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Pam Aungst: How to Improve Your Google Analytics Skills

The quote says: the goal is to turn data into information and information into insight. So, what’s the difference, though, between data and information and information and insight? Well, data is just a bunch of characters, really letters numbers not necessarily organized in any meaningful way.

So that’s data, but when you do organize them in a meaningful way, you then have information and with information you can gain insight by using the data if it’s structured in the right way to answer questions, for example, question: do organic search visitors engage with our website. More so than paid search you well, the gobbly gook of data and letters and numbers is not in any particular order to that question, but structured in the right way and the right type of report.

That question can be answered. Yes, organic users, bounce let’s stay longer and consume more content and the insight that can be gained from that is then more in our SEO. So that’s why it’s worth, but I’m getting better at google analytics so that you can turn your data into information and your information into real actionable business insight that will actually help you make more money or achieve more of your goals, whatever they are.

So to do that to turn data into information and information into insight, specifically within Google Analytics, the information needs to be three, it needs to be accurate needs to be comprehensive and it needs to be segmented in a way. Those are the three types of things I’m going to do my best to show you how to do today. So we’re going to talk about how to make your data more accurate by doing things like checking your tracking code implementation to make sure that you’re the data.

That’s being collected is accurate, removing self-referral issues and I’ll explain what that means cross them. Fucking I’ll explain with all of these things mean removing internal traffic and removing referral spam. Well, we’ll talk about making your data more comprehensive through version tracking and event tracking and we’ll talk about how your data to answer questions through secondary dimensions, custom segments, custom, dashboards, that’s a lot! So, let’s get right to it, but before we get ready to attack, I want to make sure that this thing is clear, because I’m going to refer to things like account and prop sure it quickly touch upon what the difference between those are so in Google Analytics.

If you go into your admin, section you’ll see three columns and very lightly. At the top and gray, it says account property and you, so the difference is that one Google Analytics account, which is really just associated like with your your email address their Google email that you log, in with one account, can host data for multiple website. That’s the second column, and then one website can have multiple it’s kind of sliced and diced and reported on in different ways.

The one account can have multiple properties typically means multiple websites, and then one website or one property can have multiple views to slice and dice. The data and that kind of makes sense. Okay, so, let’s get to making your data more accurate first and foremost definitely check your tracking code implementation. The proper way to implement Google Analytics tracking code on a website is that a single copy of the tracking code must be placed before closing head tag, ideally right after the opening head tag.

So before the closing one. Ideally right after the opening head tag in the header of site, it’s a very common thing. Actually, two copies of the Google Analytics tracking script to get injected into the website. The original web developer of a site may have manually, put it into the template, and then someone else added just go to your website view source and make sure you only have one and that it is before the closing head tag.

Ideally, right after the closing head tag, even easier, though this Chrome extension called Google tag assistant and just see if you so you install that Chrome extension go to your website and then run that tag assistant and see if you get a red frowny face or a Green smiley face hey so make sure, and actually, even if you visually vote through the view source thing in the browser, I’d still recommend doing this, because just looking at it won’t tell you if it’s missing like a comma or a period or something that your eye, They miss and it’s not actually working correctly communicating with the server correctly so highly recommend Google tag assistant for checking the implementation of the code all right next up in the eath realm.

We’re going to talk about self referral issues, so self-referrals destiny’s. Look at your referral sources, which is supposed to tell you traffic from your own website coming to your own website. That’s how the sessions being double counted, conversion, tracking accuracy, issues, all sorts of issues, and you don’t want to see so if you see that or even if you don’t as a pre-emptive measure, it’s a good thing to filter out referral self pearl traffic.

Alright, maybe shouldn’t say, filter out, you want to add your own domain name to what’s called the referral exclusions list, so in that admin interface under the property column on in the middle, there is something under the tracking info header, something called referral exclusion. What main name there so that you don’t have self referral issues but, like so weed glue data that shouldn’t be excluding or deleting? No.

So it’s saying to Google Analytics if you see one session that is already on my website and then for some reason, that session boom entry and double count. It’s just going to you know, buckle pieces and put them back together and you actually want to do this. To a pal or if you have you’re integrating your site with like a Shopify, cart or something it leaves to go in it other sessions from especially problematic, because then all of the sales and the revenue numbers you have that’s not where they originally came from, and You can’t learn much from that.

You need CEO, paid search, social media. You need to know exactly where they did come from the first place, not that they keep gave you money. So you want to add your third party external payment gateways to the referral. Well, alright. Next up in the accuracy category is cross-domain tracking. So what that means is, if you pull website, but users that tend to travel, but so in this very simplistic example, it says our site, comm our career site, comm and then our site comm.

So if someone goes to your main site, but then you have like a separate careers website and they go there, but then they come back that can lead to similar issues to what I was just talking about before too, because it’s really the same user. And it’s really the same session, but it’s going to get counted as new people coming in and then another coming in and vice-versa. So you can set up cross-domain tracking to avoid those issues and real quick overview of what that looks like in cross-domain tracking the whole way property code.

Animal individual properties are for individual websites in Google Analytics, but there it to the same property code on multiple different called a linker plug-in. It’s just a little additional piece of script and that link will tell you more about it that then you can actually put the same property tracking code on multiple different websites and it’s good in this use case. Because then you won’t have the sessions being split and divided.

It will all look the same. They’ll know. Google Analytics will know that it’s the same user traveling amongst multiple web sites and then you can set up separate views base that property into this website. Only this website all so you can see it. However, you want use case where typically proud. Individual properties are individual, with point use case where it does act but makes sense to have one.

Google Analytics property be used on multiple websites. Alright and another item is removing internal traffic, so yourself, your ha, your freelancers. Those users will use your certainly reflect that of your actual prospects. Your users only then X, users, the better, which is the ones you really want to learn about. So you want to get your self and your team’s date, which of your website, out of your account easiest way to do that again: a Chrome extension, this one’s called the Google Analytics opt-out add-on.

If you go to the Chrome extension story, you add this Google Analytics add-on and enable it set that your now not counted in Google Analytics when you go to your own website, but since we’re on our own website and now we’re not counted about either. So we shouldn’t be doing that. So that’s the easiest way you can also filter out by IP and if you have a static IP and you know what it it I’m in section and filter out your I for your freelancers home office or whatever it may be changed.

One quick note about filtering: if you do this or any other kind, eight an unfiltered view as a backup. Should you go into the admin and you use the actual filtering capability on a view or property anything once you’ve filtered data out it’s gone forever and if you make a little mistake and accidentally filter out more than just that, one IP address that you meant to Filter out or whatever it may be, that data is gone forever, so always always always make a view again account.

One account can have multiple properties, mozart, a single property, can have multiple views. So your one website, google analytics tracking code, can be sliced and diced into multiple views. If you’re going to filter out your IP address from your main view, make sure to also create a backup view that has no filters whatsoever just in case, because it definitely happens that mistakes are made when filters are created, and you want that unfiltered backup view.

Alright. Last, but certainly not least, is referral spam. How many people have heard of referral spam – okay, alright, maybe a third or so annoying right yeah. So, for those that aren’t aware, spammers have figured out how to spam us in almost every area of our lives or cell phones or email or regular phones, whatever direct mail, it’s like you’re just hit with spam all the time, and now it can even happen.

Inside of your Google Analytics account, so spammers have figured out how to send what is essentially fake traffic to your Google Analytics account making it look like someone visited your website from their website like the making it look like they referred traffic to you when they really Didn’t they just want you their website to show up in your referrals? Great often just so. You click on that link and check it out, and it really works because every single person that I’ve talked to that spots it like what is that I don’t know I’ve.

Never heard of that they’re sending us traffic, let me check it out it, it could be, it could be so it could be dangerous to check it out. One of the tell-tale signs. That’s not always there, but one of the tell-tale signs of a referral source being referral. Spam is a 100 percent bounce rate, a perfect 1.0 average pages per session and a zero second zero minute, zero hour average session duration, that’s kind of a telltale sign that it’s bot traffic, all those families referral have gotten really good at actually spoofing those numbers as Well, so it won’t always look like that.

So how do you filter it out if it’s there’s no ill sign again, always always filter this out, but she’s got pretend to be an expert at this. He is the expert at it. You can. If you want, you can follow his instructions for how to do, because this is what happens as soon as you figure out which one so he’s not happy wants to filter out his blog. So that’s the DIY. They maintain your own for free. That way.

The service to take care of it then yeah, you use them yeah. So it’s it’s worth it sometime pay you get that done, so not easy to get your numbers, but it’s important to do so because it does skew the site-wide averages. If you’re, Oh, your boss, your clients or whatever that you don’t have its session duration and all the spot traffic’s coming in and messing that up for your site, wide averages, then you know or to achieve your goals and to know.

What’s what part of what and what’s not so alright, that’s how to make a home base make your data some ways to make it more comprehensive, first of all, conversion tracking! If a lot of you probably have this set up over anybody, if you don’t definitely want to convert which mine, I mean like a real act, someone has done an action to either give you money or you or it may be order or visiting the cotton.

Not a conversion that is not an action that turned someone that converted. I don’t consider that a conversion and it’s a little bit of a peep, that I see that a lot so or spending a certain amount of time on them hurts themselves to elite. But if they filled out a form or made a purchase so that you can learn more about what’s working, it’s on your website, so form tracking is one of the most common things we have to track.

So how do you do that? The eat URL and then, if it does, you can go into Google Analytics end up a goal for to get to that information. Url is you know index that was a complete, so so that’s the easy way that doesn’t work for so you may have to do it another way, which is through tag manager. Sorry, I was looking for this one. Actually I’ll go back to this first, so formfields the easy way. Thank You page confirmation, URL, ecommerce tracking is another thing.

You definitely want to track and the easy way to do that would be Commerce tracking me. We gave money, there was a transaction and revenue easy way in this world of Commerce. There is a plugin for WooCommerce the enhanced e-commerce tracking plug-in take care of that, for you, that’s the really easy way so advanced ways that you can’t just simply redirect to a Thank You URL or for e-commerce tracking, where you can’t just simply use the route visit.

These URLs here, basically, both of them use Google tag manager to complete those goals, but they’re a lot more complicated than the first two options. So if you can inform redirect it to a Thank You, URL setup done, you can for you. If you can use the WooCommerce extension, just do that and be done, but if you have to those are links that you can consult the more all right. So there may be other actions that you want to track.

That aren’t true conversions, but are very important actions and that are part of convert and become a weed. What you want to use to track those actions is event tracking, so event tracking can be used to track pretty much anything. That’s not already tracked by default analytics such as article views you can use for YouTube and there’s no stress you hit someone good-o, whether they pause the article or play the article all the way through and so on, make clicks on mail call links or outbound link Actions that aren’t tracked by default by Google Analytics, but you can set up with and clicked on images or other elements.

It’s just any really anything else and knowing, if they click travel from one page to another within your site. But it doesn’t tell you page, they click or if they clicked in with so that’s very interesting and for event tracking. But again those aren’t convergent feed. So I recommend those actions be tracked at defense and actual conversions or say as goals. No conversions all right last but not least, and it’s firehoses, how does segment your data to and questions alright my feet, it’s a very simple thing called second name, but it’s a simple thing: if basically well so here’s a use case for it.

If I’m looking and this actually happy making these slides, I was looking at our data and I’m like our careers page, is one of our top most popular landing pages. I wonder where all the traffic is coming from to that page. So I wanted to know my traffic source – it’s not for my whole site, but just that page. So I clicked into that page drill down to that page and by default. It didn’t tell me this second column here, but secondary dimensions, a quick, nickname or think tricky.

This is, it adds a secondary column to the report that you’re looking at to break down the data further from what you’re already looking at so you’ve got your careers page that I drilled into already, and then this drop down that says secondary dimension. It’s at the top of pretty much every report, yeah in Google Analytics secondary dimension. It adds a secondary column and you pick what you want to break it down by so I said, source medium of the traffic and the type of the traffic and so boom boom.

Like to where the traffic was coming from to that page by adding a que a secondary column, that’s my favorite, quick and dirty trick for segmenting data to answer a question on the fly very quickly. But sometimes you may need to look at a whole variety of different reports, but still like for a single thing. So if you need to look at like all the reports that are in Google Analytics but through a lens like us, just a certain type of traffic, just a certain region, just a certain section of the site.

But you want to curious about all of it. For just that type custom segments is really handy that so that allows you to view all of the filtered lens that you set up. It’s a for example again with our careers section and I can create a segment view activity on our careers pages through all the different kinds of reports that are in there, but I want. I don’t want to see the whole site’s stats. I just want to see the stats for the careers section on all the different reports, so to do that, I create a custom segment, so I give it a name at the top about most.

First of all, I hit eggs. Add segments so you’ll see this. It also at the top of pretty much every report is that drop-down type thing there. That will typically say all users, but you can hit add segments and create a new segment, and so I gave it a name career section of site, and then you tell it under conditions what you want turn it by. What do you want that lens? To be that you’re going to look at all the reports through so I said, filter by page URL career and then I’m able to see any report on the whole Google Analytics through that lens of just people who went to the careers section any careers page.

But now those are the metrics I’m looking at and nothing else is in there again. You could do that for a certain region, certain browser certain anything anything you want to just filter it down to you, create a custom segments, apply the segment. Look at all the reports through that segment and then you can do mobile. So if I wanted to compare users of the careers section of the site to users of the resources, I can create those two segments and put them play with the whole.

Google PageSpeed algorithm update things, we’ve been making segments for us mobile traffic and us desktop traffic for pants that want to measure the page speed of us users, mobile versus death, and then we can look at all reports through those two lenses at the same pretty cool. But custom segments you have to apply them every time you go in or remember to take them off to you know. Remember that you’re looking at things through a very off, so there are a temporary lens that you put on to look at things through, and you have to remember to take them off or put them on again if you’re, using the same custom set we’re putting it On all the time you may want to make a custom report instead, custom reports are great for slicing and dicing data in a way that answers your specific questions and your specific way so under the custom tab, which is on, like the left menu column, the two Custom reports and create a custom report, give it a name and select what you want to be on the report.

Now one thing: that’s kind of confused dimensions versus metrics and then, when you try to narrow you can put a metric there. It’s the easy way to remember what the dimensions, basically, the thing that you want think what do I want in the first two that so hopefully that helps you. Do you miss the fun language and any issues you may run in building a custom report? Dimension. First column, column and then filters or whatever you want to narrow the traffic just organic traffic.

I want just painters traffic that, whatever you want it to just show you that would be the filter and custom reports are pretty like standard reports. They can be schedules without you automatically, so you have to go in and look at them all the time handy, all right last way in beta chain so similar to the custom reports that we just talked about quicker way of seeing a lot of little snippets time.

You can build a custom dashboard, so it’s great for, like quick checking on things, just kind of quick overviews of a variety of hand-picked metrics. That may not be on the same report elsewhere in Google Analytics on custom dashboards. You can start with a again there in the customization section, so, on the left hand, column go to customizations custom dashboards. You can start with a blank or there’s.

This thing called the solutions gallery for Google Analytics. That has a lot of pre-built dashboards that are pretty and edit them. So that’s the typically there’s, probably one kind of simple go browse through there and see if there’s a dashboard close enough to what you need and then just make widgets for whatever metric you’re curious about and just build your little squares into your dashboard.

That will allow you to quickly check in on over alright, so to summarize, typically turn data into information by our hosts a lot of different to you. I know that was quick. That was a lot. I am going to go to the happiness bar in this, but I think we have a few minutes for five minutes for questions now sure. So the question for those who can hear is about sharing. So if you create a custom, dashboard, custom segment and custom report, how do you share it with others? So certain things are tied to your account and certain things are tight.

Most of those things we talked about are tied to your account, though. So if you have access to a client’s property using your account and they have properties in their account, if you create, for example, custom segments and that won’t automatically be in their account, but you can share it with them, they actually just have to import it. So when you go to the customization section where you made it in the first place, they’ll be a share.

Url gives you a share. Button sorry gives you a URL to send to them to import the custom thing that you made and then it’s in their account. As well so different things are tied to different levels, so check out the documentation for exactly what types. What but custom reports in custom segments are two things that I know they’re tied to the account level dashboards on top my head, I’m actually blanking on that.

I think it’s also the account level but double check their documentation. To be sure, we haven’t shared those as much as we do the segment mm-hmm excellent questions. Okay, for those who couldn’t hear the questions were about, I did where’d. You go for additional training to go really in depth with all these things and where whether to implement Google Analytics code directly or through Google tag manager.

So, first of all, the training there’s a lot of resources out there I mean for quick setups of a single thing. There, Google Analytics, oh and documentation, is pretty good. I put a lot of links in there today. They also, though, have the Google Analytics Academy. So you can read articles like it’s an actual course that Google themselves that puts out for getting trained on Google Analytics and there’s a certification you can take, which is actually, I think, a good learning experience.

Even if you don’t need to be certified, you go it’s like an open book test so to just go through that certification practice with the open book thing is pretty educational and then, of course, there’s online courses like everywhere, but I usually tell people to start with This straight from Google resources and then as far as implementing the code directly or through tag manager tag manager is not easy or intuitive to learn.

But if someone is comfortable tracking scripts, page speed up to politely but to injector, if you can but its, I don’t want a negligible difference, but it’s a not a huge difference. So if you have to put it in the header, yes, there is WordPress plugins. That will help you set up tag manager, there’s one in particular um or ourselves. It looks like Duracell, but it’s not sort of tell there’s a Google Analytics, your Google tag manager plug-in by Tom door or something alright.

I think yeah, maybe one more one, more question. Okay, if sorry, I didn’t catch all of that domain, that forwards to another domain like a automatically redirects okay. So if you have one URL that automatically redirects to another URL, you don’t need Google Analytics code on both because essentially no user ever actually that’s the first one. So you really would just be you know tracking everything on the second one.

Oh, it should add it to the referral exclusion list. I believe if it automatically redirects, it actually won’t show up, and you won’t need to do that – certainly double check on me and Lokhande, because I haven’t dealt with that that much, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t actually show up as as a referral source when, during A 301 redirect, so I don’t think you would have to but again preemptively.

It’s always a good idea to add things there that you know you don’t want counted or that sessions you wanted unified. So you could do it as a pre-emptive measure, but I don’t think you have to how do you see search keywords, excellent question, you kind of can’t anymore, unfortunately, not in Google Analytics so several years ago, Google for reasons they claim we’re to do with privacy and Security they’re totally debatable anyway.

They they took the keyword data for so like keywords from search engines that were sending traffic, which keywords were people using to send traffic to you. They took that data and anonymized, most of it into a bucket. That just says not provided so the keywords reports still in there, but you won’t see much in it. It just attributes everything to not provide it, but there’s another tool that Google puts out called search, console, formerly known as webmaster tools.

I know I know of where they can give it to you there and not there like yeah. So there’s a lot of background and conspiracy theories about that, but unfortunately that’s the way. It is that’s it today. So that’s all the time I have right here. I will go to the happiness bar and answer any other questions. Anyone has thank you so much for joining me. I hope this was helpful.


 

By Jimmy Dagger

Find out my interests on my awesome blog!

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