February 23, 2021
Web Attention Spans Plummet AgainThe CIMM (Committee on Innovative Media Measurement) summit released research this month about attention spans. Goldfish come in first at nine seconds, trailed by human users at eight seconds, and mobile visitors at three seconds. This isn't the download time of a page from your browser, the study measured the maximum amount of time a user will spend on a website if not immediately engaged by a user. Make your content load as fast as possible and grab your audience pronto with imagery and copy.
The emoji that's Radioactive for GenZ.
Chill out with a Pantsdrunk
The Finnish are among the happiest in the world. Gender equality and the best educational system may have something to do with it. But we put our cash on the tradition of "Pantsdrunk" or Kalsarikännit in Finnish. It's about shutting down your pandemic-crazed mind, curling up on your couch in your underwear, and having a few cold ones. Sounds heavenly.
Breakup the Fauci Way
Dr. Anothony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President, has also become our explainer- and reassurer-in chief and the inspiration behind a new slang term, Fauci-ing. When you Fauci someone, you break up with them someone over the pandemic. The slang first popped out on the Plenty of Fish dating site. Fauci seems to approve of the word, and he enjoys his new status as an 80-year-old heartthrob. Who wouldn't?
Track Backlinks to Grow SEO!
Backlinks, link back to your website from other sites, builds page credibility, helps your page show up in more searches, and improves your overall Google-ness. They're a good thing.
A handy tool for those of us in the content marketing biz is the Google Search Console. As a Medical Marketing Company, we use this to see which sites link to our clients' sites, including the specific pages.
There are other tools available to help you with your SEO and link-building strategies, all with different features and different price points. You can use tools like SEMrush, Moz Pro, SpyFu, and Monitor Backlinks to help you identify existing backlinks and look for future linking opportunities. They can also help you keep track of backlinks and make sure that they are in good working order (no broken or missing links, which can happen when you update your site or blog.)
And now that you’ve got a handle on your existing backlinks, here are a couple of tips on how to get more.
- If you see an article on the web that mentions your company and hasn't linked back, reach out to them with the appropriate link to see if they'll add it. Link to the article from your site, if applicable (the ol’ you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours ploy.)
- Have your PR person (or Public Relations Agency) keep their eyes open for a HARO (Help a Reporter Out) request that aligns with your business. If you can provide information, photos, or other support, you can usually expect a backlink in return.
- Look for online directories where it makes sense to list your company.
Getting Punk'd by Web Analytics
When your web traffic explodes, you're over-the-moon, you call mom, show it to your boss. This is totally reasonable behavior, after all, shooting up like a rocket is sustenance for us webbies.
But wait just one minute. You may have been caught in a Google confirmation bias.
But, before you stick it on the fridge, you need to understand why the numbers are moving. The problem arises with over-reliance on topline statistics like visitors, page views, time on page, etc. These are the numbers that most people in your group understand.
Here's where it goes nuts. Seemingly positive stats may obscure how your site actually performs. Here are a few common examples
Traffic from Inside Your Company
Traffic from your colleagues can make up a disproportionate percentage of your website, especially when staff frequently hits the site for reference. And because your internal traffic will likely use the site more than your average bears, it will distort all of your topline results.
Filter out visitors from your organization using the Admin Page of your account. The only information you need is your name, hostname (your web address), and the IP address(es) you wish to block. Find instructions here. https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1034840?hl=en
The Bot Attack
Bots, which roam the internet seemingly unchecked, can check into your website and mangle your stats.
Look for a large, sudden jump in traffic from a specific referral source. Find the offending URL by reviewing Referral Sources under "Acquisition." The fix is to filter bot traffic by URL or IP Address. Here's help from Google. https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2014/07/31/google-analytics-helps-you-filter-spider-and-bot-traffic/
The Curse of Great Content
This is an instance from our own website. After we posted our page of healthcare social media hashtags, our traffic started to head skyward. This is what we wanted to see from our website, and we couldn't pat ourselves on the back enough.
Then we noticed that our bounce rate moving downward as fast as traffic went up. We decided to do a deep dive into our content. Click Behavior in Google Analytics, then content drill down. And sort your pages by descending order. You'll find the culprit at the top of the list. What we saw was the blog post gushing more than 30 percent of our traffic. So, why are we whining?
We had a great time spent on the page, 5-6 minutes, but then they left the site. Our stats, therefore, were swayed by the popularity of one blog post.
The moral of the story is to find out what's plumping up your numbers by hunting down bots, blocking internal traffic, and adjusting for unnaturally high-performing content.
Make a Stronger Plan with Traditional and Digital Advertising
Sure, digital marketing is cool. And effective. In a survey by eMarketer, the average company planned to allocate 62.3% of its total media ad budget to digital in 2021, with that rate increasing to 66.8% by 2023. Digital Advertisers dropped a whopping $356 billion in 2020. That's a lot of banner ads, sponsored Facebook posts, and pre-video videos on YouTube.
But we're not entirely living in the Matrix yet (we think.) With more and more advertising inundating the Internet, digital ads can run the risk of becoming so much white noise. When we're helping a client build a medical marketing strategy, we make sure they understand that, while digital is essential, the traditional ways still work. And can work most effectively.
Print advertising is still going strong—to the tune some $233 billion dollars spent in 2020. Studies show that people have an easier time recalling advertisements they experienced in the print format versus electronic ads, especially when there’s strong or novel imagery. The tactile quality of physically holding and turning the pages of the medium combined with your eyes and brain processing the stimuli causes an extra stickiness in your cerebellum.
Advertising in print tends to have a bit more gravitas as well. The Internet is full of scams and dubious companies doing business, so a print ad in a reputable publication can be gold by comparison.
And print ads can be highly targeted. Tout the benefits of your new medical device, in a specific medical trade publication, read by the docs who will actually be using the device, and you’ve got advertising Nirvana.
Since print ads exist in a physical medium, they benefit from pass-along readership, as multiple eyeballs view the same material. Imagine how many hands the magazines in a doctor’s office travels through (then reach for the Purell). Bonus: you can stick a cool or informative ad to your refrigerator (or bulletin board or office door) with a magnet! The great one can even live a new life as a poster. We’ve turned plenty of the print ads we’ve done for medical device manufactures into posters that docs have loved to hang on the office wall!
Important safety tip: Keep in mind, print ads do tend to take longer to create and schedule, so planning is required.
Not only are messages measured in feet instead of pixels, but clever billboards capture attention. If it's on your daily commute, it has the added advantage of sinking into your gray matter through repeated exposure. Chances are, you can easily recall several billboards you've seen lately. Billboards can also be interactive and show things like current pollen count (hello, allergy medications!). And billboards don’t have to be stuck in the same place—mobile billboards can be parked right outside a convention hall to spark conversation from all the attendees.
Coffee Shops, Creativity, and Covid-19
Pre-Covid, we enjoyed the opportunity to get out of our office habitat on frequent occasions and take our laptop on the road to our friendly neighborhood coffee shop. There's something about the change of scenery that can spark creativity and productivity. It could be access to hi-test, premium grade coffee, the gentle hum of coffee shop background noise, tasty pastries at one's beck-and-call, or a combination thereof.
There is science to back up claims of the "coffee house effect" on productivity. A Journal of Consumer Research study showed that a low level of ambient noise in a place could boost your creativity. If slightly distracted from work by ambient stimuli, it can increase abstract thinking ability and lead to more creative idea generation.
Another study from 2019 focuses on stochastic resonance — the phenomenon in which just the right amount of background noise boosts our senses and improves decision making — a little white noise to help us focus on the tasks at hand.
And of course, being human, never discount the effect of having other people hard at work around you to inspire you to "get after it" yourself. Seeing other people work puts us in the mood to work. Think about the extra effort you give if you're exercising with a group versus doing it solo. Seeing other people sweating alongside you can definitely supercharge your own level of effort. Exercise equipment company Peloton has ridden that particular human trait into a billion-dollar business.
Mixing it up, visually
Another component of the coffee house effect is that getting out of the office and into a new and different visual atmosphere can "wake" your brain up a bit. New visual stimuli can energize your brain and help you think in unique patterns. Of course, you may have to develop a map of all the coffee houses in your area and trek from one to the next to keep the stimulus at peak value.
And think about all the subtle changes happening regularly in the background while you work. New customers, the door opening and closing, new smells (donuts!), and maybe even someone you know coming in to break the routine with a quick conversation. All those little happenings going on in the background are goosing our brain on a subconscious level.
Of course, Covid-19 has put an end to our penchant for hanging out with other like-minded caffeine addicts hunched over their laptops, so we've had to find different ways to simulate the effect. YouTube videos of coffee shop noise, ambient music channels, and finding a socially distanced picnic table in the park will have to do while we isolate. But we can’t wait to get back to hanging out at our favorite table, ordering the quadruple espresso and cracking open the laptop.