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Trendspotting : Using Google Analytics to Track and React to Website Visitor Patterns. Chris Brown Assistant Director IU Communications [email protected] Bob Molnar Web Production Manager IU Communications [email protected] @ bobmolnar. Hashtag : # iumetrics.

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Trendspotting: Using Google Analytics to Track and React to Website Visitor Patterns

Chris Brown

Assistant Director

IU Communications

[email protected]

Bob Molnar

Web Production Manager

IU Communications

[email protected]

@bobmolnar

Hashtag: #iumetrics


Web analytics a definition

Web AnalyticsA Definition

“measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage”

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Analytics at iu

Analytics at IU

  • Weblogs

  • Page Counters

  • Analog

  • Google Analytics

  • Urchin

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Analytics at iu1

Analytics at IU

Weblogs

  • Raw server logs of all “hits”

  • Difficult to read and interpret

  • Difficult to cultivate pageviews

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Analytics at iu2

Analytics at IU

Page Counters

  • First attempt at any organized way to count visitors

  • In-page analytics

  • Easily manipulated and reported only how many “visitors” a page had (often incorrectly)

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Analytics at iu3

Analytics at IU

Analog

  • IU’s first enterprise-wide analytics solution

  • Extracted from server logs, but organized

  • Limited in scope: Cannot show visits, how website visitors went through the site, how they left the site, how much time they spent on the site, etc.

  • Available for all webserve accounts:http://www-reports.iu.edu/

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Analytics at iu4

Analytics at IU

Google Analytics

  • Sophisticated client-side, Javascript-based analytics solution

  • Free to use, but requires a Google account

  • Data is processed on Google servers

  • Aggregate data reporting

  • No way to re-process data once it is collected

  • Cannot track users who use browsers without Javascript enabled/non-Javascript browsers

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Analytics at iu5

Analytics at IU

Urchin

  • Also a Google product

  • Server-side solution

  • Data is processed on locally owned servers

  • Aggregate & individual data reporting

  • Allows for re-processing of old data

  • In evaluation phase at IU

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Web analytics the process

Web AnalyticsThe Process

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Web analytics

Web Analytics

Measure

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Web analytics how google analytics works

Web AnalyticsHow Google Analytics Works

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Web analytics how google analytics works1

Web AnalyticsHow Google Analytics Works

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Web analytics blind spots

Web AnalyticsBlind Spots

  • JavaScript Disabled

  • Cookies Blocked

  • Cookies Removed

  • Private Browsing

  • Multiple Devices

  • Multiple Browsers

  • VPN Connections

  • iFrame Content

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Web analytics profile filters

Web AnalyticsProfile Filters

  • Limits and modifies traffic data within a profile.

  • Only contains data starting from the date created.

  • Can be applied to multiple profiles, but each must be viewed separately.

  • Never apply to RAW DATA profile.

  • Limit profile data to certain account users.

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Web analytics profile filters1

Web AnalyticsProfile Filters

  • Predefined Filters

    • Exclude traffic from the domains

    • Exclude traffic from the IP addresses

    • Exclude traffic to the subdirectories

  • Custom Filters

    • Exclude/Include Pattern

    • Search & Replace

    • Uppercase / Lowercase

    • Advanced

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Web analytics goals funnels

Web AnalyticsGoals & Funnels

  • A goal is a website page that serves as conversion for your site – i.e. completion of call to action.

    • Form confirmation

    • Downloads

    • Purchase

  • A funnel represents the path that you expect visitors to take on their way to converting to the goal.

    • Conversion rate

    • Visitor goal abandonment

      • Bottlenecks

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Web analytics campaign links

Web AnalyticsCampaign Links

  • Use for online and offline campaigns

    • Direct Mail

    • E-mail

    • Banner Ads

    • Search

  • URL Builder Tool

  • Provides UTM parameters for performance tracking

    • Campaign Source

    • Campaign Medium

    • Campaign Term

    • Campaign Content

    • Campaign Name

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Web analytics1

Web Analytics

Analyze

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Web analytics understanding your audience

Web AnalyticsUnderstanding Your Audience

How can web analytics help you better understand your audience(s)?

Where are your audiences originating from?

  • Internal vs. External

  • Geographies

  • Traffic Sources

    • Direct

    • Organic Search

    • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

    • Pay-Per-Impressions (PPI)

    • Off- and Online Campaigns

    • Social Media

    • External Sites

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Web analytics understanding your audience1

Web AnalyticsUnderstanding Your Audience

How can web analytics help you better understand your audience(s)?

How do your audiences access the site?

  • Browser

  • Operating System

  • Network

  • Mobile

    • Which devices?

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Web analytics understanding your audience2

Web AnalyticsUnderstanding Your Audience

How can web analytics help you better understand your audience(s)?

How do your audiences behave on the site?

  • New vs. Returning

  • Visit Frequency

  • Visit Recency

  • Visit Duration

  • Page Depth

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Web analytics understanding your content

Web AnalyticsUnderstanding Your Content

How can web analytics help you better understand your site’s content?

How are your pages performing?

  • Pageviews

  • Unique Pageviews

  • Time on Page

  • Bounce Rate

  • Exits

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Web analytics understanding your content1

Web AnalyticsUnderstanding Your Content

How can web analytics help you better understand your site’s content?

How are your pages performing?

  • Page Popularity

  • Content Drilldown

  • Landing Pages

  • Exit Pages

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Web analytics understanding your content2

Web AnalyticsUnderstanding Your Content

How can web analytics help you better understand your site’s content?

What are audiences searching for?

  • Search Volume

  • Search Exits

  • Search Refinements

  • Time After Search

  • Search Depth

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Web analytics advanced segments

Web AnalyticsAdvanced Segments

Used to isolate and analyze specific kinds of traffic.

Non-destructive and can be applied on historical data.

  • Allows viewing and comparison of multiple advanced segments side by side in reports.

  • Not available for absolute unique visitors, goal and funnel reports. Use filters for these areas.

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Web analytics2

Web Analytics

Under the Hood:Goals & Funnels

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Goals funnels

Goals & Funnels

What is a Goal (a.k.a. “Goal Conversion” or “Conversions”)?

Any specific, measurable action performed by a site user that you determine is more valuable than a standard pageview. You can define the desired path to the Goal and track that path using Funnel Reports.

You can have up to 20 goals across 5 goal tabs

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Web analytics examples of goals

Web AnalyticsExamples of Goals

  • Downloading a specific PDF

  • Visiting a specific sub-site (e.g., Current Projects, Alumni Giving, etc.)

  • Engagement goals (e.g., commenting on a blog post, sharing a site asset via social media, etc.)

  • Purchasing an item

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Web analytics the importance of goals

Web AnalyticsThe Importance of Goals

  • Single most important measurement

  • Helps to define website success: completion of a Goal

  • Also measures how close visitors who did not complete the Goal came to completion

  • “Negative Goals” – tracking how people get to error pages, etc.

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Web analytics funnel reports

Web AnalyticsFunnel Reports

  • Funnel - the path a visitor takes to complete a Goal

  • Funnel Reports

    • Trace the visitor path to a Goal

    • Not ideal for every Goal (e.g., Pages/Visit)

    • Use for Goals that have a clear linear path

  • Expect to lose visitors at each step in the path (thus, the term “Funnel”)

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsTypes of Funnels

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Adapted from Clifton, B. Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics.


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsCylinder Shape

This shape represents 100% Goal completion. It is unrealistic, if not unattainable.

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Adapted from Clifton, B. Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics.


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsTraditional Funnel

The most common shape. Represents a sharp decrease in visitors with each step in the Funnel.

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics

Adapted from Clifton, B. Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics.


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe “Bulge” Shape

The “bulge” represents an ill-designed path, where there is a sharp increase in visitors in the middle of the path.

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Adapted from Clifton, B. Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics.


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe “Birdbath” Funnel

A shape depicting a large number of visitors leaving early in the process. Represents poor conversion and significant barriers to progress.

The shape of the Funnel can tell us a lot.

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics

Adapted from Clifton, B. Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics.


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe “Flowerpot” Funnel

This is the ideal shape. Represents a well-optimized path, with a gradual decrease in visitors with each step in the Funnel.

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics

Adapted from Clifton, B. Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics.


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe Multi-Channel Funnel Report

  • New feature in the latest version of Google Analytics

  • Shows the path to a Goal from multiple channels (e.g., social media, banner ads, email blasts) for up to 30 days prior to Goal achievement

  • For more information:

    • http://bit.ly/ga-mcf

    • http://bit.ly/ga-mcf-vid

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Web analytics3

Web Analytics

Under the Hood:Campaigns

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsCampaigns

What is a campaign?

  • Campaign Reporting is a way to track a marketing campaign’s results under a single category.

  • Link Tagging is a process by which you can customize URLs to track website visits that comprise a campaign.

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsParameters for Link Tagging

  • utm_campaign (required) – The name of the specific marketing campaign (e.g., “2011_Comm_Mrktg_Conf”)

  • utm_medium (required) – The marketing medium by which a visitor came to visit the website (e.g., “email”, “postcard”, “billboard”, “banner ad”, “twitter”, “facebook”)

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsParameters for Link Tagging

  • utm_source (required) – A specific source for the website visit (e.g., “vp_email_2011_10_19”, “tweet-10192011”)

  • utm_content (optional) – Used to differentiate ads within a campaign

  • utm_term (optional) – Used only for paid keywords (e.g., Google AdWords)

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsGoogle’s URL Builder

http://bit.ly/ga-url-builder

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsDeconstructing the Resulting URL

http://admit.indiana.edu/discover?utm_source=research_admit_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AdmitAcademicOptions

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe Source

http://admit.indiana.edu/discover?utm_source=research_admit_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AdmitAcademicOptions

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe Medium

http://admit.indiana.edu/discover?utm_source=research_admit_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AdmitAcademicOptions

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsThe Campaign Name

http://admit.indiana.edu/discover?utm_source=research_admit_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AdmitAcademicOptions

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsShortening the URL

  • Shorten the URL when sending it to visitors:http://admit.indiana.edu/myoptions/admit

  • Methods for shortening URLs

    • Use bit.ly: http://bit.ly (requires free account activation for customizing URLs)

    • Use go.iu.edu (IU’s URL-shortening service, requires CAS login):http://go.iu.edu/

    • Add custom, shortened URL to your website’s .htaccess file (not for the faint of heart!)

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

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Web analytics4

Web Analytics

Under the Hood:Virtual Pageviews

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsVirtual Pageviews

What is a virtual pageview?

  • A method for making reading a report “cleaner”

  • Replaces longer URLs in a report with a readable format

  • Similar to Events (covered later)

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsLong URLs and Reporting

Some dynamically-generated URLs may contain a long string of parameters used for connecting to databases:http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Being+lucky+Herman+Wells&x=0&y=0

Databases need those parameter values, but the associated URLs are hard to read and decipher in Google Analytics reports.

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsWhen should you use virtual pageviews?

Google Analytics includes the ability to create Virtual Pageviews to replace confusing URLs in reports.

You can also use Virtual Pageviews for items that are not normally tracked as pageviews, but have similar actions (e.g., opening a PDF file).

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Web analytics reporting with virtual pageviews

Web AnalyticsReporting with Virtual Pageviews

In any pageview reports, only the folder path and parameter string (depicted in red below) will appear:

http://www.iucat.iu.edu/uhtbin/cgisirsi/t45rMDnjOO/I-UNIVLIB/17211593/9

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Web analytics reporting with virtual pageviews1

Web AnalyticsReporting with Virtual Pageviews

Virtual pagviews make reporting folder paths easier to read:

http://www.iucat.iu.edu/uhtbin/cgisirsi/t45rMDnjOO/I-UNIVLIB/17211593/9

/books/Herman Wells - Being Lucky

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Web analytics virtual pageviews creating the url

Web AnalyticsVirtual Pageviews - Creating the URL

<a href="http://www.iucat.iu.edu/uhtbin/cgisirsi/t45rMDnjOO/I-UNIVLIB/17211593/9" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackPageview','/books/Herman Wells - Being Lucky']);">Being Lucky by Herman B Wells</a>

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

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Web analytics5

Web Analytics

Under the Hood:Events

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Web analytics events

Web AnalyticsEvents

What is an event?

  • An event is any action a visitor is capable of performing while visiting a website.

  • Practical definition for Google Analytics: Any in-page action that does not cause a pageview

  • Help to reduce high bounce rate on a page that would otherwise generate a single pageview

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Web analytics events1

Web AnalyticsEvents

Event examples

  • Watching an embedded video:

    • Playing the video

    • Stopping the video

  • Navigating an in-page slideshow

  • In-page gadgets (AJAX)

  • File downloads

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Web analytics event components

Web AnalyticsEvent Components

  • category (required) – a value describing a group categorized under a common name (e.g., “Homepage Slideshow”).

  • action (required) – a value describing what the user did to trigger an event (e.g., “click”, “press play”, “stop”).

  • optional_label– an optional value you can use to provide additional text information (e.g., “Slide 1: State of the University Address”, “Play Alumni Video”)

  • optional_value– an optional numeric (integer only) value that use can use to provide additional numeric information. Google Analytics will sum all aggregate values.

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Web analytics tagging an event

Web AnalyticsTagging an Event

<a href=“#”onclick=“_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'CATEGORY', 'ACTION', 'OPTIONAL_LABEL', OPTIONAL_VALUE)”>Link</a>

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Web analytics example of a tagged event

Web AnalyticsExample of a tagged Event

<a href=“#”onclick=“_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Homepage Slideshow', 'Click', '1 - IU Energy Challenge winners', 1])”>Link</a>

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsEvents vs. Virtual Pageviews

  • Since Events do not generate pageviews, use them only to track actions that would not count as a pageview normally (e.g., interacting with a video, AJAX application, slideshow, external links, etc.).

  • Virtual Pagviews do count as pageviews. Use them to track actions that you would consider a pageviewunder most circumstances (e.g., downloading a PDF, Word document, etc.)

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Web analytics6

Web Analytics

Under the Hood:New Features

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsMobile Reports

  • Access the reports using Audience » Mobile

  • Overview – Simple report showing breakdown of mobile vs. non-mobile visitors.

  • Mobile Devices – Presents visitors broken down by mobile device. You can also segment by service provider, input selector (e.g., touchscreen, joystick, stylus), operating system, and other dimensions. Also includes visitor location segmenting (using the Map Overlay feature).

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsVisitors Flow Report

  • Access the report using Audience » Visitors Flow

  • Uses nodes and connections to graphically represents the paths visitors used to navigate your website.

    • “A node represents: one metric of the dimension by which you’re filtering the visualization (first column); or a single page or collection of pages (for example, all pages in the wearables directory).”

    • “A connection represents the path from one node to another, and the volume of traffic along that path.”

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsReal Time Data Reporting

  • Access the reports using Home tab » Real Time (BETA)

  • Overview - shows referrals (websites and keywords) of visitors who are currently viewing your website.

  • Locations - the geographic locations of current visitors.

  • Traffic Sources – depicts mediums and sources of current visitors. Good for monitoring campaigns.

  • Content – reveals the pages with which current visitors are interacting.

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Twitter Hashtag: #iumetrics


Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsSocial Engagement Reports

  • Access the reports using Visitors » Social section

  • Engagement – Compares how people who used social media (SM) on your site performed vs. people who did not use SM.

  • Action – compares each SM channel and the action performed

  • Pages – Compares social interactions across pages in your site

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Web analytics7

Web Analytics

Act!

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Web analytics the process1

Web AnalyticsThe Process

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Web analytics measure best practices

Web AnalyticsMeasure – Best Practices

  • Establish your site goals (macro and micro).

  • Define the audience(s) and metrics associated to each goal.

  • Update your site privacy policy.

  • Create a Google Account.

  • Create a RAW DATA profile.

  • Create filters for isolating and analyzing subgroup traffic.

  • Map goal funnels.

  • Utilize “UTM” parameters in hyperlinks for campaigns.

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Web analytics analyze best practices

Web AnalyticsAnalyze – Best Practices

  • Establish a scheduled review period (monthly, quarterly, semester, annually) for each goal.

  • Review metrics defined for each goal.

    • Raw Data

    • Filters

    • Advanced Segmentations

  • Determine trends, performance bottlenecks, and new growth opportunities.

  • Identify actionable insights.

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Web analytics act best practices

Web AnalyticsAct – Best Practices

  • Make it a priority.

  • Dedicate resources for action.

  • Implement site changes to better align with goal objectives reflective of analytics findings.

    • Content

    • SEO

    • Site/Page Usability

    • Process/Workflow

    • Design Elements

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Web analytics for more information

Web AnalyticsFor More Information

Send us an Email: [email protected]

Follow us on Twitter: @iumetrics

Analytics Resources: http://bit.ly/iumetrics

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web AnalyticsSpecial Thanks

Greg Polit

Director, Informational & Emerging Technologies

IU Communications

Nancy Clensy

Assistant for Special Projects

Vice President for Public Affairs

and Government Relations

Tadas Paegle

New Media Developer

IU Communications

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Trendspotting using google analytics to track and react to website visitor patterns

Web Analytics

Thank You!

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