Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category
I think we can all agree summer has come to a close. The kids are back in school, the swimming pools and amusement parks have closed, and even the leaves are starting to fall from the trees. If you work all year round, as many of us do, the idea of summer vacation is either nonexistent or has dwindled down to a week, if you are lucky.
As the LunaMetrics Office Manager I wear many hats, but my most important role (if you ignore all the boring stuff like HR, bookkeeping and payroll) is being the Chief Fun Officer. So this past May, when warm weather was no longer a dream and within arm’s reach, I thought what the heck are we going to do this summer? We always have a great summer outing; last year it was white water rafting in Ohiopyle. This year however, I knew I could do better. We were in a super cool new office space, we had new employees, and one afternoon out of the office wasn’t going to cut it!
I began digging online for ideas and inevitably came across “Office Olympics” and instantly knew this was it. A weeklong event filled with games, snacks, and happy hours to be closed with an out of office field trip. But then I had to bring my boss on board and I wasn’t quite sure she would see my vision. To my surprise her response was “Well, why does it just have to be a week?” This was the best possible response I could have received and with that the 1st Annual LUNALYMPICS were born.
Filling an entire month with events and activities was not going to be an easy task. I decided the month of July would leave me enough time to plan, and we really couldn’t do things every day, (we’ve got work to do!) so events every Monday, Wednesday and Friday would be sufficient. I got to work on researching and pretty soon created a calendar that was jam packed full of competitions and activities. We divided the office into three teams and assigned team colors. Each team had to elect a team captain and choose a team name.
We kicked off the month with opening ceremonies using a very realistic Olympic torch I purchased from Amazon. Our first competition was The Paperclip Challenge. The response I got was less than enthusiastic, I mean, linking as many paperclips as you can in 30 seconds sounds like a piece of cake right? That is until we got started and everyone found that it wasn’t as easy as they thought. The Brony’s of Equestria dominated this challenge and it became clear they were going to be a team to be reckoned with. The 4th of July holiday made this week a bit short, but we were able to fit in a Rolling Stools Relay Race and Obstacle Course (don’t try this at home)and a picnic lunch complete with fried chicken, watermelon and Capri Suns at our local park.
The second week brought out the competitor in everyone. No matter your physical capabilities, our first game of the week was something everyone could participate in with confidence and was equally excited for, The TypeRacer Challenge. I divided the competition into heats based on the employees WPM score so it was evenly matched. Our employees began practicing days in advance, challenging one another to typing races.
On the race day you could feel the tension before your scheduled race time, and personally, I had butterflies in my stomach. Again the Brony’s won this challenge with a stiff competition from The Dutch Ovens of Amsterdam. The first place racer had 103 wpm, while the second place was in a very close second with 102 wpm. The week also included a rowdy game of Trash Can Basketball, a fresh popped popcorn buffet with a variety of seasonings, and perhaps one of the biggest hits of the month, a peanut butter and jelly buffet, followed by an outdoor game of extra-large Bananagrams. Now I have served lunch to coworkers many times over the last 8 years and this was by far the biggest hit of them all. This was not your typical PB&J sandwich set up with just grape jelly. We had butters from almond to hazelnut and jellies from peach to raspberry. I served all of these flavors with a variety of breads, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit. I witnessed adults transform into 10 year old kids, and they are still talking about it to this day!
Enough about PB&J, let’s talk Bananagrams! Bananagrams is a favorite past time of the LunaMetrics team. So naturally I needed to work this into our lineup. But it couldn’t be what we traditionally do every Friday during Beer ‘o’clock, no, that would be boring. They needed to be large! It took me a few days and hunting down materials, but I was able to make 144 12×12” letter tiles. We went to a local softball field where everyone was able to spread out. I changed the rules a bit and everyone on the team had their role. We had a word maker, a peeler, dumper and laborer. There was a lot of running and it was exhausting but really demonstrated our teamwork!
At the end of the week, The Brony’s and Dutch Ovens were at a tie, and our 3rd place team El Dorado, just couldn’t seem to catch a break.
By week three, I think I had done a fairly good job of getting everyone excited and taking the stereotypical Office Olympics up a notch, but nobody knew what they were getting into on the day of our Double Bubble SKIP-IT Challenge. If you were a child of the 80’s or early 90’s like me, you know exactly what a Skip-It is and can sing the catchy jingle. If you don’t, allow me to explain. It’s a plastic hoop around your ankle with a ball that you swing around and jump over with your other leg. Perhaps you can watch this video instead of some of the employees killing it! Of course I needed to add a twist: you earned extra points if you were able to blow bubbles with Double Bubble gum, adding an extra level of hilarity.
We ended the week with our offsite field trip. I knew it would be hard to top white water rafting, but this was really fun. Go Ape opened a course in North Park with many ropes courses 20-40 feet off the ground, and 1400 feet of zip lines. It was not easy and at the end of the day, we were all aching in places we didn’t know could ache. Some of our really brave staffers even biked all the way up to the park and back, 15 miles each way. It was nice to be able to relax in the fresh air, play Frisbee and enjoy a picnic lunch.
After a brief break in competition with our offsite, we got right back to business and week four began with a cereal buffet breakfast. Nothing is better than staring at more than 10 types of cereal trying to figure out which one you will start with. The first competition was shooting red solo cups with rubber bands, again not so easy. We also had 5 Minute-to-Win-It challenges, including stacking 6 dice on a popsicle stick, and picking up penne pasta with a stick of spaghetti with no hands, and rolling a quarter into the tines of a fork (Yes someone did it!).
This particular day finally brought a first place win to team ElDorado, unfortunately the numbers don’t lie, and there was no way for them to win the Gold. Team Equestria and Team Amsterdam were still tied for first place.
The final week of the LunaLympics was going to end with a board game of “Dumb Ass” Trivia. This was a challenge where we could use our brains and not our muscles to determine the winner of the 2013 LunaLympics. As you can see from the picture a lot of us felt like dumb asses and the questions were very challenging.
It was a very close game and we didn’t know who was going to take home the gold until the very end. I hoped it was going to be my team, and even though we answered the last question correctly, it wasn’t enough. The Dutch Ovens had more points and took the lead. You can’t have Olympics without closing ceremonies. I distributed Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals to each of the teams, and we also had MVP awards to give to those who really stood out (good or bad) in the challenges.
For me it was an exhausting month trying to do all the “boring” work and running the ‘Lympics, but our crew works hard and they deserve it. They even gave me my own award as a thank you. Unlike the real summer Olympics, I won’t have 4 years to plan 2014, so I guess we better get started.
At LunaMetrics, we like to be ahead of the curve. So far, we’ve had a great year with our Google Analytics & AdWords seminars; so good that, as many of our more asutute readers might have noticed, we’ve already added new seminars in Chicago in October, Los Angeles in November, and Charlotte in December. In keeping with our ahead-of-the-curve mindset, I’m pleased to announce today our official 2014 Google Analytics & AdWords Seminar calendar.
In 2014, LunaMetrics will be sending our consultants out for a total of twenty-four weeks of comprehensive Google Analytics & AdWords seminars. We’ve been trying to think of ways that we could improve our seminars, which are already a crowd favorite. Besides staying up-to-date with the latest on Google Analytics, AdWords, and more, we decided the next best thing we could do was to make our seminars more convenient and available. To that end, we’re expanding from four cities to thirteen and doubling the number of trainings we do per month. Check out the new cities & dates we’ll be visiting below: (more…)
Another week in Google Adwords means another little jingle in the announcement corner. Often, these go unnoticed or forgotten in the day-to-day bustle of account management, but don’t forget these helpful little nuggets of wisdom. This week, I got a notification that Google consumer surveys has a new and improved look and is offering a $75 credit to boot. So what exactly is a Google Consumer Survey?
These consumer surveys are a quick one-question “poll” that can be placed on select (or opted in) publisher sites. Generally there is a piece of locked content and a visitor needs to answer the question in order to access. At $.10 a response, it’s affordable to even the smallest advertiser who is doing some serious research in products, awareness or another marketing effort. Another bonus is that publishers will actually get a chunk of change for the people who answered the polls.
So how can a PPC-er leverage this survey tool? Glad you asked. (more…)
Have you signed up for our monthly newsletter yet? No? The sign-up’s right over there, you had to have seen it. Really? Alright, well, let me make this easy for you.
What’s in it? All sorts of goodies. For starters, we pick out a selection of some of our most popular posts from the past month, usually centered around a theme – this month’s was ‘Discovery’. The posts we highlighted were my post on hashtag discovery, Brittany’s post on the changes to AdWords seller ratings, Dorcas’ post on Goal Funnels, and Reid’s post on examining the value of inbound links.
Have you ever needed to make a tiny change to your Google Analytics tracking code, but your IT team told you it would be 6 weeks until the next code refresh? What if you could just log into a tool, make the change, and have it go live immediately – without IT involvement? Now you can.
Google announced the launch of Google Tag Manager this morning at the eMetrics conference in Boston. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that lets you manage the marketing and measurement tags for your web site in one place. This means no more scattering scripts across your pages and waiting on IT to track them down.
Google announces that it will be passing user information across product lines to move forward master plans to create a more unified user experience. Nerdy commentary is provided.
(Their drawing, not mine.)
(It’s nice to see Google making such a “buzz” about changes to user privacy;)
That’s why Google will now share user data amongst its products such as YouTube, Maps, Gmail, and even Android. That’s where the creepy factor rears it’s head again. Not every one is keen on the possibility of their e-mails, chats, video history, search history, and Maps usage to be tied together to their identity. For those concerned about their privacy, I highly recommend Google’s consumer education center on Internet privacy and security as well as Google’s center of various privacy control tools.
The positive for consumers is that sharing of data really should result in some really cool functionality enhancements. Overall, Google is getting to know you better, and this should result in more relevant search results and recomendations and better predictive features for autcorrect, voice recognition, and the like. According to Google, they “can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day. Or ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before.” Not too shabby.
But the bottom line is… well, the bottom line. A better user experience naturally equates to greater market share. Perhaps more important is that all of this data will drastically improve Google’s ability to serve relevant ads. And more relevant ads means more ad clicks. And we know what that mean$.
As an Internet marketer, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I was absolutely fascinated by the unprecedented ability to combine, with anonymity, consumer behavior data such as video viewing tendencies, search history, common topics of discussion (in email and chat), engagement levels for various subject matters (via email and site bounce rate, time on site, video viewing time, etc.), and geo-location. Serving a man an ad for a flower store using a picture of orchids located on the way to his dates’ house right after his calendar reminds him of his date might be weird, but it’s still hella intriguing to this nerd.
As an SEO, I can’t help but notice there will be more data than ever to assist advertisers, but SEOs, webmasters, and others dependent on Google Analytics are not provided with such luxuries. In fact, the move to pass more data across Google properties works best if more folks are logged in – and you can bet Google will continue to encourage sign-ups and logged in usage. Thus, we can continue to see keyword referral data for organic visits become less useful as (not provided) numbers continue their ascent. Perhaps the (not provided) move really was to make web marketers more relient on AdWords. I tend to see it more as a PR move – a symbolic gesture to watchdogs and concerned consumers that Google really cares about privacy – so that Google might get less flack as it changes privacy policies in order to synergize its empire of advertising real estate. It might be a meaningless gesture since users identities have always been seperate from their keyword data, but PR does stand for perception of reality, right?
Speaking of PR, it will certainly be interesting to see how all this privacy stuff plays out in the public arena. What are your sentiments, readers?
The post “Pittfalls of Tracking to Multiple Accounts in GA” has been updated to have some Async examples.
Let us know what other posts you’d like to see updated.
Every year, I write one post that is basically the same (sorry, Mr. Duplicate Content.) What’s the deal on website copyrights, and should you change yours when the calendar year changes?
I wrote the first version of this in 2007, and you can read the original here. The short version is that a copyright range, such as 2001-2011, indicates that the body of work had some changes made on one date, some on another, and some in between. If I were a lawyer, I would argue that almost all sites (except the ones that never get changed, and we all know sites like that) should have a copyright range.
As a non-lawyer, I know that some visitors look at the copyright to see if the company is still in business, and to see how much attention they pay to their site. I sure do that, and I have watched user testers do it and comment on it.
So this is a good week to think about your copyright. Your next opportunity will be when we move our clocks to Daylight Savings Time. No wait, that’s when you are supposed to check your fire alarm. …
ps I sent a note to our webmaster while I was writing this, telling him that I couldn’t publish it until he updated the LunaMetrics copyright. When he wrote me back, he told me that not only had he updated it, but that it was now programmed to automatically update each year.
Taking this break from your regularly programmed schedule to introduce the Fish, LunaMetrics’ newest employee. The Fish, who is paid in food and taps on the glass of his aquarium, is our office morale booster.
I can personally speak to his efficacy. Ever since he took his place upon my desk my morale has been boosted by at least 15%. Not that it was ever that low to begin with. Productivity on the other hand…
(tap tap…hello Fish)
Anyway! Due to my complete inability to find suitable names for things such as blog posts, children and, yes, fish, I’m relinquishing the dubious pleasure of naming our office fish to you, our loyal readers. And in true web marketing fashion, I’m having our fish-naming process take the form of a contest.
In order to win the privilege of naming this beautiful betta, you must
1. Like our Facebook page
2. Type the proposed name on the Wall
3. Sit back and fidget with the suspense of waiting to see if your name gets chosen.
Is this a shameless plug for our new awesome Facebook page? Maybe.
Will it be worthwhile to participate anyway? Definitely.
See, by liking our Facebook page, you’ll become privy to Fan-only tips and tricks and videos that will be posted on that newly-renovated icon of Facebook awesomeness designed and implemented by our own Jim Gianoglio. So even if we don’t use your fish name, you still win.
Thanks for helping me name him! He thanks you too!
Last year, when I started working on an eBook for Google Analytics and Regular Expressions, one of my acquaintances wrote, “That’s so 2008.” (And just think, now it is 2010.)
So I put it all on the shelf for a while, until Nick M and Avinash did this video and addressed RegEx (Regular Expressions) again. Hmm, I thought. Well, I use them all the time. And people write me with their RegEx and say, “Please help me troubleshoot them” all the time. And then I saw a plea for help on a bulletin board. And finally, when Nick and Avinash did that Nick-and-Avinash show referenced above, I thought, time to finish this ebook.
So here is my guide to Regular Expressions (including the cartoon characters) . You can download it, or read it in html.
I know that there is one design error, but I don’t want to fix it yet again until a lot of you RegEx fans get a chance to read and comment.
All thoughts are welcome. And remember what David Meerman Scott says: On the Internet, you are what you publish.