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Universal Analytics Business Applications

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The following is a guest post by the Analytics Team at Loves Data, a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

Universal Analytics introduces a new set of Google Analytics features allowing businesses to gain a deeper and more strategic understanding of what’s capturing the attention of customers as they move from online to offline. So how can Universal Analytics help businesses turn customer data into sales? We at Loves Data designed a simple experiment to find out.
Who drinks coffee? Who drinks tea? How much? How often? When? The answer to these questions reveal the role our espresso coffee machine and tea kettle play in productivity - and any need to order more tea or coffee! Take a look at our video to see what we learned.
Our experiment at Loves Data also measured how often and how much time team members spent standing in front of a display screen in the office viewing our website analytics.

Montage: Loves Data’s Universal Analytics office experiment will benefit businesses:

Experiment creates a new path to customers
Our team designed an experiment to dive into Universal Analytics by creating interactive scenarios inside our office. We integrated sensors and RFID readers to capture data about coffee and tea making behaviour in our office. We also measured each time the fridge was opened, when one of our team updated a support ticket, client hours were logged, code was committed, administrative tasks, and viewing of our Google Analytics dashboard display.
New Business Opportunities
Measuring users across platforms opens up new business opportunities. The RFID keys we’ve used in our experiments can be used to measure loyalty card usage. We can use Universal Analytics to enable retailers with bricks and mortar stores to measure customer behaviour and to improve and integrate online and offline sales and marketing.
Here are a few Universal Analytics opportunities we have identified at Loves Data for our clients:
  • Integrated measurement and analysis of in-store POS systems along with desktop and mobile e-commerce platforms
  • Measuring offline macro and micro conversions through physical buttons or integration with CRMs
  • Measuring physical interaction for example at display booths at conventions or artworks at major exhibitions through to online engagement on associated websites
Our office experiment provided ourselves and our clients with a range of valuable insights and showed that with Universal Analytics we can measure just about anything!
Posted by the Analytics Team at Loves Data, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. Learn more about Loves Data on their website, Google+ or check out their digital analytics and online marketing blog.

3 Key Google Analytics Features In-House Practitioners Should Be Using

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Working as a practitioner in house at a technology company, one of my jobs is to teach my team members how to fish with Google Analytics. What should they be looking for in GA? Where do they start? What is meaningful? Are the campaigns being measured? Are the microsites tagged? These are the types of questions I get everyday, and very likely, you do too. 

I've narrowed down my tips to 3 key things I try to get people comfortable with first (bite sized bits to get them hooked). 

1. Event Tracking
Most of the things that people are interested in are actions on a page. Did a visitor click on button X? Did they complete form Y? Watch video Z? These are all questions we can answer with event tracking. 

Because event tracking in Google Analytics is a blank slate in terms of setup and use, there is no one right answer for how to set it up and use. Given that most of my account was setup before I arrived in this position, I too have had to get used to a new architecture. The way I do this, and the way I explain it to my colleagues, is by investigating the event hierarchy. What are the categories, actions, and labels? How is data organized into these three tiers? 

While there is no one 'best way' of organizing an event tagging hierarchy, and while it will vary site to site, I like to set mine up like this:
  • Category: location of event (Homepage, About Us page, Resources page, etc)
  • Action: action the user took (Video, Whitepaper download, Start Trial, etc)
  • Label: specifics about action (Video name, Whitepaper name, detail of linked clicked if there are multiple with same action (ex. Learn more - product A, learn more - product B, etc) 
2. Advanced Segments
Advanced segments are a great way to filter data to be more specific to the question you are trying to ask. For example, you can create a segment for a region (North America = US + Canada), or you can create a segment for a set of pages (meaning visit applies to homepage and/or about us page). To evangelize and teach this, I've created a Google doc that I've shared with my team with step by step instructions and links to some pre-built regional segments. 

As an account admin, it's great to share out globally the segments you make that may apply to multiple consumers. And you can easily share links to segments for users to apply to their own account.

Regional Segment example:

3. Shortcuts
Normally when an internal user asks for GA training and/or help pulling a report, it's for something they plan to look at on more than one occasion. Depending on how complex the report is, it may be useful to create a shortcut.

Ex. Your account has 5000 uniques pages tracked in the pages report. You are interested in 4 pages that all share the same sub-domain (they may be steps in flow - example: www.myshoppingsite.com/women, www.myshoppingsite.com/accessories, www.myshoppingsite.com/handbags, www.myshoppingsite.com/gucci). 

You can filter the pages report (using advanced filters) to show only these 4 pages. Then you want to know how many visits to those pages had a checkout, so you apply a checkout segment onto the report. Then you also want to define that group one more step by only looking at North America traffic, so you apply a second advanced segment for North America. Then, just for kicks (or analysis) you want to know what the landing page was for this subset of purchasers, so you apply a secondary dimension for landing page. 

Now that's a fairly complicated report that took several steps to build. Your may not want to go through all those steps the next time you need this report (nor as an admin/power user do you want to have to show them again), so you can create a shortcut for this report. The shortcut link is a new beta feature located on the top nav bar that allows you to save a report as is and provides a shortcut link on the left hand nav to get back to it quickly. Pretty handy.

As an admin or power user: Once your users have these three functions handled they will a) be able to pull a lot of their own data, freeing up your time, and b) feel more confident and excited about using Google Analytics to make data driven decisions. Win-win.

Posted by Krista Seiden, Product Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise

Real-Time Widgets Now Available in Dashboards

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Dashboards feature in Google-Analytics is a great way to arrange a set of related custom widgets into a report you look at frequently (for example, see dashboards for a variety of use cases in our Solutions Gallery). Today we’re expanding dashboards’ functionality with four new real-time widgets that you can and plug into any dashboard (new or existing) of your choosing!

1) Setting up a real-time widget
If you have set up a dashboard widget before, then this will be very familiar to you. Create a new dashboard or click on the +Add Widget menu option of an existing dashboard.

Pick any of the four widgets available in the Real-time: section and customize the widget. Below I have created a widget that shows me active visitors from Canada but split up by Traffic-Type:

Here is how I set up this widget:

I chose the ‘Counter’ real-time widget and gave it a custom name (“Canada Active Visitors”), then set up a ‘Group by’ on ‘Traffic type’. This is how I see the split between referral and organic in the widget. Finally, I set up a filter to only show visitors from Canada.

2. Combining with other dashboard widgets
By creating and combining widgets, you can perform many types of analysis at a glance.

Using filters you can compare different segments of your real-time traffic. For example you can create two separate widgets that have different filters for the Country dimension (say Country==USA for one and Country==Canada for another) and you can compare real-time USA traffic versus India traffic, side by side.

You can go further and set up real-time and non real-time widgets on the same dashboard. 
Here is how one of my dashboards looks like (I use it to monitor and understand how traffic from Canada behaves after a blog post):

I have 5 widgets and widget #4 is a non real-time widget that gives me context on where I get visits from across the globe over the last month.

We hope you will enjoy creating new dashboards with these widgets and sparkling some real-time magic on existing dashboards!

Is the web getting faster?

Monday, 15 April 2013

At Google, we are passionate about speed and making the web faster. A faster web is better for both users and businesses - faster pages lead to better user experience and improved conversions.

The Site Speed reports in Google Analytics give every website owner detailed data on the speed of their web pages, as experienced by real users.

Last year, we published a study on the speed of websites around the world based on one week of aggregated Site Speed data from opted-in web publishers.

Over the last year, we have seen significant improvements in the core infrastructure that powers the Internet: the web browsers have gotten faster; there have been quite a few LTE/4G deployments making mobile networks a lot faster; and processing power on mobile devices continues to increase at a rapid pace.

To determine whether these improvements in technology are making the web faster, we present recent Site Speed data and compare it with the data from last year.

Here are the results.

While access from desktop is only a bit faster, it is still impressive given that the size of the web pages have increased by over 56% during this period. It’s great to see access from mobile is around 30% faster compared to last year. This is evident from the histograms below as well. For desktop, there is not a significant change in the bucket distributions, but for mobile we see a shift from slower buckets (i.e. higher page load time) to faster buckets.

Taking a look at change in the speed of web pages for a few specific countries, for most of them, there is a slight improvement in page load times on the desktop.

However, there is a significant improvement in page load times on mobile.

The following interactive world map compares the relative improvement in median page load times for desktop over the last year.

This map shows the same data for mobile (Countries without enough data for accurate measurement either this year or last year are shown as having 0% improvement). Speed improvements are greater for mobile in most of the world.

If you are a web site owner, you can analyze and speed up your web site using the PageSpeed products, and check the resulting improvements in Site Speed reports.

Analytics Pros Best Practices Conference: May 2, San Francisco

Monday, 8 April 2013

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.

Join us on May 2nd in San Francisco to learn about the best practices for Google Analytics. At this interactive conference you will be engaged, learn strategy for Google Analytics and be trained in using and optimizing the tool.

We think about our conference like this:

 Looks like useful fun, right?  We promise it will be well worth your time.  

A side note, just in case you were wondering: my prior conference, GAUGE (now “retired”) was an initiative to bring together users across the Google Analytics community to learn from each other. The BEST Practices conference series builds on this legacy and delivers hands on tutorials and interactive sessions.

Look forward to hear from thought leaders in the Google Analytics space, including Google’s Jesse Nichols, Andrew Wales and Ian Myszenski.  We are excited to have Dan Siroker from  Optimizely and I will weigh in with my latest finds and processes as well.  We will talk and work with you on Universal Analytics, Multi-Channel Funnels, Attribution Modeling and more tips and tricks that we apply to our use of GA. 

Our San Francisco conference includes:
  • An after-party event hosted by the Google Analytics Premium team at the San Francisco Google office
  • Hands-on sessions and workshops led by top GA experts
  • Interactive “Table Topics” lunch session, including teaching and roundtable discussion on Universal Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Mobile Strategy and more
  • Opportunities to interact with digital analytics peers and experts
  • Insights into the Google Analytics strategies of leading companies
  • An amazing conference venue that allows for big-picture thinking, the Jewish Contemporary Museum
Join us in San Francisco on May 2nd for our Spring event.  Use discount code BESTAnalyticsBlog for a 20% discount off the Conference Pass. We also offer a 50% discount for government, non-profit employees and full-time students.

And don’t forget to check out other BEST Practices conferences as we storm the country. We’re headed to Boston on October 3rd and back to the Pacific Northwest in Seattle on November 14th - don’t miss out!

To keep up to date on what’s coming, follow our team at @analyticspros and @BEST_con to hear about the latest speakers, locations and events. As a bonus, this video should provide a good introduction to our event if you've never been to one in the past:

We hope to see you in San Francisco this Spring. Happy analyzing!

Posted by Caleb Whitmore, Google Analytics Certified Partner

Updating Export And Send Features To Support Your Legacy Technology

Monday, 1 April 2013

We believe you should be able to access your Google Analytics data from wherever, whenever. And while yes, it’s pretty convenient to be able to export data to Google Spreadsheets or send a report to an email recipient with a few simple clicks, we recognize there are other ways people like to be able to share their data as well. That’s why we’ve re-imagined our Export and ‘Send To’ options to give you even more options and support some of our favorite legacy technology.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out a new set of old school export and send-to options that aren’t just useful, they’re fun. So flex those creative muscles and think of all the ways you might use these to do your job better:

Updated export options - moving beyond web:

CDROM: not only can you soon export to CDROM, we’ll automatically label the CDs for you to avoid the dreaded stack of unlabeled CDs that plagued users in the past. Bonus: insert your CDs into your car CD or portable CD player and we’ll play either upbeat or melancholy sounds, depending on if your reports are trending the right direction.

3.5 Floppy: have you ever wanted to access your reports on your old IIGS, 486 or similar? Yes it takes us back to those joyful memories of coding forever, hitting execute and watching with glee as it drew a blue star in 30 seconds. Take your data easily to them (or share with a friend) via a colorful 3.5 floppy. Now you can work on reports while you also play classics like The Oregon Trail or Odell Lake.   

Sticky note: ever just wanted to share one quick dashboard with your boss that shows how your conversions are trending “up and to the right,” but you just can’t get them to read your email? We hear you. Export just one graph to a bright fluorescent sticky note and put it right on their desk where they can’t ignore it. You’ll soon be the most talked about marketer at the water cooler. 

Papyrus: papyrus, the thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant is back. First manufactured in Egypt as far back as the third millennium BC, it is actually still used by communities living in the vicinity of swamps. We’ve heard the requests loud and clear: papyrus report exports would be an exciting option that would provide a “wow” factor at your next presentation and make your data more tangible. Just be sure you keep them in a dry climate where it is most stable. Next time your HIPPO questions the data break out the Papyrus and Abacus and prove them wrong!

Updated 'send to' section - beyond email:

Fax Machine: have a client or executive who prefers to receive faxes? No problem. You can now export reports, in full color, directly to the fax machine of your choice along with a branded cover page.

Electronic Telegraph: have a friend still obsessed with 1800’s business culture? Put on a monocle, your classiest suit and get ready to send a telegraph with an encoded message of the data of your choosing. For those super important “your eyes only” reports we also support encrypted morse code options as well. Note, the cost of sending 10 words (approximately 45 characters) is $1.55 (per the going rate of the 1850’s) so choose the data you send wisely. 

Carrier Pigeon: pigeons aren’t just used to sort our web index any longer. We’ve trained a select set of our trusty PigeonRank™ pigeons to fly your reports to their intended recipient. Note there is a weight limit associated with this option, so only choose rows 1-25 of data are selected at most or your pigeons may not be able to take off.  

Telegram Messenger: sometimes, it’s necessary to send a physical person to deliver your reports. The send via telegram option will dispatch a telegram messenger on a Google bike to share a physical printout of the reports of your choosing. A future iteration of this option will include telegram messengers dressed up as characters who can deliver “hug-o-gram” reports to cheer people up.

We hope you enjoy these new options and share your data in even more places! 

Posted by the Google Analytics team

...and yes, this is our April Fools' Day joke.

4 Improvements To Google Analytics Real-Time Reports

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Real-time reports provide useful insights for businesses that help them understand how their systems are reacting, instantly, such as when you send out an email campaign or engage in marketing that has a temporal nature. It provides alerting / intelligence, giving insight into things that are new or different such as a sudden increase in site traffic. Real-time also lets you win social by capitalizing on trending topics. For example, if you noticed a blog post you published previously is suddenly gaining attention due to something happening in the news, you could highlight it on the front page of your site to draw additional attention and ‘pour fuel’ on the social fire. 

Today, we're announcing 4 improvements to real-time reports. You can now:
  1. Analyze Events in real-time
  2. Breakdown real-time by Desktop/Tablet/Mobile traffic
  3. Create shortcuts to your favorite real-time segments
  4. Compare real-time filtered data against overall real-time data
Let’s go through the changes in more detail:

1. Realtime Events Report
With the real-time events report, you can now not only see the top events as they occur but also filter on particular event categories (and actions). Additionally, you can see whether particular segments of visitors trigger different events and debug your events deployment in real time.

To access this report, navigate to the real-time section of Google Analytics and click on the Events section. You should see a report similar to this:

Clicking on any of the Event Category will drill down and show all the Event Actions and Event Labels for that particular category.

If you are trying to see what events a particular segment of visitors generate, that is easy as well. Any filters you set up in any part of real-time are preserved in the Events report. For example, in the above screengrab we have set up a filter here to see what events are triggered from visitors coming via organic search.

2. Content Breakdown by Desktop/Tablet/Mobile
We live in an increasingly multi-screen world, and now you can see in real-time the type of device that visitors are using to visit your web site (desktop, tablet and mobile). This is available in the content report as shown below:

As with real-time reports, you can easily see your visitors filtered by the device type (by clicking on either of “Desktop” “Tablet” “Mobile”).

3. Shortcuts for your important real-time segments
We’ve heard from users that you like to look at certain segments of visitors in real-time, but dislike setting up the filters each time. Now, you can use the “Create Shortcut” feature to store your favorite segments. 

Now all you need to do is open up Shortcuts from the left navigation menu and click to any of your shortcuts.

4. Comparison real-time to overall data
Finally, you can compare the pageviews of your segmented visitors to overall traffic as shown below. This is nifty if you want to see quick comparison trends. For example, many times, after a G+ post, I create a filter by device type of “Mobile” and can see that the mobile traffic picks up much faster and also contributes more to the initial increase in pageviews.

Stay tuned for continued improvements to real-time, a growing area of importance for your digital marketing.

Posted by the Google Analytics Real-Time team

Improving The Activity Stream In Social Reports

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

We’ve redesigned the Google Analytics Social Reports to make it easier to see the conversations and activity happening surrounding your content on our Social Data Hub Partners. We’re introducing 2 new reports that make it easier to consume this data:
  • Data Hub Activity
  • Trackbacks
The activity stream was previously available via drill down from the Network Referrals or Landing Pages reports. We have now made it a standalone report. By navigating to the Data Hub Activity report you’ll see a timeline of the number of activities that have occurred in the Social Data Hub and the raw activities in a list below. You can also filter this list by any specific networks you choose. 

We’re also excited to announce that Trackbacks are now available in a standalone report. Trackbacks are all of your inbound links across the web, so you’ll be informed if anyone from a small to blog to the New York Times posts a link to your site. Additionally, we are providing context for the significance of each of these trackbacks by displaying the number of visits that were driven by each endorsing URL during the reporting period. You’ll see this number presented alongside the trackback. 
Image via Google’s Analytics Advocate, Justin Cutroni 
Give them a try and happy analyzing!

Posted by Linus Chou, Product Manager, Google Analytics

Expanding Universal Analytics into Public Beta

Friday, 22 March 2013

A typical consumer today uses multiple devices to surf the web and interact in many ways with your business. For most large businesses, already swimming in many sources of data, it’s an enormous challenge, but also an incredible opportunity. 

Back in October, we announced the limited beta release of Universal Analytics as a way for businesses to understand the changing, multi-device customer journey. Today, we’re excited to welcome and invite all Google Analytics customers to try Universal Analytics.

The benefits of using Universal Analytics to businesses are: 
  • Understanding how customers interact with your businesses across many devices and touch-points, 
  • Insights into the performance of your mobile apps
  • Improvements of lead generation and ROI by incorporating offline and online interactions so you can understand which channels drive the best results,
  • Improved latency on your site by reducing client-side demands.
Testimonials from the initial beta release
Our initial beta customers using Universal Analytics and are pleased with their results. Rojeh Avanesian, VP of Marketing at PriceGrabber.com reports:

"At PriceGrabber, we know it’s important to understand consumer shopping behavior so we can provide a more customized experience to our users. Google’s Universal Analytics will solve this problem for us and many sites that are facing this challenge and help us serve our users better by providing them with more relevant content and shopping results. We can use Google Analytics metrics to segment our users in a way that improves and simplifies the shopping experience for consumers. That’s what we strive for at PriceGrabber, to make shopping and saving money as easy as possible."

How to get started using Universal Analytics
If you’re new to Google Analytics, you can choose Universal Analytics when you setup your account. Already using Google Analytics? Create a new web property in your Google Analytics account to set up Universal Analytics and explore the new features. 

Here’s what you’ll see when you create a new web property. Select the Universal Analytics column to get the new analytics.js code snippet you can implement on your website:

You can implement Universal Analytics with the new analytics.js JavaScript for websites, our iOS and Android SDKs for apps, and the new Measurement Protocol for all other platforms. 

Find more details on how to set up using our help center or developer guide. (Migration guides for properties using ga.js coming soon. Until then, set up a new property in your account for Universal Analytics).

To tag in the most flexible way possible, you can also take advantage of the Universal Analytics template available in Google Tag Manager, which allows you to make additional changes and enable new features to your analytics setup without changing the hard-coded tags on your website. Learn more about how to implement Universal Analytics through Google Tag Manager

For more information on Universal Analytics, visit our help center and developer guides

Happy analyzing - in the new and innovative ways you can with Universal Analytics!

Posted by JiaJing Wang, Product Manager, Google Analytics

Learn from Google at #SESNY 2013

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

SES New York (#SESNY) is coming up next week, and just like last year, we hope you’ll join us again in the Big Apple.

During day 1 of SES New York, we’ll be on the expo floor with a custom-built Google classroom as well as part of the main conference sessions. Join us where you’ll learn about the newest need-to-know tools, features, and solutions from Google Analytics, AdWords, Mobile, GDN and DoubleClick Search to help you win in a constantly connected world. Following is a listing of our sessions to help you plan your SES experience. 

Google Solutions for a Constantalny Connected World
Day 1 - Tuesday, March 26th all day in the Expo Hall

10:30-11:30am: Reaching customers whenever, wherever, across any device. Surojit Chatterjee, Lead Product Manager for Enhanced Campaigns
11:45-12:45pm: Understanding the Full Value of Mobile. Brendon Kraham, Director, Global Mobile Solutions
2:00-3:00pm: Engaging with your audience in a multi-screen world. 
3:30-4:30pm: Using DoubleClick Search to manage campaigns across channels and devices. Anthony Chavez, Product Manager for DoubleClick Search

Don’t have a pass yet? Don’t worry. Expo Only passes are free and get you access to our Google classroom. You can also use the code NYGOOGLE which is redeemable for up to $700.00 off a full conference pass.

For attendees of the main conference, Google Analytics team members will be participating in the following sessions:

Landing Page Optimization
Day 1: Tuesday, March 26 from 11:45-12:45pm

Are your search landing pages working hard or hardly working? Landing pages can be the hardest-working part of your search campaigns, or they can kill your lead generation and sales conversion rates. Testing insignificant details such as button colour and headline size won't lead to real lift in your conversion rates. This session will show you what to test, how to analyse your landing pages, and how to get significant revenue lift quickly.

Andrew Goodman, SES Advisory Board; President, Page Zero Media

Justin Cutroni, Analytics Advocate, Google
Angie Schottmuller, Director of Interactive Strategic Planning & Optimization, Three Deep Marketing

The Dawn of Convergence Analytics
Day 1: Tuesday, March 26 from 3:30-4:30pm

The combination of "big data," access to cloud computing, powerful algorithms, and unprecedented visualization capabilities has created an emerging new class of analytics tools for the marketer. It's being called "Convergence Analytics". It's the marketing equivalent of "one ring to rule them all." Though still in its infancy as a discipline, there are many vendors in the market, and their goal is to pull together data sources from multiple touch points from the web and beyond. They're also using advanced data gathering and data regularization strategies to create a correlative dashboard-like experience for the marketer.

Adam Singer, Product Marketing Manager, Google Analytics

Andrew Edwards, Managing Partner, Efectyv Marketing
Rand Schulman, Managing Partner, Efectyv Marketing

We hope to see you out at the event, you can find out more details on the conference site

Can’t make it to NY? Be sure and follow Google Analytics on Twitter and Google+ for real-time updates on sessions throughout the day sharing interesting bits from the conference.

Posted by the Google Analytics team

Google Analytics Premium expands to Japan

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Good news, or 良いニュース as they say in Japanese. We’re excited to announce that Google Analytics Premium is now available in Japan.


Google Analytics Premium offers all the power and ease you expect from the standard version of Google Analytics plus extras that make it great for large businesses. With more processing strength for granular insights, a dedicated services and support team, service guarantees and up to 1 billion hits per month, all for one flat fee. It provides access to more data, flexibility, and 24/7 support to help power the analytics of world-class brands including Travelocity, Gilt, TransUnion, Zillow, Papa Johns, & IGN.

Over the last year we’ve launched Google Analytics Premium in the US, UK, & Canada and our customers have been doing some really cool stuff, for example:
  • Glit was able to gain a more holistic view of their customers by using the increased number of custom variables to power their predictive modeling 
  • They found that access to unsampled data helped them to remove uncertainty and enabled them to act on test and campaign results with confidence
  • Travelocity was able to provided greater access to data across their company, enabling agile, data driven decision making 
For more details check out the full case studies from Gilt and Travelocity.

We’re excited to learn how the data driven marketers in Japan will use Google Analytics Premium to find insights that help them to grow their businesses online.

Partner network provides expert support & customizable service 
We’re also pleased to have an international network of Google Analytics Authorized Resellers that have been quality checked to ensure they are best in class analytics consultants. They have highly trained analysis teams and can perform deep analysis projects to reveal valuable insights. Below is the select group of companies that we have partnered with in Japan:

          IMJ Ayudante
          e-Agency NRI Netcom
          Dentsu eMarketing One transcosmos

We plan to make Premium available to even more countries in 2013. If you would like to learn more about Google Analytics Premium and how it can help your business, contact the Google Analytics sales team or one of our Google Analytics Premium Authorized Resellers.

Posted by Clancy Childs, Google Analytics Premium Team

Get Useful Insights Easier: Automate Cohort Analysis with Analytics & Tableau

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The following is a guest post by Shiraz Asif, Analytics Solutions Architect at E-Nor, a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

Cohort analysis provides marketers with visibility into the behavior of a “class” of visitors, typically segmented by an action on a specific date range. There are many applications and businesses that would benefit tremendously from cohort analysis, including the following sample use cases:
  • What traffic channel yields the most valuable customers (not just valuable one time conversions)
  • Customer life time volume based on their first bought item (or category)
  • Methods for gaining and retaining customers and which groups of customers to focus on
  • For content and media sites, understanding frequency, repeat visitors and content consumption after sign up or other key events
  • Repeat Purchase Probability 
If you read E-Nor President and Principal consultant Feras Alhlou’s latest post on cohort analysis in a cross-platform environment, and read until the very end, you saw a note about a follow up post on how to automate cohort reporting from Google Analytics in Tableau. This is what I'll outline in today’s post. Why the emphasis on automation, you might ask? Without automation, we end up spending more time than necessary on exporting/copying/pasting/massaging data which can eat up resources better used analyzing and optimizing. 

In addition to report automation, data visualization is also key. Google Analytics offers amazing visualization, including the recently announced dashboard enhancements, but at times you also want to view the data and trend it or merge with other sources. For this, its best to use tools available in the Google Analytics Application Gallery or a BI platform like Tableau.

With the introduction out of the way, following is a step-by-step guide to automated, cohort analysis with Google Analytics and Tableau:

1. Cohort Data Elements in Google Analytics

If you have your cohort data elements already captured in Google Analytics, then skip this step, otherwise, this post is on setting up cohort data in by Google’s Analytics Advocate Justin Cutroni is a must.

2. Tableau version 8 (Google Analytics connectors)

In order to automate reports, you need to have Tableau version 8, since this is the version that has a Google Analytics connector (works well, although still in beta).

3. Data Import from Google Analytics Into Tableau
  • From the Tableau home screen, select Connect to Data, and then pick the Google Analytics connector. After authenticating to Google Analytics, you'll be prompted to select your Account, Property and Profile, if you have access to more than one.
  • Set up the data import to get your Custom Variable key (e.g. CV1) and Date as dimensions, and Revenue as a Metric.

4. Tableau Cohort Analysis Configuration
  • Change the format from Google's 20130113 to a Tableau DATE format. Since the date was stored in a custom variable, it was stored as a string. So that Tableau can treat this as a date, we need to convert the string to a date format. This was done by creating a new Calculated field in Tableau. We called the field "Cohort Date". The formula below worked for our purposes but would require some tweaking for larger datasets.
  • Now that we have the date in the format we want, the next step is to subtract the cohort date from the transaction date.  To do this, we created another calculated field called "Days since Signup". The formula for this field was simply:
DATEDIFF('day',[Cohort Date],[Date]). 

Important:  Tableau natively treated this as a "Measure" since it is a number. However since we're going to be graphing this on the X Axis, you should drag it to the Dimensions pane.
  • Drag the Revenue measure to the rows Rows tab. Now drag the Days since Signup to the Columns tab. You should see a long graph similar to:
  • Drag the Cohort date to the Filter pane, and select the cohort dates you'd like to visualize. For ease of use, I suggest, select only a few to begin with. Drag the Cohort to the color shelf to enable color coding of individual cohort dates.
  • Now let's make a couple of adjustments to make the visualization more useful. In the color shelf, click the down arrow next to Cohort Date, and change the default display from Continuous to Discrete. Then, in the same field, select Exact Date instead of Year.
Voila! Your final view should look like this: 

There you have it. With a few steps, we’ve pulled data from Google Analytics via the API using Tableau, massaged the data and then created a very insightful visualization. With this work now done, the graphic can be easily updated/refreshed. This takes the manual and mundane work of setting up the graphic and automates it so we can spend more time analyzing the data and finding hidden insights for our clients.  

Posted by Shiraz Asif, Analytics Solutions Architect at  E-Nor, Google Analytics Certified Partner. Learn more about E-Nor on their website, Google+ or check out their Marketing Optimization blog.

Enhancing Google Analytics Access Controls

Monday, 11 March 2013

Today we’re excited to announce that enhanced user-access control lists are coming to Google Analytics. Google Analytics users have long been requesting more fine-grained control over access to various parts of their accounts. We listened, and we're delivering that control over the coming weeks.

Recap of the current access control system
Previously, user access was controlled with a role-based system. A user could be either a full account administrator, or a simple report viewer on your profiles.

How the new system will work
First, we’re expanding where permissions can be applied.  We’ll allow permissions to be set not only at the Google Analytics account and profile levels, but also at the property level (learn more about these entities). Second, we’re enhancing the permissions any user can have. Instead of offering only two roles, (administrator & report viewer) we’re now allowing every user to have any combination of view, edit, and manage-users access. You can customize permissions for each user at the account, property, and profile level, providing a greater variety of access than was available with the previous role-based system.

For example, one user can have full access to an entire account, another user can have edit and view access to a single property, and a third user could have view only access to a set of profiles.

Properties inherit permissions set on their parent account, and profiles inherit permissions set on their parent properties. For example, a user with view access to an account, also has view access to all of that account's properties and profiles.

We will automatically migrate all accounts over the coming weeks. When your account is migrated, you will notice a new, richer user-management interface that looks like the following:

Click for large-sized preview
The migration will convert account admins to users with full (manage users, edit, and view) access to that entire account; report-viewing users in the current role-based system will remain as users with view access to relevant profiles.

By making these changes Google Analytics users will be able to better meet their access-control needs and have an even better analytics and reporting experience. Enjoy the new controls!

Posted by Tim Thelin & Matt Matyas, Google Analytics Team

Learn About the 7 Factors of Bid Optimization

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A version of the following post originally appeared on from the DoubleClick Search blog.

At DoubleClick Search we know that search marketing has expanded dramatically in scale and complexity over the years, and today, large search campaigns may be difficult to manage using manual methods alone. As such, marketers are relying more and more on automated bid optimization platforms to run larger campaigns -- enabling them to scale up and streamline their operations at the same time.

In a recent blog post series on the DoubleClick Blog, we explored key factors to consider when evaluating a search bid optimization platform, including flexible expression of goals, fresh data, smart algorithms, fast operations, regular software updates, sufficient controls, and dedicated, consultative services. As a wrap up to our bid optimization series, we want to recap the importance of these factors with an infographic:

Click here to view the full infographic
Using the 7 factors as a guideline, you can choose the platform that’s best for your business, to help you save time, get the best results, and make better decisions in your digital marketing efforts.  

Stay tuned to the DoubleClick Search blog to learn more about enhancements, updates, and launches around the Performance Bidding Suite. To learn more about the 7 factors to consider when choosing a bid optimization tool, download our white paper here.

Posted by Kim Doan, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick Search

5 Things You Should Be Doing With Google Mobile App Analytics Crash & Exception Measurement

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

When an app crashes, it disrupts the user experience, may cause data loss, and worst of all, might even cause users to uninstall the app altogether. As developers, we do our best to minimize crashes, but no app is ever perfectly stable.

A crash can actually represent a great opportunity to improve an app and one of the best things we can do as developers is to measure our crashes and exceptions.

The crashes and exceptions report in Google Mobile App Analytics.
Measuring crashes in your app can help you make better a product, make more money (if that’s your thing), and use your development resources more efficiently (especially if you are the only developer).

Google Mobile App Analytics offers easy-to-implement automated crash and exception measurement for Android and iOS as part of the V2 SDKs, as well as a host of reporting options to slice the data in context with all of the user engagement, goal completion, and in-app payments data you already know and love.

To help new developers get started, and to give existing developers some pointers, here are four things app developers should be doing today with Google Analytics crash and exception measurement:

1. Automate your crash measurement.
Want to measure app crashes but don’t want to deal with a complicated implementation? Fully automated crash measurement with Google Mobile App Analytics takes just one line of code to implement for Android or iOS:

<!-- Enable automatic crash measurement (Android) -->
<bool name=”ga_reportUncaughtExceptions”>true</bool>

// Enable automatic crash measurement (iOS).
[GAI sharedInstance].trackUncaughtExceptions = YES;

Implement automated crash measurement with just one line of code on Android or iOS.

Now each time your app crashes, the crash will be measured and sent to Google Analytics automatically. Try automated crash measurement now for Android or iOS.

2. Find out how stability is trending.
Are new releases increasing or reducing app crashes? Monitor the stability of your app from version to version by looking at crashes and exceptions by app version in the Crashes & Exceptions report.

If you are measuring the same app on two different platforms, like Android or iOS, you can break this view down further by selecting Platform as the secondary dimension.
View crashes and exceptions by app version number in the Crashes & Exceptions report. In this example, version 1.1.7 has crashed 7,285 times, while the latest version 2.0.0 has only crashed 91 times in the same period. Nice work dev team!
To graph crashes for two or more versions over time, you can create advanced segments for each version number, and apply them both to the Crashes and Exceptions report.

See crashes by app version over time using advanced segments and the crash and exception report  In this example, a bug fix pushed around January 24 caused significant reduction in crashes across both versions, but crashes persist for v1.1.7 that might warrant some additional investigation.
3.  Find out what crashes are costing you.
Do you know what app crashes are costing you? Find out what crashes cost in terms of both user engagement and dollars by using a custom segment.

By using a particular crash or exception as a custom segment, you can see how user engagement and in-app revenue may be impacted by a particular issue or set of issues.
Use custom segments to segment user experience and outcome data by crashes. This gives you some idea of what they might be costing you in users and in dollars.
To set this up, you’ll want to create two custom segments: one that contains all the sessions in which the exception(s) occurred, and another baseline segment that contains all other sessions unaffected by the exception(s).

Once created, try applying both segments to your Goals or Ecommerce Overview reports to get a sense of how the exception(s) might affect user outcomes. Or, apply the segments to your Engagement overview report to see how the exception(s) might impact user engagement metrics.

4.  Gain visibility into crashes at the device model level.
Do you know which device models are the most and least stable for your app? Developers can’t always test their app on all devices before launch. However, by using Custom Reports in Google Mobile App Analytics, you can monitor crashes and exception per device to find out where additional testing and bug fixes may be needed.

To see crashes and exceptions by device, create a custom report and use a dimension like Mobile Device Marketing Name, with Crashes and Exceptions as the metric.

See crashes by device by using a custom report. To get even more detail, add the Exception Description dimension as a secondary dimension. In this example, the high level view shows the Galaxy Note and Desire HD as device that might need additional testing before the next launch.
5.  (Advanced) What about caught exceptions? You should measure those too.
While caught exceptions won’t crash your app, they still may be valuable events to measure, especially when they might have an impact on user experience and outcomes.

For instance, if your app normally catches a server timeout exception when requesting user data, it might be useful to measure that caught exception to know how often a user’s request is not being fulfilled.

A caught exception is measured in Google Analytics using a custom description. In this example, a number of failed connections may indicate a backend problem and could be causing a poor user experience. Reducing the number of these caught exceptions could be a goal for the dev team in the next release.

As always, please keep in mind that you should never send personally identifiable data (PII) to Google Analytics. Raw exception descriptions may contain PII and we don’t recommend sending them to Google Analytics for that reason. 

Also note that there’s a 100 character limit on exception descriptions, so if you send your own descriptions, be sure to keep them concise.

Lastly, here are some links to resources you might find helpful when implementing crash and exception measurement in your app:

And for brand new users:

Posted by Andrew Wales, Google Analytics Developer Relations


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