Articles written in August, 2011

August 26 2011

Tutorial: Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, Part 1: The Basics

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The big news of the week came from the wonderful folks at Google Analytics, whom introduced the new Multi-Channel Funnels reporting section to the general public.

What is Multi-Channel Funnels?

Multi-Channel Funnels is more than just a new reporting section – it’s a new way of life for advertisers who live and die by customer acquisition (goal completions, outcomes, and sales). Google Analytics has clearly raised the bar and has taken outcome measurement to the next level by showing all visitor paths that led to a conversion or a sale in a 30-day time period, not just showing a visitor’s last click (path) that led to a conversion or a sale.

What Does Multi-Channel Funnels mean for advertisers?

This new “way of life” means that you will be able to associate value (credit) to visitor sessions that transpired before the session that included a visitor conversion. For example, let’s say that a visitor came to your website three different times and converted on the third time to your website. Let’s also say that this visitor came to your site on those three times via the following ways:

1. A non-paid Google Visit (Google Organic)
2. A paid Google Visit (Google AdWords)
3. An email marketing initiative.

Traditionally, Google Analytics would have assigned the conversion for this visitor to the last interaction that occurred before a conversion, namely the email marketing initiative in the above example. The two prior visits from Google, paid and organic, would not have received any credit or attribution for the conversion.

Now, with Multi-Channel Funnels, this visitor’s three interactions from three different traffic sources will all receive attribution for the conversion, which allows advertisers to see a clearer picture of not just one marketing initiative, but the effectiveness of advertiser’s entire marketing strategy.

What reports are available with Multi-Channel Funnels?

Currently, there are five separate reports in the new Multi-Channel Funnels reporting section. You can find Multi-Channel Funnels in your Google Analytics account by clicking on the My Conversions tab on the top navigation menu and clicking on the Multi-Channel Funnels menu item:

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The five new reports in this section include:

  • Overview. A top-level view of your conversions and your assisted conversions (the conversions that included more than one session to conversion). It includes the following conversion visualizer, where you will begin to see the power and magnitude of this new feature set (broken down into two images below):

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  • Assisted Conversions. This report will show you which channel grouping conversions included assists. It will also show you which channel groups recorded traditional “last-click” conversions and the value of your conversions. You can toggle this report to show you assists by source, medium, campaign, keyword, or any AdWords dimension by clicking on the appropriate link on the top of the reporting table.

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  • Top Conversion Paths. This report will show you all of the different paths that visitors have taken in a 30-day time period to convert. This report can be toggled by path length (All paths, 2 or more paths, 3 paths, 4 paths, 5 paths, etc…). You can also toggle this by other traffic sources dimensions, like medium, keyword, or campaign.

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  • Time Lag. This report gives you a sense of your conversion cycle. How many days, weeks, or months does it take your visitors to convert? What is the value of your visitor conversion cycle? This report aims at breaking this information down in a simple-to-use histogram:

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  • Path Length. Similar to the Time Lag report, Path Length provides a summary of how many paths (sessions) it is taking visitors to convert on your website.

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What else can I do with Multi-Channel Funnels?

A lot more! Not only can you extract rich, valuable insights from this data, you can create your own Conversion Segments, as well as your own Custom Channel Groupings.

Both of those actions are ones that we would consider “more advanced”, so we’ll reserve them for another blog post in the very near future.

Log-in to your Google Analytics today and start interacting with this powerful new report section that will help you see your entire marketing strategy across multiple visitor sessions.

August 19 2011

Don’t Forget About the Google Analytics Website!

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As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we obviously give a lot of love to the Google Analytics product suite. We constantly talk about new features, product updates, reporting sections, and share great insights into the ever-growing and ever-increasing-in-popularity world of web analytics.

Most of us that log-in to our Google Analytics accounts do so via their website – http://www.google.com/analytics. Others log-in through their AdWords accounts, and a few of you bypass the user-interfaces and log-in via the Google Analytics API. Regardless of how you access your account, one thing is for sure: most of us have forgotten about the actual Google Analytics website!

Why is this the case? Is that blue Access Analytics button on the right-hand side of the Google Analytics homepage too persuasive? Are we just not aware that there is a whole world of rich, shiny, resourceful objects right outside the window of our accounts? Whatever the reason is, we don’t know, but what we do know is that it’s time we put on our shoes and took a walk outside of our Google Analytics account homes to get some fresh air, smell the flowers, and get a taste of all of the great analytics resources Google has waiting for you.

Ready? Here we go:

1. The Google Analytics Blog.
URL:
http://analytics.blogspot.com/
That “Recent Blog Posts” table on the right-hand side of your account’s home page comes from the Google Analytics blog, an outstanding resource to keep yourself updated of any changes, new features, and guest blog posts, like the one I wrote over 2 years ago on the now defunct User-Defined Report.

2. Research Study by Forrester Research.
URL: http://goo.gl/MyFj6
In Late 2009, Forrester Research was commissioned by Google to appraise the investment potential in enterprise-level analytics platforms, and how Google Analytics stacks up against that market segment. The link above opens a PDF file, and it’s accessible at the bottom of the Google Analytics homepage.

3. The Google Analytics App Gallery.
URL: http://www.google.com/analytics/apps/
Want to enhance your measurement experience? Try out some of the great Google Analytics apps in the App Gallery, including apps for mobile, call tracking, and offline spreadsheet data management.

4. Analytics Set-Up Checklist.
URL: http://www.google.com/analytics/discover_analytics.html
A great stand-alone reference checklist that helps ensure you get the most out of your Google Analytics account. Each checklist item has a link for more information.

5. Google Analytics Help Center.
URL: http://www.google.com/support/analytics/?hl=en
The full Google Analytics document library. Includes definitions, frequently asked questions, and metric / dimension overviews, as well as best practice guides for implementation and analysis.

6. Google Analytics User Forum.
URL: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Analytics/?hl=en
A user-generated discussion forum on every aspect of Google Analytics that you can possibly imagine. Report issues, review other analytics user’s posts, and see feedback from Google and Top Contributors.

7. Google Code – Google Analytics.
URL: http://code.google.com/intl/en/apis/analytics/
Techies, webmasters, and implementation folks, this resource is tailor-made for you. All technical schematics, code examples, SDK libraries and management API documents are available here.

8. Google Analytics IQ.
URL: http://goo.gl/vniUW
Test your Google Analytics knowledge by studying for and passing the Google Analytics IQ exam. As Google Analytics Certified Partners, we regularly review the instructional videos and re-take our exams to stay on the cutting edge of all things Google Analytics.

9. The Google Analytics YouTube Channel.
URL: http://www.youtube.com/googleanalytics?hl=en
There are some amazing series of videos on this YouTube channel – everything from basic tutorials, in-class presentations and the extremely popular Web Analytics TV episodes can be found here.

10. Google Analytics Status Dashboard
URL: http://www.google.com/analytics/status#hl=en
Okay, so this resource is very difficult to find off of the Google Analytics website. Nonetheless, you should bookmark it and check it whenever you notice a service interruption – your issue may have already been reported here.

And, of course, you can follow Google Analytics on Twitter (@googleanalytics).

We hope that the next time you’re in the mood to venture outside your Google Analytics account that you won’t forget about the many resources available on the Google Analytics website. It’s there for you!

August 11 2011

Creating a Destination URL Goal; Goal Funnel for Google Analytics

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We’ve been on a strong educational kick lately, publishing in-depth blog articles on creating, configuring, and having a better understanding of things in Google Analytics. For example, our last two blog posts covered:

We’ve received some good, positive feedback about our blogs as of late, so we’re going to continue to move in that direction today and provide you a walk-through of configuring a destination URL goal (with a goal funnel) in your Google Analytics account.

Step 1: Procuring Administrative Access to your Google Analytics account.

If you have Administrative Access to your Google Analytics account, go immediately to Step 2.

If you don’t have Administrative Access, you will need to get a hold of someone who is an administrator, and ask them for Administrative Access. They may give you the evil eye, but explain to them that you want to configure a goal with a goal funnel (and that you read it on the Analytics & Site Intelligence blog at MoreVisibility, of course).

Step 2: Choosing the correct account / web property / profile

Not everyone falls into this category, but some of you have Administrative Access to more than one account, web property, and profile. Be sure that you are in the right place before you do anything.

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Step 3: Choosing a Goal Slot and creating your destination URL goal

If you’re following along with your own Google Analytics account, you’ll want to get yourself to a point where you’re at a screen that looks like the above screen-shot.

From this point, click on the Goals tab to bring up a listing of goals that currently are configured in your profile. Click on an available goal slot to start creating your new goal (You’ll see a link for + Goal to start this process).

In the below screen-shot, you’ll see that you will need to work your way down from the top to create your goal:

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To summarize the steps shown above:

  1. Enter in a Name for your Goal (something short and sweet that will appear in your reports).
  2. Ensure that the goal is set to Active (or, it will not work).
  3. Choose the URL Destination Goal Type.
  4. Type in the Goal URL that you wish to use for this goal. As you start typing in the Goal URL field, matches will be shown that you can select from (you will not see pages that have not registered any page views, so brand new pages may not appear). In this field, don’t use http://www.yourwebsite.com – just use the path part of the URL (like in the example).
  5. Choose your match type: Head Match, Exact Match, or Regular Expression Match. In most situations, Exact Match is what you want. However, if you’re interested in what Head Match or Regular Expression match can do for you, check out my blog from earlier this year on goal match types.
  6. Check whether or not this goal is case-sensitive (99.9999% of the time, it’s not, so leave it unchecked).
  7. Enter in a Goal Value. Notice that I didn’t say “you can enter in a goal value”, and that I basically told you to do so. Goal values can very nicely augment your goal data in your analytics reports. It’s also one of the very first blog posts I wrote over three and a half years ago – we are all strong advocates of using goal values here at MoreVisibility.

Step 4: Creating a Goal Funnel

Although not required, and although not every destination URL goal will have an associated goal funnel to go along with it, you can create one very easily. Below the Goal Value field, click on the Use Funnel check box to enter in your goal’s first funnel step. Enter in the URL of that first step in the form field on the left-hand side, and then give your step a name in the field on the right-hand side.

You can add up to 20 total goal funnels steps by clicking on the link reading + Goal Funnel Step. You do not have to re-enter your destination URL from above as one of the funnel steps. You can also delete any step by clicking on the appropriate Delete link on the right of the second form field in each row.

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Step 5: Hit Save!

Trust us – this action is missed more times that you could imagine. Please, don’t forget to save your work!

Step 6: The fruits of your labor

You’ll be able to access goal-oriented information in a number of different ways in Google Analytics. You can view goals:

  • In the Conversions >> Goals section of the left-hand navigation menu, where you’ll find an Overview, Goal URLs, Reverse Goal Path, and Funnel Visualization reports.
  • In the My Conversions >> Goals tab on the top navigation menu (same reports as found from the left-hand navigation menu, just a different place to access them from).
  • By applying the Visits with Conversions advanced segment
  • By creating a custom advanced segment
  • By clicking on any goal metric group (several reports)
  • Via a custom report that you create with goal metrics
  • Through a new Dashboard with goal-focused panels
  • On the My Site >> Intelligence section, viewing which goals are showing significant changes in trending

Final Step: A few notes regarding goal funnels

  1. Some of you are probably wondering why we conveniently skipped out on talking about Required Step. To the right of the first goal step, there is a check box by this name. Checking this box means that visitors must follow your goal funnel precisely as you outline it in order to be counted as (read this next part extremely carefully) a conversion in the funnel visualization report. Which, leads to the second note.
  2. All data that you will see in the funnel visualization report is confined to that report. Goals are still counted throughout Google Analytics if a visitor does not follow your funnel path precisely and still converts (even if you have the aforementioned Required Step check box on).

Please let us know if you found this tutorial educational and helpful!

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