As we ring in the New Year at Lever Interactive, our online marketing teams have come together to share some of their favorite advancements of online marketing tools in 2011.
The online marketing world is constantly evolving (as you know) and 2011 was no different for new technologies, features and advancements in website management, PPC advertising and SEO. Some of our teams have compiled their favorite new features to engines, technologies and online marketing management tools in 2011.
Google’s free online analytics tool made numerous updates and additions in 2011, including the roll out of a paid package, Google Premium. One 2011 update Lever’s team highlighted as especially useful was the real-time dashboard.
The Real-Time section displays top referrals, top keywords, top active pages and top locations all in real time. For a more in-depth overview, check out Jen’s blog post from October.
“The top locations data is the reason why this made my list because it has been very helpful with one of my retail clients. With the client’s continued international expansion, determining new countries to target is key to the success of our campaigns. Also, our campaigns are very sale based and rely on critical time frames. We can instantly see if during a sale the targeted countries are trending in traffic.” – Danyl H.
For more additions to Analytics in 2011 (including mobile and social reporting, multi-channel funnels and the new Google Analytics v5 roll-out) check out Jen Davis’ 2011 Google Analytics blog posts in our archives!
For many Lever staff members, a large portion of their day is spent within Google AdWords managing PPC campaigns of all shapes and sizes. Any additions to the AdWords online or desktop tool that makes our job easier or campaigns run smoother, generates excitement in the office. One favorite in 2011 was the Google AdWords Dimensions tab.
“The dimensions tab provides an easy way to pull a variety of reports, including geographic, demographic, daily and hourly reports. It’s much quicker than having to run these reports separately in the old reporting interface.” – Jamie W.
What’s your favorite dimension to pivot your AdWords data by? I most often use the Geographic and Hour of Day dimensions. For more info on dimensions, Jeremy Decker over at Search Engine Journal recently posted a thorough review of the dimension tab to increase conversion rate.
Some other AdWords 2011 additions receiving staff mentions- Social Extensions and Google Display Network targeting by interest categories (previously in beta).
In late 2011, Microsoft adCenter rolled out an upgraded look to their interface along with some new reporting features. It was a refreshing change that reduced some of the more cumbersome elements of the interface and brought it closer to the functionality you may be use to in Google AdWords. For more details on the upgrade, stop by Search Engine Watch and read John Rampton’s November article.
One of the fall updates to adCenter included a staff favorite – exact match negative keywords.
“It is important to have this level of detail when closely managing large client accounts. I was happy to see adCenter take this next step toward increasing functionality and campaign management options in their system. Hopefully it continues to expand in 2012.” – Brad B.
Google Webmaster Tools
Lever Interactive’s SEO team is good at adapting to changes with the continuous updates engines make to their algorithm, so 2011 was no different than years past. With Google’s decision to begin encrypting searches of users signed in through secure connections, various SEO reporting in Google Analytics became more limited.
One feature in the new Google Analytics interface to help overcome this limitation is through synching into Google Webmaster Tools. In the v5 version of Google Analytics, when you click through Traffic Sources > Search Engine Optimization > Queries, you will see this.
Click “Set Up Webmaster Tools data sharing” and follow the steps. In a minute you’ll have your Google Webmaster data in your Google Analytics account and you can report on impressions by landing page, search queries, clicks, click through rate and even average position.
“It takes some getting used to, but it’s accurate data without guessing, and it’s a step forward toward deep keyword analysis after the push backwards. This makes it very easy to analyze and plan your search engine optimization because you can visualize organic behavior from query to conversion (or exit). This makes it a bit easier to plan content creation by page or category based on which queries are dropping visitors off on your various landing pages.” – Mike H.
Website Design & Development
We’re wrapping up our list of favorite 2011 online marketing management advancements with our web design team! Although not a new idea, with the rapid expansion of mobile and tablet websites in 2011, the expanded capabilities and use of responsive website layouts is an exciting area of growth in the industry Lever’s design team looks forward to using in 2012. Responsive layouts, formally called fluid layouts, adjust design and images based on the size of your browser window, to provide improved and more customized experiences for the visitor.
“These elements were great in 2011 for mobile websites because the flexible layout will reposition the content as necessary and the flexible images will resize on the fly without reducing the quality. These features help mobile sites look consistent across many mobile devices.” – Jonathan S.
An example of a responsive layout is http://css-tricks.com – open the page and play around with the size of your browser to see the changes in the site.
What are your favorite additions to online marketing tools last year?
Stay tuned for our blog post tomorrow for our staff’s resolutions and wish lists for online marketing advancements in 2012!