Articles in the Benchmarking & Measuring Success Category

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!

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!

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