Category : Small business
For every retail loser there's a retail winner
Today PwC's retail survey found the British high street is being reshaped as shoppers shift online - especially in fashion, where a net 100 high street stores closed. This misses the positive side of the story: all those shoppers are buying from independent UK brands online instead, which is one of the fastest growing area of the UK economy. We looked at 30 mid-sized online fashion retailers (with average sales of £1m per month) who get a majority of their traffic from the UK. This collection had grown their sales by an aggregate 21% from October 2017 to October 2018 (year on year). Fashion shoppers love to browse unique designs on Instagram and Pinterest, compare prices and get easy home deliveries. Independent ecommerce brands are bringing original designs to the British wardrobe, and we should celebrate their success. Behind the research Littledata gathers benchmark data from Google Analytics on over 12,000 websites, including many types of ecommerce businesses. Our customers get insights into their performance and recommendations on how to improve online conversion.
Web design fails to avoid for ecommerce success
Your website is an essential tool for attracting and converting customers. Driven by the uptake in online shopping, having a well-designed ecommerce site is no longer a luxury. It’s now a necessity -- you need to regularly convert browsers into buyers. Web design has the power to really grab your customers attention and portray your messaging. But when it goes wrong, the customers you lose will rarely come back. In this post I take a look at common web design fails that drive customers away, so you can avoid them. They may be common mistakes, but they're often overlooked! Fail #1: The CMS, plugins and theme are outdated You don’t need to modernize your website every day, or even every week, but you do need to make sure it doesn’t feel outdated. That means you should regularly update your website theme, your plugins and your content. Updating your theme and plugins will ensure you have the latest features and boost your security, while regularly updating your content will improve your SEO ranking and make your website more interesting for repeat visitors. Fail #2: Your website is not mobile responsive Over 50% of online traffic is from mobile phones and tablets, so having a website that properly displays itself on those devices is essential. If your website is non-responsive, you’ll be missing out on a massive amount of potential business. Below is the website Dribble, a powerful example of a responsive website (here's a big list of mobile-responsibe web design done well). Plus, your SEO will suffer and it makes your business look unprofessional. Common issues with non-responsive websites are text being displayed too small to read, irregular formatting, un-clickable links and images not loading. How many of your customers are shopping on mobile? Where are they falling out of the checkout funnel? Use this tool to find out. Fail #3: Stock photos and generic content Building customer loyalty and trust -- both of which are vital for repeat business -- begins with establishing credibility and authenticity. Nobody wants to read the same blog they have already read 50 times on your website, or look at stock photos they have seen on other brands websites. Good writing should be original, punchy and relevant to your target audience. And copy should be matched with credible, original imagery. Stock photos are easy to spot a mile off. Using original imagery significantly helps to build a website design that stands out and wins customer trust. Fail #4: It’s slow and your bounce rate is high Speed matters. If your website loads too slowly, you can say goodbye to the impatient modern-day consumer and watch your bounce rates rise. First impressions of a website are made immediately, so if your website takes more than a few seconds to load, your content and design won’t be given the chance to see the light of day. Make sure your images are compressed, limit the amount of videos and animations published within, make sure your hosting provider can handle fluctuating amounts of traffic, and disable any plugins you aren’t actually using. Then make sure to check your speed and performance rates against other sites. Benchmarking is the most accurate way to do this, so you can see how you compare to similar sites in your industry. Fail #5: Your site is unbranded and doesn’t stand out The minute a possible customer comes to your website, they should know exactly whose website they are on. Having a nicely designed logo is, therefore, critical for making a good first impression and improving brand awareness. And best of all, it’s really easy to do. Online tools are readily available to create stunning high-resolution logos in second, such as Shopify’s logo maker. Fail #6: Face it, your site's just not that interesting There is nothing worse than going on to a website and finding it incredibly boring. Content needs to compliment design, so it’s vital you have interesting content throughout to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. Using banners, photos and graphics, along with authentic and interesting copy is the right way to grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to make a purchase or opt-in via a form. Fail #7: It’s not made for converting If your website doesn’t have clear calls to action (CTAs), then it’s not going to have good conversion rates. Plain and simple. This 'fail' can easily be eradicated by using smart opt-in offers, having clear navigation menus ('nav menus' in designer jargon), and writing relevant, targeted content. Evernote use an excellent CTA. Without a clear CTA, how are your customers meant to know what you want them to do? Simply put, they won’t - they will leave. Every page (including your blog posts) should have a clear CTA to guide your online visitors down the buyer journey. Fail #8: It’s not optimized for SEO Optimizing each aspect of your website begins with understanding what works well and what doesn’t. The only way of doing this accurately is by using analytics to get deeper insights into how your potential buyers are using your site. You’ll be able to see which pages perform well, which keywords attract the best traffic (SEO is an area that you should be continually optimizing), which promotions work best, and which images resonate with your customers the most. As search engines become smarter, continually optimizing for SEO is an excellent way to get a clearer view of what's working and clarify anything that isn't clear. Then you'll be on the road to becoming an SEO-driven business - an easy way to improve revenue. Fail #9: It’s cluttered and noisy If your website is too cluttered, it will create a bad customer experience for any visitor. It will also distract potential buyers away from doing what you want them to do, such as making a purchase, filling out a form or requesting more information via chat. Don’t make the mistake of cramming too much into each page, or filling your web pages with in-your-face advertising. Your website should be easy to navigate, simple and concise. Customers should be able to convert with minimal effort. Conclusion The bottom line: if your ecommerce site has many design fails that impact the user experience, your company may lose out on potential profits. Use the tactics mentioned in this article to get started on improving the design of your website today! Michelle Deery is the content writer for Heroic Search, a digital marketing agency based in Tulsa. She specializes in writing about eCommerce and loves writing persuasive copy that both sells and educates readers.
Should you outsource your ecommerce operations?
After you've created an ecommerce startup, the initial goals are all about recovering costs and expenses. As soon as the profit margins rise and you've broken even, you face some big decisions that will decide the growth of your online business. First of all, should you start outsourcing? Because many first-time entrepreneurs think it's more cost-effective to do everything on their own, it is a common mistake to pass on hiring freelancers. In this post I’ll highlight the core benefits of outsourcing your ecommerce operations. Focus & growth There are many aspects to promoting your product, and ecommerce operations is an integral component of your company's growth. By outsourcing your ecommerce operations, you have the time to focus on the goals and growth of your company. When hiring a freelancer from a reputable marketplace such as FreeeUp.com, your contract will protect both parties. The roles are clearly defined and you get expert advice in key areas. Your time is valuable, and when you free up your days to re-focus on growing sales, the sky is the limit. Short-term & long-term options First of all, this isn't an all-or-nothing decision. Hiring freelancers can be short-term or long-term depending on the needs of your business. By delegating specific tasks to various experts, your business has the opportunity to grow and flourish as you originally intended. You also have the unique opportunity to scale as needed without the commitments that traditional employment requires. And experts are exactly that - experts! Why reinvent the wheel? The need for a skillset As your company grows, your knowledge grows. Creating an ecommerce startup has a steep learning curve, however, and outsourcing for expert advice makes a lot of sense. Coaching a freelancer is not required as they are already specialized in their skillset. By hiring freelancers, your business can grow outside of your core expertise. For instance, why spend time learning about optimizing landing pages for conversions when you can just hire an Optimizely expert? Furthermore, professionalism is a must when running a business. Your company will gain a professional profile with experts at your side. Until you've gained the expertise, winging it is just bad business. If you've spent countless hours (or possibly weeks) researching ecommerce operating skills, it is time to consider hiring outside of your skillset. Freelancers are highly knowledgeable in their specific niches, and outsourcing your ecommerce operations (and other important roles such as social media and marketing), will benefit your business. Working at full capacity Being more efficient with your time is a smart business decision. When you're stretched too thin or feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks of the company, hiring a freelancer is a no-brainer. Avoiding business burnout is key. As the owner/founder/boss (and probably CMO/CEO to boot), your business needs you to be working at full capacity. Making a list of the tasks that need to be completed is a smart business move. The next step is to start outsourcing as needed. You can learn from these experts and expand your business while optimising your time in the areas you already know -- while maintaining a clear overview of your ecommerce site. Excellent customer service (doesn't necessarily start with you) There's no question that customer service is a key component for the success of your business. Platforms like Shopify have emphasized this to their merchants to help them grow. Today's consumers are demanding, and catering to your customers’ needs can quickly take all your time and energy. Remaining professional requires focus and support, which is why hiring freelancers to maintain exceptional customer service is a key component to the growth of your company. Upgrades & maintenance Ultimately, the goal is to keep everything running smoothly. When you regularly hit profit margins and your goals are being met, upgrades and maintenance will be an ongoing issue. You might want to expand your server capacity due to increased traffic, for instance, or revamp your blog. It's no surprise that the top benchmarks for growing a Shopify store include page load speeds and server response time. Even though upgrades and maintenance to support growth are positive issues, it can be time-consuming to keep everything afloat. Moreover, once you meet your goals, you’ll want to expand. Hiring freelancers allows you to make sure that everything runs smoothly as you venture out into new areas or even new businesses. The bottom line is that one person cannot do it all. Outsourcing for various skillsets will make a world of difference for your company -- and your peace of mind. Start outsourcing your ecommerce operations The benefits of outsourcing your ecommerce operations to freelancers are countless. By outsourcing your ecommerce operations, you free up valuable time to remain focused and goal-oriented. Your business started from passion -- it is important to maintain that vision and hire freelancers to help meet your targets and objectives. This is a guest post by Connor Gillivan, CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler (check out their info on hiring for ecommerce). He has sold over $30 million online and hired hundreds of freelancers himself to build his companies.
My first design sprint
Littledata believes that happiness and productivity go hand-in-hand, but what does that look like in practice? In this post I'll share a bit about our workplace culture and most recent design sprint, from the perspective of me, our newest team member! Four years ago a new company emerged - Littledata. Fast forward to today and we have major ecommerce customers around the world, including Made.com, Figleaves and Age UK. Our consulting business has grown to develop a suite of ecommerce analytics technology that anybody can use - including an industry-leading analytics audit, automated reporting with Google Analytics and even a dedicated Shopify reporting app. And the team has continued to expand - Meet our great team here My story I joined Littledata two months ago, and it's already been an amazing journey. I was working as a marketing specialist at a Romanian company when a friend pinged me about the opportunity to work at Littledata. I was not looking for a job at the time but I was impressed about the innovative app they had created, so I knew I had to meet them. Initially, I applied for an open position listed on Littledata's careers page. Unfortunately, my background experience in that field was not so generous and I did not get the job. (True story!) But no worries there, as Littledata saw potential in my good attitude, proactive work ethic and willingness to learn. After some additional interviews and a test project, they gave me a chance and created a new position for me as a marketing assistant. This was a clear sign of an open-minded work culture that invests in its employees and focuses as much on potential as on experience. In short, I accepted the job and joined the European team. It was one of the best professional decisions I've ever made. Since I joined Littledata I've learned more in two months than in an entire year at other companies. My colleagues and supervisor took time and patience to teach me and guide me through skills that otherwise I couldn’t have learned by myself. Littledata is a data company - and Google Analytics isn’t easy stuff - but since we’re dedicated to making analytics as painless and as useful as possible to our customers, it’s an exciting and exhilarating place to work. There are new challenges and great successes every single day in the office. Besides the best mentorship I am receiving, my peers proved to be very fun and sociable. It’s a place where we do work as a TEAM, helping and supporting each other. The only competition we have is from our competitors. Moreover, the perks I got with the job with remote-working hours and annual offsites in a different countries, easily trump the perks of working at big corporations. I discovered that the fast evolution of Littledata is due to its employees. Littledata’s senior staff believes that true innovation comes from happy employees. (Want to see the data? There is statistical evidence that happiness and a positive workplace culture drive both productivity and profit.) By focusing on building a strong internal bond, offering excellent benefits and driving diversity, Littledata created a one-of-a-kind workplace environment. Things weren’t always easy tough. They’ve had their share of challenges. See how Littledata went through the challenges of developing a Shopify integration. Where do we work? As Littledata grew, the team expanded worldwide. Our offices are located in New York City, London and Cluj-Napoca (Romania), and we have employees and consultants in over 8 different cities. Here in Cluj, the workspace was recently renovated and each room is personalised after each employee’s personal mark. In this way, we all feel comfortable and productive at our workspace. Many times we don’t even use our office desks, preferring to work intently on our sofas and bean bag chairs, or outside in the hammocks. We might have a remote work culture, but we stay constantly connected. Our communication strategy includes Skype for official meetings and Google products (Calendar, Drive, etc) and Slack for fast chatting, collaborating and updating. To keep track of our projects we use Trello cards, where we split the team into different boards, depending on their department. We found that it’s the best way to connect all our team and not get lost in a messaging abyss despite the different time zones. My first design sprint In order to bring clarity in our roadmap and kickstart new features, we embrace the Design Sprint philosophy. A design sprint is a five-phase framework that helps answer business questions through a fast-paced prototyping and user testing. Understand (review background and user insights) Diverge (brainstorm what’s possible) Converge (rank solutions, pick one) Prototype (create a minimum viable concept) Test (validate with users) Basically, we pick a time and a place where we all gather up every three months and do some Sprint-Planning focused on a specific goal. The process helps to spark innovation and align team members under a shared vision. Through this hyper-focus, we can build better features and launch them faster. I recently joined a Design Sprint that took place in a beautiful villa on the island of Mallorca. In the first day I assisted at a short introduction from our organizer, followed-up by the schedule presentation of our 5 day sprint-design and reviews from my colleagues regarding the last Sprint. Afterwards, we separated into two groups, the product team and the marketing team. I joined the marketing team, and for the next 5 days we worked on new ways to promote Littledata by answering the needs and the common questions our customers have. After we all agreed on the most important topics to cover we split up into three teams of two people each. One team managed a new promotional video, the other took on the app’s features process and the last one worked on a customer onboarding process. I was in the app’s features team - check them out: Littledata’s features. The product team came up with a way to increase engagement in our Shopify app and started to develop an exciting new feature that we’ll be launching next quarter! On the 4th day the product team and the marketing team reunited, presented their work and ideas, and voted on each other’s ideas. The last working day was the prototype day where both teams tested their prototypes with real customers. This was an essential part of the Sprint and definitely worth doing if you’re thinking of running a Design Sprint yourself! The Sprint-Planning was also a great way for catching up with each other and spend quality time with all the team members. Our leisure time was spent in Spain, traveling and engaging in fun activities. Work hard, play hard! We even spotted one of our customer's products, Micro-scooters, in a shop window Palma's old city! Perks In my opinion, one of the biggest perks of working at Littledata is the remote-working hours. A flexible and personalized work schedule gives the employees the opportunity to balance work and personal life very efficiently. Besides, the company offers the benefit of working from home when needed. We can work from a coffee shop, a HubSpot, a park or wherever we feel like it. You can work from anywhere ... just make sure to have a good internet connection. Healthcare is also assured. No need to worry about this topic, because for employees in Romania, Littledata grants personal health insurance through our Groupama collaborators. Wellness is also supported by weekly fruit baskets, tea, coffee and other yummy snacks. Integrating all of these pieces together we create a comfy and positive environment for our employees. Workplace culture (PS we're hiring) Our growing team is opened in hiring new staff members who bring value and personality into Littledata. A strong professional background helpful, but a drive to learn is just as important - get involved and be proactive, we encourage learning in all of our activities. We look for people that are passionate, ambitious and always want to challenge themselves. Another criteria that we are fond of is respect. Our company has a strong policy in respecting its employees. As we are very diverse in culture, we coordinate to celebrate each person's holiday and major life event. And last but not least, we are fun folks. Be serious in your work but have a positive and cheerful attitude. And guess what? We are hiring! We have big plans building some awesome products. So come join us, either as an employee or as a collaborator, to create new features using the latest analytics technology. Check out our open positions here. We’d love to hear your opinion - what do you think a great workplace looks like? Leave a comment below and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest in everything analytics.
Tips and tricks for transitioning your physical business online
Transitioning your physical business online is a good choice in the modern age of digital business. It’s all about the internet and selling online. Customers aren’t shopping in brick and mortar businesses as much as they did years ago, and it’s obvious the trend is going digital. But where should you start? In 2017, over 40% of shoppers in the US shopped online several times per month according to Statistia. That’s a big percentage, and it’s only going up! You need the best tips and tricks to stay competitive if you’re transitioning your physical business online. Here’s a guide to smoothly making your transition from in-person business to online business. Choose the right selling platform Your first step when searching for the perfect way to sell online is finding the right platform. You have two main options: sell on an existing platform or create your own. Examples of existing platforms include Etsy and eBay which already have a customer base. While it’s easier to find new customers on these existing platforms, you also lose some control when selling with them. If you do choose to build your own website, there are a lot of tools for easily integrating selling on your website. Shopify is the most common platform for e-commerce and it’s easy to get started with. It's easy to modify to fit your brand and products, and everything just works, right out of the box. Your customers don’t have a lot of time to search your website for exactly what they’re looking for. The easier your website is to navigate, the more customers you’ll convert! That said, the choice for the best ecommerce platform often comes down to Shopify vs Magento. Find a good merchant account With your selling platform comes your merchant account. This is how you’ll process payments through your website, and it can make or break the user experience. Your merchant account is one of the most important aspects of e-commerce reported ExpertSure. When choosing a merchant account, less is more. One of the biggest problems facing online sellers is abandoned carts. You can cut down on this number of people leaving before entering their credit card info by making it as quick and simple as possible to checkout on your website. If you master these basics of building an online store on a platform like Shopify, your transition to online will be as smooth as possible! Did you know that you can even use the Shopify POS for selling offline as well? Be active on social media - but not overly salesy Now that you’ve chosen the right selling platform, it’s time to take your online presence to social media. Social media is to business today what print ads were to businesses 20 years ago. Social media has a lot of power today. According to WordSteam, over 60% of Americans are active on Facebook! If you want to make a splash with your marketing, you need to be on social media. As an e-commerce business, you might think you should be selling on social media. This isn't’ the case! Instead, focus on building relationships with your audience. Create valuable content that your users actually will want to share, and you’ll convert more users into buyers! As as an online business, social media is your first line of interaction with your audience. Why move your business online? In today's market, everything is online. It’s not enough to have a brick and mortar store. People want to be able to shop 24/7 and without worrying about holidays or store hours. An online business never takes days off. It doesn’t have to hire a store clerk or a cashier. There’s a lot of upfront work when setting up the website, but once you’ve established the right platform it’s smooth sailing as long as you have the right marketing strategy with free analytics tools to make sure you're tracking sales, marketing and e-commerce checkout steps. You might need to outsource your online marketing work, and with a good reason. This free Google AdWords PPC wasted spend calculator tool by Fang Marketing shows just how much of your marketing budget you can waste away by putting it to a bad use. As you transition online, you cannot afford such wasting, so it’s a smart choice to actually find a professional to help you target buyer personas and increase ROI (Return on Investment) for those campaigns. For example, using buyer personas to adjust Facebook Ads is an art...and a science! One more reason is having your stuff out of the office and working online as a way of taking down the overhead costs. Sure, some may decide to still go to a coworking space like Spacious or WeWork, but those costs won’t come near the downtown shop with office space for all employees. Just keep in mind that some cities may observe local holidays and you should make sure to find a strategy to keep your shop open without breaking any labor laws." Succeed in the digital age It’s not enough anymore to just set up your shop online and expect to see growth! E-commerce today is all about listening to users and connecting with your audience online. It’s easier than ever to transition your business online, but once you’re there you need the right strategy to get seen. Follow these tips above to create a strategy that works today and beyond! Have you had a unique experience bring your brick-and-mortar store online? Do you have tips for other old-school stores looking for the best route to ecommere success? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. This is a guest post by Ashley Lipman, outreach manager at Expertsure.
Are niche stores the future of ecommerce?
Ecommerce blogs were once full of the stories of retailers who had built a thriving ecommerce business sitting on a beach in Thailand while doing as little work as possible. Their business model wasn’t complex: they bought cheap goods from suppliers in developing nations, dropshipped them to US and European consumers with a substantial markup, and lived off the profit. If you’re unusually smart and lucky, it’s still possible to find success walking this path, and you will have little trouble finding ecommerce bloggers happy to sell you the secret to their success (and a large dose of snake oil to wash it down with). But for today’s hopeful new ecommerce merchant, that path doesn’t lead anywhere worth going. As the ecommerce market matured, the low-hanging fruit was picked. In 2017, the most successful small ecommerce retailers are focused on niches they understand well and can build a rapport with. The suppliers relied on by the dropshippers of old got wise. They don’t need small ecommerce merchants to act as the middle-man when it’s just as easy to sell online themselves. There are suppliers who don’t want to be involved in the retail end of the business, but those are generally wholesalers who only sell in quantities that smaller retailers can’t afford. As Commerce Notebook’s Brian Krogsgard puts it: Yesterday’s dropshipping gold rush is today’s dropshipping myth factory. You should be prepared for the realities of dropshipping today in a highly competitive environment, and know that it’s not as easy as some of the stories you’ve heard. Plus, if all your store does is attempt to replicate a tiny subset of Amazon, you’re onto a losing proposition. You can’t beat Amazon at its own game. And yet, small ecommerce merchants continue to thrive. How? By doing what the Everything Store cannot: providing excellent service to a niche market whose needs they understand. I’ve seen dozens of smaller ecommerce businesses flourish by focusing with single-minded determination on a niche audience. Why niche ecommerce works Niche ecommerce works because it’s all-encompassing. Every aspect of these sites fits their particular specialism, including the passions of the target audience. When building user personas for your site, the better you know your audience, the more effective those personas will be when running PPC campaigns, improving SEO and optimising product listings! Branding, communication, product, design, service: everything is calculated to appeal to a specific and clearly identified group of people. Groups that are large and diverse enough to be worth selling to while possessing a sliver of a common identity. One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon is Dolls Kill, a fashion retailer that sidesteps the norms of the fashion industry to appeal to a clearly articulated individualism. The online store calls for shoppers to ‘navigate through the site and unleash your inner riot girl’, and they even have a brick-and-mortar pop-up shop in San Francisco right now. Towards the more mainstream end of the spectrum, Grovemade manufactures and sells wooden furniture and other products. Its branding focuses on design, craftsmanship, and the quality of its materials, with content that tells the story of each product’s genesis, from concept, to design, to manufacture. Although different in tone, audience, and product, these retailers are similar in one way: each understands the values, lifestyles, and needs of a niche market. They unapologetically sell products and build a brand that appeals to that audience. Their customers get the products they desire, but more than that, they buy from a retailer that projects an authentic image in-line with their ideal identity. What’s next for niche ecommerce? The future of ecommerce might be in a combination of these worlds, the old and the new, the big and the small. On one hand we have niche sites that combine next-gen dropshipping with the power of a platform like Shopify, WooCommerce or Magento that make it easy to scale -- as long as you choose the best reporting tools to understand revenue and customers. Littledata’s ecommerce analytics app is particularly useful for Shopify and Magento stores that want to find the right buyer personas to sell to, and to connect that marketing directly to revenue. On the other we have larger stores like MADE.com and Figleaves in the UK. These online stores are now household names, but they became that way by building best-in-class customer support teams and online customer communities with specialised, personalised tools. Two standout examples are MADE’s Unboxed customer community, where shoppers share design pics, and Figleaves’ My Perfect Fit tool, where shoppers can find their perfect lingerie fit. MADE’s story is especially worth noting because they created a niche based on the story of how their business operates, cutting out the middleman and selling directly from designers to consumers. Once they found this niche, they scaled using data-driven decisions that lead to radical increases in yearly revenue. That’s the deal with niche selling: no two stores are ever the same, but your chances for success increase many fold when you use proven tools for hosting, design and tracking -- and create ways for your customer community to share inspiration while at the same time discovering new products and trends. Niche ecommerce is a powerful force, and anyone entering the ecommerce market in 2018 should pay heed to that power. About the author: Graeme Caldwell works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog!
Retailers traded 2.4 times normal volumes during Black Friday week 2017
The results are in, and this year's Black Friday sales prove that things are continuing to look up for ecommerce. Across 570 online stores, the average store did 2.4 times their normal sales in Black Friday week 2017, compared with only 2.2 times in 2016 – and a greater proportion of stores participated in the sales. Following our post on pre-Black Friday trends, Littledata looked again at what happened from Thanksgiving Thursday 2017 through to the following Wednesday (the week including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) – versus a control period of November & December in 2016. Compared with 2016, we found a bigger number of stores participating in Black Friday sales this year: 53% of stores were trading more than 1.5 times their normal volumes, compared with only 49% in the equivalent week in 2016. For those stores which promoted heavily in 2016, the median boost was 2.5 times normal. And those in the bottom quartile of sales in 2016 still traded 108% their normal volumes. How did Black Friday promotions work for your store? Use our industry benchmarks to find out how your online store is performing against the competition.
Black Friday discounting increases next season’s purchasing
I knew Black Friday had reached ‘late adopter’ stage this week when a company I’d bought fencing panels from - fencing panels – emailed me their holiday season promotions. But the real question is whether all these promotions serve to drive customer loyalty or just attract bargain hunters? At Littledata we looked at aggregate data from 143 retailers who participated most in 2016 Black Friday, versus 143 retailers who did not. For the first 23 days of November 2017 – before Black Friday – the median year-on-year increase in sales was 13% for those pushing discounts the previous year, versus only 1% growth for those avoiding Black Friday discounting *. Our conclusion is that retailers who discounted most heavily on Black Friday 2016 saw a lasting benefit in extra sales a year after the sales period. However, we don’t know whether these extra sales were profitable enough to pay for the seasonal promotions. Another possible explanation is that higher-growth retailers are more active in marketing Black Friday, but in either event the discount season has done them no harm over the following year. In a follow up post next week we’ll compare the peak discount trading – and see if on average these same stores increased their participation this year or reigned it back. Looking at 2016, it seems Black Friday was bigger than the year before for our cohort of 270 UK retailers – but at the expense of sales later in the season. Yet in the UK we are not close to US-levels of hysteria yet, where a much greater proportion of the last quarter’s sales are done on that weekend. The other interesting question is what sectors does Black Friday affect? Reflecting back on my 2016 post, it may be a surprise that the biggest boost of over 100% average increase in sales comes for Health & Beauty stores; whereas technology and computer stores on average saw a boost of 40% for the week. (The graph shows the difference with the average sales volumes in November & December, by sector, for 3 selected weeks.) And perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by those fencing panels: business and industrial sites saw a big boost too! Interested in tracking online sales activity for your own site this holiday shopping season? Littledata's ecommerce analytics software provides accurate data and automated reporting to help you track promotions and drive conversions and customer loyalty. * The statistical detail I took a group of 573 retailers we have tracked for at least 2 years, and looked at the ratio of Black Friday weekend sales (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) to the 2 month average for November and December. Those in the top quartile (trading 2.6 times above average during the Black Friday season) were deemed to have participated; those in the bottom quartile, showing a dip in trading over that weekend were deemed not to have participated. I then looked at the year-on-year growth in revenue between November 2016 (first 23 days) and the same period in November 2017, for the discount versus non-discount group. A t-test between the groups found a 18% probability that the two groups had the same mean, not allowing us to dismiss the null hypothesis.
How to improve your landing pages
With the How to improve your landing pages using Google Analytics blog post, I wanted to help answer the question, why users are clicking a call-to-action but are not converting? Now I will give you some basic tips on how to improve your landing pages, overall. Do what you say and say what you do There is nothing more frustrating for a client than to hope for honey and receive salt. Donʼt promise one thing and then deliver something else .. or even worse nothing at all (a 404 page). For example, if you are giving away an ebook, and your CTA says “Get your free ebook”, donʼt provide a PayPal form on the next screen asking for $2.95 for the product you said would be free, or merely say “thanks for registering” without a link to the product you are offering. Yes, you will have gained a lead, but the customer is now worthless and will tell others about your unfair tactics. In order to get the answer to "Why don't they convert" check this checklist: Do you respect the above? If not this is your biggest business issue. Do you track how many clicks your call-to-action have? If not, see the previous blog post about tracking CTAs What is your conversion rate? Depending on your business model, a conversion rate of 5% to 20% is be normal. (Calculate users that finished the call-to-action divided by users that clicked the call-to-action button.) With these answers, you can figure out what your problem is. This will either be that the users are not clicking or the users are not converting. If the users are not converting you can: A/B test the layout of next page after they click the call-to-action button A/B test the text of the next page after they click the call-to-action button Provide online support on that page offering customers the option to ask direct questions Create a survey for the segment of users that clicked the call-to-action but didn't convert to find out why they didn't Have any questions? Comment below or get in touch! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
The Freemium business model revisited
After I concluded that freemium is not the best business model for all, the continued rise of ‘free’ software has led me to revisit the same question. In a fascinating piece of research by Price Intelligently, over 10,000 technology executives were surveyed over 5 years. Their willingness to pay for core features of B2B software has declined from 100% in 2013 to just over 50% today – as a whole wave of VC-funded SaaS companies has flooded the market with free product. For add-ons like analytics, this drops to less than 30% willing to pay. “The relative value of features is declining. All software is going to $0” – Patrick Campbell, Price Intelligently Patrick sees this as an extension of the trend in physical products, where offshoring, global scale and cheaper routes to market online have led to relentless price depreciation (in real terms). I’m not so sure. Software is not free to manufacture, although the marginal cost is close to zero – since cloud hosting costs are so cheap. The fixed cost is the people-time to design and build the components, and the opportunities for lowering that cost – through offshoring the work or more productive software frameworks - have already been exploited by most SaaS companies. To pile on the pain, a survey of software executives also found that the average number of competitors in any given niche has increased from 10 to 15 over those 3 years. Even if software build costs are falling, those costs are being spread over a small number of customers – making the chance of breaking even lower. And the other big cost – Customer Acquisition (CAC) – is actually rising with the volume of competition. To sum up the depressing news so far: 1. Buyers have been conditioned to expect free software, which means you’ll have to give major features away for free 2. But you’ll have to pay more to acquire these non-paying users 3. And next year another competitor will be offering even more for free What is the route of this economic hole? Focussing on monetising a few existing customers for one. Most SaaS executives were focussed on acquiring new customers (more logos), probably because with a free product they expected to sweep up the market and worry about monetization later. But this turns out to be the least effective route to building revenue. For every 1% increment, Price Intelligently calculated how much this would increase revenue. i.e. If I signed up 101 users over the year, rather than 100, that would increase revenue by 2.3%. Monetization – increasing the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) – has by far the larger impact, mainly because many customers don’t pay anything currently. In contrast, the impact of customer acquisition has fallen over 3 years, since the average customer is less likely to pay. Monetization is not about increasing prices for everyone – or charging for previously free features – but rather finding the small number who are willing to pay, and charging them appropriately. My company, Littledata, has many parallels to Profit Well (launched by Price Intelligently). We both offer analytics and insights on top of existing customer data – Littledata for Google Analytics behavioural data, and Profit Well for recurring revenue data from billing systems. And we have both had similar customer feedback: that the perceived value of the reporting is low, but the perceived value of the changes which the reporting spurs (better customer acquisition, increased retention etc) is high. So the value of our software is that it creates a requirement – which can then be filled by consulting work or ‘actionable’ modules. For myself, I can say that while focusing on new customer acquisition has been depressing, we have grown revenues once a trusted relationship is in place – and the customer really believes in Littledata’s reporting. For Littledata, as with many B2B software companies, we are increasingly content that 80% of our revenue comes from a tiny handful of loyal and satisfied users. In conclusion, while the cover price of software subscriptions is going to zero, it is still possible to generate profits as a niche SaaS business – if you understand the necessity of charging more to a few customers if the many are unwilling to pay. Freemium may be here to stay, but if customers want the software companies they rely on to stay they need to pay for the benefits. Would you like to further discuss? Comment below or get in touch!
Online reporting: turning information into knowledge
Websites and apps typically gather a huge flow of user behaviour data, from tools such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, with which to better target their marketing and product development. The company assumes that either: Having a smart web analyst or online marketer skim through the reports daily will enable management to keep tabs on what is going well and what aspects are not Recruiting a ‘data science’ team, and giving them access to the raw user event data, will surface one-off insights into what types of customers can be targeted with which promotions Having worked in a dozen such companies, I think both assumptions are flawed. Humans are not good at spotting interesting trends, yet for all but the highest scale web businesses, the problem is not really a ‘big data’ challenge. For a mid-sized business, the problem is best framed as, how do you extract regular, easy-to-absorb knowledge from an incomplete online behavioural data set, and how do you present / visualise the insight in such a way that digital managers can act on that insight? Littledata is meeting the challenge by building software to allow digital managers to step up the DIKW pyramid. The DIKW theory holds that there are 4 levels of content the human mind can comprehend: Data: the raw inputs; e.g. the individual signals that user A clicked on button B at a certain time when visiting from a certain IP address Information: provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions Knowledge: the selection and synthesis of information to answer “how” questions Wisdom: the extrapolation or interpretation of this knowledge to answer “why” questions Information is what Google Analytics excels at providing an endless variety of charts and tables to query on mass the individual events. Yet in the traditional company process, it needs a human analyst to sift through those reports to spot problems or trends and yield genuine knowledge. And this role requires huge tolerance for processing boring, insignificant data – and massive analytical rigour to spot the few, often tiny, changes. Guess what? Computers are much better at the information processing part when given the right questions to ask – questions which are pretty standard in the web analytics domain. So Littledata is extending the machine capability up the pyramid, allowing human analysts to focus on wisdom and creativity – which artificial intelligence is still far from replicating. In the case of some simpler insights, such as bounce rates for email traffic, our existing software is already capable of reporting back a plain-English fact. Here’s the ‘information’ as presented by Google Analytics (GA). And here is the one statistically significant result you might draw from that information: Yet for more subtle or diverse changes, we need to generate new ways to visualise the information to make it actionable. Here are two examples of charts in GA which are notoriously difficult to interpret. Both are trying to answer interesting questions: 1. How do users typically flow through my website? 2. How does my marketing channel mix contribute to purchasing? Neither yields an answer to the “how” question easily! Beyond that, we think there is huge scope to link business strategy more closely to web analytics. A visualisation which could combine a business’ sales targets with the current web conversion data, and with benchmarks of how users on similar sites behave, would give managers real-time feedback on how likely they were to outperform. That all adds up to a greater value than even the best data scientist in the world could bring. Have any questions? Comment below or get in touch with our team of experts! Want the easier to understand reports? Sign up! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
Best small business tools
Every business has their own strategies and tools to achieve goals and performance. There are millions of new apps and software being built from accounting software to simple infographic tools. We did a bit of digging and found some small business tools, we think are great and you may like as well! Intercom Intercom is a customer messaging platform, which allows companies to communicate with their clients in a way that’s ‘simple, personal, and fun for everyone’. They have a few internal tools to make communication easier, including a live chat, marketing automation, and customer support. These allow you to chat with visitors while they’re on your website so you can convert them right away, you can onboard and retain customers through emails, push and in-app messages, and customers can ask for help in your app by email or social. So Intercom has done wonders for communications! We investigated more, and they’ve done a little more... They offer books that help companies communicate better and luckily for you, you can check them out here! At Littledata, we’ve integrated Intercom into our web app to allow clients to contact us directly in their own time, and for us to send important updates. Read more about it in our blog post: New In Littledata! Xero Xero is a ‘beautiful accounting software’ that gives you a real-time view of your cashflow. It’s set up in the cloud, so you’re able to login anytime, anywhere and from any device. It’s the best way to get paid faster; you can send invoices directly to your customers online, and get updates when they’re opened. As Xero says, “it’s a small business accounting software that’s simple, smart and occasionally magical”. Here’s a wonderful and insightful video of how it works: To give you real customer feedback, Xero has a few stories that give you insights into why small business have used them. Think it’s a branding source for Xero? Nope. They’ve taken the soul of these companies and created videos to showcase thriving businesses. Some testimonials include getting up to speed on financials with no number-crunching, bringing tech and craft together, efficiency and transparency, and more. Trello Trello is an ‘easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage’ projects and organise anything. It’s used by many companies from all over the world for many different reasons. Not only can you visualise a whole company, but you can personalise the boards to your company branding, making it your own. Through Trello boards, you can keep track of clients, assign tasks to individuals, move projects along a path, customise your approach, and more. It’s the perfect small business tool to help you visualise your progress. At Littledata, we’ve created numerous boards based on different aspects of our business from development to marketing, which allows us to work better as a team. Skype Skype is a communication application that ‘keeps the world talking, for free’. It’s a perfect small business tool to not only keep in contact internationally, but you can create group calls among team members with both internally and to remote teams. Over the past few years, Skype has evolved bringing more efficient communication to companies and individuals. You’re not only able to call Skype to Skype, but you can have group calls, call phones anywhere in the world, and trust us, at a much lower rate, and you can screen share, which simplifies training or calls. At Littledata, we currently use Skype to communicate within our London office when working remotely and to share documents, and we use it to keep up to date with our Romanian office. Through weekly meetings and constant updates, we’re able to know how to efficiently help one another and work as a team, regardless of the time zone. Meetup ‘Meetups are neighbours getting together to learn something, do something, share something...;’. It’s the world’s largest network of local groups, making it easier for anyone to organise groups based on common interests. It’s a perfect small business tool, helping people around the world organise themselves to make a difference. As a business you can create groups to showcase your product, giving potential clients a more personal contact, while taking advantage of Meetup’s vast audience. Not only can you use it for business purposes, but there are numerous creative groups from badminton, marketing analytics to cultural groups. Canva Canva empowers the world through design by giving individuals an easy-to-use program for creating beautiful designs and documents. Whether you’re using one of their professional layouts or creating one yourself, you’ll always be showing off stunning graphics, that are simply created through their drag-and-drop feature. You’re not only able to create flyers and banners, but magazine covers, CVs, business cards, and even social media graphics. Canva provides perfect sizing to make all of your designs perfect for any online profile. Not only do they give you different options, but you can add all those cool extras, such as fonts, shapes, and filters. Fireshot You can use the business tool, Fireshot to take screenshots with a few clicks. It gives you different options, including selections, entire web pages, and the visible part of a website. This tool saves time, and allows you to customise by performing quick edits, add text annotation, choose the format of the file, and there are different options to keeping the file. At Littledata, we use this strategy to take screenshots of our web app, which helps us in writing our blog posts to show our clients, and people needing Google Analytics information. It basically helps us promote ourselves! Dropbox Dropbox gives people a trustworthy and secure approach to managing their files. It ‘simplifies the way you create, share, and collaborate’. With a simple download, businesses can have access to all company files from anywhere, bringing teams together constantly. This is a great tool for small businesses as it’s inexpensive, it works with all email providers, and you have an unlimited amount of space. Zoho CRM Zoho CRM ‘empowers the teams and businesses that use it’. It offers insights into running your business, an easy-to-use program, and a solution to processes. It combines good practices, smart choices, and ideal situations into a customised business tool. This business tool is great for small businesses who want to keep track of their sales and manage their client relationships. It allows for custom layouts that make it easy to tailor different approaches to getting more leads or accounts. For the amount of flexibility, Zoho CRM is inexpensive and their customer support is great in helping determine the perfect layout for your business needs. AnswerThePublic AnswerThePublic captures individual’s questions and gives you an aggregated view into motivations and emotions. They basically developed a mind-reading platform that gives topics for content, allowing for new conversations and direct answers to the public’s questions! Here’s a fun video on how this business tool works: The Seeker Littledata Our web app gives you simple and actionable insights into your website’s performance by wading through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends. Our goal is to give you summarised reports that matter based on your goals and priorities. You can find out more about specifics in our blog post: A guide to reporting in Littledata’s web app. We also offer some great freebies! These include a free 30-day pro trial or an audit. With the trial, you get access to pro reporting, where you can see intricate details of significant analytics. With the audit, you get a list of recommendations for how to improve your tracking, which we can set up for you and provide further analytics support. Want more info? Contact one of our wonderful experts! We’re a business tool that allows you to get more from your Google Analytics. Grasping the data can be overwhelming so we’d like to remove that stress and help you look at trends that matter. Our web app does the hard work for you by finding important data, so you just need to look at the app or wait for important alerts that you receive by email! Have any other great business tools? Why not let us know in the comments below! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up to date with Google Analytics. Further reading: Inspirational stories of data A guide to reporting in Littledata's web app Image credit: Image courtesy Intercom, Xero, Trello, Skype, Meetup, Canva, Fireshot, Zoho CRM, AnswerThePublic
Why your business shouldn't go freemium
I took part in an interesting discussion about when the popular ‘freemium’ model for web apps is viable. Startup dogma says that scalable software/web products must be (at least partly) free, so it's worth reiterating the downsides of this approach. Here’s how I see the economic realities: 1. Free brings you the wrong sort of users UK supermarkets are currently locked in a price war to try to grab market share, so let’s imagine Tesco were crazy and desperate enough to offer free cases of beer to all shoppers. Do you think their overall sales would suddenly rise that day? Or would freeloaders come from around town to collect free beer… and then buy their groceries from Asda or Sainsbury’s, as usual? Giving away free products, including free web apps, discourages users from thinking about whether they value the product – and would ever pay for it. Often free attracts the kind of time-rich, cash-poor user who will go to extreme lengths to avoid paying – so frustrating the ‘pay for extra convenience’ premium package of many freemium models. Conversely, offering a free trial and taking payment options up front confirms that customers can and will be able to pay. GoToMeeting’s CFO found their conversion rate of ACTIVE trial users to paying customers was 45% when credit card details were taken up front – as opposed to 3% when they were not. 2. Low payment conversion rates need massive active user bases Most freemium products report less than 5% of active users paying for the service, with the conversion rate generally closer to 1% if you look at all users (including inactive). So with a standard consumer subscription fee of $20/month you would have an Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of $20 x 12 x 1% = $2.40. To get to a respectable turnover of $10m per year, (I'd suggest the minimum aim for an Angel or seed funded startup) you would need over 4m users. And to get to VC-exit/IPO scale you would need 50m users. That is achievable for mass-adoption products like Evernote and Dropbox but really isn’t if you’re in a niche market like schools. There are less than 4m teachers in the whole of the USA, and expecting to get more than 10% of them adopting your product is cuckoo-land talk. For example, Busuu (a language learning marketplace) boasted 45m million users last year but only $12m in revenue – under 30 cents per user. Busuu is probably just safe with a huge market, but for an app with impressive global traction that is a very small reward: Facebook makes $6 per user per year just from advertising. 3. Low customer lifetime values limit your marketing options If your lifetime value per user is $3 - since the average subscription length is likely to be around a year – there are very few marketing options beyond SEO or word-of-mouth. You can’t justify affiliate deals, pay-per-click or display advertising if you can’t afford to buy customers. e.g. If you buy a keyword for even $0.30 you would need a bullish 10% signup rate even to break even on the marketing spend. Freemium businesses have genuinely got to sell themselves, and so must focus on the product first. The exact opposite was ScreenSelect (which merged into LoveFilm and then Amazon film rental) – customer growth could be bought with the predictable recurring revenue. All LoveFilm did, was promise a marketing agency the first few months of a customer’s subscription payments, and the agency worked out which tactics would be profitable at that level. See William Reeve’s great explanation of the economics. But that only worked when the customer lifetime value was $100 or more. 4. Freemium generates huge buzz but little sustainable profit A big trap in startup business model innovation is following pundits saying ‘freemium is really working for X company’ when ‘working for’ means they are getting loads of users and publicity. In itself publicity is a good thing – ‘product as the message’ – but it will only translate into profit if there is a massive market to capture. Here's the dirty secret: many venture-capital funded businesses are more focused on user growth than revenue because hyper-growth of users increases their valuation faster than moderate revenue growth. So don’t copy them if you plan to grow your company without massive VC funding! How many truly big businesses make the majority of their revenue from premium subscriptions backed by free software? From an article in 2011 here is a decent list who are still going strong: LogMeIn (switched to free trial) Dropbox Skype Spiceworks Lookout Eventbrite Zendesk Evernote SurveyMonkey GitHub What they have in common is mass-market, simple tools with massive international business audiences, and masses of venture funding behind them. But there are plenty of other former tech darlings who flamed out before making the critical mass of users – e.g. Helpstream in 2010. Conclusion: freemium is not for bootstrapped companies I’m not saying freemium can’t work for you, but be very wary of following the freemium orthodoxy unless you have: A potential user base of more than 10m (and preferably 100m users) A product so simple it doesn’t need training or support to get set up Substantial funding – it takes a long time to build enough users to generate cost-covering income For many businesses, the fabled networked effects of all those free users will be out-weighted by the opportunity cost of not charging some of them from the start. To profitability and beyond! Have any questions? Comment below or get in touch! (Chart: How Much Is the Average Facebook User Worth? | Statista) Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see
Our core belief at Littledata is that machines are better at spotting significant changes in your website’s performance than a human analyst. We’ve now made it easier for you to get specific alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data. This is the story of how we produced the new trend detection algorithm. Enjoy! Back in 2014, we developed the first version of an algorithm to detect if today or this week’s traffic was significantly different from previous periods. This allows managers to focus in on the aspects of the traffic or particular marketing campaigns which are really worthy of their attention. Although the first version was very sensitive, it also picked up too many changes for a single person to investigate. In technical language, it was not specific in enough. In June and July, Littledata collaborated with a working group of mathematicians from around Europe to find a better algorithm. The European Study Group with Industry (ESGI) originated in the University of Limerick’s mathematics department in Ireland and has helped hundreds of businesses link up with prominent mathematicians in the field to solve real-world problems. Littledata joined the latest study group in University College, Dublin in July, and was selected by a dozen mathematicians as the focus for their investigation. Andrew Parnell from the statistics department at University College, Dublin helped judge the output from the four teams that we split the group into. The approach was to use an algorithm to test the algorithms; in other words, we pitted a group of statistical strategies against each other, from clustering techniques to linear regression, through to Twitter’s own trend detection package, and compared their total performance across a range of training data sets. Initially, the Twitter package looked to be doing well, but in fact, it had been developed specifically to analyse huge volumes of tweets and perform badly when given low volumes of web traffic. In between our host’s generous hospitality, with Guinness, Irish folk music, and quite a lot of scribbling of formulas on beer mats, myself and our engineer (Gabriel) worked with the statisticians to tweak the algorithms. Eventually, a winner emerged, being sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic websites, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. The new trend detection algorithm has been live since the start of August and we hope you enjoy the benefits. Our web app allows for fewer distractions and more significant alerts tailored to your company’s goals, which takes you back to our core belief that machines are able to spot major changes in website performances better than a human analyst. If you’re interested in finding out how our web app can help you streamline your Google Analytics’ data, please get in touch! Further reading: 7 quick wins to speed up your site analysis techniques Online reporting turning information into knowledge Will a computer put you out of a job?
Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels
On most websites, the conversion journey involves many different routes and across many sessions: few customers buy from the first advert. You may have heard of the ‘rule of 7’. In reality, it varies from maybe 2 or 3 touches for a $20 purchase and definitely more than 10 for an enterprise business service. Your company is buying prospects (or traffic) from a number of online channels, and in many cases, it will be the same potential customer coming from different sources. To be able to report on this in Google Analytics, we need to get the basic setup correct. Tagging campaigns for attribution The first step is to make sure that the different traffic sources can be compared in a multi-channel report are consistent and have complete inbound link tagging. Be sure to tag your campaign correct with our URL Builder. Some tools (such as Bing or Mailchimp) have options to turn on link tagging for GA - although it's buried in the settings. With many others, you will have to add the necessary ‘UTM’ parameters onto the link. Without this tagging, many sources will be misattributed. For example, affiliate networks could send referrals from any of thousands of websites which will appear under the ‘referrals’ channel by default. Facebook ads, since the majority come from the Facebook’s app, will appear under the ‘direct’ (or ‘unknown’) channel. From when full tagging is in effect, the channels report will start to reflect your genuine traffic acquisition source. But don’t expect a 100% match with other tracking tools – see our article on Facebook – GA discrepancies. Importing cost data The cost for any Google AdWords campaigns can be imported automatically, by linking the accounts, but for any third party campaigns, you will need to upload a spreadsheet with your costs on. The benefit is that now you can see the return on investment calculation update in real-time in the multi-channel reports. Model attribution The final step is to decide how you will attribute the value of a campaign if it forms part of a longer conversion pathway. The default for Google Analytics (and most others) is ‘last non-direct click’. That means that the most recent TAGGED campaign gets all the credit for the sale. If the user clicks on 5 Facebook ads, and then eventually buys after an abandoned basket email reminder, that email reminder will get all the sales (not Facebook). This attribution is what you’ll see in all the standard campaign and acquisition reports. You may feel that it is unfair on all the work done by the earlier campaigns, so ‘linear’ (sale equally credited to all tagged campaigns) or ‘time decay’ (more recent campaigns get more credit) may be a better fit with your businesses’ goals. Conclusion Multi-channel marketing performance attribution is not a luxury for the largest companies. It’s available to you now, with the free version of Google Analytics. It will require some setup effort to get meaningful reports (as with any measurement tool) but it has the power to transform how you allocate budget across a range of online marketing platforms. But if this still is not working for you then you may have a problem with cross domain tracking. Need a bit more advice or have any questions? Get in touch with our experts or leave a comment below! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
How to use Google Analytics' hidden features
Google Analytics is a powerful tool when you know how to use it. In this article, we will show you how to use some of the hidden features of Google Analytics and how to empower the use of data in your business. It's often said that the only constant in life is change. Humans are build up to resist change and this resistance to change is now more important than ever. Napoleon once said, "You must change tactics every 10 years if you wish to maintain superiority." In today's society, the pace of change is immensely faster, and it will only continue to accelerate. We know our children are growing up in a technological age, but the ability they show in mastering the new and smart devices is truly amazing. The new age is coming, and online stores must be prepared to meet these kids’ expectations. If you have a website then answer these questions before continuing: Are you attributing new and returning customers to marketing campaigns? How do you make that data accessible, accurate and comprehensive? Do you understand how your customers are using multiple devices through numerous touch points? Are you prepared to measure this type of behaviour as shown in the video below? [embed]https://www.youtube.com/embed/qn7RfQU1MJg[/embed] Stats on ecommerce websites The Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, published in 2016, mentions that the online sales for 39 publicly trading retail chains ranked at 10.4% while comparable-store sales growth was only 1.4%. Online customers are predicted to spend $414 billion by 2018. That’s more than 57% revenue growth since 2013, according to InternetRetailer.com. Shoppers are flocking to retailer websites with good content: annual product video views increased by 42% in 2015, according to a survey of retailer clients by Invodo Inc., an online video marketing firm. And shoppers who watch a video are 1.7 times more likely to buy something than those who don’t - but videos must be relevant, and those depicting how to assemble or use a product get the best results. If the video has a higher rating, then the consumers are more likely to purchase that product, Invodo found. A five-star rating correlates to a 3.76% conversion rate, while a one-star rating yields a 1% conversion rate only. And do your KPIs consider how the customer feels; does your website do better than this video? [embed]https://youtu.be/3Sk7cOqB9Dk?list=RDN5WurXNec7E[/embed] How can you collect data about your customers? Many powerful analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, are free and can help you analyse where your traffic comes from, what your site visitors search for to find you, and what your potential customers do once they get to your site. You can track visitor interactions with your site at a very detailed level, such as traffic sources associated with revenue and keywords associated with revenue amounts. Tracking your website activity will make sure that the efforts in the above categories, such as changes you’ve made to your website’s appearance and order process, product presentation, incentives and social media, are paying off. If these efforts are paying off, by how much, and which is the best performer? As you probably know, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to drive traffic to your online store. The problem is that many of them are expensive and many of them do not convert. Before you test any type of traffic and spend even a dime on driving traffic to your site, it is imperative that you set up conversion tracking. This way you know exactly which sources are converting for your store and know where to reinvest advertising budget to bring in more sales. How can you use that data? Let me start off with showing you how you can centralise all your digital performance in one place: Google Analytics. If you use a variety of systems and tools to run your business, you can use Google Analytics to join and analyse that data in one place. For example, you can turn separate CRM data, ecommerce data, and Google Analytics data into a single comprehensive view of your business. Each business system you use generates its own data store. Your CRM might contain information like customer loyalty ratings, lifetime value and product preferences. If you are a web publisher, your content management tool probably stores the author name and article category. If you have an ecommerce business, you might create catalogues that describe your products according to prices, style, size, etc. And, since you're reading this, you most likely use Google Analytics to track traffic and performance for your websites, mobile apps or appliances. Typically this data exists in its own 'information silo,' unaffected and uninformed by the data in other silos. But with the data import function, you can merge the data generated by your offline business systems with the online data collected by Google Analytics. This can help you organise, analyse and act upon this unified data view in ways that are better aligned with your specific and unique business needs. For example, as a web publisher, you could unite the web hits collected by Google Analytics with the data dimensions exported from your CMS and CRM systems to analyse the relative contributions of authors to your site. You can use the Google Analytics API and Google Apps Script to access your Google Analytics data from Google Sheets. This is a powerful tool because it allows you to utilise all the great features of Google Sheets with your analytics data, such as easy sharing, collaboration, charting and visualisation tools. Not everyone has the ability to read the Google Analytics reports but with the right implementation and the right declaration of your KPI’s you can generate easy to read, comprehensive and reliable reports on your business. What if you could have a single place to enter and see at a glance what you are interested in? All your business KPI’s brought to you on a plate and with fresh data every day? You can view the most viewed product this week to see if you can supply accordingly, or view your goal funnel and see where your customers abandon the site and much more. Segmenting your clients Use the data to improve. You have a bunch of customers on your website every month. They are all the same but still so different. Do not communicate with them in the same way: segment your customer list. Google Analytics includes predefined segments (system segments) that you can use as provided, or that you can copy and edit to create new custom segments. You can also build your own segments from scratch. In addition, you can import segments from the Analytics Solutions Gallery, a free marketplace where Google Analytics users share segments and other solutions they’ve developed. A segment is a subset of your analytics data. For example, of your entire set of users, one segment might be users from a particular country or city. Another segment might be users who purchase a particular line of products or who visit a specific part of your site. Segments let you isolate and analyse those subsets of data so you can examine and respond to the component trends in your business. For example, if you find that users from a particular geographic region are no longer purchasing a line of products in the same volume as they normally have, you can see whether a competing business is offering the same types of products at lower prices. If that turned out to be the case, you could respond by offering a loyalty discount to those users that undercut your competitor's prices. You can also use segments as the basis for audiences. For example, you might create a segment of users who visit your menswear pages, and then target just those users (your audience) with a remarketing campaign that is focused on the new items that you are adding to those pages. Are your CTAs clickable and your PDFs downloadable? Event tracking is one of the best ways to understand the user actions on your website such as how many times a button was clicked, a form was submitted, or documents were downloaded. You can measure interactions on your site by either implementing the Google Tag Manager Data Layer Event code or leveraging Google Tag Manager's Auto-Event Tracking functionality. With Auto-Event Tracking in Google Tag Manager, capturing these actions is easy. You can create event tags directly within the Google Tag Manager interface and fire them with triggers based on predefined variables or on custom variables that you can build within the Google Tag Manager. Now it’s easy and you have no excuse to see if your business plans are on the right track. If you know what actions your clients do on your website, you have the ability to take actions in the right direction. Stop guessing and start counting numbers and actions. We've written a blog post previously on how to set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager. Track your social buttons I expect you already have social share buttons on your website, but do you track them? Like with the call to action buttons, the social media buttons can be tracked and you can find out the impact of your social presence. There’s a lot of value in both implementing these social buttons in a good and fast way and measuring all these interactions. Seeing which sort of social buttons work for which types of traffic can really help you find what you should be optimising how. Track your campaigns If you are running marketing campaigns on social media you can increase the value and quantity of the insight even on you social media platforms. The standard Facebook pixel is caching the conversion, but by adding some lines of code on the Facebook pixel with the Google Tag Manager you can track the value of a purchase, what searches were made on the website, how many times did the campaign result in items being added to cart and wishlist, how many clients started checkout, content views, adding payment info or completing a registration. Your social campaign will have more relevance and will be more documented when you will merge the force of your data with the data from your social media platforms. To take the problem from the other end, you can build your social campaign in a way that will be shown in Google Analytics in very detailed way. Littledata provides a template to build powerful URL’s that can be used in your social campaigns. The role of this URL is to tag your traffic with the campaign information. The URL builder makes it easy to tag your campaigns and track them in Google Analytics. Simply enter your campaign details, and it will generate a tagged uplink for you in 'Final campaign URL' field. All upper-case characters are converted to lowercase to avoid using a combination of both, which results in same campaigns showing up in different categories in Google Analytics. Download the Littledata campaign tracking sheet with a URL builder. We have detailed this before in this article on the Littledata blog: Why should you tag your campaigns? There’s always room for growth. You can track a client that enters the store, adds to cart, sees the delivery cost and exits; you can retarget a client that bought a product from you with additional products and can set personalisation of the store based on the customer’s behaviour. So when you think you’re done developing that, rethink and start again! Interested in getting help with any of these features? Get in touch with our experts and we'd be happy to help! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
SEIS support covers over 100% of your startup investment risk
Until recently I hadn't understood how generous the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme is for investors in early-stage companies. Investors can put up to £100k in qualifying companies, as long as they don't control more than 30% of the SEIS company. There are three overlapping benefits which mean you can recoup over 100% of your investment in tax offset if the companies goes bust, and get a 5x boost to the value of your initial investment if all goes well. It sounds too good to be true, so use your allowance while it is still open! Let's assume that you are an additional rate (45%) tax payer, and want to invest £10,000 of capital gains into an SEIS company. What happens if that company eventually goes bust? A. Reinvestment relief Firstly you get a 50% reduction in the capital gains tax bill from gain reinvested. If you realised a gain of at least £10k over and above the capital gains tax allowance from selling shares or property, then you can reclaim the tax on the amount you reinvest in the SEIS company. At the 2014/2015 higher rate of 28% that is: + £2,800 B. Income tax relief Next you can write 50% of your £10k investment off against your income tax bill from this year or last - even if you didn't directly use that income to invest in the SEIS company. +£5,000 C. Loss relief If the company goes bust, then you can write a further 45% (your marginal tax rate) in the year you claim against your income tax bill. 45% times the £5,000 of investment the tax payer didn't originally fund. +£2,250 So of that £10k you have already recouped £2,800 + £5,000 + £2,250 = £10,050 from HMRC. Leaving you with a small gain to cover the inconvenience. But look on the bright side! What if the company sells for double the value in a few years' time? This time you still get benefits A & B, but also keep the proceeds free of capital gains tax. So you put in £10k, but take £7,800 back off your tax bill, leaving you with £2,200 net exposure. When you sell the shares for £20k, you have multiplied your capital at risk 9 times An investment in an equivalent non-SEIS company would have yielded £20k, less capital gains tax of £2,800 = £17,200 (1.7x your investment) So you get more than five times the net gain from the SEIS investment.
3 steps to great email customer support
As a consumer brand, is there a better way of getting customers to refer you business than offering excellent customer support? My inbox this afternoon showed two polar opposites of handling support by email and illustrated what great support looks like. I can sum up the differences: Ditch the "you're in a queue" email Really listen to the customer Offer further advice Ditch the "you're in a queue" email My depressing email exchange with Swiss Airlines starts when I tried to complain about the £4.50 credit card charge. I would normally never pay it, but their debit card payment route was broken, so to book the flight I had no choice. Dear customer, thank you for your message. We will get back to you as soon as possible. The response time may vary depending on the amount of research required. Please do not reply to this E-Mail. Use for your feedback our page: www.swiss.com/contacts We thank you for your understanding. Yours sincerely, Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. Let's unpack the sheer hostility of this: "thank you for your message" = we care so little we couldn't be bothered to add a capital letter "as soon as possible" = nor do we have enough staff to answer today "Please do not reply to this E-Mail" = we can't even be bothered to install a smart ticketing system Really it would be better not to send me an auto-response at all - just get back to me when a human is ready. Let's compare that with an email I get from TransferWise, which was my good experience of the day. At first glance, this looks like an automated response, but then I realise it's signed by a real person - and they actually want me to reply to the email. TransferWise are having to deal with genuinely onerous FCA anti-money laundering rules - and offering a helpful way to get around it. Really listen to the customer The Swiss conversation goes downhill from there. OK, I'm a bit smart Alec about the transaction fee - but it's a well known scam. On 24 Feb 2016, at 05:51, email@example.com wrote: Dear Mr. Upton, Thank you for writing to us with regards to your query and we apologizes for the inconvenience caused. We would like to inform you that GBP4.50 is the fee charged directly from the bank/bank fee. Therefore, we cannot grant a refund with regards to the above mentioned fees. We trust the above information will be of assistance and are available to assist you with any further questions at any time. Thank you for choosing SWISS and we wish you a pleasant day further. Kind regards, Miriama Consultant Customer Travel Services / R1S ----- From: Edward Upton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Dear Miriama, That is absolutely untrue. MasterCard charges you 0.3% for the transaction, which in this case is 51p https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/about-mastercard/what-we-do/interchange.html So please can you refund me GBP 4? regards, Edward Upton ----- From: email@example.com Dear Mr. Upton, Thank you for writing to us. We have reviewed your request regarding your reservation. Please note that in regards to your request we will not be able ot refund the OPC. Please note this (GBP4.50) is a charge placed by the credit card company and it applies as per the point of commencement of your ticket. We hope this information is useful. Please do let us know if you need additional information. Thank you for choosing SWISS. Kind Regards, Alexander Consultant Customer Travel Services / R1S This feels like someone has cut and pasted from a standard response list. It's robotic. And given that the original issue was actually about their website being broken, there is a total lack of empathy for the issue - just some 'apologizes' (sic). Offer further advice Often companies have to say no to refunds and extra requests, but at least be gracious. And sometimes the company can offer you something that benefits both parties: a guide to how to avoid needing to email in the future. Here is the exemplary reply from Transferwise Hi Edward, I hope you’re doing well! Thank you for getting back to us, and confirming that we can change the name on the payment ###### to your personal. I shall quickly pass this on to my colleagues, who are able to make the change and proceed with the transfer. As soon as the payment is sent out from our end, we shall send you a confirmation e-mail, like always. All you need to do is check your inbox every now and then.:) Just in case, I will explain how you can choose to use both your personal and business profiles on TransferWise. Once you log in to your TransferWise account, on the upper right corner you should see a logo (like a man in a circle). When you click on the logo, you should see: Use as Edward Upton Use as Littledata Consulting Ltd Therefore, if you want to set up a personal payment, and you’re planning to send money from your personal bank account, please make sure that “Use as Edward Upton” is ticked. And if you’re planning to make a business payment and send money from your business bank account, please make sure to choose the second option. If anything was left unclear or you would need help with something else, please don’t hesitate to get back to us. We are always happy if we can help! I hope you have a lovely day, Eliisa, TransferWise Support Which company do you think I'll recommend in the future? Comment below!
How to create a strategic marketing plan
You know marketing is essential but have you specified what makes you different and unique, your objectives and how you are going to achieve them? Recently I went to a workshop, organised by Innovate UK and Enterprise Europe Network, to do just that: learn about achieving business goals by using strategic marketing. Strategic marketing is essentially a structured plan that helps you achieve competitive advantage or other business goals through a set of defined activities that are most appropriate for your aims. We were taken through a number of exercises that helped us define how we position ourselves and what we are trying to accomplish, whilst aligning the marketing efforts and tactics with overall business goals. It was especially useful to bounce my ideas off others so if you’re going through similar exercises, I recommend you do the same. It really helps to sense-check your thoughts and how you describe your business with someone outside your company. Below I'll go through my top takeaways and methods that I found most useful when devising a strategic marketing plan. Define the purpose/mission of your business Think about what you are trying to achieve as a business – is it clear or does it need further refining? Why are your services and products needed or wanted, and who are your customers? If you have a clear purpose or a definition of what you’re trying to achieve, it will help you plan your marketing activities and inform other business activities. Having an easy to understand idea of your purpose also helps guide your resources and avoid spreading them too thinly, which is especially valuable if you’re a small business where resources are limited. Define your value proposition A value proposition is what you promise to deliver to your customers through your services or products. Here you need to think what makes you unique, better or different from your competitors. If you struggle to offer a reason why your offering is more valuable than your competitors, then you may get stuck competing on price only. I found the Geoffrey Moore’s model particularly useful for defining the value proposition. It goes like this: The ____________ (product name) Is a ____________ (product category) for ____________ (users/customer segment) who ____________ (statement of desire/problem) that ____________ (compelling reason to use) unlike ____________ (the next best alternative) allows ____________ (the main difference). And here’s an example we were given: The iPod is a portable music player for music lovers who want to listen to their music anywhere, anytime unlike portable cd players or MP3s with less storage the iPod allows easy access to all your music Define your marketing goals We used SMART method to define 3-5 marketing goals for the next 12 months. Being specific about the number of goals you’re trying to achieve within a year helps to focus on specific outcomes you’re trying to achieve. It also helps to measure your success after 12 months or another timeframe you set for yourself. Specific - clearly defined and specific goal rather than a generic and vague one, eg increase signups Measurable - quantifiable goal, eg how much or how many Achievable – realistic to complete within a set timeframe, eg a few months Relevant to you and your customers - choose what matters or matches needs Time-bound - that you have the time, money & resources to achieve your goals within a specific timeframe Define your segmentation, targeting and positioning Segmentation is an activity where you divide the broad market into specific customer segments by their common characteristics, and devise your tactics around targeting each segment. A few ways you could segment your customers are demographics, geography, psychographics, lifestyle, behaviour, etc. Once you have a clear idea of different customer groups, you will be better placed to pick the most attractive or suitable segment to target. When selecting your target segment, see if there are segments that are the easiest, cheapest or quickest to reach, whilst being realistic about your capabilities and resources to target those segments. Positioning your business gives you a distinct image of your benefit(s) to the target audience that you are going to communicate. If you have a number of segments you can target, then define your positioning for each segment. Same applies to the Geoffrey Moore’s value proposition model – write it out for each customer segment. Define your marketing tactics Once you have a clear idea of the customer segment(s) you’re targeting, why they would use your services or products, and what you’re going to communicate to them, you can pick specific marketing tactics that are going to help you do that. Some examples of tactics are producing ebooks, using online ads like PPC, sharing data findings via blog, and organising webinars. If you need inspiration or ideas, there are plenty of resources online when you search for marketing tactics, marketing strategies, growth tactics and similar. Define your marketing KPIs Decide on a set of metrics that you are going to use to measure the success of your marketing efforts. By having the right KPIs, you can evaluate if you’re on track towards your goals, and adjust your activities if necessary. To give you a few examples of what you could measure: Cost per lead or enquiry Average order value Landing page conversion rate Customer lifetime value Impressions / clicks / visits I hope this has helped you to start thinking about defining your business and marketing activities more strategically and in line with the over-all goals. There are lots of great templates online that you can use to assist with outlining your plan - for example, check out Smart Insights resources bank that has lots of useful PDFs for marketing planning and more. If you'd like to discuss further, comment below!
5 common Google Analytics setup problems
Can you rely on the data you are seeing in Google Analytics? If you use it daily in your business you should really give some time to auditing how the data is captured, and what glitches could be lurking unseen. The notifications feature in Google Analytics now alerts you to some common setup problems, but there are more simple ones you could check today. Here are 5 aspects of your Google Analytics account to check now. Are you running the latest Universal Analytics tracking code? Is your overall bounce rate below 10%? Are you getting referrals from your own website? Are you getting ‘referrals’ from your payment gateway? Have you got the correct website default URL set in GA? Are you getting full referring URL in reports? 1. Are you running the latest Universal Analytics tracking code? You may have clicked upgrade in the Google Analytics admin console, but have your developers successfully transferred over to the new tracker code? Use our handy tool to test for universal analytics (make sure you copy your URL as it appears in the browser bar). 2. Is your overall bounce rate below 10%? The 'bounce rate' is defined as sessions of only one page. It’s highly unlikely to be in single digits unless you have a very unique source of engaged traffic. However, it is possible that the tracking code is firing twice on a single page. This double counting would mean Google Analytics sees every single page view as two pages – i.e. not a bounce This is more common on template-driven sites like Wordpress or Joomla, where you may have one tracking script loaded by a plugin – and another pasted onto the main template page. You can check if you have multiple pageviews firing by using the Google Tag Assistant plugin for Chrome. 3. Are you getting referrals from your own website? A self-referral is traffic coming from your own domain – so if you are www.acme.com, then a self-referrals would be appearing as ‘acme.com’. Have a look at the (recently moved) referrals list and see if that is happening for you. This is usually caused by having pages on your website which are missing the GA tracking code, or have it misconfigured. You can see exactly which pages are causing the problem by clicking on your domain name in the list and seeing the referring path. If you are on universal analytics (please use our tool to check) you can exclude these referrals in one step with the Referral Exclusion list. For a fuller explanation, see the self-referral guide provided by Google. 4. Are you getting ‘referrals’ from your payment gateway? Similar to point 3: if you have a 3rd party payment service where customers enter their payment details, after they redirect to your site – if you are on Universal analytics – they will show up as a new visit… but originating from ‘paypal.com’ or ‘worldpay.com’. You need to add any payment gateway or similar 3rd party services to that referral exclusion list. Just add the domain name - so PayPal would be 'paypal.com' 5. Have you got the correct website default URL set in GA? When Google Analytics was first set up for your website you may have set a different domain name than what you now use. Or maybe you have switched to run your site on https:// rather than http://. So you need to change the default URL as set up in the admin page. For this go to Admin > Property > Property Settings. Once that is setup correctly, the ‘All Pages’ report becomes a lot more useful – because you can click through to view the actual page using the open link icon. Advanced: Are you getting full referring URL in reports? If you run your website across different subdomains (e.g. blog.littledata.co.uk and www.littledata.co.uk) then it can be difficult to tell which subdomain the page was on. The solution to this is to add the hostname to the URL using a custom filter. See the guide on how to view full page URLs in reports. What other setup issues are you experiencing? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @LittledataUK.
7 best business and tech conferences in 2015
Every year is jam-packed with conferences, forums and festivals, and I have spent enough time sifting through numerous event programmes for this year. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about new trends and techniques, discuss the future and network with peers, but which major events are worth your time (and money)? Here's my pick of must-attend business, digital and tech conferences in 2015. This list covers events in London only, taking place between March and May. MARCH London Enterprise Festival When: 8-19 March Where: Camden Foundry Twitter: @LEF2015 Hashtag: #LEF2015 The London Enterprise Festival brings together business leaders to share their experiences and stories on this year’s theme, starting and growing a business. Perfect for any company owner, director or manager wondering how to identify trends in their industry and grow in the current business climate. LEF covers various industries over 9 days. From gaming and fashion to education and wellbeing, there is a discussion or workshop for everyone. By having each day very focused on its theme, you have a much better opportunity to connect with the right people and take part in relevant sessions. Bonus points for a feel good factor. The organisers are committed to reinvesting the profits to providing free digital courses to unemployed and subsidising workshops and events that make better entrepreneurs and more powerful networks. Internet of Things Summit When: 12-13 March Where: etc.venues St Paul’s Twitter: @teamrework Hashtag: #IOT2015 The Internet of Things is aimed at technologists, entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders and managers. Recommended for futurists and those interested in breakthrough technology and cutting-edge science that will shape our future. It sounds very ominous, but with 200 leading innovators you will explore trends that promise to positively impact our lives and society. Experience two days of revolutionary discoveries, leading research and new technologies with university researchers, Paul Clarke (Ocado) and Jeremy Green (Machina Research). You can get a taste for what to expect at a casual IoT meetup event that's taking place on 28 February in London. Pipeline Conference When: 19 March Where: etc.venues Victoria Twitter: @PipelineConf Hashtag: #PipelineConf If you are looking for something smaller and more intimate, then have a look at a one-day Pipeline Conference. The conference has a more informal feel to it with talks and sessions focused on continuos delivery. The keynote speaker is Linda Rising, an international Agile thought leader, who will discuss the myths and patterns of organisational change. Other speakers will be selected anonymously and announced on or around 23 February. Bonus points for their fantastic commitment to 50/50 gender diversity and donating the profit to after school coding clubs. APRIL Chief Digital Officer Forum When: 9-10 April Where: Park Plaza Victoria Twitter: @IEGroup Hashtag: #DigiLeaders The Chief Digital Officer Forum has an impressive speaker line up that consists of senior digital professionals from global brands. Organised by the Innovation Enterprise, this summit is aimed at anyone with background in digital, analytics, ecommerce, social media and innovation. There are plenty of opportunities to take part in interactive workshops, network with attendees and discuss the future of digital. Join hundreds of other digital leaders at CDOF to hear from experts like Will Burns (L’Occitane en Provence), David Martin (Coca Cola Enterprises), James Keady (Samsung) and others. MAY BriForum London When: 19-20 May Where: etc.venues St. Paul’s Twitter: @BriForum Hashtag: #BriForum BriForum London is a highly technical conference dedicated to the best practices of end user computing, cloud, desktop virtualisation, security and application management. Keynote speaker is Brian Madden, one of the brains behind this event, but we are yet to hear about other speakers and exact topics covered. Nevertheless, BriForum promises to deliver informative two days with high profile speakers and attendees. Digital Shoreditch When: 11-24 May Where: Shoreditch Twitter: @DigiShoreditch Hashtag: #ds15 Digital Shoreditch is the trendiest event on this list. It's a vibrant festival that attracts creative, tech and entrepreneurial people, makers and doers, and others in between. Digital Shoreditch is on for two weeks and with hands-on sessions, cosmic parties and amazing speakers it promises to be one of the biggest digital community events. The full programme is yet to be announced but seeing that Mark Earls (HERD), Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy & Mather UK) and Jeremy Waite (Salesforce) are on the speaker line up, I have no doubts there will be other inspiring people joining them. Bonus points for their visionary look and feel, and Twitter profile photo. UX London 2015 When: 20-22 May Where: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Twitter: @UXLondon Hashtag: #uxlondon Organised by design consultancy Clearleft, UX London 2015 brings together inspiring UX speakers and practical workshops. The conference is focused on a different theme each day and is aimed at product, web and user experience designers. On day 1 explore the secrets of product design with leading experts, such as Des Traynor (Intercom), Julie Zhuo (Facebook) and Jeff Patton (independent consultant, Agile coach and author). On day 2 improve your understanding of human behaviour and user experience by hearing from Cecilia Weckstrom (LEGO) and taking part in Sketch workshop with Meng To. Day 3 is platforms day. Learn about the latest design trends for mobile, desktop and smart TV, and join workshops and talks on responsiveness, wearable tech and designing for different screen sizes. What other conferences and events have you marked in your diary? Leave a comment below or send a tweet @LittledataUK.
Under the hood of Littledata
Littledata tool gives you insight into your customers' behaviour online. We look through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends to give you summarised reports, alerts on significant changes, customised tips and benchmarks against competitor sites. This guide explains how we generate your reports and provide actionable analytics. 1. You authorise our app to access your Google Analytics data As a Google Analytics user you will already be sending data to Google every time someone interacts with your website or app. Google Analytics provides an API where our app can query this underlying data and provide summary reports in our own style. But you are only granting us READ access, so there is no possibility that any data or settings in your Google Analytics will change. 2. You pick which view to report on Once you've authorised the access, you pick which Google Analytics view you want to get the reports on. Some people will have multiple views (previously called ‘profiles’) set up for a particular website. They might have subtly different data – for example, one excludes traffic from company offices – so pick the most appropriate one for management reports. We will then ask for your email so we know where to send future alerts to. 3. Every day we look for significant changes and trending pages There are over 100 Google Analytics reports and our clever algorithms scan through all of them to find the most interesting changes to highlight. For all but the largest businesses, day-by-day comparisons are the most appropriate way of spotting changing behaviour on your website. Every morning (around 4am local time) our app fetches your traffic data from the previous day – broken down into relevant segments, like mobile traffic from organic search – and compares it against a pattern from the previous week. This isn’t just signalling whether a metric has changed – web traffic is unpredictable and changes every day (scientists call this ‘noise’). We are looking for how likely that yesterday’s value was out of line with the recent pattern. We express this as signal bars in the app: one bar means there is a 90% chance this result is significant (not chance), two bars means a 99% chance and three bars means 99.9% certain (less than a 1 in 1000 chance it is a fluke). Separately, we look for which individual pages are trending – based on the same probabilistic approach. Mostly this is change in overall views of the page, but sometimes in entrances or bounce rate. If you are not seeing screenshots for particular pages there are a few reasons why: The website URL you entered in Google Analytics may be out of date Your tracking code may run across a number of URLs – e.g. company.com and blog.company.com – and you don’t specify which in Google Analytics The page may be inaccessible to our app – typically because a person needs to login to see it 4. We look for common setup issues The tracking code that you (or your developers) copy and pasted from Google Analytics into your website is only the very basic setup. Tracking custom events and fixing issues like cross-domain tracking and spam referrals can give you more accurate data – and more useful reports from us. Littledata offers setup and consultancy to improve your data collection, or to do further manual audit. This is especially relevant if you are upgrading to Universal Analytics or planning a major site redesign. 5. We email the most significant changes to you Every day - but only if you have significant changes - we generate a summary email, with the highest priority reports you should look at. You can click through on any of these to see a mobile-friendly summary. An example change might be that 'Bounce rate from natural search traffic is down by 8% yesterday'. If you usually get a consistent bounce rate for natural / organic search traffic, and one day that changes, then it should be interesting to investigate why. If you want your colleagues to stay on top of these changes you can add them to the distribution list, or change the frequency of the emails in My Subscriptions. 6. Every Sunday we look for changes over the previous week Every week we look for longer-term trends – which are only visible when comparing the last week with the previous week. You should get more alerts on a Sunday. If you have a site with under 10,000 visits a month, you are likely to see more changes week-by-week than day-by-day. To check the setup of your reports, login to Littledata tool. For any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, contact us via phone or email, or send us a tweet @LittledataUK.
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