Google Campaign URL Builder

I’ve been having trouble with getting my URL campaigns to show up consistently in Google Analytics. Fortunately, after talking over on some forums, they pointed me in the right direction. Though only two fields are required when using the Campaign URL Builder, you’ll want to feel out the first four fields at minimum.

Tips

I recommend keeping a spreadsheet to track all your campaign names and to develop consistent naming habits for your source and medium fields. For our end of year fundraising email, I made the mistake of using end_of_year_fundraising and eoy_fundraising as campaign names. If I had used the same term, the results would look nicer in Google Analytics.

For the campaign that worked, I get the campaign name of lnap_2018. When I click on it, then I see all the sources listed. It was helpful in knowing immediately that most people were clicking through to the registration form from the front of the website.

Bitly Integration

I should note that we have a (free!) custom URL through Bitly.com for our URL shortener. I grab a URL, take it to the Campaign URL Builder and add in my elements. Then I copy the generated URL into Bitly to give me a unique URL. Then when I look at my report later, I can see clicks from eblast, social media (should break this down to platform), website, etc.

December 2017 Monthly Report

My new boss has asked that I write out a more descriptive version of what I did in the previous month. Aside from all the usual work (social media, digital signs), I had twenty separate projects in progress. What I liked best about this report is that it prompts me to follow up on the items. A few highlights are below.

I strike a pose on a frozen pond. These don’t exist back home!

Museum Passes

We had a 20.4% increase in museum pass reservations in December vs. November. We sent out a special email highlighting museums in December which may have caused that increase.

Increase in Hoopla

In December 2016, we didn’t send out an email highlighting our digital services. So that was my base number. In December 2017, we did. The difference between 2016’s non-campaign to 2017’s campaign: 45% increase in new users and 25.9% increase in borrows.

I then evaluated this to two previous emails and came up with two lessons: have a holiday email focusing on digital items and use “present” or “gift” in the subject line.

Last Email Unsubscribed From

I was curious as to which email list was driving unsubscribes. We switched to MailChimp in December 2013, so I evaluated data from that point to December 2017. It took awhile, but I was able to sort out the emails into different lists. When I asked MC if I could easily sort by the group the email was sent to, this was not an option. So by hand it went!

New Year’s Eve Playlist

I loved the idea of finding a song to dramatically finish the year with. My colleagues kindly supplied me with several songs. The project took longer to put together than I anticipated, but our weekly events email readers + Twitter had a good time with it.

Seasonal Bookmarks

This year, we set aside money to get 30 bookmarks printed and cut by a professional print shop. We’ve split this into three terms throughout the year. The first round was exhausting to push through with an August 1st due-in-house deadline. With the second round, it went more quickly. However, it wasn’t clear if the digital proofs were accurate or not. Thankfully, the printer sent a paper proof which I was able to sign off on last Friday. Today the two boxes arrived. My colleague was wonderfully helpful in helping me sort the bookmarks and then distribute them throughout the building. Today was the day that we wanted the bookmarks to be in-house. Good timing!

Logo for Midterms Event

My very talented colleague approached me about her redesign of our annual midterms programming. Usually, we stay open an extra hour for 3 days (and again for finals). This year, we’re going to have an after hours event on a Sunday. I was so inspired by the title, The Long Night Against Procrastination, that I wanted to make a custom logo.

Courtesy of Darien Library

I looked up Ikea lanterns to find my favorite version. Then I stabbed at Illustrator until I got the shape right. My colleague approved. The original text was just plain text at an angle. It didn’t fit my vision. So I spent about two days working at it to come up with the above design. It’s not perfect — I’m not confident with Illustrator yet — but it’s 85% of the way towards my vision.

Courtesy of Darien Library

I also rather like the email design that goes along with the logo.

Prepopulate JotForm Fields via URL

We use JotForm for our library’s website. It’s fairly easy to customize, their customer service forums are fast, and they provide lots of integrations.

One feature I had been musing on was how to pre-fill a field on a form. For instance, in an email I’m promoting the patron to borrow a book for their book club. Usually they’d click the link and then have to add the book title in the form. However, with a little URL magic, you can do this bit of work for the user.

How to prepopulate fields

* Go to http://prepopulate.jotform.io/, login, and select your form (you have to scroll).
* On the form, enter the info you want prepopulated.
* Click on Generate URL at the top.
* On the next screen, you’ll see a custom Full URL.

If you’re just linking directly to the form

* Just copy the URL generated by step 4.
* Make sure to not send people this link as displayed above. Instead, link the text like so.

If your form is embedded on the website

* Copy only the text starting with the ? the very end.
* You’re copying something like: ?book=Twilight
* Pull up the website page which has the embedded form on it.
* Paste the text you copied to the end of the URL. It’ll look something like this:
https://www.example.com/submit-request?book=Twilight
* Make sure to not send people this link as displayed above. Instead, link the text like so.

I Aten’t Dead

~ Granny Weatherwax

I’ve been working on so many projects at work that it’s hard to remember that I need to keep this site updated on them. I’ve also been trying to stay on task with NaNoWriMo, so I’ve been preoccupied.

My latest page design for the Fellowship goes live on Friday. I’m rather pleased with it. I had quickly wireframed it and took it to the department head for approval. The finished version is almost identical to the sketch.

It also presented another challenge: film a new video with the current fellow and combine that clip with interviews from the two previous fellows. Their clips come from a video with a heavy music overlay on top of their speaking. I contacted the videographer/editor of that film. He sent me a similar piece of music. I ended up importing that video plus my filmed clip into Final Cut Pro. I sliced each section into pieces. Then I disabled clips I didn’t want to use until I came up with my winning combination.

The audio part was difficult. I ended up moving the new audio about 20 seconds under the previous clip and had them intertwined with a fade-in. When my new clip appears, the music shifts. If you’re listening closely, you’ll notice that the music from the first two shots has dropped out completely. However, for our purposes, it goes smoothly enough to get the job accomplished.

As well, for what feels like the first time in forever, I’m coming up with new ideas. One cherished suggestion was taken seriously by my boss and she brought it forth as a co-sponsored program. She then took it one step further and contacted the local public access channel to see if they’d want to film it. They do!

So Many Prints

I’m going on vacation next week, so I’ve been slamming through hurdles as fast as I can. So far this month I’ve designed 11 bookmarks (10 which had multiple designs per side), 3 posters, 2 banners, 2 postcards, digital signs, email designs, editing web pages, scheduling social media, and editing images left and right. Then I swung out my rubber cement and glued down two posters.

The coolest thing by far was getting to take photos of the children’s librarians. Then our local fire chief took the camera from me and told me to go hop in the photo. I’m often left out of cool photos as the photographer of things, so this was an unexpected joy.

While this graphic design stuff was happening, I was also working hard on following up on all those emails. I had some cool ideas recently, but of course, this means I have to write it up. We had our annual stats review this week too. I spent 90 minutes compiling a picture of how our social media, emails, website, and Digital Media Lab has done. The week is just half over. I’ll have to continue to hustle as fast as I can over the next two days!

Design Development Work

No images of today’s work since I tossed out most of it when I was finished with the design process. My tasks for the day were to create a print ad and a double-sided bookmark. For the ad, I created 11 layouts. The first two were digital versions of the sketches that were handed to me. From there, I worked out different arrangements of text, font sizes, colors, adding a border, adding images, until I came upon the final design which was accepted. As you scroll through the previous designs, you can see how I slowly tipped my chessboard towards it. Each idea sliding downwards until I arrived at the final image.

I printed out the proofs, marked my two favorite, scribbled a note of guidance, and left them on the requester’s desk. Later, when I returned to pick up the pieces, he had also chosen my favorite one. While checking and re-checking the layout back in InDesign, I got frustrated with the tools. I nabbed the metal ruler from my colleague’s desk and held it up to my iMac’s surface. Then I slowed nudged the text box into place.

For the bookmark, I had looked at the theme idea last week in some confusion. I poked around on the web and found a bunch of photos for a moodboard of sorts and uploaded it the shared drive. On Friday, my colleague wrote back that I was close, but not quite right. I took her words, spent 2 minutes googling and found a lovely stock illustration. She loved it.

Today I started the work of creating a bookmark from that image. I’ll admit, these bookmarks aren’t quite the thing of dreams. I’m a little crunched for time, so it’s more important to get them done than perfect. For this project thought, I made a dozen or so layouts with different words and color choices. Sent it over. After lunch I had my response back. I then laid out 4 or so designs for the back and sent it back. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get the sign-off so I can mark it as done.

We’re pushing a deadline of Friday here for these ten bookmarks. I’ve gotten works-in-progress drafts for six of them now. Once staff sign off on them, I can move them to the finish pile. The goal is to have all of them back from the print shop by September 1st for National Library Card Sign Up Month.

New Insights from Weekly Events Email

I’m in charge of putting together our weekly events emails. As such, I’m interested in discovering patterns, developing hypotheses, and testing my theories. All in the name of providing a more useful experience for our patrons. Each quarter I do an analysis to look for new insights, check out the answers to my questions, and ask library stakeholders for guidance on what we should test next.

Our findings for April to June:
* Do email opens go up if we send emails to low open users on Thursdays as opposed to Friday? The six-week test showed that it doesn’t make a difference.
* Out of the two subject lines we test each week across three segments, two segments usually choose the same one.
* Opens decreased in the spring, but not as drastically as I thought.
* New subscribers’ open and click-through rates dropped drastically from winter to spring.
* Email unsubscribes and bounces decreased. The numbers are small, so it looks very impressive to say “We had a 26% decline in unsubscribes!”
* We’re gaining email subscribers thanks to the form on our website.
* People do scroll all the way to the Did You Knows. We know this thanks to the click-through rate which is comparable to items higher up in the email.

Next round I’m thinking about testing:
* Does the age category of the featured event affect unsubscribe rates? I believe the answer is yes, but am eager to see if that theory proves true.

Of course, I need to look at this from a longer perspective as well. Perhaps in December, when things usually slow down, I can compare some of my numbers loosely to the 2013-2016 numbers.

Tasks of a Publicity Manager

Next month will mark one-year since I transitioned from UX Librarian to Publicity Manager. I spent the first few weeks meeting with staff to learn what they thought I should be doing in my role. I then went on vacation for a couple weeks, so it wasn’t until October that I really began active work in my new job.

There are some differences between my work as a new UX librarian to where I am now. The most noticeable is that I used to have lots of flexibility in my schedule. If you talked to me on Monday or Tuesday, I could probably fit you in that week. I only looked one week out at the tasks I had to accomplish. Now, my schedule is filling up 3-4 weeks in advance. I’m trying to protect a precious hour every day for sudden requests. Unfortunately, those five empty hours usually get taken up a few days in advance. I moved to that system of “grace time” back in February — two months before my boss asked me if I had built in such time. :-)

I’m using Asana and Google Calendar to maintain my sanity. Thanks to the repetition of many tasks, as soon as I complete it, I add it right back for the next round for the following month. So my to-do list technically never gets any shorter.

Without further ado, here are the main tasks I do as the Publicity Manager:

* Watch and report on stats/analytics
* Look for how the Library is mentioned online and in printed newspapers
* Plan actions based upon those reports
* Meet with staff to help them develop their publicity items (and often, just brainstorm things out to their final conclusion as we look for trouble spots to take care of in advance. I did this as a UX librarian too)
* Document formal publicity plans based upon those meetings
* Create publicity items (even with the help of staff, there’s still not enough hands to fulfill all our dreams)
* Monitor staff’s progress on their projects and remind them to send me their materials
* Make content for social media (text, images, find/make gifs, videos)
* Find time to do research for my own projects
* Learn new publicity techniques and keep up with software changes

I’m curious as to how my role will continue to change in the coming year. I’ve got a few ideas on what key tasks I want to accomplish.

Note: that’s a photo of my desk from December. I now have a bulletin board covered in persona index cards, terrariums, printed out reports and projects, and inspiration pieces.