Articles in The 'custom variables' Tag


August 12 2010

Web Analytics and Attribution

by Theo Bennett

Wikipedia defines attribution as a “journalistic practice of attributing information to its source.” In analytics, it’s the struggle to understand which of your marketing efforts truly have a positive effect of your top and bottom lines.

It seems simple enough, you send an e-mail or run a PPC campaign and you get a sale. Your web analytics platform tells you that you sold 7 widgets in one transaction and the visitor who made the purchase came from a Bing PPC campaign that was fired by the keyword “blue widgets”. That sounds simple enough: A click in Bing led to a $100 sale. Not bad.

In reality, most sites do not have easy, one-visit conversions. Let’s dig deeper. Using your web analytics tool, you are able to see that this new customer has come to your site five times over the last month. With five touch points to the site; should Bing really get all the credit?

In Google Analytics, the last click that led to the sale gets full credit and this is known as last-click attribution. If you don’t consider this truth, you are doomed to lower quality decisions regarding your marketing.

In Google analytics, there are a couple of options to help you get to more meaningful data:

  1. You can modify the Google Analytics Tracking Code to, by default; give full credit to the first touch point with your site. (GATC is the snippet of code that is placed on every page of your site.)
  2. You could use custom variables and unique landing pages for each marketing effort.

The first option may work if you are only interested in the first way someone became aware of your site and you have a short sales cycle. If, on the other hand, you have a long sales cycle and many marketing channels, this method can be less effective. For example: If you use this method, someone that visited your site 6 months ago via Twitter and forgot that you existed; but then made a purchase after an organic search would have the value of the transaction attributed to Twitter and not your SEO efforts.

Using custom variables and unique landing pages allows you to “tag” visitors as they respond to your marketing. It’s not perfect, but it can help you develop a better picture of what’s generating revenue for your business. Let’s revisit our example from above, where on the fifth visit someone made a purchase via Bing PPC. Remember that we attributed the sale to Bing.

If you used custom variables and unique landing pages, the picture could look something like this:

Visit 1 was from a display ad via the Google Display Network

Visit 2 was from Google PPC keyword “widgets”

Visit 3 was from your re-marketing campaign on the Google Display Network

Visit 4 was from Facebook

Visit 5 was the Bing PPC ad for “blue widgets”

So what you initially thought was a $100 sale on a $4 keyword in Bing has become a much more robust picture of how your multi-channel approach is paying off. You can decide for yourself how much weight or credit each channel should receive. Regardless, you now have a much better understanding of how your marketing is performing and can make better decisions on which channels are deserving of your marketing spend.

December 7 2009

Even More Great Features from Google Analytics!

by MoreVisibility

Earlier today at the Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago, Mr. Phil Mui, Google Analytics Senior Product Manager, announced several new features for Google Analytics that build on last month’s big feature release. This included the new Intelligence section, Custom Alerts, and Multiple Custom Variables.

Today’s announcement included the introduction to Annotations, the news that custom variables are now segmentable and available in Custom Reports, and the release of a new Analytics Setup Wizard. Let’s review each feature!

1. Annotations
Annotations are the first of its kind in Google Analytics, as they allow you to insert data into a Google Analytics trending graph. By using annotations, you can make notes and keep track of dips and spikes in traffic, right on your trending graphs. This should hopefully cut down the amount of time needed to track information down between departments of your organization, and it should also help capture the “tribal” intelligence that floats around your company:

annotations

Annotations are available in every trending graph in all reports. You also have the option to either make them private, so only you can see them, or make them public, so that any user with access to the profile can view them. Finally, you can favorite your most important annotations by clicking on the famous yellow-star, like you can in just about every Google product.

No more hunting down your webmaster / IT director / marketing manager for an explanation of why traffic sky-rocketed, when marketing emails got sent out, or how long the server crash lasted. No more looking at bulky spreadsheets filled with launch dates and release notes. Now, with annotations, you can keep a logbook of everything important that happens in your organization!

2. Custom Variables now Segmentable, Available in Custom Reports
Multiple Custom Variables, which allow you to collect unique site usage data for your most important buckets of website traffic and visitors, can now be segmented using an Advanced Segment. Previously, the only way to view these metrics was to crack open the new Visitors >> Custom Segments report. Now, you can perform deep-dive analysis like you can with virtually every other metric or dimension!

3. Analytics Setup Wizard
The next time you create a profile in Google Analytics, you’ll notice a new tracking code setup wizard that will guide you along the way. Depending on your needs (tracking sub-domains, multiple top-level domains, integrating Google AdSense or even tracking PHP or dynamic content pages), you’ll be able to configure your tracking code appropriately so that you or your web team can track everything as accurately as possible!

BONUS: New Version of the Google Analytics API
How about a tease? Later this week, Google Analytics will be making a separate announcement for some exciting new features to the Google Analytics API, including support for Advanced Segments and support for the new metrics and dimensions that have been made available to Google Analytics in recent months!

Look for all of these exciting new features to be available in your Google Analytics accounts soon!

November 23 2009

The features that I am thankful for

by MoreVisibility

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the holiday season is officially here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads our Analytics and Site Intelligence blog and subscribes to our RSS Feed. You fine folks rock!

There have also been lots and lots of new features in Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Google Website Optimizer in the past year that I am extremely thankful for. These features have made my job easier, more enjoyable, and have helped a lot of our clients improve their conversion rates, sales revenue, and their bottom lines. Therefore, I’d like to dedicate this post to all of the following features:

1. Conversion Tracking (AdWords):

For years, Google has offered a free conversion tracking script that can be placed on a receipt page, a “thank you” page, or any important page where you ultimately want your AdWords traffic to go to. Recently, the AdWords team has upgraded the Conversion Tracking section within AdWords to include the ability to create multiple conversion actions, new “one-per-click” vs. “many-per-click” metrics, and a verification feature that can detect if the tracking code is properly installed. Way to go AdWords Conversion Tracking team!

2. The Opportunities Tab (AdWords):

The Opportunities tab within the AdWords GUI provides awesome intelligence on how to improve your campaigns. Whether you should be spending more money, using different keywords, or other suggestions, the Opportunities tab can make very good estimates on areas where you could be missing out. Log-in to your AdWords account and try this amazing feature today!

3. Google Ad Planner (AdWords):

Do you need to see detailed demographic data, domains and sub-domains, keywords, and other traffic statistics for the site or audience that you’re planning to advertise to? Google’s Ad Planner is nothing short of amazing in this department! If display advertising (images, video, rich media) is important for you, you seriously need to sign up for Ad Planner before you do anything else. Any site that you want to run your ads on with Google AdWords should be listed in AdPlanner, as well as the estimated volume of traffic each site receives as well as what types of ads each site supports.

4. Segmenting (AdWords):

Did you know that you can now easily segment your Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords in AdWords, much like you can segment any dimension in Google Analytics? This helps you to slice and dice your AdWords campaign data to make better decisions about how you’re spending your hard-earned marketing dollars.

5. Secondary Dimensions and Pivoting (Analytics):

The combination of Secondary Dimensions and Pivoting in any Google Analytics report table makes my job so much easier, faster, and more fun! You can now see up to five separate dimensions all in one report table view, which makes data-mining a far less arduous task.

6. Multiple Custom Variables (Analytics):

No longer are we bound by one label or one bucket for any website visitor. We can now assign visitors multiple labels, thanks to the new Multiple Custom Variables feature in Google Analytics. It takes just a bit of coding to pull it off, but the little bit of technical implementation is by far outweighed by the sheer flexibility and depth that you obtain!

7. Enhanced Mobile Tracking (Analytics)

Mobile analytics with Google Analytics has improved dramatically with this new report section. Found under the Visitors section, site owners can now view the many different mobile devices and mobile carriers that bring visitors to their websites. With a little bit of additional coding, any one using a .mobi site can track their mobile website’s activity in a much smoother and easier way. Oh, by the way, iPods and Nintendo DS Lite’s are counted as mobile devices :)

8. Intelligence / Custom Alerts (Analytics)

Want to know about significant events that happen on your site, and some guidance as to what to do next? The new Intelligence section is your new best-friend. Google Analytics can now alert you to highly significant events that are happening on your website, who or what are the causes, and what Google Analytics expected to happen (vs. what actually happened). It can also iron your pants and make toast! Well, maybe not yet – perhaps it will be able to soon :)

You can also create your own custom alerts and have them emailed to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Define your own important criteria and observe significant increases or decreases of stuff that’s important to you.

9. Experiment Notes (Website Optimizer)

I’m also very thankful for the wonderful people at Google for their Website Optimizer product. Specifically, I really like Experiment Notes, a brand new feature within the Google Website Optimizer interface. With each new A/B or multivariate experiment, I can write notes about that experiment, such as the start date or important specifics that I need to keep track of, which I can go back to at any time.

10. Over-time charting (Website Optimizer)

Finally, over-time charting in Google Website Optimizer lets me view conversion data plotted daily across a Google Analytics style trending graph, at the top of my experiment report. This lets me observe experiment success / failures over the course of time, and allows me to watch the observed improvements in a cleaner, more graphically-pleasing way.

Those are just some of the many features that I am thankful for. I hope that you have a happy Thanksgiving, a happy “black Friday” and a very happy “cyber Monday”!

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