3 Google Analytics Features You Should Be Using – Part 2

April 23rd, 2014 by Nikki Johnson Comments (0)

In our last post about Google Analytics – we spoke on annotations and why it’s a useful feature. Today we are talking part deux on demographic reports…..


By implementing a simple one line Google Analytics tracking code change, Google will aggregate your website visitors into what they estimate to be their interests, age and gender based on the sites they visit that are partnered with DoubleClick. The data is an essential component when A/B testing and optimizing digital experience offered by your site.

Best Practices:

You can use this data to answer questions like:

  • Does my mobile site cater to my target age group and gender?
  • How can I refine the content strategy of my blog to increase engagement?
  • What interest groups are buying which products?
  • What sources do the different age groups use to get to my site?
  • Who is most likely to purchase from my top SEO landing pages?

In short, demographic reports will help you delve further into the insights of those browsing your site. Stay tuned as part 3 will be posted tomorrow – but, in the meantime don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you need Google Analytics help!

3 Google Analytics Features You Should Be Using – Part 1

April 22nd, 2014 by Nikki Johnson Comments (1)

With Google Analytics you can trace your consumers path and help improve their experience. There are numerous features you can use to help make your use of Google Analytics successful and today we are going to go over one of our favorite features….


Google Analytics is a great tool for explaining what’s happening on your site, but it’s rare that it’ll give you a reason why. However, if you’re looking to get the most of your data, learn more about your visitors, and optimize channel strategies this is a critical step.

One great place to start is by utilizing the annotations feature in Google Analytics. You can do so by double clicking on the date in any non-custom reporting graph.

You can also navigate to Admin > View > Annotations > + New Annotation. Using this way, you’re about to add annotations for future events.  Perfect for company announcements or industry events.

Best Practices:

It’s key to only annotate things that would move a needle one way or another in your reporting.  Some examples of impactful events may be pausing some PPCcampaigns, a product launch or stock outage, a magazine ad being published, getting retweeted by a celebrity, an appearance on local television, or the site goes down for a few hours.

If you’re utilizing several marketing channels, create annotations using the Medium before the details. When looking at a date range of annotations in the future, it’ll be easier on the eyes.

Stay tuned as we will post Parts 2 and 3 later this week – but, in the meantime don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you need Google Analytics help!

This post was written by our Web Analyst, Dan Greco – He’s not only great with analyzing data, but a rockstar on his guitar!

DO is excited to welcome our Spring class of digital interns. Over the course of the next 12 weeks we will focus on bringing you a fresh perspective from our Strategy, Marketing and Design interns on what it’s really like to intern at a digital agency. To start we will focus on DO’s newest Strategy intern Andrew Kang……

Hi there! My name is Andrew Kang, the new strategy intern for Digital Operative. For starters, I am a 21 year-old Bay-Area native who finds market research and the like pretty fascinating. I like to jam out on my crumby guitar from time to time and I enjoy singing like a pop-star in the shower. I’m also involved in a hip-hop dance team on campus and like to go to popping “cyphers” or “jams” (events where people engage in dance-battles and socialize).
Other than that, this past year I had the opportunity to work on a marketing casebook with fellow UCSD students which was awesome. Oh, and I like basketball too (Go Golden State Warriors!), but am pretty terrible at it.

1. Where do you go to School? What is your Major? When do you plan on graduating?

I attend school at UC San Diego and am studying Management Science (basically Economics with Math) with a focus in Marketing. I plan on graduating June 2015.

2. How did you hear about Digital Operative?

I went on an agency-applying rampage a few months ago. While looking through the work and clients of several San Diego agencies, I noticed Digital Operative had partnered with Stussy and Pony (two street-wear brands) by assisting with their digital marketing campaigns. Being a fan of urban apparel myself, I was intrigued by DO’s impressive partnerships and decided to apply. The rest is history.

3. What do you hope to learn from your internship?

I want to get a solid understanding of how to engage in competitive analyses and effective market research to bring about empirically-based solutions to our partners. Also, it’d be awesome to get to work with SEO, Magento and Google Analytics.

4. 1 week down – 11 to go……How do you feel after your first week of interning?

It has definitely been an enriching experience– I learned so much even on my first day. Steven and Eric constantly bring me up to speed with our client’s needs and what they’re working on. I never feel like my work is meaningless, and there’s always things to do in terms of market research and strategy that can bring value to the client. I’m definitely feeling that agency vibe, too.

5. What do you hope to do after completing your internship and graduating from college?

I would love to pursue a position in Account Management or Strategy in an agency or in in-house marketing. After a few years, it would be sweet to tackle a start-up with my buddies, or get an MBA.

6. Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I love to beatbox. I unwillingly spit while doing it, so my friends hate it since they get caught in the line of fire.

Andrew is eager to learn and already an asset to our team….But, what we really want to know is if Andrew can beatbox and dance at the same time!?

A/B Testing vs. Multivariate Testing

April 15th, 2014 by Nikki Johnson Comments (0)

If you’re familiar with website optimization, then you’ve probably heard of A/B testing and multivariate testing. But, you may not be familiar with which type of testing you are using and how they only vary slightly from one another in uses.

A/B Testing

  • What is A/B Testing?

    • mostly referred to as split testing, where two versions of a webpage are compared to one another. Site visitors are either sent to version A or version B of the site and the testing is tracked by how they interact with the page.

  • How should you use A/B testing?

    • One of the most common uses is to test two completely different page designs. Or when one element and one element only is up for debate (i.e. CTA button) But, it is important to know that you can only track the design as a whole rather than multiple individual elements.

  • What are advantages to using A/B testing?

    • Since you are only testing a site design as a whole or an individual element the data isn’t overwhelming and can be achieved quickly. This is a great way to introduce website optimization to an unfamiliar or hesitant crowd. As your results are gathered in a shorter period of time.

Multivariate Testing

  • What is Multivariate testing?

    • Similar to A/B testing, but compares more than one element. Multivariate testing compares multiple elements, how they interact with each other and how the combination of elements make a version more successful (size, color, placement, etc.).

  • How should you use multivariate testing?

    • The most common use of multivariate testing is on a page that has multiple elements up for debate. If it’s headers, footers, sign ups, etc. or a combination of all three – multivariate testing will help you gather data on what design is going to be more successful for your consumer, based on the combination of modifications you test. Note: the more elements that need testing the longer it’s going to to take to collect the results.

  • What are advantages of using multivariate testing?

    • Once design data is determined and you know what elements your consumers prefer, you will be able to continue to design landing pages and campaigns based off of the data.

In short A/B testing and multivariate testing are the same type of test, just multivariate tests are done on a combination of elements and how those different elements interact with one another. If you need help with your website optimization, contact us and our strategy department will be more than happy to help!

DO Is Hiring!

April 10th, 2014 by James Comments (0)

DO is currently looking for passionate, enthusiastic individuals to fill three positions: Magento Developer, SEO Manager (San Diego & Denver offices) and Content Marketing specialist. If you want to work for a company who has unlimited vacation, an animal friendly office and bagel Fridays (EVERY Friday) — just to name a few perks — Check out the job listings below.

Magento Developer:

A Magento Developer who is passionate and excited about the latest and greatest technologies. You’ll be learning our existing methodologies and applying your own to ensure that DO is producing best-in-class technologies on all of its products. You will get your hands dirty working on web, mobile, and ecommerce. You should be able to work collaboratively with system engineers, back-end developers and user experience designers throughout the process. If you’ve read this far, click here to apply.

SEO Manager (San Diego office)

An SEO Specialist that understands holistic SEO strategies and has hands-on experience executing search engine optimization (SEO) initiatives. DO is looking for someone who is well-versed in the following disciplines: SEO, Content and Analytics. Though you are an expert in one area, you must understand how all touch points interact with each other to deliver a truly holistic digital program. To apply for the position in Denver, click here.

Content Marketing Specialist

This role will span both consulting and executing.. You will work across multiple teams including Strategy & Planning, UX, Design, Marketing and Technology to ensure our clients’ brand stories are compelling and reaching their intended audience across multiple channels – Search Engines, Social Media, Mobile and Email. Ultimately this role will be responsible for generating content that builds brand awareness, generates leads and drives sales for the agency’s clients. To apply for this position click here

How to Create Your Own Vanity URL (and Why It Matters)

April 10th, 2014 by Digital Operative Comments (0)

Most people using the web have noticed that sometimes the links they click look a little bit shorter and different, but they lead to the same place and that’s really all that matters. From a small business owner or Webmaster perspective, the way a URL looks is a little bit more critical. URLs that are shortened change the way the long URL looks, but offer significant benefits to small business owners.

Some of the most popular URL shorteners you may have seen include Buffer (buff.ly), bit.ly, Google (goo.gl), and Hootsuite (ow.ly). These are free URL shorteners that any business can use, and in many cases popular websites like Twitter are already using shorteners whenever you post a link; however these are not your only options. You can actually create a vanity URL shortener just for your business, and that’s where the benefits really start to surface.

How URL Shortenters and Vanity URLs Work

Once again, a URL shortener is a service that takes your long URL and turns it into something shorter. This helps to make the link look clearer to users and take up less space (more on the benefits later). There are three different ways to look at and use shortners:

Option #1: A social network shortens a link automatically. No work needed for the website or user.

Many social networks and other sharing platforms have URL shorteners installed, so if necessary, a URL will be shortened automatically and the website and sharer won’t need to do a thing. This will only happen if someone posts a link directly to Twitter or another social sharing network (not through a sharing button), so it isn’t seen too often. Nonetheless, it’s still a possibility. For Twitter, this shortener is t.co.

Option #2: A website uses a free URL shortener. No work needed for the user, but the website does need to install the free shortener:

Websites can install free URLs shorteners so that any link published on that site is automatically shortened when shared—the user doesn’t need to do a thing. Twitter is an excellent place to see several of these free shorteners:

As you can see, when I posted this link the link automatically used the Hootsuite (ow.ly) shortener for me. This happened because the website where I clicked the sharing button for their article had the bit.ly shortener installed. In the second example, that website had the Bit.ly (bit.ly) shortener installed. Again, the user didn’t have to do a thing. If you’re interested in learning about getting started with one of the shortening services, you can learn more about them here.

Extra Option: No shortener is used.

I think this is worth mentioning in order to avoid confusion. If you’re ever looking at a sharing network such as Twitter, you might notice that sometimes a shortener isn’t used. This means that Twitter didn’t need to shorten the link because the tweet was short enough, and it means that the website doesn’t have a free URL shortener installed.

Option #3: Create a vanity URL shortener. No work needed from the user, but the website does have to create the vanity URL shortner.

When you see a shortener that is very specific to that company, it means that that company created this vanity URL shortener. Anytime one of their links is shared on Twitter or elsewhere, it will automatically shorten. This often happens when someone clicks a social sharing button on the website that created the vanity URL. Below are a few examples:

In the example above, Kissmetrics have their own “kiss.ly” vanity URL. A few other examples include: The Huffington Post (huff.to), Mashable (on.mash.to), Eloqua (elq.to), Search Engine Journal (sejr.nl), and many, many others. Take a look at your Twitter feed and see all of the different kinds!

So are they only used for Twitter? Twitter’s 140-character limit makes it a network where you’re going to see shorteners the most. However, other social networks will also use URL shortners or allow you to manually use a shortened URL. Aside from sharing links on social networks, you don’t have too many more opportunities to use shorteners. You can manually use them in an article or something through one of the tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, but this isn’t nearly as common.

The Benefits of Creating Your Own Vanity URL for Your Company

  • Custom URLs look professional.
  • You have consistent branding no matter where your content is shared.
  • It creates what many call “link trust,” which means readers will feel more confident sharing your content.
  • They help you stand out on and make you more memorable social networks.
  • Vanity URL shorteners also give you data and analytics (more on this later).
  • If you’re hosting your own shortener, you’re not passing link juice to any third party.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Vanity URL

  1. Choose a hosting service. It is possible to host your own custom shortened URL, but this is by far the more complicated and less popular option. Most choose a service to host the custom URL for them. Bit.ly is the most popular, which you can sign up for here.
  2. Choose the actual vanity URL. Of course your first step is actually choosing a vanity URL. The rule of thum is to keep it fewer than 8-10 characters and keep it looking similar to your regular domain name. Domai.nr is a good place to go for ideas.
  3. Buy the vanity URL. There is no free option here; you have to buy it using any domain registration site such as iPage or GoDaddy. I recommend buying it from the same place your website is hosted.
  4. Setup the shortener. If you’re using Bit.ly, you can visit your “account settings” tab and then go to “advanced.” You’ll see an option for “custom short domain” where you can type in the vanity URL you just bought. Other services are similar.
  5. Find your DNS settings page. This is a cruicial step in order to verify your new shortener. You need to find your Domain Name System (DSN) page and look for the domain’s “A record.” This point is a few steps long, so visit this article to follow along or simple ask your domain registrar for help.
  6. Choose your domain. Visit Bit.ly or whichever service you chose to use and select this new shortened domain to let the service know that is what you want to use.

In the end, when it comes to sharing on social networks your link is most likely going to be shortened regardless. You may as well brand your website while you’re at it. If you’ve ever created a vanity URL shortener let us know in the comments below how it went and what results you’ve seen.

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility.com, one of the leading SEO companies in the United States.

Webby Award Honoree

April 9th, 2014 by James Comments (0)

We are proud to announce that DO is officially a Webby Award Honoree for our work with an up-and-coming neighborhood in San Diego’s East Village, Makers Quarter. As our Agency Marketing Manager, Nikki Johnson stated:

“This project was brought to us as a vision to create change in an area that has been void for years. With thought, vision and innovation, we have helped change Makers Quarter into a neighborhood locals can be proud of. They believe that when looking into the future, it is best to start by embracing the past while celebrating the present. We created their website, design and did all of their social media for them – helping them increase their overall brand awareness. Generating 2,025 new visits to the Makers Quarter site, 950+  followers reached, and engaged 250+ email/newsletter signups! Winning numerous awards for our work on this site, we are very proud of our work with Makers Quarter.”

The Webby Awards are the Internet’s most respected symbol of success. To put it in perspective, last year alone, the 18th Annual Webby Awards received 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 60 different countries worldwide! Some of the categories they recognize are: Websites & mobile, film & video, social, and interactive advertising & media.

We love awards, and are passionate about getting brands recognized. So if you need digital marketing assistance, or your Webby-site designed, contact us now!

New Features in Twitter Redesign

April 8th, 2014 by James Comments (0)

Yes, it happened. Twitter finally decided to up their game and rollout a massive redesign that many are saying compares very closely to Facebook. Originality aside, the new redesign is beautiful, efficient, and most importantly, a heck of lot more visually appealing. So now let’s review a few of the redesign’s top new features.

For starter’s, how about how everything is now enormous? From the full-width header imagewhich is one of the new redesign feature’s that resemble’s Facebook most, to the bigger profile picture, everything appears to now be more visual heavy. If you ask me, the focus on “big” is exactly what Twitter needed to appeal to the potential new users that spend most of their time on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also find similarities to Pinterest in the “Following” tab, where you can now view detailed thumbnails of a user’s followers (much like you would viewing pins on Pinterest). Check out what I’m talking about below.

* You can now see the header image, profile photo, bio and Follow links all at once via the Followers tab.

Another new redesign feature, also comparable to a recent addition Facebook made, is the ability to to “pin” a tweet to the top of your profile. Like Facebook, the pinning feature allows you to highlight a tweet that was either found significant to you, or to your followers. I like this feature, but can’t help but wonder if it’ll actually take off as most Twitter users flock to their Twitter homepage more so than their profile page.

* Channing Tatum pinned an old tweet that was RT 5.3k times to the top of his profile page so all of his followers see it first.

Lastly, as with all new updates to today’s most popular social networks, there will be skeptics. Fortunately, I’m not one of them, but I do acknowledge their criticism. So, you can probably count on skeptics disliking Twitter’s bold decision to make everything big. Perhaps size and the focus on photos will catch on as quick as Instagram did. Another criticism may be the relocation of certain features like “Who to follow” and “Trends.” Those changes are minor, I know. But for the most part, I get, and like, the changes Twitter made. And despite my love for Twitter and their prior emphasis on content before image, Twitter has made a large step in the right direction with this redesign. I can now see Twitter keeping pace with Facebook and Instagram, and even attract thousands of new users that prefer image over content.

If you need help figuring out the new redesign, or help with your social media marketing, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

This Just In: Next steps for Google Shopping Campaigns

April 2nd, 2014 by Nikki Johnson Comments (0)

Google Shopping Campaigns were made available to all Product Listing Ad (PLA) users in March and today Google released some additional insights into extra features:

Options to Create Shopping Campaigns: Creating shopping campaigns from scratch or using a PLA campaign to create similar product targets, negative keywords and more.This feature will be available in the next few days.

Bid Simulator: This has been in Beta for a while now, and today it has been rolled out to all shopping campaign users. With it you can estimate changes that could impact your impressions, clicks and most importantly costs.

Multiple Ad Groups: Advanced retailers are now able to create multiple ad groups in their shopping campaigns. This means you can further segment your product offerings.

The biggest news is that all PLA campaigns are coming to an end, as they are being forced into retirement. Google is getting rid of the PLA’s as the shopping campaigns are a more seamless approach.You will need to roll over all current PLAs into shopping campaigns by August 2014, otherwise Google will automatically roll over and update your old PLAs for you.

If you have any questions on your PLAs or shopping campaigns, don’t hesitate to drop us a line…after all, we are Google Partners and we know a thing or two about PLAs and
Google Shopping.

Announcing Automatic Checkout for Magento

April 1st, 2014 by Adam Comments (0)

After months of hard work, we are pleased to announce the general release of a new Magento module, compatible with both Community and Enterprise additions, called Automatic Checkout (AC).

Here is how it works:

  1. A customer adds a product to their cart.
  2. Our sophisticated algorithm uses behavioral and statistical data to determine actual intent to purchase.
  3. We cross reference the customer’s digital footprint by analyzing browsing history, cookies and Facebook data to determine their personal information.
  4. Once we know who they are, we look up their payment information from data obtained from Target and the NSA. If we can’t find a match, we randomly select a valid credit card number and billing address.
  5. The customer’s order completed in Magento and a confirmation email is sent.

Automatic Checkout is guaranteed to improve your conversion rate by 1000%!

To download and install Automatic Checkout, click here.