October 22nd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I realised today that Piggynap is over 5 years old – my first post was back in July 2008, almost a year after I graduated from university and entered the world of work. Originally I blogged about SEO (which was a very different place back then), making observations on Google updates and Adwords (which I did a lot of at the time).
Gradually, as the number of SEO blogs increased and it seemed everyone was saying everything far better than I ever could, and as I became a more jaded online marketer, concentrating more on working than writing about it, I lost interest in the endeavour and wrote more about life and cats.
I suppose Piggynap has never had a real aim – it’s not an online marketing blog and it’s not a personal blog, and that’s a bit of a problem, I think. Some people who read this only know me professionally so I don’t talk that personally on here. On the other hand I don’t have the time or the energy to make it a serious work blog, so the vast majority of what I do every day goes unmentioned.
Whilst Piggynap means a lot to me and it’s been with me for a long time, I’ve found another place to write about life, post pictures and generally be myself, uncensored, without even a thought for the 9-5.
Anyway, as a salute to 5 years of Piggynap, here’s a roundup of my best and most notable posts:
Google Knols are released to the public – anyone remember them?
I email Sean from Windows and he doesn’t even care.
Google start spying on users and I seem to like it.
The Cray Supercomputer doubles as an office sofa.
I have a massive rant about sexism in tech which, reading back I partly disagree with.
I do a real life presentation at a conference.
Nicholas Cage reacts three ways upon seeing a bird.
There is a sad owl.
How to ambush Bear Grylls.
An owl flies a zeppelin.
After 6 years or so working agency-side I finally go in-house.
October 22nd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
So here’s my long-awaited (ahem) roundup of MeasureFest 2013. It’s not comprehensive as there were a few talks I didn’t take notes for, and of course I missed the first talk altogether thanks to travelling. Apologies for the brevity, I filled about 8 pages with notes and condensed them all down into some key takeaways:
Cultural Conversions and International eCommerce – Joe Doveton from GlobalMaxer
CRO for Mobile – Steven Pavlovich from Conversion Factory
MeasureBest – Philip Sheldrake from Euler Partners
The Analytics Renaissance – Ben Harris from Decibel Insight
Attribution with Google Analytics – Dara Fitzgerald from Freshegg
- Tailor your channel groupings in Analytics, for example triggered emails vs. normal email marketing
- Assisted conversions can show you the value of each channel, helps you decide where to spend budget
- Do you track repeat customers to see their lifetime value?
- How much is a sale worth to you?
- How much is a customer worth to you?
- Universal analytics coming soon, will track users across devices
- May decrease the number of unique visitors as users visiting on different devices are combined
- Demographic data coming soon e.g. age, gender
The Power of Segmentation in Analytics – Anna Lewis from Koozai
- Segment customers as loyal, new, high value and compare their behaviours
- What actions do you want each group to take?
- Could offer vouchers to low-conversion groups
- Identify high-value customers and target your marketing to them – this encourages high-value behaviour
- Can import other people’s advanced segments from GA Solutions Gallery
Customer Value Optimisation – Andrew Hood from Lynchpin
- There are diminishing returns on CRO – focus instead on customer value
- Acquisition and retention should work together
- Segment by retail value or the number of items bought to identify high-value behaviours
- What are the key signals of a repeat customer?
- Tailor your marketing to create these signals
- Test offers and pricing e.g. conversion rate and revenue at higher prices
October 19th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
On Thursday I headed down to London to attend MeasureFest 2013, a new conference organised by Kelvin Newman focusing on data, analytics, measurement and marketing. It’s the first time in ages I’ve been to a non-SEO conference, and I’m certainly not part of the London scene so didn’t really know what to expect. One upside was that the conference was held at the Institute of Education just off Russell Square – my old stomping ground from my UCL days, so at least I knew where I was going!
After a 6am (urgh!) start from Harrogate I got to the conference halfway through Paddy Moogan’s talk which kicked things off. I hate to say it, but I basically missed what the talk was about and made no notes, I was too busy getting myself settled in the auditorium. There were two other speakers following Paddy, including Stephen Pavlovich who despite crossing paths with at Think Visibility before, I’d never actually seen speak.
So what were my first impressions? Well, the auditorium was pretty full – I heard someone say they’d “sold” 700 tickets and there were certainly a few hundred plus there, so the attendance rate must have been pretty good. The talks were quick, about half an hour max with 3 talks in the morning slot, four in the one after lunch and 5 in the final late afternoon slot. This meant the speakers covered all their salient points pretty quickly, most of the talks were packed full of actionable tips, and as there were so many speakers the variety of topics was really good.
“SEO” was notable by its absence, and for me that was pretty refreshing. Since moving in-house 6 months ago my own work focus has shifted towards wider marketing, analysis, and iterating what the company does online to make it better. With talks on aligning business goals with marketing goals, segmenting users in analytics, how to get better at using Excel, mobile CRO, and international ecommerce CRO to name a few, MeasureFest offered a lot for me as well as those attendees who work agency-side and have to advise clients on their strategy. In fact, now that I work in-house I think I got more out of MeasureFest than I would have done when I was agency-side, simply because I’m responsible for more areas now, like trying to get a mobile site pushed through, increasing CRO and customer retention, and showing the Managing Directors that the online part of the business is worth investing in. MeasureFest gave me a big list of tips I can take back to work and hopefully use to make my job easier, and the results of it better.
I think what made MeasureFest so useful was the format of several talks in a short time-frame, although having said that there were a few that I wished had more time and I’d have been happy to listen to for a full hour. The venue was good, just 10 minutes from Kings Cross and there was tea and coffee in the break (extremely welcome when you’ve skipped breakfast!). The attendees seemed to be mostly from London/Brighton, with about a quarter northerners thrown in, and unlike some conferences I’ve been to most people seemed to stick it out at least to the final afternoon slot. I suppose a combination of having all the talks in one auditorium, plus the lack of a separate bar to sneak off to meant that the talks were centre-stage. There was a bar, but it was in the general “hang-out” area and everyone seemed to gravitate back to the auditorium when the break was over anyway.
If MeasureFest was a paid conference it would have been good value even an London rates, so us marketers should feel extremely lucky it was free. If you’re able to get tickets next time I’d highly recommend it, and I’ll certainly be attending if I can.
I’ve still got to write up my notes into something resembling English so I’ll post again with my top takeaways and links.
July 11th, 2013 § 1 Comment
You might have read about the primary school teacher going “mad” in front of a group of children, punching an electric keyboard during an assembly before taking it outside and running it over in his car.
I expected to laugh at the story, but instead found myself thinking “that man has a point”.
Malcolm Hayes took the time during his meltdown to tell children to follow him outside – presumably to watch him destroy the offending keyboard and learn a rather startling lesson about the realities of adult life.
Whatever the real reason for Hayes’s brief sojourn outside social norms, part of me applauded him for embracing how he felt and just letting go for a moment. We’ve all felt like that sometimes. When life seems like an endless slog of work and bills with only an uncertain retirement and death to look forward to. When you realise you spend almost every waking hour on someone else’s dime and when was the last time you actually did something for yourself? When you wake up and you’re 40 and trapped by a mortgage and a family and what happened to travelling the world or being a zookeeper?
Anyone who laughs at moments of “madness” must never have had a dark night of the soul. We’re so switched on these days, so tied to constant updates on Facebook by people with more exciting lives than us, and bombarded with news stories about people more wealthy/attractive/successful than we are. Modern life is crafted to make us disatissfied, to make us crave more. More money, more possessions, more status – we’re all trapped in a system of that’s never heard of mental wellbeing and what’s even more terrifying – we can’t get off.
On reading the story about the primary school teacher gone mad, I only wondered why we don’t see more people having temporary breaks with society. The correct response isn’t laughter, it’s an understanding nod of the head. Malcolm Hayes said “no” to his life at that moment, and if we all said no sometimes we might feel better for it.
July 1st, 2013 § 1 Comment
I’ve been at an Ecommerce company for three months now, and (as well as being a sea change from agency life) I’ve got to widen my skills a bit and get involved in more than just SEO. That’s meant a learning curve to some extent, but I’ve come across some pretty good tools and resources that anyone in-house (in whatever capacity) might find useful.
Adwords – It Keeps Changing To Keep You On Your Toes
One of the first things I had to do was get up to speed with Google Adwords. I used to manage several accounts three years ago before I went to work at Bronco, but a lot’s changed since then! Not only are there product listing ads and remarketing, Google are turning everything into an Enhanced Campaign on the 22nd of July. All these new things and impending changes had me turning to the web for advice, and one blog I’ve found absolutely invaluable is PPC Hero.
Pretty much every query I’ve had has been answered by this site; it’s a goldmine of tips and walkthroughs of the whole Adwords system. Of particular interest at the moment is their post on Enhanced Campaigns – a must-read for anyone managing an Adwords account.
Split Testing – Because I Can
One of the great things about being in-house is that I have direct access to the site’s back end and can change whatever I like*. I wanted to get more involved in conversion rate optimisation and making the most of each visit, so I signed up with Convert.com.
There may be other, better-known conversion software out there, but I really am struck by the simplicity and ease of use of Convert.com and something would have to be pretty good to lure me away.
Marketplaces – If You’re Not Doing It, You’re Doing It Wrong
This is a bit outside my day-to-day remit, but I get to see the results of our work with ChannelAdvisor and all I can say is: if you’re an Ecommerce site and you’re not using Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, you’re really missing out. It’s not the easiest thing to set up – you need to make sure your product data is formatted correctly and contains lots of lovely information, but the work is completely worth it for the customer base that’s suddenly opened up to you. ChannelAdvisor is extremely powerful and a sure-fire investment for anyone selling online.
At the risk of ending this post on a blogging cliche, what are your favourite eCommerce tools or resources?
*within reason. Sometimes I have to ask the developers or they get mad.