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Dangers of Shortened URLs for Analytics

Published July 30, 2014
Shortened URL services like bit.ly are incredibly convenient, right? They allow you to take an unwieldy, lengthy (and let’s face it - ugly) URL and transform it into a short, manageable URL with just the click of a button. You can even view quick stats to learn how many clicks your shortened URL received.
Sweet, right? Not really.
What many marketers and social media experts don’t realize is that major problems can occur from mindlessly shortening URLs to share on social media. You’re impacting the central data for your website in Google Analytics, which is much more important (and telling) than any one-off analytics data you’ll receive from that URL shortener.

Sharing Google Analytics Reports with Your Organization

Published July 24, 2014
You know the importance of data for making good business decisions. But, even the best analysis of the best data can only help your organization if the decision makers are using it. Good data left untouched is worse than collecting no data at all. Unfortunately, this is often the case when the people in your organization who need data the most aren’t getting it. They might not even be aware it exists.
Since we know our decision makers likely aren’t logging into Google Analytics regularly to check on website performance metrics, it is our job to package that data and deliver it to them in a useful and easily-accessible format.
In this post, we look at some of the features Google Analytics provides for sharing reports with your organization, as well as additional tools for reporting.

Tips for Cross-Domain Tracking in Google Analytics

Published July 23, 2014
As data-driven professionals, we want to use actionable data to guide the marketing decisions we make every day. We understand that making decisions based on insight, not gut feeling, helps us better align our sites with the needs and wants of our customers.
However, this is only true when the data used to guide these decisions has been collected correctly. Acting on faulty data can be worse than acting on no data at all, as it allows us to make assumptions about user activity and website performance that are not true.
While Google Analytics provides a fairly simple setup process for basic sites, there are a number of backend settings that need to be tweaked to properly track more complex setups. One of the most common problems encountered in Google Analytics is not properly tracking across different domains or subdomains.

Tracking Offline Marketing in Google Analytics

Published July 16, 2014
When people think of analytics reporting, many immediately think of the Web. They think about tracking users, measuring online promotions and quantifying reader engagement with their site. And that makes sense! After all Google Analytics was built to show you what happened on your website. But online advertising isn’t the only way users find your site, and Google Analytics can help you track all user activity, whether it originated via an email campaign or a direct mail piece.

Analyzing Your Website’s Mobile Visitors

Published July 11, 2014
Mobile visitors account for an increasingly large component of the traffic to most websites, making them an important segment for marketers to focus on. We must understand where these users come from, how they behave, what their goals are and how these goals may differ from more traditional visitors. This is important not only because mobile users represent a growing influential audience, but also because mobile users are often less forgiving of poor load times and web experiences than traditional users.
This post looks at how you can use Google Analytics to gain that understanding and to create the best user experience possible for mobile users.

Analytics Guidance for Planning a Site Redesign

Published July 9, 2014
You hate your website. Or, at least, you think your website could work better and be doing more to help you achieve your business goals.
We’ve all been there.
Planning to rebuild or redesign a website, whether large or small, can quickly turn into a significant and intimidating task. You want to improve the site to meet users’ needs and offer compatibility with the latest web technology, but you don’t want to undo the good stuff that’s already working. You want to better target your site toward your customers’ questions and their concerns, but you want to first identify how your customers are engaging with your current site.
You need a plan. Thankfully, Google Analytics can answer many questions about how your customers are already using your site to help you successfully (and painlessly) redesign your website.

Tips for Segmenting Stats by Geography

Published July 3, 2014
Many people are familiar with the location mapping functionality in Google Analytics that shows which countries traffic is originating from. But few realize what a powerful tool geographic segmentation can be or the opportunities that exist to leverage this information.
For example, did you know you can segment demographic data by geography to understand how the composition of your audience varies by country? Or, did you know that you can segment conversions by geography to find your top social media influencers?
This post provides an overview of the geographic data available in Google Analytics and how to use it to improve your digital marketing.

Top Analytics Reports for Business Owners

Published July 2, 2014
As a business owner, you understand the importance of staying abreast of your website’s performance and how it’s impacting business revenue. However, you don’t have the time to go through the countless granular reports available in Google Analytics. And even if you did, you may not want that level of detail. What you need is to get the insights you’re after, and quickly. Knowing a few key reports to watch can help save you time and identify important metrics to push your team to look deeper into stats.

ALSO IN THIS BLOG

Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?
The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.
Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.

 

 

When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:

 

 

It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
One of the most exciting and important aspects of digital marketing is the ability to understand exactly how your customers are finding you. It informs every single part of integrated campaigns and helps determine which efforts are working and which ones need to be revisited. Google Analytics allows you to zero in on the performances of different marketing channels to evaluate everything from brand awareness to social media messaging. To get the most insight from that data, it’s crucial to understand exactly how Google sorts your traffic.
Channels in Google Analytics are high-level categories indicating how people found your site. While the Source/Medium report shows you in more detail where people came from, Channels are broader, more “user-friendly” names lumping visits together in buckets useful for high-level reporting categories.
For instance, Facebook Sessions often show up in multiple ways in the Source/Medium report. They may appear as facebook.com, m.facebook.com, and l.facebook.com, all of which are variations of the same source. The Channels report will include all of these in the Social bucket, so you can see less granular, aggregate numbers on social media performance.