PRESO: Future of digital engagement


Early in November I presented at a company conference on the Future of Digital Engagement, particularly focusing on what is happening in Australia.

The presentation covers four key areas:

  1. History of the Internet (quick timeline)
  2. Australian online habits
  3. 3 Game Changers – Google, Steve Jobs and Apple, and Social Networks
  4. Key take outs (summary).

The preso is available for view below and download at my slideshare page. I only uploaded it last night on slideshare and it’s already made it to the home page. YAY!

Enjoy and welcome feedback!

US Google search results – Buy from search


The Google search results we see in Australia are totally different to those seen in the US. The US is definitely a lot more advance in how they are serving up content and the additional functionality in the paid search results.

If you search for ‘tag heuer’, the following appears (as at 7 November 2010).

Google search results US - shopping

Google search results US - shopping (7 November 2010)

The key areas that are different from AU search results are:

  • ‘Ads’: all paid search terms are referred to as ‘Ads’ rather than ‘Sponsored links’
  • Google Checkout: people can check out from the paid search terms
  • Discount: people can get a discount when they click through from the paid search term
  • Images: rather than just text, the paid search ads have images associated next to them – all images have a price next to them.

Let’s compare that to the AU google search results page:

Google search results (AU) - 7 November 2010

Google search results (AU) - 7 November 2010

The main difference is that there are no paid search terms at all for ‘Tag Heuer’. Not sure if that is because Tag have protected their term – very silly if they have and aren’t allowing any of the retailers to jump on board.

OTHER SCREENS

Some other screens within Google that I think are fascinating in the US are the following:

Credit cards Google search US - 7 November 2010

Credit cards Google search US - 7 November 2010

The thing I love about this screen is Google introducing their comparison area – which is basically their own affiliate network. This deserves a whole post to itself, but if you want to check it out, click here.

 

LEARNINGS:

  • Global test: when you are overseas do a couple of Google searches to see how different the search results are compared to AU.
  • Local test: continually test what improvements to the search results page Google are introducing.

I love how much more Google are adding to search. It is scary how much they are starting to control. They will take over from Microsoft one day as the evil empire! Starting to take bets on when that will be. I’m estimating late 2013.

Who is winning the webmail war? Yahoo! followed by AOL (US stats)


This is a really short post, but I really like this graph showing who is winning the US webmail war. It looks at the average visits per visitors, the average minutes per visitor and the total unique visitors. The information comes from ComScore via The New York Times.

Based on the total unique visitorsYahoo! is winning hands down. Hotmal/Live and AOL are neck and neck with Google coming forth.

Based on the average visits per visitor, Yahoo! and AOL are neck and neck.

Based on the average minutes per visitor, Yahoo! is a clear leader followed by AOL.

Webmail statistics - US based (May 2009)

Webmail statistics - US based (May 2009)

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Vote Earth 2009 – Join the Movement


There are less than two weeks left until Earth Hour.

The last few days have been dedicated to try and get people behind Vote Earth. Between Justin and my friends, I think they are truely over it. BUT, there is one thing that will stop me from spamming and promoting it, go to the Vote Earth website and join the Friend Connect (or Earth Connect as we like to call it) group.

Vote Earth 2009 homepage

Vote Earth 2009 homepage

Vote Earth 2009 Friend Connect

Vote Earth 2009 Friend Connect

The Friend Connect element went live at 8.30pm on Thursday, 13th March 2009 – 15 days before Earth Hour. As at 11.30am on Sunday, 15th March there are 335 people who have connected. By Earth Hour, we are hoping to have that up into the millions…..eick! It is going to be the one place that everyone interested in having their say about global warming can go.

Google have even investigated the Friend Connect element to ensure it could support 1,000,000,000 people. It can, so we need to try and make sure we extend their service.

THE CHALLENGE

  • Join the movement – register on the Vote Earth site
  • Friend Connect – let’s try and get the Friend Connect service to have so many people that it falls over (sorry Google, but people like a challenge)
  • Have your say – make sure you write a comment. All comments on the site are being used to contribute to 1 billion words that we want to collect for Copenhagen.

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Think about the consumer – hero the search box


Google have trained us to be impatient. We go to a website and expect to find the information we want or something that will lead us to the results quickly. If we don’t get what we expect, we start to get annoyed and bounce off the site looking somewhere else for the information we need. More often than not, we bounce to a competitors website. If they have the information we need, we stay and research more. If not, we continue the search pattern until we find what we need.

As consumers, we know our own site behaviour and research habits, so why isn’t that influencing us in our website designs. Both agencies and clients get so caught up in making sure the site is pushing the best creative or as much copy as we can rather than thinking about the consumer. The consumer is the real reason we build sites and when they arrive at a site, normally, want to get in and get out of a site really quickly (with a better understanding about the product/service).

The majority of sites are developed to sell something or provide information so consumers can make an informed decision about a product/service, however, we (agency and client) try to push the information we think consumers want rather than understanding their mindset or purpose for visiting the site. One of my favourite examples of how this has been flipped on its head is with the VW UK website.

This site really thinks about the consumer and why they have come to the site. It understands the mindset and the reasons they have visited. It provides clear reference links through to deeper content that is relevant to different audiences. Those five statements show that VW understands its audience.

VW UK website as at 17 September 2008

VW UK website as at 17 September 2008

VW website audience statements as at 17 September 2008

VW website audience statements as at 17 September 2008

Another company that gets its online audience is ZAAZ. This has been one of my favourite websites since it launched last year. It is applying the Google principle that audience control (consumer control) is key when visiting a site. As soon as the site loads, you have the option of surfing through the navigation available or asking a question that will immediately take you to the search results you are looking for.

ZAAZ home page

ZAAZ home page

On the home page, I typed in what is data smog. The response to this question is in the screen grab below. It provided a brief overview and links to areas of the site that can provide more information. I love it because it means you can get in and out of a site really quickly without wasting time looking for content that you think would be easy to find.

ZAAZ home page response

ZAAZ home page response

LEARNINGS

How can we apply this to our clients? Quite easily.

  • When you get a brief for a website (even if it is just a refresh), think about why someone is visiting the site. Break it down into five key areas and see if there is a question or a statement that summarises it and would make it easy for the consumer.
  • Make the search box a hero on the site. Consumers are comfortable with search, so take advantage of it. Not only is it a great way for consumers to get the information they need quickly, but it’s also a good research tool for companies: What content is important? How can we highlight that information? Is there a campaign we can create around that content?

Key theme: think about the audience.

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The impact of word of mouth


In an internal meeting yesterday, I expressed how excited I was that my blog traffic hit 92 earlier in the week. It was so exciting for me because not only am I a frustrated accountant who loves numbers, but I love web stats and understanding what drives people to sites. After this meeting, Greg Beazley sent an email to group of internal M&C people asking them to view and bookmark my site to see if there was any impact on the blog traffic.

The impact has been huge. Shortly after the email was sent, traffic spiked to just under 200 and overnight it peaked at just over 310 (see graphs below). The average views I was getting on the blog, before this email, was around 20 – 40 views a day, with a few spikes in traffic due to an AIMIA speaking engagement and an article. The ’email’ experiment shows that internal emails sent advising of new campaigns do help to spike traffic, but something I’m interested in is seeing if the traffic continues or if it returns to the average levels (ie. how relevant was the content to the people who read it)

Blog traffic to this blog at 3.30pm, Tuesday 9 August

Blog traffic to this blog at 3.30pm, Tuesday 9 August

Blog traffic to this blog at 7.15am, Wednesday 10 August 2008

Blog traffic to this blog at 7.15am, Wednesday 10 August 2008

Over the weekend, I am going to try a few things to see if I can keep traffic above the average views:

Thanks for helping build the learnings and stay tuned for more updates on traffic.

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Actionable website analytics (ZAAZ principles) – book review


Working as part of the Y&R Brands network, and in particular Wunderman, it gave me exposure to a lot of great companies that were acquired, specialising in digital, direct and data. In my opinion, there were three stand outs: ZAAZ, Knowledge Based Marketing and Fortelligent.

While on holiday (in rainy Thailand last year), I did myself a favour and read their book ‘Actionable Web Analytics’. It is co-authored by the CEO and Chief Analytics and Optimisation Officer. A good book for all those who think they get analytics or need to get it for their jobs.

There were several themes that rang true for me:

  • Data smog: How can agencies cut through the data smog for their clients? Clients are getting so many reports from so many different partners – what is important? What do they need to improve? How can they improve it? How can this information be molded into bit size chunks and usable?
  • Monetising online: How can you monetise websites? Without having a thorough understanding about how websites are performing and all of the details, this is extremely difficult to determine. However, measures can be taken to ensure this is overcome (particularly those that allow to test, test and test).
  • Results: Why understanding the results are critical? Too many people don’t understand the results. They look at them, but don’t know what they mean.
  • The difference between web analytics and web reporting – yes there is a difference. One focusing on analysing the results, while the other just highlights the findings. The hard thing with this is getting clients to understand the importance of the difference and acting on the results.
  • Consumer journeys: How do you define the conversation path? This needs to be done both online and offline. How are you attracting people, getting them to engage with the brand/company, then moving them through to transaction and into a retention cycle? So important to map this out prior to starting any campaign.

The book also made me consider the following process upgrades within an interactive agency to ensure the following are happening (and not just been given lip service):

  • Google analytics – it’s free, why shouldn’t you include it?
  • Exit survey – there is a need to understand what is missing from the site and what other content is needed. This is best gathered from users rather than second guessing.
  • Test strategies – need to be developed at the start of a campaign identifying things to be tested – offers, messaging and media.

A couple of my favourite quotes from the book:

  • ‘Your website is a series of customer processes. They’re trying to discover, learn, compare, configure, price, locate, purchase, join, discuss, etc.’
  • ‘For every action, there is an opportunity for an intelligent reaction.’
  • ‘Keywords and banner ads are highly targeted doorways to specific destinations on websites.’

ZAAZ’s focus is on performance-driven design. Most agencies are trying to achieve this, but they get lost in the big ideas. I think we should all be striving for performance-driven engagement and bring all of the consumer learnings together and understand what engages them or continues bringing them back.

In summary, the book looks at the website from the users view (who comes to your site? what are they trying to accomplish?) and the marketer’s view (how can we make the website better? what do we need to look at and what is important?). It is a great sales book for ZAAZ, but they honestly are a brilliant company that know how to make money from any site.

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