What does this mean for you? For one thing, Universal is now the only option for new accounts and properties, so essentially, Google Analytics has become Universal Analytics. Also, as very welcome news, Universal Analytics will now offer feature parity with Classic, so you can now take advantage of the Demographics & Interests reports as well as remarketing segments when you use Universal.
For Google Analytics Premium accounts, your SLA will now cover Universal.
Linked below are several learning resources to help you transition to Universal and strengthen your overall Google Analytics skills.
The global shift to Google Analytics Universal is upon us. Google plans to migrate everyone, and that can be a little scary. We want to make the migration as clear and seamless as possible for you.
The migration to Google Universal Analytics consists of two basic steps, but we need to keep aware of a few potential twists and turns along the way. The flowchart that appears below illustrates the timeline and decision paths that you’ll follow as you migrate your own Google Analytics properties to Universal.
The flowchart maps out the points discussed in the video that we posted last week, so you can now view the video, follow along in the flowchart, and read though our Universal ebook for a deeper dive into core Google Analytics functionality and Universal-specific considerations.
Since we have a little hands-on experience with Universal Analytics, we wanted to answer some important questions and outline steps you should be taking for a smooth transition. Below are some tips (along with a video from our principal consultant, Feras Alhlou) to make the migration a little more understandable.
Benefits of Migrating to Universal Analytics
Before we even get into the tips, what’s so great about Universal Analytics? Google has made some significant improvements in the evolution of analytics. For example, updates that might normally require changes in code can be done right from the Universal Analytics interface. Most notably, the system is evolving to support the multi-device/medium world we live in today – that is, tracking not only websites, but mobile apps and even allowing the import of offline data – so you can have a truly 360 degree view of all your engagement and marketing efforts.
While this post won’t explore the more advanced topics, the basic steps for Universal migration – outlined in the sections below (and in the video) – will allow you to take advantage of all features that Google Analytics Universal offers, now and in the near future.
1. Transferring your property to Universal Analytics Process Technology is DIFFERENT from upgrading your code.
As shown in our video, if you go to the admin section of your account, you may see a message from Google encouraging you to migrate your property. Also, under the settings for each property, you’ll see this:
This is simply asking you to upgrade your property to the Universal Analytics infrastructure. This will NOT affect your data. It’s just moving everything behind the scenes at Google to the new “processing technology”.
It might be a little confusing, but it’s necessary to understand that the Universal property transfer is different from upgrading your code and tags to Universal Analytics syntax, which eventually will be required. We’ll discuss that step later.
2. No immediate action is required (as of yet).
Although a full migration to Universal is recommended, you don’t actually have to take any specific steps for Universal right now. If you don’t upgrade your Google Analytics properties to the Universal infrastructure, Google Analytics will at some point do it automatically. However, if you want to go ahead, you can proceed by clicking the upgrade link in your property settings (shown in the picture above).
3. ga.js (Classic) tracking code will still work once my property is transferred to Universal (for now).
For now, ga.js will continue to track correctly, even if your properties have been automatically transferred to the Universal infrastructure. So your data will be fine and your tracking will still work.
Note: while Google Analytics may continue to support ga.js up to two years more, you don’t want to wait too long to upgrade your code to Universal Analytics, because at some point, ga.js will sunset and your data will no longer be recorded reliably.
4. You can replace ga.js (classic) with the analytics.js (Universal), but don’t forget some caveats!
You must upgrade your infrastructure for the new analytics.js code to work!
First, before you swap out ga.js for analytics.js, you must make sure to upgrade your corresponding Google Analytics property to Universal as described in tip 1 above. Although you can use the old tracking code with a Universal property (at least in the near future), you CAN’T use the NEW analytics.js tracking code with the CLASSIC infrastructure. Again, if you see the upgrade notice on the admin screen pictured above that says “transfer not started”, your property has not yet been transferred to Universal, so click on that and follow the steps if you want to use the new code.
If you initiate the transfer of your property yourself, you should wait 24-48 hours before switching to the analytics.js tracking code.
Update your tags’ syntax!
Also, at the same time that you switch to analytics.js, you must update any events, virtual pageviews, social actions, custom variables, and Ecommerce tracking that you have already coded for your site.
In the offsite link example below, an event is coded using Classic syntax:
6. Google Tag Manager: Replace the classic tag with the Universal tag.
If you’re using a Google Analytics classic code in Google Tag Manager to track your website pageviews, you can simply switch to a Google Analytics Universal code. However, as mentioned, don’t forget to update any other Google Analytics classic tags, such as for events and Ecommerce, that you may have added to your Google Tag Manager container. Third-party tag management systems should also provide the option of upgrading your Google Analytics tags to Universal.
7. New Implementation? Don’t waste time – go Universal!
If you’re tracking a new website, don’t waste time! Either with the native Google Analytics tracking code or through Google Tag Manager, choose the Universal option and join your fellow Web analysts as we march into the next generation of tracking.
On the Horizon: Enable the Demographics and Interests reports in Universal
While the Demographics and Interests reports are currently available only in Google Analytics classic, they should soon become available in Universal as well, at which time you can follow the instructions provided by Google.
Implementation, configuration, and reporting are not our final objectives in using Google Analytics.
What are our final objectives? Creating a better experience for our end users and generating greater value for our organizations. But there are many aspects of implementation and configuration that we need to get right, and many hidden reporting gems that we need to seek out, before we can get to insight, data-driven action, and measurable improvement.
This Google Analytics guide is designed to be concise but also fairly comprehensive, and at least a starting point for all major considerations for your Google Analytics deployment (on websites – app tracking is not covered specifically). You can read it from end to end as a technical overview, or you can focus on individual topics. In either case, we hope you find the guide useful. Please let us know what you think!
Tips! Getting customers through your website’s metaphorical doors is a tough mission! But keeping those visitors engaged once they’re on your site is an even tougher challenge. How do you leap these hurdles and create a site that customers both enjoy visiting and want to keep coming back to? This is a question all marketers and web analysts would LOVE to know the answer to. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that is easily determined with a one-size-fits-all answer.
So how do you measure your visitors’ engagement?
Ready for blast off?
Download our new eBook “Tracking Product Journey from Carting to Purchasing – 15 Secrets To Perfecting Your Online Store!” to learn about:
The top engagement metrics for each step of the purchasing cycle:
Viewing to Carting
Carting to Buying
Buying to Buying More
How to architect and implement a measurement solution using Google Analytics as a measurement platform.
How to analyze the data collected for the different users’ segments.
This eBook also can be used as an unofficial guide to a best practice implementation of Google’s Universal Analytics.
Don’t forget to read through to the end — I’ve included few take home action items
I hope you will enjoy this book as much I did putting it together. Alright my fellow data ninjas, let’s have some fun!
Tracking links posted to social networks in Google Analytics is pretty simple and standard, but we still hear clients asking how to do it. So we thought we would do a small refresher.
Watch our video on how to track social campaigns!
Any current digital marketing plan should include social marketing. With smartphones, everyone has instant anytime access to social networks, and they’re listening to their friends talk about your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is more likely to convert by 4 times and also has the ability to go viral, which can exponentially increase brand awareness as well as generate leads. And for the most part, Social Marketing is free, if done right.
But how do you track how well your social networks are doing?
If you are spending ads to promote your posts, how do you track if visitors are clicking on your links and converting?
What are social visitors doing on your website?
Which social network is the most effective?
Google Analytics helps you slice and dice your traffic to answer these questions, if only you could somehow filter your data for these social networks.
Here are 3 easy steps:
Step 1) Create Google Analytics campaigns for each of your social networks.
Let’s say you were promoting a blog post. Here’s what we would define the utm parameters as…
For “campaign”, you will need to name it based on your campaign, so for a blog post, we named it “blog”. You can see for “medium” we put “social” since that’s where it’s coming from (vs email, organic search, referral site, etc), and for “source” we put the name of the social network.
Step 2) Pass the utm parameters to the url you want to promote, then post the corresponding url to each social network.
To create the utm tagged urls, here are some tools we use:
Once your urls are tagged properly (and preferrably shortened), post each corresponding url (with its corresponding source) to your social networks. When people see it and click on it in their feed, the url they visit will be tagged.
Step 3) Segment your reports for these campaigns and slice and dice your data!
Now that you’ve passed these utms, you can segment your Google Analytics reports based on these filters.
First thing I like to do is segment for just the campaign. So I set up a custom advanced segment for that. In our case, we named it “blog”.
Now Google Analytics will only show data for links that you’ve tagged with this specific campaign.
Then, we can go into the advanced filter of any report, and filter for where the “medium” = “social”
And now you can see data based on just your social posting! Look for a particular day where you blasted the that post, see what social network gave you the most traffic, which visitors triggered events and goals, etc.!
You can now more accurately attribute ROI, so you can do it again, again, and again!
Working in the Silicon Valley is an awesome ongoing adventure. The spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity, hard work, and fun is always there. Even large companies like Google have the “20 percent time” program, where Googlers are allowed to use 20 percent of their work week to pursue any special project they like, which Google claims many of their innovative products to have originate from.
Here at E-Nor, such innovative spirit is integrated in our culture and company’s DNA. We try to think about data and analytics beyond the 8 (official) working hours Such spirit can be found in a project of one of our lead analysts and long time blogger, Allaedin Ezzedin, in a little fairy tale called “Alice in Marketing Wonderland”.
For your digital marketing amusement, if you’re a child of Analytics ready for a wondrous journey through a world of marketing fantasy, watch the video below!
Sometimes, the urls (and titles) of your pages are not conducive to web analytics reporting. For example, your ecommerce site’s payment, shipping, and order confirmation page may all have the same url for some reason – http://www.domain.com/checkout.aspx. To web analytics, all these funnel pages are reported as one page. You are now stuck, you can’t create ecommerce funnels and measuring shopping cart funnel abandonment is impossible. And there is a more subtle and serious issue as well, in your report, you may find hits (events, ecommerce, social, etc) associated with this url, but you won’t know what part of the order process these hits belong to.
Here’s the actual flow we want to track and understand:
If you have a shipping calculator on your shipping page, a card type drop-down on the payment page, social buttons on all pages, you want to track each of these events on each page. However, it will show like this:
All the urls are the same! How do you know if these events happened on the shipping page, payment page or order confirmation page? You might be able to tell from the event names, but in some cases you may not be 100% sure, and this is definitely not clean and ideal.
While fixing the actual real urls and title tags (assigning unique urls and titles per page) would make things very organized, your content management system may not support this, or you might prefer not to spend that time or money on developers.
Luckily, there is a secret, undocumented method that allows you to actually set the page url and title of a visited page in Google Analytics. More importantly, it will actually associate the hits with these new, more meaningful page urls and titles. Your reports will be easier to read and will provide insights that may not have been available before.
The Issue With Virtual Pages
The traditional solution to this would be to use the _trackPageview method and trigger virtual pages for each “step” (i.e. /virtual-page/shipping.html, etc.).
The drawback here though is still, the actual events will not be associated with these virtual pages you’ve created. They will always be connected to the “real” page, which would be /checkout.aspx (as you can see in the screenshot above). You’re still lacking potentially valuable insights.
SECRET HACK! Setting the URL and TITLE in Google Analytics – _set method
With this new _set method, you can manually set the url and title of the page to whatever convenient name you want.
In the case of the ecommerce example mentioned earlier, for each page you’d like to rename, you can pass the preferred url and title so that it’s separated and meaningful in Google Analytics and associated WITH THE HITS:
We got a couple Google Analytics service calls this morning from some concerned patrons freaking out about traffic in their real-time report that was coming from an international space station (one of them was a government call!).
WTH? International spies? Aliens?
Well, we looked at a couple of other client profiles, and we saw the same exact traffic… and it actually isn’t counted in the real-time counter.
41 visits all day consistently… 4/1… April fools… pssssshhhhh….
Looks like we’ve been dupped by Google Analytics April Fools 2013. Very funny :/
No matter what the latest marketing channel or marketing buzzword is, email marketing is here to stay and you’d better be paying close attention to it. We’ve covered some basic email marketing strategies in the following parts:part 1, part 2 and part 3. But once you’ve got a solid email marketing program, you’ve gotta be measuring how it did! This post is about email marketing analytics, and in line with our “user-centric” approach to measurement, I’ll share tips with you on how to report not only on traditional email metrics, but also how to see a 360 view of your customers and prospects.
The beauty of the user-centric approach is that your data will be specific to your customer base. You’re not just looking at “open rates” or “click-through rates” in just email marketing, but you’re measuring the entire user experience. This way, you can better decide what works and what doesn’t work based on the interaction with the user. Tracking helps you to constantly improve your email, web and mobile content and approach based on your customer’s overall behavior.
First let’s cover the basics. Most email marketing platforms, such as Exact Target, Responsys, iContact, MailChimp, Constant Contact, VerticalResponse, etc. all have integrated tracking. In fact, you don’t even need to set anything up – they’ll have a report ready for you as soon as the email campaign has been sent. In the report, you get pretty decent metrics.
Here is a sample of what you would see from an email-marketing provider:
Open Rate – the number of people who opened your email as well as the total number of times your email was opened.
Action: If you have a low open rate, let creative juices flow and come up with more compelling subject lines. Test sending at different times of the day, different days of the week, etc.
Click Rate – the number of people who clicked a link in your email as well as the total number of times links were clicked in your email.
Action: More than likely, the purpose of your email is to get the reader to take action. More often than not, that’s to click on something and go somewhere on your website. If this metric is low, maybe the quality of your content is not where it needs to be. Maybe the offer is not that compelling. Also, make sure your links and “Calls-to-Actions” are visible; the goal is to get more interaction with customers.
Bounces – the number of people who didn’t get your email e.g. their email account could not be reached.
Action: To avoid bounces, make sure you collected the list of contacts yourself by having a sign up list on your site, or having them opt-in to receiving special offers from you once they make a purchase.
Unsubscribes - the number of people who removed their email from your list, using the subscription management link (email platform will always include this on emails sent through their system) at the bottom of the email.
Action: To avoid unsubscribes, make sure the information you are presenting to your customers is relevant to them. When initially creating your list, having subscribers opt-in would most likely decrease this too, since they’ve chosen to hear from you. Most likely if you added someone without their permission, they may not want to be bothered and unsubscribe. Also, maybe you’re sending too many emails? That can be annoying and cause someone to unsubscribe.
Forwards - the number of people who forward the email using “Forward to Friend” at the bottom of the email. The email platforms can (should) not capture data of people clicking the actual forward link in their email client.
Action: You’re doing something right if this is high, if your customers are forwarding to their friends! Keep it up!
Complaints – the number of times a contact reports your message as spam in their email clients.
Action: Similar to unsubscribes, to avoid complaints, make sure you are not spamming your customers, don’t send multiple emails a day and make sure you are sending information that is relevant to them. A great way to ensure people don’t unsubscribe is segmenting your contacts into lists of content that is relevant to them, this way they are only receiving content that they signed up for.
Now if you have been reading our blog and follow our Reporting Framework, you know that you should be trending your KPIs, and you could do that easily in Excel and come up with something like this:
WOW! What happened to our open rates and click-through’s in Feb!! We can see some issues, so now we can take action!
Post Click – Tracking in Google Analytics
Hopefully, you can tell this is all great information for the email blast itself, but what happens after your email subscribers clicked on the link in your email and landed on your website? This is where Google Analytics comes in.
The email platform will allow you to track the amount of clicks and opens for your blast. But what web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics will do, if you have it set up on your website and have properly tagged your emails, by connecting the two, you get insights on what happens after they’ve clicked the links in your email. See how engaged your email visitor is with your site.
Tagging and Segmentation
Adding a simple tag to the links on the email blast will allow you find out:
…if they convert
…fill out a form
…watch a video
…and much more.
This is obviously quite useful, especially if you have eCommerce set up in Google Analytics you can track revenue per email campaign.
Tagging properly to segment your visitors in Google Analytics can be useful when trying to figure out what works best for particular audiences. For example, let’s say you’re having a sale and want to see if “20% off” would capture more attention than “Free Shipping”. The first thing would be to segment your list. Segmenting will allow you to send the same email blast to different sets of people or you can even send two different emails based on your audience to see which performs better. The first email will have a subject line of “20% off your purchase today!” and the second email will be “Buy now & get free shipping.”
Now that you’ve created two blasts, you can add utm tags. A utm tag allows you to make each link unique by adding fields that will appear in Google Analytics reports. To generate this unique link, use E-Nor’s URL builder or another awesome tool for tagging is Campaignalyzer.
When using the URL builder, there are three required fields:
Campaign Source is where your traffic is coming from. For example, if you paste the link on “Facebook”, and want to track the visits from there, you can use that as your source. In the case of email tagging, you can use it to identify your segment type. For example, use “leads” for a email blast to your leads list. You can use “prospects”, “customers”, “male”, “female”, etc.
Campaign Medium is a marketing medium, or in other words, the “channel” you are using. In this case, it should always be “email” when linking from an email blast.
Campaign Name as it says, names your campaign. For example, you can use “April Newsletter” when linking from an email blast for the monthly newsletter in April. You can use the month and year, or even more specifically use the actual day that you are sending it on. You can also use the name of the product you are promoting in the content. If you are sending out newsletters on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), we would suggest using the date for the campaign name, because it will make things easier when you are looking at reports. Also, if you are testing to see what type of email is getting more conversions, then you will want to use the campaign name to differentiate the emails.
Tip: Always test that your tagged urls appear in the browser and in Google Analytics! You never know what can happen…
Now that you’ve tagged your email, the data will be found under medium as email traffic for your deep dive analysis.
You can also trend data over time and see if there are seasonal impacts to your user’s behavior. You can see how many people continued ‘shopping’ on your site and even if they ended up purchasing/converting or not. If you are doing A/B testing on which email to send out to all your customers, you can analyze between both sets of data and then make a decision about which offer resulted in more revenue or micro conversions.
The above reports are all dandy, but we are still looking at metrics in isolation. Analysis and optimization is all about context. What if you like to view the entire experience in one report, you want to see the number of list subscribers, the open rate of a specific campaign and the associated revenue in one report? Sure, you could do it in Excel, but that’ll be a lot of work.
What we recommend is automatically pulling data out of Google Analytics into Tableau and then be ready for some serious slicing and dicing (for now, you still have to pull the email providers data from a csv file and into Tableau). Again, if you follow our articles, here we are featured on the Google blog explaining how to do that).
Here’s what you’ll see, a nice dashboard in Tableau showing key campaign metrics nicely trended for four email newsletters (NL_1, NL_2, NL_3, NL_4):
Clicks (of those Opens, how many clicked and visited your site)
Number of transactions
(you can also plot Open Rate, Subscriber/list Growth Rate, Time on Site, email visits from Mobile, etc.)
Analysis note: it’s obvious that the Newsletter 4 (NL_4 in red) just tanked in every aspect so address it immediately. It’s also worth noting that while the Newsletter 3 (NL_3 in green) had less transactions than the Newsletter 2 (NL_2 in orange), the revenue number for NL_3 is slightly higher. This indicates that your average order value is higher and whatever you did to upsell or promote higher ticket items worked!!
Mobile Analytics & Engagement
Don’t forget to assess your users mobile experience and expect that more people are using the mobile phones and tablet to access email, browse and shop. Go to your mobile reports and segment by “medium” and select the “ecommerce conversion rate” metric. You’ll quickly see that your mobile users convert at half the rate than your desktop users!! A quick “lost opportunity” analysis will convince your manager to invest into a responsive design for your site or maybe a mobile site.
This will be the subject of a more detailed blog post, but since Universal Analytics is the future, start thinking of what metrics you want to pull into Universal Analytics from your email marketing efforts. Passing a “user id” (ensure it’s don’t include personally identifying information) is a good start. Work with your email providers to pass the “user id” with the click/visit and then once once the visitor clicks the email link and they are on your site, grab the “user id” and store it in a Custom Dimension. You can then report and export your reports (with user ids) into your BI tool.
Filter out auto-respond emails, confirmation emails.
Scenario: A user arrives at your site via an organic search. The user performs some action which results in him receiving a system generated email containing a link back to the site (for example, an account activation email). If the user clicks on the link to go back to the site, it’s very likely the medium of the original visit will be overwritten to Referral, particularly if the user is using a web-based email client. (In the case of Microsoft Outlook, this would be considered a Direct visit, but the medium wouldn’t be overwritten since returning Direct visits don’t override the original medium.) The “no override” parameter shown below prevents this problem from manifesting. The parameter utm_nooverride=1 can be added to all system generated e-mails, such as registration and password reminder e-mails. For example, a password reset link such as:
Can be updated to
Attribution & Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) for your email marketing program:
Keep in mind that we all browse many sites before we buy or submit a request for more information. And we are likely to revisit the same site many times before we do so. To see all these touchpoints and how your email channels contributes and assists conversions, make sure you review the MCF reports in in Google Analytics. Here is a snapshot at the Top Conversion Paths along with the number of conversions and conversion values for each path. It takes some of us 5 emails to convert!!
Here you have it! Any other email marketing analytics tips you like to share?