ratings and Billboard, two long-established measurement agencies in television and music, include YouTube views into their metrics.

From an analytics perspective, this development reflects today’s digital effort to clean data sources. To make better sense of the metrics analyzed, data quality is essential. Removing poor comments on YouTube reflects eliminating the “poor data” from comments. Comments can be analyzed for better understanding what videos appeals to customers, though an argument can be made for having an opt-out for those who want to comment and debate without everything on a Google-controlled platform.

Businesses that use YouTube heavily may want to add comments in their privacy policy regarding how their YouTube channel is moderated. This may not win the anti-Google plus-signin crowd, but it can assure those who do check in that the channel is managed in a way that will earn their trust.

How Multichannel Analytic Reports Can Enhance Unified Communications

Businesses create customer-centric attention when analytics is combined with unified communications. Multichannel reports – analytics reports on varied referral sources – is one set of analysis that can be done with analytics.

The potential value from multichannel reports lies in organizing the influences to a business. It can also aid a business relying on unified communications. The reports can produce a variety of options for a multitude of productivity and operational concerns.

First a few words on unified communications, otherwise known as UC.  Simply put, it is a protocol set in the browser to provide video conferencing on the cloud without the use of a plugin. The business advantage is being able to communicate to partners and employees more easily across multiple devices.

While UC is steadily growing in usage among business organizations, tech savvy users have become more agnostic about which device they use for their daily tasks.  They switch devices from one activity to another, being frictionless in being productive. In fact, Clickz noted device agnostics as a 2012 consumer trend. The trend is based on a tipping point of smartphone capability established in 2011.

This means businesses looking to connect with customers with UC must consider where the consumers are accomplishing their tasks digitally. It also shows how multichannel reports become handy. Multichannel reports identify the sequence of visitor touch points to a conversion activity.  Thus these reports can rate different channels as significant contributors to conversion goals, as opposed to last click attribution – the assumption that an action from one channel is the main contributor to conversions.

A conversion path analysis from multichannel reports can influence a number of operations.  Here are a few examples:

One example is evaluating online touch points against an assumed sales funnel process. An organization can review the number of interactions against its sales cycle. The review can imply ways to speed sales activity, such as providing better sales information upfront to the most responsive segments.

A second example focuses on the sequences in a conversion path. The sequences can show UC users where it should engage with customers digitally.  Most multichannel reports reveal the sequence that happen before a conversion – a segment can, say, start with a mobile-related search, arrive to a site, leave, and then through Instagram return directly to a page.  A customer care team can send mobile messages with one set of reminders prior to a conversation and separately send tweets containing general tips. The coordination of message types can simplify interaction, which can lead to faster communication or eliminate calls that can cost response time for more complicated matters.

A third example, API usage, can organize how data is consumed within an organization. Knowing which data to use can be a continual challenge.  Most analytic solutions include multichannel report metrics in an API. This permits data visualization in a dashboard, one that can combine data from a number of sources.  The unique advantage is that incorporating multichannel-related data will permit correlation of online conversion data with offline sales data and UC-related cost data to reveal a more complete picture of ROI. Thus multichannel reporting can guide how communication metrics are monitored and managed relative to business value.

Success from these examples do require cross management of teams. Imagine a customer service team coordinating with the marketing group that is responsible for the social media accounts, and you get the idea.  But with that idea in place, multichannel reports and analysis provides a means to make an organization as customer centric as possible.  The right analysis can reward a business with an empowered UC program responsive to customer demands.

Back To Basics Paid Search Tips: Seven from the Hip Pocket

Some businesses still struggle with basic starting point to using Bing Ads or Adwords. we covered a few in this Prince-inspired post.  Here are a view ideas for deciding where an ad should be placed and what

1. Target your ad to a location in which your business serves or decide on a specific product that you want to run in your ad words campaign.

Many businesses mistakenly use page search as a general ad. Instead of the need to plan your ads according to the products and services at the offer.  Adword groups can then be planned around a product permitting you to select keywords appropriately.

2. For location, take a look at where your traffic to your website reflects branding .

This should include looking at branded keywords and search, as well as direct traffic since this for flex a branding of your business.

3. Set your budget against your product margins as a starting guide to value your ad.

Most paid search managers use automatic or manual settings for the maximum amount of daily spend. Consider your product that you advertise again suspend. The margin on each product in the ad can be an indicator of how much value your getting from the spend. For example if your product margin is $5, it means that a spend above $5 may not giving value; You’ve spent more in your campaign click to gain that $5 margin from a sales.

4. For Effective Bing Ads and Adwords, Improve Your Quality Score 

Quality Score is essentially a means to monitor keyword reputation.  The Quality Score is based on four key factors:

  • The historic CTR of a keyword
  • Account history in geographic area
  • Relevance of keywords
  • Landing Page Quality

To increase quality score, you should look to optimize keywords, focusing on optimizing the ad groups to improve ad text. For Adwords, use the Keyword planner to aid choice in what to use in a landing page content and associated ad.

5. Write ads according to the platform associated with the campaign group. That may sound too basic, but media platforms have nuances that dictate how an add should be written. For example Facebook ads appear based on a user activity preferences in the profile. So a Facebook user who like skiing will probably see an ad for ski. This differed from Bing and Adword ads, which appear based on keywords in a search query.

6. Start with metric basics
Metrics that are typical in a paid search campaign are:

  • CPM
  • CTR
  • CPC
  • Campaign Cost = CPC x Clicks
  • Unique Visitors from a campaign
  • Goals achieved from campaigns.  This metric is expressed a conversion rate: Goals / clicks

6. Finally, consider your campaign objectives. Objectives from a campaign can range from increasing site traffic, increasing brand awareness, and increasing ROI for site conversion goals such as e-commerce or downloads