MN Search – Enhanced Campaigns

Enhansed-CampaignsWonderful event as usually, though the deph of knowledge in search in general is amazing what makes my 5 year old PPC experience insufficient to understand some nuances.  However, it is always better to understand your own limitations 🙂

Enhanced campaigns: Google used to allow PPC targeting based on the device (I remember I was so excited when the option appeared, and I was disappointed of low level of mobile traffic on campaigns I managed 😉   The setting changed to allow targeting multiple devices within one campaign.  The presentation reviewed spectacular case studies of devices targeting and implications.

A few interesting points:

  • Google will not show the add on the device that can not view the content of the ad landing page.  If the user is searching on iPhone or iPad, the add leading to the page with Flash won’t be shown.  It can be used to assure that landing pages are not shown on most common mobile devices – add a Flash file to the page
  • People are more likely to call from a mobile device than from a desktop.  As for many businesses phone conversions are higher than online form conversion, mobile device targeting can have higher ROI
  • Whitepaper case study: one company promoted whitepaper using PPC and discovered minimal activity Friday afternoon and a spike Sunday evening (most likely people were preparing for Monday meetings and attempted needed research)
  • Google uses “bounce back” rate for determining quality score, not pure bounce rate.  “Bounce back” is a rate of people who clicked on the add and then click back to the search results.
  • In cases when a web site has vital information on pages that do not require visitors to visit more than one page for conversion (prominent phone number with encouragement to call), a bounce rate in GA can be modified to “adjusted bounce rate.”

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I absolutely loved the quote:

Averages hide all useful data

The speaker also recommended more use of pivot tables and mentioned that there are good videos explaining how to do it easily. As Excel upgraded a couple of times since I lived and breathed pivot tables, I did find a good video 😉

MIMA – Collaborative Design

Google-0Though I did not know what to expect based on the topic of “Collaborative Design” – the event happened to be quite insightful – particularly for an average corporate marketer.

“Collaborative Design” is critical for organizations that might have many separate “parts” functioning as one unified experience from the perspective of a user.

An interesting point – a company with extensive internal teams (such as Google and Adobe) is wise to invite an outside consultancy to create a “tool set” for the internal teams to use.  The guide may not be followed religiously throughout all tools and experiences, but main elements of the too set should be uniform.

Google does not dictate design elements from a central point of view, however, Google managed to make the design “relatively consistent and very pretty.

Google redesign addressed the problem of lack of consistency among Google properties.  Prior to the redesign, the only consistent element was the Google logo.  The new design introduced the consistency, reinforced simplicity and defined the main elements across all Google sites.  Red – main action.  It is interesting to see that in some cases it might be a button (Gmail) or just an underlined button (search).

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Anything related to search was blue.  Anything related to sharing or social were green.  All additional elements of the page were grey, what clearly reinforces the simplicity of the design.

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Not all elements are used in exactly the same manner throughout the Google sites and applications.  However, the main structure is the same.

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An quite extensive account of the redesign gives additional insight into the process.

google-playAnother case study – creation of common elements of Adobe Touch apps – solved similar problem.  Adobe planned to create a series of apps based on its popular Adobe ideas.  The apps needed to have a degree of similarity to allow a user comfortable use of common elements in all apps.  A set of elements have been created (common tools, treatment, functionality) to allow developers of individual apps to concentrate on the specific app rather than basic elements of the interface.

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On designer worked on high-level pieces and provided the framework for the app development.

Interesting – this approach need to be generic enough and flexible enough not to restrict progress and learning, but from another side assure reasonable consistency.  I am hoping the industry succeeds in finding the right mix – as the rest of us – users – will be suffering if the industry won’t find the magic solution 😉

Coursera – Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations

Coursera – Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations – very insightful and entertaining course!  “Thinking outside the box” becomes a completely different concept after watching the lectures and pondering the concepts.  there are constraints – they are “the box” and the “thinking” should consider “the box” to be successful.

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The class rightfully points out that successful innovation is the innovation that has a chance to be implemented.  A successful idea should satisfy several constraints.  Though some constraints seem to be obvious, such as technological constraints and societal constraints, other constraints are particularly interesting, such as organizational constraints.

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Particularly interesting: Organizational constraints – strategy constraints.  The innovation may be in conflict with the company’s strategy; in this case it would be rejected by the organization.  The important part for organization is to have a strategy, and also to make sure that this strategy is communicated to employees.

The class describes an excellent example of a case study – Segway – to explain constraints and what can be easily overlooked.

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Oh, yes, the recommendation to start small needs to be highlighted in my notes – I have made the mistake of trying larger projects before 😉

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Highly recommend the course!

UXPA – Collaborating with Clients during Research and Design

uxpa-logoThis unusual (and very informative!) event-tour took place at the offices of Eaton Golden – a local User Experience consulting firm.  We toured the lab and listened to a couple of presentations on collaborative research and design.

EG-4The office is located in a very beautiful place – a “garden” area of Bloomington most of us did not know existed.  The office is also filled with many beautiful and unique decorative items, which probably aid creativity.  I thought eh colorful bud lighting feature in the lab area was particularly unique.

A few points from the event:

  • The usability lab was deliberately designed to be a beautiful room with natural light and view of a secret Bloomington “garden” – typically, most labs are hidden in the dark and can create a rater depressing impression of a “solitary confinement” where the research participant is expected to work on web tasks.

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  • The usability lab also has additional screens in the viewing area behind the mirror, which are synchronized with the monitor of the participant and his/her activity.  This arrangement allows each observer to follow the activities on the screen.
  • EG-3Interesting point on eye-tracking – it is not that beneficial for transactional web sites.  Eye tracking setup also requires calibration that can be distorted by person’s movements or just a glance to the researcher.  General usability research, when the participant navigates the web site trying to perform different tasks and explains his or her actions to the researcher seem to be sufficient.
  • The company’s approach is “not to prove or disprove, but to improve.”  Customer’s objective must be reasonable for qualitative research method; if the customer is asking a question requiring statistical validation, the qualitative research would not be useful.  Qualitative research answers the question”Why?”  rather than finding which color of the button is more effective (the territory of A/B split testing).
  • The company is trying to help optimize the user experience, to take the client on the next step of the web site/tool, that currently exists.  To accomplish that, one of the most important conditions is understanding constraints – political or technical – in advance of the project.  It is possible to work around the constraints if they are known in advance.
  • EG-2Ideal “customers” for the project are the people who actually work on the site, know the current product, and can make needed changes in the future.  Higher-level management commissioning the research may not have sufficient involvement in the project to be the effective partner in the research and design phases.
  • The purpose of the research also need to be understood; if the goal is to make changes quickly, the report can take one form, if the objective is to use the research results to request funding for the future site overhaul, the report will take different form.
  • Recommendation: only do as much research as actionable.  If resources will be available in the future, the research will need to wait also.
  • Observation: what a typical client thinks user objectives are often are not user objectives.  
  • Analysis is a “team sport” – clients participation helps to understand some elements of the behavior that might escape the researcher due to lack of intimate understanding of the industry.
  • Prototype scathing: low-fidelity scathing avoids a situation when the “suggested prototype” wins only because it looks better than other ideas – the person or a group had an opportunity to spend more time on the prototype creation.
  • Another interesting point of prototyping/scathing:  marking with one color what on the page needs to be de-emphasized and marking with another color what needs to be emphasized.  Interesting!  My guess, this is an excellent approach to resolve feature battles…. 😉

EatonGolden maintains a blog with quite interesting information and offers email subscription to the posts.  I subscribed 🙂

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MN Search – Google+

Google-plusGreat event as usually – Search Snippets is an excellent format!  We have opportunity to hear opinions of local gurus and, hopefully, smaller time frame does not put too much burden on them.

Food was also delicious (even for the person who is more interested in fruits than drinks 😉  ).

Interesting points from the event:

  • Ha!  Google+ might be understated, but it is definitely deserves more attention.  As James Svoboda pointed out, it may be an “Unsocial social Network” – but it does exists and has some unique features.

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  • Jeff recommended to use very reasonable metrics for Google + activity (he recommended to be in over 1000 circles…  hm… I found my barely active profile…  which is in 110 circles only – I guess, I need to start learning more about Google +  😉  ).
  • Jeff also found a song (with over a 1,000,000 views about Google+
  • rippleGoogle+ has an interesting Ripples feature.  Ripples show spread of a post throughout the community, which can be watched as a video – very interesting!
  • Bob (it was a pleasure to see you again and to listen to you presentation!) shared a few interesting points on using Google+ for the sports/entertainment industry.  Bob reserves Google+ for exclusive content, which is not available on any other networks. However, other networks are used to promote the content that resides on Google+.
  • From the perspective of sports and entertainment, Bob is trying to bring the arena to the screen and the screen to the arena – to provide the most important part that the audience wants – access to the stars.

Josh

Josh brought Google Glass to the event – it was beyond interesting!  A few of us absolutely had to check it out and the experience has been amazing!  The screen is visible very well and easy to activate.  Voice commands (take a picture or video) were received and interpreted by the device very quickly (despite my accept); the curious part was that search terms with my accent were not “understood” by the device – but humans have the same problem occasionally 😉   Thank you, Josh!!  It was a treat! 😉

(Josh wearing Google Glass – Google Glass has been used to make recording of MN Search presentations)

book-and-iAnother thanks to Mn Search and Josh for providing a free You Should Test That! book from the couple of events ago.  I am reading the book and love it.  Oh, I should have come on the correct event two months ago early enough, but I barely made it before the presentation…  I will officially blame traffic 😉

It was a wonderful event with plenty of material to investigate…  and a wonderful incentive to pay attention to Google+  to make sure it won’t become one of the abandoned networks where I once registered my profile.

Eloqua Users Group – Responsive Design

jimAs more marketers are faced with the decisions around responsive design, Jim Cummins, a highly knowledgeable front-end developer of Relationship One, shared his views on responsive design.  Interesting – Jim does not recommend to use responsive design for email yet.  I guess, it is a great topic for an investigation.

Another interesting point from Jim – it is possible to pre-fill drop-down fields of Eloqua forms…   Hm…  maybe Jim can look at our next form?  😉

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Jim created a repository of links and code from his presentations at GitHub

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