Making your analytics work harder and smarter – SMX East 2018

At SMX East 2018 in New York City Jenny Halasz and Simon Poulton shared their best tips for two approaches to upping your analytics game. Here is a brief summary of their main points. You’ll also find links to their presentation decks to learn more.

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In May 2016, Google unveiled Data Studio, a free data visualization tool that allows anyone to create reports with graphs, charts, tables, and other elements that automatically grab data from a variety of sources.

Tips and tricks to get started with Google Data Studio

Jenny Halasz – President, JHL Marketing. Twitter: @jennyhalasz

Jenny Halasz presented an introduction to using Data Studio, along with many useful tips, tricks, and hacks to make it even more powerful and easy to use.

Jenny began by pointing out that Data Studio was rolled out as a much more user-friendly alternative to the (now deprecated) Google Dashboards. In addition, Data Studio now supports connections to over 90 data sources. There are better tools for data visualization than Data Studio, but it’s free and relatively easy to use, so for most purposes, it will do the job.

Some Data Studio terminology

Knowing what the terms below mean in Data Studio will save you a lot of pain during your initial setup:

  • Data connectors: The connection between a data source (such as Google Analytics) and a Data Studio report.
  • Segments vs Filters: A subset of data in Google Analytics (GA). Segments can only be created in GA, but you can use them through a data connector in Data Studio. A filter includes or excludes specific portions of data from a source or a segment. Filters are created in Data Studio and act on the data after it reaches Data Studio. (They do not change anything in the original data source). For example, you could create a filter to exclude all sessions below a certain number.
  • Metrics: In Data Studio, a metric defines the specific thing you want to measure. For example, “sessions” could be a metric.
  • Dimensions: Containers you put the metrics in. For example, you might want to look at the metric “sessions” broken down by the dimension “medium.”
  • Goals: Specific actions or engagements you want to track. Goals must be set up in Google Analytics, but can be used in Data Studio.

Getting started with Data Studio

Log in to your Google account and go to Data Studio and start a new report. PRO TIP: for a quick start use one of the many templates provided, which can be fully customized. Also use Google’s sample data to make sure your reports work right before connecting your own data.

The first data sources you should add are Google Analytics and Search Console (the latter if you are creating an SEO report). HINT: You have to scroll way down the list of sources to find those!

Once you select a data source you’ll be taken to a screen where you select some specifics for that source. For Google Analytics, each report must be linked to a specific account, property, and view.

When you’re in a report and create an element (a table, graph, chart, etc.), you can select what metric it displays using the Metric Picker in the right sidebar. Also, use this to change the metric of an existing chart.

The next thing to expose is filters. Filters are powerful because they let you include or exclude data parameters from a source in between the source and your report. So you aren’t stuck with the raw data coming from the source if it contains noise you don’t need

You can also change the style of any element by selecting it in edit mode and then clicking the style tab in the right sidebar.

Some tips and tricks

Jenny shared some things you might overlook but which can vastly improve your reports.

  1. In the styles tab, you can change the axis of a graph if the wrong one is showing.
  2. Uncheck row numbers in styles for tables if you don’t need them.
  3. If all else fails, create a white text box to cover anything you don’t want!
  4. To automatically align elements, select multiple elements, right click, and select align.
  5. You can even create sticky notes to add explanations to your data displays. IMPORTANT: Give your custom metrics and filters unique descriptive names.

Blending data

Data blending is a relatively new feature in Data Studio. It allows you to bring in data from more than one source and place it in the same chart or graph. To create blended data, go to Resources, then to “Manage blended data” and “Add a data view.” The example below shows selected metrics from two different sources to create a year-over-year graph.

Some rules for blending data:

• You must have a join key (a metric that is the same in both sources)
• You can not filter blended data
• You can not change dates on blended data

Some problems with Data Studio

As powerful and easy to use as Data Studio is, it still has some issues and some areas for needed improvement. These include:

• No auto-emailing function to send scheduled reports
• Reports can’t be exported as PDF
• There are still not connectors for some major tools such as SEMRush and SearchMetrics
• Google Search Console connections are limited to URL and query data
• No template link creator to easily share templates you’ve crated
• The blended data function is too limited.

See the full slideshow presentation from SMX here.

Metrics for profitable growth

Simon Poulton – Senior Director of Digital Intelligence, Wpromote. Twitter: @spoulton

Simon Poulton gave us an advanced look at a type of analysis he thinks too few marketers use: measuring the profitability of marketing campaigns. He noted that delayed gratification is a challenge for marketers under pressure to show short-term results. However, optimizing for profitability is the surest path to long-term growth.

In 2014 the Think with Google blog published a post by Matt Lawson titled “The Profit-Driven Marketer.” Some of his main selling points for marketers to be more driven by profitability included:

• Moving from reactive to proactive. The more assurance you have about the future the better decision you can make in the present.
• The ability to better predict customer lifetime value, allowing more concentration of resources on the most profitable customers.
• Allowing KPIs to evolve into higher forms. Clicks and conversions are fine starting metrics, but revenue, gross profit, and lifetime value yield far more useful information.

Using the formula Growth = Acquisition + Churn gives you a sense of how confident you can be that customers will return for another purchase.

Peter Fader promoted what he called the “Buy ’Til You Die Model.” He was interested in the probability that a given customer would still be a customer within a twelve-month window. Use this information to create a hierarchy of customers so you put the most resources toward your elite customers.

Simon also recommended an article on how to calculate and leverage LTV.

Profit-centric analytics

Simon then moved into how to set up your analytics to measure profitability at a product SKU level. This involves importing the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) including any media costs into analytics so actual profit vs. revenue can be measured.

Take a competitive approach to profit and find that sweet spot where profits are maximized as compared to your investment. As you see in the graph below, most companies stop when revenues start to level off, but the actual target of maximum profit may be further on.

Essential to optimizing marketing for profitability is knowing the COGS and being able to import it into Google Analytics. Simon shared an example of a GA custom metric to do this.

Next, include this custom metric as a variable within your purchase dataLayer.

Now create a lookup table with the COGS associated with each product SKU. This could also be done at a product category level.

Reference the lookup table for COGS to push it into the Purchase dataLayer.

Now call back the values via a Google Sheet.

Your purchase dataLayer should now look something like this.

Now create a calculated metric for COG-adjusted revenue.

Now you can see a column for COG Adjusted Revenue in your Google Analytics product dimension.

To get true profitability by SKU, you should also import media costs (such as CPC). For the steps to do this, see Simon’s SMX East slide deck, slides 31-33.

Once all this is in place, you can calculate actual profit: Product Revenue – (COG + Media Cost) = Profit.

Profit-centric analysis and strategy

It’s a good idea to create a profit dashboard (Data Studio, importing profit data from Google Analytics would be an excellent tool for this). Such an overview can enable better decisions making. You’ll be better able to answer questions such as how much you should invest in:

▪ new customer acquisition
▪ existing customer retention

Other questions you can answer knowing the actual profitability of sales:

  • How often should we run promotions and what can we offer?
  • Which products should we focus on for:
    • profitability?
    • growth?
    • best customers?
  • What is the impact of increasing investments in an incremental capacity?

See the full slideshow presentation from SMX here.

The post Making your analytics work harder and smarter – SMX East 2018 appeared first on Marketing Land.

How to capitalize on the competitive advantage of real-time data analysis

Contributor Stela Yordanova explains how to capitalize on the competitive advantage provided by real-time data analysis.

The post How to capitalize on the competitive advantage of real-time data analysis appeared first on Marketing Land.

The Real-Time report in Google Analytics allows you to monitor website activity as it actually occurs on your website or app. The report is continuously updated, and website activity is reported just a few seconds after it happens. This immediacy of real-time data provides digital marketers with unique and valuable insights.

There are many ways you can use real-time reporting such as gauging the effectiveness of your mobile app through event tracking and monitoring one-day promotions on your site.  Today I want to focus on and recommend marketers use Google’s Real-Time report for three specific things:

  1. To quickly monitor results for short-term campaigns or promotional efforts.
  2. To track immediate interaction with newly published content.
  3. To test and verify Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager implementation.

Real-Time Overview

The Real-Time report contains an Overview plus five specific reports:

  • Location report.
  • Traffic Sources report.
  • Content report.
  • Events report.
  • Conversion report.

Each report is described below with suggestions on how marketers should use them to analyze real-time website data and improve marketing results.

 

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

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Average Session Duration- What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care

There are a lot of stats to look at when viewing Google Analytics and average session duration is one of them. This article will cover what is average session duration and why bloggers should care about it. Even if you’re not a blogger, you may want to read in on this. Average Session Duration –…

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average-session-duration-200x200There are a lot of stats to look at when viewing Google Analytics and average session duration is one of them. This article will cover what is average session duration and why bloggers should care about it. Even if you’re not a blogger, you may want to read in on this.

Average Session Duration – What is it?

According to Google,

Average session duration is total duration of all sessions (in seconds) / number of sessions.

A single session is calculated from the first time someone views your page, to the last page view of that person. So, if someone enters your site and visits a few places, say 5, on it that takes them 10 minutes, then their session is 10 minutes, or 600 seconds. If their session is one page and only 30 seconds, then their total session is 30 seconds.

The average session duration is taking the total time of the session divided by the number of sessions during a specific date range.

Average Session Duration – Why Bloggers Should Care

Average session duration can be influenced by bounce rate, page views,and sessions, but for some, this could be a indicator of how much people like to stay on specific areas of your website. For bloggers, this allows them to know if an article has been well received.

Google loves long form content. This has been said over and over by many leaders in the SEO industry. However, Google also has suggested that content in a post be at least 300 words.

Well, 300 words doesn’t take long to read. If you’re a blogger that constantly published content that ranges around 300 words, you’re not really beefing up the potential of time that your readers are spending on your website. Often, the reader will skim through in under a minute, possibly comment, and then leave.

Rather than giving the reader a “wham bam thank you mam” experience, why not do some of the following to possibly increase the average session duration, and thusly your reader’s interest in remaining on your website:

  • Create a series of posts and interlink them. People who have an interest for the topic will click to each topic and stay on the site longer.
  • Always find ways to link to other relevant posts in your website. Whether it’s a specific term that you explain or some other relevant content, this gives the reader a possible option to be curious enough to click that link and read more.
  • Have cornerstone content that is lengthier and filled will several methods in which the reader can digest your content. Aside from long form text, don’t forget that you can add images, video and audio to expand upon your point. Cornerstone content is usually quite lengthy (more than 1500 words), and sometimes may even seem like it should be in an ebook.
  • Don’t forget to link to your services, encourage visitors to comment, or ask readers to subscribe to your newsletter. It’s your website, don’t be shy. All of these encourage some type of positive action that brings them to another place on your website.

Most bloggers will probably look more at their page views, but seriously, if you’re setting goals on individual pages, you may want to also focus on whether people are staying on those pages or going to the places you want them too.

Have you taken the time to look at your site or individual article’s average session duration?

The post Average Session Duration- What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

The Best Google Analytics Reports for Improving Websites

Google Analytics isn’t just for knowing how much traffic your website is getting, your top pages, and how your traffic sources and marketing efforts are performing. Nope. There is an even better use for it!…

best google analytics reports

Google Analytics isn’t just for knowing how much traffic your website is getting, your top pages, and how your traffic sources and marketing efforts are performing. Nope. There is an even better use for it!

It’s also really important to use it to help improve your website – so it converts many more visitors into sales, leads or subscribers. But unfortunately Google Analytics can be a little daunting at times, particularly with seemingly endless reports to check out and analyze. Where should you start for best results?

To help you make sense of this, I’ve created a list of the best Google Analytics (GA) reports so you can quickly gain more insights into your website performance and what needs improving most. I have also recently included a video of me walking you through all these great reports. Let’s get started…

The best Google Analytics reports to improve your website

Update: Watch a video of me guiding you through all these key Google Analytics reports

Last year I created a premium video about these best Google Analytics reports. It was originally part of a paid membership but I have decided to now include it on this article for everyone to watch for free. In this video you will also learn how to create a Google Analytics dashboard for these reports. Enjoy!

Check the landing pages report for pages with high bounce rates and low conversion rates
Your top landing pages (entry pages) are crucial to optimize because they often get very high levels of traffic, and are the first pages your visitors see on your website. If visitors don’t find what they are looking for or are confused, they will leave your website often within just 10 seconds!

To improve your website with this report, pull up the your landing pages report for the last 30 days (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > Landing pages’).  Then see which pages out of the top 10 have highest bounce rate (over 50% is high) and which have lower than website average goal conversion rate (both indicated below in yellow) – these are indicators of poorly performing pages on your website.

Google Analytics landing pages report bounce rate and conversion rate

Then optimize these poor page performers first – improving headlines, benefits, imagery and call-to-action buttons are some of the best ways to do this. Optimizing these helps increase visitor engagement and increases the chances of them converting for your key website goals.

Use In-Page Analytics feature to reveal exactly what visitors click on
Don’t presume you know what visitors are doing on your pages, and what they are clicking on – it can often be different than you might expect. Use this great click map feature in GA (found under ‘Behavior > In-Page Analytics’) on your key pages to gain better insights into your visitors journey and flow around your website.

Then based on what insights you find, to improve your website you should focus your visitor’s experience on more important links. This can be done by deemphasizing less useful links (or removing them) from key pages, and reorganize your navigation menus to focus on major website goals.

Google Analytics In-page Analytics

Note: Ideally you should turn on the ‘enhanced link attribution‘ option in your settings – this makes the clicks more accurate for when you have multiple links on one page going to the same destination page.

Check the browser report for poor conversion rate performers
Your webpages can sometimes look slightly different or even break in some browsers (often due to small differences in how browsers show CSS code). This can unknowingly cause many lost sales or leads!

To make sure this isn’t negatively impacting your website, you need to regular check the ‘Browser & OS’ report (found under ‘Audience > Technology ) and make sure your conversion rates aren’t much lower for any browsers. If you see ones on this report that are much lower, you should go ahead and check for technical problems like CSS rendering issues and fix them immediately.

Google Analytics browser report

Analyze your Funnel Visualization report for high-drop off rates and optimize
It doesn’t matter how good your website is if visitors struggle to get through your checkout or sign-up flow pages. To understand how well your visitors complete that process, its vital you check your Funnel Visualization report. On this report (found under ‘Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization’) you can see how many visitors get through each page of your funnel (like your billing page), and which pages are most problematic – even where they go if they go to another page.

You need to pay great attention to any pages with a high drop off rate (more than 40%) and optimize those first – adding security seals and risk reducers, reducing distractions like header navigation, and improving error handling often work well. Improving these pages will greatly increase your sales or signups.

Google Analytics funnel visualization report

Note: Obviously you will need to have made sure you have setup your goals for your website adequately, including adding key pages in your goal flows. Here is a great guide on setting goals up.

Check your traffic overview report for poor performing traffic sources
Improving the quality and quantity of your traffic has huge impact on your website conversion rates, sales or leads, and its vital you gain insights into traffic performance and optimize the major sources.

To help you gain greater insights into this, pull up the ‘Channels’ report as Google calls it (found under ‘Acquisition > Channels) and check which of your top 10 traffic sources (channels) have high bounce rates (over 50%), and also for sources that seem low or missing from the top 10.

For example, you may find your email traffic isn’t as much as you had hoped for or isn’t converting well, so you should optimize your email marketing campaigns soon. Same goes for your paid search and SEO too.

Google Analytics acquisition overview report

Use the mobile overview report for tablet/mobile insights
Mobile traffic is bigger than ever before, often accounting for over 20% of total website traffic – and these visitors have very different needs due to smaller screen sizes, and often convert much lower than regular website traffic.

To understand your mobile traffic, and its performance, you need to check your ‘mobile overview’ report. Here you need to see just how high your traffic levels are for both mobile and tablet devices, and see what the conversion rate for each is. If conversion rate is much lower for any, you need to check your website on that device for key issues and fix immediately.

And if you haven’t already done so, to increase your conversion rates it’s critical to have a mobile optimized website as soon as possible (like using responsive design), particularly if your mobile traffic is over 20%.

Google Analytics mobile overview report

Check the exit pages report to find problematic pages
You also need to find out which pages are most often causing your visitors to leave (called an ‘exit’ page) – and improve and optimize those too.

To find these top exit pages, check your ‘exit pages’ report (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages). In particular look for any pages that shouldn’t be in the top 10, and try to figure out why so many people exit your site on them. Also look for pages with especially high exit rate (over 50%), as this often indicates problems.

A few ways to improve these exit pages is by using and optimizing call-to-actions at the end of them, and try using exit intent popups to show a great incentive (discounts/free guides etc).

Google Analytics exit pages report

Analyze the top pages report for key missing pages and high exit rates
Your top pages report can contain some real gems for insights – not just what your top 10 pages currently are (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > All Pages).

First you can see if any of your top pages have high exit rates (important to optimize those ASAP) and also to check if any pages relating to your key goals seem missing from this report or have low traffic. For example, perhaps few people are visiting your ‘why us’ or benefits page – making links more prominent to this page will hopefully increase sales/leads.

Google Analytics top pages report

These are the simpler reports, there’s many advanced ones too

These are just some of the simpler Google Analytics reports that will help you improve your website. Here are a couple of the many more advanced ones to learn about:

  • Using the ‘Converters’ visitor segment to figure out the behavior of people who convert for your main website goals (sales/leads etc).
  • Using the ‘Site Search’ report to find pages causing most amount of internal searches (indicates visitors not finding what they need).

If you are interested in learning more about these advanced GA reports, simply comment and let me know.

No time to analyze Google Analytics reports or not good at it?

If you don’t have time or the skills to gain insights from your Google Analytics reports you should check out my ‘Google Analytics Insights’ service – I’m sure you will find it useful for  improving your website.

How to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics

You can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics? Why yes you can! In doing so, it allows you to integrate all the services of each into one big tool to measure the behavior of your site’s traffic. This allows you to dig deeper into how people are searching your website so you can see what…

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how-to-link-webmaster-tools-with-google-analytics-200x200You can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics? Why yes you can! In doing so, it allows you to integrate all the services of each into one big tool to measure the behavior of your site’s traffic. This allows you to dig deeper into how people are searching your website so you can see what they are looking for the most. Aside from their capabilities, the great thing about having both of these tools are that they are absolutely free. The only thing you need to do in order to take advantage of them, are to sync them together.

This article will show you how to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.

How to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analtyics

Before you can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics, you need to sign up for a Google account. After you have a Google account, you need to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. You will need to submit your website to each of them and add their tracking code onto your website.

The best tool to add the tracking code from Google Analytics or get your site crawled by Google Webmaster Tools, especially for WordPress users, is to use Google Analytics for WordPress, and WordPress SEO by Yoast, both of which are handy plugins.

After you’ve installed the tracking codes, either manually, or using the recommended plugins if you’re a WordPress user, then you need to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.

Step 1. You can link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics by going to the Google Analytics tab called Admin. After you’ve clicked to go to the Admin section, there are 3 columns. Look for the middle column that says Property. You want to click on the link that says All Properties. (Note: Right click on the image below to open in a new tab or window in order to see how you can navigate to where you need to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics.)

link-webmaster-tools-to-google-analytics

Step 2. On the All Properties page, if you scroll, you’ll see all sorts of Google properties listed. You will want to find the Google Webmaster Tools section.

webmaster-tools-all-property-page-in-google-analytics

Step 3. Fill out the form and hit save. On this page you’ll want to also decide if you want to enable features like Demographics and Interest Reports Advertiser Features, and In-Page Analytics.

The Demographics and Interest reports basically collect information on your visitors in regards to age, gender, and their interest. The Advertiser Features give you options not available in regular use of Google Analytics and give you the ability to remarket with the platform, as well as have DoubleClick integration, reporting on Demographics and Interests, and reports on Google Display Network Impression.

As a note, while in this step, please make sure that you’ve hooked your website up to Google Webmaster Tools. The website has to be verified or this will not work right. Click save when you’re done.

webmaster-tools-link-to-google-analytics

The process in how to link Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics doesn’t take long at all. If you’ve already hooked your website up with each Google property, then it’s pretty easy to do.

Have you linked your Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics?

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Google Analytics: How to Set Up a Simple Goal

Google Analytics provides a great feature for website owners to be able to track specific campaigns, also called a goal. It can be places on pages, forms, or anything you are wanting to track for to see if a campaign has an effective website conversion. It also tracks how the visitor arrived to the area…

The post Google Analytics: How to Set Up a Simple Goal appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

google-analytics-thumbnailGoogle Analytics provides a great feature for website owners to be able to track specific campaigns, also called a goal. It can be places on pages, forms, or anything you are wanting to track for to see if a campaign has an effective website conversion. It also tracks how the visitor arrived to the area you want to convert.

This works great after you’ve tried A/B Testing so you can verify the results from live traffic. In this article, you’ll learn how to set up a simple goal in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics: How to Set Up a Simple Goal

Please note, if you haven’t added your site to Google Analytics, then you can’t take advantage of the goal tool until you do. Aside from adding your site to Google Analytics, you will also need to apply the generated tracking code to your website.

The first step is in creating a simple goal is by clicking on your site in the Google Analytics dashboard. On the right hand side, scroll down to the area called Conversions. If you click on it, the area will expand and show you other links. Look for the area called overview as shown below.

googleanalytics-goals-screenshot-1

Now, you can either do this and be led to set up a simple goal or you can also click the Admin tab at the top. Image is below. In order to view the image larger and much better, you will have to right click on the image to open it in a new tab or window.

googleanalytics-goals-screenshot-2

On the last column under View, is an area called Goals. You’ll click that and be led to the page that has an area much like the image below.

googleanalytics-goals-screenshot-3

Click on the red button to create a goal. Once you have, you will need to name your goal and tell it hat type of tracking you want. In the case of this tutorial, and it being how to set up a simple goal, we’ll choose the first option called Destination. This is great for contact forms or lead generation forms. Once you have selected the option on how you want to track your goal, then click the blue button that says Next Step. See the example image below to see how you should proceed.

googleanalytics-goals-screenshot-4

In the next step, you tell it what page you are wanting to land on. You do not put the full URL. See the image below for how this step should go.

googleanalytics-goals-screenshot-5

Before hitting the blue button that says Create Goal, make sure to click the link that says Verify this Goal. This helps to make sure that your goal will work and checks it against your previous 7 days of stats on Google Analytics. In the case that you just joined and don’t have 7 days of stats, then proceed by clicking the button to create the goal. You can always check after a few days if the goal is actually working.

Once this has been set up, you won’t have to mess with it any more. You can just sit back and analyze how your goal is doing. Simple, right? There are other ways you can set up a goal in Google Analytics, like how long visitors are staying on your site (called Destination), by how many pages visits (Pages/Screens per Visit), or Event (like from watching a video.)

Have you taken advantage of setting up a goal in Google Analytics? Did you find it easy?

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Average Session Duration – What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care

In Google Analytics, one of the statistics measures is average session duration. In simple terms, this is the amount of the time that a person spends on your website. This article will help you understand average session duration and if you’re a blogger, perhaps persuade you to take a better look into this piece of…

The post Average Session Duration – What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

averagesessionduration-thumbnailIn Google Analytics, one of the statistics measures is average session duration. In simple terms, this is the amount of the time that a person spends on your website. This article will help you understand average session duration and if you’re a blogger, perhaps persuade you to take a better look into this piece of information.

As an extra goodie, there will be a few brief tips to hopefully get those visitors to stay longer.

Average Session Duration – What is it and Why Bloggers Should Care

As mentioned before, the average session duration is the average time of all the time spent on your site by your visitors. This time is usually a great indicator of how interested people are with the content on your website, regardless if it is something you are selling or not.

The smaller the number that the average session duration is, means that you’ve got a lot of work to do in either jazzing up your content, or creating new articles that your visitors are truly interested in seeing. You also would need to try to entice those visitors to stay on your website longer.

For example, if your visitors are only on your website for less than a minute and a half, you probably need to be concerned. Of course, Google Analytics has other tools you can look at after looking at your average session duration statistic. Usually you will want to check out where the visitors are coming to your site and where they are leaving. If the entrance and exit of your website, especially a blog, is the front page, then you’ve got a problem with the front of your website.

Possible Problems that Could be the reason for a poor Average Session Duration stat

  • Poor Navigation – If you don’t give people a clear path in order to navigate your website, they probably won’t go any further than the front page, or if you’re lucky, one article.
  • The design is undesirable. – A lot of people are visual. If your people can’t identify with you and remember you, they might not be back. Some bloggers who choose minimalistic designs often sacrifice their branding.
  • There are no effective calls to action. – If you are giving people a reason to come back, they won’t. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. Encourage the to follow you on the social networks. Encourage them to use your contact form or click on your about page to learn more about you and what your website is about.
  • The articles have boring titles. – People aren’t enticed to click on and read articles that are unappealing. Be concise and try to think of what spurs you on to clicking and reading a blog post based on the title. You can learn a lot from visiting leaders in your niche to see what’s most effective.
  • The website is just confusing. – If people don’t know what your website is about, and why they should be there rather than some other site, then they won’t be back. Give them a reason. If you’re not sure, go back to your original site focus plan and tweak it.
  • No plan to keep visitors once they’ve clicked deeper into the website. – Once people are within your website, whether it’s a blog post, or your shopping cart, or landing page, you need to keep them there. Entice them with linking to other articles within your site, in your post’s content. You could also benefit from either showing some most recent posts or related posts, or both.

Average duration session is definitely an important factor in website conversion. The goal is to keep them there as long as possible because that WILL get the subscriber, the social share, the commentator, and above all, THE SALE!

Do you pay attention to your average session duration stat for your website?

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What Do You Do After You First Apply Google Anayltics to Your Website?

When you get into creating and managing a website, at some point you’re going to hear about Google Analytics, especially being told you need to have it on your website. Regardless if you’re a blogger, a small business owner, or a big corporate business, you do need a tool to measure your site’s progress. Google…

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google-analytics-thumbnailWhen you get into creating and managing a website, at some point you’re going to hear about Google Analytics, especially being told you need to have it on your website. Regardless if you’re a blogger, a small business owner, or a big corporate business, you do need a tool to measure your site’s progress. Google Analytics just happens to be a good one that is also free to use.

So…

What Do You Do After You First Apply Google Anayltics to Your Website?

The majority of users may look in on their stats once a day or once a week. Google Analytics provides quite a bit of statistics. You can even set campaigns to analyze traffic from your website and some of your social network handles.

It’s quite alright to take a frequent look at your stats, but if you’re just looking at them and wishing your traffic to improve, then you’re missing out on what Google Analytics can do for you. It takes analyzing what’s going on and planning a campaign to drive attention to those areas of your website that you want people to see.

The great thing about most stats programs, including Google Analytics is that they provide exactly what information you need to know about your visitors. You can even find out if you’re targeting the correct audience, and at what times they hit your website.

Once you’ve installed Google Analytics on your website, you should let it do it’s job in collecting information. After about 3 weeks to a month, you should have a nice tentative spread of your website’s traffic.

When installing Google analytics to your website for the first time, some of the most important stats you should look at are:

  • Pageviews
  • Percentage of new visitors
  • Percentage of returning visitors
  • Bounce rate
  • How you are acquiring your visitors (where are they coming from)
  • Keywords

While there are a TON of other stats, your first time through should be to gather this information and start to put together a first campaign.

Your keywords, acquisition, and your bounce rate with each campaign you plan will change in time depending on how you adjust your website conversion plan.

Keywords

Before you even look at your stats, you really should already have a list of keywords that you’ve been wanting to work on for your website. If your analytics in Google are not coinciding with your intended list, then you’ve got homework to do in creating content around those keywords. Don’t worry, some people have websites for a few years before realizing that they’ve been missing out on capitalizing on being more laser focused on their keyword strategy.

Acquisition

If your website is brand new, you might not have too much information on how you’ve been acquiring your visitors. You will have a small idea, and can use those stats to either focus on those places that are sending you traffic, or working on trying to get traffic from new sources. It might take making sure your website is properly listed on search engines, creating social network handles, and sharing your content.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate gives you a percentage of how many of your website visitors are only viewing one of your pages, and then leaving. Your bounce rate should never be high. In fact, your strategy should be in converting those visitors to fill out your lead forms, buy your product, share and comment on your blog posts, or even subscribe to your newsletter.

If you can put a plan together that gives you a low bounce rate, great acquisition sources, and above all, making a return on investment, you’re on the right path to great website conversion. The great thing is that Google Analytics is free to use… so what are you waiting for? Go forth and find out how your website is performing!

Do you use Google Analytics in your website conversion strategy? Do you still struggle with deciphering those stats and putting a plan together? If not, what advice do you have for newbies just hooking their website’s up to Google Analytics?

The post What Do You Do After You First Apply Google Anayltics to Your Website? appeared first on Diamond Website Conversion.

How to Use Google Analytics Content Grouping: 4 Business Examples

Content Grouping is a useful feature that let’s you group your website or app content together and view aggregate metrics for each group. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of content to analyze. Rolling up your content, based on your specific business structure, is very helpful when creating dashboards and other custom […]

How to Use Google Analytics Content Grouping: 4 Business Examples is a post from: Analytics Talk by Justin Cutroni

The post How to Use Google Analytics Content Grouping: 4 Business Examples appeared first on Analytics Talk.

Content Grouping is a useful feature that let’s you group your website or app content together and view aggregate metrics for each group. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of content to analyze. Rolling up your content, based on your specific business structure, is very helpful when creating dashboards and other custom reports.

In this post I’ll talk about how to actually use the data and walk through some examples for various business types.

If you have not set up content groupings, please check out my post on how to set up Google Analytics content groupings.

Standard GA Reports

Your content groupings are available in Google Analytics behavior reports. Navigate to the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report. Notice at the top of the data table there is a selector for the primary dimension. This drop down list all of the content groupings that you added to Google Analytics.

Use the selector to choose a specific content grouping in your Google Analytics Content reports.

Use the selector to choose a specific content grouping in your Google Analytics Content reports.

This selector also exists in the navigation flow, so rather than viewing how users move from page to page, you can view how users move between the different types of content on your site.

You can also use your content groupings in the Navigation Summary report.

You can also use your content groupings in the Navigation Summary report.

Very handy for understanding the behavior of users!

It also exists in many other content reports, like the Landing Pages report and the Site Speed Page Timings report.

But who uses the standard reports these days? :) Analysis driven organisations use Custom Reports and Dashboards. Let’s look at how you can use content groupings in both features.

Custom Reports & Dashboards with Content Groupings

When you create a content grouping, Google Analytics will create a dimension for each content grouping.

Remember, a content grouping contains a number of groups, and each group can contain a number of pages or screens.

Each content grouping contains multiple content groups. A content group contains multiple pieces of content.

Each content grouping contains multiple content groups. A content group contains multiple pieces of content.

This means that the values for the content grouping dimension will be all of the content groups that you created within that grouping.

You can create up to five content groupings in Google Analytics, therefore you could have five new dimensions, one for each content grouping.

Use the content grouping dimensions just like you would any other dimension. Here’s a simple custom report that shows some a potential content grouping for a blog.

You can use your content groupings in a Google Analytics custom report.

You can use your content groupings in a Google Analytics custom report.

Then, when you look at the report, you’ll see something like this:

When you add a content grouping to a Google Analytics custom report, the data will be aggregated based on content group.

When you add a content grouping to a Google Analytics custom report, the data will be aggregated based on content group.

Note: I added this custom report to the Google Analytics solutions gallery. You can add it directly to your account here.

You can also use the content grouping dimension in your dashboards. Here is a very simple example using the page value metric and the content grouping dimension.

You can also use the Content Grouping dimension in a Google Analytics Custom Dashboard.

You can also use the Content Grouping dimension in a Google Analytics Custom Dashboard.

That’s really all there is to using content grouping in Google Analytics custom reports and custom dashboards. No go and give it a try!

One other note – the content grouping dimensions are hit level dimensions. This means that you can only use them with hit level metrics, like pageview, time on page, etc. You can not use them with session level metrics, like conversion rate, or revenue per visit.

Content Grouping Strategies

To really take advantage of content groupings you need to plan your content grouping carefully. You need to understand how your organization wants to analyze this data. So let’s look at a how different types of businesses might use content grouping.

Ecommerce: Patagonia.com

Patagonia sells outdoor equipment for men, women and children. They’re known for their ethos that you should travel “fast and light” when in the outdoors – take only what you need. They’re also known for their environmental advocacy. They incorporate both of these messages into their marketing stories.

Effectively breaking down the content structure could help each department at Patagonia better understand their marketing initiatives and site optimization efforts.

So how might we create a content grouping strategy based on their business?

Google Analytics Content Grouping can be used to organize the content on an ecommerce website.

Google Analytics Content Grouping can be used to organize the content on an ecommerce website.

Product pages: I would start by grouping all product pages together. It’s really important to understand what percentage of your users are making it to product pages. If people don’t look at product pages then they usually can’t buy something. And I’d take it one step further – group product pages by product line. I’d also be sure to differentiate category pages from the generic product pages.

You can mimic your product architecture with your content groupings.

You can mimic your product architecture with your content groupings.

Special selling tools: One cool feature that the Patagonia site has is the ‘kit builder’. This is a tool that let’s a customer build the best clothing combination for different conditions or activities. This is another section that could really use it’s own content group.

Special shopping tools can be categorized in their own group.

Special shopping tools can be categorized in their own group.

Checkout pages: Next I’d group all checkout pages together. These are all the pages in your checkout process. The percentage of people that see checkout pages might be very small, but I like to put these pages in their own group. They’re not product related, and they’re not marketing related. So they need their own group.

Account management pages: Many ecommerce sites let customers manage account settings, check the status of their order, manage returns, etc. I would lump all of these pages together in an Account Management group.

Marketing pages: Now we get into a large chunk of the content – marketing pages. Patagonia has a lot of information about their brand, and initiatives. Rather than lump all of this together as just Marketing pages, I would actually break all of this up into groups based on the different initiatives.

In the case of Patagonia I would use all of these different groups that you can see in the navigation.

Use a Google Analytics Content Grouping to categories marketing pages.

Use a Google Analytics Content Grouping to categories marketing pages.

Support pages: Business is all about relationships – and that’s represented by different types of support content. We can create a support group that containing any materials related to support. Again, you can create sub-groups for different types of support content (product support, order support, etc.)

Error pages: I like to group all error pages into a single group, then I can drill into the group and view the specific errors. This group can contain all different kinds of errors, depending on your personal preference. It could be technical errors, like 404 or 502 errors. Or it could be more functional errors, like when a user adds an incorrect credit card number during their purchase.

Software as a Service: Mailchimp.com

Mailchimp is a popular service that helps businesses manage their email marketing initiatives. Like all SaaS sites it’s primarily divided into two sections: a marketing section and an application section. The content grouping will mimic this general structure of content.

Product marketing pages: If people are going to sign up for the Mailchimp service then they need to know about the features! Product marketing page are pages dedicated to product information, this includes information about price, features, etc.

For a SaaS site, create groups for different kinds of marketing content.

For a SaaS site, create groups for different kinds of marketing content.

In addition to specific product information, there’s also a lot of thought leadership material to help drive marketing.

Marketing content pages: These pages are non-product marketing pages that help you demonstrate your thought leadership. It may be blog pages, or other content. In our example of mailchimp.com, there might be multiple groups. For example, they have a blog, but they also have a ton of research about email marketing. I would put this material in a marketing content group. Or even better, in the Reports group!

I would create a Google Analytics content group for the research reports on the MailChimp site.

I would create a Google Analytics content group for the research reports on the MailChimp site.

Application pages: The other side to a SaaS site is the actual application. This is the section of the site where you log in and actually use the product. Like the marketing pages, there can be many different types of application pages. Let’s go back to our example of Mailchimp.com. I would break down the content based on product features.

Perhaps we could use the application navigation as a template for the content structure.

You can create different groups for each part of the online application.

You can create different groups for each part of the online application.

Account management pages: Here’s another example of grouping different parts of the application together. We could easily group together the pages that control account management. And you can see from the image above that there are sections of the app dedicated to other functionality – all should be grouped accordingly.

Error pages: Like other types of sites it’s a good idea to group all error pages together. See the ecommerce section above for more details. These groups can be both website errors or application errors – like a login error page.

Gaming Application: Clash of Clans

We all use our mobile devices for incredibly important things, like waging medieval warfare on other clans! HA! Anyone out there like Clash of the Clans?

You can categorize app content using Google Analytics Content Groupings.

You can categorize app content using Google Analytics Content Groupings.

In reality, gaming apps are very similar to other business models – like publishing and commerce. Some games generate revenue from in-game ads while others up-sell users on features, like new levels. Some do both. We can group games content together just like we do ecommerce.

Game level screens: Most of the content for a game is probably level based. We can replicate this base structure in Google Analytics. If you’re a fan of Clash of the Clans then you there are other parts to the game in addition to levels. There are attack screens, chat windows, etc. All of these screens can be added to groups to roll-up the data.

Ecommerce screens: These screens are used to sell the user on pay features. In the case of Clash of Clans you can buy more gems, which can then be used to purchase other items, like more armies!

I would put all ecommerce app screens into a separate content group.

I would put all ecommerce app screens into a separate content group.

Configuration screens: Most apps have a configuration section. This is where the user can change everything from the language, to colors, etc.

Error screens: Last but not least we have error screens. Again, these can be technical app errors or functional errors, like login issues.

For Publishers: MarketingLand.com

Let’s face it, content grouping was made for the publishing industry! They’re the ones that have to organize thousands of pages of content. I don’t want to dwell on publishing too much, but let’s take a look at MarketingLand.com, a popular destination for anyone working in the digital marketing world.

I’ve actually written about how to customize google analytics for publishing sites in the posts Custom Variables for Publishers and how to measure how far users scroll down a page. I think both of those techniques still apply.

But now, if you’re a publisher, you can also use content groupings to organize the data about your content. This provides one more way to roll up data for analysis.

Content Category: Almost all publishers group content by category – and now this can be done with the content grouping feature.

Publishers can create content groups based on the organization of their content.

Publishers can create content groups based on the organization of their content.

Some publishing sites organize content in other ways, like by author or publication date. I would suggest creating content groups for topic categorization, and custom dimensions for any secondary organization (author, date, etc.)

Account pages: Some publishers, like the New York Times, offer a premium membership service. This is not the case with MarketingLand.com. But, if it did have a member’s section, you could group all of those pages together.

Error pages: Do I need to go over this again :)

I hope this post provides some inspiration for how you might use Content Grouping for your business. Ultimately how you organize your content groupings will be based on your organization. There is no right or wrong – just use a structure that is useful.

Questions or comment? Leave a note below – and happy grouping!

How to Use Google Analytics Content Grouping: 4 Business Examples is a post from: Analytics Talk by Justin Cutroni

The post How to Use Google Analytics Content Grouping: 4 Business Examples appeared first on Analytics Talk.

How to Set Up Google Analytics Content Grouping

Today everyone is creating content – lots and lots of content. Measuring that content can be a challenge given the sheer volume that’s out there. That’s where Google Analytics Content Grouping can help. This feature let’s you categorize your content based on your own business rules. Then, rather than view your data based on page […]

How to Set Up Google Analytics Content Grouping is a post from: Analytics Talk by Justin Cutroni

The post How to Set Up Google Analytics Content Grouping appeared first on Analytics Talk.

Today everyone is creating content – lots and lots of content. Measuring that content can be a challenge given the sheer volume that’s out there. That’s where Google Analytics Content Grouping can help.

This feature let’s you categorize your content based on your own business rules. Then, rather than view your data based on page URL or screen name, you can view based on your specific groups.

In this post I’m going to talk about how content grouping works and how you set it up.

Key Vocabulary: Groupings and Groups

There is a little terminology we need to cover before we get into the setup: groupings and groups.

You can create multiple content groupings in Google Analytics.

Within a grouping you can create multiple content groups.

A group is a collection of content. It could be pages in a certain section of your website. Or it might be screens from a certain part of your app. It can be just about anything.

A grouping is just a bunch of groups.

Each content grouping contains multiple content groups. A content group contains multiple pieces of content.

Each content grouping contains multiple content groups. A content group contains multiple pieces of content.

You can create multiple content groupings in Google Analytics and switch between them in the reports.

Here’s an example. For my blog I created a grouping called Blog Content Categories.

Within that grouping I create a number of groups to categorize the different types of content on my blog. There’s a group for posts, a group for about me pages, a group for error pages, etc. In the configuration I created a rule that puts each page in a group based on the structure of the URL.

You can view your content data based on groups, rather than URL, screen name or title.

You can view your content data based on groups, rather than URL, screen name or title.

Any item that is not added to a group will appear in the (not set) content group.

It’s important to know that there is not one specific report where you access this data. When you create a grouping it’s literally becomes a new dimension of data. You choose to view that dimension in almost all of the content reports.

Let’s take a look at how you actually create a grouping and groups.

Creating Groupings & Groups

Google Analytics does not automatically create content groupings – you must configure the tool to do that. Navigate to the settings for a specific view and choose Content Groupings.

Content Grouping is a view level setting.

Content Grouping is a view level setting.

Here you will see a list of all your groupings. You can choose to create a new group or edit an existing group.

Here's a list of your Google Analytics content groupings. You can add or edit groupings here.

Here’s a list of your Google Analytics content groupings. You can add or edit groupings here.

There are three methods you can use to create a content group – let’s take a look at each.

Tracking Code Method

This method requires you to add a small piece of code to each page on your site or in your app. The code will literally set the name of the content group when the page or screen renders. Here’s how the code would look for Universal Analytics:

ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXXXX-Y', 'example.com');
ga('set', 'contentGroup5', 'Group Name');
ga('send', 'pageview');

Or, if you’re working in iOS the code might look like this:

id tracker = [[GAI sharedInstance] trackerWithTrackingId:@"UA-XXXX-Y"];
[tracker set:[GAIFields contentGroupForIndex:5]
value:@"Group Name"];

The code for a content group is similar to the code for a custom dimension. You can set 5 content groups using the tracking code. Each group is associated with a number, one through five, as shown in the example above.

Check the Google Analytics support documentation for more code examples.

Basically this method let’s you suck in the group name, via code, from some other system. It might be a CMS, a data layer, or just the HTML of the page.

The key is that you somehow add the name of the group to the Google Analytics code.

Pros: Using the tracking code method you can use code to automatically adjust to changes in your content and new content groups.

Cons: It requires IT involvement to set up. But once it’s configured very little IT support.

I should also mention that content grouping is coming to Google Tag Manager. This will provide another way to programmatically set the content group – so stay tuned.

Extraction Method

The extraction method extracts (get it) the name of your content groups from an existing dimension of data. The idea is that you use a regular expression to parse the dimension and automatically extract the name of your group.

For example, the name of your content groups might be in the page title, like this:

Your website might use the name of the content in the Page Title or Screen Name dimension.

Your website might use the name of the content in the Page Title or Screen Name dimension.

I would need to specify that my group name is in the Page Title dimension, and then provide a regular expression that extracts the appropriate value.

The content grouping extract method will automatically pull the name for a content group from a dimension of data.

The content grouping extract method will automatically pull the name for a content group from a dimension of data.

For those of you that do not use regular expression, the value in the parenthesis will automatically be extracted. Google Analytics will then use the value as the group name.

You can see that this one rule will work for every product page on my site – as long as they are well formatted.

Pros: No coding involved. Flexible collection.

Cons: You might need to update your regular expressions when you add new content to your site or app. Specifically something that does not match your existing rules. Believe me – updating settings SUCKS. People forget to do it all the time.

In you’re new to regular expressions check out this reg ex tutorial in the Google Analytics help center.

Rules Method

The rules method is almost exactly like the extract method. The ONLY difference is that you have to MANUALLY name the group. The value for the name is not automatically pulled from a dimension of data.

The content grouping extract method will automatically pull the name for a content group from a dimension of data.

The content grouping extract method will automatically pull the name for a content group from a dimension of data.

Like the extract method you can create rules based on different dimensions of data- the page title, page url or the screen name. If the dimension value matches the rule then the content is added to the group.

Pros: No coding. Don’t need to know regular expressions.

Cons: You need to remember to update your rules when you add new content or if your site urls or app screen names change. Again – updating your analytics settings SUCKS. People forget to do it all the time.

Which method should you use?

That’s a tough question. Personally, I think page category is a critical piece of data that should be added to a page data layer. If you take this approach then using the tracking code method is very scalable.

I also like the extract method. It’s very flexible and reliable – as long as you have processes in place to maintain your implementation :)

Important things to know

Ok, so here are a few very important things to know.

You can use all three methods for creating groups within the same content grouping.

The grouping logic is applied to your data sequentially. That means that Google Analytics first applies the tracking code method first. Then it applies the extraction method. And finally it applies the rules method. You can use all three methods for your implementation.

When a page or screen matches a rule it is added to that group.

A page or screen can only be in ONE content group at a time! That means that an page or screen can only belong to one group at a time.

And finally, content groups are NOT applied to historical data. They are only applied from the moment you configure the feature.

A Best Practice

Because Google Analytics applies all grouping methods to your data, it is possible to use a combination of grouping methods.

But, because they they are applied SEQUENTIALLY, it’s a good idea to put your very specific grouping rules first, followed by your general rules. This way the later, general rules will catch anything that slips through the early, specific rules.

Content Group methods are applied sequentially.

All three content grouping methods are applied to each piece of content. They are applied sequentially.

It’s really, really important to try and get your groups right the first time. While you can edit your groups, there is no way to change the data that has already been processed.

Make sure you test your groups first before announcing them to your entire team.

It’s also a good idea to add an annotation to Google Analytics so everyone knows when the data was added.

Ok, I think that’s it for how to implement this feature.

Don’t worry – I’ll explain how to use content groups in a couple of days.

How to Set Up Google Analytics Content Grouping is a post from: Analytics Talk by Justin Cutroni

The post How to Set Up Google Analytics Content Grouping appeared first on Analytics Talk.