Articles in the Analytics 101 – The Basics Category

February 25 2008

Your “About Us” Page – It’s all about you!

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Last week, one of our clients confessed to me that they were extremely surprised at the high amount of traffic their “Leadership” page had been receiving. They were surprised that so much of the traffic that had been landing on their homepage eventually found its way to their “Leadership” page.

My response to that statement was “…don’t be surprised by that – I’ve also noticed how much traffic some of our other client’s “About Us” pages receive, too…”. Now, I ask the readers of this blog to start to take notice of where your traffic is going as well. Chances are good that your traffic is going to your “About Us” / “Leadership” / “Executive Team” pages.

What does this mean?
In my opinion, this means that, at some level, the visitors to your site are interested in your company. They are trying to learn more about the people in charge of your company, whether they are simply curious, or checking credentials as some sort of measuring stick. They probably want to know the story of your executive team, and their roles within your organization before contacting you, and (hopefully) doing business with you.

What should be on my “About Us” page?
This is of course going to be different for each company. There are also no set rules or guidelines, so I can only tell you what I like and what I expect to find. When I visit a company’s “About Us” page, I like to be able to clearly and fully understand what the company is and what the company does. Depending on the type of company, I also like to see a brief list or summary of main services offered. Then, I scroll down or look back at the navigation of the site and locate a “Executive Team” page, where I can see the names, faces, and short bios of the people in charge of the company that I am interested in or curious about. An “Executive Team” section or page adds trust and credibility to your business in the online world, and a company gets those extra “Trust Points” with me.

How should I market / how should I put together my “About Us” page?
The concept of “different strokes for different folks” applies here. If you consider your business a serious one, you should keep your “About Us” / “Executive Team” page(s) that way as well. Keep the bios of the executive team short and to the point, but highlight whatever accomplishments, certifications, and degrees the person has. A nice color photo of each member wearing a suit also adds a clean-cut professional touch. On these pages, I would let the content speak for itself – there is no need to slap on your huge-orange-flashing “FREE QUOTE” feature graphic here. Keep the paragraph about each executive brief, but loaded with current responsibility and biographical information. A good experiment here would be to see what happens when you add a calm, inviting call-to-action image to this page. Depending on the nature of your visitors, it may not have any affect, or they may react positively to it and pursue the call-to-action.

What if I don’t have an “About Us” page? Do I even need one?
Whether you sell bean bags or real estate, I would strongly recommend you integrate an “About Us” page on your website that explains who you are and what you do in a very clear manner. Or, if your “About Us” page is cryptic and uninformative, I would advise a clean-up project on that page.

Remember, these points are merely my opinions. All that I know is that websites with an “About Us” or “Leadership” page seem to find a very high amount of traffic going there, generating a lot of pageviews. Therefore, as the saying goes, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Another good experiment that someone could conduct would be to see what happens to the traffic as a whole when the “About Us” page is removed from the website navigation. I have a strong feeling that your traffic will visit less pages as a result, and you may even find yourself with fewer leads or conversions, as well.

February 19 2008

Why are my Visits different from my Clicks?

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Traffic Sources Navigation in Google AnalyticsA very popular Google Analytics report amongst the Campaign Management and Campaign Strategist teams here at MoreVisibility is the AdWords Campaigns report, located within the Traffic Sources section. This report is fantastic, as it pulls in click, impression, and click-through rate data straight from your Google AdWords account, and integrates it within the Google Analytics system.

This report really makes our lives easier, as we don’t have to toggle back and forth between two different systems. All of our Google AdWords Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Keywords are all in GA, and we can even see how much we spent! This report is probably one of the most under-rated features of all of Google Analytics.

Anyway, let’s talk about the title of this post, which is another very common question that I get asked. First of all, let’s define both “Visits” and “Clicks” – this is exactly how Google Analytics defines them:

Visits – The number of Visits to your site
Clicks – The number of Clicks on your search ad(s)

Clicks are pretty simple to understand – a person clicks on your ad, a click is registered, and counted as such. Visits is the tricky one. Visits counts the number of unique sessions created by your visitors. A unique session is basically a connection between a user and a webserver (your website).

There are a few different reasons why these two metrics are always different from each other, in the exact same date-range:

Multiple Clicks – There is nothing stopping a person from clicking on your ad multiple times in a specific date-range. No, it’s not click fraud, it’s probably comparison shopping. They click on your ad once, they go back and click on a competitor’s ad, then they go back again and click on your ad again, because they liked your offer or website better :). AdWords will record both clicks in that same session; however, Analytics only counts that as one visit, as the session was never terminated (they left your site, but the connection was still alive / their browser was still open). AdWords = 2 Clicks, Analytics = 1 Visit.

Multiple Visits – This is very close to the opposite of the first reason. Someone can click on your ad, close their browser or shut down their computer. Later, they can come back to your site via a bookmark, or if they remember your URL, they’ll type it in manually in the address bar. In this case, AdWords = 1 Click, Analytics = 2 Visits.

The Impatient Visitor – There’s also nothing stopping someone from clicking on your AdWords ad, and while your website is loading, they may get tired of waiting around for your website to load and go back to Google Search, or hit the “Stop” button on their browser. AdWords will count that click, but chances are that Analytics will not have had enough time to register that person as a visitor. Here, it’s AdWords = 1, Analytics = 0.

Invalid Clicks – There is always the issue of invalid clicks on your AdWords ads. The Google AdWords system automatically filters out invalid clicks from your account before you even see them. However, if these clicks land on your website, Analytics has no choice but to count those as visits. Analytics can’t automatically filter out “invalid visits” like AdWords can filter out “invalid clicks”. Therefore, the score here can be something along the lines of AdWords = 4, Analytics = 9.

The best possible answer that I can provide for the question “Why are my Visits different from my Clicks?” would be that both metrics are tracked and calculated differently by two completely different systems. Remember, you’re charged for the clicks – the visits are free ;).

February 15 2008

Goal Values can increase the Value of your Goals

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Google Analytics uses the Goal Value of each Conversion Goal to calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) metric, as well as other currency-oriented figures that you see almost every day. Often, the Goal Value – which is optional – is left blank, leaving over 40 different reports in GA without this very important piece of the puzzle.

The most common reason I hear regarding why this is done is “…because I am not an Ecommerce website, so my Goals don’t have a monetary value…”. In my opinion, this is exactly when you need to insert a Goal Value, so that you can attach some kind of Dollar, Euro, or other currency to the actions that you want your website’s visitors to take. For profiles in Google Analytics that have Ecommerce enabled, the Goal Value is automatically populated into the reports (if that Goal is where the Ecommerce code happens to be processed). For any non-Ecommerce goals, you’re going to have to enter the value in yourself.

“…but how do I know what my Goals are worth? How do I calculate my Goal Value?”
There are a few different ways that you can determine your Goal Value. First, there’s the common approach taken by most people with non-Ecommerce goals. For example, let’s say that you have an inquiry form on your website, and the “Thank You” page of that inquiry form is a non-Ecommerce goal. These leads get sent to your sales team, and your sales team can close 10% of those leads. Let’s also say that the average sale amount for each closed lead is $2,000. You can take $200 (10% of $2,000), and use that as your Goal Value (don’t worry, Google Analytics will do all of the math for you in its reports).

Another way that I’ve seen Goal Value being used is by taking the amount given to a customer on a coupon or promotion code. If you have a “Print this $50 off Coupon” page as Goal, you can use $50 as your Goal Value. You would just need to constantly remind yourself of how you came about using $50 as your Goal Value when looking at reports, so that ROI and Margin figures don’t appear to be ridiculously low (or high) for you.

Finally, you can even make up a number! Does $25 sound good to you? How about $82.15? Perhaps $150,000 works for you? If your website or your online business structure / purpose doesn’t allow the flexibility of calculating a monetary value for a Conversion Goal, then you can just make up your own, so that you can get the most comprehensive set of data to look at and analyze.

Knowing how valuable your Goals are can let you know where you stand, and whether or not they are performing well or worth your efforts. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether your Goal Value was invented out of thin air, or if it was precisely calculated – as long as you have a number in there, you can begin to evaluate your Goals with a greater level of intelligence than you could before.

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