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Have you ever wanted to know more about how your visitors are interacting with your website? How many people actually click to “Read More” or select various tabs within a mega menu? In-page events such as these offer the greatest insight into how people are consuming web content and what they find most desirable in a webpage. They help us determine how we can improve our sites by connecting visitors with content that is more useful and/or actionable. Tracking page loads alone – something we’ve always been able to do – doesn’t tell the whole story.

Up until now, gaining this level of detail required a developer placing specific code in your site to track each action. This has all changed with the introduction of Google Tag Manager.

WHAT IS GOOGLE TAG MANAGER? 5 THINGS TO KNOW.

Google says:

Google Tag Manager is free and easy, leaving more time and money to spend on your marketing campaigns. You manage your tags and configure your mobile applications yourself, with an easy-to-use web interface, rather than forcing you or your IT departments to write or rewrite code.

Google Tag Manager is not a replacement for Google Analytics; rather, it helps you enhance the data you retrieve in Analytics. It works in a similar way to posting a YouTube video on your website. The video technically lives at YouTube.com, but you’re adding it to your page through an embed code.

A key element of Google Tag Manager is the ability to listen for events. Events are actions that a visitor performs on a page. These may be pressing a button, submitting a form, playing a video or numerous other things.

Here are 5 things you need to know to get started:

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We’ve covered a lot in our Website Redesign Series – everything from how to choose your agency to writing your content and what to do after everything is launched. Taking a look back over the series, we’d like to highlight a few of the most important must-knows included in this guide to building successful websites. Let’s begin!

Partnering – Finding the right interactive partner.

  • Look for partners that truly know interactive. Check out their portfolios and case studies. Make sure they really understand you, your company, your goals and how to build a compelling interactive experience.
  • Keep your expectations in perspective – even the most qualified web designer can’t produce a new site overnight. Detailed projects take time, and these specifications should be outlined at the get-go to avoid miscommunication.

Planning – Solid preparation can help you save time and money.

  • Put data in the driver’s seat. Review your analytics and site diagnostics to know what’s working and what isn’t. Fine tune your assets and make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Assemble the army. Having the right team for the redesign project as well as a designated point person is incredibly important:

“Having someone with the authority to push the process along internally really helps.”

- Susan Bradley, Senior Account Manager at One North

Platforming – Choosing the right technology platform/CMS that works best for you.

  • There are several deciding factors that will influence which tech platform/CMS you choose: popularity, workflow, globalization, hosting options…etc. Fitting your needs to a platform that will work best is something your partner can help with as well.

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In a recent blog post, Microsoft states that it will end support for older versions of Internet Explorer starting January 12, 2016. The versions of Internet Explorer supported will be based on the Windows plaform you use. Below is a breakdown of supported versions (IE9, IE10 and IE11) by Windows platform:

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What does this mean, and how does this affect me?
As more organizations and users upgrade their browsers, they will be able to take advantage of the new technologies that are available – technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3 – allowing for more interactivity with users and the ability to create that WOW factor most users have come to expect. This update also limits functionality and consistency of older sites within outdated browsers.

Lack of security updates for older browsers are also a concern. Not being on the latest release means that you may be vulnerable to issues that oftentimes put users and IT departments at risk; issues that could be avoided with the security updates available in newer browsers.

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Welcome to our “Best of” Series. As part of our commitment to trusting in collaboration, thinking forward and going for the extra-ordinary, we’re always circulating ideas, discussing the latest trends and experimenting with new tools and technologies. And now, we’d like to share the fun with you! Follow this monthly series to stay up-to-date with the articles, design trends and interactive tools that we love… and you should know about.

Here’s a roundup of our favorite links for July:

ARTICLES TO READ

21 Vital Mobile Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2014
Full of quick statistics on why we all geek out so much about mobile, like:

“Mobile internet access enabled by smartphones and tablets has nearly doubled the amount of time spent online since 2010.”

- Heidi Cohen, Actionable Marketing Guide

Creating Distraction-Free Reading Experiences
Remember, sometimes people really want to read your content. This article takes a look at some ideas for making the reading experience more enjoyable on the web.

“Attention span shortens while the quality of reading experiences declines; ultimately leaving a lot of great content out there undiscovered, unloved, unshared and unread by most.”

- Adrian Zumbrunnen, Information Architects, Inc.

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Google recently rolled out a feature to their Analytics platform for filtering out bots and spiders. This means you can now eliminate statistics from your analytics that are not actual visitors. You must enable this feature in your ‘Filtered’ view, which is located in your view settings under ‘Admin’:

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If you have opted in to the One North Google Analytics offering, your main website filtered view should already be updated. However, if you have additional properties (such as blog sites), you will want to enable this feature.

For more information on this feature, you can check out the Google team posting here.

Stay tuned! We’ll be posting a new instructional series on how to manage tags on Google Tag Manager in the weeks ahead! And, in the meantime, check out our latest post on natively digital experiences.

Updating your website is a process – one that can feel overwhelming, even if you’ve been through it before. To help you navigate the journey, we’ve partnered with a few marketing experts to bring you a candid collection of advice and best practices, which we’ll be delivering through our Redesigning Your Website series.

Last week, we shared some tips for after you launch your website, including keeping your fellow employees in the loop on your new site and informing your current clients of any new features they might find helpful or inspiring. This week, we move into our final phase – the Maintaining Phase.

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PHASE 11 – MAINTAINING
Your site is now live – congratulations! But don’t shut your computer down yet.

There are a few additional considerations to keep in mind after your fantastic new site debuts – such as:

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With so much digital content being produced – and so many new devices, channels and other opportunities for browsing – marketers today are adapting to a new era of content marketing: creating natively digital experiences. Thinking about your brand and its content digital first gives you the best chance of designing something that truly takes advantage of all that interactive has to offer.

I recently attended my first #1NWebinarBuilding Relationships through Interactive Storytelling. In this webinar, One Northerners Kalev and Jessica discussed interactive storytelling, one of the hottest new trends in digital marketing. Some highlights include a brief history of storytelling as a humankind tradition, as well as several fine examples of digital storytelling on the web today (but we’ll get to those later). I found great value in the webinar, and thought I would take a moment to recap some of the key takeaways highlighted by Kalev Peekna, Managing Director, Strategy and Jessica DeJong, Art Director. I should also note that this presentation was the topic of Kalev’s Experience Lab presentation in 2013. 

In the webinar, Kalev notes that storytelling is an effective marketing tool. In order to fully understand its power, we’ll have to read the following as sort of an A = B and B = C therefore A = C kind of thing:

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How PwC Took Its Annual CEO Survey Findings Cross-Channel
to Truly Engage with Target Audiences in a Variety of Ways

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Note: One North Interactive did not participate in the creation of PwC’s Annual CEO Survey, but rather is pointing out a best practice for other professional services organizations.

As a proud former management consultant at PwC (one of the world’s largest professional services firms), I was happy to see the company realize an exceptional digital strategy for engaging with its target audiences across multiple channels. This approach is a great example that can be applied to any relationship-based company looking to take its marketing content to the next level.

THE MARKETING CONTENT
This year marked PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. The findings serve as a great conversation starter regarding the business challenges facing companies in today’s environment (many of which PwC is able to help with). For this year’s survey, PwC interviewed a whopping 1,344 CEOs across 68 countries about their goals and perceptions – an impressive data set. Even more impressive are the various ways CEOs and non-CEOs alike can interact with the survey’s thought-provoking questions and findings.

THE MULTI-CHANNEL APPROACH
The firm has used several channels to get their content in front of target audiences. Each method of content delivery allows PwC to realize a different strategic value.

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You step into the room and extend your hand. “Hi! My name’s Brandt, and I’m with One North.” You start to tell them a little about your business, but you can already tell your audience is bored. Why? Because they probably already know all of this information – who you are, where you come from, etc.

Any savvy decision maker has done their research before you were invited in for the meeting. They know the services you offer and the experience you’re likely to provide. In fact, according to a recent CEB study, 57% of purchase decisions are completed before a supplier is even contacted. The good news? If you’re invited for a meeting, they must have seen/read/heard something they like, and now they’re looking for you to confirm it. All you have left to do now is set your firm apart from the rest.

I know – easier said than done. But it’s really about making sure you’re doing everything possible to start this potential relationship off on the right foot, and putting the measures in place to keep it growing stronger. Here are 6 tips for making that happen:

1. Borrow from Big Brother
Your prospects did their research, so you better do the same. LinkedIn can be a great tool to help you gain some insight; use it before your meeting to help answer the following questions about your prospective clients:

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Updating your website is a process – one that can feel overwhelming, even if you’ve been through it before. To help you navigate the journey, we’ve partnered with a few marketing experts to bring you a candid collection of advice and best practices, which we’ll be delivering through our Redesigning Your Website series.

We took a short break, but now we’re back and ready to launch. We left off with the Preparing Phase, and this week we’ll share some helpful tips for launching your new site, as well as some suggestions for post-launch follow-up work with both your coworkers and clients. 

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PHASE 10 - LAUNCHING
Once your site has been created, tested and approved, it’s ready to go live.

To wrap up the launch, your project team only needs to complete a few more tasks:

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