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Another Holiday Gift For The Practitioner

Thursday, 30 December 2010

As you may know, you can create your own reports within Google Analytics. Here's a help article from our blog explaining how. In Avinash's typical style, he makes powerful analysis techniques accessible and understandable, and the best part is that he's created the reports for you allowing you to take action right away. You can click on a link that populates the report template right within your Google Analytics profile. Thanks for the holiday gift Avinash.
To give you a sneak peak and get you salivating to read Avinash's post, the three reports are:
  • Page Efficiency Analysis Report
  • Visitor Acquisition Efficiency Analysis Report.
  • Paid Search Performance Analysis Micro-Ecosystem!
If you're doing web analytics, these reports will be of use both educationally, and practically. Enjoy, and stay tuned for one more gift from Avinash.

First Holiday Gift: iGoogle Gadget

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The holidays are here, true believer. And we're stuffing your stocking with 3 posts-containing-gifts, and this is the first. The other two will come next week and are delivered by our very own Santavinash Claus.

Close your eyes and get ready - wait, don't close them actually - keep reading, because here it is: a gadget, because you love gadgets. But not just any gadget....As part of our efforts to make your analytics data more accessible, we are announcing the release of the Official Google Analytics Gadget. With it, you can get a quick snapshot of your website traffic and marketing effectiveness directly from your iGoogle homepage. Access any of your analytics profiles and view any of these standard reports, including Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content and Goals, in 7, 30 and 90 day periods.

It's a handy dashboard for Google Analytics.

Users can now add the Official Google Analytics Gadget to their iGoogle homepage here, or by searching the iGoogle Gadgets Directory.

The gadget can also be added multiple times within your iGoogle homepage to view multiple reports at once.

We must thank CPG Brand Marketers for encouraging the development of this iGoogle Analytics Gadget. They are using iGoogle as a Brand Digital Dashboard to mine search trends, news, consumer feedback, and more, in order to help make strategic investment decisions. Now they can easily add Google Analytics data to their brand digital dashboards.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Patrick Tedjamulia, Google CPG Team and Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team

Last Web Analytics TV For 2010 - Out With A Bang

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Well, it’s the last episode of Web Analytics TV for 2010. In this series with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski, you ask and vote on your favorite web analytics questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them.

In this episode, we award Lloyd in Capetown for his great question on how bounce rate is calculated and how AJAX sites can effect it. Lloyd, just send us an email and we’ll send you an autographed, personalized, copy of Web Analytics 2.0.

Here is the list of last weeks questions which we answered this week.

In this action-packed episode we discuss:
  • (0:27) How you can see the top landing page report by keyword.
  • (1:22) Calculating Avg Time to complete a goal.
  • (2:11) The recommended way to do internal campaign tracking.
  • (3:17) Creating funnel reports for different user types.
  • (5:19) How page title and URL are used in unique pageview calculations.
  • (6:40) Why you see google as a referral in Google Analytics.
  • (8:25) Can you use GA to track social networking links without link shorteners?
  • (9:28) Using canonical URLs to differentiate multiple links on a page.
  • (10:52) Calculating bounce rate for AJAX sites.
  • (13:34) Getting campaign data into Google Analytics without using URL parameters.
  • (14:43) Google Analytics campaign attribution and direct traffic.
  • (15:54) Working with Custom Variables in website templates.
  • (17:07) Using Ecommerce tracking for tracking conversions.
  • (19:02) Is there a way to see data broken down by day of the week?
  • (19:48) How tabbed navigation effects funnel abandonment.
  • (21:21) How to track various form selections.
  • (22:23) Fnding Average number of items per order in Google Analytics.

Here are the links to the topics we discuss:
As always, if you need help setting up Google Analytics or leveraging the advanced configuration options, we recommend hiring a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

If you found this post or video helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Please share them via the comment form below. And, if you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question and vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site. Avinash and I will answer your latest questions in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.

Optimize And Analyze For Mobile, part 3

Monday, 20 December 2010

This is part 3 of a timely 3 part guest post on mobile analytics strategy and implementation by Feras Alhlou at E-Nor, a Certified Partner in Northern California. Here's part 1, which explained how to look for trends in mobile traffic to your website, and here's part 2 about giving your reports more dollar power.

3. Act on your ROI
At this point, you are equipped with your positive trends and the (hopefully high!) revenue numbers generated on mobile devices. You’ll hopefully get additional time/resources to better assess and improve your mobile presence and mobile marketing initiatives.

But, we still have some more ground to cover, including more segmentation. Let's ratchet up your insights:

More Segmentation.
For your mobile traffic (viewable via an advanced segment or a profile you make specifically for mobile traffic), segment by medium (traffic channel) or campaign (e.g. Back To School Campaign). Take a look at these two metrics:

Bounce rate by medium:

click to enlarge

And conversion rate by medium:

click to enlarge

Do more with Google AdWords.
You notice in the reports above that your cpc (paid-search) traffic from mobile devices is not as prevalent as other mediums. Your results show that your mobile site is experiencing a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate - a good indicator that something is very wrong either on your landing page, or in your ads. Either your ads are not bringing in the right traffic, or you're scaring traffic away.

What you're most likely doing is proving that your site is not optimized for mobile device visits.

Fortunately, you can further back this data up within AdWords. Google AdWords now allows more visibility into campaign performance from different devices. In AdWords, in your Campaign reports, click on ‘Device’ in the Segment drop-down.

click to enlarge

In this situation, in the last cell in the rightmost column, you notice a 0.03% conversion rate for your mobile devices (compared to 0.52% on the non-mobile devices) and you know exactly where the problem is.

To fix the awfulness in the conversion rates, here are a few tips:
  • create a separate campaign for your mobile devices
  • send traffic to a custom landing page (or to your mobile site if you have one),
  • and/or better target the mobile traffic (by device, or using the click-to-call feature).
Last but not least and for tor the technically inclined, and to get a more comprehensive perspective on your mobile presence, take a look at the code site page on mobile. If you're developing for a mobile platform, you can use Google Analytics to track the following:
  • Activity on websites specially tailored for low-end mobile devices
  • Activity on standard websites accessed from high-end mobile devices
  • User engagement with a native iOS or Android application (using the Google Analytics mobile SDK)
In addition, there are a number of new niche analytics solutions specifically built for mobile, so keep on the lookout, and see if a specific tool has a feature that you really need. And, for more analytics tips and insights, follow @ferasa on twitter or check out the E-Nor blog.

Happy Analyzing!

Custom Variables For Your Android Applications

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

With the power of the Google Analytics Mobile SDK, you can track activity within your mobile applications the same way you track activity on websites. In fact, this SDK turns Google Analytics into a great tool for analyzing mobile application usage, with the option to use many of the same great features like advanced segments, goals, and custom reporting. However, you could not apply custom variables to the pageviews and events you sent from your mobile application to Analytics... until now. Get ready for a holiday present.

We’re pleased to announce the addition of custom variables to the Mobile Analytics SDK for Android. Using the same simple interface, you can now apply custom variables to your mobile usage data, making for dead-easy segmenting of that data when it comes time to analyze usage and optimize your mobile application.

How, you ask, can custom variables be used to optimize an Android application? The same way they help you optimize web applications: by providing actionable context. Some starter ideas for how to segment your Android application users:
  • Free vs Paid users: What percentage of users went from demo to full version? How long did it take them?
  • Application Version: What version of your app gained the most users? Which version lost some users? Look at where things went wrong and fix them. Fast.
  • Platform version: Would bumping up the minimum version of your application cost you some percentage of your user base? Should you stay backwards compatible with cupcake, or focus on the juicy new features?
You can also use custom variables to tell how users interact with your application:
  • Modes of interaction: UI-wise, do your users use menu-items or long-presses more often?
  • Help/Tutorial: How many features of your application are explored by users who finished the built-in tutorial? How many get used by those who didn’t? What’s the conversion rate to paid users?
  • Portrait vs landscape: What mode are people in during most of their interaction with your application?
Thanks to the flexibility of the Google Analytics platform, this information is now available to include in your Android applications. And because it’s Google Analytics, you still have the advantage of analyzing all this data with our web interface, as well as all the data analysis and visualization tools provided by our ridiculously awesome community.

From all of us on the Google Analytics team, we hope you enjoy!

Welcome, Google Apps users!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Google Analytics is now available to Google Apps users with their Apps accounts, along with dozens of other services as part of a recently launched improvement.

Google Apps is Google’s suite of cloud-based messaging and collaboration apps, including Gmail, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, and more, specifically optimized for use in organizations. These services, which run entirely in the cloud, are used by over 30 million users in small and large businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world. You can learn more about how Google Apps can lower IT costs and improve productivity and collaboration at your organization at google.com/apps.

For those users who have a Google Apps account, if your administrator has already transitioned your organization to the new infrastructure, you can start using Google Analytics by signing in at google.com/analytics with your existing Apps account.

For more details, read the complete post on the Google Enterprise blog and follow all the updates on other newly available services for Google Apps users.

GA As Networking Tool

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Talk about organic...Read about incredible organic growth below, and how Analytics helped enable it. We love to share these types of stories because they show practical usage cases of finding success with analytics. Enjoy.

Turning a hobby into a full-time job isn’t always an easy feat. Zach Weiner started drawing comics in high school and he never expected he’d make a career of his clever anecdotes. When his talent agency coworker asked him why he didn’t do his comics full-time, Weiner was inspired. He quit the agency a few months later to launch Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC). The daily webcomic now has over 150,000 daily visits.

Weiner uses Google Analytics to better understand those 150,000+ daily visitors. After founding SMBC in 2005, Weiner installed Google Analytics in 2008. "At that time, my traffic was starting to take off, and my old trackers couldn't keep up," says Weiner. "And the other trackers we used couldn't keep up with the quantity of visitors and began reporting absurd numbers. I had heard good things about Analytics so I decided to switch over."

Since making the switch to Google Analytics, Weiner has used the information to track the referral path to his site. By analyzing referrals to his site, he ensures he is not missing out on business opportunities. Because the livelihood of the comic is completely dependent on visitation, it’s crucial for Weiner to open as many doors as possible.

"I have enough traffic now that I might miss the fact that a large blog linked me," says Weiner. "With Analytics, I can find those sorts of links and make contact with the Blogger." In this way, Weiner is able to build relationships with key Bloggers. As an example, Weiner noticed that Reddit.com was routing a significant amount of traffic to SMBC and he gave Reddit a shout out on his blog. Soon after, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian contacted Weiner and is now his publisher. Who knew Analytics could also be a networking tool?

Weiner also uses the Analytics data to build out new entry points. "I can find out which aggregators people use and try to make these aggregators more accessible. For example, I recently added a simple Facebook button under each comic after noticing how much of my traffic arrives from Facebook." To collect this information, Weiner checks the last year of referrals day over day to see what sources are spiking or dwindling.

Weiner’s attention to his Analytics data has also allowed him to make changes to his AdWords targeting. "I recently found that, for reasons unclear to me, Anime blogs tend to produce high quality traffic to SMBC," says Weiner. "I recently ran ads on an Anime site that, according to Analytics, sent about 35 page views per visitor!"

The author of SMBC is now a self-admitted Analytics addict -- he has to give himself a limit on the amount of time he spends in Analytics each day. By monitoring Analytics for crucial information about referral sites, Weiner has been able to open several new doors to his site and he’s built new relationships with other members of the online comic world. Make sure you get your daily dose of cereal!

Optimize And Analyze For Mobile, part 2

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

This is part 2 of a timely 3 part guest post on mobile analytics strategy and implementation by Feras Alhlou at E-Nor, a Certified Partner in Northern California. Here's part 1, which explained how to look for trends in mobile traffic to your website. Look forward to Part 3, "Act on your ROI", coming soon.

2. Give Your Reports More Dollar Power
Now that you know where your mobile trends stand (and hopefully it’s positive), make sure to analyze the data carefully. What does the trend signify and where do you want to go with the data?

After your CMO sees this amazing upward trend in mobile traffic (see the graph in the previous post), he will probably send the report to the CEO. The important question here is, can you show her the money? Surely, your CEO will be interested in how this trend impacts the company’s bottom line.

Again, check the Vistors->Mobile Devices report. This time, choose the Pie Graph version of the report to look at. You can pivot the table by Revenue if you are tracking E-Commerce or Goals with a monetary value. The report below graphs the revenue generated by mobile traffic segmented by mobile device.

Click to enlarge

Wow - iPad is bringing in the cash. This is highly actionable. You might want to ask yourself: is your site optimized for iPad? Is there a cross-promotional opportunity or coupon you can create with iPad?

And if you add up the total revenue from mobile devices, its more than $25k over the date range you're looking at. Let's say that's a week of data. Whatever you're paying to make your website ready for mobile, well, now you know - it's worth it.

If the $25K in revenue didn’t make analytics actionable, nothing else will. Your CEO can now easily connect the dots all the way to the bottom line.

Instant Preview issue resolved

Monday, 22 November 2010

Web Analytics TV #14 - Just Wow

Friday, 19 November 2010

Well it’s another amazing episode of Web Analytics TV. In this exciting series with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski, you ask and vote on your favorite web analytics questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them.

In this episode we award Darren in Southern California the "Ninja of the Episode" award for his great question about how to track clicks on links that point to the same destination page. Really great question Darren. Just send us an email and we’ll send you an autographed, personalized, copy of Web Analytics 2.0.

Here is the list of last weeks questions. Just Wow!

In this action-packed episode we discuss:
  • (0:30) Tracking dynamic/variable goal values in Google Analytics
  • (1:50) How to determine if async ga.js has loaded for outbound link tracking
  • (4:00) How GA tracks sessions/visits with tabbed browsing
  • (6:38) Adding event tracking to links without a lot of manual work
  • (8:26) Best practices for passing campaign data via custom variables
  • (10:15) Is there a way to export data from an old profile to a new one?
  • (11:10) Ways to rollup data across accounts for custom dashboards
  • (12:20) In page analytics with sites that changes content very quickly
  • (13:30) Reasons why AdWords data in the API is a bit behind the other data
  • (14:40) Native call tracking with Google Analytics
  • (15:47) Why transaction and goal metrics might differ for the same page
  • (17:30) Ways to track different links on a page that point to the same destination
  • (20:18) Sharing advanced segments and custom reports with others
  • (21:12) How to link many AdWords accounts into Google Analytics
  • (21:50) Using autotagging to avoid AdWords-GA integration issues
  • (22:47) How many visits do you need to determine statistical significance
  • (25:10) How to track pay pal with Google Analytics
  • (26:20) How reliable are city level metrics in Google Analytics
  • (27:53) Good metrics to track the effectiveness of knowledge base articles

Here are the links to the topics we discuss:
As always, if you need help setting up Google Analytics or leveraging the advanced configuration options, we recommend hiring a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

If you found this post or video helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Please share them via the comment form below. And, if you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question and vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site. Avinash and I will answer your latest questions in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.


Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team

Code Site In Five New Languages

Friday, 12 November 2010

Google Analytics is not only a product but also a platform, supporting an ecosystem of developers, tools, users, and partners. The Google Analytics APIs are an important part of this ecosystem and platform. In fact, over 80 new applications have been added to the Google Apps Gallery since we announced it 6 months ago. We love seeing this kind of innovation, and we want to do everything we can to encourage it -- not just in English-speaking regions, but around the world.

Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’re making an important development tool -- Google Code, the documentation on which developers depend to create these applications -- available in five additional languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. We’ve identified these languages as ones especially useful to users wanting in-language, technically involved documentation about Analytics.

Whether you are a long-time Analytics partner/developer in Brazil, a systems integrator in China, or a applications developer in Japan, you can now use Google Code in your native language.

To view the language of your choice, just go to http://code.google.com/apis/analytics and click on the language selector to the left of the Sign out link.

Happy reading, analyzing, and developing!

Optimize And Analyze For Mobile, part 1

Thursday, 11 November 2010

This is part 1 of a timely 3 part guest post on mobile analytics strategy and implementation by Feras Alhlou at E-Nor, a Certified Partner in Northern California. A must-read if you're preparing for the mobile revolution that has been going on for a few years. :-) There's still time - use these posts as a starting point.

Only a few years ago, organizations were still trying to figure out the web. Forward thinking marketers contemplated the capacity of the digital medium to implement viable online business strategies and maximize marketing ROI. Over time, marketing managers and business owners saw the writing on the, er, screen. Those who invested in their online presence and established a measurement culture are now reaping great benefits.

Whereas the web’s ROI has proved rewarding, the possibilities in “mobile” have yet to be discovered. Just taking a quick look at the ubiquitous use of smart devices (Google’s Android, iPhone, etc.) should pique your interest. And rest assured, you won’t stumble across any hidden fees and dropped calls in this market. Lucky for you (and me), it's not too early to start taking the mobile market seriously and by following these simple yet key steps, the ability to “rethink possible” is just a few Google Analytics metrics away.

With these posts, I hope to share a few useful tips for marketing managers and business owners to better understand their mobile traffic and improve returns.

Can’t get good reception? (Pun intended). No problem! Just apply these three analytics tips. The first one is here, and the other two will follow in blog posts in the coming weeks:

1. Look for Mobile Trends
The number of visits to your site might not be the most attractive key performance indicator (KPI). Yes, that's exactly what I am saying- more traffic does NOT always translate to more sales! In fact, I’ve seen plenty of sites with traffic through the roof and sales down the toilet. Instead, give your metrics more context and you’ll transform it from boring to sexy at twice the speed of light.

Here is an example: if I tell you that your month-over-month traffic is flat, well, that’s not very exciting (and you might want to have a serious talk with your demand generation manager). But if I tell you that, while your overall traffic was flat your mobile traffic has increased at a rate of 25%, it's a different story altogether. The graph below depicts this upward traffic trend.

So show some love to this KPI and monitor mobile traffic to your website. This can be easily done with Google Analytics by clicking on the “Mobile” reports under the “Visitors” Tab. Then, follow these action items to realize your true mobile trends, in context:

1.1 Set up an auto report to be sent to your inbox (daily, weekly or monthly)

1.2 If you are interested in monitoring specific thresholds, you can create a profile for mobile traffic and then create a custom alert that is emailed to you when these thresholds are met

1.3 Or, for the Ninja analyst, using the Google Analytics Data Export API & plug-in (e.g. shuffle point), pull this data automatically into your marketing dashboard

Note: You can still add more context to your metrics to determine how engaged your mobile visitors are. You can even trend it over time. This can be easily done by creating an advanced segment for the engagement metrics that are relative to your business (e.g. non-bouncing visits, visits with more than X minutes and viewed Y key pages, etc.)

(note: while the case study we're using is specific to an e-commerce business, the approach and analysis are applicable to all businesses, be it lead-generation or content or other business models. Also, for technical accuracy, the reports and analysis in these posts reflect users accessing your website from a high-end mobile device. Please see the technical note at the end of the posts on mobile sites as well as non-smart mobile devices).

Stay tuned for Part 2: Give Your Reports More Dollar Power, coming soon.


Take Advantage Of The Help Forum

Monday, 8 November 2010

Do you need answers to your Google Analytics questions? Do you want advice on customizing the tracking code? Eager to share your knowledge with other Google Analytics users?

The Google Analytics Help Forum is a community of people like you, who enjoy helping each other figure out the best ways to use Google Analytics. You can share your expertise or seek out answers in this user powered community. Also, there are active Googlers such as myself who are monitoring the forum and chiming in as often as we can. It's probably the quickest way to get help - usually you don't have to wait 24 hours for a response.

Our Top Contributors are highly knowledgeable and will point you to the right resources that'll help you troubleshoot your issue. We love giving them a shout out here - maybe next month it'll be you or someone who helped you.

Top Contributors for October
  • PPC_Guru (Phil Pearce)
  • Bronwyn Vourtis (Whims)
Thanks you two! Maybe we'll send you a little fun Google Analytics swag (or already have :-). And to everyone else writing responses and jumping in and helping out - thanks. And to those posting questions - thanks as well. It helps us figure out what's puzzling our users, or causing problems, so we can improve the product. This community never ceases to amaze us - you have driven improvements and refinements that make this product great. We're listening and evolving.

So, why wait when you have a question or a tip about GA? If you can't find the answer in our other resources such as the do-it-yourself resources under "Learning Center" over on the right hand side of this page, then go social and post them here in the forum.

Major New Features Added To Intelligence

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Today at Ad Tech NYC, we announced a few major new features in your Intelligence reports which should be very useful: Major Contributors for Custom Alerts, and SMS and Email alerts.

Major Contributors
When you have a custom alert set up to capture important changes in your account, you can now see a break down of the individual segments that are the most likely instigators of the change in traffic. For example, in the below screenshot we can see that on June 4, visits to the GoogleStore are up 510%. That alert was triggered because we set up a Custom Alert for "Visits Up By 10%".

(click to enlarge)

Now, as you can see underneath that Custom Alert there is a new sub-section called “Major Contributors.” When Google Analytics detects causes to a major change in traffic, this section will display up to 5 segments that have contributed to that particular change.

In this case, we see the source “gmail.blogspot.com” is sending new traffic to a particular landing page. You can click on the url of the referrer or landing page to view the path your users took to arrive at your site. It turns out that an article posted to the gmail blog is sending heavy traffic to the gmail sweatshirts on the GoogleStore. Digging in further, we also discover that it has resulted in an increase of 10 times the revenue for that day, which we can now attribute to a known cause thanks to this major contributor section.

That's Major Contributors!

In order to use it, create a custom alert. Here's an image of the "Manage Intelligence Alerts" area in your reports:

And here's a help center article on examples of useful custom alerts, and you can also use the alert templates, pictured here, to quickly create custom alerts:

SMS and Email
Also, when a custom alerts is triggered, you can now opt in to be notified by SMS (US only) or send alerts to your colleagues with multiple email recipients.

This is a practical feature when you've set up important alerts such as traffic or conversions down by 50%, for example. That's info you or someone in your organization should know ASAP, wherever you are.

And, as a reminder, you can get alerts on GA's full suite of metrics, including all 20 GA goals, Adwords metrics like CTR and content metrics like time on page.

This latest version of alerts with major contributors is a first for the analytics industry anywhere. We hope you enjoy it, and use it to take action quickly.

System Update for November 2nd

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

On November 2nd, Google Analytics experienced technical difficulties, which lasted for a few hours. No data was lost, but users saw lower visits than expected during this time.

We deployed a fix as as soon as we were alerted and Analytics is now back to normal and data has been restored.

Analytics In The Palm Of Your Hand

Friday, 29 October 2010

This weeks’ featured app on the Analytics App Gallery is the BAM Analytics Pro app for the iPhone. If you have ever needed to reference your site metrics in a meeting or situation where it wasn’t appropriate to fire up the laptop and open up your account, then you may find a Google Analytics smart phone app valuable.

This app, developed by Blast Advanced Media (one of our Certified Partners), uses the Google Analytics API to quickly and securely access all of your reports, apply your Advanced Segments, and even create Custom Reports right within the app. You can view common preset date ranges, set a custom date range, or compare to a previous date range for additional context. All the functionality you could need within a clean, user-friendly interface. Here's a sample of custom reports functionality:

BAM Analytics Pro can be purchased here on the iTunes app store for $1.99. Our Google Analytics Certified Partners are some of the most inventive users and developers of our free API. Many of their business-driven tools and applications make it to our Analytics App Gallery, where you can find a variety of solutions that compliment and enhance our product.

Swissotel's High Value Visitor Segment

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Thanks to the Conversion Room Asia-Pacific Blog and Vinaoj's team in Singapore for this insightful, enterprise-class case study.

Need a little inspiration for ways to get a LOT our of Google Analytics? Well, Advanced Segments is a great place to start. As you might know, they allow you to dissect your traffic into audiences that you actually care and want to know more about. And here's a great example of use by a major hotelier.

Barbara Pezzi, Director Webmarketing, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, is back to share with us how Swissotel properties in Singapore used advanced segments to better understand the needs of their UK and Australian visitors. By using advanced segments and her detective skills, Barbara was able to determine that Australian visitors were seeking deals, while her UK visitors were more interested in the quality of the rooms. She was able to optimise her AdWords campaigns and messaging based on these insights, and quickly managed to see a 68% increase in revenue and a 92% increase in conversion rates.

Next Week: Ad Tech New York

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

If you're an enthusiast of "Mad Men" (a television drama about advertising in New York in the 1960s), and Google Analytics, well then you're probably enjoying the dichotomy that is advertising today: a mix of decades-old media creatives and buys, and cutting edge online tracking and social graphing, and a ton in between. Getting a birds eye view is wildly interesting and educational. And the ad:tech Conference in New York City next week might be a good event for you to attend. And the best part is that it not only gives a bird's eye view, but also offers compelling and educational sessions for the savviest online marketer.

Happening on Wednesday and Thursday (November 3-4), it's a fun, relevant, informative conference, where "brands, agencies, publishers and service providers come together to share, network, learn and do business." You'll see traditional advertising agencies there, as well as the latest in online. Just take a look at the different conference seminar tracks titles:
  • Brand
  • Social Media
  • Digital Demographics
  • Media Strategy
  • Performance
And we'll be there as well with a sponsored workshop called "Improving Your Online Advertising with Insights from Google Analytics" on Thursday at 11:45am. In it, Phil Mui, our senior product manager, will present some developments in the product, as well as existing features, that will appeal especially to online marketers and advertisers. Register here. We hope to see you there.

PM POV: AdWords Reports Launch

Monday, 25 October 2010

This is the first of a new series of intermittent posts by Google Analytics Product Managers - the people leading the prioritization and production of features and improvements to GA. We wanted to add a little color to what you're seeing and let you know the how and why behind the process we take. In this first post, Jayanth Mysore tells what happened behind the scenes during the prioritization and development of the AdWords reports. Enjoy.

In June, we launched the new AdWords reports in Google Analytics. Today, I thought I’d share some of what goes on behind the scenes -- how we went from an idea to the actual reports that you see in Google Analytics today.

How did it begin? Many of you use Google Analytics expertly, and in innovative ways. You told us all the ways in which the product was lacking...in emails, blog posts, tweets, and in Q&A sessions and face-to-face meetings at conferences like SES and eMetrics. We’ve found that expert and innovative users are often the best at articulating what’s going to be most valuable to all users. So, we listen carefully to feedback, and one area we heard -- and learned -- a lot about was AdWords reporting.

For example, many of you told us that you were writing intelligent filters that would allow you to see actual search queries. Some of you were looking for ways to understand the effectiveness of campaigns on the content network. And many of you were struggling with how to make day parting decisions. We heard all this and said “We need to help here, here, here and there. Let’s go build!”

Next, we built a version of the reports and asked a few hundred of you to try it. This version did even more than what you see in the reports today because we wanted to test some promising, but challenging ideas. We can’t always put all the features we’d like into a product update. Sometimes we have to leave something out because it runs too slowly and making it run faster requires extensive design work. Other features simply won’t work for all Analytics users. Still, we wanted to test everything and determine which aspects of this we could offer everyone and how soon.

Our test users are terrific -- very innovative, highly trustworthy and they never hesitate to point out things that are too slow or too hard to use. We worked closely with these users and studied the usage data to figure out what we could and couldn’t do. It became amply clear that providing a list of AdWords dimensions to segment the reports was very very valuable. We wanted our users to have this right away. Other features were also valuable, but would require time to fully develop. In the end, we decided that we’d rather give users something significantly better immediately, and keep working to offer more down the road.

Finally, we rolled out the new reports gradually over weeks. We take user experience very seriously, no matter where in the world you are. During these initial weeks, we monitored usage, latency, bugs filed, tweets, e-mail feedback. The other thing we did was to translate the product so that all of you, across the world, could use the new reports.

Finally, when we were ready, we hit the go button, flipped a bit to expose the feature, blogged about it....and you all saw the new AdWords reports in the Traffic Sources section.

Work doesn’t stop after the release. We immediately started working on some of those hard problems I talked about and we’ve already made some progress. In August, we made the new AdWords dimensions available in Analytics Intelligence.

We continue to work on these reports, so stay tuned. And, thanks for your active usage of the product. You all make our day!

Web Analytics TV #13 - For the Ninjas

Friday, 22 October 2010

Well it’s another episode of Web Analytics TV. In this exciting series with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski, you ask and vote on your favorite web analytics questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them.

In this episode we introduce our new ninja award program (and ninja chop to go with it). Going forward, we will pick our favourite question and award the person the Analysis Ninja of the Episode award! They will get an autographed, personalized, copy of Web Analytics 2.0.

Our first winner is Sushant from New York for his excellent question on tabbed browsing and it’s impact on session level data. Congrats and please keep the great questions coming (and win!).

Here is the list of last weeks questions.

In this action packed episode we discuss:
  • (2:35) Combining (A AND B) OR (C AND D) in advanced segments
  • (4:03) Is there a way to tell how many people have opted out of being tracked by GA
  • (6:18) How does tracking Google Analytics and Urchin work together
  • (7:53) How is tabbed browsing tracked in Google Analytics?
  • (10:30) Do Website Optimizer A/B tests only track direct traffic?
  • (11:27) Are there any survey/voice of customer tools that integrate with GA?
  • (12:47) Does the async code execute faster than the traditional snippet?
  • (14:40) You can’t track users who have opted out of GA
  • (15:13) Why table report filters get removed when you navigate away from a page
  • (16:30) Why are there differences between Unique visitor reports? Which to use.
  • (18:00) Can Google Analytics track live chat forms?

Here are the links to the topics we discuss:
As always, if you need help setting up Google Analytics or leveraging the advanced configuration options, we recommend hiring a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

If you found this post or video helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Please share them via the comment form below. And, if you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question and vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site. Avinash and I will answer your latest questions in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.

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Harvard University And A Geo Analytics App

Monday, 18 October 2010

Back in Web Analytics TV episode 8, Cesar Brea asked if there was a way to use Advanced Segments to get performance metrics for a list of target cities. As Cesar Brea pointed out in the post comments, because Google Analytics only returns city names (e.g. "Paris"), you need to request both the city and region names to disambiguate between cities with the same name (e.g. "Paris, Texas" vs. "Paris, California" vs. "Paris, France").

The Advanced Segment builder in Google Analytics allow you to create expressions only in the following form:

(City A OR City B) AND (Region X OR Region Y)

But what Cesar really needed was to build an Advanced Segment of the form:

(City A AND Region X) OR (City B AND Region Y)

One option is to create individual segments through the interface, export to CSV then open all the CSV files, and merge the data into a single file. Lots of work. The other option is more elegant and powerful: automate the task with the API.

An Elegant Solution
So Cesar did exactly that and partnered with Newcircle Consulting to built the free Target Towns Google Analytics API solution. With Target Towns, you simply authorize the tool to access your Google Analytics account. You upload a list of regions and cities, and the tool runs a bunch of API requests for you to get performance data for your top target towns. Simple!

Business Impact
What’s really interesting is how analysts are using this tool to get better insight into the geo-breakdown of their marketing campaigns.

One geo-information user is Perry Hewitt, Director of Digital Communications and Communications Services at Harvard University. One of Perry’s goals is to increase non-branded search referrals to Harvard’s website. Specifically when senior university leaders and faculty speak at events, Perry can start to measure which new keywords people use to learn more about the topics and speakers.

Perry says, "At Harvard University, analytics have become an essential part of our digital communications strategy. Services like the Target Towns report help us understand what resonates where -- and are an interesting new complement to the Google Analytics capabilities we already use."

We’re thrilled to see developers overcoming challenges and solving business problems with the API. If you have done some exciting work with the Google Analytics platform, lets us know in the comments. We love to hear your stories.

Introducing In-Page Analytics: Visual context for your Analytics data

Friday, 15 October 2010

When looking at Google Analytics reports, sometimes it’s difficult to visualize how visitors navigate on a given website page. To make this visualization easier, some users keep the website open in another browser tab so they can reference it while looking through reports. Others rely on the Site Overlay report in Google Analytics, which, admittedly, hasn’t worked as well it could.

Today, we’re happy to share with you a bit of what we’ve been working on to address this problem. We’re releasing a new feature into beta: In-Page Analytics. With In-Page Analytics, you can see your Google Analytics data superimposed on your website as you browse.

Take In-Page for a spin and let us know what you think. In-Page Analytics is still in beta, so some things in the report may not work perfectly yet. There’s a lot left to do, but there’s even more that we want to build going forward. In-Page is currently available for all English users of Google Analytics. We also have a demo video that walks you through the feature and how you might use it.

You’ll find the In-Page Analytics report in the Content section in your Google Analytics account, and it replaces Site Overlay. You can read more about In-Page in the Google Analytics Help Center. Let us know what you think and how you’re using it!

Back-to-Basics: Non-Brand Keywords

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The majority of search referrals to the Google Store come from brand related searches -- searches that include brand references like “google store”, “android t-shirt”, or “youtube jacket”. But, as I dug into the data, I was surprised to find that googlestore.com gets many non-brand related search referrals as well.

Take a look at the non-brand searches that send traffic to your own site -- I think you’ll find the data interesting. By isolating non-brand keywords, you take brand recognition out of the equation and focus on the products that people look for -- and click over to find on your site.

Here’s a quick way to see your non-brand keyword traffic. Under Traffic Sources, go to the Keywords report. Then, in the Filter Keyword box at the bottom of the table, select Excluding, and type in your brand name.

If you have multiple brands, type them all in separated by the | sign. Here’s how this looks for googlestore.com:


You’ll notice that I also excluded the word “content”. This is because the report includes “content targeting” and I don’t want to include content targeting referrals.

Click Go to see the filtered keywords. If there’s anything else you’ve missed, just add it to your exclude list and click Go again. Here are the results for the Google Store.

That’s all there is to it. Try it on your own data and leave us a comment letting us know what you find!

Back To Basics: Part 3 - The Power of Exclusion

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

In Part 2, we saw that a store owner gained an unexpected lift in search traffic to his website after running a promotion on a referring site. The questions we left until this week to answer are these: How many extra searches resulted from the promotion? And, what keywords did people search on?

To answer these questions, we need to compare what usually happens versus what actually happened after the promotion. A good way to do this is to use the Compare to Past feature on the date range selector. If we compare the previous week with the promotion week, we can see how much of a lift there was after the promotion.

Notice that we use the exact same days, Monday through Sunday, so that the days of the week line up. Here is the resulting graph. The green line is the search traffic leading up to the promotion (what he would ordinarily expect without a promotion); the blue line is the search traffic during and after the promotion.

From the report below, you can see the specific increase for each keyword.

The promotion resulted in a 209.68% increase in searches on the first keyword and an increase of 1,242.86% in searches on the second keyword. That’s good to know. It looks like one day promotions are the way to go for this business.

This is good example of how to use Compare to Past. You might also want to check out this tip on how to line up your date ranges when using Compare to Past.

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