Learning Web Analytics from the LITA 2012 National Forum Pre-conference

In advance of the conference, Tabby and Nina reached out to the participants ahead of time with a survey on what we the participants were interested in learning and solicited questions to be answered in the class. Twenty-one participants responded and of them seventeen were already using Google Analytics (GA). About half those using GA check their reports 1-2 times per month and the rest less often. The conference opened with introductions and a brief description of what we were doing with analytics on our website and what we hoped to learn.

We learned that beyond the tool we use measure our analytics, we need to identify what we want our website to do. We do this by using pre-existing documentation our institutions have on their mission and purpose as well as the mission and purpose of the website and who it is to serve. Additionally, we need a privacy statement so our patrons understand that we will be tracking their movements on the site and what we will be collecting. We learned that there are challenges when using only IP addresses (versus cookies) for tracking purposes. For example, does our institution’s network architecture allow for you to identify patrons versus staff using IP address or are cookies a necessity?

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Google Analytics for Beginners

The Digital Union offered a simple introduction to basic Google Analytics tools. In this demonstration, we covered the basics of Google Analytics, including demographics, landing pages and exit pages, viewer behavior (new vs. returning), viewer technology (browser and operating system), and more.

We discussed key Google Analytics terms, such as “pageviews” and “visitors,” and highlighted useful resources and information to include when running reports.This session was designed as an orientation for those with little or no experience with Google Analytics and not a hands-on exercise. There were no attendance prerequisites.

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What’s next for Google Analytics?

I joined Google in 2005 – just after the acquisition of Urchin, the forerunner of Google Analytics. A big factor for me coming on board with Google (it was not a “no-brainer” as I had my own business and staff to consider), was the promise of the continued development of the product.

At the time, many an industry “luminary” predicted that once acquired, Urchin would just be another product/tool on Google’s shelf. Many mergers and acquisitions are like that – once acquired the interest of the acquiring company moves on to the next thing – but not Google. In fact, what still amazes me is that after 7 years since the launch of Google Analytics, the pace of change is even more rapid than during the first 3 years…

Take for example the announcement of Universal Analytics at the recent GA Summit in October. Universal Analytics is a complete change to how data is collected. Now, not just web analytics but offline transactions and events can be captured and reported in GA. Interesting times indeed.

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How To Track Form Abandonment in Google Analytics

A question I hear frequently is “can I track form abandonment in Google Analytics?” The answer is yes, and I’ll explore the details in a moment, but you should first consider alternative solutions.

There are existing solutions (like ClickTale) that do this in a much more elegant manner, with reports dedicated specifically to form analytics. Think of it like the goal funnel visualization reports, but applied to forms.

However, if you don’t want to spend the money on an alternative solution, or you want to keep everything in one place (i.e., Google Analytics), I can help you. You can use event tracking to find out which fields of your form are being filled out, and which ones are causing people problems. To do this, you can fire an event whenever a user’s cursor exists a field of the form.

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Using Google Analytics Event Goals for PPC Success

A conversion is the most important non-default metric you can track in your PPC accounts. You will always need to identify and assign conversions and their accompanying values to understand whether or not your campaign is hitting the goal you set for it. Often, these conversion goals can be as straightforward as a signup or a purchase, but sometimes it’s just not that simple.

Sometimes you may find yourself working with a site or a client that has a more roundabout conversion or perhaps a site that defies traditional conversion capture. In these cases, you may want to think about using Event Goals through Google Analytics.

Not every client or company will have the same resources, so setting up meaningful onsite interaction goals through traditional conversion tracking or Google Analytics goals may not be feasible.

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Google Analytics In-Page Analytics Gets Link Attribution Reporting

The In-Page Analytics reports provide, in a page basis, the percentage of clicks from page to page in a website. The reports are a great way to analyze patterns of behavior, and can provide important insights to web designers and UX professionals. For example, they can be used to understand if specific links on a page are used or not and by which segments of visitors.

A great case would be to check how often mobile users click on specific links as opposed to non-mobile users. As we can see below, by using Advanced segments we would see for each link the percentage of mobile vs. non-mobile clicks (learn more about advanced segments and how to create them).

However, as we can see in the screenshot below, two separate links that send visitors to the same page are aggregated in this report, meaning that we wouldn’t be able to measure the success of two different links in driving visitors to another page. In addition, JavaScript buttons and actions could not be tracked using In-App Analytics up till now.

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In today’s tutorial, we look at email marketing engagement – how engaged are your email subscribers in the rest of your digital marketing?

For example, do you know if your email subscribers view more pages than the average website visitor? Do you know if they convert better? In this short 3 minute video, we’ll look at setting up an email traffic custom segment in Google Analytics and then analyzing these different engagement metrics to compare your email traffic with your regular site traffic to see if email subscribers are more engaged.

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2012 Google Analytics Summit Recap

It was a busy week at the 2012 Google Analytics summit. If you’re in the online marketing space you’ve probably heard many of the announcements and some of the features we’ll all see in 2013.
Here’s my recap of what’s coming from Google Analytics.

This was the big news. Universal Analytics is the next generation measurement platform that will help businesses measure their ever-changing digital world. UA (get it, UA) includes a number of technologies, like the Measurement Protocol, User ID sessionization, Custom Dimensions, and Dimension Widening. There’s too much to post here.

Another change to Google Analytics is PURE Visitor Segmenttion. We’ve always had advanced segmentation, but now it’s changing to be visitor level. This is a really big deal, because it means we can create segments like ‘revenue per user > $500′. You’ll also be able to use the new Visitor segmentaiton to do cohort analysis. For those that are unfamiliar, a cohort is really just a segment based on date.

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Four Important Website Redesign Questions Google Analytics Can Help You Answer

When you think about redesigning your website, you need to have a plan. To come up with a plan, you need to know what’s going on. Web analytics can be an invaluable tool to help you decide what to do with your website, and to do it better this time.

Analytics data can show you where your website was doing well before, so you can continue doing the same things well, and it can show you where your website was struggling, so you can find ways to make sure you correct those issues this time. While any web analytics tool can help you get the sort of information you need to redesign your website the smart way, we’re going to be using Google Analytics as an example.

Here are four questions, among many, that web analytics data can help you answer, and that can give you a lot of insight into how you can make sure your next website is better than the last.

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Analytics Canvas at the Google Analytics Summit 2012

Last week in Mountainview at the Computer science history museum, Google analytics certified partners, Google Analytics Premium customers, Googlers and a select group of five software vendors attended the annual Google Analytics Summit. Analytics Canvas was proud to have been invited again this year by Google to present our latest version and participate.

This was a particularly exciting summit, as Google made some very significant announcements regarding the future and direction of Google Analytics. Many of these are game changing, particularly for enterprise users. At a high level, I see two key points.

First, rather than thinking about individual visits, the underlying model of Universal Analytics will be customer centric. Companies can build their analytics to revolve around customers, their actions, behaviors and the profitability attached to them. This means that web analyics data can become less isolated from other customer data and improves accross the enterprise visibility, bringing Google Analytics into the main stream of all tracking, not just web analytics.

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