Posts Tagged ‘segmentation’
You just attended an informative digital marketing and analytics conference and you’re pumped to make it a banner year for your organization. Your analytics and marketing goals are set and now you are serious about making a difference and you want to:
- Better understand your customers
- Improve your site performance
- Squeeze every bit of ROI from your marketing initiatives, and
- Provide valuable insight/recommendations to the business
Lofty goals and they should be. But are they achievable? Yes! Supercharge your marketing by implementing the 6-step Analytics Framework outlined in this post (although, for those of us addicted to data, it seems as though we might benefit more from a 12-step program ).
Before I dive into the framework, and for the (hopefully small) minority that is still getting familiar with analytics, it’s time to get serious about measurement or risk falling behind. Here’s why everyone should jump on the analytics bandwagon:
- Millions of sites, from start-ups to Fortune 25, use enterprise-class analytics solutions such as Google Analytics to improve their site performance.
- Today, analytics literature is abundant. Do a quick search for “web analytics” on Amazon and you’ll get over 200 results.
- Even in this day and age, it seems that only a few companies are serious about measurement and analysis. It’s time to move beyond the basics and treat data as a strategic asset. So if you’re looking for gold, it’s clear where you have to dig. Big companies like IBM can’t acquire analytics companies fast enough!
So we have established that there is more interest in data and more access to enterprise level analytics – but what is missing? We need smart people and commitment to a process. And as importantly, we need practical tips to guide us through the web of analytics. Assuming you have (or can get) smart people who care about the business and ask the right questions, here is a tried and tested framework guaranteed to take your marketing optimization to the next level.
The 6-step Analytics Framework
- Know Thy Channels
- Metrics: Less is More
- Segmentation: Give Me Context
- Intelligence at Your Service
Let’s get started!!
1 – Know Thy Channels
Your traffic is skyrocketing and you don’t know why. Not a good thing. You deserve more visibility. And since you’re smart and up-to-date, you know you can’t measure every channel using old metrics and by using just one tool. Hello Multiplicity! The good old pageviews won’t cut it anymore. Because channels are constantly evolving (did you know of anyone measuring “tweets” three years ago? ), it’s crucial to understand the characteristics of each channel and identify meaningful metrics specific to that channel.
- If you are a content site, and you are busy producing videos, you want to measure the success of this digital content. Look at user behavior and events (play, pause, forward etc) and understand where and when your audience is most engaged with your content.
- If blogging is your forte, measure number of comments, average words per post and average words per comment. Successful blogging is comprised of an engaged audience. We use WordPress’ Blog Metrics.
- If you’re one of the millions on FaceBook, listen to the conversation through comments, ‘likes’, shares, etc. Today, conversations happen outside of your own site.
Power tip: Identify all your channels and document what engagement and outcomes you expect and want to measure.
2 – Metrics: Less is More!
Are you drowning in rivers of data? To prevent sinking, critically examine your load. Just because you have access to large amounts of data and reports in Google Analytics (and the four other tools you have on your site), you don’t need it all. When sorting through data, remember: less is more. Just focus on what keeps your CEO awake at night (or jumping for joy ). Focus on key results, here are recommendations:
- eCommerce: report on revenue, ROAS and compare to expected outcomes
- B2B businesses: report on qualified leads and cost/lead
- Report on conversion rates and what channels are best/worst performers
- If you are just starting your analytics journey and you don’t have your analytics solution fully implemented, reporting on a “basic” yet powerful metric such as bounce rate will help you identify your worst offenders (campaigns and pages) and that’s something you can improve fairly quickly
- If you’re really advanced, develop your own custom KPIs. For example, check out how philly.com has done it. This newspaper website is measuring engagement on a new (and slightly complex) level. They are asking very thoughtful questions to help them understand their user behavior.
Power tip: Identify and trend 2-3 metrics for each of your stakeholders (business, marketing, IT, product, support)
3 – Segmentation: Give Me Context
Last month, you had one million visitors to your site. Sounds good, but is it? Not if you had three million visits two months ago. So always give your data context, segmentation is key. With Google Analytics, you can apply advanced segmentation capabilities to slice and dice your data in almost every other way you need (e.g. paid vs. non paid searches, engaged vs. non-engaged, geography, visitor type, browser, time comparison, etc. you name it). If you are the deep-dive type, you should then zoom in on your segments for more meaningful data and whatever makes sense for your business.
- If you have an eCommerce site, report on sales this month, planned sales, sales last month and sales during the same month last year
Power tip: Review your current dashboard and assess where to add an additional dimension to each report
4 – Intelligence at Your Service
Let computers do all the number crunching. Make faster, smarter decisions with reports that automatically detect and surface significant changes in your key performance indicators. It’s your site and you’re responsible for it. So log into Google Analytics, set your preferences, and let intelligence do the work. As a result, you’ll have more time to analyze and properly present your data.
Power tip: Set Google Analytics custom alerts for each of the KPIs on your dashboard
5 – Reporting
It’s the end of the month again and reports are due and you know that your site is no longer the center of the universe. You have offline data sources, campaign cost data, mobile applications, surveys etc.) So you want to blend the data for a meaningful presentation, insight and actionability. For your Analytics dashboards, bring in data from different sources and organize it under one framework.
Power tip: Trend and report on those 2-3 KPIs you identified earlier
6 – Automation
Better manage your time by automating your reports. Manual reporting can take so long that we eventually neglect properly analyzing the information. Many tools are available to send data to your inbox (or dashboard). So once you have selected your key performance indicators, and to the extent possible, automate report generation. Why you might ask? Trust me, you’ll have much more time to act on the data. But, wait, there’s more!
- Say you run an eCommerce site and you are using Google Analytics, find your favorite tool in the Google Analytics Application Gallery and get that data out of GA and in to your favorite application. Check out the application from our good friends at ShufflePoint who leverage the Google Analytics API to export data into Excel and Powerpoint (we simply are very impressed by what they have done and do recommend their solution to our clients). Done are the copy and paste days. Voila! One click and your data is in Excel! You can then use simple trending/charting options, advanced pivots or more elaborate dashboards as you see in these snapshots. Analyzing the data requires smart people, but getting reports should be a piece of cake. Now, spend your time wisely on important things (like reading E-Nor blog posts ).
To summarize, marketing optimization is not a one time thing, or something that we “set and forget”. You want to “measure.. analyze… optimize” and start again. I encourage you to establish a weekly, monthly and quarterly set of activities to improve your measurement framework. The details will depend on your business and marketing activities but you definitely want to audit what you do to ensure you:
- Stay updated on new marketing channels
- Measure only what matters
- Run reports efficiently
- Dedicate time to analysis
- Upgrade your team’s Excel/reporting/analysis/presentation skill-sets
- Act on findings to positively impact the business and make sure the organization is aware of the impact!
So here it is. The 6-step framework to supercharge your marketing optimization effort! I hope you put it to use and I welcome your input, comments and feedback.
Just recently, one of our clients asked me to share with their analysts a number of custom segments and custom reports that I’ve created for them. With the new “Share” segment button, it was very easy to share the URL of the segments/report and email them to the client.
When the analysts clicked on the segments’ URLs, they imported the report structure exactly as it was configured under my login. But when they saved the segments under their login, the segments were saved under wrong profiles!
Why to share segments?
First of all we need to know that Advanced Segments and custom reports in Google Analytics are tied to the user login and not to the account/profile under which these segments are created in. So if two users have access to the same profile but they are using different login to access the GA account, the segments created by user A are not accessible to user B unless they are manually shared by user A. So, all the amazing segments and custom reports that E-Nor creates under their Google Analytics login will not be visible to their clients who are using a different login credential, even though both E-Nor and their clients are logged into the same GA account.
What went wrong with the segments I shared with our client?
When our client’s analysts clicked on the shared segment’s URL, the segment showed up by default under the first profile of the first account that the login of each user has access to. Because the relevant profile applicable to the segment was not the first profile in their accounts list, they failed to add the segment to the right profile and when they later logged in they were unable to allocate the segment under the given profile.
The “share” functionality in the Advance Segment and Custom Report is good as long as the recipient of the shared segment applies the segment to the right profile using the “Visible in” menu (See point# 6 of this post). But if you want to make the life of the recipient much easier then follow the simple solution provided below.
After looking at the Segment link and other GA reports links, I noticed that if we add the Profile ID to the link URL as parameter, then the segment will be populated under the right account and the right profile. So the solution is simply to attach the profile ID with the segment link
Let me translate the above solution to 5 simple steps to follow:
1. How can I get the profile id?
2. How to create advanced segments and custom reports?
This is not the focus of this blog post, nevertheless, to learn how to create your own advanced segment read the following help topics:
3. How to get the custom segment Link?
Click Share for the relevant segment or report. [Go to Advanced Segments > Manage your advanced segments > Share > Copy the URL]
4. How to add the profile ID that I got from step# 1 to the segment Link URL that I got from step# 2?
Very simple! Just append the Profile ID [ex. id=18900120] to the end of the segment link URL
5. What is next?
Send the enhanced segment link to anyone who has access to the Google Analytics account. When the recipient clicks the link, a template of your advanced segment or custom report loads under the correct account and correct profile.
6. What if I receive a segment link that doesn’t contain the profile ID?
Well, then you need to manually apply the segment to the desired profile.
At the bottom of the segment page, use the “Visible in” menu to select the profile(s) where you want the segment to be available.
I have recently guest-authored a series of posts on mobile analytics strategy on the Google Analytics blog. Each of the three posts highlights simple yet key steps for marketers to track their mobile traffic and improve their returns.
For those of you on the go, here’s a quick glance at the material I covered. Try to make time to read each post in-depth, even if you have to read it on your smart phone!
1 – Look for Mobile Trends
In the first post, I detail how to monitor and analyze mobile traffic using key performance indicators. This is best done by customizing your GA settings to receive mobile traffic reports, custom alerts, and for the enthusiast, using the Google Analytics data export API.
2 – Give Your Reports More Dollar Power
So you’re mobile trends are positive, do you just throw the data to your boss? No. You always want to give your reports more dollar power. The second post centers on the power of presentation. If you’re CEO can easily connect the dots, two bottoms will be covered — your company’s and yours!
3 – Act on Your ROI
The average analytics guy will stop at step 2, but the third post encourages you to do more. Additional segmentation and leveraging AdWords’ reports will allow you the much needed visibility into campaign performance to maximize your results.
And There’s More!
For tor the technically inclined, and to get a more comprehensive perspective on your mobile presence, there is more you can do. Check out the code site page on mobile to:
- Track native iPhone or Android applications
- Track activities on websites from low-end mobile devices
And be on the lookout for niche analytics solutions specifically built for mobile.
Remember, it’s never too late to start maximizing your company’s mobile investment and implementation. Be sure to check out each post for more details and practical tips.
For more analytics tips and insights, follow @ferasa on twitter. Happy analyzing!
One of our most well received posts this year was on “Tracking Online and Offline Marketing Campaigns with Google Analytics”. The post detailed how to properly plan for and track your various marketing initiatives and campaigns (search, email, social, offline, etc.) to understand the impact and ROI of each channel.
That post was geared towards those who already had a good understanding of URL tagging. How about the beginners? In this post, we will try to address both beginners and advanced users. Does either of the bullets describe you?
- You are familiar with URL tagging, but need to find a way to automate the process using an elaborate tool
- You are looking for a brief how-to guide on URL tagging.
If the answer is yes, keep reading. Actually, keep reading either way – this was just a poorly crafted attempt at being dramatic.
Although url tagging isn’t a hot new topic, proper planning and tagging is fundamental to improving visibility into campaign performance, overall accuracy and proper attribution of campaign conversion data. Some of the most common questions we get asked are related to URL tagging, so we figured it was time to share some of the tools we use internally to help make the URL tagging process less mundane and more bulletproof.
Why should I continue reading? Here’s what you’ll get…
- Online URL Tagging builder
- An Advanced URL Tagging Kit (Excel based), and yes, it’s free!
- A video guide & practical tips
Ok fine….How do I get started?
Start with the end result of tagging – a pivot report with Channel Segmentation.
Impress your boss and brag about your marketing channel and campaign segmentation skills, show them a sample report like this one (and get additional help/resources for your analytics team!) and then proactively follow the steps and tools in this post.
Let me explain why the above report is so powerful:
- All your campaigns – online and offline are segmented and properly tracked
- The pivot data is in an analysis friendly format
- The raw data is available and easily exported from GA (extracted into Excel via the API)
The three tools listed below will help you set up proper campaign tracking.
1- Online URL Builder
If you’re trying to learn how to build properly tagged URL’s or just need a tool to facilitate building a quick link or two, this tool will serve your needs very well. It’s quick, easy and available online here:
Simply enter the appropriate values, and then press the Generate URL button, and you’re done.
2- The Google Analytics Campaign Segmentation | URL Tagging Kit (beta)
The URL builder above is great for onesey twosey links, but woefully inadequate if you have more than a few links to tag (who doesn’t?) For a more robust method, check out E-Nor’s URL Tagging Kit. This Kit provides an automated method to tag many urls at the same time for multiple campaign variables. Using the URL Tagging Kit offers the ability to tag in bulk, updates formulas, error checks and prepares final tagged URLs for distribution to the campaign manager and then off to Quality Assurance.
Output Tagged URLS!!!
For beginners, just use the default settings and tag away!
For advanced users, here is what you get with this beta version:
- Auto concatenation of tag fields
- Error checking
- Space character is handled gracefully
- Character case is auto-fixed based on selection
- Leading/trailing spaces are trimmed
- Your choice of querystring parameter character (? Or #)
- Auto-creation of final static version of the tagged URL
Download the URL Tagging Kit here
3- Online Video Tutorial
Don’t have time to read? Just watch the short tutorial below
(for whatever reason, I can’t seem to get full screen mode enabled on this video. Click here to watch the video on Youtube with full screen enabled.)
- Google AdWords offers an “auto tagging” feature, if you turn it on and you connect your AdWords account with your Google Analytics account, you are all set. No manual URL tagging are required.
- Use URL Tagging for campaign types, such as:
- Shopping Comparison Sites
- Non-Google CPC, CPA or CPM based advertisements
- Press Releases
- Basic UTM tagging only applies to your domain(s) and does not apply to external domains.
- Check which querystring parameter your site supports: ? or # (if you are using # as your querystring parameter, make sure you read the reference from Google Code on the _setAllowAnchor command)
- Establish an insightful naming convention for your team & stick to it!
- Ensure a QA process is in place:
- QA naming convention (including upper and lower case) and if you use holiday_2011, don’t use FALL-2011 for the same campaign.
- Check links to verify landing pages render properly.
- Verify final tagged urls in all final content.
- Verify information is passed to Google Analytics as planned.
So there you have it. Tag, Track, Segment, Analyze and Optimize!
Advanced User Notes:
- For advanced users and those interested in multi-channel attribution, you can make use of the Multiple Custom Variables (MCV) feature in Google Analytics to measure first, last (and in between) campaign attribution
- If you are running social media and online viral marketing activities and you are active in blogging, on Twitter and Facebook, you should include “off-site” measurements in your overall campaign analysis.
- Here’s a nice post on the GA blog detailing a solution that requires no tagging.
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)
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.
- Add the following code to the onclick event of the “submit comment” button:
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:
<?php comment_id_fields(); ?>
<?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.
- 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.
- Click on: +Add Goal
- 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.
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account
- Advanced Segments > Create a new advanced segment
- 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.