Articles written in March, 2011

March 30 2011

Annotate your way to success with your web analytics account


I have some good news and some bad news.

First, the bad news: Your web analytics tool can’t answer all of your questions for you.

Now, the good news: There’s something that you can do about it!

As the marketing manager, the research analyst, the IT administrator, or simply the person who has been tasked with all things “web”, you need answers, ratios, percentages, KPI’s, AOV’s, CPA’s, and many other three-letter acronyms and important-sounding phrases. And, you need them now!

So, you log-in to Google Analytics / SiteCatalyst / WebTrends to get this critical data, and the inevitable happens. Your eyes open wide, your eyebrows nearly pop off your forehead, and you say “What happened on that day?!?!?” You thought you were going to sneak in to your web analytics account and tip-toe your way out with everything you needed, only to find yourself smack in the middle of a mystery – why are you staring at an incomprehensible large spike, a puzzling large recess, or drastic change in your report’s line graphs?

No, your tool is not broken.

And no, you didn’t forget to tag your marketing URLs.

Oh, and by the way, your tool can’t help you decipher this riddle because it is not Rain Man, nor does it have the advanced heuristics of Lieutenant Commander Data.

So, where’s the answer? It’s found within the four walls of your office building. Someone decided to send out a marketing newsletter, causing a large spike in visits. The pay-per-click campaign was paused for a day, leading to a big drop in conversions. Your web site’s homepage had a facelift, so your bounce rate decreased to a new low.

Now that you know the answer, or, at least, where to find it, you can most likely deduce what I’m about to say next – integrate the knowledge that has been stored in your company’s HQ with your web analytics platform using annotations, notes, or whatever the equivalent is in your web analytics platform.

Advantages of using annotations / notes are:

1. Non web analytics (yet highly relevant) information becomes a part of your click stream data
2. Everyone in the organization who uses web analytics can stay in-the-loop on what directly or indirectly impacts the web
3. Eliminates the need for guesswork, frustration, and all those wasted hours of trying to solve a problem with no solution

Annotations or notes are always easy to do, and they are usually available for any user that has even the most basic access to your web analytics account.

The following screen shots show you what annotations look like in Google Analytics, and what notes look like in both Omniture SiteCatalyst and WebTrends. Don’t wait until the mystery presents itself – solve the mystery of your data spikes, dips, and shifts before they happen!

Annotations in Google Analytics:

Notes in Omniture SiteCatalyst:


Notes in WebTrends:


March 22 2011

The Future is the Present – The New Google Analytics Platform is here!


They’ve done it – again! The Google Analytics team announced a new Google Analytics platform last Thursday.

Gradually, every Google Analytics user will receive access to Google Analytics’ latest and greatest UI. When you see a link to the new version in your account, you’ll enjoy all of the following awesome improvements, benefits, and new bells & whistles. Be warned – you’re about to read a very long list of improvements and additions that we’ve seen so far:

– A cleaner a simpler reporting interface (Fewer reports, but more segmenting dimensions).

– Faster User-Interface speed (in comparison to the current Google Analytics platform).

– Slightly different color scheme – lighter hues and slightly different font, trending graph line colors.

– Motion chart (Visualization) integration within the trending graph.

– “Non-Sticky All Visits Advanced Segment” when comparing multiple segments.

– Reporting tabs are now line-items within the “Explorer” tab; segments are above table report data.

– Scorecard metric / trending graph toggling feature.

– Interactive tables at the bottom of each section’s Overview report (“on-the-fly” table interactions).

– Goals and Ecommerce report sections now a part of the Conversions report section on left-hand navigation pane.

– Term cloud visualization report table view.

– Events as Goals, with condition / value settings similar to creating an Advanced Segment.

– Customizable dashboards and multiple dashboards (Create your dashboard from scratch, including configuring how the actual widgets appear on your dashboard and what data those widgets will show).

– An improved control panel for account administrators, including a new hierarchy layer (Previous: Account >> Profile. New: Account >> Web Property (UA Number) >> Profile).

– Advanced Segments, Annotations, and Custom Alerts are now considered “Assets” of a Web Property.

– Creation of Annotations for future dates.

– An improved Custom Reporting interface, including the ability to pair up any metric / dimension combinations you choose, as well as a new “Flat-Table” Custom Report, which is useful for downloading / exporting large data sets.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that you would have felt very excited after reading that beautiful list of goodies!

Be on the lookout for that “New Version” link within your account, and check back frequently or subscribe to our blog, because we’ll sure be going more in-depth on all of these exciting developments in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

March 16 2011

How to assign a user access to your Google Analytics account


Obtaining access to a web analytics account is the only way in which you can view a web site’s web analytics data. Web analytics vendors do not publish or sell the information that their tools collect and process, and you won’t be able to find some web site’s data using Google or Bing’s search functions. Only you – the web analytics account owner / administrator – can control who sees your valuable, sensitive data.

As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we’re always sharing tips and strategies on this blog on how you can maximize your Google Analytics account, and for today’s blog, we want to provide the step-by-step instructions for how to assign a user access to your Google Analytics account.

The way in which someone accesses a Google Analytics account is by entering in an E-mail address of a Google account, and the password that the person created during the Google account creation process.

Step 1: Ensure the E-mail address is a Google account
This is the step that is most often skipped over, as many people do not realize that an E-mail address that wishes to access a Google Analytics account must be the E-mail address of a Google account.

If the E-mail address is a Gmail account, then that E-mail address is automatically a Google account as well, which means you don’t have to worry about Step 1 at all. Any other E-mail address from any other E-mail platform must go through the Google account creation process (if not done already).

To turn your Yahoo, AOL, or your work E-mail address into a Google account, go to and click on “Sign-In” on the upper-right hand side. On the subsequent page, find and click on “Create an account now“. Then, enter in your E-mail address and create a password. Complete the short form, and after a few verification steps, your Google account is created and tied into your regular, non-Gmail E-mail address.

(Note: Google Analytics will not let you add an E-mail address to an account if it is not a Google account – so don’t even think about skipping this step).

Step 2: Ensure that you have Administrative Access to your Google Analytics account
Chances are not that far fetched that you – the person reading this blog and / or wishing to add someone to Google Analytics – don’t have Administrative Access to your own Google Analytics account, yourself. Without Administrative Access, you won’t be able to open up the User Manager control panel and add in a user.

Do you see an “Edit” link next to your account profile(s), and other options in your Overview screen (the screen you see immediately after you log-in)? If you don’t, then you don’t have Administrative Access. Get a hold of the person that originally provided you with access to the Google Analytics account, and either ask them for Administrative Access or ask them to add someone for you.

Step 3: Adding a User (Assuming you have Administrative Access)
To add a user with a valid Google account E-mail address, take the following steps:

A. Log-in to your Google Analytics account
B. If you have access to multiple accounts, select the desired account from the top-right drop-down menu
C. Click on “User Manager” at the very bottom of the screen
D. Click on “+Add User“, which is a white link on the top-right of the table listing all of the other users
E. Enter in the user’s E-mail address, and select the access type. If you grant the user Administrative Access, he / she will have access to everything in the account. If you grant the user View Reports Only access, he / she will only have access to the profiles that you choose for them.
F. Click “Save Changes“, and you’re done!

See how easy that was? Just remember to ensure that the E-mail address is a Google account, or you will suffer the wrath of this warning message from the Google Analytics system:

This user does not have a Google Account.

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