Archive for 2014
Google Universal Analytics Officially Launches
The Google Analytics team announced today that Universal Analytics has officially launched out of beta! Read the official Google Analytics Blog post here.
What This Means for You
What does this mean for you? For one thing, Universal is now the only option for new accounts and properties, so essentially, Google Analytics has become Universal Analytics. Also, as very welcome news, Universal Analytics will now offer feature parity with Classic, so you can now take advantage of the Demographics & Interests reports as well as remarketing segments when you use Universal.
For Google Analytics Premium accounts, your SLA will now cover Universal.
Linked below are several learning resources to help you transition to Universal and strengthen your overall Google Analytics skills.
We hope you find these resources useful as you migrate to Google Universal Analytics. If you have any questions or comments about the migration, please post below!
The global shift to Google Analytics Universal is upon us. Google plans to migrate everyone, and that can be a little scary. We want to make the migration as clear and seamless as possible for you.
The migration to Google Universal Analytics consists of two basic steps, but we need to keep aware of a few potential twists and turns along the way. The flowchart that appears below illustrates the timeline and decision paths that you’ll follow as you migrate your own Google Analytics properties to Universal.
The flowchart maps out the points discussed in the video that we posted last week, so you can now view the video, follow along in the flowchart, and read though our Universal ebook for a deeper dive into core Google Analytics functionality and Universal-specific considerations.
Google is planning to roll out Universal to all Google Analytics accounts, and that might be a little scary. What does that mean for you?
Essential Guidance from an Early Adopter
E-Nor is proud to have had the opportunity to serve as early beta testers for Google Analytics Universal and also to partner with TiVo on a particularly interesting implementation of Universal to track the usage of their mobile app. We’ve also performed Universal implementations for a wide range of websites.
Since we have a little hands-on experience with Universal Analytics, we wanted to answer some important questions and outline steps you should be taking for a smooth transition. Below are some tips (along with a video from our principal consultant, Feras Alhlou) to make the migration a little more understandable.
Benefits of Migrating to Universal Analytics
Before we even get into the tips, what’s so great about Universal Analytics? Google has made some significant improvements in the evolution of analytics. For example, updates that might normally require changes in code can be done right from the Universal Analytics interface. Most notably, the system is evolving to support the multi-device/medium world we live in today – that is, tracking not only websites, but mobile apps and even allowing the import of offline data – so you can have a truly 360 degree view of all your engagement and marketing efforts.
While this post won’t explore the more advanced topics, the basic steps for Universal migration – outlined in the sections below (and in the video) – will allow you to take advantage of all features that Google Analytics Universal offers, now and in the near future.
1. Transferring your property to Universal Analytics Process Technology is DIFFERENT from upgrading your code.
As shown in our video, if you go to the admin section of your account, you may see a message from Google encouraging you to migrate your property. Also, under the settings for each property, you’ll see this:
This is simply asking you to upgrade your property to the Universal Analytics infrastructure. This will NOT affect your data. It’s just moving everything behind the scenes at Google to the new “processing technology”.
It might be a little confusing, but it’s necessary to understand that the Universal property transfer is different from upgrading your code and tags to Universal Analytics syntax, which eventually will be required. We’ll discuss that step later.
2. No immediate action is required (as of yet).
Although a full migration to Universal is recommended, you don’t actually have to take any specific steps for Universal right now. If you don’t upgrade your Google Analytics properties to the Universal infrastructure, Google Analytics will at some point do it automatically. However, if you want to go ahead, you can proceed by clicking the upgrade link in your property settings (shown in the picture above).
3. ga.js (Classic) tracking code will still work once my property is transferred to Universal (for now).
For now, ga.js will continue to track correctly, even if your properties have been automatically transferred to the Universal infrastructure. So your data will be fine and your tracking will still work.
Note: while Google Analytics may continue to support ga.js up to two years more, you don’t want to wait too long to upgrade your code to Universal Analytics, because at some point, ga.js will sunset and your data will no longer be recorded reliably.
4. You can replace ga.js (classic) with the analytics.js (Universal), but don’t forget some caveats!
You must upgrade your infrastructure for the new analytics.js code to work!
First, before you swap out ga.js for analytics.js, you must make sure to upgrade your corresponding Google Analytics property to Universal as described in tip 1 above. Although you can use the old tracking code with a Universal property (at least in the near future), you CAN’T use the NEW analytics.js tracking code with the CLASSIC infrastructure. Again, if you see the upgrade notice on the admin screen pictured above that says “transfer not started”, your property has not yet been transferred to Universal, so click on that and follow the steps if you want to use the new code.
If you initiate the transfer of your property yourself, you should wait 24-48 hours before switching to the analytics.js tracking code.
Update your tags’ syntax!
Also, at the same time that you switch to analytics.js, you must update any events, virtual pageviews, social actions, custom variables, and Ecommerce tracking that you have already coded for your site.
In the offsite link example below, an event is coded using Classic syntax:
<a href="http://www.anotherwebsite.com" onclick=" _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'link', 'offsite', this.href]);">Another Website</a>
For Universal, you would need to revise the event as follows:
<a href="http://www.anotherwebsite.com" onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'link', 'offsite', this.href);">Another Website</a>
5. Subdomain tracking is supported, but cross-domain tracking needs code revision.
The Universal tracking code supports subdomain tracking without any revisions; you can use the default tracking code on two or more subdomains, such as www.mysite.com and blog.mysite.com.
To track across different domains, you need to make separate tracking code revisions on the different sites. For details, see E-Nor’s Google Analytics Guide: Best Practices for Implementation and Reporting.
6. Google Tag Manager: Replace the classic tag with the Universal tag.
If you’re using a Google Analytics classic code in Google Tag Manager to track your website pageviews, you can simply switch to a Google Analytics Universal code. However, as mentioned, don’t forget to update any other Google Analytics classic tags, such as for events and Ecommerce, that you may have added to your Google Tag Manager container. Third-party tag management systems should also provide the option of upgrading your Google Analytics tags to Universal.
7. New Implementation? Don’t waste time – go Universal!
If you’re tracking a new website, don’t waste time! Either with the native Google Analytics tracking code or through Google Tag Manager, choose the Universal option and join your fellow Web analysts as we march into the next generation of tracking.
On the Horizon: Enable the Demographics and Interests reports in Universal
While the Demographics and Interests reports are currently available only in Google Analytics classic, they should soon become available in Universal as well, at which time you can follow the instructions provided by Google.
Download Our Universal Analytics ebook!
Thanks for checking out the article. Hope it helps.
For more on Universal Analytics, click here to download our free ebook.
Implementation, configuration, and reporting are not our final objectives in using Google Analytics.
What are our final objectives? Creating a better experience for our end users and generating greater value for our organizations. But there are many aspects of implementation and configuration that we need to get right, and many hidden reporting gems that we need to seek out, before we can get to insight, data-driven action, and measurable improvement.
This Google Analytics guide is designed to be concise but also fairly comprehensive, and at least a starting point for all major considerations for your Google Analytics deployment (on websites – app tracking is not covered specifically). You can read it from end to end as a technical overview, or you can focus on individual topics. In either case, we hope you find the guide useful. Please let us know what you think!
- Tracking code? Check!
- Internal traffic excluded? Check!
- Backup of raw data? Check!
- Goals and funnels? Check!
- Events? Check!
- Campaign tags? Check!
- Country-specific search engine tracking? Check!
- Intelligence alerts? Check!
We’ve compiled 36 items into this checklist: some basic, some a little more obscure, all important for you to consider in your Google Analytics setup.
So click here to print it out, check it off, and don’t implement Google Analytics without it!
The Sochi Winter Olympics just wrapped up. It’s always an amazing sight to see – the greatest athletes from around the world, not only competing in unbelievable physical challenges, but excelling despite bitter frozen climate conditions!
Both Google Analytics and the Olympic Games expose the true meaning of its subjects, bringing about their underlying value to the surface. One shows the resilience of the human spirit, and the other shows the true value of a digital property.
Cold Exterior Hiding a Path of Perseverance and Meaning
Data by appearance (and also by itself) is cold, hard and composed. But like an athlete, under all the apparent focus and seeming only talent, there are hidden trials and accomplishments that has led them to this point – the pinnacle of their careers. In that same vein, data at a glance doesn’t give away all that it encompasses. Not until the hidden stories are picked apart and sorted through does it reveal its insights and true value.
When you look at all the different sporting events in the Olympics, it’s hard at first to pinpoint the similarities amongst them. Every event has its unique challenges. There’s a part on the course for alpine skiing, where skiers take what is called the Russian Trampoline, a jump that covers almost 60 yards if set up correctly. In Figure Skating, if the momentum isn’t gained properly for the axel jump, there is a possibility of skater can falling through the ice. For the luge, everything is dependent on how relaxed the luger is as well as slight changes of pressure on the sled for changing directions. At first all these events seem very different but we start seeing the common thread. In each, to succeed, the athletes have to prepare effectively.
Similarly, in Google Analytics, at first the data seems disparate and specific parts don’t seem to relate. But once you see the entire picture, you realize to see how it is all connected. Also if your analytics is set up effectively, a lot of ground can be covered.
Let’s draw this comparison further. If Google Analytics is to the Olympics Games, then data are the Athletes. What similarity does every Olympic Athlete have? We present the holistic approach on how to make your Analytics as robust as Olympic Athletes.
1. Elite Physical Shape = Clean Data and Solid Foundation
Every athlete works hard to get where they are and has a body in top condition to handle the physical demand and challenge of their sport. Just like that, you have to have the right instrumentation on your website or mobile app to handle the aggressive measurement for insightful marketing. Having that custom code set up for your site is akin to preparing your body for the rigorous physical demand.
A robust implementation includes:
Segmentation: Once you have your measurement solution designed and your code set up, know your segments. What will you be segmenting for? Prospects vs customers? Are you an international website? Perhaps you would like to see interest in your winter department on the East coast vs. the West coast. What products were more popular?
Attribution: Keep attribution in mind – What upper funnel activities are influencing your sales and conversions? If visitors are coming to your site: How are you going to engage your mobile traffic vs. your website traffic? How do you measure and optimize your user experience on each platform? How will you join all your data in your BI platform? What personalization methods will you be using?
Trending: Athletes always have their goal in mind and consistently work toward increasing their performance by watching “tapes” of their past performances and then drawing comparisons so that they know where to make improvements. Trend your reports to see how you are performing compared to last week, last month or last year, which allows you to recognize where you need optimizations.
Suggested Resource: Download our Reporting Framework Whitepaper
2. Perseverance = Overcoming (Implementation) Obstacles
An athlete doesn’t succeed with just hard work. They persevere and push through struggles that might come in any shape, be it physical or mental. They understand their competition and thus train accordingly. Perseverance evolves from a mindset of knowing what you are facing and then facing it.
Analytics is not a one-off effort – it requires persistent coordination and cajoling pf different silo’s within your organization, including IT, Executive management, sales, support. At the strategic level, often you will meet resistance from many different directions, but like the athletes, you must continue to push through to rise above and get your medal.
Tactically, you will run into other challenges, but you have to meet them as they come and persevere.
For example, when tracking, should you track everything? If you are tracking events, what should trigger events? If you are tracking every little interaction, every click of a button, within your mobile is going to overwhelm you — especially if you are just starting. Don’t track everything, walk before you run.
Some may suggest to you that obstacles can be overcome with technology. For instance, “Let’s deploy Google Tag Manager, so we won’t need IT anymore!”. That’s naive. Technology is a helpful tool, but preparation, strategy and planning can help you overcome much of the obstacles thrown in your path – plan what to track, what to measure, using proper naming conventions, identify your conversion points (and being good friends with IT ).
Suggested Resource: Event Tracking in Google Tag Manager – Universal Analytics
3. Support = The Right Team
The last key element that an athlete has is support. They have their coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists and finally support from the family. The entire support team works together to help them gain Olympic glory. With the right people for support, athletes also have the right gear for their sport.
Similarly, for Analytics, you can’t have any progress without the right team: Marketers, Designers, Developers, and Analysts. Take testing for example. You want to run an A/B test to optimize your landing page design. Your marketer will come up with attractive offers/promotions and give you insight into your visitor personas. Your designer will translate that into landing page concepts that you plan to test. Your analyst will set up the Content Experiment within Google Analytics and will stitch all the data into your BI tool and later impress you with sexy visual reports.
Suggested Resource: 5 Fundamental Web Analytics Truths for a Data-Driven World
There you have it—how to make your Analytics as sturdy as an Olympian Athlete!
Events: A Good Day in GA
It was a good day when events were introduced in Google Analytics. Up until then, the only option to track extra user interactions was to create more pageviews.
As the idea of events gained power among Google Analytics users they began to get used for many things. Maybe too many.
Don’t put pageviews on the shelf just yet!
There are some scenarios in which staying with or going back to using a pageview may be more valuable for analysis. Even times when it makes sense to track something as both a pageview and an event, since each provides different value in regard to both reporting and analysis of the data.
The most common scenario is when AJAX methods are employed to render new content on the screen after a user interaction. Since the browser isn’t making a traditional request, Google Analytics doesn’t capture this as a new pageview as it normally would.
So the interaction itself is often tracked as an event in GA. This is an excellent example of when a pageview may have been more appropriate though.
A pageview should be thought of as any time a visitor is presented with a significant amount of new information to act on. The mechanism by which the content is delivered shouldn’t matter. It could be a traditional HTML page load, or it could be a more modern AJAX call creating a page overlay.
In fact, I’ve heard people say “But my site doesn’t *have* pageviews” when it’s a site with a single URL and all of the content delivery is done via non-traditional methods. But clearly, if you put the delivery mechanism aside, you see that they have numerous pieces of distinct content that the visitor navigates among — aha! pageviews.
So what do you get for using a pageview?
- More pageflow options
- Goal funnel reports
- Time on Page! (time spent reading that piece of content)
- Pageviews per visit (individual pieces of content viewed)
- Unified reporting with other content in the “pages” report — Content is all in one report
Benefit Example: Time On-Page
In this example, you see the website has a rotating banner with several lightboxes. When you click on each slide, a light box pops up with more information. That information has more content, essentially behaves similar to a page. It may influence a visitors.
Wouldn’t you want to know how long that viewer stayed on that page? With events, you’ll be able to tell what they clicked on, but with a pageview, you get the added insight of time on page. Otherwsie, it would just look like your visitor stayed on the homepage for a prolonged time.
Benefit Example: Added Page in a Funnel
Many forms, such as contact forms, email subscriptions, lead generation forms, etc. – when submitted, functionally just replaced itself with a thank you message. No URL change. No “thank-you page”. In a case like this, as far as Google Analytics is concerned, you’re on the same page. For funnels, that can be problematic. Events aren’t going to help you here.
This is a perfect scenario where virtual pageviews still have a strong benefit. By triggering a virtual pageview, either after submission of the form or after each step of the lead generation form, you get a comprehensive funnel, where each step is tracked.
When using a pageview for something like a ‘lightbox’ overlay, the easy part is tracking the pageview when the overlay appears. No problem.
However what happens when the visitor closes that overlay with the X in the corner?
They are now viewing the previous page again.
If you want accurate pageflow and time on page data you have to consider the closing of an overlay as what it really is — another pageview of the content below!!
When the overlay is closed, you should fire another pageview of that initial page. It goes back to the above definition of a pageview — another distinct piece of content is getting displayed to the visitor.
By doing it this way you now have “time on page” (or time spent viewing a distinct piece of content) for your overlays.
Events: You’re Still The One For Me
All of this doesn’t mean you should scrap events. Events are great. And you’ll often get value from tracking some things as both events *and* pageviews. Events provide a great way to group and organize the interactions themselves — great for reporting and nicer to look at than a long URL separated/by/a/bunch/of/slashes.
E-Nor International Trainings: Dubai, Feb 16th and 17th, 2014
E-Nor’s clients include some of the top brands around the world and our consultants travel the globe, conducting digital analytics trainings from the United States to Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
Our Dubai workshop will help you leverage one of the most powerful digital analytics tools in the world, Google Analytics.
Learn how to understand your data, identify insights so you can accurately optimize your digital marketing channels. And not only understand “how” to use the tool, but our instructors have years of experience and will go through the best practices that will not only ensure you’re using it properly, but in the best and most efficient ways and strategies as possible.
Finally, but most importantly, translating your objectives to measurable outcomes; attributing visits, goals, events, likes, retweets, mobile to sales, etc, is instrumental for creating a winning digital marketing measurement and optimization strategy.
When: Feb 16th and 17th, 2014
Where: Al Manzil Downtown, Dubai
Eric Fettman, E-Nor Analytics Coach and Trainer (Founder of GoogleAnalyticsTest.com )
Roberto Croci, Google Analytics, South East Europe, Middle East & Africa
Andy Abbar, Managing Director www.layalina.com, www.waseet.net, www.arabsturbo.com
We look forward to seeing you there!
Marketers and analysts want to spend their time maximizing ROI for their organizations, not figuring out how to track events in Google Analytics or waiting for a development or content-approval cycle to get the events coded into a live website.
Google Tag Manager is designed to decouple analytics and marketing codes from Web development and page content – to make it possible, as one example, to configure Google Analytics events without manually adding any code to the Web page.
And because you can opt for Google Analytics Universal tags within Google Tag Manager, you’ll be able to take advantage of new Google Analytics tracking features as they become available, usually without any actual coding.
The following tutorial video discusses Google Analytics events, Google Tag Manager, and how they work together. If you’re already familiar with any of the topics, you can refer to the timeline below to jump to specific points in the video.
If you have questions or comments after viewing the tutorial, or if you’d like to share your experiences with event tracking or Google Tag Manager, please post below.