Bryan Eisenberg recently blogged at MSN AdCenter Analytics Blog about the 7 Biggest Mistakes of Web Analytics. We thought we’d work off of these seven points and give you our take on how to make the most of your analytics setup, while avoiding some major pitfalls. Some of these tips are universal to all analytics software, including free services, like Google Analytics, while others are obviously geared toward larger enterprise analytics packages.
1. Double Check Your Implementation
2. Set Some Goals, Dangit!
Analytics does you a limited amount of good if you don’t have goals defined and built into your setup. If you don’t have goals, why are you measuring things in the first place? Think about the purpose for tracking your visitors and knowing information about them. Then define goals that can help you measure what is happening when visitors arrive at your site. Even if you’re not an e-commerce site, you should be setting goals to track things like user signups and downloads, among other things.
3. Get Down To The Gritty Segmentation
Sometimes averages can be very deceptive. One of the chief mistakes you can make when poring over your analytics data is to only look at the means. Different segments of users behave differently, and can throw off your statistics significantly. Visitors referred from StumbleUpon will probably act a lot differently on your site than visitors from shop.yahoo.com. Don’t stop analyzing your reports when you see fair or even good statistics. Dig deep and see what’s going on within each of your segments.
4. Focus On Metrics You Can Control
Remember that rambling old war vet you had for Chemistry in 10th grade? You may have learned a lot of interesting stories in that class, but most of them may not have been relevant to the subject. Analytics can be the same way. Make sure you aren’t getting distracted by the myriad of data that analytics tracks, as interesting as it may be. Focus on the metrics you can do something about and you can trace back to your bottom line.
5. Document Changes
Many webmasters have had occasion to take a look at long term data and make some startlingly wrong conclusions. Make sure you document milestone events that occur in your business, your website, and your marketing so you don’t make false assumptions based on old data. This is especially good advice for teams, but even if you’re a one-man crew, you’d be stupid not to document these big events.
6. “Be Data-driven but Customer-focused”
Quantative data tells you what is happening, and how much of it is happening, but qualitative data can tell you why. Listen to your visitors/customers in addition to analyzing the data you accumulate in analytics. A focus group might be a great way to supplement your analytics reporting once in a while. And it might be a good way to get you out of your cubicle, too.
7. Don’t Just Read The Data – Do Something About It
The other day when I was sitting in church, the preacher said to the audience, “Most people go home on Sunday and yawn and say ‘That was good.’ What you should be doing is going home and changing something in your life because of what you heard.” Whether you’re religious or not, you should be applying this lesson to your analytics. Besides, to some of us web analytics is our second religion anyway!
Take what you learn and actually implement it. Test your theories, and let your website evolve with what you discover over time. If you’re not going to do anything with the data, spend your time doing something else. Like finding a new job.Read More
A couple of weeks ago Google started placing AdWords ads on Google Finance, as was announced on the Adwords Blog. It was also announced that Google Images would be getting some ads as well. Search Engine Land reported today that Google Images is now testing text ads rather than banner ads.
Instead of a large banner ad at the top or bottom of Google Images results, Google users are now seeing three text ads appear:
(Screenshot source: AccuraCast)
Reports are also saying that Google News ad testing is now going on as well.
So what can PPC Advertisers, website business owners, and pay per click agencies learn from what Google is doing? Start smathering ads all over anything that’s blank! Just kidding. But we do think that the bottom line is you can be squeezing more out of your sites than you currently are. The caveat, however, is that you need to test your users’ reactions to more ads, changes, and increased monetization strategies on your websites. This is why Google is taking time to test each change it makes to each of its services, and it never just rolls something out point blank. Testing is one of the big secrets of website optimization, and that goes in the PPC world as well.Read More
comScore, Inc. recently announced that online shopping is in decline for the first time in at least seven years. While online sales are only down 4% from this time last year, at a turbulent time in world economics, news of a downturn in online purchases may not come as a surprise to many.
“With consumer confidence low and disposable income tight, the first weeks of November have been very disappointing,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
However, comScore forecasts that there will still be growth this holiday season, and that the online marketplace will recover somewhat in the next few months.
“Assuming the stock market doesn’t deteriorate materially during the season and that there is no apocalyptic news of major financial institutions, manufacturers or retailers failing, we should see online spending growth inch back towards positive as we get deeper into the season,” Fulgoni said.
comScore, Inc. calls itself a global information provider. “comScore maintains massive proprietary databases that provide a continuous, real-time measurement of the myriad ways in which the Internet is used and the wide variety of activities that are occurring online.
Mission-critical information relating to both offline and online activities is collected through comScore’s innovative use of the Internet as a timely and powerful data collection medium.
comScore’s products and services are utilized by many of the world’s leading corporations to better understand, leverage and profit from the rapidly evolving worldwide Web.”
What does this mean for PPC managers and online advertisers? Well, if you’re an agency you may have already seen your clients’ budgets decrease with the sliding economy. If you’re an advertiser or a storefront you may be seeing more “window shoppers” and less sales. Even if you haven’t experienced any of these things, now is a good time to make sure you’re running a tight ship PPC-wise. Try targeting transactional keywords, listing your prices in your ads, and tailoring your landing pages to holiday traffic. You may have fewer chances to grab your share of online purchases right now, which means you need to optimize for maximum effectiveness.Read More
Google AdWords announced Tuesday that it has launched a new keyword tool which will help advertisers target more keywords that searchers could use to find their sites. This search-based tool starts at advertisers’ web pages and works backwards, identifying keywords and phrases that are frequently searched by Google users that may be relevant to the advertisers’ site. Advertisers may then add these keywords to their AdWords campaigns or optimize for these terms in order to garner more organic search visits.
We’ll walk you through how to use this new tool right now:
- Access the Search-based Keyword Tool by visiting this link: http://www.google.com/sktool/
- Enter the URL of the page you want to base your query on in the first box – i.e. the page you want to generate more keywords for.
- Enter keywords or phrases that you’d like to be part of the suggested terms in the second box. In the example below, we put “UFO” and “alien” in this box because we wanted to generate keywords that included those words:
- Now the cool part. Google now generates two lists for you. One is a list of keyword phrases related to the URL that was input. The other is a list of keyword phrases related to the search words you input. If this URL was linked to our AdWords account, the tool would have made sure to exclude any keywords we are already targeting!
- Now you can analyze these results and decide what do with the information. In this case, it looks like the owners of the website should not only advertise on some new keywords, but also might look into expanding its product line beyond alien stickers and t-shirts, perhaps adding some PC games, toys, and skateboards. As an added help, Google tells you how many searches these terms get on a monthly basis, how much ad competition there is, and how much they suggest you bid on each keyword or phrase.
If you haven’t tried the new Search-based Keyword Tool yet, you ought to give it a shot. Tools like this can be invaluable to PPC managers and SEOs, not to mention webmasters and in-house marketing teams.Read More