Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Aug 11

ABC's of Google Analytics

Creative solutions are built from knowing the basics to the bone. Every so often, we like to go back to basics for our beginner readers and remind everyone else. Here’s a quick review and infographic of the “ABCs of Google Analytics”.

In the Google Analytics interface, on the left side there is the Google Analytics reporting menu. You’ll realize they’ve done a great job of organizing things based on intuitive marketing strategies.

A is for Acquisition: What brought visitors to your site?

These items in GA essentially show you what’s driving traffic to your digital properties, website, mobile site, mobile app, etc, telling you where your visitors coming from. Some examples of what kind of traffic you are getting are paid, referral, organic, and direct traffic. Also, the technological world we live in may have visitors coming to your site from multiple touch points several times before converting. Universal Analytics helps you tie all of these things together (including even offline data if you want).


B is for Behavior: What did the visitors do once they got there?

Once visitors get to your website or mobile app, what are they doing? The “behavior” area tells you what your visitors are engaging with on your digital properties. At a higher level, they might be visiting and interacting with the home page or other landing pages, traversing the site, visiting several pages (or bouncing!). Also, if set up correctly, Behavior not only includes what pages they visited, but specifics of how they interacted with your pages and site(s). For example, Events you’ve set up to be triggered by playing videos, clicking links, using the slider button and reading through content, would all be found here, so you can see the details of exactly what’s happening.


C is for Conversion: Did they do what you wanted them to do?

This is what it all comes down to! By setting up Google Analytics goals and enhanced eCommerce, you’ll be able to tell if your online marketing efforts are truly working. After all, who needs a bunch of visitors engaging with your site if they’re not contributing to your bottom line, like becoming leads by submitting forms or buying products. Here is where you can see all your goal conversions, like downloading material, form submissions, add-to-carts, completed checkouts, etc.


For your reference and visual pleasure, below is an infographic to demonstrate these basic concepts and flow in Google Analytics.

ABC of Google Analytics Infographic

Dec 29

Do you know that about half of all American adults say they are somewhat likely to make a New Year’s resolution? It goes without saying that most New Year’s resolutions are easier said than done, but we amazingly commit every year to sit and write these resolutions with the hope to change ourselves to be better individuals.

It is amazing to see that every year my gym gets over packed with people whose New Year’s resolutions are to get in shape and lose weight. Unfortunately, most of these people will disappear by the end of January and we might see them back in the year after.

To avoid such quick and unhappy ending for our Web Analytics next New Year’s resolutions, I would like to share with you few tips to help you reach most of your planned goals. Yes, some of these tips are very obvious, but we can all use a reminder from time to time.


1. Set meaningful goals for what you love to do the most.

This is the first ingredient to success; you must love what you do and what you want to be. It is true that no one was born as a Web Analytics ninja, but also not everyone was born with the ability to work with data. So if you are one of those people who don’t enjoy data, then maybe it is time to use this New Year’s resolution to reevaluate your career path and consider discovering other options that you like.

Same logic should be applied to which branch of Web Analytics you want to invest in more. Choose the concentration that you really enjoy and desire to continue advancing in, not something that your employer or the industry says is good for you. If you don’t have strong internal motivation within yourself about what you are doing, you won’t be successful.


2. Take baby steps.

Last year, my wife decided to run a 10K race. She was totally out of shape and could barely run for 5 minutes straight. She divided her ultimate goal into smaller challenges, but achievable goals guided by a running program called “Couch to 5k in 9 Weeks.” In a few months she successfully participated in a number of 10K run fundraisers!

Mastering Web Analytics is no less challenging than the 10K race. Whether you are an Analytics guru or a beginner, in order to advance your knowledge and experience in Analytics, you should set realistic goals and then take small steps that are likely to be met with success.


3. Don’t keep your resolutions to yourself.

I learned this technique from the SEO guru, Matt Cutts, of Google who always shares his 30-days challenges with his social friends and blog readers.

While I didn’t talk to Matt about his motive in sharing his monthly challenges and whether the sharing is helping him in achieving these challenges. For me though, I find myself more responsible in fulfilling my personal commitments when they are made public, especially when one or two friends show interest and decide to commit to the same resolution.

I strongly believe that resolutions are best made with groups. Friends and colleagues can gently push you in the right direction when you lose direction and motivate you when you slow down. So for next year’s Analytics resolutions, if you can find a friend or a group of friends who commit to the same New Year’s resolution together, then I guarantee you a better chance of achieving your goals [as known in analytics as “higher conversion rate” and “lower bounce rate”]. You will be more accountable to each other and give a hand to each other when things gets tough.


4. Get good mentors.

It is part of the human nature to imitate those around us. So as we are working on our next year’s resolutions, we need to make sure that we surround ourselves more often with people who carry common interests and similar career objectives and who offer us sincere advice, listen to our ideas and fears, and tell us when we have gone off track.

Analytics conferences offer good opportunity to hunt for good mentors and to connect with new Analytics friends. Although these conferences are a bit expensive, many of them offer a Social Networking pass or Exhibit Hall only pass at a good discounted price, so don’t miss these opportunities. Another good social event that no Web Analyst should miss is the Web Analytics Wednesday, which take place in many cities all over the world.


5. Fine-tune your spirituality.

It is important to add a spiritual dimension to your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to get certified in Google Analytics, you may also resolve to use that knowledge to serve your community through offering free internet marketing consulting to your favorite charity organization or government/education institutions.


There it is, folks…

I think I’m ready for a good start! Good luck in your resolutions and feel free to share them with us if you think that will help in implementing them :)



Jun 10

Recently Avinash Kaushik shared with his Facebook friends that his blog reached the following millstone: “# of comments on my blog = 8,000 today! Context: 221 posts. 471k words in posts. 742k words in comments.”

That is an average of 36 comments per post and 92 words per comment. Congratulations Avinash!

For Analytics oriented bloggers such as Avinash, I am sure as much as they love and appreciate all their blog readers they will always value the engaged readers who make the effort to drop a line or two seeking clarification, encouraging them to write more or giving them feedback.

This segment of blog readers is by all means the fuel that keeps bloggers alive and encourages them to continue to write and share what they have in mind. Therefore, studying and analyzing the behavior and the user experience of this segment is very important for optimizing the blog to achieve your blog objectives.

In this post I will walk you through few basic steps that will help make this segment of engaged readers available in your Google Analytics report.


  • You have Google Analytics installed in your blog
  • You are using WordPress as a platform for your blog (of course you can apply the same method to other blogging platforms)

The How:

Our approach is a three-step process:  add custom code, create a Goal in Google Analytics which tracks the number of comment submissions and then create an advanced segment for those who converted.

Step 1) Add custom code to the comments’ form code:

Since in WordPress there is no unique confirmation page – thank you page – that visitors see once they have submitted their comment, we will need to fire a virtual page every time the “Submit” button is clicked.

We will need to modify the comments form’s code and add some JavaScript code to it. The code will fire a virtual page every time the “submit comment” button is clicked. The code for the comments form is found within the comments.php file, which can be found under your WordPress theme folder [../wp-content/themes/default/comments.php]

  • Add the following code to the onclick event of the “submit comment” button:

onClick=”javascript: _gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/comment-submission.php']);”

Below you will see how the code will look after the JavaScrip insertion, this depends on the version of the Google Analytics tracking code you are using:

Asynchronous snippet

<p><input onClick=”javascript: _gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/comment-submission.php']);” name=”submit” type=”submit” id=”submit” tabindex=”5″ value=”Submit Comment” />
<?php comment_id_fields(); ?>

Traditional snippet

<p><input onClick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/comment-submission.php’);” name=”submit” type=”submit” id=”submit” tabindex=”5″ value=”Submit Comment” />
<?php comment_id_fields(); ?>

Step 2) Create a Goal:

Every time the virtual page that we created in step 1 is fired, it will trigger a conversion and the hit will be available in the Goals report.

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account and then click “Edit” beside your profile. You will need to configure goals for each profile you want the Goal to show up in.
  2. Click on: +Add Goal
  3. Enter the following Goal Information:
  • Goal Name: Blog Comment Submission
  • Active Goal: On
  • Goal Type: URL Destination
  • Match Type: Head Match or Exact Match (in this case both will work)
  • Goal URL: /comment-submission.php

Step 3) Wait a Few Days and Analyze your Goal Performance

Your Goals will not work backwards, so you will need to wait for Goal data to appear in your reports. Now you have the number of comment submissions.

Is creating a goal is enough for our deep analysis? Not really! It will be nice if we can analyze traffic only from this specific segment of our blog visitors. Advanced Segments is the answer!

Step 4) Create an advanced segment

Now let us create an advanced segment that only shows the visits of those who submitted comments.

  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account
  2. Advanced Segments > Create a new advanced segment
  3. Select the “Goal Completion” Metric for the Goal that you created in step 2

By applying this segment, now you will have more insight about the  blog commenter’s user experience, their traffic sources, geographical locations, time on site, browsers, screen resolutions, etc.

Apply the same concept to your email subscribers, contact-us requests, social media followers or any other segment of your blog readers you are interested in learning more about.

Happy Analyzing :)

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