RepEquity® Blog: Digital Brand Management Distilled

My Summer Internship at RepEquity as Told by GIFs

Education, productivity, excitement, and fun can ensue at RepEquity on any given day, and as an intern I’m happy I got to be a part of it. This summer was filled with new experiences like updating websites, writing articles, pranking colleagues, and learning how to efficiently load the beer cart on Fridays – a résumé builder indeed. As I return to school and my friends ask me what I did this summer, the only way that I can clearly explain my internship experience at RepEquity is through GIFs.

Training and Learning

Prior to the start of my internship, I had some basic experience with the digital space, but I was outrageously confused by certain concepts like search engine optimization (SEO) and digital advertising. Training sessions on various tools and concepts – such as Intro to SEO, Copywriting 101, and Google AdWords – gave me a strong base to grow and develop my skills. It also helped me gain a better understanding of how all the pieces of a digital brand puzzle come together.

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The learning process never ended, as I moved on to bigger, better, and more complex tasks and concepts throughout my time with RepEquity. I was able to apply my new knowledge to my work by creating advertising campaigns on Twitter, becoming Google AdWords Certified, writing online copy for SEO purposes, and updating Drupal websites in foreign languages. I was truly able to explore the digital space through an educational and exciting focus.

Social Media

As a college student, social media is already an important part of my life, but this summer, its use in the business sphere gave social media a whole new meaning to me. Whether it was drafting and scheduling posts or pulling reports for a client, utilizing social media for business and online reputation purposes was an eye-opening experience. That being said, I was sometimes frustrated when making sure to use the right #hashtag and to write in only 140 characters on Twitter. #Interning.

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Research and Writing

Through researching for various projects, I became an expert on topics that I did not even know existed previously. Sometimes, I even had to go to the second page of the Google results to find desired information. (My deep apologies to the SEO team.)

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Writing for the digital space is very different than writing academic papers. I love that there is no five-page minimum requirement or need to write in MLA format. This summer I got to write relevant and fresh content for clients and websites, such as this fabulous blog post.

Team Bonding and Fun  

During my first few weeks at RepEquity, we not only brought out the beer cart, but we also went out on a boat in Annapolis and even celebrated National Donut Day. I could tell right away that this was an office that likes to have fun. As an intern, this friendly and fun work environment made the experience less intimidating and much more enjoyable.

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With all this learning, excitement, and fun, the summer really flew by. RepEquity, as a growing and prosperous company, provided me with many opportunities to develop my skills and abilities, constantly be challenged, and always have fun. Having a desire to learn, confidence in my work, and a sense of humor made this summer internship one that I’ll never forget!  

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The Practical Implications of Precision vs. Accuracy in Web Analytics

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Many times clients ask why their web analytics data does not match other databases or what they know to be different. This often happens when the client’s site has low levels of traffic or form submissions. The expectation is that the web analytics tool — whether it be Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or any other tool — will show every single visit and submission as an exact match to the internal marketing databases. The reality is that the web analytical solutions cannot be expected to provide such exact measurements and that this is most evident when there are low levels of traffic.

For example, many clients count form submissions and find small differences between the submission in the web analytics and the data received in databases. This is especially visible when the form submissions are very low. The desire is for the web analytics to be an exact measure of every exact measure of performance rather than what it is intended to show – a trend or scale.

The Purpose of Analytics Tools

A key misconception surrounding web analytical tools is that they are designed to capture and report on every interaction. This is not the case. Web analytics tools are meant to show overall trends in aggregate and frequently do not capture exhaustive detail for every individual. Overall trends are less impacted by minor data variances. This is the level of accuracy and precision web analytics tools are centered around. They are not intended to be the tool for recording down to individual interactions. While web analytics tools can be configured for a level of such tracking, individual interactions are better tracked and reported upon with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

Accuracy and Precision

Why are web analytics tools not good for micro measurements? The answer lies in understanding the difference between accuracy and precision.

Accuracy means that the data is correct. Precision means that the data is consistent. Data may not be 100% accurate. And precise data may not be accurate at all. The aim is to have high levels of both accuracy and precision.

To have them both you need to be able to use a set of tools that capture, retain, and report on a large pool of data that is recorded in the same matter over time – in other words, you need to have both scale and consistency. This is prohibitive with web analytics tools for a number of reasons:

Tools Change

Web analytics tools use algorithms and other methods to collect, store, and report on data and are routinely updated. This can change the basis for the data as tools attempt to improve accuracy and precision and may add other measures that may not have consistent levels across metrics and dimensions.

Collection May Be Disabled

Web analytics tools are one of the easiest items to be disabled intentionally and unintentionally by a visitor, their browser, ISPs and others along the connection. Besides the complete disabling of tracking, events may occur that impact data collection, such as JavaScript not being allowed to run or failing, cookies being disabled or deleted, or browsers not fully loading or crashing on pages.

Tools Break

Even the best of tools do not always work. Sometimes they only partially capture information and face outages that can impact data collection, precision, and accuracy.

Tools are Implemented Improperly

Every page or item to be tracked, such as emails, PDF files, videos, etc., must contain the same tracking code to ensure all interactions are measured consistently. It is common for this code to be placed on the website, while marketing tools and support tools are overlooked. In addition, these tools need to be configured properly to each unique situation in order to collect all the data desired.

Users May Not Have Consistent Configurations

Each tool must be configured to meet users’ needs in a consistent manner. This is particularly difficult in Google Analytics since reports, segments, and many other aspects cannot be set up and managed by an administrator for the users. In addition, a change in the configuration means the data collected and how it is recorded may differ over time. Many users are unaware of these implications when they adjust their tools.

Tools are Not Used Properly

Users may not be up-to-date on how to use web analytics tools, or they might not use the proper or best settings and reports for their needs. They may also improperly interpret data or assume it means something other than intended.

Tools Do Not Connect Sessions or Individuals

Analytics tools may not connect the traffic from an individual if they switch computers, use different devices or browsers, or delete cookies. The impact of this may be reduced through a variety of customizations, but it can never be eliminated.

Tools Do Not Measure Based Upon All Data

Analytics tools routinely ignore or otherwise discard data that is partial, corrupt, or deemed incorrect. This can lead to only part of a visit being measured or a visit not being measured at all. Google Analytics is notorious for reporting based upon a subset of page views when traffic is higher than an allotted portion. This by definition means you cannot have a one-to-one measure of visitor activity since the data is sampled. While statistically accurate, the details related to this sampling must be clearly understood.

Sites May Bypass Analytics

Sites and campaigns may be configured in a manner that bypass tracking.  For example, utilizing domain or web page redirects can break the tracking connection.

Tools Do Not Handle Reloads Gracefully

A visitor may reload a page in their browser or cancel pages before they fully display. Both of these are common for receipt and thank you pages. This can throw analytics tools out of whack and record improper conversions.

Tools are Subject to Data Insertions

Every analytics tool has a method to insert external data without authorization. This is useful for items such as email and ad clicks. However, this can impact data as is seen with referral data into Google Analytics data.

Mitigate and Eliminate Faults

Does this mean that web analytics tools are a failure? Absolutely not! The difference is in the expectation versus use case. Web analytics tools are all based upon a statistically acceptable standard of precision and accuracy. This enables analytics tools to be used for macro-level trend reporting. The failure comes into play when attempting to use any single report as a micro-measuring tool with 100% accuracy and 100% precision. There are ways to mitigate but you can never eliminate faults.

Does this mean that GA and other web analytics tools are not useful? No! It simply means we need to understand possible issues and work within limitations. The general movement is towards more accurate and precise collection and reporting but web analytics tools may never offer a fully accurate or precise picture. Depending on your situation, additional tool sets can – and should – be configured to improve reporting to assist further with analysis.

RepEquity Hosts Back-to-Back Women Tech Events

As we see campaigns such as #ilooklikeanengineer, and dozens of other social media movements like it, it’s clear that women in the tech industry feel the need to support one another and work toward changing misconceptions about what it means to be a technology professional. On two recent nights, RepEquity helped move that important agenda along.

On the evening of Monday, August 31, a group of female programmers, hackers, noob developers, and general technologists gathered at RepEquity’s DC headquarters. Spread throughout the office, groups gathered around illuminated screens, ran compilers, forked code, and chatted about the newest frameworks.

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Photo credit: @camiriveron, @alexulsh

Women Who Code‘s Washington, DC chapter hosts Front End Hack Night every Monday evening at local dev shops and technology centers, and is part of a growing list of organizations that host DC-based meetups, events, and trainings that are focused on women in the technology sector. From the boot camp graduate to the seasoned developer, women coders find that DC’s tech scene is diverse, varied, and welcoming.

Women Who Code is just one of many women-run tech organizations in DC. Others include Lesbians Who Tech, DC Web Women, DC PyLadies, Girl Develop It, Hear Me Code, and The National Center for Women and Information Technology.

DCFemTech arose out of this plethora of women-focused tech organizations. DCFemTech is “a coalition of women leaders aimed at amplifying women in tech organizations, sharing resources, and bringing leaders together to close the gender gap.” Their meetings are inclusive and open to any women affiliated with women-centric tech companies.

Following Women Who Code’s August 31 event, RepEquity was proud to host DCFemTech the very next night for an organizing meeting. These female industry leaders discussed the upcoming October 2015 Tour de Code, lessons learned from various events and hackathons, and future events that will be broadcast to each leader’s respective groups and communities. As a wide-eyed junior developer, I felt inspired to be in a room full of women who are self-taught and successful.

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Photo Credit: @sirjessthebrave

Those of us in the tech industry are more than aware of the gender imbalance on most tech teams. However, Washington, DC was selected as a top city for women in tech, and the DCFemTech collective is harnessing the city’s spirit of activism and advocacy to ‘Flip the Ratio’.

Wanna know more?

  1. Head over to the DC FemTech site to find out more about the organizations involved, sign up for newsletters, and see a calendar of events.
  2. Check out these amazing Tech Leaders:
    1. Stephanie Nguyen, Cofounder, Landmark @nguyenist
    2. Shannon Turner, Founder, Hear Me Code @svt827
    3. Allison Carnwath, Senior Front-End Developer, Siteworx @allicarn
    4. Kaylyn Gibilterra, Software Engineer, Capital One, @kGibilterra
    5. Samantha Quiñones, Principal Software Engineer, AOL @ieatkillerbees
  3. DC Fem Tech Awards has a great list – follow them on Twitter for some awesome tech chatter!
  4. Support your nearest lady developer (I will accept gifts in the form of praise or chocolate!).
  5. Stay tuned for more tech events at RepEquity:
    1. Front End hack Night: November 30
    2. Tour de Code’s October Event

Has Your Small Business Mastered Local Search?

In our post “Are Your Competitors Stealing Your Business?” we outlined four strategies to make sure your small business marketing efforts are beating out the competition and bringing in new revenue. Search is just one component of that strategy, but it’s critical to your small business’ success.

As we mentioned in our last post, 89% of customers start searching for products via a simple web search. This in and of itself is a revealing statistic, but the real kicker is in the next stat: 60% of those searchers don’t look past the top 4 search results.

It’s pretty apparent that companies without a search strategy in place are missing out on a good chunk of business. However, only 27% of small businesses have an SEO strategy to help boost their search rankings. In other words, mastering local search will put your business ahead of more than 70% of other small businesses out there! We’re happy to help get you started with our new resource.

While we’ve already given away our eBook, we’re also providing a simple guide on how to get started optimizing your online presence for search. In “The Guide to Understanding Local Search,” we’ll teach you about the different kinds of search listings and what goes into making those top spots in Google search results.

So what are you waiting for? Download “The Guide to Understanding Local Search and get ahead of your competition!

RepEquity Raises the Roof at Google DC Advocacy Event

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RepEquity is proud to partner with brands like eBay, PayPal and Bayer to build community and inspire action with customized outreach and advocacy strategies. Over the years, we have created massive digital campaigns that have inspired audiences and created measurable change in our nation’s capital.

Eric Gilbertsen, our Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy, recently appeared on a panel to speak about digital advocacy at Google DC’s Advocacy & Associations event. The panel, moderated by Google’s Nick Meads, also included Amber Shollenberger of Connections Media and Brian Donahue of CRAFT.

The panelists emphasized the measurability of digital campaigns over those that are more traditional. With Google’s help, marketers and advocacy groups can easily track the success of campaigns, whether it’s monitoring ad spend and reach, tracking website visits and event completions, or just keeping tabs on search queries to see what phrases resonate with the general population.

RepEquity’s origins are in search, and we always take SEO into account when working on digital advocacy campaigns. Google’s event organizers asked Eric to speak about the importance of search for any advocacy campaign, and he brought the house down with his unique perspective on the topic.  As he put it, “search is about intention, not interruption.” Having a search strategy is crucial because it helps you reach the people you’re trying to persuade. When we know that the average citizen turns to 10.4 information sources to learn about an issue, search becomes an outstanding opportunity to reach those who may be on the fence or under-educated about your issue.

During the event, Google also promoted several of their tools that can help enhance the reach of advocacy groups. These include RepEquity-team favorite Google Trends, Cross-Device Reports, and YouTube Analytics. Here are some of the newer offerings we’re excited to share with our clients:

  • Google Consumer Surveys: In as little as 36 hours, Google Consumer Surveys can return fast, accurate, and affordable market research on any topic. How? Google collects data from thousands of everyday consumers who answer questions on subjects that are important to you.
  • Brand Lift Surveys & Search Lift Reports: Need to know how your ads stack up against those of your competitors? Brand Lift surveys measure ad recall, campaign awareness, search interest and intent from display and video campaigns.

When it comes to changing minds and moving the needle on your issue, you need a full toolbox of resources to help you accomplish your goals. Thanks to innovators like Google, our tools keep getting better and better. The tricky part can be knowing how to use them effectively, but that’s why we’re here! As always, we’re excited to apply the latest technologies to our clients’ advocacy campaigns to build momentum and drive results.

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