One of the pivotal aspects of running your business entails the process of taking stock. Closely monitoring the progress of your business would help you plug the loopholes in your marketing strategy and significantly enhance your sales figures and ROI. Google has made all this possible with its quintessential service called Google Analytics that specifically caters to online marketers.
So what exactly is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a flagship service from the Google stables that furnish accurate visitor data for an online enterprise. By registering for this service you would stand to gain comprehensive stats pertaining to the number of page views your site is receiving, the average time spent by each visitor, the total amount of visits etc. Additionally you can keep tabs on a variety of your marketing campaigns including email marketing and pay per click.
The Google Analytics Traffic Overview is a report that provides an overview of the different kinds of sources that send traffic to your site. The graph shows traffic trends; the pie-chart and tables show what is driving the trends. “Direct Traffic” is visits from people who clicked a bookmark to come to your site or who typed your site URL directly into their browser. “Referring Sites” shows visits from people who clicked to your site from another site. “Search Engines” shows visits from people who clicked to your site from a search engine result page.
Given the rise of social media, a common question by newbies to Google Analytics is how to track their social media referrals. Here is how to do that in 4 steps.
Let’s take for example eMarketer. This company sends daily e-mail updates to people who have a) visited their website, b) are interested in sampling their market data for free before signing up for it (and of course paying for it!), c) have signed up to read the free updates, and d) have provided the company permission to send them daily updates via e-mail. I cannot be more specific about the importance of asking them for permission.
Here’s how they do it:
Notice that there’s no checkbox for the newsletter itself because it is very explicit that the person viewing for the page is signing up for the newsletter. However, notice that there is one checkbox for people who don’t mind receiving news about webinars, event announcements, whitepaper offers, best practices guides, and research briefs.
As you can see, there are plenty of links on this eMarketer newsletter but for simplicity I will focus on the boxed link in the picture above. Let’s imagine that the URL of this link is http://emarketer.com/latestadclickcount.
Campaign Source: Input newsletter because we are talking about an e-mail permission mareketing campaign. I indicate that this is the newsletter #25. Is not mandatory to number them, but I would suggest to do so. It’s important to segment your referrals so you can see what e-mail newsletters are more effective.
Campaign Medium: It’s e-mail.
Campaign Term: In this case, we are paying for keywords.
Campaign Content: Another source to further segment your e-mail campaigns. However, in this simple case it is not necessary.
Campaign Name: I am assuming that this campaign is part of the “CTR products” campaign because the ad talks about CTRs of online banner ads in Europe. eMarketer could be interested in tracking the number of people who click on this article to measure the interest on white papers that discuss CTR optimization techniques, CTR softwares, CTR reports, etc.
The resulting link is http://emarketer.com/latestadclickcount?utm_source=newsletter25&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CTR%2Bproducts. eMarketer would use this link as the link on its newsletter.
That’s it! Now eMarketer would have to just wait for the reaction of its The eMarketer Daily recipients.
Once people start clicking on the target link, Google Analytics will start measuring the clicks.
Here’s a sample referrals report:
Google Analytics will report the clicks on the link coming from “Other” sources. The “Other” category will lump all clicks on links optimized with the Google Analytics URL Builder, so that’s why it’s important that you make smart use of the different fields that this tool offers you.
As part of a MBA assignment, I had to summarize the history of web analytics. I thought it would be nice to share it with you:
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I know, I know, I promised that the next 5 postings would be about the 5 key factors that determine that your website appears on a search engine query, but I really, really, really have to discuss about the implementation of Google Analytics at www.srbienesraices.com.
The main reason is that this will serve as guide for real estate brokers to implement their own Google Analytics code in their websites.
SYLVIA ROJAS BIENES RAÍCES is a 100% Ecuadorean-owned company specialized in the the negotiation of real estate in the provinces of Guayas, Manabí, Los Ríos, El Oro and with representatives in Azuay. The home page is www.srbienesraices.com and is in Spanish.
Since August 2007 I have served as the webmaster of this website.
Sylvia Rojas is my mother.
Since August 2007 I have not received any form of payment for maintaining this website and I have incurred in all hosting payments.
Let’s get to work!
Check that your website works properly! For example, check for broken links. There is really no sense to track a website that is full of errors. In our case, Sylvia Rojas Bienes Raices (from now on referred as SRBR) consists of only 6 pages so it was real simple to check that the website works like it should.
Once you have make sure that your web site works (if not, then DO IT NOW!), open a Google Analytics account at www.google.com/analytics. If you have an existing Gmail account, you can use that one. If not, then you can create one. In either case, keep things simple, use an existing Gmail account (no need to have 2 Gmail accounts), or when creating a new one, use a name that you can relate your website to. In our case, I already have an existing Gmail account.
Add your Website Profile. You will need your web domain. In our case is www.srbienesraices.com/, please note that I have added the “/” at the end. I am not sure of the importance of this parameter, but I have always included it. (Note to self: look up why we need it!)
Google Analytics will provide a Java script code that will look like this:
Please note that the red underlined text will be different. This will be your own Google Analytics account number.
Copy this code.
Open index.html page (home page) using the html editor of your choice. In my case, I use Macromedia Dreamweaver 8. Switch to the code or source view. You cannot paste the Google Analytics code on design view. You must do it on code or source view. Make sure that you don’t see the code when you’re viewing your page in preview view.
Paste the code right before the </body> tag. In our case, it is the second to last line of code.
Save your page. Make sure that you save the changes!
Repeat steps 6, 7 and 8 with all the pages in your existing website.
Sign up to your FTP server of your hosting service and upload all your updated pages that now include the Google Analytics code. Note: yes, you have to replace the existing pages for the Google Analytics to start working.
Confirm that you have entered the tracking code correctly. No idea how to do it? Then try the SiteScan tool from EpikOne, available at www.sitescanga.com, you will just need your home page and an e-mail address to use this free tool. You will receive an e-mail confirming the status of your tracking code, also you will be able to download a report in CSV format (that means you can open it with Microsoft Excel). In our case, the report took 3 minutes and all URLS (6 in total).
Wait 24 hours for the code to kick in! According to Google:
Google Analytics generally updates your reports every 24 hours. This means that it could take 24 hours for data to appear in your account after you have first installed the tracking code.
The whole process took about 1 hour.
After 2 hours of installation, I have not received any data. This is ok because I am still within the 24 hours. I will check whether Google Analytics has received any data tomorrow.
Google Analytics is a Java script based code so make sure that your browser and hosting accepts Java script.
There has been a lot of movement at our office over the last and current week, a lot of colleagues coming in to finalize the details of our product launch. Given the nature of our product launch, I cannot write much about it, but I can tell you that in about 20 days I will be able to give more details.
In the meantime, let’s talk about one of my assignments: to find the top 10 Google AdWords for us. The main goal is to set up a monitoring systems that allows us to monitor these keywords in conversations relevant to us on Blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. Sounds easy? I wish!
Finding the right (key)words is hard, just like NY prepsters, Vampire Weekend sing on “Oxford Comma”:
Haven’t got the words for you / All your diction dripping with disdain / Through the pain
So what is a web analytics newbie to do? I set on the following 3 tasks:
Review Brian Clifton’s “Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics” for all mentions of Google AdWords.
Given the urgency of our product launch, I have only been able to do the two first tasks so far (and have not been able to blog about it, until today!).
Let’s see what I got:
First, the book by Clifton is really great and I can see referring to it a lot in the future. It already has lots of page separator’s by subject. If this book is either sitting on your shelf or on your Amazon.com wish list, here is a motivator to pick it up. Check the following pages on tips regarding AdWords: 73-75, 92, 103-105, 173, 190-201, 299-305 and 308. The tips range from setting objectives of your AdWords campaign to creating filters on Google Analytics reports to determining key measures such as cost per acquisition.
One of the main problems with selecting and monitoring keywords is the specific/broad dilemma, that is whether to choose a campaign based on “shoes” versus “blue shoes”. A broad match set on “shoes” would allow you to measure web visitors that searched for “blue shoes”, “nice shoes”, etc., while a specific match set just on “shoes” would only measure web visitors that searched “shoes” only. Also, a specific match set on “blue shoes” would not include a keyword search like “pair of blue shoes”.
Second, after reviewing the Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool, the mentioned problem becomes evident. By generating keywords using descriptive words or phrases I get some interesting results. For example, I am particularly interested in “photo sharing”, which has an approximate average search volume (AASV) of 165,000. Not too bad…I thought. Just the keyword “photo” has an AASV of 20,400,000! The keyword sharing has an AASV of 2,240,000! What is a web analyzer to do?
Think outside of the box!, said Vampire Weekend.
So if there’s any other way / To spell the word / It’s fine with me, with me
The next step is to generate keywords using your actual website content, let it talk to you. After inputing our company address I got very good leads like “photo gallery” with a healthy AASV of 823,000 and “slideshow” with 1,000,000. Funny, these are key features that I had not consider before and they make more sense (besides having a greater AASV!).
Check your handbook / It’s no trick: There is a lot of literature available on selection of keywords. Try the tutorials at Google AdWords and AdSense first, then complement your ideas with Clifton and web analytics’ blogs (refer to my Blogroll on the left side for some references).
Adjust my tie / Know your butler, unlike other guys: Two words > Keyword Tool! Listen to your website. Let it do the legwork for you.
I met the highest lama / His accent sounded fine: Quality over quantity. Selecting a single word with a high AASV may provide you a greater hit rate, but these site visitors may just exit on your home page after realizing that your site has nothing to do with their search. Remember the key is conversion!
From my last post, I got the attention from the WordPress staff! : )
Not to worry, I still love WordPress! I just wish that the WordPress Blog Stats where as detailed as the Google Analytics. One of my main complains is that the graphs are flash (opposed to JPEG, GIF, etc) and I cannot copy them here that easily.
Let’s take a look at the WordPress Blog Stats below from idaconcpts.com for the period between 08-06-08 and 08-13-08:
I apologize for the messiness. Here are the main giveaways:
Flickr and Google are key search terms that drive readers to this blog. Writing about those two companies should spark more interest about this blog.
If a reader arrives to my page, there is a high probability that he/she will check the “About the author” section. It is the most popular page. Caveat: it is quite possible that most of these views happened on 08-06-08 when idaconcpts.com went live and in that day there was only one post and the “About the author” page.
I really need to work on making my articles more interesting, because I only had 9 views on the last 2 days (yes, the 13th is not done yet but this is the data so far!).
In more commercial news, today I got an 8GB iPhone 3G and I am really excited! Hopefully this weekend I will be able to play around with it and download a couple of applications. A colleague is developing a Hawaiian-themed game that he will put online. It looks pretty darn good! Will keep you posted both on my iPhone shenanigans and my colleague’s iPhone game launch.
Last night I received the following books from Amazon.com:
I am really excited and looking forward to review these books. Blank’s work guides how I approach online users and has converted me 100% to the Customer Development Process. Then, I want to review Clifton’s work to get a better understand of web metrics with Google Analytics. Finally, I will literally follow Avinash’s book an hour a day to improve my understanding of web analytics.
Have a great day and now…get back to make some more money! : )
This is the second week of idaconcpts.com and I am really happy to have received comments from:
Justo Ibarra from www.doctormetrics.com, to who I would like thank for his help installing the Google Analytics tool at my blog. Doctor metrics is an Analytics Authorized Consultant and Urching Client Service & Support Partner from Google. Check out his blog for helpful updates on the state-of-the-art of web metrics. His blog is only available in Spanish. The doctor is in!
Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day (which I highly recommended on an earlier post). His latest post, inspired my last post about doing web analytics of Flickr.com using Google Trends. His summary of what is Web Analytics 2.0 all about is amazing! It surely makes my life easier to explain what is my job! Check out a visual summary below from Avinash’s website:
Today I have spent a decent amount of time installing the Google Analytics tool @ idaconcpts.com and I am sad to tell you that despite the help from both gentlemen mentioned above, the review of several blogs regarding this topic at WordPress and Google; I am very sad to announce that I could only install it on the “About the Author” page.
Let’s review this problem!
WordPress does not allow code in Java: Even though Google Analytics does provide a copy/paste code for WordPress (just like Shelfari), this code is not accepted because it involves Java code, which is cancelled at WordPress. There are two ways to get around this issue:
Host your website on a private domain and then use the WordPress application to upload your blog. (Caveat: This solution is good for Windows users but it is a bit problematic for Mac users. Being a recent Mac convert, I will have to keep you posted on how to tackle this issue.)
You can install it the code by deleting from the code all the 4 script type lines. However, the text will appear and then you will have to hide it using white font. I am aware that my solution is not very elegant but it appears to work.
It is very funny that I tried to discuss this topic at the WordPress Facebook page but it was considered to be inappropriate! This is surprising because I am no the only one looking for a solution!
Since I hosted idaconcpts.com at WordPress, I don’t have access through FTP to my content, so I cannot incorporate the Google Analytics code into it.
Conclusion: What are possible solutions?
Adding a widget feature to WordPress.
Offer the service as an upgrade.
Ask WordPress users to be better programmers (ha!).