Nintendo to revive NES Classic Edition in 2018 as it extends SNES retro console shipments


Nintendo has some good news for retro gaming fans as the company announced that it’s extending shipments for its SNES Classic Edition into 2018, having originally announced that it would stop by the end of this year.

But in another surprising twist, the Japanese gaming also revealed that in 2018 it will revive the NES Classic Edition that was launched initially last November.

Above: Now you’re playing with power.

Image Credit: Nintendo

The $ 60 NES was unveiled last June, and though the mini console proved hard to get a hold off when it hit the market five months later, it actually outsold both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in at least one month. The NES Classic Edition shipped with 30 built-in games such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Mega Man 2, but Nintendo was apparently caught off-guard by its popularity and it ultimately discontinued the product less than six months after it went on sale.

Shortly after, however, Nintendo announced the $ 80 SNES Classic Edition — replete with 21 games such as Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart — which Gamesbeat reviewed as a good machine which offered few surprises.

Preorders for the SNES Classic Edition opened on August 22 and they immediately sold out — but those lucky enough to order one should be receiving their machine from September 29. If you weren’t able to get one first time around, the company is adamant that it has increased its production significantly compared to that of the NES Classic Edition, and it has urged gamers not to pay over the odds for a machine through eBay or other similar auction sites.

The company said in its announcement today:

More units of Super NES Classic Edition will ship on its Sept. 29 launch day in the U.S. than were shipped of NES Classic Edition all last year, with subsequent shipments arriving in stores regularly. Fans have shown their unbridled enthusiasm for these Classic Edition systems, so Nintendo is working to put many more of them on store shelves.

There was a great deal of speculation as to why Nintendo cut the NES Classic Edition from production when it proved so popular, but whatever the reason the company has evidently observed market demand and will announce “in the future” exact timing for new shipments in 2018.

Social – VentureBeat

How to Minimize Cart Abandonment in Your Checkout Process

Recently, I stumbled upon a scary statistic.

A whopping 69.23% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned.

To put this into perspective, for every 100 customers who start the checkout process, 69 don’t finish.

Is it a massive problem? Absolutely.

These numbers shouldn’t sit right with any business owner. That’s too many lost sales and potential lifelong customers.

But it’s also a bit surprising.

If someone starts the checkout process, it stands to reason they have a strong purchase intent.

So, why do so many shoppers fail to complete their purchases?

A few reasons.

Some of these are out of your control, and others, you can nip in the bud:

  • your site isn’t designed well, affecting the user experience;
  • the site has technical bugs;
  • site visitors are just window shopping;
  • your checkout process has too many pitfalls.

These are just a few ideas.

Can you guess which one is the most pervasive?

That’s right.

Your checkout process is turning potential customers away.

Take a look at this chart:

Exit intent Popup Shopping Cart Abandonment Solutions

Out of all the reasons why shoppers abandon their carts, a majority are related to the checkout phase.

Does this apply to all businesses? Not necessarily.

Don’t get me wrong.

All businesses—no matter how upscale—suffer from shopping cart abandonment.

You can’t do anything about a user who is just browsing. They may just want to save their favorite items in the cart for future reference.

With that said, there are varying reasons why shoppers do not complete a purchase.

In this article, you’ll find out if your checkout process is the main culprit and what you can do about it.

First, I’ll give you the common checkout pitfalls that turn potential customers away.

Then, we’ll get into a data-driven litmus test so you can know for sure.

This way, you won’t make changes to your site based on a hunch. That’s never good for business.

Sound good? Let’s start.

Five common pitfalls in the checkout process

If any of the following applies to your checkout process, it will certainly cause a percentage of shoppers to abandon their carts.

The great news?

It’s within your control.

Most times, a simple tweak is enough to make all the difference.

1. You haven’t earned the trust of potential customers

This is a big one.

If people don’t trust your site, there’s no way they’ll buy anything from you.

Your product could change their lives. It doesn’t matter.

The bottom line is, customers have to put in their personal information to complete the transaction.

If you don’t do everything in your power to make them feel secure doing so, you’ve lost them for good.

The solution

Step #1: Place testimonials and other proof elements on your checkout page.

Social proof is one of the most crucial elements to include on every page of your ecommerce site.

It’s especially powerful on the checkout page as it gives customers who may be hesitant an extra push.

Here’s a creative form of social proof from The Freedom Journal:

Choose Freedom

Step #2: Add credit card icons and other trust badges to reassure customers their payment information is secure.

List Builder s Lab

The placement of these badges is also important.

I recommend placing them right where customers have to put in their payment details and next to the “buy now” call to action.

Like this:

Content Marketing Mastery Secure Order Form

Step #3: Make sure you have contact information in clear sight. This way, customers know you’re not going to take their money and make a run for it.

Letting them know you can easily be reached is a small but impactful trust indicator.

Here’s an example from Amy Porterfield:

https dg101 infusionsoft com app orderForms List Builders Lab 1 Payment of 297 ga 2 211265245 974838801 1504269649 1558667423 1475774898

2. Additional costs blindside customers

Here’s the thing.

When the average person shops, they have a price point they’re willing to reach. As such, they choose items within these parameters.

After that has been surpassed, it’s a no-go.

When you surprise customers with high shipping costs, the immediate reaction is to make a dive for the exit.

And it’s with good reason.

I’ve seen instances where shipping, handling, and taxes amount to the price of the items in the cart.

That’s crazy.

It’s no wonder this is the number one reason people don’t complete their purchases.

cartabandon vwo 230616 jpg 630 368 pixels

The solution

Step #1: Let shoppers know their shipping costs early in the checkout process.

You can do this by introducing a shipping calculator to provide an estimate of the additional costs to be covered.

Here’s an example:

Cards and Pockets Your Shopping Cart

Step #2: Offer free shipping.

While this may not be feasible for everyone, it’s wise to find ways you can reduce costs for customers.

Many businesses offer free shipping once shoppers reach a certain price threshold.

Like this example from Fashion Nova:

Sneakers

As customers add new items to their carts, they’re reminded of how much more they need to spend to meet the threshold.

Classic High Waist Skinny Jeans Light Blue

Very clever.

Step #3: Have coupon codes on your site.

It’s important to have these discount offers on your site.

Why does that matter?

When customers go browsing elsewhere for coupons and don’t find them, they rarely come back.

You want to avoid that.

This beauty brand has a deal where they provide a daily coupon:

Home Chemical Peels Skin Care Acne Scars Wrinkles

This way, customers can easily save on shipping costs.

Today s Deal

3. The checkout process is too time-consuming

When they’re checking out, the only thing your customers value more than your product is their time.

That means that anything in your checkout process that takes too long is a problem.

Here are some examples:

  • technical glitches
  • slow site
  • poor design
  • lack of mobile friendliness
  • complicated navigation
  • long-winded checkout process

Website speed is a big deal for users: 40% of shoppers will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Speed Is Key Optimize Your Mobile Experience

You can imagine that any issue which zaps customers of their time will have the same effect.

The solution

Step #1: Test the speed and mobile-friendliness of your website. Make immediate adjustment if it’s not up to par.

You can use Google’s mobile friendly test.

Mobile Friendly Test Google Search Console

Step #2: Have a simple checkout process with as few form fields as possible.

Ideally, customers want to sprint through this process. The easier you make it, the more likely they will go through with their purchases.

4. There’s not enough urgency to compel customers to act

Urgency as a sales strategy is about inspiring customers to take earnest and swift action.

It’s super simple to implement, and it has a massive impact.

Many businesses don’t flip this proven psychological switch when it matters most.

As we’ve seen before, a few of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment may be out of your control.

However, you can still have a measure of influence.

For instance, if you added a few urgency elements during checkout, it may entice window shoppers to make a purchase.

Think about the last time you bought something you didn’t intend to because the deal was too sweet to pass up.

It happens to the most disciplined of us.

The bottom line?

Without urgency elements, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.

The solution

Step #1: Let customers know when an item is almost sold out. That increases the incentive to get it immediately.

Here’s an example:

Celestial Boot Black

Step #2: Use the language of immediacy.

Words like “instantly,” “today,” and “now” are all useful in that regard. I also recommend using active verbs and power words to encourage people to act right away.

Step #3: Satisfy your customers’ need for instant gratification.

Here’s what that means:

what is instant gratification Google Search

You want to give customers a sense that they’ll get what they want immediately.

This is an innate human need.

If you appeal to it, your customers will respond.

If you’re selling an information product, instant gratification is easy to provide. Your customers can have electronic access without delay.

But it’s trickier when you’re selling a product that has to be shipped.

My advice?

Take a page out of Amazon’s playbook.

They do this brilliantly.

Here’s what I mean:

Amazon com Checkout

If you know your items will be delivered to you in a couple of days, chances are you’ll be more likely to check out ASAP.

5. There’s not enough information on the checkout page

Nothing kills action like uncertainty.

If you don’t provide enough information on the checkout page, customers are likely to be unsure of the process.

They’ll start second-guessing their decisions and won’t complete their purchases.

The solution

Step #1: Include product details on the checkout page.

It’s a good practice to remind customers what they’re paying for and how much.

Here is an example from WebinarJam.

When you select a plan, they let you know what you’ve chosen. They also give you the next steps in the checkout process.

WebinarJam

Step #2: Ensure there’s continuity between what’s on a product page and what’s displayed on the checkout page.

Has this ever happened to you?

You read the product page thoroughly and place the item in your cart only to find different information on the checkout page.

Even if it’s something slight, I assure you, it deters many people from completing the transaction.

Step #3: Include support options on the checkout page.

Consider having a live chat, email support, phone support, and a link to a FAQ page.

You don’t need to have all of these, but one or two will go a long way in securing the trust of customers.

It will also help move the purchase along if customers have a legitimate problem that needs to be taken care of before they go through with a transaction.

I’ve highlighted the common reasons why your checkout page may cause shoppers to abandon their carts.

The truth is, you need to consider your circumstances.

Sure, the “best practices” are useful.

But without concrete analytics, you’ll be making changes blindly.

A data-driven approach to dealing with shopping cart abandonment

Want to find out the exact cause of your shopping cart abandonment?

Google Analytics is the tool to use.

It’s simple. I’ll give you a step-by-step play.

Step #1: Find the “Admin” tab so you can create a conversion goal:

Analytics 6

This is so you can track the actions your web visitors take.

Click on “Goals”:

Analytics 7

Step #2: Create a new goal and set it up to track a completed transaction.

Analytics 5

In the first step of the goal setup, select an appropriate template.

While you’re tracking cart abandonment, your ultimate goal is to get customers to make a completed online payment.

Select that option:

Analytics 9

It’s time to describe your goal.

Name your goal, and select “Destination” as the goal type.

The destination can be a thank-you page, which will help you track the number of completed purchases.

Analytics 3

Next, you want to set the URL of your Destination.

As I mentioned, this could be any page that customers are directed to after their purchases.

The only reason someone would be on this page is if they completed a transaction, right?

Analytics 4

Step #3: Map the path customers take leading up to complete a transaction.

This is what will help you determine where the pitfalls in your sales funnel are.

In the same “Goal details” section, switch the Funnel option to “ON.”

Analytics 8

List all the steps that customers take leading up to the purchase. Name each step, and add the corresponding URL.

Like this:

Analytics 2

If you have a one-page checkout, only include that page, of course.

Whatever steps customers take, include them all.

You may want to go through the process yourself to make sure.

Save your goal, and that’s it for the setup. Tracking will begin, and you’ll now have detailed data for each step of your funnel.

Step #4: Check your reports to analyze the data.

Here’s where to find them.

Under “Conversions,” click on “Goals.”

Top Conversion Paths Analytics

Pay special attention to “Funnel Visualization.”

Top Conversion Paths Analytics 1

You’ll see an illustration that looks something like this:

Goal Funnel Analytics

I just created this, so there’s no data. It will take some time for yours to show up as well.

This data will tell you where in your funnel customers are jumping ship. It will also tell you in how many sessions your goal was completed.

Useful, right?

You’ll have a complete view of the way customers move through your funnel. You can now make informed adjustments to decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate.

You should know this though: there’ll always be customers who drop out before completing a purchase.

That’s just the nature of the game.

You can optimize your process to reduce that percentage significantly.

But will the lost sales be lost forever?

Can they be salvaged?

They can, and I’ll tell you how.

The ultimate solution to recovering abandoned carts

I hate to bring up this depressing statistic again, but only 3 out of 10 shoppers complete their purchases.

There is, however, a simple follow-up step that can increase that number significantly.

Crazily enough, most businesses don’t take advantage of it.

I’m referring to cart abandonment emails.

This could be one email or a whole sequence. You decide.

The point of these emails is to recover lost sales. If a customer adds items to their cart and leaves without checking out, be sure to follow up via email.

Here’s a brilliant example from Vanity Planet:

70 off on orders over 60 nellianestclair gmail com Gmail 2

Many things are going right in this email. It:

  • offers a massive discount
  • includes a free shipping offer
  • uses personal and persuasive language
  • provides a simple solution for returning to cart
  • has a direct link to checkout

They made an irresistible offer.

Many people would go back to complete their purchases in a heartbeat.

When cart abandonment emails are done right, they’re hands down the most powerful solution to recapture lost sales.

I highly recommend you test this strategy and watch it make a difference.

Conclusion

Dealing with shopping cart abandonment can be daunting.

It’s also frustrating when more than half of your prospects aren’t converting into sales—and you don’t know why.

There is any number of reasons why it might happen.

And to be frank, some of them are inevitable.

But others? You can do something about.

For many businesses, the checkout process is the biggest culprit when it comes to lost sales. I’ve pinpointed some of the most common issues and their fixes in this article.

Use them as a litmus test.

But don’t stop there.

I can tell you that applying best practices only to your checkout pages won’t transform your sales funnel.

It’s crucial you take a more data-backed strategy to deal with abandoned carts.

Include Google Analytics in your arsenal, and set up conversion goals.

This way, you’ll have detailed analytics to make the sort of changes that will maximize your profits.

What do you think is the best strategy to ensure customers complete their purchases?


Quick Sprout

Use a Content Audit as the Key to Crafting Your Content Marketing Strategy

Conducting a content audit is on the list of best practices for nearly every content marketer. Yet 37 percent of content marketers never complete a content audit.

A content audit helps you develop and navigate a content strategy. It enables you to allocate and analyze all of your existing content to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Most importantly, a content audit informs how you optimize both existing and future content.

The benefits span nearly every area of content marketing, from improved SEO to a better understanding of your content gaps. The ultimate benefit for many however, is in how an audit enables you to create a well thought-out, documented content strategy.

Only 46 percent of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. For those without one, planning a content strategy based on a content audit should be top priority.

Read on to learn how to use your content audit to develop a content strategy that works. This post shares an in-depth guide that also includes a helpful template. 

Starting a Content Audit

To begin:

  1. Make a list of content marketing goals and the information you need to achieve those goals.
  2. Develop a plan for extracting and compiling this information.

Having your goals and information sources in place helps you create a content strategy document more efficiently.

Next, track down and review your existing content. List each asset on a content inventory spreadsheet. Then add key terms to a keyword analysis spreadsheet. Use these two spreadsheets to create an insights document that will be the basis of your content strategy.

Update Your Content Strategy Document

If you already have a written content marketing strategy, this part is easy. Just use it as a template and update it with the new data from the audit. If you don’t have one, start by asking questions to inform your strategy.

Questions to Ask When Developing Your Content Strategy

Use your content audit to answer these questions — they will inform your content marketing strategy:

  • Which parts of your site generate the most traffic and which pages convert the most users?
  • Are there pages or posts within your site that bounce users away? Why?
  • Which content can be optimized to improve its ranking?
  • Are there pages that could be consolidated to minimize overlap?
  • Which pages lack relevancy and could be removed from the site altogether?
  • Which posts and pages rank best and engage users the most?
  • Which pages and posts on your site “should” be ranking, but aren’t?
  • Are there gaps within your content strategy you can fill with new content?
  • Can you identify and prioritize the content assets of a new client or campaign?
  • Which pain points within your site, content, and UX can you quickly fix?

After using your content audit to answer these questions, it’s time to write the content strategy.

What Should a Content Strategy Look Like?

A content strategy document combines a broad overview of your goals with detailed tactics. It starts with a general overview of the content audit, along with key points. This summary should include statistics about how much content was audited, the number of pages to be changed, and the metrics you focused on.

From there, you'll need to establish the following:

Then you can dive into detailed tactics and strategies. This is where your keyword research spreadsheet comes back into the picture. It reveals the content gaps and keyword mishaps you can begin to fix and assign as action items within your content strategy.

Clearly communicate which changes are the priority and why so that everyone knows next steps and expectations. 

Curata’s Content Strategy: What We’ve Learned

Curata recently conducted a content audit. We’ve updated our content strategy based on the insights we discovered. Here are some of the takeaways we’ve integrated into our content strategy:

Traffic and Conversions

We found that on our site, pages with the most traffic were mostly “ultimate list” blog posts. The exceptions included evergreen content such as a white paper template blog post, editorial calendar blog post, and a social media guest post by Neal Schaffer.

Other than the guest post, all high-traffic posts have been re-published multiple times and promoted heavily. Our next steps are to track the success of these posts to see how they perform compared to other current posts that could turn evergreen.

We are also examining the promotion strategy for these posts to see if it had an impact. For example, since traffic for the Neal Schaffer blog post is coming from Google organically, we plan on looking more deeply into how it was promoted. We’ll use a three-month period as a benchmark and compare content velocity.

Ranking Optimization Opportunities

We found 147 blog posts without keywords that are ripe for optimization.

Recommendations

We identified pages with high time on page and high views as prime opportunities for repurposing content. Those with high time on page and low views are excellent targets for additional promotion.

Most Proven Topics By:

1) Sessions

  • Social media platform
  • Web content
  • Editorial Calendar
  • Successful content marketer

2) Leads Touched

  • Social media variations
  • Content marketing tool
  • Content marketing platform

3) Pipeline Touched

  • Social media variations
  • Content marketing tool

Our strategy also includes a section on page authority outliers as well as tests, new content ideas, and strategy recommendations.

Next Steps

Continue to update your strategy document as you get results from the new tactics you’re implementing. If you don’t already have one, a documented content strategy such as The Content Marketing Pyramid will be useful for your content audit.

Conduct another audit in six months to a year and repeat the process. Regardless of how you go about it, remember that content audits done right will significantly change your approach to content strategies and teams.

As the results from your data come in, you'll need to have actionable insights ready to adopt. This eBook, The Future of Content Marketing offers insights and examples of excellence. Start using it today!

eConsultancy Future of Content Marketing

Featured image source: Pexels


Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

Visualization Techniques to Communicate Data

So here’s the deal: you’ve spent a ton of time with your data and you know it inside out. You’ve wrangled, sliced and diced it and are now the expert with this data for this problem. You’ve uncovered new, actionable insights that will lead to fantastic opportunities or improve your bottom line. Great! Time to show your colleagues or your boss or your clients these findings.

You open your data tool of choice, quickly create some charts and make it all look pretty with a flashy color scheme or fancy logos. More often than not, we fly through this final stage and don’t give the data visualization step the due care it needs. This is insane!

Think about it. Your charts and dashboards are most likely the only piece of information your boss or client will interact with. The only information! And yet, here we are, creating default charts and missing the opportunity to really convey our message.

Effective charts are a compelling way to show your data. The human brain is simply better at retaining and recalling information that has been presented visually.

Sales chart year-over-year comparison

In this article I will discuss several techniques that will help you create more effective charts to communicate the underlying data.There’s no big secret here. However, by applying deliberate thought, a handful of best practices, and allocating sufficient time in projects for the data visualization step, you can make a big difference to the impact of your charts.

Plan your approach

Before firing up your favorite data visualization software, it pays to spend some time thinking about your output and your goals. Start by answering a few simple questions:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What medium will you use to show your charts? (e.g. slides / dashboard / report etc.)
  • What is the goal of this project?

For example, consider the audience who will view your chart. How long will they have to study it? How familiar are they with the data? Are they technically inclined? Do they want detailed charts, or quick summaries?

You want to optimize your message to resonate with your audience, so the more you know about them, the more likely you’ll be able to achieve that.

Likewise, how you deliver your message will affect your decisions. Is it a chart in a slide deck? In an informal email? A formal report? An interactive dashboard?

Reports and dashboards are typically pored over for longer periods of time, so charts and findings can be more detailed, whereas presentations or client pitches are short and sweet, where the audience will only have a moment to understand and absorb the information.

Lastly, think about what your end goal is. What do you want your audience to do with the information you show them? For example, if you want your manager to make a cost-benefit decision for a new hire or expensive research tool, make sure your solution answers the question and facilitates making that decision.

Deliberately focus the viewer’s attention

Remember, the point of your visualizations is to communicate information, and you can ensure they do that more effectively by giving prominence to the key message within your chart.

You can do this by using attributes, for example color, to highlight specific elements of your charts and focus your audience’s attention there. These are known as pre-attentive attributes, and they dramatically help speed up the absorption of information.

Consider this chart showing the open rates for four newsletters that you manage. There’s an important story in there, but it’s difficult to see with the default colors:

Newsletter open rates chart

However, by carefully using colors, we can bring that story to the fore:

Newsletter open rates with color

Add context to aid understanding

Consider the two charts above, showing email newsletter open rates. The second chart also has a heading that adds context to the story. The words complement the chart and reinforce the message.

Much like writing titles for your blog posts or newsletters, think about the title of your chart in the same way. It should tell the viewer what to expect in your chart and summarize the message.

Similarly, your data may have unexpected spikes or dips, so you might want to use annotations directly on the data points or as footnotes, to make sure the viewers have all the context they need.

Reduce clutter in charts

Renowned data visualization pioneer Edward Tufte coined the term data-ink ratio to convey the ratio of ink needed to tell the core message in your display, divided by the total ink in the display. The idea is to maximize this ratio, in other words, reduce the amount of non-essential ink.

Let’s see that in practice. Compare the following two charts showing Amazon’s revenue between 2007 and 2016:

Amazon revenue cluttered

After decluttering, the annual revenue figures jump out at the viewer and the information is much quicker to absorb:

Amazon revenue chart after decluttering

Avoid using overly complex charts for the sake of it

There are a lot of complex chart types out there: waterfall charts, radar charts, box and whisker plots, bubble graphs, steamgraphs, tree maps, pareto charts, etc. etc.

Sometimes these may be appropriate for specific cases (e.g. a Sankey chart to show web traffic flow) but it really comes back to the question of who your intended audience is and what medium you’ll be showing your chart through.

Does this radar chart really communicate your message well? Would a simple bar chart, which is widely understood, be a better alternative?

Radar chart example

Whenever I teach a dataviz class, I always say that a good chart should be like a good joke: it should be understood without you having to explain it.

Is that pie chart really the best choice?

Pie charts are popular and ubiquitous, but somewhat maligned by the data visualization community. Why is that?

Consider this default pie chart in Data Studio, showing website Sessions broken out by Medium:

Bad pie chart example

This chart (and pie charts in general), have two main drawbacks: 1) it’s hard as human beings to decipher the relative sizes of the slices (and the order and position of them affects this), and 2) the long tail is unreadable. Plus, the legend is ugly to look at.

A much better chart for data with many categories and a long-tail would be a standard bar chart. Nothing fancy here, but it’s super quick and easy to read off the values, especially for the smaller categories (e.g. compare trying to understand email sessions in the pie chart vs. the bar chart).

Bar chart to replace pie chart

So if you’re going to use them, restrict pie charts to small numbers of categories (I’d advise three or less), and always ask yourself if a simple bar chart or table would suffice and be quicker to read.

Be careful with dual axes charts

Dual axes charts should be used with caution as they often cause confusion. It’s tempting to use them when trying to chart data series with large size differences, as shown in the following image. Which series goes with which axis? Lines that overlap will also confer meaning that doesn’t actually exist, because the series are on different scales.

Dual axis confusion

Some strategies you can use to mitigate confusion include matching the series and axes with different colors, labeling the axes clearly and even using different chart types for the different series (line with a bar).

However, I’d still advocate only using them sparingly. It’s often better to show the two series in separate charts next to each other.

When to start the y-axis at 0

For bar charts, you should always start the y-axis at 0 since the height of the bar represents the count in that category. We look at the height of the bars and compare them. If one bar is twice the height of the other, then we’re going to conclude that the value of that category is twice the value of the other category, even if the axis shows otherwise.

Consider this simple example. Both bar charts have been plotted from the same data but they tell very different stories:

Truncated y-axis

Vox Media created an excellent video about truncating the y-axis. With line charts we don’t need to be so strict with truncated y-axes as the visual lines are used to compare trends, not actual values, as in the case of bars. Indeed you sometimes need to narrow the range with line charts to show the story.

Remember to consider the color blind

Approximately 10% of the male population and 1% of the female population identify as color-blind, and the most common type is Red-Green color-blind. So it pays to keep this in mind when designing your charts.

Closing Thoughts

Once you’ve created your charts, or your dashboard, pause and ask yourself these few questions:

  • Is it effective at communicating your message?
  • Is it efficient at communicating your message?
  • Ultimately, does the audience benefit from seeing your visualization?

There is no single right answer with data visualizations, as it will depend on many of the factors discussed above. People will come out with different charts from the same dataset, all of which could be equally effective. However, by following some best practices and thinking critically about your charts, you can improve them dramatically.

I’ll leave you with some parting words from a master in this field:

“Above all else show the data” Edward Tufte

image 
Sales chart year-over-year comparison
Sales chart year-over-year comparison


Online Behavior – Marketing Measurement & Optimization

Breaking the Digital Fourth Wall Through Experiential Storytelling

The fourth wall is the space that separates a performer or performance from an audience. A character, actor, author or storyteller “breaks the fourth wall” when they address the audience directly. 

As an analyst, author, blogger, podcaster and creator, I am by default, in the content business. Dedicating time to produce my work matters not if no one happens upon it. But once someone discovers my work, it must convincingly pierce the fourth wall between the medium and them to connect and inspire a meaningful reaction.

Publishing for an audience of one is critical these days. People must believe that they are heard, validated and in some way, part of the artifact…as if I was able to put words to what they were thinking or feeling. But it takes more than engagement. In an era of social media, the ability (and gift) to talk to one person unlocks the ability to talk to many others like them.

Creators must appreciate that everyone now has an audience with an audience of audiences. Thus is social networking. The ability to talk to and through someone is now an art form and a very special and mindful approach to shared storytelling. To shift from impressions to expressions, takes a different level of thoughtful and empathetic design. We now must consider content that breaks the fourth wall between producer and audience and also between audience and their audiences.

I wanted to share a recent and personal presentation I shared at Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley. I learned a lot in the development of WTF and X and I hope I can, in some way, help you better and more genuinely connect with your audience of audiences. Plus there’s a bonus “10 Commandments of Marketing” at the end.

About Brian

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

The post Breaking the Digital Fourth Wall Through Experiential Storytelling appeared first on Brian Solis.


Brian Solis

Striking the Scaffolding in 46A

On the 29th August the first section of the scaffolding in Gallery 46A was struck, and the team from Coventry Scaffolding began the enormous process of removing the hundreds of scaffolding boards and poles from the gallery.

The team from Coventry Scaffolding hard at work in 46A

The scaffolding is split into three zones, and the team have started dismantling Zone 1 at the North end. This has enabled work by conservation and technical services staff to continue on Zone 2 and 3, focusing particularly on Trajan’s Column (Repro.1864-128). The objects that could be removed from the gallery have been, however a significant number are attached to the gallery walls or are just too heavy and complicated to move. These objects have remained in situ throughout the renovation of the space, and conservation has been undertaken from the scaffold. The uppermost areas of free-standing objects, such as the St Leonard Tabernacle (Repro.1876-104), have been conserved, and the lower areas will be conserved once the scaffolding has been removed. Future blog posts by V&A conservators will discuss in detail the process of conserving specific objects in the Cast Courts.

The freshly renovated roof has now been revealed.

The team from Coventry Scaffolding began by removing Level 10 of the scaffolding, which has allowed light from the newly renovated roof to flood the space. This has also given a glimpse of the new paintwork at the top of the gallery.

The gallery has been completely re-painted as part of the renovation.

The dismantling of the scaffolding will continue for the next three months. This process is lengthy and time-consuming as the boarding and poles need to be removed carefully from around the objects, and once dismantled the scaffolding can only leave the gallery out of museum visiting hours.

The view from Level 9 of the scaffold.

The dismantling of the scaffolding, and the work of V&A conservators and technicians can still be viewed from The Gilbert Bayes gallery in Room 111.

Blog

Old Spice Launches 2h Invisible YouTube Film

This is perhaps Old Spice’s weirdest experiment yet. And it’s called “Invisible World”, a full feature length 2 hour online film where you can’t see a thing, all designed to promote their new Invisible Spray deodorant. Reminder: You see absolutely nothing in this film, a few words here and there, a glitch of colour randomly… […]


Digital Buzz Blog

5 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your Analytics (And How to Fix It)

Consulting data is good.

But being a slave to data is not.

There is such a thing as being too data-obsessed. Confirmation bias pops up. And you miss the good, albeit, intangible stuff that comes along with your efforts.

The solution is to uncover those biases and misunderstandings that lead you astray.

It’s not easy. Or even intuitive. But it’s the only way to avoid these five analytics blinders.

Here’s how it strikes when you least expect it.

Here’s why you fall for it.

And here’s how to avoid it by bringing in other types of feedback and analysis.

Lie #1. Your “Conversions” Are Flawless

You’ve got three AdWords campaigns.

  • The first brings in zero leads on $ 78 bucks spent.
  • The second brings in one at a cost of $ 135.31.
  • The third brings in two at $ 143.28 per lead.

Nine times out of ten, the campaign with more “conversions” is declared the winner.

But what do you really, truly, know about this scenario?

Which campaign is actually performing the best? Which is putting the most money back into your pocket?

There’s simply no way to tell at this point.

First and foremost, these “conversions” are leads — not closed customers.

Second, they might be for different products or services. So different average order values or LTVs come into play.

Third, this is nowhere close to statistical significance. For example, the third campaign has the most leads because you’ve spent the most money on it.

Not because it’s “better.”

What if you simply spend the same amount on the first two? What if you let them both get to around the same ~$ 150/per mark?

See what I mean?

Too many “what ifs” for my taste.

Yet this is exactly what happens inside any marketing department. The same end result pops up after each client or superior meeting.

Everyone points to the third campaign. It gets the adulation. It gets the increased budget. It gets the additional staff and resources.

So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One solution to figure all this out is closed loop analysis.

Ideally, your goal is to match up the customer’s information (name, email, phone, credit card) to the lead data you’re seeing inside Google Analytics.

Haha — just kidding.

That would mean you were gathering Personally Identifiable Information, which is a big no-no in Google Analytics.

Do it and they’ll delete your account right away.

The simplest alternative is to just use a tool that gives you this power, without jeopardizing your data. Hint, hint.

Lie #2. Your “Top” Traffic Sources

What are your top sources of traffic?

A quick glance inside Google Analytics usually tells you (1) organic search and (2) direct. Maybe a little (3) referrals thrown in for good measure if you got some press last month.

Here’s the problem.

Two of those three are legit. The other is not.

The problem is that your direct traffic isn’t, in reality, all that “direct.”

Technically, this should be the number of people typing in your website URL to the address bar and hitting “Enter.”

Instead, it’s a healthy mix of email, social media, and good ol’ organic search.

The bigger the site, the bigger this problem usually is.

For example, The Atlantic couldn’t account for or explain how 25% of their visitors came to their site.

One of the biggest publishers in the world. One of the most respected. Who gets paid based on the number of visitors and page views they get. Has no idea how a quarter of their traffic is getting to their site.

That ain’t good.

But how can you really tell where people are coming from, if most analytics programs can’t tell you with any degree of accuracy?

For instance, let’s say your new, fantastic-looking email campaign is about to go out.

It’s been given the green light. “Legal” gives you the A-OK.

But wait! You didn’t tag the promo links correctly.

Now, you’ve spent all that time on a campaign that won’t have anything to show for it, because the traffic you get will now end up in the dumpster pile officially known as “Direct traffic.”

This isn’t just an email. It affects each and every social message, press mention, and blog post referral, too.

It can even affect your organic search traffic.

Groupon found this out the hard way. Literally. By completely de-indexing themselves for a few hours.

What did those crazy couponers find? That nearly 60% of their direct traffic was actually coming from organic search.

Sixty-freaking-percent.

But don’t freak out just yet. There are solutions here.

First, you can use Google’s UTM builder to make sure you are properly tagging your links. This means any and everything you have control over.

Manually tag them before they head out the door, or copy & paste into a lightweight app like Terminus.

If you’ve got long, cumbersome URL, you can be pretty sure that any traffic to that page didn’t come from Direct traffic.

People aren’t going to remember it. Which means they aren’t going to just spontaneously type it in.

Instead, these peeps probably came from another place, like an organic search or email.

However, in the same breath, you can probably consider homepage traffic to be legitimate Direct.

So create a segment based on these URLs and traffic sources to pinpoint “Dark Traffic” in its tracks. And prevent it from ruining your data in the future.

Lie #3. Top of the Funnel Performance = Results

Yes, we want traffic.

Yes, we want pageviews.

They make us feel all warm and fuzzy and proud. Like our hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

But they should not be the end-all, be-all.

Use them to see how you’re doing over last month. But don’t misunderstand numbers to be the Holy Grail, either.

Like this, for instance:

Looking at only this, you walk away feeling like a boss for all the numbers you’ve racked up. Seriously, I can’t even count that high.

But what about when you consider the bounce and exit rates for each of those pages? Are people staying? No? Color you embarrassed.

Are you still so excited by your thousands of pageviews if most of them left immediately?

Bounce rates are real. And you’ve gotta consider them when you are looking at your metrics.

They mean that people haven’t had the chance to interact with your soft micro conversions. They haven’t had a chance to activate.

So take a look at the big picture.

Are your blog posts and site pulling people in, but not making them stay?

This isn’t a horrible problem to have, because it’s a problem you can pinpoint.

The traffic is there. They just don’t really like what they are seeing once they get to your site. Which you can fix.

First, set up some events to get a better idea of what’s happening on your pages. Then, make sure you have actionable goals that will allow for movement you can track.

Or use the Kissmetrics’ Customer Engagement Automation tool to analyze what people are actually doing on your site and with your products. Then, you can interact with behavior-based messaging to keep them around longer. Or keep them coming back for more.

That way, you can increase conversions, engagement, and retention without the guesswork.

kissmetrics populations

Just always remember that numbers don’t tell the whole story. Use them with a grain of salt and a little bit of context.

Lie #4. Deceptive A/B “Wins”

I’m just going to be honest with you. Those A/B testing “wins” you just got? Don’t always have the best track record.

I’m sorry to be so harsh right off the bat. Sometimes the truth hurts.

What’s even more worrisome? Oftentimes, tests will look like they have succeeded. But that’s not always the case (or at least, not the whole picture).

Start with Google Analytics content experiments, instead.

You can use it to contrast your varying pages to see if there are any sizeable adjustments that cause positive changes.

Instead, it allows you to compare different page variations to see which ‘bigger’ changes result in improvements. Maybe this works a little better because it adds an extra letter– it’s an A/B/N test.

content-experiment-step-one

The problem with this test is when you get a little too grab-happy.

You can quickly and easily remove fields to get better results, for instance. A simple reduction of three fields will increase your conversions by 11%.

Or, you can take away specific conversion-busters like the need to add a credit card for a non-paying trial. Sure, this will up your “conversions.”

But remember how far that got you a few lies ago?

That credit card field you took away? It was a huge indicator for which of your customers will eventually buy. 50% of people who put in their credit card will end up converting. While only 15% will of those who don’t enter a credit card will.

And we’re talkin’, conversions-conversions here. Like, bottom-of-the-funnel, paying customer conversions.

Context is key when you are looking at analytics.

Don’t test landing pages or simple changes to fields while only evaluating the top of the funnel. Make sure you dig in to see how the changes affect the rest of the customer experience and journey.

To do that, use the Funnel Report so you can see exactly how top-of-the-funnel changes are impacting bottom-of-the-funnel sales.

Lie #5. Your Channel Source Attribution

A Forrester Research study years ago found that 33% of all transactions of all transactions happened after new customers had gone through more than one touchpoint.

That number jumps to 48% when considering repeat customers.

The same report showed that paid search is the highest source of conversions.

Is it, though?

Or is it just the last point most commonly used before a sale?

Just because it’s the last one, doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

What other marketing tactics are working to increase growth? Forrester went on to declare that while email works for repeat conversions, social media brings in less than 1% of sales.

Ok. Then how do you explain SpearmintLOVE?

You know, the freaking baby blog that boosted their revenue by 991% in year using Facebook and Instagram.

The only reason I know about them? Because my wife has bought clothes from them. After discovering them on Facebook and Instagram.

One, simple Google graph puts this myth to bed. Fast.

If you look at the left side, or “assist interactions,” you’ll see that social channels will put new products in front of people.

As you move toward the middle, customers get more information about products and options using search. At the end, they’re on their way to the website.

Notice all the possible interaction options here. It’s not just the last-touch that brought the customer to the website. They can take many steps to get there.

Google Analytics has a few different attribution options built-in to help you change how conversions are assigned.

Image Source

These include:

  • Last Non-Direct Click: This will overlook Direct clicks and go to the channel used right before.
  • First Interaction: This uses the social or advertisement that got them to the website.
  • Linear: Here, each channel that a customer used before purchasing will get equal attribution.
  • Time Decay: This will consider the channel that was used immediately before conversion, rather than channels used in the past day/week/month.
  • Position: This model gives priority to the first and last channel used before conversion. Anything in the middle gets less attribution.

The depressing part, though?

There’s no right answer here. The attribution model you pick largely depends on your sales cycle, your customers, and even what specific objective you’re trying to figure out.

For example, if you’re spending a ton on ads, you might want to see how the First Interaction looks. Especially when using social ads that often bring people into your ecosystem for the very first time.

In other cases? It would be a terrible choice.

The trick is to know what you’re solving for, first. Then working backwards.

Conclusion

Data is important. It’s huge.

YOOGE.

But, be careful.

Google Analytics is a marvelous, cost effective, game-changing tool.

However, it’s been known to lie a little from time-to-time. (Yes, we’re still talking about Google Analytics here.)

Remember that conversion results aren’t always spot on. Direct traffic data might not be correct. Vanity metrics aren’t everything. A/B results can fire off false positives. And last touch isn’t everything.

Uncovering biases is never fun.

But it’s the key to creating campaigns that actually achieve results.

Without just blowing a lot of hot air.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.


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