Last Friday, Google announced it has repackaged how you can test your online content. Content Experiments is a tool within Google Analytics where you can A/B test your copy to different audiences. This is a fabulous tool.
Why does this matter to me?
It really helps save time. For example, maybe there’s been an internal argument at work about using “click here” as an affective conversion tool. Using Content Experiments allows you to put that argument to bed, finally.
As well, because Google is shuttering its Website Optimizer tool and folding it into Content Experiments, you’ll be able to see the results of your A/B test through Google Analytics instead of seeing it as a separate report.
Great, how do I get started?
Google created a walk-through for developers to set this up, so technically, you should be sorted. What you need to tell the developer, though, is what you want tested. It’s time to look at the areas of the site that aren’t performing as well as you had hoped.
1. Think of the purpose of your website – what do you want your customers to do when they’re on your website? Where do you want them to go? If they go to the pages you want, this is a conversion. What is your current conversion rate now and what would you like it to be?
2. It’s time to look at page flow: what pages are customers visiting before making that conversion, and more importantly, where are they dropping off?
3. On pages where you see a large drop off, is there currently a clear message that tells the customer what they should do and where they should click? If so, are there any other barriers on the page that is stopping the customer from converting?
These are just a few ideas to help you uncover areas for content testing. Once you start, you’ll likely find many other areas. Talk these over with your developer or analytics expert, and start testing!
Keep in mind, once you start the A/B testing, give it time to build enough data to provide you with the best answer. Don’t expect an answer in a week. Give it at least two weeks before deciding on a way to go.
Who with the what now?
If you love this opportunity, but you’re not sure how to get started, we can help. Send us a note and let’s talk.
Their argument is these social sharing buttons don’t add any value to your website at all. If anything, it reeks of desperation.
“The user doesn’t come out of nowhere. We don’t land on your page and then head happily to those social networks to promote you, just because you have a button on your site. We find content through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc., not the other way around.”
In my experience, not many people do click on these buttons. A website could get, say 5,000 uniques and out of that, only 3 clicks on a social button. That doesn’t mean their social channels were graveyards. In fact, akin to what IA is stating, visits and likes increased thanks to compelling content on the website.
I know the irony – I have a messy slew of share buttons on the bottom of this post. And I’ve had good traffic on this site with very few ‘shares,’ which does make it look as though my content isn’t good enough. The thing is, I have people talk to me about my posts, and they are shared about on social media without the need for these buttons.
I’m in the middle of a redesign and will be removing these social buttons post haste! We’ll then see if the content continues to speak for itself.
Remember: “Social media buttons are not a social media strategy, even though they’re often sold that way. Excellent content, serious networking and constant human engagement is the way to build your profile.”
Be sure to read the entire post from Information Architecture. Great stuff.
Let’s say you spent the money to develop the best, most awesome mobile app ever to teach people about, oh, I don’t know… the weather. But no one is downloading the app. How? Why?
Before dropping some money on a digital media campaign, have you considered:
The App Category
You may feel your ebook app features educational content because it teaches readers about thunderstorms and where snow comes from… but will potential customers be looking under educational or under… books?
Think about how your users will want to find your app.
Based on the idea of helping your users find your app, consider keywords and key phrases they would use to look for a weather ebook and use them as part of your app description. If you’ve managed to get any reviews on your app, be sure to include snippets to help users decide.
Does the picture used to demonstrate your weather ebook app really show what the app’s all about? Is it a compelling image? Is it misleading?
Have you charged a reasonable amount for your app? Have you done any promotional sales to help draw new users who were on the fence?
Doing a competitive analysis of apps that are similar to yours (and those most popular ebooks) can give you tips and tricks on how to write your description, what keywords to use and where to get your new customers. Don’t automatically pull up Angry Birds and consider that as your competition, unless you’re creating an addictive mini game. Use other books in the category, consider similar topics, themes and features for your competitive analysis.
Try these steps before spending money on your digital ad campaign to give your app the best chance in an overcrowded market, or email us. We can help expand this strategy to ensure all your bases are covered.
Amazon put out an open call today for series creators and producers to pitch a kids show (ages 2 through 14) to go through an incubator. The selected pitch would receive $10K and development support. The developed series will secure $50K and up to 5% of merch. The series will be part of Amazon’s new Instant Video offering.
If Amazon Studios produces my series, what role will I have in the production?
Your role will be determined over the course of development and at the time of production. Amazon Studios has an open door, so this is difficult to specify in advance as creators may have different skills and experience levels.
How do rights work in the Amazon Studios Development Agreement?
Original Properties Submitted for Private Review
If you upload an original script for private review, Amazon Studios gets three important things with respect to your work:
The exclusive right to buy it (and its associated rights) during the 45-day term of the option, for $200,000 if it is a movie script and for $55,000 if it is a script for an episodic series, plus other possible bonuses. The 45-day option and evaluation period restarts each time you submit a revision to the project, even if the initial 45-day period has ended. We can also extend this option for two additional 18-month periods by paying you $10,000 for each extension. If we extend the option, we will receive all of the rights we receive for properties submitted for public review, as described below.
The right to review it during the option term (without sharing it outside of Amazon Studios and its subcontractors).
The right to include the title and premise of it in a game on or off Amazon Studios that is intended to solicit audience feedback, like the “Premise War” game currently at Amazon Studios.
And you keep four things with respect to your work:
The right to continue to revise it until we exercise the option (if we exercise the option).
The right during the option term to write one novel, comic book or other book based on your work, and the right to publish that book and any other books you first published before the work was on Amazon Studios. If we exercise the option, you keep those publishing rights, but you may not write any other books based on the work.
If you are a stand-up comic, the right to perform stand-up comedy based on a character from your work. You may also record and distribute those performances, but only until we exercise the option.
The non-exclusive right to publish and perform your original songs from the work, but only if your work is not a musical.
I find the open call approach, rather than reaching out to established producers, an interesting angle. I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this development. What do you think of the “up to 5% of merch” deal? Were you approached by Amazon? Is this a fair deal for the producer?
The City of Toronto announced an app today to help citizens reach its “311″ information service, and it’s being promoted as an easy way to take a picture graffiti and send it to the government so it can be cleaned up.
The app costs $1.99.
While a portion of the money will go to support the library, you may ask yourself “why on earth would I pay $2 to download an app when I can do it for free?”
The most important thing to ask yourself with any digital endeavour is WHY. If you cannot answer the WHY, the product should not be made.
Why would someone download this app when your Apple iPhone will easily take pictures and attach them to outgoing email?
Why would someone download this app over calling Toronto’s information line: 311?
Why release this app only on iPhone?
Why would a citizen report graffiti on their iPhone when the average person who may complain is elderly and may not feel comfortable sending information via their mobile?
A couple of years ago, Google was in a pickle. A search for a common phrase would often result in spammy content farm lists rather than real articles from professionals. While Google has made some strides to re-establish its stake as a reliable search leader, us users may be feeling a little burned.
Content Science released a study recently that shows 65% of web users deem its content unreliable, and most people need to rely on recommendations from experts or someone they know to determine credibility.
So, more people than ever are using the web to find unreliable content.
What can we learn from this?
- When you’re creating content for the web, think about influence
- Think like a journalist. If you’re creating content, you need to back up your claims with reliable sources
- Engage in social media. Answer questions posed by your followers and consider what elements of your content is ‘sharable’
- Be likeable and personable in your posts. You are not a robot!
- Make sure what you write is original and creates an emotional response beyond boredom
- Measure your results! Are people reading your content? Have there been social media shares? Keep track of the analytics and analyze to help improve your site.
Following these key steps can help improve your chances to be influential and credible content. Need help? Ping me and I can help you get started.
Discovered a gem today – someone on YouTube posted the original Muppets show pitch to CBS.
In just over two-and-a-half minutes, Jim Henson produced one of the best TV pitches I’ve seen (I’m biased because I grew up on this show), and must have been a hard sell considering it’s a primetime series starring puppets. Today, of course, he would have needed to include a blurb about the digital, cross-media plans. Would he have called us digital lovers egg-heads or ”Freaky long-haired dirty cynical hippies”?
In Cannes recently, a number of top execs gathered to learn everything there is to know about social television – the act of adding the social networking experience to TV watching. Think: adding a hashtag to your live event. Twitter UK’s top exec told the attendees that social television is happening, whether they want it to or not. This is true, but maybe the focus should shift slightly.
As the industry works to better personalize the broadcast experience for its viewers, from adding full length content on their own websites to selling their catalogue rights to Netflix, there will be an increased marketing challenge to help audiences find their programs. Why? Because for those of us without cable, it’s challenging to know what shows to watch because there’s no lead-in from a top rated show, or because programmers are selling preroll ad spaces to legitimate companies, not filling it with in-house advertising to promote their latest show (for the most part).
I find my shows by listening to podcasts, reading tweets (beyond a Get Glue check-in), or overhearing what colleagues are watching. I’m more compelled to watch a show when I see most people on my Twitter feed are tuned in versus seeing a big box ad for the program. In fact, seeing everyone watch a program live makes me twinge a little for ye olde days of cable because there’s a community building on social media I can’t be a part of because I can’t see the show. I’m missing out.
So, how do you do start a social TV campaign?
- take part in some social listening. What are people saying on Twitter or Facebook about you? About your competition? Gather the data and think up a fun angle to build a community. There are free and paid-for ways to gather this type of data, from Google Alerts to customized packages.
- don’t ask your coordinator to handle your social TV just because he/she is always on Facebook. Hire a professional and check their credentials. Have they created a social media campaign before? Do they understand and take part in social TV?
- Don’t rely only on Get Glue, Miso or other social TV check-in sites. They’re good for creating a reminder to watch, but take the community to the next level now that you know they’re tuning in.
- Let the conversation happen organically – viewers can sense a fake tweet from a mile away. If your staff is writing tweets to support your program, be 100% transparent.
- Concerned about people revealing spoilers? Those without cable are used to hearing the ending of shows – doesn’t mean we’re not going to still watch it. In fact, sometimes letting your fans leak the spoilers results in more people watching.
- Keep your fans interested by holding fun hashtag games on Twitter. Ru Paul’s Drag Race asks its fans to come up with ’70s drag names between broadcasts, for example.
- Don’t rely on contests to build your community. People who enter contests tend to jump in and out without full engagement. Make it rewarding to talk about your show with retweets and engage them in conversations.
Shaw Canada recently signed a deal for Get Glue in Canada to check-in to Canadian shows such as Top Chef Canada and Real Housewives of Vancouver. Personally, I’m surprised it took this long for a deal to happen. The most interesting side effect, however, is the international attention it’s drawing to Canadian formats and the insights it’s sharing.
Top Chef Canada, of course, if the north-of-the-border equivalent to Top Chef in the States. It has a strong following in Canada already, and the Get Glue connection is helping fans speak to each other. More interesting are the number of comments from those in the U.S. asking when they can watch the show.
While there’s not an overwhelming demand, there’s now awareness that the format exists in Canada, and international fans want a chance to see it and watch it online. This is great ammunition for the TV distributor.
With the right amount of research and a establishing strong competitive review basics, Get Glue, other entertainment based check-in apps, and social media channels tell TV producers and distributors a lot about the fans of their show. There’s even a YouTube series featuring a group of friends watching and reacting to Downton Abbey. This is data that’s accessible, sometimes cheeky, and can speak to how you decide to sell your program internationally, promote the show on your channel or approach character development for the next season.
Social media listening can be challenging to manage, but there are some external companies such as Canada’s Sysmos that can filter out useful information. Having a person dedicated to reviewing your social data on a regular basis – both TV shows you’re in charge of and the competition- helps give you an edge and keeps you in touch with the end-user – your fans.
“Can’t You Just” and its equally evil cousin “Can You Just” can be applied to any profession. It’s when someone believes they’re providing a simple solution to a complex problem. Here’s a perfect example written from a designer, pulled from the hilarious website, Clients From Hell.
While a lot of people in the tech industry are on the receiving end of these three words, it can happen at any time to anyone. “Can’t you just use Photoshop?” “Can’t you just do just hire the writers from the Simpsons for your new TV show?” “Can’t you just build another Facebook?”
What are your best “Can’t you just” moments? Share in the comments…