In January Google updated its image search algorithm to improve the user experience. The “new” Google Images now shows the selected picture in a black display pane.
By comparison the older version pulled up the website in the background. This seems like a straightforward enough change, certainly in line with Google’s many adjustments geared to a cleaner visual experience.
However, for websites that have many images in the Google index, there is a less than exciting result to this new and improved user experience. The newest update to the image search decreases the referral traffic from Google.com. Because the new display feature does not pull the website up behind the selected image, the Google Analytics code does not have a chance to fire, removing the page view credit and decreasing referral traffic.
Websites with substantial image libraries will see the decrease in Google Images traffic starting at the end of January when the switch was made. Traffic from Google Images can be found under Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals> Google.com. To identify the Google Images traffic specifically, click Google.com from the referral sources listed and look for /imgres.
In order for the Google Analytics code to fire using the new Images features, the searcher must select to visit the page by clicking on the image a second time, or selecting one of the two buttons to the right of the image. Although the impact of the change may appear extreme for some sites initially, the new functionality will result in a truer site visit, rather than one indirectly generated by Google’s Image search.
This week Google will finalize the transition requiring a link between its Merchant Center offering and AdWords interface for the previously free Product Listing Ads. Though they’ve alluded to this change since early summer, the official deadline was posted on their blog earlier in the month. The shift to a commercialized model will reshape the Product Listing Ad experience. The shopping ads online retailers once benefited from for free will no longer run unless connected to an AdWords account.
Since the announcement, many ecommerce businesses have questioned whether or not to make the switch. Some have struggled to identify the ROI needed to rationalize the additional ad budget and account maintenance expenses. However, the true revenue from these powerful paid ads is right at their fingertips using Google Analytics.
Follow these steps to identify your Ad Revenue in Google Analytics:
1. Log in to Google Analytics
2. Identify a time period.
3. In the left-hand navigation, click Traffic Sources > All Traffic.
4. Using the search feature, narrow the traffic result to Googlebase / base. This is the name used by the Google Shopping Feed. Click the magnifying glass to execute the search.
5. Once the results are displayed, click the Ecommerce filter. Revenue will be listed below the graph.
In this example, the company would stand to lose over a million dollars in online sales by not moving to AdWords. It’s important to note that an effective Product Listing Campaign can run for as little as $3,000 a month– generating an unbelievable return on investment.
Since childhood we have been told to “Think Big”, “Dream Big” and that “Bigger is Better.” But are these adages true for companies trying to define their Google Analytics goals? As marketers, we are trained to identify macro goals first. These are the goals that are most closely tied to ROI. They are our conversions and the money makers. However, the pressure to “Go big or go home” often leads us astray; defining success by strictly a number of conversions.
In the ever growing online industry, one size truly does not fit all. If we continue to look to macro goals as the only success metric, we end up manipulating data and ignoring the obvious misfit. In many cases, and as any jewelry adoring woman will tell you, good things in life can come in small packages.
When defining Google Analytics goals for your website, try to look at the big picture. If you are gauging success solely on conversions, you may be missing out on an opportunity to capture meaningful data on a smaller scale. Micro goals, or micro conversions, are a way to strategically track visitor engagement across your site. Though we would like to believe visitors come to our site strictly to convert; that is simply not accurate. Visitors browse, check out blogs, download PDFs and generally learn more about your company before they determine if they will officially engage. By tracking these behaviors, online marketers can begin to draw conclusions about events that eventually lead to conversions. Common micro goals include:
You might discover a visitor who downloads your white paper is 5 times more likely to submit a contact form and ultimately convert. The trick is to determine which of these activities are meaningful to your business and emphasize them in your future marketing plans. While micro goals will never replace the traditional conversions goals, they should be considered as part of the overall picture of customer site behavior and the sales funnel.