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5 Ways To Ensure Google Analytics Is Running Perfectly

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The following is a guest post contributed by Daniel Waisberg, Owner of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner, and Founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement and Optimization portal.

Abraham Lincoln once said: "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my axe." The same is true for measurement: it is of extreme importance to spend the necessary time thinking through which data should be collected and whether the collection works as planned (once implemented). Very often, the implementation model and quality assurance do not receive the proper attention.

I recently wrote a short eBook named Google Analytics Implementation Best Practices that covers some of the most important configurations you should setup. But in this post I will go through some techniques that will help you to make sure your Google Analytics implementation is working as you expect.

1. Create a "Raw Data" profile

The best way to check configuration errors is to have a profile that does not use any filters, this way you will be able to quickly learn if you have a misplaced or problematic filter. Here is a quick guide explaining how to create profiles.
Once you create this profile, I do recommend you create the same goals you have in your main profile, this will make the data more relevant in case you need to use it. For example, if you find out that your main profile have a filter that affected your past data, you might want to use the Raw Data profile for a while. To copy and paste a goal between profiles you can use the Chrome extension GA Copy and Paste.

2. Use Real Time Reports

In October 2012 Real Time reports started supporting profile filters. This means that "the data you see in real time is profile specific and obeys the filtering you set up for that profile. And this means any user with access to a profile can view the associated real time reports." This enables many interesting analysis opportunities like seeing real traffic for only small pre-defined segments.

In order to use Real Time to check your Google Analytics implementation, you should first create a new profile (see link above). Then, add a filter that includes the IP address of your company; learn how to do it in this help article, but make sure to change the filter from "exclude" to "include". Now you will be able to look at the Real Time reports of this profile and see what you are doing in real time, which makes code checks much easier and faster.

3. Keep Track Of Configuration Changes

One of the common configuration problems is a lack of communication, especially for large companies. From a few people to a few dozen people will have Admin access to Google Analytics, which means they can change the settings of any profile. This can lead to unwanted or misunderstood changes in the account.
By "changes" I mean goal refinements, filter improvements, new features, and so forth. Every change may impact data in several ways, and for this reason it is essential to have a system in place to keep track of code and profile changes. In order to facilitate/centralize the collection and sharing of the changes made to a Google Analytics account, I propose two different methods: using a Google Docs form & taking advantage of the Annotations feature. Please note that each company should find the optimal mix between these methods.
Using a Google Docs Form
The big advantage of Google Docs is that it can be shared with as many people as needed and everyone has access to the most updated version of the document. I recommend creating a Google Form (learn how) that will output its data into a spreadsheet. The form should be created so that all interested parties can be aware of all changes. These will then be aggregated for historical knowledge that can be used by the whole team (and future teams members). See one sample form that can be used by Analytics teams in this article.
Google Analytics Annotations
This feature allows website managers, marketers and developers to provide context directly from inside the graphs on the interface, allowing for richer analyses. Here are some important occasions when you should use this feature:
  • Offline marketing campaigns (e.g. radio, TV, billboards.)
  • Major changes to the website (e.g. design, structure, content.)
  • Changes to tracking (e.g. changing the tracking code, adding events.)
  • Changes to goals or filters.
While annotations can (and should) be used for technical changes in the website, it is important to keep them at a high level. You shouldn't add detailed information about your changes or annotate relatively minor changes; otherwise the annotations will become too crowded to convey meaningful information to readers.

4. Know What Your Site Sends To Google Analytics

The Google Analytics team built a Chrome extension that is intended to help you debug your implementation. Here is what you will be able to do using the extension and a screenshot of how you will see the data:
This extension loads the debug version of the Google Analytics Javascript for all sites you browse using Google Chrome. It prints useful information to the Javascript console. These messages include error messages and warnings which can tell you when your analytics tracking code is set up incorrectly. In addition, it provides a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon sent to Google Analytics.

Important tip: this extension can also be used for competitive analysis. If you use it while browsing your competitors' websites you will learn how they are tracking their customers.

5. [E-commerce sites] Compare Google Analytics to Database

The most important feature on Google Analytics for Ecommerce websites is the Ecommerce Tracking. It allows the marketer and website owner to understand what and who is driving online sales. But it is essential that the numbers on Google Analytics approximately match the database of the company, otherwise they won't be trusted.
In order to make sure the numbers match, ask from your Database administrator to retrieve the daily Ecommerce revenue for a month, and extract the same information from Google Analytics. Plot the numbers on your preferred spreadsheet tool and check if the numbers and the trends match. If they do not match, here is a quick list of things to check:
  • When 2 or more of the same item are purchased, does Google Analytics trigger _addItem more than once? (it should)
  • How does Google Analytics record transactions that use promotional coupons and how the database reports it?
  • Be careful with apostrophes! If you use apostrophes in your product names you should be careful not to pass them to Google Analytics on the _addItem, they can break your code.
Closing Thoughts
As we saw above, there are several tools that can help you understand why the data you are getting might not be what you expected. But if you still can't find a solution to your issue, try asking a question at the User Forum. I also highly recommend you read this code website article: Troubleshooting the Tracking Code.
Happy analyzing!
Posted by Daniel Waisberg 

Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics For Lead Generation

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The following is a guest post from Jeff Sauer, Vice President at Three Deep Marketing, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. Jeff recently started a website dedicated to advancing digital marketing knowledge called Jeffalytics

Lead generators know that the combination of Google AdWords + Google Analytics is a winning combination for generating an inflow of high quality leads. They are like peanut butter and jelly, Forrest Gump and Jennay, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. 
What many users may not realize is that there are many features that they can unlock in Google Analytics to make their lead generation campaigns perform better while becoming more transparent and accountable. What follows is a series of tips, trips and hacks that you can use to make your lead generation campaigns work even better. I have broken this down into three sections: ConfigurationIntegration, Analysis.

Configuring Analytics for Lead Generation Websites

Set Up Goals in Google Analytics
Yes, this is a very elementary step in your Google Analytics evolution. You surely configured goals on your site years ago, right? Well, let's make sure you didn't miss anything: 
  1. Navigate to the URL of your 'thank you' page shown after a lead is generated. Make note of the URL of this page.
  2. Make your best guess as to the value of each lead that you generate (note: you can have multiple lead values, and multiple goals).
  3. Configure your goals in Google Analytics, assigning the proper goal value for each lead you generate.
  4. Unlock a new world of reports in Google Analytics and see the real value of your lead generation efforts.

Bonus tip: There's absolutely nothing wrong with measuring micro conversions on your lead generation site. Have a PDF that someone can download freely? Set a goal and assign it a modest value (even if it's $5, the impact can be huge). Have a 2 minute video? Give it a value as well, even if it's just a dollar or two. Both PDF downloads and video plays can be tracked using GA event tracking - and you can configure goals around events.  
Track Visitors Across Domains
Many lead generation sites use third party forms and services to capture leads, whether as part of an affiliate program or a third party CRM site. While this acts as an excellent conduit to lead delivery, it can often result in missing data in Google Analytics reports. Depending on the services used, there is still a way to retain this data in Google Analytics by tracking your visitors across domains. Here's how this is done: 
  1. On your primary website, add the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods.
  2. When linking to your external domain, add an onclick element as follows: onclick="_gaq.push(['_link', 'THE LINK']); where THE LINK is your external page
  3. Add the GA Tracking Code to your third party hosted page, being sure to use the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods on this page as well. It is important to make sure you are setting your primary domain here as well. 
  4. Configure your goals to match the thank you page URL on the third party domain (or on your own site if you can redirect visitors back to your domain)
By linking visits across domains, your reports will accurately attribute visitors and goals to their proper source and medium instead of treating them as direct visitors.  
Integrate with Google AdWords Both Ways
Most of us know to share data between AdWords and Analytics and enable the Google AdWords report in Analytics, but many times this is not done properly. In addition, not enough marketers seem to take advantage of Google Analytics' ability to push conversion data back into AdWords. You really have nothing to lose when you integrate these two Google products both ways, but you have many insights to gain. Start off by making sure you configure these integrations properly: 
  1. Share Google AdWords data with Google Analytics. This may seem easy, but is often incomplete when implemented. Make sure that you 1) Turn on Auto Tagging in AdWords, 2) Enable Data Sharing and 3) Apply Cost Data into Google Analytics
  2. Configure your goals in Google Analytics as outlined above
  3. As soon as data starts to collect for these goals, you will see the option in AdWords to import your goals from Google Analytics
  4. Enjoy consistent conversion data between both products and ensure that leads are being properly attributed
Using your goals in Google Analytics for your Google AdWords campaigns can come in handy when you don't have the ability to add a traditional JavaScript based conversion code onto your thank you page. In addition, importing goals from Google Analytics allows you to track some of the advanced conversions mentioned below in Google AdWords. The result? Better analysis capabilities, more advanced conversion rate optimization strategy and more credit for the leads you generate! 

Integrating Analytics into Lead Generation Efforts

Phone Call Tracking
One thing that marketers may not realize is that for many industries, the majority of leads will come in through the phone instead of through a web form. Google AdWords understands this and now offers a robust system for tracking phone leads generated by AdWords. But how do you properly track and attribute phone calls generated from your site to a particular traffic source? You integrate Google Analytics with your call tracking provider.

This sounds complicated, but it really is not too bad. In fact, many phone tracking vendors offer a Google Analytics integration option as part of their service. For example, this works well with products like Marchex Voicestar and Mongoose Metrics among others.  
Here are the basics of how this process works: 
  1. Sign up with a phone call tracking service, create tracking numbers and appropriate campaigns
  2. Place tracking phone numbers on your website
  3. Specify a post-back URL to be visited when a successful phone call occurs
  4. Your phone tracking system will send a visit to the post back URL, complete with all Google Analytics cookie values for the visitor who saw that exact tracking number on your lead generation site

Please note that if you drive a lot of traffic to your website, it can take a lot of phone numbers and extensions to fully attribute phone calls to users. As such, you may want to start implementing this method for a small segment of your traffic and then building up to all visitors when this data proves useful. 

Also note that even if you don't link calls back to Google Analytics, phone call tracking is still an imperative part of any lead generation campaign, because it's common for 30-70% of the leads you generate to come from the phone in certain industries. 
Offline Marketing
Believe it or not, in many industries leads are still generated offline. Examples include trade shows, neighborhood canvassing (going door to door promoting a product or service), print and television advertising. These are activities that companies have been doing for years, but the problem that they run into when using these mediums to drive traffic to their website is that they don't register the traffic source properly in Google Analytics. The result: many direct visitors without proper attribution. 

How do we fix this? By following this simple process: 
  1. Create a vanity URL that is unique to your campaign (can be a sub folder or new domain)
  2. Create a tracking URL for your website using the Google Analytics URL Builder 
  3. 301 redirect your vanity URL to the tracking URL (this preserves your campaign attributes)
  4. Learn about how each traffic source performed by viewing your favorite reports in Google Analytics and paying attention to the source/medium/campaign 
Now you can put your offline and online leads on a level playing field and compare the effectiveness of both side by side. 
CRM Integration
For companies that are generating several leads a day, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system becomes imperative for keeping up with the leads coming in the door. Unfortunately, most CRM implementations are not integrated fully with the website and useful data is not shared between the two systems. This can create friction between sales and marketing, while making it nearly impossible to close the loop on what lead generation efforts are working the best.

Fortunately, people smarter than myself have found a way to solve this problem, and this solution for CRM integration by Justin Cutroni has become my gold standard for how to pull information out of Google Analytics cookies and attach to the lead record you enter into your CRM system. 

While Justin's post goes into great detail, the basic premise is this: 
  1. A visitor comes to your website and has source/medium/campaign/keyword information assigned to them in their Google Analytics cookie
  2. This information is accessible to your website by pulling cookie values out of Google Analytics using JavaScript
  3. Once this information is pulled out, you enter the values into hidden form fields underneath where your lead enters their contact information
  4. The vital information (source/medium/campaign/keyword term) is passed into your CRM system alongside the lead record
  5. Your sales team can now have deeper understanding of what type of traffic generates the best leads, all the way down to a keyword level
  6. You can use this information to refine your marketing efforts and campaigns to focus on your top performers
Sharing information between your website and your CRM system is an imperative step for making your marketing data actionable to the rest of the business. Without integrating, decisions are made based on faith and HIPPOs, instead of actionable data. As a note, with the advent of Universal Analytics this is likely to get even easier.  

Analyze the Results and Make Your Site Even Better

How you analyze your site is a very personal thing, and your mileage may vary, so there isn't a magic bullet to ongoing success with your lead generation programs.

With that said, there are several reports that can be extremely useful in Google Analytics for lead generation campaigns. I would start by paying attention to the following: 
  • Use an advanced segment of paid search traffic and then navigate to the Conversions > Goals report. Compare the goal values you created recently with a similar time period in the past. Are your results improving? 
  • Navigate to the Multi Channel Funnels report and either use standard or custom channels. What is the most common first click channel? Are you giving it enough credit in your reporting?
  • Compare direct traffic before and after implementing the integrations suggested above. Do you start to see more activity with proper attribution? Are you more confident analyzing with less of a grey area?
  • Have you been receiving all of the credit you deserve for leads you generate over the phone?
  • When a salesperson tells you that the leads you generate "suck" are you able to match their lead close rate to the source/medium/keyword that generated the lead?
  • Instead of presenting raw lead numbers in a vacuum are you starting to factor in appointments issued, quotes given and sales made? Can you calculate the true cost of sale from keyword to purchase?
When configured properly, you can use Google Analytics and residual data from GA to perform some in depth closed loop analysis on how your lead generation campaigns are performing. Savvy lead generation experts have figured out how to deliver maximum value to their clients and constituents using the capabilities built into Google Analytics. Now it's your turn. 
There you have it, the three pillars to getting the most out of Google Analytics for your lead generation website. Have any cool integrations yourself? Let's talk in the comments below.
Jeff Sauer 

Google Tag Manager: Video and Q&A

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Have you ever struggled with implementing new marketing and measurement tools on your website? For many people, deploying data collection “tags” (like conversion tracking, remarketing, audience reporting and analytics) can take weeks or months. Worse, the tag implementation is often incorrect, meaning you’re missing out on valuable information about your site and its users.

It doesn’t need to be difficult. We recently held a webinar to introduce users to Google Tag Manager, a free tool that helps marketers and IT departments manage their marketing and measurement tags quickly and easily. Watch the video here to learn more about:
  • Overall benefits and features of using Google Tag Manager
  • A quick demonstration of how to deploy a new tracking tag
  • Tips for getting your company started with Google Tag Manager

In addition to this webinar, we’ll be hosting a technical webinar in January to help new users through the nuts and bolts of installing Google Tag Manager (with lots of concrete examples). Stay tuned -- we’ll share registration information in a future blog post, or you can check back on the Learn with Google webinar site.

Read on for responses to some of the top questions we received during the webinar.

Questions and Answers

Where can I find out more about the core concepts described in the webinar?
To learn more about the Google Tag Manager management interface, please visit our Help Center -- you may want to start with our Before you Begin article. There you can find more information about key concepts like Tags, Rules, and Macros. For developers interested in how to implement Google Tag Manager, please visit our developer documentation. Or if you’d like help with implementation, you can contact one of our Partners. You can also ask questions (and find responses to questions from others) on the Google Tag Manager product forum.

What happens to historical data if we move to Google Tag Manager?
All of your historical data should be preserved when you move to Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager only changes the way that tags are deployed and managed on your site, it does not change the way data is collected.

How would you migrate a tag?
Follow these steps to migrate tags -- whether it’s a single tag or all the tags on your site. If you’re just getting started, take a look at our Before you Begin article.
  • Create a Google Tag Manager Account and a Container associated with that account.
  • Install that Container code snippet on every page of your website (so that it appears immediately after the opening <body> tag). The container should be empty.
  • Map your site - thinking about what data you want to collect, what events you want to track, and which tags you want to use to track that data. You should think about where your current tags are implemented, but now is a great time to rethink your overall data collection goals and start fresh.
  • (Optional) If you would like to make use of the Data Layer functionality, create a data layer on the pages where you wish to pass information or fire tags
  • Create Tags, Rules and Macros within the Google Tag Manager interface according to the map you just created. Make sure to apply the correct Rules to your Tags to make sure they fire in the right place.
  • Test the changes you’ve made in Google Tag Manager using debug and preview mode.
  • Then push a version of your site live that has removed the hard-coded tags from within the page. At this time, also Publish your changes using the Publishing feature of Google Tag Manager, which pushes the changes live to the site.
For more precise details on these steps, read our developer documents about migration.

Can you add tags to events or buttons?
Definitely! In order to use Google Tag Manager to fire tags on events and buttons, follow these steps (for more detail, read our developer document on event handlers):
  • On your page, proactively add the dataLayer.push({ ‘event’: ‘myEventName’}) to the event handlers for all events and buttons you might want to track.
  • Create a new rule where “event equals myEventName”.
  • Associate this rule with any tag you’d like to fire when the specified event happens.
Can hard-coded tags and tag manager co-exist? Do I have to remove my other tracking tags?
We strongly recommend that you completely migrate all your tags, so you can take advantage of the benefits of managing and updating those tags within Google Tag Manager. However, if a full migration seems too hard, you can use Google Tag Manager in parallel with hard-coded tags. Some of our users use Google Tag Manager to only manage adding new tags.

If you choose to do a partial migration to Google Tag Manager, you need to be very careful to make sure you don’t accidentally start double-counting your tags. If you decided to deploy a tag via Google Tag Manager, make sure that you don’t have a version of the same tag firing on the same page.

Can you build your own custom tag templates? And how do I become a recognized Tag Vendor within Google Tag Manager?
Custom Tag templates within Google Tag Manager allow you to copy/paste any HTML or Image tags directly into Google Tag Manager and fire it based on your predefined rules and macros. To turn it into a template, use the {{macro_name}} syntax to populate the tag code with dynamic values. We will also do a syntax check to ensure that when you copy your 3rd party tag, it will fire as intended.

If you’re interested in having your tag added to the list of predefined templates, apply to become a Tag Vendor within Google Tag Manager by completing this interest form.

How does this work with Google Analytics? How do you do things like track pageview and track event within Google Analytics?
Google Tag Manager is a convenient way to correctly deploy Google Analytics across your site. To use Google Analytics within Google Tag Manager, simply create a Tag with the Google Analytics tag template. You can select the “Track Type” as either a pageview, an event, or a transaction.

Make sure you have some version of the Google Analytics tag firing across all pages on your site. A good way to do this would be to have a basic tag firing on all pages, but blocking on pages where your more customized tags are firing (like the thank you page where you’d be firing a specialized transaction tag type).

Can the Google Tag Manager snippet be placed in <head>? How about in my footer?
The recommended best practice is to have the Google Tag Manager snippet at the top of the <body> to maximize data collection, but some clients may find it easier to implement the Container snippet elsewhere in the in the page, like the footer.

Do not place the Google Tag Manager snippet in <head> (for the IT folks: this is because there is an iframe in the <noscript> case, which can have unpredictable results in some browsers).

No matter where you install the container snippet, you will need to make sure that this snippet of code is on every page of their site. Google Tag Manager will still work if you only deploy it on part of your site, but Google Tag Manager’s rule based system will only work on pages where the snippet is deployed. For more details, read our developer documents.

Does Google Tag Manager replace Doubleclick Floodlight?
No, Google Tag Manager does not replace Floodlight -- they are complementary. Floodlight is a conversion pixel for DoubleClick products (Floodlight tags can now be deployed within Google Tag Manager), and Google Tag Manager is a tag management system or “container tag” for multiple tagging technologies. Floodlight has previously been used by some users as a container tag as well, but moving forward, Google Tag Manager is a way to deploy all tracking technology.

You also have the ability to pass custom floodlight variables through Google Tag Manager into Floodlight, through the Data Layer. For more information, please review the material in the Developers Guide.

We hope this webinar and this blog post will help you as you get started with Google Tag Manager, and we look forward to seeing you at our technical webinar in January. (Registration details coming soon).

Upcoming Analytics Events You Can't Miss

Monday, 26 November 2012

In the next two weeks members of the Google Analytics team will be hosting Google Developers Live (GDL) live streams about getting started with Cost Data Upload and the story behind the new Mobile SDKs.  Be sure to mark your calendars, share your questions and join us as we dive deep into the world of analytics.

To whet your appetite, check out a 100-second recap of our last GDL event starring Nick Mihailovski and Ikai Lan discussing the Apps Script + Google Analytics Integration:

Off the Charts: Getting Cost Data into Google Analytics (GDL)

With Analytics’ new Cost Data Upload feature, users can measure and analyze non-Google cost data to calculate paid campaign effectiveness.  Developers are able to build solutions to upload exported cost data into Analytics so marketers can have a unified view of their campaign spend - all within the Google Analytics interface.

Join Google Analytics’ Developer Advocate Pete Frisella to dive into the implementation of this new feature through the robust Analytics APIs.

Date: Thursday, November 29 at 1:00pm PST

How to Watch: Visit the Google Developers Live page at the above time or add this event to your calendar.

Get Involved: Ask questions to your heart’s content about Cost Data Upload for a chance to have them answered live.

Behind the Code: The Analytics Mobile SDK (GDL)

The new Google Analytics Mobile SDK empowers Android and iOS developers to effectively collect user engagement data from their applications to measure active user counts, user geography, new feature adoption and many other useful metrics.

Join Analytics Developer Program Engineer Andrew Wales and Analytics Software Engineer Jim Cotugno for an unprecedented look behind the code at the goals, design, and architecture of the new SDK to learn more about what it takes to build world-class technology.

Date: Thursday, December 6 at 2:00pm PST

How to Watch: Visit the Google Developers Live page at the above time or add this event to your calendar.

Get Involved: Ask your burning questions about the Analytics Mobile SDK for a chance to have them answered live.

Posted by John Milinovich, Google Analytics API team

Latin America Tour: Google Analytics User Conference

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Bom dia!

The Google Analytics User Conference takes a trip to Latin America. We held the first conference in Latin America in Mexico back in April and now we will visit Colombia, Argentina and Brazil the last week of November.

•  Monday Nov, 26th in Bogotá, Colombia (gauc.com.co)
•  Wednesday Nov, 28th in Buenos Aires, Argentina (gauc.com.ar)
•  Friday Nov, 30th in São Paulo, Brazil (gauc.com.br)

Digital Marketers and Google Analytics enthusiasts will be able to spend one full day sharing knowledge, hearing about local success stories and discussing the latest feature launches announced during our summit last month.

We have a terrific line up of Google speakers:
•  Justin Cutroni, Google Analytics Advocate
•  Enrique Quevedo, Google Analytics Latam
•  Romina Rodríguez, Google Argentina
•  Gustavo Jeuken, Google Brasil
•  Jorge Quiroga, Google Colombia

As well as thought leaders from our local Certified Partners:
•  Juan Camilo Suárez, Santiago Suárez and Gustavo Parra from Intergrupo Digital
•  Juan Damia and Richard Dawson from Intellignos
•  Ruy Carneiro and Flavio Silveira from WA Consulting
•  Francisco Pellat from Codice
•  Gustavo Bacchin from Cadastra
•  Fabio Serra from DP6

You can see the full event details, agenda and buy your tickets at these country specific sites:
Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.

Nos vemos pronto.

Posted by Enrique Quevedo, Google Analytics Latin America

The First Google Analytics Summit in Germany

Friday, 16 November 2012

On November 29, 2012, Trakken and e-wolff will be hosting the Analytics Summit 2012, the first conference in Germany to focus purely on Google Analytics. 

The Analytics Summit 2012 is aimed at all users, website operators, online marketers, webmasters and decision-makers who are already using Google Analytics or are planning to use it. Under the motto "from users for users", the focus is on knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing. 

The lineup of speakers, who are also avid users of Google Analytics, will report on their experiences and share best practices and know-how. Also, members of the Google Analytics team will share insights and provide practical advice right then and there. 

Up to 300 participants can enjoy a full day dedicated to Google Analytics, located at the port of Hamburg's former main customs office, located in the center of the Speicherstadt (Hamburg’s warehouse district). 

The Analytics Summit 2012 will be hosted by certified Google Analytics partners Trakken Web Services GmbH and e-wolff Consulting GmbH.

In our experience these events sell out rapidly, so book your tickets as soon as possible.

See you in Germany!

Posted by Timo Josten, Google Analytics team

Attribution Webinar Recap: Making Attribution work for Your Business

Thursday, 15 November 2012

On Friday, November 2, following our public whitelist of the Attribution Modeling Tool, Bill Kee (Product Manager, Google Analytics) and Neil Hoyne (Global Program Manager, Attribution), came together to lead the 5th and final webinar in our series on marketing attribution. They identified opportunities in the customer’s journey from introduction to conversion, including:
  • Google’s recommendations for how companies should structure their own attribution programs.
  • Basics on the methodology and configuration of the Attribution Modeling Tool, and how to create custom models that can improve your business’ performance.
  • Identifying specific opportunities in attribution from brand-to-generic trends to position-based weighting.
If you weren’t able to attend the live webinar, Attribution for Digital Success, you can view a recording here:

You can also catch up with our entire attribution webinar series, which included:
  1. an overview of our research on how the industry approaches attribution (watch here),
  2. the foundational steps for attribution using Google’s tools (watch here),
  3. intra-channel attribution with Search Funnels in Google AdWords (watch here),
  4. cross-channel measurement with Multi-Channel Funnels (watch here),
  5. and finally, our most recent webinar on strategies for the Attribution Modeling Tool (watch here).
We’d like to thank all of our users who have joined us for some or all of these attribution webinars. You have provided invaluable questions, ideas and feedback to help shape the next generation of our product. Some of these requests have already been addressed, including the public availability of the Attribution Modeling Tool (now available via whitelist), longer lookback windows, and cost-data import, and others are sure to come in the future. Stay tuned and stay in touch!

As has been our tradition throughout this webinar series, we’d also like to provide responses to some of the most common and most interesting questions we received during the webinar.


What business variables influence the decision on an Attribution Model?
Any factor that could influence your business or marketing efforts, including weather, pricing and competitive behavior, could have an impact your attribution decisions. Still, we suggest that advertisers focus on those efforts that could have the largest effect on their business, usually by conversion volume as well as those that they can more easily control (paid search vs. organic search or direct traffic) for the basis of experimentation.

How is the social engagement metric calculated?
Social engagement is measured any time a user clicks from a known social network, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or over 400 others, to the advertiser’s website. At this time, no interactions that occur within the networks themselves, such as a “like” are presented within the Attribution Modeling Tool.

Could you further elaborate on how conversion paths are presented when a user converts multiple times within the 30-day lookback window?
Each conversion has a unique path, which includes all of the interactions the converting user had in the 30 days leading up to the conversion. When the same user converts multiple times, the conversions are treated separately. For example, is a user clicked through from Display, and completed conversion #1, this conversion would have a path length of one from the channel “Display.” If the same user subsequently clicked through from Paid Search, and completed conversion #2, assuming the original Display interaction occurred within 30 days prior to conversion #2, a second conversion path would be recorded with a path length of two: Display, followed by Paid Search.

If we submitted our account to the Attribution Modeling Tool whitelist, how long will it take until we begin to see this feature available in our Google Analytics account?
We understand how important attribution is to your business, and are incredibly grateful for all of the interest that has been shown in the modeling tool since the announcement of the public whitelist. As such, we are working as quickly as we can to add new customers to the tool and will continue to post any available updates directly on the signup form. Once your account has been whitelisted, you’ll see the Attribution Modeling Tool listed within the Multi-Channel Funnels reports, under Conversions.

Could you provide step-by-step details on how to build the models Bill described during the webinar?
We created two custom models to show examples of the types of weighting you can apply using the model builder. The first model, called “Upper Funnel” emphasizes interactions earlier in the path, from channels that are focused on introducing and informing customers, and discounts channels that may be more navigational, like branded search. The second model, called “Lower Funnel” gives more weight to marketing interactions at the end of the conversion path, but does not solely give credit to the last interaction, and excludes direct interactions that are last in the path, giving credit instead to other marketing touch points toward the end. By comparing both models to the Last Interaction model, you’re able to see the contrasts in credit given to channels, and see whether marketing efforts play the roles you think they do or not.

Here are the rules for the “Upper Funnel” model.

Upper Funnel Model, step 1: Click on the model selector then “create new custom model” to open the custom model builder, and enter details as pictured (click to enlarge the image):

Upper Funnel Model, step 2: Turn on “apply custom credit rules” in the custom model builder, then enter model details as pictured (click to enlarge the image):

And here are rules for the "Lower Funnel" model.

Lower Funnel Model, step 1: Click on the model selector then “create new custom model” to open the custom model builder, and enter details as pictured (click to enlarge the image):

Lower Funnel Model, step 2: Turn on “apply custom credit rules” in the custom model builder, then enter model details as pictured (click to enlarge the image):

Marketing attribution is a challenging yet worthwhile pursuit. Our hope is that this webinar series will help you as you begin (or continue) your attribution journey. For more information on the Attribution Modeling Tool, please visit our website and the Google Analytics help center.

Happy analyzing!

Sara Jablon Moked, Product Marketing Manager for Conversion and Attribution

GAUGE Hack Night: The Results Are In!

The following is a guest post contributed by Caleb Whitmore, founder of Analytics Pros and the BEST Practices Conference, Google Analytics enthusiast, and aspiring mountaineer.

The Analytics Pros team hosted the first-ever GAUGE Hack Night & Google Analytics Application Showcase at the Boston 2012 GAUGE conference. The event consisted of a networking reception and application showcase where developers of Google Analytics integrated products had the chance to pitch their creation to a panel of industry leaders, Googlers, and the audience in 5 minutes or less. Judges included Justin Cutroni from Google, Caleb Whitmore from Analytics Pros, and a lucky audience member. Applications were evaluated by the judges based on level of Google Analytics depth and complexity, potential for business value and level of innovation and creativity.

This year’s winners were:
  • Overall Favorite: Narrative Science's Quill

Overall Favorite: Narrative Science

Narrative Science demonstrated a revolutionary new approach to automated reporting with a product called Quill™ for Google Analytics. Quill analyzes Website data and automatically generates a weekly summary of trends, highlights and lowlights in plain English. Rather than provide a series of tables and graphs, users receive a succinct summary similar to one written by a professional analyst.

Quill reviews and interprets a year's worth of Google Analytics data to deliver insight in an easy-to-understand, mobile-friendly format. Instead of having to traverse spreadsheets to derive insights from your data, Narrative Science pulls out the most important trends and delivers them in a way that they’re ready to digest. The product is currently in private beta; interested users can request an invite.

A screenshot of an executive summary generated by Narrative Science’s Quill

Judges’ Choice: Demandbase

Demandbase is the first real-time targeting and personalization platform for B2B that helps you segment your Analytics based on the account details of your customers.  Their solution for Google Analytics puts powerful B2B Analytics into marketers’ hands. Demandbase enables users to understand how to better engage your customers based on how they interact with your online content.

To get this Demandbase data into Google Analytics, Demandbase provides its customers with an easy to use connector. Users select the Demandbase attributes they want populated in their custom variables and with a choice of asynchronous tracking with Pageviews or with a Custom Non-Interaction event, the connector provides a custom tag that can replace or be placed alongside their existing GATC (depending on what method is selected).

A screenshot of Demandbase’s connector interface and tracking script generator

Social Media Favorite: CampaignAlyzer

CampaignAlyzer is a web-based solution that acts as a central repository platform where organizations can store their marketing campaign values in one database. Marketing agencies and digital marketers across an organization now have the ability to collaborate in tagging various online and offline campaigns, and ensure consistency in their campaign tagging.

The application streamlines campaign tagging into a process that is efficient, timely, accurate, adaptive, value-added and business critical. With CampaignAlyzer analysts wouldn’t need to worry about tags and where they should go. Instead they’ll now have more time to do what they should have been doing in the first place; data analysis and measuring the success of their marketing campaigns.

A view of the CampaignAlyzer Campaign Management dashboard

Explore the Analytics Ecosystem

Narrative Science, Demandbase and CampaignAlyzer represent some of the new and innovative approaches that companies are using to rethink many of the problems facing the Analytics industry.  If you’re interested in exploring more ways to make the most of Google Analytics, check out the Google Analytics App Gallery to turbocharge your collection, measurement and analysis.

Are you a developer building on the Analytics platform? Let us know what you’re working on!

Posted by John Milinovich, Google Analytics API Team

A Glimpse Into Mobile Measurement and Apps Today and Tomorrow

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

We recently teamed up with ClickZ to learn how marketers around the world are approaching mobile marketing and measurement, and where it’s headed next. We hope these stats will provide useful context for your planning in the coming year. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Mobile is now an important part of the integrated marketing mix

Mobile is no longer an add-on to a campaign, and for many it’s increasingly becoming a central focus.
  • 87% of marketers are planning to increase emphasis on mobile during 2013, and belief in the power of mobile is rapidly growing stronger.
  • Marketers have a broad mix of mobile tactics planned in the next year: 
    • 52% plan to create a mobile- or tablet-optimized website
    • 48% plan to increase engagement in mobile advertising 
    • 41% hope to develop a mobile app
    • 39% are planning to market a mobile app
For many, mobile measurement is still new territory
  • More than half (59%) of marketers consider themselves either novice or inexperienced when it comes to measuring mobile. This presents an opportunity for organizations to invest in training and education today to stay ahead of the curve tomorrow.
  • 58% of marketers are currently accountable for mobile metrics, and more than one-third are already sharing internal dashboards to show mobile marketing results.
Mobile measurement unlocks new opportunities
  • 53% of marketers who analyzed their mobile metrics say there is a lot of untapped opportunity and plan to increase their mobile spending.
  • Tools, technologies and talent are in demand: 68% of marketers plan to increase technology investment and ad spend, and 32% plan to focus more in talent.
A deeper look at mobile app measurement

Here’s a look at the mobile app-related metrics that marketers say matter the most to them:

As shown above, marketers are interested in measuring the full app lifecycle, which we’re excited to see as our new Mobile App Analytics covers a majority of the desired metrics marketers are seeking.

The opportunity for marketers

This research shows the opportunity that mobile offers app developers and marketers to reach consumers on the go. Effective measurement across mobile sites, ads and apps will help marketers create winning strategies. Mobile’s role in marketing is becoming a central part of integrated campaigns and will only continue to grow. We know that marketers want simple tools that help them seamlessly integrate mobile into their marketing and measurement, and we’re working hard to create robust tools to help. 

Posted by Adam Singer, Product Marketing Manager, Google Analytics

Mark Your Calendars For These Upcoming Analytics Events

Friday, 9 November 2012

Next week Google Analytics team members will be presenting on automating reporting and mobile marketing measurement, both in-person and online.  Be sure to mark your calendars and join us as we share ideas and best practices about everything analytics.

Google Developers Live Event (Online)

Session: Automate Your Google Analytics Reporting with Apps Script
Do you rely on Google Analytics reporting to make sure you’re making the most of your web traffic? Does your current process for exporting and analyzing your Analytics data feel clunky?  Join Nick Mihailovski and Ikai Lan from the Analytics and App Scripts teams to learn how to integrate Google Analytics with App Scripts and save your sanity in the process.

Date: Thursday, November 15 at 2:00pm PST

How to watch: visit the Google Developers Live page at the above time or add this event to your calendar.

Get Involved: Ask your burning questions about the Google Analytics + Apps Script Integration for a chance to have them answered live.

Search Engine Strategies (Chicago)

Session: Analyze. Streamline. Engage: Transform Your Business by Embracing Digital
2012 has had it all in the digital space - Google's SEO updates, Big Data, the explosion of social media awesomeness, and lots more. With so many new platforms and updates, it's not easy to keep on top of it all and ensure you do everything right! In this opening keynote, Avinash Kaushik will share his unique perspective on balancing multiple media channels and leveraging the right analytics to deliver relevance and economic value to your customers. Avinash will take you through the Clear Line of Sight model to ensure you are spending your days delivering true value to your business. You will walk away from this keynote with a thorough understanding of what it takes to really win online!

Keynote Speaker:
Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google

Date: Tuesday, November 13 from 9:00-10:00am CST

Session: Metrics for Success in the Mobile and Apps Ecosystem
The staggering growth of mobile platforms, devices, apps - and of course, users - has inspired an entire generation of marketers and entrepreneurs to take notice. But with such rapid change, execution and adoption are all over the board. Mobile marketing and measurement are all still very much works in progress.

This session will explore the joint research between Google Analytics and ClickZ to understand the current state of mobile, where it's going next and share actionable next steps for marketers, app developers and entrepreneurs better measure their efforts in mobile. It is our hope that together, we can help you succeed in this fast-growing space and make mobile apps work for you.

Panel participants

  • Melanie White, Special Projects Editor, ClickZ
  • Jonathan Allen, Director, Search Engine Watch
  • Adam Singer, Product Marketing Manager, Google Analytics
  • Diran Hafiz, Director of Mobile, Comscore

Date: Tuesday, November 13 from 1:45-2:15pm CST

How to attend: SES runs from Tuesday, November 13 through Thursday, November 15.  If you’re in Chicago, check out the agenda page for the full details of our sessions and come out and say hi.

Posted by John Milinovich, Google Analytics Team

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