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Online Marketing

Pam Aungst: How to Increase (or Improve) Your Google Analytics Skills

So that’s we’re going to talk about today, Google Analytics. First. I want to start out by saying that there are so many ways to improve upon your Google Atlantic google analytics skill set that we couldn’t possibly cover them all in full today, in this short 30-minute block.

But these slides are chock-full of information. I’r going to do an overview on some focus areas that are really important and you might want to look into each one later so there’s tons of links in these slides to look into each one more later. So I highly encourage you to download the slides. The link is right there and I will show the link again at the end, so I improve your google analytics skills.

I think this quote sums it up nicely. The quote says: the goal is to turn data into information and information into insight, but what’s the difference between data and information and information and insight? Well, basically, data is a bunch of characters and numbers in a maybe semi-organized, but not totally organized manner and data when segmented in a logical way becomes information information when segmented, in a logical way that can answer, questions becomes insight.

For example, do our paid search visitors convert or engage with our site, as well as our organic search visitors, or vice versa? The data, when segmented, in a logical way an organized way that can answer that question can answer that question. It says yes, organic users, bounce. Let’s stay longer and consume more content and the insight that can be gained from that is that we should invest more in SEO.

I’r a big fan of data-driven marketing and investment decisions so that how to turn data into information into insight. But in order to do so effectively, there’s three things that need to happen with your data. One is it needs to be accurate. To is, it needs to be comprehensive and three. It needs to be segmented in a way that can answer questions. So that’s what we’re going to go over today is how to do that in Google.

Analytics improving accuracy were things like these improving comprehensiveness with conversion, tracking and event tracking and segmenting data to answer questions with tips and tricks like these, but first before I dive too deep into any one of those. I want to go. Do a quick overview of account structure because I’m going to use words like property and view along the way, so I want to make sure you know what that means.

If you go into the admin section of your Google Analytics account you’ll see three columns. There’s account property and view one account can have multiple properties usually used for multiple websites and one property or one website can have multiple views where the data is segmented or filtered in some way narrowed in some way. In that view, so just want to make sure that semi clear at this point that one account can have multiple properties, multiple websites and each property can have multiple views.

So now that that’s clear, how do you make your data more accurate? First and foremost, I want to check that your tracking code is implemented properly. This is a this is responsible or incorrectly implemented. Tracking code is responsible for a whole variety of accuracy, issues that may not be immediately apparent in the data, so you definitely want to check that this is done correctly. You need to have one copy, not more than one.

We see that a lot one copy of your Google Analytics tracking code placed in the head section of the website after the opening head tag and before the closing head tag. Ideally right after the opening head tag. But as long as it’s in the head area, it should be okay and to make sure it’s ok, you want to use the Google tag – assistant, Chrome extension. That is quick and easy way to know. If your tracking code is implemented correctly and working properly, you’ll get a simple, sad smiley face if you’re not good and a green happy face if you’re good to go so definitely start with that.

After you’ve checked your tracking code, another accuracy issue you can look for is called self referral traffic. That is where it appears that new incoming traffic is coming from your own domain. So if you go to the acquisition, all traffic referrals menu and you see traffic from your own domain – that’s a problem because sessions are then being double counted that are really the same session within the site and conversion data can be inaccurate.

So if you see that or just to you know, preemptively prevent that you can go into your property settings middle column, in admin and under tracking info you’ll find the referral exclusion list. Just add your own domain name there, and that will take care of that problem. If you have it or prevent it, if you don’t additionally, similarly, you want to, if you are collecting payments on your website, whether it’s ecommerce or any other payment collections going on you’re using third party external payment gateways like PayPal, you also want to add those to The referral exclusion list, because a similar issue can occur when someone goes to PayPal to checkout, and then they come back and Google Analytics can count that as a new entering user.

Our session, I should say for the same user, but it’s really all part of one session for that user. So, if you add the third party payment gateway domain to the referral exclusion list, Google Analytics will then automatically unify the returning visitors quote-unquote new session, with their original session from before they started checkout and treat it as one we’ll have time for a couple. Questions at the end, also sort of similar in nature is, if you have a user journey that crosses several domains.

So let’s say you have a main website, our site comm and you have a courier site, our career site, comm, and it’s very common for users to travel amongst those and back that can cause a similar issue where one user is really interacting in one session. With all your properties, but it looks like in Google Analytics, it can look like multiple sessions per user visit, and that’s just not true. So in this case you want to implement something called cross-domain tracking and there’s a link there.

It does require a little modification to your tracking code, so there’s a link to read more about how exactly to do this. If you need to do this, but the concept is basically that you’re going to use one property, although properties are usually used one per website in this kind of a case. You want to use the same property across all of the domains and then use separate views to segment the traffic out.

You can have one view where you can see it all together, but then you can have separate views for each site as well, and this will avoid accuracy issues by making all the user visits that are hopping amongst domains. Look like brand new visits when really they’re. Just in one session, moving around alright and another thing for accuracy that you want to make sure to do is get your ownself out of there.

Your behavior, your browsing, behavior on your own website, is not representative of your target client, our prospects, behavior on your site and so you’re, going to skew your own site wide average metrics if you’re recording your own behavior and that of your staff. One really easy way to take care of this is the GA opt-out extension for Chrome, just install it activate it, and you will no longer be counted in your Google Analytics metrics.

That’s the easy way, there’s an abbess way. My slides are not changing there. We go advanced way is IP filtering and this happens at the view level in your admin, you go to admin, view filters and you can filter out your own and your team’s own IP addresses from your view. However, if you do, this definitely definitely definitely create another unfiltered backup view whenever you filter anything out of your main view, it’s gone forever.

So if you make a mistake – and it’s really easy to accidentally – you know put a dot in the wrong place or something if you make a mistake that day is gone forever. So definitely always one view. That’s an unfiltered backup view just in case alright. Last, but definitely not least, is referral spam who’s heard of referral spam all right about a third, maybe referrals fan, has a MERS always do they figure out how to spam us in every area of our lives, including your Google Analytics account, spammers have figured out how To send fake traffic hits to Google Analytics accounts and they do it at random.

Just like spammers call you at random or text at random, so you likely have some referral spam in your Google Analytics account, and it’s just to get your attention like this uptime site is just you know, sending fake hits to get you to check them out and Often they will have bought like metrics, like a 100 percent bounce rate, one average page per visit and 0 seconds session duration, so that will really skew your overall metrics you’re trying to learn about your whole site’s bounce rate, your whole site’s average pages per session, etc.

That’s going to get messed up by this type of traffic and it often has those characteristics exactly but referral spam, but some spammers have figured out how to fake those metrics so they’re not just easy to spot like that. So how do you get it out? The referral spam should be filtered out with filters, so again always always always create a backup unfiltered view. If you’re going to try to do this.

But how exactly do you get it out because there’s hundreds of different websites doing this and hundreds of different metrics that they’re sending with their fake traffic? One word Carlos. This guy has got this figured out and you can do it yourself by following his instructions and or you can pay him to do it for you. But he has got this down. Pat he’s related business for himself taking care of referral, spam and google analytics and I’m not affiliated.

I don’t earn any money by recommending him he’s just the best, so either follow his instructions carefully. They’re incredibly complicated, but you can do it yourself if you want to carefully follow the instructions, but so so the pro to this is that it’s free, but you do have to update it manually whenever new spam sources come out, which is pretty much weekly, but you Could sign up for his emails he’ll, send you an email when there’s a new one to add, filter and tell you how to do it or you can pay him.

His current pricing is not published on his website boy. Is we sign up for it? It’s very affordable, so those are your options for getting referral spam out of your Google Analytics account all right, so we talked about a lot of ways to make the data more accurate, so we also want to talk about how to make it more comprehensive and to Segment at answer questions. So let’s talk about comprehensiveness for comprehensiveness.

Of course you want to track all of your actual conversion. Actions as goals or transactions in Google Analytics you’d be surprised how many sites we see from really established brands that are not tracking all of their actual conversion actions in Google Analytics. So this is key and when I say actual conversion actions, this is a pet peeve of mine. Viewed contact page is not a conversion that a conversion is when someone either purchases, something or actually inserts themselves into your sales cycle, somehow using some kind of form fill or something.

So those are the things you want to make sure to track as conversions as goals or transactions in Google Analytics the easy way to track a form is to after submission, redirect that form to a thank you or like confirmation, type URL and set up. What’s called a destination goal in your admin for Google Analytics for that URL super simple and easy for e-commerce transactions. If you’re on WooCommerce you’re.

In luck, they have a plug-in the enhanced e-commerce tracking plugin takes care of this easily. Just install that enable the cameras tracking in your admin in Google Analytics and you’re done now, if you’re not on WooCommerce or you have a really complicated form situation. You can’t use those easy methods here are some links for using Google tag manager to set up both form, fill tracking and e-commerce tracking for your website, so for non conversion actions, but actions that are really important that you want to track.

You can track those with something called event tracking, so anything that’s an important action to track, but is not someone actually purchasing or inserting themselves in your sales cycle should be tracked as an event which can be viewed under the behavior menu and then events – and we Don’t have time to go through exact how to set this up so it gave you links, but here are some ideas for what you might want to track.

Article views there’s links there for YouTube and Vimeo Mail clicks on mail to links. Click-To-Call links, outbound links, clicks on images or other elements. Those can all be tracked with tag manager, event tracking and I do recommend tag manager over inline JavaScript because it’s just too easy for inline JavaScript to get accidentally overwritten and removed. So if you’re going to do this, please use tag manager all right.

Last but not least in our quest to have accurate, comprehensive and accurate and comprehensive data and data that we can segment to answer. Questions is segmenting data Tannis for questions. My favorite segmentation trick is called secondary dimensions. You can think of this as secondary columns. It’s an easier word to remember so, if I’m looking at our reports and I’m like our careers page gets a lot of traffic, I wonder where all that traffic to that page is coming from.

I can click into that page and very quickly. With this little drop down, you may not have noticed before right at the top of the results, I can very quickly add a secondary column of information and break it down by whatever I’m curious about there’s a lot of options in there. In this case, I was curious about the source or source medium, meaning the source and type of traffic that was coming to that page.

I just quickly used that drop-down to add source medium. Now I have a second column showing me the breakdown that I was curious about, and my question is answered very quickly. Similarly to break down data in a way that can answer questions you might want to use custom segments. This is something that will apply a filter of sorts like a lens to view all the Google Analytics reports through. So when you have this segment on, you can click around to any Google Analytics report and it will show you the stats just for that segment.

For example, we have multiple careers pages in our careers section on the site and if I wanted to view any and all of the Google Analytics reports, but only about the careers section of the site, I can create a segment for the career section of the site. At the top of most of the reports, you’ll see a button that says, add segments you put in the name of the segment, go to conditions, to specify the condition that you want the segment to have, and then say what it is in this case page contains Careers, you say that, and now all of your Google Analytics reports will show you information just through that lens.

So that’s pretty handy and you can even do it for multiple segments at once. You can look. I can do the same thing for the resources section of our site and apply them both at once and view all the reports in Google Analytics through those two lenses at the same time and compare them stacked right over each other. It’s pretty handy, if you find yourself using the same secondary dimension options or the same custom segments all the time and just constantly having to apply them, apply them apply them over and over again, you may want to look into custom reports.

This way you can create a report that will stay there and be that way configured that way all the time in the custom report. So you go to customization and you set up a custom report. It can look a little confusing, especially with things like. What’s a metric what’s a dimension, so this slide you might want to have handy. If you try to do this as a cheat sheet of short of sorts, the dimension is basically the first column.

Whatever data you want in the first column and then the metrics are the numbers that you want to come in the subsequent columns and then the filter is that lens that you want to see it through? If you want to narrow this report to only a certain type of data, and then your custom report will be available to you at all times, and you can even schedule it to be sent by email, just like you can with standard reports and last but not Least, custom dashboards are another very handy way to break down data in a way that can answer, questions and visualize it.

So you can go to the customization section and hit add dashboard, and you can either start with a blank canvas and start adding widgets of your own to it or you can go to the gallery and see if there’s something similar to what you’re. Looking for already there very well maybe, and then you can just tweak it a little bit and that’s a lot faster, but that’s definitely something to consider as well, so to recap to turn data into information into insight.

You want to make sure your data is comprehensive. Accurate and can segment it in a way that can answer questions, and this quick overview showed you some tidbits on how to do that today and if you again, if we want to download the slides the link, is there and there’s plenty of links in the slides For further reading on each topic – and we do thank you – we do have about two minutes for questions.

Those five minutes for questions. There was one over here. First, if that’s important for accuracy – oh okay, all right, so the question was about sites that have that render, with both www and non dub dub dub. Do you need to have like two different Google Analytics accounts? The best practice would be to actually have one redirect to the other, because if you don’t that’s duplicate content, which is not great for SEO purposes, so you want to just pick a primary.

Have it all redirect one way or the other and then just set up your google analytics the one way technically it can show both, but it’s the best practice for a variety of reasons. To just have it one way, other questions? Okay, so the question was: do we use any other tools, other than Google Analytics, that can capture data that perhaps Google Analytics doesn’t show? Yes, Google Analytics is amazing, in-depth tool, but it can’t show certain things, especially metrics from other platforms.

Like you know, social media platforms have their own metrics and whatnot, so we do like a variety of dashboard tools for that. This is one that we use a lot imports from Google Analytics, as well as a whole variety of others. Clip folio is another good one and on the high end for really complicated stuff, tableau is pricey, but great for that. Second, one is clip folio KL IP fol, io, okay. So the question was about referral spam, see it a lot curious if there’s an actual like detriment, SEO why’s to having that happening on your site or if it’s just like a harmless Kito that doesn’t pay.

It is like an annoying mosquito that doesn’t bite. There’s no SEO penalty, it’s not real traffic right right, you can filter it out and then they do constantly change their domains and then yeah, I’m not going to repeat that. That’s why Carlos’s emails are really helpful because he’s on top of that, like you, wouldn’t believe so as soon as there’s a new one, if you really want to do it yourself and keep updating your filters and keep on top of it he’ll, let you know the Moment a new one is found ah great question: when making websites for clients should you put Google, should you create their Google Analytics property in your own account or create a separate account for them? I would highly recommend the second option, create their own account for them or let them create their account and let you know what the number is and let them technically legally intellectual property, wise, whatever they own their data or they should own their data and I’ve seen Horror Story after Horror, Story of clients trying to get a hold of their own Google Analytics data from a web developer that vanished or won’t give it to them or was extorting them.

I actually was on a conference call where a web developer tried to extort money out of a client to give them ownership of their Google Analytics data. It was insane and unethical and just awful just let them have their own account. We have time for more questions. If anyone else has any I’ll also be at the, I feel like there might be hands up, I’m not really singing there. We go sorry. It was a little hard to hear any kind of data.

That is ah, okay, so question: is there any kind of data that maybe Google Analytics doesn’t measure yet but is in demand and we see coming in the future? Yes, I think the biggest thing in demand right now is proper cross device and cross blog attribution and Google Analytics is making baby steps in getting better at that. But they’ve got a long way to go. I mean it is a multi device, multi browser world multi IP, you know and we’re in advertisers who are spending a lot of money, advertising or trying to figure out their funnels of what’s working between impression, click, actions on the site and conversion and sale.

And you know, users coming back days later from a different device, is just it’s something they haven’t gotten good enough at yet, but seem to be trying to and hopefully well one more question. If anyone has question again, I feel like there might be hands that I can’t see. Thank you for pointing oh sorry, we’ll try to do both really fast yeah. So the question was about. Is there a service that builds in? You know you’re kind of predetermined conversion funnel tracking, for you sort of I mean every business is different.

I think the closest thing that comes to that is HubSpot. They, you know, they show you that you know per contact journey and a nice neat funnel ish type of way sort of pre-designed, or they make it easy to design they’re the ones that come top of mind for the ones that come closest to something sort of Pre done for funnel tracking. Yes, that’s one good question: how often do I recommend checking your Google Analytics? I’d say that checking and analyzing, or two totally different things.

You know checking into it to make sure all the data is flowing through and it looks like you know: nothing’s broken and traffic numbers have disappeared, it’s a good thing to do on a regular basis, but they also have alerts for that. You can set up alerts. So that, if all of a sudden you have zero hits when you usually have 100 hits a day, it will alert you for an analysis that really depends on the volume of traffic on this site, a site that gets a total of 200 visits over a whole Month, you’re not really going to learn anything by looking at that daily or weekly.

You might as well just do month over month, but if you get 20,000 visits a day, you can really analyze things day over day and in between you know. Maybe if you get 2,000 visits a month, so you might want to check it weekly and there’s no exact formula, but it’s kind of relative to how the popularity it’s the amount of data, because you need a certain amount of data for analysis to be statistically significant.

So yeah it kind of scales up with as traffic skills up the frequency of which monthly minimum for any site, even the smallest volume site for sure so I’ll, be at the happiness part which has moved to RB 145. Remember that right by the kids camp. Thank you so much for joining me today.


 

By Jimmy Dagger

Find out my interests on my awesome blog!

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