This week’s PR campaigns: Boosts to tourism and a hunt for big kids

It’s officially the beginning of Autumn in the UK today, but elsewhere a lot of brands are trying to increase their tourism numbers and get people outside with stunts and augmented reality. Here’s our pick of the best stunts and campaigns from this week.

Wetherspoons support Tax Equality Day

Wednesday 20th September is also known as Tax Equality Day, and to support it Wetherspoons decided to reduce their prices by 7.5% for the full day.

Wetherspoon Pub

Image source

Brits are quite partial to a meal and drink deal in the high street pub chain, but they want to raise awareness on the high taxes that pubs charge on any food and drink they sell, whereas supermarkets don’t have to. They wanted to show customers how much money they could save if VAT was lowered permanently.

It was a great stunt to increase the amount of footfall in their pubs, but also received some great coverage including UNILAD, The Sun, The Metro and The Star, as well as a lot of regional newspapers.

Ice hotels, submarine hotels but now there’s a sand hotel

Gold Coast Tourism and Hostelworld have partnered up to create a new type of hotel, a ‘Sand Hostel’. It’s been built to try and change the perception of hostels and to show them as a more social place to stay.

The sand hostel took 21 days to build and used 24 tonnes of sand. It was created by Dennis Massoud who is also known as ‘The Sandman’. Some lucky people will have been able to stay overnight at the hostel but tonight is the last night it’s open for business.

It has been a great campaign and has more than likely achieved what Hostelworld and Gold Coast Tourism wanted it too, as it’s been covered on travel, architectural, national and lifestyle publications.

Toys R Us are looking for big kids

It’s been a week of highs and lows for Toys R Us. The business side of things hasn’t been great as they’ve filed for bankruptcy in the US and Canada, but over this side of the pond their seeing the fun side of things. They’re currently recruiting mums and dads to be their toy testers.

Toys "R" us

Image source

Named the ‘Toyologist Programme’, the successful applicants will be sent toys to test with their children, and then must report back to let Toys R Us know whether they think they should stock them.

If you fancy the job, you can apply here.

QR code made of trees

Xilinshui village in Hebei, China has jumped on the craze of QR codes (they’re still very popular in China) and created 130,000 juniper trees to create, what could be, the biggest QR code ever.

QR Code

Image source

The code is 227m each way and is designed to be scanned by passengers as they fly over in planes. After scanning the code takes you to Xilinshui’s tourism page on WeChat, which is China’s equivalent to WhatsApp.

The stunt has gained a lot of coverage so has gained a wider reach than they thought it would. It’s gained coverage on Mashable, Digital Trends, BBC news.

Flamingos and Yellow Cabs come to Paris

Kate Spade New York opened a Parisian flagship store this summer, and they’ve launched it with an augmented reality experiences that turns iconic Parisian landmarks into an interactive playground that includes flamingos and yellow cabs.

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The app has filters on 10 famous Parisian locations and when users are on the app they will experience “unexpected moments of joy” such as pink flamingos in the Seine or a yellow cab in a Parisian street.

The campaign is a great way of getting people more involved in the launch and is an ingenious use of modern technology but we think they could have done a bit more with it, such as turning it into a scavenger hunt style competition to incentivize more people to get involved.

Our favourite PR campaigns from last week included a ‘TasteFace’ app from Marmite, gender-neutral shoes from Clarks and Roald Dahl inspired Happy Meals from McDonald’s, you can read about these campaigns and more here.

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Boosting content offering with SEMrush

SEMrush is a great tool for SEOs to get access to keyword and competitor data in an easy to use interface. It also provides the ability to export ranking data quickly for potentially thousands of terms. With this data, we can analyse the content on a domain and consider ways to improve it by creating topics around keywords and URLs.

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm brought synonyms and context into the marketing mix, evaluating the whole conversation and trying to decode the user’s intent. In the past, SEOs created many pages optimising for keywords with slight iterations, with the intention of targeting variations of the same keyword. With the introduction of Hummingbird, the need to do this is reduced, as we can now optimise content more effectively for the whole conversation.

SEMrush's Branded3 domain overview

To do so, we first need to export keyword data from SEMrush. In the dashboard, after searching for a domain, there is a section for ‘Top Organic Keywords’ as shown in the image below; here you can export the data. You may wish to target specific URLs and combine the data sources to reduce the number of keywords you will need to go through, as it is quite a manual process. However, it may also be useful if you have a section of the domain you want to write more content for.

Top organic keywords

Analysing the data

Once we have the export of keyword data, we can begin the analysis. Data cleansing is the first step. Clean the results in Excel by removing columns that are unnecessary, in this case Leaving Keyword, Position, Search Volume, and URL. The other data in the export could potentially be used, but for this example these will be the columns analysed.

Data cleansing

I like to add an extra column called ‘URL Count’ to give an extra filtering dimension, and to show at a glance how many times in the export a specific URL appears (or how many keywords the URL appears for). To do this, input a COUNTIF formula: the range being the URL Column and the criteria being a specific URL cell.

COUNTIF formula

The export can then be filtered to meet any specific thresholds, perhaps to only show those terms which are currently ranking on pages 2 to 3 to try move them up to page 1. Filtering may be more useful on larger websites where the export is extremely large, but for smaller sites with a digestible amount of data, you may wish to see all terms. In this example I’ve applied a filter for keywords ranking up to position 30.

Filter for keywords ranking up to position 30

From here we can filter, sort and segment the data looking for common themes and topics among URL’s and keywords. From this, we can take the learnings to either create new and exciting content for a website to fill gaps in our targeting, or potentially to rework existing content looking for quick wins to improve both user experience and SEO benefit to a page.

I’ve highlighted a couple of different categories our Top 10 Viral Marketing Campaigns page could potentially fall under, or we could look to target marketing campaigns with its own page. How granular you go is up to you. This is a manual process and will take some time to get through, I’ve only looked at a very limited amount of the data I exported from SEMrush but you could map many topics and themes across the entire domain.

Categories Top 10 Viral Marketing Campaigns page could fall under

At this point, the data can be taken away to brainstorm the topics found, individual pages can be analysed to discover missing areas that could potentially be reworked to improve these rankings, or brand-new content ideas can be brought to the table – all of which can be fed into your content roadmap.

Keyword research may also be done around the topics for reporting purposes and it may show keywords outside of the SEMrush database that you may wish to target.

Next level

To add further insight to the analysis, data from outside of SEMrush such as competitiveness in the SERPs and understanding the potential return for improving content could be added. SEMrush also gives you the ability to look at your competitor’s websites, where they rank and – with some investigative work – why! Analysing competitor data this way is a great way of searching for gaps in your own content especially if competitors are ranking for keywords you may want to but are not targeting already.

Don’t have SEMrush?

While I’ve used SEMrush for this example, the same analysis can be done using different SEO tools out there. Any tool that provides you access to keywords and ranking URL’s will do the trick. Tools like AHREFs provide similar exports while the Google Search Console API can be queried to provide the data needed. Try combining different sources of data to see if additional keywords can be collected.

Keep your clients close and their competitors closer: 4 ways to monitor competitor activity

An important part of working in an agency is having a great relationship with the client. It’s efficient, effective, and the work is so much easier when everyone’s on the same page.

What your client’s interests and performances are isn’t the only essential part of agency life, though; understanding and monitoring their competitors is also crucial. Below are a few different tools and techniques that I use to make sure I monitor what my competitors are up to.

Monitoring your own clients

The first step is to monitor your client’s activity, as you can see what PR activity they are up to, and make sure you are ahead of the game in terms of learning from their mistakes and using their successes as inspiration.

When I first start to work with a new client, I like to make sure I have every alert set up to monitor their activity, as well as several of their competitors.

My go-to tool for this would be BuzzSumo; this is ideal for finding shareable content ideas, and I’ve found the alert feature to be pretty accurate. It’s also a great way to pick up any articles that have gone live without you noticing.

Buzzsumo

The alerts feature is easy to use, and I’d recommend setting this up for your clients and at least two of their competitors. It allows you that extra bit of awareness about their activities in order to make sure your campaigns are always ahead of the game.

Backlink checks

About once per month I run a backlink check on my competitors, as this gives me a quick insight into their activities and whether we can learn from the campaigns they’re running.

Below are some of the tools I use to check out backlinks. I use a combination of all of these in order to get a broad range of results, and to cover all areas of Digital PR Campaigns:

Ahrefs

ahrefs

Fresh Web Explorer

Fresh Web Explorer

Open Site Explorer

Moz.com

SEMRush

SEMrush

These are the four top tools for checking back-links. I use all of these as well as a simple Google search to make sure I find backlinks and coverage generated by my client’s competitors.

Social media monitoring

Social listening is another great way to monitor your competitor’s PR and social activity. At Branded3, we use Crimson Hexagon to do this, but other tools are also available. This type of monitoring provides an insight into how many followers the clients competitors have versus themselves, and the types of conversations they are having to engage with their audiences.

This tool is a useful way to inform the overall digital PR strategy, and to fill in any gaps in your plan. A full audit of each social channel is recommended to create a collaborative plan with both social and PR feeding off into each other.

Below is an example of the word clouds and topic wheels pulled from Crimson Hexagon for an upcoming campaign about Christmas markets. These are extremely useful to inform future campaigns in terms of related content and conversations, for example you can see all the related words that may help with inspiration for future ideas.

Crimson Hexagon

Trending data

As a final recommendation, simply monitor competitor’s activity by keeping up to date with the news, social media, and a general Google search. This may sound obvious, but with a world of tools on offer it’s easy to forget, and it’s an easy way to gain inspiration for upcoming campaigns.

Keeping an eye out for PR and social campaigns at least once per week will add to and enhance your strategy, and allow you to think further than just your own clients. At Branded3, we write a weekly blog post on the PR campaigns we’ve seen in that week and what we think worked particularly well which can be seen here.

Overall, I think it’s essential to use all of these tactics to make sure you’re helping to make your client the best in their industry.

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels and Assisted Conversions guide

Google Analytics is frequently relied on by digital marketers like you to report on how their campaigns are performing. You go to your favourite report, look at the “goal completions” column and put it in a spreadsheet. Done.

What does “Our organic campaign drove 175 conversions” mean anyway? In Google Analytics it means that somebody used a search engine to search for something, clicked your (non-paid) result, browsed your website and completed a goal.

Think about how you make purchases online – how often do you visit a website for the very first time and buy something? User journeys are more complex than “the time they came onto the website and bought the thing”. How did they first get to the website? How many visits did it take for them to buy the thing? Which channels are best at introducing users to your website for the first time but aren’t particularly good at converting visitors?

That’s where Assisted Conversions and Multi-Channel Funnels come in.

What are Assisted Conversions and Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics?

The mutli-channel report allows you to see all touch points a user had between first coming to your website and completing a conversion. Google made this video to explain these reports.

For example, a conversion journey might be: Click Banner Ad > Click Post on Social Media > Click PPC Ad > Click Organic Search Result > Buy.

In this case, by looking at a regular Acquisition report, the sale gets attributed to Organic search, as this was the medium that drove the visit that resulted in a conversion. This is because by default, Google Analytics uses a last click conversion model. The other channels that helped gain the sale are credited with nothing using this report.

The multi-channel funnel report allows you to see the effect of those channels. The banner ad is known as “first interaction conversion”, as it began the journey that would eventually lead to conversion. The organic campaign visit, which closed the sale is known as “last interaction conversion” or “direct conversion”. This is what you see listed as “conversion” in other reports. If a channel did not close a sale (in this example, Banner Ad, Social Media, PPC) this is what is known as an “assisted conversion”.

To view information about assisted conversions and other multi-channel funnels, go to Conversions>Multi-Channel Funnels in the left-hand nav of Google Analytics.

Multi-Channel Funnels

Below is a summary of each report within the Multi-Channel funnels section.

Overview

The overview shows you how many conversions and assisted conversions you’ve had for the period of time specified.

Overview section of Multi-Channel funnels

You can use the check buttons to see what sort of relationship your channels have with each other. Hover over the Venn diagram to see the percentage overlap.

Assisted Conversions

This report allows you to see the number of assisted conversions you get by channel grouping, source/medium, source, medium or other things such as page.

Assisted Conversions

As well as the number of conversions, it shows the value of conversions that channel has assisted with. Finally, it shows a metric called “Assisted/Last Click or Direct Assists” which shows how often channels assist vs how often they close sales.

  • <1 means they close sales more often than assist
  • 1 means that assist and close equally
  • >1 means they assist sales more often than close

This report can be used similarly to most other Google Analytics reports. There is a search box, the ability to use secondary dimension, plot rows and an “other” dropdown to see different dimensions.

You can click “First Interactive Analysis” above the graph to look at which channels sent visits that eventually lead to conversion.

First interaction analysis

This report is similar to the Assist Interaction Analysis report that you see by default except you see first click conversions and a first/last click ratio instead of information that is about all kinds of assisted conversions.

PROTIP: Create a custom channel grouping to make the most of this report.

Top Conversion Paths

The Top Conversion Paths report allows you to see the journeys that people took into your website that lead them to conversion.

Top Conversion Paths report

If something is written as “Organic x2” for example it means that they came to your site via organic search results, didn’t buy something, and came back via organic search again, but this time they did buy something. This report is a visual guide to how people access your website and eventually convert, showing the most common journeys first.

PROTIP: You can use the “path length” drop down to show only paths of a certain length. This is set to 2 or more by default.

Path Length

Time Lag

Time lag is “how many days from the first visit did it take someone to convert”.

Time lag

By default, this looks back up to 30 days but this can be changed to be between 1 and 90 days. To do this change the “look back window” above the table. By default, it is 30 days which means that if someone visited your website 31 days ago and bought something today, the first visit would not count as an assist as it is outside the look-back period. Change this to whatever best reflects your user’s buying cycle.

Look-back window

A smaller purchase tends to have a smaller time lag, and larger purchases often take more than one day to decide on.

Path Length

The path length report is similar to the time lag report, except instead of days it is “how many visits to my website did it take someone to convert”?

Path Length in interactions

While “time lag” begins at zero (i.e. it took zero days from first visit for someone to convert) path length begins at 1 (i.e. they converted on the first session).

Limitations of Multi-Channel Funnels and Assisted Conversions

There are a few confusions and ambiguities regarding multi-channel reports. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • If someone converts within the first session they visited the website that is a “first click conversion” and “last click/direct conversion” but not an assisted conversion.
  • You can’t use regular Advanced Segments with the multi-channel funnels report.
  • You can get assisted conversion data with the API but it can’t be fetched with non-multi-channel funnel data.
  • In most reports, Google Analytics uses Last Non-Direct Click Attribution, which means direct traffic is not credited with a conversion unless no other channels were involved. Mutli-Channel Funnels show the entire funnel and “last click” means the true last click, including direct traffic.
  • The numbers may not match the number in a regular report. This may be due to the sampling rate, the processing time or the attribution model used.

I would recommend using these reports as a guide, along with other data as how channels interact was a part of the sales cycle, rather than alone.

Tips and Resources

You can use the menu at the top to customise your view of multi-channel funnels.

Date Range can be changed and compared in the same way to normal.

Date range in Google Analytics

Conversion Segments are similar to Advanced Segments except they are specific to multi-channel funnels. This can be used to investigate how a particular channel performs more thoroughly.

Conversion segments in Multi-channel funnels

You can use the dropdown to change the type of conversion you want to look at the assisted conversions for.

Changing the type of conversions

To change what the line graphs show, click the dropdown, add a comparison metric or click the radio buttons at the right-hand side.

Change what the line graphs show

To learn more about Multi-Channel Funnels I’d recommend the following.

Multi-channel analysis – Google Analytics Academy

Multi-Channel Funnels – Google Analytics YouTube

If you need any further help with deciphering your multi-channel funnel reports, please contact us and we’ll help you best understand these reports.

 

Shoes, food and books: PR weekly round up!

Happy Friday! The weekend is almost here, and what better way to get that Friday feeling than running through our favourite PR campaigns this week by Muscle Food, Marmite, McDonald’s, and Clarks.

Naughty but nice

Muscle Food, an online health food retailer, are no strangers to the fact that the fitness life is a struggle. The time-consuming meal prep combined with the delicious smells emanating from your favourite fast food chains as you walk by can cause us all to fall off the #fitfam bandwagon now and again.

https://giphy.com/embed/l0Iy6YiZIyl1gT4TS

via GIPHY

Rather than guilt trip consumers by highlighting the numerous calories in a Big Mac or steak and cheese subway (my personal favourite), Muscle Food and their brand ambassador, Dan Rayner, have revealed the healthiest options to have from Greggs, Nandos, McDonald’s, and Subway.

As Muscle Food’s core demographic are those who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, this campaign is clever as it reinforces the belief that we can enjoy a naughty treat now and again, while still striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle instead of giving up.

Love it or hate it

The Marmite ‘love it or hate it’ dispute is a heated debate that’s almost as old as time. However, the brand has stepped into the 21st century to determine consumer’s stance on this very important issue.

https://giphy.com/embed/tZDLHTI6kAUtW

via GIPHY

Using facial recognition technology, Marmite’s ‘TasteFace’ app will analyse the user’s face when eating marmite to determine whether they are a lover or hater based on their reaction. Not only does the app categorise the user as a lover or hater, it also reveals the percentage of how much a person loves or hates Marmite.

Marmite's desktop app

Image source

We like this campaign, as not only does the app allow the brand to reach out to a brand-new generation of potential consumers, but it also encourages people to go out and buy the product.

Happy reading!

It’s safe to say that Roald Dahl’s books played a significant role in any Brits childhood, making us laugh, cry, and learn important life lessons.

To celebrate the literary genius’ 101st birthday, McDonald’s has released a new series of Roald Dahl’s mini books as part of their Happy Reading campaign. Based on different existing Roald Dahl characters or stories, each book includes an extract from the original novel, as well as illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Roald Dahl Happy Meals

It’s great to see a brand so invested in the education of young children, encouraging them to take the time to sit down with a book in a world that is so invested in technology.

Gender neutral shoes

Another staple of British childhood, Clarks, came under fire in recent months for their seemingly sexist approach in the design of their children’s shoes. The shoe brand was accused of making their boy’s ‘Leader’ shoe line sturdier than their delicately named ‘Dolly Babe’ girl’s shoes.

Clarks have listened to their customer feedback, and announced the launch of a gender-neutral shoe range which have been designed with an ‘entirely unisex approach’.

Gender neutral shoes

Image source

Launching in spring/summer 2018, Clarks’ gender neutral shoe line is sure to generate a lot of positive conversation, and coverage for the brand and position them as a leading voice in the sexism debate.

We hope you liked our favourite campaigns this week! Let us know about yours below, or talk to us @Branded3! You can also read about our favourite PR campaigns from last week here.

 

Custom Content Groups in Google Data Studio

Customising Content Groupings or Channel Groupings within your Google Analytics account can be a great way of better attributing marketing efforts, or even just looking at the data a different way. But the issue, like all things GA, is that they only take effect once set up, and historical data won’t be included in the new setup.

There are still advantages to segmenting within the GA account itself, but there’s now a way to attribute all of your data using Google’s Data Studio (historical too!). By connecting Google Analytics to Google Data Studio, you can pull on the API to create new dimensions for use in your reports. These could include:

  • Custom Content Groups
  • Custom Channel Groups
  • Sales Regions

The flexibility of Data Studio allows you to set up a variety of different groups and lets you visualise them side-by-side. For instance, if your site is a clothing brand, you may want to know how men’s products perform vs women’s products. You may also want to know how each item performs, whether this is jeans, shirts, dresses, shoes etc. Both are possible.

How it’s done in Data Studio

This is possible using calculated fields and using the CASE WHEN function available. Here’s an example of how it works:

CASE

WHEN Regex_Match(LandingPage, ‘/mens’) THEN “Mens”

WHEN Regex_Match(LandingPage, ‘/womens’) THEN “Womens”

WHEN Regex_Match(LandingPage, ‘/kids’) THEN “Kids”

ELSE “Other”

END

So, what is this doing?

The example above uses the Landing Page dimension to match with Regular Expressions (Regex) the URL of the page. It then renames the groupings to Mens, Womens, Kids or Other to be more user-friendly in the report.

This creates a dimension you can use in your reports, with the output looking something like this:

Google Data Studio graph

Landing page isn’t the only option here either – you have the API connection to play with, meaning you could group different pages, mediums, sources, countries, cities, campaigns, and more!

Explore how you can segment your data, and gain more insight into how your users are interacting with your business.

Last June Google’s Data Studio quietly added data export functionality, you can read about that here.

Ask yourself these 3 questions to become a successful account manager

All too often, we define ‘effective’ account managers by their ability to manage teams, pay attention to detail, and make the numbers work. But, while these skills are entirely necessary, in this day and age they’re just the norm. In order to be successful in the modern digital landscape, an account manager needs to go above and beyond expectations.

This means embracing a proactive approach to client management to maximise an account’s current and future potential. Account managers need to be one step ahead, have an overarching awareness of the opportunities available, and monitor any threats that could impact a client’s success.

There are three questions you should be asking yourself when evaluating yourself as an account manager:

Do you actually know your client?

What are their business objectives and the goals of key stakeholders within the business? And how does your agency’s work help them achieve these goals? Knowing these things are imperative to building a successful relationship and delivering the results they need.

Beyond being beneficial from a strategic standpoint for the client, having this background knowledge will ensure that you are the ‘go to’ person for team members within your agency, so you can assist and advise from a point of authority.

This insight will also support your position in all recommendations you put forward to your client, as you can ensure they align with the wider business’s strategic approach.

  • So, how can you get to know them?

Through onboarding sessions! These sessions are incredibly valuable, as they can provide you with detailed insight into the structure of your client’s business, how they work, and what they want to achieve.

Our guide to making the most out of your onboarding session will show you how to gain as much information as possible from your client in terms of the background of their business, their objectives, and who is going to be involved. Knowing these things will help you learn how to find resolutions to issues that they currently have or may encounter in the future.

Once you have completed your onboarding session and know all that you need to know, that’s your job done, right?

No – in fact it’s the opposite. Throughout the project, nurturing your client relationship must be one of your priorities. Developing a communications strategy creates a structured plan for regular contact through weekly updates and progress and review meetings. Maintain an ongoing dialogue to gain updates about things that could impact future tasks or the direction of the strategy.

Do you understand their industry or sector?

The onboarding session will have given you insight into your client and their current position in their market. However, you need to understand the factors within their sector and the competitive environment that they operate within.

Conducting SWOT analysis evaluates the performance of your client and the work you have conducted against KPIs. It will help you evaluate the working relationship between them and your agency, and identify areas of opportunity as well as possible threats. This will provide strategic direction and support in updating any project roadmaps that are in place, either as a proactive or reactive method.

Having an awareness of the wider sector, including things like public policy, current affairs, and the economy, will give you deeper insight, so you can spot any potential opportunities or threats to a project’s success. This is where your proactive approach to account governance will take you above competitors and other agencies that your client may be working with.

Are you an expert in your industry?

There is a reason that your client has hired your agency, and therefore you as an account manager. Being an expert in your own industry is key to providing your client with strategic insight into how they can progress and maximise their return on investment.

Keeping up to date with changes in your own industry will provide you with expertise that the client may not possess, while also supporting the recommendations made by your agency. This expertise will help you communicate how specific tasks will impact their business and how the strategy can be adapted to respond.

To keep up to date on your industry:

  • Read industry blogs or press articles related to your industry or sector
  • Attend industry-related conferences
  • Attain further industry experience or qualifications (Google Adwords and Analytics Qualifications are two of the numerous training courses that are valuable for account managers working in SEO)

Through answering each of the questions above, you will be able to assess your approach to account management so you can maximise your client’s success and improve your performance as an account manager.