Archive for 2009

Jun 08
2009

Urchin 6.6 has just been rolled out and you will want to get your hands on it right away! Although this is a point release (from 6.5 to 6.6), the Urchin 6.6 feature list is quite impressive. The folks at Google must have been burning the midnight oil to get these many features packed up in this one release. :) Here are the highlights:

  • Deep, deep, deep integration with Google AdWords
  • Data Export API
  • External Authentication (LDAP)
  • Auto CPC cost data import from Yahoo
  • A number of Admin, Log Processing, Security and Utilities bug fixes and enhancements

If the above has piqued your interest, then read more below. :)

Urchin Integration with AdWords

  • Budget Alerts: Notification when AdWords campaign budget is about to expire.
  • Keyword Generation Tool: Addition of the Keyword Generation tool in Urchin, add & delete keywords in your AdWords campaigns.
  • Direct Access to AdWords: Skip the AdWords login process, directly link from Urchin to AdWords after proper set up, save time.
  • Dynamic Keyword Insertion: Import cost data simply from AdWords with this new feature which inserts a dynamic keyword insertion tag {keyword} in ad destination URLs.
  • AdWords Optimizer: Optimize AdWords campaigns in Urchin & those changes are automatically applied in AdWords.
  • Copy Campaign Tool: Copy campaigns from other ad networks into AdWords.

New Urchin Metrics & Reports

  • Performance Comparison: Compare & Analyze campaign performance from all sources & mediums.
  • Time on Site: Dig into customer engagement with visitor time on site information.
  • Campaign & Keyword Views: Reports display paid campaign & keyword data.

Urchin API

  • Export your data from Urchin and run your own application. Protocols supported: SOAP 1.x & REST

Other Enhancements & Bug Fixes

  • Demo license change. Profiles & log sources now have a limit of 5 each. No other limits have been implemented.

Go to our Urchin sofware page to download the new Urchin files. For additional information about Urchin, contact one of our Urchin experts.

Related Posts

May 11
2009

Google just announced four new features in Google Analytics. These features are in beta and are being rolled out to all GA accounts so hopefully you’ll have access to them very soon. Two of these features are intended for deep-dive analysis and offer an incredible amount of insight right at your fingertips! If you are interested in saving time and doing better analysis, keep reading. :) The two new features are:

  • Secondary dimensions
  • Pivoting

To find out more, keep reading or watch our video:

Secondary Dimensions

Personally I’ve found this new feature to be extremely helpful. It has helped me focus more on analysis and less on digging through reports (yay!) and it definitely decreased the steps taken to get to a particular report. Secondary Dimensions allow users to view two different dimensions within the same GA report. This makes analyzing your data more efficient and saves you time. Instead of having to run different reports and compare the data, you’re able to run the report and see the data side by side. Let me show you an example:

One of our clients observed a sudden spike in their direct traffic. We needed to ascertain where the traffic was coming from. Since the client had attended a couple of recent trade-shows, our initial assumption was that this spike in direct traffic resulted from the buzz around the shows. Stop – do not settle on this conclusion so easily! We’ve been trained to use data to validate assumptions and conclusions.

In the “All Traffic Sources” report, I selected traffic sources by medium, and then I added a secondary dimension for “Country/Territory”, and voilà, the report was created and it showed us that out of 1972 direct visits, 1037 were from Pakistan.

Google Analytics secondary dimension

Wait a second, we knew that the trade-shows where in the US and not in Pakistan, and the client’s target audience is US-based as well. It turns out that this particular client has an offshore software development office in Pakistan. which explained the recent spike in traffic as the developers were making updates to the site.

Even without the Secondary Dimension feature this same information is available, but you would have to leave the current report and go to a “direct segment” and then look at a geography report to find the information that is now available using the secondary dimensions feature (with one click). As stated earlier, deep dive analysis at your fingertips! :)

Pivoting

If you are an Excel geek, and I might qualify for one :) , you know what pivoting is all about. But for the purpose of this post, pivoting in Google Analytics will allow you to see additional metrics in the same view.

For example, say you are looking at your top landing page report. With secondary dimensions, you can now view the visitor type (new versus returning) as well.

Before pivoting in Google Analytics

This above report is for a news website, “/” is the homepage, and “/Politics” is the politics page. We see that the bounce rate for the “/Politics” page is much higher for new visitors than for the Returning Visitors. Time for action! Equipped with the new findings, you can review the “/Politics” page content and/or layout and assess how to further engage the new visitors. Keep in mind that when you are doing this type of analysis, keep statistical significance in mind; don’t waste time on something that is not statistically significant such as a seldom visited page.

With pivoting, the deep dive analysis is about to go into over drive. So while I am in the same GA report, it occurred to me that the client makes frequent updates to their homepage and maybe some browser incompatibilities have been introduced along the way. With a couple of clicks, I can get the insight I am looking for.

In the Secondary Dimensions drop-down, I selected “Browser”, then I selected the “Pivot” view and I choose “Operating System”. Here you go, all the cool analytics data you want right here in one table. We are now seeing:

  • Home page (our landing page in this example)
  • Viewed by browser type (IE, Firefox, Chrome, and more)
  • Viewed by Operating System (Windows, Mac, and more)
  • By Entrances and the respective Bounce Rate
  • Wow, a lot of numbers to view, but the report is much more insightful and there is so much context!

Pivoting in Google Analytics

What do I do next? Easy! Meet with the web design team, share the data, and hopefully help the team prioritize fixing browser incompatibility issues starting with Firefox on Mac, and then Safari on Windows. Obviously, if you are not happy with the 34.27% Bounce Rate of traffic on Internet Explorer, then you’d want to allocate time to improve it on this segment of traffic since Internet Explorer represents a significant percentage of the total.

So to summarize, the secondary dimensions and pivoting features in Google Analytics allow us to dig much deeper into the data, and all done on-the-fly. Give these features a try and let us know what you think.

Related Posts:

May 05
2009

A very basic but extremely vital part to web design is understanding your users’ logical thought process and flow. You want to take this into account as early as possible in your design phase so that you create a very familiar flow to the user.  Putting a link or information in the next logical place makes the process intuitive and thus, more likely will lead the user to convert.   The more familiar the flow, the less they have to figure out where to go which betters their chances of getting from their starting point to your ending point.  The your end-point could be them submitting your form or buying your product.

While missing this boat can make you question “Why isn’t my page converting?”, getting it right can change your page from an occasional “hit-or-miss” to a conversion machine.   In some cases, simply changing your design to make a button or link more intuitively available might end-up increasing your conversion rate by 100′s of percentage points.  That small design update just grew your business astronomically.

There are two main aspects when it comes to understanding logical user-flow:

  1. User-interface and page yayout – actual elements of the page that the customer will be interacting with.
  2. Site structure and navigation – how your pages are organized.

In this post, I’d like to go through the first item – UI and page layout.

User-Interface and Page Layout

As I said, it’s important to remember the way your user will interact with your page while designing your page layout.  Take into account your users’ natural reading pattern – which in the U.S.A is left to right, then top to bottom. Thus, the top-left-most content will be the first thing they see then and they’ll be moving in an “F” pattern down your page.

Here’s an example of a login form that does poorly at following user-flow:

Poorly designed Control Center login form.

Can you spot the issue here? ANSWER: The “Login” link is in a bad place (you see it at the top right).

  1. A user will go to the “Customer ID” field and enter their ID.
  2. Moving left to right, they will move on to enter their password.
  3. Resetting now like a type-writer (I don’t know if people still remember those), the user will move to the “Language” field below.
  4. Ok, now were ready to login. When I move down and to the left…where the heck did the “login” button go?

The placement of the login button is not in the next logical place, and not only breaks up the user flow, but is also hard to find (aside from the fact that it is not a clear clickable button).

Now this may not seem like a big deal here cause there’s not much going on in this form. But what happens when the form is longer down the page and they have to scroll back up to search for this login/submit link? Should we assume the user knows to do this?

No. You’ll be surprised the percentage of people clicking such a link decreases or increases based on simple logical placement of this button.  Remember, a as surfers, we do not want to think.  We do not want to search.  It is as easy for us to close the page, and move on to the next site in a blink of an eye.

Worse – let’s say this is a “Checkout Now” button and your site makes $10k a month in revenue on this product. If the placement of this button even affects conversion even  by 10%, that’s enough to make a difference.  Larger sites that make significant online revenue a month would be greatly impacted, where even a small percentage of decrease would hurt (or a small increase could pay-off big time).

In the case that you are a smaller/medium size online business, online conversion may be your businesses only means of survival, so a small design detail like this could even make or break your business.

Apr 14
2009

A lot of time, the issue is not reporting nor analysis but it is making sure:

  • Data is accurate (or as accurate as it can get :) )
  • What we think we are analyzing is truly what we are analyzing

If you think one of your most important pages has a 100% bounce rate, you might panic (and rightfully so) and gather all your resident experts to figure out what is going on. Imagine, after hours or days of analysis and review you find out that all of your bounces come from a statistically insignificant number (in our example, 3) of pageviews! Most of us would not bother to investigate further and try not make the same false misperception again.

Let’s explore this issue in more detail.

Question: How does my e-commerce thank you page, which is not a landing page, have 100% bounce rate in the Top Content report in Google Analytics?

Answer: You are in the wrong report, my friend!

Let us start with the definition of Bounce rate:

  • “Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page,” by Google Analytics.
  • “Single page view visits divided by entry pages,” by the Web Analytics Association.

So bounce rate is a metric for only landing pages and not for all pages. Reading the bounce rate for pages that are not entrance pages will lead to misperceptions, incorrect conclusions, and wrong actions.

What is the issue?

The issue starts when we try to make sense out of the bounce rate column in the content performance report. This report contains all pages visited in your site, including entry pages and non entry pages.

So let’s say we want to study and analyze the performance of the ‘confirmation.htm’ page and we started with the top content report.

When we look at the bounce rate on the content performance report, it is quite misleading since the 100% bounce rate is only applied to visits when this page was a landing page. One might ask, if this page is not a landing page and you have to go through a few steps before you reach it, where did these three visits in our above example come from?

There are a few scenarios where a non-landing page could be tracked in Google Analytics as an entry page (landing page). These scenarios include but are not limited to:

  • The thank you page was bookmarked by the visitor for future reference.
  • The visitor hit the refresh button on the non-landing page window after 30 minutes of no activity.
  • A direct visit to the non-landing page by developers/site owner. Excluding the internal traffic will solve this one.

If we look at the “Landing Pages” report, we can see these leaked pages and their bounce rate; 3 single pageview visits out of 3 entry pages leads to a 100% bounce rate.

Suggestions for web analysts:

I advice my dear analyst friends to not look at the bounce rate column in the “Top Content” report for non-landing pages. If you insist then I suggest excluding bounce visits with an Advanced Segment.

Now you have clean and accurate data

Suggestions for Google:

I suggest to the Google Analytics developers to remove the bounce rate column from the top content report all together. Or at least make it possible to remove the column from the display.

From now until the next blog post, I wish you a happy April and an enjoyable month of analysis. :)

Apr 08
2009

While here at E-Nor, we are heavy on analytics, data-crunching, and numbers, we do have a fun side :) – an understanding of aesthetics and usability through design. After all, let’s say your landing page bounce rate stinks. It could be the design that’s causing users to be frustrated and just “bounce”. How do we fix that? That’s where the Creative Department comes in! We make sure your site is as usable as possible, getting the visitor comfortable enough to ultimately convert.

Today, let’s talk about a great new usable design for multi-level drop down navigation menus. The “Uber-Menu”.

What the heck is an “Uber-Menu”? I recently attended a webinar given by Hagan Rivers, a UI navigation expert, and she brought up a great concept of “uber menus” which many sites are using today. Uber menus, as they relates to web sites, are basically drop-down or flyout menus that lay out certain levels of your site in one big box – most likely to layout your second and third levels.

a) Often, third level dropdowns or flyouts can be quite annoying (see above). The main problem is that our hands aren’t usually steady enough to go in that perfect “L” shape to perfectly hover over 1st, then 2nd, finally 3rd level drop down or flyout. Most of the time, you slip, and both menus disappear! Freaking annoying! Enough unsuccessful tries, and your user may end up frustrated enough to try your competitor’s menu.

b) Another usability standard to take into account is laying out links versus keeping them an extra move (click or hover) away. Studies show that links are more likely to be clicked if they are explicitly “laid out” as opposed to someone having to hover over their parent or having to click their parent link to get to another navigation page or tab containing the link. (See above).

Also, many sites have recognized the error of including a third level in your drop down menu – you run into the problem outlined in (a).  The usual solution is to cut out the third level completely from the menu. Which is kind of the same thing as saying, “This compass is a little hard to use, I’m just gonna chuck it in the river.”

Uber-menus seem to solve (a) and (b) outlined above, coming up with a nicer navigation layout.

We can see here, the level 1 parent being “Patio and Garden, level 2 and 3 are completely laid out – level 2 in bold and level 3 is indented in normal font, which allows the user to easily differentiate the two. You don’t have to worry about keeping a surgical hand on the path to the third level of the dropdown menu. On top of that, your user at first glance can see all goodies and pages your third level has to offer.  One thing to also notice that you can’t see in the picture is that by clicking on “Patio and Garden” the menu stays open.  A positive of that is moving off the menu wont cause it to vanish.

Interested in advanced web design and navigation techniques? Give us a shout!

Apr 06
2009

My trip to the UK was short and I didn’t get to see around, as usual :-( , but what made up for it was the amazing 1-day training experience with 43 consultants – all thirsty to learn about Google Analytics! I hope I lived up to your expectations and gave you enough to jumpstart your journey towards Google Analytics mastery and offering more value to your clients.

We had a full day packed with presentations, discussions, Q&A’s, and case studies. Some of the attending consultants had specific questions and wanted additional references, and I thought I would share it here for all to benefit:

  • Here is a link to a previous post on additional Google Analytics tips.
  • There was a question regarding on-site search in Google Analytics. How do you configure two different on-site search tools (for example, one search technology on your www.e-nor.com and another search technology on www.e-nor.com/blog)? Answer: you can configure GA to look for up to 5 query parameters and 5 category parameters.
  • Another question. How are screen resolution reports generated? GA reads it from computer settings since the ga.js is executed locally on your computer.
  • How to exclude a range of IP addresses in Google Analytics.
  • Site scan is a tool to verify if the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) is correctly installed on your site.

I hope you found the above Q&A helpful. Feel free to send us an email or leave a comment if you have any other questions.

Mar 19
2009

I’ll be heading out to the UK next week to attend WSI’s Excellence & Innovation conference for their global internet marketing consultants. On Monday March 30, I’ll be conducting a one day workshop on Google Analytics. I am told we have 40+ registered attendees (the event is already sold out!) and I am really looking forward to this session.

We typically run a 2-day Google Analytics workshop and pace the material accordingly. So cramming everything in to one day is going to be a challenge. Don’t worry WSI consultants, I won’t cram too much – I’ll be selective :) . The other challenge I am going to address is the needs of a mixed audience: some beginners, some with working knowledge of GA, and others that are pretty GA savvy. I don’t have a perfect solution for this challenge, but having done a number of these online marketing and analytics workshops over the years, I think we have managed to figure out a way to run them effectively. We will ensure that at the end of the day everyone will leave with a lot of practical tips, step-by-step guides, and references on how to enhance their Google Analytics implementation, analysis, and consulting know-how.

The workshop agenda has been sent to the attendees but I am planning on a couple of extra sessions. I would appreciate your comments on what you want to see in these extra sessions. Either email me directly at (feras @ e-nor .com) or leave a comment on this post.

I am known for being a last minute guy :) , so me writing this post almost two weeks ahead of the event is almost unheard of! The first thing the folks in the office will say when they read this post is “are you feeling ok?” :)

Thanks!

PS. We also have an upcoming Google Analytics workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area, on June 17 & 18.

Mar 06
2009

The executive team at E-Nor is quite greedy! Provide them with a neat trick and instead of thanking you, they ask for more! :)

A few days after my colleague and I wrote about content grouping in Google Analytics, E-Nor president Feras Alhlou asked if it is possible to apply the same concept to referring sites.

Our objective is to group all domains and subdomains of related referring sites as one referring entity. For example, nextag.com, nextag.co.uk, and affiliates.nextag.com should appear as a single Nextag entity.

1) Create an advanced filter that renames all domains and subdomains of a particular referring site to one entity.

2) Repeat step 1 for every group of referring sites that send you significant traffic.

Another example of related sites: cnet.com, zdnet.com, download.com, and shopper.com. Affiliates and dealers could also be grouped this way.

3) Apply the filters you just created to a new profile.

New profile – my colleague Rehan Asif cannot stress this enough!

Congratulation, we have grouped related referring sites as entities!
Now we can look at the traffic from those referring sites at an aggregate level.
Happy, Feras? :)

Stay tuned for the next post on how to group pages based on their functionality. It is actually Avinash’s idea from the previous content grouping post and I promised him that I will write about it.

Finally, do not forget to adjust your clocks this coming Sunday and analyze your performance before and after the change :)

From now until the next blog post, I wish you a happy March and an enjoyable month of analysis :)

Mar 04
2009

If you want to learn more about Google Analytics and you enjoy online learning, it couldn’t have gotten any easier! Google has just introduced a new online course in Google Analytics implementation, analysis and administration. The cost is $0 so you don’t need your manager’s approval for this one. :)

Google is also offering a Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test as a proof of proficiency in the fundamentals of Google Analytics (GA). For this test there is a $50.00 fee.

What will you learn? A lot!

  • Installation of Google Analytics tracking code (GATC).
  • Familiarity with the GA user interface.
  • Canned reports and how to interpret them.
  • How to set up profiles, filters, goals, funnels, and more.
  • Campaign tracking, eCommerce tracking, and events tracking
  • An entire section on recent features, including custom reports, advanced segments, and motion charts.
  • Cookies, regular expressions (regex), and all the fun stuff to do with tracking mutiple domains and sub-domains.
  • There are also few sections focused purely on analysis of reports.
  • And more!

Our consultants here, including myself, have gone through the curriculum; we liked the structure and the thoroughness of the course. If you are serious about analytics, specifically Google Analytics, I highly recommend you invest some time to take the course.

Depending on where you are in your organization, I see a couple of challenges that you’ll need to overcome:

  • If you are not technical, say your focus is on reporting and analysis, you are going to need some strong coffee as you go through the technical sections (regex, cookies, etc), but you will have a better understanding of the scope of work involved in implementation.
  • If you are technical and focused on implementation challenges, then you’ll probably enjoy getting away from coding for a little bit and seeing how all your hard implementation work is put to use during analysis.

What if you can’t stand staring at a computer screen for hours going through an online course? Othere sources for Google Analytics education and training are available:

Happy learning!

Feb 25
2009

Integrating lead information from one system such as Google Adwords into a CRM like Salesforce is definitely not a new topic, especially since the Salesforce-Google Adwords integration has been announced for a while now.

I want to highlight the steps required for a seamless integration, as well as a few additional pro-active steps you want to take to keep your Google Analytics data clean. The same concept would apply to other analytics tools you might be running. As Avinash always reminds us, data accuracy is always one of the biggest challenges in web analytics.

Here are my steps:

  1. Create Adwords and Salesforce accounts.
  2. Link Google AdWords with Salesforce.
  3. Exclude SalesForce parameters from Google Analytics.
  4. Set up AdWords lead tracking.
  5. View report.

1) Create Adwords and Salesforce accounts

You need to have a Google AdWords account and a Salesforce account before you can integrate them.

2) Link Google AdWords with Salesforce

  • In Salesforce, click the Google AdWords Setup tab.

  • Enter your AdWords customer ID and login e-mail.

3) Exclude SalesForce Parameters from Google Analytics

When Salesforce performs its integration with AdWords, it appends parameters (_kk and _kt) to all destination URLs in your AdWords account. We suggest that you strip these query parameters out of URL to insure no duplicate entries in your Top Content report.

To strip the query parameters, please follow these steps:

*A note for AdWords managers. Keep in mind that when Salesforce appends the destination URLs with its _kk parameters, this is actually “editing” your AdWords ads and the stats associated with these ads will now reset, according to how Google AdWords works.

4) Set up AdWords Lead Tracking

  1. Back in SalesForce, click on the Google AdWords Setup tab.
  2. Click on the “Set up Lead Tracking” button.

i – Create a Web-to-Lead Form

  • Click on the “Create Web-to-Lead Form” button

  • Add the form to your page
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-type" CONTENT="text/html;
charset=UTF-8">
.
.
.
<form action="https://www.salesforce.com/servlet/servlet.WebToLead?
encoding=UTF-8" method="POST">

<input type=hidden name="oid" value="xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx">

<input type=hidden name="retURL"
value="http://www.mysite.com/thankyou.html">

<label for="first_name">First Name</label><input id="first_name"
maxlength="40" name="first_name" size="20" type="text" /><br>

<label for="last_name">Last Name</label><input id="last_name"
maxlength="80" name="last_name" size="20" type="text" /><br>

<label for="email">Email</label><input id="email" maxlength="80"
name="email" size="20" type="text" /><br>

<input type="submit" name="submit">
</form>

ii – Add the Salesforce Tracking Code to the Website

Typescript,Computer Graphic,Text,Single Word,Article,Newspaper Headline,Information Medium,Newspaper,Printed Media,Print Media,The Media,Folded,Report,Business,Finance,Banking,Document,Paper,Printing Out,Printout,Print

Add the following tracking code to every page of your site right before the </BODY> tag

<!-- Begin Salesforce Tracking Code -->
<SCRIPT type="text/javascript" src="https://lct.salesforce.com/sfga.js">
</SCRIPT>
<SCRIPT type="text/javascript">__sfga();</SCRIPT>
<!-- End Salesforce Tracking Code -->

iii – Test Your SalesForce installation

By clicking the “Test your Setup” you will be able to test the installation of the codes in step i and ii

5) View report

This report gives an overview of the leads submitted to SalesForce from your website

For more detailed information, click on each lead and learn more about the lead source