Working in digital is fast-paced, exciting and very fulfilling. But like all industries there are annoyances we deal with on a day-to-day basis that slow us down and downright frustrate us.
The below highlights a few examples I could think of and some advice on how to get past these issues and start getting results for your client/business.
Getting access to client technology platforms (eg. web analytics)
Despite access to data being essential when running a media campaign, many clients will claim they are not allowed to give an agency access to a web analytics platform or similar due to a policy a bureaucrat at HQ came up with years ago.
Thankfully this problem is becoming less and less of an issue – clients are becoming increasingly savvy and understand that they need to share data with their agencies. I generally only have problems with international and finance clients who are particularly paranoid about sharing data.
You also need to watch out for businesses using Adobe Omniture. Sometimes getting access to data (eg. Adobe Discover) is challenging due to licensing issues.
The benefit of an agency having direct access to analytics is far greater than any downside the client might invent. Agencies need to make it clear that being able to access data quickly is important for optimisation. It might be useful to remind a client that having simple “user access” to a web analytics account means no settings can be changed / damage can be done.
If the client can’t share logins due to licensing issues (particularly annoying with Adobe solutions) I propose using the same login as the client but ensure you aren’t using it at the same time. There’s no sense in paying twice to get another login.
The EU Cookie Law
When I first heard about the EU Cookie law I went a bit mad. It sounded like a total waste of everybody’s time. Not only would it involve our clients investing more money in building mechanisms to inform visitors about cookies, but also it would require legal teams to look over the law and provide bespoke advice for different markets (and nobody likes getting legal teams involved!). A poor implementation could also ruin a client’s data quality and conversion rate.
From what I can tell, people still don’t care about the Cookie Law. You only have to browse the web for a few minutes to discover many large companies that have not implemented any form of cookie information mechanism. We’ve also looked into data from a client that has implemented a cookie mechanism that showed that only 0.03% of people decided to opt out. I’m willing to bet most of those opt outs were just our team testing if it works…
[Full disclaimer – I can’t provide legal advice so this is just my opinion]
By all means provide transparent information about which cookies you use on your website, but do not make a big fuss of it on the homepage. I’d try and be as subtle as possible with the messaging as most people will ignore it anyway.
Definitely go for an “implied opt in” approach. This means that cookies will be dropped without the user having to press an opt in button and your data doesn’t become invalid.
Google’s Monopoly makes measuring SEO performance difficult
Google can do whatever they want and we have to like it – that’s the downside of their huge monopoly on the search market. I used to work in our SEO team and am glad I don’t anymore as recent changes to Google have made it difficult to measure success and make accurate forecasts as to what ROI can be delivered.
I’m talking about “Not Provided” keywords appearing in web analytics reports. If you’re logged into a Google account when you run a search query on Google you will be using Google’s secure search (https://). What this will do is hide the search query used to arrive at a website so the client (or agency) is unable to know which keywords have been performing well.
We’ve already started to see the industry devolve to the stage where search engine ranking for “vanity keywords” is becoming the main KPI with many clients. It’s embarrassing; I thought we left this method behind last decade?
I have seen many solutions on other blogs on how to overcome the “not provided” challenge – but I think it’s sad – SEOs are fighting a losing fight. We’ve created models to understand what keywords “not provided” might actually be but it’s only a matter of time before there will be no data at all to work with.
Using Google Webmastertools to better understand visibility is an OK alternative. I personally think the tool is pretty basic but we have to work with what we have. This tool will show you average search engine ranking (accounting for personalised results) as well as click-through-rate on your top keywords.
A dashboard is generally not the solution
What I’ve realised over the past year is that 99% of clients that ask for dashboards, don’t actually need a dashboard. It frustrates me that we have to show off a dashboard solution in every pitch – because we know every other agency is doing the same thing and we can’t risk ignoring the question.
The sad truth is that a dashboard is not always going to help optimise a campaign and I feel as an industry we need to move away from this “dashboard is the solution” mentality.
Let’s go back to the drawing board.
A dashboard is something that sits behind the wheel of your car telling you how fast you are going and if you need more fuel. The dashboards our clients request today are essentially fully blown web analytics tools, not dashboards!
We will always need to provide dashboards to show off performance – it helps us win business. I do think we need to start promoting a model where clients buy into people as well as dashboards.
A client will get far more insight from a person performing analysis on their data, than a mega dashboard that ends up being used by nobody in their business.
We have a team of web analysts that work across our client accounts and it seems to work well. Client’s are benefiting from rich insight and actually have somebody telling them what action to take with their data.
By Carl Fernandes, head of analytics and conversion, iProspect