Jul, 4th, 2014

Questions you should be asking your digital media agency

I have had a number of conversations recently where marketing teams are questioning the digital media plans proposed by their media agency, especially when it comes to gaining measurable results.

Here are some questions you should be asking your media agency before the proposed plan is approved.  Asking a few questions now could deliver far greater results, and save a headache later.


  • Are the campaign objectives clear?
  • Is the proposed plan going to meet those objectives?
  • How will success be measured?
  • How will success be tracked?  What attribution method will be used to evaluate the influence of various channels towards the goal?

The details

  • What placements?  Run of site? or specific sections?
  • What targeting options will be used?  Behavioural / interest?  Geo-location? Gender skew?
  • What creative formats will be used?  Banners? Text links? Content blocks? Advertorials?
  • Will the media be ‘always on’ or just on certain times of days / weeks?
  • Is the placement on a CPM, CPC or CPA buy, or a combination of all those?
  • Is this going to get us the best result?  What would happen if we dropped [x placement] or improved targeting on [y placement]?
  • What placements / channels are going to be known to deliver the best response? What is going to play a secondary role in results, but still will attract the right audience?
  • How do we know we are getting best rates for this placement?
  • How will we evaluate the effectiveness of any online video promotion?
  • What channels have been left off the media plan? Why?
  • How does this online media plan support and complement the PR plan?  How does it support and complement the offline advertising plan?

Optimisation & performance

  • How will performance be optimised over the scheduled planned period?
  • Is the plan set in stone? Can it be changed dynamically as results are gained to push more of what works, and less of what doesn’t?
  • Does it make sense for the campaign to be front-weighted, or should a soft launch with a ‘test and see’ approach be adopted?
  • How will Creative + Media + Conversion align to the same objective?
  • What creative optimisation will take place as the campaign progresses?
  • What ‘optimisation’ will be performed ‘on-site’ to maximise conversion?  How will landing page testing play a role?
  • How often will the outcome be reviewed?
  • What happens if despite best efforts it fails?  What is an alternative plan?

Many times, media agencies have the answers and just need a little encouragement to draw the best thinking out of them.  Ultimately, you need to be able to measure tangible success – if you are not seeing success, the strategy needs to change!

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Jun, 11th, 2014

Furnishing Staples’ website needs

Part of the world’s largest office products company, Staples Australia approached FIRST to create an Australian and New Zealand website for its Business Interiors by Staples business.

FIRST worked closely with Staples to create the new and fully responsive website, which is optimised for search engines and user-centric design.

Working within Staples’ brand guidelines, the site is a digital catalogue of the company’s Business Interiors product range and case studies. Using Drupal, the content management system is easy for Staples staff to update the site with all the latest products and content.

Visit the Business Interiors by Staples website for Australia and New Zealand.

Business Interiors by Staples home page Business Interiors by Staples home page, which has a full-width carousel that dominates the page to display the latest commercial fit outs.
Business Interiors by Staples on mobile and tablet The website is fully responsive, meaning the site works on any device and browser.
Case study landing page The case study landing page takes on a Pinterest-style design where it displays images of varying heights and widths, which then moves each case study around to fit like a jigsaw puzzle.
Business Interiors product range Business Interiors product landing page. When a user hovers over a product category, a transparent colour overlay appears.
Business Interiors product page Product pages allow the user to: click on an image to zoom in and take a closer look at the product; download product specifications and CAD drawings; and pin products to Pinterest.
Opus case study page Just like the product pages, Business Interiors’ case study pages allow the user to view various images of an office fit out and zoom in on the images, as well as share the case study via Pinterest.

Business Interiors team

Users can find out who the Business Interiors team is and connect with them via LinkedIn.

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Jun, 2nd, 2014

10 themes from the Google Analytics Summit 2014

Google Analytics Summit 2014
As a Google Analytics Partner, we have had the privilege of spending the last two days at the 2014 Google Analytics Summit in San Francisco. What a wonderful conference it was! Although I could write much, I wanted to summarise and highlight just 10 consistent themes of the conference.

  1. Agility – Agility and speed is a weapon and some of the most important skills in business today. We must be smarter, faster and more agile.
  2. The Analytics Cycle – a) capture data, b) analyse data, c) take action. Then rinse and repeat.
  3. Universal Analytics – Migrating to Universal Analytics is an absolute necessity
  4. GTM – Implementing Google Tag Manager (GTM) is critical to success (and efficiency)
  5. Attribution – Attribution was a very strong theme throughout the whole conference and is only going to get more important. My key takeaway – if you are using ‘last click’ as your primary success metric, you are doing it wrong!
  6. Enhanced eCommerce – Google launched Enhanced eCommerce publicly at this event. It is a complete rework of the eCommerce reports and now includes fantastic visualisation and more ways to take action from your data efficiently and effectively. I have played with this, and it is cool. More info and next steps here
  7. Lets get more technical – Google Analytics API use is strongly encouraged and perhaps necessary for more advanced insights
  8. Upload offline/external data – There is an understanding that ‘web’ is only a portion of the story, to really understand your customers and their journey, you will need to upload external and offline data as well and combine.
  9. Remarketing – Remarketing should be an ‘always-on’ tactic. Is it for you?
  10. Segmentation – With all of the above, averages are pretty useless. Segmenting data is very powerful and is the best way to find gold and act according to the behaviour and needs of each segment.

There is certainly something for all of us to work on, and I am very excited by the possibilities Google Analytics will bring as they continually roll out new features. You can view the official Google Analytics blog here.

FIRST is always happy to talk through any of the above in more detail.

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May, 26th, 2014

Optimizely technical tips

Published by under General

Install Optimizely snippet into your website

Optimizely officially recommends installing the Optimizely Snippet as high up in the head tag as possible. Add the Optimizely Snippet before the code for any analytics or heatmapping platforms as well.

Sample code:
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>
<script src=”//cdn.optimizely.com/js/xxxxxxx.js”></script>

However, there are a few exceptions that you need to be aware of.

  1. If you use jQuery 1.6.4 or later 

Optimizely includes jQuery 1.6.4 by default but your project may need a newer version of jQuery. In that case, you may not want to make your visitors download it twice.

You can use Optimizely with your own copy of jQuery by loading it before Optimizely on the page.

Sample code:
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>
// load jQuery first
<script src=”http://code.jquery.com/jquery.js”></script>
// then, load Optimizely
<script src=”//cdn.optimizely.com/js/xxxxxxx.js”></script>


And on your Project Dashboard, click Project Settings > jQuery Settings. Then, select the: Do not include jQuery option.


  1. If you use legacy Google Analytics

Depending on your _setDomainName configuration you may experience inflated ‘% New Sessions’ and ‘Visit Duration’ metrics inside your Google Analytics reports. If this is the case, you need to use _setDomainName without the leading period or make sure the Optimizely Snippet comes after _setDomainName call but before the _trackPageview call.

Sample code:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang=”en”>


<script type=”text/javascript”>

// <![CDATA[

var _gaq = _gaq || [];

_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-xxxxxx-x']);

_gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'none']);

_gaq.push(['_setAllowHash', false]);

_gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]);

// ]]>



// load Optimizely after_setDomainName

<script src=”//cdn.optimizely.com/js/xxxxxxx.js”></script>


<script type=”text/javascript”>

// <![CDATA[


// ]]>





Preview the variation

Optimizely provides a great preview function. This preview function allows you to view all variations in the experiment. If you simply want to check to load a particular variation of your experiment on a live page on your site across different browsers, this method is easier to use.

http://your-website.com?optimizely_x[Experiment ID]=[Variation ID]

[Experiment ID] is the ID of the experiment which can be found from the Optimizely Editor URL when editing the experiment

[Variation ID] stands for the variation tab number, where the original equals 0, #1 equals 1

This optimizely_x force parameter will skip all audience and URL targeting conditions. This will tell Optimizely to blindly run the variation code for that specified experiment’s variation.


Global CSS

Optimizely has Global CSS feature, but please note that changes made here will apply to all variations in the experiment, including the original.

Optimizely Global CSS
To apply Global CSS only to a specific variation then you can use the following method instead:

$(‘head’).append(‘<style type=”text/css”>insert your CSS here</style>’);

Dealing with Ajax

If your website loads content using Ajax then you need to take care when using the Optimizely Editor. Optimizely does not work with Ajax content by default and what you see in the Editor is the fully loaded content.

In this case, you need to use one of the following methods to apply changes on your live website:

  1. Use ajaxComplete method

window.$(document).ajaxComplete (function () {

// your code here


  1. Run Optimizely code after xx seconds

window.myInterval = setInterval(function() {

// your code here

}, xx);

Make sure you test well with Ajax on Optimizely.

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May, 26th, 2014

30 key insights on email, lead gen and data

Email, lead generation and data process diagram
Here is our list of key insights on email, lead generation and data.

  1. Email subject lines may take on a whole new level of importance: Assuming the email made it into the Gmail user’s Priority Inbox, Google may choose to display it alongside search results pages. (Source: imediaconnection.com)
  2. Why do you think men’s fashion eCommerce retailer Bonobos sent their entire database an email urging their customers to move Bonobos to the primary inbox in Gmail’s new interface? Firstly, because they understand that email is a key revenue driver. Secondly, maximum email channel revenue starts with a great open rate! (Source: ryanspoon.com)
  3. 51% of all emails were opened on a mobile device in 2013 [infographic]: 26% on iPhone, 12% on iPad and 12% Android (Windows and others at <1%). (Source: getpocket.com)
  4. Only 15% of companies have tested their email marketing templates on mobile devices (Marketo). Given mobile opens are set to surpass desktop this year, make this a priority! (Source: marketingtechblog.com)
  5. If the 20% of your loyal customers account for 80% of your revenue, how much emphasis should be placed on your email channel? Will you require more robust data analysis and decision support to evaluate this increased focus? (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  6. Custora reports that the lifetime value of a customer acquired through email is 11% more than one acquired via Facebook or banner advertising. (Source: blog.3di.co.nz)
  7. “Don’t miss” in an email subject line has a 40% better chance of attracting a click compared to the average B2B email (Adestra subject line analysis report 2013). (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  8. According to Experian, average order $ value from Email has increased 14.4% comparing 1Q12 to 1Q13 (across all Experian clients at the time). (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  9. Email database quality is still the biggest challenge facing email marketing (Econsultancy). Perhaps it’s time for marketers to trial alternative data acquisition methodologies: Co-reg is a great way to build opt-in email lists quickly and cost-effectively. (Source: exacttarget.com)
  10. Useful collection of email stats by industry: Click through rates (unique clicks / delivered) and open rate. Retail is second highest on open rates but fails to convert the click (Silverpop). (Source: econsultancy.com)
  11. 41% of commercial emails were opened on mobile devices for Q3/Q4 2012 (33% on iOS) – mobile is on track to surpass desktop this year. (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  12. Email is the key lever to drive repeat purchase. (Source: litmus.com)
  13. Yes, general browser usage stats show Chrome and Safari growing fast (and IE and Firefox dying) but at 51% usage, Internet Explorer is still the browser of (forced) choice for checking web-based email – likely due to workplace IT lock-down. (Source: litmus.com)
  14. 36% of emails are now opened on a mobile device: This infographic is a good rundown of Responsive vs Scalable mobile email design. (Source: marketingtechblog.com)
  15. With 43% of all email opens occurring on a mobile device, it’s important to understand how your email will look when opened on one. View the infographic to see specifics for the iPhone 5, Galaxy Note II, Nexus 4, Lumina 920 and the BlackBerry Bold 9900. (Source: litmus.com)
  16. Are your customers helping you generate more leads? – If you need a good case study of incentivised referral marketing done well, look no further than Dropbox. (Source: blog.kissmetrics.com)
  17. NZ’s first case study on lead-gen optimisation: Lead source websites that exist to provide a service other than lead gen in the first instance provide the best returns. Expertise is required to leverage this fact, maximising lead volumes and optimising for quality across multiple lead sources (metric: advertiser conversion rate and/or $ rev generated). (Source: blog.3di.co.nz)
  18. Tactic #5 to acquire new customers: Double loop referrals. (Source: moz.com)
  19. Low cost and measurability mean email is still the #1 (B2C) prospecting channel. (Source: getpocket.com)
  20. Email marketing is still rated the #1 tactic for effective lead gen for 51% of B2B marketers (n=435, Ascend2/Research Underwriters). (Source: emarketer.com)
  21. Nice summary on why Dropbox has been so successful, in part because they have created a user experience that people love: Everything is super easy, trust is built and before long there exists product dependency. Paying for the service becomes a consumer necessity. (Source: blog.kissmetrics.com)
  22. What are you really doing to keep your eCommerce customers buying? Remember: “Repeat shoppers, representing just 8 percent of all site visitors, accounted for nearly 41 percent of total online sales” (Adobe 2012, US). (Source: practicalecommerce.com)
  23. Much like other data providers with access to offline transactional data, Datalogix is positioned very well indeed. (Source: techcrunch.com)
  24. Nice decision-making flowchart to help find the most suitable way of presenting information in the form of an infographic. (Source: econsultancy.com)
  25. The measurement of B2B content marketing should focus on the end goal: Did you engage the people that matter, and did they fill in the lead capture form. “Instead of thinking of content as a means to fill all channels, where analytics just show how each channel is performing, you should measure who viewed your content”. (Source: venturebeat.com)
  26. AdWords Enhanced Campaigns now support campaign scheduling for call extensions. Good news for B2B lead gen. (Source: searchengineland.com)
  27. How to use Facebook’s Graph Search for intelligence gathering and B2B prospecting. (Source: siegemedia.com)
  28. “Nearly 50 percent of marketers agree that data is the most underutilized asset in their organization, with less than 10 percent saying they currently use what data they have in a systematic way” (Teradata, n=2,200). (Source: teradata.com)
  29. A scary stat given the multitude of targeting technologies on the market today: “Only about one-third of [B2B] marketers are incorporating targeting and segmentation in their digital advertising” (n=243, US). (Source: marketingprofs.com)
  30. Good reminder on data risk: The media and retail industries are reporting the highest incident rates for hacking. And for insurance most data loss occurs due to fraud/social engineering (KPMG). (Source: blogs.hbr.org)

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