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Picks of the Week: Aug. 8-15

In today's Picks of the Week, we share a couple of great articles on marketing strategy and analysis using Google Analytics and other tools, new statistics on Facebook's use as a business platform, insight on the succes of The New York Times' digital content paywall, and news from Google, Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy! 

Marketing Strategy 

How to Choose the Right Online Channels for Your Marketing

In this brief post, Meghan Keaney Anderson shares three tips to help marketers better understand what online channels to devote efforts to, including: 

  • Use UTM tags to show the sources, mediums and campaigns that drive visitors to your site.
  • Survey customers to find out what sources they use and trust the most.
  • Research how competitors are using various tools and strategies. See what works well for them that you can emulate, and where you can differentiate.

Read the complete article for details, as well as a couple of great resource links to help you get started. 

4 Google Analytics Power Tips for Tracking Visitor Behavior

Chris Penn offers four suggestions to get more out of Google Analytics by integrating advanced tracking features. By reading Penn's post, you can:

  • Find out if your site design is too wide for visitors in all browsers and devices to see it all.
  • Determine the click-through rate of all calls to action on a single page, even when they are for the same asset.
  • See what form fields deter potential leads from completing a form.
  • Learn how many people abandon lead forms, and from where they leave.

This is an excellent resource for marketers looking to take site visitor analysis to the next level. 

Facebook for Business

As Facebook continues to make its way into the business world, it is becoming more difficult for professionals and students to use the social network solely for personal connections—especially in the PR and marketing industry. In a study of 500 advertising and marketing executives, the Creative Group found that one in five Facebook contacts are work related. Forty-six percent of respondents said they "currently use Facebook for professional purposes," with 56 percent expecting to do so in the next three years. 

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is growing as a job-recruitment tool among HR professionals

Journalism and the Monetization of Content

On Porous Paywalls 

Fred Wilson shares insight on the benefits of porous paywalls in this article examining the New York Times' online pricing model, which rolled out in March of this year. Though the NY Times' objective is to charge online readers who view more than 20 articles per month, savvy digital users have found loopholes that allow them to continue reading The NY Times for free, causing many to scoff at the media giant's "flawed" monetization strategy. 

But is it really broken? As Wilson points out, the NY Times has generated an additional "$80mm in annual revenue with no loss in traffic" since launching its digital subscription service. Could this be a catalyst for other traditional media trying to survive and thrive in the online world? Time will tell, but the numbers are promising.

Bonus: If you check out Wilson's complete article, be sure to click through the links for more excellent analysis of the porous paywall pricing model. 

In the News...

Google rolled out its Panda algorithm update in multiple languages, making the focus on content quality important for marketers across the globe. The only languages that aren't yet affected by the change are Chinese, Japanese and Korean. 

Facebook began grouping news feed updates by topic. It also rolled out a mobile messenger app that appears to have video chat planned for a future update.  

Twitter also made a few updates to its user interface. The social network launched "Activity" and "@username" tabs that show you when people you follow take actions like favoriting tweets, adding people to lists and following new people, or when they take actions directly related to you and your tweets, respectively. Also, it incorporated functionality to @message someone directly from their profile page, and upload images to tweets directly from your Twitter home. Note: New features may not yet be available to all users. 

What were your top stories of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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