You might be over it, but it’s not over

I know like everybody I have been busily getting ready for today, but I was sure my family would have laid on all the festive trimmings. Nope, nothing. I don’t know what the GDPR Griffin expected from me. Surely, I deserved something for working so hard auditing all my data, defining my legal bases and upweighting my consent where necessary.

Of course, today was never going to be like that. Nor was it going to be some sort of data zombie-pocalypse. Today, Friday 25 May 2018 was always meant to be just like any other Friday – a bank holiday Friday, but a pretty normal Friday nonetheless. Today is not the end of this thing called GDPR. No, today is just the end of the beginning. Today is the day we stop planning for it and start living with it. Today is the day we take a deep breath and think ‘now what?’

Well, now we get back to the business of being marketers because, while GDPR has been pretty much all-consuming for the last two years, it has not fundamentally changed any of our jobs. In other words, GDPR does not change the task marketers have been doing since the dawn of commerce: getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on a channel that is the most convenient for them at that moment.

Based on what has happened over the past couple of weeks we definitely have some more work to do. Even though we have known about this date for two years, everybody seems to have waited to the last minute to upweight their consent or notify consumers about the changes to their privacy policy.

I expected the number of GDPR related emails to gradually ramp up during the first five months of this year but that did not really happen. Instead we have seen typical volumes until last week when we started to see a spike. dotmailer has seen Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes over the past couple of days. The result reported on the BBC and many other media outlets is what I am calling “consumer consent couldn’t care less”. They are vaguely aware that the law has changed and that brands have to send out these emails but, because we are not doing a good job of explaining the details, most consumers are basically ignoring it all.

This is such a missed opportunity. Recent research has shown that almost two-thirds of consumers are willing to give brands more data once they understand the details of the GDPR but instead of being open, honest and transparent and explaining what we are doing in regards to GDPR, we made matters worse by flooding consumers’ inboxes with some version of the “law is changing, we have to send you this, click here to stay on the list or do nothing and we will take you off” for the consent emails and “the law is changing and we have to send you this click here to be removed from the list or do nothing and we will keep contacting you” for privacy policy changes, which leaves it up to the recipient to figure it out for themselves.

So, where does this leave us? Well here in the UK we have a three-day weekend to forget about the whole thing but come Tuesday we are going to be assessing how much data we have left and what we are going to do next. Obviously (I hope), if you have decided to use consent as your legal basis and you have not gotten it, then you cannot keep mailing those people as of midnight today (Thursday to Friday for clarity). That does not mean you can never communicate with them again, you will just have to capitalise on other touchpoints and channels. It also might be time to reopen the discussion around using the soft opt-in and B2B carve out as the foundation for legitimate interest as the legal basis for sending emails.

On the upside, the list you have left should be much more engaged, so now is the time to think about how you keep it that way taking us back to our core business as marketers. Our customers want us to be where they want us to be when they want us to be there talking about what they want to hear on the channel that is most convenient for them at that moment. In other words, sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on the right channel.

To find out more about what dotmailer is doing or for helpful resources about GDPR check out our GDPR Resources page.

The post You might be over it, but it’s not over appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

It’s the best time ever to be a marketer: either go big or go home

Chris Kubbernus, also known as Chris Kubby, is the Founder and CEO of Kubb&co – a digital marketing agency based in Copenhagen. Chris, originally from Canada, is an expert when it comes to helping brands become bigger, better and more effective. He’s worked with both start-ups and large corporations on digital strategy and social media – he teaches others how to take their marketing (and their businesses) to new heights, including working with large brands like Coloplast, Carlsberg, Burger King, and HP.

We caught up with Chris last week to get some clues on what he’ll be covering at the dotmailer Summit, and to get a closer look into the mind of one of the top marketing influencers of our time. The chat we had with him was full of knowledge, inspiration and humor – his talk at the dotmailer Summit 2018 is not to be missed!

 

1. What is or has been your biggest influence?

My biggest influence has been my mother and father. They instilled in me a massive work ethic, which drives me. I love my work and that’s a big reason for my success.

I would also say I am influenced heavily by marketers of the past. People who paved the path, people like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Ogilvy and others.

 

2. What will you be bringing to the dotmailer Summit? Is there anything that the audience will definitely be walking away with?

My goal is to give the audience a renewed sense of purpose and energy. I think we’re in the best time ever to be a marketer and we should be embracing this and go big or go home.

They will be walking away with some practical advice and tactics they can implement the very next day to help take their marketing to the next level.

 

3. What role does email automation play in relation to your social media strategy?

Email and email marketing automation can be a great way to recap all the amazing things that a brand is doing in social or other places. I use email as a way to collect everything I do and to help my subscribers pick and choose the stuff they want to engage with.

With simple trigger flows and a collection of content tools, I am able to streamline my marketing program significantly.

 

4. What is the biggest thing marketers should be looking at in 2018?

Video and voice seem to be at the top of people’s minds. But I think AI is really gaining steam.

 

5. Where is social media heading?

Social media is heading into the awkward teenager phase of its life. Its trying to find its space in the marketing and life household. Its being asked to be more responsible, we see this recently with Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the recent US election.

Twitter is also being asked to step up and be responsible for how people use the platform. I think this will be good for consumers, businesses, and people.

They can’t continue making profits like a media company and claim no responsibility for the media they allow.

I think the result will be more expensive advertising, because the overhead will be too much for these platforms and then we will see less “mom and pop” advertising and more big brands, and more focus on organic content and community building.

 

6. What role do you think social media will play in your kids’ lives?

I hope not that much. I know I sound a bit antagonistic, but I do love social media and the opportunities for brands. But I am very aware of the negative effects of social media on people.

I think everyone needs to have that healthy dose of scepticism in them in order to safeguard their behaviour and the mental health of their loved-ones.

It will be a large part of their life, but I want it to be a tool they use and use only when needed and not a distraction from reality.

 

7. Everyone is competing for attention on social media what are your top three hacks or tricks that marketers should be doing to make themselves heard?

You need to change your mindset. That’s the hack. You need to think like a consumer and not like a brand. You need to understand what excites, inspires, teaches, provokes, disgusts, taunts, your community. And I say community because you need to think of them as a part of your brand, a part of your story. If you can do that and involve people in your marketing and social media, then you’ll win.

Those who don’t do this will continue to live in the marketing era of television – before every. single. person. on the planet had a voice and a platform.

 

8. What is your favorite social medium?

Right now, Twitter. Weird right? There’s a resurgence on Twitter at the moment and it’s a lot of fun.

 

9. What is the secret to advertising in 2018?

Self-awareness. People see right through advertising. So if you can be self-aware like the recent Tide Super Bowl ads, or the Heavy Bubbles ads a couple of years ago, then you can get people to let their guard down long enough for you to talk honestly about your products.

The other thing I would say is advertising is less and less about setting an agenda or “nudging” as we call it in the industry, but more about tapping into an already growing cultural storm and riding the wave.

 

Thank you, Chris – we’re looking forward to welcoming you on stage on April 19 at the dotmailer Summit 2018. We’re in no doubt that you’re going inspire us to be the best marketers we can be.

You can find out more about the dotmailer Summit here.

See you there!

The post It’s the best time ever to be a marketer: either go big or go home appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 8 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Be brave! Bag those last-minute Halloween buyers before it’s too late.

Whether you embrace the holiday or shrink from it in terror, have no fear – it’s not too late to design a winning email marketing campaign for Halloween. At dotmailer, we know it can sometimes be a bit scary to have to create a brand new email for a frightfully short engagement period. We’ve put together this post to highlight the tricks of designing a last-minute campaign to help your company reap the treats of the season.

Email automation is a great “push” channel to get in touch with all of your customers in time for the weekend, and dotmailer gets everything done in record time. Use our EasyEditor to drag and drop your way to a campaign that gets freakishly good results; identify the data segments you want to target and fire away!

B2C – Got any scarily good deals?

Use the holiday as a chance to promote items that people might need over the weekend for their various shenanigans. This lighting brand have designed an eye-catching Halloween campaign, using our columns building blocks, to promote a last chance sale on spooky essentials:

lights4fun

You can also use dotmailer’s WebInsight to track customers’ behavior in the run up to Halloween, and then send them an abandoned cart or browse email to remind them to purchase in time for holiday delivery.

B2B – Get creative!

Not selling cut-price vampire fangs or highly flammable wigs in bulk? No problem – you can still have fun this Halloween. Be imaginative with your brand! We love this email created by a floor planning design software company; they’ve used their holiday campaign to showcase the platform’s capabilities and promote a free trial:

landmark-group

And if you feel like there’s no way that you could possibly connect your brand to warts and witches, that’s just as marketable. Stand out by providing a refreshing alternative to Halloween themed campaigns!

There’s just time to leave you with this other-worldly infographic from The Shelf. We love the insights they give into Halloween e-commerce, and we’ve pulled out a couple of essential tips for email marketing this holiday:

72% of smartphone shoppers research an item before purchasing it.

Mobile optimization is crucial for attaining that last-minute weekend return. All of our templates are fully-optimized and ready to go.

36¢ of every dollar spent in a brick and mortar store is influenced by digital.

The web WILL have a direct effect on your in-store conversion this weekend, so make sure you’re driving engagement with all of your digital touchpoints through your email marketing.

$8.4 billion is going to be spent on Halloween this year.

That’s a healthy sized portion of pumpkin pie to get your hands on.

All that’s left to say is Happy Halloween – don’t let the web bugs bite!

Courtesy of: The Shelf
Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

4 reasons the world would end at the demise of local SEO

It’s hard to imagine a world without local search. Columnist Lydia Jorden delves into four different industries that must optimize for local search, paired with a specific strategy to help optimize for streamlined customer searches. Does your local search strategy encompass these techniques?

The…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Setting Local SEO Expectations: 3 Points To Hit Early And Often

When it comes to providing SEO for local businesses, it’s crucial to set realistic expectations. Columnist Jenny Foster discusses three points she likes to drive home with clients to ensure a strong relationship and a smooth campaign.

The post Setting Local SEO Expectations: 3 Points To Hit Early…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Stop Ghost Spam in Google Analytics with One Filter

Posted by CarloSeo

The spam in Google Analytics (GA) is becoming a serious issue. Due to a deluge of referral spam from social buttons, adult sites, and many, many other sources, people are starting to become overwhelmed by all the filters they are setting up to manage the useless data they are receiving.

The good news is, there is no need to panic. In this post, I’m going to focus on the most common mistakes people make when fighting spam in GA, and explain an efficient way to prevent it.

But first, let’s make sure we understand how spam works. A couple of months ago, Jared Gardner wrote an excellent article explaining what referral spam is, including its intended purpose. He also pointed out some great examples of referral spam.

Types of spam

The spam in Google Analytics can be categorized by two types: ghosts and crawlers.

Ghosts

The vast majority of spam is this type. They are called ghosts because they never access your site. It is important to keep this in mind, as it’s key to creating a more efficient solution for managing spam.

As unusual as it sounds, this type of spam doesn’t have any interaction with your site at all. You may wonder how that is possible since one of the main purposes of GA is to track visits to our sites.

They do it by using the Measurement Protocol, which allows people to send data directly to Google Analytics’ servers. Using this method, and probably randomly generated tracking codes (UA-XXXXX-1) as well, the spammers leave a “visit” with fake data, without even knowing who they are hitting.

Crawlers

This type of spam, the opposite to ghost spam, does access your site. As the name implies, these spam bots crawl your pages, ignoring rules like those found in robots.txt that are supposed to stop them from reading your site. When they exit your site, they leave a record on your reports that appears similar to a legitimate visit.

Crawlers are harder to identify because they know their targets and use real data. But it is also true that new ones seldom appear. So if you detect a referral in your analytics that looks suspicious, researching it on Google or checking it against this list might help you answer the question of whether or not it is spammy.

Most common mistakes made when dealing with spam in GA

I’ve been following this issue closely for the last few months. According to the comments people have made on my articles and conversations I’ve found in discussion forums, there are primarily three mistakes people make when dealing with spam in Google Analytics.

Mistake #1. Blocking ghost spam from the .htaccess file

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to block Ghost Spam from the .htaccess file.

For those who are not familiar with this file, one of its main functions is to allow/block access to your site. Now we know that ghosts never reach your site, so adding them here won’t have any effect and will only add useless lines to your .htaccess file.

Ghost spam usually shows up for a few days and then disappears. As a result, sometimes people think that they successfully blocked it from here when really it’s just a coincidence of timing.

Then when the spammers later return, they get worried because the solution is not working anymore, and they think the spammer somehow bypassed the barriers they set up.

The truth is, the .htaccess file can only effectively block crawlers such as buttons-for-website.com and a few others since these access your site. Most of the spam can’t be blocked using this method, so there is no other option than using filters to exclude them.

Mistake #2. Using the referral exclusion list to stop spam

Another error is trying to use the referral exclusion list to stop the spam. The name may confuse you, but this list is not intended to exclude referrals in the way we want to for the spam. It has other purposes.

For example, when a customer buys something, sometimes they get redirected to a third-party page for payment. After making a payment, they’re redirected back to you website, and GA records that as a new referral. It is appropriate to use referral exclusion list to prevent this from happening.

If you try to use the referral exclusion list to manage spam, however, the referral part will be stripped since there is no preexisting record. As a result, a direct visit will be recorded, and you will have a bigger problem than the one you started with since. You will still have spam, and direct visits are harder to track.

Mistake #3. Worrying that bounce rate changes will affect rankings

When people see that the bounce rate changes drastically because of the spam, they start worrying about the impact that it will have on their rankings in the SERPs.

bounce.png

This is another mistake commonly made. With or without spam, Google doesn’t take into consideration Google Analytics metrics as a ranking factor. Here is an explanation about this from Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s web spam team.

And if you think about it, Cutts’ explanation makes sense; because although many people have GA, not everyone uses it.

Assuming your site has been hacked

Another common concern when people see strange landing pages coming from spam on their reports is that they have been hacked.

landing page

The page that the spam shows on the reports doesn’t exist, and if you try to open it, you will get a 404 page. Your site hasn’t been compromised.

But you have to make sure the page doesn’t exist. Because there are cases (not spam) where some sites have a security breach and get injected with pages full of bad keywords to defame the website.

What should you worry about?

Now that we’ve discarded security issues and their effects on rankings, the only thing left to worry about is your data. The fake trail that the spam leaves behind pollutes your reports.

It might have greater or lesser impact depending on your site traffic, but everyone is susceptible to the spam.

Small and midsize sites are the most easily impacted – not only because a big part of their traffic can be spam, but also because usually these sites are self-managed and sometimes don’t have the support of an analyst or a webmaster.

Big sites with a lot of traffic can also be impacted by spam, and although the impact can be insignificant, invalid traffic means inaccurate reports no matter the size of the website. As an analyst, you should be able to explain what’s going on in even in the most granular reports.

You only need one filter to deal with ghost spam

Usually it is recommended to add the referral to an exclusion filter after it is spotted. Although this is useful for a quick action against the spam, it has three big disadvantages.

  • Making filters every week for every new spam detected is tedious and time-consuming, especially if you manage many sites. Plus, by the time you apply the filter, and it starts working, you already have some affected data.
  • Some of the spammers use direct visits along with the referrals.
  • These direct hits won’t be stopped by the filter so even if you are excluding the referral you will sill be receiving invalid traffic, which explains why some people have seen an unusual spike in direct traffic.

Luckily, there is a good way to prevent all these problems. Most of the spam (ghost) works by hitting GA’s random tracking-IDs, meaning the offender doesn’t really know who is the target, and for that reason either the hostname is not set or it uses a fake one. (See report below)

Ghost-Spam.png

You can see that they use some weird names or don’t even bother to set one. Although there are some known names in the list, these can be easily added by the spammer.

On the other hand, valid traffic will always use a real hostname. In most of the cases, this will be the domain. But it also can also result from paid services, translation services, or any other place where you’ve inserted GA tracking code.

Valid-Referral.png

Based on this, we can make a filter that will include only hits that use real hostnames. This will automatically exclude all hits from ghost spam, whether it shows up as a referral, keyword, or pageview; or even as a direct visit.

To create this filter, you will need to find the report of hostnames. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Reporting tab in GA
  2. Click on Audience in the lefthand panel
  3. Expand Technology and select Network
  4. At the top of the report, click on Hostname

Valid-list

You will see a list of all hostnames, including the ones that the spam uses. Make a list of all the valid hostnames you find, as follows:

  • yourmaindomain.com
  • blog.yourmaindomain.com
  • es.yourmaindomain.com
  • payingservice.com
  • translatetool.com
  • anotheruseddomain.com

For small to medium sites, this list of hostnames will likely consist of the main domain and a couple of subdomains. After you are sure you got all of them, create a regular expression similar to this one:

yourmaindomain\.com|anotheruseddomain\.com|payingservice\.com|translatetool\.com

You don’t need to put all of your subdomains in the regular expression. The main domain will match all of them. If you don’t have a view set up without filters, create one now.

Then create a Custom Filter.

Make sure you select INCLUDE, then select “Hostname” on the filter field, and copy your expression into the Filter Pattern box.

filter

You might want to verify the filter before saving to check that everything is okay. Once you’re ready, set it to save, and apply the filter to all the views you want (except the view without filters).

This single filter will get rid of future occurrences of ghost spam that use invalid hostnames, and it doesn’t require much maintenance. But it’s important that every time you add your tracking code to any service, you add it to the end of the filter.

Now you should only need to take care of the crawler spam. Since crawlers access your site, you can block them by adding these lines to the .htaccess file:

## STOP REFERRER SPAM 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} semalt\.com [NC,OR] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} buttons-for-website\.com [NC] 
RewriteRule .* - [F]

It is important to note that this file is very sensitive, and misplacing a single character it it can bring down your entire site. Therefore, make sure you create a backup copy of your .htaccess file prior to editing it.

If you don’t feel comfortable messing around with your .htaccess file, you can alternatively make an expression with all the crawlers, then and add it to an exclude filter by Campaign Source.

Implement these combined solutions, and you will worry much less about spam contaminating your analytics data. This will have the added benefit of freeing up more time for you to spend actually analyze your valid data.

After stopping spam, you can also get clean reports from the historical data by using the same expressions in an Advance Segment to exclude all the spam.

Bonus resources to help you manage spam

If you still need more information to help you understand and deal with the spam on your GA reports, you can read my main article on the subject here: http://www.ohow.co/what-is-referrer-spam-how-stop-it-guide/.

Additional information on how to stop spam can be found at these URLs:

In closing, I am eager to hear your ideas on this serious issue. Please share them in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: All images featured in this post were created by the author.)

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Reblogged 3 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it