How to value social engagement with your brand. A Guide To Social Reporting In Google Analytics

Driving social campaigns is one of the key objectives for Rocketseed email media clients. Through Rocketseed analytics we enable our customers to measure campaign performance from their social media messaging, giving valuable insights into their audience and helping them to increase social engagement. 

Rocketseed also integrates with Google Analytics, and with this integration you can dig even deeper into your social media presence and engagement, to really understand the value and reach of your branding.

You can attribute Email Media results to your marketing efforts to a certain extent through the Rocketseed analytics, but looking beyond the click and insights, brands also need to understand that traffic Is it effective enough? What content is being shared more frequently? Which social media platform drives referrals? What insight can be fed back into your Email Media strategy to improve results?

In this guest blog post Gemma Holloway, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai takes a deeper look into each of the reports offered by Google Analytics. Understanding how you can use these reports to analyse your brand engagement is reporting gold. Gemma has even thrown in a few freebies to get you started. So let’s dive in!

Google Analytics provides a host of social media reports to help you analyse the impact of social on your business.  Found under the ‘Traffic Sources’ section, these reports allow you to look at the activity of social sharing buttons on your website, where your social traffic is arriving from and what activity is happening on other social sites with regards to your business and brand.

Overview

The first report under the ‘Social Section’ is the overview report.  As with the other sections in Google Analytics, this provides you with a quick summary of all of the report within this section.  Therefore, this report will allow you to see the key statistics from the following 7 reports.

Network Referrals

This report allows you to see how much traffic was sent to your site via social media and by which social networks.  At the top of this report you will see two graphs: one shows social referrals, the other shows all traffic to your site.  This allows you to see where spikes in your traffic may have been caused by an influx of social traffic.  It is worth annotating this graph anytime a new social campaign is run so that you can determine the impact this campaign has on your social and overall traffic.  For example, you can see on the graph below, an annotation where a social campaign was set live.

GA Graph

This report consolidates referral sites by social platform to allow you to easily determine which platforms are referring the highest levels of traffic.  For example, both facebook.com and m.facebook.com will be consolidated to appear as Facebook.

GA Graph

This allows you to see which social networks drive the most engagement when delivering traffic to your website allowing you to determine where most of your efforts should be driven.

You will notice from the image above that some of the social networks have a black symbol to the right of them.  This indicates that this network is a data hub and therefore more data is available for this platform.

All of the social platforms can be clicked on, allowing you to see which URLs were shared on this network and the key statistics relating to that page.  This allows you to determine which pieces of content were most engaging for users.

Data Hub Activity

As mentioned above, a data hub is a platform where more data is available.  These platforms are either owned by Google or Google has full access to their data.    This allows you to see the actual conversations and actions which took place when your content was being shared.

As a default the table will show you the actual posts which took place whilst sharing your content.  Analysing this data will allow you to understand the trends which take place when engaging with your brand online.  By being aware of the posts which are shared more frequently and the tone with which you brand is addressed in, you can communicate with users by supplying content they will find engaging in a tone they will find familiar.

To view the social actions which have taken place in relation to your site, simply select the ‘Events’ option just above the table.

GA Graph 3

This will then allow you to see any Google +1’s,  Pocket’s saves and other social actions which have taken place.

 

GA Graph 4

 

A really cool feature with this report is that you can view the ripples your content has made – A ripple refers to the way a post has spread through a social network.  To view this information, you can select ‘view ripple’ from the ‘more drop down next the various posts within the conversations table.

GA Graph 5

 

This will then present you with a diagram showing the impact various people have had on the post.  It also provides a video so that you can see how the content spread over time.

The Data Hub Activity report is a fantastic source for identifying social trends surrounding your brand.  This will allow you to understand how your brand is seen by your customers and determine whether or not your brand is seen in a positive or negative light.

This report will also allow you to identify your brand advocates. Using the link to their profile, you can begin engaging with them on a one to one basis and further driving the influence they have upon those in their surrounding network.

This is also good for identifying any users which see you in a negative light.  Contacting these users and aiming to resolve their issues can have a very positive impact on your brand – Especially if they are strong influencers.

Landing Pages

This report is similar to the Network Referrals report after clicking into a specific social network, however, this report shows data from all social networks combined.  It is worth noting that although this report is called ‘Landing Pages’ it does contain pages which have been shared but haven’t necessarily delivered traffic to your site.

This report allows you to determine which are your top landing pages from social referrals, if used in conjunction with the Data Hub Activity report you can ensure the top landing pages are tailored to the tone of users on the top referring social network.

Trackbacks

This website shows other sites which have linked to your website.  This report is really useful for identifying where there are spikes in the number of links from other sites so that you can determine what content/campaign may have generated this influx in interest.

Each link provides visit data allowing you to see which sources are providing you with the highest levels of referral traffic.  Identifying sites which link to your often opens the opportunity to develop engagement, particularly if this is an influential blogger within your industry, this can have some very positive effects for your brand.

Conversions

This report provides data on the quantity and value of conversions which have been, in one way or another, impacted by social media.  This report is extremely important from a business perspective as it allows you to calculate the ROI of social media; both overall and per platform.  This will then allow you to determine in which platforms you need to be investing more time and money.

Within this report is the option to look at an assisted vs. last interaction analysis.  Assisted refers to when social media has played a role within the user journey to conversion, whereas last interaction refers to when social media was the last touch point prior to a conversion.

The final column shows ‘assisted/last interaction conversions’.  This shows the ratio of assisted conversions to last interaction conversions for each platform so that you can determine where each platform is most likely to fit in terms of the buying cycle.  Where the number is above 1 then the platform is more likely to be involved in assists, where it is less than one the platform is more commonly the final touch point.

Looking at the assisted vs. last interaction data allows you to determine where in the buying cycle your potential customers are on each platform so that you can tailor posts/offers etc. accordingly.

Using this report in conjunction with the shared URLs by social network can help you to determine platforms which have a low level of engagement but a high conversion rate.  Your concentration can then be driven towards boasting your presence and consequently engagement on these social networks.

Plugins

This report relates to the social sharing buttons on your website.  Whilst the Google Plus button is automatically tracked, other social sharing buttons will require additional code.

Using the information will allow you to determine how users interact with your brand on site, which social sharing buttons are the most effective and which ones should be removed.  From this information you may discover that different social sharing buttons are more effective for varying types of content.  For example, Twitter may be the most used sharing option for blog posts, whereas Facebook may be more effective for videos.  This will then give you an indication of which platforms are best to share certain type of content to drive the most engagement.

Visitor Flow

This report offers a visual diagram to show you how users flow through your website after being referred via social media.  Please note, this data is based on a segment of overall data and therefore, is not 100% accurate.

This data coupled with information from other reports can be used to help optimise the pages of your website to suit specific users.  For example, let’s take a page which receives a large amount of referrals from Twitter but has a drop off rate of 70%.  We can use the Data Hub Activity report to determine the tone users on that platform have and ensure that the landing page is tailored to reflect that tone.

Let’s get you started..

So as promised in the introduction, I did say I would give you some freebies to get you started on analysing your brand engagement on social media.  Here’s a few dashboards that have been created for social engagement analysis, brand monitoring and social media activity.  Enjoy!

Social Engagement Analysis – Click here

Social Media Activity – Click here

Brand Monitoring Dashboard which was created by Koozai’s Sam Noble

Gemma Holloway is a Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai, a UK Digital Marketing Agency. You can follow her on Twitter @Koozai_Gemma.

National Email Benchmarking Report

The latest Email Bench Marking Report by the DMA reveals email volumes hit an all-time high during the first half of 2012, with a 46% surge in sent emails while click through rates exceeded half a billion.  This is a key reason why at Rocketseed we believe, every single one of these emails count, and could carry an opportunity to market your business.

The DMA’s Email Marketing Council, which includes our UK Managing Director Fiona Robson, attributes a “willingness to send (more) email” and “a change in attitude” for the growth in email volumes.

Key Highlights:

  • Businesses are increasing integration of email and social in their marketing mix.  businesses are increasing integration of email and social in their marketing mix
  • As volumes increased, 2012 also saw a 57% rise in campaigns with the total number sent increasing by 4,709 to 12,937 compared to 2011.
  • The report found that the proportion of email addresses managed by ESPs increased by 35% compared to 2011 and given the success of social media, 71% of ESPs said that one in four of their clients collect email addresses using social media channels.

To read a full summary of the report on the DMA website, please click here.  The full report is also available for download by DMA members.

Evolution of Email Marketing

We love this infographic from RedEye, it is a great spin on the email marketing infographic as it focuses on email as a marketing tool and how that has evolved rather than just the tools itself.

This infographic got the Rocketseed HQ talking about how email as a channel is here to stay. You will always hear someone tweeting or blogging that email is dead, or the next new shiny tool is going to kill it off. Far from it…… Email is alive, kicking, and here to stay.

It is the technology that will change the way we consume email marketing in the future, and marketers need to adapt to this change. Real-time marketing, relevance and targeting, just think what Google glass will bring.

Over our coffee this morning, the Rocketseeders talked about the day when your email marketing message adapts to the time, location and device that the user opens. Imagine opening your email and the message automatically changes even after the marketing team have hit send. Live data, geo- targeting, live countdowns, directions to your nearest store, real-time review updates from your social circles,  all completed in real time and using neuro-style marketing tricks to persuade us to buy with NFL or Google wallet, or Google glass translating the copy perfectly………this is all not that far off into the future.

Forrester have been quoted to say that the “ultra connected customer will upturn marketing in 2013” and we believe this will happen rapidly with the help of the mobile phone and techy gadgets.

Thank you RedEye for producing an infographic that reminds people that this channel has solid roots, and is rapidly changing and evolving to the multi-screen device-rich environment we see today.

The history of email marketing

Brand marketers bullish about 2013 email budgets, new report reveals

Senior brand marketers are bullish about the prospects for email marketing budgets, with the majority predicting a rise in expenditure in 2013, new research published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reveals

According to the respondents polled, email delivered an average ROI of £21.48 for every £1 spent last year – the first time the Client Email Report has published an ROI figure.

Its strong performance is tied to ever-improving and more sophisticated techniques: over half of brands surveyed reported an increase in open, click and conversion rates in 2012, a 5% increase compared to 2011 figures. The value of generic ‘one size fits all’ campaigns continued to decrease with 75% of email revenue now coming from more targeted approaches. This is central to what we try to achieve with our customers, and why we focus both on personal communications via Rocketseed as well as segmented mailings sent via RocketMailer.

Here is a quick rundown on some of the other report highlights:-

  • Email marketing remains critical to business, with 89% of respondents declaring email to be “important” or “very important” to their organisation
  • For roughly a third of respondents, email marketing accounts for 50% or more of all digital business revenue
  • Click and conversion rates are the factors that marketers rate most often as important to achieving business goals
  • Trigger email campaigns generated 21% of email revenue, despite low volumes sent compared to more general campaigns.

To read a full summary of the report on the DMA website, please click here.  The full report is also available for download by DMA members.

UK managing director of Rocketseed, Fiona Robson is a member of the DMA Email Marketing Council, and works on the Email Benchmarking Hub that produced this report.

What do your emails say about you?

In my last DMA blog I made the mistake of highlighting the “branding” gap in Apple’s emails.  And I was duly punished by the “Apple gods”, who caused me to drop my new iPhone 5 in the loo.

Actually, a recent YouGov survey showed that 21% of people check their emails in the toilet, and I can tell you that there are literally hundreds of web posts advising on how to repair iPhone water damage. So, though it probably wasn’t a personal punishment, I’m certainly going to be more careful about what I say in future.

But I would still like to explore further one of the areas that this blog touched upon, and that’s the importance of keeping consistent and relevant branding in all email communications.  There’s a profusion of advice on how to optimise your email marketing, a deluge of articles about how mobile is impacting email, and a large wash of commentary about new functionality – testing, responsive design, HTML 5 etc. And this is all good stuff. But there’s not much marketing advice on how to get your employee email up to scratch, for those one-to-one customer communications, and consequently there are still many email basics that businesses are not getting right.

If you were to send a mail now from your work email address to a client, what impression would that give them of your brand? Would it help reinforce your business proposition or increase awareness of your company’s services?

Well, I received an email today from one of the team at the DMA and I think this is a great example of how email signatures can be used as a marketing tool. (And I haven’t turned from criticism to sycophancy out of fear of retribution before you ask….). Here’s their current email signature:

The email footer delivers the powerful message “180 days to save your industry”, with a strong call to action “Act now”, and this links directly to the event sign-up page for the DMA Data Conference.

As well as linking directly to their site, and helping to promote registrations, it also helps to demonstrate one of the core activities of the DMA – that they lobby on our behalf, and ensure DMA members are informed about the implications of any proposed marketing legislation.

And what’s good about their signature is that it also works on mobiles. So if, like me, you are reading their emails on the loo, you will still experience their branding. – And, actually, you’ll get an even better experience on your phone than on Outlook…they have used an animated gif in their signature, that looks particularly good on my (new) iPhone, creating a neat “countdown effect” that shows that time is running out, and increases the urgency of their message.

Having a good email signature can make all the difference to your communications.  Here are my top tips of things to think about for your email signatures plus any headers or footers that you include, to help increase the marketing potential of the thousand individual emails that each employee in your organisation will send every month.

  • Define your objectives: Is it to achieve a consistent corporate look? To generate sales? To increase awareness? To distribute content? Do you need to measure the results?  (These factors will impact the design style plus the kind of solution you’ll need to implement your signatures.)
  • Aim to keep image weight under 30KB
  • In terms of image size, don’t make your designs wider than 650 pixels or deeper than 100 pixels.
  • In signatures, use web safe fonts, so that they will render consistently for all recipients
  • Use basic HTML without nested tables as these can cause issues with reply mail chains
  • Try to avoid background colours in the HTML layout as these render differently in different email clients
  • Try to avoid using background images as many email clients do not support them
  • Minimum font size should be 8pt or size 1 for best legibility

The personal touch is all you need

At Rocketseed we are real advocates for making email personal, and believe that email has to evolve from “batch and blast” where one message goes to all. Unfortunately at Christmas, all too often we see friends and family making similar errors with their Christmas mails, sending the same message to all in a round-robin news update.  So, we thought it we’d poke a bit of harmless fun at the senders of such mail, and wrote this short festive poem as a gentle tongue-in-cheek warning about keeping your Christmas messages personal this year.

Poem time is here once more,
With Christmas trash and tales to bore.
‘The year was great!’ ‘We’ve done sooo much’
With (yawn) and (yawn) and such and such.
We thought you’d really like to know,
Our trivia and tales of woe

The kids are ‘x’ the grandkids ‘y’
Fill in the blanks yourself then cry.
So…. haven’t we got sooo much news!
New car…new house….a death…..a cruise

The year’s been hectic – all too much
We had no time to get in touch!
But our guest room is now underway-
You really all must come and stay.

I cannot stand such Christmas pap
These mails ‘to all’ are just so cr@p
the personal touch is all you need
With love from all at Rocketseed.

Charity donations down 20%? Rocketseed can help.

A report released on Tuesday 13th November in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, shows that the average amount that donors give to charity has fallen by £11 to £10 a month.

Donations have fallen by 20% in real terms in the past year, with £1.7bn less being given, says the report.  The number of people donating also fell – as well the amounts they gave.

This is clearly bad news for many charities, who are already struggling to remain viable. Some are having to close front-line services. And some are having to make redundancies. The reality is that some will also face closure. In particular, small and medium sized charities are likely to be disproportionately affected by the reductions in giving.

So what can be done about this?  Well, in the bigger picture a spokesman, has said that the government is working to stimulate giving through initiatives such as new tax incentives, match-funding, its transition fund, and Big Society Capital. There are also plans to review the Gift Aid structure.   But what else can charities do now to increase donations?

The most obvious answer is to increase their marketing activity.  But without donations it also becomes too costly to do the necessary marketing to boost the donation figures.  It’s an unfortunate downwards spiral.

However, there are now many innovative marketing tools, which can help charities both encourage more donations from existing donors, and encourage new supporters to donate, that are not cost-prohibitive, offering quick wins. In particular charities might consider email branding to support their fundraising efforts.

At Rocketseed we have a defined CSR policy to offer charities a discount on all of our services, and can help increase marketing efforts in a simple and viable way.  Rocketseed works with a number of charities, most notably the British Red Cross in the UK, and Enke in South Africa, and supports them to increase donations and support fundraising.

Rocketseed is an email branding tool that integrates with a charities’ employee email, so that every email sent by your charity can help to drive donations, and link to your website donation page. Whether your employees are talking to volunteers, fundraisers, local businesses, supporters or general well wishers, smart marketing messages in every email about your activities with a “click to donate”  can help you drive more donations directly.

And don’t just take our word for it.  The British Red Cross for instance get click through results from their Rocketseed email banners which are 4 x better than their “normal” email marketing campaigns – and more importantly, where those engaging with the messaging are 20 x more likely to engage in the donation process.  So that’s more interest that they are generating, plus more money. Read the case study if you’d like to know more.

 

 

 

If you’d like to learn more about how Rocketseed can help you increase donations – please contact us.

If you’re interested but don’t have a marketing budget at all – we still may be able to help.

Rocketseed has developed a new partnership concept enabling local businesses to partner with charities to help increase donations and also show their support for the community. Charities can therefore get direct support for their marketing Intrigued? – Click here for more info

Branding: Every mail is sacred, every mail is great…

The last DMA email client report reinforced, what all email marketers know, that email is the top revenue producer in the marketing mix.  But no email marketer seriously expects every recipient on their database to a) open every mail they send them b) click on every mail they send them and c) buy something every time. Email is also about developing a brand relationship with your customer, ensuring that they are clear about the services you offer, and essentially understand what your brand is about, and build that association with you instead of your competitors.

There is still a lot of truth in the old advertising adage, that we need to see a message at least 7 times before we buy something.-  It is by repetition, repetition, and erm – repetition that we remember things. So, as marketers we may be slightly disappointed that not all of our audience open every one of our emails and read our fabulously engaging content, but we can be rightfully proud that each email still contributes to the bigger picture, reinforcing our brand proposition, and helping customers to remember us, when they are ready to spend.

But are marketers fully maximising the branding potential of email?  In newsletters, triggered emails and life cycle campaigns  –  the answer is, mostly, yes.  But what about other emails?  The lesser-known world of transactional email, for instance?  And the seriously under-utilised channel of employee email?  Well, here, the answer is a big no, and frankly, marketers should be looking to widen their email radar and get these other branding and revenue opportunities under control and in line with the rest of their activity.

Here’s a scenario for you, to illustrate my point.  I’ve just been down to the Regent Street Apple Store this morning to buy an iPad mini. (Yay!)

I had recently received (and opened) a series of lovely “appley” emails, promoting today’s launch.

I’ve also just had the most amazing in-store experience – where the staff “whooped” and “applauded” (yes, literally) as we lucky early-birds entered the building. My transaction was efficiently carried out, receipt sent to me by email, and lovely purchase was put into lovely bag.

What a great and consistent brand experience at every touchpoint.

But now look at the mail that I received from Apple with my receipt when I got back to the office.

Where is my lovely, feel-good appley email, telling me how lucky I am? Or suggesting how much I should enjoy my purchase?  Even an apple logo would have been something.

For brands, these “other emails” are important both in terms of not wasting obvious marketing opportunities and also in ensuring consistency of the customer experience.  We invest time and effort in creating compelling brand messages for our “push” email campaigns, then when a customer emails us directly, or transacts with us, our neglected outlook replies are still blandly leaving the building, as they have done for years and years.

Did you know that the average employee sends around 15,000 emails a year (yes, each) in the course of their daily work? So, count the employees in your organisation, then add these branding opportunities plus all your transactional emails, and you’ll soon see that his represents a significant customer touch point, and an easy branding opportunity that you are probably missing today.

Marketers need to start wresting control of branding in these emails from the clutches of the IT department and start making them contribute to their branding strategy, and ultimately revenue growth. The world has moved on from the days when the extent of email branding possibilities was to email a logo around the building and ask people to add it to their signature.  The power of email to help build brand awareness and engagement is certainly well recognised, but it does apply to all emails, not just marketing emails, and we need to ensure that we have all opportunities on our radar to ensure the customer experience of our brand is consistently delivered in all areas.

What do consumers really want from their email?

The DMA launched the 2012 Email Tracking Study yesterday, which, is arguably, one of the most important pieces of annual research commissioned on email marketing as it reflects the consumer view of the value and quality of our industry.

The picture of email presented in the media is usually unhelpful.  Either email marketing is associated with spam, and journalists complain that there is too much email flooding our inboxes, or they say that email is dead and will soon be entirely replaced by social media.  Actually, what the 2012 report shows is that consumers value the emails they receive from brands, and that customers are signing up to emails in greater numbers.  I chaired the event yesterday, and can share some of the insights that came both out of the report and also the subsequent discussions.

43% consumers are now signed up to receive emails from 10 or more brands, but inboxes are not as crowded as you think – 40% of subscribers still only get less than 3 a day, and 63% get no more than 6 a day.  Presenting the report, Paul Seabrook, from FastMap, however urged marketers to ensure that they have a value proposition for their subscribers – over 50% of consumers give their secondary email address when subscribing, so by making it clear what the benefit of the emails will be, consumers are more likely to engage with the address that they actively use.  He also impressed upon the audience the need to look at wider attribution for impact of emails, not just direct purchases through clicks. Actually, what the study showed is that people take several other actions as a direct result of receiving an email, like visiting a store, or going directly to a brand’s mobile app.

Speaking next, Dela Quist from Alchemy Worx, stressed the importance of email as a mechanism to build brand visibility (a subject close to our heart) and that marketers should think about email from this perspective as well, not just in terms of opens and click rates.  He also urged the audience to focus on growing their database.  “Who has a target for conversions of website visitors to sign ups?” he asked. The “shocking” answer was almost nobody.  He reconfirmed the value of building your email list with a simple truth – “Driving traffic to your site is harder and more costly via search than it is via email” – another subject very close to our hearts at Rocketseed.

Rocketseed business email branding, can directly support your business in the key areas that the DMA report email tracking report has highlighted.

  • When a customer is choosing to send you an email, you have the opportunity to reply to the email address that they actively use. This is both an opportunity to drive web traffic (at a cost less than search) and to build your brand presence. – Ensure that your current branding is refreshed regularly to be consistent with messaging in your email marketing and website, and engaging for your customers.
  • Rocketseed List Builder report  is the perfect way to support your database building strategy, and ensure that you capture active email addresses for  the new customers that interact with your business
  • Include an email sign up in your signature, and incentivise sign ups to help build your email lists – to develop active, engaged subscribers, who are clear about your value proposition.

For the DMA 2012 Email Tracking Report Click here

The report was produced by the DMA Benchmarking Hub, in conjunction with Fastmap and sponsors, Alchemy Worx. Fiona Robson, Manging Director of Rocketseed UK, is a Member of the DMA Email Council and DMA Benchmarking Hub, and chaired the DMA event launching the email study.

Implementing SPF to combat spam

At Rocketseed we eat, sleep and breathe email. We understand that your email is a business critical tool and strive to make this medium as reliable, secure and effective as possible. One of the best ways to protect your organisation’s email reputation is by implementing SPF records; it’s quick, easy to do and makes a big difference in our fight against spam. Here’s what you need to know:-

What is SPF?

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a DNS-based email validation system designed to prevent email spam by detecting spoofed mail senders, a common vulnerability that accounts for a large portion of all spam sent.

How will it help me?

If a domain publishes an SPF record, spammers and phishers are less likely to forge e-mails pretending to be from that domain, since the forged e-mails are more likely to be caught in spam filters which check the SPF record. Therefore, an SPF-protected domain is less attractive to spammers and phishers.

Since an SPF-protected domain is less attractive as a spoofed address, it is less likely to be blacklisted by spam filters and so ultimately the legitimate e-mail from the domain is more likely to get through.

What do I need to consider?

To get the best results from implementing SPF it is very important to include all IP addresses that will be sending mail using your domain name such as:-

  • Email servers and gateways who deliver directly to the internet
  • Web servers who generate emails e.g. confirmations.
  • 3rd party suppliers who send billing and statement information
  • Mass mailing platforms who distribute newsletters and other company information.

How do I implement it?

You would need to contact your DNS provider to create an SPF record that covers all the IPs in your organisation that do final delivery of mail. If you are managing your DNS yourself there are some excellent resources available on the internet to guide you through the creation of the DNS record.

http://spfwizard.com/
http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/safety/content/technologies/senderid/wizard/

I want to know more

The best information resources on the subject is undoubtedlyhttp://www.openspf.net/