Fernando Ideses of GAannotations: “Passion comes first”

Currently, our focus is on improving the analytics annotations tool. We are gathering great reviews and insights from our clients. But we always want to make it better, so we are looking for additions. We know we have solved the annotations problem, but we want to improve the solution and make it a must-have tool […]

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Currently, our focus is on improving the analytics annotations tool. We are gathering great reviews and insights from our clients. But we always want to make it better, so we are looking for additions. We know we have solved the annotations problem, but we want to improve the solution and make it a must-have tool for every company.

Marketing a product or service today is easier than ever before in history. Using platforms like Facebook ads or Google ads, a company can market their product directly to people who perfectly fit the ideal client demographic, at a very low cost. Digital Marketing tools, Pay per Click ads, and email marketing can help a company dramatically increase sales. At the same time, many companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools often see disappointing results.

In this interview series called “How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales”, we are talking to marketers, advertisers, brand consultants, & digital marketing gurus who can share practical ideas from their experience about how to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing, PPC, & email.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fernando Ideses of GAannotations.

Fernando Ideses grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved to Israel with his family in 1995 when he was just 15 years old. In the last 12 years, Fernando has been developing software tools that will simplify digital marketing. He built App2you, a company for mobile and web software development. Fernando spends his time developing software tools from scratch. Today, he is the founder and CEO of https://www.gaannotations.com/. This tool helps marketing teams to organize their data and track the activities of their websites to gather valuable insights and make informed marketing campaign decisions. He believes digital transformation is a must for businesses to stay globally relevant in the 21st century.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Thank you for having me! I’m the kind of person with a passion for innovating, solving problems, and improving existing solutions. Before now, I have tried out quite a few things. But I would say the passion for solving problems brought me here.

Google Analytics is a tool I use almost every day. But when Google released the Google Analytics 4 marketing tool to replaced Universal Analytics, I discovered something was missing. It just wasn’t it, you know. It wouldn’t take long before you find out there’s an essential feature missing from the new statistical and analytics tool for active users of Google Analytics. There’s no annotations feature. And that makes it pretty tricky for marketers and analysts to track events and actions that are bound to affect your analysis and overall website performance. I was glued to this feature in the previous version. But with the new version, I missed out on essential insights that could have helped my data analytics.

Since Google hasn’t said anything about this crucial feature, we have to do something. So I asked around and discovered that many people are like me. We were all missing that feature. So my team at GAannotations and I decided to develop a tool that will handle annotations. So that was where the journey to GAannotations began.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

My story’s not funny at all. LOL, still trying to resolve it.

When I just started marketing GAannotations, I took an agency to run ads since I wanted an expert to do it, and I needed to focus more on the product at that time. Unfortunately, this agency made two crucial mistakes. First, they used the link of the Chrome extension instead of the website and included the text Google Analytics on the Ads. Those actions made us got blocked by Google. Yes, it was terrible. I ran Ads all my life and never experienced something like that. I would expect an agency to know the terms of use of Google.

It’s a terrible thing for a startup to get hit in that way. But it made me think more outside the box, looking for other marketing options, and invest much more in SEO. Now that I think about it, it is pretty funny because I probably wouldn’t be here without it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Like I mentioned before, I have run a company for over ten years. I have worked with developers, designers, content writers, marketing, and video creators for my projects. So I always try to choose the right people around me, who are best at what they do. In this project, we developed the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that included the platform, website, and chrome extension, within only three months of work. And we started getting traction right away. That says a lot about the team and gives the project a significant boost.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Oh, there is, and it’s pretty huge. Right now, we are the only solution for annotations in Google Analytics 4. But even if Google will decide to include this feature in the future, we are doing much more than just annotations on GA.

Teams can add annotations easily, directly from the tools they work with, for example, Slack, Asana, Trello, Etc. They can automate annotations for new Ad campaigns, newsletter release, website monitoring. Also, they can enable automated annotations for external events like Google Updates, WordPress Updates, Retail Marketing Dates, Holidays, and more.

Another important thing is that the user can click on the extension in any URL and see annotations, or over Google Analytics graphs, and on the platform. So the idea is to solve the problem of annotations, yeah. But beyond that, we are working on predictive data, and we want to continue to improve on this solution, so we are always on the lookout for new features we could include in the tool.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Well, I can’t say that I’m not like every other person you have come across. But I believe people are different in the ways they reason, analyze situations, and reach decisions. When I do something, I try to do it the best possible way, and I do not take things as they are. I want things as they should be or ought to be. For example, I had a partner when I started. The partnership was great at first. But like I said, we are different when it comes to the way we see things. He became distracted and wasn’t focused and motivated as we ought to, so we separated. It was a difficult decision because we both knew he could contribute a lot. But it was the right decision because he just slowed the project down, and I knew we couldn’t achieve our goals with that.

I am very close to being a perfectionist, but of course, I understand that we can constantly improve, and I try to do that at every chance that I get. Also, another key is to keep a good relationship with the team, be human, especially when mistakes happen, and understand they need to learn.

So I can say that what helps me in my journey is that I’m resolute, thinks outside the box, and a good team worker.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, our focus is on improving the analytics annotations tool. We are gathering great reviews and insights from our clients. But we always want to make it better, so we are looking for additions. We know we have solved the annotations problem, but we want to improve the solution and make it a must-have tool for every company.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. As we mentioned in the beginning, sometimes companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools like PPC campaigns often see disappointing results.

In your opinion, what are a few of the biggest mistakes companies make when they first start out with digital marketing? If you can, please share an example for each.

Many people talk about “data,” but usually only big companies use it to improve.

Most small-medium businesses do many things when they start marketing, run Ads on Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Cold Emails, Etc. Sometimes these work but not every time. Of course, it’s essential to do all those things, but if you don’t keep track of your activities, you will keep doing the same things over and over and over again. It’s a waste of time and money.

When something is occurring, the chronology is precise: it’s happening now. But “Now” fades with the passing days, weeks, and months. How can you begin to measure the impact of any event if you can’t remember when it happened? So I discovered that many businesses, especially small-medium, do not leverage available data to tailor their marketing campaigns; this is possible because they do not know how it works. Whatever campaign you want to run, you need data. Data gives insights and helps you answer questions like “is my SEO getting affected after Google Update?” “which campaign I run at that date that makes a peak?” “is there a new press release I didn’t know about it?” “was my website down during those days the traffic showing zero?” I like to think of data as the beginning of all understanding.

If you could break down a very successful digital marketing campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.

The most important thing is to know who your target audience is; this is when the campaigns will be more effective and successful. Many times, startups think they know their target audience, but only after seeing who is paying for your service/product can you really know whom to target.

In the beginning, I took advantage of this tracking issue page: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/35352433?pli=1; Over 600 marketers requested Google for annotations API, so I recovered the emails from the companies and did a targeted campaign; this was a successful and original campaign I did. When you identify the target audience, your campaigns will be more successful.

Let’s talk about Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) for a bit. In your opinion which PPC platform produces the best results to increase sales?

It’s really up to your product and who your audience is. In most cases, you need to mix; you need to be on Google if someone searches for you, and you need to make Ads for people who are not looking for you but may be interested in you. If you are B2C, Facebook and Instagram will usually be the best place to publish; if you are B2B, it will be LinkedIn.

Can you please share 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful PPC campaign?

Like I said before, knowing your audience it’s the key not to waste money and time and get better chance for conversions. Once you have that, make sure your Ad looks incredible. You want to get a professional first impression. I found Videos or GIF works best than just an image. So basically, you can identify your audience, create your ad, and evaluate your impact for improvement.

Let’s now talk about email marketing for a bit. In your opinion, what are the 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful email marketing campaign that increases sales?

Cold emails, I don’t think it is working anymore. It’s much better to connect people through LinkedIn or Twitter, at least a first connection.

For newsletters, the key is quality content. The best example is Neil Patel. I get many publishing emails, and his emails are the only ones I read. They are primarily concise emails with links to videos that, most of the time, have quality marketing tips. So I think Neil is an excellent reference for successful email marketing.

What are the other digital marketing tools that you are passionate about? If you can, can you share with our readers what they are and how to best leverage them?

I love tools with extensions that can empower and makes my life easier; here are three tools I use most:

Ubersuggest is an excellent tool, even on the free version.

Grammarly is also a must tool; you don’t want to make mistakes when you write to your clients or create content.

HubSpot is great. I use it for email templates, track opening emails and sequences.

Here is the main question of our series. Can you please tell us the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a digital marketer? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Passion comes first. Without passion, you cannot go far. But, of course, you can develop an interest in digital marketing, which translates to passion eventually. Learning comes second. Passion (or interest) pushes you to learn. Learn everything you need to know about digital marketing like analytics, SEO, content development, and UX/UI.

Then, follow experts, have a list of favorite digital marketers you follow and read their content. The fourth thing is to give it a try. Get to work, practice! The last thing I believe can help build a successful career in digital marketing is networking. You need to leverage. That’s all it is. Build relationships. Create your community, connect, and seek opportunities. Further improvements come with you handle more significant tasks.

So they are Passion, Learning, Mentorship, Practice, and Networking.

What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?

As I said, I think Neil Patel it’s one of the best marketers right now. I follow him. It’s good for my digital marketing health. Also, when I need something, I want it right away, so I mainly use YouTube to learn based on what I need.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Well, I want to solve problems. And I think even now; I’m beginning to realize I can do more within my community. So maybe tomorrow morning, when I think of a problem my society faces, whether, in digital marketing or community development, I may just develop an interest in solving it. But for now, all I’m focused on is digital marketing.

How can our readers further follow your work?

All readers are welcome to visit https://www.gaannotations.com/, try the platform for free, and follow our progress and journey.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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