Multi-Platform Users (and how they’re messing with your metrics)

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”, an adage famously spoken by Peter Drucker, or Bob Napier depending on who you ask, rings just as true in today’s online marketplace as it did when it was first spoken.

It’s always been crucial to measure the performance of a business’s different aspects, it lets you know your strengths, your weaknesses, and what you need to focus on to improve. Now that the internet plays such a vital role in modern businesses, digital analytics are of the utmost importance, but despite this, many businesses can still misuse several key online metrics.

Back in simpler times, people would access the internet on one device, their computer. That’s no longer the case, these days we can connect to the internet on our desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, TV, PlayStation and even our refrigerators.

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Because I didn’t already take long enough to decide what to eat

The multi-device way we access the internet nowadays impacts our measurement of various digital metrics, as if your analytics platform isn’t geared towards multi-platform users, each device someone uses to check out the same website will be registered as two unique visitors as opposed to the one using multiple platforms to access a website. Not taking this shift in device usage into account can cause serious issues in the measurement of various key digital metrics.

The measurement of unique visitors, perhaps the best measure of online audience, will be incorrect if multi-platform users are not accounted for. The same goes for conversion rates, engagement metrics, global audience and viewable impressions. These misattributions can mislead businesses into thinking they have a larger, and less engaged audience than in actuality, as one highly involved viewer using multiple devises may be presented as several viewers, each with lower engagement.

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Probably all of you right now

So the lesson to be learnt is that while the measurement of digital metrics is undeniably important for a business, it is essential that they measure correctly, and take into account individuals using multiple devises to partake in online activity, as without this adjustment, your metrics can become very misleading.

The Darkside of ‘Freemium’ Content

I want you to close your eyes and imagine something, now open them, because you kind of need to be able to read to see where I’m going with this. It’s 2 in the morning, you’re playing your favourite terrible phone game, and you just can’t beat that one level, you can’t afford that next item, you can’t crush that next candy and you can’t tycoon that next roller-coaster and it’s just killing you. But you have to win, you’d do anything to win. This is where there virtual goods model emerges from the shadows and offers you a way out, and for only 99 cents.

The virtual goods model is the morally ambiguous little cousin of the ‘freemium’ model of social media revenue. The ‘freemium’ model involves the offering of a baseline product or service free of charge, with additional premium features or benefits available for an extra cost. This model has been implemented to great affect by online service providers such as Spotify, Prezi and many others including WordPress, the website I’m using to write this blog for free.Wordpress

And then we have the virtual goods model, which makes its money through micro-transactions, enticing game players (generally on a mobile platform) to purchase virtual goods in order to advance in the game. While not all games utilizing mobile transactions are doing something wrong, many have received criticism about their deceptive nature, particularly in targeting those with addictive personalities and even children, offering just a little more fun, a little more success, for just a little more money.

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This is about as close as we get to extorting 7 year olds

 

This revenue model is all about execution, if done fairly they can be a perfectly legitimate means of generating revenue, but they do tread in an ethical grey area, with some preying on the naivety and youth of users to earn their money, and this is bad. It’s bad for consumers in the short run, and it could be bad for online and mobile games in the long run, as they risk earning a reputation of being deceitful, money hungry and sneaky.

download

Kanye gets it, a little ironic, but he gets it

So let’s not let micro-transactions get out of hand, if you’re using them for revenue, be ethical, and if you’re using them in games, be smart. It’s all in our hands, let’s just be reasonable.

 

3 Must Do’s For All Brands on Facebook

Facebook. You know what it is, you know how it works, and you know why you use it. We all do. Chances are you’re using it right now, and for anyone managing any brands out there, you should be too.

Half of all Australians have been found to use social media on a daily basis, with 25% of the population using it more than 5 times a day. Out of the vast array of social media platforms we have at our disposal Facebook sits comfortably in the role of the big kahuna, with over 13 million individuals nationwide using Facebook for an average of 8.5 hours per week. That’s a lot of potential exposure brands can get on Facebook, so it’s critical that they get it right.

So here are the top three must do’s for brands on Facebook looking to make noise and connect with their customers.

1. Know your audience

This is a pretty straightforward one that is relevant to all facets of marketing, as an understanding of your target audience should drive your marketing efforts. If you don’t understand who you’re talking to, it becomes a whole lot harder to talk to them.

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I tried explaining this to my two year old cousin but he didn’t really care

 

Take a look at Red Bull, they possess an excellent understanding of their youthful, adventurous and gosh darn extreme consumers and as a result they can offer up content that appeals to this market, netting them over 45 million likes, and a lot of subsequent post likes, comments, shares, and brand exposure.

And then there’s Cheerios, who instead of building a rapport with the parents who buy their product, try and go right for the youngsters by announcing their new Snapchat account, a complete failure to understand who their audience is, and how they work.

chlidwithiPhonesmaller

Great, another Snapchat from Cheerios

2. Be interesting

Once you know who you’re talking to, you need to know how to talk to them. Post attention grabbing content that will help in the formation of strong, positive brand associations, and post it often.

ESPN posts frequent updates on all major sports which offer value to their audience, and keep them in the consumers mind as a top sports provider. Huge corporations such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Disney have also found online success by uploading a constant stream of advertisement/entertainment hybrid content that both engage the audience and  circulate their respective brand messages. Not all brands have the same success, posting content that fails to be interesting, relevant, or both.

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What even is this Red Rooster?

3. Be relatable

Facebook exists as a virtual social space for people to interact with each other is a casual environment. In order to truly thrive in this setting, brands should operate in an informal way, or they risk alienating themselves as simple spam advertisements in a sea of user generated content.

Starbucks excels in this regard, as there informal, well-crafted posts excellently appeal to their market and do so in a way which blends nicely with the social landscape provided by Facebook.

Another great way to make your brand more relatable on Facebook is through responses to customer inquiries. By offering up friendly, helpful, and prompt responses to be people’s customer service issues, brands can gain the persona of a helpful individual, rather than a faceless organisation.

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If only every conversation could be so helpful and polite

Blogging (about blogging)

Blogging can do a lot of things. It can provide people with a creative outlet, aid in the dissemination of information, offer advice on a huge range of topics, and even be used by businesses to help sell themselves and their products. This is known as a sponsored blog, and it’s an increasingly useful form of online marketing in a time where people spend hours scouring the internet for quality content.

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Quality Content

A sponsored blog is basically when a blogger discusses a brand or product in their blog (in a positive light) on behalf of a company in exchange for something, whether it be money, free products, or anything else. These can take the form of a subtle plug for an app, a really, really, really subtle advertisement for tax agents, or painfully obvious attempts to sell TV shows or McDonalds ice cream (except that last one somehow wasn’t even sponsored, never change Buzzfeed, never change).

Sponsored blogs have been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, being labelled as deceptive and unethical, condemnations which have credence, as the blurring of the lines between journalism and advertisement is a genuine concern. But sponsored content doesn’t have be a bad thing. If sponsored content is transparent about its nature, is there really anything so intrinsically wrong with this emerging form of promotion if all parties are benefiting? Brands can gain awareness, bloggers can receive remuneration, and readers can be connected with products they may be interested in while still enjoying the bloggers content. Here lies the key to successful sponsored blogs, the generation of value for all parties involved, however, in order for this to be effective the blogs must gain a readership, which brings up the excellent question of what makes a good blog? A question I’ll need to answer if I want to have success with this one.

Quality content is an integral factor in the success of a blog, as the topic of a piece has to incite interest in the reader. From this point on, there are several universally accepted features of  a successful blog, with the most common and important points including originally, an understanding of your audience, transparency and openness, high quality and well thought out writing, and frequent updates. So with all that in mind let’s see what this blog can accomplish!