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The Largest Canadian Google Analytics Study ever done-website strategy

The Largest Google Analytics Study We’ve Ever Done

This blog was originally published on Cupcakes & Websites website here: The Largest Canadian Google Analytics Study Ever Done

For this study we wanted to compare data from 2015 to 2016. Over those, only 57 qualified (had enough traffic over a two year period) to make the cut. If the website wasn’t setup until after 2015 we didn’t include the data as it is incomplete. Next years study (or later this year, we’ll see) will be even bigger!

What did we find?

Average number of visits to a website:

2016 – 14,267

2015 – 15,700

A decrease of 10%

A decrease in average traffic would indicate you can’t have the “build it and it will come” attitude. You have to be doing something on your website that gets people to come back again and again. No you don’t need SEO (search engine optimization) if you’re creating amazing content for your intended audience.

Monitor you traffic. One past almost client (they never said yes) asked if they could talk to us about their “new” website and why they lost 80% of their traffic. Get a monthly report from your website provider at the very least just to ensure someone is reading what you publish!

Average number of visits from search (traffic from Google):

2016 – 7,513

2015 – 6,150

An increase of 18%

Ever since we’ve been measuring websites in Google Analytics it’s always been an anomaly about how much traffic comes from search. And not just our website, EVERYONE’S, yes yours too! You just need to understand better what Google is looking for. Search in powerful, if someone if looking for what you sell, the odds are they will search for it eventually. Make sure when your potential customers search for what you provide, you come up!

Everyone needs a Google Strategy.

The average growth (loss) of traffic:

Total traffic – (10%)

Organic traffic – 18%

Facebook traffic – (.08%)

Traffic fluctuates. Google gives you some tools on seeing what the average search volume is for specific terms over the twelve months of the year to see when search peak.

The Dark Side of Social Media A Modern Day Addiction

The Dark Side of Social Media; A Modern Day Addiction

Stop listening to your fans. “Your enemies know information your friends won’t tell you.”

I’ve heard a lot of this lately… “I’m at 15,000 followers, why would I do anything different?!”, “I just got 500 likes on one post, amazing!”, or a personal favourite; “We’re doing a give away at 20,000 followers, like, share, comment, slay your first born to be entered!”. Maybe we’re over thinking it, and that’s not a good thing. “Fans” on social media networks aren’t necessarily real relationships. Sure some are, but most are superficial social passings by, meaningless in the

When validation has gone too far

I heard a story of high school students posting on Instagram and if they don’t receive over a certain amount of likes within the first 15 minutes they delete it and try again later.

Wow.

Could you imagine testing your creative in real time, then when not performing you pull it immediately? Are these students getting feedback and acting upon in hyper-speed without even knowing it?

I instantly said, “We should be doing that with clients!”

Or should we?

The more connected you are the less connected you actually are Read more

Saskatchewan in Keywords – May 2017

May 2017 will go down in history as the month of the fidget spinner.

For any of who don’t know, Google Trends is a wicked cool tool that allows you to view real time Google search query data by location visualized. You can view the top search keywords in a given industry or generally across the the country or province over the past day, week, quarter, month, or year. Typically the top Google searches from month to month are more or less what you’d expect (some iteration of “Google”, “Facebook”, “YouTube”, “weather”, “news”, etc.), but what I find more interesting is the fastest rising keywords in a given month, or those which have experienced the highest increase in search volume. You can view these above by clicking the bottom right-hand arrow and selecting “Rising”. Here are the search terms which will now and forever define May 2017 in Saskatchewan.

 

Cinco De Mama

Topping the list by a wide margin are searches related to the tragic suicide of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell last week. Everyone’s favourite excuse to drink tequila at 11 in the morning Cinco De Mayo also topped this month’s search queries. Predictably, searches spiked dramatically for Mother’s Day as absent-minded sons and daughters (myself included) scrambled to remember what day it actually was, only to forget and look it up again a few days later. You’ll also notice a fairly significant increase in searches related to the latest craze in boredom-suppression: fidget spinners.

 

Despacito Means “Slowly” in Spanish

In addition to raw web search results, Google Trends also let’s you view to the fastest rising search terms on YouTube specifically. This month Miley Cyrus’s latest hit Malibu drew a great deal of attention and, correspondingly, a considerable amount of search traffic. A tearful performance at this week’s Billboard Music Awards didn’t hurt either. Topping the charts for increased search results on YouTube this month was…Wait a second…Fidget spinners again? What the heck is going on?

Okay, let’s try one more thing. Finally, Google Trends allows you to narrow keyword searches to those used in Google Images. There has to be something interesting there, right?

 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME FIDGET SPINNERS AGAIN. The only discernibly higher search phrase for images in Saskatchewan with an increase of 150% was fidget spinners. Wow.

May 2017 ladies and gents, the official month of fidget spinners in Saskatchewan.

 

PS: For reference, here’s what the trend line for fidget spinners looks like over the past year. Wild, right?

Life's too short not to have fun

The “P” Word In The StratLab Office // eps 57 #InTheLab

It’s about time we talked about the “P” word.

“Positivity”.

Stop being afraid of it and call out the pink Elephant in the room. Why is being positive looked down on? In a business setting if you come into the room excited, grinning ear to ear, people will ask if you’ve gone mad. I think we should encourage people to be happy, excited, down right ecstatic to be there. Why not, life’s too short not to have fun.

Why do we tolerate people in society that think life is about being “serious” and “professional”. Two adjectives this author doesn’t do very well with.

Bee happy

There’s a psychological side to being positive as well. Studies show that a positive mindset allows your brain to be more creative as well as increases white blood cell count helping strengthen your immune system. You can’t argue with science! Being happy keeps you healthy and makes you smarter.

In the @Stratlab office if someone is being negative, gossiping, talking ill of someone else, or just in general being a negative Nancy, we won’t tolerate it. We blow the horn of negativity.

Yes you read correct. Born out of Big Idea Camp as a way to keep everyone positive, the Horn of Negativity is an air horn that rarely got used. We started it as a joke and it’s lasted ever since. The team knows now not to be negative, no gossiping or else they’ll get an ear full.

Lastly, it’s easy to be negative. It’s easy to be a critic. It’s easy to sit at the sidelines and complain. It’s easy not to put in any effort and just expect change to happen. But that’s not how life works.

It’s much harder to try to change things. It’s much more difficult to help look for solutions, to not complain without being willing to be a part of the change.

Take the difficult path, be a positive change agent in society. Man we need now more than ever.

Why do they drink and drive?

What I Learned on a Research Project on Teen Drinking and Driving

During the spring and summer of 2014 I was commissioned to do a drinking and driving research project. Over the past few years, Saskatchewan can’t seem to reduce the number of drinking and driving incidents. In a country where almost everywhere the drinking and driving numbers are decreasing, here in Saskatchewan that’s just not the case.

We were going to tour the province and talk to teens about “why” they drink and drive.

The wrong way to approach a problem; ask the person with the problem “why they do it” and they are most certainly going to lie. Ask students about similar problems and how they approach them and now you may be getting somewhere!

Drinking and driving is a perplexing issue. One of those social issues that people’s attitudes and actions don’t match up. The think and do gap if you will. We all know it’s a bad idea to drink and drive but how many of those people still get behind the wheel and drive after having a few pints.

They'd love to show you a good time...

Methodology

We picked six different locations all over Saskatchewan. From a high school in Regina, to a day-time program in Prince Albert. We talked to an inner-city high school in Saskatoon, and a Narcotics Anonymous summer camp on a First Nations Reserve. We visited rural high schools and mid-sized city high schools all over Saskatchewan. We had a diverse student population and share information is one thing they loved to do.

We had a set of questions we’d ask once the students were comfortable with sharing their opinions. We knew we could just come right out and say, “hey, so really, why is it that students every now and then think it’s ok to drink and drive?” We had to be much smarter than that.

 

Some of the questions we’d ask would be:

Which do you watch more of, YouTube, Netflix, Cable?

Who do you look up to more, Celebrities, Athletes or Musicians? (Why?)

What do you use your phone for, top three things?

Which one do you like more?

Facebook or Twitter? Instagram or Vine? Snapchap or Instagram?

What’s the easiest way to communicate a message to a pre-determined audience?

What do you think of these ads? (drinking and driving ads)

What do you think of anti texting and driving ads?

How would you stop drinking and driving if you absolutely had to?

Stop the violence, don't drink and drive.

 

The Three Things we learned:

Get to them younger, you can’t tell kids anything, if you have to ‘tell’ kids, don’t, ‘show’ them instead.

 

1. Get to them younger

Highschool students (especially grade 12s) have already made up their minds. You may inform them about a potential fatal decision that they’re going to make but actually changing their behaviour? Not likely. By grade 12 you’ve made up your world view, you’re not a fan of authority in your life, and the last thing you want to do is listen to “what’s good for you”. As soon as we realize that at this stage in life (grade 12 in particular) is a relatively bad time to convince anyone of behavioural change. We need to get to them first, before the social norms of high school get them.

 

If you don’t believe me, try to remember what you were like in grade 12. Were you open to other people’s ideas? Did you listen to authority? Did you always do what was right for you? If you answered yes to any of those questions you’re either lying to yourself or you didn’t have much fun in highschool. We don’t need to convince the students who aren’t a problem, we need to convince the hardest to reach.

They'd love to show you a good time

2. You can’t ‘tell’ me anything

Well if you want me to listen. “Telling” people to do something or the perception of “telling” people never goes over well. This remains true throughout life, adults generally don’t like to be told what to do either.

Create behavioural change by educating early on and allowing kids to make their own decisions (even if they’re wrong), helps learn life lessons in a much more surreal and memorable way.

The problem with drinking and driving is you can’t let kids make even one mistake, because all it takes is once behind the wheel and it could be fatal. Making younger kids more aware of the situations they are going to face when they get older, and the difficult decisions they’re going to have to make will only help in preparing them. You’ll never eliminate it completely, but you can attach a stigma to it at a young age that deters kids from even trying it.

 

This is precisely what happened to smoking. Advertising and propaganda around smoking used to be “cool”. Many governments (including Canada) passed laws (http://www.smoke-free.ca/filtertips04/tobacco%20act%20provisions.htm limiting tobacco companies the amount of advertising they were allowed to do and where they were allowed to do it. Making a much better chance a kid doesn’t see James Dean on a billboard in downtown smoking a dart. Present day (Sept 2014) smoking is on the decline (obviously not for all populations of society, I’m making an over simplification). But there is an argument that once something isn’t deemed “cool” society has a lovely way of reducing the “uncool” behavior.

 

They younger they are when they realize that “drinking and driving is not cool” the odds that they do it when they are older go down.

 

Every grade 9 class should have to put a campaign together on how to stop drinking and driving. Putting the messaging up in the school, implementing the best ideas that come up, throughout the year the students in grade 9 become the Champions of reducing drinking and driving incidents. They grade 12s vote on the best campaign and a cash prize is awarded for the best project and the most influential school. (I’m completely offering my services if you want to get this off the ground, I think it could work great helping students educate students on drinking and driving).

3. Don’t tell kids, show kids…

When it comes down to major decisions that we make in life, whenever we’re on the fence, we’ll generally look to people similar to us and see what they did in the same situation before we make our decision. The psychological term is social proof. I first read about social proof in Robert Cialdini’s Influence The Psychology of Persuasion.

 

Social proof is gaining in popularity as our world gets more confusing, more going on, demanding more of your attention, you have to make better decisions faster. For years we’ve used social proof. Before we take a look at a new car we ask a neighbor about theirs and what they like about it. If we look up to that neighbor we’re even more likely to take their opinion as the truth.

 

Social proof is a powerful influencer. In a world where it’s very simple to see where people live, what they drive, who they interact with, what they wear and what they do for fun, we don’t need to look far to get ideas on what to buy. A simple stroll through Instagram will show me a lot of information on what you care about, what you spend your money on and where you spend your time. I don’t have the answer on how to use social proof to curb drinking and driving, I do however have a couple ideas.

 

You need the students that other students look up to to be the ones making it very uncool to drink and drive. I say I don’t have the answer because I think I’d rather ask the students what would work, and get ideas from them.

 

A project at the grade 12 level creating a campaign or project answering the question: “how do you reduce drinking and driving?” again offering up a cash prize for the winner. Make it a part of a class; make it a major part of the curriculum. If you get students creating amazing campaigns addressing the negatives of drinking and driving in a new creative or different or interactive way, in time they will convince themselves it’s a bad idea.

 

Think about it, the more research you do in a subject area the more the information you’re uncovering will affect you. This happens all the time. Why couldn’t it work for kids and drinking and driving?

 

Conclusion

Lets get to them younger, stop telling people to change their behaviour and start using social proof to influence people in a smarter, more effective manner. In the future, the status quo is going to be easy to seek out. Why change? In the future you’re going to come to this question more and more often. The smartest organizations know that change has to be a part of the plan. Try new things, try new ideas, as long as you’re sticking with the status quo, you’re never going to know what you’re missing. You’re never going to see the future of your product or service.

Business is change, and how we communicate with our younger generation is something we’re all going to need to get better at. Yes yes, try something new, who knows, you might just prove yourself wrong.

 

You can download the PDF here: Why do they drink and drive, a Strategy Lab Research Project

Gas station attendant vs fast food restaurant worker

Why McDonald’s is a better first job than working at a gas station

We had this argument the other night.

Which is better at a young age; working at a gas station or working at a fast food restaurant?

My theory goes, at a gas station your job is very transactional. You want to pump gas, pay, and get the hell out of there as fast as possible. Making the working life of a gas station attendant one very lonely job where no one really wants to talk to you (not that it’s your fault).

At a fast food restaurant, McDonald’s till worker for argument sake, you have to interact with customers all day long. You can make people smile, make people laugh and also piss people off. But that’s a great lesson to learn at a young age, how to read and react to people. 

It’s not just reading people and reacting to what they say and do, it’s being self-aware in those situations to know when to step out of what’s expected and do the unexpected. To provide a higher level of customer service is an incredibly valuable skill to learn. A skill that is highly underrated in our world.

It’s hard to over deliver at a gas station, unless you can pump the gas like 8 times as fast, then, ummm yup! You’re on to something big! How else could you over deliver at a gas station though?  This is my justification that working at a service based job at a young age teaches you so much more than simple mathematics, punching buttons on a till and saying thank you, come again (not that there’s anything wrong with a friendly salutation).

Every day someone provides unbelievable service to someone who wasn’t expecting it.

Everyday we all have the chance to over deliver on something, to make someone smile, to make someone’s day. The easier your job allows you to help other people, the happier you’re going to be working for that company.

What do you think? What is a better job, working at a gas station or working at McDonald’s? 

The Top 11 Home Construction Related Keywords in Regina

Have you ever sat and wondered why your website isn’t getting the traffic you think it deserves?

The key to good traffic stems from many core parts, one of them being:

Optimization!

You could have the most outstanding content in the world, with videos that look like they were directed by Michael Bay (minus the scantily clad women of course), and writing that would bring a tear to Shakespeare’s eye, but if your website is not optimized properly you may not be getting the traffic you deserve.

One key part of optimization is the use of keywords on your page, in your blog, or anywhere else relevant on your website.  We tried a little experiment in the lab here to see what the Top Home Construction Related Keywords in Regina are and this is what we came up with.

top-11-home-construction-keywords-in-regina-page

Now, if you are in the business of homes and you want your website to have more traffic, knowing which keywords perform best and optimizing for those keywords is your golden ticket!

Of course, optimizing is not the only thing that needs to be done to get more traffic to a website but it is definitely a step in the right direction.  If you think your website may be lacking and might need a little boost, we might be able to help!  Just fill out the contact form on the Contact page and we we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

the-people-who-are-crazy-enough-

My Top 5 Books of 2013

The One Thing

1. The One Thing – if you don’t need motivation, if you get lots done in a day, if you’re a great multi-tasker you’re going to hate this book. It won’t inspire you to do your best work yet.
I loved it. Read more

The Stanley Cup of Twitter: Bruins vs. Blackhawks

The series is knotted up at a game a piece after two exciting overtime games. Those placing bets might as well just follow their heart because it’s basically too close to call if you’re relying on logic and each team’s performance in games 1 and 2.

Can the same be said for the team Twitter accounts? If the cup were handed to the team with the best social media presence, who would be declared the victor?

Let’s find out.

First, we must establish what “best” means. We believe that a great Twitter account helps a person establish a personal connection with a business or entity. From the business’s (or team’s) standpoint, an account should align with the image and values they portray and become more passionate about their product in order to facilitate purchases. In the case of the NHL, purchases include things like tickets, merchandise, and television/streaming subscriptions. The goal of these accounts should be to recruit new fans and engage those who are already fans.

I always say that the best marketing is a great product or service and, in this case, both the Hawks and the Bruins have iced an amazing product as has been made evident by their respective playoff runs. They already have that advantage over the competition so for this head to head matchup, we must establish some criteria.

But first! (I’m sure the suspense is killing you) it should be noted that Chicago and Boston are very similar hockey markets. Before looking at the accounts, it could be assumed that each team has a similar following based on annual revenues in these Forbes NHL Teams Valuation Rankings.

Ranking NHL Team worth

As chosen by the TSN panel..err..Strategy Lab panel, each team’s account will be evaluated in a seven game format with each game being based on a different competency category:

Tweet Frequency – the team’s ability to find a quantity-of-tweets “sweet spot”.
Game 1: Following Quantity – number of followers.
Game 2: Quality of Content – the degree to which a team’s tweeted content is dynamic and compelling
Game 3: Personality – the account’s ability to establish a twitter identity that aligns with the team’s and garners interest.
Game 4: X-Factor/Standoutishness – the team’s deviation from tweeting norms that often make for a dry, uninteresting feed.
Game 5: Engagement and Response – the team’s ability to mobilize/respond to followers.
Game 6: Faux Pas Avoidance – avoidance of spelling mistakes, rookie mistakes, and twitter worst practices.
Game 7: Contributing Platforms – a look at the quality of each team’s most commonly used twitter-connected app (ie. Instagram).

Let’s take a look:

Game 1: Number of Followers

Blackhawks vs Bruins

Recap: Boston edges Chicago out by an almost negligible 20,000. These extra followers could be due to their more recent cup run having taken place when Twitter had increased in popularity since Chicago’s championship season in 2010. Another reason could be the 7,300 edge in total tweets.

Game 1 Winner:      (Boston Leads Series 1-0)

Game 2: Quality of Content: 

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.19.52 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.19.34 PM

Recap: Boston starts it off with a nice picture showing the pre-game festivities, evokes emotion with the Boston Strong theme, and makes fans following on Twitter feel like they’re really there. The Blackhawks counter with some lineup information and let everyone know that Ben Smith is in and Marian Hossa is out after an incident in warm-ups. The tweet lacks the degree of insider detail you’d expect from a team’s official account.

Game 2 Winner:     (Boston leads series 2-0)

Game 3: Personality

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.25.47 PM

 

Recap: Tweets with any sort of personality that come even close to touching that of the LA Kings twitter account are hard to come by with these two squads. If this were a real game, it’d be a bit of a snoozer. Luckily, the Hawks’s Twitter team just came through with an awesome tweet that shows the tweeter is a real person — capable of having emotions. In doing so, it made me feel like I’m in Ben Smith’s skates and don’t doubt I’m alone in feeling that.

Game 3 Winner:      (Boston leads series 2-1)

Game 4: X Factor/Standoutishness:

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.38.34 PM

Recap: In comparison to many great accounts that aren’t afraid to do something off-the-wall or out of the ordinary, these two play it pretty safe. The one standout thing that the Hawks do is retweet Hawks-related content from supporting organizations and subsidiaries like the Cubs picture tweet above. This, in my opinion, engages the community and helps prevent the team and the sport of hockey from becoming siloed. The Bruins have ample opportunity to do the same and more as the city recently became more tightly knit after the Boston Marathon tragedy but there is no evidence of this on the Bruins Twitter feed.

Game 4 Winner:      (Series tied 2-2)

Game 5: Engagement and Response:

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.37.51 PM

Recap: The only recent effort at fan engagement made by either team was this tweet from June 15th by the Chicago staff. Fans were encouraged to ask their questions to the hosts of a third-party show. Plenty of room for improvement in this area for both teams but Chicago narrowly escapes this one with a victory.

Game 5 Winner:      (Chicago leads series 3-2)

Game 6: Faux Pas Avoidance:

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.49.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.49.35 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.49.43 PM

Recap: In this crucial game 6, with the Bruins on the brink of elimination, it became a lesser-of-two-evils battle. Chicago missed the mark (and constantly does so) with hashtag overuse. Every tweet during games is adorned with a head to head hashtag. I, for one, am skeptical of the effectiveness of these hashtags and think they should be used in moderation but Chicago’s own metrics will be the final judge of that. Boston, whose tweets always include the initials of the writer despite there being no documentation of the full name of the initial-bearer in the bio or previous tweets, luckily had one tweet that included the initials “B.B.” amidst the thousands of “C.S.” tweets. The slightly less stinky team in this one was the Bruins, who force a game 7.

Game 6 Winner:     (Series tied 3-3)

Game 7: Contributing Platforms: Instagram

For the seventh and deciding game, each team’s most recent Instagram post was scrutinized:

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.57.24 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 6.57.05 PM

Recap: As is expected in game sevens, a valiant effort was put forth by each team. Chicago really captured the energy following Patrick Sharp’s impressive 9th goal of the playoffs. The post was timely but lacked the organic feel Instagram enthusiasts have come to know and love. Boston’s pre-game hype picture, on the other hand, is quite likely taken with in iPhone and looks great with a black and white filter. It hasn’t been doctored by any gaudy text and really uses Instagram properly with a post that likely appeals to ‘Gram enthusiasts.

Game 7 Winner:     (Boston wins series 4-3)

 

2013 Stanley Cup of Twitter Champions

stanleycupoftwitter

Off-Season Analysis:

Each team does a good job of delivering hockey news and updates in a traditional way. The only real instance of going to the next level in terms of non-traditional media was when Boston really embraced the platform that Instagram is with an organic-feeling post. Twitter is dominated by witty and compelling people and businesses. Neither of these teams has truly found Twitter’s sweet spot. If they’re looking for an off-season trainer, it should perhaps be the Los Angeles Kings account.

Professional Stock Photos-the we can make a mobile and a desktop website

9 Websites Brandon Built That Got To The Front Page of Google

@Brandon_wuThe other day going a bunch of websites that Brandon had built a while ago we started noticing something odd. Whenever we would Google the obvious search terms that a website should be ranking for they turned out to not only rank but usually rank within the top 3.

And yes I checked the actually universal search terms not just the Google results on my laptop. Any time you Google something it’s customized based on your past search, location, and activity on Google+. For a true search you must turn off personalization.

Here are some examples: Read more