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Two weeks ago Andrea gave us a solid tour of the Google Analytics (GA) platform. This was a great learning experience for me because it filled in some skill gaps that have been preventing me from using GA effectively. I am familiar with GA but most of the sites that I have managed were small so the data I was collecting wasn’t very robust. It was great to be able to see a real-world example of how GA is used from the perspective of a larger company. The most valuable thing that I learned was how to use Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) to track specific behavior in Google Analytics. Essentially this allows you to pass information through GA when a user clicks on a URL link. There is a handy URL builder form here.
Last week we learned about growth hacking from Conner Galway of Junction Creative Solutions. Growth hacking is a term thrown around a lot these days, and I will admit I have been a bit dismissive of it as a credible tactic. This is mostly due to the countless free growth hacking eBooks being bandied about on Twitter. Growth hacking in its essence is finding a way to create a self-reliant loop that will generate revenue driving activities. Conner had many examples of growth hacking but my favorite was Virgin Airlines’ airplane shaped salt and pepper shakers. The shakers were given out to first class customers with the intention of them being stolen and then displayed in the passenger’s home dining room. This would then get the attention of other people of a similar socioeconomic status which translated to increase brand awareness to this attractive demographic.
Conner told us that growth hacking is a state of mind and the practice itself is rooted in both marketing and technology. Growth hackers need to be able to use analytics to prove the success of their campaigns. Conner said that great growth hacking campaigns are shareable and easy to spread. Shareability is key for growth hacking because this type of marketing is typically done on a shoestring budget and because, as Conner put it, “paying for attention is like a tax for being uninteresting.”