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How to Get Google Analytics Certified: Step-by-Step

Published December 14, 2018

Every digital agency and internal marketing group needs a Google Analytics expert. Since you are reading this post, you’ve probably decided that you want to be that expert. Or maybe you’ve been “volunteered” for that role by your team!

Either way, congratulations! Mastery of Google Analytics is an important milestone in becoming a proficient digital marketer. A good start is to become certified by passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) exam. In this post, we walk through the process, step by step, of getting Google Analytics certified.

Digital Marketing Reports - The Key Components

Published December 11, 2018

Whether you do digital marketing for an agency or an internal team, you probably need to create monthly reports summarizing the performance of your campaigns. These reports showcase the successes of your marketing strategies and highlight where improvements can be made. There are tons of marketing metrics out there-- it’s hard to know what to include in your monthly report and how to display the data. And the results themselves might get lost-- even if you’ve massively improved campaign performance -- if you don’t present the data in a way that your team comprehends and engages with.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the key components of digital marketing reports that add the most value for your clients and colleagues.

Why You Need Multiple Channels for Website Traffic

Published July 16, 2018
As marketers, it’s important that we never allow our businesses to become too dependent on any one channel. Our brands must stand on their own, independent of any single source of traffic. Our goal should be channel independence.
We’re not talking about channels like Discovery or Lifetime – we mean the channels through which a website acquires traffic. Achieving channel independence, means deriving value, traffic and conversions from an assortment of channels so that your business is not overly dependent on any one digital channel for an uncomfortable portion of traffic or sales. In this post, we’ll review the importance of channel independence and give a few ideas for how to best leverage it. 

Comparing Your Competitors' Website Traffic Stats

Published July 12, 2018
In digital reporting, context is critical. Our marketing efforts don’t exist in a vacuum and in addition to broader consumer and economic trends, companies face fierce competition for share of voice and online sales.
 
In an increasingly competitive environment, benchmarking becomes important for any organization to properly evaluate their performance. In growing markets, it’s possible to see a rise in traffic and sales and be losing market share. In shrinking markets, you can see decreased sales while growing overall market share.
 
One of the best ways to determine which way is truly “up” is to benchmark some of your competition to provide you with the context you need to best interpret your own digital marketing results. While there is no universal source of competitor intelligence, there are a few different options at our disposal. In this post, we’ll cover the inexact science of how to compare your competitors’ website traffic stats, using Alexa, Similarweb, SEMRush and benchmarking in Google Analytics.

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Published March 7, 2018
Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) is a term you encounter all the time when working on advertising optimization. There is even a Google Analytics metric named ROAS and you can use Target ROAS as a bidding strategy in AdWords.
So, what is ROAS exactly? To start, the ROAS formula is defined as the ratio of the revenue generated by advertising over the cost of that advertising.
 

ROAS measures how much of your advertising spend you got back in revenue. ROAS is never a negative number because in the worst case your ads produced 0 revenue and ROAS would be zero.

So, what's a good ROAS? The answer is that it depends on the operating margins, cash flow, and other aspects of your business. In this post, we examine how to know what your ROAS needs to be and how to use (and not misuse) ROAS as a guide to managing your advertising spend.

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.