Serial, Email, and SMarketing trends

The classic way sales people operate, is not effective anymore, however, many companies are still using the same techniques. These days, consumers are more savvy, and less trusting and notice when a sales person is trying to close a deal. Companies need to encourage the sales and marketing teams to work together and focus on attracting qualified leads, and closing with the right customers. According to HubSpot’s SMarketing lesson, having marketing and sales work together, companies with strongly aligned teams can expect a 20% annual revenue growth. This is a fantastic incentive to begin the collaboration process between marketing and sales groups.

Usually, marketing employees handle the first part of the customer journey through the funnel. The marketing department handles the first half of the funnel, then the sales people take over, and seal the deal. Companies need to figure out exactly what the point is that marketing should hand a lead over to sales, and define it so all employees know when the hand-off should take place.

In many companies, sales and marketing groups do not get along. Employees in the marketing department see sales employees as lazy, simple minded, and incompetent. Sales employees see marketing employees as arts & crafts, irrelevant, and academics. According to HubSpot, 87% of terms these two departments use to describe each other is negative, and for them to work effectively together, that needs to change.

Getting sales and marketing departments on the same page is vital to collaboration. Giving the two departments the same goal, creating more visibility, and aligning compensation around the goals will give incentive ti all employees to focus on the goal. In the process, I believe the sales and marketing departments will get to know each other further, and realize both departments employ competent people who are willing to work hard towards a goal. The number one thing to ensure happens, is communication between the two departments. Create a closed-loop for communications to ensure all parties are apprised to all pertinent information.

The email marketing funnel.

You know that phrase “you learn something new everyday”? I learned today that email marketing is way more effective than I (and most everyone!) expected. Fun fact: or every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. Email marketing is 40x more effective than social media marketing (#sorrytwitter). Email marketing is an effective tool marketers can use to target customers, get them thinking about their brand, and increase their conversion rate. Email marketing is very much alive, and one of the most effective ways to connect with customers.

The email marketing commandments

When creating an email to send to your email list, it is important to remember that the email will have 3 seconds to pass the glance test, or it will be sent to the trash. To pass the glance test, the sender needs to be able to explain why they are emailing the receiver is about 1 sentence. Be brief, and personalize your message to catch the attention of the person receiving the message. Use their name, the city they are in,and make sure to follow-up 3-5 days later. Following up can increase the odds of success according to this article, and should always happen even if the target does not reply to the original email.

To ensure your subscribers do not get bored with your emails, you should take a few steps to ensure they don’t unsubscribe completely. Follow the above steps (research, personalize, short subject, and follow up), but also prove to your subscribers that you have more to offer than just deals, and coupons for receivers to use.

I get emails from Care.com a child-care finding site that helps connect families and caregivers. In addition to trying to convince email subscribers to hire a babysitter for a date-night, summer, or after-school care, Care send me content like blog posts, articles, and parenting advice. The most recent piece of content Care emailed me about was a blog post about whether or not Baby Number 3 is One Too Many. Another was “Find a Babysitter Near Bellingham, WA!” By sending customized content to parents, and proving that they have more to offer than just childcare connections, Care is able to keep parents subscribed to their emails, and keep Care.com in parents’ minds.

Another best practice of email marketing is giving customers the option to determine the frequency of emails. If you have a choice between having a customer unsubscribe or receive emails only once a month then of course, you will choose the monthly option! At the bottom of emails, I almost always see an unsubscribe button. When a customer clicks on it, take them to a page where they can choose “unsubscribe from all” or a frequency. Maybe have the default be “Only receive emails weekly,” “monthly,” and finally have “Unsubscribe from all” as the last option like this Bed Bath & Beyond example above.

There is a popular podcast that is beginning its second season in 2015 called Serial. The podcast is a spin-off of This American Life. Throughout the season, Serial tells a non-fiction story about someone’s life. In the first season, it told the story about a high schooler who was accused of murdering a young woman, and whether or not he is the true murderer. You don’t get to hear the ending until the last episode of the Podcast, so I won’t give away the ending, but once you start listening, it is hard to stop.

At the beginning of the Podcast, there is a single commercial played every episode about Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp is a company that sends newsletters, emails, and high fives out for companies. They are associated with Serial because of their sponsorship, and have gotten quite popular because of it. There is a meme and twitter hash-tag of consumers trying to figure out how to correctly pronounce, “Mail Chimp” which has given Mail Chimp greater visibility. Since many consumers listened to Serial consistently every week, the Mail Chimp ad quickly became associated with the show as well. Listen to the ad here, and let me know in the comments if you find it catchy too!

Landing Pages, UI, UX, and the intersections

Landing pages can be used to convert a visitor of a website to a known lead. According to this eBook, Landing Page are a “place you send traffic when you really want some action. And no, this has nothing to do with Craig’s List personals.”A potential visitor clicks on a call-to-action from a company, then, they are sent to a landing page where they will (hopefully!) fill out a contact form and click submit. Once the form is submitted, the visitor is considered a lead, and should finally be sent to a “Thank You” page.

If ten out of ten visitors to your landing page fill out the form and submit it, you will have a conversion rate of 1.0- a perfect conversion rate! (Perfecting the Conversion Process!) Slightly unrealistic expectations; a good landing page should aim to have a conversion rate of about 20%, and if it is not reaching that goal, then something on the page needs to change.

In this article by HubSpot, 15 Great Landing Pages are linked, and explained why they are so good. I felt bad after finishing the article because I clicked on every single link. This landing page example was my favorite because of how the user got all the information they needed just on that first screen (as in they don’t need to scroll down), the information was concise, and it had a visual of a cartoon-esque character pointing to what the user should pay attention to: the contact form!

It is important to optimize your landing page to ensure you are reaching at least a 20% conversion rate. There are many things you can do to try to increase that goal rate: write a clear, concise action-oriented headline, explain offer clearly and place visual emphasis on the value, remove navigation menu and links, add social sharing icons, and include a relevant image, animation or short video. A demo video on a landing page can increase the conversion rate by 10-20% according to Renee Warren who co-founded a tech start-up called Onboardly. This article on Mashable explains that having reviews from satisfied customers can also increase the conversion rate.

A buyer will make a decision on your offer in just a few seconds, so it is important to keep as much of the message above the fold (so they don’t have to scroll down), and try not to use bulky paragraphs. Cutting your information down to 3-5 bullets will emphasize the most important details, and your visitor will not be overwhelmed by a large block of text. Designers are in charge of ensuring the layout of the page is effective, and users like the page.

The job position “Designer” is vague because there are many different kinds of designers; Clothes, interior, website, user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and more. The two that go along with landing pages and website design are UX and UI.  User Interface (UI) describes how the product is laid-out. User eXperience (UX) refers to how the product feels, and focuses on the quantitative aspects. UX is all about figure out who your customer is, and what they want. UX workers use data to figure this out (Google Analytics! A/B testing!). UI is all about the visuals, determining the path to get users to convert, and focuses on the qualitative aspects.

Sometimes, UX professional’s professional opinions on the direction a company should go with UX is ignored by executives and by those creating the webpage. It seems counter-intuitive that executives would ignore the advice of a person they are paying to guide the user experience of a webpage, but according to this article, it happens often in the UX world. There are four main techniques UX professionals can use to be heard, and be successful. Observe and empathize with the higher-ups, build relationships, and keep in mind, not everyone understands user experience the way you do. Build up the relationship, and show them what UX consists of, and why your opinion on direction needs to be taken seriously.

How to get ahead with social media

Social media can be used to increase the traffic your site receives by creating a relationship with social media users, and show that your company has a personality. Social media provides the opportunity to attract (and maintain) people to your brand by discussing your brand, products, and related topics. According to HubSpot, in order to amplify your content on social media, it is best to use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time that is interesting and helpful, and the other 20% of the time, discuss your brand and promote yourself.

I worked for a seaplane business that flew to the San Juan Islands last year, and they used the 80/20 rule effectively in their social media practices. About 80% of what they posted on Facebook was pictures of Seattle (usually with a seaplane above), happenings around the San Juan Islands, and other information about events happening around the Puget Sound (where they fly!). The other ~20% they posted revolved around the company, and promoting themselves.

According to The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media, when posting on social media, it is important to keep in mind which platform you are posting on, and customize what you are posting for each platform. Twitter should be used for small and chatty snippets of information. Even though Twitter allows your tweets to contain up to 140 characters, it is best to keep your posts around 115 characters to keep the attention on your main point, and maintain the Twitter atmosphere of short, interesting, and chatty pieces of information.

Comparatively, LinkedIn (the professional network) is more focused on more intellectual information that will take longer to read, and many users use the platform to gain credibility among their followers. On Twitter, it is best to post often, but on LinkedIn, it is best to post less frequently but provide more in-depth content.

Facebook is the most popular platform in the world. Facebook posts should be less than 250 characters, and provide companies with a place to be fun and personal with their audience. Facebook  is most effective with pictures, and when you ask your Friends questions. Get your audience engaged by asking fun, brand related questions. For example, if you run the Facebook page for Subway, a good question to pose to your Facebook friends might be, “What is your favorite topping on your Subway sandwich?” and include a picture of all the toppings Subway offers. This gets your followers participating with you and thinking about your product.

Wendy’s (the popular burger chain) had huge social media success back in 2013 when they premiered their Pretzal Bacon Cheeseburgers. Using the hashtag #PretzalLoveSongs, customers told Wendy’s over Twitter how they felt about Pretzal Bacon Cheeseburgers, and Wendy’s proved that they were listening to their followers by taking all the tweets about their new burger, and turning them into song lyrics and posted the videos on YouTube for users to enjoy. Wendy’s stock flew up, and they even made the news.

Social listening allows you to discover what social media users are saying about your brand, and your competitor’s brand. According to Listeners Never Lose by Evan Dunn, social listening refers to any software that searches social networks and websites for mentions of a keyword. Social listening allows companies to get unsolicited, high quantity information about what consumers think about their product. HootSuite is software that is capable of social listening. In HootSuite you can set-up social listening by creating a new stream for the keyword you want to listen for. To listen effectively, you need to check the conversations tab at least once a day to see what is being said about your keyword.

I have been learning about HootSuite these last few days. HootSuite is a social media management system that allows you to post to multiple social media platforms at a time. This can be useful occasionally, but in general, it is best to customize the content you publish to each platform to ensure you are following the customs of each site. HootSuite provides much more than a place to send out content from to platforms, it also allows you to track what people are saying about your brand on social media, track analytics, and team collaboration space. I will be taking the HootSuite certification exam Wednesday- wish me luck!

Creating Remarkable Content

Companies employ successful inbound marketing practices by creating remarkable content on their website and business blog. What is remarkable content? Anything worth talking about! HubSpot (here and here) describes  in their videos how to successfully create and use a business blog: the most important thing to remember when creating a business blog, is to only use remarkable content that is worth talking about, and will be remarked on. By creating content, you are providing inbound links to trace back to your website which act as fingers pointing to your site saying, “look over here!” The more remarkable content you create, the more people you have interacting, and the more successful you could be.

When starting to think about creating remarkable content, you first need to think about the persona you are targeting. What is your customer like, and what kind of audience do you want to target? Next, you need to determine what kind of content consumers will be interested in for each part of the sales cycle. According to a blog post by Steven MacDonald, the content you make for each stage of the cycle will help consumers advance to the next stage.

Let’s say you work in the content creation division at a shoe company: during the awareness stage your goal is to create content that will make consumers see how awesome your company is, and how comfortable (and stylish!) the shoes you sell are. Next, during the consideration stage, using videos and case studies that prove how much more effect your shoes are than competitors will help show the consumer that your company is a leader in the shoe industry! Finally, during the purchase stage, you seal the deal using free trials, or demonstrations that show people once and for all, that these are the shoes they want to buy.

Content can work as an effective tool to get consumers through the sales cycle, and become a devoted customer. It is estimated that 60% of the sales cycle is over before a customer even talks to a salesperson. Content is vital to ensure customer can find the information they need about your brand. After determining what content you will use for each part of the sales cycle, it is time to create your content, and implement it.

The most difficult thing for me when creating content on my blog, is getting people to see that it is there. Some things that can help with this is posting to social media with the link to your blog- HubSpot even recommends posting multiple times to ensure all users who are interested see your post. Other ways you can promote is Google AdWords which is a pay-per-click model that will advertise your ad on Google right when the consumer is searching for the thing that you offer. Finally, if you have an email list, you can email out them whenever there is content you think they would be interested in.

Content Harmony believes that in 2015, firms will begin focusing their efforts on a select number of channels instead of spreading out their presence on social media to multiple platforms. By being selective, companies can specialize their content for specific sites, and ensure that are reflective of their brand, and responsive to their audience. I believe that this will change how social media is used for many companies. By narrowing in their social media focus, they will be able to use their content to target a specific group of people that will be most likely become a conversion on their site.

One company known for their successful content marketing strategy is Virgin Mobile. The company targets young users (14-18) who are interested in content like music, apps, memes, and more. The company published Virgin Mobile Live which has all of these things and more sharing them across Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed, and other platforms that younger users are on. Virgin Mobile wants to keep their users engaged, and interested in their product using content, and historically, they have done this fantastically. By using content, Virgin Mobile is able to fuel their inbound strategy to keep current users interested, and entice new users to come to them.

Microsoft is also in the process of using content marketing to call attention of college aged millennial to MS Office OneNote. The goal of the campaign is to show millennials that MS Office can be used things beyond office work. The way many Gen X and Baby Boomers view MS Office is with a sigh: They relate the product with deadlines, long hours, and being at work. The goal of Microsoft’s content campaign is to show younger users that anything is POSSIBLE (ha) with OneNote. POSSIBLE is a creative agency that designs content for companies like Microsoft, Coke a Cola, Skype, and more. They are the minds behind this campaign’s success.

My favorite piece of content from this campaign was a Vine done by Zach King. The Vine emphasizes that OneNote can be used to do innovate things, and added a bit of flair to make it interesting. Using content like Vines helps Microsoft get college students around 18-25 interested in different ways of using their product, and to call attention to the fact that they are out there, and ready for you to try the product. The campaign focuses on college students using OneNote to accomplish amazing things; like create inexpensive prosthetics for kids. Microsoft is sending the message that anything is possible using OneNote, which makes me (a millennial college student) want to try OneNote.

Update: Tried OneNote. Loved it.

Rely on data, Not HiPPOs

A/B Testing is when you have two different versions of a site and send 1/2 of your traffic to the original version (A), and 1/2 of the traffic to the new version (B) to see which one produces the most positive results (clicks on link, buys an item, views a video, etc!). A/B Testing proves which version is most effective. It is a bad idea to judge a website based on your personal preferences like the pointy haired boss does in the Dilbert comic above. This comic exemplifies the concept of HiPPO. Some companies make the mistake of skipping testing and rely on the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO!) for how a site should look.  Using the data and numbers you can derive from A/B testing will increase the amount of conversions made on your website just by listening to your users though the data. Testing is must more trustworthy than the HiPPO.

Before starting an A/B test, it is important to ensure that you are only testing one variable.For example, in an article by Microsoft, a Foot Care company did A/B Testing where they changed multiple things on their website such as adding a “Continue Shopping button, “Add Coupon Code” button, and a few other minor changes.. They went with the new version because it had the greatest order magnitude, however, once them implemented, the site lost 90% of revenue. When people saw the spot to add a coupon, they began thinking that there was a coupon out there that they did not have and thought twice before buying. Getting rid of the “Add Coupon” spot was an easy fix, but in order to target specific changes and to achieve the greatest ROI (return on investment), it important to change only one variable at a time.

Amelia Showalter worked as the director of analytics for Barrack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 and used A/B testing to entice voters to donate money to help get him reelected. They did this in all sorts of ways, for example, by testing which email subject line caught donor attention and enticed them to donate the largest sum of money. The team first sent out a variety of different email subject lines to a small sample of people on their email list, and the one that performed most successfully in the focus group they used to send to their entire email list. The difference between the top contender and the runner up was huge- $2,540,866-1,914,371= nearly $600,000 sum of donations that could have otherwise been lost. By using data to choose subject lines, the color of donation buttons, and even the greeting used on the email Showalter and her team were able to get Obama reelected.

The Obama campaign learned many things through A/B testing. They learned that the ugly formatting and attention grabbing ugly highlighting actually worked. More people donated when the campaign used attention grabbing formatting on important keywords or sentences. They also learned that no matter how many emails they sent out, receivers did not unsubscribe! This is not something normal businesses should depend on. With the Obama campaign, people will only receive those emails for a matter of months, maybe a year at most. It is also something that many people will feel passionate about. The people who subscribe to Obama’s campaign emails are people who support Obama in his mission to get elected. They are willing to put up with the emails for a short-time frame until the election happens. There is a set end date for when the emails will end. Other companies will continue sending out emails forever, or until you unsubscribe (or they go out of business).

Other companies such as the lingerie company Adore Me use A/B Testing not on subject lines and buttons, but on models. Multiple shots are taken of models in different poses, and the two that are deemed best are used on the website. 1/2 the customers see picture A where the model is standing upright with her hands on her hips, and the other half see picture B where the model is sitting down playing with her hair. Over time, the company will see that one picture sells the lingerie better than other and will take down one picture and send 100% of the traffic to the other one.

The lingerie industry found that the right model controls buyers more than the price. If there is a model that buyers like, they are more likely to buy the item (even if it is expensive) than if that same item is on a model they do not like (even with a price cut!).

Half-way through reading the article, I began to wonder if they they were going to discuss if / how the models race impacted sales. At the end of the article, the CEO is quoted saying, “ethnicity doesn’t mix and match with how it sells: We had some super strong sellers on the African American model, and we had some super bad sellers on the African American model, it was all about the way she behaves in the picture. That’s what makes the beauty of the A/B testing. It doesn’t cancel out an ethnicity and a genre; it’s all about the emotion.” The emotion on the model, and the emotion that the person viewing the picture feels. If the person buying it does not feel like the model is giving off a vibe they would want to give off if they were the one wearing the item, they would not buy the item, and the other way around is true too. Using A/B testing can increase purchases by interpreting how buyers react to pictures. If the item is bought- the purchaser clearly reacted well to the image.

When you implement A/B testing, never expect it to work perfectly right off the bat. There are neutral and negative results that occur just as frequently as positive results occur, and it’s important not to expect either version to work best until there is data to back it up. A/B testing can work in favor of your business, but don’t expect to get vast improvement immediately, or ever. Performing the test might get you a little extra on every page, but that will add up over time.

Sources: This Lingerie Company A/B Tests the World’s Hottest Women To See Who Makes You Click Buy,      The Problem with A/B Testing Success Stories,      The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign E-Mails,      The Obama Campaign’s Legacy,      Practical Guide to Controlled Experiments on the Web,      What is A/B Testing?

Getting them to come to you: Inbound Marketing

I have been searching for an entry-level marketing position recently, and almost every position wants the applicant to have strong writing skills, and the ability to contribute to the company blog. This is one example of inbound marketing- creating content to attract consumers to a website. Marketo defined inbound marketing this way: “the process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.” It’s the interruption-free way to get a potential customer’s attention.

Blogging is one example of inbound marketing: creating content that catches the attention of customers, and brings them in to the website. This can be accomplished by using social media marketing, creating YouTube videos, pod-casting, newsletters, and beyond. Content from your website makes your website easier to find, and it will draw interested consumers to you.  The best part? Inbound marketing is less expensive than traditional outbound marketing is. That being said, according to an ebook by Marketo (a revenue performance company that studies the correlation between sales and marketing), a company’s marketing mix should be well balanced between inbound and outbound marketing. The more marketing tactics employed, the farther along you are to creating a successful marketing mix.

Outbound marketing examples include cold calling, direct mail advertisements, television ads, banners on websites, and many more. Outbound marketing is seen as intrusive to the consumer, and many consumers to avoid it by muting the television, ignoring phone numbers they do not recognize, and putting up a cold front to advertisements they see daily. It is a common practice there days to put your phone number on a “Do Not Call” registry to avoid telemarketers! As ineffective as outbound marketing can be describe, I believe it is still a key component to a successful marketing mix and inbound marketing. For inbound marketing to be successful, outbound marketing should be employed as well to ensure that the content you create for inbound marketing is seen. Without outbound marketing, there is a chance that nobody will ever hear about your company or website. It is important to have a marketing mix that incorporates diverse strategies in order to catch the attention of as many interested consumers as possible.

Marketo, a reveue performance managment company, who published an ebook as part of their inbound marketing strategy. Now that I’ve heard of Marketo, and read some of their material and used it in this blog, I might be more willing to use their service (sales and marketing evaluation / management) over one of their competitors. They have helped me by providing content that I found interesting, and that makes me more willing to hire them to provide a service (though I don’t think I will have a need for sales and marketing evaluation yet!).

Inbound marketing requires three things in order to be successful: “the ability to create compelling content that will attract customers to the business, the ability to distribute that content so that it is easily found by perspective customers using search engines, and the ability to attract and engage a community of followers who interacted with the content” (Harvard case). If the business lacks one of these three things, the inbound marketing tactics will not be successful, and waste company resources. Ensure you fulfill these three components when you are creating your inbound marketing strategy.

Hubspot is an inbound marketing company that coined the term Inbound Marketing, and revolved their business around helping other companies employ non-disruptive marketing techniques. The HubSpot case from 2011 defines inbound marketing as, “a collection of marketing strategies and techniques focused on pulling relevant prospects and customers towards a business and its products.” HubSpot technology helps small business owners, and professional marketers (Hubspot’s primary customers) if they were willing to put the work in. If the customers do not put work in, or they do not think they need to, they will not be able to see results. Those who were dedicated to using the HubSpot software were able to see jumps in the number of leads they had after 6 months of using the software.

Hubspot is in a tough place as a business. Since they are an Inbound Marketing company, who wants to provide software to help other companies use this tactic, they can not use outbound marketing to find new clients. For example, one YouTube video they created described how cold calling was for losers, so of course, it would hurt their company image if they turned around and started using techniques they publicly trashed. When you read a blog on their site, or sign up for their certification, they might ask you for some information. If you provide your phone number, they might call you and tell you a little about the services they offer. This is called warm-calling, and since the consumer already showed interest in the product, and provided their phone number, HubSpot will take advantage of the lead.

Over the summer, I worked for a small airline called Kenmore Air. Kenmore Air flies seaplanes from Seattle to many destinations in Washington State and British Columbia such as The San Juan Islands, Nanimo, and many fishing resorts along Vancouver Island’s inner passage.  Kenmore Air exemplifies successful inbound marketing with their successful blog, Facebook account, and Instagram account. The company uses inbound marketing as part of their marketing mix to encourage past fliers to travel with them again by posting blog entries a few times a week about different events happening in the places they fly to. By posting blog entries, customers are drawn to Kenmore Air’s website and might feel more inclined to try their service. In addition to blogging, Kenmore Air also frequently posts status updates and photos to their social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When the company had a sale for discounted fares, they advertised about those fares on their blog, and on their social media platforms, and the sale was very successful.

Kenmore Air’s de Havilland Beaver seaplanes lined up.

Before implementing inbound marketing, it is important to plan out your marketing campaign to increase effectiveness, and to determine which inbound marketing channels will best fit your objective. First, identify the audience you are targeting. Know the demographics, objective of those people, and how those people perceive your company already. Once the audience is identified, set a goal for your inbound marketing project. Make your goal something that is  specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Good example: “the goal is to get 1,000 new followers by the end of three months!

Bad example: “The goal is to get more followers!

Making your goal SMART will help the campaign in the long run succeed by making the objective clear to all members working on the campaign.

The next step, is to help consumers find your content by choosing relevant keywords, and optimizing search so that consumers will be able to find the site. Then, create a tracking URL, develop the offer, and create the landing pages.Finally, choose specific promotion channels to get the word out about your campaign. Social media, email, blog postings, or maybe paid search on other channels. The world is at your finger tips. Nurture the leads you find to keep them interested, and finally, report on your results. Google Analytics is a great tool for this, or HubSpot.

Additional Sources: A practical Guide to Planning a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign

Harvard Business School case on HubSpot

Google Analytics Platform Principals

Google Analytics is an awesome tool that businesses can use to track the traffic on the website, app, or other web-connected device such as a kiosk. After watching the first set of Google Analytics training videos (Google Analytics Fundamentals), I was under the impression that I knew everything that I needed to know. I know the about filtering, the different kinds of reporting, how to create an account, and how to create goals. What more is there to learn? After watching the new videos, I quickly learned the answer to that question was, “a lot.”

Learning the platform principals of Google Analytics gives users a greater understanding of the reports you are looking at, and understand how to look at all the data provided in various ways to see a comprehensive picture of what the data is telling you. Google Analytics has a lot of customization it can offer, and having the knowledge of how to customize it can greatly improve your user experience. I think that with the knowledge of both the fundamental and platform principal knowledge, users should be able to create and maintain a successful Google Analytics account.

In my opinion, understanding the platform and the data model is going to be key for any user trying to get the most out of the software. Platform fundamentals explains in greater detail how the data is collected and reported, which I think, is one of the most important parts of Google Analytics. The program uses tracking code to collect the data from your website, and sends it directly to the Google Analytics account. One thing I found particularly interesting was the different ways data is sent from a website, a mobile app, or a different web-connected device. For a website, Google Analytics uses JavaScript to track the data. For a mobile app, you use a SDK (software development kit) to track the data. Once all the data is in your account, you can dive in to the reports, and discover how your audience is interacting with your website.

Sources: Analytics Academy Live Google Analytics Platform Principals