Advanced Google Analytics: What It Tells Marketers

by Peg Corwin on April 8, 2009

Advanced Google Analytics

In a recent post, I talked about how a marketer can use basic Google Analytics data, and now I move on to advanced Google Analytics.  Now I’m going to focus on some slicing and dicing to help you better understand the behavior of your site’s viewers and customers using advanced features of Google Analytics.

Marketers can learn how many users take what steps towards goals (conversion tracking); what documents they download and links they use (event tracking); and what groups of users visit certain pages or take specific actions (segmentation analysis.)

Three Features of Advanced Google Analytics

GOALS AND CONVERSIONS

Marketers can set a goal by specifying the various pages a visitor has to click through to reach that goal.  For example, a workshop signup goal might have these steps:  workshop page, workshop description page, signup page, credit card page, and “thank you” landing page.  This series of pages is called the funnel.

To set up a goal, go to your Analytics settings page, the page that lists the websites on which you have Analytics running.   The column on the far right of the Website Profiles table is called Actions.  Click Edit there to set up a new goal.  Scroll down under Profile Settings, below Main Website Profile, to the section on Conversion Goals and Funnel.  Add up to 4 goals there.   To get the most use out of goals, use them in conjunction with Google Adwords campaigns.

Stats to focus on: goal abandonment and goal conversion rate
Questions to ask yourself: On what pages are customers abandoning the funnel, and what changes can you make in those pages to encourage them to take the next step?  How many potential customers who click over from a Google ad actually complete the purchase?  Is this number increasing or decreasing from earlier periods, and why?  What can you change to increase it?

Links:

Google site:  Goals and Funnels
7 minute video on  How To Create Google Analytics Conversion Goals
Google Analytics Demystified: Goal Tracking and Funnels
example of funnel and goal setup for an online store

EVENT TRACKING

By pasting a tiny snippet of code into your page, you can track events like email signups , PDF downloads, and the time viewers spend with your Flash content.    For example, learn how many people click which outbound links.  Or how many viewers download your brochure.  Instructions for copying and pasting this code to track specific events is provided in the links below.  You create a label that is part of that code.   After you install the code and click to test, you should see that label within 24-48 hours under Top Content.

Certain website templates limit your ability to add event tracking code.  For example, I am unable to install it on my website, www.scorechicago.org.

Stats to focus on: Under the Top Content section, see the custom labels you have created in the code.
Questions to ask yourself: If  you move the location of the link, can you increase the number of signups, downloads, etc?   Which links are people clicking on, and how can you add more content or related links to increase interest in your site?  How long, on average, are viewers engaged with Flash content?  How do these metrics change over time, and why?

Links:

How to Track File Downloads in Google Analytics
How Do I Manually Track Clicks on Outbound Links in Google Analytics?
Google site   Flash events and _TrackPageview
Google tutorial video:  Google Analytics for Flash

SEGMENTATION

Segmentation is just that — the ability to drill down in the data to see how groups of viewers behave.  Marketers can answer questions like “How are buyers (those taking the action that I want them to on the site — a purchase, a form submission, a download, a mail list signup) different from lookers?”  “What referral sources are they coming from?”   “What keywords?”  “Are they new users or returning users?”

On the Dashboard or on any other Analytics page, look in the upper right for a link that says Advanced Segments with a default of All Visits.  If you click the dropdown by All Views, you can easily segment the page’s data using preset or custom “slices.”  Click “new visitors” to see all page data related only to new visitors, for example.

Stats to focus on: Keywords, Visitor Type (new/returning), Source (paid, direct, referral)
Questions to ask yourself: Lets assuming you have set up a “thank you” page to land people on after a purchase, email signup or form completion.  Look at that page using pre-determined segments.  How does use by new visitors differ from repeat visitors?  What referral source is sending most visitors to that page?  How can you beef up actions from the groups/segments you want and reduce those that bounce or don’t buy.  In essence, use segmentation to learn how your best visitors differ from lower-quality visitors and how to alter content to meet the best-customers’ interests.

Links:

Google site: Cross Segmentation
Google Analytics Releases  Advanced Segments
Google video   Advanced Segments

More Advanced Google Analytics

GREAT general reference:  The Missing Google Analytics Manual

So many options with advanced Google Analytics, so much data.  Are you digesting it all? Analytics pros, what did I miss?  Please leave me a comment about how you slice and dice, or how you cope with data overload.

Related posts:

Add Easy-As-Pie Engagement Goals to Your Google Analytics

What Basic Google Analytics Can Tell a Marketer, and Questions to Ask Next

Online Software to Track Social Media Campaigns for Social Media Analytics

{ 5 comments }

Sean April 8, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for the link to my site!

Nice article, there’s so much to do in google analytics. It’s a shame people don’t take advantage of the tremendous capabilities it has.

@Agent_Luke April 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

Hi Peg, what a wonderful post, I am glad you got this over to me.

As I said before, I used paid subscriptions for tracking and data but i am becoming more convinced to switch back to GA.

You should get some cc from google for that!

Have a wonderful day.

Tony Singh July 6, 2009 at 6:52 am

Well laid out post. It really is as simple as you describe – but the key is to have people who can action the great insights being provided. The web allows everything to be measurable – so we are no longer relying on hunches or feelings.

Kristine July 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Thanks for the great article, Peg!

I just wanted to add that marketers who have mobile versions of their sites, or who want to track mobile traffic on their regular site, can use Motally’s mobile analytics solution to track goals, conversions, A/B testing, and other events. Motally was built from the ground up for mobile, so it can easily handle all of the mobile nuances and does not miss any of the data that Google Analytics and other applications that were built for the web tend to miss.

Motally’s features include:

-Accurate data on page views, sessions, and unique users
-Tracking specific events and A/B testing
-Funnel analysis
-Internal search reports
-Free Community Version for up to 5 million pageviews/month
-User-friendly: no hardware to install, just cut and paste a few lines of code in a common header or footer and Motally does the rest
-Broadest coverage: server-side tracking covers broadest range of devices & operators so we capture all usage rather than 70-80% of usage

Check it out at http://www.motally.com/signup or feel free to contact me at mo@motally.com with any questions!

Best,

Kristine Holst
Marketing Manager
Motally

Molly July 8, 2009 at 8:16 am

Peg,
I just can’t say enough about your expertise in this field! If I implement half of your recommendations (which I certainly plan to) I can’t fail. :-)
Molly