Dark social is a term used to explain web traffic whose source attribution is unclear – the true origin you can’t find or don’t know. Typically this traffic shows up as “Direct” in analytics because it comes from a copy/paste URL which you do not know where the user acquired it, nor do you know what was said about the link – the visitor just appears on the site.
Dark Social icons Image Credit: Kendesk Digital
There are two distinct parts – the analytics direct traffic – and also the more commonly used direct messaging for social sharing. This can be tracked by brands if the messaging app is part of the social site e.g. Facebook and Facebook Messenger. The source can be tracked even if you do not know the message or its context (because it was a private message).
Sharing apps are often encouraged by site owners – this site still has a share button and I’m sure yours does too.
If your reader chooses SMS, email or WhatsApp share then you have no way of tracking it.
Frustratingly, I have also fallen foul of this – when with a prospective client, I show them a web page on my phone, hit the share button and invite them to put their own email or phone number and to send themselves. I thought I would be able to later save their phone or email to my contacts. Wrong. It’s gone.
Jay Baer checked his own site and found his B2B website got a lot of dark social shares.
We also looked at the lead figures for a recent webinar. Five percent were attributed to direct by Google Analytics, even though the sign-up page was not accessible anywhere on the website. That means it’s not possible that these people landed on the page directly, and our analysis wasn’t entirely accurate.
Improve your ability to view dark social shares
ShareThis is a much-used social sharing plugin and they have adjusted their code so that they can track dark social shares. The tool is free to install and offers all the popular sites as pre-created.
You can also create custom share buttons which can be designed into your site colourways, have unique, trackable attributes which you define. This allows a “share count” to be generated and logged for your site.
Creating your own custom short URLs (bit.ly or similar) and using UTM markers can help you to track these shares, so that your “direct” traffic is further reduced, tracked and defined.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Image-dark-social-by-Kendesk-Digital.png5021106Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2019-09-30 12:50:192019-09-30 12:50:19Tracking Dark Social for B2B sharing
Apple has launched a beta service to analyse listenership of your podcast episodes on Apple devices and via Apple services.
I took a quick look – log in to iTunes Connect and select the drop-down next to the header. [Note the URL – since podcasts are being split off from iTunes, it’s now got its own URL podcastsconnect.apple.com]
The service obviously only works on Apple devices and so this will in all likelihood be a small segment of your audience. But the data has all the normal data points [#devices, #total time listened, time listened per device] defaulting to a past 60 days view.
The most interesting data point for me is the percentage “Average Consumption” measure defined as
The average percentage of the episode that was played across all devices. Playback duration is compared against the episode duration as reported in the podcast feed. If a device plays the duration time of an episode more than once, the consumption from that device will be greater than 100%
Neatly summarising most of what you’ll want to see – the Apple Podcasts Analytics beta has a nice dashboard showing Total time listened, a country analysis and split of subscribers and ‘not subscribed’. This is neat as I’ve always wondered about the proportion of my listeners who are not subscribers but do listen.
Partial audience analysis
In the analytics help documentation I noted the following:
Podcast Analytics begins gathering data as soon as users play content in the Podcasts app (iOS 11 or later), in iTunes 12.7 or later (macOS and Windows), or on HomePod. [NOTE only recent app versions]
Apple only displays data from users who agreed to share their diagnostics and usage information with providers. [NOTE Reduces total audience size]
To collect data, the duration of a play event must be at least five seconds. [NOTE fair enough]
Get on to Apple and take a look at your stats. Compare it to other analytics services [I use Podtrac] and compare the data points and your absolute numbers.
My Apple numbers and Podtrac numbers are not directly comparable as one is included in the other. But for me the average consumption metric is pretty neat and will be something I add in my media pack for advertisers.
The images below show the respective analytics for 7 recent episodes.
As a marketer I love being marketed to and so when I got invited by Air New Zealand to “Find out what’s your travel style?” I clicked to do the self-test quiz.
Backstory – Customer Differentiation for CRM
Facebook advert for Air NZ Quiz
Brands need to be clear about different messages to different audiences. This is basic database marketing concept is easy to achieve using segmentation based on actions. The difficult part is identifying customer attitudes and desires which have not yet become actions.
Creating a differentiation matrix for your customer base is worthwhile and if you have never done one before, ask us to help you create it.
After you have actions plus attitudes then you can create a layered differentiation plan – plugging your customer journey and content plan with clear guidelines which your team will love because it makes it very easy to track progress towards your goals.
The team will have created the segments based on research data (Qual and Quant) but their challenge is how to populate their existing customers into the data grid. Here’s where the fun quiz fits. By running a campaign with a prize draw, they are creating a series of Golden Questions and the obliging customer fills in the quiz and creates a score which populates their preferences in the database. What follows is the clever part – using the insights gained, AirNZ will be cross-populating the insights into their current database of customers who did not fill in the quiz – by inference from other customers who look alike.
What I’m looking forward to is the communications that should follow – will I (A Lounger) get more customised messaging?
The Travel Style quiz told in screenshots
First up the quiz questions – you can guess the alignment between the four travel styles (lower down) and the questions if you choose to base your own quiz on this format.
Then the detail of the travel styles.
And lastly the up-sell in every travel style description – mine was for the Skycouch including a video and a transcript (very important for people using social without sound enabled).
Last week I got the latest research on SEO from trusted brand SEM Rush. You can download and read their report Ranking Factors 2017 in SEO.
Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush
Creative Agency Secrets has read the whole report and below are 5 SEO tasks you can initiate immediately for your own website or ecommerce store.
The report has a number of chapters each of which is followed by “What this means to you as a marketer” Read these pages for the SEMRush interpretation of their research findings.
5 SEO actions for 2017
Check you have a secure (https) website. Get a SSL Certificate installed if your url begins http://. See Secure websites below
Find websites which can link back to you. Clients, Suppliers, News / Magazines, Directories. See Referring Domains below
Get ideas for your SEO and your content creation from Answer the Public research tool
Use more keywords on your “cornerstone” content pages. See Keywords below.
Plan the visitor pathway through your site especially with a view to reducing bounce rate.
The Detailed insights
Note these are paraphrased from the SEMRush report including some verbatim quotes. All the ACTION FOR YOU tasks are recommendations by us for your website or ecommerce store. The page numbers are the actual page number in the report NOT the number top RHS.
Secure websites – page 6. The higher the page position in search, the higher the keyword search volume most sites are secure https domains. We interpret this that websites with SSL are trusted and are gaining over plain www and http sites.
Referring domains – page 10. The pages that rank higher have more backlinks from unique domains. Websites that appear on SERPs for high-volume keywords have significantly more backlinks than ones that appear for low-volume keywords — almost 10 times more. ACTION FOR YOU the competition for high-volume keywords is vicious, and those websites are invincible. But for low-volume keywords the competition is not so tough, so some link building could bring tremendous results.
Content length – page 18. What we saw first was that there is generally more content on the pages that rank higher for all search volume intervals. There is more content on the pages with long-tail keywords than on those with short-head keywords. ACTION FOR YOU pick your “cornerstone” content pages and work them HARD for SEO goodness. Content length is important for your page’s success as long as it is valuable, well-written, and optimised, especially if you target high volume keywords.
Keywords – page 23. In the high volume keyword group. the majority of the pages add a keyword to their title, meta and body copy but the occurrence of the keyword in the meta description does not influence the page rankings. Pages that rank for long-tail keywords repeat those keywords less often than pages that rank for short-head keywords. The pages on the first positions (for both longtails and short-heads) have noticeably more keywords than all other pages. ACTION FOR YOU If you plan to rank by long tail keywords, having an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements is not crucial. In fact, it is more important to diversify the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the target keyword rather than copying it. The presence of a video didn’t show a significant influence on page rankings, so we came to the conclusion that video itself is not a silver bullet. However, in certain niches clients expect video content, so it makes sense to provide it. Consider your audience’s demands, and if they include visual support, use video.
Volume of visitors – page 33. Not a strong correlation to page rank here especially if your search phrases are low(er) volume searches. For the low-volume keyword group, the trend is flat, indicating that a page’s position does not strongly correlate with its number of total monthly visits. For high-volume popular keywords, the number of page visits gets noticeably smaller for sites that rank below the 12th position. ACTION FOR YOU this means organic search is not the only thing you should be concentrating on. Drive a strong traffic from direct and social media linked visits by pushing brand awareness on these platforms and also through newsletters.
Bounce Rate – page 37. The higher a page’s position is, the lower its bounce rate. The user navigates through three to three-and-a-half pages per website, per visit. As your site moves towards the top of the SERP, there are more pages per session for every domain. ACTION FOR YOU firstly ensure you have strong internal page linking. Think about what you want the visitor to do next on every page.Connect with Cornerstone content discussed above. Also analyse your rivals (How to compare my site to a competitor’s) Inside Google Analytics, check your queries performance and lastly, find low ranking pages for Bounce and improve them to reduce bounce rate and page rank.
SEMRush custom offer at the end of the report
And a cunning end-point which is a marketing “trick” I’ve used a lot for clients – on the very, very last page is an offer. A really good one. SEMRush will do a niche study for your industry if you write to ask. We did (for a client) and they said they’d been overwhelmed and would put it on the list…. but still. This is a fabulous reward for the people who do read all the way to the end. #TopTip
Ready to rock with some improvements on your business SEO? Let’s get started together!
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/RAnking-Factors-SEM-RUsh.png8601230Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2017-07-05 13:58:062017-07-05 16:25:18What's new in SEO? 5 actions to do today
Customer feedback. These simple words are in every businessman’s mouth (and 2-hour long Powerpoint presentations) and can give you priceless insights if done right. This data is essential to measure customers’ satisfaction and make your products/services meet their needs. But let’s be honest, the ways people use to collect it are not thought through like they should. From annoying guys with clipboards knocking on your door to spammy messages in your inbox, research is carelessly planned by most companies. Fear not, though: we have a few suggestions for you on how to seize your customers’ opinion.
Yeah, you know where I’m going: the infamous surveys. Right now, as I mention the words “fill a form”, I can almost hear your eyes rolling. It’s something loathed by most of us, and some planners consider just a necessary evil. Doesn’t matter if you are the poor soul who’s spreadsheeting the results for that damn thing or, God forbid, the one answering to an endless questionnaire.
Understanding the importance of this kind of research, many companies offer rewards to customers in a hopeless attempt of getting useful information to work with. Burger King, for example, used to encourage customer feedback offering FREE FOOD if you completed their online survey. However, even a free burger was not incentive enough to make me bother to finish those.
Ok, so where are those brands failing miserably?
The process itself is outdated. If the activity is too laborious, doesn’t matter what “prize” you are offering. People tend to quit or, even worse, answer rubbish by mindlessly marking “x” on random fields just to be done with it, giving you worthless data.
Now you are probably asking yourself the million dollar question: is there a way to avoid wasting your resources while collecting useful data?
Make it fun
Surveys must be dynamic, well designed and lighthearted. No one can stand boring lists of questions and tiny “tick boxes” in this day and age. You can use a tool like Typeform, a Spanish startup that is mastering user experience for all kinds of forms, from a simple suggestion box to a more intricate survey. You can check an example at the end of this article. Their innovative service promises to keep “focused and engaged respondents” with a beautiful interface, responsible for a 59% completion rate on the platform. That’s a MASSIVE result.
Make it meaningful
Your customer has to understand the objective of giving you feedback and see that you are actually listening. You can start showing your appreciation by making him part of the creative development of new products, like McDonald’s did with the “Create Your Taste” campaign. There was no money involved, just a warm feeling of belonging and the thrill of signing your own McDonald’s sandwich. Crowdsourcing at its finest, bringing excellent results (and funny memes, because internet).
Here at Creative Agency Secrets, we made a testimonials campaign for ourselves by partnering with a charity called StarJam. Offering donations in exchange for a few words from our clients, we turned their feedback into social proof for our own brand on the internet. You can check more details reading our case study.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/customer-feedback-survey.jpg341845Creative Agency Secrets Teamhttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgCreative Agency Secrets Team2016-09-22 14:02:132016-09-23 17:42:37Don't Be Boring Is The Best Way To Gather Customer Feedback
Google alerts are an extremely useful resource for promoting your business online. First of all, if you aren’t using Google Alerts to track your business, you’re missing a seriously useful hack. They are particularly handy for staying up to date with relevant and timely information regarding your business, so you can react immediately to any publicity or news as soon as it happens.
But that’s not all Google Alerts are good for…
Google Alerts can also be used via RSS as a news aggregator on your website or blog! This is particularly useful for showing your visitors you know what is happening around you as well as demonstrating a position of authority with regards to your particular topic. Displaying the latest, relevant news results provides a great reason for your fans to continue returning to your site. Tailored, niche content is much easier to digest when it is a subject aligned with your own browsing interests. It may even help increase the likelihood of your visitors purchasing from you!
The best part about this is it can be totally automated, so you don’t have to spend time curating material. But make sure you have tested and refined your alert keywords in order to get the best results. Or, be sure to check the results from time to time in order to filter out anything that doesn’t fit with your brand.
We will be putting together a guide explaining how to get Google Alerts displaying as an RSS feed on your website shortly…
The next application for Google Alerts is a little more intricate: With a bit of research and a thorough understanding of your target market, you can even use Google Alerts to find new business!
Example: How to use Google Alerts to Generate Leads
Our client provides storage equipment solutions to the global rowing community. Although they can retro-fit single pieces of equipment inside an existing boathouse, their biggest projects come from clubs and organisations who have or are building brand new facilities. These new facilities obviously require a complete fit out of storage equipment and therefore, are our client’s ideal market. So how do you know when a new facility is built and looking for storage equipment? Timing is everything – if you find them too late, they may have already sourced a supplier and you’ll have missed the boat. Google Alerts provides the answer!
By setting up alerts with keywords such as “new rowing boathouse”, “rowing building new boathouse” and “new rowing club” for example, you get a nice summary of boathouse developments happening around the world.
Of course you have to continue your research beyond the alert itself to determine the lead’s value. Sometimes, results are completely irrelevant, and sometimes they are duplicates of material you have already covered. However, on the whole, they are incredibly useful at identifying future projects, as they are often newsworthy topics in their local area.
The next step is to track all your leads in a spreadsheet. Information such as who to contact and where they are located is particularly important. Additional research on the lead’s website often provides the necessary information to point you in the right direction.
In our client’s case, we were interested in contacting the architects of the boathouse, so that we could get involved with the club and their design process, as early as possible.
We have experienced great success building up a database of quality leads for our client in recent months. It is then up to our client to continue the dialogue with the prospective club and come to an arrangement. We have had a great deal of success converting these previously unknown prospects into happy customers, and have done so without investing hugely in advertising, outbound mailing campaigns or other conventional outbound marketing activities!
We have been able to minimise the time taken to research new sources of business through alerts and have increased the prevalence of new business, while making it easy to filter out results of no value. And as it updates you each time a new boathouse is being developed, you don’t waste time searching for them manually. A weekly check of your alerts inbox provides you with enough
Regardless of your industry or business, there’s bound to be a positive application to use Google Alerts for. Whether it is direct lead generation, building a database of bloggers and journalists to share content between, or even researching a network of businesses whose interests align neatly with your own, the uses for it go on and on.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/google-alerts.jpg341845Creative Agency Secrets Teamhttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgCreative Agency Secrets Team2016-08-11 10:00:402019-04-23 10:54:10How to Use Google Alerts to Drive Business
Data is worthless unless it has meaning. Today’s marketer has access to more data than ever.
Finally we stand a chance of overcoming the traditional hostility to marketing as being 50% wasted spend because digital is wholly trackable and spend ROI can be calculated. And yet now, when all this is within our grasp, marketers fail to transition because they don’t understand data. They don’t like data, marketing doesn’t recruit numerate graduates and so the “fluffy” attitude to our discipline continues.
This annoys the hell out of me. It is not difficult and so I make analytics required task for all the interns, graduates and new staffers joining our team.
So what numbers should a business owner and a marketer look for and how to interpret them?
Analytics is free
Google has a comprehensive analytics package called Google Analytics (GA) which is freely available and you should install it on your website. You can ask your developer to install the code in your website or use plugins such as the Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights (formerly known as Google Analytics by Yoast). There are more sophisticated packages, but start your pathway to analysis glory with the workhorse of the industry.
One of the best things about GA is that many marketing software applications integrate with it – so if you use marketing automation with Campaign Monitor or MailChimp or InfusionSoft then once it’s set up everything gets tracked with no further effort on your part.
Finding your space online
Most businesses understand how to find and occupy a niche online – the keywords and search phrases which you want to get found for and the competing websites and brands for your business.
And so your content marketing will be resonating with others who share your niche.
The bit of analytics I love most is the incoming referrals data.
I was with a client who sells paleo food products through an online store. They had never, ever looked at their analytics account. Ever. So we took a look and found they had incoming links from powerful bloggers who had the potential to resell their products. Double Whammy – a strong incoming link sending traffic to the site plus a potential new distributor. Two easy actions for them to improve business revenues. And all it took was a look into GA.
Referrals Data Analysis
So let’s go on a little journey inside Google Analytics – first looking at the Acquisition tab and then below, the Referrals sub-category. Ooh, I love this part…. look at all the websites where people have followed a link into your website…. but there’s more. Now find the pages they linked to by adding to the data display. Go to the top of the referrals page and look for this button, click on Secondary Dimension and below on the menu that appears expand the menu below “Behaviour” and click on Destination Page. Now you can see all the visitors from different sites sorted by the page they came to.
Does this help?
Oh boy yes. Now I know which content is engaging to readers, which source websites are sending me traffic and in what volumes to which pages…. I can find pages where the content gets visited regularly all the time, I can find blog posts that get very little or a large amount. This allows us to adjust what we write, which keywords, which audiences and where to share the content.
Things that you can do to improve incoming links.
If there are a range of companies sending traffic to your homepage, consider creating a landing page just for them. We have several on our website – take a look at this https://creativeagencysecrets.com/yellow/ Yes we wrote a page just for visitors from our Yellow Pages listing. It contains information that will help shortcut their journey through the site to finding what they want, fast.
You can do this too
Other small tasks worth paying someone to do (if you don’t know how) is integrating Google Search Console with GA so you can see the Queries your website shows up for and how many click-throughs you get and what your average display rank is (page one or page 21?). So helpful.
And if you use Google AdWords – your reporting from the agency who does the work for you should include as a minimum the following data points.
• Number of leads
• Cost per lead
• Top Adverts
• Number of impressions
• Which keywords are sending traffic
• Search query
This last, search query, is really important because it shows what the potential customer typed into the search engine…. and that’s gold as far as on-site SEO goes. Same as the Queries inside GA.
There is core data which as the advertiser you need and as the marketers, we need, in order to focus our efforts appropriately.
So let’s get started as confident analytics users whose marketing delivers return on investment.
Teach yourself, get tutored or go on a course. Doesn’t matter how, just get on and do this one thing.
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/marketing-analysis.jpg341845Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2016-08-05 12:10:572018-06-27 15:55:01Getting insight from your Marketing Analysis
https://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/zero-to-hero-cabjaks.jpg341845Rebecca Caroehttps://creativeagencysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CAS_Logo_1line_RGB.jpgRebecca Caroe2016-05-20 10:58:072016-08-24 12:41:23Case Study: zero to local hero for manufacturer
Anonymous website browsing means it’s harder to track key word searches. This article will show you how to find what keywords visitors search to find your site and the removes impact of the “Not Provided” keyword results in Google Analytics. This workaround will import results from Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics.
Inside your Google Analytics you can see which search terms prospects are using to find your website. Acquisition -> Keywords -> Organic.
However with the rise of anonymous browsing, this means that Google Analytics can no longer track keyword searches as easily and so an increasing number of searches are now being displayed as “(Not provided)”.
This situation is getting worse month by month as we track the analytics for our website and those of our clients.
A Workaround For Keyword Searches
Although not a perfect replacement, Creative Agency Secrets has found a work-around which can give you a good indication of what search words and phrases your website is showing up for and which are drawing visitors.