Users, cookies and misleading conversion attribution

Have you ever felt that an advertiser is following you? It’s very common, specially after you show some kind of interest for a product. Say you are going on vacations to Berlin and at some moment you were looking for a place to stay in Airbnb. “Forgot it”, you think. “I found a cheaper hotel in Booking.com and I don’t need a place to stay anymore”. Nevertheless, Airbnb doesn’t know that happened and they will keep showing ads to everyone that at some moment got interested for a reservation. There is where the advertiser starts following you. Let’s see how this works.

If you read the post on Google Analytics a few weeks ago, you may know you can track user behavior in our website, by using a Javascript Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) that tracks events and conversions within your website. For instance, correctly installed, we may know how many people are at this exact moment in my website or how many of them purchased a product in the last 30 days, in case we are an eCommerce.

A similar approach is used by social media and search advertisers. Just like GATC, Facebook has a Pixel code we can install so we know what happened during a visit to our website, which products did users visit, if they added a product to a cart and if they ended purchasing the product (or not). Continue reading

Google Analytics: back to the basics

Since I started writing mirincon.co in 2008, not always I did the right things. It took me a couple of years to learn how to create hight quality content, to know how often should I post or how to write SEO-friendly posts. This happened because nobody taught me how to run a blog. I learned by doing and seeing what others were doing. I’ve read books and tons of blogs and during the process I’ve learned. Nevertheless, there’s a lot I don’t know yet as well. And this is what happened to me recently with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is an extremely useful tool I didn’t use for ages, and when I started using it I learned it from the scratch. This happened back in 2013. I used to work at an SEO agency, and one of the first things I realized was that my blog didn’t event have a Google Analytics code installed. Man, that’s like 5 years of lost data!

Once I learned that lesson, I installed Google Analytics. By doing this, I would have the chance of tracking how users were using and finding my blog.

In case you don’t know, Google Analytics is a technology anyone with access to the HTML code of a website can install. You just need a Google Account and set up separately a Google Analytics account. After setting up your account, you will have a Javascript Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) that will look like the one below. This code will be able to recognize some events when a user loads a page. For example, this code may identify the time that a user passed in a single page before leaving our website or before visiting a new page, and there are tons of events and useful information Google Analytics will provide us about our users.

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Placements, devices and social media advertising

One confusing thing when talking to someone about online advertising for the first time is the question: where are my ads going to be displayed? It’s hard to explain because probably you can mention platforms (Facebook? Google Search? Twitter? – Mobile? Desktop?) but the complexity is more related to at what exact moment and in which placements your ad will have the chance of being shown, generating impressions, clicks, views or whatever KPI we are working on. By the way, what is a KPI?

Let’s just start by saying the definition of KPI: Key Performance Indicator. This is important for two reasons. First of all, because it will define what you consider success (or not). What is success for your business? Getting likes? I don’t think so. But if it was, the number of likes would be your KPI. Think that probably is more relevant the number of leads or new clients, for example. Or it can also be number of new App Installs you drove.

Let’s mention some KPIs:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Leads
  • Video Views
  • App Installs
  • etc.
This was important to mention because according to the KPI you decide to work with, you will better understand what a placement is. For example, Snapchat is not the best place to generate clicks. Probably is better for generating video views. Or it wouldn’t be accurate to use Pinterest to generate Leads. Probably it’s better to actually sell products. And Instagram for sure is an excellent platform to promote your new app. At the end of the day, people using Instagram are already using their mobile phone and they are just one click away from a new app install.

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The complexity around organic content

Back 10 years ago, organic content used to be more important than today. For then, Google was probably the only trusted source of traffic in the web. People typed a couple of keywords or questions in the search field, and Google would provide back a list of organic search results organized in pages, in which page 1 was the most trusted. In case you were desperate, you would go to page 2. These were the organic results.

Google organized these results according to a powerful algorithm they developed. This algorithm would take into account on-site and off-site elements. For example, if the URL or the title of the page contained the keyword typed by the user, there was a high chance for the website to appear in the search results, not necessarily in page 1. Or if there was tons of links pointing to a single URL, that was a signal of authority and Google would rank it in a better position, closer to the first result in page 1. Continue reading

The long road of creating high quality blog content

One of the reasons why creating content for Twitter is easy is because you just need to fill a form with no more than 140 characters. The same happens with Facebook: attach a picture, tag someone, write a message and that’s it. This also happens with other social media platforms. In Instagram and Snapchat we have an integrated camera in the app or in Pinterest we can install a button in our browser to Pin from it. On the other hand, it’s not the same story when creating a high quality piece of blog content.

While creating content for social media is becoming easier, creating high quality content for a blog is very complex as it demands hours of hard work. You gotta know not only your audience interests, but also to understand technical stuff about SEO, HTML and Web Analytics, among other things. At the end of the day, the difference between social media content and blogging content is that the former will disappear in a couple of days, while the other one will be indexed by Google and will remain there forever (?). This means that, when having a blog, people will be able to find and share our content in an individual basis because we will have an unique URL that makes it possible. My goal in this post is to describe the complexity behind this process and in the end I will propose a final checklist for the next time we plan to write a post in our blog.

For this post, I suppose we already have a blog in WordPress (or similar) with our own domain. It’s very important to mention this, considering that the URL we use provides credibility. It’s different to decide if clicking or a post whose URL contains .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com. If you see that the authorship of what users are going to read is shielded by an original domain, probably readers would trust more and wouldn’t think twice if it’s worth reading you for the first time. Continue reading

Anatomy of a Facebook Ads campaign

The first time I created Facebook Ads by myself, I didn’t know what I was doing, a common scenario for small and medium businesses. For then, as you may know, I had my personal blog (www.mirincon.co) and something that I actually wanted was that more people get interested in the posts I wrote. Based on this, one of the problems at that moment was that I didn’t know how Facebook could help me reach that objective.

Before understanding the anatomy of a Facebook Ads campaign, ask yourself this question: what do you want for your business? The answer of this question will help us to drive the objective of this post: explaining in detail all you need to know before, during and after creating your first Facebook Ads campaign.
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Domain registration: first steps

Hello, World! This is the first post of my brand new personal website, using my own domain danielafanador.co. As you may know, I already have my personal blog www.mirincon.co (in Spanish) in which I write in a weekly basis some thoughts about tech, education, economy, media, startups, among other things. The objective of this new website/blog is not to write opinions like the former one, but to post in a non-weekly basis about technical stuff I use in my daily work and personal projects. Just in case, I’ve worked with technology, advertising and Internet for more than 5 years and I started writing mirincon.co in 2008.

Now that you know what to expect, I want to talk in this first post about something I had to actually do to setup this website. So, if you are planning to create your own website or blog, be sure to read until the end of this post. Questions and comments are very welcome! Continue reading