Archive for the ‘google analytics’ Category
- 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.
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.
As marketers, we have an overwhelming ubiquity of data! What do we do with it?!
We still see organizations, the big ones and small ones, using top level aggregates. You wont get any insight unless you segment -slice and dice! Use Tableau and Google Analytics to integrate, contextualize and visualize all your data from the Web, Mobile, eMail and backend. You can really extract valuable insights this way, tell a better story and finally make the tough marketing optimization decisions based on your data!
Read Case Study!
With mobile devices and tablets now dominating our lives, most organizations have a mobile version or accompanying app. In some cases, mobile versions and apps even get more traffic than their corresponding desktop sites! While still necessary, standard desktop websites are slowly becoming…well… less standard. So, naturally, Mobile Analytics is the upcoming craze to understand exactly what’s happening on these sites and apps.
Yet it remains a challenge and mystery for many marketers to make sense of. Using familiar web analytics strategies don’t really apply anymore. Mobile usability is different in nature from traditional web browsing. The layouts are different, so information is presented in different areas of the screen. Navigation is often simplified. The actual physical use and behavior (touch screens) are different (swiping is completely different from scrolling). All these differences affect the nature of user-behavior, and thus, measuring strategies need to be adjusted accordingly.
Google Universal Analytics for Mobile Analytics
TiVo faced this challenge specifically with the launch of their mobile app. They wanted to attack it head-on, but using their existing log-based tracking solution to accommodate mobile tracking required quite a bit of customizations, which means cost with no guarantee that it would even work.
We helped TiVo to create a novel measurement solution using features specific to Universal Analytics (in Google Analytics) – leveraging metrics unique to user-behavior and mobile devices. E-Nor proposed a solution leveraging Custom Dimensions in Universal Analytics to capture many of the visitor-level data elements TiVo wanted to analyze, such as device and user-environment details as a baseline for reporting user behavior. Analytics Events were architected to track very granular elements, including screen, button, link, click, and so on. Such comprehensive measurement model allowed the client to gain valuable insights about user behavior across devices and the performance of the app.
With the data reports in hand, TiVo was able to increase their mobile app sessions and screen views by over 40%!!!
Checkout the actual case study released by Google earlier this year by downloading it or reading it on Google Think.
Read Case Study
Well, 2013 was a great year for E-Nor, as we successfully helped organizations across the globe, from data-driven start-ups to Fortune 25, become efficient with their data. Going into the new year, we’re pleased to announce the addition of yet another industry standout, Joel Michael, who will continue with us on this journey of advocating business improvement through data-based optimization. Joel will be establishing E-Nor’s presence in Portland, Oregon, while serving our clients around the world as a Digital Analytics Consultant.
Analytics Consultant Experience
In the late 1990′s, Joel began his career in small startup advertising agencies in the Dayton, Ohio area during the “dot com” boom. His early focus on email marketing naturally led him to a deep interest in measurement and analysis. When simply getting the message to an audience was a challenge, Joel was building advanced databases to segment recipients into groups based on their behavior. For clients such as (at the time) NCR’s Teradata division, he empowered globally distributed salespeople while delivering insight to their marketing staff, putting the entire team on the same page and allowing for consistent and targeted messaging.
For other clients, he simply made sense of their data. An industry leader in the manufacture of temperature measurement sensors looked to Joel to organize and analyze data from annual sales surveys. Improvements in nearly every metric were achieved for every year he was involved with the project.
His agency work for both large and small clients has earned him several awards, including two regional ADDY’s (American Advertising Federation Awards), for teams led by Joel in both Indianapolis and Dayton.
Analytics Through the Eyes of a Practitioner
At the same time, Joel was also applying his marketing and analytical skills toward improving the community through various neighborhood non-profit associations. Managing communications for a nationally designated historic neighborhood raised new questions about engagement, content and interaction within a tightly defined group of people. Seeking answers, Joel looked to a career in higher education to better understand how a community of students, staff and faculty interact as their digital relationships with the institution changed over time. While working in higher education, he was able to help implement several content management systems (CMS) and integrated them with analytics applications and customer/student relationship management systems (CRM/SRM).
Best of Both Worlds
Having worked as both a consultant in an agency setting, as well as in-house practitioner in higher educational institutions, Joel has a well-rounded understanding of the digital marketing and analytics. From the perspective of a consultant, he understands objectively what needs to be done to create a functioning, data-driven culture with a focus on insights and actions, yet as a practitioner, he also understands the internal needs and challenges clients may run into.
Joel has a Degree in Communication Design which helps him clearly place actionable information into clients’ hands. Whether it’s graphing results on a whiteboard during a meeting or producing detailed reports, he understands which methods plant key concepts into the appropriate person’s mind have helped move clients and employers forward efficiently.
“Nothing excites me more than when a chart, graph, or infographic lights up an executive’s eyes and prompts them to say, ‘Let’s go.’”
Digital Marketing Power-house
From his variety of experiences, Joel developed a broad range of expertise when it comes to digital marketing, including: print and web design, technology integration, project management and strategic planning, among other strengths. Joel also has a strong business background, having spent the past 10 years as Partner and Web Development & eMarketing Consultant for Inbox Logic. This micro business provides web design and marketing focused on digital media, data collection and analysis while advising executive and IT teams on ways to incorporate current technology to drive marketing, sales, and business-growth goals.
Joel recently moved to Portland, Oregon from Dayton, Ohio with his wife Danielle, and their two cats. According to Joel, they are doing their part to “Keep Portland Weird” while bringing some good old Midwestern values with them.
We look forward to working with Joel and continuing to expand the growth of E-Nor.
Happy Holidays to all!
We are happy to share with you some awesome news!
As we celebrate yet another amazing year for E-Nor, we want to let you, our clients, partners, blog readers and our team members, know that it would not have been possible without you.
Check out this end-of-year video by our Principal Consultant, Feras Alhlou, announcing our commitment to give back and help those in need.
We did away with holiday gifts this year and instead chose to make a significant contribution to a number of non-profit organizations. We are humbled to announce that in 2013 E-Nor has donated over 1% of its revenue and over 750 hour of pro-bono work for nonprofits and causes.
Since 2006 we’ve been blogging on all things digital marketing and analytics, and we are more committed to publish and share more.
Thank you again and Happy Holidays from all of us here at E-Nor! We wish you a very prosperous 2014.
Feras has been busy sharing his thoughts on Practical eCommerce –we only allow him to share his realy great analytics thoughts and tips for marketers and ecommerce site owners on this blog . The following are summaries of the articles he has published on the Practical eCommerce blog. To get their full goodness, be sure to check out the articles as well! Also, read to the bottom to find out how you can get a free copy of Practical Ecommerce’s EBook, 50 Great Ecommerce Ideas.
Holiday Analytics: 13 Tips to Prepare your Ecommerce Site
Click here to read the full article…
Holidays fast approaching? No worries! Feras lays out 13 analytics tips to highlight benefits by focusing on specific markers for the vacation translating into more sales and higher conversion rates. He breaks down the tips into three categories: Technology, People and Processes.
In technology, Feras shows you where you should tie the loose ends to have quality and reliable data, making sure the analytics tags are implemented and tested, to include remarketing and other important marketing tags while leveraging tag management solutions especially for mobile apps tracking. In processes, he makes a key point that holds true for the entire article, which is “the five Ps. Previous planning prevents poor performance.” Finally in People, he points out people make a difference. There is no way around it, organizations must commit resources and keep the resources up to speed on the analytics tools they depend on. And as Feras says, “An analytics plan is only as good as the people who implement it.”
3 Google Analytics Reports that Hinder Analysis
Click here to read the full article…
There is a bunch of analytics data for ecommerce businesses. Finding insights though can be a little tricky, but is totally worth it. In this article, Feras describes three standard Google Analytics reports that actually are misleading without some probing. 1. Click-through Rates and Costs per Click – A campaign may have awesome click-through-rates and cost-per-click, but what if it’s not converting? Bottom-line is conversion, don’t get hung up on the CTR and CPC; 2. Conversions from Paid Ads – Your paid ads may not be converting, but you don’t know the affect it has on the awareness of your product. It could take several touches for your audience to convert, paid ads could be at the top of the funnel, so don’t turn them off just yet!; 3. Multi-channel Conversion Funnels – You don’t see some of your channels in your multi-channel conversion reports. What if your social visitor called you? You wouldn’t see that in Google Analytics as a conversion. Don’t treat your offline and online channels separately.
3 Key Google Analytics Reports for Ecommerce Merchants
Click here to read the full article…
If you listen to Feras’ talks or read his articles, you think the guy is obsessed with something called “segmentation”. Well, in our business, ninjas know this truth: segment or die. The first point is segmentation by traffic channel (yes, this is still a major issue for many organizations); this consists of tracking how people are coming to your site and recognizing which channels are the money makers. By keeping track of those converting, you can assess what certain behaviors are likely to lead to better results. The second nifty tip is to segment the data by the day of the week. Segmenting by the days of the week, you will be able to see how conversion rates vary depending on the day and hours and then use those results to boost sales. Finally, the article points out that funnels are typically underutilized by many marketers, and Feras shares tips on gathering insights across the entire checkout funnel as well as creative funnel ideas such as: Add-to-Cart conversions, repeat buyers funnels and placements of add-to-carts.
Ecommerce Analytics for Multiple Devices, Channels
Click here to read the full article…
In this article, Feras provides clear reasoning for the use of tracking visitors across multiple devices and channels allowing for harnessing a level of complexity that traditional analytics approach do not capture. He compares data from desktop users versus mobile traffic of those consumers. He also shows how creating a primary key for each visitor is critically important in today’s analytics (and get ready for Google’s Universal Analytics). This primary key will allow for stitching data across channels and devices to better assess consumer behaviors and in the future develop models for more effective messaging and targeting.
5 Ecommerce Metrics You Should Be Tracking
Click here to read the full article…
Feras shares smart analytics techniques for tracking five user interactions that aren’t usually given attention to. The first is Product Categories; most people miss out on the aggregate view (e.g. men category, women category, etc.) and just report on top products. Next is tracking Product Comparison interactions, which allows customers to compare products as they would like, and thus allowing for tracking of which products were compared and which are getting no interest. Next, is Live Chat Tracking, to potentially identify correlation between visitors’ interests and products they end up buying. Fourth metric that is discussed is Shopping Cart Removes, (not just Adds), maybe it’s pricing, maybe it’s shipping cost, if you are not tracking Cart Removes; you won’t fully understand your funnel bottlenecks and drop-offs. And the final section has to be on, you guessed it, Segmentation! Know Your User segments and please don’t report and do analysis on aggregates.
Practical Ecommerce: 50 Great Ecommerce Ideas
Now that we’ve covered some super useful practical tips for ecommerce marketing managers, we will leave you off with another resource, here are awesome ecommerce ideas and tips from experts, sign up for the PEC newsletter here and receive a free copy of the eBook 50 Great Ecommerce Ideas!
There are numerous reasons and benefits for companies, large and small, to send out press releases. Some example announcements include:
- A new executive joining the team
- A new product or service offering
- Establishing a new location and company growth
- Establishing new partnerships
- Corporate restructuring
- You name it…
Context for Measuring Press Releases
Often, our customers ask how to measure the effectiveness of press releases. While reputable press release platforms offer their own metrics and data, PR professionals, marketers and executives can still be confused on what to measure and what these press release metrics mean.
For example, if my press release had 55,679 impressions is that good or bad? Or if I got 38 reads, should I celebrate or start to look for another job!
One of the main issues, in my humble opinion, is the lack of context, and – yes – lack of segmentation. Hence this post.
If you are not familiar with standard press release metrics to look for, here’s what people typically look for when they send out a press release:
- Reach and what headline impressions they get
- If people are clicking on those headlines and reading
- If readers are interacting with the press release (clicking on a page to get to your landing page, download an image, pdf, etc.)
Check out this link for more definitions of metrics provided by PR Web.
My goal of this post is not to re-iterate what tens of articles already described on press release metrics, or how to measure awareness and branding – a quick search on google will give you more than you need.
What I want to share with you is a new approach – to use the metrics surrounding the date of release, its impact and make it easier to find actionable insights, inspiring ideas for to increase your audience reach (I can make it sound fancier and say “framework” but I’ll skip that for now ).
Let’s get started!
1- Make it Visually Appealing and Trend
First of all, extract your press release data out of your PR platform (csv file) and import it in Excel and trend it. We use Tableau a lot for data visualization, and with few easy steps, you’ll have a much better story to tell! The following view includes data on five press releases. Take a look, insights are are ready for you to garner!
Quickly you can see that your release about the EMEA expansion didn’t do well at all in terms of impressions and reach, however, people must have liked the video or the pdf you included in that press release (look at the relative huge number of interactions).
2- It’s Not News After the First Few Days, or Maybe It Is
Most buzz around press releases dies off after the first few days. But sometime you might be interested in finding releases that keep on giving. One approach is to plot your 7-day metrics vs. your all-time metrics. Picking up the data in Tableau and with a little bit of dual-axis formatting gives us this view:
Notice how the first three press release hardly had any impressions after the first 7 days, whereas the Q2 Earnings and Product Announcement releases have picked up a few thousand impressions since the initial announcement. Dig deeper into the referring sources to find out who is linking back to you and is still talking about your cool product. Cater to this audience by creating similar content in the future or potentially advertise on those referring sites.
3- Press Release Engagement Metrics
Let’s tell a better story and add more context to our reporting and analysis. Awesomeness can be attained by blending in data from the PR platform and your site analytics data.
In the graph below, you see how we pulled in the Media Deliveries metrics (number of media outlets that received your press release) as well as site visits corresponding to the respective press release.
Not only that, if you have your engagement/outcome measurement in order, you can measure “conversions” as they relate to traffic from press releases. Granted, press releases are not a “direct response” type of channel, but for specific press releases you might be interested in measuring what users are doing on your site. Note in the graph that the Product Announcement Press release received close to 150 site conversions (in this case a product demo video views on the site).
Putting in all together in one dashboard
Can’t really end the post without mentioning the word “dashboard” , so here it is! You combine the three Tableau workbooks/reports we discussed above and you get this beauty!
And as we commented next to each graph, you make sure you do the same for your dashboard. Don’t be lazy, before you send the dashboard off to your executives, do your homework and include findings, insights and recommendations.
Additional Press Release Tracking Tips:
- Real Time: Google Analytics real time reports are amazing. You can view site activity (incoming traffic, top pages, events, etc.) as it happens. For example, you can monitor real time if you have some hot announcement that is likely to go viral.
- Google Alerts: you can also set alerts on your company name or a specific keyword related to the press release announcements. If Google is sending a press release about Q3 earnings, you can set your alert on “Google Q3 earnings”.
- Referring Traffic: you can report on your referring traffic in Google Analytics and filter on traffic from media outlets to get a sense of what traffic is generated from these outlets. For the analysis ninjas out there, check out our post on advanced techniques to capture the source of the press release traffic.
- Social Media: in addition to the above, leverage your social media listening platform to report on social mentions related to the press release. Make sure you participate in the conversation and address your audience’s questions and concerns.
- Segment the press release metrics by geo-location or destination: this will allow you to track and trend Reads by tier-1 media outlets
- Tableau and Google Analytics: From within Tableau, the Google Analytics connector is at your service. Select the dimensions and metrics you want and pull them into Tableau automatically. No more csv files and no more export and upload, just connect and play!
Other tips you have for assessing the performance of your press releases? Please share in the comments section below.