Article Archive by Jarret Streiner

March 15 2012

Data Sampling in Google Analytics

by Jarret Streiner

What is Data Sampling?
In Google Analytics it means selecting a subset of data from your website traffic.

Why is this done?
The idea is that using a subset of data will provide comparable results to using the full amount of data available. Using a smaller data set will speed up the process for reporting, as pulling larger amounts data slows down queries.

When will I see Sampled Data?
When a report collects data from a large data set, over 500,000 visits, visitors or pages, you will see that the data collected is sampled. While running Multi-Channel Funnel reports, sampled data will be used when you have over 1 million conversion paths.

When running reports in Google Analytics you may see a yellow box at the top of the report which says:

This gives you specifics on the percentage of visits that the report samples from. As you can see, the average of visits is a little over 210,000, but the percentage of visits is lower in each instance, based on the amount of data each report has to sample from. The larger the amount of data pulled, the lower the percentage of visits that will be sampled into the report.

A new feature in Google Analytics is the Adjust Sample Size tool. The slider, which is located below the date range, allows the user to choose between faster processing and higher precision.

This tool will allow you to adjust the sample size from the default of 250,000 (which is the center of the slider) up to 500,000 visits. As you will see in the samples below, the data samples differ depending on where the slider is placed. The c can be placed anywhere across the path, not just on either end or the middle of the tool.

When you choose a sampling threshold, that preference will be used in all reports until you close Google Analytics.

March 9 2012

Google Analytics Webinar Summary: What’s New in Google Analytics

by Jarret Streiner

As Google enhances and updates their analytics tool, MoreVisibilty will continue to stay on top of these features to help you understand what they do and how they will help validate then guide web site traffic and marketing efforts.

On yesterday’s webinar discussed four of Google Analytics newest features; Flow Visualization, Real Time Web Analytics, Multi-Channel Funnels and Social Media Tracking. To be able to use and evaluate these new features you will need to be running the newest version of GA. You can do this by simple clicking on New Version:

We started off our webinar with Flow Visualization, which uses a graphical representation to show how users flow across pages on your site. We looked at three types of flow visualization; Visits, Event and Goals and the impact they have on design and layout.

Next, we took at look at Real Time Web Analytics and the importance of this powerful tool in relation to its affects on marketing efforts. We reviewed the benefits, the best time to use it and what you would learn from the numbers provided.

Our third new feature was Multi-Channel Funnels, which are reports that are generated from conversion paths, the sequences of
interactions (i.e. clicks/referrals from channels) during the 30 days that led up to each conversion and transaction. During the discussion we went over the way funnels interact and what an “assisted” conversion meant in relation to the first and last interaction attribution.

The last but not least feature discussed was Tracking Social Media and how Google tracks its engagement. We discussed that having a social media account did not equal being socially engaged and using social media to view, share, like or tweet is the measuring stick.

To view our complimentary on-demand webinar, please click here.

March 1 2012

As Easy As 1, 2, 3: Custom Variables – Part III: Visitor Level

by Jarret Streiner

In Part I of this series we spoke about session level variables. In Part II we discussed page level variables. Now we are going to talk about Visitor Level variables. This variety of variable is the highest of the three levels; the tag assigned is permanent and remains disassociated during following visits until the visitor deletes the cookie or overwrites it’s value.

Visitor-level custom variables are used to differentiate the type of visitors who access your site across multiple sessions, such as a member, account holder, visitor or guest. You can make use of this variable to evaluate which users are paying members, what type of membership they have (if you have multiple levels), and visitors who are only guests. This custom variable would be set as a one-time function, given that the value would be carried across the life of the visitor cookie.

Visitor Level Variables follow these coding guidelines:
_setCustomVar(index, name, value, opt_scope)

The coding set up would look like this:
1, // This custom var is set to slot #1. Required parameter.
‘Member Rate’, // The name of the custom variable. Required parameter.
’12 Months’, // The value of the custom variable. Required parameter.
// (possible values might be Free, 3 Months, 6 Months, and 12 Months)
1 // Sets the scope to visitor-level. Optional parameter.

The finished coding would look like this:

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-1’]);
_gaq.push([‘_setCustomVar’,1,’Member Rate’,’12 Months’, 1]);
(function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();


Now that you have set your variables and are tracking them, it is time to see the results. You can find your reports in Visitors > Demographic > Custom Variables report.

The report will display your variables as a “KEY”. There are 5 keys available with 5 values attached to each key.

During our three part series on As Easy as 1, 2, 3: Custom Variables, we have learned how to define additional segments to apply to visitors, about coding parameters, where and how to use each variable and how the different levels; Session (Used to distinguish different visitor experiences across sessions), Page (Used to define a collection of page-level activities by your users) and Visitor (Used to distinguish categories of visitors across multiple sessions) are unique.

We had a look at the reports and the type of information you can choose to add to your data flow. With custom variables, you can label additional segments to apply to your visitors in addition to what is already provided by Google Analytics.

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