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GA Certified PartnerOur web analytics blog provides a space for us to educate our clients and visitors about how they can use analytics to gain insight into user behavior. As a Google Analytics Certified Partner and Google Tag Manager Certified Partner, our team is highly versed in Google's products, but our knowledge isn't limited to just those! On this blog, our analytics experts share a diverse variety of tips, tricks and techniques for a wide range of analytics platforms, as well as explore big picture concepts for tracking and measuring online success, and answering some of the questions commonly asked by clients and team members. To stay up to date on everything our analytics blog has to offer, subscribe to our feed.

March 13 2008

My Google Analytics Wish List

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I know, I know…it was just the other day that Google Analytics officially launched Benchmarking and Audio Ads integration. However, I’m greedy, and I already want more!

So, I’ve created a list of things that I want Google Analytics to build into the program, and I’d like to share those with you right now. Some of them may sound like pipe-dreams, while others may actually seem reasonable. For the purposes of this post, I ask you not to burst my bubble, and play along. 🙂

#1 – A “Blogs” Report
If you have a Feedburner account (like our blog does), Google Analytics should be able to synch your GA and your FB (Feedburner) accounts up, like it synchs up AdWords and now Audio Ads. Then, we could see Feedburner-like stats in Google Analytics, such as susbcribers, reach, uncommon uses, and so on. Admit it, it would be cool, wouldn’t it? This report could be found in the Content Section, right underneath “Top Content”.

#2 – Custom Reporting Options
I would love to be able to pick a custom date-range when I create an automatic report. Right now, the only four options to choose from are “Daily”, “Weekly”, “Monthly”, and “Quarterly”. What if I want a bi-weekly / mid-month automatic report? Or what if I want an “every 10 days” report that gets emailed to me automatically? Wouldn’t that be neat?

#3 – A “Reset Your Dashboard” Button
This would be perfect for that one time where you totally screw up your dashboard and you want to start over again with the default dashboard reports.

#4 – An even more customizable dashboard!
This is an extension from request #3. What if I don’t want to have the “Site Usage” window on my dashboard? What if I want each widget on the dashboard to show the top 10 or 15 items, instead of the top 5? How in the world do I get one of the four Google Analytics Views to show up on the dashboard page exactly as I want them (showing the pie chart, the comparison to site average, etc…)?

#5 – Cost-Data Import from other Pay-Per-Click Marketing Programs
Yeah, you probably knew this one was coming sooner or later. This is probably the most requested feature, ever (at least by me, I’ve been requesting it since 2006). This can actually be a manual import, it doesn’t have to be automatic. I’d spend that extra minute on the first of each month and upload my Yahoo! or my Microsoft AdCenter cost data into GA, via a CSV file, so that I could compare that data up against my AdWords data, wouldn’t you?

#6 – Integration with Google Website Optimizer
A logical request, as I already have requested an integration with Feedburner. This makes a lot of sense to me – you would be able to see the results of your A/B or your Multivariate Tests in Google Analytics, and be able to compare your successful combinations or pages against your other current website pages.

#7 – Embed the Map Overlay on your website
This one isn’t necessarily for me – However, I have heard a ton of requests for this particular item. I guess what you can do right now is simply take a screen-shot of the Map Overlay, and save the image and upload it to your site…but maybe there could be some way to provide a snippet of code to be placed on a website?

#8 – Improved Site Overlay functionality!
I completely LOVE the Site Overlay report. However, whenever there is flash present on a site, or there are heavy amounts of dynamic scripts, Site Overlay “breaks” and cannot show any clickstream data. I hope that someday, Site Overlay will be upgraded – and possibly with a few bells and whistles added on to it?

#9 – Bring Back the Lookup Table!
Google Analytics has an advanced filter option called “Lookup Table”, that is currently unavailable. In fact, it has been unavailable for a very long time. Basically, I’d like to play with it, so please bring it back and re-activate it! I actually had a possible use for the Lookup Table a while back.

#10 – Goal re-ordering option
I would love to have the ability to re-order Goals in the same fashion that I can re-order Filters. This way, if I happen to create a Goal in the G1 slot, and then I create a Goal in the G3 slot, I could move the one in G3 to the G2 position, so that I can be as organized as possible, and keep similar goals close together. I hate having to rename and re-configure a goal to have to do this – a lot of times I create a goal or two goals, and later on down the road, another goal becomes available or thought of. Meanwhile, the original goals have already gathered data, so it would be a shame to change the Goal URL and / or Goal Funnel.

March 6 2008

New Google Analytics Feature – Industry Benchmarking!

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Whenever Google Analytics releases a new report on an upgrade to an existing report, I hurry to tell everyone as much as I can about it. It’s like a mini-holiday for me 🙂

Today, Mr. Brett Crosby – Google Analytics’ Product Manager – made the announcement that Industry Benchmarking would be added in as a new report section in Google Analytics. Industry Benchmarking will allow “…customers to see how their site data compares to sites in any available industry vertical”.

Of course, with a new release, there are normally lots of questions (“how does it work”, “what do I see”, “what’s the catch”, etc…). At this time, the best possible resource is the Google Analytics Help Center page on Industry Benchmarking and Data Sharing.

General Thoughts:
Whenever I talk to someone about Google Analytics and their position in the web analytics industry, I tell them that Google Analytics is always looking to propel itself to “the next level”. A benchmarking type of report like this one is an example of what I refer to – one of the many things we wish Google Analytics could do or had available.

To me, this report helps in filling in those missing gaps of information and knowledge that is missing in the Web Analytics industry. Now, you will finally be able to give an answer to the question “…is my Bounce Rate good?”, or “…how is my Average Time on Site?”. Comparing your web statistics against your industry averages now allows you to see where you stand amongst other websites that provide similar services or products (e.g. your competitors). Of course, this report is still in Beta – so don’t be alarmed if there are any quirks or bugs; they will be worked out and fixed over time.

Of course, if you check out the GA Help Center page on Benchmarking, you’ll see that in order for Benchmarking to be available, you’ll need to enable Data Sharing in your Google Analytics account. You will need to contact your Google Analytics Administrator if you are interested in having your data shared in order to enable Benchmarking in your account. Rest assured that Google Analytics handles the privacy of your data as the Pentagon would handle a matter of national security – it is held in the highest regard, labeled as classified information, and only those with Top Secret clearance can even get near it. As the document states, your account’s name, your URL, and the names of your pages are removed – only raw numbers and statistics are shared.

March 4 2008

Ecommerce Reports in Google Analytics – Three Random Questions

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Last week, I was asked three different questions about the Ecommerce section of reports in Google Analytics. And, I was able to give a different answer for each question! 🙂

Here are those questions – and my answers to each one. Maybe (just maybe) you had a similar question in mind:

Question #1: Why isn’t order #1234567 showing up in the Transactions Report?
A: There is a high degree of probability that you will not see every order appear in Google Analytics. As I mentioned in my very last blog post, Google Analytics uses a combination of Cookies and JavaScript as its tracking mechanism. If a user doesn’t accept the Google Analytics cookies that your website is trying to set on their computer, or if a user has disabled any JavaScript tracking, then Google Analytics cannot track any data for that person, including Ecommerce data. Another reason why you may not see order #1234567 is if a user lands on your receipt / “Thank You” page, and leaves that page quickly, before the Ecommerce Data has a chance to be captured by Google Analytics.

Remember, Google Analytics isn’t a replacement for your accounting software, and you shouldn’t use and think of it as such. Use Google Analytics to view and compare trends and patterns, not to keep official records.

Question #2: Why is it that in one report, the Revenue figure is $100,000, but in another report, the Revenue figure is showing as $113,345?
A: You should know that there are two different Revenue figures. There’s “Revenue”, which is used in the Overview and the Transaction reports, and there’s “Product Revenue”, used in the Products sub-section. The difference between the two is that Product Revenue excludes tax and shipping costs, while Revenue adds in those figures. In most situations, Product Revenue + Tax + Shipping should = Revenue. If there is still a large discrepancy, your data collection process could be faulty, and have bugs – please check with your programming team to verify if your Ecommerce coding is accurate.

Question #3: I’d like to erase / delete some orders from Google Analytics. How do I do that?
A: What you can do is you can actually issue a credit for an order. Unfortunately, once an order happens and Google Analytics collects that data, you cannot erase it from the system. But what you can do is have an order processed with negative numbers, which will in effect “cancel out” an order. For example, let’s say someone purchased a $19.99 Green T-Shirt from your store, and then changed their minds and had the order canceled. You can run an order on your system for -$19.99 to nullify the order in Google Analytics. If you decide to do this, I suggest creating a new product name for these order cancellations, so that you can view how many you’ve had to handle during a given period of time. You can also apply discounts and rebates this same way, if you so choose.

I hope these answers helped you!

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