Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

What is GA4, and What Does it Mean for your Business?

Posted by

Whether you’re savvy with Google Analytics yourself, or you’ve delegated your website analysis, it’s important to understand how Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will affect your website reporting. GA4 is a new version of Google Analytics that launched in October 2021 in anticipation of the previous version (Universal Analytics) being discontinued in July 2023. If you’re wondering why this matters, it’s because when Google sunsets the former platform next summer, all your historical website data will be erased. So, if you haven’t already transitioned your analytics to GA4, we’ve got the cliff’s notes on what’s changing, why it’s important and what to do now to be ready for next year. And yes, you need to get ready now… don’t let it sneak up on you.

What is Different in GA4?

  •  Say “Goodbye” to Old Data

    As of July 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) will quit collecting data on your site and you will have access to your historical data for only six months thereafter. That’s why Google recommends you do a backup of at least fourteen months’ worth of data before July 2023. So, if you’re wanting to compare site engagement during an annual promotional campaign to data from years past, you’ll want to make sure you have those backups. (Instructions on backing up data can be found here.)

  • Tracking Traffic Differently

    Universal Analytics tracks traffic by session. In other words, if I come to your website by clicking on a social post, then go to another website to check my email, but come back to your site by typing in your web address in the URL, those site visits are counted as two separate sessions. GA4 uses “event-based” tracking. In GA4, those two website visits would be combined into one session with separate events. This means your session numbers will look much lower, but inevitably your engagement rates will be much higher. This presents a challenge in comparing data between UA and GA4. They are like comparing apples to oranges. That’s why it’s recommended you go ahead and start using GA4 Google Analytics alongside Universal Analytics for the next year to generate side-by-side reports. This gives you and your team the chance to learn how to interpret the data for an entire year before relying solely on the new platform.

  • Customer Journey Intel

    Event tracking in GA4 is also going to give us a much better picture of the user experience and customer journey while on our sites. There are various types of events that will be tracked. Each tells part of the overall story of how a user got to your website and what they did once they got there.

    • Automatically Tracked Events

      To make things easier, Google set up GA4 to track things like clicks, downloads, first visit to a web page, page scroll and so on. These are extremely useful and the fact that you don’t have to have your web developer add various tags on numerous pages throughout your site to capture these more standard events is a time and money saver.

    • Enhanced Measurement Events

      If you want to take tracking further, with GA4, you can. There are enhanced measurements. For example, you can track more than a page scroll, like the percentage of the page that was scrolled. These give a more complete picture of the customer experience.

    • Recommended Events

      Google has listed some suggested events for businesses or organizations based on common website needs for specific verticals. For instance, e-commerce sites have a list of recommended events like “add-to-cart” and “refund” or “generate lead.” These recommendations can be found in the events report.

    • Custom Events

      Despite the upgrade in pre-established event tracking that Google is introducing, you still might want to track something unique and Google still allows this within custom events. For instance, if you want to track when a person makes a “donation” to your organization, which is different than a standard e-commerce purchase, that would require a custom event. Visit here to learn how to set up custom events.

  • Ramped Up Security

    With online security and personal privacy concerns, GA4 makes it easier to stay in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With GA4, IP addresses are anonymous (called IP Masking), relying on artificial intelligence (IA) to infer geography and context based on past behavior. While IP Masking is an opt-in feature in Universal Analytics, it’s now mandatory with GA4.

  • App and Web in One

    A big advantage of GA4 is the consolidation of analytics profiles. If you have an app and a website, in Universal Analytics, you have to track them separately. In GA4, they are tracked together. So, if someone clicks from your site to your app and then buys something, that entire customer journey is tracked within one analytics profile.

Why does the Google Analytics Change Matter to Your Business?

You may wonder why any of these changes matter. The truth is, if you don’t consider your website a part of your marketing strategy, then this really won’t change much for you. However, if you rely on your site to play a role in gaining new customers, leads or sales, the switch to GA4 is critical. Understanding who comes to your website, how they get there and how they engage with your site are all important steps in assessing how well your website supports your goals.

What Do You Need to Do Now?

  1. Your next steps should include setting up your GA4 account alongside your current Universal Analytics account. Thankfully, the initial setup for GA4 isn’t too complicated. It’s only taken us a few minutes to do this for each of our customers. There might be a little more time to set up any custom events if you require those to track what you need. Otherwise, you can connect GA4 to your Google Ads and Tag Manager accounts seamlessly. You can find complete instructions here.
  2. Next, you will want to download backups of your data (instructions here).
  3. Be sure to finish migrating your conversion goals and set up event tracking and audience groups.
  4. Finally, play around with the reporting templates and see how the new platform shows insights compared to Universal Analytics reporting.

If you need help transitioning to GA4 or setting up custom reports, or want an independent review of your website and its current state of performance and tracking setup, contact us today.

Professional Headshot Tips for 2022

Posted by

New Trends in Profile Pictures

Gone are the days when a cold, black suit on a bland gray background would do. Now, you will find personality, color and life added to headshots. While there is no exact formula, the trend is to add some form of individual expression to your photo. If your headshot is looking a little stale, check out this list of professional headshot tips that can help you breathe some new life into your profile.

WFH is Here to Stay – Go Casual with Your Headshot

The range of what is considered an acceptable work attire has dramatically changed as a result of COVID-19. More casual clothing has become acceptable across a variety of industries and professions, and this is carried into profiles that are more casual in attire, choice of background and pose. Consider showing a little more of your relaxed self in your photo by wearing what you usually wear “to work” instead of dressing up.

Show Self-Expression with Clothing in Headshots

As many remote workers returned to the office, they went retail-wild and showed up wearing a burst of self-expression. You will find the range of personalization in headshots has taken a similar turn. Both men and women can now embrace things long-considered taboo in the realm of professional portraits, such as bold makeup, statement earrings, big necklaces, standout hair accessories, hats and patterns. Don’t dress so wild that it doesn’t look like you, but do dress in whatever equates to your version of ‘bold.’

A New Trend in Headshots is to Embrace Color

As we mentioned earlier, the gray is gone. Photos have become bolder. There are two areas you can adjust to create a bold photo: the foreground (you) and the background. Try wearing bold colors, use a vibrant color for your background or go really big and create a strong contrast between the two. Your headshot will literally pop out from the competition.

More People are Taking Their Headshots Outside

Some employers require a specific headshot format for the corporate website, and that may require a studio shot. However, “on-location” photos showing some office environment or an outside landscape are definitely on the rise. A background that helps tell more of a story about where you work or your personality can be a great way to build human interest and connection. If your company requires that good, old-fashioned studio photo, consider some of the other tips included in this article to spice it up, or ask for a few shots for different uses; what you use on LinkedIn doesn’t need to match the corporate website.

Taking the “Posed” out of Professional Portraits

If the endless zoom meetings have become more cold and impersonal, the headshots certainly have not. A trend has emerged to convey approachability and personality through online profiles and digital correspondence, including headshots. Photos have begun to appear with people looking off-camera, laughing and in more casual poses. To follow this 2022 headshot trend, some photographers use candid shots. It can be as simple as picking what was formerly considered an “outtake” during a studio shoot or having a professional photographer capture you “in the wild” away from your desk, interacting with people, speaking in front of a crowd, or even at a networking event.

Check Your Fit

In this case, we aren’t referring to your wardrobe. ‘Fit’ also applies to the intent of your headshot. If your company has a certain look they are shooting for, we don’t suggest bucking the system. If it’s not appropriate to wear a t-shirt in your office or industry, wearing one for your professional profile may not look as ‘approachable’ as it does  ‘unprofessional.’ In the same way, if your job is to relate to college applicants and you are profiled in a three-piece suit, your image might create an unapproachable vibe for the students before you get a chance to meet with them and show off your magical personality. Make sure the image you convey fits the intent and purpose of your headshot.

Quick New Headshot Trend Checklist

To recap, here’s a quick checklist to make sure your new headshot looks like it belongs in this decade. You don’t necessarily have to incorporate all these elements. Consider the mix that will best convey your unique story when someone looks at your headshot.

  • Dress down, not up
  • Show individuality in your attire
  • Use bold colors
  • Consider shooting on location or outside
  • Go candid, less posed
  • Make sure your image fits your industry and intended use

Robot Creative specializes in Branding, Marketing Strategy and Outsourced Marketing for emerging middle-market businesses. If you need help with branding for your company or top executives, we can help. Call for a consultation.

If you need a new headshot soon and are located in the San Antonio area, join us for Headshot Day on Friday, July 22, 2022. Click here for details.

Should Your Organization Advertise on TikTok?

Posted by

Some of our clients have been asking, “Should we consider advertising on TikTok?”

Short Answer: 
If your target audience is Gen Z, then yes. If they are older, then you should consider other platforms for advertising to start.

Long Answer:
Our partner Sprout Social, Inc. investigated this recently. They found, according to Statista, that the largest age group of TikTok users in the U.S. in 2021 was 10-19. Millennials and Gen Xers weren’t terribly far behind. However, Global Web Index (GWI) reports that 30% of Gen Zers use TikTok for product research; compared to 16% of Millennials, 9% of Gen Xers and 2% of Baby Boomers.

Since a majority of users seek entertainment from TikTok content (GWI reports), companies could benefit from social listening on this platform to keep abreast of trends or to create a content strategy to start reaching younger audiences. However, unless targeting young Gen Zers, your ad dollars would be better spent elsewhere for now.

Have any other questions about your Social Media advertising strategy? Contact us for a consultation.

Do You Have a Brand or Just a Logo?

Posted by

by Andrew Watson, Director of Branding

Often, I hear people refer to their logo, colors, fonts and images as their “brand.” These are all components of a brand, but there is much more to it than just the visuals.

What is a Brand?

Branding has evolved over the years, and you will find several different definitions of the word. What began as simply a name or symbol to identify a product or service has expanded to the more current definition that most modern strategists, marketers and brand builders use. In current terms, a brand revolves around the more broad idea of “perception.”

Brand: The perception one has about a company, product or service.

This simple definition encompasses everything a company does and all of the touchpoints the company has with its audience. From internal values and culture, to how you communicate in your advertising and to your in-person experience, this includes all of your marketing materials and everything in-between. It’s the complete experience created by your company as it engages with your audience. These elements influence how people think about your company and affect the perception they develop. This is your brand.

How does the logo fit into the brand?

Your logo is often the first impression of your brand, and it’s what most people will immediately associate with your company. With that lofty status, the logo is an important part of the larger brand picture, but it’s not the sole representation of your brand. Your logo, color palette, fonts, images and graphic assets all fall under the visual identity system of your brand.

Visual Identity: The visual components of a brand.

A great way to understand the difference between visual identity and brand is to think of a company as a person. The way that person dresses would be the visual identity system. A person’s personality, choice of words and tone of voice, combined with how they carry themself and interact, is the perception (or brand). The clothes someone wears may influence the overall perception you might have of that person, but it’s only one small part of the bigger picture.

If I have a logo and colors, do I have a brand?

The reality is, that every company has a brand. Whether you have hired someone to develop a brand for you, you have developed it in-house, or it’s just something that has evolved organically over the years – you have a brand. It might not be very intentional, but it exists.

In today’s competitive landscape, brands have become much more sophisticated and strategic in the development of their brand experience. A pretty logo and some colors are probably not enough to get you where you want to go anymore. Those core elements alone don’t paint enough of a picture to help your target audience decide whether they will go with you or a competitor.

Crafting a Better Brand

When developing a new brand or refreshing an existing brand, it helps to start with a brand strategy, which is a plan that clearly defines the brand and how to communicate it effectively. Using this more strategic approach, you can go beyond the visuals and create a brand that influences the perceptions of the intended audience to make your company more appealing to that audience.

Once a strategy, or direction, has been determined, branding choices can become focused and intentional. Here is a list of the most common brand assets:

Name, Logo, Tagline/Positioning Line
These combine to form the face of your brand and serve as the first impression for most people. The combination of a unique name, logo mark and sometimes tagline can set the tone for everything else that follows. It’s not possible to tell your entire story in a logo, but if done well, the rest of the brand will complement, it and all of the parts will work together to deliver a more comprehensive brand experience.

Visual Identity
This encompasses all of the graphic assets, color palettes, fonts and imagery used within your branding. This portion of your brand has the power to quickly communicate a world of intangible information. Color plays a significant emotional role in how your brand is perceived. Fonts may be more modern or more traditional to convey your style. Your imagery selection might complement or contrast these other assets. A shift in any of these can change the perception slightly or dramatically. All of the parts of the visual identity work together as a whole.

Voice and Tone
An important, and often overlooked brand element, is your brand voice or how you deliver your message. The brand voice can have a powerful impact on how memorable your brand is. The voice is the consistent personality that you apply to all your messaging – regardless if it is written or spoken. Does your brand have a casual and witty voice, or is it more informative and buttoned-up? Choosing a voice that works for your brand and resonates with your audience can create a solid connection. To add more complexity into the mix – while the voice of your brand should always be the same – the tone can vary to accommodate different types of messaging. For example, how would your brand voice communicate excitement vs. condolences? Whatever the tone of the message, it should still sound like it’s coming from the same brand voice.

A Brand Encompasses All

The complete experience a person has with your company or organization is what creates brand perception. It’s not just how your logo looks or the colors you use on your website. When all your brand components align and work together, they can communicate your story memorably and authentically, making all your marketing decisions focused and future projects more straightforward. You will want to be intentional with your brand choices to achieve the best results.

Do you have a brand or just a logo?
If you need help evolving or developing your brand, we can help. Learn about our branding process here.

Facebook Icon Twitter Icon LinkedIn Icon Instagram Icon