Google Analytics is one of the most important – and powerful – tools in the arsenal of online businesses. In the digital realm data is king: knowing who is viewing what, how often, when and to what ends matters. Information gives you options: improve what is working, ditch what isn’t; aim more at the audiences that are engaging with you, expand into new sectors. You can do all of this best when armed with knowledge.
Google Analytics provides that intelligence. Once its code is installed on a website, it can track a huge range of metrics. Google Analytics gives real-time access to everything you might want to know about its performance. This includes page views, bounce rates, unique visits, conversions. Businesses rely on Google Analytics; it’s their anchor in the often fast-moving digital world.
Google Analytics is also itself changing, and soon. You need to keep track of how.
Google Analytics 4, the search giant’s latest iteration of its hugely popular site-tracking service, is different in several key respects. Underneath the hood, the service’s infrastructure has completely altered – Google is storing and processing data in a different way to the manner employed by the prior version, Universal Analytics. The effect of this – and for businesses that’s what matters – is that reports are being displayed differently … but also able to deliver new and different data.
For example, “bounce rates” are now “engaged sessions”: Analytics will no longer tell you who leaves your website after a short period, but who stays and why. When you think about it, this is more useful: bounce rates could only every tell you that a site wasn’t sufficiently engaging N% of your visitors; “engaged sessions” tells you what about a site is engaging the rest. This is consistent with GA4’s “event-based” approach: rather than set goals to measure users against, GA4 offers a set of events (outbound clicks, scrolls, video engagements) that you can choose to monitor.
Likewise, GA4 will not store users’ IP addresses – and while this may seem like a loss of data, in fact it will help businesses comply with privacy laws. Indeed, GA4 in general is big on user privacy – and is retooling Analytics for an era of mobile viewing, widespread app use, and a focus on data security. With all the changes to how cookies are handled and what information various platforms such as Apple’s OS and iOS report back to Google by default, Analytics needed to change – and GA4 is their answer.
That means there is no choice: businesses will have to switch over, though the previous version of Analytics will keep logging data until July 1st, 2023. You’ll not want to wait until then, however: GA4 will not include your historical data, so you’ll need to set-up and run GA4 now if by 2023 you want to compare and contrast 2022 data within the GA4 dashboard. Your old data will remain accessible in your Universal Analytics dashboard for at least six months, but you’ll want to avoid as much switching between platforms as possible.
You’ll also need to get used to GA4 ahead of it becoming the only “live” version of Analytics: because of the various ways it now processes data, its reports do look rather different to Universal Analytics’ read-outs. They’re not immediately user-friendly – they take some learning. Use the run-up Google is giving us all: get logged in now so you’re future-proofed, and be a GA4 whizz by the time UA is no more.
Analytics is relied on by many businesses, since it provides information – a centre of gravity – in an always-changing digital landscape. Now Analytics itself is changing, and quite significantly, businesses should get ahead of the curve – be aware of the above, and get using GA4. The best way to keep your data clear is to understand how to interact with GA4 now – and what is happening to Google Analytics.
If you need any help with this, please just drop us a line.
Over the recent months there has been a lot of talk about introducing the 4 day week in the United Kingdom. All around the world more businesses are trialling and moving towards this new way of working. Working five days a week has been part of our lives for over a century. A four day week could be seen as a progressive change to our country’s working life. But does it work?
The 4 day week allows more down time for employees. If we have learnt anything over the pandemic it’s how important living life is and making the most of it. The extra time can be used in various ways, including learning a new hobby or simply being with family and friends.
All around the United Kingdom and Europe people are trialling the 4 day working week. The Spanish Government for example implemented a 32 hour working week over three years without workers taking a pay cut.
Meanwhile, closer to home, people in Wales are being urged to trial the four day working week, especially in the public sector. Read more here.
Image+ joined in with other businesses in trialling the 4 day week in September. The trial exceeded expectations and brought a new work ethic to the team. It allows the flexibility of working from home two days a week and coming into the office for the other two. Allowing the fifth day to relax, try a new hobby, and spend time with family and friends. Most importantly staff are more energised because of the new pattern, meaning they are more creative than ever.
‘The four day week allows me to have a better work/life balance which allows me to spend more time with my children and other family members. Another advantage of the flexible home and office hours is cutting down on commuting.’Emily, Marketing and Creative Manager
Ensuring customers’ expectations are met is paramount and their needs always come first. We have found careful and structured organisation is key to the success of the trial. With more and more employees looking for flexibility in their work, it’s important as a business we reassess the environment we create and what it stands for.
Image+ is about delivering in the best possible way. This culture is the foundation of the business, it’s not just about delivering the best products for our customers but delivering a positive environment for staff too.
Here at Image+ we have found that the four day week has worked immensely well and we are all keen to continue.
Websites, web apps and mobile apps are all – of course – key digital platforms for one business or another. As online activity increasingly dominates economic activity more generally, these platforms have become more and more important to the businesses that use them.
It doesn’t follow, however, that every business will be best suited to every available platform – or that every platform can perform every business function equally well. It’s important to understand your own business and its goals fully, of course – and also to understand each platform, and their capacities.
In this way, a business can select the appropriate digital mix for its segment of the market and its strategic aims within it – and achieve optimal results. This is often where experts come in, helping businesses understand the digital landscape and the many options within it, and devising the approach of best fit. First step? Understanding the difference between the key platforms!
As their names imply, there is some overlap between websites, web apps and mobile apps – but equally they are each distinct offerings, with their respective advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons. In this blog post, we’ll go through each of them in turn, offer a sort of introduction to the topic – so you don’t need to waste time on the basics when you next call a digital agency.
Let’s start with the one many of us think we know best, and have certainly known for the longest period of time: websites.
Given that we all probably look at a lot of these every day, “what is a website?” might seem like a very basic question to ask. But, just like when a child asks why the sky is blue we might feel stumped, actually it’s the simple questions which can give the most interesting answers.
Don’t take the humble website for granted, then. It remains a powerful tool. Effectively a collection of virtual pages, collected under a single domain name – www.image-plus.co.uk, for instance – a simple webpage looks rather like a paper brochure: it has various pieces of content filed according to topic, and using a menu users can – hopefully easily! – find exactly what they want.
That content might be in text form or visual; more recently audio and video have become important elements of many websites. Equally, websites have become increasingly interactive, with ecommerce in particular becoming one of the primary purposes of a website for many businesses. But more about this interactivity element shortly.
Ultimately, a website should be seen as a “headquarters” for a business online. It is a shop window, a clearing house for all the information a business might need its clients to know about it. Think of it as the digital home of your business’s brand, a place to set out your stall.
If these fundamentals of a website have barely changed over the years, this particular platform continues to evolve. Most important is responsiveness – a principle of web design which ensures that a website displays well on all devices.
This reflects the proliferation of different display media since websites were first invented: desktop monitors of different sizes, laptops, tablets, smartphones and so on. A responsive website checks what device is displaying it – and essentially rearranges itself accordingly. These mobile websites are a key part of what websites today should be.
The other big change in website technology – one we have already mentioned in passing – has been enhanced interactivity. But in truth, this takes us a little away from websites and towards the second of our key platforms: web apps.
Put very simply, a web app is a thing on a website that does a thing. Simplicity doesn’t really get us very far, though, so let’s go a bit deeper!
Let’s start with a few concrete examples. Many of us use webmail – Gmail or Hotmail, for example – and this is a web app: essentially, a programme that we can access via a website that performs a specialist task (in this case, the sending, receiving and displaying of email).
Many such web applications look indistinguishable from ordinary websites – these are often called “progressive web apps”, and offer seamless functionality that a business can often deploy within their wider website, offering additional value to clients.
The primary benefit of web apps is their cross-compatibility: anyone with access to a web browser – and that’s a lot of people – can use a web app. For a business, that maximises the audience. That said, web apps rely on an internet connection – they can’t be downloaded for offline use because they sit on a web server (often the same one that hosts a business’s website). That said, this “always online” character has a benefit: it means that software once installed locally on many devices can be accessed anywhere by everyone. For internal business use, this is often really helpful – especially in these days of remote working.
There is one other type of web app, which is slightly different to the above. A “hybrid web app” embeds a website inside a mobile app that can be downloaded by a customer. These are often relatively cheaper forms of web app, but can work for simple purposes – and offer a recognisable interface for users.
Mobile apps are those widgets of software you download onto your phone or tablet. They have become so ubiquitous – “oh, there’s an app for that!” – that they are often referred to simply as “apps”, as if web apps don’t even exist. (Perhaps this is testament to the web app’s integration with websites – one of its key benefits, so in some senses even when they are forgotten they are being complemented!)
We’ve already mentioned one type of mobile app: the “hybrid”. This is essentially a packaged website, downloadable for a mixture of offline viewing and online interaction. Before responsive web design became so successful, hybrid apps were especially useful for businesses wanting to get their “shop window” reliably onto their customers’ phones. But even now they are very helpful because – like web apps – they are broadly compatible across many devices.
The other type of mobile app, the “native app”, is built specifically for a particular operating system – Apple’s iOS, for example, or its open-source rival, Android. These apps can be downloaded from the relevant app store.
The native app’s bespoke production often means they are more seamlessly integrated with the customer’s device, making them a pleasure to use – and an app’s main benefit for a business is its ability to integrate a brand into a customer’s daily life, so this excellent user experience is important.
The disadvantage, of course, is that a business often has to make more than one native app: one for every device available. But many businesses choose to aim only at the most popular platforms, or aim at a demographic that uses one almost exclusively. Other businesses see the better user experience of native apps as worth the additional development time; but hybrid apps are always available if necessary.
It’s increasingly likely that your business might need to build more than one type of platform depending on audience and strategy. Websites and apps complement each other, and both web apps and mobile apps might be required to redefine internal business processes. Similarly, many businesses have beautiful websites but may also encourage customers to download an expertly tooled app which is fantastic at achieving one thing: purchasing goods, for example, or booking appointments. A website is a great general tool, an app a superb specific one. We often need a bit of both.
In other words, a business’s goals will often be best met by a mixed approach that selects websites, web apps and mobile apps appropriately for each task. This may sound complicated – but it’s no more so than choosing a hammer for nails and a screwdriver for screws.
And that’s the take-home here: choose the right tool for the job. Don’t choose between, but build a strategic mix of websites, web apps and mobile apps!
Website design has trends: 2022 will be no different. We’ve written before about how important it is for web designers – and design agencies more widely – to “scan the horizon”, to understand what users are expecting in web design and how to meet those needs.
Following every fad or fashion is a bad idea. Dressing your website like it’s still 2008 is no better a plan, either. Trends matter – choosing which you follow wisely ensures that you keep your website, and your brand, looking fresh.
So what do we expect for the coming twelve months? Now is certainly the time to figure out what the hottest sites of 2022 will be wearing. Spotting new developments now means your site will be leading the pack rather than following in its wake. Don’t play catch-up – blaze a trail.
To be ahead of the design curve in 2022, start thinking now about the following fresh directions for your designs. Incorporate a few here or there – and wait for the admiring glances.
You might associate mindfulness with bullet journals or meditation. However, it can be about a lot more than colouring-in mandalas. At its best, mindfulness encourages a sense of calm and peacefulness – a sort of serenity. Users will be looking for this in their websites this year.
Why? The web can be a stressful and shouty place; a site that eschews all that and evokes a deep breath will be a place people want to visit. We’re all a bit overwhelmed these days: white space and clean lines on a website just makes life a little easier. Not only that, but this will help your sites load faster – and everyone, including Google’s search algorithm, likes to see that.
Peacefulness isn’t the only mood your site should be seeking to inspire in 2022. After the couple of years the world has had – most notably experiencing the pandemic – a few sunny vibes won’t go amiss. The clean design that characterises mindful websites doesn’t mean that they can’t also be fun and colourful.
Fun features like amusing animation, and bold design elements like exciting font faces, can feel like a much-needed injection of energy. Be a bit light-hearted, send some positive messages to your users – they, and probably you, could do with the fillip.
That said, don’t go for acid yellow when you’re trying to excite everyone. Instead, look to align the optimism with the mindfulness, and go for soothing but attractive hues of green, ochre and blue. Think the great outdoors filtered through a slightly bleached Instagram filter.
This also has the benefit of nodding towards the salience of environmental issues these days. We are all thinking more about the natural world, and there’s no reason that web design should make a nod to our beautiful (but endangered) planet. Keep things simple by making your colours softer.
Amid all of this, start moving away from the “flat” trend of recent years, which saw designers abandon so-called “skeuomorphic” design – which sought to emulate objects in the real world – towards a cool minimalism. Don’t return to the bevels and gradients of yesteryear, though – move forwards.
A lot of screens graduating in quality from HD to 4K, and AR and VR more and more a part of our everyday technological experience. Web designs should experiment with 3D elements: animation, backgrounds, polygons. But don’t overdo it, and keep things subtle – plenty of people still don’t have the hardware for this, so leave 3D as a hint in your designs, not the basis of them.
Finally, enhance your interactivity: make your website customisable. One-page designs are veterans of this trend by now, giving users the chance to explore their own route through a site. But now technology allows designers to empower users to move content items wherever they like, choose their own backgrounds and colour schemes, and in general make a space their own. This is a lot of fun – and allows users to make themselves at home within your brand.
In other words, be both fun and soothing. Those are the website design trends for 2022. Check out our previous design trends blog to see what has changed – Design Trends for 2021
The days when it was necessary to advocate for social media marketing are surely behind us. If there is any business anywhere that now needs to be convinced that social is here to stay – and that advertising using these channels is important – then they are as rare as hen’s teeth.
Most of our customers really want to get into social media marketing, then, but today the barrier is different. Simply put, social has proliferated so much that it is hard to know where to start!
There is a range of options, of course: sponsored posts, pay per click campaigns, affiliate programmes. Which particular social media platform you should choose, too, is a question fraught with significance: is Twitter or Instagram better for your audience, Facebook or YouTube? Good social media marketing needs planning.
The key to devising a great social media plan is to understand what marketing via these channels can achieve. Brands that are clear as to why they are engaging in social media marketing will also be the most successful in the sphere.
Here are the four key metrics that make social media marketing important to your business:
Social media is essentially a platform for communication. The two-way dialogue this allows offers ample and unprecedented opportunity to engage with customers in productive ways. Social media offers brands the chance to get to know their customers – what they like and what they don’t, what grabs their attention and what leaves them scrolling on by. This sort of intelligence can be invaluable.
Once you understand what your customers – and specific segments of them – want, you can begin to use the granularity of social media marketing to appeal directly to them. This level of brand personalisation has simply never been available before and affords brands the opportunity to develop personal, effective relationships with every customer.
Visibility is oxygen for any brand – and social media provides it. By leveraging the sheer volume of potential customers available via these platforms, brands can choose to follow a strategy of broadening their reach significantly. Increasing brand awareness is a critical means of building a consumer base, of course – and social media marketing is one of the key ways of achieving this in the twenty-first century.
It’s not just users that notice your social media marketing activity – it’s search engines, too. Google and the like reward brands with significant social media activity: inbound links, widespread conversation, regular new content and burnished authority scores all help improve your organic page rankings. In this way, social media marketing can provide a double benefit: both better results on social platforms and in search.
With these core aims in mind, you can build a strategy that suits your brand and its aims. And ultimately, that is the importance of social media marketing for your business.
If you’re looking to develop your social media presence then please get in touch with us. We can discuss your business requirements and develop the right social media marketing strategy for you. Call us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Content marketing offers huge potential for businesses of all sizes to engage and convert audiences in ways that benefit everyone. By providing useful, attractive information to an audience, a business can forge lasting relationships with them and draw a very virtuous circle between brand, client, product and leads.
But what is content marketing? Simply put, it is a marketing technique that emphasises publishing content online that is of particular relevance to a target demographic. For example, guitar shops might publish video reviews of new instruments, or car showrooms might publish lengthy blogs all about the latest luxury vehicles.
Critically, the content should be useful in and of itself: its primary goal shouldn’t be to sell a product but to create relationships. An audience will come to you for information or even entertainment – and the loyalty that regular contact creates will produce sales organically.
This method has significant benefits for a business that often go way beyond the ROI of a traditional advertising campaign. A pay-per-click Google ad might deliver £X of sales again £Y of expenditure, but a content marketing campaign can deliver engagement and brand recognition and regular custom in very powerful ways.
Consider, for example, the following benefits of a content marketing approach:
Consider these five pillars of content marketing – and then ask yourself: can you afford not to avail yourself of the benefits of content marketing?
If you’re looking to develop your digital marketing strategy then please get in touch with us. We can discuss your business requirements and develop the right strategy for you. Call us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at email@example.com.
Marketing is something that is a vital part of any business’s success. And today, with businesses operating from home or being temporarily closed, digital marketing has been a vital tool used by businesses. Either to maintain their brand awareness or keep their operations running.
But like all marketing, digital marketing needs to be well-thought-out. It isn’t a function we undertake for its own sake – rather, it needs to be carefully planned with clearly defined and measurable goals.
This is Marketing 101 – it almost doesn’t need to be said. But where it’s important to emphasise this very simple truth is in choosing the appropriate marketing techniques for a given scenario. Which tool is going to help us achieve our desirable targets?
Every campaign is different; there’s no silver bullet or fool-proof marketing technique. That said, there are some tried-and-tested techniques that tend to very well when it comes to encouraging engagement.
Securing new business is the only measure of marketing success that matters. Whether that is in the short-term or longterm. And these are without question the best digital marketing strategies for lead generation – so try them out and let us know how you get on!
In the age of social marketing, email can feel unglamorous: all those Facebook campaigns or
YouTube ads might seem like a more exciting place to locate your marketing spend.
The truth, however, is that email remains a really important means of reaching your audience.
Return on investment for email marketing continues to be among the highest for any digital
One recent estimate of email marketing ROI is that for every dollar spent on email marketing, $42
are generated – and 82% of all welcome emails sent by businesses are indeed opened. Those
are excellent numbers, and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Given that email remains such an important channel for digital marketers, then, it makes sense to
pay close attention to the most effective methods for actualising its potential. What matters more
than anything in this regard is staying ahead of the curve: even if email remains a powerful tool,
the last thing a business wants is for its messages to seem stale.
What, then, are the big new things in email marketing? Where is the channel going next, both to
continue to engage users – and enhance the results marketers can derive from the channel? We
think there are four key areas that savvy email marketers should be considering moving forwards.
In short, keep your emails fresh. Email marketing is still king – and with these future-proof steps,
you can keep it that way.
If you’re looking to advertise with an email campaign, then please get in touch with us. We can discuss your requirements and develop a marketing strategy for you.
Call us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Image+, we will be implementing some operational changes in response to the government recommendations regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
First and foremost, the majority of our staff will now be working remotely, from home, in an effort to implement the proposed social distancing measures. This should ensure the safety of our team and reduce the potential strain on the NHS workers who are working tirelessly to combat the virus.
Being part of the IT sector means that we’re one of the lucky companies that can and will continue to run their business as usual – or as close to usual as possible. This means that our clients will receive the services and support that they have so far been given by us. Our phone systems and servers are all set-up and accessible from our staff’s homes, so everything should run smoothly.
Face-to-face meetings will no longer take place, as you’d expect. But we do have various capabilities to allow these meetings to go ahead, be it by phone or through online conference call systems.
Finally, we’d like to wish you all the best in the next few weeks. The world is a weird place at the moment, but all we can do is look after ourselves and one another.
If you’re unsure about how these changes will affect you, or you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to message us or reach us on 02476834780.
View our COVID-19 Risk Assessment here.
We are proud to have sponsored an award at this year’s Robins & Day Excellence Awards. The event showcased the company’s top automotive dealers, celebrating staff performance over the past twelve months. And it was held at the most fitting venue of all, Resorts World, Birmingham – the heart of Midlands.
Our Marketing & Creative Manager, Emily, presented an award proudly sponsored by us, Image+. Having worked closely with Robins & Day for some time, it was a great honour to be part of their celebration.
The night’s entertainment was well taken care of with top comedy from Rob Beckett. But no awards ceremony would be complete without a delicious three-course dinner; Robins & Day have definitely raised the bar with their beautifully selected flavours. And – of course – we can’t forget the Bubbly! It definitely added a splash of cheer to the already wonderful night.
Thank you for a magical evening, Robins & Day!
To read more about our partnership with Robins & Day head over to our portfolio.
If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.
Google Analytics is one of the most important – and powerful – tools in the arsenal of online businesses. In the digital realm data is king: knowing who is viewing... More
Over the recent months there has been a lot of talk about introducing the 4 day week in the United Kingdom. All around the world more businesses are trialling and... More