Articles written in February, 2010

February 23 2010

Google Analytics: Approved by the U.S. Government!

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If you’re an avid reader of our Analytics and Site Intelligence blog, you know by now that Google Analytics is very powerful, extremely secure, and flexible for many different types of web sites, industries, and web applications.

Last week, Google Analytics added a new layer of protection and clout in the web analytics industry by being approved by the United States Government. The United States Federal General Services Administration (GSA) has listed Google Analytics on its apps.gov website, which contain a listing of government-approved cloud computing applications.

Privacy and security matters are a top priority for Google Analytics, and being approved as a cloud computing application by the U.S. Government is a symbol of that hard work and dedication by the Google Analytics team.

On the Google Analtyics Blog, Dr. Phil Mui, Senior Product Manager, wrote: “We are very proud of and humbled by this listing and excited by the potential opportunities to serve US federal agencies and help them monitor and improve their website experiences. We understand that working with US Federal agencies includes a responsibility to protect our users and we would like to take this opportunity to further explain how seriously Google Analytics takes data security and protecting data privacy for our users, as detailed in our Terms of Service.

This government approval makes MoreVisibility even more proud to offer a wide vareity of Google Analytics services to our clients, as well as being a Google Analtyics Authorized Consultant (GAAC).

Read the full article from the Google Analytics Blog here.

February 11 2010

What is Google Analytics Blogging About These Days?

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As a Web Analytics aficionado (and as a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant), we keep our ears and eyes open for all the goings on in the analytics industry. This of course means keeping up to date with the Google Analytics Blog, the best (and official) resource on the web.

They have been pretty busy so far in 2010, so if you’ve missed anything, here’s a list of what they’ve been blogging about so far:

Web Analytics TV with Avinash and Nick – Episode 4
Analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski talk about tracking Social Media in GA, Advanced Profile Filters, and how anyone can become excellent at Web Analytics.

In Case You Missed It
Jeff Gillis from the Google Analytics team reminds to you read Avinash Kaushik’s “Top Ten Ways to Get Your Business Ready for the Holidays” Blog post over on the official Google Blog.

Google Analytics IQ: Make Sure You’re Searchable
Have you taken the Google Analytics IQ Exam? Have you passed it? Helen Huang from Google Analytics shows you how to make your test record public.

Clicks vs. Visits Revisited
The age-old issue in Web Analytics is revisited and thoroughly explained by
Prissilia Kho and Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar.

Upcoming Seminars for Success in Australia
If you happen to be in the land down under, you won’t want to miss these great Seminar for Success conferences in February and March in Sydney and Melbourne, which is put on by fellow Google Analytics Authorized Consultants.

Raising the Bar on Google Analytics IQ
Alden DeSoto announces that it’s just gotten tougher to become Google Analytics IQ Certified.

Annotations Now Available in All Accounts
Annotations, a brand new feature announced at the very end of 2009, is now available in 100% of all Google Analytics accounts. Insert data in Google Analytics, and enjoy combining GA with your own “tribal” knowledge!

Google Analytics Even More Global
Six more languages have now been added to Google Analytics, bringing the total to 31 different languages to enjoy Google Analytics with.

Web Analytics TV with Avinash and Nick – Episode 5
This dynamic duo is at it again, this time going deep with a 25 minute video discussing a wide variety of Google Analtyics topics, which will really enrich and deepen your knowledge!

Quick Survey on the Help Center
Do you use the Google Analytics Help Center? Help Google help you by filling out this very quick survey, so that Google can improve this help section just for you.

Upcoming Google Analytics Workshop
Are you planning on being in the San Francisco / Bay Area in March for the SMX West Conference? If you are, then you won’t want to miss this great 2-part workshop by Feras Alhou, another fellow GAAC with E-Nor. If you haven’t registered for SMX West yet, you can use the discount code GA@SMX for 10% off!

Barely 5 weeks into the new year, and a lot of things are already happening! Stay tuned to both our blog and the Google Analytics blog throughout the year for more great news!

February 8 2010

Standard Deviation, and what it means for you

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Let’s do something here on our Analytics & Site Intelligence blog that quite honestly we don’t do enough of: talk about pure statistics! Can you feel the excitement running through your veins? Oh wait, that’s only me.

As the Web Analytics industry becomes more and more mature, the requirement to understand basic statistical concepts becomes greater and greater. Awesome new features, like Google Analytics’ Intelligence report section and predictive modeling features from Google Insights for Search, beg the user to dive deep on their web data, segment it, grab insights, make a conclusion, and take meaningful actions.

Sure, you can do all that without knowing a lick about statistics, but chances are very high that you’ll start to get confused, lost, and overwhelmed along the way. Think of statistics like contractors think about a foundation for building a home – we all know what happens without a strong foundation!

Enter “Standard Deviation”, which is quite possibly (next to mean) the most important element in the field of statistics. Standard Deviation is the variance (another stat term!) from the mean (average) of a set of data.

Let’s say that the average football fan watches 3.5 hours of football a week, with a standard deviation of .5 hours (a half-hour). This means that – assuming a normal distribution (a third stats term!!) – most football fans (about 68% of them) will watch anywhere from 3 to 4 hours of football a week. Since the average is 3.5, and the standard deviation is .5, watching 4 hours of football a week is said to be “one standard deviation above the mean”. Conversely, watching 3 hours of football is said to be “one standard deviation below the mean”.

However, almost all football fans (which is about 95% of them, assuming a normal distribution), will watch anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 hours of football, which is said to be “two standard deviations above or below the mean”. It’s two standard deviations above or below the mean, because 2.5 hours or 4.5 hours is two “.5’s” above or below our mean of 3.5.

In statistics, it is generally considered unusual if a particular data point (like, watching 9 hours of football) is above or below two standard deviations from the mean. Watching an average of 9 hours a week of football for the average football fan is way…WAY above 2s (two standard deviations), so this would be considered highly unusual for the average football fan.

What it means for you (the Web Analyst)?
Knowing what Standard Deviation is and how it’s used in Web Analytics will help you get an idea of just how important events that happen on your website could be. For example, in the new Intelligence Section in Google Analytics, you may see some alerts for an increase in Revenue from different regions:

Intelligence in Google Analytics

If you notice on the left-hand side of the image, the revenue for this particular time period increased by 111% from North Carolina from the expected revenue. This is definitely significant (check out the significance bar on the right), as it’s about 3 or even 4 standard deviations above the mean! Perhaps your new PPC campaigns that were targeted to North Carolina were successful, and you can now duplicate that success everywhere else! Or maybe your email marketing strategy worked, and North Carolina residents responded so well that you can re-market to them in 1-2 months.

In that same image, the Revenue from the United Kingdom increased by 46%, which is about one or possibly two standard deviations above the mean. It’s not as significant of an increase as North Carolina’s, but still worthy of your attention nonetheless. Apply the same negative keywords or the same match types for your other international campaigns as well!

So now that you know what standard deviation is all about, use reports like Google Analytics’ Intelligence section to get a truer, deeper meaning of just how significant certain trends are that happen on your website, which will allow you to improve whatever it is that you are doing exponentially. You’ll be a better analyst for it!

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