5 Reasons to Upgrade to Google Universal Analytics Now

Google launched its latest analytics update, Universal Analytics in 2012. Typical of Google, the platform was launched in beta and there was no pressure to upgrade from the familiar asynchronous version in use since 2009.googles-new-universal-analytics

In recent months, Google has been ramping up the upgrade pressure. Last October it launched a dedicated upgrade center with information and tools to make the process less overwhelming and more understandable.

Finally, in April, Google removed the beta designation from Universal Analytics declaring it ready for prime time. Yes, change is hard. Users can wait and allow Google to automatically port them to the new platform in August, or take the bull by the horns and upgrade on their own free will.

Here are five reasons you should do it now and not wait.

1. Remarketing is now enabled

This was a favorite excuse for many procrastinators. But with its release from beta, Universal Analytics fully supports all existing Analytics services including remarketing and audience demographics.

2. User IDs: Tracking individual users across all screens

In a multi-device world, this is huge. Imagine one of your customers shopping at a competitor’s store then price checking against your website. Your price is better and she decides to hold off on making the purchase. On her way home she calls her husband to check the colors on their tablet and finally she gets home and orders the item, in just the right color, from her desktop computer.
In the old analytics, Each of those visits would be seen as unique and reported as such. Now, if you track individual users on your site you can share this information with Analytics and see not three individual transactions, but a single customer interaction.

3. Capturing online and offline behavior

Universal Analytics ability to accept external data allows businesses to track offline conversions as well as online. In the example above, if the shopper called to order the product by phone, the existing web traffic could be associated with the offline conversion.

There are limits to data sharing, so please review the policy guidelines.

4. Advanced SegmentationDemographic_Segmentation2

Universal Analytics expands the variables that can be cooked into custom segments, allowing your data to be more user oriented and less visitor oriented. This is another valuable tool for teasing out specific user behavior and improving optimization.

5. Custom Dimensions

In the old Analytics, you were limited to tabulating the dimensions provided by Google. Now you are able to use whatever data you share with Analytics directly in the reporting interface.

Don’t hesitate, change is good!

You Have a Very Useful Web Analytics Tool, But Are You Using It?

Whenever I ask an online marketing manager what they are doing for Web Analytics, I get the same reply: “Oh, we have (insert product name here, usually ‘Google Analytics’)”.  This is a fine response, but it doesn’t really answer the question of “What are you doing (or not using) for Web Analytics”.  A better reply would be “I’m monitoring the bounce rates of my organic landing pages” or “I’m analyzing how people interact with different colors on my navigation menu” or even “I’m just spending fifteen minutes a day, usually while stuck in a meeting, to look for really big and obvious problems”.

But we don’t say these things because we really aren’t doing them.  At some point in the past, someone installed Google Analytics on the website and, for too many of us, that’s it.  But the point of any tool is not to have the tool, not to install the tool, but to use the tool.  Nobody goes to the hardware store because they need a quarter-inch drill bit – they go because they need a quarter-inch hole.  Likewise, nobody needs a Web analytics tool for the sake of having one, but we all need to know what’s going on with our website visitors.

I’m not talking about analyzing the small, subtle behavior patterns of your visitors or advanced statistical analysis.  I’m talking about big, gaping problems with your website that, if no one has been keeping an eye on the analytics, are almost certain to exist.  Things like the bounce rate on your web site has doubled since you redesigned it three months ago.  Or that not one person has clicked on that flashy “Request a Free Trial” button that’s taking up a third of your home page. These are big issues, revenue-killing issues that should be easy to spot in any analytics solution.

So, if you aren’t already using your web analytics tools, I urge you to spend fifteen minutes a day, possibly while stuck in a meeting, to look for really big and obvious problems on your website.  If no one at your organization has done this before, I can almost guarantee you’ll find them.

If you aren’t sure where to start, Nowspeed offers analytics consultation for Google Analytics, Omniture, and many other platforms that includes setting up Goal Tracking, Dashboards, or even implementing the web analytics solution if you’re starting from scratch.  Please contact us to talk it over.

Yahoo! Web Analytics Revealed

On Thursday, October 9, I read a ComputerWorld article that discussed Yahoo!’s new analytics tool. According to the article, last week Yahoo! revealed the beta version of its Web Analytics tool — a result of the April acquisition of IndexTools. As a fairly satisfied (but sometimes unsatisfied) Google Analytics user, the introduction of another FREE web analytics tool is more than intriguing. So I ask, how is Yahoo!’s analytics product better/worse/different than the Google product…and why should I consider switching? Well, Yahoo! explains the three key differences in their FAQ section:

1. The Value of Real-time Data: While some analytics products provide data 24-48 hours after collection, Yahoo! Web Analytics reflects data within minutes of collection. In other words, with Yahoo! Web Analytics, you can practically see in real-time what your website users are experiencing. This is extremely powerful compared to seeing what users did 2 days ago. With Yahoo! Web Analytics near real-time data you can:
•    See how new ad campaigns are performing in order to quickly make changes and optimize your budget
•    Identify usability issues if top performing pages suddenly see a dip in key performance metrics, or new pages under-perform
•    Quickly assess performance of new website content or products to maximize your yield

2. The Power of Raw Data: While some products store aggregated data, which restricts the usefulness of the data to pre-created or canned reports, Yahoo! Web Analytics stores data in non-aggregated raw form. This means that you can ask a variety of new questions and create new kinds of reports to answer questions using both current and historical data. In other words, Yahoo! Web Analytics is not a simple aggregated data reporting tool, it is a powerful data analysis tool.

3. Ease-of-Use and Flexibility: Yahoo! Web Analytics enables easier analysis of website data by allowing you to filter and segment data using intuitive drag-and-drop features, to quickly build reports with simple custom report wizards, and to create ad hoc scenarios to answer your specific business questions as they arise.

As a search marketer, I’m always looking for customized reports and new ways of segmenting my data. And as a Google Analytics user, I’m always looking for new ways to overcome Google’s tracking limitations. If Yahoo!’s analytics tools really can help me and my clients better manage website traffic and help make better decisions, then I say sign me up!

To access the full article, click here: ComputerWorld

How to find new niche keywords that will convert using Google Analytics

There are several available tools on the market to help you find new keywords. Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, and the Keyword Tool from AdWords will literally give you thousands of keywords with search volumes plus all kinds of other fascinating metrics.

But how can you pick the ones that are specific to YOUR business? Which ones will actually work?

There is an option in Analytics that is seldom used, but contains a wealth of information if you’re searching for new keywords that can produce measurable results. Log into Analytics and try this technique:

1. Go to Traffic Sources > Search Engines
This option contains all the search engines directing traffic to your site.
2. Click ‘Google’ (or whatever search engine you would like to analyze)
At the top, you see Show: total | paid | non-paid and the Segment: has a drop down button.
3. Select ‘non-paid’ in the Show section and ‘Keyword’ in the Segment section.

What do you see?

Yep, these are the actual queries being typed into Google that result in a conversion on your website (non-paid). Go ahead and sort it by the Goal or Visits – you can quickly evaluate exactly what keyword terms people are typing in to convert. You can get more data from looking at the weblogs too, but this is a nice workaround, especially if you don’t have access to that data.

What else?

If you sort it by Visits, you’ll quickly see what keywords are NOT appropriate for paid search campaigns. Lots of visits and no conversions can show keywords that will waste money and seeking out new negative terms to implement can easily improve the quality of conversions. Use the filters at the bottom and expand the list to 500 – there is plenty of info there to analyze, but at least it’s all relevant to YOUR site and not based on search volumes for the entire Internet!

How to find the best ones for AdWords?

Exporting this report to a spreadsheet will give you further analysis via sorting and using the formula that converts the percentage of goals to visits. *Keep in mind you can only export 500 at a time, so if you have 1000’s of keywords, you’ll need to select ‘Go to 501’ and export the second (and third-1001, fourth-1501, etc..) wave of 500 keywords.

The simple calculation is multiplying the number of visits by the percentage of goals to get the actual number of conversions for the specific keyword. Plenty of those keywords have a 100% goal conversion with one visit and one conversion. These are good, but it is better to shoot for the ones that have 5+ visits and a 20% conversion rate because they have a better chance of having the volume required by Google to gain an impression.

Little used keyword phrases that have already converted on YOUR site are about as relevant as you can get. Filtering down to specific keywords and implementing these new phrases into your paid search campaigns will greatly benefit your share of impressions, clicks, and lower your cost per conversion if done correctly. Good luck maximizing your keyword lists and getting the most conversions at the lowest cost!