How to Use Twitter Analytics: The Complete Guide for Marketers

It’s one of those things you know you should be doing: tracking your Twitter metrics and analyzing the data they provide. After all, Twitter users interact with businesses in important ways on the network, and if you’re not analyzing the results of your own tweets, you’re missing out on key Twitter insights that could help you refine your strategy and maximize ROI.

So, how can tell you tell what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your Twitter marketing strategy? Enter Twitter analytics.

Bonus: Download the free strategy guide that reveals how Hootsuite grew our Twitter following to over 7 million users and learn how you can put the tactics to work for your business.

What are Twitter analytics?

Your actions on Twitter, along with the actions of all the people who follow you, engage with your tweets, or otherwise interact with you, create a rich set of data you can use to track various Twitter metrics.

Twitter analytics tools allow you to analyze that data and measure your performance for Twitter metrics over time, so you can learn what works, what doesn’t, and how to get the most from the time and resources you put into posting on Twitter.

Benefits of Twitter analytics

Twitter analytics provide great marketing intelligence that will allow you to hone your Twitter campaigns.

1. Learn about your audience

It’s impossible to conduct a targeted Twitter campaign if you don’t know who you’re targeting. An understanding of the overall demographics of Twitter users is a good place to start, but it’s important to get a clear picture of exactly who your followers are, rather than just who uses the network in general.

Using Twitter analytics, you can dive deep into your follower demographics, learning what languages they speak and how they’re divided along gender lines, as well as their age, country of residence, and even household income. You can also gain valuable intel about their interests and online purchasing behavior.

All of this information together paints a detailed picture of your typical follower, so you can craft a Twitter presence that speaks directly to the people who actually follow you on this particular network—which may be different from the audience that follows you on other social networks, or that you target through traditional media like print or radio ads.

2. Find out what content resonates with your audience

Twitter analytics provide engagement numbers for every single tweet you post, so you can clearly understand what types of content get a response from your audience.

In general, tweets with photos get 313 percent more engagement. But is that true for your audience? It’s something you can test by tracking engagement through a Twitter analytics report. If it is true, what kind of photos do they want to see—do photos of people work better than, say, charts and graphs? By keeping an eye on your engagement Twitter metrics, you can learn precisely what connects with your followers, so you can develop a Twitter voice that speaks directly to them.

3. Post at optimal times

As we explain in our blog post on the best times to post on each social network, opinions vary about the optimal Twitter posting time. An analysis of more than 40,000 @Hootsuite tweets shows that for the B2B Hootsuite audience, 3 p.m. Monday to Friday is the optimal posting time, but others have seen different results.

Part of the variation is based on geography. After all, 3 p.m. in Vancouver is 6 p.m. in New York, and 11 p.m. in London. If your audience is primarily in the U.K., and you’re on the West Coast of North America, posting at 3 p.m. your time is likely not ideal. Using Twitter analytics, you can determine where most of your followers are based, so you can post at times that make sense based on when they’re likely to be online.

You can then further refine your timing strategy by looking for trends in the engagement levels with tweets posted at different times of day.

4. Determine if ads are working

When you’re investing money in promoted tweets, you want to know if you’re making good use of your advertising dollars. By using Twitter analytics for business insights, you can compare organic and promoted impressions to get a sense of how far your promoted tweets are expanding your reach.

You can also set up conversion tracking to measure return on investment (ROI) by tracking sales and revenue from your Twitter campaigns.

5. Replicate success

Using Twitter analytics allows you to see which of your tweets perform best in terms of the metrics that matter most to you, whether that’s engagement within the network or clicks through to your website.

Carefully tracking your top tweets allows you to look for commonalities in the tweets that get the best results, while tracking your poorest performing tweets can provide hints about what your audience does not want to see. Knowing what works—and what doesn’t—sets you up to replicate success while learning from misfires.

How to use Twitter analytics for metrics that matter

The Twitter metrics that are most important for business accounts can be broken down into account metrics—which apply to your overall Twitter profile and your follower base—and individual tweet metrics, which track the engagement numbers for specific tweets.

Account metrics

Account metrics are tracked monthly and provide a good record of your Twitter activity over time.

Top tweet

What it measures: The tweet that earned the most impressions in a particular month.

Why it matters: This tells you at a glance which one of your posts gained the broadest exposure for the month—an important record to track over time. Your top tweet is also a good candidate for testing a promoted tweets campaign.

Top mention

What it measures: The tweet with the most impressions in which another Twitter user mentions your username.

Why it matters: The Twitter user who expanded your reach the most is someone you should definitely reach out to. Look for opportunities to connect and work together, possibly through an influencer campaign.

Top follower

What it measures: Your follower with the greatest number of followers of their own.

Why it matters: While this person has not necessarily shared your content yet, they have the largest potential audience. This is another key stat for finding connections and potential influencers to reach out to.

New followers

What it measures: How many new followers you gained in a given month.

Why it matters: Tracking this over time and mapping any changes to your activities on Twitter will show how your various campaigns and posting strategies affect your overall follower count.

Individual tweet metrics

Click statistics

What they measure: Click statistics include embedded media clicks (how many people clicked on a photo or video in a tweet), link clicks (on a URL or card in the tweet), and user profile clicks (on your Twitter name, @ handle, or profile photo).

Why they matter: These Twitter metrics measure how much people want to know more about you and your business. Watch especially for clicks through to your website to measure how effective your posts are at driving traffic.

Engagement

What it measures: In addition to clicks, engagement includes the number of times users interacted with a tweet by retweeting, replying, following, or liking.

Why it matters: If you’re not getting engagement, you’re talking into a void. Tracking which tweets generate the most user response is a good way to know what’s working for your brand.

Engagement rate

What it measures: The number of engagements with a tweet divided by impressions.

Why it matters: While the number of engagements is a valuable metric in itself, engagement rate gives a clearer picture of how engaging a tweet is because it also factors in how many people saw the tweet. Plug the Twitter analytics impressions and engagement numbers into a spreadsheet to track this metric over time.

Tweet reach percentage

What it measures: How many of your followers saw any given tweet. To calculate, divide tweet impressions by your total followers.

Why it matters: Knowing what percentage of your followers tend to see your tweets will allow you to plan a strategy of reposting the same content in different ways to maximize exposure.

Twitter analytics tools

Now that you know which Twitter metrics to track, how do you go about finding and tracking them? You have a few options for Twitter analytics tools.

1. Twitter Analytics dashboard

Integrated into the Twitter platform, Twitter’s analytics dashboard uses various tabs to highlight the most important metrics.

Twitter Analytics: A Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Twitter.

The home tabs shows monthly account metrics like top tweet and top mention, along with a 28-day summary overview of how impressions, profile visits, and mentions have changed.

The tweets tab provides individual tweet metrics, including engagement and organic versus paid impressions. You can click on each tweet for more detailed metrics, including detail expands and media engagements. The audiences tab provides detailed information about your followers, including demographic information and top interests.

2. Hootsuite Analytics

With Hootsuite Analytics, Hootsuite Professional users can track Twitter metrics and return on investment (ROI) using customizable reports that present information in easy-to-read graphs and charts.

 

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

 

3. Twitonomy

The free version of Twitonomy provides a robust set of Twitter analytics tools, showing figures like average tweets per day, @ mentions, and most retweeted and replied to Twitter users for all time or for a specified period. You’ll also see how your own tweets perform, with your most retweeted and liked tweets listed.

Twitonomy also provides charts showing how often you post on the various days of the week, and even the specific hours of the day.

How to Use Twitter Analytics: The Complete Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Twitonomy.

4. TweetReach

TweetReach tracks estimated reach, impressions, and other key data based on a search by username, keyword, or hashtag, so you can track your own top Twitter metrics as well as get a peek at what your competitors are up to and what’s working for them.

How to Use Twitter Analytics: The Complete Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog
Image via TweetReach.

For more valuable Twitter analytics tools that can help you track key metrics, check out our post listing 33 Twitter tools to use in your marketing strategy.

Gain insight into your Twitter efforts—and your other social media endeavors— with Hootsuite Analytics. Try it free today.

Learn More

With files from Kaylynn Chong.

 

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Advertising on Tumblr: A Quick Guide for Marketers

According to Adobe’s Social Intelligence Report, Tumblr ranked No. 1 in social sentiment towards brands. Not only that, but 70 percent of users say the Tumblr dashboard is their favorite place to spend time online.

With over 200 million active blogs publishing 80 million posts every day on Tumblr, your brand has a huge opportunity to reach an engaged audience. But, that kind of volume means you also need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Continue reading to find out how you can best advertise on Tumblr to benefit your business and reach new customers.

A guide to advertising on Tumblr marketing

Sponsored Posts

Tumblr’s Sponsored Posts are ads that appear in users’ dashboards but maintain the look and feel of organic content. For example, television network FX developed a Tumblr Sponsored Posts campaign to promote their new show. They created “editorial content including  GIFs, illustrations, and original photography that aligned with the brand’s messaging strategy.”

The campaign was a success, with FX’s follower count increasing by 86 percent and their engagement rate rising to 2.8 percent—32 percent above industry averages.

Sponsored Posts work, as Tumblr explains, because “brands are welcomed as creators themselves with content users want to see.” Sixty percent of users who have seen a Sponsored Post report finding the content fun, engaging, and of high quality. Out of the consumers who have seen a Sponsored Post, 70 percent say they perceive the associated brand more favorably as a result. Over half of the Tumblr audience took action and went on to research the sponsor afterward.

Like advertising options on other social media platforms, Sponsored Posts can be targeted with parameters such as gender, location, and user interests. They can also be syndicated to Yahoo for further visibility and reach.

To create and share engaging Tumblr posts:

  • Answer questions: Tumblr’s “Ask” function is a great place for customers to ask questions and share concerns. Take time to regularly answer these questions and share the interactions to your Tumblr page. Not only will you be providing great customer service, you’ll be saving your business time by avoiding having to answer the same question over and over again.
  • Understand the tag: Tags—Tumblr’s version of hashtags—let users who aren’t following your blog find your content. Use tags that are relevant to your industry and describe the post accurately.
  • Cross-promote your content: There are clear similarities between Instagram and Tumblr which makes the platforms ideal for cross-promotion. Share your best visual content to both platforms to reach a larger audience.

Sponsored Video Posts

As Tumblr explains, Sponsored Video Posts offer “native video for web and mobile in the same Sponsored Post format you know and love.” Sponsored Video Posts offer targeting options just like Sponsored Posts, but with additional analytics capabilities for views, looping, and engagement.

For added visibility, Sponsored Video Posts play automatically in users’ Tumblr Dashboards and the player accompanies the user as they scroll down the page.

Maynards Canada used Sponsored Video Posts along with regular Sponsored Posts to promote their new line of candy, Maynard Beanz. Along with the videos, the company used the tag #whereyoubeanz to boost awareness and recognition.

The campaign resulted in a 1.6X increase in brand awareness, 10X ad recall, and 2.13X increase purchase intent. Tumblr explained, “Autoplay video engages users even if they scroll past. Maynards’ campaign demonstrates the importance of including video in your advertising campaign to reach users who don’t actively engage with content on their dashboard.”

To use video in your brand’s paid and organic Tumblr marketing efforts:

  • Consider mobile viewers. Your videos need to be optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing. A mobile audience is most likely watching vertically, so try to shoot your videos in vertical mode when possible.
  • Think about your tone. Just like your regular Tumblr posts, video posts need to be created with a younger audience in mind. Tumblr found that among millennials  “comedic ads achieve 50 percent higher brand familiarity, dramatic ads achieve 33 percent higher brand affinity, and informational ads achieve 31 percent higher purchase intent.”

Sponsored Day

Tumblr’s Sponsored Day option offers a unique advertising opportunity. According to Tumblr, purchase intent and ad recall was twice as high among users who had seen a Sponsored Day campaign than those in a control group.

With this kind of campaign, Tumblr lets a brand pin their logo and tagline to the top of all users’ dashboards for 24 hours. This links to a tab in the Explore page (one of the most visited pages on the network) where you have free reign to share curated content. As Tumblr explains, “whatever story your brand wants to tell, you’ve got a slice of the Dashboard to tell it in.”

Nike was the first brand to run a Sponsored Day advertising spot as part of its #betterforit campaign promoting a new line of women’s workout gear. David Hayes, Tumblr’s Head of Creative Strategy, explains that with Sponsored Days, “the brand can also curate a whole bunch of content from the community. In [Nike’s] case of women’s fitness, the content can come from the community or the brand’s own blog.”

To curate content for a Sponsored Day campaign:

  • Keep tabs on your industry. Pay attention to what leaders in your industry are sharing and interacting with. Monitor relevant trends to find and share content that your audience will find valuable. Mix this content in with your brand’s original content for an engaging and dynamic page.
  • Reblog community posts. Follow your customers and other relevant Tumblr users and reblog their content. This not only gives you new content, but shows appreciation to your audience.
  • Celebrate with themed content. Whether announcing a new product or celebrating a store opening, you can curate Tumblr content to recognize these occasions. Think about how all of your content will work together with a visual theme and make sure you don’t post anything that will disrupt the aesthetic.

Our post Tumblr for Business: Advanced Techniques in Content Curation provides more tips and tricks for building effective stories with campaigns and posts.

Analytics and measurement

Tumblr’s Advertiser Analytics tool offers a complete solution for monitoring and measuring your brand’s success with paid campaigns.

To access Advertiser Analytics while running a paid campaign, click on the Analytics tab on the right side of your Dashboard.

Once in the Advertiser Analytics section, you have access to data such as:

  • Blog View, which gives you an overview of how your paid and organic Tumblr content is performing

Image via Tumblr
  • Campaign View, which lets you monitor ad performance by ad engagement rates, Cost Per Engagement (CPE), and impressions

  • Post View, which provides information on the performance of individual posts based on clicks, likes, reblogs, and impressions.

While you can see basic engagement metrics such as likes and reblogs with your organic content, there are currently no in-depth analytics options for unpaid posts or your blog page overall. This is where Google Analytics comes in handy.

Google Analytics provides a comprehensive measurement solution for all of your Tumblr efforts. With Google Analytics, you can measure:

  • Number of blog visitors
  • Visitor frequency
  • Your most popular posts
  • Search terms people used to find you
  • Where your visitors are coming from
  • And more

For more information on how to use Google Analytics with your Tumblr strategy, see Tumblr’s guide here.

Tumblr is a powerful social network, but only when it’s used right. Focus on your target demographic and build engaging paid and organic content with them in mind.

Manage your brand’s Tumblr activity with Hootsuite’s Tumblr app.

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Targeting generational buzzwords like “Millennials” means targeting no-one

If I were to tell you that marketers were using astrological signs as a way to understand/target specific groups of people, you’d tell me that’s a ridiculous strategy.

“Astrology is fake,” you’d say, and given the precision of modern marketing tools, using the stars to analyze customers or understand population segments would not only be lazy, but the chances of it working would be random at best. Yet, this is happening daily.

How? For example, thinking that millennials, a 75.4 million cohort of people in the United States alone, share a universal set of attributes.

Speaking in absolutes about a demographic that makes up ~20% of the total population of the United States with nearly no shared characteristics completely ignores the nuance, depth and uniqueness of humanity, and our diverse wants, needs and desires. We are complex creatures!

Common sense would indicate that drawing conclusions about such a loosely defined group of folks is at best “pushing it,” and at worst completely ludicrous. There’s simply no way to make an accurate, universally applicable statement about that many people, defined solely by a 20+ year age range based on the year they were born.

There’s no rigorous methodology behind generational branding

Even if I wanted to take generational branding seriously, it’s in my opinion not good social science. “Baby Boomers” (18 year cohort) are defined as people born between 1946 – 1964, and an age range between 51 and 70.

Millennials” (a 23 year cohort) are people born between 1981-2004, giving an age range of 12-35. Gen Z (no defined cohort yet) have birth years that range from the mid-1990s to 2000s, and, so far there is little consensus about ending birth years.

The ranges are not only inconsistent, but the fact that not everyone can even agree on these unstandardized, randomly assigned dates says it all. It’s all highly questionable, even for a softer science like sociology.

A ~20 year ago cohort is too large to mean anything when our experiences of media, culture, etc. have fragmented

Social trends now move so quickly that single moments of significance are less defining, even if at the time they were seemingly important. The 3-TV-channel world where we all watched the same things has been dead for decades and yet we still apply concepts that were created then.

Everyone’s experience of the world from a media perspective alone is so unique we can’t underestimate the number of niche communities that now exist that have less to do with age and more to do with personality. The world and the people in it are becoming more, not less, complex and we need updated thinking if we hope to understand it and market to it.

Psychographics show far more in common than year born / demographic breakdown by year born. If you can target, not just arbitrary ranges as defined by buzzwords, but by people who live in a specific area, are married and are interested in weightlifting and organic food you would have to be willfully ignorant or lazy to think stepping back and targeting everyone is a good idea.

With the depth we have available for ad targeting in tools like Google AdWords and Facebook ads, it’s inexcusable to not take the time to target the right message to the right users. The sophistication of our marketing capabilities means we’re doing our shareholders and customers a disservice not to go deeper.

Sample AdWords ad targeting capabilities mean reaching specific and precise segments relevant to us:

Sample Facebook ad targeting capabilities reach specific social communities that care about our brand:

As for marketing to specific age ranges? Of course there are product categories with immutable segments for a certain demographic. But buzzwords like “Baby Boomer” aren’t required to market to these groups effectively.

Additionally, you want to be more specific than a 20 year cohort to accomplish this in a meaningful way. For example, a 34 year old millennial living in a city has little in common with a 20-something millennial just finishing college in a small town – yet generational buzzwords lump them together.

In Google Analytics, we break out age ranges in smaller, more manageable chunks, so you can analyze college-age students in a specific area which would be far more instructive.

To some, the word millennials has become just a blanket term for young people. This almost comical story of an iconic American brand grasping for relevancy shows what may be a typical situation in boardrooms, where a group of executives clearly feels behind the times.

So it seems like an easy solution to just use broad strokes like buzzwords. A brief quote from this story illustrates:

The other challenge is that many people who work at American Express aren’t all that millennially minded themselves. If you visit Amex’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan, you’ll find squared-jawed men in bespoke suits and fashion model-glamorous women, but not a lot of young people in the uppermost ranks … In one Amex brainstorming session, according to an executive I spoke with, participants spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what FOMO meant before turning to Google. They discovered it stands for “fear of missing out.” It is unclear if the group recognized the irony.

I don’t think this habit of over-generalization comes from a desire to marginalize millennials, but I do believe it’s a broader way people use to try and make sense of a technology-driven world.

In most analyses of millennials, the way technology shapes and controls their environment is key to understanding whatever point is being made about them. This categorization provides a way to add a human layer to the discussion around those who have been born into a world where technology and the internet automate our existence.

Why waste time with generational buzzwords when we have so many better groups to analyze/target/study instead?

For example, with recommended actions: 

  • Users who responded to holiday ads last year that become recurring customers over the next year (run more of those specific ads next season, replicate for your other product categories and double the budget if the numbers were previously great!).
  • The specific location with the highest average purchase order or customer loyalty for a national restaurant chain (or better yet, the top 5%). What went right here? What are the common traits among customers here and how can we attract more of them to our other locations?
  • For a pharmaceutical company with a new arthritis drug, targeting people ages of between 30 and 60, the average onset of RA According to the Arthritis Foundation (this is a specific, actionable age segment, not the nebulous “baby boomer” and is immutable range, no buzzword required).
  • All your site visitors who added something to their shopping cart but don’t complete checkout. For sure these include people of all ages; likely optimizations don’t even require demographic data.
  • Users who follow your brand on social channels (aka your influencers) – what can you learn about this very specific group that is unique to your brand. Incredibly useful to understand these folk and their nuances so you can best nurture those relationships.
  • The top 20% of your customers by annual spending or product category. How can you grow these really valuable segments?

The above list is just to get you thinking, but to me it’s so exciting what’s now possible that to keep doing what was always done is doing our work and sector a huge disservice.

Or, you could just ignore all of this and just make stereotypical ads for millennials without actually getting to know them, so that you too can repeat Pepsi’s gaffe and become a global embarrassment.

Related reading

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How to Use Reddit for Fast (and Accurate) Market Research

With 50,000 niche communities and 250 million unique monthly visitors, Reddit is packed with potential customers talking about brands and products.

In this post, you’ll learn a simple process for using Reddit to conduct market research. As you’ll see, Reddit can help you observe what people really think about your industry and products, reveal what frustrates customers, and help you create marketing campaigns and content that kill those pains.

Reddit 101 (skip this section if you already use Reddit)

Like Snapchat, Reddit is confusing to people who don’t use it. Here’s a quick intro to Reddit.

Most people use Reddit to waste time. By subscribing to popular communities (called subreddits), you’ll get an endless firehose of viral content. These communities are divided by themes such as science topics, news, hobbies, and Reddit inventions such as the “Ask Reddit” format, where the community answers questions.

Casual Reddit users will often join a specific subreddit related to their passion or profession. For example, a music lover might subscribe to a subreddit about learning guitar. Here, the content is less frequent and not viral. It’s simply people talking to each other and sharing things. Vendors who try to post here will often be mocked or kicked out.

Dedicated Reddit users will join communities that appear confusing to an outsider. These users are more interested in conversations rather than content. For example, someone might post a funny link but the main attraction will be the funny and witty dialogue between different users. These conversations will often be self-referential to moments in Reddit’s history or obscure memes. This makes it hard to follow and understand why certain things are popular on Reddit until you regularly read these threads.

Subreddits = niche communities often related to specific interests. Some subreddits attract millions of monthly views; others attract a tiny group of dedicated people.

Reddit gold = Users will “gift” each other a premium subscription to Reddit if they think a comment is particularly funny or valuable to the community.

Karma = This is a Reddit point system that rewards users who contribute to the community. If you submit a link that other users appreciate, you’ll gain points.

Downvote/upvote = This is the golden economy that keeps Reddit valuable. In most social media sites, a lot of garbage content floats to the top of the feed. In Reddit, users quickly downvote or upvote content. For example, let’s say Reddit users are having a discussion about Pepsi. If a brand manager comes in and posts a link to a new Pepsi contest, users will likely downvote that post, pushing it to the bottom. If a user says something smart or funny, it will gain upvotes.

This system ensures that interesting content stays at the top and spam sinks to the bottom. Your post score is balanced by downvotes and upvotes. For example, if 10 people downvote my post and 11 people upvote my post, I’d have a score of 1. This ensures that every post has a fair chance of rising or falling based on the community’s votes.

Throwaway account = This is a popular phrase you’ll hear on Reddit. Reddit users are talented internet sleuths. If you post something and it attracts attention, Reddit users will look at your comment history and expose your personal information. That’s why most Reddit users will create a temporary ‘throwaway’ account they’ll use to post a comment and then never use again.

Using Reddit to conduct market research: A step-by-step guide

Step #1: Find where your customers are hiding

Find the right subreddit

To start, find a subreddit filled with your target customers. There’s no magic solution here. It can take a bit of work to find the right communities. Begin by searching for subreddits. You can also use the following search operators to get started: title:keyword (example, title:Honda), subreddit:keyword (example, subreddit:Honda); and URL:keyword (example, URL:Hondafans.com).

Install the free Reddit Enhancement suite

This free tool adds advanced searching and filtering options to Reddit. With this tool, you can filter irrelevant subreddits, keywords, and old posts. This done by using custom filters. It’s a helpful tool.

Do some sleuthing

Now, spend an hour or so doing some keyword searches. Make a list of the popular subreddits for your topic and common questions that people ask. For example, let’s say I’m a brand manager at Honda. With a little searching, I’ll bump into these subreddits: r/PreludeOwners, r/Honda_XR_and_XL, and r/Honda. These have valuable conversations about Honda’s brand and products, offering an authentic glimpse into the lives of Honda customers.

Step #2: Ask these questions

During your research, focus on answering the four questions below.

How do people feel about your product category? It’s easy to forget that the public has much different experiences than we do inside the walls of a marketing department. Reddit is amazing for revealing unfiltered opinions about brands, products, industries, and categories.

How do people feel about advertising in your category? On the top of Reddit, you’ll see eight tabs. Use the ‘‘promoted” tab to see advertising campaigns run by your competitors. Did any of your competitors promote their products to this community? Look at the comments to see how consumers responded—and what they feel about advertising campaigns in your category. Do competitors brag too much? Are certain features considered table stakes now?

How sophisticated are consumers of your products? Consumers get good at buying products—what differentiates you today is expected tomorrow. For example, at Hootsuite we’ve been helping companies track and prove the ROI of social media for many years. But each year, the topic morphs as our industry becomes more sophisticated.

Reddit can help you stay ahead of your customer’s demand—whether that be the features that bore them, the promises they’re tired of hearing, or the things they wish brands would get right.

Go to the top of the subreddit you want to analyze and select the tab called “gilded.” This will sort by comments that received Reddit gold. As mentioned, Reddit users will gift each other “gold” (which means they pay for the user’s upgrade to Reddit premium) for comments that are exceptionally valuable, funny, or insightful. These are comments that have resonated with Reddit’s most discerning users. Use these “gilded” comments to better understand the sophistication level of your audience as these comments are the smartest or funniest perspectives in the community.

Who is the HXC customer? Unlike most social networks, Reddit pushes the smartest comments and most discerning consumer opinions to the top. It’s a social network filled with smart and opinionated consumers. This is exactly the consumer you want to aim your marketing strategy at.

Most marketing makes the mistake of talking to the lowest common denominator (“meet Joe, your typical male person, looking for a simple way to file taxes online so that he can get back to what he really loves: watching sports with the guys”). But when you’re searching for a new Honda, you ask your friend, the car lover who knows everything about Hondas. Or when you’re looking for a mutual fund to buy, you ask your investment friend who lives on a yacht. These people have specific opinions and expectations for products—and other consumers idealize them.

This is the concept of the HXC customer developed by Julie Supan. According to Supan, if you aim your products and marketing at the most discerning customer, the masses will follow. Reddit can help you better understand these discerning customers.


The best subreddits for marketers

You’ll find subreddits for most industries and products. A relevant subreddit for this post is www.reddit.com/r/SampleSize/, a community of market researchers.

Another good one that I follow is www.reddit.com/r/AskMarketing/, a subreddit where marketing professionals ask for answers to hard questions like Facebook ad optimization techniques, tracking the ROI of event marketing, and asking advice about new business ventures.


Step #3: Analyze and monitor

By now, you should have a good idea of the subreddits and typical questions customers ask on Reddit. In this last section, I’ll show you how to monitor these communities for new conversations.

Combine subreddits together

With Reddit, you can create a multireddit. This allows you to group individual subreddits on a page, making it easy to scan and read new content.

The easiest way to create a multireddit is by logging into Reddit. Then press “create,” located on the left side of the page under multireddits. You can also combine subreddits into a URL like so: www.reddit.com/r/subreddit+subreddit. For example, I created the following multireddit, combining three of the best marketing subreddits into one: www.reddit.com/r/askmarketing+marketing+SampleSize+entreprenuer. Bookmark that URL and you’ll always have new marketing tips from the Reddit community.

Monitor for keywords with this app

I’ve tried a few different ways to automatically pull posts from Reddit including web scraping scripts. These often break, though. One of the tools I love to use is the Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro app for Hootsuite. You can monitor brand terms or keywords for any topic, pulling all these hyper-targeted conversations right into your Hootsuite dashboard.

I’m not only recommending this app because I work at Hootsuite. I actually use the app. I even use it to monitor conversations about music recording gear (a hobby of mine) as it pulls interesting bits from all around Reddit.

Add the Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro app to your Hootsuite dashboard

Install the Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro app. Next, go to your Hootsuite dashboard (if you don’t have one, you can start with a free account). Click Add a New Stream. In the window, select Apps and then select the Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro app.

Start listening! Go to the Hootsuite stream you just created

Click on the tiny gear icon in the corner of the Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro app. Enter a few keywords you’d like to monitor. For example, I’m interested in what customers think about Hootsuite. So I monitor: “love Hootsuite,” “Hootsuite,” and “buy Hootsuite?” These conversations appear right inside my Hootsuite dashboard, so I don’t have to check Reddit for new posts.

I use these insights for market research but this type of listening is critical for brand managers as well. Reddit can be an early warning system for an impending brand PR crisis and monitoring conversations saves you from having to check for new mentions of your company or products.

Use RSS to bring the conversation to you

You can use RSS feeds to monitor different subreddits as well. RSS doesn’t seem to work on all subreddits. But you can try your luck with Hootsuite’s RSS tool (same process as step 3) or learn more about RSS in this guide to Reddit RSS subscriptions. Written by a Reddit user of course.

That’s how I use Reddit for market research.

If you’re looking for other ways to use social data in your marketing plans, check out our free guide, The Social Media Data Cookbook. You’ll learn 11 simple recipes to help you put social data to work including a simple test you can run to see the exact ROI of social messages.

Read it for Free

Google I/O: What’s going on with Progressive Web Apps?

Screenshots of Twitter Lite homepage with Add to Home Screen prompt and Sign up for notifications prompt.

At Google’s developer jamboree, Google I/O, last week the search giant paraded a host of big name case studies and compelling stats to herald its success with two initiatives to make the mobile web better and faster: Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

Progressive Web Apps are a Google innovation designed to combine the best features of mobile apps and the mobile web: speed, app-like interaction, offline usage, and no need to download anything.

Google spotlighted this relatively new web product at last year’s Google I/O, where the Washington Post showed off a newly-built Progressive Web App to enhance its mobile experience.

Whether companies believe in or plan to adopt Progressive Web Apps, the initiative (along with AMP) has done a fantastic job of highlighting a) the importance of making websites and apps lean and mean so they perform better on mobile and b) how ridiculously bloated, slow and inefficient websites and apps have become.

PWA and AMP are not the only answers to mobile bloat, but being led and backed by Google, they bring the potential for 1) broad adoption, 2) lots of resources, and 3) favorable treatment from Android, Chrome and Google Search.

What’s so great about Progressive Web Apps?

PWAs bring native app-like functions and features to websites. They should (depending on the quality of the build) work on all smart devices, adapting the performance to the ability of the device, browser and connection.

The key features that get people excited about PWAs are:

  • The ability to send push notifications
  • Option to save to the device (home screen and – now – app launcher), so it loads even faster next time
  • Ability to work offline (when there is no internet connection)
  • Make payments. One of the most significant PWA announcements at Google I/O was that PWAs can now integrate with native/web payment apps, to allow one tap payment with the users preferred provider, including Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Alipay and PayPal
  • Closer integration with device functions and native apps.

The margin of what native apps can do compared with a web-based app (N.B. PWAs do not have a monopoly over mobile web apps) is disappearing rapidly.

The last year has seen a remarkable 215 new APIs, allowing web apps to access even more of the native phone features and apps, announced Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, VP, product management at Google, in his Mobile Web State of Union keynote.

He pointed out that you could even build a web-based virtual reality (VR) app (if you wanted to), citing Within and Sketchfab, which showcase creations from developers around the world.

Who ate all the pies?

But the most compelling thing about Progressive Web Apps is their download size, compared with iOS apps and Android apps. Check out the size comparisons in the image below for two case studies featured at Google I/O: Twitter Lite and Ola Cabs (the biggest cab service in India, delivering 1 million rides per day).

  • Size of Twitter’s Android app 23MB+; iOS app 100MB+; Twitter Lite PWA 0.6MB.
  • Size of OLA Cabs Android app 60MB; iOS app 100MB; PWA 0.2MB.

Why does size matter? Performance on the web is all about speed. The smaller the size the quicker the download. Think SUV versus Grand Prix motorbike in rush hour traffic.

Image: Who ate all the pies? Size of Twitter’s Android app 23MB+; iOS app 100MB+; PWA 0.6MB. Size of OLA Cabs Android app 60MB; iOS app 100MB; PWA 0.2MB.

Interestingly, Twitter markets the PWA as Twitter Lite particularly targeted at people in tier two markets where connections may be inferior, data more expensive and smartphones less advanced; while Ola Cabs markets the PWA at second or third tier cites where there are similar issues with connections and smartphones.

This (cleverly) helps to position the PWA as non-competitive to their native apps.

Which companies have launched Progressive Web Apps?

A growing number of big name brands (see image below) have launched PWAs. These include:

  • Travel companies: Expedia, Trivago, Tui, AirFrance, Wego
  • Publishers: Forbes, Infobae, Washington Post, FT, Guardian, Independent, Weather Company
  • E-commerce companies: Fandango, Rakuten, Alibaba, Lancôme, Flipkart
  • Formerly native app-only companies: Lyft, Ola Cabs.

Map shows companies that have launched progressive web apps, including Expedia, Trivago, Tui, AirFrance, Wego, Forbes, Infobae, Washington Post, FT, Guardian, Independent, Weather Company, Fandango, Rakuten, Alibaba, Lancôme, Flipkart, Lyft and Ola Cabs.

At I/O, Google trumpeted the achievements of a number of companies, inviting several to share their experiences with the audiences – only the good stuff, clearly.

1. Faster speeds; higher engagement

m.Forbes.com has seen user engagement double since launch of its PWA in March (according to Google).

For the inside track see this Forbes article. The publisher claims its pages load in 0.8 seconds on a mobile device. The publisher was aiming for a Snapchat or Instagram-like experience with streams of related content along with app-like features such as gesture-based navigation.

In this video case study, embedded below, created for I/O, Forbes claims to have achieved a 43% increase in sessions per user and 20% increase in ad viewability.

The Ola Cabs PWA takes 1-3 seconds to load on the first visit – depending on the network, “including low 3G” Dipika Kapadia, head of consumer web products at Ola, told I/O attendees. On subsequent visits it takes less than a second as it only needs to download the real-time information, including cab availability.

Ola achieves this partly due to its size: the app is just 0.5MB of which only 0.2MB is application data. As it downloads it prioritizes essential information, while other assets download in the background.

2. Consumers readily download PWAs to their home screens

When mobile visitors are using the mobile app, they receive a prompt to save it to the home screen, so it loads faster next time. It does this by caching all the static parts of the site, so next time it only needs to fetch what has changed.

Twitter Lite, as Patrick Traughber, product manager atTwitter, told the Google I/O crowd, sees 1 million daily visits from the homepage icon.

Since launch of the Progressive Web App, in April 2017, Twitter has seen a 65% increase in pages per session and 75% increase in tweets.

3. Notifications

The ability to send notifications to mobile users to encourage them back to the app, used to be one of the big advantages of native apps over mobile web. No longer.

Notifying users about recent activity is very important to Twitter, said Traughber. And Twitter is taking full advantage of this capability, sending 10 million push notifications each day.

For the inside track on Twitter’s PWA, see this article.

4. Winning back customers that have deleted your native app

App-only companies face the challenge that users only download and retain a limited number of apps on their smartphone and will uninstall those that aren’t used as regularly as others, thus once deleted, it’s over.

Thus it is an eye-opener that 20% of Ola PWA bookings come from users who have previously uninstalled the native app.

See Google’s case study on Ola’s PWA.

5. PWAs appeal to iOS users

Compared with other mobile browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Opera and Samsung, the default browser on Apple devices, Safari, can be slower when it comes to adopting advancements in mobile web. This means Safari users won’t experience some of the more advanced features of PWAs, yet.

Despite this, brands are seeing improved mobile engagement after launching a PWA. Lancôme Paris has seen session length improve by 53% among iOS users, according to this case study of the Lancôme PWA, cited at Google I/O.

6. Conversions

According to Wego’s video case study, embedded below, created for I/O, the Singapore-based travel service has combined both PWA and AMP to achieve a load time for new users is 1.6 seconds and 1 second for returning customers. This has helped to increase site visits by 26%, reduce bounce rates by 20% and increase conversions by 95%, since launch.

If you need more impressive stats to make the case for a web app, visit Cloud Four’s new PWA Stats.


For more articles on mobile web performance see:

How video impacts mobile web performance and UX, part 1: data and download speed
How video impacts mobile web performance and UX, part 2: autoplay and audio
How to fix your bloated mobile website: fewer, better, smaller images
Optimizing images for mobile: right format, right size, right place, right device
How JavaScript impacts how fast your page loads on a mobile device

Andy Favell is Search Engine Watch’s columnist on mobile. He is a London-based freelance mobile/digital consultant, journalist and web editor. Contact him via LinkedIn or Twitter at Andy_Favell.

Related reading

Measuring the Unmeasurable and the Future of Social Data

Will McInnes, the CMO of Brandwatch, shared insights at Connect via Hootsuite on how social intelligence can be used to capture potential customers early in the buyer journey.

Afterward, we sat down with him to learn more about social listening, measurement, and the impact social can have on marketing strategy.

Q&A with the CMO of Brandwatch

When it comes to social data, are vanity metrics truly dead? What kinds of things should organizations be tracking and measuring now?

It’s not that vanity metrics are dead, it’s that they are the “what” and now marketers are thinking hard about the “so what?” and the “now what?”

Social media measurement is more than counting a number that reflects how many individuals have proverbially liked or commented or engaged with a post or piece of content.

Brand marketers and agency professionals alike are trying to get to the heart of the truth of what a like really means, and what the sentiment and intent is behind any action taken on social media.

Social measurement also encompasses so much more than vanity metrics which speak to content impact. Sophisticated marketers know that marketing impact and business impact are incredibly important when it comes to social measurement. For example, business impact deals with affect on revenue and brand health. Don’t just take it from me, independent research firm Forrester analyst Jessica Liu provides more detail on social measurement in her recent blog There Are no ‘Right’ Social KPIs.

What should businesses do about the ‘unmeasurable’ impact of social media?

There are myriad ways to acknowledge the impact of social media for social campaigns, campaign amplification, and for overall brand health. I believe that businesses should be focusing on outcomes rather than simply looking at numbers.

How can they do this?

By outlining specific KPIs, or key performance indicators for those that aren’t familiar with the acronym. Identifying a goal—whether that’s increased Facebook page likes, a certain number of video shares for an influencer testimonial, or traffic referrals from paid search—will allow your business to not only measure the impact of social media but also focus efforts to achieve an outcome that will have a real impact. It’s all about aligning with your overarching business goals, which every department should be aiming to do even separately from social.

When setting specific KPIs, you need to begin by asking the question: what is your ultimate goal? What action do you want people to take? Comment on a video? Buy a product? Share a picture? Do you want one specific influencer to increase your reach twofold? Three times?

Knowing what you want to achieve based on real business goals will help you set and meet KPIs for social media.

How else can audience insights, especially from social, be used beyond creating better targeted marketing?

One of the most undervalued but useful applications of audience insights is creating content, campaigns, and products that people are clamoring for—voiced via online posts, reviews, and other mentions.

How, you ask?

By learning and then speaking the language of the masses. Learn to talk the talk.

While we may understand a slew of acronyms and have jargon-filled documents and presentations at our disposal, consumers may be using completely different language to discuss your brand, your industry, or relevant trends for your products.

Brands can build more authentic relationships with their consumers by speaking their language through deep analysis of how, where, when and in what ways they are communicating across the public social sphere.

Another great way to utilize audience insights is to find the right influencers. I know, I know—everyone is sick of hearing about influencer marketing. But that’s because many people are approaching it from an unrealistic understanding of what it is and how to execute an effective influencer strategy.

Word of mouth (WOM) marketing is considered to be one of the most effective marketing tactics.

And what many marketers overlook is the need for micro-influencers—those individuals that may not have huge, household name recognition, don’t cost a fortune to work with, and aren’t counting their blog and Twitter followers in the tens of thousands.

Micro-influencers are those experts in a field that is highly relevant to your brand and your goals.

These are just a few of the numerous ways to apply audience insights to areas within marketing and throughout the entire business. I’ve seen great use of social audience insights in product R&D teams to calibrate teams to focus on high priority feature updates that consumers are discussing online. Audience insight truly does hold a bounty of consumer data that can help businesses work smarter and faster.

What does the future hold for social intelligence? What’s the next big trend, tool, or tactic that brands should watch out for?

We’ve heard talk of predictive analytics in the social intelligence space for years now, yet we’ve come so far in other vital areas. I think we’re definitely going to see advances in automated and intelligent reporting that gets us closer to our customers and prepares us for unexpected and crisis situations.

And image analysis is an area that is on the precipice of being truly valuable to marketers. Certainly it’s useful to have the ability to detect your brand’s logo in untagged posts and mentions, especially when there isn’t much text content to analyze around the context of an image or video. There’s so much more we as marketers need from image analysis beyond simply recognizing a logo.

I’m also excited about the data science behind intent to purchase and intent to share to get to the heart of the emotional drivers and reasoning as to why certain posts go viral and why a consumer actually shares a brand’s post or content organically. There’s a lot in the realm of human understanding and social psychology that will help us dive deeper in this space and I for one can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Learn more from McInnes and Brandwatch by watching his presentation at Connect via Hootsuite.

Watch On-Demand

A visual guide to Pinterest advertising

Pinterest has slowly been building itself up as an advertising alternative to Google and Facebook over the past 12 months.

The company’s focus has historically been on building an engaged user base through its intuitive, visual interface.

As a social network, it has always offered something a little different.

However, advertisers have been skeptical about whether Pinterest could ‘monetize’ this model, due to the nature of engagements users have and also the demographics that typically spend time on the site.

Those concerns have not been allayed altogether, but Pinterest has made some fascinating moves of late. They have launched a paid search partnership with Kenshoo, completely upgraded their visual search capabilities, and expanded their reach by adding a new Google Chrome extension.

By combining an engaged user base with advertising that doesn’t disrupt their experience, Pinterest may have a formula that works in an age of ad blockers and decreased consumer attention spans. Their stated aim has been to own the ‘discovery’ phase of the purchase journey, suggesting products to users before they know exactly what they are looking for.

Google has clearly taken notice, too. The search giant’s recent product launches, such as its ‘similar items’ feature and the recent announcement of Google Lens, demonstrate Google’s strategy to stymie Pinterest’s growth. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.

That said, Pinterest remains a relative unknown in the advertising space. Many advertisers would no doubt welcome a third, genuine alternative for their digital ad dollars, a fact that will likely benefit Amazon as well as Pinterest. But before taking the plunge and launching a paid campaign, there are some things we need to know.

As such, it seems timely to take a step back and assess what really differentiates Pinterest from the competition, what options are open to marketers, and what you need to know before getting started with Pinterest advertising.

Since this is Pinterest we’re talking about, we thought a visual guide would be most fitting.

Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other recent visual guides and infographics:

Infographic created by Clark Boyd, VP Strategy at Croud, and graphic designer Chelsea Herbert.

Related reading

The word PREPARED is written on a blackboard with the UN crossed out. A hand is underlining it.

8 Things to Do During Your First Week as a Social Media Manager

It’s your first day as a social media manager for a new company. Where do you even start?

This question is a common one, but one that often goes unasked as people are worried about seeming inexperienced or making a bad impression when they start a new job. Really, it’s a very reasonable question. Making a critical error would be far more costly than asking colleagues for help.

You can’t just jump in and start tweeting on behalf of a business you’re unfamiliar with. Every company has a different audience, different needs, and different goals for their social media presence. But you still want to show initiative and dive right into your new role.

Your first day or week at a new social media job should be spent doing a lot of listening and learning. You need to establish what works, what doesn’t, and what goals you’re trying to meet. To help you kick things off on the right foot, here are eight things to do during your first week as a social media manager.

1. Audit the company’s existing social media

Lifeguards are taught that the first thing you do when you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation is to look for dangers (fire, wire, gas, glass, as the saying goes). While you won’t necessarily have to worry about hidden dangers as a social media manager, the notion of first examining your surroundings before taking action is sound advice. In the case of social media, this will usually come in the form of a social media audit.

Social media audit Step 1

This audit will help you assess the current state of social media within your new company and help shape the goals you set moving forward. The audit will include:

  • Making a list of all corporate social media accounts, and evaluating their current performance
  • Determining who has access to all accounts and centralizing permissions, if necessary
  • Establishing all tools being used for social media and potentially centralizing social activities into one social media management dashboard
  • Establishing the process by which social media activities are requested and executed

An audit will really help you gain a foothold in your new role. You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, while familiarizing yourself with the business’ approach to social media in the process. This will prove invaluable to you as you begin to shape the company’s new social media strategy moving forward.

2. Get to know the teams you’ll be collaborating with

Especially in a big organization, you’ll be working cross-functionally as a social media manager. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to get to know the people you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis.

Teams you might be working with

3. Get ramped up on social trends

As a social media manager, you want to keep up with the pace of your industry. Social media moves fast—it’s why Hootsuite’s CEO, Ryan Holmes, releases an article on social media trends each year. Take some time to see what’s trending in the social media space and see how it applies to your brand.

Key social trends for 2017

4. Listen to your followers, industry chatter

Assuming the business that you join already has some social media presence, one of the first things you’ll want to do in your new role is to simply listen to its followers. Your followers are your best source of information and inspiration.

When you start at a new company, you may not know what kinds of content will resonate with your followers or what drives online discussions. Skim your follower list. Click on profiles and see what’s being shared. See who regularly engages with your content and then examine what they’re posting.

This is a great way to learn qualitative information about not only your followers, but your customers, including:

  • The sentiment around your brand or products
  • What features or products customers are looking for from your company
  • How you can solve your customers’ problems

At the same time, you should seek out and follow relevant hashtags to see what general news and chatter is popular amongst people in your new industry. This includes competitors. Create streams to track all of this information and check in regularly. You’d be surprised how much insight you can gain just by listening in this way.Take things one step further with tools to help you get more out of your social media listening efforts.

5. Conduct a competitive analysis

Find out who you’re up against. Looking at your competitors’ social accounts will give you a better understanding of what the social media landscape looks like in your industry.

Find out who your competitors are

  • Use Google—Search for keywords and phrases that you want to rank for and you’ll likely find results similar to your own business. Plan your content strategy accordingly.
  • Know who your audience follows—Look at who your audience is following on social media. See any brands like yours? Take note.
  • Choose a top three—Narrow down your list of competitors to three main contenders to make things more manageable.

Get to know your competitors

  • What networks are they on? Brands are active on different social networks for different reasons. It all comes down to their social media strategy—their brand, their objectives, and which platforms they’ve experienced the most traction with.
  • How often do they post? Make a record of how often your competitors post to their various social networks. Use this data to help you determine how often you should be posting to your networks.
  • What are their engagement numbers like? How many likes are they getting on their posts? How many retweets or shares? These metrics can demonstrate how successful a brand’s social presence is. Pay particular attention to what content is performing best and take notes.

Once you’ve answered these questions, conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Analyzing your brand in this way is the cornerstone of any successful business strategy. Knowing your competition is key to creating a SWOT you can act on.

For tools and best practices for conducting a competitive analysis, check out How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis on Social Media: A Quick Guide.

6. Look back at best performing content

You may not be in charge of creating content, but much of your job will be spent promoting it. If you have access, take a look at Google Analytics and see what content from the blog or website has performed the best in the last year. Then, pull your social media analytics. Identify the posts and messages that have performed the best in the same period, and compare the two.

Certain posts might work from an SEO standpoint but not on social networks and vice versa. You want to identify the posts that perform well in both areas and double down on those types of content moving forward. Don’t be afraid to share your insight with the content team. You’re likely both working towards the same goal and even if you’re not, this type of coordination is mutually beneficial.

Best Performing Tweets

Looking at the best performing social media content will also offer insight into what type of messaging resonates with your audience. Look at the form of the tweet or post—where is the link? How long is the message?—and the language of the post—was it humorous? Serious? Simple? Complicated?. Pull out the top 10 or 20 best-performing posts on each social network and put them in a document. You can reference these later for inspiration.

Then, do the exact same thing with their worst performing content. You can learn just as much from content that under-performs.

Find out what we learned from our top-performing social media posts.

7. Talk to other employees about social media

Once you get an idea of what the business’ social media presence looks like from the outside, it’s important that you speak with your new colleagues for an insider look.

Ask employees what they know about the company’s social media. They may not know anything and that in itself is valuable information. You’ll learn what departments are totally disconnected from your corporate social strategy, and can start thinking about how to get them involved. In the very short term, you can at least ask them to follow your company accounts. Employees, after all, make the best social media advocates.

From the employees that are more familiar with your company’s social media strategy, you should try and find out:

  • How often are employees outside of marketing involved in social media activities? Do different departments run their own accounts?
  • Are staff encouraged to have personal social media accounts? Are they allowed to use them during work hours?
  • Are employees trained or educated about social media?
  • How do staff outside of marketing request social media support?

One of the biggest ways to make an immediate impact in your new role is by facilitating the process by which other employees work with social media. Identify ways to speed up the requests process. Plan training for staff so it doesn’t seem so complicated. Identify ways in which departments not using social media could be using it to make their lives easier. If there isn’t one already, create a social media policy.

Create a series of social media templates

Does the business you joined have templates built out for their social media strategy? What about for publishing? If the answer is no, an easy way to quickly make a big impact within your new company is to build out valuable templates that can be used again and again by your team.

 A social media strategy template

Social media templates every social media manager needs

A social media strategy template will keep your team focused on the goals you set, and will make it easier to shift your approach when necessary.

An editorial calendar template will help you track content being produced within the business, so you can plan out your social media content promotion.

A social media content calendar is the next step, gathering all social media messaging you’ll be using to promote your content and engage users, and organizing it by date and time. The calendar may also help shape your editorial strategy, by showing you where there are holes and what themes you might be missing.

A social media image template will act as a quick reference of image sizes so that you can rapidly make new cover or profile photos for any social network profile you manage.

These are just some of the templates you can build out within your first week. Even if you’re not filling them with content right away, these shells will quickly become an asset to you and your entire team as you take on more responsibility.

We’ve compiled six social media templates that will save you hours of time.

Equip yourself with the social media skills you need to get ahead. Hootsuite Academy offers industry recognized certifications, easy-to-follow online training, and the most up-to-date trends in social media. Try it free today.

Learn More

Updated with files from Kaylynn Chong.

How video impacts mobile web performance and UX, part 2: autoplay and audio

Vector graphic of a pair of hands holding a black smartphone with a video play icon on the screen. One finger is pressing Play.

Image designed by Freepik

Mobile video is a major up-and-coming trend in content, with brands everywhere converging on the new and lucrative mobile video market.

Mark Zuckerberg said on a recent shareholder conference call that he sees video as “a megatrend on the same order as mobile” – which makes mobile video, the intersection between the two, the ultimate sweet spot of engaging content to draw in new consumer eyeballs.

But sadly, there are still some technical hurdles to overcome before the mobile video experience is as smooth as companies would like it to be. In our previous installment we looked at how video can be a massive mobile data hog, and why it shouldn’t (but still does) have an impact on download speed.

In this part we’ll look at the contentious subject of autoplaying videos and their impact on mobile webpage performance, as well as how audio can delay page speed, and what kind of conditions make for a poor viewer experience (VX).

Our third and final part will consider some solutions that webmasters can enact to counter the issues with mobile video.

Video autoplay and page performance

Comparing the data on HTTP Archive for average content for the top 100 most popular sites (according to Alexa) with the top 1 million (shown above) reveals some interesting stats.

On average, video content is just 17kB (rather than 128kB) which is 2.1% of total page size, which, is a (comparatively) slender 828kB.

There are three reasons why this might be:

  1. Top sites avoid using video. (Considering these include video specialist like YouTube, BBC and CNN, this is the least likely of the three reasons).
  2. Top sites avoid using video on the (mobile) homepage. (The homepage of YouTube, for example, is made up of image links to videos, rather than videos themselves. Each video has its own webpage).
  3. Top sites use video more efficiently (as Dutton suggests).

Image shows two charts 1. Content breakdown for homepages of the top 100 sites 2. Content breakdown for the homepage of YouTube. Source: HTTP Archive April 2017

Querying this apparent anomaly of video usage between all sites and the top 100 with the web performance experts at HTTP Archive, we received the following answer from Rick Viscomi, a leader of the HTTP Archive project and Developer Advocate at Google:

“I think the answer is: efficiency. To be more specific, I think it comes down to autoplay. HTTP Archive just visits a page and records the page load without clicking around. Autoplay videos would be captured on those visits, while click-to-play would not.

“Autoplaying is wasteful for everyone involved because a page visit does not always demonstrate intent to watch. One notable exception is YouTube, where visiting a watch page is definitely intent to watch. Keep in mind that only home pages are crawled by HTTP Archive. So my theory is the top sites choose not to autoplay in order to keep bounce rates low and conversions high.”

Notably, autoplay video and audio is also frowned on from an accessibility perspective. See these BBC guidelines for example. The reason for this is that people with visual impairments rely on screen readers to read aloud a webpage. Clearly if audio or video media starts to play (including advertisements) it will interfere with the screen reader and will make tricky for the user to find out how to make it stop.

The impact of audio on page performance

One of the most useful features of HTTP Archive or WebPageTest (from where it is captured) is the filmstrip which shows how a website loads on a mobile device second by second.

The loading process for New York Times mobile site on May 1, 2017 is captured by HTTP Archive in the image below. The audio story The Daily is at the top of the mobile page, above the fold, allowing us to see clearly how audio may delay page speed.

The audio does not finish loading until 22 seconds, when the play button finally appears and the site is visibly complete.

Filmstrip shows the progress second by second as the NY Times site loads on a mobile device. Captured May 1 2017 by HTTP Archive.

Poor viewer experience (VX)

Assuming there is no autoplay, a correctly coded website should not require the video to be downloaded until the user requests it by clicking on the play button.

However as soon as the mobile user clicks on that play button, the level of expectation changes…

There are three potential VX problems with video:

  1. The video is too slow to start.
  2. It fails to start.
  3. It stalls during play back – this is due to (re) buffering or a dropping connection, typically shown by the spinning wheel.
  4. Poor video quality – or quality that is less an optimal for the connection.

Research by Conviva and nScreenMedia (November 2016) illustrates the difference in VX quality when a viewer is indoors (WIFI) or outdoors (cellular) failures for videos to start increases from 1.5% to 2.9% and buffering issues rises from 7.9% to 14.3% of views.

This has a noticeable impact on user satisfaction out of home 11.8% exit before the video starts versus 9.0% in home.Graph shows difference in video quality when a viewer is indoors or outdoors (as explained in the text). Source: Conviva and nScreenMedia (November 2016).

Research carried out by University of Massachusetts and Akamai, of 6.7 million video viewers, in 2012, also shows a growing intolerance to slow, stalling video.

Ramesh Sitaraman, Professor of Computer Science, UMass, Amherst tells ClickZ:

“Mobile users are impatient and abandon videos that do not start up quickly. However, they are more patient than users who have high-speed Internet access (say, Fiber), since their expectations of speed are lower in comparison.

“Mobile users start to abandon a video after waiting for about 2 seconds. By the 10 second mark, if the video has not started, roughly a fifth have abandoned.”

And on stalling:

“We don’t have data split out just for mobile. But, we studied a cross-section of users that included mobile. Overall, people watch videos for a shorter period of time when the video stalls than they would have otherwise.

“Roughly, a 1% increase in stalls leads to 5% decrease in the minutes watched.”

 

This is Part 2 of a series looking at how video impacts mobile web performance and UX. Read the previous installment: How video impacts mobile web performance and UX, part 1: data and download speed.

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7 advanced Google Shopping strategies [Infographic]

Google Shopping Ads now make up 56% of retailer ad spend in the USA, and a study by Merkle has shown that Shopping ads also accounted for 46% of clicks to retailers in the second quarter of 2016.

The current trends indicate that Google Shopping revenue is only going to grow in the next few years, making it more vital than ever to have a strong Google Shopping strategy as a retailer.

The infographic below, produced by Clicteq, will give you a quick visual and entertaining summary of seven advanced Google Shopping strategies that can supercharge your Google Shopping performance and help you compete in 2017.

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