Articles in the Benchmarking & Measuring Success Category

September 8 2009

Mobile Traffic Analysis with PercentMobile

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Every once in a while, a neat, sleek, and awesome free tool comes along that makes you want to drop whatever it is that you’re doing and start playing with the new shiny object. This is the feeling that ran through my veins when I first discovered PercentMobile – A free report that allows you to track and analyze the mobile activity that your web site receives.

How to Sign Up:
You’ll need a valid domain name (the URL of your site), an email address, a password, and an invitation code. Visit PercentMobile’s Log-In page and click on the “Request One Here” E-Mail link to receive an invitation code. Once you’re signed-up, you can view all kinds of neat mobile data.

You will also have to install a very small snippet of code your site’s mobile pages. If you don’t have a specific mobile version of your site, install it on your regular site pages, preferably toward the top of the source code (mobile phones are a lot slower than your laptop or a desktop computer, so the code should be as high up as possible for a better chance of collecting visitor data).

What you get:
In short, you get everything you ever wanted to know and were afraid to ask about the mobile visitors to your web site.

For starters, you get to see a nice visual of each type of phone that has brought a visitor to your site, including the percentage of visitors from that phone model and technical specifics of each phone when you mouse-over any image. Here’s an example from one of PercentMobile’s display reports from Gothamist LLC:

PercentMobile - Hardware Report

Below this neat visual display, you’ll find a complete breakdown of Brands, Screens, Providers, and Country / Territory locations. Here is an example of a list of mobile service providers:

PercentMobile - Technical Breakdown

Aside from these awesome stats for your own web site, PercentMobile’s homepage is a fun-fact haven for all things mobile. For example, did you know that:

53% of US Mobile Traffic comes from Apple Devices?
17% are Blackberry Devices?
71%
of Apple Devices run on OS3.x?
80% of South African Phones have a Number Pad?
5% of Devices weigh between 150g and 200g?
2% of Devices are 2-Way-Sliders?
12% of Phones have a FM Radio?
55% of Devices have a Touchscreen?
80% of Devices are Candybar shaped?
70% of Devices in Iran are from SonyEricsson?

If mobile analytics is something that you’re considering, or something that happens to be important for your web site, I strongly recommend creating a free PercentMobile account. The cool visual display showing a picture of every phone model alone is worth the time and effort of creating the free account and installing the very small code snippet on your site’s pages.

August 31 2009

Become a Fan of the Top Landing Pages Report

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Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, fewer words can speak at a higher volume than lots of words. Sometimes, a simple, neat, and easy to read report can have a greater effect than a report filled with endless columns and rows of data. This is the case with the Top Landing Pages report in Google Analytics.

Tucked away quietly in the middle of the Content section of your Google Analytics profile, the Top Landing Pages report won’t dazzle you with an AJAX-based, “do-it-yourself” module like the Custom Advanced Segments area or fancy click-data on top of your web site like the Site Overlay report. In fact, the Top Landing Pages report has only three quantitative columns – most reports start out with at least five or six.

The report even has an evil twin – the Top Exit Pages report, which for the few folks who discover Top Landing Pages, can confound the two reports and even go as far as thinking that one is the continuation of the other (ouch!).

So what is it about Top Landing Pages that is so valuable, and such a hidden gem? Two words: Bounce Rate. The sole purpose of the Top Landing Pages report is to compare Bounce Rates against the entry pages that your visitors used to reach your web site. And, as we all know, Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits to your web site. High bounce rates are bad, because they suggest that your Landing Pages are either broken, unattractive, or did not meet visitor expectations. Low bounce rates are very good, because they suggest that your Landing Page content was interesting and persuasive enough to entice a visitor to go to another one of your site pages.

When you bring up the Top Landing Pages report, you’ll immediately see your top 10 Landing Pages (or, entry points) of your web site, and three metrics for each Landing Page: Entrances, Bounces, and Bounce Rate. You can use the “Rows” drop-down at the bottom-right of your report table to see more Landing Pages if you choose, and the “Filter” tool on the bottom-left of your report table to include or exclude certain pages from the report.

Top Landing Pages report

I mentioned two paragraphs ago that a high bounce rate is bad, and a low bounce rate is good. However, I won’t give you a percentage and say whether or not that figure is good or bad. A Bounce Rate of 35% may be very high for your web site, or it may be very low, which depends on several factors, such as visitor demographics and your web site’s industry vertical. Comparing your Bounce Rate against a static number will not give you an accurate measure of performance. However, Comparing your Bounce Rate against your site’s average will allow you to provide a backdrop of context for each individual Landing Page, as shown in the following image, with the Comparison to Site Average view enabled:

Top Landing Pages - Comparison to Site Average

After you’ve used Top Landing Pages for your own web site, determine which pages are in need of some optimization work. Is a Landing Page that you’re using for your pay per click campaigns suffering from a really high bounce rate? Now would be the time to possibly re-write that page’s content, make it more conversion-oriented, or fix any technical errors that may be present. Is one of your category-level pages a rock-star with a minuscule bounce rate? You may want to give Kudos to your SEO team, as their copywriting and keyword-matching optimization work is paying off.

Now that the best-kept Google Analytics secret has been exposed, add this report to your dashboard, or set-up a scheduled email report so that you can stay ahead of the curve and begin lowering those Bounce Rates!

August 18 2009

New Google Analytics Feature: Secondary Dimensions

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Back in May of this year, Google Analytics announced the release of some new features that will soon be available to everyone worldwide. This announcement includes two new features that we are very excited about: Pivot Tables and the subject of today’s blog post, Secondary Dimensions.

What are Secondary Dimensions?
Secondary Dimensions allow you to add in a layer of data to any report table within the Google Analytics interface. With secondary dimensions, you can save time and effort, while simultaneously obtaining valuable insights within your report data. All you have to do is visit any report – Keywords, All Traffic Sources, or your Top Content report – and look for a new drop-down menu directly underneath the scorecard, shown in this image:

Secondary Dimension Drop-Down

Then, you can start diving deep. For example, segment your Traffic Sources report by “keyword“, and you’ll get this:

Secondary Dimension: Keyword

You can also do fancier analysis, like segmenting your Traffic Sources report by City, while using the Comparison to Site Average view to evaluate the percentage of New Visits from each location, which can help you evaluate your geo-targeted marketing efforts:

Secondary Dimension: City

With the power of Secondary Dimensions, you will be able to take your analysis efforts to the next level. Because every standard dimension is available in secondary dimensions, you have virtually limitless possibilities. Try segmenting your Keywords report by Landing Page, your Top Content report by Visitor Type, or your Map Overlay report table by Source for some fun (and useful) information! Secondary Dimensions are addictive, so consider this your only warning!

Next time we will talk about another new Google Analytics Feature, Pivot Tables (or Pivoting), and show you how to use Pivoting in conjunction with Secondary Dimensions for even greater reporting power!

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