Digital Communications Audit
Assignment 1- Digital Communications Audit
The premise is that you have been hired to manage the brand’s digital communications. You must first complete an audit. In the second assignment, you will use this research and audit to determine a content marketing strategy.
Executive Summary: Industry Research and Brand Audit
Based on your individual work and the group research, provide a 1-page summary of your findings and identify the brand being assessed. TIP: Complete this last. This section should be essay style and include a summary of the audit findings and recommendations. An executive summary can standalone.
Include the following:
- Name of the brand:
- Purpose (1-2 sentences, what does it make or do):
- Sector / Industry: (be specific if it’s a subcategory)
- Insights on the social media usage within the industry (leaders, influencers)
- Audience: Broad strokes of the types of audience members (end users, purchasing unit, other constituents) and the motivation (or need-state) for purchasing.
- Include any relevant points related to demographics, market size, online and mobile activity (personal and professional), marketing or advertising the audience commonly encounters, who/what they see as the competition, why do they choose this brand
- Sales cycle and channels: Brief overview of how the brand’s products or services are typically purchased. Quantity and frequency of purchase (duration of typical sales cycle).
- Performance: In comparison to this industry’s standards, how does the brand’s digital communications perform (laggard, developing capabilities, competent/average, above industry average, market leader)
- Audit recommendations
Part 1: Industry Assessment
Based on the in-class group work, what does the research suggest regarding the industry’s adoption of social and mobile? TIP: Students mistakenly look at too broad an industry. Narrow down to the category or subcategory applicable to your brand of choice.
- Leading brands within the industry
- Notable marketing practices (owned, earned, paid)
- Social media usage within the industry
- Most effective social networks
- Common content themes or types of content shared
- Typical follower numbers (industry leader, top 3 competitors)
- Typical content engagement (industry leader, top 3 competitors)
- Regulatory environment (government or industry regulations, esp. if applicable to social media use)
- Any seasonality to the industry
- Sophistication of audience vs. product complexity (how much info does the audience need in order to act)
- Notable influencers
- Who is the typical buyer (people/businesses who need ____)
- Typical sales cycle (how are the brand’s products/services purchased, duration of process, purchase tiers)
- Common calls to action on website and social media
TIP: Search “industry + marketing strategy” or “market research.” See academic research and case studies, practitioner-lead research:
- Bord Bia
- Content Marketing Institute
- ie (Marketing Institute of Ireland)
- Think with Google
Part 2: Digital Communications Audit
Individual component: Pick a brand within this industry and perform a digital communications audit.
About the brand
- Brand name
- Sector / industry category > subcategory if applicable
- URL of website
- Social profiles promoted on website
- If applicable, list any additional networks in use but not promoted on website.
- Provide a brief background of the business: time in business, field of competence (what does it make or do), and any relevant details on focus, changes over time, current marketing practices, business growth.
TIP: Check the “About” section. Look up for company bios included in media releases, media stories and interviews, directory listings on association websites. Note any campaign taglines or recurring descriptions. Compare this to customer comments in forums, Q&As, social media. You are looking for how the brand positions itself and what
About the brand’s website performance
What’s working or not working? NOTE: If you have access to Analytics data for this brand then use the appropriate tools vs. those listed below.
- Use https://www.similarweb.com/ to provide (and compare traffic to competitors). TIP: If applicable, check Advertise Here pages for self-reported traffic numbers.
Submit the SimilarWeb PDF report (login using G+ or LinkedIn), or manually record the following:
- Category rank
- Highest monthly visits in last 6 months
- Lowest monthly visits in last 6 months
- Pages per visit
- Bounce rate
- What’s the breakdown of traffic sources (search, direct, referral, social, etc.)?
- In comparison to competitors, is there a missed traffic source opportunity you can see in the above data? TIP: Marketing.Grader.com from Hubspot may provide additional competitive benchmarking along with an assessment of the mobile experience.
- What are the top 5 keyword phrases for the site based on the Anchor Text report (target root domain) via OpenSiteExplorer: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/
- Using OpenSiteExplorer, are there any Just-Discovered links identified? If yes, what do they indicate about the type of content shared recently?
- What content is most shared on social media? Export the report from http://buzzsumo.com/
Alternatively try: https://www.sharedcount.com/
- Rank the content quality on a scale of 1 – 4 (1 poor, 2 average, 3 good, 4 excellent)
- Is the text easy to read?
- Does it have short, clear sentences?
- Is content broken into sections and easy to skim paragraphs?
- How “human” is the content (does it feel like it was written for humans or computers)?
- Does the content avoid redundant or awkward placement of keyword phrases (keyword stuffing)?
- Is the right tone for the audience?
For the home page:
- How well does the page explain who the company is?
- How well does the page explain what the company does or sells?
For deep, interior pages:
- If someone enters the site from a search result or referral link leading to an interior page (like a blog post, product page, FAQ etc.), would s/he understand where s/he was (clear branding indicating what company is this, what do they do or sell)?
- Do pages include navigational aids to indicate where the page exists within the scope of the site?
- Is the website mobile optimized (check all that apply)?
- Quality images (HD/retina quality or vector-based, i.e., they are not fuzzy)
- Touch friendly (image carousels for example are easy to use, swipable)
- Buttons and CTA are clearly visible (large button sizes minimize click error)
- Font is large enough to read, no need to tap or pinch zoom (14px and above)
- Portrait / landscape reflow is seamless
- Imagery does not contain text
- Forms are short and use text-specific, email-specific or number-specific input types depending on the form field
- For blog posts (if applicable):
- How often does the company post? How regularly do they post?
- Is there any incentive for visitors to come back regularly to read new posts?
- Look at the comments – do people seem engaged? Is it filled with comment spam? Is the company responding to comments?
- Is the blog content relevant to the company, industry, audience?
- Why would someone want to read this blog? What would they gain from reading this content?
- What Content Marketing Tactics are in use (check all that apply):
- Case studies
- In-person events
- Illustrations and Photos
- Online Presentations
- Online community (Facebook Group, Slack channel, Ning, etc.)
- What is the primary purpose of that content (check all that apply):
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Brand awareness
- Customer retention /loyalty
- Customer evangelism/creating brand advocates
- Does the brand ask its audience to subscribe to:
- Online community
- Video series
- Digital magazines
- Print magazines
- Does not extend offers
- For ecommerce pages, or subscription (sign up, register) pages:
- What is the tone like? Is it a hard or soft sell?
- Is the text focusing ontelling the visitor to buy/join/register etc. (features focused) rather than explaining why the visitor should buy (benefits focused)?
- What are the most important tasks for visitors to complete–What are the primary (trackable) actions that a prospect takes when visiting the website? (Ex, download a brochure, subscribe to newsletter, read editorial content, register, buy)
- Based on the design and content, would you say the website is above the industry average, average or below average? Critically discuss.