Most people examine bounce rates and immediately assume that if the bounce rate is high, the page or traffic source is bad.
That’s not always true.
First, bounce rates do change by analytics systems. Some use true time on site based upon server and browser behavior. Others, such as Google Analytics only look at when the script executes.
So, let’s say you are using Google Analytics and someone comes to your site. When the first page loads, Google knows you have a visitor and how the visitor got there, along with a lot of metrics about browsers, operating systems, etc.
They have no idea how long someone is on that page until that user goes to another page and the script executes again.
Phone Calls Lead to Bounces
Therefore, if someone goes through these actions:
Goes to your site
Examines your offer
Gives you a call
Schedules a visit (some phone conversion activity)
Leaves your website a happy customer
This person is considers a bounce. That’s a very nice bounce, but its still a bounce.
A bonce in Google is a one page visit. That’s all it means.
To even further clarify Google Analytics metrics, if someone spends an hour on a single page and leaves, they are not only a bounce, but time on page isn’t counted. Google has no idea how long someone is on your page until they cause the script to execute again, usually by going to another page. If someone goes to another page, Google Analytics now knows time on the first page, but not time on the 2nd page. So, time on site is time on site minus last page visited.
3rd Party Integrations Lead to Bounces
In the past, we used Eventbrite for our AdWords Training signup process. Eventbrite hosts the pages themselves, so this is what our marketing funnel looked like:
We sent out email / advertised / etc
Users came to our landing page
Users choose tickets on the landing page
Users then went to eventbrite (off our site) to convert
If a user converted, they were usually a bounce. In fact, if a user spent a lot of time on our site, they were less likely to convert. Therefore, a high bounce rate usually meant more sales.
Some 3rd parties support cross domain tracking so you don’t see these high bounce rates and you can see more accurate metrics – but not all of them support analytics tracking.
Many driving direction pages go to Google maps. Many Paypal integrations go to Paypal.com. In these cases, you might have very successful bounces.
Adjusted Bounce Rates
Google Analytics (GA) recently launched a feature to track adjusted bounce rates. With adjusted bounce rates, you can set an event which will cause Google Analytics to track bounce rates based upon a time interval. For instance, if you wanted a bounce to be anyone who spend less than 30 seconds on the site, you can set a 30 second event to occur. At the 30 second mark, GA records an event and since GA did something, that user is no longer considered a bounce.
If you are using a plug-in for your CMS system, such as WordPress or Drupal, the plugins do not yet support this event. I tried to use this with Yoast’s analytics plugin and it not only didn’t work, it stopped the script from working properly so Google didn’t track any data. Hopefully, the plug-in authors will update their plug-ins soon with better control over additional information you can add to the Google Analtyics scripts.
Event Tracking & Virtual Page Views
Another way of handling users to leave your site (for a good reason, such as driving directions, affiliate link click-outs, etc) is to use events or virtual page views to track those clicks. With either of those tracking methods, Google Analytics will track that something happened on the site (and if you use events, you can even make them goals) and will adjust the bounce rate accordingly.
If you are using the default version of Google Analytics, then a bounce is just a one page visitor regardless of how much time was spent on the site. Bounce rate is just a metric. It’s neither a good nor bad metric – it’s just a metric. What’s important is the interpretation of that metric. So, next time you look at bounce rates, think about how your site functions and what you want users to do. If your goal is a call or sending a user off your site, a 100% bounce rate might be the best success metric you can reach.
We’re always looking for the next tip and trick to push our campaigns to ever greater heights but one area that feels untapped by a lot of PPC marketers is Analytics. We spend so much time digging around our Search Query Reports that we forget the other side of the coin. So, with that in mind, I want to share a few Analytics tricks to help you out!
Matched Search Queries – True Keyword Data In Analytics
The matched search queries report works in the same way as the Search Query report, you see exactly what your visitors typed in however we can now see exactly what those visitors did on the website.
This is a fantastic way to find major wins or failures and gives us some valuable data to play with – you may have a keyword on paper that is working really well but if 60% of users are bouncing away (leaving the page within 10 seconds) then you know you can make improvements; it may be to your ad or changes to the landing page to make the most out of your money.
Because we are viewing the keywords in Analytics rather than the SQR then we can also start pulling in the other valuable bits of data and segment the traffic. Are certain keywords performing better in one city than another? Do certain browsers perform better? How many pages are visitors viewing before completing a goal? All this information can be seen in Analytics.
To view the Matched Search Queries, you simply need to go to Advertising -> AdWords -> Matched Search Queries. Using the Secondary Dimensions button will allow you to start segmenting that traffic for more detailed analysis.
Working Backwards – Use Organic Data To Influence Your Ad Groups
It’s quite often the case that Pay Per Click leads the way for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You can very quickly get valuable keyword and performance data by running a campaign which in turn guides and assists the organic growth of the site. However, this shouldn’t be a one way street; organic traffic can also contribute a lot of valuable data that is there to be capitalised on.
If you navigate to: Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Search -> Organic then you will see the keywords driving organic traffic to the site. If you are running with the correct goals and/or ecommerce tracking set up then you’ll be able to see in a similar way to the Matched Search Queries report above what is working and driving those precious conversions.
Not only will this allow you to find new keywords to target but also may highlight weaknesses in your Adwords campaigns. Using the Ad preview tool, you can literally copy and paste converting organic search phrases to check whether you are covering the terms via PPC. Why do this? Well there are many great reasons:
a) More Converting Clicks – Getting PPC coverage AND organic search coverage will boost your chances of getting a click on a key phrase you know converts.
b) Conversion Security – What happens if you drop 1,2 or 5 places for a converting search term organically? With the string of recent Google updates there is always the chance that organic traffic or rankings can disappear overnight – and that will really hurt conversions.
c) Brand Boost – studies show that appearing in both organic and paid search, can boost the customers perception of your brand, leading to more clicks.
d) Beat Competitors – Why give your competitors an easy ride? Targeting organic search converters via PPC will limit the market share available to competitors.
*Not convinced? This study at Performics, showed why this simple strategy can be so effective. In their study, by dominating the market (by aggressively bidding on Adwords whilst also ranking highly organically), they saw huge uplifts in conversions (380%), and when pulling back from PPC (when organic rankings were high), saw a massive drop off (474%) in conversions. Not only this, they found that organic search traffic increased by 241% when dominating via PPC.
We have touched on in the points above but that’s the great thing about Analytics – it gives us an integrated view of what is happening and we can filter and segment on every screen we look at.
Another new feature to Analytics is the Page Speed tab, which as you might have guessed, lets us see how fast our pages are loading. Speed has become a huge issue in recent years…slow loading pages kill conversions and even if we have the best ads in the world, if the page loads after 10 seconds then we have a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
You can see the loading speed of each page by going to Content -> Site Speed -> Page Timings.
You can view actual landing pages by going to Content -> Site Content -> Landing Pages.
Analytics is an untapped resource that every marketer should be making the most out of; because the data is completely integrated it makes it immensely powerful. If you’re willing to spend some time digging then you’ll find numerous targets. Don’t just look at your Search Queries Reports!
You can find out a lot more about Analytics in these nifty training videos that Google themselves have provided.
This article was written by Ed Baxter from Ignition Search – A leading internet marketing agency in Sheffield who specialise in PPC management. Visit our website for more information and case studies!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily bgTheory. If you would like to write for Certified Knowledge, please let us know.
Overall conversion rates just let you know the percentage of people who completed an action. They do not contain any context about the actual visitors. It’s the context surrounding conversion rates which is the important aspect to pay attention to.
This is some of the analysis we did our our own site a few months ago before we conducted an entire redesign; it was this type of thinking and data that lead to decisions that have had a very positive impact (more on that in another post).
Here’s a snapshot of overall conversion rates on one site:
0.54% doesn’t sound very good from a conversion rate standpoint.
This happens to be the conversion rates for this entire site for just the AdWords seminars goal. Since this site has a blog, information about our company, etc – and the seminars are location based – overall conversions doesn’t mean much as most of the readers do not live in or near a city where we speak.
Conversion Rates By Region
If we were to examine overall conversion rates for the seminars by region, we see a much different set of numbers:
In a case of regional items, overall doesn’t matter – examining conversions from those who are eligible to actually attend your event (or come to your store, etc) is much more important.
Conversion Rates by Source
If you don’t have a geographic focus; then examine conversion rates by source:
Or better yet, segment by both source and region (this could be keyword, campaign, etc):
If you have more than one conversion type, then don’t just segment by total conversion rates; again that’s useless. Conversion rate just shows you the percentage of people who converted; which might not have anything to do with revenue.
My favorite metric to work with in Analytics is Per Visit Goal Value
I know exactly what a seminar registration is worth. I know exactly what a feed subscription is worth (which is a lot less), a CertifiedKnowledge.org subscription, and I know what a contact is worth. In analytics, each of these items is set with its own value. Now instead of just looking at conversion rates – I can see what source leads to the highest total value for the site.
Again, this could be keywords, referring sites, campaigns you are running, etc.
Now we have something to work with – actual revenue and dollar amounts.
How do we get more traffic from the sits sending us visitors worth $67, and not waste our time focusing on sites that are sending us little traffic.
Monetizing Your Site
You don’t have to just focus on traffic coming to your site. Examine the traffic within your site.
The $ index will show you the value of that page view. Examine your own site for you pages with the most monetization value.
Now, compare them to the site average:
As you can see, our top monetization pages have many less page views than the site average. This means we need to think about how to drive more traffic into those sections.
Overall conversion rates are useless.
Focus on at least one segmentation of traffic. It could be region, traffic source, campaign, etc. But do not look at overall numbers because they don’t tell you anything actionable.
Segmenting by two items is even more useful if you still have enough data to make decisions, and you have the time to not just do the analysis – but also the work.
If you spend all your time figuring out what to do; and don’t do it – then maybe you should have done less analysis and more doing.
I went through this (and a lot more) analysis of our site, traffic sources, etc before we did a fairly major (and inexpensive) redesign a few months ago. You can read about the actual redesign process here.
Now that it has been a few months since we conducted the redesign, and have enough data about what the redesign has actually done for the site; I’ll be writing up those finding and publishing them soon.
I took a look at a couple hundred sites this week and found some startling statistics:
More than 90% were breaking at least one of Google’s policies
More than 65% were breaking at least two of Google’s policies
More than 40% were breaking at least three of Google’s policies
How many of these policies are you breaking?
When conducting this survey, I only included sites that needed to follow at least one of Google’s policies. If a site didn’t need to follow any, then I excluded it from the results.
I also focused on privacy policies, and not every single policy for all of the services; the total number of total policies broken would be a higher number.
This was an unofficial survey of a couple hundred sites and I excluded most larger and authoritative domains from my research – although some sites in Google’s Top 1k List were breaking at least two policies.
What happens if you break Google’s TOS? Technically, you could be sued; but more likely you’ll get warned or lose access to the Google program.
Losing access to your Google analytics data, ability to drive traffic with AdWords, or your website’s monetization efforts with AdSense can have a significant impact on a business.
In this column, we will examine common ways businesses unintentionally break Google’s privacy policies and review the requirements needed for any website to be in compliance.
Note: This column is not intended to be legal advice. I’m not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be. The purpose of this column is to increase your awareness of Google’s policies so that you do not suddenly lose access to Google’s programs such as AdWords, Analytics, or AdSense.
Google analytics is used on more than 28% of all websites. When you signup for analytics you agree to their TOS, section 7 of the TOS needs to be read carefully:
To follow this section of the TOS:
State the usage of 3rd party tracking
State the usage of cookies to track anonymous data
AdWords Conversion Tracking
When AdWords first launched conversion tracking you had to put a script on the page that would show a graphic to someone who converted (and had the AdWords cookie on their browser). Google made a change where you could opt not to show a script and inform users on your own.
Remarketing is powerful as you can serve ads across the content network to people who were on your website. These ads have the ability to be creepy as you can follow someone around the web making very explicit statements in your ads.
Because it is easy to abuse remarketing, and cause uneasy feelings in some consumers that can push them away from ads, Google has some policies you must follow if you use Google’s remarketing feature. Here is an excerpt from Google’s policies on remarketing:
If you’re using the remarketing feature, you must have an appropriate description of your use of remarketing in online advertising. The description must be included in the privacy policies of all sites that include the remarketing tag.
The privacy policies should include the following information:
Third party vendors, including Google, show your ads on sites on the internet.
That is a lot of information. Google’s FAQ is old and the DoubleClick and Google advertising opt-out page are now the same. So you can link to a single opt out page if you are using AdWords, DoubleClick, or both for remarketing.
Sites which solicit or store information about the user’s financial status or situation cannot use that sensitive information to create remarketing lists.
Ads which imply to know the user’s financial status or information should not be run with remarketing.
This means you cannot have a remarketing list that was only compiled when someone visited the ‘bad credit’ section of your website and then serve ads that say, ‘We know your credit is bad. We’ll give you a credit card anyway’. Financial sites have many laws they need to follow; but Google’s remarketing TOS is a must read for any financial site.
More from Google:
Because of numerous laws around marketing to children, in the US and elsewhere, we want to ensure we do not allow advertisers to remarket to children under 13 using remarketing. Sites which store or solicit information about users that indicates their age is below 13 may not create remarketing lists using that data.
Ads which are directly marketed toward users under 13 OR ads which are primarily appealing to those under 13 are not allowed to run in conjunction with remarketing. Ad texts which appear to target children are not permitted to run in conjunction with remarketing:
This is a grey area. If you ads appear like they will appeal to children, you can be outside of the TOS. If you offer services for children or families, you need to make sure your ads are speaking to the parents and not to the minors.
Your lists and ads can never be segmented by:
Sensitive or private information
While this might seem obvious for privacy reasons; there are times you might naturally segment this way for marketing purposes and you need to be careful. Let’s say you own a dating site, and that site has a Latino and Catholic section. You cannot cookie just people in the Latino section with one list and people in the Catholic section with another list and then target those individuals with ‘Latino Dating Service ads’.
If you run a review site of several industries, it would be nice to make a list by each industry for remarketing purposes. However, what you cannot do is make a ‘drug rehab’ list and serve ads based upon needing a drug rehabilitation center. That is too just too personal.
Interest based ads are still in beta; however, beta users should be following Google policies as well.
The policies for Interest Based Ads are very similar to the remarketing policies. If you are in the interest based ads beta, even though you might not be using remarketing, you should pay close attention to the terms as you need to inform users of your lists and opt-out methods.
Because this policy is so close to remarketing, there is no need to cover it in-depth; but you can read more on the interest-based advertising policy page.
Google AdWords TOS
Google AdSense is so prevalent across the web; and so easy to install, I don’t believe most publishers (especially the small ones with instant blogging plug-ins) understand there is a TOS that all AdSense publisher must agree to.
The AdSense policy (this is for the US, you can see the terms by county here) clearly states:
About Privacy Policies
Laws concerning privacy policies vary by country. In the United States you do not have to have one – it is optional. However, if you have one you need to follow it.
In other countries, privacy policies are mandatory.
However, if you use several of Google’s services – privacy policies are mandatory if you follow their TOS.
If you would like to learn more about privacy online, here are some good resources:
FTC: Fair Information Practice Principles (Not linked as the FTC broke all their links again)
It’s easy in the small to medium enterprise world to look at huge companies and think they have access to special tools, people, or metrics that cause them to ‘win’.
While some large companies do have custom software, the advances in technology is lowering the metrics gap between large and small companies.
Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics are both free programs that any company can use to make data driven decision. Guess what? Obama’s campaign used these same free tools to determine what combinations lead to higher donations and other visitor engagement methods.
Here is a video (it’s hand shot by an engineer at the talk, so it’s not completely steady) where someone who worked on Obama’s campaign looks at the software and the metrics used to win an election.
Google very quietly rolled out a new feature – use your Google analytics goals as conversions in your AdWords accounts.
It’s been live for at least a week; and very straightforward to use.
Navigate to the conversion tracking screen (in either UI); and there’s a link for ‘Link your Analytics goals and transaction’.
However, when you go to link your AdWords and Analytics goals together, you can only use Goal 1 from your Google Analytics account:
Hopefully, this will be fixed sometime in the future.
I looked for a while; but as much as I could have – so if you know the answer or the link please post it in the comments.
Google Analytics treats a goal as the last site entrance, and is attributed to the day of the click.
Google AdWords treats as goal as the last AdWords ad clicked, and the goal as the date of the click (not the date of the conversion).
Therefore, is linking these two together just going to create more goal confusion – or will some nice pattern work itself out?
Google has ahelp file on connecting AdWords and Analytics; however, on that page the link to the help file “Read about how AdWords Conversion Tracking works with Google Analytics once the two are linked.” goes to a 404, not found page; hence the unanswered questions above.
I might have to set up another couple profiles and just set up single goals to see how well this works.
Since Analytics is a 1st party cookie, and AdWords is a 3rd party cookie – the analytics would be a better tracking mechanism once the details for how a conversion is actually counted are determined. The business rules laid out by Google will determine if this is actually useful for all.
I’d love to hear comments, links to other articles where this is discussed.
Many companies pick an analytics program and install it without first taking a step back and asking a very important question. In fact, this single question can make the difference between your analytics system making you money or being a time waster.
Look at everyone on your team (SEO, PPC, designer, CEO, etc) and ask them one simple question:
What do you need to know to get your job done?
Make them list out their needs. The designer will want to know things like browser types, browser resolutions, etc. Your marketing people will need to know conversions by traffic sources and keywords. The SEO is looking at referral traffic information. Let everyone list out their needs.
Then look at the list and ask each of them, “What is it worth to our company to pay for this information?”
If you have a team of one, and you use wordpress to run your company, knowing which versions of flash are being used is probably not information that’s worth paying to obtain. If you spend $10k a month on PPC and SEO outsourcing, you might not want to pay $15,000 a month for analytics data.
Armed with your list of critical information – interview the potential vendors
When you interview the vendors, do not forget the most critical information to your company. The vendors will show you interesting features that you may have not considered. Every time you see it, don’t be overly impressed and think that you can’t live without that data.
For every feature you did not consider, ask yourself, “Will we use this to make changes to our marketing or website?” If yes, then follow up with “how much will knowing that information affect our bottom line?”
If a new feature costs an additional $5,000 per month, and it’s ‘interesting information’ but not ‘actionable information’, then do you really want to pay for it?
Don’t Get Buried in Data
Any analytics program can bury you in data. You could see what browser resolutions are being used in Singapore when the user has java installed but does not have flash installed. If you receive one visitor a month from Singapore, is that useful data? Is the data even useful to begin with if you had ten thousands a month from Singapore?
There are times you will look at analytics and say, “That’s interesting.”
Interesting is not always actionable. Too many ‘interestings’ will cause you to lose an entire afternoon without making a single decision.
Free Isn’t Always Best – But the Price is Nice
Google analytics is a good analytics program; but it doesn’t have the data everyone needs.
If you need real time stats about your website because you make changes to your homepage throughout the day to direct visitors to the hottest selling items – Google analytics can’t help you.
If you need data warehousing capabilities so you can segment traffic sources from any timeframe based upon their conversion funnels – Google Analytics can’t help.
If you do not have an analytics program, Google analytics is a great place. For many companies, Google Analytics has everything they need. However, you won’t know that until you ask your team first.
Start with your team – they should know what they need to make decisions.
Ask the most important analytics questions that exist:
What do you need to know to get your job done?
Is that information actionable?
What is it worth to our company to pay for this information?
Then ask the vendor, can you provide that information, and how much will it cost.
Making decisions based upon solid analytics data can increase your profits dramatically.
Paying for data you don’t use is a drain on your bank account.
Analytics is just a tool. The way the tool is used is what matters.
When you hire good talent, make sure they have the data they need to help your company succeed.
Google Analytics is a powerful analysis program if set up properly. Inputting the tracking code on Google Analytics does not mean you’re done. It means you’ve taken the first step, but you are no where near tracking the full amount of data you will need to take proper action on all of your data.
Google Analytics captures data in profiles. A profile is just a set of statistics about your website based upon what you’ve told the program to capture. For instance, you could capture all visitors in one profile, but just your Yahoo PPC buy in another one, and just your email blasts in a third profile.
By segmenting data into multiple profiles, you can now fully analyze how just YSM or your email blasts visitors interact, view, and convert on your website.
Planning, creating, and using segmented profile data will help give you actionable insight to increasing profits.
Installing Analytics and Creating New Profiles
First, here’s a quick set of reference materials that will help you install Google analytics and profiles. If you already understand profiles, feel free to skip to the next section. Note, if you do not have the goal copy plug-in, scan this section and install that plug-in for Firefox.
Open and install your Google Analytics account: Tutorial (Note, breeze (i.e. flash-like) presentation that has been taken down).
Create your goals in your first profile. In addition, if you have a multi-step conversion goal, institute goal funnels:
In addition, if you have site search, track it.
Use Firefox, and install the Goal Copy Plug-in. (Note: There are some SEO plug-ins that cause conflicts with Goal Copy. If you are having issues using this plug-in, disable a couple SEO plugins and try again. Since you are not going to use Goal Copy all the time, once you’ve finished inputting your goals into different profiles, you can disable this plug-in and restart the others).
Create a new profile.
Navigate to the goal section of your new profile and use the Goal Copy extension to paste in your new goals. While you’re here, also input your site search parameters.
Creating Profile Filters to Segment Data
This is where the fun begins.
Google has a help file on creating filters here (link removed as Google keeps breaking their own help file URLs). If this is your first filter, keep that window open and learn where to input filters. Once you get to the filter input screen, you’ll want to open this other link: actual PPC keyword data. Between these two sites, you’ll see how to create an advanced filter. With this first filter, you can just copy and paste the information which makes it pretty easy.
Next, once you’ve learned how to create a filter, it’s time to revisit what you want to track. This is my favorite profile list (each bullet is it’s own profile, I’ll have one profile that is all PPC traffic, and then another profile that just examines AdWords).
Yahoo Search Marketing
Email confirmation for Seminars
Seminar follow-up and resources email
Any other mass email sent
All banners together
One profile for each large banner buy
Social traffic (I use cli.gs with URL builder below)
Any other specific types of traffic you’d like to track
I find that being able to look at all PPC or all emails is useful to get high level information of their effectiveness. Then, you can drill down into just looking at one just one PPC type (or just one email blast type).
Creating Multiple Profiles
Creating all of these profile types is not that difficult, it’s time consuming. First, you’ll want to follow the steps above to create that many profile types, copy/paste the goals, site search, adjust eCommerce settings etc first.
Secondly, you’ll want to use Google Analytics URL builder to create the links that you input into your emails, banners, etc so that you can track them appropriately.
For instance, if I wanted to track visitors, and conversions, to our site from an email blast promoting the AdWords Seminars, I could build a URL such as:
Now, in my filters, I could choose to have one profile that only contained information from visitors when the source was ‘Seminar’. In this instance, I could then use the same source=seminar in PPC, banner ads, etc to see how the campaign was doing on a holistic basis.
I could then create a second profile that only contained information from emails. This way I could see how emails in general were converting.
If I wanted to see just how this one email was converting, I could even create another profile that just contained information from this specific email blast.
Due to only having a limited amount of time to dig into analytics, the only times I track just one specific source is if it’s PPC (one for AdWords, another profile for Yahoo, and a third for adCenter), a large banner buy, or something new that I want to see specifically (such as tracking twitter).
Tracking PPC Keywords in Yahoo or adCenter with Google Analytics
Of course, you would not want to enter every single keyword individually into the URL builder and then paste the information into adCenter or YSM. Use your PPC friend, Excel, to accomplish this easily.
First, let’s look at a completed tracking URL for adCenter:
?utm_source=adCenter — Where our traffic comes from
&utm_medium=PPC — Type of traffic (PPC)
&utm_term=Keyword –- Actual keyword
&utm_content=adGroup — Ad Group name
&utm_campaign=Campaign -– Campaign name
If you download your account into excel; building this file is pretty easy. If you layout your excel file by column as:
?utm_source=adCenter&utm_medium=PPC (this column you can edit the source and medium as desired)
Next, do a global find a replace and replace all spaces with plus signs (+) or whatever you like to designate as a space.
Next, for the last column, just input this formula:
Drag that formula down the page. The new column will be your new destination URL that you can upload into your other campaigns. Of course, you could be much more complex with this excel file and layout some fields as static and others as dynamic, but this is a general layout to give you the idea how to build these URLs.
If you now create a profile that only contains data if the medium is PPC and another profile when the source is adCenter, you will now have two profiles to examine all PPC data, and another one where the only data is from adCenter. Now you can see funnels and advanced metrics only looking at that segmented data.
When do you need the data?
There is such as thing as paralysis analysis. Where you just have too much data to know where to start. That is possible with many profiles. The thing about Google analytics is that you can’t completely segment old data. If you were to create these tracking URL, but not create a new profile, you could not see the conversion funnel by just adCenter data.
In addition, you cannot use data from one profile to pre-populate another profile. Profiles only start collecting data on the day you create the profile.
Therefore, I’m a fan of creating all these profiles first, let them collect data. Then when you need the data it will exist. The issue with Google Analytics is that if you want till you need the data to create the profile, you will not ever have the old data.
Where to begin?
This is a lot of information, so let’s recap in easy bullet points:
Map out what data you would like to segment
Determine a tracking URL structure (based upon the URL builder inputs) that will let you use unique names as profile segments for those various data points
Create a profile for each list of of those data points
Copy and paste the goals and other settings into those profiles
Create a filter for each profile based upon the data you wish to capture in that profile
Create tracking links for your new destination URLs
Change any current links to then new destination URLs
Analyze your new data to create actionable items within your account
It is worth checking if your email system already has Google analytic integration – some do. If so, you might want to use there medium codes for your other emails so you can track all mails together (if you use mail and your vendor uses newsletter for the medium, all email data will not be in one profile).
Honestly, if you are changing adCenter, Yahoo, a handful of banner campaigns, your email blast, etc – this should only take a day of work for most companies. Some will accomplish this in a few hours, others might need a few days.
What is the data worth to you? If you can now track all banner campaigns to find out the $10k one produces $5k in total lifetime revenue, but the $3k one produces $10k in sales; that knowledge alone could be worth your day.
You cannot analyze what you don’t have.
Planning, segmenting, and changing your destination URLs for later analysis can save you time, money, and lead you to stop analyzing data – but starting to make changes based upon the data.
The goal of analytics is not just data insight. The goal of analytics is insight that forces action and change.
The Goal Funnel Visualization is a critical report in Google Analytics. This report will you see where users are abandoning your conversion activities.
For example, if you had a 3 page form fill, wouldn’t it be useful if you could see:
Page 1 – 100% enter
Page 2 – 80% enter
Page 3 – 30% enter
Goal completion: 2%
What that data shows you is that consumers are moving down the early stage of the funnel, but there is a large drop off later in the funnel. This is a perfect place to examine for usability, informational, and other issues to see why there is such a large conversion abandonment.
One of the best uses of the funnel (and many of Google’s other charts) is first segmenting users to see how that user type interacts with your site.
For example, you could view your stats only when:
Visitors are from a social network site
The user converted on your site
A user came from an expensive banner ad you’re testing
The user is on a mobile device
The user is in California
The user came from a particular search engine
The user came from a paid search campaign
The user bought a specific product
The user came from an email campaign
By only looking at segmented data, you could see that banner 1 is profitable, and RSS advertising isn’t leading to a high engagement. This level of detail will let you tailor your site to visitor types, but also allow you to make better decisions about which ad types are profitable. Understanding if that the $15k/month banner you’re buying from a site is leading to solid traffic is an insight that will help you make better advertising decisions.
The biggest issue with segmentation on Google Analytics? It doesn’t work with certain reports:
If you are trying to view reports that can not be segmented, there is a way around this issue.
Create a new analytics profile
Edit settings for that profile
Go to the filter settings of that profile
Create a new custom filter
In the filter field, choose campaign source, medium, or however you’re tagging your URLs
If you don’t know how to tag your URLs for Google Analytics, use Google’s URL builder tool.
Save the filter
Repeat the above step as necessary if you want new sources of traffic added to that profile
Now, that profile in Google Analytics will only contain traffic from that particular source. The biggest drawback is that this will not let you see data back in time. Google profiles only contain data from the day you set the up. However, now you can view the Goal Funnel, and any advanced reports just for traffic from a certain source.
You could set this up so that one profile is just your Google AdWords data, and another is just your Yahoo Search Marketing or Microsoft adCenter data. What to look at organic conversions from just Google, or just Yahoo? You can use a custom profile to see which search engine sends you higher converting traffic.
My favorite use is one profile for bought traffic, and another for each high priced banner or email ad. You could even just see how your email lists are performing by just looking at traffic derived from particular email campaigns.
Make sure you can analyze your data and traffic properly. Custom filters and profiles will give you fantastic insight into your customers to help you make better advertising decisions, but to have the data to know where you need to work for increasing conversion rates.
It’s another one to know how to make the data usable.
You can use Google Analytics custom reports to segment data in many ways. But how to do you take that segmentation and actually improve your AdWords account?
Here’s one example.
Create a custom filter by city (watch the video below for instructions)
In the metrics, instead of using bounce rates, use ‘Total goal completions’,‘Goal conversion rate’, and ‘New visitors’.
Save the custom report.
When you’re viewing the report, under ‘Segments at the top of the screen’ (see picture below) choose ‘Paid Traffic’
You will now be viewing conversion rate and visitor information from paid traffic in each city.
Look for cities with low conversion rates and high traffic.
For those cities, you should consider creating a geo-targeted campaign to help reach that audience.
If you can’t make those geographies convert, you can also block those regions in your campaign’s location settings.
You can do a lot of analytics of the data in Google Analytics and Google AdWords. However, analysis paralysis is common. Before you start the analysis, think about the actions you can take from what you learn. If you can’t take any action – should you even bother to do the analysis?