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You need to make the most of your web analytics package. We assume you already have one. If you don't, make it a priority to invest in one that fits your requirements. If you have one but you are just starting, take the time to devise a web analytics strategy which should include at a minimum: resources and stakeholders, tracking methodologies, goals definition, and a reporting structure. If you are well versed in web-analytics, than it may be a matter of defining better key performance indicators and deriving more clear action plans.
Selecting your web analytics program depends on a variety of factors, including business size and budgets. But first, there are strategic considerations you need to evaluate.
Question 3. I Was Told By My Web Analytics Vendor That Tagging My Pages Is Easy. I Find Tagging To Be A Time Intensive Process And Requires A Variety Of Expertise. What Can I Do To Make Things Simpler?
Implementing a web analytics program is rarely a slam-dunk, especially if you are dealing with a large number of pages, or complex website architecture, or database-driven pages, or a content management system, or a combination of the above. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer nor a quick fix. It requires a careful analysis of the marketing objectives, familiarity with the web analytics program, defining an implementation strategy, coding, testing, and launching. If you are dealing with a large website, we recommend assembling a team with the following areas of expertise: marketing stakeholder(s), software architect, programmer, network engineer, and search a marketing consultant.
You probably need to define and measure better goals. It is a well-known challenge many marketers and companies are facing these days. Today's web analytics tools provide a plethora of statistics and you may simply see symptoms of a "data rich, information poor" case. We recommend sitting down with your marketing team and define new key performance indicators. KPIs should align with your business goals and should target the entire customer cycle. Improved KPIs should have a positive impact on your company revenue.
While your ability to measure may be restricted by application architecture, security requirements, infrastructure limitations, and privacy policies, most online marketing endeavours can be tracked and measured in detail. The following are the digital channels that we have developed and measured over the years: websites, microsites, search engines, email, e-Commerce, contests, wireless devices, and banner advertising.
The most common problems people experience when first setting up their web analytics tools are usually due to not having set up their tracking code snippets correctly. When you insert the tracking code in to the HTML or page source of your website, copy the code snippet and paste it directly into the backend of your website.
If you cannot access web analytics after inserting this code, try copying the code and pasting it into a plain text editor, and then pasting it into your website HTML. Even small formatting changes such as extra spaces or different types of quotation marks can wreck havoc with your tracking code – which needs to be exact to work correctly – and pasting first into a plain text file can get rid of any formatting issues.
If you are tracking the analytics of multiple websites or have access to multiple analytics accounts, you may be confusing the tracking snippets between account and websites. Ensure you are viewing the correct account and profile.
To users new to web analytics the above seems common sense, but once you have a better understanding of the metric of a visitor in web terms, rather than thinking of a visitor as one individual user, all becomes clear.
Essentially, there is really no such thing as a new visitor when you are considering the analytics of a website over an extended period of time. If a visitor makes their first visit on a given day, and then returns to the web site on the same day, they are both a new visitor and a repeat visitor for that day. In terms of web analysis, a new visitor is not an individual – it’s really just a measure of web data. Thinking of visitors as individuals can be misleading when considering your web data, so try to look at the big picture, rather than focusing on finer points.
As touched on in the example above, it’s far more beneficial to use your web analytics data to identity trends, rather than nit-pick over absolutes. It can require some discipline on your part when you’re starting out and there is so much incredible data at your fingertips not to start implementing changes and ‘improvements’ right away, but easy does it – especially when you’re first starting out.
Adapting your website based on one-off incidences or visitor anomalies would be jumping the gun, right? You wouldn’t overhaul your site because you’ve had one bad traffic day – instead you’d look at the traffic over the course of a week or a month so get a feel for overall traffic trends, which can, of course, be influenced by day of the week, public holidays, and even the weather.
Using trends to look at the big picture of your website’s performance is the best way to gain insight and make informed and measured adjustments to improve the web experience you offer users.
You can say that in 10 seconds.
The challenge is that you should have done enough work upfront to know what's important to the business, got a rough sense for things you can fix right away and their value, and then done some back of the napkin calculations about the Economic Value your fixes will add. That takes a few days of pain. But there is no alternative.
If you are in a company this is easier to get done as you have access to people and at least some data (even if the site is not tagged). If you are a consultant then identifying opportunities is a smidgen harder, but you can use your experience with other clients to quantify value.
We all look for shortcuts, in this case some magical words from an enchanted fairy who lives in the mythical city of Oz.
Your problem is the primary key. So use unique phone numbers (specific to campaigns if you want granular details)… leverage unique coupon / campaign / offer codes… get good at geographic targeting… become a God of controlled experiments.
It is hard for you to share a lot of detail in a tweet so let me just make up one example and answer your question. I open GA's keyword report. I see this:
KW: "Avinash is a awesome" Visits: 2
KW: "Avinash is not awesome" Visits: 0
There are two reasons this could happen.
Paid Search. For AdWords accounts that are linked to Google Analytics in very rare cases it happens that "click" data is available from AdWords for certain keywords but there is no Visit data available in Google Analytics. Perhaps because the tracking code did not fire off or, more likely, there was no tracking code on the landing page. Then you'll see some zeros in the visits column. One way to verify is to click on Traffic Sources > Campaigns > Clicks tab to see the non-zero impressions from AdWords.
Organic Search. Let's use this example.. You come to the blog on the search phrase "Avinash is awesome," you land on a irrelevant page on this blog, you hit the back button and go back to Bing, you try a different search phrase "Avinash is not awesome," you land on the right page, you love it, you read lots of post, you leave. So how does GA decide which keyword to assign that visit to? Should each keyword show one Visit? That would not be right. Should it be the first search phrase you came on? The second one?
GA will show you both, but put a zero for the second. Essentially it is assigning "credit" (attributing) the visit to the first keyword ("Avinash is awesome"), and a zero in Visit for the second keyword ("Avinash is not awesome"). But each keyword gets "credit" for other metrics. So if you had seen three pages on the keyword "Avinash is awesome" then it will show one visit but it will show three page views. And if you came back again, in less than 29 mins on the keyword "Avinash is not awesome" and saw ten pages and converted then that kw will show zero visit, 10 pages and one conversion.
IMPORTANT: This type of behavior is rare so you should not see 0 visits often.
For website visits, traffic sources, countries, keywords, and other sites visited, you can use Google Trends for Websites.
For organic search keyword analysis (share of shelf, unaided brand recall, competitive indexing, industry analysis) use Insights for Search.
For paid search keyword reporting (volumes, competitive performance, CPS's etc.) use the AdWords Keyword Tool.
For demographic and psychographic analysis (age, gender, income, education etc.) use the DoubleClick AdPlanner.
There are many, many paid tools in the market (like HitWise and Compete and Netsuus). Above are just the free ones whose datasets are is large enough to provide good data. They are all Google tools
The best option is to hire a statistician with experience in data modeling and forecasting. In case she/he does not have programming experience, hook them up with a technical person who has modest technical skills.
Two other quick things…
Churn is a term most closely associated with customers you have acquired (and then failed to retain) and not so much to "fly by night" Visitors on your site. The latter, except in rare cases, is hard to do predictive analytics on unless you are a stagnant business.
If you want to do churn analysis, as defined above, then you don't want GA as much as you want your back-end ERP / "Orders" database that has your customer history, and just a couple of acquisition signals (campaign and source come to mind). You can and should do that now (along with customer lifetime value type valuable computations).
Additionally, it is exceptionally difficult to measure available demand because
(These are also reasons why click attribution to multiple campaign prior to conversion is such a thankless exercise. Implicit in that is the assumption of infinite demand, among other problems.)
I have personally had a lot of success using Controlled Experimentation techniques, such as, say, Media Mix Modeling, to understand both current available demand and also segment conversion effectiveness. And this has to be a continuous approach and not discreet.
Use tools like Insights for Search, Compete (Search Analytics reports), HitWise, SEOmoz Tools etc to understand your performance in context of your competitors.
Without knowing what you want to show it is hard to make a recommendation as to how to visualize. There is no upper limit to effective ways to visualize data.
But if it helps I love Tag Clouds, Keyword Trees, and Motion Charts. Also while it not so much a visualization, I love how effectively you can go from thousands of rows to just the few that matter using Weighted Sorts.
There are many I could nominate for this honor… so it is hard to just pick one… I want to go with the completely useless % Exit metric… but I think I'll go with Pageviews.
Total page views generated or even average page views per visit is just so useless almost all of the time.
Do regression analysis that factors in all the available variables (and be really thorough here) to isolate the relationship, as Wikipedia says, "between a dependent variable and one or more independent variable."
collected by competitive intelligence tools. You can then understand how to choose the right tool – depending on the location of the competitors (U.S. or non-U.S.), the rough size of the traffic they might get (panel based systems suck at any analysis of sites that might get less than one million unique visitors a month), and line this up with your ability to pay (you go from free to really expensive, for example, as you move from Trends for Websites to Compete to HitWise).
You have to be able to recognize when there simply is not enough data, and in our WA context, this happens a lot. There are things like conditional logistic regressions that you can apply to tease out some insights. It is hard.
I have personally learned to switch to "What else can I do?" So for example, if the site has a very small sample, I could switch to a simple one question on-exit survey to get some VOC to get more hints as to what's up. Or maybe just dump the whole data from visitors and switch to expert analysis (conceptfeedback.com type analysis). Or maybe simple usability research. Or, worst of all when the gun is to my head, "best practices."
There is no tradition of accountability in almost every country when it comes to public service (there are some exceptions like Singapore).
No accountability = very little desire to measure.
There has to be fundamental massive change to a bureaucratic, siloed, politicized institution populated by non-relevant people at the top environment. Else you and I, Jon, will slog in vain, or at best, move in minor increments along a local maxima.
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