What You Need to Know About YouTube’s New Analytics Program

Youtube Analytics Program

Google’s video publishing powerhouse YouTuberecently unveiled a major upgrade to its video analytics predecessor YouTube Insight. The new system,YouTube Analytics, features a much-improved dashboard that’s easy to navigate and understand.

Beyond aesthetics, YouTube Analytics also includes a cache of new tools that allows you to have a deeper understanding of who’s watching your videos, what viewer demographic associations are and which topics viewers watch most. Here’s a look at some of the most useful features that can help you tailor your business videos and offer a more engaging video channel:

Detailed viewer data: Among the new features is the ability to split off viewer data from engagement data and drill into each of these categories to generate insights into viewer “Likes” and “Dislikes” across all videos in your channel.

In addition to providing viewer stats, demographics and abandonment rates, the new program comes with data on how users are accessing content and which channels deliver the most engaged viewers. It also offers a host of engagement metrics that can help video owners understand the social side of their viewer data — specifically, what viewers think about each of the videos in your channel. This can help you decide which videos to promote, which new videos to create and what content to scrap.

Related: Seven Tips for Marketing a Business with Video

Audience retention reports: For each video in your channel, you’re now able to see exactly where viewers start to lose interest in your videos. With this information, you can learn more about the attention span of your audience, as well as what specific types of content they prefer.

How to use the data: Ask yourself the following questions to get a feel for how to use the information found in the new Youtube Analytics program to make decisions about your current and future business video choices:

1. Take a look at your Top 10 Videos, as displayed in the new Youtube Analytics dashboard. Do you notice any trends throughout these videos? Do they cover similar topics or run about the same length? Extrapolating from this information should give you a good idea of what type of video to launch next.

2. Next, look at your top Traffic Sources. Which sites send you the most visitors? Can you use the other tools within the Youtube Analytics dashboard to learn more about the visitors from each source? Even if you have one source that sends the bulk of your traffic, keep an eye out for other sources that send highly engaged visitors and beef up your promotional efforts on these sites.

3. Finally, look at your Audience Retention reports. How long, on average, are viewers sticking around during and after your videos? If they aren’t making it through your content or seem to lose interest quickly, get a handle on what they’re looking for to provide future video content that’s more engaging.

 

10 Intriguing Business Books for Entrepreneurs to Read on Vacation

10 Intriguing Business Books for Entrepreneurs to Read on Vacation

Guy Kawasaki, the author of new business bookEnchantment

As the year winds down, one thing isn’t growing shorter — my nightstand pile of noteworthy business books.

I receive mountains of them, and most become instant library donations. But the ones that intrigue me keep hanging around, mocking my lack of free time. Eventually, I get to read them.

I hoped to do a post about each of these, but given that soon it will be time to talk about the hot business books of 2012, I thought I’d present my list of the business books I considered “keepers” this year. This is a highly individual list — several of these are by people I’ve met, so that may have influenced my thinking.

This is not a best-of or a ranking — these are listed alphabetically:

  1. Become a Franchise Owner! by Joel Libava. I know the “Franchise King,” and I can’t wait to read this one. Despite the upbeat-sounding title, Joel is known for his very frank opinions on franchise best practices. The book cuts the bull and helps would-be franchisees spot the problems as well as the opportunities. A must for anyone contemplating a franchise purchase.
  2. Business at the Speed of Now by John Bernard. The founder of consulting firm Mass Ingenuity discusses how to empower your people to deal with customers’ rising expectations in the always-on era.
  3. Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki. It’s pretty much all about how to influence customers in an ethical way. A key read, especially if you want to win in online sales.
  4. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. The famed money-management guru takes on leadership, boiling down his 20 years of experience and tells you how to lead your team to glory.
  5. The Entrepreneur Equation by Carol Roth. Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur? No, really, are you? Roth dares to suggest that not everybody has what it takes, and explains the traits required to make it as a business owner.
  6. Evil Plans by Hugh MacLeod. Combine your capacity to work with your capacity to love — all while enjoying MacLeod’s fun cartoons.
  7. The Method Method by Eric Ryan, Lucas Conley and Adam Lowry. I got to know the ecological cleaning-products company Method a while back when I interviewed them for a story. This one’s for every entrepreneur who would like to crack a long-established category and bring a new twist to it.
  8. Share, Retweet, Repeat by John Hlinko. Want to know how you get a horde of people to a Facebook page? Hlinko’s book has some enlightening anecdotes from his time as a political promoter.
  9. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. The Wine Library TV phenom shows where the return on investment is in social media — and offers case studies to back it up.
  10. Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields. I had a chance to hear Jonathan speak at SOBConNorthwest this year. His exploration of how successful leaders move forward despite their fears is fascinating — and inspiring.

 

See What Attracts People to Your Business’s Facebook Page

Attract People to Your Facebook Page

When it comes to the layout and design of a business or branded Facebook page, there isn’t much room for imagination. Aside from a customizable profile image, everything on screen carries a standardized look and feel. Heck, even the profile image appears in the same spot for all pages.

That’s why it’s so important to post images and content that gets you noticed right away. EyeTrackShop, a New York-based startup that measures the effectiveness of print and online ad campaigns by charting eye movement, recently conducted a study that sought answers to what people specifically look at on Facebook-brand pages.

Here are EyeTrackShop’s findings and my takeaways for your business:

The wall on all brand pages attracts almost all respondents’ gazes. What you post matters. If you consistently create and publish great content — items that really matter to your fans and add value to their day or contain an appropriate call-to-action — you’re more likely to attract and retain those readers.

Walls also attract the viewer’s attention for the longest amount of time. Again, this reinforces the need for compelling content that builds on itself. Working in reverse chronological order (because that’s how posts appear), Wall posts should compel the user to scroll down the page, keeping their focus and attention on your Wall. You should cross-reference previous status updates as a way to get visitors to scroll down the page and consume more of your content.

Small pictures get attention, as 85 percent of those surveyed look at the smaller pictures just above the wall. As with all content on a branded page, pictures should be relatable to your audience and speak to a need or curiosity your visitors have.

Three quarters of viewers look at the larger picture of the brand’s product. Regardless of how long the user gazes at your profile image, having a great image makes a lot of sense. Look at EyeTrackShop’s own profile image and you’ll see how it isolates multiple images within the same profile picture. Now that’s smart. Follow their lead with your own profile image — include a photo and messaging or a call-to-action.

If you’re a merchant who doesn’t even bother with a Facebook page, you may be interested in a study EyeTrackShop recently completed on the layout and content of storefront window displaysfor brick-and-mortar retail shops. That study suggests that time spent by shoppers looking at a window display has a direct correlation to sales. The most successful window displays, according to EyeTrackShop, are those that hold the viewer’s eye the longest. Lots of intricate detail is good — and if it has motion, all the better. The longer a passerby is looking, the more likely that shopper will make a purchase.

 

RIM’s ‘Mobile Fusion’ Phone Management Tool, Not for All Small Businesses

Apple versus Samsung

Canadian smartphone giant Research in Motion is supposed to be synonymous with business mobility. But if its latest mobile management tool is any indication, small businesses are less and less part of the company’s plans.

The latest example is the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a new mobile device management tool RIM recently unveiled. Mobile Fusion allows for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices to be remotely managed in shops that also use BlackBerry Enterprise Server, RIM’s business management software package for mostly larger firms. The service is expected to be ready in March. Closed-beta testing begins in January.

We broke down the new app’s small business feature-set ahead of the official release. Here’s what we found:

The good news: RIM is bringing mobile ‘bring-your-own-device’ management to Blackberry shops. As more employees use personal devices for work, the trend is: They’re opting for consumer-friendly smartphones like the iPhone or Droid as well BlackBerrys. Mobile Fusion allows businesses that have traditionally used RIM phones to protect company data stored on non-RIM personal devices. Users running BlackBerry Enterprise Server will be able to lock and wipe remote devices, set Wi-Fi and email settings for BlackBerry, iOS and Android tools.

And they can do it all from the same central control panel.

Related: Five Rules for ‘Bring Your Own Device’ Teams

The bad news: Mobile Fusion is aimed at larger companies and probably won’t be much of a small business solution. For instance, it requires deploying BlackBerry Enterprise Sever, which costs $3,999 for 20 users on top of the cost of existing Microsoft software, dedicated IT support and time to train your employees.

The cost and complexity puts this tool out of reach of for many small firms.

More bad news: Small companies will be stuck cobbling together their own mobile device management solutions. Smaller companies that use RIM devices can try to emulate some of the Mobile Fusion features, but it will require integrating other tools. For example, RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express and BlackBerry Management Center can manage email and security for RIM tools. Both are free, but they do not manage Apple’s iOS or Android devices. To support those, companies will require third-party tools such as MobileIron which is priced at $4 per device per month, or $75 with a perpetual license, which offers comprehensive cross-platform management solutions.

Bottom line: Medium- and large-size companies could find a role for this tool. But for the vast majority of small businesses that hope to run BlackBerrys as well as iPhones and Droids, Mobile Fusion will be of little value.

 

10 Gifts Entrepreneurs Can Give to Staffers

Even though there are less than two weeks remaining on the clock until Christmas, it’s very possible you forgot to order gifts for your staff. Not to worry. Here’s a quick and dirty list of simple business-appropriate delights that should fill the bill. And rest easy. I took it upon myself to personally test each one of these items.

Like and Dislike Stamp

1. Like and Dislike Stamp: This two-stamp set comes with enough ink for 5,000 assertions or aversions, and can be annoyingly applied to most any flat surface. Make your views clear on any issue. Price: $12.99. (buy two, get a third free when using the code “ENTREPRENEUR” at check-out. . . valid thru 11:59PM, Dec. 23).

 

DODOcase

2. DODOcase: With the look and feel of a hardbound book, this case coddles your iPad in a strong bamboo tray. And because it looks like a book, it’s less likely to be snatched. Price: $59.95.

NuGuard Gripstand 2

3. NuGuard Gripstand 2: This desktop stand can be swiveled 360 degrees, doubles as a one-hand grip for your iPad 2, or can be used to carry an iPad 2 a briefcase. And it’s pretty snazzy for presentations, too. Also available for the original IPad. Price: $29.99.

Toddy Smart Cloth

4. Toddy Smart Cloth: This cloth doesn’t just push the smudges around on your iPad or iPhone screen — it makes them disappear. A must-have for anyone who hates streaking. Price: $9.99.

Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser

5. Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser: The name says it all.The balanced stylus keeps your touchscreen clean and eliminates annoying finger punching. The laser pointer is great for presentations or messing with your pet, and the pen works great when you need to actually write on paper. Price: $49.99.

Rescue Rope

6. Rescue Rope: This one’s for the outdoorsman or outdoorswoman on your staff. The unobtrusive braceletfeatures a hidden survival kit with a 550-pound parachute cord, fishing line, fishing weight, fishing hook and snare wire. I’m guessing you can’t get this past Homeland Security. Price: $20.

Desk Pets

7. Desk Pets: These miniature vehicles are controlled with an iPod, iPhone, iPad or Android much like a radio-controlled toy car. Get a pair and you can conduct races. . . Great, now you’ve got employees goofing off at work. Price: $24.99.

Scruble Cube

8. Scruble Cube: Forget Words With Friends. With this 3D word game you can tweak the cube into more than 7,400 septillion configurations. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution? Price: $24.95.

chicBuds Fauvette Speakers

9. chicBuds Fauvette Speakers: For the office audiophile, this tiny speaker fits in your hand like a bird — the Twitter bird if you will. Hook it up to your MP3, iPod, iPhone, CD player or laptop and the sound is great. Price: $34.99.

Swing Trust Oil

10. Swing Trust Oil: Give the gift of aromatherapy in a bottle for the golfer in your office. Its essential oils — bergamot, sage and two types of cedar — can promote concentration and instill relaxation with just a sniff before swinging a club. Instead of shouting “Fore!” your golfing employees will be chanting your mantra. Price: $29.95.

 

The Holidays’ Most Unique Big Business Social Media Campaigns

Starbucks Red Cup Campaign

Big brands are getting social for the holidays, maybe you should too.

According to Chicago-based market research firm Lab42, 61 percent of holiday shoppers plan to research that perfect gift through their social networks before they pull out their wallets. That’s a lot of digitally reliant festive buying, which inspired me to scour the Web to find the most unique ways brands are using social media to cash in during the holiday season. And who knows, these campaigns may even provide inspiration for your own company’s seasonal social media efforts.

Contests
Big names in retail are taking to Facebook to engage with potential customers. Gap’s “12 Days of Joy” Photo Contest invites fans to upload their favorite holiday pictures along with captions in order to enter to win a $500 gift card. The page also offers a “Joy It Up” mixtape of new holiday music.

Kohl’s is encouraging consumers to submit stories and pictures about why they enjoy giving gifts. The winners will receive gift cards for up to $2,500 and help direct $10,000 to $25,000 in donations to charities.

Holiday eCards
Ralph Lauren has opted to go paperless this holiday season — creating its own ecard microsite. Incidentally, the site also allows customers to see and interact with their winter catalog along the way. Just create your message and share it via email or over Facebook and Twitter.

Social Giving
In a nod to the season of giving — and to promote LEGO Star Wars — the toy maker launchedLegoSantaYoda.com. For every egreeting sent from the site, the LEGO Group is giving away one toy to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program.

EBay also partnered with the nonprofit with its “Give-A-Toy Store” window promotion in New York’s Herald Square and San Francisco’s Post Street. Using eBay’s mobile app, customers can purchase a toy, scan its QR code and then instantly donate a toy valued at $2 to $25 to Toys for Tots. The window lights up when you make a donation. And, you can share your gift giving activities with your Facebook friends.

 

Off the Wall
Bloomingdales’s decided to capture shoppers in real life by taking pictures of customers strolling by their famous window display in New York City and posting them to their Holiday Windows app.

Then, caffeine addicts are buzzing about Starbucks’ holiday augmented reality app. Just point your phone at one of the coffee giant’s red holiday season coffee cups and watch an animation come to life. The “Starbucks Cup Magic” also works on 47 other products available at their retail locations. And the app promotes social sharing — allowing users to send ecards as well as other holiday offers.

 

 

Three Key Business Investments to Make in 2012

What Will Your Business Invest in Next Year

As this year winds down, it’s time to think about where your business is headed in the New Year. Specifically, where will you invest in your business?

Some intriguing business trends are emerging, where an investment in the right place might yield terrific dividends in the coming year. Here are three key areas to consider prioritizing in 2012:

  1. Ecommerce Apps. Amazon plans to eat small retailers’ lunch this holiday season with itsprice-comparison app. With the app, iPhone users can wave their phone at your retail item’s bar code and instantly find out what the same item costs on Amazon. Also, from last Friday night through Saturday, Amazon offered 5 percent off any item up to $5 off when shoppers ran a price-check on the app.

    What are you doing to counter this trend? It’s never been easier to create your own app — the do-it-yourself tool platform appsbar now has 50,000 users, for instance. Next year, a whole new crop of shoppers will have mobile devices they got for Christmas. Will you be ready to connect them with your merchandise?

  2. Paid search. Are you hitting the top of search results for your chosen keywords? More retailers are taking out ads to help them rank well on key search terms, data from research frim Performics found.

    This Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, paid search spending more than doubled from the same weekend in 2010, says Performics. And retailers aren’t just spending on paid search — they’re getting results. Click-through rates and sales jumped, too.

  3. Brain power. Many companies have experienced serious brain-drain over the past few years, as staffers were laid off. Get a jump on your competition by hiring back some highly talented — and trained — workers.

    The National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Confidence Index is rising again, and small business owners are reporting better sales growth. Get positioned for the upswing now by adding key staff, before your competitors figure out an upswing is here and snap up the top talen

 

Making Jewelry Out of Broken Plates

Making Jewelry Out of Broken Plates
The Recycled China Pendant, made by The Broken Plate Pendant Co. of Baltimore, priced at $40.

Editor’s Note: We’re rolling out 12 Days of Indie Merchant Gifts. Readers can vote for their favorite gifts, starting Dec. 12.

Talk about a niche business. Juliet Ames, an independent merchant in Baltimore, specializes in making custom jewelry from broken sentimental family china. The name of her website says it all:IBreakPlates.com.

We received scores of submissions for our gift guidefrom jewelry makers, but Ames’s recycled china pendant stood out to us because it’s truly one-of-a-kind — not to mention quite pretty. And the sentimental inspiration behind her business appealed to our softer side.

“Most mothers, grandmothers and friends show love by preparing a great meal,” she wrote. “When a plate breaks, people save the shards to hold on to what or who the plate represents. I have had the honor of working with broken wedding plates, plates salvaged from hurricane Katrina and plates that survived fires, just to name a few.”

Ames’s jewelry isn’t cheap — this pendant sells for $40 — but one can argue that some things are priceless.

How Orabrush Cleaned Up On YouTube

How Orabrush Cleaned Up On YouTube

I first discovered Orabrush at the yearly YouTube conference, VidCon in 2010. It was hard not to notice their mascot, a goofy guy dressed appropriately as a tongue wandering among the YouTube stars, video bloggers and tween fans.

So you might be wondering how a tongue cleaner could break through the noise and use YouTube to boost online sales and get retailers Wal-Mart and CVS on board? Spokesperson, Austin Craig, gave me the lowdown on how they took their product from complete obscurity to 30 million YouTube views, 270,000 Facebook fans and 300,000 iPhone app downloads.

  1. What inspired Orabrush to jump into the social media world?
    It wasn’t inspiration, it was necessity. Dr. Bob Wagstaff, the inventor of Orabrush’s tongue scraper, had tried everything. He went to stores and begged them to put it on the shelves. Even when stores picked it up, no customers were interested. He spent $40,000 on an infomercial that produced fewer than 100 sales. But Bob knew that the web was a growth space, and wanted to sell there.
  2. When did you start using YouTube and Facebook to engage community?
    Our real push started at the end of Summer 2009, with the help of our CMO Jeffrey Harmon. We filmed a couple videos that summer, and one of them, “the Bad Breath Test video,” increased sales significantly when embedded on our site. It was also a video that got shared quite a bit. We pushed it hard using YouTube’s paid search. People could get their first Orabrush free if they liked us on Facebook and subscribed on YouTube. Our audience just grew and grew with that campaign.
  3. What was your social media ‘aha moment’?
    We had been testing the Promoted Video platform on YouTube for several weeks — spending $30 per day on Promoted Video ads. Our goal was to at least break-even after covering all of our costs. It took several weeks of constant tweaks and testing, but, one day, we made back more than we spent. We knew we had finally cracked the code.
  4. How has social media helped your business?
    Before we used YouTube and Facebook, Orabrush didn’t have any sales, online or offline. Social media is how we do virtually everything. We drive sales by targeting consumers, but we’ve even used YouTube and Facebook to pitch to retailers we want to work with. We do our market research on Facebook, we do focus groups on Google+, and of course we make YouTube videos weekly. We also make major company announcements with video.
  5. What tips would you give others entrepreneurs who want to use social media to grow their business?
    Social media is, above all, social. It’s about communities and conversations. Get on the platform you want to understand, whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter or any of the countless others. Find communities that interest you. Start interacting. Learn how the conversations work. Once you understand how it works for the people using it, then you can understand how to talk to them as a brand.

How One Company Transformed Its Boring Products

Ultimate Man Caves

What color do men paint the Den? CIL Paints is betting it’s not Butterscotch.

Recently, the Toronto-based company’s managers looked at the marketplace and saw an opportunity: Paint-color names are all pretty ladylike.

If your industry is full of sameness and you’re having trouble figuring out how to differentiate your products, here’s an idea for how to inject something fresh.

Sometimes, all a product needs is a new marketing angle. CIL they held a contest on Facebook to rename some of their hues for an Ultimate Man Caves collection aimed at male shoppers.

More than 15,000 responses later, Fairytale Green had become Mo Money, and Butterscotch became Beer Time. Plateau Grey was 5 O’Clock Shadow. Juliet’s Potion is now Zombie Apocalypse, Lexington Park is Dirty Socks, and Classic Liberty Red is Rust on my Truck. In all, 27 colors were renamed.

CIL then created a manly dream book of bars, bathrooms, bedrooms and media rooms decked out in the new colors to show how they could style up a man’s domain. What do you imagine they can charge for these newly named colors? I’m betting, whatever they like. After all, there’s no other paint being marketed this way, to this customer.

This isn’t just a clever marketing trick. This is recognizing a market segment that’s not on your competitors’ radar and getting them engaged and interested in your products. Yes, women make most paint-color choices, but CIL’s research showed men often give the final nod. And if a room is primarily a man’s domain, why should he paint it Bone White when he could adorn it in Beer Foam?

In appealing to men, CIL didn’t just man up its colors. It made them funny. It brought a different attitude to a pretty staid industry. The company is betting that will be a hit with younger male homeowners who’re just starting to decorate. This could be a chance for CIL to land them as lifetime customers