Tag Archives: google analytics

Why Is Google Analytics Inaccurate?

You may have noticed that some of your Google Analytics data isn’t entirely accurate. Whether you saw a sudden, unwarranted change in user behavior, picked up on major differences after a redesign, or found some unexplainable information within a report, there are many things that can indicate issues with your data. And that’s completely normal. Google Analytics is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) platforms for monitoring site performance. It can provide tons of valuable insight and is considered by many SEOs and site owners to be an indispensable tool. But it isn’t perfect. In fact,…

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The Best Website KPI’s For Three Different Website Types

You know you should be measuring your digital marketing efforts. Monitoring and analyzing your data can help you gain insight into what’s working, what’s not, and how you can improve your site for even better results. But platforms like Google Analytics give you access to more data than you could ever possibly hope to comprehend. And while each of the various reports can help you learn something about your audience, you don’t need to be monitoring all of them on a regular basis. So, which metrics should you be measuring? The answer, of course, is that it depends. More specifically,…

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How Crazy Egg is Helping Portsmouth City Council to Improve its User Experience

crazy egg case study portsmouth city council

If your company relies only on analytics software to interpret and give insights on raw numbers, you are probably missing out. Numbers can give answers to many questions, like where are your users coming from, which page they visit, how long do they stay on your website and many more. However, if you want to know also HOW they visit your website, then you should start using heat maps. This article is about a case study of how the city of Portsmouth (UK) is using Crazy Egg to improve user experience and to help reorganize key pages and services. In…

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How To Avoid Web Analytics ‘Analysis Paralysis’ & Spend More Time Making Optimization Wins

Visualizations are the best place to start It’s much easier to start your website optimization journey from a visual perspective than a strictly numerical one. When you can immediately see where visitors and users are clicking and where they’re not, you’re instantly clued into obvious bottlenecks, blockers, and regions that are completely ignored. Take this Google Analytics data for example… When you start digging through your typical analytics packages, you’ll end up several pages deep, looking at listed data like what is shown above. Not always helpful, right? What happens when I look at visual website analytics? This is a…

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How To Avoid Web Analytics ‘Analysis Paralysis’ & Spend More Time Making Optimization Wins

A Handy Guide to UTM Codes: Know Which of Your Campaigns Really Work

Our traffic bounces all over the place. We have social. We have email. We have paid ads. There’s more sites, platforms, and networks than we could possibly hope to run our campaigns on. How do we keep track of it all? How do we know what’s working and what’s not? We use UTM codes. What’s a UTM? UTM stands for Urchin tracking parameters. They’re little pieces of data that we add to our URLs in order to see where different traffic comes from. They were introduced way back with an analytics tool called Urchin, the tool that was bought by…

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A Handy Guide to UTM Codes: Know Which of Your Campaigns Really Work

Tracking Internal Marketing Campaigns With Google Analytics

Editor’s Note: This article is targeted at readers experienced in using Google Analytics. If you’re new to Analytics, the following guide might be challenging.
Many websites use internal advertising in the form of banners or personalized product recommendations to bring additional products and services to the attention of visitors and to increase conversions and leads.
Example: Some internal advertising on smashingmagazine.com (View large version) Naturally, the performance and effectiveness of internal marketing campaigns should be assessed, too, as this is one of the most powerful instruments for generating more leads, more conversions and more revenue on your website.

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Tracking Internal Marketing Campaigns With Google Analytics

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Reinvent Your Marketing Funnels with Google Analytics Cohort Analysis and LTV Reports

cohort analysis report

There have been many published articles on marketing funnels emphasizing the need to track the full customer lifecycle, in order to determine the best return on campaign activity spend. Some provide tracking solutions through hacks (e.g. using customer variables), other articles suggest using an enterprise level solution (e.g. Salesforce or Google Analytics Premium). While there’s also a small number that argue the fact that the customer journey isn’t linear, which means it can’t be tracked. The main challenge is that multi-channel attribution was and is still (until the next update comes out) measured on assumptions on what the individual credited…

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Google Analytics Is Lying to You. Here Are 7 Ways to Force It to Tell the Truth

trust the lies

Being data-driven is good. Unless of course, all that data driving your decisions is wrong. Google Analytics does a lot of good. It might look fine and seem correct when Goals are firing properly. But just because it’s working, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Most analytics programs have to make a few implicit assumptions. They’re taking leaps of faith in some cases. And unless you know where to look, you could fall victim to these little white lies. Here are seven of the most common (along with how to fix them). Lie #1. Growing ‘Dark Traffic’ ‘Dark Traffic’ sounds ominous. And…

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Google Analytics Is Lying to You. Here Are 7 Ways to Force It to Tell the Truth

Kickstart Your Personalization Program With This 4-Step Guide

Today’s leading online enterprises know the key to cracking higher conversions—providing relevant experiences to users through personalization. There is a large amount of data across the Internet that reinforces the power of personalization. CMO by Adobe, for example, compiles interesting data about personalization from different sources to present a complete picture on personalization:

  • The in-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences see, on average, a 19 percent uplift in sales.
  • About 94 percent of customer insights and marketing professionals across multiple industries suggest personalization is “important,” “very important,” or “extremely important” for meeting their current marketing objectives.

While enterprises understand how important it is to craft relevant content and experiences for users, how do they go about doing it? For those who want to start a personalization program, this blog post chalks out a 4-step approach for implementing web personalization:

  • Identify segments to target.
  • Plan the personalization campaign.
  • Implement the campaign.
  • Measure success from personalization efforts.

Identify the Segments You Want to Target

Segmentation begins with knowing who your visitors are and segregating them into different segments based on certain traits or characteristics. Google Analytics, for example, is a great tool to help you do that. You can slice and dice your visitors’ data, based on various attributes to identify segments that drive significant traffic to your website. Further, Google Analytics can give you a lot more than just traffic numbers. If you have “revenue tracking” in place, you can identify specific segments that bring you the highest conversion rate as well as absolute sales figures. These are the segments you should be targeting.

If you have a CRO program in place, you can also look at past A/B test results to identify segments that you might want to target. Run post-test segmentation and drill into the results to look at individual segments that won higher conversions, or find hidden winners. For example, you could run post-test segmentation and find out whether social traffic got you more conversions compared to direct traffic.

Creating thorough customer profiles is a traditional method of segmenting visitors. A customer profile could be based on the following:

  • Demographic information: Age, gender, location, ethnicity, and marital status
  • Psychographic information: Interests, values, hobbies, and likes/dislikes
  • Firmographic information: Company name(s), size, industry, revenue, and roles

While demographic and psychographic information is important for consumer marketers, firmographics are used by B2B marketers. You can extract psychographic information using website cookies. On the other hand, you can ask users directly for firmographic and demographic information.

For instance, the following image shows an ideal customer profile for an automobile website. It lists important information which is required for creating profiles of target customers—demographic information of the users, the type of engagement shown on the website, and the type of products they intend to buy or already own.

ideal customer profile for personalization
Source

Enterprises also need to understand why it is important to target a certain segment. Is it that the segment that they want to target drives the major share of revenue for your website? Target your most valuable visitors to achieve your personalization goals.

  • If an eCommerce enterprise observes that people in their mid 20s account for 70 percent sales of their sports equipment, it could run a campaign for that segment showing a separate section devoted only to sports goods on the home page.
  • B2B marketers can target segments per industries such as healthcare, BFSI, or government. These segments can be targeted by either offering a product with personalized messaging or offering different products to different segments.

Enterprises can also run personalization when they have a segment-specific business goal in mind. For example, if the objective is to increase hiring from a specific region, visitors from that region should be targeted with a personalized message or content on the website. Here’s a case study on how geo-targeting helped VWO increase CTR to its careers page by 149 percent. Similarly, if an eCommerce enterprise that caters to global markets wants to introduce a new product for a specific region, it can run personalization on its website for visitors from that part of the world.

Planning a Personalization Campaign

Enterprises planning for personalization need to consider its “how” and “where”:

How Should They Target the Segment

One message does not fit all. For instance, an eCommerce enterprise can target two different subsegments from a certain main segment, that is, women aged between 20-30. The first sub-segment can be of “fashion-conscious and impulse” buyers. The other segment can be of those women who make only carefully thought out, high-end luxury purchases. Both the subsegments drive a large percentage of sales to the accessories section of your website.

User behavior information such as “number of sessions to transaction” using cookies can help classify users into these segments. An impulse buyer would complete a purchase within a single session, while a carefully thought-out purchase might take multiple session before a visitor converts.

For the first segment, you can run personalized cross-sell campaigns on products for which they show the intent to purchase. For the second segment, consider targeting a lookbook that shows how your high-end products such as platinum/diamond jewelry can seamlessly blend with their outfit and add a charm to the wearer’s personality.

Here is another example. A B2B software company first might want to show a basic product video to a first-time visitor on the website. Later, the company might target a one-to-one live product demo offer to someone who has visited the site multiple times and looks highly engaged.

A Hubspot post which lists 3 examples of personalization, talks about how Lynton personalizes its home page for new and repeat visitors. The CTA on the home page shown to first-time visitors says “Learn About Inbound,” while the CTA for repeat visitors reads “Start Your Project Today.” Hubspot’s hypothesis behind running this personalization campaign could be that while new visitors might be interested in knowing more about inbound, the repeat visitors might already have explored enough on inbound and now need to start their learning. With the goal of increasing clicks from both new and repeat visitors, they showed personalized CTAs to both segments.

Personalizing CTA for new visitors
CTA on Lynton Homepage for New Visitors

Personalizing CTA for repeat visitors
CTA on Lynton Homepage for Repeat Visitors

Another widely used method is geo-targeting visitors from different countries, using their native language. A post on QuickSprout talks about how Neil Patel increased search traffic by 47 percent by translating his blog in 82 languages

Where on the Website Should the Personalization be Implemented

After identifying the segment, you should target and craft a messaging strategy for them. The next thing that enterprises need to find out is where to place personalized content on their websites.

Identify the pages that you should be running your personalization campaign on. Should it be the product page that has a large amount of traffic? Probably yes. Should it be the checkout page for eCommerce? Probably not. Look at your website analytics data (in Google Analytics, for example) to identify pages that drive high traffic. You could also look at specific pages where the segments are browsing/arriving mostly.

The next step is to identify areas on your webpages that fetch maximum attention or engagement. Scrollmaps and Heatmaps, for example, will show the scroll depth of your page or help identify the sections of the webpage that are highly attention grabbing. These tools help you understand:

  • On your B2B website, whether the eBook you have targeted to get more sign-ups from your eCommerce clients should be placed in the middle of the website scroll or pushed to the top.
  • On your eCommerce website, whether you should place the lookbook for your fashion-oriented segment of women on the top of the page or on the left.

Running a Personalization Campaign

To run a personalized campaign, using a prefered tool, enterprises can design and modify different variations of their website for varied segments they want to target. For example, one of the personalized variations of your website could be targeted at mobile traffic. This variation can be a modification that displays less content compared to the content that the desktop version displays. (The hypothesis is that “mobile users want to go through minimal content.”)

The first step is to set up target segments within your personalization tool. In VWO, for instance, you can either choose a predefined segment or define a custom visitor segment for different variations. Next,  set up a conversion goal that you want to track on running the personalization campaign. Tracking CTA clicks on a variation that has been personalized or tracking revenue from the personalized home page variation created for business-class travelers—the goal should be exactly what you want to achieve with your personalization efforts.

creating personalization goal

When the segmentation is applied to the created or modified variations, you are ready to run your personalization test campaign.

Measuring the Impact of Personalization

A/B testing is one approach to measure the success of your personalization campaigns. You can run your personalization campaign as an A/B test. If your campaign delivers a win, you should replicate its success by planning and running more campaigns on similar hypotheses. If it fails to achieve the goal, identify and record the reasons for what went wrong. Maintaining a repository of learning is essential to refrain from committing the mistakes of past A/B tests and running smarter campaigns in the future.

Google Analytics conversion funnels also can help measure the impact of personalization. To see how successful you have been in your personalization efforts, compare your target metrics for the period before you implemented personalization with that of the period after it. Gauge the same conversion funnel for the same amount of time, and see the difference in results if any.

Conclusion

Running personalization requires enterprises to answer a number of questions regarding for whom and why the personalization campaign being run for, how and where on the website will the campaign be run, and what results will the personalization efforts reap. With our 4-step approach to personalization, you can effectively implement your campaign.

Are you personalizing your CRO campaigns? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

A/B test your personalization program

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Kickstart Your Personalization Program With This 4-Step Guide

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Making Marketing Analytics as Simple as 1, 2, 3

Google Analytics reports

Every smart marketer on the planet gets just how important data is in marketing.

But answer me these questions, and answer them honestly: Do you know how to analyze your marketing data? Do you know how to use your analyses to improve your results?

During his presentation at Call To Action Conference, co-founder of Orbit Media, Andy Crestodina, revealed that many data-driven marketers are not getting any value from their analytics. They tend to admire data charts rather than analyze the data and act on it. Unfortunately,

Pretty charts don’t actually do anything for you unless you take action.

Crap. Who else thought that looking at a few neat graphs in Google Analytics was enough?

Analyzing data can be as easy as 1 2 3

To increase traffic and conversions, marketers need to know how to interpret their own data and turn data insights into action. Andy debunked the myth that you’ve got to be Einstein to analyze your data. This is jolly good news for those of us who break out in cold sweats at the mere thought of number crunching.

He laid out a fool-proof three-step approach to help marketers analyze their own data and turn their analyses into action. It involves using the ever-trendy (but actually invaluable when you know how to use them) Google Analytics reports: Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversion.

Here is said approach:

1. Turn ideas into questions

What do you want to find out?

2. Find answers

Look for a report that can help you validate or reject the idea.

3. Take action

Take what you’ve learned and use it to optimize your marketing results.

By using these simple but effective steps, you can find the answers in Google Analytics to some of your most pressing marketing questions. You’re going to learn how to decrease bounce rate, rank higher in Google, boost reader engagement and increase conversions. Trust me, this is game-changing stuff.

Make sure you’re logged into Google Analytics and on the Reporting page. Let’s do this!

Audience reports

Google Analytics Audience reports don’t just tell you who your users are, they also show you how sticky your website is. If you want to find out how well your website is working across various devices and browsers, this report is your new best friend.

Example: How to decrease your bounce rate using Audience reports

Sometimes bouncier can mean better, but this is definitely not the case in marketing. If you have a high bounce rate (whether on your website or blog), then it’s likely that your content isn’t very relevant or user-friendly.

For smart marketers, the aim of the game should be to get bounce rates as low as humanly possible.

Using Google Analytics Audience reports, Andy shows us how to find out our website’s bounce rate across different browsers.

1. Ask a question

“Is your website working well in every browser?”

2. Find the answer

Click on Audience reports > Technology > Browser & OS. This will give you an overview of the bounce rates for users of every browser.

Audience report Google Analytics

All these numbers look pretty similar. So now what? Let’s go one step further by clicking on the Comparison view. This option pitches the site average for bounce rates for each browser against each other to give you a clearer picture of which browsers your website is working on.

Audience report Google Analytics

Bingo! It seems the poor souls visiting Andy’s website from an Android or Opera browser were having a particularly tough time. Which browsers have the highest bounce rate on your website?

3. Take action

Don’t stop now that you’ve identified any problem areas. It’s time to take cold, hard, remedial action. Why are the bounce rates for users or certain browsers higher than others? What can you do to find out? Simple. You can start by testing your website pages on these browsers to see why people aren’t sticking around on your site. You could check out page loading time, browser responsiveness and usability. And then, if necessary, optimize your pages for these browsers.

Acquisition reports

In other words, where are your website visitors coming from? Are they arriving at your website via Twitter or Facebook, or are they landing on your pages directly from Google? An Acquisition report gives you a detailed view of your traffic sources, so you can work out where you need to ramp up your marketing efforts.

Example: How to rank higher in Google using Acquisition reports

For Andy, people who arrive on your website through search engines are much more likely to convert than those who reach you via social networks. In fact:

Search traffic converts into leads 600% more than social traffic.

Holy cow. So when your goal is to drive conversions, focus on optimizing your website for search engines rather than driving traffic from social media. Andy suggests that you can creep up the search engine ladder by finding out how you currently fare in Google and turning your findings into action.

Sneaky.

1. Ask a question

“What phrases are we ranking for?”

2. Find the answer

If you haven’t already, activate Search Console in your Google Analytics settings. Then go to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. You will not only get a list of all the phrases you rank for (under Query), but also how highly you rank for them in Google (under Average Position).

Acquisition report Google Analytics

Andy recommends that to be even more cunning, you should find the phrases you rank for on page 2 of Google.

It’s not that hard to move up a tiny bit in your rankings. If a tiny bit means going from page 2 to page 1, trust me you’re going to quadruple traffic next week for that page.

Do this by adding an advanced filter. Select Include > Average Position > Greater than and enter the value of 10.

Acquisition report Google Analytics

These are Andy’s results:

Acquisition report Google Analytics

What about yours?

3. Take action

Now it’s time for you to search for these phrases in Google, confirm the rankings and see which web pages you’re dealing with. It’s down to you to improve these pages to push them further up the Google ranks. You could for example create longer pages, add more detail or add video. If you’re short on ideas, Hubspot gives you a few in a post on how to improve your website’s user experience.

Behavior Reports

These reports show marketers what people are looking for, engaging with and doing on their websites.

Example: How to boost reader engagement using Behavior reports

It’s every content marketer’s dream to create content that people want to engage with. Andy kindly shows us all how to use the Behavior reports to find out which of our blog posts people love the most.

1. Ask a question

“Which of your blog posts are the most engaging?”

2. Find the answer

Go to Behavior > Site Content > All pages.

Search for “/blog” in the filter field to view posts on your blog page only. Then organize the results by the Comparison view.

Behavior report Google Analytics

Select “Avg. time on page” from the drop-down list in the third column. This shows you which blog posts your readers are engaging with most compared to the site average.

Behavior report Google Analytics

Look for similarities between the most engaging posts. Do they talk about the same subject? Are they the same type of post (e.g., a how-to or a guide)? In the example, the posts with the highest engagement all cover Google Analytics. Hey, what a marvellous topic for a blog article!

3. Take action

The actions are pretty obvious. Once you know which posts your readers dig, you need to deliver more of the good stuff. Invest some time in promoting these posts. Create and publish more content on the same or related subjects.

Conversion Reports

If a marketer’s ultimate goal isn’t to convert, then what is? Conversion reports give you valuable insights into which of your website pages or posts push people to convert. It may not be rocket science. But it certainly is pure 24 carat marketing gold.

Example: How to increase conversions using conversion reports

1. Ask a question

“Which blog posts inspire action?”

2. Find the answer

For this one, you need to have goals set up in your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t, there’s no time like the present.

Go to Conversions > Goals > Reverse Goal Path. This shows you which pages your converters were looking at before they completed an action, or goal.

Select the goal from the “All goals” drop-down list. In the example, Andy selects “Newsletter subscribers”.

Conversion report Google Analytics

This shows you which pages people were on before subscribing to the newsletter. Now click on “advanced” to add a filter:

Conversion report Google Analytics

And then filter as so:

Conversion report Google Analytics

Voilà! A list of the blog posts your visitors were reading before subscribing to your newsletter.

3. Take action

With this valuable info under your belt, you can now focus your efforts on driving traffic to the posts that convert the most visitors. Andy recommends promoting these posts using social media, email or even showcasing them on your website’s home page. You could also publish more content on your highest converting topics.

From passive marketing to active marketing

There we have it. A whole host of great examples — based on asking questions, finding answers and taking action — that we can all use to perform our very own analyses and improve the results of our marketing efforts.

Andy taught us that analyzing our own marketing data is fundamental to improving our marketing results and that anyone — dataphile or dataphobe — can do their own seriously valuable data analysis. All you need is a Google Analytics account and a no-nonsense approach.

As for the most valuable takeaway of them all? Inspiring marketers to not only act on their data, but also to adopt a culture of analysis, reflection and experimentation. Now you’ve got the tools you need to become an active data-driven marketer, the rest is down to you.

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Making Marketing Analytics as Simple as 1, 2, 3