The most important digital metric

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If you are a seasoned digital professional, you probably have a whole array of dashboards that you compile for your clients and bosses.

From the Page Views to the Bounce Rate, the different dimensions of data often appear to be endless, and dare I say, sometimes meaningless!

I mean, what metric is really worth reporting and what can you omit? What digital metrics should feed into a marketing department’s KPIs?

These are questions that we ask ourselves when we take on a new client or embark on a new in-house marketing campaign/

As the old adage goes: “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”.

The same goes for our digital metrics – clicks are vanity, revenue is sanity.

Now revenue may not be the primary objective for many websites. This article is not aimed at those working in the public sector or promoting other informational websites.

The people I am talking to, are those who need to bring in a significant volume of revenue through the websites that you manage.

Often you will be running paid marketing campaigns and are not sure how fruitful a campaign is, beyond the initial clicks that you generate.

It is now an established ‘fact’ amongst marketing circles, that the vast majority of your web visitors will not be transacting with you on their first visit.

So what is the key metric for me?

Well it is a metric that I picked up on, when I was running affiliate campaigns at the very beginning of my digital marketing career.

It is such a simple metric, yet very few marketers seem to actually use it as a yardstick.

The magic metric is E-P-C or Earnings Per Click.

In a nutshell, it is the total amount of revenue generated during a marketing campaign, divided by the number of clicks generated.

If my campaign generated 10,000 clicks, which generated $50,000 in revenue, my EPC is $5.

Now, you can use EPC as a metric based on the total number of clicks, or you can chunk it further down by the channel, such as SEO, PPC, Email, etc.

So how does one use this metric?

Well, if you are running an annual sales campaign, you can use it as a like-for-like measurement to see if your website is generating a higher revenue for every visitor.

You may be bringing in the same organic visitors year on year, but have a more premium line of products this year. What you want to really measure is if these premium products will end up generating more money for you.

If that is the case, then the additional profit you make, can be invested in other search engine marketing activities.

If you are running a PPC campaign and you know that every click from that channel generates $2, and you need to generate $20,000 from a campaign. You can make a business case for a budget to buy 10,000 clicks. How much a click costs, will vary from industry to industry.

By now, you should be able to imagine a variety of situations where EPC will be a fruitful metric to use.

From my experience, what clients truly appreciate is talking to someone who has a commercial mindset.

So, on that note, start thinking less like a data geek and more like an entrepreneur!

 

 

 

SEO is dead – LONG LIVE SEO!

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When I first entered the digital marketing arena almost a decade ago, SEO was the buzzword of the time.

It was a relatively simple concept to grasp and quite simple [yet labour intensive] tactic to deploy. Best of all, there was no need to invest in monthly digital advertising!

Businesses could create a website in a day and use what are known as ‘blackhat’ marketers to dominate the front page of Google’s search results to generate customers on autopilot.

The tactic these blackhat marketers used was rather simple – build as many links as you could back to the website you were trying to rank.

At the time Google’s algorithm treated these backlinks as votes and the more votes you had, the more credible you were and Google would reward you with higher rankings in its results.

I’ve known several people who have turned over millions of pounds and dollars simply playing the blackhat SEO game.

Several fraudsters selling magic potions and pills [you can imagine the sorts] had used Google’s platform to con hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people into buying unregulated crap.

Come 2011, when Google thought enough is enough, it’s time to de-list all of these low-quality websites, it introduced the Panda update.

Thousands of online businesses that had been cash cows for years, suffered a collapse in revenue, literally over-night.

The good ol’ days of gaming Google for a quick buck was over.

Google wanted to improve the user experience it was providing its search engine users, which meant that it had to fix its algorithm to display the most relevant results on its first page.

This was a time when Facebook, which was by now the largest social media website in the world, was looking into entering the search engine market.

Over the next few years, Google has tweaked its algorithm even further with the Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon updates.

The ‘Masters’ of SEO decried that SEO was dead! We had to either start investing in good quality content or venture into paid advertising.

Search engine spamming was surely dead, but could business owners on a tight budget, still use SEO to drive a steady stream of visitors to their websites?

The resounding answer is YES!

However, there is a caveat and that is the process is now a lot slower and SEO is a longer game.

Rarely will you find that you’ve published a new page on your website and it gets ranked into Google’s database over night.

Instead of counting how many backlinks your website has pointing to it, it is measuring the quality of the links.

It is better that you have 10 links from credible websites, than 1,000 links from one-page blogs.

So how can you win the SEO game? Simply invest your time in creating a better user experience for your target audience.

This means fixing up issues on your website, such as the loading time, navigation, page titles – the so-called ‘on page’ elements.

You also need to invest some time in creating quality content both on your website and off your website i.e. on other blogging platforms, videos, etc.

Here’s a couple of things that you should incorporate in your SEO strategy for 2017:

  • Identify websites where you can publish a guest blog
  • Create a content plan for producing more videos for
    publishing on YouTube
  • Get more social – create fan pages on all relevant sites        and link back to the mothership [your website]
  • Contribute to industry/market specific podcasts
  • Put out press releases for any major announcements

All of these tactics will help you to gain good quality backlinks to your website.

The name of the SEO game is still building backlinks, but focus on the quality over the quantity.

On that note – SEO is dead! Long Live SEO!

 

Medium Cross Post – The Only Way Is Digital

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Originally posted on Medium by Abul Hussain:

Having worked with various sized businesses over the last eight years, the greatest opportunity for growth has always been presented on the digital front.

Whilst many baby boomer business owners are struggling to understand the new digital economy, those who are saavy enough to embrace it have been able to thrive.

The dot com bust of the early 2000s may have shaken the belief of some that selling goods and services online was just a temporary fad. However, the evolution of the global digital marketplace should be enough to counter the phobia of the digi-skeptics.

Through websites such as eBay, people are able to sell to the rest of the world, often from the comfort of their own homes.

If you offer a poor service, a negative review on Facebook can be seen by thousands of potential customers in a matter of minutes.

Do I have your attention?

Some of the most valuable companies in the world, such as Google, Amazon and Uber are all possible due to the growth of digital technology and media.

With the growth in digital marketing agencies and the push by the government to create the UK’s own Silicon Valley in the heart of London, small business owners can no longer ignore the elephant in the room:

The best way to grow a business is digital.

So what can businesses do to to surf the digital wave? Well as a first step they can get social.

Build out your social channels in line with who your target audience is. If you’re selling to C Level executives, you probably don’t want to be chasing them on Facebook. A better place would be LinkedIn.

Once you’ve identified your most relevant social channels, build out your social pages and start engaging with the people. Remember, at the top of the buying cycle is the initial conversation.

After getting comfortable with the realm of Social Media, you may wish to explore other paid digital media, such as Google and Bing.

Keep an eye out for future articles on how you can make digital marketing work for you.

Abul Hussain: Responding to allegations of Anti-Semitism

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In September 2010, an allegation was made against me that I had posted anti-Semitic comments on the social networking website, Facebook.

At the time of this incident, I was a member of Respect’s National Council and was the General Secretary of the Tower Hamlets branch.

As a result of this allegation, which was initially made by a blogger, I was expelled from the Respect Party.

The expulsion occurred after a phone call between the party’s top brass [Chair, Secretary and Treasurer], and was within hours of the blog piece being published.

Sadly, the charges were never put to me for comment, before this ad-hoc disciplinary committee decided to expel me.

Essentially, I was tried by the ‘media’ and executed by the party that I had loyally served for two years, without being asked to say anything in my defence.

After the party decided to expel me via a press release [that is how I found out!], a handful of mainstream media outlets decided to pick up on the story.

The chain of events was totally bizarre and incredulous.

Usually in such circumstances, a credible political party would suspend a member pending a full investigation.

Up until now, I have been advised not to publicly respond to any of these allegations.

However, the original allegations and their recent repetition four years on, have warranted a formal and public response from myself.

Firstly, the comments that have been attributed to myself, were not made by me.

I accept that the Facebook account used was mine and the childish comments that were posted around 3am, were the result of a phenomenon that is colloquially known as a frape.

A friend had gained access to my autosaved login credentials – through me using their device to check my Facebook some hours earlier – and decided to post some silly ‘statuses’ on Facebook.

Their motivation for such actions was simply boredom. Do bear in mind that I was 22 around that time and my friend was younger than me.

On one of the statuses, the word Jew was used multiple times to describe my supposed selfish and money-hungry behaviour.

Growing up in the Eastend of London, the word ‘Jew’ was and still is very loosely used by many working class communities in a derogatory manner.

I fully accept that the use of such words were and are crude and stupid.

However, the intent behind their use by my friend [pretending to be me] was not anti-Semitic, nor designed to incite any hatred or violence towards the Jewish community.

Naturally, I appealed against my expulsion from the Respect Party and was readmitted and reinstated to my roles, a few months later – I have the documents for anybody who wishes to review them.

Now, the real question is this… why was I targeted?

The answer to that is simple. I was active in local politics and had stood in the council elections in May 2010.

I was also one of the community organisers working to elect the independent mayoral candidate, Lutfur Rahman, who had falsely and viciously been smeared as a sympathiser of Islamic extremists.

By targeting and character assassinating myself, certain members of the right-wing press wanted to further tarnish the reputation of Mr Rahman.

There is a strong contingent in the mainstream media that does not like articulate British Muslims engaging in public life and is hellbent on destroying them.

I believe I have been a victim of such gutter journalism, which seeks to divide communities and incite anti-Muslim sentiment.

I have spent countless hours working on interfaith initiatives that aim to foster unity amongst different faith groups, including working with the Jewish community. I also have many friends who are ethnically Jewish.

Having been a victim of racism in my childhood, I abhor and condemn all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.

I hope this statement will finally lay to bed these allegations, which have significantly tarnished my reputation amongst my peers.