• Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Digital Marketing Solutions Summit | Forum Events Digital Marketing Solutions Summit | Forum Events Digital Marketing Solutions Summit | Forum Events Digital Marketing Solutions Summit | Forum Events Digital Marketing Solutions Summit | Forum Events

Posts Tagged :

Google Analytics

How to succeed with marketing in a post-pandemic world

The last few months have been tough for businesses; logistical struggles and diminished customer purchase power have seen businesses of all sizes, and across a majority of sectors, feel the financial pinch. In these types of situations, many businesses turn to cut backs in marketing budgets in order to alleviate financial strain, but it’s often great digital marketing strategy which can help to deliver an upturn in business during difficult periods. 

Here Chris Attewell, CEO of leading digital agency Search Laboratory, argues why now is not the time to step back on marketing activity and offers expert advice for businesses looking to achieve success in a post-pandemic world through cohesive digital strategy… 

  1. Know when to press ‘Go’

With things seemingly much more normal in day to day life, a mistake brands need to avoid making right now is to switch their marketing activity on. Despite shops, restaurants and even offices opening back up, the customer journey in many sectors is still far from ‘normal’.

Knowing when to resume activity can be the difference between making and losing money. Too soon, budget is used with little results; too late, and you miss out on the initial flurry. 

Monitoring search impressions via Google Search Console is the quickest way to gauge when your industry is beginning to pick up, as it indicates rising interest in your products. However, as you can expect impressions to fluctuate daily, comparing the average number of daily impressions of the last three days compared to the last ten and twenty-one days will show if there is an upwards trend. 

2. Segment your pixel audiences and CRM lists

The pandemic has resulted in a lengthened sales cycle, meaning consumers are spending more time in the research phase and delaying purchasing. If you were tracking users who engaged with your website before or during the pandemic, use this time to segment them and know what messages you want them to see ready for when the market picks back up.

As lookalike and similar audiences are based on recent data, these lists may be skewed due to a different sales cycle during the pandemic. Instead, segment your pixel audiences or CRM lists to create user groups before and during lockdown and test the difference to identify different audience groups; you can then tailor the messages shown to each group for better performance.

3. Build an online local presence

Although travel restrictions within the UK have been lifted, many consumers are choosing to stay closer to home when it comes to eating out, shopping and undergoing leisure activities. For businesses where customers are required to go instore to complete their purchase, consider narrowing down the geo-targeting for paid campaigns to avoid wasting budget, and use this time to build a strong local SEO presence. Creating or updating your Google My Business listing(s) and getting listed in important local directories can help to boost your online presence for location-based searches, helping to drive more footfall as restrictions ease.

4. Create ‘soft’ conversions

While many businesses are already be seeing an uplift in web traffic and sales already, a return to pre-pandemic levels of sales may be slow. Adjust your expectations and set ‘soft’ conversions based on the current needs of your audience. Doing this allows you to measure success in a climate where customers are not buying as much or as often, and means you can still capture valuable data to inform your digital strategy. Consider how you can provide genuinely useful and engaging content that matches the needs of your customers and can be used to capture data and soft conversions – such as downloadable guides or webinars.

5. Optimise for long-term results 

The immediate future is uncertain, so use this time to focus on improving your long-term success. Ensuring your website is SEO ready now will help to drive organic traffic in the long run. Review your website architecture and speed, and current content and identify where and how you can improve technical elements of the site, and where you can improve or create content to make the site more relevant for your audience’s search queries and needs.

6. Fine tune your Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is a valuable tool which can be used to understand who your customers are, how they are finding you, and what they want from your business. Now is a great time to set up Google Analytics, if you haven’t already, to track customer behaviour and use these insights to develop an effective marketing strategy. Review the metrics you track – do they correlate to your current business goals? Ensure tagging and tracking is set up so you have access to all the data required to make informed business decisions moving forward. 

7. Join up your offline and online data 

Tying up online behaviour (how a user interacts with your business online) with offline behaviour (such ringing up a sales person, attending an event, shopping in-store) helps you to see how your online marketing activity leads to new customer acquisition and vice versa – insights which will help to shape an effective marketing strategy. If you have a CRM system, link it up with Google Analytics so you can track how users behave across the full user journey. Whatever the unique behaviours of your customers are, finding and measuring highly engaged users that have a higher rate of conversion is a relevant way of measuring successful sessions if sales are lower than they usually would be.

For more help with your marketing, download our whitepaper: https://www.searchlaboratory.com/downloads/kick-starting-your-marketing-in-a-post-pandemic-world-whitepaper/

Google Analytics Segments Vs Filters

By Ben Johnston – Head of SEO & Data Analytics – ESV Digital

Learn the difference between Google Analytics segments and filters, what they are, how they work and when you would use each of them...

One of the most common questions I’m asked about Google Analytics is the difference between a segment and a filter and the main use case of each of them. I’m often asked why you would ever use a filter when a segment does the same job and vice versa.

In today’s post, I’m going to briefly run you through what segments and filters are, how they work and the reasons for using each of them.

WHAT IS A GOOGLE ANALYTICS SEGMENT?

A segment in Google Analytics lets you view your metrics based upon specific criteria, for example only organic or paid traffic. They allow you to change your data on the fly and you use the whole of the Google Analytics interface just focusing on that data and, crucially, they do not change your data the way a filter does.

A segment can be applied retroactively, so you can see how your organic performance was last year and so on, and you can also create your own segments based on certain specific conditions. You can even share those custom segments with other Google Analytics users.

You can apply a segment to your Google Analytics like so:

Click the Add Segment button and you’ll see the list of pre-configured ones. As you can see, there’s a lot to play with and with the ability to import new segments from the Google Analytics gallery and create your own, there’s plenty of flexibility there to investigate your data from a variety of perspectives.

Segments are great and an essential part of your Google Analytics arsenal, but they’re not without their weaknesses.

Weaknesses Of Segments

As handy as it is being able to alter your data on the fly, there is inherently some lost functionality compared to filters. Firstly, there is less flexibility in what you can do with a segment than a filter – you cannot exclude a specific IP address or series of IP addresses with a segment, for example.

They also have a habit of triggering sampling within Google Analytics, where the data shown in a report is less than 100% accurate. If your dataset is small, you should be OK, but segments do bring this on much sooner.

WHAT IS A GOOGLE ANALYTICS FILTER?

A filter is applied to a Google Analytics view and permanently changes the way that the data is collected for that view, rather than changing the way it’s reported on the fly. Unlike a segment, a filter will not change your data retroactively.

Filters offer a great deal more functionality than segments – as well as just replicating the capacities of segments, which would be prudent if you have a high amount of traffic, you can also make sweeping changes to the way your data is collected, processed and reported. You can use a filter to rewrite the URLs in your page reports, for example, or to double-check the hostname or simply to exclude a section of traffic which you know is not relevant (your own team, for example, or bots). You can also unleash the power of regular expressions to really take control of your data.

Filters are a far more powerful solution than segments, but they don’t offer the same flexibility. You would use a filter for a specific task within a reporting view (excluding your own office’s traffic, for example), rather than using it to check the performance of a specific metric in most cases.

Weaknesses Of Filters

With the power of filters comes responsibility in their use. They permanently change the data in a view from the moment they’re applied to the moment you remove it. There’s no going back. They also can’t be applied retroactively in the same way a segment can. It’s this permanence, plus the additional Google Analytics knowledge required to set up a filter that is the key weakness of them.

In line with best practice, you should always have a completely unfiltered “All Website Data” view, to ensure data continuity and to use for checking that your data is coming through properly. You should then have other filtered views depending on the kind of requirements your site has.

At the very least, we suggest having the All Website Data view and a view which filters out your own IP address and the IP address of any partner agencies/ other offices etc, although we would typically go much deeper than this with a Google Analytics setup.

WHEN TO USE SEGMENTS & FILTERS

A segment is the best way to isolate a certain metric, channel or device in your reporting view and apply that to your historic data. If you want to see how many people have come to your site over the last three years from Facebook on their tablets, a segment is the way to go.

If you need to permanently change the way your data is collected, such as excluding your IP address, removing bots, or rewriting your URLs so that they’re easier to read in reports, you’ll be looking for a filter.

The key thing to understand about filters vs segments is that there is really no “vs” at all. They’re different tools for different tasks and a good setup uses them together. For most reports, you’ll be relying on segments to isolate and highlight different metrics, but to ensure that your data is as clean as it can be, you’re going to need filters to be involved.

Unsure of how well your Google Analytics setup stands up to best practice? Get in touch with ESV Digital and let us see what we can do to help. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Forum Insight: Savvy SEO tips for start-ups that won’t break the bank…

With 50 per cent of new businesses failing within five years, recent research has revealed that many small businesses are missing out on opportunities to market online due to a lack of digital knowledge.

The research from 123 Reg found that 73 per cent said they did not advertise online and 42 per cent reported having no digital presence. SEO and other terminology also stumped 48 per cent of business owners surveyed, and only 53 per cent said their websites were easily readable via a mobile device.

“Being digitally savvy is especially important for start-ups. It can be the difference between your business being seen in the right places by the right people, and even small changes can have a huge impact,” comments Alex Minchin, founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital.

Here, Alex shares three instantly achievable tips for small businesses looking to get started with SEO:

  1. Sign up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add the necessary code to your website: These are two free tools that will enable you to measure performance, even if you don’t understand it all immediately. You cannot improve something that you’re not measuring, and these tools will measure things such as; the number of visitors landing on your website, the best performing content, keywords driving traffic, any broken links or pages, and the links from other websites that are pointing back to your website.
  2. Start local: Most searches in the micro and small business world include local modifiers such as your city or county, e.g. “Plumbers in Croydon”. An easy way to start to build some gravitas towards your website is to feature on business directories. This creates ‘citations’ (mentions) of your business name and confirms your address and other details, in addition to pointing a link back to your website. It’s crucial to make sure your information is kept consistent, so finalise your details and use the same information as a template for all directories. These things will help to increase the strength and trust of your website. Just be sure to focus on reputable directories such as Touch Local, 192, Freeindex, and Opendi for example.
  3. Focus on the real basics and design each META title and description for each of the key pages on your website as a minimum: The title tag and descriptor underneath the search result is considered as a ranking factor by Google, and can positively influence your rankings for a particular keyword. Your title should include your keyword and brand name as a minimum, but try to be as creative as possible with the character limit (55 is the defacto) that you have available.  In the META description, it’s more important to include your value proposition and key information, for example “free delivery on all orders”, or “free quotation”. Remember, you’re trying to stand out to win a greater share of the clicks against the other websites competing for the same keyword so details and USPs are key.

“It’s widely reported that somewhere around 90 per cent of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine and a search query. SEO can therefore play a huge part in the marketing strategy of a small business.

Alex continues. “Sharing your expertise through content and delivering value to your target market is the name of the game, and it’s a playground that, whilst dominated by some larger brands, isn’t policed by them. It’s entirely possible for a small business to compete and win on this channel, and doesn’t have to involve a huge cost in doing so.”