“What the Heck Am I Looking At?” – A Brief Tour of Google Analytics

Alright, in our last post we highlighted some key Analytics terms you should be familiar with, especially if you’re going to be reading reports on your digital marketing efforts. Hopefully you studied up! Today we’re talking about navigating to subsets of data within Google Analytics that we think you should become familiar with first, and knowing those terms will help you understand what you’re seeing. We understand that every business is unique, with shifting needs and goals that can definitely be applied and captured within Analytics, but exploring all of Google Analytics’ capabilities with you could take awhile. Not that we don’t want to spend extra time with you -that sounds awesome- but let’s save it for September’s hangout!

Google Analytics has way more capability than we’re going to talk about today, and even though we know you’re a smarty pants who could handle a full tutorial, we wanted to stay pretty basic with this post. We know most of you just want to be able to check-in on your website…see how it’s doing, if it needs anything…you know, because your business can be your second child. This popular reporting tool is widely used because it’s customizable, nicely organized, and the plethora of data keeps you in the loop. You get to see a lot of information about what’s going on with your site, after putting just a small amount of code on the backend.

“Ok yes, data is very useful and good, but this is overwhelming to stumble through. What am I looking at?!” Never fear, Rock Paper Simple is here!

Creating or logging into your existing account is easy. Head over to Google.com/analytics to get started. It will be tied to an existing google account or you can make a new one. Keep in mind Analytics lets you add/revoke user access under Admin, so we recommend having a business Gmail account to associate with your Analytics account, and you can add team members later on if certain people need to see it.

After logging in to your account you’ll see the major categories of Home, Reporting, Customization, and Admin across the top. Home is simply a list overview of client accounts, Customization lets you compile specific reports to email out, and Admin is well, Admin. In there you create property clients and add their website accounts, and if you’re new to Google Analytics you’ll be directed on how to set up web tracking. If you need help with this process, contact the team here. If you’re good to go, read on!

For now we’re going to tell you to just focus on the Reporting tab and forget about those other tabs, because all the fun stuff lives under Reporting. The core of Google Analytics is there, so it makes sense for us to skip to the good part, right? Under Reporting, click through each subsection on the left sidebar. You’ll see the top four sections are user tools that can help simplify and customize your Google Analytics experience. We’re going to skip over those too, but they are useful to know about so here’s a quick description:

Dashboard – Super handy, and first under Reporting for a reason. You can pick and choose subsets of data to see, creating a unique visual for you to speedily analyze accounts. If you’re not interested in navigating Analytics to see your reports the standard way, this is for you!
Shortcuts – If you need to check in routinely with a specific account, then you should create a shortcut to that report. It’s not saving too much time, but you’ll look like a wizard at your next meeting when you pull up the numbers your boss wants to see with speed and ease.
Intelligence Events – You can set up alerts to be notified when Analytics receives data on criteria you specify, or when data is abnormal. This can be useful when tracking activity after a major campaign or implementation of something new.
Real Time – Exactly what it sounds like! Be the spymaster you always wanted to be and watch top referrals, pages, search activity, top locations, and more… all in real time!

Underneath those are (arguably) the most important sections- Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior. When you look at their Overview sections, you can see a standard report that provides a line chart of data from a specified time range, and more illustrative data charts beneath that. Thankfully Google understands that numbers can get overwhelming, so they’ve included many chart options for us Right-Brained thinkers who like a more visual representation of data. The default line chart shows data for Sessions, but you can choose which data shows in the dropdown right above the chart. You can also add another data line for comparison!
Overviews are helpful when you want “at-a-glance” updates about your site, but for most of you who want a little more information about what those numbers mean for business, we recommend heading straight to a couple of places:

First is Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals.

Referral reports are a great way to see where your traffic is coming from and the quality of that traffic. With this report you can see the specific pages that are bringing viewers to your site, and their associated bounce rate and session data. This is can be the most important report for a lot of people (shortcut worthy!). It provides a visual outcome of marketing efforts, leading businesses to make better decisions on whether to amplify, change, or quit those efforts accordingly.

Another good place to start is Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages.

The data within Site Content gives you a breakdown of user behavior. Here you can see total pageviews, entrance and exit value of pages, and where users navigate to after they land on your site. For example this restaurant has the most pageviews on the homepage (/) but people stay the longest on the /about/ page, signaling their interest in reading through content on the atmosphere and dining experience. This data is super helpful to look at because you can see which pages are aiding or hindering the flow of a user’s experience- telling you if you should beef up your page’s content, if your SEO needs work, and other valuable info!

Confident in Getting to Those Places? Browse around within Reporting!
Once you become a little more comfortable exploring Google Analytics, we recommend playing around with sections under Audience. In here you can see your global marketing reach, enable demographic data pulling, know which technology is being used to find your website, add segments to track social media traffic, and more. With this knowledge it becomes easier to better target your marketing efforts, and you can be smarter about captivating users. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s worth learning more about. Also, when your clicking around subsections, don’t forget to click on the blue links in your tables! They allow you to see even more subsets of related data. For example if you see in Audience -> Geo -> Location that most of your sessions originate in the U.S., follow the links to see state rankings, and further to see which cities in that state are top visitors of your site. If you need additional assistance or information about what something is, remember that you can click on the little graduation hat icon that hangs out under the date range! Google does a good job of defining things and helping Analytics stay user-friendly.

Wrapping it all up…
Google Analytics is a great tool that lets you see data for just about any custom inquiry you can come up with. What you do with that data is the important part! If you get really into exploring Analytics and you enjoying checking numbers, there’s potential for it to become a powerful tool in expanding your business, and we’d like to talk to you about that. However after all this, if you decide that numbers just aren’t your thing (or you’d rather get simple reports from us) we can certainly talk about that too! If you have any questions, or you’re interested in getting an analytical report sent to you in plain English, call us or drop a message here.

Web Analytic Terms You Should Know

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Besides conquering galaxies and cooking your breakfast, did you know that one of the many benefits of your Rock Paper Simple website is real-time analytics? Thanks to tools like Google Analytics measuring certain metrics, we can help you to understand how well your site is performing. You’ll be able to make decisions to not only improve the user’s experience, but also improve your business’ sales.

If you’re unfamiliar with an analytics report and its terms, it can be overwhelming and kind of confusing. Fear not! Unless you’re working in the digital marketing industry and immersed in it daily, don’t feel bad. Whether you’re a small business owner or completely new to web analytics in general, there is a basic understanding of web analytics you can learn to help you along. And the more you understand the terminology, the more confident you will be in making improvements to your site’s performance.

Here are some of the top terms you should know when it comes to web analytics:

Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then navigate to another domain after viewing one page.

Click Through: when a visitor clicks on a link that leads them to a website or another section within a website. The click through rate is the number of clicks a link received divided by the number of times your link is shown expressed as a percentage.

Conversion: a visitor responds to a call to action (i.e. purchases a product).

Cookie: a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the visitor’s web browser. Cookies keep track of a visitor’s movements within the site, remembers the visitor’s registered login, theme selection, preferences, and other customization functions.

Direct Referral: URL’s the visitor either typed in directly or reached via their browser’s bookmarks. They did not find your website on search engines or through another site.

Entry Page: the first page a visitor views on a website from another domain.

Exit Page: the last page a visitor views before leaving the website.

Impression: the number of times a piece of content (i.e. banner ad, social media post) is viewed.

Keyword: a particular word or phrase that summarizes the content of a page and helps search engines match pages with searches.

Organic Search: visitors arrive to your website from unpaid organic or natural search engine results.

Pageviews: a pageview is recorded when the visitor views a full page of your website. Pageviews per visit is the average number of pages viewed per visit over a selected period of time.

Paid Referrals: visits that came to your website from paid advertisements (i.e. Google AdWords.)

PPC: also known as pay per click, PPC are paid searches where the advertiser pays based on the number of clicks the advertisement received.

Referral: visitors who were referred from links on other websites.

Social Referrals: referrals from social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Top Viewed Pages: pages with the most views over a selected period of time.

Unique Visitor: a number of distinct individuals who request pages from a website during a specific period, no matter how many times they visit.

By taking the time to learn these web analytic terms, you have the power to make your Website work better for you and your visitors. And like we say here at Rock Paper Simple, “Keep It Simple!” There’s no need to bend over backwards and drain your time and resources when our team can help you. Give us a call at 321-626-2172 and learn how we can help!

Will brands be sponsoring your personal posts? A new breed of ads is on the horizon.

Recently we came across an article published by Advertising Age that we found extremely interesting because it mentioned an avenue of advertising that is starting to gain momentum– sponsoring user posts.

If you’re familiar with Reddit, then you may have already seen this happening, since the Forum-Style platform introduced this new advertising option earlier this month. Starting August 4th, marketers will be able to piggy-back the unique voice of users for more wide-spread marketing by sponsoring user-generated posts. This new avenue of advertising could do well for businesses. A responsive solution to consumer desire for more amiable companies, this style of ad could lead to a more personal connection between customer and business -which data indicates to be an increasing consumer need as the largest share of purchasing power in the U.S. shifts to Millennials. Reports are showing that personable and honest brands that tell a story and offer an “experience” to these young consumers (before pushing a product or service) are doing better than their traditional advertising counterparts.

Traditionally the platform Reddit promotes a “Show Me Your A-Game or Go Home” attitude, and can be accurately described as a hostile environment towards the insincere (i.e. business, agencies, companies). It’s safe to say their aggression towards companies is exacerbated by targeted advertising, which can make users feel like they’re being taken advantage of. So using Reddit’s new “Promoted User Post” advertising option is a high-value risk for business; a larger company could be viewed by users to have more honest intentions than before (leading to solid ROI), or they could experience massive resistance from Reddit users and be pressured to cut their losses.

With internet users already so apathetic towards advertising efforts in general, the reaction of users on Reddit so far has been leaning towards the negative (as expected). Targeting your brand’s audience via user posts seems sneaky, like wearing a disguise to sneak past security. The annoyance of ads is still overwhelming users, because now these “sponsored user posts” are ads that appear across multiple subreddits (categories/topics that enable niche communities), so you’re more likely to come across them more than once. The underlying thought of complaints so far expresses that this method could end up isolating users, i.e. consumers, even more than traditional advertising, because user posts are now being twisted to cater and benefit business, instead of remaining a site for brutally honest statements of opinion.

However, others are seeing positive aspects from post sponsorship. With user opinion now given more value, not all Redditors are claiming to feel swindled by the ads they encounter. Brands that took a chance on Reddit’s new Ad option could start to see success in conversion as users accept this method as low-key and less intrusive, and interpret it as companies being more genuine about supporting customer satisfaction. This advertising stye could help create more trust between consumer and business, beginning with an amiable relationship that develops through more personable marketing efforts.

So with the pros and cons so far voiced, if your post is chosen, we’re curious about your verdict. Will you feel special and validated, or will you see it as an encroachment on personal boundaries and like you’re contributing to the system?

No matter how you see it, such active community involvement across a plethora of topics creates a very unique opportunity for advertisers, which will inevitably spread to other media platforms if found to be successful. Either Reddit’s new option will be a success for expanding marketing technique, or the lash out from users will send advertisers back to the drawing board. Only time will tell us if “User Sponsored Posts” can bring home the bacon.

Meet Haley. Newest Member of Team Awesome!

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Haley is the newest addition to Team Awesome. (Yay!) She graduated from U.C.F. with an Interdisciplinary B.A. degree, which she feels accurately reflects her creativity and interest in learning about many different things.

Wait, a degree in what?! Haley… explain what this interdisciplinary thing is!

Haley: “Think Leonardo da Vinci, who beautifully mashed science and art together to create amazing things and solve problems uniquely. He’s basically the father of Interdisciplinary Study. I have a degree in crossing professional knowledge, allowing for more a fluid way of thinking in regard to problem solving.”

Her role here as the Digital Content Coordinator at Rock Paper Simple provides Haley a chance to flex her interdisciplinary muscle. She gets to write content, create and implement social media plans, optimize websites, plan events, analyze SEM data… the list goes on. Her ability to “mash” knowledge to create distinct solutions and create positive results makes her great at what she does… creating and pushing out content for both RPS and our clients.

When not in the office you might find Haley out kayaking, wandering around with friends trying catch Pokemon, or volunteering her time to Ambassador Bullies. If you didn’t find her doing any of those things… then it’s likely she’s at home, covered in flour from rolling croissants (oooh tasty!).

We’re excited to have her creativity and ambition around the office. Welcome to our Team Haley!

Rock Paper Simple Hangout (At The Office!)

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So a year ago we decided that we wanted to infuse more fun into your lives… okay okay, we admitted it then and we will admit it now, we just wanted to have more fun and figured we would invite you along for the ride.

The next Hangout is coming up in September… so join us on Friday the 9th (5:30-7:00) at the Rock Paper Simple office for drinks and snacks on us! Relax after a week of far too much awesome (or maybe not enough) and get a drink, network a bit, win a door prize and hangout with the RPS team.

Please RSVP so we can have a cold one waiting for you! Click here to RSVP on Facebook… or comment below!

Er, what’s the difference? A brief overview on file formats

*IMPORTANT NOTE:* if it doesn’t contain the AI or EPS file, you were not provided the original vector logo, which you should have received if you truly own your logo. Trust us, you will want these two file types when it comes to future projects.

When you purchase a logo package here at Rock Paper Simple you own your logo. It’s that simple. We provide you with every industry standard file type, as well as an explanation so you can better understand what all these files should be used for.

Anyway, the files you receive may contain file extensions like JPG, PDF, PNG, AI and EPS…So what’s the difference? Here’s what you need to know when it comes to file formats:

 

.JPG

This is the most common web file type you’ll see and a file format most everyone is familiar with. JPG, also spelled JPEG, can be opened on almost all computers. This file type does experience “lossy” compression, meaning the quality of the image decreases as the file size decreases.

Please note that a JPG is NOT a vector file. Rather, it is locked in at a certain size and can only be scaled down in size. It is also non-transparent, meaning a white background surrounds the image.

.PNG

PNGs are amazing for interactive documents such as web pages, but are not suitable for print. The reason PNGs are used in web projects is because your image is saved with more colors on a TRANSPARENT background. This makes for a much sharper, web-quality image.

While PNGs are “lossless,” meaning you can edit them and not lose quality, they are still low resolution. A PNG file is similar to a JPG with the exception that it does allow for transparency. Similar to a JPG, a high-resolution PNG is necessary for printing and a low-resolution version is ideal for use on screens and other digital displays.

.GIF

GIFs are another option when it comes to having a transparent background, but involve less colors than a PNG. It is almost always a better option to use a PNG.

An animated GIF file is a graphic image that moves on a Web page. Within a single file, a set of images is presented in a specific order to make up the GIF, which stands for graphics interchange format. An animated GIF can loop endlessly or it can stop animation after one or two sequences. GIFs are most frequently used as Web banner ads.

.PDF

Invented by Adobe, PDFs capture and review rich information from any application, on any computer, with anyone, anywhere. PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It can embed and encapsulate graphics, fonts, colors and other information required to view a file. It is the most requested file type by most professional printers today.

When a vector logo is saved in a PDF format you can view it without any design editing software (as long as you have downloaded the free Acrobat Reader software.) This is by far the best universal tool for sharing graphics.

.EPS

EPS is a vector file format that is designed to produce high-resolution graphics for print. It is more of a universal file type (like the PDF) that can be used to open vector-based artwork in any design editor, not just the more common Adobe products. In the design world, an EPS file type is an industry-standard.

Out of all the file types, you most likely won’t be able to open it. Don’t worry if you can’t. It is advised that you hold on to it should another designer or an industry partner request a vector format logo.

If you need a large banner or a business card, a logo in EPS will always scale to fit your needs.

.AI

This is by far the image format most preferred by designers and the most reliable type of file format. Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard for creating artwork from scratch, therefore is the program in which your logo was created. Illustrator produces vector artwork; this is the easiest type of file to manipulate. They are constructed using proportional formulas rather than pixels.

 

Your logo and brand graphics were created as a vector, and you should always keep the master file on hand. The real beauty of vectors lies in their ability to be sized as small as a postage stamp, or large enough to fit on an 18-wheeler!

To learn more about Rock Paper Simple’s branding services contact us here or give us a call today at 321-626-2172!

Five Ways to Stay True to Your Brand on Social Media

Today, social media is the fastest way to expose a brand, so it’s essential that it’s represented and communicated accurately. A brand is anchored by its values, and there’s no better place to let those values shine than in the social realm. Whether you’re just getting started in social or have been a pro for years, here are a few ways to ensure that you’re staying true to the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.

 

1. Know Your Social Personality

Before you can stay true to your brand in the social media world, you have to know what your personality is. Social media creates space for your brand to reveal its authenticity and give a great picture of what you’re about. While some brands may default to humor, it’s not the only way to be personal. Maybe your brand is warm and caring, or maybe it’s more direct and serious – whatever it is, be sure that the tone of your posts shows the personality you wish to convey. The best way to establish your personality is to outline your brand’s values and identify your audience.

 

2. Be Creative but Consistent

You can’t have creativity without some consistency. Once you’ve landed on what your brand personality is, ensure that the majority of your content follows that voice and embodies your values in every post. So you’ve decided you want to up your creativity with #WisdomWednesday? Go for it – but make sure the content stays in line with your brand personality and is posted consistently each week.

It may feel constraining, but as with many lessons in marketing, some rules are meant to be broken – as long as they’re executed strategically. Say you have a fairly “serious” voice in the social realm, but every once in a while, you want to infuse a sense of fun with your audience. Feel free to stray from the norm, but make sure it’s executed thoughtfully and is appropriate for your target audience.

 

3. Be Visual

Whether your business is finance or fashion design, the best way to reveal your personality is through imagery. Never has a picture been more worth a thousand words than on social media. Social Media Examiner found that photos are the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with a staggering 87 percent interaction rate from fans. Whenever possible, opt for utilizing photos and videos to communicate your values and showcase your personality.

 

4. Stick to a Story

Every brand has a story – whether it’s the story of how the company was built or the stories of who it impacts on a daily basis. Story matters, and on social media, it can be one of your greatest tools. The strongest connection a consumer, donor, or partner of a brand can make is to hear from someone just like them. Utilize your staff and customers to share their own stories and use them in the social realm.

 

5. Be Responsive

You may have noticed that some Facebook fan pages have started displaying response rates to messages and inquiries if more than 90 percent of them are answered in less than five minutes. More and more, consumers are trying to connect with brands via social media rather than the contact form on their website. Whether through messages or comments, each post gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience directly, so take advantage of it and invest time in responding efficiently.

Along those same lines, take this opportunity to show authenticity with your brand. If someone uses your page to post problems or complaints, respond quickly and graciously. This will show that you’re not only determined to help in any way, but also that you’re paying attention.

 

Want to better understand your unique brand personality? Click here to connect with our team!

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