Week 6: Mobile Analytics

This weeks reading drew upon a few different topics but all focused on the tremendous growth of the mobile market and ways marketers are trying to reach users.

I found the Cisco article to be very interesting providing a wealth of information on the usage and the adoption to the mobile platform. The amount of time the average user spends has increased meanwhile desktop usage continues to decline.

The Forbes article presented information on click through rates for tablets and mobile users that came in far more than one would expect while a portion can be blamed on the end user accidentally touching an ad, it is expected that over time this would not be a repeated mistake. The article while dated two and half years ago I can only imagine the numbers today as more users have adapted and rely more on mobile smartphones.

The Facebook article was also insightful because I learned more about the creation and measurement of sponsored stories, promoted posts and other ways ads are placed into mobile feeds.

Further readings this week delved into the world of QR (Quick response) codes. The article “Linking Consumers to Your Cause with QR Codes” presented a good overview on the use and design of QR codes. I tend to think of QR codes as a fad similar to how Microsoft pushed “tag barcodes”  but I still respect and understand that is also another avenue for marketers to use. Adding a QR code into your marketing pieces can be a great way to drive traffic to your website and also something that can be easily measured to see results of active participants.

Questions to the readers:
Have you ever scanned a QR code before? If so did you find it useful?

Are you using your mobile phone to make purchases, banking and deposits?

What are your preferences with mobile apps? Free with ad placements or one you pay for  with no ads?

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Week 5: Landing Pages and Google Analytics

google-bot

This weeks readings reinforced a few topics already covered on search engine indexing and branched out more in-depth on analytics and landing pages. The article “How Google Search Works”  gave a clear understanding on how things work starting with the bots that crawl your site going through each URL to build an index the results are then served to an end user based on how your site is ranked after being evaluated on information found on the website. Interesting enough there are limitations to what the bots can index and certain rich media files or dynamic media cannot. I would think an example of that would be embedded videos or adobe flash files. The article laid out the information simple and clear enough that a beginner would be able to grasp.

The “10 Landing Page Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again” presented more real world information that I myself have stumbled unto and continue to ignore bad designs. Quite frankly I can’t close these windows fast enough. I often wonder if there is just one company out there that creates landing pages as %95 of them all look the same and offer no real information. All too often I try to work my way around by searching online to avoid submitting any information where I will end up being hassled. The article did present a few tips such as not using a generic submit button, but rather changing it to something that will pull the user in such as request a free trail, demo, or get access now.

Finally touching on the topic of Google analytics this gave an insight to how a visitor views your website and how you can get more in touch with your audience seeing where they are coming from and what their habits are in real time. This enables you to set specific goals and adjust based on the direction visitors to your website take. Social reports also give an insight to the traffic coming to the website and example of a case study is viewable here. This demonstrates the value of social media with hundreds of social sites that also drive visitors to your pages.

Questions to the readers:

What are your typical reactions to a landing page? Do you submit your real contact information often?

Now that you are gaining a better understanding on website analytics and the ability others have to track your movements will you modify they way you click on ads or links that are targeting you?

Week 4: Search Engine Optimization

This week’s readings gave me a refresher on a few topics that I was already familiar but expanded on a few terminologies that I have heard repeatedly before but had not grasped how they related to the web. Google has simplified and laid out complete guidelines that all webmasters should abide by in order to have successful placements in an index. Familiarizing these guidelines reinforced some habits that I often take for granted such as creating and submitting a sitemap, which allows a list of pages within your site to be crawled and also including a robot.txt files which tells index spiders which directories and files they cannot crawl or index. Good practices for any web developers are to create web sites that are useful for the end users and not overly geared to the search engines by spamming with keywords or links that do not pertain to the site.

In further readings the world of Adwords was discussed and seemed to be pretty hectic. This was a new topic for me and since I haven’t had much experience in creating these ads as opposed to being the normal end user who clicks through them. With the topics of click through rates (CTR), search engine result pages (SERP) and the way ads are tailored to a certain user I can still feel my head spinning trying to gather how this is implemented effectively.

The Anvil glossary was a valuable resource in breaking down certain functions on a website. While I may not need most of the the items mentioned it was interesting to gain certain insights and will help with further details as we put together our group project.

Overall search engines have two major functions – crawling & building an index, in order to serve accurate results. Search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental in any site that a designer creates. Creating a positive user experience, optimizing for mobile and tablets should keep your site at the forefront. Unethical SEO techniques can bring down your high rankings fast; visibility will be short lived in the long run. Search engines are looking for quality content and by following along guidelines given and factoring in the users experience will give you the best chance to succeed.

Questions to the readers:
Do you mind ads that show up which are always aimed at what you are searching for?

When looking at the competition today do you believe you stand a chance against others who pay for placement in the search engines?

Do you feel that search engine optimization is a part of a web developers job or should it be left separately as a niche for certain professionals?

Week 3: Online Surveys

I found this weeks topic and reading from “The value of online surveys” quite interesting expanding on some of the processes that I have been implementing in my job. Currently I work for a trade association within the travel industry and from time to time we evaluate events and conferences that we produce through the use of surveys. In the past we have tried via phone or mail but currently we do it 100% via an online platform. The ability to improve our events has relied heavily on the feedback given through these surveys and the participation rate has steadily risen through the years as end users are more comfortable responding online.

The surveys that I have administered have all been online based reaching out to an attendee after an event. We are able to generate a survey based on the contacts information used in the event registration process. Typically the end user who responds immediately is someone with a complaint or an attendee wanting to give praises on his or her experience. We have been able to take the data and implement the suggestions made improving on what was not working in the past.

Recently I responded to an extensive survey from an Alaskan cruise vacation that I had just completed in August. While the survey gave me the opportunity to complement certain departments and staff I was able to give details on what issues I ran into as well. One of the things I did note was that they presented certain questions based on my profile. As a past guest I was given certain extra perks and during the survey process they evaluated if I participated or used any of the extras. To be honest some of the things I was just not aware of but after being educated on it I am actually looking forward to testing them out on future trips.

Typically I think I only respond to about a quarter of surveys that have been requested. The usual ones I run into are after taking my car into the dealer for service or dealing with a customer service agent from a credit card or a utility company. The shorter the better and the use of a progress bar allows me to not get frustrated if it begins to take up a bit of my time.

While exploring the topic I created an account with surveymonkey.com. I have responded to surveys from this platform but took the opportunity to view the other side. Survey monkey offers a free edition with basic features and limitations on the size of survey and audience reach. A pro account for paid subscribers had a few different levels based on a users needs on customizations, templates, reports and support. The layout and navigation was quite easy and within no time I was able to get started with their builder interface for my very own survey.

Questions to the readers:

  1. What makes you more/less likely to respond to survey?
  2. Have you ever responded to a survey based on the opportunity to win a prize or gift card?
  3. Does the length of a survey tend to scare you off with you exiting before completion?

 

Week 2: Target Audiences

Reaching a specific target audience has continued to change more frequently as individuals embrace a range of technology and digital innovations. In the past marketers relied largely on static mediums such as print media, direct mail, billboards, radio and television, but with the emergence of the millennial generation and their new habits on how they embrace feedback and make decisions, all traditional methods have been thrown out when it comes to reaching this audience.

According to comScores 2012 report Next-Generation Strategies for Advertising to Millennials there are around 79 million millennials and collectively they have a purchasing power of $170 billion per year. Factoring in the strength of their buying power this group of individuals has shown a comfort level and familiarity with new technologies and are accustomed to receiving decision-making information through various digital channels. With this audiences history defined savvy marketers have been able to achieve a much higher response rate by tailoring their efforts to the digital footprints these users are making.

Gone are the days of radio jingles that marketers tried to plant in your head. As a digital enthusiast I have seen first hand the way I am targeted with product placements in forms such as movies and TV shows, products placed in songs and lyrics along with celebrities using social media to endorse various products in what would seem like natural posts or engagements with fans.

I have also found myself responding to ads targeting me based on previous searches done on the web for a product or service that I am looking for. My purchase may not be instant but often times these ads serve as a reminder to something I had a previous interest in and I end up following through on my purchase.

 

Questions to the readers:

  1. What are some of the tricks marketers have used to get you to either make a purchase or brought awareness to something that you eventually purchased?
  1. Many marketers focus primarily on digital strategies to reach their audience. Do you agree that this is where their efforts should be concentrated or is traditional advertising on mediums such as print media, radio and television still a way to reach you effectively?