Friday, November 1, 2013

A Collection of Responsive Design Resources

I complied a collection of resources for my team so we can get our arms around the task of designing sites for multiple devices. This first link, Ten Things to Know about Responsive Design, provides a beginner's level of understanding for the concept. It’s recommended reading for the both tech and non-technical folks. I encourage you to invest 5 minutes and read through this one. Even if you are intimately familiar with responsive design, this article provides a rationale for its use and will form the basis for a common understanding. 

Some of these articles are more for tech folks to enjoy. This one provides the JQuery code for determining window width

This article talks about sizing fonts with CSS in responsive design. It’s one of the better ones from the many articles I read. I’d recommend tech folks read this one. 

This article points out the requirements in UI for small devices, how for example, will buttons and bigger elements make it easier for users when using small devices or tablets. Since it gives good food for thought, I’d recommend non tech and tech folks read this one. 

This last article is maybe one of the first and most important articles written on the subject of responsive design. It’s quite complicated and takes time to read and digest. It’s worthwhile for the techies and the non techies but it is likely to scare some people off because it is a mix of English and code. It’s very well written and worth a read - just ignore the scary parts.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Web Analytics - Reduces Ineffective Ad Spending

A sudden spike in web traffic and investigation into the cause and effect led me to revise a content ad campaign on Bing and Yahoo partner sites.

Traffic suddenly increased to several domains. Web analytics showed the origin of this traffic and the behavior of visitors revealed a problem with a #Bing content network ad. This traffic was alarming because of its magnitude. So much traffic would soon have some unpredictable impact on search rank or signal out of control ad spending.

There was no rise in ad spending anywhere. But reviewing the entry page tracking parameters, clearly the traffic was coming from one Bing ad campaign. The campaign was old and the link was obsolete. That provided insight to update the landing page.

The #bouncerate for this traffic was quite a bit lower than average so it looked like real visits. It looked as though visitors would arrive on a page, and continue within the site for several more pages, all fine from an SEO viewpoint at least tentatively. #Analytics showed that the referring domain was Clicking back to the referrers, yielded no insight at all. Our IBM NetInsight analytics showed the keyword was "railway rolling stock" on many of these visits. It's not a common term and the rise in traffic looked very suspicious.

A separate #analytics check on abandoned products – entirely unrelated to the spike in traffic - showed that many of the abandoned products were logged by visitors who came from and the entry page was always tied to the same URL even though the search keywords had nothing to do with the landing page.  One query especially caught my attention, “how to seduce married women” which really has nothing to do with “railway rolling stock” and the abandoned products did not relate to railway rolling stock either. Digging deeper in the abandoned products report, I learned the top abandoned products were tied back to visitors searching unrelated terms and had referrers from Analytics are great for this kind of insight, and they led me to discover and fix part of a content campaign with a #Bing #Yahoo partner.  Eliminating these ads from spammy pages by excluding from all campaigns saved money and squeezed out ineffective spending.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review: Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment, Sterne

Sterne writes about measuring the impact of communicating via social media in his book, Social Media Metrics:  How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment. He makes good points, tells some personal stories and delivers practical advice on the tools and methods and importance of measuring the impact of social media.

Chapter one sets the stage with familiar information about early social media initiatives. By chapters two and three, experienced practioners will begin thinking they should take notes. I found myself thinking, when is the last time I checked Technorati or is Twitter Grader still operating? My colleagues agree when I say I cannot keep up with the amount of change in technology. Just when I thought I was safe with the blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, dozens of Twitter accounts and YouTube, along comes Google Plus. Another mouth to feed another in-basket, more circles, more ripples.

Sterne quotes Jodi McDermott, talking about widgets and  the difficulties of measurement when things are changing on the fly, "This market is rife with start-ups in college dorms...They like changing things on the fly daily for fun."

I decided to try some of the tools Jim wrote about. I couldn't reach Twitter Grader. reported my main twitter account earned just a "casual" score, even though it has almost 5,000 tweets and 2,500 followers. I found the same account downright invisible on for the main topic of the account.

I got this message once on "You have been Rate Limited by Twitter
The technical explanation is that Twitter has changed their rate limit strategy for search, dramatically limiting Twitalyzer's ability to gather data on non-client accounts. We are working through this challenge now and hope to have a solution in the near future.

The non-technical explanation is ... Twitter won't give us the Tweets we asked for, the meanies!"

Getting back to the book, it provokes, it reminds, it will encourage you to think why measurement and objectives count. Most important what I walked away with, is that while Jim is explaining metrics, he very subtly reveals a strategic approach to using social media. Read the book.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Future is In Storage

I wasn’t going to write today. I wanted to make some coding changes to the blog and nothing more. But I noticed my prior post about eliminating email and I felt compelled to write a post today. It’s ironic that I just attended a talk about email marketing at SES by Sundeep Kapur.

In my prior post I wrote, “I have 107 MB on the local machine and 104 MB on the server. At present the inbox has 436 items and an additional 100 in the junk folder.” I predicted trusted networks would eliminate a lot of unsolicited email. But today, two years later, I have 1133 unread items in my inbox and 233 in junk mail. I also keep getting notices that my mailbox has reached almost 400MB, despite archiving anything over 30 days and burning anything over a year to DVD for “permanent archiving”. I write permanent in quotes because digital media is not permanently retrievable. I think it’s actually permanent in other ways, like permanently burned to disk or permanently lost or permanently removed from the server. So anyway, unsolicited email increased over the course of two years. I only digressed because I met an SES speaker who mentioned that he stored important files on SyQuest disks and now cannot get those files because the SyQuest drive is obsolete.  I am also in that same boat - permanent storage on magneto-optic discs - but no working drive to read them.

Another speaker reminded me about how you can send email through Facebook to people you don’t know personally. It costs one dollar per email to reach some people, more to reach other prominent people and $150 per email to Mark Zuckerberg himself. So here’s an oxymoron, Facebook Bulk Mail, a trusted network that should eliminate spam, profiting from allowing people outside your trusted network to reach your inbox!

 I got a lot of great ideas from Sundeep. He talked about great email headlines generating high email open rates; great layout and content generating better click through; timing and relationship building and so on. But here’s the big payday, if the content is relevant, people will want to read your email, engage with you and your brand and buy more stuff or join your cause, or help you out. 

Imagine the day – another prediction – when everything about you is so well understood, all your interests and friends and dining habits and location are granularly targeted by Facebook and other marketers right to the second on your truly personal, wearable computer. How will you manage storage for all that email that you’ll want to read but cannot get to in a lifetime? The future is in storage.