Archive for the ‘google analytics’ Category

Jun 20
2014

google-analytics-government-thumb
Photo from Getty Images

As a Google Analytics Premium Reseller for several government agencies, we’ve noticed that Web and mobile analytics is as important to government digital initiatives as it is for the private sector. Fundamentally, it’s about organizations leveraging digital media to offer products and services to a target audience or to communicate and connect with constituents.

Similar to their counterparts in the private sector, federal communication managers, webmasters and those in charge of digital initiatives (eGovernment, Digital Government, etc.) need to navigate through oceans of data to derive insights to impact the business. This is easier said than done with scarce financial and human resources, and the fast pace of innovations in digital analytics.

It’s As Easy As ABC.

With a couple of tips using the “ABC’s” of digital analytics, you can simplify the complexity a bit.

This post is intended to provide reporting tips and best practices for analytics relating to government websites. If you are looking for a comprehensive how-to implementation guide check out our other technical posts on our blog for implementation best practices and posts similar to our Universal Analytics Resource Kit.

The concepts presented apply to any analytics platform, but the naming convention and the sample reports are all taken from Google Analytics (GA), since it’s the most commonly and widely used analytics platform.

We will also leverage the “ABC” framework to highlight three important reporting aspects of every government digital program:

  • A for Acquisition- how visitors came to the site.
  • B for Behavior- what they did when they got there.
  • C for Conversion- did they do what you wanted to them to.

In addition to and for each of the above sections, we will show how you can leverage Google Analytics’ recent demographic reports to better understand your audience (here is a link on how to enable demographics in Google Analytics reports).

*Disclaimer #1: There was no personally identifying information used for the examples provided; all are aggregated data and/or case studies.

*Disclaimer #2: Data in the reports below do not reflect any specific government site; reports/numbers are listed for illustration purposes only.

Acquisition – How Visitors Came to Your Site

1. Figure out what’s driving the traffic to your website or mobile app.

Acquisition reports allow you to answer the following questions:

  • Where is the traffic coming from?
  • What social media networks are really working for the organization?
  • Which defined campaigns are driving qualified traffic?

Let’s take a look at the Department of Education site as an example, specifically the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) office. Students and parents can submit the FAFSA forms through the Education Assistance Agencies or can submit the form online. Let’s say the application deadline has just ended and it’s time to analyze the traffic patterns to the online form section.

  • Where did the traffic come from?
  • What sorts of searches were made?
  • Is most of the traffic organic or other sites referring traffic to the online form?

fafsa-screenshot

In the sample report below, Social is the second highest source of traffic. Perhaps specific universities had FAFSA awareness campaigns via social media and drove students to the site.

Knowing what drives the most traffic to your site (for example, the most effective social network) can help you know where to focus your attention and ad dollars in your next campaign. When we get into demographics, you can see that maybe the age group that is sharing the FAFSA information is a younger group, more inclined to use social media for communication.

aquisition-report-example-google-analytics

Google Analytics traffic reports are available on the left side under Acquisition –> Channels

Google Analytics also offers mobile analytics capabilities. If you have a mobile app for one of the key user experiences/functions of the organization, you can easily track user adoption.

Under Acquisition –> New Users, the following report is available:

aquisition-new-users-google-analytics

The report will show a count of:
• New Users (The number of first-time users during the selected date range.) as well overall new and returning users and the number of sessions for these users.
• A breakdown of new users by operating system (in the case above, there is an iOS app only, and if an Android version existed, it would show in this report)
• As well as New Users by App Version

2. Segment traffic by Demographics.

Now that we see that forms have been filled out, we want to know the age range of those who have opted to filling out the online form. Perhaps there is a difference between older parents vs. younger students in using online paperwork. In Google Analytics we can apply “Age” as Second Dimension and break out the traffic data by age and see the trend for adoption between the generations.

In a case like this, it makes sense that that the most popular demographic is 18-24 (since FAFSA is typically for college students).

aquisition-demographics-google-analytics

Now that you know your most valuable marketing channel is social and mostly younger students are filling out online forms, you can tailor the messaging/designs of your campaign to the younger crowd, and focus your marketing spend on social networks.

Behavior Reports

Behavior reports in Google Analytics allow you to understand what users are doing once they have come to your website.

3. Identify engaging content.

Now that visitors are on the site, what are they doing? Downloading forms, how-to guides or videos?

Let’s look at the Teachers Loan Forgiveness Program, which is a program that encourages individuals to go into teaching by offering to forgive part of their student loan.

Say the University Career Center sends out an email to all students enrolled in the Teaching Credentials track about this particular program. In Google Analytics, you notice that there is a lot of traffic from that email. However, do you know what these visitors are interacting with on the site?

The benefit of these reports is not only can you see which pages have the most views or how much time they are spending on those pages, but you can also monitor “Event” interactions on the page, such as video “Play”, “Pause”, or “Watch to End” events (this does require custom code/event implementation). So if you’ve spent marketing dollars producing a video demonstrating how to apply for the program and want to know if it’s actually getting played or if they’re watching the video all the way through, you can see that here.

Google Analytics Events are available in Behavior –> Top Events –> Videos:

video-event-actions-google-analytics

In this example report, 2,326 users have watched through the end! That’s about 40% of those who pressed play. Impressive! Seems like the video is engaging and getting the necessary information across, so it was a good investment. Maybe you’d want to invest in more instructional videos.

Note: for Mobile Apps, all user interactions within the app (buttons, clicks, navigation, etc.) can be tracked in Events.

4. Combine Demographics & Engagement to see who is doing what.

Are older users more likely to watch the video or younger users? By segmenting the engagement by demographics, you get deeper insights and can once again can narrow your efforts – tailor your messaging, wording, and visuals to the users you know are more likely to engage.

You can also see what demographic is lacking in engagement and maybe place an alternative focus on them. For example, if you find that only younger users are playing the video, you may want to have the instructions in text for older users who aren’t so inclined to play it.

While segmenting by age and gender, we can also throw social in the mix. How is this information shared across social networks? Perhaps the younger age bracket prefers sharing your page (by clicking on the “share” event you’ve created) on one social network, while an older age range prefers another. Again, knowing which age/gender comes from which social networks can help you tailor and target your paid ads and even organic postings.

event-actions-social

Conversion Reports

Ultimately, this is the goal of your site or app. Traffic and even engagement have little value if your visitors aren’t converting. Conversions happens when users complete a task you want them to complete, which you can define and trigger in Google Analytics as a Conversion Goal. For example, this may include submitting and completing a form/application (such as FAFSA), downloading a pdf, even purchasing a product or making a payment/donation.

5. Find out if visitors are accomplishing site goals.

You’re a communication manager for a governmental agency in Dubai, UAE. You want to know how many people are leveraging the eServices applications on the site to acquire permits, doing business in the UAE or process online payments.

Let’s cover a common use case that this site can leverage. People traveling to Dubai typically want to know more about the entry visa process, what’s involved to enter the country, and better, apply for the entry visa online. One of the “goals” in Google Analytics can be set up to measure how many visitors go to your eServices section and apply for visa online. By setting up this “goal” in Google Analytics, you can now measure the conversion rate (i.e. the completion rate) of the site visitors who applied for an entry visa.

Just like any other good analyst or marketer, you heed the advice and set up this “goal” and you see that your online application completion rate is 2%. We now have numbers, let’s get some insights. You start to see a steady increase in this number, you go from 2% to 3% to %4.5. Great, what can this data tell us? The increase in completion rate, could be a good indicator of visitors’ adoption of this new eService (which means cost savings over the manual visa application). Or it could be an indicator of increased interest in visiting the country. There are other factors that could contribute to the fluctuation of the goal complete rate (such as seasonality, major business/sports events, etc..) but at least you now have a baseline that you can leverage in gaining additional insights.

eServices-_The_UAE_Government_Official_Portal

6. Segment Conversions by Demographics to see who is accomplishing site goals.

Let’s pull an example from a relatively recent political event. Say you are in charge of communication in the new Ukraine government, and the country is undergoing drastic governmental changes. One of the government goals is to communicate directly with constituents. You intend on doing so by building up a large database of email addresses. You set up “email list subscription” as a Google Analytics Goal and track conversion by the various demographics segments.

What age/gender is subscribing to your newsletter? This could be a political indication of many things – it could indicate who is politically concerned or active, who is being politically neglected, or which group you might need to find other ways to communicate with.

Again, segment by demographics and you might find that majority of email subscribers are middle-aged men. As the Ukraine government, you now can tailor your email information to that demographic, but you also might want to figure out how to reach the other demographics, such as younger adults and women.

Bonus: Advanced Data Visualization Tip for Content-Rich Government Sites

All the reports we’ve shown in the post so far are from within the Google Analytics interface. They are easy to access and easy to share. For advanced users and those who are stitching data from different sources, leveraging a data visualization platform such as Tableau might be the way to go, so this tip is for you! With powerful visualization tools like this, you can quickly and easily tell a story that raw numbers just can’t.

For example, many government sites have a lot of informational pages. A common reporting request is to quickly trend all pageview data in a month-over-month format. Tableau can do just that! Once you pull in the data and organize it by content categories, you can easily see which content is popular compared to others, or which has more views and at what times.

In the sample report below, and for Category #2, notice how those pages have the most views consistently than all the other pages, especially in 2014 (The darker the green the more views you have). Thus Tableau makes it easy for to see how pages (or any metric) are doing with just a quick glance.

tableau-content-categories

Keep an eye out for the next post on how to create Advanced Segments to drill down and find actionable insights from the various audiences we discussed in the post above!

Have other ideas, metrics or reports that work for your government site? Share and comment below.

Jun 10
2014

mystery-man
Picture from Getty Images

No, this isn’t the new horror movie by M. Night Shaymalan, but there is a twist at the end!

A couple of weeks ago, Google Analytics made slight changes to their labels. They changed “Visits” into “Sessions” and “Unique Visitors” into “Users”. While intuitively this makes a lot of sense, many of our clients have been confused by the affect this has on the math and the metrics presented by GA, particularly the total visitors aren’t adding up to the total users.

new_naming_convention

New Visitors and Returning Visitors Don’t Add Up to Total Users

Let’s pretend you’re an analyst for the California DMV and you’ve been asked to find out how many people have renewed their vehicle registration online for a given time-period. Easy – you create an advanced segment to filter converted traffic (in this case, traffic that ended in registration renewal) and you look at the Sessions/Users reports to find out.

naming_convention

You have a total of 7875 users.
New Visitors + Returning Visitors = (7007 + 1316) = 8,323!

Which one is the correct answer of how many people signed up? First the long lines at the DMV were killing you, now the data discrepancy makes you want to poke your own eyes out.

(Note: often times sampling may cause mathematical errors, so if you’re a Google Analytics Premium subscriber, you can look at the unsampled data to triple-check and make sure it’s not being sampled.)

So, what the heck is the issue here?

New Labels, Old Definitions

Before we can figure out what’s happening, we need to understand the Google Analytics definition of each term.

Sessions
A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session. “Sessions” then represent the total number of Sessions within the date range.

Users
Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. If you think about it, this is a little easier to intuitively grasp than the difference between a “unique visitor” and a “visitor”.

New Users
The number of first-time users during the selected date range.

User Type
New (first-time) or Returning user.

New Sessions
An estimate of the percentage of first time visits. What this really is saying is “sessions that are of a new user”. This is the part that’s a bit confusing. If you’re a Returning Visitor coming for your second session, in plain english, this might be another “new” session, but in GA, it’s not. So by definition, returning users will not have new sessions.

Solving the Mystery: Returning Visitors and Double Counting

naming_convention
So to get the amount of DMV users that have renewed their registration online, looks like it’s between one of two things – adding New and Returning Visitors (different from “new and returning users”) or use the User total?

Looking at the Returning Visitors (and taking into account the date-range) is key here when making that decision and why the totals don’t match.

Users may be doubled as both New and Returning Visitors within a given date-range.

Meaning that if a New Visitor came during this time period and returned during this same time period, they’d be counted twice (within a given date-range, both as a New Visitor and a Returning Visitor.

Returning Visitors may also be “unique” within a given date-range.

What if visitor X came before the given date-range, but then later returned within the given date-range? How would they be counted? They would be counted as a Returning Visitor but that first visit would not be counted as a New Visitor within the specified date-range.

While sessions can increase indefinitely, a User can only be counted a maximum number of twice as a visitor.

What if visitor X returned 3 times within a date-range? They would be counted once as a New Visitors (if it was their first time), once as a Returning Visitor, but that 3rd visit, they already have been counted as a Returning Visitor, so while the sessions would increase, the Returning Visitor metric would NOT increment!

Calculating the New Visitors who were doubled as Returning Visitors within a date-range

To get the true number of visitors who were doubled within the date range, you’d need to separate the unique Users from the Visitors aggregate (New + Returning Visitors). Adding up the New and Returning Visitors will include:

  • New Visitors
  • New Visitors that may have doubled as Returning Visitors if they came back within the date-range
  • Returning Visitors whose New Visits aren’t within the date range, and thus only counted once within Returning Visitors.

So the Visitors aggregate (New + Returning) is 7007 + 1316 = 8,323. Subtract the unique Users from that (7875) and you get 448.  Again, since the Users are unique, you are basically getting rid of all Unique Visitors. The Returning Visitors with New Visits outside of the date range is actually a “Unique Visitor” respective to the date range, and since you are getting rid of all the Unique Visitors, whatever is left has to be the doubled visitors, which is 448.

Calculating the “Unique” Returning Visitors

Then to get the Returning Visitors that have New Visits outside of the date range, just take the Returning Visitors and remove the doubled visitors that we calculated above. So 1316 – 448 = 868. Those are “Unique Returning Visitors” if you will.

Conclusion

So, to the original question – in this particular case, how many individual users renewed their registrations online? Intuitively you may have thought, “Just add New and Returning Visitors”. As you can see now, those metrics may not add up the way you think it should. You’re better off going with the round number of users, and thus, the number of users who have converted (renewed their registration online) according to this report is 7875.

For more information on how users are calculated in Google Analytics, click here.

May 29
2014

ga-summit-2014
Our team is at the Google Analytics Summit (exclusive to Google Analytics Certified Partners and Google Analytics Premium customers!) learning about the exciting new initiatives in store for the product. Most of it is top secret, but here are the things we can share.

Enhanced Ecommerce

Google will be revamping their Google Analytics Ecommerce capabilities to be more inclusive of the entire customer experience, shoppers behaviors and conversion path (rather than it’s traditional focus, which was strictly on purchases and product information). They’ve announced a beta release of their upgrade.

This will include detailed metrics out-of-box on:

  • Product detail views
  • ‘Add to cart’ actions
  • Internal campaign clicks
  • The success of internal merchandising tools
  • The checkout process
  • Purchase

Flexible and Scalable Reporting (including Unsampled Custom Tables)

Google has upgraded to some general enhanced reporting features, namely Unified Channel Groupings, traffic is now classified in-line with your unique channel definitions, and expanded Dimension Widening (now known as Data Import), which enables users to import more types of their own data and stitch it into the system.

But what really has us giggling like little children is the unsampled Custom Tables, available for Google Analytics Premium users only. For really high traffic sites, GA Standard will sample your data, which sometimes makes it hard to calculate accurate metrics. While Google Analytics Premium gives you access to unsampled data, the only way to access it was to export it.

But now, using Custom Tables you can have tables in your custom reports with pure unsampled data, which you can now crank the data through the powerful slicing and dicing of the GA UI.

There are some limits – some features like the user metrics, Flow Visualization, Search Engine Optimization, Multi-Channel Funnels, and Attribution are not available, and it takes 2 days from creation of those tables for the data to appear, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Enterprise-Class Features

For Google Analytics Premium users, you now have new integration with DoubleClick Campaign Manager and DoubleClick Bid Manager, so advertisers can get deep insights into their robust DoubleClick paid ad campaigns by leveraging power of Google’s premium analysis tool (as well as being able to combine this data with their other organic metrics).

Finally, again, for enterprise customers that manage many accounts, Google is giving acces to 4 new APIs:

  • (1) Provisioning API to create new GA accounts (invite only)
  • (2) The AdWords and (3) Filters API to manage configurations
  • (4) Embed API to surface key reports and dashboards

Roll-Up Reporting

Once again, a feature available only for enterprise customers using Google Analytics Premium. We happen to have a premium client on several domains and digital properties. They have a ton of verticals, several versions of each one, testing which has the best conversion, for example, 6 sites generating real-estate leads in different ways, 10 sites generating car leads, etc. You could even throw in some mobile apps.

Say they wanted to make an overall comparison on the performance of all their digital properties. Normally, they’d have to export then stitch everything together in an outside program.

Roll-Up Reporting is now built into Google Analytics premium – a single interface that aggregates all your site and app data into one place. A “master” Dashboard, Real-time, etc.

A huge benefit is truly holistic, universal analytics – a single view to really see your customers journey.

Coming Soon!

Most enhancements will be available immediately or within the coming weeks.

For more details, read the full Google Analytics blog announcement here.
For more details on Enterprise Roll-Up Reporting, click here.

May 27
2014

annotations

Every now and then, we like to get “back to basics”. We still find established, experienced clients making simple mistakes that could easily be avoided and corrected using basic features already available in Google Analytics. One of them is properly using annotations – basically taking notes on different events (internal or external) that impact your site. These “sticky notes” might seem insignificant, but can often be a life-saver, providing insight as to why your data sometimes looks the way it does, especially anomalies or outliers.

Let’s talk about some strategies and best practices as to when and how to create valuable Google Analytics annotations.

What Are Annotations in Google Analytics

In early 2010, Google Analytics introduced annotations. Annotations offer a simple way to track notes in the Google Analytics reporting interface by date, so you can mark important events based on that may have impacted your data in otherwise seemingly inexplicable ways. In this way, it can explain reasons for jumps in the data to your entire team (if shared with everyone) that otherwise may be unclear.

To create annotations, simple go to any report and click the down arrow on the tab at the bottom.

google-analytics-annotations-tab

Click “Create New Annotation”. Enter the date of the event and a small note about what happened. Choose if you’d like the note to be private or public.

google-analytics-creating-annotations

Viola! Annotations are indicated by the tiny little talking bubbles at the bottom. To see the details, click the “down arrow tab” again for a list of annotations. The notes stay is available on any report in case your dissecting the data, see something weird, and need some insight into what happened that day!

google-analytics-annotations-complete

The Benefits of Using Annotations

There is a spike in your data, a sharp increase, a drop, flat-line, etc., and you have no idea why. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an clear explanation or clue as to why any of this happened?

Imagine the following scenario.

site-flat-line-google-analytics

The traffic for your company’s most valuable landing page died for 2 weeks. Someone’s paycheck is about to get cut!

You’re the marketing manager and you have a meeting with your CFO in 5 minutes. Sure, you could spend hours combing through emails, trying to figure out last week if your development team made an update to your site that tanked ecommerce. Luckily, you annotated exactly on that day that your developers switched to Google Tag Manager. You check with them, and they forgot to publish your new version of Universal Analytics code. You check the bank account, and sure enough, the money is still coming in, it’s just the data is missing. (Phew!)

Another example might be that an influencer shared your page to 1,000,000 followers, and for 2-3 days, your traffic has increased by thousands of visits. For something like that, there is no email paper trail that can lead you to the cause, and now, you’ve lost a potentially valuable partner that has a genuine interest in you that could help you blast your next campaign. It would have been best to “sticky note” or annotation right when it happened.

How to Use Annotations: 5 Tips on What to Annotate

1. Be explicit.
There’s nothing more frustrating than an incomplete clue to a burning mystery. “Blog Post shared”. What the hec does that mean? Who shared it? Which post? The worst part is I don’t understand my own note! If you’re notes are mysterious, you’re wasting your time creating it in the first place if no one’s going to understand it. While you only have a handful of characters (160), be as detailed as possible – it’s plenty of room to get specific points across.

2. Keep in mind who will be reading it in the future.
In the cases of shared annotations, you aren’t the only person who will be reading these notes. Your analysts, marketing team, etc., will be reading them and potentially using them for analysis and insights. For example, chances are if you use personal abbreviations, they’ll be interpreted in a way you didn’t intend. So when you wrote “ICBINB” to mean “internet consultant Brian implemented new banner” your colleagues will be wondering why you noted “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. Make sure your notes are understandable to any one reading it without context.

3. Record marketing campaigns, online and offline.
As mentioned, many things can affect your traffic, and you want to know what those things are. Obviously online campaigns probably will. If you release an email blast to 1000 subscribers, if even 10% click through, that’s 100 extra visits, so you’ll want to know what caused that when you look at your data a month later. But what about a TV ad? A radio ad? Flyers you passed out at the bus stop? That could increase traffic too, and you obviously want to know what offline campaigns worked the best for you. Log as much as you can.

4. Record any update or issue to the site/app.
When updating your website, you QA furiously to make sure nothing breaks – not SEO, not Analytics. Unfortunately, best laid plans don’t always come through. If you’re not looking at your data regularly, a change to your site that affects your tracking code may be discovered late. At this time, usually you’re in panic mode, so minimize your stress by being diligent noting site updates. Usually, these notes can give you direction into exactly what happened and exactly how to fix it.

5. Record any external event that may affect you traffic.
In March, you meet Tim Cook on the street and give him your card. Next thing you know, Apple tweets your site to millions of followers. You think it’s awesome. At the end of the year, you’re analyzing how some of your campaigns are doing and it looks like for some reason March traffic skyrocketed. You want to do that again! You drill down deeper, turns out one day spiked your data, but you can’t remember what happened that day! If you had annotated that you met Tim Cook and that he tweeted, you could filter that day out for a more accurate trend.

Conclusion

Hope that helps and gives you a new appreciate for such a basic but useful feature in GA. Have special uses for annotations? Leave a tip or trick in the comments!

May 01
2014

page-scroll

How much of your page are visitors really reading?

If you are a publisher, a media site owner, or a content manager, you probably want to know how people interact with your content. Are they reading the full article or are they just reading the headlines and bouncing? Did the intro paragraph engage them enough to read the whole article or did it turn them off? Even for eCommerce and B2B sites, you should certainly be interested in your landing page performance and how engaging your copy is. Are visitors seeing your marketing assets or are your calls-to-action not event getting noticed?

Why should I care if people are scrolling or reading my content?

Generally, if visitors are not scrolling down your pages, it’s probably a good signal that your content is of no interest to them.

If your business model relies on engaging your audience with great content, such as a publisher or a media site, you could save time and maybe money by focusing your content writers’ efforts on what is getting traction. Knowing what keeps users engaged will help you refocus your content development plan and content marketing strategy (and get rid of what doesn’t interest your audience).

If you’re selling a product and all the persuasive “sales” points (or worse, your call-to-actions or conversion buttons) are below the fold and aren’t being read, your conversion rates and bottom lines are going to hurt.

The above is also very applicable to government sites. Analytics professionals at federal agencies can leverage insights from content analysis to inform content marketing and optimization strategies for the agencies.

Let’s take the website Healthcare.gov. We’re on the “How Can I get Coverage Page” and I’ve taken a screenshot of how the page looks on my desktop browser (see below).
healthcare_gov-screenthot
Apparently, the “Apply Now” button is below the fold, as well as some other important deadlines. Are these deadlines being read? If the “Apply Now” button is getting a low number of clicks, is it because people are seeing it and not choosing to click it or are visitors not even getting that far down the page? If we could figure out how many people get that far down and it turns out to be a low number, we could potentially optimize conversion by placing the button higher on the page.

Either way you slice it, knowing what portion of the page your visitors are reading allows you to optimize your site in a way that could lead to a better user experience and a more loyal audience.

Complementing Your Heat-mapping/Mouse tracking tools

You could always use cool heat-mapping tools like crazyegg.com, to see which areas of the page are getting the most attention and what links are being clicked. But maybe your are in a hurry and don’t have the time or the budget to acquire a new tool (and you really like to stitch the “scroll” data nicely with the rest of your Google Analytics/Google Analytics Premium reports).

  • With GA, you can create advanced reports/goals/segments based on the hits provided (ex. tie the page scrolling events with a contact us goal)
  • Compare page performance
  • See the reports in whatever format that fits your needs, and also export them with the same Google Analytics scheme
  • Trend and compare to past analysis (e.g. month-over-month page performance)

Implementing the Page Scroll Tracker using Universal Analytics

While there have been some great articles written about this already (Part 1 and Part 2 by our friend Justin Cutroni), we wanted to show this approach using Google Universal Analytics.

In Universal Analytics, there might not be a specific metric for this, but we can create “clues” that at least indicate how far a visitor has scrolled down towards the bottom of the page. We can track, for example, if a visitor has scrolled down 10%, 25%, 75%, etc, towards the bottom of the page.

The implementation process itself is easy, but you’ll need to know HTML, a little bit of JavaScript/JQuery, and of course, a good understanding of Google Analytics to read the segmented reports and slice and dice the data.

Using Javascript/JQuery, we’ve customized the code to send a Google Analytics event every 10% increment the reader scrolls down. See the code below.

Note: You can adjust the algorithm to send events based on intervals of your choice – ex. 25% or 50%.

Step #1: Make sure you’re referencing the JQuery Library.

You’ll need first to confirm whether your website already references a “JQuery” library (or not). If your website already does, you can skip this step. Otherwise add this to the header of the page.

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js"></script>

Step #2: Page scroll tracking plugin code
At the bottom of ALL your website HTML pages, just before the closing of the tag, add the following code.

<script language="javascript">
//*****************************************************************
//     This script is used and customized to measure the page scroll / interaction with Google Universal Analytics.
//     Author: E-Nor Inc.
//     Created By: Mohamed Adel
//     Last Update: 04/25/2014

//*****************************************************************
/** Predefined variables **/
EventNONInteraction = false; // This variable determines the event will be a noninertact event or not
Frequency = 10; // This variable determines the Frequency the event will be fired, MAKE SURE THE NUMBER ENTERED CAN BE DIVIDED BY 100 (10 means each 10 precent the event will fire)

GA_EventCategory = 'Page Interaction'; // Google Analytics event category
GA_EventAction = 'Scroll Down'; // Google Analytics event action.

/************ DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS PART ************/
_frequency = Frequency;
_repentance = 100 / Frequency;
var _scrollMatrix = new Array();
for (ix = 0; ix < _repentance; ix++) {
    _scrollMatrix[ix] = [_frequency, 'false'];
    _frequency = Frequency + _frequency;
}
$(document).scroll(function (e) {
    for (iz = 0; iz < _scrollMatrix.length; iz++) {
        if (($(window).scrollTop() + $(window).height() >= $(document).height() * _scrollMatrix[iz][0] / 100)  && (_scrollMatrix[iz][1]== 'false')) {
            _scrollMatrix[iz][1] = 'true';
            ga('send', 'event', GA_EventCategory, GA_EventAction, _scrollMatrix[iz][0]+'%', {'nonInteraction': EventNONInteraction});  
        }
    }
});
</script>

You’re done!

NOTE: If you are a Google Analytics Premium user, you’ll have a quick access to the data. If you are on GA Standard, allow a day or so and then check your Google Analytics interface for events and you’ll find an event category called “Page Interaction”. Within the event label, you’ll be able to see the percentages you set.

Through advanced reporting techniques, you can now aggregate pages based on the percentage of page scrolling!

Customizing the Code

In the code above, you’ll notice that there are 4 variables that you can customize:

  1. EventNONInteraction: If this variable value is set to true, the event will be set as a noninteract event in GA, and will not affect the reports in Google Analytics.
  2. Frequency: This variable determines the increments or intervals that will send events to Google Analytics. For example if you set the value to equal 25, this means that the Plugin will fire the Google Analytics event when reaching to 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of page scroll. In other words, this is the percent interval that will be tracked for scrolling, so it’s important that it’s a clean factor of 100.
  3. GA_EventCategory: This variable determines on what do you like to see the event category in Google Analytics. You can change the category name to your liking.
  4. GA_EventAction: This variable determines on what do you like to see the event action in Google Analytics. You can change the action name to your liking.

How It Will Look

page-scroll-events-report
Looking at the example report above, we see the following:

  1. The first 25% of the page has been shown 7,587 times
  2. There are 5,045 users have scrolled to the middle of the page (50% Scrolling percentage)
  3. There are 806 users have scrolled to the third quarter of the page (75% Scrolling percentage)
  4. There are only 514 users who have scrolled to the end of the page (100% scrolling percentage)

Let’s pretend this is the Healthcare.gov example from above. While you would have thought the FULL page was viewed 7,587 times, it seems only 60% are scrolling halfway down the page, only 7% of these visits scrolled to the bottom of the page. Since the “Apply Now” button is below the half way mark, that means only 60% of those visitors even saw it. Placing it to the top may increase task completion rates.

If your great content, calls to action or product/service benefits are located at the bottom of your pages, it’s time to re-think your page layout/content structure and improve your user engagement. You can (and should) dig a bit deeper and segment each of your channels and assets to see which campaigns bringing engaged users and which campaigns are bringing you bouncers!

Next Article: Measuring Responsive Scrolling

What happens when your design actually looks different on different devices? Your conversion button may be below the 50% mark on your desktop but not on your mobile! Stay tuned for the sequel to this post!

Happy Analyzing!

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Apr 30
2014

ga-spark-icon-700w
A lot is happening in the world of digital analytics and it’s hard to stay up to date. The best way to be ahead of the curve is to be out there networking with colleagues and practitioners. Many of our consultants will be doing just that, on the road over the next couple of months participating in industry events, conducting training workshops and (hopefully doing some sightseeing on the side ?). The best way to learn about these topics and gain insight is from those who work with these products daily. Meet us at this upcoming events:

Google Analytics Training – Dallas

https://www.e-nor.com/google-analytics-training-course/dallas/

This week, April 30th-May 2nd: our analytics trainer and coach Eric is leading a Google Analytics training course in Dallas, TX. He’s covering GA Implementation and Configuration best practices, Reporting for Actionable Insights and Advanced Strategies for Conversion Optimization. If you are in the Dallas area and you missed day 1, you can still register for day 2 and 3.

Web Congress – San Francisco

http://webcongress.com/sanfrancisco/agenda/

May 8th: Our principal consultant, Feras Alhlou, will be covering the Analytics track at WebCongress in San Francisco, CA providing insights about latest GA capabilities to optimize user experience and site/app performance.

USF Connect Seminar – Tampa, FL

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/get-noticed-on-the-web-learn-how-to-utilize-seo-adwords-tickets-11386733025

May 20th: Our Principal Partner, Bilal Saleh, will be covering how to: Get Noticed On Digital: Search Marketing Tips and Techniques. The session will be held at USF Connect Seminar in Tampa, FL. He’ll touch upon the essentials of Digital Marketing Optimization so that you can improve and improve the return on your online campaigns.

Google Analytics Training – Dubai, UAE

https://www.e-nor.com/dubai

June 8-9th: Eric will be making a return to Dubai after the very successful workshop we had in Dubai earlier in the year. If you are in the MENA region, this is the workshop you’d want to attend. High quality content and an amazing delivery.

SMX Advanced – Seattle, WA

http://searchmarketingexpo.com/advanced/2014/full_agenda2#1453

June 11-12th: Feras will be speaking on how to improve your conversion rate. He’ll be a panelist on the “Conversion Rate Rockstars” session on June 12.

eMetrics – Chicago, IL

http://www.emetrics.org/chicago/2014/emetrics-tactics/#480

June 17th, Feras will be covering a case study on one-to-one marketing and Large-Scale User-Centric Segmentation at the eMetrics Summit in Chicago, IL. Feras will be describing a user-centric approach to attain in-depth insights on customer habits and behavior and also how data visualization tells a much better story.

Data Driven Business Week – Chicago, IL

http://www.emetrics.org/chicago/2014/workshops/google-analytics-training-course/

June 19th: Eric will be holding a workshop on Google Analytics Core Competencies and Expert Techniques for Business Impact. The training will cover the latest capabilities of Universal Analytics, mobile analytics and content optimization among a whole list of topics that’ll allow you to increase your leads and improve visitor satisfaction.

Mar 07
2014

google-analytics-implementation-checklist-thumb
Download Checklist!

  • 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!

Mar 01
2014

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!

Olympic-Rings

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

Conclusion

There you have it—how to make your Analytics as sturdy as an Olympian Athlete!

Feb 25
2014

page-mag-glass

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.
nexlogic-homepage-screenshot

nexlogic-homepage-screenshot-2

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.

bga-form

bga-thank-you

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.

Gotchas!

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.

Feb 06
2014

Google Tag Manager Google Analytics Icon Thumb

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.