Sean Spicer went an entire press briefing with something in his teeth

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It was bound to happen with the White House press briefing always scheduled right after lunch: Press Secretary Sean Spicer held Monday’s press event with food stuck in his teeth the entire time.

It was a persistent piece of food that didn’t budge from start to finish and unlike the time when his American flag pin was upside down, no one notified him with a courtesy note or polite notification.

Too bad for Spicer, the mystery green blob (any guesses on what is was – spinach, parsley, kale?) deeply lodged between his lower teeth did not go unnoticed.  Read more…

More about Twitter Reactions, White House Press Briefing, Sean Spicer, Social Media, and Twitter

Mexican politician slams Trump’s ‘absurd’ wall from atop the border fence

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Perched literally on top of the Mexican-American border, Mexican congressman Braulio Guerra released a video Friday to tell Donald Trump in no uncertain terms that his wall plans are “totally absurd.”

From the top of the structure at the border north of Tijuana, Guerra explained in a video how easy it was for him to scale the wall. And then posted all his evidence and thoughts on Twitter.

Guerra, who’s from the state of Querétaro, called Trump’s idea to build a $12 to $15 billion wall across the entire roughly 2,000-mile length of the border “unnecessary and absurd.” Read more…

More about Border Wall, Mexico, Donald Trump, Social Media, and Politics

How to Recover From a Failed Product Launch

Launching a new product requires time, money, and a whole lot of elbow grease.

When the launch goes off without a hitch, all the effort seems worth it – but when it fails, it can send you and your business into a doubt-ridden daze.

Coca Cola’s ‘New Coke‘ disaster back in 1985 still draws attention, while Amazon’s more recent failure with the ‘Fire Phone‘ is still fresh in our memories.

The good news is even if your product launch was a total dud, there’s a strategic three-step recovery plan that can turn the tables in your favor once again.

Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: The Autopsy

There’s usually a very real and quantifiable reason for the failure of your product launch – you just have to find it.

This three-step autopsy will frame your investigation:

Analyze The Data

First things first, you’ll want to analyze every piece of data surrounding the failure of your product launch.

Why? Because your product itself may not have been the reason for its failure – it may have been the customer journey surrounding it.

If you used Google Analytics, or any other entry-level analytics platform, you’ll want to begin investigating the following metrics:

  • Bounce Rate: Your website’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on a page, and then exit before visiting any other page. By investigating the bounce rate on your website on a page-by-page basis, you can identify your weakest pages and then think about how to improve them in order to retain your traffic. To check your bounce rate using Google analytics, go to Audience > Overview.
  • Exit Pages: Knowing where you lose your audience is key. If, for example, most of your traffic leaves your website at the checkout page, you can investigate your checkout process further to see what’s turning people away. You can evaluate which pages are leaking visitors by going to the Users Flow section in your Google Analytics dashboard.
  • Entry Pages: It’s not all about evaluating bad news. By finding out which pages your audience is landing on most, you can work on optimizing that section of your site. You can access these metrics by heading to Site content > Landing Pages.

google-analytics-metrics

Additionally, if you are a Kissmetrics user, you can drill down to your website’s most relevant data with features such as:

  • Path Reports: This Kissmetrics feature shows the quickest and most effective route your customers take towards your entire website’s goal.
  • Objective-based Reporting: Don’t know what kind of report to create? Objective-based reporting is a Kissmetrics feature that recommends an appropriate report based on whatever your objectives are. For example, if you’re focused on improving your funnel, you can use the Funnel Report to see where prospective customers are dropping out before they purchase.
  • Cohort Reports: This feature shows how segmented groups behave over time. You can use such information to figure out how well your audience in one particular country is reacting to a piece of content over time, for example.

The bottom line here is that you should try to get your hands on as much data as possible from your analytics platforms. You can then spend time analyzing that those insights in a way that will help you improve your conversion rates. This guide to ecommerce analytics should help you along the way.

Talk To Your Audience

Next up, you want to engage with your audience to find out what exactly turned them off your previously failed product.

Leveraging your email list is the most common way to reach out and survey your audience. It’s as simple as sending out a request for your subscribers to fill out a short survey on a platform such as SurveyMonkey. You could ask questions like:

  • What did you dislike about ‘Name of Product’?
  • How would you improve ‘Name of Product’?
  • What ‘Name of Product’ features did you like?
  • What were you trying to accomplish with ‘Name of Product’?

Or any other question that will help you better understand the perception around your failed product. As an incentive, you could offer them a discount on other products in your store.

create-a-survey

You can also reach out to your audience on social media by running Twitter polls and asking for feedback via Facebook and Instagram.

To really make use of your customers, you can continue your outreach by inviting engaged members of your audience to meet you (or perhaps video chat with you), in order for them to further explain the problems they had with your product – and how they propose you fix it.

Reach Out to Experts

Although your existing audience will shed plenty of light on the failure of your product launch, hearing from experts from within your niche will enhance your understanding even further.

Websites like ExpertFile can help you find experienced names in your industry.

Once you whittle down a list of experts who can help you improve your product, you can reach out to them individually – and perhaps send them a free product – in order to get their take on why it failed to resonate with your audience.

Step 2: The Overhaul

Armed with the data from your autopsy, it’s time to revamp your marketing strategy in preparation for your new and improved product.

Apply All Necessary Changes

With the data you gleaned from your audience, and the feedback you received from the experts you reached out to, you need to apply all necessary changes to your product.

Naturally, the specific changes you need to make will depend upon the type of product you’re dealing with – but one rule always applies: don’t rush it.

Embrace the feedback you received, and take your time in applying it properly. The last thing you want to do is rush it back to market in a poorly prepared state.

Return to Your Audience

Remember when I told you to talk to your audience and set up feedback meetings? Now is the perfect time to reconnect and show them the changes you’ve implemented.

You can present new features (or features that have been stripped away), and demonstrate first hand that the product is in line with their feedback. If their updated opinions are now positive, you know you’re on the right track.

On the other hand, if they still have some qualms about the product, you can always go back and tweak it to perfection. Getting back in touch with those experts at this stage would also be a good idea.

At the same time, be wary of abandoning your own vision and intuition at this stage. The experts are worth listening to, but your own experiences with your audience will tell you things that no expert can.

Identify Your Target Market

Getting to grips with your target market is absolutely vital to the success of your future product launches. Thankfully, there are a few simple ways to do it.

First up, a quick visit to your Google Analytics dashboard can reveal the age, level of education, gender, and browsing location of your current audience. Alexa’s paid service expands upon all of that by giving you insights into things like the keywords being used by your competitors.

Analytics tools like Google Analytics or, even better, Kissmetrics can also teach you a thing or two about your existing audience. Google Analytics will give you an overview of what pages they visit and where in the world they are, but Kissmetrics is built to tell you far more about the people visiting your website. See where they’re coming from, where they drop off in your funnel, and remarket to your best customers – all within Kissmetrics.

Ahrefs is another handy tool that you can use to identify the audiences of your competitors – an extremely useful tactic for when your product rivals the offering of an existing brand.

Finally, you can use Hunter.io to get the emails of individuals within organizations that you could partner with, as well as influencers who can help get the word out about your future product launches. However, you should be cautious with unsolicited emails by not spamming the receiver’s inbox with multiple messages.

hunter-io-homepage

Define Your Keywords

Once your audience has been identified, you can start thinking about the keywords you want your content and marketing copy to revolve around.

The most efficient way to come up with keywords is as follows:

  1. Create a Seed List: Start with a seed list of terms based around your products. For example, if you’re selling furniture, start with keywords like ‘Oak dining tables’.
  2. Expand with Keyword Research Tools: Next, expand your terms by running your seed list through tried and tested keyword research tools like Google Trends and the Google Keyword Planner.
  3. Check Competitors: Finally, you want to check out which keywords your competitors are focusing on. This may sound difficult, but there are in fact tons of free and inexpensive competitor keyword research tools to help you achieve this.

Once you have your extended list of keywords, it’s wise to head back to Google’s Keyword Planner in order to see which keywords will fetch you the most impressions and traffic. That way, you can focus your marketing efforts around those select few keywords.

Select Your Marketing Channels

If you’re struggling to figure out which channels to market through, here’s a hint: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest are the biggest players – and you should consider marketing through all of them.

With that being said, marketing veteran Neil Patel is an advocate of brands covering as much ground as possible when it comes to social media marketing. In fact, he advocates publishing on a wide range of social media platforms at least once per day. Be cautious of which social media platforms you choose (if any). Make sure it’s a platform that is used by your target market and has a good user base.

But if you’re still unsure of where to really focus your social media marketing efforts, here are breakdown of each of the top players:

  • Facebook: With over 1.79 billion active users, Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform in the world. Its most popular age demographic is 18-29, although it’s safe to approach it no matter who your target market is. Here’s a guide to Facebook marketing to get you started.
  • Twitter: While not as big as Facebook, Twitter brings brands and personalities closer to their audiences by creating a very direct conversational link. This is evidenced by the fact that 83% of world leaders have a Twitter account. This Twitter marketing guide will teach you the basics.
  • Pinterest: If you’re targeting women, Pinterest is for you. According to recent research, 71% of Pinterest users are female. Here’s how to start marketing on Pinterest.
  • Snapchat: Originally touted as a passing fad, Snapchat is becoming a very serious player in the marketing scene, especially for brands targeting millennials. In fact, Snapchat’s biggest age demographic is the 18-24 age group. It can be a tricky platform to get familiar with though, so checking out this guide to Snapchat marketing is a good idea.
  • Instagram: Like Snapchat and Pinterest, Instagram has a heavy focus on visuals. However, recent updates – such as Instagram Stories – have turned it into a very direct rival to Snapchat in particular. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you should check out this detailed Instagram marketing guide.
  • YouTube: If you’re planning on creating long-form video content, YouTube is the place to publish it. Why? Because it reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. Here’s how to start marketing on YouTube.

Step 3: The Lessons Learned

Now that you have thoroughly investigated the failures of your last launch, and addressed any holes in your marketing campaigns, it’s time to gather the lessons you learned for future reference.

The lessons, expert advice, and customer feedback that you gleaned from your failed launch should be compiled in the form of a marketing strategy document: which will be your smoking gun for all future product launches.

A marketing strategy document is an in-house guide that your sales and marketing teams can refer to when setting up marketing campaigns, and whenever a new product is getting prepared for launch. The lessons learned from the previous failure will prove invaluable in such times.

This marketing strategy template will help you to frame your content, although the following articles are also worth reading:

You want the document to be the embodiment of your recovery process, ensuring that the same mistakes never get repeated in future.

To sum up, here’s how to finalize your recovery from a failed product launch:

  • Gather all your analyzed data, expert opinions and customer feedback
  • Put together an improved marketing strategy, with a redefined audience
  • Create a marketing strategy template to house all your findings and new objectives

Once you have your final marketing strategy document, your team will be able to easily extract the lessons from your failed product launch – making it more like a successful experiment.

The Value of Failure

As serial-entrepreneur Richard Branson once said, “don’t be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

In light of that quote, it’s fair to say that not every move you make is going to be a win, so gleaning the positives from your worst moments is a vital skill.

Not only will this recovery process improve your product, it will also highlight your mistakes and give you a better understanding of your audience. Not a bad return for a complete failure, right?

Has your brand ever had to recover from a failed product launch? Let us know how you handled it in the comments section below!

About the Author: Anja Skrba is a content manager at First Site Guide, and she has been in the world of online business and content marketing for many years! You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3 Ways to Apply Technology to Enhance Customer Experience

“See you in 10,000 miles!”

This is the friendly sendoff I receive from the workers at my car dealership each time I drive off the service lot. It’s a standard farewell that tells me, a proud modern marketer, that I’m in good company wanting to take every opportunity to offer consistently stellar customer experiences.

I’ve been loyal to this dealership for seven years. I leased my first vehicle from them when I got my first job out of college, and due to their amazing treatment of customers, and quality offerings, I’ve kept going back to lease and service my cars there.  

Each time I interact with the company, their commitment to optimized customer experience is apparent and palpable. From the timely reminders about my vehicle’s service needs, to the accommodating reception staff that ensures effective and quick turnaround time, there are several lessons for any modern marketer to learn in providing customer delight.

The following are three important ways this dealership is leveraging technology to create meaningful, personalized experiences that keep customers enthused and devoted.

1. Connect the dots of the customer experience journey

The customer experience is not linear. But that’s no excuse for presenting lackluster, untargeted offers. The dealership asks customers about their communication preferences upon opt-in. It’s been established that I prefer text message notifications, so the dealership sends me texts to notify me that my car is due for service, to confirm my appointment time, and to collect feedback about my experience.

2. Make it personal

The dealership’s customer communications offer consistent connection to a specific team member who can be an immediate source of insight and assistance depending on a customer’s need. For example, a text or email reminder to set up an appointment prompts the customer to call the service department directly. The manager of the dealership also texts customers after their service is completed, and offers his contact information if the customer would like to share any feedback. In addition to its centralized number that can field any request, the dealership offers the customer more simplified avenues to success.

3. Streamline feedback collection

While many brands encourage customers to share their constructive feedback, some do not take the action to share their thoughts because they lack the time, or perhaps do not see the individual value in doing so. After servicing a customer, the dealership reaches out to the customer individually via her preferred communication channel with a direct link and prompt to take 30 seconds to leave a review. By targeting a customer on her established method of communication, providing a direct link, and outlining the anticipated completion time, the dealership has taken every step possible to increase the propensity for collecting feedback, on the customer’s terms. This message comes from the number of the dealership manager, who can be called or texted directly for additional feedback or assistance.

As you consider ways to incorporate technology into your customer experience optimization, begin by thinking about how your customer base uses technology in their every day lives, and how it adds value to their research and application of your products and services. Use this insights as a launch pad for your strategy’s success.

For more tips to maximize your customer experiences, check out Customer Experience Simplified.

Photo: Creative Commons

10 Disciplined Approaches to Google Analytics

We live in a world of digital data. We create it. We consume it. It’s everywhere. And it’s accumulating at an unprecedented pace. In fact, experts predict that we’ll be adding 50,000 gigabytes every single second by 2018.

That’s a whole lot of tweets, snaps, and posts.

But data goes beyond just social media, email, and YouTube videos. The successful businesses of tomorrow – and today for that matter – don’t just create and consume data. They use it to improve. For insight. To guide their decisions and goals.

Take Google Analytics, for example. It’s a fantastic product that provides a buffet of data about your website, your visitors, and your marketing. It’s the most widely used analytics solution on the internet (tens of millions and counting).

It’s so easy to collect data these days that everyone is doing it…from multinational corporations to the mom n’ pop store on the corner. But here’s the rub: having that data and using it efficiently are two very different things.

Analytics are only as good as your reaction to them. It’s what you do with that data deluge that separates the rock stars from the folks that plays bass in a garage band on Tuesday afternoon.

Setting up Google Analytics (with or without the enhanced ecommerce plugin) and then passively looking over the various overview reports while nodding and saying “Hmm, yes, I see” is worthless. Know that your bounce rate is 43%? Big whoop. What are you going to do about it?

You need to use it to get better, stronger, faster, and more able to deliver the experience your customers want. When you see X in the data, you need to respond with Y. You need to react to the data.

Or better yet, use the platform to answer your questions (i.e. be proactive rather than reactive). Orbit Media co-founder Andy Crestodina says Google Analytics is best used as a decision-support tool. He suggests a simple five-step process:

  1. Develop an idea or belief about your content and website
  2. Define a question that could define this belief
  3. Create a Google Analytics report to answer that question
  4. Take action based on the data
  5. Measure and manage the result

To help with both of those, here are ten suggested approaches to Google Analytics to get you started.

The Proactive Approach

Asking questions to either support or refute your ideas and beliefs is a surefire path to site success. Ask a question, then seek out the answer in the mountains of available data.

Approach #1 – What content/pages are resonating most with my audience?

All pages are not created equal, and despite your best efforts, sometimes your stuff will fall flat with your target. It’s in your best interest to know exactly which pages and what content is exceeding expectations, and which is lagging far behind.

Find out quickly under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Focus on those pages that visitors choose to view rather than those that they must view (like your homepage or search results page). Results are organized by most to fewest page views by default. Click on the comparison view to see individual pages compared against the site average for time on page, exit and bounce rate, entrances, and unique page views.

Click on “advanced” to filter your results and limit them to only blog posts, for example. When it comes to your data, specificity rules the day. Zero in on the metrics and pages that matter most to your questions, ideas, and concerns.

all-pages-google-analytics

Once you identify the high performers, you’ve got insight into what your visitors want, enjoy, and like. Create more of that.

Once you identify the low performers, you can endeavor to improve or remove them. Excise the junk. Get rid of the filler. Beef up the stuff that you know can be of value. A high bounce rate – something in excess of 50% – typically indicates a lack of engagement.

So engage.

Approach #2 – Is any platform underperforming when compared to the others?

We live in a mobile world, but that doesn’t mean no one is using a desktop anymore (51.3% and 48.7% respectively as of November 2016). And while Chrome may be the browser du jour (56.43% market share), the segment using Internet Explorer (20.84%) or Firefox (12.22%) is still sizeable.

Use Google Analytics to determine if you’re meeting the needs of everyone equally.

Head over to Audience > Technology > Browser & OS to see what browsers and operating systems your visitors are using. Check out the bounce rate and conversion rate (CVR) for each one compared to the site average (it’s listed at the top of the column). If there’s one with a noticeably lower CVR or higher bounce rate, then it may indicate incompatibility or CSS rendering issues that need to be addressed.

If half of your visitors are using IE but your site doesn’t load properly in that browser, you’re going to see a lot of bouncing traffic and missed conversions.

bounced-traffic-low-conversions-analytics

Ditto for devices. Look at Audience > Mobile > Overview. Check both bounce and CVR for desktop vs mobile vs tablet. Any anomalies? In 2017, if your site is not mobile-friendly, then you’re not friendly full-stop. People have no patience for a poor mobile experience. Problems? Fix them.

Use the comparison feature in either report to get a nifty side-by-side comparison for several key metrics like sessions, bounce, and conversions against the site average. Better? Worse?

mobile-overview-comparison-google-analytics

You want to create a powerful and engaging experience for all visitors, regardless of browser, operating system, or device. But let the data guide you. Prioritise your efforts based on your audience.

Approach #3 – What terms are bringing in traffic, and what do they search for once on site?

It’s all about the keywords, right? Even in 2017, you need to be aware of the words and phrases that bring in the crowds.

Search rules the roost. Search engines. Search fields on your website. Search, search, search. It’s how people find you and find whatever it is they’re looking for once they come into your virtual lair.

To find the terms people are using to end up on your site, you need to enable data sharing between your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts. Go to Admin > Property > Property Settings and scroll down to Search Console Settings. If you see your website URL listed, you’re already up and running. If not, add your website to Search Console.

Once the connection is in place, you can use Acquisition > Search Console > Queries to see what search queries resulted in your website appearing in the SERPs. What words and phrases are bringing you impressions and clicks? Those are the ones you should be using in your targeting, paid ads, and SEO efforts.

But those aren’t the only words that matter, of course. Consider what people are searching for after they arrive at your little corner of cyberspace. To do that, you need to enable search tracking under Admin > View > View Settings > Site Search Tracking. Turn it on.

site-search-tracking-on

To find and enter the query parameter, conduct a quick search on your site and look at the resulting URL. Your query parameter is usually (although not always) the word or letter immediately after the “?”. Enter it in the field, and hit “Save”.

Once the data starts rolling in, you’ll be able to see what words, items, products, and more that visitors are looking for on your site under Behavior > Site Search. The Overview report gives a wonderful snapshot: terms, categories, number of sessions with a search, number of exits after a search (people aren’t finding what they’re looking for!), and time spent on site after conducting a search.

Use the Pages report to identify those spots with unusually high searches. It could indicate insufficient information, poor navigation, or that it’s falling short in some other way. Shore it up.

Use the terms and categories to see what’s most popular, what products/services that people are looking for but you don’t yet offer, and the words and phrases you should be targeting in your copy and descriptions.

Approach #4 – Which landing page is delivering the goods?

Your various landing pages have a tough job. They’re the first impression. The entry point. They have to seal the deal and convert visitors to leads and/or customers. Do you know how well they’re doing that?

If you identify your top landing pages, you can optimize and improve them over time. Hypothesize. A/B test. Prioritize.

To find them, look no further than Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. Easy. Organized from highest to lowest sessions, you can instantly compare conversions, bounce rate, time on page, and so on against the average. Find your best – and worst – performing pages. Lean on the alphas, and tweak the runts with better headlines (try a few templates or analyzers for ideas), design, copy, visuals, and calls-to-action. Find any common mistakes being made, and work to improve them till they reach a respectable conversion rate (which is about 5-10%).

A poor performing page has no place on your website. Remove or revamp it.

Approach #5 – How are visitors engaging with individual pages?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see precisely how visitors were interacting with your individual pages?

You can.

A paid heat map like Crazy Egg can do it. But you can also get plenty of data from plain old Google Analytics.

You just need the Page Analytics browser extension.

page-analytics-chrome-extension

With it, you can get insights galore about each page on your site, including bounce and exit rate, pageviews, time on page, number of visitors in real-time, and most importantly, in-page click analysis (a basic heat map showing what links users did and did not click).

Data like that is invaluable for improving the UX and increasing conversions. And that’s what it’s all about.

The Reactive Approach

Asking questions and seeking answers is good, but don’t ignore what the data is suggesting about things you haven’t even begun to examine or consider. Once set up, Google Analytics is going to deliver a steady stream of data to your digital doorstep. It’s your job to react to what it’s telling you.

Approach #6 – The Behavior Flow

Everyone loves a good flow chart. And the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics provides a great visual of the path that visitors are taking through your website.

Why is that important? Because it provides answers to questions you may not have asked yet. Because it highlights the leaks, bottlenecks, and areas that need immediate attention. Because it identifies problem areas, popular areas, and pages to invest more design and improvement efforts, helping you eliminate weak spots and assess the effectiveness of any changes you’ve made to pages and content.

That’s why.

Located at Behavior > Behavior Flow, the report shows how visitors move from page to page (including their entry or referral point of origin), the different paths taken to the same ultimate end, where they leave you, and more.

Follow the paths:

  • Unexpected pages? Misleading copy, confusion, visitors not sure what to do, how to do it or what they want. Simplify your navigation. Improve your copy. Strengthen the selling points and benefits.
  • Frequent u-turns? Confusion in the navigation or unsure of their own intentions. Make it crystal clear and easy for them. Sell the benefits.
  • Mass exodus? Something on the page is turning them off. They’re not getting what they need. Amp it up.

Look at their behavior from arrival to exit. Follow its lead. What is it telling you? How can you make their journey (i.e. the conversion) easier, faster, and safer? Do that.

Approach #7 – Event Tracking

It may be a little tricky to set up, but event tracking allows you to gather intel about behavior on your site that would otherwise remain off the radar because it doesn’t take visitors to a new page. Actions such as watching a video, giving a rating, clicking a button, leaving a comment, or downloading a file – in short, nearly everything people do while exploring your website – won’t appear in your data without it.

Use an event tracking code generator to make it that much easier, or you can get someone more comfortable with code to do it for you. Regardless, just get it done.

Once you do, your options are increased tenfold. Track which posts are garnering the most comments, how often visitors are leaving ratings and on which pages, how often people are submitting your contact form, which of your painstakingly created videos are receiving the most attention (including how many watch the whole thing, whether watching the video increases conversions, and more), and how many times your new infographic (or new whatever) is downloaded each week.

That kind of data can guide your marketing strategy, your business decisions, your content plan, and essentially everything else to do with your website and goals.

React to what it reveals:

  • Popular video that nearly everyone watches to completion? Promote it. Share it.
  • Blog post on Subject X got 3x as many comments as any other one? Write more about that.
  • Newsletter sign-up on Page A getting twice as many subscriptions as Page B? Send all your traffic there. Use it as the landing page for a PPC ad.

Approach #8 – Channels

You already know this one, but it bears repeating: you need to pay attention to the channels that are bringing in traffic.

Online, it’s all about the numbers. Conversions ultimately matter more, but without sufficient traffic, there’s no one to convert in the first place.

Turn to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. You’ll see everything broken down by direct, organic search, social, email, affiliates, referral, display, and paid search.

Check bounce and conversion rates for each one. Is any one channel underperforming? Why do you think that is? Any overachieving? Perhaps lean on that more going forward, giving it a greater allocation of your time and budget.

Any channels missing that should be there? Double-check links and your other accounts.

Under referrals, click on each one to discover the exact page used to enter your site. Reach out to the sites linking to you. Build that relationship. Craft more of what they seem to like and share with their readers.

It’s so easy to just “check” channels and move on. But don’t. Dig deep. Interpret.

And yes, react.

Approach #9 – Exit Pages

Just as important as knowing where your visitors are coming from and entering to is to track and react to the exit pages on your site. From where are they leaving you?

Google Analytics has you covered there, too. Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages.

Any unexpected ones? Any unusually high? Consider improving CTAs and/or using an exit intent pop-up with a great incentive to stick around.

Examine the content on your pages with higher than average exit rates. Is there something frightening people away? Up your trust indicators like social counts, testimonials, reviews, security seals, guarantees, and more.

Identify where they’re getting out, and politely close (and lock) the door.

Approach #10 – The Funnel Visualization

The funnel Visualization found at Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualisation shows you quickly and conveniently how many visitors completed each page in your funnel, which pages are bleeding out (anything higher than a 40% dropoff needs to be improved with trust indicators, simplified processes, reduced distractions, greater persuasion, and so on), and how effective your funnel is as a whole.

It only works once you’ve properly set up goals under Admin > View > Goals and turned on the Funnel feature (and entered in the corresponding funnel pages). So do that. Right now.

funnel-on-google-analytics

Reacting – and reacting quickly – to the data collected here is crucial to your business success. If your funnel is leaking, or bottlenecking, or failing in any way, you need to fix it yesterday. This is one report you should be turning to on a regular basis.

Create a shortcut or add it to a custom dashboard. Make it dead-simple to remember and access the information. Track, measure, and manage.

That’s the beauty of Google Analytics: it can be something completely different to everyone. Build your own. Mix and match the four main categories of analytics data:

  1. Audience – who is your audience, and what are their interests?
  2. Acquisition – what channels, sources, and terms are bringing in the traffic?
  3. Behavior – what exactly is your audience doing on your site? How are they engaging, interacting, and using it?
  4. Conversions – are you meeting, exceeding, or falling short of the goals you’ve set for your business?

Those are the main ingredients. Start experimenting and crafting your own recipe.

What matters most to you might not matter at all to someone else. But with the powerful personalization options, the Google Analytics Solution Gallery for custom reports and more (check out these 12 awesome custom reports available for importing), and the ability to refine your workflow as you go, it can be exactly what you need it to be.

There’s a lot of data to sift through. Some is more important than others, so it’s up to you to determine the reports and metrics that matter to you and your business. And you could, of course, beef up your abilities with the Analyze (enhanced analytics functionality) and Engage (conversions made easier) products from Kissmetrics. It makes a good thing great.

Then, react to that data. Or seek it out with proactive questions that need answers. It doesn’t matter…so long as you do something. Aim for a generous mix of both and you’re golden.

How do you use Google Analytics? Are you more proactive or reactive in your approach to it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius, CEO of worldwide digital agency Louder Online is, according to Forbes, among the world’s leading digital marketers. Working with clients such as Salesforce, Coca-Cola, IBM, Intel, and scores of stellar brands, Aaron is a Growth Marketer – a fusion between search, content, social, and PR. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or on the Louder Online blog.

The gruesome Facebook Live that turned into a misleading, racist hashtag

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A Facebook Live video of four young people beating a man, called “sickening” by police, has become the focus of a kidnapping case. So why’s the Black Lives Matter movement involved? 

It’s not, of course. But that didn’t stop a racist hashtag suggesting as much from trending.

On Tuesday, Chicago police arrested three 18-year-olds and a 24-year-old, including the woman who allegedly filmed and posted a 30-minute video on her Facebook account showing the kidnapping and torturing of a white man with an intellectual disability. The four accused attackers are black. On Thursday, the group was charged with a hate crime for the attack. Read more…

More about Black Lives Matter, Race, Alt Right, Fake News, and Hashtag