Friday, January 11, 2013

[G] Vote for your favorite January “On The Rise” nominee

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YouTube Blog: Vote for your favorite January “On The Rise” nominee

In our monthly On The Rise program, we identify four partners whose channels are seeing significant growth but haven’t yet reached the 100,000 subscriber mark. This month, with your help, we’re excited to introduce you to four popular and promising partners so you can help them grow their audience and channels.

Our January nominees include a filmmaker, a cupcake artist, a vlogger, and a singer-songwriter, and you can help jumpstart their YouTube careers. Review their videos below, vote for your favorite here, and one of these candidates will have the opportunity to be featured across YouTube later this month. In addition to your votes, each channel will be evaluated on criteria such as viewer engagement and channel optimization techniques to decide which partner we’ll feature.

In past months, featured On The Rise partners like RichardGaleFilms and polcan99 have gained many subscribers and seen their careers take off, in large part due to your support. This month’s poll will be open until January 18, 5pm PT, so don’t forget to vote for your favorite channel. Check back to see which channel will be featured on January 30.


Scott believes anyone can be a filmmaker if they have the ambition, and he’s spent several years demonstrating tips and tricks for how to make films on a strict budget and without top-of-the-line equipment. Check out his videos for low-cost DIY equipment ideas, Q&As and behind-the-scenes tutorials that support his philosophy, “it’s about technique, not the gear.”


You don’t have to have spent years in the kitchen in order to create professional-looking cupcakes or cake pops - and you don’t even have to travel to the Gold Coast to try them! Australian baker extraordinaire Elise will teach you how to make your own sweet treats with her step-by-step instructional videos.


Tris of TristopiaTV is a British vlogger who shares his thoughts and comments on a wide range of topics on his weekly vlog show, T-Time. Check out his channel to listen to his views from everything from the nationwide fascination with tea to the world ending.


A self-described “musician and hopeless romantic,” Tom hails from London and shares original music and covers of some popular songs with his audience via his channel. He writes and composes his own music for songs like “Pavement Sleeper” and puts his own spin on works from Bob Marley and Lana Del Ray to name a few.

If you’re interested in participating or have suggestions for partners you think should be featured, you can nominate a YouTube partner to be considered for the “On The Rise” program.

Devon Storbeck and Christine Wang, YouTube Partner Support, recently watched “WORLDS BEST SIGN FLIPPER.”


[G] 10 Google Analytics Resolutions for 2013

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Analytics Blog: 10 Google Analytics Resolutions for 2013

The following is a guest post from Michael Loban, CMO of InfoTrust a Google Analytics Certified Partner and Google Analytics Premium Reseller based in Cincinnati, OH.

New Year’s is the ideal time for making resolutions (that we keep until the second week of January). To avoid this cliché, I decided to actually wait until the second week of January to put together my resolutions/ideas/tactics for taking Google Analytics in 2013 to the next level.
1. Address your data phobia. Maybe it is a little bit extreme to say that a lot of digital marketers have an extreme fear of web analytics data, but it is safe to assume that data is what often causes migraines. Staring at pie charts, graphs and percentages until you know what you are looking for is the wrong way to start. The remedy for data phobia is simple – ignore the data you do not need to make a marketing decision. And always remember to align your Google Analytics configuration with your business goals.
2. Assign a monetary value to your goals even if you do not sell anything on your website. Each submitted form, played video, downloaded PDF is worth something. Otherwise, why did you put it on a site? It is not enough to say that you need to decrease your bounce rate by 5%. Equate the decrease in your bounce rate by 5% to the amount of money that you can make when those visitors submit completed “contact us” forms or other micro conversions. For example, work with the email marketing team to determine the value of each new email subscriber. If you get more people to join your email list then you will be able to sell more products via email marketing.

3. Not all marketing strategies are created equal. In order to turn a prospect into a customer you might have to engage in remarketing, email marketing and social media marketing. Use attribution modeling inside Google Analytics to examine how each marketing tactic contributes to a sale/conversion. Here is a blog post from the Google Analytics team on how to get started with attribution modeling. In 2012, Attribution Modeling was only available for Google Analytics Premium customers; in 2013 it will be available across all Google Analytics.

4. For some reason, social media measurement is something companies are still unsure about. It is difficult and complex, but you have to start somewhere. Why not start with Google Analytics Social Reports? This will help you track visitors that social media channels brought to your website, measure the value of those channels by tracking conversions and examine how your content is being shared across social networks. It feels good to say that last month, 10 people from Facebook who came to your website became your customers. Learn more about Social Reports
5. Tools are great, but great analysts are awesome. The true value of analytics is fully unlocked when you get to work on your data and turn it into something actionable. Make sure that you have a team (even if it is a team of 1) that knows how to analyze data to help you reach your marketing goals. 
6. If you begin to analyze your data, and realize that you do not have enough context to make a decision, get more data. Now, you can do a cost data import and Google Analytics will display how non-Google paid search campaigns perform and compare to your other marketing campaigns. Here is a how-to article from Google Analytics on Measuring Performance of Paid Campaigns.  
7. While we are on the subject of trying new things, Remarketing is something that I have promised myself to do more of. Remarketing is now available right inside Google Analytics. Here is a PDF document and a Webinar about Remarketing with Google Analytics. 

8. Mobile optimization is the most exciting digital opportunity for marketers in the coming year, according to new Econsultancy report. Since this is the case, mobile analytics will become more important than ever. Segmenting and understanding your mobile visitors will help you create a winning mobile experience that will lead to conversions and sales. In October, Google Analytics announced a public beta launch for mobile app analytics.

9. Begin measuring your analytics ROI. Time that you spend on collecting, reporting and analyzing data is not free – there is an opportunity cost. In order to prove the value of analytics inside your organization, begin measuring your Return on Analytics. When you accurately collect data, and properly analyze it, you are able to make accurate marketing decisions. Measure the impact of your analytics.

10. ACTION! This is a common phrase on any movie set. This should become a common phrase for everyone who uses Google Analytics. Turn your data into actionable marketing reports and smart dashboards that will help with the analysis. When you see true data analysis, you will want to scream ACTION! This means that the data and data analysis are so clear and crisp that you know exactly what needs to be done to reach your marketing objectives. Don’t settle for anything less. DATA, ANALYSIS, ACTION!
Happy New Year!


[G] *Introducing Zavers by Google — helping retailers and

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Official Google CPG Blog: *Introducing Zavers by Google — helping retailers and

Introducing Zavers by Google — helping retailers and manufacturers deliver relevant coupons to shoppers

Today we’re excited to introduce Zavers by Google—a digital coupon solution that enables retailers and manufacturers to reward loyal customers with coupons that are relevant to them -- increasing basket size and redemption rates. So dog owners don’t get cat food coupons and parents of teenagers don’t get diaper coupons.

Unlike traditional media, Zavers’ real-time data gives manufacturers new ways to measure coupon redemptions and analyze consumer preferences so they can manage distribution, tailor campaigns, and optimize budgets for maximum ROI. Zavers also offers access to an extensive network of manufacturer coupons, opening up new retail revenue streams.

With Zavers, shoppers find manufacturer discounts on their favorite retailer websites, and save the digital coupons to their accounts. Then they simply shop for those products and check out as usual. Redemption occurs in real time, with savings automatically deducted at checkout when shoppers provide their rewards cards or phone numbers—no scanning or sorting necessary. Manufacturers only pay when a product is moved off the shelf.

Zavers by Google is growing fast. This month we are thrilled to welcome New York’s Original Grocer, D’Agostino, as the latest partner in our retail network. In the coming months, we will be announcing partnerships with a number of other major retailers.

Retailers and manufacturers can see first-hand how Zavers works by visiting our demonstration booth at the annual NRF Convention & Expo, January 14-15 (booth #2281).

If you are a U.S.-based retailer or packaged goods manufacturer, let us show you how Zavers by Google can help. To get started, please contact our sales team at or visit our website at

Posted by Spencer Spinnell, Director, Emerging Platforms, Google Commerce


Thursday, January 10, 2013

[G] Our newest Beta, for Android phones and tablets

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Google Chrome Blog: Our newest Beta, for Android phones and tablets

Release early, release often. Today, we’re introducing Chrome Beta channel for phones and tablets on Android 4.0+. The Beta channel was launched in the early days of Chrome to test out new features and fix issues fast. Our newest Beta channel for phones and tablets now joins our Beta versions of Chrome for Mac, Windows, Linux and Chrome OS.

You can expect early access to new features (and bugs!), as well as a chance to provide feedback on what’s on the way. Just like our other Beta versions, the new features may be a little rough around the edges, but we’ll be pushing periodic updates so you can test out our latest work as soon as it’s ready. Even better, you can install the Beta alongside your current version of Chrome for Android.

Chrome for Android now benefits from all the speed, security and other improvements that have been landing on Chrome’s other platforms. For example, in today’s Beta update we have improved the Octane performance benchmark on average by 25-30%. In addition, this update includes interesting HTML5 features for developers such as CSS Filters. This is just one step of many towards bringing beautiful experiences to the mobile web.

Ready? Use it, abuse it, and tell us what you think. Our new Chrome Beta for Android is available now on Google Play (use the link, you won't find it in search)!

Posted by Jason Kersey, Technical Program Manager & Mobile Cat Herder

[G] Meet the Google Affiliate Network team at Affiliate Summit West 2013

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Google Affiliate Network: Meet the Google Affiliate Network team at Affiliate Summit West 2013

Google Affiliate Network is excited to join our fellow affiliate marketers at Affiliate Summit West from January 13-15, 2013 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

At the conference, you'll have a chance to hear from our team. Kristin Hall, Head of Publisher Development, will lead a talk on Publisher Segmentation Ideas, providing insight into how to tailor communications and optimization strategies to effectively reach the right publisher partners.  Members of our account management team will also be on hand to meet with our valued advertisers, publishers and partners. Be sure to stop by our booth.

Visit the Google Affiliate Network booth:
Affiliate Summit West
Google Affiliate Network
Booth #327 and 329
map »

Attend the presentation:
Session: Publisher Segmentation Ideas
Location: Florentine 3 and 4
Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm
Date: Sunday January 13, 2013

See you soon!

Posted by:
Josh Pyle, Associate Product Marketing Manager

[G] Google Maps Coordinate now available on iPhone

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Maps Coordinate now available on iPhone

Dan Chu, Senior Product Manager, Google Maps for Business

Google Maps Coordinate makes it easy to manage mobile teams more efficiently. Starting today, Maps Coordinate will be available on iPhones in addition to Android devices. Now, mobile workers equipped with an iPhone can be dispatched and record job details using Maps Coordinate.

Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help organizations improve communication with employees in the field. Employees can download the mobile app on their phone to share real-time location data and any information they need to record about a particular job. Meanwhile, dispatchers in a central office can use the web app to see the locations of the employees in the field, create new jobs at specific locations, and assign new jobs to nearby individuals or teams.

To start using Google Maps Coordinate, enroll in a 30-day trial or contact our sales team. If you've already signed up, download Google Maps Coordinate for your mobile device in the Apple App Store or in Google Play.

[G] Calling student coders: Hardcode, the secure coding contest for App Engine

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Google Online Security Blog: Calling student coders: Hardcode, the secure coding contest for App Engine

Posted by Parisa Tabriz, Security Team

Protecting user security and privacy is a huge responsibility, and software security is a big part of it. Learning about new ways to “break” applications is important, but learning preventative skills to use when “building” software, like secure design and coding practices, is just as critical. To help promote secure development habits, Google is once again partnering with the organizers of SyScan to host Hardcode, a secure coding contest on the Google App Engine platform.

Participation will be open to teams of up to 5 full-time students (undergraduate or high school, additional restrictions may apply). Contestants will be asked to develop open source applications that meet a set of functional and security requirements. The contest will consist of two rounds: a qualifying round over the Internet, with broad participation from any team of students, and a final round, to be held during SyScan on April 23-25 in Singapore.

During the qualifying round, teams will be tasked with building an application and describing its security design. A panel of judges will assess all submitted applications and select the top five to compete in the final round.

At SyScan, the five finalist teams will be asked to develop a set of additional features and fix any security flaws identified in their qualifying submission. After two more days of hacking, a panel of judges will rank the projects and select a grand prize winning team that will receive $20,000 Singapore dollars. The 2nd-5th place finalist teams will receive $15,000, $10,000, $5,000, and $5,000 Singapore dollars, respectively.

Hardcode begins on Friday, January 18th. Full contest details will be be announced via our mailing list, so subscribe there for more information!

[G] Must-Have Analytics Customizations for Any Business

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Analytics Blog: Must-Have Analytics Customizations for Any Business

The following is a guest post by Mike Pantoliano, a web marketing consultant at Distilled in Seattle.

Out of the box, Google Analytics is really powerful. It's amazing how much awesome data we have at our fingertips by just implementing a couple of lines of code across our entire site. Having worked in an agency setting for a number of years now, I'm fortunate to have overseen hundreds of various web sites' Google Analytics implementations. And while no business' analytics needs are the same, I've found there are a few must-have customizations that can be applied across almost any GA implementation.

While the following tips will help you get more out of Google Analytics, there's no replacing a solid understanding of how Google Analytics operates by default. I consider this post a successor to Daniel Waisberg's 5 Ways To Ensure Google Analytics Is Running Perfectly and Simply Business's Small Business Guide to Google Analytics. Once you've got a good hold on how things work, give some of the following a shot in your accounts.

Build a Branded RegEx

Regular expressions can be scary, but in many cases this will only have to be done once. Once you have one built it can be applied to advanced segments or multi-channel funnel channel groupings to get a really enlightening look at how visitors coming from non-branded keywords are interacting with your site. If you're actively trying to grow your traffic from search, the biggest gains can be had from visitors that do not yet know your brand.

Even if you're not a RegEx pro, your Google Analytics keyword report will allow you to tinker until you get it just right. Once you have some of the basics down, you can begin to build your branded RegEx:

Head to your keywords reports and click advanced

Begin to build your RegEx. Simply typing in your brand name would be a good start.

Watch out for brand-name-less keywords that are technically still branded. For instance, Distilled's conference brand would still appear in our keyword reports with our original RegEx.

Make adjustments as necessary to your RegEx using pipes ("|") to indicate an OR, and other RegEx operators like "?", "*", and parentheses.

Now you can apply to your advanced segments and compare behavior and conversion data.

Or create custom channels in your multi-channel funnel reports.

And speaking of MCF channel groupings…

Create Custom MCF Channel Groupings

The world of digital measurement is increasingly becoming aware of the fact that the customer journey is far too complicated to work solely off of last touch attribution. Many marketing channels like social, display advertising, and organic search (especially non-branded) inherently act as "exposers". Looking only at last touch attribution isn't fair to these channels that are bringing potential customers in the door. This is the problem that the multi-channel funnels reports and the (soon to be released for everyone) attribution modeling tool are built to solve.

But those reports are only as good as the input channel segmentation. By default, Google Analytics offers a solid basic channel grouping from which to work. Right off the bat I like to create a copy of the default channels, and customize for the site I'm analyzing.

Now I can create custom channels. This will vary greatly between websites, but the following are some channel ideas that might be useful:
  1. The aforementioned non-branded and branded channels
  2. Separate out partner sites or special relationships from the default "referral" channel into their own group.
  3. An affiliate channel
  4. Separated social network channel. Perhaps separate channels for just the channels you're active on (Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, etc.). Or maybe pulling out any networks that are used in the "closer" role (say, if you're mainly using Twitter to post coupon codes).
  5. A channel for a subset of your visitors that were exposed to a specific portion of your site before anything else. Check out Josh Braaten's How to Prove the Value of Content Marketing with Multi-Channel Funnels for a great example of this.

Once you've built your custom channels, take a look at the assisted conversion reports. Watch for channels with high assisted/last interaction conversion ratios. Those are your exposers! They've been acting mostly in the assist role and might deserve a bit more credit than they've been getting with standard last touch attribution.

Build a Custom Dashboard or Two (or 10!)

Dashboards are a great way to create an at-a-glance snapshot of what matters. It's here where we'll be able to make sure everything is operating as normally, all in one view. Any general marketing dashboard worth its weight in pixels will include a 10,000 feet look at acquisition, behavior, and outcomes. How is traffic? How is time on site/bounce rate/etc.? How are conversions/revenue?

Larger organizations may have stakeholders in various parts of your business that would love a 10,000 foot view of the metrics that matter to them. Got a team that runs the blog? Build a dashboard that offers a view of dimensions like top landing pages and entrance keywords, as well as metrics like bounce rate and comments (set up as a goal). Need a view for just the C-level folks? Build one with revenue, overall site traffic, and time on site.

The previously mentioned Simply Business "Small Business Guide to Google Analytics" includes an example dashboard that can be copied into your account and modified as needed.

Setup Custom Intelligence Data Alerts

Even with daily checkups on your site's health, sometimes major problems can go unnoticed until it's too late. Enter custom data alerts. This handy feature lets you define triggers that will alert you via email or text message should a given threshold be passed. It's really easy to setup alerts for site wide drops in traffic, conversions, revenue, etc.

And we can take it a step further and apply our triggers to a subset of our site's traffic, for example:
  • drop in traffic from search
  • increase in bounce rate from direct
  • drop in conversions from
  • drop in impressions from ppc
And even more advanced:

One client I've worked with was sending events whenever an error was triggered in their checkout process. With custom data alerts, it's then totally possible to get an alert whenever there's an increase in checkout error events.

Both Luna Metrics and Justin Cutroni wrote some great posts on data alerts if you'd like more ideas:

Wrapping Up

These are just some of the most common enhancements I make to GA's out-of-the-box setup. Even after the above, there's so much more that can be tweaked as necessary to make for the perfect analysis reports, the possibilities are endless. I didn't even touch on filters, custom reports, and advanced segments! And now with even more features like cost analysis, dimension widening, and Universal Analytics being rolled out the possibilities will be even more endless-er.

What are your go-to Google Analytics customizations?

[G] Announcing a New Hangout on Air Series: Under the AdWords Hood

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Inside AdWords: Announcing a New Hangout on Air Series: Under the AdWords Hood

Happy 2013! As our New Year’s gift to you, we here at Google are launching a new “Under the AdWords Hood” Hangout on Air series.

We took a vote on the Google Ads G+ page, and you told us which AdWords subjects you’re curious to learn more about in the new year. Over the next eight weeks, we’ll break down those topics and share with you what we do at Google, why we do it, and our best practices:

January 10th at 11 AM PDT: AdWords Policy

January 24th at 11 AM PDT: Breaking Down Ad Rank

February 7th at 11 AM PDT: Remarketing Tips

February 21st at 11 AM PDT: All About the AdWords Billing Cycle

To join the Hangouts, just sign into Google+ and add the Google Ads +Page to your circles. Each week we’ll put up a post soliciting your questions. Then, on Thursday, navigate to your Stream where you’ll be able to view our Hangout live with just one click. See you there!

Posted by Courtney Pannell & Divya Vishwanath, AdWords Support

[G] Speedy Chrome delivery

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Google Chrome Blog: Speedy Chrome delivery

With today’s Chrome Stable release, you’ll be booting up a faster browser. Feel free to kick back after the holidays and enjoy Chrome’s new year freshness through automatic updates.

Posted by Dharani Govindan, Technical Program Manager

[G] Advanced Power Searching with Google -- Registration Opens Today

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Google Research Blog: Advanced Power Searching with Google -- Registration Opens Today

Posted by Daniel Russell, Über Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness

Cross-posted at Inside Search Blog

What historic cafe inspired a poem by a Nobel Laureate? In the last three barista world championships, which winners did not use beans from their home country? If you were preparing a blog post on “Curious Trivia of Coffee Culture,” how would you find the answers to these questions? What else would you discover? Now you can sign up for our Advanced Power Searching with Google online course and find out.

Building on Power Searching with Google, Advanced Power Searching with Google helps you gain a deeper understanding of how to become a better researcher. You will solve complex search challenges similar to those I pose in my blog, or a Google a Day, and explore Google’s advanced search tools not covered in the first class.

Oftentimes the most intriguing questions invite you to explore beyond the initial answer, and there’s no single correct path to get there. When looking for questions that can’t be solved with a single query, “search” can quickly turn into “research.” Google Search offers a palette of tools to help you dive deeper into the web of knowledge.

Visit to learn more about our online search courses, and review our search tips on the Power Searching with Google Quick Reference Guide. Advanced Power Searching begins on January 23 and ends on February 8th.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

[G] A wind investment deep in the heart of Texas

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Official Google Blog: A wind investment deep in the heart of Texas

In late December, while most of us were busy wrapping presents, our Treasury team was tying a bow on our most recent renewable energy deal: an approximately $200 million equity investment in a wind farm in west Texas that generates enough energy to power more than 60,000 average U.S. homes.

Spinning Spur Wind Project is located in Oldham County, a wide open, windy section of the Texas Panhandle located about 35 miles from Amarillo. The 161 megawatt facility was built by renewable energy developer EDF Renewable Energy, a veteran in the industry that has overseen more than 50 other clean energy projects. Spinning Spur’s 70 2.3 MW Siemens turbines started spinning full time just before the end of the year, and the energy they create has been contracted to SPS, a utility that primarily serves Texas and New Mexico.

We look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments: they offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets. We’re also proud to be the first investor in an EDF Renewable Energy project that is not a financial institution, as we believe that corporations can be an important new source of capital for the renewable energy sector.

Spinning Spur joins 10 other renewable energy investments we’ve made since 2010, several of which hit significant milestones in the past year:

  • The Atlantic Wind Connection received permission to begin permitting, an important step in advancing the construction of the United States’ first offshore backbone electric transmission system (more in this new video).
  • Shepherds Flat, one of the world’s largest wind farms with a capacity of 845 MW, became fully operational in October.
  • The Ivanpah project, which is more than 75 percent complete and employs 2,000+ people, recently installed its 100,000th heliostat, a kind of mirror (more in this new video).
  • Just yesterday (PDF), the fourth and final phase of Recurrent Energy's 88MW solar installation in Sacramento County, Calif., reached commercial operation.

Altogether, the renewable energy projects we’ve invested in are capable of generating 2 gigawatts of power. To give a better sense of what that really means, we came up with some comparisons (click to enlarge):

Here’s to a clean, renewable 2013!

Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager, Corporate Finance

[G] Insights for 2013: Understanding Your Customers & The Full Value of Digital

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Analytics Blog: Insights for 2013: Understanding Your Customers & The Full Value of Digital

We’re just a week into 2013, and we’re undeniably living in the new multi-screen age. Our day-to-day interactions with technology—and our expectations—have increased dramatically. We’re no longer content to wait until later to buy shoes or schedule travel or find a hot spot to eat. Technology lets us act now, and we expect reliable results. In fact, we’ve become so dependent on being connected all the time that 43% of U.S. adults would be willing to give up beer for a month if it meant they could keep accessing the Internet on their smartphones, and 36% said they’d be willing to give up chocolate.*

What does this mean for you? Many businesses have fallen behind consumer behavior—in a world where people look first to mobile devices and real-time streams, the digital journey has grown more complex, and it’s become more challenging to gain a clear picture of these interactions. As a marketer or analyst, your success depends on adapting to this new reality. We’re working to provide tools that let you connect the dots, so you can regain visibility into your customers’ preferences and behaviors and take advantage of the full value of digital.

Holistic Measurement: Capture the full customer experience
Your customers are active all the time and everywhere, so you should be as well. To truly win moments that matter across all screens and situations, you must acknowledge, and measure, all relevant touch-points. For example, are you running related marketing efforts across email, display, and search ads? Do you see customers performing some tasks more frequently on smartphones while other tasks are more common on laptop? Rather than evaluating these programs and behaviors separately, your measurement strategy should focus on connecting the dots between these consumer moments. Consider your overall business goals and then measure the role that each touch-point plays in achieving those goals, keeping in mind the complementary effects of multiple channels and devices.

Active measurement: Plan ahead and optimize throughout
Harnessing the power of location, intent and social connections is possible today, and smart marketers are always on, always optimized—using customer signals to create winning experiences for their brand. Active measurement is about quickly acting on the insights you uncover as you go, but more importantly, it’s about good measurement planning. This proactive piece is often overlooked, even by the savviest marketers and analysts. To effectively measure, you must define expectations about how your customer will interact with your brand before you look at the numbers. Then, question any surprising results. Is it normal or strange for your business to have a 3% conversion rate? Is it good or bad if event tracking shows that 3,000 people view a video on your homepage in a single day? Are your TV spots driving viewers to your website in Real-Time, or do you see more traffic at other times? Are you bringing together data sources and devices holistically? Active measurement means examining real human behavior and influences instead of reporting the same old data on clicks or bounce-rates.

Media-Agnostic Measurement: Give credit where it’s due
As technology usage has expanded, patterns of research and influence have become more diverse (with many consumers consulting 10 or more sources before a purchase)*—but also more identifiable. In the new digital age, it’s no longer realistic or smart to judge campaigns solely by the final interaction using a last-click model, or to think only about single-device or single-session interactions. Customers move fluidly across channels and devices. To truly understand the value of your digital investments, you have to overhaul your conversion goals to capture all the large and small behaviors that lead to business success. Once you have visibility into the customer journey, you can begin assigning credit with attribution models to determine your best channel and investment mix. Next, optimize your programs and run controlled experiments to see how you could improve your results even further. It’s an active, ongoing process.

So, make a New Year’s resolution to take a more proactive approach: consider and give credit to all the interactions in the customer journey, and act on your measurement insights. Throughout 2013 we’ll be sharing practical advice to help you dive in and join your customers in the always-on world. Good luck!

Posted by Paul Muret, Director of Engineering, Google Analytics

*Source for statistics in this post:

[G] Google Document Sprint 2012 - 3 more Books Written in 3 days

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Google Open Source Blog: Google Document Sprint 2012 - 3 more Books Written in 3 days

Last month the Google Open Source Programs Office hosted its second Google Summer of Code Document Sprint where three open source projects successfully wrote an entire book documenting how to use their project’s software in less than a week.  The three open source projects that participated were the Evergreen Project, Etoys, and FontForge. The Evergreen Project is an integrated library system that helps library patrons find library materials, and helps libraries manage, catalog, and circulate those materials.  Etoys is a child-friendly program language for use in education. And FontForge is an outline font editor that allows users to create and edit their own fonts. Dedicated volunteers came from all around the globe to collaborate with one another to create a book their entire project would be able to reference and update for years to come.

Below is a guest post from Kathy Lussier, an Evergreen participant describing the process of this fast and furious way to collaboratively write a book on software documentation.

How long does it take to write a 116-page manual introducing Evergreen administrators to basic setup, configuration and maintenance? If you bring together a dedicated documentation team, great facilitators, and the right environment, it turns out you can do it with just three days (or closer to two and a half days) of focused writing.

Lindsay Stratton (from left), Robert Soulliere, Kathy Lussier and Dan Scott at the Googleplex for the Google Summer of Code Documentation Sprint. 

I had the opportunity to work last week with four of my Evergreen colleagues to create such a manual. Traveling to Mountain View, California, I joined Robert Soulliere of Mohawk College, Lindsay Stratton of Pioneer Library System and Dan Scott of Laurentian University for the Google Summer of Code Documentation Sprint. Our final team member, Jim Keenan of C/W MARS, could not make the trip, but joined us daily via Google+ Hangouts to make his contributions to the effort. 

On day 1, Allen Gunn (Gunner) of Aspiration facilitated an unconference where participants collaborated on topics like keeping documentation up to date with rapid development, user communities, documentation tools, and documentation-driven development. The unconference helped the participants become comfortable with one another enabling them to  speak freely about their ideas and opinions and began the team-building process that continued through the rest of the week. 

By the end of the first day, the team had created a title and tagline for our future book: Evergreen in Action: So you’ve installed Evergreen — now what? 

The target audience for the book is Evergreen administrators who have successfully installed Evergreen and now need to load data and configure the system. The goal was not to provide a comprehensive overview for each possible configuration option in the system, but to present the basic steps required to get up and running, focusing on common use cases. With the basic framework in our heads, we entered day two with what was to be the most difficult part of the process: creating a table of contents for the book. Adam Hyde of Floss Manuals provided guidance to the teams as they progressed through the process of shaping their books. 

We wrote our content ideas down on sticky notes and tried to arrange them in a logical order, a difficult task when so many pieces of the system are interconnected with each other. By lunchtime, when the table of contents was supposed to be finished, we still had far more chapters than could be completed by a team of five people in less than three days. The team then needed to go through the process of “killing our darlings,” dropping some desired chapters from the manual, but also leaving an opportunity for others in the community to contribute their knowledge and expertise at a later date.

Jim Keenan contributed remotely via a Google Hangout. 

Once the table of contents was completed, the next two and a half days fell into place as each of the team members wrote their chapters. They were long days, but the team worked well together, focusing on their areas of expertise while periodically asking questions of each other or even sometimes consulting the always-helpful IRC community. Our team’s strength was the diversity in skills among its members, leading to a fuller and richer manual, just as the diverse skills in the larger Evergreen community have led to a stronger ILS and vibrant support community. 

With the book done, Gunner facilitated another unconference on the final day where we talked about ways to sustain the work we started at the conference. 

I want to send along a final thanks to the Google Open Source Program Office for sponsoring the program, to Gunner for getting us energized, to Adam Hyde for guiding us through the book-creation process, and to all those in the community who answered our questions throughout the week. 

By Kathy Lussier, Evergreen Contributor

Google is excited to support the need for good, clear documentation of free and open source software with the three projects this year as well as the four projects from last year’s successful Document Sprint.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source Programs


[G] Scranton Gillette stays current across centuries with Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Scranton Gillette stays current across centuries with Google Apps

Posted by Joel Hughes, Senior Vice President of eMedia strategy and IT at Scranton Gillette

Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is Joel Hughes, Senior Vice President of eMedia strategy and IT at Scranton Gillette, a media and publishing company based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Scranton Gillette has been around for more than a century - we’ve lived to see the first Model T, a man walk on the moon and the birth of the Internet. We’re a media and publishing company, so you can imagine our industry has changed quite a bit since we were founded 108 years ago (typewriters, anyone?). It's not easy to keep afloat in the business world, let alone in a market that’s undergone so many massive and fundamental changes. But we've been fortunate enough not only to survive, but to thrive, and we owe much of that to our technology.

We first opened our doors in 1905 as a publisher dedicated entirely to the transportation construction industry. We’re still a publisher, and we still cover the transportation construction industry, but now we're a full-service media agency that covers a variety of verticals and helps with everything from website development to event planning. Just as we've outgrown our publisher roots, we've also outgrown the slow-moving stereotype that many associate with the publishing industry. To us, speed and technology are essential to growing our business. Technology can make or break an organization, so if our solution fails or slows us down, we won't hesitate to find something newer and better.

That’s exactly what happened over the Fourth of July weekend in 2011. Our Exchange server died during the holiday break and left us without email or access to our shared company files. We'd been considering a switch to Google Apps for a few months, so this shutdown solidified our decision. We couldn't be tied to a physical server anymore, let alone an unreliable one. We needed a more trustworthy system that would let us be more quick-moving and nimble, and we knew that meant moving to Google Apps.

By the time our employees returned to the office after their Independence Day barbeques, we’d already started our migration to Apps with the help of our reseller, CloudBakers. We haven’t looked back since.

Apps has completely changed the way we communicate. We’re headquartered in Illinois with a satellite office in Arizona, and we want our remote workers to feel just as part of the team as everyone else. Hangouts do exactly this: they facilitate a closer connection and collaboration that conference calls just can’t match. Google Chat is equally integral to our day-to-day. It’s perfect when you’re not in the right place to hop on the phone and need a quicker response than an email typically gets. We didn’t have a dedicated chat client before we moved to Apps, and I can’t imagine going back to that way of working.

Google Drive has been the biggest eye-opener for us. Documents are our lifeblood, so it's essential for us to have a robust system around organizing and sharing them. Before, we just saved everything to our hard drives and sent files back and forth as attachments. That got messy and confusing fast. Drive gives our documents a better, safer, more accessible home. Our employees store their spreadsheets, presentations, mocks and proofs in one place and share them to the right people with just a few clicks. Our marketing team, for example, has a folder on Drive dedicated to campaign materials, knowing that everyone collaborating on those campaigns—internal and external—can access all the images, ad copy, videos and proofs they need without having to search through their mailbox. It’s comforting to know that every document we need can be found in Drive.

A company can’t survive for over 100 years without the ability to see trends before they happen and adapt based on those trends. That’s not always easy to do, so you need a technology solution that can adapt as quickly as possible. With Google Apps, we're confident we have the right tools to last us another century.

Monday, January 7, 2013

[G] Finding the inner programmer in every Googler

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Official Google Blog: Finding the inner programmer in every Googler

This is the second post in a series profiling Googlers who facilitate classes as part of our g2g program, in which Googlers teach, share and learn from each other. Regardless of role, level or location, g2g's community-based approach makes it possible for all Googlers to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities. - Ed.

If someone had told me when I graduated with a degree in economics that I’d one day be employed in a technical role at Google, I would have laughed. In 2008, I joined Google’s people operations rotation program, in which one experiences three different people ops areas—from benefits to staffing—over the course of two years. After just a few short months, I found myself with a passion for technology and a profound interest in programming that would draw me into teaching a class, Intro to Programming (I2P), to non-engineers at Google as a part of the g2g (Googlers-to-Googlers) program.

Teaching programming to an I2P class at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters

While on the benefits team, I was assigned a project that involved matching up hundreds of Googlers’ names with their corresponding office locations and job titles. I quickly realized that a few simple programming scripts could probably speed up my work and reduce errors. The only problem was, I had no clue how to write a program.

I began to teach myself the programming language Python, which is known for its clarity of syntax and friendliness to beginners. Slowly, I produced a multi-functional automated spreadsheet, and then a web application to share with my team. My teammates, seeing that my newfound technical skills had saved all of us time, asked me to teach them how to code; thus, in front of a whiteboard in a small conference room, I2P was born.

Since then, more than 200 Googlers have taken I2P. We encourage an open, supportive environment in the class, making it an approachable way for Googlers to broaden their horizons within the workplace and gain new skills. Some of my former students have even moved from roles in global business, finance and people operations to full-time engineering positions. That’s awesome to see, but I love that Googlers can use what they learn in I2P to make processes across the company more efficient—no matter what team they work on. For example, an administrative assistant who took the class streamlined a manual daily task by automating an email response survey for her team.

In addition to solving business challenges, I’ve also seen Googlers using the programming skills they learned in I2P to help others—both inside and outside of Google. Recently, an I2P alum increased participation in Google’s free flu shot program by writing a Python-based enrollment tool that allows Googlers to find appointments online by preferred office location and time. Thousands more Googlers signed up to receive flu shots due to the convenience provided by the tool. Because Google donates an equal number of vaccinations, such as those preventing meningitis or pneumonia, to children in the developing world, this new tool also led to thousands more children receiving crucial vaccinations.

More than 200 Googlers have participated in the 11-week course (the sword definitely helps keep engagement high...don’t worry, it’s foam!)

What’s extraordinary to me is that under the g2g program, the “guy down the hall in HR” can teach programming—of all things—to his fellow Googlers. It’s been extremely rewarding to experience first-hand the results of my students’ learnings. Googlers have taken the principles and skills from I2P and put them to work in time management, email communication and even just having fun re-creating Frogger—leave it to Googlers to span the gamut of I2P skill application. I often think how awesome it would be if every Googler could take I2P and apply what they’ve learned to make processes across the company more efficient.

If you’re interested in learning how to code, here are three tips from the course that you can practice on your own. While I’ve learned these principles via programming, they can be helpful in all kinds of fields!

  • Practice and theory. You learn best when you have something to apply your learning to. With programming, find a project you want to apply your skills to and build the knowledge necessary to accomplish your project.
  • Bad habits die hard. If you are writing messy or convoluted code, you are building habits that will be very hard to break. Better to overcome the pain of doing it the right way initially so that you never have to go back and change.
  • Get feedback. Just because a script "works" doesn't mean it works well. Always get advice from others with more experience so that you are learning how to do things better, not just sufficiently well.

Posted by Albert Hwang, Team Lead of the People Technology & Operations Tools Group

[G] Freeing up the summer with LibreOffice

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Google Open Source Blog: Freeing up the summer with LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a comprehensive personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh, and GNU/Linux that helps you with your document production and data processing needs. LibreOffice had 10 students for Google Summer of Code 2012, 9 of whom successfully completed their projects. Some highlights of the students’ work is below.

  • Calc performance improvement from Daniel Bankston   Daniel improved the load time of both ODF and XLSX format in many ways. In large XLSX files, the improvement can be as big as loading in a mere 6 seconds compared to the previous load time of more than 8 minutes!
  • Enhanced Impress SVG export filter from Marco Cecchetti   Marco improved his previous work to export slides in SVG by adding animations features. Thanks to his work, you will only need to have Firefox around to play your presentations anywhere.
  • A MS Publisher import filter from Brennan Vincent   Brennan’s work was particularly hard because he had to reverse-engineer the file format. Together with Valek Filipov, they managed to cover the MS Publisher format from 97 to 2010 – with all the shapes, fills, and text properties that Open Document Graphics supports.
  • A Java GUI to pick up files for LibreOffice on Android from Iain Billett  Iain’s work is particularly important for the LibreOffice Android port. He implemented a UI that allows you to pick the documents to display, move to other pages and gives you the ability to zoom in on a document.
  • A new templates selection UI from Rafael Dominguez   Rafael worked on creating a modern UI to pick a template when creating a new document. He also added support to connect to remote repositories of templates which will soon help us to connect directly to the LibreOffice templates site.
  • Signed PDF export from Gökçen Eraslan   Thanks to Gökçen, we can now digitally sign the PDFs directly as they are produced by LibreOffice. This is very important for the security and trust in electronic documents to be maintained.
  • Android impress remote control from Andrzej Hunt   Andrzej’s Android Remote Control allows you to control the slideshow directly from your Android mobile phone.  Just connect your phone to the presenting computer via network or bluetooth, and you will see previews of the slides on the phone, and will be able to navigate that – instead of using the computer’s keyboard or usb remote control.

    • Improved group session and UI for collaborative editing of files from Matúš Kukan   Matúš advanced the Calc collaboration demo by adding user interface and continuing on the core work.  This work, once completed, will allow you to collaboratively edit one spreadsheet with your colleague conveniently, as if you chatted with them on an instant messenger, without the need to send multiple files around.
    • Unit tests improvements from Artur Dorda   Unit tests are extremely important for LibreOffice.  They are the tests that are run during the build time, and consequently are run by every developer that builds LibreOffice.  Unit tests help you to make sure that the functionality hasn’t regressed over time, and if it has, to help you discover the regression quickly.  Artur extended the unit tests mainly in the area of Calc.

    The students’ code is already in the LibreOffice master branch either as an experimental feature or it is already in use.

    Thanks to Google and their friendly Open Source Program team for organizing Google Summer of Code again this year and allowing us to participate.

    By Cedric Bosdonnat, LibreOffice Organization Administrator