Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of April 28, 2014

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of April 28, 2014…

Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of April 21, 2014

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of April 21, 2014…

Understanding Facebook Boosted Post Metrics

Cardboard rocket

Cardboard rocket (Photo credit: Matt Biddulph)

 

As you may be aware, Facebook is making it more difficult for companies and organizations to engage directly with their intended audiences.  To counter this (and to make revenue), Facebook offers the ability to boost an individual post so that it shows up in the news feed of your intended audience.  These boosted posts can be fairly low-cost, with a minimum boost of $5 per day.  So how well do these boosted posts perform and what sort of metrics does Facebook provide? To find out, I boosted a post on Lady Paragon’s Facebook page (a site I run with my sister for Women in STEM careers).

Facebook Post Pre-Boost

Here’s what the post looked like before I boosted it:

LP-beforeboost

The metrics we see are:

  • 1 person liked it (red circle)
  • There was 1 share (green rectangle)
  • 976 people saw the post (blue rectangle)

I boosted this post for 1 day at a budget of $5 and targeted fans & friends of fans of Lady Paragon’s Facebook page.

Facebook Boosted Post Metrics

Here are the metrics after the boost:

ladyparagons-FBafter

The metrics provided are:

  • 4 people liked it (red circle) — 1 was from before, which Facebook properly reports in the red circle in the How people engaged with your post section.
  • 1 share (green rectangle) — this was from before the boost
  • 3102 saw the post (blue rectangle) — Facebook reports that 2079 were from the boost in the Paid Reach box.  You can also see the percentage of paid to organic in the box with the 3102 — blue was organic, green was paid
  • 4 link clicks (purple circle)
  • Engagement of 7 — this is the number of link clicks added to the number of post likes

Facebook Post Insights

When you look at the post in the page Insights, you see the following metrics (more recent data):

FBboostedpostinsights

The orange bar shows the number of people who viewed the post, divided into lighter orange for organic, darker for paid.  3.1K is pretty close to the 3102 mentioned above.  218 is the number of post clicks and 116 is the number of likes, comments and shares. This is very interesting. Either the boosted metrics didn’t include some of the stats, boosting the post helped increase the organic reach and engagement, or the post received an unusually high number of engaged traffic from some of the people who saw it (remember that when someone likes a post, their network sees that they liked it, at least for a short time period).

Hypothesis: Boosting a Post Improves It’s Organic Reach & Engagement Too

I boosted another post on the same page (same budget $5) and got the following results:

  • 1331 Paid Reach
  • 5 Engagements – 3 link clicks, 2 post likes

FBboostedpostinsights2

According to the post insights, the post  got 15 post clicks and 4 likes, comments and shares.  Not nearly as high, so there probably is a difference in the influence of the people who engaged with each post.

If we look at the Google Analytics traffic to the actual post on the website (April 2-April 22), the April 2nd post (Jessica Kirkpatrick) had 338 pageviews (20 from Facebook), while the April 9th post (Kate Synder), had 93 pageviews (77 from Facebook).

Conclusion: Unclear, More Results Needed

The results do tend to show that a boosted post receives more organic engagement, especially if there are people with good influence that do engage with the post.  Using good targeting to reach the right audience to improve engagement on a boosted post may provide the most beneficial of results.  More testing is needed — I’ll continue to monitor my efforts.

What have you found with Facebook boosted posts?

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How Typography Affects Your Internet Marketing

English: Example of Tahoma typeface

English: Example of Tahoma typeface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suvir Mirchandani, a teenager from Pittsburgh, recently came up with a way to save the government a lot of money. No, it doesn’t involve massive cuts to social programs or reductions in military spending. Rather, he wants to cut printing costs by changing the font the government uses for its publications. By switching the typeface for all publications to Garamond, Mirchandani estimates the federal and local governments could save millions of dollars each year. The reason: Garamond is a thin, light typeface that doesn’t require much ink.

Although his initial estimate of a $234-million-per-year savings is definitely off, Mirchandani’s proposal brings up some interesting points about typography. While switching to Garamond would save in printing costs, typography experts pointed out this typeface is much harder to read than others. Older customers, who are more likely to read print copies, would probably have a harder time making out Garamond than Times New Roman or Arial. This means that while the government would save money, the publications could lose readability.

Readability is an important consideration for all publications, whether they’re in print or online. While you may not think about typography when you’re optimizing your website, it can make a big difference in how readers view and understand your information. The right typography can really make your content pop, while the wrong kind can turn readers off. Paying more attention to typography during search engine optimization can really help you drive more traffic and boost sales.

Overview of Typesetting

Typographers use specific terminology to describe text styles. It’s helpful to know these terms when you’re discussing typography with your web design team:

  • Typeface: Text styles like Times New Roman, Tahoma and Arial are commonly called fonts, but the correct name is actually typeface.
  • Font: Font includes a certain typeface, plus the weight, width and size of the text. 9 point Arial bold is an example of a font.
  • Serif: A serif typeface has extra decoration around the letters. Times New Roman, Garamond and Palatino are a few examples.
  • Sans-Serif: A sans-serif font is without extra lines or frills at the ends of letters.
  • Line Length: This is the length of a line of text from margin to margin.
  • Leading: Leading is the amount of space between separate lines of text.
  • Kerning: This is the blank space between each individual character.
  • Tracking: This is the average letter spacing over a large group of letters or characters.

Readability vs. Aesthetics

The most obvious way typography affects your site is in terms of readability. Numerous studies have found that certain fonts are easier to read, though there isn’t a clear consensus on whether serif or sans-serif typeface is better. Many believe that serif typeface is easier to read in print and sans-serif is easier on-screen. If you have a book close by, pull it out. What kind of typeface is used? The best-selling Harry Potter book series used Garamond, a serif typeface, as do many popular novels.

On the Internet, some people advise to only use sans-serif. Others say serif is better for headings, while sans-serif is better for body copy. The reason for this is headings need some extra pizzazz. Here’s an example of a serif heading with a sans-serif body, as seen on the Starbucks website.

coffee-typography

Jezebel does the opposite, though, by using serif copy with sans-serif headings.

jezebel-typography

This logo from Warren CAT uses a sans-serif font, but also incorporates a stylized ‘W’ to make it stand out.

warrencat-typography

As mentioned above, several studies have suggested that particular typefaces are better for general readability. However, the most legible typeface is not always what readers prefer. According to a study done at Witchita State University, Verdana, Arial and Comic Sans were the most often preferred typefaces. However, Times New Roman and Arial were read the most quickly, and Arial and Courier were the easiest to read. Ironically, Comic Sans, one of the preferred fonts, was actually least legible.

The study also determined size mattered. Verdana, Arial and Comic Sans were preferred at 10, 12 and 14 points, respectively. Also, Tahoma was the most legible font at 10-point, Courier at 12-point and Arial at 14-point. Ultimately, having a readable font is important as it makes it easier for you to convey information. According to a study done by Microsoft and MIT, reading more legible typography can improve mood and cognitive function.

Font Personality

Readability isn’t the only consideration when selecting a font. Otherwise, participants in the Witchita State study would have always selected the most readable fonts as their favorites. The font you choose can add a certain style and personality to your site. It may even make readers more likely to take you seriously.

According to an experiment done by Errol Morris in the New York Times, certain typefaces may carry more authority. In the experiment, participants were given an excerpt in one of six fonts — Baskerville, Helvetica, Comic Sans, Computer Modern, Georgia and Trebuchet. They were then asked if they agreed with the excerpt, and to what degree. The typeface used made a big difference in users’ responses. People were most likely to agree with the argument when it was presented in Baskerville. They were most likely to disagree when it was in Comic Sans or Helvetica. It’s also worth noting that reputable news websites, like the New York Times, often use an elegant serif typeface.

While there is no clear answer on which typeface is best for your website, using the right one really can make a difference in how readers perceive and remember information.

What kinds of typography do you think are most effective online?

About the Author

alilawrenceAli Lawrence is a content specialist for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Hot in Social Media, Yahoo! Small Business, and Business2Community.

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Thoughts on #Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman

Erik Qualman is at it again, with an updated 2014 installment of his #Socialnomics video (see below). If you are still unsure of the impact social can have on your company, consider these statistics from the video:

  • “53% of people on twitter recommend products in their tweets”
  • “93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media”
  • “90% of consumers trust peer recommendations only 14% trust advertisements”

Whether or not your company is using social networks, your customers are — in order to inform their purchase decisions and opinions about your brand.  Being active on social media gives companies an opportunity to listen, connect and contribute to the opinions consumers form of their products. Or as Erik states “Goodbye 4Ps – hello 4 C’s of digital: creating, curating, connecting culture”.

What do you think?

Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of April 7, 2014

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of April 7, 2014…

Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of March 31, 2014

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of March 31, 2014…

What You Want to Know Will Dictate What You Measure

Google Analytics Hacks

Google Analytics Hacks (Photo credit: Search Engine People Blog)

With so much data, it’s so easy to get caught up in all the numbers. Looking at the wrong numbers will result in faulty analysis and recommendations — you may fix things that aren’t broken, or not fix things that are. Or you may think you have the right solution to a problem, but not even be looking in the right place. While it may seem obvious, taking a step back to understand what you want to know first will help you choose the right measurements.

Step 1: State What You Want To Know

The first step is to state what it is you want to know — without using any measurements or metrics at all. For example, if a website has several links to its Careers page on the homepage, ‘We want to know what place on the homepage is sending the most traffic to our Careers page’. This is quite different from ‘We want to know where the most traffic is coming from that enters the site on our Careers page’. One is about the design of the homepage and the marketing there — the other is about external marketing efforts to the Careers page. We’re going to stick with the first for our example…

Step 2: Refine Your Data Needs

Now that we understand what we want to know, we can further refine our data needs to see if we have the right measurement in place. When we look at the homepage, we can see that there are actually 4 places that someone could click through to the Careers page: 1) Menu at the top of the page 2) Linked text in the middle of the page 3) Ad box in the sidebar 4) Menu in the footer of the page. Ok, so now we know there are 4 possible links a visitor could click, so in order to answer our ‘what we want to know’ question, we have to be able to tell the difference between each of these 4 links.

Step 3: Know Your Technologies

Unfortunately, the next step is fairly technical. In order to know if you can distinguish between the 4 links, you need to know 1) how your analytics package collects data and 2) how the links have been coded. In the case of Google Analytics, it treats all data that goes from one page to another as the same, if the links are the same (with a caveat explained in a second). This means that to Google Analytics, it can’t distinguish between the 4 links on the homepage in terms of how much traffic each sent to the Careers page. But there is hope… Google analytics allows you to add tags to links that can help you distinguish where traffic is coming from to the same web page. Which means that if the links were coded with these tags, the data will already be available. And if not, it can be if they are added. Other analytics tools may collect data differently and your content management system (CMS) can also impact how this works.

Step 4: Zero In on the Right Information

So now that we know what we’re trying to measure, what data refinements we need, and how our web technologies work, we can zero in on the right information in our analytics tool. In Google analytics, we’d look for traffic to the Careers page from each of the 4 tags on the homepage to provide information about what place on the homepage is sending the most traffic.

Good Measurement is In the Details

While this may seem complex, the first step — knowing what you want to know — is really vital for communicating your measurement needs to those that may help provide you with the metrics. Without this refinement, you may get back the wrong metrics, or your technologies may not be setup properly to provide them in the first place.

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Internet Marketing Strategy Articles for the Week of March 24, 2014

Here are the top Internet strategy, marketing and technology links for the week of March 24, 2014…

Just Like Anything, Internet Marketing Takes Patience

Zen Beach Stones at Home

Zen Beach Stones at Home (Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography)

In this instant-on world, where we can get access to just about any constant with a google search or an ipad app, we sometimes forget that not everything is instant. Good internet marketing is about providing the right message to the right people at the right time. Researching and figuring out what tactics and channels to use to find the right people takes time, and sometimes experimentation. Even with tactics in place, it takes time to build reputation, audience, and reach, all which may be in vain if the timing isn’t right. While internet marketing can provide results faster than many other channels, it still requires patience in execution.

Research Required

One of the benefits of internet marketing is the access to information that previously was either difficult or costly to attain. This valuable information can provide insights into where your audience is online, what they care about, and what they need.  Taking time to do research will help you tailor your messaging, tactics and even products to align more closely with what your potential customers want and need.

Experiment & Collect Data

Because the Internet moves so quickly, there is an opportunity to constantly experiment and collect data. Most marketing is a best guess based on research and previous experience. Internet marketing tactics allow marketers to test their theories relatively quickly and cheaply and collect data to improve results.

Analyze & Improve

The downside of so much information and data is that you can easily become overwhelmed with what to focus on. Analyze the data that provides direct information about how well your marketing is working — these should be your primary and secondary key performance indicators. Ask the ‘so what?’ question about each metric to move from a number to a recommendation on what to improve.

Patience Takes Dedication

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to give up on marketing efforts before they have a chance to provide results. By being dedicated to patience and controlling expectations, internet marketing tactics can have the opportunity to show what they can do. Constant measuring and analysis along the way will help provide data that tactics are moving in the right direction.

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