Is It Time for a Google Analytics Assessment?

By Ava Naves, Principal

MRI of your Google Analytics data

Google Analytics assessment: MRI of your GA set up. Photo credit: Alan Levine, Creative Commons

Google Analytics (GA) is one of those areas where a bit of knowledge can be dangerous. Because sometimes* the GA code installation can be pretty straight-forward, many organizations assume that, once the code is in place, the job is done and no periodic maintenance is necessary.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To make sure you’re making digital marketing decisions based on accurate analytics reports, it is important to invest in a Google Analytics assessment from time to time. Think of it as preventive health screening for your data. Here are a few reasons why:

Are your filters up-to-date?

There are many filters that should be added to your Google Analytics views, but let’s just look at a filter to exclude internal traffic. This filter is put into place to dismiss visits from your staff and contractors. But let’s say your company office moves, and your IP address changes. When that happens, that filter needs to be modified. Otherwise, especially in large teams, you may see a spike in number of sessions reported on GA. The reason will be growth in internal traffic (which is not relevant at all to your marketing efforts).

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In Online Marketing, Mind the Time

By Ava Naves, Principal

Mime performer

“Frequently update your company’s Facebook Page.”

“Consistently upload quality videos to your YouTube Channel.”

“Write one ‘can’t miss’ blog post per week, optimized for search visibility, obviously!”

“Publish ‘x’ number of tweets every day.”

“Review your latest analytics reports every month… and don’t even think of  letting your presence on Pinterest and LinkedIn fall by the wayside.”

STOP! THINK! How many hours have you retained from your agency, or how many hours is your in-house team actually able to devote to implementing your online marketing strategy and accomplishing these tasks? You wouldn’t have an architect draw plans for a house without first assessing your financial resources. In this case, you need to also consider other resources — namely time and skill. Yet, since I founded The Online Strategy House in 2009, there have been so many times when I have chatted with clients and found out that at some point in the past they had a strategy that was just out of reach.

A competent digital marketing professional will identify the tactics that will have the most impact on your digital goals, based on the hours at your disposal. If working with your in-house team, the consultancy or agency must also weigh the skill set that your human resources bring to the campaign.

QUESTIONS? GET IN TOUCH.

That is why I always kickstart projects with The Online Strategy House’s new clients by embarking on Discovery Sessions. Among other objectives, our Discovery Sessions enable us to understand our clients’ “bandwidth reality” so that we can develop their strategies based on their assets. This is not the time for clients to be boastful or to have strong egos. If your agency asks you how much time your staff will have to devote to the implementation of your digital marketing plan, then be frank and realistic. If you hire us, or another agency, on a retainer basis, then both parties must be mindful of the number hours available per month for your account.

As a client, ask the hard questions if need be: what areas should be the priority? You may even look at question on a more granular level. For example, when optimizing YouTube videos for enhanced search visibility, what’s most important if there isn’t enough time to get everything done at once? Should your staff first optimize the titles, descriptions and tags? Or should they invest their time in transcribing your videos so that they can upload the closed captioning?

Likewise, before you’re seduced by the latest online marketing “shiny toy”, have your agency explain the impact that it will potentially have in achieving the goals set out by the strategy. This is especially applicable to social media, where it seems that a new platform is launched every month.

As my father says, “tempus irreparabile fugit” (Latin for “time irretrievably flees”). So use your company’s or agency’s time wisely. Focus on what matters and on what is realistic.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU? CONNECT WITH THE ONLINE STRATEGY HOUSE.

A Year From Now, You Will Wish You Had Started Today

By Ava Naves, Principal

It was shortly before 6:00 am here in Vancouver. As I settled in my office for my morning reading on all-things online marketing, I came across this blog post by Seth Godin that I read a few years ago, and which stands true. Its last paragraph:

“We’re going to spend our entire future living in tomorrow—investing now, when it’s difficult, is the single best moment.”

That sentiment isn’t new. We’ve been encouraged countless times to “get on with it”, to not delay to tomorrow what can be done today. A while back I came across a quote in the same vein that has become one of my favourites:

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”  — Karen Lamb

You and I know so well that this applies to many areas of our lives: finances (“start saving now”), fitness (“get to the gym if only for 30 minutes”), diet, and so on.

It also applies to the creation and application of digital marketing campaigns.

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