My Google Data Studio Wishlist

Before I get into why I want Google to drop everything they’re doing with Google Data Studio (GDS) – their answer to Power BI or Tableau – and prioritize my personal needs, I’ll say:

This post should read as a love letter to Data Studio because it is. It’s (incredibly) still a free tool, and I understand that comes with some limitations. Still, Portent has already used GDS to:

Google Data Studio Report Example
Google Data Studio Report

Portent uses GDS every day to relay important information to our clients.

Even so, being in Google Data Studio constantly has given me a perspective few have on its shortcomings. I’ll detail GDS growth opportunities here in the hopes that Nick and crew will take them with a grain of salt, but maybe move them up the roadmap.

Aesthetics

They’ve had many updates in the last year already on greater visual fine-tuning of charts and graphs, but for Data Studio to be the silver bullet for agency reporting it needs more ways to affect global settings across many pages.

User Themes

GDS has a few built-in themes (light and dark) that help you dictate background and font colors on entire reports, but it needs a way to store and re-use custom color palettes and fonts (including size relationships) across multiple reports.

We have a style guide at our agency with hex colors and fonts we’re expected to use in all client-facing deliverables. It would be nice to capture that style and add it to a new report with one click instead of manually adding it each time.

Google Data Studio Dashboard
Google Data Studio Dashboard

Working our style guide into Google Data Studio Dashboards has been fun, but could be easier to scale.

Data Label Control

Data Studio team has already added a way to re-size data labels on charts, which is brilliant; they were almost always too small before. I’d like to see them take this control granularity a step further. Specifically:

  • Choosing where labels appear on the chart (e.g., Excel-style Inside Top, Outside End),
  • Copying and pasting data label treatments from one graph to another, and
  • Spacing control for labels in stacked column (or other similarly crowded) visualizations

More Fonts

Support for Adobe Typekit or even just matching the fonts available in other Google Doc programs (like Docs or Slides) would be sufficient here. Typography and readability are essential when presenting any content, but especially in data storytelling.

Arrows, Lines, Polygons and Other Shapes

Right now, only Circles and Rectangles can be drawn natively in GDS. So often, I have to screencap my beautiful visualizations in Data Studio and then annotate them with arrows and lines in other programs. Aside from just annotating data though, we’re also working on building funnel-style visualizations for clients, and they look super clunky with only rectangles.

Google Data Studio Funnel
Google Data Studio Funnel

Our funnel prototype is coming along nicely, but could use less rectangles.

Data

Aside from all the visual trappings, the data is still paramount, and some improvements there could take GDS from a great tool to an excellent tool overnight.

Support for Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnels

Today, while the GDS connector for GA is pretty comprehensive, the inability to tell the Assisted Conversion story is brutal on our clients who rely on content marketing to drive results. I’ve long lamented Google Analytics keeping their attribution data separate from their primary data (in both the UI and API) and its absence in Data Studio hurts even more.

Better Documentation for Data Blending

Blending Data Sources is probably Google Data Studio’s most mouthwatering feature for data workers in theory. But in practice, it’s still very clunky; mostly because it lacks documented best practices and examples for things like join keys, date dimensions, filtering, and more.

The other day, I was trying to create a custom field to show the % change between two data points from disparate sources and aggregate it by week and was getting insane math out of it. It turns out deltas only work on a day-by-day basis. Would’ve been nice to know before I went down a 2-hour rabbit hole thinking I did something wrong.

Forecasting

Our most sophisticated clients want to know things like:

  • How are we pacing to annual goals?
  • How many conversions can I expect by the end of the month?

While I could manually enter those things in a bullet chart, one of our objectives as an analytics team this year is to automate everything we can so our content, search, and social practitioners can focus on insight and strategy.

It’s one thing to introduce a trend line, but being able to specify a regression and project anticipated performance against actuals would make GDS a killer app for not just marketing reports, but also finance.

Friendlier Error Treatments

As of my writing this, you can specify what you want to show up in a table when GDS finds a null value in a data source (either “no data,” “0,” or my personal favorite “-“). Similarly, scorecards and charts tend to break in GDS for a variety of reasons. While a glaring error message and a monkey wrench are right to see for those of us who are editing the reports, it can be jarring for clients viewing the reports. A way for us to add an “Under Construction” or “Temporarily Unavailable” message or visual to broken elements would soften the blow for viewers.

Bulk Editing for Metrics Across Scorecards and Charts

When a client decides they want to see a different metric for conversions than we’re reporting on, today I have to modify each element in the report one-by-one to make that change. It would be nice to have a global find and replace or even to highlight items that share a metric in common from the same data source and swap it out wholesale.

Thanks, Google Data Studio!

Ultimately, I’m writing all this because I care. I’m an ardent supporter of GDS and, for my money, their team is the fastest iterating product team at Google. I hope to see some of the changes I listed above adopted, but I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen. Keep up the good work!

The post My Google Data Studio Wishlist appeared first on Portent.

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My Top 10 Quotes on Happiness

Happiness

Happiness does not come from what you have, but from who you are and what you think.

You can be the richest person in your locality or in your office but that has no relation to you being happy. You can have the biggest house in the neighborhood but that does not mean you are happy – Well, it might make you happy but only for a very brief moment.

So, what is Happiness and what makes you feel Happy? Science says do these 11 things to be happy, and these are very simple things that each one of us can do to be happy. As we move from 2017 into 2018 , lets focus on doing things that make us feel happy in 2018.

Below are my Top 10 Quotes on Happiness

1) If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion – Dalai Lama

2) “Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb

3) “Happiness is not having what you want. It is appreciating what you have.” – Unknown

4) “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra

5) “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” – Aristotle

6) “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

7) “Once you do something you love, you never have to work again.” – Willie Hill

8) “Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.” – John C. Maxwell

9) “A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?” – Albert Einstein

10) “If you want to be happy, be.” -Leo Tolstoy

Have a Happy 2018 and Stay Blessed 🙂

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Brand Update : Is Santoor testing a new positioning ?

Santoor, one of India’s largest brand has been on a roll these days. Recently, the brand became the second largest selling soap by volume, toppling HUL’s Lux ( Source). The success of the brand is attributed to the consistency and focus in brand building.

Recently an interesting twist has happened in the brand’s approach to positioning. The brand relaunched its Santoor Gold in a new avatar. Santoor Gold was launched in 2015 as a premium variant differentiated by the presence of Sakura extracts and saffron as the ingredient. The product was launched initially in the southern states like AP. Three years later, the variant is relaunched. This time the sakura extract is missing and prominence are given to the saffron and sandal ingredient.
More importantly, the ad of this variant does not follow the core positioning of the parent brand – the mistaken identity.

This is a drastic change in terms of the brand’s positioning strategy.

Watch the old ad of santoor gold here

.
The earlier campaign of Santoor Gold followed the mistaken identity theme. The question remains as to why the brand chose to tread a new path for its variant? One scenario is that the brand is testing a new positioning different from the age-old one with the new variant. The second scenario is that the brand chose to have a new positioning for the variant targeting a much younger crowd.
However, theoretically, it is always better to have the variants following the positioning theme of the parent brand otherwise the synergy of the brand-line promotions will be lost.

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10 Proven Techniques to Write Engaging Emails

email marketing

Most content marketers would agree that email marketing is unavoidable for businesses. If you have got quality content, marketing emails can be more engaging and successful. Adopt these 5 easy ways to create engaging emails in your marketing strategy:

Create a meaningful Subject Line:
The subject line will often be the reason for the user to read your email. A good subject line should be short, simple and on point. Ask questions, give statement, or highlight unexpected facts, and your email will likely be opened.

Produce Great Content:
When you add great content, your email will obviously be improved. You can draw the attention of your customers by creating content that is intriguing and useful. More importantly, your content should satisfy their requirements.

Make Emails Responsive:
Making your emails responsive will enhance user experience . Design your emails and optimize them to display better on tablets and smartphones. When you create emails that are easy-to-read and navigate, you will notice more click-through.

Add More Imagery:
Good emails should be precise and attractive to keep the readers engaged. Even if you have a great subject line, no one would prefer reading a massive paragraph of text. Alongside concise content, the email should incorporate necessary images, graphics, and other components that would attract a reader.

Don’t Forget Automated Emails:
What if the customer makes a purchase? You would need to create an automated follow-up email as it is important to create a good impression for your business. An automated email that is poorly designed wouldn’t do well. Use professional templates and take some time to design such automated emails.

Make it Short:
During proofreads let every long and unnecessary sentence be eliminated so that you can remain with content that is direct and addressing what you intend. To succeed in this, you can focus on cutting your original writing into a half.

Sound Friendly:
When writing your email to many people, you do not need to sound like a big corporation that is passing information to their clients. Make sure you address a single person by name, not as general subscribers.

Your Greetings Should not be Repetitive:
Do not stick to a single greeting every time you send an email. Use various greetings being conscious of seasons. You can use greetings like “happy holidays ” or “warm wishes” or “Hello from…” Do not think about a strict formula when writing. Express yourself in the best way you can.

Your Voice Should be Natural:
Let your audience realize that you are genuinely interested in the value they will receive from what you are trying to sell them. Just the way you would address a customer at a store. You can use ‘you’ to address them directly.

Reward People for Checking Your Emails:
Who doesn’t like rewards? You need to ensure your subscribers can benefit from checking your emails regularly. You can reward them in the form of e-books with exclusive tips related to your industry or inspire them with free e-courses.

Creating engaging content along with user friendly emails will help you go a long way in content marketing.

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SEO in 2018, Which Practices You Should Avoid and Why.

SEO is a never-ending race and marketers and bloggers know that. In order to achieve success in the SEO world, it’s important to stay updated on Google’s changes, impact and new avenues, therefore, these are some important pieces of advice on which practices you should avoid while optimising your content online.

Link Building: Avoid Forum Posts

John Mueller posted this after someone asked if Reddit comments are dofollow. The guy wrote: “I recently commented on another thread regarding this, and I just did a double-take and Reddit comments indeed appear to not have the « nofollow »-relation? So are Reddit comments then essentially dofollow and SEO-worthy? How do they work?”
John Mueller’s response: “How does link spam with forum comments work? Very badly »

Keyword Research vs Search Volumes

Search volumes are the key to understand how your blogs and your content could impact your impressions. In order to do that, you must know the fact that targeting low search volumes could be a great avenue, especially if your content is very niche related and with an overall small following online. A solid example would be related to very high-level tech companies providing specialized tools for websites/warehouses and such. Given the number of search volumes, finding the right keyword could drastically boost your traffic, even if it has low searches.

Mobile Is The Focus

Many mobile app development companies are relying on backline optimisation for their website. Why? Because the internet is fully mobile dominated at the moment, which is why Google is now indexing mobile websites. By having an optimised mobile version of your landing page, your conversion rates and impressions will be drastically increased. This has to be done either from a technical point of view and from a content one.

Link Building Meters, Why Trust Flow Is The Essential One

By browsing websites with Majestic, it’s pretty simple to see which are the ones who are organically ranking on Google for topical trust flow. This meter is still the best tool you must check before approaching a website for link building. Once you decided which trust flow would fit your website, act accordingly and try not to break it.

To Conclude 
By avoiding forum posts and by improving already existing strategies, SEO in this second half of 2018 will be an easy task for you and it’s proven by stats that these ones are the absolute best approaches you can have within the craft.
Author Bio

Paul Matthews is a freelance writer in Manchester. His aim is to inform people about the power of the internet, while he still focuses on his office. You can often find him mountain biking or at the local library.

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Sting : Electrifying Energy, Ultimate Taste

Brand: Sting
Company: Pepsico India

Brand Analysis Count: #586

Sting is the Pepsico India’s challenger brand in the Rs 200 Crore sports and energy drink market in India. According to Livemint, Indian sports and energy drink market are in a nascent stage with a consumption of 45.2 Million Liters in 2016. Redbull rules the market with a share of 64%.
The size of the Indian market and the growing interest of the consumers towards non-carbonated and less sugary drinks has made this a very attractive market for these products. Moreover, the government has come out with norms for energy drink market which makes a clear regulatory framework for the players. 
Sting is launched with the positioning of product performance. The tagline of the brand is  » Electrifying Energy, Ultimate Taste ». The launch ad is effective in communicating the positioning but cannot be claimed as anything creative because it reminds of the Center Shock ads of the past. The ad is targeting the health conscious young Indian consumers. 
The brand is priced almost 50% less than the market leader Redbull. I have not seen this brand in my city. I guess, the national rollout has not happened yet for the brand. 
Indian sports and energy drink market is still a niche market. Although there is a shift towards healthy drinks, consumers ( in my opinion) is little confused about the product usage. In marketing terms, the category lacks salience. The brands in the category need to educate the consumers about the product usage and usage situations in order to expand the category. Although we can argue that the product descriptor ( energy drink) is there in the product label, that will only help in category identification. If the category needs to expand, it should make more usage situations for the product. Currently, the category is popular among sports enthusiasts which restrict the growth of the market in terms of market size. 
The low price of Sting may induce more product usage for the brand and thus offer a challenge to the market leader. However, Sting needs more than the quirky launch campaign to challenge Redbull. 

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Brand Update : Skoda lures with Peace of Mind

Skoda came into the Indian market way back in 2002 with the highly successful premium sedan Octavia. Ever since the brand has created an image of a premium brand with very sturdy cars. However, the brand was eclipsed when the Indian market saw the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes fighting it out with new models and brand promotion

. Somewhere down the line, the brand went into a slumber, my assumption is that when the Volkswagen brand was promoted heavily, Skoda went into sleep.

2018 is witnessing a comeback of sorts for this brand. According to newspaper reports, Volkswagen group is planning to put Skoda brand in the center of India 2.0 strategy. 
One of the issues that the brand is facing is the perception ( rather truth) of Skoda being expensive to maintain in terms of service and spare costs. This issue was faced by Ford who ran a big campaign trying to change the perception. 
To change the perception, Skoda is offering warranty and service package to the car owners and a celebrity-driven brand campaign. 
The brand has roped in Boman Irani as the celebrity endorsing the new campaign. Interestingly Boman Irani is also endorsing Cars24 portal. Seems like he is the new favorite of Auto brands. 
Skoda needs to change the perception of being expensive to maintain since the brand is expected to launch a series of products that will drive VW’s share in the Indian market in the coming years. 
Because of this perception, Skoda cars are not in the consideration set of most of the customers who look for an upgrade in the mid-range segment. In my opinion, Skoda is a kind of squeezed in the Indian car market with the luxury segment being dominated by brands like Audi, Benz, BMW etc while the premium segment is witnessing the intense competition between the likes of Honda and Suzuki. 
The money that the brands like Skoda and Ford had to incur to change the perception of being expensive to maintain brand is a lesson to marketers. Perceptions are easy to create and often created without a thought. Once the perception is set in the mind of the target market, it will burn a hole in the brand’s pocket for a long time. 

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