Facebook Instant Articles: Why Use It and How To Track It

Go where your readers are – this is the main cause for using Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Everyone should become a media company – this is the mantra said by marketers for years now. No matter you are a brand, a company, ecommerce, you need to broadcast content to your readers. Facebook’s Instant Articles is a solution for broadcasters. But why should you use it and how to measure your performance?

What is Facebook Instant Articles?

Content on caffeine

If you have a blog or any platform where you usually publish content, you can use Facebook’s Instant Articles (FBIA). FBIA works like any other shared article on Facebook, the difference is that it is Instant and comes directly from your blog or any other broadcasting site you have. FBIA appear immediately on the Timeline, if the user clicks on it, there’s no waiting for load-up, it appears instantly on the device used for reading. It is also more interactive, responsive and has its own design and customized appearance.

Go where your readers are

Why you need to use it? It is simple. When you share a content on Facebook, let’s say your blog’s article shared on your Facebook page, users will less likely to click on it if it’s not an FBIA. It is slower, needs time to load-up and diverts the users out from Facebook. FBIA however lets them stay on Facebook, continue to browse on their own Timeline but in the meantime, lets the broadcaster (you) keep the sort-of-original branding of their company.

It is also a better solution to reach more people. Users don’t need to go to your site, they just consume your content straight from Facebook. In the end, it is better to share your content where your audience is.

How do you measure Facebook Instant Articles performance?

Insights that matter most

Facebook Instant Articles are articles shared through your Facebook Page so you can measure their performance directly on the Facebook Page’s Insights. Of course, these insights are just the ones that matter the most.

You measure your FBIA performance with three important metrics:

• Clicks: how many users clicked on the article.
• Time Spent: how much time spent on the reading of the article
• Scroll Depth: the amount of percentages users scrolled down in the article

If you think about it, these are the most important metrics to define your content’s performance. Comments and shares are measured as any Facebook updates’ metric obviously.

For most publishers, these insights however not enough. Also, most of the broadcasters have their own analytics ecosystem in place already. Fortunately, Facebook lets another analytics providers in.

Third-party integration

Most of the analytics platforms work the same: users add a tracking code to a digital property and the analytics platform tracks the activity on the property with the tracking code.

It works the same with Facebook Instant Articles. You can insert your analytics tracking code from most of the analytics platforms to your Facebook Instant Articles. Facebook supports almost any platforms, including Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Adobe, Nielsen, SimpleReach, ComScore and many more. There is also an API that you can use to track the metrics on your own.

Content that matters

Content distribution is a new trend in content marketing. It is simple why: content should be shared where your audience catches it. It is effortless and more efficient. With Facebook Instant Articles this is possible and you don’t need to compromise on performance measurement either.

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Landing Page Design: Building the Ultimate Landing Page

Creating the best and most efficient landing page is a hard task to do. This guide might help you get through with it. This is a guest-post by Toptal’s writer Laszlo Monda.

The focus of this landing page guide will be technical. My goal is to help other developers narrow down their search for the right third-party services and technologies, which they will deploy in their landing page designs. This will, hopefully, help them save time and money, which could otherwise be wasted on fruitless experimentation.

Landing page video production and hosting

Presenting video on the web is easier than ever, and yet, few sites use it. It’s not a technical challenge from a web perspective, but it is an investment of other resources, namely time and money. We created about 12 iterations of our landing page trailer video, gradually refining every little detail. The design process was exhausting but very rewarding. I consider this trailer video to be the crown jewel of our landing page which differentiates us from the pack.

Please bear in mind that high-quality content creation is expensive. If you want the best possible results, you will need to outsource the work to professionals, and obviously, start by making sure you can afford it. Depending on what you need, and what sort of budget you have, you could get away with an in-house video. It depends on your skill set and the type of landing page your plan to design.

We settled on a dynamic 3D animation, demonstrating the basic functionality of our keyboard on our landing page. However, if you need a 2D animation of an app or web service, or if you need camera footage, the process will be somewhat different and maybe less challenging than ours.

Once you have a video made, you must host it somewhere, which leads us to some options.

YouTube needs no introduction, as it is the undisputed market leader and a synonym for video on the web. It’s a reasonable choice that would have worked well for us, but we didn’t find its embedded player to be aesthetically pleasing.

Vimeo was an obvious second choice. It features a super clean, elegant, minimalistic design. It’s known for hosting quality content and for its superior high-definition. It was love at first sight, so we ended up choosing it for our landing page.

Wistia is another popular choice among marketers. It provides advanced features like video heatmaps that show you which parts of your videos have been watched, skipped and rewatched. It would have been a great choice, but it doesn’t support full HD quality, a deal-breaker for us.

It’s worth delving into the APIs of these services to better capture the attention of visitors. For example, using the Vimeo player JavaScript API we made the “I want one” buttons on our site pulse three times in a row right after our trailer ends. Used properly, little tweaks like this can increase the conversion rate.

To make matters even more complex, embedding videos on responsive sites is no easy matter. The video has to scale properly, and the experience must be fluid. It can be done by utilising some not-so-obvious CSS tricks.

Hosting 3D content

In order to give our landing page visitors a more immersive experience, we wanted them to be able to explore our keyboard in 3D. There are a few WebGL-based services created specifically for this purpose.

Sketchfab is the most popular of these services. It’s easy to master, provides a lot of visual settings, and is embeddable into a wide range of popular sites, which is why we chose it. However, depending on your needs, you may want to check out a couple of alternatives.

Verold Studio boasts some advanced features, such as animation and interactivity. I’m sure it’s the right choice for many, but we couldn’t import our CAD model into it.

The most minimalistic and simplistic of all WebGL services is p3d.in, but it didn’t support the high-resolution textures used in our 3D model, which was a deal-breaker. Also, it seems that it’s not possible to rotate the model until the textures are fully loaded, which doesn’t result in a great user experience.

Creating 2D animation

One of the major advantages of our keyboard is that it dramatically reduces hand movement. We wanted to visualise this on our landing page by putting the UHK and a regular keyboard side-by-side and displaying an animation. Implementing this wasn’t as simple as it sounds.

Using an embedded video did not only feel like overkill, but it would have to be rendered first, which is extra work. Animated GIFs weren’t a viable solution either given their huge size and limited palette. Canvas would work, but I found SVG to be even better suited for this purpose because the hand objects can be separately moved without affecting the rest of the graphics.

Creating this landing page animation was certainly more time consuming than we expected, but the end result looks nice.

Sometimes you must make your way through cross-browser issues, JavaScript library bugs and nearly endless technical challenges just to make a seemingly obvious thing work. Never underestimate the number of things that can go wrong!

Real-time analytics

Everybody uses Google Analytics and we are no exception, but it’s not specifically built for real-time operations; there are better candidates for this purpose.

Chartbeat is great at notifying us when the site exceeds certain thresholds, most notably the number of simultaneous users on our site. Every now and then someone links our site in a forum, which generates a sudden traffic spike. Thanks to Chartbeat, we immediately know about such events, and able to join the ongoing conversation early on.

Mixpanel helps us gather and analyse events. Site visits, opening the subscription dialogue, subscription and confirming the subscription, are all events that we log. Mixpanel can build funnels out of these events and visualise conversion rates, making things measurable so that we can act upon the numbers.

Clicky is great at several things and we especially love its site heatmaps feature, which reveals where users click on our site. Based on the results, we can adjust the layout of the site, change its content or redesign it to achieve the desired outcome.

HotJar enables website owners to record the interactions of their users. It saves every mouse and keyboard action, and constructs videos out of them so that one can watch what visitors do on the site. Yes, it’s the most privacy intrusive of all, so much so that it’s almost scary!

I surely couldn’t do justice to these services by singling out one because all of them offer so much. Most such services can visualise real-time visitor activity on a map, on a summary screen, or in visitor list, along with lots of metadata such as the referrer URL, operating system and screen size.

I believe that these are some of the best real-time analytics services out there, but there are others, so if you have some specific requirements, Google search for alternatives.

Book an on-demand Q&A session where we answer all further questions you may have about this write-up.

About the guest blogger:
László is a full-stack developer experienced in a wide range of languages and frameworks. He boasts a system-wide understanding and comfortably moves across the various layers of the stack.
 
About Total:
Toptal is a marketplace for top developers, engineers, programmers, coders, architects, and consultants. Top companies and start-ups hire freelance developers from Toptal for their most mission-critical projects.

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The Dark Side of A/B Testing: How to Test Your Site with a Bazooka

Testing a website is the most popular passing time for digital analytics experts. However, testing the right thing is harder than ever.

Website optimisation relies heavily on A/B or multivariate testing with digital analytics tools. However, if it comes down to testing, most of the experts test only minor comparisons on a site. But testing should go forward only if you test highly tangible differences; this is where you can learn something and open new frontiers. So instead of burning through your site with a bunch of matchsticks, use a bazooka instead and start some real flames.

Test What Matters and Test Less

Real productivity comes when you leave your comfort zone

You have read this many times we guess; your life starts after you leave your comfort zone. Well, that is the same with marketing. Technology made us busier and helped to boost our productivity, but it also killed a lot in the details. Meetings, chat, endless notifications, these are the time killers, and we haven’t even mentioned social media. Being busy is nothing, being productive is something. If you get lost quickly in the little details, non-productive testing comes up in the digital analytics space, and you find yourself in the situation where you test two ad copies with minor changes between and drawing conclusions where there is none, only pure randomness.

Test less and test what matters

Now that you have stayed away from little details, you can focus on the real issues. Test what matters only, and test way-way less. By stopped paying attention to things that do not matter in the details, you can focus on testing the important stuff.

Testing, its name is an experiment. And most of the scientific experiments are dead ends for 99% of their time, producing non-accurate results. In 1%, the science team has a eureka moment, usually when they slip away from the original focus of the experiment. This is the same with digital analytics testing when you test small changes on a site; you usually end of testing random outcomes. But when you test with tremendous tangible differences, you might will learn something on your business and customers.

Be Patient with your RPG

Science is a game of patience and marketers are not scientists. There was a study with an investment firm; they concluded that their most successful investors are either dead or non-active. The reason for this is because live and active traders are impatient and burn their positions with their little actions. It’s the same with testing. So, when you set up a testing experiment, you have your goals, you made a tangible difference to the chamber and started the testing.

Don’t even look at the test until you have reached your goal. Don’t change the variables. Don’t change the tested markers. Don’t even open the testing chamber. Be patient. Draw conclusions only when the testing has finished, and you have all your figures.

Remember: testing needs a perfectly clean environment

Most experts fail in their tests because the environment they are testing in is imperfect. The site that they are testing has huge usability issues. The testing material isn’t ready yet. There is nothing to be tested. The traffic is not there so the figures are so small that drawing conclusions would be simply just guessing in the cloud.

Be ready first and sort your stuff out. Only test when you need to develop even further. Further means, you already have a pretty solid ground: a good site, with a high number of visits and only minor usability issues.

All in all, these are the simple steps you need to follow when you do testing:

  • Test with an RPG: test only tangible vast differences
  • Test only when you have scientist mindset: be patient and be ready to fail
  • Test only in clean environment: your lab/site should be stable and established

Learn more about A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing. Visit the Insights Academy Today!

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Is Digital Analytics as a Standalone Expertise Dead?

Digital analytics was a standalone expertise in recent years. Some companies built groups around it with analytics experts; others hired analytics professionals to act as a support for their marketing team. Now it has been changed, and it’s a natural evolution for the industry.

Digital analytics is no longer a single expertise you can build on as an employee and companies are no longer in need of a single digital analytics expert. This is the nature of the evolution for analytics, and it is highly beneficial for everyone. The new setup has high demands for everyone: digital analytics is a must to know, and everyone who has any single authority in marketing has to know some analytics knowledge.

Everyone is an analytics expert

Back to basics

As a marketing expert, you should be aware of the key performance indicators anyway. These are metrics that justifies your marketing choices and demonstrate your success undeniably because they are hard figures. As a marketer living in the digital world, the core metrics have enhanced with various new ones from the digital analytics world. Meaning now, everyone who makes relevant marketing or business choices should know something about digital analytics.

This is the state when digital analytics has grown up finally. It has happened with social media; you can’t sell services now only by updating social channels. You should be expert in content, marketing and digital. Analytics is no longer a special place too.

Working with massive data sets and connecting separate sources: still an expertise

Of course, you won’t be an expert in big data but let’s face it: most companies don’t need massive big data knowledge, they just know how their funnels work regarding metrics. When a business has more sources of data and the number of files they are getting is beyond traditional digital analytics tools: they still need a good specialised expert in digital analytics. But most companies don’t need this knowledge..

 

Learn the basics or teach your staff

The basics of digital analytics can be taught via online academies or internal training. It is accessible and cost-effective to find out more. Now that this is not a unique place to visit, you can make an impact on learning the basics of digital analytics. This is what you can do:

  1. Follow current digital analytics experts and listen what they say, learn their knowledge
  2. Hire an external training professional to teach you the basics of analytics
  3. Attend online courses or visit online digital analytics academies, the resource for knowledge is vast and mostly free or cost little only
  4. Hire someone who has demonstrated digital analytics knowledge and let the new one teach the others via internal training
  5. Start to cooperate with an external digital analytics expert

There are also added benefits once you mastered the basics of digital analytics:

  1. You will become more responsible regarding your business choices as you now know how to measure against them
  2. You will become more confident working with figures and experts in data
  3. You will get great eureka moments and insights from your audiences as you deep-dive in figures

Remember, if something is accessible for everyone, then it is not a special expertise anymore. The basics of digital analytics are easy to learn and follow, and if you think you can outsmart the best analytics experts, you can still upgrade your knowledge.

Book an on-demand Q&A session where we answer all further questions you may have about this write-up.

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Top 3 Digital Analytics Trends To Watch Out For In 2017

top-3-digital-analytics-trends-to-watch-out-for-in-2017

Marketing automation, audience segmentation and personalisation are the biggest trends to watch out for in the digital marketing sphere in the coming 2017.

In 2015, digital marketing tools evolved to a stage where literally everyone who has some basic knowledge in digital marketing can kick-start a campaign with the latest and most advanced digital tools. Building a website or a landing page is now as easy as creating a social media profile. Implementing analytics systems doesn’t require a developer and every marketer, aware that there is so much noise on the internet, knows that every company should personalise their messages to reach out to the right person in their audience.

Automate to save time for more important tasks! 

In the early 2010s, digital marketing tools, like social media management services, email and newsletter providers and digital sales software went over the tipping point and went beyond the early adopters – the best professional marketers. Just last year, these tools have evolved to a simplified and sophisticated user interface; everyone can sign up and start to use them.

Tools like Hootsuite, IFTT and other management and automation services are available for the masses now. Services which were available for only the biggest companies and agencies are now not only affordable but also just as sophisticated making them accessible to use for any organisation. Companies like Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, and Infusionsoft, are on fire not just for large organisations but for SME’s and freelance marketers as well.

This is a result of good user experience planning and the increasing demand for these services. Marketing Automation is a great timesaver and can lead to significantly better results when planned and implemented correctly across an organisation.

Segment your audiences to increase your sales impact! 

Segment your audiences to increase your sales impact! The same pattern happened with digital analytics in the early 2010s. All-rounder analytics services were made available, and free products like Google Analytics brought plenty of value for marketers. Paid tools like ChartBeat and Omniture with solid insights were also affordable. With the boom on big data in the past few years, the data gathered from digital channels began to become useful.

To remain competitive, leading organisations have learnt how to capture, analyse, and leverage this data in their business decision making every day. Segmentation is a core skill to learn and apply to digital marketing. Segmenting your target audience and your actual buyers will help you increase sales.

The usual segmentation techniques on demography and top level site usage are not enough anymore: segmenting on the individual customer journey is a must for every website which has a reasonable amount of traffic and buyers. The new trend of attribution marketing has grown out from high-level segmentation techniques and will begin to influence trends: now you can assign values to each segment in the customer journey to maximise your sales funnels’ success on an individual basis.

Personalise your targeting to make an impact! 

Sophisticated and accessible digital analytics have grown personalisation in digital marketing. Personalisation began with adding the first name of the customer to the email introduction, or subject line. Personalisation now includes specific personalised email and website content, and prediction of what a person’s interest. A personalised email has six times more traction and revenue rate than template emails.

Targeted call-to-actions are also much more successful regarding conversion than traditional CTAs. Analytics has its part in this game but not with the top-level insights as we see in segmentation but with high valued real time data which allows marketers to personalise on-demand every aspect of the customer journey.

With the growing trends of automation, segmentation and personalisation, digital marketing consultancy has also changed. The traditional production-based client-agency relationship is becoming less relevant, and the classic consultant is the winner of the game. This helps the internal marketers who keep an eye on the real-time customer journey of the company and consults on the best use of the services and evaluates all marketing plans with the expert’s outsider view.

The Walter Analytics team is always on its toes and on the lookout for relevant trends to determine how our clients can leverage them to grow their businesses.

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