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Measuring app engagement across device & platforms

Thursday, 29 March 2012

There are more ways now to consume your favorite television shows, movies, and on demand content than ever before. People are turning to their smartphones, tablets, and Internet connected TV’s to watch what they want, when they want it. For broadcasters, agencies, and advertisers the question is how are users engaging with this media and how can it be monetized?

This measurement opportunity is what drove TV App Agency to be founded in 2011. The London-based software company designed a software application that works across a variety of viewing devices to help deliver on-demand media. They turned to Google Analytics as the platform to help them measure and analyze their data.

Why turn to Google Analytics?
TV App Agency opted to use Google Analytics’ server side APIs, which were more easily compatible with the on-demand media environment than JavaScript APIs. They were able to use their own in-house knowledge from previous mobile development to come up with a tagging strategy that highlighted exactly the data that mattered most to their business model. Learn more by reading the full case study.

“We are now able to track which adverts are being played and get an idea of which functions in apps are being used. Plus, the real-time reports show when people are actually using these apps.”
                          Bruno Pereira, co-founder of TV App Agency

Future Analytics goals
TV App Agency is working on expanding their Analytics to track more events, and understand more about viewer engagement from Analytics robust reports. By integrating Google Analytics they are able to offer richer data and analysis than other connected TV app developers, which gives them an incredible advantage in this exciting new space.

- The Google Analytics team

Sharing Personalized Dashboards using the Analytics API

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Web agencies often rely on Excel and Word to create analytics reports for clients. It’s a manual process that involves a lot of copy and pasting. Yet an agency’s main value-add isn’t report creation, but analyzing data and providing key findings and recommendations to clients. And while Google Analytics provides the tools to slice and dice the data, many web agencies also want to present clients with personalized reports, complete with the agency’s logo. And they want to be able to deliver and share reports without requiring users to log in, especially in large organizations where report distribution can become an onerous administrative process.

DashThis addresses these challenges with dashboards that combine simple automatic reporting with accessibility. Agencies spend less time creating reports and more time analyzing. Using the Google Analytics API, DashThis imports the client’s data and updates a set of dashboards with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a specific job function or industry. The agency can also request a set of custom dashboards that meet exact specifications and requirements.

Alerts and warnings can be set to notify managers of changes in KPIs via email. All this is accomplished securely and without requiring the user to log in. There is also a white-label option for additional branding requirements demanded by agencies.

According to Kari Harju, CEO of SalesLion, an SEO and conversion agency in Helsinki, Finland. “Customers do not always understand how to read the results from web analytics products and see a tangible return on their investments. It's hard to show them without time consuming meetings. SalesLion opted for a custom dashboard to meet the needs of their clients. As a result of using DashThis, our clients now have a simple and easy way to understand what’s going on with their web properties as it relates to their KPIs”. SalesLion eliminated most of the reporting work, leaving more time to analyze, highlight key findings, and make actionable recommendations to clients.

DashThis was built by Trimali Technologies and uses the Google Analytics API. Stéphane Guérin, CEO describes DashThis’ experience with the Google Analytics API and the response from customers, “The API is really simple to use but extremely powerful. It allows developers to add even more value on a great tool such as Google Analytics. We’ve been able to develop strong business relationships with agencies and we’re proud to have made a tool that is useful for professionals. By opening the platform, Google Analytics allows smaller companies like ours to flourish in a rich eco-system.”

DashThis can be found in the Google Analytics App Gallery and on the DashThis website.
If you’re interested in developing solutions for the Google Analytics platform, visit Google Analytics Developers.

Posted by Pete Frisella, Google Analytics API Team

Think with Google comes to ad:tech SF to make the web work for you

Monday, 26 March 2012

More users. More screens. More content. Same time. Same customers. Same goals.

As marketers, it’s a challenge to stay up-to-date on the latest digital media innovations while continuing to manage effective, measurable campaigns. We at Google asked ourselves: how can we help you meet these challenges and move your customers from intent to action? How can we make the web work for you?

Next week at ad:tech SF we’ll answer these questions through a 4-part “Think with Google” series.

Tuesday, April 3rd
  • Come hear from John Nicoletti, Director of Agency Development, on winning the moments that matter, making better decisions and operating more efficiently as you grow.
  • Dive deep with Bill Kee, Analytics Product Manager, on ways to approach marketing attribution and what Google Analytics is doing to make attribution modeling more accessible.
  • Learn about free tools available to help you plan for performance with Jordan Rost, Agency Lead.
  • Close the day with Rikard Steiber, Global Marketing Director, Mobile & Social Advertising, on how to use Google+ Pages to maximize your business’ effectiveness and presence online.

Wednesday, April 4th
Global Google Analytics Lead Rachel Witalec will join the discussion on search tactics for making sure content gets found where and when you want it. If you’re investing time in digital marketing you won’t want to miss this.

The complete conference agenda is here. The sessions are open to ad:tech attendees.

Still haven’t registered? Sign up here with discount code GOOGLESF12TB and save 30% off a full conference pass.

Hope to see you there!

Measure your website’s performance with improved Site Speed reports

Friday, 23 March 2012

In our continued effort to improve your experience of Google Analytics, we are excited to release an updated Site Speed report that distills all the key metrics into a quick & easy to read Overview report.

Site Speed Overview Report
The Overview report provides an at-a-glance view of essential information for measuring your site’s page loading metrics: Avg. Page Load Time by Browser, Country/Territory, and Page. Plus you can compare your site’s average performance over time to forecast trends and view historical performance. All of these tools can help you identify where your pages may be underperforming and adjust so more visitors land on your site instead of waiting in frustration or leaving.
Example of updated reports   

Previously there was only one Site Speed report, this has been renamed to “Page Timings”. On the Page Timings report, you can view your site's load times in three ways: use the Explorer tab to explore average load time across dimensions, use the Performance tab to see how the load times break down by speed ranges, or use the Map Overlay tab to see how the load times breakdown by geography.

Previous report, now Page Timings   

Speed metrics available in Intelligence Reports & API
The technical metrics included in the Page Timings report were launched a couple of months ago. So we’ve been working hard at making these metrics available in more of your favorite Analytics features. We’ve updated the Intelligence Reports to include the average site load times and all the Page Timings metrics. Now you can create custom alerts based on site speed metrics such as Avg. Page Load Time, Avg. Server Response Time. And view site speed metrics in the Analytics API and Custom Reports.

Site Speed Sample Rate
Small sites (<10K visits per day) can now increase the site speed sample rate up to 100% to get full samples for page load time. Note that the processing limit of up to 10K per day or 1% of pageview hits (whichever is greater) still applies.

- Mustafa M. Tikir, Google Analytics team

Better Insights with Flow Visualization Enhancements

Thursday, 22 March 2012

We've been listening to your feedback about Flow Visualization, and we’re excited to announce a number of significant upgrades that are available to all our users starting today.

Events Flow
We’ve expanded the Flow Visualization family of reports to now include Events Flow! This new feature can be found in the Content->Events section:

What problem does Events Flow help solve?
Event-driven websites had a difficult time analyzing the impact from their visitors using flow visualization. These are websites that land users on one URL, where there are multiple elements on that page for a user to interact with  (such as videos, roll over buttons, or games). These sites tend to have very few pages and get most of their value from visitor interactions with events. The Events Flow report addresses this issue by showing the order of events in which your visitors engaged.

For those who have used Visitors Flow before, the feel of the Events Flow report will be familiar - it includes all the same interactions of hovering, clicking, and adding additional steps. You can also analyze the flow of events by grouping the nodes in any of the following 3 options: Category, Category/Action, or Category/Action/Label.  For more information about using the Events Flow report, view our help center or this how to video to see how we analyzed the events that occurred in our very own Flow Visualization reports!

Flow Visualization Date Comparison
You can now compare two date ranges for the entire family of Flow Visualization reports: Visitors Flow, Goal Flow, and even the new Events Flow. This feature will help you to gain insights on how your visitor engagement changes over different periods of time.

Example of Goal Flow Date Comparison

Now you can analyze and measure how changes to your pages and/or goal steps affect your visitors behavior. It optimizes your workflow by removing the need to perform manual calculations and open two browsers to view two flow visualizations side-by-side. You can now do them all in one screen.

Plus, you can also highlight connections and instantly update all the comparison numbers for that particular traffic. Below is a real-life example from our Google Store. We compared two time periods (where we have removed a particular goal step) and discovered that pageviews from Firefox went down 15%.

From an initial impression, one might have concluded that the removal of the goal step could have potentially lower the traffic. However by highlighting that flow we were able to isolate that traffic to see how many orders were successfully completed. That was how we learned the number of orders actually went up 67%, and the removal of the goal step helped increased our conversion rates!

This feature can be extremely powerful for gaining additional insights on how to optimize conversions and the website experience for your visitors. Learn more in our help center.

Additional Goal Types in Goal Flow 
Are you interested in seeing how users convert on non-URL goals? Now you can, we’ve added support for additional types of goals including time on site and engagement in the Goal Flow report. Head on over to the Goal Flow report to choose the goal(s) you’re interested in.

Here are links that will help you easily find these reports in your Google Analytics account.
We hope these enhancements make Flow Visualization even more comprehensive and allow you to gain deeper insights. Please reach out to us with questions and comments, and we are always happy to take additional feature requests.

- Jerry Hong, Google Analytics team

Capturing The Value Of Social Media Using Google Analytics

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Measuring the value of social media has been a challenge for marketers. And with good reason: it’s hard to understand exactly what is happening in an environment where activity occurs both on and off your website. Since social media is often an upper funnel player in a shopper’s journey, it's not always easy to determine which social channels actually drive value for your business and which tactics are most effective.

But as the social industry matures, marketers and web analysts need true outcome-oriented reports. After all, although social is growing in popularity, brand websites - not social networks - remain the place where people most often purchase or convert. 

That’s why we’re releasing a new set of Social reports within Google Analytics. The new reports bridge the gap between social media and the business metrics you care about - allowing you to better measure the full value of the social channel for your business. We wanted to help you with 3 things:
  • Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions 
  • Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

The Social reports allow you to analyze all of this information together and see a more complete picture of social impact than often used today. Here are a couple of the things you can do with our new reports:

Overview Report: see social performance at a glance and its impact on conversions

The Overview report allows you to see at a glance how much conversion value is generated from your social channels. The Social Value visualization compares the number and monetary value of all your goal completions against those that resulted from social referrals - both as last interaction, and assisted.

A visit from a social referral may result in conversion immediately or it may assist in a conversion that occurs later on. Referrals that lead to conversions immediately are labeled as Last Interaction Social Conversion. If a referral from a social source doesn’t immediately generate a conversion, but the visitor returns later and converts, the referral is included as an Assisted Social Conversion. 

Conversions Report: which goals are being impacted by social media

With the Conversions report, marketers can now measure the value of each individual social channel by seeing the conversion rates of each social network and the monetary value they drive to your business.

For example, you can see the effect that social content (i.e. a new video you created) had on conversions. Look at the time graph to see whether Goal Completions via Social Referral peaked after the content was published. Remember that you need to define goals and goal values in order to see data in this report, so tailor it to the things that matter to your business. Networks with a higher assisted / last interaction conversions ratio provide greater assisted conversions.

Social Sources - find out how visitors from different sources behave

The Social Sources report shows engagement and conversion metrics for each social network so you can see how people are interacting with your content and whether it’s leading to a desired outcome.

For example, if you run social campaigns that promote specific products, you can see via the Social Visitor Flow whether visitors from each social network entered your site through these product pages and whether they continued on to other parts of the site or whether they exited.  

Social Plugins: find the content that’s good enough to share

If you publish content, you'll want to know which articles are most commonly shared or recommended, and on which social networks they're being shared. The Social Plugin report shows which articles on your site are receiving the most engagement and which social buttons - for example, Google +1 - are being clicked to share them. 

You can use this information to create more of the type of content that's popular with your visitors, and test different layouts of social sharing buttons to improve use by your community. 

Activity Stream: what’s happening outside of your website

While the other reports show you the impact that social engagement is having on your site, the Activities Stream tab (located within the sources report) shows how people are engaging socially with your content off your site across the social web. 

For content that was shared publicly, you can see the URLs they shared, how and where they shared (via a “reshare” on Google+ for example), and what they said. Currently, activities are reported for Google+ and across a growing list of our Social Data Hub partners including recently signed brands Badoo, Disqus, Echo, Hatena and Meetup.

These new social reports will be available for all users over the next few weeks under the Standard Reporting Tab - please take a look and tell us what you think.

Posted by Phil Mui, Group Product Manager

Google Analytics Team Descends On #SESNY

Friday, 16 March 2012

SES New York is one of the most anticipated annual events for the online marketing industry. This year the Google Analytics team will be well-represented, sharing the latest trends, best practices and thinking on measurement and related topics. There’s a lot happening so we wanted to make things easier for Google Analytics fans who will be at SES by outlining our participation.

If you are going to be in attendance, be sure to visit our sessions summarized below:

Business Optimization in a Digital Age 
Tuesday, March 20 from 9:00-10:00am 

We were promised that Marketing one day would become rocket science. Well, we are almost there! Search continues to become more complicated, and more exciting. Then there's Social and Email and Display and Video and... so many more things. It is hard to understand how to do one thing right, much less try to do all of them right. In his exciting keynote Avinash will share his unique perspective on balancing multiple media channels, leveraging super awesome metrics, grounding your digital existence in driving economic value, and leveraging the Clear Line of Sight model to ensure you are optimizing across all four of the most important business drivers (come to the keynote to learn which four!).

Keynote Speaker:
Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google

Social Media as a Performance Channel with Google Analytics
Tuesday, March 20 from 11:00-12:00pm

Social media has changed the way we shop and interact with brands, but marketers still lack a clear way to measure how their social investments lead to more sales. According to MarketingSherpa, only 20% of CMOs think social media marketing produces measurable ROI, while 62% consider it to be a promising tactic that will eventually yield ROI.

The good news is that better measurement can help marketers make smarter decisions about their investments in social. Vanity counters, such as friend counts and reshares, can be augmented with bottom line metrics like conversions and purchases, allowing marketers to measure true social ROI of each campaign and compare the effectiveness with other channels.

Join Phil Mui, Group Product Manager and Ilya Grigorik, Lead Engineer to learn how to tie the influence of the social web to the metrics you care about using in Google Analytics.

Phil Mui, Group Product Manager, Google Analytics
Ilya Grigorik, Lead Engineer, Google Analytics

We hope to see you at the event.

For those who can't make it, be sure to follow the #SESNY hashtag on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date.

Web Analytics TV #24 - The Ninja Show

Welcome to the ninja show, aka Web Analytics TV! Web Analytics TV, as you well know by now, is powered by your amazing questions. In this awesome episode we had questions from Dubai, India, Germany, Sweden, France, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the US.
If you’re new to this show, our process is simple.

Step 1: You ask, or vote on, your favorite web analytics questions. Vote on next week’s questions using this Web Analytics TV Google Moderator site.

Step 2: From a secret undisclosed location at the Googleplex Avinash Kaushik & Nick Mihailovski answer them. :-)

In this episode we award the “Ninja of the Episode” and award it to Joe for a great question about the difference in data between the Visits to transactions report and the multi-channel funnels path length report. Joe, just email us and we’ll send you a signed copy of Web Analytics 2.0.

OK. Here is the list of last episodes questions.

In this action packed episode we discuss:
  • (0:28) Determining what caused your visitors to become return visitors
  • (2:25) Calculating click though rate on site visits
  • (3:43) Best way to report on internal user traffic to your site
  • (5:23) Does sampling use a random set of sessions
  • (6:20) Differences in visits to transactions and path length in multi-channel funnels
  • (9:20) Using events in a goal funnel
  • (9:46) Best ways to debug iOS and Android apps
  • (10:37) Calculating number of events happen per session
  • (11:40) Best practices for tracking duration in a video
  • (12:43) Differences in how JavaScript and Android libraries persist visitor info
  • (13:35) Differences in unique visitors and repeat visits
  • (14:43) Impact of setSessionCampaignTimeout on multi-channel funnels
  • (15:45) Importing conversion goals from AdWords into Google Analytics
  • (16:48) Viewing Google Analytics on an i-device
  • (17:53) Using outbound link tracking to track exit links

Here are the links to the topics we discuss:

In the fourth question we answer if sampled (fast access mode) data uses a random set of sessions. Just to recap, in most reports, Google Analytics pre-calculates report data and there is no sampling. But in some cases, like when you apply a secondary dimension, the report data needs to be calculated on the fly. In this case, Google Analytics might only process a subset of sessions so that it can return the report in a timely manner. Here’s how the subset of sessions is determined.

Currently fast-access model (sampling) can be controlled via a slider and the default is to process 250,000 sessions. This means that in the date range, only 250,000 sessions will be used in the report calculation. In Google Analytics, visits count sessions. So say a site received the following 3 days of visits.

Day 1 : 500,000
Day 2 : 250,000
Day 3 : 500,000

So, a total of 1,250,000 visits occurred in the date range. To determine which sessions are selected in the fast-access sample, Google Analytics first calculates a multiplier by dividing the total visits in the date range with the number of visits selected on the slider.

multiplier = 1,250,000 / 250,000 = 5

Then for each day, the total number of sessions is divided by the multiplier and only that number of sessions is randomly chosen from each day to be processed.

For Day 1 : 500,000 / 5 = 100,000. So 100,000 sessions are randomly chosen from day 1 to be processed to generate the report data for that day.

For Day 2: 250,000 / 5 = 50,000 sessions are used
For Day 3: 500,000 / 5 = 100,000 sessions are used

Once Google Analytics has determined which sessions to use, the sessions are all processed into a report. Then the report values are then multiplied by the multiplier to scale the final results.

Whats nice about the new fast-access mode slider feature, is that you can use the slider to change the number of sessions used in the processing. And by comparing the number of sessions used, you can see the impact of sampling on your data.

Ok great question.

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.

This series would not be possible without your awesome questions. Please submit them on our public Google Moderator site, and while you’re there don’t forget to vote for your favorite questions.  Avinash and I will answer them in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.


Reaching your Goals in 2012: Live Google Analytics Webinar

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Last December, we hosted a webinar on "Reaching your Goals with Google Analytics." For those of you who weren't able to make it last time, we're pleased to offer this live webinar again. If you want to use Google Analytics to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns, including AdWords and other digital media, then this webinar is for you:

Webinar: Reaching Your Goals with Google Analytics
Date: Wednesday, March 21
Time: 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 5pm GMT

Sign up here! (Note: this webinar page also includes links for many other great Google webinars; you can also go directly to the registration page.)

During the webinar, we'll cover:

  • Key questions to ask for richer insights from your data
  • How to define "success" (for websites, visitors, or campaigns)
  • How to set up and use Goals
  • How to set up and use Ecommerce (for websites with a shopping cart)
  • How to link AdWords to your Google Analytics account
  • Other useful tools in Google Analytics, such as Multi-Channel Funnels and Flow Visualization

This webinar will be led by Joe Larkin, a technical specialist on the Google Analytics team, and it's designed for intermediate users of Google Analytics. If you're comfortable with the basics, but you'd like to do more with your data, then we hope you'll join us on March 21!

Better insights with Multi-Channel Funnels: Product update

Friday, 9 March 2012

Since we launched Multi-Channel Funnels, we’ve seen marketers gain new insight into how marketing channels are working together to bring valuable customers to your site. For example, Technologia, a leading business training company in Montreal, recently partnered with online strategy firm Adviso and used Multi-Channel Funnels to understand the full path to conversion and improve their marketing efforts; read this customer story here.

Last week we released an update to Multi-Channel Funnels to help you more easily understand the impact of your marketing channels. We have expanded the Basic Channel Grouping dimension to more closely match the range of online channels used by the majority of marketers. Specifically, we replaced the previous Paid Advertising channel with three new channels: Display, Paid Search, and Other Advertising (see the updated channel definitions). You’ll find these updated channels reflected in the Multi-Channel Visualizer, and in reports such as Top Conversion Paths and Assisted Conversions, where you’ll now be able to see the interaction between these channels at a glance.

We also updated the Social Network channel to include a longer list of referral domains (more than 400) that will be classified as social. 

Of course you can still create your own Custom Channel Groupings, either creating one from scratch, or by copying and modifying the Basic Channel Grouping template. Some of the most valuable custom groupings you can create include breaking out branded and generic search, and identifying a group for affiliates. These types of custom groupings can help you better understand the roles played by different channels in driving conversions.

As you use Multi-Channel Funnels to measure your marketing campaigns, we’d love to hear about your insights and analysis. You can share them with us using this form.

Share your custom reports, advanced segments and dashboards

Thursday, 8 March 2012

We are excited to announce more ways you can share insights through Google Analytics. We have upgraded the existing custom report sharing, plus added the ability for you to share advanced segments and dashboards with other Analytics users.

To try this out, look for the Share button in any of these sections:
  • Custom Report: In the Actions menu on the table that lists your reports.
  • Dashboard: In the top-left corner over your dashboard.
  • Advanced Segment: Visit the Admin tab in the top right corner of your account, then select Advanced Segments to enable sharing.
The button will bring up a URL that you can send to anyone you’d like or publish on your blog.

Sharing this link will only share a template, not the data about your site traffic. So for example sharing a dashboard will provide a user with the dashboard name, widgets and data fields to be populated with data from their Analytics account.

Important Tip: Links to all shared templates are permanent snapshots. That means after you have shared the link, you can safely change or even delete a dashboard in your account and it will not change the experience for anyone using the previously shared link.

When you or someone else opens the link, they will be prompted to choose a profile in which to import the custom report, advanced segment or dashboard. They will also have the option to change the name. After that is complete they will see the template populated with data from their account.
To get you started, here are a few templates from Google Analytics Advocate Justin Cutroni, to try in your account:

  • Basic blog dashboard: If you’re a blogger you can use this dashboard to keep tabs on where your readers come from and what they do on your site.
  • Mobile ecommerce dashboard: If you’re getting into mobile commerce use this dashboard to get an end-to-end view of your customer experience.
  • Site Performance dashboard: How about a report for the IT team? This dashboard contains various speed metrics to help identify issues with your pages or servers.
  • Engaged Traffic advanced segment: This advanced segment measures traffic that views at least three pages AND spends more than three minutes on your site. Why do these people love you so much? Find out!
  • Daily Ecommerce report: Use this report to keep tabs on all parts of the ecommerce lifecycle: acquisition, engagement and conversion in one single table.

As always, please let us know what you think about this new feature. We can’t wait to see all the new and creative customizations you will share.

- Gilles Roux, Google Analytics team

Refining the new Google Analytics

Thursday, 1 March 2012

We've been listening to your feedback about the new version of Google Analytics, and are excited to release an updated user interface featuring enhancements to nearly all aspects of the design of Google Analytics.

User interface updates
Based on input from our users, partners, and customers, we have launched several improvements to our user interface. We are particularly proud of the attention to detail that our user experience team has put into making the interface easy to use, understandable, and beautiful.
Restyled reports

The primary goal of this update is to bring more attention to the things that matter -- your data, and how you analyze it. We improved legibility of score card and table data, and refined our color palette to draw attention toward data instead of navigation elements.

We’ve also made several usability improvements:
Improved information hierarchy
Change the graphed metric and select a comparison metric directly from the graph
Graph and Table options are more visible
Improved Metric Group selection
Added icons to left navigation

Icons in the left navigation

We would like to thank everyone for submitting excellent feedback. Please continue to provide input on how Google Analytics can best deliver the insights you need.

- The Google Analytics team

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