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Using Regular Expressions in Google Analytics

Published April 29, 2015
The more time you spend managing a Google Analytics account, the more you’ll wish you could do… well, more. The default Google Analytics reports don’t give you the level of control you need to get the information you want – you need to look at the data on a more granular level. For example, you may find the standard search bar limiting in filtering data when trying to show a specific list of sources or keywords. Regular expressions are a powerful filtering tool and give you a higher level of control over the data you see in your Google Analytics reports.
A regular expression (sometimes shortened to regex) is a string of characters used to create a search pattern. It’s similar to a wildcard – helping you to be more purposeful in your filtering. But, rather than just having a single wildcard character, regex provides a variety of special characters that can be assembled into filters.
Here are some of the special characters used in regular expressions:

[table th="0"]
^,A caret signifies the start of a line. For example\, filtering search terms by ^megalytic would match any instances where megalytic was the first word in the search term.
$,A dollar sign signifies the end of the line. For example\, filtering search terms by megalytic$ would match any instances where megalytic was the last word in the search term.
|,A vertical pipe essentially means “or.” For example\, filtering sources by google|bing would match instances of either google or bing.
.,A dot matches any single character except for a line break. For example\, filtering by megal.tic would match instances of either megalytic or a misspelling like megalitic.
\ ,A backslash “escapes” the character following it. For example\, when entering a URL\, should you place a backslash in front of the period\, it would ensure it’s treated not as a wildcard but as part of the text string\, as in megalytic\.com.
*,A star matches zero or more of the previous character. For example\, megalyt*ic would match megalytic\, megalyttic\, or megalytttttttic.
[/table]

 

 

Building a Quarterly SEO Report Template with Megalytic

Published April 24, 2015
As analysts, we are often asked by marketing teams or clients to put together a Quarterly Report. This report may be in addition to monthly reports, or it may replace the monthly one four times each year. In either case, you may be left wondering what to include.
You are probably thinking that a Quarterly Report is a little different than what you provide your on a monthly basis – and that’s true. Quarterly Reports often need to provide more detail. They are designed to step back, take stock and give readers a broad perspective on the highlights of the quarter – comparing performance with previous ones.
You can use Megalytic to produce these reports that are longer than their monthly counterparts and dive deeper into the metrics. For example, you may look at the results of multiple campaigns that happened during the past three months. You may also want to include boilerplate – like definitions of terms for those who are not expert in Analytics terminology.
Let’s have a look at some of the techniques you can use to build out a Quarterly Report in Megalytic.

Megalytic Upgrade – April 2015

Published April 23, 2015
We've upgraded Megalytic with improvements for report formatting, user interface, and scalability. Megalytic has now been stress-tested and proven reliable for organizations with dozens of user producing hundreds of reports each month.
New features include:
  • Robust Headers and Footers – Customize and upgrade the look of your reports. Create headers and footers using text and images -details here.
  • Use Text and Images in Custom Templates – You can now save boilerplate text and images in your templates, making report creation with Megalytic even faster. – details here.
  • Improved Dashboard UI – Our new dashboard provide a more intuitive interface for managing your reports. - details here.
  • Better Scalability – We've been working hard on those behind the scenes improvements that make Megalytic more robust. - details here.
  • Coming Soon ... AdWords – We are very close to releasing direct AdWords integration - something that many of you have been waiting for. Look for an email about that within a few weeks.

Value of Hiring an In-House Analytics Professional

Published April 22, 2015
You’re the marketing coordinator at a medium-sized B2B company. It’s your job to know who is coming to the site and what they’re doing, and use that knowledge to strategize new ways to keep visitors engaged. Obviously, you’ve set up Google Analytics to track your company’s website traffic and User interactions.
Two months later, though, the CEO asks you to pull a report. So, you log into the Google Analytics account, ready to pull stats, only to find that the tracking code was never actually set up on the site. In the midst of your other countless marketing responsibilities, you just assumed analytics would be set up properly. You never followed up to ensure it was.
Immediately, you know two things.
  1. This is not going to be a fun conversation with your CEO.
  2. You need help managing reporting.
Sure, maybe you should have been more on top of ensuring the analytics code was in place and tracking properly. But you’re busy. What if, instead, you had an internal team member dedicated to managing analytics? Someone with a knowledge, and an understanding, of analyzing data with the bandwidth to closely set up and monitor tracking?
This crisis you’re now facing – it never would have happened. In this post, we outline the value that having an analytics professional in-house can bring to an organization.

 

 

Ways to Save Time on Analytics Reports

Published April 17, 2015
It’s that time again! The time when you need to get out the analytics reports – all of them. Whether you are an in-house marketer or work at an agency, the amount of reporting you’re responsible for has increased. Management needs their reports. Clients need their reports. Everybody has a reporting deadline and they are all expecting you to meet it.
How are you going to get it all done?
You’re going to use Megalytic.
Fortunately for marketers, Megalytic provides a variety of features that can help you crank out reports faster than you ever imagined.
Let’s look at some of these time-saving features in detail.

 

 

Understanding Direct Traffic in Google Analytics

Published April 14, 2015
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.

Training an Agency Team to Understand Analytics

Published April 8, 2015
Are you ready for a hard truth? You may not like it …
We are a bit odd.
Us – data people like us analytics professionals. We carry our passion for web analytics into our jobs and on wear it on our sleeve. We love talking about collecting data, reporting and how we’ve helped clients improve their businesses with cold, hard facts. This deep love for data may have even ruined a dinner conversation or two (for others, of course, we love analytics-fueled dinners!)
But if you work in an agency, you may have noticed the lead designer on your team doesn’t necessarily share your excitement for analytics. It doesn’t matter that analytics could help her create stronger landing page designs or make the PPC ads she’s laid out more effective. She’s just not interested.
Your designer isn’t the only one in your organization who could benefit from analytics knowledge – your development team, your account managers and your social media specialists could all benefit from analytics training. If only there was someone around to teach them.
This is your job.
As the resident data specialist, it is your job to train your agency on the importance of analytics. In this post we’ll show you how to start the conversation to help your team integrate analytics into their daily processes, and ultimately, improve the quality of work done for clients.

 

 

Using the Cohort Analysis Report in Google Analytics to Optimize Lead Generation

Published April 3, 2015
You use Google Analytics Goals to track leads so you already know which channels are producing the most leads, but how do you know which channels are sending you the best leads – the ones most likely to become customers?
This is the kind of question you should be asking yourself. It’s also one that can be answered by cohort analysis. Cohort analysis divides website users into groups (cohorts) based on a common characteristic and compares behavior over time across those groups. Cohorts can be defined based on date of first site visit, campaign, demographic group, etc. For example, we can use cohort analysis to better understand the quality of leads generated from an email campaign vs. those who first visited the site as a result of a PR placement by tracking the behavior of these groups over time to see which ones convert better.
Google Analytics has recently introduced a standard report for cohort analysis: Audience > Cohort Analysis
One way to use this new report from Google is to identify which channels are sending you leads that are most likely to convert into customers. In this post, we’ll show you how.

 

 

Should Client Reporting Be Tasked To The Intern?

Published April 1, 2015
When you work for a digital marketing agency, you wear a lot of hats. You’re busy managing ad campaigns, writing content, planning social media efforts and answering questions from colleagues and clients. With so much to juggle in your day-to-day, it’s no surprise you don’t have significant time to spare putting together monthly client reports.
So, sometimes you don’t do it.
You pass it off to the intern with vague instructions on how to pull a few Google Analytics screenshots or to download an Excel spreadsheet full of numbers.
But given the importance reporting plays in a digital agency, is that the best recipe for success? Are you doing your clients, and even your agency, a disservice by not giving proper priority to monthly reporting and leaving it to the intern?
Below, we look at some key concerns.

 

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.