Articles in the Custom Data Solutions Category

March 30 2010

AdWords Search Funnels: The Right Step Toward Proper Attribution

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Last week, Google announced a new set of reports within the AdWords interface called Search Funnels, which are rolling out to all AdWords accounts within the next few weeks. With search funnels, advertisers will be able to obtain a truer sense of value and attribution for keywords that help in the conversion process.

Currently, AdWords assigns credit to a conversion to the first click’s keyword, ad, ad group, and campaign up to 30 days after that first click occurred. For example, suppose I perform a search on Google for the term brown shoes on March 29th. I click on the ad, view a couple of pages, but I don’t convert. Two weeks later, say, April 11th, I search for brown dockers shoes, click on another ad, and this time I convert. AdWords will assign the credit for the conversion to my original search term of brown shoes (provided the advertiser is bidding on that keyword).

Now, with the new search funnels report section, I’ll be able to see which AdWords keywords helped my original keyword convert, as well as a funnel (hence the name) of each keyword that led to a conversion in succession. This new search funnels report section is going to have nine different reports like “assisted conversions”, “last click analysis” and “top paths” to perform deeper conversion analysis than possible before.

Why it’s “the right step” toward proper attribution
Before this product launch, you had two possible options for assigning credit to a keyword for a conversion. You could log-in to AdWords and view the reports in the interface (first-click attribution), or, you could use Google Analytics to view the keywords that matched goals (last-click attribution). If you were an advertiser, you would, over time, start bidding more for the converting keywords that either AdWords or Analytics were displaying, and less for the “non-converting” keywords. As it turns out – and as the more experienced marketers long ago deduced – other keywords lend a big helping hand along the way, but never received the proper credit. What would happen is that advertisers would either shut down those keywords that didn’t appear to convert, or change their bidding philosophy to such an extent that these assisting keywords become irrelevant over time. The result: the number of conversions would struggle to climb, leaving advertisers scratching their heads.

Now, we can assign importance and value to those assisting keywords, and not automatically cast them off as losers or rejects. They are an integral part in the conversion cycle; keywords that assist in the conversion process should remain active and managed intelligently for optimal campaign success.

Why it’s only “a step” at this point
It’s not an end-all, be-all solution, but it’s a great start. Search funnels in AdWords does have a few limitations. First, you must import your Google Analytics goals into AdWords, which is not a big deal for an administrator, but still something that must be done.

As of now, search funnels can only report on AdWords keywords and web site visits. If a user in the conversion process accesses a site directly after previously clicking on an AdWords ad, that user’s direct visit cannot be tracked in search funnels. Not even natural / organic search engine queries are available in search funnels at this time. Also, while the new search funnels reports look like they belong in Google Analytics and not AdWords, they’re actually not available in Analytics yet.

So, true attribution – if there is even such a thing – is not yet within our grasp. But with search funnels, Google has taken a very large step toward that general direction. I recommend you log-in to your account today, import your goals, and discover which assisting keywords should be optimized for greater campaign success.

November 23 2009

The features that I am thankful for

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the holiday season is officially here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads our Analytics and Site Intelligence blog and subscribes to our RSS Feed. You fine folks rock!

There have also been lots and lots of new features in Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Google Website Optimizer in the past year that I am extremely thankful for. These features have made my job easier, more enjoyable, and have helped a lot of our clients improve their conversion rates, sales revenue, and their bottom lines. Therefore, I’d like to dedicate this post to all of the following features:

1. Conversion Tracking (AdWords):

For years, Google has offered a free conversion tracking script that can be placed on a receipt page, a “thank you” page, or any important page where you ultimately want your AdWords traffic to go to. Recently, the AdWords team has upgraded the Conversion Tracking section within AdWords to include the ability to create multiple conversion actions, new “one-per-click” vs. “many-per-click” metrics, and a verification feature that can detect if the tracking code is properly installed. Way to go AdWords Conversion Tracking team!

2. The Opportunities Tab (AdWords):

The Opportunities tab within the AdWords GUI provides awesome intelligence on how to improve your campaigns. Whether you should be spending more money, using different keywords, or other suggestions, the Opportunities tab can make very good estimates on areas where you could be missing out. Log-in to your AdWords account and try this amazing feature today!

3. Google Ad Planner (AdWords):

Do you need to see detailed demographic data, domains and sub-domains, keywords, and other traffic statistics for the site or audience that you’re planning to advertise to? Google’s Ad Planner is nothing short of amazing in this department! If display advertising (images, video, rich media) is important for you, you seriously need to sign up for Ad Planner before you do anything else. Any site that you want to run your ads on with Google AdWords should be listed in AdPlanner, as well as the estimated volume of traffic each site receives as well as what types of ads each site supports.

4. Segmenting (AdWords):

Did you know that you can now easily segment your Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords in AdWords, much like you can segment any dimension in Google Analytics? This helps you to slice and dice your AdWords campaign data to make better decisions about how you’re spending your hard-earned marketing dollars.

5. Secondary Dimensions and Pivoting (Analytics):

The combination of Secondary Dimensions and Pivoting in any Google Analytics report table makes my job so much easier, faster, and more fun! You can now see up to five separate dimensions all in one report table view, which makes data-mining a far less arduous task.

6. Multiple Custom Variables (Analytics):

No longer are we bound by one label or one bucket for any website visitor. We can now assign visitors multiple labels, thanks to the new Multiple Custom Variables feature in Google Analytics. It takes just a bit of coding to pull it off, but the little bit of technical implementation is by far outweighed by the sheer flexibility and depth that you obtain!

7. Enhanced Mobile Tracking (Analytics)

Mobile analytics with Google Analytics has improved dramatically with this new report section. Found under the Visitors section, site owners can now view the many different mobile devices and mobile carriers that bring visitors to their websites. With a little bit of additional coding, any one using a .mobi site can track their mobile website’s activity in a much smoother and easier way. Oh, by the way, iPods and Nintendo DS Lite’s are counted as mobile devices ๐Ÿ™‚

8. Intelligence / Custom Alerts (Analytics)

Want to know about significant events that happen on your site, and some guidance as to what to do next? The new Intelligence section is your new best-friend. Google Analytics can now alert you to highly significant events that are happening on your website, who or what are the causes, and what Google Analytics expected to happen (vs. what actually happened). It can also iron your pants and make toast! Well, maybe not yet – perhaps it will be able to soon ๐Ÿ™‚

You can also create your own custom alerts and have them emailed to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Define your own important criteria and observe significant increases or decreases of stuff that’s important to you.

9. Experiment Notes (Website Optimizer)

I’m also very thankful for the wonderful people at Google for their Website Optimizer product. Specifically, I really like Experiment Notes, a brand new feature within the Google Website Optimizer interface. With each new A/B or multivariate experiment, I can write notes about that experiment, such as the start date or important specifics that I need to keep track of, which I can go back to at any time.

10. Over-time charting (Website Optimizer)

Finally, over-time charting in Google Website Optimizer lets me view conversion data plotted daily across a Google Analytics style trending graph, at the top of my experiment report. This lets me observe experiment success / failures over the course of time, and allows me to watch the observed improvements in a cleaner, more graphically-pleasing way.

Those are just some of the many features that I am thankful for. I hope that you have a happy Thanksgiving, a happy “black Friday” and a very happy “cyber Monday”!

September 17 2009

Learn how to sync Google AdWords and Google Analytics together!

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One of the biggest challenges facing Google AdWords advertisers today is data analysis. Sure, AdWords marketers can determine their ad and keyword quality scores, click-through rates and cost per click bid prices, but what happens to the searcher when they land on the web site, after the click has occurred?

Most AdWords marketers also have a Google Analytics account at their disposal, but a very high percentage of marketers today do not have their Google Analytics account synced with their Google AdWords account. When your AdWords and Analytics accounts are not synced, you could be:

1. Missing out on valuable AdWords data.
2. Seeing a lot of (not set) keywords.
3. Experiencing a very high distortion between your visits and your clicks.
4. Not taking advantage of the “Clicks” tab within the AdWords section of reports with the Traffic Sources section.
5. Mixed or garbled information in your Campaigns, Keywords, or Ad Content reports.

Today, we are going to show you how to sync your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts together, so that you can join the party and collect valuable AdWords data within your Google Analytics account.

Step 1: Take charge and become an administrator!
In order for you to sync AdWords and Analytics, the email address that you use to log-in to your AdWords account must also be an administrator of the Google Analytics account. If it is not already an administrator, please get a hold of the person that is the Administrator of your Google Analytics account, and ask them to make you an Administrator. You really shouldn’t do anything else before this happens.

Step 2: Log-In to AdWords and sync your accounts!
After you’ve become a Google Analytics Administrator, it’s time to sync your accounts together.

First, click on the Reporting tab and click on the Google Analytics link, found on the top navigation menu of your AdWords Account:

Reporting Tab in Google AdWords

Once you do that, you should see a screen that looks like the one below, which gives you two options. You can choose to create a new Google Analytics account (no!), or, you can select the second option to link your existing Google Analytics account to your Google AdWords account (yes!). Click on Continue to move on to the next step.

Linking your AdWords and your Analytics accounts

After clicking on Continue, you will reach the final step in the AdWords to Analytics syncing process. Your Google Analytics account’s name should appear in the drop-down menu in the middle of the screen-shot below (if you’re not an Administrator, it won’t appear). Leave “Destination URL Auto-Tagging” checked on, and click on Link my account towards the bottom of the screen.

The Final Step in syncing your AdWords account

Congratulations! You’ve just synced your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts together. That was fairly easy, was it not?

Step 3: Enjoy The Results!
Now that your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts are synced, you can enjoy Campaign, Ad Group, and Keyword data from your AdWords marketing efforts found within the Traffic Sources section of reports. After a couple of days, you’ll also be able to see data populating within the Clicks tab within your AdWords Campaigns report. ROI, Revenue Per Click, and Margin are three new metrics that will appear across the top score-card to give some additional meaning and performance evaluation for your AdWords Campaigns.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of the Keyword Positions report, which will show you keyword click and performance metrics based on the position of each one of your ads, as they appear in a search result. Also, if you participate in Google TV Ads, you’ll be able to see impression data for your TV Ads, including cost and CPM metrics.

So what are you waiting for? Log-in to your Google AdWords account and sync it to your Google Analytics account today!

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