Bug Bytes is a weekly roundup of the Web’s best links, blog posts, and news articles related to web design, application development, and online marketing. Continue the conversation and share your thoughts on these stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear your own insights!
Studies have found that consumers prefer email as the primary contact method for brand promotional efforts. As with many other forms of marketing communication, message timing is usually the difference between a sale and the trash. In response, automated email campaigns allow messages to successfully follow the customer lifecycle. Through the use of auto-messages sent following a specific user-triggered action, brands have reported a marked improvement in user engagement with their email campaigns. ROI has increased due to the ability to send fewer, but more profitable, messages.
Insight: Compared to generic email “blasts”, user-triggered auto-messages do have a significant advantage. Programmed emails can also do much of the heavy-lifting and ensure that no opportunities are missed. However, completely automated messaging risks losing the flexibility and authenticity of the human touch. The biggest gains in consumer engagement through email marketing will come from a balance of automated and authentic communication.
Google launched its latest attempt to tackle social networking, called Google+, to a small group of early adopters this past week. While it looks and works similarly to Facebook, Google is differentiating the social network by its nuanced approach to sharing based on the concept of social circles. Additionally, Google+ features group messaging and group video chat, and a feature that works similarly to Google alerts called ‘Sparks’ that actively bring fresh new content into the environment.
Insight: Google is looking to add social networking to its wide portfolio of successful web services, which it hasn’t been able to do previously. Because Google+ features a toolbar that appears across all Google properties, its users will likely spend time on the social network without really thinking about it. This should give Google additional Time on Site from its visitors – a battle it has been fighting against Facebook, which has in recent months experienced more Time on Site versus Google.
In light of Google+’s unveiling, Facebook is expected to announce new features that may steal the thunder of its new features (Huddle, Hangout).
Each year, the world’s top brands and advertising agencies spend a week in Cannes, distributing accolades and discussing the future of our industry. For 2011, an emphasis on merging new technologies with creative output consistently appeared as a dialogue topic of immense interest and importance. In light of these discussions, Mashable assembled a list of digital lessons from Cannes, including: the use of experiential marketing, a shift from communities to ‘collectives’, and the rise of the ‘creative technologist’.
Insight: Inevitably, the top players in the evolution of digital creativity are still highly intrigued and mesmerized by the category itself. Not only can brands and marketers become consistently better and more adept at using existing technologies, the constant emergence of new options keeps us on our toes. Content will increasingly be called upon to ‘do’ as much as ‘say’, as we race to keep our sites, apps, and other digital landscapes both relevant and riveting.
Within the interactive space, marketers have immediate access to a plethora of metrics; however, some are inevitably more useful than others. According to eMarketer, the seven most important are: qualified reach/visits, click-through rate, brand perception, engagement score, end action rate, efficiency rate, and ROI. Furthermore, by establishing framework around these measurements will allow for the assessment of both short- and long-term worth.
Insight: While all of the suggested metrics are valuable, it is important to understand the unique analytical needs of your specific site, application, or other digital holding. Create not only a framework for the successful collection and assessment of these metrics, but also strive to develop a story as to why these quantitative factors provide a larger qualitative value. By both fully understanding and articulating these facets of site analysis, your team will be better able to gauge ongoing success, while educating clients as to the importance of their online efforts.