Your Website: Are you Tracking Your Metrics?

There aren’t a lot of secrets on the Internet. When it comes to your website, this includes who is coming to your site, who is leaving and how they are getting there in the first place. These gems of information are known as your website metrics. By tracking everything from bounces to conversions, your metrics deliver valuable information at your fingertips, which you can use to gather information and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Despite its availability, many of us don’t take the time to check our metrics. But don’t miss out on the opportunity: no matter how good you do, there’s always a little room for improvement.  Here’s a few tips from Hubspot on website metrics you should be tracking:

  1. The Bounce Effect
    When it comes to bounce rate — people who leave after viewing a page — high is bad and low is good. That is, if you have a high bounce rate, this means that this page isn’t quite working. A low bounce rate means that page is working for you. According to Hubspot: “Comparing your high bounce pages to your low bounce pages is a great way to find out what’s working for your visitors and what isn’t.”
  2. The Conversion Game
    The same goes for conversion rate: high equals good. Low equals bad. The conversion rate, the percentage of people who completed a desired action on that page, such as filling out a form, can tell you if your visitors are following through. Check to see if your landing page, the first page a visitor sees, is converting your visitors into leads. If they’re not, says Hubspot, then all of the traffic you are getting isn’t really valuable for your marketing efforts.
  3. A Traffic Jam
    Don’t you want to know where your traffic is coming from? See how people are finding out about your site — and if your marketing and SEO efforts are coming to fruition. Says Hubspot: “Every business will have their own mix of organic, referral and direct traffic, so it’s important to watch over time so that you can track how your various marketing channels are driving traffic to your website.”
  4. Keywords: The Search is On
    What words do people search when they find you? The might be searching your boss’s name, or might just find you by a random coincidence. Hubspot advises: “If you notice you’re getting traffic around a keyword you haven’t optimized for, you might have found a keyword that isn’t very competitive, but is still relevant to your business. You should build some content around that keyword to really leave your competitors in the dust.”
  5. Your Faithful Visitors
    How many people come to visit your site over a given period of time? You can find easily find out. “A word of caution though: do not focus on the number of visitors as your most important website metric,” says Hubspot. “It’s important to see how many people are ending up on your website, but this statistic is more of a reflection of your off-site marketing campaigns, and not of your website itself."

The History of Advertising on Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Very interesting infographic this morning on the history of Facebook advertising.

Your Facebook Ad Images: Are They Click-Worthy?

The right image on your Facebook Ad is a big deal. That’s because a great image boosts your click-through rate (CTR), sometimes doubling or even tripling it. And this is a big deal, because in the world of CTR, the more people who click, the less money you pay per click. You don’t need to be a math wizard to figure out why it’s important to get more visitors and decrease your advertising costs. But you do need to figure out a way to get as many people as possible to click. That’s where your image comes in.

According to mediabistro.com, your image is responsible for roughly 70% of clicks. That’s a big number. Here’s a few tips for getting the most click-worthy image for your ad.

  • Choose an image that stands out. 
    This means different things for different people. But basically, try to find something (tasteful, of course!) that makes the reader pause and look. And hopefully, they’ll click.
  • Forego stock images.
    It’s easy to quickly find a stock image of almost anything on the web, but try to avoid the temptation. Use real images of real people and events relevant to your office, and this will be much more attractive to your readers.
  • Think colorfully. 
    Contrasting colors attract the eye, so use images that contrast with your background. Another trick is using a contrasting border, in red for example, to make the picture pop.

We want to know:What images do you see that catch your eye and make you click? 

Via GigaOM: Sorry HTML 5, mobile apps are used more than the web

Visit the article here.

Mobile applications are commanding more attention on smartphones than the web, highlighting the need for strong app stores on handset platforms. For the first time since Flurry, a mobile analytics firm, has been reporting engagement time of apps and web on smartphones, software is used on average for 81 minutes per day vs 74 minutes of web use. Just a year ago, mobile web use outnumbered time spent on apps with 64 minutes as compared to 43 minutes. Trends are ever subject to change, but this one indicates that we’ll be waiting longer for HTML 5 web apps to unify the world of mobile devices.

 
What are our mobile app minutes spent doing? Flurry, which monitors software on  iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and J2ME platforms, says we’re a growing community of gamers, with 47 percent of our app time spent playing. Social networking followed up with 32 percent, while news, entertainment and other activities each accounted for single digits.
 
The entertainment figure of only 7 percent seems low to me given that mobile video, a time-intensive activity, is popular: Some data suggests that iPad users watch 2.5 times more video than traditional web users, for example. While YouTube has a solid mobile web interface, many platforms kick users into a native YouTube application. Last July, YouTube said it was serving 100 million videos per day through both its mobile software and website.
 
Regardless of that potential anomaly, the data underscores a few points I’ve made about mobile app ecosystems: If a platform doesn’t have a strong set of third-party apps available, consumer adoption of the platform becomes a greater challenge. To some degree, we’re now seeing that with Google Android Honeycomb tablets as well as RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook. There are other issues facing each of these, but a lack of optimized apps isn’t helping any, especially with the move from web to apps on mobiles.
 
Flurry’s data also has me pondering the future of web apps; namely, will HTML5 become as strong of an “app” platform as some would hope? As Chetan Sharma noted last year, the beauty of the web as an application distribution point is the reduced fragmentation it brings:
[T]he fragmentation issue in mobile only gets worse with each year with new devices, different implementations and operating systems, the cost of rolling out an app across multiple devices around the world can increase exponentially. As such, the browser provides the prospect of being the great unifier so you can truly design once and run everywhere (where the browser is available). For the simple apps that are less interactive and require less multimedia capability, like the popular social networking and news/weather apps, browser provides the perfect avenue to maximize impact with least amount of development.
 
Sharma’s thought made perfect sense to me back then, and while I’m still in general agreement with him, I’m beginning to wonder if the situation has changed. Instead of a mobile market with a number of platforms, we’re now witnessing the space become dominated by just two in Android and iOS. The third spot is up for grabs, although Windows Phone 7 has recently gained perceived momentum. BlackBerry / QNX and webOS are in transition, while Symbian is on the way out.
 
All the smartphone platforms are using WebKit browsers, so there’s still opportunity for web apps to unified across a large number of devices, but with such dominant operating systems in play, there may be less need for the web browser as a “great unifier” in mobile than there was just a year or two ago. And as long as apps keep appearing, the trend indicates consumers will keep buying.

From Fox 5: Smartphone Zone

Click on the video below and watch a great piece about the iPhone application we recently launched.  The clip starts at 1:49.

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/mornings/phoneapps/smart-phone-zone-automatic-3d-062311#.TgNCrzQ_EBc

The Chatter: How to Start A Blog Conversation

Picture yourself at a party. If someone asks you a question, you wouldn’t just walk away. But online, this happens every day. It’s easy to ignore questions posed by bloggers and go on to the next thing. That’s why, as an office with a blog, it’s important to put some forethought in how to start a conversation among your visitors.

Why bother? Getting comments on your blog shows that you have a dynamic community and a thoughtful audience. Sparking conversation lets you know more about what your visitors like and don’t like, and allows them to feel a part of something bigger.

 Here’s the top three ways to attract more comments.

  • Get Controversial.  You don’t need to go out on a limb or incite anger, but addressing controversial topics is a surefire way to get a response.  Try talking about a local hot topic – why not have a healthy discussion on your page?  That's a good thing!
  • Follow the News Cycle.  This might be seem obvious to Congressional offices who live and breathe by the news cycle. But you might be surprised how many blogs are outdated and stale. By keeping up with the news, you’ll be sure to be talking about what matters most to constituents.  Try for one day to post every single thing you can find on social media that pertains to your District.  See if this hyper-reporting works.
  • Respond to Comments.  We know you are busy. But still. If you can respond to at least some of your comments, you’ll show that you are there and you are listening. And this goes a long way.  People get thrown off when you comment back – it gives them a great feeling about your Congressional brand.  

We want to know: What prevents you from starting a conversation?

Via NYT: Facebook Readies an iPad App, Finally

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/facebook-readies-an-ipad-app-finally/

Facebook had its application for the iPhone ready right when the Apple App Store opened in July 2008. But more than a year after the iPad went on sale, there is still no official Facebook app for it.

That is about to change. People briefed on Facebook’s plans say that in coming weeks the company plans to introduce a free iPad application that has been carefully designed and optimized for the tablet.

The app has been in production at Facebook for almost a year, going through several design iterations, and is now in the final stages of testing, according to these people, who declined to be named because they were discussing confidential product plans.

One person who works with Facebook said Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive and founder, has been heavily invested in the process, overseeing design decisions and the app’s unique features.

People who have seen the application said it has a slick design that has been tailored for the iPad and its touchscreen interface. Facebook developers and designers have also overhauled the Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups features for the application. And the app will go beyond the features available on the Facebook Web site by allowing users to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the iPad’s built-in cameras.

“The photo and video experience is amazing, offering full resolution and full-screen images,” said a person who has seen the app.

Jaime Schopflin, a communications manager at Facebook, declined to discuss any future products. “We have a great relationship with Apple that is exemplified by our iPhone application, but with regards to an iPad application we have nothing to announce now, and cannot comment on future Facebook products,” she said. Apple declined to comment.

Facebook’s users have complained in the past that its Web interface is not optimized for the iPad or any other touchscreen experience. In response, a number of outside developers have introduced Facebook-friendly applications for the iPad, including My Pad, iFace and Friendly.

The new app could be a boon to both Facebook and Apple. Mobile applications and optimized mobile Web sites have been a major area of growth for Facebook, with the company saying that there are now more than 250 million Facebook users actively accessing the service on a mobile device. Facebook is approaching 700 million users worldwide.

A compelling Facebook application for the iPad could help Apple woo customers who are torn between buying an iPad and a competing Google Android tablet. Apple has sold more than 25 million iPads since the device was introduced last year.

Apple also plans to help Facebook promote the new application by featuring it prominently in the App Store, said a person familiar with the plans for the app.

In addition to the iPad app, Facebook also plans to introduce a better version of its Web site for the iPad. It is unclear when this will be unveiled, but it is not intended to compete with a Facebook iPad or iPhone application, and instead is meant “to supplement these experiences,” this person said.

Tweet Tweet: How Does Congress Use Twitter?

Twitter isn’t the primary form of communication for most of Congress. Yet. But a few Members are making their mark, finding that Twitter is yet another tool in their communications toolbox.  The platform allows for realtime feedback and interactions, which is extremely important in reference to your Congressional brand.

Based on a video we saw on K Street Café, here’s some first-hand information about how Congress uses Twitter.

We filtered the top five reasons:

  1. To let constituents know about last minute scheduling changes.
  2. To reach constituents who never followed their Congressperson before, but have recently purchased an iPhone or Blackberry.
  3. To respond to constituents who say they want to hear directly from the Senator.
  4. As a headline service.
  5. To drive constituents to the website, so they can get at the full information they need.

These are all interesting uses.  What more could it be used for to revolutionize our democracy?

We want to know: How do you use Twitter? Is it working? 

Intern Training Classes: The Time is Now!

You’ve hired your interns. Now you need to train them. With hiring season on the wane, it’s the perfect time to educate your interns about our CRM. After all, the more they know, the more helpful they can be in contributing to your office’s efficiency.

During our small group, two-hour training, “Fundamentals of Correspondence Management,” we train interns on the ins and outs of the CRM. This includes learning to:

  • navigate the CRM
  • understand key terms
  • view incoming correspondence
  • use various methods to sort large volumes of correspondence
  • assign, edit, and transmit responses
  • log printed correspondence, such as USPS mail, faxes, post cards, etc.).

We know an intern’s schedule can be erratic. With this in mind, we offer flexible and convenient  times for interns, as well as recurring, ad hoc, free classes for all staffers. You can also customize classes or use our dedicated mail process consultants.

For more information and to set up a training, email training@iconstituent.comand the link to our sign up form: www.iconstituent.com/training.

Politician comes out with his own app

Via Examiner.com

Repubican Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss has released a new mobile app compatible with iPhones and other Apple devices.

Chambliss' office claims this is the first official application offered by a U.S. Senator, but more ae expected in the coming weeks and months.

Through the application, Georgians can call Chambliss' office, check his position and other contact information, take constituent surveys and look at content generated by his office.

Chambliss' staff developed the app with iConstituent, a company that builds constituent contact tools for congressional offices and their constituents. During the health care debate, iConstituent's "tele-townhall" tools — for hosting large, moderated conference calls — saw widespread use among members of Congress who wanted to avoid the problems their colleagues were having with tense and sometimes physically violent in-person events.

In a YouTube video released Wednesday to promote the app, Chambliss said this is another way for "on-the-go" Georgians to keep tabs on his work in Washington.

"This way, folks don’t have to sit down and stop what they’re doing in order to find out what I’ve been up to or how to contact me," he said in the video.

The company already provides mobile applications for several representatives in the House, including Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Erik Paulsen (R-Minn), and Bill Shuster (R-Penn.)

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