Googles’ Two Networks

John Hope-Johnstone

John Hope-Johnstone


Google’s two advertising networks are divided into “search” and “display”. They have two very different functions. The Search network responds to keywords typed in by a potential customer that your ad and landing page also includes. Display, on the other hand places your ad within or beside other peoples’ content (websites, videos, articles) that reflect the contextual targeting for which you are looking. Although not totally accurate think of people as searching (search network) and as browsing (display network).

Search is more effective for Direct Response marketers. This can be done by selecting keywords, topics which are referred to as contextual targeting. If you want specific sites or pages for your ads to appear, then by adding “managed placements” you can show your ads on selected web pages, videos, game, RSS feed, mobile sites and yes apps. You can block your ads from sites you don’t think are relevant.

These publishers and content suppliers upon which your ads will be seen, are taken from Adsense Publisher Network, Doubleclick Ad Exchange and Google owned and operated sites and are paid for their participation. There are four major types of ads you can create for the display network: 1: Text ads (same as for the search network). 2 Image ads (ads that have some creative within them). Rich media ads (ads with flash or a moving component) and Video ads.

Happy Marketing, John.

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How to Make Sense of Google Analytics

John Hope-Johnstone

Google Analytics is amazing! It is daunting in the amount of data that can be obtained. I love to use the  expression in our HPR seminars that we’re “drowning in data and starving for knowledge.”

Google Analytics can generate up to 85 different reports but if the reports don’t really give you any actionable knowledge then they are meaningless. Bottom line is that you are going to have to create your own dashboard that has meaning to YOU and from which you can take meaningful actions.

The key to all good knowledge is that it be actionable, also that it be simple”…”simple”… “simple.”

One of the ways I help to simplify Google Analytics is to combine some of their different measurements and create a new number. An example might be, rather than just measure Unique Visitors, I combine the number of Unique Visitors + Page Views into a new combined metric. Perhaps, when something goes wrong with the Web site, I will look at each metric individually, but to create our own dashboard I use combined metrics that tell me more.

As an analogy, airline Pilots have “key” instrumentation, (anyway, those pilots without glass cockpits and computers flying their planes). They rely on these instruments to tell them that all is going well. These instruments usually are; 1) Artificial horizon. 2) Air speed indicator. 3) Rate of climb or descent. Now there are many more instruments on the cockpit’s dashboard but those are the first a pilot will look at is something naughty is going on with the aircraft. Then he/she will go to another row of instruments until the dashboard is exhausted. After all the instruments are exhausted, then there is a manual checklist to go through.

You need to simplify Google down to three or four key instruments that tell you if you are flying right or crashing. I find that combining Google Analytic data more useful in understanding the big picture:

1: Key Instrument = Unique Visitors + Page Views:

The unique visitor is akin to you air speed. You need this to keep the plane in the air. You need velocity to keep the Web site humming along. Page views are indicative of the value that the visitor has placed on your content. Every page on your Web site to refer and often link to another page’s content on your site. Does it?

Another key piece of information is that most knowledge is gained by “trending” information against something else. When you step on a bathroom scale (something I try to avoid), you trend against last week’s weight, or last month’s weight. Likewise when you look at the Unique Visitor dashboard +Page Views, it is meaningless until it is trended against either last month’s performance or last years. Hence the most important tick box in Google Analytics is the “compare to past” tick box under the date range of the dashboard. Once it is ticked and a date range selected, now you are “trending” rather than looking at squiggly meaningless lines.

However, unless that trend tells you what action to take to reverse the downward trend, then you have no “knowledge”.

2nd Key Instrument: Page Views + Bounce Rate: Whereas “total page view” is a key instrument, when combined with “bounce rate” it tells a greater story. It tells you about the quality of your content. How boring your Web site is.

However, you cannot treat all pages equally. Another trending instrument is to set Google Analytic “Goals” for your Web site. As a simplified explanation, Goals are only a page view, nothing complicated about that. If you set a goal in Google Analytics, you are telling it what page view constitutes the completion of a Goal, and Analytics then tracks it. It is an easier way to generate the reports that you need as well as a great way to measure your business objectives.

How to set up Goals in Analytics Log in to your Google Analytics account at

  • Select the account that contains the profile you’ll be creating oals in from the Overview page.
  • Find the profile for which you will be creating goals, and click ‘Edit’ under the ‘Actions’ column.
  • Under the ‘Conversion Goals and Funnel’ section, select one of the four goal slots available for that profile and click ‘Edit.’Turn the goal ‘On’ or ‘Off.’ If you choose ‘On,’ that means you want Google Analytics should track this conversion goal at this time. Since there are no ways of deleting goals, turning it ‘Off’ can make the goal inactive.
  • Select from one of the three match types that Google Analytics uses to identify the goal. Enter the Request URI in the Goal URL box. Reaching this page marks a successful conversion. For example, a registration confirmation page, a checkout complete page, or a thank you page.
  • Enter the ‘Goal name’ as it should appear in your Google Analytics account. If your goal URL is case sensitive, this means your goal URLs are capitalized exactly like the visited goal URLs.
  • Enter the ‘Goal value.’ How do you define a goal? Determining a success measurement for each of your key Web site pages is as critical as Unique Visitors.

Here are 10 possible goals, (some contributed by Ryan at Web Analytics World):

  1. Track blog comments on your site (I hope you DO have a blog page on your site???)
  2. Track Newsletter subscriptions
  3. Track brochure requests
  4. Track White Paper downloads
  5. Track bookmarking
  6. Track video plays
  7. Track information quests
  8. Track consumer reviews or comments
  9. Track requests for information
  10. Track event bookings

I am sure there are thousands of other important actions to set Goals for and track and I invite you to add yours to help others via the comment section.

3rd Key Instrument: “Sources All Traffic” + Key Search Terms: Lastly you should know and keep track of who the Web sites are who are sending you traffic and communicate with them. When combined with key search terms this provides an instrument that tells you that your planes attitude is correct and that you are not about to go into a flat spin.

HPR recommends that you should keep your own Internet Marketing Business Intelligence Monitor that tracks your goals and other key measurements from Google analytics, social media and marketing campaigns. This is one of the actions that we undertake at HPR Internet and Social Media Marketing on behalf of clients. Even the very step of setting up a B.I. Monitor makes you ask the  question “what is important for me to know and track”.

The next question is how can I simplify the analytics even further? My recommendation is to bring all the responses down to one final number. At HPR Social Media we call this number “The Engagement Factor” and we show it on our own home made dashboard.

We include on that dashboard; facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Web site metrics, blogs, everything.

Even though these are not apples to apples it is still a final number that can be trended into a percentage of growth or decline and therefore can be turned into actionable knowledge.

Now we need to make sure that we can run our marketing from this information. The best way is to take the various metrics and align them to the buying process of the consumer.

Whereas there are over 17 buying stages in the purchasing funnel, they can always be simplified into three; 1) Brand Awareness, 2) Engagement and 3) Conversion. Align your analytics and Engagement Factor to these three pots and you will know where you are weak or strong and know how to correct.

Thanks for reading. Please leave us a comment about how you simplify Google Analytics.

10 Social Media Trends for 2012

By buzzmaster on January 5, 2012  | Edit

Happy New Year!! Okay, crystal ball in one hand, bottle of Whisky close by, I am ready for my 2012 annual prognostication. Some are ours from HPR Social Media, others dutifully borrowed (and credited) from brains I admire:

1: Marketing Integration: Way back in the day, long before the Internet, I wrote a series

Buzz Master, John Hope-Johnstone

of articles about how marketing needs to integrate its various disciplines to be effective. 2012 is the year marketing needs to integrate social media into the mainstream and not be off in a silo. Marketing loses most of its oomph when the message becomes bifurcated. (HPR Social Media)

2: Marketing Actions: Marketers will move from just gathering tons of analytics from their social media campaigns to asking “so what do we do with all this information?” Turning social media “likes” or “reach” metrics into profitable marketing actions will be a major trend in 2012. (HPR Social Media).

3: Concentrate on the Consumer NOT the Social Media Platform: Marketers will begin to relate their social media analytics to the consumers’ buying stages: 1: Brand awareness, 2: Information fulfillment 3: Conversion. Adjusting their social media strategy as they see the purchasing funnel going up or down. (HPR Social Media)

4: Distribution: Content creators will also become content distributors! Comedian Louis C.K. recently released a comedy special on the Web instrad of a major cable network. He cut out the TV Networks by selling his latest special directly on the Internet and then promoted it via the very cable networks he had shunned. It earned him a cool million in only a few days. (Star Phoenix)

5: Social Media Outsourcing: Creating increasing amounts of content will become a bigger and bigger drain on corporate resources. Marketers will need to find sustainable resources for creating great content including more outsourcing. As social media matures, efficiency will become an increasingly important factor. (Nichole Kelly, founder of As reported by Social Media Examiner

6: Conversion: Permission based texting will become increasingly mainstream and in some instances will become be a true metric of actual conversion, especially when combined with QR codes, (or the next gen of QR codes), and location based marketing platforms. (HPR Social Media)

7: Political:  In 2012, the major political campaigns will be even more dependent on social networks, possibly to the extent that effective social campaigns will be more important than broad-stroke and increasingly expensive TV ads. Certainly, no candidate will be able to succeed without a strong following on each of the major social networks. Rafe Needleman CNET

8: Google+ Struggles:  Google+ has a lot of good features, but it needs much more than that to take on Facebook and Twitter. Even Google’s tacit promotion of Google+ on its other services and toolbars won’t be enough to make it part of the daily diet of social networks for the hundreds of millions of users that Facebook has in its thrall. (CNET)

9: Outsourcing through Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing has so much potential but also carries a stigma of unfair labor practices. Based on growth rates calculated by, it looks like this has the potential to finally take off on an enterprise level if companies can be assured of politically-correct and fairly-paid sources of labor. Mark Schaefer

10: Social + TV convergence. There’s something major happening with apps, such as Get Glue. You can “check in” to a TV program and then have conversations with people around the world who are watching the same thing. It allows you to review the shows, talk about what’s happening, and listen to what others are saying. It works for movies and music, too. Plus, if the rumors are true and Steve Jobs’s last project was iTV, this will become huge next year. (Ragan’s PR Daily written by Gini Dietrich)


Americans are More “Nostalgic”

John Hope-Johnstone

A couple of years ago, I had the honor of giving a talk about Social Media and Tourism to a class at Oregon State University. From that talk I made good friends with two of the students who both joined our firm as social media interns and one went on to become a full-time and excellent Social Media and PR Manager in the company.

What amazed me about this bright young woman was that her tastes were not of her own generation, nor even the generation behind, but they were for the 1950s!

As a CMO  I am intrigued about the power of nostalgia and I don’t think we are taping into it strongly enough. (With some notable exceptions like Chevy’s ad campaign for the Super Bowl. Take a look at this ad “Chevy Runs Deep”  .

As a country the U.S. in the Naughties (2000s) is a highly nostalgic place. In some respect we could replace “nostalgia” with the word “longing”. Many have a longing to return to a time when the weather was more stable, when the economy was more stable, when the dollar was strong and we actually exported something.

Any marketer who is involved in engaging people through social media today can do well to remember that from ages 28 through into the mid 60s our population needs comforting and they often get that comfort through nostalgia.

The word nostalgia derives from the Greek “nostos” (return) and “algos” (pain), suggesting suffering due to a desire to return to a place of origin.

The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond states that; “for many, the recession has been one stress too many. Hence, we are witnessing the rise of Revivalist thinking, a nostalgic yearning for all things past and comforting. Folk themes, folklore, folk fashions and the re-appearance of furniture and products with a quasi-nostalgic theme and a rose-tinted nostalgic viewpoint are all becoming more prominent.”

It’s not only the millions of Baby Boomers rushing into their mid sixties who are nostalgic. A recent study shows that many 28 to 40-year-old Gen Xers strongly reminisce about past times. If your last purchase was Star Trek, a Wispa, shoulder pads or school friend, then don’t fear, you are entirely typical of someone who lived through the Noughties,” says a report from financial services provider Standard Life, which concludes that more than any other decade, the 2000s were very retro.

Damian Barr, who wrote Get It Together (2004) about struggling 20-somethings, fears the generation that reached adulthood in the 1990s and 2000s could find themselves handicapped by excessive nostalgia. “We are less prepared for our difficult present by having had a very easy time of it when we were very young,” he says. “We grew up in a boom – we are living in a bust.” (Stephen Robb BBC News).

Tapping into nostalgia is tricky. You must know the generational cohort you are trying to reach very well. You must listen to their conversations and understand them and your message must be subtle and only hint of nostalgia not slap them in the face with it.

Thanks for reading. Please include a comment about your thoughts on nostalgia. Also, subscribe to the blog for more Social Media and marketing thoughts.

My Google+ Quandary

John Hope-Johnstone

A few weeks ago I was pondering Google + and where it was going to fit into my HPR Social Media Seminars and into my own social media world. I have no intention of abandoning my over 4,000 followers on my facebook business page and I don’t want to just repeat content from one platform onto another. I was trying to figure out how I could add value to Google + and my new friends on that platform. Usually a glass of wine or two helps but in this case I was stumped.

Then, a small unpretentious epiphany shone through the darkness…. why not ask my new G+ friends how they felt about Google + and the difference between it and facebook. WOW! Think of that, a marketing guy actually going to ask fellow consumers what they think, how original.

Well, some of the responses spelled out the obvious differences: Facebook still has the lion’s share and will be hard to beat as it comes up to nearly a billion possibly in 2012. However, Google has the advantage of “integration” with a huge arsenal of available tools to integrate with the social media platform such as: Google News, Entertainment, YouTube, Gmail and its Android platform and more. These will help create a fluid social experience on Google+.

It also has two failures behind it with Google Wave and Google Buzz. I say “failures” but like all good failures they were learning steps that Google had to take to finally get them to Google +.

Two responses from my new Google + friends were just what I was really hoping for. They speak about the present difference in the psychographics of the Google+ user over facebook. This, of course, will change over time.

Here is my original question as posted on Google+: 

“Hi my G+ friends, I have a question that needs your expertise. My firm teaches Internet and Social Media Marketing for brand promotion purposes to medium to large organizations. Personally I am floundering with Google +, which I like a lot, trying to determine how to differentiate my social media message on Google + vs Facebook. Any ideas?”

Here are the two answers that helped me a great deal in my quest:

From Dennis Rivera:

On G+, you have tech-savvy individuals and a ton of creative types looking to share, connect, and build a large community of individuals based on content or interest. So, regardless of whether or not you went to high school with someone, you’re connecting with the person because he or she is interested in the same things that you are. Businesses who think that they will have a single business-related presence on G+ will probably not do so well here. They will need multiple personal accounts, where employees are genuinely building connections with their audiences, relying on the intangible more than the tangible. I think that the Google employees on here are a perfect example of how businesses need to use the network. They are people first: interacting, sharing, being genuine, but at the same time, they are building brand loyalty.

This is a little scattered, but it’s midnight and I’m tired. I guess the general message to businesses is: The G+ community wants engagement.
Cater to the community and you will win.

From John Norris:

Maybe it’s just the folks I’m following, but Google+ seems to be a bit like Quora, some very knowledgeable folks in here at the moment. The communications the platform lends itself to seem to be more dialogs, and constructive ones at that.  Can’t quite put my finger on it, sort of a vibe I’m getting. Businesses will need to up their game to do well in Google+ at this time.

Thanks Dennis and John for your responses. They helped me a great deal.

Thanks to you for reading this post. I invite you to comment and add your thoughts about the use of Google+ and also subscribe to the e-newsletter if you haven’t already. If you have, great to see you again.

Social Media Marketing

John Hope-Johnstone

At HPR Internet and Social Media Marketing Seminars we not only coach corporations and organizations to market their brand by using social media and other Internet marketing tools, but we also help them develop integrated strategies for their marketing. The two key words are “help” and “integrated”. If there is anything the last three years have taught us, it is that unless social media is integrated into a complete marketing strategy, including as many of the marketing tools as economically possible, its likelihood of success does not rise above the level of “brand awareness”. The other key word is “help”. We have found that if HPR develops the strategy solo it has less adoption possibility than if it is born out of collaboration.

Another discovery is the disturbing rise of a split in some marketing departments into legacy and Internet marketing under one individual and social media marketing under another.

The marketing industry has spent a lot of time working to get all the marketing tools under one leadership. One VP/Director of Marketing who conducts all of the instruments (tools) of marketing, not just a couple. Today, we hear more and more use of such terms as “marketing and sales”, “marketing and social media”, this is a backward step and leads to a bunch of marketing silos and should be discouraged. Sales is a tool of marketing just as social media is a tool. Social Media may fall under the PR department (in fact we believe it should), but it is a tool none the less. The fact is, there are many heads of marketing that really don’t understand social media and are confused by its role in the total marketing picture.

At HPR we encourage campaigns that integrate all the tools of marketing to create a maximum effect. Our collaborative strategies are often campaign oriented rather than only about brand awareness. Our campaigns utilize legacy media such as print, TV, radio, (where applicable), and Internet and social media marketing.

We don’t discourage ongoing “brand awareness” marketing, in fact, we believe it is vital. However, we develop our strategies around campaigns/promotions that involve a beginning a middle and an end and that are highly targeted and always have built in objectives and analytics to measure success. In this kind of marketing environment using as many of the tools of marketing that a budget will allow, being highly targeted, and highly objective oriented, the campaigns are nearly always successful.

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Is Text Marketing One Way to Measure Conversion?

John Hope-Johnstone

I have been enthralled with permission based text marketing ever since I stepped off a plane in Las Vegas, turned on my phone and received a text from the hotel welcoming me to Las Vegas and offering a 20% discount on my dinner in their main dining room. This was my first experience with permission based text marketing and I thought it was great!

I had given the hotels text marketing company my permission to use text marketing after making the reservation. (It was suggested on the reservation confirmation). I texted a given number, and in the text copy placed the name of the Casino. I could opt out at any time (and I did upon leaving the hotel at the end of my stay). I received four special offers during my stay, which saved me a goodly amount of dollars.

While text marketing at the moment is not main stream and seems to be used primarily by restaurants and attractions, it can be used by any bricks and mortar business who would like to develop a text client base to fill quiet periods. Its advantage, IT’S IMMEDIATE!

There are many good text marketing companies out there to be searched, but you must choose your provider carefully. Look at their client list, are they of the same quality as your company? Contact their clients and ask if they have been happy with the service and make sure that their policy is to NEVER resell your clients to other marketers, this could massively hurt your reputation.

The tourism industry is always looking for ways to measure conversion, could this be one of them?

In the advertising fulfilment piece, or on-line, it can be mentioned that IF the prospective visitor comes to stay in the region they should open a text account during the time they visit so that they can receive specials. As soon as you see action on that account through the analytics provided by your text marketing company, you will know that conversion has or is about to take place.

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