Monday, August 18th 2014
Google Analytics can be an invaluable tool to marketers: the service is free, easy to use and gives you access to in-depth details on your website. If you’re just starting to monitor your online presence, all of the metrics may seem overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide to three of the most important tools and metrics you will need to understand when first using Google Analytics:
1. Bounce Rate
A bounce rate is arguably the most important metric available on Google Analytics. It represents how often visitors to your site exit the page without interacting with the site at all (i.e. do not click on additional links or tabs). The bounce rate is represented as a percentage. For example, if 6 out of 10 users visit a homepage without interacting with the site, that page would have a bounce rate of 60%. A high bounce rate (typically anything over 70%) can be a sign that a web page is poorly designed and users did not immediately find the content they were looking for. To improve the bounce rate of your website, you can consider reformatting the layout to make the site easier to read or adjusting Google Adwords to ensure that searches leading to your site are relevant.
Keep in mind that a high bounce rate does not necessarily mean that your website has a flaw. For example: a taxi driver creates his first website. He spends hundreds of dollars on Google Adwords and finds that he has a high amount of traffic to his site, but a bounce rate of 90%. This could be due to the fact that the number of his cab company is displayed on his website’s homepage. Consumers are immediately finding what they are looking for and have no need to interact with the site.
On the flipside, a low bounce rate may not necessarily mean consumers are satisfied. They may find your site and search multiple pages to locate the information they need but have no luck. This brings us to our next metric…
2. Landing/Exit Pages
Entry and Exit metrics show you which pages users enter your site on, and which pages your users exit your site on. These are important metrics because when coupled with the bounce rate, they show you what pages keep your users interested, and which ones cause them to close the page immediately and quit interacting with your site. These pages will also show you how long the average visitor spent on each page, giving you a better idea as to how engaged a user was within the page.
Conversions tell you if users are doing what you hope on your website. They can tell you if a user completes the goal you want them to, such as make a purchase or sign up for one of your services. There are two types of conversions: Goal and Ecommerce.
Goal conversions record whether or not a user completes a task, such as signing up to receive an e-newsletter or downloading a PDF. A goal conversion could also be as simple as recording how long a user stays on the page, or if they click links to see your company’s social media pages. A nice feature of Goal Conversions is that you can set a monetary value to each goal. This can show you how valuable a completion of each goal is to your business. Google has a handy online guide on how to set up effective goal conversions.
Ecommerce conversions measure purchases. After setting up Ecommerce tracking, you can record which products have been purchased, where your consumers are geographically located and how long it takes a consumer to complete the purchase process. Ecommerce tracking can help you determine which products are underselling, give an estimate of your yearly sales cycle and give insight as to which marketing efforts are the most successful.
Bounce rates, conversions and landing/exit pages are all wonderful metrics that can help any analytic newbie improve their marketing techniques. They are best used together, and a basic understanding of these metrics can help any company excel.
By Deanna Power
Tuesday, August 12th 2014
It seems like Hashtivism, or hashtag activism, has finally hit its stride. After so many high-profile campaigns like #KONY2012 and #BringBackOurGirls generated backlash because a slew of tweets did little to produce actual results for social causes, organizers seem to finally have figured out how a hashtag can make a difference with the #IceBucketChallenge.
Everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are flooded with posts of friends, family, colleagues, firefighters, policemen and even star athletes dumping buckets of ice water over their heads. The #IceBucketChallenge is a viral sensation, challenging people to either donate $100 to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) charities or donate $10 and pour a bucket of ice water over their heads.
After the videos started catching on, there was a predictable rumbling from cynics who asked whether or not the campaign is actually helping the cause. News reports started proving the cynics wrong as donations to fund ALS research have increased tenfold over previous years. That’s a lot of “cold” hard cash.
A good question to explore is why did this campaign succeed where others failed?
- A clear call to action: Unlike other hashtivism, the #IceBucketChallenge told people exactly how they could help. Take the challenge, donate, and then challenge your friends. There was no guesswork or murky goals about “raising awareness,” which can be hard for a grassroots hashtag to measure. The goal was to raise money, challenge your friends and support a good cause.
- Humor: ALS is not a funny topic. People are often squeamish about talking to friends and family about tragic diseases because, well, it’s just not fun to talk about. The #IceBucketChalleneg put the focus on doing something that will grab attention in a great way — dump freezing cold water all over yourself. It inspired people to tag their friends and family because who doesn’t relish seeing the expression on someone’s face when they feel a splash of icy liquid hit their head? It’s funny, it’s schadenfreude, and unlike those “share if you care” posts, you actually want to spread the word because it’s fun.
- Choose your charity: You can’t run a successful cause campaign without having trustworthy charities to direct donations to. The #IceBucketChallenge, while originally set up to benefit the charities of athletes and ALS patients Patrick Quinn and Pete Frates, allows those who have accepted the challenge to donate to the ALS charity of their choice. The freedom to donate where you want, and the confidence that these local or national charities are run by good people who care about the cause only fuel people to donate as much as they can.
- Cheap, quick and easy: It’s no doubt that soon other non-profits will be launching their own challenges. The trick will be finding something as quick and easy as dumping a bucket of cold water on your head. Practically everyone in the U.S. has access to ice water and vessels they can fill with said water, even if it’s not exactly a bucket. People didn’t have to go buy anything or take a lot of time out of their day to accept the challenge. Usually Internet challenges involve cinnamon, gallons of milk or chili peppers – things that cost money and could be dangerous to consume in such quantities. The ease and convenience of the ice bucket challenge is the real secret to its success. It will be hard to think of another challenge almost anyone can do for free in less than 24 hours using just what they have in their homes. Could a diabetes charity raise funds by challenging folks to either donate or prick their own finger? Can a food bank challenge people to donate or not eat anything for the next eight hours? Time will only tell what the next successful hashtivism movement will be.
By Noël Fisher
Content Marketing Supervisor
Friday, August 8th 2014
This week, Schneider Associates interns presented their final internship campaign projects. At the beginning of the summer, interns were split into three groups and asked to create marketing and public relations campaigns to promote their assigned theoretical client scenario. This summer, one group was assigned the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, an area that is in the heart of Boston and just a few blocks away from the SA office.
After spending the summer planning the proposed special event, the traditional and social media effort and the collateral materials, the intern team presented their ideas to the SA staff. The group designed a strategy to appeal to a younger market including welcoming incoming students back to Boston and featuring the variety of amenities the BID has to offer.
CEO Joan Schneider arranged for the intern group to meet with the Business Improvement District President, Rosemarie Sansone and other BID staffers to share their ideas on developing a marketing program to reach the college population. The presentation proved to be a valuable opportunity for the budding professionals to gain important industry experience.
After the brainstorming session, Joan treated the interns to lunch at a popular BID restaurant, Back Deck. To learn how to become one of our interns, visit our website.
Wednesday, August 6th 2014
A pioneer in the personal care industry, Kiehl’s is literally taking the launch of its new moisturizer to new heights – outer space.
In a new advertisement for the brand’s Oil Eliminator Moisturizer, a group of hipster scientists show consumers how to put “space on your face (in 5 easy steps).” With the help of GoPro cameras, the video shows the product’s journey into the stratosphere. Once the scientists locate the moisturizer post-crash, one picks up the bottle and applies the space-traveling moisturizer to his face, leading into the tagline: “Engineered for Space Exploration.”
While many other consumer brands (such as Redbull, Axe and Cadillac) have used the final frontier for their marketing campaigns, the Kiehl’s product has a true connection with space. The new Oil Eliminator Moisturizer for Men contains a material called Aerolite, which NASA uses to treat their space crafts for insulation.
The angle of a space-themed campaign gains the attention of men, the target demographic for this line and touts the special ingredient. Cosmetics are typically tough to sell to the male population, which Kiehl’s global general manager, Cheryl Vitali, said complicated the marketing strategy. C0mpared to other brands’ approaches, it seems as though Kiehl’s is at an advantage when it comes to reaching the male audience. Its branding is androgynous and men may not feel the same stigma buying something from Kiehl’s as they would from Sephora or Ulta.
Currently, the Kiehl’s Facebook page has around 885,000 likes and its Twitter boasts 55,000 followers. Kiehl’s used its social media following to its advantage by creating the Oil Eliminator Sweepstakes using the hashtag #SpaceFace. After users posted a zero gravity picture to the brand’s Facebook timeline, or tagged Kiehl’s in their Instagram or Twitter posts, they were entered into a drawing that would select thirty people to win one special edition 2.5 fl. oz. bottle of the moisturizer, along with a 3D-printed figurine created to look like the contestant’s photo submission. The contest received dozens of creative submissions and garnered exceptional social media buzz around the product.
Friday, July 25th 2014
Schneider Associates is pleased to announce the hiring of Ariel Ferrante as Integrated Marketing and Digital Design Associate.
Ferrante is responsible for day-to-day agency social media management and marketing, as well as agency marketing design. Prior to joining Schneider Associates, Ferrante completed marketing internships with Hollister Recruiting in fall and spring 2012, Bayard Advertising in summer 2012 and Publicis in Dublin, Ireland in spring 2013. She also completed graphic design internships with Village Print & Media in summer 2013 and Social Boston Sports in spring 2014. With a strong background in marketing and graphic design, Ferrante supports the agency’s social and new business initiatives.
Ferrante graduated from Boston University in May 2014 with a major in advertising and a minor in Italian language. While in college, she served as an art director for Boston University’s AdLab.
Saturday, July 19th 2014
Schneider Associates’ client Haystack recently announced the Boston launch of its parking app with a glamorous event at the Liberty Hotel. After being greeted by parking “zombies” and “angels” illustrating how Haystack plans to save Boston from “parking hell,” Haystack’s 24-year-old founder and CEO Eric Meyer gave Boston’s hottest residents the 411 on the anticipated app. The service allows for “parking by the people” and is an innovative resource to help connect fellow parkers and solve the city’s parking dilemma. Included in the guest list were prominent Bostonians from elected officials to media personalities to business leaders and tech gurus.
Parked outside the event with an alluring red bow, a brand new Fiat served as an incentive for Bostonians to become “Haystackers” and start swapping spots. With every spot secured, users are entered into the contest and one lucky Haystacker will win a new car to park.
SA was able to create exceptional media buzz surrounding the event. Twitter and Instagram feeds were filled on the day of the launch party with photos and media coverage of the app.
Having previously launched with great success in Baltimore, Haystack is ready to help save Boston from parking pain. Users can post on the parking app, letting other drivers know when they are about to vacate their space. Then, drivers can pay the $3 fee to reserve it, and money is then transferred to the initial parker’s bank account. Cutting down on time spent searching for a space helps diminish infuriated Boston parkers, as well as the environmental emissions caused by driving around looking for a space.
Haystack is available for both iOS and Android users and can be downloaded for free in the App Store and Google Play.
Friday, July 18th 2014
Every year, CareerCast.com releases its list of the most stressful jobs. Year after year, PR ranks high on that list (number six for 2014). As a former PR intern, I know firsthand the transition from intern to full-time employee can be overwhelming, a whirlwind of deadlines, writing assignments and pitch calls.
I majored in public relations and thought I had it all figured out – but here are some of the things I wish I had learned in college that every new PR professional should know:
Stay organized and manage your time: Make lists, take notes (Evernote is a great tool), make sub-folders, ask for help prioritizing and always keep an eye on what’s next in the campaign. Know your to-do list, but you’ll also need to be able to roll with the punches and adjust on the fly. If an urgent item does come up, develop a plan of attack and you won’t fall far behind.
Communication: It may seem odd for PR pros to need to emphasize communicating, but providing your supervisor with concise daily and sometimes hourly updates—if you are working on breaking news—is critical. If you’re struggling with a certain project or action item, vocalize your challenge so that your manager and/or a team member can provide guidance or additional hands to help to complete pressing tasks.
Professionalism: From dress code to email etiquette, the rules change after graduation. Pay attention to corporate culture, but always err on the side of caution. When speaking with clients, always double-check deadlines, formatting and spelling. Don’t hesitate to ask for your manager for feedback, but be sure to incorporate it when you do.
Being a team player: One of the most important lessons I learned as an entry-level account coordinator was that I’m part of a team. New PR pros may think weaknesses are a bad thing, but they come with the territory of being a new (or recently promoted) employee. It is okay to ask for help and it’s better to raise concerns before they become full-blown problems. Mastering the learning curve is expected and your colleagues have your back to help get the job done.
Tactics vs. strategy: Strategy determines what you want to achieve (generate awareness, drive leads, engage consumers) and why you’ll achieve it, and tactics are the individual, specific actions you’ll take to reach those goals (media relations, social media, advertising). When it comes to integrated marketing, it can be difficult to understand the distinction between these earned, owned and paid assets and how they play off each other, but asking your colleagues to explain why and how particular tactics were chosen and how they work together will help you piece the puzzle together.
Try incorporating these tips into your daily routine and take the guesswork out of being an entry-level PR pro. Staying organized, communicative and professional is a lifestyle, but it can help you become a productive, trustworthy and valued member of any team.
By Jamie Berman
Senior Account Executive
Monday, June 30th 2014
Schneider Associates is pleased to announce the hiring of Josh Tammaro as Account Coordinator.
Tammaro is responsible for day-to-day account administration and outreach to media outlets. Prior to joining Schneider Associates, Tammaro completed internships at the agency from winter 2013 to spring 2014, as well as a communications internship with The CollegeGolfPass in 2012. With a strong background in media relations and reputation management, Tammaro works with an array of clients across the agency, including Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, New England College of Business, Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and Project2Heal.
Tammaro graduated from Boston University in May 2014 with a major in Communications. While in college, he served as Public Relations Specialist for Boston University’s Center for Professional Education.
Wednesday, June 25th 2014
Schneider Associates is pleased to announce the hiring of Lauren Mucci as Account Coordinator.
In this role, Mucci is responsible for daily account administration and outreach to media. Prior to joining Schneider Associates in her current role, Mucci completed an internship at the agency in fall 2013, as well as a public and media relations internship with the Maine Red Claws in winter 2012. With a strong background in social media and media relations, Mucci works with clients across the agency, including Dynatrap®, Phoodeez, University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and Virginia College.
Mucci graduated from Endicott College in May 2014 with a major in Communications and a concentration in Media Studies.
Tuesday, June 24th 2014
Flood insurance, infidelity dating sites, senior living communities, even running with the bulls…I’ve pitched it all. Even though each client is distinct, media attention is on every client’s mind. Despite the fact that a media “win” for one may not be a “win” for another, there are best practices for media relations, regardless of industry.
Here are tips for media relations practitioners that I’ve learned over my first two years in PR:
Pitch the story, not the product
A pitch’s news value is often not in the product or client itself, but in the niche it fills or the service it provides. Why is this product or service important and how is it impacting consumers? Does it make life better, easier or more efficient? Will it affect an industry? If so, why and over what timeframe will that change transpire? Provide more than just the product or service specs – give the SparkNotes version over the phone, but put the details of your pitch into context so the reporter can build his or her story accordingly.
Be short and sweet – save the anecdotes and company description for another day. Get to the point and explain why your story is important in the first sentence. If you feel more detail would benefit the reporter, one of my favorite tactics is to hyperlink to additional information. Just beware of where you’re linking; providing information from a rival publication could deter the reporter from covering your story.
When it’s time to announce a client’s new product or initiative, don’t send a massive blast email. Instead, take the time to develop a strategy using a tiered, prioritized media list. Start with the most impactful “gets” (notice I didn’t say largest) and work your way down. Practitioners must also consider publication lead times – a magazine may not be the most significant placement, but it may take the longest, so start early.
Let’s Get Personal
Avoid the cookie-cutter approach and tailor your message for specific reporters, editors or producers. Demonstrate you’ve done your research and are familiar with their beat and recent articles, and reference your previous conversations. If you have an existing relationship, include a line asking about their weekend or recent vacation. Better yet, take the time to meet for coffee or visit their office; face-to-face time is always better than an anonymous voice on the phone.
Take a Hint
If they’re not interested, they’re not interested. Don’t hound a reporter with the same story unless it has changed dramatically or you can find a new twist on the angle. If your contact is swamped and needs more time to review, set a reminder to follow up in a couple weeks. If Editor A forwards your pitch for consideration to Reporter B, don’t harass Editor A when Reporter B is unresponsive. Cut your losses and move on.
Media relations is about more than just getting placements; it’s about building and maintaining relationships over time. How are you, the PR practitioner, going to help the reporter and tailor a pitch that offers him or her actual news? If you can simplify a reporter’s life and provide real value, you – and your clients – will achieve success.
By Jamie Berman
Senior Account Executive