Yesterday I asked the following question on Twitter:
I need some ideas for my weekly [Web Analytics] blog post. Anyone?
To which Twitter user nedeniarecel replied:
What about custom reporting to measure entrances and bounce rate metrics by geography and time of day?
Excellent! I want to show nedeniarecel (and you, of course) how to set this up, but I also want to discuss what to do with this report once it’s set up. That is, the insights and decisions that we take and make from this new custom report that we are about to create. A report is only as good as the insights it can provide.
I’m going to use Google Analytics to show how to set this up, but regardless of what tool you’re using, you should be able to apply the same principles that I have here.
To set up this Custom Report,
1. Log-in to your Google Analytics account, select your profile of choice, and click on Custom Reporting from the left hand navigation
2. Click on Manage Custom Reports, and then on the subsequent screen, click on Create new Custom Report on the upper-right.
3. Give your report a name, and, if you want to, give your tab a name. Drag and drop metrics / dimensions from the left-hand side into the areas of the report on the right-hand side. Your report should look something like this screen shot:
4. Click on Save at the bottom of this screen and you’re good to go!
Or – are you good to go?
This kind of report will give you some good data by itself. We have entrances by country / territory (you can do region or even city level geo’s instead if you wish), and it will provide you the bounce rate for each country / territory – which is the percentage of single-page visits from each location.
You can even click on any country and get a breakdown of entrances and bounce rate by the hour of the day.
What is important to do at this point is to ask ourselves whether or not this report can answer a question, add a specific value, or, allow you to extract a valuable, usable insight. For example, can you take an action from this report on your website or on your marketing efforts? Is this report adding a value that you didn’t have before? Can someone make or suggest a decision with this report?
If you don’t feel that you can, then I would suggest a few modifications / additions to this report, while maintaining the integrity of the request. I would do something along the lines of this screen shot:
In a manner of speaking, I “pimped out” the original custom report to include:
1. An additional site usage metric, Pages / Visit, gives me a pinch more insight on average on how deep their engagement was.
2. Three goal-oriented metrics: Total Goal Starts, to see how many visits started the goal completion process; Total Goal Completions, to learn how many visitors completed an important action on my website; and Goal Conversion Rate, to obtain the ratio of visits to goal completions.
3. Two final metrics, Search Exits and Event Value. These last two give me clues as to the performance of both my website’s search function and any non-page view Events that I am tracking, like videos or PDF file downloads. Search Exits represent the percentage of visits that leave your website after performing a search – like a bounce rate for your website’s search function. Event Value is the total value of all events.
4. A new dimension, Source / Medium. This way I can get an informative breakdown of how each source of traffic + each medium viewed and performed on my website, and then I have the option of clicking on any individual source / medium to view a country / territorial breakdown. If I want to go deeper than that, I can click on any country / territory and get another breakdown by hour of the day.
Now, I can take this data for any source and know what I need to do next, because I know what country visits came from, what their bounce rates and conversion rates are, and what these visits thought of my search function, events, or PDF files. I know if I need to work on my SEO if my organic traffic sources aren’t matching my performance expectations, or if my pay-per-click efforts are doing fantastic and if I need to allocate more budget there. I can see if my E-mail newsletters tanked or if my direct mail piece was a smash hit.
I can do all of that from that custom report. The great part about custom reporting is that there are thousands upon thousands of different combinations that you can put together, just as I did above. What are some of your custom report combinations in your favorite web analytics tool? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!
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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂
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.
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.
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”!
Back in May of this year, Google Analytics announced the release of some new features that will soon be available to everyone worldwide. This announcement includes two new features that we are very excited about: Pivot Tables and the subject of today’s blog post, Secondary Dimensions.
What are Secondary Dimensions?
Secondary Dimensions allow you to add in a layer of data to any report table within the Google Analytics interface. With secondary dimensions, you can save time and effort, while simultaneously obtaining valuable insights within your report data. All you have to do is visit any report – Keywords, All Traffic Sources, or your Top Content report – and look for a new drop-down menu directly underneath the scorecard, shown in this image:
Then, you can start diving deep. For example, segment your Traffic Sources report by “keyword“, and you’ll get this:
You can also do fancier analysis, like segmenting your Traffic Sources report by City, while using the Comparison to Site Average view to evaluate the percentage of New Visits from each location, which can help you evaluate your geo-targeted marketing efforts:
With the power of Secondary Dimensions, you will be able to take your analysis efforts to the next level. Because every standard dimension is available in secondary dimensions, you have virtually limitless possibilities. Try segmenting your Keywords report by Landing Page, your Top Content report by Visitor Type, or your Map Overlay report table by Source for some fun (and useful) information! Secondary Dimensions are addictive, so consider this your only warning!
Next time we will talk about another new Google Analytics Feature, Pivot Tables (or Pivoting), and show you how to use Pivoting in conjunction with Secondary Dimensions for even greater reporting power!