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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

Understand Updates To Your Account With Change History

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Have you ever wanted to learn more about changes made to your Google Analytics account, wanted to refresh your memory as to when a particular profile setting was changed, or wondered who on the team made a goal change? Now, all of that is possible with the launch of Change History.

What it does
Change History presents a summary of many important changes to your account over the last 180 days. Users will find records of changes made to users, accounts, properties, profiles, goals, and filters. This feature is available only to Analytics account administrators.

How to find it
We are rolling out Change History to our customers over the coming weeks. Once it’s enabled on your account, you’ll be able to see it by clicking the “Admin” button in the upper right corner of the Analytics interface, selecting the appropriate account, and clicking the tab labeled “Change History.” In this new section, you will see a list of changes on your account, when the change took place, and who made the change.

The new Change History helps you better understand how your accounts evolve over time, improves account collaboration, and provides an additional tool for optimal configuration.

Be sure and view our help center article for additional information. 

Posted by Scott Ellsworth and Matt Matyas, Google Analytics team

Are you a Datavore? Insights on the use of online customer data in decision-making

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The following is a guest post contributed by Hasan Bakhshi and Juan Mateos-Garcia who work at Nesta, an independent charity based in London. Nesta’s mission is to help people and organizations bring great ideas to life by providing investments and grants, and mobilizing research, networks and skills.

We surveyed 500 of the UK's companies that were actively online and promoting their products. We asked about the collection, analysis and use of online customer data in their decision-making, and the impact this has on their bottom line. Our research suggests that a startlingly high number of businesses in the UK's Internet Economy would benefit from reading Michael Loban's post on data resolutions for 2013. Here, we revisit some of his insights backed up by our data to illustrate how big the online data gap is for many UK companies, and what they must do to bridge it.

Insight 1: 'Address your data phobia'. 
We identified a cohort of companies in our sample with apparently no fear of data. We call them 'datavores'. When making decisions about how to grow their sales, they rely on data and analysis over experience and intuition. They collect data comprehensively, analyze it thoroughly and use it to make decisions. But they are in the minority: only 18% of the companies we surveyed compared with 43% who make decisions on the basis of experience and intuition. These ‘gut-driven’ companies would stand to reap significant commercial benefits from their online data if they could get over their data phobia. We find that datavores are four times more likely to report substantial benefits from their online customer data.

Insight 2: Get on with social network marketing. 
Only 40% of businesses in our sample report that online data is important for designing and evaluating their social media strategy. Lacking the right data to make decisions, perhaps we shouldn’t therefore be surprised to learn that more than half of the businesses we surveyed were hesitant to dip their toes in social network marketing, despite the fact that nearly 1/2 of the UK population* uses social media actively. (* cited from UK Office for Communications)

Insight 3: Tools are great, but great analysts are awesome. 
Our survey suggests that fully harnessing the potential of online data requires up-skilling the workforce. Over three-quarters of businesses who have trained their staff to improve their data capabilities in the past two years report significant benefits from online data (compared with only 20% of those who haven’t provided training). Another of our findings leads us to add a coda to Michael’s resolution, however - while it is true that great analysts are awesome, it appears that great analysts who are empowered to act on the basis of their insights are even better. Datavores are much more likely to delegate decision-making than other firms. The implication is that making most of your data is not always painless. It may require re-organizing the business, changing its culture and rethinking the role of managers. 'No pain, no gain', as they say about most New Year's Resolutions.

Insight 4: ACTION!
This brings us neatly to perhaps our most important finding: in order to benefit from online data UK businesses need to put their data to work. They need to use it to improve their website to be sure, but they also need to feed it into decision-making process in other parts of their business – such as in product development and business strategy. In fact, the ‘use of data to make decisions’ turns out to be the main factor discriminating between the datavores and the other companies we surveyed. And that, controlling for other relevant business characteristics, ‘using data’ is what really makes a difference on the impact of data on performance. To put it in stark terms, if you don’t use your data, you may as well not have collected and analyzed it.

We present the findings above (and many more) in greater detail in our Rise of the Datavores report. This is the first milestone in our program of research and action looking at the potential of online data for innovation and growth.

In the coming months, we will be matching our survey responses to financial data to measure in quantitative terms the connection between data-driven decision-making and sales growth, profitability and productivity. To get a really robust handle on the direction of causality in this relationship we are looking to run a controlled experiment to measure the impact of an Online Analytics intervention on a randomly selected group of UK businesses. In related research we plan to quantify the extent of business demand for data-savvy talent and assess the adequacy of the UK's education system in supplying it.

Last, but not least, we will be looking through practical work to identify datavores in the public and third sectors, and work to encourage the transfer of good data practices across different parts of the UK’s economy and society.

In all these areas we will be looking for data experts to work with, to probe whether we are asking the right questions, to refine and help implement our research plans. Drop us a line if you want to hear more!


Posted by Hasan Bakhshi and Juan Mateos-Garcia at Nesta

Upgrade To The Next Generation Mobile App Analytics Platform

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Spring is coming right around the corner and it's never a bad idea to get a head start on your spring cleaning! The same goes for your mobile app analytics solution. Have you switched over to our new Mobile App Analytics Platform (v2) yet? The benefits are numerous:

A more powerful mobile SDK
  • We are providing a new mobile app analytics solution, solving the problem that there is currently no single repository to understand end-to-end value of mobile app users. This is supported by a more powerful mobile SDK (v2.0) that is easy to implement.
“One stop shop” for app measurement
  • Understanding app performance holistically through acquisition, engagement and outcome is critical to improve mobile app results, optimize user engagement and increase revenue generated. Our new reports show the entire lifecycle. 
Improve ROI and engagement
  • App developers and brands can make better, more comprehensive data-driven decisions for mobile investments with better reports. For example, marketers can optimize their mobile programs to improve ROI and app developers can improve in-app engagement.  

Though we call it “Version 2,” the truth is that we didn’t just “upgrade” our original platform. We decided to rebuild the whole thing from scratch. Our team at Google Analytics has reimagined mobile app analytics and have created a brand new experience tailored specifically for mobile app developers, providing reports on the data you care most about, in the language you understand. In addition, we also completely rebuilt our Android and iOS SDKs to be even more lightweight, efficient, and faster.

We’re continuing to build and add features to this platform all the time. So if you haven’t migrated yet, now is the perfect time to do it and find out exactly what you're missing out on. 

To make it easy to migrate, we’ve put together a Migration Guide for Android and iOS to help you make the move.

And if you’re new to Mobile App Analytics, check out the Getting Started Guide for Android or iOS to get your app up and running with Google Analytics in minutes.

Posted by Calvin Lee, Google Analytics Team

Multi-Currency E-Commerce Support In Google Analytics

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

We’ve listened to your feedback and have heard the requests loud and clear: E-Commerce should support multiple currencies. We’re pleased to announce the launch of this feature which will be rolling out to all users over the next few weeks. 

Multi-Currency support for eCommerce provides Google Analytics users with the ability to track transaction metrics (total revenue, tax, and shipping & handling) in multiple local currencies within a single web property. And Google Analytics will convert them into the one currency based on your profile setting. This provides key benefits for e-commerce brands looking to conduct analysis across an international customer base and helps make some previously complex reporting easier.

New metrics supported in multi-currency

Multi-Currency tracking code implementation:
Multi-currency is supported by web tracking and Android SDK (iOS SDK support is coming soon).
The ‘currency code’ is a global setting that can be set via tracker ‘_set()’. It only need to be set once, unless the page is sending multiple transactions in separate currencies.
Here are a few other things we think you’ll want to know:
How the conversion rate is decided?
The conversion rate is pulled from currency server which is serving Google Billing. The value is the daily exchange rate of the day before hit date. See a technical overview for additional information.
Which currency does GA support?
We support currencies which are available in GA profile currency dropdown menu. Right now, 31 currencies altogether are supported.

Currency dropdown menu

Which currency code shall I use?
A full version of currency codes shared across Google products is available on the Google Developers site.

Can I retro-process my history transaction data?
Only from the day you started using multi-currency support, you can get both local and global value. 

Several companies have already started using Multi-Currency in Google Analytics and are seeing great results. One of our Certified Partners, Blast Analytics & Marketing, helped their client AllPosters.com implement this feature. David Tjen, Director of Analytics at AllPosters.com reports:

"Google Analytics' new multi-currency feature increases sales metric accuracy for AllPosters.com. As an international brand, the AllPosters family of sites supports 20 currencies across 25 countries. Previously, manual adjustments were required before we could read sales metrics in Google Analytics when we had transactions with large currency conversion ratios to the US dollar, such as the Mexican Peso and Japanese Yen. The simple code update solves the issue by automatically converting all transactions to the primary currency on each site, providing sales metrics that allow us to make faster decisions with our web analytics data.”

To get started today, view our help center page with detailed instructions on how to begin.

Posted by Wayne Xu, Google Analytics team

Verify Your Measurement Setup With Tag Assistant

Monday, 11 February 2013

Google Analytics is, at its core, a simple and powerful tool. But once you start to customize the code to take advantage of all the flexibility available you may find yourself needing some help troubleshooting a nagging issue. 

A new Chrome Extension created by engineers here at Google hopes to make troubleshooting tag installs much easier. Tag Assistant aims to highlight errors, warnings, and provide useful suggestions for Google's most widely adopted tags including Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Adwords Conversion Tracking, the new Remarketing Tag, Trusted Stores and Floodlight. 

After installing the extension, Tag Assistant will alert you if tags are found on any page you are currently browsing. For each tag we will tell you if it appears to be working or if we notice any problems with your implementation. Tag Assistant will even make recommendations on how to improve your installation if we notice any optimizations. For example, if you have 2 or more tags implemented separately we might suggest that you migrate to use Google Tag Manager instead. 

How does it work? Tag Assistant looks for errors in two different ways. First, we check the source code to look for common errors like forgetting to include a closing </script> tag. We also review the HTTP headers to ensure that we are getting expected responses. 

Since launching in October of 2012 we have collected a lot of your feedback and have added dozens of new checks. Over the course of the year we will be adding more checks that will make the Tag Assistant more accurate and helpful. 

We encourage you to try it out for yourself by installing it via the Chrome Web Store. If you have feedback on new checks to add or if you have questions about the tool, join our Google+ community where our team and users can help you out.

Posted by Geoff Pitchford, Google Tag Assistant PM

Google Tag Manager: Implementation webinar video, cheat-sheet, and Q&A

Friday, 8 February 2013

Last Tuesday, we held a webinar on the technical implementation of Google Tag Manager, a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags, freeing up webmaster time while providing users with more reliable data and insights. This technical session includes a more in-depth look than our introductory webinar, illustrating how the product operates in a live environment and showing how flexible Google Tag Manager is for enterprise systems.

Watch the webinar video here for:
  • Step-by-step implementation process + live product demo
  • Advanced use cases, including the Data Layer API
  • Best practices and common pitfalls

And don’t forget to download our handy implementation Cheat-Sheet, which outlines each of the steps involved in migrating onto Google Tag Manager.

Click here to download the Implementation Cheat-Sheet: http://goo.gl/5GJyA

And as usual, we like to provide a recap of some of the top questions we received during the webinar. Please note that this webinar is intended for technical audiences, so some of the Q&A below gets into the nitty-gritty technical details. If you’re less experienced technically, we invite you to check out our forum or reach out to one of our certified partners for implementation assistance.

Questions and Answers

Where can I find more detailed information about all of this stuff?
In addition to the walkthrough we provide in the webinar and our Cheat-Sheet, you can find a detailed description of the implementation process in the Google Developer docs, and helpful articles about how to use the Google Tag Manager user interface in our Help Center, including some notes about what to think about before you begin implementing. And as noted above, if you still have questions, check out our forum or reach out to one of our certified partners for implementation assistance.

Where can I place the GTM snippet? Can I put it in <head>? Does placing it in the footer have any adverse effects? Can I place the data layer in <head>?
The recommended location for the GTM snippet is just after the opening <body> tag. The only exception to this would be in the case where you want to declare page-level metadata by declaring the data layer immediately above the GTM snippet.

The GTM snippet can be deployed later in the page, like the footer, but doing so increases the time before the snippet loads. This can cause incremental amounts of data loss, since the user could navigate away before all your tags finish loading.

We do not recommend placing the GTM snippet in head, because the GTM snippet contains an <iframe> for the <noscript> case. Iframes are not officially supported by any browsers in <head> and might cause unexpected behavior.

What should I do about collecting macros and tagging events if I don’t have access to my client’s site or if IT is too busy?
If you can’t access values on the page via the data layer, there are several different Macro types to help you capture data without needing a code change. These include DOM element, DOM attribute, and JS variable macros. Simply input the ID or variable names, and the macro will pull out the data for you. NOTE: If you go this route, you may want to accompany the tag being fired with an “{{event}} equals gtm.dom” rule. This makes sure the element has loaded in the page before you request it, so you don’t get an undefined macro value.

If you're trying to add events to the page, currently this requires code changes. We're working on a solution that doesn't need code changes, but in the meantime we've heard of a couple of folks using the Custom HTML template to inject the dataLayer.push() API into relevant parts of the page. We can’t guarantee this as a solution due to the asynchronous nature of tag loading in Google Tag Manager, but we have heard some success stories.

How do I do cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager?
It's now possible to do cross-domain tracking in GA using the custom HTML template and a new track type within the Google Analytics tag template. We've got some exciting things in the works here to make cross-domain tracking even easier; stay tuned for more soon.

Do you have any account and container setup best practices? What if I’m an agency? What if I have separate sites for mobile and desktop?
In general, an account should be owned by a single advertiser or publisher. Within each account, there can be multiple containers, and containers should be split according to how the site or sites are managed. For instance, if there’s a separate marketing team managing different countries and therefore probably different tag vendors, then there should be a separate container per country. If you have a mobile site and a desktop site that use the same tags across both subdomains, then you should probably only use a single container. We have found that one container per domain is pretty standard, but there are always different situations that call for a different setup.

If you’re an agency, we strongly recommend that your client creates the initial Google Tag Manager account and container, and then have your client add you to the container. Google Tag Manager includes user permissions controls as well as multi-account access to make it easier for agencies and clients to work together.

Are all tags with document.write off limits? Are there any workarounds?
Most tags that utilize document.write are just trying to construct an image pixel with dynamic parameters using JavaScript. Luckily, our Custom Image Tag allows you to construct an image pixel with dynamic parameters. Look at the tag you’re trying to add, pick out the URL, paste it into the Image URL field, and then add any dynamic variables by using the {{macro}} syntax. See the live demo in the webinar video above for an example of how to do this.

Do not add tags that contain document.write in either the initial snippet or in any linked JavaScript. Doing so will cause undesirable effects.

How do Google Analytics events differ from Google Tag Manager events?
Events in Google Tag Manager are basically an indication that this is an event where other tags could fire. It does not collect any data. GTM events are used in tag firing rules to initiate the placement of other tags.

Google Analytics events are actually data events, and can be set up in Google Tag Manager via the Google Analytics template, tracking type “Event”. This tag sends data to Google Analytics to be reported on within the Google Analytics interface.


We hope the webinar and Q&A will help you implement Google Tag Manager smoothly and easily -- many business, including GoPro, are already enjoying easier tagging. Keep watching this blog for more tips and tricks!

Win moments that matter in 2013 with Learn with Google webinars

Monday, 4 February 2013

A version of the following post originally appeared on the Inside AdWords Blog.

What was your business’ New Year’s resolution, and how do you plan to keep it? At Google, ours is to help make the web work for you. Our new series of Learn with Google webinars will teach you how to use digital to build brand awareness and give you the tools you need to drive sales. By tapping into technology that works together across your business needs, you can resolve to win moments that matter in 2013.

Check out our upcoming live webinars:

Build Awareness

02/12 [Multiscreen] Brand Building in a Multiscreen World
02/20 [YouTube] How to Build your Business with YouTube Video Ads
03/05 [Social] How to Use Google+ and Make Social Work for You
03/12 [Mobile] Understanding Mobile Ads Across Marketing Objectives
03/27 [Wildfire by Google] The Call for Converged Media

Drive Sales

02/07 [Search] Your Shelf Space on Google: Get Started with Google Shopping
02/26 [YouTube] From Awareness to Sales: Making the Most of Video Remarketing
02/27 [Search] What's New and Next in AdWords
03/06 [Display] Biggest Loser: Digital Ad Spend Edition
03/13 [Mobile] The Full Value of Mobile
03/20 [Display] Getting Started with Dynamic Remarketing

Visit our webinar site to register for any of the sessions and to access past webinars on-demand. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by adding our Learn with Google Webinar calendar to your own Google calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars.

During our last series of webinars, attendees had the chance to win a Nexus 7. Our lucky winner was Donella Cohen, who is happily enjoying her new tablet. Check out our upcoming webinars for another chance to win!

Learn with Google is a program to help businesses succeed through winning moments that matter, enabling better decisions and constantly innovating. We hope that you’ll use these best practices and how-to’s to maximize the impact of digital and grow your business. We’re looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming session!

Posted by Erin Molnar, Learn With Google

Optimize Your Website with SiteApps and GA

Friday, 1 February 2013

Google Analytics excels at collecting an incredible amount of information about how visitors interact with the web and mobile properties of its users. This data provides marketers and analysts who know what they’re looking for with with an incredibly powerful platform to understand what’s working and what’s not. To those who aren’t sure what they’re looking for though, all of this information can be overwhelming and make it easy to take no action at all.

SiteApps enables businesses to get instantaneous, free recommendations on how to optimize their website based on their Google Analytics data. SiteApps’ technology runs hundreds of automated analyses on its customers’ web data to identify opportunities for improvement. Based on these tailored recommendations, SiteApps then enables businesses to install apps from their marketplace to help solve these problems.

One of SiteApps’ customers is a family-owned home furnishings designer that was having difficulty maintaining their eCommerce presence while still focusing on the day-to-day operations of their brick and mortar retail store.  Within minutes of signing up for SiteApps, they were able to identify dozens of opportunities for site optimization. By installing the apps that were recommended to them, they were able to create a compelling web presence that increased their conversion rate by 108% and led to 65% more time spent on site by its visitors.  This led to a substantial increase in revenue for the business simply by unlocking the power of their web analytics data.

Our business is completely based on data. It’s incredibly important to us that customers know - or learn - just how valuable their data is,” says Phillip Klien, co-founder of SiteApps. “We consider Google Analytics the foundation for our platform and use the results to help customers make the most of the data their website produces.”

SiteApps is free to try and takes a matter of minutes to set-up.  Give it a try today to see what you can uncover from your web analytics.

Posted by the Google Analytics team

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