Category : Small business
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!
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.
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