This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Evaluating the media: April 2015

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making a database usable online with Caspio

Anyone using MS Excel Access on a regular basis will have wondered how easy it might be to move the data online. This might be with a view to enabling a client to view a database, or to allow working from another computer.

I have not tested the latest online offering of MS Office/Access so can't comment on this. I am stuck with the older version of Office which does not easily 'go online'. To solve the problem I recently took a trial with Caspio - a tool to take data online.

The brief - Take Access online

Some background....this was in response to a specific query from a client asking for access to a database I use to create a monthly report. This seemed like a good idea. They can do a bit of slicin'-and-dicin' of their own, gaining some up-to-date added value from it.

And heres the problem. The Access database on which everything sits is not online accessible and even if it were, Access is not the most intuitive platform to run queries on the fly. There is no escaping it; Access is not particularly user friendly. What was needed was a way of creating a GUI or client view which they could use without tuition.

This is the heart of the existing Access database. It kind of makes sense to me if no one else!

Caspio - The Solution?

Caspio is a bit like Access in that it runs on tables and uses queries, forms and reports. It easily deploys to your own website, literally appearing as a box where you put the code. I am using a Weebly website and it was little hassle to install. After loading my latest table of data, the rest of the time was spent configuring what the clients sees and how they manipulate the results.

A number of video tutorial do help getting to grips with Caspio. Although I have explored only a narrow selection of its capabilities it seems logical and well laid out. I would have liked to have seen more of those little pop-up explanation boxes which expand on what an option means, as there are an awful lot of options.

Once some sort of data table has been added to Caspio, the next stage is getting a table online. This can either be used to collect responses (contact form, directory, etc), or adding responses to a form. Alternatively, as in this case, I have all the data and want to allow a client to sort and filter through them.

Anyway, in either instance you need to go to the DataPages, and in this instance select Report and Tabular style. 

From here there are about 8 stages left including selecting what the fields to show, creating what the page which the client will use to select their options. Then specify what the initial and detailed results pages will look like.  

Once the wizard has gone through the various options and stages, the final thing is to deploy the code to a site. Copy the chunk of code at the end of the process and paste it into a webpage. In my experience I then spent quite a few hours refining the look and way a user selects the options. My final(ish) version looks like this:

I would predict you will spend the majority of your time on this specific page of the wizard:

This is where to decide how the fields look and operate. I wanted a Date From and Date To option which was set up as a double criteria on the same field. I was also keen to allow my client a 'Select All' option which required a bit of extra configuring. There is no coding and it is all done by working through the wizard and seeing what the impact is on a preview form.

I would recommend a newbie to look at a few video and read a couple of how-to's. Then try adding a table and creating a deploy to a site. You can't really brake it.

Regrettably this level of functionality is not free, although there is a trial with the 'enterprise' version for a week or so. I did read around to see what the others were offering. While there are cheaper ones, with something like this there needs to be a level of dependability and support, both things which the reviews suggest Caspio excel at.  

Thank you for viewing the article and I very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if I get things wrong!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Using Google Analytics to measure outcomes against your PR objectives

Is this relevant to you:

·       Are you interested in knowing more about what people do when they see your proactive PR outreach?

·       Do you have a specific goal in mind when you plan an outreach campaign?

·       Does that goal involve some sort of interaction on your web properties?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to even one of these questions you probably use or have someone using Google Analytics to track your users. Alternatively you might be using Adobe Analytics to track responses, which is good as it is more challenging to use than Google Analytics (GA), and so you probably a very competent PR web data analyst.

Regrettably that does not mean GA is easy. At first glance it yields some results but feels like there lots of duplication and unnecessary complication. Please persevere. If you are the right organisation asking the right questions it will help you, a lot.

I am not going to tell you how to open an account, configure settings and all that kind of thing. Get over to GA tutorial area (https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/course01). Though to go from a standing start to competent will involve quite a few hours.

My intention is to offer some ideas of what GA can do to help a PR person. In particular around objective setting, and goal and conversion measurement.

A PR manager might be wondering if a single person can handle both Twitter and Facebook. And if one gets better results, should it be allocated more resources. To do that you will need data, likely from GA.

Let’s presume there is a PR plan, campaign objectives and a selection of measurable goals. These might be White Paper downloads, contact form leads, additions to a mailing list at the micro end or e-commerce sales at the macro level.

GA will allow you to set up each of these as goals and track the results. GA is quite keen on the concept of ‘valuing’ intangible actions on your site. For some this might be where things get a bit controversial. Now I am no fan of AVE’s, and the like. Setting a value on something like a White Paper download could be like trying to value of Twitter follower. And that was an argument which did not end well!

It would not be correct to value these interactions in the first instance. After a number of campaigns you might be able to make some fairly objective assumptions. Over time you may able to estimate how many of a certain type of interaction results for particular organisations in a sale if there is a tangible linkage.

For example, if you are a B2B provider you will probably have an idea that for every 20 service demonstrations you get a sale. You will know the average sale value and so can estimate the value of a demonstration, hence the value of that type of goal. But it does not work for everything so you must discriminate.

There are a selection of other facets you can check alongside you goal conversions including relative new to returning visitors, if they came by search what term did they search under and what it the general level of satisfaction with your site (bounce rate). There are a selection of attribution models you might consider to understand the progression successful buyers take and where others drop out.

My advice is to become familiar with Google Analytics. PR can benefit from access to web analytics if success is getting people onto a web property.  You really need to hold the keys to this stuff and not rely on other departments.

Thank you for viewing the article and I very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if I get things wrong!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

Labels: , , , ,