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!

Blog Series: How To Test For Internet Marketing Success: Part 1 — What NOT to Test

Internet Marketing allows us a much easier time creating tests and learning the best ways to improve the results of our online marketing projects. In this series of blog posts, I will review the best ways to create, administer, and calculate internet marketing tests to achieve optimal results.

You can test nearly every facet of your marketing campaign, including copy, design, offers, key messages and more. These are not only options for testing, but they are both easier and less expensive than other media types. That being said, testing everything is detrimental to both cost and time. No one has the unlimited time or funds…
First things first, you need to decide what you will be testing. Like a science experiment you should first develop a test hypothesis to determine both what you think the test will achieve, and what you’d like it to achieve. Like similar scenarios, often times determining what to include is found by determining what not to include. Don’t include things that will likely make no difference. Questions like these will only waste your time and not deliver the right results.

The term ‘best practices’ is there for a reason, and this should be another red flag to leave out of your test. If it common knowledge that doing something a certain way is a commonly accepted best practice with published results, the general rule of thumb is that it works, and should be trusted. Use the experience of others to your benefit and save yourself time and money.

Do your homework and seek all the experts and best practices at your disposal. Now that you’ve gotten started, you’ll find a much more concise list of what you want to test and where to go from here.

One example of a best practice is having a form on the right hand side of the page. Virtually all of the landing pages we create have the form on the right hand side. When we started doing landing pages, we tested forms on the left side and they didn’t work as well. Many have come to the same conclusion over the past few years. So here is a good example of both something that we have tested and something that has also become a best practice.Do your homework and seek all the experts and best practices at your disposal. Now that you’ve gotten started, you’ll find a much more concise list of what you want to test and where to go from here.

 

Download Nowspeed’s How To Test For Internet Marketing Success White Paper to learn more.

How to Build a Winning SEO Strategy: Fresh Content

Fresh content is a very important factor in keyword visibility. If your site is updated frequently, the search engines will index it more frequently and it will help you get better keyword visibility. A regularly updated blog is an excellent way to provide fresh content. It can also be helpful to make small updates to your product or service pages each month. Press releases on your site are another easy way to make your content fresh.

As you add new content, make sure you use all of the same principles mentioned above to make sure that the new HTML page body copy as well as the tags and links are fully optimized. To learn additional techniques to rank better on search engines, please download our white paper, “How to Build a Winning SEO Strategy.

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.

5 Ways You Can Social Media Optimize Your Website Today

A few weeks ago I conducted a webinar entitled, “How to Social Media Optimize Your Website”, where I provided a short list of ideas for enhancing websites by making them more social media friendly:

  1. Let your website visitors share and bookmark your content with “add-this” www.addthis.com or “share this” www.sharethis.com
  2. Build transparency and the human element into your website with videos, photo sharing and profiles of your team, customers profiles, video case studies and/or product reviews
  3. Add unique RSS feeds from your social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs in categories that align to your website’s content, and open your thought-leadership content like white papers and articles up for discussion on those networks
  4. Build gateways into your social networks like hub pages and newsrooms, and add persistent links out to social networks on every page of your website
  5. Implement a CMS system with modules or extensions that allow for 2-way communication, so that your website can become a place where a community of your team and can interact with comments and content sharing

This webinar was “Session Three” of a three-part series presented jointly with OneSource, “The Social Media for B2B Demand Generation Webinar Series”. If you’re interested in watching recorded versions of any of these webinars, they are available at this microsite under the “Sessions” tab.

Shortly following the last webinar, we sent out a survey to gauge participants’ readiness or progress in adopting social media optimization on their website. 50 people completed the survey.  Based on their interest in attending the webinar to begin with, it’s no surprise that most participants were already convinced of the value of social media for increasing brand engagement and driving new leads and sales. The majority, however, had not yet acted upon this conviction by making their website a catalyst for social networks and social media activities. Detailed survey results are available for download here.

It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to discuss website optimization in light of the social web, a subject that I’m exploring almost every day with clients who want to stay ahead of the curve in their Internet Marketing efforts. Thanks to everyone who attended, and especially to those who participated in the survey. If you’d like to discuss any of the subject matter of the webinar, or any related ideas, I’m very interested in continuing the conversation.