August Insights for September 2015
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Landing pages; Flash is dead (but is it haunting your web presence?); A data geek’s guide to fantasy football.
Summer’s coming to an end. I hope yours has been a good one.
This month’s August Insights focuses on the practical – two topics that are applicable to many (if not all) businesses, and one that may help you crush everyone in your fantasy football league. First, landing pages are often underutilized, or built to fail. I’ll discuss their use, and share a checklist for landing page success. Second, Adobe Flash is dead. However, it’s still haunting the web – perhaps your web site – and it’s our job to finish it off once and for all. Finally, there’s a site that might help you make more informed choices about your fantasy football lineup.
Principal, August Communication Consultants
Web landing pages are first and foremost, transactional. They might sell a specific product, solicit information from prospects, or assist customers with registering for services or an event. In each case, they prompt a specific action that is often referred to as a conversion.
Landing pages are destinations for links from pay per click (PPC) campaigns, emails, and other channels. Done right, they provide a seamless user experience across channels, focus users’ attention on a specific call to action, and provide enough information to support a decision. They tend to be used for limited duration campaigns, and may or may not be considered part of a “main” web site.
Content management systems support the easy creation of landing pages. But before building landing pages it’s important to consider these questions:
Who are you trying to reach? If you have a single audience, one landing page might make sense. If you are trying to convert disparate audiences, consider building a landing page for each, with calls to action that match their interests.
What is the right call to action? Consider the stage at which you’re encountering each audience. Are they already aware of your company or product? Have you done business with them before? Are they lapsed customers you’re trying to lure back? Their knowledge of you and their intent will influence your choice of a call to action.
How will you direct those audiences to your landing page? Again, this depends on the audience. PPC campaigns and social media are effective for lead generation, while email is significantly more effective for creating sales conversions.
Search Engine Watch offers a useful checklist for PPC landing pages, though much of the information also applies to landing pages for use in social and email-driven campaigns.
Flash is Dead
Adobe Flash has been on life support since the introduction of Apple’s iOS operating system. Ever since, there has been a loud chorus of voices demanding it die. And now, Google, Facebook, Mozilla and other major players on the web are making that a reality. Flash is a closed system in an environment where open standards rule; it’s a security risk, to the point that Facebook’s security chief suggested that it’s time to set its expiration date; and, it’s no longer necessary for the delivery of video. Other, better tools exist. Practically speaking, Flash is dead.
True, browse the web and you’re going to encounter Flash, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should try to revive it. It’s still out there because some site owners don’t understand that Flash-only videos aren’t playable on the mobile devices that make up the majority of the market. Or because those site owners don’t realize a growing number of Internet users are actively blocking Flash on the desktop. Or worst of all, because site owners aren’t interested in providing users with a better, more secure browsing experience.
Here’s my plea to anyone still delivering video content using Flash: Stop. Update your content so that it’s delivered using standards (like HTML5) that make it accessible on all devices and platforms. Not for my sake, of course. For users – customers, prospects and others who are interested in learning about organizations without having to unblock a video player or update a plugin.
This WIRED article is a gold mine for anyone who wants to learn more about the case against Flash or how to rid browsers of it.
Fantasy Football for Data Geeks
Bayesian Fantasy Football is for people who don’t go with their gut, or make choices based on arbitrary factors like player numbers or helmet colors. It’s an approach to understanding the probability of player performance based on accumulated data. It is not a guarantee of success, but a tool to help fantasy football team owners understand the difference between player skill and luck.
Don’t understand Bayesian probability, as it applies to fantasy football? Start here.
Or are you ready to jump straight to the weekly player rankings?
Go forth, compete, and if you use these tools feel free to share how they helped (or didn’t). I’ll update my readers on any noteworthy stories of fantasy football success.