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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.

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