Digital Marketing Blog
October 24, 2010
There is this new neat feature in Google Analytics being tried out in Beta version right now. What it does is to display graphically how your visitors move over your pages.
- Display click patterns
- Shows Goal conversion funnels visually
- Allow for filtering so that you can monitor very specific tasks
With the in page analytics you will be able to view clicks, bounce rate, movement and highlights on the websites you have registered in your GA reports/profiles.
In fact, the GA toolbars show up when you run GA in the background and you visit one of the pages you have in your GA profiles or reports. It looks like below.
This is highly useful when looking at where to put the ads, but it is also very helpful when you start noticing how your visitors click links to navigate. Do they use the categories? Do they use your related posts top right? Do they click the track backs links? Well, it seems as though the answers to those questions are all yes, but perhaps not on every page.
I allow for all trackbacks from other pages that link to mine to show up in the bottom as I feel they add to my content and give the user a better visiting experience. However, I rarely flow pagerank through those trackback links. I believe there are several ways in which you can reward linkers without flowing pagerank. One of the best one is probably to send them traffic. This new feature in GA helps me to quite easily find the best place for these trackback links so that I can reward linkers with the most possible traffic amount.
With regard to conversion, you might want to start tracking every single link on your pages and put up as many goals as you have the availability for. That way you will be able to visually click around and follow your users from landing page to conversion, making it a lot easier to come to the conclusions that some of your stuff might not be working the way you plan it to, and some stuff that you didn’t know worked, is doing the miracle.
Find the new feature in your left hand navigation in Google Analytics under Content.
Play around and have fun.
April 18, 2010
I’ve finally come around to reading a sneak preview of Brian Clifton’s book about advanced metrics and Google Analytics. Actually, I shouldn’t use the word advanced as it might fear some of you potential readers out of reading this book. I’m unsure whether or not it is because I love analytics or if it is because this book is very well written. But as I came around to finally reading the two chapters I had received to review, it only took me about an hour to get through them.
This will not be the common review of a book, it will not look at the table of contents and wish for the best, but hopefully this post will enforce the need for you to actually read this book. I am not being paid to say this either. I’ll show you my bank statement if I have to.
In a sense, Brian has captured what I feel is the essence of his writing in the following few lines:
The most common fear is data overload—collecting more information just because you can inevitably leads to more confusion, not clarity. This is particularly the case when your website is operating as a silo, that is, not integrated with the rest of your business—a common problem if yours is a nontransactional website. Therefore, an important early step when deciding on a website measurement strategy is to define the value that web measurement can bring to your business.
Measuring and Analyzing is not difficult
Measuring stuff is not difficult. It shouldn’t feel that way anyhow. Metrics, stats, analysis and all other names for it is all about how you best improve your business. Not knowing where you stand will most certainly not give you a clear direction on where to go in the future. Take social media as an example. Most people search for successful social media cases that they can copy for their own businesses and campaigns.
The problem with social media however is that in order for the same tactic to work twice, the prerequisites have to be exactly the same. Most businesses today make very poor decisions due to a lack of knowledge about what the metrics are really telling them and how the success stories can help them. Eg. If a company A has a very strong relationship with its followers and launch a youtube video clip, it is natural for it to go viral within that group of people. They have a relationship that they have invested money into that THEN accelerates the success of the campaign. If a company B just looks at the content of the video campaign and tries to launch it in the same way without knowing if they have a good enough relationship to build it on… well then company B will be shooting from the hip, meaning they do not know.
Turning focus to KPIs
In the second chapter I got the privilege to read, Brian goes through KPIs. What they are and how you can measure them. This chapter is all about what I described above. If you set up a series of success events that you measure towards a KPI, then you will know when you are ready to launch similar campaigns to those who have succeeded previous to you.
But what a KPI more importantly tells you, is how you can continuously improve your business and performance online. Brian, goes through the basics of how to set up a KPI and puts focus on the stakeholders. Any online PR-consultant or internal communications officer MUST understand the principles of stakeholders within an organization. Without proper metrics they will act blindly and you will lack the tools of governance that stakeholder relevant KPIs give you. Or as Brian writes it;
Use KPIs to put your data into context.
This way you will bring light to, not only on how much, but also in what direction your progress/regress is taking you. If your KPIs are relevant to the stakeholder receiving them, then they will also act on improving them.
Upper management Must read
I don’t think that upper management would take the time to read this book, but I sure hope they would. It uses Google Analytics as a way to tell the story about how you can implement sustainable metrics and analysis in your organization. I have personally experienced too many times that management focus on statistics such as “hits”, “pageviews” or (god forbid) “unique visitors”. This data tells you nothing if not put into the context of your own actions.
It is also way too often that you hear management of businesses comparing themselves to others, but as Brian writes:
Keep in mind that KPIs are important to drive improvement for your own website. Although it is obviously interesting and insightful to compare how your website is performing against those of your peers and competitors, in my opinion it is a mistake to place too much emphasis on external industry benchmarks. These can be misleading and often end up with you finding the benchmark that fits your story—giving a false impression of success.
This book tells you why and what you should have a look at instead. Some of the chapters might be too technical, but just skip them if you don’t care and keep to the gory stuff that enlightens your day. As I haven’t read the full book yet, I cannot say if the rest of the chapters are as good, but from what I’ve read I will buy the book right away.
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January 17, 2010
Event Tracking is one of the most powerful tracking possibilities in Google Analytics to track the virality of what you produce on your website, blog or web project. With even tracking you can simulate page views in flash files so that you can see the interactivity between your user and your flash file. With Event Tracking you can track clicks on buttons, how long it takes to load a certain element, or as in this example how many people shares your material on social platforms/subscribe to your RSS.
The implementation requires that you have an account on Google Analytics and that you have implemented the ga.js script instead of the legacy urchin.js script in the bottom of your pages.
1. Adding the tracking code
To each of the events you would like to track you should add the following code. (For flash you need to do it a bit differently, but I’ll cover that if you want in later stories.)
onClick=”pageTracker._trackEvent(‘category’, ‘action’, ‘optional label’);”
in a link
<a href=”http://jesperastrom.com” onClick=”pageTracker._trackEvent(‘category’, ‘action’, ‘optional label’);”>Anchor Text</a>
You can choose any type of category, action or optional label that you want. You don’t have to choose a label really, but I find it useful. In this example I set category to what type of button they are clicking. I set action to the type of sharing the button represents and I set the optional label as a dynamic label for the page name.
As I am running a wordpress blogg the following code is the result:
onClick=”pageTracker._trackEvent(‘Subscribe’, ‘RSS’, ‘<?php the_title(); ?>’);”
But you can easily exchange, remove etc. the last part of that code to represent some other label you want to put on that specific action. You can also add a fourth element to your set of data points which is an integer rather than a string. This integer represents the value for load time it takes to perform the requested action. Your code for such an implementation, possibly best used with play, pause, stop buttons for video, is as follows:
onClick=”pageTracker._trackEvent(‘Subscribe’, ‘RSS’, ‘<?php the_title(); ?>’, downloadTime );”
If you choose to set up a tracker for downloads, movie plays, success events such as register buttons or clicks to check out pages (to compare to actual check outs if you have some unexplained drop off), then this works as well. Just change the category and action name to logical labels so that you can find the data in an easy way when you look in your reports.
2. Finding your events
There is an easy way to find the data for the events. Just wait about 24 hrs and a new tab will appear under your Content tab in the left navigation of your Google Analytics account.
Click the Event tracking tab and it will fold out so that you can see the options within it.
Click around and you’ll find the different things sorted under each category.
3. Setting up a Custom Report
In my other post about Custom Reports in Google Analytics I showed you where to find the custom reports and how to create them. To simplify the drilldown of collected data I like to set one up for this occation. To see how I do that I recommend you to watch the video tutorial below that is also available on my YouTube account.
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January 13, 2010
It is quite difficult to look at what each specific visitor does on your website through Google Analytics. However, if you are working as a consultant or a blogger you can track specific Network Locations of the visitors on your website. This generally means that you can see when someone from a company or an organization network has visited your website.
This information can be very good for you if you are selling B2B products. Especially if those products you are selling are based on the information you share in your blog. It can also be used as damage control if you’ve written something you don’t want your employer to see. When that network location appears in your stats, well then you can start packing your box. 🙂
First The Video (Blocked in Germany… sry guys)
In the standard setup of Google Analytics you can find the Network Location information by:
1. Cecking out your Network Locations
a. Logging into your account
b. Selecting the report you want to view
c. Clicking the visitors link in the left navigation
d. Expanding the Network Properties drop down amongst the choices that appears
e. Clicking the choice Network Location
Now, if you are doing this for the first time you will most probably go bananas when you see all these companies visiting your website. All these anonymous visits all of a sudden get a name at least.
2. Network Operators vs. Company Networks
Sorry to have to make you sad. Most of these visitors have their network operator as their network location meaning that if they have bought their internet from some network service, then the network is what is listed here. Most private users look this way. Only companies and organizations and private users with their own networks will show up with their real names. This is a bummer but it is illegal in many countries to store the IP data without the specific consent of the user so I guess this is good enough. You’ll at least find the important ones further down the list.
3. Finding a specific company
If you are looking for a specific company name in your list then you can segment your view by searching for that network name/company name in the search field at the bottom of the list. If you want to create a more advanced filter then click the option Advanced filter. This is not what this article is about, but I’ll post something about it later.
4. Determine what the company is looking for
Yey! You’ll play around for a while and you’ll find some interesting company names for sure. When you click one of the names however you will only see some standard metrics for that network location.
To view some more specifics you can always choose some specifics for each website found through the drop down in the top left of your top pane.
However. Although you can drill down quite deeply you cannot get an overview from these choices to all pages a specific network location have visited. If you are going to call a specific company and they have visited your website, then perhaps you can get a clue of what they are looking to buy by looking at what
- keyword they used to get to your website as well as
- what different topics on your website/blog they read.
You can get the answer to the first question by clicking the Keyword selection in the drop down displayed above. The second question needs to be retrieved by creating a custom report.
5. Creating a custom report to view all pages a specific Network Location has visited
So, now to what this tutorial is really all about namely how to create a custom report that displays all the pages a specific Network Location has visited. I know there might be other ways of doing this but I find this way to be most useful to me.
Creating a custom report
To create a custom report you look in the left of your screen. There you’ll find a selection looking called “Custom Reporting” looking like this at the time of writing:
Click the link. If a drop down folds out and you see some links like in the example below, then you have probably done this before.
I cannot remember what this list looked like when there weren’t any Custom Reports built so I am unsure what that looks like. The main point however is for you to get into the Manage Custom Reports area by clicking the link “Manage Custom Reports”.
On the Manage custom Reports page you’ll find a list of all your custom reports later on. From this view you’ll be able to edit your reports as well by clicking one of the smaller links to the right of each report in the table. You can also share a specific custom report with another user or several other users which is good for many other reasons but the one I’m writing this article.
In your top right corner of the screen you’ll find a MEGA BIG link that says:
Click this link.
Step 1: Setting your Custom report title
First thing you should do with your new custom report is to give it a descriptive name. Remember that you might want to do many of these reports in the future so try to be as specific as possible.
I am going to call this report “Pages visited by specific Network locations”.
Step 2: Selecting a metric
Now, you’ll see that you have metrics and dimensions to choose between in your left pane. Basically you can define a metric with “the number you want to measure” although that is a highly inaccurate description when talking to stats nerds. A dimension is what you want to measure that metric for.
For this specific report I am going to click on Site Metrics and then select the option Pageviews. I select the pageview option by clicking Site metrics, then scrolling the list until I see the selection Pageviews and then dragging that selection to one of the boxes to the right for metrics.
Hold the mouse button down and drag it to one of the boxes to the right looking like this:
With a final result looking like this:
Now you might ask why I select Pageviews here instead of Unique Pageviews. Well, basically I want to see how interested a specific Network location or company is. Especially if I then look at sources for that network location and I find some kind of mail server in there 🙂 That means that someone in the company sent the link in a mail to another employee and that employee clicked the link. That generally says you have an internal ambassador … YEY!! Now all you have to do is to bait that ambassador to find out who it is and then make a connection.
Step 3: Selecting the Dimension
Now, we want to see how many Pageviews a specific Network location has made on a specific post. So let’s find Network Location in our Dimensions and add it.
You’ll find the Network Location dimension under the Systems drop down. In my list it is the second to last option when you have expanded the Systems dimension. Drag and drop the Network Location option in the same way as described above, but drop it in the gray area that says Dimension.
If successful your selection should look like this:
Now add Page title as a Sub Dimension in the same way but in a field below the main dimension.
Page title can be found under the dimension option Content. Drag and drop your selection to the sub dimension area to the right just as described above. If successful it will look a like this:
Step 4: Saving and checking your report
If you have done this correctly your selections should look like the image I display below. Once this looks the same way as here in this post, go ahead and go to the bottom and create the report. You can preview it, but as we all know, previews are for loosers. Just go ahead and create!!! (You can always go back and edit later ;))
Then save the report by clicking “Create Report”.
Now I know you are all itching to add more Dimensions and please do, but then the report won’t tell you what I’ve promised above. What will happen if you choose to create the report now is that you will be directed to a standard reporting page. The difference being that it is focused on Network Location and Pageviews.
To the right in the table you’ll find the amount of pageviews from each network location. If you want to filter this list to only see a specific company or network location you can filter it by putting a keyword in the search field in the bottom of the table just as described above.
Final result is
Now try to click one of the Network location names and you’ll see all the names of the Pages they have visited.
And just like that you have created a custom report that you can easily reach by clicking the Custom Reporting option in your left pane at all times you are logged into your account.