Digital Marketing Quick Start Guide for Marketing Rookies
Are you just starting to take a dive into digital marketing? If so, you’re in the right place. Below are quick introductions and explanations of the main topics that you’ll need to know to start on a path to become a digital marketing master. While this is not an encompassing list of everything you may encounter it is a great place to get your feet wet and see what digital marketing is all about.
Does your business, employer, or website not use analytics? They should be. In my opinion, analytics are the most powerful tool to have in the digital age. They can tell you not only how many people are visiting your pages, but how many people convert to customers, if you are creating engaging content, and the strength of your posts and pages to only name a few. In order to fully understand analytics there are a few important metrics that you need understand. While you are given more metrics than the ones listed below, this will give you a good start to understanding all of them.
This is probably the simplest metric to understand and interpret. The number of sessions tells you the total number of times a user is engaged in your website, app, or specific page. While it should not be used as the sole metric, sessions are most valuable for understanding how much traffic is reaching your content. If used alone to determine traffic, your results may be skewed. It is possible for one user to generate most of the traffic coming to your site.
Average Session Duration
Average session duration is usually reported in seconds and is exactly what it sounds like. When users visit your website, app, etc. it tells you how long they spend digesting it. Typically you’d like this metric to be ‘high’ but until you have some data over a longer period of time it will be tough to quantify what a ‘high’ average session duration is.
Simply put pages per session are how many unique pages a user visits in one session. One important note for this metric is that pages that are visited more than once will be counted each time they are visited rather than 1 page visit. Similar to average session duration this can also be used to help you determine how engaged your users are. In general, the higher the value is the more engaged users are.
This metric is usually presented in a percentage form and tells you what percent of users look at one page of your site and then leave. If you use this metric as a form of engagement its important to realize that a high bounce rate is usually a bad thing. You want users to come to your site and look around. A low bounce rate lets you know users like your content and are interested in it. HOWEVER, a high bounce rate can be okay depending on the page content. A common example is if your website hosts a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. Users could visit this page, find the answer to their question and then leave. If they are looking around multiple pages this may mean you are not answering their questions. A better indicator of engagement for such a page may be looking at the average session duration rather than the bounce rate.
If you currently have an email list you send to customers, followers, etc. and want to get started with analytics right away check out this post for a quick start guide on email analytics.
2. SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will take your website to the next level. While you may be satisfied with the current amount of traffic your website sees, are you really reaching everyone that is looking for you? When users are using a search engine to try to find information they likely will never directly type your website name or business name into the search bar. Therefore, you need to know how exactly you can get your site on top of the search results when users type in relevant keywords. Below are four main areas in which you can improve your site to boost your organic search rankings.
Crawlability / Link Architecture
Search Friendly URLs
You may think nothing of your current URL structure, but it plays an important role in your SEO. For example look at the two links below.
Can you tell what the first link will direct you to? I’m going to go ahead and say it’s impossible to tell what the link brings you to without clicking on it. But you can tell exactly what the second link is going to take you to. If people are searching for something on your website it is very unlikely they will know the first link and search for that, but it is more likely they will search ‘business iPhone 7’. Because the architecture of link is readable and has keywords regarding what is on the page, search engine algorithms will be able to better match the searcher intent with your page. If your links look like the first one I would recommend changing them immediately.
If you’re interested in reading more about this topic check out this article.
Image Alt Attributes
This is how you find images relevant to your query when you search Google images. A computer has no way how to tell what the pixels on the screen are forming, so you need to tell it. Adding image alt attributes (a text description of the picture) will allow search engine algorithms to match searches with your pictures and further improve your ranking. Additionally, by adding these attributes visually impaired people will be able to know what the picture is if they can’t see it.
Deleting Duplicate Content
Do exactly what the heading says. Delete duplicate content on your site. If you think you can trick the search engines algorithms good luck. Google has been fighting against people that spam the Internet with duplicate content to improve their ranking for some time now and they will find it, and reduce your rankings in organic search.
3. ASO – App Store Optimization
While not always recognized as its own category ASO is becoming more and more important as we move forward into the smartphone and tablet age. ASO is optimizing a mobile apps title, description, keywords, icon, and screenshots to allow users to more easily find the app and improve the impressions per download. While there are more things that affect your position in the app store than the ones listed below, these are the big hitters that can make the biggest difference when looking to optimize.
App Name / App Icon
When users are browsing on the app store the first thing they see is your app icon and app name. You need to have an eye-catching icon and enticing name to keep the user from scrolling right past your app. While there are plenty of sources out there for making app icons, the app name is rarely discussed. Since the app name holds the highest weight in the search rankings, people have been abusing the names of their apps and using extremely lengthy names with multiple keywords. For example you can find apps named ‘Block Buster – Super fun and addicting puzzle game’. As a result Apple has recently announced that apps using this naming strategy will be downgraded in the rankings.
Keywords should not be overlooked. They are single handedly the words that allow people to find your app through search on the app store. While the app name often does play a large role in search queries, many users are often not searching directly for your app name. From my experience with my mobile apps, people often search ‘challenging puzzle game’ versus searching directly for my app ‘Space Erase’. As a result, you need to choose only the most relevant keywords to your apps. Why don’t you just enter in as many keywords as possible? Apple limits you to 100 characters worth of keywords for your app. Yes, you read that right. Only 100 characters! Since you lose even more space separating your keywords by commas you have to be sure you are choosing the correct keywords. In order to find what keywords are right for your app it is important to look at what your customer segment most often searches for. You can pay companies to do this for you, but if you’re on a budget look online or ask friends and family what they would search for if they were looking for your app. Each time you release an update for your app you are able to change the keywords. So make sure you test a ton of different things and watch how the downloads respond.
If someone is interested in you app and clicks on it to see more information, the last thing you want to do is disappoint a potential customer with the screenshots of your app. Since these are the first thing a user sees when they open up your app page you need to make sure you provide high quality and realistic screenshots of your app. If you have no idea where to start, go to the top downloads chart and look what those apps are doing. Obviously they are doing something right to reach #1 on the app store.
The description is often the last and most forgotten part of ASO. While many people don’t ever glance at the description of an app, those that do it’s the final piece that makes them download the app or makes them decide not to. In order to convert these browsers into customers you have to sell your app to the user within the first couple of sentences. If the user isn’t reeled in by then they’ll stop reading and immediately move on to the next app without downloading.
If you’re interested in knowing more about ASO here a few articles I recommend reading.
Michael Oudenhoven is a student and the owner of the mobile application development company Appco LLC. He manages all aspects of the business including digital marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter for more digital marketing and mobile application development tips.