Category Archives: Analytics

Analytics tip – 5 Excel Basics for Clean Data

This week, we welcome a guest post from our Senior Project Manager, Aaron Lemley. Aaron is our go-to guy for turning complex datasets into valuable, actionable marketing insights.

Thanks to analytics tools and online databases, we collect an unparalleled volume of data in every aspect of our business. Clean and accurate data is essential for data-driven decision making, but we frequently receive incorrect or inconsistent data.

All marketers should know the basics of cleansing and manipulating data in Excel, so it’s consistent and ready to be imported into your CRM, marketing automation tool, or database.

Today’s how-to guide, 5 Excel Basics for Clean Data, is a starting point to help you cleanse a simple dataset. We’ve used a very basic dataset (only five contacts) to make the steps easy to follow.

Get the how-to guide and you’ll have a clean slate to start analyzing and importing data.

Analytics Tip – Google Tag Manager

AnnaThis week we welcome one of our fabulous Online Marketing Associates, Anna Pleshakova, to walk through the wonderful world of Google Tag Manager + why implementing on your site will save you a headache, or two!

Google What Manager?

New to analytics? Tags are small snippets of code implemented on your site to track various behaviors and analytics, such as visitor traffic + audience segmentation and targeting. It differs from the plain old Google Analytics code in that you can add any additional tags you may want without having to touch the source code. For example, let’s say you want to add Facebook tagging to your site so you can do remarketing. Enter Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager takes the headache out of managing tagging in the source code of your website plus your site will load faster with this all-encompassing tag system.

There are a variety in the types of tags you may have on your site including regular tags + custom tags. Examples of regular tags are Google Adwords Conversation Tracking, DoubleClick Floodlight Counter + Sales, Google Analytics, and Event Listener. Custom tags can either be custom images or HTML for tracking.

Implementing Google Tag Manager

The best thing about Google Tag Manager is that you don’t need to be a programmer or developer to implement and manage the tags, here’s looking at you fellow digital marketers! It takes just three simple steps to implement Google Tag Manager, according to the website.

1. Create Google Tag Manager Account

2. Create Container
The container is the single snippet of Javascript code that houses all the tags managed within Google Tag Manager.
GTM-container3. Copy and paste the container code
The container code needs to be added to each page of your site that you would like to enable tracking for, before the opening body tag in the source code.


Why You Should Implement

The best thing about this tool is that it’s easy to use + it takes out the tedious and error-prone process of manually editing each separate tag in the code. With the ease of use any digital marketer can use this process—you don’t need a developer, which saves time for you in the end. If you want to change the tag, you can change the tag. Simple as that.

Analytics tip – Google’s Shopping Insights

Retailers turn to industry trends and customer data to shape decision making, whether they’re deciding which product lines to reorder or how to budget marketing spend. Understanding how customers purchase in the past helps allocate resources, save money, and cut waste.

Google’s Shopping Insights tool, now in Beta, intends to help retailers make merchandising and marketing decisions by giving them access to product search trends across the U.S.

Search speaks to customers intent to buy, and therefore, indicates product popularity. Since 87% of consumers research online before entering a store (according to Forrester), these insights are a powerful part of retailer planning.

What is Google’s Shopping Insights?

Google’s Shopping Insights aggregates data for 5,000 of the most popular product searches on and in the U.S. market between April 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015.

The data is displayed as a heat map and can be filtered by city or region and device (desktop vs. mobile). Darker shades mean higher interest.

Retailers can search by product or brand name, and also compare products side by side (Xbox One vs. PS4 is one of Google’s “featured story” examples). Results can be shared on Facebook, G+, Twitter, or as a link, but cannot be exported at this time.

Below is one of Google’s Featured Stories, displaying search results for the term “backpacks” nationwide:

Google's Shopping Insights

Keep in mind, the data is based on consumer search, not purchase behavior. Combining search with regional data, helps retailers visualize trends and figure out cities where products are more or less popular.

How Retailers can use Google’s Shopping Insights

Retailers can compare searches for their products by region or city to estimate which product lines to carry in their brick and mortar stores. By best allocating product lines to certain stores, retailers better clear products and won’t waste money on shelf space for products less likely to sell.

Aggregated search data is especially useful for marketers. Etailers and wholesalers can target offers by region on their website and in email. For paid search, marketers can compare keywords consumers are searching in certain regions and by device, so they can better estimate their ad spend by city or identify devices to target.

Selecting dates on the timeline can help marketers decide time frames that ads are more likely to be successful. Retailers can compare search information for Black Friday versus Cyber Monday, for example, and plan their paid search strategy accordingly.

See Google Shopping Insights In Action

Check out Google’s Shopping Insights Demo:

Analytics tip – 3 metrics to benchmark holiday success

For many commerce companies, the holiday shopping season can make or break their year.metrics-to-benchmark-holiday-success

According to a report by RJMetrics, November and December drive 30% more e-commerce revenue than non-holiday months. Not all shopping days are created equal, either. The report found that the days from Black Friday through Christmas pull in 50-100% more revenue than shopping days throughout the rest of the year.

Your brand needs to maximize conversions leading up to the most wonderful time of the year. Tying marketing initiatives to trackable metrics takes the guesswork out of developing a smart digital strategy. To get you started, we’ve outlined 3 metrics to benchmark holiday success last season to help you plan a successful 2015.

Conversions + most popular shopping days

To benchmark your high level conversion numbers from last season, navigate to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview.

The Overview graph at the top of the page displays the Ecommerce Conversion Rate. Include additional information by clicking the dropdown Select a Metric. Options include Average Order Value, Quantity, Revenue, Transactions, and Unique Purchases. We selected Revenue.


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Analytics tip – 5 step checklist to set up Google Analytics

Are you using Google Analytics (GA) to track lifts + conversions on your new website? Or have you added GA to an existing website to understand where your customers are coming from + how to best market your business? Are you sure it’s set up correctly?

Follow the checklist below to make sure your Google Analytics account is set up properly and ready to track stellar site visits and other metrics! Download a copy of the checklist (right) to keep handy.

Let’s start from the beginning:

□  Is GA tracking code located on all pages of your website? Don’t forget the checkout page for e-commerce sites!

□  Are you self-referring your own site? This can be caused by missing tracking code on some of your pages.

□  Do you have two instances of the same code on the same page? Two GA codes on the same page is okay, but two instances of the same code could cause issues with pageviews, time on site, and bounce rates.

Linking your other Google properties:

□  Is Google Search Console linked to your analytics account? To check in GA, go to Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries. Can you see data? If yes, you are all set! No? Link your properties to see how your company shows up in organic search. We have an entire post about linking Google’s Search Console with Google Analytics.

□  Do you use AdWords? You can check whether you’ve linked it to GA by going to Acquisition -> AdWords. If you see data, it’s linked. If not, it’s time to link your properties.


Track it down:

□  Don’t forget to track external traffic—non-Google ads, emails, and landing pages — by appending UTM parameters to URLs. See how it’s done here.

□  AdWords user? Enable auto-tagging, so campaign data shows up correctly in GA.

How are you setting + reaching goals?

□  E-commerce sites: monetary values, like conversions, will show engagement on your site and the Google AdWords generating the most value. You’ll need to verify that your developer installed e-commerce code on your site, and you enabled e-commerce in GA. To enable e-commerce in GA go to Admin -> View -> E-commerce settings and confirm it’s turned on. Once enabled, you’ll see revenue data in your reports. The simplest way to check is to go to Conversions -> E-commerce -> Overview.


□  Set goals on non-e-commerce sites to see whitepaper downloads, Contact Us form completions, and video views. Every website needs a measurable purpose – make sure you’re tracking yours.

Enabling extras:

□  Is site search enabled? Are you wondering what keywords people are typing into your site search bar or whether visitors are looking for terms that don’t apply to your business? Do you need to make content or navigation clearer? Then, you need to enable site search. Go to Admin -> View -> View Settings,” then at the bottom, enable Site Search Tracking. Don’t forget to add your query parameter (when you perform a search on your site, the parameter is the part right before = keyword). For example, in this URL:, “q” is the search query parameter.

□  Are demographics enabled? Do you want to know age, gender, and interest data to better understand your visitors? Enable demographics in Admin-> Properties -> Property Settings. Simply select on for “enable demographics and interest reports.”


Now What?

Once your site is completely set up with Google Analytics tracking and UTM parameters appending to external URLs, you can rely on reporting metrics to show where customers are coming from and how to best invest in your online presence.


Analytics tip – Cross Channel Attribution for Smarter Marketing

Cross Channel AttributionConsumers call the shots. With endless alternatives at their fingertips, they expect pleasant, personalized attention from brands, or they’ll take their business elsewhere.

Don’t shoot the messenger, but right now, one of your competitors is going to great lengths to understand customers’ raising expectations. They’re honing the customer journey, tracking and measuring each engagement on the path to purchase, and refining their approach to ensure every customer is completely satisfied. (If you’re a services company, you’re in the same boat). You need to raise your game to compete.

Integrating this in-depth understanding of every consumers’ competing needs, challenges, and channels is no easy feat. If you’re ready to develop a truly holistic understanding of your customers and their engagement with your brand, it’s time to add cross-channel attribution to your marketing plan pronto.

What is cross-channel attribution?

Cross-channel attribution looks at all of the engagement touch points between our customer and brand on their path to purchase. The goal is to quantify the impact of each engagement to figure out what is successfully motivating a conversion and what isn’t working, so we can tweak and modify our marketing strategy and direct resources to effective channels.

This exercise involves laying out all of your channels (search, social, email, display, affiliate, referral, and others) and using advanced analytics to understand their impact on the conversion path. For example, if you’re a vacuum distributor, one customer journey might look like:

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Analytics tip – Beginner’s Guide to Google Search Console

Google’s search ranking algorithms sure keep us on our toes, but the complexity is just part of the fun! Why won’t Google just tell us what to do to improve our position? Google Search Console (formally Google Webmaster Tools, as of May 20) might be the closest we’ll get to Google whispering the secret to successful search in our ear.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console offers insight into how Googlebots view your site, how it appears in search results, and how your audience interacts with those search results.

It’s a looking glass into your search efforts and helps you monitor, optimize, and maintain your website. (You’ll notice some overlap if you currently use Google Analytics. For example, you’ll see a breakdown of your most popular landing pages in both tools, but Google Search Console takes it a step further to show your placement in search results for specific keywords.)

The Search Console dashboard is a quick look into your site’s current status, and the left navigation offers a deep dive into search appearance, search traffic, Google Index, crawl status, and security issues.

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard

Instead of listing all the functionality bundled into Google Search Console, we’ll focus on two main assets: is your website performing at an optimum level? Are your SEO efforts paying off?

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Analytics tip – Google boosts mobile-friendly websites in search

Yesterday, Google announced on their Official Webmaster Central Blog two important changes to their search algorithm that will make it easier for users to find mobile-friendly content.

1) Google boosts mobile-friendly sites in search rankings

Google boosts mobile-friendly websites in search rankingsStarting April 21, Google is adjusting their search ranking signal to give weight to mobile-friendly websites for searchers worldwide. Their goal is to make it easier for users on mobile devices to find relevant and useful information and receive high quality search results.

This is great news for searchers. Why? Let’s say you’re searching for bus schedules from your iPhone. There are a lot of websites that curate this information. If you click one of the search results and the site has not been optimized to be easily read and interacted with from your iPhone, you’re quickly going to become frustrated and seek another site.

Google’s in the game of giving you the highest quality results, so the last thing they want to do is serve you a poor, frustrating user experience. By giving mobile-friendliness weight in Google’s search algorithm, a mobile-friendly website for bus schedules will list higher in the SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages) than a non-mobile friendly site, increasing the likelihood you’ll receive an easy and enjoyable, optimized mobile experience.

What does Google’s boost to mobile-friendliness mean for your website?

In a nutshell – it’s time for a mobile-friendly website. Google will rank mobile-friendly websites over non-friendly websites on the same topic, so if you care about search rankings (and you better), now is the time to deliver an optimized mobile experience to users on every device. (Check out our tips for building a mobile-friendly website). If you’re a webmaster, Google recommends you use the following tools to test the mobile-friendliness of your website:

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Google Analytics tip – Intelligence Events

You’ve probably been on the receiving end, or at least heard about, bank alerts. They warn you about strange activity on your accounts, based on your previously established banking patterns. For those of us that don’t check our bank account on a regular basis, it provides us an easy way to monitor any abnormal activity.

Google Analytics Intelligence Events work the same way, monitoring your analytics account and alerting you when a significant divergence occurs.  For busy marketers, intelligence alerts is like having a full-time data analyst tracking your accounts and ensuring that nothing abnormal occurs without you knowing.

intelligencetabv2Where to find the Intelligence Events reports

Intelligence Events is a main category heading in the left hand navigation.

There are four reports: Overview, Daily Events, Weekly Events, and Monthly Events:

  • Overview provides a summary of automatic and custom alerts triggered in the date range selected.
  • Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Events provides automatic and custom alerts triggered based on day to day, week to week, and month to month changes in data.
    GA Intell.

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Analytics tip – 2015 Google Analytics glossary

With the fresh start of a new year, it’s time to brush up on the basics. Since Google Analytics is constantly making changes, regularly familiarizing yourself with both the fundamentals and newest updates is highly recommended!  To reflect these adjustments, we’ve updated our Google Analytics glossary for 2015. Refer to the informational graphics below and to the right for reference.

Google Analytics Glossary 2015

Google Analytics Reporting Termsv2

Acquisition (A) –

A top level report containing data on how visitors are arriving to your website. Within Acquisition, you can select different views. “Channels,” one of our favorite views, shows a high level breakdown of traffic sources to your website, their behavior, and conversion rates.

How to use it: Notice a big spike or dip in your revenue or visitors? The first place you should look is the Acquisition reports. Click on the channels view to determine which of your efforts are causing the spike or dip.

Assisted Conversion (B)

Summarizes how different channels (traffic sources) contribute to a conversion. Google categorizes them three ways:

  1. Last interaction – channel immediately precedes the conversion (this is how Google attributes conversion in every other report)
  2. Assisted interaction – channel is on the conversion path, but not the last interaction
  3. First interaction – first channel on the conversion path

How to use it: Convinced a channel is just not working for you? Stop by the assisted conversion report before writing it off completely. You may find that while the channel in question does not lead to the last interaction, it’s assisting a lot of interactions.

Average Session Duration (C)

Measures how long customers spend on your site. Average session duration is the total duration of all website sessions divided by the number of sessions.

How to use it: The average session duration shows the overall engagement level of your visitors on your site. Longer visits may indicate a more captivating site for your visitors.
Continue reading Analytics tip – 2015 Google Analytics glossary