Luck on demand

Alas, not an option.

Luck over time is inevitable, though.

If you show up with good work and generous action, again and again, sooner or later something that appears to others to be luck will appear.

Because luck over time is a symptom of productive contributions. It rarely happens when you need it most, it almost never happens in equal proportion to what feels fair (to you or to others), but it happens.

The trap is hoping that a short-term focus on luck on demand will pay off instead.

Cars, houses and TVs

Compare 1960 to today:

Cars are a bit faster, a bit safer, higher in quality and a lot more expensive.

Houses are much bigger, a bit more efficient and enormously more expensive.

TVs on the other hand, are dramatically bigger, dramatically more efficient, dramatically more powerful, significantly more reliable and way cheaper. For $300, you can buy a 49 inch TV that would have cost a million dollars in 1960.

What happened?

Cars, with the exception of new electric drivetrains, are basically the same thing they were, except designed with computers and assembled by robots.

Houses, with the exception of some prefab edge cases, are still assembled by hand, on location, by skilled workers. And they went up in scale because real estate prices and income inequality went up even more.

But TVs–they made a leap. A leap from analog to digital, a leap from tubes to solid-state. Moore’s Law is at work on your television, but it’s been largely shut out of the two largest purchases most people make.

When you see computers and networks show up in an industry, it’s easy to predict what will happen next.

Fanocracy: One hundred Podcasts and a WSJ Bestseller!

I’m super excited to learn that my book Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. A big reason we hit the list is throughout 2019, I recorded over 100 podcast episodes with a wide variety of fascinating hosts! Most dropped in the past two weeks.

Awareness vs. experience

We are more aware than ever before. More aware of victims of violence, or a natural disaster. More aware of insane wealth or grinding poverty. It gets beamed to us, regularly.

We’re even more often exposed to social hijinks, sports stars or business moguls.

We’re aware that people run a marathon, or fast for a week. That they start a business or meditate every day. They know how to code, or to take pictures.

But there’s a difference between hearing about it and experiencing it.

There’s no excuse for being uninformed. But when it matters, there’s also no good reason for being inexperienced.

There’s often a piece of glass between us and the world as it’s delivered to us. That glass magnifies awareness, but it doesn’t have the same impact as experience does. It can’t.

Our awareness has been stretched wider than ever in history, but often at the cost of taking away a lifetime of experiences.

Obese dogs

Dogs aren’t supposed to have willpower, that’s what they have us for.

Marketing changes culture and culture changes us. And then we end up changing the world around us. Not just the dogs, but all of it.

It’s probably a mistake for us to wait until profit-driven corporations start to worry about side effects on their own. But the moment we start voting with our attention and our dollars, they’ll begin to respond.

We get what we pay for. And sometimes, we pay for what we get.

The History of Marketing Operations

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The History of Marketing Operations

8 Google Analytics Reports You Need to Pay More Attention To

I celebrated my eighth anniversary at Portent earlier this month. A couple of us reminisced about my job interview that was held in a server storage closet. We’ve come a long way since then, and my role here has changed quite a bit as well.

Something that hasn’t changed is my ability to dive into Google Analytics, dig around, understand the numbers, and derive actionable next steps for strategy and tactics. I learned how to do that early on in my career here, and the skill set has stuck ever since.

In my opinion, the ability to do so is the most foundational technical skill that a digital marketer can hold, and making sure I stay agile in GA is one of the reasons I still work day-to-day with a long-time client of ours.

If you’re not jumping into your data regularly to pull insights and build actionable next steps, it’s time to level up. With a properly configured GA property, all of this information is free, and the ability to use it appropriately can provide you with insights to help your organization make monumental KPI improvements.

The following GA reports are well-known and well-used (I hope). I consider these top-level reports:

  • Acquisition – All Traffic – Channels
  • Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium
  • Acquisition – Google Ads – Campaigns
  • Acquisition – Search Console – Landing Pages
  • Behavior – Overview
  • Conversions – Goals – Overview
  • Conversions – Ecommerce – Overview

If you’re diving into those reports on a regular basis, that’s a solid start. But when you’re ready to dig a little deeper, here’s where you should go next.

Quick note: none of these reports utilize custom or user-defined variables. And while using custom variables is great, this post focuses on what’s already provided in GA out of the box. Every report outlined below is available in standard Google Analytics property Analytics.

1. Audience – Geo – Location

Find Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics broken down by location.

Screenshot of a geo report in GA that displays performance by stateScreenshot of a geo report in GA that displays performance by state

Quickly view performance by country, state, and city to see where it soars and where it struggles. Consider how to adjust your strategy and tactics based on regional performance.

2. Audience – Technology – Browser & OS

This report shares Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics across several technology-related primary dimensions.

Discover performance broken down by browser, operating system used, and screen size. It’s amazing how much performance differs across these dimensions.

Pulling insights here can be impactful when it comes time to address work in design and development phases. Yes, data should be considered when website design and development decisions are made; here’s one place to get that data.

3. Audience – Mobile – Overview

This tab isn’t just for mobile-traffic learning. Find Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion metrics broken down by device category.

See how traffic performs differently from users using a desktop, mobile device, or tablet.

Screenshot of a device category report in GA that displays performance by tablet, mobile, or desktopScreenshot of a device category report in GA that displays performance by tablet, mobile, or desktop

This information can be incredibly valuable when designing and optimizing PPC campaigns or planning your next website redesign.

4. Acquisition – Google Ads – Search Queries

This tab will only be useful for marketers utilizing Google Ads and those who have their account linked to their Google Analytics property.

Discover which queries users are placing to trigger impressions and clicks of your paid ad.

Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion insights here should inform your paid search strategy, but can also influence SEO efforts.

5. Acquisition – Google Ads – Hour of Day

Discover Google Ads performance broken down by the hour of the day and the day of the week that your campaigns run.

Based on insights dug up, build custom ad schedules in your campaigns to boost spending when performance is best and pull back your budget to save money during low conversion periods.

6. Behavior – Site Content – Exit Pages

Identify which pages most commonly result in a user leaving your site.

Information here could highlight critical pages in your conversion funnel. If exit rates are high on conversion path pages, think about how the content and layout of that page could change to create a more frictionless experience.

7. Behavior – Site Speed – Page Timings

Locate pages with slow load times.

This report will compare individual pages on your site to your site’s average load time. While it’s not the best report to provide you with overall site speed performance, it can help highlight the most important pages that are lagging behind your site’s average load time.

8. Conversions – Multi-Channel Funnels – Top Conversion Paths

Discover the touchpoints needed along the path to conversion.

This report breaks down source and medium pathing to provide a story of how multiple touchpoints and visits influence a conversion.

Screenshot of a top conversion paths report in GA that displays channel paths to see how touchpoints influence conversionsScreenshot of a top conversion paths report in GA that displays channel paths to see how touchpoints influence conversions

If you’re aligned in using an appropriate attribution model for your business, this report is a must.

Leverage Automation to Help

Automation and shortcut building is a great way to save time, but do not rely on automation to roll all of your data aggregation up for you. I guarantee you will miss something if you never dive into the numbers on your own.

That said, consolidate and automate to help highlight performance highs and lows. Creating a custom dashboard in Google Analytics or Google Data Studio is a great place to start. Google Analytics has an automated alert capability that can be leveraged as well. Feed those alerts into Slack or your inbox to further ease the burden on you to go digging every day.

Use automation to notify you of issues. Don’t rely on it to do everything for you.

As you go through digging in GA and setting up automated reports and alerts to aid your efforts, be mindful of the parameters that your data comes with. These parameters become incredibly important to make sure that time comparisons (YoY, MoM, etc.) are valid. Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Is your data reliable and free of tracking errors?
  • Have goals and conversion points changed?
  • Do you need to account for seasonality?

When marketers are mindful of the questions above, armed with the know-how to gather insights, and have the desire to do a little detective work, the potential insights discovered can be substantial.

The post 8 Google Analytics Reports You Need to Pay More Attention To appeared first on Portent.

The only one who has heard all of it

…is you.

Jerry Garcia performed thousands of times, and he was the only one who heard every performance.

The same is true for the work you’ve created, the writing you’ve done, the noise in your head–you’re the only person who has heard every bit of it.

Tell us what we need to know. Not because you need to hear yourself repeat it, but because you believe we need to hear it.

Take your time and lay it out for us, without worrying about whether or not we’ve heard you say it before. We probably haven’t.


CREATORS: I hope you’ll check out the newest Akimbo workshop. I’ve been working on it for nearly a year. It’s built for people with a craft–for artists, writers, musicians and anyone who has something that they’d like to more effectively share with the world. It’s a modern writer’s workshop, for more than writers, and it happens worldwide.

Sign up for more info–we launch in two weeks.

Building Fandom For Your Business: 4 Game-Changing Benefits

How are you ensuring that your marketing builds brand awareness and positive ROI? Is it with analytics? Automation? The latest marketing software? If so, you need to think deeper.

As simple as necessary (but not simpler)

The convenience regime is in full force. You don’t often earn points by being baroque, rococo or byzantine.

Given a choice, people will simply move on to the next thing.

“As simple as necessary” is missed by many professionals who should call themselves designers, but don’t. Consider the 30 digit code that Microsoft wants me to type in… 30 digits? That’s more than a quintillion possible combinations. A lot more. Why?

Or notice the new user interface for the useful Audio Hijack program… It’s a two-dimensional grid with clickable icons. Why isn’t it simpler?

And “but not simpler” is missed, more and more often. Items that are dumbed down to the point where they are too simple to get useful work done. Where the power is hidden from the user, because the user can’t be trusted with it. Apple continues to make things simpler than they need to be, all in the name of short-term convenience.

The balancing act is real. It requires empathy, the empathy to realize that not everyone knows what you know and not everyone wants what you want.