Let’s face it, the digital world can be a scary place. With acronyms AOTP (all over the place) and new terms emerging all the time, it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. Here’s a cheat sheet of the top digital strategy terms you should know.
This is like doing a science experiment with your digital presence – you test two variations of something to see which one people like best. For a website, this might mean using a testing tool like Optimizely to create different variations of a page and seeing which performs better. In advertising, this might mean creating two different ads and seeing which one gets the most clicks or leads to the most conversions. If you’re A/B testing, you’re using data instead of intuition to tell you what works best.
The Agile Method got its roots in software development, but has caught on in a number of fields. Essentially, agile methodology is a flexible and fluid way to approach a project, emphasizing collaboration and accountability. Instead of listing out every part of a project at the beginning, you leave room for organic changes while keeping the team motivated by internal deadlines. Here are our thoughts on how you can apply this approach to any project.
Think of your car. The dashboard is your at-a-glance look into how things are going– your way of sampling all of the data to check whether things are running smoothly. In the digital world, dashboards serve the same purpose. Your Google Analytics dashboard, for instance, can quickly tell you which pages are doing the best or which referral sources have spiked. Dashboards are a great way to digest complicated data and make it understandable for all team members. But beware Yet Another Dashboard syndrome — too many dashboards and important data gets lost in the shuffle. Check out All Good Text, our free dashboard texting tool.
A culture that looks at the data and then acts on the results even when convention or tradition may disagree. It is using an analytic process to leverage relevant Big Data insights to transform the way business is done internally and externally. The culture depends on staff at all levels to measure outcomes, act based on available data, and build on existing knowledge over time. It’s also our favorite thing in the whole world.
Killers of Data Culture. Bad stuff happens when people can’t access data. Data silos pop up when a person or group is overprotective of the data, or when the organizational culture doesn’t encourage the use of data. Side effects may include: poorly made decisions, discrepancies over outcomes, unnecessary or harmful power hierarchies, and overall lost-ness. Learn how to eradicate this data fiefdom.
So you’ve mastered the basics of Google Analytics — but there are some things that Google just doesn’t track for you by default, and you want more info. You may be interested in learning how many people are downloading your fact sheets each month, for instance. Google doesn’t know that’s important to you until you tell it. You’ll have to set up event tracking, which is just a little snippet that will tell Google Analytics whenever the important event happens. It’s like the way my mom texts me every time a Bonnie Raitt song comes on the radio. And I didn’t even have to set that up.
Facebook’s native analytics platform, giving you data about your Facebook followers and how they engage with your page. There are some fancy-schmancy visualizations and some neat ways to drill down the data in order to learn about your audience and what they like. Facebook Insights can help you figure out what content to post, when to post, how to grow your fan base, and how to convert fans into supporters or donors. More tips on how to use Facebook Insights despite Facebook’s ever-changing interface.
Remember when Apple released iOS 7 and everyone freaked out? The images look a lot flatter and simpler (i.e. outlines of shapes instead of filled-in shapes). This is the new trend in web design, and it’s a response to the shrinking real estate that is available on mobile devices. Get ready to see fewer 3-D buttons and holographic images.
This is Google’s digital advertising platform, and its main moneymaker. You know those yellow “Ad” labels that show up next to some of your Google search results? Companies pay Google to show those to you when you search on certain related phrases. Google will show your ad higher if you offer to pay them more, but they also rank ads higher if they seem relevant and helpful to users. You only pay when people click your ad, so it makes sense that Google gives preference to ads that are relevant and clickable. Nonprofits can get the Google Grant to run Google Ads for free.
A free tool by Google that allows you to see tons of information about how people are using your website. You can see how people get to your site (traffic sources), their age and gender (demographics), which pages they spend time on, and whether they are completing actions you think are important (goal tracking). Here’s why you need it, here’s a beginner tutorial, and here’s a slew of more advanced stuff to check out.
The Google Grant for Nonprofits is an in-kind grant that nonprofits can use for digital advertising on Google (through the Google Ads platform). There are some exceptions, but almost every 501(c)3 is eligible to apply. This means $10,000/month in free advertising! Google Ads can be a great source of traffic to targeted landing pages on your site. No downside! Lots more info here and a full course on applying + maxing the grant here.
Google Tag Manager
One of Google’s newest tools that allows non-developers to edit the website to have more control over what is being tracked in Google Analytics.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily your home page! A landing page is the first page that a visitor sees when they land on your site, no matter how they got there. For someone who comes from Facebook, this might be a blog post someone shared or a news article. Avoid Front Door Disease and build specific landing pages for targeted audiences, such as groups of people you’re advertising to. An optimized landing page will have a clear call to action – you want to mobilize people to do something when they get to your site!
There is a 25% chance that you’re reading this on a mobile device right now – so you definitely understand the importance of responsive design! This just means designing websites with mobile in mind, and making sure they adapt to whatever device they’re shown on. You might have the navigation collapse into what we lovingly call a “hamburger menu,” for instance, if the screen size is below a certain threshold. This trend is not going away, so you should hop on the responsive bandwagon if you haven’t already.
Search Engine Optimization – ah, one of the most overused and least understood terms of our day. It means making your website as visible and likeable as possible by search engines, so that you’ll rank higher when people perform searches for relevant terms. For instance, if you’re an animal shelter, you’ll want to show up toward the top when people Google “adopt a cute puppy.” SEO strategy will involve giving your site a clear URL structure, making your website responsive, using tools to research the best keywords to be targeting, and using those keywords in relevant headers and body content. More tips here.
Twitter’s native analytics platform that gives you data on your Twitter account. Use Twitter Analytics to figure out when your followers are most active, what content they engage with the most, how your follower base is growing, and what their interests are. If you’re really savvy, you can use Twitter cards to get even more data on the performance of specific links throughout the Twitterverse. Some beginner info and more on Twitter Cards here.
Google’s latest iteration of Google Analytics, designed to give you even more data about your web visitors. It’s still not perfect, but they’ve tackled some issues with the old platform. Google has been rolling this product out over the past year, so make sure to upgrade your Google Analytics setup in order to access all the new features.
When you’re doing a site relaunch, or just making some major changes to your site, it’s important to see what real users think before launching it to the world. Usability testing involves watching a real person use your site and taking note of their behavior. You’ll probably find new issues that you didn’t notice before, or you’ll see that certain features are more user-friendly than you thought. Listen to our buddy Steve Krug and don’t make your users think! And don’t skimp on the usability testing.
This is a fancy way of saying “making a webpage the best it can be.” In addition to A/B testing and SEO, this may involve using proven tactics to improve conversion rates or engagement on the page. For instance, did you know that subtle arrows toward a signup box can increase the number of signups? Check out other tools for optimization here.
Have more terms to add? Any comments on the above? Tweet at us (@WholeWhale) – we love spreading the word about digital strategy.
Need some help with any or all of the above at your organization? That’s what we do. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can collaborate.