Web Analytics Blog

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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.

November 11 2008

Three of my favorite Advanced Segments with Google Analytics

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Ever since Google Analytics officially released Advanced Segmentation about a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop using it. How can you blame me? It’s awesome to slice and dice data in ways I could never have sliced and diced data before – and the things that I can learn about my website’s data are invaluable.

Here are three of my favorite advanced segments (so far) with Google Analytics. In parenthesis below, I outline what each segment means. The first segment is a default segment; while the second and third segments are custom advanced segments (The names of the second and third advanced segments are also “custom”):

1. Visits with Conversions / Visits with Transactions
(All Visits that have converted / made a transaction at some point in a visitor’s history with the website).

As I mentioned above, this Advanced Segment is one of the “default” or “pre-packaged” Advanced Segments that Google Analytics provides, without having to create your own. And, it’s one of the best ones. With it, you can see how visitors that have performed the actions that you have defined are behaving, what pages they are landing on, how often they return to your site, and anything else that you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask. You can learn a lot about your converted visitors with this segment (and get insights and ideas on what you can do to get them to convert again).

2. The Power of your Brand
(Dimension: Keyword; Condition: Contains; Value: the first word of company name; AND Dimension: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 30; AND Dimension: Pageviews: Condition: Greater Than or Equal To; Value: 3)

Would you care to know how strong your brand name is, and how engaged visitors are that used your brand name or company name as their search term? This segment can give you excellent insight to your customers or potential clients who already know you by name, which means they are well beyond trying to find you, and are most likely closer to reaching out to you, or buying from you.

3. Social Media Awareness
(Dimension: Sources; Condition: Contains; Value: The name of any social media site: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc…)

Measuring the traffic that your website receives from social media platforms is becoming increasingly important towards these last few months of 2008, and you can expect Social Media to really become important in 2009. This advanced segment puts you in the game by allowing you to see all of the traffic from the more popular social media websites that are out there. Monitor this segment over time to get a feel for how interesting and engaging your social media initiatives are – if they are interesting, and if you have a strong social media presence, traffic will start coming your way before you know it.

BONUS Advanced Segment:

4. Are You Experienced?
(Dimension: Visitor Type; Condition: Matches Exactly; Value: Returning Visitor; AND Dimension: Days Since Last Visit; Condition: Less Than; Value:7; AND Metric: Time on Site; Condition: Greater Than; Value: 180; AND Metric: Transactions; Condition: Greater Than or Equal To: Value: 1)

This Advanced Segment excludes all pretenders, rookies, and newbies, and focuses on allowing you to analyze what your most experienced, best customers are doing. Use the clues that you find in your reports after applying this segment to learn what makes your best customers tick, and compare that against your customers who do not engage with your website at this level.

There are thousands of different possibilities with Advanced Segmentation, which means that once you start creating your own, you’re bound to come up with an advanced segment that will meet your specific needs, answer your specific questions, and become favorites of your own.

October 9 2008

Yahoo! Web Analytics has finally arrived!

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Yahoo! Web AnalyticsThe hottest news in the world of Web Analytics this week arrived on Wednesday the 8th, when Dennis Mortensen, the director of data insights at Yahoo, officially announced the release of Yahoo Web Analytics.

The web analytics community, and myself personally, have been waiting anxiously for this day, ever since Yahoo acquired IndexTools 5 months ago. IndexTools was always considered to be a great program for the price. In fact, a common slogan used by bloggers that referred to IndexTools was “…it’s 80% of WebTrends at 20% of the price.

So what is Yahoo! Web Analytics, and what can I do with it?

Yahoo! Web Analytics is a tag-based Web Analytics platform, like Google Analytics. However, that’s about as much as they share in common, barring some of the basic reporting features found in any analytics package. Yahoo! Web Analytics has worked really hard over the last 5 months to distance itself from Google Analytics, to claim its spot in the Web Analytics industry, and so far, it has been well received by almost everyone in the analytics community.

What are some of the benefits that Yahoo! Web Analytics offers?

Here are some of the goodies that Yahoo! Web Analytics offers:

1. It’s Free – In 2009, most every customer of Yahoo will be able to have access to Yahoo! Web Analytics (YWA). These include Sponsored Search marketers, Yahoo! Store owners, Small Business customers, and anyone else that is conducting some kind of online business with Yahoo.
2. Real-Time Reporting – YWA is going to provide up to the minute updates in its reporting interface, so you won’t have to wait a few hours or even a full day to see results. This will be great for Sponsored Search marketers, as you’ll be able to refine and optimize your efforts on the fly – and make intelligent decisions along the way.
3. Executive Dashboards – Fully customizable dashboards, where you will be able to create a separate dashboard for anyone within your organization.
4. Live Cost Analysis – This allows you to view Google, Yahoo, and MSN data, integrating it with the revenue that your website collects (Ecommerce).
5. Side-by-Side Comparative Reporting – This allows you to compare two different reports, one right along side the other.
6. Advanced Path Analysis – Drill, baby, drill! This report lets you drill down all the way to individual visit levels.

There are many more features outlined in the Yahoo Web Analytics features section.

My personal thoughts:

This is the best thing that has happened for the Web Analytics community in 2008, and into 2009. Everyone knows that I love Google Analytics, and that I even sometimes wear my Google Analytics T-Shirts in public (Oops…I wasn’t supposed to say that out loud…). Competition that YWA is going to provide against GA will only make BOTH platforms better over time. Each organization will likely try to one-up the other, introduce new reports or features that the other doesn’t have, and try their best to be the #1 “Free” Web Analytics platform out there. Ultimately, the true winners are you and I, the consumers. We’re going to get awesome reporting tools from both programs, and they are both going to improve and offer even more cool stuff over the course of time.

One feature that Yahoo Web Analytics will also provide users by default is data privacy. If this part of IndexTools has lived on in YWA, users will need to upload the necessary JavaScript file on their servers, meaning the data is never sent to a Yahoo server for processing. With GA you can do this, but the default option that is used by mostly everyone is having the JavaScript file reside on a Google server, meaning your data gets sent there for processing before you see it in your reports. This should be something very attractive for customers where privacy is a big concern.

Stay tuned folks – 2009 is going to be a great year for Web Analytics!

September 22 2008

The Trinity Strategy – Learn it, Live it, Love it

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When I met the now legendary Avinash Kaushik for the first time at the Google Mountain View campus in November of 2007, I brought along my copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day for him to sign. I was very shy to bust it out in a room of over 100 people, but I finally got the guts and asked him to sign it, which he did! Now the question is: how much is a signed copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day worth on eBay? 🙂

The signature, much to the disbelief of every one of my co-workers here at MoreVisibility, does not say “To my #1 biggest fan of all time!”. Instead, a much more valuable, two line exclamation is found: “Trinity Rocks!”. Sorry Tigers, but Avinash was referring to his Trinity Strategy, not the University located in Texas.

The Trinity Strategy is, basically, a way of thinking about Web Analytics in today’s Web 2.0 world. The purpose of this strategy, or mindset, is to obtain actionable insights and actionable metrics from the wonderful world of Web Analytics – specifically, your web analytics data.

As you probably predicted, there are three components to the Trinity Strategy:

1. Behavior – Behavior refers to the analysis of the piles and piles of Web Analytics data that we all collect on a daily basis. A long time ago, in a planet far, far away, marketers would simply want to know how many “clicks” or “hits” their website pages received, and their analysis pretty much ended right there (you remember all of those hits counters at the bottom of website pages, don’t you?). The Behavior component of the Trinity Strategy is intended to get you to look at your Web Analytics data at a different level, and, as Avinash loves saying, to “…take a leap of faith…” and make some educated guesses as to why people did what they did on your website (remember, Web Analytics can tell you the what and the when, the why, and sometimes the how is another story).

2. Outcomes – How well is your website ultimately performing? You wanted 40 leads a month from your pay-per-click marketing campaigns, or 5 sales from the new Banner Ad that you have running out there. Are you getting there? Where (and how) are you falling short? The outcomes component of the Trinity Strategy is to get you to look at your bottom line and really take a look to see if your website is fulfilling its objectives.

3. Experience – Experience is all about a term that is starting to gain popularity in 2008 – VOC, or “Voice of Customer”. What do your customers like or dislike about your website or shopping cart? Which pay-per-click landing page works better than the rest, and which one converts higher than the rest? What frustrations did your customers have on your website, or what made them happy? The Experience component of the Trinity Strategy exists to get you to be a man / woman of the people, with the ultimate goal of improving your website for both your financial benefit and your customer’s web experience.

When you put it all together, you have a strategy – a mindset – that should help your business, your online presence, your email marketing campaigns, and so on. It’s a great strategy if you don’t already have a plan of action, or if you have a plan, but it’s not working and you need to change for the better. And why wouldn’t you want to change for the better?

Take Avinash’s Trinity Strategy, and see if you can apply it to your current online business model. Even if you can’t apply it all at the same time, try at least one part of the Trinity, and see what it can do for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. At a minimum, you have allowed for a different way of thinking about your online business and presence – although it may not seem immediately useful, the seed of knowledge has been planted.

The Trinity Strategy – Learn it, Live it, and Love it.

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