The best way to take the steam out of a traffic driving ship is to examine your bounce rate. When analyzing your analytics data it’s important to take in as much data as possible, but some statistics are more misleading then others. A bounce rate is defined as, “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page.” Your bounce rate is a metric that in my opinion, depending on your site’s function and setup, is useless data.
Gavin O’Mallery recently wrote an article discussing Google Analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik’s stand on website metrics. O’Mallery echoed that quality should be measured and a low-bounce rate is one of those indications. A low-bounce rate would indicate that viewers are either submitting forms or visiting another page. Is this a true indication of quality?
I would venture to say that blogs typically have a bounce rate anywhere from 60-80% because of the site’s function. Blogs that do better than this baseline more than likely have related articles listed after their posts or some kind of annoying pop-up e-mail sign up list. If viewers don’t move onto another post or sign up is that visit considered a poor quality result?
PPC marketing is generally the service that is the biggest advocate for low-bounce rate pages. However, if a you find yourself on a page without the ability to navigate how likely are you to fill out the form in front of you? It’s like being stranded on an island with the ability to call a taxi and be on your doorstep in two seconds. If you force the action how much quality are you truly generating?
Unfortunately, you will not be able to track every consumer’s buying decision from start to finish. If you are willing to accept this cold fact then you will be more likely to have a successful business. Micro managing and analyzing every consumer interaction is not as important as simply having those interactions. Therefore, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that a visitor may visit your site, viewing only the page they enter on, leave, and at a later date return to purchase or convert. Of course your analytics system wont be able to tell you what the deciding factor was between those dates, but a conversion is a conversion no matter how its been obtained.
Eyeballs will always equate to potential even if you can’t quantify it. When your examining your analytics data make sure to look at the entire purchasing or converting picture. Don’t let a high bounce rate discourage you or cause you to make drastic changes. If you are conveying your message on your landing page and visitors choose to exit after that you’ll have to trust, if they like what they see, that they will come back.
Every year April Fools Day puts businesses and employees in a frenzy wondering what is real and what’s just another prank. From high profile companies to in house madness the world just seems to act a little goofy on April 1st. We’ll take a look at what arguably could be the top 5 Best April Fools Day jokes, the madness of Google April Fools Day pranks, and some ideas to make 2009 April Fools Day the best one yet!
Top 5 Best April Fools Day Pranks
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
In 1957 the BBC news show Panorama announced to the world that Swiss farmers were able to grow spaghetti from the trees. When asked how this was possible they replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
As a huge New York Mets fan, I was born in 1986 in New York, the news in 1985 could not have been better. Sports Illustrated published the story about the Mets new rookie pitcher Sidd Finch. Reports stated Sidd could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy even though he’d never played a game in his life! Instead, Sidd mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the “great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa.”
In 1996 Taco Bell took out a full page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and USA Today. They informed the public they had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. While the mayhem lasted only a few hours White House press secretary Mike McCurry was bombarded with questions. His reply, “The Lincoln Memorial has also be sold and renamed as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”
NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” reported in 1992 that former-President Richard Nixon had declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Nixon during his candidacy speech Nixon exclaimed, “I never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and Newsweek reporter Howard Finemann then did a full analysis of Nixon’s decision and potential impact to the presidential race. Press secretary of the Bush-Quayle campaign then released a statement saying, “We are stunned and think it’s an obvious attempt by Nixon to upstage our foreign policy announcement today.”
In a stunning development released today Oklahoma State University Professor John Lankshanks released a study showing that listening to customers through social media devices actually decreased customer satisfaction ratings.
For this year Google has remained at the top of their game.
This year Google introduced gBall an exclusive ball designed for Australian rules football. Special gBall technology allows users to plug in and register their gBall online giving them detailed online kicking tips, style suggestions and tutorials based on their uploaded gBall kicking data.
Google also announced the release of Google Chrome with 3D. After printing out special glasses Chrome users simply enable the technology and enjoy!
YouTube also got in on the April Fools Day prank act this year. YouTube released a new viewing experience for users. It allows you to get the most out of your YouTube experience.
April Fools Day Prank Ideas
You don’t have to be Google or a major corporate to enjoy and participate in pranking your coworkers. Below is a list of some of my favorite computer pranks:
Microsoft Word Hack – Go into word and access the auto-correct feature. We’ll be changing it so it misspells common words. Open Word and choose “AutoCorrect Options” from the Tools menu. Change common words like “the” and “and” with different words like “underwear” or “grapefruit.”
Dimmed Monitor – Turn the brightness control all the way up and the contrast all the way down. The screen should appear completely blank.
Mouse Problems – Go to Start->Settings->Control Panel and go into the mouse program. On the Buttons tab, change the buttons configuration to switch the primary and secondary buttons of the mouse.
More Mouse Problems – Take a posted note and write April Fools on it. Then attach it to the bottom of your coworkers mouse covering the eye of the optical mouse. If they’re still in the stone age and have a mouse with a ball in it you can tap a piece of paper over the ball underneath the mouse.
The Last Mouse Problem – Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Mouse > Pointer Options, and change the mouse pointer to the slowest speed. Most of your coworkers wont know about this setting and will just think their RAM blew up or the computer is dying.
Keyboard Torture – Carefully pop off a few of the keys from your coworkers keyboard and switch them around. This should cause some confusion for a little bit if they don’t normally look at their keyboard while they’re typing.
The Ultimate Frustrater – Open any application your coworker typically uses. Press “PrtScn” to capture the desktop as an image. You need to make sure the mouse pointer and task bar can not be seen. Then go into paint and paste the photo in their saving it to an accessible file. Lastly, right click on the desktop, select “properties”, and select the image you created as your background. Your coworker will think they have the application open on their computer, but wont be able to figure out why they can’t close it or minimize it.
If you have any April Fools Day prank you’ve performed, witnessed, or enjoyed please share them with a comment below. Happy April Fools Day!
In a late breaking story, Professor John Longshanks of Oklahoma State University has just completed his study on Social Media and its effects on customer satisfaction.
“As more businesses allocated time and resources towards engaging with social media our study showed a direct correlation and decrease in customer satisfaction,” said Longshanks. “Contrary to many social media experts beliefs our study shows that listening to consumers through social media devices actually detracts from the customer relationship instead of enhancing it.”
As a social media engager I’ve tried to make it my priority to investigate, and at least try, any and everything that deals with social media. As you can imagine it’s quite the daunting task and usually requires many moments filled with, “I wish I had those 10 minutes of my life back.” In an effort to educate and stimulate I’ve come up with four common Facebook applications that for one reason or another should be banned and completely avoided.
#1) Lil Green Path – I’m all for the fight of global warming and trying to get others involved, but when this enables daily requests for exchanging of fake plants its gone too far!
#2) Nicest Person Content – I realize that by including this application in my list for banned applications my ranking of #3 for nicest person among my friends will diminish. Irregardless the hourly updates reminding me to check my status and vote for my friends makes it a first ballot candidate for banishment.
#3) Compare People – The idea and concept is pretty cool and I’ll admit I’ve found myself addicted to rating and judging all of my friends. The incessant advertisement of telling me how many crushes I have –
– and the fact my rankings change more than a Nascar’s tires makes it depressing to see you go from a potential phenom to depressing loser. This fluctuation in moral and false crushes makes this application ban worthy.
#4) Super Wall, Super Poke, Graffiti , or any similar application – Writing and interacting on your friends wall is one thing, but when you’re given the power to unleash web 2.0 emotions or physical reactions it becomes creepy. Of course there’s always some kind of inappropriate action that your best friend does repeatedly. Piggybacking that trend is the use of the application Graffiti which allows users to graphically draw or write whatever they please. Inevitably someone draws a giant penis which in it of itself should be reason for banishment.
Please feel free to add any additional applications you should be added to the banned list.
A hot topic in the Pacific Northwest revolves around businesses and individuals carbon footprints. While personally I have a relatively low carbon footprint my digital footprint, with relation to social media, is another story. As I was reading a blog post, passed along to me via Mack Collier on students leveraging social media for a job, I couldn’t help but think of personal branding and the importance of your digital footprint. Their are several ways we can enhance or hinder our digital footprint. I’ll be going over the top three best and worst ways to affect it.
Best Way to HINDER Your Digital Footprint
#3) Lying on Profiles
I’ve heard countless stories of individuals who created a Myspace or Facebook page using false information. Some of incidents I’ve encountered include putting single (when actually married), a different employer then the one you’re currently working for, and incorrect vital information. In the end companies are getting smarter and doing their homework prior to engaging in business. Having your credit score checked has now been replaced with doing a Google search. You have to expect that these profiles will come up and companies will look at them. The information you put up on your social media profiles can either help or hinder you.
#2) Tagging Photos
It seems to be part of my generation’s reputation that you must have a least one photo of you drunk on your social media profiles. The only photos you’ll find of me consuming adult beverages is either at a company gathering or on my 21st birthday with my parents. I can’t tell you how many of my close friends have complete albums full of drunk college party photos. While taging themselves in these photos is dumb they make things exponentially worse by making these photos accessible and public. Because nothing says dependable and hardworking like the photo above.
#1) Not Interacting at All
In today’s world if you don’t have a profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, a Blog, or any other type of social media interaction device their is reason for concern. By refusing to engage you’re refusing to grow. I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve generated just by using social media devices. As newspapers begin to disappear the use of the Internet becomes increasingly more important. It is the gateway of information and interacting with users through social media is just the latest and greatest enhancement.
Best Ways to Enhance Your Digital Footprint
#3) Start a Blog
While this seems to be a fad, that everyone eventually tries and abandons after 2 months, I believe it’s an important exercise to start and maintain a blog. Regardless of your passion or expertise everyone has a voice. Back in December I made a post giving 3 reasons why you shouldn’t blog, but I’m here to say that for your digital footprints sake you should blog. Nothing shows authority and passion quite like a blog. It’s also a great way to enhance your expertise because of the required studious nature it takes to maintain a blog.
#2) Get on LinkedIn or Facebook
From a business standpoint, creating a Facebook or LinkeIn profile should be looked at as creating an online relationship building hub. What better way to collaborate, interact, or engage with potential clients then with an online profile. My mother recently decided to create a Facebook account and was shocked when she discovered how many people are actually actively using these services. The volume and reach of social media profile users is the key differentiating factors between online and offline interactions. While the circumference of the earth is 40,075.02 KM creating a social media profile brings users across the globe within an arms length.
This is my official plug for using Twitter. As a social media friend of mine, George Webb, once said to me, “every week I try to get one new person to join Twitter and have to explain what the heck it is to another 10.” For me, next to this blog, there has been no greater source for engaging, developing, or enhancing my digital footprint than Twitter. Without actively participating with Twitter my blog readership would be two people, my mother and father. Besides that its allowed me to engage and converse with some of the brightest and most experienced individuals on the planet in several different medians. Where else would I have the opportunity to get cooking advice, get breaking news, learn about social media, and be able to talk to Shaq all at the same time?
Every year the month of March brings together droves of people across the United States for one spic event. March Madness. No other sporting event has the ability to pit David against Goliath or create the influx of emotions a fan can go through when creating his bracket. The joys of winning and the turmoils of losing can all be captured in the span of a few short weeks.
It seems that March Madness is recession proof as CBSSports.com has reported that advertising on its live streaming service is up a record $23 million from last year. One company that has stood out among the rest is Vitamin Water. In one of the most comprehensive advertising and marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen Vitamin Water is attempting to make its brand and Revive product associated with March Madness. The coolers court side, the cups the players use to rehydrate, the cups that coaches sip out of during their press conference, and of course their TV ad and contest.
Vitamin Water has funneled their traditional advertisement viewers to the web for a more interactive experience. Vitamin Water has created a hub for their video contest at the Revive to Survive website. The influx of user generated content, use of Facebook, and production of timely traditional advertisement is a testament to Vitamin Water’s brand and ability to be a catalyst in the non-alcoholic beverage industry.
In one of the truely social media driven experiences I’ve ever had I participated in the 2009 Earth Hour. On March 28th at 8:30pm local time households and businesses were asked to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. This is an annual event that was adopted in 2008.
What makes this event social media worthy is how people were encouraged to “Vote” for earth. An Earth Hour 2009 Filckr account was created for users to upload their photos of the event and what activities they chose to do in celebration. An Earth 2009 YouTube channel was created for users to upload video of the even and what activities they chose to do in celebration. Bloggers, like myself, were encouraged to write about the event tagging it with earthhour or voteearth and their location. Lastly, users were encouraged to Twitter tweet about the event and spread the word using the hash tags #earthhour or #voteearth and your #location to enable full tracking on the event and tweets.
Personally I did not know about Earth Hour until about 2 pm this afternoon when I saw a few people I was following, that live on the east coast, preparing for the event. I saw the hashtag #earthhour, did a twitter search, which led me to a link about the event. As many Twitter users witnessed this evening the power of social media is unquantifiable. The ability to inform and change a nation truly is possible. All it takes is one photo, video, post, or tweet to make it happen.
Businesses are beginning to wise up and move their marketing dollars from traditional media to Internet marketing. As a result other companies are attempting offer services to capitalize on this influx of Internet marketing dollars. A case and point is with Dex Yellow Pages. Over the past month I’ve heard countless radio spots and seen several TV commercials, such as the one below, that features Dex’s new and improved business offerings.
From a business practicality standpoint I have some difficulty buying the viability of Dex as an option for connecting businesses with customers on the web. For crying out loud you’re a phone book company! You know what we use the Dex phone books for in my office? As monitor stands. Their’s even petitions to get rid of them! It’s obvious phone book companies are trying to save their businesses and believe that they can leverage the laggard’s into using their service. After all companies are STILL buying advertisement on the spine of their useless carbon hording materials.
So why will people use Dex’s Internet marketing services and not a legitimate search engine marketing company? First off most people don’t know what search engine marketing is. What Dex does know about is traditional advertisement and phone books. Therefore businesses that currently use their services or rely on traditional advertisement would be more willing to trust Dex because of their proven track record. Secondly laggard businesses are searching for additional marketing resources from sources they currently use instead of going outside the box. Unfortunately businesses don’t know any better and are latching onto the safety net approach Dex is putting in place.
What this move boils down to is Dex attempting to take advantage of less informed businesses and executives. Quite frankly your ROI would be better if you did the Internet marketing internally and had someone familiar with search marketing walk you through the basics in an afternoon. It will be interesting to watch the returns Dex has through their Internet marketing offers and current promotional campaign. If Dex is unable to capitalize on the surge of Internet marketing business phone book companies may wind up like our newspapers.
Typically the webinars I’ve attended have consisted of sales pitch based remedial information catering to non integrated individuals or companies. When I found out about a webinar on social media I decided to give it a try since they claimed they could prove why social media has such a great ROI. The good people of Powered produced a webinar entitled, “Social Media: This ROI is too good to be true!”. The context of the webinar revolved around a study Powered conducted called the 2008 Social Marketing ROI Report and Benchmark Guide . I’ll let you be the judge of the results and conclusions of the study. The point I got out of this webinar, and on social media in general, is quantifying social media’s value is becoming too complex.
A type of marketing Kelly Feller brought up in her presentation last night, as documented in the post Inspiration for the Social Media Enthused, was word of mouth. Business’s can live and die through word of mouth advertisement. Why are review sites such as Yelp, ePinions, and Respond so popular? Because potential customers trust the voice of previous customers. The problem with word of mouth advertisement is you can’t quantify it. Estimations, statistics, studies, and surveys can taken in an effort to determine how any and every potential, current, and future customer found out about your business, but it’s not viable. Frankly speaking not all consumers want to tell companies how they came across their business because they’re afraid of being bombarded with advertisement and unnecessary follow up. Again it comes down to providing value for the consumer not beating the proverbial company drum with self promotion. As a result, word of mouth advertisement and social media marketing are the invisible hands of customer interaction.
I still believe people are focusing on the wrong things when it comes to proving the value of social media. Budgets and cost figures are now a priority instead of building relationships. The first thing they ever taught me in business school is,”Marketing dollars are the first to go for 95% of companies. When in reality these companies should be increasing their budgets, not slashing them.” The end result is to gain customers resulting in profit and return customers. This cannot happen without some kind of marketing. Social media is the absolute cheapest way you can do marketing. It’s absolutely free. As stated in a previous post discussing the Cost of Social Media, time is your only obstacle.
Quantifying time to an employer or client is always difficult because they think in dollars and cents. They want quantifiable data not unknown data that merely produces relationships and potential busine. I’ll be working over the next month or so on determining what metrics, if any, can be used to quantify the impact of social media. In the end it may simply be the invisible hand that works because it works.
I was privileged enough to attend the second ever Portland Social Media Club event this evening. While that in it of itself is not newsworthy the inspiration, vigor, and motivation speaker Kelly Feller, a Social Media Strategist for Intel, exuded on myself is.
What Kelly was able to convey was not only a sense of hope, but a beacon of guidance and a Big Ben lit big idea. The main problem, as I’ve advocated in Engagement is Only Second Base in Social Media , is companies and individuals want to engage, but they’re not being authentic. Many companies state they, “simply don’t have time to actively participate in social media,” yet believe they must participate to be relevant. As a result third party sources are called upon to run and manage these social media channels. What ends of happening is eventually a tweet, blog post, stumble, or some other form of social media engagement is performed and is not a direct representation of the views, thoughts, outlooks, or opinions of that company or individual. Misrepresentation occurs and thus a huge mess is created. In the end the time it takes to undo a social media disaster and potential branding catastrophe is much more than personally taking the time to engage with your customers and authentically interact using social media. After all isn’t the idea of interacting with your customers is suppose to be so you can react to and improve their expectations?
To dispel the fear of engagement, Kelly went into her theory that was coined by Nike, “Just do it!”. Anything that’s new and different will have some kind of resistance. Laggards still exist, especially in social media, but the expectation isn’t to try every single social media tool available. I’ve focused on, as stated in Social Media Which Services Matter? , is more manageable. Kelly stated engaging in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a blog should be enough to suffice any business or personal brand. The main thing is to roll up your sleeves and just start interacting. Keep the authenticity and your own personal voice. That’s what makes it interesting and engaging. Everyone has a perspective and viewpoint which is the real end value. So stop lurking in the shadows of technology. Come out and get your hands dirty in Social Media. I promise we wont bite!