Category Archives: Analytics

Analytics Tip – Google Optimize

The Skinny

Google is beta testing a new landing page testing and optimization tool that integrates with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager called: Google Optimize.

Doesn’t This Already Exist?

Sort of. Google has been trying to get into the optimization game for a while now. It started with Google Website Optimizer which was discontinued in 2012 for Content Experiments in Google Analytics. This brought A/B testing into the Google Analytics tool. Google Optimize is their latest iteration. Google Optimize 360 is also in beta, but the main difference between Optimize and Optimize 360 is price. Google Optimize (sans 360) is free and thus a little more limited than the 360 enterprise version.

The Google Analytics 360 suite is the premium, paid-for suite of Google products. There are free versions of these but they have some limits to their capabilities.

Want to see the full comparison breakdown of the two versions? Check it out here.

Continue reading Analytics Tip – Google Optimize

Analytics Tip – Hacked Spam Notifications Now in Google Analytics

Long Story Short

Google announced last month that they will now include hacked spam notifications in Google Analytics, not just Google Search Console.

Wait, what are these two tools?

Google Analytics: A free analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. Other functions include goal + benchmark settings and conversion tracking.

Google Search Console: A free search tool that helps you monitor, manage, and gain insight into you’re your site fits into Google’s search result pages.

Short Story Long

In September 2015, Google shared that they’ve seen a 180% increase in the number of websites getting hacked.

On June 21, 2016, Google announced they’re “expanding [their] set of alerts in Google Analytics by adding notifications about sites hacked for spam in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. In the unlikely event of your site being compromised by a 3rd party, the alert will flag the affected domain right within the Google Analytics UI and will point you to resources to help you resolve the issue.”

To reach a larger audience, Google now notifies webmasters of malicious third party hackers to their site on Google Analytics. Previously, these alerts were only triggered in Google Search Console (formally known as Google Webmaster Tools). You do not need to have your website set up on Google Search Console to get the Google Analytics notifications – you can get notifications for one without the other.
Photo from Google of what the notification may look like:

hacked site notification

Tips to Keep Your Site Safe

1) Verify your website with Google Search Console to get notifications through the Security Issues feature.
2) Continually update your website software, CMS, and any plug-ins/add-ons used on your site with the newest releases.
3) Use a strong password that you don’t use for anything else, if available use two-step verification. Two-step verification usually means you first use your username and password to login, then a code is sent to a secondary email or phone number for you to enter, in order to gain access.

If your site does get hacked, you can find resources like this, for how to resolve any issues.

All in All

Take all necessary precautions to keep your website safe from malware and hackers. Create both Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts to gain valuable insights from hacked spam notifications to how your site is positioned on Google search results to where your traffic is coming from and how they’re interacting with your website.

Analytics tip: Attribution Models 101

Google Analytics tipAs marketers, we need to understand our audiences’ motivations for buying products, downloading whitepapers, calling for a demo – whatever action meets our business goals. Once we understand customers’ activity leading up to a sale, we can focus resources on the most effective path to conversion.

This would be easy, except each customer interacts across an omni channel journey. Perhaps they’re introduced to our brand on Facebook, sign up for emails, and then click through the email to purchase on our site. Which of these channels motivated them to convert?

Attribution models assign weighted credit to touchpoints across the omni channel journey, so we can best allocate resources and understand marketing effectiveness.

Today, we’ll walk through examples of popular attribution models, and demonstrate how to use Google Analytics’ Attribution Model Comparison Tool to choose the right models for your business.

Attribution Model use case

Let’s pretend you sell barbecue grills. Mr. Grillmaster is performing a Google search for barbecue grills and clicks on your website. He signs up for your emails, but doesn’t buy anything. A few days later, he receives your email, clicks through to your site, and browses models. A week after, he clicks a Facebook post offering free 2-day shipping. Memorial Day is this weekend, and he needs the grill! Mr. Grillmaster clicks from the ad to your website, but decides he needs to talk to his wife first. A day later, Mr. Grillmaster lands back on your website via your URL and purchases the grill.

His customer journey looked like this: Organic Search, Email, Social Network, Direct.

Google Analytics Attribution Models 101

In the Last Interaction attribution model the customers’ last touchpoint receives 100% credit for the conversion. In Mr. Grillmaster’s scenario, the Direct channel receives all the glory, if we’re following a Last Interaction Attribution Model.

The Last Non-Direct Click attribution model ignores direct traffic, and instead gives 100% credit to the last channel clicked before the sale. Social Network would receive 100% credit in a Last Non-Direct Click attribution model for Mr. Grillmaster.

The Last AdWords Click attribution model assigns credit to the last AdWords or paid search click. This attribution model doesn’t make sense for Mr. Grillmaster, unless the Facebook ad was tagged for AdWords, in which case his journey would look like: Organic Search, Email, Paid Search, Direct. Paid Search would then receive 100% credit in a Last AdWords Click attribution model. (Depending how social media ads are tagged, they can fall under Social Media or Paid Ads.)

By now, you’re getting the hang of attribution models. A few more:

Similar to Last Interaction, the First Interaction attribution model attributes 100% credit to the first touchpoint—in Mr. Grillmaster’s case Organic Search.

The Linear attribution model divides credit equally between each channel. Organic Search, Email, Social Network, and Direct would each receive 25% credit for the sale for Mr. Grillmaster.

Next, the Time Decay attribution model gives predominant credit to the channels closest to the sale and less credit to channels further down the line. The majority of credit for Mr. Grillmaster’s purchase would go to the Direct channel and the least credit to Organic Search.

Finally, the Position Based attribution model assigns 40% credit to the first and last channel, and splits the remaining 20% credit evenly between the middle channels. Organic Search and Direct would each receive 40% credit for Mr. Grillmaster’s barbecue grill purchase, and Email and Social Network would each receive 10% credit.

Exploring Attribution Models in Google Analytics

Most of Google Analytic’s standard reports use Last Non-Direct Click attribution, but they now allow you to compare and contrast attribution models to decide which model delivers the most insights into your customers’ lifecycle journey. *Note, you need to set up Goals or E-commerce transactions in Google Analytics for the Model Comparison Tool to work.

In Google Analytics, scroll down to Conversions > Attribution > Model Comparison Tool. Find it:


By default, it is set to the Last Interaction model. You’ll see five channels, and both the Last Interaction Conversion number and percent (the weighted number of conversions under the selected model) and the Last Interaction Conversion Value (the weighted value credited under the selected model).

Compare another model via the Select Model dropdown. We chose to compare Last Interaction with First Interaction. The tool calculates the percent change in Conversions or Conversion value from the initial model.


Additional options: Under the Conversion dropdown, select the data to review. We’re currently looking at both Transactions (E-commerce) and Registrations (Goals). Under Type, toggle between all data or only AdWords data. Adjust The Lookback Window from one to 90 days to set the length of time tracked prior to each conversion.

The Model Comparison Tool enables you to compare up to three models at once. Add secondary dimensions, like Source/Medium, to dig deeper into the path to conversions. For example, adding the Secondary Dimension Source breaks down our Organic Search into Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This information can help us allocate ad spend across search engines.



Attribution models aim to measure the impact each channel has on conversions across our customers’ omni channel journey. They aren’t perfect and don’t simply tell us what to do. Instead, they help us analyze and make sense out of all our behavioral data across touchpoints, so we can make data-driven judgement calls. Play around with these models to tailor your marketing strategy.

Analytics Tip – 4 Google Analytics Reports Not to Skip

You read our post on setting up Google Analytics, but you’re asking yourself – now what? There are a few different terms and reports you know. Follow along for our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics.

Before we get started

Check out our Google Analytics Glossary here to familiarize yourself with some terms. If you’re already in the know – let’s get started.

Let’s Dive In

First, become familiar with Google Analytics’ date ranges and indicate the time period you’d like to review data for. You can compare the current period with the previously year, period, or custom time frame.

GA Timeframe


Do you know how visitors are getting to your site? Do you want to see how that new email campaign you just launched is performing? Check out the Channels report.
Channels are the different ways people get to your website, examples of channels are: Email, Organic Search, Paid Search, Referrals, etc. For each channel you can see all Acquisition, Behavioral, Conversion, and Revenue data for All Users. If you choose to compare time frames, to account for a new website or email campaign launch, you can also view the percent change for each channel.

GA Channels Table
Navigate to the Channels report under Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels

GA Menu Channels

Segment for Mobile Traffic

Within Channels you can segment further to see specifically how aspects of your marketing plan are performing. You can segment based on many factors, but Mobile Traffic segmentation is what use with our clients most often. This report shows you how Mobile Traffic users are using channels to interact with your website.

To apply this segment head to the top of your report and click “+ Add Segment.”

GA Add Segment

Select mobile and click apply.

GA Segment Mobile

Once it is applied you can see all of Google’s reports through your mobile traffic lens.

GA Segment Graph

Once you see how visitors are interacting with your website via mobile devices, you can evaluate your current platform and how it performs on mobile. Perhaps you’ll decide to increase spending for mobile paid ads or decide to make improvements to your forms because they don’t convert as well on mobile devices.

Assisted Conversion

Sometimes you will look at a specific channel, say paid search, and see zero conversions and naturally think it is time to put a stop to it. The thing is though that Google Analytics uses last-click attribution. Meaning your visitors could come from paid search, visit, and site abandon, then come back in from an email and purchase. Google gives the full credit of the conversion to email, even though paid search is what initially assisted in the conversion process.

Since most consumers don’t buy on first visit to a website, Assisted Conversions allows you to pinpoint all the touch points that are factoring into the final sale.

Key Assisted Conversion Terms:

Assisted Conversion: The number of times this channel assisted in a conversion, but was not the final touch point.

Last Click or Direct Conversions: The number of times this channel was the final touch point.

Assisted/ Last Click or Direct Conversions: A value closer to 0, this channel was more often the final touch point.  A value closer to 1, this channel was equally the assist and final touch point. A value over 1, this channel was more often the assisted touch point to the final conversion.

GA Assisted Conversions Table

Looking at the above table, let’s focus on Paid Search for a moment. Marketing managers for this client might think to decrease spending on paid search based on the lower conversion value totals compared with other channels. However, they should not decrease spending because paid search is an essential assist role for their marketing efforts.

Navigate to the Assisted Conversion report under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions

GA Menu Conversions


You think you’re a rock star but how to do you stack up against others in your industry? Enter benchmarking. Choose an Industry Vertical, Country/Region (or All), and Size by Daily Session. You can see then by the Default Channel Grouping, as we’ve seen in the previously mentioned reports, how you stack up compared to others in the predefined industry and other filters. This allows you to see what needs work to improve or to try a different approach to be more in-line with the industry, or be better. Use this report to see where to allocate your marketing funds more efficiently.

For instance, if you see in the chart below that competitors in your industry drive a lot more traffic via paid search than you do, you may want to think about increasing paid search spending.

GA Benchmarking Table

Navigate to the Benchmarking report under Audience > Benchmarking

GA Menu Benchmarking

Use to Your Advantage

Do you have a lot of mobile traffic? Ensure your emails and website are mobile friendly to continue to drive mobile conversions. Have you seen your competitors driving more traffic through paid search? Evaluate your marketing budget to increase paid search spending. Now that you have harnessed all this data on how consumers are interacting with your brand, use it to drive a more relevant marketing campaign and increase revenues.

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 – 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.