Email Volume Grows, Open Rates Decline

A new report from Yesmail reveals that the volume of email sent and received is growing but open rates are declining. Don’t worry, there’s a good reason.

The number of emails arriving in subscribers’ inboxes, according to Yesmail’s study, increased by 9 percent between 2Q13 and 2Q14, while the overall email open rate declined 3% during the same period, most likely because of the added volume of messages. The good news, however is that the number of opens for each active subscriber increased 6 percent year-over-year. Essentially, even though recipients are getting more email, the more engaged members of an audience are opening more emails than ever before.

Additional highlights from the recent Yesmail report include:

- Email opens on mobile devices accounted for 64.5% of opens in 2Q14, compared with just 35.5% on desktops.
- Mobile devices accounted for just 35% of all email clicks—a 9% increase YOY but still much less than the overall share of opens.
- The average mobile click-to-open rate increased YOY (reaching 9.3% in 2Q14) but still lags the desktop average click-to-open rate of 22.6%.
- Mobile transactions accounted for 22% of all purchases driven by email in 2Q14, a 40% YOY increase.
- Although the the number of mobile orders jumped year-over-year, the revenue associated with these purchases only increased by 10%.
- Triggered messages—such as abandoned shopping cart and welcome emails—had a 2.5x higher average open rate in 2Q14 compared with general campaigns (38.9% vs. 15.1%). Triggered messages also had a 2x higher average unique click rate compared with general campaigns (3.4% vs. 1.7%).

 

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Google Analytics Can’t Do It Without You

:: By Eric Fettman, E-Nor ::


Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, but users need to fill a number of out-of-the-box gaps to fully understand source attribution, user actions and conversions.

Many users new to Google Analytics take a very basic approach to implementation and reporting: install the tracking code, and then begin accessing the default reports. These steps do provide a general idea of website performance, but the more specialized tactics outlined below help to build a much stronger foundation for insight and improvement.

Track Non-Pageview Actions

By default, Google Analytics collects website data only when a page loads and the tracking code executes. This doesn’t account for a range of important user interactions, such as offsite links, PDF downloads, mailto: and tel: links, video plays/pauses/completions, entries into individual form fields, and any sort of animation, multistep process, or single-page application that does not cause an actual page load.

By taking advantage of JavaScript handlers such as onclick and onscroll, implementers can push events and virtual pageviews into Google Analytics to capture the full spectrum of visitor activity. The YouTube Player API, jQuery functions, and rule-based tagging in Google Tag Manager can also generate event and virtual pageview data.

(Many important user actions, including PDF downloads, video plays, and outbound clicks, are not tracked in Google Analytics by default.)

Configure Goals and Funnels to Calculate Conversion/Abandonment Rate and Page Value

A Web analytics tool can’t guess your business objectives. It’s up to Google Analytics users to configure specific goals that align with their organizational KPIs.

Once a goal is created, Google Analytics begins to calculate the vitally important Conversion Rate metric. While some metrics can be ambiguous  ̶  increased time on site or pages per session for an e-commerce site could indicate either engagement or confusion   ̶   a conversion unequivocally signals a successful visit. 

A goal can be configured with a funnel, which prompts Google Analytics to calculate the Abandonment Rate metric and render the highly useful Funnel Visualization report.

If populated during goal setup, the Goal Value field allows Google Analytics to report the extremely helpful yet woefully neglected Page Value metric, which indicates the pages viewed most often prior to conversion. Even for goals without direct monetary value, such as signup for a newsletter or an unpaid account, Page Value can greatly help to identify the pages that are contributing to conversions.

(Configuring a funnel as part of goal setup allows Google Analytics to calculate Abandonment Rate and populate the Funnel Visualization report.)

Consolidate URL Variations for Clearer Pageview Metrics

On many websites, visitors can access the homepage by URL variations such as www.mysite.com and http://bit.ly/1vBUuF6, which by default fragments Google Analytics pageviews between two different Page values : / and /index.php. To consolidate all pageviews of / into /index.php, specify index.php as the Default Page in View Settings.

A potentially bigger problem is URL query parameters such as session_id that do not significantly differentiate page content and should thus not be recorded for analytics purposes. These types of query parameters can result in thousands of URL permutations   ̶   far too many for reasonable analysis.

To simplify and consolidate URLs, list session_id and any similar query parameters in Exclude URL Query Parameters, also in View Settings. As a prior step, visit the Crawl → URL Parameters report within Google Webmaster Tools to determine which query parameters to strip out of Google Analytics data.

As a note, best practice dictates the creation of at least two additional views per Google Analytics property: one to test new settings and filters, and one that remains completely raw and unfiltered as a backup.

(This Pages report contains nearly 29,000 URLs. The Exclude URL Query Parameters setting can consolidate URL variations into a manageable number.)

Add Campaign Parameters for Clean Attribution of Inbound Links

For several types of traffic channels, Google Analytics needs assistance in the form of URL campaign parameters to avoid ambiguous attribution. The biggest culprits are perhaps email links that visitors have clicked in clients such as Outlook and Mac Mail, which Google Analytics records with direct instead of email as medium because the clicks cause the visitor’s browser to open.  For the same reason, inbound links from a PDF or a mobile app are also recorded by default as direct traffic, as are QR code redirects.

Clickthroughs from traditional and retargeting banners, affiliate sites and press releases are recorded as referrals, but it can be more useful to know that these visits originated from specific marketing campaigns rather than the multitude of websites on which the clicks occurred. Without campaign parameters (or Autotagging in the case of AdWords), pay-per-click visits are counted as organic, and some social clickthroughs may count as referral or direct. 

(Campaign parameters added to inbound links help to clarify source attribution for several types of traffic.)

Create Advanced Segments to Identify Audiences by Characteristics and Behavior

Important data points that hide in an unsegmented visitor pool can rise to the surface in reports that are segmented. Google Analytics provides a number of useful predefined Advanced Segments, such as Converters and Non-bounce Sessions, and users can define custom segments for even greater focus. 

For a real estate website that serves both buyers and sellers, a Google Analytics user can create two Advanced Segments for visitors who are directed to either the buyer or seller welcome page after login. Once broken down to reflect visitor types, analytics data becomes vastly more actionable.

What about that $5k invested in a website video? Configure play and complete events for the video, create separate Advanced Segments for visitors who did and did not interact with the video, and apply the segments to goal reports. If the video segment shows a higher conversion rate than the non-video segment, the investment is probably paying off.

(Custom segments demonstrate that visitors who viewed a video converted at 4.18 percent rate, vs. a 3.17 percent rate for visitors who did not view a video  ̶   a 32 percent difference.)

Understand and Act

By filling the gaps in default implementation and reporting, Google Analytics users can better understand what is and is not working on their websites and take confident action for improving marketing ROI, visitor satisfaction, and overall value.


Eric Fettman is Analytics Trainer and Coach at E-Nor, blogger at gatipoftheday.com, and developer of googleanalyticstest.com, where participants have completed more than 94,000 tests.


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Slideshare Goes Free; Content Marketers Rejoice!

Presentation-sharing platform SlideShare is making many of its professional-level features available for free. 

Starting August 20th, the popular Linkedin-owned platform began making the change for all Slidershare users to have access to premium features including analytics, profile customization and additional upload options (like video). Slideshare will be releasing one new feature every month starting in September 2014. 

Slideshare, acquired by LinkedIn in 2010 for $119 million, will be removing its paid tiers completely – once priced at $19/month and $49/month.

The analytics feature is what will likely be most appealing to Web workers and digital marketers. The former Slideshare Pro feature shows who has viewed a presentation (along with location information), how the content was discovered (search, social, direct) and other engagement metrics. 


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Is Your Responsive Design Working? Google Analytics Will Tell You

Responsive web design has become the dominant method of developing and designing websites. It makes it easier to think “mobile first” and to create a website that is viewable on mobile devices.

In the early days of responsive web design, creating breakpoints in CSS for particular screen sizes was common, like 320 pixels for iPhone and 768 pixels for iPad, and then we tested and monitored those devices. As responsive design has evolved, we now more often start with the content and then set breakpoints when the content “breaks.” This means that you might end up with quite a few content-centric breakpoints and no particular devices or form factors on which to test your website.

However, we are just guessing that our designs will perform well with different device classes and form factors and across different interaction models. We need to continually monitor a design’s performance with real traffic.

Content-centric breakpoints are definitely the way to go, but they also mean that monitoring your website to identify when it breaks is more important. This information, when easily accessible, provides hints on what types of devices and form factors to test further.

Google Analytics has some great multi-device features1 built in; however, with responsive design, we are really designing for form factors, not for devices. In this article, we’ll demonstrate how WURFL.js2 and Google Analytics can work together to show performance metrics across form factors. No more guessing.

Why Form Factor?

Speeding up and optimizing the user experience for a particular device or family of devices is always easier. In reality, though, creating a device-specific experience3 for all types of devices is not feasible, given that the diversity of web-enabled devices will just continue to grow. However, every device has a particular form factor. Luke Wroblewski4, author of Mobile First5, outlines three categories to identify device experiences6:

  • usage or posture,
  • input method,
  • output or screen.

Because devices vary between these categories, we get different form factors. Hence, treating form factor as the primary dimension through which to monitor a responsive website makes sense. This will indicate which type of device to test for usability.

The examples in this article all use WURFL.js, including the form factors provided by it, which are:

  • desktop,
  • app,
  • tablet,
  • smartphone,
  • feature phone,
  • smart TV,
  • robot,
  • other non-mobile,
  • other mobile.

Feeding Data To Google Analytics

The first step is to put WURFL.js on the pages that you want to track. Simply paste this line of code into your markup:

<script type="text/javascript" src="//wurfl.io/wurfl.js"></script>

This will create a global WURFL object that you can access through JavaScript:

console.log(WURFL.form_factor);

Now that the script tag is in place, the only other thing to do is add the highlighted lines of code to Google Analytics’ tracking code:

/* Google Analytics' standard tracking code */
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-99999999-1']);
_gaq.push(['_setDomainName', example.com']);
_gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

/* Tell Google Analytics to log WURFL.js' data */
 _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',	1,’complete_device_name’,WURFL.complete_device_name,1]);
 _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',	2,'form_factor',WURFL.form_factor,1]);
 _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',	3,'is_mobile',WURFL.is_mobile,1]);

/* The rest of Analytics' standard tracking code */
(function() {
var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + 'http://.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
})();

Or, if you have updated to Google Analytics’ new “Universal Analytics7, you would add this:

/* Google Analytics' new universal tracking code */
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');
ga('create', 'UA-99999999-1, 'auto');

/* Define the custom dimensions */
ga('send', 'pageview', {
  'dimension1': WURFL.complete_device_name,
  'dimension2': WURFL.form_factor,
  'dimension3': WURFL.is_mobile
});

Further, if you are using GA Universal Analytics, you must remember to define the custom dimensions. You do that by clicking AdminCustom DefinitionsCustom Dimensions.

GAcustomdim-preview-opt8
For Universal Analytics you need to define the custom dimensions in the Admin section. (Large preview9)

Analyzing The Data In Google Analytics

Now that the data is in Google Analytics, we need to make it available for inspection. We can use custom variables in Analytics in a number of ways, the most obvious being to look in the menu on the left and click AudienceCustomCustom Variables:

Custom Variables Report10
“Custom Variables” report. (Large version11)

If you are are using Universal Analytics, you’ll have the custom dimensions available as any other dimension in all reports in GA:

GAUIcustomdim-preview-opt12
Accessing custom dimensions. (Large preview13)

Already, we’re getting a pretty good picture of how form factors behave differently. The best metrics to focus on will obviously depend on your website, but in general, pay attention to bounce rate and pages per visit.

Big Picture With Dashboard Widgets

With dashboards14 in Google Analytics, we get a high-level overview of the most important metrics. This is a good place to monitor how your website performs across form factors. Once again, bounce rate and page impressions per visit are good metrics to start with. The purpose of the dashboard widgets is to alert you and to visualize how your website’s performance changes for certain form factors.

Let’s create a few widgets to display the status of different form factors. First, create a pie-chart widget that shows how much your website is being used by different form factors.

Widget displaying form factors15
Widget displaying form factors. (Large version16)

In the Dashboard, click Add Widget, select Pie, then the Sessions metric, and group it by the form factor custom variable. Note that the label in the green drop-down list is Custom Variables, not the actual name. In our example, the form factor variable is in the second slot, but make sure to choose the right slot if you’ve implemented it in a different order. Again, if you have converted to Universal analytics, the procedure is similar, but in stead of selecting custom variables, you simply add the name of your custom dimension as you would with any other dimension.

Next, create a few widgets to display visits and bounce rates17 per form factor. The widgets will indicate whether changes to the website have had a positive or negative impact. Obviously, you want higher visits and a lower bounce rate.

Creating a “form factor” widget18
Creating a “form factor” widget. (Larger version19)

Create this widget by adding a filter to the standard metrics. Choose a timeline diagram and filter the data with your custom variable where you have stored the form factor. Create one widget for each of the form factors that you want to monitor:

“Form factor” widgets in the dashboard20
“Form factor” widgets in the dashboard. (Large version21)

You might find that some form factors disappear in the statistics for global bounce rates because the data set is now bigger (as in the example above). As indicated by the red arrows, something dramatic has happened with smartphones and feature phones. Specifically, some changes were made to the landing page to increase traffic from tablets, and the changes clearly had a negative impact on traffic from smartphones and feature phones. Identifying the reason for the drop in traffic requires more fine-grained Analytics reports, and the drop might not have been easy to spot without having monitored form factors.

Form Factor Segments

Any custom variable that you put into Google Analytics is, of course, available in most reports as filters or dimensions, so tweaking them to your needs is quite easy. Another way to keep form factors at the top of mind is to put them in segments22 by creating conditions. Here is one segment per form factor that you’ll want to track:

Configure a segment23
Configure a segment. If you’re using Universal Analytics, you must use your custom dimensions rather than the custom variables. (Large version24)

The same, but in Universal Analytics:

GAcustomin2-preview-opt25
(Large preview26)

Google Analytics will show these segments in most of its standard reports as separate dimensions in charts and tables:

Segments chart27
Segments chart. (Large version28)

You can make “form factor” a dimension in most reports. As mentioned, bounce rate and general engagement are key metrics to follow, but goals and conversion rate are obviously interesting, too. You might find the need to create new goals or at least review your funnel for certain form factors.

After monitoring form factors for a while, you might conclude that you need to offer different user experiences for one or more form factors. Furthermore, you might need to tweak goals, funnels and advertising campaigns to account for differences in usage per form factor or device type.

We have used Google Analytics here, but WURFL.js is, of course, compatible with other analytics tools, as long as custom variables like the ones above are allowed.

Conclusion

In this article, we have looked at how performance per form factor is a key metric for monitoring a website and how WURFL.js and Google Analytics help to visualize this data. Once you put WURFL.js’ data into Analytics, it will be available in most standard reports as filters or dimensions, so tweaking the reports to your needs is quite straightforward. And the dashboard widgets will give you a high-level overview of their status. Also, bounce rate and page impressions per visit are key metrics, at least to start; so, defining form factors as segments will give you nice visualizations in most standard reports.

As a next step, look into conversions and goals in Google Analytics to see how to integrate and monitor form factors, which will vary according to the website’s function and purpose. To give you a head start, we have made a template that you can install29 in your Google Analytics dashboard (This template uses custom variables, not custom dimensions). Just follow the instructions to assign an Analytics property, which will then appear under DashboardsPrivate.

(al, ml, il)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://bit.ly/1uiBI1E
  2. 2 http://wurfl.io
  3. 3 http://bit.ly/1uiBI1H
  4. 4 http://bit.ly/1uiBJTl
  5. 5 http://bit.ly/1uiBI1M
  6. 6 http://bit.ly/1uiBI1H
  7. 7 http://bit.ly/1q0IOc1
  8. 8 http://bit.ly/1q0IOc2
  9. 9 http://bit.ly/1q0IOc2
  10. 10 http://bit.ly/1uiBIia
  11. 11 http://bit.ly/1uiBIia
  12. 12 http://bit.ly/1uiBJTv
  13. 13 http://bit.ly/1uiBJTv
  14. 14 http://bit.ly/1q0IOsn
  15. 15 http://bit.ly/1uiBIii
  16. 16 http://bit.ly/1uiBIii
  17. 17 http://bit.ly/1uiBK9V
  18. 18 http://bit.ly/1uiBIil
  19. 19 http://bit.ly/1uiBIil
  20. 20 http://bit.ly/1q0IMka
  21. 21 http://bit.ly/1q0IMka
  22. 22 http://bit.ly/1q0IMkf
  23. 23 http://bit.ly/1q0IMkg
  24. 24 http://bit.ly/1q0IMkg
  25. 25 http://bit.ly/1uiBKqh
  26. 26 http://bit.ly/1uiBKqh
  27. 27 http://bit.ly/1q0IMkn
  28. 28 http://bit.ly/1q0IMkn
  29. 29 http://bit.ly/1q0IOJ2

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7 Reasons Why Most Mobile Apps Gets Uninstalled

:: By Ketan Parmar, Yudiz Solutions ::


A whopping 26 percent of apps are only used for one time and then they are uninstalled by the user. This statistics is an indication why so many apps fail to make a mark or to put it otherwise, why a handful of apps enjoy such popularity and growth. There are many factors why users download an app. Great concept, unique feature set, smart look and feel and smooth user interface are among these reasons.

Once downloaded, however, a majority of these apps just lose their users’ favor. Mainly because they just cannot deliver on the expectations created when users decide to download them. Doing great marketing on all fronts and offering a gamut of features are perfectly OK as long as you can deliver up to the expectations of users. Here we would introduce seven common reasons that make most mobile apps get uninstalled.  

1. Forcing users to social login

Initially, a login procedure with a social account tie-in was largely viewed as the simple alternative to get past the complication of going through a registration process. Recently, however, social logins are increasingly used by apps for getting access to personal information. App makers are aware of the advantage of getting personal information while users log in with social account. But this proves to be threatening for the users as far as data security is concerned. Secondly some apps that keep themselves available as ‘free’ on the app store force users to share ‘Likes’ on social pages. Facebook, however, has recently limited this practice. But all these combined make a depreciating user experience that helps a user make up his or her mind to uninstall the app. 

2. Threatening privacy 

You can continue wondering, why some simple utility or gaming apps like to access data in your handset phonebook or other crucial personal information. That is a breach of trust and a sheer act of interference on the part of the app developer. As a user you have no other option but to quickly uninstall the app to stay clear of such snipping threats to your privacy and your private data. A mailing app will ask you to import contacts from other mail accounts and that is quite understandable. But when a music app asks you to do so, you not only have doubt but decide to quit the app altogether. 

3. Ads that force people to watch 

Forcing users to watch ad videos is already punished by the search engines and the time is ripe for some apps who indulge in this depreciating practice to stop. Even though these apps are offered mostly free (to sustain with the ‘free’ model they make such rigorous ads), most users just do not prefer to stand such nuisance and naturally it results in a straight uninstall. Sometimes they are just kicked out even without just going to the app homepage.  

4. Bad UI and UX

Ultimately an app is sold and acclaimed on the merit of its concept, user interface and user experience. These three make up the gold standard for any successful app. Naturally, any app depreciating on its reviews because of bad UX or a bad UI will find its fate among the ones that are uninstalled following a single use. Often it has been seen that simple apps with clear navigation buttons enjoy better user appreciation and popularity than apps that in spite of a so-called smart look and feel cannot prove to be useful. Prominence in font, color and icons and readability makes the bare minimum standard for a good app design. Lacking these simple aspects many apps just lose user favor as soon as they are downloaded. 

5. App does not work or load properly

There are thousands of apps that instead of being truly optimized on every front, just fail to load quickly or take too much time to navigate between pages. There are apps that crash too frequently and end up sending error messages. To make this depreciating experience even more frustrating there are apps that need to restart every now and then just to keep using it. All these are just enough to make a user decide to uninstall it. Another important negative aspect that remains relatively less known is that some apps make more use of device memory and consequently slow down a device quickly. Simple apps with minimum feature set even can garner a moderate success and popularity if they just load and navigate quickly and seamlessly. Without optimizing the app technically for a quick loading time you do not stand much chance.  

6. Complicated registration process

A recent statistic revealed that a whopping 68 percent of users press the delete button just because of a cumbersome and complicated registration procedure that takes too much time to complete. Understandably a majority of these uninstalling actions are instant, just within seconds of downloading the app. There is nothing so grave and disastrous to pose threats to your app’s reputation than being uninstalled for complicated registration. Nobody would like to download an app that makes them waste so much of time just to enter their information. Mostly, poorly designed apps offer such hurdles to the users. 

7. Annoying users with too-many notifications

The majority of users do not like to check those tiny notification boxes and when there are too many to distract them, users may decide to uninstall the app. If your notification is kept at minimum level and rendered only when it is absolutely necessary for the user, it does not cause a stir. In-app purchase notifications are known for their selling potential, especially if your app is run in a ‘freemium’ mode (‘free’ and ‘premium’) or other app from the same developer. But these notifications should be used once or twice in the entire time a user keeps using your app. Too many notifications prompt users leave the app. 

In short, to keep users loyal to your app, you have no alternative but tp perform up to their expectations and that includes eliminating these seven reasons that most mobile apps get uninstalled. 


Ketan Parmar is a technical content writer and is working for a reputable iPhone Application Development Company – Yudiz Solutions. He gives the best suggestions for those who are seeking forward a skilled iOS App Developer and finding ways to create awesome reusable components for mobile environment. 

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